The Loudmouth Protestant

June 17, 2010

This Is All I Can Eat Right Now

Filed under: bible,God,spirituality — nickisym @ 5:44 pm
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Jesus said in Matthew 4:4:

“One does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

This is what Jesus said when he was being tempted by Satan in the wilderness. There was no turning the stone into a loaf of bread for Jesus because He knew that the bread would only satisfy Him temporarily, but every word out of the mouth of God would fill Him to the brim permanently and that is something I can totally get into.

I am currently in the midst of temptation. The kind of temptation that is very common to man these days, worry.  While I’d love to eat the worry away by binging on cupcakes, those cupcakes will only provide me with temporary relief and a very permanent cavity. So, I had to make an executive decision to put the cupcake down and pick the word of God up. In doing so, I came upon a scripture that felt like a home-cooked meal. Everytime I read it, I get full, push myself away from the proverbial table and enjoy a good night’s sleep because all my assurance is in those words and of course, the God of those words. So, I felt the need to share my good meal with you. This is one of the rare moments where I will share food–I don’t share actual food because I’m greedy, but this is way too good to keep to myself. So, pull yourself up to the table and enjoy the meal…

Matthew 6:25-34: Do Not Worry

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about your clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you–you of little faith? Therefore do not worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  (NRSV)

 

December 3, 2009

A Philippians 4:13 Meditation

Filed under: bible,christianity,Jesus — nickisym @ 8:00 am
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Last night I spent alot of time at my desk with my hands on my head trying to get my brain to comprehend what it just doesn’t seem to want to grasp at the moment. I sat back and thought to myself, “I need a scripture to meditate on.” No sooner than the thought popped into my mind did the scripture pop into my mind. It’s an oldie but goody, but I meditated on it differently, choosing to repeat it over and over again with strong emphasis on every word as I went through the repetition. The scripture and its intent were illuminated in my mind by doing this and I just had to get it out of my head and put it down so that others might be blessed by it too.

A Phillipians 4:13 Meditation to be repeated and each time you repeat it emphasize the next word.

Say it normally the first time:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Second time say it and emphasize the first word:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Third time say it and emphasize the second word:

“I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Fourth time say it and emphasize the third word:

“I can DO all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

And so on so forth. At the end of it, your meditation should look like this:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“I can DO all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“I can do all THINGS through Christ who strengthens me.”

“I can do all things THROUGH Christ who strengthens me.”

“I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me.”

“I can do all things through Christ WHO strengthens me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who STRENGTHENS me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens ME.”

Then say it one last time. Scream it to the mountain tops. Shout it in the devil’s face or to anyone or anything that is trying to convince you that you can’t do what you have set out to do.

“I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.”

All better. 🙂

October 2, 2009

The Last 100 Days Challenge

As I was trolling around on some blogs I ran into a challenge. No, my computer didn’t freeze up. I’m on an Apple so it is rare, if ever, that it freezes up. (Sorry that was neither here nor there but thought I’d represent for Team Apple, Mac or whatever they call these things. And I digress.) So I ran into this challenge entitled “The Last 100 Days Challenge“. The creator of this challenge, a blogger by the name of LoveLiDaze created this in response to a message she heard her pastor preach. It was about loving God and in really loving Him, loving His words. LoveLiDaze reflected upon this and wondered if her love for God was doing Him any justice because she hadn’t been in His word like she should be. I’ve been there.

I, like many other people, started the year off with ambitious plans to read the Bible cover to cover. Major and minor prophets. Books of poetry. Proverbs. Pentateuch. Synoptic gospels and even the apocrypha. I’m a really ambitious person when it comes to spiritual goals. Whether I achieve them is a completely different story. Nevertheless, LoveLiDaze is encouraging everyone to join her in the Last 100 Days Challenge which will find us all falling in love with God’s word and thus falling deeper in love with God. So what does it take?

