Counsel, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

For everything that was written in past was written to teach us,
so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and
the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

As I look back over the past 40 years plus of walking with Jesus and reading the Scriptures, I’m amazed at how much my life has changed. I remember those days when it was hard to even pick up the Bible and read it. The struggle to understand what was in the Scriptures was so frustrating. And along with that all the outside demands placed on me that kept me from spending time in the Word. If you feel that way, please know that you’re not alone.

I think we all go through different seasons as we journey with Jesus over the years. I know I have. Sometimes it felt like I was on a roller coaster with God. I can’t tell you how much guilt and shame I felt whenever I would go through seasons of not wanting to read. If you’re like me, let me encourage you to stay in it because the Scriptures are so rich with meaning and purpose for our lives.

Over the past eight years, I’ve made a commitment to read through the Bible in a year and I can’t tell you the difference that reading the Scriptures has made in my life. And now I can’t wait to get up to spend time with Jesus because I know if I don’t, I’m missing something very precious that He gives me as I read his Word. The comfort, the peace, the encouragement, the challenges, all things that move us closer to Jesus are right there in the Scriptures. It connects you from cover to cover with the beautiful message of His Love and Grace.

So we simply leave you with this; READ YOUR BIBLE! Because it is through His Word that He actually breathes life into us! And as it relates to our journey through life, it really does provide all we need to not just to endure, but to thrive in this life because of the hope that it offers us through Jesus, even in the midst of some of the most difficult of times, and circumstances. So soak in these few passages, of many, in the Bible that encourage us to spend time with Him.

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

For the word of God is alive and powerful.
It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword,
cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.
It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.
PSALM 119:105 (NLT)

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
PSALM 119:11 (NLT)

Your commandments give me understanding;
no wonder I hate every false way of life.
PSALM 119:104 (NLT)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful
for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training
in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be
thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17 (NIV)

On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky


Counsel, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

As iron sharpens iron,
so man sharpens another.

I am learning that “as iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens another.”

It freed me when both Dr. James Dobson and Dr. John Townsend told me point blank that I needed help. I don’t know why I needed someone to give me permission to ask for help but having other men I respect tell me that everybody needs help encouraged me tremendously. When I reached the end of my rope, I finally said, “I don’t care what anybody thinks of me at this point. I need help!”

And you know what? I got it.

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding. PROVERBS 3:13 (NIV)

Let the message about Christ,
in all its richness,
fill your lives.
Teach and counsel each other
with all the wisdom he gives.

On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky


Counsel, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

Each heart knows its own bitterness,
And no one else can share its joy.

If only we took to heart the message in Proverbs 14:10, especially when we try to bring comfort to another troubled heart! King Solomon wrote that each person’s experience of both sorrow and happiness is unique. It is like no other. It is different from everyone else’s experience of sorrow and happiness.

That means it does not help to tell someone in pain, “Oh, I know just how you’re feeling.” No, you don’t! You may have experienced something like their pain, but you do not know just how they feel, for “each heart knows its own bitterness” – not the pain that wracks the heart of another. That’s good counsel to keep in mind when we prepare ourselves to speak to those in some deep distress.

It is also good counsel to …

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!
ROMANS 12:15-16 (NLT)

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky


Counsel, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

“But consider the joy of those corrected by God!
Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.
We have studied life and found all this to be true.
Listen to my counsel, and apply it to yourself.”

I don’t think that finger pointing “comforters” intend to hurt people who are suffering. Most of them sincerely want to help – but they lack the experience of suffering to understand the journey of pain of suffering. They are careless in the way they go about encouraging – as many of us are. They are not able to extend God’s grace.

Deep inside they may fear that the suffering they observe may happen to them, so they build up a wall of self-false protection by thinking, I am not like that person. I haven’t done what that person has done, so I won’t suffer like that. As were Job’s “comforters” when they spoke their words of “encouragement.”

The words of the Godly encourage many,
but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.

On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky


Counsel, Words of Endurance

Then Moses said to the Lord,
“If your Presence does not go with us,
do not send us up from here.”
EXODUS 33:15 (NIV)

If there’s one thing I learned in the wilderness of adversity, it’s how desperately we need God’s guidance. When Jan and I were in the wilderness, we struggled daily to get our bearings. That’s not an easy thing to do when you’re surrounded with empty horizons, deceptive images and shifting sands.

As we stumbled our way through this trackless desert, we encountered plenty of people who pointed out directions. The only problem was that we had people pointing in so many directions, we didn’t know which way was up. Which doctor do you believe? Whose advice do you take? Which direction do you go?

