Friday August 28, 2015 Self Awareness

Posted August 28, 2015 by bgovanus
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God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 1 Corinthians 12:7
I really believe that my “natural” abilities are innate gifts of God. It is important to recognize those things and build on them to be the best servant of God that I can be. Too often when I focus on the things that I am not good at, trying desperately to improve, I miss great opportunities to serve and make a bigger difference. God gives each person very special and wondrous ways to make a difference in the world. Sometimes, that difference is in a single life, like a spouse who cares for an invalid mate… sometimes that difference is to many… like a teacher who serves her students for a lifetime helping them discover a love of learning or a special talent… sometimes that difference is for an entire race like the leadership provided by Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela. The greatness is grace, a gift provided by God for the good of others. I think that there is much greatness that is never given to the world. Far too many people die with their best still inside of them. Those who concentrate on their faults and shortcomings and never recognize all the wonder that God has placed in them are like a song that is never sung. It is the greatest tragedy of all… the waste of a life.
It takes discernment and prayer to discover that music inside. Being “TOO BUSY” is often the excuse I hear. Soul Searching is an exercise well worth the time and mind-share investment. Whether it is simply using a pad and paper, or taking a test online, Spiritual or Personal Coaching each investment of self to really discover where God has gifted me and then taking action to use those talents is important so that when I meet my maker I will hear Him say… “Good and Faithful Servant!”
Lord Help me to discover and use the gifts that You have given me. I want to help others and myself to shine Your light. Allow Your gifts to surface. Let them brightly glow through me to the world leading others to YOU!

Thursday August 27, 2015 Mother’s Devotion

Posted August 27, 2015 by bgovanus
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What a lioness was your mother, a lion of lions! Among young lions she couched to rear her whelps. One whelp she raised up, a young lion he became. Ezekiel 19:2-3
Today the church celebrates St Monica who prayed for the conversion of her son, Augustine. After fifteen years of prayers, tears and sacrifice he became a Lion for the faith. Not only did he become a Christian, he became a bishop and a Doctor of the church. She was indeed a lioness of prayer. I think the vast majority of moms want to be lionesses and advocates for their children. They sacrifice their own health and well-being, their own desires to put their children first. Scripture recognizes the role mothers play often. Comparisons to a mothers love and care are used to demonstrate God’s love. My favorite is Isaiah’s verse 49:15 Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you!
So why don’t all people turn out God fearing pillars of virtue when they have this incredible mother’s love? So many times the criminals moms are interviewed at prison before an execution and they love their babies forever. Good parenting does not insure a stellar son or daughter. Too often, mom’s prayers do not reap the change of heart like they did in Augustine. The effect and importance of those prayers may be felt only in heaven. Perhaps they are helping the family affected by the harm their child did, to forgive and move on. Prayer is always heard for God is always listening and He alone knows how the answer to those prayers will play out.
As a mother and grandmother, I know how crucial to my own peace is placing my children and grandchildren in God’s tender care. I daily gently visualize them in His light and let go of my worry since I have NO CONTROL and trust that God is watching over them. Since they all live hundreds of miles away… this is an exercise that allows me to function. It is easier as a mom, when your children are small and you can meet their needs, than it is to be like St Monica when your children are out of your purview and influence. You want their protection and growth but have no physical way to give it. Prayer is a lifeline that connects me to my progeny.
Lord, Thank You for my children and grandchildren. They are my gift beyond pearls and light my life with joy. I give them to You!

