Song: Clean Bandit ‘Rather Be’

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Scripture: Proverbs 8:30-31 I was the architect at his side.I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence.And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!

 

Have you ever noticed how small children are able to turn practically anything into a game? I was talking to a friend who was babysitting his nieces the other day and he could not believe how contented and happy his 2 year old niece was, playing with a bed sheet. She would put it over her head and pretend she was a ghost, then she would hook the elasticated corner of the sheet over her head like a hat and pretend she was a princess with a long gown. She found all manner of things to do with that simple bed sheet that made her smile and giggle to herself. What struck me the most though, was the fact that if my friend left the room for any reason while she was playing with the sheet and she had deemed it time for a costume change, she would search for her uncle with urgency to show him the latest creation and only once she had shown it to him did she seem truly pleased with herself.

Listening to Clean Bandit’s house hit ‘Rather Be’ always conjures up images similar to my friend and his niece in my mind, only in my imagination I want to be the niece and would like the uncle role to be played by God. You see I don’t believe it was the sheet that  was making this little girl happy at all, it was the fact that she was in the presence of her most beloved uncle. There she felt safe, loved and free to express herself in anyway she wished. So though a bed sheet is up there with the least exciting things of all time, she did not need a fancy doll’s house or Dora the explorer toy. Her delight was in her uncle and every time he smiled at her latest creation, well that made it all worth the while and spurred her on not to think about the toys that she had at her house but to be happy to continue playing with whatever she could find at her uncle’s house.

This is not to say that if someone walked in with her favourite toy and gave it to her she would ignore it. I am sure she would discard the sheet and find a new game to play with the toy. In the same way we should learn to be content with the situations that we are in, but prepared to take any new opportunities that come our way. The song says ‘If you gave me a chance I would take it’ and if we are truly able to make the Lord our delight and be prepared to trust him in any situation, then we, will be able to make Proverbs 8:31 true in our lives and be happy with the world; not because it is perfect but because we are sure of who is with us and when we are with him there will be no place we’d rather be!

Song: John Legend ‘All Of Me’

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Scripture: Ephesians 5:31 ‘For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.’

I recently had the pleasure of attending the wedding of two friends who had met at university 7 years ago, dated for 3 years and then decided to get married. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to be a part of a romance that had taken a while to come to fruition and will hopefully spend the next 60 years maturing into the vision of unity that God envisaged when he created the institution of marriage.

In this day and age, the word love is carelessly thrown around with no thought as to its actual meaning and marriage seems to be just an excuse to get dressed up and have a day where everything revolves around us. But…after the gown and the cake, the music and the dancing those two people who have made a covenant to one another (and possibly before God depending on the individuals involved) actually need to go off and start the real work.

Being a female and in my mid 20s it will come as no surprise to anyone when I say that marriage is something that occupies my thoughts. Yet what you may find surprising is that the more I think about it, the more comfortable I become with waiting for it to happen to me. This is not to say that I do not wish to get married I am one of the girliest girls there ever was in this respect. I would love nothing more than for my prince charming to come riding into my life on a white stallion, swoop me into his arms and ride off into the happily ever after with me. Oh and since we are dreaming here let’s not forget the gigantic rock that will mean I need a crane to lift my finger!

On a more serious note however, in order for a marriage to work both parties need to be prepared to give 100% all of the time without expecting anything in return. It sounds crazy, but that is the level of commitment that is required.Only this will ensure a marriage that stands the test of time, because giving 100% will mean your spouse is getting the absolute best of you with no holes barred yet it is the not expecting anything in return that is really key as this is the part that ensures that your love is genuine and will not be taken away from your partner as soon as  they fall short of your expectations of them.

When I caught this revelation suddenly marriage was not so appealing because it wasn’t simply a lovey dovey celebration but a long hard slog that two people have promised to endure together, BEFORE the obstacle course of life has revealed what it will throw at them.

