About Tim Burt

Monday, April 30, 2018

Faithfulness and Commitment: Personal Character Treasures

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Renee and I were home from the hospital. She had given birth to our first child—my beautiful tiny daughter Stephanie. There were no more nurses around to help us with everything. We were rookies engaging in this overwhelming new experience called parenting—trying to remember everything they told us in the hospital. It was 2 a.m. and Stephanie woke us up crying, we hoped because she was hungry. Renee nursed her and then I sent her back to bed and took Stephanie in the living room to rock her back to sleep. I was sitting in the wicker rocking chair in the living room. It was dark, quiet, and peaceful. Renee had just finished nursing her. I took Stephanie and told Renee to go back to sleep. I took her into the living room and sat down in our rocking chair.

Holding my little baby girl in this new experience and in this quiet and serene atmosphere seemed amazing. I was overwhelmed with emotion. As I rocked her, I could not stop kissing her cheeks and I could not stop thanking God for this precious gift. Like any new parent in this position, a thousand thoughts flooded my mind—two of which I will never forget. I One thought about how this new little girl was completely and utterly dependent on Renee and I for everything! It sparked this sense of responsibility within me. That scared me. The other thought was this feeling of selfishness. I suddenly felt so selfish. The past couple of years which were the first two of our marriage had been just about Renee and I. Everything was about us, doing everything for ourselves for our own pleasure and benefit. This had suddenly come to a screeching halt. Our lives were suddenly transformed in ways we could not yet know. She was completely dependent on us. We were completely responsible for her. This was not just a new commitment in our lives. This was a new level of commitment. We would have to be faithful and selfless to raise her right. I was seriously concerned I was too selfish to fulfill that commitment.

I was thankful that I had seeds of learning to be faithful deposited in my life along the way. When I was fourteen years old, I received a job as a stock boy in a small grocery store. The gentleman who hired me, Ozzie, turned out to be like a grandfather to me. I just loved him. He put a lot of faith in me. He treated me like an adult. He taught me many wonderful values and business principles. He put unmerited trust in me, giving me responsibility. 1 Corinthians 4:2NIV says that faithfulness should be required. "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." 

He had a way of expecting faithfulness out of me. Because he put faith in me, I wanted so bad to be someone he could count on. I became that person. I would do anything for that man. I worked hard for him and became someone he could count on eventually managing three grocery stores for him by the time I graduated high school. He had planted seeds of faithfulness in me.

My own father was one of the hardest working men I had ever known. He was amazingly faithful to his boss and to his profession and became one of the very best in his industry, receiving national recognition for being one of the time performers. He modeled this incredible work ethic. He was a father of ten and he was faithful to his job, His wife, and to being a great dad to his children. He continually made sacrifices in his life  for mom and us kids.

As I got older and was able to appreciate the sacrifices that he had made for us, I wanted to become more and more like him. Although my youthful immaturity was filled with selfishness, because my father had planted seeds of what being faithful looked like in me, they took root. Selfishness was painstakingly purged from my life because being faithful was a character quality I wanted to have and be known for.  

I gave my life to the Lord at the age of 24 and started attending an exciting Bible teaching church that taught from the Bible and opened my eyes and heart to God. I learned of God’s will for my life. Through preaching and Bible study, I was regularly confronted with the values and thoughts of stewardship, faithfulness, and commitment. Ephesians 4:11-16 taught me how spiritual maturity was enhanced through the commitment of each person in the body of Christ finding ways to serve others in commitment. “God gave gifts to the church... Their responsibility is to equip (teach and bring maturity to) God's people to do His work and build up the church… that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord... As each part (person) does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

The Holy Spirit would constantly challenge me in making commitments that would demand a purging of selfishness and require serving others selflessly. God began to speak to me of the value of faithfulness to Him. Proverbs 3:3-4 says, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

Over time, my life and my heart personally were transformed by making commitments to the Lord concerning Renee, my children, serving at church, and being faithful to give my best in my livelihood. Every time I was stretched, my attitude and motivation were stretched. I knew the Holy Spirit wanted me to make adjustments in both so I would not lose my reward in my efforts. I could hear His voice in 1 Corinthians 13:3 (NLT2). "If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing." I heard is whisper, Do this from a pure heart and with a right attitude. It will change you and reward you over time.  I heeded that voice again and again.
God will help you spiritually grow, develop, and mature in character through your trust in Him to help you be faithful. Each new commitment and proving of your faithfulness will stretch your motivation and attitude. Be faithful and it will richly transform you and reward you. Serve God your spouse, your children, and your boss or livelihood with faithfulness, and in years to come, you will see the fruit of it and be thankful beyond words. I live in that place today and could not be more thankful to the Lord for all He has helped me become. And He will do the same for you!

