About Tim Burt

Friday, September 30, 2011

You Will Love This: A Dad Life

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Instead of a devotion, here is something that will make you smile and laugh. Enjoy! It's one of my favorites!



If you cannot view this, please click here: The Dad Life

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2011 All rights reserved
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Don't Let Familiarity Rob Your Blessing

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

1 Thes. 3:12 "And may the Lord make your love grow and overflow to each other and to everyone else, just as our love overflows toward you."

This past weekend as I was driving my car home, I thought, “This car is dirtier than I usually let it get. I have to clean it up.” My car is about a year old. When I first got it, I always kept it clean. Now I am not washing my car as often. Consequently, it looks a little dirty – inside and out. That is not me. I like my cars clean. Familiarity with my car has set in.

Throughout life we experience new and fresh and exciting things. A guy gets a new car, a new recliner chair, a new rifle or fishing pole, or some new toy. He loves the smell, the touch or feel of it. I am sure that women on some level do the same thing. We love the newness of our new thing. We work to keep it’s newness by pampering and cherishing it – for a while. Can you relate to that?

Over time, new things become familiar. Relationships and things lose some of their newness and familiarity sets in. There is nothing abnormal about this except that in some areas of life, especially in the area of relationships, this becomes dangerous. We start to unappreciate blessings, taking friends and loved ones for granted and letting familiarity set in. There are some things in life that we can not afford to let familiarity touch. That is most true in priority relationships.

Speaking from a man's perspective concerning his wife, it would be easy for me to take Renee for granted. She is sweet and kind to me and goes a long time before complaining when I treat her more as a roommate than my wife. The other morning as we were getting ready, I suddenly had this feeling that I was treating her with familiarity more than cherishing her and treating her as the jewel she is to me. I simply began to dream about how much I love her and what a blessing she is. I then began to show her a heightened tenderness and love throughout the day. In a very short time I could see how it was affecting her. She was instinctively responding back with tenderness and love. No words had been spoken about this. It was just heart and action.

I felt led this morning to say that familiarity unchecked leads to the erosion of good things God has brought into our lives to be a blessing. Familiarity is a curse. Appreciation is golden. Whether it's your spouse, your children, or precious friends or loved ones, don't take them for granted. Keep them shiny! Clean them up and shine them with words and actions of appreciation and love!

1 Thes. 3:12 "And may the Lord make your love grow and overflow to each other and to everyone else, just as our love overflows toward you."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2011 All rights reserved
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Don't Be Casual About Fear

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

This past week, Renee and I went to a movie. Prior to the movie there was previews for about five upcoming movies. Four of them were horrifically scary movies. I was truly shocked at the amount of movies made to produce fear in people.

When Renee and I were young with four small children, although we were quite busy running our Small Groups at church, we wanted to do more. We wanted to get involved serving in children’s ministry. One of the reasons we wanted to help besides our love for children, was to take what we learned in the classroom and use it at home to help our kids grow spiritually. We were hungry to learn anything we could to be better parents.

One of the things we learned is something I’ve written about before. We learned just how much small children are afraid to go to bed and to sleep at night. Their imaginations are vivid. They become very active with fear at night.

We learned that most parents let their children watch horrible and violent and scary things on television. They also let them watch and read about witches or creepy things in videos and books. And then there was the escalating of video games that were violent and had scary creatures. It all seems so innocent on the surface and most parents assumed that all the other parents let their kids watch these things, so they did too!

Week after week the kids in our classes would ask us to pray for them because they were so afraid at night. They were afraid of the dark. They were afraid of what was under the bed. They were afraid of the boogie man in the closet. They were afraid of the burglar outside the bedroom window. The shadows, the dark, and their imaginations were sometimes terrifying. We did not get the impression that the kids shared their fears with their parents. Maybe because their parents would have given them the pat answer, “there is nothing to be afraid of now go to sleep.”

It was through this repeated experience in children’s church that we realized our own kids battled the same fears. We'd ask and they'd finally open up and share what they are afraid of.

Fear is a very real thing. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment…” God doesn’t want us to be the victim of fear but Satan would like to control our lives with it. Fear is the strategy of terrorist – Satan being the worst of them all. 2 Tim 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” God does not want us to be controlled by fear. He wants us to become overcomers of fear. 1 John 4:4 says, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He (Jesus) who is in you is greater than he(Satan and every demonic spirit) who is in the world.”

