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)
“He spoke a parable to them, saying, ‘The ground of a certain rich man produced abundantly. He reasoned within himself, saying, “What will I do, because I don’t have room to store my crops?” He said, “This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. I will tell my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.’” But God said to him, “You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared - whose will they be?” So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.’” Luke 12:16-21, WEB
I just finished a book about living life with the reality of death. “Living Life Backward” by David Gibson is about the book of Ecclesiastes and how we truly begin to live when we realize we are going to die. By living life backwards, we live for the day rather than worry about the tomorrow. Though it is still necessary to prepare for tomorrow, we need not strive so hard to collect stuff or seek the world’s understanding of success. The Bible does encourage hard work, but the Teacher in Ecclesiastes reminds us that it is all meaningless if we are so caught up in the expectations of the world that we miss the real joy of living.
I attended a women’s retreat on Saturday that had a focus on living a life worthy of our faith. The speaker talked about why and how to grow in our faith and to live a life that truly glorifies God. It is a life of obedience and trust. During our table conversation, we talked about the gut feelings we get once in a while that lead us to do the unexpected. We told stories about answering a call that seemed strange but turned into a divine appointment. God can do great things through our lives if we live them in faith that God really does know what He is doing and that He has invited us to be a part of His work in the world. Recalling what I read in that book, I realized that living life backward is living as if I will not be here tomorrow. It leads us to ask the question, “What should I be doing today?”
I’m also teaching a study on the Sermon on the Mount. As I have been preparing for the lessons on chapter six, I’ve noticed a similar theme, especially when Jesus reminds us that we should not lay up treasures on earth, but instead seek His Kingdom and look forward to the treasures we will have in heaven. This brings us back to the lessons from the Teacher in Ecclesiastes again. If we are living life backward, we know that we may not have tomorrow, so why do we bother gathering all our resources into bigger barns? Coming full circle, this should lead us to a life in which we share our resources, giving and serving as God calls us to do, following those gut feelings in trust and obedience so as to fulfill God’s will and purpose for our days, growing in our faith by acting out of faith.
Obviously this them has been on my mind recently, and then I heard the news yesterday of the sudden and tragic death of Kobe Bryant. I don’t know much, though I’ve heard good things in the past few days, but the state of his heart is not the reason for bringing up this horrible news. After days (weeks) of thinking on this topic, the helicopter crash that killed nine people, including Kobe Bryant, is a stark reminder of these lessons. We may not have tomorrow.
So how are we living today?
Does today’s passage and all the other things I’ve read mean we shouldn’t save for a rainy day? Certainly not, the Bible clearly encourages us to be to be prepared so that we won’t be a burden on others. But living life backward means we will learn to be content with enough so that we don’t hoard our resources, but rather live open to the possibilities that God will present to us every day. The grain in the barn will be eaten by rats or become moldy, but the grain that is placed in the hand of someone who is hungry will bring joy to both the receiver and the giver. Trusting God means that we will not worry about tomorrow, but instead embrace the opportunities to live today knowing that this very night our soul might be required of us.
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“For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don’t use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don’t consume one another.” Galatians 5:13-15, WEB
Lydia was a businesswoman. She was a seller of purple, an expensive cloth. It was highly prized because it was a mark of great wealth. The purple cloth was made from a dye extracted from snails. Most dyes in that day were made from plants, so the colors were often muted and faded quickly. Purple was different. The color was intense and permanent. It would have been noticeable if there was even just a small stripe of purple on a robe compared to the other colors. By the fourth century A.D. purple was reserved for the Caesar and his closest advisors. During the excavations at Qumran, a purple ball of wool was found still as bright as the day it was dyed. One day Lydia met a man named Paul who introduced her to the story and grace of Jesus. She received that word with joy and became an active Christian disciple. God had work for her to do.
Dorcas was a seamstress who was known for making clothes for the poor widows in her community. We do not know much about her, but it seems she was a woman of some means because her charitable works were numerous. She was a Christian who lived with a community of Christians in Joppa. Her name has become synonymous with charity and numerous charitable organizations bear her name. The only other thing we know about Dorcas is that she died. Her death brought great grieving to her community and they sought the aid of Peter. Peter came, prayed over her and she was raised. God still had work for her to do.
Phoebe was a Christian woman who was from the church in Cenchrea. We know even less about Phoebe than we do about Lydia and Dorcas. She is commended by Paul to the church in Rome in his letter to that congregation. It is believed that she was the bearer of that letter to Rome. She is described as a deaconess, so she was a leader among the Christians. Paul was able to trust her with a very important task: the delivery of a letter that helped a new and growing church - and the church today - understand the life of faith that Christ calls us to live. God had work for her to do, too.
These three women are remembered today as co-workers of the Apostles. They were servants, willingly helping others. They supported the Apostles with their resources and their communities with their lives. They were called by God’s grace to serve and they responded with joy, hope and peace. They touched the lives of so many that it is odd we do not know more about them. But then, God does not always make us famous to have a large impact on our world. We are called by God to serve our neighbors, to share the light of Christ, and to help them through their sufferings. We do not do this for reward. We do not do it so that we will benefit in any way. We do it because we know that God is faithful to His promises and that He will fulfill all He has proclaimed through Jesus Christ. We live in hope - not wishes and dreams, but expectation of what will be - and in that hope we continue revealing that light that is Christ to the 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.
When researching, I use several versions of the bible, including the New International Version and English Standard Version. Due to copyright restrictions, I have not included quotes for the scriptures on some of the archives, but highly encourage you to open your own bibles to read the scripture passages for yourselves. Where scripture is quoted, it is usually the American Standard Version or World English Bible which belong to the public domain. Any other versions used in quotes are identified.
The devotion posted on Wednesday is based on the Lectionary 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 and follows the church calendar. Archives for these writings are found 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