The Old Rugged Cross

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 102,500 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are starting a new promotion. The person who is our 105,000 will wins some nice prizes. It goes very fast so 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. 

+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor this week. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂 


We have our regular guest blogger for the second month of each month here tonight. She has a perfect post for the Easter season. She talks about one of my favorite songs. The Old Rugged Cross.


The Old Rugged Cross

I cannot sing and cry at the same time. Therefore, I never sing “The Old Rugged Cross.” You see, I had a precious grandmother whom I adored. She loved to sing the old hymns, loud and off-key. And that hymn was one of her favorites. I can still hear her voice ringing in my memory. Jesus has been listening to her sing for the last 56 years. I’m sure she sings much better now.

George Bennard, a Methodist evangelist, wrote the first verse of “The Old Rugged Cross” in 1912 and finished the hymn one year later. It is said that during one of his revival meetings, Bennard suffered ridicule when some youths heckled him. After which, he experienced a life struggle.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the first verse and chorus…

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

The One dying for the world’s sins carried a rugged crossbeam that fateful day…

A large, jeering crowd, intermingled with a great many mourners, moved toward Golgotha’s hill on the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Grief). A man, whipped beyond recognition, stumbled in agony under the weight of His crossbeam.

So disfigured and injured was He that the soldiers “laid hold on one Simon, a Cyrenean…and on his shoulders they put the cross, for him to carry it behind Jesus.” (Luke 23:26 Weymouth)

Jesus said to His disciples…

“If anyone desires to come after Me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross,

and follow Me.”

(Matt. 16:24 NKJV)

Matthew Henry wrote, “In taking up the cross, we must follow Christ’s example, and bear it as he did.”

Is it our heart’s desire to trail behind in the footsteps of Jesus so that we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him daily? I say as Paul did, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Phil. 3:10 NIV)

My heart has been to Golgotha’s hill. The agony of that cross pierced the depth of my soul. My life received the precious blood of salvation poured out at the foot of that cross, washing me with the Savior’s forgiveness, cleansing me of all my sins.

Therefore, I will deny myself, take up that old rugged cross, and follow Christ daily.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

How about you? Will you deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus daily?

From His feet,



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Pride Can Keep You From serving God the Way He Wants You to

We want to thank all the people who have been subscribing to our RSS feed on this site. It has been awesome! We just passed 44,300 subscribers. Why is this happening? Because we offer quality posts of encouragement daily. Many people who come here are searching for hope. We provide this.

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* 09-4-13 …Update on our new book, “Your Signs of Hope: For the Weak Days.” We have sent many devotions to the editor. We will have 100 when we are finished. We have a ways to go. My co-author Dennis Booth, is hard at work getting some wonderful devotions just for you. He sent in several devotions this week. It is a slow process of making sure each devotion is meant just for you and will have some positive meaning to you.

I have done work on the preface, forward, table of contents, and appendix.

(Keep  Looking here for more updates.)


Pride comes before a fall. That is a great proverb from the Bible and it is so true. W sue pride for many things. We refuse to accept God’s gifts, because we think you know what we want to do with out Him. We often take credit for things God has done.

We should be thankful for the gifts we have been presented with.

Do you feel you have no gifts? Are you feeling like you have no worth? Do you avoid taking challenges because you fear failure?

You are not alone. There are millions of people on this earth who feel that. I even felt that way for many years. I was drowning in the muck and mire, because I didn’t trust God to help me out of them. I finally did when I was at the end of my rope.

God was still there waiting for me to wake up. The rest of the story is that I have been serving the Lord ever since that day I was ready to check out of this hotel called earth.


Don’t deny, belittle, or ignore what God has provided for you. Thank God for what He has done and use what ever they are to His glory.

No matter if you are a bus driver; a dishwasher at a restaurant; a CEO of a huge company, or an everyday Joe like me, God can use you to glorify His name.

Think about what you are good at. Think about what you want to be good at. Then use that skill, or learn that skill to please God.

