Monthly Archives: September 2008

Time Flies

 Well this last Thursday (the 25th of September) something horridly scary happened… my brother Sam turned 18. I told him he wasn’t allowed to become an adult, but he just didn’t listen. It seems so strange that my longtime friend, victim of my childish mischief (I was very mischievous as a little girl), playmate, tickler, confider, music mentor, and chauffeur among other things is all grown up. And next year the sad day will come when he will move on to college. Time sure flies, even when it’s not all fun.

 Having Sam turn 18 is sort of a reminder that life is short. One minute you are making up imaginary sci-fi worlds and the next you are driving around to go Christmas shopping together. Then it will be him going to college, then marriage (weird), then kids (YAY! I want to be an aunt!). Then eventually our time together will be all gone. Life moves on so fast and all we can do is enjoy it and use every minute of it for something that has purpose. I don’t know how much time I have left with Sam, or with anyone else for that matter. So I will live today drawing all the joy and purpose I can from life, and hopefully using it to serve my savior, though I fail miserably at times.  Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. So live like it.

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Desiring God Conference ’08

 Well I was very blessed to have the privilege to be able to attend the 2008 Desiring God Conference in Minneapolis Minnesota. Though we weren’t able to stay for Saturday night and Sunday morning because of having to get back for church, it was still a great time. When I heard the theme of the conference I wanted to go so bad, since it is “The Power of Words and the Wonder of God”, perfect for an aspiring writer and a thriving talker. By some really cool events that were obviously “God things” in my mind, I was able to go, along with both my parents.

 All the sessions are available for downloading/streaming here. The speakers were Sinclair Ferguson, Bob Kauflin, Mark Driscoll, Daniel Taylor, Paul Tripp, and John Piper (the last two I missed). They were all amazing, spirit-filled, convicting messages, and I think that you can all benefit greatly from the sessions. The first one by Sinclair Ferguson about bridling the tongue was especially convicting, also Driscoll’s had a few things that really convicted me as well. Like always Driscoll kept me laughing the entire time, I especially liked the blogger jokes.

 I got to see a few people that I had met volunteering for the Do Hard Things conference in June. I also had the extreme privilege of meeting Kaysie, from Alabaster Box and Cross Eyed, in person. We didn’t get to spend much time together but just being able to meet each other was great. I also met another blogger on Friday named Andrew. He was sitting in the row in front of me and I noticed his live blogging on his laptop at the first session so I talked to him after. His blog is The Core. Check it out, it is very good.

 It was an amazing conference and a true blessing. The worship was also just amazing! There is something about worshiping with 3,000+ other believers that just amazes me. It makes me think of heaven and worshiping in the direct presence of God with every believer ever to live will be wonderful! I can’t wait! For now though, being able to go to conferences like Desiring God, that has such passionate worship with so many people is a great blessing.

 I hope you guys check out all the audio and video recordings and are blessed by them. Let me know what you think, especially all you bloggers that are brave enough to listen to Driscoll! God bless you all and I am praying for you!

 In Christ,

Olivia

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Heaven (No Fear of Death)

I was reading again from the book They Found the Secret, this time about John Bunyan and was again underlining and writing many things in the margins. While studying this third chapter today I came across a quote that I loved and I wanted to share it with you all.

“I saw myself within the arms of grace and mercy; and though I was before afraid of a dying hour, yet, now I cried, ‘Let me die’; now death was lovely and beautiful in my sight, for I saw we shall never live indeed until we be gone to the other world… God himself is the portion of the saints.”

Well that just spoke to me so clearly. This was a man that had been in fear of death, and struggled with understanding the assurance of salvation, and now he had found such joy in knowing that nothing could separate him from the love of Christ and that heaven is far better than earth.

People are often so afraid of dying, even Christians. Most people don’t want to die. We don’t grasp the brilliance of heaven compared to the scum of this world. Sometimes we even think heaven might be boring because we can’t sin. But heaven is going to be amazing. Having the presence of Jesus in the flesh will be wonderful! We often focus more on the things of heaven like “everything will be beautiful and there will be palaces of gold and yada yada yada”. We often do not dwell on the fact that JESUS, our redeemer, savior, Lord, maker, lover of our soul, our saving grace, will be there. We will be with Jesus! What a sweet time that will be!

I love this quote from C.S, Lewis in The Last Battle, the last book in The Chronicles of Narnia series.

“All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one of eather has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

 Hold tight to the promise of heaven. That someday all our troubles on this earth will be done and we will begin a story that each chapter is better than the one before. Each day more glorious. Each moment more precious. And it will never end. We need no fear of death or dying, for even the momentary pain we will experience will be nothing compared to the overwhelming joy that we will have in heaven.

