Fear, Grace, The Gift of Grace, Words of Endurance

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others,
as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
1 PETER 4:10

During our time through the valley of suffering, both Dave and I were in great need of God’s Grace and the extension of His Grace to one another. Both of us exposed our weaknesses like never before. For me it was fear and depression – for Dave it was anger.

During that season Dave aimed his anger and verbal abuse at our children and me. It was like walking on eggshells in our house. No one wanted to upset the apple cart or cross Dave in the wrong way because we knew what the result would be – an explosion of anger and rage.

Looking back I should have thought that this was not fair. Here I was – selflessly taking care of him – loving him through his pain and yet he was taking his pain out on me – I did not deserve it. But even though I hated his behavior my response was not anger at him – I felt sorry for him.

Many have asked me how I could show such compassion after the way he was treating me but the reason was that I knew his heart. I knew that he did not want to respond in that way but he could not control it. After each explosion he always expressed so much remorse.

I knew that at the root of Dave’s anger was fear, frustration and hurt. I knew that he was unable to cry to express those emotions. The only way for him to express his unrelenting pain was anger.

I also knew that I was a child of God who sins– an undeserving recipient of God’s Grace – for which I was eternally thankful. Because I knew how much I have been forgiven and I was aware of how God’s Grace had been extended to me – it was not difficult for me to extend that same grace to Dave.

Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.

We continue to be “faithful stewards of God’s grace” through the ministry of Endurance to those who are in the midst of suffering. At Endurance we know that we all have weaknesses and those weaknesses are magnified and exposed during seasons of suffering – a needed time for God’s Grace. We extend His Grace to you.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me;
my only aim is to finish the race
and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—
the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
ACTS 20:24

God appoints our graces to be nurses to other men’s weaknesses.

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky


Fear, Grace, Healing, The Gift of Grace, Words of Endurance

“My grace is all you need.
My power works best in weakness.”

During our time of suffering many of my fleshly weaknesses and sins were exposed. After two and a half years of Godly counseling & therapy though I thought that I had come out on the other side of that valley totally renewed – free from my sins and weaknesses. NOT!!!!!!! (Oh God forgive me for my youth and naivety!)

Now as I have grown older I am more aware of my weaknesses and the sin that still exists within me. This has caused me much frustration and shame. Oh, how I identify with the Apostle Paul when he said …

I want to do what is good, but I don’t.
I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong;
it is sin living in me that does it.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right,
I inevitably do what is wrong.
I love God’s law with all my heart.
But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind.
This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
Oh, what a miserable person I am!
ROMANS 7:19-24 (NLT)

What a dilemma! Now I knew that I needed to repent of my sin but I always believed that true repentance was admitting my sin and then consciously making a 180-degree turn away from that sin. I have sincerely done this a thousand times but oh the guilt that I experienced every time I would fall again. I felt hopeless because I was unable to fix myself – instead of turning to God I turned away from God in shame. But I have since come to agree with the Apostle Paul when he concluded …

Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
ROMANS 7:24-25 (NLT)

Amen!!! Thank you Jesus – the answer is You! But I still wanted to know how to resolve my sin dilemma.

Well, I have recently learned that true repentance is going before God – admitting my sin, weaknesses and my inability to resolve them in my own power. Instead of turning away from God – I turn to Him because I know that the only resolution to sin will come through His grace, His power and His Strength within me. I trust the words of Paul …

And I am certain that God,
who began the good work within you,
will continue his work until it is finally finished
on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

I no longer am frustrated by my weakness but I humbly turn them over to God, receive His Grace and trust Him to continue the good work within me

I love it when the Scripture validates my own personal experience. The Apostle Paul was one of the most gifted and influential Christians in recorded history. God used him to firmly establish and expand the early church. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he penned most of the New Testament Epistles. He is regarded by most scholars as one of the strongest examples of a true Christian. Yet Paul had a major weakness.

