Saturday, December 4, 2021

When God Honored a Group of Outcasts

 We are in the Christmas season and I want to focus our attention for the next few minutes on a group of characters in the biblical account of the Nativity as recorded in the book of Luke. Some scholars have dubbed Luke as the gospel of outcasts. He goes to great length to portray Jesus as the friend of those that society had rejected or who were considered socially inferior: lepers, gentiles, tax collectors, sick, lame, widows and women in general.

  As you may have surmised, I want to focus on the shepherds who were as familiar then  as automobiles and cell phones are today. Yet, ancient shepherding was no fair-weather job. They actually lived in the pasture with the flock. Many never married, feeling their jobs were too demanding. During the day they watched while the sheep grazed. They kept an eye out for predators like wolves. And at night, they actually slept in the sheep pen with the sheep to guard against theft and animal attack. A good shepherd could identify each one of his sheep by sight. He knew his sheep and they knew him.

Yet, for all their devotion to their lambs and sheep, shepherds were despised in first century Palestine. Those who considered themselves as members of proper society in the more urban areas looked upon shepherds as uncouth, since they worked with animals. They were regarded as dirty. Afterall, they had to handle the sheep and walk the same pastures where sheep dung may stick to their shoes and their clothing may carry the stench of vomit as they cradled sick lambs in their arms. And the religious people didn’t consider them devout since their duties kept them from regular attendance at the synagogue. What would one expect with animals that are forever getting lost, falling sick, breaking a leg or having obstetrical difficulties!

            Like all people who are despised for whatever reason, they were useful to the people who despised them. Think about it. It was an unblemished lamb offered up in the temple services. Temple authorities had their own private flocks just outside of Jerusalem, in the Bethlehem hills. Here the shepherd cared for their own flocks as well as attending to those of the temple authorities, always on the lookout for the perfect lamb to be offered in the temple. And it was to this despised group of rural, coarse, smelly men that the birth of the spotless Lamb of God was first announced. They were the first to

hear the words, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” (Luke 2:11).  God was demonstrating, by His choice of these humble shepherds to be the first to receive the news of Christ’s birth, that Jesus was not going to be the Savior of only the political and social and religious elite.  Jesus is the Savior of all equally; he doesn’t give preference to any group or any class.

            Don’t you love the fact that God loves ordinary people? People like you and me. When we were lost in our sins, dirty and outcast, he revealed himself to us and let us know that he wants to become our Savior. There’s something about ordinary folk, you know those “salt-of-the-earth” type who don’t project false fronts that some sophisticated people are guilty of doing.

Has loneliness, despair, discouragement, and brokenness made an appearance in your life? Let the message to the shepherds sink in: “Unto you is born a Savior.”  The angels’ pronouncement that long-ago night is for YOU.

The birth of the Christ-child is about God coming to us in our everyday lives and saying to us, "Don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news."

  • It's about God meeting us in our grief and loneliness.
  • It's about God meeting us in our frustration and discouragement.
  • It’s about God wanting to mend the brokenness in our lives.
  • It's about God wanting to be a part of everything that affects us.

By sending the angels to the lowly shepherds to herald the birth of his son, God let us know that Jesus is for all people. “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16). While at Christmas we focus our attention on the virgin birth of Christ, we must never forget for a moment that Christ was born to die to pay the debt for the sin of all who would come to him.

Christ shed his blood on Calvary that we might have eternal life in a heavenly home that is beautiful beyond our comprehension.

Have a blessed Christmas!

Christmas Message by Shari Hervold
                      Three hours of Traditional Christian Music
                                           Relax and Enjoy!


Saturday, November 13, 2021

Mary Sat While Martha Seethed

I want us to look at an incident in the life of two sisters, Mary and Martha. I think it will be beneficial to us as we enter into a long holiday period here in America: Thanksgiving is celebrated here this month and Christmas in December. Their story is recorded in Luke 10: 38-42.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted. “Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered. “you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”

            What had Martha so worried and upset? To put it simply, she was caught up in all the preparations for her special dinner guests and that had become her sole focus. She wanted the table to look perfect, each dish to have just the right amount of herbs and other flavoring. Oh, and the special wine glasses needed to be placed out. Have you ever been involved in a project or even a special meal yourself, and you found yourself getting so caught up in it that it consumed your every moment? You made your list and kept checking to see that every detail was just perfect.

