Tag Archives: Bible Teaching

COVE BIBLE VERSE FOR WEEK OF March 27

This week’s verse is brought to you by:
Kent | Cove Guest Group Manager | 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

SMALL_Kent_Bridges_Guest Group Sale Manager


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.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — John 18:1-2

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 :  John 18:1-2

“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of Kidron, where there was a garden, into which He Himself entered, and His disciples. (2) Now Judas also, who was betraying Him knew the place for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  

Jesus had spoken these words, went forth with disciples over ravine, where there was a garden, into which He entered and disciples.   Judas betraying Him, knew the place, Jesus often met there w/ disciples.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

Night had fallen.  Jesus had taken time out with His disciples in the upper room, breaking bread with them and pouring wine, symbolizing what was to happen within the next 24 hours. Judas had left the last supper to go and do what he intended to do.  Jesus went forth.  Those are powerful words…  Jesus went forth, knowing what Judas was in the process of doing, knowing what was on the horizon, knowing that truly His body was going to be as broken bread and poured out wine…. yet…. He went forth.

Jesus and His disciples made their way through the city, out of the east side gate, over the ravine of Kidron, and into the garden.   Was there a chill or a dampness to the night as they approached the little brook there?  Did the disciples have to tighten their outer garments to keep warm?

The garden was in sight.  This was a garden place that the disciples knew well… ALL the disciples knew well, even Judas.  Jesus could have gone to a different garden… a different town… but no, this night, this is why He came, so He went forth.

How often had Judas met Jesus there?  What sermons, what individual chats did they all experience, there in that place that were not written for all of us to know?  How personal was this place to them?  To Judas?  Very personal… they knew it… the words are not… “Yeah… I think I know where you are talking about…” or “Let me pull that up on google maps”… Jesus met OFTEN there WITH them– THERE–His disciples, His best friends.  Have you ever wondered if the reason Jesus often met there, in that garden place, was to ensure that this moment, this night would happen?

You see, we desperately need Jesus to go through with this, or we are doomed.

Every person who experienced a miracle in the ministry and life of Jesus, needs Jesus to go through with this night, lest their infirmity be returned 100 fold…. we were not created to carry the burden of our own sin…. so Jesus went forth, leading the charge, not hiding from it, compelled by His great love for us–His handmade creation.

This particular garden is located on the east side of Jerusalem and in a few hours from this moment, Jesus will be drug from the east side of Jerusalem, and in the end will be lifted up high on a hill, on a cross on the west side of Jerusalem.  Jesus will complete it all, for all.  Sin will be put away as far as the east is from the west.  So, you see, we need Jesus to not shrink back here, and so Jesus went forth.

Jesus went into the garden that night, not only to pray for the strength needed, but He went to that garden–to that place–that night, to be found, by the one betraying Him.  Have you ever thought about that?  Jesus did not go to hide, He went to be found.  Jesus came to be found by you and me, so He shows up in places that we know well, so that we won’t miss Him.

I reflect back in my childhood all the way through today, and I see distinct places where Jesus was found along the way.  I see His providential hand moving the scenes even if I missed it at the time.  Jesus came to be found by you, too!  If you have never found Him, spend this time before Easter, in this period of lent, looking for Him, asking Him to open your eyes, so that you can see Him. Jesus endured this night, not to play some mystical hide-and-go seek game with you… but He went forth to be found.  Don’t miss Jesus this Easter!

I love those who love Me; and those who diligently seek Me will find Me. Proverbs 8:17

Step 3

APPLY IT:  

Where can Jesus be found in your life?

Will you ask Jesus to reveal where He is, if you cannot see Him?  Sometimes, it comes down to the fact of our pride… we don’t want to know because we want the excuse that God has abandoned us… but God with skin on went forth to be found this night in the garden… for you, and for me.  Let’s start fixing our hearts on the Truth, even if it’s hard.

LIVE IT OUT:  

Today, see where Jesus can be found in my life, whether it be in an ordinary or extraordinary place, and thank Him specifically for that.


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

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Esther 9:29

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 9:29

“Then Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter of Purim.” 

Step 1

Your Extraordinary Call

THE FACTS:  

Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew wrote with full authority to confirm Purim.

He sent letters to all Jews in kingdom of Ahasuerus, words of peace and truth.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   

Esther was not just “Esther” she was “Queen Esther.” Esther had been queen for about 6 years at this time… it was not new, she just had no idea of the influence and authority she had been granted until she “selah-ed” … paused… simmered in who God is, what His promises are for her, and then stepped in the faith that God’s promises and His Word would hold.

