Tag Archives: Bible Teaching

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study — Matthew 10:42

Kendra Blog Title

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” in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these post straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :   Matthew 10:42

And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward.  Matthew 10:42

Step 1

THE FACTS:  

Whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water, I say he shall not lose his reward.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  

“Your patient just came into triage,” my charge nurse reports. “Your patient did cocaine two weeks ago but nothing recent; she is resisting giving any sample today to test for drugs in her system. This is her 4th baby. She has not had prenatal care.”

This is what I do. I work in labor and delivery. I get to see the miracle of life day-in and day-out on a full time basis during the summers. I love my job, but I don’t necessarily love all my patients.  When I received report on this patient a week or so ago, I was furious. I was mad at this woman.  Cocaine!? Really? No prenatal care? This poor baby. Will no one stand up for the baby? Will no one fight for this little boy yet to be born? I was telling all of this to God and I was stomping around looking for a wheelchair thinking to myself, “I should just make her walk…” I was in the moment with my self-righteous anger and had some really valid points!

Then that still small voice spoke to my soul… (Sometimes I hate that still small voice… I’m riled up … I want that voice to escalate to the level my soul is on! I need validation!)

God, of course, will refuse to stoop to my shallowness and for that I am glad–truly. As my soul is stirred, God calmly and slowly asked, “Are you done?”  Am I done? Well, honestly I could go on… But that is my cue to be done… So I said, “Yes.” God moved my heart to understand that I have been called to care for her as if I was caring for Him. Ugh! I had nothing else to say. My arrogance had been humbled in just a few words spoken to me by my Creator.

This verse here in Matthew challenges us to serve those we think are undeserving of being served. The words  “little ones”  can more accurately be translated as “the humble.”. You serve because it is as if we are serving Jesus. It’s the woman at the well, the woman with issues, the woman caught in adultery.  Hurting, humble women…. Like my patient caught up in cocaine who may have never been served a day in her life. This woman who may never see her children again after she gives birth since they will most likely be wardens of the state in the social services system. This woman…. Jesus would have stopped to care for. This woman… HE sent me to give cups of ice to–two at a time, since water is not allowed during labor at the hospital where I work.

I sat with her. Held her hand. Encouraged her. Spoke to her by name. Cleaned her. Made sure she got her epidural promptly.  I loved her, not because it was in me to do, but because God loves her and gave me what I needed to show her that.

At the end of the day my patient said, “I ain’t never had no one “hep” me afore, You good to me, nurse.” I responded, “You are loved by God and I was supposed to show you that.”

No further words were spoken. My shift ended minutes after the baby was born. This verse in Matthew states I won’t lose my reward, and truly, I saw the love and grace of God in a new way. My reward was seeing the love of God in a personal way, not just for my patient, but for me. It’s hard to receive. It was hard for my patient to receive those words. It’s hard for me to receive them too.  The Truth is…. God loves us and sent His son Jesus to prove His love to each of us in a personal way. (John 3:16).

Step 3

APPLY IT: 

Who has God placed in your life today that needs to see HIS love? Your family? Your patients? Your co-workers? Someone who crosses your path just for a moment in a store, at a practice, or at the gym? An enemy maybe? Will you be on the look out for the hand of God wanting to show you and others His deep personal love?

LIVE IT OUT:  

Today Lord, open my eyes to see and my hands to serve the humble ones you send my way. Give me the strength to do it, because You and I both know that it is not in me. Help me to receive Your love today so I can give it out.

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
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To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Matthew 10:27

Kendra Blog Title

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” in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these post straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from : Matthew 10:27

“What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:  “When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else, once you are back in the light.”- Oswald Chambers.

The dark is a hard place to be.  There was a time in my life where I felt that everything I touched fell apart.  Mistakes, shame, and guilt stuck to me and the load was overwhelming.  I felt abandoned and alone.  I was fighting God, shaking my fists at God, screaming out in my soul that the pain was too deep, too hard, too much.  This went on for years…. until I stopped.  My heart hurt beyond repair, mostly by my own doing.  I was shattered, stained, and now silent with nothing else to say at the feet of Jesus…. the dark is a hard place to be.

