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Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Bible and Wine-Drinking

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


I've been asked a number of times to re-publish this article by Norman Geisler. I hope this leads to individual inward reflection and prayer, not a debate on the subject. God will speak to the heart of anyone in undeniable ways for the person who is open to do what God shows them. That is between you and God. There is no judgment on my end.

A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking by Norman Geisler


The Bible says several things about the use of wine.

Is Wine Today Like New Testament Wine?


Many wine-drinking Christians today mistakenly assume that what the New Testament meant by wine is identical to wine used today. This, however, is false. In fact today's wine is by biblical definitions "strong drink," and hence is forbidden in the Bible! What the Bible frequently meant by wine was basically purified water.

Stein researched wine-drinking in the ancient world, in Jewish sources, and in the Bible.(7) He pointed out that wine in Homer's day was twenty parts water and one part wine (Odyssey 9.208-9). Pliny referred to wine as eight parts water and one part wine (Natural History 14.6-54). According to Aristophanes, it was stronger: three parts water and two parts wine. Other classical Greek writers spoke of other mixtures: Euenos -- three parts water, one part wine; Hesiod -- three to one, water to wine; Alexis -- four to one: Diocles and Anacreon -- two to one: and Ion -- three to one. The average was about three or four parts of water to one part of wine. Sometimes in the ancient world one part water would be mixed with one part wine; this was considered strong wine. And anyone who drank wine unmixed was looked on as a Scythian, a barbarian. That means the Greeks would say today, "You Americans are barbarians -- drinking straight wine." For example, Athenaeus quoted Mnesitheus of Athens as saying, "in daily intercourse, to those who drink it moderately it gives good cheer; but if you overstep the bounds it brings violence. Mix it half and half and you get madness; unmixed -- bodily collapse."(8) Here is a pagan saying, "Half and half is madness, and unmixed wine brings death."

Stein also observes that "in several instances in the Old Testament a distinction is made between 'wine' and 'strong drink'" (e.g., Lev. 10:8-9). Strong drink is one thing, wine is another thing. The same distinction is made in Deuteronomy 14:26; 29:6; Judges 13:4; and elsewhere. According to the Talmud the "wine" used in the Passover meal was three parts water and one part wine (cf. 2 Macc. 15:39).(9)

It may also be that the wine Jesus miraculously provided at the wedding in Cana (John 2: 1-11) was a similar drink, that is, wine mixed with water. The word oinos ("wine") refers sometimes to fermented grape juice (e.g., Eph. 5:18) and sometimes to fresh, not fully fermented grape juice (e.g., Rev. 19:15). Furthermore, in ancient times not many beverages were safe to drink. Stein indicates that in the ancient world water could be made safe in one of several ways. It could be boiled, but this was tedious and costly. Or it could be filtered, but this was not a safe method. Or some wine could be put in the water to kill the germs -- one part wine with three or four parts water.

Wine today has a much higher level of alcohol than wine in the New Testament. In fact in New Testament times one would need to drink twenty-two glasses of wine in order to consume the large amount of alcohol in two martinis today. Stein humorously notes, "In other words, it is possible to become intoxicated from wine mixed with three parts water, but one's drinking would probably affect the bladder long before the mind."(10)

Though fermented wine was drunk in Bible times and though the Bible approved of wine-drinking, one needs to remember that the alcoholic content was much less than that of wine today. What is used today is not the wine of the New Testament! Therefore Christians ought not drink wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverages for they are actually "strong drink" and are forbidden in Scripture. Even ancient pagans did not drink what some [so-called] "Christians" drink today! Thus it is wrong to argue that since people in Bible times drank wine, Christians today can do the same. Properly speaking, people then drank purified water. New Testament wine was basically a water-purification method. It was not an unsafe liquor; it was a safe liquid. But in America purifying water with wine is unnecessary, and plenty of nonaddictive beverages are available.

Drunkenness Is a Sin

Wine in the Bible was not to be used excessively, and one was not to become drunk with the fruit of the vine. In the Old Testament a drunkard was put to death (Deut. 21:20-21). Drunkenness was considered to be such an incorrigible sin that capital punishment was used for it as well as for murder, rape, blasphemy of parents, etc. According to 1 Corinthians 5:11, Christians are to separate themselves from a person who claims to be a Christian but who is a drunkard.

Drunkards "shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9-10), nor will homosexuals or other kinds of sinners. Practicing homosexuals and drunkards do not inherit the kingdom of God. Obviously God hates drunkenness. Paul also wrote in Ephesians 5:18, "be not drunk with wine." And drunkenness is listed in Galatians 5:19-21 among "the deeds of the flesh."

Strong Drink Is Deceptive and Sinful

The Bible says much about strong drink. For example, the priests were to avoid strong drink (Lev. 10:8-9). And Solomon wrote, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging:" (Prov. 20:1). God is opposed to someone using strong drink because it brings deception and turbulence into his life. Rulers should not take strong drink, for it distorts their ability to think clearly and to judge clearly. Strong drink is not for kings lest they pervert justice (Prov. 31:4-5). Isaiah wrote, "Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink" (Isa. 5:11). This writer had an uncle who was drunk every day before noon his entire adult life. At about age forty he died of liver disease. He experienced the truth of Isaiah 24:9, "strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it." It may seem sweet to begin with, but it will be bitter in the end. It was the false prophet who said, "I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink" (Mic. 2:11). God is opposed to using strong drink as a beverage.(1) The Hebrew word for "strong drink" is shekar. It is used 23 times and refers to an intoxicating drink made from barley, pomegranates, dates, apples, or honey. The more common Old Testament word for "wine" is yayin, used 141 times. The word tirosh on the other hand, occasionally translated "new wine," means the freshly pressed juice of the grape, that is, grape juice that has not yet fully fermented.(2) It is used 38 times (e.g., Gen. 27:28: Joel 2:24: Mic. 6:5).

