Endurance for the Journey, Faith, Featured

“God uses uncertainty in our lives to remodel our hearts.
Don’t waste your time looking for a way out of the difficulty you’re in;
Look for Him in the midst of it.”
Bob Goff



We can certainly all agree that there is a lot of uncertainty in life, especially after what we all have experienced the past two years – the Covid Pandemic, riots, world unrest, just to mention a few, added upon our personal trials and losses. Many of us have wondered, how do we cope with all this uncertainty. Well, please do not lose heart.


During my first bout with severe depression and much uncertainty about life, I could not feel or sense God, but it did not stop me from looking for Him and I found Him in the tangible Word of God. I scoured the Scripture to find some reason for the Hope I so desperately longed for. One of the first Scriptures the Holy Spirit led me to was 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:


Therefore, we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes on not what is seen,
but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary but
what is unseen is eternal.

As I turned my eyes from my uncertainties, trials, and sorrows to the Scripture, and ultimately Jesus, I began developing an eternal perspective of life which freed me to experience True Joy in the midst of my pain. I learned that there was an eternal purpose in my pain and I could trust the Holy Spirit to guide me through to the other side.


These past two years, even though they have not been easy, I have experienced His Peace, through it all, trusting Him with every step we took, with every bad news report that we heard. We did not lose heart because we knew Who to fix our eyes on – we knew Who we could trust because we knew Who has been faithful to us on our earthly journey – Jesus. Therefore, we did not lose heart.


Though the Lord gave you adversity for food
and suffering for drink,
He will still be with you to teach you.
You will see your teacher with our own eyes.
Your own ears will hear Him.
Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or to the left.
ISAIAH 30:19-21 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured

Don’t use foul or abusive language.
Let everything you say be good and helpful,
so that your words will be an encouragement
to those who hear them.
EPHESIANS 4:29 (NLT)


I know I’ve written about words in previous posts but I came across these words by Bob Goff and wanted to share them with you.


“Powerful words gave us the gentle push we needed, the courage to push past. If we were to trace our steps back along the path that led us here, we would likely find it all started with a few well-placed words from someone we trusted.


It’s no surprise when you think about it: God set the universe in motion with words. He called for light, and the stars burst onto the backdrop of the night sky. He wanted kangaroos and koala bears, so He spoke them into existence. God‘s words have the power to create life. He gave our words the power to shape lives.


Here’s what we need to do: be picky about the words we say. They have the power to shape our lives and the lives of the people around us. Equally important, be careful about the words you cling to. Don’t read the junk mail. Check out the return address first. If it didn’t come from Jesus, it’s not worth listening to.”

BOB GOFF – LIVE IN GRACE, WALK IN LOVE


No matter where you find yourself in relationships, a spouse, your kids, a friend who is hurting, a family member struggling with an illness or disease, your words to them matter! Whether it’s words you hear or words you speak, let them be words that shape the heart with love and in love. These are the kind of words Jesus speaks! Let your words be worth listening to.



Kind words are like honey –
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
PROVERBS 16:24 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured

“Affliction, difficulty, sadness,
pain and suffering
may become for any one of us
the source of discontent, of depression,
of anger, of isolation –
unless they drive us to God
and to His Word.”

ALISTAR BEGG, TRUTH FOR LIFE



Where or to whom do you turn to when you experience affliction, difficulty, sadness, pain and suffering? I know for me at the initial onslaught of affliction and suffering I turned to my own resources and strengths which had always worked and relieved my pain in the past BUT.. it only drove me to depression and isolation. It was only when I came to the complete end of myself that I turned to the tangible Word of God out of my desperation for comfort and direction.


