Hope is Still Alive if You embrace it

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 97,800 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are starting a new promotion and the winner will be the person who is the 100,000 subscriber will win some nice prizes. That is a huge milestone for us. More details later. 

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Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Doug just interviewed a WWII veteran, for the book.  Fascinating! Look for updates here.

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Welcome back Linda Clare who has another inspiring post for us all. Linda has been through the gauntlet of life, and she shares her experiences to help us grow, and be stronger.

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Hope’s White Teeth

This past week, I’ve been in a heated battle, trying to hold onto my tattered hope—the same radical hope I proclaimed joyously only a few days before. But life is like that, isn’t it? You swell with victory after you’ve run the gauntlet and emerged riding high on God’s shoulder. But then, stuff hits the fan from every direction. Again. How do you stay fixed on hope? Through your fears? Through your tears? When every verse feels hollow and every moment explodes with grief, with loneliness, with numbing terror?

These last few days have reminded me that keeping hope alive is hard work.

I’ve already told you about the addiction and mental illness my three adult sons battle. The nightmare of their substance abuse and mental problems has kept me awake during verbal and physical fights, broken or stolen property and even a suicide attempt. But a couple months ago, one of these sons confessed that he, “couldn’t do this anymore.” He was worried about his looks. Would I help him get his teeth whitened? As with many addicts or alcoholics, he hadn’t seen a dentist in years. I said, “Maybe we should get you in for a checkup so we’ll know if you’ll still have teeth to whiten.”

The conversation was like opening a window in a very stuffy room. Suddenly he was willing to change, if only to keep his smile bright. I didn’t care. In my mind, I turned to Jesus and said, “Wow, thanks for carrying us both to this place.”

My son and I agreed to a plan. Thanks to severe anxiety and panic disorder as well as agoraphobia, he doesn’t do well in group settings like AA or treatment. His dad and I would be his support as he took the hard road to sobriety. As he took his first steps, my hope for his recovery grew strong deep roots and began to bud after what seemed like an eternity of winters.

My radical hope in God probably made my own smile brighter. That same week, I counseled another mom in the depths of grief surrounding her son’s drug use and mental issues, and I felt guilty that finally—finally—my own hopes had begun to crawl out of the pit. My friend tearfully related the things only another mother can understand—how they tried toughness to keep him on the straight and narrow but ultimately, they lost control. How they’d driven nine hours to rescue him after he called home, sounding as though he’d lost touch with reality. How her and her husband’s resolve for tough love meant that if he was using, he couldn’t sleep in their house—but that she’d take extra blankets out to his car, where he spent the night.

I cried as she sobbed into my shoulder. Whispered, “Jesus is carrying us all.” Meant it, too. But at that moment hope didn’t ride into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Hope, even radical hope, was scourged and beaten and dragged through the streets with a heavy cross on its back. Hope was about to be nailed and die, and it wouldn’t matter who spoke encouragement to this weeping mother. Her grief and fear were like the sudden darkness of Saturday, as Jesus breathed his last. All I could do was cry with her and cling to the truth that God loves her and her son and me and my son. Before we parted, my friend asked if her mascara had run and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll be OK.”

I went home from that meeting feeling guilty. My son was standing up for his life and starting down the perilous sober road. She didn’t even know where her son was at. My other two sons still needed the same deliverance, but having even one glimmer of possible success made me more grateful for God’s mercy toward my son. I prayed for the same grace to visit the other mom and my other boys before praising God for my son’s courageous progress. Whenever I thought of my son’s determination to be drug and alcohol free, my face light up like Sunday morning.

Except that in life we seem to go from Sunday back to Friday and through the cycle over and over. The next evening, my son’s outlook had changed once again. He came to me, begging for one more drink. He called it his “sweet nectar.” A chill ran down my neck and my hopes took a giant step back.

The sturdy optimism about my son that I’d shared with my friend only a day earlier now crumbled into a swirling sinkhole of broken pieces. Hope had no real footing, even as Jesus stood by and let me cry into his shoulder. I was still certain of God’s radical hope in Jesus but less sure that I was ever going to make it out of the valley of the shadow of death. All I could think of was that the table was prepared for me—cup running over and everything—but that it wasn’t yet time to lay down that armor of God. Saturday was back and meaner than ever. I admit that I was ready to chuck hope into the lake for good.

