All posts by notesfromthecove

A Christmas Wish Granted…

By Trevor Freeze

It’s the beginning of December and the wracking of brains begins.

What do we get mom and dad for Christmas?

Another tie? Sweater? Movie passes? Weed eater?

For the Stevens family, the decision of what to get the folks for Christmas has become a whole lot easier.

“They know we love to travel,” Lynn Stevens said of her three grown children. “And they know we love this place.”

“This place” is The Cove — The Billy Graham Training Center — in Asheville,  N.C., and this past weekend, Tom and Lynn Stevens were using a gift certificate  from their three children to stay over after attending the Night of Worship
event.

“Stuff you forget,” Tom said. “A night at The Cove, you don’t forget. It’s an experience.”

It’s the second straight Christmas that Mandy, 33, Andrew, 29, and Emily, 27, decided to bless their parents with a trip to The Cove, although it was a  little easier the second time around.

“It was kind of a not-so-subtle hint,” Tom said.

That hint came shortly after the Stevens used the first Cove Gift Certificate to attend A Night of Worship with Andrew Peterson in 2011 and fell in love with  the place.

“The closeness you feel here,” said Lynn, who came from Eden, N.C., north of  Greensboro. “You can just sense the presence of God.”

But it wasn’t until the Stevens were in the car on their way to The Cove in  December that they felt God’s timing. The gift certificate was set to expire the very next day.

“We looked at the gift certificate and I said ‘What day is today?’ ” Tom said.
“That’s just how God works. He’s got a sense of humor.”

And as far as next year’s Christmas gift?

Any other ideas come to mind?

“We’re going to keep talking about this,” Tom said.

To learn more about The Cove, click here.
To purchase a Cove gift certificate for your loved one, click here.

Kendra’s Bible Study…Joshua 9:22-27

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. This is a place where women can come together and share their 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!
Kendra suggests you use the following process when studying Scripture. We have included an example of this process from John 1:1.
Step 1: Pray
Step 2: Read God’s Word (look at the passage)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Step 3: What Does God’s Word Say? (list the facts)
1 In the beginning the Word was with God and was God.
Step 4: What Does God’s Word Mean? (learn the lessons)
1 God‘s Word is not just ancient philosophy, it is eternal Truth.
Step 5: What Does God’s Word Mean to Me? (listen to his voice)
1 How do I view the Bible?

Kendra Graham NOTES from Joshua 9:22-27

FACTS: What Does it Say?

22: Joshua spoke: “Why have you deceived us, saying ‘We are far’ When you are within our land?”
23: Now you are cursed and shall never cease being slaves
24: They answered: “It was told that the LORD had commanded Moses to give you the land & destroy the ALL inhabitants, we feared for our lives.”
25: “We are in your hands, do as it seems good and right to do.”
26: They did not kill them.
27: Joshua made them hewers of wood, drawers of water for the congregation and the altar of the LORD

LESSONS, What does it Mean?

22: Joshua confronts the lie. Sin must be dealt with, not shoved under the rug or ignored. We are sinners. We will all find ourselves at one time or another in this situation, confronted with our wrongdoing. Romans 3:23 “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:10 “There is none righteous, no not one.”
23: There are consequences for deceitful actions, sin. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” We too, all find ourselves deserving of a punishment, we too have no hope of getting out of. BUT…. GOD!!! Romans 5:8 “BUT GOD demonstrated His own LOVE for US that while we were still sinners (enemies, Gibeonites,) Christ died for US!” Romans 10:9 “ that if you confess with your mouth, Jesus as LORD and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
24-25: The Gibeonites knew the Truth, when confronted with their deceit they did not fight the charges, “Yes, we came in deceit. You are calling us liars, that is accurate, do as you (Israel) think is right.” The Gibeonites believed God would do what He said he would do when they heard it through Moses, so they were doomed, a people without hope. Gibeon is trying to be counted in with Israel and their God, they realize they don’t deserve to be saved, and they put their future in the hands of Joshua. Romans 10:9 “ that if you confess with your mouth, Jesus as LORD and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”
Before I get all up in Joshua’s grill for “letting Gibeon off the hook” I need to remember that same grace is extended to me and to you from God Almighty! We are all no better than the Gibeonites, and yes, grace and mercy have been extended to us through Jesus, if we are willing to accept it. The choice is ours! (this same grace was extended to Rahab and her family in chapter 6)
26: Gibeon did not receive what they deserved. By the grace of God, they were saved.
Romans 5:1 “Therefore since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ.” Romans 8:1 “Therefore there is NOW NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
27: Once saved by grace, honestly it doesn’t matter what it is that God has asked me to do, no task is too menial or too far beneath me, because of the depths to which God has come to invade my life and save me. By the grace of God, Gibeon was able to cut wood and draw water for the God of Israel, now, their God…. the God who saved them, not because they lied were they saved, but because of God’s grace and His grace alone. PRAISE GOD! Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all my sin….
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace we are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.”