In addition, drinking results in a slowing of the thinking processes (Prov. 31:4-5; Isa. 28:7; Hos. 4:11); a stupor (Jer. 25:27; 51:39); sickness (Isa. 19:14; 28:7-8; Jer. 48:26); staggering (loss of balance and mental control) (Job 12:25; Isa. 28:7-8; 29:9); arrogance (Hab. 2:5); forgetfulness (Prov. 31:6-7); confusion and delirious dreams (Prov. 23:31, 33); sleepiness (Gen. 9:20-24; 19:33); lack of feeling (Prov. 23:31, 35); bloodshot eyes (Prov. 23:29-30); and poverty (Prov. 23:20-21).

Deciding About Wine-Drinking Today

How should one decide today whether or not to drink alcoholic beverages? Christians should carefully consider the following four questions.

What Are the Facts about Alcohol?

Before a person decides to drink or to continue drinking, he should be fully aware of the following facts about alcoholic beverages and their effects today.(11)

1 An estimated ten million problem drinkers or alcoholics are in the United States adult population.
2. Of adults who drink, 36 percent can be classed as problem drinkers.
3. In addition, an estimated 3.3 million young people ages 14-17 are problem drinkers.
4. Alcohol-related deaths may run as high as 200,000 per year. In two years' time there are as many alcoholic-related deaths as there were in the entire Vietnam War!
5. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism cost the United States about $50 billion in 1975. That figure has risen considerably since then.
6. Between 1966 and 1975 the percent of high school students who said they had been drunk increased from 19 percent to 45 percent.
7. Alcohol is one cause of cancer.
8. Fetal alcohol syndrome is the third greatest cause of birth defects.
9. Evidence exists that social drinking impairs one's social and intellectual capacities. Rather than getting sharper, people who drink get duller.
10. Half of all traffic fatalities and one-third of all traffic injuries are alcohol-related. Whereas a person has the legal right to drink, he does not have the right to endanger the lives of others on the highway by his drinking.
11. A high percentage of child-abusing parents have drinking problems.
12. A relatively high correlation exists between alcohol consumption and robbery, rape, assault, homicide; and more than one-third of suicides involve alcohol.
13. Taxpayers pay $11 to offset each $1 paid in liquor revenue.(12)

II. Will Wine-Drinking Lead Anyone Else to Sin?

Christians are to be concerned not only about their own lives but also about others. Paul wrote in Philippians 2:4, "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." And Christians should seriously consider Romans 14:21: "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth." A believer should ask himself, "Will my drinking cause anyone else to sin? Even if it would not be a problem to me, is it possible that it would cause someone else to stumble?" This writer knows of former alcoholics who have attended church communion services in which fermented wine has been served, and just the taste of a little bit of it drove them back into alcoholism.

III. Can Wine-Drinking Be Done to the Glory of God?

Paul wrote, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31). If a Christian cannot be praising God and glorifying Him while he is drinking, then it is not good for him, and it is not glorifying to God.

Several reasons may be offered as to why Christians ought to refrain from wine-drinking. First, people in the United States have plenty of wholesome, non-addictive beverages. The situation today is unlike biblical times when there were not many wholesome beverages. People often did not have good water available; it was often polluted. Travelers today know that in many foreign countries pure drinking water is difficult to obtain. In many foreign places, travelers become sick from drinking the water. This is similar to biblical times.

Thus it is wrong to argue that since people in Bible times drank wine, Christians today can do the same.

Properly speaking, people then drank purified water. New Testament wine was basically a water-purification method. It was not an unsafe liquor; it was a safe liquid. But in America purifying water with wine is unnecessary, and plenty of non-addictive beverages are available.

Second, America is an alcoholic culture, but the New Testament culture was not. Ten million Americans are alcoholics, with more than three million of them teenagers. In New Testament times, there were comparatively few drunks, and alcohol was not a problem in their culture to the extent it is in this nation.

Third, total abstinence is the safer policy. A person cannot abuse drinking if he does not drink. In Christianity Today a few years ago, a writer asked, "How many people would fly if they knew there was a chance of one in ten that the plane would crash?"(13) The chances of airplanes crashing are certainly not that high -- far from it; but if they were, undoubtedly many people would refuse ever to board another plane. And yet the chances of an occasional or moderate drinker becoming an alcoholic are in fact one in ten!

Fourth, total abstinence is the more consistent policy. A few years ago when the drug culture became so dominant and people became so concerned about young people's use of marijuana, heroin, and harder drugs, the government studied the problem of drug abuse. The results chagrined many adults: The number one problem in the United States is alcohol! It is not marijuana, nor heroin, nor LSD, but alcohol -- the "establishment" drug, the adults' drug, the legal drug. This in no way suggests that marijuana or other illegal drugs should be approved. But young people took at adults and say, "hypocrites! You approve of your drug, and it's the biggest one in the country, and you disapprove of our drugs." And therefore it is difficult to win young people from drugs; they see the sheer hypocrisy of many adults.

Since today's society is alcohol-polluted, this writer suggests that Christians take a strong stand against all alcoholic beverages. This writer would like to suggest that Christians, in a Nazarite like vow, should protest the destructive effects of alcoholism and should voluntarily abstain from all alcohol consumption. http://www.gospeljohn.com/ng_drinking.htm

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

God Made a Deposit in Your Account

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt



One day while going through my mail, I opened my bank statement. As I went through it, it appeared there was more money in my account than I thought should be there. As it turned out, I had given someone who owed me some money, a deposit slip to my account and told him to deposit the money in my account whenever he could. I had forgotten about it but was pleasantly surprised when I discovered he deposited the money!  

The Word of God tells us that as believers, Jesus put a deposit in our account. We read in Ephesians 1:14: “Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.” His word says we “were marked with a seal” – that seal being the Holy Spirit who is "a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance." When we are told that we were marked with a seal, we've been told a powerful truth! Let me tell you why and then encourage you to reread the story of Joseph in Genesis.

