PRAYER NOTE: MARCH 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 gold pocket-watch glistened bright against the dark blue velvet of the case. We had been busy helping my father pack up for a move when he called me and my sisters together to show us this treasure—an heirloom from our maternal grandfather that will one day be passed down to my brother, and then some day to his son and grandson. Dad removed the watch from the case and opened it to show us the face.

I thought about the figurative “passing of time” from the hands of my grandfather who died when I was a small child to the time-worn hands of my father to the hands of my brother who would one day receive this gift. When my grandfather prayed for my brother, did he pray for the spouse he would one day meet and marry, and for the children and grandchildren who would follow?

Billy Graham once wrote, “Long after you and I are gone, God will still be at work—and many of the things we prayed for will finally come to pass.

Oh that we could literally pass the gift of time like the passing down of a pocket-watch! One person who has “time to spare” might share with another who is “running short on time.”  The reality is, we are all given 24 hours each day. And we are each given one lifetime.

We are time-bound people, yet we are given the privilege of prayer. “The act of prayer brings together Creator and creature, eternity and time, in all the fathomless mystery implied by that convergence I can view prayer as a way of asking a timeless God to intervene more directly in our time-bound life on earth…In a process I am only learning, I can also view prayer from the other side, as a way of entering into the rhythms of eternity and aligning myself with God’s ‘view from above,’ a way to harmonize my own desires with God’s and then to help effect, while on earth, what God has willed for all eternity.” (Philip Yancey, Prayer.)

As we look ahead to a new seminar year for The Cove, we know we will be guided by schedules, clocks and deadlines. As you plan, prepare and pray, be encouraged in knowing that we serve a God who is always at work and is not bound by time. As you pray for the needs of The Cove, take joy in remembering the words of the Lord from the prophet Isaiah, “And it shall come to pass that before they call I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24, NKJV)

The eternal God is not bound by time.  When we pray, we can trust that He knows our need before we declare it, and we can trust that He will answer in His time and in the way that is best.

Thank you for taking time to pray!


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

March 2017 events to pray for:

An Evening at The Cove with Jason Crabb — March 12
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

Pastor Renewal Retreat—Answering the Call
Ray Bentley — March 20-22
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Marty Goetz; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
NOTE: We still have space and this event is free to pastors and their spouses.  Please help us spread the word!

Guided Personal Spiritual Retreat — March 24-26
(Facilitators: John Parrish and Trish Lancaster)

 

Cove Bible Verse for Week of February 27

“They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness,” (Lamentations 3:23, ESV). 

Jeff & Mary | SOWERS (Servants on Wheels Ever Ready) | Lamentations 3:23

SMALL_Jeff and Mary Peace_SOWERS

For information on the SOWER ministry, click here.


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 — Heart Work x 2

We give thanks that the Lord is the Great Physician, but as a staff, it is our goal to be prepared to help in medical situations when necessary.

This week, many of our staff were trained by a team from the American Heart Association on 1st Aid, CPR and AED.  We certainly don’t hope to use these skills, but are ready, should we need to.

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She’s got the technique down.
Tina and Alla and bandages on CPR day Feb 2017
These two have been properly bandaged up!

It’s never too late to learn lifesaving skills.  If you are interested in taking a class through the American Heart Association,  click here.  For Red Cross classes,  click here.


On another note, we’d love for you to join us in covering the 121 military couples that will be on property this weekend for a Military Marriage Retreat.  Please pray for their hearts as they dig into God’s Word this weekend.  Please pray that they would enjoy sweet fellowship with other military couples.  And, please pray that each couple will return home inspired by God’s purpose for their marriages.

Here are a few snapshots from some of our Military Marriage Retreats in previous years.

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Relaxing in rocking chairs soothes the soul.
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Beautiful mountain views.
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Through the Bible teaching, couple’s will gain an insightful perspective on marriage and find application for the special circumstances that only military couples can understand.
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There’s no shortage of food or good conversation during the retreat!
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No snow scheduled for this weekend, but it sure was fun in 2014!

If you or someone you know are interested in attending an upcoming Military Marriage Retreat, click here.

If you’d like to print a flyer to hand out to friends, at church or on your base, click here.

