Thank God for Your Future

Jeremiah 29:11 – 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.

We have all heard messages and lessons about the importance of thanking God for His blessings today and within our past. Recently, I was reading a message describing the importance of thanking God for the blessings not yet even experienced in our future.

We all have promises that God has made that include blessings that He has for us and plans for our future. So, I thought why not only thank God for the things that He’s done for me in the past but also thank Him for the things that He has promised me in my future to come?

Happy new year and road to success concept

Happy new year and road to success concept

Most of us think our life is just floating down a river, never with any direction except downstream. We fail to accept and really appreciate that He has a plan for each and every one of us every day of our life. That doesn’t mean that the winds cannot blow from one direction or another. But nonetheless, God is still in control. He has a direction with specificity for our life tomorrow, and each and every day thereafter, until we are reunited with Him in heaven.

Today take comfort and confidence. Embrace that God has a very special plan that is unique to you and especially for you from now until we meet again. Amen

Stay healthy and have a blessed weekend!

~Dean Burnetti

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He Will Never Hang Up

Isaiah 65:24 – I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

To this day, I still remember my first cell phone. It was like a World War II walkie talkie.
It only had two settings: off and on. There were no custom ringtones, and it did not vibrate.
This was long before the concept of a smart phone. If you needed to make a phone call, you better have the number memorized or written down on a notepad. And no, there was no speed dial feature.

It made me feel so confident to be connected without having to find a pay phone. I thought I was living in the big time and never would go anywhere without my phone.

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Today, we have become accustomed to proper phone etiquette over the years. Be polite, gracious in our tone, and especially knowledgeable as to how we end our calls. You don’t just hang up. You say something kind, with a hope to talk again soon. You don’t just hang up. That would be rude.

That’s one of the things I am thankful for about Thanksgiving. When I speak to God, He never says, “Goodbye,” or “I’ll talk with you later.” That’s because the conversation is never over. He’s always listening. He’s always speaking.

God never hangs up. Because we are always connected.

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti

Let Me Drive

Galatians 3:6 -“So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

As Believers, by the very definition of our title, we accept that it is not by our works but rather by our faith that we are placed in the favor of God. But for so many of us, we start our journey by faith but then so easily slide in a life of living in our own efforts. 

Abraham was truly a great man of God. But in the end, it was because of his faith, because of his reliance on God for solutions in life that it was credited to him for righteousness.

You will face days when the obstacles of life can seem as though there is no solution within your grasp. It may be a shortage of money, the lack of a job, or problems in life that you simply cannot overcome.

Know that although you do not have the solutions and it may seem hopeless, God does have a solution to every problem you experience. For many of us, it requires that we have to believe and turn over the driver’s seat to God. But God will not drive if you do not let Him.

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For Abraham, it was not that there were no bumps on his journey. It was that he turned over the wheel to God and then followed His direction.

Today, be honest. Is God steering your car? Have you given Him the wheel that controls your every step? Or rather, do you stop occasionally to ask God, “How is my driving?”

Why not try today to give God the controls. You will enjoy the ride.

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti

Your Checklist

Ephesians 6: 13 – “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”

I remember the first job I was hired at that involved management. It was at the Sonic restaurant in Conway, Arkansas. There I learned several habits, one which I remember and utilize, even today.

On my first week at work, my manager handed me a small pocket notepad that was spiraled at the top in metal wire. He explained to me the art of writing checklists. Some were to-do lists. Others were reminder lists of my daily duties as the new assistant manager.

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Utilizing a checklist was one of the best habits I have ever learned. Although I no longer carry a notepad, it is still a tool I utilize, even today.

On my phone I have checklists to help me on my journey as a believer. Before my morning begins, I set aside time for prayer, praise, and worship. I have also been spending some time to count the blessings and great things He has done in my life.

I have found by following this checklist, it sets the tempo of my day. It’s like putting on the armor that will launch my day.

Today, make your spiritual checklist for tomorrow morning. As you rise, do not exit your door before you have checked it all. You will be amazed at how much better the day will be.

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti

How Do You Feel About Going to Court?

