Someone Degrading you? Time for Selective Hearing

                 There is Hope for Those Who Seek

 I would like tro share with you an actual excerpt from my book: “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.” It will be coming out in about sixty days. You can pre-order it at: www.winepresspub.com. If you do, you will save 27% of what the retail price will be when it comes out at Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Amazon.com.

It is for those of us who suffer the many afflictions that are going around now because of the economy.  

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Don’t Despair—Mighty Mouse Will Save the Day

 

I used to love the cartoon “Mighty Mouse.” The song always got me pumped: “Mighty Mouse is on the way. Mighty Mouse will save the day!”

Are you feeling like you are alone, and unwanted? I have been there.

I have some mighty answers for you. It is the Doug Bolton “Top 20 Countdown” that will help you save the day and love God. With apologies to David Letterman.

20. Do you have trouble getting to know someone? Is it hard for you to make friends? Remember: Strangers are family once you get to know them.

19. The world is divided into two categories: the ones who will accomplish a great deal, and those who won’t accomplish anything. You will be the one who will accomplish much, if you allow God to help you.

18. No one is going to love you more if you are fat or skinny. They will love you because of the person you are.

17. When you hate someone and want them to hurt, you hurt yourself. Spend more time trying to help others feel good about themselves, and you will feel good about yourself too.

16. You do not need to let stress control you. You do not need to be a workaholic. It is OK to rest. Jesus takes over when you can’t cope. 

15. When you feel depressed because of losing a loved one, remember God knows your pain. He saw His only Son buried.

16. When someone is trying to degrade you, it is time for selective hearing.

13. You just took another breath while you read this. Thank God for it.

12. When you marry, you need to stay together even when the skin starts to wrinkle and the excitement fades.

11. God’s goal is not to make us happy; it is to make us His. It is not to give us what we want; it is to give us what we need.

10. If God doesn’t come to your rescue right away, maybe He is waiting until you give away your pride.

9. Don’t apply labels to people until you have examined the contents.

8. Everyone is unique even down to the fingerprints and DNA. God has a plan just for you and wants you to use the talent He gave you. Yes, you!

7. The greater the future you have, the greater the attack will be from the prince of darkness. Pray for God’s protection, and Satan will be fish bait!

6. While you can’t control someone else’s heart, you can control yours.

5. Don’t say, “Thanks, God, I can take it from here,” and then not check in with God until the next crisis. Pray without ceasing.

4. All the great hitters in baseball fail two out of three times.

3. The most common command in the Bible? “Fear not.”

2. Practice makes perfect. Study God’s Word each day and learn more of His love for you.

AND the number one reason you will conquer depression is … (Drum roll please)

1. God made you in His own image. Shouldn’t that make you think He wants everything to go well for you? Trust Him to provide all your needs—emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The teacher blood left in me now has an assignment. Start your own positive list of thoughts to help you fight off depression.

Read it every day and add to it.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

You can make it through a life that is a swamp full of alligators and horrible storms!  Move on to more sunny days.  Move on to where there is hope. Move on to the light at the end of the tunnel. Move away from those alligators that will be made into shoes if they don’t leave you alone.

Depression and the many other mental afflictions do not go away in a flash. I still have bouts with them from time to time, but I quickly concentrate on the positive. I concentrate on God and all His love He has to share with me. I concentrate on my family, my children, my grandchildren. I concentrate on the good things that have happened in my life.

Because I do all that, I see that the pluses far outweigh the negatives every time. It is like the song says: “Count your blessings; name them one by one. Count your many blessings; see what God has done.”

If you can’t think of enough blessings, know that I love you with all my heart, and so do millions of other people who suffer with the many afflictions in their lives. We know your pain, and we are praying for you daily.

We are many, and Satan is only one stupid misguided angel. We can defeat him if we all work together. We are an unbeatable team when we have one goal. That goal is to live productive Christian lives in which we stand on solid ground, not on the shifting sands of our emotions.

Pain and Suffering Visit you Like long Lost Relatives

 

God Promises a Safe Landing,

Not a Calm Passage

 

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25–26

 

This earth is a wonderful place to be. God has provided breath-taking beauty and the opportunity to live an abundant life.

I often look in wonder when I see the Cascade Mountains from my home in Oregon. Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters, all still covered with snow, are all in view on clear days. Every time I see them, I think of the awesome power of God, and yet I also see His fine-tuning of our earth for us to enjoy.

He wants us to love our earth and to enjoy our days, but He does not promise us a rose garden. Sometimes we have to face trials and afflictions that put us on the edge of questioning God’s love.

