A place to find Hope

Month: January 2022

Worry is the Dark Room Where Negatives Develop

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I had a stressful week. I was having chest pains, and went to see my cardiologist. There were some blood tests done, and she said they came out great. She said that often chest pains come from your heart having to work overtime. I wasn’t sure what that meant. However, she assured me I could keep exercising and live my life normally.

What a relief! I have congestive heart failure, and I struggle with palpitations all day long with A-fib.

I have decided not to worry about it and enjoy life.

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Have you had stress come into your life? Did you get a not so good doctor’s report. Did you lose your job? Did someone you loved passed away? You certainly are not alone. There are many people in the same boat with you.

So, what do we do to survive in this not so friendly world?

  1. Remember, 90% of what we worry about never happens.
  2. Be strong and keep on keeping on.
  3. Let God take care of your worries. He has big shoulders.
  4. Know that God knows even the hairs on your head. So He knows everything about you and what you need.
  5. Cling to God’s promises. He will never cause you to face more than you can handle.

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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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Depression Can Lead to a Very Dreadful Life

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Some people seem to take God for granted. They go through life blindly thinking they can take on the world alone. Dr. Phil would say, “How is that working for you?”

I was like that once. I didn’t even go to church. There were sports on Sundays I didn’t want to miss.

I got a wake up call from God in 2001. It was March 31st to be exact. I was sitting in my Ford Explorer in a high school parking lot, ready to end my life. I had been struggling with depression, and it was overcoming me.

I finally cried out, God! I can’t take this anymore! There was a sudden calmness around me. I relaxed and ponder what had just happened.

It was like God was saying, “It’s about time you came back to me. Now let me lead you the rest of the way.”

My life changed that day. That day was the first day of the rest of my life.

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I have learned a lot since then.

  1. God is the Father of the fatherless. I was without a father because of divorce. I felt alone and my self image was shot.
  2. God is the defender of widows. There is nothing worse than to lose a loved one. God is there to comfort you during those times.
  3. God senses the loneliness in families. Seems odd to think you are lonely in your own home, but it can happen and is devastating.

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Another thing I learned is that a is my job is to be a leader in my home. Not a dictator that rules the nest with anger. Satan would love for men to claim authority over their family. This only leads to turmoil and sadness.

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Take an inventory of your choices in life. Do you need an overhaul? Is happiness a word you do not understand?

Turn to God. He loves you. He made you in His own image. That means you are His child.

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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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People Think They Are on a Treadmill Going Nowhere

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I am sure most of you have been on a treadmill. Isn’t it interesting that you never get anywhere? You are just at one spot walking as fast as you can. Seems senseless right. Wrong. You are achieving better health and stamina.

It seems like we are in one spot treading to nowhere in our lives. Can’t seem to move forward and achieve what we want out of life.

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If you have been there do not get discouraged. Remember, GOD IS CHARGE!

He knows what you need and don’t need. He knows what is best for you even though you would like something else. God will guide you and show you to the right choices.

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I learned to delight in God’s Word. What He says has been recorded. What He says has been preserved. We need to live by his word. God’s word is food for our soul.

I have prayed and asked God to speak to me. Let it pour down like rain, God.

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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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Life Seems to be Very Tough and Then You Die

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I went to have a blood test today. My doctor wants to check how I am responding to a new prescription. (News at 11:00pm) ;-0

I just read an amazing book, God Comes Through the Soldier. It is the story of John Baker. He is the author and he has taken on an amazing task of sending out hundreds of care packages to our heroes in the Military. It is a huge success, and many soldiers got the lives brightened up. John is a member of my church and He loves to support our troops.

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Here is another excerpt from my first book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.

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Life Is Tough and Then You Die

Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5

God didn’t promise us a rose garden—besides there are thorns in a rose garden. He allows us to go through the storms. He wants us to learn from them and grow.

We question if God is still there for us when we have a crisis. Things pile up and we wonder, Where are You, God? He allows things to happen that are very hard to understand. Why would He let bad things happen to us?

The psalmist wondered the same thing. In the psalms, crying and wailing come out with a vengeance. Psalms can be also joyful and uplifting, but some of them are not joyful, and they teach us that it is OK to question God. It is OK to voice your true feelings to Him. He knows how to handle your feelings—even your anger.