I understand why Moses didn’t want to head out into the desert without God’s presence as a guide. It’s too easy to get lost, to run out of provisions, to wander into dangerous canyons, to head toward a mirage. The road map through the wilderness is not one that is read, it is one that is held. It is the hand of God.

I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
JOHN 13:34-35 (NLT)

On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky


Counsel, Depression, Discovering Who I Am, Grief, Healing, Pain, Words of Endurance

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
but one who has insight draws them out.

I admit it – I did not want to go to counseling – I did not want to share my feelings or my weaknesses with anyone. To me that appeared to be an even greater weakness – needing someone else to fix me. I was convinced that God and I together could fix myself.

After much begging I reluctantly agreed to go to counseling – not because I needed it but because Jan was depressed and SHE needed the counsel. I agreed to go to be her support.

I went in with a lot of apprehension. When we got in there, at first all I did was listen. Jan was hurting so much that she ended up dominating most of the sessions. I told myself I was there for my wife. But as I saw it work for her I became more open to the positive effect counseling could have on me. Before I knew it – within three weeks – I was the one on the couch!

Up to that point in life I had been unable to identify or articulate what I was feeling – I was totally out of touch with my feelings. A lot of it had to do with my fear – as a male – as a jock – of showing weakness. But through the insight of our Christian counselor – he helped me unravel the things that were holding me back from being vulnerable and transparent. He helped me peel back the layers and begin exposing what was going on in the deep waters of my heart. He gave me permission to grieve my losses. I was shocked – bringing my pain and weaknesses into the light actually brought healing.

Counseling also taught me to be a better communicator. By learning how to listen and communicate I was then able to identify and verbalize how I was feeling deep down inside. I learned to process with my wife what was going on inside – my feelings and my thoughts. That enabled us to become more supportive of each other. Not only was learning to communicate my feelings a huge blessing and further step to my maturity individually but the double blessing was that our marriage and love for one another grew stronger.

While it was very hard at first to admit that I needed the help I am now so thankful for the guidance I received from our counselor who was guided himself by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The whole inner process took months but was so worth it because I could have never done it on my own.

It is difficult – if not impossible –
to turn on the light of objectivity by ourselves.
We need guidance from the Holy Spirit
and usually the honesty, love and encouragement
of one other person who is willing to help us.

Thank God that the process while difficult is not one we face alone. We are God’s children so be assured that He will gently and lovingly guide us each step of the way.

You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
PSALM 73:24 (NLT)

On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky


Counsel, Depression, Grief, Pain, Words of Endurance

Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.

Often times when we are experiencing painful affliction it can seem as though we are sinking deeper and deeper into the muck and mire. We can be so overwhelmed that we feel as though we are going to drown in the rising floodwaters of pain – physically, emotionally and Spiritually.

You have heard me say before that we are physical, emotional and spiritual beings. It is impossible for one part of our being to be in pain without impacting the other two. This is especially true when we experience a physical affliction. It is expected and normal for us to feel the pain physically that comes with the affliction but it is also normal and we should also expect to feel that pain emotionally and spiritually. When we begin to experience the unexpected emotional and spiritual pain – we are blindsided and that can be more than overwhelming.

If you are experiencing the following symptoms on a consistent basis – your emotional and spiritual health may be at risk.

  • You feel out of touch with your emotions – the feelings of your heart – you feel numb.

  • You feel out of touch with God – you can no longer sense His presence.

  • You have feelings of hopelessness and despair.

  • You have difficulty concentrating or finishing tasks.

  • You experience inappropriate outbursts of irritability, anger and rage.

  • You find yourself crying on a daily basis.

  • You have withdrawn from activities that used to bring you pleasure. You no longer experience joy.

  • Your sleeping and eating patterns are disrupted and/or changed.

  • You entertain self-destructive thoughts or think about hurting others.

Just as there are professionals who deal with physical health, there are professionals who specialize in emotional and spiritual health. If items on the list above describe you – you may benefit by consulting such a professional. Dave and I both are so grateful for the Christian psychologists and pastors who helped and guided both us out of the muck and mire of our depressions that were a result of Dave’s battle with cancer.

There is no shame in seeking the counsel of Christian psychologists, counselors, therapists and your pastor because they are able to see and help us in ways that we cannot see or help ourselves.

The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters,
but a man of understanding draws them out.

And it is biblical and wise to seek the counsel of others.

Wise men and women listen to each other’s counsel.

And don’t forget that as children of God we not only have the wise Spirit-led counsel of others but we also have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that will guide us to all Truth.

