Tuesday, April 28, 2009


My first thought for my blog was a kind of review of the things I learned in the Esther study we just concluded at church. It was truly excellent and I learned a lot, but this morning I was reading in Deuteronomy (yes, I'm still trying to make my way through the entire Bible this year - I just keep getting sidetracked!).

It's always interesting to read a Biblical character's last words to a person or group. II Timothy is Paul's exhortation to his spiritual son Timothy before Paul was executed. The beginning of Deuteronomy are the parting words Moses had for the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land. Moses knew he wouldn't be going in because he had disobeyed the Lord, but he wanted to get a few things off his chest before the people crossed the Jordan. After all, who knew the people better than Moses? He had been with them for the last 40 years, listening to their constant complaining and whining. Maybe in some ways, God's punishment was a blessing in disguise. I'm sure Moses was tired. Or maybe he was feeling a bit bitter - after all, the children of Israel hadn't been too exemplary in their behavior either. In any comparison, Moses would have come out ahead in the good vs. bad debate. Whatever his feelings, this chapter shows Moses' great love for this cantankerous and stubborn people.

A little while ago, I wrote about Deuteronomy 8 where Moses tells them why they were in the wilderness. In this chapter, Moses tells them that God is going to go before them to destroy their enemies because, get this, the peoples of the earth needed to know that God was going to fulfill His covenant to His people and because the enemies of the Israelites were wicked. Moses mentions several times, that God wasn't doing this because of THEIR righteousness.

Then he goes on to say that's because you aren't very righteous at all. He starts to recount the times the Israelites blew it, big time. Interestingly, three different times God was so angry with the Israelites, He was ready to destroy them, but each time Moses fasted from food AND water to intercede to God on the behalf of the Israelites. One time, God even offered to make a great people out of Moses. Moses turned Him down and instead pled for his people.

Moses had alot of faults. He was fearful and he had quite a temper, but he was just as passionate in his loves. He LOVED the people of Israel. He was willing to go without, not just for a day or three or even a week, but for 40 days and nights. For people who were hard to love, difficult to handle and annoying as all get out!

It hit me square between the eyes, I complain plenty myself. When I spend my time putting down the current administrations decisions, how much time have I spent in prayer for those same people? Is it even close to the same amount of time? Hardly! When I whine about how this person or that person has offended me or hurt my feelings or hasn't met my needs, how much have I prayed for them?

I came to the very uncomfortable conclusion that if I spent HALF the amount of time I spend talking in prayer, I would see some real differences, if not in others, then certainly in my own life, attitudes and ideas. It made me squirm to realize I spent far more time praying about my own concerns and fears than I did interceding on the behalf of others.

What would happen if I took every complaint, concern and need to Christ instead of talking about it to someone else or worrying about it in my mind? I'm excited to find out! How about you?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I know it isn't exactly the same, but I feel like I can relate to Hannah in the Bible. I have always, always wanted a dog of my own (and yes, I know that wanting a child is NOT the same as wanting a dog, but bear with me). My parents are not animal people. They DID let me have a parade of small animals that could be kept in cages. We started with a hamster that lived so long it's fur went grey. The next few weren't quite as lucky. Then I got one gerbil and ended up with nine! That was a bit of surprise. I also had a guinea pig that died of pneumonia. Go figure. After having a couple of these small, furry animals for my own children, I appreciate anew how much my parents were willing to give when it came to having a pet. (personally, I think a cat is about the easiest pet ever)

But no matter how much I loved Chippy, Ginger, Spice, Cleo and all the others, I would still spend hours in the pet store drooling over the puppies. I'd bring a little pad of paper and add up all the things I'd need and how much it would cost. (btw, just a heads up - NEVER buy a puppy from the pet store!)

When I got married, I thought at long last I'd be able to have a dog. But, although my husband had a cat when I met him, he was not an animal person. I was married 14 years before I finally got my puppy. He was so cute - he looked like a little stuffed animal. I told God when I got my puppy that if it was at all possible, I'd really like to use him to minister to people, to bring them cheer and hope. There is nothing like doggy kisses to brighten your day.

Well, Kipper is now about 20 months old. He has been through puppy kindergarten, basic obedience, advanced obedience, gotten his canine good citizenship, and today, he passed his certification to be a therapy dog. One of the things I've always dreamed about came true today. My plan is to not just visit in nursing homes (and the elderly LOVE Kipper because he looks just like Lassie) but to also go to area schools to teach kids how to interact with dogs. In our county alone, there were 215 dog bites, many of those being children. Dogs can be a wonderful part of our lives, but many children either haven't had the chance to be around dogs or have had bad experiences. I want to open that world to them - the joy of communicating and sharing companionship with another species - and today, when Kipper passed that test, my dream came true.

