Friday, August 27, 2010


I think I read some of the saddest words in 2 Chronicles 21:20, "He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and he departed with no one's regret, and they buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the Kings." The verse is talking about Jehoram, one of the kings of Judah.

How awful to be the leader of a nation and when you die, nobody is sad about it. Granted, Jehoram who was the son of Jehoshaphat (who came up with these names anyway???), was not a very good king. As soon as he got the crown on his head, things headed down hill.

First of all, the main reason he was chosen as the heir was because he was the firstborn, but it doesn't seem like he had too many leadership skills. The first thing he did when he had secured his throne was to kill all his brothers - I guess blood wasn't thicker than water. In verse 13, there is this interesting little tidbit from God, "and you have also killed your brothers, your own family, who were better than you." Apparently, good ole Jehoram was the rotten apple in the bunch.

Next we see that Jehoram followed after the kings of Israel (remember there were no good kings that ruled over that portion of the divided kingdom). The reason the Bible gives for this was Jehoram's choice of wife - none other than one of Ahab's daughters. Ahab whose wife was Jezebel was one of the wickedest kings from this time period. We don't know if Jehoram picked out his own wife or if it was an arranged marriage, but she obviously had influence with Jehoram - and not a good one!

We also see that Jehoram rebuilt the high places and alters to false gods. He decided false gods were more promising than the Yahweh. God got very tired of it. He had promised that a descendent of David would be on the throne and Jehoram had killed off anyone who could replace him, so God took care of him.

Reading the next bit makes me very motivated NOT to follow in Jehoram's footsteps. What is absolutely perfect yet utterly horrible is that God didn't just spring the punishment on Jehoram, but He told him about it in advance. Nothing like a bit of terror to go with your judgement. Of course, knowing God, this very well may have been God's way of offering Jehoram the chance to repent. But either way, Jehoram continued in his wicked ways.

Get a load of what God told him was coming in verses 12-15, "Then a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet saying, 'Thus says the Lord God of yoru father David, Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father and the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jeruselum to play the harlet as the house of Ahab played the harlot, and you have also killed your brothers, your own family, who were better than you, behold, the Lord is going to strike your people, your sons, your wives and all your possessions with great calamity; and you will suffer severe sickness, a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the sickness, day by day."

Doesn't that sound pleasant? In verse 19 we see Jehoram's gruesome end, "So after all this the Lord smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. Now it came about in the course of time, at the end of two years, that his bowels came out because of his sickness and he died in great pain..." God is obviously not someone to trifle with. The next few words are sad because it shows that his people were glad to see him go - "And his people made no fire for him like the fire for his fathers."

Jehoram was given the opportunity to make a huge difference in his world - he was given power and privilege in that world and culture. He wasted it away. I don't know what kind of upbringing he had but he was 32 years old when he became king - old enough to know better you'd think. Instead, he let his idol worshipping wife lead him away from the one true God into idol worship. He killed all of his brothers and some of the trusted leaders in Israel. He died an agonizing death after two years of suffering. And in the end, nobody regretted that he died. He left no legacy of goodness or importance - just his own pain and his people's indifference.

There are a lot of wonderful things in the Bible - promises and demonstrations of God's grace and mercy and patience and love. But it isn't all flowers and puppies - this story serves as a stark reminder that God is GOD. He is holy and mighty and powerful. He is not to be mocked or ignored. He IS Jehovah and it's best that we not forget that!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Have you ever had a light bulb moment where you got an idea that seemed so awesome, so perfect that it just HAD to be from God, right? I am an idea person. I am always coming up with some great idea and getting all excited and invested in it. Ask my husband - he's the one who is always talking me down as I'm getting ready to leap before I look.

Don't get me wrong - ideas, dreams, plans - those things are good things. But just because it seems like a good idea doesn't mean that it is God's plan for you. Take for instance David - he got the idea of building a temple for the ark. After all, he had this great palace and the ark was still in an animal skin tent. Even the prophet Nathan thought that it was a grand idea - I mean who can argue with building God a temple right? Well, apparently God could because He told David no.

One of David's descendents also had a good idea but he forgot to check with God first. We meet King Asa in 2 Chronicles 14. His father Abijah died and Asa became king of Judah. In verse 2 it says, "Asa did good and right in the sight of the Lord his God, for he removed the foreign alters and high places, tore down the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherim, and commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers and to observe the law and the commandments." So Asa was one of the good kings - he followed God with his whole heart and rooted out all the idols in Judah.

In chapter 15, we see that God told Asa through a prophet to be strong and courageous, to continue to root out the idols in all the land and God would bless him. Through Asa's leadership, the kingdom of Judah (this is after Israel had split into two kingdoms) rededicated themselves to God. As Asa went out and fought against nations that wanted a piece of Judah, he always checked in with God, asking is this what you have for us to do? If God said yes, Asa went, even if it seemed like a suicide mission. God always gave him the victory. After at time, God blessed them and gave them years of rest. In 2 Chronicles 15:19 it says, "And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa's reign."

