The Loudmouth Protestant

March 11, 2010

Where I Am…These Three Words

Filed under: God,life,waiting on God,worship — nickisym @ 12:50 pm
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It’s been a longtime, I know. I haven’t had the wherewithal to write lately because of everything going on in my life. But, I felt compelled to share with you this song which is so apropos to where I am in life right now. I don’t have much to say about the direction my life is going in right now except for these three words, “I Will Obey.”

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February 26, 2010

Quote of the Day: Thomas A Kempis

I’ve been gone for a little while and I’m sorry for that. I have no lack of things to write about, I just don’t have the time to write about it. But I felt compelled to break the silence today because of something that I read last night in “On the Love of God” by Thomas A. Kempis that really moved me. I risk violating the Fair Use law, but I have to risk it to share something so utterly beautiful that the risk it takes compared to the lives it could change is well worth it. So, here goes:

‘My son,’ saith our Lord to His servant, ‘allow Me to do with you what I will, for I know what is best and most expedient for you. You work in many things according to your human reason and as your affection and your worldly policy stirs you, and so you may easily err and be deceived.’

O Lord, it is true, all that Thou sayest. Thy providence is much better for me than all that I can do or say for myself. Wherefore it may well be said and verified that he stands very uncertainly who sets not all his trust in Thee. Therefore, Lord, while my wits abide steadfast and stable, do with me in all things as it pleaseth Thee, for it may not be but well, all that Thou dost. If Thou wilt that I be in the light, bless Thee; and if Thou wilt that I be in darkness, bless Thee. If Thou wouldst comfort me, bless Thee; and if Thou wilt I live in trouble and without all comfort, bless Thee in equal measure.

‘My son, so it behoves you to be. If you will walk with Me, as ready must you be to suffer as to joy, and as gladly be needy and poor as wealthy and rich.’

Lord I will gladly suffer for Thee whatsoever Thou wilt shall fall upon me. With the same thanks will I take of Thy hand good and bad, bitter and sweet, gladness and sorrow; and for all things that shall befall me, heartily will I thank Thee. Keep me from sin, Lord, and I shall dread neither death nor hell. Put not my name out of the book of life, and it shall not grieve me, whatsoever troubles befall me.

That All Our Study and Busyness of Mind Ought to Be Put in God from “On the Love of God”, By Thomas A Kempis

I wish to be this fully surrendered to His will.

February 3, 2010

#12: Countdown to A Love Supreme

Let’s talk about affection.

People talk about being very affectionate whether it be in their romantic relationships, their friendships or with people in general. This affection can be denoted by the gentle touch a woman will assail on a man’s wrist to “check the time”, the way a man caresses the face of a woman he adores, or the wonderful way that someone can, in the words of one of my favorite artists Erykah Badu, “walk up behind me and kiss me on my neck and breathe on my neck”. It’s the way you hold hands with someone you like and even how you hold hands when we are all gathered together in prayer. It’s the hug shared between friends. The holy kiss shared between the saints. The way when you rub someone’s back or just stay very close to them when you sense they are in need of comfort. It’s even in the way you look at a person, your body language toward them. It’s in the things you say and the things you don’t. Affection, between people, is about the use of our bodies and our selves to delicately communicate our like or love for a person, be it platonic or romantic. But between us and God, what does affection look like? Like really? What does it look like when God has won our affection?

I pondered this as I was listening to #12 in the countdown to A Love Supreme Day. “You’ve Won My Affection” by Champions for Christ has always been one of my favorite songs because it is so intimate. It’s more telling than the touch between two earthly beings. It’s suggests and necessitates the opening of our hearts so that we may communicate with God spirit to spirit. The song says:

“You’ve won my affection. You’ve captured my heart. You have my devotion. My worship is yours.”

Then they go on to repeat:

“Now I am yours, completely yours, forever.”

There is not a time when I listen to this song and I don’t get caught up in thinking about how awesome it is to have and know the God who welcomes my affection. My good, sometimes awkward, always pure affection. I’m not the master of being affectionate with people, and there are many people’s model of affection I’d love to imitate, but I take comfort in knowing that I have countless and everlasting opportunities to perfect being affectionate with a God who will never deem my affection imperfect or awkward because our affection is spirit to spirit affection. Because of this, I am thankful to say, on this day, unashamed, that the God of all creation has won my affection, captured my heart, you have my devotion, and now I am His, completely His, forever.

