Friday February 24, 2017 Friends

Posted February 24, 2017 by bgovanus
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Pleasant speech multiplies friends, and gracious lips, prompt friendly greetings.  Let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant. Sirach 6:5-6

This week has been filled with the wisdom of Sirach and today’s insights hit the mark once more.  He exhorts me to the difference between those who are casual acquaintances and those who are true friends.  His words challenge me to ask if I am being a friend!  Am I being someone who is trustworthy, consistent, loyal, and is there when times are good but relentless when things get hard.  A faithful friend is beyond price, a sturdy shelter, a faithful remedy, is a lifesaving remedy, is a treasure… Sir 5: 14-16.

Relationships take time, and a true disposition of selflessness.  Making time and giving mindshare to the needs of others requires a great deal in this day and age.  No one has enough hours in the day anymore so when you give your time, talent and treasure to someone, it is the pearl of great price.  It is so much easier to write a check than to volunteer to be present.  I am blessed to have friends and be one.  Each opportunity to share a meal, a walk or even a car ride enriches me

I treasure the gift that is each moment.  I am fortunate that my family is counted among my true friends.  Blood does not always make friendship a reality.  For many it is the antithesis.

God please give me a heart for loving those in my life… Help me to be a friend in all the depth and meaning of the word!  Give me patience, kindness, humility, and the desire to be always Your servant in my relationships.  Lord, help me to be You!

Thursday February 23, 2017 Reliable

Posted February 23, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Do not rely on your wealth, or say, “I have the power.”  Do not rely on your strength in following the desires of your heart. Sirach 5:1-2

I love it when an athlete acknowledges God after an amazing display of prowess on the field.  He is witnessing to his adoring public that God gave me this talent.  His power to perform has been developed and honed to a level of perfection but he realizes that the original talent would not have been enough to get him there or keep him there.  There is nothing that I can rely upon but God.  I work hard and practice and study but without God’s grace, I know I would not be able to be of any use to anyone.  Sirach lists many situations in this passage where God alone is reliable and strongly discourages his readers from becoming haughty and believing they have the power to achieve anything on their own.

God alone is reliable.  If I rely on anything besides Him, I will be doomed to failure. Pride comes before the fall has been proven in too many situations to call it a coincidence.  I always need to focus on the fact that HE provides all I need and I can only survive by keeping my focus on Him.  Human nature provides no better example of absolute power corrupting absolutely than Hitler.  He relied on his power and became convinced of his inability to be defeated.  He roused a nation and inspired a people who were broken and poor to great but terrible things.  But his blindness eventually caused a downfall.

As often as I allow myself to become convinced of my strengths, I will hit a wall and the Lord will exact punishment Sir 5:3.  But I want to focus on maintaining my relationship and not the fear of repercussions.

Lord, I love You with all my heart.  Help me always rely and acknowledge that You are the Power and Light in my life.  Help me to humbly give You the honor and the glory! 

Wednesday February 22, 2017 Author

Posted February 22, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

“It is you who were the author of those events and of what preceded and followed them. The present and the future you have also planned. Whatever you devise comes into being.” Judith 9:5

I am in a book club and have been in several thoughout my life.  I love to read and discuss books.  Almost always in a discussion the desire to ask the Author what his or her real intent was in this plot twist or that character introduction.  In recent days, authors have made themselves available to Book Clubs for such a discussion since apparently, I am not the only one who is curious.   These are not easy to arrange because in most cases the authors don‘t live nearby and they need to be compensated for their time and logistics are a nightmare…  most book clubs don’t meet during normal working hours.

When I contrast that with Bible Study, there is a wonderful difference.

God is always present for the discussion.  He tells me that when two or more are gathered, He is there.  St Paul says in his letter to Corinthians… “We have the mind of Christ”1 Cor 2:16 How blessed we are to have the author and finisher of life in our midst whenever a question arises.  Jesus opens my mind and my heart to grasp the meaning that He longs for me to understand each time I read the words written by His holy hand. I have written and contributed to several books.  It is hard to clearly express the meaning I wish to convey.  That is what is so miraculous about scripture.  I can read the same verse once a week and it can mean something very different and still be truth each time I read it.  God’s words have meaning for me and when I open my mind and heart that meaning is revealed to instruct, inform and shape my life.

Lord help me to open my mind, my heart and my soul to Your words.  Let me listen as Your life and the wonders of Your love are poured out in the pages of the bible.  Let me read Your love story with the human race with the attention that this epic deserves. Give me the ability to share it with those I love.    

Tuesday February 21, 2017 Ste

Posted February 21, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast, and do not be impetuous in time of adversity.
Cling to Him, do not leave Him, that you may prosper in your last days.  
Sirach 2:1-3

Some great advice from Sirach!  Whether I am working at my job, fulfilling duties in my family or “Serving the Lord” which of course are not mutually exclusive, these words encourage and direct me!  Life happens and trials and adversity are a part of every day.  This week alone, I have had three appointments cancel because of “Life” circumstances and it is only Tuesday.  The best path is the most simple and straightforward one: Cling to God, accept what comes calmly and prospering in the last days will be assured.