What changed? Well, in chapter 16, Asa had what he thought was a good idea. Baasha, the king of Israel decided to make life hard for Asa and Judah and Baasha got another king to join him - Ben-hadad, king of Aram. So Asa got the bright idea of making a treaty with Ben-hadad, to cut Baasha off at the knees.

Was making a treaty a bad idea? Strategically, it made a lot of sense to get good old Ben-hadad (wonder what they called him for short? Hopefully Ben!) on his side. But Asa, after years of blessing and easy times, forgot one important thing. He didn't check with God to see if this really WAS a good idea. He was so used to God's blessings, to peace and prosperity, that when he got this bright idea, it never occurred to him that perhaps, it wasn't God's idea.

Asa did route Baasha with the king of Aram's help, but afterwards, God called Asa on the carpet. He reminded Asa of the times that there was victory even when it seemed impossible. God pointed out that HE could have given Asa victory over BOTH Baasha and the King of Aram instead of being stuck in a treaty with him. In chapter 16, verse 8 it says, "Were not the Ethopians and the Lubim and immense army with very many chariotsa nd horseman? Yet because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand."

And that really was the key - Asa decided to rely on his own wisdom and strategy with what seemed like a good move. If he had relied on God, instead of himself, there would have been complete victory.

How many times does this play out in my own life? Something comes up and I immediately try to come up with a solution or an answer, relying on my own wisdom and strength and power. Yes, things often turn out okay, but I miss out on the complete victory and miracle that could have been mine if I had gone to God instead of relying on my own strength. God is made strong in my weakness. God gets glory when He does the seemingly impossible through me. When I rely on myself, God is somewhere in the background and I end up settling for the almost and the okay, instead of the awesome and the amazing.


I've been reading through the Kings and Chronicles, and personally, I'm fascinated. It's sort of like an Old Testament Jerry Springer or something. Siblings killing siblings. Sons plotting against fathers. Solomon had 1,000 wives and concubines. Imagine the tabloid fodder that would provide? Yikes! Of course, he learned it from the best - dear old dad, David, had quite a few wives himself.

I found it really interesting to note that if you looked at the lives of father and son, Solomon would seem to come out ahead of David. While he did have an uncommonly large number of wives, you don't find any reference to any huge sins that Solomon committed. And hey, he asked God for wisdom instead of wealth or power; had peace during his reign; amassed a huge fortune and wealth and power; authored several books of the Bible; and built the temple in all its splendor.

In contrast, David had that whole issue with Bathsheba - committed adultery and then tried to cover it up with murder. David was incited by Satan to do a census which caused punishment to come down on the entire nation of Israel. David was a warrior and spent his entire life fighting and had a lot of blood on his hands - so much so, that God told David NOT to build the temple but to allow Solomon to build it. His family was a real mess too - Absalom and Amnon were not sons of which you'd be very proud.

BUT, David is called a man after God's heart. David is commended for his wholehearted devotion despite his many major and public sins. Solomon on the other hand was NOT called a man after God's own heart. Despite his rather tame life compared to David's, Solomon had an achille's heel - beautiful women. He collected them like a beanie baby junkie. And he didn't just collect women - they were exotic, foreign women. He was guilty of allowing something or someone else to have place of honor in his heart and mind.

Take a look at I Kings 11: 1-6, "Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharoah: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite,Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, 'You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.' Solomon held fast to thes in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. For when Solomon was old, hsi wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God,as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in teh sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done."

So, Solomon was a fool for love, just not the right kind of love. David was a fool for love too(remember his dear wife Michel who despised him for dancing before his God?). But the object of his love was an Almighty, holy God that delighted in David's "foolishness."

I guess if I'm going to be a fool, I want to be the kind David was - a fool for Jesus!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Why is it simple truths can be so huge when they finally sink in? I am sitting under a tiki umbrella at the Kalahari water park. Music is playing, parents are smiling (for the most part) and children's squeals and laughter are floating on the light breeze. The weather is beautiful - not a drop of humidity.

I am reading Max Lucado's book Fearless. Oh to be completely fearless - to wake up and not be nibbled and nipped by concerns and fears and worries. It sounds so tantalizing and sometimes I get a glimpse of it, like something out of the corner of my eye, but to really experience it, on a daily basis - that must be what heaven is like.

To be completely honest, I've been down the last couple weeks. I could blame it on hormones or the heat and humidity (I don't do hot weather), but I think it is just me inviting my doubts in for tea and letting them stay indefinitely.

God is so good though. He reaches out to where we are at - in my case, a lawn chair under a tiki umbrella. (this fair, freckled chick is thankful for the shade!).

In his book, Lucado relates the story of Peter walking on the water - a familiar story I've heard about a bizillion times. But today, for whatever reason, I really got it.