It was in the stepping that she found that God had gone before her and had already #delivered her.  What did Esther already have that God wanted to use???  Well… in chapter 5 Esther put on her royal robes…. that was the start.  God was not going to use something she didn’t have… God had already #delivered her with something she DID have.  Here in chapter 9… Esther is finally stepping into the authority she was given and she used…. a pen.  Esther picked up that pen with ALL AUTHORITY… I love that she is daughter of Abihail… she is still that orphaned girl–an ordinary girl with an extraordinary calling–that picked up a pen and wrote with authority! Esther surrendered the ordinary she had in her hand to Almighty God and He made it extraordinary… drawing His people unto Himself.  Esther’s faith drew a nation NOT TO HER but to GOD!
God used a stick in the hand of Moses.  God did an awful lot through that seemingly ordinary shepherd’s stick, to again, draw HIS people to Himself.  In John 21, the disciples had a fishing net in their hands… God changed the use of that net for fish, to a net for men and began to draw a dying world to Himself.  God used their net, to bring His hand made creation to HIMSELF… not to the disciples.         Look what God can do through ordinary items that He has put in our hands!  The problem is that often we want in our hands what someone else has in their’s or we want the spotlight, and the glory for ourselves.  “If God would only give me “that”… well then I could really reach people for Him.”  Our focus is not quite right, often due to the lack of “selah” … a pausing to simmer in who GOD is, not who we think we are.There is an extraordinary call on your ordinary life.  Stop getting bogged down in believing your purpose is less than it is because all you have are the mundane repetitive things of life! Instead ask God to give a new meaning to your mundane!  Ask God to transform the mundane to extraordinary even in those little things you do.  Watch God use your mundane to draw your kids, your neighbors, your Sunday school class, or even that person your meet in the line at Walmart, to Him for His glory.In Ephesians 1:18-23, Paul pleads that we would know the hope of our calling, and greatness of the strength and power of Jesus on a personal level.  We have spiritual royal robes, that many of us have yet to don.  Oh that we would submit and surrender that which is in our hand, and see what God will do with it.  It will take courage.  It’s time to stand.  You are not alone. #deliveredwithpower

Step 3

APPLY IT:  

What is in your hand currently that God wants to use in an extraordinary way to draw His people to Him and His glory?

 Are you willing to ask God what is in your hand and then wait for Him to show you?

LIVE IT OUT:  

Today, do all, no matter how mundane for the glory of God with all the authority that He has given you as a child of the King.


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

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.

Saturday Snapshot – A Look at the 2017 Program Guide

The 2017 Program Guide is out and we’re pleased to share it with you today on video.

To have a Program Guide mailed to you, please click here and complete the online request.

Get registered today for one of our seminars, programs, or concerts. 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.

Bless you, friends.  Have a wonderful weekend!

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — Esther 1:1a

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 1:1a

“Now it took place in the days of King Ahasuerus….”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  It took place in the days of King Ahasuerus…

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   It took  place in the days of King Ahasuerus…so what does that mean?  What were the days of King Ahasuerus?  King Ahasuerus was better known as Xerxes the great.  Xerxes ruled and reigned over the Persian Empire from 485bc-465bc.  Xerxes was a wicked and cruel leader whose motto was, “One world, one ruler,” and that one ruler was him.

God’s chosen people, the Israelites, find themselves in the midst of the Persian Empire as slaves to Xerxes–like 44% of the world found themselves at that time.  How did they end up there?  What happened to God’s promise to His people about having a land of their own?  God’s people conquer in the book of Joshua, but here in Esther they are conquered.

God’s chosen people were to obey and follow God, and if they did, God would bless them, but if they did not, God would send them into exile to discipline them and bring them back to Him.  Israel obeyed for awhile, but then… they stopped.  God was true to His Word.  King Nebuchadnezzar came in to Jerusalem, and in 536bc, wiped the city out.  Remember, Daniel and his friends were taken and in Daniel 1:1 they firmly decide not to defile themselves… they decide to go vegan before vegan was a trend.  Daniel and his friends were found to be more fit than all the other captives, so they get to keep their diet.  God shows Daniel and his friends favor.  Daniel ends up being a confidant to not only the Babylonian kings, but to the Medes and the Persians as well.  This is unheard of!  #ThefavorofGodisreal.

