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 said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they don’t sow, they don’t reap, they have no warehouse or barn, and God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds! Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his height? If then you aren’t able to do even the least things, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if this is how God clothes the grass in the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith? Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious. For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you. Don’t be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Sell that which you have, and give gifts to the needy. Make for yourselves purses which don’t grow old, a treasure in the heavens that doesn’t fail, where no thief approaches, neither moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’” Luke 12:22-34, WEB
I like having cut flowers around the house. We kept cut flowers in our home almost all the time when we lived in England. The village farmer’s markets were open year-round and there was a market in a different town within easy driving distance every day of the week. The flowers for sale were extremely affordable, so I constantly had vases of flowers. If you’ve seen pictures of English country homes, you know that flowers are important to their landscaping. You might think that it is a creation of someone’s imagination, but the flowers are really everywhere, especially in the spring.
Flowers are such an important part of the English lifestyle that many English churches host floral festivals. They were planned for spring to welcome the warm weather and to bring the color of the country into the drab interiors of those ancient stone churches. They weren’t competitive; the floral designers were members or friends of the church and the event was used to raise funds so that they could take care of after-winter maintenance of their buildings.
I participated in one of these festivals. Though I’m not a professional, I enjoy doing more with flowers than just putting them into a vase. I’ve dabbled over the years with fun flowers and odd containers. I was excited about the challenge the floral festival offered. The theme was Pentecost and the displays were magnificent. Some reached incredibly high, others had sprays of flowers. Some people chose to fill their containers with red flowers, others white and yet others had a burst of many colors. I found an unusual pot stand made of wicker with three arms for holding pots. I put floral foam on trays that fit into each of the arms and found flowers with every color of the rainbow. I had the flowers spraying from the top to the bottom, about five feet high altogether. It was a beautiful and very memorable experience.
The problem with cut flower arrangements is that the flowers eventually all die. The arrangements will not last forever even when the display has an eternal message to convey. The flowers serve as simple, perishable reminder of God’s presence in the midst of our world. I love having fresh cut flowers to brighten my house; the bouquets usually last a week or so. They all eventually wither and die. We live in a world that is perishable. People come and go, grass turns brown in winter, turkeys get eaten until they are nothing but bones. Yet, God is steadfast. And that faithful and loving God reminds us constantly, in the creation and through our gifts, that He is gracious and merciful, always present in the midst of our lives.
Isaiah wrote, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, because Yahweh’s breath blows on it. Surely the people are like grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:6b-8) Peace, true peace, will come when our flesh is destroyed by the breath of God, consumed by His fire and Spirit, and we are made new. This might seem frightening, but it is the hope of Christmas: that we will be transformed and restored to God. When God comes, when He rules, He will take care of us as a shepherd takes care of His flock. John’s message might seem rough and disconcerting, but it reflects the promise of Isaiah. God is coming, prepare the way. He is coming to do something spectacular, make your hearts ready.
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“For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law, ‘The one who does them will live by them.’ But the righteousness which is of faith says this, ‘Don’t say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?” (that is, to bring Christ down); or, “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)’ But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart;’ that is, the word of faith which we preach: that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes resulting in righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich to all who call on him.” Romans 10:5-12, WEB
Every generation has a “Where were you” question. You might hear it today as we remember the day when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Where were you when JFK was shot? Where were you when the astronauts walked on the moon? Where were you when the Challenger exploded? Where were you on 9/11? People can generally remember where they were when these history changing moments happened, or at least where they were when they heard about it.
We can ask the question about more personal events, too. Where were you when you met your spouse? Where were you when you proposed? Where were you married? Where were you when you decided what you wanted to be when you grew up? Where were you when you became a Christian? For those of us in the military, and other transient communities, knowing where we were helps us to remember when something happened. Where were we when our son broke his finger? Where were we when we bought that piece of furniture? Knowing where we were helps us to remember when it was.
The question is also used in the courtroom. The lawyer will ask his client, “Where were you on the night this crime happened?” to establish an alibi for the accused. Questions are also used to help place the defendant at other crucial moments, like when a gun was purchased. The lawyer is trying to prove that the defendant could not be guilty because he or she was not there. The same questions might be asked by the prosecutor, too, as he or she tries to put the defendant in the right place at the right time, thus proving them guilty.
God asked this question of Job in today’s passage. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” In this case, the question is meant to establish that Job has no right to question the will and purpose of God. Job was not even a glimmer in his mother’s eye when God spoke creation into existence. God was before the beginning and will be after the end. Human beings are simply unable to know or understand everything about the God we worship. He wouldn’t be worthy of worship if we could.
It is especially hard when God allows terrible things to happen in our lives. We want to be angry. We want to go to court with God, to question Him, to insist on answers to our questions. But God reminds us that we weren’t there when He established the foundation of the earth, and we’ll never fully understand Him. What seems to be bad from our point of view may lead to something beyond our imagination. We know that God is faithful. We can rest in God’s promises even when it seems like things are falling apart. Where were we when God laid the foundations of the earth? We did not yet exist in the flesh, but we were loved. Of this we can be sure.
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes wonder why this amazing God even knows my name. After all, I’m nothing. I’m a guppy in an ocean filled with whales. I confess, though, I also sometimes think the world revolves around me. I think I’m the most important person, that my opinion is the only one that matters. I suppose that the first sentence is a bit of false humility, while the second is a matter of pride. It is human; we all have the same thoughts and feelings.
We weren’t there when God laid the foundations of the earth, and we will never be able to fully understand Him. But He is with us, near us, in our lives, hearts, and mouths. He knows how to turn suffering into blessing. He calls us to trust in Him, to believe with our hearts and to confess with our mouths that He is Lord. It won’t be easy. We are no different than Job or Paul. We can rest in the knowledge that God knows that, too, and that He has given us the way of forgiveness. He will be there to pick us up whenever we fail because He has promised always to be near.
Here’s the real joy of Paul’s words: God invites us to be a part of His work. We cannot find for ourselves, but He is with us and near us in our hearts and in the Gospel, which is spoken into our lives. Paul says that when we believe His Word in our hearts and confess Him as Lord with our mouths we are saved. Of course, we often look at faith in extremes: it has to be fully God’s grace or fully our decision. But when we do this, we lose the beauty of the relationship God has ordained between Himself and His people.
We are given an active role in His Kingdom, even from the beginning of our relationship with Him. We may not know where we were when God did all that He did, but we are invited to join our hearts and minds with His by participating in His wonderful grace, taking His Gospel into the world, witnessing to those who do not yet believe so that they, too, can be saved. It cannot happen without God, we can’t make it happen ourselves, for without Jesus none could be saved. By His grace we receive that which He has promised, confessing with our lives that His is indeed Lord of all.
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