Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Lord Is My Shepherd

"I am the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine."
"The Good Shepherd."  Well can the sheep who know His voice attest the truthfulness and faithfulness of this endearing name and word.  Think of His love to each separate member of the flock - wandering over pathless wilds with unwearied patience and unquenchable ardour, ceasing not the pursuit until He finds it. 

Think of His love now - "I AM the Good Shepherd." Still that tender eye of watchfulness following the guilty wanderers. 

"I know my sheep."  Every individual believer - the weakest, the weariest, the faintest - claims His attention.  His loving eye follows me day by day out to the wilderness - marks out my pasture, studies my wants and trials and sorrows and perplexities - every steep ascent, every brook, every winding path, every thorny thicket.

"He goeth before and leadeth them."   It is not rough driving, but gentle guiding.  He does not take them over an unknown road.  He Himself has trodden it before.  He seems to say, "Fear not; I cannot lead you wrong; follow me in the bleak waste, the blackened wilderness, as well as by the green pastures and the still waters.  Do you ask why I have left the sunny side of the valley - carpeted with flowers and bathed in sunshine - leading you to some high mountain apart, some cheerless spot of sorrow?  Trust me.  I will lead you by paths you have not known, but they are all known to me and selected by me.  Follow me."  Leave the future to His providing.
"The Lord is my Shepherd, therefore can I lack nothing."  Take it as thy watchword during thy wilderness wanderings till grace be perfected in glory.  Let this be the record of thy simple faith and unwavering trust - "These are they who follow withersoever He sees meet to guide them."

--The Words of Jesus by John Ross Macduff

Friday, June 14, 2013

Oh, Dearest Jesus

Lyrics: Johan Heerman
Translation: Catherine Winkworth

O dearest Jesus, what law hast thou broken
That such sharp sentence should on Thee be spoken?
Of what great crime hast Thou to make confession, --
What dark transgression?

They crown Thy head with thorns, they smite, they scourge Thee;
With cruel mockings to the cross they urge Thee;
They give Thee gall to drink, they still decry Thee;
They crucify Thee.

Whence come these sorrows, whence this mortal anguish?
It is my sins for which Thou, Lord, must languish;
Yea, all the wrath, the woe, Thou dost inherit,
This I do merit.

What punishment so strange is suffered yonder!
The Shepherd dies for sheep that loved to wander;   

The Master pays the debt His servants owe Him,      
Who would not know Him.

The sinless Son of God must die in sadness;
The sinful child of man may live in gladness;
Man forfeited his life and is acquitted,

God is committed.

There was no spot in me by sin untainted;
Sick with sin's poison, all my heart had fainted;
My heavy guilt to hell had well-nigh brought me,
Such woe it wrought me.

O wondrous love, whose depth no heart hath sounded,
That brought Thee here, by foes and thieves surrounded!

All worldly pleasures, heedless, I was trying
While Thou wert dying.

O mighty King, no time can dim Thy glory!
How shall I spread abroad Thy wondrous story?
How shall I find some worthy gifts to proffer?
What dare I offer?

For vainly doth our human wisdom ponder, --
Thy woes, Thy mercy, still transcend our wonder.
Oh, how should I do aught that could delight Thee!
Can I requite Thee?

Yet unrequited, Lord, I would not leave Thee,

I will renounce whate'er doth vex or grieve Thee
And quench with thoughts of Thee and prayers most lowly
All fires unholy.

But since my strength will nevermore suffice me
To crucify desires that still entice me,
To all good deeds, oh, let Thy Spirit win me
And reign within me!

I'll think upon Thy mercy without ceasing,
That earth's vain joys to me no more be pleasing;

To do Thy will shall be my sole endeavor
Henceforth forever.

Whate'er of earthly good this life may grant me,
I'll risk for Thee; no shame, no cross, shall daunt me;
I shall not fear what man can do to harm me

Nor death alarm me.

But worthless is my sacrifice, I own it;
Yet, Lord, for love's sake Thou wilt not disown it;
Thou wilt accept my gift in Thy great meekness
Nor shame my weakness.

And when, dear Lord, before Thy throne in heaven
To me the crown of joy at last is given,

Where sweetest hymns Thy saints forever raise Thee,
I, too, shall praise Thee.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Music Monday: Pokey

Photo courtesy of Michael Wermuth

In the summer of 2011, I missed out on every single one of the Whitaker Music Festival summer concerts at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.  Thankfully, Annie didn't miss them all and she told me I just had to give a listen to this local musician named Pokey LaFarge who had performed there...she was sure I'd like his stuff.  

Thus began my infatuation with Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three, whose latest album is being released today by Third Man Records.  His meteoric rise is much deserved and it was a pleasure to attend their family-friendly album release party on Friday night at Casa Loma Ballroom.  The band has expanded from the original 4, and is finding receptive audiences in the Important Music Cities: Austin, New Orleans, and Nashville...and of course, here in their hometown which they proudly claim.

I am a music junkie, of sorts, but not a "student" I don't even know what genre to assign to their style, but it seems like the kind of music both my Grandad Waggoner and Grampa Southerland would have listened to and enjoyed.  

Give 'em a go and see what you think!

3 songs from the original group:

From the new album and the fuller band: