A Special Event

 

Today was a milestone for me! At the age of 69, I have lived to see the day where I can go to the theater and see a movie on the big screen, and for the first time ever, watch an animated film and understand it! Today I wept tears of joy that I  finally see the day that the sound barrier was broken in theaters and that the deaf can now go to movies!!

The ADA (The American Disability Act)  passed a law in 2016 that theaters must provide captioning for deaf to be able to engage in movies. All public theaters had to comply by June 2018. That long awaited day has come to me just in time to see my favorite of all favorites stories come to life in animation on the big screen and I, as a profoundly deaf person, can go watch it and understand what is happening!!

On April 18th in theaters around the country will be the release of the animated movie, Pilgrim’s Progress!! This is a must for everyone whether you are a Christian or not. It is a spiritualized allegory about  our journey through life and is way beyond any of Hollywood’s entertainment!  Because it is a special event, it will only be shown for 2 days of the week, the 18th and 20th of April. Be sure to get your tickets early as it’s a special viewing for only two days and it’s a certainty it will be a sell out!

I encourage you to get the word out about this movie to as many as you can. Please let your church know of it’s release. You can obtain a special group discount with a block group going together.

If you are a deaf interpreter, educator for the deaf, or work among or simply know a deaf friend, spread the word that Pilgrim’s Progress is highly recommended and can be viewed on the big screen with captioning.

Do you know the story, Pilgrim’s Progress?  First printed in 1678, it would have been a runaway best seller had it appeared in our day.  By 1692 over 100,000 copies were in print in English alone! It has been translated into 200 languages, and has NEVER been out of print! Talk about a popular book!  Many phrases that we use in our English language today such as “jumping from the frying pan into the fire” remain part of our language because of the popularity of Pilgrim’s Progress around the world.

John Bunyan wrote this book during the 12 years he spent in the Bedford prison for his faith. When local magistrates sentenced Bunyan to imprisonment unless he promised them he would not preach, he refused, declaring that he would remain in prison till the moss grew on his eyelids rather than fail to do what God had commanded him to do.

Whether you are facing road blocks or life challenges, and are tired and weary with life and all that you are faced with, this story puts everything in true perspective as an allegory of our life’s journey through this world. Do you need an uplifting moment in your day or life? I strongly suggest you view this newly released film on April 18th. pilgrimsprogressrelaunch-1000x1480-0c34ec3e2c6a2fa39dec940da097506f

Now in an animated format that the entire family can watch together!  It sure beats Disney characters any day!

Yes, I am rejoicing that in my life time I have lived to see the day that technology broke the sound barrier. It is with texting on my cell phone, closed captioning on the TV and now to be able to sit before the big screen with a tub of hot buttered popcorn to celebrate! God truly is good!!

Do yourself a favor and give a special gift to your family and friends and plan an evening to watch Pilgrim’s Progress together at a theater near you!

Come celebrate with me,

Sue Thomas, A Witness

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Why the Angels sang Peace on Earth

One of the memories of my days at the FBI was leaving work on a bitter winter night and seeing bundles of rubbish piled on the street grill. I was shocked to realize there was a human being lying there trying to keep warm from the steam rising. I never forgot that sight and carried it with me for more than 30 years before I acted and returned to that scene with a resolve to feed and clothe my friends with warm coats and blankets.

This is why I make the pilgrimage to Washington DC every year to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the dark alleys and lonely streets with the homeless. The city is emptied of its ordinary daily bustle as everyone has gone home to celebrate the joys of the season with friends and family. All but those who have no home to go to.

I do not return alone. Each year the Lord brings a team of volunteers together. Now 20 others join me who have the heart to befriend the hidden lost people of the streets. We call it Operation Silent Night.

We often begin our trek on the streets with the tradition of going to Arlington National Cemetery to pay homage at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and to remember all those that sacrificed their lives. Inscribed in the marble of the western panel overlooking the city are these words…

HERE RESTS IN
HONORED GLORY
AN AMERICAN
SOLDIER
KNOWN BUT TO GOD

It is a sobering and solemn experience which helps us to be sensitive to the displaced veterans that we see living on the streets.

One year we honored them all by laying a wreath at The Tomb that had a ribbon with Operation Silent Night. As I walked that afternoon with the escorting soldiers and three of my volunteers who had served in the military, I thought, surely this will be one experience to remember.
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But it was another year in that same location that topped it all.

