All posts by notesfromthecove

PRAYER NOTE: MAY 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)

By Donna Riesen

WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO PRAY

“In the end we shall find every promise of God perfectly fulfilled. Then why should we not let our hearts rest in peace about everything that happens? Nothing can happen that can break a single one of these precious promises. There is no promise of an easy passage, but there are promises for every day of the voyage. Each day, let us take one promise for our own, live on it, test it and prove it—and thank God for it.”  —Amy Carmichael

Earlier this year I sat at a small table in a fast-food restaurant, waiting for my husband to return with our quick lunch of burgers and fries. We were on the return leg of a 9-hour journey, halfway home after having made an emergency trip to Florida to visit an aging parent who was dealing with his own serious health issues while caring for a spouse who suffered from dementia.

Gazing out the large plate-glass window opposite my table, I prayed silently for their increasingly desperate situation, asking God to intervene and bring healing, wisdom and provision. For the hundredth time, I confessed to the Lord that I didn’t really know what to pray. No sooner had I said amen than I lapsed into my fallback mode of worry and anxiety, staring absently out the window while trying to figure out how to solve this impossibly tangled situation. There were serious medical issues, financial constraints, family dynamics, and logistical issues to consider. Even nutrition was a concern. While Meals on Wheels was available, I worried they might not be willing to call to request delivery as often as it was needed.

As I sat drowning in my sea of worry, the scene taking place outside the window gradually came into focus: A huge flock of birds was descending upon the gas station opposite the restaurant. The sheer number of birds initially caught my eye; then I discovered what had drawn them. A box-truck carrying crates of a popular snack chip had pulled up alongside the pump, and the driver had thrown open the back doors and was generously distributing “Meals on Wheels” to the delight of this cluster of hungry birds! I sat in amazement, watching this parable unfold in what seemed like slow-motion. The driver flung out his arms, liberally distributing provision for the flock, “over and abundantly, above all [they] could ask or think” with their tiny bird brains.

Meanwhile, my bird brain finally got it! As I “considered the birds,” the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the words of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount:

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”  [Matthew 6:25-26, NKJV]

Praise God for the way He speaks so gently to us, feeding us with the manna of His Word and nourishing our spirit to strengthen and sustain us. He heard my prayer and patiently guided me away from my worries and back to His Word and His promises.

As I write this months later, I continue to struggle with the tendency toward worry. Yet I look back on the intervening days in amazement, having seen my Heavenly Father provide, uphold and sustain my earthly father. My dad is now at the beginning stages of grieving the loss of a spouse.  For long days he sat in a small room of a nursing home, gently watching over his wife as she succumbed to the debilitating disease of dementia.  The window near her bed revealed two bird feeders, often frequented by tiny, brightly-hued finches and brilliant-red cardinals.  Outside the back door of the facility, a brightly painted birdhouse held three small eggs which hatched just days before my stepmother died.  We watched as mama and papa bird made frequent trips to feed and care for their little ones. Each time I visited I prayed the Lord would use those birds to remind Dad of His promises.

Billy Graham has said, “The best way to pray is to open the Bible and pray Scripture back to the Lord, claiming His promises and asking that He strengthen and guide [us] in obeying His Word.”

I pray that God will encourage you today, in whatever situation you are walking through. If you don’t know how to pray, open your Bible and ask Him to speak His Words of comfort, strength and truth into your heart. Then hold tight to His promise, knowing He is holding you as you continue your journey.

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV).


