Monday, December 17, 2012

Thought #9 ~ A Thought about Heaven

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither hath it entered the mind of [woman] the things that God has prepared for them who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:1).   That’s Heaven!  Doesn’t that boggle your mind?   It does mine!  I can’t comprehend it, but God has said it.  I believe it and can hardly wait.  Trust Him.  He means what He says.  Be patient.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Wealth of God's Word ~ Part 4

Studying the Bible

“ An ignorant Christian is an embarrassment to God.” There is no legitimate reason that we should be one. A likely response might be, “But I can’t fit Bible study into my day.” Let’s inventory our day. TV? Unnecessary phone calls? Novels and magazines? Even the newspaper? Hobbies and crafts? Sports? Face Book, etc.? Here is a practical solution. Place your Bible on top of any item that takes priority over Bible study!!! Oh! Ouch!

Most of us like change. Ask your Christian book store clerk to help you find a book that leads into various study methods. I did a word study on “Grace” which I put in transparent protector sheets in a note book. It became a valuable volume as I went to the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. A concordance was a great help. So was a commentary. Other resources such as poems, songs, quotations, short excerpts, sermon notes were added, and of course, my personal Bible study notes. It has proved to be a valuable resource for many occasions.

As we investigate a word in its many passages our hearts are blessed. We can go deeper by developing our word study into a theme study. As we do so, it gets more challenging! More exciting! More edifying! More informational! Let’s remember that our goal in any type of study is to be personally molded into God’s image by His message; not merely to gain intellectual knowledge.

The objective of theme studies is to piece together a body of Bible teaching so parts do not remain in isolation. For example, the theme of God would lead us into theTrinity. The study of the nature of man would link us to a study of sin. This leads into a break down of “man’s fall, depravity, original sin, the nature of sin itself, guilt, punishment.” From these studies we are enthusiastically lead to the person and work of Christ which can be divided and subdivided into themes – His divinity, His sonship, His incarnation, His humanity, and so on. A study of the work of Christ ought to flow into the atonement. “That theme, in turn, would direct us into associated ideas – grace repentance faith, forgiveness ,justification, regeneration, conversion, adoption, assurance, sanctification.” Does this not challenge us with the inexhaustibleness of God’s Word? If we take it one step at a time, it will not overwhelm us. Rather, we will have a wealth of material to describe our new found relationship to God and His Word. (This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes from John B. Job, editor of InterVarsity Press, #68).

Why do we spend time in personal Bible study? We go to church and Sunday school. We listen to radio preachers. Isn’t that enough? No, a thousand times “No.” As profitable as they are, something is lacking: that personal heart-to-heart love relationship with our Lord. “He knows our frame” (Psa. 103:14). That does not mean our skin and bone structure. He knows our inner person with all our needs. Our Father knows us intimately and He yearns that we probe the depths of His Word so we can know Him in like manner.

May we be extremely earnest and tirelessly diligent in our study of Holy Scripture so that we are consistently growing in our relationship with God. May the Holy Spirit prepare us to carry the salvation message to others, always being ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15).

A story is told of a woman who said, “I thought God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things.  At the rate I am going, I will never die.” Since we can’t do everything, prioritize is the word that stands out in my mind at this point.  

Remember, “Study to show yourself approved unto God . . .” 2 Timothy 2:15.
Deeper Lord, ever deeper will we go.  Amen and Amen.
                                                                                                   (to be continued)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thought #8 ~ Spiritual Change?

Thought #8  Have you had a spiritual change knowing that Christ is coming soon?

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Wealth of God's Word ~ Part 3

The Berean Christians had a purpose for daily examining (deeply studying) the Scriptures.  It was to know the truth that would set them free.  “Dear Father, help that to be my heart beat and the heart beat of each one of my dear friends who read this treatise.”

John Piper’s statement (Exploring the Bible, p.7) may help us grasp something of the significance of the Bible. This complete, incomparable, volume, the Bible, was written over a period of two thousand years. It contains 3,566,489 letters, 810,697 words, 31,175 chapters and 66 books. “It is a ‘divine library’ and demands not only spiritual illumination but also practical application of reverent and diligent study methods to master the diversified subjects as well as its unified message.” And too often we do not take time to absorb it! 