Our team had spent the morning packing food, and loading the bus with items. It was around 4 p.m. when we all piled into the little bus and headed for the annual visit to Arlington. The team quietly walk down the sidewalk, respecting the little sign that says Silence and Respect and stood with a large crowd to watch The Changing of the Guard, which occurs every hour on the hour. The weather was warm for December and there were many people gathered to watch the event.

Because of my MS, I had to use my Rollator walker to make the distance. The walker has a built-in seat so that I can sit when I become tired.

I stayed at the edge of the granite plaza as I felt I needed to make an early exit to beat the crowd as soon as things were over. I slowly ambled down the sidewalk and stop by the walkway where the soldiers marched to go back to their barracks. Sitting there on my walker alone and away from the crowd, I watched as the soldier that had just been relieved of his duty marched ever so slowly and reverently towards me with his rifle over his shoulder. I felt so overwhelmed by such gratitude for his service that I made a fist with my hand and very slowly took my fist and hit my heart three times and then pointed to him.

He never blinked but continued his rhythmic pace, turned, marched down the stone steps and disappeared into the dim recess of the barracks. I quickly glanced back at the crowd only to realize another soldier was marching towards me. He was a Sergeant of Arms and was not carrying a rifle. Once again, I acknowledged and thanked him by hitting my heart and then it happened…

He continued his slow-stepping march but then his arm began to move so slowly and precisely with each step and he gave me the same salute that he had given to the fallen Unknown Soldier. A few more marching steps and his arm slowly went back into position. While the crowds of people began to pour out of the plaza arena, I sat there in silence completely overwhelmed with tears.

I will never forget that experience and the stranger that God sent. I will be forever grateful to those that have laid down their lives for me that I can live in freedom and peace.

That memorable trip to Arlington reminds me of a prayer that I had to recite as a child back during my speech therapy days. Out of all the poems I had to learn in order to teach my voice to fluctuate, was this prayer that I never tired of reciting.

Our Father, up in heaven,
Hear this fervent prayer–
May the people of All Nations,
Be United in Thy Care,

For earth’s peace and man’s salvation
Can come only by Thy grace
And not through bombs and missiles
And our quest for outer space.

For until all men recognize
That “The Battle Is The Lord’s”
And peace on earth cannot be won
With strategy and swords,

We will go on vainly fighting,
As we have in ages past,
Finding only empty victories
And a peace that cannot last.

But we’ve grown so rich and mighty
And so arrogantly strong,
We no longer ask in humbleness –
“God, show us where we’re wrong”.

We have come to trust completely
In the power of man-made things,
Unmindful of God’s mighty power
And that He is “King Of Kings”.

We have turned our eyes away from Him
To go our selfish way,
And money, power and pleasure
Are the gods we serve today.

And the good green earth God gave us
To peacefully enjoy,
Through greed and fear and hatred
We are seeking to destroy.

Oh, Father, up in heaven,
Stir and wake our sleeping souls,
Renew our faith and lift us up
And give us higher goals,

And grant us heavenly guidance
As war threatens us again.
For, more than Guided Missiles,
All the world needs Guided Men.

–Helen Steiner Rice

 

IMGP5424What more perfect gift can be given than the giving of oneself? I am indebted to those who lie in Arlington National Cemetery for my earthly peace and freedom. I hit my heart that day to express thanks for the price paid. It was a small gesture that was rewarded by an eternal memory.

This is the time of year when carols are being sung everywhere about the sweet baby in the manger. But we must not forget the reason that Jesus came. He came as an innocent child but he grew to be a man that knows our sorrows and took our sins upon himself. He came to pay the ultimate price, to give his life and be that sacrifice, that I, and you, might know spiritual peace and freedom. He is the Prince of Peace. The Mighty Counselor. The Lamb that was slain from before the foundation of the world. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. This is the reason the angels sang “Peace on Earth.”

May you experience His peace in 2019,

Sue Thomas
Sue Thomas Ministries

It’s Giving Tuesday!

Today’s the day! GIVING TUESDAY!! Today is the day that your donation will be doubled automatically (matched by PayPal) when donating through PayPal!

