All posts by notesfromthecove

Tony Evans on Spiritual Victory

By Joy Allmond

What do you do when you are living in a season of spiritual defeat? Do you pray? Do you retreat? Do you ask people for advice? Maybe you get angry, or perhaps the other areas of your life suffer.

Tony Evans, well known pastor and author in the Dallas, Tex. area, wants people to understand that there is only one way to defeat our enemy soundly—through engaging Scripture.

“I don’t believe people consistently make the connection with what is happening in history, or in their personal lives, with what is happening in the spiritual realm,” Evans explained.

“To the degree that people can understand the spiritual connection is the degree they can invoke the spiritual realm to change things in this physical, visible realm in which we live.”

Dr. Evans believes we lose sight of the impact of the spiritual realm because we tend to be focused on the tangible—the physical world in which we exist.

Most of the time, anyway.

“We see and feel the physical world, so we are more conscious of it. But, when pain in life comes, we desperately want the spiritual realm to change things in our physical world. So, I want people to understand how that realm works, and how to implement God’s plan for addressing things from that perspective,” he said.

And the way to do that, he says, is simply through the Scriptures. Knowing them is one thing; using them is another.

“We should know them, but Scriptures are not merely to be known. They are to be utilized against the devil, not just a ‘safe’ place, like Bible study with other Christians,” Evans explained.

The Bible is full of Scriptures for combatting the enemy and his tactics, but Evans specifically points to Ephesians 6:10-18.

It is in this passage that God gives six guidelines for spiritual victory—six pieces of spiritual armor with which we need to fit ourselves: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of readiness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.

Dr. Evans urges all believers to get to know those six pieces of armor, and understand how they relate to spiritual victory.

July 19-21, he will be teaching an auditorium of people at The Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove how to use Scripture as a weapon of defense against the devil’s attacks, and as a resource to have peace in the middle of a spiritual battle. 

“I’m going to make it very practical, as opposed to theoretical. Those in the seminar will learn how you handle God’s Word in a way that will allow them to accomplish what God wants to see in their lives—victory.”

Tony Evans’ seminar titled Victory in Spiritual Welfare takes place on July 19-21, 2012 at The Cove in Asheville, NC.  To register click here or call 1-800-950-2092.  

A Poem by Ruth Bell Graham

 

 

 

 

 

 

From: Sitting by my laughing fire… 

…my shelf of peace…

This is my ledge
of quiet,
my shelf of peace,
edged
by its crooked rails
holding back the beyond.
Above,
a hawk sails
high
to challenge clouds
trespassing
my plot of sky.
Below
in the valley
remote and dim,
sounds
come and go,
a requiem
for quiet.
Here on my ledge,
quiet praise:
of birds,
crickets,
breeze –
in different ways;
and so do I –
for these:
my ledge of quiet,
my plot of sky;
for peace.

Click here to purchase Ruth Bell Graham’s book of poetry, Sitting by my laughing fire…

True Freedom

By Will Graham

I believe that most of us who have placed our faith in Jesus would agree that we have found the cure for the heart problem that ails the world. We’ve experienced the peace that passes all understanding, while every day we watch others sinking in despair with their hearts far from God. Sadly, it’s rare when we actually seize the opportunity to toss a rope to the man or woman beside us who is drowning in their hopelessness.

I was recently reminded why it is so important to not miss these chances to reach others when God offers you the opportunity. I was speaking at a weekend Celebration in Terrell, Texas, just east of Dallas. My good friend and ministry partner Todd Pierce, a rodeo cowboy, came down from Idaho to share his testimony from the stage of what Christ has done in his life.

On Saturday, the second of the three days of the event, Todd was preparing to come over to the Performing Arts Center where the Celebration was being held. As he pulled up to a stop light, he saw a man by the side of the road asking for spare change. God moved in Todd’s heart, and Todd pulled his car off to the shoulder of the road and waved the man over.

Todd invited him to the Celebration, and – after hearing what the man had to say about “those Christians” – convinced him to come along. The man quickly went off to find his brothers, and the three of them returned and climbed into the back of Todd’s car.

I had no idea that any of this was taking place while I was backstage preparing to preach on youth night. That evening, when I offered the invitation for the young people in the crowd to make a commitment to Jesus, I quickly noticed the full head of gray hair making its way down to the front.

One of the three men that Todd had picked up – nicknamed “Freebird” after the Lynyrd Skynyrd song – heard the Gospel and, there in the Terrell ISD Performing Arts Center, prayed to accept Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Afterwards he told Todd, “They call me ‘Freebird,’ but I’ve never felt free in my life until tonight.” He couldn’t believe that people loved him and hugged him even though he was wearing dirty clothes and hadn’t showered.

