Hope of Kindness: The Jesus Place

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 103,200 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are in a new promotion. The person who is our 105,000 will wins some nice prizes. That is only 1,800 away It goes very fast so don’t miss out. 


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. 


+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor recently. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂

There will be some incredible interviews with veterans in this book. Up to twenty different veterans agreed to let me ask them some very personal questions. Some answers will have you in tears.  


I am very happy to see Linda Claire back as our guest blogger. Her posts are dynamic, gut wrenching, and full of true. Thank you so much Linda for opening up your heart to us. 


The Jesus Place

By Linda S. Clare

I’ve always thought of myself as a reasonably kind person. I’ll hold open doors for wheelchair users. I smile at an elderly man on a park bench. I brought home every stray cat I ever saw. But put the same old man in front of me at the grocery store, counting out his bill in pennies, and my saintly kindness melts into impatience and even indignation.

When I was around twelve, Mom worked so I had to babysit my younger sister all summer. Sis was pretty typical for a second grader—she loved to play with her Barbies, her friends and since we grew up in Phoenix, she loved to swim. I was not especially kind to her and more than once lost my temper, swatted at her and then for several hours had to plead with her not to tell our parents.

One day, when I just didn’t feel like watching her and her gabby second-grade friends, I was extra mean. I locked her in the bathroom and then went to my air-conditioned room to read. Not exactly the picture of virtue. Big Sister Fail.

For that and many other sins, I doubt I’m winning the Good Girl Award any time soon. Then and now, it’s too easy to stay safe, to be cocooned in the familiar, to resist any push to step out into nothing. Supposedly, this desire for control over our lives goes way back—to that Tree with the fruit and Eve, who didn’t know a serpent from a stick. Any way you slice it, we’re stuck with sinful natures that get us into trouble and lock true kindness in the bathroom.

As my own family has struggled with addiction and mental health issues, I’ve been told to get some Tough Love so many times. My friends don’t like to watch me suffer and others just wish I’d shut up. Tough Love seems like the perfect answer to a really terrible problem.  Most people who see our circumstances from the outside think my addicted/alcoholic sons are simply playing me. Why, they’re having the time of their lives, sponging off mom and dad, getting drunk or high without consequences. I should tell my sons to get out, grow up and by the way, get a job. Right?

Well, hallelujah, you nailed it. Except that life is never so simple.

Fear of threats to our beings and our cultures is a natural human response. When we face a dangerous animal, natural disaster or in times of war, our fight or flight response kicks in to help us survive.

But at times, we trick ourselves into self-serving misperceptions of danger, and it is then that we cling to baseless fears that only hurt us. The early Christians had every right to fear the Romans and others who were trying to kill off the early Church. Over the millennia, we’ve made laws and statutes to keep our ways of life intact. Yet again and again in the New Testament, we are reminded to be kind to one another.

As in the early Church, today it’s easy to slip back into the clutches of the Old Covenant—the Law. The only way to grow in faith is to “long for the pure milk of the word,” which tells us to be humble, not thinking ourselves more than we are. The first step in growing a Just Love is to stop finger pointing and confess our own shortcomings. We can love the Law but we don’t always have to enforce the Law—especially when it comes to those we look down upon. This is grace.

So with my sons and their addictions, I’m compelled to extend to them the grace God freely offers to me. Every day I see my grown children’s brokenness adding up. The scars of addiction, as well as poverty, under-employment, mental health issues are etched deep into their expressions, like crevasses carved by glaciers.

I know this sounds odd, but I genuinely believe my sons hate what they’re doing. Life has become a vicious cycle of mental illness compounded by drug and alcohol use that only temporarily eases the pain.

Every day, the only truly kind act—that mercy thing God is so famous for—stares into my soul. Mercy, compassion, lovingkindness—call it what you wish. It dares me to love my boys again, by yes, first offering a way out. I say, “You’ve been trying things your way for a while now. How’s it working out for you?”

Some days they answer. Other times, they duck their chins and slip out of sight. On days they stay, I can say, “If you want to try treatment, I’m here for you.” On the days they run, I pray for them to run—straight into God’s arms.

Either way, I cannot change their minds. But what I can do no matter what, is treat them with respect. Look them in the eyes. Remind them how very much they are loved. This is the kindness I am learning from Jesus. Trees and serpents aside, I am so much less apt to sin again when I stay in the Jesus Place.

For me, the Jesus Place is about the Sermon on the Mount. There, Jesus reached out to the poor, the disabled, the ones more successful people looked down upon. When He modeled for them the Lord’s Prayer, he was showing everyone, at any time, that we are so much more than our latest screw-up.

When He said, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” He was tapping into much more than the problems we have if we max out the credit card. In biblical times, if you were a subsistence farmer, one bad harvest might not only result in you losing your land. You could wind up an indentured servant (slave) until you repaid your debt. The ones Jesus spoke to were the most vulnerable in that society. The ones living on the edge. Those with little or no hope.

The Jesus Place promotes mercy because it hands out mercy. Mercy is getting a break when you don’t deserve it. In turn, compassion upends cynical stereotyping and replaces it with hope. Hope we desperately need.

