Who was Saint Patrick and why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Patrick, whom almost everyone calls “Saint Patrick,” although he was never canonized by the Catholic Church, was born to a wealthy family in AD 387 in Kilpatrick, Scotland. His real name was Maewyn Succat. It was his extensive missionary work in Ireland for which Patrick is famous. During the thirty years of work there, he supposedly converted over 135,000 people, established 300 churches, and consecrated 350 bishops. Patrick died on March 17, 461. For over a millennium, the Irish have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.

History records that Saint Patrick, at age sixteen, was captured by Irish raiders and spent several years as a slave in Ireland. It was during this time that he learned the various rituals, customs, and language of Druids, and it was these people that he eventually evangelized. Patrick apparently had a dream in which God spoke to him, saying, “Your ship is ready.” Patrick was then able to escape Ireland by ship. Shortly thereafter, he experienced another dream in which he received a letter that was labeled the “voice of the Irish.” When he opened it, he heard the voices of all those whom he had met in Ireland begging him to return.

Saint Patrick then returned to Ireland to tell people about Christ. Though the task was difficult and dangerous, he persisted and was able to build a strong foundation for Christianity. The Irish people were receptive to his teachings, especially in light of the fact that he was able to take several of their Celtic symbols and “Christianize” them. The most well-known of Patrick’s illustrations is the shamrock, a certain type of clover sacred to the Druids, which he used as a symbol of the Trinity.

Each year millions of people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It is a national holiday in Ireland when people do not work but worship and gather with family. In the United States, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York on March 17, 1762. It consisted largely of Irish soldiers. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by wearing green, which symbolizes spring as well as Irish culture.

What started as a religious holiday has become a secular celebration of all things Irish. Neither Saint Patrick nor St. Patrick’s Day is mentioned in Scripture. While we would strongly disagree of some aspects of theology that St. Patrick taught, the fact that around 1,600 years ago a man dedicated his life to proclaiming the gospel, resulting in tens of thousands coming to faith in Christ, is most definitely worth celebrating (Luke 15:7–10).

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“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Think for a moment what it means to hunger for something. As Americans we have everything readily available to us; if we are hungry, we go to the fast-food joint on the corner and get a whole meal for $4. We don’t have to worry about where the next meal will come from or how to find food for our family. Not everyone has this luxury. Places like Guatemala, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Haiti all have in common a dangerously high poverty rate. Citizens in these nations go days, even weeks at a time, with little to no food; searching through trash and rubble for the smallest crumb to satisfy the twisting hunger in their stomach.

Thirsting. Our homes have access to city water, or we have a well outside pumping thirst-quenching water into our faucets. If we are thirsty, we grab a glass and fill it with the liquid that makes up 70% of our bodies. Again, the availability of conveniences to which we have access causes us to miss the appreciation of natural necessities. The example seen in poverty stricken nations should grab our attention.

Just as food and water are necessary commodities for our bodies, so our souls hunger and thirst for the gospel. We all have felt this craving, and Jesus is the only One who can satisfy.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). It’s not surprising that this hunger and thirst remind us of being “poor in spirit.” When we position ourselves to be poor in spirit, an aching develops in the deep recesses of who we are. We realize it’s not a normal type of poverty because nothing earthly satisfies. We realize how truly hungry and thirsty we are for what is real; for a water that will cause us never to thirst again. Contrary to hungering for earthly food or possessions, where we get delirious and faint until we get what we need or want, this hunger brings focus and clarity to seek what truly satisfies. We are completely dependent, yet completely free; empty yet filled, and thus, the beautiful paradox of the gospel. We can only be satisfied when we stay hungry.

-Josh Turner

Red Hills Church 

AGPW DEVOTIONAL CONTENT

The following Devotion is from T.C. Stallings book “Playing on God’s Team.”

Check out tcstallins.com for more information on this phenomenal 21 Week Devotional for building true Christian Athletes.

Are There Many Ways to Play on God’s Team?

There is only one way to play on God’s team—His way. Knowing that the game plan of Christ is the only one that will work for His team is an important aspect to grasp because we live in a world that tends to ignore this truth. Many people, rather than depending solely on the Bible’s instructions, have chosen to trust their own instincts when determining what Jesus will or will not accept from them.

