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

Monday, December 31, 2012

The New Year: Peace on Earth?

“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth
to those with whom God is pleased." Luke 2:14 NLT
             The road to my daughter’s school was blocked by orange barrels and police cars. Detour signs pointed away from the school. In reply to my anxious questions, a policeman told me to approach the school from the other side, away from the federal office building across the street. I followed the detour signs, my mind filled with images of the Twin Towers crashing to the ground only moments before being notified of the closing of my daughter’s school due to its location.
              As the new year approaches, we are warned of the possibility of great financial turmoil, and recession. We hear news reports of innocent children gunned down in school, terrorist attacks on an American embassy, the war in Afghanistan, missiles in North Korea, and nuclear threats from Iran. “Peace on earth, good will to men,” is no more certain than when the angels said the words to the shepherds outside Bethlehem over 2000 years ago.
               Prophecy said the Christ would be born in Bethlehem, but Joseph and Mary traveled there, when she was heavy with child, to be counted and taxed. Israel was ruled by the evil, half Jewish king, Herod, under the control of Caesar Augustus and his corrupt empire. Herod, threatened by the birth of one called the “King of the Jews,” had all baby boys under the age of two slaughtered. Warned by an angel, Joseph and Mary took the child, entrusted to them by God, and fled to Egypt where he would be safe.
               So what were the angels talking about, if even Jesus was persecuted and put to death by evil men, and over 2000 years later, we still suffer severe turmoil with no easy answers?
               Notice the words in the scripture, “to those with whom God is pleased.” These six words hold the answer. John 1:10-13 tells us who pleases God: “He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.  They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
             As this new year begins, don’t spend time in despair over the problems of the world, or even the problems you personally face. Look to the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, as the Savior who died for your sins, and the Lord to whom, one day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess, as Lord of all.
              Please Him by not just believing He exists, but obeying His word. Then His peace can begin to reign in your heart, no matter what the coming year should bring.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
© Copyright 2012 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman and http://.normagail-2mefromhim.blogspot.com. All Rights Reserved.

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 31

"O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings." Proverbs 31:2-3 NIV

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 30

"Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him." Proverbs 30:5 NIV

Saturday, December 29, 2012

MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 29

"A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy." Proverbs 29:1 NIV

Friday, December 28, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 28

"A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops." Proverbs 28:3 NIV

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 26

"Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool." Proverbs 26:1 NIV

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Hope

Long ago,
In a stable dark,
A little babe was born,
And hope came to
This darkened world
That blessed Christmas morn.
From Adam's time
The curse came down,
And all creation groaned.
A God-shaped void
In all men's hearts
And for his soul__ no home.
Through Adam's choice,
God ordained a time
That Satan's wiles would rule...
To allow for man
Himself, to see
Satan's scheme as dark and cruel.
Through sin, man's heart
Was altered,
He could not see his pain
As coming from
His own wrong choice...
On God, he placed the blame.
God promised,
The day He gave the curse
That He someday would redeem...
His word proclaimed
His creation to save
Through the birth of His Son--the King.
Down through the ages
Man went his way
Though God's word was strong and clear...
His grace extended
To all who chose
In His power and name to fear.
Then one night in a stable,
Dark and dirty
As heart's full of sin...
A tiny child
Was born to a world
That offered no more room than the inn.
The angels sang...
The shepherds kneeled...
The wisemen traveled far...
All to see a child
Whose destiny
Was a Cross of pain and scars.
And today,
Men still are puzzled...
"Why would I a Savior need?"
Their hearts are dark...
Their minds are dim...
They were weaned on Satan's creed.
In the quiet
Of a thoughtful moment,
When, unwilling,
We admit our need—
We know the relationship's broken,
His offer
We know we must heed.
His return is quickly approaching—
Long prophesied
More than His birth—
The Hope of the Ages—
To a world forlorn—
He is God—His judgment is sure.
The Savior,
To know all our trials,
As a baby, chose to be born...
So come on your knees to the stable—
To the hope
Of that first Christmas morn!
© Copyright 2012 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman and http://.normagail-2mefromhim.blogspot.com. All Rights Reserved.