I know. It isn’t easy. Giving undeserved passes to rule breakers is really really hard. I’m not good at it either. But love is dangerous, people. It asks you to put your very tender heart out there on the altar when you know full well some bully is going to stomp on it.

But because Jesus was tempted in all things and yet did not sin, He could take all my stinky socks and my catalog of dumb, dumb moves and hang it all with Him on the Cross.

I used to think that made Him seem like some awful Poindexter—teacher’s pet who always knew the answer. My reaction was a little bitter, like Dana Carvey’s Church Lady from old SNL. Isn’t that special?

Trouble is, I wanted to sit in judgment of everyone else (because I’m almost always right) but run crying to God when someone dished garbage back to me. I didn’t see the connection between blue-eyed movie Jesus being annoyingly preachy and the actual Son of God, who is very serious about bringing Light into the world.

For me, His light used to be made of being nice to kitties and old grandpas and kid sisters—but only if they didn’t interfere with my day. It was like earning a Gold Star from the Big Guy if I held open the door for some poor wheelchair user, which by the way, is required by Jesus and not optional at all. Real compassion asks for real love and real hope that love wins.

You don’t have to listen or do what Jesus says. That’s not how He rolls. But He reaches out to those of us who aren’t so tough anymore, those for whom life and awful things like addiction have locked us in the bathroom. He promises that if we are merciful, we shall receive mercy. That if we show mercy to others, we are actually blessed. Blessed! Just for being truly kind, for merciful acts big and small. We don’t even always have to be in control, which is OK although some days, I’d still rather drive than ride. And even then, Jesus is really patient with me. Mostly.

I have to believe He is patient with my sons, too, and doesn’t wish for them to suffer. Tough Love says they deserve to suffer, and maybe that’s right in some cases. But Just Love keeps pointing me back to the Jesus Place, a place where the downtrodden, the forgotten, all of us debtors can find comfort under the Yoke of Love.

And in modern times, if we run up a big bill, we aren’t thrown into debtor’s prison or enslaved, at least not yet. We can, however still be financially ruined for a few bad spending decisions or an unexpected health crisis. The serpent is alive, I’m afraid.

Yet Jesus calls across millennia, looking us in the eyes and saying, “You’ve been trying life your way for a while now. How’s that working out for you?” Hang out at the Jesus Place for a while, friend. You’ll find it full of mercy, love and hope.


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Never Give up Hope!

We just started a new promotion. The next winner will be the person who is our 90,000th subscriber. As you found out here, it goes very fast. We average over 50 new subscribers a day. We will get there pretty fast. We just passed 89,525.  We have less than 500 to go. If you haven’t already subscribed please do by clicking on the icon right after the title of this post.


Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, has written 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, 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.


Welcome back Taylor Wilkins our guest blogger for tonight. He is a staff member for the Fellowship of Christians Athletes. (FCA) He just got back from a mission to Panama. His post will share with you that there is hope no matter where you go.  


Signs of Hope 

Don’t forget about today!

Life can often be stressful. For some of you that might feel like an incredible understatement! It seems to me that many of us have become busier without actually doing anything of significance or value.

Probably the best example of this is found in the newest and latest craze “Pokemon Go.” For those of you who don’t know, Pokemon Go is an app you can download on your phone to simulate a “reality game.” This basically means the video game has entered into a new phase of “reality,” which has moved video gamers from the couch to the street. Now we could make a pro’s and con’s list for video games and how they are effecting people today, but that is not actually what I want to touch on.

Here are the questions I want to draw out of this is:

Where do you find your value?

What is the most significant thing/program you are involved in?

Where do you find joy?

A few weeks ago I was on a mission trip in a small indigenous village in Curti Panama and these are just some of the questions I was asking myself while on the trip. It’s amazing how quickly your perspective shifts when your circumstances are changed. While in Curti I stayed with the local people. Most of them are farmers or construction workers with little to no income. They live in grass huts, they eat plantains, canned hot dogs, sardines, rice, and chicken. The living conditions are very unsanitary, and in many ways just dangerous! In the eyes of most Americans the people of Curti are in poverty. But after living with the people I have a very hard time saying they are in poverty. We asked some of the people one evening what they would change if they could change anything about Curti, and they told us they would change nothing. One man named Juan Carlos explained to me how much they love where they live saying “God gave us a beautiful country, we have our family, we have food, and we have futball!

After hearing those words, seeing the sincerity in eyes and the smile on his face I knew he was telling the truth. He has contentment, joy, value and significance in his life and as far as material possessions, he has very little. Juan Carlos isn’t focused on tomorrow he lives day by day. He doesn’t worry about the things he doesn’t have, but rejoices in the things he does have. I am reminded by Philippians 4:12 where Paul says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Today this is a Sign of Hope, that no matter the circumstance you are in, or the dreams you have, God is for you and He has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Your hope and your future is today, you don’t have to wait for tomorrow. Contentment, and joy are within reach today!

Never give up hope! 

