Summer

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Yesterday marked the first day of summer, though it has been feeling pretty summery around here for a few weeks already.

Summer doesn’t have quite the sensation of joy, freedom, and expectancy that it does when you’re a child and school is out for three glorious months. With our kids no longer in school and our grandchild not yet in school, our schedules aren’t affected much by the school schedule – except it’s nice to be able to drive without having to worry about slowing to a stop in school zones at certain times of the day. And we do have to watch out more for kids playing in or near the neighborhood street.

Yet summer still retains a bit of charm, though it’s very hot and humid here in the South. It’s the season of grilling, sitting in the pool if you’re lucky enough to have access to one (we enjoy filling up a kiddie pool for Timothy), longer days, yard work, picnics, and vacations for some.

Here are a few favorite quotes about it:

Summer is the time when it is too hot to do the jobs it was too cold to do in winter. ~ Author Unknown

 Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.  ~John Lubbock

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.  ~James Dent

Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. ~ Warren Buffett

No price is set on the lavish summer;
June may be had by the poorest comer.
~James Russell Lowell, The Vision of Sir Launfal, 1848

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And most of my fellow Southerners can identify with this:

You know you are in the South in August when…

* The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.

* The trees are whistling for the dogs.

* The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.

* Hot water now comes out of both taps.

* You can make sun tea instantly.

* You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.

* You discover that in August it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car.

* You discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.

* You actually burn your hand opening the car door.

* You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 am.

* Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, “What if I get knocked out and end up
lying on the pavement and cook to death?”

* You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.

* The potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter, salt, and pepper.

* Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.

* The cows are giving evaporated milk.

We’re experiencing some of that though it’s not August yet!

The Bible mentions summer a few times, among them:

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. Genesis 8:22

Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter. Psalm 74:17

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8. And another one about industrious ants: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer. Proverbs 30:25

He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame. Proverbs 10:5

As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool. Proverbs 26:1

Saddest of all: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. Jeremiah 8:20

 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Matthew 24:32-33

No hint of summer as vacation there! That helps me not to be wistful of childhood’s long summers off. That must be a modern concept: it wasn’t that long ago that kids didn’t have school in summer for the express purpose of being available to help their parents during the busiest seasons on the farm, and even now, summer is a busy time for farmers and homesteaders. It would be interesting to study summer in other cultures: for instance, in areas near the equator where it’s excessively hot, I wonder if summer if more laid back because it would be harder to function in the heat.

But the Bible does encourage times of rest as well as diligence, so I am glad summer affords time for that.

We have no special plans for the summer except for a couple of events to look forward to. With my husband’s mom here, we can’t really travel. What I call our “birthday season” begins in July: five of us have birthdays between then and mid-September. But we enjoy grilling and sitting outside in the evenings when it’s not so hot, and we look forward to my oldest son coming for a week-long visit in a few weeks. Lately our neighborhood has been getting together for a group cook-out on the 4th of July. Summer used to be reading heaven for me when I was younger, and though I can’t spend the bulk of the day in a book anymore, I still do get a bit more reading in as there is not much on TV during the summer.

What are you doing this summer?

 

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How to Do the Job You Don’t Really Want To Do

I was sorting through and organizing some quotes I have from Elisabeth Elliot this afternoon, and this one jumped out at me, so I thought I’d share it with you. This is from her book A Lamp For My Feet, but I think I originally saw it when her e-mail devotionals were sent out by Back to the Bible.

How to Do the Job You Don’t Really Want To Do

Certain aspects of the job the Lord has given me to do are very easy to postpone. I make excuses, find other things that take precedence, and, when I finally get down to business to do it, it is not always with much grace. A new perspective has helped me recently:

The job has been given to me to do.
Therefore it is a gift.
Therefore it is a privilege.
Therefore it is an offering I may make to God.
Therefore it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him.
Therefore it is the route to sanctity.

Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness. The discipline of this job is, in fact, the chisel God has chosen to shape me with–into the image of Christ.

Thank you, Lord, for the work You have assigned me. I take it as your gift; I offer it back to you. With your help I will do it gladly, faithfully, and I will trust You to make me holy.

Getting in tune

“Some people seem to think that if they set apart certain definite days for praise, it is enough. For example, they will be grateful for a whole day once in the year—thinking that this is the way God wants them to show their gratitude. But the annual Thanksgiving Day is not intended to gather into itself the thanksgiving for a whole year; rather it is intended to give the keynote for all the year’s life. Life’s true concert pitch, is praise. If we find that we are below the right pitch, we should take advantage of particular thanksgiving seasons to get keyed up. That is the way people do with their pianos—they have them tuned now and then, when the strings get slack and the music begins to grow discordant—and it is quite as important to keep our life in tune as our piano.” – J.R. Miller

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Spurgeon on criticism

Someone posted this quote on Facebook recently:

“Brother, if any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him; for you are worse than he thinks you to be. If he charges you falsely on some point, yet be satisfied, for if he knew you better he might change the accusation, and you would be no gainer by the correction. If you have your moral portrait painted, and it is ugly, be satisfied; for it only needs a few blacker touches, and it would be still nearer the truth.” Spurgeon

The first sentence especially resonated with me. I was just discussing with my son yesterday that the first response to any criticism should be to examine it to see if there is any truth to it. I’m amazed at people who can’t take the merest suggestion that they might be doing something not quite right without becoming defensive and blowing up, or, in opposite fashion, becoming wounded and closing in on themselves.

