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)
ďBut I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer also the other; and from him who takes away your cloak, donít withhold your coat also. Give to everyone who asks you, and donít ask him who takes away your goods to give them back again. As you would like people to do to you, do exactly so to them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. ĎTherefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful.Ē Luke 27-36, WEB
I suspect most teachers have had at least one student during their career that was difficult. It is a student that never pays attention, that is a distraction to the other students and that is often physical to the point of being dangerous. There are kids about which it nearly impossible to find anything positive to say. They make you want to pull your hair out. Yet, it is the teacherís job to find some way to overcome the animosity. Constant negative attention does not help the child or the class. The disagreeable youngster takes the teacherís attention and energy, leaving nothing for the rest of the children. Our natural tendency is to hate that child. Perhaps hate is too strong a word, however if we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we have difficulty loving these children.
We can all say this about people we know. Think about your life, your work, and your neighborhoods. Even the most kind and loving people know someone that drives them crazy for one reason or another. It is a fact of life; we donít get along with everyone. Personalities clash. Unfortunately, these relationships often go beyond quiet disregard and the people become enemies. They attack one another verbally, physically or emotionally, thinking that is the only way to overcome the differences. Yet, Luke writes that we should bless our enemies, not curse them.
Being a Christian is not an easy thing. We are called into a relationship with Christ not to separate ourselves from the people we do not like in this world. Rather, in Christ we are given the strength to overcome our natural tendencies so that we can live more Christ-like in the world. When our flesh wants to hate, we are commanded to love. When our mouths want to curse, we are commanded to bless. This is a difficult thing. Just like trying to find a good word about that young child that is always distracting and dangerous, saying nice things about our enemies is simply not something we are trained to do.
Yet, God would have us speak well about our enemies. Jesus takes us out of our comfort zone, telling us to do well by our enemies, to love them and to serve them. Instead of complaining about the difficult child, the Christ centered response to him or her is mercy. Being an example of love and encouragement will show them how to act more appropriately. Yet, it is not enough to speak positively in the presence of the child. We also need to be kind behind closed doors and in the depths of our heart. Our worst sins against our enemies happen in the places no one sees but God knows when we curse those we hate. Let us love our enemies as Christ. We too were enemies; we were enemies of God until Christ died on the cross for our sake. He was merciful so that we will have a life that will bless the world, even those who are disagreeable.
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ďBeloved, donít believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit who doesnít confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God, and this is the spirit of the Antichrist, of whom you have heard that it comes. Now it is in the world already. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God listens to us. He who is not of God doesnít listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.Ē 1 John 4:1-6, WEB
I had a rattle in my car. It has been around for a long time, but it has been getting progressively worse. It has been driving me crazy. I thought it was somewhere on the passenger side of the car, perhaps in the speaker or vent. I was beginning to worry that it had something to do with the window mechanisms. Iíve done some tests, but you canít find a rattle unless you are a driving and for some reason I never heard it when I was in the passenger seat. At times I even thought that it was actually on the driverís side. I have an appointment for an oil change at the dealer tomorrow, so I thought I would ask them, whatever the cost, to find the rattle and fix it for me.
First I decided to do a little online research. I found lots of explanations for rattle on the forums. None of the fixes were really difficult, but without the right tools Iím not sure I would be able to solve my problem. Then I found one solution that seemed much too simple to be true. Several people said that their rattle was coming from the sunglass holder above the rearview mirror. One said, ďI was sure the sound was coming from the passenger door, but it really was just my sunglasses bumping the plastic.Ē I decided to test this theory even though I thought it must be something in or near the door. The rattling stopped as soon as I removed my sunglasses.
Sound can be deceiving. I am caught constantly by the sound of sirens on a commercial when Iím in the car. It causes me to slow down, to search all around my car to find the source. Then I realize it was on the radio. My vacuum cleaner makes a noise that sounds like my telephone ringing, so I often stop my work to check the phone. My husband sometimes thinks I am talking to him when it is just a character on the television. Some sounds are just annoying, but others are deceptive. We live in a world filled with noise, and so much of that noise is trying to convince us of something. Advertisers want us to buy their product. Stores want us to spend more money. Politicians want us to believe that they have our best interests at heart.
There are many teachings in the world that sound good, they appear to be right and true, even use the very words that have been given to us in the scriptures. But there is always a slight twist, almost indistinguishable, that brings us something we arenít expecting. These twists make grace out to be a burden, hope to be earned, faith to be an action when these are all gifts from God. These twists make the Gospel out to be a command to be obeyed rather than a proclamation of God's message to His people. They offer a convoluted answer to our problems when the real answer is as simple as the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the Garden of Eden, Satan asked Adam and Eve, ďDid God really say...?Ē When we hear someone preach, it is our responsibility to compare what is said - to test the spirits - to the Word that has been given to us through the scriptures and through the Church since the beginning of time. It would not have been cheap to have a mechanic try to figure out what was making the rattle in my car. It would have been a waste of my time. The same is true of the messages we hear from the false prophets. It is costly to listen and believe to what they have to say. Godís grace is never a burden, His hope is not earned, faith is not something we can do with our own power. All these things are gifts from God to be received from our Lord Jesus Christ.
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