Eclipse-I Feel so Small in This World

 I am so honored to be with you each day sharing hope. The outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. There are over 50 new subscribers a day. The site just past 107,500 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

+ WE HAVE A WINNER IN OUR PROMOTION. THE PERSON WHO HAS THE 105,000 REGISTRATION WILL WIN SOME NICE PRIZES.

We started a new promotion. The person who is our 110,000 followers will win some great prizes. As you can see it goes fast. Don’t miss out.

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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 updates about the new book.

* Update!! Went to a writer’s conference this last week, and met with several agents. Three of them wanted me to send a proposal for my book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of life. One agent seems to be pretty excited about it. You will know as soon as I do!

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Well, yesterday was quite a phenomenon. The eclipse went right over the top of us here in Salem, Oregon. As the darkness began to come it made me think of when Jesus took His last breath and the sky went black. That was the very first eclipse created by God.

We live on a Cul de Sac, and all the neighbors gathered and watched the show together. The darker it got, as the moon came across the sun, the more interesting things started happening.

There first thing we noticed was how the air got cooler and cooler. It ended up being over 90 degrees for the day, but the temperature went down by several degrees quickly during the eclipse.

Another thing we saw was that the city street lights went on. They only come on when it is dark enough. The outside lights for the houses all around us went on.

One of our neighbors has some chickens. The roosters began “crowing their song,” like they usually do when the dawn is coming.

The birds were really confused.

We could see some stars is the sky.

All this made me feel so little in this world. God created the sun, moon, and the stars. I felt like I was just a pebble of sand at the beach.

We all are a speck, in a speck, in a speck, in a speck.

Now that I made you feel so insignificant, think on these things:

Moses was a murderer, and wondered why God would use him. Abraham was too old to have children.

In both of those lives God used these unimportant men to change the world. Moses went on to lead the Israelites out of bondage. Abraham had his first son, when he was close to 100 years old. God told him to be fruitful and multiply.

What about us??

God created each of us in His own image. We are His greatest creations. He cares for us and gives each of us purpose.

Yes, even you. You have a purpose that God is waiting for you to fulfill. He has plans for you. He wants the best for you, because you are His child. As a father I can completely understand that.

Seek what God has in mind for you. Follow His paths He has laid out for you.

You are not a tiny speck in life. God created you just one level below the angels of heaven.  You are worthy. You are important!

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

 

 

 

 

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When Do We Know the Unseen?

 I am so honored to be with you each day sharing hope. The outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. There are over 50 new subscribers a day. The site just past 107,000 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

+ WE HAVE A WINNER IN OUR PROMOTION. THE PERSON WHO HAS THE 105,000 REGISTRATION WILL WIN SOME NICE PRIZES.

We are starting a new promotion tonight. The person who is our 110,000 followers will win some great prizes. As you can see it goes fast. Don’t miss out.

_____________________________________

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 updates about the new book.

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Welcome back Lynn Mosher, one of our steady guest bloggers. She does magic today by dissecting some verses to give us new meaning of the word Unseen. 

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Out of the Unseen

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,

the evidence of things not being seen.”

(Heb. 11:1 Received Greek Text)

Do you ever take apart a verse by its Greek or Hebrew definitions? I love doing this. Brings such a deeper and broader meaning to the verse. This one is very interesting. Let’s see…

Now faith…

Faith is always now, in the present tense; we can’t have faith for yesterday. We can have expectant faith for tomorrow but our faith does not work in the future, except when we get there. It works right here and now. Except in one case: we have faith for our eternal home in heaven with the Lord.

However, that is not the meaning of the word now used in the above verse. It does not mean at this moment of time, though many good sermons have been based on that premise. It is a conjunction or connecting word between two thoughts, joining terms for repeated emphasis.

It means but, moreover, moreover also, even, and, also, and also, or but rather. It would be more appropriate to say, “Moreover faith is…” or “And also faith is…”

So, what is faith moreover or and also? The preceding verses in Hebrews 10:35-39 tell us not to cast away our confidence, that patience and endurance in doing the will of God receives what is promised, that the just shall live by faith, and not to draw back in timidity or unbelief to ruin, destruction, or loss.