            But Martha’s problem escalated beyond herself and her busyness. This was her home and the guests were there at her
invitation, yet, she expected her sister to pitch right in and assist her with all the preparations. When Mary chooses to sit with the men and listen to Jesus, the rabbi, which really was not culturally acceptable and may have been an embarrassment to her sister, Martha goes on and on with her fuming and fusing and muttering. I think we all identify with the resentment that Martha is feeling. Perhaps Martha even wished that she could just sit and listen to the rabbi, but she felt the pressure of providing hospitality.

            Then Martha does something that I would never have the nerve to do, she complained to Jesus about her sister’s lack of assistance. Furthermore, she dares to command Jesus to “tell her to help me.”  She didn’t tell Mary herself to help her or even scold her for sitting there while she did all the work; she scolded Jesus for not telling Mary to get up and go help her sister.

            I love Jesus’s loving but direct reply, “Martha, Martha, you are troubled and worried about many things, but one thing is needful.” This seemed to have an immediate soothing effect upon her. Makes me wonder if perhaps Jesus didn’t go on to say, “Martha, why don’t you too

just come sit awhile. Dinner can wait. Peter can go out in the garden and pick the figs that Mary was going after. I have something to say that I want you to hear.” While there’s no record of his saying more, it’s implied in his words, “Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” We all want to keep the good part of anything, whether it be life, marriage, motherhood, you name it. God’s Word clearly teaches that this world and everything in it is passing away, but God’s truths, his Word will abide forever and no one can take them away from us. Even the good things of this world will come to an end. Oh, I hope Martha took the hint.

            So, when you find yourselves busy about many things this holiday season, Jesus says the same words to you, not in condemnation or shame, but just as a loving reminder to not confuse the transient with the eternal.  Christian women are guilty of mouthing the phrases, “Keep Christ in Christmas,” or “Remember the reason for the season.” Then we get whipped into a frenzy decorating the house, purchasing

gifts, making batch after batch of special cookies until we’re just like Martha. Yes, even Christian women are heard to say, “I can’t wait ‘til Christmas is over.” Surely you don’t mean that you can’t wait until honoring the birth of Christ is over. Perhaps you have put expectations on yourself and are too concerned with traditions and what others might think to do what might really honor Christ. Christmas will still be Christmas whether you make every cookie you used to or not, whether you decorate every room in the house or purchase just the perfect gift for every family member and prepare a 6-course Christmas dinner.

            I encourage every women listening to find a place of contentment in Christ that enables you to focus your energies on him. Play praise choruses and carols that make your heart soar and joyful that Christ was born. Then, listen for the still small voice that whispers, “My precious daughter, there are many things that could distract and bother you, but you have chosen the better. I will gift you with my peace and contentment.” Have a blessed Thanksgiving as you look forward to Christmas.

Message by Shari Hervold
Bible Teacher for 
"Friends Needing Friends International Widow Ministry"


Give Thanks by Don Moen 


Saturday, October 16, 2021

You Are Never Out of God's Sight and Care

There is a widow in the Bible who is given just a little space, yet, in spite of what we don't know about her, there are lessons we can learn from her story. Mark, in the 12th chapter of his book, tells us that Jesus was watching the crowds as they put their offerings in the temple treasury. Many were rich, but along came a poor widow who put in two very small coins. Jesus called this to the attention of his disciples and told them that this widow had put more into the treasury than all the others. How was this so since many had put in large amounts? You see, the former gave out of their riches; she out of her poverty.                                                      

There is a truth for you widows that I want you to glean from this story. This widow, though desperately poor, showed her great love for God by giving her all to Him. Jesus said it this way, “but she, out of her poverty put in everything – all that she had to live on.” But she showed more than just love for God, she demonstrated a heart that believed that she would be taken care of in spite of giving her all to God. Perhaps she had read and reread the stories of the widow of Zaraphath or the story of the widow whose supply of oil didn’t run out. She knew that somehow God would see that her daily needs were met. No matter your financial circumstances, you are never out of the care of your heavenly Father.                  

