About Tim Burt

Monday, April 27, 2009

Radically Saved From A Life of Destruction

Fresh Manna 2009© by Pastor Tim Burt

2 Cor. 4:15 (NLT) All of these things are for your benefit. And as God's grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

I woke up this morning thinking about how Jesus radically saved me from a life of destruction. My thanks to Him is beyond my ability to communicate it to Him in words.

In 1977, I lived in a little rented house in the inner city. I lived in a neighborhood of inner city people that smoked a lot of pot, grew a lot of flowers, and that wanted to “give peace a chance.” They were “free spirits” doing their own thing as was I. Drugs and alcohol had become my addition and were slowly derailing my life. What I never knew or could see was that God was calling to me. God was watching over me. God was reaching out to guide my extremely misguided life.

I was young man raised right in a good family that had gone astray – not out of rebellion, just off the straighter path of life looking for meaning and more fun. I grew up with a work ethic taught to me by my parents that as I look at in hind sight – was far stronger than most I knew. It was deteriorating from the use of pot and being aimless. I had given Greyhound five years of my life and loved the people I worked with but I started to feel an unrest and knew I needed to make a change. I was clueless as what to do. One day while getting a hair cut, the stylist mentioned that he had applied to be a flight attendant for the airline in town. While driving away from that hair cut I thought, “I need to go apply there.” Little did I know that his mentioning this job was God’s grace speaking to and directing me.

When I applied there, they apologized. I was told they’d received over one million applications for the flight attendant positions nation wide and couldn’t accept any more. I was disappointed. The next day, while visiting my parents, I waved to and got into a conversation with their next door neighbor, a very pleasant woman we grew up next to. She had been a widow but had recently gotten married. She had asked me how I was doing. I mentioned that I was ready for a change of jobs and had tried to apply at the airlines but couldn’t get my application in. She smiled and said, “Give it to me. My new husband is a vice-president of that airline.” God’s grace was working unbeknownst to me.

When the interview came, it was a group interview with about a dozen people. This may sound funny, but they were beautiful people – both guys and gals. She had each person tell of their family, school, and work experience to date and why they wanted the job. I was the last to talk. Each person came from great families, had college educations, and incredible travel experience. I thought, “I have about as much chance as a snowball in …… “ When it came to me, the interviewer had this glow and smile that put me at such incredible ease. I told about my family and being one of ten children. I told them that my college education was on hold. I told them about my work experiences. She hired me. I was floored! A year later she told me it was because “the Lord had spoken to her and said, you need to hire him.” “I have a plan for him.” God’s grace was working unbeknownst to me.

After working there for about a year, I worked with a flight attendant who was this glowing person. She was special and I wanted to know why. She ended up sharing Jesus and the gospel with me. I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Although it took about three months for me to figure out what this really meant and to find a church would teach me the Bible, my life was radically changing. God’s grace was working mightily in my life even though I had no idea what grace was.

Shortly the drugs were gone, the alcohol was gone, the profanity was gone – my desire for anything offensive to Jesus and His Word fell out of my life. My friends thought I flipped out. It was just a short time later that I met this breathtakingly beautiful Christian woman named Renee. I had fallen radically in love with Jesus. Now I was radically falling in love with her. I was often overwhelmed with thanksgiving to God. I remember a six month period where I would stand in church worshipping the Lord thanking Him for plucking me out off of a path leading to destruction and Hell and filling my life with Him and all these new good things. I would cry with thanks during worship almost every Sunday. I was almost embarrassed for feeling so emotional. It was not typically me, but every time I would think about what God did for me, I’d be fighting tears of thanks.

Two years ago, my son Peter was at our annual Men’s Advance with a couple hundred men. The week following he told me, “Dad, I am happy in my job but this past weekend, I saw the influence and the good you bring to all those men’s lives. I want my life to have that kind of significance.” I just smiled but didn’t say much. I knew in my heart that God’s grace was calling and leading Him.