Let’s dig a little deeper into the insights and ideas of “rightly diving the Word of truth.” To do this is obedience to the Scriptural charge of 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a [work woman] that needeth not be ashamed... .” 2 Timothy 3: 16,17 gives us more reasons for in-depth Bible study. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching,  for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the [woman] of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Yes, Lord. I want all You have for me.  

We must be serious about developing a relationship with God, because we can’t fully know what He can or will do for us until we know who He is. As we study about David and Goliath, we learn that our problems will overcome us if we don’t confront them in the name of the Lord. A study of Abraham has a God- intended message to deepen our faith and obedience. How long has it been since you have studied Isaiah? “Three major truths are indelibly imprinted on our hearts. (1) God suffers when His people are unfaithful to Him. (2) God cannot condone sin. (3) God will never cease to love His own, and consequently, He seeks to win back those who have forsaken Him.” (Source unknown).

There are numerous books about Bible study methods that will help us choose the method that we would like to pursue. Above and beyond that, of course, is prayer that the Holy Spirit will direct us. He knows our deepest needs. The ledger method seems most effective and gratifying to me. It requires a note book – not scraps of paper – a pen and a Bible as a starter. You may want to add a commentary and a concordance. Choose a book of the Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to be you teacher. If your mind wanders, reread the verses. Maybe you will study only two verses, or maybe five or ten. Study for the purpose of finding nuggets that penetrate your heart and mind and feed your soul. Jot down those nuggets in your journal. They will help you in your walk with/growth in the Lord, and God will open up opportunities to use them to minister to someone else. I recall  my earlier days when I taught a weekly Bible study to the wives of seminary men. As I jogged in the early morning, the Lord would give me thoughts that thrilled my soul.  I would hurry to the house, jot them in my journal and sure enough, at some time a thought or two would be the exact application that I needed for those dear young women or others. That was an indescribable thrill.

Our heart’s prayer ought to be that of the Psalmist. “Make me to go in the depths of Thy commandments: for therein do I delight” (Psalm 119:35).
                                                                                                   (to be continued)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thought # 7 ~ God Remembers

Thought #7  “And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that were with him in the ark”  (Gen. 8:1).  To remember means “to take tender loving care”; “to control the circumstances.”  Isn’t that comforting?!  God is with us even when we are unaware of His presence.  We cannot hide from Him.  We can hide no secrets from Him.  He knows, yet He lovingly cares for us.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thought #6 ~ Fellowship

Thought #6  One of the most amazing facts of Scripture for me is that God desires my fellowship!  That God should allow you and me to fellowship with Him is wonderful enough, but that Almighty God desires our fellowship is almost past comprehension.  “The Father seeketh such to worship Him” (Jn. 4:23).   I don’t want to disappoint Him.  Do you?  I must prioritize my schedule!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thought #5 ~ Preparation

Thought #5  “... I am going to prepare a place for you ... I will come back and take you [there]”  John 14:2.  Jesus is preparing a place for us and He is preparing us for that place.  Our afflictions work for us when we allow our Lord Jesus to work in us.  When we get downcast let’s remember that God is busy for us.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Wealth of God's Word ~ Part 2

The Word of God is the greatest treasure we will ever own. We ought not be flippant with it.

Col.3:16 tells us exactly what we are to do with this treasure. We are to "Let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly." When we open our Bible in Meditation, Quiet Time, Devotions, Bible Reading, Bible Study, or any other name you may call it, our mind must be focused.
We are spending time with our heavenly Father.
Quiet Time is sometimes referred to as a Morning Watch in which we spend a few precious minutes talking with our Father and setting our mind on Him. We fortify ourselves from a portion of His Word and we commit our day to Him for His direction. There are books especially designed for that purpose. A Christian book store will help you .We may have to set our alarm clock ten or twenty minutes earlier and we may have to exercise our mind over our mattress, but we will be blessed as we go through the day.
When we understand that God longs for our fellowship, we can’t help but want to meet with Him. "The Father seeketh [true worshipers] to worship Him in spirit and in truth" Jn.4:23

A man told D.L. Moody that he did not have time to read his Bible every day to which Moody repliesd "My friend, if you are too busy to read the Bible every day you are busier than Almighty God ever intended any human being should be, and you better let some things go and take time to read the Bible." When will we find time to read our Bible? We won’t find time! We must make time in our daily schedule.
In my own pursuit for growth in the Lord I make a decided differentiation between Bible reading and Bible study: however, they are not mutually exclusive. Proper Bible reading habits will affect our Bible study.

