Why Are You Arguing?

2 Timothy 2:23‭-‬25 – “Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.”
During the years of my practice, I have helped many different people who have many unique communication skills. Some can be so kind, you would do anything to help them.
Others can be so argumentative, it can be tough to help them.
I’ve come to believe that many just want to impress that their anxiety is overwhelming. It’s almost as though they want you to feel and recognize the despair they feel.
No matter what their place is in life or how they communicate, I have learned from God’s Word that I am to approach them all the same. In gentleness, patience, and kindness, with a goal to change their hearts and to point them to a better way in Christ.
This is true for interaction with unbelievers and believers alike. Just because you profess Christ does not mean that your walk abides in Him. That’s why the believer can often be the hardest to minister to. They simply fail to see the misdirection of their steps.
Today, no matter who you approach in life, commit yourself to minister and guide in gentleness, kindness, and patience with the goal to change hearts for Christ. Praise God for the difficult ones.

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti

What Do You Want?

John 1:35‭-‬38 – The next day John was again with two of his disciples. He saw Jesus walking by. John said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this. So they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned around and saw them following. He asked, “What do you want?”I was at Publix over the weekend when a homeless person approached me. Before he could speak I asked, “What do you want?”

I think my reaction took him off guard.  He quickly said, “Sorry,” then turned and walked away.
This morning while I was reading this scripture, I found it thoughtful that Christ’s first comment to His first disciple was in the form of a question: “What do you want?”
Usually, today that conveys a message to “get out of my face” or “why don’t you go away.”  But I am convinced that Jesus was not suggesting for him to leave. He was merely meaning exactly what He asked, “What do you want?”
Whether it’s your first time approaching Jesus, your last, or one in the middle, Jesus is always asking the question, “What do you want?” He does not ask in agitation or anger, but rather out of love and concern.
Recognize that He already knows what you want. He already knows what you need.
He just wants to hear it from you. Today, talk to Him.  He is interested in you.

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti

Love Your Neighbor

Mark 7:5‭-‬7‭, ‬14‭-‬15 – “So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.” Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. ”

My wife is serious about using the hand sanitizers before we walk into any business. Many businesses often have a large bottle of sanitizer in their front entrance. This is not unusual in today’s world. My wife always makes it a point to direct me to use that hand sanitizer. I am sad to say that often, if she is not with me, I walk by it and never actually use it. I justify that my hands are already clean and I don’t like it because it’s often a little slimy.

Just the other day, as I was behind an older couple, the gentleman said very loudly that he didn’t need to wash his hands. What was important was what was inside and not the germs on his hands. I couldn’t wait to get home so I could find the passage of scripture that I knew down deep he was making reference to.
In Mark chapter 7, Christ was definitely making a reference to the religious but man-made customs of the Pharisees concerning hand washing, specifically the act of pouring water into cupped hands prior to eating.
Christ’s message is still true today. That which is from within us is what defiles us and not the dirt on our hands. But at the same time we must be careful not to utilize the scripture to justify our often politically biased behavior. No matter what we think about washing our hands, using hand sanitizer, wearing a mask, or social distancing we must be careful about using God’s word to justify our actions.
There is no doubt you can find scripture that will speak to the truth that we as Believers should not fear anything in this world but rather lean on and trust in God. But that does not give us the justification to not be concerned about the health and welfare of others around us. Remember, Christ said we should love our neighbor just as we love ourselves.
Today, wash your hands, wear your mask, and practice good distancing. It is consistent with the lessons Christ has provided us. Love your neighbor.

Stay healthy and have a blessed week!

~Dean Burnetti

When You Do God’s Work

Luke 4:40‭-‬41 – As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of His hand healed every one. Many were possessed by demons; and the demons came out at His command, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But because they knew He was the Messiah, He rebuked them and refused to let them speak.

In my morning devotion, I caught myself asking God, “Am I on the path that You want me to be on. Am I doing the things that You want me to do?”

Those are questions that, as believers, we often ask. There have always been times in my life that I can’t help but question if I’m where I need to be on my journey with God.

As many, I am often guided by feelings. When I don’t see everything going just right ,I seek some emotional acknowledgment that I am on the right path. This morning when I was reading in the book of Luke, I came upon this passage.

Just when Christ was performing like a machine, here comes the demons trying to expose Him as the Son of God. They were trying to do anything to derail His journey.

