Tuesday, December 18, 2018

THE YEAR OF THE FAVOR OF THE LORD



First off, let me wish each of you a Happy New Year. I pray that 2019 will be filled with many blessings for you from the hand of our Lord!  We each want favor in our lives whether...

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Pray, Plan, Prepare

           The holiday season is fast approaching and this is always a difficult time for windows. Since I am not a widow, I began to research the writings of widows, as well as professionals who work with widows. I’m grateful for their insights.
          Often the grieving dread the holiday season. Thoughts of family traditions, social gatherings, and tiring shopping can fill one with anxiety, leaving a widow feeling overwhelmed....

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Lessons in Grieving from Naomi

   
In the book of Ruth, we read the story of a woman named Naomi who, along with her husband and two sons, had left her home in Bethlehem to live in the country of Moab because Bethlehem was suffering a severe famine.  At some point during their time in Moab, her husband died, her sons married Moabite women and later they too died. So, Naomi found herself in a foreign country with no husband...

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

This is Cause for Celebration

 In the late sixties and early seventies anyone over 30 was considered “over the hill” and was suspect. Of course, this designation was made by those under thirty and we know how much wisdom they usually display (smile). However, in business as well as in Christian ministry, the older the establishment, the more likely it is seen as trustworthy.

Perhaps you weren’t aware of it, but Friends Needing Friends is celebrating 30 years of ministry to widows, and that’s cause for celebration. However, it’s not just thirty years of existence that we’re celebrating, but after thirty years of disappointments, setbacks, discouragement, sicknesses and deaths, FNF remains a beautiful, vibrant ministry offering hope, friendship, restoration, and Christian fellowship to widows. In a real sense, we’re celebrating God’s love and faithfulness to Dotti Ackerman, the founder, and to all the women whom this ministry has touched.

 Two sections of Scripture come to my mind that demonstrates celebration after great hardship. The first is Genesis 41:52 which states that Joseph, in naming his second son, stated that “God has prospered me in the land of my sorrow.” He could celebrate the birth of two sons and forget his great suffering prior to his high government position. In the book of Nehemiah we read of the events leading up to and during the rebuilding of the wall - the mistreatment of the Jews, and the terrible hardships they suffered – after which the Levites declared a sacred day to the Lord and instructed the people to prepare a great feast.  Nehemiah 8:12 tells us, “So the people went off to feast, eating and drinking and including the poor in a great celebration.”  I love that this verse specifically mentioned that the poor were invited, as this would have included widows who were the poorest of the poor in those days.

I have been associated with FNF for 28 years of its existence and during that time I have spoken or written about almost every widow mentioned in the Bible. In reflecting
on the past 30 years of FNF and comparing it to the lives of many of the biblical widows, I see comparisons from which we can learn a valuable lesson. I don’t have space to enumerate all of them, but the first one that comes to mind is Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah who was cheated out of her right to bear children (childlessness was seen as a disgrace) by the deception of Judah. It was a cruel deceit, yet Tamar, in the depth of despair, outwitted Judah and became pregnant by him. She bore not one, but two sons. Not only was her disgrace of childlessness removed, giving her cause enough for celebration, but her sons were in the lineage of the Messiah. Now, that’s truly something to celebrate.  (The whole story is recorded in Genesis 38.)
Bathsheba, the beautiful, but married, woman for whom King David lusted and bedded resulting in a pregnancy. She became a widow after David had her husband killed so he could marry her and forgo a scandal. From all accounts, Bathsheba had a good marriage and was forced by David into these circumstances. The baby born of this liaison died, leaving her grief-stricken twice. But, if we follow her life, we see that her son Solomon becomes king after King David dies, and he has such great love and respect for his mother that he orders a throne brought in so she could sit at his right hand. Her son is also in the lineage of Christ. 

These women lived to celebrate life again after great heartache.  I also think of Ruth, Naomi, the widow of Zarephath, and the widow of Nain along with others whose stories are a testament that with God’s grace we are able to rise above the vicissitudes of life and celebrate life.

