Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Perseverance, Perspectives

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things
or that I have already reached perfection.
But I press on to possess that perfection
for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
No, dear brothers and sister, I have not achieved it
but I focus on this one thing:
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
I press on to reach the end of the race and receive
the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
PHILIPPIANS 3:12-14 (NLT)


Don’t get dangerously caught up in reminiscing the good old times of the past. This is one of the most difficult action steps to implement. Grieving the old you or the you that will never be, can be immensely overwhelming but it is completely unavoidable. I struggle with this day after day. There are days when I will scroll through my photos or social media and get caught in a cycle of daydreaming of what could have been; what should have been; yearning to be the old me again.


I miss me, I miss all I could do, I miss my happier demeanor, I miss having the friends who bailed just because of my illness, and I miss feeling like I fit into society normally. Dwelling on these desires tends to cause roots of bitterness to grow within my heart and self-hatred builds quickly. Some days I despise who I am. In these times, God has to intervene and help me simply live in the moment and love the moment that He has granted me now.


One of the biggest pieces of advice I have for those who are new to a disability or illness, is to try to look back at when the disability or illness began simply to see just how far you have come. Don’t look back at life before your disability occurred or your illness worsened, because you will likely only see all you have lost. I often have to force myself to look at photos from past surgeries and hospital stays or read old journals from when I was at the low points of my life to compare to where I am now. For instance, if I am trying desperately to get back to my ability to hike mountains, figure skate, and test to see if I can physically perform any of the duties of my old job, then I will only frustrate myself, break my heart, and invoke feelings of anger and deep sorrow due to my loss.


However, if I back up and remember to where I was physically when I was recovering right after major surgery, then I can be encouraged by how far the Lord has brought me. I could not even sit up or get ready for the day independently but now I can do everything independently with confidence. I travel, cook and bake, work part-time, spend time with loved ones, and enjoy the outdoors in my wheelchair, all as a result of my efforts at rehabilitation, both inpatient and daily.


Allowing your mind to drift back and dwell in the past will cause you to lose your appreciation for today and you will miss all the potential that the present day holds. Live and appreciate one moment at a time. Allow yourself to be present in each moment and then press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.


Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs,
but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!
All athletes are disciplined in their training.
They do it to win a prize that will fade away,
but we do it for an eternal prize.
So I run with purpose in every step.
1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27 (NLT)


(Written with permission from the blog of Abi Gordon)
(Sign up for Abi’s Blog at EphemeralandFaithful.com)

On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

0

Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Hope for Those Who Hurt

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord.
Remember the great reward it brings you!
Patient endurance is what you need now,
so that you will continue to do God’s will.
Then you will receive all that He has promised.
HEBREWS 10:35-36 (NLT)



Our body can ruthlessly rob us of many abilities, but we still can control many things in life. The human body has a miserable capability of wreaking havoc without consent, and typically in the the most painful ways that rob us of our most beloved abilities. However, there is still much in our control even when the body’s functionality collapses. Examples of what is within our control is our sustained trust in Jesus, our attitude response, our response management of our relationships, the activities we choose and choosing to rise above the disability’s impact.


As tempting as it can be to simply give in to the ravaging of our body and to just melt onto the couch daily, try to not sink so low, and let your body tell you that you are too broken to do anything. Almost no one has absolutely no ability to do anything, including you! Otherwise, you would not be reading this post or trying to find out how to adjust to a new normal!


Strive to adjust your attitude, moment by moment, strengthen your spiritual life, and set up and seek new activities or adaptive ways to do old activities you once loved. There will always be something in life that you can do, and there will always be decision crossroads where the choice is yours. Get up, chin up, and regain the reins ensuring that God has ultimate control.


We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials,
for we know that they help us develop endurance.
And endurance develops strength of character and
character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
ROMANS 5:3-5 (NLT)


(Written with permission from the blog of Abi Gordon)
(Sign up for Abi’s Blog at EphemeralandFaithful.com)

On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

0

Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Hope, Perspectives

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
HEBREWS 12:1-2 (NIV)



Everything can change in an instant. We’ve all heard this, brushed it off, and thought it would never happen to us – until it did. Sometimes life can negatively change gradually though – the gradual change can kick you just as harshly as the instantaneous change. There is a quote from CS Lewis that says, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back, everything is different?” This is SO true.


Living with chronic illness, I have experienced both instantaneous and changes in my body’s functionality, which as you can imagine has affected my physical abilities and lifestyle. Many times, people say, “There is no way I could go through something like you go though.” Well, you may not have a choice at some point in your life. I certainly didn’t have a choice when my body turned on me. So just how does one navigate a new physical normal when you can never return to the old you as much as you try?


#1 Know that you are so much more than your
physical disability or illness.


In God’s eyes, you are created in his image and His love can never be overwhelmed by mere physical status. Many times, when a disability is developed or illness occurs, unfortunately it is not the first thing that people notice and comment on. Questions like, “How are you feeling today?” and “Can I help you?” are the first things they speak combined with a certain look of pity in their eyes and their actions. While these questions and their concern are well intended and grounded in thoughtfulness and love, they tend to forget to see beyond your broken physical body and ask about life, family, friendships, relationship with God and whatever other challenges you may need help with or prayer for in your life.


