EnduranceThis nine-letter word has taken up residence in my mind of late so it appears the Holy Spirit has something to say to me about it. Just maybe there will be a message for you too as you continue reading.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4 NLT)

It seems this passage, or at least part of it, keeps cropping up in my daily reading lately. When I get to the fourth verse (last sentence), I sometimes break out in song to the tune of the popular song from Disney’s Frozen. (And you thought you were the only one who couldn’t get that song out of your head…not so!)

Let’s back up to the first of those three verses for a moment. Generally that’s the verse that causes me to stumble. When trouble finds us, which is a fairly common occurrence, we are to be joyful. Say what?? I can’t say that my first response to trouble even closely resembles joy. Nor my second or third for that matter. It is helpful to read the next two verses in order to see the bigger picture. Those two verses provide the explanation behind that somewhat odd suggestion in Verse 2.

I came across these words from Philip Yancey this morning when I tripped over this Scripture passage yet again:

“’Rejoicing in suffering’ does not mean Christians should act happy about tragedy and pain when they feel like crying. Such a view distorts honesty and true expression of feelings. Christianity is not phony. The Bible’s spotlight is on the end result, the use God can make of suffering in our lives. Before He can produce that result, however, He first needs our commitment of trust in Him, and the process of giving Him that commitment can be described as rejoicing.”

Has trouble come your way? Are you ready to put your trust in Him? The end result is heavenly!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

As my capacity for physical endurance seems to be diminishing, I find comfort in knowing that a different kind of endurance is emerging.

Let it grow, Let it grow….(sing it)!


psalms 46-10Admittedly, this five-letter word presents me with quite a battle on a daily basis. I just don’t do still very well. Never did. How about you? I have fought it to the point of exhaustion over these past four years as I have labored to regain at least some of the movement that I lost during my infamous elbow surgery. I have pushed through the resulting chronic pain to the greatest extent possible all because I fear what might happen if I stop. Every so often God takes the choice right out of my hands as if to say to me, “You sure are a slow learner. When are you going to get it, Polly? Just please be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

I’m in one of those places right now. I was in rather significant pain for the 3 weeks leading up to a somewhat unrelated procedure last week, but I kept moving as best I could nonetheless. The procedure left me with a sizable gash in my right thigh that has put me on the sidelines. Movement is not my friend; therefore, being still is! Well, it’s supposed to be anyhow. A funny thing happened during my time on the bench this week. That pain that was wreaking havoc in my upper body leading up to the procedure has subsided for the most part. Why? I believe in large part because I was still. Had that procedure not landed me on the sidelines, I imagine I would still be trying to push through the pain and getting very little relief.

This is just one example of my battle against that five-letter word, still. It spills over into other areas of my life as well. Lysa TerKeurst pointed out in one of her recent books that God created us as human beings, not human doings. Hmm..think about that. No, God is not condoning laziness. However, I believe what God wants more than our acts of service, is our acknowledgement of who we are in Christ and who He is.

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26 NLT)

We did not do anything to deserve such a title. Jesus paid the price for our sins so that we could be part of God’s family. What a privilege! The benefits are immeasurable. Today I vow to let go of the reins yet again and rest in the assurance that He’s got this!

He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27 NLT)

I need to get out of His way and simply be…still. Perhaps you do too.


No Matter What


In a span of three weeks I had the privilege of awakening to these two equally breathtaking sights that are about as opposite as they come. My husband and I were fortunate to be able to escape Western Pennsylvania winter for a week of respite in Mexico in celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary. What a glorious week it was! I found that 75 and sunny suited me quite well in February! One of my favorite parts of the whole trip was sitting on the balcony in the quiet of the morning taking in the sunrise. There’s just something about seeing the sun reflecting off the water that makes me more fully appreciate the magnificent beauty of God’s creation.

This morning was equally beautiful in its own right, most especially because I could view it from inside the walls of my heated home! The sun was present in both of these scenes, but only visible in one of them. The cloud cover was too great this morning to be able to see the sun, yet it was still there.

This makes me think of the storms we encounter in our lives. Sometimes the clouds are so thick that we feel as though the Son isn’t present. We feel separated, yet just like the sun, He’s there.

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NLT)

What a beautiful promise for a believer! He is with us even when, and perhaps most especially when, we don’t sense His presence. When we accept Jesus, Son of God, as Lord and Savior of our lives, the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside us.

“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, ‘He takes from me and delivers to you.’ (John 16:12-15 MSG)

Life can be messy, but how comforting it is to know that we have a built-in Friend and Guidance Counselor in the form of the Holy Spirit who will walk with us and lead us through the storms of our lives!

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)

The weather forecaster says the sun’ll come out tomorrow. (Go ahead, break out in song.) Time will tell if that forecast is accurate, but, either way, we can rest in the assurance that the sun AND the Son are always present.

One Word…(or so)


During this current sermon series, Small Things, Big Difference, my pastor is encouraging each member of the congregation to focus on one word, one verse and one thought throughout 2015. It has been a pleasure watching so many accept the challenge. It took a few days, but eventually I settled on the word FAITH. My verse is Matthew 17:20—

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

After what God has done for me, I, of all people, should not be lacking faith. I think that’s what makes it all the more embarrassing. The largest spiritual marker in my life occurred 18+ years ago when my daughter beat the odds of surviving a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. No one needs to tell me that God is in the miracle business. And yet I still struggle with doubt when the going gets tough. I am no different from the Israelites who began grumbling shortly after God delivered them from the Egyptians by parting the Red Sea. Maybe you can relate.

In a sermon on faith given by our current Pastor Emeritus several years ago, he stated that maybe the issue isn’t really a lack of faith. For some, it’s not that we don’t believe God CAN do it, but rather that we have difficulty believing He will do it for us. That obviously hit home because I remember that statement to this day.

Reflecting on my word and my verse these past few weeks has led me to my one thought—He WILL do it for me! I’m trying to leave my “glass half empty” mentality behind. It has since occurred to me that maybe I’ve settled on the wrong word. Perhaps my word should be POSITIVE…

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

or should it be REMEMBER??

But be careful that you don’t forget the Lord. Remember that he brought you out of Egypt. That’s the land where you were slaves. (Deuteronomy 6:12 NIRV)

Working backwards from my one thought has led to more choices and they are all good. Maybe I could get extra credit for choosing three!