Sunday May 24, 2015 Walk

Posted May 24, 2015 by bgovanus
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Hezekiah prayed, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before You faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in Your eyes.” 2 Kings 20:3
Every day I am presented with many choices. It is never an easy decision… The temptations are everywhere! I can choose to walk the path of integrity or make the easy buck by lying. I can be true to my marriage vows or create sinful relations in person or online. I can be generous with those less fortunate or selfish with the gifts I have been granted. I can be lazy or I can be helpful. The list goes on and on. I shudder to think of the judgement because I know that I have not always been faithful in my walk on this journey toward heaven.
No one is perfect except Christ so Hezekiah’s prayer gives me hope that God will be lenient or at least understanding. I know there were hard times when I drifted for long periods but God in His wisdom kept sending people and circumstances to call me back to Him. Those people who practiced wholehearted devotion during my interaction with them led me back to my faith. That could be the answer; there are seasons of grace when every person accepts the power and glory of the Spirit bestowing light for another to find their way. Doing the ultimate good of saving another soul is a moment by moment event. For indeed no one on this physical plane can be faithful always… even Mother Theresa shared that she had dark nights in her soul.
I know that there have been occasions when God has used me to help light the path for someone who was lost. Those moments of grace were only opened because I allowed the Holy Spirit into my soul. Without the darkness in my life, I would not have recognized the light. What is wonderful is that God gave me free will, TODAY I can choose to do what is good in the eyes of the Lord.
Lord Help me to have the courage and strength to love You with my whole heart and remain faithful through the gift of the Spirit. Give me the wisdom and the opportunity to do Your will.

Saturday May 23, 2015 Spirited

Posted May 23, 2015 by bgovanus
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It shall come to pass, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even upon your male and female servants, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. Joel 3:1-2
When I first started to study Scripture, I asked a teacher if the Spirit was present to the Israelites or if Jesus introduced us to this New person in the Triune God. He had me do a search in the Bible software I used for the word “Spirit” and I quickly realized there are over 600 mentions of the Spirit throughout the Bible, both New and Old Testament.
From Genesis to Revelations God’s word is filled with reference to the Paraclete. God knew His people would need a lot of help to follow His ways, to be able to see and hear what He was saying because His Words and Ways are so far above ours. God’s love and commitment to His people is well documented and the way He protected and served His people was often to provide His Holy Spirit. This weekend God’s people celebrate the gift of the Spirit. Remembering the amazing outpouring of the special gifts that occurred on Pentecost. It is indeed a day to rejoice and be glad for old men still dream dreams and young men still see visions today because God loves them and continues to manifest that love.
I shudder to think of what the world would be like without the gifts of the Holy Spirit. How lost would God’s people be without the ability to see past this earthly plain. Our church would be meeting in secret in upper rooms behind closed doors. All of us would be timid and reluctant to speak the words of everlasting life. I know I am not always the best advocate for my faith, evangelizing and inviting might be the farthest thing from my comfort zone BUT the Spirit gives me the words to say. He gives me the eyes to help me identify those God moments and the willingness to step up and profess. All I need to do is invoke His Name and ask for His guidance.
Lord, You pour out Your Spirit to renew the face of the earth. Rain down Your love and gifts upon me and help me to live the passion that Joel speaks of. Help me, help others to dream and realize their visions through YOU!

Friday May 22, 2015 Do You Love ME?

