About Tim Burt

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Are You a Christian Party-Pooper?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Ephesians 5:10-11 (NLT) Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them.

Many people consider God's request to carefully follow His ways, out of touch and out of reality with the times. They see God and serious Christians as party poopers—someone trying to hinder their fun. What they are blinded from understanding is that fun the devil tempts them into, are often hurtful practices and behaviors that will eventually tear their lives apart and leave them hurting and miserable. Jesus isn’t trying to hinder the good that life can offer us. Jesus is the author and creator of what a good life is! Jesus said in John 10:10, “I want to give life and give it more abundantly.” His guidelines for living are what help lead us to the good that can come in life. He is like the loving father that wants to protect his children from wandering in the street so they don’t get hit by a car. God’s boundaries protect us, not steal from our lives. (And that is something Satan never wants anyone to know!)

Even Christians get sucked into and fall to the temptations and worldly lifestyles that corrupt and steal from this life—that destroy the life of blessing and peace that Jesus wants us to experience. Too many Christians say these kinds of things: Oh well, what can I do? Times have changed. Open and greater sexuality is just a part of life. It’s everywhere! Do you expect me to be a monk? You can't watch TV without seeing sexuality and hearing profanity. You can't find a movie without it. I can handle it. It won't hurt me. After all, people I work with swear all the time. They tell dirty jokes and talk freely about their sexual exploits all the time. Sex is just like going to the movies. It’s entertainment.

That kind of attitude is spiritual blindness already at work. They've already been lured in. People that think have already yielded to sin. Sin clouds the insight and revelation that loving and seeking God brings. When you can feel conviction over wrong doing, that's good! It means you are still alive. Repeating sin numbs you, confuses you, and eventually works to justify what once brought shame to you. Sin works like a dimmer switch. The more you continue in it, the darker it gets and the more you forget why God’s ways are important. It takes being purposeful in your love for Jesus. It takes a thankful heart and a consistent appreciation for what He has done for you. When you do this, you get back to and stay in that place where you can hear from Him and be lead by His Spirit. When you love God and His Word, you'll desire to carefully walk in His ways. It is then that you will find strength and help from Him. He’ll help you to learn to live according to His standards instead of being sucked into the ever-degrading moral standards of the world.

The Apostle Paul also warns us in Ephesians 5:3-11 writing, "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light... and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them."

God loves us. He tries to protect us from being lured into and taken captive by Satan's wiles. In 2 Timothy, we can clearly see that there is a high road and low road. You can be one who lives God's standard and helps others to do the same or one who has walked carelessly and has been taken captive. The Apostle Paul writes: "And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose Jesus he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." 2 Tim 2:24-26

Living on the fence with one foot in both worlds isn't really living for Jesus. It's a horrible witness to others because you'll cause them to stumble. It's also spiritual torture that can eventually lead you to abandon your love for Jesus and forsake your faith in Him.

I had to learn to go all out for God or not at all. I learned to make Bible reading, prayer, attending church (where the Bible was taught), commitment in service to God in some capacity, fellowship with other Christians, and sharing Jesus Christ with those around me the standard and priorities I would live my life by. This is the life that brought me joy and peace. Anything less left me dissatisfied and disappointed in myself.

I can look back now and Praise God that I did not waste years in captivity being beat up by the devil. It has been much more gratifying influencing others for the Lord, and stealing souls from Satan's grip—helping steer them toward the joy, fulfillment, blessing and peace that comes through Jesus Christ.

Just because I don't participate in the sinful behaviors of those around me, I am not a party-pooper. My party is with Jesus. Others might feel uncomfortable with me around just because I don't participate in what they do. But, I'm not condemning them. That is their own conscience. And my message isn't condemnation. Jesus did not come to condemn but to save! So, I encourage you to stand strong today and be a light and an influence. Some will call you a party-pooper but others will call you a role model living the high calling in Christ Jesus! I guarantee you that as you look back ten years from now, you'll have a smile and a heart filled with thanksgiving toward God.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

If what you've read today has helped you, would you like to see it help others and reach more? Click here and Learn More... 


