Sunday March 19, 2017 Water

Posted March 19, 2017 by bgovanus
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The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?”  John 4:28-29

This the third Sunday of Lent is all about water, or is it?  Water was life to this desert people.  The Samaritan woman left her water jar and ran to the town to witness to Jesus, the Messiah.  She was convinced that He was different, when He spoke to her… a woman and a Samaritan. She was convicted when He knew the sinful life she had lead.  She was converted when He did not condemn or condone her.  Instead she invited the people she knew to come and see.

Her faith and knowledge was revealed in her discussion with this stranger.  “I know the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when He comes, He will tell us everything.”  Jesus revealed Himself to her then.  Life as she had known it was forever changed in that single moment.

The apostles are still confused.  They must have been too close to understand.  They focus on food.  They argue about who was the greatest among them or who will sit at His right and His left.  When a simple and sinful woman can see plainly who Jesus is, it is amazing that this is revealed in a book written by a man of this time.

How blessed I am to know Jesus, He knows everything I have ever done and yet He still loves me and instructs me about how to share the LIVING water.  He invites me to believe and to witness.  At the end of this passage, the townsfolk reveal that they believed at first because of her testimony but when they hear Jesus they began to believe on their own.  What a blessing for the world.  What a blessing for me.

Lord, I am a sinner.  You meet me where I am and open my eyes to all I can be if I am willing to live the life You are calling me to live.  Help me be Your witness and allow me to lead others to believe because my faith is so strong. Your living water draws me to the well.

Saturday March 18, 2017 Compassion

Posted March 18, 2017 by bgovanus
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So, he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. Luke 15:20

I heard a Scripture Scholar share about this parable.  This was apparently an often-told story in ancient Israel.  It was used to train up younger sons as a cautionary tale and in the original version, the father did not welcome back the errant younger son.  He spits on him and sends him away.  Jesus version then was a stunner!  He added the interaction with the older brother to expand the lesson.  Jesus always used the familiar to teach the profound and this case, was not different.  Both sons only viewed their father as an ATM.  He provided for their needs and that was all!  The Father in Jesus story is His Father, who is so much more than a dispensary.

As I look at my own relationship with God, my Father, there are many times when I approach His throne like that heavenly ATM.  I want things to happen and pray for this healing, that life change or some favor.  How foolishly short-sighted I am.  God knows all, so my asking is redundant at the least and presumptuous at the most.  But Jesus also taught us to pray and to ask.  What then should I be praying for???  THY WILL BE DONE!

God is the compassionate Father!  The parable is titled the Prodigal Son, but the real story is the father.  This dad does the unlikely, the loving and the generous thing.  He runs and embraces this errant child.  He throws a party and cajoles the older brother to forgive and forget.  He epitomizes compassion in every way.  He does not harbor a grudge or demonstrate how hurt he must have been that this on of his left him.    He was certainly entitled to be angry and hurt.  I ask myself, how would I respond if I was in his shoes!  What would I do if my daughters treated me this way?

As Paul Harvey used to say… I would love to know the rest of the story.  Did the younger son change and become dutiful or did he quickly regress once his belly was full?  Did the older son open his heart and become as compassionate as his dad?  Will I be changed by this story?

Lord, Help me put on compassion!  Help me approach those who hurt me with a mantle of forgiveness and welcoming.  Allow me to grow each day to be more like YOU! 

Friday March 17, 2017 Grounded

Posted March 17, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan.  Joshua 3:17

Water frightened the ancient Israelites and the people of their time.  The people had watched the waves and wind destroy many a ship and wash away the ge homes of those who lived on the shore.  So, on the occasions when they were brought to the edge of the Red Sea and the Jordan and told to cross on foot, I can imagine the fright.  Those who were carrying the heavy Ark of the Covenant had to question their choice of roles.  What a mighty witness of faith for them to stand in the middle of the mighty river on firm ground.

We use the expression of standing on solid ground often meaning that our case is solid.  I believe that this verse particularly illustrates that these people were faith filled and ready to be considered true followers of their God.  I ask myself often where do I stand on issues.  Do I have a solid footing?  Is my faith what it should be?  Am I being deceived by a lovely story or a pretty face?  Is God at the core and is He the solid base so that I will not fall?

There are so many ways to be deceived today.  Identity theft is rampant and people stand ready to impersonate you and steal your name, your social security number, your birthday.  That is really an unsteady feeling!  It is impossible to be grounded when everything you know comes under question.  Proving you are who you say you are is not a fun experience.

Lord, Help me to always walk in Your grace so that I may remain grounded and firm in my faith.  I want to always feel the safety and confidence to live in the shadow of Your wings. 

Thursday March 16, 2017 ANY

Posted March 16, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

If one of your kinsmen in any community is in need in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor close your hand to him in his need.  Deuteronomy 15:7

When I read this verse this morning, the word that stood out was ANY.  It is never easy to be generous, but palatable for family and friends but ANY one is quite another matter.  God wants me to be open handed and open hearted to basically anyone in need.  WHEW, that is a lot of folks.  How can I possibly take care of everyone?  The best I can hope to serve are those that God puts in my path.