Imagine, if you give $1.00 you will be giving $2.00 or if you give $500 you will be giving $1,000!!!!

Today is the day that you can make a huge difference through your donation being doubled, whether it be for the bus for Operation Silent Night, or for the building of the lodge at Water Brooks, the Prayer Refuge. By the doubling of your donation you will double the blessings for Sue Thomas Ministries.

Simply click the button below to make a difference on this TUESDAY GIVING.

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May your blessings be doubled today,

Sue Thomas
Sue Thomas Ministries

Thanksgiving

The people of the United States of America have celebrated Thanksgiving ever since it was set aside as a day of Thanksgiving by the Pilgrims in October of 1621.  Almost 400 years later our traditional Turkey Day with the celebration of football games and Black Friday sales is a far cry from the original intent of giving thanks to God for His bountiful blessings and provisions of food, shelter, and for sustaining life.

The heart of the question remains, is Thanksgiving simply a one day event where we give thanks for the turkey at our table and for the family gathered there, or is it an every day…never ceasing, giving  of thanks in all things even when your day is down and out and you are having a real turkey of a day, to say the least?

From the beginning of our Christian walk the Word of God admonishes us to give thanks.
I love the Holy Words from the book of I Thessalonians 5:18…”in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

We are to give thanks in everything! These are very powerful words that cover every detail of our lives. Stop for a moment to ponder this statement. That means the good, the bad, and the ugly!  Does God allow the bad and the ugly… You betcha! Why? For many reasons but primarily to draw us near to Him; to lean upon Him; to learn from Him. When we are at our wit’s end and feel the weakest spiritually, our strongest Prayer is a simple cry, “Oh, God help!” We say this Prayer many times when we face the bad and the ugly.  Something deep inside of us recognizes that God is our refuge in time of trouble. We acknowledge His sovereign control and power and acquiesce that it was His Will through Jesus Christ concerning us. With that understanding did we follow through and give thanks with the deep faith in knowing that He has His glory and our growth in mind, and that all things really do work out for the good of those who know God?

For me, this past year has been a hard one, to say the least. Living with my affliction of  multiple sclerosis, then suffering a stroke last December, and then to be tried with heart issues that needed a pacemaker in July, yep, a lot was going on and the physical therapy to get me back on my feet was hard. Many days I felt like my life had been grounded.

With all honesty, I must confess that it was not until my last hospital stay with my heart issues and I was facing the surgical procedure that the words of 1st Thessalonians 5:18 took root and became embedded into my being.  “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God…”  It is the will of God for me to be thankful, and it is the will of God for me to see that everything that comes from His hand  is His will. Over and over this past year in every trial with health issues, in that moment of time, I saw that it was the Will of God in Jesus Christ concerning me to do a good work in my life..

Before the foundation of time my God had plans for me which are not to harm me but that I might prosper. I believe that every single thing that happens to me comes from God, by God, with God, and for God. Every thing that ‘happens’ is another glimpse of His bigger purpose in my life…to reflect His likeness for His glory!

Life has become more easy and more peaceful since I gained that true understanding of 1 Thessalonians and began to live it… I don’t need to  mumble and grumble, or fight against my trials and challenges with resentment. Instead, I know that every moment is the Will of God concerning me in Christ Jesus and I simply need to wait upon the Lord to reveal His richer plans for me.

Yes, this Thanksgiving, like I do every single day, I bow my head and give thanks. For although it is a day with the turkey, my heart soars with the eagles for the greatest gift of His love and His plans for my life.

Can you truly trust with Him every second of your life? Yes! He who made you and formed you in you mother’s womb, knows you better than you know yourself, and He has great plans for you, not to harm you but that you will prosper in Him.

May you experience the joy of Jesus as you put to practice the scripture of 1 Thessalonians 5:18.  “In everything give thanks for this is the Will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you.”

God bless you, my friends, not only on this Thanksgiving but in every second of your life as you give thanks to the One who gave you that life.

Here is a thought to ponder in the days ahead…are you walking with the turkeys or soaring with the eagles?

Giving thanks,

Sue Thomas

Birds - Turkeys, Soar Like an Eagle

Hallowed Be Thy Name….or Halloween?

