A Divine Appointment
Brenda Klemke’s Story
“Yes! Yes!” I said in my heart in response to the poster in the window of the little church we were attending in Palm Springs during our 3-month visit to the desert. It said something like this:
Would you like to learn to study the Bible for yourself?
Discovering God’s Truth for yourself is a life-changing experience! If you long to know God, you must study God’s Word. Join Kay Arthur and learn how to personally interact with God’s Word, understand its meaning and apply it to your life using the Inductive Bible Study Method.
Sunday February 28, 1993
That particular year, I had set aside my many books, and decided to read only the Bible. I was tired of hearing what others had to say about God and His Word. I was also discouraged. After all, theologians had been arguing for centuries about its content. Who was I to think I could possibly get it right? I felt disheartened because being the mother of three small children, there was clearly no time for Greek and Hebrew lessons! Maybe this ‘proven Inductive Bible Study Method’ was the answer I was looking for!
I had no idea when I left for the church that Sunday night that my life was going to be changed dramatically. God had heard the cry of my heart, and had taken us all the way to the desert to answer my prayer. I had never heard of Kay Arthur, but that night, she took the book of Haggai and made it come alive and relevant to me by teaching Inductive Bible Study methods. That night transformed my life because I learned how to learn. I didn’t just learn ‘stuff’. I didn’t just learn ‘facts’ that she knew. I learned how to discover for myself. I can’t tell you how excited I was.
I went home and told my husband that he had to come with me. Kay was going to be teaching the same seminar two days later in a city about a three-hour drive away. Our children five, eight and ten years old accompanied us. During the seminar, she invited all of the children that were present to come up and sit on the stage. While we observed, she interacted with them, teaching the Inductive Bible Study method so simply that even they could understand both Haggai’s message, and how to study.
We bought an Inductive Study Bible that day, and talked to Kay briefly after the seminar. I wanted to express my gratitude and to let her know what an answer to prayer she had been. After only a few moments, she took the Bible we had just purchased and wrote in the front of it:
We’ve had a divine appointment –
I can’t wait to see how God networks our lives!
I love your hearts – and think of 2 Chronicles 16:9a”
11 Tim 2:1-7
I often pondered what she meant by that ‘networking’ part, but I was pretty sure that one day it would become clear.
My time with the Lord was never the same. As I began to use these new tools, my time with the Lord was never the same again. My eyes and ears and heart were continually being opened to understanding the Scriptures in ways so much clearer than before! Subsequently, I attended several of the Workshops and Conferences, but when I couldn’t find any Precept Bible Studies in my area, I just started my own. With the Holy Spirit as my teacher, I began to teach others what I was learning.
I was desperate to know God better – so I taught from the Precept book, “Lord, I Want To Know You” The battle was clearly on, so I taught, “Lord, Is It Warfare? Teach Me To Stand!” Most of what I taught was out of my own deep desire to learn. Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, Daniel, Spiritual Gifts. As I did so, the Bible came alive. Who?, what?, when?, where?, why? and how? all mattered in a way like never before. Key, repeated words, became obvious. I learned the importance of keeping things in context. I was learning how to learn.
Networked by the Hand of God!
For the next four years, I immersed myself in these new methods of study, then my husband, Stan and I had an opportunity to take a six day trip to Israel. This came about as he had two other conferences to attend in Europe, with this short gap in between. I was excited, yet hesitant. I wanted to go, and see where and see the historic places that had now become so real. However, I wanted to go with someone who knew the Bible well and could teach along the way. I didn’t want to just look at places. I was hungry to learn everything there was to know. Though I had only met Kay Arthur that one time, I felt like I knew her personally through the many hours I had spent listening to her teach God’s Word by video. Stan suggested I call her up and see if she would like to join us! Of course I didn’t.
About three weeks before we left, I awoke one morning and felt the Lord speaking to me. I got up and wrote what I sensed He was saying: “Brenda, I am taking you to Israel, because I have things I want you to see. It has nothing to do with you. It is I who has appointed you, for My purposes.” I pondered these things for the next few weeks, not sure how to proceed.