If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net





Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2016 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Core of Successful Leadership

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


I gave my life to the Lord at the age of 24. The Bible says that the moment I gave my life to Jesus, the Holy Spirit came to live in me. I knew it was true because life was different from that moment on. It was as if for the very first time, I could see life through God's eyes.

As I grew in the Lord, a great appreciation for ministers of the gospel and leaders of His work grew in my heart. It was something I wanted to become—a leader for the Lord. I wanted to become Christ-like in my thoughts and actions so I could model His love to others. Beyond that, I thought much about leadership often asking the question, "What is a leader?"

Hebrews 6:12 says "We do not want you to become lazy (sluggish,) but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."According to this verse it means being a "those." "... imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." I had to learn what "those" was. Part of the answer was right in the verse. It wasn't someone who was lazy or slothful. It means to make changes in your life through the grace of God and the help of the Holy Spirit! It means work hard. With the Lord's help, I believed I could do that.

"Those" meant someone who exercised faith and patience. It meant having trust and faith in God's love and care for me. It meant that I needed to have patience in the work God would do in me and in what I desired of Him. I could learn and grow into that. It was someone who believed they could inherit God's promises. I wanted to believe that! I did believe that! I wanted that to be central to my faith! That was an awesome starting place for me.

Jesus also taught that leadership was something that is often abused. Teaching His disciples about this kind of abuse In Mark 10:42 we read, "So Jesus called them together and said, "You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them."

I needed to keep my motives right and pride out. Jesus made that easy. He put it in language I could understand. He gave us a new paradigm on the word "greatest." In Mark 10:44 He said, "The greatest will be the servant of all..." It's funny how easy that made it. Most people want to be in authority and be served. How easy it was to be under authority and to serve others knowing that God will teach you much through the process and reward you along the way! The Path of Leadership was attainable and I thought, "I can do that." And you know what? God has helped me and I still love serving others. But He has made me a leader through the process! God's Word is true!

Mark 10:42-45 (NLT) "So Jesus called them together and said, "You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many."

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!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net






Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2016 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Monday, June 27, 2016

Five Scriptural Core Values That Directed my Life

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


People often ask, Pastor Burt, you often talk about God directing your path in life. How does He that for you? 

People often let their life be led by their feelings. Living like that will be disastrous, confusing, and lead you in circles. You can't trust your feelings. You can trust God's word and God's promises—despite your feelings. God primarily directs us through His Word and He gives us Core Values—verses that are like superhighways to keep centered in the core of all we do.

There have been five verses I can quickly think of that have been core values and have directed or paved these superhighways in my life. The first is about having vision! God's Word encourages us to get a vision for your life so you can plan and work toward the goals God gives you. We see that in Habakkuk 2:2-3 NLT. It says "Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed."

As a young man, before learning God’s Word, the vision for my life was a total mystery. I never knew nor heard such a thing. I understand vision and planning now. I try to live by it.

The second verse that gripped my heart as a young man Christian man who'd just given his life to Jesus. Genesis 18:19. "For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."

That was powerful to me. God chose Abraham because he'd train his household and loved ones in the Lord! That would result in great blessing for Abraham and his descendants. What a compliment and credit to Abraham from Almighty God Himself. That helped me know what direction I wanted to go in life. As my desires evolved through the Word of God, I knew I wanted to be married. I knew that I wanted to be a great husband and father. I knew that I wanted to work hard and provide well for my family. And I had a deep and special desire to be a father that would help my children come to know Jesus and God’s Word from a young age—learning to live their life with Biblical life application. I lived this out wholeheartedly as I had four children.

The third set of verses that became a core value to me was Paul's comments about his friend Timothy in Philippians 2:20-21, "I have no one else like Timothy, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ." I sincerely cared for people and wanted to help them with no strings attached, with no motivations for get-backs, but just because God loved them! It’s like I craved to be this person Paul described. (And not just because my name was Timothy!)

The fourth verse was Proverbs 10:4 "Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth." My father instilled a strong work ethic in me that took. This promise only reinforced the need for its development. I now believe it’s one of my greatest strengths.