This constant focus by others on our body’s ailments can be discouraging, drag us down, and morph our perspective of our identity. Yes, we have a disability or illness, which is a huge part of who we are – it guides our actions, words, interactions, acceptance or denial by others and abilities. However, the foundation of our identity must be found in the Scripture as in Hebrews 12:2. Fixing our eyes on Jesus is vital to remember who we are: a human loved deeply and created in the image of God with a soul, a personality, interests, passions, gifts and uniqueness. There is so much more to us than our physical challenges, and this truth must be clung to when our identity is threatened by our physical status.


The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them.
People judge by outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)


(Written with permission from the blog of Abi Gordon)
(Sign up for Abi’s Blog at EphemeralandFaithful.com)


On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

0

Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Trust

But you, dear friends, must build each other up
in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,
and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who will bring you eternal life.
In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.
Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment.
Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution,
hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
JUDE 20-23 (NLT)



Community:
“What if there were a place so safe, that the worst of me could be known
and I wouldn’t be loved less but more in the telling of it”
The Cure by John Lynch, Bruce McNichol and Bill Thrall


When I read this quote, I was blown away. I asked myself, could a place like this really exist? Could there really exist a community this safe? Over the past 13 years I’ve actually discovered this community. It is not a large community and it is not a perfect community, but it’s a community I trust, and they trust me!


I have also discovered this community does not crop up overnight. It takes nurturing, forgiving, loving when it’s hard, working through really uncomfortable stuff. But in the end, it is worth it!


It is worth it to have a few good friends – a community that loves you well and you get to love them back. A group of friends that do life with you through the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly seasons of life! A group you grow closer to and in doing so grow closer to Jesus as they encourage you in your faith. A community that loves you even on your worst day!


And let us consider how we may spur one another on
toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together,
as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another –
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
HEBREWS 10:24-25 (NIV)


On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

0

Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Prayer

Don’t worry about anything;
instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need,
and thank Him for all He has done.
PHILIPPIANS 4:6 (NLT)



I’ve just realized as I’ve sat here trying to write about prayer, that I have no business trying to write on this subject. How many of you have struggled with prayer like I have? I would have to say that over the past 40 years of walking with Jesus that prayer has been the most difficult area of my spiritual journey.


Thankfully, I have discovered that the more time I spend with God in His Word the more time I spend with Him in prayer. As He talks with me through His Word, I desire to talk with Him about His Word. It’s hard to explain but it ends up being some of the most precious times I have with Him! For me, reading God’s Word and prayer go hand in hand.


Listening is another challenge for me and sitting still for any length of time is a challenge so you can imagine how hard it is for me to sit still and listen to God! But in those moments when I do, oh how sweet it is! When you pause long enough to sense the Holy Spirit impressing something on your heart it is truly a beautiful, transformational experience.


I now love to talk with God throughout the day. So much of what I see and observe around me causes me to be in awe of our creator! When I find myself on a hike and I pause to take in the beauty, I’m overwhelmed by the Creator of it all! When I listen to music or read an amazing book, I’m in awe of the ONE who gifted those people with the talent to do those things. I always pause now and thank Him for the gift!


I also now, find myself being aware of His presence whenever I am in the shower, throughout the day, in my chair, with others, wherever it might be, I experience the gentleness and the humbleness of the One who loves me more than I can comprehend and longs for these moments with me! I long for those moments more and more with each passing day! SO, PRAY, IT’S LIFE CHANGING AND LIFE GIVING!



And pray in the Spirit on all occasions
with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and
always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
EPHESIANS 6:18 (NIV)

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you all things and
will remind you of everything I have said to you.
JOHN 14:26 (NIV)

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness,
for example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for.
But the Holy Spirit prays for us
with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
ROMANS 8:26 (NLT)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
ROMANS 12:12 (NIV)

On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

0

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.
ROMANS 15:4 (NIV)



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.’”
MATTHEW 4:4 (NLT)


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.
HEBREWS 4:12 (NLT)


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

0

Discovering Who I Am, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person
by changing the way you think.
Then you will know God’s will for you,
which is good and pleasing and perfect. ROMANS 12:2 (NLT)



I desperately desired to do God’s will – I desperately needed a change to take place within my mind. After turning to the Scripture for the answer I read Romans 12:2 and I knew I needed a change in my thinking but how was I to let God transform me? I found the answer in Romans 12:2 in The Message translation which states:


… fix your attention on God.
You will be changed from the inside out.


Yes!! I knew I did not have the power to overcome my weakness in my own strength, but God did and only if I was willing to give God permission to change me from the inside out – an act of my will that I knew I had to take.


I was desperate and I knew it was going to be a slow process. But by “fixing my attention on God” through daily being in His Word, daily surrender through prayer, daily practicing PPR (Pausing, Praying, then Responding), God began to slowly bring an end to the “civil war” that was taking place between my mind and my heart – (Psalm 27:17).