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

MAY CALL TO PRAYER

SeniorCelebration: Pete Briscoe — May 8-10
Through His Eyes: Seeing as Jesus Does

Larry Crabb Seminar— May 15-17
Counterfeit Christianity: Recognizing False Teaching in Order to Live the True Gospel

Rachael Crabb Women’s Seminar— May 18-19
Love: The Mark of a Christian

Jonathan Falwell Seminar— May 22-24
Finishing Strong—A Study of 2 Timothy

Henry, Richard and Mike Blackaby Seminar— May 24-26
Living Out of the Overflow

Military Marriage Retreat with Chip Ingram — Experiencing God’s Best for Your Marriage – May 26-28

An Evening at The Cove Dinner and Concert with Annie Moses Band — May 28

Saturday Snapshot — Cinematic Filming

This week we had a special opportunity to have a drone pilot and his team stop by to do some aerial cinematography of the beautiful Cove property.  We look forward to showing you the finished footage in the future, but in the meantime, here are some behind-the-scenes shots for you to enjoy.

Drone being put together
Getting the equipment ready for flight.
Calibrating the drone before takeoff
Calibration process.
Drone closeup in parking lot
Ready for takeoff!
Drone pilot and camera man
Pilot and camera operator in action.

And here is the drone in flight with the Shepherd’s Inn in the background…

And here is a bit of the filming off the Training Center deck.  The drone later took off much further back and higher…

We can’t wait to share the footage captured by the drone — from our preview today, it looks absolutely breathtaking!

Happy weekend, friends!


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.

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.

 

6 Guidelines for Your Time Alone With God by Billy Graham

BG-Living Word Quote and 6 Guidelines for time alone with god Blog Title size(1)Do you devote time each day to be alone with God?  If you are in this practice, you know how special that time can be.  We hope the insights Billy Graham offers here will be a blessing to you.

By Billy Graham

Several practical guidelines have been helpful to me in maintaining a vital and regular time with God.

FIRST, set aside time each day to spend time with God.  It may be early in the morning, or at least before you begin the day’s regular activities.  Make it a time when you are mentally alert, when you have no distractions, and you are not rushed.  Discipline yourself to keep this time every day, even when travel or a busy schedule makes it difficult.  Make it such a regular part of your life that you would no more skip it than you would miss eating a meal.

SECOND, come with a spirit of expectancy and obedience.  Expect God to meet you through His Word, and tell Him that you want to be taught by Him.  Come with a willingness to hear His Word and then to obey it.  Remember: God the Holy Spirit has inspired the Bible, and we must look expectantly to Him to illumine our understanding of it.

THIRD, read through the Bible systematically.  It is far too easy to dwell only on familiar passages, or skip around almost at random finding passages that happen to appeal to us.  But we need to understand “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27, RSV), and we need therefore to read and study every part of the Bible.  Some people find it helpful to have a plan by which they will cover the entire Bible in a year.

FOURTH, read thoughtfully and prayerfully, and then meditate on what you have read.  Some people pride themselves on covering a set number of chapters each day—but have no idea what they have read when they are finished!  In his helpful little booklet “Manna in the Morning,” Dr. Stephen F. Olford wrote, “Read the portion at least three times.  Read it carefully to discover what is there generally.  The next time, peruse it for what is there specially.  Then study it for what is there personally. … [Then] say: ‘Lord, as I look at this passage this morning, is there any command to obey?  Is there any promise to claim?  Is there any new thought to follow and pursue? Is there any sin to avoid?  Is there any new thought about God?  About the Lord Jesus?  About the Holy Spirit?  About the devil?’ Seek to discover what God is saying to you from the passage you have read.”

FIFTH, make prayer a central part of your time with God.  In our Bible study, God speaks to us; in our prayer times, we speak to God.  Make prayer first of all a time of praise and thanksgiving.  Then pray about the passage of Scripture you have just read, asking Him to show you specific ways that it applies to your life.  In addition, confess your sins to God.  Finally, bring before God your own needs and the needs of others.  Many people find it helpful to keep a prayer diary, in which they list those for whom they are praying and note God’s specific answers.

FINALLY, put what you have learned into action, and walk with Christ every minute of the day.  Perhaps God has been speaking to you in your quiet time about your relationship with someone in your family or a co-worker.  Commit that situation into His hands—and then move forward in obedience and faith, knowing that the Holy Spirit will help you as you seek to have a right relationship with that person.

