Bad Hair Days

I’ve pondered how to begin to write today as I sense the magnitude of my reflections. I do want to be sensitive and not cause thy foot to stumble, but even though I want to be gentle, I know I must be honest. This blog is going to be offensive and painful . It is going to be an x-rated horror show that will strip away all the protective outward appearance and leave one totally naked and exposed. It is going to be a stark reality. It is going to be the truth.

Last week I questioned why today’s churches refrain from mentioning the Cross, the crucifixion, or even talk about the surrender of one’s self. I believe it is because those are ugly topics that deny our best friend, that person we have lived with 24-7 since we were born, and will continue to do so, until our last dying breath. That person who knows you the best, your every thought, words and deed, is one who holds all of your emotions and demands that you get what you want when you want it and the one that makes you feel real good about yourself. It is ‘yours truly’, your dearest and best, SELF. Did I say it was your best friend? I wasn’t quite honest there, for the truth of the matter is that it is your WORST ENEMY!

How can Self be so delightful and yet cause so much pain, frustration, anger and tears?

How does one deal with such a daily emotional roller-coaster every single day of their lives while every fabric in their being screams, get me out of here! Granted, when things are going our all self desired ways, everything is all roses, fun and festive. But woe unto me if I don’t get what I want, do what I want, or others don’t think my way! That is when the Worst Enemy lifts his head and roars and the Bad Hair Day begins.

Bad Hair Days are a casual way of saying that we didn’t get our own way today. We downplay our raging Worst Enemy simply by saying “I had a Bad Hair Day” when, if we were completely honest with the world we would admit, “things didn’t go my way today.”

In order to truly understand Bad Hair Days we must be completely honest in our assessment of the problem. So, let’s talk about our best friend, the one who knows us, accepts us, likes us, and even loves us 24-7 all the days of our lives – what a great friend, this Self is! In return, we pamper it, indulge it, and give it everything it wants!  Self is so great and powerful in our lives let’s call it what it really is, the Great I Am!!

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Don’t get confused here, I am not talking about the Great I AM, the Alpha and the Omega, the Lord our God of the Holy Scriptures, but rather, about me, my self, and I, the Great I Am. Face it, if we have to live with ourselves 24-7 we should at least like ourselves, and if we like ourselves‎, surely over time, we will come to love ourselves. It is this love of self that produces the Bad Hair Days. Get rid of this self and you will get rid of all the Bad Hair Days!!

OK, OK, you got my attention. How do I get rid of this Self who is my best friend that goes with me everywhere 24-7?

We must go back to the ugly topics of the Cross, the Crucifixion, and‎ total surrender of the Self. Remember, these are the topics that the church doesn’t want to talk about today because it doesn’t make people feel good. There is no power of positive thinking in the Cross. In fact, the mere suggestion of the subject creates Bad Hair Days with the offensive suggestion that the Self is not who we once thought it was, but rather the one who causes so much damage in our personal lives.

In order to understand the Bad Hair Days we must honestly look at our Self and it is not a pretty sight. In fact, Self is a horrific monster that raises its head and roars, spits, and wreaks havoc and destruction upon all that gets in its way. It is at this point where we must speak of that despicable shameful  Cross, the crucifixion and the surrender of self.

More to come, friends…

Posted in Devotional Thoughts By Sue Thomas | 1 Comment

The Weight

Beginning as a deaf child, my eyes are what have guided me through life. I have a strong appreciation for objects and sights of all different shapes, sizes and colors but the simpler the object is the more I’m drawn to study it. Thus, the two single pieces overlapping to make a Cross has had my attention‎ since early childhood.

The Cross has drawn me visually wherever I may be – I can see the Cross on back country roads with lines of telephone poles, in every paned glass window, even the paneled doors in every room. It amazes me that I find the Cross in the most common everyday places. Look around you – you would have your work cut out to try and  remove the Cross from our world today.

IMG_20160530_195441I share this to introduce to you what I see each day. In Vermont I live in a small log cabin built from pine trees harvested from the property. The ceiling above my bed has large beams that support the roof. It’s those support timbers in the position of the Cross that my eyes behold each day – the first thing in the morning; the last thing I see at night. As I ponder this cross it has given me a clearer and richer picture of the weight my Savior carried for me that day.

I study that Cross each day as if I’m seeing it for the very first time. I am awed by the weight and size of the beams. They are heavy and rugged. Scripture records in Isaiah 53:4,5 that Jesus was wounded and bruised for our sins, He was beaten that we might have peace and then He was lashed at that we might be healed. I cannot physically partake in that event. I cannot begin to imagine what He suffered but God has given me a view of the weighted Cross that He bore to Calvary that day and I am in total awe. Each day as I open my eyes I see that weight and I go back to that day when His body was beaten so severely only to have the enormous weight upon Him that He bore for you and for me.