In the dark, Jesus so tenderly took my worn out soul, and began to breath life into me once again.  In the dark, through the power of God’s Word, He began to whisper to me.  God began to show me what it is that He sees when He sees me. The truths of who God is and what is real more than what I feel.  There in the dark, is where those Sunday School stories that I learned  in my head for so long, began to be inscribed upon my heart.  Inscribing upon the heart hurts….  but it is purposeful hurt.  God began to transform my heart of stone into a heart of flesh, and I would love to say that I was all for the process… but that process was and is painful.

I remember vividly, day after day I would beg God to get me out of that dark hard place…. I would say, “If You really love me, You will deliver me!”  Then…. one day came…. when in that dark place, I stopped asking for deliverance because there, in the dark, of all places, the Light shone more radiantly, more personally than I had ever known.  My scars and stains didn’t change…. but funny thing is when that Light shines, right in the middle of it, I was able to see what beauty God can make…. the beauty of stained glass…. the testimony of a faithful God in the midst of my mess.

The faithfulness of God was taught to me in the dark.  This blog, the Bible study I teach at the Cove, the churches I visit and speak in are all resultant from that difficult time.

Recently I journeyed to Wichita, Kansas to speak.  I spoke on the women with issues in Mark 5:25-34.  This woman lived a life for 12 years in the dark of solitude and isolation; yet, she knew that if she reached for Jesus, just the tip of His garment, she would be healed.  Oh to persevere among a crowd determined to beat her back… yet she reached… letting go of  everything else, and holding tight to the hem of Jesus’s garment.  This woman was healed.  The crowd stopped — the entire world stopped for that moment so that Jesus could stoop down, brush away her tears and hear her ENTIRE story.  Jesus whispering to her in her darkness among the crowd, “Go in peace and be healed.”  One sheep in a crowd of sheep willing to not just “bump” into the Shepherd, but to touch Him, to really touch Him.

That message proclaimed because I understood the pain of that woman, because that same message to the woman with issues, was whispered by God to me in my darkness… it is forged on my heart.  That day, in Kansas while proclaiming in the light what God had done, another hurting woman fought through the crowd, weeping at the altar, reaching for the hem, straining to hear Jesus speak to her in her darkness…. and she heard the sweetest whisper of love from her Faithful and True God…. she was stained, it’s true, but His Light shined through and in that Light she became, and we all become, beautiful stained glass windows to Him.

Pay attention when God puts you in the dark, darkness is the time to listen.  In the dark even the smallest spark of Light will not be missed and will become a precious personal message often for someone else. Lessons learned in the dark are meant to be proclaimed in the light!    #Proclaim #beautyfromashes #stainedglass #loved

Step 3

APPLY IT:  Are you in a period of darkness in your life?  Struggling to hear God?  Maybe struggling to get away from God?  Will you today, tune your ear to hear the whisper of God’s Word to you?  Will you reach out today?  What message has God inscribed on your heart in the dark that you can share in the light with each of us?  Oh that we would be bold to share the faithfulness and love of God… will we keep it to ourselves or shout it from the rooftops?

LIVE IT OUT:  LORD, calm my heart, close my mouth, open my ears, write on my heart that which You want to teach me.  Teach me to sing in the dark… if this is where I must be.

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
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To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.

Prayer Note: June

We hope that 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 will 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 Planting of Seeds

We at The Cove have looked forward to the opening of Ruth’s Prayer Garden, as our Grounds Maintenance team, led by horticulturist Lucas Jack, has been hard at work for months, planting and cultivating the seeds of this garden of prayer. Their job may at times feel thankless, and there are usually a few days a year, during the cold winter months of January and February, when they are quite literally “snowed under” with work. Yet we praise God for each of these dedicated workers who serve God, the Master Gardener, so faithfully.