The storm is raging, the disciples - seasoned fisherman by the way - are worried. Then they see someone strolling towards them through the heaving waves. This freaks them out more than the storm and they start shouting the word, "Ghost!" For fisherman, seeing a ghost was not a good sign. Then the apparition speaks. "Don't be afraid. Take courage. I am here."

My eyes are brimming as this truth sinks into my heart, not just my head:
Jesus is here with me at this resort.
Jesus is with me when I choose to love when the person is unlovable.
Jesus with me when I don't have the right parenting answers.
Jesus is with me when things seem unfair or unjust.
Jesus is right beside me when I feel stuck and I'm not going anywhere.
Jesus will be with me when I walk into my first substitute teaching job.
Jesus is with me in life and will be with me when I take my last breath.

No matter what we go through or experience, we don't have to be afraid. We can have courage, because Jesus is there. It's a promise you can take to the bank. He ain't leaving.

Peter was so psyched by Jesus' words, he got out of the boat and walked on the water. I know he ultimately took his eyes off Jesus and sank, but for a moment, I want to marvel at his courage - his faith that since Jesus was there, he could do the impossible. Having just done a ropes course last night, I can sympathize. There is something paralyzing about having to step out on a tiny piece of wood that hangs several dozen feet in the air. Yes, you are in your harness and yes you are tethered securely, but man, that first step, it is definitely an exercise in faith in your tether! So, for Peter, to leave the safety of his boat and step into the boiling, frothing sea, well, that is pretty impressive to me.

Of course, Peter's walk lasted only as long as he looked at Jesus and not the storm. It's easy, from the safety of our secure lives, to scoff at Peter for taking his eyes off Jesus, for being overwhelmed by the ferocious sea, for letting himself sink. But honestly, I find it all too easy to put my focus on the storms of circumstances that sometimes seem ready to slap me down like a giant wave. But the lesson here isn't that Peter failed (well, not the entire lesson), but the lesson is what we CAN do when we do keep our eyes on Jesus who makes walking on the water actually possible.

So, the next time I feel the spray of a coming wave, I'm not going to look at it, I'm going to turn my eyes to Jesus. After all, if He's there, I have nothing to be afraid of!

Reminds me of the old hymn, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."
~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


When someone you know dies, particularly when they are still young, it is somehow very different than when someone dies when they have lived a long life. A life cut short at a young age brings a different kind of sadness. It's probably because it seems it can't possibly be enough time for that person or their family. It suggests things left unfinished. But the truth is, God numbers all of our days - He knows when we will arrive and when we will draw our final breath.

A woman at my church, Robin Baughman, died as August 1st became August 2nd - at 12:01 a.m. She had battled cancer for almost two years. It was a very aggressive form of cancer and the doctors originally gave her a much shorter time line. God was gracious and gave her almost two years. But they were very hard years - days and weeks and months of pain and discomfort.

I can't begin to explain God's plans or purposes in taking a woman who was only 42 years old, a woman with a husband who will be lost without her and young children who will desperately feel her absence. I can't explain why, after Robin was so faithful and uncomplaining even in the midst of so much suffering, her last hours on earth were agonizing, why God did not take her peacefully at least for her family's sake. I can't explain it and I don't understand it. Part of me feels a bit put out with God at the moment because it seems to me He could have at least given her that.

But I do know one thing - God is good. If I can't believe that, then believing in God and His power and His greatness don't mean a whole lot. I also believe that the reward was worth it all - the pain and the suffering and the tears. That with Robin's first step onto that distant shore, God made it all beautiful and wiped away her tears. I also know God has used Robin's suffering and will continue to use it now that she is gone. He never wastes anyone's tears. The Psalms tell us He saves our tears in a bottle. That is such a tender, loving picture to me.

Robin was not a close friend. We were more acquaintance type friends - a "hi, how are you?" relationship. Even though we were not close, I was impressed with Robin's upbeat attitude through her whole ordeal. She had her bad days and was very honest about how hard it all was, but her faith was like a bright light. You could see it in her eyes even when she was tired or not feeling good.

Even though we were not close, her death hits me in ways that are hard to explain. Maybe it is because our oldest children are very close in age (our oldest sons share a birthday)or because she is only about five years older than I am. I can't help but think, "What if that was me?" and "Why her and not me?" I find myself looking at life a bit differently.

Now, I'll be honest. I really hate when people tell you that you should live as if this was your last day on earth. I mean, really?? If it was my last day on earth, I certianly wouldn't clean my toilet. I wouldn't exercise and I'd eat as much chocolate as I wanted. But if I lived that way every day, my house would be condemned by the board of health and I'd weight 300 lbs with rotten teeth.

Instead, I want to live my life without regrets. I don't want to let busyness or worry or fear keep me from living my life every single day so that when it is my time to meet my Heavenly Father face to face, I don't have to say "if only" or "I should have" or "I was waiting until.." I don't want to procrastinate life away. No matter how many years I have left, I want them to be full years, not wasted.

As one person said, "It isn't the number of years of life you have but the life in your years." Godspeed, Robin- your life and testimony will live on.
~Blessings, Bronte