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)
"And he wrote the name of King Ahasuerus, and sealed it with the king's ring, and sent letters by post on horseback, riding on swift steeds that were used in the king's service, bred of the stud: wherein the king granted the Jews that were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, their little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey, upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar. A copy of the writing, that the decree should be given out in every province, was published unto all the peoples, and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. So the posts that rode upon swift steeds that were used in the king's service went out, being hastened and pressed on by the king's commandment; and the decree was given out in Shushan the palace. And Mordecai went forth from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a robe of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan shouted and was glad. The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor. And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had gladness and joy, a feast and a good day. And many from among the peoples of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews was fallen upon them." Esther 8:11-17 (ASV)
We want to think that our relationship with God will guarantee us a life free from fear and worry. There are even some Christians who teach that very doctrine. They insist that if you are suffering, then you must not trust God enough or that you are not living according to God's Word. They claim your suffering is the consequence of your sin, and that if you were right with God He would protect you from all your troubles. They are wrong. Christian faith does not mean a life without trouble. Christian faith gives us the strength and courage to face the good times and the bad with the faith that God will get us through.
Esther was a Jewish girl who was taken from her home into the palace of the King Xerxes. He was looking for a new wife after casting his old one away, and Esther was just one among many. She was greatly favored by the king and his court. He chose her over the rest and she became queen. Xerxes did not know she was a Jewish woman, and in that kingdom the Jews were unwelcome by many.
There was one man in particular who was set to destroy the people of God. Haman was a powerful man who desired the honor and glory that went with his position. Mordecai, a leader of the Jews and Esther's uncle, refused to bow down before Haman because that honor is due only to the Lord God Almighty. Haman wrote an edict against the Jews ordering that all would die on a particular day. He manipulated the king, convincing him it was the best thing for the kingdom, so the edict was sealed with King Xerxes' approval. It could not be revoked.
Queen Esther could not allow her people to be destroyed, so she risked her life to approach the king with a plea for the lives of the Jews. He was upset with Haman for tricking him into doing something that was purely selfish. Haman was punished and Mordecai took over his position in the king's palace. This may have seemed like a happy ending to a sad story, but unfortunately according to the law of the land, even the king could not overrule the edict. The Jews would still die. The king ruled that another edict should be written, giving the Jews the right to protect themselves against the slaughter that was set to come upon them.
We learn from this story that we are not always saved from the persecution that might come at the hands of our enemy, but we are not left without power. God does not leave us alone. He is with us through our troubles, giving us the gifts we need to overcome. We might suffer for a season, but in the end the mourning will turn to joy. For God, our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ is our strength, our refuge and our salvation. We need not worry when we see disaster ahead, when we cry out for salvation, God will answer in His own way. Through it all we will find that He has made us stronger, wiser, more blessed because of the suffering than we would ever be in a life without trouble.
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"For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law shall live thereby. But the righteousness which is of faith saith thus, Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down:) or, Who shall descend into the abyss? (That is, to bring Christ up from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:5-13, ASV
I was watching one of those transformation shows last night and I was very impressed by the owners. See, most of the time the owners are extremely stubborn about the work that is done to help them overcome their problems. The chefs are insulted when they are told that there food is not very good. The managers think that they knew everything about running a business and they refuse to change systems. The decorators are upset that anyone would suggest their ideas are not pleasing or welcoming. They all make excuses for the filth, rotted food in the refrigerator and all the other things that are wrong in the business. Their stubbornness makes you wonder why they even called the guy.
They often blame their problems on the neighborhoods or the employees. They are certain that they are doing everything right, but they quickly discover that the transformation will not happen if they are not willing to be transformed. The shows are heavily edited, so it is hard to know how much that attitude is creative editing, but in most cases there really is a haughty attitude that is offended by any suggestion that they are to blame. They argue with every change and I sometimes think that the owners have called the show to get a free remodel. The transformers make the necessary changes anyway and in the end the owners usually realize that the change is for the best. A few never accept the changes and go back to their old ways. Those stores are usually closed within months; the owners might have held on to their ideas, but they lost everything else.
So, the shows are usually filled with moments of fighting as the owners try to hold on to some semblance of what they created while the transformers do everything necessary to turn their businesses around. They spend a lot of time in conversation, often therapeutic in nature as the transformer works to change attitudes as much as the business itself. In the end a majority of the owners realize that the transformer was right all along, seeing the end product gives them hope that it wasn't a waste of time. The businesses often show an immediate rise in revenue and the old debts are wiped away in months.
The show last night was a nice change from the usual attitudes, however. The owners knew they had a problem. While the transformer still did some activities to show the owners how they were failing, the couple recognized that they were to blame. They were incredibly humble through the whole show, willing to listen and to accept any changes. "I trust him," the man said at one point. The show itself was not filled with any exciting battles, but that was a relief. I was thrilled to watch a transformation that did not require harsh reality checks. I had so much respect for the couple because they accepted the blame and allowed the work to happen without argument.
We are like those owners and God is our transformer. He comes into our lives with so much work to do transforming us into the people He intends for us to be. How do receive His changes? Are you like the owners who fight against everything He wants to do in your life? Are you offended by the idea that you are a sinner in need of a Savior? Do you want God to only fix the parts of your life that you want Him to fix, but insist that He leave the rest of it alone? Or are you like the couple on last night's show, knowing that you need Him, that you are willing to accept whatever He wants to do, that you are to blame and only He can make your life right?
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