Posted May 22, 2015 by bgovanus
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So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” John 21:15
Peter was dumbfounded when Jesus singled him out not once, not twice but three times to inquire… “Do YOU Love Me?” Many have surmised that Jesus asked him three times because of Peter’s three denials in the courtyard of the high priest that Jesus had foretold. Catherine of Sienna suggests that Jesus wanted to illustrate that the only way to LOVE God is to take care of His people (lambs and sheep). Scripture scholars also discuss the meanings of the words for love that were used. The two participants went back and forth with Jesus agapao and Peter’s phileo. Eventually, they used the same language… phileo.
It is natural in this conversation to come to brotherly love since Jesus is asking Peter to take care of His people. Would it even be possible for Peter to love and care for all the lambs and sheep, Jews and Gentiles, in the same agape kind of love?
Today this verse asks me if my priorities are straight… I love many people: my husband, my children, my extended family, my friends and I do my best to TEND them all. Do I do it with the “agape” or “filial” kind of love? If Jesus was sitting here with me which verb would He use? Do I love Him with a passionate love… an all-in kind of love? Do I enjoy being in His presence or do I crave it like air or water? When I think back early in my love relationships… the need to be with my future spouse or even my infant daughters was palpable. Spending time with them was the highest priority. Complacency and habit, familiarity breeds comfort. Jesus asks Peter to be passionate and never to take for granted their relationship… He asks the same of me!
Lord, I do LOVE You and seek to be in Your presence always. Give me the ability to balance my commitments here on earth to stay connected with You. Help me to move from filial love to agape love to experience the relationship that You have created me for.

Thursday May 21, 2015 Survey Says…

Posted May 21, 2015 by bgovanus
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Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. Psalm 57:8
I was sitting in the doctor’s office waiting and the show Family Feud was on. The host asked the question of a family, “How do people begin their day?” The answers were what you would expect, washing face, brushing teeth, shaving, etc. The family missed the number one answer! Praying. I was surprised and delighted. These answers are based on a survey. They never tell you who or how many were surveyed but this answer still brought a smile to my face.
God asks very little of His people but honoring Him with prayer is something that we, His people, are called to do.
How many times, do I have the best intentions but miss the mark? How often do I roll over and miss my quiet time with the Lord? God is patient with me and He waits. If I would only bounce up and sing His praises, how happy we would both be? Looking at all He is given to me, I am blessed beyond measure. How can I begrudge Him these quiet moments?
I do go to Scripture and ask God to enlighten me with His word. I know that “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 I know in my heart of hearts that He loves me and desires to spend time with me. Just like I wish to spend blessed moments with my children and grandchildren, God longs to have my heart engaged with His. These moments of glorious connection fill me and give me strength to deal with the challenges and disappointments that will inevitably come along. I know that He is waiting on me. God does not force His love on anyone but stands at the edge of heaven anticipating me.
I am so grateful for God’s love and enduring patience with me. I sing His praises and awaken the dawn with my joyful noise! Lord help me to be faithfully present and a mindful witness of Your grace.

Tuesday May 19, 2015 Joyful

Posted May 19, 2015 by bgovanus
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A merry heart has a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15
My grandson has one more day of preschool. When he got into the car yesterday, he said to his mom… “I sure am going to miss Ms. Michelle next year when I start kindergarten.”
His mom agreed that she has been a great teacher. Then Charlie said, “Ya, but it’s okay, I’m going to make lots of new friends at my new school, and she’ll always be in my heart.”
I long for the ability to find the good in every situation. I heard a story that told of a farmer out working his field. A traveler approached asking about the people who lived in the town. The farmer asked what the people had been like where he was from… the traveler replied that they were bitter, jealous and nosy. To which the farmer replied that the SAME kind of folks live here. This traveler went on his way, disappointed.  Next day another traveler approached the farmer with the same question, to which the farmer inquired about the people where this traveler came from. This traveler reported that they were lovely, kind and warm people. The farmer revealed that the SAME kind live here. The second man took up residence and lived happily ever after.
It is always about the way I perceive my surroundings. I see what I want to see or what I have been conditioned to look for. When I have my eyes peeled for a certain kind of car, I see them everywhere. If I look for the color red, I notice it all day long. When I look for generous, kind and loving gestures… I see them in everyone. If I concentrate on the evil, dishonest or harsh… I can certainly find that too.
There are many instances of hope, happiness and humor to notice in the world. When I put on my rose colored glasses, I will be aware and take part in the beauty and joy that surrounds me. My heart determines the way my world appears.
Lord, help me to approach every moment with a an attitude of gratitude. It is impossible to be morose when I am grateful. At this continual banquet of joy, my body will be filled with good things. May I continually see the table as half full instead of half empty. For You provide for me in all things.

