Recipe from The Cove Kitchen: Butterscotch Blondies

Recipes from The Cove kitchen logoBlondiesButterscotch Blondies
Makes about 24 Blondies.

INGREDIENTS

2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 375°F.
Grease a 13”x9”x2” baking pan.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Beat in evaporated milk and vanilla.
Mix in dry ingredients on low speed, just until blended.
Stir in chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and chopped nuts.
Spread batter in prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out almost clean.

Enjoy!

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Enjoy delicious recipes like this on your next stay at The Cove. See a full list of upcoming events at The Cove, or contact our Guest Group department to hold your group retreat at The Cove.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Deuteronomy 8:2-3

Kendra Blog Title

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!

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Kendra Graham notes from :  Deuteronomy 8:2-3

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.  He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

THE FACTS:  

Remember the LORD led you  ALL the way in the wilderness, 40 years, to humble & test you to know your heart whether you would keep His commands. He caused you to hunger & fed you with manna to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but EVERY Word from the mouth of the LORD.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

You don’t know you need to be #delivered until you need to be #delivered.  God’s chosen people were to be a people set apart to be a great nation for God (Genesis 12), but they found themselves slaves under the control of Egypt.  SO God, did the easy part: He saved Moses from death, brought him up in the house of Pharaoh, and sent massive plagues upon Egypt so that Pharaoh would let the people go.  As millions of Israelites left Egypt, God was careful not to lead them the “logical” way out because it would bring them by way of the land of the Philistines and, “The people might see and change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt” (Exodus 13:17).  God split the Red Sea in two, causing all of them to walk on dry land, thus saving them and causing the army of Egypt to be destroyed in front of their eyes (Exodus 14:16-17).  There was no going back to Egypt at this point.  God’s people had been called out and led out by God Himself into the wilderness.  The wilderness was not an accident as we see here in these verses.

Wilderness desert outside of Jericho (5) blog size
The wilderness outside Jericho.

For over 400 years God’s people had been in Egypt where they had been trained to trust  Egypt, and perhaps the gods of Egypt, to supply their needs instead of YAWEH, the LORD who was supposed to be Israel’s God.  God #delivered Israel from Egypt physically, but now would come the hard part, to #deliver their hearts out of Egypt.

God’s people were #delivered and free, but that freedom is not for them to now do whatever they wanted to do.  They were free to accomplish their purpose set apart from the beginning of time which is to know God and walk with God because they were created to need God.  So God led them to the wilderness, a place of desolation, and danger and fear of the unknown, to see what was in their hearts.  Were they really “all in” wanting to follow God and be His people, or was it just a convenient tag line to get them out of a bad situation?  God would use the wilderness to do just that…discern what was in their hearts.  Did God not know what was in their hearts?  Of course! God knew what was in their hearts, but God wanted His people to know what was in their hearts.  God was using the wilderness to teach them that dependence upon Him is not misplaced.  God wanted to teach them that He would provide for their every need, even in the impossible situations. God wanted to teach them that He is faithful regardless of what their eyes see and their bodies feel.

This is hard concept for me to understand.  God led His people to a place of hardship and suffering, on purpose, to humble them and test them.  That seems cruel, and the spirit within me cries out with questions and fists in the direction of heaven.  God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and if He led His people back in the day to a place of humbling and testing, then surely He will do the same for us.  This passage implies that there is a certain point at which God expects His people, the people called by His name, to be willing to give absolutely everything.  It is in times of testing and suffering that we can see if our hearts are in this, or not.

Wilderness desert outside of Jericho (1) blog size
The wilderness outside Jericho.

Do we really believe what we say we believe or not?  Is God really the God of the impossible, worthy to be praised and trusted with our very lives, or not?  Is worshiping God a convenience that makes us feel good?   Will we continue to follow Him even in the midst of anger, confusion and questions?

