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

Monday, May 28, 2012

He is My Shield

He hides away sound and godly Wisdom and stores it for the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with Him); He is a shield to those who walk uprightly
and in integrity, that He may guard the paths of justice;
yes, He preserves the way of His saints.”
Proverbs 2:7, 8

It hit me out of the blue. I responded out of years of training and that calmed the situation for the time being. I knew God put the words in my mouth because I didn’t know what to say. I did a couple of things that I didn’t want to, but felt God wanted me to do and they seemed to illicit a positive reaction.
Still I was afraid. I felt threatened, uncertain about how to react to a situation which was totally out of my realm of experience. I went to God in prayer. I talked to my husband, a couple of pastors, those people in church authority who could guide me.
Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” How easy it is to panic and forget He is right there with us. I like the wording, “ever-present help.” That reassures me when I’m uncertain and unsettled.
I had to face the same situation for a matter of weeks. In times such as that I think about the things I would tell my children or my friends to comfort and encourage them. My words usually come from the scriptures. They are comforting and holy and wise, but often I don’t follow my own advice.
The godliest people I know memorize a lot of scripture. they spend a lot of time meditating on its meaning. Charles Spurgeon once said, “If those who spend so many hours in idle company, light reading, and useless pastimes, could learn wisdom, they would find more profitable society and more interesting engagements in meditation than in the vanities which now have such charms for them.”
What comes out of your mouth when you are challenged, frustrated, or angry, your own thoughts, or the wisdom of God?
We spend time with our loved ones because we want to be nearer to them, we want to be like those we admire. Therefore, if we love God we will spend much time with Him, in prayer and in studying and meditating on His word. I can often look back on my day and know what parts of it were wasted. If I spent that time drawing closer to God, when challenged, it would always be Him and not I who responds.
Whose words come out of your mouth when things get tough? Choose today to spend more time gaining godly wisdom.

© Copyright 2012 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 21, 2012

An Invitation

Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech…Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.” Proverbs 1:20, 21, 23
She had the chance to find the truth, but turned it down. It makes me sad when I think of friends from long ago, especially those who were my best friends growing up. So many of them walked away from God’s truth and are lost and searching to this day. My 40th high school reunion is coming up. Yes, I’m getting old!
            I am one of the blessed ones out of the group of friends I grew up with. I came to a knowledge of what it means to accept Christ’s sacrifice on behalf of my sins in high school, so many that I still pray for, did not make that choice.
We make choices every day, but some have consequences that are far-reaching and have eternal ramifications. Our choice of whether or not to trust Christ for our salvation and God’s word as our guide falls into that category.
            Jesus said, in Matthew 7 that not everyone who thinks they knew Him will be known by Him on the day He returns, or for that matter, on the day of our own death. It is a sad thing when a person dies without a solid faith in Christ. Our day should begin, end, and be punctuated throughout, with the word of God.
            Godly wisdom is not reserved for pastors and people who are in church leadership. Some of the godliest people I have ever known were simple, every day people who chose to fill their lives with the wisdom of God through His word. Everything that happens in our day should be punctuated by our knowledge of God’s wisdom. It is the anchor which holds us steady, no matter what the problem.
            I don’t know what is facing you today. None of us knows from one moment to the next what might happen in our lives, a car accident, a visit to the doctor, a heart attack, in my father’s case, a bolt of lightning while fishing.
What a blessing to know my future is safe in the hands of a loving God and today is also taken care of. Where do you go when you need wisdom or help?
The day will come when our life’s choices will be over. What choice will you make today which will affect your future?

© Copyright 2012 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Without Dread

“But whoso hearkens to me [Wisdom] shall dwell securely and in confident trust and shall be quiet,
without fear or dread of evil.”
Proverbs 1:33 AMP

I went on and on, testing my husband’s patience and getting myself all upset. Then, when I found out the details I discovered God had gone before me. There was nothing to fear.
       I hate to watch the news. Everywhere you turn there is death, turmoil, insecurity, and danger. Keeping a right perspective is difficult. Reacting rather than praying and trusting is a natural reaction, but not a necessary one.
When I think of all the time I have spent worrying and trying to make certain things were worked out the way I thought they should be, it is appalling. All that time and energy which could have been put to good use was wasted because God was going before me. He knows what will happen and He knows what I will need, and His arrangements are always better than what I had in mind.
Time on my knees is more valuable than time on the phone or time fretting. All the peace and security I long for is already there for me, if I quiet my heart and trust in the Lord. When I found out the details of the situation, I also found out I did not need to worry myself or vex my husband, I only needed to pray and wait on God to work it out. I have to learn that lesson over and over again.
People often wonder why I spend so much time writing devotionals, leading Bible studies year after year, searching the scriptures for wisdom—without it I lose my anchor. I have nothing to ground me and keep me where I need to be. I wander away so quickly if I am not careful to hide God’s word in my heart and ask Him first before I react.
My dad was one of the godliest and wisest men I will ever know. As I read his Bible following his death I could see why. He read a chapter of Proverbs every day. He knew it so well that it spilled over into everything he did, whether it was fulfilling some office at church, dealing with a client in his insurance business, or guiding his children with wise words.
Solomon wrote that if we listen to God we will be without fear and full of confident trust. That’s the way I want to live.

© Copyright 2012 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Beginning of Knowledge

“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7 AMP

My heart ached. After one month of praying, talking over the phone, and studying to answer her questions the woman was leaving the Bible Study Fellowship class because she couldn’t accept that the study of Genesis taught Creation and not evolution. I had prayed and hoped that she would remain. We were almost through that section, and if she would stay in class the Lord could work on her heart. She admitted she had little Bible knowledge.
            Many women have left classes I have led over the years, and each and every one hurts, for different reasons, even if I know they are solid in their faith and the Lord is moving them on to something new, I miss them. But this was different. I wasn’t certain this woman knew the Lord. Nothing from our conversations had indicated to me that she did. I had to let her go, praying that in His time, God would bring her to the knowledge of Himself and the salvation He offers.
            The first chapter of Proverbs gives insight into why Solomon’s words were being written down, but also the reason for all of scripture, “for gaining wisdom and instruction.” We live in a confusing world where everyone claims to have the answer to any question life gives us. We are bombarded with information everywhere we turn. How our lives turn out depends on where we choose to go for the answer.
            There was a time in my life when I went to church, but did not understand that the answers I searched for were contained within the black-bound Bible up on my closet shelf. I regret to say it looks worn out because of lack of use and falling off my closet shelf.
            Then I accepted Christ as my Savior and developed insatiable desire for His word. As I read, God’s truth sunk deep in my heart. It changed my life and thinking. I have not needed to look elsewhere for wisdom about life since that time.
            I still wonder about that woman and pray she finds God’s truth in answer to her questions.
            Where do you go when you need answers to life? Determine to spend time looking into God’s word daily, for only then will you find true answers which lead to wisdom.
© Copyright, 2012 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman. All Rights Reserved.