For those that know this story, you know that Joseph was made to be ruler over all of Egypt, only second to Pharaoh himself. We read in Gen 41:42 that when Pharaoh made this proclamation over Joseph as second in command, “Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He then dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.” The signet ring was a seal – a symbol of all Pharaoh’s authority given to Joseph to use like it was his own. When a law was declared or an order given, it was stamped with the signet. This was the final authority and nothing could change it. The robes given to him represented royalty. The gold chain represented the wealth and resources of the kingdom at His disposal. This is what was given to Joseph. I am sure he had to adjust to this, pinch himself, and learn to exercise this authority and power because in all of his previous years leading up to this moment, he had been only a servant –  an utterly diligent and faithful one serving under repressive circumstances. Now he was royalty with riches and authority. What a sudden and instant change!

As believers, we have been also marked with a seal. It means that the inheritance Jesus has provided for us is a deposit of royalty, authority and unlimited resources. God wants us to learn to walk out this authority “by faith.Galatians 3:11 says, "...the just shall live by faith." He wants us to learn to walk by faith in the authority of the name of Jesus and in His righteousness. He wants us to believe that He will provide everything we need to equip us for the calling and needs we have to execute our life in Him. “By faith” means you have to believe that God really wants to make His supernatural provision available to you. This kind of promise may seem contrary to any natural situation you are in today. Joseph went from prison to having all authority – suddenly! So did we the day we received Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. We were suddenly forgiven, suddenly adopted into God's family, and suddenly given the Holy Spirit – our seal and deposit of this rich inheritance.

If there are trials of life that surround and discourage you, know that you aren't stuck by the circumstances that face you. Remember, "you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance..."  Like Joseph, you are sealed with His authority, with the name of Jesus, and with the resources that come as we petition the Lord and lean on the Holy Spirit "by faith." 
Exercise your faith and speak with authority over those negative circumstances in your life. In prayer, loose the angels of God in your behalf and thank God in faith for the changes and blessing you know He desires for you. Ask and thank Him for the equipping you need in every area of your life to live wholeheartedly for Him.  Know that God wants to bless you so that you may be a blessing to others. As you thank God for His blessings that change your life, be the blessing you've been called to be. You don’t have to wait. Find a way to be a blessing to someone now and every day. This is the calling on your life and one that He will bless! And know that your blessing is on the way! Jesus made the deposit in your account. Have faith in it!

John 16:24 (NLT) "You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt 

If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Tell Pastor Tim here:



Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Powerful Touch of God's Love Through You

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


John 13:35 "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another."

Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think there is one of us who hasn't worried at one time or another (maybe even multiple times) if someone was thinking, I wonder if anyone things I’m a little weird? Is that word too strong? Okay, how about quirky, a little strange, or cut from another cloth. You get the idea. I think everyone wants to be thought of as normal and okay.

At the same time, how many times have you looked around and thought, that person is weird,  she is really quirky, he's a little out there if you know what I mean, she has got some major issues, or I'm not sure what planet he's from.

On one hand, we've had this reoccurring thought, "I hope people think I'm normal and nice," and on the other hand, we see a lot of people that we think might qualify for the not quite normal list. There may be a few perfect people out there but I don't know any of them and I am not one of them.

Because we have to deal with people on a continuous basis, we can begin to categorize people without even realizing it and create judgments and mindsets about the way a person is. That might lead us to treating them in a lesser way than they deserve. It happened to John the Baptist. Jesus was teaching His disciples when he explained that the religious leaders of that day categorized John because of the way he looked and conducted his ministry. "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He has a demon." (Matthew 11:18) Later, Jesus was preaching and teaching among those same religious leaders and they accused Him also of having a demon. (That must have been the popular word or phrase to put someone down with in that day.) So, there is nothing new under the sun. People were judging and categorizing and putting down people then and continue to do so today. We are all tempted to do so at times.

It is such a temptation to feel superior in some way over others. You might say, I would never feel like that!  The truth is, you do have times where you feel like that. None of us want to admit that we would ever feel that way. But, our words slip out categorizing people. Our actions sometimes reflect that we want to avoid types of people because we think they are something less than us. Tell-tale signs that we do see ourselves as better than someone else occasionally show up in our words, thinking, and behavior.

God's Word has that way of piercing our heart and putting us back in our right place. Many people might look like dented cans on grocery store shelves because they've had a difficult life, but inside, they are people that just want to be loved by God and others like you do. It is the love of God that shows them that there are good people left in this world. It is the love of God that gives them hope to press on. It's the love of God that comes as a smile, a kind word, a prayer, an act of kindness, a benevolent action, or a promise of God that can lift their heart. Some of those people that you could be tempted to categorize or judge have real issues that might make you want to avoid them. They might be caught in a cycle of rejection. You might never know what their issues are and they could be difficult to interact with but, a smile, a kind word, and a touch of God's love as He leads you can be a seed planted that eventually triggers a life-changing experience that helps them move forward.

Some people might look like dented cans on a shelf but the touch of God's influence upon their life through you can be a seed of supernatural help and change. God wants us to see others through His eyes and be that touch of His love, not avoidance in their life. It's important to the Lord and carries His reward for you. Mark 9:41 (NIV) "I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward." 

We are not superior. We are servants. We want to love others knowing that they, like you, need hope, love, and encouragement daily.  You may not know who the person is or how you are affecting their life, but God knows. You may not realize that it's the backslidden hurting son of a minister of the gospel who has been praying for him. You may not know that this person has been crying out to God for help. You may not know a thing about them but, you can know that God knows what He is doing and because you've yielded to become His vessel of love for the moment, you are making a difference. When we do this, then John 13:35 becomes true. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another."

