Holy Thursday April 17, 2014 Overcoming

Posted April 17, 2014 by bgovanus
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Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work… is finished. 1 Chronicles 28:20

Thought this verse was a rare gift on Holy Thursday. I can hear Jesus saying them to His disciples at the meal before He faced His own dark night in the Garden of Gethsemane. Before He would sweat blood thinking about losing His life and the lives of His friends to make the changes in the world necessary to be the atonement for sin. He knew each person needs encouragement and He was and is the ultimate encourager.

The apostles gathered in the upper room to share the Passover Feast. I have attended a Seder meal. Much scripture is read, much food and wine is consumed because you eat and drink after each Scripture passage that is read. It is a journey through Bitter herbs, sweet fruit, the choicest lamb and wine at every juncture. It is no wonder that the apostles fell asleep.

The Passover story is the one of overcoming the Pharaoh’s stubbornness through miracles performed by a God who loved His people enough to interfere. Of course, God’s timing is always perfect… what better night than this to overcome sin in the world and put the wheels in motion to save humanity again than the PASSOVER. Where the blood of lamb is used to protect God’s people. God indeed finished the work through Jesus. I know He does the same today, in and through His church. Even when I am discouraged, I know God is with me and if I persist with His help His work will be completed.

Lord help me persist through exhaustion, rally when the road ahead looks steep and rely on You when the road is dark or hidden by complications that seem insurmountable. I know You are by my side.

Wednesday April 16, 2014 Adopted

Posted April 16, 2014 by bgovanus
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You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

My husband is adopted. It has been brought up occasionally through the years but because friends are trying to adopt a baby we have discussed it a bit more than usual. It got me thinking about the changes for everyone concerned in this process. The new parents create a home and a space in their hearts for a child. The child depending on their age, may have to learn to love a new set of parents but in the case of a baby being adopted… the child only knows and loves the provider of security and love, acceptance and care. The third party of course is the biological parent. The emotions of separation and disconnection must play a part but I have to believe that overall there must be a desire inherent to see that their offspring is given a better life. Each person is profoundly changed by this turn of events.

God changed me when He adopted me. Giving me a new home and a new lease on life is truly what happens in every adoption but the children of God are affected for eternity, not just a lifespan. Realizing that because I am a new creation in God’s love has truly been a new lease on life and continues to be each day. During the growth into the adulthood of my faith, I have come to realize what a true gift it is. Just like any adoptive parent, God sacrificed a lot to bring me home. In His case, it was His only child. What an incredible outpouring of love and desire to have me be a part of His family! I thank God when I stop and realize this incredible sacrifice. Just like any adoptive parent, there are no guarantees who a child will turn out to be. I pray that God looks at me and says that the sacrifice, Jesus made to adopt me was worth the pain He suffered.

Lord, I am so grateful to be an adopted child. I strive each day to realize what You gave up to bring me home.

Tuesday April 15, 2014 Trusting

Posted April 15, 2014 by bgovanus
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You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

When the road is darkest, that is when it is most necessary to trust in the light of Christ. A friend, recently lost her house and she remarked “I am excited to see what the Lord has planned.” I admire that level of trust and seek to have it as my own. My husband calls me a world class worrier. When I think about that in relation to faith, it is hard to put a balance in my perspective. If I am a believer and know that God is my rock and salvation… how can I worry? If I trust Him to care for me, why then do I doubt or stress out about what lies ahead? He tells me in countless scriptures that He holds me in the palm of His hand, that He knows the number of hairs on my head and that He will lead me beside restful waters to give me repose. Why then do I worry?

I am sure that He is with me and will continue to guide me in spite of my insecurity. I know that the devil plants seeds of doubt and creates havoc in my life by constantly holding me back from stepping out in faith. Inspired by faith, I seize opportunities to do good. When I am worried, I hold back in fear. That is not my utmost for His highest. Doubt is never where God wants me to live. This week, I am reminded of the two men who betrayed Jesus trust… Judas and Peter. One believed that He could be forgiven and that Jesus could love in spite of the fault. That is a huge step of faith.

Lord, Help me always to trust You even when I lose my way. I know that You want the best for me and I believe in YOU! Help me to trust in You and in myself. Put aside my worry and doubt. Give me peace even when the way is dark and the road is steep for You are at my side.

Monday April 14, 2014 Rescued

Posted April 14, 2014 by bgovanus
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The psalmist wrote, “I lift my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from?” Psalm 121:1

Everyone thought that Jesus would be rescued from the predicament that He found Himself facing. Judas did not even imagine in his worst moments that his betrayal would end in Jesus death. All the disciples had watched Jesus perform miracle after miracle which included calming the seas, feeding people and who could forget raising Lazarus from the dead. When he saw how wrong it all went, he tried to undo his deed and the leaders would have none of it. Judas despaired and hung himself.  Judas played the part that God needed Him to play in this tragic scenario.  He did not believe though that God could rescue him.

