Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I thought since there are actually two books of Kings, it deserved two different posts. Sometimes, when I read the Bible, I wonder why God put in all the stories He did. They certainly don't make us look too good sometimes. I mean, David killing Goliath is very cool, but the thing with Bathsheba - not so much. I guess it is one way to teach a lesson though. Think of that story about the boy who cried wolf? Parents are still sharing that one today, several hundred years after it was first told around a campfire.

There were several more things I noticed as I read through these books. One of those was that it seems much easier to pass on a bad legacy than a good one. Have you ever noticed how people tend to remember the negative much more than the positive. In training my dog Kipper, my mentor told me that for every negative correction you make, you have to do at least 5 to 7 positive ones so it doesn't cause problems like head shyness. While I realize that kids and dogs are NOT the same, the idea in parenting is similar. It never fails that your child will remember that one time you yelled at him instead of the umpteen times you told him he did a good job. It doesn't seem fair does it? I guess my take from all this is to leave a good and godly legacy for our children, it takes purposefulness and effort. It doesn't just happen.

The next thing I noticed was that many of the idols that the Israelites worshipped were much harder task masters than God was. There were at least 16 different gods that the Israelites worshipped during this time. These gods inspired fear and obviously, did not meet any of their requests. Molech (the god of the Moabites) required human sacrifice and not just one king sacrificed his child in the fire for this God. It's interesting that what God set up, these gods made counterfeits. The sacrifices that saved the people when given to God, destroyed their children for false gods. The priests who were set up to serve God in His temple were taken care of. The priests of the false gods were exploited many times as prostitutes. The list goes on and on. Idols may seem like the answer but they just make things worse.

The other thing I noticed is how many times God used an evil man to accomplish His purposes. Of course, the evil man had no idea he was doing God's will, but God did.

Another thing I noticed was God's mercy. Over and over again, the people sinned but God forgave them. He even offered pardon to Ahab, the notoriously evil king, if he would repent. He also rewarded the faithful. He told Josiah that he wouldn't live to see Judah punished. He told Jehu that one of his kin would sit on the throne for four generations because of his faithfulness. He gave king Hezekiah fifteen more years. Over and over again, we see that He was a rewarder of those that followed Him.

The last thing I'm going to mention (although there is so much more in these books and maybe I'll post tomorrow about Elijah/Elisha) is that even the kings that did what was right, it was noted about many of them that they were not wholly devoted to God or that they left the high places instead of destroying them. It hit me that many times I am devoted but not wholly. There are "high places" I want to keep or am too lazy to destroy. God takes note of that though. Ouch!

It's amazing to me that stories that are over a thousand years old still hold lessons for us today. I guess that's why God's Word is still the best seller today!

~ Blessings, Bronte


Okay, I just got done reading through I & II Kings. They told the story of the kingdom passing from David to Solomon and of Solomon's reign. Then the books get into the many kings of Israel and Judah. My Bible has this chart in the back that I got a kick out of filling out - in fact I was almost late to work a few times because I was looking up what needed to go in the blanks. Whoops!

This record of all the kings that reigned over Israel and Judah explains that after Solomon died, the kingdom was split in two. Rehoboam was the king of Judah (which consisted of the tribes of Judah and Benjiman), and Jeroboam became the king of Israel (the rest of the tribes). In all, Israel had 18 kings and all of them were bad to the bone. Judah had 20 kings (well, actually 19 and 1 queen) and 10 of them were good. As I read through the stories of these ancient kings, some lessons seemed to leap out at me.

Rehoboam was the king who didn't listen to the wise elders but to his young friends. They gave him some bad advice and subsequently, he lost part of the kingdom. A few things stuck out to me on this one. The first one seems fairly obvious - be careful who you listen to. The second one is a bit deeper. In Rehoboam's day, older people were highly revered for their wisdom and experience so it was fairly unusual for him to take his young friends' advice over the elders. However, in our time, that's not really the case. There is sort of a prevailing belief that anyone older than 50 must not know what they are talking about. I think this is not only dumb but arrogant. I mean, if someone has lived twice as long as I have, wouldn't they have a bit more wisdom than I do, particularly if they are walking with God all that time? In Timothy it commands the OLDER women to teach the YOUNGER women. I think we've fallen down in this area in the body of Christ. I don't think we can blame the older women entirely either - most of them don't think the younger set wants to listen to anything they say.