Philippians 2:3 (NIV) "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves"

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt 

If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Tell Pastor Tim here:


Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Monday, February 24, 2014

Guarding Your Mind and Heart

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Prov 4:23 “Guard thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”

I live on a creek inhabited by ducks. I love to feed them. I have this big bucket filled with bird seed in the garage. The ducks love it and come running when they see me walk in the back yard carrying it.

One day I opened the bucket to get some seed. It has a secure lid on it but I must not have had it snapped on all the way. Amazingly, when I opened it there was a dead mouse in it. I would assume he over-ate to his death. (He looked pudgy in his gut and it almost seemed as though he was smiling!) How he got in there was close to an impossible feat. The lid opening was almost non-existent and the bucket is tall. I don’t think the mouse couldn't have scaled it but he did find some way to get in and it had to be through the tiniest crack.

Negative thoughts and bad worldly input seems to find its way into our mind and heart through any crack we leave open. That is why Prov 4:23 says that we need to “guard our heart with diligence.” When I think of this I most often get the visual of soldiers at their post watching for enemies day and night.

This morning for whatever reason, I woke up with an old worldly song on my mind – one that I consider having negative words and attitudes. I know I haven't thought of this song for over 20 years and I am almost positive that I have not heard it in at least that long. Where did it come from? How did it get on my mind? I don't know. Possibly through a dream? That is what I call a small crack. I chased this song out replacing it with a song worshiping the Lord.

Our brain stores up and remembers incomprehensible amounts of information. It shouldn't surprise us when somewhere down the line and not always when you expect it, some of the unwanted information and thoughts rise to the surface of your memory.

I recently talked with a man who was struggling with inappropriate sexual thoughts. He hated it and only wanted his thoughts and mind to be pure. He said he struggled with his mind drifting to past sexual thoughts and memories that were a part of his life prior to making Jesus His Savior. He knew Jesus has forgiven him and washed his past sins away, but hated when these kinds of thoughts seemed to randomly surface at the most awkward times and he was feeling condemned.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV) instructs us what to do with thoughts that are in appropriate and contrary to God's Word.  It says, "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." If you read through this chapter you'd see God had given us power to rule our thought-life and keep it pure. When I learned this truth and began to exercise this in my life, it was as if for the first time in my life, my mind became mine to rule and use for God's glory and was no longer ruled by random and unwanted thoughts producing embarrassment and condemnation.

What we let into the gates of our mind and heart that are not good, will try to come back to haunt us. We have to exercise casting down inappropriate thoughts in the authority of Jesus name and refocus on godly things. It takes effort, but in time we have fewer and fewer flashbacks and instead develop the "strong mind" mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

God isn't condemning us as we work through this. He is the one helping us renew our minds to His Word with the help of the Holy Spirit. He is the one that told us, "So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

Today's Fresh Manna says to guard your heart because out of it "come the issues of life." What you hear and see will affect the choices that you make good or bad. Even old information stored in your mind. This is why we need to be on guard as to what we let through our sense gates. Hurtful information and images, like the mouse I mentioned earlier, will slip through the slightest crack if we aren't on guard.

Praise God today and do what the Apostle Paul taught us to do to guard our hearts. Philippians 4:8-9 says, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do..." What will be the result? The issues of life will be conducted with clear and godly thinking and choices and, as the Apostle Paul goes on to say, “the God of peace will be with you." 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
 



If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Tell Pastor Tim here:




Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

God's Primary Source of Getting Supernatural Provision to You!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


I’d like to share a truth with you that if you took to heart – if you asked God to show you the truth of it in the Word of God and in your life, and if you made it a core value in your life, it would change your life – greatly and for the good!

Here is the thought: The primary way God brings blessing into your life is through people! We all have times when people can wear us out. Yet, we need them. God commands us to love them. If we don’t prayerfully ask Him to teach us how, we’ll will miss out on the very blessing God would bring to us through people.

Let's learn from this story of supernatural provision in 1 Kings 17:1-6 "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there." So Elijah did what the LORD had told him… The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook." After reading this, some might silently think, God will supernaturally provide for me like He did for Elijah, He did it through ravens Pastor Tim, not people!


This is a powerful story and reveals to us that God will bring supernatural provision as we follow out and obey His direction for our lives. Stories like this are there for the very purpose of building our faith in this truth. Yet, the Lord bringing supernatural provision through ways other than people is the exception, not the rule! The most common way He brings blessing – words of instruction, words of wisdom, help, encouragement, comfort, provision, and direction, is through people.

I was listening to a national speaker who in his speech, was basically saying he was sick of people! He said that people and Christians frustrate him because they seldom follow through on what they know to do.  There is an obvious truth in that statement but no one can afford to get to this place where they are tired of people and begin to isolate themselves whenever possible from them. If you get to this place, a HUGE part of the problem is you and your attitude and you’ll soon cut yourself off from the supernatural provision you are asking God for. He will almost always try to get His blessing to you through people!

God’s Word gives us the key to help keep our attitude in a great place toward people. James 3:17-18 give insight to your bad attitude relief saying, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.” This verse helps us discern our own words, attitudes, and actions to see if the place we are coming from is from an ungodly or godly perspective. The key to that bad attitude relief is mercy. 

Are you absolutely aware that almost every offense that ticks you off at people are offenses you yourself have violated toward others? Proverbs 20:9 says, “Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?" We may not say this but we often act like we are more righteous than those who have made us mad. Psalm 143:2 says, “Don't bring your servant to trial! Compared to you, no one is perfect.” What this verse is saying is that in your eyes, you will always justify your own actions and offenses making you not guilty while those who have offended you will be guilty! The truth is, not one of us would survive without mercy. Mercy is one of the most powerful forces in the world and the one that God used to bring you and I back to Himself through Jesus Christ. Proverbs 19:11 (NIV) says, "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." 


