What Image do You Feel You have?

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 104,985 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

I have a new promotion. The person who is the 105,000 will win some nice prizes. We are only 15 away from the next goal . Some one, this week will be the winner. It goes very fast so 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 mentioned in my last post that I would be sharing some endorsements for my new book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life. I am not doing this to flaunt my own self image. I am doing it to show you what might be in the book.

I am so honored to have these following endorsement for a book that will be reaching out to our veterans who may be suffering from PTSD, TBI, depression, being homeless, wounded, etc. I hope it gives them a better self image.

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Many of my fellow veterans are suffering from wounds, mental anguish, and loneliness. This book is an ideal book to reach out and help veterans. It shares thoughts and ideas on how to cope in this not so friendly world. I personally know Doug Bolton the author, and I highly recommend this book.

George Woodruff
WWII and Korea veteran

Carollton, Georgia


Although ‘Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life’ wasn’t written for men only, it brings honesty and openness to veterans, and military personnel about feeling ok to express fears and emotional challenges in a difficult world.  US Army Retired Veteran, Mr. Douglas Bolton brings his personal stories to life in a way we all can relate to and gives a big “you’re ok” for revealing our shortcomings and encourages us to open up and talk.  A must read for those seeking healing and forgiveness from ourselves and those wanting a fresh look on life.

Steve Durgin, Founder & CEO with Victory For Veterans Foundation.

Huntington, Beach California

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In the current conditions of our military, there is a need to find realistic affordable sources to reach out and help our veterans and current military. Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of life, is that source. Doug Bolton spends many chapters on showing the veterans and military ways to cope in this not so friendly world.  Sadly, he feels and knows of the pain from his volunteer service and sacrifices for our great country first hand. Being a seasoned registered nurse and a battlefield Air Force flight nurse, I have seen many young men and women coming home sick, injured wounded and highly depressed. This book is a must for many. I highly recommend this book without hesitation to all those who have served and currently serving.  I am also advocating for the loved ones and families to read this read, as well.

Colonel Dona Iversen

NYC, New York

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Learn from the best, Douglas Bolton, U.S. Army Veteran who has written a great book for all veterans, active duty service members of all branches, military families, friends and non-veterans. It provides a thorough understanding, knowledge, and the real stories among those who have served and their families that complement today’s American Veterans.  Signs of Hope for the Military: In an Out of the Trenches of Life can make a big difference in today’s understanding of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and its effects.  As the daughter of Vietnam Marine Veteran that suffered all of his life with PTSD and then finally ended his own life, it will make a big difference in your life as you read the personal stories.  This author does a great job of creating a sense of urgency by calling it a “must-read,” and ends with a powerful “call to action” for the reader.

Bella L. Burroughs

Daughter of WWII Veteran

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There are several more, which I will share in further posts. Again, I am so honored to have all these incredible people take time to say something about the book. It gives out a good image of what the reader might see.

If you are floundering and seeking hope. If you don’t feel your self worth is enough. If you feel you would rather stay in bed than face life. Has your image as you see it not been good? Know that God is with you. Know that He loves you. Know that He will hold your hand and see you through the day.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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Audience with the King

The Last American Combat Troups pulled out of Iraq this week, which made me stop and think.

In March 2003, a coalition of forces from the US and Britain took possession of Baghdad and put Saddam Hussein out of business. Granted, Iraq is still in hard shape, but that doesn’t minimize what Saddam Hussein was: an absolute ruler, a tyrant, a despot. Actually, the word “despot” is Greek, meaning “sovereign” or “in control”. Today this word has negative connotations, but originally it did not. Because we enjoy a great deal of freedom in North America, we dislike the idea of anyone trying to exercise absolute authority over another. 

Maybe that’s why it’s hard for people to accept the sovereignty of God. In Jude 4, there is a reference to people who “deny Jesus Christ, our only Sovereign and Lord.” That is, people do not want to accept the fact that Christ is King.

A story has been told of a lion who was very proud and decided to take a walk one day to demonstrate his mastery over all the other creatures. He strutted his way through the forest until he came across a bear, “Who is the king of the jungle, bear?” “Why, of course, you are, mighty lion.”

He went on until he found the tiger, “Who is the king of the jungle, tiger?” “Why, you are great lion.”

Next the lion found the elephant, “Who is the king of the jungle, fat elephant?” The elephant immediately grabbed the lion with his trunk and spun him around a few times and slammed him to the ground. 

He then stepped on him a few times and picked him up and dunked him in the water and then threw him up against a tree.

The lion staggered to his feet and said, “Look, just because you don’t know the answer is no reason to get so upset!” The lion couldn’t handle the jungle truth of who was the real king. The truth, not just according to how I see it, but the actual truth, is: Christ is King.