Applications, What does it Mean to Me?

22: Am I willing to confront the sin in my life and deal with it? Have I ever stopped to realize that I am a sinner, unholy before a holy God?
23: Do I get mad at God when I am faced with the consequences for my own actions? Do I find myself in a place of hopelessness because of my sin? Did I ever realize the consequences for my sin are separation from a God who loves me and provided a way to fix that gap of separation?
24-25: Am I quick to agree with God about the status of my heart, or am I stubborn trying to fight the charges with some fancy lawyering? Have I asked God what the status of my heart is? Am I thankful for the grace God extended to me, but when it comes to “other worse” people in my eyes, do I judge them and get angry with God’s mercy and love? Do I believe and take God at His Word, like the Gibeonites did?
26: Do I realize God has provided a way out from underneath the consequences of my sin?
27: How has God extended His grace to me? Have I accepted God’s gift of grace in my life, Have I accepted Jesus? (God’s gift is always a gift, offered, free and undeserved, but it is not mine until I receive it and take it for myself)

LIVE IT OUT!
Have you ever accepted the grace God has offered to us through Jesus? We too can be counted in as His people, like the Gibeonites and Rahab, but we have to accept the gift. The great thing about this gift, is that is it always available 24/7 to everyone who will accept Him! God’s gift is not a groupon available to just a select few, it will never be sold out! Jesus was God, with skin on. Jesus lived a perfect life, and died a horrific death, the death which demonstrated the wrath God Almighty has against sin. Three days later Jesus rose from the grave! The payment of sin paid in full when He died on the cross, and the grip of sin broken when He rose from the grave. God loves you that much, that He came personally to fix the separation your sin created between you and Him. If you have never accepted God’s free gift of grace, will you now?

If so, here is a simple prayer you can pray to God. Saying this prayer is a way to declare to God that you are relying on Jesus Christ for your salvation. The words themselves will not save you. Only faith in Jesus Christ can provide salvation! “God, I know that I have sinned against you and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. With your help, I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness – the gift of eternal life! Amen!”

Share with us your lesson(s) and applications from a verse or two and what they mean to you. Do you know someone that might be blessed by joining our study?  Please share this blog link with them.

Homework: Joshua 10:1-5

Jesus Through The Centuries

By Stuart McAllister

Walking along the road with his followers one day, Jesus asked the question, “Who do people say I am?” The disciples offered a summary of the prevailing and popular views. There seemed to be a range of perspectives and a diversity of opinions amongst the people. Jesus then asked those closest to him, those he was mentoring, the ones who were captivated by him and committed to him: “Who do you say that I am?” Peter famously replied, “You are the Christ.” To any normal Jewish hearer, this meant Jesus was being recognized as the Messiah, the Hope of Israel, the promise of redemption.

From the birth of Christ to the present time, controversy has surrounded the name of Jesus. Was he a Jewish rebel, struggling against the status quo? Was he a religious zealot
eager to throw off the shackles of Rome? Was he a mysterious prophet come to impart sacred wisdom to the masses? Was he a good man whose moral example is simply a model for humanity? Was he a legend created by those with a penchant for myth? Was he a symbol constructed for a power-hungry religious empire?

