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Showing posts from August, 2017

Overflowing Grace

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August 30, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV Growing up in church, I memorized Ephesians 2:8-10 and similar scriptures.  I was a champion at sword drills, and I could recite multiple passages that discussed how salvation is a gift received through grace. Yet, in my heart, even today, I often live as if my works are required for my salvation.   I don’t mean to do it, but in my heart, I cannot comprehend a gift that is truly “free,” with no strings attached.  Because I can’t comprehend a gift that is freely given through grace, I treat my relationship with God like a transaction.  I subconsciously keep a running tally of all the good works that I have done. Then, when hard times strike I want to…

Remember

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Grief is stealthy.  Grief lies dormant, where it can go unnoticed, quiet and ignored.  Grief sleeps within me, deep in my bones, quietly waiting to overcome me when I least expect it.  There are times when a smell takes me back to a moment, before my grief.  Other times, there is a word, or a book, that causes emotion to swell up within me.  On days like today, I wonder if my cells remember – does my body have a memory apart from my conscious thoughts?
On this day, in 2014, I visited Father Bob in the hospital.  Somehow, I had convinced myself that despite the cancer that he had battled, he would continue to overcome – to heal.  But August 28, 2014, was different.  Father Bob told me that he did not have much time left.

When faced with news that I cannot process, comprehend, or control, my response is to act.  I immediately went to my office and started a Facebook group to update friends, family, and students about Father Bob’s condition.  I also decided that I absolutely had to get a…

Living In Color

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August 22, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV) A few months ago, we received a dreaded phone call from school – one of my children had lice.  As soon as we picked up the kids, we began to treat their hair with a special medication.  We also methodically combed their hair with a special comb.  We had to wash and dry everything – sheets, pillows, and stuffed animals.   We had to vacuum our couch, the carpet, and any other surface that could have lice.  The work was tedious and detailed.  However, we were thorough because we had learned how quick…

Not Just A Moment

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Lately, I have struggled.  I am not sure why my soul is so unsettled.  I wonder if I am having a mid-life crisis or if I am simply spending too much time pondering things that would be better left alone. A few days ago, a friend told me that she was contemplating returning to school to be a physician’s assistant.  As we discussed her options, she said, “You should come to PA school too!  You would be a great PA.”  For a moment, I paused. I thought about the possibility – I could leave my job, return to school, and completely change my life.  However, those thoughts were fleeting and within minutes reality hit me.  I looked at my friend and said, “It is too late for me.  I would never be able to work enough years to have a return on my investment.  It would be very difficult for me, at my age, to make enough money to pay my debts and to justify leaving my profession to pursue a new career at this stage of my life.” In that moment, I felt the world shift under my feet.  I was no longer …

An Offering Of Pain

August 15, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow;  they fail because of all my foes.”  Psalm 6:6-7 NIV Despite the beautiful sunshine around me, I sat in my car and wept.  The relaxing beach trip that I had planned would never be.   My youngest child had been throwing up off and on for weeks, and we did not know what was wrong with him. I had just spent the past few months completely overwhelmed at work and at home, and all I wanted was to have a few days of relaxation in the sun.  However, before our feet could even touch the sand, my son was sick again.   As I sat in the grocery store parking lot, I knew that I had to pull myself together to go into the store and buy some medicine.  Yet, no matter how hard I tried, I could not stop the tears.   I told myself to pull it together, but the aching wound that had opened in my chest refused to close.…

His Rest Is Enough

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August 8, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion  ”The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.  So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves.”  Mark 6:30-32 MSG Whether I am on a mission trip in another country or serving God in my local community, I am always struck by how much work there is to do.  When I was in Uganda, I loved meeting the children and knowing that we were helping the children get an education that could transform their lives.   However, for every child that I met, there were hundreds of children that did not have access to school or an education.  When I was in Mexico City at the Children’s Home, I loved being a part of the children’s lives.  I felt like a member of the family as I watched the kids mature and grow over the years.   Yet m…

A Flicker Of Light

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August 3, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”  Matthew 5:15 NIV This year, I was blessed to serve with a mission team in Curahuasi, Peru.  While the scenery that surrounded me was stunningly beautiful, pictures could never describe the full experience of Curahuasi. After sixteen hours on planes and in airports, our team climbed into a van for a three hour drive to our mission hub.  As our driver sped around the curvy and treacherous roads that coiled around the Andes Mountains, all I could think about was the very real possibility that our van could drive off of the side of a cliff.   As we all grew nauseous with fear and motion sickness, it did not help that we were over 11,000 feet above sea level.  At this altitude, we were all feeling the effects of altitude sickness.  When we finally arrived at our lodging for the week, all I could think a…

Join The Celebration!

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July 27, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos
Category:Devotion

The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, “Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!”  “My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”Luke 15:28-32 (NIV) When our family plays games, we play with a fierce desire to win.  There have been times that kids (or adults) have refused to finish a game because our strategy is ruined by another player, or we may even “accidentally” knock over the game board, abruptly ending a game. Each year, we enter some of our craft…