"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness..." 2 Corinthians 12:9b

Monday, January 30, 2012

Wait and See

“The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in His justice and great righteousness, He does not oppress.” Job 37:23

There are times I feel as if my prayers can’t even penetrate the ceiling of my room, much less, to the Almighty God. Recently I have prayed a prayer and everything I have seen seems to indicate things are going in the opposite direction.
    Job felt the same when he prayed for God to hear him in the midst of his suffering. Left alone, with nothing but illness and pain, his friends gave advice which was far from the truth of God, but Job lived in a different time. His words are of a God he had only heard about.
We live in a time when we have Jesus, who lived as a man and understands all our struggles. I am blessed that in almost four decades of trusting Him, I have seen God work many times in answer to prayer. The timing has more often been His than mine. It hasn’t always been in the way I expected, but often in ways that were as far from what I imagined as they could be. Looking back over my life and walk with Jesus, I can see the answers. We have the privilege of living in a time when the written word of God is easily available and the words can be read, prayed and hoped in over and over again.
     The most cherished prayer of my heart does not show signs of being answered soon, though I continue to pray it over and over again. However, I am blessed to know, through both God’s word and my own experience that He is within reach even when I don’t feel like it. He does act in justice and His ways are always righteous. His word shows that the things which break my heart also break His.
     Do not be discouraged when the answers to prayers are delayed or even when things seem to be going in the opposite direction. God is powerful beyond what we can see or even imagine, but He hears each prayer. He knows the desire of my heart and yours.
     Choose today to trust Him for that thing which seems most out of your reach, least likely to take place. Then wait patiently for His answer and see what He will do.

Copyright by Norma Gail Thurston-Holtman & 2MefromHim Ministries, 2011. All rights reserved. Do not use without permission of author.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rivers of Difficulty

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.” Isaiah 43:2 NLT

You’re familiar with it, the nagging fear and nervousness that won’t go away, the sense that something isn’t quite right, but in fact, is very wrong and God is going to call on you to confront it. You pray, beg, plead, worry and become consumed by the thought that you are being asked to deal with something far beyond your ability to handle. You’re afraid—the job will be lost, the relationship will be broken, your attempts will be rejected, you’re heart broken.
I have prayed and pleaded, talked to friends in vague terms, and a few trusted ones in terms not so vague, thinking, “Who can help me with this? Who do I know that has experienced this? How did they handle it? Did they feel like I do?”
A few months ago we were hemmed in on every side with fears and concerns. It seemed to be a no win situation.
Then in a moment of crisis, like a bubble bursting in my brain, the thought exploded into my consciousness and I knew. It became clear which Bible study from the pile on my desk was right for my group that autumn.
Truths I had known for years became clear at a practical level. I recognized things God had been saying in His word all along, but I had missed the point: God is Sovereign.
God reigns supreme over all things. My worries are worthless. God is in control. He already knows what the outcome will be, for good or ill. Jesus said it in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will, but Yours.”
A new kind of peace entered my heart and mind. It has been life-changing.
I learned to look for God and wait, in each situation which could cause me worry, recognizing that He is working on His own timeline.
He has opened doors and shown me the pathway clearly. He has broken down barriers I thought were insurmountable.
He softens hearts, or completely solves the situation in response to praying, waiting and watching—exactly what Jesus asked of His disciples in the garden in His own sorrow and agony.
What is creating worry and unrest in your heart? How do you see the waters sweeping over you and dragging you under? What do you fear?
Leave your situation at God’s throne today. Praise Him for His sovereignty. He will be with you.

Copyright by Norma Gail Thurston-Holtman & 2MefromHim Ministries, 2011. All rights reserved. Do not use without permission of author.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Safe Haven

“Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Manhas no place to lay his head.”
Matthew 8:20