From the earliest rejections of Jesus’s claims about his identity to historical debates ever
since, we now arrive in the era of vitriolic atheism and the culture of suspicion. It never ceases to amaze me how one question asked 2000 years ago can elicit such diverse, conflicting, and passionate discussion. Yet the question is one of such value that a degree of diligence and vigor is rightly demanded. Modern and postmodern claims that the Christian faith is something intellectually untenable have been ably addressed by writers such as Alister McGrath, N. T. Wright, Ben Witherington, Jr., Darrell Bock, and many more. Jaroslav Pelikan’s Jesus Through the Centuries and Philip Yancey’s The
Jesus I Never Knew
are good popular writings on the continuing quest to
rediscover Jesus.

Moreover, long before our quests or attacks on the historical Jesus, ancient writings pointedly answered the question of Christ’s identity. Writing to the young church in the city of Colossae, the apostle Paul wrote these startling words about Jesus: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17). Against the backdrop of Roman Imperial rule and power, these words would have been immensely subversive, a direct challenge to the reigning worldview. Indeed, the central conflict for the Christian became: Who is Lord—Caesar or Jesus? The outcome of this decision was costly, but as history demonstrates, it led to the gospel’s eventual penetration of the heart of Roman power.

Who is Jesus? This question remains as pertinent today as it was to those who were first asked. Is he a mere legend, as some would claim? Volumes of good New Testament studies
have been written that easily refute this claim. Or was he then, as C. S. Lewis asked, a lunatic (one who merely thought he was God), a liar (one who made horrendously false and misleading claims), or indeed, the Son of God?

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus invites those who are weary to come to him. Many centuries earlier, the prophet Jeremiah spoke of the wisdom and insight available to any and all true
seekers: “You shall seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart,” proclaims the divine heart. Perhaps if we meet these conditions, we may find ourselves in for a surprise. Who do you say that he is?

Join Stuart at The Cove in Asheville, NC on August 1-3, 2012 for his seminar titled Conversations That CountClick here to register or call 1-800-950-2092.

A native of Scotland, Stuart McAllister is North American Regional Director and Vice President of Training at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a renowned speaker, writer, and an associate fellow at Oxford University. Stuart speaks all over the globe with the same passion for the Gospel that he found when he first became a believer. Stuart is a frequent contributor to A Slice of Infinity, RZIM’s daily reading on issues of apologetics and philosophy, Just Thinking, the ministry’s tri-annual journal, as well as Engage, a magazine published quarterly by RZIM Educational Trust. Visit his website here to learn more.

Billy Graham: A Tribute to His Mother

“Of all the people I have ever known, she had the greatest influence on me,” Billy Graham said of his mother, Morrow.

Writing in Just As I Am, Billy shared several stories that point to the important role his mother played in shaping his life.

As we prepare to honor mothers this Sunday, check out what he had to say in the autobiography and also at the May 11, 2003, San Diego Crusade.

“In many Crusades over the years,” wrote Billy, “I have devoted at least one message to the subject of the family. In my Depression-era growing-up years, I suppose we Grahams on our North Carolina dairy farm bore some resemblance to the fictional Walton family on television. It’s easy to feel nostalgic about simpler times, but they obviously were not easier times. Nor were they necessarily happier times.

“What we did have back then was family solidarity. We really cared about each other, and we liked to do things together. Jesus’ word picture of a hen gathering her brood under her wing fits my mother. She saw to it that we gathered frequently and regularly—and not just around the dinner table or in front of the radio for favorite broadcasts. She gathered us around herself and my father to listen to Bible stories, to join in family prayers, and to share a sense of the presence of God.”

On August 14, 1981, Morrow Graham quietly left this earth in her sleep and entered Heaven.

“When word came,” said Billy, “I wept and yet rejoiced at the same time. Of all the people I have ever known, she had the greatest influence on me. I am sure one reason that the Lord has directed and safeguarded me, as well as Ruth and the children, through the years was the prayers of my mother and father.”

Speaking on Mother’s Day 2003, Billy told the audience in San Diego that his mother was a farm woman. “She and my father didn’t have much education … But my mother was a woman of God. She always had devotions with us, she always prayed with us, she always loved us, and did so many things, as I look back now, out of the way. And she and my father, when I was in Bible school, they would go up to a room upstairs and kneel down every morning at 10 o’clock to pray for their son in Bible school.”

PHOTO shows Billy Graham and his mother.

