The Loudmouth Protestant

August 31, 2008

Interesting Statement of the Day

Filed under: randomness — nickisym @ 7:55 pm
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I can’t guarantee that I will always have an interesting news clip for the day. It’s really not the focus of this blog. But I couldn’t resist sharing this one. This is a quote from John McCain regarding his shift from RNC activities to Hurricane Gustav duties:

“I pledge that tomorrow night, and if necessary, throughout our convention … to act as Americans, not Republicans, because America needs us now no matter whether we are Republican or Democrat,” he said.

Sure it may be feisty of me, but I feel like this statement implies that the previous reaction to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was the Republican reaction–in other words–the Republican reaction to natural disasters that affect thousands of minority brothers and sisters is to not react at all–or react rather slowly because their core constituents are surely not in the 9th Ward.

And this is the man some people want to lead our country? Things that make you go “Hmmm…”

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August 29, 2008

There It Is: Luke 22:42

Filed under: God,life,prayer — nickisym @ 2:38 am
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Prayer is an ongoing conversation between us and God. It’s a moment for us to speak to God and listen for what He will say. It’s a time for us, not to complain, but to give thanks for every good and perfect thing He has given us. It’s also a time for us to petition for our community, nation, the world and one other person we shouldn’t forget, ourselves. Sure it’s very easy for us to be saintly in our prayers and pray for everyone in the world but ourselves, but God also wants to know what’s on our mind and what are those things we would have Him address in our lives–although I should be clear that whether we address it or not, He will address all those things which concern us.

But one of the things Jesus is very clear about, is His need for people to lay their burdens on Him and for people to ask for those things which will bring glory to God’s kingdom, believe they have received and–in my own words–keep it moving.

Some people think it is foolish to ask for the things that they want because there are so many more pressing issues in the world. But, I think it’s foolish not to tell God about the things that you want in the midst of your intercessing for others. After all, a part of your intercessing for others is you telling God what you want him to do in the life of another–and you believe He’ll do it. So why not tell Him the works you’d like Him to do in your life?

Now God is no vending machine and we do not simply say a word and what we want comes tumbling down to us. He is a God who withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly(Psalm 84:11b). A God who is faithful to supply our every need according to his glorious riches(Phillipians 4:19). A God who is happy to give us that which we ask for iff–that’s if and only if–that which we ask for glorifies Him. It pleases Him to give gifts to His children and I dare go one step further and say it pleases Him when His children ask for things that they know can only be given by His hand–such as knowledge, wisdom and discernment. 

But lest I go far into this conversation of asking God for things in prayer, I wanted to highlight the core scripture that is the perfect example of someone asking for what they want but ended their prayer with God’s hand in mind.

Luke 22:42

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Jesus prayed this prayer in the Garden of Gethsamane when His time on earth was coming to an end. He was enduring great tribulation at the moment and thought it not robbery to come to God in prayer and ask Him to relieve Him of the cup which held the bitter drink of death. Jesus, in His time of trouble, asked for what He wanted, but He remembered that “nevertheless” it was God’s will to be done and not His own.And this, I believe, is the key to coming to God in prayer. We can ask for things until our faces turn blue, and we can desire these things with all our heart, but we must bring it back to God and affirm that “nevertheless, thy will be done.” We pray this way believing that though God will not give us everything we think we want, He will do everything in His good timing and all things will work for the good of those who love him. 

So don’t be afraid to ask for the things you want, just be more certain that you can handle what His will is in either giving or denying you those things.

August 28, 2008

Guarding Your Heart

Filed under: God,love,relationships — nickisym @ 1:58 pm
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A friend and I were having a discussion about why I believe it’s so important to guard my heart. It is her belief that relationships involve taking a risk, but my belief is that my heart is much too delicate a thing to throw onto the gauntlet every time someone comes around. My theory has worked for quite a while although the process of heart guarding is very difficult when you want people to get to know the best parts of you.

Nevertheless, I keep the gates around my corollary locked despite what I really want because I know my heart is terribly delicate. In contemplating this notion of guarding the heart, I thought about the fact that there is a scripture that says “the heart is deceitful above all things.” I’ve been having a hard time grappling with that, but at the same time, I am so fully aware of the fact that the heart is deceitful. I believe our hearts break before any other part of our beings after the demise of a relationship. Your heart can be broken for years and though your mind has moved on, the heart is connected to the spirit and there will always be something there to remind you.

I can remember the times when things didn’t turn out well with some prospective relationships and though my mind was on the “Forget Him” program, my heart was slouched down in my stomach with a box of Kleenex. I swear it has a mind of its own, when I’d rather it follow my inclination to dispose of sappy feelings from the onslaught.

So what’s a girl to do with matters of the heart? I am reminded of Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” When I think of this scripture, I think of the fact that our hearts were not meant to run free like the wind. Nor were we meant to box it up and give it away. They have to be protected and ensconced until the appointed time when God gives us the greenlight to open it up. But, you say, “Why do I have to wait to give someone my heart?”

You have to wait because not every single person you encounter will be able to be a good steward over your heart. It doesn’t mean that they are a bad person, but it does mean that there are people who God has appointed on this earth to honor and protect your heart. Likewise there are people, who have no idea what it means to honor and protect someone’s heart.

