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Clay Pots

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For years, my oldest son has been obsessed with football. This summer, before he started ninth grade, he begged to play for his high school team. My husband and I discussed it, and we agreed that our son could play.  However, we both knew that there was a good chance that the practices in the grueling heat, getting tackled, and the hard work would eventually lead our son to decide football was not for him. Just after school started, we had a parent’s meeting. In the meeting, the coach told us about his philosophy. He told us that he didn’t allow players to play based on skill alone. He wanted his players to work to play. The more effort a player put in during the practice, the more likely it was that he would play. He then told us a story. He said that he had this skinny freshman that would not stop. He said every time the player missed a pass, he asked the coaches how he could do better. He said that when other players were resting, this player was asking someone to throw passes so …

Finding Rest

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I am constantly looking for tips and tricks to be more efficient.  I recently discovered an app that allows me to organize my “To Do List” by categories.  The app even has a challenge to complete a set number of tasks each day. When I first started using the app, I was excited.  I had categories for work, home, family, shopping, and travel.  I wrote down all of the items I needed to do and assigned due dates.  After the first week, I was going strong.  I either checked off an item as complete (that is the most amazing feeling in the world – to cross an item off of a to do list), or I changed the due date to give me more time. Fast forward a few weeks to this moment.  I now have 33 uncompleted items on my personal list.  I have even more items that need to be completed on my work list.  When I look at the list, I feel my heartbeat race, and I feel the crushing weight of anxiety in my chest.  The app that was supposed to help me feel more organized and efficient has become another item…

Love Yourself

May 1, 2018by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”Mark 12:29-31 NIV A few days ago, I was having lunch with my friend.  To save time, my friend agreed to pick me up in the patient drop off area at work (I work at a hospital) so that we could ride together to lunch.  As usual, I was running late and the elevator was stopping on every floor. While I was on the elevator, a coworker stopped me to discuss an urgent matter.  I needed to immediately send an email because the matter was time sensitive. Because I was already late, I had no choice but to walk and type out the email as I rushed to meet my friend. I hurried out the door and jumped into the car.  I quickly started ap…

What Is Your Cross?

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What does it mean to follow Jesus?  If I am to “take up my cross”, what is my cross?  What is your cross? I have often heard people say that any hardship a person may encounter is that person’s cross to bear.  Whether a person is battling illness, dealing with depression, or going through the end of a relationship, we view any of life’s difficulties as a cross to bear. However, I believe that taking up my cross may entail much more than enduring life’s hardships and difficulties.  In Mark 8:34, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Before Jesus died on the cross, he spent his time out in the world.  He didn’t spend his days in church surrounded by people that looked like him, had the exact same religious beliefs as him, and acted like him.  He didn’t choose to spend his time with people that were e…

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

March 21, 2018by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:14-18 NIV When I was a teenager, I read this passage in awe.  I could not comprehend why the disciples would just walk away from everything they knew to follow Jesus.   Of course I understood that Jesus was the Son of God, but when I read the passage literally, it sounded like Jesus just walked up to Simon and Andrew and said, “Hi.  Nice to meet you. I am the Savior of the World. Follow me.” I couldn’t understand walking away from the life that I knew because I still thought that I was in …

The Faith Of Our Friends

March 12, 2018by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” “ Mark 2:3-5 (NIV) This year for Lent, I decided to read the book of Mark slowly and deliberately.  I am trying to read the book with new eyes. Today, when I read Mark 2, I immediately knew the story of the four friends that carried their paralyzed friend on a mat to be healed by Jesus. However, today I was struck by this statement, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”   I have always struggled to understand how Jesus’ miraculous healings apply to our day to day lives. When I think about faith, I understand how my faith can impact my own life.   I kno…

Faith In The Storm

When my daughter was two years old, we took her to a concert to see a children’s group perform.  While my husband was taking my son to the bathroom, I felt Maria go completely still in my lap.  I looked at her, and she took a shallow breath.  Then, to my horror, she stopped breathing.  I began to shake her in an attempt to wake her.  Her lips were turning blue, and I stood hysterically screaming, “Does anyone know CPR?”  I ran into the hall and found paramedics.  They were able to help her breath again, and I collapsed into a crumpled ball on the floor. We later learned that my daughter had a febrile seizure.  She had an infection, and her fever had spiked so quickly that her body shut down for a few seconds.  In the months that followed, we had to take her to the emergency room for pneumonia.  I was so traumatized and terrified that I could not sleep.  I was afraid to close my eyes for a minute because I was afraid that she would stop breathing.  I somehow believed that if I watched h…