Persevere Through Hope

Don’t give up. Have you ever heard those words and thought, “Sure. Fine for you to say, but you don’t know what I’m going through here.” I’ve been on that path right beside you. I know how it feels. You know – like if you had a towel. you’d throw it in. There are many reasons not to throw in the towel or call it quits or give up on that thing you know is worth the effort.

When my grandson Tyler was in preschool he wanted to carry the basket while shopping with my daughter. As each item was added to that little red basket, the weight got heavier and heavier. My daughter observed this and offered to take the basket herself, but he said, “No, I’ll persevere.” It was a significant burden for a little guy, but he insisted on carrying the load until they reached their destination – the checkout, the relief station, the completion.

If we could define the storybook life, we would all fill up our baskets with perfect health, sports without injury, relationships with no rejection, scrumptious food with no calories, kind acts, no bullies, all fun and pain would be absent. Even though full, our baskets would be a light as air, as weightless as happiness.

That isn’t how it is though. Life is a contact sport and sometimes it can really beat us up. We live in a fallen world full of sadness, sickness, baskets that grow heavy with burdens. But we are implored to not give up. In fact, Hebrews 10:36 spells it out for us. “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” If you read that entire chapter you will see that people lived with conflicts, insurmountable afflictions and they suffered greatly. “I’ll persevere.” became their mantra.

Maybe you never feel like giving in. You might never reach the saturation point and wonder how you can go on. If you’re that person, reach out to others who need your courage. The word encourage means to instill courage in others. Be the person who touches the heart of the hurting.

If you are on the edge of giving up and questioning how you can take one more step, here’s your answer. Yes, you can. It’s called hope. 

Help someone else. Do something for another person, expecting nothing in return.

Organize your private world – this might take some thought and effort but this is powerful. Organize your private world means thinking through and writing down what is important to you. You don’t have to love writing to jot down what you want your life to look like. Organizing your private world also includes getting rid of clutter in your living space that blurs your focus and becomes a distraction. A little bit of clutter is a byproduct of a full life, but when it becomes a distraction. A little bit of clutter is a byproduct of a full life, but when it becomes too much, it’s a burden, not a blessing.

Pray. You knew this was coming, but I can’t apologize for bringing it up over and over. You can even pray, “Lord please remove burden, but if you choose not to take it, at least lift the weight.” The more prayer you put in your basket, the less room there is for all those burdens. If you want to know the benefits of prayer, read James 5.

Embrace opportunities. This might sound impossible because when we feel defeated, we don’t recognize opportunities. Opportunities aren’t always seen with human eyes, they are often seen only with the heart. Sometimes we have to remember where we are in our life journey. “Focus on what you have not on what you’ve lost. Capitalize on what you can do, not on what you cannot.”

So here we go. Hope to continue. Hope to persevere. Hope shared with others. Hope to last a lifetime.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4



Education 4Knees by Gregory M. Martin, M.D. – Book Summary

“Are your knees painful, stiff, or swollen? Whether you’re feeling occasional twinges, are in constant pain, or are looking to avoid future problems with your needs, this book is for you.” Reading that statement on the back of the Education 4Knees book coverbook sold it for me. I’m at the beginning stages of knee pain and I know, if there’s one thing I don’t want in my life right now, it’s knee surgery! In this one volume I learned about the anatomy of the knee, why things go wrong with my knees, preventative measures to keep my knees healthy, exercises to strengthen my knees, treatments for knee pain, and how to gauge when it’s time to have surgery, if ever. This book was written by Gregory M. Martin, M.D. who is a board-certified Harvard fellowship trained knee surgeon.

Included in the book is a fitness program created by Bob Habib, RPT who is a registered physical therapist with 30 years of experience treating knee disorders. Even though this book was written by highly educated and credentialed individuals, it was so well written and easy to understand, I was able to apply what I learned from it immediately. From simply fixing your diet, to performing knew strengthening exercises, to understanding the parts of the knee, to considering treatments for pain, the book really is for you.

Read the book summary of Education 4Knees by Gregory M. Martin, M.D.  here.



