Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Robes Made By Dorcas
Acts 9:36-42

Dorcus, a word which means “Gazelle”, was sometimes called Tabitha. She was a very kind person who spent her time caring for the widows of Joppa. The story takes place in the time of the early church right after Saul’s conversion.

Tabitha, it is not known whether she was a widow or not, could have been the leader or overseer of the local widows or she may have been a dear friend who cared for them. What is clear is that she did many good things for others. We are going to study what happened in Joppa when Tabitha took ill and died.  This is where the story gets exciting. 

Verses: 37 & 38 - Her body was washed and placed in the upper room and the disciples sent two men for Peter “Please come at once”.

First, we see a clear illustration of the body of Christ coming together to support one another in a time of great need.

Verse 39:  Peter went with them and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying…

The widows were not unfamiliar with death or grief yet here we see them weeping for their friend.  “Their tears didn’t compromise their strength,” and we know the widows were strong because, they summoned Peter a wanted man.  They kept the body in the upper room, the room was for prayer meetings in faith and they stayed there until the work was done.

Verse 39… showing him the robes and other clothing Tabitha made while she was with them. Some translations say for “them” and other translations say specifically “inner and outer robes” for them.  I want us to take great care in not overlooking the significance of the end of this verse. The key word is “robes”. What do robes represent in scripture? Robes are used often in scripture when there is a change from some form of death to life. Tabitha made robes for the widows and those robes symbolized the widow’s journey from death to life again. Inner robes meaning newness spiritually and outer symbolizing newness in purpose.

This is so powerful. For we can now see that why Tabitha meant so much to them. God used her to change the lives of the widows both inwardly and outwardly. Here they are exclaiming to Peter “LOOK PETER, LOOK WHAT SHE DID FOR US THIS IS WHY WE ARE HERE, SHE SHARED ALL SHE HAD WITH US AND WE ARE FOREVER CHANGED!

Verse 40:  Peter sent them all out of the room, then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said “Tabitha, get up!”. She opened her eyes and seeing Peter she sat up.
Verse 41: Then he called all the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa and many people believed in the Lord.

Because the widow’s did not let their tears compromise their strength and they remembered the new robes of purpose, Tabitha sowed in their life, and they were able to give testimony to the world. Have you given robes of purpose to someone lately? Or has tragedy loss and sadness limited your strength?  Today, please take the time to reflect on those in your life who may have given you garments for praise. Now you can draw strength from their example which can inspires you to inspire others. 

By Rita Leone Reyes – This message blessed many widows at our FNF meeting in N.J., especially when Rita had everyone repeat the phrase “My tears don’t compromise my strength”  A phrase to be repeated to yourself daily.  

God On The Mountain by Lynda Randle - A perfect song for the lives of all widows.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


God’s Plan For me as a Widow 

Seventeen years ago, my life changed, not only was I a widow; but, the owner-operator of a farm, fortunately a few years before we had downsized from over 100 acres to 20.

With the Lord’s help (prayed a lot) and my son-in-“love” the already planted crops made it through the summer and were harvested successfully.  But, what would I do next summer? The fields had to be planted. I wondered, worried and prayed! That fall, my neighbor stopped in and said he would like to plant my field in hay. He needed more ground. The Lord had answered my prayers! As a hay field usually lasts 10-12 years: my problem was not only solved: but, I would not have to worry about planting again for a while (right now they are a beautiful green and growing.)

In church, one Sunday that September, I read a notice for an upcoming basic lay speaker class to be held in October. I thought that’s not for me, I can’t speak before a group of adults and turned the page. The rest of the day, my thoughts kept going back to that notice. I did not know why, but those thoughts bothered me. I prayed, Lord, why am I thinking about that notice? I can’t be a speaker. I am too old to start over, to go back to school. It would be a waste of time. The space is limited, I’d be taking the place of someone much better qualified and younger.

The next morning, as I put on my jacket to go get my paper; that bulletin fell out of my pocket. It fell to the floor opened to the school application form. I had not even noticed that form before.