Just pick up that Bible that’s been sitting on your bedside table, coffee table, bookshelf or wherever you keep the Good Book. Blow the dust off of it, un-peel the pages from each other, shake out the silverfish and let’s get to reading–side note: I know everyone doesn’t have a seldom-used Bible, but I like to be dramatic. The whole point is, we are on a adventure to fall in love with the lover of our soul. Doesn’t matter what you read. Let him lead you to it. But read it every day for the next 90 days and commit to it. Yes, you might miss a few days, but you can dust yourself off–since you already dusted your Bible off–and try again.

Let’s spend the next 90 days falling in love with Jesus. It’ll be the best thing you’ve ever done.

August 25, 2009

This Week’s Scripture: Psalm 3

Filed under: bible — nickisym @ 10:36 pm
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1Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.

2Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.

3But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

4I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.

5I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.

6I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.

7Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.

8Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah. (Psalm 3, King James Version)

May 29, 2009

Laodicean Spelling Bee Prophecy

Yesterday night, Kavya Shivashankar won the Scripps National Spelling Bee for spelling the word “Laodicean.” Interesting, right? I don’t think it is any coincidence that of all of the multi-syllabic words that could have been chosen for her to spell in her final opportunity to win the bee, that this word with biblical origins would be chosen. The church in Laodicea, as referenced in the new testament book of Revelations, was a church full of lukewarm believers. They were neither hot not cold, in this day and age they would be considered the believers who straddle the fence. Paul’s words to this church through divine inspiration were that it was better for them to be either hot or cold, because as lukewarm they were only worthy enough for God to spit out. Paul would go on to tell them that they were much too caught up in their own concerns:

“You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.”

Last night, when the girl asked the judged to define the word he told her it meant being lukewarm as it pertains to religion or politics.  But I believe very strongly that this is God’s message to the believers today and it has nothing to do with politics. I don’t claim to be a prophet, I don’t know that that’s the gift God has given me, but I do believe everything happens for a reason. And it’s no coincidence that two days before Pentecost, God would use the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. A spelling bee! (And guess what? Laodicean is not really the most difficult word she could have spelled last night. So look at God!) And now millions of people are searching to find out what Laodicean means and in that searching they will discover the origin and in discovering the origin they will happen upon Revelations 3:14-22 and in reading that they will either choose to be renewed or consumed. God’s message to his believers on this day is that we’ve been straddling the fence for too long, our lukewarmth is unsavory, and He needs us to choose sides because in doing that, His remnant of believers will be the ones He shows Himself to. He wants to show up in a mighty way, but He’s waiting for us to choose.

Choose ye this day whom you will serve…

April 21, 2009

Prayer Doesn’t Change God’s Mind

Yesterday I happened upon a post by Beliefnet.com EIC Steven Waldman entitled “Your Prayers Will Not Change God’s Mind.” The post  brings to light the thought that our prayers don’t change God’s mind since God is timeless. This coming from the mouth of esteemed Oxford professor Keith Ward–and he isn’t the first person to posit this.

So what is this walk with Christ if not a series of questions that we must ask ourselves? I had to ask myself if I ever realized this or did I really think that my prayers were changing God’s mind? Put in the proper perspective, it makes logical sense that our prayers don’t change God’s mind because when one thinks deeply about–and you don’t even have to go deep if you know the word, it’s clear that our prayers couldn’t possibly change God’s mind. How is that possible?

Well first off, God is a supreme being. He’s omnipresent and omnipotent. He knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb. He knows every hair on our head. He knows the plans He has for us. He sent his only begotten son to die for our sins. He called us to a life in Christ before we even knew what it was. He makes all things work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He knows we’ll make many plans but His plan prevails. His own son prayed for the cup of suffering to be removed, but nevertheless His will be done. I didn’t make any of this up, it’s all in His book. Given all of that, why would our praying change His mind? It would take away his providence and power if mere humans could shift the outcome of a situation through prayer.

