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)
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:15-23, ASV
There was a commercial a few years ago for an insurance company that showed a man using a mobile application. A woman asked what he was doing and he told her. "I thought they didn't have all those apps," she said. He asked her where she heard that and she answered "On the Internet." "And you believed it?" he asked? She said, "Yes, they can't put anything on the Internet that isn't true." "Where did you hear that?" "On the Internet," she answered. Then a less than attractive man walks up to the two. "There's my date, he's a French Model. I met him on the Internet." He stammers out a less than convincing "Bonjour," and they walk away.
We know that not everything on the Internet is completely truthful, although it is not the only way schemers try to catch us. I received a phone call the other day from someone trying to convince me that I owed the IRS a lot of money. This scam has received quite a bit of attention in the past few weeks. The news did a story about it and I read an article about it this morning. One woman decided to play along with the scam, recording the conversation. The caller became angry and belligerent, insisting that the sheriff would be at her door if she did not give her a credit card number to pay the outstanding tax bill. I didn't answer the call I received, but heard similar threats on the voice mail they left behind.
I didn't worry about it because I have dealt with a tax mistake with the IRS in the past. I know the process, and it doesn't begin with a threatening phone call. As a matter of fact, in response to this scam the IRS has been reminded people through these news reports that they will never initiate a phone conversation. They insist that you should never give any information unless you have phoned the IRS at a number you have looked up yourself. It doesn't matter how official the call sounds or an email looks, scammers will take advantage of anyone who can be manipulated with half truths and twisted facts.
Sadly, the twists are not limited to secular or earthly things. There are many, too many, who have twisted God's Word in a way that confuses God's people and sets them on the wrong path. Satan is real and he is constantly trying to lead people away from God. He has copies of everything in God's kingdom: a trinity, a church, prophets, ministers and even a gospel. However, everything of his is false, a twist of the truth. He uses God's holy word to confuse his victims, in the hope that the listener will say, "There is some truth to that..." He tried that with Jesus in the wilderness during the temptation. He quoted scripture to tempt Jesus into making bread, calling on the angels for aid and ruling over the whole world. Yet, Jesus knew that Satan was misusing the Word. He could make bread, but it was not God's Will. He could have jumped from the top of the temple and the angels would have saved Him, but it was not time or the way for the Christ to be glorified. He knew that He would rule the whole world, but in submission to His Father, not the devil.
Unfortunately, we are not Jesus; we hear things taught that sound pretty good, so we accept it. A teacher, preacher or prophet quotes scripture, so we think he or she is a servant of God; yet, too many are abusing God's word and teaching a false gospel. They are sharing a gospel of self, one in which the believer seeks not God's Kingdom but what God can do to make their kingdoms better. Jesus is taught, but as one who will grant our every wish, not as Savior of the world. They teach that if only the believer would do this right or that right, they will be blessed with everything they want. These teachers and their followers have been deceived into believing a false gospel, not in Jesus Christ as Lord.
Satan does not like that we believe in Jesus Christ and will do whatever he can to turn us away. He is sly, knows the scriptures better than we do and can twist them oh so slightly so as to make his lies appear true. He has gotten a foothold into some churches, leading the sheep down a path of destruction rather than salvation.
Let us rejoice in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and His care of His people, but let us also remember that Satan is very real and is roaming this world in search of people who can be fooled down a path that leads away from God's promises. We are not alone in this battle, for Jesus walks with us. By His Holy Spirit we produce the fruit of faith which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Be wary of those who bear any other fruit, for he or she might be a wolf in sheep's clothing.
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"And as he was going forth into the way, there ran one to him, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good save one, even God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor thy father and mother. And he said unto him, Teacher, all these things have I observed from my youth. And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. But his countenance fell at the saying, and he went away sorrowful: for he was one that had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished exceedingly, saying unto him, Then who can be saved? Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for all things are possible with God. Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for my sake, and for the gospel's sake, but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first." Mark 10:17-31, ASV
What would you do if someone offered you a million dollars? If you are like most people, the first question you would ask is "What do I have to do?" We don't expect someone to give us something for nothing, so we assume there is a catch. We assume that they will expect something in return. We feel that way about much smaller gifts, too, even acts of kindness like dinner or gifts. We are so cynical that we won't even accept a simple act of kindness without trying to pay it back.
On the surface, today's story seems to be about a man who honors and respects Jesus and His teachings. Mark tells us that he ran up to Jesus, knelt before Him and called Him "Good teacher." This is little more than flattery spoken by someone who is looking to have Jesus justify the life he was living. He wanted Jesus to tell him what he needed to do to earn a place in heaven. The young man was probably quite wealthy. It is possible that he was even part of the ruling class, perhaps even a Pharisee.
Jesus' initial answer made the young man feel good. Jesus quoted the Ten Commandments, listing the laws that involved human relationships. The man easily responded that he has never broken those laws. He didn't kill, cheat, steal, lie or covet. He honored his parents. "Teacher, all these things have I observed from my youth." He was a good man, obedient to the law and the expectations of his religion. I can almost hear Jesus' sigh; I hear it every time I think of myself as a good person.
"And Jesus looking upon him loved him." We aren't much different than the rich young ruler. We want to know what we have to do to earn the kingdom of heaven. We respond to Jesus' answer in the passage with a sigh of relief. It should be easy for us to earn heaven because we are generally good people. Most of us don't kill, cheat, steal, lie or covet on a daily basis. We even try to present our good life to the Good Teacher with humbleness and respect. "I have done all these things." Jesus looks upon us with love and a sigh.
He doesn't let us wallow in our self-righteousness, however. He responds with love and a reality check. "One thing you lack," He says. Even though we seem to do everything right, we all have something in our life that is more important than our God. We aren't willing to give it all up. We aren't willing to let go of our old life to follow Christ. We all hang on to our burdens and baggage. The rich young ruler's burden was wealth. Jesus' words made him sad. Jesus expected too much; he did not want to sell everything and give it to the poor. The young man wanted to know what he had to do to earn what God was giving for free, so Jesus made the payment beyond the young man's ability to pay.
When the disciples asked, "Then who can be saved?" The truth is that no one can be saved by their own obedience or goodness. But Jesus answered, "With men it is impossible, but not with God: for all things are possible with God." Now this is good news. God is offering us a gift worth far more than a million dollars and He is asking nothing in return. The gift is free, but when we ask what we have to do to earn it, Jesus will also ask us to give up the one thing we don't want to let go. The cost is always beyond our ability to give. How will we respond? Will we respond with sadness, turning away from God or will we truly be humbled by His amazing grace?
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