The other thing that struck me in this story was not quite as obvious. The question that popped into my head was - do I give good counsel to others? Sure, I love to give my opinion and share what I think someone should do. But what if that person listens to me and does what I suggest? Is my counsel Biblical? Is it wise? Is it centered in Christ? It was definitely food for thought.

In the story of Jeroboam, God told Jeroboam that he would become the king of Israel. It was a done deal. However, once he became king, Jeroboam was assailed by fears and doubts. He didn't want to let the people go up to Jeruselum to make sacrifices for fear that their allegiance would return to Rehoboam. So instead, he made two golden calfs and set them up in two parts of his kingdom and had the people worship those.

Fear and insecurity were the root of Jeroboam causing the whole kingdom to sin. One thing that God had absolutely NO to was idol worship and here was the king instructing the people do just that. How many times does fear and insecurity lead me to make a bad decision or even to sin? With all my struggles with different fears, this was one lesson that whapped me upside the head - fear is not of God. Yes, He gives us warnings and cautions. I do believe that, but if I am experiencing paralyzing fear then I know that is not from God. Thank goodness, He is willing to help me through my fears so I don't have to stay stuck in them.

"I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears." Psalms 34:4

~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, June 4, 2010


It's been a while since I've been on here, but it's been quite an interesting time in my life. I have been shaken in all the areas that are vulnerable - finances, job security, betrayal, my health, my family's health, feeling overwhelmed by busyness - you name it, it seems to have hit me in the last six weeks. Thankfully, many of the areas of testing had happy endings. My Dad didn't have cancer (hallelujah!!!!). I didn't have a blood clot (can I get another amen!). But other things, usually minor annoyances, seem to loom larger than normal because of the added stress in my life at the moment. It seems my tipping point is lower than it was before.

During all of this, I kept thinking, "I need to be strong. I need to be godly in my response to this. I need to be serene in the midst of these storms - it's what a spiritually mature person would do." God has given me peace and comfort, and I have wrestled with the demons of resentment, bitterness and even hatred during this time. I felt like I had come out on the other side somewhat victorious. God had given me victory to forgive and feel compassion toward the person I wanted to hate. However, anytime I felt weak or sad or upset, I also experienced guilt and the question - shouldn't I be a stronger Christian than this? Shouldn't my joy be above circumstances? Shouldn't I have a deeper trust in God and His plans that I can't know and understand right now? Shouldn't I be past this by now?

A few days ago, I was sitting in my oldest son's. My heart was pounding uncomfortably in my chest, skipping beats. I felt lightheaded. Every article I've ever read about a woman in her 30's dropping dead from heart failure flashed through my mind. The anxiety about that caused my heart to bump up another notch. My chest hurt. All I could think was, "Please don't let me pass out at my son's award ceremony and ruin his moment." I tried deep breaths. I tried to think of peaceful rivers. It didn't work. My breath seemed to come with effort. The more I tried to reason with myself that I was fine and it was just stress, the worse I felt.

I did make it home and I didn't keel over (of course, you probably know that since I'm typing this now - three days later). But I went into my room to change. I went in my closet and started cried. I sobbed until I was exhausted. When I came out, my eyes suspiciously blotchy (yes, honey, those darn allergies make my eyes itch too!), I felt much better. I was wrung out and had that headachy feel behind my eyes I get if I cry a lot. But I felt much better.

Immediately the guilt started - if you were a strong Christian, you wouldn't need to cry - you'd find joy in your situation and help someone else in the bargain. It's insiduous, this need to react perfectly as a Christian. The thing is - I'm not perfect. Far from it, in fact. I have these messy things called emotions. Sometimes, it hurts to feel them and experience them. But often the only way over them is to go right through them. God did say when we go through the fire or the floods, He is there. Feelings, while they aren't always true, are still real. It's okay to feel really angry with someone, to acknowledge they hurt you and what they did was wrong. It's not being somehow unChristian to admit that things make you upset.

I had fallen in this trap of thinking the perfect Christian response was to have perfect, all-positive feelings. Life doesn't work that way. God expects us to be human and to have human feelings. God doesn't expect us to be strong and perfect. In fact, Paul says that in our weakness God is made strong. Paul said he gloried in his weakness because it showed off God's strength through him. What a load off my shoulders to really know that I don't have to be strong. God will be strong for me and shoulder my load.

Isaiah 40:28-31, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength, they will mount up with wings like eagles, they wil run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."

~ Blessings, Bronte