Thursday, December 17, 2015

Anna who was also a prophetess...

ANNA
THE WIDOW IN THE CHRISTMAS STORY

The songwriter, speaking of Christmas, said, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”  And it is!  Think about it!  How can it not be?  Listen to the proclamation of the angel to the shepherds at the time of Jesus’ birth: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)  Every person born of woman, other than Jesus the Son of God, is in need of a Savior.  Even Mary, blessed among woman and the mother of our Lord said, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  (Luke 1:46) 

We need not argue that each of us is a sinner.  Plant yourself on a bench where there are both parents and children.  What do you hear?  "Stop that!"  "Don’t do that!"  "If you do that again, I’m going to tell the park ranger."   "See that policeman over there? I’m going to go get him."   "I’m going to tell Pastor Bruce."  You get the point.  Even if we use our own standard, we will come up short of the mark.  Yes, as the Apostle Paul put it, “This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Jesus Christ came to save sinners of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15)


Here’s the true beauty of Christmas: family festivities, the giving and receiving of gifts, carols, Christmas songs, lights, and the list goes on, all make the season a delight.  But above all else, it’s this one truth that makes Christmas “the most wonderful time of the year” … Jesus the Christ bridges the gap between sinful man and a Holy God. 

Listen to the words of Anna the widow.  Jesus has been brought into the Temple to be
dedicated to Jehovah in accordance to the Law (Luke 2:21-38).  Anna, who was in her late 80s or early 90s, prophesies about the future of the Christ child and the redemption of Jerusalem.  As Jerusalem is redeemed so is the world, “for God so loved the world.”  John 3:16



In these three short verses, which reference Anna, the widow, and daughter of Phanuel, we can learn the following life-lessons:

1. We don’t need to travel to advance the Kingdom of God.  Anna stayed at the Temple giving herself to prayer and fasting.  Prayer is the real battle; and, every widow can pray.  C. H. Spurgeon said, “Prayer moves the arm that moves the world.”  Oswald Chambers said, “Prayer does not equip us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work."  A. J. Gordon said, “You can do more than pray after you’ve prayed, but you can never do more than pray until you’ve first prayed. “

2. We don’t need to be eloquent or have a so-called prominent position in the Church 
(or “wherever”) to please God and advance the Kingdom.  Anna had no special position or prominence, although I suspect she was well known because of her commitment to the Temple and piety.  Anna simply made herself available to be used when needed. In this instance, God chose to use Anna to speak encouraging words to Joseph and Mary and to assure them that what was spoken of the Child would truly take place.  I’m sure that Joseph and Mary were not the only couple or family Anna encouraged and spoke words of wisdom to. 

3. There is still another lesson we can learn from this widow at this Advent season.  We can  advance the Kingdom of God by giving ourselves to worship.  What is worship?  I love Rick Warren’s definition, the author of The Purpose Driven Life: "Worship is bringing pleasure to God.”  Jesus said if we give a cup of cold water in His name, it will not go unrewarded.  Would you not say that’s bringing pleasure to God?  Yes!  Whenever we in humility serve our Creator and Savior of the world we bring Him pleasure.

Sometimes as we get older we feel less needed and less valuable.  Don’t believe that lie!  There is nothing more pleasurable to God than loving on Him, praying for others and giving an encouraging word.  So, at this season, and year round, let’s learn from Anna the widow …the blessing is an encounter with the Son of God.







 Message by Pastor J.Bruce Sofia
Senior Pastor of the Gloucester County Community Church in Sewell, New Jersey 






I too love this time of year. My favorite is singing along with the Christmas Carols and some of the popular Christmas music.  Now get comfortable, turn the sound up real loud, forget about the neighbors and sing along with the music. This will truly put you into the Christmas Spirit. 

                                              O Holy Night by Josh Groban









My love to all......
Dotti Ackerman
Director of FNF Blog


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"

Years ago there was a great song sung by the Bee Gees called “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”.  I found a video copy of this song and I hope this will help you to remember the words and maybe have a little fun singing along with the video.




 I can think of younger days when living for my life

Was everything a man could want to do
I could never see tomorrow
But I was never told about the sorrow

How can you mend a broken heart?

How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again

I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees

And misty memories of days gone by
We could never see tomorrow,
No one said a word about the sorrow

And how can you mend a broken heart?

How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
And how can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.