A walk through the newly opened Prayer Garden will reveal the results of their labor: Seeds planted in the cold ground of February that have blossomed in the warmth of spring. Ruth Bell Graham understood well this concept of anticipation—walking by faith and living in expectancy of answered prayer to come. The Cove itself was born from the seeds of faith sowed by Billy and Ruth as they walked the undeveloped property and prayed for God’s will. I believe The Cove represents “exceedingly abundantly” answered prayer, “above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

The Arrival of Spring

Today, the colorful, serene garden stands as a lush and living testimony to this remarkable woman who left behind a legacy of faith and prayer. Her vision for The Cove to become a place of rest, relaxation, refreshment and renewal has been realized. Ruth’s Prayer Garden is named in honor of this woman who made a life-long habit of “waiting on the Lord” in prayer.

Billy Graham’s original vision for The Cove has also come to pass. Each year, thousands come to find The Cove as a place of impact, intercession, instruction and inspiration. The garden itself was designed to be a place of intercession—a restful, relaxing place where visitors will find refreshment and renewal as they pray and seek God’s face.

During the month of June, let’s commit to honor the Lord’s command and carry on the legacy of Ruth Bell Graham by remaining faithful in the ministry of prayer and intercession. Let’s determine to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV). In her own eloquent way, Ruth echoed the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in her poem entitled, “Pray.”

Ruth Bell Graham

JUNE 2016 EVENTS
All seminars in 2016 are free (lodging and meal fees apply.)
(For more information or to register, click on the links below.)

Dedication of Ruth’s Prayer Garden — June 1

We Will Not Bow: Lessons in Courage from the Life of Daniel
with Darren Thomas — June 3-5

Intensive Bible Training: The Bible’s Roadmap: Living Confidently in Christ with Woodrow Kroll — June 20-24

Intensive Bible Training: The Arrival of the Day of the Lord
with Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.  — June 27- July 1

Thank you for praying!

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Psalm 62:9-12

Kendra Blog Title

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” in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these post straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from :  Psalm 62:9-12

“Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie;
In the balances they go up;
They are together lighter than breath
(10) Do not trust in oppression
And do not vainly hope in robbery;
If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.
(11)  Once God has spoken;
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God;
(12) And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord,
For You recompense a man according to his work.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:

Men of low degree, men of rank are together lighter than breath.
If riches increase, don’t set your heart on them.
Once God has spoken, twice I have heard THIS: POWER BELONGS to God.
Loving kindness is Yours.  You recompense a man according to his work.

Step 2

THE LESSONS: 

David had a period of struggle, silence, surety, and finally submission.  It’s a process.  Don’t you hate that?  I know I do.  I wish that in my heart of hearts I could just get to this submission part without so much work and heartache.   I wish we didn’t have to have the adversity in order to bring us to the feet of Jesus, but honestly, it’s in the adversity that we see our extreme need.  God is so patient with us, and will bring us through so that our hearts know that power indeed belongs to God.  We must experience Truths in order to really be able to say we believe them.  We believe Truth because we have seen the promises of who God is to be real in our personal world.

David has had his character questioned and assaulted.  In the beginning of this Psalm, David is in a panic for all that is going on.  David could be unseated, David could be mocked, people could believe the lies, and David could lose his standing among the people who he needed to trust him.  I love the fact that David did not hold on to his status so tightly.  David heard with his ears, but twice, more importantly heard with his heart that God is in control. God will have David where He has David regardless of the chatter and the dire look of the situation. God is in control?  God has this?  This is hard to grasp…hard to believe.  It makes us feel better if we can “do” something to fix it.  I want to “do”, I don’t want to wait…. especially in silence, like David has done here.

Once we wait in silence, focused on the Word of God and we will see that in this ever shifting and changing world, our only surety is the Truth of who God is.  God’s Word will stand.  God’s Truth will hold.  We do not know this, and we cannot submit to this way of thinking until moments like this in David’s life, and similar moments like this in our lives, when all we have, and our only hope is that truly God is who He says He is and His Word will hold.

God sees you in your situation.  God sees how your world is uncertain, falling apart, stressful, and you don’t know how it’s going to work together.  God sees how other people get joy out of making your life difficult and hard.  Press in to God’s Word.  KNOW this: Power Belongs to God.  No man can usurp the power of God as stated in these verses.

