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Today the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments on cases related to gay marriage. Our country is deeply divided on this issue, and this has the potential to be a landmark, and contentious, decision.
I invite you to join me in praying for our Supreme Court Justices today. How should we pray? Perhaps this prayer from the Book of Common prayer will be helpful.
Almighty God, who sits in the throne judging right: We
humbly beseech you to bless the courts of justice and the
magistrates in all this land; and give unto them the spirit of
wisdom and understanding, that they may discern the truth,
and impartially administer the law in the fear of you alone;
through him who shall come to be our Judge, your Son our
Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Many cities will host large celebrations to celebrate Irish heritage. These celebrations often involve parades, brisket, and lots of beer.
Our American St. Patrick’s Day festivities have very little to do with the life of St. Patrick.
Here’s 5 ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, without beer and brisket.
1. Celebrate as a Family
Patrick was kidnapped as a teenager. Removed from his family in Britain, Patrick was forced into slavery in Ireland. Honor the years Patrick was forced away from his family by doing something creative and fun as a family. For our family, this always includes a very green meal. Besides being lots of fun, it creates great family memories.
2. Work to End Modern Day Slavery
Patrick lived as a slave from age 16 until he escaped at age 21. It’s easy to think that slavery is something that used to happen, but slavery is still an evil in the world. 29 million people live as slaves today. We can honor St. Patrick by working to abolish modern slavery.
Learn about the evils of Modern Day Slavery at International Justice Mission.
Pray for God to change the heart of traffickers and for the release of slaves.
Purchase goods from rescued slaves to help support their new life. Check out the Fields of Hope store.
Give to support the mission of organizations who are rescuing and healing slaves. A few suggestions: International Justice Mission, On Eagle’s Wings, Stand Against Trafficking.
Patrick became a person of prayer. A great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is to spend time in prayer. St. Patrick’s Breastplate is a beautiful prayer attributed to Patrick. Why not pray it today?
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
-From St. Patrick’s Breastplate
Find the full prayer at Seedbed.
4. Write a Letter to Missionary
After escaping from slavery in Ireland, Patrick returned to Britain. However, he believed that God was calling him to return to Ireland to share the good news of Jesus. Patrick may have been the first cross-cultural missionary. He returned to Ireland and shared the love of Christ with people who knew nothing of Jesus. His mission to the Irish people was so successful that he became the patron saint of Ireland.
Honor Patrick’s missionary work by writing a letter to a missionary. Tell them thanks and let them know you are praying for them. The encouragement may mean more to them than you know.
Don’t know a missionary? Here’s a few.
5. Love Your Enemies
Jesus commands his followers to love their enemies. Patrick lived this command. Though forced into slavery in Ireland, Patrick did not grow to hate the Irish people. Rather, he loved his captors. He invested his life among his former enemies, reaping a harvest of love. Patrick reminds us that loving service is more powerful than vengeance.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by living as St. Patrick. Show love to your enemies.
Do you desire vengeance because you were wronged? Pray and release the situation to God instead.
Are there people you just don’t get along with? Seek their good.
Have you been taught to hate a group of people? Serve among them and learn their stories.
Feel free to pinch someone who isn’t wearing green today. But let’s celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in ways that honor Patrick’s life and ministry.
Now, please excuse me. I have to go finish wishing some missionaries a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
The first time God declares something is not good is when Adam is alone in the Garden of Eden.
We were created for connection.
It is not good for us to be separated.
February is a month that many identify with connection. We celebrate Valentine’s Day in the middle of the month. Valentine’s Day celebrates romantic connection, but that is only one way for people to be connected. Romantic connection is unique and exclusive – we share it with only one person at a time.
A rich life includes more than romantic connection. It also includes the rich relationship of friends and family.
Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency ask the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
This week of Free Book Friday we have three FREE books worth checking out.
Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
by Timothy S. Lane
Free on Amazon.
FREE on Amazon.
FREE on Amazon.
Friday Book Deals
A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table by Tim Chester – $.99.
All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life by Mark Batterson – $3.99.
Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labor, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. -Book of Common Prayer
Overwhelmed: Winning the War against Worry
By Perry Noble, Pastor of NewSpring Church
In Overwhelmed, Pastor Perry Noble shares his own struggle with anxiety, worry, and depression. Just as Pastor Noble, we can find a path to overcome stress, worry, anxiety, and depression through Christ.
Download FREE*: Amazon
*For a limited time. Hurry up.
FRIDAY BOOK DEALS
The Longing for Home by Frederick Buechner – $.99 at Amazon.
Ragman: And Other Cries of Faith by Walter Wangerin) – $1.99 at Amazon.
The Practice of Saying No by Barbara Brown Taylor – $1.99 at Amazon.
The Twenty-Piece Shuffle: Why the Poor and Rich Need Each Other by Greg Paul – $1.99 at Amazon.
What’s Wrong with the World
by G.K. Chesterton
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”
-G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World
FREE DOWNLOAD: Amazon
Weekly Book Deals
The Twenty-Piece Shuffle: Why the Poor and Rich Need Each Other by Greg Paul – $1.99.
Courageous Compassion: Confronting Social Injustice God’s Way by Beth Grant – $.99.
What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission by Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert – $1.99.