John Legend’s song ‘All Of Me’ captures this idea beautifully, you really need to give your all to your spouse and they need to do so also. I love the way he has phrased it because it really highlights the fact that emotions aside it does actually need to be a conscious decision because that’s the only way you can get through the challenge!

I would love to hear people’s thoughts on this post so please do comment and let’s discuss!

Song: Katy Perry ‘Unconditionally’

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Scripture: Revelation 3:20 – Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with him and he with me.

 

If someone knocked on your door today and said “I love you, I want to give my best to you” I am sure the door would be shut in haste and words along the lines of “nutter” would escape your lips, in anger at the unnecessary disturbance to your day. If however the person persisted and you heard the rest of what they had to say, and you then noticed this individual was not in anyway mentally unhinged or deranged but was in fact completely lucid the question that would follow would be “What’s the catch?”

In a world where there is no such thing as something for nothing such a notion seems completely absurd, particularly to unbelievers…..or does it?

As foreign as the concept is in this dog eat dog world it is very interesting that people nevertheless find it a comforting idea that somebody could love them no matter what. Katy Perry’s power pop ballad  ‘Unconditionally’ sings of this exact love. The sort that God shovels on us by the ton. And the good news is there is no catch! It really is a love that can never be deserved, earned or lost. As revelations 3:20 states, the Lord stands at the door knocking, so the question is, will you answer?

Katy Perry ‘Unconditionally’

 

Song: The Modern Post – ‘Grace Alone’

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Scripture: Ephesians 2:8 – 9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not yourselves, it is the gift of God not by

works so that no one can boast.”

 

We’ve all heard the saying ‘no one likes a know it all’ and yet when it comes to our Lord  the most high God, the only being who can actually profess to know it all (Daniel 2: 21) it seems this is not at all true.

Jehovah loves a know it all! Well, just to put this into context he does not like the causes such an attitude but nevertheless loves us in spite of this.

indeed listening to the modern post’s wonderful account of the Lord’s pursuit of us, his pride filled children who think we know it all; there is no denying the fact that God is truly merciful. His love gently pursues us and his son atoned us from sin. His grace empowers us to face every situation as conquerors not our knowledge, beauty, strength, works, wealth or any other attribute. It is as Ephesians 2:8 says by Grace that we have been saved! By grace we have been saved! By Grace and grace alone!

Song: Alesha Dixon ‘Breathe Slow’

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Scripture: Ecclesiastes 7:9

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

 

If the search was on for a picture of someone who epitomised the expression “motor mouth” I am pretty sure my mugshot would stand an extremely good chance of being chosen.

 

I cannot count how many times I have been asked the question “Do you not think before you speak?” Though I know I should engage brain power before mouth action begins, I tend to find myself speaking the thoughts that are entering my mind before they have fully had a chance to take shape. The result, as I’m sure you can imagine, is a worsening of whatever situation has stirred up frustration within me. Yet more than that, at times, I myself am surprised by the cutting remarks that are able to push their way past all rationality and out of my mouth.

 

Needless to say, writing this post felt a little too close to home as I very much struggle with being slow to speak (James 1:19). Refraining from blurting out my piece of mind is something that I struggle with daily and it is probably the reason why I loved Alesha Dixon’s pop track ‘Breathe Slow’ as soon as I heard it.

 

It has been a few years since she released this track, right after finding out that her husband had had an affair with someone she had dared to call a friend. The lyrics are not particularly profound, with the chorus being the exact sort of thing mothers say to little girls to calm them down. However that is probably also the beauty of it.

 

It doesn’t just apply to females; taking that extra breath before offering a response could make all the difference between saying and / or doing something you live to regret. Dealing with a situation as a rational person who speaks not as they find but as is fitting and beneficial to the circumstance you are faced with.

I don’t know about you but I certainly have my work cut out. Here’s to many a deep breath!!!!

Click here to listen to Breathe Slow.

Other useful scriptures on this topic are:

Proverbs 18:13

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

Proverbs 29:20

Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

Song: Lovelite – ‘All fair’

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Scripture: Songs of Solomon 4:7 – “You are all fair, my love; there is no spot in you.”