 

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Esther 9:26

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Esther 9:26

“Therefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur.  And because of the instructions in this letter, both what they had seen in this regard and what had happened to them, (29) these days of Purim were not to fail from among the Jews or their memory fade from their descendants.”

Step 1

#DELIVERED

THE FACTS:
Therefore they called these days Purim after Pur.

Both what they had seen and happened

these days of Purim were not to fail from Jews or memory fade from descendants

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   I can’t help reading this Scripture and remembering the verse in Genesis 50:20: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; BUT GOD meant it for good, in order to bring it about, as it is this day, to save many people alive.

Our current world is on fire… everywhere we look, there is trouble, heartache and uncertainty.  These Jews in Persia  understood these same things, all too well.   On a personal level, in our own lives, when we chunk down the “global-ness” of that statement… we too, understand and experience trouble, heartache and uncertainty.

If there’s one thing we have learned from Esther, it’s that we don’t know we need to be delivered, until we need to be #delivered.  The Jews needed #deliverance in Esther 1:1, but they had no idea until Esther 3:14.  God was already moving on the scene, working in the shadows–it was already done–but His people needed to walk it through.  In the process, they cried out to God, and if they were anything like me, they cried out with questions, fists and hot angry tears.  “Where are YOU?”  “God, you are NOT fixing this!”  “Have you forgotten us?” “Have you just forgotten me?”

It is so much more than just “fixing it” to God.  When God works, He works completely.  God usually doesn’t work in the way my little dust-fist demands, and thank goodness for that, because my insight and my vision are so minimal.  The longer we stay in bondage in a place, in a circumstance, with a particular guilt, to a particular person… we begin to think less– much less of God and His power to show up and break the chains.  SO God… loves us enough to walk us through the fire of refinement, pleads with us to press into His leading, and surrender to our own menial and small ideas of #deliverance.

Bear with me a second here–let’s go back to Haman for a minute…  The evil and pride that Haman committed had a multiplying effect… it reached first to his family (10 sons hung on the same gallows as he was), and then further… more death and destruction… for those who followed him in the Persian empire and led assaults on the Jews (no one can destroy what God has determined to protect and preserve).  Now, lets go back even further… King Saul, refused to surrender to the obedience of God, refused to humble before a holy God, and look: Generations later… Mordecai, his descendant, was pressed in the same way, yet Mordecai humbled himself and put on the sackcloth that his great-great-great grandfather refused.  Sin holds us in a vice and in a place of bondage that Jesus came to destroy (Luke 4:18).   Church! Christian! Let’s stop settling to pass on a legacy of #disobedience and #defeat.

Here, in Esther 9:26, God flips the switch: Pur meaning “lot”… was an appointed time to die, to be annihilated, to be destroyed–BUT GOD–turned around what was meant for #defeat into #deliverance, and we have Purim.  We have Purim because Mordecai surrendered and submitted to what God had called him to… Esther surrendered and submitted to what God had called her to… then the multiplying effect of surrender and obedience to God spread throughout the Persian Empire to the Jews and Gentiles alike (9:3-4).  This legacy of #surrender and #submission to God has spread through the ages and still to this day is not forgotten.  Pass on a legacy of #obedience and #deliverance.

Esther 4:14, God will still do what He has set out to do, God doesn’t need us to get His work done, but oh, how He desires for us to walk along with Him as He does it.  The choice remains with us, each and every one of us.  Does your personal obedience matter to God?  Yes.  And it matters to those who will come after you.  You have a providential purpose. God has placed a high calling on your life, not for harm, but for the glory of God (Jer 29:11). It matters what YOU do.  There’s a difference you can make, but the choice is up to you.  Will you be the one to refuse to live a life defined by your personal fear and #defeat?  Submit and Surrender to God, because God is faithful (Phil 1:6) to completely #deliver you from your guilt, unbelief, bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, pride and even from your insecurity and insignificance.  You had a price on your head and it has been paid for by an Almighty God who loves you more than He loved His own life (John 3:16).

Let God take your story of #defeat in His nail scarred hands and transform it into a life of #deliverance.  From the beginning–from before you even knew you had a need–He knew, so He came to set you #free.  It’s time that we stop hiding in the shadows and start standing on the fact that we are #free…we are #delivered.

