Saint Patrick & the LUCK of the Irish

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day. You are free to celebrate with green beer if you want, but Saint Patrick did not bring beer to Ireland. He did however bring the Irish LUCK. 

Patrick was first in Ireland as a prisoner (4th Century). He was taken captive by Irish pirates long before he was a believer in Jesus Christ. He spent six years in captivity before escaping back to England. While in captivity in Ireland, Patrick came to faith. He wrote in Confession that his “time in captivity was critical to his spiritual development.”

“I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the LORD; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to idols. (Isaiah 43:6-8)

In the struggles of life he met the mercy of God. Patrick said: “The Lord had mercy on his youth and ignorance, and afforded him the opportunity to be forgiven his sins.” The captive was captured by the love of God, for the glory of God.  

Years after escaping and returning home, he had a vision to return and share Christ. At this time Ireland was lost and pagan. Legend has it he shared about the Holy Trinity using a three leafed Shamrock, using it to illustrate the teaching of three persons in One God.

The expression, “the luck of the Irish” is oft quoted around Saint Patrick’s Day. It actually has nothing to do with him or three or four leaf clovers/Shamrocks. You can research that saying on your own. 

What is clear is that God’s mercy and love set Patrick free. And Patrick, full of love, used his freedom to share Christ. In fact he did bring Ireland a sort of  LUCK – love, understanding, compassion and kindness. That is the LUCK that transformed Ireland. And indeed today it is love, understanding, compassion and kindness that we are called to celebrate and share with all. 

So – here’s to the God of Saint Patrick who breathes life, sets us free, and calls us to live out of the love, understanding, compassion and kindness of Jesus Christ.  That is luck worth celebrating.  

Day 7 – The Joy of Life

Thursday, March 14, 2019

This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent–Jesus Christ. John 17:3

I’m thinking about life today. It may be because it is my daughters birthday. I am so incredibly grateful for her life and the joy I have in knowing her. Seeing my little girl grow-up and spread her wings and fly is this father’s dream and delight. Even more, knowing her and experiencing her personality, her peculiarities, her power, her perseverance and her love is my joy and gives me life.

Jesus came to give us life and joy. What’s more, he said knowing God the Father is eternal life. Eternal means forever. Life forever is found in knowing God. Knowing means having a connection that runs long and deep and intimate – well beyond a few superficial facts. Knowing the depth of God’s love, a love that would sacrifice his son for you and me, is humbling. Knowing that He is for us through thick and thin is radically encouraging. Knowing that our heavenly Father delights over us (Zeph.3:17) is motivating. Knowing He has planned good for us even though trials will come (Jer.29:11),  is comforting. Knowing God gave His Son’s to reconcile us to himself and secure us in His love, forever, is profoundly amazing. He gave us life that we might enjoy Him – forever.

What if today you asked God to let you know His love more deeply? And from that knowing allow yourself to enjoy Him.  The God who gives life and love in abundance desires your joy in Him to be full – will you welcome that today?

Day 5 – A Secure Life

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Do you ever wonder what you’ll need for a secure life? A good education, a great house and job, a partner with bunches of money in the bank? Would that make you secure?

Jesus said:

Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. John 6:37

and then the Apostle Paul said:

For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! Romans 8:38-39

The reality is, because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, YOU ARE ALREADY SECURE.

Coming off of the madness of a Monday in the broken world – maybe you could use a reminder of the security of your eternal life in Kingdom of God because of the power and love of Jesus for you.

You will never be a cast away and never separated from the most powerful and satisfying love in the universe. Today – risk living in and out of that love – and take on the day with bold confidence in your security.

 

 

Day 4 of a 40 Day Journey

Monday, March, 11, 2019

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” Romans 2:4

I grew up in Roman Catholicism and I also have a pervasive critic in my mind. I don’t blame Catholicism, though in my experience the church sought to control through guilt. Maybe that contributed to my internal critic which guilts me. I easily see and critique what is out of place, disordered, broken, needs fixing, and just plain wrong. Internally, the critic responds to me with self-judgment that sounds like this: “You aren’t doing enough, you didn’t do it right, if you don’t get it right, you are not valuable.”

Repentance, in this distorted view is about penance and punishment for not measuring up. But, God does not operate this way through the love of Jesus. Rather, he extends mercy and kindness to all – for all have sinned and not measured up (Rom 3:23). Unlike the non-resourceful critical one in my mind, God extends kindness and grace. He patiently encourages us with kindness to turn from our false and sinful ways and bring our brokenness and our humanity to Him. Why?

Because God love you, that’s why. And because God knows He is the source of healing and wholeness and life and joy – AND HE WANTS ALL OF THAT FOR HIS CHILDREN!

Today, as you start your week, will you welcome the loving kindness of God for you? Breath in His grace and your security in His love, and let the joy of the Lord fill you as you follow Him on your journey.

Day 2 of 40 – Journey to the Resurrection

Friday, March 8, 2019

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

Psalm 139:23-24

So the question comes: “Who are you?”  The answer may be a 60 second elevator speech that paints a positive picture. Like a Facebook post that hides the bruises and blemishes of life and tells a fantastic fable.

Truly being known however is much more than a positively spun, superficial, vulnerability avoiding cover for reality. In fact, King David seemingly admits in Psalm 139 that he doesn’t know himself all that well. He takes the bold step to ask God to reveal his inner being to him – that he might be led deeper still into the everlasting way.  That way is a way of knowing and being known by God and others (John 17:3; 1John 1:6-7).

Knowing ourselves, owning our reality – the good, the bad and the broken are critical to turning toward God (repentance), walking in the light,  and receiving the depth of grace and unconditional love he has for us in abundance.

Are you willing today to ask God to reveal you to you? And in seeing yourself, I encourage you to remember He already sees it all and He welcomes you into His love because He loves you deeply. Take the risk of press into that life giving love today.

Day 1 of 40 of our Lenten Journey

Thursday, March 4, 2019

Acts 3:19-20 say:

Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…”

So long as I hold onto the things of this world and the demands that my fleshly desires be satisfied, I will be moving away from the satisfying presence of the Lord. And I’ll likely know this is the case because of the presence of anger, frustration, anxiety or frustration, at a minimum.

The call to repent and turn is not a call to dissatisfaction, but an invitation to move into the satisfying presence of God and welcome all the love and joyful security He offers in Christ.

Which way are you moving now?

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Today marks the beginning of Lent, the 40 day season of preparation leading us to Resurrection Sunday.  The “Lenten season” has for centuries been a time of prayer and repentance.

I want to give us some daily encouragement these 40 days and together prayer for one another. So please take a few minutes each day to check back here, pray and be encouraged.

Repentance is the idea of undergoing change or turning from one thing to another. To take hold of something new and let go of something unprofitable. Jesus said,

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Mark 4:17

This was Jesus invitation to his kingdom, a kingdom of life, hope, radical beauty, love and overflowing joy. Conversely, he described the world as lusts and possessions that are passing away (1 John 2:15).

Today, consider what you have your grip on. What of this world might you need to let go of, opening your hand, that you might turn and welcome his invitation to receive love, hope and the joy of eternal security in his kingdom?

Througt the resurrection, Jesus purchased abundant  life and joy for you – let him take hold of you today and enjoy being a child of the King..