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)
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, And though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, Though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof. Selah There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God will help her, and that right early. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered his voice, the earth melted. Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah Come, behold the works of Jehovah, What desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariots in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” Psalm 146, ASV
I “like” a facebook page where people post photos from the Big Bend area of Texas. You might wonder how there could be so many pictures of a place where there isn’t much but desert scrub and cacti, but it is amazing to see the different perspectives that come from different people’s cameras. Ten people can post pictures of the same ghost town or old cemetery and they will be different depending on the light and the point of view.
There is one photographer, a professional, who has built a home in the middle of nowhere and he posts pictures from his front porch on a daily basis. Again, you might wonder how it doesn’t get boring posting pictures of the same thing day after day. However, every picture is different. The landscape doesn’t change, but it does depending on the time of day. At noon you can see the details in the mountains but as the sunsets those same mountains become nothing but silhouettes. The sunrise fills the sky with one type of color while the sunset is another. The most amazing photos are often of the storms that form on the horizon, with lightning flashing across the sky and rain darkening some places while others are still bathed in sunlight. Clouds in the sky make every picture unique, whether showing puffy white clouds on a bright day or wispy clouds that create a rainbow affect as the sun goes down. He could post a photo of the same view every day of the year and each would be different in some way. And all of them will be beautiful.
We look for excitement. People flock to the cities because there is so much to do. We can choose to go out to dinner at a different restaurant every day of the year. We can visit museums, go to the theater, shop at the malls. There are parks all over our city where you can hike, but those same parks often hold events where you can gather with others who have similar interests. Just yesterday a park offered a viewing of the solar eclipse with professionals who would teach the visitors how to witness the eclipse safely. My favorite news programs have a segment at the end of the week of things we can do during the weekend. There’s always a festival or a charity dinner or an educational event where we can take the kids. We can be busy all the time.
It would drive some people crazy to live where that photographer lives. He can walk around his house and see for miles. There’s nothing to see, however. There are no other houses, no buildings, no streets. He sees desert scrub and cacti, sunsets and rain clouds. He has to drive an hour to go to a store. He’s happy. He has found a way to be satisfied with a life in the middle of nowhere, enjoying the beauty of Big Bend. He doesn’t stay home all the time. He goes to events, he visits the small towns in the area, he goes out to dinner with friends. But he’s just as happy to sit on his front porch and watch the clouds float by.
We fill our hours with busy-ness, but he’s learned to appreciate silence and to see how every moment is unique, even though most of the world thinks his life must be boring. I have to admit that I’m sometimes jealous. His photos are beautiful and they are the manifestation of a life willing to sit still and wait. I would love to be able to sit on that front porch, watching as God transforms the world minute by minute. I would love to be able to sit with my camera focused on a cactus, waiting for a road runner or another bird to pause for a moment. I would love to spend time in a place so quiet that I could clearly hear the voice of God.
We don’t allow ourselves the leisure of doing nothing. Most of us can’t afford to spend the time to watch the clouds float by or to enjoy the changing colors of a sunset. We might pause to enjoy it for a moment, but then we run off to another activity, never realizing that the next moment will be even more beautiful than the last. We don’t turn off the noise of the world around us long enough to hear the voice of God.
Notice that today’s psalm includes the word “Selah” several times. This word is a musical command meaning to pause in the singing for a moment. It means “stop and listen.” It is impractical for most of us to run off into the desert to build a home and a life surrounded by nothing, but perhaps this weekend you will find an hour to spend away from the world. It might seem pointless; it might even seem boring. Yet, you might just discover the powerful presence of God in your life. He has something to say to you, and He wants you to be still and listen. Selah.
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“Now therefore fear Jehovah, and serve him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt; and serve ye Jehovah. And if it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah.” Joshua 24:14-15 (ASV)
Type “unfortunate juxtaposition” in your search engine and you will find examples of newspapers and magazines that have published stories and advertisements that do not go well together. In one example, the front page article bemoaned the cost of living which was causing one in five mothers to go hungry so that she could feed her children. On the bottom of the page was an ad for bread with the caption, “Rumbling tummies, Rejoice!” In another example, the paper had a full page article about the capsized Costa Concordia cruise liner right next to a full page ad promoting cruise line packages.
I once received a monthly magazine that had a similar unfortunate juxtaposition. The front cover showed a picture of a starving third world woman, suffering under the oppression of a dictatorship. The article connected to the picture was informing the readers about the need to reach out globally and how to help others. The back cover was an advertisement for a financial company that advises clients on how to handle their wealth. The ad listed all the ways that people can spend their money, such as on new houses or boat and then they encouraged the readers to make the right choices.
Several readers were disturbed by the vast discrepancy between the two worlds on that magazine cover. One pastor used it for a poignant sermon illustration; another reader was confused by the differing messages. A third asked how we might respond after having read the article and the advertisement. What choice will we make? Will we give our money in global outreach or will we put it away for tomorrow? This is certainly a most difficult question we have to ask daily in our world.
Even churches have to ask this question. There are always those in the congregation who want to set aside all extra funds for a rainy day. There are others that encourage confident trust in God’s provision, organizing efforts that will use their resources, even to the point of financial struggle, in ministry for the sake of the world. The answer is probably not either extreme. Good stewardship means using all the resources with which God blesses us to both build up the church and reach out to the world. The question to ask is this: are we using our resources according to God’s will and in ways that will glorify Him?
The book of Joshua tells the story of the establishment of Israel in the Promised Land. They had been saved from Egypt by God through Moses, carried through the desert wilderness for forty years. When they crossed the Jordan into their new home, Joshua led them against their enemies so that they could finally gain the inheritance that God once promised their father Abraham. As Joshua’s last official act as God’s servant, he renewed the covenant that was established between God and Abraham. Joshua reminded the people of all God had done for them and called them to commit themselves to His service.
The juxtaposition of the starving woman and the financial ad shows the challenges we face living as saints and sinners in this world. Unfortunately, many churches, especially those who are having financial difficulties, choose to reduce mission funding to save a few dollars. Our choices will indicate where we put our faith. This does not mean we have to reject financial planning or stop saving for a rainy day. God calls us to be good stewards of the many resources He has given us for use in this life. However, we must be careful to keep our priorities straight.
The thing that disturbs me most is that the financial representatives often begin a client consultation with the admonition that we should pay ourselves first. This is clearly not the biblical way of stewardship. This makes our own desires above that of God and our own needs more important than faith. Our choices indicate our priorities and our priorities are our gods. If we are more concerned about buying that new house or boat than we are about sharing our resources with those in need, then we have chosen to follow another god. The choices we make every day may seem to be unimportant, however each choice points to the ultimate choice we have to make between God and the world. Who will you choose?
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