Sunday August 2, 2015 Trials

Posted August 2, 2015 by bgovanus
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Count it all joy when you fall into various trials. James 1:2
We glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
I don’t know about you but I have a hard time being joyful when the trials seem to be so daunting. The car accidents, the broken dryer, the sprinkler system that is hemorrhaging water, the list of aging ailments: eyes, teeth, joints, that seems endless… Growing older is not for sissies. God however, invites me to count it all JOY!
I can only truly find the JOY if I step back and realize that I am made of perseverance, which does indeed bring me to new levels of character. If I can smile through pain, be present to others and continue to be the person God calls me to be when I am struggling, it not only encourages others to deal with their own struggles but helps me. Hope is ever present among those who persevere. It is never easy but looking past the day to day inconveniences of rental cars while mine is in the shop, time spent in doctor’s offices and rehab that used to be focused on more productive efforts and being blessed by the those who serve me creates a chain of goodness that makes me realize I am where I am supposed to be.
God finds a way to turn goodness from the disastrous. He uses every situation to move me closer to Him. I can only see the tiny miracles if I take off my blinders and realize that if I glory in my tribulations I will indeed see how far I have come.

Today, is a day that God has made, Let me rejoice and be glad in it! Bemoaning has ever changed anything, Perseverance and Character do! Hope is my ever present guide amidst the struggles that I face. Lord, help me to always remember that is nothing I cannot overcome with You.

Friday July 31, 2015 Obedient

Posted July 31, 2015 by bgovanus
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This command which I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. Deuteronomy 30:11
I studied quite a bit under Jesuits in High School and college. St Ignatius instilled in his Society of Jesus that obedience to God will be discerned in prayer. This verse speaks to me about the need to go within. I don’t have to search for the answer by traveling to Tibet or Rome. God speaks in the recesses of my heart and the unlimited rhythm of my soul. His small whisper can only be heard when I quiet my activity and listen intently. Then I know what I need to do and make a choice to be obedient to His will.
Jesus created a new covenant of love. Paul spoke of contentment in being, doing and living within what God provides. This might mean times of poverty and times of wealth. I cannot know what today will have in store for me. However if I look within and embrace the direction that my God is leading me, I will be, do and have enough.
Each day provides opportunities to serve my Lord. There are people who need my ear. There are others who need my hands. There are others who need my mind. I am willing to give myself to those who God calls upon me to serve. It is not mysterious… the talents which God blessed me with are to use to serve Him and His people. It is a blessing to be able to move into the space where I know I am doing what God called me to do.
Lord, help me to find my purpose through prayer. Help me always to discern YOUR will and choose to act appropriately. I long to be Your obedient servant!

Thursday July 30, 2015 Family Matters

Posted July 30, 2015 by bgovanus
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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

I am blessed with a big family… Nine of us, in fact. Gathering together for special occasions and reunions is a treat that reminds each of us of the parents who formed their union to unite this crazy group of yours, mine and ours. When I read this verse this morning it brought to mind the teachings of those parents and the upbringing I shared with our big family. Whatever is true: lying was NOT allowed in our home. Strictly enforced and monitored by one another.  Whatever is honorable: Mom always said that we should NEVER do or say anything that she would not be pleased to know about. Chances were good she would hear back from friends so we needed to figure she would.  Whatever is just: mom was smart when it came to desserts, one would cut and the others would get to pick theirs FIRST… you could be sure that each piece was exactly the same size. Whatever is pure: When my stepfather married my mom, a widow with FIVE children, his love was easy to see. That kind of pure motives is rare and was an example that each of us embraced. Whatever is lovely: There were as you can imagine with nine kids, some craziness around the house… even meals could be hectic but there was always music and joy. An appreciation for the finer things was instilled early and often. Whatever is gracious: Fights were inevitable at home and tolerated but once outside the front door, each of us knew support was close by if needed… it continues to this day. Excellence: was expected and no one was allowed to rest on laurels from last year or last week. Worthy of praise: celebrations of achievements were common in our family. Whether it was Soccer game wins, college graduations or new babies, a celebration occurred. Life needs to be celebrated.
I am blessed with good memories and am hoping that my own daughters and their children will feel this verse is a good family motto. It has served me well and each time I reflect on my family values, I smile that God blessed me with siblings that allow me to be graced by their presence and inspire me to this day by their actions of pure love.
Lord watch over my family and help each of them to see and embrace You. It is only through Your grace that each of Your children live and move and have our being. Continue to give grace for the journey home to You!