From My Daily Prayer Journal With Insights By Billy Graham
(Now called Rooted in Prayer: A Personal Prayer Journal With Insights by Billy Graham)


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.

 

 

COVE BIBLE VERSE for the WEEK of April 24th

This week’s verse is brought to you by Kristie, a Property Services Associate, here at The Cove.  Her verse is: Habakkuk 3:19

“The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” 

Kristie_Property Services Associate


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.

Saturday Snapshot – 2017 Spring Photo Challenge Recap

 

Spring Photo Challenge recap header

The Cove’s 14-Day Spring Photo Challenge has come to an end. Thanks to everyone who participated!

We wanted to create a challenge that would celebrate the Winter to Spring transition and although Spring hasn’t fully sprung yet, we were impressed by everyone’s originality!

Following is the photo prompt list and all 14 days of our posts.  We hope you enjoy!

Spring Photo Challenge Pin

 Day 1 - Photo Prompt: “Fun”

Isn’t this fun! Ruth Graham had quite the sense of humor, and this picture shows it! She tucked this photo of herself into Billy Graham’s suitcase before he left on a trip to share the gospel. . .                                    Photo: A photo of a photo of Ruth Graham located in The Cove Visitors Center.

Fun - Day 1

 Day 2 – Photo Prompt: “Sunshine”

Thankful for His new mercies each and every morning.                       Photo: Sunrise off The Training Center deck captured by one of our employees.

Sunshine - day 2

 Day 3 – Photo Prompt: “Bloom”

Our Grounds and Maintenance employees work hard to grow and preserve these beautiful blooms at the Training Center and all over the property!                                                                                                                            Photo: Blooms around the first sign to the Training Center parking lot.

Bloom - Day 3
Day 4 Photo Prompt: “Water”

“The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” Proverbs 18:4                                                          Photo: The creek just below Chatlos Memorial Chapel.

Water - Day 4

 Day 5 - Photo Prompt: “Handwritten”

More ideas can be expressed and retained when one writes by hand. Handwriting scripture is a great way to train your mind to reflect on God’s word.                                                                                                                               Photo: Handwritten scripture by one of our employees.

Handwritten - Day 5

 Day 6 – Photo Prompt: “Prayer”

The Lord has heard many prayers lifted from the prayer room in the Training Center. Aren’t you thankful we have a living God who hears our prayers?!                                                                                                                           Photo: The Prayer Room on the 3rd floor of the Training Center. 

Prayer - Day 6

 Day 7 – Photo Prompt: “Garden”

There are fresh signs of life budding all around us, here at The Cove.    Photo: Fresh buds peeking through in Ruth’s Prayer Garden.

Garden Day 6

Day 8 – Photo Prompt: “Weather”

Asheville, NC can experience a varying range of weather in just one week! Whether rain or shine, the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround The Cove, always reflect the splendor of God’s creation.       Photo: Sunny sky captured from The Training Center parking lot.

weather

Day 9 – Photo Prompt: “Critters”

Make sure to click “play” and turn up the volume for this one!

Day 10 – Photo Prompt: “Book”

This is the Graham family book section at Ruth’s Attic Bookstore in the Training Center. What’s on your bookshelf?                                                 Photo: Taken in Ruth’s Attic Bookstore which is located on the bottom floor of The Training Center.           

Book - Day 10

 Day 11 – Photo Prompt: “Grass”

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8                                                                                                Photo: Dew on the grass outside the Administration Building, here at The Cove.

Grass - Day 11

 Day 12- Photo prompt: “Renewal”

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10.                                                                                                                             Photo: The Bible on the pulpit in Chatlos Memorial Chapel.

Renewal - day 12

 Day 13- Photo prompt: “Basket”

With the coming and going of Easter, there were bound to be a bundle of baskets around the house. Maybe not like this one, though. Photo: Basket next to the fireplace in the Training Center lobby that has several balls of yarn and a half crocheted blanket.

