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)
“I marvel that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different “good news”; and there isn’t another “good news.” Only there are some who trouble you, and want to pervert the Good News of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any “good news” other than that which we preached to you, let him be cursed. As we have said before, so I now say again: if any man preaches to you any “good news” other than that which you received, let him be cursed. For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I wouldn’t be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-10, WEB
Faith traditions have different ways of understanding and presenting the Sacraments. While I prefer the ways in my faith tradition, I understand that the Bible stories show us many different ways. The important thing to remember is that the sacraments are God’s covenantal signs of His promises and means of His grace that God has commanded for His Church. “Do this...” He says. He commands us to baptize the nations and to share His holy meal. God comes to us in a very real way at the font and at the table.
I tend to look for the sacramental practices of a church when I visit their websites, and I’ll admit that I tend to avoid those that have attached human law to their sacramental practices. Take, for instance, one church I thought I might visit, perhaps even join. I discovered, however, that my baptism as a young child was not acceptable. While I could attend the church, I would never be able to be actively involved in the leadership unless I made the decision to be baptized again as an adult. In other words, after a lifetime of faith and working in ministry, I was not truly a Christian until I did things their way.
Many years ago we were active in the military chapel at the base where we were stationed. The chapel had an annual picnic at a lake where they did baptisms for those who had made the decision to follow Jesus Christ. It was a wonderful event; I enjoyed watching those who were receiving this gift for the first time. However, several of my friends were trying to convince me that I should do it, too. They wanted me to get baptized “for real.” I have to admit I wondered, despite my lifelong understanding of baptism as a means of grace. As I sat watching, I pondered, “Should I Lord?”
Now, I don’t claim to hear God talking to me on a regular basis, although I “hear” Him in many ways. However, His answer for me that day at the lake was audible. “My grace is sufficient for you,” He said. I knew then that any doubts I had about my own baptism were unfounded. God does the work at the font, whoever is there and however they happened to be there. It is a sacred moment when God breathes new life into His child.
I was visiting a website the other day of a church that is trying to be “relevant” in today’s world. It is a very successful church, with multiple services at multiple locals on Sunday and plenty of small group gatherings throughout the week. Here’s the problem I found as I wandered through their pages: the only one that even mentioned Jesus Christ was the page on baptism. There they invited all those who had recently asked Jesus into their hearts to “take the plunge” the next time they did baptisms, which they do several times a year at what seem to be a pool party from the photos they’ve posted.
I am so happy to know that people are coming to Christ in many and varied ways. The Bible certainly shows the early church developing those sacramental practices according to their circumstances. We need each church to reach out to the lost and to introduce them to Jesus in a way that they will see and believe. They might not be fit for me, but they can draw people into the family of God. I hope, however, that the churches that try to be “relevant” remember the foundation of faith is found wholly and solely in Jesus Christ. We don’t get faith by making a decision or from taking a plunge at a pool party; faith is a gift given by God through His Word and His Son. Let us always remember that the sacraments are sacred gifts from God, covenantal signs of His promises and means of His grace that God has commanded for His Church so that our faith practices will glorify Him as we “Do this” according to His good and perfect Word.
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“Now I desire to have you know, brothers, that the things which happened to me have turned out rather to the progress of the Good News; so that it became evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my bonds are in Christ; and that most of the brothers in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even out of envy and strife, and some also out of good will. The former insincerely preach Christ from selfish ambition, thinking that they add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the Good News. What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed. I rejoice in this, yes, and will rejoice.” Philippians 1:12-15, WEB
I was reading an article today about how people are using the crowd funding source “GoFundMe” for ridiculous reasons, and some of the reasons are truly ridiculous and self-centered. Some want others to fund their vacations or pay for their booze. Yet others are seeking help to get along in a career in movies or music or sports, even though they’ve been unable to succeed thus far. I saw a story in another source about a man who was given a free trip to Japan, all expenses included, but he wanted more money in case he found something to buy or do that wasn’t part of the package. He had months to prepare for the trip, and could have easily gotten a summer job, but didn’t want to waste his time in menial labor. He wasn’t very successful on GoFundMe, although he did get a $25 donation from his aunt.
Sadly, many of these ridiculous accounts get at least some funding, although I’ll never understand how. I have responded to several campaigns, ones to help families with sick children or to buy a vehicle for use in a family with someone who is handicapped. There are good campaigns, well worth the time and money. Crowdfunding is truly making a difference in some lives. While there may be some using it for all the wrong reasons, and succeeding at it, we should not let it stop us from doing what is good. We don’t know how God might just use those ridiculous campaigns to accomplish something great.
Paul understood the need to trust God. See, he was in prison for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but even while He was in prison, he found ways to glorify God. Meanwhile, out in the world, there were people who were taking advantage of his imprisonment. They preached Christ, but did so in a way that humiliated Paul, using the opportunity to get ahead, perhaps even hoping to make things worse for Paul. Paul might have fought and complained, but instead he rejoiced because Jesus Christ was preached even by those who did so for all the wrong reasons. He trusted that God would make things right. For him, the best outcome would always be the furthering of the Gospel message in the world.
Those ridiculous campaigns will probably never accomplish anything of value, but it is possible that those self-centered requests can end in some sort of transformation that will do some good in the world. We don’t need to wait for that to happen; we can make a difference in the lives of many by supporting the ones that have value. We can help a grieving family or support a sick child. We can trust that God will be glorified when we do what we do in response to God’s grace.
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