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April 2021
Waiting
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The Gift of Self
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False Guilt
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Living Hope (part 2)
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Living Hope
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Consider It Joy
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Seize the Trial
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Take Heart and Endure
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Free From Fear
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Our Unseen Hope
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The God of Peace
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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Prayer

But I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in destress,
and he hears my voice.
PSALM 55:16-17 (NIV)



It’s hard for many of us to pray when things aren’t going so well. Sometimes we say to ourselves, “Well, what good does prayer do anyway? I’ve been praying, and things aren’t getting any better. I just don’t have the energy to do this anymore.”


King David encountered as many difficulties as we do, and yet he determined that he would not give up the one thing that gave him hope. “Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress,” he admits, “and [God] hears my voice.” (v. 17)


David refused to give up his lifeline. He continued to pour out his heart, whether he saw any immediate improvement in his circumstances or not. He didn’t pray just once. He didn’t wait until Sunday. He didn’t give up. Like a hurt child tugging on his mother’s apron, he knew that God would respond because he knew God’s loving heart. He is an Old Testament example of Jesus’ instruction that we “should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1)



Rejoice in our confident hope.
Be patient in trouble,
and keep on praying.
ROMANS 12:12 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Prayer

Give thanks to the Lord,
call on his name;
make known among the nations
what he has done.
1 CHRONICLES 16:8 (NIV)



When God invites us to call on His name, we should never be at a loss as to which name to use. I call the Lord my Shepherd and Friend during those times when God’s tenderness melts my heart and I cry to think how rich and full His love is.


Then there are times when I’m battling pride or wasting hours in daydreams. That’s when God’s Word slices through my sinfulness. It stings. His hand seems heavy. That’s when I call the Lord my Refiner, my Purifier.


There are times when I feel helpless and frightened, when no one, not even my husband or best friend seems to understand. Then I hide under the shelter of His wings. I snuggle safely in the cleft of the Rock. These are times when I call God my Tower, my High Fortress.


When it comes to God one name just isn’t enough. And because Scripture is full of different names for Him, we can always know exactly how to relate to our Lord, whether we fall to our knees in awesome respect or climb up in his lap to be held in His arms.

Joni Eareckson Tada



The Lord is my rock,
my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock,
in whom I find protection.
He is my shield,
the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
PSALM 18:2 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Prayer

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets
cried out to Elisha,
“Your servant my husband is dead,
and you know that he revered the Lord.
But now his creditor is coming
to take my two boys as his slaves.”
2 KINGS 4:1 (NIV)



When I first heard my diagnosis, my prayer life changed. Sure, I had prayed before but that moment marked a new experience and understanding of prayer. I now began to pray with desperation.


I have since discovered that my experience is not unique. Desperate people through the ages have cried out to God for help in their time of deepest need. The psalmist David certainly did and I knew another “David” who also did. My former pastor, David Jeremiah, wrote about it in his book Prayer, the Great Adventure. He writes: “I learned to pray out of desperation. For most of us, this is how the adventure usually begins. When we finally get serious about prayer, the trigger is usually desperation, not duty. We don’t pray because we ought; we pray because we are without any other recourse.”


The truth is, we always need God desperately, not just in times of life crisis. We may not always feel ourselves in such dire straits that we need God to rescue us, but we are always needy. Having a relationship with God is vital to human life.



From the depths of despair, O Lord,
I call for your help.
PSALM 130:1 (NLT)


In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
He saved me from all my troubles.
PSALM 34:6 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Prayer

I urge you, first of all,
to pray for all people.
Ask God to help them;
Intercede on their behalf,
and give thanks for them.
1 TIMOTHY 2:1 (NLT)



When those we love are suffering, we often feel helpless and wish we could do more to help. The good news is, we can. We can pray.


Prayers for a suffering friend are an incredible gift of love. Illness and its accompanying exhaustion, mind-fogging medications and weariness of soul can make it difficult for those who suffer to pray for themselves. What a great encouragement it is to know that someone is praying for your needs when you are incapable of praying for yourself!


Those who suffer can oftentimes sense when others are praying for them. Just knowing that someone else is praying sends a powerful message of love, concern and sacrifice. And best of all, when we pray for someone, we have lifted up their needs to the One who can best meet them … and who can give us His peace in the process.



