Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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*SSMT

*Siesta Scripture Memorization Team.

#4 and I are still memorizing scripture along with Beth. This is our 19th verse this year. Nineteen!

Job 19:27–I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes–I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

I love Job, don’t you? It’s not the easiest book in scripture to get through in one setting, but wow! This is a man!

Remember what happened? God was bragging on Job to the devil. “See Job? He’s great, isn’t he? I’m so proud of that guy!”

And the devil answered, “Well, yeah, but only because you’re good to him. Stop all the blessings you’re showering on him and watch him turn on you.”

So God gave the devil permission to test Job. Satan took away most of what Job owned and his children, who Job loved a lot. But still Job loved God.

Then Satan gave Job boils all over his body, so he was miserable and poor and childless.

Because of all the bad things that happens to him, friend after friend tells Job he must have done something wrong, God is mad at him, but he just keeps on loving God.

His own wife tells him he’s a loser and he might as well curse God and die, but he stays the course. “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.”

God is more real to Job than all the troubles landing on his head. He doesn’t like what he’s going through. He hates it that God has hidden His face from him.

Remember Numbers 6:25-26–The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace? That was a blessing God gave Aaron (Moses’s brother) and his sons for the Israelites.

When Job thought God had hidden his face, he felt he was no longer being blessed by God. But even then, he didn’t stop serving Him.

Why? Job knew something many of us don’t know. He knew the absolute joy of walking with the Lord.

He didn’t have the it’s-Sunday-so-I’m-going-to-church-to-see-you-God kind of faith. He didn’t wait until something horrible happened to go to the Father in prayer.

Job knew God and served Him every day of his life.

Do you know people like that? People who “practice the presence of God” every minute of every day? Who seem to feel His presence more than they feel yours?

I have. And I have to tell you, they’re beautiful people to be with.

I’m not there yet. When life hits me in the face, my hair catches on fire and I run in every direction, trying to do what has to be done and fix, fix, fix.

I’m still learning to practice His presence, even after all this time. But, oh! How my heart yearns within me.

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If It’s the 15th . . .

Bless the Lord

Image via Wikipedia

It must be time for SSMT!

Here’s the new verses–Numbers 6:24-26

“The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

It says it right there in black and white– God wants to shine on us, bless us and give us peace. But when we’re stressed or worried, how often do we remember and hold that promise tight?

When life hits us in the face, do we remember to run to Him or do we try to handle it ourselves and do a little (or in my case, a lot of) whining when it doesn’t work out? (And then ask Him to fix what I’ve messed up.)

I’m going to try to engrave these words on my heart. If I do, maybe my first response will be to run to Him rather than the other way around.

I know He’ll take care of me and give me what I need when I need it. Not before; when. And I trust Him. Really, I do. 

Sometimes, though, I’m like the little boy who was afraid when he went to bed.

“Daddy, I’m scared of the dark.”

“There’s nothing to be afraid of, son. God is with you.”

“I know, Daddy, but I want someone with skin on.”

Maybe that’s what our siblings in Christ are for, to be that Someone with skin on, if we’ll humble ourselves enough to ask for help. And prayers. And help.

Do you ever have trouble waiting on Him? Trusting Him?  Remembering He wants to be gracious to you even in the heat of the moment?

Am I the only one?  


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Doing Lunch

This is a 1907 postcard I bought online. It’s early day C-Town–the community well. The buildings you see are still standing and are diagonal from our office.

The well, sadly, is gone. (So is the horse and buggy.) The descendants of the people in the picture are probably still here. (I hope!) 

I want to tell you a little more about our Small Town World. C-Town is a friendly place, and small enough that even if you don’t know someone else who lives here, you most likely do know someone they know or are kin to.

“Oh, you know Jane Doe. She’s that woman from Timbuktu who married Joe Blow’s cousin.”

I almost never go anywhere with SA that she isn’t spoken to over and over again. “Hi Amy! How you doing, Amy?”

(BTW-In this week’s newspaper, they asked several people what we could do to improve C-Town. SA was one of those people. She answered, “Convince people to be more friendly.” I told her I’m not sure that’s possible. She said the interviewer caught her unaware, and friendliness was the only thing she could think of.)

As I’ve said until you’re probably sick of hearing it, I work in the family business, and normally have lunch in the kitchen at the office. Sometimes, though, we go out. (Sister Amy loves it when we go out.)

There aren’t a lot of places to eat in our small town, but there are a few really good ones. One of those has pretty darn tasty Tex-Mex fare.  We went there yesterday. We were quickly seated, our waitress of choice brought our drinks nearly as soon as our seats hit the seat (the sign of a GREAT waitress!) and a friend came in the door.

Now this woman is more than just a friend (although friends are VIPs in my book) she has a beautiful voice, has a heart for God and she’s my hairdresser. When I say to know her is to love her, I’m not exaggerating. Everyone adores this red-headed woman.

We invited her to sit with us, and she slid in the round booth next to Dad. She had her Bible with her and explained that she usually read the day’s segment during lunch. (She’s reading through the Bible in a year, too.)

That’s when she remembered a question she had about something she’d read and marked a few days earlier. She opened her Bible and we had a wonderful discussion about Moses and Exodus there, in the middle of the restaurant.

After we discussed that question, she moved on to another one. I loved it, eating lunch with some of my favorite people in the world and discussing my favorite subject! (I could talk about God’s love all day long.)

Not one person in our Small Town restaurant batted an eye. We weren’t whispering. We didn’t get loud or try to get everyone’s attention, but we didn’t hide what we were doing, either.

There were people in the adjacent booths and nearby tables, but I didn’t see anyone roll their eyes or so much as shrug at our discussion.

One of the things I love most about living in a place like C-Town is that they know us there, and expect to hear that kind of thing from our table. If we’d ordered alcohol or told loud, dirty stories, we would have raised a few eyebrows.

A few years ago, someone had a saying after their signature in their emails (Holly Jacobs, who says she lives in Hollyworld, maybe?) that said something like, “I love living in my own world. They know and accept me there.”

Maybe that’s the thing about the small towns that make up the world. You never have to be anything except who you are.

And they love us anyway.


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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 http://discipleshipjournal.com . 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!

Wonderful!

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!!!