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 25

"Remove the dross from the silver and out comes material for the silversmith; remove the wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness." Proverbs 25:4, 5 NIV

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 24

"Do not envy wicked men, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble." Proverbs 24:1 NIV

Monday, December 24, 2012

Giving Good Gifts - Part Four

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 NIV
            I am a mother because two young women chose to make selfless decisions and place their babies for adoption, choosing my husband and me to be parents in their place. Mary’s story has a very special place in my heart.
            An unplanned pregnancy in a young, unmarried girl, betrothed, living in a small, very religious town, with a fantastic explanation is not what most would consider a gift. Luke, reports that Mary was “greatly troubled” at the words of the angel who announced she would be with child by the Holy Spirit.
            Mary’s struggles are not recorded, but Matthew and Luke tell the story of a young girl whose story was believed by very few. She makes a hurried visit to her aged Aunt Elizabeth, who confirms Mary’s story, greeting her by saying “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.”
           Joseph, Mary’s fiancĂ©e didn’t believe. He planned to divorce her until and angel visited him, assuring him that what she said was the truth. He took her as his wife, thus becoming Jesus’ adoptive, earthly father. These two young people must have had many questions, but they trusted God.
            Do you have questions about Jesus’ origins? Read the gospel stories again. Concentrate on the faith of Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, the shepherds, and wise men. Find the common thread running through them all—belief in something outside the realm of human experience.
            The only way God could forgive our sin was by receiving a perfect sacrifice, one without blemish or defect. Since man is sinful, He did the only thing He could, He came to earth Himself, in human form—wholly God and wholly man. He lived a sinless life and died for our sins, so that by believing in Him, we might be saved.
            This Christmas, accept the gift of the Christ Child, the greatest gift ever given. The child sought by shepherds and wise men, is the method God chose to free us from our sin. By accepting Christ’s death on your behalf, and believing in His promise to forgive your sin and grant you eternal life, you receive the good gift of God, the greatest gift of all. Then share the gift with someone else.

© Copyright 2012 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman and

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 23

"When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive." Proverbs 23:1 NIV

Saturday, December 22, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 22

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." Proverbs 22:1 NIV

Friday, December 21, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 21

"All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart." Proverbs 21:2 NIV

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 20

"Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise." Proverbs 20:1 NIV

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2MefromHim Proverbs for the Day - Dec. 19

"Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse." Proverbs 19:1 NIV

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 18

"An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment." Proverbs 18:1 NIV

Monday, December 17, 2012

Giving Good Gifts - Part Three

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you…” 1 Peter 1:3,4 NIV
              “Mom, we can’t have Christmas this year without Grandpa.” My eleven-year-old son put a voice to my own tender feelings. A little over two months following the sudden death of my father, I didn’t feel like celebrating anything. How could I help my children to see that that his death was the very reason we must celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ into the world, that year, and every year?
               With tears in my eyes, I sent up an arrow prayer for an answer that would sooth my heart and his, and God provided. “If it weren’t for Jesus being born as a baby, He wouldn’t have grown into the man who was willing to die for our sins. The resurrection of Jesus at Easter is how we know we will see Grandpa again, and that is why we will celebrate.”
                My Bible study group just completed a study of the Gospel of John. Reading about the crucifixion and resurrection at Christmas gives a special perspective to the celebration of Christ’s birth. The Babe of Bethlehem was born to die for MY sins. His birth, life, death, and resurrection are inextricably linked with the hope of all mankind. Without His death for our sins, we would have no reason to celebrate Christmas.
               The emptiness of secular Christmas celebrations frustrate me. Without Jesus, Christmas is just another reason to party, wallow in selfishness, and compete to give the best and biggest gifts. People spend too much, eat too much, party too much, and drink too much, all of which has nothing to do with the real reason for the season.
                What is the focus of your Christmas celebration? Are you celebrating the birth of your Lord and Savior, or the emptiness of a “winter holiday?” One gives eternal life, the other distracts us from the true meaning of life.
                 This Christmas, no matter what your situation, determine to make Jesus Christ the center of your celebration. Give more to the needy than to those you love. Say “Merry Christmas” when someone says “Happy Holidays.”
                 Jesus Christ is the greatest gift the world has ever known. Honor Him with the gifts you give. Tell everyone around you why you’re celebrating. Give Christ center stage in your celebration. The gifts under the tree are worth nothing compared to the Man who hung on the tree for me.