The fifth verse was Proverbs 18:16 NKJV, "A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men." God shaped my heart to despise self-promotion and instead taught me to believe my character and the fruit of my efforts and His grace helping me in every step along the way, would speak for themselves and bring promotion—if I was deserving of it! Because of this, over the years, if I wasn't promoted, I only pointed the finger at myself and blamed no one else. I'd only work harder and more diligently. I tried to never blame anyone else because these were more than just words to me. They were a covenant promise from God. If I worked the gifts and abilities God gave me, they would bring promotion. No man could hold back what God promised would be mine. It was my responsibility to work hard and receive His help and grace in every step. God would take care of the promotion!

I didn't know what my career was to be. But I did know who I wanted to be. I had a vision for and wanted to be a great husband, the best father, a person God and others could count on, the person who took a genuine interest in the welfare of others, and a faithful and diligent worker. Those things were etched in my heart. They were clear so that I could run with them. They created the superhighway to run on. In the pursuit of my different endeavors through life, these core values were instrumental in shaping me and what helped lead me through life. The created boundaries and rooting for whatever I would be led to do. They and brought me to where I presently am.

Vision is critical to the success of what we pursue, but without being rooted in biblical core values, it’s too easy to chase the wrong things and be led astray. I may not have initially known what the vision for my life was, or what path I wanted to walk out, but my core values and godly desires helped me develop the character that would promote me again and again. That was powerful and made it simpler to find what God would have me do!

1 Thessalonians 1:4 (MSG) "It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

If what you've read today has helped you, would you like to see it help others and reach more? Click here and Learn More... 


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If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net






Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2016 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Friday, June 24, 2016

Carrie Underwood with Vince Gill How Great thou Art


Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


In case you did not get to see this! Thee most beautiful rendition of this song that I have ever heard! It blew me away and I couldn't talk when it was done! Beautifully spectacular! 


In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

If what you've read today has helped you, would you like to see it help others and reach more? Click here and Learn More... 


If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net





Published by Pastor Tim Burt
http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Powering Your God-Given Dreams!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


God has given us something incredibly powerful in our life. Everyone is aware of it—even familiar with it. What am I talking about? Your imagination! It is a powerful tool! Is is a powerful source of motivation! Unfortunately, few people understand know how to tap into it or use it. As a matter of fact, because people don’t know how to tap into it, many act like a burglar using a ladder to break into a high window. They try to break into it wrongfully.

Too many use alcohol and drugs to break into it to escape the reality of this world. That is a sad truth and a total waste of something precious and powerful from God. Pot might stoke your imagination but I promise you it won't be a God-lead imagination.

Your favorite movies and novels, the most amazing architectural structures, your favorite technologies, and the phenomenal stunts and athletic feats you've been awed by, were all born from the imagination. Your imagination is a God-given gift to help excite you and motivate you. It's the creative zone within you that God has given to help you imagine the life He wants for you, and to better the world!  God wants you to understand why He gave you an imagination and its function and purpose. When you do, you can use it for good and right reasons. Discover that and you'll also learn that your imagination is one of the most powerful motivator and energizers there is! Over time, it will be instinctively used by you to power your God-given dreams.  When you read Jeremiah 29:11 you can see that God is triggering your imagination. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

Have you ever dreamed of something you desire to do, over and over for years? That happens in the imagination. The more you dream about it, the closer you get to the spark that launches you into action toward its fulfillment.

Have you ever watched an infomercial? They are designed to excite your imagination, stirring you to dream how to do or have something better in your life. Whether it’s lose weight, shape those abs, improve your golf swing, or experience miracle age-preventing cream, or have the perfect cooking tools, they are painting pictures in your imagination and stoking your motivation to buy it! Motivation leads to action. Motivation acted upon equals power.

God gave you your imagination so that you could dream the dreams that direct you in the path He has for your life, AND have faith that He'll help you get there and achieve them. God doesn’t want us to use our imagination for just anything—especially to create evil or things contrary to God's Word. Jeremiah 11:7-8 NLT  “For I solemnly warned your ancestors… repeating over and over again to this day: "Obey me!" But your ancestors did not pay any attention; they would not even listen. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil imaginations.…” Our imaginations are for our benefit but also for the benefit of others. And they are to be aligned with the Word of God.

God reveals Himself to us—who He is, what He is like, what He desires for us, and His purpose for our lives. He does the revealing. Our imagination is necessary to help paint the picture of what He tells us. Isaiah 26:3 says "You will keep in perfect peace all whose imaginations are fixed on you!"