Suffering and pain are everywhere is this world. Why would a loving God allow this? Are we doing something wrong? Are we being punished for some sin we’ve committed? After all, He allowed millions of His own chosen people to be put through torture and death during Hitler’s time. Why would He allow all that to happen?

Pain is no stranger to me. I have faced numerous times when pain and suffering tried to control my life. Let me briefly explain some of the pain God has allowed me to have:

 

  1. A double ruptured hamstring with internal bleeding causing pain down my entire left leg.
  2. Double mumps as a child so bad that at one point I could hardly breathe.
  3. Apnea, so I sleep with a mask that helps me sleep more deeply.
  4. An ulcer that kept me on baby food for a month.
  5. Pneumonia that had me down for long time.
  6. Both ankles badly sprained, severely damaging tendons.
  7. Hearing loss that requires hearing aids in both ears.
  8. Throat constriction so severe that I wear a medical alert bracelet to warn doctors about putting tubes down my throat.
  9. Neck surgery to relieve severe and constant pain in my right arm.
  10. Quadruple cardiac bypass surgery.
  11.  Gall bladder surgery, prompted by severe abdominal pain.
  12.  Back surgery because my spine had narrowed (stenosis) so badly that I had numbness down both legs, including my feet.
  13.  Achilles tendon surgery.
  14.  Skin cancer surgery.
  15. The embedding of a pacemaker to keep my heart beating properly.
  16. I had a kidney stone rip through last week.
  17.  Three other minor surgeries.

Eighteen incisions—and counting. (Of course, that doesn’t include the unseen scars from my bouts of depression.) The bright side is that there aren’t too many places left to cut for surgery. (OK! I know there are many more places, but I am trying to trick the doctors who may read this.)

Pain comes knocking at my door, lets itself in and stays—sort of like relatives who say they’re just popping in for the weekend and end up staying for more than a month.

People have asked me how I have managed to stay positive during all the times of discomfort.

What they didn’t realize is that not all days have been positive. I have dealt with depression and my own doubt that God loved me during these times. I am like any other person on this earth. I understand the anxiety and depression that can set in during times of pain.

Even Paul had some hard times with trials. He talks about a “thorn in the flesh.” Perhaps it was some kind of physical ailment.

 

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:8–9

 

I have prayed many times for all the pain to go away, but I sense God saying, “Lean on Me and you will survive.”

Another version of the Bible words the above passage, “My power works best in your weakness.” God uses those who are afflicted to help others who are in similar situations. We can relate to their pain and suffering if we have gone through it. And because of that, they will listen.

 

Another person may try to help, but they do not know the pain. They do not know how depressed a person gets during a time like this.

I can truthfully say to them, “I’ve been there and done that.” What a blessing that is. They’re more willing to talk freely and share their deepest feelings, and I can help them by sharing what God has done for me during similar times.

Once I tried to help a friend who was working through issues I had never faced—nothing even close. His response was that I had no idea what he was going through and to back off. He was right. All I can really do for him is continue to pray for him and be there when he wants to talk. And keep my big mouth shut until then.

The all-time winner for having pain—both physical and mental—has to be Job. He had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 1,000 oxen, 500 donkeys and many servants to take care of them. In one day:

  1. 1.      all of his oxen and donkeys were stolen and all but one of his servants caring for the animals were killed
  2. 2.      his sheep and all but one of the servants herding them were destroyed by fire
  3. 3.      all his camels were stolen and all but one of the servants tending them were killed by the marauders

“Enough,” we would say. But then a messenger came to tell him that all ten of his children had died when the house they were in collapsed in a windstorm.

Most of us would be yelling at God and wondering why He allowed all of this to happen. But in all of what had happened to Job “did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (Job 1:22).

This infuriated Satan, so he asked God for permission to test Job further by afflicting him physically with “painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head” (Job 2:7). The litany of my pain that I shared in this chapter doesn’t begin to compare to what Job went through.

            Even though his wife suggested he simply curse God and die, Job responded with a question: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2: 10).

Job went through some depressing times, and even questioned God as most of us would do under similar circumstances. But in the end he never turned away from God. Because of this God gave him back much more than he had before, including children.

The key to all of this is what Job said: “Shall we receive only pleasant things from the hand of God, and never anything unpleasant?”

God is powerful. He could destroy everything in an instant. We expect Him to always protect us from harm and hardships. In the case of Job, God allowed him to be tested, and Job became even stronger in the end.

