movin shop

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Hey guys! I’ve moved things around a little.

I’m sending my thoughts and inquiries over to my new blog, Regarding Salt.

New chapters call for new blogs.

Blessings..
Sierra St. John

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Christ in you.

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Christ in you.

Colossians 1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

“Help me get back to the reason I sing for You.” -Jimmy Needham

Everyone Is Fighting A Hard Battle

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It’s interesting to think these words were written hundreds of years ago, and still they hold true today. This quote, by Plato, just came to me while complaining to myself about my “poor, pathetic life.” I felt the need to be short with the clerk at Safeway because “I had a hard day at work.” What I didn’t take into consideration, was that clerk was probably having a rough day at work, at that very moment! And I probably didn’t make it much better.

“Everyone is fighting a hard battle.” What an understatement. “You think you have problems– PLEASE! You should hear what I had to put up with today!” Isn’t that how it goes down? Almost universally, we’re always trying to explain to someone about how our day was most definitely worse than theirs. I mean, wasn’t it?

God has slowly been laying this fact on my heart lately. This year has been a very rough year for me, and I find that I spend a lot of my time on my own pity parties. No one else joins me on these not-so-rare occasions, of course. Which is usually just one more thing for me to complain about. Go figure. What God has been showing me, is that not only is it ridiculous to be throwing these parties–not to mention a waste of emotional energy–but by doing so, I’m not being thankful (Obviously).

Normally I’d look at that and go, “DUH.” Pretty much feeling sorry for yourself is the exact opposite of BEING thankful. So you’re probably not doing a whole lot of that. Allow me to explain my definition for lack of thankfulness:

Saying no to God.

Everyday, the sun comes up. And where my flat resides here in Washington state, you can almost count on seeing a few clouds (all day) every day. There are always birds singing in my backyard. And when I wake up, I can count on my family still being there, right where I left them. These are God’s days. HIS days. He made this. He planned this. And He’s letting me “borrow” it, for lack of a better word. And times are tough, so I’m complaining? “Thank you, Jesus!… But, no thanks.” In the moment I feel SO… Justified! “My day was CRAP! I deserve to complain. I deserve sympathy. I need chocolate.” Empathy. A pat on the back. To crawl into my bed early and sleep it all away. Well, what the heck? I should be SO thankful! I AM so thankful! But why don’t I let it show?

Instead of praising God for trials (biblical), turning to Him for strength (biblical) and praying for a “new perspective”, I guess. (biblical…). I’m throwing a fit and complaining. (not so biblical) In my “sober” state of mind, this way of thinking seems pretty ridiculous. (Funny, I’ve never equated pathetic/complainingness with being drunk before… I might have to do that more often.)

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato is said to have said that. However, there have been many an argument about that. People questioning if that really came from Plato’s mouth. yaddayadda. I, on the other hand, don’t really care. The man’s dead. I don’t think he really needs the credit–and frankly, I never liked quoting him at the end anyway. lol.

Needless to say, the heart of the matter remains. And, as I’ve been thinking about this, it’s quite clear that this “idea,” this simple, profound thought, didn’t originate from just some guy thinking, “Hey. I bet there’s more people in the world today having to tough it out.”No, this came from a purer source. In fact, I’d be so bold to say Jesus started this one.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus SECONDS this to the “first and greatest commandment,” “[Loving] the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:36-40 Wonder why that be.

Everyone you meet… is fighting a hard battle. And might I add my own.. renovation.

Everyone is fighting a GREAT battle.

Let’s try to focus on what’s around us. Who’s around us. And in focusing on Jesus’ recommendation… which really is a full on commandment… let’s thank the Lord for LIFE–in EVERY sense of the word–with all our heart, soul and mind. And let our love for our neighbor flow from that. Because everyone you meet IS fighting a great battle.

Funny. Seems everything always comes back to Jesus. I think I like it that way.

Yeah, hi…

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I know. It’s been a while. Where have *I* been? Make a list of all the last three months–I think not and suddenly it all doesn’t seem important anymore.

By the way–happiest of new years to the world. Another year. Where’d 2011 go?! Seriously. A blur. Weird. All in good favor, though. A lot has happened. Laughed a lot, cried a lot, got angry a lot. You know, c’est la vie.