Despair and anger are combined in Psalm 89:46–47:

How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?

How long will your  wrath burn like fire? …

For what futility you have created all men!

In our world today there is much despair and anger. There are gang wars, school shootings, sex abuse, battered wives, seniors getting scammed, racists and terrorists.

All of these could cause even the strongest Christian to act on that anger. You have choices. You could seek justice like a vigilante. You could forget it and let it build up inside you, or you could turn it over to God, who is the only Supreme Court Justice in heaven. He will judge those who have wronged others.

We should never stop being angry or sad about what happens in the world, but we need to turn it over to God, and let Him bring peace in your life.

            Too many people have decided that acceptance of wrong is much easier than trying to fight it. Some live in their own little world and go on as if nothing were happening around them.

I saw this in action when I was in the military. Uncle Sam had me stationed in Korea, and we were traveling through Seoul, Korea. I saw an old woman sitting and leaning against a wall. She was begging for help because she was ill and starving. No one stopped. They just kept on walking by.

All military personnel had been instructed that under no circumstances were we to get out of our vehicles—just keep going. This was because if you tried to help someone they could claim you were the one that caused the problem and then get a big settlement from the government. There were rumors of Korean parents throwing their children in front of army trucks to collect a settlement. We retraced our route on the way back to camp. By then, the woman had fallen over and was dead.

I was very angry. I felt helpless. I wasn’t allowed to help the woman, and she died because of that.

I didn’t know if I could make any difference in life. Could one person out of the billions of people on this earth make a difference?

My mother once remarked that she didn’t know why she should get out of bed anymore. She has macular degeneration (partial blindness) and has to use a walker. Her two main loves (besides my brother and me, of course!) were reading and working in the garden. Now she cannot do either of them. I could understand completely what she meant, but it hurt me deeply that she felt that way. I again felt that same helplessness because I wasn’t able to help her.

Why keep going on? The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The weak fall by the wayside. You spend your whole life trying to have a good retirement, and the cost of living eats up all of your income. Evil seems to win—and good seems far away.

The prisoners in the holocaust had all the reasons to be depressed and to commit suicide. They didn’t do that because they kept clinging to their faith in God.

Is that the secret? By just turning our hurts, frustrations and failures over to God, we can have peace? Of course we can. God is the key. If there is no God, anything goes, but everything is meaningless.

If you stay the course, and always let God hold your hand, everything will have meaning, things will come into focus, and everything will fall into place.

As of this writing, my mother is still alive. She is 93 and lives in an assisted living home. She has trouble understanding why she has to be the way she is as far as her health. The world is coming to the stage where 100-year-old people are more common than ever. But many of them are clinging to life assisted by a machine, or they do not have a quality of life that they prefer.

We have developed many new drugs to help people live longer, but we haven’t invented ways to make them happy. We spend millions to help the poor in our country and other countries, but the number of starving children in Oregon alone is growing at an alarming rate.

We allow sexual freedom in our country go to the point that there is an AIDS epidemic. School drop-out rates are at an all-time high. Pornography can be found for free on the internet. We thought that we sent racism away in the 70s, but it is still staining our society today.

It is no wonder that we feel depression, despair and apathy. This world is not a rose garden anymore. The thorns are tearing at our skin, and leaving scars that won’t go away.

Let me make something very clear: God will take the world as you see it today and make it into the world He wants. I’ve read the end of the book—and we win. The end is all set, and it is up to us to believe it.

So—can you make an impact on the world? You are just one grain of sand on the beach. Can you make a difference? God thinks you can. He made you with a purpose in mind. Yes, I said you. As you read this book, God has a plan for you. God just needs you to ask Him what it is. You can make a difference for others in this tough world.

I used the Psalms as an example of despair and anger. Now let the psalmist soothe you and let you know God is there for you and will carry your burdens for you.

Trouble and distress have come upon me,

but your commands are my delight.

Psalm 119:143

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.

He will never let the righteous fall.

Psalm 55:22

Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge;

no one cares for my life. I cry to you, O Lord; I say,

“You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.

Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need: rescue me

from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.”

