Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One-Girl Revival

I've been reading Nehemiah, my favorite book in the Bible, actually. And I've been reading along with it J. Vernon McGee's commentary which always sheds some light on things I just don't get.

And Nehemiah 9 is an extremely convicting chapter for me because it speaks of revival in the Israelites after they were finished building the wall of Jerusalem. To get there they first separated themselves from foreigners and those who were not Israelites. Which was actually a pretty big feat at that time because they had intermarried with other peoples. So quite a few of them probably had to separate themselves from their husband or wife. But they separated themselves which stands for making yourself separate from sins and stumbling blocks.
Then they confessed. And it says that they spent a fourth of the day confessing and crying out to God. That's 6 hours, people. A long time. They confessed their sins and the sins of their fathers. McGee says that although they were in a large group confessing their sins, he does not believe that they were confessing them to each other. They were confessing them to God, which is most important.
Next they spent another 4th of the day worshiping God and praising Him that although they had sinned as a nation over and over again, He was still faithful to His promises and took them back every time they repented.

And we need to do the same things as Christians if we really want to have a sincere testimony for Christ. If we want to have a powerful impact on our world. Because although it is Christ who ultimately works in other's hearts; we are the tools He uses to accomplish it. And if we are messed up He's not going to be able to use us. He'll find someone else.

We need to separate ourselves from the world. Not to become hermit (which is some days, oh so appealing to me), but to not be part of them, participating in their sins. Christians are just as bad as non-Christian these days. We have the same pregancy rates, the same drug rates, and most of the time you can only tell a Christian from a non-Christian if they are wearing a cross or a shirt pronouncing them to be so. We shouldn't need a shirt!!! They should be able to tell us apart without it!
I'm not saying I am any better but we need to get this right. It is a life and death thing. Our complacency is costing some person out there the light they need shone into their life. And without it they will go to hell. I face this conviction everyday when I screw up in front of my dad. He doesn't know Christ as his Savior. And my testimony could be what shows him the truth. Or it could be what shows him that Christianity isn't worth it. Isn't any better than anything else. It's a real truth that we need to wake up to. What we do, how we act, is a serious thing. And as Christians, our life is not our own.

We need to face up to our sins and repent. In the old days they put on rags and ashes to show that they were sincere in repenting. It was a symbol of the state of their heart. We need to be cut deep by our sins. We need to be sorry, and not just sorry when we are caught by someone else. God can only use us if we are broken with the state we are in. He can only mold the soft clay. He can only put us back together in the correct way if we allow Him to. We have to see ourselves for what we truly are. Sinners, who continue daily to sin, but are only saved because of our great Savior's mercy and grace. That love, mercy and grace, shown by His blood and life shed on the cross is the only thing that separated us from eternity in hell. That is all. He gives it to us freely. We accept it, yet continue in our sinful ways. We need to repent again. Our heart need to be soft and aware of when we sin. Somewhere in one of the Timothys it says that their (the world's) consciences are seared with a hot iron, no longer able to distinguish right from wrong. Our conscience should not be that way. They should be pricked with every sin.

And we need to worship God. Which sounds like the easiest until I realize what that truly means. We need to praise Him in everything. It is so easy for me to be un-thankful in my daily life. To complain and whine. Counting your blessings in everything is a difficult thing a lot of the time. And our lives need to reflect and worship God which goes back to what I said in the beginning. Our lives and everday living are the best way to worship Him. It is not just singing and listening to music which is a wonderful but small way of giving Him glory. Our lives, I think anyway, do it best (or worst, depending on what you are doing). He probably, in all honesty, finds more glory in our obeying our parents in taking out the garbage then He does in us playing a lovely song for Him.

All this is so hard to do. But is also important. But most things are hard that are worth fighting for. And our testimony, our life in Christ, is worth fighting for.

One reason that J. Vernon McGee said it was a personal confession of sin, is that it has to start with us. A one-man (or girl) revival. It begins with me. What I do. Not with what you do. I pray so much for revival. But last night when I was reading Nehemiah 9, I realized that it begins with me. My life is what I am responsible for. My life could be the start for revival within the Body of Christ to spread. It should be me.

And it could be you, where you live, that starts the flame of revial there, wherever you are. It should be you. Because He asks us each personally to leave all we have (our dreams, our sins, our shame, our plans) and follow Him.

