You are welcome to use the writings on these pages or pass them on to others who might find a touch from God in the words. Our purpose is always to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Please remember to give credit to the Author who has given you everything, and keep in remembrance the vessel which He used to bring these words to you. We pray that this site may be a blessing to you and anyone with whom its been shared. All rights reserved. Peggy Hoppes
Christian Bible Study Pages
Travel PagesSalisbury Plain
Our Lord is so good, He grants us many blessings. We can see Him in the daily course of events, in our homes, our jobs, our lives. I pray that these words help you to grow in your faith and recognize His hand in even the most mundane circumstances.
The picture to the right is of a Celtic Chapel located in Cornwall England. This building is approximately 1700 years old, and contains a holy well known for its healing powers.
(Click for enlarged)
ďI thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus; that in everything ye were enriched in him, in all utterance and all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye be unreproveable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.Ē 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, ASV
Clinton Shepherd spent the weekend in the most unusual way. He rode the Ferris wheel at Chicagoís Navy Pier for 48 hours, 8 minutes and 25 seconds. This ride broke the world record; the record was broken 120 years after the first wheel was built by George Ferris for the 1893 Chicago Worldís Fair. Shepherd, who is park operations manager, wanted the honor of the record to return to where it first began. It might be said that that the idea of an amusement park was sparked on that first Ferris wheel. George C. Tilyou was inspired by the lights on the midway when riding that Ferris wheel; he went back to New York and created Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, Americaís first major amusement park.
With summer vacation just around the corner, many families are planning trips to amusement parks. Some will go to local parks. Here in San Antonio we have a Six Flags and a Sea World Park. We also have Morganís Wonderland, the park created to make the amusement park experience better for special needs people. Thereís also a kiddie park downtown with rides that will delight the children. Other families will go further afield, with trips to one of the Disney Parks or one of the many theme parks around the country.
The amusement parks are filled with so much that it is difficult to do everything in one day. Most major theme parks have every sort of ride, from calm rides like a sky ride to the rip-roaring trains of a roller coaster. Many of the parks have shows that entertain, games to test your luck and food to meet every taste. Some theme parks have water attractions that will cool the hottest visitor. It is a fun way to spend the day, but for most visitors, a day is never enough. When my family visited Disney a few years ago, we stayed for almost a week and we still left without seeing it all.
I donít do well on rides that go around and around, especially if they go fast. Iím ok on a carousel or a Ferris Wheel because they move slowly, but Iím not ok on the tea cups that spin around while twirling around while going around. Thatís too much around and around and around for me. I like water rides like the flume, especially on a hot day. I also like roller coasters. I remember riding the old yellow wooden roller coaster at Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania more than a dozen times during a visit with a friend. It is hard to ride that often in most theme parks these days because the rides are too long, but thereís something exciting and fun about those three minutes of wind blowing through your hair. The ups and downs can be tough on the tummy, but it is so short lived that you can recover quickly to do it all over again.
When I read the story about the man on the Ferris wheel in Chicago, I thought about the rides at an amusement park. Which best represents your life right now? Are you on a Ferris wheel, riding around in circles, up and down, up and down, slowly but surely. Some people have a life that is on an even keel, with peaks and valleys, but nothing extreme. Others just go around in circles like a carousel. There are those, too, who are living a life as if they were constantly on the tea cups, around and around and around in so many different directions that they simply canít keep up with it all. What about the people whose lives are like a flume ride? It seems like you are floating along quietly and comfortably until suddenly you drop off a cliff and get soaked? Then there are those whose lives are like a roller coaster, with three minutes of rip-roaring excitement with ups and downs, ins and outs, and maybe even a loop-de-loop and then a moment to recover before trying it again.
I donít think Iíd enjoy spending 48 hours, 8 minutes and 25 seconds on a Ferris wheel, and I donít think I could ride the old yellow wooden roller coaster a dozen times in a day anymore. As for my life, I hope it isnít like riding one specific ride, but rather like a day at an amusement park, fun filled with many different types of experiences. Most of all, I hope that my life is focused on the one thing that truly matters: my Lord and my God. Even if I am faced with a life of ups and downs or around and around, I know that God is with me and that Heíll get me through. Whether Iím in a time of rip-roaring turbulence or mind-numbing constancy, God can be glorified in the way I deal with it. He can use our lives, whatever they look like, to make the world a better place when we keep Him in our view.
