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8
April 2021
Waiting
12
November 2020
The Gift of Self
4
November 2020
False Guilt
4
November 2020
Living Hope (part 2)
28
October 2020
Living Hope
7
October 2020
Consider It Joy
7
October 2020
Seize the Trial
10
September 2020
Take Heart and Endure
2
September 2020
Free From Fear
20
August 2020
Our Unseen Hope
20
August 2020
The God of Peace
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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Peace

The waters of the great flood covered the earth for 150 days.
It was 40 days after that before Noah opened a window on the ark.
The water receded steadily from the earth.
At the end of the hundred and fifty days
the water had gone down.
GENESIS 8:3



The waters of the great flood covered the earth for 150 days. It was 40 days after that before Noah opened a window on the ark. How dark, smelly and confining it must have been in the ark for all those days. How difficult (and frightening) that wait must have been.


Waiting is one of the most difficult things we will ever be asked to do. Waiting can prompt us to fret, to stew, to become anxious, even to rebel. Waiting patiently does not come easily to any of us – especially when we are suffering. Yet without developing this trait in our lives, we can never hope to enjoy God’s greatest blessings – nor will we ever become a great blessing to someone in need who finds themselves in God’s waiting room.



But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
they run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.
ISAIAH 40:31 (THE MESSAGE)



On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Purpose in Suffering?

He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
And there will be no more death
or sorrow or crying or pain.
All these things are gone forever.”
REVELATION 21:4 (NLT)



Few things make Jan and me sadder than reality-denying speeches that go something like this: “Oh praise the Lord I’m going through this! Praise the Lord for this pain!” That may sound spiritual, but it’s not. It’s false. Suffering is not a pleasant thing, and to limp around with fake smiles on our lips and saccharine words on our tongues does a terrible disservice to the gospel.


If pain itself were so great, why is God going to do away with it in heaven? No, it’s not the pain for which we are to be joyful, but the good results that it can produce in us. To deny the pain and the suffering and the agony is to lie and to cease living in the truth. And neither honors God or helps us.



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.
ROMANS 5:3-4 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Relationships

I, John, your brother and
companion in suffering
and kingdom and patient endurance
that are ours in Jesus …
REVELATION 1:9 (NIV)



The Apostle John calls himself “your brother and companion in suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus.” Interesting choice of words!


John knew that shared suffering binds you to your fellow sufferers. Veterans from World War II know this. So do survivors of cancer, a plane crash or the polio epidemic of the 50s. Roommates in a hospital ward feel it.


When you are in the trenches, handing bullets to your buddy and fighting a common enemy, hearts can’t help but be pressed together. Your knowledge of each other is unique and intimate.


And when you share the common bond of knowing Jesus Christ, you are doubly blessed for you are truly “brothers and companions in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance” that are yours in Jesus!


JONI EARECKSON TADA



We are confident that
as you share in our sufferings,
you will also share in the
comfort God gives us.
2 CORINTHIANS 1:7 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Love

This is the message you heard from the beginning:
We should love one another.
1 JOHN 3:11 (NIV)



Real love is an action – a selfless, sacrificial giving. The greatest act of love anyone can perform is to give himself or herself for others.


Sometimes it’s easier to say, “I’d die for you” than it is to say “I’ll live for you. Let me think of your interests before my own.” I think we would all agree that living sacrificially is a real death to self. It’s a killing of your selfishness, your own desires.


To die for others, to live for others, is a gift of love that can only come from God. Why only from Him? Because it takes superhuman strength to live – I mean really live – for others.

JONI EARECKSON TADA



Dear children,
let us not love with words or tongue
but with actions and in truth.
1 JOHN 3:18 (NIV)



On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, False Guilt, Featured

But there were also false prophets among the people,
just as there will be false teachers among you.
They will secretly introduce destructive heresies,
even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them –
bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
2 PETER 2:1



I remember one young man who confronted me during my battle against cancer. He told me I had cancer because of sin in my life and that if I confessed that sin, God would restore my health. What a load of guilt that was! By that time, I had struggled enough with the whys of my cancer to recognize the false guilt inherent in the young man’s solution.


I was fortunate to have the grace to politely, but clearly, reject that guilt. I responded to him by saying, “I appreciate what you’re saying. I do have sin in my life, but I can’t say this happened because of it. I do know that cancer has caused me to draw closer to God and that God can use this as a way of encouraging others. Who am I – or you – to say what God should or should not be doing in my life? God is in control of that. We are not.”



But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone
who asks you to give the reason
for the hope you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect.
1 PETER 3:15 (NIV)



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Hope

But you are a chosen people,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of him
who called you out of darkness
into his wonderful light.
1 PETER 2:9 (NIV)



Peter’s first letter, written to persecuted believers scattered throughout Asia Minor, is rich with real hope. This isn’t shallow “feel good” material; it is a deep well of wisdom, courage and need-specific counsel. So what do you say to Christian friends facing a prolonged season of pain, rejection or outright persecution? Peter’s letter offers a place to start.


Remind them of who they truly are! They are of inexpressible, surpassing value to God and his eternal kingdom (2:9-10).


But you are a chosen people …


Urge them to concentrate on the inner life, even in the midst of pressure and pain, recognizing that this will give opportunity to speak for God (3:13-15).


… But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord …


Encourage them to adopt the same mind-set that strengthened Jesus Christ as he faced suffering (4:1).


Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves with the same attitude …


Encourage them to let pain and pressures turn them outward in love and hospitality, rather than inward in self absorption (4:8-9).


Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins…


Urge them to humble themselves before God during their disappointment or difficult circumstances and remind them that Jesus Christ invites us to cast all our anxiety upon him (5:5-7).


… Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.


Challenge them to stand firm in the face of Satan’s attacks, remembering that they are not alone in their distress (5:8-10).


Be self-controlled and alert… Resist him, standing firm in the faith …


None of Peter’s counsel is sugar-coated. None of it is trite. But all of it speaks mountains of hope to our hearts. And isn’t that what we all most need?



And the God of all grace,
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you and make you
strong, firm and steadfast.
To him be the power for ever and ever.
1 PETER 5:10 (NIV)



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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Hope

To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout
Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,
who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge
of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit,
for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood;
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Praise be to the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy he has given us new birth
into a living hope through the resurrection
of Jesus Christ from the dead,
and into an inheritance that can
never perish, spoil or fade –
kept in heaven for you,
who through faith are shielded by God’s power
until the coming of the salvation
that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 PETER 1:1-5 (NIV)



Imagine sitting down to write a letter to a friend who has endured a long period of personal struggle or pain – and who faces even more in the days ahead. What could you say? What counsel could you suggest? What comfort could you offer?


Sugar-coated platitudes and warm, fuzzy sentiments just won’t cut it. Neither will bland statements or trite generalizations. Your friend doesn’t need a greeting card; he or she needs hope – a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to carry on in the face of hardship and opposition. No pseudo-hope will do. What your friend really needs is a living hope.




Remind them that we are “strangers” in this world (1 Peter 1:1). Our real citizenship, our true residence is in heaven.


Remind them that we have a living hope that nothing can destroy (vv. 3-5).


Assure them that trials are neither wasted nor without purpose. Through it all, our faith is being refined like gold, and our Lord gains honor and glory through our responses (vv. 6-7).



In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while
you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith –
of greater worth than gold,
which perishes even though refined by fire –
may be proved genuine and may result in
praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 PETER 1:6-7 (NIV)



On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Perspectives

Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith
develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.
If any of you lacks wisdom,
he should ask God, who gives generously
to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him.
JAMES 1:2-5 (NIV)



No gift quite matches the gift of perspective. In the best of times, our vision remains weak. We cannot catch even the briefest glimpse of the future: we have no idea what the next year, week, day or even hour might bring. We tend to make our judgements based on superficial, outward observations. When worries and trials push their way into our lives, we often draw back within ourselves, further limiting our eyesight and understanding.


For those who tend to live life on “cruise control,” imagining that tomorrow will be just like today, James offers this corrective: “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:14-15).


One of the most valuable outcomes of such a perspective is the development of a “long view” regarding present circumstances. Instead of demanding immediate answers, we place our trust in the Lord for ultimate results, “Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord’s coming,” James writes. “See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near … The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (James 5:7, 8, 11).



No matter what our situation may be, Biblical perspective is the only one that can bring us such perseverance and patience … and peace.



But the wisdom from above is first of all pure.
It is also peace loving, gentle at all times,
and willing to yield to others.
It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds.
JAMES 3:17 (NLT)

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Perspectives

Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing
of your faith develops perseverance
JAMES 1:2-3 (NIV)



No gift quite matches the gift of perspective. If value is determined by an article’s relative abundance or scarcity, perspective is nothing less than 24-karat gold. The book of James offers such perspective to those enduring “trials of many kinds.”


In the best of times, our vision remains weak. We cannot catch even the briefest glimpse of the future; we have no idea what the next year, week, day or even hour might bring. We tend to make our judgments based on superficial, outward observations. When worries and trials push their way into our lives, we often draw back within ourselves, further limiting our eyesight and understanding.


Writing with a pastor’s heart, James offers wisdom to those who have been displaced, scattered and persecuted. He begins with this piece of extraordinary counsel: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3). Joy? In the face of many trials? The only way such a thing could be possible is through the eternal perspective offered by Scripture and God’s indwelling Holy Spirit. It is the testing of our faith, says James, which develops perseverance.


And that’s not all. “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (v. 4). In other words, our difficulties and struggles are part of a process designed to bring us to a plane of living beyond anything we have experienced. That’s the sort of “big picture” insight into life we could never find on our own.


No matter what our situation may be, a Biblical perspective is the only one that brings us such perseverance and patience … and peace.



Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming.
See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop
and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.
You too, be patient and stand firm,
because the Lord’s coming is near.
JAMES 5:7-8 (NIV)

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Perseverance

Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing
of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial,
because when he has stood the test,
he will receive the crown of life
that God has promised
to those who love him.
JAMES 1:2-4, 12 (NIV)



A trial is not just an assault to be withstood, it is an opportunity to be seized. And these verses in James are intended to inspire, showing us that trials are opportunities to prove our love and enhance our faith. With this perspective, life becomes inspiring – not in spite of the trials but because of them.


The soldier who is called to the front lines is stimulated at the chance to prove his skills. The officer who is given a position of higher responsibility is roused by the rugged demands of his task. You and I are soldiers in the same way.


If you are tempted to slack off from praying but instead you remain faithful, your faith develops perseverance. If you are tempted to feel sorry for yourself, but instead start thinking of the needs of others, your character becomes refined. The result? An improved you with greater faith and a closer walk with the Savior.


And this is where the joy comes in!


JONI EARECKSON TADA



We can rejoice, too,
when we face problems and trials,
for we know they help us develop endurance.
And endurance helps us develop character,
and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
For we know how dearly God loves us,
because he has given us the Holy Spirit
to fill our hearts with his love.
ROMANS 5:3-5 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

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