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)
"He said therefore, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I liken it? It is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his own garden; and it grew, and became a tree; and the birds of the heaven lodged in the branches thereof." Luke 13:18-19, ASV
A dollar isn't worth much anymore, is it? I can't think of very many things I could buy with a dollar. You might be able to buy a cup of coffee in a fast food place or a can of soda from a machine. Some candy bars are less than a dollar, but even those are getting more expensive. You certainly can't buy the food for a decent meal; a box of macaroni and cheese, some tuna fish and a can of corn costs nearly three dollars these days. I could not even try to buy a meal with fresh meat and vegetables with just a dollar.
There are several different retail chains that sell everything for a dollar, but even then you usually have to pay tax, so the one dollar item actually costs a few cents over a dollar, depending on where you live. And, those items are usually not very good quality. Jay Leno had a bit he used to do on the Tonight Show of items purchased at one of those stores. The packaging was funny, poorly worded and often completely different than the item inside. Every so often I see an article about the things you should never purchase at one of those stores. The cleaning products might be similar to the name brands, but they are so watered down that they are useless. The food is often just short of expiration date, already stale and sometimes even moldy. The electronics are previously owned or from bad production runs. It might seem like good stewardship to save money at that store, but sometimes that dollar actually gets you much less than it would if you put it with a second and bought something of better quality.
A recent article in Reader's Digest asked a number of creative thinkers, "What is the best way to invest a dollar?" This seems like an impossible question because it would take lifetimes for a dollar investment to show anyworth. There's nothing you can do with a dollar! Yet the answers given were creative, thoughtful and amazing; some of them were realistic, some idealistic.
One respondent talked about going to a small town, most of which are struggling to keep Main Street from dying. He said he'd offer to buy the closed movie theater for a dollar, do some fundraising and reopen it. He said it had already happened in one small town, perhaps it could happen in another. Another respondent suggested that the best investment would be to buy seeds for a tree, plant the seeds and then watch it grow. That investment would take years to bear fruit, but it would last for decades. An old proverb says, "The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today." Martin Luther once said, "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree today."
Several people responded with charities or people they'd support, investing in a credit union, sharing with a street musician, giving to a nonprofit or tech company developing resources for third world countries. One dollar might not seem like much, but if a thousand people all gave a dollar, then there would be a thousand dollars, which can do something. One respondent talked about the framed dollars that hang on the walls of small businesses, and how that one dollar was just the start of something fantastic. By shopping in small businesses, or supporting an artist, you are investing in the human spirit.
One suggested changing that dollar to four quarters and finding an old school video game to have an hour's worth of fun. Another suggested buying a newspaper to read about current events to stay informed and be ready to strike up an interesting conversation with a neighbor. Another thought it would be fun to bury the dollar in a beautiful place and then create a hidden treasure map so that someone might have a fun adventure in search of it years later. Finally, one respondent said that they would buy (a cheap) cup of coffee for someone they admired and talk to them for a while. It is amazing what you can learn over a cup of coffee.
So, what would you do with a dollar (or your monetary equivalent)? Would you invest that dollar in a person or a business you want to support? Would you use it to buy a small gift or to share a moment over a cup of tea with a friend? Would you combine it with other dollars to make a difference in the world? Would you combine it with your time and talents to create something new and beautiful? Would you use it to plant some wildflowers on the side of the road or some vegetables in your garden? A dollar might not be much, but every dollar can make an impact.
Most of us can't say that we have a lot of resources; as a matter of fact, most of us have just enough to pay our bills and do what we have to do. But even one dollar used well can glorify God and do His work. We just have to be wise stewards of all that we are given. The text for today refers to the faith we have been given by God, but our faith is manifest in the way we use the tangible resources that we've been given. Every dollar comes from God and by faith with God's help we can use every dollar to grow His kingdom in this world.
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"And they were bringing unto him little children, that he should touch them: and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me; forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God.Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein. And he took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands upon them." Mark 10:13-16, ASV
I think I am going to buy some fresh flowers when I go to the grocery store today. It isn't quite so cold today, but it is foggy and the cloudy sky promises a few days of wet weather. We are even expecting severe weather tomorrow, including hail, tornadoes and strong wind. Heavy rain means the possibility of flooding. I'm not so bothered by the dreary weather; we live in a place where it is sunny most of the time, so a few days of cloudy are a nice change. However, even a few days of gloomy skies can affect the attitude, especially as we worry about those who will be affected by the extreme weather. I'm thinking a few fresh flowers will be a note of brightness is the dark.
I used to buy fresh flowers regularly when we lived in England; that's one of the things I miss most about our time there. Flowers were inexpensive at the market and it was possible to fill multiple vases for just a few dollars. It is a little thing, but it is a joy to have the fragrant scent and the bright colors gracing our world.
I recently heard someone say, "Nobody wants to be ordinary; everyone wants to be great." I can understand why the commentator might have said it, but I'm not sure it is true. While it is good for us to always strive to be our best, our best does not necessarily mean that we must accomplish something great. We don't have to be rich or famous; we don't have to leave behind a legacy that will be remembered forever. The most extraordinary things we can do might seem like little things, but in them is found the grace that changes the world.
William Martin said, "Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself."
The flowers I buy today will not last forever; as a matter of fact, they will probably be withered and brown within a week. Yet, for that brief moment those flowers will fill our world with a touch of beauty. It won't change anything. The storm will still come. We will still watch the radar and pray for the safety of those who have to be out in the weather. We will still face the risk of damage from hail, tornado and wind.
There have been a bunch of posts on Facebook recently of adorable animals or children hugging one another. The meme usually includes something about sending a hug to friends to brighten their day. It might seem like a little thing and absolutely ordinary, but we all know that sometimes even a hug can be extraordinary. Even the touch of a hand can change an attitude; as Martin said, there is infinite pleasure in it.
We usually focus on that children are important in the Kingdom and to Jesus when we read today's scripture passage, but I want to note something deeper. "And he took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands upon them." We usually ignore or pass over this verse because it doesn't seem nearly as radical and important as Jesus' willingness to give the insignificant people in the world, including children, a place of honor. However, the children really didn't care about the political or religious statement Jesus was making; they were changed by that remarkable moment when He touched them. It is a little thing, but it is a joy to share God's grace in the ordinary. We won't chase away the storms with a vase full of flowers or a touch of the hand, but the little things can be a source of light in the darkness that is so needed in this 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.
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