Daniel is a prophet and tells the people that God will allow them to return to the land of promise after 70 years of captivity.  Darius (Xerxes father) releases God’s chosen people to return back to their land of promise.  Less than 1/4 decide to go back… and now… here we are… the days of King Ahasuerus…

Soooo why did the Israelites not return?  God had CLEARLY called His people to be led by Him to their land given by Him.  Was Persia such a fabulous place?

It’s easy to point our fingers and judge for sure… there was a time in my life when I read this book and did just that… judged them.  I mean seriously… if they had returned like they were supposed to then there would be no need for Esther to risk her life… but no… they are disobedient, stiff necked people.  Yep.  So am I.

Would you have gone back?  I mean, you just got that promotion at work… your kids just got into the best school system… 1st world amenities…to go where?  Last time they heard about Jerusalem it was burned to the ground, completely destroyed.  No indoor plumbing?  Having to boil water over a fire?  What school system was in place there for your kids so they could have a shot at some sort of future?  Yeah… none.  It’s not like they could site visit and then if they didn’t like it, return over the long weekend.  You go–you stay.

Oh… so “God” had called them out?  Well…. where has God been these past 70 years?

God has been SILENT–that’s where God has been.

NOW God wants us to give EVERYTHING up and follow Him?  Trust that His Word is true for me and my family?  Hmmmm…. wow… now that my friend, is quite a gamble isn’t it?  And THAT is where we find ourselves today… not so far off from those Israelites in 536bc.  That very same calling is on our lives… TRUST that God’s Word and His promises are true and will hold…. for me.  There it is.  In the days of Ahasuerus… God’s people found themselves still living in exile… because it was hard to gamble it all on the fact that God is who He says He is.  We don’t know we need to be #delivered until we need to be delivered.  The Israelites needed #deliverance… so in chapter 1 Almighty God was going to work on that.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  SO, what say you?  Has God placed a calling on your life that you have put on the back burner?  When things calm down, when I’m more economically stable, when my kids are out of the house…  What is keeping you from going all in?  What is preventing you from believing and taking God at His Word?  Will God really be faithful to you?

Maybe God has been silent for YEARS… and now… you are to just believe His Word will hold for you in your desperate situation?  Has God allowed a desperate situation in your life so you have no options left on the table except to trust Him?

When has God shaken you to wake you up to your need?

LIVE IT OUT:  Today… help me to surrender the battle I face at the feet of Jesus.  Help my unbelief and #deliver me.

___________________________________________________________

If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove it started last week, but 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.

UPDATE from January 10th study (last week): Friends, we had major technical difficulties with the LIVE streaming.  We are chatting with the tech people at Periscope and Twitter and hope to have it up and ready to go next week.  We apologize for any inconvenience.  Please pray this will get figured out.

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — James 4:8

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 :  James 4:8

“Draw Near to God and He will draw near to you”  - James 4:8.

Step 1

THE FACTS:  Draw near to God,  He WILL draw near to you.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  New Years is upon us this week!  The ending of the year, but most importantly, the beginning of the next!  Some of us are happy to see 2016 come to a close and some of us are sad — wanting to hold on to moments in time that seem to fade away with the seasons.

New Years is a time of hopeful optimism for most of us, hoping the best is yet to come!  Well, the best is here and it is stated so simply in this verse!  This is one of my most favorite, clear verses in all the Bible!  What hope! What anticipation!  What amazement lies ahead! Draw near to God and He WILL draw near to you!

This verse does not say:  “If you draw near, God MAY draw near to you… it’s a gamble”… Nope! Play the Vegas odds on this one baby! IT’S a SURE thing!  You see, we were created by God, with His hands, in the dirt in the Garden of Eden!  All other creation was created with just a word, but man and woman were different!  Man and woman were hand crafted with the very fingertips of God!  Psalm 139: 13 says, “For You created my innermost being, You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”  God created us, each differently, each purposefully, on purpose, with purpose…. so many have heard that, but so few actually believe that!

God created us then to do what?  God created you and I to walk with Him, to know Him and to need Him.  By the way…we HATE the needing part… we hate to need anyone.  Here, in this verse, it says just that.  God is here, pleading, calling, wooing us to spend time with Him, yet often, we turn a deaf ear and refuse to listen.  We don’t like where we have to go to meet God, or we don’t like where He wants to go with us… or we don’t like the way He takes care of things in His time, in His way…. so we prefer to keep our distance.  We have a list of reasons how God is doing it wrong, but we will never spend time seeking out the why’s and the where’s of God’s presence.

