Stop the Stress, and See the Light

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 101,100 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

In our current promotion the winner will be the person who is the 100,000th subscriber will win some nice prizes. It will go very fast. This is a huge milestone for us. 

* WE HAVE A WINNER!!! At 11:54pm last night we had the 100,000th subscriber! If you subscribed at that time, email us at doug@dougbolton.com to confirm you are the winner.+

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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. Look for updates here.

UPDATE!!  In the final stages of having the book finished. Much of it is already sent off to my editor. The countdown begins!!

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Glad to have Dennis Booth back as our Guest blogger today. He has an unusual post on visions. We have all heard of them. He has seen one.

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Whether you believe in visions or not, whether you are a Christian or not, I am going to share something with you that I believe will talk to individuals about where they are at present and offer them hope.

Recently my wife had occasion to travel and meet up with family during which matters close to that family were discussed and which in turn provided some spirited discussion that sometimes was bordering on flared tempers.

Fair enough that happens to a lot of families but when the discussion or call it what you will is all over, in the solitude of silence and contemplation there can arise a lot of hurt, a lot of bitterness and a lot of regret.

And so this last Sunday in church I believe I received a vision (I sometimes do) and this is what I believe I saw.

It was like a Western wilderness scene in the sense that there was a lot of rocky outcrop and on the ground not uneven there were giant cacti with thorns and smaller bramble bushes.

However in the middle was a road heading into the distance through a gap in hills in front of the outcrop and cacti and through that gap there was a brightness that almost lit up the entire sky but only through that gap.

And I believe I heard this to support the vision.

Many are having divisions, quarrels, arguments, strife with those close to them and many are being drawn into these situations.

But that same many know that they want to stay out of it all because it causes them to stray away from what they know is right.

The problem is in this situation not only has there been strife to the left but it has developed into strife to the right and so one side tries to get the person over to their side but the same applies on the other side.

Yet the path/road is still there and I believe God is saying that in these situations keep your focus, your eyes on what you know is the way out….it is ahead and by staying on the path you will see light very much like the saying, “light at the end of the tunnel.”

I think too often we tend to be drawn into taking on burdens that we are not meant to carry, too often we tend to be drawn into adding to strife and argument that we never intended to happen.

We may be staying out of it all, be seen as a fence sitter but I believe God is saying come into the light through the gap, out of the wilderness and all will be well.

Dennis Booth

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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How to Stay Strong in Unfriendly Places

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We just past 96,825 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. 

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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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Glad to have back our guest blogger Dennis Booth from Australia. His post today is tremendous for all who suffer depression in a very depressive world.

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If you are reading this you are in the category of those who wish to see Daily Signs of Hope and quite frankly in the world today without hope we would be candidates for the funny farm.

The media apparently are serving up “fake” news, an Australian Senator has almost taken the same line and we have others sending up missiles that frighten the life out of those near them and those they threaten.

But here is something to hold on to.

Century after century, year after year there have been the doomsayers who predict all sorts of evil things about to befall the world and end it.

Sure in that time there have been terrible wars, terrible plagues/epidemics etc that have wiped out untold  millions of lives and there have been disasters that have done the same.

Yet the world still exists, there are more people on this planet today and we have made giant strides in technology and medicine.

People in most Western countries are living longer.

But after all these wars, and even today with none of their scope, one thing stands out…….depression is as bad as it has ever been and it shouldn’t be that way.

Returned Service personnel who have served overseas come home with post-traumatic stress and sadly like those who came home from other wars the same way are almost shunned and what we cannot see is what they saw.

So how in the world do we overcome this plight?

For me to stay positive means I try and stay around people who are animated and happy, particularly friends of that nature.

Secondly I try to read positive information be it media, books.

Thirdly if I watch a dramatic movie I try to do so during the day or early evening but then read something light after so I do not go to bed with my mind racing full of action that could be depressing.

Fourthly I refuse to be drawn into heavy debate about situations I have no control over…to me that is a waste of my time.

Finally, I am a Christian and a strong believer and have been since I was a small child. Yes I did walk off the rails for a while but when I came back I was so glad I did and have never looked back.

When all things are failing, or falling around you just these simple words…”Help me Lord”. …are heard and you have to believe that help will come.

Dennis Booth

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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There Are Threads of Hope if You Look

Threads of Hope

Linda S. Clare

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’” –II Corinthians 12:9 NIV

 

I’m acquainted with a wonderful mother who recently posted on Facebook that she’d goofed, big time. A devout Christian, she’d mistakenly outlined her son’s latest substance abuse crisis in a public rather than a private forum, embarrassing all involved. In her apology, she begged those who’d read the post to forget, it or at least refrain from discussing it. I never saw the post in question, but I sensed her humiliation at exposing her not-so-perfect life. This mother’s pain was palpable and familiar. Although I wept with her, it’s shown me again why the strongest hope is often made of the worst weakness.

I know how it feels to show your strong side to the world while some calamity threatens to swallow you whole. For those of us with addiction or mental health issues—our own or those of loved ones—we not only ignore the elephant in the room, we tell ourselves that elephants are overrated. We say, “Stand back! I got this,” even if we’re marching into battle feeling very alone. In our culture, admitting weakness often gets you punched in the nose.

Sometimes God gives us super human strength. That’s grace in action. Other times, we go it alone. We pray for protection, for healing, for blessing even as we present our “game face” to the world. We “battle” cancer, as if willpower can beat the big “C.” We present the perfect picture, even when we’re falling apart.

The poor mom who posted the private info must have worried about looking weak. She’d placed her family in the cross hairs of a judgmental society, inviting strangers to shame, blame or even claim her faith was insufficient. I don’t blame her—it’s happened to me.

