Tuesday July 25, 2017 Sower

Posted July 25, 2017 by bgovanus
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As for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.  Luke 8:15

This week the scriptures have been speaking of seeds, weeds and rain.  Which of course drew me to the creator who is the provider of all.  God knows what the seeds need to germinate and provides the ground, the sun and the rain.  There are weeds, storms, rocks and other factors that hinder the maximum growth but God provides the needed stuff for each of us to reach our full potential!

As often and as I fail, I am grateful for the opportunity to be better.   Even though I am stumbling, I do not fall to my death.  I have some scrapes and bruises but am able to bear good fruit. The journey of a seed can be quite a lengthy one.  The seed harvested in one place can be shipped off to anywhere or be sown in the same field where it was grown.  It can sit in a silo for several seasons or immediately be planted the next season.  The seed does not get to decide.  That is so different for us.  God has given me free will.  I can bloom anywhere I choose to be planted.  The interesting thing is when I put down my roots, I need the Sower to provide for me.

I have journeyed to many countries and lived in many states.  I love a quote by John F Burns, The New York Times journalist who was recalling the words of a colleague dying of cancer… “Never forget, it’s not how far you’ve traveled; it’s what you’ve brought back.”  Have I allowed God to nourish me and help my soul to be all I was created to be?

Lord Thank You for caring for me.  Nourishing and nurturing me.  Pruning away when I needed to lose the stray wandering tendrils that would keep me from growing straight and tall.  I remember always Your faithfulness.

Monday July 24, 2017 What do you want?

Posted July 24, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”  John 1:38

I have been asking this question of myself and others for my whole life.  One of the top things on my list has always been to spend time with those I love.  I have moved often in my life and that distancing from family and friends has always left me forlorn and depressed sometimes for months after a separation.  The older I get the harder it becomes to say goodbye or even so long for a while.  I have learned to make a date before I depart for the next time I will see my loved ones to give me something to cling to make the separation easier.

Every person needs to ask themselves this question that Jesus poses.  “What do I really want?” is as profound or as simple as I want to make it!  It can be asked at a restaurant as I gaze at the menu or at a car dealership as I try to choose the vehicle that I will drive for the next five or ten years or at as I decide a job that I will have for the foreseeable future…  When I mentor a person, I ask them to answer this question about their career path or college courses but I always follow up with WHY? Four or five times!!!  After soul searching and formalizing an answer, often the light will come on that illuminates the darkness that has prevented someone from seeing the right path to take.

Life continues to be a series of choices.  Jesus was being followed and He asked his disciples to be clear about their expectations.  If I am to be a true follower of Christ, I need to be able to answer this question, clearly and then take action accordingly.  For I have learned that not making a decision is making one as well.  I am just giving my power to someone else or to chance.  Never a fulfilling or satisfactory option.  Jesus asks me to be a committed follower, never wishy washy or lukewarm.  He invites me to ask and answer each day WHAT DO YOU WANT?  He tells me throughout scripture to choose life, to choose him but He never forces my hand.

I have set before you, life and death, the blessing and the curse.  Choose life, then.  Deuteronomy 30:19

Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him.  Sirach 15:17

Lord, thank you for my family and friends.  Help me to choose always to serve You and those I love faithfully.  Help me to identify WHAT I want and say yes to it as long as it is in Your will, You will bless me.  I choose LIFE! 

Friday July 21, 2017 Clothe

Posted July 21, 2017 by bgovanus
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Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.  Romans 13:14

I packed a bag yesterday to go away for the weekend to travel to my Family Reunion. A lot of thought and planning for just two days went into my suitcase.  When I read this verse from St Paul to the Romans, it struck me… How does the well-dressed follower of Christ prepare for the journey to heaven?  Putting on Christ, I would not consider how I looked but instead how I was able to perform in what I was wearing.  Could I serve others?  Would I be able to kneel, to jump in excitement and dance?

Putting on Christ amounts to wrapping myself in love.  I get a warm feeling just thinking about it.  Nothing scratchy or tight, nothing stiff or confining would be in His wardrobe.  Jesus lived and moved and had His being for love so my new outfit would be approachable and make everyone around me comfortable.  St Paul was cajoling in his tone in this passage… Friends PLEASE do this… time is short, dress the part… you want to be ready for the KING of glory.

Nothing I have in my closet is the perfect attire to meet my God and King.  ONLY Christ can supply the garment suitable to wear to the judgement.  He asks me to put HIM on each day to be ready just in case this is the day, I will go home.

My family really does not care what I wear when I am around them.  My preparations for this trip were about what was light to carry on the plane, what would look good in pictures and washable in case of spills.  What consideration does Christ make in choosing the garment for me to wear?  What traits are most important for me to add?  He will provide bigger and smaller sizes, different colors and styles for each of us have quite different needs to meet our maker.  As I get older, I hope that what Jesus will provide is finally becoming more of what I wear each day.

Jesus, I am grateful that You are willing to clothe me and help me prepare for the Eternal Interview.  Dressing for Success takes on monumental implications when I realize that I have You by my side. I wish to always be ready!

Thursday July 20, 2017 Eternity

Posted July 20, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end.   I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.  That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in their toil—this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:11-13

Many attribute King Solomon with these words.  His perspective on humanity from the plushness of his castle to say that all man wants is to be happy is interesting indeed.  What is remarkable though is that these verses follow the fourteen pairs of opposites that describe all of the TIMES of life… a time to live and a time to die, a time to laugh and a time to cry… the extremes that each of us face sometimes in the same day and sometime in the same moment.  There are so many times when gathered with family reminiscing about a funny situation or remark made by a deceased love one that I can be laughing and then burst into tears.  Strong emotions are alive in hearts and souls and quickly bubble up to the surface.