Renee had established the habit of taking the children to the library once a week when they were very small. We had little money back then and this was a free event they all looked forward to. We had a plastic crate for holding the books they would check out each week. Either Renee or I would screen each book to make sure there was no witchcraft or witches, no creepy creatures, no violence, and especially no books of children that expressed bad attitudes. (You wouldn’t believe how many books feature characters with bad attitudes.) The kids like dinosaurs and since they are real we let them pick out books about them as long as they didn’t come across too scary.We read age appropriate Bible stories books to them each night and talked to them about how the angels of God were there to watch over them.

You can't eliminate everything that is going to cause fear in a child's life, but you can stop promoting and contributing things that help produce fear. That was our goal and it did help them. They've all told us that. It isn’t that our children didn’t ever have some of those fears. They just had less of them. We did this so that they could say what the Psalmst said in Psa 27:1. “The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?"

And one more thing, if you think fear promoters like scary movies don't affect you, think again. They do!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2011 All rights reserved
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gaining and Sustaining a Victorious Life

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

1 Cor. 15:57 “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”

God wants us to be victorious over the demonic forces and attacks against our lives. He wants us to learn how to draw strength from Him to put down the carnality within us and rise up to be who He has created us to be in Christ. He wants us to grow in wisdom and stature as individuals representing Him in this earth. His Word is filled with covenant promises promising this help. As we seek God through the Word and prayer, His Holy Spirit will speak to us, teach us, guide us and reveal God's heart to ours. This is a coveted prize and one that God promises to those that seek Him. It's available to all.

Our victories in and through God are gained by learning to lean upon and absolutely trust and stand strong in faith in the promises of His word rather than ourselves. Jeremiah 33:3 declares, "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." We are always to give our best to every effort, but we have to know that the victory and success comes from God's part, the way He will bring His grace and help to your effort.

David was possibly the greatest soldier and warrior for God that ever lived on this earth. Quite an accomplishment for a shepherd boy. Quite and accomplishment for a man who was the youngest of many brothers and who was mocked and put down by them growing up. What saved him from becoming an insecure and dysfunctional person that would one day blame all his problems on His upbringing and family? The answer is simply his love and worship of God which led to his constant communion and trust in God. David was known for these qualities and God’s manifest presence in the details of his life was evident to all. He went on to become a King who subdued kingdoms and literally millions of soldiers and people.

David had reached a point in his life where he defeated all of his enemies. Every surrounding kingdom and people had been defeated or subdued by him. His army had become the most powerful in the world. He was at the pinnacle of greatness in his life. Satan loves this time. It's a time where he waits to tempt with pride. He whispers, "Look what you’ve accomplished - you should be so proud of yourself." It's a time where God can be forgotten. It's a time where we can take credit and glory.

At this moment of great victory for David, Satan tempted David to go count all the people in His kingdom. Why? So David could know exactly how great he was. 1 Chr 21:1-2 says, “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, "Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are." David yielded to this temptation and reduced the greatest fighting men in the world to now go out and be bean counters - counters of people. They were humiliated. They were greatest of warriors, not accountants! They didn't want to do this and were degraded by it, but David had slipped into pride and experienced a painful fall.

Pride manifests itself in many ways. God wants us to be victorious but He does not want us to slip into pride. The most important thing to know in any accomplishment or victory in life is that it came because God's grace equipped us to obtain it.

A few years ago, I was watching one of the great Christian NFL football players rise to the top. He was considered one of the best if not the best there was in his position. Every time he scored a touchdown, he would humbly give glory to the Lord. As time went on, he did many good things always giving praise to God, but, the praise of men came at him like a freight train. That happens to victors. Everyone loves a winner and he had become one. Pride set firmly in and giving glory to God began to fade out. He like many people who experience victories, began to believe he was responsible for the greatness of his life. It appeared he forgot it was a product of God's abundant grace. That doesn’t make victory bad – just pride!

We all have to deal with pride. We want to deal with it. Why? Because in James 4:6 we are told, “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Grace is God's supernatural help and equipping that aids us in achieving anything that is good including great things. Without it we would all be nothing. Everything good that we achieve is because of God’s grace. Therefore, grace is something to be greatly cherished. If we think we are anything, we have let pride come in and we have God resisting us. Pride is destructive and stupid. The point of victory is the platform to bring God sincere praise, not false humility giving lip service but really thinking you are the hero of the day.

