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)
ďJesus answered them, ĎI did one work, and you all marvel because of it. Moses has given you circumcision (not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a boy. If a boy receives circumcision on the Sabbath, that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me, because I made a man completely healthy on the Sabbath? Donít judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.íĒ John 7:21-24, WEB
I watched a video that showed a man sitting in the food court of a mall eating an ice cream cone. The video also showed some women at a nearby table watching this man eat. He seemed to be staring at them while eating the ice cream cone flirtatiously. The women (a number of different vignettes because it was from one of those humorous candid camera shows) started to flirt back. At the end of the segment, we saw the response of all those women when the man put on his glasses, got up and opened the cane he used to see as he walked; he was blind and never saw the women. He was not flirting; he was simply enjoying his ice cream. They judged the book by the cover without seeing the truth of what was happening.
This scene was funny, but unfortunately we see this happening on a daily basis in society. Something happens and everyone makes a quick judgment about what it is, and then as time goes on and information is gathered, we see that it wasnít anything that we thought it was. Everyone wants to be the first to report the event, but in doing so they make assumptions, judgments, without waiting long enough to get the facts and report the truth. These rash judgments often place the blame on the wrong party, who then need to live with the consequences of something they never did.
One of the greatest controversies in Jesusí day was the keeping of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was given to the people long before Moses; it was given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It was a day designed to stop work and focus wholly on God. However, there were things that could be done. On several occasions, Jesus went against the burden of the Law to show the right use of Godís Law. The leaders saw these actions as being unlawful, but they were not willing to look beyond the surface to the grace of Godís mercy.
There were things allowed on the Sabbath. A man could circumcise his child. A man could water and feed his animals. He could save a horse that had fallen down a ravine. But it was unlawful to heal on the Sabbath. In John 5, Jesus healed a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. He told the man, ďGet up! Pick up your mat and walk.Ē It was the Sabbath. Jesus healed the man out of mercy and love. The Jews saw the man carrying his mat and condemned him for being disobedient to the Law.
It is hard to make a right judgment. The women in the video saw one thing and acted accordingly. It was funny for the audience to watch, but they were throwing themselves at a man who didnít even know they were there. As for the news reports, sometimes those stories leave people suffering from very real consequences. People experience incredible losses, and though the truth eventually is revealed, it is nearly impossible to get back what had once been theirs because the cloud of the false judgment always hangs over them.
Imagine that you are the man who was healed after being an invalid for thirty-eight years. He probably didnít even care what day it was. He probably didnít think about what he could and could not do according to the law. He could walk. He could go home by his own power. He grabbed his mat and took off to celebrate with his family. He may have even been jumping for joy. All the leaders saw was a man being disobedient to their interpretation of the Law; they did not see a man who was praising God for His mercy and grace. Jesus teaches that we should judge according to His ways not our interpretation of Godís law. It is through Christ, in mercy and love, that we can make the right judgment. Instead of judging the book by its cover, we are to look at our neighbors through Godís eyes. Then we may just see the opportunity to serve them and glorify God with justice and truth.
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ďFor you formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my motherís womb. I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well. My frame wasnít hidden from you, when I was made in secret, woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my body. In your book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there were none of them.Ē Psalm 139:13-16, WEB
If you had to go without one of your senses, which would it be - touch, sight, smell, taste, or hearing? I often wonder, as Iím working in my studio, what I would do without my sight. How could I choose colors or paint trees? I could probably continue to write since there are plenty of technologies developed for the sight impaired on the computer, yet art would be more difficult. Losing the sense of touch is frightening and dangerous. Iíve heard stories of people with disease that left them without physical feelings and they often get hurt so badly because they donít know they are being harmed.
Smell and taste go hand in hand and though I could possibly live without them, I would certainly miss smelling banana bread baking or tasting a piece of good chocolate. My mother was a life-long smoker which destroyed her taste buds. The irony is that when she finally gave up smoking at the end of her life, she complained that none of the food tasted right. The truth was that her smoking made everything taste different, but without the cigarettes, she was tasting food as it was meant to be tasted and thought it was terrible. I sometimes think that if I had to give up one sense, it would be hearing. As I have grown older I have come to love and appreciate silence. I turn off all the noise in my house and just enjoy the peace of quietness. However, I look forward to hearing the sound of grandchild giggles.
Our bodies are amazingly adaptive; we learn to use our other senses when we lose one or more, however as we think through questions like this one, we are reminded to be thankful for every good and perfect gift from God. We can be thankful that He has given us our senses so that we can enjoy His big, beautiful, tasty, loud, tactile world. We can be thankful for the our eyes, even when they see things we would rather not see, and our ears when they hear things we would rather not hear. We can be thankful that we can smell and taste the good things of this world. We can be thankful that our sense of touch allows us to feel the hand that is holding ours to help us through grief.
Our senses can cause us trouble. We see a sexy man or woman and we lust. We are gluttons as we devour the foods that smell so good. We hear someone speak an opinion with which we disagree and we get angry. Touch can lead us to do things that we will eventually regret. We need to be careful that we do not let our senses lead our flesh down sinful paths, but rather always act in ways that will glorify God.
Through it all, we can rest in the knowledge that God is in our midst, guiding us on the right path. There has never been a time, from before we were born, that the Lord God Almighty was not near. It is, however, when we experience difficulty that we truly realize how close He is. We see Him in the faces our neighbors. We feel Him in the touch of a hand or a desperately needed hug. We hear Him in the prayers that are spoken for our sake. We smell His grace and taste Him in the Eucharist. He knows what we need even before we do and He has provided us incredible gifts of life in our bodies.
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