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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

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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)

A WORD FOR TODAY, July 28, 2014

“But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length ye have revived your thought for me; wherein ye did indeed take thought, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want. I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me. Howbeit ye did well that ye had fellowship with my affliction. And ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye only; for even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my need. Not that I seek for the gift; but I seek for the fruit that increaseth to your account. But I have all things, and abound: I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, and odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now unto our God and Father be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Philippians 4:10-20, ASV

We complain about the heat here in Texas, and many people will tell you that the humidity makes it even worse, and humidity certainly does make the heat feel far hotter than it actually is. Now, we tend to have humidity as high as 90%, although that happens in the winter months when we are more likely to get rain. The temperatures during that time are far more moderate, sometimes even cold, so the humidity does not cause the same discomfort that it would in the middle of the summer. The air is driest in the middle of August and most humid in late May. Those late spring days can be uncomfortable if the temperatures reach the 90’s.

We complain about the traffic here in San Antonio, and admittedly it can be bad. I’ve learned to avoid certain roads at certain times of the day because the highways are more like parking lots. A local television station posted a survey on their Facebook page this morning asking viewers to talk about their biggest pet peeves with our road conditions. We have trouble spots; so does every city. Some new study apparently claims that San Antonio has the worst driving conditions. I don’t know what other places are being used in the comparison, but as some viewer pointed out, “The people who say we have ‘the worst’ road conditions have clearly never left San Antonio to travel anywhere else. Calling our road conditions ‘the worst’ is a huge exaggeration.”

I agree. I also think that the complaints of humidity in Texas are highly exaggerated. I remember growing up in Eastern Pennsylvania where it could get to be 90+ degrees with 90+ humidity. We did not have air conditioning. I spent most of my summer in the swimming pool, or reading books under the shade of a tree. We lived with it, although I’m sure we complained as much as everyone else does everywhere else.

I went to South Carolina to hear lections on theological subjects, but I have to say that the best lesson I learned this past week is that I really have no reason to complain. Yes, our road conditions are less than perfect. We have pot holes and road construction. We have too many cars on the road at the same time. We have drivers who can be inconsiderate, self-absorbed and even dangerous. They have all that in other places, too. I was lucky and ran into very few traffic jams, but I spent most of my driving time in Charleston lost among the one way streets, none of which seemed to go where I needed them to go.

Also, our heat can be overwhelming sometimes. The sun beats down harshly and the temperature can reach above 100 degrees. It is much worse on the coast where the warm gulf waters add a lot of moisture to the air. Sometimes, like today, that moisture makes it further inland where we can reach humidity of 60% or so. Yes, it is uncomfortable, but it is not the worst. I was overwhelmed by the heat and humidity of South Carolina, which felt as though it was 120%. I know it wasn’t, but it was bad enough that I was dripping wet only moments after exiting any building. While Texas has higher humility in the cold months, South Carolina has it in the summer months when the heat of the day makes it even worse on the body.

We have a tendency of seeing our own troubles as being so much worse than anywhere else. We have the worst traffic. We have the worst weather. Everyone says, “You don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes, it will change.” And everyone believes that it is most true about where they live. On a personal note, our financial troubles are always worse, our loneliness is greater, and our health issues are more deadly. We complain as if there is no one who has it worse, and in doing so we can’t see how truly blessed we are.. We are so focused on ourselves and how much it is in our little corner of the world that we miss out on the opportunities to minister to those who need our gifts and resources. We don’t realize that our complaints become like a yoke, burdening us and keeping us from the joy of living.

Be content, even when the humidity reaches uncomfortable levels and the traffic is at a standstill again. God can use those times to do amazing things. You might meet someone who needs a word of encouragement when you pop into the air conditioned store for a respite from the heat and traffic jams are a great time to pray. Always remember that no matter how bad it seems to you today, there is someone, somewhere who is dealing with something much worse and they need you. You have so much to offer that there simply is not time to dwell on our complaints. So, be content, knowing that you are blessed especially when it seems like your little corner of the world is the worst it can be.

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.