Psalm 142:4–6

(Think of the Korean woman dying on the street.)

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O Lord, supported me.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

Psalm 94:18–19

(This should be our prayer any time we are depressed or sad.

We can read it to God and let Him comfort us.)

Further Adventures

There are times when you feel so low that you are not sure you can make it through the day. Use this time to pray. Sit quietly with God and share your deepest feelings. Do not hide anything. (God knows even your inner thoughts.) Let Him know that you need to lean on Him completely right now, and He will pick you up and carry you the rest of the way.

Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny that God knows our every move, but we go on like He is not watching us?

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Have you lost a loved one? Does it seem like everything is happening to you at once?

FEAR NOT!

God is just a prayer away. He loves to listen to your pleas. Tell Him about your sorrows and ask Him to find you comfort.

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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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He Who Angers You Will Control You

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I had a week with heavy exercise. It has paid off. I lost a few pounds this week, and my legs feel stronger. I still have another day of exercise today. Then I will crash for the weekend.

I am sharing another excerpt today from my first book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in and Unfriendly World. It received a national award.

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Chapter 3

He Who Angers You Controls You

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother

will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother,

“Raca” [a term of contempt], is answerable to the Sanhedrin

[body of authorities]. But anyone who says,

“You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Matthew 5:22

I have “a short fuse.” I can be easily offended and strike back with anger. As the years have gone by I realize that anger doesn’t solve anything. It only raises my blood pressure, and allows the other person to win. They get what they want. They got me frustrated and not thinking clearly.

I have finally gotten smarter and have learned to control my feelings to the point where I still may be upset about what has happened, but I don’t let it cause me to verbally strike out toward the other person. I don’t “count to ten.” I turn to God to give me strength to overcome my own feelings and think about the consequences for me if I fail in my quest to help others with their anger. I also ask God to help me have a calm spirit, and an understanding heart. I’m not being a good example to my children—or anyone else—if I don’t.

The following story makes the point about anger very clearly. Got a hammer?

There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him to hammer a nail into the back fence every time he lost control. The first day the boy drove 37 nails into the fence. Then he gradually discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. His father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father led his son to the fence. “You have done well, but look at the holes in the fence,” he said. “When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like the nail holes. You can put a knife in a person and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry,’ the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.

Psalm 37:7

A fool shows his annoyance [temper] at once,

but a prudent man overlooks an insult.

Proverbs 12:16

In your anger do not sin:

Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

Ephesians 4:26

Further Adventures

How do you deal with anger? Do you have loved ones who can’t control their feelings some times? I have been a victim of losing my temper sometimes. I can’t put a bunch of nails in my fence out of anger because Charlotte would want me be put in a safe place so I wouldn’t be harmful to anyone—or the fence—again.

But think about this story each time you get angry. Tell it to your loved ones when they get upset. This is an easy story to remember. It is very short, but its impact could be tremendous.

Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny that when we say kind words to someone they say kind words back?

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So how is your time on this earth going? Have you had a heated exchange with someone? Do you feel badly?

FEAR NOT!!

God is there with you and He will guide you on to how to reconcile with that person. To ask for forgiveness, or to forgive does wonders.

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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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Everything That Can go Wrong Probably Will

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I had four days of exercise last week. At my age you would think that I was almost dead. 🙂 However, I now feel stronger, and will be doing four more days of exercise this week. We will see what happens.

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I am sharing another excerpt from my first book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.

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Chapter 2

Everything that Can Go Wrong Probably Will

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;

 he delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 34:4

Murphy must have been a sad soul. We all live by the laws he created for us. It seems that we blame everything that goes wrong on Murphy’s Law.

You’ve had those days. You get up in the morning and start out happy as a clam. (Not sure how happy that is.) You have some errands to do, and you begin to do them.

You run out of gas, or you have a flat tire. You forgot your grocery list. The item you thought was on sale wasn’t. There is an accident on the freeway, and you are stuck for hours.

Ever had those kinds of days? Let me tell you about mine! I had volunteered to help my son Greg out when he vacationed in Disneyland with my granddaughter Molly. I told him I would pick up his mail every day, put the garbage cans back on Tuesday, and feed Charlie the cat all week.

