November 28, 2011

And His glory appears like the light from the sun.

Some of you guessed it. I got a lot on my mind right now--in a disgusted-with-my-flesh-I-just-want-JESUS amazingly good way though. I read this last week on Lilies & Sparrows. MC kills it. So here's some truth for ya...

The following post is reblogged from my girl Mary Catherine:

“Know that the Lord, he is God! It is He who made us, and we are His.
We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!
For the Lord is GOOD, His steadfast love endures forever and His faithfulness to all generations."
- Psalm 100.3-5
While this adventure-drenched lifestyle spills with excitement, I have discovered a new kind of alone that comes with long stretches of highway.
With nothing but my 4Runner, a backseat full of silks and chiffons, and another pop country song on the radio, this ENFP will readily admit there are days of challenge.
Days when life is so splendid in Nashville that leaving for one more time feels like plucking up the fresh, thin roots of not-quite-yet ripe fruit.
And then He sweetly beckons:
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving in your hearts and his courts with praise.”
How often do I enter His gates with my heart in the posture of discontentment? Very, very often. I enter with everything but thanksgiving and praise.
Enter with fear.
Enter with weariness.
Enter with doubt.
Enter with complaints.
Enter with entitlement.
Enter with a fist tightly gripped.
Enter with questions.
However, we’re called to enter with thanksgiving and praise. To sing loudly in remembrance of his goodness and praise of who He is as we walk straight into His presence!
Because the bitter taste of anything else on our tongues turns our hearts away from that which is foundationally true in our lives.
He is faithful for all generations.
His steadfast love endures forever.
We do have a High Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses and when we arrive in the throne room, we come boldly before Him to have his unrestrained mercy and grace poured out over us.
But in order to get into the throneroom, mustn’t we enter in through the city gates and pass on through the courts? 
I double dare you to try it. To enter in, every time you come to him this week, with thanks on your tongue. It realigns your weary heart. Thanks strengthens your knees. Thanks recognizes the power. The omnipotence.  Remembers the faithfulness. The greatness. Of a God whose kingdom’s bells ring "I am with you."
Enter, unlock the gates and step into the courts of the King who adores you, with thankfulness.

Not disregarding or ignoring the pain. Not brushing the weariness, the brokenness, the anger, the fear, the hurt, or the questions under the rug.
But make your first step towards him be grateful, recognize and name the ways He is moving in your midst. Look back down the path and remember his faithfulness, glance down at where your feet are now and praise and declare the same truth over the future.
And it. will. transform. you.
He promises it. He is so good. My gracious... He is so good. 
So when the wheels on that airplane curl up into their hiding place and lift me off the Tennessee soil yet again, I will choose to look out that window and enter with thankfulness and praise.
Thankful for what he has done, what he is doing, what he will do. And praise. Praise to the one whose fingers spun the gold of the sun and also the chambers of my heart.
I’m no master at this yet, but He’s teaching me the pathways to a life of abiding in His presence and joy.
And I am choosing & giving (action verb) thanks.
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations.”

And from my experience, He doesn’t back down on His promises.
(This is Ashlyn speaking again.) She's good, isn't she?
Post title: "Age to Age" by Brooke Fraser of Hillsong United. Haunting in every possible good way.
Photo credits: 12 / 3 / 4

When we have learned what Christmas is for.

Behind the proud logo of Old Try is a pair of Southern ex-pats living in Boston with a knack for moveable type and wood blocks. All their prints hail the states of Dixie, but Old Try's Christmas card hails another cause.

I love the design. Love that the X fades over the words "drought, thirst, disease." Love that this company declares we're called to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a world that's broken.

Neat, right?

Cool cards. Especially on a Monday that glorifies punching in your credit card digits for stuff that I swear they are marketing not as gifts, but as "to me, from me." Because I'm pretty sure Rush Stallings doesn't the Milly dress I could use my 20% off Rent the Runway code on...

But uh, it's "CYBER20" if you're curious.

Post title: "Someday at Christmas" by Stevie Wonder, but let's all just agree that Justin Bieber kills it.
Photo credit: 1 / 2

November 21, 2011

Sex + money.

I think about this documentary about once a week.

But I'm touched by this topic twice a day.

Because on my sleepy, coffee-in-hand commute down one of Atlanta's biggest thoroughfares, I pass one. Two. Three. Four strip clubs. It's a dirty little nook, known around town for being "that" area.

"GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS" say the signs.

Sometimes I am switching lanes so fast--being the "Atlanta Driver" I use to roll my eyes over--that it doesn't hit me. Or I'm wound up in my little brownish-blonde headed thoughts. Other times? I lose it. I cry the whole way home. I just don't understand. Or actually, maybe we do understand exactly what it is like to be wrapped in stone-cold-steely chains...

So many of us are desperate for these women (and men) to meet Jesus, LOVE, and freedom. Chains be broken. I'm noticing this in my church family, as we're perched right around the corner from all this in a brand spankin' new building. The wheels are turning and the Spirit is moving on that street, I'll just have you know that. Something will happen there soon.

"I am so taken with Jesus and so convinced that abundance is in His wake alone
precisely because He has done so much to heal me."
- Beth Moore

But I just needed to make sure you'd seen that trailer. That you were aware of this very American issue.

That's all.
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