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)
“Behold, a hand touched me, which set me on my knees and on the palms of my hands. He said to me, ‘Daniel, you greatly beloved man, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright; for I have been sent to you, now.’ When he had spoken this word to me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, ‘Don’t be afraid, Daniel; for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I have come for your words’ sake. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; but, behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me because I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days; for the vision is yet for many days.’ When he had spoken these words to me, I set my face toward the ground, and was mute.” Daniel 10:10-15, WEB
Martin Luther said, “The tenth chapter [of Daniel] is a prologue to the eleventh. Yet in it Daniel writes something special about the angels, the like of which we find nowhere else in the Scriptures, namely, that the good angels do battle with the evil angels in defense of men. Besides Daniel calls also the evil angels princes, as when he speaks of ‘the prince of Greece’. Hence we may understand why things are so while and dissolute at the courts of kings and princes, and why they hinder the good and bring on war and unhappiness. For there are devils there, hounding and goading, or hindering to such an extent that nothing goes as it should.”
Daniel was a man of incredible faith who was given a gift. His book tells of visions that ultimately point to the sovereignty of God over the kingdoms of men. God wins, and though the language sounds frightening, we are reminded that the words of the prophet are always meant to encourage God’s faithful people to prayer and power in His name. That doesn’t stop us from being afraid, being upset and confused and frustrated, especially when it seems that God is taking too long to fulfill His promises.
Shortly before our passage, we see Daniel exhausted by the experience of his vision. He was face to face with a man who was not a man, but something greater. He was dressed in linen with a gold belt; his body was like gemstone and his face like lightening, his eyes flaming torches and his arms and legs as solid as bronze. His voice was like the sound of many speaking. I would be afraid to be in the presence of such an awesome creature. On top of the vision, he was left alone because those who were with him were afraid. They didn’t even see the vision, but something about the situation terrified them and they ran away.
Daniel was given a great responsibility: knowledge of what was to be. The man said, “Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thy heart to understand, and to humble thyself before thy God, thy words were heard: and I am come for thy words’ sake.” This visitation was not meant to frighten Daniel, but to encourage him. The fear he felt was the devil trying to turn him from faith. The battle that is waged is not one between flesh and flesh, but in spirit. The devil wants us to be frightened so that we’ll stop praying, but it is our prayers that have the greatest power. Daniel need not be afraid because there are forces, angels, and archangels, who are fighting those powers that seek to turn us from God s kingdom.
Today we celebrate the angels. The day is called Michaelmas, Michael’s Mass, after St. Michael the Archangel. Depending on your background, your church might recognize a number of other angels by name. The Bible tells us about Gabriel, the messenger who told Mary and Joseph about the coming of their Son. Raphael, Uriel, and Jerahmeel are found in the Apocrypha, the Deuterocanonical books that were generally written between the Testaments. While these books are not canonical, Martin Luther wrote, “These books are useful and good to read.”
The names of these archangels mean something. Michael means “the one who resembles God.” Gabriel means “man of God.” Raphael means, “God heals.” Uriel means, “God is my light.” Jerahmeel means “God shall have mercy.” In these names we see God and the work He does among us. The archangels and all the angels are not God; they are created beings that God has called to do His Work in another realm. We thank God for these beings because they help us, speak to us, guide us, and protect us. They are fighting the battle we cannot even see, and guard us as we fight the battle here on earth.
The modern understanding of angels is far different from what it was in the times of the biblical writers. Today we picture angels as pretty little things with fluffy wings and white garments. We rarely think of angels in terms other than our helpers, beings that will take care of us. There are also many who think of the angels as people who have died and been transformed by God into guardian angels, but angels are unique beings created by God for a specific purpose: to serve God as His messengers to the crown of His creation, the human race. Though in this life we are a little lower than the angels, for we do not have access to the throne of Glory as they, we will be the ones who dine at the table to grace at the great heavenly banquet that awaits us. For now, the angels move throughout the dominion of God, passing into our world only in obedience to God s will. Their main purpose, as is ours, is to glorify God in all they do.