Let me tell you a little more about the plight of most widows in ancient Palestine. Most had no legal standing and no resources of their own.  If her husband died leaving her without sons to run the business or family farm, her land was put into the trust of someone else to run it for her. Jesus comments on this poor widow were given after describing the Scribes, who were the legal scholars and experts on the Scriptures, as those who "shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious...” (Mark 12:40). The implication of this is that the Scribes were using their status as experts of the law to defraud the widows out of their property. They were supposed to protect this widow, but in fact had left her with only two small coins to live on. It was a totally unjust system in which Jesus' sharp warnings to those who so treat widows is as valid today as the time in which it was first spoken.  And there are many such warnings in both the Old and New Testaments.  

Exodus 22:22-24  You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.  (23) If you afflict her at all, and if she does cry out to Me, I will surely hear her cry: 24 and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.   I would love to know more about this woman, but Jesus let us know by this story of His great love and concern for the vulnerable among us. Anyone who defrauds you or tries to take advantage of you in any manner is going to answer to the highest authority. Jesus said it outright “Such men will be punished most severely.” The widows of Friends Needing Friends living in America, with many legal protections, love their fellow sisters in Christ in less fortunate nations such as India and give of their resources to see that their necessities for life are available to them. They do this through the ministry of the

Kerusoman Gospel Ministries who minister not just to the physical, but also the emotional and spiritual needs of these precious women. They are the hands and feet of Jesus extended to the most vulnerable of our day. God’s eyes see this too and their reward is awaiting them. 

Thank you ladies wherever you live and however you help provide for those less fortunate than you. You, too, are Jesus’s hands and feet in this world. Never forget to thank the Lord for His ever-watchful love and concern for you. Live with the peace that only our loving heavenly Father can give.  

Message by Shari Hervold


                     Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman 


Thursday, September 16, 2021

If We All Work Together

 Last month we looked at the life of Dorcas and how, with just a sewing needle and a compassionate heart, she kept the poor widows of Joppa and their families in clothing. Acts 9: 36 tell us that “she was always doing good and helping the poor.”  Dorcas saw a need and responded by saying, “I’ll fill that need,” and consequently many widows and their children had an adequate wardrobe.

            That is a nice story and an example to all of us that we should always use whatever talents or gifts God has given us to help others. But the story doesn’t end there. Dorcas got very sick and died. It is clear from the reaction to her death that the disciples and the town widows saw her as far more than just a seamstress who made clothing. They had come to love her as a true servant of Christ, with a heart full of compassion that spilled over into their lives. Now, they seized the opportunity to minister to her. Following cultural practices, her body was washed and wrapped in cloth and placed in a cool upstairs room. Then, one of the disciples, remembering that the apostle Peter was in

Lydda, a neighboring town of about 11 miles, sent two men to get him to come to Joppa. They could have balked at the idea of walking that far saying, “Why bother Peter when Dorcas is already dead?”.  But, they too were willing to do their part and set off on foot to try to get Peter to come.

 It is most likely that they had heard that Peter had prayed for a paralytic, resulting in his healing and they were hoping for such a miracle. The Christ followers knew that there was no limit to God’s power and they held out hope that Peter could pray for Dorcas with positive results. Peter interrupted his ministry in Lydda and accompanied the two men back to Joppa. When he went into the house of Dorcas, he was greeted by totally heart broken people.           

The grieving widows didn’t really have to tell Peter what Dorcas had done for them, she had left tangible evidence of her ministry to speak for her. Peter recognized their great loss and was touched by the scene he was witnessing. What he did next might seem a little strange to us. He asked everyone to leave the room, leaving him alone with the body of Dorcas. Peter didn’t want the distractions of the grieving women as he prayed to God. After prayer he looked at Dorcas and said, “Dorcas, get up.” Acts 9:40-42 tells us that immediately she opened her eyes and sat up. Peter took her by the hand and walked with her down the stairs where the waiting group saw what God had done. Word soon got out and many came to believe in Christ as the Lord.

            Ladies, do you see how everyone in this story saw a need and said, “I’ll do it,”?

·       Dorcas saw the need for clothing for the poor widows.

·       The widows saw the need to properly care for Dorcas’s body.

·       The two men responded to the need to go after Peter.

·       Peter responded by coming to Joppa to pray for Dorcas’s resurrection.