So God walked His people until they were literally ready to die of thirst to see how far they would go, trusting that God will provide their every need by His very Word when He says it.  How long will they walk this thing out trusting that God will give them what they need to live?  It is not about what they see, not about what they feel, it’s about the Truth of what they know in their hearts.  Will they hold on to YAWEH by the skin of their teeth believing that it was indeed the LORD God that has led them out to this place.  How many times did they have to go back to the awesome plagues to remember God was in this.  How many times did they have to remind themselves that their eyes saw the Red Sea part on their behalf and God saved them from the  world-power of the day?  How many times did they have to look up into the sky as they were led by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to remind themselves that they were indeed exactly where God had led them and He will lead them through and out on the other side?!  How hard is this?  It’s HARD.

Wilderness desert outside of Jericho (2) blog size
The wilderness outside Jericho.

Israel was being tested.  It’s easier for us to read, because we can skip to the end.  We know God provided. We know God led them into the promised land,  We know God gave them the manna and the water they needed.  Don’t skip over it so easily.  Feel this with them for a minute.  Remember, that after they had walked to the point of exhaustion and starvation, they came upon some water, only to find that it was bitter and they called the water “Marah”  which meant bitter (Exodus 15).  Your hopes are up for a second, and then dashed– can anyone relate?  God let you down again.  Still, even after water was found, they could not quench their thirst. What did the people do when they found this “Marah” water?  Out of their mouths came Marah.  They became Marah.  Bitterness.  Anger.  Complaining.  Fist shaking.  Out of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).  It’s almost like God just needed them to get it all out.  Don’t sugar coat this thing.  Don’t say you will follow Me, and then at the first sight of hard times, run for the hills.  Don’t say you love Me and trust Me in the middle of these miracles of biblical proportion, then when the rubber hits the road, and things get hard,  you change your mind and decide to rely on your own smarts and ingenuity to make it through.  God allowed them to be in a situation where they couldn’t fix it.  God had to do it.  It was not 50/50, it was not 30/70, it was God 100% and the people 0%. It almost seemed as if God wanted to just get them to vomit out all of their grievances against Him, so that He could begin to teach them who He is, not who they assumed Him to be.  Those grievances needed to come out, so they could be dealt with, not hidden under the rug to be ignored.

I love that as soon as their Marah, their bitterness came out, and the complaining and anger was put on the table, so that they could see what was in their hearts, God provided anyway.  Exodus 15:25.  In the midst of the anger and bitterness of the people, Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD said to throw that branch in the waters and immediately the waters became sweet.  It was not until the WORD of the LORD was spoken that the people were provided for.  Man does not live by bread or water alone BUT by the WORD of the LORD.  Ahhhh, the people were not only being taught who they were, but who God is.  God is grace in the middle of our Marah.  God is provision in the middle of our need.  God is the bread of life and living water, and how will we ever know who He really is if we do not have tremendous need?

We may have not been in a literal desert for 40 years, but many of us know this land.  We know this suffering.  We know this hardship.  We know it more intimately than we care to remember. So God tests us, to know what is in our hearts.  Will you hold to God’s evidenced promises and provision in the past and wait for His Word in the present  when everything within you cries Marah?

In the end, this time in the desert became a place of remembrance and thankfulness.  The desert became a place where Israel had a honeymoon of sorts with God, it was just God and them.  Yes, it was a place of correction, but God redeemed that place and in looking back, it was a time where Israel learned complete and total dependence on an always faithful God.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

 What desert, what wilderness put you to the test?  When has God tested you so you could know what really is in your heart?  How did that testing fare?  Did you hold or fold?  Do you realize that it is ok that all that Marah comes out?  Are you at a point to allow God to deal with that Marah and show you in His Word His personal provision for you?

LIVE IT OUT:  

Today spend time just being honest with God about the state of your heart.  Take time to thank Him for those desert places that are now stories of redemption and faithfulness.  If that desert place has not become that for you, and you are in the middle of it, thank Him for seeing the end and trusting that His faithfulness to His Word will be faithful even to you here and now.

Will any be willing to share their stories of how God was faithful to you in your desert place?  I know this is hard for many, and don’t share if it’s too personal, but if any can share a story of redemption, perhaps it would encourage us in the middle of our desert wildernesses to hold on to the God we desperately want to follow and trust through it all.