If we learn to imitate God, we can bring the same mercy He shows us into our daily living experience when and wherever possible to help soften or remove the offenses of others. If God continually has mercy on us, then it should also be given from us to others and often! It has the amazing power to INSTANTLY soften and reunite our hearts with someone we’d otherwise be offended or upset with.

I realize it doesn't solve the problems that cause conflict. It does give space and time to, to work through conflict with the Heavenly wisdom spoken of in the verses above from James. We are all a work in progress and therefore all desperate for God’s mercy. As liberally as we would want or need it, let us give it out. Are you in conflict? Don't get frustrated with people.  Have mercy toward them remembering that the primary way God brings blessing into your life is through people. He just might bring it through that person you were tempted to be angry and offended at. If you do this, then the blessing of God can flow without interruption from you to people and from people to you! Do you need God's supernatural provision? Then learn to love people like never before! God will help you and mercy will be His greatest tool!

Matthew 5:7 (NIV) "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy" 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
 


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If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Tell Pastor
Tim here:





Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Monday, February 17, 2014

God Cares so Don't Worry!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


If I asked you, "What is something everyone does?" Would you say, eat or drink or maybe die? They'd all be true! Everyone does those things. If you said, worry you'd also be right. Everyone does worry. It's just a part of life right?! Well Jesus says yes and no.

Mat 6:27-28 & 30-33 (NLT) says, "Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing... And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith... Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need." 

Jesus is saying that for those that truly know Him, worrying is absolutely a fruitless exercise. Let me put it to you like this. Would you ever sit in a restaurant and try to eat a bowl of tomato soup with a fork? No! It would be a fruitless exercise. Well, that is the value that Jesus puts on worrying. It accomplishes zip! He says that worrying is a product of little or no faith! Jesus then tells us that if we will seek to know Him and by doing so discover that He wants us to make His purpose, our life’s purpose, then we have no cause to worry. All the things that people worry about will be added to our lives.

Throughout my Christian walk, I have strived to be sincere in my heart with God. Talk about a fruitless – that is what trying to con God is. To God, sincerity matters. There are things in my life that I need. I need to meet the needs of my family. There are also things I need in order to accomplish what I believe God wants me to do for Him.  We all have varying needs according to our families, responsibilities, and things we are called to do.  God's word calls those needs equipping. God Word says He will “equip us for every good work.”

God knows that we have needs. He says that when we put Him first, all those things are added to our life. He will provide. He cares about the details of our life. He simply doesn't want the focus of our life to be about stuff, but instead about His love and having an influence upon this world as we touch others with the love of Jesus. He wants us to use our God-given gifting and equipping to help us serve that purpose. When we do, then the promise of  2 Cor. 9:8 becomes ours! It says, “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need for every good work and plenty left over to share with others.”

I've asked God to bless me with the equipping of things I need in my daily life for my family and for serving Him. We've never held back from the Lord. We have always tithed and brought offerings to the Lord. We've done our best to put Him first place in our life in serving Him and others. And so, we've simply made lists of what we've needed and prayed over them knowing that God would meet our needs. We keep that list in our kitchen cabinet and exchange it when the list has been fulfilled. We haven’t worried. We just prayed with thanksgiving. God has met our every need beyond what we can ask or think.

Those that don’t know God, don’t know that He cares and so they worry. Worry is the precursor to making unethical choices for fear that you won't get what you need any other way. Doing things unethically only hurts your life.

It's time for you to come to know God and the extent of His love for you. He already gave you His best when He sent Jesus to die for your sins. Why would He withhold anything less from you. He is not a genie. He is a caring loving Heavenly Father.  He wants you to have faith – not worry! Learn to be sincere with Him and examine your heart in asking. God isn't against you having good and excellent things that contribute to a good life of living for and serving Him. He is only against those things having you and leading you away from Him. Seek Him and you'll discover this to be true!

Psalms 84:11 (NLT) "For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right" 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
 


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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Power You Need to Become Who You Want to Be

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


 I recently heard someone say “People really never change.” I know why people say it. As a Pastor in a very large church, I've been around thousands of people weekly for many, many years. There have been a few people that I have seen fallen prey to the devil repeatedly in the same area of their life and I've been tempted to think “They’ll never change.” I say tempted to think because I can’t allow myself to think that. Mankind’s only hope is to change. That will only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the only enabler of real and lasting change. Without recognizing the Holy Spirit within you as God’s gift of help to change, you won’t change. Too many don’t and thus the statement – People really never change.

Over the years, I have learned the value of having quiet time. For me, they are atmospheres I create where there are no distractions – no phones, television, computers, people, anything but quiet where I can be still before the Lord and talk and pray with Him. I take time for at least one or two days a year where I have this kind of atmosphere and then on an ongoing basis, I create pockets of it – an hour here or an hour there – every week. These times have become so critical to my life. I use them to reflect honestly and sincerely before the Lord about how I am doing in Him. I don’t beat myself up, but, I do try to sincerely evaluate what is good and what is not good in my life that needs change.

Why do I do this? I do this because our spiritual maturity is a life-long process that God highly values and desires for us. Its goal is continuous methodical change. Let’s make sure that this is scripturally true so you don’t think I am putting a trip on you.

When a person receives Jesus Christ into their heart as their personal Lord and Savior, something instantly happens. A miraculous force begins. The moment that prayer to God was prayed, the ultimate rescue mission happened. That person was instantly forgiven and adopted by God. It’s like he/she has been adopted and snatched from a horrific orphanage and brought home to a new and wonderfully loving family – His family! God's Holy Spirit comes to live inside of them and for the first time, they begin to see life through God's eyes.  Everything becomes new in their life. These two verses describe this experience. Romans 8:15 (NLT) says, So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) says, This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! This is true and beyond what any of us can fully comprehend.

There is something else that happens that is vital to understand. That person has been taken out of the Satan’s grip and power. Col. 1:13 puts it like this – “For God has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness (Satan,) and he has brought us into the Kingdom of His dear Son” (Jesus.) They've been adopted into the family of God and infused with God’s power – the power of the Holy Spirit.

