Thursday April 23, 2015 Angering God

Posted April 23, 2015 by bgovanus
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Moses said, “O Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses. Exodus 4:13-14
God is rarely angry in Scripture. He does not act cruelly rain down fire and brimstone when he is disappointed by one of His errant children. In the case of Moses He included Aaron in the mission. But I ask myself why would anyone have the audacity to say to the Creator of the world “not me, send someone else.” And then I think of how often I have done the same thing. No I don’t have direct conversations with God like Moses… but I say to myself, “I could never do that!” “I am not talented enough, well-spoken enough.” “I am Too Old, Too young, Too SOMETHING.”
God plants ideas within me to accomplish something. I do not ever want Him to be angry with me for saying NOT ME, Lord. How often did He speak to Joseph, to the Magi, to Samuel, to so many of His people in dreams… I think dreams are where God speaks to His people today. Not necessarily the sleeping kinds either. The Dreams of “what IF?” are planted from somewhere. Thomas Edison asked what if there could be light from inside a glass with an electrified wire. The Wright brothers asked what if man could fly. Jonas Salk asked what if there would be no more disease and he found a way to stop one. Marie Curie passionately pursued the development of X-Ray technology when women were not respected in the field of sciences. I am sure there were many times when she thought… “Send someone else” when the public derided her for being “Just a Woman”…
God gives His CALLED, the tools to do whatever He has in mind that He shares. There are a never ending list of excuses but when I pray and ask Him if this of YOU Lord? If I receive confirmation then I can’t in good conscience say… Not Me… I do not ever want to bear the brunt of God’s anger or cause Him the least bit of consternation.
Dearest Lord, I know I have disappointed You with my lack of follow through on the activities that You have given me to accomplish over the years. Like Moses I sincerely doubted myself. Now I know that You would never ask me to do something without the full knowledge of how it will be done. Help me to believe and act in faithful obedience.

Wednesday April 22, 2015 My Way

Posted April 22, 2015 by bgovanus
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My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are My ways above your ways and My thoughts above your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
There are so many instances when I have asked God WHY. Why did You allow a sweet child to die from brain cancer? Why did You allow this young mother to lose a child in a senseless drunk driving car accident? Why did You allow persecution and martyrdom for believers? God knows the plans HE has for each of us. If my little friend, Noah, had not suffered with brain cancer, his parents would never have mobilized a foundation to do cutting edge research on brain cancers developing new protocols and blazing new trails. If a mother had not lost her child in a car accident, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, would never have been formed. This group has educated and mobilized activity around the world. If Stephen had not been martyred and the all-out persecution of The WAY had not forced Christians to flee Jerusalem… Christianity would have been another small religious sect in the mid-East.
I know I am not alone when I ask why in frustration and pain. I am realizing that if I start to ask the question… WHAT? instead I may see new doors that need to be opened as a result of my loss or current dilemma. God knows what He is doing and never reveals His plans too far in advance. There would be too much for me to take in. I would be overwhelmed and immobilized. If I can stop and ask Him to open my eyes, to ease the pain and anger enough to show me how to channel it into a new reality then I can be blessed and be a blessing.
Lord, I know that I will never understand everything this side of heaven. Help me to open my eyes, my ears, my heart and my soul so that I can be a channel of Your peace, co-creating a solution instead of wagging my fist in anger and frustration. You are in everything. Help me to realize this and accept what I cannot change and do all I can to be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Tuesday April 21, 2015 Role Models

Posted April 21, 2015 by bgovanus
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Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
As Christians I have many role models in the saints to remind me what is important. Martyrs died rather than compromise what they had come to believe in Christ’s life and teachings. The Acts of the Apostles tells the story of St Stephen, the first martyr for Christ. Stephen was a young zealous convert who was appointed as the first deacon to help tend to the physical needs of the budding church. He performed his ministrations well, serving the people who needed food and attention in their illnesses. When in the temple area, he said to the scribes and elders that they were responsible for the death of a prophet… they took him out and stoned him.
Stephen was fully in tune with the mission of Christ. He served, taught and fearlessly shared what he believed. There are still martyrs today. ISIS murders Christians on a daily basis. Those who stand before the firing squad could have saved themselves but chose to trust with their faith and belief that God is not dead but is alive and is the same yesterday, today and forever. I pray that there would be enough evidence to convict me of being a Christian. Could a judge or jury convict me by the acts and the life I lead? Would I be found guilty of serving my King?
Lord, I am so grateful for the Role Models of faith that surround me today. Their lives help me to see ways that I too may serve. I pray for them to be strong and realize the path that they are forging is enabling me and others to be all that I am capable of being for the Lord. Bless them with Your grace to continue to be Your disciples in spite of persecution.