Colossians 3:23 (NLT2) "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people."  

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

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Copyright© 2018 All rights reserved

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Friday, April 27, 2018

The Red Marble: A Beautiful and Inspirational Short Story

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

I am reposting this warm and inspirational story again by request. I pray it blesses you and inspires you! ~ Pastor Tim 

THE RED MARBLE  Author Unknown

During the waning years of the depression in a small southeastern Idaho community, I used to stop by Mr. Miller's roadside stand for farm-fresh produce as the season made it available. Food and money were still extremely scarce and bartering was used, extensively.

One particular day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me.
I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.

Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy next to me.

"Hello Barry, how are you today?"

"Hello, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank yaw. Jus' admiring' them peas ... sure look good."

"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"

"Fine. Getting' stronger allay' time."

"Good. Anything I can help you with?"

"No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."

"Would you like to take some home?"

"No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with."

"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"

"All I got's my prize marble here."

"Is that right? Let me see it."

"Here 'tis. She's a dandy."

"I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?"

"Not 'zackley .....but, almost."

"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble."

"Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller."

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said: "There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps." I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with this man.

A short time later I moved to Colorado but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys and their bartering. Several years went by each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.

Upon our arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts ... very professional looking.

They approached Mrs. Miller, standing smiling and composed, by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket.

Each left the mortuary, awkwardly, wiping his eyes. Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story he had told me about the marbles. Eyes glistening she took my hand and led me to the casket.

"Those three young men, who just left, were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim "traded" them. Now, at last when Jim could not change his mind about color or size ... they came to pay their debt.

"We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world," she confided, "but, right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho."

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three, exquisitely shined, red marbles.

Moral: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.  

Prov 19:17 “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and the Lord will reward him for what he has done.”

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Working Through Anger and Forgiveness God's Way

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

This morning I dropped my wife Renee off at the airport where she is meeting up with her missions team. They are heading to Peru to minister to, bring supplies, and be a blessing to the lovely people in this third world country. This is a part of what we do through Tim and Renee Burt Ministries. If you've never read about it, you can here. This devotion has been read in 217 countries and I reach on average 3 to 6 million people a day through Twitter and Fresh Manna. Renee and I, by the grace of God, accomplish much and we thank God for it.  And this is why just a couple of times a year, I mention and thank you for supporting this ministry. There is no gift to big or small and it is tax-deductible. It is used for the people. If you don't have a place to tithe or bring offerings, you are welcome to here until you find a church home to bring them to.  We want you to know we take no salarynothing from this ministry for ourselves. Every penny is used for the gospel, the people, and the extremely meager administrative fees for maintaining this website. The work we do is a great investment into the Kingdom of God and the gospel and we thank you for helping us if you can. Either way, we love you and pray for you daily! Thanks for letting me share this with you a couple of times a year. Pastor Tim 

Working Through Anger and Forgiveness God's Way

Over the past two writings, I've talked about the root of anger and what it takes to resolve it, and how unforgiveness is not an option that God allows and why. Today I want to talk more about strategies and heart attitudes to develop that might help reduce, resolve, and eliminate most of the conflict that leads to anger and unforgiveness in your life.

As a married man I can tell you that Renee and I have both been mad or upset with each other plenty of times over the course of our marriage. Especially in the earlier years. Because we've put into practice all I have written about the past two days, we seldom ever have disagreements or conflict anymore. That is such a blessing to us because we know we are going to live our later years (by God's grace) in love and in peace. But in those earlier years, as we were maturing in the instruction of God's word, there were times of anger and conflict where we didn’t FEEL like forgiving each other. Even so, we did. We stopped and apologized to each other, and forgave each other. Why did we? Because God taught us it wasn’t an option. We really wanted to do what He instructed. Non-Christians don't think like this. They don't have God to yield and submit their will to. They only have their anger and unforgiveness. Being able to let God's word be the authority in your life and submitting to it, is freedom! It paves the way for forgiveness, restoration, and healing.

