Sum-Sum-Summertime

The title of this blog post comes from the opening line of a song titled, Summertime, Summertime,” that was originally sung back in 1958 by the Jamies, and it was revised in 2020 (YouTube video at this link).

Yes, summertime has officially arrived two days ago here in the Northern Hemisphere.  It is a season many folks look forward to with vacations, camping, summer breaks, and, hopefully, times of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Just as there are physical seasons that we go through each year–Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall–there are spiritual seasons that we go through, too. In an article titled, Spiritual Seasons of Life,” by Susan Smart, a pastor’s wife and cofounder with her husband of CreativeBibleStudy.com, she writes:

Spiritual seasons come into our lives just like the earthly seasons God brings each year.

Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter… which would you say is your favorite season and why? I would have to say Summer is mine! I love the warmth of Summer and being an educator, school is out in the Summer… it’s vacation time!

Here in Louisiana our seasons can be confusing. We can go from sunny, warm temperatures in the 70s one day and then drop back down to the 30s the next with icy rain! That probably happens where you live too! We laugh and say–“Well if you don’t like the weather today, hang on because tomorrow’s is sure to be different!”

What if… what if our favorite season lasted year round? What if… there was only one season?

God knew what He was doing when He created the different seasons. The earth needs each of them, and we need the different seasons He brings into our lives too!

Just like nature has four different seasons, our lives seem to have different spiritual seasons too. (Quote source here.)

She gives a brief describe of all four seasons at this link, and specifically regarding the summer season, she writes:

There are seasons of Summer when life seems warm and relaxed. A spiritual level of maturity or plateau has been reached for a time. And although our spiritual lives may seem somewhat stable, there may come extremely hot periods of spiritual challenges as well as Summer afternoon thunderstorms and even hurricanes down here near the gulf!

Both heat and storms can bring strength though. Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could attest to this fact! Just as in the storms or fires of life, God promises to be with us too! God may use these times of turbulent weather or spiritual tribulation not only to strengthen us, but they also make us appreciate the calm weather that much more! (Quote source here.)

Another reflection on the “season of summer” comes from a writer in Africa, Prisca Motogwa, a Human Resources professional, in a post titled, Reflecting on the Four Seasons Way of Life.”

As an African, I remain mesmerized by the long Summer days. I absolutely love them. There is something about sunshine and the energy that it brings. Lots happen during summer.

People take breaks from work, children are on break from school, people travel to places all over the world. As we would say in my country, “It really happens in summer”. Summer is about having fun, connecting with those who matter most, traveling and seeking inspiration.

Summer is the time between sowing and reaping. You sowed in the Spring of your life. You pluck out weeds and water your plants in the Summer of your life.

Weeds are the things that will stop you or act as an impediment from reaching your goals. You need to identify them and pull them out.

There is nothing that will grow without being watered. Whatever you have planted in the Spring of your life, needs to be watered. Be it a job, a relationship or a project.

What needs to be watered in your life? (Quote source here.)

And in an article titled, Understanding Spiritual Seasons,” by Entrice Rowe, a Certified Life Coach, she writes:

The very first time someone told me that the situation I was going through was “just a season,” I was convinced they had no clue! How could what I was feeling be just a season? The more I sought God and grew in spiritual maturity, I came to realize that they were right–that season had been “just a season.” What if we approached life from a perspective of understanding that each season would teach us lessons on strength, endurance, growth, faith, and trust? Would we conduct ourselves differently?

That “thing” you are currently facing whether it is struggles in your marriage, friendships, or relationships with kids, I’m here to tell you that it is just a season. The question is, how do we navigate those seasons?

First we need a road map. We need to understand what is happening during a spiritual fall, winter, spring, and summer. Once we have a clear understanding of the spiritual seasons, we are then equipped to handle whatever life throws our way. (Quote source here.)

She defines all four of the seasons at this link. Regarding the summer season, she writes:

Who doesn’t love summer? This is a time in the natural that we typically mix work with play. I recently read an article that pointed out the contrast of the heat and coolness you experience during the summer. So although we are still diligently working, we should also be taking breaks so that we don’t overheat.