Paul was given a “thorn” in his flesh. We do not know if this was a physical or an emotional weakness but we do know that he was “tormented” by the “thorn”. He pleaded three times for the “Lord to take it away from me.”

But God’s response was no. God allowed Paul’s torment, his weakness to, remain. God knew that Paul’s weakness kept him dependent upon Him for strength and grace. God also knew that Paul’s weakness spared him from self-dependence and pride because Paul knew how much he needed God’s Grace.

It is no different for us. We need God’s grace. No matter how disappointed we may be in our failures and weaknesses, God is gracious and generous in dispensing His grace to us. Our human frailty is not an affront to Him – “He remembers that we are dust.” The more we lack, the more His grace will fill us.

When we turn to Him, admit our weaknesses and limitations to God, we take the first step toward receiving His all-sufficient grace. No wonder Paul found delight in his weaknesses and difficulties. He knew what when he was weak; God’s grace would make him even stronger. I am so glad to proclaim as Paul did …

So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ can work through me.
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses,
and in the insults, hardships, persecutions,
and troubles that I suffer for Christ.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky


Grace, Grief, Healing, Hope, The Gift of Grace, Trust, Words of Endurance

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Thirty-one years ago I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and my world was rocked and changed forever. I received the gift of salvation with such joy and excitement – I wanted everyone to experience that same joy. So with great exuberance, I shared the Gospel with everyone that crossed my path!

One problem though was when I became a Christian I did not understand God’s Gift of Grace. While I was always able to extend Grace to others especially those who were suffering – I was not able to extend that same Grace to my family or receive His Grace myself. UNTIL …

Last year when I was looking for a Christian book to read while I was traveling, I asked God to lead me to something new and inspiring. As I scanned my bookshelves I noticed a book entitled TrueFaced. Now this book had been on my shelf for seven years and I had never read it. Why was I now drawn to it? I did not know at the time – but I took it off the shelf and put it in my brief case to read on my flight.

As I read the book I immediately knew why God led me to this book. The book presented two paths – “The Path of Pleasing God” and “The Path of Trusting God”. I was immediately drawn to “The Path of Pleasing God.” After all, I thought, wasn’t that the more admirable path?

My eyes were opened when “The Path of Pleasing God” led me to “The Room of Good Intentions” and the word over the doorknob was “Self Effort”.

I realized that …

  • Self-effort was the story of my life – putting forth the effort to please God. This led to weariness and emptiness.

  • I was “striving hard to be all God wants me to be” but I was never able to achieve God’s standard. This led to frustration and guilt.

  • I was “working on my sin to achieve an intimate relationship with God” but when I would always fall short that was when I turned away from God in shame.

  • “Increasingly the path to pleasing God seems to be about how I can keep God pleased with me” and because I could not resolve my sin in my own power it caused me to put on masks to hide those sins. At least when I wore the masks I would be accepted in my Christian community.

  • My life equation was “more right behavior + less wrong behavior = Godliness.” The problem was my wrong behavior often outweighed my right behavior leading to more frustration, guilt and shame. But then “The Path of Trusting God” led me to the “Room of Grace” and the word over the this doorknob was “Humility.”

  • I was humbled as I learned that …

  • “We can never resolve our sin by working on it” – only God can resolve our sin – this leads us to victory.

  • “Only by trusting can we truly please God. If our primary motive is pleasing God, we’ll never please Him enough and we’ll never learn trust. Pleasing God is a good desire. It just can’t be our primary motivation or it’ll imprison our hearts” and cause us to wear masks and not be real.

  • “Until you trust God nothing you do will please God.” I am going to trust Him to deliver me from my sin.

  • “Pleasing is not a means to our godliness. It is the fruit of our godliness, for it’s the fruit of trust.”

  • True Grace was “Standing with God, my sin in front of us, working on it together.”

  • Answer this question:
    Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you?

