Thursday, March 17, 2011

“Lucky” or “Blessed”?

This time of year you see a lot of green. Lawns that had been blanketed with snow all winter begin to acquire a hint of that refreshing color. Stores are decorating their windows with displays of shamrocks, along with promotions for corned beef and cabbage. Even McDonalds has gotten into the act by offering mint green milkshakes.
Like many parents, my husband and I would have fun on St. Patrick's Day with our kids, by fixing green food. While not appetizing to look at, it was priceless to see their faces when they awoke first thing in the morning to green scrambled eggs and green milk. And of course many people wear something green today, too, even though they may not be Irish.

Interestingly enough, Saint Patrick wasn’t even Irish. He was actually born in Roman Britain in the 4th century. At the age of sixteen he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. He was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. That dream must have had a huge impact on him, because upon his return to Britain he studied to be a priest. In the year 432, Patrick sensed the Lord calling him back to Ireland, but this time as a bishop, to help spread Christianity to the Irish. Legend has it that he used the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. Patrick died on March 17, 461, after nearly thirty years of evangelism.

Over the centuries the celebration of his life has become more of a pagan holiday. St. Patrick’s Day, in this country, is commemorated with parades and parties, along with getting pinched if you don’t wear green. The original celebration seems to have lost its original Christian meaning.

On this day, too, we often hear a lot about “the luck of the Irish”, although I doubt Saint Patrick originated that term. To be lucky means to have something happen by chance. A person can be lucky or unlucky, depending on the way things come to pass. Some people believe tangible items can bring them luck, such as a rabbit’s foot or four-leaf clover. Believing in luck has its roots in superstition and magic.
Blessings, on the other hand, come from Almighty God, our Creator, our helper, and our divine protector. To bless someone means to ask God to bestow good upon them; to be divinely or supremely favored.

Most Christians don’t believe in luck. We don’t believe that things randomly happen to us, causing us to be lucky or unlucky. Rather we believe in the sovereign hand of God. We know that, if we don’t get the blessing that we may long for, we can rest in the knowledge that it is for our own good; that God has a better plan. We stand on God’s word, especially Romans 8:28: “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose for them”.

Being truly blessed can only come from having a relationship with God. He is calling us to know Him…are you answering His call?

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).

God Bless You,

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Role Reversal

If you are a married woman, you probably made lots of assumptions about your husband from the day you married; such as, he would be alongside you through thick and thin, taking care of you and your children. Besides maintaining the house, yard, and cars, he would be your helpmate and would be there for you physically and emotionally. Maybe you assumed your spouse would be the main breadwinner so you could stay home with the children. Regardless of your original plans, you counted on him to be your support system and available to help you through life 24/7. You never planned on becoming the sole financial breadwinner, the full-time parent, or bearing the burden of home responsibilities all on your shoulders alone. But now (and maybe through no fault of your own), your mate is out of the picture.

Or maybe it is your child who has veered from the path that you assumed he would walk, and has become entangled with people who make poor choices. Ever since he came into this world you may have had a vision that one day he would be there for you, in your time of need, to help you with life as you aged. However, due to his bad decisions, not only do you continue to have to be there for him, you may even have to care for his children in the process. This certainly isn’t how you envisioned your golden years.

When Jesus was talking with his disciples about His kingdom that was to come (Mark 10: 35-45), the disciples assumed Jesus meant that He was about to take control of an earthly throne, the throne of David. And they probably speculated, too, that this new kingdom would be complete with a palace and an army and lots of important positions. James and John even asked to be His left and right hand men. Their vision of the future included Jesus becoming something that He never did become. They saw Jesus fulfilling a role that He never intended to fill.

Oftentimes our loved ones’ lives do not match up to our vision of what we had for them. Dreams are dashed, hopes are crushed, and our loved one makes a terrible choice that affects our life forever. And on top of everything else, we may end up having to be both mother and father (or parent and grandparent), to the innocent children involved.

Life is unpredictable and oftentimes not fair, but with God’s help we can perform a role that was not of our choosing. No matter what our situation, God’s will for us right now is to be satisfied in Him and to trust His plan for us at this time in our life. We need to learn to let God be our helpmate through this journey; and to believe that He will take care of us into our future. After all, He sees tomorrow; we can’t.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).

In His Service,
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