The next morning, as our team met for devotions in the local Holiday Inn, we rejoiced at the work that God had done in Freebird’s life. We were grateful that Todd responded when he felt God calling him to pull the car to the side of the road.

As we closed our time together, we received word that Freebird was on his way to the hotel. He had decided that – having made a commitment to follow Christ – he wanted to be baptized as well! That morning, along with Todd and our emcee Mark Christian, I had the amazing blessing of helping to baptize Freebird in the Holiday Inn swimming pool.

When we asked Freebird – whose real name we learned was Fred – if he was going to come to Sunday afternoon’s final Celebration service, he declined. “No, I’m leaving right now to head home to Alabama,” he said.  “I called my wife and told her we’re kicking this alcohol thing, and we’re getting our marriage right.”

My friends, people need the Lord! Do you have an urgency in your spirit to share Him with others? Do you want to see people find true freedom in Christ? Do you believe that eternity is at stake?

When the Holy Spirit nudged Todd to stop alongside the road, he could have easily said, “I’m going to share my faith with thousands of people this weekend. I’m doing my part. I don’t need to do this too!” And when the man by the side of the road started bad-mouthing Christians, Todd could have driven away. But, of course, he didn’t do either of those things. Because of that, Freebird’s eternity – as well as his marriage and his life here on earth – has forever changed.

How often do we watch our co-workers, family, friends, and neighbors – even the man asking for extra change on the street corner – struggle through life without sharing with them that they can have true hope for eternity? We’re always too busy, or too timid, or – frankly – too jaded to share the love and peace we’ve found. Don’t miss those opportunities!

I pray that I never forget what Freebird taught me, and I pray that you too will be challenged to truly see that people need the Lord. 

Kendra’s Bible Study…Joshua 10:20-27

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study.  This is a place where we can come together and share tin he 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 10:20-27 

What does it say? THE FACTS

20.   When Joshua and Israel finished slaying them and the survivors who remained entered the fortified cities,
21.   all the people returned to camp in peace, no one uttered a word against Israel
22.  “Open the mouth of the cave, and bring the five kings out”
23.   They did so: The king of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish & Eglon
24.   Joshua called for all men of Israel, and said to the chiefs who had gone w/ him”Put your feet on the necks of these kings” So they came near and put their feet on their necks
25.  Joshua said, “Do not be afraid or dismayed, be strong and of a good courage, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies.
26.  Afterward Joshua struck, killed them and hanged them on 5 trees until evening.
27.  So it was at the going down of the sun Joshua commanded & they took them down, cast them into the cave where they had been hidden and laid large stones against the cave’s mouth

What does it Mean? THE LESSONS 

20-21: When the power of God has been revealed (to believers as well as non-believers) there is nothing to say that we could possible add.  (EVERY knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus is LORD!)
22-24: These kings went against God and His people with all they had, it is hard sometimes for us to wrap our brains around an all merciful God and an all righteous and just God, we like to focus on the mercy, don’t we?  There is a time for EVERYONE to receive God’s grace and God’s mercy, and that time is NOW! NOW is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2)! If you have ears to hear, HEAR!  Because there is a day coming, when time will run out…. your decision is NOW.  The Canaanites and Amorites, and all the other “ites” had year after year, decade after decade to repent, and stop the wickedness (Genesis 15:6)…. until God said enough is enough and their wickedness was complete, and God went before Israel like a consuming fire and destroyed these nations that were mightier than Israel.  Did God give Israel the land because they were so good?  No, God gave Israel the land because Canaan was so wicked, and because of the Righteousness of God’s character, not the righteousness of Israel’s character (Deuteronomy 9). God loved the people of Canaan, and was patient and long suffering waiting for them to come to repentance. In Romans 1 Paul talks about not having an excuse, because if you see one sunrise you should know there is a God, but the people of the land became more depraved, and deepened in their wickedness, and the result, the consequence of sin is always death.  Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.”  God means what He says.  Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned BUT the GIFT of God is eternal life!.”  Yes, there is hope!!! The GIFT of God is eternal life, a life raft! Well what is the gift of God? Is it possible for you and I to attain this gift? YES! John 3:16, “For God so LOVED the world that He GAVE His only Son (Jesus) that whosoever BELIEVES in Him will have everlasting life!” The gift of God is Jesus! Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth the LORD Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved!” 2 Peter 3:9, “The LORD is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward YOU, not wishing for ANY to PERISH but ALL to come to repentance”

GOD IS MERCIFUL, AND GOD IS JUST.

