I Messed Up

1 John 2:1 – “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.” 
 
It’s always hard when you travel abroad to be relaxed during the travel time.  Last week, I did a very good job on my way to Mexico.  At customs, the young lady who interviewed me gave me a good chewing out about not following entry process correctly.  I smiled and was determined to be a gentleman and a good Christian. I did a great job and actually had her smiling at me by the end.
 
global-entry-benefits
On the way back home, it happened again. When I got to the airport at Cancun, someone from immigration gave me a good chewing out again.  At least it felt like a chewing out.  I did a great job again, and I made them smile eventually.
 
But then I got back to the United States and was coming through immigration in  Orlando.  I was having a hard time determining which aisle I was supposed to walk down.  So were other people standing beside me and behind me.  Finally, a gentleman from immigration jumped out in front and started screaming at us to go down this aisle or go down that aisle.  He was loud and a little on the obnoxious side.  
 
I think I just finally had it.  I quickly told him that he did not need to yell at me!  I just wasn’t going to put up with it.  He definitely was not smiling when I walked away.  Finally, I felt vindicated.  I got my vengeance. 
 
Later though, I started to think, was that really the right thing for me to do?  I surely wasn’t going to tell him about Jesus when I got done chewing him out.   One thing is for sure, no matter how good I am or how hard I try, I will eventually fall short.
 
The wonderful truth we possess as Christians is that we have an advocate acting on our behalf even when we fall short.  Jesus Christ himself says He is our advocate and He is pleading our case constantly before the Father in heaven.
 
Christ is your biggest advocate.  He never gives up on you.
 
Have a blessed day.
 
~Dean Burnetti

Just Fishing

Matthew 4:19-20 – “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”
Alex
As a youngster, I just loved to fish. I could lie on the bank of my favorite stream for hours and dream of catching the big one.  I don’t believe I’ve ever met any young boy who didn’t share that same enthusiasm and passion.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to take my grandson fishing. Alex did not disappoint us. He caught not one but two Maui!  I caught one, but he got off at the edge of the boat.  I almost forgot the thrill of catching a fish.
Jesus told his fishing friends, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  I can’t help but to think  that maybe Jesus was considering the emotional rush of fishing in his analogy.
My prayer is that  God will bless us each with a new enthusiasm about being a fisher of men. To be excited about holding another soul for Christ that you helped catch.  Now those are real trophies for Christ that are eternal.
Have a blessed weekend.~Dean Burnetti

Encourage With Your Words

Ephesians 4:29 “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”~~~old church (3)Everyone knows someone who seems to say whatever they think. Unfortunately, these people’s words are often with harsh effect.  The Holy Spirit wishes to affect our speech to be good and helpful, and he wants us to choose our words wisely so that we might encourage others.

When I think of the individuals who’ve had the greatest impact on my life, I think of positive, encouraging, uplifting people.  It takes practice to develop a pattern of speech that is good and helpful. Start by praying and speaking encouraging words to yourself. It’s not wrong for you to speak reassuring words to yourself and think inspiring thoughts. All too often we become our most harmful critic.

When you’ve made it a point to speak kindly to yourself, take the next step and pray that God will create and prompt your spirit to recognize and seize the opportunity to encourage another with your words.  You can do it.

Have a blessed day.

~Dean Burnetti

Happy In Jesus

1 John 2:5-6 – “But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”

I have very few absolutes in life. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have values. It just means what is truly important as guiding principles in my life are just that. They are absolute. Many know what I mean – those absolutes in our lives that can’t be waived or changed.

obeyAs believers, one principle that I believe holds true is that I can’t be happy in Jesus unless I obey His word and spirit. Looking back on my life since the age of 11 when I gave my heart to Jesus Christ and accepted him as my personal savior, I can see without exception that those times that were the happiest and I was most content was when I was following and obeying Christ.

The times when I look back and say I didn’t obey Christ were exactly the opposite. When you give your heart to Jesus Christ, you become a new creature. All things have passed away, and all things become new.

That’s exactly why we can’t be happy unless we are obeying Christ. When we are not obeying, when we are not following, we are in a place that we don’t belong.  The Bible refers to us as strangers in a foreign land.

