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.