Hope in the power of God, gives us the strength we need to daily walk through our circumstance in faith, and then in the end, just like the Apostle Paul says, it’s a “hope that does not disappoint”(Romans 5:5), because in the end we will see that God has got this.  We will hear with our eyes and ears when we read the Word, then hear with our hearts when we have that personal testimony of how in God’s lovingkindness toward us, gave us strength to press in.  Jesus will walk us through and teach us, ever so patiently about who He is.

Submission to who God is, in the end will become a “sigh” of relief instead of a “sigh” of anxiety and frustration.

Step 3

APPLY IT:

When have you been brought through this process that David has, so that you know the Truth of who God is in His Word is the Truth of who God is to you?

Do you question whether God will make things right, and if He understands the direness of the situation?  How hard is it to trust that in submitting to God your hope is not in vain?  Will you listen for God to speak not only to your ears, but to your heart?  (This is HARD… because my heart already hurts so much, it’s so HARD to let God take the anxiety and work it out the way He wants.)

LIVE IT OUT:

LORD, today you know the enormous amount of anxiety I have in my heart over situations and people I cannot control, yet I keep trying to control them!  I think if I am anxious about it, I can change something, but LORD, these moments are meant to press upon me my need for an Almighty God.  Be that Almighty God to me today and as I hold on to the hope of Your Word, give me the strength in faith to take one baby step after another pressing in.  Give me a great testimony of You through all of this.  Help me in this struggle to trust, and in silence, give me Your surety, as I submit to You with my head, so that in the end may I know You more in my heart.

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
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To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.

 

 

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Psalm 62: 6-8

Kendra Blog Title

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” in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these post straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from : Psalm 62: 6-8

6: He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

7: On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.

8: Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;

God is a refuge for us.

Step 1

THE FACTS:
6:  He only in my rock, salvation, stronghold, I shall NOT be shaken
7: On God: my salvation, and glory rest, the rock of my strength, my refuge
8: (So YOU) …Trust in Him ALL times, pour YOUR heart to Him, God, refuge for US

Step 2

THE LESSONS:   Here in these verses is where the Psalm changes. Did you catch it?  Look back to the first few verses…. David is immersed in struggles, his circumstances.  He is overwhelmed, yet as the world comes down on him hard and fast, he has decided he will not be “greatly shaken,” because he will-on purpose-make God’s Word and God’s promises his stronghold.  His head will tell his heart to endure, press on and believe God is who He says He is.

In the next few verses, David has some questions, and as he pours out his heart before God in the midst of pain and frustration, he pauses.  David’s outward struggle moves to an inward silence.  David will wait for God to speak before he does.  Ugh… I still sigh at this.  This is so hard.  So much hurt… yet David pours that hurt out to God, refusing to project that pain upon anyone else… even if they deserve it.  Selah.  Silence. Ugh. *sigh*

Now… from struggle (vs 1-2) to silence (vs.3-5), to sureness and security (vs 6-8).  As soon as David’s moment of silence is over, what are the words spoken?  I will tell you what his words do NOT do, they do not spew out bitterness and hurt upon those who sought to hurt him and destroy his reputation.  No, they speak of confidence and strength in GOD, not the disappointment of man.  In verses 6-8, David’s words are strong and sure.  God IS MY guarding rock.  Here David is speaking from his heart…not his head.  David is coming out of this time of silence, waiting upon God, with absolute confidence that God is his encircling guard–this Truth was spoken in verse 2, but it was LEARNED in the school of silent waiting upon God.  In David’s moments of silence he learned that the I Am that I Am, is El-Shaddai, his strong tower, his safety.  In David’s silence of mouth, God was able to speak to his heart and open his eyes so David could see who God is.  David, in these verses now has absolute surety that his refuge is secure.

David has not trusted God in vain.  In silence David pressed in to those issues that were pressing down on him with such force he thought he would crumble.  David didn’t crumble, because the Rock that encircled him will always stand.  David has chosen wisely.  David pressed in to the end, and because of that, he can say to us, with clarity, confidence and courage, YOU, all of YOU… who find yourself in this situation, when you think you can’t stand for another minute, when you think the world is about to tear you apart…. when you can’t rectify all the rumors and assumptions about the situation… “TRUST in God at ALL times,  pour out YOUR heart… In God’s presence is your strong refuge.”