Today’s Fresh Manna verse says, All of these things are for your benefit. And as God's grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

My life is so rich today. I am full of thanksgiving for the richness of God’s grace and mercy and I do give Him all the glory for every good thing in my life. Praise His name forever!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 24, 2009

More Than Just Half Full!

By Renee Burt

Have you noticed that metal water canteens seem to be getting popular? I’ve been seeing them for sale everywhere. But they’re not like the old army style canteens. They’re painted with bright colors and sometimes even sport a fun decal or saying. Well, yesterday I finally caved in and bought one. It has a picture of a half full glass with the word “optimistic” above the water line. And then below the glass, it says “My glass is always half full.” That’s good, right? Yes, but what’s even better than that is that I have something so much better a half full glass of my own optimism. It’s available to all of us, and Bible says it can be an anchor to our soul and emotions. The Bible calls it hope, which is believing for something with expectancy, even when the circumstances don’t warrant it! Now, don’t get me wrong. Optimism is a wonderful thing to have. But it’s not enough when circumstances are screaming at you that “you’re going down” in your finances, or in your health, or in your relationship with someone, or in some difficult situation you don’t have the answer for. That’s when we can have hope…hope in His promises that are unchangeable throughout the ages. But for you to have hope, that means you have to know what He’s promised you! Maybe you’ve let hope slip from your hands. Grab hold of it today…by grabbing hold of His promises for you! And you won’t have to be content to just have a glass that’s half full…He’ll fill you up to the brim with His goodness in your life!

Hebrews 6:18-19 NLT ~ So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.

More devotions from Renee's Fresh Manna


Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Most Incredible Gift!

Fresh Manna 2009© by Pastor Tim Burt

1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

I was recently having lunch with a Jewish friend of mine. He was sharing with me his stories about being in the Israelis army. All young men and women have to become part of the army after school and before college. It is a part of how they have survived as a nation that is surrounded by people that hate them. They are so thoroughly trained in warfare because they have to be – the enemies around them are always plotting to destroy them. In a Wall Street Journal a few years back was an article that said, “Last June, Palestinian television broadcast a sermon in a Gaza mosque in which the imam, Ibrahim Madi, made the following statement: "God willing, this unjust state Israel will be erased; this unjust state the United States will be erased; this unjust state Britain will be erased." It is for this reason the Israelis have been so trained in warfare.

Because we live in America, where we have experienced peace from war for so long, we don’t think much about warfare on a day-to-day basis. Although the war on terrorism and with Iraq has somewhat changed that, for the most part, the majority of people do not engage in warfare thinking on an ongoing basis. As Christians, we need to rethink that.

Like Israel, we are surrounded by enemies. Not enemies that we can see with our natural eyes, but demonic influences that affect people every day that in turn touch our lives. The Apostle Paul wanted to teach us about how to face spiritual warfare and wrote this: Ephesians 6:10-13 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. Therefore take unto you the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Demonic influences are real. They operate in the earth. The Apostle Paul revealed, We don’t fight flesh and blood – in other words –it’s not people we fight, but principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness – those are demonic influences.

The devil isn’t something we have to be afraid of when we are living for the Lord. That is the point of Paul’s teaching. We can learn to recognize the devil’s attacks on our lives and as Paul said, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

One of the great attacks that Satan frequently works to bring against us is guilt and condemnation for our failures to live as righteously as the Word of God teaches us to. Because of that, the Apostle Paul taught, Eph 6:14-17 Stand therefore,having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness…We are taught to put on the breastplate of righteousness. This is a spiritual truth that is imperative to take hold of. It is also the most incredible gift ever given – Righteousness! You will never be good enough to get everything right and pleasing to God in your own efforts. Our righteousness – our right standing with God is a gift to us through Jesus. 2 Cor 5:21 instructs us, God made Jesus who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. We cannot let the devil come and continually condemn us. We have to live honestly before God the best we can each day. When we miss it, we must be truly sorry, repent, and ask forgiveness. We must also receive His forgiveness. Then we must confess what God has said, We are the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. That means you are accepted, loved, washed of sin, and right with God because of what Jesus did –not because of the goodness you try to manufacture in your life! That will always fall short of the mark!