Pride sets people up in their minds to think they are someone important. They think they are cool, or rich, or smart, or good looking, or powerful, or whatever. They soon become blinded, think of themselves more highly than they should, and set themselves up for a course of destruction. A fall is coming!

Humility – knowing God is the source of every good thing and victory - helps us to see God's hand in everything we do. Victory creates an open door to give glory to God and creates further opportunities to influence others for Him. This in turn opens the door for more grace and the cycle of winning continues. Then today’s Fresh Manna verse “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” becomes true for you!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2011 All rights reserved
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 16, 2011

Looking Through These Eyes

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Today's post is written by a very precious young woman Katie Stahlecker. I hope her perspective blesses you as it did me.

Let’s start here,
THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!

I now realize what you meant, by I'm lucky to have a roof over my head, by I'm lucky to have learned my manners, by I'm lucky that you are still together. I'm lucky that you did my laundry, I'm lucky that you helped me with money. I am lucky that you showed me the value of a dollar and made me pay my bills. I'm lucky you pushed me to work. Most of all though, I am so lucky that you pushed me. You pushed me to work through all of the rough spots in my life. Whether that be my bi-polar, my anxiety, my hard times, but the thing that I am most thank full for? For you pushing me to finish high school. When I was going through all of this I didn't see the point of finishing. I was so frustrated with you and I just didn't understand. Now I completely get it, and I am so thank full to you both. I am so lucky to have you guys standing by my side through the good, the bad, and the ugly in my life. I want to give all you teenagers that "can't stand your parents" a tip. Just breath, the world is NOT going to end, your parents DON'T hate you, and you really DON'T have it that bad.

THANK YOU TO THE ELDERS
Since working at the assisted living home, I realized how amazing our elders are and how much they have given to our country in their time. I have heard so many amazing stories in the short time that I have worked there.

One man was in World War II. He had to leave his family to protect our country. He had to leave his family because he wanted to make a difference. He witnessed 7 people get shot, right in front of him. He then went on to become a firefighter, where he almost got killed numerous times. While risking his life, he had 7 kids. He sent them all to college.

I took his hand today and said Dan, Thank you so much for serving our country. You are what made the world what it is today.
What an amazing man.

Another man told me an amazing story today. He fought hard for our country, also in World War II. He witnessed the most brutal things that no one should ever have to see. He has in his wallet, a HAND WRITTEN LETTER, from HARRY TRUMANN thanking him for his dangerous work. He then went on to raise 11 children.

I took his hand today and said Art, Thank you so much for serving our country. You are what made the world what it is today.

What an amazing man.

I have met people that have owned bakeries, that have owned markets, that have ran major farms, one that worked as a nurse for 50 years. These people who we consider "old and shriveled" have impacted the world that we live in today. We should be so thank full for these people. Next time you see an older lady or man, sit down and talk to them. I bet they have an amazing story. Maybe give them a handshake and thank them.

Looking through these eyes, I continue to learn new things everyday. I am so thank full for everything I have.

I am so very lucky.

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/





Monday, September 12, 2011

Marriage Tools That Bring Blessing

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Ah, those first months and years of marriage. Aren’t they great? For most young couples I talk to the answer is NOT! They don’t want to admit it too early, but after there in their third or forth year of marriage and the dust is settling some, they are a little more open about how tough it was in their first years of marriage. They will often ask Renee and me about how we conducted our marriage picking our brains on sticking points such as divided up chores and home duties. They ask how I treated Renee and how she treated me. Most know we have a great marriage now and that’s why they ask. But I think they are relieved in some ways to hear that our marriage was difficult and sometimes painful in the beginning.

Before Renee and I sat down to pray this morning, we were talking and laughing about how childish, prideful, and in some cases ridiculous we acted in those early years of marriage. I am so thankful that we can laugh now. I told her that if people would listen to the words I share with each couple when I do their wedding, they could learn so much if they’d take the words to heart.

