Friday February 27, 2015 Grumbling

Posted February 27, 2015 by bgovanus
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Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation,” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16
It is really hard not to grumble when things are not going my way. I have a plan, a direction that I have prayed about and given a lot of thought, and these roadblocks and interruptions keep pushing me off the path. I grumble… When I stop and hear myself, I think of the Jews in the desert 40 years. God has rescued them dramatically and they grumble and push back, complain and argue with Moses. I call that a lot of gall but then I do it myself. How can I grumble when my life is so blessed? The only way I have found to avoid “grumbling” is gratitude. It is impossible for me to be upset and grateful in the same breath. Once I focus my heart and what I am thankful for, then the unhappiness slides into oblivion and a new joy replaces it in my heart.
Jesus, the word of life has come so that I can have abundance and fulfillment. When I keep my focus on what the Lord has done for me instead of what is lacking… it is not possible to utter a single bad word about what is “NOT” to my liking. I only see the good when I look for it! It is amazing how much bad is in the world when that is what I focus upon. The same is true for beauty, blessing and bounty. I just need to look for good and I will find it.
Lord, teach me to be grateful and focused on the wonders you create in my world each and every day. When I am looking for Good News, I will find it and when grumbling gets in the way… I am blinded to the beauty that surrounds me. Open my eyes Lord, Help me to see!

Thursday February 26, 2015 Longer View

Posted February 26, 2015 by bgovanus
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We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
Being chosen for a team or a special job is a compliment. It shows that the person has confidence in my ability and trusts me to get the job done. In some cases, I doubt that belief in me and wonder if I am up to the task. I pray for wisdom and work hard to live up to their expectations. St Paul explains to his church that God chose them from the beginning, sanctifying them and me for the work He has called us to do. Pretty heady stuff!
I have many friends as well as my husband Gary who are adopted. Many times I have heard these parents tell their children that they were “chosen” and that if given the opportunity they would be selected again, and again. That builds a lot of confidence in a child. Giving perspective like this builds up self-worth. God has selected me for adoption. I did nothing to warrant His selection, it was indeed pure gift. I bask in the joy of being part of the “family” of faith. It is more than comforting to hear that He chose me from the beginning for this life… right here, right now… It definitely changes my perspective about the life I am leading!
God You have chosen me. I am Your child! I will be forever grateful for Your loving intervention on my behalf. Teach me to always recall the blessings of belonging to this large family of believers. Help me serve my brothers and sisters and relay to them how special they are as Your child. God You chose me and I always want to reward Your confidence in me. Help me to do Your Will!

Tuesday February 24, 2015 Steadfast

Posted February 24, 2015 by bgovanus
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Blessed is the one who remains steadfast under trial. James 1:12
I love the word “Steadfast”. It conjures up a picture of strength and accountability for me. Someone who can be counted upon to be there in a pinch. Someone who delivers even when it is not convenient or easy. Peter promised to be loyal but failed miserably… I think the steadfast person does not say much, just does it. Shows up and works, not seeking the spotlight instead just performs or maybe just is a presence to listen. Dependability is a highly underrated but so needed today.
Going through grief requires some folks who can be steadfast… Those who grieve need to be able to talk without hearing that it is time to move on. They need to be able to recount stories of their beloved to make them live on in their imagination. Many people can’t fill that role. They encourage the bereft to move on… they tire of hearing the stories and don’t take time to sit and listen. Children often push a parent to get rid of clothes and pictures so that mom or dad can get on with their life when that is the last thing the grief stricken person wants to do.
Being “steadfast” can be simply sitting and listening. It can be turning the other cheek when someone berates or gossips about me. It can be keeping calm in a crisis, knowing God is in charge. No matter what comes my way, God is bigger than the problem… knowing that in my heart of hearts means I can be steadfast in my faith.
Lord, help me be true to You and constantly seek and serve those who need me. I am anxious often but give me the calm strength to work through any issues and trust that You are in control. Being a steadfast presence who need me is often the best way to serve those who are struggling with grief, loss or frustration.

Monday February 23, 2015 Sheep and Goats

Posted February 23, 2015 by bgovanus
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Jesus said to His disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and the angels with him, He will sit upon His glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before Him. And He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”. Matthew 25:31-32
This is the start of one of my most dearly held Scripture passages. Jesus explains the final judgment. It puts in perspective that not everyone will be welcomed to heaven. There are definitely sheep, people who love with a gracious and abiding love. They put the needs of others ahead of their own and constantly look for ways to serve God and other people here on earth. The goats on the other hand are selfish and totally focused on their own gratification. These words have often called me to recognize my own inability to see Jesus in the hungry and the hurting, the lonely and those who are naked and imprisoned.
Today when I read them I took solace in the fact that there is going to be retribution for the evildoers in the world. My friend’s sister was murdered and I know that God will not let this terrible deed go unpunished. I know God forgives and welcomes sinners who repent BUT reading this today gave me peace that JUSTICE is God’s and He will take action.
I pray for the family and the repose of the soul of this vibrant young woman. I pray for her friends who are devastated by this senseless loss. I pray for the men and women who are searching for the murderer who perpetrated this evil. I pray also for the person who did this deed. I will never comprehend how anyone can take a life. I picture Jesus on His throne weeping for if He was sending people to hell for not feeding the hungry or clothing the naked what will He do to someone who takes a life?
Lord, Please help all who have been touched by this tragedy. Give strength to each one to grieve and let Your healing wash over their hearts as they deal with a world without their beloved. Be present with each person as they find the strength to go on.