When my children were little, I knew what I wanted them to become like. I’m not speaking of their occupation or profession. I mean as a God-loving productive influence for the Jesus in this earth. I knew how important that would be and so I began to imagine how to put God’s Word into them in a fun way that they would enjoy and benefit from. Renee and I both imagined that. It motivated us. We acted upon it. Now we are receiving the benefit of that as our children are productive adults learning to walk out purposed-filled lives for God.

In 1985 I created the world's first commercial infant changing table that you now see in public restrooms worldwide. Before I invented it, I imagined it for three years. I took the steps of acting on, designing, and inventing it. Without the imagination that they would be in every public restroom in the world, I would have never started. My imagination fueled my motivation and empowered me.

When I began to write Fresh Manna, I imagined people reading it, giving their lives over to Jesus, drawing closer to Him, and letting His word transform their lives. It's now been read in over 196 countries. Without that imagination, I wouldn’t have the inner strength to do this for the past 16 years. It takes over two hours a day. I am not paid for it. So where is my motivation? Initially, imagining changed lives but then came the daily testimonies from readers of their changed lives! And it still fuels me today!

Isaiah 55:8 (NLT) says, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine." Let God take you beyond what you know and you can do in yourself and ask Him to reveal what He knows and lead you! Let Him fill your imagination! It's a God-given tool within you to glorify Him and bless you! You are already using it, but tap into it and use it for what God gave it to you for!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

If what you've read today has helped you, would you like to see it help others and reach more? Click here and Learn More... 


If you are having trouble viewing this post, click here.

If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net






Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2016 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Strengthened and Healed in Times of Sickness

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


I rarely get sick. There are times when I can feel something try to come on me, but at those times, I stand on the promise of what Jesus did for us in Matthew 8:17 “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself (Jesus) took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”

This past year, I was attacked with the a cold multiple times—truly an anomaly for me since I have seldom had a cold in the last 25 years. They were a major inconvenience to my busy life and of course, they made me feel lousy. When you are coming out of something like that and you’re at that in between stage of the sickness—where it is ending and where you start to feel good again, life begins to pour back into you. It is at that stage you can see just how demonic sickness and disease is. And it is that—demonic! By that I mean that it’s part of Satan’s work in the earth.

Jesus often cast out demons and diseases at the same time. We see this in Matthew 8:16 (NLT) "That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick." Satan often worked to possess people and when he couldn’t he’d try to hurt or take their life through sickness and disease. As Jesus said in John 10:10 (NKJV) "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

When we have been attacked with sickness or disease, the goal is to create weakness—to weaken our state of mind and body with the overall attempt of trying to steal our life. We all know that every sickness and disease does not end up in death, but they all do create a weakened state of mind and body. That is how I felt at the peak of those colds. It is in those times, especially when you are hurting, that thoughts—doubts actually, and questions that are from the devil, come as a secondary attack. “Why is this happening to you?” “You aren’t living for God because if you were this wouldn’t have happened.” “Remember when you did ________ to so and so, well that is why you got sick. It’s payback because God is mad at you.” “If God loves you so much why aren’t you getting healed like the people in the Bible?” “God doesn’t heal today so why do you believe that mumbo jumbo?” “If you believe in healing you are crazy.”

If you’ve ever heard thoughts like that, you are in good company, including Jesus. When Jesus went to fast in the desert for forty days, (Luke chapter 4) He was in a weakened state. It was precisely at that time, that Satan came to Him and said, “If you are the son of God, command this stone to be bread.” Satan was actually tempting Jesus to question whether he was the Son of God. Doesn’t that seem ridiculous? But, that is what he does to you and I in our weakened state. He says, “God doesn’t care about you.” “Why would God do anything for you? Look at all the times you are disobedient to Him.” “How can you even call yourself a Christian and pretend like God loves you.” “You a child of God – ha!”

