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)
“The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge; but the foolish despise wisdom and instruction. My son, listen to your father’s instruction, and don’t forsake your mother’s teaching: for they will be a garland to grace your head, and chains around your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, don’t consent. If they say, ‘Come with us, Let’s lay in wait for blood; let’s lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; let’s swallow them up alive like Sheol, and whole, like those who go down into the pit. We’ll find all valuable wealth. We’ll fill our houses with plunder. You shall cast your lot among us. We’ll all have one purse.’ My son, don’t walk on the path with them. Keep your foot from their path, for their feet run to evil. They hurry to shed blood. For in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird: but these lay wait for their own blood. They lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain. It takes away the life of its owners.” Proverbs 1:7-19, WEB
We all know that computers are both wonderful and horrible. They are great when everything is working well, but can cause a great deal of trouble when something goes wrong. I was listening to a commercial about a car that has all sorts of bells and whistles, computer chips that do this, that, and the other thing. The problem with modern cars is that the repairs are much more difficult when something goes wrong with one of those computer chips. It takes more work to find the problem. It takes more work to fix it. It takes more money to replace the parts that have gone bad.
I remember a story a few years ago when a computer glitch caused a great deal of trouble for many people. It was in a computer that distributes food benefits to people in several states. The corporation which runs the computer program was doing a system test when the system failed. There were connectivity issues for hours, making it impossible for users to buy food. Stores around the country announced the problem, and shoppers abandoned their carts in the aisles because they could not afford to buy the food they needed without those benefits. Even when the system was back, some users found it difficult to buy the things they needed. It was understandably frightening for those parents who could not afford milk for their kids and who did not know when the system would work again.
Later that day another glitch caused a much different problem. The EBT (electronic benefits transfer) food stamp debit cards in two stores in Louisiana were showing that the money available on all the cards was unlimited. People started buying hundreds of dollars of food over and above their approved amount, emptying the store shelves and filling their carts to overflowing. There were reports that shoppers were calling their friends, telling them about the opportunity, and the stores were filled with people who normally would not be shopping during those hours. Some even called friends and family to help them get as much as possible. One woman who was at the register when the system was restored had just $0.49 left on her card and she had a shopping cart filled with $700 worth of food.
It took about two hours to fix the problem. When the store announced that everything was as it should be, the hundreds of people looting the stores abandoned their carts, leaving behind an incredible mess which the employees of the stores had to clean. The frenzy cost the taxpayers who support the program, but it also cost the store in ways that were reported. How many of those abandoned carts were filled with frozen or perishable foods that will have to be thrown out because they were too defrosted to sell? How many hours of overtime were paid to those employees who had to restock the shelves with battered packages? How many honest mothers who really need to use those debit cards that did not take advantage of the glitch were seen with critical eyes by those who follow them in the check-out line?
There are those who justified the frenzy as typical of human nature and an acceptable response to the fear of hunger. If that were true, why was the banana rack full but the chip aisle empty? Why were those carts filled with cases of soda and unhealthy frozen snack food? This was not an example of desperation but greed.
We often talk about greed in relation to the rich. We say the rich are greedy because they have more than their neighbor. “If they weren’t so greedy, they would share what they have.” They are blamed for all the poverty of the world, even though there are many rich people who are extremely generous. It is often said that the family who owns the store chain affected by the glitch on Saturday are greedy, and yet despite knowing it could turn into a frenzy, they continued to allow the use of the EBT cards so as not to cause discomfort for those who needed the food. It may have been a foolish business decision, but it was the compassionate choice. Is that greed?
Merriam-Webster defines greed as “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed.” It is often used in terms of money, but can also refer to other aspects of life. We can be greedy for fame, for attention, and for power. We can even be greedy for food. Sitcoms often use the greed for food as fodder for a humorous scene. They show a character standing before a buffet filled with delicious food. They take a plate and fill it to overflowing with so much food that can’t possibly eat it all. When the plate can’t hold any more, they start filling their pockets or purse. It’s all there for the taking, after all, shouldn’t they take advantage of the opportunity? In one show, the character took only the shrimp, laughing at the other guests at their foolishness; they were filling up their plates with the cheap stuff like salad and bread.
