Consider

Today is Wednesday, the sixth of July, 2022, in the fourteenth wee of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be in your heart today!

Day 23,491

Last night was a pleasant and fine evening at the library. I had plenty to do, and enjoyed several conversations with some of my favorite people. There was one humorous moment when, as I was shelving a cart of DVDs, a patron who was looking for, apparently, nothing in particular, started browsing my cart (I was away from it, putting away a handful of DVDs). Of course, I don’t mind if they do that, because, hopefully, they will decide to take some and that is less for me to put back on the shelf.

Unfortunately, in this case, he was also rearranging them as he browsed. I actually chuckled about it, and, rather than approach him, I walked away and told a couple of my workmates what he was doing, and they got a good laugh out of it, too. One of them told me that, back when they had many more carts to shelve, they would just bring all of the DVD carts out and set them up by the circulation desk, and let people browse them there, hoping that they would check them out. Makes sense.

The “damage” was minimal, in my case, and I was able to re-sort the ones that had been mixed up in just a few minutes. That may have been the most full DVD cart I have ever put away, though. The cart has three shelves on each side, and one whole side was full, plus on shelf on the other side. The second shelf on the other side was about 3/4 full of audio books, which are near the DVDs in proximity.

Today, I’m working 9:15-6:15 in the circ department.

The Rangers lost again, last night, to the Orioles, 10-9, in a bit of a slugfest. And it was, once again, in extra innings, so the stupid “zombie runner” was in play. I really detest that practice. I can almost understand putting something like that in during the ridiculous pandemic season of 2020. But they should not have kept it. It reeks of Little League. I think what Manfred and his cronies don’t seem to get is that the true baseball fan doesn’t want a quicker game! I’ll never forget that World Series game in 2018. It was game three, and Boston was up 2 games to zero, against the Dodgers. Game three went eighteen innings!! Eighteen! That’s two complete games. I stayed up to watch the whole freaking thing (I think it was Friday night, so I didn’t have to work the next day). Of course I was disgusted when the Dodgers won it in the bottom of the eighteenth inning, but that is baseball, folks! The sad thing is that Nathan Eovaldi, who became a Boston hero after that game, took the loss. The reason he became a hero was because he came in and pitched most of the second half of the game. It was the longest World Series game in history, both by innings and time. What one Boston fan reminded us, though, was that it took the Dodgers eighteen innings and nine pitchers to finally beat the Red Sox in a WS game. And it was the only game Boston lost in that World Series.

Speaking of Boston, they also lost, yesterday, 8-4, to the Rays. So it wasn’t a good baseball day for me. The Rangers play Baltimore again, tonight, and the Sox play the Rays again tonight. Texas is now two games behind Seattle, in third place in the AL West, 15.5 out of first place and 5.5 out of the Wild Card. Boston is still in second place, one game ahead of Tampa, 13 out of first and still in the first Wild Card spot.

Oakland continues to have the worst record, at 28-55, but they have won a couple of games. The Astros must still have their trash cans, because they have now won EIGHT straight games. The Giants and Nats are still duking it out to see who can lose the most, both having lost six straight games. The Blue Jays (Woohoo!) are trying to catch them, though, with a five-game losing streak. The Nationals have now been outscored by 129 runs. The Rangers have gone down to +11, and the Sox are back at +59, after yesterday’s loss to the Rays.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, open our hearts to the wonder of being able to call you Father, the wonder of being united with you. You are the source of all life and strength. In you is redemption, and we need to be redeemed before we can live rightly. Take from us the pressures forced on us by the flood of events. Make us completely free as people led by your hand, people who may be joyful because everything will be overcome through the power you grant us in Jesus Christ. Protect us from fear and from all evil. Show more and more clearly your good and wonderful goal for all people on earth, so that in expectation they may find happiness even in all the stress of today. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
(Romans 8:14-15a NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for our Father in heaven, the source of all life and strength
2. for the sparrows and lilies; I need to consider them
3. for The Choir and their music
4. for the work of the Holy Spirit, especially when I don't know He's working
5. for how much we, the community of saints, need one another

Today’s word, from Pray a Word a Day, is consider. I rather like this word.

Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.
(1 Samuel 12:24 ESV)

To “consider” something means to take some time, look at it, think about it, maybe even contemplate. “Consider the lilies,” Jesus said in Matthew 6. It’s interesting to me (not necessarily relevant, but still interesting) that Matthew actually uses two different Greek words. In verse 26, the KJV says “Behold,” and the ESV says “Look at,” in reference to the birds. The Greek word is emblepo, which literally means to “look on,” or “observe.” In verse 28, the Greek word, translated “consider” in most translations, is katamanthano, which means “learn thoroughly” or “consider.” Two different terms that mean pretty close to the same thing.

