Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.



Samson destroys the temple

Image via Wikipedia

Ever see the movie ANGEL AND THE BAD MAN with John Wayne? In it, Quirt Evans (John Wayne) is a good guy who’s gone bad. He helps out a group of Friends (Quakers) and they give him a Bible with his name on it from .

His friend Randy McCall, played by Lee Dixon, starts reading it. Randy McCall: What about the Bible? You can’t throw it away, that would be bad luck.
Quirt Evans: Then keep it!
Randy McCall: All right. This is one book I’m sure gonna read.

Through the rest of the movie, the friend says, “Listen to this! It’s really exciting!”

That’s how I feel. Why I haven’t read through the Bible before? I’ve tried and dropped out in the past. I don’t know why. But I’m glad I’m keeping up this time. 

I don’t just enjoy the verses I read, but also the memories that come to life while I read them. Today, May 1st, we read Judges 13-15, and Samson was born. Remember him? Samson and Delilah? Lost his strength when his hair was cut? I had so much fun learning about him when I was in Brother Bill Baker’s Old Testament History class at Ozark.

That was a long time ago, but Sampson was the epitome of a Bad Boy (popular character in many romance novels) so I’ve never forgotten him. He had the Nazarite Vow sort of put on him before he was born.

His mother was told by an angel of the Lord not to drink fermented liquids or touch anything unclean while he was in utero. (Also a good idea for pregnant women today!)

Samson’s father asked the angel of the Lord his name. The angel answers, “It is beyond your understanding.” That phrase is also translated, “Wonderful.”

Wonder-ful. So absolutely fantastic, humans are unable to comprehend it until we’re in eternity with Him. 

Maybe it’s because of the wonderful special effects we see in movies these days, but I can just see the angel of the Lord ascending in the smoke from Sam’s parent’s burnt offering. Wouldn’t you love to see that done?

Once Samson was born, he had to continue to live with the Nazarite Vow, so he couldn’t cut his hair. (Everyone remembers that part.)

The Philistines ruled Judah at that time because Judah had been unfaithful to the Lord. (They followed the Lord, then after a few years they were lured away. On again, off again. Not unlike some of us today!) Once again, the people of Israel prayed for deliverance, and this time, God sent Samson.

God makes Samson fall for and marry a Philistine woman. One day when Samson is gone paying off a bet the Philistines had cheated on, his FIL gives Samson’s wife to Samson’s friend. (With friends like that . . . )

In retribution, Samson catches 300 foxes, ties them together in pairs, sets their tails on fire, and turns them loose in the fields of the Philistines.

Can’t you just see it? It’s a black-dark night, way out in the country. There’s only one spot of light, it’s bright and golden because it comes from Samson’s torch. 

The big guy looks like Hercules in the movies, a swarthy complexion, piles of muscles and long, curly hair. He takes a pair of these wild animals, ties their tails together, lights them and sets them off into the ready-to-harvest fields of ripe grain.

This is really exciting stuff. (See? Just like Randy.) It amazes me that in only three short chapters, so much story can be told. As a long-winded novel writer, I absolutely see God’s hand in that! LOL.  

If you haven’t read about Samson lately, check it out–Judges 13 and following.

You might be surprised and you’ll certainly be blessed by what’s there. I know I was!

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I’m in Exodus–Not the Movie :)

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’m reading through the Bible in a year. I’m having a great time doing it. The plan we’re using comes from . Rather than reading straight through, we read a book in the Old Testament, then one in the new. And every day we read a chapter of Psalm or Proverbs.

Someone mentioned there’s a Chronological Bible, and a plan  to read through it in a year. Image, reading the entire Bible in the order in which it was written. I think it would give me a shiny, new perspective of the glories of our God!

Next I “met” a woman who was reading through in 90 days. Wow! Yes, there’s a plan for that, too. (What would we do without plans? LOL)

This is from Mom’s Tool Box (they sponsored the 90 day read).

Several years ago Ted Cooper, who is now a friend of mine, was happily Agnostic. But then his kids started asking questions. And he started to wonder. And he wanted to just put the whole thing to rest. So he decided to find the quickest, easiest way to find the answers to his questions and decided to read the whole Bible, cover to cover. He found an NIV thin line (fewest footnotes), counted the pages and divided by about 3 months. And off he read. And half-way through the Old Testament he became a Christian.

Imagine thinking that zipping through the Bible in 90 days would give him all the answers for his kids questions. <g> Instead, it introduced him to the Lord!


So back to my Bible read–I’ve read Genesis and Mark so far. (I’m not taking the days off like I’m supposed to. I’m saving them up for later. 😉  )

Now I’m reading Exodus. This morning it was chapters 1-4. I’ve studied this before in Old Testament History at Ozark. The professor was Bro. Bill Baker, and he had a contemporary way of teaching that I loved.

But I don’t remember him pointing out what an excuse-maker Moses was. That man came up with reason after reason as to why he couldn’t go back to Egypt and lead his people out of bondage.

He’d lead The Good Life as a prince of Egypt. He’d had it all–money, prestige, position. But he ran away after killing an Egyptian who was being mean to a Hebrew. When he did, he found a new home, married a daughter of a man who had no sons, and was treated like a son.

God blessed him over and over, and even spoke to him. Moses didn’t have to wonder, Is this God’s will for me? He knew it because God said, “This is what I want you to do.”

I like to think if I heard God’s actual voice, I’d do whatever He wanted. No ifs, ands or buts about it, while Moses used every excuse he could think of to get out of going.

Was it because he didn’t believe God? Naw. How could he not believe when God showed him miracle after miracle? I think it was because he was comfortable right where he was. He liked it there with his wife and sons and his wife’s family all around him. He had a job and a home and was very comfortable. What more could a guy want?

Maybe that’s why we don’t “hear” when God’s leading us. For a long time I’ve known there were some changes that needed to be made in my life, but I made excuses. Many more than we see recorded in Exodus. I liked where I was. I enjoyed what I was doing, etc.

I didn’t hear God’s voice from a burning bush. I didn’t have a staff that turned into a snake. (I did use a cane named John–John MyCane. Get it?–for a while, but it didn’t turn into a snake.) God didn’t make my hand leprous, and then clean again.

But God, in his way, convinced me. One day a stray thought hit me in the head. “You’ve been a Christian for X years. Are you doing what you should be? Are you where you should be?”

Uh, probably not.

Reading through the Bible in a year was one of my steps to where He wants me to be. This blog is another. SSMT (Memorizing a Bible verse two times a month) is yet another.

And wow! Life is amazing!!!