Sunday February 22, 2015 Sinner

Posted February 22, 2015 by bgovanus
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So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”  Isaiah 6:5
When I started to follow Christ in earnest, I looked at the incredible saints around me who would declare themselves sinners and think how can they think that they are sinners. They are perfect while I am like Isaiah was in the temple… afraid and tortured. What I have come to realize is that the closer I draw to God, that sinfulness is a part of my nature and as I draw nearer in my walk with God every flaw is much more clear.
One day when I came home after the housekeeper had done her usual great job cleaning I sat on the couch to read. A beam of light was shining through a part in the window dressing… in that beam I could see tiny particles of dust in my newly cleaned house. It made me think about how being in the light of God reveals my sinfulness to me. The wonderful women who mentored me early in my faith walk came to mind… they were very close to God and His light revealed to them, where their sinfulness was. Being in the light shows me all the small sins that keep me from being even closer to God. Mother Theresa would often speak on her sinfulness… while everyone around her would shake their heads, She was so close to the SON that His light revealed the most minute particles. Her hyper awareness gave her the insights to where she needed to focus to become even closer to Him.
Lord, this Lenten season, help me to use Your light to see my sins and come to You for forgiveness. Once I recognize my sins, give me the strength to work on these weaknesses so that I can continue my journey to You. I long to see Your face and be with You forever.

Friday February 20, 2015 Far Removed

Posted February 20, 2015 by bgovanus
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God does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the East is from the West. Psalm 103:10-12
When it comes to forgiveness, God is generous in His gifts. He does not cast the first stone, instead He sent Jesus who steps forward to protect us from judgment. The Psalm writer paints a picture of exactly what Jesus would do to intervene and separate my sin from me. I love the line… “as far as the East is from the West”. I can conjure up incredible distances in miles, cultures and ethnicity between East and West. The people in the world whether we are talking East and West of the United States or East and West of the planet offer very different perspectives, cultures and in some cases even look completely different. It helps me realize distance and what God is offering to me. That separation from my sins helps me to have HOPE for a better situation where I can embrace and live a life of blessed relationship.
I know I can’t be “friends” with someone who I have hurt… repeatedly. When I disobeyed my parents when I was a child, I was ashamed and that created distance and discomfort. Fear that I would be found out was also a huge factor. I learned it was not worth it so resigned myself to be obedient. Often grudgingly because the FUN always seemed like it was on the other side of the fence.
Jesus paved the way for me to want to live a better life filled with promise by removing my sins. I am hopeful and grateful for the gift of new life realizing that harshness does not await me but a welcoming embrace instead. Jesus closed the Gap between God and my wayward heart by putting distance between me and my sinfulness.
Lord, I am grateful indeed for the terrible pain and suffering You endured to atone for my sinfulness. Help me to stay in Your presence not wondering outside of Your loving embrace.

Thursday February 19, 2015 Slip Sliding Away

Posted February 19, 2015 by bgovanus
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We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
Lots of references to time slipping by when we think about Lent and Ash Wednesday. God gives me a break in the action to take stock and reevaluate my life. I have had many close friends who have dealt with Alzheimer’s disease in a parent or spouse. This is a very diabolical disease which robs an individual of memory of their life and those they love. Eventually it takes away the ability to care for oneself because even the “monkey” brain is affected. That part of our body that I take for granted… it says: breathe, digest, walk, feel is slowly shutting down… wasting away.
What is so important to know is that God loves each and every one of us whether fully functioning or vegetative. Hard to imagine but true. In a world where I am constantly “earning a living, seeking approval and recognition”, God’s free and open love renews each and every day is pure gift. This fact gives me courage when I am forgetful or unable to do what I used to be able to accomplish. When I share this with my friends who are care taking and watching their loved ones slipping away, they are encouraged and comforted to know that God does not have the same expectations as the world. He loves and renews each of His children day by day.
Lord, Help me always to seek time with You to be renewed in body, mind and spirit. Help me to hold on to my relationship with You and treasure each gifted moment, never allowing time to slip slide away. I never know the day or the hour when I will be called home. Give me perspective and the heart to follow You wherever You lead me.


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