I knew then! I had to apply to go to that basic class. I felt it was a sign from God. Give it a try. I went! I liked it! In that class, I wrote and gave my first sermon. It went OK, so, I decided to take another and then another class.

 I became a certified lay speaker in the United Methodist Church.

From that first class, the Lord has led me to preach several Mother’s Day sermons, preach at Pitman Manor, preaching in my own church; to even officiate at a funeral, and to my favorite place – “Friends Needing Friends”

 “God is Good!” Just follow Him. He will lead you and guide you on your journey through widowhood.

  Joanne Lewis has served with Friends Needing Friends Ministry for over 20 years. Thank you Joanne for your love, and loyalty to God’s ministry serving the widows. 

The Longer I Serve Him, The Sweeter He Grows.

Verse 1
Since I started for the Kingdom
Since my life He controls
Since I gave my heart to Jesus
The Longer I Serve Him, the sweeter He grows

The Longer I Serve Him, The sweeter He grows
The more that I love Him , More joy He bestows
Each day is like heaven My heart overflows
The Longer I Serve Him, The sweeter He grows

Verse 2
Every need He is supplying
Plenteous Grace He bestows
Every day my way grows brighter
The Longer I Serve Him
The sweeter He grows

Friday, March 6, 2015


Dear Friends,

At one of the “FNF” meetings, the ladies were asked to write a question concerning widowhood and I would answer one question each month that would be published in their monthly newsletters and now in the Friends Needing Friends blog.
I pray as you read the different answers to the many questions that were presented, God will speak to your hear
t as He helps you through your time of grieving.
Very truly yours in Jesus,
Pastor Bruce Sofia                                                       

Question:  How long should I wait to enter into a relationship (with the opposite sex) after the loss of my husband?

This is an excellent question with no so simple an answer. So let me speak from my heart and share some thoughts relational to my observation from years of posturing. (These truths are also apropos to those who have just come out a broken or soured relationship.)

1  First, remember that the years you spent with your first husband gave you time to become “soul mates.” Becoming a soul mate takes time. It moves beyond the “conditions” and the “becauses,” it loves “unconditionally” (period).  This does not happen overnight, hence there needs to be a season of healing before one should even consider a “romantic” relationship with the opposite sex. (I would suggest at least one and a half years, two or more is better.)
Paul gives good advice to the widow in I Corinthians 7:8 – Now to the unmarried and the widow I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. Paul goes on to explain his reasoning in verses 29-35 when he says, (29) What I mean, brothers, is...An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs-how he can please the Lord. (33) But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world-how he can please his wife-(34) and his interests are divided.  An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world-how she can please her husband. (35) I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

However, Paul clearly states in verse 9 “if a couple cannot control themselves, they should marry,” and in verse 36 he says, “If anyone thinks they are acting improperly towards the person they are engaged to, they ought to marry.” 

2   Secondly, the above Scripture give clear directives in understanding our purpose in life – it is to please God and serve Him in a way that brings honor to His name. A wrong mate can redirect us away from serving God; therefore we should be patient in letting God bring to us the right person, if indeed remarrying is in His interest. Remember this truth: If it’s in His best interest, it will ultimately be in your best interest.

Make sure that when you enter into a relationship with the opposite sex as a widow(er) that the reasons are to advance His kingdom and not just for your pleasures. Ask yourself, “Does this person want what God wants for my life? What does God want for your life? He wants you to “follow Him and fish for men.”  (Matthew 4:19). If the person you are considering a relationship with does not have this at heart, they will steer you away from God and you will miss what is best for your life.

You have heard the expression “haste makes waste.”  How true in life when it comes to entering into opposite sex relationship. How many have wasted good years on relationships that have turn sour. Not only is patient a virtue in this instance, but seeking godly, objective counsel is also wise.

Proverbs 11:14.
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.  Consider the counsel of those who over the years have revealed themselves as true friends.  They will see your situation much more clearly than you. Ask them what they think, then put their thoughts before the Lord in prayer. If you will listen, God will reveal His heart to you and it will be what is best.

By Rev.Dr.J.Bruce Sofia - Founder & Director of Gloucester County Community Church

 Lord Song, I Know The Plans I Have For You!