    The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Habakkuk had it right:

    “The person who believes God, is set right by God—and that’s the real
    life.” Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith,
    but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping,
    a fact observed in Scripture: “The one who does these things [rule-keeping] continues to live by them.”
    GALATIANS 3:5-6,11-12 (THE MESSAGE)

    Because of these revelations from God through this book, I have become a different man. God’s Grace has set me free from striving and it relieved my guilt and shame at my inability to live the perfect life. It allowed me to remove my masks so that I could trust God and others with who I truly am – warts and all. It caused me to throw myself at the feet of Jesus where I know Jesus will empathize with my weakness and I will receive His mercy and grace.

    Once again my world has been rocked and changed forever – so with great joy, excitement and exuberance – I share God’s Grace with you!

    For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our
    weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way,
    just as we are—yet he did not sin.
    Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
    so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
    HEBREWS 4:15-16

    On the journey with you,
    Dave Dravecky

    (Quotations are excerpts taken from “The Cure” which is the recently updated version of “TrueFaced.”)


    Grace, Grief, Healing, The Gift of Grace, Words of Endurance

    And God is able to make all grace abound to you.

    One of the most enlightening and freeing times in my personal spiritual journey was when I began discovering the gift of God’s grace. I knew that God had extended His grace to the whole human race by sending His Son, Jesus, to die as payment for our sins and to rise again so that we could have eternal life with God. But deep inside I still operated in the belief that God’s love for me had everything to with how well I performed. So when I accepted Jesus as my Savior, God’s name was added to the top of a long list of people I felt that I needed to please – people whose love I had to earn.

    God didn’t allow me to operate in that belief for very long, however. While Dave and I lived in Puerto Rico, where Dave played winter ball, we participated in a Bible study on the book of Ephesians. Through that study I came to realize that God’s love for me had nothing to do with how well I performed nor was it about the works I did for Him. In fact, I learned that I couldn’t do anything to earn God’s love.

    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
    and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
    not by works, so that no one can boast.
    EPHESIANS 2:8-9

    God also knew I needed more than a revelation about His grace – I needed an object lesson. That lesson came in the form of our daughter Tiffany – who was born with a strong will. No matter how many times her will and my will collided or how unlovely she acted – my love for Tiffany was totally unaffected by her actions. My love for her amazed me and for the first time I began to understand God’s grace. Because I had such great love and grace for my child, I was finally able to understand God’s love for me as His child in spite of my weaknesses and faults.

    Years later, when Dave and I went through our times of personal suffering, grace once again played a key role in my spiritual journey. Like many people who endure the varied trials that come with a cancer diagnosis, we lost control of our lives. We were hurting. We weren’t fun to be around. We didn’t look like model Christians any longer. The ugliness of pain and suffering was clearly visible in our lives. We were ashamed – we needed grace.

    Although many people in our lives at that time were unable to extend that grace to us – we thank God that a few of his children extended His grace to us. They forgave, accepted and loved us as we were – with all of our pain, ugliness, anger, doubt and shame.

    Instead of telling us what we should or shouldn’t do – they let us vent and they listened. Instead of condemning us – they validated our feelings and were truly sorrowful with us over what we were going through – they wept with us. Instead of abandoning us because we were not being “very Christ-like” – they stood by us and helped see us safely through to the other side. Healing came as grace was given to us.

    We learned firsthand what a gift is when grace was extended to us during our time of suffering. We all need someone to reach out to us with God’s gift of grace. Grace lifts us up and gives us hope.

    Grace has been called “the glue that mends our brokenness,” and in suffering our brokenness is fully exposed. Grace, then, is indispensable in times of affliction. Grace says, “I love you warts and all. I understand that pain has stripped away the veneer that covers your raw, unlovely humanity. But you are made in God’s image. You are therefore, the most precious and priceless thing in all His creation. So I will extend unwarranted love and kindness toward you because God has extended it to me.”

    And because God’s grace was extended to us in such a mighty way – we extend His grace to you.

    May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
    and the love of God,
    and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
    be with you all.
    2 CORINTHIANS 13:14

    On the journey with you,
    Jan Dravecky