Wednesday July 1, 2015 The Best Day

Posted July 1, 2015 by bgovanus
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God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through? Numbers 23:19
The courts ruled that marriage was legal between any two people. There was much rejoicing throughout our country. Facebook statuses were changed in dramatic numbers as people updated that they were married. I heard many joke about the new influx of work for Accountants who will be helping many file jointly for the first time, lawyers who will be writing Prenuptial Agreements and will eventually have even more divorce cases to try. This made me think that our human frailties were never more pronounced. God is the only one who does not break promises. The “as long as we both shall live” in the marriage vows is said at every ceremony but 50% of people take that commitment lightly and end their married life with divorce.

Many say that their wedding day is the “Best Day” of their lives. I can only pray that as all these new life commitments begin each partner will feel that way and commit to living “until death” parts them.

Beth Moore wrote the following morning prayer and I think it reflects this scripture sentiment and helps me to make me recall the truth that I need HIM to fulfill my promises each and every day.
1. God is who He says He is.
2. God can do what He says He can do.
3. I am who God says I am.
4. I can do all things through Christ.
5. God’s Word is alive and active in me.

God is alive and still acting today as he was in the times of Abraham & David and He continues to give me guidance and help IF I ask Him for it. I pray for His guidance and intercession and when I depend on Him… Today will be The Best Day!

Lord open my eyes, my heart and my soul to love and accept every person you put into my path today. Help me recognize YOU in the faces of the people I meet today.

Tuesday June 30, 2015 Working It!

Posted June 30, 2015 by bgovanus
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Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. Colossians 3:23
Life is what God loans to me. Every bit of wealth, brains and spirit are all put here to use but nothing will be put into the casket with me. It is on loan and when I stand before God at my judgment He will hold me accountable! I am not here of my own creation. When I was growing up, I often asked God why I was born in St Louis and not in Africa or China or Haiti. Why was I blessed with enough food and shelter when so many are homeless and hungry. Why is there so much available to me? Then I read the scripture verse in Romans 14:12 Each of us will give a personal account to God.

It frightened me to think that because more was given to me, more would be expected.

God must think I am up to the task. He never gives me more than I can handle. I often think that is the negative stuff… the hardships and the illnesses. But I have come to realize that is the wealth and the blessings too. When I read about athletes who fail morally and fall from grace, losing everything, when it seems so simple to just “work at it” to maintain their charmed life… it seems like they lost their way… forgetting that all their talent did not get them there nor will it keep them there. Many people balk when an athlete gives God the glory after an amazing play. I pray that gesture is heartfelt and that they will always realize that they are working with the gifts God has shared with them, and when they stand to give their accounting, God will say… “Good and Faithful Servant” Those are the words I want to hear as well.
Lord, help me to always work to serve honestly and your help people with all my heart; for indeed I am working for You!

Monday June 29, 2015 Home Again

Posted June 29, 2015 by bgovanus
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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Going on vacation is exciting and filled with promise. For me this year it was extra special. My daughter and her family, my three adorable grandsons joined us on a cruise. It could not have been any more perfect! The weather was smooth sailing, the boys, ages 5, 7 and 9 absolutely loved the ship and we even got to have dinners in the dining room impressing the cruisers surrounding us with the fact that they conversed with us with no electronics at the table. I did pray for the six months since we started planning this trip that this would be the case. I love cruising so much and wanted to share it with my little boys. Their mother loves vacationing on board ship as well so this was a huge gift for all of us.
I know God desires my happiness and I try not to be anxious but I often fail miserably at letting go and letting HIM take the reins. This vacation has indeed proved once again that if I can just trust… He will provide. It is important to pray and I believe it crucial to be specific about what it is I want for God to do for me. In this case, as always, He surprised me with bonuses that I never even imagined possible like incredible serving staff and a visit from a pastry chef to our table, my grandson’s love for towel animals and a talent for creating them, the absolutely smooth ocean without so much as a single queasy stomach or headache to be found among any of the 7 of us. God is good, ALL the time.
Dear Lord, I am so grateful for my time away. Help me to keep these moments in my heart and reflect on them often so that I can rejoice in Your love and be thankful for Your generous giftedness in every situation.

Sunday June 21, 2015 Rest Less

Posted June 21, 2015 by bgovanus
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For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust shall be your strength. But this you did not will. Isaiah 30:15
Today the Gospel is about Jesus sleeping in the boat while the storm raged. There are innumerable times throughout Scripture where God invites His people to Trust Him and REST in and with Him. The Holy one reprimands the sea and the wind… there is nothing He cannot handle. So why is it so hard to rest in Him? I think the last few words in this verse says it all… “This you did not will!”