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ďThey said therefore unto him, What then doest thou for a sign, that we may see, and believe thee? what workest thou? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, He gave them bread out of heaven to eat. Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, It was not Moses that gave you the bread out of heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which cometh down out of heaven, and giveth life unto the world. They said therefore unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. Jesus said unto them. I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.Ē John 6:30-35, ASV
I read an article this morning about how it is much cheaper to make dinner at home than to take a family of four to a fast food place. The article was true, of course, but it is an old story. We all know that a home-cooked meal is not only cheaper, but also healthier for our family. The part of this story that the writer ignored is the reality of why we eat so much fast food: convenience. Most families do not leave the house to go out for fast food for dinner; they grab dinner at a fast food place in between activities. It is so much easier to go through the drive thru and eat in the car than to go home, fix dinner and then head back out to whatever activity awaits in the evening.
The irony of this reality is that most of the activities are meant to encourage healthful living. The kids play sports for exercise and self-esteem. Youth groups encourage spiritual health. Tutoring and academic clubs help with learning. Yet, we repeatedly hear the same thing: the best thing you can do for your kids is to gather around the table to eat together as a family.
Families that eat together are happier and stronger. Studies have shown that the family meal is a stress reliever and a unifying endeavor. The children feel more loved because parents are actually paying attention to them, rather than just driving them here, there and everywhere. The family dinner table is a place where good manners and behavior can be modeled and learned. Also, parents who cook with their children can teach good habits, independence and decision making.
The food we cook at home is naturally more nutritious than anything we can buy at a fast food place, even the salads, which have more calories and fat that you might expect. Home cooked meals include more fruits and vegetables, more daily and less salt. Fried foods and soda, staples of the fast food industry, are not as prevalent at home. It is much easier to control the portions when dinner is eaten at home. The family dinner table is also the perfect place to help children try new foods. It takes 8-10 exposures to a new food for a palette to enjoy it, so repeated servings can help children learn to love foods from other places.
The most amazing studies have shown that the family dinner helps a child grow into maturity with less destructive behavior and better grades. According to a study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, teens who have fewer than three family dinners a week are 3.5 times more likely to have abused prescription drugs and to have used illegal drugs other than marijuana, three times more likely to have used marijuana, more than 2.5 times more likely to have smoked cigarettes, and 1.5 times more likely to have tried alcohol. Children that eat at home with their families fewer than three times a week are more likely to have poor report cards.
We think we are doing wonderful things for our children when we provide them with so many opportunities and activities, but the reality is that we are often taking away the most important things like the experience of eating at the family dinner table. Sports, youth group and academic clubs are very positive activities for our children, but not if this is lost in the process.
Some of Jesusí most important lessons took place around the dinner table. He ate with sinners and tax collectors. He went to Zacchaeusí house. He fed thousands. He revealed Himself to the two disciples in Emmaus with the breaking of bread and forgave Peter on the beach around a meal of fish. He instituted the New Covenant around a family meal with His friends. He did these things because He is the Bread of Life. He invites us to eat a meal better than anything we can buy. He is the food that will keep us well in this life and take us into the next.
We tend to fill our lives with fast food, both food and spiritual food. It is easy and convenient. Fast food might seem cheap and easy, but we know that it is really more costly than we can realize. So, too, is the fast food we feed ourselves spiritually seemingly less costly than the real thing, but we will find that in the long run it is better to live the life God has called us to live and eat the real food that He has given.
The following links provide some specially chosen scripture that tell the stories of the Birth and Passion of our Lord as Saviour Jesus Christ, as well as a fictional perspective of the Crucifixion. Spend time in God's Word, read about His life and learn of the wonderful gifts He has for you. Know Jesus Christ and honour Him today. Thanks be to God.
Scripture on this page taken from the American Standard Version of the Holy Bible which belongs to the public domain. Some scripture on this site taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
As you may be aware, I also write a weekly devotional on Wednesday called "MIDWEEK OASIS." For those of you who are familiar with lectionary scripture sources, MIDWEEK OASIS is based on the texts used by millions of Christians each Sunday. The lectionary consists of four texts: an Old Testament passage, a Psalm, a passage from one of the Epistles and a Gospel text. We are now using the lectionary for our A WORD FOR TODAY texts. This devotional is posted on Wednesday, at both A WORD FOR TODAY and at MIDWEEK OASIS.
You are welcome to use these words to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. Please remember to give credit to the Author who has given you these gifts, and keep in remembrance the vessel which He used to bring them to you. We pray that this site may be a blessing to you and anyone with whom you've shared it. Peggy Hoppes