I remember the words to an old church hymn:

“Trust and obey, because there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

I pray that today you’ll commit to trusting in His guidance and control all day long. By doing so, you are in effect saying, “I love you Lord.”

Have a blessed day.

~Dean Burnetti

Give A Little

1 Corinthians 9:22 “…So I become all things to all people, that I may save some of them by whatever means are possible.”This week, I’ve been planning a trip to Mexico with two of my grandsons and my son-in-law.  That got me to thinking about a Devotion I wrote the last time I was there…

I had the fortune today to meet up with one of my lizard buddies I haven’t seen in several months. We share similar taste in hats. He likes fruit, I like fruit.  We both like the ocean and to just hang around.

iguanadean

Although we may not speak the same language, we both like each other’s company.  Such is the case when you leave the country of the United States and venture to another place.

You may meet people, and many of them are wonderful. But often times, they are not exactly like you. They don’t speak the same language. They have different customs.
Things that you think are funny, they don’t think as funny and vice a versa.

But as Christians and followers of Christ, just as the Apostle Paul, if we desire to spread the gospel, we must be willing to extend beyond our differences with others and become all things to all people with an overall goal to share Jesus Christ.

Even in the United States, it’s not unusual to cross paths with others who don’t speak English. Even then, there is ministry that we can seize to share the gospel with people who don’t look like us, don’t talk like us, and often don’t even wear the same hats as we do.

Today, be willing to seize the opportunity. Let down your guard and share the gospel through the kindness and friendship you can show someone who is not quite exactly like you.

Amen.

Have a blessed day.

~Dean Burnetti

I Gave at the Office

Luke 6:38 – “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Last weekend, I was in St. Petersburg doing some chores.  I was out and about, and I went first to the Ace Hardware Store. When I made my payment at the cash register, the young cashier asked me if I’d like to donate my change to a well-known charity. I said sure.  I then went to McDonald’s, and when I got to the drive-up window, the young cashier asked me if I wanted to donate my change to their charity.  On the way home that day, I stopped by Wendy’s, and they, too, asked me to donate my change to their charity.

officeI must say, by the time I got to Wendy’s, I wasn’t feeling very charitable.  I guess this is the new thing to ask for your change to give to charity.

The scripture that we have for today is probably one of the more controversial and abused. The idea that if I just give something then I’m going to get something back has often been misapplied to create a get-rich-quick scheme. And what’s worse, it’s a get rich quick money maker that is guaranteed by God.

But there is still real truth in this scripture. For us as believers, God has promised us that our gifts will not fail to come back to us. The blessings that come back to us, though, are not necessarily money, but they are blessings nonetheless.

Today, don’t be afraid to claim the promise God has provided us that we should give, and that in so doing, He will bless us abundantly.

Have a blessed day.

~Dean Burnetti

The Value of Light

Matthew 5:14 – “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.”

It’s hard to appreciate the value of light in today’s time and culture. We’ve come so far, even in the last 100 years, through inventions of electrical light sources. Less than 150 years ago, our primary source of light came from burning oil lamps or sitting around a fire. In more recent years, there’s definitely been more effort placed into producing light. Nowadays, we just flip a switch.

campfire

The analogy of us as believers being compared to a light for the world doesn’t seem so significant in such a lit up world as we have today.  But we’re not a light just to a world in partial darkness, we’re a light to a world in complete and total darkness.

I remember when I was a child, my family took an annual journey from Chicago to Memphis, and we always stopped in Missouri at a place called Meramec Caverns.  This location was a Jesse James hideout. (I’m not sure if that’s true, but it always sounded good.)

As an adolescent at the time, I remember going into that cavern tour. It was well-lit with colored lights that made the stalactites glimmer in colorful beauty. But I also remember once we were deep in the cavern, without warning, they turned out the lights! I grabbed my mom’s and dad’s hands tight when those lights went out, because once they were out, you couldn’t see even your finger touching your nose. It was true and total darkness.

For purposes of understanding today’s scripture and the significance of what God is telling us, you almost have to see the world in such total darkness. Not with the night light in the corner but rather in complete and total darkness. Then contemplate that in that cavern’s darkness, we are not just another light.  We are the light Jesus Christ projects to this world.

You are the light Christ has chosen to shine through in darkness. Be proud. You are a big deal.

Have a blessed day.

~Dean Burnetti