The Last Day of Summer

I am at a loss. Why? The end of summer is upon us! The month has dwindled down to a drop–

a day.

img_3186

Today, Wednesday, September 21, is THE LAST FULL DAY of summer.

More precisely,

(with a little help from “ye” Old Farmer’s Almanac)
Old Farmer's Almanac

tomorrow–Thursday, at 10:20 AM–is the last moment of this summer.

Gone are the days of. . .

ice cream Image result for ice cream cone

Image result for lazy summer morning lazy mornings

being poolside, dockside, or beachside Image result for public domain lake with dock and chair

Image result for chasing fireflies public domain  chasing lightning bugs

overflowing gardens  Image result for bountiful flower bed public domain

Image result for jumping through sprinklers public domain  jumping through sprinklers

barefoot walks in soft green grass  Image result for public domain feet walking in grass

Image result for watermelon slice public domain  watermelon

fresh tomatoes   Image result for beefsteak tomatoes public domain

But weren’t they wonderful? (And who says ice cream is only for the summer? I have a dear aunt who would strongly concur!)

I hope you were able to enjoy some special times this past summer, dear friend. Did your garden bloom beautifully? Did your friends rejoice with you? Did you share sparkling morning sunlight and evening starlight with someone special? Did you walk increasingly more closely with Jesus?

Among His many characteristics, God is a god of relationship. Look at the friendships of David and Jonathan, of Paul and Barnabas and Timothy. Look at the marriages of Adam and Eve, of Abraham and Sarah, and of Joseph and Mary. Look at the kinship of Jesus and His cousin, John. Look at the bonds between Jesus and the apostles–and Jesus and you.

Relationships span time and seasons. They are important, in every season. So, let’s be thankful for the summer days we enjoyed and praise God for those moments and memories.

But what about difficult days? Have the hottest summer days been accompanied by trying and soul-strengthening trials? Have you been through a personal summer thunderstorm?

If in this past summer you experienced some bitter or difficult times, remember God does not leave us without comfort. We have His Word. We have His ear. We have His Spirit. We have those relationships. Like that gangly last tomato plant, continue to lean on the firm support that only Jesus Christ is. He came and died and rose making that relationship possible–all for you!

Remember

  • how very much He loves you,
  • that He is in control, (and that He is in control), and
  • to humble yourself and concede, “Thy will be done.”

With that attitude, we can be thankful for the summer days and for the fall days just around the corner. We can look forward with great expectation to see the unfolding of His good and perfect plan for our lives. We can be encouraged to walk even more closely with Jesus as we enjoy. . .

Image result for fall leaves public domain Colorful leaves (and leaf piles to jump in!)

Uniquely shaped gourds and pumpkins Image result for pumpkins gourds public domain

Image result for public domain thanksgiving dinner Thanksgiving dinner

Hot mulled cider Image result for public domain mulled cider

Image result for public domain pumpkin pie Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter, (pumpkin ice cream?)

Crisp air  Image result for public domain fall in the blue ridge

And when we don’t know what will happen or when we pray and pray and PRAY for something or someone–let’s commit to wait with expectant eyes to see the realization of the wonder that is God’s will.

Let’s be awed and amazed with. . .Image result for public domain fall heart leaf

each uniquely colored fall leaf,

Image result for public domain breath of mountain hiker  each breath of crisp air

Image result for public domain hands making heart shape

each day He gives us.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Advertisements

Leaves, Leaves–and More Leaves–OH MY!

IMG_2605We’ve been raking the beautiful fall leaves in our yard into many a pile over the last week. Are they falling where you live, too? Fall is my favorite season as the leaves become a kaleidoscope of oranges, reds, yellows, greens, and browns.  My deck becomes a mosaic crafted by the artistry of our heavenly Father.

Raking leaves is certainly a discipline of time, muscles, and energy but it gives one a chance to ponder. There is the occasional, “Where did Teddy go?!” but, on the whole, it’s pretty peaceful work in the fresh air. As I moved across the yard, I began to notice the different shadings of color in the leaves and the different sizes of the leaves and the different kinds of leaves–it was amazing. It was also amazing how many leaves were still on the trees! At one point, our son tried to rake the branches, and a sifting of leaves fell down on his head. The hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” by William Cowper would have been fitting background music considering the lines “the clouds you so much dread, are big with mercy and shall break with blessing on your head.”

That got me to thinking… What if we looked at each leaf like a blessing from God? Blessings, too, are each unique and come different sizes and different kinds. Some are bright and beautiful and give us the immediate desire to lift up praise. Some are a little dimmer and rumpled. They may resemble trials more than blessings. But don’t trials bring blessing?

Hebrews 12:6-11 discusses how a good father disciplines his son because he loves him, and likewise God disciplines us because He loves us. “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons…we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.”

And here in verse 11 is the jewel in the leaf pile: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

The peace of righteousness–what a blessing!

My eyes survey the yard and deck. Leaves continue to fall. The next verse, Hebrews 12:12, is the final encouragement–a pep talk, if you will: “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”

Lifted hands take up rakes again.  Exercised muscles spread a tarp. Bring on this trial. There’s blessing at the end!