And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever
— the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.
But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
JOHN 14:16-17

And He promises …

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.
PSALM 32:8

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky


Articles, Counsel, Words of Endurance

Seeking Wise Counsel

The Bible clearly encourages us to “seek wise counsel.” In addition to seeing your medical doctor, obtaining good Christian counseling, when effective, can shed light on the source(s) of emotional pain and offer practical, biblical steps toward healing. Much like choosing a physician, selecting the right counselor can be a process. We encourage anyone seeking counseling to proceed with wisdom and prayer. Do contact your insurance company as many policies cover counseling but may have specific guidelines or prerequisites. The following organizations provide either direct Christian counseling or referral to local sources.

Local Churches

Many churches provide free counseling. The quality of counseling, however, can vary greatly. Listed below are some suggested guidelines for choosing a local church counselor.

  1. Do they use the Bible and Biblical principles as their primary counseling tool?
  2. Does the church have experience dealing with your particular issue?
  3. How long has their counseling department been providing counseling? Are their counselors trained? If so, how much and what kind of training do they receive?
  4. Do they believe in medical intervention if it is warranted? Will they refer counselees for medical care?
  5. Are there situations when they refer counselees to professional Christian counselors? If so, what are those situations?
  6. Do they have an initial in-depth screening to determine appropriate counselor placement?

American Association of Christian Counselors

AACC represents thousands of evangelical professionals, pastoral and lay counselors nationwide who are dedicated to promoting excellence and unity in Christian counseling. To find a Christian Counselor in your area, you can access their website or call AACC.

New Life Ministries

New Life Ministries is a non-profit ministry that seeks to provide resources that will help you with your life challenges. New Life has a large network of professional, Christian counselors located throughout the country. The network counselors have gone through an extensive application and credentials verification process. The Network Counselors agree with New Life’s Statement of Faith and meet the professional standards set for the members in the counseling network. Let New Life Ministries help you locate and connect with a New Life Network Counselor in your area. Personalized and confidential referrals are given by phone only. Call New Life at 800-639-5433 TODAY!

Focus on the Family

Focus On The Family is an educational organization consisting of fifty-two separate ministries, each dedicated to the preservation of the home. Recognizing that many families face emotional and spiritual issues that require counseling, Focus On The Family has developed a nationwide network of Christian counselors and Pastors who specialize in counseling. After a free phone assessment, their trained staff can provide a list of counselors in your area and information on cost, including sliding fee scales and voluntary services.

National Association For Christian Recovery (NACR)

The NACR exists to acknowledge and honor the inner challenges of healing. They provide referrals to counselors nationwide and produce a quarterly magazine, STEPS, which is dedicated to issues involving recovery from depression and other disabilities.


Articles, Counsel

When people are suffering, safe, healthy relationships make a world of difference. Relationships that offer:

  • heartfelt encouragement
  • faithful companionship
  • compassionate understanding
  • wise and caring support

can provide blessings of refreshment and hope even during the dark days of a difficult journey.

These special relationships may be with close friends and family members. Some people may have several such relationships. Other people may have no one.

Whether or not a person already has such relationships, a support group can help fill important relational needs that are hard to meet under the pressure of difficult circumstances. When people who walk the path through suffering come together to share their lives and experiences—their triumphs as well as pitfalls, the glimpses of hope as well as the heartbreaks—they provide and receive help through one another.

Answering the Call

There is no shortage of need for support for people who are suffering, but you want to be certain that starting a support group is the right thing for you to do at the present time. If you think you may be interested in starting a support group, please prayerfully consider these key questions:

Why do I want to do this? Is it the right thing?
Some people want to start a group because they know they need one. While there is nothing wrong with that, your motivation needs to be bigger than your personal needs. You need to care deeply about meeting the needs of others and be committed to following God’s leading in meeting those needs. Some people want to start a group because they believe their experiences can benefit others. This, too, can be a good motivation as long as you realize that your personal experience isn’t the “answer” for everyone. In a support group, people benefit one another—sometimes “giving,” sometimes “receiving.”

Should I be doing this? Is it the right time?

Not everyone who experiences suffering or cares deeply about helping others who hurt should start or help lead a support group.

If your treatment protocol will require periodic treatment for an extended time, if you have children living at home or other family members who need your care, or if your job has a demanding travel schedule perhaps the responsibilities of forming or leading a support group need to be in the hands of others.

Forming a Support Group

Beneficial support groups come in all varieties and sizes—there’s no one-size-fits-all. But there is a structure to the process that can help you start well.