I was so nervous yesterday and today. I even felt kind of sick to my stomach. Before we left, I just said, "God, either we pass or we don't. It's up to You." In His goodness, we did pass. I know many of you are thinking well, does God really care about someone's dog? The answer is God can use anything that we fully give to Him. I am looking forward to seeing how God will use Kipper in someone's life, even if is just bringing a smile to their face on an otherwise melancholy day.
~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, April 24, 2009


I was at the library the other week, and a title just jumped out at me. It was called Stuck. I knew I had to get it. I wanted to see what someone thought of being stuck from a secular perspective.

So, I started reading, and not really all that surprisingly, I got about three or four chapters in and the author started talking about how religion is a type of being stuck in the past. Bound by traditions and rules that no longer work in our current world. At first I felt rather indignant. Then I realized she was right. Religion WILL keep you stuck.

What I have is a relationship. A relationship with Christ. It's different because with Christ, you aren't stuck. With Christ, it is possible to overcome strongholds, move past old hurts, let go of unforgivness, love the unlovable, be filled with the Holy Spirit, show the fruits of the spirit. None of those things are possible on your own. Being in relationship with Christ is the only way to be unstuck. It's through HIS power that we are able to "throw off the chains that so easily bind us and run the race that is set before us." That's not being stuck. That's living in the fullness of Christ.

So, don't give me that old time religion. Give me an everchanging, yet always reliable relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the only one with the true power to set us free. Free indeed!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, April 19, 2009


As I have said in a couple posts, I am studying Beth Moore's Bible study, Esther: It's tough being a woman. God has been teaching me a lot through this Old Testament soap opera. (Honestly, Days of Our Lives has nothing over the book of Esther) In each lesson, she tells a way that it is tough being a woman. One of those is "It is tough being a woman in the tight grip of fear." Gee, do you think I can relate? lol

I mentioned in my last post that you see a theme, called the reversal of destiny in the book of Esther in many ways. Mrs. Moore talked about the way we can turn these sayings around using Scripture. I realized one thing I can do against fear is to wield my weapon. What weapon you might ask? (if you know me, this question would be said in some alarm because the idea of an actual weapon in my hands would be a very scary thing! lol) This weapon I'm talking about, though, can't harm you, but it sure sends the evil one running for cover! It is God's Word. It is THE truth. The Bible tells us that Satan is the father of lies and he is very, very good at deceiving Christians. Granted, sometimes it doesn't take much to get us to believe his lies as we are just looking for an excuse to give in to defeat or sin.

The only way to defeat Satan, though, is to take a page out of Jesus's book when He was tempted. He didn't argue with Satan or try to reason with him or justify anything. He simply quoted Scripture. And it was as effective as kryptanite is on Superman. But the thing is, we can quote Scripture all we want, but if we don't believe it and trust that God is speaking the truth, it doesn't work quite as well.

Then it hit me how all of this is tied together and how it works to free us from the stronghold of fear. TRUTH leads us to TRUST, and TRUST lets us BELIEVE the TRUTH. And the real root of fear is a lack of trust, isn't it? I mean, if I fear being stuck that means I don't trust that God has a plan for me.

There is a verse that says, "Perfect love casts out fear." I think that means that GOD's perfect love casts out fear because we can trust Him with everything. A couple weeks ago, I was sitting in Sunday school class and we were having a discussion about Colossians. The leader said, "It's not all about me." And my first thought was but what about ME? I mean, don't I count for anything? Don't my needs and desires have a place too? Almost immediately the verse came to my mind about GOD meeting all my needs. I didn't have to worry or fear that my needs wouldn't be met because my Heavenly Father, who takes care of the very birds in the air loves me and has the best in mind for me, even when it doesn't appear to make much earthly sense.

But in order to trust, I need to know the truth. It is one of those circular things, but this time in a good way. Ideally, the more I learn truth, the more I will trust in God which will lead me to seek more of His truth which will in turn strengthen my trust, and, well, I think you get the picture. And when I start speaking the truth, Satan plugs his ears and runs away. He is all about deception and illusion. The Truth is too bright a light for him. He prefers the dark.

Jesus IS the light of the world. With Him, there are no shadows of doubt as He shines the light of His truth into the darkest corners of the soul. And doesn't light make our fears so much smaller and more manageable?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


What in the world is peripety you may be asking. It's a nifty little word that Beth Moore shared in her Bible study, Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman. What it means is a sudden reversal of destiny or fortune, that event or moment when the turn actually comes. I think I experienced peripety last night as I watched the video for session 6 of her Bible study.

She was talking about how you can be on the road with what looks like a certain future when God comes along and picks you up and sets you on a completely different path. As you know, I've been feeling stuck, like I'm getting nowhere fast in my goals and what I feel is my calling. She said something that struck me right between my eyes: "It's tough being a woman when you feel responsible for the how."

The peripetious moment in the book of Esther didn't come when Esther went before the king, risking her life. It didn't come when she confronted Haman and revealed her identity. No, the reveral of destiny came when Xerxes had a sleepless night and called for the book of records to be opened. Lo and behold the book opened to an accounting of Mordecai saving the king from a plot against him, an accomplishment that was never really recognized. (side note to self - when I feel passed by for recognition, maybe there is a divine purpose for it and God's timing is better - hmmm) In other words, Esther, even though she had to get over her fears and be brave, still didn't have to worry about the "how." She only had to obey.

