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)
“For if I would desire to boast, I will not be foolish; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, so that no man may think more of me than that which he sees in me, or hears from me. By reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted excessively, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, that I should not be exalted excessively. Concerning this thing, I begged the Lord three times that it might depart from me. He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:6-9, WEB
The last verse of yesterday’s text is a difficult one. Jesus said, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” This is an impossible expectation. I am not perfect. I could never be perfect. We may strive toward perfection every day, especially those of us who are being transformed by the grace and Spirit of God by faith, but we believers know we will never be perfect like our heavenly Father is perfect. We define perfection as being with any flaws, but even perfect “10’s” have some sort of deficiency. They may be hidden, or under the surface, but they are there. A gymnast who receives a perfect score will still critique their routine and know there is something that they need to do better the next time. What is the point of continuing if there is nowhere for us to grow?
The bible does not define perfection as we do. Jesus is not saying that we should be without flaws. He knows that we are imperfect; He knew that we were so imperfect that we’d need Him to make us right with our Father. This word which is translated “perfect” comes from a root word that speaks to making us complete, suggesting that there is nothing necessary to be fully developed. Jesus is not saying we should be without flaw, but that we should be full grown, mature in our faith. This, too, won’t happen in this life because we will always have somewhere to go and grow, and yet it is complete because we believe.
Paul reports that God comforted him with the truth that His grace is sufficient. “My power is made perfect in weakness.” The command by Jesus to become perfect is not a call to become a “ten” or accomplish a “ten,” but to allow God’s perfection to shine through our lives. Paul certainly had reason to boast; according to the expectations of the world, he was as good as you can get. Yet, Paul also knew that he was not perfect. As a matter of fact, he complained in this text of some thorn in his side. There are a lot of theories about what this thorn might have been. Was he ill? Did he have some sort of physical disability? Did he struggle with impatience and anger? Martin Luther and others have suggested that Paul was tempted by unbelief. Whatever it was, Paul was definitely not without flaw, but God promised that He would use Paul’s weakness to make him perfect.
God continues to do incredible things in the world today, touching His children personally and speaking to them of His love, mercy and grace. These experiences are not meant to put us on a pedestal, but to reveal Himself to us. Like Paul, we may have good reason to boast. God’s blessing is not something Paul was certainly chosen by God for a very special purpose. Yet, his blessedness carried a huge weight of responsibility. To balance Paul’s life and keep him from this dangerous arrogance, God have him something which would keep him humble. May we all learn from him and realize that God’s blessings are not something which are given to glorify our lives, but to bring us to our knees to worship Him. As we live in humility, God will continue to bless the world throughout lives.
There is no need for us to boast of our experiences, and though we should always strive to be the best we can be, we must remember that we will never be flawless. We need not fear, however, that we can’t obey Jesus’ command to be perfect, because His grace is truly sufficient for us.
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“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.’” Matthew 5:43-48, WEB
One of the favorite Texas fast food chains was recently sold to a large company from Chicago. This has caused much lamenting in the state. “How could they let a Yankee take over the company?” “What will happen to our beloved burgers?” There is an expectation that the food will somehow be different, that the much loved product will be harmed by foreign hands. If you read the conversations, there are some who adamantly insist they’ll never buy another burger. Others are willing to give the company a chance. Yet others do not think it will make a difference. There are some, even some Texans, who doing understand why anyone even cares. They don’t think those burgers are very good, anyway. “So and so is even better.” Them’s fightin’ words!
Of course, when it comes to certain products, people are extremely loyal. Those who prefer one soda wouldn’t be found with another type in their hand. Car lovers will battle over one brand or another, with jokes about how certain vehicles die the minute they leave the car lot. People will argue over which ice cream tastes best, which cola is most satisfying, which video game system offers the best graphics. Those who have a favorite are viciously loyal, even thinking that those who like the opposing brands are foolish, perhaps even enemies.
We do the same thing at times with our brethren of faith who disagree about issues of faith. The lengthy discussions often lead to challenges and battles, leaving people hurt. It is inevitable for one or another to call their opponent foolish, or even question their Christian faith. At times we look at brothers or sisters in Christ as our enemy.
Who is your enemy in this life? Is it someone who prefers a different kind of fast food? Is it a person at your workplace or neighborhood with whom you have butted heads? Do you get into tangles about politics or religion? Jesus tells us that the rain falls on us all. God, our Father, created us all and we should love everyone, including our enemy. The company from Chicago is not evil and they might make some positive things happen in the fast food chain. Those who are adamant about their brand, whether it is fast food or faith choices, should consider what their opinion is doing to their neighbors. Though you may disagree with someone, always treat him or her with kindness and respect, calmly sharing the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. It may seem impossible for us to be perfect in love, yet we can grow each day in Christ Jesus so that His love will be made perfect in us.
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