Establish Your Leadership
Leadership needs to be a shared responsibility. You don’t want a support group to flounder because the “leader” can’t sustain the effort. So a leadership team of at least 2 people each of whom have specific responsibilities is most helpful.

People have different ideas of what a support group is, what it should provide, and how it should function. So before any meetings are held, the leadership team should discuss and write down the mission, priorities, essential beliefs and values for the group. Some of the questions this process will address may include:

  • Will your group focus on the needs of people with a specific illness, depression, or disability?
  • Who is welcome to attend the meeting? Is it for patients only, or may family and friends or caregivers participate?
  • How will your group handle out-of-meeting needs such as offering prayer support or assistance for urgent needs?

Determine the Logistics
Where is the best setting for your support group? A home, a church, a medical office or hospital, a public building (such as library meeting room)? A home provides an inviting, comfortable setting. A church, office, or library may not offer as inviting an atmosphere, but it may be more accessible to people.

When is the best time, frequency, and length for your meetings? This depends on the availability of your selected facility and the times when support group members are most likely to be able to participate (physically as well as emotionally/spiritually).

What supplementary services might be needed to facilitate attendance? Child care if your group is likely to include parents of young children, easy wheelchair accessibility, or transportation if your group is likely to include people who suffer from physical limitations or seizures that prevent their driving, for example.

Plan your Program

Every part of the support group meeting should fulfill a purpose in enabling participants to feel welcome, safe, informed, cared for, and valued so that they will discover how to live through their difficult experience with greater peace and success (however they may define it). As you plan the format of your meetings, consider the time frame and how you will conduct the following components:

  • Fellowship time and refreshments
  • Introductions and announcements
  • Program
  • Group discussion
  • Personal sharing
  • Group prayer
  • Closing

It will also be helpful to determine a focus or topic for each meeting. In some cases, you may be able to have a speaker present a program and initiate group discussion. In other cases, you will need to choose resource information or study materials to facilitate group discussion.

You will also need to give someone the responsibility for facilitating the meeting—keeping on schedule, implementing whatever formal teaching may take place, redirecting conversations (the gatekeeper).

Design Your Communication/Promotion

The right people need to learn about your support group. How will you let them know about it?

  • Church bulletins or websites
  • Information in provider’s offices
  • Lists or websites with local service groups, local newspapers or community websites

  • Once a person becomes part of your support group, how will you communicate?

    • How much information do you need to know about people in the group (and will they be willing to share)?
    • Will you have a website with meeting cancellations or will you use a phone chain or establish another policy?
    • Do you need phone numbers/email/addresses?
    • How informed does your group want to be of hospitalizations and deaths?

    Special Considerations

    At times, providing a healthy, supportive atmosphere in the midst of diverse needs may seem like tip-toeing through a mine field. So before you start, it’s important to consider how you will respond to the challenges that every support group faces.

    Acknowledging the Diversity of Needs

    Some people are more needy, self-focused, or difficult than others. Some people have most of the personal, relational, and financial resources they need to face their difficulties while others desperately hang on, barely able to survive. Some people have a hard time respecting other people and will step on others’ toes. Some people will need far more help than a support group can provide and will need encouragement to seek professional help.

    Providing Day to Day Support

    There will be times when a daily phone call, note, or prayer from someone in the support group will be very helpful to a person in need. Determine ahead of time what support your group is capable of providing. Will a specific person (or several) be assigned to provide support for a specific period of time or will the support you provide occur naturally through the relationships that develop within the group?

    Managing Sharing Time

    Some people will tend to dominate a group, and you don’t want your group to be all about one person’s needs, one person’s experience, or one person’s solutions. You may need to set time limits on how long one person may speak. You may need to establish boundaries on how much “advice” is permitted during times of group sharing (what people do outside the group is their personal business). You may need to remind people of the private nature of what is shared in the group.

    Responding to Financial Needs

    This will come up. Although a support group is not responsible to meet the financial needs of its members, there may be times when an individual or the group may want to meet a specific need of a group member. It will be helpful to determine ahead of time how you will handle such needs.

    Sharing Medical Advice

    This will happen during the course of sharing and encouraging one another. Everyone has an opinion regarding alternative, traditional, and spiritual remedies for healing. A support group, however, is not intended nor is it qualified to provide medical advice, so set guidelines for how you will handle the discussion when it goes in this direction.

    Clues for Professional Intervention

    People who live under the stress of acute or chronic illness, depression, or disabilities may at times have personal needs that go far beyond what a support group can provide. At times, an individual may need counseling or professional intervention (such as suicide prevention), so it is essential that you develop a list of local professional and pastoral resources to which you can refer people with acute needs.