Friday August 29, 2014 Give

Posted August 29, 2014 by bgovanus
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Give to everyone who asks of you.  And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.  And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.  Luke 6:30-31

I have asked Gary to give me cash so that as I walk the streets of Orlando when I am approached by a homeless person, I have something to give.  It is rare for me to carry cash so when we go out now, Gary gives me the ones so I have something to give to those who ask of me.  I have given my protein bars, bottles of water and bags of nuts when I had no cash.

What about all the charities that call on the phone?  What about the needs at church for the building fund, Catholic Relief, Retirement funds for the religious, Bishops Appeal, Catholic Charities, and the list seems to be endless.  We have always resolved to say yes, even if it is a small amount because of this verse.  We have never been hungry or homeless.  God has taken care of our needs.

It is interesting that the next line is the “Golden Rule.”    Jesus gives me food for thought about what I want folks to do TO ME!  Do I want to turn around and do TO THEM!  Having this as a basis for all relationships or even elevating it to the “Platinum Rule”.  Establishing heaven on earth where everyone thought and acted in the best interest of the other.  It would indeed be a whole new world!

Lord, help me to say YES!  To give generously and know that I am only returning or sharing what You have entrusted to me.  Living a life of giving and sharing is living a life of grace. 

Thursday August 28, 2014 Conversion

Posted August 28, 2014 by bgovanus
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We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given to us by God.  1 Corinthians 2:12

Monica prayed for her son Augustine for 32 years that he would be a Christian.  Ananias received direction in a dream that he was to go lay hands on Paul to allow him to see.  Both of these people played a big part in the conversion process.  They knew that God’s Spirit was going to open the eyes of another person and help them to understand and accept the things freely given by God that both Augustine and Paul were unable to see.

There is conversion happening all the time.  God invites me to be a part of His handiwork.  I need to be a willing servant and accept my role.  Ananias was reluctant to go to Saul.  He had heard of his persecution of the believers of the Way.  He balked at putting himself in the presence of such a murderous and powerful person.  I know that I too have fears of being ridiculed or thought a faith fanatic but when I place my trust in the Lord… He gives me the words and the opportunity to be His witness.

I can identify with Monica who prayed and cried and prayed some more for her son.  What mother has not beseeched the heavens for the child who strays?  I know that when I pray diligently but turn over my beloved daughters and grandchildren to God’s care, I can do no more for them.  Prayer is the ultimate gift.  Tears are a gift too.  They wash the frustration and open my eyes wide to see God’s power when I certainly have none.

Lord, thank you for allowing me to be a part of Your conversion process.  I give You my hands and my heart with constant love and hope for the best of those You put into my life.  I pray and besiege heaven on behalf of those You give me to watch over.  Help me to let You do the converting and I will be a silent partner! 

Wednesday August 27, 2014 Darkness

Posted August 27, 2014 by bgovanus
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And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough!  Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”  1 Kings 19:4

The recent suicide of Robin Williams has weighed heavy on my heart.  I too have struggled with depression throughout my life.  When I read this scripture this morning about Elijah, I knew it was time to write about it.  Elijah has been called Israel’s greatest prophet and during this time, he was fleeing from the infamous Jezebel for his life.  He was tired and frustrated and well, depressed.  He told God that he was done and just laid on the ground under a tree and was ready to wait for death.  God’s response was to send an angel to feed him and bring him water…. TWICE!  This nourishment gave him strength and courage to face the road ahead.

Robin Williams set the bar on comedic genius.  He hid the pain and demons he faced but in the end, he could no longer overcome them.  I am sure God sent him angels along the way to nourish him and keep him with us because with the disease of depression… this was certainly NOT the first time he told God, “It is enough!”  God apparently was ready for Robin to go home.

I too was sent an angel when I attempted to take my life.  Thirty-five years ago, Jan saved me and set me back on the lighted path.  Back to church, back to believing that I could face the challenges and I would be able to be “enough”.  Depression is a horrible affliction and others in my family work hard to keep the demons at bay.  I pray for my niece, Marie, to survive each and every day. Lighting the way for another is a huge and heavy job and God really is the only one who can do it.  Spouses and friends cannot bear up for the long haul.  I need God’s strength and sometimes medication helps too.

Lord help all who struggle with depression.  Make their way clearer and lighten their sadness.  Open the minds and hearts of friends and coworkers, spouses and parents, sisters and brothers so that they can understand a bit better the difficulties of those who carry this burden.  You are the healer! 

 

 

Tuesday August 26, 2014 Feet

Posted August 26, 2014 by bgovanus
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Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105

This is a very popular verse.  There have been hundreds of sermons written on it and some publications have used it to be their directing force.  I am drawn to it for a very different reason.  I have broken my toes fumbling around in the darkness.  I know that is not unique for I have even seen people posting photos on FB of bruised and battered appendages.  The real trick is realizing how reliant I am on my feet to get me there.  From the first moment I step out of bed to the last leg raised under the covers at night… I rely on them to move me.