"What really counts is not how much of God’s Word you go through, but how much of God’s Word goes through you." Reading the Bible through in a year is a valuable method for a bird’s eye view of the whole picture. Hats off to you who do that. But we must go further by taking time to assimilate, digest, and appropriate the truths through the leading of the Holy Spirit. That is necessary and vital for maturity and growth in the ways of the Lord.

It is helpful for me to vary my Bible reading. Sometimes I read aloud. Over a period of days I will read the same portion of Scripture from various versions or translations. It is helpful to personalize God’s Word. Example: [Norma], count it all joy when you fall into various trials"

Ja.1:2. Ouch! That hits the core of my heart. That’s not for my neighbor down the street. That’s for me right in the middle of my muddle. Yes, LORD. As an artist I enjoy visualizing accounts. The breadcrumbs falling from Jesus’ hands as he broke the loaves to feeds thousands. Or Peter and Jesus’ probable facial expressions as they approached each other walking on the water.

Next time we will look into the glorious experience of digging deeply into the gold mine and finding precious nuggets as well as mountains of valuable jewels to enrich our lives in Christ.

(to be continued)

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Wealth of God's Word ~ Part 1

Now that you have read my four- part biography, we will be able to identify with each other in our future studies.

It is my desire that THE WEALTH OF GOD’S WORD will give a deeper hunger to dig into God’s gold mine of truth and grow thereby.


We have a gold mine at our finger tips. Its resources are available to anyone at anytime and yields high dividends to those who are willing to dig. That gold mine, of course, is the Bible, which tells us everything we need to know about life.

One Bible teacher said, “How wonderful it is to study the Scripture and to know that I not only have the page in my hand, but I have the Author in my heart.” Of course we know the Author is the Holy Spirit Who inspired the words of Scripture. And the Holy Spirit is our teacher. Isn’t that awesome! We have the Author at our side!

People ask my husband and me to autograph our books. They take them home and study on their own. They may have questions to be answered, but we are not there. Not so with God’s Word. The Author is always and immediately available. Our Interpreter comes with the Book. Isn’t that awesome! All we need to do is ask Him to help us.

To ask means to pray. Prayer is crucial with any form of interaction with the triune God and His Word. (In fact, we know that prayer is crucial in any and every activity of life). John 16:13 tells us that the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth. We need that. We can’t understand, apply, or obey on our own. We need help. So when we open our Bible, the first thing we must do is to ask the Holy Spirit to be our Teacher; to reveal the infinitely precious truths of God to us. Isn’t that Awesome! We have the Author, the Interpreter, and the Teacher right at our side!

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” ( Psalm 42:1). I picture a beleaguered deer with a body drained of moisture and panting for water to assuage its thirst. That is the way I want to approach the Word of God. A thirst that can never be quenched apart from God and His all consuming Word.

Gabriel Bradford transferred the picture to himself when he said, “My one unchanged ambition wheresoe’er my feet have trod is a keen, enormous, haunting never-sated thirst for God.” Through His Word.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thought #4 ~ Faith

Thought #4: "Walking by faith means being prepared to trust when we are not permitted to see."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thought #3 ~ No Condemnation

Thought #3 "...there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). Without believing in the atoning work of Jesus we stand in death’s row -- condemned. "Jesus came (Christmas) to pay a debt (Good Friday) He didn’t owe, because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay." I had unspeakable release when I found out that I was no longer condemned. How about you?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thought #2

Thought #2: Today I was taken back by a question -- "Will all ‘Christians‘ go to heaven?" The article continued, "In today’s egotistical culture, many choose to trust in self-achievements and hope in the saving power of personal works." I am finding Matt. 25:41 a probing study as I reference myself to the seriousness of the total context. I hope you will join me.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Thought #1 and Introduction

Dear friends,

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many of you are enjoying my monthly blog spot, A Window for Women. Thank you for your comments that  encourage me to continue. Because a month seems like a long time, and because I’ m constrained to share more often, I’m adding a weekly "shortie" called A Thought. A "shortie" is a hard thing for a woman to come by! At least we have a reputation. In this new venture, I have found that it takes a lot of time and forethought to say something that will be worthy of your time and will honor our Lord in a few words. I don’t know who will be reading these nuggets, but God does. I have prayed that the Lord, "Who knows all things," would help me write just the right thought on the very week that someone would need it.