Note: There’s no video accompanying this post. As I was writing this, I wondered if it was getting too long particularly because I knew I still needed to embed the video. I didn’t search for the video until after I finished writing this post and that’s when I found that the version I am looking for, from Champions for Christ, doesn’t exist on YouTube. So, I guess God had His way on this one.


October 30, 2009

The Songs We Sing But Don’t Live

Yesterday evening, as my work in the office was coming to a close, I decided to wind down with Kevin LeVar’s cover of the worship song “I’ll Say Yes”. You know the song… “I’ll say yes, Lord yes, to your will and to your way. I’ll say yes, Lord yes, I will trust you and obey.” ((Fill in the rest.)) LeVar’s version of this song is inherently different, for me, in that it is slow enough for you to meditate on the words as you listen. In my moment of meditation, I realized that so often I have sung these words, yet I have failed to really say yes to the Lord’s will and to His way. I have failed to do this partially because sometimes I am not sure of His will and His way, but also because there are parts of my life that I am still trying to control. Oddly enough they are the parts of my life that I actually don’t want to control, but by force of habit, they are still under my control.

There I was sitting at my desk thinking about this song and the fact that thousands, maybe millions of Christians; Protestant and Catholic; Progressive and Liberal, and whatever other branches there are; have sung this song at least once in their life. Or they have sung songs that have similar concepts. The songs that invite us to lay down our burdens, surrender all, enter into His presence and bow down and worship Him, but yet and still it’s hard for us to do those things. It hurt my heart to know that I know all of the words to “I’ll Say Yes” and I can sing it clearly, but I haven’t said yes to everything. And then I remembered the words of a woman whom I now consider my spiritual mentor.

Just one week ago we had a discussion about discernment and some decision-making I have ahead of me. But as she heard me talk about the reasoning behind making these decisions, she pointed out to me that I was being ruled by logic and practicality, when God, and trusting in His plan for my life, is neither logical or practical. So she mentioned the classic hymn, “I Surrender All”. She talked about how I must have known the song since I was a child, because all Christians do. She mentioned how we know how to sing it so passionately, with our hands uplifted and our eyes closed, but nothing of ourselves is lifted to be that surrendered.  But then she remarked that we must pray to God to know our own willingness to surrender to Him. She said that the days of singing that song are over because it is clear that there are very few people who sing it and live it. But there are many people who sing it and have the desire to surrender all, but they don’t have the capacity to do so. To this she said we must pray and ask God to take that desire and give us the capacity to be willing to surrender. She said that it’s ok if you are not there yet–meaning not fully there with “I Surrender All”. God knows. But what He also wants to know is when you have surrendered to the concept of surrendering to Him. And right there, she gave me my prayer as she said, “Be ready to be ready. Be willing to be willing. Surrender to the concept of surrendering.” And that is now my prayer as often as I can remember to say it,

“Lord, I AM ready to be ready for you. I am willing to be willing to do what you want me to do. And I surrender myself to the concept of surrendering to you. Make this all real to me and not just a song to sing. Make these words real in my life. Make them real in the life of every person who I know who may have sung them without meaning, without understanding and without the true intention of saying yes to you or surrendering all to you. We don’t want to just sing the songs and not live it out in our lives. We want to sing the song, proclaim the message and show it by the lives we live. Give us the capacity to say yes to you always and to the courage to surrender to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

 

October 27, 2009

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Yesterday evening, before I retired to my bed, I heard, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”. It is a hymn that I am all too familiar with and yet last night I felt like I was hearing it with new ears. The refrain, “All I have needed thy hands have provided” kept running through my mind. As I was getting ready for bed, I couldn’t help but to think of how true that is and yet I know I walk around acting like I think God could give me so much more. I ask God day after day for the things I think I so desperately need and then I throw up my hands when I feel he hasn’t delivered. Or maybe I just keep on asking without realizing that God’s silence on a matter is an answer within itself. You’ve heard it before, “His delay is not a denial.”