The Lord hears His people
when they call to Him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
PSALM 34:17 (NLT)

On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Grief, Prayer, Words of Endurance

Then he prayed, “Oh Lord,
God of my master Abraham,
Give me success today,
and show kindness to my master Abraham.
GENESIS 24:12 (NIV)



We tend to think that prayer should come easily to us, and many times it does. But prayer in the face of suffering can be a different story.



We are often surprised when prayer becomes difficult, when it seems fruitless, when the needs of the moment are so overwhelming that we don’t know where to begin. During these times it’s easy to lose confidence in our ability to pray or in God’s willingness to respond.



The truth is, prayer can be extremely hard work. Oswald Chambers describes it as “not a preparation for work, it is work. Prayer is not a preparation for the battle, it is the battle.”



And that about wraps it up.
God is strong, and he wants you strong.
So take everything the Master has set out for you,
well-made weapons of the best materials…
God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.
In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.
Pray hard and long.
EPHESIANS 6:10, 17, 18 (THE MESSAGE)



ON THE JOURNEY WITH YOU,
DAVE & JAN DRAVECKY

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Grief, Prayer, Words of Endurance

God heard the boy crying,
and the angel of the Lord called to Hagar
from heaven and said to her,
“What is the matter Hagar? Do not be afraid;
God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.
Lift the boy up and take him by the hand,
for I will make his into a great nation.”
GENESIS 21:17-18 (NIV)



“Lord, thanks for putting the warning sign up there that tells us we will suffer, that suffering is a part of life in this fallen world. But thanks also for allowing us – for allowing me – the freedom to express my fears about the future. For only when I do so am I able to realize my dependence upon the One who understands my suffering better than anyone. Because he did not lose heart when He suffered, I, too, can find the strength to live courageously in my own difficult circumstances. Amen!”



And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus,
the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Because of the joy awaiting him,
He endured the cross, disregarding its shame.
Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;
then you won’t become weary and give up.
HEBREWS 12:1-3 (NLT)



ON THE JOURNEY WITH YOU,
DAVE DRAVECKY

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On the Journey Together, Pain, Prayer, Words of Endurance

And we are confident that he hears us
whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.
1 JOHN 5:14 (NLT)



I have not always been confident in my prayers. There have been many dark seasons of my life where I felt like there was a concrete ceiling between God and me. During those dark sleepless nights my heartfelt, desperate prayers just seemed to bounce back – unanswered – to my waiting and then disappointed heart.



But during this last season of darkness, when I would wake up in the middle of the night in desperation, I found myself not having any words to express my pain. All I could do was groan because I did not know how to or what to pray for – I just knew that I wanted deliverance. But I learned that God heard my prayers despite my inability to express my prayers in words.



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 8:26-27 (NLT)



So I started praying without words – praying with my tears and my painful groans (I was glad that no one could hear but Him). I trusted Him at His Word.



I trusted that my prayers did not rely on me but on the Holy Spirit within me to pray. Knowing that my prayers were heard – not because of me but because of the Helper within me – I could trust that all my prayers would be heard.



We are confident of all this because of
our great trust in God through Christ.
2 CORINTHIANS 3:4 (NLT)



ON THE JOURNEY WITH YOU,
JAN DRAVECKY

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Depression, Grief, Healing, On the Journey Together, Prayer, Words of Endurance

Listen, God! Please pay attention!
Can you make sense of these ramblings,
my groans and cries?
King-God, I need your help.
PSALM 5:1-2 (THE MESSAGE)



I have struggled off and on with depression all of my adult life. For years now I have pleaded with God to remove this “thorn in my flesh.” But after years of counseling and many attempts to get off my antidepressant I had resigned myself to the fact that this was the way I was wired and it was a burden that I would forever bear till I meet Jesus on the other side.



I thought I could maintain status quo and get by but my issues have worsened over the years. I have always known that I was a flaming people-pleasing codependent but I did not realize how that had eroded me spiritually, physically and emotionally. It has reared its ugly head in my relationship with God and family – leaving me empty inside – not knowing who I truly was – causing me to turn to addiction to numb my pain – not God.



What I am so elated over is that God has not left me here in my state of despair. While I am still in the midst of my healing and discovery I now know that He who began a good work in me will see it to the day of completion. (Philippians 1:6) For the first time in a long time my hope has been restored.