The lyrics of this song are very sad, but there is answer to the question “please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.”  After the passing of my late husband Bill, I have said those same words and I know many other widows have felt the same. 

Pastor Rick Warren wrote a great devotional message titled “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and He saves those whose spirits have been crushed” (Psalm 34:18).  Pastor Warren’s article gives us six ways God blesses a broken heart and I pray as you read this article it will bless your heart and help you to “live again”.

 SIX WAYS GOD BLESSES A BROKEN HEART

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and He saves those whose spirits have been crushed.” (Psalm 34:18 NCV)
Every one of us will experience loss in our lives. So how does God heal your broken heart? You don’t get over a loss. You can’t go under it; you can’t go around it. You’ve got to go through the grief. And if you are scared to express emotion and refuse to go through it, that’s where you get stuck.
But how do you get unstuck? You let God help you. There are six ways God blesses a broken heart.

God draws you close to Himself. Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and He saves those whose spirits have been crushed” (NCV). When you grieve, you often feel like God is a million miles away. In fact, He’s never been any closer.

God grieves with you.  The Bible says, “(Jesus was) a man of sorrow, acquainted with deepest grief” (Isaiah 53:3a NLT, second edition).  When you come to Jesus with your grief, He knows what you are talking about, and He understands your pain. God is a suffering God, and He is a sympathetic God. He’s not aloof; He’s not apathetic. He’s not standing on the sidelines.

God gives you a church family for support.  We’re meant to grieve in community. Healing comes in groups. Healing comes in the church. Healing comes in community. We’re better together!  “In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others…Be devoted to each other like a loving family…Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn’ (Romans 12:5, 10, 15 NIV/GW/NIV).

God uses grief to help you grow. God uses grief and even pain to help you become more like Christ, and He does it in three ways. God uses pain to get your attention (Proverbs 20:30). Second, He brings good out of bad (Romans 8:28). Third, He prepares you for eternity (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

God gives you the hope of Heaven.  There are many people who grieve without hope. Your life on this earth is short, but if you believe in Jesus Christ and trust Him for your salvation, then you have the hope of spending eternity in Heaven with God, and that hope will sustain you through your time of loss. The Bible says in I Thessalonians 4:13, “We don’t want you to be ignorant about those who have died. We don’t want you to grieve like the other people who have no hope” (GW).


God uses your pain to help others. This is called redemptive pain; it is the highest and best use of the pain 

God does not want you to waste a hurt. “God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT, second edition).

(This is God's marching orders to our ladies at FNF. We are to comfort others when they are in trouble, with the same comfort God has given us.)




“Six Ways God Blesses a Broken Heart”
Written by Pastor Rick Warren,
Daily Devotions: Thursday, October 15, 2015
Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California












Monday, November 16, 2015

HE IS ABLE

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think...Ephesians 3:20



I've been chewing on this verse for a few months now. I think I say those words in every email I write! I hope you chew on God's word. There is so much nutrition in His Word for our spirits. His words are sweeter than honey on my mouth!

Anyway, back to Ephesians...God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think...Stop! Just stop right there and think about those words! They have such intense meaning! They are so full, yet we often read them, pass right over them, and don't really think about the power that is contained in them.

Paul made up that phrase. His knowledge of God, his vast understanding of God in his heart, his personal experiences with God have surpassed words. God is so amazing, awe inspiring, and really at times, just beyond words. So Paul took liberty here and just made up a saying to explain a little deeper who God is.

Spurgeon says it this way...
"He (God) is able to do so abundantly it exceeds measure and description."

That word "able" is the same word used for power when we talk about the resurrection of Jesus. It's dunamai - It's miraculous power! He can do it! He can keep on doing it too!

Ok! Ok! What can God do? Well, He's told us so much of what He's already done...
He is able to...

·        provide a child for the barren (Abraham/Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth, the     Shunnamite Woman)
·        The widow whose oil was multiplied
·        lead 1 small stone slung by 1 small boy right in the head of giant killing him
·        bring the dead to life...Shunnamite's Son, Jaerus' daughter, widow's son,   Lazarus
·        shut the mouths of lions
·        Protected Naomi and Ruth on their journey to Naomi’s home town.
·        create a child in the womb of a virgin
·        Provided a son for Ruth that would be in the lineage of Jesus
·        feed a multitude using a few fish and loaves
·        Provided for the widow of Zarephath.
·        Provided Tamar with two boys and protection from Judah
·        endure the beating preceding the cross and then give Himself upon the cross
·        Raising Dorcas from the dead.



