Top 25 Songs for the Week of September 15, 2014

Every weekday at 11am (ct) I post a “Song of the Day” on my twitter feed (@mattclen2). Each “Song of the Day” is a recently released or currently played song which I think has some unique or interesting quality. Not all of them are great songs (though many are), but each of them is worth a listen.

Below is my compilation of the “Top 25 Songs of the Day”. Each Song of the Day is rotated onto the list for at least one week. The twenty other songs are carry-overs from previous weeks. This ranking is my opinion of the best music currently out there.

1. Rather Be by Clean Bandit ft Jess Glynne
Last Week: 5
Tweeted: August 11, 2014
Album: New Eyes
Released: June 17, 2014
Genre: Dance

2. American Kids by Kenny Chesney
Last Week: 2
Tweeted: August 18, 2014
Album: American Kids
Released: June 20, 2014
Genre: Country

3. Gunpowder on the Letter by Cody Chesnutt ft. Gary Clark Jr.
Last Week: 7
Tweeted: July 11, 2014
Album: Landing on A Hundred: B Sides and Remixes
Released: March 11, 2014
Genre: Alternative

4. Boy by John Mark Nelson
Last Week: 10
Tweeted: August 21, 2014
Album: Sings the Moon
Released: June 24, 2014
Genre: Alternative

5. Dirt by Florida Georgia Line
Last Week: 11
Tweeted: August 5, 2014
Album: Dirt
Released: July 8, 2014
Genre: Country

6. Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz
Last Week: 1
Tweeted: June 24, 2014
Album: Am I Wrong
Released: February 18, 2014
Genre: Pop

7. Riptide by Vance Joy
Last Week: 4
Tweeted: February 5, 2014
Album: God Loves You When You’re Dancing
Released: September 3, 2013
Genre: Alternative

8. Carousel Ride by Rubblebucket
Last Week: 3
Tweeted: August 4, 2014
Album: Carousel Ride
Released: July 22, 2014
Genre: Rock

9. Bang Data by Bang Data
Last Week: 9
Tweeted: September 12, 2014
Album: Maldito Carnaval
Released: October 6, 2009
Genre: Alternative

10. A Long Day by Mally
Last Week: 6
Tweeted: July 4, 2014
Album: The Colors of Black
Released: April 8, 2014
Genre: Hip Hop

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Best Links of the Week

I pass along quite a bit of content over the course of a week through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. Below are the most popular items from the last week.

Do Brave Stuff by Jon Acuff

21 Essential Traits For Creative Leadership by Stephen Brewster

7 Tips to Speed Up the Decluttering Process by Becoming Minimalist

 

 

 

7 Ways to Powerfully Lead Through Problems by Leadership Freak

 

 

 

Mary Poppins Was Right. Go Ahead And Feed The Birds, Michael by Walt Hickey

 

 

 

When It’s Not Time to Quit by Thom Rainer

 

Have a great weekend!

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Top 25 Songs for the Week of September 8, 2014

Every weekday at 11am (ct) I post a “Song of the Day” on my twitter feed (@mattclen2). Each “Song of the Day” is a recently released or currently played song which I think has some unique or interesting quality. Not all of them are great songs (though many are), but each of them is worth a listen.

Below is my compilation of the “Top 25 Songs of the Day”. Each Song of the Day is rotated onto the list for at least one week. The twenty other songs are carry-overs from previous weeks. This ranking is my opinion of the best music currently out there.

1. Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz
Last Week: 1
Tweeted: June 24, 2014
Album: Am I Wrong
Released: February 18, 2014
Genre: Pop

2. American Kids by Kenny Chesney
Last Week: 3
Tweeted: August 18, 2014
Album: American Kids
Released: June 20, 2014
Genre: Country

3. Carousel Ride by Rubblebucket
Last Week: 6
Tweeted: August 4, 2014
Album: Carousel Ride
Released: July 22, 2014
Genre: Rock

4. Riptide by Vance Joy
Last Week: 2
Tweeted: February 5, 2014
Album: God Loves You When You’re Dancing
Released: September 3, 2013
Genre: Alternative

