I did not grow up observing Lent. Now, I love Lent. Beginning on Ash Wednesday (which is tomorrow), Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.
It is a time of self-examination and self-denial. For years, our church has challenged people to not only give up something, but also to take on something. If you have not observed Lent and are trying to decide what to give up, you can look at it a number of ways. You can give up something that you feel like distracts you from your relationship with God (people have given up television, social media, etc.) You can also give up something that you feel like you rely on to much or "need" too much. For example, people sometimes give up soft drinks, desert, etc. By giving up something that you crave, it forces you to tu…

Behind The Veil

February 2, 2018by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “The more talk, the less truth;
the wise measure their words. The speech of a good person is worth waiting for;
the blabber of the wicked is worthless. The talk of a good person is rich fare for many,
but chatterboxes die of an empty heart.”  Proverbs 10:19-21 MSG What do the voices in your head say to you?  When I am frustrated, tired, or depressed, the chatterbox in my head is loud and incessant.   When I do something that upsets my child, the voice says, “You are a terrible mother.  You do not know what you are doing.  You are messing up your children because you are making too many mistakes.  Your child will look back on their childhood and resent you because of all the mistakes you make.” When I have an argument with my husband, the voice says, “He only loves you for the things you do.  He doesn’t love you for who you are.  You are a terrible wife.  You never do enough.  Your house is too messy, you never cook, and you do not spend…

New Year, New You

If there was a Scrooge for New Year’s Day, it would be me. My hate of New Year’s Day has been a long standing hate that grows deeper with each passing year. It is as if I have selective amnesia when the calendar flips to January 1. No matter how bad the previous year was, I, like everyone else, charge into the year with wide eyed anticipation. I relish the promise of a fresh start. I am ready to leave all of my old problems, quirks, pain, and insecurity behind as I burst forth into a new, fresh life. However, my excitement usually begins to waiver around the third week of January. That is when disappointment and frustration creep in as I slowly realize that no matter how much determination and resolve I have, a new day does not mean that I miraculously transform into a new me. Determination and grit may temporarily camouflage my bad habits and insecurities, but I know that beneath the surface, the old me remains. Why are New Year’s Resolutions so hard to keep? If I am truly committed…

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!

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

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

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…