 Heaven isn’t so great because there isn’t “bad stuff” or because there is a lot of “good stuff” or a lot of perks or a lot of amazing people. Heaven is awesome because Jesus is there. I pray that we will never forget that and that we will dwell on that constantly.

Your sister in Christ,

Olivia

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Filed under Books, Christianity, Faith

Own Your Life? (Continued, They Found the Secret)

 Well when I wrote the previous post I thought that I was done. Well obviously not. Let me start with how I decided I had more to add.

 On Sunday there was a small table with some books on it that were to give away outside the church library. They were books that usually looked older and were the ones that weren’t used as much. On that table was a book called They Found the Secret: Twenty Transformed Lives that Revealed a Touch of Eternity. I looked at the back and it had Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, John Bunyan, Oswald Chambers, and D.L. Moody so I decided to take it. I enjoy biographies, even if I already own a ton.

 This book isn’t a normal biography! Not in the least sense. Last night as I read the Introduction and the first chapter that was on Hudson Taylor I was blown away. This book isn’t of what these people did, it isn’t about what their ministry is, it isn’t about how they touched the hearts of the world. It is about their spiritual journeys. How they found the secret of life. What made them such amazing people. Let me share with you a quote from the introduction;

 “Every now and then we come across a life that is radiant, revealing a richness, a warmth, a triumph that intrigues and challenges us… Out of discouragement and defeat they have come into victory. Out of weakness and weariness they have been made strong. Out of ineffectiveness and apparent uselessness they have become efficient and enthusiastic.”

 A huge part of this was focusing solely on Christ. Caring for nothing else other than him. That is how these men and women found the secret. They came to a point in their lives were they could no longer go on without Jesus. They came to a place where they were broken and tempted, hurting and lonely, when they cried out to the Lord to fill them. To take their meager lives and make them so much better.

 Throughout the first chapter I was underlining passages and writing notes in the margins. I was just finding so much truth in this book. This is what I wrote at the bottom of the last page of the chapter:

I must decrease so that he may increase. Only Jesus should matter. I am nothing, he is everything. He is the God of everything, I am dust. I have nothing to offer, he has everything. May my life be exchanged for one far more beautiful. May he fill my every thought. May he give me rest, joy, and a peace that passes all understanding.

 So that is what I took from what I have read of this book so far. I would love you all to read this book too. I think it will be a great encouragement. Another thing I learned is to not judge a book by it’s cover. I really hope that you guys read this book and it will strengthen you all.

In Christ Alone, Nobody <><

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Filed under Christianity, Faith, heroes, history, Missions

Own Your Life?

Well yesterday I was picked up by my dad from my violin lesson and greeted by a yummy Dove Chocolate (it was this raspberry Carmel dark chocolate). In the Dove wrappers they always have a quote or saying on them. Well this is what mine said:

 Own every moment of your life.

 For some reason I was struck with the irony of that. This world tells us to “own our life” and to “take control of the future” and other messages like it, yet the Bible tells us the complete opposite.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Cor. 6:19-20 ESV)

 The Bible says that we are no longer our own. We were bought with the precious blood of Jesus, and we now have the holy spirit dwelling within us. We are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:15-23) We don’t own anything any more. Jesus is totally Lord over us. Every part of our life should be focused on Christ, because he owns your life.

 There are so many examples of radical living. Lives that were, and are, focused solely on Jesus. They are spent serving Christ, loving him (and worshiping him), spending time with him, and being him to the world. One of my favorite examples is Amy Carmichael. She lived a life of total devotion to Christ. She put herself in dangerous situations to share the gospel to others and to rescue girls.

 Another of my favorites is Sabina and Richard Wurmbrand. She and her husband were watching pastor after pastor get up and proclaim that communism and Christianity were the same thing. She turned to her husband and asked him to “wipe the spit of the face of Jesus Christ”. He replied that if he did so he would be imprisoned, tortured, and maybe even killed. Her response was these amazing words, “I would rather be married to a dead man then to a coward”. With those words in his mind he got up on stage and proclaimed Jesus to the many people there and the many people listening over radio. Both her and her husband were thrown in prison in the following years, they spent 8 years of separation from each other. They had a little boy that was left to fend for himself while his parents were in jail. All for the sake of the gospel. They put Christ first and did not even “own” their little boy.

