Friday October 24, 2014 Bridled

Posted October 24, 2014 by bgovanus
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 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.  James 1:26

It is almost funny if it was not so sad, how much time is spent dissing others. Sometimes it is done in a joking manner but for the most part if the intent is not malicious… it is just to make oneself seem bigger or better.  There is a tombstone that reads… On May 21st Miss  XXX finally held her tongue.  The old saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, sit by me.” was immortalized in the movie Steel Magnolias.  What causes people to talk badly about another?  For some, you would think there was to be awarded an Olympic Medal for this sport and they were in training to receive the GOLD!  But does it have to be this way?

I think often of something I read a long time ago. “Everyone does the best that they are capable of doing, at this moment!”  Through education, it is possible to learn new ways to handle a situation.  Through relationships and caring, it is possible to feel more empowered and confident, so putting others down to make myself feel “better” is no longer necessary.  Seeking to understand before seeking to be understood, changes my attitude and opens me to new ideas and an opportunity to grow.

I know that no one including me, is perfect…. EVER. God would not have had to send His Son to die a horrendous death if I could attain perfection.  I do know that James had it right…  there is no religious person who can defend belittling or demeaning another.  What a wonderful world it would be if the only things that ever escaped my mouth were positive and uplifting words.  How would my day progress if all I ever heard was affirming and encouraging and supportive phrases from the people with whom I live and work?  The amount of work everyone was doing would triple.  The cooperation amongst team members would make territory issues disappear because the team would be accomplishing the job before them jointly.  Ah, what a wonderful world it would be!  So this Utopia is only possible if it starts with me.  When I only speak encouragement… when I don’t allow others to undermine anyone in my presence… then and only then will my religion be worthy of the Savior who died for me.

Lord, help me keep my tongue busy praising You, lifting others up and encouraging those who suffer. Looking for the good in others will indeed be the best mining I can ever do. 

Thursday October 23, 2014 Small Churches

Posted October 23, 2014 by bgovanus
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“Aquila and Prisca, together with the church at their house send you hearty greetings in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 16:19

This husband and wife worked with St Paul to spread the faith. They built a small church in their home where people came together to study and hear more about this Jesus who did miracles, changed lives and gave directions on living a better WAY.  Their lives were forever changed by Paul’s witness about the Lord.  His personal story of how Jesus changed his life led them to be changed as well.  I know I was born into being a true Christian by the witness of one person.  I had been going to the Catholic Church since I was baptized at 1 month of age but I became a Christ follower much later.

It is a daunting responsibility to realize that I must be evangelizing and able to be a witness to Jesus Christ. I need to begin small churches that allow people to love and serve their Savior in their own way.  Sometimes a church is formed by a couple like Aquila and Prisca, or Katy and Jim, Dave and Des, Sherry and John, Vito and Vida, or Bobbi and Gary or single people like Ann, Holly or Mike.  Uniting people, Inviting souls to come together and LOVE God is what church is all about.  It starts when a fire is lit in one heart… a fire that Jesus ignited when He came and was recognized and welcomed.  Sometimes Churches unify for a season to accomplish a specific goal.  Other times they unite and keep growing and contracting with members who join in and leave as they are called.  God is always in charge.

Today with all the demands of life, it is easy to overlook this calling to create church. To cull out time to allow Jesus to be foremost and forefront in mind and heart is precious indeed.  The treasure happens with one yes.  The catalyst for unity is Christ.  He will create and build up as He did in Ancient Greece.  God blesses His churches wherever and whenever they are.

God of all Churches, help each person to nurture another and grow through invitation to know and serve Christ.

Wednesday October 22, 2014 Understanding

Posted October 22, 2014 by bgovanus
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The Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts.  1 Chronicles 28:9

My daughter faithfully visits her dad’s father in the nursing home. Sometimes he does not recognize her or her children.  He has dementia.  There are other times that he recalls her antics of her youth and they share songs that she used to sing for him.  He is anxiously awaiting heaven and during lucid times will pray with her and share how much he wants to go to heaven to be with his beloved wife and his many brothers and sisters who have preceded him in death.

Even in dementia, God is present in a real sense and can break through and manifest Himself in the minds and hearts of those who suffer from this disease but even more so in those who visit and serve those afflicted. Many of my friends have cared for parents who have dementia or  Alzheimer’s. Their faithful care, sometimes over decades is a witness of love and patience.  Their gift of time, talent and treasure to nurture their loved ones inspires me and others to treasure every moment and be just a bit more patient.

It is hard to watch erratic behavior and harder still to have a parent not recognize their child. One of my friends made an album of his mother’s life so when she had a moment of lucidity she could look back and remember.  What that also did was help her caregivers recognize her as a woman of substance who had a disease that was depriving her of her faculties.  They would talk with her in a more respectful way and converse about her career when she was “awake”.  This simple gesture helped her be less frightened and perk up when she was spoken to about her past as a Fire Chief or a Army Major.

We each seek to be understood. It is special to realize that eventually when my mind shuts down, God knows me and is a part of me… understanding me even when I am incapable of understanding myself.  I don’t have to wait for dementia to need that reassurance.