I never thought I was good enough to be in education and teach children. My first quarter at college I had a 0.76 GPA. For those of you who don’t understand the grading system, that GPA is almost straight “F’s.”

I was very discouraged and had some pity parties. I quit school and joined the Army. Four years later I was back in college, and on the Dean’s honor roll list. I later got  my degree in education, and taught youth for 22 years.

I accomplished something I first thought I could never be good at. I was ready to forget about trying. God was patient with me and helped me through the storm.

Don’t think you have nothing to give. Never feel you can’t accomplish your dreams. Always feel that God has a plan for you. Seek His guidance in your life, and you will make it through the trials it takes to get where you want to go.


You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!


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Fruit of Success- Possible seeds for Failure?

The seeds of success can also include the seeds of failure, and danger lurks in many seemingly harmless parts of our lifes. I have experienced this danger in different ways— denial, and arrogance are only a few where success can give you a false perspective of who and where you really are.

In many cases, success breeds success. For some, however, success breeds more harmful characteristics. It can keep some from looking at defects of character in their lives, and provides no need to address them. A problem not addressed is no less a problem. Usually it incubates itself and grows to unexpected heights.

Here is the paradox — that success breeds failure. Success is fertile ground for complacency and arrogance, both making it difficult for a person to adapt and change.

Success can lead to complacency and complacency can lead to failure. Success would have us believe that “If it worked once – it will work again. We get stuck in dealing with new issues and people by our past methods. In essence creating a habit. We become rigid in our thinking. What once worked may no longer work. This is discouraging, confusing, and frightening at times. We don’t look for other avenues to travel and other options to explore, we spend all our time fixating on why the things that worked before no longer do. We don’t even recognize that this is happening to us. Our self-perception is that we are doing as well as ever when, in fact, we are sliding backwards. The routine thinking and behavior, which have allowed us to be successful in the past, can now become a detriment to our survival.

Denial is a dangerous thing. It can keep us from seeing ourselves for what we really are. It allows us to create our own distorted form of reality. If not careful after achieving or overcoming circumstances in our life, we may soon think we are beyond ever having to deal with those issues again. This is very dangerous thinking. I try to remind myself that ” If I was capable of it once, I am capable of it again”

How does arrogance hurt? The biggest cost is that arrogant people simply stop listening. Others do not necessarily expect perfection, but they do want to be listened to. Successful people tend to think that they already make the most out of their potential — that is, they believe they are doing the right things. They behave like they are deaf when their fundamental beliefs are questioned. The more successful they are or have been, the worse their hearing becomes.

Don’t strong leaders and highly successful people need to be arrogant? Many of us use “arrogant” when we really mean “confident”. It is a good thing to have confidence and inspire it in others. Arrogance is a bad habit. It is an overblown view of self, an image of superiority capable of denying all evidence to the contrary. People want to see evidence, not overblown egos. Arrogant people lose a sense of humility, become egotistical, and value only their own opinions.

God wants you to succeed, but when He blesses you with a success or successes, remain in a position of humility. You will be tempted to exalt yourself. Pride leads you to break your faith in God. How many successful people have become self reliant and walked away from the very God that blessed them with the success that they are experiencing.

Yesterday’s successes won’t save me from mistakes today

Because I made positive choices yesterday, doesn’t protect me from making mistakes today. I continue my process of healing, acknowledging the gains made and the woundedness remaining. Daily Self examination of one’s actions and motives can be beneficial in determining where you really are, compared to where you want to be.

My hope comes not from the illusion that I am fixed, but from the relationship I have with God. Every day I have the wonderful and terrifying opportunity to turn my life over to God.

I realize that I am not perfect. The changes I’ve experienced are real, but I am still in process. And I am kinder to myself when I make mistakes or see glimpses of the past creeping back into my life.

We need to see life as a continual learning experience; we need challenge ourselves to avoid relying on past successes, and to always be open to new ideas and change. With humility there is learning. The moment we are satisfied with “where we are”, this is the same moment that failure begins.

Humility is a strange thing – just when you think you got it – you have lost it.