Psalms 100:1‭-‬5 – Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

I cannot tell you that I’ve never been afraid of going to court. But this is my 37th year of being a lawyer. I have been to court hundreds of times. So, I’m rarely overcome with fear or anxiety. But this has not always been the case in my career.

I remember the very first time I went to appear for a simple arraignment proceeding at the courthouse in Oklahoma City. I needed to memorize certain things to say. I practiced for hours before a mirror making my statements so I would get it right. The problem was that I memorized it too well. I didn’t realize that I was talking faster than those messages you hear at the end of a car sales commercial.

On the day I was to appear before the court, I was ready. When my turn came, I jumped up before the judge, and without prompt, rattled off the words I had memorized, like a machine gun. There was a pause, then the judge and attorneys around me all broke out in laughter.

laugh

I was so embarrassed! I turned and immediately exited the courtroom. I ran to the bathroom and locked myself in a stall. I wanted to die, and I was sure that I was ready to quit. The thought of going back into any courtroom caused me to feel fear and anxiety on a level I cannot even describe.  But I went back. Those who had just before been laughing, embraced and encouraged me.

I know that in this passage, the Lord was not talking about a court like our present-day courts. He was talking about God’s temple and court. But all of us have had experiences that have left us afraid and overwhelmed with the thought of returning before God’s presence.

Today, know that God will never laugh, judge, or ridicule you when you return to His presence. And if the people in a church look upon you with laughter, ridicule, or judgement, you need to: present yourself to God, return to your fellowship with Christ, and find a new church. You are His and always will be.

Stay healthy and have a blessed week!

~Dean Burnetti

Secrets

Hebrews 4:12 – “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.”

Patti and I have been trying to watch the Netflix series “The Blacklist”. James Spader is one of my favorite actors. I find him to be so multifaceted in terms of his ability to adapt and create a character.

In the series “The Blacklist”, the characters are never exactly what they appear to be. Everyone has secrets. It is a given that the characters all have multiple passports, identities, and agendas beneath agendas. It makes for a great plot line and show. Definitely keeps us coming back to watch another episode.

As I was reading the scripture today, I began to think about how we as Believers often have our own secrets. The small things that we hide about who we are and what we do. It can be in the form of bad habits or even bad thoughts. They are often not the kind of things that we necessarily share with everyone else. They are part of our secrets.

Secret
Scripture tells us that there are no thoughts nor secrets that are not known by our Father in heaven. I have come to discover that it’s okay to expose myself openly before God. Because He already sees me anyway. He sees all of my little secrets, all of my thoughts, all that makes me who I am. And despite all of those secrets, He still loves me. By openly revealing myself before God, it creates a willingness that will allow Him to change me to become more like Christ.

Today, recognize that God sees you all the time. That through the revelation of His word, we can be changed for the better. To become more like Christ.

Stay healthy and have a blessed weekend!

~Dean Burnetti

God Speaks

Psalms 5:11‭-‬12 – But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.

Yesterday, one of my clients asked me if I actually hear God speak to me. At first, I wanted to answer what I thought he was trying to ask me, which was, “Do I physically hear our God audibly speak?”

I’m not really sure what his motive was, whether it was to make me look like a schizophrenic or possibly disingenuous. But I took advantage of the opportunity to tell him exactly the real answer to his question as I reflected upon it.

My response was, “Yes, I hear God speak to me every day, often several times during the day. I then went on to describe how I hear God speak. When I read my Bible, He speaks to me. When I praise and worship with my hands raised high within the movement of my heart and emotion, He speaks to me. When I engage another person with kindness and help, I hear God speak to me. When I look into the eyes of a small child, I hear God speak to me. In my prayer time, I am moved with that small gentle voice that speaks to my soul. So, the answer is very simply God speaks to me, and He can speak to you.”

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Today, if you don’t know Him there is only one way to start, and that is by giving your life to Christ. Then you will embark on a wonderful journey of God speaking to you. If you are born again and you are not hearing Him, it’s time to wake up and step on the journey that you’ve already committed to. Pray, praise, share love, and yes, just gaze into the eyes of a child.

The journey is wonderful and never involves regret.

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti

My Family

Luke 8:19‭-‬21 – Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they couldn’t get to him because of the crowd. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to see you.” Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.”