What about free will? Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you live by free will, you most likely aren’t living a surrendered life. Free will means you are free to choose the outcome according to your–limited–understanding of a situation. One who lives according to free will might pray, but they’ll get up from their knees and decide what choice they want to make. Or maybe they won’t pray because they figure they can solve it on their own. Touchy…

And if our prayers can’t change God’s mind, where does that leave intercessory prayer? Is it impossible to engage in intercessory prayer if you believe your prayers will not change God’s mind? So if that’s the case, praying for the sick won’t make a difference because their livng or dying is not going to change because you pray but because it is God’s will.

Where does that put the old church mothers who kept telling us that prayer changes things? Because given this, prayer changes nothing, God changes things. And if anything, if we are to be so confident–and we should be–God changes us through prayers to align us with His will, not our own.

And lastly–or maybe not lastly, but I’m exhausted from the confluence of thoughts, “Where does that put prayer?” I mean, for me, it changes the manner of prayer. Not that I spend an exorbitant amount of time petitioning God for things, but it makes me feel that my only prayer to God should be, “You know what is before me, you know what I’d prefer to happen, but nevertheless, not my will but yours be done, I trust you, I surrender it all to you, do you God, In Jesus’ name,  Amen.”

Heavy stuff…I feel little out of sorts…

April 5, 2009

God’s Hand in the Recession

Filed under: bible,devil,God,recent news,work — nickisym @ 1:05 am
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On Friday, the numbers were released for the unemployment rate since the beginning a 2009. A staggering 2 million jobs have been lost in the last 3 months. Approximately 666,666 jobs a month for the last three months. 666,666, the number sited in Revelations 13:18 as that which would be the mark of the beast. 

I stared at that number for a second. And remarked that the devil is a liar. God is the only one with power in this situation because while the devil may have meant this for evil, God can turn this around for His good. The results of this recession have no bearing on God’s people because as much power as the devil would like to think he has, he’s only working with manual power. The devil has about as much power as a manual screwdriver whereas God is that DeWalt powertool that gets the job done right the first time. Paul, in his letter to the church of Ephesus, prayed that we would understand the exceeding greatness of His power at work within us. If there were ever a time for us to believe in the exceeding greatness of His power, this is it. 

I believe the enemy would have us to believe that pink slips and layoffs mean the end of our lives as we know it. But I posit, by revelation of God, that the layoffs are the beginning of our purposeful lives.  Though some of us may keep our jobs this season, those that won’t have been called to seek out their God-given purpose in this life. We weren’t called to just chase a check for something that isn’t fulfilling God’s design for our lives. A leader in my dance ministry commented, we are being called out of our jobs because God needs us to spend more time with Him. And yet another minister made the statement that this recession is taking place because God’s people inverted the directive in Matthew 6:33 which says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” 

One can point to manifold reasons as to why we are going through this season of life. And really, it may all be outside of our comprehension because we are to lean not our own understanding and simply trust God. But if there’s nothing else you believe this season, believe that God works all things for the good of those of love Him and are called according to His purpose.

March 26, 2009

Paul’s Prayer to Ephesus

Filed under: bible,God,prayer — nickisym @ 12:35 pm
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As mentioned in my earlier post, this is Paul’s prayer to the church of Ephesus also known as the “Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom.” Hide this prayer in your heart, pray it for yourself, your family, and your friends and let the word do the work.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 1:15-23

The Exceeding Greatness of His Power

Filed under: bible,christianity,God,Jesus,spirituality — nickisym @ 12:27 pm
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Don’t you love those moments, while reading the scripture, when you can actually feel your heart being flooded with light and the eyes of your understanding being opened? I had such a moment this morning. Well, it started very early this morning when I woke up in the midst of my sleep and all that was on my mind was, “The exceeding greatness of His power.” It’s lodged in my subconscious for a few reasons. Those words are part of a ministry piece I am currently learning, it was the last song I played before I went to bed, and I was thinking about the actual scripture in Ephesians 1 which my Bible Study has prayed over us for the last four years.