This is how some athletes become what I like to call game-day Christians. They don’t really pray or read Scripture that much during the week, but on game day, that’s when God gets a lot of attention. I used to be like this myself. I wanted protection from injury, the vision on the field, and a victory all wrapped up in one big blessing. During the week, however, I just wanted my food blessed. I was not aware how silly it was for me to think that I could ignore Jesus all week long, and then—like a football genie— He’d grant all my game-day wishes just because I “believed in Him.”

No one can change what God’s Word says and has already defined as acceptable when it comes to membership on God’s team. Our earthly opinions will never replace God-breathed Scripture. As a Christian, the Bible alone—without twisting, manipulating, or tailoring it—must be our ultimate source of truth and guidance. The Bible is the only acceptable way to play for His team. All other methods fail if they try to replace or compromise God’s truth.

If life is the game, then the Bible is the perfect playbook. Without one, it is utterly impossible to play on God’s team.

When people accept Christ and join His team but then make a lifelong continued effort to play by their own rules, they’ll eventually become players He cannot use. By ignoring the game plan of God, you are cutting yourself off from the team.

Choosing to live by our own rules is like walking up to Jesus and saying, “I’m sorry, Coach. I love being on your team, but I just don’t like certain parts of your game plan. So I’ll just go with mine instead—but I’m still gonna need your blessings on my plans, Big Guy.”

A Christian athlete is defined by the fact that he or she strives to follow Christ each and every day, because for each of them every day is game day. 

AGPW DEVOTIONAL CONTENT

The following Devotion is from T.C. Stallings book “Playing on God’s Team.”

Check out tcstallins.com for more information on this phenomenal 21 Week Devotional for building true Christian Athletes.

Coaches Coach, Players Play

Many times, as players on God’s team, the toughest battles we face in the game of life are the ones against ourselves. We get in God’s way by not allowing Him to have His way. This is when we as players decide to take on the role of head coach. And in doing so, we replace God’s plan with our own.

Take a look at John 15:5 and notice the word remain. It indicates and identifies a challenging task for each and every one of us—to not only let Jesus take the lead, but also to allow Jesus to keep that lead at all times. John 15:5 also reveals a key condition for all of us who decide to play on God’s team: it is only through staying connected to God that the fruit-bearing occurs. He’s making it clear that we’ll never be able to accomplish anything meaningful for God without a connection to His Son.

Jesus knows that we may start off obeying His game plan but then be tempted to give up on it at some point. Jesus clearly warns that whenever we try to live according to our own set of rules, plans, or opinions, we are getting set to accomplish large amounts of nothing.

AGPW DEVOTIONAL CONTENT 

The following Devotion is from T.C. Stallings book “Playing on God’s Team.”

Check out tcstallins.com for more information on this phenomenal 21 Week Devotional for building true Christian Athletes.

Let’s Set the Table

Team is defined as a “group of people working together on a specific task.” By definition, it is true to say that all Christians form a team. We are a group of people who are called by Jesus to work together with the common purpose of carrying out His will in the earth. With that understanding in mind, let’s continue by speaking a language all of us athletes can vibe with—let’s talk in terms of a team.

Since we as Christians are indeed a team, then we can say that God is our head coach, along with His Son Jesus (who saved us) and His Holy Spirit (who empowers us). Since teams are designed to participate in games, we can say that Christians play in the game of life. This game schedule is a tough and lengthy one, however—365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. We never stop playing because life never stops happening.

More than that, we play against the same opponent each day. Satan’s team is powerful and determined. Their coach is crafty and clever. He is committed to his game plan of killing, stealing, and destroying (John 10:10). He’s playing to win, and he already has many victories. Take a look at today’s world and all the evil in it and you can clearly see how many lives he has impacted for the worse. Confidence when facing Satan can be hard to come by, which is why it is important that we always remember that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

This is so powerful to understand! We are more than conquerors. What does that even mean? I decided to look up the word conqueror. What I found was that there were multiple definitions, but here’s the one I loved the most: “To be victorious.”

Romans 8:37 guarantees that even with all the power that Satan has in his arsenal, it is those of us on God’s team who will ultimately be victorious. God’s players will be the champions. There is nothing that can stop God’s game plan from succeeding in the lives of His players—except one thing. What can stop His plan?

His own players. How is this even possible? We can stop God’s plan in our lives by abandoning His plan and doing our own thing. Doing our own things means that we have abandoned God’s plan.