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)
“For you formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well. My frame wasn’t hidden from you, when I was made in secret, woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my body. In your book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16, WEB
I am a developing artist, still finding my style. I have tried to be more confident and brave for the last few years, testing techniques and choosing to paint subject matter that used to scare me. I have, in the past, been more of an abstract painter. I have one hanging on my wall called “Red.” It was painted in response to a challenge by an art group for a February show. It is made with mostly red paint on a large canvas with lace, silk flower and wood appliques. A friend once looked at it and asked, “What does it mean?” For many, art must have a purpose, a meaning. I said, “It is beautiful.” I’ve heard others looking at some of my work say, “I don’t get it.” They don’t see the beauty because they are so busy looking for meaning.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or so they say, and I suppose that is true. The people who own the house overloaded with strange decor in yesterday’s writing must see something beautiful about what they have created. Most of those who have come across the real estate listing think it is bizarre. Many people see the barren wilderness of the Southwest and wonder how anyone could love it. It is barren and earthy, with miles of flat interrupted occasionally by yet another mound of rocks. It seems to be lifeless, boring, and worthless. Others find the landscape breathtakingly beautiful.
Lorado Taft, an American sculptor, writer and educator once said, “We are living in a world of beauty, but how few of us open our eyes to see it!” Though he lived more than a hundred years ago,
Taft’s words are still true, perhaps even more true. We don’t see beauty because so much of our world is filled with ugliness, hatred and violence. We spend too much of our time arguing which quickly turns to a negative view of our opponents. Watch any online discussion and see how quickly the argument turns to name calling. Like those who don’t get my art, we don’t see the beauty in those who see the world differently than we do.
Thankfully God is not like our enemies. We are ugly, we do hate. We are sinners. God, whose holiness makes Him the only one able to point out our imperfections without hypocrisy, is also the only one who sees the beauty in us. He sees what others cannot, just as some see the beauty in chaos and barrenness, and He calls us to see our neighbors through His eyes. He saw something in each of us of value, worthy to be saved by the blood of His very own Son. So, too, our neighbors have that same beauty and value, but we have to see them as He sees them. They might seem like they are nothing more than a painted canvas without meaning, but they are beautiful. Open your eyes today to see the beauty in others, especially those you have only seen as ugly. You might just discover beauty under the ugly you see and that your enemy is a beloved child of God.
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“Abraham was one hundred years old when his son, Isaac, was born to him. Sarah said, ‘God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears will laugh with me.’ She said, ‘Who would have said to Abraham, that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.’” Genesis 21:5-7, WEB
Have you ever read the reviews on internet sites? I tend to read the comments about books I’m thinking of purchasing; most are helpful in making my decision. You have to be careful because people have different points of view and their negatives might just be a positive for you. You also never know if someone has a grudge to bear, and the anonymity makes it possible for people to post multiple opinions, good or bad, skewing the results. However, I can usually get an idea whether it is something I might enjoy. The same can be said about restaurant reviews.
There are items available that are fodder for the creative review writers. One item in particular is a banana slicer. One reviewer writes, “What can I say about the 571B Banana Slicer that hasn’t already been said about the wheel, penicillin, or the iPhone... this is one of the greatest inventions of all time. My husband and I would argue constantly over who had to cut the day’s banana slices. It's one of those chores NO ONE wants to do! You know, the old ‘I spent the entire day rearing OUR children, maybe YOU can pitch in a little and cut these bananas?’ and of course, ‘You think I have the energy to slave over your damn bananas? I worked a 12 hour shift just to come home to THIS?!’ These are the things that can destroy an entire relationship. It got to the point where our children could sense the tension. The minute I heard our 6-year-old girl in her bedroom, re-enacting our daily banana fight with her Barbie dolls, I knew we had to make a change. That’s when I found the 571B Banana Slicer. Our marriage has never been healthier, AND we've even incorporated it into our lovemaking. THANKS 571B BANANA SLICER!” Other reviewers complained that the item is only for right curved bananas or how it doesn’t peel the banana. Some people have too much time on their hands, but it is fun to read their creative writing.
Who would have ever thought we’d find something to discuss on an online advertisement for real estate? I recently found a listing for a house that has given me hours of entertainment. The house, a 7000 square foot estate that is listed for $1.2 million, might seem uninteresting, especially for those of us who will never be able to afford it. I couldn’t afford the taxes. The house is beautiful and the grounds exquisite; on the surface it didn’t make sense that this listing was finding its way onto the walls of so many Facebook pages.
The photos of the inside of the house told a very different story. The house, apparently owned by an artist, is filled to the brim with a hodge podge of strange and unusual decor. There are at least a dozen mannequins, including two hanging from the ceiling and a nearly naked male mannequin standing in the bathroom. Every horizontal surface is covered with dolls, tchotchkes and items that are probably materials for the artist’s work. The walls are covered in art and the beds hold more pillows than I can count. There is even a mannequin on a riding mower in the yard. I find something new each time I scroll through the pictures.
I’m an artist, so I get it. I couldn’t live that way, but I can understand the mindset of someone who might. Several commenters thought this was an extreme case of hoarding. Perhaps, but the house is obviously clean and though it appears chaotic, there is order in the madness. I don’t know how they will ever move all that stuff if they manage to sell the house. It is hard to see the beauty that is beneath all that stuff. Our realtor insisted that I remove as much as possible, including family photos. “You want perspective buyers to be able to imagine their own things in the house.” I can usually see beyond the “stuff” but not so in this house. Perhaps those who can afford it will appreciate the artistic touches and will see the possibilities after all the art is removed.
Ok, so reading humorous reviews and scrolling through pictures of a house that I will never buy might seem like a waste of time, but laughter is good for us. Laughter reduces stress and release endorphins which promote healthy well-being. A banana slicer and a house full of mannequins may seem ridiculous, but the story of Abraham and Sarah is even more so! Who could ever expect a ninety year old barren woman to give birth? It made Sarah laugh and everyone who hears will laugh with her. She found joy in the unbelievable plan of God and lived a long, healthy life to enjoy it.
God’s plan for our lives at time seems ridiculous, but we can find joy in it, too. Find some reason to laugh today. It will do your heart and your spirit good.
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