Before our life in Christ, we are enslaved to sin. We can’t find the power to change. This is why when you are walking into a hospital you notice medical staff outside having a cigarette break. They see what it does to people daily but can’t stop in their own life. This is why all people in bondage to vices feel powerless no matter how much they hate it and want to escape. Without the Lord, people not only lack the power, they are enslaved by Satan’s power. When they give their life to Jesus, the bands of slavery are supernaturally broken and they are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is the teacher, the comforter, the power of God working in them the second they give their life to Christ.

The question comes up, “What about Christians who can’t seem to change?” That’s a valid question and why I am writing this. Why is it that Christians still struggle after they have been released from Satan’s power and been infused with God’s power? The reason is, because their minds have not been renewed. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” What you think has everything to do with who you are. You have the power through the Holy Spirit to change, but you have to change your thought-life! Romans 12:2 confirms this saying, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Hebrews 11 tells us that faith is what pleases God. Faith is what we believe about what God says. What we believe good or bad – God or the devil – is what actuates our faith and affects every part of our life. Christians aren't stuck or slaves to sin any longer. But they have to know that is God's truth for them. You have the Holy Spirit in you. God wants you to learn how and what He thinks – including what He things about you. He wants you to have faith in what He says about you and become what He wants you to become. For example, I used to have addictive behaviors in my life as a young adult. When I gave my life to Jesus, that changed. But, I used to say and tell people, “I have an addictive personality.” I said that because I believed that. Well, I did before my life in Jesus but that wasn't the truth any longer. But, I didn't know that for a while. One day the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Don’t say that ever again. I have said in my Word that you should “Let your moderation be made known to all men." (Philip 4:5) You are moderate and not addictive so don’t say that or believe it any more.”

When the Lord spoke that to me and helped me see that in His Word, my mind became transformed by that thought and I changed. Now I am the most moderate person you’ll ever meet. Change – ongoing change is supposed to happen in our life. It is a part of our spiritual maturing process. Is it happening in you?

John 8:36 (NLT) "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free" 


In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
 


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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Our Ongoing Transformation

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


I’d like to share with you an important principle of life. That principle is this: How a person conducts their daily life; their attitudes, conduct of behavior, and diligence or lack of it, tells you much more about that person than what they would ever tell you about themself. People often speak higher of themselves than what they actually live out. You've already noticed those in your own life who are always late and make excuses for it, yet don’t believe they are habitually late. You've already noticed those who make promises or pledges they never keep. You've already noticed those who boast of great things but do little. I say this not to be critical of anyone. The opposite is true. We all have areas in our life where we esteem ourselves or view ourselves as more developed and mature than we truly are. Yet the truth is, we all have areas of needed growth and development and areas we need to mature in – and that especially holds true for spiritual growth and maturity.

We see the principle of what people say they’ll do vs. what they actually do play out in a parable Jesus told in Matthew 21:28-32. Jesus said, "What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”

Nothing Jesus teaches is for the purpose of producing condemnation so don’t you let what I am writing produce that in you now. If what He teaches you produces conviction, or in other words – if it helps point out something within you that you need to ask the Holy Spirit to help you change in – that’s good! It means that your heart is sensitive enough to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and note that need for change.

Each and every one of us is in need of ongoing change to happen in our life. We all need the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to help us become more like Jesus. To be honest, it’s an unattainable goal. We will never attain perfection or be perfectly like Jesus. That is why Jesus came and paid the penalty for the sins and imperfections in our life. Our faith in Jesus and in His sacrifice of taking the punishment for our sins is what makes us righteous before our Heavenly Father. Our faith in what Jesus did is what makes us spotless in God’s eyes. What a magnificent thing! But, we still see our own imperfections and flaws and areas of needed change. Jesus cares about them and desires transformation within us because they affect and work to hinder our blessing in this life. They also get in the way of our ability to influence others and for the Lord.

2 Cor. 3:18 speaks of the need for this ongoing transformation saying, “And we …all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." This verse reminds us of the need to experience life-long transformation that will come only with the help of the Holy Spirit within us. So, we don’t beat ourselves up but we do take honest assessments of the need for transformation as the Holy Spirit shows us.

For those who don’t adopt this attitude, Proverbs 26:12 will be their life. It says, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” This person may love Jesus but if he won’t let the Lord work change in him, he’ll experience very little transformation and hinder the blessing God wants for him.

God’s Word is powerful! Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes the very thoughts and attitudes of our heart.” God’s Word has the inherent ability to bring transformation to our lives if we will put faith in the promise of God’s Holy Spirit strengthening us to make those changes.

Just knowing about God and His Word can become a place of pride. 1 Cor. 8:1 “…Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” Actions to what God instructs us in produces transformation. It’s about what we do, not just what we say. Is the fruit of the Spirit of God actually evident and an ongoing pattern of your day-to-day lifestyle?

The Apostle Paul closes out today’s Fresh Manna speaking of the need for spiritual development and maturity putting it in words I could never improve upon.

Galatians 5:22-26 “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another."

Let’s not just know about the fruit of the Spirit. Spiritual maturity is developed in the person who has developed the fruit of the Spirit within their character. That only happens over time and through transformation! So keep on keeping on and keep changing with the help of the Holy Spirit within you.

Philippians 1:6 (NLT) "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns" 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
 


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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Monday, February 10, 2014

Discerning God's Voice

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


I was talking with a close friend and we were having great conversation about the Lord and about all the ways He speaks to us in our life. He proceeded to tell me how he and his wife were having a disagreement over something. She wanted him to take a trip somewhere but it was to a place he had no desire or interest in going. He said, “I went to bed thinking No way, I am not going. I don’t want to and this is one time I am putting my foot down. She can go if she wants but I’m not going.” He told me they weren't fighting about it. They just weren't in agreement about it but he could feel the pressure of her really wanting to go. As he laid down in his bed that night, he began to thank God for the day. As he did, he said the Lord suddenly reminded him of the verse where the angel spoke to Joseph and told him that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. In His heart, he knew the Lord was speaking to him. He knew that the Lord was telling him to change his mind and go along with what his wife wanted. He said to me, “Just like that I did a 180 degree turn in my mind and told her I would come with her. She was shocked and blessed.” God settled their dispute through the leading of His Word and Spirit!

