Tuesday October 25, 2016 Love

Posted October 25, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed Himself over for her to sanctify her.  Ephesians 5:25

This is from Paul’s letter that admonished wives to be subordinate to their husbands and I used to get my arches up that all that was “commanded” of the husbands was to LOVE their wives.  As I have grown in maturity and wisdom, I have come to realize that both of Paul’s directives carried much in the way of challenge.  To truly LOVE is much harder than to be subordinate for there is no greater hardship than to truly LOVE!

Putting myself at the disposal of someone, giving myself to their comfort and acquiescing to their will may be what is “Required” of someone who is subordinate BUT to truly LOVE is to serve the needs and offer myself totally.  To love is not only to place myself in service but to put myself second in all things.  A very tall order indeed.  Did St Paul not believe women were up to the task?  Did he feel that motherhood would mean that women could only truly LOVE my children and not have the capacity to include the spouse so he asked me to just be subordinate to my spouse?  When I truly grasp what LOVE means, I know that is the harder part of the two jobs.

As often as I hear this passage proclaimed, I detect more depth and nuance.  God never puts limitations on me.  St Paul wanted the Ephesians and me today to give myself as fully as possible to all that God is calling me to be.  If I can love, serve and be more then I am bound to rise to the occasion.  As I think so I am.  My rebellion has waned when I realized what a gift LOVE is.

Lord help me to truly love my husband, my children and all who You place in my path.  Help me to rise to the occasion.  For in LOVE I am Yours! 

Sunday October 23, 2016 Tribute

Posted October 23, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;  in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.  2 Timothy 7-8

St Paul knew that his reward would be in heaven.  There was awaiting him a crown of righteousness that the Lord would give to him when he died.  What an encouragement for me and for all who are still fighting the good fight.  So many times we look for recognition and thumbs up here on earth to give assurance that the life being lived is acceptable.  Problem is the acceptance and honors others often bestow are rarely the recognition that God will give in heaven.  Promotions at work and awards for selling are rarely given for righteousness of the type God would favor.  At the pearly gates the accounting ledgers are much more slanted to feeding the hungry and clothing the naked present company excluded…  Designer labels worn in the casket will not carry much weight with St Peter.

When someone dies, the Funeral Tributes are never about how much money they made or what a good golf game they shot.  Instead the living focus on the legacy created by the deceased: the lives that were changed, the good that was done to enhance others existence.  So why do I focus so much time on the stuff of this earth?  Maybe because it is easier to measure money in a bank account than it is to stack up the good feelings created by a smile or the grace that was earned by corporal works of mercy.  God is keeping that Savings Passbook and only He knows the balance.  Those who will testify to a life well lived rarely step to the microphone until the wake.  It is a sad commentary because by being like Paul who often recognized those who were doing good work (Luke, Timothy, Priscilla and Aquila) we could be encouraging those who are trying to live righteously.

Lord help me to recognize and praise those who are living a blessed life.  Give me the words to say that will encourage them and let them know that their example has spurred me on to do more myself to further Your kingdom.   

Friday October 21, 2016 Saved

Posted October 21, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,  whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:5-7

I used to be put off by people saying they were “Saved” or that they had “Found” Jesus.  That was before I had been so lost that I needed to be saved and for someone to find me.  I believe to truly understand the word… SAVED, one has to have experienced an intense separation or trauma.  Being lost in a mall or theme park, separated from family and friends as a child can be a very good example of that feeling of total isolation.  Having sinned or committed a grave crime and landing in jail can open anyone up to the need for a “savior”.  Being unable to communicate with someone who is beloved through distance or death too is a very real example of needing to be rescued.

Jesus stood in the gap for you and me to rescue each of us from isolation and sin.  He SAVED His people from being permanently severed from God for eternity.   If we have ever felt lonely, missing someone, then totally understanding how difficult going through an entire life isolated from God would be.  Jesus could not even imagine how terrible that would be so He was willing to save each of us from what He knew would be a fate worse than death.

Lord, I know You saved me and have given everything so that I might live with You in heaven.  I am glad to say now…  I am SAVED.  Thank You for seeking me until I was found.   

Thursday October 20, 2016 Waiting

Posted October 20, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

I will trust in the Lord, who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; yes I will wait for Him.  Isaiah 8:17

It is always hard to wait.  I don’t care if it sitting at a stoplight, waiting at the doctor’s office or anticipating Christmas as a child, it is not easy to sit quietly when you want answers or simply want to move forward.  The Lord gives us many great opportunities to develop our waiting muscles.  It is particularly hard to wait when I want to know WHY!  There have been so many times when I asked God WHY!?!  When my dad died when I was just ten years old and he was thirty-three, I would cry myself to sleep asking WHY.  When I was divorced at 27, when I had been dedicated to my marriage and my children was I left alone and bereft.  When my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died two weeks later at age 61, I struggled for years waiting for some kind of understanding.  When a company declared bankruptcy owing my company, FYI, a half million dollars I refused to succumb and eventually lost everything financial that I had built through my life.