A Night of Worship

This Saturday evening, area worship leaders and musicians will offer A Night of Worship – a free community concert event at The Cove, in Asheville, NC beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Robert Williams from Seacoast Church Asheville will be the musical director for the evening, and Seacoast will also be the house band.  Nate Huff of Highland Christian Church and Lucas Parry of Biltmore Baptist East will join us in leading worship. While it’s free, registration for this event is required as space is limited. Before the concert, you can enjoy a gourmet meal. (The cost for this option is $20).

Call us at (800) 950-2092 to reserve your seat!

Kendra’s Bible Study…Joshua 9:16-21

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study.  This is a place where women can come together and share their 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!

Kendra suggests you use the following process when studying Scripture.  We have included an example of this process from John 1:1.

Step 1:  Pray
Step 2: Read God’s Word (look at the passage)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  
Step 3: What Does God’s Word Say? (list the facts)
1 In the beginning the Word was with God and was God.
Step 4: What Does God’s Word Mean? (learn the lessons)
1 God‘s Word is not just ancient philosophy, it is eternal Truth.
Step 5: What Does God’s Word Mean to Me? (listen to his voice)
1 How do I view the Bible?

Kendra Graham NOTES from Joshua 9:16-21 

FACTS, What Does it Say?

16: At the end of 3 days after they made a covenant with them, they heard they were neighbors, living within their land.

17: Israel came to their cities on the third day.

18:  Israel did not strike them b/c the leaders swore an oath by the LORD God of Israel.  The congregation grumbled

19: The leaders said, “ We swore by the LORD the God of Israel, we can’t touch them.”

20: We will let them live, lest wrath be upon us for the oath we swore.”

21:  They became hewers of wood and drawers of water for the whole congregation.

LESSONS, What does it mean?

16-17:  The deceit of Gibeon towards Israel is discovered.  People will set out to deceive me in this world, unfortunately it is a cold hard fact.

18-19:  Hold fast to your word, your word needs to be your bond, it reflects upon the God I say I serve, especially when it is difficult.   Popular opinion may try to sway and pressure me to break my word, after all, the oath was made upon a lie… so doesn’t that make a nice loophole for me to get out of it?  The right thing to do is never the easy thing.

20:  Don’t sin on top of a sin.  Perspective is everything… Don’t be so quick to complain about someone else’s integrity that I degrade my integrity in the process, maybe I am currently being tested in the exact same way…  “In your anger do not sin” Psalm 4:4, Eph 4:26

21:  Better is one day in Your courts as a wood chopper, water carrier, door holder or bathroom cleaner…. than a thousand elsewhere! Perhaps my reaction to the situation will bring that person into contact with their Saviour! PRAISE that God kept His Word to me in spite of my poor behavior!

Application, What Does it Mean to me?

16-17: When have I been purposely deceived by someone and what was my reaction when I found out? Have I ever purposefully deceived someone to get my way or to get ahead, and what was the other person’s reaction when they found out? Anger? Hurt? disappointment? What was my reaction in both situations?  Godly or ungodly?  Did I attempt to make things right, or is it always right so long as I come out ahead? 

18-19: Even strong godly leaders will make mistakes, am I quick to point the finger, or do I realize I am just one decision away from making the exact same mistake?  Am I swayed by the convincing arguments of friends to break my word to someone?

20: Will I give people what I think they deserve? Or will I be careful that I don’t find myself in the same exact sin?  Will I hold fast to my oath for the sake of God’s name even when it’s difficult?  Will I hold fast to my oath for the sake of God’s name when people both godly and ungodly would understand if I didn’t?

21:  Will I keep an eternal focus when I am currently suffering and taking a loss? When has my reaction to a situation been a good example of Christ for someone else and when has my reaction to a situation been a not so good example of Christ? Have I thanked God for His faithfulness to me regardless of my deceitful actions?

Share with us your lesson(s) and applications from a verse or two and what they mean to you.  Do you know someone that might be blessed by joining our study?  Please share this blog link with them.   

HOMEWORK: Joshua 9:22-27

Insight Into an ‘Intense’ Week at The Cove

Mark Yarbrough, Vice President for Communications, Associate Academic Dean, and Assistant Professor of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary, will be leading an Intensive Bible Training seminar (IBT) at the Cove on June 18-22.  As some of you may have questions on what this seminar may include, we thought we would share a very helpful response from Mark to a potential participant.  (Don’t forget to see what Howard Hendricks has to say about Mark at the bottom of this post!)       

