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SHE: UNTOLD STORIES OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH


 

 

BIBLE READINGS


2 Chronicles 15:7


7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”


Galatians 6:9


9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.


Hebrews 12:1-3


12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.


2 Peter 3:8-9


8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

 

SHE: UNTOLD STORIES OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH


MONICA of HIPPO

 

Monica of Hippo is often referred to as the patron saint of difficult marriages and disappointing children, which gives you a glimpse into her story and the life she lived. Despite her Christian faith, Monica’s parents married her to a Roman non-believer Patricius, an individual with a hot temper and who was unfaithful to her throughout their marriage. He was bothered by Monica’s prayers, annoyed that she was giving to the poor, and when she asked to have their children baptized, he refused to give his permission.


To make matters worse, his mother lived with them, which had little impact on her sons’ attitude and habits. Monica’s prayers and faithful life finally won her husband and mother-in-law to faith in Christ.


Regardless of this lack of support, and the burden of this life situation, Monica did not waver in her faith and trust in the faithfulness of God.


Monica’s oldest son was studying away from home when her husband died; and when he returned home, Monica discovered that he had converted to Manichaeism, a rival religion to Christianity at the time, that taught "all flesh is evil". So … she kicked her son out of the house, which was a total knee-jerk reaction, some time later however, she was reassured in a dream that her son would come back to the faith in Christ. So, she made amends with her son, and from that point on, she dedicated her life to encouraging her son’s return to Christianity.


Her son didn’t always make this easy, once leaving town in the middle of the night to avoid his mother coming with him on a journey. But his mother followed after him, traveling to one city and then another, until she finally caught up with him in Milan.


It was in Milan that Monica and her son met a local church leader by the name of Ambrose, who had a profound effect on them both. Ambrose played a significant role in leading Monica’s son back to the faith after 17 years. On Easter 387, Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. After his conversion, Monica’s son, Augustine, went on to become one of the most influential Christian theologians and philosophers of all time. The western church would not look the way it does today had it not been for Augustine, and by extension, his mother Monica.


Perhaps, you are familiar with a quote of Augustine’s that is descriptive of his journey and descriptive of many of our journey’s too.


“God has made us for Himself,

our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”


What can we learn from Monica’s life? Do not underestimate the gift of dedication. It might not seem like the flashiest gift, and it might take a lot of time before someone sees the fruit of our dedication. But Monica’s dedication to her son and his salvation had an immeasurable impact on followers of Jesus from his day to our own.


If you have been gifted with dedication and commitment, don’t give up. There may be voices around you are telling you to throw in the towel on a lost cause, but as long as you sense God’s leading, continue after whatever it is that He has put into your mind and heart, stick with what is in front of you. You may not feel like leaning into things sometimes but believe me, there is purpose in your perseverance. The road might be long, but in the end, it will be worth it.


Put your faith in our God’s careful watch over all things. Remember what Jesus said, in Mark 11:22-24,


“Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.


Today let us thank God for his constant and consistent patience with us.


I invite you right now, to pray something like this, use your words , God I am impatiently awaiting __________, (You fill in the blank) but I ask that You give me perseverance and dedication in this waiting season. Help me show the same dedication Monica did, and reveal to me any areas of my life in which I need to persevere. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

Hebrews 11:1


Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,

the conviction of things not seen.

 

PRAYER


Here is a Prayer of Augustine to conclude our Devotional Today.

 

God of our life,

there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down;

when the road seems dreary and endless,

the skies gray and threatening;

when our lives have no music in them,

and our hearts are lonely,

and our souls have lost their courage.

Flood the path with light,

run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise;

tune our hearts to brave music;

give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age;

and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life, to your honor and glory.

Amen.








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