by Pastor Tim Burt
This past few weeks have been all about family. My daughter Stephanie and her husband Danny and my two granddaughters Madeline and Macy came from Peru to stay with us for three weeks. They are missionaries doing amazing work from their home and base in Lima Peru, touching countless lives and having a huge impact and influence in the country and Latin America. They come here once a year to vacation with us, as well as connect with the churches and people who support them on the mission field. Peru does not allow non-citizens to work for an income in Peru and so they can only do what they do by being supported. It was a wonderful and busy three weeks but we were sure to have quality family time with them while they were here.
Each year after they leave and return to Peru, I usually slip into this over-the-top feeling of thankfulness to the Lord. This morning I am sitting on my deck, overlooking my garden, reading the Word of God and writing Fresh Manna feeling full of praise and thanksgiving. I was reflecting on what a very lost young man I was, clueless about so much of life. And then one day, a gal named Sharon told me about the depth of God’s love for me and what Jesus did for me so that I could be reconciled to Him. She helped me pray and ask Jesus in my heart. And from that moment on, I was a new person. I went from wandering aimlessly through life, to developing an intimate relationship with the Lord that changed the entire course of my life. And as I think about it today, I feel so blessed and thankful I can hardly contain myself. I live daily thinking about the words of Jesus, “…Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater. Luke 12:48 (TLB)
I also feel thankful because of words from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 which talks about God choosing me, such a foolish thing to confound the wise. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (NLT) “Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”
When I was a young man I was full of myself. I wanted to make my own way. I wanted to be in charge. I wanted to be the master of my life and my destiny. I wanted to be a success and boast about it. The truth was, I was wandering through life without a destiny not knowing where I was going. My life was a mess! God’s words from the Bible were like arrows of truth that were collapsing the fragile sandcastles of thought that I had built my world upon. Although I couldn’t have described what I felt the moment I received Christ, today I would describe it as the power of God that is present when someone’s heart is open to what God’s word says. It was then that I could suddenly admit to myself how powerless I truly was over my own life. I wasn’t great. I wasn’t in control of my life. I didn’t know where my life was headed and I didn’t feel like I knew a path to success. I was the foolish thing God would use to confound the wise! My life would no longer be about me, but about Him.
So here I am 44 years later thanking God for allowing me, a foolish thing, to know and love Him. That privilege has shaped every second of my life since. He has led me down a path that fills my heart with thanksgiving. I am so thankful for my wife. I am so thankful for my children. I am so thankful for their spouses. I am so thankful for my grandchildren. I am so thankful for being allowed to Pastor for 35 years. I am thankful for all the amazing and wonderful people God have brought into our lives. I am so thankful for having had the privilege of being able to raise my children to know the love of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for His promise to me that because I “trained my children in the way they should go, as they continue to mature in adulthood, they will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) And I’m thankful that Renee and I have been able to reach around the world with the love of God with our lives continuing to unfold as we follow Him.
God’s promises are more real to me than any temporary situation or condition I face in life. No matter what happens, I know that because of God’s love, His promises to me will prevail and things will work out. I have faith in that—in Him! And for that reason, I always feel thankful. It cancels worry. It cancels doubt. It kindles hope. It strengthens my faith. It fills my life with good things. Even what doesn’t always seem perfect or good at the moment, eventually comes around to prove the goodness of God! And for that reason, we always thanked Him in the difficult, painful, and hurtful times.
In all this, it doesn’t make me feel in any way like boasting about my life. It makes me want to boast in the Lord and praise Him! And so I do! I thank you Heavenly Father because every good and perfect gift comes from you! Your love is greater than words can say. I have the best Father of all—you! Almighty God I praise you! Jesus my loving Savior, I worship you all the days of my life!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT) “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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