In Matthew 8:17, it says, “Himself (Jesus) took our infirmities…” The Greek word for infirmities means weak, feeble, or frail from sickness or disease. The promise of God’s Word is that Jesus took our weakness—those times in life where the devil attacks us and tries to discourage us. He took them so we don’t have to put up with the lies of Satan. Hebrews 13:5-6 (RSV) says, "...I will never fail you nor forsake you."  Hence we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?"  What we should be saying in that weakened state is exactly that. “The Lord is my helper so I will not fear what man (or devil) shall do unto me! He never leaves or forsakes me! No Satan, I come boldly to the throne of our gracious God to receive his mercy, and I will find grace to help me now - in Jesus name! (Hebrews 4:16)

Satan does not want us to have that perspective. Consequently, he attacks our lives so as to weaken our mind and emotions, are physical being, and undermine our faith.

In Matthew 8:17 declares that as He is healing people, He is fulfilling what Isaiah foretold the Messiah to come would one day do, by saying, “He (Jesus) bare our sicknesses.” He went to the cross, not just to take the punishment that we deserved for our sins and not just to forgive us of our sins, but to TAKE our infirmities and our sicknesses upon His body that Satan would attack us with throughout life. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He (Jesus) personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed."  If you saw the movie, The Passion of the Christ then you saw the whippings and stripes left on Jesus body that He took for you and I. He paid a high price for us to be healed. “…by whose stripes you were healed.”

When you are in a weakened state because of sicknesses, it can be hard to be in remembrance of this truth. In those times, pray and grab your Bible and read these truths for yourself. Begin to meditate on and thank the Lord for what He did for you. He did what He did knowing we would come to times of weakness from being attacked. He took that too! “He took our infirmitiesour weaknesses.” Jesus took our weaknesses and the temptation to believe less when we are hurting. Jesus is our Healer today! He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith! Glory to His Name!

Matthew 4:24 (NLT) "News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon-possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

If what you've read today has helped you, would you like to see it help others and reach more? Click here and Learn More... 


If you are having trouble viewing this post, click here.

If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, let me know how. I’d love to hear from you!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@comcast.net






Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2016 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Are You Following the Right Path in Life?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Renee and I were at the airport on our way to a conference. We had just checked our bags with the agent. As she handed us our baggage checks, she said, Mr. Burt, just go out that exit, down the escalator, take a left, and back up the next escalator to security. I heard her and her instructions clearly. As Renee and I walked out of the area, the escalators were straight ahead as she said, but, there were about a dozen people who also were leaving the baggage area walking directly in front of us.

They are all headed up the escalator. Maybe they know something we don’t," so we followed them. They all went up and got to a hallway that was a dead-end. We all got back on the escalator and went to where the agent told us to go to begin with. Just because it was a large crowd of people who ‘looked’ like they knew where they were going, we followed them. That was on me! I knew what the agent had told me and I didn’t follow her instructions. They all headed up the escalator. Now I knew she had said down but because I was in an area unfamiliar to me, I looked at Renee and said,

That made me think about how many people are on a misguided spiritual journey. For people outside of Jesus Christ, it is ‘the blind leading the blind.’ People follow the crowd to all the wrong places and have too much pride to admit that they really don’t know where they are going while living with doubts about where it will take them.

Many people get angry when someone like me says, The only way to receive salvation and the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. Mohammad won’t get you there. Buddha won’t get you there. Transcendental Meditation won’t get you there. All the false religions—and that is what they are—will not get you there. And let’s be clear, there is a there—a place after death. Jesus died on a cross to take upon Himself, our punishment—the punishment we deserved for our sins. Out of His love for mankind, He came to earth to do that. He died between two criminals being hanged for a punishment they did deserve. One was too prideful to recognize Jesus for who He was, but the other one wasn’t. And because he wasn’t, and because he acknowledged Jesus for whom He was, and because he was willing to admit his need for a Savior, his death would bring him to ‘there’—to paradise with Jesus.

Luke 23:39-43 (NLT) One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus made it very clear that there was no other way to enter into His kingdom except through Him. John 14:6 (NLT) "Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE can come to the Father except through me." Jesus is proclaimed by the world as one of the greatest men that ever lived. He is worshipped worldwide as God and as Savior and respected as a prophet by those that don’t believe him to be the Messiah. But the truth is, He either is who he says He is, or He was the greatest liar and con man to ever live—because He claimed to be God and Messiah! You cannot be a liar and be great. And there is too much evidence to prove of Jesus’ life, miracles, and fulfillment of prophecy to deny His existence and life. All this is to say, there is a world of people blindly following other misguided people up the wrong escalator, only to one day find themselves in a dead-end.