This is the advantage Christians can have over people who have not received Jesus as their Lord. We have the Holy Spirit of God indwelling within us to help us and direct our heart in every situation! The Bible says in 1 Cor. 6:19 “...don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” Prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection, the temple of God was the same place Jesus chased out the money-changers. At that time, Jesus told them, “My house is the house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves.” (Luke 19:46) Now take note of this: Jesus called the temple they were standing in, “My house of prayer.” Then later after His death and resurrection, the Apostle Paul tells us, that we are the temple of the Holy Ghost. The temple used to be a building He called a house of prayer. Now we are the temple of the Holy Ghost and we are first and foremost in our lives to be “A house of prayer.” You are a temple of God indwelled by the Holy Spirit and now assigned to be a House of Prayer!

The Holy Spirit teaches about God, His ways, His heart and attitude, and His love. He also leads us in our life. Jesus told us of the Holy Spirit that would come and be a part of our lives saying, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him not or understand Him: but you know Him because He will dwell within you and be with you. “ (John 14:16-17)  Jesus continued telling us more about the Holy Spirit and how He would work in us saying, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.“ John 16:13-14

People imagine all sorts of things about God. That is what makes reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God so important. When the Holy Spirit teaches and speaks to us, He uses scripture. He brings scriptures to our remembrance that have a way of speaking to our heart. That way, you aren't confusing God’s voice with your imagination. Over time you become familiar with God’s voice. Since you are the house of prayer, you learn to let the Holy Spirit speak to you and give you guidance in every area of your life. For example, let’s say in a moment of weakness, you are thinking about looking at or engaging in something that is in appropriate. The Holy Spirit may bring a scripture to your remembrance that says, “Be holy for I am holy.” At that point, you know that God has spoken to you and is trying to help strengthen you; not condemn you. Hopefully then you will make the right choice. Imagine you were getting in an argument with someone and getting a little hot. Suddenly the scripture comes to your remembrance, "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11) At that point you know the Holy Spirit is speaking to you, trying to help you calm down.

As we grow and mature spiritually, we learn to hear the voice of God through the many scriptures we’ve meditated on over time. The Word of God does speak. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes the very thoughts and attitudes of our heart.”

My friend is a seasoned and mature Christian. Any mature Christian experiences God bringing verses to their heart to speak to them. This one powerful way God speaks to us. If we are mature and truly love God, and if we know and are aware that we are a house of prayer, then we will pay attention when we sense God speaking to our heart through His Word. My friend's mind was made up until God spoke to him and changed it in a heartbeat. He immediately yielded to the voice of the Holy Spirit – much to the joy of His wife.

This is just one way God speaks to our heart and helps us grow and mature. Over time He helps us really get and understand that He already knows what we need to know. Hopefully we grow more and more dependent upon His word and voice every day. It takes spending time in God's word and prayer. But in time, you begin to experience the rich life of knowing God, hearing His voice, and yielding to the one you call Lord and Savior of your life. If you do, He will lead you into all truth and right actions and you’ll be blessed. It produces spiritual maturity. Something God wants for us all to work toward!

Psalms 119:103 (NLT) "How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey"

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
 


If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Tell Pastor Tim here:






Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Imperfect Christians Still Under Construction

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


 One of the more difficult paradoxes that one lives with as a Christian is to hate sin - often making us look like we can't stand the person who has the foul mouth, sinful lifestyle, or perverted outlook on life, and yet being loving and merciful to them so that we might win them to Jesus. When I think of these verses I often remember an incident back in the days after I had just accepted the Lord as my savior - in 1977. I was very new in the Lord. I had at the age of 23, just begun to read the Bible for the first time in my life. I really knew nothing about God’s Word and consequently had not changed much about my life. About all I did was pray the prayer asking Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Any change that would eventually come from learning the Word of God was yet to come.

At this state and time of my new Christian walk, I remember sitting at the back of an airplane. We had just landed in a city and all the passengers had gotten off. Being a flight attendant, I was sitting around for two hours until we took the next leg of our trip. Myself and two other flight attendants sat around talking about what we were doing on the upcoming weekend. As I was telling them of my plans, one of the pilots strolled to the back of the plane where we were and started to listen to our conversation. This pilot had earlier mentioned to me that he was a Christian. I told him that I was one also. I said I was because the person that helped me ask Jesus into my heart told me I now was. In reality, I didn’t feel all that much like one.

Now as this pilot listened to my weekend plans, his face contorted in shock. I was telling the flight attendant that I was throwing a stag party for my best friend. I told her that I had kegs of beer and a stripper coming to bust out of a cake. She was laughing (she was not a Christian.) The pilot looked dumbfounded. He was angry. "I thought you were a Christian?" he yelled angrily at me. I just looked up at him sincerely and naively trying to figure out what he was mad about. "I am," I said. "How can you call yourself a Christian and be having a drinking party with a stripper? What kind of Christian are you?" I told him I was a Christian who was excited about Jesus! I couldn't figure out what he was so hot about. That was the truth, I couldn't.

He read me the riot act for about the next 10 minutes and then stormed off. I just sat there trying to figure out what he was so mad about. I really didn't know. I thought I was being really nice to my best friend.

The reason I was this blinded and naive was because my mind was completely unrenewed to the Word of God. I knew nothing. I didn't know what I was doing was wrong. I hadn’t started reading the Bible yet and didn’t know that what I was planning was something contrary to God’s Word. Perhaps I should have somehow known or figured it out, but I didn’t and I didn’t have anyone mentoring me nor had I ever attended a Bible teaching church yet.