Everything went well Sunday through Tuesday. But on Wednesday, the worst thing happened. I lost the door key. I had it in my summer shorts when I went to shower. I took off the shorts, showered, and then put on a clean pair of shorts. I left the house and headed over to my son’s house.

Charlie was waiting for me, and already had started his purring sound to let me know he was glad to see me. I got the mail, walked up to the door and reached into my pocket to get the key. It wasn’t there. Charlie was looking up at me looking like, “Why are you taking so long to open the door?”

“Sorry Charlie,” I muttered, sounding like a tuna commercial. “I have to go back home and get the key.” He wasn’t very happy with me as I walked to my car. I felt badly.

I got home and looked everywhere for the key. It was nowhere in sight. I even dumped out the hamper where the dirty clothes were. Zilch! Notta! Ouch!

I remembered that we had a bunch of extra keys in the desk drawer that had no names on them. I dug all of them out and drove back to my son’s house. You guessed it: None of them worked!

I was desperate by this time. I thought that I might have to call a locksmith, or call my son and have him Fed Ex his keys to me.

I prayed for help from God and immediately thought of calling my wife Charlotte to see if she had any ideas. (This was my close encounter with God.) I probably sounded shook up when she answered the phone—maybe because my only words were, “Now what do I do?”

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“I’ve lost the key to the house, and the cat food is on the inside.”

Without hesitating, she suggested, “Go to the grocery store and buy another bag of cat food and feed Charlie outside. He’s an outside cat anyway. Greg can make a new key when he gets home.”

Charlie was really mad at me when I left the second time without feeding him. I returned with a tasty tuna and salmon meal (yum). He gobbled it up and was purring again when I left.

Of course, going to the grocery store was the obvious choice. (You realize, of course, that I actually knew it all along. I was just testing Charlotte.) The important thing was that the answer came after I had prayed for help. Charlotte was the messenger, but God answered the prayer.

God can answer prayers in many ways. It can be directly, or it can be through someone else. Charlotte was my answer to prayer. She knew the easy solution I needed, but I wasn’t able to think of.

Do you call on God to help you when you have a problem, or do you panic like I did? (God has a speed dial you know.) At least, I knew I couldn’t do it on my own and turned to God for help. The calming feeling that came as soon as I finished praying was very reassuring.

It was in God’s hands, and I knew something good would happen. Charlie got fed, and I have a whole bag of cat food for future lockouts.

Don’t let obstacles stop you. Turn your problems over to God. Let Him figure out a solution. It may not come as fast as mine did, but He will work it out the way He knows is best for you.

Since I am on the subject of prayer, please don’t just call on God when there is a problem. Talk to God every day. He loves to hear from you.

I know it is hard to pray when you are at work. It is hard to pray while you are driving. But you know what? When you are driving might be the best time to pray. It is when you are likely to be tense and need a calming spirit. A guy is blowing his horn behind you. Pray seeking patience because you do not know what is going on in this man’s life. He may want to get home because his wife called and is ready to have their first baby. Wouldn’t you be honking?

Prayer should be done without ceasing. Pray each and every day. Use it to praise God. Use it to thank Him for your good health. Use it to pray for peace. Whatever is on your mind, God wants to hear from you. It should be like He is sitting in the room with you. Carry on a conversation with Him.

Do not be anxious about anything,

but in everything, by prayer and petition,

with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,

will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6–7

Further Adventures

Have you gone along in life thinking that everything is fine, only to have a day that makes you realize that the world is not always a rose garden? First of all, remember that we can’t look at everything through rose-colored glasses.

Second, when a bad day comes knocking at your door like it was your long-lost relative, make sure it understands that it can only stay for that day. Then boot it out at the end of the day by giving it over to God in prayer. You should never let your bad days stay longer than they should.

Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny that we always have a direct line to God, but we sometimes think the connection is dead?

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I will be sharing more excerpts in the future so keep coming back. Better yet…go to the top of this page and click on “Subscribe.” When you do all future posts will directly to your inbox.

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Does it seem like the storms are coming too often? Would you rather stay in bed all day?

FEAR NOT!

God is with you 24/7. He will never forsake you. Lean on Him as your fortress. Never give in to the darkside.