I just recently had a heart-to-heart with… myself. And, with an explanation to follow, I’ve decided I want to be a very real person. A very real Christian. I don’t want to be a hiding hider behind masks. Somewhere along the lines of Christianity, zipping back 2,000 years, I’d like to know at which point Christianity became this thing that has to be all lovey dovey on the surface. Because it’s making life super not-that-awesome for me!

This whole year has really been quite the doozy for me. Especially the last 6months. My whole world has literally been flipped upside down and I’ve felt so disoriented! Not only did everything fall with a crash and burn, but life didn’t stop or kindly slow down so I could at least gather myself. Nope–just kept right on spinnin’. Along with my brain and the stars circling it. Relationships have been such a drag, wearing me out as they come and go. Not only that, but no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to grip anything tight enough to keep a handle of it! Everything slips through my fingers. Everything.

I spoke with a good friend recently… I sat there as they (it is just one person, keeping discretion) told me while they gave up on Christianity all together. “I just couldn’t take it anymore. I knocked and got no answer. I surrendered and still felt the fight. There was never any peace.” My heart was so broken. Not only for this person that I love… but because I feel like I’m in the same boat! Is that where this leads? This lonely, emptiness? Just to failure. To giving up? How long will *I* be able to endure this? So I’d like to make a public decision and ask for prayer because this is gonna be a pain in the butt–but worth every second…

My “sister-friend” texted me this a few weeks ago after I shared my struggle with her (she is SO sweet and I adore her, btw) “There are times in prayer when God tries our love for Him. In these times of dryness and unclearness which bothers our souls, there needs to be fidelity to Him. This is the time for us to make an effectual act of resignation… Just say, ‘Lord, I am yours, dryness does not matter nor affect me!'” -Brother Lawrence, Aug. 1666 Easier said than done, brother. 😉 But the truth rings out. The Apostle Paul also says to “Press on!” John 16:33 “In this world you will have TROUBBLLLEEE (added exageration. lol) But take HEART! I have overcome the world.”

I know God gets it. I can feel Him whispering, “I know it’s a pain. I get it…. and sending my Son… wasn’t? Think I did that for no reason?” Honestly, that’s what’s been keeping this train moving. Here’s that decision: I am a lonely little bumble bee–this is a true story. I’m eighteen years old and single (worse things have happened! lol) I have never felt more alone than I do now (because the devil is mean, that’s why)–and NOT because I’m single. haha! Just so we’re all cleared up on that…  but I KNOW God is faithful. I know His love is Truth. His presence is Peace. I am going to PRESS into Him. To keep pursuing Him. Though the other end is silent in this time, I won’t stop praying. Reading. Talking. Singing.

“The one thing I don’t question is you, You really love me like you say you do.” Paul Colman sang those words and they’ve been ringing in my head today. I feel like God always gives me songs to “keep me busy” when I’m in the middle of mess. And BONUS, they’re always just what I need to hear. You can’t just read it either. Music has a way with words. A way with the soul. There’s nothing like it. I’m blessed by it. Blessed to be able to create it. Thankful to be in LOVE with it!!!

And there it is. My real life, vulnerable, christian story. Thankfully, it’s not the end. Just some random chapter floating between the front and back cover. God is amazing. The best lyrics I’ve heard today are Sidewalk Prophets, “But you love me anyway. Oh, God, How you love me.” All the times I’ve ignored Him. Turned my back. Disobeyed. He loves me anyway. What a ridiculously beautiful story! I’m praying for all the souls out there struggling alongside me. Whether you’re as transparent about it as I am… I know you’re there. And I’m praying for you. May God, in His timing, reveal Himself to His children. May He have His way and His glory be revealed through trial.

He loves you anyway.

Jars of Clay wrote this in 2003 and it blesses me every time I go through any trial. “I will sing of your mercy, that leads me through valley’s of sorrow to rivers of joy.”

You have led me, to the sadness, I have carried this pain.
On a back bruised, nearly broken, I’m crying out to You…

I will sing of Your Mercy, that leads me through valleys of sorrow, to rivers of joy.

When death, like a gypsy,comes to steal what I love, I will still look to the Heavens, I will still seek Your face.
But I fear You aren’t listening, because there are no words.
Just the stillness, and the hunger, for a faith that assures.

