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A WORD FOR TODAY

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, August 29, 2014

“And if also a man contend in the games, he is not crowded, except he have contended lawfully.” 2 Timothy 2:5, ASV

Today is ‘According to Hoyle Day.’ It is also ‘National College Colors Day,’ ‘Individual Rights Day,’ ‘International Day Against Nuclear Tests,’ ‘More Herbs, Less Salt Day,’ ‘National Sarcoidosis Awareness Day,’ and ‘National Whiskey Sour Day.’ You can make a similar list of strange holidays for every day of the year. I’m not exactly sure how these things become the focus of an official holiday, but it is fun to see what people are celebrating. (By the way, for those interested, tomorrow is ‘Bacon Day.’

“According to Hoyle” is a phrase that has come to mean “in accord with the highest authority; in accord with a strict set of rules.” One site suggests that the phrase refers to the attitude of a controversial twentieth century English astronomer named Fred Hoyle who made many contributions to science, although his opinions were contrary to the opinions of many other scientists. He rejected Darwinism and the “Big Bang” theory. That particular term for the cosmological beginning of the universe was actually coined by Hoyle on a radio program. He was respected for some of his work, but held some odd theories, including the idea that flu epidemics correlated with the sunspot cycle, and that human life began in space. He was also a science fiction writer. He was known for holding firmly to his opinions without concern for the opinions of those who dissented, which leads to the suggestion that he thought himself the highest authority, thus the reason for the phrase.

The true origin, though, goes much farther into history . The Hoyle in the phrase was a games person who lived in the 17th and 18th centuries. Edmond Hoyle taught members of English high society how to play the game of Whist. He sold his clients a written manuscript of his notes for their reference. He eventually published the notes as a treatise which sold quickly even though it was highly priced. He sold the rights to the treatise to a publisher who also paid him per copy to sign the book because the work was being pirated by another publisher. He published treatises about other games, which were eventually put into a single volume.

The phrase “According to Hoyle” was first published around 1786, seventeen years after his death. He had become to expert on card games and his name continued to be put on the published copies of his treatises. The publisher used a woodblock print of his signature as proof of authenticity after his death on August 29, 1769. The use of the name “Hoyle” on modern books of card rules does not mean that Hoyle had anything to do with the contents of the book. After all these years, Hoyle’s rules are no longer the standard, but his name lends credence to any ‘official’ book on card games.

We usually focus on people with great stories of faith, and yet it isn’t always our faith that has an impact on people or history. We know very little about Edmond Hoyle, especially his early life. The only information I could find on the Internet was about his work with games. That work really doesn’t affect our faith in any way, although from Edmond Hoyle we learn the importance of following the rules and of having a standard in games. It is interesting that Hoyle was one of the first members of the Poker Hall of Fame despite the fact that Poker was not even created until sixty years after his death. He had nothing to do with most of today’s gaming, but his vocation has had a lasting impact on good gamesmanship and rule following well beyond the games with which he was familiar.

While games playing is not really a Christian theme, there is an expectation that a Christian will do everything, including games playing, with good sportsmanship according to the rules. A Christian doesn’t cheat. A Christian doesn’t make up the rules as they go. A Christian does everything, including games playing, with grace, mercy and integrity. We might not play according to Hoyle these days, but we should always remember that the real winner is the person who plays fairly, following the rules so that everyone has a chance to do their best, even in our leisure.







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A WORD FOR TODAY, August 28, 2014

“I manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them to me; and they have kept thy word. Now they know that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are from thee: for the words which thou gavest me I have given unto them; and they received them, and knew of a truth that I came forth from thee, and they believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me; for they are thine: and all things that are mine are thine, and thine are mine: and I am glorified in them. And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are. While I was with them, I kept them in thy name which thou hast given me: and I guarded them, and not one of them perished, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth. As thou didst send me into the world, even so sent I them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.” John 17:6-19

I love to travel, but there are definitely some disadvantages. Hotels can be very comfortable, with accommodating staff and the amenities delightful. We usually stay at the same hotel chain, so we have benefitted from free nights and we love their breakfast. I get frustrated when the WiFi doesn’t work and the cable is confusing because I never know where to find my favorite shows if I have time to watch.

The worst part of staying in a hotel is the other guests who forget that they are living in close quarters with other people. I am usually in a hotel because I’m traveling long distances or I’m attending some event; both leave me exhausted by the end of the day. All I want to do is go to bed and rest. The worst experience is when you choose a hotel where large groups of people are attending an event together, especially when the event is in that same hotel. The meetings of the day often become long, loud discussions in the hallways or in their rooms.

My daughter and I were staying in a rather expensive center city hotel that was hosting a conference for a women’s organization. There was a door connecting our room to our neighbor’s room, and although it was locked from both sides, we could hear them very clearly. They were discussing something that happened at the meeting that day. They were unhappy with something one of the officers did and they spent hours complaining about her. They were so loud that it seemed as though they were in our room.

We knocked on the door and told them that they were keeping us awake. They stopped briefly, but it wasn’t long before they were loud complaining again. I called the front desk and after a time it got quiet again, briefly. I was ready to call the desk a second time when things settled down. It was 2 a.m. They were never considerate neighbors; we always knew they were in their rooms.

It is very odd to be an outsider but also privy to such an intimate conversation. I felt bad for the woman and wondered if she was really as terrible as they made her sound. I found myself looking at the faces of the women from the conference wondering if they were either the woman or the group of women in the room next door. I wanted to find the woman and tell her about her ‘friends,’ but I knew that was inappropriate. I was in their world because we were all staying in the same hotel and I overheard their conversation, but I was not part of their world.

People are people, and there are always those in every organization that do not get along with one another, including the church. I am certain that I’ve spent sleepless nights in hotel rooms at conferences or conventions thinking—if not talking—about someone who has done something to hurt me during the event. It is possible that the woman really did do wrong. It is equally possible that the ladies in the room next door had done something wrong. It is probable that everyone is at fault for the broken relationship. We want to lay blame on the other person, forgetting that we are also imperfect and ignoring the role we might play in the situation.

We live in the world but as Christians we are from another world. We are expected to live differently, although we will often experience the disadvantages of being in close contact with people who do not live in the grace of Jesus Christ. Some Christians over time have chosen to live in closed communities, avoiding the world as much as possible, but God doesn’t necessarily call us to be so separate. After all, isn’t our commission to go out and speak the Gospel to the world? How can we do that if we are hiding behind walls?

People often wonder why there are Christians. There is this misunderstanding that faith should guarantee that we will never suffer and that we’ll be happy all the time. However, we live in the world and we are affected by the world. God does take care of us, but that is no guarantee that we will never be sick or hurt or in need. God will get us through the hard times. In faith we will experience the suffering with grace as our foundation and hope as our strength. As we are in this world, as we wait for the final fulfillment of all God has promised, we are called to live as Christ lived. And as we do so, we will be sanctified to do the work that He began until He comes again.


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