My comfort came from the Word of God just as it did for the writer of Psalm 119 …



My comfort in my suffering is this;
Your promise preserves my life.
PSALM 119:50 (NIV)


I learned as the Psalmist did …


It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn your decrees.
PSALM 119:71 (NIV)

Your commands make me wiser
than my enemies, for they are ever with me.
I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
PSALM 119:98-99

I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
Your Word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.
PSALM 119:104-105 (NIV)


In reflecting back, I realized …


If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
PSALM 119:92 (NIV)


I am so thankful that during a season when I could not feel or sense God’s presence, that I had the tangible Word of God that I could turn to in my desperation. I am also thankful that God’s presence is not dependent upon my feelings – He is there regardless – always comforting and always directing if we choose to turn to Him.


On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Relationships

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him,
“Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!
For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you,
for many people in this city belong to me.”
ACTS 18:9-11 (NLT)



“That’s the great thing a Christian community can provide: the opportunity to establish a network of caring and compassion that can support you when you are in distress – the way Paul was in distress when he first came to Corinth. When the wind gets knocked out of you, and as you gasp and finally begin to get your breath, you find that people have gathered around you. Faces emerge from the blur. Individual faces. And they are there for you. That’s what the Body of Christ was meant to be. And that’s why we need it. Because at sometime or other, we’ll all be disoriented, discouraged and in distress!” EUGENE PETERSON


Wow! What powerful words for all of us! Not only did the Apostle Paul need a community of Christ followers to care and have compassion for him but we do too! When we find ourselves disoriented, discouraged or in distress we all need this kind of community Eugene Peterson speaks of.


In these difficult times we live in people continue to face the uncertainty of the future. Families find themselves facing a recently heard diagnosis of cancer, the ongoing battle with depression and anxiety, the loss of a loved one and so much more. The greatest travesty of all as we face all the uncertainties of life, is to find ourselves all alone!


If you know someone who finds themselves in that place – alone – invite them into your community. Your caring and compassion will be a gift to that person as they journey through the uncertainty of that situation.


The bottom line is – we need each other to endure this life until He returns!



Let us think of ways to motivate one another
to acts of love and good works.
And let us not neglect our meeting together,
as some people do, but encourage one another,
especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.
HEBREWS 10:24-25 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Prayer

Dear Lord,

Help me to see that you are sovereign over the circumstances of my life, even over suffering that seems impossible to understand. Help me to see that suffering as a sacrament, something that can be a means of grace, drawing me closer to you, and you closer to me.


Grant me the honesty to ask heartfelt questions. Grant me also the humility to realize that what I need isn’t so much an answer but an embrace.



Embrace me, O God. Please. Lift me from the ash heap and gather me in your loving arms. Hold me close. Wipe my tears. And make me whole … Eugene Peterson


My thoughts …
I think it is about taking a pause and see that no matter what it is that’s going on in our lives or around us, never forget we ultimately desire for God to hold us close in His Loving Arms.


Our Master Jesus has His arms wide open for you.
And I love all of you in the Messiah, in Jesus.
1 CORINTHIANS 16:23-24 (THE MESSAGE)



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Love

Jesus replied,” You must love the Lord your God
with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment.
A second is equally important.
Love your neighbor as yourself.”
MATTHEW 22:37-39 (NLT)



We focus so much on How to live we miss out on The Way to live. I believe that at the center of The Way to live is love!


There is someone close to me I’ve been watching for many years now who knows The Way to live – her name is Janny Cakes (her nickname), my bride, who for 43 years of marriage has been living The Way of love! Why it has taken me so long to see it and appreciate it I’ll never know – just stubborn I guess! (Note to men: most of us are.) She has actually been the example of living the Jesus Way!


The Jesus Way is always the opposite of the world’s way. The world wants all the emphasis to be put on self and the Jesus Way places the emphasis on putting others first! This is who my Janny Cakes is. By the way I want you to know Janny Cakes has also learned how important it is to love herself so she can pour His love into others!


Once again reading in Bob Goff’s devotional, “Live in Grace, Walk in Love” describes my Janny Cakes to a T! I would highly recommend reading this devotional. It’s food for the soul! Thank you so much Bob Goff.