I laid there in my bed early this morning having this scripture lodged in my mind, cutting through every false perception I was holding onto. Right there in my bed at about 3:00AM, “the exceeding greatness of His power” was taking a hold of me. I lay there thinking about what I believe about the exceeding greatness of His power and as I lay there the list began to form. The power to heal, the power to save, the power to cut through doubt, the power to deliver, etc.

I woke up this morning intent on reading the prayer all the way through because I knew there was more to it that I needed to sit with. And as I read Paul’s prayer to the church of Ephesus, I claimed it for myself and realized that it isn’t just about understanding the exceeding greatness of His power, but coming to that understanding through the prerequisites set forth.

Before Paul prayed that the church of Ephesus would understand the exceeding greatness of His power, he prayed that they would receive wisdom and insight so that they might grow in their knowledge of God and then that their hearts may be flooded with light so that they could understand the confident hope He has given to those he called and then after those things they would be able to understand the exceeding greatness of His power for us who believe in Him.

But why do we have to believe in the exceeding greatness of His power? Because “this is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now because of this, he is far above any ruler, authority, power, leader or anything else, not only in this world but the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him the head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

After all of that, could I not believe in the exceeding greatness of His power? Could you not believe in it?

March 14, 2009

A Fast Turn Around

Filed under: bible,God — nickisym @ 2:38 am
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“This is the kind of fast day I am after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.

What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing you food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.”
Isaiah 58:6-8 (The Message)

Friday evening, after rubbing sticks together for the last few weeks trying to create a spark that seemingly kept getting blown out, a spark was started and I started to warm. Ironically I started to warm only after the fire was blown out by my adversary. This adversary was with me at the Madison Square Garden as I was in the skybox at the Big East game with a dear friend. If you’ve been in a skybox you know the wealth of food and drink available and thus the mind was willing but the flesh was weak when I saw a table full of goodies from chicken fingers and hot dogs to balsamic chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. So, I had my fill of those things and in the midst of filling myself, my tummy started to trouble me. Yes God, I felt it. I popped two Aleve and kept it moving. The pain barely subsided but I managed to buffet it with some water, good conversation, and a good game. (Side note: Can I just say that I actually like basketball now and this is not just the skybox talking?)

Nevertheless, it soon came time for me to depart from my wondrous box in the sky, but as I put on my coat I spotted a tray of delectable desserts. Brownies and chocolate chip bars. I looked once, looked twice, and then my friend leaned over to tell me she took one for the road as she was getting on a train back to D.C. So, I followed suit and wrapped a chocolate cookie bar up in a napkin and placed it in my bag. I knew I shouldn’t have taken it. I was tempted to eat it on contact but I decided against it figuring I would fight the battle with it on the train. As I saw my friend off to the Amtrak station and began to walk toward my own train, I noticed an older black man in a wheelchair wearing soiled clothes and carrying a soiled cup. He was begging for money. He stopped right in front of the Halal cart looking at the man, desperately hoping for just one peace of the righteously killed chicken, but the man ignored him. I thought twice before continuing to walk to my train because I realized I had something in my bag of which he could partake. My first thought was to not give it to him–not because I wanted to eat it, but because I didn’t figure it healthy. But then I realized, “Who am I to withhold this from him? This could taste like the chicken he was looking for.” So I walked up to him, reached into my bag and asked him if he would like my cookie bar. I felt like I was unwrapping an awesome gift because his eyes brightened. He gently reached for the ensconced cookie bar and told me thank you. I told him, “You’re welcome” and I walked to my train.

As I walked away from him, I had this amazing rush come over me. I felt warm and full. I felt like the sticks I had been rubbing together finally created a flame and it was at that moment I realized that despite my missteps in the previous hours that I had just had the kind of fast moment God desires us to have. I saw the light turn on and my life was turned around at once.

 

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