 There are many other stories of those who put off all of themselves, and only had Christ. They knew nothing but to preach Christ crucified. They knew they were not their own, so they used their lives serving the one they belonged to. They lived their lives as slaves of righteousness. I pray that all of you, and me too, will decide to do the same. For our lives are not our own. Soli Deo Gloria

In Christ, ~Nobody~ <><

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Psalms 73 (My God’s Enough)

 Only a few mere minutes ago I was sitting at my computer (and obviously I still am) and I was listening to itunes. I had it on shuffle and all of a sudden BarlowGirl’s song Psalms 73 (My God’s Enough) came on and I was struck my the words, not for the first time though. So I decided to reread Psalms 73 and was struck again by the beauty of it. Now I want you all to read the whole chapter, but for now I will give you a simpler version of it.

1 Truly God is good to Israel,
         To such as are pure in heart.
 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
         My steps had nearly slipped.
 3 For I was envious of the boastful,
         When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
10 Therefore his people return here,
         And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
 11 And they say, “How does God know?
         And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
 12 Behold, these are the ungodly,
         Who are always at ease;
         They increase in riches.
 13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
         And washed my hands in innocence.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
         You cast them down to destruction.
 19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
         They are utterly consumed with terrors.
 20 As a dream when one awakes,
         So, Lord, when You awake,
         You shall despise their image. 
          21 Thus my heart was grieved,
         And I was vexed in my mind.
 22 I was so foolish and ignorant;
         I was like a beast before You.
 23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
         You hold me by my right hand.
 24 You will guide me with Your counsel,
         And afterward receive me to glory.
         
 25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
         And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
 26 My flesh and my heart fail;
         But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
         
 27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish;
         You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God;
         I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
         That I may declare all Your works. (NKJ version)

 I know that is a lot, but so powerful. I have felt like the Psalmist many times. You look at the TV and see all these people who are wicked and sinful, and yet their lives seem so perfect. They have fame, fun, money, everything that people chase after. We see slave owners that are filthy rich. Politicians with power, yet don’t play by the rules to get it. We forget that their end is destruction. If they don’t turn to God their end is hell. We tend to envy the wicked. I do it myself. But when reading Proverbs last spring I was struck by how God promises that the WICKED WILL NOT PROSPER, EVEN THOUGH IT APEARS THAT WAY. These are the lyrics of BarlowGirl’s song,

I’ve had enough of living life for only me
And reaching just for the things that keep destroying me
So sick of envying the lives of so many I see
Somehow believing that they have what I needMy God’s enough for me
This world has nothing I need
In this whole life I’ve seen
My God’s enough, enough for me

 


I can’t explain why I suffer though I live for You
Those who deny You they have it better than I do
Cover my eyes now so that my heart can finally see
That in the end only You mean anything

Who have I in heaven but You
Nothing I desire but You
My heart may fail but not You
You are mine forever

 

I really hope this reminds you all that God is enough for us. That even though the evil (or vil-eay in Pig Latin) appear to be winning, they will come to a bitter defeat. They are no match for God’s wrath. And though those who chose to live for God in this life will not have all the joys of this life, we will have eternal life in the next and be rewarded for what we do here. For our God is a God of justice. He will not let the wicked go unpunished.

Love in Christ, Olivia (Nobody) <><

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Filed under Christianity, Faith, Justice, Psalms

Another School Year

 Well tomorrow marks the start of the 08-09 school year for me. I am sort of excited to bring a “do hard things” attitude to this next school year, to be diligent especially. I am a horrible procrastinator so that is one thing I am working at this year. Also waking up at a good time every day.

 This summer has been amazing! From camping in South Dakota (and seeing Mt. Rushmore) to going to camp, to meeting all these new blogging friends, it has been great! The friendships that I have made this summer are such Godsends! I am so blessed to have met all of you guys! (That I have met this summer.) I have been so pleased by how my summer has been and it is for sure been blessed by God.

 The Do Hard Things study was life changing for the girls, such a blessing and an answer from God. I have grown so much in my friendships with these girls! Also I have had such a privilege to get to know some of the camp girls better. To be able to pray for them and encourage them was just an extreme blessing. I have been so blessed by all your encouraging words too! You guys, my readers, have been just wonderful and having your kind words is so great. I have been able to get to know a lot of you this summer by your blogs or by emails. If you are reading this and haven’t introduced yourself to me yet PLEASE do! I LOVE meeting my readers!!!!

 God has used this summer as such a refining time for me. I have even been amazed at how much my writing has improved and strengthened me. God has worked through so many things this summer to make me more like him. I praise God for his goodness on me, a stupid sinner, to even let me be his child, let alone let me become more like him everyday. God has used books and blogs to strengthen me too. Just those constant reminders are so helpful.

 So all in all I had a great summer. There are many things that I wanted to get done before school started but I only have 15 1/2 hours to do that and I am not going to stay up all night. I probably will be staying up late tonight trying to get a few things done. Well I will talk to you all later. I love you all and am praying for you all. You guys have been a big part of my great summer.

In Christ alone,

Nobody

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