From the Pastor

 Pastor Mike Burns

 Victory Church

 903.567.2072 (Ext. 3002)                                   


Wednesday, May 31, 2023 4:33 PM

Sabbath Rest

Wednesday, May 31, 2023 4:33 PM
Wednesday, May 31, 2023 4:33 PM

For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own. Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell]. — Hebrews 4:10-11 (AMPC)

Under the Old Covenant, the Lord required the people of Israel to observe the Sabbath every week. They were to do no work from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday. It was a symbol to them of rest. Throughout the Old Testament, God says that He created the world in six days and ceased from His labors on the seventh.

The writer of the book of Hebrews used the idea of Sabbath as a way of talking about a rest that is available to God’s people. In chapter 3, he wrote about Israel’s unbelief and quoted from Psalm 95:11: Accordingly, I swore in My wrath and indignation, They shall not enter into My rest. [Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God (Hebrews 3:11–12 AMPC).

The book of Hebrews makes it clear that although the Israel of old saw God at work every day in their lives and enjoyed the divine provision of manna and water and every other need they had, they still did not believe. The Israelites could not enter into that rest—that Sabbath.

Hebrews four makes it clear that the Sabbath rest—the peace of God—is still available to all believers. It is the privilege of every believer to refuse to worry or have anxiety. As believers, we can enter the rest of God. The promise is unchanged. The danger is that we may fail to reach it because of disobedience and unbelief.

The writer uses the word rest to mean more than just not working. It also implies setting aside those things that trouble our minds. In other words, to enter the Sabbath rest, we must not allow anything to prevent us from fully enjoying God’s peace.

Isn’t it interesting that although the Israelites regularly read the Ten Commandments and felt that they followed the Law, either they didn’t get what God was saying or—more likely—they didn’t believe it. God commanded them not to work, but it wasn’t just that He wanted them to take some time off. He was instructing them to do something far more important—to cease the daily routine of their busy lives and spend the Sabbath resting and reflecting on His abundant provision.

I know some people—and I’m sure you do, as well—who work every day of the year. They seem almost afraid to let up, as if they might lose momentum or money or not have enough to provide for their needs. Some people take on two or three side jobs for extra income, even though they don’t really need the money. It’s as though they think some measure of peace and happiness will come if they have accumulated enough “things” in life.

Sooner or later, they will find that peace doesn’t come that way. The Sabbath rest is God’s way of saying, “I’m in charge. I’ll take care of you if you’ll trust Me.”

And how do we trust God? One way is to begin to understand the importance of setting aside time to let our minds get quiet enough to recognize that God is truly with us. We don’t need to worry or be anxious about paying our bills or having enough food to eat. As long as we worry and fret about those things, we aren’t living in the Sabbath rest of God.

I am not suggesting that people quit their jobs and just sit around reflecting on the goodness of God. I believe we are to work hard and do our best at whatever God has given us to do. But ultimately, it is God’s love, His peace, and His provision that will see us through. The devil will whisper that it depends on us and we have to do it all. But once we have entered into the Sabbath rest, we know that God is the One who provides, and we can truly rest and enjoy our lives.

Prayer Starter: “Father God, please forgive me. Too often, I worry or fret about not having enough. You are my God. You will always assure me that my needs are taken care of. My concern is to enter into Your Sabbath rest and take pleasure in Your presence. In the name of Jesus Christ, enable me to live in that Sabbath rest, amen.”

Friday, February 24, 2023 9:57 AM

A Mission M.I.N.D.S.E.T

Friday, February 24, 2023 9:57 AM
Friday, February 24, 2023 9:57 AM

“The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6

In his book, Mission Possible, Tim Tebow makes the following observations:

If I were to define the word "mission" I would do so like this: “a task or job that someone is given to do.” Whether you realize it or not, you have a mission. What’s interesting about our English word mission is that it comes from a sixteenth century Latin word meaning “to send.” This is what I believe. God has sent you here for a reason. Jesus clearly lays out what we are sent here to do: to love Him and to love others (see Matt. 22:37-39).

But have you ever noticed that He specifically commands us to love Him with all our minds? How often are we engaging God with our heads?

