Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

Preparing Our Hearts and Homes to Celebrate Thanksgiving

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This is the first in a three-part series on preparing our hearts and homes for Thanksgiving. Dee Travis is the author of  Celebrate Life: Living to Serve God and Encourage Others as We Celebrate Life Together.

November is here and it makes me start to think about the holidays. I always feel bad because Thanksgiving it such a great holiday and it gets here so fast and then after one day….it’s over and Christmas bells are ringing. Just one day of thankfulness doesn’t do it for me. There is so much to see and do as we think about Thanksgiving approaching. How about taking the whole month of November to celebrate Thanksgiving with me?

Thanksgiving-PinterestStep into November by getting outside and looking for God’s goodness and bounty! His glory in creation can be seen everywhere in the fall! The trees are changing into a beautiful display of God’s canvas of red, orange and yellow! How about visiting a pumpkin patch or a farm during harvest of the crops. Take your kids or grandkids to an apple orchard and pick some crisp juicy apples. We live on a farm in rural Iowa so we get to see harvesting of corn and soybeans first hand. We also grow a ton of pumpkins for the grandkids to pick. God is so good to us! We have a few apple trees so one of our favorite traditions is picking apples and making fresh apple cider! Those times all makes me reflect on how good and faithful God has been to us throughout another year. Harvest time with the bounty He gives us through crops and food and nature’s beauty will help us prepare our hearts to thank and praise an Almighty God!

Try reading a Psalm every day during November! Every day is a gift from God so celebrate His goodness every day. Start with Psalm 100 and go through Psalm 136. Some are short so you will be able to combine a couple of chapters on certain days. I kind of think that the Psalms and Thanksgiving go together like turkey and pumpkin pie! Each day after you are done reading write down three different things you are thankful for so that you can look at them during the month and then read them all on Thanksgiving Day! Always be ready to give thanks to God for what He had done for us! God is always good and you are always loved.

One of the things I love to do every year in November is attend my grandchildren’s Thanksgiving program at school. It really makes me think about our 9781620205310country and how the first Thanksgiving Day was started. The Pilgrims came to America to be able to worship God freely. They set aside this special time at harvest to thank God for all He had done for them. (And it was probably more than just one day!) It is such a good example for us to follow! The pilgrims not only shared their food with the Indians but they also shared their faith in a mighty God. Our forefathers sacrificed a lot for the freedoms we enjoy today and for that I am truly thankful!

Well are you in? I hope you will start to prepare your heart all month long and this Thanksgiving may be the most blessed ever!

Preparing for Thanksgiving: Five Verses to Ready Your Heart

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This is the third in a three-part series on preparing our hearts and homes for Thanksgiving. Dee Travis is the author of Celebrate Life: Living to Serve God and Encourage Others as We Celebrate Life Together.

 

Psalm 100 is one of my favorite scripture to meditate on as we approach the Thanksgiving season. When I think about that first Thanksgiving I imagine the Pilgrims and Indians in 1621 gathering to thank God for a bountiful harvest.

Thanksgiving-PinterestBut long before that another group of people had set aside a time to celebrate God’s goodness. It was the children of Israel during the Feast of Booths. In the fall after crops were harvested, the people had a time of worshiping and thanking God for all He had done for them. They brought their offerings of Thanksgiving to the Lord. (Leviticus 23: 39-44)

Psalm 100 is a song of thanksgiving and praise to God that we can reflect on during this Thanksgiving.

Day 1   “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.” Psalm 100:1

Have you ever felt so thankful you just couldn’t keep quiet? Sometimes I just stand in awe of God’s handiwork in the things I see around me in His creation. Sometimes I just want to proclaim what an awesome God we serve! Everyone on the earth is admonished to praise His name because everyone benefits from God’s goodness! In Psalm 19:1-3 and Psalm 98:7-8 it says that all nature joins in to declare the glory of God and sing praises to His name. It is neat to imagine the rivers clapping and hills singing together for joy in praise to God.