I think that God asks me to bloom where I am planted.  To open my arms, my mind, my eyes and really be aware of those around me.  Gary and I lived in our home a year before we realized that we had two avocado trees in our backyard.  I am sure the guys who took care of our yard enjoyed the fruit.  We just never explored the back of the property until another tree needed to come down.  If I was not looking, I did not see.

I have really been taught many lessons about my ability to make a difference.  It really does not take much to make a difference.  Most of the time, when money is not plentiful, I have been able to open my hand and serve by volunteering.  If I want to help, it takes opening my mind first and then a way to serve becomes evident.

Lord, I am grateful indeed for all that You have given to me.  I know that nothing I have is mine to keep, it is to be shared.  Help me to see all the kinsmen with whom I am supposed to love. 

Wednesday March 15, 2017 Fate

Posted March 15, 2017 by bgovanus
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You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. 1 John 4:4-5

The church teaches there is no such thing as FATE or predetermination!  God gives me free will and therefore my life is not an exercise in futility.  Today is the IDES of March.  Famous for the betrayal of Julius Caesar, made even more ominous by William Shakespeare’s words “Beware the ides of March!”    God does not create what will happen to us.  He knows and sees all but it is up to me to choose life each day!

It is so much nicer to believe that things are out of my hands.  I don’t have to assume any responsibility then.  I can just go along bemoaning the facts of life if I believe I am just a puppet in a play being directed by someone behind the curtain, my frustrations are then legitimate.  My complaints are justified.  It is never easy to admit that my choices brought me to a bad place.  I like to shout from the rooftops when I succeed but not so much when I fail.

I understand that I belong to God and that He has paved the path for me.  I want desperately to choose His way but so often I do not.  The world dangles such lovely carrots in front of my nose… tempting me with power, greed, and pleasures that are so hard to resist.  It is always MY choice but that does not make them any easier to resist.  The one who is in the world is very clever!  He knows me well.

Lord, help me resist the devil and his shiny objects.  I know that You hold the way and the truth!  You never force me to love You.  It is my choice every moment of every day to be Your child.  Give me the courage to face the temptations and choose You! 

Tuesday March 14, 2017 Search

Posted March 14, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139:23-24

David is pretty darn confident to say to God…  Search me!  I cannot even imagine being that bold or stupid to say in basically a challenge… Come on and look over my life!  Job too stood up to God and declared, “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10  Powerful!  I wish with all my heart that I could stand before God and say these words.

I have sinned, but I still do realize that God loves me and sent His Son to die for me.  My confidence in that love will allow me to stand before my God at all.  Love has won for me the right to allow my heart to be searched.  It is the greatest power in the world.  Life changes when love enters the picture.  Friendship has motivated selfless acts.  Parental love has moved mountains.  Agape love prompts couples to sacrifice their prize possessions and even their lives.  It is a good question to ask, “What has love inspired me to do?”

God will search me.  What will He find?  Will He find at least a little GOLD among the dark ash of my sinfulness?  Will the love and sacrifices that I have made bring a smile to His face?  I pray each day that He will lead me in the way everlasting despite my foibles and failures.

Lord, I pray today that I may lead a life worthy to be searched.  I stand broken before You, mend my life and lead me in the way everlasting! 

Monday March 13, 2017 Measure

Posted March 13, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.  For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.  Luke 6:37-38

I have mentioned often the wisdom of my mother in my scriptural reflections and these verses triggered some great memories.  Raising nine children, she had to have the wisdom of Solomon daily!  I remember her allowing us to cut up the dessert whether it was pie or cake.  The trick was that whoever cut would choose their piece last.  The precision then in making each piece equal was indeed remarkable. A scale would not have been any more accurate.

I am so lucky that God is not like my brothers or sisters were in being fair.  He doles out His gifts to me in overflowing abundance and invites me to do the same. Generosity inspires more generosity!  When I lavish my husband with time and attention, he gives me the same.  When I give to charity, the Lord is never outdone and He returns my gift to me tenfold.  It is amazing and heartwarming to see this occur every single time.  The tricky part is God knows when my gifts are passed out in a stingy or grumbling manner.   The measure with which I measure is always measured out to me.  No joy in giving then reaps NO Joy in receiving!

I wish I could tell you that I am always a cheerful giver.  I wish I could share that I did not measure those pieces of pie with the exactitude of a surgeon.   I am a work in progress and glad to report that God is not finished with me yet.  I pray that I will someday be able to pour out myself with the abandon described here.  Indeed, I pray daily hat I will be worthy of measurement on the last day.

Lord, I am so grateful for our generous love into my life.  Help me to turn around and fill others with the bounty that has been shared with me.