Never Stop Praying

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Never Stop Praying.”

One of my most difficult things to do during a busy day is to keep that line of communication open with Christ. It’s so easy to get caught up in the business of the day.

Even as I’m writing this devotion, my phone is ringing from people who want to talk to me. It should make me feel good that I’m so wanted or needed by others. But at the same time, it oftentimes distracts me  from listening to the most important person in my day: Jesus Christ.
For the Holy Spirit to guide, there must be an open communication. Not only from Him to me but also from me to Him. That line of communication needs to be open all day long.
Never stop praying. This simply means never stop talking to God. In so doing, your attention to His voice is always open.
Today keep that communication open. Talk to Him — and listen. He will speak to you.
You will see your day transformed to all you could ever hope for, to be a Disciple of Christ.

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti

My Favorite Teacher

John 13:12‭-‬15 – After washing their feet, He put on His robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.
My fifth grade teacher was Mr. Blakely. He was my favorite because I really believe that I was his favorite. Or at least he made me always feel that way. One day after class, I remember telling Mr. Blakely about having given my life to Christ during a recent Revival.
He demanded that I acknowledge that I had accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior.  Thereafter, he shared his testimony about having given his life to Christ as well.
Mr. Blakely was a talented pianist who loved to play gospel hymns. We became very close friends. I would often eat lunch in his classroom with him. We would oftentimes even share and exchange sandwiches.
I loved his famous peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, and I think he enjoyed a change by eating my sliced roast beef sandwich. He definitely had an impact upon my life and made me grow to love education all the more.
All of us have probably had some teacher in our life who became our favorite. We remember them because we absolutely are convinced that they remember us. They knew who we were and who we could become. Because of them, we became just a little bit better students and people.
During much of the New Testament, Jesus was referred to as a “rabbi” or “teacher.” Almost all that He did was focused toward teaching others. Whether it be by example, by word, or otherwise, Jesus was the greatest teacher that has ever been.
What’s more is that Jesus told us to become just like Him. Each of us are teachers for somebody.
Today, embrace the fact that although you may not think you like to teach, you as a believer are just like Christ. You are a teacher. You are somebody’s favorite.

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti

Today’s Critical Decisions

Mark 10:13‭-‬16 – One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

This last weekend I had a to-do list that seemed to be as long as forever. I wandered how I would get everything done.

It seemed like I wasn’t even going to have enough time to listen to Sunday’s messages.
Ultimately, in my prayer time, I felt moved. God moved me to do nothing. I almost started to feel guilty as the weekend progressed by my not doing anything other than spending time with Him and resting.
This morning when I was listening to my Bible, I heard this passage which hit home. God had a lesson for me.
There will always be to-do lists. As soon as you finish one list, another will be created.
Although all the things that are on your to-do list may be important, they are not necessarily critical in God’s plan.
Here we see Christ illustrating for His disciples the difference between life’s to-do lists that are important and God’s to-do list of things that are critical. Listening to God’s voice is critical. For Christ, ministering to small children and placing His hand on their head with a blessing was critical.
Today, recognize that you have many important items on your list for the day. But the most critical are probably not on that list. Listen to God’s voice and never fail to pay attention to what are the most important items to attend to in your day.

Stay healthy and have a blessed week!

~Dean Burnetti

Opportunity Makers

Luke 5:2‭-‬4 – “He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

My cousin is a pastor in northwest Arkansas. He is one of the most gifted conversationalists I’ve ever known. He has the ability to approach almost anyone in conversation and make an instant connection with them. But inevitably, no matter what that conversation may be, he will almost always bring it back to Christ.

That is his gift. To be able to take the most of any circumstance and to you use that connection to deliver a message about Christ. Truly a great gift. This is a gift that comes natural for some. But it also is a gift that can be developed by all.
Here, we see Christ doing exactly what I am describing. He sees an empty boat. He approaches the owner of the boat. He uses that circumstance and connection with another to not only perform a miracle but, more importantly, to deliver a message. A call to come join Him and to follow Him. To make another person a fisher of men.
Today, be bold to venture down the path of utilizing your life situations and circumstances to make a connection and conversation with others. Then let the Spirit guide you to deliver a message about Christ. It takes practice, but it is the whole point of our engagement of the world around us. To look for opportunities, to show others your interest in them and then to deliver a message. The message of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Don’t forget to work the crowd.

Stay healthy and have a blessed weekend!

~Dean Burnetti

My Refuge and My Shield

Psalms 119:114 – “You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.”

In this time of pandemic, there are many who are on the edge of passing to another life. It amazes me how those who are Believers will hunger for the movement from this world to the next. Some would consider that as consistent with thoughts of suicide. But the world often simply does not understand the path of the Believer.

For us as Believers, we hunger for the presence of Christ. Oftentimes, that can be mistaken as inappropriate by the world. It might seem that we may even want to end our life.  But even the Apostle Paul, in many letters he wrote, hungered to be with Christ.

I cannot explain it but each morning as I awake, I find myself wanting to embrace Christ in my prayers and thoughts. In those times between sleep and awake are some of my favorite times to talk to the Lord.

I often wonder: Will our time together be so wonderful in heaven? Truly, Christ and my walk with Him is a place of refuge. With each step I take, I recognize that He is my shield. Even though the world around me would serve me harm, in His amazing presence I am secure.