I sobbed and asked if the darned cup of my loved ones’ addictions and mental issues could please pass from me—pretty please?—but Jesus didn’t say much, just held me closer and breathed love and life into my soul. In that moment I understood more about the mystery that is a loving God, as Saturday gave way to Sunday. Again.

This radical hope is hard work all right, and sometimes it’s all you can do to hold on as Jesus does the heavy lifting when life is awful. But I think God asks nothing more from us than to keep our eyes on Him when we’re too numb or hurt or grief-stricken to do much radical hoping. Those are the times when I have to believe He will catch me as I fall, just as angels keep us from dashing our feet against stones. That His grace really is sufficient even if it doesn’t feel nearly enough. That God is not required to take the thorn from our sides.

The next day, my son apologized. Was eager to get back on track. Eager to get his teeth looking brilliant again. He sounded more like the courageous son and less like the defeated son jonesing for a drink. Hope took another baby step. “I guess I’ll have ups and downs,” he said.

“You all right?” I tried not to sound too eager.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be OK.”

I cautiously hope for him, while remembering all those whose grief is pure and raw and deep. Sometimes, OK is the best you can be.

Linda Clare

 

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“Let Me Know What I Can Do For You?”

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We just past 96,625 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

WE HAVE A WINNER!! We will be notifying the winner by email, if they put in the right email address. I will also let you know about when the winner subscription happened, so you can know that it may be yours. 

We are starting a new promotion and the winner will be the person who is the 100,000 subscriber. That is a huge milestone for us. More details later. 

______________________________________________________________________

Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Doug just interviewed a WWII veteran, for the book.  Fascinating! Look for updates here.

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I have seen this happening many times. A person is hurting. Another person is there with them. The hurting person shares their hurts, and the other person says, Let me know what I can do for you, and then walks away. Nothing happens. the hurting person is still hurting. The other person has forgotten all about the conversation before the day is over.

Unfortunately we live in a society like this today. No one seems to care. No one wants to get involved. No one likes talking about serious things with a friend.

Let me share a parable with you:

A man is driving along a curvy road and loses control of his car. He goes over the embankment and crashed into a tree.  The car is starting to catch on fire. Another man comes by and sees the car. He shouts, Let me know what I can do to help. 

Really?

What is that parable telling us? It is saying that we need to take action and do it now.

That leads up to another parable by a man much more saintly than I am. Our own Jesus Christ.

There was a man who was walking along on a road to Jerusalem. It was a dangerous road. There were many robbers and thieves who attack there.

The man was attacked by thieves. They beat him, and tore off all of his clothes. They left him there to die.

A priest came walking by and saw the man. He went to the other side of the road to avoid the man. Another man came by, and he also crossed to the other side to avoid the man.

Then a Samaritan came by and felt pity for the man. He went to help him. He bandaged his wounds, took him to the nearest Inn and cared for him while he recovered.

He even told the Innkeeper to keep track of any monies the man owed and he would come back and pay all of it.

Which person are you? Would you cross to the other side of a road to avoid a hurting person? Would you tell them, Let me know what I can do,” but keep going?

Reach out to the downtrodden. Help those who suffer. Be a good Samaritan. You will be happy you did and so will God.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all..never, ever, give up! 

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What if You Didn’t Believe? Then What?

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We just past 95,775 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

WE HAVE A WINNER!! We will be notifying the winner by email, if they put in the right email address. I will also let you know about when the winner subscription happened, so you can know that it may be yours. 

We are starting a new promotion and the winner will be the person who is the 100,000 subscriber. That is a huge milestone for us. More details later. 

______________________________________________________________________

Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Doug just interviewed a WWII veteran, for the book.  Fascinating! Look for updates here.

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Welcome Back Lynn Mosher as our monthly guest blogger. She always give is pause to ponder. Tonight is not different. 

