Tag Archives: Bible Teaching

PRAYER NOTE: FEBRUARY

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

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV)

We made it through! Although much of the snow has melted, images remain frozen in our memories…we, the survivors of “The Blizzard of 2016.”

The huge winter storm affected the entire eastern third of our nation and disrupted the lives of more than 100 million people. Aside from the usual snow-day inconveniences of school closings and grocery stores emptied of milk and bread, there were serious and deadly consequences resulting from this massive weather system. At present, the total number of deaths attributed to the storm stands at 55. At any given moment during the storm or in its immediate aftermath, a look at online news feeds and TV newscasts revealed a study in contrasts.

One minute we viewed pics of adorable snow-suit clad children sledding with dad; next, we heard accounts of horrific traffic fatalities as semi-trucks lost control on icy highways. We grinned as we watched a Giant Panda delightedly frolicking in the powdery snow…but grins faded as we heard the tragic report of a mother and toddler who perished in their idling car—deaths blamed on carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of the vehicle’s clogged tailpipe. Our hearts broke as we learned the child’s father had been just outside, shoveling to free the car of snow.

In an odd confluence of events, we saw simultaneously the breathtaking beauty of a world covered in glistening white…”Yaaay, God!”…and the heartrending tragedy of death and destruction…”Why, God?” The varied images of the blizzard brought it into focus again: The human condition exists in a kaleidoscopic jumble of joy and pain, laughter and tears, hope and despair. At any moment, you may have a relative suffering from cancer and another celebrating the birth of their first child. On any given Sunday, your pastor may be preaching to a business professional who just received a promotion, and another who never found work after last year’s layoff.

The Old Testament records the account of Job, who after learning of the loss of his cattle, servants and even his own sons, held tight to his faith as he issued this challenge to his wife, Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? (Job 2:10, NKJV).

As the account of this faithful man’s suffering continues, we see him begin to question God. Yet among the many lessons the book of Job teaches us, one of the most important is this: God is big enough to handle our questions. In Job chapter 38, God lays out some questions of His own, all designed to lift Job’s eyes away from his current dire situation and up to the omnipotent, sovereign God who created and sustained him. Among the many revealing questionsGod asked Job is this: “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail?” (Job 38:22, NIV).

Rather than providing a detailed meteorological map and a lesson on low pressure systems and atmospheric phenomena, God gave Job a vivid mental image of the true Source of blizzard conditions. When we’re hit with a storm of trouble and “Yaay, God!” changes to “Why, God?”, we’re tempted to ask, “Who’s minding the storehouse?” The God who’s big enough to handle our questions answers, “I AM.” There are other biblical references to God’s storehouses. The psalmist David reminds us, “He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; He sends lightning with the rain and bring out the wind from His storehouses.” (Psalm 135:7, NIV).

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us this reassurance: “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?” (Luke 12:24, NIV)

After confronting the Israelites with their sins of apathy, unfaithfulness and corruption, the prophet Malachi delivers God’s message of hope, promising blessing to His children if they will turn back to Him in repentance and obedience:

“’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty,’and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’” (Malachi 3:10).

On any given day in 2016, we will minister to a wide range of people at The Cove. When this year’s seminar season begins on February 12 with the Chip Ingram Military Marriage Retreat, some of the military personnel who attend will have just returned home from a long deployment. No doubt there will be couples whose marriage is near breaking from the strain of long periods of separation and stress. Others may be visiting The Cove simply as a relaxing getaway and a means of celebrating and strengthening an already strong marital bond. Newlyweds and seasoned marriage partners will be in attendance—each person as individual as a snowflake. How can we adequately minister to the heart of each participant? We can’t, but God can! Pray that He will throw open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing on these men and women. Pray that God will open their hearts to each other and to Him.

The February 24-26 Leadership Renewal Retreat with Jim Henry will bring pastors from various denominations and varied situations. One pastor and spouse may arrive with joy and excitement, happy to be attending the retreat and anticipating some well-deserved downtime. Another pastoral couple may come with heavy hearts, seeking respite from a troubled ministry that is strained to the breaking point. Each retreat participant will arrive with a different set of needs and expectations, but all will be knocking at the door of the same Storehouse. Pray that the blessings of refreshment, renewal and encouragement will be poured out upon these faithful servants. Praise God, He hears our prayers, and His storehouse is never empty.

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Join us in praying for the following events in February:

FEBRUARY 2016 EVENTS
(For more information or to register, click on the links below.)

