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)
ďThe brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Many of them therefore believed; also of the prominent Greek women, and not a few men. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Beroea also, they came there likewise, agitating the multitudes. Then the brothers immediately sent out Paul to go as far as to the sea, and Silas and Timothy still stayed there. But those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens. Receiving a commandment to Silas and Timothy that they should come to him very quickly, they departed.Ē Acts 17:10-15, WEB
I make prayer beads. I learned about the use of these prayer tools at a workshop about thirteen years ago. The workshop leader explained the history of prayer beads, rosaries and most specifically the Anglican type that we made that day. There are symbolic aspects to the configuration of the beads, the number used and the type of cross. The purpose of these rosaries, as with all types of prayer beads, is to help the faithful focus their prayer lives, to give some discipline in time and direction in the words that are used in praise, thanksgiving, petition and supplication to God. The Anglican rosaries are designed to give the user freedom to choose the types of prayers they say, but plenty of possibilities are offered in books and on the internet to help guide proper use of the beads.
I often find myself talking to people who reject the use of prayer beads. They insist that it is a shallow form of prayer, or too institutionalized. Some even reject it because rosaries are simply a "Catholic" tradition. I didn't jump into the task of making the beads without doing some research. I read many websites and learned more about the history of tools used in prayer, which goes far back into history. Men of God who went into the wilderness to fast and pray often used stones to count their prayers. Jewish prayer shawls have fringe that are fingered during prayer. Buddhists, Muslims as well as many Christians have found value in the use of different aids to help establish a powerful prayer life. I even discovered a type of bead during my research that I like even more than the type I made at the workshop.
We tend to hear about things like this and quickly react either for or against and set our minds on our opinion without really considering the possibilities. Usually our decision is based on a gut reaction and we never look beyond that for a deeper understanding. One friend explained that she would never use such a thing because she had seen people callously handling the beads without even paying attention to the prayers. They were looking around and by their body language she thought they obviously thinking of other things. While it might be true that some people misuse and abuse prayer beads, it is also true that they can be quite helpful. So, we must carefully study the issue through the scriptures and prayer to know if it is good for us to do.
We should do this with every issue that we face, including our salvation. It is very easy to listen to a preacher and believe what he says, or read a book that is life changing and consider it true. Yet, millions of people have been affected by self-help books that will fade the minute something new comes on the market. Todayís weight loss miracle will be forgotten when tomorrowís is discovered. Today's most popular book or movie might be moving, but it might be filled with untruths that can lead a believer down a wrong path. So, we are called as Christians to search the scriptures to see what God has to say about it.
Paul was sent to Beroea because the Jews of Thessalonica rejected the Gospel. They had a gut reaction based on their own faith perspective. They refused to even check out the scriptures to see if the message Paul was sharing was one worth considering. They were so against the good news of Jesus Christ that they threatened Paul. There were other examples of people refusing to believe, but also of people who had a shallow belief that quickly fell apart. Many of the people who followed Jesus fell away when He began to teach the deeper things. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) had a shallow faith that wanted to benefit without responsibility. They did not search the deeper things of God for the understanding and living faith that truly changes the heart.
The Beroeans were much different. They heard the Gospel but they went further. They searched the scriptures to see that what Paul said was true, and Godís word cut deep into their hearts. Many people in Berea were converted to Christianity and God made a real difference in their lives. We are called as people of God to be like the Beroeans. We should never accept something someone has said at face value, whether we think it is good or bad, but we should instead search Godís word to know what He has to say about it. Whether it is about something as unimportant as prayer beads, or as important as our salvation, God provides the foundation of our faith and the answers to our questions.
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ďThe lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. Yes, I have a good inheritance. I will bless Yahweh, who has given me counsel. Yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons. I have set Yahweh always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices. My body shall also dwell in safety. For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, neither will you allow your holy one to see corruption. You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy. In your right hand there are pleasures forever more.Ē Psalm 16:6-11, WEB
I was driving down the road last week on my wildflower adventure when I suddenly saw a field of bluebonnets on the side of the road. I hadnít seen very many until that point; the patches are small in the city, but they become large plots of blue in the country. My first sight of a large patch took my breath away. I couldnít stop at that moment, but I was so happy when I found a patch with a good parking. I spent a long time wandering through the field. It wasnít the best field Iíve ever seen; it was well past peak with most of the blooms going to seed. Yet, there is something that makes you stop and savor the beauty with a sense of awe.
We all have had those moments in life when we are faced with something incredible. We see a rainbow after a storm or catch a vision of crepuscular rays shining out from behind the sun. Weíve walked to the top of a mountain or hiked beside a magnificent waterfall. It isnít only nature that can give us that feeling of awe: I have, at times, looked at my husband and wondered how I could be so blessed. Or I have felt the pride of seeing my children accomplish something wonderful. These arenít just moments of happiness; there is something deeper about the joy we feel at those times.
Our Sunday school class talks about God. That might seem like a mighty broad subject, but thatís why it is taking us years to get through the materials I have created along the way. Each week we look at some aspect of God, reading passages from the Bible that show how those characteristics are revealed by God in the Old Testament and then ultimately in Jesus in the New Testament. We end up on marvelous tangents that take us deep into Godís Word and His grace. It is fascinating to see the connections between promise and fulfillment. Some days we just stop talking and experience the awe of knowing that our God has done this for us.
The psalmist says, ďIn your presence is fullness of joy.Ē We all know what it is like to be happy. As Christians we even know what it is like to live in a joy that is beyond our understanding, content in the grace of God. Yet, there is something deeper about the joy and awe we will feel when we truly stand in the presence of our God. We get glimpses as we journey through this life, whether it is something in nature that takes our breath away or something revelation of God that silences us. He has done amazing things for us. He has blessed us in good times and bad, with gifts that have value beyond dollars. He has given His very Son for our sake.
We may not be able to stand at the foot of the cross today, but we can stand in awe of that moment, remembering the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His blood saves us so that one day we will be able to dwell in Godís presence forever. In His presence is fullness of joy, this is the promise for which we long to be fulfilled. But even in the waiting, we can experience Godís presence, see His majesty, and rejoice.
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