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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

WHO WAS SAINT PATRICK?

March 17th is a day set aside by the Irish, and the Irish-at-heart to celebrate St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland. At least that was the original intent of this day, but alas, it's turned into more of a beer drinking contest, full of fun and sometimes mischief.

Who was this man called St. Patrick? It might surprise you to know that he wasn't even Irish. He was born during the 5th century in Roman-controlled Britain, and taken as a slave to Ireland. Actually, the Irish kidnapped him! He ultimately was released and went back to Britain but returned to Ireland to share the gospel of Christ.

The Irish Shamrock, a three-leafed clover, became a symbol for God in three persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. St. Patrick was said to have driven the snakes out of Ireland thereby earning him the title of 'Patron Saint'. However, there were no snakes in Ireland. Geographically, that would have been impossible. The 'snake' refers to the serpent in the Garden of Eden who was literally Satan himself. Therefore, St. Patrick's purpose was to drive evil away from this beautiful emerald isle. At that time many pagan gods were worshipped rather than the one true God.

I often marvel at the fact that, if you take the time to do a little research, most every holiday we celebrate started as a 'holy' day. I am so touched by the beautiful poem written by St. Patrick; I'd like to share it with you. It's simply called the 'Prayer of St. Patrick'. This is a shortened version.

I rise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I rise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me.
Christ shield me today
Against wounding.

I rise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of Creation.

Life can be hard. We must wade through the storms and remember we are powered by God and He alone can hold us together.

"For in him we live and move and have our being."
Acts 17:28

Once we know who we are and to whom we belong - celebration is sure to follow and food is always central to celebrating. I bought a little book of Irish Cookery a few years ago and have enjoyed some of the authentic recipes; especially this one.

BEEF AND GUINNESS STEW  (serves 6)

2 lbs good quality lean stewing beef
3 medium onions, sliced or chopped
1 cup of sliced carrots
flour seasoned with salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne

1 bay leaf
1/2 pint of Guinness beer  (the alcohol will evaporate and leave only the aroma and taste of the beer)
1 pint (2 cups) water
2 TBL oil
salt and pepper
2 3 TBL of chopped parsley

Put the seasoned meat in a bowl, add meat and toss until thoroughly coated. Heat the oil and quickly brown the meat to seal in the flavor. Stir in the onions and cook gently until they soften and start browning. Pour in the beer and water, stir to dissolve the frying juices, add carrots, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hrs. Or put in an oven safe pan at a low temperature, 300 - 325 for same time. Taste for seasoning and tenderness of the meat. The Guinness will help tenderize the beef.
Sprinkle generously with chopped parsley and enjoy!

Thank you Lord that you are all and in all! You have made your presence and sovereignty known all through the ages. Help us to see your guiding hand and steadfast love.