2 Corinthians 1:9-10:  “Indeed we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril and He will deliver us again.  On Him (Jesus) we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us.”

Step 3

APPLY IT:  Will we allow our lives to be defined by the multiplying effect of #defeat or #deliverance?  What is preventing you from surrender and submission to God?  Is the call too painful?  Too embarrassing?  Too hard?  Too scary?  Too overwhelming?  We all have so many good reasons not to… so did Esther, but perhaps you have been placed here for such a time as this, for future generations to see that while it may look like you are at the door of #defeat, in reality, you are at the threshold of #deliverance…

LIVE IT OUT:  Today… surrender… submit to what God wants… help me today to walk through the fire, if You want me to.

#befree #bedelivered

God bless…

___________________________________________________________

NOTE: If you are unable to attend Kendra’s winter Bible study at The Cove in person (January 10 – February 21, 2017),  we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study.  We are also streaming the study LIVE via Periscope.  Can’t watch live?  Don’t worry, you can catch the replays in the Periscope app indefinitely.  We will begin streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening around 7:15 p.m. ET (give or take a few minutes).

Not sure how to use Periscope? 
1.
 You must first sign up for Twitter (it’s free).  Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2. Then you sign up for Periscope (it’s free).  Click here for step-by-step instructions.

Make sure to follow The Cove on Twitter and Periscope, so you will be notified when we go LIVE.  We are @TheCoveNC.

Cove Bible Verse for Week of February 20

“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind,” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV). 

Sabrina | Guest Group Billing Assistant | 2 Timothy 1:7

SMALL_Sabrina_Guest Group Billing Assistant


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

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

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

Saturday Snapshot — A Sweet Surprise for Lily

Well-known singer/songwriter, Brandon Heath demonstrated the love of Christ that he so often sings about when he took time to meet with a young fan attending his concert here at The Cove last weekend.

This wasn’t just any fan, and it wasn’t just any meeting.  This was Lily, a sweet 12-year old girl from Tennessee, who lost her daddy to a tragic accident in 2015, and this meeting was set up as a surprise for her by her mother and the Heaths.

Lily in front with Brandon Heath sign Feb 2017

And because we thought you’d love to see how God’s divinely arranged meeting took place, here’s the back story:

On Valentine’s Day in 2013, Lily’s mom and dad attended An Evening at The Cove with Brandon Heath.  Because Lily’s parents were Heath fans, they shared their love for Brandon’s music with their daughter.

Flash-forward to January of this year: Lily’s mom wrote a letter to Brandon and shared a bit of their story.  She explained that she was surprising Lily with a trip to see him in concert at The Cove and included the following in her letter: “Lily was born with a song in her heart, and that really made her dad so very proud.  Just recently she joined the ensemble at her school and she loves to write her own lyrics.  I am going to encourage her to bring some of her lyrics to show you and maybe see if she will ask you to sign her little book of creations.  She might be too shy.  I don’t know if she will do it.  But given the fact she has had a rough year, I thought you might want to know this little girl is a big fan and would greatly appreciate a hug and a boost from you.  We will be in line at the meet and greet before we head back home to Tennessee.”

Brandon and his wife were so touched by Lily’s story that they asked if Lily would meet with Brandon before his concert!

Here are some photos to give you a glimpse of what happened on this specials night.

brandon and lily in green room
Brandon and Lily meeting before his concert, in the green room.
Brandon singing with Lily
Singing together!
Lily lyric book signed by Brandon
Lily’s lyric book.
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Brandon, Lily and her awesome mom!
Brandon Heath with Lyrics for young girl
Brandon with a surprise for Lily: lyrics to one of his songs.
Brandon and Lily on the stage
Brandon surprised Lily and presented his gift to her during the concert.


Friends, God gives all of us opportunities to be instruments of His grace, and He chose Brandon in this instance.  We are grateful to have had a glimpse into this God moment for Lily, and we hope it will be an encouragement and a blessing to you, too.

Lily, if you’re reading this, we thank you for sharing your God-given gift of writing lyrics, and we look forward to seeing how God uses you in the years to come.  Bless you, dear one.