1 Cor. 2:5 tells us that our faith should not be in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God.
We measure life, circumstances, abilities, things by our own experiences, and then live our lives and make understanding by putting God in that same box. We give Him our attributes thus giving Him our limitations and our measurements, but God is above and beyond all of that. "He abundantly exceeds measure and description."  

God did all those things. I've become simple enough that I believe every word in the Bible including the fact that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

So, if He did all those things so many thousands of years ago. He can do so much more! Exceedingly! Abundantly! Above all that I could even imagine or think. Some of those things are beyond my imagination even now. Wouldn't it blow your mind to see some of those things happen?! 

Exceedingly abundantly more than we can think or imagine...Because of this praise to God, we can have assurance that God can answer our prayers!  We should never hesitate to offer our deepest request.
Jowett says it this way, "What I have asked for is as nothing compared to the ability of my God to give. I've asked for a cupful, and the ocean remains. I've asked for a sunbeam, and the sun abides. My best asking falls immeasurably short of my Father's giving. It's beyond all that we can ask."


What are you trusting God for? Ask Him...believe He can do it. Wait and see!


Blessings!








Pastor Gary Clark
Calvary Chapel
Turnersville, NJ 08012










Lynda Randle - Walk With Me Lord



Lynda Randle - He Will Carry You. 


Monday, October 26, 2015

ALWAYS ENJOY BEING A BLESSING TO OTHERS



In I Timothy 6:18, we read these words: Command that they do good, that they be rich in good works, generous, willing to share, and laying up in store for themselves a good foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of eternal life. (MEV)

Paul is writing to Timothy, his son in the faith, and instructing him on what he should be teaching to the church in Ephesus. Someone, upon reading this verse, remarked that it is telling us to enjoy being a blessing to others for in so doing we are laying up eternal riches that will far exceed any sacrifice we may make down here.

As I contemplated this verse in reference to widows and, always seeking to inform my writings with biblical examples, I thought of Tabitha, the story of whom is recorded in Acts 9:36-42.  She was a follower of Jesus Christ who became ill and died.  Her death so upset the people of her church in Joppa that they sent for Peter to come.

The scriptures don’t say exactly why they sent for Peter, but it does tell us that when he arrived the widows could only take him to where Tabitha’s body lay, and then through their weeping point out to him the many garments that Tabitha had made. The scriptures describe her as being full of good works and acts of love. The scene seems to be that of a group of widows, who traditionally were among the most impoverished in their culture, totally distraught at the death of this generous, loving woman and looking to Peter whose miraculous works were well known, as if to say, “We can’t survive without her. Do something!” And he did.  He sent them out of the room, and prayed over her and God raised her up. 
Tabitha has left us with quite a legacy and example of how to live out the injunction of I Timothy 6.

As many of you know, the FNF chapters in New Jersey and Florida have “adopted” twelve widows in India and send a monthly stipend to them through the Kerusomen Gospel Ministries.  They have selected what are known as “orphaned widows,” those with no family to help them; in fact, many times they have been totally abandoned by their families and left with no means of support. 
These American widows initially took on the support of five orphaned widows and that group has grown to twelve.

 Dotti Ackerman, director of the Florida chapter, asked her widows to give a Christmas gift in the amount of $5.00 per widow above their regular stipend. Dotti relayed the following story to me:
          One afternoon when I was at my dentist’s office, he inquired how everything was going with me, knowing that I was undergoing cancer treatment. We had developed a special bond as both his mother and sister were cancer survivors. I told him about my widows’ group’s support of the widows in India and how we were wanting to send them a monetary gift at Christmas as well as gifts to Pastor Sahaya Simon and his family who oversee the ministry. My dentist Dr. Ralph asked me how much was needed, and then gave me enough American dollars to cover monetary gifts for the widows and gifts for the Pastor and his family. The $55.00 my widows collected covered the cost of mailing 
 the gifts.

Dotti was elated as she shared this story of God’s provision. Her widows gave sacrificially and God moved on the heart of Dotti’s dentist to go beyond what Dotti could ask or think and a dozen widows and a pastor’s family in India will be the grateful recipients.