Basket - Day 13

 Day 14- Photo prompt: “Cross”

Let us celebrate what Christ did for us on the cross, not only at Easter, but every day.                                                                                                         Photo: Cross on the wall of The Training Center dining room.

Cross - Day 14

Here’s a peak at what other photo challenge participants shared with us!  To see them all, visit #CoveSpringPhotoChallenge in Instagram or just click here.

bill and june

black cat

bw handwritten

bee flowers

 

blooming book

cross hill

veggie basket

Click here to follow our Instagram page.

Be on the lookout for our next photo challenge in Autumn 2017!


We’d love for you to stop by for a visit and tour the Chatlos Memorial Chapel & Visitors Center.  Both tours are free.  Click here for directions and operating hours.

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

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — John 21:18-19

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 :  John 21:18-19

“Truly, Truly I say to you, when you were younger you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you old you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.”  (19) Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.  And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  

Truly Truly when you were younger you used to gird yourself, walk where you wished.  When you grow old someone else will gird you and bring you where you do not wish to go. This signifying what kind of death he would glorify God.  Then He said, “Follow Me.”

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

Have you ever told God what you would and wouldn’t do for Him?  Some of us have ideas of what we’re fit for and what we would do if God trusted us with the spotlight.  Peter was no different.  Remember John 13:37…Peter announced he would follow Jesus to the death!  Peter was impulsive and thought more of himself than he ought to at that moment.  Peter is really no different from any of us, is he? Peter did what he wanted to do for Jesus in the way he, Peter, wanted to do it.

That very night, after Peter made his bold claim, he was humbled after his multiple denials of Jesus.  Peter wept bitterly (Matthew 26:75).  Peter’s arrogance in leading the disciples, and showing them how things were done, had evaporated, melted away in shame and guilt.  In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said that “Upon this rock, I will build My church,” meaning upon Peter, God would work to build His church.

Was Peter’s providential purpose over?  Was Peter no longer qualified?  How could such a big thing be done through a denying disciple? Would that purpose now fall to another person who didn’t make such a big mistake?

In John 21, Peter realized he did not agape (self sacrificing love) Jesus at all, but only had phileo (friendship).  This was a blow to Peter’s ego and he knew his denial of Jesus broke Jesus’s heart.  Peter is in pieces! Deconstructed all the way to the soul!

Ahhhh…NOW Peter’s heart is ready.

Jesus began the reconstruction process of Peter by publicly restoring him so that he and the disciples would know that he still had a purpose–a call on his life.  Peter’s providential purpose did not change because of what Peter did.

How many of us think we can change that purpose spoken over our lives by God Himself, because of something we do?  That is pure arrogance.  Peter was in need of restoration, and Jesus publicly restored his heart and reiterated his call! Peter had been #delivered from the guilt that his denials had on his heart,  and was #propelled to follow through with his purpose, for the church, that Jesus stated with all authority back in Matthew 16:18!  #Delivered and #propelled so Peter could tend the lambs and feed the sheep of the church in humility!  Leading through humility! It’s the opposite of what most of us think or want to do.  We want to be leaders, absolutely, but humility can find someone else to rest on.

Peter did things the way he wanted before the cross, and now after the cross, Peter would do things the way Jesus asked.  Peter went from following Peter’s ideas of what Jesus wanted, to following Jesus.  Jesus tells Peter that he will indeed follow Him to his death.  Peter will be bound as Jesus was bound.  Peter will glorify God in his life and his death.  A hard but encouraging Truth.

Jesus ends Peter’s moment of restoration with the same question He began with three years earlier,  Peter, “Follow Me.”  THE CALL NEVER CHANGES! Jesus will not force Peter to do that providential purpose He has for him, but simply asks and then waits for a response.  This is what it will look like Peter, are you in or out?

