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Showing posts from 2017

Perspective is Everything

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Life is all about perspective. While I have always known that perspective matters, I learned on a recent mission trip to Curahuasi, Peru, that perspective is everything. Curahuasi is an isolated, rural area nestled in the Andes Mountains. Colorful fields of grain, anise, flaxseed, and other crops cover the rolling mountains. When you look at the landscape, it feels like God threw an elaborate patchwork quilt of colorful fields over the hills. Due to the high altitude, thin clouds often float among the mountain tops, and when the sun shines, Curahuasi is so beautiful that it takes your breath away. Yet, despite the rich beauty of the area, Curahuasi is referred to as the “poorhouse of Peru.” There are very few jobs available, and villages are isolated, remote, and difficult to navigate. When I arrived in Curahuasi, I was immediately struck by the beauty in the midst of the harsh reality of life here. After an exhausting day of travel, I wanted nothing more than to sleep. When I entered…

Deliverance

July 3, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion
“For I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”   Philippians 1:19-21 (NIV) Pain is something I would prefer to avoid.  It doesn’t matter if the pain is physical, emotional, or spiritual – I do not want to feel pain.   Despite my best efforts to avoid pain and to flee from it, I have endured a lifetime of pain in the past two years.  When the pain is most intense, the feelings overwhelm me. I do not know what I want and I cannot think of anything that will ease the intensity of the emotions.   My chest constricts and a heavy weight is on my heart.  I want to curl into a ball and be alone, yet I want to be held and …

Remain In Me

June 29, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”  John 15:4-6 (NIV) In two weeks, I will be traveling to Curahuasi, Peru for a mission trip.  When I initially planned the trip, I was overcome with excitement. I could not wait to meet the people of Peru.   Over the past few months, I have talked to the missionaries that we will be assisting.   I have learned that many people in the area where we will work have never heard of Christ.  Our team will have the opportunity to share Christ’s love as we minister at orphanages and lead Bible studies.   We will also g…

Equipping the Called

May 22, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities. And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!”“ Ephesians 3:7-10 MSG Have you ever felt a nudge in your spirit to talk to a stranger and…

The Happy Past Restored

What has been and what can never be.
As I gazed at the picture of my precious babies, my heart ached. More than anything, I wanted to press the rewind button on my life. I wanted to go back to that time – to that moment in that photo – when life seemed simpler. As I gazed at my children’s happy faces, my chest tightened. Those sweet children were still so innocent. They did not know intense pain yet. They did not know the ugliness that exists in this world. They had no concept of the pain that would come. I wanted to rewind my children’s lives to a moment that was still pure, a moment that was just before knowledge and experience of the harsh realities of life. I wanted to rewind my life because I wanted to forget. I wanted to forget the pain and the anger. I wanted to be the woman that snapped the picture, the woman that did not yet fully understand the reality of a sometimes cruel world. I wanted to be the past version of myself, the version of me that could only see a future filled…

Decisions, Decisions!

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May 16, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.” Proverbs 28:26 NLT Decisions are hard. Life changing decisions that impact my future are stressful. But no decision is as heart-wrenching as a decision that may have life changing implications for my child. As a parent, I am responsible for the health, well-being, and guidance of my child. There are some decisions that we make for our children that seem incredibly stressful at the time but in hindsight are not. Do I bottle feed or breastfeed? When should I introduce solid foods? Should I work or stay home? As our children grow, we are faced with more and more decisions. Some of us face life circumstances that we would not wish on our worst enemy. Often, when we are in the midst of these challenging life events, there is very little guidance as to how to move forward. I am faced with a decision at this time that could have a huge impact on my chi…

Power Their Potential

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Many of us say that we want to make a difference, but we simply do not know how. What if I told you that for as little as $1, you could help a child have hope? What if I told you that for the price of your Starbucks coffee, you could ensure that a child received an education? What if I told you that for the price you paid for lunch, you could give a child a future?
When I was in Uganda, I had the opportunity to observe a few classes. These amazing kids and their dedicated teacher captured my heart immediately. The first thing I noticed was how the students sat quietly while the teacher talked. However, when she engaged them, the students were so enthusiastic. Despite the large class size, it was obvious that the students were learning and treasured their time in the classroom. In Uganda, education is not free. Children even have to pay for elementary school. Many of the children in these pictures were at school because their caregiver has made great personal sacrifices to ensure that …

In The Light

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May 1, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion "You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it." Ephesians 5:8-10 MSG A few years ago, my husband and I took our son on a mission trip to Mexico City. Our family had been through some very difficult times, and I hoped that a trip focused on loving and serving others would be healing for all of us. To learn about the culture and spend time with our local friends, we spent some time at the Teotihuacán. We visited this ancient city and marveled at the Pyramid of the Sun. As we walked around the amazing artifacts, we saw a number of long, dark tunnels. A few people in our group, including my son, decided that we would crawl through the tunnels. My son and I decide…

God Doesn't Waste Pain

As I stood in the bathroom stall and wept quietly, I wondered if I would die from the pain that filled my chest.  The heaviness that engulfed me threatened to smother me, and I gasped for air as my mind raced. “Is this my life now?  Is this the way it will always be?  Will the pain ever end? “ On the outside, I appeared to be stable.  I was working at a demanding job, parenting three kids, volunteering in the community, and I was serving alongside my husband at the church he pastors.  However, inside, I was crumbling.  I was suffering from a hopelessness that was so crippling that it left me weeping, curled in the fetal position on my closet floor.  The pain coursed through my veins, filling every cell of my body with fear and regret.  My pain overpowered me at times, and I wondered if I could die from the weight and sadness of it all. My body didn’t know which state to be in – I was constantly transitioning from “fight or flight” – when my heart raced, my hands shook, and I wanted n…

Finding A Way To Feel

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April 7, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion
“Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding, a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.” Proverbs 14:29 MSG Even as I said the words, I knew that I should not say them. I was angry, and I could feel myself losing control. As my emotions took over, I yelled more and said more hurtful things. As the anger began to subside, I saw the hurt faces around me and knew that I had made a terrible mistake. At that point, the crushing guilt and regret took over. Anger can be a good emotion. Anger compels us to seek justice and to change situations that are unfair. However, anger that is not righteous and that is uncontrolled can be devastating. Why is anger so hard to control? We live in a society that teaches us that some emotions are acceptable and others are not. From our childhood we are instructed, “Don’t cry.” “Stop getting so angry!” “You need to be positive.” “Why can’t you just be happy?” While it is not healthy to languish in …