Vermont in the fall is the most fantastic place to behold the splendor of God’s majestic power in the colors of His foliage. As a profoundly deaf person, I rely on my eyes to take in and understand the world. This time of the year is the most incredible, awesome sight my eyes can behold!

God is basking in His glory through all the warm colors of Autumn. As His Garment sweeps the Earth, He surely is the King of kings, as revealed by the Bountiful Harvest of His  own creation.

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Red Door Church, South Royalton, Vermont

Is it little wonder that for generations men have bowed humbly before Him in adoration and praise for the Bountiful Blessings of the year’s Harvest? In the US we call this day Thanksgiving, and it has become the gateway of the season which holds all the various festivities and celebrations. At one time it was a season that once held  purity and joy and purpose.

I say, ‘once held’  because long gone are the days when families gathered around the laden table with heads bowed to give thanks and praise for the bountiful blessings that God had bestowed upon them throughout the year. Those days have been replaced by eating until we are stuffed,  then plopping on the couch to watch “The Game” on TV.  Or there is the frenzied shopping for the Black Friday sales (which now start on Thursday before the leftovers are even stored in the fridge).  Who has time to quiet their hearts until they are overflowing with thankfulness when the turkey is calling, and they are being torn by exciting sales and the thrill of watching a leather football sail through the air?

Thanksgiving is not the first celebration of this season, though, nor is it the most popular one in our Western culture. Are you surprised? You should be. The most anticipated and favored celebration of our culture is the celebration of the dead…Halloween, or Hallowed/Holy Evening.  The name alone is a smear on the name of all that truly is holy. Even God’s people say “Happy Halloween”  when they should be saying “Hallowed be Thy Name…Thy Kingdom come!”

When I was young on Halloween,  kids dressed up as clowns to make people laugh. But today, in some towns, clown masks have been banned because of their association with the violent killings by those wearing a clown mask.  We donned cowboy and Indian outfits, but today that is considered racist.  We modeled those we admired, and posed as policemen, and nurses, and firemen.  But respect for our elders is lost today and these innocent costumes have gone by the wayside.  The entertainment world now dictates the costumes of our kids.

Today our western society has a morbid fascination with the realm of darkness and the underworld.  The perversion of the haunting has overtaken the mind.  The entertainment world has capitalized on the season of Halloween and is constantly trying to outdo itself with eerie darkness and violent death.  The gorier the presentation, the more exciting to the audience.  You cannot even escape to the grocery store or the hardware without observing how they revel in the dark side through the displays. While the adults are morbidly fascinated by the haunted themes that attempt to make people shiver with fear; visions of witches and the Walking Dead have overtaken the minds of our children. I recently read a news article that shared how a young boy, as he attended the funeral of his friend’s father, attempted to console his friend by saying, ” It’s so cool…your Dad is now one of the Walking Dead!”   The thin line between Reality and Fantasy has been broken.

What can we do? In a day when the enemy goes about as a roaring lion, we must be bold!  Romans 13:12 truthfully speaks these words, “The night is far gone, the day is at hand, so then let us cast off the work of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

How much do we as a culture love Halloween? In 2015 Americans spent 6.9 billion dollars, in 2016 we spent 8.4 billion dollars and this year we continue to grow at 9.1 billion dollars!! Certainly, these staggering figures show where our hearts are!  It is truly hard to comprehend that we spend this overwhelming amount of money on the lifestyles of the dead and the darkness!

Perhaps you’ve not given much thought to Halloween and what it signifies.  But, as a Christian,  have you pondered the thought that where your treasure is so your heart will be also? If you want to know where your heart is, then just look where you spend your money! Scripture echoes,  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:27)

May I challenge you this year to seriously think twice before you add even $1 to that 9.1 billion in celebrating the things of darkness? Our world is dark enough.

It is very hard to comprehend that my eyes behold both the majestic splendor of fall with such vibrant living colors of His Creation, and at the very same time I see those that He created shrouded in darkness as they seek new decibels of fear and dread.

Where are you today? Are you celebrating life and giving thanks, or are you like one in  that popular TV series, The Walking Dead, wandering with no purpose or hope?

You have the choice, to choose life or to chose death. And at this time of year, will you choose the lifestyle of the living, or will you celebrate the lifestyle of the dead?

As for me and my house, we choose life…there is no Halloween candy here, so please pass us by and don’t knock on the door!!!