I can hear my fears loud and clear in my brain - what if you're no good? what if nobody ever wants to read what you write? what if... how will you... where do you find.... But, I don't have to worry about the how; I just have to obey. Another part of the session hit me too, although probably not quite the way Mrs. Moore originally intended. One of her last points was "your story is good enough to tell." I got chill bumps when she said that. It was like God was speaking directly to me.

So, even though I don't know how this will work out and I feel like the country cousin come to visit in New York City when I think about the business of writing, I don't have to worry about that. I just have to obey, pick up my pen and write. God will just have to help me be brave, but He does tell us that whatever we have need of, to ask and He will give it.
~ Blessings, Bronte

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Yes, I know, complaining isn't a spiritual gift but the way I enthusiastically engage in it, you'd think it was! Hey, and I'm good at it. Case in point, this morning, my husband and I had a miscommunication about our boys' schedules. I had just woke up, and since I am SO not a morning person, it sort of put me into a not so sweet mood. My husband left for work (he apologized, btw) and I dropped the boys off at school. I still felt like a major shrew. I hate that feeling - where you sort of just want to wallow in your bad mood. Maybe I'm the only one who does that, but it's almost as if, in a perverse way, you are enjoying feeling like a witch!

Anyway, I didn't want one little miscommunication ruin my whole day. I mean, really, definitely NOT worth it. So, I was praying, asking God to change my attitude and my heart. And He did. It was great. But for some reason, I still wanted to get online or on the phone and complain to someone, share with them how I was wronged! I don't know why I wanted to complain, even though my mood was much improved. It didn't even make any sense. If I go by New Year's goals and NOT take things personally, it was an honest mistake my husband made. It wasn't like he was trying to put a crimp in my day. But yet, I had this insatiable desire to complain to someone.

I'm not sure what I would get out of complaining - maybe justification that I was right or that I was wronged or, well, I don't know. Maybe it was just to get noticed and get some sympathy. Boy does that sound pathetic when I type it all out there like that!

Interesingly enough, we are studying the story of Esther in Bible study. And this week (or really last week since I am slightly behind!) we have been looking at Haman. Now if you are looking for an example of how NOT to be, Haman is your man. Talk about a bundle of self-focused, needy, warped humanity! He's just plain scary. But one thing Haman wanted more than anything was to be noticed and to be honored. He wanted people to see him and praise him and realize how great he was! As I was reading this, part of me was saying, well, thank goodness I'm not like Haman! Man- he was seriously messed up!

Today it hit me though- I am. Ouch!!! See, my desire to complain even after I had really gotten over it, show an ugly side of myself - my desire to be right and have everyone around me KNOW I am right, that I am the easy to get along with person (stop laughing!), the good sport. Complaining was about recognition. Now there's some self-realization that is not very much fun.

Beth Moore wrote this in the workbook and it really spoke to me. Maybe it will speak to you too. "Let's pursue a walk with God so close that the spotlights of this world - be they for us or against us - are eclipsed by His enormous shadow cast on our path. There in the shelther of the Most High we find our significance and the only satisfaction of our insatiable need to be noticed. There and there alone we are free to be neither depressed nor impressed with teh capricious reactions of this carnal world." I didn't end up complaining online or on the phone but it was a close call. Thank goodness God is patient with this slow learner!!
~Blessings, Bronte

Friday, April 3, 2009


I had a stress test today - in fact, I am currently hanging out at my parents house waiting for the next part of it. My big obstacle was the IV. For some reason, nobody can seem to get an IV in me on the first try. The last time I had a stress test, they tried 3x. The IV specialist finally came and stuck it in my wrist - it hurt like nobody's business, let me tell you! Then I about passed out and they had to break out the smelling salts and put me on gurney and turn it upside down. Talk about embarrassing! Needless to say, I wasn't in too big of a hurry to repeat that experience! So one of my big prayer requests was that the IV would go in the first try. And it did!!!

My second request was more a concern - they always put the incline on the treadmill really steep on these tests so your heart rate will go up! Well, that has the unpleasant result of feeling that if you let go of the bar, you might go flying off the back of the treadmill. I am happy to report, that I stayed on and didn't take any flying leaps! :)

These are really small things in the grand scheme of things, but God is so good. He saw my small, insignificant requests just as well as He sees the big ones. It drove home to me that God cares not just about the big, grand scheme things in my life, but the details too.

In Genesis 15 there is the story of Hagar, Sarah's maid, who runs away from the anger of her mistress. She is alone and lost and not sure where to go. The angel of God appears to her and tells her to go back. She called God El Roi or God sees me. It always touches me that God took time to see Hagar - a maid, someone of not much signifigance to anyone. But God saw her.

So even with the little details and cares in my life, I know God is El Roi and that He sees me, sees me better than any earthly person can. What a great comfort that is!
~Blessings, Bronte