Saturday, September 10, 2016

God's Timing is Perfect.

God’s Timing is Perfect

Last week I received a phone call from Dotti Ackerman, founder of Friends Needing Friends, who shared with me that the FNF blog had reach over 30,000 “hits.”  That conversation prompted me to reflect on my association with this great organization that offers Christ-centered support for widows. You see, we seniors often see events and/or organizations differently than younger folk because we were there when “it” happened or “it” was begun. It’s not totally unlike being a parent. We remember early details about our children’s lives that they know only from stories told to them. They know what they looked like only from pictures. But, we were there and of all their “firsts” are etched in our memories.  So when we enjoy the company of an adult child, we also can interpose the image of that little neophyte that we first fell in love with.

In my conversation with Dotti she mentioned that she had four more DVD’s of some of my homilies she had kept for years that she planned to share on the blog. That’s when my reminiscing went into high gear.  I seldom refer to myself in my writings, but bear with this old woman as she strolls down Memory Lane. My association with FNF goes back to the year 1988 when Dotti asked me to speak at one of their dinner meetings in New Jersey. This became a yearly occurrence and I and grew to love the ladies and respect this ministry.  

Then, eight years ago I retired and shortly thereafter Dotti called upon me more often to speak and this led to my doing a Bible lesson with the group once a month. What a delight it was to teach these women from God’s Word and then enjoy a lovely luncheon with them!
Shortly thereafter, Dotti called me and asked me to record some of my teachings. I remember, with the permission of Pastor Bruce, setting this up with the technicians at our local church, and going into the recording studio and delivering my talk to a party of one, the on-duty technician. Darlene, a lovely godly woman at the church, helped to package the DVD’s after which Dotti would distribute them to the women attending FNF, which numbered around eighty at that time.

 In 2009 Dotti moved to Florida and, unbeknown to me, took copies of those DVD’s with her, where for the most part, they were a silent witness to several of the Bible lessons we had done years before.

In 2012 my husband and I moved to Pennsylvania and Dotti asked me to continue to write for the monthly newsletter, which I did. Then, God led into Dotti’s life a woman who suggested that they do a blog and, with some instruction, Dotti was able to successfully launch that. (  )
 I then began to contribute regularly to that ministry as well. For the past 3 ½ years Dotti and I have worked as a team on many of the blogs. God speaks to her heart about something, she will call me and tell me the gist of what is on her heart, and I will put words to her thoughts and they go out on the blog.  Now neither Dotti nor I are intuitive techies. But God, in his seamless timing, has always placed someone in our lives to instruct us and bring our skills to the level we need for this grassroots ministry.

 A few months ago Dotti looked upon one of her shelves and eyed those silent DVD’s and wanted to get them into the blog. The knowledge of how to do that was lost on her . . . but not on God. He led her to just the individual who could help her get this accomplished and for the past few months those checking the blog have been able, through the magic of technology, to listen to my teaching a lesson from God’s Word. From a party of one to hundreds listening to God’s Word each month! Who but God could accomplish this by orchestrating each incremental step toward that end during the years!

This morning as I was reading the book of Esther, it occurred to me that her story is a perfect example from the Bible of God’s timing. From Esther’s being chosen as queen, to Mordecai’s overhearing and reporting a proposed assassination of the king, to the king not being able to sleep and reading the account of Mordicai’s deed and much more. Read it all for yourself and you’ll be amazed by the incidents that seemed inconsequential at the time, but fit into God’s plan and occurred at just the right time. Nothing is happenstance with our all-knowing God. His timing is always perfect.

So, now the blog has reached over 30,000 “hits,” and in retrospect one can see how God, at just the right time, nudged individuals to act, brought people into Dotti’s life, and melded all of this together to get His Word out to more people than either Dotti or I would have thought possible over 30 years ago. To God be the glory!

Statistics Speak. At first glance the statistics speak only of numbers. Yet, upon a closer look, one can’t help but notice that they also give a peek into the countries where God is drawing people to the blog who might otherwise not ever hear the Gospel. It isn’t an accident that there are a large number of hits in Russia and China. God is again demonstrating His perfect timing. Continue to pray that many will be drawn to the blog around the world, especially in those areas where widows are mistreated, or at best ignored.

United States
United Kingdom

Message by Shari Hervold 

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Grandmother Shari & Baby Valbjorn

September 7th, 2017 National Grandmother’s Day

What Makes a Good Grandmother?

Let me relay to you a cute story I read recently:

I saw a want ad that caught my eye. It read: Wanted: ONE GRANDMOTHER. The job sounded easy so I decided to answer the ad and see what it was all about.

Several hours later I found myself at the address given in the ad. As I knocked on the door, a very quiet voice told me to come in. To my surprise, I saw a young boy about eight years of age, dressed in a business suit and sitting behind a large oak desk. I was there, I told him, to apply for the position of grandmother. “Well,” said the boy looking at me critically, “just what are your qualifications?” “Qualifications?” I asked. “Well, you see, I don’t know. I’ve never been a grandmother before.”

“First,” said the boy, “you must be old. Everyone knows that grandmothers are old.” “Old? How old?” I asked. “At least forty,” he replied. “That should be old enough. Then what?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, “you gotta be smart. You must know all the answers to all the questions that I am going to ask you while I’m growing up. Also,” he went on, “you must be able to keep a secret. I’m sure that there’ll be lots of times when you will see me doing things that I shouldn’t, but grandmothers are not supposed to snitch on us little kids . . . especially grandkids.”