What is the source of these thoughts? Some of the short ones are from jottings on scraps of paper; some are from the fly leaves of my Bibles or my daily Bible study. Some are from friends, and some just pop into my head as I write. The longer ones take much time as I reference commentaries and other sources. They must go through the grid of my own heart before I share.

If this venture is a blessing to you, I would appreciate knowing so. This will help me to know whether to continue. Please don’t expect more than a "Thank you" in reply. My cup is very full in ministry -- mentoring, counseling, writing, speaking, witnessing, housekeeping, and being my husband’s helpmeet.

My prayer is that you will be edified and God glorified through this little tool -- "A Thought."

Look for a new Thought on Monday of each week. We will start with Thought #1 today. God bless.
Thought #1 There is no problem that is bigger than the reservoir of God’s grace. Open your Bible to 2 Cor. 12:9. Paul says that three times he pleaded with the Lord to take away his "thorn in the flesh." But God responded with, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in [your] weakness." Infirmities are not easy to bear, are they? May you, like Paul, rest in the fact that in it all God has a plan to demonstrate through you His purpose and power. What a privilege to be used of God in this way!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Life History of Norma Whitcomb ~ Part 4

Dr. Whitcomb had other serious matters to discuss while we drove along in his big blue station wagon, especially since he knew nothing about me nor my plans after moving back to Kansas. He asked me nothing about my past, present or future, but went right to the point. "Senie [his wife] was ill for so many years. There were times when we thought the doctors had found a cure for her. When it was obvious that the Lord was going to take her home, she told me that she would like you to be the mother of our four children." !!!!!!

No, I was not dreaming. It was all very real. We drove along and he continued to talk. On the outside I appeared calm, cool and collected. On the inside I was in shock. How do I know? Because my mouth went so dry that I could not talk, and when a woman can’t talk, she must be in shock. I had one piece of gum in my purse which I halved to share with him. He put his piece into his pocket. After chewing a bit I was able to talk. Not a word of our conversation do I remember except, "I’ll try", meaning, I’ll try to be the mother of your children!

As we conversed for a couple of hours over a Chinese meal, it began to dawn on me that this man had proposed to me and that I had said, "yes". I was engaged! That really did not confuse or distress me. You see, several months earlier, God had spoken from His heart to mine. No visions. No voice. Just a calm assurance from His Word that He would continue to guide me. My JEHOVAH-SHALOM gave me peace that passes all understanding – just as He has promised all through His precious Word. "This is the way, walk in it." On that assurance I said, "Yes".

On January 1st, 1971, my sixteen-year-old son, Dan, walked down the aisle to give me as wife to Dr. John C. Whitcomb. When asked, " Who gives this woman to this man?" my son replied, "My brother and I." That night, our lonesome threesome became a bustling household of eight. I do mean bustling! The ages of those in our quiver were 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. Our home mission field.

God has been gracious to each one in our blended family. All six children have a close relationship to their God. We are trusting Him to do His perfect work in every one of our seventeen grandchildren. (Norma Whitcomb)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Life History of Norma Whitcomb ~ Part 3

Dr. John C. Whitcomb had been a professor at Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana for nineteen years. My husband and I had been missionaries in the Philippines for eleven years. We came to the States intending to spend two years earning advanced degrees after which we would return to our teaching ministry at Far Eastern Bible Institute and Seminary.

After my husband's sudden death, I moved to Kansas to teach and wait for God's timing to return to the Philippines. How was it possible for a professor in Indiana and a teacher in Kansas to get together? No, we did not go to the Web. God's ways are more reliable than that. Furthermore, there was no thought of remarriage in my plan. God warns us against "I wills" (Luke 12:18). Rather, He examples to us by His own words, "Not my will, but Thine be done". He has unimaginable rewards for His obedient followers. My nut-shell story follows. There will be "fill-ins" in future "Windows for Women."

