Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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What Are You Thinking?

Like my new header? That picture was taken by one of my sweet daughter-in-laws, Nikki, in my backyard. She gave me permission to use it. Isn’t it beautiful?

I wanted to use it for the next two weeks before Resurrection Sunday, aka Easter. 🙂

cross-of-the-sunIsn’t it beautiful the way the sun is in the shape of a cross? I love it!

I also wanted a very special verse to memorize these two weeks before That Day. After praying about it for a while, I found the verse I needed.

Cement Angels 012

Matthew 28:5-6–The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here. He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.”

He has risen, just as He said.

Full-concrete-angel

If I’d been that angel (yeah, stretch of the imagination, but go with me here) I’d have smacked them each on the back of the head. “What are you thinking, coming here with all that stuff for his embalming? Have you got a washer missing?

Jesus (aka God, in case you missed that, too) told you what was going to happen. He told you He would rise on the third day. I know you heard Him, because you were there. Can you count?

You are looking in an empty hole for a dead man, but JESUS IS ALIVE.

Get outta here.”

Now I wonder what the women were thinking. Maybe something like, “Well, duh. I knew that.”

So . . . what are you thinking?

 

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First Day

hearts-1474

Not only is 2012 gone, the first day of 2013 is, too! How did you spend yours?

I spent most of mine doing revisions on a couple of books, watching football and a little of Passion 2013. And as much as I enjoyed that (I really did!) my favorite part of the day was spent sitting in front of our fireplace, spending some time with God.

This year, I’m joining Beth Moore, #4 and 3,000+ other women. We’re memorizing a scripture twice a month. (That makes me part of SSMT!)

With my sieve-like brain, I’ll need your prayers to succeed at this!!! (If you’re memorizing, let me know and I’ll pray for you, too.)

Here’s my first scripture:

1/1/13

♥♥♥ Jeremiah 24:7 ♥♥♥

 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. NIV

I love that, don’t you?

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am their Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am their Lord. They will be my people and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

I still can’t do it by heart. (I need your prayers!) At least I can remember, Jeremiah 24:7. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am their Lord. They will be my people and I will be their God for they will return to me with all their heart. (Okay, that time was from pure memory. We’ll see if I can remember it later.

If I talk to you, ask me to say it for you. I might be able to do this thing, with His help. 🙂


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Speak To My Heart, God (Please!)

If you’re looking for a wonderful book, I’d like to suggest one for you that I’ve had for several years. It’s by Kay Arthur and called, Speak to My Heart, God. The book was written in 1993, and is a book I go back to time after time.

It has fifty (or so) three and four page chapters with titles such as “When Things Go Wrong,” “When You’re Disappointed, Discouraged, Defeated,” “When Your Expectations Aren’t In Him,” and “When You Wonder If People Can Tell You Are His.”

Normally, I don’t like books with short devotions in them because they seem somehow incomplete. But this book is different. It has answers to questions I didn’t know anyone else asks. Kay shares them without belaboring a point.

I don’t have permission from Kay, so I’m going to give you pieces of one of her chapters today. (I really wish I could share the entire thing, but I don’t want to get in trouble!)

I watched a friend crumble (understandably) when she learned of her friend’s devistating  diagonsis the other day.

There’s a young man in our Small Town World with a horrible illness that the entire community is praying for.

I’ve prayed for ministers who are disappointed and becoming disheartened because the work they’re doing and the words they’re preaching seem to be falling on fallow ground.

I’ve watched friends lose their babies after going through nine months of carrying them within their bodies, and I know there’s only One who can comfort, who has the answers.

Kay has a chapter called, “When The Forecast Is Bleak,” which I happened to read just the other day. The second line of this chapter starts, “It’s hard to trust God for cool, but pleasant weather when it’s in the mid-90’s . . . (What about over 100 for days on end, and the forecast is triple digit for the next week? I wonder.)

From Kay–

It’s hard, isn’t it, to trust God for anything when the “forecast” is contrary to what we want or feel we need?

Maybe it’s finances . . . and the forecast is grim.
Maybe it’s an restored relationship . . . and the forecast is hopeless.
Maybe it’s a job . . . and the forecast is bleak.
Maybe it’s a report from the doctor . . . and the forecast is ominous.

Whatever–and it could be anything–you know you are totally helpless in the situation.

The first thing Kay suggests we do (we all have these situations in our lives) is to “latch on to 1 John 1:9.”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

After that, she says there’s only one thing left to do. “You cast all your care on the One who cares for you.”

“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Again, from Kay–

What concerns you is of the utmost concern to Him.

He cast hailstones on Israel’s enemies and made the sun stand still so that “the sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There was no day like that . . . when the Lord listened to the voice of a man” (Joshua 10:13-14).

Have you asked God to hear your cry?

Did He not promise to “supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)? Did He not say, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33)?

Kay reminds us the Bible tells us God can’t change, He can’t lie, and He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. He will not leave you or forsake you. (Or me.)

God’s hand is mighty . . . so mighty that He controls the wind. “He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens and by His power He directed the south wind” (Psalm 78:26). When Samuel called to the Lord, “the Lord sent thunder and rain that day” (1 Samuel 12:18) . . . and when He wanted, He withheld rain, or sent rain on one city but not another (Amos 4:7).