Why else did Renee and I forgive each other? Because He has forgiven us as sinners. Romans 4:8 (TLB) "Yes, what joy there is for anyone whose sins are no longer counted against him by the Lord." 

Some people get offended all day long over a myriad of issues. Almost anything bugs them. This is the person who has not learned to forgive in the way I wrote about yesterday. First you have to take the stand to always forgive. Then you have to let the Holy Spirit teach you the attitude of knowing that you can be just as offensive to others as they can be to you. Maybe more so. You have to look at others through God's eyes of love and then develop a new attitude of overlooking the petty offences that occur throughout your day. Petty offenses need to become non-offenses. People drive differently from you. People think differently from you. People's emotional responses are different from yours. People's work ethic is different from yours. People will offend you easily if you allow simple things to bug you. They will help build up your bank of unforgiveness and nurture your anger problem.

The opposite is forgiving the second the offense comes and anger bubbles up. Forgive and pray for them sincerely. God, please help that person become a better and more considerate driver... and me too Lord! Sincere prayer breaks the back of anger and forgiveness demolishes it! Take this approach and you'll stop making mountains out of molehill. You won't even remember small offenses.  That is where 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV) comes alive and understandable to you! "Love... is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Offenses happen accidentally and often. Forgive and forget. Forget that which isn’t important but try to work through those issues that are. When working through issues with others, try to talk through them calmly and rationally. Discuss them with your focus only on the offense and the plan to resolve it and go forward. Never rabbit trail to past or other offensives or you will destroy your efforts and make things worse.

And finally, forgiveness is often an act of faith. it needs to be accompanied by corresponding words and actions. If we forgive others understanding God’s love and willingness to forgive us, it makes our attempts easier. The cool thing is, as we do forgive by faith and then act on it, our emotions soon follow. Emotions always follow your faith so let your faith lead! Soon you'll begin to feel the forgiveness that might have only started out as an act of faith.

What about those times when abuse is repeated over and over again and it seems impossible to continue to forgive? We are still required to forgive. We aren’t required to stay in a toxic situation or relationship or proximity of a person. Romans 12:18 says, “If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.” Whether we choose to stay in a relationship or not, forgiveness is not an option. There will be some instances where you will feel the need to put distance or space between each other for healing to happen. If that is what it takes, love from a distance. For everyone else, forgive and learn to love with God’s love up close.

Break this into a plan and you will get angry less and forgive consistently. You'll eventually experience greatly improved relationships, less conflict, and a peace and joy that will fill much more of your life. And your intimacy with God will grow throughout the entire process! You'll love it!

1 Corinthians 13:8 (NIV) "Love never fails..."

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!  Click Here:  FreshMannaFeedback






If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

Donate now!

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2018 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Hardest Thing WE ALL HAVE TO DO as Christians!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

How long has it been since someone offended you and made you mad and upset? We all face conflicts of some kind and they are never a pleasant experience. We may or may not handle them well at the time. We most often reenact them in our mind over and over again—reviewing the replays to find justification in how we handled the encounter. It's as though we have this digital recorder playing the conflict on an automatic loop.

Jesus knew we would come to those instant replay moments. This is why He gave instructions to forgive so many times in a day. We see this in Matthew 18:21-22 NIV. "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."  

We aren't ever going to find ourselves being offended 490 times in one day. Jesus knew that. So why did He say 490 times? Because He knew that we would run the same offense over and over in our mind. When the evening comes and it's quiet and there is nothing else going on, that mental digital recorder seems to play an even more vivid picture and it will play all night—490 times if you let it go on.

We're instructed to keep forgiving and so we try. We try to forgive someone in our minds and try to move on, but then face those awkward moments and negative feelings again when we see or get around the offender. Then we're in a quandary because we thought we'd forgiven them but feel the opposite. Does that  mean we didn't forgive them? It might! Even if we do say we forgive someone, we have to work toward some kind of resolve. Don't panic at that statement! That doesn't mean you have to go face the person. In many cases, it's not always possible. If you were the offender, then you should go to the person and work it through—humbly and with the sincere goal of not rehashing the incident but trying to reconcile. But when someone has hurt you, you can't make them come to you and apologize. And most won't! And that is where the anger and bitter feelings will set in if you don't resolve it at least for yourself.