…is the substance…

The Greek word for substance means support, setting under, assurance, confidence, essence, person, a guarantee of reality, substantial quality or nature of a person, substructure or foundation, and is firm and has actual existence or real being.

This word is used in Hebrews 1:3 of Jesus as the “express image of His essence” (RGT), the image, character, or exact copy, as the actual reality or personification of God.

…of things hoped for…

The word for things hoped for means to expect, confide, trust, or confident expectation.

…the evidence…

Evidence also means that by which invisible things are tested or proved, conviction, proof, or test, as convincing proof.

…of things…

Pragma is the word for this use of the word things, which also means an object, business, matter, work, that which is an accomplished fact or is being accomplished, that which exists, and so on. From this, we get our English word pragmatic, which one definition means the testing of concepts to determine their validity by the practicality of their results.

…not being seen.

That which is not beheld with the eyes. The whole invisible, spiritual world.

Therefore, defined, we might reword this verse to say, “Moreover, faith guarantees reality to what is expected, as an accomplished fact, the confident anticipation of matters being accomplished, the validity being produced as visible proof of the invisible.”

So, moreover faith is…

* maintaining our confidence…rewarded

* continuing patience and endurance in doing the will of God

* what the just live by

* and not drawing back in timidity or unbelief to ruin, destruction, or loss.

And the result? We receive the reward of God’s promises.

“Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe,” so said St. Augustine. And Martin Luther said, “Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see.”

If “God…Who…speaks of the non-existent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed,” (Rom. 4:17b), then do we permit ourselves to be seized by the non-existent things that we cannot yet see? Don’t we usually want to see the evidence first and then we’ll believe? What would happen in our lives if we actually lived in faith to see what we believe?

Wouldn’t we see God’s promises substantiated, as the fulfillment of the things we hope for, making them present realities to us?

~~Oh, Lord, give me the faith to live expectantly in the unseen that I may see its rewards!

Oh, precious readers, may your faith explode with visible results out of the unseen!

From His feet, Lynn

lynnmosher.com

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We have a Chance in Life With Hope

I am so honored to be with you each day sharing hope. The outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. There are over 50 new subscribers a day. The site just past 106, 450 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

+ WE HAVE A WINNER IN OUR PROMOTION.  THE PERSON WHO HAS THE 105,000 REGISTRATION WILL WIN SOME NICE PRIZES. 

We are starting a new promotion tonight. The person who is our 110,000 followers will win some great prizes. As you can see it goes fast. Don‘t miss out. 

_____________________________________

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 updates about the new book.

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Hope’s Chances

The British mother, straight blond hair across her eyes, couldn’t look at the TV camera. As she and her partner stood in front of the media, they released what was left of their hopes. Their infant son Charlie, born with a rare genetic condition, had suffered massive brain damage. The parents fought hard for his life, but in the end, no doctor could help him. Now Charlie would be allowed to die in peace.*

Hope’s last thin wisp disappeared like morning mist. For them, all that was left was a sky with a hole in the shape of their baby boy.

We grasp for and cling to a crazy kind of hope when a child gets a terminal illness, when the cancer comes back, when nobody leaves the light on in your personal tunnel of woe. It’s hard to keep hoping in the face of a death sentence, yet we often rise to the occasion. “I’m hoping against hope,” we say, and smile to prove it—even when we know we don’t stand a chance.

But is hope sometimes foolish, setting us up for certain disappointment?

In my journey with my adult children, hoping they’ll recover from drug and alcohol abuse, I’ve sometimes wondered how far my hope can stretch. After decades of dealing with one son’s meth addiction as well as his two brothers’ alcoholism, lately I hear myself using words like “intractable.” It sounds a little like incurable, and a whole lot like hopeless.

The first time I said this aloud, I was interviewing a man who’d recently lost his son to the opioid epidemic. I was referring to my middle son’s meth addiction, which experts claim is harder than heroin to kick. “At this point,” I said, “my son has been a meth user for more than half his life.”