Wednesday August 26, 2015 Evangelizing

Posted August 26, 2015 by bgovanus
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The Samaritan woman said to the people of the town, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” John 4:29
Unbeknownst to her, this woman was evangelizing… her witness and invitation led many to follow Christ. That is really all evangelizing is… sharing the wondrous things that God has done for me. If I tell someone about a movie or book that touches me or a great restaurant that delighted me palette or a wonderful tradesman who painted my house, fixed my leaky sink or landscaped my yard, I am a disciple. Sharing the “Good News” is not any harder than sharing any other news. If I am excited and care about the people who I interact with, I want to give them an opportunity to enjoy the experiences that have made a difference in my existence.
There is the rub… if my faith did not make a difference then it would be hard to share it. If I had a terrible dinner someplace or saw an awful movie, I would want to prevent my friends from wasting their time and money. I would tell that tale as well. God has been so good to me, of course I want those who I love to know Him.What about those I don’t know or love? When Jesus walked the roads meeting strangers, healing and telling His stories about His Father, He spoke with passion and conviction because He loved everyone He met. Even the Sadducees and Pharisees. Even the Scribes and the Tax Collectors. Even the Thieves and the Soldiers who crucified Him.
Jesus is calling me to tell my story of relationship with HIM. I cannot do a convincing job of advocating for a restaurant if I have never eaten there. No one ever buys a boat who has never ridden in one. The experience and delight is what causes someone to jump in… both feet into a relationship. The invitation to experience has to come from somewhere…
Lord give me courage to be Your evangelist. Open doors for me to share my relationship with You so that others will want to Come and See.

Tuesday August 25, 2015 Manifesting Change

Posted August 25, 2015 by bgovanus
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(Jesus said) “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38
I have always felt ill equipped for what God seems to be calling me to do. I want to say, “I Can’t Possibly do This or That!!!” What I had to realize is that I can’t do it alone. Then when that finally dawned on me… it opened up a whole new world. I am so fully human that temptations are my constant companion… and truly my flesh is so very weak. I, like the Pharisees can be judgmental, I judge myself as harshly or more so than I judge others but that does not make it right. I long to be all that God calls me to be but indeed my flesh is weak.
I love C.S. Lewis and he has great insights on this subject. “We all want progress, but if you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” The only way I can realize I am on the wrong path is through prayer. When I seek out my Father and discuss with Him my thoughts, fears, challenges and doubts; then and only then can I manifest the about-face required to step forward and make progress.
The change that is needed may be dramatic or it may be a slight nuance but all change is hard. I know that I never want to admit I was wrong and make adjustments. I hate that I have wasted precious time and resources going the wrong direction. BUT I have learned that each misstep teaches me and every fall makes me more empathetic to the person I meet who is experiencing the same challenge. Every day God opens my eyes to new ways that I can be closer to Him if I choose to do so. It is only through watching closely and diligent prayer that I even notice these gifts of grace. He asks me to “BE STILL and KNOW that HE is God!”
Lord, open my heart to see the road I am on. Help me to make the changes that I need to make in order to reach my eternal destination.

Monday August 24, 2015 Seasons

Posted August 24, 2015 by bgovanus
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Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in Him!” Psalm 92:14-15
I read a startling statistic, an average of TEN Thousand people will turn 65 every day for the next twenty years. Baby Boomers we are called. I am convinced now that as I approach that number myself that people are aging much better. When I look back on my parents and grandparents, they seemed OLD and much more tired at my age (if they lived this long). Advertising tells us that 60 is the NEW 40 and I believe it. I believe that I and my counterparts have much more to contribute to society, bearing fruit well into my eighties and maybe even longer. These words were written FOUR thousand years ago. I think that each generation ever since has been inspired and believes that into each season there is much to give, it is just that the numbers were much smaller.
As the average life spans continues to lengthen, it is only right to want to be productive and vital! Life is much more fun and worth living when it is filled with creation and an ability to share myself and my talents. I believe God is calling me to new and different challenges, exciting opportunities to serve Him each day. I may not get them accomplished as quickly as I once did but that really does not matter. What I bring in expertise can offset what I lack in speed.
I ask myself often, to what is God asking me to give birth… Sometimes I think it is important to step back and reevaluate what occupies my mind and heart and see if it still fits who I am. Just like clothing that gets to snug or loose as my body changes, it is important to take a look at how my mind, actions, work and relationships still serve me. REBOOT myself, as it were. Reinvention prepares me for the next phase or season of my life. God is my rock! He gives me substance and direction. What is He calling me to be 65, 75 or 85? I am like a fine old apple tree who still has much fruit to yield. Maybe I will graft a Cinnamon bush to make a new flavor but I can still produce great apples.
Thank You Father, for giving me the desire to be all You created me to be. Help me to recognize the NEW paths that You are calling me to walk, all be it more slowly, in service to You.

