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— By Richard Merritt

Summer is a great time for all kinds of fun. I get to take my grandkids to church camp, Vacation Bible School, to the park, down scary roads on dark nights, work with my wife to put up corn and mow the grass. I thank God I have grass and am able to mow it. I thank God for my wife, children and grandchildren (all five of them). Our fun times are special. Basketball, softball in the yard and the joy of seeing them grow physically and accomplish things they have never been able to do before.

Michael (eight) stood on top of a ladder and put up a basketball net. Zach dribbled the ball like an all star (5 and not so athletic). Brody followed my instructions about hitting and decided he’s a slugger. Carlie (12), Bethani (12) and Michael learned to play Heart and Soul on the piano. They were able to do duets, switching parts. I thought I’d never get tired of hearing that song, but after hours and hours, I know a little of how my parents must have felt when I banged away on the old upright for hours each night.

We also talked about God, how each of us could be more like Jesus and live for the Lord better. Prayer, Bible reading and living our faith were discussed seriously as we sat around the living room. We prayed together.

All the seasons of life have both joys and sorrows. Each season has warnings that must be observed. Lightning storms spring and fall, flooding, ice, snow, summer heat and winter cold. Those that honor the warnings by using good judgment escape the dangers of the season.

The Bible gives the warning for the summer season in a short sermon by the prophet Jeremiah. “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jeremiah 8:20 KJV) Sin brought God’s judgment on Israel. They let the summer of opportunity pass without turning back to God.

My youngest grandchild Zach is not yet to the place he can understand about salvation. Children have a prime season for turning to the Lord. I pray when God convicts, he will be tender of heart and ready to respond. It is statistically proven that more are saved at younger ages and less at older ages.

At church camp and after Vacation Bible School I got to lead a young person to the Lord in salvation. There are others I remember in prayer concerning their need to be saved. For some, the summer season of their youth is passing by and they are not yet saved.

God’s warning also comes with instructions. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 KJV)

Some fathers are often reminded about the first part of the verse. Both parts are needed. The first part of the verse has to do with this life. The last part of the verse has to do with the life to come.

The joy of summer activities including vacation, sports, recreational fun and just hanging out can cause some to forget about the things of the Lord.

There should be a time for the family to pray together, to read the Bible together and to worship together in the truth faithfully even in the summer. There is no vacation from spiritual responsibilities.

When our grandchildren come to our house, two come from Mississippi and two from Oklahoma. One lives next door to us. The ones we see less often cause us to remark “My, how you’ve grown.”

Time is short. The season for raising kids passes so quickly some things don’t get done. Summer is a special time to remember the Lord. Try it, you’ll like it.

(Merritt is the pastor at Trinity Missionary Baptist Church.)

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