You can't make another person do anything, but you can follow the Lord and fix yourself. And so, if you've been offended by someone, and you probably know they aren't going to apologize to you about it, that means you have to forgive and talk and pray this through with the Lord until those negative feelings are gone. And in all likelihood, that will take effort and be a process. And it's not an option! It's serious and shouldn't be treated lightly because the Bible teaches that unforgiveness hinders answer to prayer and hinders one's relationship with God until forgiveness has happened. In Matthew 5:44 (NKJV) Jesus says, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."

We live in a world where the tides of anger and unforgiveness are rising. People are angry and bitter at people that they really don't even know. To be honest, that's crazy and means there is a whole lot immaturity in the development of character, and judging going on. People lob offensive terms and labels at people they don't even know, just to have the last word. Does that sound like Jesus to you? Christians are called to look at people with love and through God's eyes—thinking and hoping the best and routinely overlooking offense—not seeing others through judgmental subjections and preconceived ideas. Christians need to grow up! Hate, anger, bitterness, disrespect and unforgiveness IS NOT a part of the Christian life. No more making excuses for crappy attitudes and wrong behaviors. Make it end today!

Unforgiveness leads to bitterness that will result in anger issues and left undealt with and unchecked, will lead to sickness and disease and every evil work of Satan to destroy your life. That's why Satan loves strife! It is playground of destruction! I am being hard this morning but I know it's necessary. It is a deception to believe you can go on with life and with God as though everything was okay. Unforgiveness is never okay with God. Fellowship with God is impaired until forgiveness is given. Mark 11:25-26 says, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."

Why do we have to forgive? The entire reason Jesus came to the earth to die and pay the price for our sins was because He was willing to forgive you and I. That is what love does! If you love Jesus and He is Lord over your life, then that is what you do!

Tomorrow I will write more about working through anger and forgiveness. Today, just know that it's not an option and pray and ask God to help you. If you ever want to take your life, your marriage, your relationships, and interactions with other people to another level of blessing, you'll have to learn and work through this process.  More tomorrow....

Mat 5:23-25 says, "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. "Settle matters quickly…” 

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!  Click Here:  FreshMannaFeedback





If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

Donate now!

How Your Donations Are Used? click here

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2018 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Monday, April 23, 2018

Destroying the Root of Anger

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Yesterday on Twitter, I posted this: Unforgiveness leads to bitterness and that left undealt with often leads to sickness, disease & deception. The deception being that you can go on with life and with God as though everything was okay. Unforgiveness is never okay with God. Jesus said, "Forgive one another as I have you" 

I received very good feedback from that tweet, people saying that it hit them in a profound way and they thanked me for this truth. I found myself thinking more about it when suddenly the Lord spoke to me. He said, Angry people are steeped in unforgiveness. They are often mad at the world and sometimes Me. You cannot resolve anger issues until you learn to forgive. 

You would think that I'd be writing on forgiveness today. I might do that later this week, but, today I want to simply say that frequent anger is a sign there is unforgiveness going on. I would suggest that if you do get angry even occasionally and in any level of inappropriateness, you need to know it's rooted in unforgiveness. That must be dealt with! It won't until you figure out why you are so mad or angry, and understand that it affects you and those around you in so many more ways that you could imagine. So today I'll talk about anger, and then later I'll get to forgiveness.

Anger is a valid emotion. There are things that validly make us angry but, anger has a boundary and a line that isn't to be crossed. We are instructed in Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV, “In your anger do not sin…” These verses are instructional and insightful saying "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold..." God clearly teaches us that anger in itself is not sin, but that it can be carried to the point of sin, and when that happens, it gives "...the devil a foothold." Those words literally means giving the devil occupancya place to dwell.

For some people, their anger not only crosses the line of inappropriateness resulting in sin, but they practically invite the devil to sit down at their table and sign a long-term lease to live with them. How does that happen? Most anger issues are rooted in what is perceived as a repeated offense and that is a product of unforgiveness and not working through issues. When this happens, anger spreads like a cancer and pretty soon, petty and unimportant grievances are treated with anger looking more like wrath.