Have you ever been tense?  Do we know what tension is? Where does it come from? I’m sure we can come up with a few examples.  According to the dictionary, tension is the act or state of being stretched or strained, manifested in strained relationships, mental or emotional strain, a situation or condition of hostility, suspense, or uneasiness.  Can anyone here identify with those signs of tension? How about the tension caused by a schedule packed too tight? You know the one where the agenda in your hand and clock on the wall are in direct conflict with the speedometer of your car. We rush off toward our destination, hoping for no red lights, and please God, no semis. Just when you think you’ve won the battle – the flashing strobe light behind you tells a different story. Now this is tension in its truest form. Tense!

Tension is one of the leading causes of headaches, back aches, and shoulder pain. The makers of pain reducing medication love tension; we do not. It’s a pain – literally! Tension is also responsible for anxiety, even debilitating anxiety.  Tension can come from the worry cycle. Did you know that worry stems from control? It’s that overwhelming feeling of helplessness when a situation is outside our control. We obsess about it until we’re in a state of inertia, unable to act, but fear the outcome. Tension! Someone said 90% of the things we worry about, never happen. I think ratios are impossible to apply to anything of a subjective nature. Still, worry solves nothing. “Why pray, when you can worry?” or maybe we should turn that around and say “Why worry, when you can pray?”

Tension! Did you know tension can be good? Think of tendons in our arms and legs. If there was no tension we couldn’t walk or lift our arms.  We couldn’t write or use a keyboard.  Lack of just the right amount of tension to belts holding parts of our engine together is a guarantee our cars won’t run; they won’t even start.  The result of poorly calibrated tension in the threading mechanism of sewing machines is a tangled mess of knotted thread. Tension, properly applied is good.

How do we coexist in a world with the reality of tension? Our schedules are always going to be over stuffed, many of our tasks are never fully complete, we get sick, circumstances are outside our control, we have regrets, we fear the future. Sound familiar?

While reading the Bible this morning, Psalm 39 shouted at me and made me realize how tension can so quickly become anxiety and how easily it creeps in to suffocate my joy. “My frustration grew; my anxiety intensified. As I thought about it, I became impatient. Finally I spoke these words: “O Lord, help me understand my mortality and the brevity of life! Let me realize how quickly my life will pass!” If my ultimate goal is to live Jesus in front of people, I can’t let the tensions of this life render me useless. Isaiah 8:22 describes what can happen when I take my eyes off of God and forget to live out his purpose. “When one looks out over the land, he sees distress and darkness, gloom and anxiety, darkness and people forced from the land.”

That’s not what I want to portray in my life. I don’t want others to see gloom and anxiety. I don’t want to live in such a state of tension that I can’t be thoughtful of others and be a helper to them.  If I’m going to be impatient, I want to be impatient to live my life reflecting the Light of the World. I want the tension in my life to be calibrated to the level of strength and motivation, but well within tolerance of God’s plan.

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy.

My goal today is to provide an encouraging word that brings joy.  I’ll start by seeking the Lord of my life.


I hear there is rain in the forecast. Interesting fact for the climate, but what does that mean outside the atmosphere? Many of us are affected by gloomy weather. Cloudy outside and … well what if that created an opportunity to be sunny inside. I think of a candle that shines so much brighter in the dark than when it’s in a room full of light. Think of  how that relates to how having the inside right, makes the outside take care of itself.

When it’s dark, gloomy, and raining, don’t we put on a raincoat, and maybe even shield ourselves with an umbrella? Why is that? Sure, too keep from getting wet. But isn’t it more than that? Isn’t it also to make sure our clothes stay dry, that we keep from getting cold, and worse yet, from getting sick? We protect the inner layer so we don’t suffer the ill effects later on. That’s how it is with the rain that drips irritations, drizzles frustrations, and all out cascades sorrow into our lives. We can be sheltered from  have to get out the armor, the rain coat, the umbrella (favorite Bible verses, supportive friends, and prayer).  It’s a new day we’re approaching . . . in fact, it’s here. Ready? Have you talked with God yet? Have you told him everything that’s on your heart? He knows it anyway, but have the heart to heart, get it out there where you can see at least the next step in your path. That’s why we have the light. It’s a good start and that’s all we need to get our shine on. Did you know our world depends on us to bring light? Somebody has to do it.  Why not us? Let God carry you high today…..shine shine shine. God will make today beautiful. Rebecca St. James – You make everything beautiful