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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Some People Like Darkness Rather Than Light, Because They do Evil Things

Some People like darkness rather than light, because they do evil things.

How is that for an opening line?

That statement is true in many ways. It is so much easier to-do you own thing- than to try to obey God. The walk through the darkness is a much easier and wider path. The path that God wants us to be on is a much more narrow and straight path.

Can God exist with all the evil in the world?  

This is a good question. We see so much evil through-out the world. Just look at the Middle East. There have been dictators sending terror through the hearts of the people for many years. But now the people have become brave and rioting is spreading like the plague.

There is not only evil in this world, but there are afflictions that come over us and pull us down like a huge magnet. It  could be depression, fear, addictions, self-doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety, and the list goes on.

Have you been faced with oppression in your country? Do you battle any of the afflictions I mentioned above?

So, can God exist in this world with all the evil, and afflictions?

Think on this:

  • We wouldn’t have a sense of right or wrong if God didn’t exist.
  • Jesus came face to face with evil, but continued to love.
  • It is at the cross that we feel the true love in all this evil.
  • It is often when we face the worst pain that we love the most.

WE can face all evil if we believe in out LORD Jesus Christ. However, following Jesus can be challenging and rewarding at the same time.

There are so many time when we try to witness to someone about the evil in this world that we are ridiculed, and harassed. We get persecuted for telling the truth because people often don’t want to hear the true. They would have to change their ways, and their ways are an idol to them that they placed ahead of God.

The other side of the story is that it is so rewarding to follow Jesus. We will wear many crowns, for the harassment, ridicule, and persecution we have gone through on this earth.

This earth will not last, but the love of God is for eternity!

When the times come to witness to someone, don’t be a person who poses as a Christian, and then fearfully walks the other way. Stand up for God, and be strong in your convictions for Him.

How does this help with evil, and all the afflictions we face? God knows every hair on our head. He knows our hurts, our pains, and sufferings. He is there for each of us. All we have to do is call out to Him, and he will take our hand and guide us through the storm.

Yes Satan is alive and well. Yes He will do anything he can to make you think that God doesn’t care. 

Remember, Satan is just a misguided, fallen angel. God is the supreme Master of all the angels, and the universe. Which side do you think you will do better with? God or Satan?

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If God brings you to it, He will bring you Through it

I had something happen to me yesterday that may have been devastating to some, and it did knock me down for a few minutes, but I got up and got excited.

I am having a book signing this Friday December 10th at Eola Hills Winery Rickreall, Oregon from 6-9 p.m. I worked hard and got some outstanding performers and a dynamite guest speaker.

Things were going great until yesterday, when I got a call from my guest speaker, Laura Morett, who is a TV star from the 2009 Survivor TV series.

She informed me that her Sister-in-law Brandy had fallen ill and is on life support. She left today to be with her. I lost my main speaker for my event. Disaster? Wait! 

What follows is an actual excerpt from the book I will be signing at this event called, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.”

* Sorry about the double spacing. I posted it correctly but it is determined to be double spaced! Some about taking directly from the manuscript.

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IF GOD BRINGS YOU TO IT, HE WILL BRING YOU THROUGH IT

 

                                                 CHAPTER 43

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will

find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will

not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the

pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys

at midday.

—Psalm 91:4–6

 

SOMETIMES GOD ALLOWS things to happen to us to let us

know He is there for us. I have known people who have had

things happen to them that caused them to turn to God for

help—for the first time in their lives.

 

September 11, 2001 changed many lives. Events of this proportion

seem to change lives every time. He uses situations to make

people stronger and to send them a message. These are the close

encounters that help us grow.

 

If the steps we take seem to come to a wall we can’t climb over,

we need to consider whether or not God might have another plan

in mind. We need to pray to Him and seek His will. That kind of

prayer will be answered faster if we ask for the wall to be moved!

 

We’ve all been through personal crises—health issues, loss of

a job, separation from a family member, the death of a dear friend,

or other things that have thrown us for a loss. At those times we

wondered if we’d make it through the situation. It was devastating

at the time.

 

God knows everything about us, and knows what will happen to

us even before we face hardship and fear. The most important thing

to understand is that God prepares us for this kind of hard times.

I told you about how close I came to committing suicide and

how I thought I had nowhere to turn. In reality, I had a source that

was there for me all the time. It just took me that frightful moment

to realize I could turn to God for help. God let me come to that

point. He brought me through it, and He will bring each one of us

through any pain and tragedy we face.

 

We need to stay close to God, and always rely on Him for

comfort. We can do this by reading the Bible each day and praying.

There is never a time I read the Bible without finding something

new that gives me peace and strength. The same verse in the Bible

can have a different impact depending on what I’m going through

at that time.

 

I have a friend who puts the date next to a verse that stands

out to her and notes what it means to her at the time. When she

looks back years later, she can recall the circumstances that made

that particular verse stand out to her.

 

God does allow sorrow, sadness and danger in our lives, but we

will be able to cope with it much better with the knowledge that

He is there for us when we need Him.

