Last spring we had wonderful participation in our #CoveSpringPhotoChallenge. Thanks to all who shared their fresh snapshots of the budding season with us!
Are you ready to join us again?
We are excited to announce that today officially launches The Cove’s 2017 #CoveFallPhotoChallenge.
Here’s how it works:
Post one photo daily, using the daily prompts noted below, on Instagram or Facebook. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #CoveFallPhotoChallenge when you post your photo so we can all see what each other are sharing.
Not a professional photographer? Don’t worry, neither are we. Every photo we post will be taken by either an iPhone or a Canon camera. No fancy equipment or special skills needed!
Need some ideas of what to share? Post a picture of the changing colors of leaves, your favorite fall recipe, a beautiful fall view, or a photo of your enjoying the warmth of your fireplace or firepit.
The most important thing is that you have fun! We can’t wait to see what you have to share with us!
FYI: Anyone taking part in the photo challenge may have their photos shared by The Cove and other participants.
The changing colors of fall make this season one of the most beautiful times to visit our area. Make sure to visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.
Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.
Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!
Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.
Kendra Graham notes from : John 16:33
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
These things I HAVE SPOKEN: in ME you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation. Take courage; I have overcome the world.
Life is hard…
This past week has been difficult for my family. My second daughter (my middle child) broke both of her arms playing in a soccer game, where ironically, it’s against the rules to use your arms. This is the daughter that has always had to work harder. This is the daughter who has learned perseverance and struggle at a young age. This is the daughter who knows of tribulation more intimately than the others.
I have another dear friend who is clinging to the promises of God, tooth and nail, as she claims His faithfulness to keep her family intact.
Yet another friend across the country had her world rocked beneath her feet as her husband, a “God-fearing” man, left her and her four children to marry a woman he knew for months.
Let’s be honest, can we? Let’s revisit the last blog post for awhile. In this world we will have tribulation… we get that part, all too well, do we not? Then when we come to God in the rawness of our emotion and our eyes cannot see straight because of the tears that obscure our view, we cry out “Marah!” That bitter water from the desert. This is bitter! Where are You God?! The article from December 3rd, 2015 in the Daily News keeps populating my thoughts, when on the front cover it proclaimed, “God isn’t Fixing This!” My soul cries “Marah!”
Mass shootings…. Marah!
Hurricanes that kill and destroy… Marah!
More questions than answers…. Marah!
Here in John 16:33, Jesus plead with His disciples to hear these words. Jesus is God with skin on who had eternity to decide what words He was going to use and speak, and these are the words that He spoke directly before His betrayal, torture, execution and resurrection. Jesus was not speaking of defeat, but victory. The disciples were about to see with their eyes what was going to look like a defeated Messiah…. but that was not the Truth. It takes courage to believe the Truth. In the TRUTH there is peace and joy.
Jesus did not wait for eternity to come in order lie to us. Jesus came to speak Truth so that we might believe (John 20:31). The problem with the Truth is that we don’t like it. The Truth is, that the Truth is harder to believe than a lie (John 8:45).
When things are going great, we tend to pat ourselves on the back for being so smart and so savvy, but when things fall apart, and we have more questions than answers, instead of holding to the Truth of who Jesus is, we raise our fists and we shout, “Marah!” You brought us to this place to kill us. You are not good.
In this verse, John 16:33, we see Jesus is trying to pour courage and peace into His disciples. In the middle of chaos, in the middle of suffering, in the middle of the storm, if you cling to Me (Jesus), if you believe I AM who I say I AM, then there is peace and victory. Your eyes see defeat… your heart feels defeat…. BUT I HAVE OVERCOME… and that victory is given to you! We can claim that same victory the Apostle Paul and Corrie Ten Boom (The Hiding Place) did in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 When they proclaimed, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed, we are perplexed, but NOT in despair, persecuted, but NOT forsaken, struck down, but NOT destroyed.” These are HARD Truths to hold to…. but HOLD. By the skin of your teeth, HOLD to the faithfulness of God when all you want to do is let go.
This past week I have watched the You Tube video below, over and over. This woman was caught in the middle of Harvey, the recent hurricane that devastated Houston. The rain continued to fall for days beyond what was predicted. This woman had her family with her, trapped in the upstairs of her townhouse. In the middle of tribulation, in the middle of losing all her material possessions, “Marah” was not pouring out of her soul, but peace… strength… and the power of God was evident. This is the power of the Truth of who Jesus is.
Without Jesus we have the storms, but no anchor that holds. The testimony of this woman’s song gives me the strength to stand and sing when Marah is at the tip of my tongue. Our testimonies of the faithfulness of God need to be spoken of.
The Truth is…. we will have tribulation. Regardless of whether or not you are a follower of Jesus.
The truth is, that as long as we are in this world, there will be struggle. That previous statement may be a Truth that brings anger boiling to the surface of your soul…
We were created to walk with God, know God and need God…. Another Truth you may or may not like.
We were never intended to face or walk through life without the help of Almighty God… so He came personally, and overcame… His name is Jesus. John 14:6, Jesus said, “I AM the way the TRUTH and the life.” Singular… the way…. the Truth … the Life… You may find that statement as well, angering and “exclusive”, but God did not wait for eternity to come and then confuse us… that statement, above all, is very clear….
Jesus came and His name means, “Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6.
Marah is easy… it’s natural… but to this woman… praise poured out. Lord, give us the courage to hold… when all we want to do is let go.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?
How have you battled or how are you battling to hold to the Truth of who Jesus is?
When did you have peace in the midst of Tribulation?
Has God ever been faithful to you in the midst of tribulation?
Will you have courage to share your story of God’s mercy and faithfulness to encourage others to hold when everything they see and feel is screaming Marah?
When did God change your moment of “Marah” into a moment of praise?
If you have yet to trust the Truth of who Jesus is, will you today?
LIVE IT OUT:
Show me what is real more than what I feel. Lord, meet me in my Marah, and put Your words of praise deep in my heart. Help me to claim the fact that You have overcome the world when everything seems to tempt me to believe the opposite. #overcome
Lord Jesus, today I come to You. Help me believe that You are the way, the Truth and the Life. Forgive me for the Marah, the bitterness that has separated You and I. Come into my life and be my Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.
Have you ever been to a Billy Graham Evangelistic LIVE event? Perhaps you’ve attended one of Billy Graham’s Crusades or Franklin Graham’s Festivals?
Well, this weekend you have the opportunity to virtually attend one from the comfort of your own home. Join Will Graham tonight at 7 pm ET and Sunday at 4pm ET as he shares the Gospel in Fort Wayne, Indiana. You’ll also have the chance to see music artists including Phil Wickham, Aaron Shust, The Afters, and Jimi Cravity.
We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communicationhere at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.
“Who’s In Charge Here?”
I recently overheard the following conversation in a church sanctuary after the Sunday morning service:
“So how are the plans for the church barbeque/outreach going?”
“Pretty well, but I’ve looked over the sign-up sheet and there are still a few blanks. Why don’t you try calling some of these people? You were an army colonel—I’ll bet you could get ‘em to sign up! I imagine people were scared when they saw you coming—afraid they’d get yelled at!”
“I didn’t really have to yell. I just told them what to do and they did it.”
The soft-spoken colonel’s matter-of-fact reply reminded me of the New Testament story of the Roman centurion who came to request Jesus’ intervention on behalf of his paralyzed servant (see Matthew 8:5–13). When the Lord offered to go to the centurion’s home to heal the servant, the centurion replied, “‘Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it’” (Matthew 8:8-9, NASB).
What happened next is astonishing.
Matthew tells us that when Jesus heard the centurion’s statement of faith, “He marveled, and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ And Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed that very moment” (Matthew 8:10-13, NASB).
With mass shootings, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, cultural and political turmoil, and a volatile world stage, the past month has left many reeling, with some wondering “Who’s in charge here?” In a chaotic world that sometimes seems to be spinning out of control, the faith-filled centurion can teach us some valuable lessons about prayer.
As a commander of 100 soldiers in the Roman army, this man held a position of importance, yet he recognized that his authority only went so far. He had heard enough about Jesus to understand that He possessed not only authority but power. While the Scribes and Pharisees—the religious leaders of the Jews—remained spiritually blind, this Gentile military officer’s eyes were opened to see and understand Christ’s divine power to heal.