John Wesley made the following a rule for his life and I pray that each of us will too.
          Do all the good you can,
          by all the means you can,
          in all the ways you can,
          in all the places you can,
          to all the people you can,
          as long as ever you can.

However, I don’t want you to think that by doing good you somehow earn God’s approval.  Oswald Chambers beautifully says it, “Christian character is not expressed by doing good, but by God-likeness. It is not sufficient to do good, to do the right thing. We must have our goodness stamped by the image and superscription of God. It is supernatural all through.”

 In other words, our acts of love and service are prompted and empowered by the Holy Spirit who indwells each of God’s children.  Pray that God will open your eyes to ways to show His love through acts of generosity and service each day.

Message by Shari Hervold







Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"GIVING GOD YOUR BATTLE"

      



   
“…the battle is not yours, but God’s  



   

   An overpowering Egyptian army pursued God’s people. Backed up against the sea with no weapons or way of escape, God parted the waters and led His people to safety. A menacing army hunted down the prophet Elisha, but God struck the army with blindness and sent them home humiliated. The Israelites were no match for the Aramean army that surrounded Jerusalem and cut off their food supply.  In the middle of the night God caused the enemy to hear sounds of a great army, the Arameans fled in fear, leaving all their silver, gold, food and supplies behind. Time and time again when God’s people themselves unfit, ill equipped and with nowhere to turn, God stepped in and unfurled His power. Your Heavenly Father always has a plan and His plans never fail.

 “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry…He delivers them from all their troubles.” 

Samuel begged God to defend the Israelites against the Philistines, and God answered in a loud voice like thunder that caused the enemy to flee. Hezekiah pleaded with God to save the people from the Assyrians, and an angel of the LORD put to death 185,000 men in the enemy camp.

 Jehoshaphat prayed, “we have no power…we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” God gave the people victory without having to fight. 
Because he loves says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him; for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon Me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him”.

When you cry out for help and God speaks, do exactly what He says. Obedience is faith in action.  God told Moses to stand firm and be still; they would be delivered without a fight. By faith the people did and they beheld the miracle. God told Gideon to reduce his army from 32,000 to 300 to fight the Midianites. By faith he did, and God brought an easy victory. God told Joshua to march around Jericho for seven days blowing trumpets. By faith they did, and the insurmountable walls crumbled. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. At first they may not always make sense, but God’s ways are perfect, and His word is flawless. He knows your enemy. Trust His plan.

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. I will turn the darkness into light…and make the rough places smooth. Turn to me and be saved…for I am God, and there is no other. Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come…’  In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust in your strength.  

We all find ourselves in helpless situations when things will seem out of control. God understands. “When we were utterly helpless with no way of escape, Christ will at just the right time and died for us sinners…”  The God that lovely gave His only son to rescue us from our helpless state will not abandon us. When we in faith look to Jesus in our weakness, He becomes our strength.  When we invite Him into our dead ends, He becomes our way. When we fix our eyes on Him, He          becomes our peace.

Where are you facing disap-
pointment, setback, insurmountable walls, overpowering enemies, or impossible odds?  Take heart! The battle is not yours but the Lord’s.

Surrender to Him.  He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Trust His love for you His plans never fail.



Message "Giving God Your Battle" by the Senior Pastor J. Bruce Sofia from the
Gloucester County Community Church
Sewell, New Jersey. Pastor Bruce has been my family's pastor since 1984. Thank you Pastor and may God Bless you and your family.









         
Tears Are A Language God Understands by Amy Lambert

The Battle Belongs To The Lord by John Michael Talbot 






Saturday, September 26, 2015

THE FAITH THAT MAKES US WELL

As Jesus went, the people pressed around im. And there was a woman who had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, "Who was it that touched me?"  When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 
And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace” (Luke 8:42b-48).

On His way to the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler that desperately sought his healing touch for his dying daughter, someone else touched Jesus. The all-knowing Word of God paused and asked "Who was it that touched me?"

 He was creating another teaching moment that would compel the crowd of followers to come closer and challenge His disciples to grow in understanding. This lesson was about faith. It was about the kind of effectual faith that gets results. Jesus wants true disciples to know that there is faith that can heal the hurting, restore the ruined, emancipated the enslaved, and even save the sinner. It is a special kind of faith. Today truth seekers are reminded that effectual, productive faith is centered in Christ, and it is the faith that makes us well.