When we are in our teens, we can’t wait to grow up and become independent. When we officially become an adult, we test the waters of our new found independence breaking free from parental input - except when it cost us money and responsibility. We live independently for a season but then fall in love and decide to get married. Suddenly we aren’t so independent. Now the new bride is in her glory excited about the challenge of trying to shape her husband into a better man. Now that the groom has bagged his trophy and has his new wife, he wants to tell her things to do and verbalizes his expectations quickly. Where did their independence go? They traded it (unknowingly) for marriage. They traded their parent’s input for their new spouses. They were both more covert about it when they were dating because they still each had to win as their prize. But once they were married, it all came out into the open. They each had things they wanted from each other and those wants came out fast and furious.

After the euphoria of the honeymoon, many young couples are somewhat shell shocked by their initial first months of marriage. I try to warn them in pre-marriage counseling, but they don’t fully get it until it happens. Eph. 5:21 says, “…submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Men love the submit word thinking its only something for the wife to do toward them. That word is highly misunderstood and misused. It would be better to use the word “Adapt” to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Adapt is what a new marriage is all about. This new couple has to learn how to adapt to each other. He has his independent ways and she has hers. He wants her to learn his way of doing things and she wants him to learn hers. They really both need to adapt to each other.

We can and must learn from the verses of Romans 12:10 that says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.” When it says that we should be devoted to one another in brotherly love, it is saying be devoted with God’s kind of love. It then goes on to describe that kind of love saying, “Giving preference or preferring one another in honor.”

Any couple – your or old, should learn to “adapt" by finding out what is really important to their spouse. Of course it should be reasonable and appropriate and when it is, then the sacrifice they make to change so that they can adapt and make their spouse happy, will bring huge dividends! Their marriage will mature wonderfully. These adjustments and tweaks are what help mature a marriage. This is submitting or adapting to one another. This is what is meant in Romans 12:10. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.”

Adapting is God’s way and this is what made Renee and my marriage great. After early years of marriage trouble, we one day woke up. God showed us to do this and we did. We quit fighting and started to truly adapt through honoring and preferring each other.

A wonderful gal I know recently shared with me, that she and her husband had also discovered this truth. When they came to a crossroads of needed change that one or the other wanted, they would ask each other this question; “On a one to ten scale, how important is it that I make this change?” They had to be honest with each other, but if it was high and it was reasonable, they each made the change. Renee and I didn’t use the scale but we asked the same question. It worked.

You don’t have to be a young couple to apply this. It’s just so much better (and saves you so much pain) if you do apply it when you are young in your marriage. Adapting and preferring is God’s way and helps build the foundation for a great marriage!

Philip. 2:2-4 “Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose. Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2011 All rights reserved
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 11, 2011

God Has Got Your Back!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Have you ever worked hard on the job and someone has tried to take credit for your work? Have you ever been in a situation where there seems to be an obvious bias and someone else is favored over you? Has this kind of a situation or a similar situation ever made you jealous?

I have been in situations like this over my life’s career and I remember it always leaving a feeling of turmoil in my gut and mind. When you try to straighten out these kinds of situations and you can’t, turmoil will arise and it will begin to eat at you. It will hurt you if you don’t deal with it effectively. It can actually begin to take over and rule your mind and emotions.

In Genesis we read about Cain and Abel. This feeling of turmoil came over the older brother Cain. Cain couldn’t see it but he was in the wrong. He felt like God was favoring Abel over him. The truth was, God had wanted an animal sacrifice. Cain would have had to get one from his brother but he was too proud for that. He gave God a sacrifice from his own hands but it wasn’t what God had wanted. God was not favoring one over the other or taking sides. He was just teaching them what He wanted in sacrifices.

Genesis 4:2-7 Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is to rule over you, but you should rule over it."

In these situations, initially, it doesn’t really matter who or what is right or wrong. When there is an injustice, what matters most is keeping your attitude, words, and actions right. This is critical because if your perspective is right, things will work out in the long run. God is always on the side of justice and when you keep your attitude right and respond to difficult situations right, then your character is right. Godly character always wins out over people that live their life unethically.

If your perspective is wrong as Cain’s was, then a right attitude, behavior, and words, will save you from making a fool of yourself. In Cain’s case he didn’t change and what the Lord warned him of became true. This feeling of turmoil gained dominion over him. He killed Abel. This is how people move past anger into rage. People express their rage in different ways, but it is always wrong and leads to great evil.