From the start of His life to the finish, some people sought Him as King, and some wanted Him dead because of it. At His birth, wise men came looking for the King of the Jews. But out of jealousy, King Herod wanted Him dead. And then, 33 years later, some were looking for Jesus to be King, but some wanted Him dead because of His having more followers than they. Jesus being the King marked the start of His life and the end of it. Each time innocent people were slaughtered without mercy. It was a notable aspect of His whole life.

Today I want to look at just 2 simple instances in Jesus’ adult life, both from the book of John, when His being king was significant. The first is in John 6. 

Jesus had been teaching a crowd of 5000 men, perhaps 12000, including women and children. They became hungry, and the only food to be found was one boy’s small lunch: 5 small barley loaves, and 2 small fish. Jesus multiplied the food, so that everybody had enough to eat, and there were 12 baskets of leftovers. People obviously regarded this as what it was: a miracle. We pick up the story in John 6:14-15. 

Now, the problem was not that He was king. The problem was that He was not yet ready to cause a big stink over it. He did not want everybody to know it yet. That sort of information would take time to process, and the time was not yet ready to begin. He was not ready to face the imminent conflict with the Pharisees, nor give up His life because He was a so-called political subversive. He would eventually be crowned King, but not in someone else’s timing, not on someone else’s terms. It had to be done on God’s terms.

Philip Yancey, in his book The Jesus I Never Knew, comments on this truth, that Christ can only be King on His own terms. He alludes to the 3 temptations Jesus faced before he began His ministry: 1) to turn stones into bread and feed Himself, 2) after taking Him to the temple in Jerusalem, to jump off with the hope that angels would catch Him, and 3) after showing Him the whole world, to worship him, Satan. Now, Philip Yancey suggests that each temptation parallels the expectation of 1st century culture for the coming Messiah: 1) a People’s Messiah could feed the multitudes, 2) a King who is rooted in the Law, would find his home at the place of sacrifice, and 3) a man who would be King not just of Israel but of the whole world. Ironically, Jesus did play each of these roles. Not as a result of temptation, but as a result of being obedient to God. It had to be in His terms, not Satan’s or anyone else’s.

We often want Christ to rule us, but on our own terms. I want to be forgiven. I want such and such. Give me what I want, but I don’t want the hard stuff. Don’t tell me to go to Sunday school. Don’t tell me to pray. Don’t tell me to tithe. Don’t tell me to turn off the TV or computer. Don’t tell me to forgive, love or commit. Don’t tell me to show up or give up something or go out somewhere or anything else. I want you as King, but I want you on my terms.

The nerve to say that is something. Considering all He has done for us, whatever He asks of us is small. That we would not give up a sin or a habit that is unpleasing to Him or a pattern of living, just because it costs us too much, is hardly thinkable for those who have been washed clean and set apart for Him. If that is you, repent now! Turn from your wants and turn to Him. Let Him rule you on His terms.

The second instance of Jesus’ adult life when His being King comes into attention, that I’m looking at today anyway, is in John 12, beginning in v12. It was Palm Sunday, when the crowds in Jerusalem spread out their cloaks and cut down palm branches to stretch across the road, as a symbol of their wanting to make Jesus their King. John 12:12-15.

Now, what’s different about this instance is that the time had at last arrived. The divine plan was ready. The world was to know that Jesus was indeed King. And they called Him King. At least on Sunday. They were ready to have someone deliver them from being oppressed by the Roman authorities and the self-centered Jewish authorities. The people wanted a champion, a deliverer, a hero, a savior, the Messiah. Once again, it was to be on their terms. They didn’t want to be rescued from within, but from without. They wanted their situation to change, but not themselves. They wanted a champion who would give them what they wanted, not necessarily what was best for them. And by Friday, the tide of public opinion turned against the One they hailed as King 5 days earlier.

We look back and blame them, but we do the same. King in part, but not the whole. But Christ can only be King in His totality – if He is to be King, He must have it all. All you have, all you are. No holding back. Not just on Sundays, but on Fridays too. Too many people over the years have given bad witness to this church by being someone on Sunday and someone else the rest of the week.

In the Berlin art gallery there is a painting by the famous artist Mengel that is only partially finished. It is supposed to be a painting of King Frederick of Germany talking to his generals. Mengel painstakingly painted the generals first around the outside of the painting. The King was left until last, leaving a bare patch in the middle of the painting with the background of generals. But Mengel died before he could finish the painting. So there is a painting full of generals but no king. Folks, some Christians spend so much time putting all the generals of personal desires, stuff, and selfishness first, and they leave the King out of the picture until the end. He gets what’s left over, whatever blank spot is left.

Each one of us needs to make a daily commitment to make Him King. “Lord, no matter what I go through today, no matter what happens to me, no matter what temptations I face, I want You to be my King.” That should be the daily prayer for each of us.

I tried to find a way to visualize how Jesus is King. And as always, I thought of the ocean. Picture with me. Because Christ has always existed, and has always been King, I picture His rule, His kingdom, as a wide sand-beach at low tide. The water is deep and flowing, but there is still more left to rule. The tide changed at the coming of John the Baptist, who said, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” That is, a change of rule was coming. And with Jesus, the tide began to rise. Slowly, but noticeably, the tide began to creep up onto the sand, where it had not been since the fall of man. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus began to wash away junk. 