Women’s Bible Study with Jane Derrick — Morning:
January 12-February 23
Love that Makes A Difference

Women’s Bible Study with Kendra Graham — Evening:
January 12-February 23
Portrait of a Disciple

Military Marriage Retreat:
Experiencing God’s Best for Your Marriage
with Chip Ingram — February 12-14

An Evening at The Cove (dinner, concert, and meet & greet) with Brandon Heath — February 14 (lodging also available)

Leadership Renewal RetreatFree to Lead: Encouraging the Shepherd with Jim Henry — February 24-26
NOTE: This retreat is free to qualifying pastors and their spouses.

We appreciate your prayers.  God bless you!

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Ephesians 6 and Mark 5

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 Ephesians 6:14b + Mark 5:27-29

Ephesians 6:14b …having put on the breastplate of righteousness.

Mark 5:27-29  After hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. (28) For she thought “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.”  Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

Step 1

THE FACTS:
Ephesians 6:14b: Put on the breastplate of righteousness.
Mark 27: After hearing about Jesus, she came, in the crowd behind Him, touched His cloak.
Mark 28: “If I touch His garments I will be well.”
Mark 29: Immediately the flow of her blood dried.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

Having “put on” the breastplate of righteousness… there is an action verb here… the word “put on” in the Greek is the word, “endyo” which means: to reach to put on, to sink into. When I read this verse and the definition of endyo, I immediately thought of the woman who was covered in issues in Mark 5:25-34.  This woman had an issue of blood for 12 years that she could not fix.  This woman tried everything she could to fix her issue, every doctor, every remedy and instead of getting better, she got worse.  In the society of the day, this woman would have been isolated from family, deemed unclean and uninvited to attend church, functions, parties or fellowships.   The issue this woman had would have left her ashamed, destitute, desperate, and deserted.

Then… she hears about Jesus! Jesus is said to be the Messiah! God with skin on!  He was within her reach.

Jesus within reach! Hmmmm so…. would you have run out to find Him?  We love to say the Sunday School answer… “Of course! Jesus is there!! Lucky her!”  Really?  Often times my reaction when things are bad… when my life is covered with issues that continue to get worse no matter how hard I try, is to be kind of mad at God… fold my arms, sigh, and say, “Oh, Jesus is here is He?  Well, do I have a bone to pick with Him!” We don’t run out to find Him, nope, we sit, arms folded in our pride, and demand He comes to us and give us an explanation for all the mess.  If we are being honest…

This woman… low on iron… exhausted… hurting… desperate… decides to fight the crowd, she is determined to go in spite of have very valid reasons to stay home. The customs of the day were such that every person she touched or that touched her, would become unclean, so going out into a mob… probably could have gotten her stoned to death… if people knew her issues.  This woman being weak and tired could be trampled to death, not having the strength to fight to get to Jesus… I mean that is what it would take.  To get to Jesus would take everything she had.

See this here… don’t miss it… determined and driven against a physical crowd and an emotional crowd keeping her down, telling her she is filthy and unclean and undeserving, yet she fights. This woman will reach for that righteousness, that cleanliness of Jesus if it is the last thing she does.  This woman is on the ground crawling… how do I know that?  She reaches for the hem of His garment, not the lapel.

This woman is very aware of her status, she comes in absolute humility. No demands, no fist flying in the face of Jesus, no anger or bitterness, just desperation.  Feel this here, press into this crowd, feel the feet stepping on her hands as the crowd is electric with anticipation of Jesus being there… feel her garments being stepped on, dirt being kicked in her face, maybe even an unsuspecting sandal in the face.  This woman coming to Jesus, invisible in a crowd of people, no one knowing what she is going through… can you relate?  This woman refuses to give up until she sees it! There it is!  The tip of the tassel on the hem of His garment! It’s Jesus!

Jesus knew she was there… she was the one lost sheep in the crowd of sheep that day. That crowd could have been created just for her… would  she be desperate enough to press in here? Against the odds?  Jesus was pleading, seeking, calling, stirring… desperate to save… she was the reason He came.

This woman…think about it… was willing to make Jesus unclean! Jesus unclean!  What do you think about that?  That is what it takes to be healed.  That which has covered our hands and made us unclean, we must give to Jesus.  This is the reason Jesus came.  Jesus would choose to hemorrhage Himself, blood flowing from His veins even to death, since that is what it would cost Him to make her clean… yet He stays within reach!  I love this!  Did Jesus kick the hem of His garment her direction?  Can you see it?  Can you see the love in His eyes he has for this woman, scraped, battered and bruised…. by more than just the crowd… to see how intent she is on getting to His presence?  Can you hear in His heart, Jesus pleading, “REACH!  Come on woman…. R-E-A-C-H! You can make it!  Reach, and I will put on my righteousness all over you!  Covered… CLEAN!”

