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Becoming More Than I Am

December 29, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (MSG) Each year, as New Year’s Day approaches, I agonize over my resolution.  Like everyone, I have resolved in the past to lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier foods, to be more organized, to read my Bible daily, and the list goes on.  Like most people, I’m usually strong the first month.   As February approaches, life gets in the way, and before I know it, I am back in my old routine.   When I look at the goals that I have set in the past, the common theme is that ultimately, I am striving to be something or someone that I am not.   When I have resolved to lose weight, I do not really want to lose weight to be healthier.  I want to lose weight so that I will look better in my favorite jeans.   When I have resolved to read my Bible daily,…

Advent Challenge Day 23 - Merry Christmas!

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John 3:16 (NIV) 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Thank you for walking this Advent journey with us! We hope that you were able to pause to take in the wonder of the season as we have prepared for this very day- the one that changed the world! May your Christmas be meaningful, merry and bright! With Love,
Beth and Jenny

Advent Challenge Day 22

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Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV) 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus was a man of great height who allowed Himself to become most low – gracing the Earth as a humble man. He did not desire to be first, seen, or to glorify Himself. Jesus was on a mission to serve His father and to be used completely for that purpose. In a world where distractions cont…

Advent Challenge Day 21

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Matthew 2:7-12 (NIV) 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were precious gifts offered by the Magi as they came to worship the newborn Jesus. The Magi traveled a great distance to share these profound and meaningful gifts w…

Advent Challenge Day 20

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Matthew 2:3-6 (NIV) When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’
When we think about leadership in our society and culture today, it’s not always immediate that the word shepherd springs to mind. Jesus set a beautiful standard. He was the shepherd to the people. A shepherd abandons his own needs to tend to the welfare of his flock. Who comprises your flock? What can you do to guide, tend, care for, or feed those you are leading today? A kind word, a surprise treat, wise direction, prayer, or words of encouragement may open a door to hope that has been once been locked tight.

Advent Challenge Day 19

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After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magifrom the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  Matthew 2:1-2

The older I get, the less I know.  

I now have a preteen and a teenager in the house.  When we talk, I am often astounded by how much they believe they know and understand about the world.  For them, so many things are black and white or right or wrong.  They live in a world of certainty and answers.

I was that way too.  However, as I grow older, life is less and less certain.  Everything that once seemed clear now seems more nuanced and complicated.  While there are some truths that I can cling to, much of life is confusing and difficult to understand.

As we grow in our faith and embrace the complexities of our questions, it is important that we seek out the wisdom of others.  There are many people that have struggled with the same questio…

Advent Challenge Day 18

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But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.  Luke 2:19-20 (NIV)
When Jesus was born, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  Luke 2:19 (NIV).  I imagine that Mary wondered, “Why was I chosen to be the mother of the savior of the world?  Why did God decide to come into the world as a powerless and helpless infant?”  If you read further in Luke, you will see that as Jesus grows, Mary continues to ponder.  I wonder if at some point she stopped wondering “why did God choose me?” and started pondering, “how can I be the best mother I can be to the savior of the world?” 
If we want to have the heart of Jesus, we must slow down to be present and see the world that we live in.  When we take time to ponder the sadness and pain we see in the world, the things that break Jesus’ heart will break our heart.   …