The man said he was sorry to hear it, but in my mind, I was suddenly standing mere inches from a speeding train. With a racing locomotive’s hot breath on me, only a fool would give me or my son a snowball’s chance. I waited for impact.

Until I remembered.

Hope isn’t always about odds. Often, it’s a way to keep going when you’re falling apart. Mostly, it’s about love.

My son has said and done things to his family that could make your whiskers curl. He’s called his dad and me names, cursed us blue and has stolen and destroyed property. In a meth-fueled rage when he was barely out of middle school, he attacked his Marine Corps veteran father.  My son’s been through inpatient treatment at least three times and outpatient rehab even more. We’ve gone to family and personal counseling, twelve-step meetings and educational programs on his behalf. So far, recovery hasn’t really stuck.

Some days, I catch myself thinking this addiction nightmare will never end. After all, meth is very hard to beat, and studies show that addicts’ chances dry up if the user doesn’t have much to lose. My son has no job, no spouse, no kids and no home except with us. There’s no parole officer or even a driver’s license to hang over his head. If he continues to abuse drugs, he’ll eventually also give up his youthful vigor, handsome looks and even his teeth.

But I try to remember that my son is not meth. What he does isn’t right or healthy or even tolerable, but he is much more than the sum of his sins. Much more. He’s a part of me, and I cannot stop loving him, encouraging him, and yes, hoping for him.

Some would say the hope expressed by baby Charlie’s parents was not only unrealistic, but cruel. Where’s the upside of an infant who can’t breathe on his own, see, hear or swallow? If meth addiction is indeed intractable, why not throw out my son and be done with it?

The answer I always seem to find is simple—love. Nestled inside a cocoon of love—foolish or not—a fragile hope can push back at the ugliest of prognoses.  We hope because we love—our families, friends, statesmen. And my kind of love always includes a Presence bigger and more mysterious than anything I can imagine.

The circumstances may still suck. Babies may slip away to be angels, senators may succumb and addicts may never stop using. Life is beautiful and frequently terrible, as Frederick Buechner says. Hope knows this all too well but still says, “Sure, life is awful. But I love you and I’m not giving up on you.” And our hearts get lighter for a while, just knowing someone is pulling for us.

When common sense says cut loose, hope keeps me from crumbling into a soggy mess. From time to time, hope even scolds me for using words such as intractable.

The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes—not to mention the Byrds of sixties’ rock and roll—says there is a time for everything: sowing, reaping, birth, death, you-name-it. Yet throughout scripture, we’re reassured that if we place our hope in God, we’ll never be disappointed. Even old Job, whose life was an absolute train wreck, didn’t stop hoping in God.

The parents who hoped for their terminally ill son’s cure may as well have tried to catch the wind. They gazed at his tiny face and saw more beauty than anything, even with his grave condition and a feeding tube shoved up his nose. They probably sensed Charlie didn’t have a chance, but their love for a son outweighed the sorry odds.

Their experience has shown me how small and limited I can be about my hopes for my own son. Where graphs and charts and polls show meth addiction to be like a cancer that keeps coming back, I search for the good in my son’s still beautiful wide smile.  I’ll keep my slightly crazy hopes on display, partly to keep from strangling him, mostly to keep loving him. Will he ever stop using drugs and live a clean and sober life?

“It’s a long shot,” said the man who’d lost his son to a heroin overdose. “But don’t you ever give up hope.”

“Not a chance,” I said. “Not a chance.”

*Charlie Gard passed away one month short of his first birthday. May he rest in peace.

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A Soldier’s Fearful Battle to Survive

++++I am very excited to announce we have a new guest blogger. Michael Thorin is joining us each month on the third Sunday of each month. He has some inspiring thoughts and ideas to share. His first post is about PTSD, and how he found his way out of the fog of this world. 

_____________________________________________________________

I am so honored to be with you each day sharing hope. The outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. There are over 50 new subscribers a day. The site just past 106,000 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

+ WE HAVE A WINNER IN OUR PROMOTION.  THE PERSON WHO HAS THE 105,00O REGISTRATION WILL WIN SOME NICE PRIZES. 

We are starting a new promotion tonight. The person who is our 110,000 followers will win some great prizes. As you can see it goes fast. Don‘t miss out. 