– Kendra

COVE BIBLE VERSE FOR THE WEEK OF September 18

This week’s verse is brought to you by Florin and Amy, participants from a five-day Intensive Bible Training here at The Cove. Their verse is 1 Thessalonians 2:8.

…so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.

Florin and Amy


Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden.  Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Saturday Snapshot – Military Marriage Retreat Race to the Top September 2017

 

MMR Blog Header

There’s nothing like a good challenge, and many of the men and women attending last weekend’s Military Marriage Retreat were able to accomplish a difficult feat.

Earlier this year, we started our Race to the Top challenge because we knew many of our active-duty military men and women enjoy hiking or running  on the trails throughout The Cove property.  So we thought, why not have a little healthy competition?!

This last weekend marked our 2nd Race to the Top challenge.  The weather was perfect and 22, in all, finished the race.

The race began at the trail entrance near Chatlos Memorial Chapel and ended at The Cove overlook.  The course is a steep, winding, four-mile uphill journey!

MMR 1

Following the honor system, each participant timed themselves and completed the challenge during their free time on Saturday.

Some of our racers woke up early and headed up at sunrise, while others ventured up in the afternoon.  Finish times ranged from 42 minutes and 28 seconds to just over an hour.

Enjoy the pictures…

MMR 5

MMR 4MMR 9

MMR 6

MMR 11

This is a very welcoming sign to our racers…only 150 yards to go!

MMR 3The mens’ winner rounding the bend to the overlook…

MMR 14

Behold the view from the overlook…
Not a bad reward for finishing the race!

MMR 8

Many of the race participants took pictures at the top.  Here they are… Cristina Moore and husband 1 hour 30 min Kyle connelly 53_38 Mark Oldroyd and wife Mark time was 50_58 Robert and Josell Spracklin RT time was over an hour and a halfMMR 10

Taking time for a little fellowship and more pictures on the mountain…MMR 16

MMR 13

MMR 15

MMR 12

And the winners are…
Married!

That’s right, the men’s and women’s division winners are a couple!! That’s one fast couple.

MMR 18 MMR 17MMR 19 MMR 20 MMR 21 MMR 22

The view from the top and the journey along the way was a memorable experience for all.

Look who one of our couples spotted as they were coming off the trail near the parking lot… an official Cove ambassador!

Bear that Cristina Moore and husband saw near trail entrance coming back to parking lot

On Sunday morning, we opened up our last session of the weekend with the winner announcement and prize award.

Bradley was our mens’ winner, and he finished the race in an impressive 42 minutes and 28 seconds.

Male Winner

And our womens’ winner, Marcelle, finished in 51 minutes and two seconds.  Well done, sister! Female Winner

Congratulations to the winners, as well as to all the participants. 

There was more than a race going on over the weekend, 70 military couples were blessed with powerful Bible teaching from Tommy Nelson, worshiping, relaxing, and enjoying each other’s company.


We expect to have three Military Marriage Retreats at The Cove in 2018.  At the time of this publication, we only have two confirmed, so check back for the third date (probably March 2018) in November.  These retreats for our military are free to active-duty, Guard, and Reserve service-members and their spouses.  (Includes program, meals and lodging).  Please help spread the word to your military friends and loved ones.

Active-duty, Guard and Reserve service-members are also welcome to attend any of our regular seminars, Personal Spiritual Retreats and concerts.  Click here for more information and to download the resource form.


COVE BIBLE VERSE OF THE WEEK OF September 11

This week’s verse is brought to you by John, one of our shuttle drivers here at The Cove. His verse is John 3:16.

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John_Bus Driver


Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden.  Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Saturday Snapshot — Register for 2018 Seminars & A Prayer Request!

Our 2018 seminars are online now and open for registration! Whether this will be your first time with us or your 100th visit, we hope to see you in 2018.

Click here to visit our website (below).

Website 2018 speakers unveiled

As you look through the 2018 lineup, you will notice that not all seminars have their titles or descriptions yet, just dates and speaker names.  This information will all be fully updated by November.