“Keep a secret?” I knew that might prove problematic at times. “There’s one more thing,” said the boy. “You would have to have a great big heart full of love and would have to love and understand him even though at times it would be difficult,” the boy stated very matter-of-factly.

“How much does a grandmother get paid?” I finally asked. “PAID?” he shouted. “Who said anything about getting paid.  Grandmothers don’t get paid for anything. They just give a lot.”

I couldn’t believe it. Who in their right mind would want to be a grandmother, I wondered. All that work, all that love, all that giving, and for what? All for nothing!

I got up to leave, fully decided that this wasn’t the job for me. But just then I caught a hopeful look in the young boy’s eyes, a look of trust and admiration. And then I knew why so many people wanted to become grandmothers. In fact, I determined right then and there to be a grandmother someday too. Who knows, maybe if I work at it real hard, I might even qualify.

Becoming a grandmother is simple. In fact there’s really nothing to it. One day (or night) you receive this excited call from one of your birth children or children-in-law telling you that you are a grandmother. You quickly go to the hospital where you examine each miniature feature and wonder how much of his/her mother, father, grandmother, and so on was tucked into the embryo of his/her personality. Unashamedly you brag to anyone willing to listen about the beautiful baby who has just made you a grandmother. But being a grandmother is much more than carrying a pound of pictures in one’s purse to show to unsuspecting acquaintances or suspecting family and friends. One has to get on with the job of grandmothering.
But, what are the ground rules for grandmothers? There’s an over-abundance of books on parenting, but what’s a grandparent to do? Surely God’s Word has some ground rules for grandmothers that are applicable to the 21st century.
My mind immediately flew to young Timothy and his grandmother, Lois. She was a godly woman who had invested in the life of her grandson, Timothy, and lived to see some of the returns on that investment. However, she didn’t leave us a guidebook or plan to follow.

 Upon closer examination of Paul’s writings, I discover a grand-mothering manual of sorts in his letter to Titus, superintendent of the churches in Crete. (Titus 2:3-4) Paul told Titus to teach the older women their responsibility to the younger women and children. Now, who would those older women be but grandmothers!

 ·       Be Reverent in Behavior

Reverent is defined as feeling or showing a solemn respect.  So this kind of grandmother has a respect for all of God’s creation and demonstrates that to her grandchildren in very simple and practical ways. She shows her grandchildren the beauty of the first buds in spring, teaches them to appreciate the songs of the birds, to point out the beauty of the distinct yellow of the Finch and she delights in popping the first strawberry of the season into their mouths.  She knows that pretty rocks, seashells, even broken ones, and dead moths found by little boys and girls should be
Grandmom this is my puppy!
put on display. She even learns not to show her distain for the live animals and Lady Insects that her little munchkins bring to her. And the ubiquitous flowering weeds that are picked and brought as gifts are always put in a lovely vase, not relegated to a coffee cup, or worse, a jar. She shows kindness and respect for each of their various pets, even though she may not prefer their company in her own home.  She can readily do so because she acknowledges that each was created by God and are a part of her beloved grandchild’s “extended family.”

This grandmother respects the members of her family and is sensitive to their natures and needs. She is careful to make sure that her in-law child is just as highly regarded, recognizing each one as a divine gift.  Her behavior says, “You are wonderfully and fearfully made and I love you.”

·       Teach What is Good
g about grandma, they’re also learning about God, her creator as well as theirs.There are many places besides a classroom to impart knowledge. It may be in a car, at the kitchen counter, sitting on a couch, lying on the bed, or walking along the shore.  Grandmothers never say, “Now, let me teach you something.” Rather they are more likely to say, “That reminds me of when I was a young girl,” or “You know what?” or “Let me tell you about the time . . . “ In these small chunks of time she can pass on fragments of God’s wisdom, truth, and love. At the same time grandchildren are learning.

This grandmother teaches by who she is, by the pretty table she sets, the television shows she watches, and the fun things to do at her house. There is no conflict between what she says and what she does. And in order to teach, she must constantly learn – from God’s Word, wholesome books and other resources.

·       Encourage to Love
A grandmother encourages young ones to love by loving them. She prompts them to love their parents by loving their parents herself.

This second generation mother knows that attention is a form of love. She listens attentively to accounts of imaginary friends whether they be dragons or other children, and later to the successes and losses of little league games. She laughs at silly jokes, even oft-told ones, and when appropriate, sheds an understanding tear. She knows that in so loving she will be loved back.

It’s common knowledge that she will talk about her grandchildren at the drop of a Kleenex, but this grandmother, most of all, talks about them regularly to her loving Heavenly Father who knows and loves them more deeply that she.

She recognizes that she is most often one of two in the life of each grandchild and she doesn’t compete for attention or undermine the love of the other special grandmother in her grandchildren’s lives. By such actions she is teaching that love is not jealous and doesn’t seek to please only herself. She knows that God has made each of us with a large capacity for love and that each grandchild can love each grandmother and be the richer for the love of each in return.

These are the ground rules in God’s guidebook for grandmothers:

·       Live Reverently
·       Teach What is Good
·       Encourage Love

My prayer is that God will enable me to be that kind of a grandmother to my precious grandson, Valbjørn, as well as you to each of your grandchildren.
Message by Shari Hervold

Now clear your throat and take a deep breathe --prepare yourself to sing along with some of the famous Gospel Song.