Anger unrestrained will lead to all kinds of hurtful outbursts that will cause pain and regret. People that sin in their anger seldom stay on the issue they are angry over. They often draw past offenses and hurts to the scene. (Can you see the bitterness in the root of unforgiveness?) Their angry words causes anger to swell. That can become the early stage of rage which always leads to irrational thinking. Eruption is now brewing below the surface. Unbridled anger or rage leads to irrational thoughts that then lead to thoughts of every kind of evil. James 3:16 KJV, says it like this, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”

As words begin to erupt from this anger, they begin to flow and the devil now has a foothold. The words will be destructive and people become collateral damaged. In many cases, those words do long-term damage that is difficult for people to recover from. Now they slip into unforgiveness. That in turn, leads to great and deeply rooted bitterness.

God’s wisdom tells us the danger in letting our anger ever cross the boundaries of inappropriateness.

Proverbs 27:4 NIV says, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming…”

Proverbs 14:17 NIV says, “A quick-tempered man does foolish things….”

Proverbs 21:19 KJV “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”

Proverbs 29:22 NIV “An angry man stirs up dissension (strife), and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.”

Proverbs 22:24 NIV reveals that anger can affect others, even becoming like an infectious disease. It says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, and do not associate with one easily angered.”

Proverbs 25:23 says, “As the north wind brings rain: so does an angry countenance bring a backbiting tongue.” The word angry here literally means foam at the mouth and is referring to the evil look of unbridled anger. The term “backbiting tongue” refers to the abundance of evil words spoken that absolutely cover their target with a blanket of ill spoken and hurtful words.

If you are a person who frequently gets angry, you—not those around you are the problem. You are hurting from getting caught in unforgiveness and never learning how to work out of your anger. It will make you selfish and everything in life about you and those violating you. Your demand for perfection is born out of a need to personally control all of life around you because your tired of getting hurt—and that is born out of unforgiveness. It is sinful and wrong. You need to switch your focus from the imperfections of others, to getting your own attitude right. People are not perfect and you have a view of yourself that is far too high. You are too forgiving of your own faults and too critical of others. You need to take on God’s temperament.

Psalms 103:8 reveals, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” God isn’t expecting people to meet His perfection. He had Jesus come and do that. Jesus was the only one who could. God is driven by love. That love started with Jesus living without sin and dying to bear the punishment of ours. Love began with God's forgiveness, not fault-finding. That's what lays the ground work of forgiveness even though we know people are imperfect and highly flawed. We look to forgive and love them like God loves us, despite all our faults.

God has chosen to see the best in His children, not the worst. He dwells on what we can become, and not simply what we are at the moment. He dwells on building us up and not tearing us down. And this is where the practice of forgiveness obliterates the anger.  Spend some time thinking about this. More tomorrow.

Ephesians 4:26-27, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

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!  Click Here:  FreshMannaFeedback






If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

Donate now!

How Your Donations Are Used? click here

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2018 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/

Friday, April 20, 2018

Developing The Spirit of Excellence in Your Life

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

I don't know how you feel about the subject of excellence, but God loves excellence because He, Himself, is excellent. Why do I think that? Because the Word of God says so! We read in Psalm 8:1, "O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!" We are told that God's name is excellent. Do you know what that means? The Hebrew word implies powerful, magnificent, glorious, great, honorable, and more… There is no other name like it.

God's love is excellent. Psalms 36:7 says, "How excellent is Your loving kindness, O God!" God’s words are excellent. God tells us that His Word - the things that He says - are excellent. Proverbs 8:6-7 says, "Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, And from the opening of my lips will come right things; For my mouth will speak truth; Wickedness is an abomination to my lips." God is saying that you can count on His excellent words! Wouldn't it be great for people to count your words excellent!

Many times in the Christian world we see a spirit of leftovers—not excellence. Some people sparingly give a little time to serve others in the church...when it’s convenient and doesn't take from their personal enjoyment. A commitment to serving others consistently in church is far more rare in most than it should be. When it comes to giving, for most, and I do mean most, it’s about getting rid of junk—outdated stuff and things that have little or no value. People give leftover older clothes that they don't want any more—clothes that are closer to out-of-style and shabby than excellent. We see run down churches in disrepair with old, beaten up furniture for its furnishings. We see churches with people at their doorstep needing benevolence and help, but the churches are without the resources, manpower, or finances to do much or anything about it. Does that sound like excellence to you?

Did you know that God always taught His people to give firstfruits and tithes? The tithe was the first ten percent of all income that was to be given to the storehouse or temple, or what today we would call the local church. The tithe was, and still is, an acknowledgement that the Lord is Lord and owner of all we have in our lives. It is an acknowledgement that all that we have is from God and belongs to God. It is the witness that we are yielded to His Lordship—not the Lordship of money. It's our agreement that we are to be excellent stewards or managers of the 90 percent He allows us to steward or manage.