Day 2 “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.” Psalm 100:2

There is joy in serving Jesus! We can all serve Him whether we are young or old. Offer to teach a Sunday school class or volunteer to take a meal to someone or go visit someone who is in need of a friend. And sometimes the hardest thing is to do it with a happy heart. Many times we do something because we know we need to…. but our heart isn’t really in it. Having a joyful attitude comes from loving God and reading His word and spending time in prayer. With happy hearts we can use the talents God has given each one of us for serving Him not just during the holiday season but each and every day!

Day 3 “Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who made us and not we ourselves; we are His people the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3

God is the very one who created us. He knows us better than anyone. He know when we all overwhelmed or discouraged with so many things pulling at us in a hundred different directions during the holidays. That’s when we go to Him as His sheep and lie down in green pastures. (Psalm 23:2) Find that quiet spot and sit beside the still waters talk to God. He loves us and will restore our weary soul! He cares for us like a good shepherd and for that I am truly thankful.

Day 4 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4

We are so blessed in this country to be able to go to church and worship God freely. Being thankful for God’s love will show in our actions as we enter into worship and praise with others who love Him too. I love to gather together with my church family during Thanksgiving and hear testimonies of God’s goodness and faithfulness and mercy. Bless His name for all he has done for us!

Day 5 “For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness is to all generations.” Psalm 100:5

One of my favorite sayings is “God is always good and you are always loved”. What a great truth to know that the God of this universe loves us so much He was willing to send His Son to die and take the punishment for our sins. We simply have to believe and He gives everlasting life! (John 3:16) God’s lovingkindness is everlasting! He will love us forever!! And His faithfulness is to ALL generations! God daily loads us with so many benefits. God knows our needs and watches over us and never leaves us to fend for ourselves. He cares about us and will always do what is best for us. God is so good!

 

Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and a time to turn our thoughts to God and His word and realize how very blessed we are of Him. Every day is a gift that we have been given…so every day (not just at Thanksgiving) thank Him and praise His name!

Preparing for Thanksgiving: Welcome an Attitude of Gratitude

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This is the second in a three-part series on preparing our hearts and homes for Thanksgiving. Dee Travis is the author of  Celebrate Life: Living to Serve God and Encourage Others as We Celebrate Life Together.

I really enjoy our church Thanksgiving Eve service. My week has usually been hectic and I have a house that needs cleaned and food that needs to be prepared but nothing helps my “attitude of gratitude” more Thanksgiving-Pinterestthan this night! Everyone enjoys homemade pie and then we have an informal time of singing and testimonies. It is good for me to hear others thanking God for what He has done in their lives over the last year. For some it has been a difficult year with pain and sorrow but they are still praising God and that is so encouraging. Sometimes it is a child who gives a testimony and it doesn’t get much better than childlike faith! I always go home feeling blessed and thankful for my church family! If you don’t have a Thanksgiving service at your church maybe you can make a list of the ways God has been good to you over the last year. Then have your own testimony time by thanking Him for all He has done!

We can also welcome gratitude to God for all He has done and provided for us by doing something special for others! We have so much to be thankful for as Christians. We have a God who loves us and has provided a way for us to have a home in heaven through Jesus Christ. When we place our trust in Him we receive eternal life. We enjoy the freedom to worship God here in America. We also have warm homes to live in and an abundance of food to eat at our tables. Every day God has richly blessed us and that should make us willing to bless others.

Plan to take a traditional Thanksgiving meal to some elderly or needy people in your church or neighborhood. It would probably be easiest to plan your dinner before Thanksgiving. This is a great service for kids to be involved in. They will love helping and it is good for them to see that we love and care about others. You might also want to print out Psalm 100 and attach it to one of the food containers. Contact families ahead of time so they will know you are coming and be sure to spend a few minutes and visit with them as you deliver their Thanksgiving meal. I know it seems like a lot of work but everyone will receive a blessing!