25: Joshua remembers what God has said in His Word, and encourages the nation.  God is faithful to His Word, and Joshua is living by it.  The things God calls us to do are hard, we will be tempted to run, hide and be discouraged.   I must remind myself who God is, not who I am.
26-27:  The very thing these kings thought would be their shelter was their grave.  Be careful what I put my faith in, if it is anything other than Jesus, I will come up short.  The stones piled up in front of this cave, this grave, are a good warning to you and me… don’t delay in repentance to God! John 14:6, “I (Jesus) AM the Way, the Truth and the LIFE no one can come to God, but through Me.”

What Does it Mean to Me? THE APPLICATIONS

20-21:  When have I seen God work in mighty ways and been speechless about what He has done, either for me or someone else? (If the answer for this question is never… read the stories of Hudson Taylor, Amy Slessor, Bill Bright, Jim Cymbala) there are countless others on the testimony of God’s amazing power that will leave you and I speechless!
22-24: Has there been a time in my life when I have personally repented of my sin and asked for the forgiveness of God that is available because of Jesus?  Or am I living my life in direct opposition to God, thinking I have plenty of time to make things right before the end?  Do I realize and know that God loves me and His plan for me is not destruction and punishment, but love and acceptance if I will just humble myself before Him?  Do I need to stop here and NOW and ask God to forgive me?
25:  Am I in God’s Word enough to remember His promises and challenges to me?  Do I believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do?
26-27: Who or what do I put my faith in to provide for my safety, my needs my assurance for the future?  A job? A spouse? A talent? My charity? The good stuff I do? Only Jesus is our assurance!

HOMEWORK:
Read Verses 28-43 (Joshua chapter 10), focus doing the 3 questions on verses 40-43. 

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.

The Power of Prayer and Surrender

God is always at work in our lives.  Do we see it…in good times and bad? Do we take time to thank our Creator for the blessings of each and every day?  Do we praise Him in all circumstances?  Do we surrender everything to Him?  A couple from Kernersville, NC knows a thing or two about surrender and the power of prayer.  May this beautiful story will be an encouragement to you today. 

By George L. Matthews

About 3 years ago, I developed a tremor in my right hand that was diagnosed as benign essential tremors.  

As the tremor worsened and other symptoms began to manifest, my wife, Dianne, asked her neurologist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center for a neurology referral for me.  

He suggested Dr. Haq, in the neurology department there but told her he might be hard to see since his appointments were scheduled months in advance.  

When Dianne called to see about scheduling an appointment, she was told there had been a cancellation – the very next morning, at 8 am, “Could we be there?”  Is anything too hard for our God?   

Over the next few months, as I underwent numerous tests, my symptoms worsened.  Tests indicated polyneuropathy.  We thought I had spinocerebellar ataxia, but the tests were all negative.   Only one test was confirmed positive, that for paraneoplastic syndrome.  But we had no idea why this syndrome was present.  

In February, I began having difficulty walking.  In 3 weeks time, I was able to walk only with the assistance of lofstrand crutches. 

Every step was an effort.  

My entire body seemed to convulse when I tried to stand.  

The once self-sufficient, independent man that I had always been was reduced to needing help just getting out of bed.  

It was during this time God began dealing with me regarding my absolute surrender to Him as Lord of my life.  

I knew He was Savior, but did I trust Him to be Lord?  

It was easy to say yes to that question when all was well.  

But now, could I accept what He had allowed into my life with thanksgiving (I Thessalonians 5:18)?  When I finally realized that even in the darkest places, He was Lord, I felt that “peace that passes all understanding”.  

I knew that He had a purpose for this and I could trust Him.

Dr. Haq had decided that even though we still did not have a definitive diagnosis for my convulsive movements, he would admit me for a week of steroid treatments.  

I would enter the hospital on June 11.  Dianne had already booked a weekend seminar for us at The Cove for June 8-10 to hear Dr. Ken Boa. 

How amazing that God orchestrated our time at The Cove the weekend before my hospitalization!  

When we arrived for registration at The Cove, we signed up for the Interactive Sessions that were a part of the Seminar event.  

I was assigned with a fabulous group of men, and Dianne with a great group of women.  We were loved upon, encouraged, prayed for.  We were sought out by a couple who had used a recent hospitalization to witness to the hospital staff, and encouraged me to do the same. They shared Bible verses with us.  

