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)
“They 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.” 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 Jesus’ most important lessons took place around the dinner table. He ate with sinners and tax collectors. He went to Zacchaeus’ 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.
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“Make a joyful noise unto Jehovah, all ye lands. Serve Jehovah with gladness: Come before his presence with singing. Know ye that Jehovah, he is God: It is he that hath made us, and we are his; We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Give thanks unto him, and bless his name. For Jehovah is good; his lovingkindness endureth for ever, And his faithfulness unto all generations.” Psalm 100, ASV
As we were driving home from Lubbock the other day, Zachary was using his Kindle to play a word game. The game gave him several clues and a chart of puzzle pieces with letters for the words to answer the clues. The pieces had two or three letters in the order that they would fit. He just had to find the pieces that would make the world. Each puzzle had a theme like sea animals or tennis. I had fun trying to help him, although I didn’t have the advantage of seeing the puzzle pieces. I usually just called out words I knew were related to the topic, although only a few were actual answers to the clues.
At one point during the day the answer was boa constrictor. Hearing that word brought to mind an old, silly song that was made by the group Peter, Paul and Mary. It is a very short song, only lasts a minute or so. Mary sings, “I’m being swallowed by a boa constrictor. I’m being swallowed by a boa constrictor. I’m being swallowed by a boa constrictor.” These words are sung very seriously. Then she quietly sings, “And I don’t like it very much.” The rest of song speeds up until she sounds desperate. “Oh no, oh no he swallowed my toe, he swallowed my toe. Oh gee, oh gee, he’s up to my knee, he’s up to my knee. Oh fiddle, oh fiddle, he’s reached my middle, he’s reached my middle. Oh heck, oh heck, he’s up to my neck, he’s up to my neck. Oh dread, oh dread, he’s swallowed my…” The song ends abruptly with a great big, “Schlerp!”
I began singing this song after Zack said boa constrictor. He looked at me like I was mad. At the end of the song he asked if that was a real song (I’ve been known to make up stuff while I’m driving, like a song about an armadillo in the middle of the road.) I told him that it was, indeed, a real song and that I have it on an album in my collection. This morning I even found a video of Mary singing it on YouTube.
It is especially funny because she sang it at the Sydney Opera House and began the song with the encouragement to listen carefully because it is a very serious song. She sings the first few lines with so much passion, as if she were sharing the most important story in the world. It becomes obvious that the song is silly in the last few seconds and the crowd laughs hysterically when she ends with “Schlerp!”
The song has a terrible outcome; who wants to be swallowed by a boa constrictor? But it is funny. It is meant to make people laugh. It is meant to make us happy. How can a sad story make us happy? In the song we laugh because we know it is just a song, but how do we deal with the sad stories of life? We deal with this reality every time a Christian dies. How can there be joy in death? For a Christian, the joy is that we will enter the gates of heaven with thanksgiving and praise. Even those left behind have no reason to fear because we know that by faith the sad end is really a happy beginning.
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