Having the ability to cling to the Lord in my tribulations gives me hope.  As I struggle with day to day demands, I lean not on my own understanding.  It fails me every time.  The best way to survive in a tornado or hurricane is to find strong and safe shelter and hunker down until the sky is clear.  I will cling to the Lord and know that He will see me through.  As often as I feel like I can conquer the situation, that is how often I learn that I cannot do it alone.  Impetuous or aggravated are common states in 2017.  It is a blessing to find peace and that is only available in the Lord!

Dear Father, I ask You to guide me and bring me to a place of your JOY.  Help me remain steadfast in my commitment to You.  Open my eyes to the trials that I face and help me realize that nothing is impossible for You. 

Monday February 20, 2017 Rid

Posted February 20, 2017 by bgovanus
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 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.   Hebrews 12:1-2

There are many books written today about simplifying and getting rid of all the extra “Stuff” in life.  From the place for everything and everything in its place theory to the only own what you love theory, all kinds of dictum exist.  It is crucial to embrace God’s direction though to achieve true peace.  Toss the burdens and sin so that I can get to Him.  Carrying excess baggage does slow me down and makes getting to the finish line nearly impossible.  I can’t imagine my daughter running her marathons with a back pack full of books.  The road and the distance are enough of a challenge, why would she make it even harder?

St Paul encourages his friends and himself to keep eyes on the prize, Jesus.  Focus on any of the other distractions and sin will not only bog me down but lead me off the path entirely.

I love the description of Jesus as the LEADER and Perfecter of FAITH.  Should I ever wonder who or what I am called to be, I have a perfect example to follow.  I know that sin clings to me like a polyester blouse fresh out of the dryer.  It is determined to stay plastered on my body.  Only Jesus can help me be rid of that sin so I can persevere.

Lord, I am grateful indeed for Your love and sacrifice to free me from all that burdens me and holds me back.  Help me lay aside what prevents me from being fully present to You!  Allow me to finish the race, all the while keeping my eyes fixed on You!   

Sunday February 19, 2017 Will

Posted February 19, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”  Matthew 26:39

The Chinese New Year greeting “May all things happen according to your will!” reminds me that what I may “WILL” may not be the best-case scenario and may not even be the best alternative for me. My very limited view of the world can never grasp what God has prepared for me.  Jesus knew what was coming and still he stepped into the pain and suffering and respected HIS Father’s will not His own.  There have been many cases of bending to God’s will gracefully in Scripture.  One of my personal favorites is the story of Joseph.  He would have never “willed” for his brothers to sell him into slavery, Joseph of course did not will for himself to be thrown in prison falsely accused of sexual assault.  He probably would not have willed to be the Pharaoh’s Counsel.  God’s WILL set the stage and put him in those situations but instead of rebelling or giving up, Joseph remained steadfast and faithful.  Because he did God’s will… he could save his family and eventually be reunited with his beloved father.

It is impossible for me to know how a current situation that is full of pain will be resolved.  Whether it is illness, job loss, persecution, divorce, the death of a spouse or child; only God knows why.  His will for me now is to trust Him and pray as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane “Not as I will, but as You will.”    

It is NOT easy but when I can allow God to be God and believe that He knows best, then I can live a life filled with possibility!

Lord, You hold my life in Your hands.  Let Your will be done!  Help me to appreciate and survive the difficulties without doubt that I am in Your loving care.  You protect me in the shadow of Your wings!  Let me never doubt that Your will is the best place for me! 

Saturday February 18, 2017 But

Posted February 18, 2017 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

A man said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:61-62

But is a dangerous word.  It is like a POOP sandwich.  The outside is great stuff, nice bread that looks appetizing and delicious.  Inside however, is filled with bad news:

I love you, BUT, I can’t marry you.  It’s not you it’s me. 

The dinner was delicious BUT the turkey was too dry.  The pies were great. 

Nice job on that new account, BUT your margins could be better.  Super volume though. 

Everyone has heard BUT.  Jesus told this man and He tells me too, there is no halfway.  He wants my commitment with no equivocation.  No reservations or holding back.  He understands life and all its demands.  He was born into a family and had responsibilities at home.  He loved His own mother with all His heart.  He could easily relate to the man.  He simply was warning him that it is very easy to lose the right way in the demands of this life.  Priorities must be set and strictly adhered to… God’s kingdom comes first.

Nothing in this passage indicates that Jesus softened his stance.  For many this is a very hard lesson.  Choosing God is demanding on the best day but God promises us that His Yoke will be easy and His burden light.  Seems like a confusing and divergent way of thinking.  God is an AND not a BUT.  He delivers on His promises in the most unique way.  It does not have to be either/or with Him.  There are no rules that cannot be broken because He made the rules.  Trusting in the truth will set me free.

Lord help me to never hold back in my love and commitment to You.  Erase the BUTS in my life and give me the AND attitude.You are the Way, the Truth and the Light!