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)
“Praise Yah! I will give thanks to Yahweh with my whole heart, in the council of the upright, and in the congregation. Yahweh’s works are great, pondered by all those who delight in them. His work is honor and majesty. His righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonderful works to be remembered. Yahweh is gracious and merciful. He has given food to those who fear him. He always remembers his covenant. He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations. The works of his hands are truth and justice. All his precepts are sure. They are established forever and ever. They are done in truth and uprightness. He has sent redemption to his people. He has ordained his covenant forever. His name is holy and awesome! The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom. All those who do his work have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” Psalm 111, WEB
The church calendar is filled with feasts, festivals, and commemorations. Check online any day of the year and you’ll discover a dozen or more people or events that are remembered for the way they impacted the world and the church. We are more familiar with some of those dates because they are part of our lectionary. We remember important dates in the life of Jesus and His family, the lives and deaths of the apostles, and the martyrs from every age. We pay attention to their stories because they have something to teach us about faith, life, obedience, joy, peace, hope, and so many other things.
Some of the people who are remembered might seem strange. On May 24th we commemorate three scientists: Copernicus, Kepler and Euler. There are many who think that science and faith are incompatible, but the reality is these three men were strong and devoted Christians.
Nicholaus Copernicus, who was a contemporary of Martin Luther, introduced the heliocentric model of the universe, which placed the sun rather than the earth as the center. This theory was not well received. Martin Luther wrote, “There is talk of a new astrologer who wants to prove that the earth moves and goes around instead of the sky, the sun, the moon, just as if somebody were moving in a carriage or ship might hold that he was sitting still and at rest while the earth and the trees walked and moved. But that is how things are nowadays: when a man wishes to be clever he must needs invent something special, and the way he does it must needs be the best! The fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down. However, as Holy Scripture tells us, so did Joshua bid the sun to stand still and not the earth.” De Revolutionibus, a book written by Copernicus was banned decades after original publication. Yet, the church eventually saw the truth in his theory.
Johannes Kepler lived a century later and was a strong supporter of heliocentricity. He worked to understand and explain the laws of planetary motion. One of his books, Mysterium Cosmographicum, was a defense of the Copernican model, but he answered the question on religious grounds. He saw the universe as an image of God and that since God is the center of Christian faith, then the sun ought to be the center of the universe. Kepler’s work was just the first step and despite the flaws gave a very strong foundation on which future science could be built. And he did it from a Christian point of view. He was absolutely insistent that there was order in the cosmos. He wondered why the heavens were so perfect but the earth so wretched, but believed that we could see the mind of God in the hidden order of the universe.
Leonhard Euler came more than a century later. He was a Swiss mathematician, thought to be the best mathematician ever. About one third of the work published in the late eighteenth century on mathematics and mathematical physics and engineering mechanics was by Euler. I confess that I don’t understand much of what I read on the sites reporting his accomplishments, but he had an incredible impact on the scientific world. He even affected the language of mathematics; he was the one who popularized the use of the Greek letter for Pi. His work did not stop when he went completely blind in 1771. Faith was very much a part of his life, too. There is a legend that a French philosopher visited the court of Catherine the Great, but was convincing her courtiers of atheism. She called Euler to confront him. Euler announced with great conviction using a comedic literary device, “Sir, a + b to the nth over n equals x, hence God exists. Reply!” According to this story, the philosopher thought all mathematics was gibberish and thus had no reply. The court laughed as he stood dumbstruck. By permission of Catherine the Great, he left Russia for good.
The psalmist sings, “Yahweh’s works are great, pondered by all those who delight in them.” We might think that science and religion cannot get along, but the reality is that they serve different purposes. Science answers the questions of what, when, and where. Religion answers who and why. God invites us to study the Creation, to ponder His works as they are manifest in the world. The three scientists we remember today did just that and they were able to juxtapose their theories of what, when, and where with the who and why which is God because He loves. There is still so much for us to learn, and while science sometimes tries to usurp God’s place in the world, God is always able to reveal the truth of His sovereignty over everything, including mankind. Those scientists who are wise, who fear God and do His work make incredible discoveries about the universe in which we live and they widen our awe for the God who made it all.