It has been a constant in my life to wait.  I keep asking God my questions but have learned that waiting on His answers is all I can do.  He eventually does reveal His plans but meanwhile I need to keep moving forward trusting that I will see how these difficult and in some cases overwhelming incidents needed to take place.  It sometimes takes me a long time to regain my equilibrium.  I have fought my way out of the throes of depression and only with divine intervention was I able to remain here and functioning.  God wants me to wait on Him and with the help He has sent me, I have been able to do that.

I have learned that there is nothing bigger than God.  He has allowed me to learn first-hand that He loves me even when the worst seems to have happened.  Life is lived moving forward but understood looking backward.  So even when I am in the worst situation I can wait on Him to show me that there is a reason that someday I will understand.  It may not be revealed on this earth but He is here with me through it all.

Lord, I know that You will not give me more than I can bear.  You have showed me through the seasons of waiting that You never leave me.  I am grateful that together there is nothing that will destroy me… even though the pain feels overwhelming now.  Help me to be patient as You reveal Your plan.   

Wednesday October 19, 2016 Required

Posted October 19, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”  Luke 12:48

Peter asked if the parable of the homeowner who was defending his house against thieves was meant for just the disciples or for everyone.  Jesus gave an involved explanation about the servant who was left in charge of the house of his master and how he was to care for the other servants and the master’s property.  Everything I have is on loan from my Master.  There have been times in my life when I had much more to be responsible for than I do now.  But no matter the amount or the size of my responsibilities God requires an accounting.  He has an expectation of honesty and generosity, gratitude and diligence in all my dealings.

As I make my way through life, I have been blessed with opportunities to grow through failures and learn lessons at the feet of my Lord when I have stumbled and fallen hard.  With each misstep, I have been able to find a better way and get back to the straighter path.  It never gets easy to pick myself up and regroup because as I get older, I want so very much to be who God is calling me to be.   If I could only stop myself… before I make the egregious errors that hurt others or offend the sensibilities of society.  I keep learning humility by falling on my face.

I know that I will experience these lessons right up to my dying day.  I am searching for ways to be and do all that God is requiring of me but my humanity keeps me from achieving it on this earth.  I vow to keep trying and I ask my brothers and sisters to help me by challenging me to be faithful.

Lord, I love You and am grateful for everything You have entrusted in my care.  Help me to be the ever dutiful servant and give me the awareness and vision that I need to see how and who I am to serve.  Help me to do Your will with a cheerful heart and a depth of understanding that allows me to be faithful in even the smallest details.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 Dew

Posted October 18, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

God says, “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.  I will be like dew to Israel.”  Hosea 14:4-5

The book of Hosea has some of my favorite descriptions of how much God loves me.  It beautifully speaks of God’s devotion, patience and desire for my joy and peace.  Today in these verses, Hosea describes God’s love like dew.  What a wonderful picture that conjures.  Dew covers everything… the grass to the rooftops, nothing is missed.  What a wonderful way to think of God’s outpouring of love.  Gentler than rain, softer than breath, DEW is life giving moisture that has no down side.  What is not absorbed quickly disappears when the sun comes up and goes back to where it came.

This makes me want to rise early and soak up the gift that God so freely gives me.  He is present in the stillness and offers me refreshment that only He can give.  Unlike the rain that can drowned out life, dew is gently covering me in grace and nurtures my soul.  The beauty as it glistens on the leaves takes my breath away.  God gives me so many wonderful gifts that are so freely bestowed that they are easily taken for granted.

Help me Lord, to be ever aware of the gifts that You are constantly showering upon me.  Help me to see Your love in everything.  Give me the heart of Hosea and always be seeking You as You are seeking me.  I come back to You with all my heart! 

Tuesday October 4, 2016 Everything

Posted October 17, 2016 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the invocation of God in prayer.  1 Timothy 4:4-5

October 4 is the feast day of St Francis of Assisi.  The verse from the letter to Timothy is a fitting one for Francis was all about praising God for His amazing gift of creation.  Nothing is below God’s perfect wisdom.  As the microscopes become more powerful and the telescopes more far reaching we see the amazing synergy and beautiful way that everything works together.  God had a plan and His great power made it all for good.

When I get involved, and try to exert my own will into things… I know I can skew the results.  Nothing is to be rejected which means the hardships as well as the celebratory moments.  The stumbles as well as the moments of triumph.  Francis was not always a saint.  He had a “Come to Jesus” awakening and traded in his life of wealth and favor for one of poverty.  His awakening brought him to a life of begging abandoning His wealth and some share a story of him walking through town carrying his fine garments naked as he delivered everything of his wealthy past to his father.  Humility and kindness became the hallmarks of his life.  He became an iterant preacher who eventually attracted some followers who became friars minor or what we know to be the Franciscans.

My favorite quote is  Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.  It has encouraged me often to keep on, keeping on.

Lord, thank You for St Francis.  He has modeled so much for our church and helped to form many to do Your work here on earth by embracing what You have given us to share with those less fortunate.  He inspires me to be closer to You and to abandon stuff and cling to the simple blessings that are everywhere around me.  Thank You for St Francis and the life he led in Your name.