The last widows that I think of as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of FNF are you. Many of you, though you’ve been subject to great sorrow, severe hardship and painful adjustments, have faithfully ministered Christ’s love and encouragement to fellow widows month after month for years. You have chosen to persevere through your own pain, experience God’s grace and healing, and then selflessly minister to others. There were those who thought that Friends Needing Friends would not last, there were those who thought Joseph was dead, there were those who thought the wall would never be rebuilt, there were those who thought that Tamar would die childless, there were those who thought Bathsheba would be just another “notch on David’s belt” once his lust was satisfied, and there were times when each of you thought your life was over after the devastation of losing your spouse, but God in His faithfulness has brought you to a place of celebration.

FNF celebrating their 30th Anniversary. The gentleman in the center of the picture is Pastor Bruce Sofia from the Gloucester Cty Comm. Church.  Pastor Bruce and the GCCC has supported this ministry for thirty years.
 You are the reason for this ministry and you are the ones whom God uses to make it what it is today. Dotti and each of you has a reason to celebrate this God-ordained occasion.  Happy 30th Anniversary, Friends Needing Friends, and may God grant you many more years of being His ambassadors to widows.
Message by Shari Hervold

Introducing the Boynton Beach, Florida's chapter, celebrating altogether their birthdays! Boynton Beach chapter celebrated their 6th Anniversary in February 2018.



Brunch for the ladies. 

Opening our meeting singing "This is the Day that the Lord hath made."

Exchanging Birthday Gifts

Games!  Yea....Bingo. 

One of the winners!

We have many members of FNF Internationally, and we all know it is very important to have Jesus in our hearts and to ask Him daily to help us to take one day at a time.   Wherever this message travels internationally - click on below and enjoy the video by Lynda Randle singing this very important message. 





                                                                   












Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What We Can Learn From the HIGHLY FAVORED ONE

What We Can Learn From the HIGHLY FAVORED ONE
Lessons from Mary, the mother of Jesus

It is easy to read the Christmas story and forget about Mary after the holidays end. We exclaim over her humility and willingness to be chosen to be the mother of Christ and we love to recite her Magnificat. But Mary was much more than the new mother we honor each December and she has life lessons from which we can glean during the other eleven months of the year.

Before we go into the Scriptures to see what they tell us about Mary, let’s look first at the cultural setting for her story as well as do a little reflection. In first century Galilee it was customary for a young woman to marry once she had started her menses. As soon as she could bear children, she was considered a woman. Some scholars put Mary’s age as low as 12 but she was more likely to have been 13. Joseph, to whom she was betrothed, was between 16 and 22 years of age. It is likely that their marriage had been arranged. Once their engagement was announced, they were considered “married.” Joseph would have paid his prospective father-in-law a sum of money for Mary and Mary would have been considered the property of Joseph. In fact if Joseph died before the marriage was consummated, Mary would have been considered a widow in every respect. Traditionally, it was a year from the date that the couple had signed their agreement that they consummated their marriage and this would be followed by a celebration.

Now, consider with me what type of woman you would have chosen to be the mother of God. Perhaps you, like I, would think like this:
·       Happily married to a godly man
·       Settled into a comfortable home
·       Older with some years of wisdom
·       Coming from a family respected in the community
·       Family be a member of the religious community
Yet, Mary was none of these. Elizabeth George described her this way: Mary was young – unseasoned, inexperienced, unaccomplished, and unmarried. She had never been a mother. Mary was poor – possessing no fortune, no wealth, and no family inheritance. Mary was unknown – boasting no fame or social status. No one had heard of her father or mother…or her. Furthermore, nothing is said about her physical appearance or beauty. Clearly no one would choose Mary to be the mother of God’s Son…except God. Despite what she lacked in the world’s eyes, God sent His angel Gabriel to this poor, humble teen-age girl.  

