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Showing posts from 2018

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…

All the Father Has Is Yours

February 28, 2018by 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 ou…

Be The Sun

A few days ago, my son jumped into the car.  He excitedly showed me the bracelet that he had made in class.  It said, “Be The Sun.”  He told me, “It is just like your key chain!” For a moment, my heart smiled.  Even though he didn’t know what those words meant to me, my son had observed and imitated a phrase that had been a life line to me. Before I carried this phrase on my key chain, I was exhausted.  I spent my days desperately trying to be a good mom, a good wife, a good pastor’s wife, a good attorney, a good friend, and a good person.  As I frantically worked to be good enough, I was plagued by guilt and shoulds: You should spend more time playing with the kids because they are growing up so fast.             You should work more and take on some additional projects.             You should volunteer with that organization.             You should serve in the new ministry at church.             You should cook more, keep a neater house, and keep up with the laundry.             You sho…

What Really Matters

February 22, 2018by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1:2 NIV The past few months have been all consuming.  Thanksgiving, Christmas and family celebrations filled our social calendar.  At work, I was overwhelmed as I tried to complete matters at year end.   My kids were busy finishing school projects.  As we rushed from activity to activity, I felt overwhelmed, tired, and frustrated.   In the midst of the chaos, I worried about everything - from what I should wear to the office Christmas party to whether we would have time to clean our house to host family celebrations.   Then, in the midst of the busyness, a friend died.  Her death and funeral forced me to step back and re-evaluate what really matters. My husband loved our friend deeply, and he prepared the message for the funeral.  When he spoke about our friend, he did not mention how big her house was, instead, he talked abo…

Lent

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

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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…