5. Rather Be by Clean Bandit ft Jess Glynne
Last Week: 5
Tweeted: August 11, 2014
Album: New Eyes
Released: June 17, 2014
Genre: Dance

6. A Long Day by Mally
Last Week: 4
Tweeted: July 4, 2014
Album: The Colors of Black
Released: April 8, 2014
Genre: Hip Hop

7. Gunpowder on the Letter by Cody Chesnutt ft. Gary Clark Jr.
Last Week: 10
Tweeted: July 11, 2014
Album: Landing on A Hundred: B Sides and Remixes
Released: March 11, 2014
Genre: Alternative

8. Change Your Ways or Die by The Cactus Blossoms
Last Week: 17
Tweeted: September 5, 2014
Album: Live At the Turf Club
Released: December 5, 2013
Genre: Folk

9. Bang Data by Bang Data
Last Week: –
Tweeted: September 12, 2014
Album: Maldito Carnaval
Released: October 6, 2009
Genre: Alternative

10. Boy by John Mark Nelson
Last Week: 7
Tweeted: August 21, 2014
Album: Sings the Moon
Released: June 24, 2014
Genre: Alternative

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Top 25 Songs for the Week of September 1, 2014

Every weekday at 11am (ct) I post a “Song of the Day” on my twitter feed (@mattclen2). Each “Song of the Day” is a recently released or currently played song which I think has some unique or interesting quality. Not all of them are great songs (though many are), but each of them is worth a listen.

Below is my compilation of the “Top 25 Songs of the Day”. Each Song of the Day is rotated onto the list for at least one week. The twenty other songs are carry-overs from previous weeks. This ranking is my opinion of the best music currently out there.

1. Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz
Last Week: 1
Tweeted: June 24, 2014
Album: Am I Wrong
Released: February 18, 2014
Genre: Pop

2. Riptide by Vance Joy
Last Week: 3
Tweeted: February 5, 2014
Album: God Loves You When You’re Dancing
Released: September 3, 2013
Genre: Alternative

3. American Kids by Kenny Chesney
Last Week: 10
Tweeted: August 18, 2014
Album: American Kids
Released: June 20, 2014
Genre: Country

4. A Long Day by Mally
Last Week: 2
Tweeted: July 4, 2014
Album: The Colors of Black
Released: April 8, 2014
Genre: Hip Hop

5. Rather Be by Clean Bandit ft Jess Glynne
Last Week: 6
Tweeted: August 11, 2014
Album: New Eyes
Released: June 17, 2014
Genre: Dance

6. Carousel Ride by Rubblebucket
Last Week: 5
Tweeted: August 4, 2014
Album: Carousel Ride
Released: July 22, 2014
Genre: Rock

7. Boy by John Mark Nelson
Last Week: 4
Tweeted: August 21, 2014
Album: Sings the Moon
Released: June 24, 2014
Genre: Alternative

8. Cruel City by Augustines
Last Week: 11
Tweeted: March 5, 2014
Album: Cruel City
Released: September 10, 2013
Genre: Alternative

9. Dirt by Florida Georgia Line
Last Week: 7
Tweeted: August 5, 2014
Album: Dirt
Released: July 8, 2014
Genre: Country

10. Gunpowder on the Letter by Cody Chesnutt ft. Gary Clark Jr.
Last Week: 12
Tweeted: July 11, 2014
Album: Landing on A Hundred: B Sides and Remixes
Released: March 11, 2014
Genre: Alternative

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Top 25 Songs for the Week of August 25, 2014

Every weekday at 11am (ct) I post a “Song of the Day” on my twitter feed (@mattclen2). Each “Song of the Day” is a recently released or currently played song which I think has some unique or interesting quality. Not all of them are great songs (though many are), but each of them is worth a listen.

Below is my compilation of the “Top 25 Songs of the Day”. Each Song of the Day is rotated onto the list for at least one week. The twenty other songs are carry-overs from previous weeks. This ranking is my opinion of the best music currently out there.

1. Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz
Last Week: 1
Tweeted: June 24, 2014
Album: Am I Wrong
Released: February 18, 2014
Genre: Pop

2. A Long Day by Mally
Last Week: 2
Tweeted: July 4, 2014
Album: The Colors of Black
Released: April 8, 2014
Genre: Hip Hop

3. Riptide by Vance Joy
Last Week: 4
Tweeted: February 5, 2014
Album: God Loves You When You’re Dancing
Released: September 3, 2013
Genre: Alternative

4. Boy by John Mark Nelson
Last Week: 13
Tweeted: August 21, 2014
Album: Sings the Moon
Released: June 24, 2014
Genre: Alternative

5. Carousel Ride by Rubblebucket
Last Week: 6
Tweeted: August 4, 2014
Album: Carousel Ride
Released: July 22, 2014
Genre: Rock

6. Rather Be by Clean Bandit ft Jess Glynne
Last Week: 16
Tweeted: August 11, 2014
Album: New Eyes
Released: June 17, 2014
Genre: Dance

7. Dirt by Florida Georgia Line
Last Week: 9
Tweeted: August 5, 2014
Album: Dirt
Released: July 8, 2014
Genre: Country

8. Bitter by Atmosphere
Last Week: 7
Tweeted: August 1, 2014
Album: Southsiders
Released: May 6, 2014
Genre: Rap

9. All About the Bass by Meghan Trainor
Last Week: 3
Tweeted: August 15, 2014
Album: All About the Bass
Released: June 30, 2014
Genre: Pop

10. American Kids by Kenny Chesney
Last Week: 17
Tweeted: August 18, 2014
Album: American Kids
Released: June 20, 2014
Genre: Country

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Sermon: The Expert, the Leader, & the Assistant

I truly appreciate every opportunity to preach that I am given. It is always an honor and a blessing to me. Below is the outline of a sermon I gave last week.

***

Scripture: Exodus 31:1-11

Big Idea: At different times in life we will all take on the roles of expert craftsman, leader, and skilled assistant. At any given time, know which role you are called to, and within that role use your skills to share the love of Jesus with your community.

 

I.                   Introduction

a.       Setting – between the exodus and the exile

                                                              i.      Practically the last of God’s instructions on Mt Sinai

                                                            ii.      Exodus 32 tells of the Golden Calf

b.      Purpose – to create a throne room for God

c.       Scripture: Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, and the ark of testimony, and the mercy seat upon it, and all the furniture of the tent, the table also and its utensils, and the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering also with all its utensils, and the laver and its stand, 10 the woven garments as well, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, with which to carry on their priesthood; 11 the anointing oil also, and the fragrant incense for the holy place, they are to make them according to all that I have commanded you.”

d.      In this passage are three different roles:

                                                              i.      Bezalel

1.      the expert craftsman

2.      filled by God with the spirit of God

                                                            ii.      Moses

1.      the leader

2.      Listens to God

3.      Points others in the direction God is going

                                                          iii.      Oholiab

1.      the skilled assistant

2.      Appointed by God & given skill by God

3.      But the expert responsible for completing the work

4.      A helper

5.      Just as responsible for accomplishing God’s will; but not in charge

e.       These three characters are excellent examples for us because: At different times in life we will all take on the roles of expert craftsman, leader, and skilled assistant. At any given time, know which role you are called to, and within that role use your skills to share the love of Jesus with your community.

 

II.                When we are Bezalel, the expert craftsman…

a.       Who was Bezalel

                                                              i.      Name

1.      “In the shadow of God”

2.      As if to say even the most skilled craftsman is a step behind God

                                                            ii.      Beginnings as a slave & training in Egypt

1.      Imagine humble beginnings first stone carvings

2.      Developing his skills making idols in Egypt

3.      Years in slavery and finally able to use his talents

                                                          iii.      Calling by Moses

1.      Spent his early life getting ready

2.      Only after being called by God through Moses was he unleashed (ch35-40)

                                                          iv.      Legendary candlesticks – particularly blessed

1.      Legend: The candlestick of the sanctuary was of so complicated a nature that Moses could not comprehend it, although God twice showed him a heavenly model; but when he described it to Bezalel, the latter understood immediately, and made it at once

Posted in Community, Genesis, Pastor, Sermon | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Top 25 Songs for the Week of August 18, 2014

Every weekday at 11am (ct) I post a “Song of the Day” on my twitter feed (@mattclen2). Each “Song of the Day” is a recently released or currently played song which I think has some unique or interesting quality. Not all of them are great songs (though many are), but each of them is worth a listen.