Jesus was reluctant in the garden and asked His Father if there was another way that He could accomplish the task of saving this wretched people. The help did not come. There was nothing He could do but face His accusers and stoically accept His torture, all the while knowing He was not to be rescued but would be the RESCUER! Jesus is a constant source of help for the helpless and hope for the hopeless. He knew the end of the story. It did not make it easier to suffer but He knew, He was accomplishing His Father’s will and that ONLY He could accomplish the task ahead of Him.

Jesus, Thank You for rescuing me from my sins. I know that each and every lash was felt and that the crown of thorns was excruciatingly debilitating. Help me to accept my own suffering and offer it up for the sins in my life and for those who need Your mercy today. You opened the gates of heaven for me and I am so unworthy. Thank You for loving me.

Palm Sunday April 13, 2014 Passion

Posted April 14, 2014 by bgovanus
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Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” Luke 19:40

The heat of the moment often drives a person to do crazy things. Uprooting goal posts after the winning touchdown at the big game. Violence or looting or destruction of property is crowd think. When alone, an individual would not act in this manner. So on this day, a man on a donkey enters Jerusalem and people start stripping palms from trees and throwing their cloaks onto the road, proclaiming Jesus the Son of David. Hosanna in the Highest!

Where would I have been on this day? Would I have been passionate enough to be singing and dancing before the donkey bearing my Lord? A better question might be, would I have been at the cross just a few days later when no one else but John and a few women stayed the course… still believing that Jesus was the Christ when all evidence pointed to the contrary! It is much easier to be passionate and exuberant when everyone else is doing it.

Life presents me with choices each and every day. Jesus inspires Passion, which is defined by Merriam Webster as intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction. Today am I intensely committed to serving Him? Is my faith my driving force? Am I convicted or could I be found guilty of being a Catholic? We concluded Mass with the song, Were You There When They Crucified My Lord? It always makes me think, Would I have been Passionate enough to cast aside my fear and stand by His side when He was dying for me?

Lord give me strength to be Passionate for YOU! Seeking You with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my being!

Friday April 11, 2014 Rejoicing

Posted April 11, 2014 by bgovanus
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This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

There is a lot to be said about God’s great design of 24 hours in a day. If I can keep my thoughts and focus on the present, I cannot do anything BUT rejoice. Every minute of my life is a gift. The air I breathe, the rain or snow, the people crowding the highways are all a gift that I will never experience again. When I start to move my thoughts onto my tomorrows and begin getting anxious about the way this or that thing will turn out… I cannot be grateful as I need to be. If I have regret, I am living in the past. God’s peace is doled out in 24 hour increments.

If I hear myself complaining about anything, I step back and say that this is where God has placed me at this moment. If I am tired or frustrated, I often stop and ask myself, “What am I bringing into this that is extra baggage?” God gives me only what I can handle, so it is usually the extra weight that I need to let go of that I am carrying over from yesterday or an anxiety over a tomorrow which may never come to pass.

God made this day and my job is to rejoice in it! Seek the moments of joy and give Him the glory. In every moment even in tragedy, loss or disappointment… He is with me.  If I can always be grateful, He will bring me through even the most difficult circumstances for this is the DAY the Lord has made.

Dear Heavenly Father, I do rejoice in all the gifts You have given to me. I am trusting that You have brought me to every situation and will continue to be with me! My job is to be glad in everything for You have the whole situation held tightly in Your hands!

Thursday April 10, 2014 Fellowship

Posted April 10, 2014 by bgovanus
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God is faithful, and by Him you were called to fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9

Last night during small group discussion, the idea of fellowship was discussed. How even Jesus used a small number (12) to build His church. Jesus preached to 5.000 people at one time but His personal call to the individuals who became His confidants and comrades is the nucleus He used to grow His church. Building with and through a small group where shared intimacy among trusted companions is possible, not easy but possible.

People need to know how much you care about them before they can really open up. They can buy from you, have a glass of wine or share a meal as casual acquaintances but true fellowship grows over time and through trust. Creating an atmosphere of openness that allows for trust is the only way that growth into fellowship can happen. Sitting beside someone who has lost a loved one, suffered a job loss or is enduring a tough diagnosis creates a bond that binds. Only inside a safe and welcoming environment can fellowship grow.

Lord, Help me create a space where true fellowship can blossom. Help me to be aware of the needs of those around me and be open to allowing them to share their burdens, their joys and give me strength to help them carry on always keeping Your gentle love as the focal point of our lives.


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