      In the sixth month God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words, and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But, the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. “ “How can this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the one to be born will be called the Son of God. …There is nothing impossible with God.” “I am the Lord’s servant. “ Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:26-38)

  Since God didn’t look on Mary’s lack, but rather on what it was she possessed, Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel’s announcement gives us some insight into her soul, her true self and what God saw.

            Mary listened to the Gabriel’s pronouncement and then simply asked, “How can this be since I’m a virgin?” She wasn’t questioning what God was asking her to do, but rather asking for clarification as to how it would be possible. Perhaps she’s thinking it will take place after the consummation of her marriage to Joseph so that it would appear “proper.” But, Gabriel lets her know that God would be the father of this child in a way totally contrary to biology, after which Mary responds,  “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38) It didn’t matter whether she understood all Gabriel was saying or not, she believed that God could do anything and that was enough. Mary’s response was one of absolute submission to God’s will.

Some versions use the word handmaiden rather than a servant. Both show that Mary was so devoted to God and lived in respect and awe of his holiness and power that, even though she was granted the honor of being the mother of the Messiah, the desire of every mother’s heart for her daughter, she still saw herself as just a maidservant or handmaiden. These are terms that refer to a female slave who was obligated to perform her master’s will without question or delay.  Her heart was prepared for this moment by a lifetime of devotion to God, and obedience to the Jewish laws and scriptures. Perhaps it was this servant-heartedness that caused God to select her from all the young Jewish virgins of her day to be the “highly favored among women.”    
Scripture is silent on the reaction of Mary’s parents to this news. I can only imagine that they were somewhat skeptical of her story, perhaps even ashamed and embarrassed by it. I’m sure all of those close to Mary had conflicting emotions just as we would in the same situation.  We do know that Joseph was ashamed and hurt by her pregnancy and planned to break their engagement. I can only imagine how much it hurt Mary to know that Joseph doubted her. Her heart must have been breaking to realize that Joseph was thinking her guilty of the worst thing a virtuous woman could accused of.  As Scripture tells us, he too had a visit from an angel who verified Mary’s Mary learned early on that being a maidservant of God would come with a price. She was viewed as a fornicator and even Jesus would have his “illegitimacy” thrown up to him by the Pharisees when he was a grown man. (John 8:41) It was a shadow over her character all of her life. In addition, Mark 6:3 references Mary’s other sons by name as well as stating that Jesus had sisters and they didn’t believe in him as the Messiah.  Sibling rivalry will always exist, but to doubt the integrity of one another as adults and even undermine another sibling is a hard blow to a mother’s heart. Yet, it was only after Jesus’ resurrection that his siblings recognized his deity. But recognizing Jesus’ deity couldn’t stop the agony in Mary’s heart as she had to observe the cynicism of the religious community toward his ministry, and ultimately to suffer the cruelest of deaths. The Romans wouldn’t even allow any of their own citizens to be crucified, as it was so brutal and painful. They inflicted it on criminals of the people they ruled. And Mary had to stand by, powerless,
as her first-born son was given a sham trial and sentenced to death by crucifixion. He was brutally beaten and mocked and then nailed to the cross. Mary and other of Jesus’ loyal women followers stayed at the cross where he could see them and know that they loved him. I wonder if she recalled the words of Simeon who, upon seeing the infant Jesus in the temple, foretold that a sword would pierce Mary’s soul.  Did she think, “It’s coming true.” As all mothers know, when their child suffers, they suffer. But Mary suffered more than anyone has ever had to suffer.   
 Obedience to God and His call on our lives is not always going to be easy. Although Mary found favor with God, her life was not without suffering. None of us will be favored in the way that Mary was, but each of us has been given gifts and talents and God calls each of us to be His ambassadors in the place where we are, using those gifts. We too may be asked to endure false accusations, family problems, misunderstandings, widowhood, and sorrow even though we are a deeply loved daughter of God. Mary’s response was to ponder or reflect upon what was happening and trust in God’s wisdom and humbly be obedient to His plan.