Do we remember who’s in charge when we pray? Our faith will be strengthened when we remind ourselves that we are communicating with the all-powerful, omnipotent God, coming to Him in the name of His Son Jesus, who said, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18, NASB).
Be it Harvey, Irma, Maria or some yet-to-be-named storm, a hurricane does not have authority over us. Fires, earthquakes or other natural disasters cannot touch us without His permission. While the Bible teaches us to be subject to rulers and those who are in authority (see Titus 3:1), political leaders do not have ultimate power over us—God does. Cancer is not in charge—Christ is. Even death has no dominion over us if we know the one who defeated the grave through His death and resurrection (see John 11:25).
Who’s in charge here? God is. While we can come boldly to Him with our requests, as children approach a loving father (see Hebrews 4:16 and Galatians 4:6), we need not instruct God on how to act or advise Him on the best strategy to employ. Like the Centurion, we can simply recognize His power, state our need and trust Him to work.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NKJV).
We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events taking place on The Cove property during the month of October.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. (Psalm 95:6, NKJV)
The stats are alarming and discouraging. According to a Barna report from 2016, “Nearly six in ten (59%) young people who grow up in Christian churches end up walking away, and the unchurched segment among Millennials has increased in the last decade from 44% to 52%.”
It is incredibly important to engage with young people today in a way that encourages a real, authentic and life-changing relationship with Christ. It’s possibly more important than ever!
What’s the answer to these problems? It’s more than simply dragging your child to church until they’re old enough to run the other way.
It begins first with living the life you want your child to live. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (ESV). Parents, I would encourage you to take this to heart and invite Jesus into your life and home. Make sure your faith is more than lip service. Allow Him to direct what you see, hear, discuss, and pray as you go through your day. Love your child with the grace-filled love of Christ.
Second, disciple the children in your care—both at home and in the church—and encourage them as they learn and grow in the faith.Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “You shall teach them (the words of the Lord) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (ESV).
You only have a limited amount of time with your children before they are sent out into the world. Never miss the opportunity to impart Scripture and sear the Word of God on their hearts.
Similarly, pastors and youth workers, Sunday morning or Wednesday night might be the only time some of your young people are exposed to the Gospel. When church or youth group is over, they may go back to very difficult lives in homes where the name of Christ is never spoken. Disciple your youth. Feed them a healthy diet of truth from the Scripture, tackle the tough issues, and mentor them as much as you can in the limited time you have.
Finally, if the children and young people in your life have not yet made a decision for Christ, pray and watch for opportunities to present the Gospel. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (ESV). As you pray, God will soften their hearts, break down barriers, and open doors for you. I truly believe it.
My friends, the Gospel is for every generation. Live a godly life, disciple your child, and reach the young people around you with the Gospel. Every day your youth are going into an incredible Mission Field. Equip them to shine the light of Jesus. There’s too much at stake to let this moment slip by!
Sportscaster James Brown (J.B.), know for hosting The NFL Today on CBS Sports and Thursday Night Football on CBS Sports and NFL Network, and previously FOX network’s NFL pregame show, Fox NFL Sunday will be speaking at a two-day men’s event at The Cove on June 15-16, 2018.
What a great opportunity for you (if you are male) or someone you love to take their son, father, cousin, brother or men’s group from church. Register now.
Angie, our Guest Services Coordinator, and her helpers have been at it again! They’ve used their creative minds and capable hands to put together several beautiful Fall displays throughout the property.
Enjoy this year’s Fall decorations…
This fun display is located just past the gatehouse as you pull onto the property.
Our John Deere hay loader is spruced up for the season!
One of our super talented maintenance men, Barry, built this new arbor! The photos do not do it justice, but still show the workmanship and beautiful design. We’ll keep it up through Christmas (of course Christmas decorations will be added in a couple of months.) Register for one of our Christmas at The Cove events.
The huge wreath over the Training Center fireplace has it’s new Fall look, too…
On another note…
As many of you faithful readers have noticed, we’d had some technical difficulties over the last week. Everything should be in good working order now, but in case you missed some of our last several posts, here’s a handy list you can just click on to see the fully functioning post. We appreciate your patience. : )