Potent faith is desperate to touch Jesus' garment. Faith is a channel or vehicle that connects us with something or someone. We all trust in things and people every day. We trust the cr to get us to work, the company to give us a paycheck, the spouse to be there when we get home, and so much more.  We are connected to the things and people we trust. But the Word of God became flesh to invite us to behold and trust the Creator and Father that made us to be connected with Him..."to all who did receive Him, who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).

The woman's desperation drove her to touch Jesus became everything and everyone else had let her down. Growing disciples learn to let their times of desperation drive them to touch Jesus, and we do, He never lets us down...
"do not be anxious about anything, but in everythilng by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

Powerful faith is driven to trust Jesus' gift. Faith is a channel or vehicle that connects us with the object or result we seek. Desperation drives us to something or someone we hope will meet our need. The desperate woman had no certainty of the healing she sought, but that did not prevent her from approaching Jesus. Maturing disciples learn to seek and trust God's best answer to our prayers when desperation drives us to Christ because the seeing helps us know how much He loves us and wants to give us His best.
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on God, because He cares for you" (I Peter 5:6-7).    

Productive faith is delighted to tell of Jesus' goodness.  Faith is a channel or vehicle that empowers us to be an effective witness tothe world around us. When our desperation is relieved by a touch from Jesus, and opportunity is created for Him to receive glory. We exist for God's pleasure and to give Him glory...
"From Him and through Him and to Him are all things to Him be glory forever" (Romans 11:36)
Jesus interrupted His journey toward Jairus house reminds us of the time He interrupted His travels to raise the only son of the widow of Nain. Earnest disciples learn to celebrate and share the precious and powerful testimonies of Jesus touching their lives and answering their prayers because we are eager to see God get glory and Jesus lifted up in the midst of this very needy world...
"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." John 12:32)

As we grow up into Christ we learn to let our desperate need drive us to Him as we grow in... The Faith that Makes Us Well. 

Message by Pastor Bob Barber

Music by a great singer, Doug Oldham - "He Touched Me" I have heard Doug Oldham sing many times on TV and in a church,Turnersville, N.J. His voice and songs always make you feel that you were in the throne room of God. Today, Doug is with the Lord, but his songs will always be an enouragement to many. 


 I found another great song, so sit back and enjoy the song "He Cares" by this special man of God....Doug Oldham.




God Bless all of our viewers of "Friends Needing Friends International Widow Ministry. 














Wednesday, September 9, 2015

GOD'S PLANS WILL PREVAIL


   In the first chapter of Matthew, which records the lineage of Jesus, the mother of Judah’s son, Perez, is listed as Tamar. In noting that only five mothers were named and I was fairly familiar with the other four, I started researching to find out more about this woman. Of course I started with the Old Testament itself as her story is told in Genesis 38. It’s a rather unsavory story, even repugnant to the average twenty-first century mind.

          But, there’s something in the character of this woman Tamar that resonates with me and I want to share her story with you. You see, she too was a widow and, like you, found out that there were battles and challenges after becoming a widow that overshadowed the death of her husband. I don’t mean to diminish the grief that accompanies becoming a widow, but that often is only the beginning of pain, disappointments, and set-backs which come in many and diverse forms.

Let me quickly summarize the story for you to help you understand what led to Tamar’s depth of despair and hopelessness. Tamar was married to Judah’s oldest son, Er, but because of his wickedness, God caused Er to die before he and Tamar had a child. Onan, the next son in line, was to raise up a son through Tamar to keep his brother’s lineage alive, but he refused to do so and he too died at God’s hands. 

The third son, Shelah, was too young but Judah promised Tamar that when he was old enough he would give him to her so that she would conceive a child. 

This was in keeping with the custom of “kinsman redeemer” found in the book of Ruth. The closest of kin was to ensure the line of the deceased husband. Once Tamar had married into Judah’s family, she was a part of it and he was legally her father. But he told her to go back to her own father and he would call for her when Shelah was mature because he thought that Tamar was responsible for the other sons’ deaths and that Shelah would die too. She obeyed him and did so
Now, the tribe to which Tamar belonged prohibited a childless widow from remaining a widow and it was Judah’s responsibility to make sure that didn’t happen and I’m sure at this point of time, Tamar trusted her father-in-law to look out for her interest and the interest of his eldest son. They believed that his name could not, under any circumstances, go into oblivion.

