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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Have you Been Through a Grinder in Your Life?

We want to thank all the people who have been subscribing to our RSS feed on this site. It has been overwhelming. We are near the 12,800 mark. 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 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 are starting a new promotion. We will be giving away another copy of “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” to the 13,000th subscriber. We are only around 200 away. Be sure to subscribe. You may be a winner.

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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.

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“Blessed are you people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evel against you, because of Me” (Matthew 5:11).

Have you been through the grinder of life where it seems everyone is against you? You wish you didn’t have to get out of bed to go to work. You want to hid in a cave like David did,  because of the fear you may face in the world.

We face many trials and storms in our lives. people may persecute you, and say lies about you. I have been there myself. I don’t need to share details, but I have through the gauntlet. I have been through the fire.

Remember this: Whenever we suffer because of our loyalty to Christ, He will be with us all the way.

We don’t need to seek suffering to be accepted, not do we need to run from it. Instead, keep doing what is right regardless of what suffering it may bring.

God often allows us to suffer through sin, and then have us face the consequences. He does this for several reasons:

  1. To show us the potential for sinning.
  2. To encourage us to turn to Him during our trials and storms.
  3. To prepare us to face stronger temptations in the future.
  4. To help us stay faithful and keep trusting Him.

Remember…God oversees the forces of nature. Surely He can see us through the trials we face.

If we are carrying our daily struggles, worries, and stresses by ourselves, means we don’t trust God fully in our lives. Letting  God have our anxieties call for action, not passivity. Don’t submit to circumstances, but to the Lord who controls circumstances.

When we try to wing it on our own, we feel hopeless, alone, weak, and cut off from other believers. We are focused on our own troubles that this allows Satan to attack us because we are vulnerable.

During times of suffering, seek other Christians for help. Keep your eyes on Christ and resist Satan. If you do, James in the Bible says, “He (Satan) will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

Above all… never, ever, give up!

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Looking for Hope? It is on the Cross

How do we face defeat? What do we have to do to be strong in adversity? Why doesn’t our hopes and dreams always come out right?

Three questions that we often face.

I am an avid follower of the Oregon State University Beavers in sports. My Beavers lost in an ugly way today to Stanford 38-0. This means we only have one game left to become bowl eligible. Guess who we have to play to try to get bowl eligible? The University of Oregon Ducks, who just happen to the the #1 team in the nation in all the polls. Talk about adversity for the young men on the Beaver team. They have to have a David against Goliath type victory in order to get into a bowl.

My dreams and hopes for this football season have been diminished greatly since we once thought we might go to the Rose Bowl. Now it looks like we will go to the toilet bowl!!

Defeat; adversity, and broken dreams.

Have you been there? Did you think you was going to get that job you always wanted, and someone else got it? Were you ever faced with adversity, and wasn’t sure what the outcome would be? Is that dream you had in the back of your brain all shattered now?

You certainly aren’t alone. Many of us in our daily lives have faced all of these trials.

What hope is there?

Let’s look at the word hope first. Webster’s Dictionary says this:

“The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out well. To look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence. To believe or trust.”

Hope is a four letter word that people don’t use enough, and use the other four letter words too much. You know what those are, but do you know how to find hope?

Hope is in the morning sunrise. It is in the wind blowing through the trees. Hope can be found in a child’s eyes. It will be around the next corner waiting for you. 

I have said this before, but people add their own suffix to hope, and make it hopeless. They live in  a Chicken Little world and feel the sky is falling every day. 

The most important place to find hope in on the cross. Jesus is our hope, and our salvation. Without Jesus there is no hope. But He is with you, and He will help each of us through the defeats, the adversity, and the broken dreams.

I know, because he helped me through my deepest pit, where I was drowning and going down for the third and last time. He pulled my out of that pit, and place me back on the right path.

I now can face defeat, adversity, and broken dreams, with a knowledge that there is a reason for everything, and all things work out to the good for those who love Him.

You need to cling to that hope as well. God never promised us a rose garden, but He does promise us redemption, and salvation. He loves us like He does His only Son, and with that in mind, you can know that He will do whatever He can to help us through our dark times, and be happy with us in our good times.

 

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