If you don’t take hold of your breastplate of righteousness by faith, then every day you don’t see an answer to prayer, you will begin to believe that something is wrong and it must be you! Satan will work to confirm that. He’ll point out your shortcomings. Can you see why we must put on our breastplate of righteousness? It protects our heart from the condemnation of our failures and Satan’s accusations. As today’s Fresh Manna verse says, For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. God knows that our righteousness is because of His son Jesus. The question is, do we know it?

When I know I’ve blown it somehow and fallen short of living up to God’s Word, and when Satan’s accusations come, how do I answer Satan’s accusations? I don’t. We respond to God. “Heavenly Father, I just missed it again. I could have said that better. I could have acted kinder. I shouldn’t have done that. I repent before you right now. Thank you for forgiving me and helping me to handle that better next time. I receive and thank you for your forgiveness. In Jesus name. Now Satan, I am forgiven and I rebuke you – flee! I am made right before God. I am the righteousness of God and I praise my Savior Jesus.”

We always stand on the promises of God. Your righteousness is one of them and it is a weapon of your warfare against the accusations of Satan. Learn to walk in it as it as there is a war out against your soul going on.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Choices

This weekend's Manna is written by my beautiful bride Renee.

Fresh Manna 2009© by Renee Burt

Choices…we make dozens of them everyday. It starts most basically in the morning when we have a choice of whether or not to get out of bed when the alarm clock rings! And then if we DO get out of bed, then we’re usually quickly faced with a series of choices about what to wear, what to eat, where to go, what to say, how to respond…it can even include what to think about! And although all of these choices may seem small and insignificant when they stand alone, collectively they steer your life in a certain direction that day.

I’ve been thinking about that this morning, because I know I have many choices to make today…and I’m purposing to not be casual about them. Because I’m not interested in having a day where my choices lead the direction I take…I want a day that’s led in the direction God wants to take me! But He isn’t going to drag me down His path for me today, kicking and screaming. The choice is mine, and that choice is hinged on the many, small choices I make along the way. So my first choice this morning? To pray today’s verse for me…and for you…that He’ll lead us in all the many choices we have to make today. I’m so glad you made a choice to read this far down the page. Now we have a choice to not just read today’s verse…but to believe it!

Psalm 143:8, 10 MSG ~ Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you. Teach me how to live to please you, because you’re my God. Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland.

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Powerful Truth of Easter

Fresh Manna 2009© by Pastor Tim Burt

Romans 1:4-5 "And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell all the world everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey Him, bringing glory to His name."

If you are like most people, you don't like to read or view things about tragedy and suffering. Today I am passing on something that one of my readers passed on to me. It is an account of what happens to the human body during a crucifixion. As hard as it is to read this, you should. It's Easter and we need to put ourselves in remembrance of what our Lord did for us. I would like to make this comment though. The scripture reminds us of how wimpy we get in resisting the ungodly things that the Lord would like us to separate ourselves from. In this day of self-indulgence - the thought of holding ourselves back from sin and ungodly pleasure seems like a ludicrous idea. Jesus' entire life and death was standing against sin and keeping Himself pure so that He could be used of God. His choices of standing pure out of a love for others cost Him a rejected life and a gruesome death.

Jesus left Heaven to come and live as a man in this earth. This earth was His creation – which became fully corrupted by the sin of man. The very man He created did not even recognize Him. The very man He created, rejected Him, tortured Him, lied about Him and put Him to this terrible death. Man’s self-indulgence and self preservation allowed Satan to blind them so that through their spiritual blindness and ignorance they would crucify the Creator of all – the one who had come to save them from their sins. Upon death, Jesus went into the belly of Hell as the falsely accused so that He might take upon Himself and suffer the punishment that every single human being deserved for their sin. He took our place. He became our substitute. Hell could not hold an innocent and sinless man and had to release Him as His Father then raised Him from the dead. Suddenly, the punishment that you and I deserve had been paid. The Savior had arisen and to those who would believe in what He did for them, they would be saved. This isn't just about a gruesome death. It is about the greatest act of love ever committed - and that by Almighty God Himself. He would save His own creation from the wrong decision of sin. Praise God for His love toward all mankind – toward you and me!