And then there is Thanksgiving Day that we spend with family and friends. It might be the biggest test for our attitude of gratitude! Most people get together on Thanksgiving Day with those they love and friends they care about. We celebrate together on Thanksgiving Evening. If we know of a family who doesn’t have their family close we will ask them to come join us. Since some have already had turkey and stuffing and are a little “stuffed” themselves we just do appetizers. It seems to be a big hit at our house. I usually put out our Scrabble game and everyone is to make a word about something they are thankful for. Mostly the kids like to do it! Sometimes I have the grandkids draw something they are thankful for and we have to guess what it is! An active game time usually finishes or evening together. I am so blessed and Thanksgiving Day and every day is a good time to celebrate God’s goodness!

 

A Fresh Approach to New Year’s Resolutions

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A Fresh Approach to New Year’s Resolutions
by JJ Gutierrez

One of the most common traditions to kick off the beginning of a New Year is to create a resolution. A resolution is simply a personal decision to do or not do something.  It is an act of the will that often fails somewhere between January 1st and January 31st. Many New Year’s Resolutions include losing weight, eating healthier, saving money, making career changes, or spending more time with God.

I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions because they lacked success which usually left me feeling like a failure. Most likely it was due to my inability to “will” myself into accomplishing them. However, there is enormous value in re-evaluating life, setting goals and re-prioritizing at the start of each year. It’s a natural time of reflection and one I embrace fully.

Several years ago I decided to abolish this age-old custom that didn’t produce much fruit and replace it with something new. I decided to take a fresh approach that would actually help and not hinder my desire to follow God and achieve goals in the new year. This will be my fourth year practicing this new tradition and it has become one of my favorite end-of-the-year activities.

Creating a personal motto is my new annual tradition. I couldn’t be more excited to share this with you because it actually works! And it’s easy to make one of your own.

A motto is a short and very specific phrase that can easily be remembered and repeated.  It’s used to convey a message with few words. It is a quick, go-to phrase that becomes an over-arching theme.  Mottos are widely used for groups and organizations to draw attention to a cause, but a personal motto is for the individual.  It is useful for self-encouragement, a personal pep talk or to change bad thoughts into positive thoughts. Mottos supply courage and strength, and most importantly they can direct our attention back to God and remind us of our goals and priorities.

In my years of creating a motto, all of my sayings stemmed from an area of personal growth- a much needed character improvement or an attitude transformation that supported the work God was doing in my heart. By focusing on character and attitude development instead of willing myself to accomplish a New Year’s Resolution, I have found success. The self-will is weak and prone to temptation, but a motto can weave truth into our hearts all year long, producing lasting change.

Recently my husband, daughter and I moved to a brand new city.  We left behind family, friends, established networks, Bible studies and well-known routines.  Our new surroundings are unfamiliar and different. Nothing looks or feels the same and the temptation to want to replicate the old, familiar way of life is strong, but God has directed our path to something new. This year’s motto is in response to this recent change and I am excited by the perspective it will provide all year long.

My 2020 motto is Finding a New Normal. Each time life feels out of place or I am tempted to look back on what was I will whisper to myself, “I am finding a new normal.” Within these few words lies the power to renew my mind and redirect my thoughts back to truth. Instead of giving into feelings of awkwardness, loneliness or fear I am able to embrace the new path God is paving. It’s a reminder that feeling out of place is only temporary and that God is equipping me for the road ahead. I am also reminded of Noah after the flood, Abraham after leaving his country, and Paul after the road to Damascus…they too had to find their new normal.

If you’ve found little success with New Year’s Resolutions, then maybe it’s time to try a personal motto.  Always start with prayer.  Asking God for insight and direction is critical. He knows our heart better than we do (Psalm 139:1, Psalm 33:15) and we can trust Him (Psalm 9:10, Psalm 33:4).  Be open to areas of character growth, attitude adjustments or ongoing struggles. Focus on what is within your control. Many things are beyond our ability to govern so leave those out of your motto…you can’t do anything about them anyway. Scripture can be very useful for mottos too.  If you cannot think of one, adopting a Bible verse is a great place to start!