One of the reasons that I take the time every morning to do this is so that I can do exactly that: consider, look upon, learn thoroughly, behold. It takes time and attention. This life is way too busy. I had a conversation with a coworker, last night, about that. I had expressed hope that maybe, just maybe, the pandemic might have slowed us down a little, as a society. And it seemed that maybe it had.

But now, I don’t think so. We are still as busy as ever. The sad thing is that we make time for the things that are important to us, which is why the phrase “I don’t have time,” is usually a lie, or at best delusional. We have time for whatever we truly want to do. We make time.

What we need to take more time for is considering. There’s a song that I like by one of my favorite bands that most people have never heard of. The band is The Choir, and the song, as it turns out, is simply called “Consider.” And yes, the album is called “Chase the Kangaroo.”

Consider your laughter
Consider My tears
Consider My love
Consider your fear

Consider one small child
Consider your cross
Consider the hope that withers like a flower
Consider My loss
Consider the fire
Consider the night
Consider the truth
Consider the light, my love
Consider your heart

Consider your heart
Consider your heart

Consider My love, my love
Consider the darkness
Consider My love, my love
Consider the flame
Consider My love, my love
Consider the Ghost of the living Savior
Remember My love
Remember My name

Consider your heart
Remember my name

Consider your heart
Remember my name

Consider your heart

As we go about our day today, may we take time to stop and consider; consider His love; consider His cross; consider our hearts; remember His Name.


“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:8 NIV)

I think it is safe to say that most of the time, we are not aware of the Spirit’s leading and guiding in our lives. And I think that might just be intentional.

Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.
(Deuteronomy 4:12 NIV)

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
(Isaiah 30:21 NIV)

My ears will not always hear a voice telling me to turn right or left, or saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” In fact, as I can recall, I have never heard an audible voice.

But I can say that I have felt the Spirit “nudging” me in a particular direction. One time, I specifically remember, I didn’t follow. I still, to this day regret that. Regrets, though, are like . . . well, I don’t know what they are like. I shouldn’t have started that sentence. They can be good or bad. If we spend too much time regretting things, we won’t move forward. I have most definitely moved forward from that time, which was well over three decades ago. But I still think about it, from time to time, and wonder what would look differently today, had I followed the Spirit that time.

One of the things that we need to do, in light of this, though is (wait for it!) . . .

CONSIDER!

I love when it works out this way!

Yes. We the “voice” of the Holy Spirit is something that we must consider. While I do still believe it to be true that He leads us, at times, without us even knowing it, there are definitely still times when we need to be stopping and considering; we need to stop and contemplate or meditate or look upon or observe whatever might be in front of us. Those sparrows and lilies are there for a reason, friends!


As I continue to consider (see?) the issues that the Church is experiencing with modern worship practices, Eugene H. Peterson brings up this word “interdependences.”

While we are truly “interdependent” upon many things economically and physically, many of us don’t consider how interdependent we are, spiritually, as well. And this is, once again, reflected in modern worship music that is almost totally “me-centric.” We begin to feel that we don’t need anyone else. Oh, sure, we need Jesus (or do we, really??), but we can be a “Christian” by ourselves, right? We don’t need all those other people around us to worship, right?

Wrong.

“The church is the most complete expression of all these interdependences. It is an expression of them in terms of God’s grace – a grace that surrounds us and moves through us as people created to enjoy (and depend on) the praise of his glory.”

If you think, for one minute, that you don’t need anyone else in your spiritual life, you need to re-read Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. The first one. Specifically chapter 12.

Saints, we all need one another. We are, indeed, interdependent.

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)


Father, as I go through this day, help me, remind me, to stop and consider. Help me to consider Your love for us; help me to consider my heart; to consider Your Cross and my/our Savior. Help me to just stop and be mindful of all the things that You have done for, through, and in us, Your Body of Christ.

Thank You for the Holy Spirit and His interaction in our lives. Help us to be more aware of His work, as we walk through our days, to, once again, consider what He is doing in and for us.

And I am grateful for the community of saints and how much we need each other to get by in this world. May we never forget that, and may we reverse the trend of thinking we can do this life alone.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
(1 Corinthians 12:12-13 NIV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Consider

“. . . human desire with all its emotions cannot compare with the passionate yearning of Jesus Christ.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, July 12, 2014.

Today is Different Colored Eyes Day. If you are one of those rare people who have different colored eyes, this day is all yours! Mine are both green. We once had a cat that had different colored eyes.

Christi’s job seems to have taken a couple of steps backward. It seems they keep throwing more responsibility on her. She’s got a ton of work (not literally, but then who knows how much work weighs?) to do this weekend. I’m telling her she needs to get away from that place (along with the person who hired her). Bless her heart, she hates to give up. “I’m not a quitter,” she says. But I’m afraid the situation cannot be “won.” We shall see, though. I keep praying for God to intervene and bring some peace, calm, and sense into the situation. Perhaps that will happen before it’s all said and done. Or before “the end of the day.” Or any other relatively meaningless cliche I can think of. On top of everything else, she apparently tore a calf muscle while hurrying between meetings yesterday. So, once again, she is in great pain.

