Blarney, Baloney, or Ballyhoo




The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God endures forever. –Isaiah 40:8 NIV

On St. Patrick’s Day, it seems, everyone is Irish.

We love the story of the man who supposedly drove out the snakes from Ireland and used a shamrock, with its three leaves, to teach the Irish about the Trinity.

We do love our heroes, and we do love our holidays, don’t we? But how often do we stop and think about the holiday we’re celebrating? Or do a little research into the real life of the hero?

We associate St. Patrick – and the shamrock – with Ireland.

But in reality, he was actually the son of wealthy Roman citizens who was kidnapped as a teenager and taken to Ireland, where he was sold as a slave. Like Moses and David of old, Patrick spent his days and nights on a lonely mountainside watching his master’s sheep, often in brutal conditions.

After six years, he escaped and returned home, no longer the spoiled and rebellious teenager he was when he was abducted. Instead of assuming a life of privilege as his family expected, he felt called to return to Ireland – this time as a missionary. The rest, as they say, is history. Or legend. Or myth.

Actually, there were no snakes in Ireland for Patrick to banish. Except the snakes of paganism, superstition, petty Irish rulers and religious leaders who jealously guarded their turf. And the shamrock? According to one of Ireland’s leading botanists, “Shamrocks exist only on St. Patrick’s Day. Every other day of the year, it’s known simply as young clover.”

Over time symbolism evolved into story, which we too often accept as fact. But the beauty of the legend of St. Patrick isn’t in the myths we celebrate. It’s in the true story of the transcendent purpose and transforming power of God in Patrick’s life.

You see, it was on that desolate mountain that young Patrick found God ­– and his true purpose in life.

Funny how God uses the hard times to get our attention. And change our lives. And transform us, molding us into the vision He has for each of us.

Are you enduring hard times?

Hang in there and work with God. He has allowed this time for a reason.

My friend and sister-in-Christ Lillie often reminds me of God’s view on our difficulties: “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

We have to sift through legends and myths to discover the germ of truth in them, but we can take God at His Word.

And that’s no blarney!

Lord, it can be so confusing, living in this world, trying to discern what is true and what is false, what is fact and what is embellished story. Remind me to cling to Your Word in times of doubt, knowing that You never lie. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 19

Read “The Real Story of St. Patrick” here.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Turning a Setback into a Comeback


The shirt I wear when I need a morale boost.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – Philippians 3:13 NLT

 A year ago I was a mess physically. Overweight, tired all the time, pushing through each day joylessly, miserable when I got on the scale and even more so when I looked in the mirror, and wrestling with insomnia night after night, despite sleeping pills.

I knew the answer lay in what I ate. I’d tried just about every diet out there, and mostly they worked – for a while. I’d lose a few pounds, start feeling good, then revert to my default mode. After all, how could a Slovak gal like me resist pasta and bread?

But a year ago I came to the end of my rope. I needed help. So I contacted a certified nutritional therapy practitioner. And my life changed.

Amy Taladay taught me a lot not just about the right foods, but about my own body and its response to the foods I eat. Within a month foggy-headedness disappeared, energy returned, pounds dropped off, and for the first time in years, I was able to sleep without sleeping pills. Folks told me my skin glowed.

Finally! Not a diet, but an eating plan I could live with for the rest of my life.

Then I went on vacation. A granola bar here, a slice of pizza there, and soon I was in default mode. Not entirely, but, hey, I wasn’t reacting to the food, so maybe I was healed of whatever it was that caused all my issues.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive! And that includes deceiving ourselves. By March, the gluten rash returned with a vengeance, as did the insomnia, fatigue, and brain fog. The numbers on my scale inched up.

Back to square one. But at least I know where square one is, and at least I have the resources to get back on track with what I call my vibrant health plan.

I will turn this setback into a comeback.

Peter, too, failed miserably, doing the very thing he boasted he’d never do – deny Jesus. “And he left the courtyard, weeping bitterly” (Luke 22:62 NLT). Yet less than two months later, we see Peter preaching boldly to a crowd of thousands in the very city where he denied Jesus (Acts 2:14–41). Of that crowd, 3,000 became believers.

Now, that’s turning a setback into a comeback!

How do you turn your setback into a comeback?

First, stop denying and face the truth about yourself. For me, it was accepting the fact that certain foods cause distress to my body and I need to avoid them  – for the rest of my life.

Second, truly repent, which means “to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing.” The negative effects of the foods I shouldn’t have eaten caused me great regret and remorse.

Third, determine not to make that mistake again – and commit to a positive, corrective course of action. For me, I committed to following my vibrant health plan to the letter, even though it takes hours in planning and preparation. The time spent is worth it.

Fourth, seek the counsel of those wiser and more knowledgeable and the support of those who truly care about you. I’m blessed to have a husband who encourages me to eat the right foods and is willing to eat whatever I make, whether it’s a flop or a hit. And to have the support of my prayer team, precious friends who uphold my writing and speaking ministry. They know whatever affects my body will affect my ministry.

Fifth, pray, asking for wisdom, guidance, and supernatural enabling. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NLT).

And finally, let go of past mistakes. Learn from them and move on. Pursue the vision of whatever goal God has placed in your heart.

Lord, give me the strength, wisdom, and courage to turn this setback into a comeback. And I will give You the honor and the glory. Amen.

“Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” – Psalm 50:15
Read and meditate on Luke 22:31–34, 54–62

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.