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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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Are You Tired of Going Round and Round in This World?

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It has been a quiet day today. (Sure need those from time to time.) I just finished my post at www.dougbolton.com. Go there to see my latest excerpt from my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.

If you or anyone you know are military. This is the site for you.

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Here is another excerpt from my first book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in This Unfriendly World.

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Chapter 1

Stop the World and Let Me Off. I’m Tired of Going ’Round and ’Round

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

I was out of control. The sobbing filled my eyes with tears. I couldn’t see the road ahead of me as I drove my Explorer.

Everything seemed to be going wrong in my life. I had quit two jobs because of guilt. I even failed at running my own business. I quit the two jobs because I had to sell something to customers and I had a hard time trying to force people to buy something they may not really need.

The business that failed was a cash flow venture that helped businesses have a better flow of money while they waited for their accounts receivables to come in. I left that venture because I again had to convince people to take part in something they may not have needed.

Depression, self doubt, fear, anxiety, and even hopelessness, overcame me until I was in the pit of despair. I was a happily married man with three children and several grandchildren. I had a wonderful 25-year teaching career. Why was I feeling so low? Why did I feel so unloved?

All I wanted to do was to stop the madness and check out of this wretched hotel called Earth! I pulled my SUV into a high school parking lot in a secluded area. I was ready to commit suicide. The date was March 31, 2001. The next day was April Fools Day. A very fitting time to have your life end, don’t you think?

I did have the common sense to call my wife Charlotte. She came quickly to where I was. She calmed me down enough to where I thought I could drive myself home. After she left, I sat there behind the steering wheel still crying, and then I yelled, “God, I can’t take this anymore!”

In a flash, there was calmness in me. It even felt different in the vehicle. The air was fresher and cooler. It was as if God were saying, “It’s about time you came back to Me. I have been waiting for you. Let Me carry you the rest of the way.”

My life changed that day. I gave my life back to God.

I had been a Christian since I was about 16. But I was the poster child for a lukewarm Christian.

Yes, I went to church and made sure my children went also, but I wouldn’t say I was a perfect example for them. I rose up in my church to where I was the Sunday school superintendent and on the important Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, but in my heart I didn’t put God first.

On Sundays, I stayed home if there was a good football game on. You didn’t have to go to church every Sunday, did you? God let me know I did. He also let me know of a new direction for me to go.

Why had I allowed myself to fall to such a low spot? Why had I drifted so far away from God?

The answer my friend is I was in a battle with many afflictions like self-doubt, anxiety, etc. Those aren’t fancy medical terms like cardiovascular disease or leukemia, but they are just as deadly. These demons of the mind can control your life to the point where you are not functional. It can cause you to hide from the world and let your life go on unnoticed until you die. It can push you to ending your own life.

This book is for those who want to discuss all the enemies of man like self-doubt, fear of failure, divorce, death in the family, and many others. I want to share with you how God used me to write this book, and how He pulled me out of the muck and mire.

The walls we put up in life can be caused by a loss of a loved one or extreme trauma. We can put them up because of sexual abuse, inappropriate or unclear expectations, divorce, poverty, violence in the family, family addiction or environment.

Do you often feel like you don’t want to go to work? Are there times when you feel like you would rather stay in bed and not face the world? Have you fallen into the pit of despair without even knowing why you did? Have you ever felt lost—and alone?

You are not alone! Close to 19 million American adults, or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older, suffer from some kind of handicapping mental disorder in a given year.1

Now that I have totally broken you down—there is hope! There are treatments that can help you. See your doctor to find what treatment is best for you. Then go to where there is eternal treatment, and that is through your loving heavenly Father.

The first part of this book talks about putting on God’s armor and fighting against the many mental afflictions. This information is from the horse’s mouth. That would be me. I have gone through many battles of my own. I have felt lost, and I thought that there was nowhere to go. I lived that way for many years. I existed from day to day, struggling with my emotions. I found out that I didn’t need to go through the torture. I had places I could go for help. I found out what they were, and I invite you to find out too.

            Bare with me! There is a happy ending.