If you want to know if you’re on God’s path, look for the opposition. Satan and all his demons will not be silent if you are squarely on God’s journey.

Your feelings can never be your compass. Rather, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit must be your guide. Today, shake off you feelings and hold tight to God’s Word. The Spirit of Christ is your compass.

Stay healthy and have a blessed weekend!

~Dean Burnetti

SpaghettiOs for the Soul

Mark 12:31 – “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen shortages of numerous household goods. Everything from toilet paper to certain foods.  For most of us, we were able to adjust and cope with these shortages.  But for Crystal MacDonald, a shortage of canned SpaghettiOs created a significant challenge.

Crystal is the mother of 11-year-old Ashlyn who has severe non-verbal autism.  Before the pandemic, Ashlyn would eat cheese pizza, yogurt, and grilled cheese.  For Ashlyn, food is an extreme sensory experience causing many foods to be too bold, taste and texture-wise.   After the pandemic, the only thing Ashlyn would eat was SpaghettiOs.  “Once she lost her routine of school, and like so many people with autism, routine is vital to their mental health, she stopped eating other foods.  I think the predictability of the texture and taste of the SpaghettiOs brings a sense of control and comfort to her in this time of chaos,” Crystal explained.

As others stocked up on toilet paper, baking supplies, and disinfections, Crystal searched the local groceries for SpaghettiOs.  Desperate, she searched up to 20 stores in a single day.  Crystal’s quest was eventually featured in a story about food shortages, and that’s when the community stepped up.  Some offered tips, others delivered cans of SpaghettiOs to Crystal’s house.

Ashlyn’s story then gained nationwide attention, and Campbell’s Soup Company (the maker of SpaghettiOs) sent Ashlyn a year’s supply of SpaghettiOs.  In response to everyone’s generosity, Crystal said, “This will bring so much joy and relieve so much stress.  This is an amazing blessing, and I can’t express my gratitude enough.  I don’t have enough words.”

Friend, I encourage you to seek opportunities to be a good neighbor.  Deliver a baked good, deliver a complement. There are so many ways that you can show Christ’s love to others.  Sometimes, even small, simple gestures make the most impact.  You never know when something as simple as a can of SpaghettiOs can literally change someone’s life.

To God be the Glory!

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti & Jeff Sheloske

God Knows Where You Are

Proverbs 5: 21 “For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.”

where you areIt’s hard to fully appreciate that God is aware of each and every one of us, no matter when or what we are up to. But, sooner or later, each of us will  travel through difficult times.

When I am there, my worst tendency is to feel alone. That creates my worst feeling, despair.

Here the Bible tells us that as believers we are never alone. God is always aware of each turn we take. He is there within each conflict or obstacle we confront during the course of our day.

This is a simple promise. That God is always aware and that He always cares about you.

Today you may be confronting just that situation. The one that makes  you retract to hopelessness.

Today, there is a cure. Start by praising God. Take some time to thank Him that He is right there with you. That He is aware of what you are dealing with, right now. Then, seek comfort and allow God to intervene.

The problem with being in a sense of loneliness and hopelessness is that it places you in a position that will keep God out of your picture. Mainly because you build a shell around yourself.

You have to open and allow God to intervene not only in your situation but in your heart. Today, get past despair. Shake it off in praise. Embrace the promise and hold on to spiritual freedom and joy.

Stay healthy and have a blessed day!

~Dean Burnetti

Even When You Can’t See

Luke 18:35‭-‬43 – As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.

Sunday, I was hiking in the Cashier’s area of North Carolina. It was a foggy and rainy morning, but I was not going to miss the opportunity to see the mountain top. The more I walked that day, the wetter I got. My shoes were not waterproof, so my socks started to feel like there was more water on the inside than on the hill.

But regardless, I was driven by the expectation that once I got to the top, I would see the most spectacular view of the adjacent mountains and landscape. Finally, I could see a break in the tree cover. There was a brightness of the sky ahead. As I rounded the corner to the observation deck on top, I knew I had finally arrived.
I ran to the railing to see my reward. It was a white cloud of fog so dense that I could see nothing but more fog. At first I was discouraged and wanted to leave, but than I remembered reading this passage earlier that morning.
I realized that being unable to see God’s greatness in my future is only a temporary place. In fact, my friends were quick to describe the greatness of the scene that was before me along with photos on their phones of what was really there. It was then that I knew God is great even when I can’t see. Praise God for fog that only lasts for a moment, that can never cover the wonders of Him.
Today, you may be in a position where you can’t see ahead. You can’t see how you’re going to get through. You cannot see how life will be navigated, and you can’t seem to find God’s greatness. It is in those times that, just as the blind looks for God’s greatness, you must claim what is already there. Even when you don’t see it.
Today even when you can’t see, rejoice in His greatness.
Stay healthy and have a blessed day!
~Dean Burnetti