Letter from Tammy to Mark Yarbrough: 
Hi Mark.  I am considering attending your training intensive at The Cove (It may be full by now but I haven’t checked.) and a question.  I have been a student and teacher of the Word for many years and am looking for something to refresh and encourage me and take me deeper.  I live in Kansas City Mo, so travel to The Cove is a financial investment as well as a spiritual one, and I wanted to make sure this was the right intensive for me.  It it for more of a “Beginner” Bible student, or deeper study for those more familiar with the Word?  Thank you for your time. — Tammy

Response from Mark Yarbrough to Tammy:
Greetings from Dallas. Thank you so very much for taking the time to write.  

I’m glad you are considering the intensive training at the Cove. I hope my comments below give clarity to your questions and assist you in the decision making process. I’ll join you in prayer in that regard. I’ll trust with you that the Lord will make clear what you should do.

In describing what you are looking for…you have used words that are near and dear to my heart: “refresh”,  “encourage”, and “deeper.” That is precisely what we are after.

In many ways, the refreshment comes through the Word, the physical environment at the Cove, and the incredible staff that is present to assist your every need. I minister/speak at many places…and the ministry philosophy at the Cove is second to none. The staff is absolutely incredible, and the very design of the week is intent on pulling us out of our normal hustle and bustle…and focusing our attention to the living Word. The physical environment and beautiful surroundings even direct our attention to the Lord. It is amazing how the Lord can speak when we slow down to listen! I know that is true in my life. Fellowship is also a key ingredient to refreshment. The entire team is available to help–including a resident “pastor” for someone who desires to talk to and pray with someone else. Also, the intensive week-long sessions are generally, and purposefully, smaller in number (as opposed to larger seminars that may have several hundred). The “intensive seminars” are designed so that someone feels the individual attention so that they do indeed get “refreshed.” That also happens as we interact with one another. Fellowship is a blessing! 

In regard to “encouragement” and “deeper”– our sessions are “intense,” but not to the point of overwhelming. I firmly believe that the material covered, and the way it is presented, is applicable for all: for those who are earlier in their walk…but also for those who are grounded in the Word and who want to be challenged to step beyond their current position. Last year, we ran this same general session and we had in attendance those who were early in their understanding of the Word and those, such as yourself, who were competent Bible teachers. We cover some challenging areas: biblical studies and methodology (hermeneutics), evaluation of biblical genres (narrative, poetry, parables, preformed material, etc.), the process of correlation (developing principle statements and themes), and the validity of application. I really believe that there is something for everyone in the study, and that the student knows the depth to which the study needs to move them. I’m a classroom handout nut (!), and I enjoy passing along recommendations for books, studies, etc. We have lots of Q and A. I enjoy a lively, interactive classroom setting that keeps us moving…and moves us to be students of the Word. So, I think you will be challenged to go deeper! If that is what you are looking for, I believe this is it.

I hope that gives a little insight into the week. If you feel you desire more information, I’d be happy to share some more insight.

I also know my friends at the Cove would be thrilled to answer any questions you may have over the schedule for the week.

I hope to see you in June!

Blessings in Christ,
Mark Yarbrough

Endorsement from Howard Hendricks:
“We are living in a time when a working knowledge of the Bible is vital for our spiritual health.  Personally, I miss deeply my visit to The Cove and the opportunity to teach the Word of God, but fortunately, God has provided one of my young associates, a capable Dallas Seminary professor, Mark Yarbrough, a man of considerable giftedness biblically and technologically.  I recommend him to you for your enjoyment and serious biblical study.”

Howard G. Hendricks
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Christian Education and Leadership Dallas Theological Seminary

Click here to register for Mark’s Intensive Bible Training on June 18-22 at The Cove in Asheville, NC.  You may also call 1-800-950-2092.

Kendra’s Bible Study…Joshua 9:7-15

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study.  This is a place where women can come together and share their 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!

Kendra suggests you use the following process when studying Scripture.  We have included an example of this process from John 1:1.