When we do this the fire will spread. All fires do. And my fire will meet with your fire. All the fires will start new ones. And that is how revival will become reality in our world.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thankful For...

Normally at Thanksgiving I look back on the year and find all the things I can be thankful for. Thanksgiving was 4 days ago, I know, but better late than never right?

I am thankful for my family. My mom, my dad and Jessi. Camper living has been interesting, but we've made it through.
I am thankful for our puppy Samson. He is sometimes a pain the butt, but he brings me so much joy so much of the time.
I am thankful that eventually we will be in our new house. It will be such a blessing and comfort.
I am thankful that God got me through 2 stupid breakups with... Brian, as Flidget calls him in her secret code. I am thankful that God has left me with promises of his returning to God. I guess that I can be thankful that He hasn't promised me that I would get him back, so that I don't have a reason to spend my time waiting around. I need to move forward.
I am thankful for my friends. Jessica, who although she is so far away, still loves me and does all she can for me. Bridget who is great company when I need it. Dawn who listens to me and prays for me. And other friends that keep me on track and encourage my heart.
I am thankful for the snow. It truly gets me in the Christmas mood when living in campers makes it hard.
I am actually thankful for my camper. It does its best and keeps me decently warm. And I know and am a little afraid, knowing God has put me here to prepare me for something later on in my life.
I am thankful for Randy who works for Petersen Welding. He is funny and kind. May he come to know you Lord along with Dad.
Most of all I am thankful for my Lord and Savior. He keeps me going when I can't seem to go any further. He is what I have to live for. I am thankful that He has shown me so many ways my life needs to change and thankful that He loves me despite them. Thankful that He knows I can do it. Now I just need to get that into my head.
And I am thankful that I have the hope of another year. It is not promised me. I could still die, but I have the hope that wonderful things are yet to come.

I'll leave you with "Jessica's verse" as I call it, in honor of today being her birthday.

"However as it is written:
No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:9

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My Lord of the Rings Character


Merry Brandybuck

If I were a character in The Lord of the Rings, I would be Merry, Hobbit, heir of the Brandybucks and a friend of Frodo's.

In the movie, I am played by Dominic Monaghan.

Who would you be?
Zovakware Lord of the Rings Test with Perseus Web Survey Software

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Prarie Skirts

This week has been the attack of laundry un-done. The clothes basket has been full and I have had very few clothes to wear.

But today I felt gorgeous even though I had really no choice of what to wear and my hair was frizzy. But I wore a white shirt, my prarie skirt, black boots, and the brown jacket that Flidget gave me. And I looked good if I may say so myself. Okay I can't really say that for sure, but I felt as if I looked good. Personally I think it was the prarie skirt. It is my favorite and I love it because it allows me to be lazy and unlady-like while appearing to be dressed up and like a lady. Everyone needs one.

Isn't it odd or wrong or something how we look affects how we act and feel? For me, when I look like a lady I feel like a lady. And when I am covered in cow poop (which I have been before), I feel like crap.

But God says we are beautifully and wonderfully made. And He put no conditions on that. Not like people do. If people saw me when I woke up, they might run and hide. But God just looks down and says, "Wow! She's a darling. My darling." Isn't that cool? Because honestly, He made me without the makeup, so that is what He probably sees as beautiful. The morning me. Not the foundation with mascara, lip gloss, eyeshadow and eyeliner me.

It's those little realizations that click in my head every so often that brighten my day. That He loves me without my gorgeousness. He loves the inside me. The me that no one sees, or they rarely see. The one who freaks out when my sister spends the night somewhere else because someone might "get" me. The one who even silently doubts Him, fearing that He isn't everything He says He is, or that He won't bless me ever.