About a year later I figured out what that pilot was so mad about. He truly hated sin and obviously my plans for a stag party were not Christlike.  But, he was anything but gentle with me. All it would have taken was just asking a few questions and he would have learned I was a brand new Christian. At that point he could have shown me a few things from the Bible that would have helped me make a better decision. I wanted to do what was right. I just didn't know better at the point in my new Christian walk.

I've never forgotten that incident. Not because I was mad at the pilot. That part makes me laugh. No, I haven't forgotten because I have learned that many people that call themselves Christian aren't. They were raised in a religious home but never read the Bible and have not known to make Jesus Christ the Lord of their lives, read the Bible and let the Holy Spirit direct their life. Other Christians I've met just haven't learned that much about the Bible. As Christians, Jude 1:22-23 TLB helps define part of our assignment on this earth. “Try to help those who argue against you. Be merciful to those who doubt. Save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself. And as for others, help them to find the Lord by being kind to them, but be careful that you yourselves aren't pulled along into their sins. Hate every trace of their sin while being merciful to them as sinners.”

Many who call themselves Christians just aren't schooled in the Bible and in God's ways. We can help them grow in a revelation of God, His love, and His Word. I have found that many people want to do the right thing. They just need to be taught and encouraged - in love. Helping others grow in the knowledge of God's Word has been truly one of the greatest joys of my life. Condemning people that live sinful lives doesn't work. Either they know they live a sinful life and they could care less what you think, or they are just ignorant of what Jesus has done for them and of how God desires them to live. Opening their eyes to the blessings of living for God is the start of a life-changing experience. Take what you know and give it away. The patience and love you show others will come back to bless you in your life.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt

Copyright© 2014 All rights reserved

http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Proving Jesus to Others!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Romans 10:13 For "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

How many times and in how many places have we heard people say the words or seen the sign that say “Jesus loves you.” These are more than quaint words to make someone feel better. These are more than colorful words to add an artistic touch to the background scene in a movie. These are the words – the most important words spoken in any day. As bread crumbs are to a bird, so were those words meant to be to those that don’t know Him. “Jesus loves you" and "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should believe on Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life  John 3:16" are words that can alter the course of a human life.

Many years ago at an earlier time in my Christian walk I thought I had to prove, convince, and debate someone into the truth that God existed and that Jesus was His Son. Over time, the Lord showed me that this wasn't necessary. He showed me that honest people that are searching will listen and people with hard hearts won’t  at least at the moment you show up in their life to be a voice and laborer sent from God to them.

The Lord told me I didn't need to prove Him to anyone because He was fully capable of doing that Himself. I only had to ask them if they would honestly want to know if God existed. Would they honestly want to know that Jesus was His Son sent to save us from our sins and provide a way of eternal life with Him? My conversation with people that are open to discovering the truth of Jesus usually goes something like this.

If God was really real, would you want to know it and more about Him?

If God really existed and Jesus was His Son that came to die as a sacrifice for the sins you and I have committed, would you want to understand what the means for you? Would you want to know that Heaven would be your home as a gift from God? If that could be proven to you personally by God Himself beyond a shadow of a doubt, would you want to know that?

Well I can prove it to you IF you are an honest person and you’d really admit to this truth once you've seen and experienced it. Are you an honest person? Would you honestly admit it if you had proof you yourself wouldn't deny?

You would? Great! Here is the beauty of this. I could share some things with you and am willing to if you want to listen. But if you don’t, I can still prove it to you – again if you promise you will be honest.

Jesus is perfectly capable of proving Himself to you. He’ll reveal Himself to you – if you will be honest! You can’t con God. He knows your heart. But if you will open your heart and honestly say, “Okay God, if you are real and Jesus is your Son, I honestly want to know. If you show me that, I will believe.” If you can honestly say those words from your heart, then I can assure you that God will reveal Himself to you. Here is the deal though; there is no reason to be afraid. He is not here to condemn you. He is here to reveal His love to you. Jesus loves you. He’ll show you that too!

If you will say those words sincerely from your heart to God, it will all begin immediately. God will find ways to show up in your life to the point where if you are honest, you will say, “This cannot be coincidence. This is Jesus revealing Himself to me.”

You will find people coming out of the woodwork talking about Jesus. You will have people that you know, that love Jesus, suddenly show up in your life. You’ll pick up a magazine and there will be an article. You will turn on the television and you’ll hear someone talking about Jesus. As you start reading the New Testament in the Bible, God will begin to speak to your heart in ways you've never experienced. God will reveal Himself and He’ll prove Himself to you. He’ll do it in such a way that you are convinced – and because you are honest, you’ll admit it. 

When that happens, just lift your head toward Heaven and thank God for revealing Himself and ask Jesus to come into your heart to be your personal Lord and Savior. Then tell one of those Christians you know – and there will be one around somewhere – tell them you gave your life to Jesus. They will help you from there. And the beauty of all this? It won’t have been a man that convinced you but Almighty God Himself.

In my life, I have talked personally with thousands of people that wanted to know about Jesus. I was able to tell them about Him. But, I've also met many who were not ready to just accept everything I was telling them. They needed more. I've learned I don’t need to debate them. Debating erodes the love they so desperately need. I've just offered them proof  proof that God will reveal Himself to any honest person that really wants to know the truth. As today’s Fresh Manna says, For "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Anyone who is willing to be that voice for God, trusting He will do His part, will bear great fruit and be rewarded. 1 Cor. 3:7-9 “The ones who do the planting or watering aren't important, but God is important because He is the one who makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work as a team with the same purpose. Yet they will be rewarded individually, according to their own hard work. We work together as partners who belong to God. You are God's field…”

Acts 4:12 "There is salvation in no one other than Jesus! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt 

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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