Are They So Different?

The cows are gone. Not all of them, just the ones sporting bright blue tags pierced into leathery ears. They stood out because of that tag, but they were still Black Angus mixes, just like the rest. Their presence doubled the size of the herd, but there’s plenty of grass and water. Come to find out they had crossed through a hole in the barbwire. Their owner herded them back and repaired the fence.

Those that are different sometimes alarm us. They don’t look like us, talk like us, or act like us. We somehow find that bothersome, so we keep our distance. But they are still people whom God loves.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life,” John 3:16

How do you treat others you perceive as different?

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another,” John 13:34

“holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you,” Colossians 3:12-13

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you,” Matthew 7:12

What attitude and action will you change this week?

“Dear Lord, let me see others as You do and behave toward them as You are. Thank you, In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Loving the “Blue Tags’, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

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Why Worry?

The deer ambled out of the forest and across the snow-clad yard in search of food. It seemed to detect a promising spot as hooves began to paw through the icy crust. The velvety snout lowered and nibbled what was likely tender shoots below. However, at the whirring of the camera, its head jerked up, sharp eyes scanned surroundings, and satellite ears honed in to the source of its distraction. I held my breath. After moments the majestic animal seemed reassured and dining continued.

Encounters with wild animals in the natural world may be rare, but the close-up beauty and noble creature’s simply act of feeding reminded me of God’s gracious provision. Times will grow hard and we may feel hopeless, but God tells us:

“Look at the birds of the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are?” Matthew 6:26

“Casting all your cares on him because he cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:7

We need not worry, but we do, especially when life gets messy. Could it be our focus is wrong? Do I think God is incapable of handling what brings me grief and pain?

“I am the Alpha and Omega,” says the Lord God – the one who is, and who was, and who is still to come – the All-Powerful!” Revelation 1:8

“What is impossible for mere humans is possible for God,” Luke 18:27

We accept God’s provisions, but sometimes we get distracted and turn away from His assurance and protection. If God provides for the lowly deer in winter, He is fully capable of providing our needs!

What are your worries today? Will you turn back to God? Will you hand them to the One for Whom all is possible?

“Dear Lord, rather than trying to handle life’s trouble on my own, help me hand them off to you and begin to rest easy. Thank you, Amen in Jesus’s Name.”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28

Handing God All that Troubles Me, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

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Who’s Sharing Your Staircase?

Our friends are among the recently departed. No, not to heaven’s glorious realm, but simply to California. The young couple shared our home for a brief period between Seminary graduation and a pastorship, and they loved us well. I hope they feel the same.

Life seems like a series of staircases and landings. We share seasons before pausing and veering off as we enter other doors to other staircases. Connections are made and broken with health challenges, graduation, retirement, or altered interests. Cities, jobs, churches, and organizations may change, but new climbs offer new people.

Rather than lamenting current staircases, or longing for ones recently left, why not view today’s situation as a ministry opportunity? We think we’re too busy or will have plenty of chances to do for others, but life is short. All we have for certain is this moment in time.

“O Lord, help me understand my mortality and the brevity of life! Let me realize how quickly my life will pass!” Psalm 39:4

Think about those sharing your staircase right now. What are their names? Who will you help? To whom will you show the love of Jesus?

“Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another,” 1 John 4:11

Still need a shove to reach out? Consider these words:

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good thing you do or say,” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Who needs your helping hands, listening ears, and calming words? Who will you love well today? Prayer requests?

“Dear Lord, help me see others as you do. Release my heart’s clinched parts in order to  nurture another this day. Thank you, Amen.”

Loving My Fellow Climbers, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

 

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Do you Need to Reroute Life?

We got lost! The map lit up on the iPhone and we could follow GPS, but this was a  new route, and the blue dot indicating location was missing in action. Rather than pull off the highway and figure it out, we kept going. Fortunately, after pushing this and pressing that the blue dot popped on. We realized we had shuttled too far down the road, missed the exit, and a back track was in order. After adjusting our way according to new instructions, we soon arrived.

Sometimes life is like that. We make hasty decisions or plan without all the facts, and find ourselves off course and lost. And for some unexplainable reason, we may stay on the wrong road because we’re stuck in stubborn donkey-mode or think choosing another path is too hard or feel it’s too late to reroute. We even kid ourselves into believing things will get better when deep down we know they won’t. If only we had first earnestly sought God’s wisdom, and carefully viewed all options, we might have avoided much heartache and harm.

But there is good news! God is the God of second (third, fourth, etc.) chances.

“The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness,” Lamentations 3:22-23

Is it time to pause, find your blue dot, and assess where you’re headed?

“Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord. We lift up our heart and hands toward God in heaven,” Lamentations 3:40-41

Maybe a U-turn is in order? Rerouting is okay!

