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)
“Take, brothers, for an example of suffering and of perseverance, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we call them blessed who endured. You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and have seen the Lord in the outcome, and how the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” James 5:10-11, WEB
The Nazi situation in Europe in the 1940’s was horrific because of the sheer numbers and the depths of the brutality. It is hard to imagine an evil so great could occur, but the pictures, videos and personal eyewitness stories make it impossible to disbelieve that it happened. On trips to a Holocaust Memorial with school, my children all learned that we study these things so that we will know the evil of men’s hearts.
Interestingly, those horror stories are often juxtaposed next to stories of heroism, self-sacrifice, and hope. For those who survived, lessons were learned and faith grew. They found hope in the simple things even when there was no hope. They lived in peace amidst the horror of war and destruction. They saw God in situations that seemed to be without any trace of God.
Maximilian Kolbe was one of those people who lived a life of grace in the midst of evil. He was a priest taken to Auschwitz because the monastery which he had founded was ministering to Jewish refugees. During his imprisonment, he constantly gave himself for the sake of others, refusing food so his brethren could eat and offering his life for the sake of others. His death, his martyrdom, happened so that the life of another could be saved. It was the common practice of the guards to punish ten men for the escape of just one. When a man from Maximilian’s cell block disappeared, ten men were selected to be put to death in the starvation chamber. Francis Gajowniczek cried out in fear for his wife and children, “What will they do?” Maximilian stepped forward and asked the commandant to let him take Francis’ place.
It surprised the group that the commandant agreed to the request, but those two weeks were incredible to those who experienced them. Maximilian comforted his fellow prisoners, he prayed for them, sang hymns and said psalms. He gave them hope, reminding them that suffering in this world will end and then they will know the glory of God in heaven. One of the guards said of the priest, “This priest is really a great man. We have never seen anyone like him.” Maximilian was the last to die in that chamber, injected with a poison to quicken the death because they needed the room for other prisoners.
Maximilian Kolbe is one of the few twentieth century men who have been officially recognized as Saints. He is known as the Saint from Auschwitz. His perseverance during his imprisonment, his unbreakable spirit and mercy has made him someone to whom we can look for hope in the midst of tragedy. Even as the men were suffering from hunger and thirst, drinking their own urine or the mucky condensation on the wall to survive, he held out hope that the escaped man would be found and set free. The irony of this situation is that the man had not escaped but had fallen into the latrine and drowned.
When Francis Gajowniczek went home from Auschwitz, he found that his wife and children had been killed in the war. All the reasons for Maximilian Kolbe’s death were meaningless, but God found a way to use this priest in a very powerful manner. He still stands as an example of perseverance, courage and faith, providing a glimpse of hope in the midst of tragedy. Many people found reason to live when they could only see reasons to die. Those who did die in the presence of Maximilian Kolbe saw the heart of God and knew the peace that passes all human understanding.
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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound to us, even so our comfort also abounds through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer. Our hope for you is steadfast, knowing that, since you are partakers of the sufferings, so you are also of the comfort. For we don’t desire to have you uninformed, brothers, concerning our affliction which happened to us in Asia, that we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, so much that we despaired even of life. Yes, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us out of so great a death, and does deliver; on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us; you also helping together on our behalf by your supplication; that, for the gift given to us by means of many, thanks may be given by many persons on your behalf.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
In the story “The Wizard of Oz”, Dorothy was a young girl who was transported to a land far beyond the rainbow. The people in that land are different, unusual, and her only desire is to go home. She was sent on a journey to the Emerald City which was a place where she might find help. She encountered many people along the way, some good and others bad, although each encounter helped her grow as a person. She met Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and Tin Woodman each of which had their own desires that might be fulfilled in the Emerald City, so they joined Dorothy on the journey. Together they faced obstacles including a wicked witch who sought the pair of ruby slippers that Dorothy wore on her feet.
Another character they met along the way is Glinda the Good. Throughout the story, Glinda had the answers to the things our friends were seeking, but she knew they needed to learn the lessons gained by the journey. Along the way, Glinda offered encouragement and protection to the four travelers. Just when they wanted to give up, she stirred in them to desire to go on. She exhibited the gift of exhortation, the ability to share some words of comfort and encouragement to help someone continue on the right path.
Barnabas was a man described in the book of Acts who had the gift of exhortation. He was like a big brother, spurring others on to greatness while he followed quietly with love, direction and kindness. He sold property so that the church in Jerusalem would have the financial resources necessary to feed the poor. He endorsed Paul before the Jewish leaders, bringing him into the fold of the church. He also helped Paul develop into a great leader. His life was lived for the glory of God and the strength of the church. His encouragement resulted in Paul assuming a position above that of Barnabas, but his unselfishness gave the church a great leader that may have been lost to oblivion without the use of his gift. He encouraged the gentile church of Antioch. He took his nephew Mark under his wing, seeing the potential in the young man, helping him even after Mark deserted the ministry for a time.
Ministry is a difficult course of life to travel, whether it is ordained or lay. Attacks come from every direction trying to keep the people of God from doing the work they are called to do. Ministers need people like Barnabas who will help them continue to see the potential of their gifts, to spur them on in joy and obedience. Exhortation may come in many forms. It can be a word of kindness, a gift of financial resources, a message of correction and rebuke. When it comes from God, it is an act of comfort and edifies the one to whom it is given.
There may be moments when you are called to exhort those around you. There are some to whom this is a special gift, like Glinda and Barnabus, and they are called to give of themselves in a way that the church will prosper and grow under the direction of those who receive those words of exhortation. Even if we don’t have the gift, God may give us opportunities to exhort one another, to help build the church and make it stronger. We are called and equipped to help one another grow in faith and in obedience to God’s will, including those whom God has chosen to minister to us. Together we will be the Church that shines God’s hope and peace to the 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