Below is my compilation of the “Top 25 Songs of the Day”. Each Song of the Day is rotated onto the list for at least one week. The twenty other songs are carry-overs from previous weeks. This ranking is my opinion of the best music currently out there.

1. Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz
Last Week: 1
Tweeted: June 24, 2014
Album: Am I Wrong
Released: February 18, 2014
Genre: Pop

2. A Long Day by Mally
Last Week: 5
Tweeted: July 4, 2014
Album: The Colors of Black
Released: April 8, 2014
Genre: Hip Hop

3. All About the Bass by Meghan Trainor
Last Week: 6
Tweeted: August 15, 2014
Album: All About the Bass
Released: June 30, 2014
Genre: Pop

4. Riptide by Vance Joy
Last Week: 4
Tweeted: February 5, 2014
Album: God Loves You When You’re Dancing
Released: September 3, 2013
Genre: Alternative

5. Rude by Magic!
Last Week: 3
Tweeted: July 29, 2014
Album: Don’t Kill the Magic
Released: June 3, 2014
Genre: Pop

6. Carousel Ride by Rubblebucket
Last Week: 8
Tweeted: August 4, 2014
Album: Carousel Ride
Released: July 22, 2014
Genre: Rock

7. Bitter by Atmosphere
Last Week: 2
Tweeted: August 1, 2014
Album: Southsiders
Released: May 6, 2014
Genre: Rap

8. Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson
Last Week: 7
Tweeted: June 9, 2014
Album: Lights Out
Released: April 15, 2014
Genre: Pop

9. Dirt by Florida Georgia Line
Last Week: 10
Tweeted: August 5, 2014
Album: Dirt
Released: July 8, 2014
Genre: Country

10. Gunpowder on the Letter by Cody Chesnutt ft. Gary Clark Jr.
Last Week: 9
Tweeted: July 11, 2014
Album: Landing on A Hundred: B Sides and Remixes
Released: March 11, 2014
Genre: Alternative

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Top 25 Songs for the Week of August 11, 2014

Every weekday at 11am (ct) I post a “Song of the Day” on my twitter feed (@mattclen2). Each “Song of the Day” is a recently released or currently played song which I think has some unique or interesting quality. Not all of them are great songs (though many are), but each of them is worth a listen.

Below is my compilation of the “Top 25 Songs of the Day”. Each Song of the Day is rotated onto the list for at least one week. The twenty other songs are carry-overs from previous weeks. This ranking is my opinion of the best music currently out there.

1. Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz
Last Week: 2
Tweeted: June 24, 2014
Album: Am I Wrong
Released: February 18, 2014
Genre: Pop

2. Bitter by Atmosphere
Last Week: 3
Tweeted: August 1, 2014
Album: Southsiders
Released: May 6, 2014
Genre: Rap

3. Rude by Magic!
Last Week: 1
Tweeted: July 29, 2014
Album: Don’t Kill the Magic
Released: June 3, 2014
Genre: Pop

4. Riptide by Vance Joy
Last Week: 5
Tweeted: February 5, 2014
Album: God Loves You When You’re Dancing
Released: September 3, 2013
Genre: Alternative

5. A Long Day by Mally
Last Week: 11
Tweeted: July 4, 2014
Album: The Colors of Black
Released: April 8, 2014
Genre: Hip Hop

6. All About the Bass by Meghan Trainor
Last Week: –
Tweeted: August 15, 2014
Album: All About the Bass
Released: June 30, 2014
Genre: Pop

7. Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson
Last Week: 6
Tweeted: June 9, 2014
Album: Lights Out
Released: April 15, 2014
Genre: Pop