We don’t know how long Tamar remained in the home of her parents. But we do know that during that time Shelah did, in fact, become a mature man and Judah’s wife died. We also know that the desire to have an heir remained strong in Tamar’s heart. I conjecture that it was this desire and the anticipation of it coming to fruition that kept her going through the lonely, shameful, barren years she was waiting. Remember, she lived in a culture where it was a disgrace to be a childless widow, and she had twice been left one.  Shelah was her last hope.

  After years of waiting, it became clear to Tamar that Shelah was not going to come asking for her. It also became clear to her that she was thought to be the cause of the deaths of her first two husbands. This was a crushing blow to her as well as humiliating. Imagine the depths of despair into which this must have pushed her, most likely overwhelmed by feelings of complete hopelessness. But, Tamar was not going to stay there. She may have lost all trust in men, but she knew her legal rights and she was not going to go to her grave without an heir.  In fact, Gien Karssen in her book, Her Name is Woman, states that she considered it a religious duty to produce an heir from the tribe of Judah.
 
 When she heard that her widowed father-in-law was going to be shearing sheep nearby, a plan formed in her mind. She dressed in the veiled clothing of a temple prostitute and sat by the side of the road where Judah passed by.


           He offered her the usual payment for her “services” which would be brought to her by his servant and she complied on the condition that he give his walking stick, cord and identification seal to her as a guarantee that he would keep his word. These objects were symbols of a man’s identity and personal worth.

Idenification Seal 
           As one writer put it, “It is astonishing that Judah gave them up.” The Greek historian, Herodotus, states that the staff was made specifically for each person with a personal emblem carved on top of it.  It was much more than a mere walking stick. As the leader of a tribe, it was Judah’s emblem of authority with the names of his forebears carved into it.

Judah's emblem of auhority.
          It is especially astounding that Judah would give up that staff. The fact that he did so is a testament to his state of mind and lack of wisdom at this time in his life.

           Can you imagine the fear Tamar experienced attempting to conceal her identity by disguising her voice and making sure Judah did not catch a glimpse of her face? This gal deserved a medal for chutzpah, if nothing else! Judah didn’t know it yet, but he wasn’t dealing with an ordinary prostitute.

          To Tamar these almost-sacred objects were symbolic of the son that she would have to succeed Judah. Her actions beg the question: What made Tamar so resolute in her desire to bring forth a male heir from the tribe of Judah? Perhaps she didn’t even know the origin of this strong resolve, but God did. God knew that his son, the promised Messiah, would come from the tribe of Judah and I suggest that it was He who put this strong desire in Tamar’s heart.

          Tamar suffered greatly from the sins of her two husbands. Doubtless she was shocked and shamed by the wickedness of Er and humiliated and insulted by Onan’s behavior. But, she was a woman with no rights of her own; no one cared about her opinions and certainly less about her feelings – except God.

            The rest of the story is a fascinating read and I strongly encourage you to read it. Tamar’s clever insistence upon taking Judah’s symbols of honor and dignity become clear. Her story demonstrates how God can take the greatest disappointments, the deepest pain, even the failures and sins in our lives, and turn them around for good. In nine months Tamar gave birth to twin boys. God gave her not just one, but two sons. Imagine her joy and pride to become the mother of two sons from the tribe of Judah. Finally, she was vindicated and recompensed all in one birth.

          One of the boys was named Perez, and through him Tamar became an ancestor of Jesus, our Messiah. In fact, she is the first registered woman in the genealogy of Jesus. Now, this could only happen through the mercy and grace of God. The Law said that she deserved death, yet God gave her life and the privilege of being in the lineage of His son.

            Ladies, not matter the situation in which you find yourselves, God’s grace is greater and He will come to your rescue; yes, even if you have tried to turn things around on your own, in your own way. He, as your loving, caring Father, will rescue from your deepest pits and make those plans He has for you become a reality.



We are all dead in our sins until and unless we have accepted Jesus as our savior. If you have not done so, I pray that you will ask God to open the eyes of your heart to see Him as He really is: a loving heavenly father who longs to give your life meaning and purpose. If He can do it for Tamar, He can and will do it for all who call upon Him. Hebrews 4:16 states it this way: Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it the most.
Message by Shari Hervold