Step 1:  Pray
Step 2: Read God’s Word (look at the passage)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  
Step 3: What Does God’s Word Say? (list the facts)
1 In the beginning the Word was with God and was God.
Step 4: What Does God’s Word Mean? (learn the lessons)
1 God‘s Word is not just ancient philosophy, it is eternal Truth.
Step 5: What Does God’s Word Mean to Me? (listen to his voice)
1 How do I view the Bible?

Kendra Graham NOTES from Joshua 9:7-15 

What does it Say? FACTS:

7: Israel said to the Hivites: Perhaps you are living within our land how shall we make a covenant with you?

8: a. BUT they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.”

     b. Joshua said to them: “Who are you and where do you come from?”

9-10: They said, “Your servants have come from a far country because of the fame of your God; we heard the report of all He did in Egypt, and to the kings beyond the Jordan.

11: So our elders and inhabitants spoke: Take provisions  for the journey and go and meet them and say, we are your servants, make a covenant with us.”

12: This our bread was warm when we took it for provisions on the day we left to come to you, but now is dry and crumbled

13: These wineskins were new behold they are torn, our clothes, our sandals worn out because of the very long journey

14: SO the men of Israel took some of their provisions and did not ask for the counsel of the LORD. 

15: And Joshua made peace with w/ them, a covenant, to let them live, and the leaders swore an oath to them. 

What does it mean? Lessons:

7. The Israelites, I think had a feeling, had questions in their gut, who these guys really were…..  they pressed them for an answer…. who are you… really?  Israel knew that God said not to make a covenant with anyone within the land, they knew the rules, but their eyes were seeing something very believable, their ears were hearing something very believable.  Discernment is something given by God and must be sought out from God. Our senses and emotions will betray us.

8. a. BUT they said to Joshua…. notice they did not answer the question…. where is Gibbs from NCIS on this one? Or “The Closer” right?  Flattery and compliments from the enemy.  Notice the enemy answers Joshua, not the leaders who asked the question, looking for who the softy is perhaps?  I wouldn’t think it would be Joshua.  They are trying to divide the leader from his counsel.  The enemy loves to divide and conquer, be alert.  Often times the enemy will tell you exactly what you want to hear.

b. Joshua presses for an answer to the leaders’ question, who are you?  Stand your ground.  Be firm.  Don’t be deceived.  Seek discernment from the One who gives wisdom upon request.

9-10:  There is STILL no answer to the question.  A far country is not WHAT country.  Notice now they brought up Egypt and the kings beyond the Jordan, but cleverly left out the most recent victories, so again as to “verify” their story.  They were sure to comment on how “far” the fame of the LORD had reached.  People are clever… the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9  Be careful of the flattery of others.

11:  The Gibeonites had no wish to fight Israel, they were just wanting a promise that they would not be destroyed, and they would be more than happy to be their servants, their slaves.  Be careful what you promise and to whom. Your word is your bond.  Your word reflects on the God you serve.  Be careful. Be careful. Be careful.

12-13. Be careful, what things appear to be, are not always what they are in reality.  Only God can give insight, so ask Him who gives wisdom liberally!  When someone is pushing me to believe something…. especially when they want me to believe it NOW and ACT NOW, and SIGN NOW, be wary.

14:  They believed their eyes, ears and touch.  Things are not always what they seem.  Times when we don’t think we need to seek counsel of the LORD are probably the very times we most need to seek the counsel of the LORD.

15:  Be careful of the promises I make.  Covenants should not be taken lightly.  My word is my bond, so be careful what situations and  people I bond myself to.

What does it mean to me?

7: Am I quick to believe all I see and hear, or am I seeking God on all things, even when the answer seems obvious to me, right in front of my eyes?

8: a. Am I quick to believe flattery and words that tickle my ears and ego?  Am I alert to the tactics of the enemy?  When has the enemy used the tactic “divide and conquer” in my life?  Was it successful?  Did I learn from that?  Was I bamboozled or wise?

8: b. Am I in prayer for discernment?  Am I quick to believe what I hear so I won’t have to press in any longer?  I hate confrontation, but am I willing to hold strong and face up or am I quick to crumble and just believe what I hear because it is easier?