One thing that can easily set you free in times like this is to remember who keeps the books. God keeps the books! No one fools God and nothing slips by Him. When there is an injustice, if you turn it over to the Lord, respond right and keep your character, you win. God is always just. He has your back. He’ll see you through. Shallow people have their life built on sand and sand washes away. Their lives are full of turmoil you may no nothing about. So, smile! Be happy! God keeps the books! If you’re right, He knows. If you’re wrong, then handling yourself correctly will save you from a whole lot of mistakes!

“God makes everything come out right; He puts victims back on their feet.” Psalm 103:6 (Message Bible)

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2011 All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 09, 2011

Weary No More

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Weary No More
by my friend and colleague, Jon Larson

We all go through seasons of life...and as difficult as some may be, we can't quite too soon. Otherwise, we will never experience the rewards that are waiting for us at the end.

As I was standing at the edge of my garden, I was having trouble spotting the vegetables that I had worked so hard on growing this year. I know they are in there, but the weeds are too high and too thick for me to see them. And why I am I feeling so exhausted right now?

I am a gardener and I love it, but as I was standing there, I realized that I go through the same challenging cycle of thoughts every year. It’s a seasonal thing. I always start out with such high hopes and get off to a great start in the spring, only to see it end by dragging myself across the finish line by the time autumn arrives.

Does it always have to end that way?

The Cycle Begins ☼
Coming out of a Minnesota winter, I have enough pent up energy and enthusiasm about planting my vegetable garden that I can hardly wait until the ground is thawed.

We endure five months without leaves on the trees, shortened cloud filled days, and snow on the ground. Once the snow leaves and spring arrives, so do the familiar smells which add to the excitement of getting outside once again.

Eventually the day arrives when I till the garden and breathe in the distinct smell of freshly turned earth. I go to the local nursery and pick up my seed potatoes, multiple varieties of tomato plants, and other seeds. We spend a weekend sinking them into the soil and putting down hay in between rows as a weed barrier.

Finally…I am off and running into the new season!

So Far So Good... ►
As spring turns into summer, I weed and water, watching my babies grow knowing that I will once again be having fresh produce this year. About this time, my strawberries come ripe and we start picking those. My five apple trees and two pear trees have beautiful flowers and will soon turn into young fruit. All is right with the world.

As we move into July, enthusiasm level is still high—kind of. I am harvesting some lettuce and my potato plants are getting bigger. Weeding becomes a little more tedious, but I am still energetic and doing alright. Then it happens…again. Potato bugs start attacking my potato plants and the battle begins.

Weary In Well Doing? :(
As July turns into August, my enthusiasm wanes. The heat of the summer as well as the mosquitoes keep me away from the garden. After putting up a valiant effort, I begin losing the battle with the potato bugs. I have killed hundreds of them, but they lay enough eggs to multiply faster that I can kill them. I try squishing them, using the blow torch on them, and even try ignoring them, but nothing is effective! Soon, my potato plants are decimated.

By this time, the weeds are winning in the rest of the garden as well. Ugh!

As August rolls into September, the weather begins to break and cool temperatures return. My tomatoes are doing well. I have harvested half of my potatoes and my two rows of corn turned out great. My raspberries are ripening and my apple and pear trees are loaded. It’s now time to pick my tomatoes as well as my peppers and onions, but there's only one problem.

My garden looks like a disaster.

I am feeling overwhelmed. I am tired. And to be honest, I don’t want to harvest it all. I just want to enjoy the beginning of this fall weather without having to go through all this work. Even though the harvest it right at my doorstep, I want to quit. But I also know that my garden is not going to harvest itself.

We usually can salsa with all the garden items, but it is a lot of work too. And what am I going to do with all of these apples? Can I just let my entire harvest go to waste?

Don't Lose Heart ♥
I was thinking about this question and about the feelings I have…and how it seems to recur every year. It never fails; right on the verge of reaping, I feel like quitting. I eventually get fed up and want to simply let the harvest rot in the field. Have you ever felt that way?

The bible tells us in in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” I then wondered how close I had to been to other victories in my life that slipped through my fingers because I grew weary and quite close to the end. There is rest at the end of season, but if we cut short those seasons because we don’t have the endurance to finish, we then also lose out on the rewards that are waiting for us at the end.