          My husband and I stood on the front porch watching the little bunny that lives in the rocks along our driveway search for his hole, obliterated by the snowblower after almost two feet of snow had fallen. The tiny little thing hopped along at dusk, stopping every few feet, sniffing and pawing at the snow, going up the hill a little and back down, clearly puzzled as to what had happened to his home.
          Jesus never really had a home once He began His earthly ministry. He went from one place to another, sometimes staying with kind friends, but more often than not, sleeping under the stars. His message did not fit Him for acceptance in this world. Instead it made Him a misfit, considered to be outside the realm of the established religious thinking and truly, because of who He was, He didn’t belong here.
          We humans are often as lost as that little bunny, confused by our changing world and its messages that conflict with those of our heavenly Father. We can easily lose sight of where we belong if we don’t stay close to our Father, and the narrow entrance that marks the way He would have us take.
          We begin this New Year with much uncertainty in our world. Our country is in one war and the threat of another is always very real. Before this year ends we will be called upon to make the serious decision of which man will lead our country for the next four years. Many of us have loved ones with uncertain medical diagnoses. There are broken and wounded relationships to be dealt with.
          We may be as lost and confused as the little bunny, but we do have a place to lay our heads, no matter what kind of storm comes. We have the very shoulder of the Son of Man who came to earth so that we might have a Savior who knows our needs.
          What pressing need do you have today? What is confusing you and sending you searching for a safe place to hide?
          Choose today to give that problem into the keeping of the Savior who died so that we would have a safe haven in Him. Tell Him your need and thank Him for His answer.

Copyright by Norma Gail Thurston-Holtman & 2MefromHim Ministries, 2011. All rights reserved. Do not use without permission of author.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Look at the Birds

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:26, 27

Swinging precariously in the snowy wind, the little bird clung tenaciously to the suet feeder—his source of sustenance in the bitter cold. He had no fear of the swinging height of the feeder, or of the wind. He had no concern about finding food even though everything was buried under a blanket of snow.
I watched him for hours. Every time I looked out the window I would see him going from feeder to feeder trying both suet and seed. Only the scrub-jays scared him away. Yet even then, he only relinquished his place for a time, retreating to the snowy patio and going back to the feeders when the bigger birds disappeared.
I thought about the things which concern me. Even though I know God is sovereign, completely in control of even the things I consider to be problems or hindrances, I don’t rest in Him the way that little bird does. I worry and get upset, I talk to people about problems and possible solutions more than I pray about them. I don’t rest in Him the way I should. I know He will never leave me or forsake me, but I don’t act like it.
I counsel people to put their trust in God, but I fail as often as many of them do. One of the things I most desire to do in the new year is to trust Him more fully with the circumstances He allows into my life and the lives of those I love. Sometimes I forget how valuable I am to the Lord. I forget that He loved me so much He gave His only Son that I might have life.
The little bird, still happily feeding away outside my window as the feeder sways back and forth, is not swaying in his trust. He goes with the wind, unafraid that it might dash him onto the rocks below, not questioning whether the source of his sustenance will be there tomorrow. He knows no fear.
What things worry you and disturb your rest?
Think about your biggest problem. Then choose today to lay it at the feet of Jesus and leave it there, knowing that worrying will add not a single hour to your life, but it can subtract a few. Like the birds of the air, trust God to provide all you need moment by moment.

Copyright by Norma Gail Thurston-Holtman & 2MefromHim Ministries, 2011. All rights reserved. Do not use without permission of author.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

“For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.”
2 Corinthians 11:2

My only complaint about Christmas cards is that many people don’t take time to tell you anything. They sign their name, stick a stamp on it and send it off. Now don’t get me wrong if you’re one of those people. I love to know that you thought of me, but I want to know what’s happening in your life. I would love to see a picture of you and your family.
          I love Christmas letters. I love the way they bring me close to the friends I don’t get to stay in close contact with. I always learn something new, even from people I see frequently and are kind enough to put me on their list. I’m jealous for my friends—I want them to stay close to me.
          New Year’s or “Hogmanay” is a big holiday in Scotland where Robert Burns penned his famous song: “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind, should auld acquaintance be forgot and day’s of auld lang syne.” The basic meaning of the phrase is something like “old long since” or “days of long ago.” That’s how I feel about Christmas cards. They bring to mind old relationships from a long time ago, family and friends I may not see very often. There are some who have just passed through my life at an important time and haven’t been seen since, but they hold a special place in my heart.
          I wonder if that is how God feels about His relationship with us. Is your relationship with Him current? Do you take time on a daily basis with Him? Do you pray daily, spilling all of your feelings out to Him and knowing He cares? Or is your relationship from “old long since,” every now and then when you have a problem, or on Christmas and Easter.
          New Year’s is a time for resolutions, decisions to try and do some often neglected things better in the New Year. If you’re thinking about making some resolutions for the next year, thoughtfully consider what God might want from you. He is jealous for you to belong only to Him.
Think about the kind of relationship you have with Him. Begin this year with daily time for keeping your relationship with God current. Go to Him daily, read His word and take time to pray. I guaranty your year will be better for it.

Copyright by Norma Gail Thurston-Holtman & 2MefromHim Ministries, 2011. All rights reserved. Do not use without permission of author.