The Cross is not a historical relic from the past, but it is highly relevant in our lives today. It is both a noun and an action verb. We are called to take up our cross, to carry our cross, to be crucified with our Lord.  In a progressive politically correct world the Cross is merely an antique object that is to be disregarded and done away with but those who walk the faith and not merely talk will cling to the Cross, the emblem of suffering and shame.

As I gaze upon the two heavy beams above my head I can visualize my Savior carrying the weight that day as He stumbled up the hill to Calvary. He carried the weight of my shame and my sins. He carried the weight that I struggle under through daily trials and temptations, through hopes and fears and promises broken. He carried the weight that day for me and all mankind and when He finished that journey, He was nailed to the weight of that same heavy tree and died for you and He died for me.

‎‎We don’t talk about the Cross today. Talking about Christ being crucified and being nailed to that tree makes us uncomfortable. Why is this? Have the words of the Roman Orator, Cicero, proven true where our government has finally erased the Cross from our ears, eyes and thoughts? Has our modern church grown beyond the Cross where pastors are more ready to encourage their people with the “How-to-do Sermons” such as How to Be Happy, How To Prosper, How To Have A Better Marriage or How To Raise Children? Let’s face it. Who wants to talk about being crucified?  Yet it is the very existence of our Christian faith. It is the only way to actually experience life in abundance, a life that many Christians have yet to experience. Have I lost you?

What would you say if I told you that you would never need to have a bad day again in your life? That you don’t need to be angry, upset, hurt, frustrated or in tears of emotional disappointment?

What did you say? You’re a joke, it’s impossible – life is hard and in reality I have more bad days than good, and now you’re trying to sell me a fast pep talk, “Never a bad day again” story. Come on, you say.

What if my statement is true ? Would you do anything to obtain a life of endless good days? The next blog will give you specific evidence that the good life is yours for the taking but you will need to take up your Cross and you must die. The day you chose to be a Christian you took a death sentence to be crucified with Christ and to thus die with Him is the only way to live. Stay tuned to the next blog on this critical revelation of having victory without any bad hair days!!

Posted in Devotional Thoughts By Sue Thomas | 2 Comments

A Torch

“The Roman Orator, Cicero, summarized the attitude of the ancient world to the Cross when he said: ‘Not only let the Cross be absent from the person of Roman citizens, but it’s very name from their thoughts, eyes and ears.'”

That was two thousand years ago with a totally different supreme government in power. Yet, those words spoken long ago‎ still rule the land although there is a vast difference between ancient Rome, and the people of today’s society.

Two thousand years ago Rome tried to silence the Name of Jesus and discredit the Cross and the crucifixion but failed for the Apostles boldly carried forth the ministry of Christ and made disciples throughout the land. The early Christians could not be silenced. They were willing to die for their faith and it has stood for over two thousand years. Men and women died rather than be silenced. What a vast difference from today’s modern society here in the United States.

I am a Baby Boomer that grew up in a country where religious freedom was freely experienced. I attended public school where each morning held the tradition of saying the Lord’s Prayer followed by the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.  During the holiday season, the school held an annual Christmas concert resounding with kids singing Christmas hymns and where the Hallelujah Chorus was loudly proclaimed. Our religious freedom was never in doubt and I am convinced we actually took it for granted.

But what was once a big part of our daily lives has disappeared and the words of that ancient Roman Orator haunt me. When did we drop the flame that ignited our faith and freedom in this country? When did we decide to join the current world view of being politically correct rather than have a willingness to stand and die for our faith? What we are seeing today is only the very beginning of the onslaught of Christianity where the Enemy of our souls is erasing the Cross from our thoughts, eyes and ears.  Dare we keep silence any longer?

God taught me a powerful lesson years ago when I first started my public speaking. This was 20 years ago, back in the 90s when I was asked to speak for a public high school assembly in Indiana. I had a speaking agency that booked all of my speaking engagements and also handled all the legal work related to speaking contracts. For this event in Indiana, my legal contract specifically said I could NOT speak of my religious faith, or mention God or religion in any way. I was simply to tell the story of my deafness, and my days at the FBI. I am ashamed to say that I agreed to that contract and that I signed it not thinking twice over the matter. Little did I know there were lessons waiting for me in Indiana that would forever change my life.

When I enter the school building  I was met by a man walking down the hall – he walked passed me then stopped and turned and warmly greeted me with, “I know you. You were on TV with The Gaithers Homecoming. You are a Christian.”

I smiled and told him he was right. With excitement he said, “You’re going to be giving your Christian Testimony today!

I was totally caught off guard but truthfully and soberly resp0nded, “No, I can’t give my testimony today. They don’t want me to talk about my faith or of God‎ and I signed legal papers that I would not mention it so I won’t be able to give my testimony today.”

