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. 

Sunday July 20, 2014 Prayer

Posted July 20, 2014 by bgovanus
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Brothers and Sisters: The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself interceded with inexpressible groanings. Romans 8:26

It is hard to imagine that St Paul was up against a situation where he did not know how or what to pray for. One so articulate and rooted in the faith, and yet here he is saying that he was weak. Each time I am overwhelmed with a situation, I whisper my prayers to the Holy Spirit and beg for His intercession. I know that it is not my humble prayer that will relieve the pain or create healing but God in His infinite wisdom and mercy who changes the situation.

St James said The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16 These are not opposite views, instead an encouragement to keep praying without ceasing and to always seek the Spirit’s intercession. Trusting God to know the best result is a big part of prayer. I can never know all the intricacies and fine points that God has in His plan. I always try to pray for His Will to be done, not mine. For what I might see as wonderful might be in opposition to His divine plan.

Lord, Help me to seek Your will and to never cease to pray. I invoke Your Spirit and invite Your Will to be a part of my prayer for in You, I move and have my being. I am Yours.

 

Friday July 18, 2014 Significance

Posted July 18, 2014 by bgovanus
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“And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows”.  Matthew 10:30-31

I believe that one of the driving forces in life is to make a difference or leave a legacy.  Even people who go on shooting sprees in malls are just trying to have their fifteen minutes of fame.  They want people to know their name and to talk about them.  Reporters in the frenzy talk to anyone, even the offenders second grade teacher or fourth cousin who supposedly can give an insight but really they are just prolonging the new cycle and getting their 30 seconds in the spotlight.

God told me that I matter to Him.  He revealed in Scripture verse after Scripture verse that His people matter.  When Jesus came and put this love in terms like these… there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind but doubts persist.  I want to earn my significance but in reality that is impossible.  Should I save an entire village from Malaria or write a best seller or find a cure for cancer… my worth in God’s eyes would be the same… and bottom line that is what matters.

I will continue to serve God and do what I feel He is calling me to do but only from the fact that I AM does my worth in His eyes come.  I cannot earn His love.  That realization is very freeing and at the same time causes me to want to do more.  For when I fell loved, then I work even harder.

God, You are love and You have made me Your child, a sparrow teaches me the depth of Your caring.  Thank you for pouring your consideration upon me. 

Thursday July 17, 2014 Naked

Posted July 17, 2014 by bgovanus
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Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”  Job 1:21

Job has always been my hero.  Because in spite of all the calamity, he trusted God still was in His heaven and that He was still in charge.  Sometimes I think it is impossible to know how blessed I am until I have been stripped naked of all that I hold tightest to my chest.  God needs to be able to access my heart and when I cling to people or things, job or my stature in the world… He cannot get through to me.  I know that I am standing before Him naked when all I have to focus on is Him and what He wants from me.  That can never happen in the midst of my successes… it only happens when I am humble and stripped of all the excess.  Let’s face it, there really is way too much excess.

Baggage is everywhere.  Stuff crowds in so when I need to get right and down to the essence, I seek the quiet, the place where I can find the Lord and myself.  Retreating into what He has to reveal to me and about me will only be manifest when I am alone in the silence without the distractions of my accoutrements and props.

Lord, help me to bare my soul and be open to the essence of who I am meant to be here so that I can be with You forever in paradise.  I know it is only with You, in You that I will be clothed in peace and joy! 

Posted July 16, 2014 by bgovanus
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For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.    2 Corinthians 5:21

There was a great song in the 60s “Breaking up is Hard to Do” by Neil Sedaka.  When I read the scripture verses from 2 Corinthians today, it made me think about how hard making up is too.  No one wants to make the first move but in order for fences to be mended and a fresh start to occur, somebody has to take the first step toward reconciliation.  When I am feeling hurt or alienated, even when the rift is MY fault, I do not want to be the first to apologize or try to make amends.  Not only was God not at fault, He was the injured party and yet He sent His Son to earth to repair the damages.  Where would I be if He had not made the first move?

There is much regret when things are left in a contentious state.  Anger and frustration make each person in the standoff feel alone and harmed by the situation that caused them to fall out.  It is hard to imagine that God was feeling upset when His creatures rebelled but I know that He was disappointed even though He knew Eve would bite the apple.  I am so grateful that God sent Jesus to pave the way back to God for none of us could have crossed the chasm left by our betrayal.  It is almost impossible for the RIGHT to admit they are WRONG but sometimes the words “I am Sorry” are the only words that will do.

Lord help me to be brave and willing to mend the broken relationships in my life.  Help me to take that first daunting step toward reconciliation as You did by sending Your Son to save me. 


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