You are not forgotten.  You have not been left out to dry.  You have not been thrown under the bus by God.  God is not ignorant of the pain you are enduring justly or unjustly.  Just as David was being protected by God, God will protect you.

When we spend time in silence, saturating our hearts and minds on the Truth of who God is, then, God’s Truth, God’s Word, goes from being a tag line and a nice theory you hear each week in Sunday School or at Bible study, to being believed, being REAL.  Saying something is true and knowing something is true, in actuality, are very different things.

The fact of who God is, traveled 18-inches down from the head of David to his heart, as he struggled through the silence, then  from his heart, his mouth SPOKE (Matt 12:34)….the silence broken, and the words were a precious testimony that no one could take away from David, or you or me…. this testimony of who God is would have never been learned if David refused to be silent.

“Though it tarries wait for it” Habakkuk 2:3….. dawn is breaking…. press in.

Step 3

APPLY IT:   Do you have confidence in God as your strength and salvation, or do you believe your salvation from this particular situation is based upon your own strength, ability, and wit?

Has God called you to a time of silence so that you can know–that you know–that you know–that God loves you, God sees you, and God will be YOUR refuge?

How do you need God to be your refuge?  Will you saturate yourself in the Truth of God’s Word as you press in or will  you bug out, finding it easier to believe the lies that God has forgotten you?

Can you say with confidence as the Apostle Paul did in 2 Timothy 1:12, I KNOW whom I have believed and AM persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day?

LIVE IT OUT:  LORD, give me an open heart in this time of SELAH, so that when I speak,  it’s Your Truth on my lips.  As I focus on who You are, draw me closer to You… help me remember that You are able, You are Strength, You are love, You are refuge, You are protector, and that the plans you have for me are plans  to prosper, not to harm, plans to give hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11 #Truth #SELAH

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
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To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.

Make Plans Now to Spend a Week at The Cove

INTENSIVE bIBLE tRAINING AT tHE COVE(1)

This summer, The Cove is offering five Intensive Bible Training Seminars, designed to take an in-depth and comprehensive approach to understanding a specific topic or section of the Bible. 

Instead of the typical 3-day seminar, these seminars offer a 5-day format.  Allowing you time to really dig into God’s Word.

As an added bonus, all seminars in 2016 are free!  (Meal and lodging package fees apply.)

As you’re making  summertime plans, we hope you’ll consider setting aside time to grow in your relationship with God right here at The Cove, nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.  

2016 Intensive Bible Training Seminars
(For more information and to register, click on one of the titles below or call 1-800-950-2092.)

Acts for the Apostles, Acts for You (Acts
with Mark Yarbrough, May 23-27, 2016

The Bible’s Roadmap: Living Confidently in Christ (Romans)
with Woodrow Kroll, June 20-24, 2016

The Arrival of the Day of the Lord
(
Joel 2:18-3:21; Ezekiel 33-47; Isaiah 19:1-25

with Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., June 27- July 1, 2016

The Midnight Cry (Matthew 25:1-13)
with R.T. Kendall, July 18-22, 2016

Recovering the Lost Language of Lament (Selected Scripture)
with Michael Card, July 25-29, 2016
NOTE:  Join Michael for An Evening at The Cove (dinner & concert)on Sunday, July 24th .  Click here for details.

We hope to see you soon!

 

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Psalm 62:3-5a

Kendra Blog Title

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” in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these post straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from Psalm 62:3-5a

“They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position; how long will you assail a man, that you may murder him, all of you, like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?  They delight in falsehood; they bless with their mouth, but inwardly, they curse.  Selah.  My Soul waits in silence for God only.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:
How long will you assail a man, murder him, like a leaning wall, tottering fence?  They counsel: thrust him down, they delight in falsehood, they bless with their mouth, inwardly curse.  Selah.  Wait in silence for God only.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

There is the saying, “Good guys finish last”.  That is the saying that brushed through my mind when I first read these verses.  It’s the crooked business men/women that seem to get ahead.  It’s the people who have no boundaries and no conscience that get whatever they want.  Just turn on cable news for a solid 60 seconds and you can hear multiple political smears between candidates calling each other liars and thieves.  It’s hard to make it nowadays if you are determined to live a life with integrity.  It’s impossible to make it in politics.