But I must go eat. So go out knowing you are gorgeous to God.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Death of Yota Petersen (1992-2005)

This week has been interesting.
Many things have been done on the house. Over half of it is now painted and today the carpet and linoleum is being put in the bedrooms/bathrooms.
God has shown Himself to be good to me in many ways.
He has helped me to conquer parts of my laziness and complaining ways.
I was able to spend 5 hours in Home Depot without complaining and adding to the already stressful situation. When we finally left at 3 pm with 5 regular sized carts full and 3 flat carts of home-stuff; I could say to myself, "Well done. You managed to ignore your starving belly and sore feet and let God have victory in that part of your life."
And then I have been painting for the last 3 days without complaining. Again, it is such an awesome thing for me! It encourages me that this sometimes sad excuse for a Christian can be improved.
And that is God, people. God in His power and glory. He wants to make us better. He wants us to be His home improvement project and He desires to fix every bad or broken part of us.
I love that He cares that much for me.
But to explain the title, yep, Yota died. My poor little car died on me Thursday night. And thankfully it wasn't because of the oil, which is what I was worried about. After youth group and our almost weekly after youth group meeting at DQ, I was coming up Robinson Canyon because it had opened just that day and I was so happy. In my car, going up my road, listening to "Getaway Car" by TobyMac. *sigh* Then I started to realize that I wasn't getting the speed I normally can in my car. I had to go into overdrive several times which is not normal. Once I got to the top and on flat ground I couldn't go over 30 mph without going into overdrive. So I knew something was wrong (even with my minimal knowledge of car workings) and pulled over and turned it off. We called Dad and he came and rescued us. Yota was pronounced dead at 10:30 pm, Thursday, November 10, 2005, of 2 blown engine cylinders.
On the brighter side, Dad knows of an engine we can get and Yota should be able to be resurrected within a month or so. So I am sad, but not to the point of seriously mourning which I thought I was going to have to do.

God is good, see. The house is getting done. I am getting more and more Dessa-improvements done by the masterful God. And Yota died yet will be resurrected at much less money than I thought.
Praise the Lord!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Gate that Won't Stay Closed

As I have been talking about gates a lot--I have a gate that just won't stay shut. Just when I think that God and I have conquered it, and I start to walk away; it swings open and hits me in the butt. And I start to think about it again. The pain, the worries, and the fear of what may happen all come back to me. "What if God doesn't?..." "Can I really trust Him with this problem? This part of my future? My hopes, dreams, the very thing that is most precious to my heart?"

The pain reminds me of a gate incident I had in my life several years ago. On my grandpa's farm there was one gate that I could never shut or really open for that matter. They are barbed-wire gates that you have to hug the wooden post and squeeze them together. Then you pull the wire loop over the main post, all the while hugging and squeezing the post attempting to not get barbed. Well I was about 11 or 12 and even weaker than I am today. I had been driving the four-wheeler and was all alone. Grandpa always wants the gates left how you find them. So I opened it with a lot of work on my part, drove the four-wheeler through, and tried to shut it. After many tries met with failure; I got angry at the gate and myself (which I tend to do). So I just let the anger work and with some more struggling, pulled the wire loop over the post. With one problem. My finger was stuck between the post and the wire. And I couldn't get it back up over. I was crying, my finger was turning purple because the wire was so tight, and the pain was so great that I felt like I could pass out any second. Thankfully I didn't pass out and with my remaining strength and spurred on by the pain; I got it off my finger and back on the pole.

But this gate in my life is very like that difficult extremely painful on at my grandpa's. Just when I get the victory, I realize that, "Ouch!" my finger is stuck. And I can't leave and it hurts so much. I can't go on and I definitely don't want to stay there. Preferrably I would just leave the gate open, but, no, it needs to be closed. I cry and feel crippled by the pain. I call for help and thankfully God is still around and rescues me.

So I want this gate to be shut so I can move on, right? Yeah--sometimes. But at least half of the time I want it to stay open and a lot of the time I sneak back to visit. Isn't that just twisted? Everyday I am more convinced that our human nature's and sin's view of life and way of thinking is messed up seriously. It really makes no sense. Just like the verse in Proverbs 26:11, "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."

Why do we go back when we know its not good for us? When we know and have been promised by God (our God who cannot, cannot lie!) that what He has is so much better? It's like leaving the apple pie to go eat some rotten eggs.

And maybe it's not even that bad. All in all of itself. But maybe it is bad, even deadly, to us, at this moment in our lives. Maybe it's like peanut butter. That is not bad or deadly right? I eat it almost every morning on my waffles. But to my mom it is bad. It makes her throat start to swell shut. And it wasn't always that way. She ate peanut butter whenever she pleased until her late 30's. Then she developed an allergic reaction. At this time in her life, to her, peanut butter is bad.

