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)
ďNow I would not have you ignorant, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. However with most of them, God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Donít be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, ĎThe people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.í Let us not commit sexual immorality, as some of them committed, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell. Let us not test Christ, as some of them tested, and perished by the serpents. Donít grumble, as some of them also grumbled, and perished by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them by way of example, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands be careful that he doesnít fall. No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.Ē 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, WEB
I hated history when I was young. It seemed useless to me to have to learn all those people, places and dates. What good purpose was there in knowing what someone did a thousand years ago? After all, their culture and circumstances are much different than ours today. It even seemed silly to study history from just a few years ago. After all, what is past is past and we should dwell on things that cannot be changed but look forward to the future.
I had the same opinion of the Old Testament books of the Bible. What good did it do to read those stories of Israel? Their culture and circumstances were even more different than ours today. After all, things are different for those who live in Christ. Jesus restored our relationship to God, offering through His blood the grace and forgiveness that gives us true life. The old stories are fun to read, but they arenít good for much else, are they?
They say that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. We study the things of the past, what worked and what didnít work, to help guide our decisions for the future. The Bible tells us there is nothing new under the sun, and this is most certainly true in every aspect of human nature. American culture is not much different than other prosperous civilizations in ages past. Our political system was established based on ancient examples. It is unique in some ways, but it is equally able to follow the same foibles of those ancient civilizations that failed. Military, education and welfare policies were founded on principles used many times before. If we refuse to recall the lessons learned throughout history, we will continue repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
Just as ancient history is important for us to know and understand to keep from falling into the same traps, so too is the Old Testament witness important for Christians. The Israelites had Christ before them, reflections of the promise to come. They were given the manna as a promise of Jesus, who is the Bread of life. Water flowed from the rock, foreseeing the Living water that is Christ. Yet they did not remain faithful to the One who fulfilled their needs. As we look back on those stories we are reminded that Christ is the solid rock on whom we stand and get our strength. When we are tested, as the Israelites were tested in the desert, we are warned from their example to turn to God. Letís not let history repeat itself in our live; letís learn from the past and stand firm for the future. Thanks be to God, who is faithful to His promises. He has provided a way out: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
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ďA glad heart makes a cheerful face; but an aching heart breaks the spirit.Ē Proverbs 15:13, WEB
There is a commercial, and I honestly donít even know what it is selling, that begins, ďTeach your kids to smile...Ē I donít hear the rest of the commercial because this statement makes me wonder. Can you teach someone to smile? I looked it up on the Internet and there are plenty of web pages that claim to be able to teach people to smile. They show you how to make your children smile for photos. They show you how to smile for business. They give you tips on how to have the perfect smile. A few pages warn about not teaching daughters to smile because it supposedly perpetuates the societal expectation that girls need to be beautiful (and hence smile) to get along in the world. One article talked about the unfair demand of women to smile in the workplace. The author said, ďUgh! I donít have to smile; Iím at work. I have a lot of stuff to do!Ē
As I read the article, I thought about all the times I have suggested to you, my readers, to smile at a neighbor. ďIt is amazing what a difference a smile can make.Ē Yet, we also know it is sometimes very difficult to make those muscles in our mouths work in the upturned direction. We are too busy. We are too focused. We are too frustrated or hurt or angry to smile. Even if we arenít frustrated or hurt or angry with the person crossing our path at that moment, our hearts and minds are focused on anything but that person at that moment. Smiles are not always natural; they take work. But the aches of pain in our hearts make it even harder to do that simple small thing for our neighbor.
There is an old saying that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. The truth of this statement is not really determined; the real answer depends on the person smiling. An article states, ďScientists have studied the muscles needed for both facial expressions, and to do a small smile generally uses 10 muscles; a small frown uses 6. On average, a smile uses 12 and a frown 11. However, since humans tend to smile a lot, these muscles are stronger. A frown may be slightly more effort to produce. just because we arenít as used to using these muscles.Ē I suppose that answers my question: you can teach someone to smile. It takes practice.
Iím not sure that the article is right about humans tending to smile a lot; walk down a busy street and you are likely to see a whole lot more frowns than smiles. Perhaps they are not frowns, but those strangers on the street are definitely not smiling. It is almost as if our natural state is indifference. A smile makes a connection, and quite frankly few of us have the time or inclination to make that kind of connection on the busy street. We save our smiles for those who deserve them. If the scientists are right, we should be consciously smiling all the time so that those muscles will develop and a smile will become the tendency rather than a frown.
The Bible gives us another point of view on this subject. The proverb says, ďA glad heart makes a cheerful face.Ē Humans, at least Christian humans, should smile a lot. Our heart is filled with the greatest promise. We have been forgiven. We have been adopted by God our Father. We have been made inheritors of an eternal kingdom. We have reason to have a glad heart. Our neighbors may think we have gone crazy if we smile constantly, but despite the reality of evil and suffering in this world, our hearts are so filled with Godís grace that our faces should be cheerful. We, too often, forget because we are so busy or focused. We forget because we are frustrated, hurt and angry at someone or something. Our aching hearts break our spirits and our face shows it.
It will take practice, but instead of trying to force a smile when we donít feel like it, letís work on remembering the promises of God. Letís build on the hope that God has given. Letís constantly remember the faith that makes our lives new. It wonít stop the things that make our hearts ache, but weíll have something greater upon which to cling: God. We will be busy and focused. We will be frustrated, hurt and angry at things of this world. But with Godís grace in our hearts our faces will naturally become cheerful. Weíll smile without even thinking about it and weíll make a difference in the world.
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