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — Esther 6: 13-14

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Esther 6: 13-14

“And Haman recounted to Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him.  Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him. “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall is of Jewish origin , you will not overcome him, but will surely fall before him.  (14) While they were still talking with him the king’s eunuchs arrived and hastily brought Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.”

Step 1

THE VALUE of a SOUL…

THE FACTS:  

Haman recounted to wife and friends everything that happened to him.

His rise men & wife said, “If Mordecai before whom you have begun to fall is Jewish you will not overcome, fall before him”

While still talking, eunuchs brought Haman to banquet Esther prepared

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   The day had been difficult for Haman.  Haman was second in command of the Persian Empire, but acted a lot like he was first in command.  Haman was prideful, manipulative, scheming, and evil–let’s call it what it is.  Haman wanted to annihilate and utterly destroy the Jews, and no one could stop him, or so he thought.  You see, Haman hadn’t thought twice about the fact that the very name of God is Deliverer and Almighty God.

Chapter 6 ends with these two verses (13 & 14).  Haman, like in verse 13, has begun to fall.  Pride’s demise was beginning to speed up.  When God works, HE works quickly and completely.  Often times we tend to ask where God is because HE IS TAKING FOREVER.  We tend to yell, “God’s not fixing this!” more than we believe God will take care of the matter in His time.  We scream in our hearts, “God don’t you see what that person is doing or has done!?  When will YOU deal with it?”  Often we mistake God’s patience with the sinner for God’s tolerance of sin.  Sin is a BIG deal to God and yes, God will deal with it.  Notice Haman is beginning to fall… his pride is coming down in sheets, and Haman is humiliated.  God DOES NOT HUMILIATE…our own pride and fragile ego humiliate us.  Humiliation is a result of an unwillingness to be humble.  Does that surprise you or disappoint you?  As I looked at this passage with a deeper intensity my heart was broken.  God humbles us, because He hates us?  NO.  Because He loves us.  God opposes the proud, He is far from the proud, the proud are set at opposite ends of the arena from Him, and God’s hand made creation was created not to be far, but to be close.

SO God.. in His grace, humbles us, to bring us near to Him.  God gracefully humbled Mordecai… Mordecai did not get promoted yet stuck his neck out for the king.  God humbled Esther in her three days of fasting… “Trust Me, Esther… it’s not about your position… it’s about your surrender.”  God did not humble them to defeat them, He humbled them to deliver them.  Mordecai and Esther are already delivered, it is not hinging on the decision of the Persian king… it was given by the King of kings.  God is trying to do the same thing to Haman… to humble, not humiliate, to deliver not defeat… the only difference is the response in the end.

God really broke my heart over this passage this week.  God asked in my heart, “Why, Kendra, do you love the book of Esther?”

I had some cheesy replies that sounded really theological and thought through… but God… asked again, “Why do you love the book of Esther…honesty now.”

I blurted out… “Because Haman gets his head on a pike.  I like the fact he is humiliated with Mordecai, and then he whines to his wife and then the last act of his life he begs at the feet of a Jewish woman before he is hung on his own gallows.  I love the irony.  I love the justice.  There are no hanging threads… it’s complete.”

God waited some moments before He stirred my heart again to hear His voice which was drenched with a mixture of sadness, disappointment and grief, then I heard, “You have spoken truthfully.”

Now I was sad, but wasn’t entirely sure why.

Then, the words stung in my heart, “Have you been with Me this long, yet still do not know Me?” John 14:9.  Ouch.

Verses flooded my heart, the first of which was this, “ The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness but it long-suffering towards us, NOT WILLING THAT ANY should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

God placed this pause here… as Haman is being taken… just as Esther was taken in chapter 2 to the palace.  What if Haman repented and didn’t get his head on that pike?  Would I tear or cheer over that?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…  John 3:16, so who is excluded according to me or you?  There is a bounty on the head of Haman… and it is so much more than 10,000 talents of silver or even all the lives of the Jews in the Persian Empire… the bounty demands the blood of a Holy God.  So God paid it.  This is the value of a soul… a single soul.  God spared not His own Son… and so I cheer when someone falls to their eternal demise to satisfy my own warped sense of justice?

