We Have Many Hopes That Never Happen

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 103,000 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. 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. 

+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor this week. 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.  

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Today is Easter. The most important day of the year. It is the day that Jesus rose from the dead and gave us hope.

Speaking of hope…we hope all the time. We hope for a better job. We hope for a better marriage. We hope we will pass the college test. We hope to find a job.

Hope is a good four letter word that we cling to. We need hope. We need to think everything will come out OK.

Yet, we mope and whine that nothing is going our way. We want more. We want perfection in our lives.

Now, switch your thinking and think of what they were doing to Jesus on that cross. He was near death, and yet he still said, Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing!

He still loved the people very much. He still wanted them to be happy and prosper. He died a horrible death that the Romans never allowed to happen to their own people. It was too gruesome.

Now, back to your own needs. Are you needs so important, that you forget about what Jesus has done for you? Is your, so called, pain because you feel alone, or that God has left you?

Never, ever, forget what Easter is all about. It is about HOPE! It is about having a way to have eternal life, because of one man’s sacrifice for you.

Yes, we all would like a better life. Yes, some of our hope is selfish. We just need to take inventory of our lives, and see if our hope is in Jesus, or is it in ourselves, and us finding ways to survive in this world alone.

Heard a quote at church today, Jesus will draw near you during your doubts, but He doesn’t want to leave you there. 

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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We Should Rejoice in Our Sufferings

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  17,200 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.

The latest exciting news is that we just passed the one million mark in total hits for our site since it started. 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. 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.

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If you want an autographed hard copy of “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,”  you just need to click on the “bookstore,” tab here, and order one. The author will send you a personal note, and sign the book with an autograph.

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I have a dear friend that is a shining example of what Paul tries to teach us in Romans from the Bible.

Jeannie Pallett is one of our regular guest bloggers that blogs on Sundays. She will be blogging again on November 25. Don’t miss it. She has inspired many people with her posts.

The example from Romans at Romans 5: 3-5  is where Paul talks about facing the trials and storms of our daily life.

We all face suffering. Some more than others. Jeannie Pallett has faced many more trials than any of us would want to face. She lost her son, and now her husband has cancer. If you look her up on Facebook, you will not see a complaining person full of despair. She is always positive, and inspires anyone who reads her posts.

Romans 5:3-5 says, “…we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

What he is saying that in the future we will become, but until then we must  overcome.

This means we will all experience difficulties that help us grow, We rejoice in suffering not because we like pain or deny its tragedy, but because we know God is using life’s difficulties and Satan’s attacks to build our character.

The problems that we run into will develop our perseverance, which in turn will strengthen our character, deepen our trust in God, and give us greater confidence about the future.

You probably find your patience tested in some way every day.

Thank God for those opportunities to grow and deal with them in His strength.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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The Apostle Paul is Our Guest Blogger Tonight

I am excited that The Apostle Paul will be our guest blogger tonight. He will be writing about is his thoughts as he spoke to the Romans.

We often want to give up. We feel that the enemy is too strong. We need to know that we will get something in return for all of our suffering.

Paul speaks directly to this issue. Thank you Paul for sharing tonight:

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” I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory the will be revealed to us. . The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.”

“We know that to all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

” What, then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us  all- how will He no so, along with Him, graciously give us all things?

“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has Chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? “

“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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( Taken from Romans 8:18-39.)

We must remember that Paul was once a hunter of Christians. He persecuted and even killed some of them. The transformation that he made from a non-Christian to one of the most prolific apostles in the new testament, was only brought about by an strong awakening brought by the Lord himself.

Do we need to be struck blind to see what we should all know? Do we need to be hanging at the end of our rope before we turn to the one true person who loves us more than anything?

Know this…. God is in charge. He will have the last chapter. What we do to fill in our own chapters of our lives will determine where we spend eternity.

Don’t let Satan convince you that you are not worth anything.

As Paul says, nothing can come between us and the love of God, if we stay true to Him.

 

 

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Earthly Vessels

Today, I am an addiction counselor/ professional, chaplain and have even written a book “Hiding in the Shadows”, but my life hasn’t always been walked on this path. Raised in church and Christian schools I knew God, I should say I had a knowledge of God, but I chose a far different path for my life. The reason I became an addiction counselor is because I have been in that lifestyle, and now how real it can become. How hard the cycle is to break. I cost me everything I had. I didn’t lose it, I gave it away, by the choices I made. But today, it has all been restored. God took away everything to show me that anything I do, anything I have, anything I accomplish, is because of Him and only through Him.

