Thursday, May 28, 2020

Going Forward as Fearless Women of God

Click below for a wonderful Video of the message by Shari Hervold - "Going Forward as Fearless Women of God" 

For all who wish to copy this special message by Shari Hervold just highlight and copy. This message is expecially for those who are in need of help getting through the pandemic.  

As I am writing this, we are into the 13th week of lockdown during this COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps for a while we were content to finally not have pressing appointments, to be able to attend“church” in our pajamas and see friends and family and participate in small group sessions via Zoom or some
other technological wizardry. Yet,
now, we are chafing to get back to work, to doing meaningful activities involving other people. As widows, you most likely are more than ready to be with each other again and feel the warmth of a friend’s hand and see her smile in person. Yet, we have a tendency to hold back because of fears: fear of catching the virus, fear of disapproval of friends and/or family and perhaps other fears that surface now and again. Yet, we know that with fear come all sorts of negative emotions: doubts, discouragement, lethargy, any of which could lead to despair, none of which comes from God.

Most of you will recall the story (I Kings 18) in the Old Testament where the prophet Elijah challenged the gods of Israel. The 450 prophets of the god Baal were to pray to him, and Elijah was to pray to Jehovah God to send fire to burn up a sacrifice. All day the prophets prayed to their god with no results. Then Elijah prayed to Jehovah God and fire fell and burned up the sacrifice, not stopping until the wood, the stones, the soil, and even the water were burned up by the fire of the one true God. The people were amazed and worshipped Jehovah as the one true God; then Elijah had the 450 false prophets killed.
When King Ahab went home and told his wife, Jezebel, what had happened to her prophets she became so angry with Elijah that she threatened to kill him. Elijah became terrified of her and ran away into the desert like a frightened child where he fell exhausted under a bush.
            Emotions are wonderful. As humans we have the ability to feel happy, sad, apprehensive, confused, joyful, despondent, angry, thrilled, etc. Emotions are a part of what make us truly human. But Elijah, in his frightened isolated condition, allowed his emotions to define who he was. Because he felt alone, because Jezebel had singled him out to attack, he just jumped to the conclusion that he was the only true believer in God that was left.  And his fear paralyzed him emotionally and spiritually.
            Satan is the author of fear not God. In fact, the phrase, “fear not” is used at least 80 times in the Bible, most likely because
God knows that Satan, our enemy, uses fear to take away our hope, keeping us emotionally and spiritually paralyzed just like Elijah.  What’s the result or consequence for allowing Satan to fill your heart with fear? For Elijah, it was the inability to complete the call that God had on his life. He hid away in a cave and prayed for death to take him. It could just as easily do the same for this ministry.

   I love that it was God who personally came to Elijah to let him , 
know that he wasn’t alone and then told him where to find a helper, by the name of Elisha, to assist with his ministry. Listen, ladies, God has left his Word for you also. In Isaiah 41:10 God tells you this, “So, do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
            Just as Elijah’s work wasn’t finished, neither is yours. God touched Elijah’s heart and sent him back into the fray to continue doing the work of a prophet with the added benefit of an intern. In fact, I suggest that Elijah was able to do his work better than ever before because God uses those broken, frustrating times in our lives, those bruised and hurtful experiences to make us more sensitive to others and infuse us with His compassion. You have stepped up to the plate during this pandemic and shown God’s compassion to many desperately needy widows in India. I am sure you have met many needs in your individual communities and church families. But, now it’s time to have a forward look.

            Friends Needing Friends will be celebrating its 32nd birthday this summer. There have been times when problems and circumstances could have railroaded this ministry, but God saw that His plans for this ministry prevailed and that it would go forward in power and strength. As you are well aware, this ministry is a place for widows to meet one another, a place to be encouraged, to learn about God’s love for this special sisterhood and to grow in
His grace and love. And it is now time to lay fears aside and go forth to continue the work to which God has called you. There’s a verse that forms the backbone of this ministry found in II Corinthians 3:3,  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” Do you notice that there is a purpose to God’s comfort and compassion to us? It’s so that we can then turn around and be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world that’s watching our lives to see how we are responding to whatever life hurls at us.
     I encourage you to be fearless women of God and step out in obedience to the call of God and trust Him. Let me leave you with these encouraging words from St. Paul, who understood isolation, hardship, and trouble more than any of us, in his letter to the church at Galatia: So, let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued (tired) doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit, Galatians 6:9. I look forward to seeing the harvest that will result from this ministry as you go forward in the strength of the Lord.

Message by Shari Hervold