How does this apply spiritually? This is the time to reap what you planted during your spiritual spring. It’s a time to continue to work, while making sure to build refreshment and relaxation in as well.

This is also a time for us to get rid those “weeds” that may want to pop up and get us distracted. If we limit our distractions, a spiritual summer can be very good to us. (Quote source here.)

In another article from a writer in Ireland, Karen O’Reilly, creator and designer of Scriptural Grace, in a post titled, 25+ Beautiful Bible Verses About Summer,” she writes:

Does God speak about summer in the Bible? This was a question that I was asked recently and it made me quite curious! So I set off on an expedition through the Old and New Testament of the Bible to see what Bible verses about summer I could find.

What an adventure I have had and I have found lots of treasure to share with you. You will enjoy the list of summer Bible verses that I have curated for you!

Bible Verses About Summer

God has a lot to say about summer in His word. He has provided us with such wisdom to prepare ahead for the winter months and even to remind us to prepare ahead for a time when it is promised that Jesus will return to our world (it’s all about the Fig tree!). There are Bible verses about celebrating creation, taking time to rest and encouraging Bible verses about shining for the Lord and reflecting His glory.

The seasons are constantly changing and that also brings about a change in our attitudes and in the way we practice our everyday life. The warmer weather lifts our mood and encourages us to relax more. There are longer daylight hours to fill with fun and outdoor activities. In the summer months we tend to relax more and enjoy extra quality time with our family and friends.

Summer is also a time when we slow down and take that much needed vacation with our family. We all need a change and a break from our usual routines. I find that it gives me a fresh perspective on my life and a renewed energy to focus on the months ahead. Do you find yourself like this too?

So with all this in mind I have curated a list of summer Bible verses that you do not want to miss!

I hope you enjoy these Bible verses about summer as you capture a few rays of the sun….or SON over the coming weeks!

Click here to go to all 25+ Bible verses on her post. (Quote source here.)

And speaking of Bible verses, in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, King Solomon wrote about the many seasons that come and go throughout our lives:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

I’ll end this post with the words of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 24:32-35: Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away…

But my words . . .

Will never . . .

Pass away. . . .

YouTube Video: “Seasons Change” sung by Michael Ketterer:

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Photo #2 credit here

Minding Our Own Business

How many of my readers remember Ann Landers (1918-2002) whose quote is found in the pic at the top of this blog post? I tried never to miss reading her advice column in the newspaper during all those years she was considered to be America’s #1 advice columnist. The following information on her comes from AnnLanders.com:

Ann Landers was the country’s #1 advice columnist for 47 years. Her advice was printed in English-language papers all over the world. She was the most widely read human relations adviser of all time, and the most widely syndicated. At the height of the newspaper business, when many towns had two newspapers, her readership was 90 million people. Her trademark was common sense advice rendered in everyday language–often with a dash of humor. It was she who began the practice of obtaining counsel from authorities in different fields, which she then passed on to her readers. She used to say, “For the price of a stamp, you can receive advice from a renowned expert.” (When she began writing, in 1955, there was no Internet, so people with problems had to write a letter and send it through the mail!)

She was famous, yet down to earth. She was a beloved figure who earned the gratitude of millions of people. Her mission was to shine light where there was darkness and to educate her readers along the way. And her work caused many people to realize that common sense ain’t so common. In a way, she was America’s mother. (Quote source here.)

We could certainly use a mother like Ann Landers today. We now live in a world where everybody has an opinion on everything and everyone, and nobody seems to care about the truth. And nobody even knows what “common sense advice” is today, either. But then postmodernism and beyond it has made truth appear to be relative to one’s own liking or opinion. And who genuinely cares about your neighbor next door (and we probably know more about our neighbor’s business then they do with today’s technology). We don’t think twice about gossiping about others, whether it’s truthful or not (and what we hear and repeat is usually full of half truths and exaggerations). And lying about others with a syrupy sweet smile and nauseously nice twinkle in the eye is at an all time high today, too. Wow… how did we get from there to here in under twenty years?