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I Had Fainted Unless…

“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see

the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

(Ps. 27:13 KJV)

Here we go a-pondering! I love to do this. If you’re a fairly new reader, you’ll soon find out that I love to take apart a verse of scripture…by its definitions. New and deeper meanings are sometimes discovered. Let’s see what we can dig out of this one.

*The above verse in other versions:

NKJV: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

New Living Version: “I would have been without hope if I had not believed that I would see the loving-kindness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

The thing is, “I had fainted,” “I would have lost heart,” or “I would have been without hope” are not in the original. The translators added those words.

In the original Hebrew of the Masoretic Text, it literally says, “Unless I had believed to see the goodness of Jehovah in the land of the living.” It breaks off abruptly, as if he had said, “Oh, had I not believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” We are left to imagine what would have happened had he not believed.

Because of the efforts of his numerous and formidable enemies, David knew his only support and deliverance was God. He believed he would see His goodness. And he did.

*Definitions:

The Hebrew word for unless means if not, except, had not, or were it not that.

Believed means to build up or support, to be firm or faithful, to trust, to be true, to uphold, to nourish, to be established, confirm, enduring, etc.

The word for goodness means beauty, gladness, welfare, prosperity, joy, fairness, etc.

*Rewording

Lynn’s Version might say, “Oh, had I not I believed, trusted, and endured to see God’s beauty, welfare, prosperity, and joy!” If we do not believe, how do we see the evidence of God’s goodness?

Doesn’t that remind you of Hebrews 11:1? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not being seen.” (The Received Greek Text)

*Application/encouragement:

Because David sought the Lord and believed in His goodness, he said in an earlier verse, “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” (Ps. 27:5 NKJV)

David went on to say in verse 14, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (NKJV)

David’s main message of the whole psalm is wait, hope, and trust in the Lord. So, when you are in the midst of any trouble, always believe and have courage as you wait for the Lord to act on your behalf.

Be encouraged that, in your waiting, the Lord will strengthen you and will hide you in His secret place.

If I had not believed in God’s goodness and His working, deliverance, and love and waited for Him in my life and circumstances, I wonder what would have happened to me? Oh, I shudder even to think about it!

What would have happened to you if you had not believed to see the goodness of God in some trial or circumstance? What will happen in the future if you don’t believe?

From His feet, Lynn

lynnmosher.com

 

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Come On Man! You Are Kidding Right?

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We just past 94,866 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it. We have a promotion going with prizes. The person who is our 95,000 follower will receive two nice prizes, which we will not name. (This is called a hook in writing.) The number of followers rises fast. We are down to our last 134 before we have a winner! We are averaging close to 50 new subscribers each day. So don’t hesitate! Click on the icon right after the title of this post to subscribe to be eligible for the prizes. 

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Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It will be reaching out the many military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and the many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. Doug wants to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Doug Is also seeking military who would be willing to do an interview. It will be part of the book. Sharing by actual soldiers will help many others. Doug just interviewed a WWII veteran. Fascinating! Look for updates here.

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Have you ever had someone tell you, “Come on man?” To say that means they really don’t believe what you have said.

An example would be Peter who said, “I walked on Water.” COME ON MAN! Not many people would believe that statement except those who witnessed it.

I have had people say that to me. They didn’t believe of what I was saying until I proved it.

This approach is hard to accept in some ways. It hurts when someone doesn’t believe you. You try to be an honest person who has a lot of integrity, but then there are still those who doubt.

Have you had that happen to you? Have you told someone of a dream you have and someone said, COME ON MAN? Did they even laugh and say you were crazy?

They did that to Noah. He spent one hundred years building the ark, and he was ridiculed and mock everyday. There was no need for an ark, he was sitting on dryland. Big mistake!

The massive floods came, and everyone drowned except for those on Noah’s ship. (Better listen to God, don’t you think?)

If you have God whisper something in your ear. LISTEN!

Don’t let the COME ON MAN, people sway you. You know what you are doing is right. You know that God has called you. You know that He will guide you and direct you.

In the end you will be pleasing God, and all those who laughed at you will have to swallow their pride and agree you were right all along.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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