Our hearts hide the issues of our life, which are extremely important to protect. I think about the issues of my own life and the way with which I share those issues with close friends and family. Before sharing, I always have to stop and think about what this person will do once they find out a little bit more about what makes me tick–be it good or bad. Will they guard that knowledge with their heart, keeping my issues to themselves and to their conversation with God? Or will they use it to judge and criticize me further on down the line. It’s a massive undertaking to decide you trust someone–besides your creator–with your innermost secrets.

Just a tip: This is a moment of transparency, but whenever I have a crush–and anyone who knows me knows that these are always fleeting because of what I’m about to share–I immediately take that emotional energy to God and ask Him what he would have me to do with it. I’ve seen Him use my interest in another to do extraordinary work and I’ve seen Him smack the taste out of my mouth. Either way, it’s always been the best use of my mindshare and emotional energy to ask Him what His will is, and He never fails to let me know.

The heart is just so sacred and so precious and I think more of us must learn how to protect it so that we don’t get caught up. We’d be better off if we were proactive about protecting our heart from harm in the beginning of any friendship or relationships rather than blindly hoping and being too trusting.

My heart goes out to people I know who didn’t guard their hearts and are now trying to figure out how to get that special piece of themselves back from someone who didn’t take care of it. My heart goes out to those who are in the position to give their heart to someone, I pray that you allow God to direct your path toward that decision and from there, if it is His will, you will not be scared to give fully to that other person. My heart goes out to those who are dying to give their hearts to someone…Be of good courage and know that your time is coming soon.

August 22, 2008

Receiving Rejection

Filed under: God,life,love,relationships,work — nickisym @ 4:15 pm
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Everyone—in some way—is scared of rejection. Who wants to think of a lover rejecting your admission of undying love and affection? A friend deciding that you can’t be friends anymore. A mother giving up her child. Losing a job. Even the man who hands out fliers in front of my job probably doesn’t like it that I tell him, “No thank you,” instead of just taking one. Rejection is just one of those cold hard parts of life and I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of it at all. At the thought of rejection in any sphere of life, be it professional or personal relationships, I haven’t done the best job at coping with being denied the things I want–or what I think I deserve.

I’ve cried after being turned down for a job. Cried after more than a few like-interests—I don’t want to call it love—rebuffed me. Sometimes I cry when I miss the train—it really is devastating sometimes. I just have this gag reflex to release salty discharge when I am either rejected or see it coming—and yes, I can discern when it’s coming (look at God!). So what’s a girl to do?

Well, today God turned on the light in the corners of mind, blew the cobwebs out, and let me know that I’ve never been rejected. Does that seem too idealistic to you? If it is, then I guess you don’t really believe God is that good. Here’s what he shared with me.

“You’ve never been rejected because I have always been here with and for you. Anyone who has rejected you was not who I intended for you. Any place that has not hired you is not where I want you to be. Any train you missed is not the one I want you to be on. Stop thinking that because someone told you “no” you have lost anything.”

After this, I thought to myself, “God, you are right. I have been grossly out of order with the way I perceive rejection.”

My Bible study teacher mentioned that there are things that God takes out of our lives that we commiserate over, but in reality it is His will and His protecting us from greater harm. Of course I never see it like that initially, but I always see it in retrospect. He is always so diligent to show me what the aftershock of any situation is. For example, when I got turned down for a job I so desperately wanted at a major magazine, I was utterly devastated. There was nothing anyone could tell me that could of made me feel better. I knew I was an awesome candidate so I couldn’t understand why I didn’t get the job. A few months later, the brass at the magazine changed and a few months after that people started getting laid off and a few months after that, the magazine folded. He knew what he was doing.

He always knows what He is doing, but it takes our trusting to know that everything He does, He does it well. So I write this today with renewed faith that everything God does, He does it well. And if He tells me to go right, I’m going to have to go right. If he takes someone out of my life, it’s quite alright—considering I can do bad all by myself anyways. Everything really happens for a reason. Sometimes it happens for a season. And sometimes it happens for a lifetime. I never know which is which, but I guess my biggest job it to trust God and follow His lead. From this moment forward, rejection is a non sequitur to me.

Incredible God

Filed under: God,gospel music,love,worship — nickisym @ 10:10 am
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I love Fridays and not for the normal “Thank God it’s Friday” reason. Fridays are always the day–aside from Sundays–when God really taps into me. It’s like our special day. It’s quite inexplicable but for the last year, Fridays have just been the day when God has filled me up to the brim and I feel quite invincible.

Well today is no different and due to a conversation I had yesterday evening, I am really reflecting on God’s grace and mercy toward me. To that end, I wanted to share one of my favorite songs. “Incredible God” by Youthful Praise. It’s such an amazing song that speaks of God’s greatness and begs the question “What kind of God, would do this for me?” Really, what kind of God would spare me to see another day though I don’t necessarily deserve it. What kind of God predestined my life for greatness and is fully dedicated to seeing me suceed? What kind of God would love me until the end of the time despite myself? He is an incredible God indeed.