On another note, we have 50+ military couples with us this weekend for the Military Marriage Retreat.  Will you please join us in lifting them in prayer?  These military families are faced with circumstances that many of us could never imagine, and we are blessed to be able to serve them well while they are here.  Holy Spirit, fall on this place!

We expect clear skies and temperatures in the low 70s this weekend.  Perfect weather for the Race To The Top  – a 4-mile race from the chapel to the overlook that our military guests can participate in.

view from the TC Sept 8 2017 3 view from the TC Sept 8 2017 2 view from the TC Sept 8 2017

Have a blessed weekend, friends.


 

Are you a Christian church or nonprofit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event? Get more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Find a schedule of seminars, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, N.C.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media.
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Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Matthew 26:56

Kendra Blog Title

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 :  Matthew 26:56

“But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.  Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.”

THE FACTS:  

All this was done so Scripture of prophets be fulfilled. All the disciples forsook Him and fled.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

We were hand made by God to walk with God, know God and need God… but sin separates us from Him… So He came Himself, not trusting us to another, to make things right. Romans 5:17

Jesus was bound in the Garden of Gethsemane and led to the house of Caiaphas, where the scribes were already assembled.  Jesus was led down the mountain, across the Kidron Valley, and up the ancient steps to the house of the High Priest.  Was that night especially dark?  Was the only light on the path, the light from those arresting Jesus?  I wonder if even the insects and the nocturnal animals chose to just stay in that night?

Jesus was arrested in the cover of darkness, where injustice and evil prefer to reside undetected by the light.  Jesus even asks them why they took him in the cloak of night, when daily He taught in the temple, and at any time they could have seized Him in the light of day.  The question went unanswered.

There was a group already assembled at the house of the old High Priest, Caiaphas.  No wake up call in the middle of the night needed, it was as if everyone was on the same group texting thread and court was in session before Jesus arrived, like it was the norm…. away from the cameras and questions that would have been asked during the day.  The first three, of six trials of Jesus would take place in the middle of the night.

Jesus was alone.

The verses, here in Matthew, say that all His disciples fled and forsook Him.  None of them stayed to fight the mob.  None of them stood in great faith.  You see, the closest disciple of Jesus needs Him to die on that cross and rise from the grave just as much as the worst of sinners does.  The Bible says, “we all have sinned” – Romans 3:23.  It’s at this point that you see why God had to come personally.  God could not trust this part, His suffering and death to just anyone.  All of us would flee… BUT GOD loves us so much that He came personally, while we were enemies against Him, and died for us — Romans 5:8.  The wages of sin is death – Romans 6:23.  Someone has to pay that wage.   We were not created to pay that debt or bear the wrath of God, so God bore it Himself — alone.

This past May, as I ascended those ancient steps to the house that is historically accepted to be that house of Caiaphas, my soul was stirred as I saw Psalm 88 in a new light.  This house has been excavated in layers which shows that the “house” was much more than just a home:  There is evidence of living quarters, but also, the size and how it is laid out shows that perhaps it was also used much like a governmental building of sort.  It was much too big to just be a home, but what was found below was much more telling.

Kendra and Will Graham at the bottom of the ancient steps
Will and Kendra Graham on the ancient steps to Caiaphas’ house.

As you arrive, you enter a courtyard.  Today there is a church built on this location.  As you enter the church and begin to descend down, you see evidence of holding cells, or a small prison, which would not be a stretch to imagine that the home of the High Priest would have held religious prisoners.  The Jewish leaders were allowed to hold prisoners, they were just not allowed in Roman control to execute them.

Caiaphas Courtyard where Peter denied Jesus 2
Caiaphas’ courtyard, where Peter denied Jesus.

In this dark base of the home, there are holes cut out in the rock where leather straps would have been affixed to strap arms of the prisoners above their heads a little wider than shoulder length apart.

Prison with leather straps where they would tie up prisoners or bind them
Prison, with leather straps hanging from the ceiling, where prisoner would be bound.

In this pit there was a place of solitary confinement where they would put the worst of the criminals.  In this pit, there is a small hole from above, where the bound prisoner would have been lowered down into complete darkness.  There would be no escaping if someone was placed here.  Between the Jewish trials and the Roman trials, there was a period of waiting for the palace to awaken and be ready for business.  Is it too much to think, that Jesus could have been lowered into that pit, to await His trial before Pilate?

