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)
“He spoke a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the best seats, and said to them, ‘When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the best seat, since perhaps someone more honorable than you might be invited by him, and he who invited both of you would come and tell you, “Make room for this person.” Then you would begin, with shame, to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes, he may tell you, “Friend, move up higher.” Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.’” Luke 14:7-11, WEB
I read an article today about Billy Joel. He said in a 2015 article in Billboard Magazine that he always holds back the front row tickets to his concerts. He has found over the years (and many concerts!) that the scalpers often get those tickets and sell them for ridiculous prices to people who can afford them but aren’t really excited to be there. The best fans, he said, are always in the worst seats in the house. So, he sends his road crew into the upper levels to invite fans down to the front. “This way you’ve got people in the front row that are really happy to be there, real fans,” he said.
Those who pay extreme prices for those front row seats might think of themselves as huge fans, but their actions at the concert didn’t show it. Billy Joel had noticed that they weren’t excited to be there. He wanted the faces of his fans to be lit with joy, their bodies moving with the beat. He wanted them to sing along. He wanted them to have the night of their lives. Jesus wants the same for us as we live our lives of faith in the world.
I used to volunteer at a local part that was built for those who are differently abled. The rides are designed with places for wheelchairs and the activities accommodate those with sight issues. They have taken into account those who have neurological difficulties. It is a fun place for everyone from the youngest to the oldest, no matter their capabilities. The man who built the park wanted a place where people with and without disabilities could learn how to play together.
They have paid staff, but they rely on volunteers. I gave my time for more than a year and loved greeting guests at the front door as they came for their day. One day we had a man come to volunteer who was very conceited: he was determined to have an important job or he wasn’t going to volunteer. He had an impressive resume and we may have found an appropriate place for him eventually. However, it took time for everyone to find their place. The park was new and they were still learning what tasks could be done by volunteers; we knew that it would take time for everything to fall into place.
The park did not have any volunteer positions that fit the expectations of the man. The type of position he wanted was held by the few paid staff members, by necessity. The time would come when volunteers were given more responsibility. Unfortunately, the man refused anything less than a position of importance, he lost the chance the find his niche. Instead of being raised up from the lower seat, he stormed out because we wouldn’t give him a higher one.
There was another man who was a very successful corporate executive who really enjoyed his job. He just knew that he had to be involved with the park when he heard about it. He was in a financially sound position, so he quit his high paying job in the corporate world and was hired as park maintenance for an hourly wage. He was so blessed by the work, glad to get his fingers dirty for the sake of others. He was well respected by his co-workers and he loved what he was doing.
The second man was willing to take whatever was available to be a part of this wonderful park. He didn’t walk in the door demanding a position appropriate to his power and position in his world. He humbled himself for the sake of others and has found great blessing in it. I stopped volunteering many years ago, but I imagine the man was able to offer his corporate experience in a positive way, perhaps even in management of the park.
Human beings tend to think highly of ourselves. Those who pay high ticket prices for their front row seats often think they are better than the poor fools who can barely see the stage from their nosebleed seats in the balcony. Those who volunteer with a spirit of conceit never really find their place in an organization. But those who really love what they are doing might just find themselves in the front row or in an executive office because someone has recognized their joy in what they do.
As Christians we live in a paradox. On the one hand, the world encourages us push ahead of our neighbor, whether it is to grab the best seats of a concert or the most important job at a park. Jesus reminds us in today’s less that we are called to be like Him; He had it all but humbled Himself for the sake of the world. Jesus tells the crowds not to rush for the best seats at a banquet. He reminds them that there are others who may deserve to sit higher, and that it is better to sit lowly and be raised rather than sit according to our expectations and be humiliated when asked to move. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” So, too, it is with us: if we humbly accept the least, we’ll find ourselves raised beyond our expectations.
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“Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope: and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5, WEB
I was not going to buy a chair online because I thought it was important to make sure that it was comfortable. I looked online to see if any of the stores had anything that I liked and then went to the store, hoping I could find that chair on their sales floor. Unfortunately, I learned in the process that most furniture stores only keep about 10-20% of their online merchandise in stock in their stores. This means that I couldn’t try any of the chairs I liked, and I would probably wait eight to ten weeks for delivery. I was getting frustrated, but I looked online at a new store, not expecting to find anything. Not only did I find something I liked, it was a type of chair I was willing to buy without trying, and it was in their clearance! I got a chair and ottoman with two day delivery for less than some of the chairs I was chasing all over town.
I thought about going to the store to look at it, but the website said it wasn’t on display. I had to use my best judgment. It is a large chair. It is what is considered a chair and a half, and my space was not very big. I measured six times before I clicked the button to buy. I read all the reviews to make sure the color was what I expected. I knew it would fit, but would it make sense? I hoped I could make it work.
We hope for many different things throughout our lives. As children, we hope that Santa will come or that we will get a certain toy for our birthday. As teenagers, we hope that we will pass that important test, get a date for the prom or that our team will win the big game. When we are young adults, our hopes turn toward graduating college, getting a good job and finding the perfect mate. As we grow older, we hope our children will do well and that we will wake up in the morning feeling healthy and satisfied.
Of course, we are often disappointed when our hopes do not come to pass. These hopes are little more than wishes and dreams that can fall apart. We do not always do well on those important tests or get the job that we want. We wake up many mornings feeling ill, sore or just plain depressed. The world around us is imperfect and that imperfection manifests in our lives, creating roadblocks to the utopian world we hope for in this life. It is impossible to rejoice in hope knowing that our health might fail, our money might disappear and our kids might not meet our expectations. It gets hard and harder as we grow older.
Paul calls us to rejoice in hope, but that rejoicing is not in hope that will disappoint. As it turned out, the chair is big, but it works and it is very comfortable. I look forward to many years of reading and cuddling with my kitties on that chair.
But the hope to which Paul points is hope in the promises of God. This world is indeed filled with fallen hopes and discontent. We question faith when things go wrong, finding disappointment when the things we hope for do not come to pass. However, we need to remember that the world is imperfect. We are stained by sin and death. We are perishable. We are corrupt beings that fall to temptation and fail to be holy. We should never rest our hope in anything less than the One true God, for He is the only one who is faithful. The joy comes from knowing that only by God’s promises and gifts can we even have hope, and that hope will be true. We hope for many things throughout our lives, but those hopes may disappoint us. Yet, we can rejoice in the hope that comes from faith in Christ because God is faithful.
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