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)
"I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as, both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; so that ye may approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:3-7, ASV
We will be celebrating Thanksgiving in the United States in a few days. Thanksgiving is a day when we step back and remember that all our blessings come from the Lord God Almighty. We are thankful to Him for His grace, His provision, His care and His love.
Oh, I know that for many people the day is about a turkey and stuffing, football and parades, and that late afternoon tryptophan coma brought on by too much holiday food. Most of us will gather with family, hopefully in joy and celebration. There may be a few debates around the table as people from different points of view are forced into conversation. There will be some tears as we see the empty seats of those who have passed since the last thanksgiving. But even with all those worldly distractions, those who believe in the God of creation will take at least a moment to thank Him for our blessings.
This focus of thanksgiving at this time of year always makes me think about the people in my past who have had an impact on my life. While the center of our thankfulness is our God, the people who have made a difference deserve our thanks, too. They should know what they did; you would be amazed at the impact it can make in their life.
See, most people have no idea how they have affected us. They don't know that we still remember the time they held our hand and listened as we ranted about that coworker who stabbed us in the back. They don't know that we still remember that hot dish they dropped off after we lost a parent. They don't know that the piece of advice they gave actually led us down the right path. It doesn't matter to them; as a matter of fact, like the sheep in last week's passage from Matthew 25, they don't even realize that they did anything important. They responded to a need.
Here's the thing, when we remember to thank them, they are encouraged to continue to respond to those opportunities to serve others. It is very easy for us to become discouraged when we don't think that anything we do makes a difference. We are human and we like to see proof that our lives are not worthless. It is especially hard when our lives seem so ordinary. I mean, what impact can a touch, a casserole, or a piece of advice really have? We think that only the big action can really do anything of value.
I have written to friends that have been out of touch for a long time. The surprise has made such a difference; they had no idea that they did anything worthy of remembering. They were thankful. I've been thinking this week about the people I'd like to write this year and my list includes a man who greatly disappointed me, but in the end I've discovered he was right. I was angry because he refused me something I thought I wanted, but in the end I've seen that that wish was not good for me. I'm so thankful that he slammed the door on a dream that by now would have been a nightmare. There's another friend who deserves my thanks and I can't even identify anything specific that she did for me. She was simply a friend. I have recently been thinking about a man who owned an art gallery that barely crossed my path. I don't even remember his name and I'm sure there's no way that I can even get a letter to him. He encouraged me in my art and my recent return to painting has made me thankful that he saw enough talent in my work to purchase a piece I made in college. I have hope today that I may succeed as an artist because he purchased a piece thirty years ago.
Who deserves your thanks this year? Who has done something that has made a difference in your life? Can you write them a letter? Can you tell them how much they've impacted your life? Can you show them that the simple act of kindness set you on your life path? Even if you can't send the letter, write it. Put the words of thanksgiving on paper, because in doing so you will realize how your simple acts of kindness can make a difference, too. If you can send the letter, do so. You'll be amazed at how it will rekindle a friendship or brighten a day. Take time today to not only thank God for making those people cross your path, but also to thank them for responding to the opportunity to share God's grace. God will be glorified by all your thanksgiving.
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"He said therefore, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I liken it? It is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his own garden; and it grew, and became a tree; and the birds of the heaven lodged in the branches thereof." Luke 13:18-19, ASV
A dollar isn't worth much anymore, is it? I can't think of very many things I could buy with a dollar. You might be able to buy a cup of coffee in a fast food place or a can of soda from a machine. Some candy bars are less than a dollar, but even those are getting more expensive. You certainly can't buy the food for a decent meal; a box of macaroni and cheese, some tuna fish and a can of corn costs nearly three dollars these days. I could not even try to buy a meal with fresh meat and vegetables with just a dollar.
There are several different retail chains that sell everything for a dollar, but even then you usually have to pay tax, so the one dollar item actually costs a few cents over a dollar, depending on where you live. And, those items are usually not very good quality. Jay Leno had a bit he used to do on the Tonight Show of items purchased at one of those stores. The packaging was funny, poorly worded and often completely different than the item inside. Every so often I see an article about the things you should never purchase at one of those stores. The cleaning products might be similar to the name brands, but they are so watered down that they are useless. The food is often just short of expiration date, already stale and sometimes even moldy. The electronics are previously owned or from bad production runs. It might seem like good stewardship to save money at that store, but sometimes that dollar actually gets you much less than it would if you put it with a second and bought something of better quality.
A recent article in Reader's Digest asked a number of creative thinkers, "What is the best way to invest a dollar?" This seems like an impossible question because it would take lifetimes for a dollar investment to show anyworth. There's nothing you can do with a dollar! Yet the answers given were creative, thoughtful and amazing; some of them were realistic, some idealistic.
One respondent talked about going to a small town, most of which are struggling to keep Main Street from dying. He said he'd offer to buy the closed movie theater for a dollar, do some fundraising and reopen it. He said it had already happened in one small town, perhaps it could happen in another. Another respondent suggested that the best investment would be to buy seeds for a tree, plant the seeds and then watch it grow. That investment would take years to bear fruit, but it would last for decades. An old proverb says, "The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today." Martin Luther once said, "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree today."
Several people responded with charities or people they'd support, investing in a credit union, sharing with a street musician, giving to a nonprofit or tech company developing resources for third world countries. One dollar might not seem like much, but if a thousand people all gave a dollar, then there would be a thousand dollars, which can do something. One respondent talked about the framed dollars that hang on the walls of small businesses, and how that one dollar was just the start of something fantastic. By shopping in small businesses, or supporting an artist, you are investing in the human spirit.
One suggested changing that dollar to four quarters and finding an old school video game to have an hour's worth of fun. Another suggested buying a newspaper to read about current events to stay informed and be ready to strike up an interesting conversation with a neighbor. Another thought it would be fun to bury the dollar in a beautiful place and then create a hidden treasure map so that someone might have a fun adventure in search of it years later. Finally, one respondent said that they would buy (a cheap) cup of coffee for someone they admired and talk to them for a while. It is amazing what you can learn over a cup of coffee.
So, what would you do with a dollar (or your monetary equivalent)? Would you invest that dollar in a person or a business you want to support? Would you use it to buy a small gift or to share a moment over a cup of tea with a friend? Would you combine it with other dollars to make a difference in the world? Would you combine it with your time and talents to create something new and beautiful? Would you use it to plant some wildflowers on the side of the road or some vegetables in your garden? A dollar might not be much, but every dollar can make an impact.
Most of us can't say that we have a lot of resources; as a matter of fact, most of us have just enough to pay our bills and do what we have to do. But even one dollar used well can glorify God and do His work. We just have to be wise stewards of all that we are given. The text for today refers to the faith we have been given by God, but our faith is manifest in the way we use the tangible resources that we've been given. Every dollar comes from God and by faith with God's help we can use every dollar to grow His kingdom in this world.
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