Regardless of who you are or what you do, we are all in the beginning, middle, or final stage of some season in our life. And yes, we all tend to get weary at some point and want to throw in the towel; but if we do, we will miss out of the reward that is right around the corner.

A Season Of Encouragement ☺
September typically represents a new beginning—a new season for many of us. School starts again, church activities ramp up, and fall chores begin again. However, this season I pray that God gives you the endurance you need to finish the course you are on. It is my prayer that you do not become discouraged. Why? So you can enjoy the fruits of your labor and then enter into His rest when you have completed what is before you.

As for me…in another month or so, I will have rest. So much rest, in fact, that I will be itching again for the return of spring! Sometimes it is hard to see that. We want what we want when we want it. But life doesn’t work that way.

Again, the bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” So during this season, I will press on and harvest the fruit of this season. I will rest during the season of rest, and I will purpose—once again—to press towards those marks that God has laid before me.

Remember, if you don’t quit, you will win.


In His service,

Jon Larson
cfaith staff

www.cfaith.com


Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2011 All rights reserved
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Marriage: Adapting and Adjusting

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

I am constantly reminded through the conversations I have with married couples that Supernatural Change is critical in marriage – especially when a marriage is young.

There are some things in marriage counseling that never fail to amaze me. I am always amazed when a couple shares with me, little bothersome issues – “little foxes” that bug each other that neither has changed in and are still bugging them ten, fifteen, even twenty years later. What do I hear in marriage counseling? Something like this: “For twenty years I have asked her to wash my socks before I run out but she never does.” “Oh yea, well for twenty years I’ve asked you not to shake your hands after you wash them because you splash the mirror and leave spots – but do you stop? Noooooo! Do you leave clothes everywhere in stead of hanging them up or putting them in the dirty close pile? Yesssssss!”

When a couple is guilty of this, they are guilty of not remembering the promises they made to the person they fell in love with, the person they pledged to God to love with their whole heart. And they are guilty of not listening to the Lord. I assure you that God has tried to speak to the heart of anyone in this situation.

Song of Solomon 2:15 tells us that it is “the little foxes that spoil the vine.” It is these little bothersome issues that can erode a marriage. God has a plan for this and it involves Supernatural Change. Eph 5:21 says, “… Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” What is this verse saying? The best way to understand this verse is to look at the word submit as “adjust and adapt.” It is saying that in marriage there will be needed efforts made to adjust and adapt to each other.

When a husband and wife come together they are two unique individuals. Now God wants them to adjust and adapt to each other to become like-minded in how they live out their purpose, and course of life. Eph. 5:31 says it like this; “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one." It doesn’t mean either loses their uniqueness or personal desires. To the contrary, it means that the husband adds his to his wife and the wife adds hers to her husband.

Two people come together and with the help of the Holy Spirit, become like-mined and unified in their course of life. They build their life’s goals together. They learn to work together as a team. They grow together in their love for God which then helps them grow in love toward each other. True love for God will produce greater love for each other. That is how Supernatural change happens. When two people are submitted first to the Lord, they will take correction from God when they have acted like a jerk to each other. They will repent to each other and forgive in turmoil because God says that forgiveness is not an option. They will work toward learning how to love each other because God instructs them to.

To both husband and wife He says,“… Submitting (adjusting and adapting) yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (Eph 5:21)

To the husband he says “And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her… husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man actually loves himself when he loves his wife.” (Eph. 5:25 & 28)

To the wife He says, “Wives, submit (adjust and adapt) to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should (adjust and adapt)to their husbands in everything. (Eph. 5:22-24)

God has taught me, don’t fight Renee, pay attention and let me show you how to love her. I have learned to look for those things that are important to her and adjust to them. It brings peace to our marriage and usually works healthy change in me. I don’t leave my shoes in our entry way anymore. I put a coaster under a pop can. I don’t track dirty shoes through the house. I often was up the few dishes in the sink at night because it blesses her. People have often said to Renee, “I feel like I’m talking to Tim when I talk to you about certain things.” They’ve said the same to me concerning Renee. God has brought us to the place where we are on the same page.

This is not just change but Supernatural Change. Why? Because neither of us would have adapted and adjusted to each other if we hadn’t first learned to submit ourselves to what the Lord wanted and to His correction in our hearts during those difficult times.

Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives.” God is in every detail of our life if we submit - adjust and adapt - to Him, and then adapt and adjust out of love to each other. When we do this, He can direct our steps. He directs the steps of a husband and wife together so they can move beyond the stupid “little foxes” that try to spoil the marriage. A smart couple will learn this in the first year or years of their marriage. Adjust and adapt and allow your marriage and life to move on to a blessed life together. Those that don’t learn it will end up in the counseling office many years later fighting over really stupid things. It’s better to change – to supernaturally change!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2011 All rights reserved
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Motivating Children: A God Plan

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

It was a Sunday morning. The kids were age four, six, eight, and ten. Getting them up and fed and ready by 8:00 am so that we could be at church a half hour early to help serve seemed almost impossible. I needed the kids to cooperate and help get themselves ready for church which seldom if ever went well. I'd lose my cool too easily and snap and the kids and Renee. It was too much to expect of children so young. What should have been a blessing felt more like a weekly nightmare. No one knew how stressful it was because every week we would walk into church like we were the most cool, calm and collected people there were.

Renee and I didn't want to give up serving and helping at church but we didn't want to torture the kids or fight with each other over the pressure of getting ready so early each Sunday morning.

One of these mornings I came home exhausted and somewhat frustrated from the experience. I went into the bedroom, got on my knees and cried out to the Lord for help. I prayed, "Lord, I want to serve you by serving others. I am more than willing but I can't take this out on the kids. It seems too high of an expectation to get them all moving so fast so early in the morning. It's hard to ask them to be this good."

I had my Bible open on the bed. As I was praying my eyes glanced down at Hebrews 11:6. "...He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him." It was like a light clicked on in my head. I shouted, "Renee, I've got it! I believe the Lord has given me a plan! The Lord has shown me what to do!" It was all laid out in my head. "The Lord is a rewarder!" I kept thinking about that statement. I told Renee what I was thinking and she thought it would be good to try so we began to execute it.

We took the kids to Target. At that time in the toy section, they had one entire wall of toys that were about $1.50 or less. We had all four of the kids with us. Three were in the shopping cart and Stephanie was walking. I took them to this wall of inexpensive dollar toys and said, "Okay you guys, here is the deal; I am going to make a prize box at home with rewards in it for obedience, good attitude and cooperation. I want you to each pick out four things you would like to go in the prize box. They each picked four things they wanted. We bought 16 prizes for less than 20 bucks. We were all excited!

I also picked up a couple of bags of individually wrapped candies like Jolly Ranchers - something the kids loved. When I got home, I got out an old shoe box. I put all the candy and the toys they picked out in the box. Then I made a chart. Their goal was to get one hundred points a week. They would get points for having all their clothes put away, for being quick to obey, for having a good attitude, for getting ready for bed on time, etc. I also gave them extra points on the weekend for having their Sunday clothes out before bed, for having their shoes and coat sitting by the front door, and then for getting up, dressed, bed made and eaten breakfast all within twenty minutes after they got up. Whatever was a trouble area, we created points for mastering it.

My goal was to dole out just enough points so that they could reach 100 points by the weekend if they did good all week. Then they would be able to go into the prize box and pick out three pieces of candy and the prize of their choice.

The first Sunday it was nothing short of miraculous. There was no fighting, no hurrying them up or anything like that. I just reminded them of the points they'd get and how close they were to getting their prize. They were totally motivated and went for it. That Sunday was like clock work and Renee and I thought we'd get the Noble Peace prize or some award for this plan. The results were incredible to say the least. When they out grew one kind of prize, we'd find something else they wanted. There was period where it was toys, then books, then basketball cards, and so on.

They were always motivated by something. We just had to figure out what that was. We made a chart and kept it in the kitchen. We taught them how to write down their points when we said they could. They learned to keep track, to be honest about it, and even to add them up.

That day our lives became so simplified. It was simply the principle of rewards for good behavior. God is a rewarder and so we followed His example. We went on to use that system till they were in there mid teens or even older. It always helped motivate them toward good behavior and a better attitude. Then one day they all just did what was right because it was right. They didn't need the reward; They didn't need that motivation any more. They matured and moved from being carnally minded to becoming spiritually minded. Doing what was right before the Lord spiritually motivated them.