What is crucifixion?

A medical doctor provides this physical description:
The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought iron nail through the wrist deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place. The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain- the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of his feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them with deep relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath.

Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen. Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-renting cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against rough timber. Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over-the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level- the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues the tortured lungs are making frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues... Finally, he can allow his body to die... All this the Bible records with the simple words, "and they crucified Him" (Mark 15:24).

What wondrous love is this? Many people don't know that pain and suffering our Lord, Jesus Christ went through for us. Because of the brutality, crucifixion was given a sentence to only its worst offenders of the law. Thieves, murderers, and rapists would be the types of those who were crucified. Yet, here Jesus is being crucified between two hardened criminals... What did Jesus do? Did he murder anyone? Did he steal anything? The answer, as we all know, is NO! Jesus did nothing to deserve this type of death, yet he went willing to die, in between two thieves, so that He could take the punishment what we deserved - so that we could be saved from our sins! And so, there, in between the sinners, was our slain savior for our sins. God's love was with great and specific purpose - to rescue all men (who would believe) from the grips of the great liar and deceiver of all mankind - Satan! 1 Tim 2:3-4 says, "... God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Acts 4:12 says, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." This verse turns the key that opens the prison door of sin and Hell and releases man with then transferring him into the Kingdom of God, the family of God and a life of truth and power in God. Romans 10:10 "For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by acknowledging this truth with your mouth that you are saved."

What can I do to be saved from my sins and have eternal life? Simply and sincerely lift your heart in prayer before the Lord. As you do, sincerely ask the Lord to forgive you of all your sins. Ask Jesus to be your personal Savior and then by faith thank Him for forgiving you and for becoming your Savior. Then take one more step -tell someone that you did. Jesus said, "If you will acknowledge me as your Savior, then I will acknowledge you as mine before My Father." The promise to you is the forgiveness of all your sins and the cleansing from all wrong doing. God also promises a miracle to happen within you. He promises to put His Holy Spirit within you. He does this so that as His new child, He can begin to speak to you, teach you of Himself and lead you in this new life with Him. If you pray this prayer for the first time, be assured this will be the most special Easter you will ever live. Pick up your Bible and read the gospel of Luke and John. It will have new meaning to you. God bless you richly and have a wonderful Easter celebrating His glorious love toward all.

In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 10, 2009

His Supreme Sacrifice!

Fresh Manna 2009© By Renee Burt

Today is Good Friday, a day traditionally celebrated as the day that Jesus died on the cross. It was a day of supreme sacrifice…the Father offering up the life of His son, so all mankind could once again enjoy unbroken fellowship with Him. I was thinking about that and marveling at the great sacrifice He made. Because just the thought of having to see one of my children die on a cross, especially for people who were abusing him in every way possible, is an unbearable thought. But that’s what God did…willingly…from a heart of love, when we didn’t yet love Him…from a heart of forgiveness, before we ever said we were sorry …from a heart of mercy, when we didn’t deserve a shred of it. Sacrifice… such a huge sacrifice for me…and for you. If you’ll stop to think about it, it can’t help but make you want to know Him more…so you can experience a friendship with Him that Jesus’ death on the cross made possible. But that takes sacrifice on our part too…but such a small sacrifice…a simple sacrifice of our time to get to know Him daily through talking to Him in prayer, and then listening to Him speak to us through His Word. Sacrifice…such a small sacrifice to make for Him…what an amazing friendship as a result!

Romans 5:9-11 MSG ~ Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah

More devotions from Renee's Fresh Manna


Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 03, 2009

Steel In Your Convictions!

