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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A New Year. A new Beginning. A New Unknown Territory

As always we are delighted to have Lynn Mosher back as a guest blogger. She hit a home run with her last post just before Christmas, called, “The Babe of Bethlehem.” The comments, (over 50) were more than ALL the other posts combined, that we have done for our beginning.

You will see why we keep asking Lynn to come back. She blessed by God with a special talent to reach out to all of us with her messages.

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Stepping into the Unknown

 

A new Year. A new beginning.  A new unknown territory.  

A scary journey at times. I wonder…will I have the courage to step out into the unknown as Abraham did…

“He went without knowing where he was going.”

(Heb. 11:8b NLT)

 

As I stand here with my toes on the threshold of the New Year, positioned on the border of unknown territory, I know that God knows where He and I are going. Do I then go forward in faith’s victory to possess this New Year…or remain frozen in victim’s defeat, allowing it to possess me?

A myriad of challenges will confront me each day. How will I handle them? 

As Jesus once said to a man whom He was about to heal, “Step forward.” (Mark 3:3b NKJV) Will I step forward believing and trusting for the answer to that which I need, remembering what God has done for me in the past? Or will I hang back in the shadows afraid to move ahead, forgetting God’s providence?

Just as God told Isaiah, He says you and me, “Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like Me.” (Is. 46:9 NLT)

God will again make His provisions available in the New Year for it is in His plan for each of us. He says, “I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (Jer. 29:11 Msg)

However, His plan will only unfold daily, as we trust Him for each step.

As God led every step of the Israelites’ journey to the new land, so He still leads us today. When we take those wobbly steps into the unknown, what will this new land hold for us?

We may encounter…

* joys unspeakable

* smooth paths of guidance

* lush pastures of provision

* varied hilltop experiences

* spiritual blessings in abundance 

However, we may also encounter…

* desert dryness

* valley mists and fogs

* wilderness wanderings

* gremlins hiding behind bushes

* paths with potholes and pitfalls

* steep uphill climbs and dangerous downhill slides

Challenges will meet us at every turn; some easier to handle than others. But God will work in all the ups and downs of those trials, heartaches, and blessings.

 He does this for us because of His compassion and mercy. Jeremiah tells us, “Yet there is one ray of hope: His compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is His faithfulness; His loving-kindness begins afresh each day.” (Lam. 3:21-23 TLB)

 Be assured that no matter what happens on your journey this year, He is the source of your fresh mercies every morning. He will never fail you. He will walk by your side along each rocky bend in the road and carry you through each heartache and loss.

 God will see you through to the end of next year. Will you live as Abraham…“By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country.” (Heb. 11:9a NKJV)

 We live our outward days on earth as in a foreign country, for we abide in God’s Kingdom of promise within us. Therefore, each day brings a new threshold into eternity. How can we not welcome it with willing feet and open arms?

 I am ready to step into the journey of each new day of this year, greeting each one in faith and with God’s mercy.

 How about you? Are you ready? How will you greet the challenges of your new journey?

 I’m finishing this post with a different twist…a quote from Dr. Seuss, with one word change…

 “You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your [journey] is waiting,

So…get on your way!”

 May each day, though filled with a trial, bring you a smile and a blessing!

 ~~New Year’s blessings, Lynn~~

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