“O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling places,” Psalm 43:3

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” Matthew 6:33

Will you first seek God in determining the next step for your life?

“Dear Lord, help me look to You before I leap out there. Thank you, Amen.”

Navigating New Roads only with God, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

 

 

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Control and Change – Who’s in Charge?

The text message indicated not only a gate change but a different terminal as well. Time was tight and a mad dash ensued as heels pounded hard tile, purse straps slid down the arm, and the black roller bag bounced unsteadily to the side. Out of breath and with only minutes to spare the destination was reached, but . . .  the flight  boarded late and the rush proved pointless.

You can prepare for the future, but change happens, and that’s when things can get scary and confusing. But we have choices. We can view the situation with streams of ugly words, slamming of figurative or literal doors, and somehow turn the unavoidable into self-blame. Or we can say that some, if not most, things are simply beyond our control. But if we aren’t in control then who is?

Consider the words of Christian Scripture:

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all,” Psalm 103:19

“Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy,” Exodus 15:6

“He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,” 1 Timothy 6:15

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:9

“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, Who was, Who is, and Who is to come,” Revelation 4:8

“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were  created,” Revelation 4:11

In these words I take comfort. The Triune God of all is in control not only of this day, but of all our days.

“Dear Lord, help me rest in Your power and rely on Your presence in all I face this week. Thank, Jesus, Amen.”

Will you trust Him with each moment?

Leaning on the One who Resides in the Beyond, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

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Is God’s Way Yours Way?

Whomp, whomp, whomp commenced soon after the low tire light popped on. Fortunately, we managed to limp to the house before the tire rested completely horizontal on the cold concrete driveway. We figured the construction utility blade embedded in the tread elevated our tire status from repair to replacement, meaning bigger bucks. So with a quick switch to the tirette housed in the trunk, and looking like an elephant with one horse leg, we headed to a fix-it place. Munchkin tires are not made for distance and we wanted this done now, before the work week started.

Our first stop agreed with our replacement assessment, but they no longer carried Michelin and we preferred matching tires. We trekked to another shop which sold our brand but would have to place an order and wait at least a day. Rather than settle we decided to wait for the right one.

When the unexpected erupts it’s tempting to jump ahead of God. We toss off patience and His perfect plan and end up attending wrong schools, choosing wrong careers, marrying wrong people, moving to wrong places, while making wrong investments of time, money and effort. For whatever reasons, a microwave life with microwave choices entices our senses. We settle and end up gouged and deflated.

But God’s perspective is eternal.

“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son (Jesus Christ),” 1 John 5:11

“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit (of God) will from the Spirit reap eternal life,” Galatians 6:8

His timing is perfect.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven,” Ecclesiastes 3:1

God’s way is worth the wait.

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him,” Isaiah 30:18

“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him,” Lamentations 3:25

And if we’ve already blown it? He is still worthy of our trust and will work all for good!

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us,” Psalms 62:8

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His Purpose,” Romans 8:28

Will you confidently declare as the Psalmist did (Psalm 31:15), “My times are in your hand,” and faithfully live it?

“Dear Lord, let me see life through you perspective and have courage to change. Thank you, Amen.”

Settling for Nothin’ but God’s Way, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

 

 

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What Parts are Broken?

When we first designed the kitchen a built-in dish soap dispenser at the sink seemed, well, fancy and cool. But it quickly became a pain to scrunch down, and blindly reach underneath the sink, disposal, cords, and drain pipe in order to unscrew the plastic bottle for refill. A container of liquid suds set to the side, and easily retrievable, was somehow uncool. Go figure. After a while the metal parts rusted out, the top fell off, but the plastic remained screwed tight sight unseen. But rather than fix it we let it go for months and a large, clunky refill-jug roosted contentedly for all to see. Definitely uncool.

Today was finally the day to deal with it. Since yours truly is the smaller of the two of us, cabinet squirming commenced. With right arm resting on an upturned tote, wires dangling, flashlight beams slicing the darkness, and grunting and groaning ringing out, rusted parts finally broke loose. Within a minutes, we claimed ‘coolness’ once again.

Sometimes we ignore, hide, pretend, defer, deny or throw ourselves into something more pleasant rather than deal when brokenness rears its destructive ugliness. Often these methods require more effort than simply dealing when rips and regrets begin, which left unchecked, explode into canyons and earthquake-size pain. But with God life can be different. Why?

Because God knows.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31

Because God cares.

“Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.” Isaiah 30:18

Because God heals.

“Praise the Lord? For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise if fitting. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:1, 3

Facing personal assaults rarely goes easily, but with God we possess His presence and His power to move forward.

“Dear Lord, let me recognize Your Hand and no longer delay that which leads to healing my broken bits. Thank you, Amen.”

What steps will you take today? Prayer requests?

Healing for Wholeness, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

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