David is asking these men, “How much longer will you try to press me down? How much longer will you try and try and try again to destroy me?”  Lies are being said about David in public.  Flattery is being given liberally in the presence of David.  Envy, jealousy, and hatred is the root cause of why these men are trying to bring him down.  David sees through it all with discernment.   What does he do to deal with these people?  Does David take it to the papers in an op-ed?  Does David do a sit down personal interview on Fox News Sunday to set the record straight?  No.  David pauses.  David pauses? Who has time for a pause at a time like this?!

SELAH, is a musical term for pause.  Our immediate reaction is to try to set the record straight.  David’s first reaction is to pause.  Pausing is so important.  It’s the hardest thing to do in the world.  Pausing makes us look guilty, right?  Pausing will make people think we are involved in all those things we are being accused of.

Pausing helps us gain focus back on where we need it to be.  Pausing gives us a moment to reflect.  Pausing will enable us to make clear decisions.  Pausing, most importantly, gives us that crucial moment to recalibrate our heart and soul back to God, His Word and His promises.  This is not easy peasy for David either.  You hear his complaints, you hear what is against him, and David is not just ignoring it, and saying it doesn’t matter, he’s not saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.   It matters to him what is being said and done against him.  It truly matters, and it hurts, deeply.

Can you relate?  I can.  I want to fight, and scream and yell on David’s behalf (and my own) and make it right, and make those people see their error, so that they will be silenced.  David’s reaction is not to silence all the rumors, not to silence all the lies, not to silence the rotten flattery in his face, but David’s response is to be silent himself, determined to wait for God to move and to do.

David makes the physical decision here… his heart, telling his brain to tell his mouth and body to be silent. ugh.  Sorry… that is hard stuff.  I’m thankful we get to read and see here, that even David struggled with this.   There is no way to actually do this without the power of God.  We have to get in His Word, know His promises, and then believe them.

God never seems to work in the time frame or in the way we would like or demand.  His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9).

Step 3

APPLY IT:

Will we put our trust in the fact that God has got a firm grip on our circumstances, and the beat on the street?  Will we set our heart to tell our brain to tell our body to *pause* and mouth to be silent and wait for God?  ugh.  *sigh*  Sorry… that is just my natural reaction.  This is hard stuff.

SELAH.

LIVE IT OUT:

LORD, help me to pause today, and trust that You understand and know, and as things according to me are falling apart… perhaps truly they are just falling into place. Give me the strength to pause and believe You over everything else.

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
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To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.

Kendra Graham’s Bible Online Bible Study – Psalm 62:2

Kendra Blog Title

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” in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these post straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from Psalm 62:2: 

“He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  My stronghold. I shall not be greatly shaken.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

When I read this verse, the portion that stood out to me was, “My stronghold.” A stronghold is something that has an overwhelming grip in a person’s life. We all have strongholds in our lives, and if asked, we can probably name a few without having to think too hard: shopping, eating, gaming, surfing the internet, exercising, toxic relationships, drugs (illegal and prescription), smoking, alcohol, TV, iPad/iPhone, money, work… one day we wake up and realize that our thoughts, actions and days are obsessed with certain things…. these things have a stronghold on us…. some good, some bad.  It seems to me though, that the bad things seems to reach their tentacles in deeper, farther and faster than the good things.

Here in Psalm 62, David is saying that God is his personal stronghold. David won’t be shaken, because the Eternal God is his refuge, the place he runs to hide…. if you are like me, I tend to run to places like denial or the couch to take a nap and pretend like everything is fine, first, and then I will call a friend or two and tell of the injustice that has come my way and who is to blame. After I am done shaking my fist and raising my voice, I will then come up with a creative solution, instead of patiently and quietly enduring, focused on God’s Word trusting that He’s got this. God and His Word tend NOT to be our stronghold and refuge, but our last resort.