Today the question remains the same, to you and to me.  Jesus invites us to follow Him.  Will we follow, or will we choose to miss everything we were created for?  Do we want to give Jesus an approved list of things we are and are not willing to do? Or will we simply, day by day, just follow Him?  Do we prefer to lead in arrogance, trying to press God into our mold, or will we allow God to reconstruct us and restore us to follow Him and lead others in humility?

Don’t refuse to be restored.  Allow God to bring out what has been hidden so you can be #delivered, #restored to LIFE, and then #propelled to His purpose.  God’s purpose for you is a bazillion times better than your purpose for you… we just have to give up control and follow… bound to whatever and wherever He leads.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  

Are you fighting the restoration process because you would rather things stay hidden in the dark?

Sometimes we fight restoration because our lives are being choked by guilt.  Do you think you have ruined and soiled any purpose God may have had for you because of what you have done?  Are you willing to ask God what His purpose for you is, and then to follow as He restores you? Are you willing to allow God to #deliver you and then #propel you to His purpose?

Why are you fighting so hard against following Jesus?  Put honest words to it.

LIVE IT OUT:  
Today… Lord, help me follow where You lead.  Begin that restoration process on my soul, and as you begin to sand away the rough edges, and de-construct things to re-construct things… give me the courage to allow You to do so.  I cannot follow without Your strength, courage and love.  Help me to follow You in humility.

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 week of April 17th

This week’s verse is brought to you by Diane, a former Guest Groups Sales Associate, here at The Cove.  Her verse is: Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” 

Diane_Morris_Guest Group Sales Associate


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.

PRAYER NOTE: APRIL 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)

By Donna Riesen

“The soul is exceedingly ravished when it first looks on the beauty of Christ.  It is never weary of Him.”   —Jonathan Edwards

While we’ve had some roller-coaster weather patterns in Western North Carolina during the past several weeks, springtime at The Cove does not disappoint; it’s a season of beauty and new life. It’s fitting that at Easter, surrounded by the breathtaking display of color, growth and rebirth, we’re reminded of how God used the ugly reality of the cross—an instrument of death—to open the door to the beauty of His presence. Billy Graham spoke of the irony: “If Jesus had not risen from the dead, no right-minded person would have glorified anything so hideous and repulsive as a cross stained with the blood of Jesus…An unopened grave would never have opened heaven.”

On June 1st of last year, we gathered outside The Cove’s Chatlos Memorial Chapel for the dedication of Ruth’s Prayer Garden. We listened as Will Graham spoke of gardens mentioned in the Bible, beginning with the Garden of Eden, the exquisite garden paradise where sin first reared its ugly head. He went on to picture the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus sweat great drops of blood as He prayed, knowing the cup of suffering from which He would soon drink, yet surrendering His own will to the will of His Father. Soon after, He would rouse the sleepy disciples, Peter, James and John, and feel the cruel kiss of betrayal from another. Arrested and bound, Jesus left this garden and began the walk that would eventually lead to the cross. The next garden Jesus would be seen in was the one where He would emerge from a borrowed tomb, alive forever and victorious over sin and death.

As gardens go, we all agree Ruth would be pleased with the beautiful one that bears her name, yet we also know she would point the focus away from herself and on to her Savior.

As Cove staff, it’s our duty and privilege to steward the resources the Lord has blessed us with, and we’re honored to be the ones to help maintain and preserve its facilities and grounds. Our Property Services and Grounds Maintenance crew works hard all year round to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of this very special place. Lodging, Guest Services, and Building Maintenance staff do a great job of ensuring that our inns and Training Center are clean, safe, welcoming and well-maintained. It’s our goal that when guests arrive in this lovely mountain setting they are welcomed with hospitality and grace. While some of us play a more direct, hands-on role in caring for The Cove’s grounds and facilities, each of us plays a role in ultimate goal of this special place: honoring and exalting Christ and pointing others to Him.

