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)
“But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you. But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, ‘I believed, and therefore I spoke.’ We also believe, and therefore also we speak; knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-18, WEB
I saw a painting online this morning. It showed two artists standing at easels with a still life between them of an egg on a plate on a tablecloth covered table. The two artists represented where Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. The paintings on the artists’ canvases were incredibly different. Pablo, who was a surrealist cubist, had a painting that showed a cube shaped egg in front of an earthy background of geometric shapes. Salvador, who is known for his melting clocks, saw the egg on the table as a fried egg hanging on the branches of a tree growing out of a cube with a melting artist’s palette.
These two men saw a very simple item in very different ways. What is particularly interesting is how much they had in common. Though Picasso spent much of his life in France and Dali died in the same place he was born, they were both Spanish and were equally affected by the conflicts in Spain during their lives. They both are considered surrealistic painters. They were contemporaries; they even knew one another. They both had an incredible impact on art and culture of their world. They both admired the other, but they were also rivals. Dali was younger than Picasso. They were both influenced by Paul Cezanne, but Picasso followed Cezanne’s process of being aware of the difference between the image and the reality. Dali rejected Cezanne’s point of view and accepted his work as an art of pure illusion. That’s why Picasso’s easel held a painting that showed an egg on a plate on a tablecloth covered table, despite being cubist, and why Dali’s took the subject matter in a whole different direction.
No matter how much we have in common, we all see the world from our own point of view. The same is true about the spiritual world. It is often said that if you ask ten Christians the same question, you’ll get eleven answers. This is why we have such difficulty agreeing on the issues of the day. We can all even point to scripture that backs up our point of view. Of course, those who differ believe we are seeing the issue from our own biases, but they forget that they are doing the same thing. We perceive the world in unique ways and believe that our point of view is the only one that is right.
I read a lot of books when I was preparing my lesson plans for my study on the Book of Revelation. I agreed with the perspective of some of the books and I did not agree with the perspective of others. One author focused too much on one aspect, referring to it repeatedly even when the text had nothing to do with that idea. Another interpreted some of symbolism so that it would fit his point of view, even though he was clearly stretching the text to say what he needed it to say. Despite my disagreements with these ideas, I found value in some of what they had to say. Just like Pablo and Salvador admired their rivals, we can respect those who see faith from a different perspective.
The thing for us to remember as we ponder and debate the different points of view that we hold as Christians about God, the Bible, and the issues of our day, is that we do have something in common: our Lord Jesus Christ. It is easy to get caught up in our own ideas and biases, forgetting that underlying everything is a God of grace. Unfortunately, when we are adamant about our own point of view, we tend to lose sight of God. The world offers so many things that look good to us; they even look right. However, there are definitely times when the things of the world jump in front of us, divert our attention, and lead us down the wrong path. That’s why it is important that we keep ourselves in God’s Word and Sacraments, to stay in fellowship with His people, even those with whom we disagree. We might just discover that we are not as right as we think we are and that they are not as wrong as we perceive. The disciplines of faith will help us to keep on the right track, to keep our eyes on God and if we are diverted they will draw us back to Him.
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“But don’t be far off, Yahweh. You are my help: hurry to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth! Yes, from the horns of the wild oxen, you have answered me. I will declare your name to my brothers. Among the assembly, I will praise you. You who fear Yahweh, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify him! Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, neither has he hidden his face from him; but when he cried to him, he heard. Of you comes my praise in the great assembly. I will pay my vows before those who fear him. The humble shall eat and be satisfied. They shall praise Yahweh who seek after him. Let your hearts live forever. All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to Yahweh. All the relatives of the nations shall worship before you. For the kingdom is Yahweh’s. He is the ruler over the nations.” Psalm 22:19-28, WEB
We are all lonely sometimes; there times when we feel everyone we love has abandoned us just when we need them the most. I was often lonely when we lived in England. Though I had my husband and my children, it was hard to make and keep friends with whom I could share my joys and frustrations. Military families overseas come and go as quickly as the spring flowers. As soon as a friend is found and a relationship is built, it is time for one of the families to move on to another base.
I found comfort in a strange place: the Internet. I suppose in today’s world it is not so unusual to have “friends” online, especially with sites like Facebook. I used to visit the chat rooms as I used to in those days, but it still amazes me how close the relationships between virtual strangers can be. Some people did meet face to face. As a matter of fact, I have had several meetings with people whom I “met” online. I was even part of the wedding of two friends who met in a chat room. My friends online helped me through some tough, lonely times. When there was no one who would spend time with me face to face, there was someone online who would.
However, I was often disappointed. Of course, relationships between people who can meet face to face can fail, but the Internet is an anonymous medium. It is easy to wear a facade when you can’t see a person’s eyes or hear their voice. I had known people for long periods of time, thinking they were one thing but later finding out that they had lied about their identity. They weren’t real. Since these relationships were built on communication that relies totally on words, it was very easy to misunderstand something that was said. There were often hurt feelings and relationships broke down easily. Sarcasm never goes over well and humor is often taken wrongly. Without body language, tone of voice and eye contact, it is difficult to know the truth about these relationships. A person can easily change their screen name, block instant message buddy lists and delete email. When things went wrong, they were gone.
Yet, there is one who is always near. The Lord God Almighty is never far off. Though it may seem He is farther than anyone, He is close and ready to help. Sometimes we simply do not understand the type of help we need, but God knows. We never see Him and sometimes it feels like He has abandoned us. He is God and is worthy of our trust and praise. So, the next time we feel so lonely and depressed because everyone we know has disappeared, let us remember the words of David. He never lost sight of the Lord, even when he faced the suffering of persecution from his enemies. He knew God was near.
As He was dying on the cross, Jesus cried the words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This was a quote from the beginning of this Psalm, repeating the cry of David who suffered greatly at the hands of his enemies. While Jesus hung from the cross, most of His friends went into hiding. Those who stood by Him to the end could do nothing but mourn the loss. Even God seemed to leave His presence as He took upon Himself the sin of the world to put its power to death forever. Yet, if we read the entirety of the Psalm which begins with such heartbreaking words, we find that God is never far from us, even in our loneliest moments.
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