The fact is: you are God’s hand-made creation and you mean everything to Him.  Your opinion on that statement will never change the fact of the statement.  So If God wants us to “Draw near” then how do we do it?

1.  Find Time.  Yup.  Start with 5 minutes and go from there.  Hard to do, but essential. (This time is separate from regular church time.)

2.  Open God’s Word and pray, asking God to speak to you.

3.  Do the three question Bible study method that I use in this blog.

  • What does it Say?
  • What Does it Mean?
  • What Does it Mean to me?

Don’t worry about getting through all of these questions on a verse every day if that’s too much.  Tackle one question per day.

4.  Live it out.  As you listen for God to speak in His Word, live out what He nudges your heart to do. Usually God will move your heart to go and do things you would never really think of on your own… or at least nudge you to do things in a way you could not have come up with on your own.  God is alive and active in His Word which never changes.  We need to go to God where He is, not where we think or want Him to be.

This is a process.  This takes time.  This is what it looks like to seek. Seeking takes time, perseverance and fortitude, but God in His Word says that if you do seek Him…. you will find Him!  Jeremiah 29:13: You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart.  It’s the Who we are seeking… not the what we want out of Him.  Many just desire the what… but God…. pleads for you to desire the Who… because He formed you in your mother’s womb, and oh! how He desires to draw near to you!  If we take the steps to draw near to God, I bet we will find that He’s been there the whole time, and we’ll wonder how we missed His presence for so long!

SO THIS YEAR, let’s turn a new leaf!  Let’s BELIEVE God and His Word.  Let’s decide to draw near indeed!  Let’s commit to this for an entire year… then next year at this time… look back and try to count the ways that God Almighty walked with us, spoke to us and #delivered us.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  In the last year, who or what have you been desperate to draw near to?  A better bank account? A certain relationship? A different job?  A family? Status?

In this next year who or what are you looking to draw near to?  What are your ambitions?  What if your ambition was to draw near to God?  What is keeping you from drawing near to God?  Do you have a list?  Have you ever considered laying out your list to God on why you won’t draw near to Him?  Maybe the answers you want from Him are available… but it will require seeking them out?  Are you willing to invest?

LIVE IT OUT:  Today, I will open God’s Word and do the three questions… I intend to hear God speak to me through His Word, then walk as He leads.

___________________________________________________________

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

If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove, here in Asheville beginning in January 2017, we’d love to see you.

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.)

Watch, as Kendra shares what you can expect from her study on the book of Esther:

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.

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.

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — MATTHEW 1:21

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

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

Kendra Graham notes from :  Matthew 1:21

“She will bear a Son, call His name Jesus, He will save His people from their sins.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  She will bear a Son, call His name Jesus, He will save His people from their sins.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  Merry Christmas!  Jesus has come!  The Gospel has been born and has been fulfilled!   I’ve been reading a great book by Timothy Keller called, Hidden Christmas, and it has captured my mind and thoughts about Christmas like never before.  The book delves into the genealogy of Jesus, and has brought things to the surface that I’ve not ever really thought about.

We always hear that Jesus is the “Son of David,” meaning, King David!  Well, Jesus–being the King of Kings, it only makes sense that He would come from a kingly line, right?  In Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, King David is mentioned but he is mentioned in a way I always kind of skimmed over, “David, the father of Solomon, by Bathsheba, who had been the wife of Uriah”  Matthew 1:6.

The one thing David probably wanted everyone to forget about him (adulterous affair which lead to the murder of Uriah), is actually in the geology page of Jesus.  King David, needs a Savior.

Who else is on the list?  Well, there is a Canaanite woman who was a prostitute…Rahab–saved in Jericho…then, there is a Moabites–Ruth, and don’t forget Tamar, who tricked her father in law into conceiving a son with her.  This is the bloodline of Jesus! The great grandmothers of Jesus, are in desperate need of a Savior.

It’s amazing that Matthew even included women in the list, because in that day and time the culture did not recognize women in their ancestry at all, it only went through the men!  What a pedigree Jesus has!  Herod the Great was known to actually blot certain people out of his genealogy because he was ashamed of them and didn’t want people to know there was any relation, yet  here, Jesus, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, claims them all, regardless of what they had done! Praise God!