8. Carousel Ride by Rubblebucket
Last Week: 12
Tweeted: August 4, 2014
Album: Carousel Ride
Released: July 22, 2014
Genre: Rock

9. Gunpowder on the Letter by Cody Chesnutt ft. Gary Clark Jr.
Last Week: 13
Tweeted: July 11, 2014
Album: Landing on A Hundred: B Sides and Remixes
Released: March 11, 2014
Genre: Alternative

10. Dirt by Florida Georgia Line
Last Week: 17
Tweeted: August 5, 2014
Album: Dirt
Released: July 8, 2014
Genre: Country

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This Week on the Ashram – 1st Week of August 2014

It’s been a busy week down on the Ashram.

We cleaned out the first of the sweet corn beds and harvested part of the next bed. In total we harvested seven dozen ears of corn; eating a dozen and freezing the other six. The raccoon and opossums have not been as much of a problem as I was expecting. It may be that we have had a mild summer which has left plenty of food in the more secluded woods across the street.

I tried making pickle relish for the first time. It turned out perfectly fine. I don’t know that I am a fan of the flavor and I’m not quite sure how to fix it. I’ll give it another try or two before I give up. It seems to be a wonderful use for all of the cucumbers which I leave on the vine too long.

Muskmelon

I harvested the first of our cantaloupe this last week. They were both the size volleyballs and tasted fantastic. In general this is shaping up to be a great year for the melon crop. We may have more watermelon and muskmelon than we know what to do with before we’re done.

I can’t say the same for the pumpkins. It appears that our early pumpkins were attacked by vine borers. The vines are almost dead. We will get about six small (almost gourd-sized) pumpkins, but I was hoping those vines would be producing for another month or two. Meanwhile our jack-o-lantern and giant pumpkins seem to have been spared the borer, but are yet to set any fruit whatsoever.

Jalapeno

Finally, the pepper crop is just beginning to come on line. I have a nice mix of colors and flavors this year varying from red and yellow sweet lunchbox peppers to jalafuego jalapenos and red habaneros. I pickled the first batch of jalapenos and also made eight half pints of jalapeno jelly (which is delicious). My mother was always a big jelly maker, and I have only just started making my own jelly. The problem with jelly, and canning in general, is that you actually have to follow the recipe, and I would much prefer to make it up as I go along. I find jelly making to be a wonderful way to help me develop and maintain personal discipline.

Looking forward, nothing is going to get done this weekend as I will be spending my time in Chicago at my employer’s annual conference. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with a whole bunch of wonderful people. There are a number of things we need to get done next week:

  • Mow and weed the yard and gardens.
  • Plant the fall leek and broccoli starts.
  • Plant the fall flower starts.
  • Continue harvesting and processing tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, and peppers.
  • Finish threshing the winter wheat.
  • Install grape support wires on the trellis.
  • Clean the front and back porches.
  • Catchup on laundry & dishes and clean the house.

Southern Leopard Frog

On a final note, one of my goals for this year was establish habitats to attract native frogs. In particular I was hoping to attract leopard frogs. I like how leopard frogs sound and I think they are beautiful. There are three varieties of leopard frog that inhabit southeast Iowa: the plains leopard frog (most common), the northern leopard frog (common), and the southern leopard frog (rare). This last week I have seen a number of leopard frogs in our melon beds, in the cranberries, and near the lotus pond. I have yet to see the rare southern leopard frog, but I’m going to keep trying to attract them.

 

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Judges 15 – Sometimes God uses obnoxious people

on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal in Amsterdam

When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily so that the ropes that were on his arms were as flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds dropped from his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, so he reached out and took it and killed a thousand men with it. 16 Then Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, Heaps upon heaps, With the jawbone of a donkey I have killed a thousand men.” 17 When he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he named that place Ramath-lehi. 18 Then he became very thirsty, and he called to the LORD and said, “You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi so that water came out of it. When he drank, his strength returned and he revived. Therefore he named it En-hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. – Judges 15:14-19

***

As a kid I remember the story of Sampson. As it was told to me, Sampson was a man of God who defended Israel from the Philistines who wanted to destroy Israel. His wicked wife tricked him into giving away the secret of his power, his long hair, and his enemies cut his hair and robbed him of his power. Samson then trusted in God one last time and sacrificed himself in order to destroy Israel’s enemies.