Hell was never created for man. It was created to contain a group of rebellious angels led by Satan. He and the rebellious angels will be punished by God. God does not offer punishment but forgiveness through Jesus Christ to mankind. Satan is out to deceive anyone who will follow him to Hell. As the old adage goes, misery loves company. Satan hates God and all of God’s creation. He is out to do as much damage as possible before his time comes. Jesus revealed this saying, “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

Jesus gives us a path to eternal life and a path to navigate this sin contaminated world. He tells us the escalator to take—the path of blessing, showing us what to give ourselves over to, and what to avoid. The world thinks there are many paths to God but it's not so. Proverbs 14:12 (NLT) reveals, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” God’s word guides us to salvation and down a path of peace and blessing in the midst of any trial and storm. He’ll always lead you in His plan and you’ll be so very glad. Receive Jesus as your personal Savior into your heart and receive His gift of eternal life. When you do His Holy Spirit will come to live within you and your life will never be the same. You’ll begin to see the world through God’s eyes and His Holy Spirit will lead you as Proverbs reveals below!

Proverbs 3:4-12 (MSG) “Earn a reputation for living well in God's eyes and the eyes of the people. Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline; don't sulk under his loving correction. It's the child he loves that God corrects; a father's delight is behind all this.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Judging Others Can Hurt You the Most

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Romans 14:10 “You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.”

If you have been reading Fresh Manna for any length of time, you know I try to be transparent with my heart and faults. At the same time I hope in being transparent, I can keep your respect despite my faults, so that you'll be able to receive what God wants you to receive from Fresh Manna.

Today I was thinking about one of those stupid things I have done too many times over many years, and realized that I still accidentally sometimes do this. It intensely bothers me when I do! What is it that I did? I drew an inaccurate preconceived picture of someone in my heart before really knowing him.

Some years back, I introduced myself to a gentleman who was serving at church who I hadn't formally met before. We talked for a while and he seemed like a sincerely nice man. As we talked, I learned that he'd been faithfully serving in church for some time. I wasn't sure why I hadn't met him before.  As we continued to talk, I learned that he was the owner of a very large business that had made him very wealthy. I was impressed! Not because he was wealthy or successful, but because of his commitment to serve just like anyone else. Successful people may be great financial givers and that is hugely appreciated, but finding a place in the church to give their supply of time is foundational to a person's spiritual development. As a Pastor, that is what I care about most! People that attain status and wealth as he had, often make excuses why they can't be involved serving at church. Their excuses truly do seem legitimate, as they are extremely busy. Yet, God says that we all have a supply to give to the body of Christ, and so He desires us all to figure it out, no matter how important and busy we are.  This man was one of those exceptions that didn't classify himself as someone special. He humbly served in his church where needed. That really did form a great impression of him in my heart.

A month later, while out to dinner with an acquaintance, his name came up. I started to share how I impressed I had been in getting to know him and why.  The guy I was having dinner with quickly shared how this guy had a many problems in his life and marriage. The things said, were said quickly and I didn't cut them off because they hit my compassion button. I didn't think of them as gossip. I was feeling impressed to pray over him and his family. I was told that his wealth was the root of their problems. I didn't realize a negative impression was creeping in and tainting the original impression I had of him, but it was. Because I didn't know him very well and because of what I heard, I wrongly believed what I was told, that he wasn't a very good husband or family man. Shame on me!

A few months later, through circumstances I won't go into, I got to know him much better and over time, developed a friendship with him. As I got to know this man, it made me mad that for the time I carried a wrong impression of him within me. He was who I thought he was! This man came to know the Lord as a young child and had served Jesus every day of his life since. Despite his success, he's a very humble and fine Christian man and a role model for other men. He has a loving wife who loves him very much and beautiful children that love God. He also has a passion to serve God. His fruit was always before me. All this didn't match the gossip and wrong picture that someone painted that temporarily led me to view him differently.