Yet I have to admit, my first response to criticism isn’t, “Thank you: you’ve give me something to think about.” I might not say so out loud, but my first thoughts are likely to be something like, “You don’t understand,” or, “How DARE you!” or, “Oh yeah? Well take a look at yourself and deal with your own faults!” Not very pretty, is it? My first response should probably be, “Yes, and you don’t know the half of it!”

It should be no surprise to us that we’re not perfect, and no surprise that someone else notices that fact from time to time. Proverbs has much to say about hearing reproof:

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life. Proverbs 6:23.

He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth. Proverbs 10:17.

Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured. Proverbs 13:18.

The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. Proverbs 15:31.

He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. Proverbs 15:32.

A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool. Proverbs 17:10.

We can take comfort in the fact that God sees believers through His Son, Jesus Christ, and that once we savingly believe on Him, His righteousness is transferred to our account because He took our sinfulness on His. Because of His amazing grace, those who have believed on Christ for salvation become God’s children, and will have a home with Him in heaven. Our eternal life begins NOW, not when we die.

Yet until we get to heaven, we have a sin nature to contend with, and we’re instructed to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18). II Timothy 3:16-17 tell us: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (ESV). Part of that growing, completion, equipping, is realizing those areas where we have a problem and then seeking God’s grace and relying on His Word to change us. So when we receive a criticism, instead of just brushing it off, we can see if God means to use it to show us something we need to know about ourselves.

There is only one perfect person in the universe, and as we behold Him, He changes us to be more like Himself:  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. II Corinthians 3:18.

Quotes about books and reading

So, most of you know I love to read. And I know many of you do as well. Here are some quotes I’ve seen recently that resonated with me, and I feel sure they will with some of you as well. All of the images are from Pinterest. I don’t endorse everything about every person quoted, just the quote itself.

– “Literature is my utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends.” Helen Keller

– “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened and invigorated; by the other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished and confirmed. But as exercise becomes tedious and painful when we make use of it only as the means of health, so reading is apt to grow uneasy and burdensome, when we apply ourselves to it only for our improvement in virtue. For this reason, the virtue which we gather from a fable, or an allegory, is like the health we get by hunting; as we are engaged in an agreeable pursuit that draws us on with pleasure, and makes us insensible of the fatigues that accompany it.”
-Joseph Addison and Richard Steele
The Tatler No. 147

– “An interesting book is food that makes us hungry.” Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach (seen at Mama Bear‘s).

– “Reading allows me to thrive. If I don’t, then I feel stagnant.” ~ Michael D. Perkins

‎- “A good story is life, with the dull parts taken out.” Alfred Hitchcock (seen at Robin Lee Hatcher’s Facebook.)

The following two were seen at Carrie‘s:

– “The books that help you most are those which make you think the most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.” Theodore Parker (1810 – 1860)

– “The reading of all good books is indeed like a conversation with the noblest men of past centuries who were the authors of them, nay a carefully studied conversation, in which they reveal to us none but the best of their thoughts.” Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650)

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.” Alan Bennett (I saw this on Pinterest, and after looking around discovered it is from a movie that I would not see and would not recommend. I started not to include it for that reason, but I do like the quote in and of itself.)

– “Reading a book gives us somewhere to go when we stay where we are.” Unknown

– “Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” Joyce Carol Oates

The Last ‘Week in Words’

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Welcome to The Week In Words, where we share quotes from the last week’s reading. If something you read this past week  inspired you, caused you to laugh, cry, think, dream, or just resonated with you in some way, please share it with us, attributing it to its source, which can be a book, newspaper, blog, Facebook — anything that you read. More information is here.

I’ve been thinking about discontinuing the Week in Words for some time now, for several reasons. Only a very few people participate in it, and maybe a few more than that read it. I thought I’d be posting more quotes from books, but I tend to want to save those for when I review the book. I have a file where I put the quotes I collect through the week, and the last couple of weeks I haven’t put any in there and have had to go looking for something for the WiW. And sometimes I’ll have something else on my heart I want to post on Mondays, but I don’t like to have more than one post a day.It’s starting to feel more like a chore or a weight than a joy.

I have enjoyed it so much. Those of you who have joined in have provided some good food for thought to start off the week. If someone else wants to take it over, that’s fine with me. If you want to rename it, post it on a different day, or whatever, once it’s yours you can shape it as you want to. If you do, let me know and I’ll post a note to that effect so that others who might want to continue with it will know where to go.

I’ll probably still post quotes from time to time, just because I like them and want to share them. Before the WiW I would occasionally post a handful of quotes on one topic, and I might do that some times.

As for today’s quotes:

This was from Everyday Battles: Knowing God Through Our Daily Conflicts by Bob Schultz which I mentioned before in my review here, but in case anyone didn’t see it:

If you find yourself frustrated because you’re losing, don’t lash out in anger. Discover why you’re getting beat. Let it motivate you to learn new skills or develop more strength.

He goes on to mention wrestling with one guy repeatedly through the years and never beating that guy, but learning things he could use in other matches. I had a similar experience with Scrabble on Facebook: one friend used to beat me every time when we first started, but now I’ve learned some of her tricks and win about as often as she does now. In the larger issues of life, whether a besetting sin or not achieving victory in some area, instead of just getting discouraged, we can ask the Lord for wisdom about what we should do differently. Sometimes we might new new skills or strength or methods: sometimes we might need more dependence on Him.

And this was from Don’t Mistake Doing What You Love With Doing What’s Important, HT to A Holy Experience:

The difference between doing what’s important and doing what you want is that the important stuff is usually harder. It’s not so much fun. It generally won’t fulfill all of your deepest personal longings. Working a boring job to provide your family with financial security often gets a bad rap from motivational wonks who would have us drop everything to pursue our dreams, but I believe there’s something valiant, even noble about it.

That’s kind of the lesson in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus” (which I saw on TV and was relatively clean but may have been edited for TV). Each had a dream that was never fulfilled as they had envisioned it, and had a job they didn’t really like, but each touched various lives in ways they hadn’t realized. There is a time and a place for stepping out on faith and dropping everything to pursue your dreams, but that’s only under God’s leading. Moses in the desert, David as a shepherd, Joseph in prison, even Christ as a carpenter, each had to be faithful for years in one place before it was God’s time to step into a larger area of responsibility and the ministry they would become known for.

And finally, my last quote for the Week in Words:

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Acts 20:32.

Though I love gleaning wisdom from others, the most important source is the Word of God itself.

You can share your family-friendly quotes in the comments below or write a post on your blog and then put the link to that post (not your general blog link) in Mr. Linky below.

I hope you’ll visit the other participants as well and glean some great thoughts to ponder. And I hope you’ll leave a comment here, even if you don’t have any quotes to share.

Thank you all, once again, for your interest in The Week in Words.

The Week in Words

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Welcome to The Week In Words, where we share quotes from the last week’s reading. If something you read this past week  inspired you, caused you to laugh, cry, think, dream, or just resonated with you in some way, please share it with us, attributing it to its source, which can be a book, newspaper, blog, Facebook — anything that you read. More information is here.

Sorry to be a little late with this. I try to have it up before bedtime the night before, but we played a new game with the family last night, got done around 11, and my brain was fried. 🙂 It was fun, though.

Here are some poignant quotes from the last week:

I mentioned this one in Saturday’s post, but wanted to highlight it again here. From Praying Past Our Preferred Outcomes.

To go deeper than praying only for deliverance means that we approach prayer not as a tool to manipulate God to get what we want, but as a way to submit to what he wants. ~ Nancy Guthrie

The gist of the article is that we usually pray for deliverance from trials and problems, but sometimes God has something He wants to teach us or accomplish first. Another quote:

What would happen if we allowed Scripture to provide the outcomes we prayed toward? What if we expanded our prayers from praying solely for healing and deliverance and success to praying that God would use the suffering and disappointment and dead ends in our lives to accomplish the purposes he has set forth in Scripture? Scripture provides us with a vocabulary for expanding our prayers for hurting people far beyond our predetermined positive outcomes. Instead of praying only for relief, we begin to pray that the glory of God’s character would be on display in our lives and the lives of those for whom we are praying. We pray for the joy of discovering that the faith we have given lip service to over a lifetime is the real deal. We ask God to use the difficulty to make us less self-reliant and more God-reliant. Rather than only begging him to remove the suffering in our loved ones’ lives, we ask him to make them spiritually fruitful in the midst of suffering he chooses not to remove.

And from the song “See, What a Morning” about Resurrection Day:

Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered!

That’s been ringing through my mind through yesterday and this morning.

You can share your family-friendly quotes in the comments below or write a post on your blog and then put the link to that post (not your general blog link) in Mr. Linky below.

I hope you’ll visit the other participants as well and glean some great thoughts to ponder. And I hope you’ll leave a comment here, even if you don’t have any quotes to share.