To learn more about JJ Gutierrez and her book Chickening IN: From Fear to Courageous Faith releasing March 24, 2020 visit HERE.

#MilesApart

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This devotional is an excerpt from the free two-week devotional for couples by Hope N. Griffin available at www.HopeNGriffin.com.

Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”Hope Griffin
“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”
Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord[e] have for his servant?”
The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.”
And Joshua did so.
— Joshua 5:13-15

Do you remember the story of Jericho? The one where they marched around the city in silence for six days and on the seventh day they blew their trumpets and the walls fell-down? Whenever I hear this story I can’t help but see Veggie Tales and think of the green-peas throwing insults at the Israelites.

The Israelites are victorious. But there is a small story before they march that is rarely discussed. I don’t mean Rahab, but rather this man who suddenly appears in Joshua 5 standing before Joshua with sword drawn. Joshua upon seeing this stranger simply asks are you with us or with the enemy. In other words, are you a threat or are you falling in line with our agenda? The man answers simply, “I’m not with you or them. I’m with God.”

I wonder how many times in life we are faced with the same confrontation. We get so busy defending our ground and drawing lines in the sand without stepping back and first asking “but are we on God’s side.”

Joshua humbly recognized that this battle was not his but the Lords. He responded appropriately and fell facedown in reverence identifying himself as being on God’s side. If he were not a humble man willing to listen more than command would he have had the humility to march in silence? Would he have trusted that God’s way was the right way?

Are you trusting that God’s way is the right way?

To learn more about Hope N. Griffin and her book Finding Joy: The Year Apart that Made Me a Better Wife, visit HERE.

Stand or Fight, Press or Rest

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‘To everything there is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven.’ Ecclesiastes 3:1

‘Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.’ Proverbs 26:5

‘Be instant in season and out of season.’ 2 Timothy 4:2

 

What to do when we don’t know what to do.

Do we have a crutch or is it a yoke, do we go fast or slow, do we soak or soar, do we press or rest, do we give comfort or courage? We have so many questions, and when we are in the throes of decision we vacillate and wonder if it’s God’s voice or our own and if were to stand or fight.

Jehosaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 faced a devastating circumstance. The enemies that the Lord told him to leave alone were now coming as a mighty army against them. Jehosaphat knew they had no might to defeat so he called the people together to seek the Lord. He laid out the details before the Lord and then they waited. The word of the Lord came to them through Jehaziel. The Lord told them the battle was not theirs and they would not have to fight. BUT He told them to go out to meet the enemy. WHAT?? How do you go out to the enemy and not fight. Is that defeat? This army is greater than you – such odd directions. But what did the wise king perceive? God inhabits the praises of his people. They sent out the praisers to worship and cry out ‘Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever’. This was a tough situation . . . yet they are to go out praising His goodness? He wouldn’t let them get rid of this enemy before and now they’re not to fight, but praise. Yup, that’s what they did. And what happened? The Lord sent ambushes and wiped out the enemy. By the time the Israelites got there the enemy was defeated and God’s people got to take home the spoils.

So, we never fight? But what about intercession and fighting like the Jews building the wall had to do, or the armies of the Lord that often went out to fight? Hmmm!

Let’s look at a few principles we learn from 2 Chronicles 20. They sought the Lord first of all and in that crying out to the Lord, they told the Lord exactly what they saw happening. And then He spoke to them. He will speak to you. It may be a Bible verse that will rise in your spirit. It may be a phrase from a song or something someone told you. It may be a thought you’ve never had or one that you’ve thought many times. Trust it. Hear it. Obey it. It’s okay to ask the Lord to confirm it. But they were told not to fight and yet to go out and meet the enemy. But He also told them to stand and see the salvation of the Lord. Then they sent out the praisers.

So crying out to the Lord, seeking Him comes first. Then listen – perhaps you have to wait a bit or it may come quickly. Prepare next to stand and see the salvation – salvation means wholeness, healing, deliverance, provision – of the Lord. Then send out the praise for whatever direction He gives you. Let praise precede all your action.

