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)
“Yahweh, show me my end, what is the measure of my days. Let me know how frail I am. Behold, you have made my days hand widths. My lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely every man stands as a breath.” Psalm 39:4-5
The Christmas season started early this year. Thanksgiving was on the 23rd (the earliest can be the 22nd), and the first Sunday of Advent is not until December 3rd. This means that the Fourth Sunday of Advent is the same day as Christmas Eve. This created some interesting confusion for some churches that began Advent on November 26th. This early Thanksgiving and late Christmas Eve, means that there are extra days to prepare for the holiday. I have been ahead of schedule this year. Most of my boxes have been shipped and I’ve sent my Christmas cards. I still have some decorating to do, and I haven’t started baking. We are having a party in a week, so I have to get to work!
I don’t think we count the days during most of the year the way we do during the Christmas season. We use Advent calendars and devotional practices that mark each day of December (or Advent), day by day counting down the days to the birth of our Savior. Counting down the days makes us more aware of the passing of time, although it can become frustrating and stressful when we think of all the things we have to accomplish. We have as much, or more, to accomplish the rest of the year, but we don’t really pay as much attention to the passing of time. We always have deadlines, but I doubt anyone keeps a countdown calendar for the ordinary goals of life.
Muhammad Ali once said, “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” That’s excellent advice, especially as we are entering into the Advent season. I do have many tasks I need to accomplish in the next few days, but will my friends care if I have another Christmas tree or a certain kind of cookie? Though everyone raves about what we offer, they come to enjoy the season with family and friends. It is fun to watch old friends reconnect and new friends be made. It is wonderful that during those few hours in this busy time when we are counting every minute, trying too get everything done, that we stop time to make the day count.
Let’s remember as we use our Advent calendars that it is better to make each of these days count than to watch our time wither away. May God help us remember that each day will pass more quickly than we want. Our time is limited, not only the time until Christmas, but also our time on earth. We are reminded by the psalmist to take advantage of every minute, not rushing around trying to get things done, but enjoying everything that God has given.
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“Again, the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which is to say, being interpreted, Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come, and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother, Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah!’ (which is, being interpreted, Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, ‘You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas’ (which is by interpretation, Peter).” John 1:35-42, WEB
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Raphael paints wisdom, Handel sings it, Phidias carves it, Shakespeare writes it, Wren builds it, Columbus sails it, Luther preaches it, Washington arms it, Watt mechanizes it.” In this quote, Emerson names some of the greatest men in their fields. These are men who accomplished great things and are remembered long after their deaths for what they did. If he would speak those words today, he might add some other people like sports figures, politicians, and entertainers that are important figures in the world. Great people have an effect on others by their words and by their deeds.
What we do not realize is that great people come from somewhere. There is always someone like a parent or teacher who had an impact on that person’s life and guided them into the right path for their lives. While each of these men had incredible God-given gifts, it took someone to encourage their growth and learning in their field so that they might become great. Their forerunners are often unknown, they never achieve greatness or fame for the contribution they made. They might get a passing mention in a biography, but they are not remembered as their progeny.
When we think of the Apostles, we think of Peter as being the first. He was the one who reached greatness. It was on his confession of faith that Jesus built the Church and he led the disciples in those early days after Jesus ascended to heaven. He stood in the forefront of their activities and witnessed the truth of Pentecost to the crowds. He did amazing things in his ministry, just like Jesus, like healing the sick and raising the dead. Yet, Peter was not the first. He was not the first one called, nor even the first one to show faith in Christ. He was not the first of the Apostles to be an evangelist.
Peter was the one who reached greatness, the one we remember most when we think of those twelve men who followed Jesus. Yet, Andrew was the one who took Peter to the Lord. Andrew was the one who had faith enough to give Jesus five loaves and two fish to feed five thousand men. Peter may have never become a follower if Andrew had not gone to him and said, “Come and see. We have found the Messiah.”
