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Contributed By:
Michael McCartney
 
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SAINT PATRICK

Historical Background of Patrick:

Patrick lived in the fifth century, a time of rapid change and transition. In many ways we might say that those times of turbulence and uncertainty were not unlike our own. The Roman Empire was beginning to break up, and Europe was about to enter the so-called Dark Ages. Rome fell to barbarian invaders in 410. Within ten years of that time, the Roman forces began to leave Britain to return to Rome to defend positions back home. Life, once so orderly and predictable under Roman domination, now became chaotic and uncertain. Patrick entered the world of that time (Joyce).

Partick’s biography is as follows: By Anita Mc Sorley

The uncontested, if somewhat unspecific, biographical facts about Patrick are as follows: Patrick was born Patricius somewhere in Roman Britain to a relatively wealthy family. He was not religious as a youth and, in fact, claims to have practically renounced the faith of his family. While in his teens, Patrick was kidnapped in a raid and transported to Ireland, where he was enslaved to a local warlord and worked as a shepherd until he escaped six years later. He returned home and eventually undertook studies for the priesthood with the intention of returning to Ireland as a missionary to his former captors. It is not clear when he actually made it back to Ireland, or for how long he ministered there, but it was definitely for a number of years. By the time he wrote the Confession and the "Letter to Coroticus," Patrick was recognized by both Irish natives and the Church hierarchy as the bishop of Ireland. By this time, also, he had clearly made a permanent commitment to Ireland and intended to die there. Scholars have no reason to doubt that he did. He died on March 17 the day we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

 
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Illustration- Pharmacists For example, • You go to a doctor whose name you cannot pronounce and whose degrees you have never verified. • He gives you a prescription you cannot read. • You take it to a pharmacist you have never met. • He gives you a chemical compound you do not understand. Then you go home and take the pill according to the instructions on the bottle. All in trusting, sincere faith

 
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MAX LUCADO WRITES, “I WAS FLYING HOME TO SAN ANTONIO ONE EVENING AND AS THE WHEELS OF THE PLANE HIT THE RUNWAY, ALL THROUGH THE PLANE YOU COULD HEAR THE UNFASTENING OF SEATBELTS. A VOICE CAME OVER THE INTERCOM SAYING, ’PLEASE REMAIN SEATED WITH YOUR SEATBELT FASTENED UNTIL THE PLANE COMES TO A COMPLETE STOP,’ NO ONE PAID ATTENTION AND PEOPLE WERE OPENING THE OVERHEAD COMPARTMENTS, GETTING THEIR STUFF OUT. I ASKED MYSELF WHY ARE THEY SO ANXIOUS TO GET OFF THIS PLANE, AND THE ANSWER CAME QUICKLY: THEY WERE HOME AND THEY WANTED TO SEE THE PEOPLE THEY LOVE. I T DAWNED ON ME THAT THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS DIDN’T HAVE TO PULL ANYONE OUT OF THEIR SEATS, WHO MIGHT WANT TO STAY ON THE PLANE FOR A FEW MORE HOURS, BECAUSE THEY WERE HOME AND WANTED TO GET OFF OF THAT PLANE. THEN I ASKED MYSELF, WHY DO WE CHRISTIANS, HOLD SO FAST TO OUR SEATS IN THIS WORLD? WHY AREN’T WE AS ANXIOUS AS THESE PEOPLE, TO GET OFF THIS CRAZY WORLD, WHEN IN FACT, WERE NOT HOME YET EITHER?”

 
Contributed By:
Tim Zingale
 
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A LITTLE GIRL’S PRAYER

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do she died, leaving us with a tiny premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator) and no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst. Rubber perishes easily in tropical climates. "And it is our last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed.
As in the West it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

"All right," I said, "Put the baby as near the fire as you safely can; sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm."
The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle. The baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During the prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. "Please, God," she prayed, "send us a water bottle. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby’ll be dead, so please send it this afternoon."

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added by way of corollary, "And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?"

As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, "Amen"? I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything. The Bible says so. But there are limits, aren’t there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home; anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the veranda, was a large twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.

From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys; eyes sparkled as I pulled them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas --- that would make a nice batch of buns for the week...

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Contributed By:
Gene Gregory
 
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One day 2 men were talking as they saw a woman walking down the road. One of the men said, “That’s Mrs. Jones. She always has something good to say about everyone.” The other man decided to test her, so when she got close he hollered, “Mrs. Jones, what do you think about the devil?” She thought for a second and answered, “He sure is busy isn’t he?” You can find something good to say about almost anyone. Encourage them.

 
Contributed By:
Andrew Moffatt
 
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Thought Control.

