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)
“Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, And thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall overwhelm me, And the light about me shall be night; Even the darkness hideth not from thee, But the night shineth as the day: The darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” Psalm 139:7-12 (ASV)
We recently discovered that an aquarium is being built very near to our house. The company has purchased an old car dealership building and is converting it. Pictures on the Facebook page yesterday showed all the work that is happening, from a mural being painted on the exterior to the forms that will hold the large tanks filled with water and creatures for us to see. The expectations for this place are huge: a stingray touch tank is four times larger than the tank they have in Austin, and they are preparing a 125,000 gallon tank for sharks with a tunnel right through the middle. They are building other exhibits, too: exotic birds, reptiles and amphibians and even giant octopi. We have purchased a year pass and are looking forward to visiting the aquarium on a regular basis.
There’s something to be said about how an aquarium can impact a person. Studies have shown that contemplating fish can have a significant affect by reducing stress and anxiety. In Feng Shui, moving water is considered beneficial in balancing chi. A study on Alzheimer’s patients have shown that those who have access to an aquarium maintain a healthier lifestyle, with a better intake of food and less aggressive behaviors. One aquarium has a special program for children with learning and developmental disabilities that helps them develop social skills.
I love to sit and watch the fish. It is not only relaxing, it is also inspirational. On a trip to Sea World a few years ago, I recall visiting the Coral Reef exhibit. This exhibit had a very large tank with hundreds of different fish and many different corals. The shark tank was right beside the reef with a ‘window’ in the background, giving the appearance that the sharks were so close they could snatch any fish that might drift out of the safety of the reef. I could see all the wonderful colors of each fish and their habitats when I got really close to the tank. A few steps in either direction gave a whole new habitat and group of fish, even though they were all in the same tank.
I briefly looked at the tank close-up, but then I moved to a seat against the far wall. From there I sat to watch the whole tank which was bustling with activity. It was like watching rush hour in New York City. Schools of fish moved along paths in one direction, stopped and then moved in another. Individual fish went this way and that, somehow always fitting into the flow. Some fish were quite unusual, such as the one that just kept swimming in a circle, up and down, up and down, even upside down. Others were very dignified; others were playful. While I watched the whole tank, I realized that though there seemed to be separate areas, it was really one.
As I sat there watching, I thought about how God sees the world. He is most certainly a personal God, having intimate relationships with each one of us. He knows our every thought, counts the hair on our head. Yet, He also looks at the world from a much broader perspective. He sees us as we interact with others in this world. Are we like the fish that kept swimming in circles, unaware of the others around him? Are we like the ones who swim in schools? Are we like the individuals who swim in and out of the coral so that we are always safe? Are we like the ones who hovered by the sharks, risking life on the edge of danger? Yet, no matter who we are, we are never far from our Maker.
God enjoys the relationships with His children, one on one. He gets up close and studies everything about us so that He knows us better than ourselves. He not only watches from the other side of the glass, but He even gets right inside the tank with us. Yet, He also sees the world from a distance. He knows every interaction, every habitat and how we fit together. He sees the lonely, the scared, the tired and the weak. And He loves every one of us. We might never leave our little corner of the tank, but God knows there is someone on the other side who needs His love. Perhaps He will call us to be the one to go forth and share the Good News. The world is much bigger than just what we see at any moment and God sees it all. It helps to know that He is with us, so close that He knows every thought and yet far enough away to know what is happening beyond our little corner of the world. We can trust that He will take care of us as He leads us out into the world to do His work.
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“And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42, ASV
She was sixteen when an old teacher died. She did not want to go, but her father told her that she must. “Always go to the funeral,” he taught her. It was not the first funeral that she had attended; her father took the family to all the funerals of people in their lives. This was her first which was for someone that only she knew, so he dropped her off at the door and she sheepishly went in by herself. She was the only student who attended. Her greeting to the parents in the receiving line was awkward, but it had an impact that she could never expect. The teacher's mother remembered the girl by name for many years following that brief encounter, always saying hello with tears in her eyes.
We don’t go to funerals for the dead. Funerals can sometimes help us through our grief. However, we go to funerals for the sake of the family. We go to give them a hug, to awkwardly tell them that we are sorry for their loss. We go to be there, to show them that the person they lost was loved and will be remembered. We go to tell the family how that person made a difference in the world. A timid sixteen-year-old who did not want to go to the funeral gave grieving parents a snapshot of the influence their daughter the teacher had on at least one student. They knew her life was not lived in vain because of this girl’s presence at the funeral.
The girl’s name is Deidre Sullivan and she told this story in an article for Reader’s Digest. It was taken out of her book called “This I believe.” She is so grateful to her father for teaching this most important lesson. “Always go to the funeral. Do it for the family.” When it came time for her to say good-bye to her own father many years later, she saw for herself how important it truly is. “I had been numb for days when, for some reason, during the funeral, I turned and looked back at the folks, in the church. The memory of it still takes my breath away. The most human, powerful, and humbling thing I’ve ever seen was a church at 3:00 on a Wednesday full of inconvenienced people who believe in going to a funeral.”
I suppose this is why I’m so disturbed, and disappointed, with the funeral home that has created a ‘drive-up window.’ They have installed a large-paned glass window where cars can pull up to view the body. Curtains cover the window in between viewings. A sensor triggers a mechanism when a car pulls up to the window which opens the curtain for three minutes. I guess they think that’s long enough for someone to say good-bye. Sadly, many of the people who do go to the drive-thru will think that’s enough. “I made an appearance.” But did they? What impact did they have on the grieving family?
In the article, Deidre took the concept to the next level: “Always go to the funeral” means doing the right thing even when we really, really don’t want to do it. She said, “I have to remind myself of it when I could make some small gesture, but I don’t really have to and I definitely don’t want to.” She was thinking about taking the time out of a busy schedule to have lunch with a friend who is lonely or driving out of the way to take a friend who can’t drive to a doctor’s appointment. She said, “In my humdrum life, the daily battle has not been good versus evil. It’s hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing.”
It may be inconvenient. You may not want to do it. Yet, God calls us to do a million little things in our lives that are seemingly inconsequential but that make a truly significant impact on the person for who we do it. As Jesus said, it can take something as simple as a glass of cold water to make a difference in someone’s life. We don’t have to make a grand gesture or do something historic; we simply have to be there for the one who needs us. It might be inconvenient and it might be something we just don’t want to do, but God calls us to do so anyway. The littlest things can make a lifelong impact on the world.
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