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

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Moon Which Shines by Night

“Praise him, sun and moon!
Praise him, all you twinkling stars!”
Psalms 148:3
            I sat on the couch in my cousin’s darkened basement in Rigby, Idaho, late at night. It was July 20, 1969, and we were glued to the somewhat grainy images and voices broken by static on the black and white TV set watching history being made. We listened in rapt attention as astronaut, Neil Armstrong spoke. “That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”
            As we walked out to our camper in the yard, I remember looking at the sky and wondering what it would be like to be on the moon, looking at the earth, hundreds of thousands of miles from home. It has stayed clear in my memory as one of those world-changing events that you never forget—an amazing once in a lifetime moment, when you know things will never be quite the same again.
           Neil Armstrong, dead this week at the age of 82, avoided the spotlight, never wanting the notoriety which accompanied the incredible feat he participated in. Yet, that one accomplishment made man think a lot more of himself and his ability to accomplish feats of scientific and technological skill. Sadly, it did little to cause men to think about the greatness of the God who created the heavens and earth and gave man the intellect and abilities to accomplish such things.     
            Job chapter 25, says, “And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him!” I stand in awe on moonlit nights as I stare at the beauty of the heavens from my mountain home. The sky reveals the vastness of His works, the finiteness of man, and the infinity of God, the smallness of me.
             Images from Mars, men planting the American flag on the moon and circling the earth should cause us to stand in awe of God, not man. We should praise His name, realizing how far beyond our comprehension He really is.
             When we read Genesis chapter one, we read that light preceded the sun and moon. In Revelation 21 we see a new heaven and new earth where God and Jesus will be the light and no sun or moon will endure. All of man’s feats are nothing in comparison to the greatness of our God.
            When the universe we know ceases to exist, He will remain. Give Him glory in all you do.

© Copyright 2012 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman and www.normagail-2mefromhim.blogspot.com. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Hummingbird's Lesson

“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

           Hummingbirds should be as beautiful and perfect as they look. They’re not.
          I enjoy watching them at the feeders at my mountain home, but I have been struck by how similar they are to me and the people around me. I see these beautiful little jewels of God’s creation as greedy little creatures. Each one wants everything all to itself, no matter how much there is.
          When threatened they go after each other in amazing aerial acrobatics, performing all kinds of intricate moves to make the others go away. They squawk and fuss at each other making quite a racket.
           I can be just like that when I forget I don’t really have a clue what God considers His perfect best for me. To my shame I have, more than once tried to force my own way when surrendering to God’s would have accomplished everything without strife and intricate maneuverings on my part.
          The sovereignty of God is always at work. It’s not about me—it’s about Him, His plan and His purpose. My plans are temporary—His are eternal. My perceived needs are purely selfish. His knowledge of my needs is perfect. If I truly seek God each day and determine to accept whatever comes as being from His gracious hand, sufficient in every way, I am so much happier.
         Everything He allows me to experience is necessary for maturing me and bringing my faith to completion. When I stop striving for what I want and accept what He sends I can feel His peace. I cease the maneuvering and fussing. I squawk less and hum more.
         I want to be in the center of God’s plan, accepting what He sends into my life without complaint. I want His peace so even when I don’t understand, I can accept His best for my life.
        What steals your peace? What situations make you maneuver and complain?
         Determine today to give those things to God and see what He will do. Choose to trust Him to always have your best in mind. He will give you more than you ever imagined out of His glorious riches.

© Copyright, August 26, 2011, by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman. All rights acknowledged.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Steps of Good Men

“Follow the steps of good men instead, and stay on the paths of the righteous. For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it. But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be uprooted.”
 Proverbs 2:20-22 NLT
              They had a great family, a girl living with them who wanted to learn how a Christian family functioned. They led Bible studies, and discipled others.  They were well respected in the Christian community and in their church. From all appearances, they had it all.
               We met in their home weekly for a Bible study, a group of young married couples wanting to grow in the Lord and looking up to them for how to have godly marriages and homes, hungry to grow in the word of God.
               Then, one day, it all fell apart. He was having an affair, and it wasn’t the first. He had a drinking problem. He went to live with the other woman. His wife and kids were devastated. His ministry was in shambles. His witness shredded and damaged beyond repair.
               Something good came out of that experience. We learned to look carefully at the lives of people and examine what they were doing in their personal lives. We learned not to keep our eyes on people, but on the Lord. People are frail and fallible; God is eternal and always faithful.
              Our former leader finally repented after years of self-indulgent living. His death was reported to be the result of his years of drinking. In the end, his former wife and ministry partner cared for him, showing a truly godly love and forgiveness. How sad that a life with such promise was used as an example of “do as I say, not as I do,” rather than of the victory and fruitfulness which should be the result of a Christian life.
             One of my most consistent prayers is to live the same life in the privacy of my own heart and home that I live in the public eye of my family, friends, church, and ministry. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, but a powerful example of what God can do in an ordinary life to make it extraordinary.
                Lord, help me to see myself through your eyes. Show me my faults and don’t let me get away with justifying things which are contrary to your word. Make me a faithful and fruitful member of your body, someone of whom you can say, “Well done good and faithful servant,” not one who will be uprooted and removed from the land.
© Copyright 2012 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman and www.normagail-2mefromhim.blogspot.com. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Adopted by God

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision  or a husband’s will, but born of God." John 1:12, 13
            “You’re going to be a mother tomorrow!” I could hear the excitement in my husband’s voice over the phone. After four long years of waiting and praying, the adoption agency had called while I was out to say they had a baby boy for us.
             With that announcement, our lives changed forever. Mourning was replaced by joy, emptiness was replaced by fullness, and our lives took on new purpose. When they laid our son in my arms I knew this was exactly what we had waited for, God’s perfect child for us, placed into our family, not by “natural descent,” but by the will of our Father in heaven.
             Our excitement knew no bounds. We immediately realized how little we knew about caring for a baby. We needed parenting books and most of all, the advice of those who had done this before, who had been where we were.
             We brought our son home to great rejoicing. Family and friends who had prayed for us couldn’t wait to see him. Our lives were completely new, never to be the same again. The same thing repeated twenty-one months later, when God blessed us with a daughter by adoption.
             As Christians, we are the adopted children of God. In Romans 8, Paul says that “by Him we cry ‘Abba,’ Father. The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children…co-heirs with Christ…” Our lives change forever, and so must we.
             Unlike earthly parents, God knows exactly what His children need and how to give it to them. But baby Christians need to learn a lot of things. For that purpose, God designed the church to reach out to new believers with Bible studies, discipleship groups, one-on-one discipleship, and number one, His Word, the Bible! He has specific experiences and tasks designed for each one of us to mature us, and help us grow into the mature believers He wants us to become.
             There is great rejoicing when a new believer enters God’s kingdom. Where do you fit on the growth chart as one newly endowed with the rights of a child of God? Are you nurturing your faith in Christ no matter where you are in your Christian walk?
              Pray and seek God’s guidance for what you need today, then trust Him to provide the opportunities and be obedient to accept everything He sends as steps to growth.
© Copyright 2012 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman and www.normagail-2mefromhim.blogspot.com. All Rights Reserved.