Let me take this to an even higher level. The firstfruits were not just the first ten percent. It was the very best or most excellent offering of their crop or cattle, or whatever their source of livelihood was. It was not leftovers! You could not bring a blemished offering to the Lord. It was the giving of excellence to the most excellent God. Do you know what the result of that was? The people were blessed, the priests were taken care of so they could focus on service to God, and there was plenty in the temple to minister to those needing benevolence. It affected the hearts of the people in an excellent way. It really affected their hearts in that it transformed them into cheerful givers. They became loosed from thinking everything they had was theirs. It caused them to be loosed from covetousness and the love of money. It resulted in their freedom of heart, their dependency upon God, and their increased faith knowing they had been obedient to God. It resulted in God's blessing raining down on His people. When God’s people were focused in this way, what was available wasn't scraps and leftovers. It was about excellence in their heart attitude regarding the giving of their resources.

1 Chronicles 22:5 says this about the house of the Lord: “And David said...'the house that is to be built for the Lord must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it.' So David prepared abundantly before his death.” So many religious people find “religious” reasons to attack building a great church. Solomon’s temple was God’s doing and the greatest built to God by man in history. It was excellent and take note; during this time, it was the greatest time of peace and prosperity in history for God’s people. It became the center of their community, increased the people’s love for God, and everyone was taken care of.

James 1:18 says, "He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created." God is saying we are His firstfruits which means we are the best or most excellent of all He's ever made.

It's important to know that. If we are His best or His excellence in this earth (and we are), then wouldn't it be good to have that attitude and model it for the world to see? Christianity is not some barely get along and share your leftovers and scraps with those around you mentality. If that is your mentality, then that's how you'll become!
Look around you. Look up. See all that God has created. It is excellent! Does God want the spirit of excellence developed in you? Daniel 5:14 (NKJV) says, "I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you."

Like Daniel, we are to stand for excellence in every way we possibly can. Look in the mirror before you start your day. Do you look like you just got out of bed and pulled a shirt out of the hamper or do you look excellent? Did you prepare yourself in the Word of God and prayer to carry love, hope and faith into this world to represent the Lord , or are you grouchy and the whole world is about to find that out? Are you ready to stand for excellence in your manner of conduct, in your attitude of giving, in the giving of your love and service to others, and in how you represent your excellent Heavenly Father and your Lord Jesus Christ in this earth? Will your work habits be excellent? Will your words be uplifting and excellent? Will you hold up that standard so that when God calls us His firstfruits, those around us can see it! You are His firstfruits and you were meant to be excellent like Him. Put it on. Keep it on. And give it out! And as you do, watch over time how it develops God's excellence in you!

Daniel 6:3 (NKJV) "Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Courageous Hero: Irena Sendler - an Inspirational Story

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

On the eve of Israel's celebration of their 70 year of Independence, I thought it would be fitting to repost this wonderfully inspiring story! 

A Courageous Hero:
Irena Sendler
Feb 15, 1910 to
May 12, 2008
Warsaw, Poland


Matthew 5:8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."

Irenea Sendler was 98 years old when she died in 2008. She was a woman of magnificent courage, she saved the lives of more than 2,500 Jews, most of them children. She has been called the female Oskar Schindler, but she saved twice as many lives as Schindler, the German industrialist who sheltered 1,200 of his Jewish workers. Schindler, received international attention in the 1993 movie "Schindler's List."  Sendler was hardly known to the world until four Kansas schoolgirls wrote a play about her about a dozen years ago.

She studied at Warsaw University and was a social worker in Warsaw when the German occupation of Poland began in 1939. In 1940, after the Nazis herded Jews into the ghetto and built a wall separating it from the rest of the city, disease, especially typhoid, ran rampant. She was especially influenced by her father, a doctor who defied anti-Semites by treating sick Jews during outbreaks of typhoid fever. He died of the disease when Sendler was 9.

She believed that one person can make a difference and lived out what she believed. "I was taught that if you see a person drowning," she said, "you must jump into the water to save them, whether you can swim or not."
Although she was less than 5 feet tall, she walked into the Warsaw ghetto daily facing death if she was caught.  Social workers were not allowed inside the ghetto, but Sendler, imagining "the horror of life behind the walls," obtained fake identification and passed herself off as a nurse, allowed to bring in food, clothes and medicine.