You may be wondering how you stand and go out. Have you ever stood in the water up to your waist? It’s not hard when there is no wind or waves. But how do you stand when the waves buffet you? Well, you have to fight to maintain your stance. It takes effort to stand when life is rough around you. In Hebrews 4, He tells us to ‘labor to enter His rest’. Another seeming oxymoron. We don’t just sit down and let life roll over us and say, “Well I guess that’s the Lord’s plan.” No, you stand, you work to enter the rest, you hide the Word in your heart so you don’t sin against Him. You ‘fight’ to walk in the Spirit so you don’t fulfill the lust of the flesh.

I can hear some saying, “This is so confusing. You’re contradicting yourself.” We sometimes think that about the Lord and the Bible.

Put yourself in a position to know His word, hear His word, and live His word. Realize that His perspective is often different that ours. Ask Him how He sees the situation. Sometimes that’s all we need. Ephesians 2:6 says He ‘raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ – that’s great perspective.

And as you walk in this way, you’ll learn His voice and trust His voice. When I was a 5th grade teacher and taught three sections of science each day, I was troubled about fitting three or four units in before the end of the year. It might seem a small thing to some, but to me it was big – this was my job and I wanted to do everything well. As I walked one day and asked God about it, I heard Him inside ask me “What if you just did the weather unit first rather than last?” It was like a light bulb in my head. Well, that was perfect because then the unit that would be last could be shortened if time didn’t allow. Again, it may seem to some that would be a logical solution, but I couldn’t seem to figure it out. God knew and straightened out my thinking.

Sometimes your decisions are huge and matters of life and death. God will speak to you. He will give direction and confirm His purpose. I’ve found that when I’m in worship and know I’m in the Spirit, it’s a great time to check my heart for His direction. Learn to listen. Get to know His voice.

Sometimes He’ll use amusing situations to speak to you – that’s because you have a special relationship with your Lord. Our parents, our mates often let us know their answers in creative and humorous ways. The Lord Jesus, the Creator of the universe has so many creative ways to answer. This, though, isn’t asking for some strange sign that we insist on – this is asking the Lord to reveal His purpose to our hearts. His answer may seem strange to our thinking but it will line up with the Bible.

Enjoy your relationship with the Lord.

As writers, we may often struggle with direction in our writing, with editing, with marketing, with events surrounding our writing. Things tug at us, and many advise us one way or 32 other ways. It can be so daunting. Set yourself to hear from the Lord and follow Him, set yourself to stand and see His salvation in every decision, every chapter, every post, every marketing venture. Determine to go forward first with praise, realizing that He has good plans for you and He will open the doors and lead you down the right path.

God could have told the Israelites with Jehosaphat to fight the enemy. And there were times He did. Notice in 2 Chronicles 20 that He said at this time they did not need to fight, just go forward with praise. Just because one time the Lord has you go one way, doesn’t mean that His policy with you is always that method. He knows each time the direction you are to go.Blood Moon Redemption

This week, enjoy getting to know Him and letting Him lead you with praise, rest, and joy, whether you fight or stand, press or rest, answer a fool or not, give comfort or courage, go fast or slow, soak or soar in His presence. He is your God.

To learn more about Judy DuCharme and her book Blood Moon Redemption, visit HERE.

Best News Ever: Letter from the Publisher

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This month, as we observe the Easter season, let us remember our Lord and Saviour and the true reason for celebration: the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross, we would have no reason to celebrate. Through His resurrected life, we have new life.

Every spring, we see the evidence of different plants coming up, sprouting, and blossoming all around us creating something that wasn’t there before. The regeneration and awakening of nature after a long winter reminds us of the sin we left behind and the new life we have been given with Christ through His victory over sin, death, and the grave.

It is for this reason that I have chosen an excerpt from Jacob Taggart’s book, Theology from the Spring. Jacob amplifies, through his expertise and analysis, the best news ever: that of Jesus Christ through his death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.