What thought? Every thought. The one I have about the Ford Mark One Zephyr that I would like to one day own, the one about how angry I get with repeating a request that someone shuts the door behind them, the thought about how I’d like that last slice of chocolate cake that is for another member of the family, the thought about how I deserve this or that, the thought about the attractive lady who smiles at me in the street, and here’s a biggy the thought about how ‘I earned it, it belongs to me! ‘

You see we all have thoughts we shouldn’t have and the world tells us that it’s OK to have them. Not every thought is worth having, in fact, some are down right hazardous to a person’s health.
Try these on for size:
Ill never be capable of doing that.
Just one, no one will ever know.
Everyone’s out or the kids are in bed, I can watch this programme.
Everyone else does it.
If I just wait around things will come right.
It’s only cheating if I get caught.

We humans, are inclined to do stuff wrong, we think wrong and then act in wrong ways. there is a process of thinking and action. Thought comes before action. If we can capture our thoughts and that’s every thought, even the ones that seem good, but are a bit self seeking and make them obedient to Christ, life is a lot easier.
The loan for the Zephyr, which I would so like, does not have to be paid back, you see in my case it’s a case of idolatry any way, and the Subaru is adequate, and much cheaper to run.
The door situation doesn’t erupt into an argument, because I come up with a suitable deterrent to the door not being shut, and discipline is how the young learn.
The chocolate cake fills the right stomach and I didn’t need it any way, I also don’t need to apologise or loose the extra calories.
I take any thought about the smile and think about the beautiful lady who smiled at me on our wedding day and continues to love me even knowing all my faults not just me at a glance. The gift of God that is our income is recognised as being a gift because God has gifted us with the ability to earn it. This is thinking how Jesus would have us think!
We know what these thoughts are, as we walk in the faith, we pick up the tools of the faith. “Thinking how Jesus would have us think” is one of those tools.
The scriptures and the Holy Spirit aid us to think correctly but we need to know them and respond to them.

 
Contributed By:
Don Hawks
 
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BE LIKE THE SPIDER

There was a man who was cleaning up his desk one Friday afternoon when he noticed an envelope that had been opened. Someone must have placed it there while he was on the phone. He opened it and read it, and to his shock and dismay it was a notice of being terminated, being laid-off from his job. His entire department was being eliminated along with his position. After all the years he had given to his corporation, he found himself filled with resentment and the sense of being victimized. The man sat slumped in his chair in utter despair.

He began to think of all the terrible things that were going to happen to him. His entire lifestyle would have to be altered. He thought, "I'll have to sell my house; I'm too old to get another job; I'm useless; I'm all washed up."

At that moment, the man noticed a spider on his desk, and without thinking he brushed it off. He was amazed though as he watched as the tiny creature automatically spin a strand to bear its weight and swing gracefully to the floor.

He pondered: If this tiny creature could draw forth from within itself some reserve of resources to meet its emergency, why could he not do as much? For many hours, he sat deep in troubling thoughts that turned gradually to creative mediation.

The man moved from the anxiety of what he lacked to the abundance of the God-given inner resources he had been blessed with. He thought: "My security is not in my job or in my money or in my house but in my connection with the God of grace who has seen me through all circumstances in my life. They might take me off the payroll, but no one can take away the flow of God's abundance in my life."

This man had secretly been longing for an opportunity to tap into his creative ability and interest in writing. Now here was the opportunity before him. A whole new way of thinking possessed him. He thanked God for the new door that had opened before him and even blessed his termination from his job. He left the office with an enthusiasm and zest for life that surprised even himself.

To make a long story short, the man had some writings published and earned some money. Now he didn't become a financial giant but more importantly he had a new found faith in the abundance of God and became less anxious about what he lacked in his life.

Source: Adapted from a story told by Eric Butterworth

 
Contributed By:
Andrew Chan
 
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A story… It was autumn, and the Indians on the remote reservation asked their new Chief if the winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was an Indian Chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky, he couldn’t tell what the weather was going to be. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he replied to his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared.
Also, being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, "Is the coming winter going to be cold?"
"It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold indeed," the meteorologist at the weather service responded. So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared.
A week later, he called the National Weather Service again. "Is it going to be a very cold winter?"
"Yes," the man at National Weather Service again replied, "it’s definitely going to be a very cold winter." The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of woo...

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Contributed By:
Lynn Floyd
 
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Assumptions can be quite dangerous. For example, the photographer for a national magazine was assigned to get photos of a great forest fire. Smoke at the scene hampered him and he asked his home office to hire a plane. Arrangements were made and he was told to go at once to a nearby airport, where the plane would be waiting. When he arrived at the airport, a plane was warming up near the runway. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, "Let’s go! Let’s go!" The pilot swung the plane into the wind and they soon were in the air. "Fly over the north side of the fire," yelled the photographer, "and make three or four low level passes." "Why?" asked the pilot. "Because I’m going to take pictures," cried the photographer. "I’m a photographer and photographers take pictures!" After a pause the pilot said, "You mean you’re not the instructor?" The Jokesmith.

 
Contributed By:
Troy Borst
 
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ILLUSTRATION… Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
1. Materialism
2. Pride
3. Self-centeredness
4. Laziness
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
6. Envy
7. Gluttony
8. Lying

Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when…
they had neglected their time with God (81 percent)
and when they were physically tired (57 percent).
Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising
situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).

 
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