By Renee Burt

Do you ever know you shouldn’t do something, but then you find yourself doing it anyway? I wish I could say that never happens to me, but that wouldn’t be true…especially this past weekend. You see, I had cut desserts out of my life almost entirely about a year ago. After a couple of months, I felt like I had that “sugar craving” desire whipped into doing what I wanted it to do, which was to eat no more than one dessert a week. But then this weekend happened. First, there was my favorite kind of cake at a small group get together. I just had one piece. But then the next night, I went to a birthday party. I debated whether to eat the apple/cranberry torte, warmed ala mode…for all of about 30 seconds…and then I inhaled it. Later, I told myself that NEVER happens anymore, so just relax…the piece was small, after all. But THEN, I went to a wedding shower the next day, and I thought, “Great, it’s marble cake...I only like white cake! So, no problem, right?” Wrong…because the first piece cut was all white…not a speck of chocolate in it, so they passed it to me, since they knew I love white cake. And yes, I ate dessert #3 for the weekend! So what did I do later? Feel guilty? Feel bugged at myself? Yes…but I got past it quickly when I later read today’s verse. It reminded me that God loves me very much…even when I have a dessert disaster! And it reminded me that He HAS put steel in my convictions, despite this weekend slip-up that has only served to remind me that I never could do this thing on my own in the first place. I need His help in every area of my life…even where it concerns desserts! So bring on the white cake & tortes…the steel is back in my convictions. And He’ll put it in you too, for whatever it is you need help with...desserts included!

1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 MSG ~ It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn't just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.

More devotions from Renee's Fresh Manna

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Need Help With Your Patience?

Fresh Manna 2009© by Pastor Tim Burt

1 Thessalonians 5:14 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are idle, encourage the faint-hearted, support the weak, be patient toward all men”

It never ceases to amaze me at how faith filled prayer can alter your perspective and how you act or react to something. Some time back, we had contracted a window company to send over a crew to rip out some old windows and replace them with new ones. They were scheduled so show up on a particular day by 7:00am in the morning. The crew never showed up.

At 7:30am when they had not arrived, Renee called to make sure they were coming. The manager was embarrassed and very apologetic. They had just made a mistake in their scheduling. She handed me the phone and I told them, "Don’t worry about it. It’s no problem but please have them show up on Wednesday morning instead and please have the men here by 7:00 a.m. My wife and I have to get the kids to school and then we both had to be at church very shortly after that." “I want to be here to let them in go over things with them before I go to work.” He understood and assured me they would be there on time.

7:00am on Wednesday came but the crew did not. Renee left for church and I waited around for them to come. At 8:00 am they still weren’t there and I needed to leave. At 8:10 a.m. they were still a no show. I called the company to see if they were coming. The manager said they were on the way. I told him I had to leave for work and that I would have to leave the door to our porch open. He assured me they would be there any minute.

I waited ten more minutes and they still weren't there. I could feel myself getting frustrated. I could feel my body heat rising. I thought about it for a minute and then remembered today’s Fresh Manna verse that I had been meditating on. “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are idle, encourage the faint-hearted, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” I was determined that I was not going to let the devil knock me off course for the day.

I went to our picture window at the front of the house, looked out and began to pray for the men of the crew that were coming. I prayed for their safety. I prayed for their well being. I prayed for the job that they would do. As I began to pray for these things, it was like something lifted. I no longer felt angry with them. I knew they would get there. I knew they'd figure out how to get to the windows through the open porch door. A peace came over me because of praying and asking God to bless them and enable them to do an excellent job.

When I got home at 10:00pm from church that night, all but two windows had been replaced. They were ahead of schedule and doing a great job. I was so glad I traded frustration for prayer. I almost left for work somewhat frustrated and angry. Instead, by praying at home it lifted me into a new perspective and left me with a godlier attitude. I was so blessed praying that I continued to pray all the way to church.

It is so important to properly deal with what the Bible describes in Eph 6 as "fiery darts of the enemy.” The Holy Spirit helped me “be patient toward all men” that day. He helped keep my heart and attitude right. “Be patient” are easy words to exhort others in. Praying for those you need to patient with out of real heart faith makes being patient more manageable and keeps me more Christ-like in my witness before others!