What I also like about this verse is that David says not only is God His stronghold but that, “I shall not be greatly shaken.”  David is not in denial about the fact that he is human, and that there are going to be those moments when you receive that phone call that devastates you, or receive that diagnosis, or have that meeting with your employer that crushes your spirit into a million pieces, or that circumstance that cruelly enters your life without rhyme or reason and literally shakes you and sends your life, heart and mind whirling.  There are things in this life that will shake us to the core and David’s life is not a life of exception to that.  Life events will happen and David will wobble, David will stress, David will be concerned, and I like that.

Sometimes we look at these awesome pillars of faith in the Bible, and we think they are superhuman–we rationalize, “Well, I’m not David… it was easier for David, because he was a man after God’s own heart.”  We give ourselves an out, because God must have been more visible to David than He is to me in the moment.  That is not true.  God was visible to David because David made a choice to make God his stronghold, to make God’s Word the place he ran to first, not last.  David, on purpose, set his heart and his mind to believe regardless of external factors! David repeated to himself in and in his personal journal of thoughts that God is who God claims to be in His Word, and David would tell himself over and over again, saturating himself with #Truth, because being shaken, well that is just a fact of life.  God is his rock and his salvation, not anything or anyone else.

We will be shaken by life.  Where you and I run to matters.  You are not alone.  You have not been set out to dry.  You and I have a place of refuge, a place of safety, a place to run and be protected and that is in the arms of God who loves you and I so much He came personally, in the form of a man, not trusting us to any other, so that He could be our personal stronghold.  Gird yourself on purpose in the strength of God’s Word.

Step 3

APPLY IT:

How have you been shaken? Where have you run to in order to find solace, peace and strength to face the storm of uncertainty?  What can be described as the stronghold in your life?  Is it the Word of God?

LIVE IT OUT:

Today…. life is hard…. uncertain…. certain elements are crushing… LORD, be my stronghold. Strengthen me according to Your Word and Your unchanging character.  Help me to deliberately place my trust in You.  Give me a testimony of Your refuge and protection.

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What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.
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To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.

Prayer Note: April

We hope that 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 will share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that, you too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)
By Donna Riesen:

“But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly f:or it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness…” Romans 8:25-26a

A whiteboard is a marvelous thing. Age notwithstanding, my memory has never been good. This lifelong tendency toward forgetfulness has tripped me up so many times that I’ve taken to using little tricks to help it along. While I know there are great mobile apps for creating reminders and to-do lists, most of my tricks are decidedly old-school, like the small dry-erase board attached to the side of my refrigerator. On any given day it may hold reminders to pick up milk, dish detergent or prescription meds.

For several weeks at the beginning of this year, the top section of the whiteboard held this reminder: “Pray for Miss N.” That prayer prompt helped us to remember to pray daily for a senior adult friend from our church who was making the transition from independent living to an assisted living facility. We, along with many others, prayed often for our friend, asking God for healing and ease of transition; yet not long after she was moved to her new residence, N’s fragile health worsened, resulting in hospitalization and death.

It’s important to remember that God is faithful all the time.

Even in the midst of the loss, there were reasons to praise God for answered prayer. Her suffering did not linger for a long period, and our friend was not alone as she transitioned from this life into the presence of Christ.

After the funeral of a Christian, we can rejoice in the fact that we will see them again one day in heaven, yet it can still be hard to go through the process of erasing their name from our prayer list. After the name is removed, the memory remains and the list continues to grow. There are so many needs around us, the list need never remain empty. We simply need to ask God to help us fill in the blanks.

How blessed we are to serve an omnipotent (all-powerful) God who is not dependent upon our faulty memories or hastily scribbled whiteboard notes. When we accept His gift of salvation we are not only forgiven, we are adopted into His family. As His beloved children we can come to Him at any time and pour out our heart to Him. Because His Holy Spirit dwells within us, we can trust Him to lead and guide our thoughts as we pray.

God’s Holy Spirit is greater and more powerful than any whiteboard, sticky note or mobile app, and I pray He will make us more and more sensitive to His quiet promptings, trusting Him to show us as how we should pray.

“But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:25-27)

I hope you’ll prayerfully review The Cove’s April schedule, trusting the Holy Spirit to lead you. God desires for us to come to Him with our needs, and we can trust Him to answer as we pray, guided by His Spirit in alignment with His will.