The book of Acts signaled a dramatic increase of the kingdom, begun back at Jesus’ ministry. The tide continued to rise. All through the years, God’s kingdom has been increasing, ever-widening, reaching places that the Gospel has never been preached. So even though not everyone is a believer, not every one will be saved, not everyone will willingly call Christ the King, nonetheless, the reality still exists: Christ is the Lord and ruler of all. And one day, the whole beach will be covered, and every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that He indeed is ruler. Yes, it will be too late for some. But every eye will one day see that Christ is King. The beach will be flooded with Christ’s rule.

But until then, as Christians, you can do one of 2 things. You can amuse yourselves by building sand castles. You can spend your lives, building up kingdoms of your own, places and things that you consider sacred to you, only to have them washed away in the end. Or, you can tie a dory. You can tether a boat to a stake, and wait for the tide to come in, wait for Christ to show up, and just be ready to rise with Him. The choice is yours: get on board now with what He wants for you, or wait until the end when it’s too late. This is not just about heaven and hell. This is about reward, fulfillment, and allegiance to the King who gave His life for you.

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The Famine that leads to Freedom

“Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.” – Genesis 42:2b

F. B. Meyer in his book, The Life of Joseph, describes a time in the life of the 12 sons of Jacob in which they were driven from their lives of self-satisfaction to an unlikely place to save their lives. Many years earlier they had thrown their youngest brother into a pit, then sold him into slavery. Thirteen years later he became the second most powerful person in Egypt. Now the world was experiencing a famine, and Joseph controlled all the stored grain of Egypt.

As long as the hills were green and the pastures clothed with flocks, as long as the valleys were covered over with corn and rang with the songs of reapers, Reuben, Simeon, and the rest of them would have been unconcerned and content. But when the mighty famine came, the hearts of these men were opened to conviction. Their carnal security was shattered. They were being prepared for certain spiritual experiences they would never have dreamed. And they were being prepared for the meeting with Joseph. This is how God deals with us; He breaks up our nest, He loosens our roots, He sends a mighty famine that cuts away the whole staff of bread. Then, at such times, weary, worn, and sad, we are prepared to confess our sins and receive the words of Christ when He says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28).

A missionary once said, “There is a place where we will all be obedient.” Joseph was a type of Christ in the Old Testament. The famine was an event designed to bring the brothers to repentance and a saving knowledge, physically and spiritually. It created the circumstances that led to freedom for these men, for they had been in bondage to a wicked crime against their brother for many years. It was the forgiveness from Joseph that led to that freedom.

Is your life passing through a time of famine? Are your supplies limited? Is God leading you into directions that you would not normally seek? Perhaps this is God’s hand creating circumstances for His purposes. Now is the time to look attentively as He directs you to unlikely sources.

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If Someone Hurts You, Forgive

I am so Excited! I am Going to Have a Colonoscopy!

I have an exciting adventure coming on Wednesday!! It is what everyone looks forward to I am sure. I am having a colonoscopy done! It is so much fun going through the preparation of it. The yummy stuff they give you to drink should be on everyone’s food favorite list.

Yes, I am being sarcastic! I am having my second colonoscopy because of some problems that may be happening. The preparation for the test is one of the hardest and degrading procedures that you have to go through in the medical field. It is one way to lose weigh I certainly could go without!

However, maybe we all need to “flush,” out our systems of the hate and thoughts of revenge we have. The thoughts cause garbage to filter into the hearty, and pollute your whole system.

Is it OK to get revenge? Do you feel better after you do? It is OK to hate someone?

Having hatred and revenge on your mind is like a rocking chair that gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

We are supposed to have a humble and loving heart. I know it is very hard sometimes when others go out of their way to cause you pain. If you can forgive and forget, it will not only help you in your own life, but the bitterness that someone else has may go away because of the example you have given.

I certainly have been in the trenches with you if you have someone that has offended you. I think we have all been there. But to very honest with you I have pushed most of the hurt out of my system, and can’t recall many of the hurting that was dumped on me.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some things I will never forget. I didn’t like what they did, but I have forgiven them for it. It is so much easier to forgive, then to keep hatred in your heart for a person. You don’t have to be a close friend with them or, open your heart to them again. It is OK to stand back and let the storm calm. Just don’t hate them or think you need to get revenge. If it was a very serious offense, remember God is the final Supreme Court Judge they will face.

I look at forgiveness as a time consuming thing. Think of your hurts as a river that has been flooded because of heavy rains. When you look at that river it is very muddy. It takes days and maybe weeks for the fresh pure water to push the muddy water away and be clean again.  Your hurts will take time to heal. Nurture them, and allow the muddy garbage to filter out.

Write your hurts in the sand, and your blessing in cement.

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