“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel. Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”

Isaiah 57:18–19

Further Adventures

You know how easy it is to let your emotions take over in your life. You’ve been there. It is too easy to let the little things grow from molehills to mountains. When each trial comes up, try to put it into perspective. Is it something that is going to be life-changing? Is it something you can’t handle yourself?

You could tell in this chapter that I couldn’t handle what was happening to me, and what happened next? I felt God was changing me.

Stop in the middle of your grief and say, “Why am I so out of control? What can I do to stop this madness?” The answer was easy for me. I ran to God like a long lost prodigal son, and He opened His arms and took me back in like any father would do with his own son. You should do the same: Run to God and let Him carry you the rest of the way through your life like He is doing for me.

Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny how we let the smallest winds grow into a full-blown storm?

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I will be sharing more excerpts in the future so keep coming back. Better yet..go to the top of this page and click on “Subscribe.” When you do all future posts will come directly to your inbox. You will glad you did.

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Battling the darkside? Things seem too scary for you right now?

FEAR NOT!

GOD IS IN CHARGE!!

He will not let you be tempted any more than you can handle. Lean on Him to be your fortress, and protector.

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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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How can We Survive in This Not So Friendly World?

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This is a busy day for me. Just got home from have a blood test done, and later today I am off to PT.

I thought the busyness of the holidays would go away, but I guess there is no rest for the wicked

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I promised you that I would be starting a new formatt today. What I will be doing, is sharing excerpts from my first book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.

Each post I will share another excerpt. Keep coming back to read the excerpts. Better yet….

Go to the top of this page and click on “Subscribe.” When you do all future post will go directly to your inbox.

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Preface

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

Psalm 40:1–2

One of the most exciting things that can happen in your life is to have a close encounter with God. Moses had several. A burning bush started talking to him; he went to Mt. Sinai where God gave him the Ten Commandments. He raised his staff during a fierce battle to help fight off the enemy. Moses and the Israelites received manna directly from God.

Elijah had a close encounter with God when ravens brought him food while he was in the wilderness at God’s direction. Daniel met some lions that the bad guys thought would eat him. Instead God calmed the lions—and they became pets for Daniel. Everyone that met Jesus had a close encounter.

God showed His love through many close encounters in the Bible, and He can do it for you today. You may have already had a close encounter without realizing it ever happened. Did you ever turn a corner you hadn’t planned to turn and seen an old friend who would have missed otherwise? Have you ever happened on the scene of a horrible accident you would have been involved in had you been there just a second sooner? During a lightning storm, were you ever close to a strike that hit the ground? Have you ever felt alone and abandoned and cried out to God for help and then felt a real peace that you have never felt before?

You may have encountered some of these situations, or others. God is watching over you every day. He wants to protect you. He has a plan for you and me. If danger is near, He may choose to spare your life because He has a path He wants you to take to help others to know Him better.

I went through some tough times because I felt lost after I retired from teaching. I had no purpose. I tried being a salesman at several places, and even tried to run my own business as a salesman. I failed at all of them. I went into the lowest spot in my life and was ready to end my life. God saved me on March 31, 2001, after I cried out, “God I can’t take anymore of this!” I felt calmness in my heart and even the air around me seemed to cool. It was as if God were saying, “It is about time you came back to Me. I have been waiting for you to return. Let Me carry you the rest of the way.”

From that day on I kept praying to God to tell me why He had saved my life. It didn’t take Him long to point to a technical book I had been tinkering with for a few months. It was a book written for people who worked in the cash flow business that gave ideas on how to be a better salesman. Can you believe I was trying to write a book on that? Sure failure was lurking at my door—again!

I had failed at being a salesman, but God kept prompting me to look at the cash flow book very hard again. What was He trying to tell me?

Why did I keep getting the book-in-progress out? Then God finally woke me up. He wanted me to write about my own experiences with depression and share the love of God with others. As I looked at the manuscript I was working on, the titles fit perfectly into a book of encouraging others. I had been using phrases I had seen on bumper stickers to start each chapter.

            One sticker said, “Need Directions?” Another said, “My way is the highway.” Still another said, “Don’t believe everything you think.”

I had intended them to be chapter titles for teaching selling. As I looked at them, I saw what God wanted.

“Need directions?” was actually God telling us to read the Bible.

“My way is the highway” was God saying that we need to choose the right path that leads us to heaven.