Trust me when I say, I understand there are many voices competing for our attention. But when we give in to negativity, lose focus, hit the snooze button, think we are entitled, and stop growing, our mission is in jeopardy!

EVERYTHING we do starts between the ears, in our minds, with our thoughts. Therefore, to be successful on our God-given mission, we’ve got to have the right mindset. One that will allow us to stay LOCKED IN on the task at hand.

So over the next few weeks I am going to use the acronym: M.I.N.D.S.E.T. – a set of mental attitudes that I will share over the next few weeks to help you start and sustain a mission-possible life.

M – Maker

I – Interruptible

N – Now

D – Different

S – Suffer

E – Excellence

T – To the end.

“The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6

Wednesday, February 15, 2023 11:31 AM

Your Mindset Matters

Wednesday, February 15, 2023 11:31 AM
Wednesday, February 15, 2023 11:31 AM

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8

In his book, Mission Possible, Tim Tebow makes the following observations:
In July 2020, researchers at Queen’s University in Canada discovered that the average human brain has more than six thousand unique thoughts every single day. Ranging from the weather outside to work meetings to feeding the dog to feeding the kids, that’s a lot of thoughts! With our minds constantly racing from on the thing to the next, we often forget how fascinating it is to think.

Thoughts can be the most private and powerful parts of our human nature. But thoughts can also be very destructive. They are often negative. We must take back control of what goes in and out of our heads (see 2 Corinthians10:5)!

In Philippians, the apostle Paul is very clear in describing the things we should be thinking about: whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. In living a mission-possible life, developing a healthy, growth-and-grace-oriented mindset is crucial. Mindset is just a fancy word for a particular way of thinking. It’s your beliefs plus convictions plus attitude that drive the way you think, feel and act. Your mindset matters because it is foundational for true change.

Now that you’re thinking about what you think about (ha!), identify things in your life that are true, honorable, right, and so on….

NEXT: “A Mission M.I.N.D.S.E.T.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 9:32 AM

Is Forgiving and Forgetting the Same Thing?

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 9:32 AM
Wednesday, October 5, 2022 9:32 AM
Is Forgiving and Forgetting the Same Thing?
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

Some people wrongly believe that forgiveness is synonymous with forgetting. We say, “Forgive and forget.” And we think, “If I forgive somebody, then I have to forget what they have done to me.”
Now, the good news is when God forgives us, He does forget. The Bible says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). And God says, “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34 NASB). That doesn’t mean when God forgives, He contracts a case of divine senility. God is saying that He no longer holds our sin against us when He forgives us.

But when we tell people that in order to forgive someone they have to forget the offense, we are asking them to do something that is impossible. You see, forgiveness is a spiritual action, but forgetting is a biological action. We do people a disservice when we say, “Unless you forget, you truly haven’t forgiven.” 

Forgiveness and forgetting are not the same thing. In fact, trying to forget what people have done to you can short-circuit the forgiveness process. People say, “I am not going to think about what that person did to me. I will just pretend it never happened.” That is not forgiveness. In fact, you can do yourself great harm by doing that. You have to go through the right steps in order to properly forgive somebody.

Forgiveness and forgetfulness are not the same thing. You may never forget the effect of someone’s injury against you. Remembering may even serve as an alert against being injured again in the same way. Christian theologian Lewis Smedes wrote, “If you forget, you will not forgive at all.” In fact, one forgives most completely when one has first fully acknowledged the depth and extent of the offense. That can be a long, reflective process that may or may not include the offender’s admission of wrong.

Too many Christians try to hurry the process along. They move so quickly to forgetting that they may actually be in denial rather than practicing true forgiveness. However, remembering does not mean you should continue to let the offense have power over you. As Smedes notes, “We have the power to forgive what we still do remember.” That power is available through Jesus Christ. The much-quoted passage, Ephesians 4:32, says: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” We can do that most profoundly when we reflect on how God forgives our sins constantly. That inspires humility. The freedom forgiveness brings to the spirit is palpable. While we may always remember the hurt, we pray toward the time when we can forgive with no weight or pressure, but with a letting go.

The Bait Stick Series: “Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve.”
Pastor Mike 

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