I ran into an interesting website the other day but I forget now what the actual topic was that I was researching. The URL is illbehonest.com, and this particular blog post on that blog showed up in my search results. The blog post was published on April 17, 2016, and it is titled, Nosy Christians: Mind Your Own Business,” by Mack Tomlinson of Providence Chapel. He has served as an editor and book publisher, and he also conducts an itinerant preaching ministry around the U.S., overseas in Eastern Europe, the South Pacific, and other areas of the world (source here). 

Actually, minding one’s own business is good for everyone and not just those who consider themselves to be Christians, but his article is written specifically with Christians in mind.

Mack’s blog post opens with a YouTube video which I have not watched yet, but I have read his blog post titled, Nosy Christians: Mind Your Own Business.” and here is what he had to say:

The Lord tells Peter, “keep your eyes only on me.” Now where do you find that? Well, notice what the Lord said to Peter at the end of verse 19, “Follow me.” But what did Peter do? The next sentence says he turned and saw John. The Lord had said, “Follow me.” Peter turns and sees John. Peter is distracted about God’s will for John.

Think about it, here’s this big context of the Lord restoring Peter in love, calls him again to shepherd the sheep. Tells him how he’s going to die. And then the Lord says, “Follow me.” Wouldn’t that be enough for now?

Well, apparently not, because Peter turns, and looks at John and says, “Well, what about him?” Why did Peter do that? It may have been, if he realizes he’s gonna die, he was close to John, he wonders is this his fate, too? “What are you gonna do with John? What about John’s future?” And Jesus in essence said, “What about John? Was I talking about John? Is my business about John’s future your business?” or as we would say, “This is on a need to know basis and guess what? What is that to you, follow me.”

See, we’re called not to be distracted by others. Christ called us, especially by those we love and are closest to. We’re not to be distracted by others and their calling, and God’s will for them, their situations, and Peter was distracted with a viewpoint, an attitude, nosiness, meddling, and wondering about what was not his business. How easy is it for people to become a distracting hindrance to our single eyed devotion. Our minds can so easily be on others paths more than our own path. If John’s future was Peter’s responsibility Jesus would have mentioned it to Peter. He did not say, “Peter here’s your new commission: love me, feed my sheep, die for me, and, oh, here’s information about John because you’re responsible for him also.” He didn’t say that. Jesus restores the fallen Peter, reaffirms his calling, and has to rebuke the nosy Peter.

Peter should leave all distractions alone because they weren’t his. “What is that to you? What business is that of yours?” And how often do we need to hear this. We say, “Well I don’t think that church over there is quite doing right. What’s that to you? You follow Christ.” “Well I don’t think they have the right view of which translation of the Bible to use.” “That it’s none of your business, you follow Christ.” “Well I think they’re too young to be going to the mission field.”

How much are we carnally curious about other people’s issues when we haven’t even fully dealt with our own, and we aren’t fully obeying Christ as to what He’s shown us to do. Jesus declines to satisfy Peter’s curiosity; it is no business of Peter’s of what is going to happen to John. Even if the Lord wills for John to stay alive… why would Peter even need to know? He doesn’t need to know anything about John.

How much do we need to know about God’s purpose and will for others, even those we’re closest to? How much do we really need to know? Elders and pastors need to know. Church leaders need to know, more often times for the protection, but generally speaking how much do we need to know about God’s business and other people’s lives? What is that to you, oh thou nosy Christian! Mind your own business; keep to your own stuff.