Andrew is not a forgotten disciple. Andrew was Simon Peter’s younger brother and was so often found in his shadow. Peter played such a prominent role in the ministry of Jesus and in the establishment of the Church, we forget that he was not the first among the disciples to follow Jesus. Matthew and Mark tell us that Jesus called both Simon Peter and Andrew at the same time. Luke (5:1-11) tells us that Jesus went to the shore and found a boat in which He could sit to teach the people who were crowding onto the shoreline. That boat belonged to Simon Peter. After He was done teaching, He told Peter to take the boat out into the lake to fish, and though they were exhausted from a terrible night with a small catch, Peter did as He said. They took in so many fish that Peter had to call another boat, the one with James and John, to help haul in the fish. It is odd that we don’t hear about Andrew in Luke’s story, although he was probably there. Just one example of how Andrew lived in the shadow of his older brother Peter.
John’s story is different. John, being the youngest of the Apostles, probably understood how Andrew felt, always looked upon as dependent of those older and supposedly wiser. John’s story does not conflict with the reports in the other Gospels. Instead, it is likely that John reports what happened before the other Gospels. The fishermen had probably heard John the Baptist, so the promise of Jesus was already in their thoughts. Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist and heard John proclaim that Jesus was the Lamb of God. The meetings at the boats, in Matthew, Mark, and Luke were probably not the first time those fishermen had heard of Jesus, and it may have not even been the first time they heard Jesus speak. They knew about Jesus from John and from the others who were following John the Baptist. John the Evangelist tells us the story of how Peter first met Jesus, led by his brother to the one that seemed to be the Messiah.
Andrew was a man of faith and humility. He did not question God’s grace, but actively defied the skepticism of some of his fellow disciples. John tells the story in chapter 6 about Jesus’ preaching to a large crowd. The disciples were concerned about the physical well-being of all those people. Jesus told them to feed the people, but Philip doubted they could do so. “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Andrew, however, pointed out a little boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish. This was a ridiculous thing to do. After all, what good could five loaves and two fish do for five thousand people? Andrew had faith that Jesus could use it, and Jesus did.
John tells another story about Andrew in chapter 12. It was late in the ministry of Jesus. As a matter of fact, He had already ridden through the gates of Jerusalem in triumph on a donkey. The people knew that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead and they had big plans for Him. He was their king! Alleluia! But Jesus knew this was the beginning of the end and the Jewish leaders began to scheme. In verse 20, John wrote, “Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast.” These were probably people drawn to the ideals of Judaism (monotheism and morality), but not willing to abide by the requirements. So, they worshipped in the synagogues but were not Jews. These Greeks wanted to meet Jesus. They went to Philip, but instead of going straight to Jesus, Philip went to Andrew. Andrew then took Philip to tell Jesus. Philip may have questioned whether or not Jesus would want to speak to foreigners, but Andrew did not question. If Jesus wanted to speak to the Greeks, Andrew felt He should have the opportunity. So, Andrew trusted that Jesus would deal with the situation.
Today is the feast day for St. Andrew. Though Andrew was often found in the shadow of his older brother Simon Peter, he is one of my favorite disciples because of his faith and humility. He lived boldly, going to Jesus with ridiculous ideas, but Jesus took Andrew’s offerings with grace and used them powerfully. We are reminded that we do not have to be the one in the forefront. We do not have to be the one who is the leader. We can be the guy who lives in the shadows and still does great things for God. Andrew did and we can be like Andrew. We are called to be witnesses to the presence of God in the world, so that others might come to know Jesus and become great for the sake of the kingdom of God. This is a most holy and important work.
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.
When researching, I use several versions of the bible, including the New International Version and English Standard Version. Due to copyright restrictions, I have not included quotes for the scriptures on some of the archives, but highly encourage you to open your own bibles to read the scripture passages for yourselves. Where scripture is quoted, it is usually the American Standard Version or World English Bible which belong to the public domain. Any other versions used in quotes are identified.
The devotion posted on Wednesday is based on the Lectionary 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 and follows the church calendar. Archives for these writings are found 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