But really, all I have needed his hands have provided. Morning by morning new mercies I see at His hands when He allows me to wake up and see with my two eyes of relatively good vision a new day He has created. He allows me to step down from my high bed and touch the wooden floor beneath me and then to walk around my bedroom through my living room and to the kitchen to fix the food that His hands have provided. From there He gives me enough consciousness to read the word His hands have provided and to speak to Him in prayer with the voice his hands has provided. Thereafter I am vested with enough strength to get ready and clothed for the day ahead of me His hands has provided. He protects me from dangers seen and unseen as I head to the job His hands have provided. His hands have provided me my work, no one else’s. And in thinking about it, my cause for complaint is–or should be–squelched because I am working unto Him. He blesses me with amazing colleagues. Amazing family and friends in life and an amazing life in general. All I have needed at this point in time in my life, His hands have provided. I have and should have no cause for complaint. How fortunate am I that He just keeps on providing my every need according to His riches in glory. How fortunate am I to live in–or aspire to live–in a state of mind that if God does nothing else for me, I will know that He has been good to me to me always. All I have needed His hands have provided. Great is thy faithfulness toward me.

May 19, 2009

Songs For Your Wait

I happened to be checking the search terms that have brought people to my blog and I noticed that one of them was “songs about waiting for God’s will.” And since I consider myself the princess of contemporary gospel music, I thought I’d offer my personal picks for songs to listen to while you tarry.

  1. “I Don’t Mind Waiting” Juanita Bynum: I discovered this song a couple of months ago while listening to Pandora—which I have to thank for much of my new music acquisitions over the last few months. We all know Bynum as a troubled woman of sorts, but I will not refute her ability to minister through her own brokenness and she does so masterfully in this song. All she does is repeat the phrase, “I don’t mind waiting”. And you know? That’s all that necessary because it’s the repetition that cements the lesson.
  2. “I Trust You” James Fortune & Fiya: I heard this song during one of my weekends in Atlanta last fall. Every time I got into a car, this song would play. It was the theme of the weekend and I felt as though God needed me to hear it because it was during a time when I had some decisions to make. He needed me to know that of all the people I could run to, He’s the safest place and he will lead me to the right place.
  3. “Victory” Brenda Water: My best friend used to play this song frequently when we lived together. It seemed like every morning I woke up to Brenda Waters’ singing, “I don’t know how, God’s gonna do it.” There were times when I was annoyed because she was one of those people who, when they liked a song and played it, they’d let it repeat over and over again. But when she let me borrow the CD once day, I ended up doing the same thing. Waters core message is that despite not knowing when God will come through for us, He will come through, and when He does there will be victory.
  4. “God’s Will Is What I Want” New G & Ricky Dillard: One Sunday morning our splendiferous-ly wonderful young adult choir sung this song and I couldn’t help but jump to my feet. Many of the older congregants didn’t understand what the choir was singing because the “God’s Will Is What I Want” chorus is repeated quite swiftly but once they caught on, the church was jamming. And the song is just simple. “God Is What I Want” is repeated so many times that even if you didn’t want it in the beginning you will want it in the end.
  5. “There Is No Place” Fred Hammond: I love me some Fred Hammond. Before him, I had no idea gospel music, music to my Lord and Savior, could be so romantic—I’m serious about this. Well that’s beside the point but I had to just say that. Anyways, this song came to me a few years ago when Hammond’s CD “Free to Worship” was released. It’s it about the will of God and the fact that there is no place better than being in it.  Simply put.
  6. “If It’s Not You” Joann Rosario: As a single woman, I am always tempted to go out and rectify my singleness situation by myself, but by doing so, I’d get myself in a whole heap of trouble and that’s where Joann Rosario’s song comes in. I heard this song one day I couldn’t help but rejoice at the fact that God sent me a reminder in song form that I can’t even waste an iota of time dealing with anyone who isn’t Him, for Him, or from Him. I listen to this song when I am feeling vulnerable and am in the position to compromise myself and go outside of His will. Once Rosario sings, “If it’s not you, I don’t want it at all. If it’s not You, Lord You’re the real, real. There’s nobody else I can trust with my heart. So I stand assured, Lord You are the real.”I just let those words minister to my heart and it helps me to remember that God is the lover of my soul.