There are so many times that I think it must be my way and when it does not happen that way, I am thrown off my game. When the important and urgent collide to scream for my attention and I am saying too often, “I don’t know what to do” God invites me to REST in Him but not to RUST! He knows my tendency to fix and has so much patience… He allows me my foibles and asks often, “Why are you terrified? Do you not have faith?” Mark 4:40

I try to give my worries to Him but keep grabbing it all back. The finances, the health issues, the struggles of a friend… my understanding is so limited and I cannot see the divine plan that has been put into motion an eternity ago. If I could just rest and wait calmly allowing Him to relay the rest of the story.
God is in charge… it may seem like He is asleep at the wheel but it is only my inability to see the way. He has this all under control!
Lord, help me to rest in You. Help me to trust and allow Your ways to be my ways. Only by waiting and resting in You will I be saved. Relieve my stress and allow me to abide in the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Thursday June 18, 2015 Failure is an Option

Posted June 18, 2015 by bgovanus
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One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed. John 18:26-27
One of the most memorable lines spoken in the movie, Apollo 13 were uttered by Gene Kranz “Failure is NOT an option.” There have been T-Shirts and coffee mugs made to commemorate this sentiment and the fighting spirit that Mr. Kranz embodied in that epic battle to get his astronauts home. He would NOT let them die on His watch.
Jesus accepted death or failure to establish that Peter’s failure and mine really are an option. Jesus told Peter he would deny Him three times and even though he had been warned of his weakness, he still faltered not once but three times. Jesus forgave him and did it in a way that would remind me today that failure is allowed. Of course it would be great if I could be perfect and never “need” God’s mercy. But that is not my nature nor anyone living on this earthly plane. Jesus won entrance to heaven by dying and that door will never be shut to me. I am empowered today by His great sacrifice to walk into the throne room of the Father and be welcomed as His child. I strive each and every day to walk under my own steam but I stumble. Jesus is beside me offering His hand to rise with Him and continue the journey. It is in my weakness, that I really come to know Christ crucified… in identifying with His seeming failure that I am able to rise above my present circumstances.
Dear Lord, thank You for loving me even though I am broken and sinful. I stand only because You lift me up. Help me always seek You in my darkest hour knowing You will guide me back to the light!

Wednesday June 17, 2015 Hollywood

Posted June 17, 2015 by bgovanus
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No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. Luke 8:16
Going to Hollywood or NYC when you are seeking your fortune as an actor is the stuff of dreams. There are many who try to be discovered waiting tables in coffee shops and serving as bellman in the fancy hotels frequented by producers. Others work as dancers in chorus lines or audition tirelessly for every possible play as off Broadway as Iowa. They want to shine their light on a BIG stage and let it shine for the whole world to see. This verse spoke to me this morning because I know someone who always thought she would head to Hollywood but instead let her light shine as a director of a Youth Center. Her star power is strong enough to light an auditorium or arena but she chose to shine it on seventy young people in the “HOOD” of Parramore. Shanta Barton Stubbs has over the past 11 years passed the torch that burns in her to help 16 kids graduate from high school. Two of her protégés have even graduated from college, one from Morehouse! She daily inspires children ages 5 to 18 that they can be more than their surroundings dictate.
When there is light, the world is a safer place and that is what the New Image Youth Center is for her young people. She burns the midnight oil too because she started this center with her own money and has never taken a paycheck. She continued her studies and became a licensed counselor and is a PhD candidate, working full time and running the center after school with hired staff. Many times she does homework right alongside the kids, setting an example that can never be erased from their hearts and minds.
It is a blessing in my life that I have met and gotten to know this woman who makes magic happen on a stage she has erected in a terrible neighborhood. Her kids flourish under the light she shines and every person who has ever met her is enriched by her vibrant love of the Lord and willingness to shine for others instead of seeking the glory for herself.
Lord I pray that You will keep fueling Shanta, who has made a difference for so many. Let her oil jar never run dry for she uses her lamp to guide so many to what You are calling them to be: better than their circumstances, inspired to lead lives filled with passion, love and respect for themselves. Thank You for the blessings You have shed on New Image Youth Center and keep them coming.

Tuesday June 17, 2015 Stuff

Posted June 16, 2015 by bgovanus
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Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. Matthew 6:19-20
Being my age, many of my friends have had the sad duty of dismantling the household of their parents. Sifting through years of accumulated treasures is hard work and often very emotional. There are also times when they ask… “Why on earth would mom save this?” “Or what was dad thinking to have kept this for all these years?” The old saying that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure certainly is a harsh reality in these circumstances. I know many of my friends are very conscious of what they accumulate because they don’t want their children to have to go through what they did in divesting of all the amassed stuff.
There are limits to what I can treasure. God knows my short attention span and reminds me that I must focus on Him because I can’t possibly keep my eyes on Him when my hands are busily tending to “stuff”. George Carlin did a very funny routine called “Stuff” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x_QkGPCL18 that if you want to take 5 minutes for his perspective will get your day off with a smile.
So instead of hoarding possessions on earth how can I accumulate treasure in heaven? What items do I want in my heavenly pantry or closet? Treasured moments with friends and family. Beautiful art created by sticky fingerprints made by my children and grandchildren on my heart. Mountaintop Times of grace when I felt God’s presence in my life. Unique and special articles that capture my times of doubt because those are when the Lord came and erased my fears. No one will second guess why these are my treasures! There will be no doubts because God created them especially for me.
Lord help me to always be able to discern Your gifts to me. Allow me to always prioritize aright… You as the center of my life and to divest myself of the “stuff” that does not belong in my life.


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