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“Therefore putting away falsehood, speak truth each one with his neighbor. For we are members of one another. ‘Be angry, and don’t sin.’ Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath, and don’t give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, producing with his hands something that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need. Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but only what is good for building others up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander, be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:25-32, WEB
A man was visiting an executive from the company for which he worked. He arrived at the home in a limousine, but when he discovered that the driver would have to wait in the car while he was visiting, the man insisted that the driver join them in the house. At the end of the evening, the man sat in front with the driver and when he learned that they were going to pass the driver’s house, the man insisted on meeting the driver’s family. The family was thrilled at the unexpected visit and the man entertained the family by leading a sing-a-long and telling them stories. The man was Fred Rogers, famed for his delightful children’s show “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” Fred Rogers was as kind in real life as he was on television.
If you do a little Internet research on Fred Rogers, you will discover that everyone wants to claim him for their own. They see a characteristic in his life that reminds him of their own world view, so they assume he must hold the same view. Yet, people who have a distinctly opposite world view also see characteristics that make him like them. Some claim he must be one thing, others claim that he could not possibly be. It may seem simplistic, but the best, and perhaps only, characteristic we should attribute to Mr. Rogers is kindness. It didn’t matter who you were, he loved you. Even when you did not agree with something he did or said, he loved you.
Love, and kindness, was so deeply imbedded in his life that even his weight was a manifestation of it. The number 143 was his favorite, often referenced in his stories and conversations. He liked that number because it represents the phrase “I love you.” “I” is one letter, “love” is four letters and “you” is three letters. He was almost fanatical about keeping his body weight at 143. It may have been the ideal weight for his body type, and he kept to that weight in a very healthy manner. Yet, I suspect that he did it also to keep his own heart and mind on the true purpose of his life: to love others and to treat them with kindness.
Fred Rogers was once asked if he ever got angry. The questioner wanted to know if he ever lost control. She could not imagine him having a knock-down drag out with his wife. “Do you ever yell at her?” He answered that she should ask his wife, but then admitted that he had a very modulated way of dealing with his feelings. He didn’t scream. He did not throw things. He never felt the need to manifest the feelings of anger. Notice he doesn’t deny having those feelings. We all get angry sometimes. He simply learned how to deal with anger in a loving and kind way.
Today is 143 Day in Pennsylvania. Fred Rogers was a native son, having been born in Latrobe. The governor decided to honor him on the 143rd day of the year. It is meant to be a day when everyone remembers Mr. Rogers with love and kindness. Of course, the hope would be that it would not be limited to one day a year, but at least for today, Pennsylvania will be an especially lovely place to be today if everyone follows the directive.
As I looked for scripture for this special day, I found this verse from Ephesians about being kind to one another. I thought it was interesting, then, as I read the verse in context, to see that Paul also talks about anger. “Be angry. Do not sin.” Many of us consider anger itself a sin, yet it is a very real emotion that we all feel from time to time. Paul’s words do not tell us to never be angry; he tells us that when we are angry we need to find a loving and kind way of dealing with it. We want to scream and throw things, but perhaps we need to learn to modulate the way we deal with our own feelings. This could be said about all our feelings. The life of faith is a life lived in love and kindness so that we will not express our feelings in a way that might harm others.
That verse comes from Psalm 4:4, “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah” (ESV) Check your heart. Anger can be a very positive emotion because it can lead us to do something to change the circumstances that make us angry. Jesus got angry, so Paul is not telling us that anger is a sin. Instead, he reminds us modulate the way we deal with our anger. He quickly tells us to be kind to one another, to forgive as we have been forgiven. We may think the temperament of Mr. Rogers is unattainable, but our Christian faith calls us to a life of love and kindness. It is a way of life toward which we can and should strive.
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