As it turns out, the person that put these thoughts in my heart is the one that has his own dysfunctional issues to deal with. I came to understand it is he that frequently puts other down and has a messed up life.
I thought I knew how to guard my heart from allowing someone to paint preconceived ideas about others within me. I have found out that I am still occasionally a victim of it. It grieves me when I fall in this trap. It’s never on purpose. I find myself feeling cheated from knowing good people when this happens.

Romans 14:10 says, "You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother?" These are good questions. The answer is simple. We shouldn't. 1 Corinthians 13:7 (RSV) says, "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." "...believes all things" means to have respect for and look for the best in people. This is why gossip is so ugly. It looks for the worst in people! And this is why I don't like people to paint negative pictures of others to me. Their perspective may be off or tainted by some misunderstanding or offense they are carrying or their own dysfunctional view.

Listening to gossip and judging others can hurt you the most. It can rob you of great friendships that you wrongly and mistakenly cast away. I thank God that He helped me become better acquainted with this man. I am thankful that God's Word is alive and working in me so that instead of judging or forming wrong impressions of others, I can instead judge myself and hold onto my God-instructed habit of believing the best in others!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Improving? Just Do It

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


There have been a few different studies published that have reported of different things that improve with age. One said, Personalities improve with age. Another said, Love improves with age. Another said, Sex improves with age. Another said, Wine improves with age. I can just hear a few of you thinking, They didn’t improve with age in my life.

God’s will for us as Christians is that we improve with age. When God created man He spoke and said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…" Genesis 1:26 That would be a maturing process as we learned of Jesus, received Him as our Savior, and then let transformation happen within us guided and helped by the power of the Holy Spirit who would live within us. He gave Pastors and other spiritual gifts to aid in that maturity.

Ephesians 4:12-13 reveals, "The responsibility of Pastors and these spiritual gifts is to equip God's people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ." These words are a call for us to learn God’s purpose for our lives and mature in walking it out.

God gives us the promise of His love and the gift of His acceptance despite our short comings so that we won’t become discouraged as we make progress in our personal change. He then says, "Because we have these promises (His assurance of acceptance and love), dear friends, let us now go on to cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete purity (perfecting holiness) because we reverently fear (respect and honor.)" God. 2 Corinthians 7:1 These are words about improving with age in life.

As we do seek God’s Word and make changes so that we can improve in life, 2 Corianthians 3:18 tells us, "...we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more."  The first half of this verse says, that we want to change so that we can become like mirrors that reflect His glory. I think most of us jump in front of a mirror each day to improve upon how we look after getting out of bed. Amazingly, some of us go from looking scary to looking beautiful or handsome. That is what the Word of God is to do in us—to make us look more like Jesus so that to others we reflect Him and His love. Over time the final result will be what Colossians 3:10 shares with us. "…You have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you."

Being like Jesus. That is our goal with the hope that when we reflect His image, people will want to know more and learn about Him opening the door and opportunity to spill with the good news of His love.

Having said that and being one that thinks often about this desired transformation in myself, I am reminded by a parable of Jesus. He gave some strong words to the religious leaders of His day that were more about appearance than the acceptance of His words and their personal transformation. Jesus told them a parable. "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." Matthew 21:28-31

These are powerful and sobering words. They are exposing lip service and good intentions (or not) from obedience and real heart and life transformation. They have always reminded me of a commercial on television I’ve always loved—the old Nike commercial that said, “Just Do It.” It was implying quit making excuses. Quit over thinking it. Just do it!

Do I ever have days where I’m more about lip service? Well if I say my intentions but they don’t match my actions, the answer would be yes. Intentions are good but God wants transformation and He has given us His Word which is inherent with power and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us. He created us to be His reflection in this earth so that people can see Him. He wants us to get on with it rather than just talk about it.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Copyright© 2016 All rights reserved

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Monday, June 06, 2016

A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Renee and I will be on vacation this week so I will resume writing on Monday, June 13th. There are hundreds of devotions to read from. I pray they speak to your heart and bless you! We'll be praying for you!

Today, by popular request, I am reprinting an article that has stirred a great deal of interest. Whether you have read it previously or not, I pray that you will read it today with your heart open so that God can speak to you through it. I believe it is a much needed teaching! It is slightly longer than normal, so read it in bites if time is a limiter to you.

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 non-addictive 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.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2016 All rights reserved

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