Monday April 20, 2015 Food that Perishes

Posted April 20, 2015 by bgovanus
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Jesus said to those who followed Him across the sea “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” John 6:27
I have never cured myself of cooking in large quantities, growing up in a family of nine children, my measurements are skewed. This allows for many leftovers or pans of lasagna to take to friends who are sick or new mothers who would enjoy not having to cook while acclimating to a new baby to tend. Food has an expiration date though and I am always cautioning my husband about the shelf life of something I made. Jesus also cautioned those who came after Him wanting bread to eat but for a much different reason. He would not be there to provide the bread. He wanted his followers to realize that there was more He came to offer than full stomachs.
Jesus came to feed God’s people with heavenly food, His word and His flesh to nourish all people for eternity. Just like most people, I get hungry 4 or 5 hours after I eat a meal. Jesus knew that was how humanity functions because He was truly human. He knew growling stomachs take precedent and yet He told these people who followed Him from town to town… don’t work for food that perishes. He gave them bread to eat but cautioned them not to depend on Him for that kind of sustenance. He came to deliver so much more. Doing God’s will is what Jesus asks of those who came in search of more bread. Many left confused but some stayed and figured out that Jesus wanted to prepare the feast for eternity not just today.
God knows that I will be hungry. He has created a beautiful and bountiful place where all my needs can be met before I even know I have them. Jesus beckons me to hunger for that place rather than devoting myself to the carnal pleasures of this life. Jesus invites me to the table to experience the food that lasts forever. It is my heart and my soul that needs this nourishment.
Lord, thank You for the gift of finest wheat that brings me to eternal life. Help me to always seek the true Bread of Life rather than food and pleasures which perish quickly leaving me wanting always for more.

Sunday April 19, 2015 Festival

Posted April 19, 2015 by bgovanus
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The kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit; whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by others. Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another. Romans 14:17-19
I like to think about the churches in Rome, Corinth and Ephesus receiving the letters from St Paul. Gathering together to read them over and over again to hear the great wisdom and discuss how they could begin to implement his directives in their lives. Ancient Rome was all about food and drink, big festivals and parties, debauchery and games, betting and contests. Sound familiar??? I see a lot in our country that reminds me of Ancient Rome. Super Bowl Sunday, March Madness and the arenas and coliseums filled with drunken observers of sporting matches, concerts and truck pulls.
There is nothing wrong with entertainment and having fun. It can become though a way of life. It can become a god.

The idols of pleasure that attract and detract from what is truly important is what Paul cautions against. It is hard to build up someone else when all my attention is focused on the game or where the next meal is coming from. My grandmother used to say “Don’t ever LIVE to eat, but eat to live.” Keep the focus on nourishment as sustenance not as the center of my attention. She lived on a farm and much of her day was devoted to canning, cooking and feeding livestock so her reminder was even more poignant. She focused her attention on building up others and nourishing the spirit and the body came second.
Today, Lord help me to keep the Spirit as my focus. Help me to pursue what leads to peace and building up others. You provide the resources for me, I look forward to joy in the Your presence forever!

Friday April 17, 2015 Diversity

Posted April 17, 2015 by bgovanus
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There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but the same God who works all in all. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
I love that we are each and every one blessed in different ways. Each person has unique talents and gifts with which to serve the Lord. It is amazing the vast talents that He brings together in a group of 5 or 6 friends much less in a church family. I see this every day in the committees that I serve on in different charities, networking groups and even in my family. One is fantastic in organizing, another at writing, another at creativity, another at vision, and the list goes on. It is amazing to watch the results when all the gifts are allowed and encouraged to be shared. Miracles happen on a daily basis.
I know God is present even when His name is not mentioned in prayer when these committees come together. It is all about the respect for the mission and a willingness to sacrifice self to accomplish more together than each of us could do alone. That is how God designed His church and how Jesus formed the apostles while He was among them.
Appreciation for the giftedness in others helps me to be a part of some amazing and wonderful things. I can’t write a check to 20 women attending college to help them pay tuition or buy books but I can through the work of a strong team of gifted women do that and mentor them too. I cannot serve the impoverished or abused in the court system but with 20 other people I can put on a breakfast that raises $200,000 to help pay for lawyers to do that. As much as I want to buy a building to house the New Image Youth Center or give each of the 67 children who come there each day school supplies or snacks; Christmas presents or Easter candy, with the giftedness of many… the Lord keeps a roof over their heads and hope in their hearts.
Each of the people on the teams brings amazing talents that serve the goals of their organization. It is a blessing for me to see the combination of talents and commitment achieve what many would view as impossible. God blesses and multiplies each individual effort.
Lord help me to use my talents to continue to serve Your people. Direct my steps and allow me to gratefully be a part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.

Thursday April 16, 2015 Incredible

Posted April 16, 2015 by bgovanus
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In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:79
This verse is the last one in the canticle of Zechariah. I read this each morning, as it is part of the rite of Morning Prayer. I often think about Zechariah and what he did during his nine months of silence before John was born. Scripture tells that he wrote His Name is JOHN. This sentence ended his inability to speak. It made me wonder if he wrote often during his silence. None of his other communications ended his ban from the angel. What about these four words made all the difference?
Zechariah doubted the angel and in doing so was saying, I don’t believe God has the power to make this dream a reality. Zechariah and his wife had been childless for many years. They were old… I can relate to his incredulity. Someone telling me I would give birth at 64, I would do more than raise an eyebrow too. But Zechariah was a priest… He knew the Torah, the stories of Exodus and all that God had accomplished. Why then he was so incredulous? What is impossible for humans is easy for God. He performs miracles of kindness and turning a stony heart into a soft one. He opens doors that have been bolted for a long time. He casts out Satan and allows love to break through barriers. Zechariah knew these things and yet he doubted.
God calls me to trust that He knows best. He asks me to faithfully follow His direction and step into the light out of the darkness.
It is NOT easy, but it is possible. I just need to believe!
Lord increase my faith. Help me to trust You in spite of my fears! You are the light and can and will lead me out of darkness into the light! Help me to believe all things are possible through YOU!


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