God allows us to be tested. We should look at pain, suffering and hardships as God’s way to make us stronger, like Job. Through trials, we learn to rely more on God. We sometimes move Him out of our thinking process when everything is going smoothly. So He may use pain to get our attention back on Him.

Many of those who survived concentration camps have said their faith in God became even stronger while they were going through the torture. They had only God to cling to. That was the only way they had been able to stay strong from day to day.

 

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

Psalm 30:5

 

“Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.”

– M. Kathleen Casey

 

Further adventures

Praise God under the worst situation you are going through, and He will bless you far more than you could ever imagine. Try it and see how He puts His arms around you and holds you through the storm.

 

Something to ponder

Isn’t it funny how God is always there no matter what you’re going through?

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

 

 

Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World

Ten Books, Many with Autographs, Given Away Free!

Today, instead of sharing an excerpt from my book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World, I wanted to let you know that I am going to do my fun book give away promotion again. It was very popular that last time I did it. So I am going to throw it at you again. I am going to have a longer deadline this time. The last one I did over a weekend and got good responses. This promotion is going until Monday night the 8th of February. Because I am doing this I am going to give away many more books.

I am giving away ten (10) books to the first 10 people that sign-up for my free online newsletter. Here is how it will work:

  1. The first one to subscribe will have first dibs of the books that will be given away. That means the sooner you subscribe, the more chances you have of getting the book you want for free.
  2. This may be a long process to give out all the books, because some people don’t answer the emails very fast. If you subscribe to try to get a book, please respond to my email letting you know you are a winner, ASAP. That way you will not be holding up the next person down the line from being able to choose a book. If I have to wait too long, I will let the rest of the people choose before you.
  3. All ten books will be wonderful books. Some of them will have the author’s autograph in them.
  4. Here is the list of the books:

 

  • Three Cups of Tea-By David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson.

This book has been a national # 1 New York Times Bestseller list for months. It is autographed by David Relin.

The Shack-By William Paul Young. This book has been in the top five on the New York Times bestseller list for a couple of years. It has sold over 7 million copies. It is autographed by Young.

The Missionary-By William Carmichael and David Lambert. This is a story of a missionary that gets way over his head, and suddenly becomes an international fugitive. Lots of suspense and thrills. I have two books of this. One autographed by Carmichael, and the other autographed by Lambert. You get to choose.

Eyes of Elisha-By Brandilyn Collins. Brandilyn is one of the most beloved Christian Fiction authors in the business. This book is autographed by Brandilyn. Here is a promotional phrase from the book. “The murder was ugly. The killer was sure no one saw him. Someone did.” Gives me goose bumps, and wants me to be all over that book!!

That is all the autographed books I have for now, but the following are books by top authors that sold millions themselves.

I have a three pack of mini books written by some of the top authors. Why God?-By Charles Swindoll; America Looks Up-By Max Lucado, and When Tragedy Strikes-by Charles Stanley, will all go to one subscriber in one bundle. All of these books are very timely for what is happening in our world today.

Where is God When It Hurts?-By Philip Yancey. This is one of my personal favorites. This book is a national best seller. It speaks about the physical pain many of us endure, and how we can be blessed through it. It was special for me when I went through six major surgeries.

The Power of a Praying Parent-By Stormie Omartian. Stormie has several best selling books on the theme of prayer. We as parents need to know what we can do to help when our children are going through trials, no matter what their age is. This is a must book if you have children.

The Revelation-By Beverly Lewis. Arguably the top Christian Fiction writer on the planet. One of you will have this new book for you to read, just by being one of the top ten to subscribe.

90 Minutes in Heaven-By Don Piper, and written by Cecil Murphy. There are more than a million copies of this in print. It rose to the top over night. Don Piper was trapped in his car after an accident and he was pronounced dead. Then a friend happened to be driving by, and stayed by Don and prayed for an hour and a half…. I will let you read to find out what happened.

Summer-By Karen Kingsbury. Again one of the top Christian Fiction writers in the business. You can have this book if you are one of the top ten in subscribing to my free online newsletter and it is still available.

There you have it. Ten of the most loved books in the business, and you can have one of them if you subscribe to me online newsletter. The newsletter is free, and it will have excerpts from my book coming out in late August or early September called: Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World. The newsletter will also have a page just for writers. It will have rough drafts from my new book, Becoming Famous before you are Famous. It is about how to build your platform and do your branding long before you even think of approaching a publisher. There are two other pages that will have sports from my home state of Oregon, and ideas on how to cope in this troubled world.

The next time I post I will have an actual excerpt from the book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World. So go over to the Facebook networks icon and click on follow. You will then be able to come back and read the excerpts as they come out.