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)
ďI am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. Every branch in me that doesnít bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already pruned clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch canít bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man doesnít remain in me, he is thrown out as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you.Ē John 15:1-7, WEB
Have you ever gotten an ear worm caught in your head of a song but you just can't remember all the words? It is frustrating to sing a song over and over again but get to that part that just wonít come. The song gets stuck on a loop and I canít get rid of it. It would be much better if I could just sing the whole thing and get it over with, but when I get stuck on a word or phrase I keep singing, hoping that Iíll find the right words. It can be very annoying. It is easier to solve today because a quick trip to the Internet will find the lyrics or a video.
We donít always understand the workings of our brain. Why do we remember some things and not others? Why does our brain get stuck on one thing but not something else? Why can we remember the entire script from a movie we saw when we were children but we canít remember what we had for lunch yesterday? The older I get, the more frustrated I get by those little things I can't remember.
It happens to me much too often when it comes to scripture. After all these years of reading, writing and studying scripture the Word is definitely in my heart and in my head. I can relate experiences to a scripture pretty quickly, having it come to mind at the moment. Yet, Iím not always very good at remembering the place in scripture where it is found. Iím pretty good at using a concordance, but it isnít always easy. If you canít remember the right key word, the concordance doesnít help. It can be very frustrating. At times I worry that I will not be able to remember the right verse or passage when I need it most, like when Iím away from a Bible and I meet a friend in need or when I am asked to defend my faith.
Jesus said, ďSettle it therefore in your hearts not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to withstand or to contradict.Ē (Luke 21:14-15) We need not worry about what we will say in those circumstances for God has written His Word on our hearts and it is in our heads. We may have moments when we think we canít remember, but He will give us what we need when we need it. This does not diminish our need to continually read and study the Bible; it is there that we meet God, hear Him and write His Word in our heads so that we will be ready with an answer. But we need not worry, for God is with us and He is faithful to give us His Word in our times of need. He is far more reliable than our brains.
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ďBut I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer also the other; and from him who takes away your cloak, donít withhold your coat also. Give to everyone who asks you, and donít ask him who takes away your goods to give them back again. As you would like people to do to you, do exactly so to them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.Ē Luke 6:27-35, WEB
We all know someone. We all know a person that is just not likeable, at least by us. We know a person who grates on our nerves, who makes our day darker, who always has something to say that ruins our day. Iím sure we all probably have a co-worker or a fellow church member who makes us miserable in one way or another. Even if we donít have that one person in real life, we all know someone on our Facebook page that makes us cringe every time we see a post from them. This has been especially true for the past few months, especially between people who differed in opinion about the political election. Even now, just days before the inauguration, there are still arguments and hurt feelings from posts in support of or against everyone involved. In a world where we are supposed to ďlove one anotherĒ thereís an awful lot of hate going on.
It is easy to say we love our neighbors, although it is admittedly much harder to do so. It has been tempting, and I have to admit that Iíve fallen for the temptation, to hide the posts from the people who tend to make me angry or upset on Facebook. It has been for my own sake, but I have also done it so that I would avoid the negative emotions the posts make me feel. I can love a person so much better if I donít have to deal with them personally. I confess this sin on a daily basis.
Being a Christian is not an easy thing. We are called into a relationship with Christ not to separate ourselves from the people we do not like in this world. Rather, in Christ we are given the strength to overcome our natural tendencies so that we can live more Christ-like. When our flesh wants to hate, we are commanded to love. When our mouths want to curse, we are commanded to bless. This is a difficult thing. Just like trying to be civil on Facebook, saying nice things about our enemies is simply not something we are trained to do.
The Bible would have us speak well about our enemies. Jesus took it a step further, telling us to do well by our enemies, to love them and serve them. Instead of ignoring and complaining about the difficult neighbor, the Christ-centered response is to love and encourage them, so that they will learn to act more appropriately. Yet, it is not enough to speak positively; we also need to be kind behind closed doors and in the depths of our heart. Our worst sins against our enemies happen in the places no one sees - but God sees and He knows when we curse those we hate.
Todayís passage calls us to a much different life than the one we want to live. Weíd rather avoid those who make us miserable, but Jesus tells us to spend time with them. We want to argue with that Facebook friend who constantly takes a stand on an issue with which we disagree, but Jesus tells us that we should listen to them. While we may not end up agreeing with one another, our biggest problem is that we donít know how to love them in a way that gives them the respect to listen to what they have to say.
It is because we are Christian that we have to stand above the crowd. This is true especially when it comes to dealing with our neighbors in everything, even if they are unwilling to give us the same considerations. It may not seem fair, but our Father expects more from us. He calls us to walk the extra mile and by giving more than expected. The world will see in our actions that our love is more than lip-service: it is sacrificial. We are to love in such a way that the world will ask, ďWhat is it that makes these Christians so willing to love their neighbors?Ē We are called to be different, not to live and post as they do. Faith sets us apart; the love of God changes our hearts and our minds, so that the life we live is different than the 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