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Join us in praying for the following events in April:

APRIL 2016 EVENTS
All seminars in 2016 are free (lodging and meal fees apply.)
(For more information or to register, click on the links below.)

Unwavering Faith in an Unraveling World
with Ron Hutchcraft — April 1-3

Pastors’ Institute: Jonah on the Run
with Jerry Vines — April 12-13

Living the Life You’ve Always Wanted
with Jonathan Falwell — April 18-20

An Evening at The Cove
with Jason Crabb — April 24

Leadership Renewal Retreat for Youth Pastors:
Engaging the Next Generation
with Sean McDowell & Alex McFarland — April 25-27

Thank you for praying!

 

Kendra Graham’s Bible Online Bible Study – Psalm 62:1

Kendra Blog Title

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” in the upper left hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these post straight into your email inbox.

Kendra Graham notes from Psalm 62:1: 

“My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation.” Psalm 62:1

Step 1

THE FACTS:  My soul waits in silence for God only. From Him, my salvation.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

When I get in a jam, when I’m being pushed down, when I’m being threatened, what do I do?  I get creative.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I will fuss, and squirm and complain to almost all of my friends; you see, I am a verbal processor, so as I’m fussing and complaining, I’m coming up with a battle plan to alleviate the pain and the hurt  by manipulating the circumstance and “fixing” things as fast humanly possible…. and there it is…. “as fast a humanly possible”.

David, in this psalm (62:1) is hurting and needing rescuing from God.  In the meantime…. while David is hurting, fretting, freaking out and doubting, he will assure himself with the character of God…. verbally processing who God is… not who his enemy is, not what his enemy has done, not what his enemy deserves from him in retaliation, not a bunch of other people’s opinions about how he should handle the situation, but David, on purpose, places his trust and his focus on who God is and who David is to God. How hard is that?!  While David is waiting for God to answer, David will wait in silence. In silence…. that really does not describe me. Maybe it describes you.  It describes what David is making himself do. By waiting in silence, David is physically placing his confidence in God.  David is “on purpose” enduring, persevering and trusting God with absolute certainty that God will answer and God will come through because it is who God is.  David is refusing to accept anyone else’s arms or charms to save him, because he knows that while it may have immediate benefits, in the end, all others give a false hope that will eventually leave him to a place of delusion, worse than before.  David has a quiet confidence in God and God alone.

Quiet confidence?  No lashing out in retaliation?  Being assured that God will save me?

Many of us are more faithful to our ideas about God, who He is and what His salvation for us and our particular situations look like. We know how, what, when, where and to what extent we need God to intervene, and if God does not intervene in the correct way according to us, then we have the right to be mad, angry and disavow Him and His character.  We love to raise our dust fists to God and tell Him how He failed on our behalf.  We don’t want any part of persevering, enduring, waiting and in the meantime we especially don’t want to be silent!  We like the idea of God’s faithful character…. but in reality… we are more faithful to our own ideas about who God should be in our opinion, rather than who He truly is.

What a great lesson we can learn here from David…. David mentally clears his head and his heart about what he feels and thinks about the situation and he becomes deliberate on committing his thoughts and heart to dwelling on the TRUTH according to God’s Word, not the “truth” according to himself.

It’s time to get into God’s Word and see who God says He is, and then, on purpose, actually believe Him!

Step 3

APPLY IT:

What current situation in your life are you tempted to take into your own hands because God is not working for you,  or defending you, or making things happen the way you want or think you need?  Can it be said of you that your dependence is upon God?  If we were never put in situations to doubt God would come through, then we would never have to “on purpose” rest in His character, so when was a time that God did come through, not in the time or way you thought, but you ended up seeing Him and learning more about who He is and who you are to Him than you could ever imagine?  (Would you consider sharing it here, or with someone in your life to encourage them?)

3

LIVE IT OUT:

LORD, today, give me the confidence I need to trust in You. I am always so tempted to fix things myself, or make things happen, even in areas I have absolutely no control over.  Help me to wait for You and You alone, in silence.  Today, bring to my mind those times where You sought me and delivered me.  Help me not to forget the goodness of my God.

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

To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.