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)
ďBehold, I send you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils, and in their synagogues they will scourge you. Yes, and you will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the nations. But when they deliver you up, donít be anxious how or what you will say, for it will be given you in that hour what you will say. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.Ē Matthew 10:16-19, WEB
Some stories in the Bible are especially challenging. Take, for instance, the story of Jonah. God called him to preach repentance for the salvation of his enemies. When Jonah refused, God sent a storm that nearly killed a boatful of people. He allowed Jonah to be thrown overboard, sacrificed for the sake of a ship of pagans. Then he was swallowed by a fish, and lived there for three days. Now, this might seem miraculous, but can you imagine what it must have been like living inside a fish for three days? Even if Jonah didn't get swallowed into the stomach, but just hung out around the mouth of the fish, it is still a pretty gross thought. After three days the fish spit him out, and he had to go do what God called him to do, even though it was the last thing he wanted to do. Is this the way God treats those He loves and calls to His service?
The end of Jonahís story is hard to understand. We have sympathy for Jonah and his disappointment that his enemies have been saved from Godís wrath. We know that feeling. I think we can identify with the picture of Jonah lamenting over their salvation; after all, these were people who had warred against Israel, killed some of Jonahís relatives and taken his people into slavery. Could we approach our enemies with grace? I donít think I have ever prayed for the destruction of my enemies, but I donít spend much time praying for God to bless them.
Poor Paul suffered at the hands of many for the work he was doing. The book of Acts is filled with stories of Paulís beatings and imprisonment. He was eventually martyred for his faith. In his letters Paul writes of his suffering, and he begs God to free him from some ďthorn in the fleshĒ that we havenít been able to identify. Paul was a man of great faith who willingly went into the unknown and did incredible work for God and Christís church. If anyone deserved a blessed life, it was Paul, and yet his story is far from comfortable. He may have been captive in a house prison at one point, but he also was locked away in a dungeon. He was well fed at times, but starved at others. He knew pain and rejection.
We canít read any of the prophets and not see how God put them in a bad place. Jesus even cries over Jerusalem, ďJerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I would have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not!Ē (Matthew 23:37, WEB) They were chased and threatened and killed over the words God put in their mouths. It is a wonder anyone chooses to follow Godís call, instead of running away like Jonah.
I have to admit that I'm afraid to write this devotional on some days, unsure of how the readers will receive the message. I wonder if what Iíve written is offensive to someone, especially if someone removes their name from my mailing list that day. I pray constantly that what I write is what God would have me say, rather than following some preconceived human agenda. Sometimes I sit down at the computer with an issue or a pet peeve on the tip of my tongue (or my fingers) with the intent of using this writing as a soapbox or a way to vent. I find it very difficult to write on those days, unable to put the words together as I want them to go.
Oh, Iím sure I win on some days, just as God allowed Jonah to get on that ship to Tarshish. Iím sure my agenda gets through once in awhile. But when I try to take control, to avoid saying the things that God would want me to say, I end up in my own big fish, soon to be spit out to go do or say the very thing I have been trying to avoid. It isn't always pleasant to obey Godís call. Sometimes we have to say and do the hard things. Sometimes we have to make the people who are listening uncomfortable. Sometimes we have to be held captive because of that word.
But we know from the stories of Paul that the blessedness that comes with obedience is not necessarily roses and ice cream. We are confronted by a world that does not want to hear what we have to say. We have to tackle the fears that come when we know we are about to offend someone with a message that challenges their way of thinking. Paul may have suffered, but he was also greatly blessed. He lived with a sense of complete trust in God, a faith that had him constantly looking forward to the day when he wouldn't have to preach the hard things anymore. It was that faith that gave him the courage and the strength to say what needed to be said. May God grant me that kind of faith, especially on those days when I don't want to go to the Ninevites to share a word of Godís grace.
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ďOnly let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the Good News; and in nothing frightened by the adversaries, which is for them a proof of destruction, but to you of salvation, and that from God. Because it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer on his behalf, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.Ē Philippians 1:27-30, WEB
Have you ever watched a spider build its web? It can be a fascinating experience, to see a creature work so diligently to build the beautiful and complex structure used to capture its prey. Though the tiny threads appear delicate, they are actually very strong. The more the trapped creatures struggle against the web, the tighter the web holds. Yet, those webs can easily be blown away by the wind. Spiders are used as an example of perseverance because even when the web is destroyed, they immediately begin to rebuild. Sometimes they need to replace their web daily.
There is a story from thirteenth century Scotland about a dispute over which man should be king. King Edward of England took advantage of the situation, stepped in and took over the crown. He stole the royal jewels and even the Stone of Scone, the ancient symbol of Scottish rule. The Scottish rebels crowned Robert Bruce and began a war against England. Robert Bruce was wounded and nearly captured, but escaped to spend a winter in hiding. After a time in a cold, dark dump eating only potatoes, he was nearly without hope. He noticed a spider building a web that was constantly blown away by the wind, yet time after time the spider kept trying. Robert Bruce realized he was like that spider; though he failed there was always another chance. He gathered whatever troops he could find and they fought back the English.
As Christians we often stumble through difficult situations during our journey in this world. It is like we are fighting a battle or building a web but something stands in the way of our reaching our goals. It would be easy to lose hope, to become depressed or give up. We might even turn in another direction, giving in to the enemy. For a spider, that would mean death, for his web is his source of food. For a man like Robert Bruce giving in to the English meant giving up his ancient heritage. For many Scots, such a loss was as bad as death.
For the Christian, it is in those times when things seem hopeless that we can best see our greatest hope. We persevere through persecution and disease in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, overcoming that which seeks to defeat us. Robert Bruce could have given up, lost the battle and lost Scotland to England forever. However, he saw the perseverance of the tiny spider and led his people into an amazing victory. When we overcome our difficulties the world sees God glorified in our lives. He has defeated our enemies at the cross, gave us His Spirit that we might walk in faith and stand firm in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our struggles can be great blessings, for they make us stronger and our enemies will see that we have been saved by the power and mercy of Christ, and that they have no hope to bring destruction to our lives.
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