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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Patrick's Day

"And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." ~Matt. 24:14

What was so special about the man who became known to the world as "Saint" Patrick & why is he so celebrated?  
Irish folk lore has it that he rid Ireland of snakes . . . but, being an island in the North Atlantic, there aren't any snakes there, anyway. (Wow . . . how nice!) But, what he DID do was to rid Ireland of the 'serpent' of its former mystical beliefs & worship of fairies & sprites & forces of nature & such by bringing the Word of God to pagan Ireland; he was their 1st evangelist. And that is why he is so loved.
A few years ago, I attended a small local seminary & one day Patrick was the subject in a Church History class. His story was far more amazing than I had ever thought . . . beginning with the fact that he was Scottish, NOT Irish. And since my ancestry (on my Daddy's side) hales from Scotland (many generations removed), it really made my ears perk up. We also watched a great DVD about him from the History Channel (backed by Faith & Values Media), narrated by Liam Neeson. Filmed entirely in Ireland, not only did the scenery take my breath away, but Patrick's story became more real to me.

"To begin at the beginnin' .
. . " . . . Patrick's story begins as a young Scottish man, of about 16, living a life of relative ease in a very well-to-do family of means. He & a brother were fishing when slave traders kidnapped him & took him to Ireland . . . at the time, a land of pure paganism & dominated by the beliefs of the Celts. For 6 years as a slave, he had to live out in the wilds, in the cruel, fierce Irish weather while he watched his master's flocks. But, as God would have it, THIS was where he was to draw closer to the Lord & learn of His great provisions & mercy. Astounding.  

"The love of God, & His fear, came to me more & more. And my faith was strengthened." ~Patrick

saw God, His provision & His mercy in all of nature; & he worshipped the CREATOR & NOT the creation. He began to pray daily, almost unceasingly, & to fast; in the midst of a fast he heard a Voice tell him, "
It is well that you fast, soon you will go to your own country." NO ONE had ever escaped Ireland to return to Britain.
How would he get out of Ireland? Then, during another time of prayer, he heard, "Behold, your ship awaits you." He was 200 miles from the sea!  

So, in faith & knowing God was on his side, he risked death ~ both from being caught & from the wilds of nature ~ & he escaped. He trusted God to show him the way. Even when he found a ship, he had to risk death again by telling them he was a run away slave & beg them to take him. They did.  

He went home . . . home! And was reunited w/his family! NO ONE had EVER escaped slavery in Ireland & the whole town celebrated his return!

. . . he couldn't get the lost & pagan Irish out of his mind & heart. In a dream, an old Irish man came to him, handed him a scroll which read, "
The voice of the Irish . . . come back to us, holy boy."  

Patrick knew he wasn't prepared to teach the Irish people the things of God & he was ashamed at his lack of education because of the his years in captivity. So, he went into the priesthood, both to learn more of the Lord & to make up for his lack of education. But the church leadership did NOT want him to go back, but he persisted & finally, understanding that he WAS being led by the Holy Spirit, they let him go.

, in 432 A.D., he se
t out, sent by God, to evangelize a WHOLE nation! In a time when church leaders chained the Bible to the pulpit, forbade "folk" from reading their own Bible (IF they had one & IF they could read); in a time when the church leaders DID NOT even preach from the Bible but made their own 'rules' & their own traditions, he went as one who WOULD teach the Word of God to a lost & dying country.  

Knowing the customs & superstitions of the Irish, Patrick presented the Gospel of ONE TRUE GOD & salvation ONLY through Him in ways that they understood: He used water, not only to teach about the Living Water, but to baptize; he used the Shamrock to introduce the 3-in-1 ~ the Holy Trinity of Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Using the Bible, he brought literacy to Ireland so that they could read it for themselves. And . . . he preached the Gospel in their own language when Latin was dominate in the church of Britain.

, of course, with great godly success comes opposition from the enemy of our souls, & in Patrick's case he used opposition from "the powers that be" in the church hierarchy. But he kept on.

Something I so appreciate about Patrick is that he knew of & used the influence of the women-folk to evangelize their families. If God converted the women, THEY would convert their whole families!

many ways, &
in spite of the selfishness of the British church leadership, Patrick brought God's Word & His salvation to Ireland & became one of the world's most beloved Christian leaders . . . " 

You men of letters listen & pour over this: Who was it that rose me up, the fool that I am? HE inspired me, the outcast of this world, to faithfully serve the people for the duration of my life. This is my confession before I die." ~Patrick

[Celtic Knot representing Father, Son & Holy Spirit]

Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><

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