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Hope, The Treasure of Relationships, Words of Endurance

God wants us to live authentically – fragile believers, learning to trust Him and each other in relationships intent on love. He wants us out of hiding, acknowledging each other without performance or quotas. He wants us to experience His power – healing us as He releases us into a life worth living. This is the Church. This is the Church in the Room of Grace!
THE CURE (JOHN LYNCH, BRUCE MCNICOL, BILL THRALL)



Grace is God’s love in action.  It is the glue that mends our brokenness.  It fills in the cracks, covers over the chips and holds the broken pieces together.  No wonder it is essential! Grace puts the finishing touch – the brilliant shine – on our most precious relationships.



What a precious treasure! Because God first extended grace to us, we have the privilege of passing it on to others. Grace is a commodity of heaven that perfects the beauty of our most treasured relationships.



Some have said that if we would “walk in grace,” most of our relationship conflicts would never occur. So what does grace look like in our lives and in our relationships? Here are a few examples …



Grace takes the high road in human relationships.
It chooses to reach out rather than retaliate,
to forgive rather than turn away in contempt or indifference.



Grace doesn’t judge or condemn.
It doesn’t presume to be better than others.



Grace accepts us right where we are
and places no expectations on us.
It is given freely – no strings attached.



Grace has thick skin.
It isn’t easily wounded, offended or put off.
When wounded it refuses to wound others.



Grace isn’t shocked by the depth of human brokenness and sinfulness.
It embraces the one made in the image of God
no matter how marred the image may be.



Grace makes God’s love real to even the hardest,
most wretched, wounded and hopeless heart.



No wonder we need grace!  It is a powerful, necessary commodity for our treasured relationships in the darkness of suffering. We will close with the grace filled words of the Apostle Paul …



Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.
Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
Love each other with genuine affection,
and take delight in honoring each other.
Never be lazy, but work hard
and serve the Lord enthusiastically.



Rejoice in our confident hope.
Be patient in trouble and keep on praying.
When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.
Always be eager to practice hospitality.



Bless those who persecute you.
Don’t curse them;  pray that God will bless them.
Be happy with those who are happy,
and weep with those who weep.
Live in harmony with each other.
Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people.
And don’t think you know it all!



Never pay back evil with more evil.
Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.



Dear friends, never take revenge.
Leave that to the righteous anger of God.
ROMANS 12:9-19 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Dave and Jan Dravecky

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Grace, The Treasure of Relationships, Words of Endurance

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another,
just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
EPHESIANS 4:32 (NLT)



In the darkness of suffering, our flaws stand out like beacons in the night. Family and friends don’t meet the hurting person’s needs. They interfere when they shouldn’t. They say stupid things or they don’t say anything at all. They don’t understand the pain.



And the actions and attitudes of hurting people are no less flawed. “Hurting people aren’t always nice,” Joni EarecksonTada explains. “Suffering can really breed selfishness or insensitivity … sometimes down right rudeness.”



How is it possible to find treasure in such an environment? The key is in one word: forgiveness. Whenever we find ourselves in the darkness we must learn to live a lifestyle of forgiveness if we want our relationships to survive and grow.



Love prospers when a fault is forgiven,
but dwelling on it separates close friends.
PROVERBS 17:9 (NLT)



Unfortunately many of us don’t understand forgiveness. We may agree and know that forgiveness is a good and right thing to do but we find it difficult to implement in our own lives. True forgiveness is able to take place when we acknowledge that we will fail others and they will fail us. We all need forgiveness.



Learning to forgive requires divine assistance. We may know that we need to forgive but feel utterly unable to.  That is when we can confess our predicament to God and ask for His help. That’s what concentration camp survivor Corrie ten Boom did when after the war one of the “most cruel” guards asked her for forgiveness. Be encouraged as you read her words:



“I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there,
but I would like to hear it from you as well.
Fraulein,” he thrust his hand out to Corrie,
“will you forgive me?”



I stood there and could not forgive …
to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with
the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.
I had to do it – I knew that.
And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart.
Jesus, help me! I prayed silently.
I can lift my hand. You supply the feeling.
And so mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me.
And an incredible thing took place.
The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm
and sprang into our joined hands.
And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being,
bringing tears to my eyes.



“I forgive you brother!” I cried. “with all my heart.”
For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands,
the former guard and the former prisoner.
I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.