“Don’t believe everything you think” was telling me that Satan can plant garbage in our minds to cause us to drift away from God.

The rest is history. I immediately dove into to writing this book. I was excited the day I started back in 2001, and I am still excited today. I started out writing a book about selling and ended up writing about getting eternal life for free. I had finally found something I could help give away free. No down payment. No monthly installments. No interest rates. Just accept the Lord into your heart and you have a free trip to heaven with its entire splendor.

As I worked on this preface, I searched my computer for the chapter titles I had used for the cash flow book to show how they had been transformed. I came across a statement on the very page I was looking at and saw something I had never seen before. I know I hadn’t typed it because it was in a different color ink. I never use any color but black in my work.

As I read it, I was sure God wanted me to read it. It said: “I love this! Let’s keep going! No catches. Just the peace in knowing that you are able to share God’s love and works to all those you have contact with, and even bless someone you don’t.”

That is exactly how it was typed. I didn’t correct any wording, or add any words to make it look more dramatic for you. It wasn’t sent to anyone but me. It was at the top of the page I was searching for. God may have placed it there way back when I first changed my direction, but I missed it then. But I found it, and it only confirms why I spent the last seven years toiling to get to the final outcome.

            God’s timing is amazing.

I had my own special close encounter with God, and He has been my refuge ever since.

This book hopefully leads you to have a close encounter with God. You may have chosen this book because it deals with the hurts in your life as well as other “afflictions” we all face. They can be crippling, and even deadly. I lived with depression, self-doubt, anxiety, hopelessness and fear of failure for many years until I turned back to God and found help through a doctor who determined I also had a chemical imbalance. Now through a close encounter with God and the right medication I am able to cope and have a productive life.

My original working title, Close Encounters of the Heavenly Kind, comes from a favorite movie of mine, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It is about a man who has visions in his head and can’t understand what is happening. So he goes on a search to find out. That is what people with the many closed walls around them are going through. They are sad, and they can’t cope. They do not know why they are that way. They, too, are searching for answers.

As the book progressed, I wanted a more “hopeful” title for it. And since it is based on sayings and signs I’ve seen and the fact I wanted the book to provide the same hope for others as I have found, I was easily persuaded that the title Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World might be a better fit. You will still find several allusions to “close encounters” throughout the book and I wanted you to know the how and why I use that term so often.

The bumper sticker idea came from my hobby of collecting them for many years. I looked at them again years later, and realized they had some meaning, and I started writing about everyday connections to them.

That is my story (so far) and I am stickin’ to it! I hope that through this book, you will also begin searching for some meaning to become stronger, and choose a path that leads you to a closer relationship with God.

Let the adventure begin.

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I shared the preface to start with to give you a feel of what is ahead from you as you travel with me through the book.

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Have you had those kind of days when you are not sure what is coming at you? You certainly are not alone.

Lean on God for help like I did. He brought me out of the muck and more, and today I am very excited for what life might have in store for me.

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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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+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know.

God is Speaking to You. Are You Listening to Him?

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It is the new year. A new beginning, and we need to forget the negatives from the past.

Have you planned your new year? Are there things you want to change? I have a long list of I want to do. I know I will not be able to do them all. I made the list very long to push me hard.

The first thing on my list is to read the Bible again. I have done it several times, and I have always learned something new everytime I do.

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I remember back when we didn’t have cell phones. It was very hard to get help when you were stuck on the road, and had a flat tire. You had to walk to the nearest phone booth and call for help.

No communication!

Think about this…God’s Word to us will never go away. Not even technology can get rid of God’s words.

God speaks to us through His Word. Are you listening?

This year we ALL need to feed on, delight in, learn from, grow by, stand upon the unchanging life, transforming Word of God.

To truly know God, we must know His word.

God spoke, and it was written down by Moses, the prophets, and disciples. God’s Word is pure trustworthy, and each Word will guide your life.

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I am announcing that with the with the next post there will be changes. You need to come back to see what those changes are. I think you will delight in the new formatt. To make sure you find out what it is, go to the top of this page and click on “Subscribe.” When you do all future posts will come directly into your inbox.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

_______________________________________________________________

+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know.

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