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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Trouble Can Lead to Hope

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 92,350 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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The value of trouble is that it can lead to hope.

You are probably saying, “What??? I try to stay away from trouble and you are telling me it can be a good thing?”

Yes I am.

There are many forms of trouble. It might be a car that isn’t working and you need to get to work. It could be that doctor’s appointment you don’t want to go to. You may have a broken relationship. It might even mean a lost love one.

All of these sound like big trouble, right?

I have faced all of the troubles mentioned.

When I was a young dad we had a very old car, because we couldn’t afford anything else. (It is called early marriage folks.) One day I went to the car and turned the key. Nothing. Not even a clicking noise. The battery was dead. I had to call work and tell them I would be late. That didn’t go over well, since I was taking the place of someone who wanted to go at Safeway, where I worked.

I have had many doctor’s appointments that I dreaded. Since 2004, I have had six major surgeries. One of them, I was seeing my primary doctor and he had me doing a stress test. I was about half way through and he asked me if I could do another minute, I said sure, even though I was panting. One second later he yelled to the nurse, “Help me get him to that gurney, and give him some nitroglycerin fast.” I was close to having a heart attack. The next day in the hospital more bad news. A heart surgeon came in and said I had four blocked arteries in my heart, and he had to do surgery that day, because my heart is getting weaker. The surgery went well, and I am still here doing posts.

I an saddened to say that I have been divorced. I look back to that time, and I wish that I would have done a different path, but I didn’t. My previous wife and I are now very good friends, but that doesn’t clear up my guilt. I should have tried harder to save the marriage.

Four years ago my mother passed away. My dad died in 2001. Parents passing seems to be a natural process that we all have to face, but losing my mother was extremely hard. She lived to 95 years old, and she was so much a part of our family that even though we knew she was slipping, I was devastated when she passed.

That is a lot of trouble to face, but I look back at each one of those times, and I remember I grew a lot from each situation. I made sure my car was in good working order at all times, to avoid problems there again.

I live with each passing new ailment with a positive attitude. People marvel on how I am so up beat while is am down physically.

The divorce was very hard, and it taught me so much. I was very careful about rushing in to  another relationship. The wait was worth it. I have been married 28 years to the most perfect person on the planet for  me.

I grew a lot from facing my mother’s death. I now put life in a new perspective. We need to be thankful for each and everyday we have and enjoy them.

If you are facing trouble, my strong advice is to turn your troubles over to God. I can’t imagine facing this world without God at my side, helping me through the storms and trials. He is my fortress.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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Why do we Waste so Much of Our Lives Being negative?

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 26,000 subscribers. We averaged over 90 new subscribers a day for March. 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 have passed the 1.3 million mark in total hits for our site. 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 three years.  As a matter of fact we are # 2 this week. 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. Just recently we lowered the price from $4.99 to $2.99. That is a big savings. Don’t miss out on this great sale. It may not last all that long.

The hard back is on sale for $15.99 compared to the retail price of $19.99.

This book has words of hope, not only from this site, but personal thoughts from Doug Bolton the author, and an administrator of this site. You can order a hard book or eBook by clicking on the Amazon Icon on the right.

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Why do we waste so much of our lives being negative? We complain about not making enough money. We wish we could be in a better home. We don’t want to look like we need help. We think life owes us much more.

The truth is that life is tough and then we die. I know that sounds very harsh. I heard that phrase for the first time way back in the day when I was a teacher. Another fellow teacher made the remark, and it knocked me for a loop. I challenged him for saying that, and he just laughed, and said, “You need to face reality.”

As the years went by I saw what he meant. I lost several friends to cancer or heart attacks. I saw people I loved in pain. I was in pain myself with six major surgeries.

So, you probably think I have reason to be negative.

The answer to that is I don’t have a reason to be negative.

God didn’t promise us a rose garden, or rose colored glasses. He even warned us about the thorns of life. God allows us to face adversity to give us more strength in life.

Does that sound like it is unfair of Him to do that? It may if you are a non-believer. You would probably curse God for all of your calamity. You would wonder why this God would allow such pain.

I learned why in 2001. I was at the end of my rope, and was considering checking out of this hotel called earth. I was bitter. I was thinking that no one cared. So, on March 31st 2001, I was sitting in my Ford explorer crying out to God. “I can’t take this anymore!” There was a sudden calmness in the air, and I felt comfort coming to me. It was as if God was saying, “It’s about time you came back to me. Now let me carry you the rest of the way.”

I thought God was far away. I didn’t call to Him. So, I decided that if I felt that way it was I that moved away.

That day I was at the end of my rope, but I didn’t realize that the rope I was holding on to was really the hem of God’s robe.  He was there all the time waiting for me to get to the point where I had to rely on Him for help.

God cares!

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

 

 

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I Was Lucky to be Alive

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 22,300 subscribers. We averaged over 60 new subscribers a day for January. 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 have passed the 1.25 million mark in total hits for our site. 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.  As a matter of fact we are # 2 this week. 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. You can order a book by click on “bookstore,” above.

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Does prayer rally work? Have you had a time when you prayed and it was answered in a way that you were blessed? I know I have. I have been through several storms in my life.

I will share a couple:

  • In 2001 I was ready to check out of this hotel called earth. I was sitting in my Ford Explorer, and sobbing out of control. I finally cried out to God, ” I can’t take this anymore!” Instantly there was a calmness in my rig, and the air seemed fresher. It was as if God was saying, “It’s about time you came back to Me, now let Me carry you the rest of the way. I changed that day, and have relied on God since then.
  • In 2004 I was feeling kind of puny, and my doctor ordered a stress test. I got on the treadmill, and it started slowly. Then they pushed the speed up a little. My doctor asked me if I could go another minute. I said yes, but my doctor screamed at the nurse to get me on the gurney quick and give me two nitroglycerin pills immediately. I was about to have a heart attack. I was rushed to the hospital, and they had a heart surgeon come in to talk to me. He said the test they did on me while earlier in the day showed four arteries blocked completely. He thought I was very “luckyto be alive. I prayed right then to thank God for the timing of the stress test, and that I was still breathing. They did a quadruple by-pass surgery later that day. It took almost eight hours, but I was going to be OK. My family all prayed together for me out in the waiting room. God was there watching over me again.

Max Lucado talks to us about believing in the power of God:

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Jesus declared:  “I am in the father and the Father is in me.”  (John 14:10).  It was as if he heard a voice others were missing.

I witnessed something similar on an airplane.  I kept hearing outbursts of laughter.  The flight was turbulent, hardly a reason for humor.  But some fellow behind me was cracking up.  I turned to see what was so funny.  He was wearing headphones. Because he could hear what I could not, he acted differently than I did.

The same was true with Jesus.  Remember when everyone was distraught about Lazarus’s illness?  Jesus wasn’t.  Rather than hurry to his friends’ bedside, he said,  “This sickness will not end in death. It is for the glory of God.” (John 11:4).

Jesus knew something no one else did.  He had unbroken communion with his Father.  Do you suppose the Father desires the same for us?  God desires the same abiding intimacy with you that he has with his Son.

Mac Lucado

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Don’t think that God isn’t listening. Jesus brought Lazarus back to life, to glorify His heavenly Father. Pray to Him in earnest and He will listen. It may not be answered right away, or it may not be answered the way you wanted, but God knows our future, and he is in control. Let Him guide your ship.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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