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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Endurance for the Journey, Fear, Featured

Since the children have flesh and blood,
he too shared in their humanity
so that by his death he might destroy him
who holds the power of death – that is, the devil –
and free those who all their lives
were held in slavery by their fear of death.
HEBREWS 2:14-15 (NIV)



As human beings, we are prone to fear, no matter how much we believe in God or heaven. And the fear of death can hold tremendous power over us, as these verses make clear.


God understands the fear common to all humanity. He isn’t the author of death; He is the one who came to vanquish death, and one day He will destroy it. But when it comes to facing death, I am like a child, just flesh and blood. Jesus understands because he took on our human condition to deal with this fear of death.


I realize I will have to face off with fear for the rest of my life – but I don’t have to live in slavery to it! I believe in a mighty God, the resurrected Christ, who proved His power over the grave. Still, I have to admit I’m still afraid on occasion. Now I am learning to admit my fears honestly to God, who understands my human condition.



Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?

It was sin that made death so frightening
and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage,
its destructive power.
But now in a single victorious stroke of Life,
all three – sin, guilt, death – are gone,
the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:55-57 (THE MESSAGE)



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Fear, Featured, Hope

At once the Spirit sent Him out into the desert,
and He was in the desert forty days,
being tempted by Satan.
He was with the wild animals,
and angels attended Him.
MARK 1:12-13 (NIV)



We usually notice the first part of verse 13 – the threatening, dark part: Jesus “was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan.” But the last part of this verse (“He was with the wild animals, and angels attended Him”) can slip by us without notice. In Jesus’s day many wild animals prowled in this land, but God kept Jesus safe by sending angels to guard Him, just as the Israelites had been guarded in the desert by angelic hosts (Exodus 23:20, 23; 32:34).


When we feel alone, vulnerable or endangered, it is comforting to know that spiritual realities exist beyond our immediate experience. Though we may not sense or feel God’s presence, He is with us. One of the ways He is present is through sending angels to “guard us in our ways” (Psalm 91:11,12). So even it you are feeling all alone, don’t count on it – for “the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him: (Psalm 34:7).


Therefore, angels are only servants –
spirits sent to care for people
who will inherit salvation.
HEBREWS 1:14 (NLT)


On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Fear, Featured

Do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
The Lord Almighty is the one
you are to regard as holy,
he is the one to fear,
he is the one you are to dread,
and he will be a sanctuary.
ISAIAH 8:12-14 (NIV)



I had been programmed for so many years not to admit fear, but rather to be strong and confident, a conqueror. So when fear and doubt hit, it was like a tidal wave engulfing me.


What especially bothered me was the fear of death. Even as a Christian, the fear of dying consumed my thoughts. I did not want to die. I didn’t know what dying involved. All I knew was that I wanted to be around. I loved my wife and kids and I didn’t want to leave them. The fear of losing them consumed me. In an odd sort of way, a passage like Isaiah 8:12-14 really helped. Just knowing that “he will be a sanctuary” was a comfort to my heart. I discovered that God is the only one who can relieve our fears. When we focus on him, even in our fear, we find sanctuary.



Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
ISAIAH 41:10 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Depression, Endurance for the Journey, Fear, Featured

Give ear to my words, O Lord,
consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
PSALM 5:1-2 (NIV)



When we find ourselves in deep distress, our words often vanish like smoke. We find our desperate longings cannot be formed into sentences with subject, verb, object. We are like the mute – wordless, with nothing on our lips but sighs.


And yet the Lord hears us!


In Psalm 5 David asks not only that the Lord might hear his words, but that God would consider his “sighing” as well. What else can this mean but that David’s pain had grown too great for words? What words he had he offered in prayer; but this was not enough. David therefore asked the Lord that He might accept even his sighs!


What an amazing God we serve, who hears not only our spoken prayers, but also our speechless sighs. Even when we do not know what to pray for, God’s Word tells us that “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26). And so God meets sigh with sigh – and thus works for our benefit!



Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting,
God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
If we don’t know how or what to pray,
it doesn’t matter.
He does our praying in and for us,
making prayer out of our wordless sighs,
our aching groans.
He knows us far better than we know ourselves,
knows our pregnant condition,
and keeps us present before God.
That’s why we can be so sure,
that every detail in our lives of love for God
is worked into something good.
ROMANS 8:26-28 (THE MESSAGE)



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Fear, Glimpses of Heaven, Hope, Words of Endurance

“Lets not get too settled in,
too satisfied with the good things down here on earth.
They are only the tinkling sounds
of the orchestra warming up.
The real song is about to break
into a heavenly symphony,
and its prelude is only a few moments away.”
JONI EARECKSON TADA



When I was a young man, I compiled a mental bucket list of things that I hoped would happen before I died. I wanted to get married and have children. When that was checked off, I added grandchildren and other things to the list. All the items on my list of things hoped for before I entered heaven were good things. But how I viewed those things versus eternity showed me that I did not have a good theology of what life after death means. Those things were not just desires. They were very often idols, the “good things that became ultimate things.”



German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who died at the hands of the Nazis in World War II for standing up for what he knew was true, was fearless about death.



“Why are we so afraid when we thing about death? …
Death is only dreadful for those who live in dread and
fear of it. Death is not wild and terrible, if only we can
be still and hold fast to God’s Word. Death is not bitter,
if we have not become bitter ourselves. Death is grace,
the greatest gift of grace that God gives to people who
believe in him. Death is mild, death is sweet and gentle;
it beckons to us with heavenly power, if only we realize
that it is the gateway to our homeland, the tabernacle of
joy, the everlasting kingdom of peace. “



Wow. Do I believe that? That was an eye-opening, heart-wrenching indictment of how shallow my faith has been regarding eternity. Death is not the final chapter of our lives; it’s simply the prologue to joy and peace. Have I ever thought of death as God’s greatest gift of grace? Hardly. Yet that is the reality of our faith if we believe the gospel is true.



DAVE BURCHETT STAY-LESSONS MY DOGS TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE, LOSS AND GRACE (PUBLISHED BY TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC. 2015)



The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow.
But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:18 (THE MESSAGE)



ON THE JOURNEY WITH YOU,
DAVE & JAN DRAVECKY

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Fear, Glimpses of Heaven, Hope, Words of Endurance

“We are not told in the Scripture
where heaven is.
Nor does it matter.
It will be heaven
and Christ will be there to welcome us home.”
BILLY GRAHAM PEACE WITH GOD (WORD PUBLISHING 1984)



There is a story told of a man close to death who expressed his fear of the end to his doctor. “Please, doctor, tell me what lies on the other side,” the man said.


I don’t know,” the doctor replied quietly.


“You don’t know? But you’re a Christian. How can you not know what is on the other side?”


The doctor’s hand rested on the doorknob of the examination room; on the other side of the door the men could hear scratching and whining. When the doctor opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and nearly knocked him over with boundless happiness.


Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “My dog’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside, except for one thing. He knew that his master was here. When I opened the door, he leaped in without fear. The same is true for us. I don’t know what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing. I know my Master is there and that is enough.”



That is enough for me, too. I will embrace joy on this earth and look forward to endless joy in heaven because I know my Master is on the other side.



DAVE BURCHETT STAY-Lessons My Dogs Taught Me About Life, Loss, and Grace (Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2015)



You wisely and tenderly lead me,
and then bless me.
You’re all I want in heaven!
You’re all I want on earth!
PSALM 73:24-25 (THE MESSAGE)



ON THE JOURNEY WITH YOU,
DAVE & JAN DRAVECKY

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Fear, Hope, On the Journey Together, Words of Endurance

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)



One of my greatest fears is turning back to my old ways and losing my confident trust in the Lord. I know my sinful and controlling flesh. I know how I am “prone to wander” and take back control of my life finding my own solutions to my pain instead of surrendering and trusting the Holy Spirit within me.



But the Scriptures tell me that patient endurance is what I need in order not to turn back or throw away my confident trust in the Lord. Patient endurance is the strength to continue calmly and without complaint despite fatigue, stress and other adverse conditions.



