Monday, November 21, 2022

The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength


 The holidays are often the most difficult for a widow. Her sense of loss is keenly felt and she is more aware of her loss than at other times. Perhaps you have found this true in your own experience.

 The 8th chapter of the book of Nehemiah tells the story of the children of Israel rebuilding the wall around the city of Jerusalem that had been destroyed by their enemies. It was hard, arduous work, made harder by the taunting of the enemy which discouraged the people. Ezra, the priest, read the Word of God to them and they began to weep. As widows you, too, have been brought to sorrow and tears over loss in your life. But, though weeping and sorrowing are necessary, they aren’t the last message that God has for you. God had Nehemiah speak to the people saying, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to the Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Then all the people went away to eat and drink…with great joy.” They were obedient to Nehemiah and as a result their joy was restored.

 Did you notice in that verse that Nehemiah urged the people to send portions of food to those who didn’t have? Invariably, that is the result of those who find their lives beginning to heal. They begin to reach out to others. In fact, I believe that reaching out to others is a catalyst to one’s own healing, something that Dotti Ackerman, founder of Friends Needing Friends, has always emphasized.

 In the 13th chapter of Nehemiah we see that, after an absence, Nehemiah returned and found that the people had slipped back into some of their ungodly ways and he set out to restore their faith in and obedience to God. I see his return as a sign of God’s grace and restoration. It is no less true for the

widow. You, too, went through a period of great sorrow after the death of your spouse. You felt like your life would never be normal again. All you could see was aloneness and a feeling of being trapped in a life you didn’t like. Gradually, through the help of friends, family, pastors or priests and perhaps counseling, you gradually began to heal and you found that there was some joy in life again. But now as you approach the holiday season, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s for Americans, you do so with some apprehension, grief and a flood of memories about the “old days” and your time-honored family traditions which always included your husband. Jesus wants to restore you to wholeness and give you a reason to celebrate again just as He did the Israelites. But, just as they, you must choose to focus on what Christ’s life, death, and resurrection have won for you and that is eternal life. Can you do this without Christ’s strength? No! But here is the paradox: The joy of the Lord is your strength. Choose to rejoice, to look at what you have instead of your losses, and look ahead to eternal life with Christ and even your loved one. 

 There are important ways in which celebrations will not, and cannot, ever be the same again. So, it’s okay to plan for them to be different. Thanksgiving, an American holiday, is celebrated in the month of November. It’s a day set aside for families to come together, set aside differences and be thankful for all the blessings of the past year. While menus may vary, traditionally turkey is the main meat with lots of different side dishes and pumpkin pie is at least one of the desserts. For many people, and certainly Christians, it’s a time to thank God for His great love for them, especially the gift of salvation through His son, Christ Jesus. Others of you in other countries celebrate special holidays with customs and traditions too.

 Be realistic about what you can handle, both physically and emotionally on these special occasions. But do celebrate, for this is God’s will for you and you will marvel at the strength He will provide as His joy floods your heart.

 

Message by Shari Hervold

                                                                                  

                                                   

                                                 

I don't own any rights to these songs above. It's for entertainment and worship song only. 

The ABCs of Salvation. 

                                    A-DMIT you're a sinner. 
                                    B-ELIEVE God did something about your sin 
                                                    through Jesus. 
                                    C-OMMIT to trusting Christ and Christ alone 
                                                     for the forgiveness of sin. 

                                    D-O IT TODAY!    




Thursday, October 20, 2022

"Modern Day Naomi"


I have written and spoken about Naomi whose story is recorded in the book of Ruth in the Old Testament, many times. There are so many lessons we can learn from her life. The stories of these women were given to us by God to instruct and help us when our lives face difficulties too.  Today I want to again look at some of the occurrences in the life of Naomi and then introduce you to an incredible widow who lives in India and trace the journeys of each as they traveled the long, hard road to wholeness and productivity.