He is God!

You have done what you can. I have done what I can. Now we must rest in Him. God will do as He pleases, and none will thwart His hand or His will . . . no matter what “the forecast.” God is greater than forecasts.

His throne sits above all the circumstances of life, and “He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earch: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35 KJV)

You might have noticed (like I have) that God doesn’t always obey us when we pray for something. Sometimes he says, “No,” other times, “Wait a while.” But Kay explains that.

Cry to Him. If it is for your good and His glory, He will answer. If not, He won’t, (actually, He will answer no–ss) because what He has planned is better . . . even though it may rain.

The plans He has for you are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Who is among you that fears the Lord, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God” (Isaiah 50:10)

Thank you, Kay. God has given you a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing.

And friends, check out her book. You’ll be glad you did.


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The Fun Part

I had so much fun last night. (Don’t tell anyone.)

Know what I did? Broke a bunch of eggs. 🙂 If I left it there, would you think I was egging houses and TPing yards? I hate to disappoint you, but I wasn’t.

I helped cook the Wednesday night dinner at church and it was FUN! Hot, but fun. 🙂 Cooking that meal isn’t something I normally do, because there are usually a bunch of members there to help out.

But this time, there weren’t. Sister Deb told me several of the usual workers were gone on the mission trip to Joplin, so (naturally) I volunteered. “I can help.”

The menu? Pancakes, scrambled egg casserole with cheese and ham, and oven fried potatoes. But that wasn’t the fun part.

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Snitting. Again. Ü

I’m a snitter. (Sit+knit=Snit. Right?) I might have  mentioned that a time or two in the past. (Cough.) The thing is, though, I’m a winter snitter. I love to knit with wool during cold weather.

Once in a while, I like to have a project to work on in the summer, too. So the other day while I was in T-Town, I decided to buy yarn to knit a prayer shawl.

I love the idea of knitting prayer shawls for people. In my imagination (which is often so vivid, it gets me into trouble) I can see people I’ve been praying for and with, wrapping up in these shawls as they go to the Lord in prayer.

But when I got to Loops (my favorite knitting store) and started looking through the yarn, even acrylic was too hot for this break-into-a-sweat-at-the-drop-of-a-hat woman to use.

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A Servant’s Heart

A servant with a true heart will respond like a servant when treated like one.

I’ve heard that or something close to it said a couple of times, and to be very honest, the first time I heard it, I was kind of shocked. Not because of the idea. It makes sense. But because I’d never thought of it that way.

A Christian is Christlike, right? In public school, when I was in 5th grade, there was a question on a test that said, What does “Christian” mean?

Correct Answer: A follower of Christ. (I missed it, because I spelled follower wrong. A flower of Christ just doesn’t have the same meaning.)

A follower of Christ is one who walks with him. Does what He did. They’re like Christ.

I get that, because in Okie Land when I was a kid, most little girls were taught to act like that. In fact, I don’t remember a girl in grade school who didn’t at least claim a church.

And it wasn’t only our parents who taught us that kind of thing. School teachers did, too. “Be nice. Play fair. Don’t leave anyone out. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Remember the Golden Rule.”

Matthew 7:12

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Trouble is these days, people don’t always respond in kind. If I’m nice to you, you’re supposed to be nice to me. Right?

Philippians 2:5-7

5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Gulp.

What, exactly, was a servant back in Jesus time? Probably not someone named Jeeves, who wore a tux and answered the door when the bell rang. And probably not a woman who wore a white apron and silly cap, who bobbed curtseys and said, “Yes, mum.”

I’ve mentioned I’m not a Bible scholar. I’m not a Bible historian, either. I can’t tell you exactly how a servant was treated during the time Christ was on earth, but I can’t imagine it being much fun.

I doubt the family the servant worked for remembered please and thank you or gave them the same food as the family ate. Or a clean bed to sleep in.

I think a servant’s role was to work his/her heart out for a family that was more often than not rude and ungrateful. They were probably talked down to, berated and blamed for things they didn’t do.

I figure with all the drama in a household, they were supposed to do their work in a cheerful manner. (Who wants to be around a grouchy servant? I don’t even like grouchy waitresses.) And, of course, a servant should fade into the woodwork but be johnny-on-the-spot when needed.

♥ ♥ ♥

Ever been treated like a servant and had your hair catch on fire? I have. 😦

Ever been treated like a servant and treated that person like a servant right back? I have. 😦

Ever been treated like a servant and left in a huff, never to return? I have. 😦

Ever seen someone you love treated like a servant, and not been able to forgive it, even after many, many years? I have. 😦

Ever wish you could have “helped” God when He decided what a true Christian is? I have. 😦

♥ ♥ ♥

I don’t mind serving, as long as I don’t get treated as if that’s my due. I want to be appreciated. Loved. Applauded. Appreciated for what I’ve done.

But Jesus wasn’t. He was beaten. Spit on. Denied. Nailed to a cross for my sins.

After all that, He said, Father forgive them. They just don’t get it. Yet. (My paraphrase.)

Luke 23:34

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Forgive me, Lord, when I just don’t get it. Yet.