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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What if You Didn’t Believe? Then What?

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We just past 95,775 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

WE HAVE A WINNER!! We will be notifying the winner by email, if they put in the right email address. I will also let you know about when the winner subscription happened, so you can know that it may be yours. 

We are starting a new promotion and the winner will be the person who is the 100,000 subscriber. That is a huge milestone for us. More details later. 

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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 details about the new book. Doug just interviewed a WWII veteran, for the book.  Fascinating! Look for updates here.

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Welcome Back Lynn Mosher as our monthly guest blogger. She always give is pause to ponder. Tonight is not different. 

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I Had Fainted Unless…

“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see

the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

(Ps. 27:13 KJV)

Here we go a-pondering! I love to do this. If you’re a fairly new reader, you’ll soon find out that I love to take apart a verse of scripture…by its definitions. New and deeper meanings are sometimes discovered. Let’s see what we can dig out of this one.

*The above verse in other versions:

NKJV: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

New Living Version: “I would have been without hope if I had not believed that I would see the loving-kindness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

The thing is, “I had fainted,” “I would have lost heart,” or “I would have been without hope” are not in the original. The translators added those words.

In the original Hebrew of the Masoretic Text, it literally says, “Unless I had believed to see the goodness of Jehovah in the land of the living.” It breaks off abruptly, as if he had said, “Oh, had I not believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” We are left to imagine what would have happened had he not believed.

Because of the efforts of his numerous and formidable enemies, David knew his only support and deliverance was God. He believed he would see His goodness. And he did.

*Definitions:

The Hebrew word for unless means if not, except, had not, or were it not that.

Believed means to build up or support, to be firm or faithful, to trust, to be true, to uphold, to nourish, to be established, confirm, enduring, etc.

The word for goodness means beauty, gladness, welfare, prosperity, joy, fairness, etc.

*Rewording

Lynn’s Version might say, “Oh, had I not I believed, trusted, and endured to see God’s beauty, welfare, prosperity, and joy!” If we do not believe, how do we see the evidence of God’s goodness?

Doesn’t that remind you of Hebrews 11:1? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not being seen.” (The Received Greek Text)

*Application/encouragement:

Because David sought the Lord and believed in His goodness, he said in an earlier verse, “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” (Ps. 27:5 NKJV)

David went on to say in verse 14, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (NKJV)

David’s main message of the whole psalm is wait, hope, and trust in the Lord. So, when you are in the midst of any trouble, always believe and have courage as you wait for the Lord to act on your behalf.

Be encouraged that, in your waiting, the Lord will strengthen you and will hide you in His secret place.

If I had not believed in God’s goodness and His working, deliverance, and love and waited for Him in my life and circumstances, I wonder what would have happened to me? Oh, I shudder even to think about it!

What would have happened to you if you had not believed to see the goodness of God in some trial or circumstance? What will happen in the future if you don’t believe?

From His feet, Lynn

lynnmosher.com

 

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If You Want a Miracle, Ask

We have another promotion where there will be prizes. The 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 91,050. 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.

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Welcome back our Australian guest writer Dennis Booth. He teaches us about miracles today. Thank you Dennis.

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Have you ever felt that miracles or a miracle were for other people but not yourself?

Why? Because other people seemingly not only are the beneficiaries of a miracle but sometimes miracles plural…..yet you have wanted one and wanted it for some time but nothing has happened.

Well I was lucky enough to listen to a man by the name of Brian Pickering in church today and what he said I think caught the spirit of all who were in the congregation because at the end he invited those who wished for a miracle so he could pray for them.

Well 90% of the church went forward!

They went because Brian, who just happens to be the Australian Prayer Network convenor, told the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand and the way he told it, it resonated strongly with everyone who were possibly hearing it in a different way and it grabbed their attention.

You see sometimes we pass over scripture because we seemingly have heard it or read it all before but sometimes God will show us something we missed and sometimes he does that by using someone like Brian to point out what we need to hear and see.

Basically it was this… Brian is of the belief that that miracle of the feeding would not have been possible for a few reasons that we may have not thought about previously.

Firstly the five thousand had to be there….they were available…..and there would have been no miracle had they not been present.

Secondly the disciples were asked by Jesus to feed them but they said they only had a few loaves and two fishes BUT Jesus said to them to give what they had to Him…..there would have been no miracle had they not given ALL…..the holding back of any would have gone against Jesus’ request.

So they were totally and radically obedient because those five loaves and two fishes were all the disciples and Jesus had left to eat.

Then Jesus asked God to turn that into enough to feed all and the miracle happened but when all were fed there was more left than the disciples had originally handed to Jesus.

So there is the message for us all.

If we want a miracle in our lives we have to make ourselves available to Jesus; that is be in His presence either in church, in prayer in a prayer group….ask for the miracle and ask what Jesus would want of you then be totally obedient because you may not only get your miracle but more than you realise.

This is not a magic elixir, nor is it some magical way to get what you have missed previously.

It is acknowledging that the Jesus of Old Testament times is very much the Jesus of today and like he performed miracles then He does so today.

Dennis Booth

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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When We Face Hopelessness, What Next?

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 88,350.  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.

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What follows is the best post ever by my dear Australian friend, Dennis Booth. We both are going through more afflictions than we want, but with his faith we find hope. With his perseverance, we trod on and also keep the faith. Thank you so much for sharing Dennis, I know this was hard to write.

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In today’s world many say we are seeing greater signs of the end but there are many who just want what is happening to them to end…and Christians are not immune to a feeling of helplessness.

But I want to give you one verse of scripture from the Bible’s New Testament that I hope will help those who can see no light at the end of the tunnel.

Romans 12:12 written by Paul the Apostle says this: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.”

Now let’s be honest here…how many going through an affliction feel joyful about it and how many who started out in prayer have stopped fearing it has not or is not working.

Well I want you to turn that passage of Paul’s around to this…”Be faithful in prayer, patient in affliction and be joyful in hope.”

Now I am not adding to or taking away from scripture just suggesting the same words but putting it in an order that will suggest the following:

Firstly, prayer is so important at the time an affliction begins and during because God wants to hear from you because when He does He knows you (a) believe in Him (b) believe that prayer works (c) that He can do something about your affliction.

Let me also add that prayer and the reading of Psalms (in particular) can bring a peace over a perplexing situation.

Secondly, being patient in affliction is not easy, particularly if it involved physical pain but I do not believe God being the God of love would ask anyone not to seek medical help that would help physical distress and I also believe that God’s timing has a purpose that we do not always understand.

So the more the affliction goes on the more you pray and the more you read God’s Word but then we come to the final part…”be joyful in hope.”

If you are faithful in prayer and continue you in it in affliction you will draw nearer to God that I can tell you from personal experience.

And somewhere within this experience you will feel inwardly that God is indeed working and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. …it is as if an innate sense is telling you that no matter what everything will be alright.

Does that mean all will survive their affliction? I would prefer to say their affliction will end but I will also say there is in all cases if you have done all three within this passage a light at the end of the tunnel.

So look for the light…do not concentrate on what is dark!

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