Songs About Our Culture

We reckon every new track Branan Murphy puts out is gold. Adopted by older parents, he grew up listening to the Beatles and the Beach Boys, which taught him an old-school respect for melody. But his thoughtful reflections on living in faith really set him apart.

‘I grew up in the Southern United States,’ he told Alex, ‘in a region that is referred to as the Bible Belt.’ Church life and the Bible were part of the fabric of his culture but, as a teenager, struggling with his sense of identity, they weren’t real to him.

‘I actually had a friend of mine who was a little younger than me died tragically in high school. And I’m from a small town, so that rocked our community. It was a big deal, really affected a lot of people.’

That loss got him thinking seriously about the ideas of spirituality, truth and sin he’d been surrounded by all his life. ‘Along the way, God was so good, just to have people in my life who really shared the Gospel with me in truth. And I was able to see my sin for the first time. And so repentance and faith happened for me at like 17.’

In You Don’t See What I See, Branan describes that life-changing revelation. ‘There’s so many people out there, myself included, who lived their lives without the correct understanding of how God sees them.’

there’s so many people out there, myself included, who lived their lives without the correct understanding of how God sees them

Branan says many of us get caught up in how other people see us, or how we see ourselves, and that gets us into trouble. ‘I don’t really put a bow on it,’ he said. ‘There’s no resolution. I’m just diagnosing the culture, that we’re so caught up in the things that we can see, and the things that we’ve experienced.’

‘All the while, God is saying I see something so different in you. I’m doing something so different for you. I’m playing the long game, and you’re so worried about the short game all the time.’

Talk About It goes deeper into the causes of our short-term thinking. He describes it as ‘a song for the culture’—a response to our social media crazed society. ‘We’re saying a lot, but we’re not really saying anything at all. We’re so connected to each other, but we’re really not connected, because what’s missing is real relationships with each other.’ 

‘We ain’t going nowhere ‘til we work this out,’ he sings, pleading for us to start having real conversations about the big issues our world is facing today. ‘That’s really what this song is for,’ he said, ‘to get us moving.’

We love the way Branan thinks almost as much as the way he sings. Stay tuned to Vision180 to hear his new tracks before anyone else.

Little By Little!

‘He will do it little by little ahead of you. You won’t be able to destroy them all at once.’ Deuteronomy 7:22 NCV

Lasting change doesn’t come through human effort, frustration, self-hatred, guilt, or beating yourself up over your failures. It comes from having your mind renewed daily by the Word of God. As you agree with God and believe what He says, you gradually begin to change. You start to think differently, talk differently, and act differently.

But you must be patient. Transformation is a process. We can easily become disappointed when we’re still struggling with the same issues and thoughts that we’ve been battling for ages. Sometimes we can think, ‘If only I didn’t have this problem, I’d be happy’, or ‘If I could get this habit under control I’d be fine.’ We might feel like we’re not changing as quickly as we want to. But we need to learn how to celebrate the progress that we have made. When Moses was telling the Israelites what God had told him about the eventual entry into the Promised Land, he said: ‘When the Lord your God forces those nations out of the land, He will do it little by little ahead of you. You won’t be able to destroy them all at once; otherwise, the wild animals will grow too many in number.’ God knew that the Israelites couldn’t win all the battles as soon as they entered the land, they had to do it ‘little by little’.

And that can apply to us too. God knows we can’t deal with all our struggles and battles at once; we have to do it gradually. We have to go through the process, we have to fill our minds with God’s truth and let it transform us ‘little by little.’

SoulFood: Ezek 22–23, Matt 22:23–33, Ps 142, Pro 19:21–23

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2020

Today’s Readings

Ezekiel 22–23 ()

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22:1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then declare to her all her abominations. You shall say, Thus says the Lord GOD: A city that sheds blood in her midst, so that her time may come, and that makes idols to defile herself! You have become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made, and you have brought your days near, the appointed time of your years has come. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all the countries. Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you; your name is defiled; you are full of tumult.

“Behold, the princes of Israel in you, every one according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you. You have despised my holy things and profaned my Sabbaths. There are men in you who slander to shed blood, and people in you who eat on the mountains; they commit lewdness in your midst. 10 In you men uncover their fathers' nakedness; in you they violate women who are unclean in their menstrual impurity. 11 One commits abomination with his neighbor's wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; another in you violates his sister, his father's daughter. 12 In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profit and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but me you have forgotten, declares the Lord GOD.

13 “Behold, I strike my hand at the dishonest gain that you have made, and at the blood that has been in your midst. 14 Can your courage endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with you? I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it. 15 I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you through the countries, and I will consume your uncleanness out of you. 16 And you shall be profaned by your own doing in the sight of the nations, and you shall know that I am the LORD.”

17 And the word of the LORD came to me: 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me; all of them are bronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are dross of silver. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 As one gathers silver and bronze and iron and lead and tin into a furnace, to blow the fire on it in order to melt it, so I will gather you in my anger and in my wrath, and I will put you in and melt you. 21 I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst of it. 22 As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the LORD; I have poured out my wrath upon you.”

23 And the word of the LORD came to me: 24 “Son of man, say to her, You are a land that is not cleansed or rained upon in the day of indignation. 25 The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. 26 Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. 28 And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken. 29 The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. 30 And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. 31 Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord GOD.”

23:1 The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother. They played the whore in Egypt; they played the whore in their youth; there their breasts were pressed and their virgin bosoms handled. Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. They became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.

