Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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A Little Moore

Cover of "So Long, Insecurity: You've Bee...

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Ever know a woman who was incredible secure? Never hesitant or shy? Yeah, me either. 😉

From what I can tell, even a woman who looks as if she has it all together, knows who she is and exactly where she’s going has insecurities. I have my fair share–and (to me anyway) with good reason.

Beth Moore has a book called, So Long, Insecurity: You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us. (Copyright 2010, published by Tyndale House Publishers Inc.) I’m reading this one, not listening to her Bible Study, although if she has one, I’m absolutely thinking we need to get our hands on it!

She even hands out awards for the most insecure people in the Old Testament. (See why I enjoy this woman? Her brain works in a way I can relate to!) The women’s #1 most insecure was a dual award. No, not Sarai and Hagar, although she gave them runner-up.

NUMBER ONE MOST INSECURE IS . . .

Well, no one can say it like Beth, so I’ll let her.

In the entire canon of Scripture, no competition among women compares to the one recorded in Gensis 29 and 30, in which a man with more than one woman has inadvertently signed himself up for more than double his share of turmoil. Jacob had two wives. Worse yet, they were sisters, and Jacob didn’t love Leah. He loved Rachel, but her sister, Leah, was a baby-making machine in a culture that placed a high premium on baby making. Each of Leah’s sons and her maidservant’s sons bore the mark of her insecurities by receiving names that reflected her emotional state at their births. Here are just a few:

  • Ruben: “The Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”
  • Simeon: “Because the Lord has heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one, too.”
  • Levi: “Now at last my husband will become attached to me.” (She’d given up on love. Now she’d just settle for an attachment. Pathetic. Let’s avoid that, sister.)

And those were only the first few sons. In the ancient world, names were often given to the infant on the seventh day. Imagine what our children might have been named if we had chosen something that reflected our postpartum frame of mind.

A name meaning “I guess I’ll never sleep again”?

Or “Fetch that man so I can flail him”?

Or “I’ve never been in so much pain in all my life”?

Or “Where in the world is my mother when I need her”?

Or “She’s not as cute as her big brother was”?

Or just something short and sweet like “Hemorrhoid”?

Oh, yeah. Beth Moore knows women. She doesn’t candy coat what we do, but she does understand the reason for it. She touches the heart of women today. And yesterday.

When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” Genesis 30:1-2

Nothing like thinking God doesn’t like you as well as He likes someone else to make you a smidge insecure.

Isn’t that the truth?

Ever wondered why it’s so hard for you to achieve something that seems to happen so easily for someone else, it’s nearly an  accident? I have.

Have you ever looked at those nearest you and wondered why God blesses them so much while He seems to overlook you? I think most of us, if we’re being honest, have.

Ever asked, “Why me?” “Why is my child the one who got this illness?” “What did I do to deserve a spouse who’d do a thing like that?” “Why did I . . . Why can’t I . . . Why, why, why???

I listen to a lot of Christian talk radio when I drive (if I’m not listening to a Bible study or ’60’s  music.) Yesterday, I heard a preacher say that suffering gives us the opportunity to grow in Him. To become more Christ-like.

Trials and suffering are God’s way of telling us He loves us.

I have some people in my life who are very, very loved by Him. Don’t you?

 

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A Friend’s Weird God Thing

This is from a friend of mine. I wanted her to share and she was a little uncomfortable using her name. So I suggested she do it anonymously. When you read it, see if it doesn’t make you think of a story from the Bible.
My Friend’s Weird God Thing
Have you ever known you needed to tell someone something, but didn’t know how they would take it? Had this happen, & the person asked me the question, I can’t lie, cause His word says not to & liars will be cast into a lake of fire.
So, sitting there wondering, do I tell them or what? Or is that a sin of not telling them, when you know they want/need to know. This person had been ill, & was unsure of how they would take it.
While contemplating, not sure if that’s the word, because I was on the spot here, & had been pondering for several months. Hopefully, you can get the scene, all comfy in my recliner, then the question. WOW!
 
Then I hear my name, sounded like my daddy’s voice, have heard this before, but, not quite like this, & it was audible, with a sense of urgency. Sometimes, my husband sounds like daddy when he hollers at me, so I said, did he just holler at me? The person says yes!
 
I thought well I better go see what he wants, I heard it again. A little put out, since I’m all comfy, our dog sitting up with me in the recliner. Get up & go to the other end of the house, where husband is showering, (thinking, that’s strange.)
I asked did you holler at me? He says no, I go back, thinking I KNOW I heard my name not once but twice.
I took it from that, I knew what I had to do, I did, & it turned out great!
 
God is so good!!
Anonymous
Isn’t that beautiful? (I’m a little jealous. Good jealous, but jealous all the same.) Tell me, am I the only one or does it remind someone else of a story from the Old Testament?


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Still Truckin’

I mentioned at the first of the year that I’m joining my church to read through the Bible. We’re following a plan that reads a book from the Old Testament, then one from the New.

Here it is April, 1/3 of the way through the year, and I’m still reading. I’d be proud of that little fact (how many times have I tried to read through before?) except I’m doing it very selfishly. I’m gaining so much!

I’ve been tempted several times to stop. You know how it is. Those thoughts come creeping in. I’m reading along, seeing the laws that seem to go on and on forever and there’s a little nagger in my mind.