·       People shared the great news and many came to faith in Jesus Christ as God’s son.

You are all hearing this because of the ministry of Friends Needing Friends.  Dotti Ackerman became a widow and was challenged by her pastor to help other widows. Through her own grief and pain, she said “I will.” Dotti moved to another state and Mary Lou Tweed saw a need for leadership in the group that Dotti had left and said, “I will lead.” Dotti knew there were widows in her new state and, even though widowed a second time and sick with cancer said, “I will,” to starting another chapter. A group of widows were asking for some Bible studies and Shari said, “I will,” and started a monthly Bible study. Fast forward to 2021 and each of these ladies is at a different stage of life, but have learned the technology skills that you see in evidence here, and are still saying “I will,” to what God wants her to do to keep this ministry going out. These three women are at different ages and stages of life now, with different talents, as well as limitations, but God has brought it all together for His glory and your benefit. Furthermore, he’s added new women to the mix.

      Ladies, I implore you to never get into the position where you don’t want to do something that might benefit others and bring glory to God. Get rid of the excuses of age, health, lack of talent or other such excuses. Be willing to say, “I will,” even to small tasks and watch God bring everything together to enlarge His family. It all started with a sewing needle for Dorcas and ended with a resurrection and people coming to faith in Christ. It started with a broken heart for Dotti and ended with a 33-year-old ministry to widows that goes across the world monthly.  God can do much when we are willing to do our part as his hands and feet in this world.

Message by Shari Hervold

                          God Will Make a Way by Don Moen                           
God is Good all the Time by Don Moen









Sunday, August 1, 2021

Dorcas the Doer

James 1:22 says this, “But be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” In other words, we are to put into practice what the Bible teaches, not just listen to a sermon on Sunday and then forget what we hear after we leave church. In Acts 9:36-42, we read the account of a woman who personified this verse  beautifully. 
Let me summarize her story for you:

            Dorcas lived in a town called Joppa and was known for her good deeds, especially to widows. You see, Joppa was a seaport and many sailors’ widows and children lived there. The boats of those days weren’t especially seaworthy and many a sailor lost his life if a big storm assailed them. Their widows were especially vulnerable and were often dependent on the largess of the local community or synagogue.

The Christian community had many such individuals and Dorcas helped to make sure that their need for clothing was supplied. How did she do this? She simply sewed garments for them. Think about it. Her main tool was a simple needle. This was many years before even the crudest sewing machines were invented. Hand sewing is tedious work; yet, day in and day out she ministered to the needs of the destitute, demonstrating her love for God and for others with each stitch.

            We know very little about Dorcus herself. Some feel that she may have been wealthy because the fabric out of which she made the clothing was costly. She may have been a widow, but this too is speculation. What we do know is that the Scripture refers to her as a “certain disciple.” This includes her among the numerous other disciples mentioned in the New Testament, and she achieved this status by her skill with a simple sewing needle and a heart of compassion for widows.

            The writer, Melanie Newton, reminds us that part of our story of faith is how we are living it out on a daily basis. Dorcas knew her talent and she shared that gift to minister to the widows in Joppa

         Ladies, God created each of us with abilities that’s embedded in our DNA. Some of the more obvious ones are musical talents, artistic abilities, math whizzes, wordsmiths, those with sensitive spirits toward others, to name a few. Out of these various talents can come good works that we can use to help and bless others. You see whatever you can do, God wants you to use it to be His channel of grace to others.  I know a retired nurse who, because of her medical background, offers her services to some of the chronically ill in our community. In addition, she offers her time to visit the sick in the hospital. I know another woman who made many of the costumes for the yearly Easter pageants her church produces. The woman who applied stage make-up was a professional make-up artist who donated her talents to the church. These women were all donating their gifts to help further the kingdom of God. Yes, even applying stage make-up can be used to enhance God’s work because many people come to know Christ through these productions. Perhaps you are at a season in your life where you feel depleted of the energy or even the physical ability to do what once brought you great joy as you shared your gifting with others. Then maybe you can just use a simple ballpoint pen to bless others. Remember Dorcas used a simple sewing needle to minister to

many widows in her community. When was the last time you wrote just a short note of thanks and encouragement to your pastor or priest, letting him know how greatly blessed you are by their work as your shepherd? Your pastors are just as subject to discouragement as any other person. There are many individuals who would benefit from a word or note of encouragement, I’m sure. 

