Shopping Spree: Music Edition

I have decided to do something a bit different for this post. Within the past couple of days I have bought some songs on my ipod, so I am going to list what those are and why I bought them.

The first is Oh My Soul by Casting Crowns. This is off of their most recent album The Very Next Thing. This song originally got my attention, because it was the song that the lead singer wrote when he was diagnosed with cancer. The brutal honesty about how one feels and what people’s tendencies are when suffering is rather refreshing. I especially like the second verse

Here and now
You can be honest
I won’t try to promise that someday it all works out
‘Cause this is the valley
And even now, He is breathing on your dry bones
And there will be dancing
There will be beauty where beauty was ash and stone
This much I know

I love this verse especially because it is honest, encouraging, and a bit poetic. All around I highly recommend this song it will encourage you in whatever difficulty you are facing at the moment.

The second is Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara. I have to be completely honest and say while this song has a cool message I haven’t studied the lyrics enough to totally understand the depth of what she is saying. The message is clear, but there seems to be quite a bit of depth to this song. This song is one of those “you’re beautiful how you are right now. People need to stop being so cruel to each other/hard on themselves” songs. What sets this song apart for me is the second verse (Yes again. I am a sucker for the second verse of songs. They’re so overlooked)

She has dreams to be an envy, so she’s starving
You know, “Covergirls eat nothing.”
She says, “Beauty is pain and there’s beauty in everything.”
“What’s a little bit of hunger?”
“I could go a little while longer,” she fades away
She don’t see her perfect, she don’t understand she’s worth it
Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface
Ah oh, ah ah oh,
So to all the girls that’s hurting
Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within

I see the first half of this verse in so many people I know. Most people I know are not starving themselves so that they can be a certain size, but they are pushing themselves far past their limits. They say to themselves “I can go a little while longer” then fade away. This fade looks different on everyone; it can be spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, or even all of the above. I like this song because it reminds you to take care of yourself.

The next is the clean version of I Took a Pill in Ibiza (Seeb Remix) by Mike Posner. I heard this song on the radio in my car the other day and had a full on jam session while waiting in traffic, so obviously I had to buy it. I don’t have anything deep about this one it’s just something I would likely put on a road trip mix.

The next is sunshine by blanca. My aunt recommended this to me a month or two back; I like it because it’s upbeat/Jesusy and the actual music has a cool island vibe. This is something I would listen to while baking or getting ready on a lazy morning. It puts me in a better mood.

Last but not least is My Lighthouse by Rend Collective off of their album Campfire II: Simplicity. This was recommended to me by a friend today. I have heard this before, but it had been years. I immediately remembered how much I love it. I chose this particular version, because it seemed to have a bit more of an acoustic/bluegrass feel versus what seemed to be their more popular version. I like it because I can see myself listening to this before a more extended quiet time to help center myself and get into a spirit of worship.

I hope this introduced you to a song or two to get into.

I added youtube links to each song!

Have a great week friends!

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It’s All About Thinking of Yourself Less

For this particular post I am shamelessly taking inspiration from one of the songs we are going over in children’s choir for the upcoming musical. The song is called “Self Less” and shocker it’s about being selfless. I absolutely adore how they go about taking on such a common and easily forgotten topic. The entire musical does this in a very cutesy way, but I love this particular song.

The song starts off talking about the little boy who gave the two fish and five loaves of bread when Jesus fed the five thousand. Actually when I went to the gospels to find whether the little boy was a part of feeding the four thousand or five thousand I was not able to find even a mention of the little boy being the one who gave the food until the gospel of John (chapter 6). This honestly makes it pretty clear to me how insignificant this little guy was in the eyes of society. It would have been easy for him to say “How will my food help feed thousands of people? I won’t even bother.” However he did and because it was Jesus, he was used. Our Lord and Savior uses insignificant people like you and I who just want to love and bless others.

The next part of the song is a chorus that I’ll talk about later, after the chorus is a verse about the Good Samaritan. For this passage I went to Luke 10:25. The poor traveler was robbed and beaten almost to death. You would think that the religious guys who passed by him would have helped since they were devoted to doing the work of God, but for various reasons they were both too holy to help. Now the passage never says why they passed by on the other side, but there is certainly commentary and speculation out there if you are more interested in the why. The third guy was a Samaritan since our poor traveler was on the way from Jerusalem it’s a pretty safe bet that this guy was a Jew and in an area in which Samaritans weren’t welcome. Once again if you are interested in the why on either of these things there’s certainly commentary and speculation out there. Since the Samaritan was in a place where he was so unwelcomed it would have been easy for him to also pass by, but he didn’t. He took care of traveler and paid for him to be cared for even after he left. This Samaritan was very clearly not liked by the people surrounding him. There was a lot of prejudice against him, but he helped anyway. Our Lord and Savior is one who loves those that society does not and He uses them to bless the lives of others.

Now for the chorus, honestly it’s my favorite part of the song because it ties these two stories together so well. It says “If you’re looking for ways to be like Jesus, how you can live so people are blessed. It’s not about thinking less of yourself, it’s all about thinking of yourself less.” Both of these stories could have easily ended with “I’m not significant enough” or “I’m not welcomed in this area, staying to help this guy could mean bad things for me”, but they didn’t. Both people helped even though they weren’t likely candidates. They didn’t let their shortcomings or the fact that they felt uncomfortable stop them, instead they focused on the need at hand and gave what they could. I love that this chorus focuses on not thinking less of ourselves. I can’t count the amount of times that I let a pity party ruin an opportunity to bless someone else, I was so focused on myself and my shortcomings I completely forgot about the other person. Remember it’s not about thinking less of yourself, it’s all about thinking of yourself less.

This Child That You Delivered Will Soon Deliver You

The only way I know how to start this is by stating that the Christmas season is stressful, sad, and hard. This is not new no one is reading this and going “What?! It is?!” it’s something we all experience and try our best to ignore and/or hide. Something I’ve been thinking about over the past few days is the fact that we get so busy and caught up in the “mandatory” good things about Christmas that we forget why it’s so important and amazing. We get caught up in being with family, doing nice things for people, and yes even celebrating a precious child in a manger. We get so caught up in and stressed out because of these things that we forget that the reason Christmas is one of the best holidays is because that precious child grew up and made himself a human sacrifice so that the imperfections that we are trying so desperately to hide -especially this time of year- can be covered and we can have a relationship with the God of the universe.

A song that has also been on my mind the past few days is “Mary did you know?” It was written by a hilarious Christian comedian named Mark Lowry, now for this song he took a quite serious turn as he contemplated how incredible it is that the child Mary delivered would be the one who would deliver us from sin. To be honest the entire song does a great job of hashing out this idea, but the most striking line to me is “This child that you delivered will soon deliver you”. Yes, Jesus was a baby and we celebrate his life coming into the world this time of year, but what is even more important is the life that we receive through that life.

Psalm 124 says

“1 If the Lord had not been on our side—
let Israel say—
if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
they would have swallowed us alive
when their anger flared against us;
the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
the raging waters
would have swept us away.

Praise be to the Lord,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Friends as we face stress, sadness, and hardship particularly during this season when there is an expectation to constantly be happy remember that the Lord is on our side. He is so much on our side that He gave his son to cover our imperfections and make a way to have a relationship with Him.

Merry Christmas!