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)
“Sing to Yahweh a new song! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth. Sing to Yahweh! Bless his name! Proclaim his salvation from day to day! Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples. For great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised! He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but Yahweh made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him. Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Ascribe to Yahweh, you families of nations, ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength. Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due to his name. Bring an offering, and come into his courts. Worship Yahweh in holy array. Tremble before him, all the earth. Say among the nations, ‘Yahweh reigns.’ The world is also established. It can’t be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice. Let the sea roar, and its fullness! Let the field and all that is in it exult! Then all the trees of the woods shall sing for joy before Yahweh; for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, the peoples with his truth.” Psalm 96, WEB
Everyone has their interests and gifts. Music is not one of mine. I don’t mind listening to music, but it isn’t something I pursue. I sing a joyful noise, but I’m not very good at singing. I can read music, a little; I can go up and down the scale according to the notes, but I don’t have a clue where to start. I don’t know whether the note I am singing is a C or a D or a Z (I know there aren’t any Zs.) I can usually mimic what’s happening around me, but I doubt I’m hitting the notes just right. Music is important, especially to worship, but I do not often break out in song.
I have noted this year, however, that I have been singing along with the Christmas music in the stores. Not in my head, but out loud and loud enough that others can hear. I’m making that joyful noise without concern whether anyone is hearing me. I don’t know what it is, but I’m not feeling so stressed about the holidays this year. I don’t have a clue what to buy my boys for under the tree, but I’m not really worried about it as I have in the past. I am not struggling to get a million things done every day. I limited the cookie baking, I’ve reduced my Christmas card mailing list, and I finished projects well before the hectic season so that I wouldn’t be rushing to get things done. I was in a store yesterday that I rarely visit, just looking around to see what they might have, and the songs on the loud speakers was on my tongue. I was content, happily wandering the aisles without the stress of trying to find something specific.
I think I’ve found an attitude of praise that just naturally comes out in song. Part of it has to do with the insights I have found in writing my study on the Book of Revelation. I have realized that we have no need to worry or fear what is to come because God has given us the greatest gift and with that gift we can dwell in His presence, worshipping Him at all times.
Advent is not just a time for looking forward to the birth of the baby Jesus, but it is also a time to look forward to the coming of Jesus in glory. In that day, whenever it shall occur, all of creation will rejoice. The trees will sing out for joy. The thought of such an event might bring fear to our hearts, for Christ will come with power and authority beyond anything we can imagine. The world will be turned upside down and things will never be as they were. He will come as judge. Yet, we do not wait in fear but rather hope because the coming of our Lord is the fulfillment of all His promises. The singing trees will be just one sound in the symphony of peace for which we long.
Can you imagine what the world would be like if we lived daily in the praise and thanksgiving of God's grace we feel and let it shine into our everyday encounters? Oh perhaps some people would think we were crazy and others will persecute us for our foolishness. However, many people - those open to the Gospel message - will see our joy and want to know from whence it came. Evangelism, witnessing the grace of God to the world, does not come simply by telling others their need for a Savior, but rather it comes from praising God in thanksgiving for what that Savior has done for us so that the world will see. Our joy will help others to realize their own need and then they can look to the one that meets all our needs: Jesus Christ our Lord.
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“But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your thought for me; in which you did indeed take thought, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect to lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:10-13, WEB
The big story in gift giving for this year is the number of people who are paying off layaways in different stores around the country. It began with the incredibly generous act of a celebrity or two, and has expanded to other people following their example. This is not the first time this has happened; people have done this in previous years, but it seems like it is taking off this year. Perhaps it is because the very public report of the celebrities who have done so. At least a few of the talking heads are suggesting following the example of those celebrities to find a new joy in the Christmas season. Instead of putting a ton of presents under our own trees, we are being encouraged to put presents under others’ trees. Every Christmas season is filled with opportunities to do good things for people who are less than able to give their kids a happy Christmas and it is truly a joy to do so.
Not everyone is so focused on being generous to others during the Christmas season. I once read an article out of England about a girl who was thirteen at the time and had some extreme demands for Christmas. Her list was not a wish list; it was a list of expectations. Her list was written in a letter to Santa Claus, odd enough because she is a teenager. But in the letter she threatened Santa Claus, telling him that if he did not bring at least two of her requests she would kill him and then kill his reindeer to eat them. She was asking for some extremely expensive items and she saw nothing wrong with her demands. She thought she deserved the best of the best and expected it under the Christmas tree. In the article she was quoted as saying, “I don’t see any problem with the letter, I want all of these things and I don’t see why I shouldn’t get them.”
Sadly, the mother said that she would try to get the girl everything on the list, including people. “I would fly over Austin Mahone and Justin Bieber, but I guess they will be busy with their own families on Xmas day.” The mother went on to say, “She loses phones constantly, so I know the Blackberry won’t be in her possession for long, but she will be furious if she doesn’t get one. She is a lovely girl but can be very demanding. She is very energetic and has to burn off all her excess energy playing sports or she will be hyperactive when she finally gets home. She is always the life and soul of the party; there is never a dull moment when she is around so we can forgive her for being a bit of a diva.” (From dailymail.co.uk)
Yes, this is what is wrong with the world, and with the state of Christmas expectations. Our kids write long lists of things that they want, thinking they deserve to get everything. But this is not only true when it comes to Christmas expectations. We often have similar expectations of God. We demand through our prayers what we want and are disappointed when we get a different answer. We demand that God be what we want Him to be and to do what we want Him to do and even love the way we want Him to love. But what we want is not always what is right for us, or good for us.
Is it good for the teenager to get everything on her Christmas list? Certainly not. Did she, and her mother, really think that the world revolves around her that people would be willing to be “flown in” to fulfill her demands? Would she learn to respect other people that way? Would she learn responsibility and gratitude if she is always given everything she wants? Would she learn the blessing of humility and grace and generosity if she is embraced for her selfishness? Would we be blessed if God gave us everything we want instead of giving us what we truly need? Will we learn to be thankful if our demands are always fulfilled?
I’m glad that the celebrities are modeling and encouraging generosity. We don’t have to go pay off the layaway of strangers, but there are plenty of other ways to give Christmas to people who won’t even have a cheap toy under the tree let alone a new phone or a private concert. Paul reminds us to be content and humbled and to realize how blessed we are. We are blessed to be a blessing. How will you share your blessings today?
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