Sunday, March 17, 2013

Count it all joy

"St. Patrick used a clover to illustrate the Trinity"
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit different yet all one.

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
Digital Painting- Corel Painter

Today we think of clovers to signify St. Patrick's Day, along with some drinking.  What St. Patrick was most famous for, was his ability to describe the Trinity using a clover.  It's always nice to find the spiritual meaning in holidays.

When my brother and I were kids, St. Patrick's day meant pinching.  He's 5 years older than me and stayed at least 2 feet taller.  On the 17th, we'd each jump out of bed and try to get green clothes on before the other.  Whoever lost, got the pinch. I'm sure my pinches didn't hurt as much as his did : )  So I worked extra hard to get green first.  Looking back, I'm pretty sure he showed me mercy.

The Book of James was either written by Jesus' half-brother, or one of the disciples.  My Bible introduction says that it's most likely Jesus' half-brother.  It's got some tough words and also some great encouragement.  Sometimes I have to squint when I read it- James is very direct.  But he also tells us to count it all joy, even if you're the one who gets pinched.  Your faith and patience will grow.

James 1:2-11

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 
Even big brothers have an important role in our lives.  There's nothing like family to test our faith.  

4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 
This is something beyond normal.  It happens when I am really worried or afraid about something.  For me, it comes when I finally let go of a problem.  I am able to see the other side.  It's accepting that if we have to move from our current home, God will provide another place, probably better.  It's about understanding what is truly valuable and what doesn't last, like jobs and cars.

It's this wonderful feeling of relief and peace.  There's nothing more important in the world than God and His love for us.  He is the center of the universe not me.  Suddenly doubt disappears and I know everything will be ok.  I can let go and not hold on so tight. I have faith; I believe and trust.
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Figuring out my own business is interesting.  If I charge a $10 profit for coffee mugs with my artwork on it, will anyone buy one?  What if I charge lower?  Will that be enough for my family?  I know how to flounder!  The worst though is floundering in my faith.  My soul feels unstable.  A good nap helps and meditating on Jesus' name.

9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
This is a common theme throughout the Bible.  The rich man is self-sufficient.  He/she doesn't need anyone including God.  They believe they've got it all, own it all.  Poor people are imperfect to them.  To God, the poor are the blessed ones : )  The rich are the deceived.



  1. To me faith is like that cup of yours Karen, It is just a cup until I put a name on it, and then it becomes a representation of something more important than just a cup.
    Our lives bear the name of CHRISTian on it, so no matter what is contained within it is Christ inside that makes everything better.
    Our cups can contain yummy hot cocoa, or yucky medicine, but the trust we have is in the one who indwells us.~God bless~

  2. Amen! I love what you wrote. That's a great analogy : ) Christ within makes all things new and right! Thanks! God bless : )

  3. So without Jesus we are an empty plain white cup. But with Jesus, we have the Master's hand on us changing us into a work of Art, a masterpiece : ) Very cool!