Today, know that in your relationship with Jesus there is peace. He is your refuge and your shield. Enjoy the hunger and the comfort He brings to be in His presence. He is your refuge and your shield.

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti

Two Are Better Than One

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls and as not another to lift him up!  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?  And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

During my first semester of college, I broke my leg.  My doctor put my leg in a boot, and I required the assistance of crutches for two months.  Those two months were very difficult for me as I was forced to rely on the assistance of others for even simply everyday tasks.  It was disheartening.

My friends invited me to a celebration at their apartment.  They lived on the fourth floor, so I crutched over to the elevator only to find out it was out of order.  Fortunately, my best friend was by my side.  He took immediate action and executed a “Fireman’s Carry” to bring me up four flights of stairs – with my crutches in one hand and me in the other.  His act of service lifted my spirit.

Dear friend, I encourage you to live out this verse.  One day, you may be like my friend lifting his friend; another you may be the one in desperate need of a hand.  Look around and see if you can lift someone’s spirit today; you’ll be glad that you did.

Glory to God!

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti & Jeff Sheloske

A Wonderful Secret

1 Corinthians 15:51‭-‬53 – “But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.”

Today, I had the opportunity to attend the funeral of Elaine Warfield. Elaine was a wonderful Christian woman who was loved and cherished by many. Her wit and humor is what I will best remember.
As I was at the graveside service, I listened to the pastor describe Elaine’s life. She lived to be 95. She was survived by two remarkable children, Rob and Janice; and a posse of above-average grandkids.
By all measure her life was a total success.
As usual, my eyes began to wander as I read the dates on headstones. Some lived barely into their 30’s. Others into their 40’s and progressing into their 80’s. But few I could see lived into their 90’s.
It made me begin to question: Does anyone know how long they will live on this earth?
The answer is a clear no.
But just as it is true that God does not share with us our end-date, He does share a truly wonderful secret that occurs within seconds after our death… In the moment after Elaine passed beyond life on earth, she was transformed into the perfect presence of Christ.  Yes, Elaine is a new creature in Christ and she is immortal. If there was ever a miracle along Elaine’s journey, it is a reality for her today and forever.
Today, if you do not know Christ as your Savior, take this moment, even as you read my words, to surrender your heart to Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.  You can live in the secret moment someday, just as Elaine.
Stay healthy and have a blessed day!
~Dean Burnetti

It’s Monday

2 Corinthians 3:17‭-‬18 – “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”

It’s Monday. For some of us, that means the beginning of a work week. Having to go to work and clock in for another week of toil. Some of us look forward to Mondays. Others of us find it to be our least favorite day of the week. Toil and labor. Anxiety and stress. If only we could have won that Powerball last week. Then we might not have to go to work.

As Believers, no matter where we find ourselves on Monday, we are on a different journey than the rest of the world.  We may often follow the same path as others who are not believers, but we still have a different journey.
It is one in the Spirit of God. The Spirit and our Lord are one in the same. In that Spirit, you are truly free. You are not bound by the things that weigh down the world.
In that freedom in Jesus Christ, we are being conformed to His image. To be more and more like Him.
Today, embrace the journey that you are on. The work week may be part of the path, but it is not the journey. Our journey is our hand in the hand of Our Lord as we walk along our path. Everyday we are looking a little more like Him.
Walk in the Spirit.
Stay healthy and have a blessed week!
~Dean Burnetti

Proactive

Hebrews 10:24 – “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”

I remember my father telling me as a young man, with a sense of humor, “I don’t get ulcers, I give them.”  Back then I thought that was funny.  But with thought, I find many in the world around me motivate others with such an attitude.
Paul tells us to be creative, always looking for ways to to motivate our fellow servants to fulfill their callings in Christ. To always be thinking of ways to share Christ through acts of love.
Why is this so important?
Simple. In acts of demand, you will never encourage anyone to to be motivated to act appropriately in service to Christ. In Colossians 3:17 Paul wrote that, “Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus.”
This is not an easy discipline. It’s much easier to be reactive than to be proactive. We must be creative in thought and deed, with an intent to help others around us in their journey with Christ.
Today, take a few minutes and think of at least one thing you can do or say to another that can only be seen as an act of kindness and love.  You don’t have to tell them your reason; just do it. Who knows what opportunity it may create for you to share how God has changed your life.
Stay healthy and have a blessed weekend!
~Dean Burnetti

A Taste for Animal Crackers

James 1:13‭-‬14 – “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.”
Sesena has few things that I can point to as her weakness or kryptonite. But for an animal cracker, she will do a myriad of tricks. She will dance like a ballerina. She will roll over. She will play dead. She will even count out the number of fingers that I hold up. (Not really.)
Animal crackers are, without question, a source of temptation for her. In comparison, if there is no animal cracker present, she cannot be tempted to do anything. Her biggest limitation is that she cannot get into the cookie jar on her own.
When confronted with temptation, we all have our animal crackers. I have often wondered why God allows me to be tempted… Was it to condition me? To make me grow? To make me better? To see me fail?
As believers, we must be careful to recognize that God is not holding our cookie jar of temptations. The Bible tells us that our temptations arise out of our own desires. It is Satan who uses those cookies.
God is not purposely using temptation in your life. Nor is He choosing to make you miserable by tempting you with animal crackers.
God’s desire is to help you control your desires. Seek His face. He will help you keep your hands out of that cookie jar.
You can overcome.
Stay healthy and have a blessed day!
~Dean Burnetti