You know, one of the greatest examples of this mistake is King Josiah. He reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. He became King when he was 8 years old. At 16, the Bible says he began to seek the Lord seriously. He began to seek the God of David. And he began purging Jerusalem of idols and carved images. [He is] one of the best kings in Israel’s history. In 2 Kings, in 2 Chronicles, it gives his record. He kept the Passover in Jerusalem; he appointed priests to their offices, and encourage them in the service of the house of God. He put the Ark in the Temple that Solomon built. He cut down the alters of Baal; and he was present himself when those men cut those alters to Baal down, the Bible says. He told the priests, “Consecrate yourselves and prepare for your brothers to do according to the word of the Lord by Moses.” The singers, the sons of Asaph, were under Josiah’s leadership in Israel. And the Bible says, “There was no Passover like it had been kept in Israel since the days of Samuel the Prophet” [which] summarizes Josiah’s life. The rest of the acts of Josiah and his good deeds are written in the book of the kings.

But you know what? Do you remember his major misstep? One big misstep cost him his life. He didn’t apostatize and worship the Baals. He didn’t love, like Solomon, a bunch of strange women and let them pull his heart away to false gods like Solomon did. What did Josiah do? He didn’t mind his own business. He began meddling in affairs that weren’t his. He began to pick a fight with a dog, but the dog didn’t want to fight him. But he picked the fight and the dog had to fight him. Chronicles says after Josiah prepared the Temple, he heard about Neco, the king of Egypt, who was going to war with someone over near the Euphrates river. And it’s not Josiah’s business; it’s not his battle. He doesn’t have a bone to pick. Israel’s welfare is not at stake! But he couldn’t leave it alone. Josiah goes out to meet Neco basically to pick a fight when Neco wasn’t coming to Israel. And the Bible says Neco sent messengers to Josiah. They said this, “What do we have to do with you, O King? What do we have to do with each other? I’m not coming against you this day, but someone else. Listen, I’m in a hurry. Stop! Because God is with me. Lest He destroy you!” And here was Josiah’s mistake. The Bible says, “Nevertheless, Josiah did not turn away from him; he did not listen to the words of Neco, from the mouth of God, but instead he came to fight.” And the archers shot Josiah and he died and was buried. And the Bible says, “All Jerusalem and all Judah mourned for Josiah, and Jeremiah the Prophet lamented his death. Neco was saying, ‘What is that to you? You worship Jehovah. What is that to you? This isn’t your fight. You’re not called to meddle here.’” Watch meddling!

A dear favorite preacher of mine said one time: “Watch out for meddling, don’t meddle in what’s not your business! Don’t be concerned about stuff that’s not for you to fix.” You follow Christ! You stay focused on Him and don’t let people, even those you love the most, distract you from steadfast single-eyed obedience! “What is that to you, Peter? You follow Me.” And that’s the final thing the Lord said to him. Not only “Love Me, feed My sheep, die for Me, mind your own business–but follow Me.” And the Lord says it twice here. “Follow Me!” And then at the end, He says: “You, follow Me. Just follow Me.” “Love Me, care for my sheep, follow Me, feed them, love them, watch out for them. Don’t let anyone mess with my Bride! Shepherd my sheep!” (Quote source here.)

After I read what he wrote, I had to give some serious thought to my own life and how I tend to judge circumstances (especially over these past dozen years since I lost my job back in 2009 and I ever found another one), including my own judgments of others, according to what I think might be going on, without having any real clue as to the actual nature of what is going on “behind the scenes” in my own circumstances. Talk about an arrow striking my own heart.

For those of us who consider ourselves to be genuine followers of Jesus Christ, His words to Peter are directly aimed at us, too, regardless of what anyone else thinks. We should not question what He is doing in someone else’s life. We have enough in our own lives to manage without prying into other people’s lives that is, well, quite frankly, none of our business. God is quite capable of running the universe without our prying into areas and other people’s lives where we do not belong. And He doesn’t want us prying into others’ lives and assuming things that could be so far removed from the truth and that in the end only damages us.

Enough said. I’ll end this post with a few words from Jesus to Peter when he questioned Jesus about another disciple, found in John 21:21-23

What is that to you . . .

You must . . .

Follow Me . . . .

YouTube Video: “Follow Me” by Shonlock:

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Photo #2 credit here