Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Sunday Morning Thoughts

Psalm 24: 1-2 

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it; 
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

While my walking buddy and I walked through our Small Town World this week, I used my phone to snap a few pictures of the trees. It never fails to astound me when I see the riot of colors God gives us a the end of a long, l-o-n-g summer. (This one lasted forever!)

Even after all the autumns I’ve lived there (and yes, there have been a lot of them!) I’m still enthralled with the beauty He gives us.

He knows what we need, when we need it, doesn’t He? Aren’t we fortunate to have a Father who loves us so much?

Imagine, if he didn’t really care for us, what kind of world He might have created? We might have had a world without color or scent or sound. We might have had a world (or life) that didn’t change, day after day, year after year until we died of boredom.

But our wonderful God, who has more imagination than I can begin to comprehend, gave us trees that not only shade us in the summer and protect our homes from storms, but that change from color to color to color.

Ever wonder if those changing leaves are an example of what our lives should be? Beautiful new-leaf green when we’re young (ever see a baby who wasn’t beautiful?) strong leaf green during the summer of our lives, then becoming more beautiful reds, oranges, yellows and golds as we prepare to fall from the branch.

Haven’t you known women who became more beautiful as they moved into autumn? We had a teacher in our church family who went to heaven just a year or two ago who became so much more beautiful each year she lived, you couldn’t be around her without smiling.

If she’d been a leaf, she’d have turned a beautiful, brilliant red as she drew near her reward.

By the way, do you know how to keep a leaf from losing its color? How to keep it from turning dead black or brown and shattering to pieces? 

All you have to do is press it between the pages of a Book.

I think you know the Book I’m talking about . . . 🙂

 

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If It’s the 15th, It Must Be SSMT

Actually, it’s the 16th, but who’s counting? LOL.

Did you notice there’s a new verse at the top? I changed the he’s to she’s in it, just to make it a tiny bit more personal. (I’m praying God won’t mind.)

Ever wonder why someone would bother to memorize the Holy Scripts when there’s several Bibles in most households and even if you forget to pack yours, there’s usually one in every hotel, motel and hospital room? (Yes, I have one on my Kindle if you were wondering.)

Here’s why–when I need it, I rarely have my Bible at hand. I’m usually out somewhere, or at work where my Bible doesn’t have a concordance and I can’t get where I’m going because I don’t use it as often as the one at home. But if I’ve saved the verse in my mind, if I know it by heart, I can remember it and use it.

I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:11 NIV.

If you haven’t read that passage lately, look it up. There’s some real truths there we need to know. It tells how to live a life of righteousness, even in a world such as exists today.

As far as I know, Psalm 119 is the longest psalm in the Bible. And because of its length, it’s always been a little daunting for me. But taken little by little, it’s full of such beauty and truth.

17-Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word.

24-Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.

41-May your unfailing love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise

64-The earth is filled with your love, O Lord; teach me your decrees.

72-The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. 

89-Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

114-You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

 So that’s why I’m memorizing scriptures. Not that I’m really good at it. I can remember it as long as I’m working on it, but I’m not sure I can remember it a week or two later.

One I do remember is Numbers 6:24-26–The Lord bless you and keep you, 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’s my prayer for you this morning, my friend. The Lord bless and keep you and cause His face to shine on you. And give you peace.


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SSMT #6

Wow. It’s March 15th already. Time is whizzing past, isn’t it?

If it’s the 15th, it must be SSMT day. Yay! This time I decided I needed something easy but something I can bury deep in my heart. Psalm 119:10 just filled that bill.

I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands. Psalm 119:10.

Don’t let me stray from your commands. Keep me obeying you, believing you, skating down the path you chose for me. Why? Because I know when I do, everything in my life will work for my good. Not my glory, my good, YOUR glory.

But (BUT!!!) my part is to be seeking Him with all my heart. He must be first in my life. Wow. Before my family, friends, my job, writing or walking or anything in this world  in my life, I’m gonna seek God.

I’ve had people tell me God is so wonderful (and He is!) that’s easy for them to always put Him first. The ugly truth is, it’s not that easy for me.

Life, which has the skin on, hits me in the face and makes my heart is ache or I’m running late or someone at work is sniping at me (sniff) it can be hard to put Him first.  

Is God first? Of course. He is eternal. He created the universe, the world and me. He gives me everything good in life. He is, was, will always be, has to be, first. But to live my life seeking Him first 100% of the time? Hm.

Maybe that’s why Psalm 119:10 is there.

What’s your verse today?  


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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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Sing a New Song

There are two songs that really hit me where I live these days. The first is How Great is our God–Chris Tomlinson. I love singing it in church with other Christians. I love singing it during my solo worship time. I even like it when the song gets stuck in my head and goes round and round.

This is a video of Chris talking about writing the song, then singing it.

The other song that has taken up residence in my head is Revelation Song.

The music is beautiful, but it’s the words that touch my heart.

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lighting rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor strength and glory and power be
To You the only one who’s King
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You

Filled with wonder awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus Your name is power, breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Oh, You’re worthy, mystery
You are worthy

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You, I will adore You

Of course, there have been lots of songs over the years that touched me. Amazing Grace was my mother’s forever favorite.

I’ll Fly Away always brings a smile to my face as I remember singing it at countless  Christian get-togethers. (ie: Sunday morning, Sunday night, revivals, church camp, etc.) Just Over in the Glory Land.

All the songs from the Kiamichi Songbook. 😉 That was a song book we had at church  which had very hard to read music–because of the way it was printed. I’m not sure about this, but I think it came from the Kiamichi Men’s Clinic. My dad used to go there every year with several other men from our church. We’ve laughed at so many good stories Dad told about Kiamichi over the years!

I believe Ronnie Epps, our preacher back in my early , was the one who got them started going. 

And there is still a Kiamichi Men’s Clinic! (I googled it)  And, big surprise! Ronnie is the main speaker this year. There’s a Preacher Boy contest for budding preachers. I think I’ll pop back over and see if I can find a list of winning preachers. I think I know some of them. 🙂

Are Christian songs and the memories they bring back beautiful? What are your favs?


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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.