He has heard my prayer and blessed me with a wonderful, understanding and patient husband, an insightful and wise counselor and wonderful supportive friends. Another layer of the onion is being peeled and hopefully the root of codependency is being pulled out – I am still in the process – the process is painful but it is worth it. I now pray …



Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong –
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
Psalm 139:23-24 (THE MESSAGE)



On The Journey With You,
Jan Dravecky

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Prayer, Relationships, The Treasure of Relationships, Words of Endurance

Two people are better off than one,
for they can help each other succeed.
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.
But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
ECCLESIASTES 4:9-10 (NLT)



We don’t normally expect to find treasures in the darkness of adversity or riches in the valley of suffering but God gives us rich rewards even in these desolate places. One of the greatest riches God prepares for us in the valley is the discovery of the treasure of relationships. I will never forget the day I first caught a glimpse of this magnificent treasure. It changed my life.



I had become desperately depressed and I was seeing a counselor to help me climb out of the dark pit into which I had fallen. As we talked, the counselor casually asked me if I had any friends.



I immediately answered, “Of course! I have tons of friends!”



He then asked me how many of my friends needed me. I proudly responded, “All of them!”



Then he asked the question that would rock my world, “How many of your friends do you need?”



I pondered his question for what seemed like a long time because I could not believe my answer. I sheepishly admitted, “None of them.” This was a shocking revelation to both of us.



My counselor gently explained that God never intended relationships to be the way I described mine. God never intended relationships to be a one-way street. God made us to love and to be loved. No wonder I was dying on the inside! I had not allowed myself to need anyone.



Afterward our discussion troubled me. I began praying and asking God why I hadn’t allowed myself to need anyone. The answer came to me unexpectedly in the shower one day (I do a lot of talking to God when I am in the shower!). I realized that the one person I had needed the most had been my mother. When she died my pain was so great I decided I would never need anyone again the way that I had needed her. From that point on, I lived to love others but never allowed myself to receive the love from others.



No wonder I was lonely and depressed. I wasn’t bonded to anyone. My relationships needed work.



The realization that I needed healthy relationships in my life was truly a treasure. It caused me to assess all of my relationships. I determined which ones were healthy – which ones were unhealthy. I began making changes to improve the relationships that were unhealthy. I also began to seek out healthy peer relationships – two way street relationships – where I gave but I also received.



I also had realized that I had fallen alone and that was why I found myself in real trouble. I need others – what a revelation – what a treasure!



Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. PROVERBS 27:9 (THE MESSAGE)



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

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Grief, Pain, Prayer, Relationships, The Treasure of Relationships, Words of Endurance

Then the Lord God said,
“It is not good for the man to be alone.”
GENESIS 2:18 (NLT)



It is not good for anyone to do life alone but there was a time in my life when I thought I didn’t really need relationships. Sure I appreciated my family and friends but I had no idea that having healthy relationships was absolutely essential to a healthy life. I didn’t realize God had created us in such a way that we simply cannot live without relationships but my need for close healthy relationship would be enlightened when Dave and I entered our valley of suffering.



I discovered that when we go through times of adversity or suffering our need for others intensifies – and that can be a problem. Why? Because any kind of pain, adversity or suffering will test our relationships.



We aren’t at our best when we hurt. Our weaknesses, flaws and ugliness rise to the surface and the result isn’t pretty. We offend others more easily and we are more easily offended. Under that pressure, relationships can crumble. At the very time we need good relationships the most, those relationships often become more difficult.



The good news is that it is possible to honestly and lovingly work through the relational difficulties that suffering exposes. Relationships can grow and mature to become true treasures under the pressure of suffering. We can emerge from the darkness of suffering with healthier, stronger relationships – I know that from my own personal experience.



My prayer is that in the upcoming Words of Endurance that they will help you see the true value of your relationships and enable you to deal with the inevitable relational challenges one faces in the darkness. I know personally the refining process may be difficult and painful but I also know the rewards of stronger and healthier relationships are absolutely unbelievable and priceless!



Friends love through all kinds of weather,
and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.
PROVERBS 17:17 (THE MESSAGE)



Praying for all who are seeking the treasure,
Jan Dravecky

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