I will sing of Your Mercy, that leads me through valleys of sorrow, to rivers of joy.
I will sing of Your Mercy, that leads me through valleys of sorrow, to rivers of joy.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia…

While we wait, for a rescue, with our eyes tightly shut, face to the ground, using our hands, to cover the fatal cut.
And though the pain is an ocean, tossing us, around, around, around,
You have calmed greater waters, and higher mountains have come down.

I will sing of Your Mercy, that leads me through valleys of sorrow, to rivers of joy…
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia…

I will sing of Your Mercy, that leads me through valleys of sorrow, to rivers of joy.(x4)
Sing of Your Mercy…. Your Mercy…. Your Mercy

jesus paid it all

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Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

I’ve grown up with the gospel in hand. I read it, believed it and took it on as my own. Though, I confess, it became such a second nature thing, like breathing, that it lost it’s flavor. When you “know” something for a long period of time, you begin to think you know everything about it. And no one could convince you more of the truth you hold true.

Last week, after struggling with a difficult week–difficult few weeks– God showed me that I do not, in fact, know everything about the salvation that He’s given me. I was all set to go to bed early–one of those nights–when I found the Passion of the Christ on my couch. One of the few movies I don’t own. (Which is only part true. There are a great many movies I don’t own… but I do not own the Passion!)

The Passion of the Christ has been out for several years now and I’ve never seen it. It just always seemed weird to me, watching Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t for a typical Hollywood entertainment. But this was different. God randomly brought this film to my room and to my attention at a time that could not have been more perfect.

Shortly after I put it on in my room, my sisters got home and watched it with me; and I am so glad they did. Watching that alone would have been, well, lonely. But not for the meaning of lonely. I watch movies all the time by myself–it’s somewhat therapeutic. This was not a movie as I would view a movie; this was–is– reality.Witnessing that with like-minded believers made it mean that much more.

I am not one to cry; cry, yes. Cry during movies, no. I balled like a baby from the beginning to the end of that film. But for different reasons as I would if I cried during films. I felt His pain. This was someone I knew and loved, suffering–suffering for me. Never before has Jesus’ love and sacrifice meant so much to me. The Word that I’ve read my entire life literally became flesh to me that night. I’ve never felt His love as I did at that point in my life.

Jesus said, “I make all things new.” He does.

He also said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” Take up your cross. That statement, now, means something real to me. I feel like my entire life, when I read God’s Word, in my mind I was agreeing with it, believing it and responding, “Oh that’s nice.” What I think most Christians in the 21st century are guilty of doing–admit it. And it is nice. But it’s real. And that, is what makes it beautiful.

As I watched–what I would allow myself to watch–Jesus literally giving himself up, my week suddenly wasn’t so unbearable. And actually proved itself to be somewhat petty. My faith, not nearly as strong as I’d like it to be. And my knowledge of the gospel; minimal. God’s love is truly so deep, so wide, so long that as a human mind, I could never learn to understand it. And what brought me to that understanding didn’t push me farther from pursuing Him. It brought me closer. Also something I won’t understand. But that’s OKAY!

I am a sinner. Deserving condemnation. Christ is a lover. Saving His bride. He is my salvation, my truth, my light, my teacher. My prayer is not that I won’t forget, because I will. But that, when I do, He’ll remind me. Bring me back. He is my past, present and future. Having saved me, in the process of saving me and planning on continuing to save me. I am far from perfect and still have so much to learn; and yet He is faithful–patient.

Jesus paid it all. Are we, His children, giving Him the praise and honor He deserves? How much of His sacrifice do we take for granted?

Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

Everything is Meaningless

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20110814-030636.jpgThe words of the Teacher,t son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again. All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time. No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them. (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 NIV)

Are there things in your life that you’ve been dwelling on that’s meaningless? Things that seem like a big deal- but actually have no eternal value? It’s interesting… These are some things I’ve been thinking about, things I know I’m guilty of! I spend SO MUCH time dwelling on things that are meaningless! What’s interesting, is that the ESV version of this passage is “vanity.”
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 1:2 ESV) Everything is meaningless. Everything is in vain.

It gives a whole new meaning to how we should view ourselves when coming before the Lord. When we think highly of ourselves, or too highly of a situation, what does God think of that— the Holy of Holies? We are but a grain of sand, clay, sheep. He is so much more worthy, yet He loves us—is jealous for us even! And has given so much for our benefit! Yet we dwell on the meaningless.

What are some things you can do to keep your mind on the Eternal rather than the meaningless?

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:10 ESV)

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3 ESV)