What A SuperBowl Game!

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We just past 95,500 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We have a promotion going with prizes. The person who was our 95,000 follower will receive two nice prizes, which we will not name. (This is called a hook in writing.)

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. 

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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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It is time again for Taylor Wilkens to do his guest post. He always inspires us, and tonight he is talking about the Super Bowl.  Thank you Taylor for your insight, and wisdom.

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Super Bowl Champions 

Today is Superbowl Sunday and right now you, like most Americans, are probably getting together with a bunch of junk food to party with friends and family to watch the big game! I love the super bowl for many reasons— but the ultimate reason for me to watch is because I love good competition. After tonight one team will be crowned champion and the other will fall to second place. This level of game elevates the competition because the stakes are so high. Both of these teams have battled over the past year in the weight room, training, and competition to get to this point and now only one can be the champion. The crowning moment is hugely rewarding because of the effort put into a great victory.

Leading up to Super Bowl Sunday one thing has been ringing in my mind on a daily basis— “run in such a way as to win the prize…” It’s the summarizing verse out of 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 where Paul is encouraging the Corinthian people to walk out their faith with the highest level of excellence because at the end of this race there will be an imperishable prize for those who did not give up.  How much are you willing to fight for the prize? Super Bowl Sunday is amazing and the glory at the end of the day will be great, but temporary. All the time, energy, and effort going into only a moment of glory! I have so much respect for the coaches and athletes commitment to train and exert so much energy into becoming the best at what they do. We all have stuff in our lives that we put an exceptional amount of work into— yet at the end of all your endeavors, where will you end up? Where will your reward take you? What will be the prize of your life taken into eternity? 

“Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them; nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:16-17

The conviction on my heart is to follow Jesus with my whole heart. I have pushed all my chips into the middle, and I have found no reward greater than eternal life in the kingdom of heaven with the God who loves me so much that he offered up His life as a sacrifice for mine. Not only did he take away my sin and guilt but he is preparing a place for me in his kingdom. 

I believe Jesus is calling you to himself today, you are the prize he has been fighting for and pursuing— you are never alone, and you are always loved.

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.” 

* New England Patriots won over Atlanta Falcons in overtime 34-28. 

 

Taylor Wilkins
twilkins@fca.org
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What is Faith All About?

For one of our promotions you have to have subscribed and have a valid email address for us to connect with, to award you your prizes. 

We are growing very fast. Thanks to all of you who have been joining us.  

We are staring a new promotion. The next winner will be the one that gets us to 83,000. We just passed 80,600. It will go fast as we have been averaging close to 100 new subscribers a day. There are nice prizes, so don’t miss out, subscribe today. Just click on the icon right after the title to do that.

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Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, has written 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, and the many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides ever day. That is almost one every hour. Doug wants to help stop those statistics. Doug sent off his mini proposal to an agent who is very interested in his concept. We will update you when we hear more.
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We are happy that Lynn Mosher is back for her monthly guest post. When we were shut down, she was very patient and waiting. Thank you Lynn for your loyalty. He post today teaches about faith.
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Now Faith Is…

 

“Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see.”

Martin Luther

 

One of my very favorite verses is Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (NKJV) I love taking verses apart and finding the definitions of words to discover a deeper meaning. Wanna see what I found?

 

*Now…

 

Faith, to be beneficial, must always be now, in the present tense. We can’t have hindsight faith. However, the meaning of the word used in this verse for now does not mean at this moment of time, though many good sermons have contained that meaning.

 

It is a conjunction or connecting word between two thoughts. It means but, moreover, moreover also, and, also, and also, or but rather. It would be more appropriate to say, “And also faith is…” or “Moreover faith is…”

 

*Substance…

 

The Greek word for substance is hupostasis, which means a setting under, support, essence, assurance, confidence, person, the substantial quality or nature of a person, substructure or that which has foundation, hence, is firm and has actual existence.

 

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

 

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says, “It here may signify a title-deed, as giving a guarantee, or reality.”

 

*Things hoped for…

 

The word for things hoped for is elpizo, which means to expect, confide, trust, or confident expectation. Its root word means to anticipate, usually with pleasure.

 

*Evidence…

 

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

 

*Things…

 

Pragma is the word for the second 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.)

 

Therefore, defined, this verse might say, “Moreover, faith gives actual existence as a guarantee to what is expected, as the confident anticipation of matters being accomplished with practical results as proof of the invisible.”

When we co-operate with God by faith, we are fellow-workers with Him and we will see the answers to our prayers, which are already accomplished and held in expectancy in heaven as something yet to arrive or be revealed.

 

Only when faith is attached to all we do are we pleasing God, as the writer of Hebrews tells us, “So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith.” (Heb. 11:6 NLT) If we have no faith to please Him, how do we co-operate with Him?

 

Those who are willing to trust God and apply faith to His Word, without further evidence, will receive the visible proof of His promises. And “if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (Rom. 8:25 NKJV)

 

Smith Wigglesworth said, “I believe there is only one way to all the treasures of God and that is the way of faith.” And St. Augustine said, “Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.”