God, please send special blessings on those who are caring for aging parents. Help everyone who serves be patient and seek to understand.  Be with those who will say good bye to parents until they are re-united in heaven. 

Tuesday October 21, 2014 Attentive

Posted October 21, 2014 by bgovanus
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Jesus said to His disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.”  Luke 12:35

It is so easy to get off track. To get distracted from mission, purpose or even the task at hand.  I can forget in the space of walking from one room to another what I set out to do.  So when Jesus says be alert and attentive… I know I have work to do.  As much as I seek to be present to my Lord at all times, I know that I fail miserably.

Jesus was asking His followers to be paying attention and that is a huge sacrifice of my will. When I place God front and center to the exclusion of all the other trifles in my life, it is not a mortification of my spirit but a raising of my soul to a higher plane.  God is not a task master but a gentle lover asking for my commitment to Him.  When I can be present and attentive, the joy of being in His grace washes over me.

The sacrifice of giving my best self, my highest consciousness, my essence is all I really have to give. He wants my all and I want to give it.  My humanity gets in my way… all those shiny objects call my name and distraction wins too often.

Lord help me to be able to focus on You and give my utmost for Your Highest!

Monday October 20, 2014 Saved

Posted October 20, 2014 by bgovanus
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“Your faith has saved you.” Mark 5:34; Mark 10:52; Luke 7:50

I am sure you have picked up that Jesus said this phrase numerous times throughout the New Testament. He spoke these words to many people who sought Him out for a cure or a change in their lifestyle.  It made me wonder when He would respond in this manner because He is the Savior.

I read an explanation that helped me… Faith is the recognition of the presence of Jesus here and now.  Each of those who approached Jesus believed in His power to heal them.  They did not hang back on the sidelines and doubt, they did not let reason or what other people think stop them from coming forward to touch Him and be touched by Him.

Faith today is the same. Belief in and recognition of the presence of JESUS, Here and NOW!  He lives and moves and has His being for all time.  He has the power to heal, to raise people from the dead and to change the course of history just as much in this time as in the time 2000 years ago when He walked among us and did these things.

Life and times being what they are make it harder for FAITH to coexist with the Blue Ray players, High Definition TV, the cell phone and the surround sound. Jesus’s still quiet voice is often drowned out by all the noise.  If I allow silence then I will hear Him and be able to recognize HIM here and now.

Lord open my eyes to see YOU, here and now. Help me to recognize YOU and seek YOU in my life.  I am asking for my cure as did all those to whom You said, “Your faith has saved you.”

Sunday October 19, 2014 Sliced Bread

Posted October 19, 2014 by bgovanus
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Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

My mom used to say something that is as good as sliced bread needs to be shared. When she was growing up, bread was baked at home or bought in a whole loaf at the local bakery.  When sliced bread became available, it was an amazing thing!  Those nice uniform pieces so perfect for sandwiches were such a welcome change.  Today, obviously it is no longer a marvel.

Sometimes I think my faith becomes like sliced bread. I take for granted that I have a God who loved me so much that He sent His only Son to redeem my sins.  Jesus the miracle worker, the only person who could calm the waves, raise people from the dead or cure leprosy died like a common thief on a cross.  How can I be silent or complacent knowing all He did for me?  Telling other people about something good is second nature to humanity.  Spreading the good news about a movie I like or a great restaurant or a fantastic sale on jewelry or shoes is something I do almost daily.  Then sharing the GOOD NEWS about my salvation should be on the top of my mind.

If it was easy everyone would do it. Living my life as a witness and being able to stand for what I believe is crucial to giving witness.  Being able to say WHY I believe has been the reason I went back to school, continue to study my bible and seek to be fed at the table of great preachers and continue to read great books.  Life presents me with opportunities to share my beliefs and when I do so with joy, then I am confessing with my mouth and opening my heart for the  God who saved me.

Lord help me to be a witness of YOUR love for me and for all Your children. I know that my Redeemer lives and I need to share that Good News as easily as I share my movie reviews or favorite restaurant.  Give me the words to say! 

Friday October 17, 2014 Hidden

Posted October 17, 2014 by bgovanus
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“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.  Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops.”  Luke 12:2-3

My mother used to tell her many children to never do anything or say anything that we would not want her to hear or see. When I look at Facebook these days, I can’t help but think how some mothers would feel to see and hear these things. But here people are sharing for the whole world to see what I would not want anyone to know.

God tells me there is “NOTHING” hidden from Him. Since that is the case, come Judgment Day, I will have a pretty red shame-face.  All those impolite or hurtful things uttered under my breath or whispered to my friend in High School about the girl who did not fit in.  The gossip that I shared about a coworker or the affair I had while I was divorced will be revealed for all to see.  Those youthful indiscretions haunt me because I can never undo those hurts that I caused.  NOTHING is hidden from God’s view and I am so sorry for the pain I caused.  None of the barbs I inflicted can ever be totally removed.

God sees all and has forgiven me my sins when I asked His grace and understanding. The analogy of sin to a nail driven into a board serves as a good reminder for me.  The nail can be removed but the hole remains.

Lord, I know that I am constantly a source of sin and I regret my shortcomings. I ask You to help me to make better choices to love and serve those You put in my path.  You see me and know that I am weak… Help me. 


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