    The name of this ministry, Friends Needing Friends, was chosen by Dotti Ackerman, its founder, to remind you that as a widow you are the friend that someone needs as she walks the road of widowhood. Likewise, you need others to stand by you, encouraging you through words and/or actions as you encounter difficulties on your road.

            Dandi Mackall says, “Remember what Jesus told his apostles at the Last Supper? ‘If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.’ According to this Scripture, the blessing is in the doing. Dorcas did not miss the blessing. She used her enterprise to help those who were in need.” God is wanting to bless you too for reaching out and helping to bring some joy into the life of another individual, a fellow image bearer of God. Dorcas’s legacy to each of us is one of not just possessing a skill, but using it to help others, all the while being Christ’s hands extended.


Message by Shari Hervold


                        Music by Maranatha - "I Love You Lord"


Friday, July 16, 2021

Learning from Mary, The mother of Jesus, How to Suffer Loss

 It’s July and in America it’s not uncommon for people to give a nod to Christmas during this month. Sometimes radio stations will play Christmas songs and organizations might do a special tribute to Christmas in their activities. It’s called Christmas in July. For the remainder of this year, I thought I would pay tribute to some of the great women in the Bible starting here in July with Mary, the mother of Jesus. 
                                                                                             Now, we’re all familiar with the account in the gospel of Luke where the angel Gabriel made the announcement to Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah. Mary’s response was simply, “I am the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say,” (Luke 1:38b MSG). Keep those words in your mind as we look at Mary in another setting. 

          Jesus, though the son of God, was also Mary’s son and she loved him with the heart and devotion of a mother. When he was sick, she nursed him back to health, and when he fell and skinned his knees, she tenderly washed them and administered healing oils to them, and when the neighborhood children taunted him by calling him a bastard, Mary’s mother-heart ached for him, comforted only by what she knew to be the truth.

            By the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, Mary was a widow. She had experienced the death of her husband and the loneliness that accompanied it and now her precious son is enduring a public travesty. Mary, doubtless, took pride in her son when the crowds of thousands followed him and his teachings and clamored for his attention or his healing touch. But now, the religious leaders who hated him along with many who had hailed him, had turned against him. Mary had to watch from the sidelines as her son endured a mock trial and a death

sentence by crucifixion. Think about it. She observed him endure the scourging that cut deep into his flesh and the nails hammered through the tendons of his feet and hands, all coupled with the shame of being stripped naked as Roman soldiers mocked him. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was so battered that he was unrecognizable. I can’t help but wonder if Mary could possibly have had any inkling of what she too would have to suffer when she uttered those words to Gabriel, “Let it be to me as you have said,”? How could Mary stand and watch her son endure an agony no other mother would have to endure with calmness, without making a scene by shouting epithets at the soldiers or throwing herself prostrate at the foot of the cross? And who would have blamed her had she? I suggest it was because Mary’s life was emotionally centered in God.

You widows know the pain of the loss of your spouse and some of you may have endured the grief of losing a child. Some days I’m sure that your losses have made you want to give up on life. But, you haven’t. I encourage you to look at the example of Mary as she calmly accepted the worst that life could give so that the whole world would have the opportunity to have the best that both life and death could give. God knew what He was doing in choosing Mary to become the mother of His son. He saw a young girl with a heart fully surrendered to Him.

            Mary’s life wasn’t over with the death of her son. Jesus arose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, yet Mary lived for several more years. Don’t forget that Mary was one of the 120 gathered in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit, that Jesus had promised He would send, was poured out on them. Yet, other than mentioning her as being present, Scripture doesn’t mention her again. Mary was content to live out her life in the home of John, the beloved apostle, as a faithful attender to a newly formed home church. Yet, I have no doubt, that, full of the Holy Spirit, she was a continual blessing to many. Do I think she missed the physical presence of her son? Yes, I do and there were probably days, even knowing that He was awaiting her in Heaven, when the tears flowed. While there will never be a need for another Mary, God desires that each of you surrenders your life to Him and allow His strength and succor to be yours as you live with pain and loss. Though the tears may sometimes flow, I encourage you to say as did Mary, “Let it be with me just as you say.”  Through the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, may you continue to be a blessing to many. And lest I forget, Merry Christmas in July!

