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)
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we haven’t sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10, WEB
The Sermon on the Mount is a teaching on wisdom by Jesus found in the book of Matthew. This brilliant sermon includes The Beatitudes which are nine statements that show the fruit of a life lived in humble submission before the Lord. The word beatitude can be understood to mean “a beautiful attitude.” The Christian understanding of blessedness is much different than that of the world. The world expects independence, strength, power and honor. In the Beatitudes, Jesus gave us a topsy-turvy understanding of a blessed life. Poverty is never seen as a good thing. Financial concerns impact people’s lives more than any others. When asked, “what would help you today?” most people will answer “money.” It did not matter if the response came from someone who was rich or poor. Everyone agrees that more money would make life easier and they would be happier.
Yet, Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Who are the poor in spirit? They are those who approach God with a contrite heart, recognizing their own spiritual poverty. The poor in spirit are those who know they are sinners that cannot do anything to save themselves from death. There are none that are good, we are all born into a fallen world and need the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to be in a relationship with God. The poor in spirit are those who recognize this need and turn to God for salvation.
Life in the kingdom of heaven is a righteous life lived in a relationship with God our Father. Our Lord Jesus Christ made this possible by His death on the cross. Without Him, we would forever wallow in our own sin and die without ever being reconciled to God. Thanks to His incredible love and unlimited mercy, we are cleansed from our sin and drawn into His heart to live forever in His presence. We are made righteous by His blood and become heirs to the kingdom of heaven: a child of the King!
Unfortunately, the world thinks it is possible to get to the kingdom of heaven by our own means. The self help section of your local bookstore is filled with books about how to be strong in spirit, how to get to heave, how to be blessed in this world. There are even some churches that are preaching a gospel of self, one that uplifts human understanding and ability to be spiritual and blessed, rather than recognizing the truth of human spiritual poverty.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Eternal life comes to those who recognize their sin and turn to the Lord for salvation. It is by His power and grace that we will inherit the life of blessedness; this is not necessarily a life with more than enough money, but rather life in an eternal relationship with God our Father. May we all be poor in spirit so that Jesus can fill us with His Spirit and give us the kingdom of heaven.
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“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, don’t resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and don’t turn away him who desires to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:38-42, WEB
Karma is taught in some of the Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Properly defined, karma is a force generated by a person’s actions which will affect the future life of the believer. For those who believe in reincarnation, karma is the force that will decide the kind of existence they will have in the next life. Ultimately, the person who lives the good life will be reincarnated into a wonderful life, a life of comfort and peace. For some, karma does not just control the ultimate fate of the person’s soul, it is a force that affects our punishments and rewards in this life, too.
It isn’t just a religious concept anymore. Sitcoms and other media use karma as a way to make a joke or make a point. When someone does something wrong, the action is met with a threat that “it will come back to bite you one day.” Then, later in the show when something bad happens the person is met with “I told you so.” They are supposed to learn something from this experience, mostly that you should never do something wrong because it will hurt you in the end. Good karma comes to those who do good things. They are rewarded for doing kindnesses or paid back more than they gave. A person who gives a ten dollar bill should expect to be rewarded with an even greater gift somewhere in the future.
Karma is not a Christian doctrine, although there are many Christians who teach a karmic way of thinking. Listen in on a stewardship sermon in many churches and you will hear the pastor promise some sort of windfall for the believer. One ministry claims that if you send them a certain amount of money in faith, that God will return that amount tenfold.
Karma is not a Christian teaching because it puts the power of God into the hands of human beings. In other words, we can control our destiny by doing good works. It makes righteousness a work of man; everything that happens is a reward or consequence of his or her actions. Yet, we all know that our experiences are not caused by some previous action. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes good things happen to bad people. Sometimes we can’t explain why these things occur. As Christians, we can only expect God to be just, merciful and faithful. As Christians, we are expected to live Christlike - just, merciful and faithful - in the world, but this does not mean we will always receive justice, mercy or faithfulness from the world. We like the idea of karma because it seems to make the world a fair place.
Karma does not fit into our Christian ideology. In today’s scripture passage, Jesus talks about the idea that everyone should be repaid for their actions, but He takes it to another level. Jesus taught us not to demand an eye for an eye. Our actions should always reflect mercy and grace. In this particular message, Jesus even tells us to give the cloak off our back to someone who would steal it from us.
If karma were really part of our Christian thought, then every one of us should be very afraid of our fate. None of us are good enough to deserve anything wonderful in a next life. We don’t live up to our God-given potential or gifts. We often treat others poorly, hurting them with our thoughts, words and deeds. Jesus teaches us to live differently. We aren’t to live today as if it will make a difference in our tomorrow. Instead we are to live in Christ who has already assured us of our future; in Him we have the promise of eternal life. That life might just make a difference for someone else in the world.
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