I once worked in a Christian bookstore, restocking everything from Bibles to greeting cards. I was grateful for the job—in addition to supporting our family, my left arm’s lifelong paralysis from childhood polio made some simple tasks a little trickier for me. OK, a lot trickier. Still, I never called attention to my disability and always wore an “I got this” face to customers.

One day two women came into the bookstore, where I was straightening greeting cards. After I asked if I could help them find something, one woman leaned closer. She whispered, “God would heal your arm—if you had more faith.” The women left the store while I stood there, waiting for my head to explode.

Later in the breakroom, I cried hot tears of anger and confusion. I railed at God. On the job, I’d never asked for any special treatment. At work, my daily attitude was “I got this.” I had no idea how to make my faith the size it needed to be.

I never saw those women again. But for years after, I couldn’t give myself a break. Then I developed the late effects of polio. Pain and fatigue dogged me, yet I kept overworking my sore muscles. When family members developed substance abuse and mental health problems, I was as determined as that mother on Facebook to show the world how strong I was.

Then one night I dreamed of an abyss, with a single gossamer thread stretched taut across it. The hole was the blackest black, a velvet chasm of despair, while the thread glimmered in the low light. My thread of hope was so fragile, so bare, it would surely break under the weight of the disasters in my life.

Too terrified to say, “I got this,” I stood at the far end of this yawning chasm. I was naked and afraid, all right. Tattered hope stretched out before me but the thread slipped my grasp. The black hole snapped its jaws.

I know better than to put a lot of energy into interpreting dreams. Yet in this one, a hand suddenly appeared, a hand of light and pure love, if that’s possible. Discouraged by broken hope, I stood before this Love-light.

Darkness sneered at me. Fool—all is lost. For proof, just look at your addicted family members or that withered arm. Why bother to hope at all?

I understood that some hard things might never be healed this side of heaven. Why God allows suffering on earth is an age-old mystery. Darkness again whispered, “Abandon hope.” In that moment, I had to choose either my own strength or God’s weakness. The outstretched hand waited.

I chose weakness.

As feeble as I was, I reached for that hand of Light. Something—Someone—transported my failing body across the canyon, fortifying hope as it went. I had the sense I was being carried through the pain and mistakes and dumb moves of my life—and I need not claim any strength of my own.

When I awoke, nothing had changed. My body still ached. My family’s battles with substance abuse and diseases and mental health were as real as they’d ever been. The mother from Facebook no doubt still agonizes over her precious son, and if I were still working at the bookstore, those same women might still scold me for the smallness of my faith.

But everything had changed. Despair can wear hope thin, but God’s grace gives hope its strength—power perfected in weakness. To get past life’s pain, I must stand at the chasm’s edge every day. Learn to let go of the “I got this” mentality that keeps me from recognizing God when He offers me His hand. Threads of hope get stronger as Jesus carries me through, and as I lay aside my strength, He gently allows weakness to prevail.

The trials you face may be far bigger than mine. Maybe you’re much better at surrendering to God than I’ve ever been. But real strength is perfected in weakness. If you need a thread of hope today, put your hand in His hand and He will carry you through. “Trust Me,” He says, “I got this.”

 

Linda Clare

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With the New Year, Comes Hope

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We just past 93,900 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it. We have a new 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 raises fast. We are averaging close to 30 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. Look for updates here.

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We welcome Tyler Wilkins back as a a guest blogger. He always inspires me, and I hope he does the same for you. 

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Today is the start to a new year, and with every new year comes a feeling of a fresh start. It’s not something mystical, it’s more than that. It’s a movement toward change, hope rises up as people dream of creating a better tomorrow. Many are encouraged to lose weight in hopes of a more confident and healthy lifestyle. Others set goals to get out of debt, save money, buy a house, get married, have a child and so on.

Yet others are not so hopeful… This morning I asked the guy at the front desk of the gym I attend what his new years resolution is and he jokingly responded that he set a goal to “survive 2017.” Although his intentions were light hearted I was reminded of the reality that so many people are entering into this new year without a sincere hope that something better is coming.

As for you on this new years day I want to encourage you to set your sights higher than ever before, to believe that the seemingly impossible is possible and that your current situation is not a projection of your future but is a sign that the old is melting away and the new life is coming. 

My goal in writing to you today is not to convince you that the mistakes, devastation, or hurt you faced yesterday has nothing to do with tomorrow. It sounds nice, but I believe it actually takes away from the fullness of joy you would otherwise experience.

As a Christian I have the privilege of living a life free from my past mistakes. It doesn’t mean I didn’t make mistakes, or even that I haven’t made mistakes since I gave my life to Jesus! But the penalty of my past no longer plays a domino affect into my future. Jesus brought into the world “good tidings of great joy.”

In Isaiah 61:1-7 God shows us somethings to expect with the coming of the gospel— “Good news to the poor, healing for the brokenhearted, liberty to the captives, opening of prison doors to those who are bound, the year of the Lords favor, the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn…” The list continues on but I think you can grasp the direction of God’s heart toward you in these verses.

I also want to encourage you to step out and trust God with your baggage. I am speaking to you as someone who lived my whole life in condemnation, guilt and sin. I was a liar, a thief, addicted to pornography, obsessed with the way I looked and filled with pride and a strong desire for money that overshadowed my love for people. I lived in a dark place without God for most of my life, a place without hope, and I thought I would never be completely free.

But it was in that dark place that God met me. Today I am a new creation, I have more joy, peace and love then ever before. I am happily married to my amazing wife Melissa. God removed from me the addiction to pornography, and every desire to sin and get away with it. My life feels squeaky clean, and I can’t help but share this freedom because I know it is for you as well.

Today this is a Sign of Hope, that no matter the circumstance you are in, or the breakthrough you need, God is near to you and He has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

Tyler Wilkins

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Salem, Oregon

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