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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Announcement

Our devotionals are now being read in over 30 countries, over 220 hits per week. That's more than doubled since last April! Keep spreading the word.

Outside the US, the country with the most rapid growth is Russia! We are in many countries across Europe, Asia, the Far East, as well as South and Central America.

Blessings to you all!
Norma Gail

Monday, September 24, 2012

Priorities


“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
 
           Too many projects, too little time! I want to do so many things. I have committed to do so many things. Time is limited and I want to do well on the things I choose to do. How to decide?
          I have a Bible study lesson to prepare and research to be done. Next to my sewing machine are a few caps to make, which the ladies of our church supply to patients undergoing chemotherapy. There is a stack of mending for my family. Finishing my writing projects is important, and there is housework as well as home projects. I really want to read a book.
          It’s hard to decide which thing needs done the most. It’s easy to become distracted and let the fun come first. Then the phone rings and the whole schedule goes out the window.
          Life is full of choices. Many are good, some are better, and a very few are the absolute best. It takes discernment and wisdom to order them all and make the wisest choice. Often, at the end of the day, I realize how much time I have wasted, how much more productive I could have been.
          The Bible is full of people who made choices, both good and bad. John the Baptist knew his place was to prepare the way for the Messiah. Paul knew his ministry was to the Gentiles. Jesus knew His place was to do the work of His Father and then die that we might have everlasting life. No identity crisis there.
         My father taught us to make wise choices by reading a chapter of Proverbs daily, with its practical, godly advice. I won’t say I always choose the best, but my priority is my time with the Lord, take care of His things first, then everything else falls into line according to how pressing its completion is.
          How do you set your priorities? What dictates how you spend your time? Unless we keep a biblical attitude toward our choice of activities we can miss out on the best for the mediocre, the useless, and the futile.
         The words of Jesus ring true even in our day, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” When you learn to keep the first things first, everything else will fall into place.
 © Copyright 2012 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman and www.normagail-2mefromhim.blogspot.com. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Do You Look Back?

But Lot’s wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt.
Genesis 19:26
           The lightning hit our house with a startling jolt, so bright I could see the sparks through the window blinds. When we smelled the smoke my dad said to get out of the house. It was 1:30 in the morning and I didn’t waste a second. I ran barefoot, in my pajamas, only to realize that my glasses had been left behind. Everyone else could see the gaping hole in the front of the house except me.
          Abraham’s nephew, Lot, had chosen to live in the city of Sodom. He was so successful that he was among the men who sat at the gate of the city, the place where the officials and important business men sat. But God had seen the wickedness and warned Abraham that he would destroy them. He was so willing to show His love and grace that, for Abraham’s sake, He sent two angels to rescue Lot and his family.
          Lot’s family had become so much a part of the society of Sodom and Gomorrah that he was willing to offer his daughters to the men who were clamoring to have illicit relations with the two angels! His sons-in-law refused to go. There was no evidence that their lives were any different from those of their neighbors.
          Being led out of the city forcefully by two angels should have shown Lot’s wife they truly were in serious danger. They were instructed to, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere on the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” Yet something back there held her heart so tightly in its grip that she had to look back.
          What about the society we live in today holds on to your heart? Are there things that draw you: material possessions, alcohol, drugs, gambling, porn, marital infidelity, or homosexuality?
          Jesus said to store up treasures in heaven where they cannot be destroyed. Today many things that tempt us are right at our fingertips by virtue of the internet and television. We have to work at keeping our hearts set on the things above. Run from the things that tempt you away from God and toward those that cannot be destroyed. Therein lays the safety of your soul.

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

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Am Your God

“So 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.” Isaiah 41:10
 
                I finally had a diagnosis after years of illness and pain—a name for something which had been a collection of odd symptoms. The problem—no one knew what to do about it. They could treat symptoms, but not the condition. Some doctors believed it existed. Some didn’t.
               The symptoms began in college, but for 17 years, no one ever made sense of them or gave me hope. In the 21 years since, I have often felt like a guinea pig, and had serious problems go ignored because doctors wouldn’t see past something they thought did not exist.
               He allowed me to have a successful career as a nurse. God graciously enabled me to care for my children before the worst of it hit. I have been an enthusiastic and always present supporter in all of their endeavors, no matter what the weather or subsequent effects on me, and they are always present. Yet I have seen God’s hand, even in the worst. Looking back, I can see that He was with me in ways I never suspected at the time.
               We have a God who is faithful. He is all-knowing, all-seeing, ever-present, and all-powerful. There are no limits to what He can or will do for His people, but He also loves us enough to take us to the end of ourselves, so that we will turn to Him.
              He is a taskmaster who doesn’t let up until we have accomplished His purpose for us. As a parent does everything possible to mold the character of their child so they grow to be the best they can be, He is molding me—and He is molding you.
              He has held my hand in the night when I cried in pain. He has encouraged me when doctors could give me none. He has comforted me when it seemed too much to bear. He has enabled me to bear what I thought I could not. He has shown me Himself when it was too dark to see.
               Whatever you are facing now, no matter what your trial, God has promised to take you by the hand and lead you through. Do not fear. Reach for His hand, and God will help you.

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

Monday, September 3, 2012

Power in Weakness


But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’… That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a, 10  

            The news hit me out of nowhere. I had just been handed the opportunity to begin a women’s Bible study at our church. Our son was starting college. Our daughter was in her senior year and aiming for a soccer scholarship. Life was full and good. Then the doctor found a nodule on my thyroid gland. My diagnosis threatened to side-track my plans and responsibilities. I didn’t know what lay ahead.
           When the doctor told me the biopsy showed cancer, I felt a supernatural peace. It is normally not a life-threatening form of cancer, but that doesn’t mean it’s a piece of cake either.
           If you’ve ever experienced a power failure when your flashlight was running out of batteries, the light slowly dimming, you might be able to imagine something of what it was like. The thyroid is the source of our body’s energy, its ability to do work. I had things to do, but not the energy to do it. If I slept all night and all day I would still need to rest after a shower.
           The apostle Paul had what he called his “thorn in the flesh.” He prayed to have it removed, but the answer was no. He had many responsibilities, and he had to perform them while suffering something he called “a messenger of Satan, to torment me,” yet he carried on. People came alongside to help, but more important, he had the power of Christ, which can enable you when your own power is gone.
         God provided help, through family, friends, and co-leaders at church. I missed two weeks of the Bible study, and one soccer game. I might spend time in bed or resting most of the time, but for Bible study, church, and soccer games, I was there.
         Whatever difficulty you face today, Christ is greater. His power is sufficient no matter what your weakness. When everything seems hopeless and your own abilities non-existent, you have a source of strength if you have Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
         Don’t get side-tracked by the immensity of the “thorn.” Look to Jesus, in His word and through prayer, and learn that, through Him, when you are weak, His power is sufficient. He will enable you to persevere in all that He wants you to accomplish. When you are weak, He will be your strength.

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