Enjoy!

There It Is: Ephesians 1:3-5

Filed under: God,love — nickisym @ 1:52 am
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I know it is far from the end of the day, but it is about to be my end of the day. I just wanted to make sure I left you with the scripture for the evening. This scripture always tugs at my heart strings and brings me to tears. It reminds me that God really really really loves me–and He loves you too. His love is beyond measure and I am so grateful for it. I pray, day by day, that as you go through life, you’ll be able to discover and acknowledge how deep His love is for you. And if you ever have a day when you need a reminder, remember this:

Ephesians 1:3-5

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Meditate: On God’s love…

August 21, 2008

Running the 205M Race

Filed under: christianity,God,life — nickisym @ 1:03 am
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Olympics

Olympics

What? There is no 205M race you say? Well there is in the mind of a true runner. 

You see, one who runs a race runs not only to win but they run it to come out strong in the end. “Coming out strong” means that they run as if the race were much longer than it actually is, hence what you see when anyone at a track & field meet continues to run beyond the finish line.

Tonight, Usain “Lightning” Bolt was such a runner. 

When he ran the 100M race last Saturday, he didn’t finish strong. Instead he let foolish pride stop him from running the best race he could. While this didn’t take away from his win, it took away from him winning the race with a better record-breaking time. The time it took him to be fully impressed with his accomplishments before the race was done took away from a strong finish. To that end, there was nigh a reporter that let it go. Most of them agreed that had he not spent his time beating his chest before he hit the finish line, he might have had an even better time.

But tonight, Bolt, finished the race strong. I watched him closely tonight because I wanted to see how he won this race–I knew he would win because I have faith in God and the beautiful country of Jamaica. As soon as he took off, he ran strong, he accelerated and never let up, despite what looked like a painful stretch to the finish. When he was far ahead of his competitors he didn’t even bother to relent, instead he pushed himself even harder, ran past the finished line, and continued a couple of feet out leaving his competitors far behind.

He ran a 205M race and he ran it amazing grace. This is the kind of race that I want to run and it reminds me so much of what Paul said in Hebrews 12:1b, “And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” God requires us to finish this race strong so that in the end he can say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” So this is a challenge–self-imposed and publicly encouraged–what will you do to run the race with endurance today? To not get so proud of your accomplishments that you stop trying to make it to the finish line in good time. To not focus on the end as much as the process. What will you do today, that signifies you are going to run your race stronger than the day before?

August 20, 2008

More on ‘Small Beginnings’

Filed under: God,life,Soren Kierkegaard,spirituality — nickisym @ 10:25 pm
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I didn’t want to leave you for the evening without sharing a great statement from Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard–he is one of my favorites. Here is what he had to say about daring to decide to begin:

Excerpt from “Provocations: The Spiritual Writings of Soren Kierkegaard” 

Chapter: Dare to Decide

“A road well begun is the battle half won. The important thing is to make a beginning and get under way. There is nothing more harmful to your soul than to hold back and not get moving.”

There It Is: Zechariah 4:10

Filed under: bible,God,life — nickisym @ 10:16 pm
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Yesterday evening during my quiet time, I took a moment to be silent and speak to God about what He wanted me to read and receive. Not too long after I shut my mouth, I opened the Bible to the book of Zechariah. I’ve been reading the minor prophets since Sunday and it seemed like the natural progression. As I read along about Zechariah’s night visions, I came upon this:

Zechariah 4:10:

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerrubabel’s hand.

Meditation: Sometimes God starts us at what seems like extremely meager settings before he expands our territory. But, I believe, part of the reason why he does this is to humble us. [Sometimes]  when we become fully impressed with ourselves, God can swoop down and take us out so quickly. Not to punish us but to teach us the value of humidity and building from the ground up.

When we are in those “small beginnings” all he asks is that we respect that time and be good stewards over it because as His word says, “Be not weary in well doing for in due time, you will reap a harvest, if you faint not.” So for those people who are in the “small beginnings” stage, be of good courage and know that the hardest part was starting. If God gave you the vision–such as he did Zerubbabel to lay the foundation for the temple–he will surely give you the provision.

August 19, 2008

There It Is: Ephesians 3:16-20

Filed under: bible,God,life,love — nickisym @ 10:10 pm
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There are many times when I am not able to say much at the end of the day on this blog because I am drained by the day. So I figure, what better way to close the day than with a scripture? Simply put. God’s word. He’ll never run out of things to say.

So I present to you the “There It Is” scripture for this evening. (And thanks to the friend who most likely believed they were saying something very ordinary without realizing everything God’s children do and say can serve an extraordinary purpose.)

Ephesians 3:16-20

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Meditation: Do you realize that before God can accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think that we have to arrive at the point in our relationships we were accept how amazingly powerful and deep his love is for us? Do you accept how deeply God loves you? You can accept that your mother, father, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, dog, etc loves you and they are his creation. But how much more does the creator love his creation? And how much more deeper, infallible, and impenetrable is His love? Despite your shortcomings, God is truly, madly, and deeply in love with you and He only wants you to realize that and be forever be changed by His love.

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