The only problem with this version of the story is that it is totally wrong. Samson was a petty, deceptive, manipulative, capricious, violent, intransigent, vindictive, foolish, womanizer.

From before he was born, Samson was set aside to be someone special. The faith of his mother caused him to be blessed by God, and set him in place to be a Judge for Israel. Over and over again God gave Samson opportunities which he squandered. Even when Samson appears to have been faithful to God’s calling he acts like a child. In the above passage Samson becomes angry with God, because after he has slaughtered “a thousand men” he is thirsty and God has not immediately provided a beverage.

No complaining! by Jean Browman

Have you met people like that in your life? People who continuously gripe and complain to God about not having something, and then it seems that God goes ahead and gives it to them anyway.

Based upon the scripture as a whole, I would say that Samson’s attitude in this passage is not to be normative; in general we should not act like Samson. However, sometimes God uses obnoxious people.

I encourage you to live a life of peace, simplicity, integrity, and humility; because, maybe then your last act won’t be to pull a house down on you and your enemies. Of course, there are no guarantees.

Application:

  • Go out of your way to bless an obnoxious person this week.
  • Write down the last time you childishly complained to God about not meeting your needs.
  • Set the goal for the next week of having a fantastic attitude; no matter what happens.

Queries:

  • Do others perceive you as obnoxious?
  • Who are the obnoxious people in your life that God seems to use and bless?
  • Why might it be better to live a life of peace, simplicity, integrity, and humility rather than living as a petty, deceptive, manipulative, capricious, violent, intransigent, vindictive, foolish, womanizer?
Posted in Bible Study, Integrity, Judges, Peace, Simplicity | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Judges 14 – Samson was a bad, bad man

Samson’s Fight with the Lion – Lucas Cranach the Elder (16th c.)

Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him. 6 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. 7 So he went down and talked to the woman; and she looked good to Samson. 8 When he returned later to take her, he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. 9 So he scraped the honey into his hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it; but he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey out of the body of the lion.

10 Then his father went down to the woman; and Samson made a feast there, for the young men customarily did this. 11 When they saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. 13 “But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propound your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 So he said to them, “Out of the eater came something to eat, And out of the strong came something sweet.” But they could not tell the riddle in three days.

15 Then it came about on the fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?” 16 Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told it to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17 However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” And he said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, You would not have found out my riddle.” 19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. – Judges 14:5-19

***

Samson Slaying a Philistine – Giambologna (1562)

The book of Judges is the story of the downward spiral in the quality, morality, and ability of the leaders of Israel. The institute of Judge was established as an ad hoc chieftain who could lead God’s people when they face times of conflict or difficulty. A Judge would be called up by God to lead the people into war, into reformation, into repentance, and into reconstruction.

Samson was the final Judge. Before he was born he was set apart and dedicated to God. In turn, God blessed Samson with incredible strength and ability. Unfortunately, Samson was lacking in other leadership qualities.

There are two repeated phrases in this passage which bear mentioning. The first is “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily”, and the second is “he did not tell”.

“The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily” is first used when Samson is attached by the lion. My reading of this passage is not that Samson was suddenly energized by God, but rather that Samson used his strength and power (which he had received as a blessing from God based upon his mother’s faith) to defend himself. The phrase is used again at the end of the passage when Samson goes to Ashkelon to kill thirty people and fulfill his wager. In this case Samson is using God’s gifts to act out petty vengeance to fulfill a childish wager.

