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)
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Has God really said, “You shall not eat of any tree of the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, but not the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, “You shall not eat of it. You shall not touch it, lest you die.”’ The serpent said to the woman, ‘You won’t really die, for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took some of its fruit, and ate. Then she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate it, too.” Genesis 3:1-6, WEB
I love Christmas trees. One of the questions people ask me is “How many do you have this year?” I haven’t counted yet, but I usually have about a dozen. Some are very small, others are tabletop trees. I have some that I hang from wreath holders on my closet doors. I even have one in a bathroom. The centerpiece of our decorations is a fresh cut Christmas tree that is usually too big.
Christmas trees are the perfect temptation for cats. I’ve seen several posts recently of cats doing what cats do. One was a video that showed a cat jumping to a tree that the owners hung from the ceiling. They thought the cat would not be able to bother it, but the cat proved them wrong. Another post was a picture of a cat acting as a tree topper. How it got up that high, I’ll never know. Cat parents often experience fallen trees, something that happened at least once during my childhood. We had plenty of broken balls, too. The cats love to eat the tinsel, one of my favorite tree decorations, but I’ve given it up to protect them. Sammy loves to chew on the branches of the artificial trees; the one in the bathroom has already ended up in the sink. Dangling ornaments and wires are perfect targets for playful cats.
The Christmas trees were a similar problem when our children were young. Toddler fingers are drawn to the shiny balls hanging on the low branches. They eventually learned that they should not touch, but we were constantly vigilant during the early years. We also learned to be creative in the way we displayed the tree. We tried to set it out of reach. One year we wrapped large boxes and used them as decoration at the base of the tree, making it impossible for a toddler to get close enough to cause trouble. Boxes never helped keep the kittens away. We love the trees, but we also know we are putting temptation in front of those who are bound to cause trouble.
One of the hardest questions asked by non-believers is “Why would God put the fruit tree in the middle of the garden and then tell Adam and Eve not to touch?” They argue that it is not the serpent doing the tempting in today’s scripture lesson, but rather God himself. They say they can’t believe in such a being. There are some people who refuse to put up the decorations to avoid the problems that come when there are animals and children around. We have certainly lost some ornaments over the years, but it is always worth the joy of having the trees in the house. We do what we can to teach them to how to act around them and hope they do what is right.
The story of the fall is difficult for many to understand because they reject a God that would allow those He love to be tempted, but there is joy in learning how to live rightly according to the Word of God. They don’t understand why God would make something good untouchable. They forget that God did not ignore their needs; He gave them good things. See, there were two fruit trees in the garden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve could touch the tree of life; as a matter of fact it was that tree that would give them life forever and ever. The untouchable tree was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
As we journey through Advent, we recall that God has given us everything we need. He even gave Adam and Eve a tree they should not touch so that they would learn to be obedience. Disobedience caused a uncrossable chasm between the Father and His children. And yet, even as Adam and Eve were eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God already had a plan to restore their relationship. This Advent we wait, once again, for the coming of the Savior, the child to be born in Bethlehem. We are reminded by our Christmas trees that even when things are there to tempt us, God’s promise of forgiveness is true.
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“No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13, WEB
Advent is often called a little Lent; it is a time when we are meant to look at our lives and consider ways God is transforming us. Just like during Lent, many of us commit to practices that help us focus our thoughts on God and the coming of Jesus. I always choose a devotional of some sort and I do different types of countdown activities. We willingly and willfully quench our thirst for God, committing to a journey we know will end. Though these disciplines have the potential to bring some change to our lives, we don’t really use it as a time to grow closer to God.
I am a little late with my writing today because I have been working on decorating my house. I had the carpets cleaned yesterday, so I was up early this morning putting the furniture back where it belongs. I was tired when I sat down at the computer, and by the time I did some other work I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I took a nap, did some decorating, and then went to the store to pick up a few things I needed to finish. I put my shopping away, started my dinner and did some decorating. Then I suddenly remembered that I never did my writing!
But isn’t that the way it is for us at this time of year? There is so much going on that it is easy to miss something. We forget to rest. I have even forgotten to eat! The worst part is that we are so caught up in making everything perfect for the holidays, that we forget to spend time with God.
This is common to all people. Really. I think sometimes we start to feel guilty because we look at our neighbors and think they are so much better Christians than we are. We struggle because we know we should be more focused during our devotional time. We feel guilty because we missed today’s reading in our Advent book. We are tired because we’ve been running around trying to get everything accomplished, but we are so distracted that we miss the joy of being with God during the season.
We all have things that tempt us each day, so much busy-ness that distracts us from the things that really matter. Sometimes these things do not seem harmful to our lives, but we can be drawn into a lifestyle that is distracting our focus from God. When we are aware of the activities or things that give us the rush, then we can stand against it. Remember that God is always with you. Do you ever think, “I’m too busy”? That is the voice of God calling you away from the distractions that tempt you. God is faithful; He will give you the strength and the way out.
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