Message by Shari Hervold

                                  Beautiful Music by Mark Lowry

                                " Mary Did You Know"


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Bearing Fruit in Old Age


This June marks the 33rd anniversary of Friends Needing Friends. In honor of this occasion, I dedicate the following verses from Psalm 92.

             The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,

They will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;

Planted in the house of the Lord,

They will flourish in the courts of our God.

They will still bear fruit in old age.

They will stay fresh and green,

Proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;

He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.”

                                           Psalm 92:12-15 NIV

Let’s look more closely at this Psalm and analyze some of its symbolic language. Cedar wood is known for its durability and beauty. Solomon

used this wood when he built the temple. Even today, cedar is often used to make outdoor furniture because of its ability to withstand the ravages of weather. The branch of a palm was symbolic of triumph and victory. Both the cedar and palm are evergreen trees, always growing, always bearing fruit. So, though the older individual will not have the physical vitality of youth, yet they will still make a difference with their lives as they serve God. They will be fresh and green, or still have purpose, even though their bodies are aging, and their hair is turning gray.  II Corinthians 4:16 reminds us “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

            Have you ever considered the ages of some of our biblical heroes? Moses and Aaron were 80 and 83 when they were chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Joshua was in the last 30 years of his 110 years of life when he led the conquest of Canaan and Caleb was in his 80’s. A modern day heroin that comes to mind is Corrie ten Boom who was 54 years old when she started her travels to 64 countries, speaking and preaching about Jesus Christ. She was 79 years old when

she wrote her bestselling book, The Hiding Place. Don’t overlook the first line of this psalm, “The righteous will flourish…” Corrie, as were all of these individuals, were tried in some of life’s cruelest crucibles, yet remained faithful to God. Corrie spent time in a concentration camp where she was subject to and witnessed the worst of evil. Yet, it was this that prepared her for such a great ministry in her later years.

            In 1988 Dotti Ackerman, founder of Friends Needing Friends, became a widow with a young son. She was encouraged by her pastor to start a ministry to widows who might be experiencing the same pain as she. She began by inviting a few widows to a local restaurant for dinner, where they were treated to some inspirational music and a short devotional from God’s Word. Yet, this ministry would grow to encompass three counties and cross religious affiliations. Dotti remarried and was widowed again before she moved to Florida in 2011. Dotti now has a strong Florida chapter, and the original New Jersey chapter is under the capable leadership of Mary Lou Tweed. I now write a monthly blog going out to thousands across the globe. Just in the past year, this has been extended to include this monthly video lesson. Little did I know that my years of teaching writing to students would be used in my retirement years to composing computer blogs and teaching via the internet. Neither Dotti nor I, as well as the capable women who assist, ever dreamed that God would still be using us well into old age to minister to widows and others hungry to learn more about Jesus and His love and compassion for them.  In addition, we now support 45 widows in India through the Kerusomem Gospel Ministry.  Yet, this is exactly what this Psalm tells us God will do for the righteous (those following after God). That promise is for you, too. Never consider yourself too old to do anything.

Proclaim with St. Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” (Philippians 4:13). We have all aged 33 years since 1988 when this ministry began, but those are years that God has been grooming us for what it is He has for us in this season of life. 

So, Happy 33rd Anniversary to Friends Needing Friends and my prayer is that God will continue to make you a true blessing and inspiration for His kingdom for many more years.

                                    Message by Shari Hervold

                                           Dotti Ackerman
                        Founder & Director of Friends Needing Friends
                                International Widow Ministry

      I thank God for our friendship of over 30 years. As Shari said in her message, neither of us ever dreamed that God would still be using us well into our old age to minister to widows. "FNF" is also supporting  many widows in India through the Kerusomem Gospel Ministry and we pray that FNF ministry will continue to be a blessing to widows world wide. 
                                              Dotti Ackerman

Thank you Lord by Don Moen  

He Will Carry You by Lynda Randle 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Bathsheba, the Fourth Woman in Jesus' Genealogy

There are few emotions that render hopelessness in the heart of an individual like discouragement. With discouragement an individual sees no way out of a situation, feels that no one understands her predicament and pain, and this can spiral into hopelessness and despair. I was introduced to a song recently entitled, “He’ll (God) Do it Again.” This song references some of the despondency that comes with discouragement and seeks to remind us that what God has done for us in the past, as well as for others, He’ll do again as He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.