Stephanie came home from Megan’s last night. Without Megan. There was much rejoicing. At least between Christi and me. We’re a little weary of the sleepover that wouldn’t end.

The Red Sox won their third straight game last night, while the Rangers lost their sixth straight. The Rangers are currently the worst team in baseball by ten percentage points. The Red Sox are no longer in last place! The Tampa Bay Rays are in last place. There is no way to convey how happy that makes me. I am very close to a point where I dislike the Rays as much as or worse than I dislike the Evil Empire.

Today, we have a few chores that need to get done, then we have church this evening. I now lead the “Anchor” pray time before our service, so I need to do some preparation for that. Tomorrow will probably be the day when Christi tries to get all her work done that she needs to do.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

On this date in 1739, “As David Brainerd is walking through a dark grove to his secret place of prayer, God speaks to him and he has a glorious salvation experience. The twenty-one-year-old will live only eight more years but inspire many others through the diary he pens.” Indeed, his diary was so inspirational that Jonathan Edwards wrote a biography on his life. In fact, Brainerd died at Edwards’s house, after suffering for months from “incurable consumption” (Wikipedia).

Sharing a birthday on July 12 are Bill Cosby, George Washington Carver, Topher Grace, Richard Simmons, Cheryl Ladd, Kristi Yamaguchi, Christine Mcvie, John Petrucci, Henrey David Thoreau, Oscar Hammerstein II, Milton Berle, Andrew Wyeth, Van Cliburn, Kirsten Flagstad, and Curly Joe Derita.

Christine McVie is a singer, most famous for her time as one of the lead singers for Fleetwood Mac. She has returned to the band, and, at the age of 71, is actually touring with them this year. Here is their song, “You Make Loving Fun.”

Van Cliburn was known as one of the world’s greatest piano players for much of his life. He passed away in 2013, and would have been 80 years old today. Here is a clip of him playing some Rachmaninoff Preludes.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

(From The Divine Hours)

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD.
Psalm 135:1
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!
Psalm 71:2
O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds.
Psalm 116:16
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:10-14

Glory be to God the Father,
God the Son,
and God the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
so it is now and so it shall ever be,
world without end.
Alleluia.
Amen.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
Philippians 1:21-23
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Philippians 3:20-21
But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:13

Give thanks today for the hope and promise of the Resurrection!

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “A Consuming Fire.”

Most of us have been sexually aroused at many points in our lives. Otherwise, a lot of us wouldn’t be here, right? We know the intense passion of what this feels like. Well, “the Scripture and the liturgy of the Christian community say that human sexual arousal is but a pale imitation of God’s passion for his people.” Human love is the best image we have to illustrate the love of God, but it is still inadequate.

“. . . human desire with all its emotions cannot compare with the passionate yearning of Jesus Christ.” The saints “can only stutter and stammer about the reality;” Blaise Pascal had his famous “night of fire” on November 23, 1654, about which he could not speak, but wrote about it on a note, which was sewn into the lining of his clothes, and wasn’t discovered until after he died. Bede Griffiths wrote, “The love of Jesus Christ is not a mild benevolence: it is a consuming fire.”

“It is only the revelation that God is love that clarifies the happy irrationality of God’s conduct and his relentless pursuit.” Who among us has not experienced the irrationality of human love? Even in the face of infidelity, one who truly loves will continue to pursue. Even the anger of Jesus during the act of cleansing the Temple “reveals his keen interest, his frantic involvement in his brothers and sisters coming into right relationship with Abba God.”

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire,
a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 4:24

Consuming Fire
Once again, I am drawn to the beautiful hymn, “The Love of God,” written by Frederick M. Lehman in 1917. The last verse is especially powerful:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Father, may we know and acknowledge your passionate love for us, that love which can not be satisfactorily described by human words or emotions. Help us to know that which is unknowable. I pray for more and more of an understanding of your love, that I might grow closer to you, more intimate with you, as I grow older. I pray that I may know you as I am known by you.

I pray for this day. I pray for Christi’s calf muscle to heal. I pray that you would relieve her pain. I pray that we can get the things done that need to be accomplished today. I also pray that this evening’s worship service would be exactly that. I pray that we would worship you and love you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Give us grace, endurance, and power to serve you in the coming week.

Your grace is sufficient.

Consider the emotion that you feel for the person in your life whom you love the most. Then consider that that feeling doesn’t even come close to the passionate love God has for us.

Grace and peace, friends.