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. 

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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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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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Ouch! There is a Pebble in my Shoe!

We are still doing our promotions. The next winner will be the person who is our 95,000th subscriber. As you found out here, it goes very fast. We average over 30 new subscribers a day. We will get there pretty fast. We just passed 92,825 If you haven’t already subscribed please do by clicking on the icon right after the title of this post.

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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 ever 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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Lynn Mosher, one of our regular guest bloggers has written a post that fits our world today. Especially because of the recent elections in the United states. This is a must read for all of us.

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There’s a Rock in My Sock!

 

Ever get a pebble in your shoe or your sock and think, Now, where did that come from?

 

I’m a sock person. I wear socks a lot and, every once in a while, I find the tiniest bit of something irritating my foot. I turn my sock inside out, only to find a barely visible piece of grit. I shake out my sock and get rid of it.

 

Irritations, like pebbles, come in all sizes. We all have them at one time or another. Whether in our socks or in our spirits.

 

Usually, we struggle not with the big boulders in our life’s path but with the puny pebbles. The boulders we can generally manage. But the pebbles? They end up causing us to stumble, fall, or just be irritated.

 

They are like little stumbling blocks, little annoyances that get under our skin and in our spirit. They elicit ungracious thoughts that pop out of our heart and mouth that shouldn’t. Or to just stay hidden in our thoughts.

 

Guess who just loves to initiate those pebble attacks? The enemy. His vexations can come out of nowhere, like…

 

*someone has an opposing opinion of your beliefs and unloads a barrage of venomous words about it

*someone pulls out in front of you while driving and lets you know it’s your fault

*your kids aren’t playing nicely together

*you drop half your lunch on the floor

*the water company overcharges you

*odd habits of your spouse

 

Or maybe it’s one of these…

 

*fear of failure

*fear of not being good enough

*fear of rejection

*doubt or worry

 

Even the smallest grit can get in our spirit and irritate us.

 

Irritations will boot joy and praise right out the front door. And the enemy’s laughter will be almost audible. He hates our joy and praise. He gets a kick out of upsetting us, tripping us over little things. He relishes knocking “us down with a straw…Most of us manage better in our great struggles than we do in our minor ones.” (A.B. Simpson)

 

We have a choice. If we harbor those pebbles of irritation, we do not have a clear conscience before God. Paul said, “I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.” (Acts 24:16 NKJV) By definition, an offense is a stumbling block.

 

However, to counteract those stumbling blocks, we can choose joy and praise, which will ring the enemy’s death-knell.

 

What do we do with those irritants? We can turn them into pearls! Yes, pearls of praise.

 

A natural pearl forms when a foreign substance slips in between the oyster’s mantle and the shell. It begins to irritate the mantle. The oyster’s natural reaction is to protect itself from a foreign substance. The man­tle covers the irritant with layers of the same substance used to create the shell. And eventually, it forms a pearl.

 

So, next time your socks get full of irritating grit and you wonder, where did that come from, turn those irritations inside out and get rid of them. Protect yourself from the enemy’s irritants by using praise. Oysterize that grit into pearls of praise!

 

The worst sound in the ears of the enemy is praise from the lips of one of God’s children. The enemy hates it. Praise gets the attention of both God and the enemy!

 

May you protect yourself from the enemy’s gritty irritants by transforming them into pearls of praise!

 

From His feet, Lynn

lynnmosher.com

 

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Searching for Your True Identity?

We are still doing our promotions I next winner will be the person who is our 95,000th subscriber. As you found out here, it goes very fast. We average over 30 new subscribers a day. We will get there pretty fast. We just passed 92,550 If you haven’t already subscribed please do by clicking on the icon right after the title of this post.

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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 ever 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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So Proud to share with you a  guest blog by Taylor Wilkens. He is a new writer here at Signs of Hope. He is an excellent writer as you will see.

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My True Identity  

Growing up, athletics came really easily for me. I felt like a fish in water whenever I was doing anything athletic. Whether it was football, basketball, swimming, tennis, track or underwater basket weaving it didn’t matter to me, I was going to be the best at it. Because of my athletic ability people began to give me nicknames according to my lifestyle such as, the jock, Taylorade, and the chosen one. One nickname that sticks out to me the most is one I received in college and that was T-Flex.

In my opinion it is the ultimate meat head nickname and it probably paints a picture about my life at the time! I believe nicknames can symbolized what things appear to be superficially, but they hardly ever speak to the heart of a person. It’s unfortunate because often times we tend to believe we are what people see on the outside.

For me, I believed my value as a person came from my athletic ability. The value of my life was completely dependent on how well I could compete in athletics. If I did well, I had great value, but if I did poorly I had little to no value.

It was a roller coaster of ups and downs emotionally. I was either king of the world or a complete failure. This continued for many years until finally a new light was shed on my life. For me, that light didn’t come until after I hit rock bottom. It was at my lowest point that I decided, I’m tired of living for myself and I gave my life to Jesus  and began to seek him in a secret place.