Which has a higher priority in your life : living in yesterdays successes or preventing tomorrows mistakes

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Denial -its not a river in Egypt

Denial is a defense mechanism, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. The person may deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether (simple denial), admit the fact but deny its seriousness . minimizing it, or admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility – Wikopedia –

People take credit for their successes and find ‘good reason’ for their failures, blaming the situation, other people, etc.

Alcoholics and addicts vigorously deny that they have a problem.

Optimists deny that things may go wrong. Pessimists deny they may succeed.

Denial can be described as a way in which the mind refuses to accept a problem. It is a safety valve for handling stress. One way to handle an overwhelming problem that causes a great deal of fear is to deny that it exists. Denial is an unconscious defense mechanism that is necessary for survival. None of us can survive our lives without a certain amount of denial to keep us in balance. One of the toughest defenses to dismantle is denial, because it’s so hard to catch.

A little denial can be a good thing. Being in denial for a short period can be a healthy coping mechanism because it provides time to adjust to a painful or stressful issue. Denial is an unconscious defense mechanism that is necessary for survival. None of us can survive our lives without a certain amount of denial to keep us in balance.

On the other hand, denial does have its dark side. It can prevent someone from effectively dealing with issues that require action and change. When you accuse someone of being in denial, you generally mean it in a negative way. You think that someone isn’t being realistic about something that needs to be addressed directly — something that’s very obvious to you. Indeed, when someone’s in denial, he or she appears to be pretending that something isn’t happening or isn’t true.

But it’s when denial is taken to an extreme and becomes unhealthy it becomes an obstacle to successfully dealing with the problem. Denial is a brutal enemy, because it doesn’t allow us to confront the problem, find a solution, or give us any hope of moving forward.

Denial robs us of opportunity. By not admitting that the problem is there, that your control is slipping, that the potential for disaster is looming around the corner, there is not way you’re going to address the issue and find a strategy to deal with it. Denial is also arrogant. I don’t see it, so you’re wrong. You can’t possibly be right, because that would mean that I’m wrong and we all know that’s not possible.

Denial stunts personal growth. There is no room for reason, for stretching one’s understanding or reaching out to others. There is no room for development. Denial keeps us trapped in one place, feeding the problem and limits our potential.

Denial often allows justifying. Justifying is when someone takes a choice and attempts to make that choice look okay due to their perception of what is “right” in a situation. Someone using denial to avoid responsibility is usually attempting to avoid potential harm or pain by shifting attention away from themselves.

Why do people deny they need help? There are many reasons for denial. One reason is that people generally do not like to feel helpless and out-of-control. The person in denial will blame everything and everyone except themselves for their problems.

No matter what the cause is of the denial, the important part is that the person confronts the defense mechanism head on. This may be what some people describe as “hitting bottom” or can come from confrontation with family, friends or through the court systems. Many times an person will lose a job, friends or family relationships because of the problem and start to face the denial because their lives truly have become unmanageable.

Denial is not a linear course, either. The person may be in denial at some times, and facing reality at others. The person in denial must acknowledge that a habit is indeed a personal issue for which one needs to take responsibility in order to break free.

No amount of evidence makes any difference. If my life is out of control, my relationships are broken or damaged, my job is gone and I am having health problems as a result of my habits or circumstances, and if I am the only person that doesn’t see it, that’s denial. Denial isn’t subjective, it’s objective. It serves a purpose, to stop us from dealing with the issues.

Unfortunately, it usually takes an up close and personal crisis to tip the scales toward recognition of reality

The first step to changing is getting beyond denial — recognizing that there is a problem. It is not possible to overcome a problem unless one first acknowledges there is a problem! Overcoming denial leads to restoration. It is the beginning of the process, and the beginning of a new and exciting period of self-discovery and self-examination and allows the process of identifying the changes that need to occur.

When you deny you made a mistake, you fail to accept responsibility for it. Denial of responsibility for a mistake is understandable, but it opens up the possibility of making the same mistake again and promotes justification.

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