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)
“Blessed is a person who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God,’ for God can’t be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed. Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin. The sin, when it is full grown, produces death.” James 1:12-15, WEB
This week’s question comes from the story of Joseph. “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
Jacob had twelve sons but Joseph, the son of his beloved wife Rachel, was his favorite. He was showered with gifts, including a richly ornamented robe, which made Jacob’s other sons jealous. Rachel had one other son, Benjamin, who was also deeply loved.
Joseph was a dreamer but his dreams were strange and unusual. One dream foretold that Joseph would rule over his brothers. Another dream put him as ruler over even his mother and father. His brothers became so jealous that they schemed to get rid of him. While they were in the field grazing the sheep, Joseph went out to see if all was well. His brothers schemed to leave him to die, and to lie to their father that he had been devoured by a wild animal. Reuben convinced them to spare his life and sell him as a slave instead.
Joseph ended up in Egypt. He suffered through many trials, but eventually Pharaoh made him second in command and charged him with managing the whole kingdom. Pharaoh had several dreams which Joseph interpreted; the dreams were warnings that there would be good years of fruit from the fields followed by years of famine. With Joseph’s guidance, the Egyptians saved enough grain through the good years that they were able to help feed the world, including Joseph’s family, during the famine. Joseph persevered through it all and proved God’s dream to be trustworthy.
He could have been tempted by discouragement, diversion, and doubt. He could have given up when his brothers rejected him. He could have succumbed to the temptation of Potiphar’s wife. He could have doubted God’s dream with every obstacle he faced. He asked today’s question specifically when Potiphar’s wife seduced him knowing that the sin would be against God as well as his master. He seems to have had that attitude whenever he faced moments of decision. He trusted God and persevered until the promise was fulfilled.
It is easy to be discouraged, diverted, and to doubt that God has called you to His work in this world. There are so many obstacles, so many temptations, and so many reasons to doubt that we have heard God correctly. We need to beware, though, that it begins with the littlest thing. A dishonest life begins with little white lie. An affair begins with harmless flirting. A rejection of God’s call begins with a glimmer of doubt that God is able to accomplish His work through your life. This is why we ponder today’s question, knowing that every sin is a sin against God. The best we can do is to trust that God is working through us even when every sign indicates otherwise, to persevere through the difficulties so that we will see the fulfillment of His promises.
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“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9, WEB
Sandra Bullock played FBI agent Gracie Hart in the movie “Miss Congeniality.” In the movie, the crazed former beauty queen who ran the Miss USA pageant threatened the safety of the girls. The FBI moved in to protect the girls and find the perpetrator. Gracie was placed in the pageant as a contestant so that she could watch from the inside, especially in those places where the FBI agents are not allowed. Gracie Hart was not pageant material. She was rough and unfeminine, with knotted hair and the manners of a sailor. She walked into a meeting strong, wearing a practical suit and absolutely no grace at all. The make-over was amazing and she managed to be a beautiful pageant contestant, doing whatever she had to do. Yet, her practical, law enforcement background shined in her actions.
When the host asked the beauty contestants the question, “What is the one, most important thing our society needs?” The other women said, “World peace.” Gracie, however, answered “That would be harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan.” The silence in the venue was tangible. Gracie paused and then said, “And... world peace.”
What is peace? We certainly can’t find it in the papers or on the nightly news programs. The news programs may be filled with information about the virus, but there is other news. People are still being murdered. Leaders continue to argue. Facebook comments are still hurtful. International relationships may not be at the forefront of our thought right now because the world is working together to solve the problem of the virus, but there are still struggles between nations. There seems to be no peace in our world today.
I have heard, and spoken, the cry for peacemakers in our world today. There may be some evidence that homes are growing stronger during this pandemic, it is obvious that the world outside our homes is chaotic. The cries for peace are coming from every side, but we can’t even agree what it means to be at peace.
I’ve talked about the Beatitudes many times over the years. It is important to remember that the eight beautiful attitudes found in the Sermon on the Mount are not characteristics that describe eight separate and distinct groups of disciples. There are not some who are meek, while others are merciful, yet others called upon to endure persecution. Christians are meant to be meek and merciful, poor in spirit and pure in heart. We are meant to mourn and hunger, to make peace and stand firm even in persecution. These are the characteristics of every Christian. The Beatitudes emphasize who we are rather than what we do.
Many families have a newfound peace after living together through the struggles together of the past few months. As Christians, it is up to us to take that peace out into our chaotic world. That doesn’t necessary mean that it is up to us to stop the violence in the streets, but we have a responsibility to do more than just wish for world peace. The Gospel is about reconciliation. Reconciliation is peacemaking.
We certainly should never seek conflict or be responsible for it, so as they say “Peace begins with me.” Martin Luther said, “There is no person upon earth so bad that there is not something in him that one must praise.” Unfortunately, we live in a time when we spend more time finding the faults of our neighbors than finding the things we could praise. Gossips, and the media and social media, find the smallest flaws and magnify them until that is all we can see about a person. This does not mean that we are never to confront sin, as a matter of fact reconciliation requires repentance and repentance only comes by hearing the truth and the Word of God. We do so, however, by living Christ-like, doing what our Father does, loving people with His love.
Yes, the world needs peacemakers, but what does that mean? Jesus does not merely challenge the bloodshed of revolution, He challenged us to bring harmony between people. Deitrich Bonhoeffer made us familiar with the concept of ‘cheap grace’; there is also such a thing as ‘cheap peace’. We may be able to cause the violence to cease, but we need to be working even deeper. God forgives us when we repent, and Jesus commands us to forgive those who repent of their sins. This begins with sharing the Gospel of grace, the promise that God is merciful and that He is faithful. It begins with the sharing of Jesus Christ, the one who took upon His own shoulders the sins of the whole world, saving us from the burdens that cause the brokenness in our world. As we tell others about God’s grace, we reconcile them to their Creator and renew their relationship with their Redeemer and their neighbors, bringing true peace to this world.
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