The story is told that after Leonardo da Vinci completed his masterpiece “The Last Supper,” he invited a friend to view the finished work. “Observe it and give me your opinion of it!” the artist requested. In awe, da Vinci’s friend surveyed the artist’s masterful depiction of Jesus at table, surrounded on both sides by His disciples. Arms outstretched, Christ held a cup, painted beautifully with exquisite detail. “It’s wonderful!” the friend replied, “The cup is so real I cannot divert my eyes from it!” Immediately da Vinci took a brush and drew it across the cup, exclaiming, “Nothing shall detract from the figure of Christ!”

the-last-supper-1921290_1280

As you pray for The Cove this month, ask God to help you serve faithfully in your daily tasks and pray that He will give you opportunities to point others to Him. Pray that all those who visit The Cove will sense His presence and see His likeness in each member of our staff. Ask God to work in the hearts of our speakers as they prepare. Pray that they will proclaim His Word with power, yet with a humility that points away from themselves and on to the Savior. Let’s pray that throughout every inch of this property, “Nothing shall detract from the figure of Christ!”

—Donna Riesen


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

April 2017 events to pray for:

SeniorSalt Impact Hymn Sing — April 3
(Emcee/Worship Leader: Ron Whittemore; Musician: David Gaines)

Ron Hutchcraft — April 6-8

An Evening at The Cove with David Phelps — April 27

 

An Easter Message From Will Graham

EASTER MESSAGE WILL GRAHAM(1)

Perfection. Have you ever seen it? Sure, we may gaze at a snowflake, a flower or a child’s smile and feel that we are looking at perfection. But examine more closely – that snowflake will soon dissolve, the flower is missing a petal, and the child will certainly have his share of misbehavior. The fact of the matter is that in this world, very little is without blemish or defect.

The same can be said of the Old Testament sacrifices. They were not perfect and did not permanently purify anything. They had to be repeated constantly, and they never truly dealt with sin and judgment.

But when we look at the sacrifice of Jesus, the most pivotal moment in history, we witness something that is so perfect that it changes the course of eternity. Let’s visit Hebrews 9:23-28.

First, Jesus’ sacrifice purified everything—in heaven and on earth. Verses 23 and 24 share that not only the “copies of heavenly things” (in other words, the things of man) would be purified, but “the heavenly things themselves.” Christ’s blood had to be over everything, and therefore even the way into heaven must be covered and cleansed with blood as man comes to God. The sacrifice of Jesus – the very reason we celebrate Easter – is what makes it possible for us to enter into heaven. We have been cleansed through the blood of Jesus on the cross, all the way to the heavenly realm.

Second, Jesus’ sacrifice does not need to be repeated. Under the old covenant, the High Priest had to annually make atonement for the sins of the nation on Yom Kippur, year after year. Not true with Jesus’ sacrifice. Verses 25 and 26 explain that there is no longer a need for repeated blood sacrifices, as Jesus “…has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” He never had to repeat it because it was a perfect sacrifice—the shed blood of a man for men. That is why, as Christians, we don’t have to fear death.

Finally, Jesus’ sacrifice is perfect because it took away judgment. My friends, I’m sorry to break it to you, but – short of Christ’s return – you are going to die someday. Verse 27 says, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” We will all eventually pass from this world and stand before the Lord. However, thanks to the finished perfect sacrifice of Jesus, He has taken that judgment for those who believe. Verse 28: “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” What an incredible grace that we’ve been given! The debt has been paid!

What is the point of Hebrews 9:23-28? It’s this: Jesus’ sacrifice was so perfect that it purified everything from you and me, to heaven itself; it never had to be repeated, and took away our judgment.

As you enjoy your Easter celebration, please take a moment to pause and appreciate Christ’s perfect sacrifice; the purifying final act that took away judgment for those that call upon His name. What a joy to place our eternal hope in Him!

God bless you!  – Will Graham


We’d love to see you in-person at The Cove…

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

Interested in holding your own church retreat, conference or ministry event at The Cove?  Click here for information.

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