If you weren’t reading through, you’d have more time to do a Bible study. (I nearly fell for that one.)

You don’t have time for this. You need to get to work (or start writing or clean house.)

You’re too busy/sleepy/yada yada.

But I have continued. Not on my own, mind you. I remind myself that I am who God says I am. As I wrote those words, the words Paul wrote to Timothy come to mind. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God; a workman needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15 (King James taught me that one when I was a kid.)

I’m a workman. Well, work woman. And I’ve been so blessed by reading the Word. I’m not sure what it is, but something about submerging myself in that love letter to me each and every day (I don’t take the days off if I can help it) has given me a clearer vision. Or maybe it’s understanding. Or maybe it’s that I’m listening closer for what God has to say.

God is who He says He is–“The same yesterday, today and forever.”

I might change with the tides (emotions, hormones, allergies hit and I’m liable to go with them) but he NEVER CHANGES. He’s all I need. He is the Savior.

He is Love.

Do you read through the Bible? Have you done it in the past? Plan to in the future? Was it a chore, or a blessing, joy and privilege?


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Reading Through, 2

Ichthys and Psalm23

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I think I mentioned a time or two (or three?) that I’m reading through the Bible in a year with my church. Here it is, February and I’m still at it! Yay!

Just between you and me, I’m having a ball. We’re using a reading plan from The Navigators and I’m loving it. We read a book from the Old Testament and then one from the New and a little out of either Psalms or Proverbs.

 I’ve almost made it through Leviticus. I think that’s the Book Beth Moore loving calls the “grave yard” for people trying to read through the Bible. 

I’m not a Bible scholar, but it’s so exciting to revisit words and phrases I’ve heard all my life. This morning it was, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” (Oh, and anyone who curses the Lord’s name was stoned to death!)

The other day I read in Proverbs that anyone who spares the rod hates his child. (Instead of “spare the rod, spoil the child” like I’d always heard, it’s “spare the rod, hate your child.”)

I just Googled “Read through the Bible” and there are 59 pages with ten or so places to go to read through. Actually, it was “Page 59 of about 4,950,000”. Lots of places to go to find the reading map for you.

You can read through the Bible in a year or ninety days or chronologically, just about any way you want. And the year doesn’t have to start on January 1. It can start today.

The important thing is to read it. How can we not spend time getting to know it?

It’s God’s love letter to me. God’s love letter to you.

Directly from God’s heart, telling us how much He adores us on every page.


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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!!!


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Reading Through

I’m attempting to do something this year I’ve never tried before. No, wait. That’s not true. I have tried before, but didn’t have the help I needed, so I punked after only a few days.

I’m trying to read through the Bible in a year.

My church has done it before as a group with SS lessons and sermons to go along with what they’d read during the week. I enjoyed it when I visited, but I lived in Pryor Creek at the time and didn’t join in.

A year or two ago (or it might have been five or ten LOL) they listened to it on tapes. I neglected to order the tapes, and I missed out.

And I resisted. Why? Because, having gone to a Christian college, I know how easy it is for me to let the Precious Words turn into “just” words as I rush to finish.

So when Preacher Dave announced this year we were going to read through as a church family, I started praying about it. I want to do this. Do I want to do this? Will You bless it?

My walking buddy, CL mentioned one day how excited she is about reading through. I stepped up my praying. On the first Sunday of the year I still hadn’t started, and Preacher Dave announced if we hadn’t started, we were already behind. 😦 

This year, there were handouts that listed the scriptures to be read each day. (I think you can find it online at http://discipleshipjournal.com ) I forgot to pick one up that first Sunday, but I figured they had to start with Genesis. Right? So I started there, too. I read.

The Word didn’t turn into just words. It spoke to me. God’s Word to my heart. Fantastic! It was a lot like being hungry and then having a wonderful meal–not only filling but fulfilling. (Does that make sense at all?)

So this past Sunday, I got the reading schedule and found I wasn’t behind–in Genesis, at least. But the schedule has us reading in Psalm, too. NBD–I was able to catch up that first day.

Fast forward–Today (Genesis 27-29) we read about Jacob falling in love with Rachel, working seven years for her and being given Leah, the older, uglier sister, on his wedding night. I think I forgot to stop reading where I was supposed to.

That story and Leah speak to me because my friend, Marilyn Pappano, took the name Rachel Butler as her pen name for some of her books. (Google it if you haven’t read Marilyn’s books. They’re great–full of suspense and love.)

When she took that pen name, I thought how fun it would be to write as Leah Butler. Butler was the last name of my mother’s best friend in high school, and Leah was Rachel’s older, uglier sister. Perfect for me!

But when at long last I sold my first book, Marilyn had (at least temporarily) stopped writing as Rachel, and I was a little (or a lot) afraid I might never sell another book, so I stayed plain old Susan Shay.

Back to this morning: I turned to the other reading for the day. Psalm 10. God put that there today just for me. He knew exactly where I’d be today and what I would need. As I read, the words nearly shouted at me. Verse 15 stood out. I read it again and again. LOL.

I couldn’t stop with Psalm 10. I read on. Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen . . . .

Then I got to Psalm 17: 7- Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. 8– Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings . . .  

Thank You. YOU are my portion.