Monday July 2, 2018 Prepared

Posted July 2, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

It is a tall order to always be prepared.  Trying to live the Boy Scout slogan in life is a burden in a world that is changing so quickly.  Knowing how to act in every situation and being ready to handle all that is thrown at us is impossible without God’s grace.  Peter gives a very good suggestion, always act with gentleness and respect.  When I act with understanding, patience and am guided by the principle of love, it is much easier to be prepared.

So, what is the real reason that you have hope?  If asked for an explanation of why you believe and trust in God’s promise of everlasting life, what would you say?   Peter advised those he helped to convert to the “Way” to be ready to defend their faith.  In times of persecution, this knowledge helped them to stay strong. He did not want them to be “in your face” believers but to be strong yet kind.  He wanted them to live as Christ lived.  To witness and be His follower meant to be generous and kind.  To be prepared to explain to neighbors and strangers why they were willing to die for this belief in a man that they believed to be God was and remains the challenge.

Today we are not being persecuted by Roman soldiers or Pharisees.  It is rare that we would even be asked “why” except by a precocious toddler who wants to know why we have to go to church, or why we pray, or why we take food to the church pantry but never eat there.  But it is a good question to ask ourselves, so we are prepared.  When I taught teens, I would ask those preparing for Confirmation… “Would you be found guilty of being a Christian?  Is there enough evidence to convict you?”  If not, Why NOT?

Lord, Give me the words and the heart to express and be ready to defend my faith in You.  Help me to be prepared to be a disciple who can readily explain why I have given You my life and my love.    

 

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Sunday July 1, 2018 Building

Posted July 1, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. Each one must be careful how he builds upon it… 1 Corinthians 3:10

Jesus is the rock, the foundation for the church.  St Paul explains how important it is to build properly and with care.  I love the story of a man who owned a construction company who hired his future son-in-law.  He have him a project of one home to let him earn his stripes and learn the trade.  The young man, hoping to impress by being cunning and saving money used the cheapest materials and cut corners on the appliances and workmanship.  The day the house was finished the father brought his daughter to the site and handed her the keys to the home telling her it was her wedding gift.

God does the same thing with each of us.  He has laid a foundation, giving us a life in Him.  It is up to us to build upon it as we will live for eternity in the structure that He has allowed us to create.  If we skimp and cut corners, sin and cheat then the structure will be weak and will not stand the test of time.  If, however, when we are unsure of ourselves and ask the master builder for lessons in finishing off the windows or ventilating the attic, He will supply the knowledge needed to do it right!  He is there when we falter carrying the bricks for the pavement or will hand us the roofing slate, so we will always be protected from the storms.  God wants us to live in a mansion for eternity, not a shack.  By trusting His wisdom and depending on His generosity we will be blessed forever.

Lord I am so grateful that You have given me the foundation and the real estate to build a mansion in heaven.  I trust You to be by my side assisting me in creating my place in heaven.  Thank You for all the generosity and grace that You pour into my creation.  Help me to build a home that honors You! 

Saturday June 30, 2018 Worthy

Posted June 30, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

The centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” Matthew 8:8

The centurion’s words are remembered at every mass that is celebrated around the world.  His simple expression of humility was recognized by Jesus as what it was, faith in the power of Jesus.  The Lord inspires this faith in Him and he was a Gentile, a Roman who had no knowledge of Savior but had heard of the healing that Jesus had performed throughout the area and believed Jesus was capable and trustworthy.  It makes you wonder how the Pharisees and Sadducees, the temple Sanhedrin and all the rabbis who saw what Jesus did, knew the history and all the scripture that prophesied about Him could be so blind.  How could they not see and believe?

I think in many ways, their pride got in the way.  They believed that God would send a king to free their people from domination and would not then see anything but that.  Their blindness to the possibilities that God could do anything was their ultimate downfall.  Jesus would be at His Father’s side when they came to stand before the throne and how they would shake at being held accountable for their lack of humility.

So how can we live a life that is worthy to receive the gift that is God into our homes and hearts?  We cannot!  All that God asks is that we have a humble spirit and openness like Zacchaeus to receive the Lord when He comes to us.  How blessed we are that He comes freely even though we are NOT worthy.

Lord, I am grateful indeed, that You made me Your own.  I am NOT worthy and ask only because You have told me to come to You for forgiveness and grace.   Thank You for Your love of a humble and broken spirit. 

