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)
"Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving; praying together for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds; that I may reveal it as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." Colossians 4:2-6, WEB
We can't argue people into agreeing with us. We can't bully or force them, either. They may, out of fear or frustration, agree briefly with what we say, but they won't be changed. They will leave and quickly return to their old point of view, perhaps even more strongly committed to it. We might think we are arguing each other into submission, but the reality is that force just pushes people away. "Bible bashing" has never made a Christian.
While more gracious, I'm not certain "living the Gospel" is any more productive. We have often heard it said, "You are the only Bible some people will ever read." While it is true that our light shines to the world, and our faith shows through our deeds, I am not the Bible. I could never live up to the story that is told within. I am not Christ and the Bible is His story, not mine. The Bible is His Word, not mine. If people are "reading" me for lifesaving words or guidance, then they are going to go down a very wrong road.
I was reading an article about a woman who was an atheist but who became a Christian. She said, "No one could have in a billion years of their gripping testimony or by showing me a radiant life of good deeds or through song or even the most beautiful of books brought me to Christ. I had to be tapped on the shoulder." The door had to be opened for her before she would hear or believe. There is only One who can open that door: God.
The woman's father was an atheist and she graduated out of university with a firm rejection of religion, even being snarky and defensive about it. She eventually warmed to people of faith and even worked for a website that published "thoughtful pieces" about religion. She said that she eventually thought it was nice for people of faith to have faith, although she still did not accept faith or religion for herself. She didn't need an afterlife; to her the finality of death was comforting. She liked Christians, but thought them sweet in their delusion. "I did not wish to believe. I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings."
One day, however, she was going through a tough time and she blurted out "Be with me" in an empty room. She was embarrassed by this "prayer" because she didn't even know why she said it or who she was saying it to. Something cracked, a flame was kindled. She remained steadfastly atheist, but something was changed. The obituary for philosopher Dallas Willard written by a friend brought tears to her eyes. She started crying for no reason, while doing the most insignificant things, a very unusual reaction for the upbeat person that she was. "It was very unsettling to suddenly feel like a boat being tossed on the waves. I wasn't sad, I wasn’t frightened -- I just had too many feelings."
She began reading books about Jesus. They made her cry. She knew she had to discover the reason for her emotional turmoil, or she had to stop reading the books. She email a Christian friend and asked to meet to talk about Jesus. She felt ridiculous and immediately regretted the email. An hour before her friend called to talk, the woman knew not only that she believed in God, but that she was a Christian.
She said, "I was crying constantly while thinking about Jesus because I had begun to believe that Jesus really was who he said he was, but for some reason, that idea had honestly not occurred to me. But then it did, as though it always had been true. So when my friend called, I told her, awkwardly, that I wanted to have a relationship with God, and we prayed, and giggled a bit, and cried a bit, and then she sent me a stack of Henri Nouwen books, and here we are today."
Jesus said, "Go and make disciples of all nations." It is our calling to take Christ into the world so that others will hear His Word and believe. We don't always do this very well. We can do apologetics with grace, intelligence and reason, but we are more likely to argue with those who disagree. We aren't always bullies, but frustration leads to desperation which leads to hounding. Sometimes we even end up trying to force faith on people. On the other hand, we also like the idea of "being the Bible" because then we aren't to blame if they don't "read us." Unfortunately, the deeds without the Word is meaningless because even the atheist does good for his or her neighbor.
This is why Paul writes, "Pray that God will open the door." God will cause something to crack, a fire to kindle. He calls us to be ready, to be available, to be there to listen, to pray, to giggle, and to cry with those who finally see the light. In the meantime, we are encouraged to live the life God has called us to live, sharing our faith, living His Word, walking in His Way so that they will know where to go for the answers when they start asking the questions.
If you would like to contact me, please use the following address, replacing the bracketed words with the symbol. Thank you for your continued interest, prayers and messages of encouragement.
A WORD FOR TODAY is available daily through a mailing list at yahoo.groups. Visit the link below and you will receive the WORD in your box Monday through Friday.
"We have the more sure word of prophecy; and you do well that you heed it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the morning star arises in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:19-21, WEB
I am working on a project for a friend. It will be a present, a picture filled with memories of a life being celebrated. The project has a million little pieces; well, perhaps a million is an exaggeration, but it feels like there are that many. Each piece has its place and it took a long time to choose which ones to use and where they fit best. It is like putting a puzzle together, although I don't have the lovely photo on the box to help with the process.
I got it all figured out this morning, but I didn't glue anything as I went. Now I have to take everything off again so that I can secure each piece where it belongs. The problem is that there are so many pieces that it will be difficult to remember. I can just see myself picking up a piece and wondering, "Now where did this go?" If I glue it in the wrong place, then another piece will not fit properly. I solved this dilemma by taking a photo of the project with all the pieces in place. I can now take everything off and begin the finishing process without worry about my memory.
God has written His Word on our hearts. We have the Holy Spirit to help us get through the days. But we are human, fallible and despite our sainthood we are sinners who fail to live up to the expectations of God. We live in a world that has encouraged us to follow our hearts, even though our hearts are too often led astray by the twists of God's word that are Satan's greatest weapon against God and His people. Satan has convinced too many people in our age that the Bible can mean whatever we want it to mean, and thus that there is no truth, that we can put the pieces together as it pleases us and follow God as we wish.
I found an article online that gives twenty different ways that the scriptures can be twisted. These techniques are used by cults, but they are also used by people who want the church to conform to the world or to their way of thinking. These twists include misquoting the text or taking it out of context. It can be done by aligning texts that have little to do with each other or by adding information to the text to make it say what we want it to say. The twisting can come by playing with the words or siting confusing definitions. Too many people "proof-text" or selectively cite passages that have been misinterpreted. There are those who have decided that they have been given authority to supplement the text with new revelation. Too many people confused about scriptures because they try to make it fit into their world view; others have rejected the biblical authority and so pick and choose what they want to believe.
We wonder how we can possibly remain faithful when we are subjected to so many obstacles. How can we really know what is true? The twists sound so good sometimes. The interpretations seem right. Like my project, we need to find a way to make all these things fit into our lives. I know that over the years I have understood the scriptures personally in many different ways, depending on the circumstances of my life at that time. Read one text to a hundred people and God will touch them in a hundred ways. God's Word is living and active in our lives. God still talks to His people
Yet, God has given us a snapshot so that we will remember how everything fits together. Each book of the Bible points us to Jesus Christ, to the promise of the Gospel and to God's faithfulness. Each story helps us to see how God deals with His people. It might seem confusing sometimes, but God has given us all we need to understand. Scripture interprets scripture and the texts do not contradict themselves, so when we come to an idea that seems contradictory we need only look to the rest of God's Word for the truth. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the Church historic and present, the ancient creeds and our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can stay on the right road and walk in God's ways with faith.
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