Jesus was not coming to prove His worth to anyone, or pad His resume so He could advance up the ladder of power and wealth.  Jesus came for a very real and messy problem, and that problem was sin.  The Bible says, “All fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23.  This verse could not be more clear than by the very bloodlines of Jesus!  The closest relatives of Jesus, needed Him desperately to save them from their sins.

I love that the family of Jesus included both Jew and Gentile.  We are all God’s hand made creation which started in the Garden of Eden, and He loves us more than anything.  God loves us so much, that He came Himself, not trusting us to anyone else, “…. for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”  God came Himself, “… and they shall call His name Immanuel, which means, “God with us”- Matthew 1:22-23.

We need Jesus, pure and simple.  Our bloodlines and our lives are just as messy, if not messier than the ones listed here in the beginning of Matthew, but know this:  THERE IS HOPE and His name is Jesus!  Jesus was born of a virgin, Mary, and grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.  Jesus lived a perfect life, and performed many miracles, but that is not the reason He came.  Jesus came, to die, to save us from our sins.  Jesus came to bring peace between God and man where there had been enmity.

God loves you too much to leave you to your own devices, so He came and poured out His extreme wrath on Himself since you and I were not created to carry such a burden.  Jesus died so we can live.   “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23.

In this season of gift giving, I pray that you would receive the greatest gift of all, and that gift is the very forgiveness of God.  It can be  hard to receive because we like to be the giver, we like to be in control, but this gift will always be out of reach and cannot be earned.  There’s no buying it with your Amazon Prime membership, so God has freely given it, and it is Himself.  We are created to walk with God, to know God and to need God–it’s not a design flaw.  Oh that this Christmas you would accept that gift found under the tree, the tree of life, which is the cross.

The reason for the season is that Jesus came to save us from our sins.  May this acceptance of the precious gift of God be forever in your bloodline from here on out.

Step 3

APPLY IT:  Do you know your desperate need for a Savior to save you from your sins?

When have you received the gift of God?  Have you ever asked Jesus to forgive your sins?  Did you realize that sin was the entire reason Jesus came?

Will you receive this gift today? Now?

LIVE IT OUT: Today I will stand amazed at the love God has for me!  Oh that He came Himself, not trusting me to another, to live a perfect sinless life, to die a sinners death, and then to rise from the grave!  Today may I count my blessings that I know Jesus!

Today, if you have never accepted that free gift of God, pray a simple prayer today, “I believe You came Yourself, God with us, and Your name is Jesus.  I pray you forgive me for my personal bloodline full of sin.  You lived a perfect life, died a sinners death for me and then rose from the grave!  Thank you for forgiving me!  Teach me to walk with You.  Amen.

___________________________________________________________

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

If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove, here in Asheville beginning in January 2017, we’d love to see you.

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.)

Watch, as Kendra shares what you can expect from her study on the book of Esther:

KENDRA GRAHAM’S ONLINE BIBLE STUDY — ESTHER 8:2, 7-8

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 8:2, 7-8

“And the king took off his signet ring which he had taken away from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai.  And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. (7) So King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold I have given the house of Haman to Esther, and him they have hanged on the gallows because they had stretched out his hands against the Jews.  Now, you write to the Jews as you see fit, in the king’s name and seal it with the king’s ring; for a decree which is written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s signet ring may not be revoked.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  The king took off his signet ring and gave it to Mordecai.  King said to Esther, “BEHOLD, I have given the house of Haman to Esther, now YOU WRITE as you see fit, in the king’s name, seal it w the king’s ring; a decree written in the name of king & sealed with signet ring may not be revoked.”

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

It matters what you do, it matters that you believe and act on the beliefs that you so passionately profess.

Here in the story, the climax has been reached: Esther has prayed and fasted for three days, she has stepped out in faith and trusted that God had given her the title of queen, “For such a time as this.”

Esther, risking her life walks into the throne room and after two banquets, she pleads for her life and the life of her people living in the Persian empire.  The king is incensed–who would dare try to kill his queen?  Killing the queen is tantamount to treason, an action worthy of death.  Haman is identified as the culprit.  Haman is promptly escorted out of the room with a bag placed over his head.  Haman will be hung on the very gallows he built to impale Mordecai, who is the enemy of Haman, but the hero of Jews.