“Oholah played the whore while she was mine, and she lusted after her lovers the Assyrians, warriors clothed in purple, governors and commanders, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on horses. She bestowed her whoring upon them, the choicest men of Assyria all of them, and she defiled herself with all the idols of everyone after whom she lusted. She did not give up her whoring that she had begun in Egypt; for in her youth men had lain with her and handled her virgin bosom and poured out their whoring lust upon her. Therefore I delivered her into the hands of her lovers, into the hands of the Assyrians, after whom she lusted. 10 These uncovered her nakedness; they seized her sons and her daughters; and as for her, they killed her with the sword; and she became a byword among women, when judgment had been executed on her.

11 “Her sister Oholibah saw this, and she became more corrupt than her sister in her lust and in her whoring, which was worse than that of her sister. 12 She lusted after the Assyrians, governors and commanders, warriors clothed in full armor, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men. 13 And I saw that she was defiled; they both took the same way. 14 But she carried her whoring further. She saw men portrayed on the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion, 15 wearing belts on their waists, with flowing turbans on their heads, all of them having the appearance of officers, a likeness of Babylonians whose native land was Chaldea. 16 When she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoring lust. And after she was defiled by them, she turned from them in disgust. 18 When she carried on her whoring so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I turned in disgust from her, as I had turned in disgust from her sister. 19 Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt 20 and lusted after her lovers there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses. 21 Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed your young breasts.”

22 Therefore, O Oholibah, thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I will stir up against you your lovers from whom you turned in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side: 23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, desirable young men, governors and commanders all of them, officers and men of renown, all of them riding on horses. 24 And they shall come against you from the north with chariots and wagons and a host of peoples. They shall set themselves against you on every side with buckler, shield, and helmet; and I will commit the judgment to them, and they shall judge you according to their judgments. 25 And I will direct my jealousy against you, that they may deal with you in fury. They shall cut off your nose and your ears, and your survivors shall fall by the sword. They shall seize your sons and your daughters, and your survivors shall be devoured by fire. 26 They shall also strip you of your clothes and take away your beautiful jewels. 27 Thus I will put an end to your lewdness and your whoring begun in the land of Egypt, so that you shall not lift up your eyes to them or remember Egypt anymore.

28 “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will deliver you into the hands of those whom you hate, into the hands of those from whom you turned in disgust, 29 and they shall deal with you in hatred and take away all the fruit of your labor and leave you naked and bare, and the nakedness of your whoring shall be uncovered. Your lewdness and your whoring 30 have brought this upon you, because you played the whore with the nations and defiled yourself with their idols. 31 You have gone the way of your sister; therefore I will give her cup into your hand. 32 Thus says the Lord GOD:

  “You shall drink your sister's cup
    that is deep and large;
  you shall be laughed at and held in derision,
    for it contains much;
33   you will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow.
  A cup of horror and desolation,
    the cup of your sister Samaria;
34   you shall drink it and drain it out,
    and gnaw its shards,
    and tear your breasts;

for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD. 35 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, you yourself must bear the consequences of your lewdness and whoring.”

36 The LORD said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Declare to them their abominations. 37 For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. With their idols they have committed adultery, and they have even offered up to them for food the children whom they had borne to me. 38 Moreover, this they have done to me: they have defiled my sanctuary on the same day and profaned my Sabbaths. 39 For when they had slaughtered their children in sacrifice to their idols, on the same day they came into my sanctuary to profane it. And behold, this is what they did in my house. 40 They even sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and behold, they came. For them you bathed yourself, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments. 41 You sat on a stately couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed my incense and my oil. 42 The sound of a carefree multitude was with her; and with men of the common sort, drunkards were brought from the wilderness; and they put bracelets on the hands of the women, and beautiful crowns on their heads.

43 “Then I said of her who was worn out by adultery, ‘Now they will continue to use her for a whore, even her!’ 44 For they have gone in to her, as men go in to a prostitute. Thus they went in to Oholah and to Oholibah, lewd women! 45 But righteous men shall pass judgment on them with the sentence of adulteresses, and with the sentence of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands.”

46 For thus says the Lord GOD: “Bring up a vast host against them, and make them an object of terror and a plunder. 47 And the host shall stone them and cut them down with their swords. They shall kill their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses. 48 Thus will I put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not commit lewdness as you have done. 49 And they shall return your lewdness upon you, and you shall bear the penalty for your sinful idolatry, and you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”

Matthew 22:23–33 ()

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23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”

29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

Psalm 142 ()

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A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer.

142:1   With my voice I cry out to the LORD;
    with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD.
  I pour out my complaint before him;
    I tell my trouble before him.
  When my spirit faints within me,
    you know my way!
  In the path where I walk
    they have hidden a trap for me.
  Look to the right and see:
    there is none who takes notice of me;
  no refuge remains to me;
    no one cares for my soul.
  I cry to you, O LORD;
    I say, “You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.”
  Attend to my cry,
    for I am brought very low!
  Deliver me from my persecutors,
    for they are too strong for me!
  Bring me out of prison,
    that I may give thanks to your name!
  The righteous will surround me,
    for you will deal bountifully with me.

Proverbs 19:21–23 ()

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21   Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
    but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
22   What is desired in a man is steadfast love,
    and a poor man is better than a liar.
23   The fear of the LORD leads to life,
    and whoever has it rests satisfied;
    he will not be visited by harm.

Sat 31 August, 2019


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