Monday July 28, 2014 Planners

Posted July 28, 2014 by bgovanus
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{The women} asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”  Mark 16:3

There really is nothing wrong with making a plan but sometimes I get my mind locked on something and worry it to death looking at every angle and anticipating every possibility.  The women in the Gospel were on their way to Jesus tomb and suddenly thought, we have the spices, the clothes to wrap but how do we get to Him?  They didn’t stop and go back home to get a few strong men… they kept going.  Even though they bring up a valid concern… they continue on their way.  I love that act of faith and the fact that Mark chose to mention it in his Gospel.

Being in tune to the changes and coincidences of life opens up a world of possibilities.  When I plan things so tightly that there is no room for serendipity, I also remove the opportunity for God to create something special.  Even when an idea presents itself that could alter my plans, it may be good to keep going!  The answer may be right there just around the corner and my recent incite may be an opportunity for awareness so I can recognize God’s glory.  Who will roll back the stone?  Is a practical and extremely logical question…  it did not stop them.  They continued to the grave!

Lord help me to continue on my journey to You.  Open my eyes and my heart to serve YOU but never becoming rigidly focused on MY plans so that I miss Your direction and the Hand that You play in every moment of my existence.  Thank You for loving me. 

Sunday July 27, 2014 Asking

Posted July 27, 2014 by bgovanus
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God said, “Ask something of Me and I will give it to you.”  1 Kings 3:7

Solomon was a young man when God asked him in a dream what gift he would like bestowed upon him as he started his reign as king.  Solomon chose WISDOM.  Because he chose wisely, God gave him that gift and a multitude of others as well.

What is scary is that God says the same thing to me.  Jesus told of His Father, “Ask and it will be given, Knock and the door will be opened, Seek and you will find” Matthew 7:7.  Why then do I not trust?  I think in large part, it is because I am afraid that I will ask for the wrong thing.

I do not doubt that God answers prayer.  I know that He listens to my humble petitions.  I know that I ask, and when I do… He responds.  Even for simple things like a close parking place when it is raining.  But when it comes to the “BIG” stuff, I do not trust myself because I tend to say, “Your will be done” instead of saying what I truly want to happen.  Of course, I want what I want to match God’s will but I guess I can’t stand the idea that it might not.

It is a confusing and sometimes difficult place to be.  I give myself to God’s grace and beg Him to teach me what to prayer for.  It is always easier to pray for other’s needs than my own.  It is easier to have perspective when it comes to those I can see rather than dealing with my own stuff.  Their needs are much more real because they are visible to me.

Lord PLEASE give me a clear vision of what to ask.  I want to be Your servant and obey Your plan for my life.  I know You have a path that You wish for me to follow.  Open my eyes and my heart to seek You each and every day. 

Friday, July 25, 2014 Mine to Do!

Posted July 25, 2014 by bgovanus
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Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Matthew 20:28

Coming to grips with His mission and accepting it, had to be the hardest thing Jesus ever had to do.  He seemed reluctant at Cana when His mother pressed Him into service for the givers of the feast because He knew how people would react to the miracles He was capable of doing. He could see the end of the journey would culminate at Golgatha.

My friend, Toni Crabtree, wrote a chapter, What is Mine to do?  in a book I recently published.   She addressed the different paths she had taken to finally arrive at what she KNOWS is her calling.  Life is a journey to figure out exactly what God put me on this planet to achieve.  Each day I am presented with opportunities to serve or be served.  It is not easy to choose a life of service.  Especially when the life of ease is beckoning with a lounge chair, a book and a Mai Tai. People can be the most frustrating part of the day. Those we love and those we don’t even know need our attention and care.  They are a distraction from what I think is “MINE TO DO”.  But are they really?  If God’s message is to serve… caring for each one is what I am called to be doing.   He is the One who knows what is my destiny of service and who I am supposed to serve.  My job is to love those He brings into my life.

Lord, Thank You for the opportunity to serve.  Give me the strength to smile when I am tired, embrace those who need to feel the warmth of Your love and wash the feet of those who need to feel the soothing balm of Your forgiveness.  You have shown me the path I am to take and what is Mine To DO! 