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A WORD FOR TODAY, July 29, 2014

“Preserve me, O God; for in thee do I take refuge. O my soul, thou hast said unto Jehovah, Thou art my Lord: I have no good beyond thee. As for the saints that are in the earth, They are the excellent in whom is all my delight. Their sorrows shall be multiplied that give gifts for another god: Their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer, Nor take their names upon my lips. Jehovah is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; Yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless Jehovah, who hath given me counsel; Yea, my heart instructeth me in the night seasons. I have set Jehovah always before me: Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; My flesh also shall dwell in safety. For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol; Neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: In thy presence is fulness of joy; In thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16, ASV

I drove over three thousand miles over the past week. It took two days to get to Charleston and two very long days to get home from Raleigh. The trip between Charleston and Raleigh was relatively short, just a few hours. It is a lot of driving for one person in a week and many of my friends were surprised that I would drive. A plane would get me to and from my destinations in a fraction of the time. I probably didn’t save that much money by driving, after all I had to deal with the costs of gas, food and lodging along the way. I like to have my car because it gives me more freedom when I am traveling without having the added cost of a rental car. My car allowed me control that I just don’t have when I fly.

Of course, there are disadvantages. I ran into several severe rain storms along the way, although it affected less than fifty miles out of the three thousand. I dealt with a few traffic jams, although I seemed to have timed this trip perfectly to avoid rush hour in every major city. Even Houston, my nemesis, offered free sailing.

Despite the disadvantages, there’s something really wonderful about a road trip. While I didn’t take a lot of time to smell the roses along the way, I did enjoy the brief moments I snatched. I enjoyed conversations with fellow travelers at the rest areas and with the clerks in the truck stops. I enjoyed passing by the signs for strangely named rivers like the Little Pee Dee River and the Atchafalaya Basin. I didn’t stop at the Swamp visitor’s center this time, but it is a place we’ve stopped on previous trips. There’s always something to learn or photograph at those places. I love reading the billboards along the way.

Many of the billboards are just standard advertising for restaurants and hotels. In the cities you’ll see ads for local businesses. Along the way, however, there’s always some upcoming attraction that had taken billboard advertising to a new height. A favorite Texas rest stop advertises its fabulous restrooms and beaver themed merchandise for a hundred miles. Louisiana is filled with billboards for the Casinos. Throughout the Carolinas there were signs for a cigarette and cigar supercenter and for a wig store. I laughed at the sign that said, “Hi Fashion Wigs.” I’m not sure that there would be anything truly high fashion that advertises with a dozen small signs stuck in the ground alongside an interstate highway.

The best signs advertised the most ridiculous tourist trap, however. I saw at least fifty signs in a hundred miles for a place called “South of the Border.” It is truly kitschy America at its best, and is the reason we take road trips. South of the Border was basically its own little town in South Carolina just south of the North Carolina border. It had a stereotypical Mexican theme with brightly colored buildings, sculptures of a Mexican hat clad man (Pedro) two stories tall and “Mexican food.” I put that in quotes because it was probably not very good Mexican food. I didn’t have time to try it, or any of the other activities like the carnival, reptile lagoon, the hotel, ice cream shop or store with t-shirts. There was also a fireworks stand and a truck stop. I stopped at Porky’s (the truck stop) for some ice and to use the rest room. I found some silly souvenirs and chatted with the clerk a minute. I asked if he knew how ridiculous it was, and he laughed, but was thankful for the job. I think it would be interesting to spend a day wandering through the shops. Apparently there was a good time for this tourist destination, but when I was there it seemed a little like a very colorful ghost town.

Sadly, I’m sure part of the reason why South of the Border is no longer a thriving tourist site is because people do not take road trips like they have in the past. Gasoline is over $3.00 a gallon and air travel is relatively easy, so many families are less likely to take to the roads. Perhaps we’ve also left behind simpler joys of life as we have sought more exciting ways to use our leisure time. A family is far more likely to plan a trip to Disney than to get in their cars to enjoy driving through a swamp and eating ice cream at a kitschy American roadside attraction.

We live in a fast paced world and it is wonderful that we can get from one place to another quickly. I would never choose to drive if I had to rush to the side of a dying loved one, because in doing so I might miss the chance to say good-bye. I wouldn’t want to travel to the other side of the world as they did a hundred years ago, on a boat that took days or weeks through rough seas. Sometimes, however, it is nice to take our time, to enjoy the world in which we live, to see the trees and talk to the strangers who cross our paths.

We are in such a rush to get to where we are going that we miss out on the journey. It is the journey where we learn and grow. This is true of our faith journey, too. It is during the journey that God works on us, changes us, transforms us. Yes, there might be an easy and fast way to get to our destination, but there is so much to be learned during the journey. And God can use even the tough times—the rainstorms and traffic jams—to help us become the people He is calling us to be. The summer road trip is a time to slow down, smell the roses, see the world God has created and enjoy the brief but delightful company of strangers who will pass out of our lives as quickly as they entered. There is joy in this simple way to travel, not only on vacation but through our lives of 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.

The Birth of our Saviour

The Story of our Saviour's Passion

The Crucifixion, a fictional perspective

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