Pit

Underground cave info

When we descended down to the bottom of the pit, in what is believed to be the house of the high priest, silence overtook us.  Here in this pit we read Psalm 88 aloud, with the aid of a small light:

LORD, You are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you.

May my prayer come before You; turn Your ear to my cry.

I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draw near death.

I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like one without strength

I am set apart with thudded, like the slain who lie in the grave whom You remember no more, who are cut off from Your care

You have put Me in the lowest pit, the darkest depths.

Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all Your waves

You have taken from Me, My closest friends and have made Me repulsive to them.  I am confined and cannot escape;

My eyes are dim with grief.  I call to You LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to You.

Do You show Your wonders to the dead? Do their spirits rise up and praise You?

Is Your love declared in the grave, Your faithfulness in destruction?

Are Your wonders known in the place of darkness or Your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?

But I cry to You for help, LORD, in the morning, my prayer comes before You.      

Why LORD do You reject Me and hide Your face from Me?

From My youth I have suffered and been close to death; I have borne your terrors and am in despair.

Your wrath has swept over Me like a flood; they have completely engulfed Me.

You have taken from Me friend and neighbor, darkness is my closest friend.  

Can you hear Jesus pour His soul out?  Alone, abandoned and bound. What prophetic words written by David, so many years prior to this night.  Jesus, experiencing the complete and total wrath of God for us–instead of us.  Jesus endured it all.  God not trusting us, His hand-made creation, to anyone else, so He came personally to pay this incredible debt so that we can walk with Him, and know Him as we were created to experience. All this was  done to prove the Scriptures of the prophets.

God DOES love us! God is willing to give everything He has for us to be able to walk with Him and know Him!  God really does look at us like a bride sacrificing all He has for our eternal safety (John 3:16).  Jesus was abandoned, so we are not! This is the Gospel! This is the good news! Jesus was found worthy to the be Lamb at Passover for sin, once and for all!  We have been #delivered from the darkness because He was bound and #delivered to the darkness! So come on!  Come on! Let’s live bold and courageous, in the light, while there is still day, #Propelled to tell the Good News! God’s wrath has been stilled, by Himself.  Even when all forsook Him, He refused to forsake us.  We are free, we are #delivered, so live #propelled2purpose.

APPLY IT:  

How often do we see what God isn’t doing for us instead of what He has and is doing for us?  When was a time that I forsook Jesus, yet He refused to forsake me?

LIVE IT OUT:  

Today, Lord, open my eyes to see your goodness and your faithfulness as I remember the suffering You endured on my behalf.


What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.

COVE BIBLE VERSE FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 4th

This week’s verse is brought to you by Eric, Director of Operations here at The Cove. His verse is 1 Peter 3:15.

“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; but do it with gentleness and respect.”

Eric Wilkes_Director of Operations


Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden.  Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media.
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Prayer Note: September 2017

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here 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.

Prayer Note(3)
“It cost Christ and all of his followers sharp showers and hot sweats, [before they made it] to the top of the mountain; but still our soft nature would have heaven coming to our bedside while we are sleeping, and lying down with us so that we might go to heaven in warm clothes.”   —Samuel Rutherford

view from the overlook May 2017

OVERLOOK PRAYERS

In May of this year, we were pleased to welcome Chip Ingram and over 200 military service personnel and spouses for a Military Marriage Retreat at The Cove. Aside from Chip’s powerful Bible teaching and practical insights on marriage and family life, there was a fun and light-hearted “first” at this weekend retreat. On Saturday (the day before the retreat ended), participants were invited to compete in the “Race to the Top,” making a challenging 4-mile hike to the top of the Cove Overlook.

Awards were given to the winners in the male and female categories, and we enjoyed hearing stories and viewing social media posts from those who completed the race.

Another Military Marriage Retreat will be held this month (September 8-10). Rev. Tommy Nelson will teach on “The Art of Living Well in Marriage,” and the couples will again be invited to compete in another “Race to the Top.”