Who’s Coming to Dinner

Matthew 11:19 – “The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”

As a Believer, it is always very difficult to create relationships with individuals that you’re attempting to win to Christ. You want to be their friend, but at the same time you need to be careful about the influence they can have on your walk with Christ.
I used to think this only applied to young people. As a teenager, I remember my Sunday School teacher, Sister Francis, who always commanded us, “If you don’t want to get dirty, don’t play with coal.” It was a good message to guide myself with, although I didn’t always listen.
I’ll always remember one particular friend I had from down the street. He didn’t go to church, but I always thought he was a great guy. Now, looking back, I realize he was a bad apple. He would get me into more trouble than I will ever admit to in writing. Eventually, we went our separate ways after high school. I just always knew he’d eventually start coming to church with me and change his ways.
We know that Christ was not bashful about spending time, whether it be dining or socially, with those who would be considered the worst of sinners. For His time, it was Tax Collectors. That would almost be like one of us as believers taking to dinner the man who owns the local strip club and spending time socially with him in your home. Now you know that would draw a lot of criticism. But those are exactly the people that Christ came to save.
So then how do we create the relationships with the “tax collectors” around us without allowing ourselves to be changed for the worse. The key will always be to have a solid relationship with Christ. To daily walk with Him before you venture into trying to win the rest of the world. Before you sit with tax collectors, drug dealers, and owners of nude bars, you need to have your personal daily relationship with Christ on such a level that others cannot change how you think, how you feel, or how you act.
It will never be easy. But it’s exactly where you have to be as a Believer if you are going to win a lost and dying world who may sometimes be living in the worst of sin to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Today, know that although those in the world may want to be your friends, your best friend still remains Christ who provides you the strength that you need to minister to the world around you.
Friends forever.
Stay healthy and have a blessed week!
~Dean Burnetti

Never Forget 

Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

On September 11th 2001, terrorists associated with the Islamic extremist group Al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out the most brutal of suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of those planes were flown directly into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The third plane hit the Pentagon. The fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed during this 9/11 terrorist attack. 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 police officers and 37 Port Authority officers were included in the casualties. Even after the day of this event, it is estimated that hundreds have died from 9/11 related cancer and respiratory diseases.
I remember watching that day of the attack on television. The aircraft crashing into the Twin Towers and World Trade Center. It was emotionally devastating to our country. To each and everyone of us.
It becomes so easy, though, for us to all march forward with life. Although we remember, we often don’t take the time to really ponder and pray for all those who are still feeling the pain and loss of health and of their loved ones.
Today, pray for those who have been and are still affected. Pray for those who have experienced loss because of this day. And then know that Christ is still present to heal and provide rest for all.
I encourage you to call anyone you may know that was personally present or affected on that day. Tell them how much you love them and appreciate their service and sacrifice.
God Bless America!

Stay healthy and have a blessed weekend!
~Dean Burnetti

Forged

James 1:2‭-‬3 – “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

I’ve always been drawn to looking at great knives. In the past, I’ve had the opportunity to attend very special knife shows. Some of them cost more than $20 just to enter.
It is amazing that some artists spend months creating a single knife. But when you see their workmanship, it looks as much like jewelry as it does forging. Many are often adorned with gems and stones. They are beautiful, costing in the thousands of dollars.
Whether a knife is diamond inlaid with gems or not, they all have a similarity though. They must be hardened. The metal must be heated and quenched in order to create a temper or hardness to the steel. Otherwise, it will not hold a sharpness and may break or bend.
God has made each of us in His image. But just like the knife blade that must be tempered, we must submit to life’s trials to become tempered in the Holy Spirit.
All this is good and well, but I love today’s scripture. It not only tells me trials are on the way, but it also tells each of us that our attitudes in the face of trials can be just as important as the trials themselves.
Today, don’t miss the message. Even today you will be facing some form of trial or trouble. Your attitude in the face of trials is just as important as your endurance. Praise God and be thankful for what you face. You are His workmanship.
Stay healthy and have a blessed day!
~Dean Burnetti