Hope’s Battleground is Upon Us

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 105,100 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. 

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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.

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I am excited to say Linda Clare is back with her monthly guest blog. This one is her best in my opinion. As always she speaks directly from the heart and doesn’t pull any punches. 

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Hope’s Battleground

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I Timothy 1:7 KJV

The day the doctor pronounced my mother legally blind in one eye, we both cried. That same day, a close friend, also in her mid-eighties called me, worried her only son’s fourth heart attack meant he might die before she does. I was still reeling over my own son’s recent psychotic episode—a meth-fueled outburst I’d never witnessed from him before. All the while, more mass shootings rocked the nation as gunmen took aim at innocents.

A man had shot and wounded US Congressmen during baseball practice. Whether from personal loss or mass shooting, that day we stood with our arms wrapped around one another, grieving in unison. Each fresh sorrow strained our shoulders. Spring would never come and our hearts would always be frozen, stuck in the numbness that presides over tragedy.

That day, hope got whupped by fear.

Fear like we’d never known—until. Until the Twin Towers fell. Until Dad got cancer, until the long-awaited baby died in his crib. Until. Now fear stormed our psyches, bullied optimism into the corner.

In airports, we’ve learned to be afraid of bombs in shoes—from now on we’ll glance about nervously at the stadium too. Fear will follow our days and lie down with us at night. We’ll worry our sons and daughters will die before we do and terror will stalk us if we go blind in one eye.

Life is so much scarier than in the good old days, some say. Now just going to the mailbox or heading out to ball practice might end it all.  But as the world grows more and more dangerous, we must not lose sight of life’s most dangerous thing.

Love.

Love is the most dangerous way to live. It runs into burning buildings. Real love swoops you up the day you come home and find your suicidal spouse sitting with a loaded gun. Love risks getting hurt, and doesn’t make blanket assumptions. Love hopes all things.

Love knows that if we cannot resurrect hope, our fears will surely come true.

I saw this up close and personal the night my son went berserk on a meth high—screaming obscenities, he threatened to shove a pot of boiling water off the stove and onto me. After the cops left, I went for a walk. I needed to pray.  I walked and sobbed.

I cried for my lost son, whose meth addiction has gone on so long that it seems intractable. I wept tears of rage for my failure to do as the cop admonished: kick out my two grown sons. Most of all, I cried because I was afraid. Afraid I couldn’t trust God anymore. Afraid God wasn’t there.

Over and over in scripture, my faith tells me not to be afraid. Christians are supposed to trust God, even when it makes no sense.  That day, I was terrified, not of the prospect of my son living his entire adult life as an active addict, but of something deeper. Love was excruciating. Hope had left the building.

I stumbled along, raking in gulps of air as my nose ran and my throat ached. I kept my head down in case neighbors saw me mumbling like a crazy woman.

At that moment, I feared God didn’t exist.

Living in fear instead of hope has chilling consequences. When bad stuff happens—like blindness or heart trouble or when a nut job with an automatic rifle shoots up a ball field—fear orders us to assume the future, too, is loaded with horrible events.

Fear said to me, “Don’t trust anybody. Keep your fists clenched, ready to fight. Lock the doors and sit in the dark. Don’t make eye contact with strangers, in case they’re ready to blow themselves up and take you with them. And by the way, your addicted sons are hopeless.”

Fear laughed. “There is no hope.”

My heart turned leaden. The beautiful mystery of an aspen tree’s leaves left me. Every prayer I’d ever aimed at heaven seemed stuck to one side of the sky—the way the wind pins trash against a chain link fence. What if the whole story—heaven, the God of Love, Jesus—is just a myth?

“God. You have to be there,” I said, “You have to be real. If you’re not, nothing matters.” My tears grew hot as I thought of my poor feeble-sighted mom, my worried friend, my struggling, addicted sons. How could a loving God allow so much heartache?

Fear gloated, but something else said, “Dare to love anyway.”

I sank down on the street curb; gazed up at the aspen’s shimmering leaves. I had no answers. Still, a strange sense of peace came over me as I thought about those I care for. “God, be there for them,” I finally said. “Be real to those who need love.”

Somehow I saw that hope takes its marching orders from the One who is Love. Hope says, go ahead, love your neighbor. Open your fist. Look people in the eye. Forgive them when they screw up. Be generous and compassionate and stop letting your judgments about other people splatter all over everybody. And even if you can’t quite do all of this, Hope says don’t stop trying. Keep right on loving, right on hoping.