EVERYBODY WINS

There are two “official winners” in the strenuous event; yet the real reward for completing the race is given freely to everyone who makes it to the top of the precipice: a breathtaking view of God’s creative work. If you’ve ever made the trek to the Overlook, you know. The Cove’s lush, green canopy of trees stretches out below, while the towering white steeple of Chatlos Memorial Chapel points heavenward as a testimony to grace.  Above and beyond rise the misty blue, green and gray shades of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The panorama is definitely worth the hike!

Of those fearless warriors who accomplish the feat, many pause not only to catch their breath, but also to sit and pray, hearts quiet before their Creator, in awe of the majesty and beauty of His creation.

PERSEVERING IN PRAYER

It might seem easier to pray in a picturesque setting like the Overlook, gazing out over the world from a higher vantage point; yet the majority of our prayers are prayed at street-level, trying to escape the distractions of everyday life and the temptations of our daily struggle with self and sin. In our real-life “Race to the Top,” we may often feel we take one step forward and slide two steps back.

Even on the mountain-top, it may seem as if our problems, distractions and failures have followed us up the slope—or maybe even beaten us to the top—meeting us there with accusations of guilt. “What do you think you’re doing, kneeling atop this mountain? You’re in no condition to pray! Just take a look at this long list of sins you’ve committed and important tasks you’ve left undone. Why, if I unrolled the whole thing it would stretch all the way back down to the valley.”

So much for Overlook prayers. But before getting up from your knees and giving up—before you start down the path of prayerlessness, remember the hope-filled words of the psalmist David. “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2, NKJV).

Not only does our salvation, our life and our very breath come from God, but our ability to pray is a gracious gift from Him as well. As Billy Graham once said, “God Himself is the power that makes prayer work.”

The location doesn’t matter—whether you’re voicing a prayer from the scenic vantage-point of the Overlook or seeking the Lord with your head leaning over a mop bucket, He’s ready to hear. Whether you’ve had a victorious week of seeing God at work and sensing His presence or a week of failures and straying from His will, He’s ready to forgive.  Because Christ’s blood cleanses our sin when we confess it (1 John 1:7) and His Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and makes intercession for us (Romans 8:26), God stands ready to hear our prayer. Like the “Race to the Top” of the Cove Overlook, the journey to persevering prayer is worth the effort.

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2, NKJV).

During the month of September, pray especially for the military couples who attend the retreat. Pray for healing of relationships, rest for war-weary hearts and minds, and victory over battles with sin and temptation.  We are honored to serve these couples who have sacrificed so much to preserve and defend our freedom. Now let’s be faithful to pray for them.

Run with patience the race that is set before you” (Hebrews 12:1, NKJV).

—Donna Riesen


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events taking place on The Cove property during the month of September.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.   (Psalm 95:6, NKJV)

SEPTEMBER CALL TO PRAYER

Erwin Lutzer — September 5-7
The Mysteries of God: Drawing Near to the God We Love, Fear, and Struggle to Understand

An Evening at The Cove with Travis Cottrell — September 7
An evening of fellowship, delicious food and uplifting music!

Tommy Nelson — September 8-10
Military Marriage Retreat — The Art of Living Well in Marriage

Chip Ingram — September 15-17
The Real God: How He Longs for You to See Him

SeniorCelebration: James Merritt with Sisters — September 18-20
Out of Options? Relying on God in Desperate Times

Please join our brothers and sisters in Texas in prayer today.  Sunday, Sept. 3, has been proclaimed a Day of Prayer in Texas by Governor Abbott. 

Saturday Snapshot — Songstress in the Chapel

Roxi visited us this week all the way from Bucharest, Romania. Enjoy as she sings, “There is None Like You,” in her native tongue.

So beautiful!  Please pray for Roxy and her husband as they share the love of Jesus through their church plant in Romania.

Video filmed in the Chatlos Memorial Chapel prayer room.


Are you a Christian church or nonprofit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event? Get more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Find a schedule of seminars, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, N.C.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Tours are free.

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The blog of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove