Staying Focused and Moving Forward in Discouragement

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

A friend recently asked me, Pastor Tim, I’m sure you experience  discouragement and setbacks like anyone else! What helps you stay focused and move forward  in those times?  My response was this: There are primarily two things that strengthens me and help me stay focused moving forward. The first is always keeping my eyes and heart on the promises of God and letting them lead me instead of my emotions. And the second is asking God to encouragement my heart. And you know how He does that? He sends people to me to encourage me out of the blue! It’s amazing how energized I stay because of those two things! Faith in God’s promises and supernatural encouragement are the two most powerful boosts that fuel my tank and help me press on!

The blessing of the promises of God are His reward for your faith and trust in Him! As Psalm 119:65 (NLT) says,You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as you promised.”  Where people break their promises and dissapoint, God never does. And I always think about God describing His Word as alive and powerful! Hebrews 4:12 (NLT2) “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

Someone approached me very discouraged the other day. What they were discouraged over was something I had just been meditating on in the word. I opened my Bible and had her read a couple of scriptures. I had her say them out loud. Before my eyes, I watched her countenance change and a smile come to her face! God’s words are not just words! They are alive and powerful to the person who believes. And they strengthen us when we set our heart and mind on them!

Hebrews 3:13 NIV says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  My mother was probably the world’s greatest encourager. She was always encouraging me, telling me, You can do it. You’ll see. You’ll be good at it! She was the ultimate encourager. She would watch for opportunities to encourage me, and consistently do so. I don’t know if everyone is this way but encouragement just absolutely fuels my fire.

If you want to learn a people skill, then know this! Every person needs affirmation, validation and encouragement—whether they admit it or not. Consequently God’s Word instructs us to develop this quality and sow it into others. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 (NIV) says, “Therefore  encourage each other with these words.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT) says, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 

Since I’m talking about this, Let me take this moment to thank the multitude of you that have written to encourage me in the writing of Fresh Manna. Again, there are times I need encouragement. We can all feel weary at times. And when I feel this way, I don’t tell others. I tell the Lord and ask Him to encourage me. And sure enough, that encouragement shows up. I have received countless kind comments which refuel me over and over.

When I started writing twenty years ago, it was journaling exercise to help me remember things that the Lord spoke to my heart.  I initially had no intention of sharing it with anyone. But then a friend who was reading parts of my journal asked permission to share my thoughts with others. And more and more asked if they could be included. I finally had to create a subscriber option and then a website. Never did I think that Fresh Manna would be read in over 255 countries, regions and territories around the entire world.  Never did I think I would be named one of the top 55 blogging Pastors in the country. I could not imagine my Twitter base growing to 206,000 followers or between Fresh Manna and Twitter, reaching 4.5 million people daily, but it just goes to show you just how faithful the Lord is to those that cling to His promises and pursue serving His will.

And it’s been encouragement –your encouragement that we all need at times, that’s kept me energized and moving forward. Thank all of you for your kind words of encouragement to me concerning Fresh Manna. What is below is not necessary to read but I have included some of your encouragements that have blessed me, and in closing today, I encourage you to become one that is used of God to bring supernatural encouragement to others! God bless you!

Fresh Manna Comments,

  • Pastor Tim, You don’t know who I am but I thought you needed to know that what you are doing is AWESOME! I am a busy teacher and I appreciate your efforts to further my growth in the Lord through Fresh Manna. Thanks for your commitment and consistency.
  • Hey, Pastor Tim, I really look forward to your Fresh Manna. So do several people I forward it to. We often chat about it. You have no idea the number of people you touch and the ways in which you touch them. The other interesting thing is, when we seem to be dealing with something, you end up writing about it. God is funny like that!
  • Pastor Tim, Wow…excellent fresh manna….just wanted to let you know that I very much appreciate the fresh manna that you provide. It is amazing how when you are going through difficulties, God speaks to your situation…
  • Pastor Tim, every time I read your Fresh Manna I receive direction from the Holy Spirit. I feel at times that the Holy Spirit has been working on me in a part of my life but my heart was not as open as it should be. Your Fresh Manna helps to open my heart.
  • Pastor Burt, I am once again amazed at your gift of speaking to my heart.
  • Pastor Tim, “Thanks for being so real with all of us Manna readers, it takes guts to tell to be as transparent as you are.”
  • Pastor Tim, as always you are so on with your manna & your timing is outstanding.
  • Pastor Tim, I just wanted to thank you for Fresh Manna; I look forward to reading it every morning when I arrive at work. I also thank you for your dedication in writing and sending this multiple times each week! Your messages and insight give me encouragement as well as educate me.
  • Pastor Tim, Thank you so much for all your wisdom. I feel very fortunate to be able to read your devotions each day, and I look forward to having them lift my spirit. They help me learn the bible verses better. I have done limited bible study in my life, so far. I am happy to be a part of your list. Thank you so much.
  • Pastor Tim, Speaking of giving honor to whom honor is due, thank you for your faithfulness in sharing your daily manna and everything else you do.
  • Pastor Tim, Your ministry through Fresh Manna is one of the blessings that has touched my life. Thank you for your tireless effort. You remind ne of Dr. Tsion Ben-Judah in the “Left Behind” series. I look forward to your daily messages.
  • Pastor Burt, I just wanted you to know how extremely timely your word from the Lord is. You are right on.
  • Pastor Tim…… thank you for sharing such honest and compassionate feelings about your marriage to your lovely lady ….it takes a lot of love and guts to do that and I have the greatest love and respect for you in doing that … I know the LORD is there in your life.. Praise God for People like you.
  • Pastor Tim, I am really blessed by reading Fresh Manna. It is amazing how I would be pondering stuff the night before, and Fresh Manna will give me the answer the following day.
  • Pastor Tim, Thank you so much! You helped answer many of the things that I have struggled with about faith.

Thank you all for your kind comments and encouragement and thanks for reading!  

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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