Thursday July 24, 2014 Hardened

Posted July 24, 2014 by bgovanus
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The Sovereign Lord says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  Ezekiel 36:26

How does a heart get to be stony?  How does a spirit get crusty?  Like a callous on my foot, constant exposure to rough surfaces builds a hard surface that gets deeper and more impermeable.  When I am tired, I block out the opportunities that require more energy than I currently have and miss out on the chance to be touched on my softer spots.  Protecting my inner core from more rough treatment or what I fear will be challenging causes that hard edge to grow.  God wants to open me up and shave away all the hardness.  He wants to use His pumice stone to smooth away the callouses that keep me from experiencing love and growth.   Because the callous is preventing me from feeling, I miss out on all that life has to offer.  It may seem like that is not all bad because I am missing out on more hardship but there are lessons in the pain that do take me closer to my God.  He brings good out of every difficulty.

Lord help me to open my hard chest and allow you to replace it with a new heart that is filled with Your Spirit of love.  Break down the callouses that make me so hardened.  I want to feel the warmth and experience the beat of a new and vibrant pulse that is quickened by opportunities to serve You!  Help me to be a softer and more gentle spirit!

Wednesday July 23, 2014 Hear

Posted July 23, 2014 by bgovanus
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“Whoever has ears ought to hear.”  Matthew 13:9

Jesus was telling the people a story from a boat because there were so many gathered, he climbed in to preach so the masses didn’t crowd Him.  He spoke that day of the sower who was dealing with all types of soil for His crops.  Each place the seed went had a very different result.  When I read this verse, it sounds a bit odd to me.  However to the Jews to whom Matthew addressed his Gospel,  this was just right.

From Deuteronomy when the law was first given, the people were commanded to HEAR, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! Deuteronomy 6:4.  This was the centerpiece of Morning and Evening prayers.  Their Shema is the affirmation of the oneness of God.  Shema comes from the Hebrew term for the first word in the verse, hear!

God never shouts.  He whispers.  That is why it is crucial that I listen attentively.  He lays out His plans in gentle voice and calm revelation.  Only when I am attentive will I hear Him.  There is much distraction in my world so I must be quiet and go to a place apart in order to HEAR.

Lord, I want to increase in holiness and peace.  Help me to silence my mind and heart and listen for the gentle word that is Your way.   Want to be present and allow Your Spirit to wash over me.  Help me to HEAR! 

Tuesday July 22, 2014 Steadfast

Posted July 22, 2014 by bgovanus
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The psalmist wrote, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.”  Psalm 51:1

David was a sinner who denied his guilt for a year.  He was an adulterer and a murderer.  He finally admitted his sin and when he was forgiven he wrote some of the most beautiful songs of praise ever written.  Because after feeling guilt and remorse for so long and living with the grief of being separated from God, he was able to bask in the mercy that God rained down.  I am not advocating that everyone go out and become a murderer in order to realize God’s love but owning up to one’s iniquity (each of us have plenty of sinfulness) can open a door of blessing.

Life is full of temptation.  Seeking God in the daily grind so that I am not as likely to succumb to them is a key to living a life that honors Him.  I fail and when I do, it is so reassuring to know that God is merciful and wants me to return to Him.  He stands as the prodigal’s father looking out for me… running to me when I make even half an effort.  Forgiving every sin and not holding my feet to the fire.  I read a story once about a father who had his son drive a nail in a fence each time he was angry.  When the son forgave or made amends, he could draw out the nail.  The father was proud of his efforts but showed him the holes in the wood.  Only God can fill the emptiness created by the sin.

Lord, thank you for Your mercy and for the balm that Your love is to my soul.  It fills every void and makes each heart whole again.

Monday July 21, 2014 Required

Posted July 21, 2014 by bgovanus
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You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8

Micah makes it sound so easy… ONLY do right, love goodness and walk humbly.  No problem!  I wish it was that easy!  Being a sinful creature, I know that doing right, all the time, at every juncture and every moment is nigh onto impossible.  I want to be obedient, respectful, generous and kind but there are so many times that I fail.  When it comes to loving goodness, that is not as hard but loving it and living it are two different things.  Humility, that is probably the hardest thing of all…  I want to be recognized for my hard work and commitment… doesn’t God see how important that is to me?  So if these are all that is required… I am failing at being a follower.  But God says earlier in the passage, that He understands my limitations.  He brought His people out of Egypt and offered them freedom and they still were not loyal to Him.  This list is a minimum of His expectations for discipleship.  Can I come humbly before His throne and ask for the grace to be His Child?  These are characteristics of a dutiful son or daughter!  Respect, honor and obedience… doing what is required is the least I can do!

Lord, please be patient with me as I struggle with the minimums.  You know I want to be the best but I fail miserably.  I need your patient intervention with grace to bring me back to the place where I can be Your faithful child. 


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