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
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)
“Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you.’ He said, ‘Teacher, say on.’ ‘A certain lender had two debtors. The one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they couldn’t pay, he forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him most?’ Simon answered, ‘He, I suppose, to whom he forgave the most.’ He said to him, ‘You have judged correctly.’ Turning to the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered into your house, and you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave me no kiss, but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss my feet. You didn’t anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.’” Luke 7:40-47, WEB
William Arthur Dunkerley, who wrote under the name John Oxenham, was an English journalist, novelist, and poet. He was also known for hymn-writing. He once wrote a fictional account of what happened to Barabbas after he was let go by Pilate. Barabbas was an insurrectionist who was tried for his crimes about the same time as Jesus was tried. Pilate was desperate to set Jesus free because he knew that Jesus was innocent and that he’d be remembered for His death. He had a custom of setting one Jewish criminal free for the Passover. He offered Jesus, but the Jewish leaders who wanted to be rid of Jesus convinced the crowd to call for Barabbas.
It isn’t as unbelievable as we might think. The name Barabbas means “son of the father.” For those hoping for a Messiah, Barabbas fit the expectation more than Jesus. They wanted a military leader, someone who would fight for their freedom from the Romans. Jesus was too passive. Jesus’ teaching did not make sense. Jesus did not fit their hope for a restored and golden nation of Israel. Barabbas seemed to be the true son of the father that would fulfill God’s promises for His people. They were wrong, of course. Jesus was the Messiah who would set them free from the real enemy which is sin and death. But then, Jesus had to die; it was God’s plan for the salvation of the world.
John Oxenham wrote that after the verdict that set him free and condemned Jesus, Barabbas followed Jesus to the cross. He wanted to see what would happen. When the nails pierced Jesus hands, John wrote, that Barabbas had one thing on his mind: “These nails should have been driven through my hands, not His – He saved me.” After the cross was put into place, he thought, “I should have been hanging there, not He – He saved me.”
Another story is told by a missionary in India who told the story of Jesus to a village. He shined pictures of Jesus onto a whitewashed wall and when he came to a picture of Jesus on a cross, a villager jumped up and yelled, “Come down from there Son of God, that is my place, not yours!”
The setting for this parable of Jesus is Simon the Pharisee’s courtyard where a group had gathered to dine. Jesus and his disciples were invited to join him, although He was not given the proper welcome. It was common for groupies to gather around these sorts of dinners; they stood behind the guests hoping that they would hear Simon or one of the guests say something inspirational. The crowd may have been larger because Jesus was there, but Simon would have had his own following. A sinful woman of the city was there, and she was overwhelmed with love for Jesus. She wept and her tears fell on Jesus’ feet. Without concern for the opinions of others, she let down her hair to wipe her tears and she kissed them unashamedly. She then poured expensive perfume on them. She offered Jesus the very hospitality that Simon did not: she cleansed His feet, gave Him the kiss of peace, and poured perfume on Him. She loved Him so much that she put herself at risk, but Simon did not respect Jesus enough to do the minimum expectation.
Do you love Jesus so much that you would risk everything to show Him the honor and respect He deserves? Do you know you are a such a sinner that it would take the death of Jesus to save you? Do you believe that it should have been you nailed on that cross? It is easy to say that we are sinners in need of salvation, but do you truly believe that there was no way for you to be reconciled to God except by the cross?
Too many of us are like Simon. We are curious. We want to hear what Jesus has to say. We even believe His word. But for too many of us, our faith only goes that far. We aren’t willing to risk everything to worship Jesus for His grace and mercy. We don’t think we are “that bad” and we think that we can do what is necessary to be “good enough.” The reality is that we need to recognize that any sin, every sin, is deserving of death and we need Jesus so much that He willingly died to save us.
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“Remember this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that you, always having all sufficiency in everything, may abound to every good work. As it is written, ‘He has scattered abroad. He has given to the poor. His righteousness remains forever.’ Now may he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness, you being enriched in everything to all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. For this service of giving that you perform not only makes up for lack among the saints, but abounds also through much giving of thanks to God, seeing that through the proof given by this service, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the Good News of Christ and for the generosity of your contribution to them and to all, while they themselves also, with supplication on your behalf, yearn for you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you. Now thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, WEB
Janet Miriam Reback was an American novelist who wrote under several pen names including Taylor Caldwell. She wrote satire, romance and historical fiction, including novels about important and famous characters. Her books include one called “Everything Christmas.” In it is a story about her most memorable Christmas, the Christmas when she discovered the very reason for it all. She was having a difficult time in her life. She was barely in her twenties and a single mother with a six-year-old child. She was newly divorced and could not find a stable job to pay her bills. She worked temporary positions, but they didn’t last very long. At one point during the previous year, she had helped a woman find an heirloom silver handled umbrella. Despite her need, she refused to take a reward, happy that the woman was so excited to have her property returned.
Christmas Eve came and her latest temp job was over. She didn’t have enough to pay rent for the coming month. She had $8 in her savings which she used to buy a few presents for her daughter. They had a meager meal and a tiny tree. Despite her daughter’s joy over the Christmas, Janet was miserable. The doorbell rang and when they opened the door they found a messenger with piles of presents, all sent by the woman Janet had encountered a few months earlier. She had other surprises, too. In her mail was a check from one of the companies for which she had worked during that summer, a bonus for the work she did which was just enough to pay her rent. Another envelope contained an invitation to a full-time permanent position, to begin two days after Christmas.
Janet was miserable because she thought she was alone. She was hurt and afraid, disappointed and frustrated. She was angry with God. But on that special night so long ago, Janet Miriam Reback realized that she was not alone. She wrote, “I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.”
It is early, but we are beginning to hear a lot of conversation about the holiday season. The shelves in stores are being filled with Christmas items already. One friend was looking for autumn decorations and could not find any. Some are suggesting early gift shopping because it could be difficult to find the gifts that will make our loved ones happy. There is still a question whether we will be able to gather for the holidays. Last year, for many, was very sad and lonely because it was too difficult to travel. There is finally some hope as the numbers are trending in a good direction, but some people are still concerned. Others who are just catching up on life can’t afford the time or the money to travel. It is easy to feel like you are alone when you are far from those you love.
Even worse, though, is being in a situation like Janet where circumstances are so difficult that you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Those who are still trying to find a decent job don’t care if the latest toy is available because they can’t afford it anyway. There are too many people who don’t know how they will afford food for the holidays. There are those who can’t think about the holidays because they do not even know how they are going to get through tomorrow, and they feel very alone.
It is easy for us to say that God never abandons us, but it is hard to believe it when you can’t take care of the barest of necessities. That’s why God calls those of us who have enough to share our extra with those who do not have enough. God does take care of us, and He provides us with enough so we can be His presence in this world for those who feel alone. Now is the time that many organizations will begin offering opportunities for us to serve those who don’t have enough and you can help. You can send a check. You can volunteer. You can donate food and toys. You can invite neighbors into your home to share your blessings with them. Begin now to look for opportunities to make this holiday season a little less lonely for someone. You have been blessed to be a blessing and you will be additionally blessed by being a blessing others.
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