First, let me refresh your memory of Naomi. She, along with her husband and two sons, went to Moab from Bethlehem in Judah because Judah was experiencing a severe famine and the economic picture looked brighter in the land of Moab. Things were fine for a while; then Naomi’s husband died and a few years later so did both of her sons. Naomi was cast into an abyss of great grief and despair. She was now a widow with no means of support in a foreign country. She heard that things were better in the land of Judah and she made the decision to make the seventy-mile trip back through some very rough and dangerous terrain. Only one of her widowed daughters-in-law made the trip with her. They doubtless endured hot dusty days, cold nights, and would have been easy prey for robbers who hid along the roadways, but God protected them and they arrived safely. Yet circumstances didn’t immediately improve for her. Widows without benefit of an adult son automatically became a member of the lowest rung of society in those days. She was a broken, poverty-stricken, bitter old woman with no hope in sight. What was she to do?

Before I finish Naomi’s story, let me introduce you to a woman by the name of Vimala from the nation of India. Vimala lived the life of a wife and mother until, at the age of 47, she became a widow. She was thrown out of her home by her in-laws who blamed her for their son’s death. Her daughter reluctantly agreed to give her shelter, but this didn’t include food or the necessary medications she needed for her diabetes. In exchange, Vimala had to help support her disabled daughter as well as her two grandchildren. It was at this juncture in her widowhood that she found herself in much the same situation as Naomi. She was uneducated and had no marketable work skills. What was she to do? In her lonely, terrified state of mind, she contemplated suicide as her only way out and these thoughts haunted her day in, day out.

Now, let’s revisit Naomi’s story. When she arrived back at her hometown the Scriptures describe her homecoming like this: When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. …The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” (Ruth 1:19b-21a) God is sovereign over all of life, but it is never His intent to make us bitter; He is always at work to make us better, more like Him.

 Soon Naomi’s bitterness was replaced with hope, and God began to orchestrate changes in her life, first through her daughter-in-law, Ruth, and then through Boaz, a close relative of her deceased husband. After a series of God-orchestrated events, Ruth and Boaz married and economic security was restored to Naomi. Ultimately, joy and fullness reigned in her heart again through the birth of her grandson, Obed, who became an ancestor to Jesus our Messiah.

Vimala, too, was consumed with despair and saw suicide as her only way out. But, God had other plans. God has placed in India a ministry called the Kerusomen Gospel Ministries who, among other things, helps the widows with kindness and love. Anju, who was the director of
the women's ministry, was filled with compassion for Vimala who was an outcast for no other reason than being a widow. Sadly, that is the fate of thousands of India’s widows. They are shunned by a society steeped in superstition that believes they are bad luck.  Vimala’s only way to survive would be to beg or turn to prostitution. God used Kerusomen’s The Well partners to replace thoughts of suicide with hope for her. They now give Vimala a monthly stipend for food and furnish her medical supplies. This guarantees that her daughter will not abandon her. Women from The Well visit her and this brings comfort and joy to her.

            Here we have the story of two widows, separated by centuries of time, but united through the compassion of our loving heavenly Father. You, too, are somewhere on your own journey from the grief and despair of widowhood to wholeness and productivity. 

There are no coincidences with God. With Him as your heavenly Father, you can rely on His promise in Jeremiah 29:11 that says, 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.” Commit your life into His care and trust Him to bring you safely through the dark times you may be experiencing.



"The God Who Sees" - The original video with Kathie Lee Gifford and Nicole C. Mullen's and the modern oratorio tell the stories of Hagar, Ruth, David, and Mary and the promises God made to them.

I don't own any rights to this video or song. It's for entertainment and worship video or songs only. 


 The ABCs of Salvation. Can you find them? 
                                    A-DMIT you're a sinner. 
                                    B-ELIEVE God did something about your sin 
                                                    through Jesus. 
                                    C-OMMIT to trusting Christ and Christ alone 
                                                     for the forgiveness of sin. 
                                    D-O IT TODAY!    


(ABC's By Tom Papadouplos)


















Sunday, September 11, 2022

Happy Grandparents Day!