“Great love leaves little doubt because great love shows up. Great love doesn’t go away, and it never has an eye on the clock when it should call it quits. When you’re in need you learn about great love because you see people go all in to ease the burden a bit!” Bob Goff


The title of this devotion is LOVE SHOWS UP! And that’s what my Janny Cakes does, she shows up and I love that about her. Over the years her example has rubbed off on me in a powerful way . At one point in my story, I found it very hard to love like this. But what I’m learning is that it has nothing to do with the emotions of love it has everything to do with who I am, and love is a very clear part of who I am. I don’t have to hide it and I am free to express and share it with others. After all, if the Holy Spirit lives in me then the fruit of the Spirit lives through me and love is the first fruit in line!


This way of life, THE JESUS WAY, is so much better than the World’s way! This is the overwhelming desire of ours here at Endurance. Unfortunately, it is impossible to be face to face and to love on you the way we would prefer But that is why our prayers for you and sending the Encouragement boxes to all of you is so important to us! It’s our way of letting you know LOVE SHOWS UP! That’s the JESUS WAY!


Dear Children,
Let’s not merely say that we love each other;
let us show the truth by our actions.
1 JOHN 3:18 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Relationships

A few days ago, I was reading James 3 and again WORDS was the hot topic. WORDS can either build you up and bring comfort or tear you down and create despair. I want to share with you the WORDS I read in James as translated in the Message Bible.



A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse.
A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands
of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds.
A word out of your mouth may seem of no account,
but it can accomplish nearly anything-or destroy it!
It only takes a spark remember, to set off a forest fire.
A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that.
By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos,
throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and
go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. This is scary:
You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue-it’s never been done.
The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer.
With our tongues we bless God our Father;
with the same tongues we curse the very men and women
He made in His image.
Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
My friends this can’t go on.
JAMES 3:3-10



Did you catch that? At least for me, those WORDS are so convicting. All too often, I can be careless with my WORDS. All too often, I don’t take seriously enough the WORDS that come out of my mouth! But I am learning to pause and weigh my words before I speak! Eugene Petersen reminds us in his note on this passage:


“Huge horse, little bit-and the bit calls the shots. A small rudder is attached to the ship – and it, not the wind, determines the ships course. The tongue is like a spark in the forest. And we all know what happens when the spark catches fire!


It only takes a moment of carelessness in conversation, but in a gusty moment, that conversation can get out of hand, causing a forest full of devastation.


Can you believe that? Can you believe that there were Christians in those first century congregations who were full of praise for God, singing the hymns and making confession and entering into prayers, and then out on the streets they were gossiping, cursing, and belittling their fellow Christians with their WORDS? Well, we can believe it because we’ve all done it!”


A Prayer
Dear Lord,
Help me to realize the impact of my words on the lives of others. Help me to use my tongue as an instrument of blessing rather than cursing. Grant that when I speak my truth, I would speak it in love, that my words would be like the Lord, Jesus’ words, full of grace and truth. If it’s true as your word says, that the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart, then give me a better heart! Especially, I pray for that part of my heart….



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Perspectives

As I’ve been reading through Bob Goff’s devotional “Live in Grace, Walk in Love” he touches on something I believe is so important. Again, this falls in line with what I’ve been writing about related to the power of words. I have learned that words in and of themselves don’t mean much unless they are spoken in love! Bob begins by sharing a verse that sets the stage for the point he wants to make.



“A new command I give you: love one another.
As I have loved you so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples
if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35



This is such a powerful and convicting verse! But then Bob goes on to say this, and I quote:


“If our bodies can be trained to act without our conscious awareness, surely our spirits work the same way: when joy is a habit, love is a reflex!”


I absolutely love that! But then he shows us how:


“How do we make joy a habit in our everyday lives so our reflex is always love for the people around us? I can’t think of a better way than gratitude. When we are intentional about giving thanks for everything we come across, we can’t help but feel pure joy over the pure gift of another day. And when our joy becomes a habit, our love becomes a way of living!”