During WWII, Irena got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing & Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive. Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her truck, for larger kids. Irena kept a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises. During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. Ultimately, she was caught, however, and the Nazi’s broke both of her legs and arms and beat her severely.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out in a glass jar that she buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and tried to reunite the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming. Later, another politician, Barack Obama, won for his work as a community organizer for ACORN.

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!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@gmail.com





If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

When You Are Kind to Unappreciative People

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Have you ever thought about the fact that there are some people—some friends in your life, that you treat nicer than they treat you? Does that bother you? Does that make you want to complain or abandon the relationship? Sometimes people get so focused and bent on fairness, that they throw away or destroy good friendships or relationships just because the love and kindness they had shown, wasn't being reciprocated back to them to the degree they wanted.

To be perfectly honest, my life has been filled with the effort of trying to do good and help people. My mother was that way and it seemed to be a part of my DNA—especially after I gave my life to Jesus! Jesus teaches to move from being selfish to selfless but like everyone else, I am a work in progress.

Yet, I find myself doing things for people all the time and literally, every day. And though I do, the reality is, seldom do I get back from people what I've done for them. I have learned experientially that only a small percentage of people are good at giving or showing appreciation. Of course there are some people who are very good at giving thanks or taking the time to write a thank you note or send off an email of thanks or show some form of appreciation. It’s wonderful when people do take note of what you've done for them and thank you in some form. But, the percentage of people who do is very small, and yet, most people think they fall into that small group of being good thankers.

But, what about those close relationships—your spouse, good friendships, co-workers, or people who are the recipients of your acts of kindness where it seems like you are doing most of the giving and it’s very one-sided? Well, first of all, that just might be your perspective and it might not be true. They might be adding things to your life in ways you don’t notice. Or, maybe it is true. Maybe they are great at receiving from you but don’t give much back. Then what? Does that mean you should dump the relationship?

Our lives could be and I hope are filled with a diversity of good relationships. In them, you will find great disparity on the amount of appreciation and sincere thanks that people return back to you. But if you’ll do a self-examination, you might find some relationships that you receive more from and give less to. Or you may just realize that God’s has graced you with more of a giving personality than most, and that the imbalance of you giving more than others return back to you, is always going to be a part of your experience.
There are plenty of takers in this world. Some who are narcissistic and only think of themselves. They seem to feel entitled and are seldom thankful for anything. Unless God has directed you to and given you the grace to, you shouldn't stay in close relationships where someone takes and takes and drains you without giving back. I've had a few of those over the course of my life and they are toxic. Takers take advantage of the kindness of others. Though there are few of these people out there, when they do show up and I come to realize they are toxic, I keep them at arm's length so I'm not used or abused by them. I'll still be kind. I'll still show them the love of Jesus. But, I'll not let toxic people share my everyday space. Some people are easier to love at a distance. Romans 12:18 (NIV) says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."  You will just know who those people are in time.

And again, this does not include special assignments from God that He has given you grace for. There are people in the earth who cannot take care of themselves but God gives us the grace to help them with joy. That is our honor!

Though it's a living reality that many of your kindnesses will be unappreciated, it's still important to hold onto good people and good relationships. There are some non-appreciators in your life that are still maturing and growing in this area but probably add to your life in other ways. Maybe they add other things to your life that make you value the relationship such as bringing you joy, or making you laugh, or fun to hang with, or being someone you can talk to or count on in trouble. Don’t blow off the relationship because it’s not perfectly fair in the reciprocation of appreciation. Most relationships aren't perfect or perfectly reciprocal in love and appreciation. But, they do bring value to your life and they are worth having.

For me, I apply the same principle in my relationships that I was taught by the Lord to bring into the workplace. I apply Colossians 3:23 TLB, which says, "Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." I have cast aside the mentality and attitude of doing things for others expecting thanks or reciprocation back. I have put aside looking for perfect friends who always reciprocate love and kindness. Instead I purpose to do what has been my God-given motto for most of my Christian walk. No matter what anyone else does, just do what’s right. I try to love others “as unto the Lord.” If I don’t get some of that back, it’s okay because I know that I also have failed giving it to others at times myself. And I know I've also failed at giving it back to the Lord like I should. I also try to remember the good I value and receive from my imperfect friends and pray they see and value things from me.