“The work of Jesus is very simply His life and death – as prophesied by prophets of old that the vicarious death of the Savior would bear the wrath of God against the sins of His people. And that is just what Jesus did. Jesus lived the perfect life we could not live, satisfied God’s perfect Law we could not satisfy, and yet suffered the sacrificial death that we should have received. In what I call ‘the Divine exchange,’ Jesus stood in our place, gorily crucified on a cross, where God the Father placed our sin and punishment upon Him, in order to transfer His perfect righteousness to us (2 Cor. 5:21). Only by this righteousness imputed, not infused, to the account of our souls, are we able to stand before God without fear of our just condemnation. Rather, we can now stand before God with the righteousness of Jesus. The genius of the atonement’s redemptive plan speaks to its Divine origin, as it provides something no other world religion can: a solution for our guilt and need for righteousness.

Fortunately, the work of Jesus did not end with His sacrificial death on a cross. Death could not defeat Him, so, as the Bible tells us, ‘Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures’ (1 Cor. 15:3b-4). After His resurrection, Jesus ascended into Heaven, seated next to the Father’s right hand, ruling and making intercession for His people. Therefore, Jesus did for us what we could not possibly do for ourselves. Such is the beauty of the Gospel. When humanity’s most natural inclination is to say, ‘Give me the rules, so I can follow them; I can work to be good enough to save myself,’ the Gospel says, ‘No, you can’t . . . but God, rich in mercy, has done it for you.’ When the world says, ‘Peace and contentment can be found if you will just validate yourself to all,’ the Gospel says, ‘Everlasting joy and comfort is yours because you no longer have to validate yourself to God, other people, or your pride.’ The Gospel is the ultimate metanarrative of humanity, bookended with contrasts: by one man, universal sin and universal guilt entered the world. But by another came infinite righteousness, so that sin may reign no more . . . ”

“This is the Gospel, the Good News that God saves sinners, doing for us what we could never do for ourselves, in spite of ourselves. It is a Gospel of contrasts – where simple meets profound, where good news meets bad news, where wrath meets love, where grace meets justice, where self-sufficiency meets self-surrender, where death meets life, and where God meets us – yet without compromising His holy character. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the best news you could ever hear. This is the Gospel with a Foundation you can stand on.”

May we all seek to remember the Foundation Jesus laid through His sacrifice and resurrection this Easter season.

The Real Saint Patrick 🍀

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Saint Patrick

From our Publisher

With it being St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to write a little something about the man who inspired the holiday. Although there is much speculation about who St. Patrick was and what he did, there are some indisputable facts that many people do not know.

Ambassador author John Holmes describes the life of St. Patrick and explains the many trials and triumphs that St. Patrick faced throughout his life in his book, Saint Patrick: The Man and His Mission. In the opening preface of his book, he explains:

“St. Patrick is among the most famous figures in history. He is forever linked, and rightly so, with Ireland and the Irish people. Around the world innumerable places, churches, colleges and institutions carry his name and yet surprisingly few individuals have anything more than a slight knowledge or understanding of the man himself. You would be hard pressed, for example, to find anyone, even in our halls of learning, who could quote something that Patrick has said. It is true that in recent years some well researched books on Ireland’s patron saint have been published but it would appear that most of these have a limited circulation and are not widely read.

Patrick belongs to the fifth century; to times and conditions far distant from ours. Our knowledge of society in Ireland in those days is limited indeed, for virtually nothing remains of the materials needed to construct some kind of detailed history. By nature of the case it must also be admitted that there is a multitude of questions about Patrick which cannot be answered with complete confidence. There is a multitude of questions which can never be answered – at least not in this life.

We can, however, be reasonably certain about many things and there are areas where the scholars are in general agreement. The historical basis of this little book rests on such material.”