Jesus family
Thanksgiving is on its way. What that means for most of us is to eat and then eat some more. Then we will eventually pass out.

All kidding aside, the most important thing is to have time with family and friends. I could have the best fried turkey, sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin pie imaginable, but if I am eating alone, it’s not really going to be so good.

That’s what I truly believe Jesus was trying to tell us all. Not that He was too good for His mom and siblings, but rather that we as believers are welcome at His home for Thanksgiving.  As well as every other day of the year. 

We belong.

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti

Facing Yet Another Storm

Luke 8:22‭-‬25 – One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”

Can you believe yet another storm has passed over us? As usual, many suffered much, and many were fortunate.

I used to believe that I could never be afraid of the weather. How ridiculous. When all else fails, just go climb in the bathtub or down into the basement.

But then I moved to Florida and weathered some of the worst hurricanes in 2005. I believe that year, three of them passed literally with the eye over our home in Central Florida. By the end of the last hurricane, my roof looked like a patchwork of blue tarps, and the yard was full of limbs and leaves. What’s worse was we spent the next several days in the Florida heat, sweating in the humidity while we desperately tried to connect our generator.

calming
I truly can say I have changed my opinion about being fearful of weather. But I can also find real meaning in the greatness of God who, even with word, controls the wind and rain.

Today, it’s okay to be afraid of the storm. It doesn’t mean that you’re any less of a strong Christian. As long as you remember there is only one who can control your destiny. His name is Jesus.

Stay healthy and have a blessed week!

~Dean Burnetti

What’s My Gift?

1 Peter 4:10‭-‬11 – God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

I can say that my journey as a Christian has been one of many stops and paths. I was raised in a Missionary Baptist Church. I then found myself in a Southern Baptist Church. After that, I ended up with The Wesleyans, and eventually with those that were of a charismatic foundation, the Assembly of God Church.

To a large extent, much of it was the same terms of the practical aspects of worship and faith. But there was definitely a difference when it came to how each approached the subject matter of gifts of the Spirit.

Some thought that once the Bible came in its present written form, there was no more need for much of the spiritual gifts. Therefore, such things as speaking in tongues and laying hands on another to heal them in the Spirit had passed. Many in between simply embraced the power of prayer and hid any position about spiritual gifts at all to avoid controversy.

And then there was the charismatics where I ended up in law school. I remember my first day in chapel service at Oral Roberts University. There was an individual sitting just behind me when, during the praise and worship part of the service, he jumped to his feet and began to speak in tongues. I had no idea what he was saying.  It sounded like gibberish. Ultimately, within seconds after he finished, another individual across the chapel jumped up and appeared to interpret the language that I had no idea existed with a message to obviously edify and encourage the room of believers.

Even today, as I was doing a search about gifts of the Spirit, I was amazed at how many different results I received in my Google and Yahoo searches. There were articles starting with a discussion of the five gifts of the Spirit. Others of the seven gifts of the Spirit. Some of the 12 and 13 gifts of the Spirit, and then finally even others of 17 gifts of the Spirit.

God'sGifts
I read them all, and after having spent some time praying and thinking about all years of my journey, I came to realize they’re all right — and they’re all wrong. No matter what we do, we will never be able to contain the power of God through the Holy Spirit. We cannot define it, and we certainly may not limit it.

Even now, I am sure there are many gifts of the Spirit that I’ve never even discovered or heard of yet. And maybe someday, the Spirit will endow me with a gift that none of you have ever seen or heard of. To approach the power of Christ through our guide, comforter, and advocate is foolish as those who Christ Himself openly ridiculed in their attempt to limit and define God.

The most important thing to realize is that the gifts of the Spirit are not for your greatness but rather to help others, whether they be Christian or non-Christian, to be drawn to Christ.

I have always yearned to be given the gift of laying a hand on another and through me, the Spirit healing them. But it has never been because I want to be great, but rather because I want to be the vessel and conduit to bring the glory and grace of God to all around me.

So, what’s the message for the day? Seek your gifts and welcome them. But no matter what they are, do not waste them. They are for a purpose, to lead, edify, and win the world to Christ.

Stay healthy and have a blessed weekend!

~Dean Burnetti