 

Second Corinthians 1:9 says: “In our hearts we felt the sentence

of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves

but on God, who raises the dead.”

 

Another version says that Paul thought it was good that they

thought they were doomed! How amazing to see that his faith let

Paul know that he and those traveling with him would be killed if

it weren’t that God was there to save them. Do we have that level

of trust? We should. The same God who saved Paul is the same

God that is with us today.

 

I would like to suggest a book for you to read. It is an amazing

book about a man who was declared legally dead for 90 minutes and

lived to have a huge impact on people’s lives. The book is 90 Minutes

in Heaven by Don Piper with Cecil Murphey. It was published in

2004 by Fleming H. Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group,

Grand Rapids, Michigan.

 

Don Piper was in a horrible car accident and was pronounced

dead by the medics. He was stuck in his car for 90 minutes, and

the first part of the book is about what happened to him while he

was supposed to be dead.

 

A friend “just happened” to be going by the accident scene that

day and refused to agree with the medics that Don was dead. He

prayed over Don the whole time he was supposed to be dead. That

part of the book is amazing enough, but then when Don began to

recover, many wonderful things began to happen. It is a story of

lost hope, and how God brought him through the hard times and

made him a stronger person than he could have ever dreamed.

 

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand

and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.”

—Isaiah 41:13

 

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down,

your sleep will be sweet.

—Proverbs 3:24

 

Further Adventures

1. Spend time praying each day. This will help you know ahead

of time what God has for your future. Often through prayer

God sends a message for you to understand. We shouldn’t

wait for a crisis to start seeking God’s help.

2. If you know of someone who is troubled by a trial God is

allowing, be there for them and help them to know that He

will help them through it. Let them know they don’t have

to fear, because God is with them.

 

Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny that the more we depend on God, the safer we are?

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God will see you Through all the Trials you Face

 

If God Brings You to It, He Will Bring You Through It

 

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

Psalm 91:4–6

 

Sometimes God allows things to happen to us to let us know He is there for us. I have known people who have had things happen to them that caused them to turn to God for help—for the first time in their lives. 

September 11, 2001 changed many lives. Events of this proportion seem to change lives every time. He uses situations to make people stronger and to send them a message. These are the close encounters that help us grow.

If the steps we take seem to come to a wall we can’t climb over, we need to consider whether or not God might have another plan in mind. We need to pray to Him and seek His will. That kind of prayer will be answered faster if we ask for the wall to be moved!

We’ve all been through personal crises—health issues, loss of a job, separation from a family member, the death of a dear friend or other things that have thrown us for a loss. At those times we wondered if we’d make it through the situation. It was devastating at the time.

God knows everything about us, and knows what will happen to us even before we face hardship and fear. The most important thing to understand is that God prepares us for this kind of hard times.

I told you about how close I came to committing suicide and how I thought I had nowhere to turn. In reality, I had a source that was there for me all the time. It just took me that frightful moment to realize I could turn to God for help. God let me come to that point. He brought me through it, and He will bring each one of us through any pain and tragedy we face.

We need to stay close to God, and always rely on Him for comfort. We can do this by reading the Bible each day and praying. There is never a time I read the Bible without finding something new that gives me peace and strength. The same verse in the Bible can have a different impact depending on what I’m going through at that time.

I have a friend who puts the date next to a verse that stands out to her and notes what it means to her at the time. When she looks back years later, she can recall the circumstances that made that particular verse stand out to her.

God does allow sorrow, sadness and danger in our lives, but we will be able to cope with it much better with the knowledge that He is there for us when we need Him.

Second Corinthians 1:9 says: “In our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”

Another version says that Paul thought it was good that they thought they were doomed! How amazing to see that his faith let Paul know that he and those traveling with him would be killed if it weren’t that God was there to save them. Do we have that level of trust? We should. The same God who saved Paul is the same God that is with us today.

I would like to suggest a book for you to read. It is an amazing book about a man who was declared legally dead for 90 minutes and lived to have a huge impact on people’s lives. The book is 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper with Cecil Murphey. It was published in 2004 by Fleming H. Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids Michigan.

Don Piper in a horrible car accident, and was pronounced dead by the medics. He was stuck in his car for 90 minutes, and the first part of the book is about what happened to him while he was supposed to be dead.

A friend “just happened” to be going by the accident scene that day and refused to agree with the medics that Don was dead. He prayed over Don the whole time he was supposed to be dead. That part of the book is amazing enough, but then when Don began to recover, many wonderful things began to happen. It is a story of lost hope, and how God brought him through the hard times and made him a stronger person than he could have ever dreamed.

 

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.”

Isaiah 41:13

 

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Proverbs 3:24

 

Further adventures

  1. Spend time praying each day. This will help you know ahead of time what God has for your future. Often through prayer God sends a message for you to understand. We shouldn’t wait for a crisis to start seeking God’s help.
  2. If you know of someone who is troubled by a trial God is allowing, be there for them and help them to know that He will help them through it. Let them know they don’t have to fear, because God is with them.

 

Something to ponder

Isn’t it funny that the more we depend on God, the safer we are?

* Excerpt from: Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World

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