As we recall and celebrate the angels today, let us thank God for their presence on earth and in heaven. All too often we forget that there is more to God’s creation than we experience or understand in the flesh. We are not aware of the spiritual world that exists beyond our conscious reality and sometimes we even reject that it is real. As we learn more about all of God s creation, we realize that we are just a small part of everything He has done. As we read scriptures like that in Daniel, we wonder about God’s love and care for us as individuals. How is it that with beings like St. Michael and all the angels, that God has any concern for imperfect man and all our troubles? Yet, through Jesus Christ we are made sons and daughters of God and the day will come when we will stand in the glory of God and join the angels in their constant and joyous praise.
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“I will give thanks to Yahweh with my whole heart. I will tell of all your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in you. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish in your presence. For you have maintained my just cause. You sit on the throne judging righteously. You have rebuked the nations. You have destroyed the wicked. You have blotted out their name forever and ever. The enemy is overtaken by endless ruin. The very memory of the cities which you have overthrown has perished. But Yahweh reigns forever. He has prepared his throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness. He will administer judgment to the peoples in uprightness. Yahweh will also be a high tower for the oppressed; a high tower in times of trouble. Those who know your name will put their trust in you, for you, Yahweh, have not forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:1-10, WEB
We have a few antiques pieces that we were able to purchase while we lived in England. We were never able to afford the Victorian or older pieces I would have liked to have but we did find some from the 1920’s that were in our price range. We enjoyed visiting the antique shows and the shops that lined the main street of every town. The better deals were usually found at the shows because the vendors did not want to have to take anything home after the show. Also, the pieces tended to get a little nicked and scratched in travel. The things we bought were never perfect, but they have served us well.
We couldn’t buy too much because our house in England was wall to wall furniture, and we would have to move it to our next duty station. We loved going to the shows, so we eventually started collecting coins because they were much smaller and easier to deal with. It never ceased to amaze me how much some of the dealers trusted the customers at the sale. Only the most expensive coins were ever locked in cabinets, most of them were just lying on the tables. It would have been very easy to slip coins into a purse or a pocket without anyone noticing. Most of the dealers were unconcerned and rarely kept a close watch of their merchandise.
This was decades ago, but even then, those of us from America would have found this difficult to understand because we lived in a society where we lock every door and take so many security precautions. It is even worse now. This is why it is shocking to us when we hear about art theft. When there is something of value, we expect that it will be well guarded. We enjoy watching crime dramas, but we do not believe that those situations could ever happen in the real world. Who would ever believe that a million-dollar diamond could get stolen in broad daylight?
It happened once at an antique dealer’s show near the Louvre in Paris. A jeweler had several expensive diamonds on display: a white diamond of 47 carats and a blue diamond of 15.74 carats worth millions of dollars. The police reported that the case was forced open, and the diamonds were taken in just seconds. Apparently, no one was watching the merchandise and there were no security systems in place. The jeweler denied that their people were not in the booth at the time, but the thieves apparently took advantage of the arrival of a VIP. Cases like this often go unsolved.
It seems ridiculous that it could have been this easy to steal two multi-million dollar diamonds, yet we often trust our most precious things to even less. We trust our good works to take care of our spiritual welfare. We think we can take hold of our own salvation by our own strength and protect it with our own power. We hold on to our faith as if it is our savior, putting our trust in our weak faith rather than in the true Savior who is our true refuge.
The stories of those unbelievable heists make us wonder what stupid people were put in charge of security, but is there anything in this world that is truly reliable in every situation? I imagine that even if the jeweler had spent a fortune on guards and electronic surveillance, someone could think of a way to beat the system. We can’t live in this world paranoid, but we would do well to remember that nothing of this world is completely trustworthy. We will be sorely disappointed if we think we can control this world and the next.
Our faith is the most precious gift. It is given by God our Father for the sake of Jesus Christ. We cannot by our own power or strength believe in all that God has done for us without that faith which He gives. Yet, we tend to make our belief the foundation of our life. We rest in our own faith, turning our hearts and minds away from the one in whom we are called to have faith. Faith is trust in God, but all too often we trust our faith without really trusting in God as our refuge. Our salvation rests solely on the shoulders of the one in whom we are to put our entire faith and trust: Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
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