After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray, and when it was evening, He was there alone. ~ Matthew 14:23
Every time my daddy shook his head my mama smiled, my mama smiled. What he craved on the outside, my mama saw on the inside, my mama knew, my mama knew. Ha! I went to bed without a tune-up last night, and woke up with the title track to # 4! Seriously brothers and sisters, I think I’ve struck the mother lode this morning, Hallelujah! God always has the better plan…
You know there is a special word in my totally absolutely off-the-charts favorite music genre we call Bluegrass. Its lonesome…yes, lonesome. You tune in some day, and I’ll guarantee you a better day than the day you had before. And while you’re at it you’ll hear the word lonesome in more songs, song titles, and band names than you can count. And besides that, other than gospel music itself, you will have more Jesus in your life than the day before to boot! Its Bluegrass Junction for me, and the good news? There are plenty of seats!
There’s much more than a connection to what my daddy wanted, what my mama knew, and God Himself needing to separate from the flock from time to time…quite a few times actually. In the Bluegrass its to be alone with your instrument and God…away from the noise…kind of the antithesis of heavy metal, where the true bliss is found between the notes. In this past Friday’s men’s Bible study we had the most amazing discussion around the Good Shepherd in John 10. I came away knowing things about sheep I never knew because one of the men, a pastor, who spent a summer with an actual shepherd as a teen explained how helplessly dumb sheep are, incapable of survival on their own. And we were presented with the best example of tough love I’ve ever heard. Back in the day, young lambs who had a tendency to stray posed a danger to themselves as just the target every hungry wolf seeks, and the rest of the flock by distracting the shepherd’s attention away from them. So, the shepherd would break the leg of the lamb, reset it, carry the lamb on his shoulders until the leg healed, after which, he or she would never leave the shepherd’s side.
But here’s the other thing God showed me this morning about sheep. Just as there are good shepherds and bad shepherds, or what the Bible refers to as thieves, robbers, and strangers; there are good and bad sheep. This connects to my daddy shaking his head and what my mama knew. We are as the sheep in John 10’s parable of the Good Shepherd, to totally and completely, knowing His voice, trust and obey…Him. Interestingly, the other sheep which is the favorite term of so many of my brothers and sisters in the patriot movement for those folks wearing face masks alone in the car or on country roads in the middle of nowhere. It all comes down to misplaced trust. The deadliest wolves of all are those in so many pulpits all over this country. Unfortunately, there was no one who loved them enough to break their legs when they were younger…before they set in their ways and stiffened their necks.
Daddy’s head shake goes to the heart of the bad shepherd Jude and Enoch saw coming…he popped up in late fifties and sixties big time…the shiny shepherd of success and daddy’s pride…bigger is better…chip off the ol’ block. Keep movin’, movin’, movin’
Though they’re disapprovin’ Keep them dogies* movin’ Rawhide!
Now they’ve managed to brand, or mark, most of the herd, I know exactly what my dear mama knew. Trust in Him my brothers and sisters. Trust in Him alone. A week ago this past Friday, I was asked to play at a Gideon’s dinner in Newburgh. I connected with a gentleman named Norris beforehand to arrange meeting him early to get a sound check. When I got there I found out, along with Norris, they had changed the sound system and Norris had no clue how to amplify my guitar or my voice. After a brief flash of panic, I realized God knew and had a plan. And I decided to Trust His plan. When it came my time to play, I strapped on my guitar and walked down from the stage to the center of the room and played Ralph Stanley’s Angel Band. I never felt more connected to an audience in my life. I was only supposed to do one, but I was delighted when they asked me to sing another, so I sang my heart out loud enough for Suzy Arnowitz to hear from heaven as I played her original Jesus, Jesus. Mama heard me too. My mama knew, my mama knew.