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)
“He spoke this parable. ‘A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it, and found none. He said to the vine dresser, “Behold, these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and found none. Cut it down. Why does it waste the soil?” He answered, “Lord, leave it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit, fine; but if not, after that, you can cut it down.”’” Luke 13:6-9, WEB
Children learn best when they have hands on experience. Math teachers use manipulatives to help children see how one plus one really makes two. Science labs give the children a chance to explore how things work. Field trips to historic sights give the children a firsthand look at the way things used to be. It is not enough to hear the lessons taught with words or read in a book. There are many ways to learn, but we all benefit from hands-on experiences; children and adults learn by using all our senses. We might like to think that as we grow older we can learn things more intellectually, using only our brains, but we really need the whole experience to be connected to the things we are learning.
I recently bought a new camera. I have some knowledge, but I’m still learning, and now I’ve added the complexity of a new-fangled camera. It has the advantage of having a cheater setting called Intelligent Auto that lets the camera do all the hard work. Of course, there are bells and whistles that will make even the easy setting take better photos, but those will come with time. I have a digital copy of the owner’s manual and when I have a question I access it occasionally to learn what I need to know. However, I’ve learned that the best way to figure out how to use my camera is to use it. Sometimes I push the wrong buttons and the photos are terrible, but sometimes I discover something fun that I can do with it. I tested it last night with the lunar eclipse and took my first ever detailed pictures of the moon. I wouldn’t have learned that by just reading the manual.
Christianity is not a purely intellectual endeavor. We read the Bible and we pray, and these are wonderful activities that God uses to draw us into His heart, but it is not enough to engage just our minds to grow spiritually mature. There are other more active things we do, like fellowship with other believers and join in worship that use other senses like our ears and our mouths. We need to experience God in worship and know His presence with our entire beings. Some churches go so far as to include other senses, like incense for the sense of smell. Of course, we share the Lord’s Supper to experience the sense of taste. We touch each other when we hug hello or pass the peace. The type of worship and fellowship that takes advantage of every sense draws us fully into the presence of God. The grace we experience with one another equips and strengthens us to become even more active with our faith.
The lesson from Luke teaches us that our Christian life is meant to bear fruit. We are God’s hands and feet in this world. William Barclay wrote in his book “The Parables of Jesus” wrote, “When God wants something done and someone helped He has to find a hand to supply that help.” I’m not sure I agree entirely on Barclay’s language here; God can do anything, even the impossible. I’d rather say that God invites us to be His hands in this world, we just need to look for the opportunities to help our neighbors in big and small ways.
The fully lived Christian life is not passive or merely intellectual. We have to become part of it with our minds, hearts and bodies, sharing in the life of Jesus in every way. We don’t need to know how to do it intellectually; God teaches us by showing us ways to practice His grace with our neighbors. The more we do for our neighbors, the more we find our connection to Jesus is greater because He is working in and through us. We cannot do this without Him, for we are sinners by nature unable to do good works on our own. But in Him we are forgiven and reconciled to God and by His power and love we can bear good fruit.
We only know God through the revelation of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. We could never participate again in fellowship, worship or growth of a Christian life and still by faith be saved. Yet, it will not bring us the joy and peace we can know when we have that deep connection that comes from the experiences of learning about Him with our whole selves. God has made it possible to enjoy Him in every way and gives us the opportunities to participate in His kingdom so that we will fully know Him and live our whole lives in His service, bearing fruit that glorifies Him.
If you would like to contact me, please use the following address, replacing the bracketed words with the symbol. Thank you for your continued interest, prayers and messages of encouragement.
A WORD FOR TODAY is available daily through a mailing list at yahoo.groups. Visit the link below and you will receive the WORD in your box Monday through Friday.
“As therefore you received Christ Jesus, the Lord, walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, even as you were taught, abounding in it in thanksgiving. Be careful that you don’t let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ. For in him all the fullness of the Deity dwells bodily, and in him you are made full, who is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:6-9, WEB
Superstition is defined, “A widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.” Most superstitions are considered irrational, although everybody has something that they hold to, even if it is subconsciously. Of course, there have been times throughout history when people were more superstitious than at other times. The people who lived in those times were more likely to attribute events that were beyond their control. particularly negative, to the supernatural. Superstitions are often connected to fears, so we try to find ways to control or seek supernatural control over the things we fear might bring us harm.
There is a video online of a bunch of cows moving from one field to another. For some reason, the first cow jumped over the white painted line in the center of the road. All the other cows followed suit. It is a funny video, but it brings to memory the childhood superstition, “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Step on a line, break your father’s spine.” We probably all played the game at some point in our childhood, whether we believed the superstition or not. The source of most superstitions is questionable. Look up “Friday the 13th” and you’ll discover a number of different reasons why it has become a day of bad luck. None of them are truly rational.
Do you suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia, which is an abnormal fear of Friday the 13th? According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Ashville, North Carolina, millions of people suffer from this phobia to the point of changing their daily routine on the day to avoid bad luck. Some people refuse to go to work or even get out of bed. I once heard someone say that they planned to travel on the 12th because they refused to get on an airplane 13th. Interestingly, the Dutch Center for Insurance Statistics report that fewer accidents, fires, or thefts are reported to have happened when Friday is the 13th compared to all other Fridays. So is it really unlucky? Or, are people so frightened by the possibility of accident that they are extra careful on Friday the 13th?
Though some fears are extreme, there are often reasonable reasons for them. We are afraid of snakes because some snakes can really hurt humans. The fear of heights can come from a real experience of falling or knowing someone who fell. The news is filled with images of fiery plane crashes, so it is understandable when someone refuses to board a plane. But have millions of people really experienced something horrible on Friday the 13th to give substance to the fear? Probably not.
We are so ingrained with the belief that something bad will happen on Friday the 13th that we think the superstition has been around for a long time. However, there is little evidence it was popular before the 20th century. There are a few writings that refer to the date, a few horrific events that happened on Friday the 13th, but researchers can only theorize that the tradition began because of those events. A website lists a dozen possible reasons why people might have this unreasonable fear, but every theory is questionable. So, can this day be truly unlucky when there is no real reason to think so?
There are those who think that faith in the Christian God is nothing but superstition. They think that the story of Jesus Christ is a mere fairy tale. They have a limited understanding of the God of our salvation and think we are foolish for believing. Yet, I suspect that many of them hold to some sort of superstition of their own, such as avoiding cracks or being extra careful on Friday the 13th. We get worked up over our fears because we forget that we do not go through our days alone. Friday the 13th is like any other day; we are afraid because we do not trust. If you are afraid to go out into the world because it is Friday the 13th, remember that Jesus has promised to be with you always, and face the day with courage and faith. It might not be a perfect day and something might just go wrong, but with God in the midst of it everything will work out just the way He has planned.
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