After that, everything started to change because it was a new voice speaking over my identity. My value shifted from being an athlete trying to perform for people, to being a son standing approved before my father in heaven.

God took me on a journey to show me that my value has nothing to do with what I do, but who I am in him. One verse that encourages me and I hope you is found in Psalm 139:17-19 “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand when I awake, I am still with you.”

God’s thoughts toward you out number the grains of sand on the earth, and all his thoughts for you are about the love and good will to you. You are precious to God, and the value of your life doesn’t depend on what you do. The value of your life only comes from who God says you are.

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.”

Taylor Wilkins
FCA Salem Area Director
twilkins@fca.org
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he  do…” John 14:12
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The Enemy of Our Souls is Trying to Conquer Us

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 38,200 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.

We have been on the first page of the Google Search Rankings for over three 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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The book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” is out in eBook form at all of the eBook outlets. Just recently we lowered the price from $4.99 to $2.99.

The hard back is on sale for $15.99 compared to the retail price of $19.99. There is an excellent book trailer on the right under the Amazon icon that gives you more insight to the book. Just click on it and a video will start.

This book has words of hope, not only from this site, but personal thoughts from Doug Bolton the author. You can order a hard book or eBook by clicking on the Amazon icon on the right. You can also have a personal autographed copy by clicking on “Bookstore,” and ordering directly from the author.

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* 07-7-13Update on our new book, “Your Signs of Hope: For the Weak Days.” We have sent many devotions to the editor. Thirty devotions are at the editor. We will have 100 when we are finished. We have a long way to go. (Keep  Looking here for more updates. We will eventually have your input as to what cover we should use, and share ideas with us as to what you want in the book, etc.)

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We are pleased to have Jeannie Pallett back as our guest blogger. I know many of you have been blessed by her posts. Thank you Jeannie, for inspiring us all.

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For those of us who are have wearied, its time to take a stand and speak out truth.
An exerpt from Beckoned by the King
 
We have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus.
We are fully paid for and everything we are and have belongs
to the one who paid the highest price. We no longer belong
to ourselves; therefore all of our self nature must be handed
over. The divine exchange benefits us, for we have had the
righteousness of Jesus credited to our account.
 
Inasmuch as the enemy of our souls is shrewd and cunning
in his attempts to poison us, we are called to be wiser
still.
 
We are to learn how to perceive, sensing in our spirits
those things that have vitality, excellence and real value. It is
vital to our spiritual health that we learn quickly and well the
traps of the enemy, how and where he sets them and how to
be diligent in stepping around them or, better still, casting
them down in the Name of Jesus so they are brought to
naught and do not come to fruition in our lives.
 
The enemy’s greatest desire is to trick us into thinking we are still bound in
the strongholds and snares he set. The truth is we have been
set free by the power of the mighty Name of Jesus, and
appropriating that truth in our everyday lives means we do
not allow ourselves to stay in sloughs of despondency.
 
When we feel woebegone, our born again nature must
rise up and declare, “Woe! Be gone in the Name of Jesus; let
joy arise in Jesus’ Name.” Walking in the authority and confidence
of Jesus in greater measure comes with the fuller realization
that Jesus reconciled us to God by his death and resurrection
in order to present us as holy, faultless and
irreproachable gifts to the Father.
 
Let us no longer walk in areas of darkness, compromise
and confusion, but rather, press in toward the Light, being
grounded, settled and steady in our faith walk. We have been
taken from the kingdom of darkness, set free from the controls
of the dominion of darkness and planted in the ground
of the Kingdom of Love.
 
The precious love of God has borne the pain of all our
sin. Because of love’s bleeding heart, our sin is covered so
that the Father’s eyes see only the highest and best and most
noble in us.
 
Will we cling to love as he teaches our hearts
good judgment, the wisdom of discernment and the patience
to acquire knowledge?
 
Will we cling to Love in our times of
affliction? Our precious Jesus will be faithful to show his
goodness and kindness towards us, enabling us to walk in
those same qualities as we allow him to teach us through
those affliction experiences.
 
Can you see the truth dawning in your heart? Can you see
the light of his Word becoming brighter and brighter so it
alone shines as a beacon in your heart? Is understanding now
brightening your mind?
 
Come—come to a place in your walk where you are able
to continually give thanks in times of affliction because you
know that God is at work in you to purpose and do his will,
his good pleasure.
From the open hand of God will come to us his correction and discipline,
and we must not shrink back from him.
He will stir up issues in our lives simply to get our
attention and help us recognize our greater need of him.
 
We will see beyond ourselves to the greater purposes of God,
knowing that he paid the penalty, the full redemption price
for all our sin.
 
May God help us to persevere in our “pressure
cooker” situations. They are there not to drag us down, but to
draw us ever closer. Don’t respond or react to the taunts of
the enemy, but listen for that still, small voice that is ever
speaking to us, ever longing to be heard.
Where would you say is the hardest area for you to maintain the joy of the Lord?  What will you do to see change come about in that area?
With you in His palm,
Jeannie Pallett
 
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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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