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The Unanswerable Question

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A few years ago, a massive storm ripped through our neighborhood.  After the winds and rain subsided, my kids wanted to check on a birds’ nest in our yard.  I knew that something was wrong when I saw my toddlers crouched on the ground under the tree.  While three baby birds were safe and secure in the nest, one baby bird had fallen from the tree and died in the storm. As my then 2 and 4 year old stared at the baby bird, lamenting its death, they asked me, “Can God bring the bird back to life?  Will God bring it back to life?”
I was always taught that God is all powerful.  If God is all powerful, then God can bring a dead bird back to life.  However, the much more difficult question for me was, “Will God bring the baby bird back to life?”  Unless God decided to perform a miracle in my front yard, I knew that the baby bird’s life had ended before it had a chance to live.  The even bigger question that followed was, “Why?  If God can bring a bird back to life, why wouldn’t he?” I have thoug…

Father of Heavenly Lights

November 15, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: DevotionEvery good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” James 1:17-18 NIV Even as a young child, I had a very sensitive spirit.  I loved animals, and I had a soft spot for injured creatures.  One day, my dad came home from work with a stuffed bear.  The bear was brown and had the softest fur that I had ever felt.  He was beautiful, but he was missing an eye.   My dad told me that when he saw the bear alone in the store, he knew that I would love that bear even though he was missing an eye.  My dad recognized my tender heart, and he knew that I would love that bear even more because he was missing an eye. Today, that bear is 40 years old and has matted fur.  Despite his worn condition, I cannot part with him.   I keep that bear because he re…

Their Stories Matter: Effectively Counseling Clients with Breast Cancer

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In the early 1980s, when a woman was diagnosed with breast cancer it felt like a death sentence. At least that was the way I felt, as a 10-year-old, when my mother told me that she had breast cancer. I immediately thought, “My mom is going to die.” After the shock of the initial diagnosis, my mother discussed treatment. She would have a mastectomy, and all of her lymph nodes would be removed. The results of her surgery would set the course for additional treatment.
At the time, hospitals did not allow children in hospital rooms. After the trauma of having her breast removed and recovering from a bad reaction to anesthesia, the only way that my mother could see me, her only child, was to come down to the public lobby in a wheelchair. As I look back now, I am impressed by my mother’s strength, and saddened by the healthcare provider’s lack of understanding. Fortunately, with new developments like family-centered care, a situation like the one my mother faced has become a rarity in toda…

A New Name

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October 26, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”  Ruth 1:19-21 NIV When Naomi returned to Bethlehem, people were surprised to see her because she had been away so long.  When people greeted her by name, Naomi replied that they should not call her Naomi.  Instead, she told them to call her Mara because God had made her life very bitter. She had once been full, but now she was empty. Naomi’s pain was raw and her emotions were deep. In that moment, Naomi no longer knew who she was. She knew that she had once been Naomi – a woman blessed with a family.  Now, she…

The Gift Of You

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October 25, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me.  May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands?  Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”  Ruth 1:8-13 NIV Naomi is a woman that is filled with loss and grief.  She has l…

Once Upon A Time

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October 24, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land.  So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.  The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth.  After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.  Ruth 1:1-5 MSG When I was a child, I loved to read.  One of my favorite activities was to visit the library and check out the maximum number of books allowed.  I loved books because books could take me anywhere.  Stories allowed me to escape the limits of my current life and travel to f…