On the journey with you,
Dave and Jan Dravecky

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Cancer, Words of Endurance

I have learned to go to God first
when a relationship hits a rough spot.
Every time I try to handle it on my own,
I muck it up.
WIFE OF A CANCER PATIENT



The darkness of suffering creates an environment in which misunderstanding and miscommunication can flourish. When we are forced to navigate through that darkness we all too often bump up against the rough edges, impurities, flaws and weaknesses that mar even our most precious relationships. Our greatest treasures at times may appear to be nothing more than worthless stones.



In such an environment, we may need to refine our relationship skills if we want our relationships to endure and become the the priceless treasures God intended them to be. Just as we need to cut and polish precious stones to reveal and enhance their beauty, we need to chisel away rough edges, cut out impurities and polish our relationships.



Whether we need a crash course in relationship building and maintenance or we simply need to refine our relationship skills, the first most basic truth about relationships is that we can not do it alone – we need God’s help. No matter what relationship challenges we face, we need to ask for God’s help before we do anything else. He is our starting point for polishing the treasure of healthy relationships.



If you don’t know what you are doing,
pray to the Father.
He loves to help.
You’ll get his help and
won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.
JAMES 1:5 (THE MESSAGE)



God is the author of relationships and the Trinity is the perfect example of relationship unity. God wants our relationships and love for one another to emulate His love. In fact, He commands us to get along with others.



Do all that you can
to live in peace with everyone.
ROMANS 12:18 (NLT)

God knows firsthand how challenging that can be. Jesus lived with a large family in cramped quarters. He was a son, a brother, an employee, a co-worker, a neighbor and a friend. So when we talk with God about our relationship problems He completely understands. But more than that He can help us deal with relationship challenges.



Now that we know what we have –
Jesus, this great High Priest
with ready access to God –
let’s not let it slip through our fingers.
We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality.
He’s been through weakness and testing,
experienced it all – all but sin.
So let’s walk right up to him and
get what He is so ready to give.
Take the mercy, accept the help.
HEBREWS 4:14-16 (THE MESSAGE)



Just as it takes knowledge and wisdom to cut a gemstone, it takes knowledge and wisdom to bring out the beauty of our relationships. We don’t have that on our own but God does. God alone knows the hearts and motives of all men so He knows all about the flaws behind the relationship challenges we experience.



“For the LORD sees every heart and
knows every plan and thought.”
1 CHRONICLES 28:9 (NLT)



As the creator of relationships, He can guide us through problems we can’t begin to solve. As the source of life and love, God has the power to fix what is broken – to correct what is wrong. He can empower us to love and forgive others even if it is the last thing we think we can do.



On the journey with you,
Dave and Jan Dravecky

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Grace, Guilt, Relationships, The Treasure of Relationships, Words of Endurance

The most perfect people in the world have imperfections, and so do we.
And sometimes it is quite difficult for us to tolerate each other.
We are to “bear one another’s burdens,
and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galations 6:2),
and I think this means, among other things,
that we are to bear the burden of each other’s imperfections.
FENELON



One precious treasure I uncovered was learning not to expect perfection in relationships. No matter how much we long and strive for perfection – we will always fail. We all have strengths and gifts but we also all have weaknesses and warts.

For everyone has sinned;
we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
ROMANS 3:23 (NLT)



So learning to accept people and ourselves – warts and all – is very important. I had been guilty of thinking that if anything went wrong in a relationship it was over. I learned that relationships are a continual work in progress. I learned how to work through the challenges in order to experience the richness of the relationships God had given me.



Another treasure was discovering the power of grace in relationships. Grace is being able to love others and ourselves despite their warts and ours. What could be more precious than the security of knowing that another person loves and accepts you even when he or she sees the ugly part of you! What could be more valuable than to give that love, acceptance and resulting security to another!



There is no doubt that adversity experienced in the valley of suffering tests every one of our relationships. But adversity also has a way of strengthening our relationships by eliminating the trivial, exposing what is false and focusing our attention on the true nature of our relationships. Some relationships will not endure the pressure of adversity but others – even relationships that have been miserable for years – will emerge strengthened and restored. What a priceless treasure!



Overlook an offense and bond a friendship;
fasten on to a slight and – good-bye, friend!
PROVERBS 17:9 (THE MESSAGE)



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

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