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Mar 15 2011

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St. Patrick’s Day Devotional

shamrock
St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach about the Trinity: 3 in 1.

 

Many people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day because it’s fun to wear green, go to parades, and have parties. But most Christians do not realize that St. Patrick was an apostolic missionary to Ireland. He saw many signs and wonders happen during his ministry because He walked in the Spirit daily. He valiantly stood against the powerful demonic forces of the paganism that filled Ireland at that time.

St. Patrick lived from 389 to 461 AD. He has kidnapped from his native Britain (what is now Wales) when he was sixteen years old and was sold by his kidnappers to Miliucc, a pagan chieftain king in Ireland. Patrick had to take care of Miliucc’s sheep. His overseer beat him if he did not work hard. He spent most of his time outdoors, even while sleeping, in all sorts of weather. It was a cruel and lonely existence.

He knew about Jesus because his father and grandfather had tried to pass on to him a godly heritage. But until kidnapped, he had not paid much attention to the Christian faith. Now that he was lonely and filled with despair, away from his beloved family, he cried out to God. He mad a habit of daily praying the Lord’s prayer over and over, as well as talking to God. At some point he was hit with the fear of the Lord and then by God’s amazing love, and he grew in faith.

One night, at age 22, he heard an audible voice, “Soon you will go to your own country. See, your ship is ready.” God assured him that He would be with him, and he escaped. He had to travel 200 long miles through swampy land and up mountains, in order to avoid being caught by servants of Miliucc.

Finally he reached the coast and saw a ship that was ready to sail. He told the captain that his father, who was a nobleman, would surely pay for his fare upon his return. But the captain refused. Patrick prayed as he slowly made his way down the beach, “You led me to this ship, Lord. I know you will not fail me now.” In spite of how bad the circumstances looked, he confessed his faith in Almighty God. Soon he heard footsteps running toward him. A sailor called out to him that the captain had changed his mind.

For some unknown reason, the ship landed in a deserted area, possibly in France. For a month, those on the ship searched for food. The captain had been mocking Patrick’s Christian faith, but at last, in desperation, he sought out Patrick, who witnessed to him of the power of God. Suddenly a herd of wild pigs ran right across the road in front of them, and the sailors killed enough of them for a feast. Then, because they thought he was a magician, the sailors refused to let him go.

Eventually Patrick made it home to Britain. His family rejoiced and wanted him to stay. But one night Patrick saw a vision and heard “the voice of the Irish” calling to him. He knew that God was calling him back to Ireland to be a missionary.

He began his ministry when he was around 40 years old. Ireland was full of paganism, idol worship, and fear. Druid priests performed animal and human sacrifices, incantations, and occult rituals. When Patrick tried to visit Miliucc to tell him about Jesus, Miliucc set his house and himself on fire and died.

Patrick often challenged the Druids. There were many local kings who had Druid priests serving them. Patrick was bold, and even though many times kings and Druids tried to kill him, God showed miraculous power and delivered him. Once, as Patrick was making his way toward a castle, pagans lay in wait to ambush him. All they saw was what looked like a deer walking by, and Patrick made it into the castle, to the amazement of the local ruler.

Once Patrick camped in full view of the castle of King Loegaire and his two Druid priests. He lit a bonfire to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ before the Druids could light a fire to celebrate the pagan feast of Beltine. Loegair was furious and commanded that Patrick be put to death. Even the Druids were afraid, telling the king that no one could put out Patrick’s fire. The king sent 27 chariots to get Patrick and arrest him.

The druid, Lochru, insulted Patrick and spoke bitterly against the Christian faith. Patrick was full of boldness from the Holy Spirit and cried out, “Oh Lord, who can do all things, who sent me here: May this wicked man who blasphemes Your name be carried up out of here and die straightway!” Lochru suddenly was flipped into the air by an unseen power and then crashed to the ground, where his head split open on some rocks.

The hateful king yelled, “Seize him!” Patrick called out, “Let God arise and His enemies be scattered!” Darkness suddenly enveloped everything and the confused soldiers of the king began to attack each other. There was a small earthquake and the terrified horses took off, with chariots breaking apart everywhere!

This reminds me of accounts in the Old Testament in which the enemies of Israel became confounded by God and did the same thing!

The next day, Easter Sunday, Patrick had a confrontation with the king’s other druid, Luctmael, who met a firey death. Patrick then told King Loegaire that if he did not repent, he would die also. The broken king knelt and repented.

For thirty years Patrick faithfully traveled throughout Ireland, facing danger, hardships, prison, etc. But he never gave up and was driven by compassion for the people of Ireland. Many came to Christ. He built churches and left groups of believers throughout the land.

When the people of Dublin heard of the signs and wonders that accompanied his ministry, they went to Alphinus, the king of Dublin. His son and daughter had just died. By then Patrick had a reputation for raising people from the dead. Before this, the people of Dublin had rejected Patrick and the gospel he preached. Now the king promised that if God would raise his two children from the dead, that he and all his kingdom would become Christians. And that’s exactly what happened! The king and his subjects turned away from idolatry and were baptized.

During his lifetime, Patrick saw the majority of Ireland become followers of Jesus Christ. The demonic forces were beaten back. Before he died, he prophesied that Dublin would become the principle seat of the whole country of Ireland. And, of course, it did.

Patrick is an awesome example of a person who loved God and others so much, that he dedicated his life to stand up for Christ and to proclaim His Kingdom here on earth. He walked by faith, and God honored that. Let’s pray to be bold, like he was, and to spread the gospel to a lost and dying world.

We are told by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 to go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to observe the things that Jesus commanded us. St. Patrick was an amazing example of someone who took these verses to heart and obeyed them.

 

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3 comments

  1. Karen J. Roberts

    St. Patrick was born in what is now WALES, not England, which didn’t exist in his lifetime. Please be more accurate with the Welsh-born patron saint of Ireland’s biography. 😉

  2. ChrisAgne

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my tweeple! Learn the real story of a Christian missionary, then go have a good time.

  3. karenrob

    Thanks for the correction on Patrick’s place of birth!

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