Oh, how I desire to live like this every day. But I also know I’m still a work in process! However, after reading this from Bob I couldn’t help but think of my wife, Jan who does live like this. She is so thankful for everything and everyone around her. You can see how this has affected the way she loves! It’s so beautiful to watch! And because of her example I’m beginning to catch this way of life as well! My encouragement to all of us is:


Adopt an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness and watch how our words of love overflow!


On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Relationships

Well-spoken words bring satisfaction …
PROVERBS 12:14 (THE MESSAGE)

“Nothing is easier than to make sounds in the form of words;
nothing is more difficult than to make those words
express truth and love. Those words, when they’re spoken, are well spoken.
And they bring both satisfaction to the
speaker and salvation to the hearer.”
Eugene Petersen



Words are powerful!They can either build one up or tear them down. Words can encourage you or discourage you. They either express love or hurt! Words can deceive or be honest and truthful. But said without love can destroy! Words can form opinions that quite frankly, often times, don’t want to be heard. Maybe that’s why we understand from reading the book of Job, that the best encouragement Job received from his friends was when they were silent. At times silence really can be golden!


Why do I bring up words and their power? It’s because this is my struggle. Over the years I have used words that have hurt others, especially the ones I love the most! I don’t want to do that! I’ve given my opinion when it wasn’t asked for. And if I’m going to be honest, I paid less attention to what was being said and more attention to what I wanted to say. I don’t want to do that!

And yet, why do I do that? Is it because of my own insecurities that I feel the need to be heard? I’ve been talking to God a lot about this lately. I’m feeling deeply convicted about this struggle in my life. I want my words to build up not tear down. I want to show respect by actually listening to one speak and try to understand what they are saying. Go figure, I might just learn something if I can listen well!


This is a part of the faith journey I find myself on and I’m so grateful for the grace God pours all over my struggle in this area. After all, He knows it better than I do and I’m just so thankful I am a work in process and He’s the one transforming my heart!



Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,
but only such as is good for building up,
as fits the occasion,
that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)


On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Fear, Featured

Living in fear of the future cheats you out of today. A precious moment tugs
on your heart like a child at your sleeve. Too often you miss that moment
concerning yourself with something that likely won’t happen
or will happen in a way that your worry can NOT CHANGE.”

DAVE BURCHETTE



Fear today looks a lot different for me than it did years ago. Does it mean that it’s gone away completely or that somehow, I have conquered it? No! But it doesn’t consume me like it used to when I found myself in difficult places, especially if something was going on with me physically. I know that in those difficult moments trusting God by leaning into His promises and the Hope that I have in Jesus, gives me the strength to face those fears. The reality is I’m just passing through this life to spend eternity with Him – no matter how many years I have left on this planet. And that gives me peace.


So let me share what God’s Word says …



There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.
ISAIAH 41:10 (THE MESSAGE)

God is love.
When we take up permanent residence in a life of love,
we live in God and God lives in us …
There is no room in love for fear.
Well-formed love banishes fear.
Since fear is crippling, a fearful life –
fear of death, fear of judgement –
is one not yet fully formed in love.
1 JOHN 4:18 (THE MESSAGE)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity,
but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 TIMOTHY 1:7 (NLT)

I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
PSALM 34:4 (NLT)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.
Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers,
letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness,
everything coming together for good,
will come and settle you down.
It’s wonderful what happens when Christ
displaces worry at the center of your life.
PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7 (THE MESSAGE)



A Prayer

Dear God,
Speak gently in my silence.
When the loud outer noises of my surroundings
and the loud inner noises of my fears
keep pulling me away from you,
help me to trust that you are still there
even when I am unable to hear you.
Give me ears to listen to your small, soft voice saying:

“Come to me, you who are overburdened, and I will give you rest …
for I am gentle and humble of heart.”

Let that loving voice be my guide.
Amen
HENRI NOUWEN



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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