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)
"I love Yahweh, because he listens to my voice, and my cries for mercy. Because he has turned his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death surrounded me, the pains of Sheol got a hold of me. I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called on Yahweh’s name: "Yahweh, I beg you, deliver my soul." Yahweh is Gracious and righteous. Yes, our God is merciful. Yahweh preserves the simple. I was brought low, and he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for Yahweh has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before Yahweh in the land of the living. I believed, therefore I said, "I was greatly afflicted." I said in my haste, "All men are liars." What will I give to Yahweh for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call on Yahweh's name. I will pay my vows to Yahweh, yes, in the presence of all his people. Precious in Yahweh's sight is the death of his saints. Yahweh, truly I am your servant. I am your servant, the son of your servant. You have freed me from my chains. I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call on Yahweh's name. I will pay my vows to Yahweh, yes, in the presence of all his people, in the courts of Yahweh's house, in the middle of you, Jerusalem. Praise Yah!" Psalm 116, WEB
What is a saint? On the one hand, we think of the saints as those who have been given the distinction throughout the history of the church for being particularly faithful or holy. As a matter of fact, the definition of saint is, "a person acknowledged as holy or virtuous and typically regarded as being in heaven after death." On the other hand, we understand that we are saints by faith, cleansed by the blood of Christ and dressed in His righteousness.
We think of saints as a New Testament thing, but the word saint is found repeatedly throughout the Old Testament, particularly in the Psalms. You see in today's passage that the death of God's saints is precious in His sight. In the Hebrew, the word often translated "saint" is one referring to God's people, those who are, or should be, faithful to Him. Saints are God's people, and He watches over them, even unto death.
Yesterday we talked about how none of us, even the most faithful and gracious and innocent will never be good enough to stand before God's throne with confidence. Even our humility can't stand up to the purity and majesty of God because we talk of it with a tone of self-righteousness. We need God; His judgment will destroy us, but His mercy gives us life. It is Jesus Christ who stands before the judgment seat in our stead and He takes for us the wrath we deserve and grants us the grace we don't.
We are saints and God watches over us even unto death. We are God's people, made so by the blood of Jesus Christ, by the faith He has given and by God's mercy. The psalmist praises God and sings of His gracious blessings on those who are faithful to Him. While we can't, by our own ability, stand before Him, we can, by His power, walk in His ways. But we cry out to Him with fear and trembling and He hears us. He saves us and then transforms us so that our life reflects that which God has done for us. As such, we are called to a life of faithfulness, offering sacrifices of thanksgiving and trusting in Him for all we need. Our songs of thanksgiving glorify Him before the saints and all the world.
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"So then, my beloved, even as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure." Philippians 2:12-13, WEB
I have to laugh at myself sometime. I have several online games that I enjoy playing and I have to admit that I'm a bit competitive. I like to have the high score on the leaderboard and I have been known to play it in excess just to be there. One game has weekly high scores and an all-time high score. I did well at having the all-time high score for a long time, even joking with one friend about how I will always stay ahead of her. Then I friended another person who plays the game who is, apparently, even more competitive than me. The other week I managed to beat her all-time high score and within hours she had beat mine.
There's another game with hundreds of levels. I've been playing that game longer than any of my friends and so I am well beyond them in the game. I'm so far ahead that when I run out of levels, I go back and replay the ones my other friends have played to better my score. I went way back to the first levels and I was surprised to see how low I was on the leaderboard. Everyone who came after me managed to get better scores on those levels. I have to admit that I've replayed some of those levels.
It made me think about records and those who come after the greats. The say records are made to be broken and it happens all the time. Basketball players that are still considered the best in their sport have lost their records to younger players. Peggy Fleming was one of the best ice skaters of all time, but she would never have even considered doing some of the flips, jumps and spins of today's competitors. Runners are faster than their predecessors. The previous records give new competitors a goal and they work to beat it. Everyone wants to be the best.
When it comes down to it, we even want to better our God. Oh, we know we are not better than God; we act humble and meek before God's throne. Yet, we often do the very things that show our hearts on the matter. We try to be good. We believe the good works we do are enough to make us right before God. We credit ourselves with our humility, confident at His feet that He will find us good enough because we are kneeling before Him. It seems as if that humility is a sign of our righteousness to us. Yet the very fact that we humbly approach the throne of grace without trembling is a sign of our own conceit. We will never be good enough; even the best of us cannot approach God without fear.
John Calvin writes, "This is the truth. Awakened consciences, when the have to do with God's judgment, recognize [God's mercy] as the only safe haven in which they can securely breathe. For if the stars, which seem so very bright at night, lose their brilliance in the sight of the sun, what do we think will happen even to the rarest innocence of man when it is compared to God's purity?"
There will always be someone who follows us who will get the better score or set the better record. The thing for us to remember is that we will never be better than God. No matter how good we are, no matter how faithful we are to God's Word, no matter how gracious we are to our neighbors, no matter how innocent we appear before the throne of grace, we will never be good enough. When we do face God's judgment, let us not do so with self-righteous humility but with fear and trembling because it is only in God's mercy that we'll find peace.
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