Eternity in my heart drives me ever forward through the good times and the bad, through the sorrow and the joy.  No matter the season of life, my soul is restless until it rests in HIM.  I am ever moving forward toward eternity.

Lord, help me to approach each day with the passion to serve You even when my life is filled with mourning when I would much rather be dancing.  Inspire me when I need to keep on searching when I would prefer to give up.  Give me peace when all around me is at war.  Help me to laugh and weep in the same moment for in those moments, YOU are beside me and in me.  As I continue my journey toward eternity, be with me always! 

Wednesday July 19, 2017 Least

Posted July 19, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

The King will reply to those at His right hand, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.”  Matthew 25:40

Twenty years ago, I was asked to do a witness talk on a retreat.  I chose this verse and the rest of the passage where Jesus describes the final judgement, the sheep and the goats all gathered before the KING and separated because of what they did for the least of the least of mankind.  I described a time when I was the “LEAST” and how a woman I had just met saved me from committing the worst sin of all, despair and suicide.  I have come to realize that each person has LEAST moments.  My job as a Christian has become to be ever vigilant and ready to serve those God puts in my path.

It is amazing ow many opportunities to serve are placed before us.  Yesterday, I learned of a young woman who was in two car accidents within a couple weeks.  She is a young single mom of two boys 4 and 7.  She had a very good job in Real Estate but has not been able to work since the beginning of June with neurologic symptoms that have debilitated her.  Her PTO has run out and the bills are looming large.  Friends created a meal brigade for this young family, others created a Go Fund Me Campaign and still others are putting together an event to raise money.

Go Fund Me Link – https://www.gofundme.com/brittany-johnson

Meal Train Link – https://mealtrain.com/2l1m65

Event: Facebook for more details, The HAUS Project will be held July 31, 2017 Citrus Club, 5:30PM $20 cash suggested donation.  Silent Auction items needed. 

 This reminds me to step into action and help wherever and whenever I can.  Each of us will have our turn being the LEAST!  How blessed we are to be surrounded by people who care enough to do what Christ has asked.  Who are the Least in your life?  How blessed we are to be able to answer God’s call to action and put ourselves on the “Right Hand” of God.

Lord, I know that You have given me an opportunity to serve the Least and to be the Least.  In both circumstances, the blessings of receiving and of giving are great but to You always goes the glory.  For the reward is never n being giver or receiver… it is in serving You and looking to that final judgement without fear.

Monday July 17, 2017 Weakness

Posted July 17, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

St Paul reminds me daily that Jesus can take my mistakes and shortcomings and make something good of me.  I know that I am weak and often fail but God can and does turn things around if I just let Him direct me.  How often I stumble and hit the bottom hard.  When I struggle to get up, I ask Him for help to do better and He never fails me.  The problem is, I forget to ask for help.  I am stubborn and think too often that I can do it all myself.  I want to be strong, I want to stand on my own two feet and not need anyone or anything… but that is NOT reality, but sinful pride.

God knows me, He knows human nature and understands weakness even though He was not weak.  He reaches out His hand to me when I am down.  Often it is through another who has experienced the same troubles.  That is why divorce support groups, AA or Widow care groups work.  The knowledge and the experience of one person can benefit others who are ready to listen.  Survival happens one moment at a time.  Pain can be overwhelming and prevent someone from making sound decisions, but two strands are tougher to break.  Add a third, someone who is praying and success is guaranteed.

It all starts with honesty and a desire to overcome.  I cannot break the chain of weakness and failure unless I admit I am fallen.  I can deceive myself with false bravado, I am FINE!  The ugliest four-letter word in the English Language.  It hides truth from myself and others.  In weakness God can begin His work of perfecting.

Lord, help me to admit my weakness and seek You to make me whole.  I know You stand ready with an army of helpers to make me better.  All I need to do is ask for Your assistance.  Thank You for loving me. 

Sunday July 16, 2017 Reconciling

Posted July 16, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19

It is hard for me to begin the reconciliation process when I feel I have been wronged.  But reconciliation only happens when someone makes the first move.  After my divorce, I was mad, hurt and angry.  I read that holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.  So, I sat down and wrote letters of forgiveness to my God in heaven and ex-husband (which I did not mail) to siblings and my mom (which I did mail).   I received very different reactions from my brothers and sisters.  Mostly they were confused.  They had all assumed that I didn’t need them because I had been a pretty independent gal for all of my life.  They did not reach out with offers of support when I was at my lowest point and I was suicidal.  God did send me an angel but it hurt that it was not those whom I hold most dear.  God helped me to forgive and open myself up to a renewed closeness with them.

Someone has to be the first to offer an olive branch… a call, a text, a letter or a visit.  Usually, it is the one who caused the hurt but not always.  God sent His only son to repair the damaged relationship with His people.  Jesus was the letter, the Word and the person that mended the brokenness.  It is such a testimony to God’s love of His people that He took the first step to reconcile us to Himself when we were still deeply sinful and unworthy of His love.  God teaches each one of us that reconciling is the only way to achieve the optimum relationship.  Only by opening the door can love grow strong once more.  Is there a door that you need to open today?

Lord, You teach us about true love and how reconciling can and should be done.  Help me to put aside my self-righteous attitudes and pave the way to peace by being as loving and selfless as You are.