 


        <

         Dr. Josh Mulvihill in his book, Grand Parenting states that there are four categories of grandparents:
  • Encouraging Voice – Sees the positives and strives to bring out the potential in their grandchildren. Has a tendency to ask questions and listen.
  • Supportive Partner – Agreeable who reinforces their children’s parenting practices and philosophies without interfering.
  • Loving Friend – A companion whose focus is building a strong relationship with grandchildren and having fun together.
  • Disciple Maker – A mentor who intentionally attempts to pass faith in Christ to future generations. Seeks to live as a Christ-like example and share godly wisdom with grandchildren.
 I don’t know which one of these categories you most strongly identify with. Regardless of how you interact with your grandchildren, there is one thing

I can guarantee you, you do have influence on them, whether good or bad. In fact, according to recent data, grandparents are second to parents in exercising influence on the child and this is carried over to the teen-age years when it is easy to think that peers would supplant both parents and grandparents. But, that is not the case. As widows, most of you are also grandmothers. As you have already learned, the hospital doesn’t send you home with a guidebook on being a good grandmother. So how do we get on with our grandmothering?


Paul, in speaking of Timothy’s faith says this: It was a “sincere faith which first dwelt in his grandmother, Lois,” (2 Timothy 1:5). Here was a godly woman who had invested her faith wisely, first in her daughter Eunice and then her grandson Timothy. But, that doesn’t give us any guidelines to follow to help us. It is the book of Titus in which Paul gives specific instructions to the older women. Now, that caught my attention as that means most of them were grandmothers. These are the three instructions he lays out:

  1. Be reverent in behavior I usually think of reverence in relationship to prayer or worship. But here we’re told to be reverent in behavior. How we live, ladies, reveals how we worship. This kind of grandmother lives with an awe for all of God’s creation: the clouds, the stars, the various birds in the area, pointing them out to her grands and teaching them to pop that first juicy strawberry of the season into their mouths with gratefulness to God. The wildflower picked by that precious grand should be treated with respect and placed in a choice vase…never an old jar. And this grandmother loves to laugh, sing and have fun and join in games. She is sensitive to each family member, treating each with respect because she knows they’re a divine gift.
  2. Teach what is good This grandmother is always looking for a teachable moment whether it’s riding in the car, standing at the sink, eating a pretend cookie or lying on the grass observing God’s big sky. It doesn’t take big chunks of time to pass on small fragments of God’s truths, wisdom and love. You also teach by the example you set: the television programs you watch, how you react to disappointment, the pretty table you set, the fun things you have to do at your house, your faithful reading of the Bible and attendance at church, to name a few.
  3. Encourage to love My six-year-old grandson and I play a guessing game. Almost every time we’re together I say, “Next to mommie and daddy and God, who loves you the most? Or I might say after bringing him a small gift, “Why do you think I did that?” He’s wise to me now and will respond, “Because you love me.” I encourage him to love his parents when he sees that I do and when I compliment and encourage them. Giving my grand attention is a form of love, letting him tell me about his day, listening to his silly jokes, and even assisting with homework when appropriate.
That’s it. Just three ground rules in God’s guidebook for grandmothers. But I think you can see how important they are to our leaving a godly heritage for our grandchildren. We have a most important role in the life of our grands, and with God’s help they, like Timothy of old, will have a sincere faith in Christ.



Hi, my name is Valbjorn, I'm the one in the center and I am 6 years old. I am named after my Bestefar's dad. Behind me is my Bestefar and my Mormor. Mormor is the one who wrote the above message and her name is Shari Hervold.

                                                            

Jesus Loves Me by Chris Tomlin
This video is "Jesus Loves Me" by Chris Tomlin. I don't own any rights for this song. It is for entertainment and worship purpose only.

                              The ABCs of Salvation. Can you find them? 
                                    A-DMIT you're a sinner. 
                                    B-ELIEVE God did something about your sin 
                                                    through Jesus. 
                                    C-OMMIT to trusting Christ and Christ alone 
                                                     for the forgiveness of sin. 
                                    D-O IT TODAY!    






                                                                    

 



Thursday, August 18, 2022

Finding Favor with God

 A few decades ago there was a comedy act made up of two brothers, one of whom always accused the other of being their mother’s favorite. Were you ever accused of being your mother’s, father’s or even a teacher’s favorite?  Exactly what does it mean to cull the favor of someone? Or more importantly, what does it mean to seek the favor of God? Is that a selfish thing to want and should we ask to get it?