It isn’t easy. If I could work miracles, I’d spit on the dirt like Jesus did, rub mud on Mom’s bad eye and she’d see again. I’d give my friend’s son a decent heart and I’d cure my son in his fight against meth. But even if I can’t work miracles, I won’t stop loving. Or hoping for a better tomorrow.

For a while, I let fear take over my life. I questioned the faith I live by. And Fear delighted in my weakness.

But Love answered, bringing with it hope I sorely needed. All sorts of disasters happen in life, but Love says don’t live in fear. Don’t assume the worst. With Love, we can hope for the best, trusting that we are all valued, watched over, loved.

I stood up and drew my sleeve across my wet cheeks. My tears were spent but I walked home surrounded by renewed hope in the Lover of souls.

If you get a horrid disease or you go blind or your child becomes addicted, that’s awful. I’m sorry. But as we grieve, look to love, not fear. And then we can get up and shine our love on somebody else’s hurt, another person’s tragedy. Tell them we love them and hand over a piece of our hope. Some may push us away, but we can’t stop loving, we won’t stop hoping. We’ll march out to the sandlot to play ball, even though there’s a chance people might die. Love smiles when hope beats the tar out of fear.

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No Pain; No Gain

Thank all of you who have been subscribing to our site. It has been overwhelming the last two years. We have averaged over 100 new subscribers a day at times. We just past 63,825.

Why is this happening? We provide daily quality words of encouragement and hope to those suffering with anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, hopelessness, self-doubt, and the many other usual suspects.

We are on the first page of the first page of the Google Search Rankings. Help us stay there by subscribing if you haven’t already. Just click on the icon right after the title to this post to do that.

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No Pain; No Gain

You probably have been there. You decide you want to get in shape and lose a few pounds. You go down to your local athletic club, and step onto the treadmill. You begin your “walk,” and it seems fine for about five minutes. Then you begin to feel weakness in your legs. You keep going, and then you are out of breath. You wanted to go 30 minutes, but you can only go 20.

You go home and feel the pain of your first day. You think you may not want to go back, but you do anyway the next day. It goes a little easier. You are able to go 25 minutes, and you aren’t feeling out of breath as fast.

No Pain; No Gain.

We work-out knowing that it will be hard at first, but with time it gets easier. Why am I telling you all of this. I started working out the first of September. Yes, it was very hard at first. I wanted to give up. But I kept going. I now work-out four days a week, and I am doing 40 minutes. I hardly work up a sweat.

No Pain; No Gain

Jesus went through lots of pain during His time on earth. He probably had days when He would rather not be doing what He was doing. As a matter of fact he asked God to take His cup away and spare Him the pain. God disagreed, and Jesus kept going. He got stronger as the months went by. He kept preaching and performing miracles even though people hated Him, and wanted Him dead.

He went through lots of pain for us, but we gained eternal life through His persistence. Through His death, we have hope.

No Pain; No Gain

Are you going through a lot of pain right now. Did you lose a loved one, or are you battling a life threatening disease? Does the pain seem hard to accept?

Know that Jesus knows your pain. Know that He is there with you. Know that through pain we grow stronger when we over come it.

No Pain; No Gain

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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Support one of our writers, Taylor Wilkins, who is now a minister through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. (FCA) His dedication to young people is being a true servant of God.

You can help him reach out to others by going to the below link and donating to his mission:

 

http://willvallfca.org/taylor-wilkins

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Many Face Disease, Calamity and Trouble This Time of Year

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 18,200 subscribers. We have been averaging over 50 new subscribers a day for the month of December. Why is this happening? Because we offer quality posts of encouragement daily. Many people who come here are searching for hope. We provide this.

The latest exciting news is that we passed the one million mark in total hits for our site since it started. That is impressive, and you are the ones that did it.

We have been on the first page of the Google Search Rankings for over two years. Help us stay on that page by subscribing today if you haven’t already. Just click on the icon right after the title to do that.

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We would like to let you know that the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” is now out in eBook form at all of the eBook outlets. Be sure to check it out. You can actually order it right off of this site by clicking on the Amazon icon on the right. It is only $4.99 compared to $19.99 for the hard copy in the bookstores.

This book has words of hope, not only from this site, but personal thoughts from Doug Bolton the author, and administrator of this site.