The look of this man’s face said it all.  As he turned to go he stopped and looking me straight in my eyes he said, “I challenge you to give your full story for the glory of God.” He then disappeared down the hallway.

I was shaken by this encounter with this stranger that came out of nowhere. This just doesn’t happen at my speaking events and I was beginning to feel very uneasy and tense. I made my way into the school’s office where the principal was expecting me. He was enthused that I had arrived and shared how he was waiting to hear about my days with the FBI. I began to feel more comfortable and soon it was time to go to the large gym where the event was to be held.

The kids were all gathered in the combined auditorium/gym  which was defined by a stage with curtains.  I was led behind the curtains by a woman who was to‎ assist me and who would let me know when my introduction was over so I could walk out on the stage. She would also be there at the end of my speech to listen for the kids’ questions and to give them to me so I could read her lips and answer their questions.

I was still standing behind the curtain when all of a sudden I “heard” a booming voice out of nowhere say, “If you don’t tell them who will?” It was so loud I actually turned to the woman next to me to see if she had heard the voice but she was busy motioning for me to go on stage. I began to move forward and was at the curtain which was just parting for my entrance when I stopped dead in my tracks, turned to face the woman and repeated those words still ringing in my head, “If I don’t tell them who will?” With that I turned and walked out onto the stage.

By now you must know that I did give my testimony that day – I did the very thing that I was told that I could not do. I shared how my faith in God brought me through the path of silence and how God directed my paths to the FBI. I thought I was in enough trouble but things continued to get even more complicated. It got much worse, my friend!  It got much worse!

Finished with my story it was now time for the questions and answers section. The same woman that had guided me behind the curtain was now standing at my side on the platform taking the questions from the students and repeating them to me. The students were a lively group with such questions from what guns had I used at the FBI to what did I feed my Hearing Dog.

The interaction was going along quite smoothly until suddenly I felt a stillness and heaviness fall upon the entire gym. I looked at the woman and asked, “What was the question?” She just looked at me with disbelief, tight lipped and silent.  Once again, I persisted, “Ma’am, I need the question to be able to answer it. Please.”

The seconds stretched into eternity before she reluctantly replied, “That student up there by the rafters wants to know if you believe that Jesus Christ is coming back in our lifetime.”

Now it was my turn to stand in stunned disbelief but I quickly looked at the principal sitting in the front row. “Do I have your permission, sir, to answer the question?” I asked.

There was evident hostility in his body language and a smirk on his face as he challenged,  “Go ahead take a stab at it. I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do with this one.”

Praying silently, I looked up into the rafters to find the student who had dropped this bomb shell with his question. He raised his hand so I could see him. Speaking directly to him I answered, “That’s a great question. You must understand, though, it’s not the first time it’s been asked. It’s been asked by every generation and the reason it’s been asked is because no one knows and because no one knows we must be ready for Him. I could get on my flight after this assembly and the plane could crash and in a split second I will stand before Him and the question isn’t so much do I know Him BUT does He know me? Is my name recorded in His Book of Life?”  I went on to elaborate how a student could leave this assembly that day and be killed in a car crash…the question is, is their name recorded in the Book of Life. I expounded on this further by saying there could be an earthquake in Indiana or a fire in the city and in a split moment someone would stand before God the Father with His Son, Jesus.

I knew when I finished this session I was in deep dish, and I could hardly wait not only to leave the city limits but also the entire state of Indiana. I had the fear that in my deliberate disobedience to the signed agreement, this might be the end of my speaking days.

I flew out to my next engagement and then I received word from my speaking agency. “What on earth happened in Indiana? You have stacks of mail.”

I politely responded that I didn’t want to talk about it until I returned home. The mail was waiting for me and it was the big thick envelope from Indiana that grabbed my attention. Reluctantly I opened the envelope to find a personal note laying on top of students’ reports from the school in Indiana. I skimmed the note briefly and realized it was from the man from the hallway who had challenged me to give my testimony for the glory of God. He shared that he was an English teacher and had given the students the opportunity to write a report on my speech for extra credit. From the appearance of the stuffed envelope it seemed that everyone wanted the extra credit‎.

I laid his note down and picked up the first report on the top of the pile written in a young girlish print. The title struck me.  Happiness Found In Tragedy…How odd that a young student should find such depth in my life-story. I knew I had to read this report.

The first line captured it all, “Silent Night, Holy Night, All Is Calm, All Is Bright.” This is my signature song which I always sing to close my story. The student continued to share the highlights she had gathered from hearing me speak and ended with this line, “God, please bless Sue Thomas.”

It warmed my heart to know that at least one student was carefully listening to my words during the assembly.

