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)
“Behold, Yahweh makes the earth empty, makes it waste, turns it upside down, and scatters its inhabitants. It will be as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the creditor, so with the debtor; as with the taker of interest, so with the giver of interest. The earth will be utterly emptied and utterly laid waste; for Yahweh has spoken this word. The earth mourns and fades away. The world languishes and fades away. The lofty people of the earth languish. The earth also is polluted under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell therein are found guilty. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. The new wine mourns. The vine languishes. All the merry-hearted sigh. The mirth of tambourines ceases. The sound of those who rejoice ends. The joy of the harp ceases. They will not drink wine with a song. Strong drink will be bitter to those who drink it. The confused city is broken down. Every house is shut up, that no man may come in. There is a crying in the streets because of the wine. All joy is darkened. The mirth of the land is gone. The city is left in desolation, and the gate is struck with destruction. For it will be so within the earth among the peoples, as the shaking of an olive tree, as the gleanings when the vintage is done. These shall lift up their voice. They will shout for the majesty of Yahweh. They cry aloud from the sea. Therefore glorify Yahweh in the east, even the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea! From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs. Glory to the righteous!” Isaiah 24:1-16a, WEB
Wow. I have been using the daily lectionary for my texts for the past week and plan to continue throughout Advent. Unfortunately, that means some of our texts will not be very pleasant. After all, these early days of Advent are focused on the future coming of the Christ. We know that we are waiting for Christmas, for the birth of Jesus, but we also know that He has already lived and died and rose again. So while we prepare once again for Christmas, we look forward to the end of days.
It seems strange to say that we look forward to the end of days, because it is not going to be a pleasant time. The apocalypse will be frightening for those who are not prepared. The texts from Daniel and Revelation promise death and destruction. Today’s text from Isaiah makes the same warnings. Yet there, at the end of this passage, you see a turn around. There are some who will lift their voice to God. They will shout His majesty. They will cry out from the sea. They will glorify God. They will be glorified. The apocalyptic warnings call us to turn to God. Those who repent, who trust in Him, who believe in Jesus, will not suffer in the end of days. The end of days will bring the fulfillment of all God’s promises.
It is frightening to think that the end of days will be so horrific, and yet don’t we see much of what is in this text in the world as we know it? See, human nature has always screwed up the world. We hurt each other, we destroy every good thing. We over indulge and waste what is good. We try to create a perfect world, but everything we try to do on our own fails because we do not trust God.
As we walk this Advent journey toward the birth of our King, we are reminded that the end of days is coming and it won’t be a pleasant time. However, Jesus has promised that it will be different for those who believe in Him. We will lift our voices for the One who can save us from the way things must be when God carries out His wrath against those who have not turned to Him. We will glorify God because He has done everything necessary to end this world and take us into eternity.
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“What more shall I say? For the time would fail me if I told of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets; who, through faith subdued kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, grew mighty in war, and caused foreign armies to flee. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Others were tried by mocking and scourging, yes, moreover by bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned. They were sawn apart. They were tempted. They were slain with the sword. They went around in sheep skins and in goat skins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, mountains, caves, and the holes of the earth. These all, having had testimony given to them through their faith, didn’t receive the promise, God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:32-40, WEB
Today’s passage is the end of a long chapter showing the example of Bible characters who lived by faith. The writer of Hebrews included the stories of Abel, Enoch and Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Sarah. And of course, he included the story of Moses and the exodus of God’s people out of Egypt. The names of those who lived by faith are familiar to us and we wonder at how they stood so firmly in God’s Word even as the promises would not be fulfilled for generations. How did Abraham ever believe that he would be the faith of nations? How did David believe that his house would last forever? These promises were not fulfilled in their lifetimes, but they believed.
The chapter begins, “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen. For by this, the elders obtained testimony.” We are journeying through Advent in the hope of the coming of the Christ child that we know was already born. God fulfilled the promise of the Messiah. Jesus was born. He lived. He died. He rose again. And now He lives. Yet, we have a greater hope that has not yet been fulfilled. Jesus began the work of grace. We are saved. We still live in the hope of that which will come in the future. Jesus will come again to finish His work. We will have eternal life even though our imperfect and perishable flesh will die. How do we believe in the promise since it is unlikely to be fulfilled in our lifetime?
Generations of Christians for two thousand years have longed for the second coming of Jesus. Even in our lifetimes there have been prophecies that He would come on this day or that day. Many self proclaimed prophets claim to understand the hidden symbolism of the eschatological texts in the Bible, drawing followers who will do anything they say. Not that long ago I heard a story about a husband and wife sold everything they owned so they could buy billboards to warn everyone of the coming apocalypse. When it didn’t come, they were left homeless and abandoned by the prophet who encouraged them to do so.
We have faith. We have faith in Jesus Christ; we have faith that everything He has promised will come to be. He is faithful, so we believe. Yet, it is natural for us to be impatient. Why not now? After all, has God paid any attention to what’s happening in the world? Does He see how I’m suffering today? Can’t He make it happen sooner rather than later just to remove the burdens that are causing so much suffering and pain? Yes, it seems like it is taking too long for Jesus to come again, but we are reminded by the stories of those imperfect characters in the Bible that faith is the assurance that God will one day finish the work He began and that He will make us see clearly that which is right now hidden. Faith seems so intangible, but it is enough. Let us live by faith and know that our hopes will be fulfilled not only on Christmas but in eternity.
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