Sunday August 23, 2015 Convinced

Posted August 23, 2015 by bgovanus
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Simon Peter answered Him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that YOU are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68-69
The disciples were deserting right and left after Jesus told them they needed to eat His flesh and drink His blood. They had no ability to get past the old Law which told them that they were NOT to drink the blood of sacrifices and could not even HEAR what Jesus was saying. Jesus had performed miracle upon miracle before their eyes but these people could not get past this key issue. The Apostles on the other hand, KNEW in their minds and their hearts that Jesus was the Son of God. Who else could He be? It was not hard for them then to stay… Their conviction fueled them to remain true to the MAN who had called them away from fishing boats and tax collection tables. He was the alpha and omega.

Jesus asks me today, Do you also want to leave? When I am feeling like Job… persecuted and broken, I can hear His question. When I am tempted by the shiny objects that present themselves… money, fame, pleasure; I can hear His question. When my family needs things that I cannot supply… I can hear His question. It is hard to stay CONVINCED when the world presses in. But Peter had it right… To WHOM shall we go?

Throughout the Scriptures, there are a few people have stood by their convictions… Joseph rolled with the flow and continued to believe even when His brothers sold him, Potiphar’s wife lied, his cellmate didn’t follow up on his promise… Joseph was convinced that God had not forgotten him. Job, of course, Abraham and Moses never lost their faith that God was the ONLY one! There are countless examples but the issue comes down to my own conviction… Do I believe? Can I accept God’s will for my life? Will I choose life?  Am I truly convinced and convicted enough to stay the course and BELIEVE when the going gets tough or there is a situation beyond my ability to reason?

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15 Let this be my constant prayer!

Friday August 21, 2015 Burning Bridges

Posted August 21, 2015 by bgovanus
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So Elisha turned back from Elijah, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant. 1 Kings 19:21
There are many stories throughout history of people who have cut all ties to the past so they could start anew. Captains of pilgrim ships who landed on the shores of our country, burned them to make sure the people were “committed” to the new way of life in their new home. I am sure they were inspired to use this tactic from scripture verses like this one. In Elisha’s case he was not just telling himself that his life as a farmer was done, he was communicating to his family and friends that he was becoming a new man… one carefully selected by the Prophet Elijah. To become someone NEW, it is necessary to let go of what I was before. When many people become missionaries today, they sell everything so there is nothing tugging at their heart, no home calling them away from the life they have chosen.
I read an interesting story about the building of the bridge over the Niagara River that separated the US and Canada. It was the late 1800 and no one could figure out a way to create a bridge because boats would be hurled over the Falls. So one ingenious man proposed a KITE flying contest where someone could win $5 if they were able to fly a kite that would land on the other shore. A young boy accomplished the feat. That kite string was used to relay a rope, which was used to finally relay a steel cable which was the beginning of the bridge that now crosses this expanse. So even a tiny connection can create a tie that binds.
As I look at what ties me to the life I have and keeps me from the one that I want to live, I realize that much of what I am holds me back is much stronger than a kite string. Sin is very hard to burn up. Pleasure and selfishness can put its clutches deep into my soul. Yanking it out like the weeds growing with the wheat in Jesus parable is almost impossible to be rid of today. I am asking God daily to help me make a clean break.
Lord you can use the tiniest of kite strings to draw me closer to you. Help me cling to these and burn the bridges that are six lane highways of sin. You are my new home and I look forward to abiding with You!


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