9-10:  When have I been moved by the flattery of someone else to do something I normally would not do?  Have I used flattery to get my way?  Is that right?

11: Do I flippantly make promises with people or am I careful and prayerfully consider the covenants I make?  Is my word my bond, or an avenue to get what I want?

12-13: Am I quick to believe what I see?  Do I rely on my own senses to make decisions or do I prayerfully consider all things?

14: In whom do I trust? Myself? Circumstances?  Or am I constantly seeking God’s counsel?  Am I quickly making decisions, or patiently seeking and waiting for God’s answers? 

15: Have I impatiently made promises to do things, and be places that I never consulted God about?  Everything seemed right on the surface, but after I was committed I knew it wasn’t right?  Am I impulsive in my decisions?

LIVE IT OUT:

Take everything to God in prayer.  Wait for God to clearly reveal His wisdom on the matter then have the guts to follow through with His leading.

Homework for next week: Joshua 9: 16-21

Share with us your lesson(s) and applications and what they mean to you. 
Do you know someone that might be blessed by joining our study?  Please share this blog link with them.

Open House & Night of Worship

What are you doing on Saturday May 12? If you are in the area, we hope you will stop by The Cove. We are hosting our annual open house community event from 10am-3pm, along with our friends from Camp Cedar Cliff and 106.9 The Light.

Come experience the beauty of The Cove and enjoy a day of activities for the whole family. At the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, you can view a special exhibit honoring legendary gospel singer George Beverly Shea, who at 103 years old, received a Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY in 2011!  Don’t forget to also visit the Training Center, browse the memorabilia displays, visit Ruth’s Attic Bookstore, Shepherd’s Inn and more.

Camp Cedar Cliff will offer a taste of summer camp with fun activities – including archery, BB guns, a bounce castle and other inflatables, as well as a climbing wall, double zipline, face-painting, and horse rides. Illusionist Matt Fore will perform at 11:30 and 1pm.

Our friends at 106.9 The Light will open up their studios for tours. Listeners will be able to meet their favorite on-air personalities and get a great behind the scenes look at how it all works!

Samaritan’s Purse will have one of its Disaster Relief trucks available for tours and   Operation Christmas Child will be handing out shoe boxes.

And, you want to hear the best part? It’s all FREE!

On Saturday evening, area worship leaders and musicians will offer A Night of Worship – a free community concert event at The Cove, beginning at 7:30 p.m.  Robert Williams from Seacoast Church Asheville will be the musical director for the evening, and Seacoast will also be the house band.  Nate Huff of Highland Christian Church and Lucas Parry of Biltmore Baptist East will join us in leading worship. While it’s free, registration for this event is required as space is limited.

Before the concert, you can enjoy a gourmet meal. (The cost for this option is $20). Call us at (800)-950-2092 to register for A Night of Worship and to reserve your seat at the dinner table.

We look forward to seeing you, your family and friends on Saturday May 12th!

GUEST POST: God’s Example…

By Neil Anderson

In the vast ocean of eternity there was a tidal wave of time that began with the incarnation of Christ and ended with His crucifixion. God stepped out of eternity into time in order that we might step out of time into eternity. His example set the bar so high that human achievement is beyond our grasp. The incarnation was the sternest possible rebuke to our pride. We cannot fully comprehend the example of Christ who “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7). He went from the highest state of being to the lowest state of human existence, becoming a helpless infant born in a manger to humble parents with no social status. For you and I to become a slug doesn’t come close to approximating the descent. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Our Lord’s time came to an abrupt end at the crucifixion, which was the sternest possible rebuke to our selfish nature. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 Jn. 3:16). Can you imagine what life on earth would be like if we all believed the Apostle Paul and lived according to Philippians 2: 3-5:    

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”  

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.

Neil Anderson’s seminar titled The Core of Christianity takes place on July 13-15 at The Cove in Asheville, NC.  To register click here or call 1-800-950-2092.

Neil Anderson is the founder and president emeritus of Freedom in Christ Ministries, a best-selling author, and former pastor and aerospace engineer. He was formerly chairman of the Practical Theology Department at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University in the USA. He holds five degrees from Talbot, Pepperdine University and Arizona State University. For more information on Freedom in Christ Ministries, visit http://www.ficm.org/