Wednesday July 29, 2015 Hypocrites

Posted July 29, 2015 by bgovanus
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“Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Matthew 15:10-11
The rhetoric has started with 20 different people vying for the Republican presidential nomination. I marvel at the variety of people who want the most difficult job in the world. As I listen to the speeches and watch the results of the polling… I am reminded of the movie, The American President. If you have not seen it, I invite you to watch it. The thought that sticks with me now is that people are so thirsty for leadership, they will drink the sand that is being spewed out by people with a voice. When the only people who are talking are those who blame others and cast a picture that they can make a difference by providing their solution, I shake my head.
This country was founded on biblical principles. When I look at the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, it is easy to understand how this UNITED States has grown into a unique and wonderful combination of cultures, colors and creeds. It takes a rare strength to lead its people! Diplomacy and decisive confidence are only a small part of the equation. I want to believe in the words that come from these candidates but I fear that there is much hypocrisy. Politicians are notorious for saying what people want to hear instead of what needs to be said! I pray for a candidate to step forward who understands the job at hand and has the courage to be willing to speak the truth. The sad thing is, this person will likely NOT win the election.
Lord, I pray for my country, for those who lead it and for its citizens. Please send a God fearing leader who can provide the Leadership needed to make the U.S. a strong and viable place to live for years to come.

Tuesday July 28, 2015 Consulting

Posted July 28, 2015 by bgovanus
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And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. Isaiah 37: 14
It is important in legal matters, investments, or tax matters to consult with a more learned source so that I don’t make any errors. I have learned the hard way that is the best and usually the least expensive option. This verse reminded me that I need to take my ideas, concerns and even my joys before the Lord. So often I think I know the way to go. I proceed on my own and find after a very short time that I was mistaken and need to readjust. If I had only asked God, by laying the decision out before Him… I am sure He would have opened my mind to see another way.
If consulting with a “higher” power in some matters is important, then doing so with God can be life changing.
I guess part of why I don’t ask is that I think the matter too trivial to bother the creator of the universe with but I am thrilled when my children and grandchildren discuss things with me. When a friend wants to bounce an idea off of me or my coworker calls with a question, I am honored to be asked. I need to remember those feelings and seek out my Father in heaven with the same humble spirit.
The simplest joys, the most desperate decisions… all are worthy to be laid before God and shared with Him. If I have not prayed and brought before the Lord even the smallest incidental, I am missing an opportunity to grow closer to Him. He is waiting for me to consult over the details of my life.
Lord, help me to always seek YOU out and share my life. From the smallest pain to the consummate joy… You are patient with my reluctance but I know the door is always open.

Thursday July 23, 2015 Unseen

Posted July 23, 2015 by bgovanus
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We look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.        2 Corinthians 4:18
If we listen to that great philosopher, Madonna. We live in a material world. I know that it is hard to keep my focus on what is “unseen” when there is so many bright and shiny objects dancing before my eyes. Not only sparkling baubles but the draw of electronics, the temptations to lose my life in what is urgent instead of what is important. Nothing here on this earth is permanent. As much as I would like to think that what I do, say or create will last. Nothing, not buildings, not monuments not even the earth itself will remain forever. It is interesting to visit ancient sites like Ephesus or Bethlehem where I have seen buildings that have been unearthed. Literally, these sites are buried under many feet of sand and dirt. No one can see the geography changing.
God is the only eternal in my life. Realizing and embracing that truth is important to my happiness and my salvation. Choosing every day to recognize and acknowledge Him is the key to my salvation.
Lord, please help me to focus on the Unseen instead of only on the loud and colorful that demand my attention. You are the only way to eternal life.

Wednesday July 22, 2015 Love

Posted July 22, 2015 by bgovanus
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If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. Luke 6:32
There are so many times when this verse convicts me. It is as though I am on a leash and I get pulled back sharply. There are many people in each person’s life who are a thorn, a prickly and hard to accept aggravation. How can they think that way? Why do they say things like that? Who would ever behave in such a manner? When those thoughts come unbidden into my mind and heart, I try to remind myself that God told me, “My ways are NOT your ways!” and that goes for everyone in the world as well. What I think is acceptable behavior might be appalling to my neighbor too.
I have a friend who has a heart as big as all outdoors. She welcomes children to her youth center from the poorest neighborhood in the city. There are days when I am sure she asks herself “What the heck am I doing here?”  I am not able to make a dent in this chain of poverty and then God always seems to deliver a moment when a child turns the corner. He apologizes for cursing, She sits quietly and plays a game instead of being destructive or rude. It is enough to revive a drooping spirit and remind her and her staff that loving the sinners changes hearts. Creating a space of safety and acceptance for all eventually shapes a mind and opens a heart to a different way to live.
It is hard, God never told me that loving is easy. He spread out His arms and died to make me free from sin and death. There is no greater love than that. It is hard to have patience and look on those who are so different from me with loving eyes. I need to picture Jesus face superimposed on theirs and never forget that His ways are NOT my ways.
Lord I am eager to love with total abandon. Help me to release the notions in my head that make me judgmental or unaccepting. Open my heart to love as You would have me love.


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