And here is what really levels the playing field. When we weren't even thinking about God, He still sent Jesus to be punished and die for our sins. Romans 5:8 (NLT) says, "But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." We never return the kind of thanks that this deserves. So, keep on loving others with His love! He sees it. He knows. And there is great blessing from the Lord that comes from this kind of heart!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV) "...in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for 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!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@gmail.com





If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Part Four: Getting God's Plan to Succeed - Diligence and Equipping


Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

If you have not read the previous three parts on Getting God's Plan to Succeed, you can read them by clicking here: Part One, and Part Two, and Part Three.

This is the fourth and final part in the these series on Getting God's Plan to Succeed.

I have been writing about how often most people fail in their attempt to make changes in their life—changes that they think about all the time. It's been my desire to help others understand that they would attain a much higher level of success if they would take a few steps of preparation prior to launching an attempt to make a change in their life. So far we've talked about preparing your heart for change, creating an execution plan, and partnering with others that would encourage you toward your goals. Today I want to talk to you about the importance of God's part versus your part, in relation to diligence and equipping in leading you to success in your goals.

In almost ever difficult endeavor and goal you attempt in your life, you will be confronted with the pressures that would lead you to give up and quit. Unless the goal is quite simple, it will come with challenges. Those challenges are not from God. They are from the enemy of your soul. Jesus faced the enemy's harassment constantly attempting to get Him to quit in His 40 day fast. That is what the enemy of your soul does when you are pressing on in the things God leads you to do. And so, we have to learn to be diligent.

I could write a book on what diligence is, but lets keep it simple. Lets just talk about it today in terms of not quitting. There is more to diligence than not quitting, but you may not initially know that. Diligence is a character quality and heart character is built over time. To be diligent you must learn to be committed. The combination of diligence and commitment is faithfulness.  Faithfulness is a rarely developed character quality and the evidence of that is the local church. The workload of most local churches is done by roughly 20 to 30 percent of the committed, diligent, faithful people in that church. That's about the average percentage of people who truly learn faithfulness in most good churches. They are the ones that allow God to develop this character in them. The rest of the church body fails in developing these qualities and consequently, fail in their goals.

Proverbs 20:6 (NKJV) says, "Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?"  Do you know what this verse is saying? Its saying that most Christians would proclaim to be faithful but are in truth, delusional in thinking so.  It's saying that there aren't many faithful to be found.  Jesus taught on the importance of learning to be faithful (committed + diligent). Luke 12:42-44 (NKJV) And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household...? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has."

There is much more I could write about this but for now, understand that diligence takes time to develop so let's relate to it at it's starting point—not quitting. Do the preparation we talked about in the previous writings but then, once you do begin, don't quit! Taking that attitude will be the beginning of diligence being formed in you.

And then Equipping. I've said repeatedly, God has a part and you have a part. Your part is to take hold of this important spiritual component. You must have faith in God doing His part (behind the scenes and naked to your human eyes.) You'll have to see God doing His part in your heart through the eyes of faith. It shouldn't be that hard. God has always been doing His part. Jesus loved you when you weren't thinking about Him. He is diligent, committed, and faithful. And because He is, you'll have to trust that He will equip you with His grace (His supernatural help in everything) to help you get the job done. That includes strength of spirit, good attitude, encouragement, miracles big and small—everything you need to get the job done. The devil will challenge you, but that's where character is built. When you hold on in faith, trust in God's grace, and be diligent, then you'll experience success in your goals.

Here is your equipping promise! Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV) "May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, EQUIP you with EVERYTHING GOOD for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." 

The reason this verse talks about the blood of the eternal covenant is because God is in covenant with you and Jesus shed His blood to seal it. And it says He will "...equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him..." This means His grace will be available to help you succeed in every situation. (Even when it doesn't look like it!)

All these things together, preparing your heart for change, creating an execution plan, partnering with others, and being diligent knowing that God has equipped you with the grace of God, will lead you to success repeatedly throughout your life. I know because I've experienced them again and again. And so will you! So let's begin...

Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

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!  Write me at FreshMannaFeedback@gmail.com





If your heart has been touched by God's love through Fresh Manna, would you like to help Pastor Tim reach others also? Please prayerfully consider donating. No gift is too small. 

Donate now!

How Your Donations Are Used? click here

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2018 All rights reserved

http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/