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

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 17

"Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife." Proverbs 17:1 NIV

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 16

"To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue." Proverbs 16:1 NIV

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 15

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1 NIV

Friday, December 14, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 14

"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Proverbs 14:1 NIV

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 13

"He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." Proverbs 13:3 NIV

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 12

"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid." Proverbs 12:1 NIV

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 11

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:2 NIV

Monday, December 10, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 10

"A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother." Proverbs 10:1b NIV

Giving Good Gifts - Part Two

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11
            I remember the look on the children’s faces, thrilled more by a new coat than a doll, excited by the food in the box more than the presents in brightly colored Christmas wrap. Our youth group was delivering gifts to needy families, but I had never known real need.
           My friends and I crowded into the seat of my father’s pick-up, filled with boxes of gifts, food, clothing, toys, candy, all the things associated with Christmas. I had never been to the part of town where we went that day, but I remember the expressions on the faces of the people we visited.         
          What I saw on that cold, windy Saturday in December has remained with me through the years. I saw the face of real need, the expressions of delight over necessities rather than frivolities, the embarrassed thankfulness of those who must rely on the charity of others.
           My father greeted each family with genuine respect, allowing them dignity in receiving what we offered. He accepted their thanks graciously, but without being condescending. He played with the children and left everyone with a smile.
             I’m not much of a shopper, but I love to shop for those I don’t know, for those who would have nothing for their children were it not for the kindness and generosity of strangers. I love filling a shopping cart with things that will put a smile on the face of a child, and along with it, give them the message of the best and greatest gift ever given—the gift of the Christ Child.
            What is the hallmark of your giving? Do you care more about giving something which outdoes everyone else, or do you give in an attitude of humility, recognizing God as the giver of every gift, including your ability to give to others?
            Involve your family in showing kindness to strangers this Christmas. Share God’s love with those in need. We all are of equal need before God. He doesn’t need anything from us, but we are dependent on Him for everything. There is no greater gift to God or our fellow man than gifts which point not to ourselves as the giver, but to Him as the giver of every good and perfect gift—life, both physical and eternal.
            Ask God to reveal your need. Acknowledge His gift of salvation, and then be His hands in a hurting world.

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

Sunday, December 9, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 9

"Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids, and she calls from the highest point of the city. 'Let all who are simple come in here!' she says to those who lack judgment." Proverbs 9:1-3 NIV

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 8

"Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud..." Proverbs 8:1-3 NIV

Friday, December 7, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 7

"Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your kinsman; they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words." Proverbs 7:4, 5 NIV

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 6

"My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have struck hands in pledge for another, if you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler." Proverbs 6:1-5 NIV

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 5

"Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her [an adulteress], do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich another man’s house." NIV

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 4

"Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching." Proverbs 4:1-2 NIV

Monday, December 3, 2012

Giving Good Gifts - Part One

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…”
James 1:17
             Wrapped in home-made robes with crowns, itchy beards, shepherds crooks, and angel wings, our family stood in the cold, wind, filling our slot in our church’s live Christmas nativity scene on a busy Christmas Eve. No quiet town of Bethlehem surrounded us. Instead we watched long lines of cars driving slowly by, filling the air with exhaust fumes, but the message was the same. God’s gift to the world had come—Jesus Christ was born.
              These are the players in God’s grand advent of the coming of His Son into the world, in the form of a helpless baby: Mary and Joseph, poor and obscure, but exceptional in their obedience to their God-given task; angels of annunciation; shepherds guarding their flocks; and wise men from the east, seeking the place where the new King was born. All had need of the gift the baby would bring.
               Playing roles in the church tableau over many years gave opportunity for quiet reflection on the true “gift” of Christmas. It is not available in any store, but is free for the taking to all who truly desire to know the King of Kings, the Giver of every good and perfect gift.
               God knew what we needed before we were even aware. He provided us the perfect gift, His Son, born as a child, growing up in world of lost and dying people, sinless, yet willing to die for our sins, risen to life that we might be freed from the power of sin and receive the gift of eternal life.
               What needs do you face? Whether rich, poor, well-educated, unemployed, suffering, or abundantly blessed, we all have one need in common—salvation from the curse of sin. Paul tells us in Romans that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” But we are also told that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The gift of God is “eternal life in Christ Jesus.”
             Knowing the story of Christmas, acting it out, singing the songs, even knowing the scriptures can’t save us.
               A gift is only of benefit when accepted by the intended receiver. So it is with God’s gift of Jesus Christ. If we never take the time to accept Him as our Savior and Lord, we don’t possess the gift.   
              This year, concentrate on God's perfect gift. You need nothing else.

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

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 3

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man." Proverbs 3:1-4 NIV

Sunday, December 2, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb of the Day - Dec. 2

"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding..." Proverbs 2:1-2 NIV

Saturday, December 1, 2012

2MefromHim Proverb for the Day - Dec. 1

" The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair..." Proverbs 1:1-3 NIV