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)
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein? Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; for he that hath died is justified from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him. For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof: neither present your members unto sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:1-14, ASV
“When we have nothing left but God, we realize that God is enough.” This inspirational message was found embedded on a beautiful picture of a lone person sitting on the very edge of a mountainous outcrop dangling perilously over a lake with majestic mountain cliffs in the background. Despite the world at his feet, the figure is alone and has nothing. It is not surprising that the artist might think of God; it would be hard to be in that position and not wonder at the magnificence of the Creator. The best part of the picture, however, is the second line which said, “But we still shouldn’t sit on cliffs. That’s just dumb.”
I have to admit that I am one of those photographers willing to go the extra mile to get the great shot, and I suspect that I would be tempted to creep to the edge of that outcrop, not to get my picture taken, but to take a picture of the lake and mountains. The unencumbered view from that spot must have been spectacular. I’ll also admit that as I’ve gotten old, I’m less able to do those crazy things. The person in the picture is probably a mountain or rock climber. I’m not sure I would even be able to get up that mountain, let alone crawl to the edge. But I can imagine myself doing it.
I can imagine myself on that outcrop, but I also recognize the danger. I don’t risk my life for a photograph, especially since I have people in my life who need me. I once climbed down a cliff to take a picture of some rocks out in the ocean, but it really wasn’t as dangerous as it sounds. The cliff had a pathway to a ledge which other adventurous people had used. On another occasion, I leaned on a chain link fence that was on the edge of a cliff to get my camera down under it for the shot. I didn’t even try pushing the fence until I checked the fence posts. It might sound dangerous, but I knew there was no way I was going to fall.
We shouldn’t take chances with our lives. We live in trust and faith that God is with us through everything we do, but it is dumb to test His faithfulness. God is truly enough for us in this world, but that doesn’t mean that He is going to save us from our foolishness. The picture shows a pretty extreme example of taking chances with life, but what do we do daily that tests God? Do we drive too fast? Do we make our neighbors angry? Do we risk the future of our children to fulfill some selfish objective? Do we sin just because we know that God will forgive?
God is truly all we need, and His mercy is great. However, let’s not hang out on the cliff of sin just because we know that He has paid the price. We might think we are safe as we creep to that edge, but the danger is very real. We will suffer the consequences of doing something dumb. Rely on God, but don’t test Him. He will forgive when we fail to live up to His expectations; that’s the foundation of our life. The life lived in trust does not take chances even if we know God will always be faithful.
Due to the high volume of spam that comes through the domain, I have had to stop using that email address. However, if you would like to send me mail, use the following address, replacing the bracketed words with the symbol. Thank you for your continued interest, prayers and messages of encouragement.
Like "A WORD FOR TODAY" on Facebook!
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.
“Like as a father pitieth his children, So Jehovah pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; And the place thereof shall know it no more. But the lovingkindness of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, And his righteousness unto children's children; To such as keep his covenant, And to those that remember his precepts to do them.” Psalm 103:13-18 (ASV)
I am not a starving artist. I haven’t really made any money from my art when you take into consideration the hundreds of dollars I’ve spent on supplies. I also give away many of my paintings for charity auctions. I’m getting ready for a craft fair in September, and I want to have a large selection, so this past weekend I spent too much time and money on paints, canvases and parts. Thankfully I have a husband who supports me financially and family and friends that encourage me. I’ve even had a few people who appreciate my art enough to buy it. Despite the money spent, I’m able to relax and work on pieces without worrying about food or having a roof over my head.
The same is not true of all artists. Take, for instance, Vincent Van Gogh. I love his work, the creative use of color and texture and the impressionistic images that look like something but not quite. We all have heard that Van Gogh is the perfect example of the starving artist with everything that went along with it: mental illness, loneliness and unrequited love. He cut off his ear and committed suicide. His art was not appreciated while he was alive.
Some of that might be true, but there is so much more to Vincent Van Gogh’s story. He lived from March 30, 1853 to July 29, 1890. He was born the son of a Protestant minister in the Netherlands, one of six children. He said about his childhood, “My youth was gloomy cold and barren.” He went to a boarding school and received some training in the arts, but Van Gogh was unimpressed with institutional education. He became an art dealer at his uncle’s firm when he was just sixteen, but quickly learned to dislike the way the art was treated as a commodity and let his disdain show to his customers.
Van Gogh went through a period of religious fanaticism. He spent some time as a teacher in England and then as an assistant to a Methodist minister, “wanting to preach the gospel everywhere.” He tried to go to school for theology, but failed the exam and then tried missionary school but failed. He did preach, but took his Christianity to such an extreme, living and sharing the hardships of the poor, that he was unable to serve his parish well and the church authorities claimed that he “undermined the dignity of the priesthood.” Though it turned out poorly, his religious work gave him insight into the everyday world which would eventually affect his art. There are those who believe that his mental illness made his art brilliant, but he was a far better artist during his times of lucidity.
His art was very dark and colorless in the beginning, perhaps mirroring the dark and colorless depths of his soul. As he grew as an artist, he became friends with other artists. Those friends encouraged him to use more color. He liked the Impressionist use of light and color, though he did not like how the impressionists separated themselves. Van Gogh was always engaged the world around him and painted scenes that were full of life. He liked to use complimentary colors, like blue and orange together, because the contrasts between these colors bring out the intensity of both. Perhaps that’s why I like Van Gogh: blue and orange is my favorite combination.
I started reading about Vincent Van Gogh a few years ago when I discovered that Don McLean’s song “Starry Starry Night” was actually called “Vincent.” It was about Van Gogh. In the refrain McLean sings, “Now I understand what you tried to say to me, and how you suffered for your sanity, and how you tried to set them free, they would not listen, they did not know how, perhaps they’ll listen now.” I’ve heard it said that Jesus must have been out of his mind to live as He lived and to die as He died. Jesus certainly did not live the same kind of life as Vincent Van Gogh, but in some ways their story is the same. They were unappreciated and unloved, but had a beautiful gift to give. For Van Gogh, it was his art. Jesus gave us eternal life.
The stories we hear about Van Gogh are true, to a point. He did cut off his ear, but it was an accident not unrequited love. In 1890, Van Gogh's difficult life and harsh living caught up to him. He walked into a field and shot himself in the chest with a pistol. The shot did not kill him, so he walked back to his room and died in bed two days later. His last words were “La tristesse durera toujours,” which means, “The sadness will last forever.”
Van Gogh may have had some faith, but his life was not lived faithfully; we may never really know or understand what he was chasing, but it is heartbreaking to think that a man of such talent would never really experience the joy of God’s Kingdom. I am not expecting to become rich from my art, and I doubt that my paintings will ever sell for millions of dollars. Maybe someday I’ll be hanging in a museum, but for now I just hope that I’m able to use my gifts to glorify God. I am thankful that I do not have to be a starving artist while I discover the work God has planned for me to do.
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