This verse talks about a lamp and since my feet cannot see, it implies another of my organs are involved in the process.  Yes the whole body is involved in my survival.  This is the epitome of my realization and prayer today.  Not one cell of my being is unimportant.  It is a concerted effort just like the dynamic of life.  I cannot survive alone.  I need the farmer for food, the teacher for growth, a job for money and family for love and nurturing  There is not one who is unimportant in this scenario.  I am grateful for the gift of friendship, the food of sustenance and the joy of work.   The lamp or light of Faith makes it all fit together.  I appreciate my feet today and ask God to help me always remember how important to my survival all the individual parts are to my whole.  Whether they be feet, hands or eyes… every part needs to be appreciated.

Dear Lord, give me the grace and wisdom to appreciate every person I meet today.  They are part of your body and an integral part of the workings of your plan for my life. 

Monday August 25, 2014 New Directions

Posted August 25, 2014 by bgovanus
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Let the Lord God show us what way we should take and what we should do.  Jeremiah 42:3

It is reassuring to read Scripture and know that these great men and women were asking the same questions and feeling just as clueless as I do at times.  No matter how confident I may feel about my job, my family situation or the next step… I need to pray and get the eternal perspective.  His confirmation or the lack of it will point me in a new direction.  I am sometimes amazed at the startling things that I take away from my prayer time.  I jot them down and pray again to discern that the devil is not in the details.  God helps me discern next steps and I feel that I am on the right track.

As I grow older, I try and examine things even more closely… the years of my own willfulness have brought some wisdom.   God does open new doors and guide me so that I know He is showing me the way to go.  This is a blessing for which I am always most grateful.

Today, I thank God for directions.  I know that I am easily lost and have trouble finding my way.   The GPS in my car gets a work out because I am directionally challenged and I know it does not stop on the roads of Central Florida.  I need the Paternal Guidance Support from my Father in heaven.

Lord, You are the beacon that lights my path.  I need the constant homing signal You are sending to me to guide me home to You.  Help me to always seek the path that will bring me to Your presence. 

Sunday August 24, 2014 Faithful to Death

Posted August 24, 2014 by bgovanus
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Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life.  Revelation 2:10

My mother in law, Dolly Govanus, was faithful to death.  She read and studied scripture every day.  She would sit in her chair with her bible and a study guide for hours each day.  She is now united with the love of her life, Jack, in the heavenly home that they both believed in and professed.  It must have been a sweet reunion as she received the Crown of Life because Jack and our Lord both treated Dolly like a queen.

I know my Redeemer lives because of faithful people who live a life dedicated to Him.  Their faith is a beacon that inspires and helps me see my way when my world becomes dark.  Dolly lives to be 92 and her faith was an integral part of her very existence.  There was never a day when she did not pray and have her quiet time with her Lord.  She crammed a lot of living into her years.  She traveled and enjoyed fishing, the outdoors and was passionate about antiques.  She converted an entire farm in Clintonville, WI into Dolly’s Antiques with several outbuildings chock full of treasures that attracted customers from all 50 states and that was long before the Internet.

I am grateful that I became her daughter in love.  I know she and Jack have both received the crown of life and will someday be there to welcome me home, along with my own parents.  Lord help us here to mourn her passing and be joyful that she is with You receiving her everlasting reward… young and vibrant forever.

Friday August 22, 2014 Empathy

Posted August 22, 2014 by bgovanus
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May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Prayer is the greatest empathy anyone can give to another person.  St Paul prayed for each of his churches because he knew them and the trials they were facing.  I have asked for prayers for my mother in law, Dolly, who has been unresponsive for a week in a hospital, prayers for my daughters, my friends… God knows the hurt and confusion that I feel and He listens to me and eases my burden.  I read once that empathy and sympathy are quite a different approach.  With empathy the man who sees someone in a ditch stays on the side and reaches down to help the person who is stuck… In sympathy, he climbs in the ditch with the man.  God offers hope and help from above and encourages me through others who cannot join me in my ditch but who inspire and strengthen me through several means.  Coming down into the pit with me however does no good for anyone.

As God inspires and gives me hope with eternal encouragement, He often sends this aid in the form of Christians who know and love me.  They are the offering that hand up and I try to do the same when I meet someone struggling to climb out of a deep abyss.  The strength to carry on is indeed a gift and I am grateful for all who cheer me along the way.

Lord may I be full of empathy and encourage those who I meet today who have fallen into the pit of worry over a job loss, who are struggling to climb out of illness or who are buried under debt.  God Your grace is sufficient to provide a rope, a ladder or even a helicopter if the chasm is so deep.  Thank You for being present in Your Son and the Holy Spirit to strengthen me in every situation. 


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