Each year I have been invited to speak at our widow’s support group, Friends Needing Friends. The group has been meeting since June 1988 at Geet’ Diner in Williamstown. Today they meet every fourth Monday at Wedgwood Country Club.
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 heart as He helps you through your time of grieving.
In conclusion, the Scripture is clear. “God defends the cause of the widow,” Deuteronomy 10:18. If you ever find yourself doubting the truth, as “Higher Ground” so beautifully sings, “Just say the name of Jesus!” Yes, there is comfort, healing, and strength in the name of Jesus.
Very truly yours in Jesus,
Pastor Bruce Sofia
Founder & Director of
Gloucester County Community Church
GIVING THANKS IN ALL THINGS
DEALING WITH TOUGH TIMES
IS IT RIGHT TO GO TO A MEDIUM AND SPEAK TO THE DEAD?
THE WIDOWS GIFT
2 Chr. 20:15 “…the battle is not yours, but God’s
An overpowering Egyptian army pursued God’s people. Backed up against the sea with no weapons or way of escape, God parted the waters and led His people to safety. A menacing army hunted down the prophet Elisha, but God struck the army with blindness and sent them home humiliated. The Israelites were no match for the Aramean army that surrounded Jerusalem and cut off their food supply. In the middle of the night God caused the enemy to hear sounds of a great army, the Arameans fled in fear, leaving all their silver, gold, food and supplies behind. Time and time again when God’s people themselves unfit, ill equipped and with nowhere to turn, God stepped in and unfurled His power. Your Heavenly Father always has a plan and His plans never fail.
“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry…He delivers them from all their troubles.”
Samuel begged God to defend the Israelites against the Philistines, and God answered in a loud voice like thunder that caused the enemy to flee. Hezekiah pleaded with God to save the people from the Assyrians, and an angel of the LORD put to death 185,000 men in the enemy camp.
Jehoshaphat prayed, “we have no power…we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” God gave the people victory without having to fight.
“Because he loves says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him; for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon Me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him”.
When you cry out for help and God speaks, do exactly what He says. Obedience is faith in action. God told Moses to stand firm and be still; they would be delivered without a fight. By faith the people did and they beheld the miracle. God told Gideon to reduce his army from 32,000 to 300 to fight the Midianites. By faith he did, and God brought an easy victory. God told Joshua to march around Jericho for seven days blowing trumpets. By faith they did, and the insurmountable walls crumbled. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. At first they may not always make sense, but God’s ways are perfect, and His word is flawless. He knows your enemy. Trust His plan.
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. I will turn the darkness into light…and make the rough places smooth. Turn to me and be saved…for I am God, and there is no other. 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. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come…’ In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust in your strength.
We all find ourselves in helpless situations when things will seem out of control. God understands. “When we were utterly helpless with no way of escape, Christ will at just the right time and died for us sinners…” The God that lovely gave His only son to rescue us from our helpless state will not abandon us. When we in faith look to Jesus in our weakness, He becomes our strength. When we invite Him into our dead ends, He becomes our way. When we fix our eyes on Him, He becomes our peace. Where are you facing disappointment, setback, insurmountable walls, overpowering enemies, or impossible odds? Take heart! The battle is not yours but the Lord’s.
Surrender to Him. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Trust His love for you His plans never fail.
Message "Giving God Your Battle" by the Senior Pastor J. Bruce Sofia from the
Gloucester County Community Church
Sewell, New Jersey. Pastor Bruce has been my family's pastor since 1984. Thank you Pastor and may God Bless you and your family.
‘Real Answers’ by Pastor Bruce Sofia
QUESTION: Is It Right To Go To A Medium To Speak With The Dead?
To answer this question that we addressed at our last “Friends Needing Friends” (a widow sisterhood group) meeting, I am doing so that you can see firsthand what God has said about consulting physics and/or fortunetellers. TV and horoscopes have made this kind of activity quite popular, but there are many things that are popular in society that are not popular with God.
1. First of all, no one has access to the dead but God.
2. Secondly, mediums have never had the approval of God; in fact, they were to be removed from the land.
Here are some Bible verses that express God’s thoughts on this subject.
Leviticus 19:31 – Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.
We are defiled because physics cannot know the future, only God knows the future. They can gather information from evil spirits, and make an intelligent guess, but that is the extent of their knowledge. Furthermore, “Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy,” eventually that is what will happen to those who frequent fortune tellers and physics – they will steal and your joy
Leviticus 20:6 – I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.”
To God, when people consult a medium they slap Him in the face. They are bowing before a man/woman rather than God. Look to His Word. Pray. There is no better comfort anywhere then when you have communed with God.
Isaiah 8:19 – When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?
2nd Chron. 33:6 – He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger.
Remember the words of our Lord in Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I love the words of Ira Sankey, “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.”
Very truly yours, In Jesus,
Pastor Bruce Sofia
Founder & Director of
Gloucester County Community Church.
WHAT IS THE CHURCH’S RESPONSIBILITY TO THE WIDOW
& THE WIDOW’S RESPONSIBILITY TO THE CHURCH?
Let’s begin with the “widow’s responsibility to the Church,” because in answering this question we, in part, answer the question, “What is the church’s responsibility to the widow?”
When St Paul gave Timothy guidelines for caring for the widow (1 Timothy 5:3-16), he said,
1. The widow must be in and have a genuine need (v3).
2. If there are children or grandchildren who are of the “household of faith,” it is first their responsibility to see that the need of the widow requesting help is met (v 4).
3. The widow requesting help must be over 60, been faithful to her husband and well known in the Church for her good deeds (e.g.: raising children, showing hospitality, serving in humility, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds). (v 9-10).
Clearly in this passage we see what the widow’s responsibilities to the Church. She is:
1. To have been a faithful wife to her husband
2. To set an example for younger women
3. To have raised children honorably
4. To be hospitable, that is, not live a life unto herself but others
5. To serve others in humility,
6. To be a peacemaker, not causing trouble and discord in the Church by her conduct or speech
7. To be committed to doing good deeds by helping others
With that in mind, what is the Church’s responsibility to the widow? Let’s begin with that which is not temporal. The Church should provide:
1. Caring support relational to a widow’s emotional, physical, mental and spiritual needs wherever and whenever possible.
2. Frequent reasonable visits, CDs or DVDs of services, reading and listening material
3. Transportation to church and other associated activities, if there
are no family members or relatives capable of transporting the widow.
4. Financial assistance in cases genuine and there are no family members to help.
(In many countries, like America, we pay into Social Security most of our lives and receive Social Security after we reach the age of 65. In cases where the widow does not have family to assume the responsibility of caring for her, then the church, if she has met the requirements laid down in 1 Timothy 5, should do so.)
5. Equally important is that the Church provides an atmosphere where the widow knows she is loved, appreciated and in good hands.
Ultimately, what the church and the widow should seek to demonstrate are the words of St John when he says, “The world will know we are Christians by our love one for another.” When the widow and church work together to advance the Kingdome of God, Jesus’ love shines through.
Message by J. Bruce Sofia
Message by J. Bruce Sofia