Think of the absolute rapture Mary felt when Jesus rose from the dead. Her darkest moment turned into unbelievable joy upon learning that her son, who was her Lord, was alive!

We last see Mary gathered with the apostles as well as his brothers in Jerusalem where a replacement for Judas was chosen and ultimately the Holy Spirit was given.  She was allowed to see the beginning of the Christian church and most likely was a vocal witness to the veracity of Christ as the Son of God.


John D. Barry stated that, “The underlying theme of Mary’s story isn’t that different from ours. Her story teaches us a profound lesson: the life of faith is made up of a series of steps that bring us closer to the fulfillment of God’s will, but not necessarily farther from the challenges and struggles involved with moving ahead.”

Life’s pain must never keep you from being obedient to Christ and his claims on your life nor ever doubt his total love and care for you.

  The woman who is a woman after God’s own heart is one who, like Mary, is humbly obedient to God, faithful to God’s call on her life, and willing to endure suffering and scorn to experience the joy of eternal life.


Message by Shari Hervold

Here's how:
Admit your sins have separated you from God. (Psalm 14:1-3: Rom 3:23)
Believe that God did something about your sins through Jesus Christ. (The final Pascal Lamb/Messiah.) (Lev. 17:10: Heb 9:19-22)
Commit - yourself to His righteous by confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior. (Isa 53:5; Col. 1:22) and do it today! (Isa 49:8; 2 Cor 6:2).

Father in Heaven, I'm sorry for the things I've done that are wrong: I am a sinner; forgive me. Thank you for living me and sending your Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for my sin. Holy Spirit, come into my heart; Jesus be my Lord and Savior. I give You my life. Amen



"Mary Did You Know" by
Mark Lowery & Buddy Green











Friday, March 23, 2018

You Have Been Called for Just Such a Time as This.

The book of Esther has only ten chapters and is one of only two books in the Bible in which the name of God isn’t mentioned, yet He is on each page and His influence in the lives of the principal characters is evident...whether they acknowledged Him or not. But for today’s devotion, I want us to look particularly at one verse:

 Esther 4:14 Who knows but what you have come to royal position for such a time as this?  (NIV)

Let me just briefly fill you in on what came before this question. An edict had gone forth from the Persian king at the time that all of the Jews in his kingdom were to be killed. Esther was the queen at this time but her husband, the king, didn’t know that she was Jewish so he didn’t think twice about signing the edict. However, Esther’s older cousin, Mordecai who had raised her since early childhood knew that they were in a desperate situation. His only hope was getting Esther to go before the king and plead for her people. This would mean that she would have to declare her true nationality and that alone might jeopardize her relationship with the king. Then she reminded Mordecai that she hadn’t been called before the king for 30 days and if she entered his presence and he didn’t raise his scepter, then she was “dead meat.” That’s a major problem for anyone, queen or not. Mordecai looks at her and says, in essence, “Well, you’re dead meat anyway as you’re Jewish. But, who knows, perhaps this is the very reason that you were made a queen in the first place.” As we know, after a time of fasting, she did go into the presence of the king, he was happy to see her, and her request was granted thus averting a holocaust. 

You have experienced moments in your life, whether as a result of your own choices or of happenstance, that have left you feeling much like Esther did upon receiving this news. She certainly wasn’t eager to go to the king, yet she was heartsick at the news she had just received and recognized that it was not information she could just tuck away in her memory bank and hope for the best. The death of your spouse was such a moment. Your life has been forever changed. We call these moments “defining moments” in our lives where we are irrevocably changed. 


Did you know that God’s plan for your life didn’t change when your husband died and you were forced to accept “widow” as a title? Your whole life had been a preparation for that moment, just as Esther’s life as an orphan living as a minority in a foreign country had prepared her for the difficult times she would face as a queen. History tells us that her husband was a man with an uncontrolled temper, quick to get fiercely angry. And even though she was queen, she could only approach him when he asked for her. She was a powerless pawn in his hands, wearing beautiful clothes, eating the best of foods and living in a castle, but not much better off than a slave. And her cousin is asking her to plead for her people to this man. She wasn’t just making up an excuse when she expressed her concern about approaching the king to Mordecai.

You, too, might feel inadequate, unworthy, or even incapable of making a difference, thinking of yourself as “just a widow.” But let me remind you that you and your life are important to God. He has uniquely prepared you to do what only you can do to bring honor to His name. The places that we find ourselves in this life are not about us, but rather about Him and the bigger plans He has for our lives. Not bigger in the sense of importance as the world sees things, but important to God.
Did you notice the first thing that Esther did after making her decision to go to the king? She asked others to fast and pray for her and she did the same. Seeking God and his guidance and protection in our lives is valuable whether we’re facing a life or death situation or not. Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord and He will not fail you nor leave you to struggle on your own.

Now that you are walking life solo rather than as half of a duo, you have the ability to do things you might not have been able to before. Think of the talents and abilities you have, perhaps the extra time you have, the neighborhood in which you live, your family members, especially those precious grandchildren, and ask God to direct your life as to how you can best impact those in your sphere for His kingdom. That’s what God is so good at: turning those painful times and situations in our lives around for a greater purpose than we ever thought possible.

Karen McGuire in one of her devotionals posed the question: “How would you tell your story if you knew this verse were about you?” Who knows but that you have come to this place for such a time as this.  If you were to look at your current life situation and apply that thinking to it, how would it change your thinking? What would you do differently? How would you treat your children, your in-laws, your grandchildren, your pastor, your neighbors, etc.? You have come to this place in your life, this moment in time, this season of life for such a time as this. 

Put your trust totally in God and His call on your life. Be intentional in living with eternity’s values in view and He will turn your pain into a greater purpose, not just in your life, but also in the lives of those around you.
Message by Shari Hervold
Friends Needing Friends from Boynton Beach, Fl celebrated Purim. Lots of fun and laughter made it a special time for everyone. 







.
By Wayne Watson - "For Such A Time As This" 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

BE AN ENCOURAGER

Dear Friends Needing Friends,

Greetings from our birth state, New Jersey, and in the name of our Provisional LORD!
How exciting to think that FNF will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary in June of 2018.

Congratulations! And a very special “thank you” to Dotti Ackerman, Shari Hervold and Mary Lou Tweed who have watched over you with tender loving care.
Welcome to the FNF family all of you who are a part of this marvelous family outside of the United States. So pleased you’re a part of the family. I have spoken for FNF Anniversary nearly every year since its inception. Looking back, I would have to say if there is one message that stands paramount to me it’s THE VALUE OF ENCOURAGEMENT. More people are made and broken by the spoken word than any other way. That’s why I’d like to share these thoughts from my talk on June 25, 2012.

How about we start with a light moment?
Hymns for her: One Sunday a pastor told the congregation that the church needed money and asked the people to prayerfully consider giving a little extra in the offering plate. He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns. After the offering plates were passed, the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had placed a $1,000 bill in offering. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with the congregation and said he’d like to personally thank the person who placed $1,000 bill in the offering plate. A very quiet, elderly and saintly lady, sitting all the way in the back shyly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front. Slowly she made her way to the pastor. He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and in thanksgiving asked her to pick out three hymns. Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the three most handsome men in the building and said, “I’ll take him and him and him. (Smile)

BE AN ENCOURAGER
As the years creep up on us ever so quickly, we often wonder what we can do when, physically, our bodies have limitations, when our eyes and ears and joints aren’t what they used to be. Granted, we may not be able to do the things we did when we were 30, but there is one thing all of us can do. What do you think that one thing is? HINT! It’s something EVERYONE needs whether they will admit it or not. Encouragement! You can be an encourager.