In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Overcoming Your Fears With Your Faith!

Fresh Manna 2009© by Pastor Tim Burt

1 John 5:4 (NIV) “…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

This was a most memorable evening! If there had ever been a perfect weather night in Minnesota, this had been it. It was a Sunday night. We were at a large picnic grounds on a lake having our annual church picnic. We had over 6,000 people attend throughout the day. The little children had a great time in the petting zoo and riding the ponies. We had numerous inflatables for the kids of all ages to play on, and we really hit the bull’s-eye by offering free cotton candy to the children. The water in the lake was like invitingly comfortable and the food and fellowship and games were absolutely fun. We were especially blessed with a nice breeze that was just enough to keep the mosquitoes and flies away.

As evening came, we finished off the day with a praise and worship and water baptism service. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The sun was beginning to go down and the lake was picturesque – reflecting the tree line around the lake off the still water. The water was the temperature of bath water. It was the perfect evening.

We baptized over 250 people – one of them being the highlight of my day. If you have ever seen anyone accomplish a great feat and then wear a smile that was so big that it almost made their face crack, that is how I would describe one of those whom I water baptized.

There were four Pastors in the water conducting the water baptism. I was out in the water where those in my line waded out to me one after another. As I had just finished water baptizing a young lady, I looked up and saw a young man escorting a middle-aged gal out to me. She looked like she had trouble walking because she was holding on to his arm so tightly and walking so slowly. I called out to her telling her to take her time. There was no hurry.

When she finally made her way out to me, she explained that she could not bend her knees and wondered if I’d just throw some water over her. She was terrified of me bringing her backward into and under the water and lifting her right back out. She was afraid I’d not be able to hold her – fearing she’d sink like a rock. I assured her she had nothing to be afraid of because not only could I do it but the young man that helped her out to me was also going to help me. He and I comforted her, encouraged her, and reassured her repeatedly. She at last told us she was ready.

As I was speaking the words prior to baptizing her, she suddenly spoke “I can’t do this. I’m too afraid.” We comforted her further and assured her she would not be under the water for more than one second and that it would be easy and painless – actually it would be exciting as the Lord would touch her in a special way. I reminded her of a verse I taught and spoke to my children a thousand times as they grew up; “For God hath not given you the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7) I patiently talked to her about overcoming her fears through the strength of the Lord. She was encouraged and ready to try again. Again I was speaking the words prior to baptizing her when she again suddenly cried out, “I just can’t do this, I’m too afraid!” I would never pressure anyone to do anything they don’t want to do but deep down I sensed a strong desire within her to really want to be baptized this way. She just couldn’t get past this fear.

I encouraged her again telling her that she was about to defeat the enemy of her soul – the author of fear that had held her back from many things God wanted her to experience and be blessed with. “We will have you out of that water in one second’s time,” I assured her, “and you are about to experience the first of a series of victories in your life by overcoming your fears with your faith.” As today’s Fresh Manna verse says, “…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

She again said she was ready. I did not hesitate a moment. “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” We brought her down and then right back up. That is when I witnessed one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen. We were rejoicing and cheering and high-fiving her as those on the beach cheered her on. Some were crying they were so happy for her. This was her first of her many victories with her overcoming faith.

Victory is sweet! I am not talking about sports competitions or anything like that. I am talking about overcoming the fears that the enemy of your soul terrorizes you with to keep you from experiencing God’s best. It does take an effort in faith to experience them. For someone trying to shed a few pounds it takes the first, and second, and third, “no” to temptation. Each of those “no’s” become victories that add up and build momentum leading to larger victories.

To someone trying to rid themselves of a bad habit, or for someone trying to develop a good discipline like Bible reading and prayer – for someone trying to take on something in their life that God has been dealing with them about, the first and second “no” or “yes” are critical. But, each victory can lead to another when you lean on God in faith for His help. Then before long, you are the one that has overcome the world by your faith. You are the one that has a smile that is so big; it almost cracks your face.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
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