I’ve grown stronger in my weakness because my prayers have never been so honest. My need has never been so great. My dependence has never been so fervent. I realized that God is Jehovah Jireh, my provider … not me. It doesn’t matter if my income is a disability check or a payment for work completed. It all comes from Him. Sometimes God provides the ability to give; sometimes He requires the humility to receive. 

The Treasure We Carry
It’s humbling that God can best use us when others view us through our weaknesses. Second Corinthians 4:7 reminds us, “Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.” As Rick Warren’s popular book, The Purpose Driven Life, begins, “It’s not about us.” Each of us has an important contribution to make to the kingdom of Christ, and to fulfill it, we must recognize that we carry a treasure — the life of Christ — in our lives. It’s cliché but true; we’re the only Bible some people ever read. What version are you conveying?
 
Grammy-award-winning band Jars of Clay was so inspired by the imagery of 2 Corinthians 4:7 that they derived their name from it. Jars member Steve Mason explains, “As Christians, the biggest thing we can do to renew ourselves to the gospel is to understand how great a need we have for God through the person of Jesus. That’s what the image of the jar of clay means — being in a continual posture of recognizing the great need we have and who’s meant to fill that need, who fills the jar of clay.”
 
In biblical times, “It was customary to conceal treasure in clay jars, which had little value or beauty and did not attract attention to themselves and their precious contents,” notes the NIV Study Bible in reference to 2 Corinthians 4:7. The decanter was just a decoy. In the same way, we are challenged to constantly consider that what we contain is much more valuable than the container that carries it.

Living in Cracked Pots
The world tells us we must be attractive, intelligent, and wealthy to be worthy of the admiration of others. God’s Word tells us that it is in our frailties, our most humble and shameful moments, that He is closest to us. In fact, it’s only in our most vulnerable moments that He is best able to fine-tune us into exactly what He created us to be.
 
Rob Bell, pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., uses contemporary culture to convey powerful truths in his NOOMAs (MTV-meets-Sunday School mini-video messages). In the episode “Rain,” Bell is hiking around a lake with his infant son, Trace. At the mid-point, it starts to rain. Trace, in a hiking backpack, is soaked because he pulled down his hood. When Bell hears his son’s screams, he stops, stoops down, and gently tucks Trace close to his heart. As they make their way back, this father whispers words of comfort to his son. Bell reflects on that precious memory by noting that if it had not rained, he wouldn’t have had that intimate moment with his son. In the same way, when life is going well, we don’t need God with the urgent desperation that we experience when we are hit with stunning news:

“We’re downsizing and … ”

“It’s cancer.”

“There was an accident. I’m sorry to say …”

“I don’t love you anymore. I want a divorce.”
 
The apostle Paul was no stranger to difficult circumstances. In 2 Corinthians 11 and 12, he airs a laundry list of afflictions: imprisonment, floggings, exposure to death, beatings, stonings, and a shipwreck. Paul certainly did not desire these difficulties; in fact, he writes that three times he asked God to remove a “thorn in the flesh.” God’s reply to Paul is His response to us today, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).    

As Christians, one of the most difficult desires to submit to God is the idea that we can demand Him to model us in the image we have in mind: married by 25, kids by 30, vice president by 35 … healthy parents, nice house, size-six self (or spouse), and money to buy what we want, when we want it. The danger in this desire is that it presumes that we know better than God the purposes He planned for us.

Romans 9:20-21 says, “But who are you — anyone who talks back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Or has the potter no right over His clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor?”

The reality is that without the test, there’s no testimony. Without the struggle, there’s no growth. Without failure, there’s no fruition. Second Corinthians 4:8-9, which follows the reference to jars of clay, reveals our hope: “We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.” There’s nothing wrong with being weak. Weak does not mean passive, helpless, or ineffective. Weakness has more to do with an accurate perspective of the source of our strength. In admitting our weaknesses, we affirm God’s strength.
 
With this perspective, we realize that we can be hurt but not helpless. We can be broke but not broken. We can be limited but not lacking. We can be single but not solitary. Mason explains that our frailties should not make us fearful, rather they are arrows, pointing us to our need for God. “When things weigh us down, or you see yourself in a shameful light and you feel like you don’t deserve God’s love because of things in the past, understand that grace covers all. Be encouraged in that process. We will fail, but that’s ultimately why we need the gospel.”

 When we recognize the value and vulnerability of our vessels, we’ll begin to care for them as God desires. And we’ll become beautiful clay pots tested by fire, filled with living water, and displayed for others to see — cracks and all.

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