Interestingly enough, as I wrote this list, and noticed that many of the songs lead with trust instead of out rightly speaking about God’s will, I realized it was important to mention that trust is the necessary part of waiting for God’s will to be manifested in your life. We can’t earnestly wait if we aren’t honestly trusting God. Trust Him fully, surrender yourself and your notion of preference and wait on the Lord to do His work.

So that’s my list, not at all comprehensive. What would you add?

April 7, 2009

Take My Breath Away

This afternoon, as I was winding down from a full day’s work, Israel Houghton’s “Breathe In Me” came on my iPod. As Israel breathlessly sung about the Lord taking his breath away, I thought about how people talk about men or women taking their breath away by their earthly beauty or some earthly attribute. For one second, I even thought I might like to say the same about the man I will walk toward on my wedding day. That is until, in my daydream, the man I was walking toward was Jesus. I was getting married to the lover of my soul and my breath was really being taken away at the sight and thought of it.

Just one moment took me from daydreaming about a temporal love to coming to realizing that my every step on this earth is a part of my bridal march down the aisle toward an everlasting love who I will be with in eternity. Talk about breathtaking…

February 13, 2009

St. Francis’ Sermon to the Birds

For the past few weeks I have been reading about the life of St. Francis of Assisi and in that time I have built up a truly profound admiration for his life in Christ. Today I think my admiration turned into love as I read about how he extended his love to God’s creation through a sermon to the birds of the air. As I read it, I just smiled in an amazement at how this man took his worship of God to another level and decided that preaching to humans about God’s goodness was not enough. And so, without further delay, I want to share with you, St. Francis’ sermon to the birds of the air.

“My brothers, birds you should praise your very Creator very much and always love him; he gave you feathers to clothe you, wings so that you can fly, and whatever else was necessary for you. God made you noble among his creatures, and he gave you a home in the purity of the air; though you neither sow nor reap, he nevertheless protects and governs you without any solicitude on your part.”

Thomas of Celano records that the birds stretched their necks and extended their wings as Francis walked among them touching them and blessing them.

–Excerpted from “The Lessons of St. Francis: How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality Into Your Daily Life” by John Michael Talbot with Steve Rabey

And I smile…

February 11, 2009

A Heavenly Break

Filed under: God,spirituality,worship — nickisym @ 10:11 am
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My current obsession is with Taize, a monastery located in the Taize region of France that is well known for facilitating pilgrimages for young adults ages 17-29. If it is God’s will, I hope to be there this summer. As a prelude to my trip and as an offering to you, here is a video with Flash images of the Taize worship experience and a hymn sung in Taize style. It’s truly beauitful. 

Have a blessed day.

February 9, 2009

Love Songs to the Father

Filed under: God,gospel music,worship — nickisym @ 12:26 am
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With Valentine’s Day upon us and many rushing out to buy boxes of chocolate, dozens of roses and shiny jewels it is easy to forget who is at the foundation of all of this love. I used to hate the day and acknowledge it only by dressing in all black because I had no earthly person to celebrate it with, but I’ve grown and discovered the greatest love of all. In honor of the love of my life, I wanted to share my top five love songs to Him this Valentine’s Day. 

5. Being With You by Marcus Cole– We always know how to wax poetic about the people we are–or were–with. I can think of a few memories of past likes and loves and paint a beautiful picture. He knew how to make me feel like I was the most beautiful girl in the world. I felt completely comfortable with him. I’ve never felt so compelled to do right by one person in my entire life. But why is it so easy for us to paint the picture for a mere mortal and not the immortal? That’s where Cole fills in the gap. He captures the beauty of the best relationship that we have, our relationship with God, in the words, “With you I can let my guard down, with you I can pour my heart out, with you life is so secure and I love being with you.” Everytime I hear it, I just want to go home, turn off the lights and just be with Him.

4. Nothing Ever Mattered by Virtue– You’ve experienced it before. You meet someone and you can’t imagine how you got along without them. They completely change your life and it strikes you that now that this person is in your life, nothing else matters. That’s God.

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