I picked up the teacher’s note again which expressed thankfulness that I had come and shared my story for the glory of God. He shared that he, too, was a Christian and that my sharing opened the opportunity for him to return to his classroom that day to share his own personal faith in God.  It seemed to be a  simple thank you note until I reached the last paragraph which read,  “Sue, your words were more prophetic that day than you could have imagined. That night there was a fire and one of our own students was killed in it. Because you shared so openly about your faith in God and answered that question about the ‘return of Jesus coming in our lifetime’ you opened the door. Indeed, not only the students but the entire community is now asking questions about God, their faith and whether they would be ready to meet Jesus.”

I stopped reading the note and picked up the report again, staring at the title. Happiness Found In Tragedy. It was signed by Amanda. It was the last words young Amanda would ever write. Although I never knew Amanda in her life, it would be her death that would speak the loudest to me. I resolved I would never again sign a document or promise to omit God’s name, prayer or anything else. The world might find it offensive, but  I can not deny my Lord the glory He is due. I must always live my faith even when it is not politically correct. I thank God He spoke that day in that‎ still small Voice that even the profoundly deaf can hear. I thank God for that one moment in time where the conviction of His Spirit was so powerful that I could not escape the sentencing, whatever it may be, but rather, I had to be totally obedient to that command.

Two thousand years have passed since Cicero wrote those words, and many kings and kingdoms have all passed away. The fall of the greatest civilization in our own lifetime is upon us and these timely words echo, “Not only let the Cross be absent from the person of American citizens, but its very name from their thoughts, eyes and ears.” How long will the Christians in this country remain silenced? How long before we decide take up the Cross and unashamedly follow Him once more? We must make a decision to boldly take a stand for the name our Lord.

Have you been there, my friend? Are you there now? Do you have such a love and burning passion for the Lord Jesus Christ that you refuse to be silenced regardless of the cost? Have you conformed to this world by being politically correct, or rather does your faith mean enough that you are willing to lose out or even to die for what you hold to be true? Does it burn in your life and on your lips so that it may be passed on as a torch for the next generation?

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You prayed…

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Wyndham Christian Academy from Maine on a day retreat at WaterBrooks

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After several hours of volunteering it was time for worship in the Garden of the Master

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A quiet time set aside for prayer and reflection

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It’s official! WaterBrooks opens her season this Saturday, May 21st, with the arrival of 24 young pilgrims from Maine for a day retreat. Seventeen high school students along with seven chaperons will come to the silence of WaterBrooks to be strengthened by a day of prayer and devotions. This has become a tradition as this group is returning for their fourth year and the season always open with their arrival. We ask you to pray for safe travel from Maine and that their time will be refreshing with beautiful weather and that they will truly hear the still small Voice of God during their time at WaterBrooks.

The month of May ends with another tradition of our annual Memorial Volunteer weekend from May 26th‎ thru the 30th. This is a weekend filled with chain saws, shovels and weed whackers with lots of laughter and good food. It’s time to burn the bush pile after two years so a good bonfire is on the list. This year the Bridgton Alliance Church from Maine will be sending seven men for the weekend with their tools to help tame the wilderness here at WaterBrooks. We look forward to their arrival and are inviting other friends from local churches. Please join us in prayer for beautiful working weather and for the protecting grace of safety for each volunteer as well as protection for burning the huge bonfire. It’s a wonderful time of fellowship as we labor together to build WaterBrooks and share times of prayer and testimonies of God’s faithfulness.

Our major focus this summer is to prep the location for the arrival of our first prayer cottage. We pray in earnest that this is the year that the cottage is raised. We just received a pledge for $500 for the cottage so believe God is preparing to move forward!! To date, we have received numerous donations for the interior of the cottage such as new mattresses, a quilt, and wall photos – we are most excited to have this cottage up to bless weary pilgrims seeking to be renewed and restored.

We continue to send out daily scripture verses to cell phones via text every morning at 9:00am. If you haven’t signed up to receive them, please do at https://new.flocknote.com/SueThomasMinistries/everyone It’s a small little blessing to start your day in the clamor of the day’s activities – it’s the small Voice of God saying good morning to you and we guarantee you will be strengthened by the Word of God.

The streams are alive at Waterbrooks and as the deer pants for the running waters so our soul pants for our Lord. We welcome you to join us in praying for the souls that God sends to Waterbrooks this year. Many have came to the streams to drink from the Living Water and God continues to send both men and women who long to be deeply refreshed in His love. We covet your prayers as God leads us to be vessels to offer that cool refreshing cup to all those that He brings to Waterbrooks.

Bless you, dear friends, as you stand with us in your support. In the words of that old hymn, “we go not forth alone against the foe – strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping, we rest in Thee and in Thy Name we go.”

We, too, go up to our Jerusalem,

Sue and Deborah

Faithful Women of Waterbrooks

Posted in Devotional Thoughts By Sue Thomas | 1 Comment