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)
ďAn angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ĎDonít be afraid, Zacharias, because your request has been heard, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his motherís womb. He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord, their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ďto turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,Ē and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to prepare a people prepared for the Lord.íĒ Luke 1:11-17 (ASV)
Donít shoot the messenger, but as of tomorrow we are just six months from Christmas Eve. I know it is too early to think about it, although if youíve been in the craft stores you know that it isnít for them. Some people have already complained, but think about this: those who give homemade gifts must get an early start on their shopping so they have time to make everything. Professional decorators need to fill their inventory. People shipping to overseas locations need to prepare much earlier than those who will give gifts in person. On the business end of it, the stores canít have empty shelves, so they must put out merchandise once the previous seasonal items are gone. We might not want to think of it, but time flies and Christmas will really be here soon.
So, who are we thinking about it today? Tomorrow is the Nativity of John the Baptist. We celebrate this historic moment based on Lukeís telling of the story of Jesus. Luke tells us that Mary went to visit Johnís mother Elizabeth after she heard the message of the angel Gabriel. Gabriel told her that she could see proof of his words by visiting her relative Elizabeth who was pregnant in her old age. Mary went to see and stayed with her for three months, when the time for Johnís birth came. Tradition thus holds that John was six months older than his cousin Jesus.
There is a theological reason why we remember Johnís birth on June 24th. Mid-June is the time of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. From that day until the winter solstice in Mid-December the days become shorter. We are reminded of Johnís words from John 3:30, ďHe must increase, but I must decrease.Ē With Johnís birth the light wanes until Jesus is born and then the light waxes as the sun after the winter solstice.
John the Baptist heralded the coming of the Christ, proclaiming the kingdom of God and calling for the repentance of the people. He was sent first to warn the Jews that they must turn back to God or they would miss the Messiah for whom they were waiting. The Jews were longing for deliverance; they wanted to be freed from the Romans that bound and oppressed them in that age. Yet, they did not realize they were bound by an even harsher master: sin and death. It was not an earthly kingdom that was coming, but Godís kingdom and the salvation that was to be offered was not for the flesh. Jesus Christ brought eternal life to those who believe and John the Baptist prepared the way.
Tomorrow we remember the nativity of John the Baptist, and honor him for the role he played in the ministry of Jesus Christ. We remember, however, that John was just the herald, the one who came before to proclaim the coming of the King. He knew that he was unimportant, and once Jesus arrived on the scene, he willingly stepped aside so that Jesus would have center stage. John is in some ways an example to us today. We are also called to be witnesses to the coming of Christ, yet our role is different because Jesus has already completed the work of salvation. What we learn from John is that we too are called to proclaim Him, but then step back and let Him have all the glory.
If you would like to contact me, please use the following address, replacing the bracketed words with the symbol. Thank you for your continued interest, prayers and messages of encouragement.
A WORD FOR TODAY is available daily through a mailing list at yahoo.groups. Visit the link below and you will receive the WORD in your box Monday through Friday.
ďI will lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from Yahweh, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved. He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Yahweh is your keeper. Yahweh is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. Yahweh will keep you from all evil. He will keep your soul. Yahweh will keep your going out and your coming in, from this time forward, and forever more.Ē Psalm 121, WEB
Are you planning to take a vacation this summer? Some friends have already gone on road trips or have boarded airplanes for far away destinations. Iíve seen photos of people having fun at the beach or visiting tourist sites in exciting places. Summer is a great time to visit National Parks or to just relax in a cabin in the woods.
Iím planning a trip for later this summer. I will be meeting my daughter in Nashville and we will have some fun visiting the city. We have timed our trip so that we can attend a theological conference, but we are planning to have some much needed mother-daughter time. We have already started the planning. I am driving, so Iíve booked a hotel room for stops along the way and made our reservations for the conference. We have both sent for visitorís guides so we can decide what we want to do and see during our time together. I have been saving money so it wonít be a financial burden. As we get closer to the time, weíll have to check weather reports, make sure the car is ready and pack our suitcases.
I wonder what it was like for people in other eras of human history to plan for trips. It is unlikely that a common family would go on a vacation and family was rarely farther than the next farm, but there are stories of people who traveled in other generations. I just finished a biography of Martin Luther which talked of the many times he traveled hundreds of miles for assemblies called by the princes and religious leaders of his day. He often refused to ride, preferring to walk until his health made it impossible. That meant the travels took many days. Pilgrims in the ancient times also walked, often as far as a thousand miles to prove their love for God. Those pilgrimages might take months or even years; to do it would mean giving up the normal life.
Travel was much more dangerous than it is today. Though there are dangers in automobiles or airplanes, we generally do not have to worry about pirates or thieves on the road. We donít suffer from the heat of the day or the cold of the night because our cars have air conditioning and there are hotels every few miles where we can stay. We donít have to worry about hunger because we are likely to find a fast food place at the next exit or in the airport concourse. Unfortunately, we donít take our pilgrimages as seriously anymore and it seems like we need not look to God as much as those earlier travelers for our daily care and protection.
Todayís Psalm is the song of a pilgrim, sung by travelers to comfort them with the promise that God was with them through their journey. For those who had to walk through wilderness under the heat of the sun and who faced criminals around every corner, such a psalm would offer hope and peace in the journey. We may not be subjected to the same dangers of the road, but it does not make our need for God any less than it was for them. Even if we never leave our home, we can rest in the knowledge that God will never slumber, that He will keep us and guide us through all our journeys, large and small.
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