The phrase “he did not tell” is first after killing the lion. The author makes a specific point that Samson did not tell his father or mother what he had done. My reading would be that Samson was too engrossed in pursuing the Philistine woman as his bride. The second time Samson “did not tell” is when he revisits the lion carcass and eats honey found in it, sharing this honey with his parents. It may not need to be said, but eating honey from a lion’s corpse would be considered unclean (both literally and theologically). This is Samson’s second act of uncleanliness in just this passage. The first is marrying a Philistine woman, as God has instructed the Israelites not to intermarry with the neighboring clans.

by Heath Brandon

In summary, Samson pursues the sin of marrying a Philistine. He then sins by eating unclean honey and compounds his sin by sharing it with his unknowing parents causing them to sin. Finally, Samson makes fun of his sin with his riddle-wager and uses his God-given powers to cover his foolish sin.

It is far too easy to follow the example of Samson. When we see something we want, it is easier to begin pursuing that thing, rather than evaluating if it is what God wants. When we feel a need, such as hunger, it is easier to grab the nearest snack, rather than considering if this is what God wants us to put into our bodies. When we are with our friends and families we often try to push them toward the sins we are committing; it is easier to sin when we are all sinning together. When we are caught in sin it is easier to mock or flaunt the sin rather than deal with the true consequences. Finally, when we are called to pay for our sin, it is easier to make someone else suffer the consequences. Do not follow the example of Samson.

All of us have God given talents, abilities, and characteristics which we can use to either build up the kingdom of God or to pursue our own selfish (sometimes foolish) pursuits. We are called by God to make the areas in which we are blessed a blessing to others. You have some exceptional talent, ability, or characteristic; please do not follow the example of Samson; rather, use your blessings to bless others and honor God.

Application:

  • Write down your top three talents, abilities or characteristics (e.g. intelligence, beauty, charisma, needlepoint).
  • Make a plan of how you can use one of your talents, abilities, or characteristics to honor God.
  • Think of the last time you “did not tell”. Go fix that.

Queries:

  • How can I use my talents, abilities, and characteristics to bring honor to God?
  • What sin am I regularly pursuing? How can I stop?
  • How has my sin caused harm to others? How do I need to seek forgiveness from?
  • When caught in sin, do I make jokes or flaunt my behavior?
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Top 25 Songs for the Week of August 4, 2014

Every weekday at 11am (ct) I post a “Song of the Day” on my twitter feed (@mattclen2). Each “Song of the Day” is a recently released or currently played song which I think has some unique or interesting quality. Not all of them are great songs (though many are), but each of them is worth a listen.

Below is my compilation of the “Top 25 Songs of the Day”. Each Song of the Day is rotated onto the list for at least one week. The twenty other songs are carry-overs from previous weeks. This ranking is my opinion of the best music currently out there.

1. Rude by Magic!
Last Week: 5
Tweeted: July 29, 2014
Album: Don’t Kill the Magic
Released: June 3, 2014
Genre: Pop

2. Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz
Last Week: 1
Tweeted: June 24, 2014
Album: Am I Wrong
Released: February 18, 2014
Genre: Pop

3. Bitter by Atmosphere
Last Week: 17
Tweeted: August 1, 2014
Album: Southsiders
Released: May 6, 2014
Genre: Rap

4. Turn Down For What by DJ Snake & Lil Jon
Last Week: –
Tweeted: August 7, 2014
Album: Turn Down For What
Released: December 18, 2013
Genre: Trap

5. Riptide by Vance Joy
Last Week: 3
Tweeted: February 5, 2014
Album: God Loves You When You’re Dancing
Released: September 3, 2013
Genre: Alternative

6. Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson
Last Week: 6
Tweeted: June 9, 2014
Album: Lights Out
Released: April 15, 2014
Genre: Pop

7. Wild by Royal Teeth
Last Week: 15
Tweeted: May 22, 2014
Album: Act Naturally
Released: May 8, 2012
Genre: Pop

8. Boom Clap by Charli XCX
Last Week: –
Tweeted: August 6, 2014
Album: Boom Clap
Released: April 13, 2014
Genre: Country

9. Cruel City by Augustines
Last Week: 4
Tweeted: March 5, 2014
Album: Cruel City
Released: September 10, 2013
Genre: Alternative

10. Lekka Freakout by Beaty Heart
Last Week: 8
Tweeted: July 25, 2014
Album: Mixed Blessings
Released: June 3, 2014
Genre: Pop

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