_____________________________________

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 updates about the new book.

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“Where Were You? Where Are You? Where Are You Going?”

This will be written from my perspective on how I chose to cope with PTSD, and how my decisions brought me from a wrecked marriage, anger and depression to a life full of love, joy, and comfort.

Where Was I?

First off, I served 3 months in Afghanistan as a medic for OEF, and then a year and a half in Iraq as a scout. I was assigned to a gun truck platoon performing convoy security and route recon operations on the most dangerous roads in Iraq.

This time was spent dodging bullets, getting hit by IED’s, and essentially being targeted over 90% of the time. I saw things and did things that had no effect on me at the time. I was simply numb to what was going on around me. I had become callous as my family was back home growing more and more emotional, while I lost my emotions to a darkness to the fog of war, and its’ effect on my body, mind and soul.

Where Am I?

Yesterday I was preparing a devotional, and I was hit with a wave of emotions. The devotional is simply related to the effects of PTSD, and how the VA approaches its treatment of PTSD. My wife had forced me to receive treatment in 2014, or she was taking the kids and leaving me.

Something snapped. Since I had gotten home at the end of 2006, I was miserable. Worse, I made my wife and daughters lives painful and miserable as well. I received treatment and still could not get rid of the nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, lack of trust, and my inability to feel any semblance of emotion. I was essentially a zombie with an attitude and a short fuse.

I was broken.

During my time of PTSD counselling, I found one thing very interesting; the counselors could provide self-help techniques for me, but they could not offer me what I needed: redemption and forgiveness.

What I found interesting was that all of the techniques could bring you back from the bad, but could never help you resolve the bad. While I was receiving tips, I was not receiving forgiveness, and this is what I believe to be the root of the problem.

One of my biggest problems was my inability to feel emotions for what I had been through. I thought I should feel guilty, but I didn’t. I thought I should be upset, but I wasn’t.

What kind of a person was I? Where are my emotions and why does nothing in my family concern me?

I was no longer worthy of my family’s love, and I was determined to drive everything I loved away from me, because no one could understand what I was going through. I began having fits of rage and anger.

I needed forgiveness, pure and simple. I needed to know I was still worth something, and that I wasn’t too far gone to become human again. The only way I could feel forgiven was to seek forgiveness from a higher power. The second person I needed forgiveness from was myself, and then my family. I needed to right my wrongs there and then, or I would not be able to go on with my future in peace.

My choice was relying on my Christian faith and realizing that I was worth so much that Christ had hung on the cross, beaten and torn, for me. I was worth forgiveness, and I believe I cried for an hour when that finally hit me.

Where Am I Going?

While I was fumbling through some pictures to prepare the devotional on PTSD I spoke about earlier, I found one that made me stop and thank God for the miracles he worked, and how blessed I was to have not taken the “easy” way out and gave myself a chance at life, a chance to be as close to normal as possible, and that was the answer.

I was no longer beyond saving. I was no longer worthless. I was no longer the guy that could not rectify what he had seen and done with what he was “supposed” to be. I was finally human again, and not an emotionless robot.

This picture made me realize the importance of forgiveness and redemption; they are invaluable tools in the fight against PTSD and veteran suicides.

I hung in and persevered through my faith, and continue to grow and see miracles and blessings in my life, and the lives of those I care about and love. Had I given up, I would have never experienced the miracles of seeing my daughters grow, and then give us two beautiful grandchildren.

My miracle is that I am still here to enjoy my family, and had I given up in the dark days, I would have never been around to see the brilliance of these good days. As I sit here writing this blog I can’t help but shudder at the thought of my never getting a chance to see these two miracles.

Asking for forgiveness is not that hard, accepting that we have received forgiveness is another matter. I found that my comfort in Christ was the only reason I can write this blog. It is simply a miracle. Reach out and find forgiveness, and you should also forgive yourself. It makes life work, or at least it has not failed me yet.

Where do you want to go with your future, and who will you rely on to get there?

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

Theodore Roosevelt

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Michael Thorin

Fultonale, Alabama

 

 

 

 

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