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If you want an autographed hard copy of “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” you just need to click on the “bookstore,” tab here, and order one. The author will send you a personal note, and sign the book with an autograph.

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There are only 13 more days until Christmas. This time of year is when we should be full of cheer, and gladness.

But, you know that it may not be possible if you have faced disease, calamity, and trouble in your life.

Most of us have had trials and storms cross our paths. The loss of a job just before Christmas; the bad news from the doctor, or that broken relationship.

These storms do come into our lives, but they don’t need to control us.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, ” My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me.”

Did you catch that?? Your power is made perfect in your weaknesses?

I have found that when I am at my lowest point, drowning in the muck and mire, is when God seems the closest. God is always there to take my hands and carry me through the storm.

Never feel God doesn’t care. His grace is always there, and will see you through even the darkest days.

I have found that I can even use my stormy days to help others who may be going through a similar situation. I have literally been there and done that. They find peace in the sharing, and they too can receive grace from 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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Don’t Take These For Granted

One of the reasons this blog is so well received and subscribed to is because it speaks to where people are at. But instead of turning a deaf ear, or turning away to the problems people face, we are here to help and to hopefully show or provide or both a way to see the sun shine again.  We who write for this blog are not immune to the ills of this world so we can speak from experience.

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People throughout the world live often for hope because they only see a storm or storms ahead. Daily Signs of Hope is what we are about here and if you have been helped by what you have read please tell others. We want this world to be a better place and we value the fact that you took the time to read this. Just click on the icon right after the title to sign-up for the RSS feed, and help us grow, to reach many more people.

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The things we take for granted…and shouldn’t!

  • Our health. If we are walking and talking we think eating the wrong foods and by that those which we know are not healthy, we think we will be okay. Time has a habit of catching up with us as do some bad habits.
  • Our wealth. Some may say they have no wealth but if don’t do anything with what we have and do it wisely then it may well be taken from us. Depressions, recessions, stock market crashes all have a way of knocking reserves on the head. It doesn’t mean going out and spending up big but it does mean spending on things that will always have value.
  • Our friends. Too often we take them for granted and forget to let them know how much they mean to us. Good and close friends don’t want bunch of roses or gratuitous gifts, they just want you to perhaps ring them and just say “Hi…how are things going.”
  • Our pets. Funny subject you might think but many of them age with us. We see them from the time they are so young and then we are with them until in most cases hopefully it is time for them to go to sleep and you know what I mean by that. Mis-treat a pet and he/she will never forget. Treat them well and you will have the unconditional love that only they can give.
  • Our homes. Some of us wish we were in mansions instead of what we have. Others wish there was more in the homes to make them more palatial. Others wish there were services that were more reliable to make the house/home a better place to live. Go to the Internet at times and look how the impoverished live in third world countries and how sadly they die younger than we do because of it.
  • Our children. These are our birthright. Children have (in my opinion), memories has big as an elephant and any hurt incurred when young is not forgotten be it from bullies or particularly from parents. What you say to your children, how you discourage or encourage them will have an effect on the rest of their lives. I know…I speak from experience.
  • Our country. I would love to parade my parochial pride because in a sense Australia is a lucky country but there are a lot of things we do wrong as do a lot of Western nations. So too do other countries not as well off. We all come from different cultures with sometimes a sense of a different way of seeing our values.
  • Our birthright. Again this may seem odd but whilst I am proudly Australian, I am second generation Irish. I know I have that blood in me because there are elements of the Irish character that I have. If you were born in another country or you have close ties to another country then be joyous that you have.
  • Our improved way of life. You know the advancements made in medicine alone have given people the chance to live longer, to live through disease with a chance of living where once that was not possible…and the simple things like having such a cosmopolitan mix in our communities has given us foods we love now and never had before.
  • Our freedom to worship. In many countries only one religion is tolerated that which is the longstanding one of that country. To worship in another form of religion can mean persecution of the worst kind and even death.

 

  • YOU ARE UNIQUE. GOD MADE YOU THAT WAY AND HE LOVES YOU.
  •        ALWAYS REMEMBER…STORMS COME BUT STORMS END.
  •       YOU CAN’T BRING BACK YESTERDAY, FOCUS ON TODAY.
  •       AND REMEMBER THE SAYING…DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW…GOD IS ALREADY THERE.

 

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