 

Just remember, faith is not a big, copper cauldron in which we conjure up our slightest wish. Nope, nope, nope! Faith is the producer of the will of the King, not the will of the servant. As Jesus said, “Not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42 NKJV)

 

  1. B. Simpson once said, “True faith drops its letter in the post office box, and lets it go. Distrust holds onto a corner of it, and wonders that the answer never comes.”

 

Faith: Though the eye beholds no evidence, the spirit is assured of its existence.

 

From His feet, Lynn

 

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What Has Happened? Why are People so Destructive?

My Reality Check Bounced

 

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16

 

Back when I was a youth, people didn’t go to R-rated movies because there weren’t any. The meanest language I ever heard in a movie back then was when Clark Gable, playing Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, said, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” That sent shock waves throughout the entire nation. How could they allow that kind of language in a movie?

They tried to counterbalance that statement by having Vivien Leigh, who played Scarlett O’Hara, say, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

Back when I was a youth, smoking cigarettes was only for the “weeds.” We called them that because we considered tobacco a weed. Now it is a billion dollar business. I have lost too many friends to lung cancer who started smoking back then.

Back when I was a youth, very few high school students drank alcohol. Very few of us could afford it. Today, most middle school students have already tried alcohol.

Back when I was a youth, we didn’t see very many high school girls who had gotten pregnant, but those who gave birth kept the child and survived somehow. Today, it’s commonplace to see many high school—and even middle school—girls expecting a child. More often, though, they take care of their “problem” with an abortion.

Back when I was a youth, we didn’t know what drugs were. We took aspirin for a headache, and that was about it. Today, kids are trying to find the new fix that will get them higher than they were the last time they experimented.

What has happened? Why are people of today so destructive?

Our reality checks have bounced. We have slowly allowed sin to become the norm in our culture, so much so that things we called “sin” years ago are now a “lifestyle choice” and quite acceptable. It started several generations ago, and it will not stop anytime soon.

Today, reality to most people is not a Christian-based reality because everyone gets to determine their own reality. (The very meaning of the word “reality” has become subjective rather than objective.) So much more is acceptable today, and even the laws keep changing to accelerate the slippage away from an objective reality.

Women have the right to an abortion now. People can share pornography on the internet because they have the freedom of speech. Movies and television show so much more violence now. The language has Satan smiling. The crime rate creeps up in the big cities.

What can we do? There seems to be no way to turn all of this around. Do we, as Christians, just go live in a cave and hide from everything?

God says no! Since God knows even each hair on our heads, He knows what is happening—and He doesn’t like it.

Part of Matthew 5:13-16 reminds us not to hide our light under a basket, but instead to put it on a stand and let it shine for all.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna’ let it shine,” are the words of a children’s song many of us learned at church. The words apply to adults as well. Christians can’t run and hide. We are God’s disciples, and He has commissioned us to go out into the world and witness for Him. We couldn’t do much witnessing in a cave, unless the spiders made up our congregation!

The lament becomes: “What can I do? I don’t know what to say.” Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses.” Jesus then lists various places He wants us to witness: in our hometown, in regions other than our own—even to “the ends of the earth.” God’s very Holy Spirit will help us use the right words.

I have never been able to memorize a set list of things to say when an opportunity comes up to witness. I don’t just wing it either. I quickly ask for God to give me the right words. I don’t always say them quite as eloquently as God might want me to say them—and I may feel I have failed to say what I should have—but the seed has been planted. And there will be times when I get to see the reward for my efforts.

Regardless of the immediate outcome, the people we talk to will remember the conversation for a long time. They will wrestle over and over again with the things we’ve said. It’s called conviction. Hopefully it will turn them around so they can start walking on the right path.

We don’t have to go out and knock on people’s doors. (Salespeople do that.) But you’ll be very surprised how many people will “knock” at your door. Opportunities to speak a word for God come up more often than you’d think. It may be a friend who says she had a fight with her parents last night, and doesn’t know what to do. That’s a door-opener right there. A neighbor may have had a death in the family and he comes to us for support. Another golden opportunity to share God’s love with them.

It may be much more subtle. A brother comes home from college, and he seems different somehow. Happy-go-lucky when he left for school, now he won’t talk much, and he’s on the defensive all the time. We can start a conversation with him to draw out his feelings, assuring him that God is always there for him.

Another good way to witness is to be a good example for others. Your actions tell a story about you. You are like an open book. What will people read when they see you?

Above all, remain on the right reality train. Don’t take the train that goes nowhere. Don’t take the train that leads toward the pleasures of the world. Take the train that leads to God’s glory, and try to load it up with as many people as you can. Invite them onboard.

 

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.

Philippians 2:13-16

 

Further adventures

Count how many times in a week, or in a day, you have had a chance to “witness” to someone. How many times did you actually do it?

Here’s an easy way to ease into witnessing: “I had something similar happen to me, and this is how God helped me through it.”

You don’t have to tell them to get down on their knees right there on the spot. They will get the picture. This is a much easier approach, and it gives them a way to escape their own demons.

 

Something to ponder

Isn’t it funny that we have found that we have nothing to fear but fear itself?

* Excerpt from: Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World

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