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)
“What more shall I say? For the time would fail me if I told of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets; who, through faith subdued kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, grew mighty in war, and caused foreign armies to flee. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Others were tried by mocking and scourging, yes, moreover by bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned. They were sawn apart. They were tempted. They were slain with the sword. They went around in sheep skins and in goat skins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, mountains, caves, and the holes of the earth. These all, having had testimony given to them through their faith, didn’t receive the promise, God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:32-40, WEB
Today’s passage is the end of a long chapter showing the example of Bible characters who lived by faith. The writer of Hebrews included the stories of Abel, Enoch and Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Sarah. And of course, he included the story of Moses and the exodus of God’s people out of Egypt. The names of those who lived by faith are familiar to us and we wonder at how they stood so firmly in God’s Word even as the promises would not be fulfilled for generations. How did Abraham ever believe that he would be the faith of nations? How did David believe that his house would last forever? These promises were not fulfilled in their lifetimes, but they believed.
The chapter begins, “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen. For by this, the elders obtained testimony.” We are journeying through Advent in the hope of the coming of the Christ child that we know was already born. God fulfilled the promise of the Messiah. Jesus was born. He lived. He died. He rose again. And now He lives. Yet, we have a greater hope that has not yet been fulfilled. Jesus began the work of grace. We are saved. We still live in the hope of that which will come in the future. Jesus will come again to finish His work. We will have eternal life even though our imperfect and perishable flesh will die. How do we believe in the promise since it is unlikely to be fulfilled in our lifetime?
Generations of Christians for two thousand years have longed for the second coming of Jesus. Even in our lifetimes there have been prophecies that He would come on this day or that day. Many self proclaimed prophets claim to understand the hidden symbolism of the eschatological texts in the Bible, drawing followers who will do anything they say. Not that long ago I heard a story about a husband and wife sold everything they owned so they could buy billboards to warn everyone of the coming apocalypse. When it didn’t come, they were left homeless and abandoned by the prophet who encouraged them to do so.
We have faith. We have faith in Jesus Christ; we have faith that everything He has promised will come to be. He is faithful, so we believe. Yet, it is natural for us to be impatient. Why not now? After all, has God paid any attention to what’s happening in the world? Does He see how I’m suffering today? Can’t He make it happen sooner rather than later just to remove the burdens that are causing so much suffering and pain? Yes, it seems like it is taking too long for Jesus to come again, but we are reminded by the stories of those imperfect characters in the Bible that faith is the assurance that God will one day finish the work He began and that He will make us see clearly that which is right now hidden. Faith seems so intangible, but it is enough. Let us live by faith and know that our hopes will be fulfilled not only on Christmas but in eternity.
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“‘Don’t be afraid; for you will not be ashamed. Don’t be confounded; for you will not be disappointed. For you will forget the shame of your youth; and the reproach of your widowhood you shall remember no more. For your Maker is your husband; Yahweh of Armies is his name. The Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer. He will be called the God of the whole earth. For Yahweh has called you as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even a wife of youth, when she is cast off,’ says your God. ‘For a small moment have I forsaken you; but with great mercies will I gather you. In overflowing wrath I hid my face from you for a moment; but with everlasting loving kindness I will have mercy on you,’ says Yahweh your Redeemer. ‘For this is like the waters of Noah to me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah will no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I will not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my loving kindness will not depart from you, and my covenant of peace will not be removed,’ says Yahweh who has mercy on you.” Isaiah 54:4-10, WEB
The Christmas season is difficult for many people. This is the time of year when the troubles of our lives seem exaggerated. Families with financial difficulties don’t have the money to do the things they want to do. Broken relationships mean loneliness. Those who are grieving struggle with the loss as they remember their loved ones and long for just one more holiday with them. It is colder, darker and snowy, rainy weather can be depressing. Every emotion is magnified, including anger and sadness.
I suppose for those who are dealing with tough times, a scripture like this is difficult. Too many feel abandoned, not only by the people in their lives, but also by God. When we are facing brokenness and pain, it is easy to think that God has forgotten us. When our lives aren’t the fairy tale, it is easy to think that God has rejected us. Yet, we are reminded, especially at this time of year, that we live in a world that is broken. We might have fairy tale moments, but real life means ups and downs. Pain is not God’s intent for His people, but sin has made it a natural part of our lives. The promise or Christmas, however, is that one day there will be no more pain.
Even if you feel abandoned by the world and by God, know that God has not forgotten His promises. He will always love you and He will be faithful. Even when it seems like you are all alone, God is near. His love is everlasting. His mercy is near. Most of all, do not take upon yourself the burden of blame, for God does not abandon His people because they are imperfect. He may use the moment to bring you to a new place, to a new relationship with Him. You will see that the promise is greater than any of the struggles we face whether it is during this season or all the year through. Be at peace, your God loves you.
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