 

Friday June 29, 2018 Convenient

Posted June 29, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.  2 Timothy 4:2

It is not easy to proclaim the word especially in a world where people only want to hear that they are perfect.  Today our society is rampant with entitlement and no one believes they have any responsibility or culpability.  It is then an interesting time to give witness to what God is calling us to be.  Jesus was the only perfect person and even though we are called to be like Him, it is impossible to achieve.

Being a disciple and a witness to His Way means we are called to convince, reprimand and encourage which does not make us very popular in our world. Many others walked before us to set an example and are our guides to live the inconvenient truth that Jesus Christ is Lord.

God provides patience and encouragement to those who press on.  It will never be easy or convenient to be a follower of Christ.  Look at what Peter and Paul went through… imprisonment, beatings, shipwreck, and finally martyrdom.  Their tenacity and persistence help us, especially today, to know that even in the light of disapproving stares, cutting remarks on Facebook or shunning by some who don’t know and love God, we are called to continue.

Pray for strength and a heart that will not weaken in the face of disapproval is the gift of grace received to persevere even when the road is tough.  For those of us who long to be liked, alienating others is very difficult but God warned that He came to set the world on fire.  How can we not expect to get burned?

Lord, I am anxious, but I trust in You.  Give me Your strength to help others come to know and love You as I do.  Help me persistent even when it is not convenient. 

Thursday June 28, 2018 Rock

Posted June 28, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.”  Matthew 7:24-25

There must be a strong foundation.  Here in Florida where hurricanes rage every summer, we know the importance of having a strong base.  The biggest loss of life is found in mobile homes or poor neighborhoods where the houses lack the stature to endure.  Jesus explained that without the strong base, all would be lost.

Finding the secret to building on rock comes down to recognizing Jesus as that rock.  I searched for my security in a job, in a family, in friends but the only ROCK is Jesus.  My house was blown apart several times because I had not realized I was building on very weak sand.  Once I found myself lying in the rubble, I would start to rebuild but being unwilling or unable to recognize my error, I again built without a true foundation.

Finally, God showed me my design flaw.  I was not asking Him to be my rock.  Once I did that, I have been able to weather the storms that have buffeted me.  I am sure that no matter how strong the winds of doubt or the waves of sadness are, my house will now survive because God is my foundation and He has invited me to build my life upon His love and saving grace.

Lord, You are my rock and my Salvation.  I can never fear the storms when my life is with You. 

Tuesday June 26, 2018 Narrow

Posted June 26, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.  How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”   Matthew 7:13-14

Why is the road to heaven lie behind the narrow gate?  God loves us so much, why would He make it difficult for us to find Him?  I don’t believe that the gate is hidden, it is just narrow, so we can’t drag all our baggage along.  The joke about not pulling a U-Haul behind the hearse is appropriate when it comes to heaven.  When I think about what heaven is… a complete and beautiful love fest, I know I can’t bring one thing from earth along to complete the picture.

Baggage like pride and selfishness have no place there.  Neither do jealousy or arrogance.  God asks us to shed our bad habits along the journey of life and come to Him free of all the stuff that would come between us.  I pray everyday for the ability to lay down the artificial, so I can be authentic before the Lord.   He knows me at my core and loves the person who HE made me to be.   I look at life as a journey of peeling off the prejudices, the airs that will keep me from entering through the narrow gate.  God loves purity and wholeness which translates to holiness.

As the road gets narrower and I lay down the unnecessary artifice, I am free to be who He has called me to be.

Lord, I gratefully seek to come before You naked and unashamed because I know that You are the creator who knew me in my mother’s womb.   Help me to shed everything that keeps holding back my whole self from You. 

Monday June 25, 2018 Choose

Posted June 26, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.  Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given to him.  Choose Life! Sirach 15:16-17

There are a number of instances in Scripture where we are told to choose.  Other places where someone is asked what they would like from God…  Healing or some kind or forgiveness.  In every case God is hoping that His children will choose life.  Adam and Eve did not, the Israelites chose to worship other gods and turned their back on the God who had rescued them for Egypt.  Can we finally make the right choice and pick the Lord?

Jesus gave the rich young man the option of selling everything and giving all to the poor.  That young man walked away sad because he had many possessions and it was too hard for him to choose LIFE.  Each day our life is FILLED with decisions.  Even small ones can be life altering.  To hit the snooze button, to eat the second (or third) donut, to repeat gossip, to steal time from our employer… God asks us to Choose life even in the smallest details.

Lord help me today to CHOOSE LIFE!