So, {sigh} we pause… here, at the end of chapter 6 and leave Haman alive for one more week, so that we can learn to humble ourselves before a holy God and plead for the lives of lost.  A high price was paid for each soul by a relentless God compelled by His great love for the sinner.  I am thankful for the pauses God places in my life.  Let’s not waste this one.  The value of each soul is priceless and precious.  SELAH

Step 3

APPLY IT:  Do you love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you? Matthew 5:44  Will you ask God to show you the value of a soul?

LIVE IT OUT:  Start today being more concerned with the character of God being displayed in my life than the need for revenge or justice.

___________________________________________________________

If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove, it’s not too late to join us!  We’d love to see you in person.

Registration is open and you can sign up online for Kendra’s evening study or by calling 1-800-950-2092.  (Click here to sign up for the morning study with Jane Derrick.)


NOTE: If you are unable to attend Kendra’s winter Bible study at The Cove in person (January 10 – February 21, 2017),  we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study.  We are also streaming the study LIVE via Periscope.  Can’t watch live?  Don’t worry, you can catch the replays in the Periscope app indefinitely.  We will begin streaming LIVE each Tuesday evening around 7:15 p.m. ET (give or take a few minutes).

Not sure how to use Periscope? 
1.
 You must first sign up for Twitter (it’s free).  Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2. Then you sign up for Periscope (it’s free).  Click here for step-by-step instructions.

Make sure to follow The Cove on Twitter and Periscope, so you will be notified when we go LIVE.  We are @TheCoveNC.

Cove Bible Verse for Week of February 13

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,”
(Philippians 4:13, NKJV). 

Renee | Program Assistant | Philippians 4:13SMALL_Renee_Program Assistant


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 — You’ve Shared With Us!

A few weeks ago, we had some technological difficulties, and were unable to share our normal Saturday Snapshot post, so we asked you to share with us instead.  And several of you did!

Thank you for allowing us a little peak into your world and allowing us to share here on our blog.

Enjoy snapshots of things your fellow readers love…

So, we know the Internet was created for cute cat pictures and funny videos, right?  Well, one of our readers has provided the cute factor for us.  This is 12-year-old Kitty Kitty.  We imagine she is probably one of our most faithful feline readers!  Doesn’t she look smart?
FullSizeRender

Sweet Kitty Kitty…

12 year old kitty kitty from Ocean Shores Wa

This NotesFromTheCove reader’s husband is a bass fisherman and fishes all the lakes in the state of New Hampshire.  This delightful shot was taken on Lake Sunapee.  Wow! IMG_4173

One of our readers enjoys watching wildlife out the window and reading in this sweet spot.  And just look at that beautiful orchid!
a quiet spot to sit

Don’t you love how God shows us different perspectives of His creation throughout the seasons? This reader shares her winter view as seen from her couch.  Beautiful!

sitting on the couch before churchIt’s hard to beat a sunrise or sunset at the beach!  Here’s a  postcard-worthy shot shared with us from Hilton Head Island’s South Beach.  The Scripture paired up with this couple’s photo is just perfect: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen up to you.” Isaiah 60:1.

DSCN3171Thank you again for sharing with us!  Have a blessed weekend!


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

If you’d like to hold your own event at The Cove, click here for more information.

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

5 Quotes from Billy Graham on the Love of God

BGEAinK.C.04-56A Love Like No Other

Billy Graham said, “I am convinced the greatest act of love we can ever perform for people is to tell them about God’s love for them in Christ.”

In order to truly tell others about God’s love, we must know it for ourselves.  Do you know His great love?

Here are 5 powerful quotes from Billy Graham on God’s love–a love like no other:

Gods love did not begin at the cross quote from Billy Graham COVE

Agape Love quote by Billy Graham Cove

Gods Love is Unchangeable quote from Billy Graham -- Cove

God is sending forth His message of love...Billy Graham Quote - Cove
The love of God can be rejected quote by Billy Graham Cove

Our prayer is that you would feel the powerful love of God in your life today.  If you don’t know God, but you’d like to begin your journey to peace with Him today, click here to learn how.

Blessings.


Click here to visit our website and see what upcoming events are taking place at The Cove.

The blog of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove