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)
“Therefore we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense; how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation - which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard; God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, by various works of power, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will?” Hebrews 2:1-4, WEB
Every culture has their own collection of myths, legends and fables. Though they have different characters the stories are often similar. We can find aspects of those stories throughout the scriptures and we are reminded how much we are alike even though we are very different. The stories use details that that the people in that culture know and understand. For example, the Native American Indians have their own version of a Cinderella story, one that is not only a story of patience but also of honesty.
The story tells of a great warrior who lived on the Atlantic Ocean whose greatest gift was his ability to become invisible. His name was Strong Wind and all the maidens sought after him, but he refused to marry any who were dishonest. Along with his sister, Strong Wind tested each maiden that came to marry him. The sister took the maidens to the shore when Strong Wind was due to come home in the evening. As he approached, his sister asked the maiden if she saw him. They all said yes, but when asked to describe something about his appearance, they could only guess. They were always wrong and he knew they were lying.
At this time there lived a chief with three daughters. Their mother had died long ago and the two older sisters were jealous of the youngest. They treated her cruelly, burning her face and putting her into rags for clothes. They told their father she did it to herself. She did not complain, but patiently did her work with a gentle heart. The two older sisters sought Strong Wind but were found to be lying. The chief’s youngest daughter determined to find Strong Wind for herself. She tried to fix her ragged clothes and her face and then set off for the shore. She was ridiculed by her sisters and the others along the way, but Strong Wind’s sister had mercy and took her to seek her brother. When it was time for Strong Wind to come home, his sister asked, “Do you see him?” The girl said, “No.” Once again the sister asked if the girl could see her brother and this time she said, “Yes.” When Strong Wind’s sister asked her to describe him, she said, “His sled is drawn by a rainbow and his bow is the Milky Way.” Since she had been honest with the first answer, he made himself visible to her. They took the girl home, healed her wounds and cleaned her face and body. She was clothed in fine clothes and many rich ornaments. The fate of the two sisters was not so great. Since they had lied and had treated their sister with such cruelty, Strong Wind turned them into Aspen trees. Whenever he came to them, their leaves trembled and they knew of his anger.
We are just like the maidens who could not see Strong Wind. We can’t see God, but we try to think we can get there on our own. We do good works, we say the right things, and we go to the right places. We claim our self-righteousness is enough to be the one who can see God. For the Jews, righteousness by obedience to the Law of Moses was the way to see God. Those who did not keep His commandments were not worthy of His grace. Unfortunately, there are none who are worthy, because we are unable to keep His law.
For this reason, Jesus came to bridge the divide between God and His people. Through Christ we can see God, be healed, cleansed and robed with the finest garment He has to give: His righteousness. We need to recognize our inability to see Him and honestly say that we have eyes that are blinded to the truth. With that confession, repentance, our eyes are open and we can see Him as He is. If we continue in our old ways, claiming a righteousness that is not in Christ but through the Law, we will never know the salvation Christ gives through His Gospel. The young sister humbled herself before Strong Wind and he gave her the world. God is gracious and when we do the same before God, we discover His promise of eternal life is fulfilled in Jesus Christ and we are guaranteed a place in His kingdom forever.
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“He departed there, and went into their synagogue. And behold there was a man with a withered hand. They asked him, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?’ that they might accuse him. He said to them, ‘What man is there among you, who has one sheep, and if this one falls into a pit on the Sabbath day, won’t he grab on to it, and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day.’ Then he told the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out; and it was restored whole, just like the other.” Matthew 12:9-13, WEB
I was sharing my wildflower photos with someone a few weeks ago. Some of the wildflowers are easily recognizable, especially to Texans. We know bluebonnets and paintbrush. We are very familiar with firewheels and poppies. There are a few that are less known, though they are easily found in many of the fields during the spring. When I showed a picture of Texas verbain, the person asked, “Is that a weed?” Though he, too, was a photographer, it was not a flower with which he was familiar. I jokingly answered, “Aren’t they all?”
Someone once said, “A weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place.” It is funny to think of these beautiful flowers in this way, but I can imagine that some folk would not want them growing in their beautifully manicured lawns. It is ok when they are growing in a meadow somewhere, but the plant is removed or destroyed at the first sign of a broad leaf even before the flower can bloom. Even the greenbelts in our city are considered eyesores to some because they seem to be it overrun with weeds. I have noticed some places that used to be colorful with wildflowers that have been mown long before the flowers have bloomed. It won’t be long before the landscapers cut down the dying flowers that were allowed to bloom.
All too often we look at people in the same way. There are those in this world who for one reason or another seem to have no value in our society. In Jesus’ generation, women and children were regarded as weeds. They had no voice and were disposable if that was the will of the man. In other generations the weeds were those with health or mental problems, the elderly, people of a certain race or the homeless. Though most of us do not appear to hold such uncompassionate biases against groups of people, I think we’ve all had a moment when we have looked at one individual and thought, “What good is he?” They aren’t worth our time, they aren’t worth our trouble. It may be a simple as refusing to offer a word of forgiveness because they aren’t penitent about what they have done wrong. Yet, by not sharing that word, by not offering to bring healing and grace into someone’s life, we deem them unworthy of God’s love and call them a weed. Thank God Jesus never felt that way.
While this passage definitely touches on one of the major problems in the time of Jesus: they were more concerned for ritual and rules than people. It also shows how much regard Jesus had for the people who needed His love and mercy. That man had been ill for some time and had not even asked for help. Jesus could have very easily waited until the next day to heal the man, but He saw no reason to let him suffer even another moment. For the Jews, the man’s illness was most likely considered a right punishment from God. They probably thought he’d done something wrong to deserve the disability. They saw him as a weed, unworthy of anything but negative attention.
Yet, Jesus saw that man as a beloved child of God who needed God’s healing touch. We may not be able to display the same incredible power as Jesus did, restoring people’s bodies that were wracked with disease. However, we have an even greater power: the power of God to bring healing and peace to the lives of those lost in this world. By the grace of God we have the Gospel message of forgiveness to proclaim which brings light into the darkness and life to those who are dead. We might prefer to ignore some folk, thinking them nothing but weeds. Yet, God sees them as a beautiful flower, one that is worthy of our love and compassion. He saw the same in us.
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