We recognized that God had sent all these people to us this very weekend for a special purpose.  The staff at The Cove was so kind and helpful, and we knew they were also praying for us.  We were encouraged by Dr. Boa’s teaching.  

We left The Cove on Sunday knowing we were firmly secure in God’s hand, that He was in control, and we need not fear.  

On June 11, we arrived at the hospital to find out the treatment plan had changed over the weekend.  

One of the physicians Dr. Haq had conferred with had found an article that suggested IVIG treatments.  They started the first treatment Monday evening.  

By midweek, I began standing and taking steps without my crutches.  

By Thursday, I was making laps around the neurology department.  

As I walked, I shared with the staff of God’s goodness; I handed out tracts to those who asked how I could be so joyous.  God provided many opportunities for me to share His love during my stay.  

Then, on Friday I walked out of the hospital without my crutches.  

Am I cured?  We don’t know.  

The doctors were amazed at how well the treatment worked but can’t give a prognosis since they don’t have a definite diagnosis.  

But this we do know, “we are fearfully and wonderfully made” and the Creator God does know.  

It is in His hands and whatever He chooses to send, we accept.  He knows what is best for us.  He knew that until I was unable to manage on my own, I had reserved a part of me that was not completely surrendered to Him.  

I am grateful for this time of illness, for I saw not only physical healing, but spiritual healing as well. 

I felt the amazing power of prayer.  

I saw how God’s timing was woven throughout the events of the past months.  

I had great physicians, great medical staff to administer the treatment, all orchestrated by Him.  But more importantly, we had a lot of people praying for us…our church, our family, and our friends.  

How awesome is our God who walks with us, hears our cry for help, and sends people to walk through our valleys with us!!  

And answers prayer!

Great Opportunity for Ministry Teams

 

You and your ministry team are personally invited to one of our most exciting opportunities at The Cove this year.

August 9-10, Michael Catt, senior pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, will be leading a Church Staff Retreat titled You Can’t Have a Vision If Your Head
Is in a Box.  As you may know, Michael is the co-founder of Sherwood Pictures and has produced influential Christian movies such as Courageous, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants.

This two-day retreat includes plenary sessions and Q&A with Michael as well as time to meet together with your team for planning, interaction, and reflection.  Join him as he shares insights on how to discover and unleash God-given, Spirit-inspired creativity that can transform your ministry and impact your community for Christ.

On behalf of the entire team at The Cove, we hope you will give us the opportunity to serve you here.  May God richly bless you.

Sincerely,

Franklin Graham
President
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

To register or for more information on this Church Staff Retreat, click here or call 1-800-950-2092.

Kendra’s Bible Study…Joshua 10: 15-19

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study.  This is a place where you can come together and share your 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 10:15-19

FACTS: What Does it Say?
15: Israel returned to camp at Gilgal
16: These 5 kings fled and hid in the cave at Makkedah
17: It was told Joshua these 5 kings were found hidden in the
cave
18: Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave and guard
them
19: do not stay there yourselves; pursue your enemies and attack
in the rear, do not allow them to enter their cities for the LORD has delivered

LESSONS: What Does it Mean?

15. It’s good to gather together and asses the situation get feedback  and get back to  work
16. the “fearless” leaders of these cities, so  ready to destroy Israel off the face of the earth find themselves cowards  hiding in a cave.  In times of crises our true character comes out
17. You  can’t hide from God
18-19: Do not be distracted from the task at hand even if you  capture a high value target.  Stay focused on the task at hand.  Pursue those enemies.  Often times I give up the fight when God has called me to complete it.  I may say, “Ah, I have done most of it, I’m out” Do not allow the enemy to re-group, finish the task completely.

APPLICATION: What Does it Mean to me?

15. Do I realize we are in this fight together as Christians? Are we listening to one another  and getting back to work together with a common goal?
16. In  times of crises in my life, what was or is being revealed about my character?  Am I strong and courageous in the LORD, or weak and cowardly? Crises reveals my belief, what has crises revealed regarding my belief?  Has my belief and faith been proven or run from?
17. What causes me to question God sees me?
18-19: Am I living in disobedience because I have been distracted from what God has  called me to do? How have I been distracted from the task at hand?  Have I completed things “mostly” but I don’t want to put the finishing touch on it because…..? Too much
effort? Time? I’m not “feeling” it any longer?  I would rather……?  This distraction over here is more “me” and makes more sense?

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.

Homework for July 3 discussion: Joshua 10: 20-27