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)
“Preserve me, O God; for in thee do I take refuge. O my soul, thou hast said unto Jehovah, Thou art my Lord: I have no good beyond thee. As for the saints that are in the earth, They are the excellent in whom is all my delight. Their sorrows shall be multiplied that give gifts for another god: Their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer, Nor take their names upon my lips. Jehovah is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; Yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless Jehovah, who hath given me counsel; Yea, my heart instructeth me in the night seasons. I have set Jehovah always before me: Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; My flesh also shall dwell in safety. For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol; Neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: In thy presence is fulness of joy; In thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16, ASV
The psalmist writes, “Thou wilt show me the path of life…” I think we all know someone who has seemed to have seen how to walk the right path in this world, the path of life. They have a certain joy that doesn’t come from a perfect life. They have a peace that is true even when the world around them is chaotic. They seem to have a wisdom that is more than knowledge, deeper than understanding. They live in faith and do what is pleasing to God.
I imagine that St. Nicholas was one of those people. Today is St. Nicholas day, a day when many celebrate the generosity and gift giving of the original Santa Claus. Though we think of St. Nick as the fat, jolly magical elf who treats children to surprises on Christmas morning, the man was very real. The stories of his life may seem nearly as mythical as those of Santa Claus, but they describe a faithful man who lived a faithful and faith-filled life from the very beginning. His parents died when he was young, and they left him quite wealthy. Instead of taking that money and wasting it as so many might, Nicholas chose to share his wealth with those in need. One story tells of how he helped a poor man by providing dowries for his three daughters, who would have been sold into prostitution without those gifts.
Nicholas faithfully attended church, praying and fasting regularly. He was elected as Bishop of Myra at a very young age at a time when the Christians were being persecuted under Diocletian. He was arrested, beaten and imprisoned with the others. He was set free by Constantine. He managed to keep orthodoxy among the Christians under his care, rejecting the heresies of his day and standing firm on God’s Word. The records do not verify his presence, but tradition holds that Nicholas was present at the Council of Nicaea, and that he slapped Arius for his heresy of denying the divinity of Christ. This may be true, but Nicholas was known to be a gentle leader.
One miracle attributed to St. Nicholas involves a ship that was taking him to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage. A storm arose and the sailors thought that the ship would be destroyed and that they would all die. Nicholas prayed and the storm subsided, saving the lives of those on board. As bishop, Nicholas was concerned with the welfare of the poor, especially orphans. Some of the modern tales about Santa Claus are based on the stories of Nicholas’ generosity. Besides the dowries for the three daughters, Nicholas often threw bags of coins in the windows of poor people; sometimes those coins landed in the stockings hanging by the fire. Once, it is said, that he tried to give a gift but all the windows were closed, so he tossed the bag to the roof where it fell down the chimney. These stories have led to modern Christmas traditions of stockings by the fireplace and Santa coming down through the chimney.
Whether the stories are mythical or magical or real, St. Nicholas was a man who loved God, who followed the path which God ordained. He walked with joy, glorifying God with everything. He willingly gave to those in need, he spoke with conviction and taught with grace. He impacted the lives of so many people by his generosity and his faith. “Thou wilt show me the path of life…” is something that Nicholas might have prayed, as he sought God’s guidance throughout his life.
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“With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful; with the perfect man thou wilt show thyself perfect; with the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the perverse thou wilt show thyself froward. For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but the haughty eyes thou wilt bring down. For thou wilt light my lamp: Jehovah my God will lighten my darkness. For by thee I run upon a troop; and by my God do I leap over a wall.” Psalm 18:25-29, ASV
There is a story about some mice that lived inside a piano. They were awestruck by the music they heard echoing in their dark world. They all believed in some unknown player, were comforted by the thought that someone made the music. They rejoiced over the Great Player they could not see. But one day one of the mice ventured to another part of the piano and found the strings. He came back thinking he knew how the music was made, for the music came from the strings as they trembled and vibrated. Everyone stopped believing in the Great Player. Later another mouse went exploring and found the hammers that made the strings vibrate and the simple explanation for the sound became more complicated. They still did not believe in the unknown player. Eventually the Great Player became nothing but a myth to the mice.
We are like those mice, living in a world where we cannot see the One in control. Natural explanations to unexplainable things have made many people doubt in the existence of a Great Player. Science and Mathematics explain away the most extraordinary things, leaving behind nothing in which to have faith. There are several shows on the television that have experts that explain away the most miraculous things. Ancient astronaut theorists claim that every God story is actually aliens from another planet. Shows that claim to explain the bible twist the words to fit their intellectual understanding of the mysterious things of God. Yet, the wonder that is God can’t be explained away by our minds, hearts or even souls. He continues to play the music of our lives as we ponder what it all means.
Faith is the only thing that will get us through our days. The world wants to confuse us, to lead us into doubt and darkness so that we will not look to God for our strength. But God lights our lamps with His Word and fills the darkness with His light. We can rely on Him; He is faithful, blameless and pure. Even when we cannot see the Great Player, He is playing the music of our lives. Those adventurous mice thought they found an explanation to the mystery, just as the ‘experts’ on all those shows claim that they have also done. But we don’t have to rely on their limiting ‘proofs’ to know that there really is a Great Player behind it all. We can’t allow the things of this world to cause us to lose our faith and we cannot allow the darkness to overcome His Light. We can only walk in His light, knowing that He is with us even when the world says He does not exist.
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