Phillis Theroux writes, “One of the commodities in life that most people can’t get enough of compliment….Compliments by their very nature are highly bio-degradable and tend to dissolve hours or days after we receive them- which is why we can always use another.” WFYT – April 20, 2006

We should be an encourager because God is an encourager. Note these words to the young Joshua as he takes the helm from Moses: “Be strong for “take courage”) for I am with you. Do not fear.”  These words, in some form or another, are found again and again in the setting of encouraging.

They were said by the LORD to Abraham (Gen. 15:1) after he had rescued Lot and delivered the king of Sodom from defeat and then gave Melchizedek the tithe.
God to Hagar (Gen 21:17) when she, as a single parent, though she and her only son were going to die.

David to Solomon (1 Kings 2:2:  I Chr 28:10 & amp: 20) in building the temple.
Jonathan to David (1 Sam:18) when David was running from Saul for his life, a refugee in the very nation of which he was anointed to be king.

The angel to Mary (Luke 1:30) in having the unfathomable responsibility of carrying,
giving birth, and raising the Son of God.

Paul to Timothy (2 Tim 2:1) in teaching others. The “First and the Last” to the church at Smyrna (Rev 2:10) not to fear what they must suffer – affliction and poverty – for in the end, they will receive “the crown of life.”

There is a lady who has been attending GCCC since we moved into our building in 1996. When she first came to the Church she struggled severely with depression. (I strongly believe her low self-esteem was a result of a poor relationship with her father who NEVER encouraged her.) When she would come to me with questions about life in general – I would encourage her. The transformation was amazing. She began serving in the church, tithe, invest her money somewhere other than low interest bearing cd accounts, conquered an eating disorder – which was actually an image disorder, and no longer sees a counselor. Why? ALL because of a few words of encouragement every-so-often. Amazing!

FINAL WORDS:
In a big city cathedral, an altar boy dropped the communion wine. His bishop turned to
him and whispered reassuringly. “it’s  okay, someday you’ll be a great priest.” That boy became Archbishop Fulton Sheen, whose sermons touched the hearts of millions for 30 years. You never know what a graceful word will yield.
So be an encourager!  A kind word spoken with purposeful intent could change lives (not simply a life but lives) for all eternity.


Message by Pastor Bruce Sofia,
 Gloucester County Community Church, Sewell, N.J.






I Will Worship You by Matthew Ward


Because of Who You Are by Vicki Yohe




Saturday, February 3, 2018

DORCAS THE DOER, PART ll




James 1:22 says this, But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only,
 deceiving yourselves.

Last month we looked at the acts of Dorcas as recorded in the Bible and what lessons we can learn from the brief account from Acts 9:36-42 where we read the account of a woman who personified this verse beautifully.  She is known by two names: Tabitha (which is Aramaic) and Dorcas which is Greek.  For our purposes here I will be referring to her as Dorcas.

Let me summarize her story for you:
Dorcas lived in the seaport town called Joppa and was known for her good deeds, especially to widows. She became sick and died. After Dorcas’s body was washed and put in a cool upstairs room, the disciples sent for Peter who was ministering in the
general area. When he arrived back at her house, he found the widows crying and they showed him all the clothing that Dorcas had made for them. Peter sent them all out of the room and knelt down and begin to pray, then he turned to the corpse of Dorcas and told her to get up. She immediately opened her eyes and sat up after which Peter helped her to her feet. He then called all of the believers and the widows and presented the resurrected Dorcas to them. Of course news like this doesn’t remain a secret and it soon spread throughout Joppa what had happened and many believed in Christ as the Lord. In fact, Peter didn’t return to Lydda, but stayed in Joppa at the house of Simon the tanner.

 Dorcas’s legacy to us is that of a woman who knew what talents she possessed and wasted no time in putting them to good use blessing others. Dorcas was good at using a needle to fashion clothing, which she skillfully did for the destitute widows in her community. This month I want us to look at the rest of the story.

