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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

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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)

A WORD FOR TODAY, December 19, 2014

"O God, thou art my God; earnestly will I seek thee: My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee, In a dry and weary land, where no water is. So have I looked upon thee in the sanctuary, To see thy power and thy glory. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise thee. So will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; And my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips; When I remember thee upon my bed, And meditate on thee in the night-watches. For thou hast been my help, And in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice." Psalm 63:1-7, ASV

Details. I have a pile of lists sitting on my desk. One list is for my shopping at one store, another list is for my shopping at another store. The third list is all the tasks that need to be complete before 6:00 p.m. tomorrow night. We are having a party, and I have been making lists so that I make sure everything is right for our guests. I have other lists in my head, like today's work and all the things I have to worry about. I run through those lists constantly, always looking for solutions to the problems.

My biggest problem is a good one: we are going to have a fabulous turnout for this party. I'm not worried about the food, I always make too much anyway. I'm not worried about people enjoying themselves because we always do. I'm not worried about the weather or whether the house is clean enough. The list that keeps going through my head is the chair count. For most of the evening it won't matter. Guests can mingle and enjoy one another's company. I'm worried about the entertainment, however. We have invited a Christian comedian to do his Christmas show, and I don't know how we will all be able to sit to watch!

We always laugh when we have a party because there is always more than enough food. It seems like Jesus is doing the whole feeding the five thousand thing all over again. In the end we have leftovers to share and to spare. But will the same hold true for chairs? Will my huge living room seem as big when it is filled with dozens of people? We shall see.

Here's the thing: I need to stop worrying. Some folk will be glad to stand; others will happily sit cross-legged on the floor. We can ask a few friends to bring some folding chairs or we can borrow some from church. It isn't worth the worry.

Neither are all the other details. My lists are good because they help me stay organized, but in the end my guests will be happy. They won't notice if I forgot to dust a table or if there are pine needles on the floor by the Christmas tree. They won't complain if the house is a little crowded. They won't realize if I forgot to get that extra bag of chips, just in case. We will have fun and it will be something we talk about for a long time. It's all about the fellowship, and the celebration of friendship. It's all about embracing the joy of the season. And it will be all about Jesus, because without Him we wouldn't be celebrating Christmas.

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A WORD FOR TODAY, December 18, 2014

"For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23, ASV

Gift giving has always been seen as a source for holiday humor, especially on situation comedies. The writers use the natural inclination of human beings to put meaning to everything to create conflict between characters. In one episode of Seinfeld, Jerry and Elaine were more than friends but in less than a committed relationship. For Elaine's birthday, Jerry decided to give her $182. He agonized over the gift, not wanting to give her something that would give her the wrong idea. He thought that $182 was not too much, but more than enough, and cash leaves no room for interpretation as a gift of perfume or jewelry might. Elaine, of course, was upset because she thought Jerry put no thought into the gift. Jerry put a lot of thought, more than she'd ever realize, but his answer was much different than hers might be.

Sheldon Cooper, a character on "The Big Bang Theory" has an equally difficult time dealing with gifts. He hates gift giving because it requires reciprocation. "You have not given me a gift, you have given me a social obligation." He feels he has to match every gift dollar for dollar. When Howard got married, Sheldon bought a gift for the happy couple. Then Howard gave gifts to all the guys as a thank you for their support. Sheldon said, "This is worth $100. I bought you a gravy boat worth $88. I owe you twelve." He reached into his wallet and got out $12 and gave it to Howard. Then he remembered that he also bought a card. "That cost $2," and he took the two one dollar bills back.

In the most recent episode, Sheldon's girlfriend Amy decided to host a Christmas party. Sheldon does not like Christmas and hated that Amy was forcing him to be a part of a party. He decided to pay her back by giving her a Christmas present. They had agreed to not exchange gifts, so he thought by giving her the social obligation which she would not be prepared to reciprocate, she'd have a miserable Christmas. He gave her a picture of himself sitting on Santa's lap in a talking frame into which he said, "Happy Holidays to my dear Amy. I hope you treasure this as much as I treasure you." She was ecstatic with the gift. Sheldon said, "Christmas is ruined! Let's never speak of it again! This was fun." Amy, however, had gotten him a Christmas gift. She asked his meemaw (grandmother) for her cookie recipe and she made a tin of cookies for him. He loved them and said, "They're perfect. It tastes like her hugs. I can't believe this. You're happy, I'm happy. Maybe a holiday that's all about giving isn't so..." At that point Raj reaches for a cookie, but Sheldon refuses to share.

We do put a lot of pressure on one another to buy the perfect Christmas presents. We should not think of gifts as a social obligation, but as something that we give from our hearts. They do mean something; they tell those we love that we've thought about them and that we've listened to what they have to say, showing that we know what they like. But we often take this idea of meaning behind the gifts a little bit too far. Sheldon might be in the extreme, but we do count every penny as we compare our gifts to the others under the tree.

While we should not put too much pressure on our family and friends this Christmas by looking for some deeper meaning in every present under the tree, we should realize that many gifts do have a meaning. It might sound like a cliche but it is the thought that counts. We should not think in terms of counting the dollars or winning the competition, but in making those we love happy. Our gifts, no matter how great, will always pale in comparison to the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us receive that gift with joy and peace, knowing that He doesn't expect us to reciprocate. We never could, anyway, because nothing we have will ever be as perfect as the saving grace of Jesus and the eternal life He won for us on the cross.

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.

The Birth of our Saviour

The Story of our Saviour's Passion

The Crucifixion, a fictional perspective

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