The word favor means to be shown goodwill or kindness beyond that which is normally expected or even deserved. This is the favor that the Lord has given to every one of His children. None of us deserve any attention from God, but He favors us with His love, forgiveness, blessing upon blessing and, in that sense, we are each His favorite. Isaiah 66:2 states, “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”  (That word tremble here means to be reverently responsive to His Word.) So, while God loves all of His creation, He shows special favor to those who acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the more we please God the more we will be favored by Him. 

The first biblical character I think of when I think of God’s favor is Mary the mother of Jesus, although she certainly isn’t the first to be shown God’s favor in Scripture. But, as you recall the angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you,” (Luke 1:28). The Message translation puts it this way, “Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, beautiful inside and out! God be with you.” That’s it in a nutshell: as we display God’s beauty, we earn His favor. There were undoubtedly many young Jewish women who carried out the commandments and were faithful to their God. Yet, God saw something within the heart and character of Mary that reflected His own nature so she was highly favored by Him.

Moses, in Exodus 33:13b, prayed this prayer to God: “...let me know Your ways that I may know you, so that I may find favor in Your sight.”  Before I go further, let me just caution you that God’s favor isn’t always evidenced by material or worldly goods. It will most likely be shown by spiritual blessings, although He certainly does take care of our earthly needs. Scripture tells us a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground but he sees it and we are worth much more than a puny bird.                                                                    

There is a story of a widow in the Old Testament (2 Kings 4:1-7) that is such a good reminder to us of the favor of God to those who are living their lives to please God. One of Elisha’s prophets had died with some unpaid debts. As payment, the creditors were coming to take his widow’s two sons to become their slaves. You can well imagine the anguish of this woman. Not only were her precious boys being taken from her, but with them all her dignity and means of future support. She would be left a penniless, childless widow, which was a disgrace in those days. So, she went to Elisha, her husband’s overseer, and told him of her plight.  He solicited her help, as well as those of her sons, in remedying the situation. She was to gather as many jugs as she could from her neighbors and then pour the very small amount of oil that she possessed into these jars. The oil just kept flowing until all the jars had been filled. (That, in itself, was a miracle.) Elisha then instructed her to sell the oil, pay the debts, and live on the leftover cash. Ladies, this woman displayed humility and reverence for the Word of God spoken through his prophet, Elisha, by doing exactly as he had instructed. Not only did she circumvent the loss of her boys, she was able to live debt free with cash to purchase the necessities of life. God’s favor, without a doubt, was on this godly, obedient, and humble widow. 

Those who are favored of God have the assurance that God is with them and that nothing happens to them but that God has a good purpose for it (Romans 8:28). Rev. Jerry Vargo cautioned us to “Thank God for the brokenness and life lessons – they prepare you to handle the favor of God.” You come to recognize your vulnerabilities and receive his favor with a humble and grateful heart, rejecting all thoughts of pride.

Ladies, we should seek God’s favor, but we must understand that we don’t seek it as a means in itself for our own selfish goals. In Proverbs 3:1-2 God says this, “…take to heart my commands. They’ll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well." Remember to thank God for each good doctor's report, a special sale on your favorite meat or other product, a special gift from a child or grandchild; there are many forms in which God's favor may take.

 If we want His favor and the blessings that come with it, we must read and obey His
word – all of it.
  Joseph Prince reminds us that “God’s favor is multiplied in your life when you simply believe that the favor of God that is on Christ is also on you because of what Jesus’ work at the cross has accomplished.”

Psalm 5:12 says, “For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” Finding favor with God means that we spend time in His Word, talking to him in prayer, and living to please Him. And you can be assured, precious widows, that His delight in you will be demonstrated in ways that will amaze you.  

Have a God-blessed day as you live to please our Lord and Savior.

                                                                                

Message by  Shari Hervold


                                    The ABCs of Salvation. Can you find them? 
                                    A-DMIT you're a sinner. 
                                    B-ELIEVE God did something about your sin 
                                                    through Jesus. 
                                    C-OMMIT to trusting Christ and Christ alone 
                                                     for the forgiveness of sin. 
                                    D-O IT TODAY!    


(ABC's By Tom Papadouplos)



                                             "King of Kings" by Hillside Worship
This video is "King of Kings" by Hillside Worship, I don't own any rights for this song. It's for entertainment and worship purpose only.