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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Safety From the Flood

“The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him. But he will sweep away his enemies in an overwhelming flood. He will pursue his foes into the darkness of night.” Nahum 1:7-8

            The pain can be relentless, day and night. The diagnosis came after many years of unexplained suffering. It was a welcome relief to have a reason, but no one really knew what to do about it. More than twenty years have come and gone, I have learned to live with a certain level of pain, but there are times it does seem like an overwhelming flood.
            We all have enemies of different kinds, finances, marital problems, infertility, anger, loneliness, fears, depression, anything which keeps us from living in victory, things which prevent us from doing everyday things.
            Paul struggled with his thorn in the flesh. He pleaded for the Lord to take it away, but God’s answer was no. He tells about being beaten, shipwrecked, stoned, imprisoned, hungry, and hated. He was perhaps the most fearless of God’s early messengers, yet he suffered greatly.
            It is easy to use a problem as an excuse. Some do prevent us from doing something for God. However, giving in not only keeps us from blessing others, but from being blessed in return.
            Paul chose to boast in his weaknesses. He knew that being weak in some area was cause to rely on God all the more. Sometimes we experience a little time on the shelf when we truly cannot do something. We must learn to differentiate between being truly unable, and simply wanting an excuse.
            Jesus called us to be overcomers, to have an attitude of being able to do all things through His strength. He is there when troubles come, a safe haven to shelter us and heal us. When we do experience a time of helplessness and need, though, we must remember His promises that the day will come when He will sweep away all of our enemies and persevere until that day.
            Think about what truly is your thorn in the flesh. Realize that God wants to show His power through you. Your affliction may be an opportunity to bless someone else by your perseverance, or to grow in your trust in Him.
Trust God to be close to you when enemies attack, and watch Him pursue them into the darkness.


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

Monday, February 20, 2012

An Ever-present Help

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
   and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…”
Psalm 46:1, 2

My husband’s arm came across my chest with a whack. “Hold on,” he shouted, “we’re going to get hit!”
            I looked up from my reading to see dust and debris flying through the air and a car heading across the wide median of the highway and both north-bound lanes of traffic. The other vehicle was in the median. The highway was littered with the remains of what had once been a pick-up camper.
            We were not hit, and after calling 911, I went to see if anyone was hurt. As a retired RN, I hoped I might be of use. The passengers of the vehicle which caused the accident were miraculously unscathed. Two occupants of the camper wandered around in a daze. A young man kept saying, “We were just going down the road—and bang! I don’t know what hit us!”
Virtually all that remained was the cab of the truck and debris. It looked like news photos after a tornado, pieces of things were littered about for some distance, and most were unrecognizable.
            An old woman lay on her side on the dirt, conscious, but in obvious pain. I set about seeing to her needs and sent my husband and some others to find something to cover her with. After discovering she used oxygen, we were able to locate it to ease her breathing. Whatever she had been lying on was gone. A few ragged sleeping bags were found to warm her and soon the paramedics were there.
            As Christians, we need to live our lives in readiness. Death, illness, accidents, the loss of a job, a friend who needs help or a chance to witness, each day brings unexpected challenges. What I did for the woman in need of help came naturally.     
We need to be so familiar with God and His word that even if the foundations of our world shake, we respond in readiness, as I did out of my nurse’s training. Are you trained in the knowledge of God? Are you ready when you are called upon to see to the needs of those who need spiritual help?
            Determine to spend time in God’s word every day so that you can be God’s hands and feet when those around you are shaken to the very foundations.


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

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Never Fails

“Love… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails…” 1 Corinthians 13:7b, 8a (NASB)

            Her memory was gone and her husband was a stranger. I read the story of a couple who was involved in a car accident shortly following their marriage. She lost all memory of him and of their marriage. She had to get to know him and make the decision to love him and marry him all over again.
            A few years ago I read an article about a basketball coach who was diagnosed with terminal cancer not long after he married. He went blind. His wife drove him everywhere, watched the games and practices, told him what was happening and helped him do his job, along with his assistants.
            These are true-life examples of love, the kind everyone dreams of finding: a love which will last forever, which bears difficult burdens, hopes when there is no hope, and endures every circumstance which comes along. In our world today, such a love is hard to find.
            Unlike man’s love, the love of God is pure, unmotivated by anything self-seeking. The greatest symbol of His love came as a baby whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. He died for the sins of all men, when He never committed a sin in His 33 years on earth. God’s love is best demonstrated by Jesus and He is the one who can give us the ability to love unconditionally.
            As Christians we are to be known by our love. We have the perfect example Who can love even the most unlovable through us, by the power of His Holy Spirit.
            Valentine’s Day is celebrated all around the world, and if you watched TV it would seem that love depends on diamonds, chocolate, flowers and romantic get-a-ways. The truth about love is that it depends on the selfless day-to-day decisions we make to put someone else’s needs above our own.
            Make this Valentine’s Day different. Think about what real love means—real love in the eyes of God, the kind of love that will endure the worst, survive, and grow stronger. Then treat your loved ones to special displays of your love in ways which are meaningful on a deeper level than just tangible gifts. Choose to do this daily, and see what a difference it will make to you and to your loved ones.
            When you act loving, no matter how you feel, true love will grow. A love which endures all things is a choice.


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

Monday, February 6, 2012

Peace

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
Isaiah 26:3

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Holtman, it’s cancer.”
            I sat alone outside the room where they had just done a biopsy on my thyroid gland. There was no shock, no surprise. From the moment they told me there was a nodule, I had known.
            I always had health problems. It seemed I no sooner got one kind of under control when another one arose. For whatever His reasons, God had chosen to give me the certainty that He would see me through this one as He had in the past. It was an experience I will never forget.
I was beginning a new ministry at church requiring many hours of work and planning. My son was beginning his freshman year of college 3 ½ hours away. It was the start of my daughter’s senior year of high school, her senior soccer season, aiming for a college scholarship. My surgery was right at the beginning of all three, but in the midst of it all I had peace.
The next day, as I prayed about the things which lay ahead, the Lord gave me a poem, tender words which spoke to my heart. It was a time of supernatural communion with God as He imparted that “peace which passes all understanding.” We read about it, but don’t really understand and experience it all too seldom.
God is sovereign. Nothing touches me which has not already been filtered through His love, designed to make me more like Him. And in this world, there will always be something more. Trust Him today and live in His peace.

One More Mountain

I’m tired and weary, and I need a rest,
But, dear Lord, I know that You always know best. 
When I’m battle-weary and feel alone,
When I beg for bread but it seems like a stone.
I know there is something You are working in me—
There is something new You have to show me.
There is something I haven’t become just yet,
There is some other challenge I’ve not ever met.
You’ve carried me through so many before—
Lord, help me now to face one more.
When I look in the mirror I want to see
A reflection of You looking back at me.
So once more, Lord, pick me up and let’s go—
So I never forget how I need you so.
It is not in smooth sailing that we lean on You so,
But in knowing we have one more mountain to go.
And I have the feeling that when this one is through,
I’ll see, just beyond, there is something else new.
So thank You, Lord for not forgetting me,
For never letting me rest till it’s You that I see.


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