In one of the first chapters of his book, Holmes explains how it is almost impossible to give an exact date for St. Patrick’s birth due to the rarity of records during the time; however, it is widely assumed that he was born in England around 390 AD. He was born into an aristocratic and religious family. Around the age of 16, he is believed to have been captured by Irish raiders and taken across the sea to Ireland as a slave. According to legend, Patrick worked as a shepherd near Slemish Mount while in captivity. After six years of slavery, he escaped confinement, obtained his freedom, and returned home to England and his family. Little did he know (upon his return home) that one day, he would be called back to the land of his captivity to preach the gospel of salvation to the people of Ireland. Today, many remember him as the man who used the shamrock (clover) to explain the holy trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I believe it is only fitting to share the writing of St. Patrick entitled, The Confession of Patrick, which can be found within Holmes’ book.

“I pray those who believe and fear God, whosoever deigns to look at or receive this writing which Patrick, a sinner, unlearned, has composed in Ireland, that no one should ever say that it was my ignorance if I did or showed forth anything however small according to God’s good pleasure; but let this be your conclusion and let it so be thought, that – as is the perfect truth – it was the gift of God. This is my confession before I die.”

As we enter St. Patrick’s Day this year, let us remember the love that he had for the Lord and the vision he sought to fulfill by ministering in Ireland. In closing, let us remember the words (so similar to the feelings of St. Patrick that they could have been sung by him) from the old Irish hymn, Be Thou My Vision:

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun.
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

 

To learn more about Holmes and Saint Patrick: The Man and His Mission, visit HERE.

 

And learn more about some of Ambassador’s other Irish titles including:

A Little Irish Love Story

The Titanic’s Last Hero

A Shiver of Wonder

Favorite Flavors of Ireland

Flavors of Ireland

The Shamrock and Peach

Boldly Walking in the Miraculous

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Matthew J. Romano

Devotional from Matthew J. Romano, author of The Call: An Invitation to Revival and Transformation and complementary study guide, The Call: A Study Guide to Revival and Transformation

Have you ever had a miraculous encounter that changed your life? Each of us will have divine appointments in God’s presence that can potentially catapult us into a glorious destiny. Like crossroads along the journey of life they invite us down a path less traveled. They take us from the ordinary to the extraordinary, the commonplace to the miraculous. They beckon us to take action into God’s purpose and shape who we would become.
These divine appointments can come to us through many different ways and forms. To Moses, it came by a burning bush. To the apostle Paul, it came by an open vision of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. One such appointment that God had ordained for me was to speak to Smith Wigglesworth in a dream. Even though I was aware that we spoke the entirety of the night, I was only permitted by the Lord to recall the end of our discussion. I remember complimenting him for being such an awesome man of faith just as the early apostles were. But what he said in reply shocked me. He said, “Not even I lived up to my full potential in the Lord.” In other words, the Lord had greater power and authority available for him to walk in.  The message that God was giving me is that we haven’t even begun to see what God could do through us if we only believed. “…the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action” (Daniel 11:32b) ESV.
The apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers that they would comprehend “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Eph 1:19) ESV. That power resides in us by the Holy Spirit but it can only be released through action! Faith is confidence in God’s promises and goodness. It acts in agreement with His written word, the Bible. Faith takes risks to accept the challenge of our divine appointments to walk boldly in the miraculous.
One way the Lord has challenged me to answer this call is to believe in Him to bring healing to others. One of the signs that accompanies the believer is that they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover (Mark 16:17-18). Often, I’ve been paralyzed by such thoughts as, “What if nothing happens? I may look foolish and discredit the name of the Lord.” What I’ve discovered is that the Lord is looking for those who will act according to His word. Jesus himself made the promise. My only responsibility is to trust in Him enough to place my hands on the sick and pray for their complete healing. He is responsible for the results. But if I don’t act, I will never see the power of the miraculous.
As I’m learning to step out in faith, I’ve seen God heal instantly, and at other times slowly, until months later the person has made a full recovery. Perhaps not all will be healed, but some will be. Let’s not allow thoughts of potential failure deter us from taking action. Wouldn’t it be foolish if we never told anyone the good news that Jesus saves because they may not believe? The fact is many will not, but some will. The gospel is still the power of God to save (Ro 1:16).
God gives miraculous power only to those who boldly act in faith.

Consider this week, how can you walk boldly in the miraculous?

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