Are you struggling with a “civil war” within you? Are you desiring a transformation within you? Then “fix your attention on God”, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” and you will be blessed – we have Jesus’ promise on that.


You’re blessed when you get your inside world –
your heart and your mind – put right.
Then you can see God in the outside world.
MATTHEW 5:8 THE WORDS OF JESUS
(THE MESSAGE)



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

0

Endurance for the Journey, Featured

Temptation comes from our own desires,
which entice us and drag us away.
These desires give birth to sinful actions.
When sin is allowed to grow,
it gives birth to death.
JAMES 1:14-15 (NLT)



No one chooses the slow fade. Subtly and slowly, the evil one tempts us by our own sinful desires and weaknesses – luring us away from God without us even being aware of it. On the slippery slope of the slow fade, our flesh attempts to justify our choices because we don’t want to deny our own desires. We give ear to the voice of the evil one and the world that tells us we deserve this “pleasure” because of past offenses and hurts or how hard we have worked or because we are alone – the list goes on and on. There is a whole gamut of human desires that exist within each one of us and for us Christians it can be a fierce battle – a civil war taking place within us. In the words of King David …


Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me will to obey you.
Psalm 51:10-12 (NLT)


When I became aware that I had been on a slow fade, the above Scripture became my daily prayer. What I needed was a change in my desires and in my will to obey God – to do what was right. I knew the change had to take place from the inside out. I could not do it in my own will power – I needed to surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit to allow Him to teach me His Will.


I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.
PSALM 40:8 (NIV)



On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

0

Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Perseverance

This is why I remind you to fan into flames
the Spiritual gift God gave you …
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity,
but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 TIMOTHY 1:6-7 (NLT)



Our Pastor, Kyle Fox, has been teaching a series on the Holy Spirit. I have been amazed how his teaching has paralleled my own personal transformation process. His teachings confirmed that I am on the right path to a “Heart Transformation.”


After each teaching, he challenged us to practice a different Spiritual Discipline to “Fan into Flames” the Holy Spirit within every believer. He encouraged us to daily surrender to God, confess our sins, study God’s Word, pray continually, dwell on the goodness of God, practice submission to one another, serve one another, sacrifice for one another and engage in the discipline of giving.


But in last week’s sermon, he gave us a warning if we want to fan into flames the Holy Spirit, we must avoid the slow fade. We must fight the slide toward appeasement (with worldly desires) and too much self-focus (fleshly desires). We must fight the slide toward convenience (taking the easy path), isolation (withdrawal) and bitterness (unresolved anger). It reminded me of the chorus in the song, Slow Fade by Casting Crowns.


It’s a slow fade
When you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade
When black and white have turned to grey
And thoughts invade, choices made
A price will be paid
when you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day


I know for myself personally, I had been on a slow fade for way too many years. It was all due to unresolved anger which led to poor choices, which led to withdrawal from family and friends. The price I paid (and my family) was monumental until I turned and surrendered to the Holy Spirit. When I took that first step of surrender, I had no idea where or how He would lead me, heal me, but I trusted Him to transform my heart. I am still in the process but I know that “He who began a good work in me, will see it to the day completion” Philippians 1:6.


Through the power of the Holy Spirit
who lives within us,
carefully guard the precious truth that
has been entrusted to you.
2 TIMOTHY 1:14 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

0

Discovering Who I Am, Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Uncategorized

Adherence Produces the Fruit of the Spirit

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus
have nailed the passions and desires
of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
GALATIANS 5:22-24 (NLT)


Don’t we all have an innate desire for all of the fruit of the Spirit once we become aware that the power of the Holy Spirit lives within us? I know I do! I am totally aware of the fruit that I bear and the ones I don’t bear. The hard part is that I can’t produce the fruit even though I desire it. Only the Holy Spirit can produce Its own fruit not my own fleshly efforts.


How then do we trust the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit in our lives? Well for me, it’s been a daily surrender to the Holy Spirit, a daily awareness of His Presence within me, a daily Pausing, Praying and then Responding (PPR) in all my relationships and interactions with others and myself. It’s been getting to know the God within my heart by being daily in His Word. It’s having a heart of sincere thankfulness for everything that is good in my life. A thankfulness for God’s promises in the areas of my life where there is hurt and pain.


In other words, I have found that it is the daily adherence to all these practices that has produced and is producing, the fruit of the Holy Spirit within me, living through me. Through daily adherence, God has been transforming my heart and I must tell you; I am in awe. So much in awe, that I never want to go back to my old ways of living out of my flesh again.


Of course, every now and then, I resurrect my flesh but when it does, I become immediately aware of it. When I ask the Holy Spirit, He reminds me and makes me aware. I no longer trust my flesh – I had to learn the hard way! I am so grateful that I can now trust the Holy Spirit within me – I am His work in process!



Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.
Keep on seeking, and you will find.
Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives.
Everyone who seeks, finds.
And to everyone that knocks, the door will be opened.
MATTHEW 7:7-8 (NLT)


On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

0