The greedy are those who, as the proverb describes, “…lay in wait for blood.” They take more than they need without consideration for those who will be hurt by their selfishness. Even if we ignore the affects the frenzy had on the big greedy company and the taxpayers who pay for the program, we can’t ignore the reality that some poor mother arrived in the store after the frenzy to buy milk for her children but could not because the shelves were empty and the milk was rotting in shopping carts that were blocking the aisles.
Yes, greed is a sin that is most often attributed to the rich because some do take advantage of their situation at the expense of others to get even richer. But it is a sin about which we should all beware, because it doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor, we affect our neighbors by our sinful desire to have more than we need. As a matter of fact, it is likely that we have all taken advantage of circumstances in ways that have harmed others. So, the next time we are faced with the opportunity to take more than we need, let’s consider how our actions will affect another and refuse to “fill our houses with spoil.” Let us not go along with the crowd, but do what is right. It is in choosing to refrain from the frenzy that we’ll find true life.
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“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13, WEB
St. Teresa of Avila once said, “Just being a woman is enough for my wings to fall off.” The social conventions of her day clipped the wings of women so that they could not fly on their own, but Teresa did not let that stop her. She knew how to get what she wanted, and that was to glorify God. We celebrate her life today.
When Teresa was a young girl, she was fascinated by the lives of the saints. She was born in the early sixteenth century which was a time of religious superstition. The faithful took pilgrimages to see the relics of the saints, earning for themselves indulgences. The stories of the saints were used in schools. The churches were named after those who had suffered for their faith and the Church. Teresa wanted to be sainted like the martyrs, and as a child she tried to speed up the process. She convinced her younger brother to go with her to be captured by the Moors so that they would bleed for Jesus and see God. They were found before anything tragic could happen, but the story shows that she was a determined young woman, a characteristic that would be both a positive and negative trait throughout the rest of her life.
She went through a period of rebellion as a teenager, influenced by cousins to be vain and flirtatious. Her father sent her to a convent to get her on the right path, but she continued to write to her admirers secretly. She hated the religious life at first, but eventually came to love it and even decided to take the veil, much to her father’s disappointment. She was not healthy, having suffered from malaria. She was paralyzed for a time, and never fully recovered. She was faithful during her times of illness, but she belonged to a lenient order and she returned to her worldly ways during the times when she was well. One day, however, Teresa had a vision of Jesus who commanded her to change her ways. She studied the works of St. Augustine and took stock in her life, discovering a new fervor for spiritual life. She worked toward reform in her order, founded new convents and recorded her numerous mystical experiences as a witness to God’s power.
She struggled with prayer. She believed herself to be unworthy of prayer because she thought she was too great a sinner. She used her sickness as an excuse, but she would later say, “Prayer is an act of love, words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love.” She sympathized with those who had difficulty praying, particularly those who were easily distracted like her. “This intellect is so wild that it doesn't seem to be anything else than a frantic madman no one can tie down. All the trials we endure cannot be compared to these interior battles.”
She did learn to pray and experienced incredible acts of God’s grace. We may not completely understand her spiritual experiences; even she was embarrassed when they happened in the presence of others. She asked God not to give her these “favors” in public. It is said that when she felt that she would levitate, she would lay on the ground and ask her sisters to sit on her. It is interesting that in her scientific mind, and her humble understanding of her sinfulness, she thought these experiences were not gifts but rather chastisements. Some in her day thought the experiences came from the devil, but she believed they were from God. Teresa believed they came from God because they gave her peace, inspiration, and encouragement. “If these effects are not present I would greatly doubt that the raptures come from God; on the contrary I would fear lest they be caused by rabies.” Her books about prayer helped others to grow in their own prayer lives.
Her determination showed in the way she lived her youth, but even more in the way she lived her life of faith. Despite the male dominance of her age, Teresa accomplished things that woman were not supposed to accomplish. She taught the women in her convents independence and how to think on their own. She was closely watched because some thought that she was guilty of heresy, but they were never able to find anything but faithful obedience to God in her life. In 1970, St. Teresa of Avila was called a Doctor of the Church because of the impact she had on the world. She was, perhaps, the female saint with the greatest influence on the world.
Teresa lived a life of faith. She said, “If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through his most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight.” May God bless us all with such strength.
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