And where do I find this patient strength? From God’s Spirit within me – for patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that dwells within each and every child of God and “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)



So this New Year I am intent on believing and knowing that there is no turning back for me because I have known and seen the faithfulness of God. (Lamentations 3:23) I can be confident in the Holy Spirit that dwells within me because I know He will never fail me or abandon me. (Hebrews 13:5) And whenever I am “prone to wander” that He will guide and lead me back to “the God I love.” (John 16:13)



O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
COME, THOU FOUNT OF EVERY BLESSING
BY ROBERT ROBINSON & JOHN WYETH



ON THE JOURNEY WITH YOU,
JAN DRAVECKY

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Fear, Grace, Hope, On the Journey Together, Words of Endurance

“I, yes I, am the one who comforts you.
So why are you afraid of mere humans,
who wither like the grass and disappear?”
ISAIAH 51:12 (WORDS OF THE LORD TO ISAIAH-THE MESSAGE)



Trusting the Holy Spirit to lead me out of my darkness was a relatively easy step for me to take. He had turned my darkness into light before – I trusted that He would again. No one knows my heart better – the good, the bad and the ugly – and nothing about my true self could separate me from His Unconditional Love.



But the harder challenge for me was to trust others who had conditional love for me. How could I trust others with who I truly am when I fear them? The Holy Spirit has shown me at the core of my people-pleasing nature is the fear of human disapproval especially from the ones I love and respect.



This fear has caused me to hide behind the masks I have worn my entire married life and bury my true feelings deep inside my soul. I put my true self in captivity. But thank you Lord that You came to set the captives free! I now know that I can trust others with my true self because I can trust You to protect my heart. However, knowing and living this truth out are two different things. I am on a journey.



The fear of human opinion disables;
trusting in God protects you from that.
PROVERBS 29:25 (THE MESSAGE)



On The Journey With You,
Jan Dravecky

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Cancer, Doubt, Fear, Grace, Guilt, Words of Endurance

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses,
for he faced all of the same testings we do,
yet he did not sin.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive his mercy,
and we will find grace
HEBREWS 4:15-16 (NLT)



I have always had high expectations of myself – never wanting to fail – always wanting to be strong – never weak – earning my success – in the game of baseball and in my everyday life.



All that changed when cancer entered my life. Oh I was strong and performed well at the beginning of my journey of suffering. But as the journey took me into the wilderness and the days became long and endless, I experienced a weakness of my being that I had never felt before.



I had a fear of death – I doubted – then shame for my lack of faith. I experienced frustration over my weakness and my failure to overcome. This resulted in anger – rage filled fits – then extreme guilt over my sin. Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, my inclination was to run from God and hide. BUT … running and hiding from God was not the answer. In order to endure I needed to run to Him and receive His grace even though I felt I had not earned it and therefore I did not deserve it.



But God loves who we really are – whether we like it or not.
God calls us, as He did Adam, to come out of hiding.
“Come to me now,” Jesus says.
“Acknowledge and accept who I want to be for you:
a Savior of boundless compassion,
infinite patience, unbearable forgiveness,
and love that keeps no score of wrongs.
Quit projecting onto me your own feelings about yourself.
At this moment your life is a bruised reed and I will not crush it,
a smoldering wick and I will not quench it.
You are in a safe place.
BRENNAN MANNING (ABBA’S CHILD)



God’s grace is an incredible source of fuel for enduring the journey. It encourages us to keep going even when we fall because we know He understands and knows our weaknesses yet He still loves us. This was a huge source of fuel for me to continue taking steps forward on my journey with Him knowing that …

“If we have only the will to walk, then God is pleased with my stumbles.” CS LEWIS



Sometimes we are so sick and tired of stumbling that we don’t want to walk anymore. What a blessing it is to know that all we need to have is the will to walk with Him, and God is pleased with us – even when we stumble. That’s an incredible expression of grace. That is a tremendous motivation to keep stepping forward and endure the journey!



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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