Taylor Wilkins
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We are Children of God. So Are the Homeless

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I am asking you again to pray for Michael Clark. He hasn’t been able to post on this site for a while, and hasn’t posted on Facebook since July 21st. Pray that God will heal his body completely, so that he won’t be always needing surgery, and hospitalization. God has been using him in a mighty way, and I know God wants to continue that.


I’m always saddened when I see children going to school with tattered cloths, and unhealthy bodies. It isn’t that they are inferior to anyone else. It is just because of the poverty that faces their family.

My wife is very active in the local Women’s Assistance League. This is a fine organization that raises money to help children who are in need of school supplies, clothing and hygiene materials.

We have been spending time lately going into the stores to find bargains that the Assistance league can buy at a huge discount, and then give them away to needed children. I love this project. It brings many smile to children who can’t afford the clothes that are given to them. When they get them they look as dressy as the other kids.

The League had  a surplus of a certain kind of clothing from the last year. My wife and I packed up five huge boxes full of the clothes, and took them to the local homeless children’s center.

It was an eye opening experience for me. When we got there, we walked into the main area, and there were many teenage kids playing cards, and just sitting and talking.

You would think you might be intimidated by these street kids, but iIfelt the opposite. They were the nicest kids I have met in a long time. Every single one of them, They were kind and caring.

The leader only once had to say, ” Will some of you take a minute and help unload these people’s rig? Four boys immediately stood up and followed us out the door.

They were all in their teens.

Think about this: They were are teenagers, and homeless. Don’t you think they had every reason to be bitter? of course they did. They were in a critical part of their life, and they didn’t even have a home to call their own.

They each said thank you as they took a box, and had beautiful smiles on their faces as they worked. They were happy kids whom some would things wouldn’t be so.

That teaches us a huge lesson my friends. Money certainly doesn’t buy happiness. If that was true, these kids would wallowing in their own self pity.

They were very intelligent nice kids that I would invite into my home any time.

The next time you think of homeless kids, and what you might  envision their mentality, remember this story. get to know them, and you just may be surprised to see that they are outstanding young men and women.

Remember: You are a  child of God, and so are the homeless.


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Where is Hope in All of the Tragedy in the World?

I shared with you in a previous post, about helping the Women’s Assistance League in Salem, Oregon with their Operation School Bell.

It is a wonderful program where underprivileged children can come into J.C. Penny, and “buy,” clothes,  up to $144.00 worth. They don’t pay a dime, and have nice new clothes to wear for the rest of the school year.

I just finished doing the last one for the year. I am very tired, but it was very rewarding.

I had some special moments tonight. I had one boy who was about 13 years old, ask me to help him add up the prices, and pick out clothes. We had a great time. We got some very essential clothes like socks and shoes, and then got a few “cool,” T-shirts, and sweat shirts.

Whe we ere done, we added up his total, and it was $142.79. He was only $1.21 under the limit. He was very proud of that.

But then the special thing happened. He let me hug him, and the smile on his face was priceless. He felt more joy tonight then he probably has in a long time. He started to walk away  and then came back  and shook my hand. He said, “Thank you so much for spending some time with me shopping.”

Why did I take several paragraphs just to tell you about this one boy? Because he is just one boy of more then 800 boys and girls in Salem, that are below the poverty line.

That is just for my home town. It is so sad to see the trend that is happening in the younger generations. Living with less, and not being able to have the extra things we all take for granted.

This evening let me learn about being thankful for the little things.

One of the boys that was shopping, reminded me so much of myself when I was that age. He had the same type of haircut I had back then.

I can honestly tell you that my family would have qualified for this charity program if they would have had it when I was their age. My brother and I didn’t want to have special help so we both found jobs when we were teenagers. I worked on my uncle’s farm, and my brother had a paper route.

We earned enough to pay for all our own school clothes, and help our single parent mom pay some of the bills. We were a very close family even though here wasn’t a dad in the group. My mother was a brave and caring mom. She worked as a office manager for only $1.35 an hour, but she kept a roof over our head, and we had food to eat on the table.

I agree that there were times where I had to eat a mayo sandwich with sugar on it for dinner, and we had potato soup almost every night, because my uncle  grew potatoes on his farm.

We didn’t go hungry, and had fun during our younger years.

We didn’t have Nintendo, cell phones, TV, or other fancy electronics, but we did have roller skates and bikes.

We also had one ping pong table in the whole neighborhood, and had tournaments every weekend. I got pretty good at it by the end of my high school days.

Yes, on paper we would be considered poor, but we didn’t know we were. We were very  happy and enjoyed our lives back then.

What about today? We have many people that are homeless; living in their cars. There are soup kitchens being swamped with people looking for something to eat. Children are on special free lunch programs, because there is no money to pay for them.

This blog talks about hope. Where is there hope in all of this tragedy?

Our hope is on the cross. Jesus knew what poverty was. He never owned his own  home, He only ate if someone provided some food for him. He slept under a tree many times.

He knows what we have to go through. He knows the hunger pangs we feel. 

He knows about prejudice, hatred, disappointments, physical and mental abuse.

He could have avoided all of that. He was/is God. Yet He allowed man to beat Him, and nail Him to that cross to die for you and me.

He knows our pain, so we should always find hope on the cross. It represents our salvation, and eternal life.  

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