Being the kind of person that likes to have all of his ducks in a row well ahead of time, Stan had left it up to me to plan our itinerary for those few days. I tried. I researched, I prayed, I went online and tried to book some tours but nothing seemed right. So I just waited.
I was about to learn what Scripture means when it says, in Proverbs 16:9 says “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
I only made one advance booking – our hotel for the first night. Even that had to be changed because we ended up at the wrong airport in London and missed the only flight out that day. Now we would have even less time for our trip! Our six days had now shrunk to five.
God’s timing was amazing because even as we approached the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, I was reading about Ben Gurion in Kay’s novel about the history of Israel called, “Israel My Beloved.” I was excited to see what God had in store.
When we awoke the next morning looking out over the gorgeous blue Mediterranean Sea, I finally told Stan that I really didn’t know what we were doing there, but that God did and He would direct us. While looking out the window toward the Port of Joppa (now called Jaffa) we read the book of Jonah together and I shared with him what I had felt the Lord saying to me three weeks earlier…that it was He who had appointed us to be in Israel for His purposes.
Not long after breakfast, Stan began to feel ill. He rested and decided we had better remain in Tel Aviv for another night. Our five days were now reduced to four.
Having recovered somewhat by the next day we were able to take a half-day journey by taxi to Jerusalem. It was late afternoon when we checked into the hotel. In order to make the most of our remaining three and a half days, we ventured out to explore and found ourselves at the Citadel of Jerusalem, known as the Tower of David. We wandered around for a couple of hours, but wished we had a tour guide who could explain all that we were seeing instead of having to read every sign. Stan again began to feel ill, so being a little lost in the maze of courtyards and towers we began to look for the exit. We were standing in the center looking around when two women crossed our paths, frantically looking for the exit. They asked us if we knew the way out – they were on a tour and their bus was about to leave. Looking down at their name tags I saw that one girl’s name was Debbie, but underneath her name, in much smaller print, it said “Precept Ministries”.
Forgetting their question, and their hurry, I said, “Are you here with Precept? As in – Kay Arthur – with Precept Ministries? Is she here? Where is she? Where are you going to be tomorrow?” I peppered them with questions, ready to go and hide behind or climb a tree if necessary to hear her teach.
“Yes” they answered. “We are going up to the Mt of Olives at sunrise tomorrow and she will teach from there.”
We asked them where they were staying and then we all found our way to the exit. As they walked away, Stan said matter-of-factly, “Well, I guess we know why you’re here!” We immediately caught a taxi, beating them back to their hotel. We stood in the lobby, wondering what to do next, when I saw a man wearing a familiar name tag. I went over to ask if he knew whom I could speak with about joining the tour. I was surprised to see that his name was Jack Arthur, and yes, he did seem to know the right contact person!
After inquiring of the tour coordinator, later that evening, we discovered that despite a long waiting list of people back home, who would have liked to come on the trip, there were now two extra seats available on one of the buses. Arrangements were made for us to join the tour for a few days and then Stan carried on to Poland for his conference, while I remained with the Precept Tour. A hotel room opened up for me on the night that Stan left and my ‘unchangeable’ airline ticket was changed for $100. It felt like a giant surprise party planned by God!
It wasn’t until a couple of days later, that I was able to sit beside Kay on the bus while we traveled back to the hotel. I took the opportunity to share my story with her. Opening my Bible, I showed her what she had written just over four years earlier.
As we arrived back at the hotel, she took my Bible, sat down and wrote again:
May 21, 1997
Here we sit, Brenda, in the LaRomme (Hotel) in Jerusalem…
networked by God in His awesome sovereignty.
As He has purposed, so it has come to pass.
What an awesome God we serve! Isaiah 14:27
Press on, Dear one.
1 Thes 3:18
Psalm 37:4 says: “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. God saw my heart. Without me even asking, He gave me more than I could ask or think.
The past twenty years, since that first encounter have had many, many twists and turns, but my faithful God has kept me, rescued me, disciplined me and continues to teach me – shaping me into His image. He continues to establish my steps, and even when I have fallen, I have not been hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds my hand. (Psalm 37:23,24)