Praise God. I am sharing this with you because it was such a powerful tool in our life. Don't ever lose sight that we are all motivated by things. God understands that and uses them to help us move in the right direction. I know men that are motivated to be nicer to their wives because they want to have sex. People are motivated by paychecks, bonuses, and other things. Earthly things can motivate us and God understands that. That is why He told us in Luke 6:38 to become givers. "If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over..." Understand that God's principles work and then use them in an appropriate way to bring good results.

Heb 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2011 All rights reserved
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 02, 2011

Your Robe, Your Ring, and Your Sandals

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Philip. 1:10 “…that you may discern and approve the things that are pure and excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.”

I am sure that most of you have heard of or have read or know well the story of the prodigal son. If there were ever a story to read over and over and over again, it’s this story. If there were ever a story taught by Jesus with the intention of understanding the Lord’s mercy and grace toward us – of understanding His love toward us despite our daily slip ups and failures, it’s this story.

The Holy Spirit will teach you a thousand lessons in your heart through this story if you will approach it with the purpose of being taught, each time you read it. Today, I’d like to point a few very important things that will help us receive God’s strength to live mightily before Him.

First let’s look at part of the story:

Luke 15:17-23 "When he (the prodigal son) finally came to his senses, he said to himself, 'At home even the hired men have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man." ‘“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.' "But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast…”

When the prodigal son left home, I imagine him to be much like many teenagers or young adults today. I believe he wanted to spread his wings, experience more of life, find out for himself who he was, and experience life his way. He probably had one person on his mind and one person he cared for that he attended to – himself! Of course this led him to every wrong place until he had squandered everything his father had given him.

When he “came to his senses” he came home humbled to his father. How did his father greet him? First, with the intercession of a loving parent – he was watching for him – praying for him. Secondly, his father ran out to meet him. The father’s goal was not to humble or humiliate his son. Not to say, “I told you so.” Nor to make him pay for his stupidity and squandering. It was to sincerely rejoice and greet him with a heart of love and forgiveness, embracing him with the love of a father. This was the greeting that no prodigal would expect or feel worthy of. This kind of love brings instant healing and strength.

I am sure the son wanted to apologize a thousand times over. The father probably listened only to satisfy his son’s need to repent. From there he moved toward restoration. He put the finest robe on his son. That robe represents the robe of righteousness provided through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It is the garment that God covers each of us with so that when he looks at us, He only sees us washed in white. “Our sins He remembers no more.” (Hebrews 10:17) That robe is what symbolizes us acceptable and justified as “not guilty” before the Lord. That is the first act of the Father to his prodigal son come home. This kind of love brings instant healing and strength.

Then the father put a ring on his finger. That ring symbolizes the authority over Satan, in prayer, and in walking in the gifts of the Spirit. God immediately strengthens us to defeat temptation, sin, and the devil attacking our lives. It gives us the power to pray and have faith in our prayers. He puts all authority back into our hands. This kind of love brings instant healing and strength.

Finally, the father put sandals on his son’s feet – symbolizing his being welcome and to walk out sharing that love that his father had shown him. God has given to us the ministry of reconciliation – of sharing His love. This kind of love brings instant healing and strength.

God’s love brings us liberty. Liberty brings power but also brings responsibility. Today’s Fresh Manna says, “…that you may discern and approve the things that are pure and excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” God has washed us and put His robe of righteousness on us, given us His ring – His authority over Satan in our lives, and the ministry of being His ambassadors so we may share this wondrous love and grace. But, He says, through this manna verse, approach it with discernment. Approve in your life what is excellent. Be without offense till the day of Christ.

The young prodigal grew up the hard way. Now the father taught him to move from selfish to selfless and from careless to discerning. Let it empower you with sincerity to choose to discern and approve things that are pure and excellent so you live without offence toward God and man.

If you pause and come before the Lord often throughout your day with the intent of living for the Lord, you will feel that power of discernment working in you. You will have the strength to change your thinking. You will have the power to speak right words. You will have the authority to cast down evil imaginations. You will have the spiritual strength to discern and approve and live out things that are excellent and without offense before God. You will be wearing your robe, your ring, and your sandals well! You’ll glorify Jesus in your life!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2011 All rights reserved
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/