          A woman in the Bible who became a widow under heinous and deeply painful circumstances is an example of an individual who experienced great loss and pain, yet lived to see God work on her behalf and reverse her circumstances. Her name is Bathsheba and she is the fourth and last mother mentioned in the Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus.

 Bathsheba was the very beautiful woman for whom David lusted, took to bed and impregnated, then had her husband killed so that he could wed her. Some have cast her as a seductress, but I take issue with that. She was doing what she most likely would have done many times as she assumed the men were off to war and her privacy was

assured as she bathed on the rooftop. 2 Samuel 11:4 tells us that David sent his men to get her (he was the king and she had to come) and when she came to him, he lay with her. David is cast as the actor and she the one acted upon. Dr. Larry Richards, a noted Bible scholar, calls it outright rape. Then when David learns of her pregnancy by her encounter with him, he devises a way to make it appear that Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, is the father of the child. When that plan hits a wall, David assigns him a battle position basically assuring his death, which was soon in coming.

          So now Bathsheba finds herself pregnant with a child of rape, and a widow. Hebrew literature doesn’t go into great detail relating the emotional responses, especially of women, but it’s not hard to imagine the fright, sorrow, anger, and despair that she must have endured during this period of her life. After her formal mourning period was over, David sent for her and she became his wife, (one of many). The story might have ended there with the child being born and she living out her life in luxury as one of the wives of the king. But life isn’t a fairy tale and this child at some point became sick and died. Again, Bathsheba’s heart was broken and she endured the despondency of losing a precious child. Later, Bathsheba bore another son whom she named Solomon and was granted the joy of motherhood. 

David had other wives and many sons, any who could have become king. Bathsheba wanted her child to succeed David and she laid aside fear, went to King and advocated for her son to succeed him and won David's promise to do so. She further acted courageously on Solomon's behalf when it looked like another son was going to claim the throne. Even though her marriage began on the weakest of foundations, she had the strength and fortitude to put that behind her and be a good wife and mother. It is said that Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs as a dedication to his mother who strongly influenced his life. Bathsheba lived to see God restore her life and bring great honor to her and her descendants. 

Your life has parallels to Bathsheba’s. You have suffered loss through the death of a loved one and have experienced the inconveniences, lonely hours, fears, and discouragements that accompany that loss. Some of you may still be in the first throes of grief; others may be more resigned and learning to adjust to your new “normal.” Let me remind you that God was with Bathsheba through everything she endured. As a woman, little concern was given to her feelings, but God saw and He cared. Solomon did become the king of Israel after his father, David. And, as we know, our precious Savior

was born from the lineage of David and as the mother of Solomon, Bathsheba also is in the lineage of Jesus. Jesus didn’t forget her and the injustice done to her. This loving heavenly Father cares just the same for you. In fact, as the song says, He’s fighting for you; He’s on your side no matter how discouraged you may feel or how hopeless the situation may appear to you. He knows just how your heart has been broken in two and God will do it again just as He did for Bathsheba. He will wipe away your tears, calm your emotions and give you a hopeful future. Remember the words of the Psalmist, “…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

If you haven’t accepted God into your life but would like to do so, just sincerely follow the steps below.

Admit that your sins have separated you from God. (Psalm 14:1-3; Rom 3:23)

Believe that God did something about your sins through Jesus Christ. (The final Pascal Lamb/Messiah.) (Lev 17:10; Heb 9:19-22)

Commit yourself to His righteousness by confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior. (Isa 53:5; Col 1:22) 

Do it today!  (Isa 49:8; 2Cor 6:2) 

Prayer: Father in Heaven, I'm sorry for the things I've done that are wrong. I am a sinner, forgive me. Thank You for loving me and sending your son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for my sin. Holy Spirit, come into my heart; Jesus, be my Lord and Savior. I give You my life.   Amen

Message by Shari Hervold

                        Music by Beth Buck - "He'll Do It Again"