Would you like to see a picture of biblical womanhood—a portrait of a life lived faithfully before the Lord and in service to others in the local church? I cannot think of a more fitting image than our dear friend Madonna Aristorenas.
Madonna passed away last Friday after a six-year-battle with breast cancer. She was 39. But Madonna’s example and testimony is alive and healthier than ever. She leaves behind a legacy of passionate service to the church and infectious joy in Christ.
Carolyn McCulley penned a tribute to Madonna on her blog. There she quotes Madonna’s pastor as saying that despite her battle with cancer she had served in every major ministry in the church. In the world’s eyes, Madonna had every right to be home feeling sorry for herself, but Madonna refused. She laid aside all thoughts of self and gave her life away for the glory of her Savior. John Piper says, “If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full.”
Madonna is in these words. She experienced hard things in this life and the risk was most certainly high, but she lived gladly to make others glad and her joy was full.
Please, take a moment and read Carolyn’s tribute to this most worthy of ladies. And look hard at your own life. Are you “living gladly to make others glad?” Where are you serving in your local church? How can you seek to live with an outward focus today? May Madonna’s life inspire you to honor the Lord in all that you do!
In difficulty, my first question is often “Why?” I can be tempted to demand an answer from God. Sometimes He makes his purposes clear: in many cases, our trials are indeed “preparation for the task.” But God is not obligated, nor does He always tell us why.
But there is another question He will always answer, as JI Packer asserts in his new book: Praying the Lord’s Prayer:
“If you ask, ‘Why is this or that happening?’ no light may come, for ‘the secret things belong to the Lord our God’ (Deuteronomy 29:29); but if you ask, ‘How am I to serve and glorify God here and now, where I am?’ there will always be an answer.”
Our Father in heaven will show us how to glorify Him, if we simply ask, ready to obey. So which question are you asking today?
“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21
Last night was girl’s night out. Over dinner at a sidewalk table (for which we waited, like hungry vultures, for forty-five minutes) our conversation bounced from one topic to another. At one point I mentioned a small difficulty I am facing. My mom and sisters encouraged and challenged me and the conversation moved on. This morning, my dear sister Kristin emailed me the following quote she read in her quiet time:
“Like an astute coach or a gifted teacher, God prepares his saints for the tasks to which he has appointed them before he uses them. Moses, for example, spent forty years in the desert, herding sheep, before God called him to lead his people out of Egypt. What better preparation in patience could there have been for his assignment of leading an equally stubborn flock of people through wilderness for forty years? Similarly, David learned courage from his own experience as a shepherd. Later the one who had learned how to take on wild animals in the defense of his flock would be called upon to take on the biggest wild animal of all, mighty Goliath, in the defense of God’s flock. God knows how to prepare his people for the tasks to which they are assigned” (from Living in the Gap Between Promise and Reality by Iain M. Duiguid).
Kristin wanted to encourage me that my present difficulty is “preparation for a task.” It isn’t simply something to get through. It is a training tool—to conform me to the image of Christ and make me more useful for him.
How about you—what herd of sheep are you called to look after today? Maybe it’s a laborious task such as a full credit load at school or backed up loads of laundry at home. It’s preparation for a task. Or what about a wild animal? Is there a prowling trial in your life—physical, relational or otherwise? It’s preparation for a task.
Our astute—and, might I add, loving—coach has us in training. Let’s look to Him in faith and meet our task with courage.
It’s Labor Day here in the US. The guys at the family room blog have posted some thoughts which will help us to glorify God on this holiday. We hope you all enjoy the day with family and friends!
Kristin for the girltalkers
Labor Day has been around for over 100 years. For most Labor Day marks the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. For others, it is simply a three-day weekend where family and friends have one last cook-out. Ultimately, Labor Day exists to honor all workers.
United States Labor Department defines Labor Day as, “The first Monday in September that is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
So how can we as Christians celebrate Labor Day? Here are three ideas:
1) Take time to thank those who have graciously provided for you by working day after day. Children thank your parents.
2) Reflect upon and give thanks for the many blessings of being a citizen of the United States.
3) Thank the Lord for providing your job and the financial blessings that have come to you.
And praise God that Christ completed all the work that was necessary for our salvation. When his earthly saving work was done, He said, “It is finished.”