Which is very like my gate that keeps opening on me, calling me back. Later on in my life, God might give it back to me. And it will be okay for me. It may even be the best thing on earth for me. But right now it's unhealthy. God has told me to give it up because it's not good or what He wants for me at this time in my life. At this time of life, He has something better. Although the peanut butter looks delicious and is exactly what I crave; He says, "Don't. It will make your throat swell up. Have some rice. It doesn't taste nearly as good to you right now. But trust me. If and when I give the peanut butter back; it will taste four times as yummy. And I can make the rice more than bearable with my special seasonings."

"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." (Psalm 34:8)

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4)

"Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. I remember your ancient laws, O Lord, and I find comfort in them." (Psalm 119: 49-50, 52)

Friday, November 04, 2005

You Fight

A poem by me, for someone I love

I fought, fought, fought You all day and night;
Trying to make everything all right,
Working so hard alone--failing, failing--
But You were always there,
But You were always there.

I fled, fled, fled from Your mercy and grace;
Not wanting to live my life at your pace.
Running from God--struggling, struggling--
Why are You always there?
Why are You always there?

I fell, fell, fell hard to the ground.
Was there anyone who loved me still around?
Seeing no one--crying, crying--
Lord, are You still there?
Lord, are You still there?

He spoke, spoke, spoke to my broken heart;
Telling me I could make a new start.
"Come to me--willing, willing--
And I will be here,
I will always be here."

I ran, ran, ran into Your loving arms.
There I was safe from any harm.
Content to be--resting, resting--
Oh, were You always there?
Yes You were always there.

I followed, followed, followed as I went
Through life and where You sent.
Learning of Christ--growing, growing--
And You were always there,
And You were always there.

Now You fight, fight, fight all day and night;
Fighting for me You make everything right.
I am not alone--praising, praising--
That You are always there,
That You are always there.

The Inept Gate Closer

Yep I am inept at closing gates (and opening them too). Normally I just find it easier and quicker to climb over them.

What the heck does this have to do with anything at all?

Today we hauled cows for the last time. My grandpa decided to sell all but a few of the cows. It was something those of us who pray in my family have prayed for awhile now because it was getting to hard for Grandpa to do it on his own and we don't have the time.
So today Dad, Grandpa, Uncle Carl, Randy, and I went out into the cold to get the cows down from the hills. And it was cold. I don't think it ever got over 40 degrees and there was 2 inches of snow up there. Because it has been raining/snowing so much lately around here we figured it would take 2 days. But we got it done in 8 hours. What a blessing!
Dad and I reminiced in the truck about how much fun we have had over the years doing this--hauling cows--and we weren't being sarcastic (wow!). I can't remember a time when I haven't had this as part of my life. Branding, checking, hauling, and feeding cows are a part of my life. And no more. It makes me sad. But it is what is best for Grandpa. It is in all honesty, killing him.
And I could tell you all the details about exactly what we did and all the funny little incidents that happened today, but I won't. It is too long winded and my hands get sore from typing too much.

But back to the point with gates and such...

I am inept at closing gates. Physically and in my life.
I find it so difficult to let go of things that are important and precious to me. Even if it doesn't all make sense (note the glasses incident all of you who know about it). I guess it is good in a way. If it is precious and important to me, it should be hard to let go of, right? But sometimes I think I hold on to them too tightly. And it becomes a tragedy in my life. Like when they cut down the orchard years ago. I was angry even though, again, it was what was best for Grandpa and the rest of the family. I should be sad right? But I shouldn't let it cripple me in any way. People are harder for me to let go. Like one of my best friends. I still can't let him go. And I have struggled so much with it. Maybe God doesn't want me to let go completely so that I remember to pray for him, but I let it hinder other things in my life.

So any way I find it difficult to shut gates. And maybe I am not alone. Maybe others have these troubles too.
I guess we need to just trust that God will lead us. And we need to let Him. Sometime I don't. And I get more hurt. But I think He will help us shut our gates if we allow Him to. I'm depending on it. Otherwise I know that I will remain with a crippled, unhealthy part of me all my life. I have to just let Him heal me and close that gate (even if it just for a time to later have Him give me the gift of opening it for me again).

Trust Him to do the best for you. He always does. Trust in His ultimate understanding of every life situation.

I am going to. With His strong hands leading me every step to wholeness.