Monday May 18, 2015 Anniversaries

Posted May 18, 2015 by bgovanus
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Now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. Romans 13:11
Gary and I celebrate thirty years being married today. Just like many who reach milestone dates, our wedding day seems like yesterday and a hundred years ago at the same time. The march of time is relentless and the moments of grace and trial are what mark the road that we have traveled to this day. The journey has been like mountain climbing where there are easy and enjoyable stretches, great vistas that take your breath away and moments of sheer terror that do the same.
When I met Gary, I revealed bits and pieces of my life prior to meeting him in what he lovingly called “Bombshell of the Day”. I believe in full disclosure and I guess I was trying to see if he would stick with me even though I had baggage. He proved up to the challenge. Since May 18, 1985 there have been many more explosions to weaken or tear us apart but we have withstood the onslaught. Here are a few of the reasons we have survived.

• Love is not something you fall into… it is a conscious decision every day to accept the foibles and see past the exterior.
• Together you can form a bond that is not broken by sickness or death, poverty or wealth, sadness or euphoria.
• Patience is more than a virtue it is a prerequisite for sustainability.
• Finding common ground even if it is only a yard square is the only way we have found to make our marriage work.
• Knowing how to speak I love you in all five love languages makes communication so much easier.
• Discovering each and every day a new reason to love my spouse makes thirty years seem like thirty days.

Life in these United States is not perfect but it is the life we have been called to live. Together, forging a bond that has stood the tests of time and trial. I pray each day for him as he does for me. I know God brought us together to help bring each of us to salvation through this union. It is a revelation to look back and see how God has manifested Himself in all aspects of our life together. Our mutual and individual salvation is much nearer now than we first believed because of having shared our lives it has been a journey filled with gratitude,
Lord, help me to be a wife and mother who nurtures those you have entrusted into my care. I want those You have given to me to be loved on earth as they will be in heaven. I know that is not possible but allow the glimpses of eternity to help each of them stay the course.

Sunday May 17, 2015 Witnessing

Posted May 17, 2015 by bgovanus
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With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. Psalm 18:29

I have always dreamed of being a missionary. Going to a foreign land somewhere Jesus is not known. For my birthday this year, my daughter sent me a daily devotional written by individuals who are working in the missions… each daily reflection states the person’s first name and where they are serving: Central Africa, the Pacific Rim, Eastern Europe, Ukraine… and the list goes on. A guest priest at Mass asked us all to invite someone to attend Mass next week at our church. It made me acutely aware that evangelizing doesn’t just happen in foreign lands. The people in my new devotional are talking with one person at a time and that of course can happen anywhere. I do not need to be thousands of miles from home to find unchurched or under churched people.
Christianity is at a crossroads. Our numbers are diminishing and churches everywhere are closing… this phenomena is not relegated to one type of church. Catholics, Protestants, Lutherans and Baptists are all seeing attendance and participation dwindle. It is time to discover courage and passion about what I believe to enable a fire to start again like on the first Pentecost. Holy Spirit is alive and well and awaits an invitation to come and live in my heart. With the Spirit’s help, I can advance against a troop or scale a wall. I can be bold like Peter and engage with people who are struggling to find their way. There are too many who live in quiet desperation, searching for answers that I know how to give. I just need the courage and the confidence to step into the fray. If I do not do this, who will? My grandmothers were constantly inviting people into their homes for a meal, for a tea, or taking the meal to the homes of those who were suffering or in turmoil. Their witness to those who were down the block or around the corner brought many to God. A simple act of mercy is a huge step to opening another to Christ. No one can see God, He has to be reflected in those who believe and do His will.
Lord, open my eyes to see ways to witness to YOUR love and invite people who are searching for a connection to You. They are withering and dying and need to be grafted to Your Eternal Vine. Help me be the conduit to YOU!


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