Haman is gone, but the edict of Haman is still very much alive.  In just 9 short months, the Jews across the Persian empire will be slaughtered.  Esther has saved her own life from Haman’s hand, but now she continues to plead for the lives of her people.  The king must reverse the edict, the king must do something so that he saves her people, and in verse 3 we find Esther weeping and pleading at the king’s feet.

I LOVE the response of the king!!!  “Behold! I have given…”  I love the word “behold”.  Behold is a demonstrative participle which means the king is demonstrating (showing) Esther the power that she possesses.  The same power that Haman had in order to write an edict to destroy is the same power Esther has to protect and save.  Esther possesses the very power of the king to write an edict that cannot be revoked!

The king then tells her to GO AND DO IT!  GO! Esther, in the power of the king of Persia!  Go Esther!  The very words written on the page will be sealed with my signet, proving it is binding!  GO Esther!! YOU WRITE!  And there it is.

Think for just a second, what if Esther said, “Yeah, I hear what you are saying–I see the ring and all–and I hear you telling me that whatever I write you will stand behind it and “okay” it, but honestly, I just don’t believe it.  I like the ring and all, and I will wear it and show everyone that the king gave it to me and explain that there is just nothing that can be done for my people.  I tried.” #supercoolring #canthelp #sorry

THAT WOULD BE CRAZY!!!  The king had delivered the Jews, but Esther needed to step out and believe the power that the signet ring is endowed with.  Esther was charged, “You write,” and she did.  God delivered His people through the ring of a pagan king, because Esther and Mordecai wrote and completed the task set before them.

Can you hear the Jeremy Camp song playing in the background as you read this?

“The same power that raised Jesus from the grave!  The same power that commands the dead to wait, lives in us!  The same power that moves mountains when we speak.  The same power that can calm the raging sea, lives in us.  He lives in us.”

YES, THESE WORDS ARE SO TRUE! Let’s sing it!  BUT do you REALLY believe the words, or is it just a catchy tune?

All the promises in Jesus are yes and Amen (2 Cor 1:20)!  That means that ALL, ALL, ALL God’s promises are as if they are done and completed already in our lives!

We are free! 

We are #delivered!!! 

We don’t believe it.  Oh, I have faith for you, I believe God has delivered you, but me?  Often times I do not believe the  promises of God are yes and amen for me.

For such a time as this, it is time that we begin to STAND and, just as Esther was charged by the king, we must also “behold “and remember what we have been given!

Step 3

APPLY IT:  What would you do differently if you really believed that the very power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead really lives in you?

 Where has God called you to make a stand  or send out a statement, but you don’t believe that you have really been delivered?  Will you ask God to show you specifically?

Hint: It will always be hard, and more often than not, it will usually not be something you would have chosen yourself.  Faith is HARD… but it is how God proves to YOU that His promises are ALL yes and amen to you!

Have you gone to church for years, and profess to be a Christian but your life is not reflective of the power of Christ, but the fear of failure?

LIVE IT OUT:

Ephesians 1:18-19 — “I pray that the eyes of your heart (and mine) may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His (Jesus’s) inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which he brought about in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand.”

That same power is the desire of God to work through us.  Oh, how God wants to show us our faith is not in vain in the Lord (I Cor 15:58).

Today STAND, SIT, WRITE, PRAISE, WALK, RUN in VICTORY!  Believe, then go and do because you are free, you are #delivered.

___________________________________________________________

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

If you’re in the local area and can attend our free annual Women’s Bible Study at The Cove, here in Asheville beginning in January 2017, we’d love to see you.

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.)

Watch, as Kendra shares what you can expect from her study on the book of Esther:

2017 Women’s Bible Study is Open For Registration

The 2017 free Women’s Bible Study is right around the corner and we hope you’ll make plans to join us in January.

Watch as Jane and Kendra share about their studies in the videos below:

Online registration is available this year, so click here to register for Jane’s Tuesday morning study (January 10 – February 28, 2017) .  If you prefer, you may also register by calling 1-800-950-2092.

An optional $12 lunch will be available after Jane’s study each week, but reservations must be made by noon on the Friday prior to each week’s study.  To make your lunch reservation, call 828-298-2092.  Lunch is a popular option, so be sure to get your reservation in early, as dining room seating is limited.

Register for Kendra’s Tuesday evening study (January 10 – February 21, 2017) by clicking here.  If you prefer, you may also register by calling 1-800-950-2092.

Please share this post with your church and your circle of women friends and family.

See you in January!