Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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The TRUE Christmas Story

Haloed Angel

God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:

Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.

29-33 She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.

He will be great,     be called ‘Son of the Highest.’ The Lord God will give him     the throne of his father David; He will rule Jacob’s house forever—     no end, ever, to his kingdom.”

34 Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”

35 The angel answered,

The Holy Spirit will come upon you,     the power of the Highest hover over you; Therefore, the child you bring to birth     will be called Holy, Son of God.–Luke 1:27-35 The Message


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Sunday “Thanks!”

I woke up this morning to rain on the roof. Oh, how I love that sound!

I have a thing for rain, and I tried to share it with all my children. We love the sound it makes, the wonderful, earthy smell in the air while it’s coming down and the cozy, snuggled in feeling of being inside while it rains outside.

My first thought this morning was, Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!  But that didn’t seem like quite enough. So I decided to let David help me.

1 Chronicles 29

10 David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,

“Praise be to you, Lord,
the God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.

11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.

12 Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.

13 Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.

Remember who David was? He was the little brother who killed Goliath, the giant Philistine, who had the entire army of Israel shaking in their sandals.

He was the shepherd boy God chose to be king over His people.

He sinned before God, and was still humble enough to ask for and receive God’s forgiveness.

He was the great-granddaddy of Jesus.

He wrote most of our favorite Psalms.

Speaking of which, this is one of mine–

Psalm 18

1- I love you, Lord, my strength.

2- The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield of my salvation, my stronghold.


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Wish-I-Could-Bottle-It-And-Keep-It

When I opened my eyes this morning, it was nearly six. *sigh* I know a lot of people love to sleep in. They stay in bed, feel pampered, rested, happy.

I hate it when I accidentally sleep in. I feel as if I missed something. The world is doing and being and happening, and I miss it all.

I don’t get as much written or accomplished, and I feel kind of pfffffft.

So today when I finally open my eyes at just before six, I’m more than just a little disappointed. After dragging a comb through my hair, I stumble downstairs.

And, oh! A great surprise!

The sun isn’t quite over the horizon, so the world is still a little shadowy, all the colors sweet and muted and absolutely gorgeous. The temperature is 59 degrees. Wish-I-could-bottle-it-and-keep-it weather.

Makes me want to sing opera. 🙂 Or at least The Sound of Music. (Think Julie Andrews spinning on her mountain.)

The music is birdsong. We have a mockingbird who likes to go through his repertoire of songs. I’m not sure which bird the rest of the music is coming from, but I’m grooving on it.  🙂

I love mornings!

David must have just experienced mornings just like this one, because he put what I’m feeling into words.

1 Praise the Lord, my soul. Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. 2 The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent 3and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. 4 He makes winds his messengers,flames of fire his servants. 5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.    Psalm 104 NIV 


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Sunday Spice

"Sunday school, Indians and white[s].&quo...

Indian Territory Sunday School

In case you’re wondering, the picture above is from the time before Okie Land was a state, which happened in 1907. And no, I’m not in it. 🙂 I like to think I would have been, though.

When I was a kid, my family almost never missed church. If it was Sunday morning, it was understood by the entire family that we’d be in Sunday School and church. (Sunday night and Wednesday night, too.)

We didn’t get up and ask if we were going. We knew. We didn’t get to stay all night with other people on Saturday night, because it was like a school night. There was someplace we were going to go the next day.

Church.

When I was very young, everyone went to churchAll the time. If someone I knew didn’t go to church regularly, they didn’t admit it. That just wasn’t acceptable in our Small Town World.

When I was in 5th or  6th grade, I met my first classmate who belonged to a church that was very different from ours. I knew it was different because she didn’t stand up when we saluted the flag or heard the National Anthem. But she went to church.

Things changed drastically after that. People moved into C-Town who didn’t go. And didn’t care. Talk about an awakening for this small town girl!

Today, fewer and fewer people go to church. Most of the people I know believe in God. They just don’t enjoy corporate worship, so they don’t go. Or they’re too busy to go. Or they can’t remember where their letter is. (My aunt told my mama that once. I’m not sure what it means.)

I look forward to Sunday worship. For me, it’s a time of refreshment and renewal. A time when I can focus solely on the One who LOVES me so much, He died for me. He paid the consequences for MY sin, even though He’d never come near sin.

I started to name this blog SWEET SUNDAY, but just now changed it to SUNDAY SPICE. Why? Because when I think of worship, I don’t get a sweet, devoted, laid-back feeling like the nuns in an old movie.

I get jazzed. I love singing praises to the King. Love being with others of like faith. And I love, love, love learning from Preacher Dave.

I don’t speak in the language of angels like Paul or dance before God like David, but I absolutely understand why they did. Our worship service is very well planned, but I’m absolutely thrilled when everything stops so we can spend time in prayer with a hurting saint. Or someone comes forward and is baptized into Christ.

Sundays spice up the rest of my week. And I’m very grateful it does!


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Hoedown!

For the past seven years, our church has had a Harvest Hoedown. Nearly everyone in the congregation pitches in.

Before the fun starts, David fills us in one last time. We’re reminded why we’re there and we ask God to bless what we’re doing. It’s for His glory, not ours. We want everyone to know they’re welcome.

All ages

are welcome. And all ages pitch in.

We have clowns

and games

 

and critters to pet.

We have fun houses.

and fun kids

and cowboys, ready to teach you how to rope.

I’m not sure who had the most fun, the workers or the guests, but I didn’t hear one person who wished they weren’t there. I expect there are plenty who’ll wish they had been.

Our only objective was to share Christ’s love.

I’m hoping we did a pretty good job of it. Because, when you come right down to it, what else is worth it?