The day that I completed my MA in Science degree in Kansas, I boarded the train for Winona Lake, Indiana, to counsel in a summer youth camp for two weeks. When I arrived, the director apologized that she had neglected to inform me that the camp had been cancelled due to low enrollment. The next day Dr. Whitcomb, the professor whom my husband had highly admired, contacted me to say that he heard that I was in Winona Lake and would like to see me. That baffled me, since I had never formally met him. I accepted his plan to accompany him for a couple of hours on a "jaunt to do errands".

After driving a short distance, Dr. Whitcomb said, "I have some matters that I would like to talk about". That was not surprising. Since he was the one who informed me of my husband's sudden death, I thought he wanted to share his sorrow over his wife's death that had happened since that time. Jehovah-raah, our Shepherd, was leading us into green pastures.  -- (To be continued next month)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Life History of Norma Whitcomb ~ Part 2

Our mission suggested that my husband, Robert, and I spend two years in the States to earn higher degrees and then return to continue our teaching ministry at the Bible institute and seminary in the Philippines. Since both of us had prepared for that and had reveled in the opportunity to multiply ourselves by preparing young people to carry on the task, we heartily consented..There was no other place on earth that we would rather be than in the classroom in the Philippines! Our two sons, ages 11 and 13, happily complied since they liked their "foreign home".

My EL SHADDAI sustained me at the time of my husband’s death and He has done so ever since. God promised that He would never leave nor forsake His own (Heb.13:5), and He has lived up to His promise just as we would expect. However, such a sudden change in my plans made me wonder how God would lead. I did not question "why". The clay never asks the potter that question. Romans 9:20 speaks clearly to this point: "...who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?" (cf. Dan. 4:35; Jer. 18:6.)

The logical thing for me to do was to continue what I had started – the completion of my Master’s degree in educational psychology as well as a teaching degree in art . Psalms 33: 18-22 was my assurance. My JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH was there all the time! The door opened for me to set up an art department and conduct educational counseling in a Christian school in Kansas! His ways are past finding out! JEHOVAH-JIREH provided. Paul assures us in Philippians 4:19 that "my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

The mission invited me to return to my teaching position in the Philippines with my two sons. That was the plan, so I thought. Again, the Lord had another plan. "In [her] heart a [woman] plans [her] ways, but the Lord determines [her] steps" Proverbs 16:9. The wife of Dr. John C. Whitcomb of Winona Lake, Indiana, had been ill for several years. The Lord called her to Himself, leaving him with four children. The story unfolds in a spectacular way which I will share by bits and pieces in my "Windows for Women." God developed a dramatic series of events that is second to none. He always does ALL things well. (The word "all" throughout the Bible makes an enlightening study).

God had plans for a widower with four young children who had suffered long–term trauma, and a widow with two young children who experienced an over–night trauma.

(To be continued)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life History of Norma Whitcomb - Part 1

Part 1 - Missionary in the Philippines

(This is the first of a 4 part series of events from my life and illustrations of how the Lord works.) 

I was born into a Christian home in a little hamlet near Kingston, New York. I accepted Christ as my Savior at an early age and from then on had a burning desire to serve Him. God directed our family to a church with a strong missionary emphasis. This exposed me to the needs of lost souls in other lands. From then on my focus was the mission field.

The burial of my mother the day before my sixteenth birthday, and the sudden death of my father that called me home during my junior year in college, were part of God’s plan to cast myself on Him. His Word promised that He saw my need and He would care for me. “For the ways of a [woman] are before the eyes of the Lord, and He watches all [her] paths” (Prov. 5:21). He certainly did! He was my EL ROI, my “One who sees.” Heartaches are the means of our becoming bitter or better. The choice is ours. God directed me to continue my walk with Him. I have never regretted making the “better” choice.

I entered college with only one purpose–preparation for the mission field. In my senior year, I met a war veteran with the same purpose. One year later Robert Pritchett and I became one. After further preparation, we set sail for the Philippines. God lead us all the way. He gave us the desire of our hearts, which of course, was His outworking all along.

After eleven years in the Philippines, we took our second home duty assignment for the purpose of receiving higher degrees, planning to return and continue teaching in a Bible institute and seminary–FEBIAS. God had other plans. Robert died from a heart attack while jogging. Again, God sustained me and added another chapter to my life, teaching me who He is so that I could know what He would do for me. He was my EL SHADDAI–my “all–sufficient One.” My Rock. My Refuge. My very present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). (Norma A. Whitcomb)