Imagine you’re world renowned, recognised the world over for your incredible talent and beauty; and you’re on your way to a ceremony where your greatness is going to be praised. Dressed all in white and looking immaculate you are walking down the red carpet with adoring fans screaming hysterically, simply because they have had the privilege of catching a fleeting glimpse of you. Suddenly a man, filthy and distressed pushes his way out in front of you. He approaches slowly at first then picks up the pace. His face filled equally with desperation as it is with fear he opens his arms wide and stops in front of you. He wants a hug!

Would you stop to hug him, or would you be more preoccupied about the fact that you look flawless but hugging him could change that? If you are at all like me then the latter would have been your first consideration.  Yet, listening to the chorus of Lovelite’s atmospheric pop track ‘All fair’ it is clear that we are the filthy ones pushing our way out before God, desiring to be embraced. He is pure, holy and ever merciful; so in spite of constantly having choirs of angels singing his praises he always stops to hold us in his arms whenever we take ourselves before him.

Just as in Luke 15: 22 the father was so willing, not only to embrace the prodigal son, in spite of him probably smelling like one of the pigs he had been sharing lodgings with, but also to get him cleaned up and celebrate him! So it is with our God. He is spotless, so pure we cannot begin to fathom it yet he still embraces us, washes us clean and celebrates every time we come to him. Our father, God almighty calls for a new robe which is his covering over us eradicating all that has gone before, and as if that was not enough he also gives us a ring signifying his power so we are free to operate in his authority. Is it not awesome that our blemish free and holy God would not only let into his presence as filthy as we are but that he takes the time to clean us up and then goes a step further to allow us to operate in his power here on earth? I don’t know about you but to me it is wonderful!

Check out Lovelite’s incredible shoegazey track ‘All Fair’ here.

NB. It’s totally random but the analogy I used kind of reminded me of lady and the tramp and being an avid Disney fan I couldn’t resist the chance to add a bit of Disney sparkle to this post.

 

Song: Emeli Sande ‘Breaking the Law’

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Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:27 – But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

 
It seems somewhat oxymoronic to discuss God and breaking the law in the same sentence let alone having a whole blog post dedicated to the idea. However the more I listened to Emeli Sande’s beautiful ballad which she wrote for her sister, the more apparent it became that the love Emeli describes is just like the love our Lord has for us.
God does in fact break the law just to ensure that we his children are well catered for. This notion forms the very fabric of our faith, and there are countless testimonies and stories in the bible to prove that the natural order of things have been disrupted by God in order to place his children exactly where he wants them to be.
Take Joseph for example, he was an imprisoned slave and yet still managed to rise to Prime Minister in the same nation he had been enslaved in. You might argue that there is no modern day example of such things happening but then Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long walk to freedom’ springs to mind. After 27 years imprisonment he rose up to be the leader of the same nation he had been protesting against. The bible says that God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and this literally means God disrupts the order that the world has prescribed in favour of his plans.
However in order for the principle to operate fully in our lives we must as the song so rightly states ‘ignore the alarms’. In the context of God being at work and turning our hopeless situations around that means not looking at the present circumstances and letting that inform our next move but trusting that he has a plan and obeying whatever instructions he gives. No story demonstrates this better than that of the Israelites exodus from Egypt. Standing with the red sea in front of them and pharaoh’s army hot on their heels, Moses epitomised the idea of ignoring the alarms and the police. Picture it, the thundering sound of Egypt’s army approaching in the behind them, coupled with the murmurings of the people he is leading to safety. I am sure he thought ‘it’s all over’ and then God spoke and told him to hold out his staff. If it were me I would have thought ‘really?!’. Moses however went along with it, irrespective of what he thought and God defied the laws of physics to deliver his people from the hands of their oppressor. His is a love that has defied laws for centuries and will continue to do so. Click here to listen to Breaking the law.