Tuned

by DanWolgemuth on August 7, 2020

The room was dark, the blankets snug, but fear and worry moved through my young mind with sleep depriving power. I was 11 or 12. One of the smallest boys in my school, and a young man trying to find an identity.

So, when lights were turned off, my brain was not. And sleep seemed illusive.

One night, as I laid in bed, eyes open, mind spinning, I constructed a strategy for dealing with my problem. I reflected on the fact that when a TV station on the black and white set in our basement was broadcasting something I didn’t like, I would turn the knob (yes, a knob that clicked with each channel) to a suitable alternative. A different feed. A new message.

So, with this metaphor racing through my mind, I decided to do the same thing in my mind while lying in my bed. I would mentally change the channel. As intentionally as I knew how, I would click through alternative thought patterns that took me to a different place.

It worked. Night after night. Thought patterns adjusted.

This story has become vivid to me again. Now, almost 55 years later. Messages bombard my thoughts that stir anxiousness, fear and worry.

God knew. God knows that this is the byproduct of fallen human beings with thoughts tuned to the wrong channel.

My child, listen to what I say,
    and treasure my commands.

Tune your ears to wisdom,
    and concentrate on understanding. (Proverbs 2:1-2, NLT)


“Tune your ears”. Adjust the thought input to a new station. To a new source. To “my commands”.

And again…

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27–28, ESV)

His sheep. Recognizing His voice. Are drawn to Him. And we are safe in His almighty hand.

Drawn away from worry and fear. Away from hopelessness and panic. Into the confident embrace of His love. His care. His hope.

This is the voice I need to be listening to. This is a voice, anchored to love. Fueled by mercy. Rooted in righteousness. Advocating justice. Committed to the vulnerable.

This is the only voice that brings peace. True peace. Lasting peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27, ESV)

The voice of the Shepherd. Our ears tuned. Our souls ready… for a new message.

A vivid reminder of a lesson I learned and then forgot.

A new channel. A different network. An altered newsfeed.

Social media connected to the source of life.

The knob is turning. I’m clicking through my options. I’m stopping at the only source of love, hope, justice and mercy. The Good Shepherd.

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All…

by DanWolgemuth on July 31, 2020

July is an anniversary month. For a nation. For a vision. For a dream. 244 years and counting.
 
During this month, and in the midst of what feels like a crumbling foundation, I have been tugged back to the beginning. Yes, the beginning of the United States, but also The Beginning. The design of God. His robust plan for humankind.
 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America.) 

  • Self-evident. Obvious. Apparent. Bold and blatant.
  • Created equal as an endorsement and stewardship of our Creator’s design.
  • Unalienable rights. The right to life. To liberty. To be able to pursue happiness and opportunity without restriction. 

But the singular word that blasts out of this 35-word sentence is the three-letter word ALL.

This vision and commitment made to ALL people. To everyone.

All.

Three letters that anchor this pledge. Three letters that shine the light on accountability. Three letters that demand our allegiance. Three letters that point us to our God.

All.

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.” (Genesis 1:26, NLT)

Every man and woman. Image bearers of the triune God. Every. All. Not some. Not a few. All.

But… we all sin. All. Regularly. Defiantly. Consistently. Selfishly. (Romans 3:23)

All of us, like sheep, have wandered. We picked our own way. Our own path. And because of that, we got lost… really lost… forever lost. (Isaiah 53:6) All of us. Lost.

In fact, so lost that we were declared dead. All of us. Not just sick… not on life support… but flat-lined. Gone. (Ephesians 2:1-2)

Then God, sent His son. For the world. For humankind. For the ALL. (John 3:16)

And His heart beats for all, for everyone. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 ESV)

A desire that all…

Yes. All. And in Biblical terms, the Greek word “pas”, is what is used 1243 times in the New Testament. And its precise meaning is… well, all. Every. No nuance or embellishment required.

The Preamble got it right. But time. But egos. But hatred. But oppression. But greed. But rationalization. But dehumanization. But politics. But politicians. But laws. But human beings. But sin. But me… messed it up.

And where we… where I, have been complicit, or ignorant, or oblivious, or numb to the lack of ALL in all, then I am compelled to confess. And then I am constrained to correct. Then I am bound to advocate… for all.

Not because it’s in the Preamble, but because it’s on the heart of God.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
    ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
    and see that they get justice.
(Proverbs 31:8-9)

And yes, all isn’t all until the Shepherd found the one.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. (Luke 15:4-5, ESV)

At Creation. And in 1776. The heart of God. For equality. For freedom. For liberty. For justice. For dignity.

Yes, for all of us. Created equal. And granted, not by a political system, or even a constitution, but by our Creator… rights. Not for a few. But for all.

He drafted those plans in the Garden.

For all.

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