The Scripture tells us that at some point Dorcas fell sick and died. It is clear from the reaction to her death of the disciples and the widows that Dorcas was far more to them than just a seamstress who made clothing. They had come to love her as a true servant of Christ, with a heart full of his love that spilled over into their lives.

So, following cultural practices, her body was washed and wrapped in cloth and placed in a cool room in the upstairs of the house. Then, one of the disciples, remembering that Peter was in Lydda, sent two individuals to get him to come to Joppa. Why did they send for Peter? It is most likely that they heard that Peter had prayed for a paralytic resulting in his healing and they were hoping for such a miracle. Since Lydda was about twelve miles away, they lost no time in going to ask him to come. When Peter arrived in Joppa and went to the house of Dorcas, he was greeted by totally heart broken people. One writer described it this way: “The works of Dorcas were recognized in the feeling which the Christian community experienced when Dorcas was gone. They remembered her self-consuming service, her compassion, her faithfulness, her charity. They knew that they had lost their dearest friend. The picture of these people gathered about her in her room weeping does not describe people who are sorry for the things and service they had lost but because they had lost one whom they love.” (Harold J. Ockenga,  Women Who Made Bible History, page 224-225)  The grieving widows didn’t really have to tell Peter what Dorcas had done for them, she had left tangible evidence of her ministry to speak for her.
Peter recognized their great loss and was touched by the scene he was witnessing.
Then, he did something that may seem strange to us. He asked them all to leave the room, leaving him alone with the deceased. However, Peter recognized that only God can raise the dead and he wanted to be alone to talk to God. He couldn’t afford to be distracted by the grief and devastation the widows were feeling. When alone, Peter began to pray and then he looked at the corpse and, speaking her name said, “Dorcas, get up.” Now, that’s putting faith into your prayers. She immediately opened her eyes and sat up. Peter then took her hand and led her downstairs to show those gathered there what God had done. What was the result of this healing? As you can imagine, word soon got out that the woman who had died was now resurrected, and many people believed in Christ as the Lord!

There are lessons “aplenty” in this story. The disciples offered more than just sympathy to the widows who had lost their dearest friend and benefactor, they had faith that God could move into this situation and raise Dorcas back to life. Although Peter was 12 miles away, and that meant the two men had to walk 12 miles to reach him (no smart phones in those days) and then Peter had to walk the 12 miles over to Joppa, they
didn’t doubt that God would “do His thing.” They never once said, “Oh, it’s too late now.” Secondly, no one disputes that Dorcas’s life was lived in total devotion to God and others. Yet, her death and resurrection brought many to the Savior and gave her more years to meet the needs of the poor. While sewing might not seem as glamorous as the great healing ministry Peter had, yet Dorcas was honored by one of the greatest miracles in the New Testament.

The name of this ministry, Friends Needing Friends, was not chosen by its founder, Dotti Ackerman, because she liked the sound of it. It is to remind you that, as a widow, you are the friend that someone needs as she walks the road of widowhood. Likewise, you need others to stand by you, encouraging you through words and actions as you encounter difficulties on your journey. What instrument has God placed in your hand? You might not think that a sewing needle would be an instrument in helping to establish a church in a seaside town. But Dorcas’s life would prove you wrong. 

Dandi Mackall says, “Remember what Jesus told his apostles at the Last Supper? If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” According to this scripture, the blessing is in the doing.  Dorcas did not miss the blessing. She used her enterprise to help those who were in need. If you follow her example, you too will become a doer.

May 2018 continue to make you a blessing to each other as you journey through widowhood being Friends Needing Friends.
                                                                                    

Message by Shari Hervold



Music by: Amy Grant & Sandi Patty - El Shaddai

Music by: Sandi Patty & Larnelle Harris
P.S. These are just a few of my favorite songs and people singing them.  I hope you will enjoy them too.   (Dotti Ackerman)