The woman reached as far as her fingertips could go and she held on to Jesus, and immediately let go of all the issues that plagued her.

Healing is found in the presence of Jesus. If you are willing to fight the crowd of emotions like anger, bitterness, judgment, unforgiveness, and misery… if you can reach with all that is in you to make Jesus unclean with all your issues, He will cover you in His grace, mercy and righteousness.

The breastplate covers your vitals… your issues will kill you, unless they are covered with the very righteousness of God. No one can reach for you, you must reach with your own hand.

Come… do not delay. Get into the Word of God today because you were created to walk with Him, know Him and you desperately need Him whether you see it or not.  Jesus died to give you victory through this valley, but you will have to reach for it.

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APPLY IT: 

Are you desperate enough to come to Jesus… or do you prefer to coddle your pride and the million reasons you should stay away?   Will you reach for your therapist, a friend to pander to your way of thinking, continue to try to atone for your own issues–to no avail–or will you reach for Jesus?  Will you stay in His presence holding on to the hem of His garment as long as it takes to be well even if being well doesn’t look like you have demanded?

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LIVE IT OUT:

Today, I will reach for His presence, fighting the sleep I would rather have. I will choose God’s Word and His presence before the busyness of life awaiting me this day demands my attention.

HOMEWORK: John 15:1-8

NOTE: If you are unable to attend Kendra’s winter Bible study at The Cove  in person (January 12 – February 16, 2016), we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study.  We are also streaming the study LIVE via Periscope.  You can catch the replays here.

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.

You don’t have to have Periscope to watch the replays.  You can just click on the links below.

Click here to watch Week One’s study with a special performance by artist Jared Emerson.

Watch Week Two’s message on TRUTH here.

Watch Week Three Message here.  Kendra shines a Light on the woman with issues.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study: Ephesians 6:14b

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 Ephesians 6:14b
“Having girded your loins with Truth.”

Step 1

THE FACTS:  “Having girded your loins with Truth.”

Step 2

THE LESSONS:

“My name is Katniss Everdeen… I am from district 12… I participated in the Hunger Games… twice… and survived. I was rescued.  Peeta… Peeta has been captured with the other victors and is being held in the Capitol under the power of President Snow.”

This is how the movie Mockingjay 1 starts out.  Katniss is hiding in a dark place with her hands over her hears whispering to herself, reminding herself of what is true and what is not.  Katniss and Peeta, for the rest of their lives will, every day, ask each other if what they are believing is true or false.

Oswald Chambers said, “Believing the Truth is a sheer act of the will, because nothing in us craves the Truth.”

Frederich Nietzche said regarding the truth, “People don’t want to hear the Truth, because they do not want their illusions destroyed.”

The Truth, when spoken in society, often does not receive the welcome ooohs and awes of the crowd.  The Truth… the Truth is something we work to suppress, whether it be a truth about us we don’t want surfacing, or a Truth about the company we work for, or anyone else that is dear to us.

In this verse in Ephesians 6, Paul tells us that we need to have our loins girded with Truth of God’s Word.  Paul is saying that before we do anything, we need to set ourselves to wrap Truth around our most inward parts.  The word “gird” here in the Greek is the word “perizonnymi” which means to “hem in,” to tuck in firmly around.  I like that visual.  Hem ourselves in so that everywhere we look, everywhere we go, we are faced with the Truth of God’s Word first and foremost.

If we hem ourselves in with the Truth, then the lies and deceptions society tries to feed us will become really clear.  We don’t like to be hemmed in though right!?  We are Americans!  WE have a right to be free!  We need space to roam and chase the American dream!  The Truth is… all of us are hemmed in.  What are we hemmed in by… now that is a question that each of us need to ask.

We were created by God to follow someone or something…. the Truth is… we were created by God with a God shaped soul to walk with Him, know Him, because we are created to need Him: Truth.

The Truth is…  God loves us so much that He came Himself, not trusting us to another, so that we could know the Truth, and the Truth, though hemmed in by it, would set us free (John 8:32).  The Truth is: we are set free by the Truth when we set ourselves to believe it!

In John 8, Jesus said He is the Light of the world.  Jesus came to be the Light, to show us He is the Way, the Truth and LIFE (John 14:6).  I love this!  What is the purpose of light?  The purpose of light is to show us the TRUTH of what is there, in the dark.  The light doesn’t lie about what it shows, it just shows the fact of what is.  Jesus came to show us that we don’t have it all together like we wish we did.  The light shows us that we have been living a rat race in the dark chained up to everything on the canvas of our lives that we don’t want anyone to see… so God, came personally, not trusting you to another, to set you free by the Truth of His Word.

The world has set itself to discard, extinguish, hide and kill the Truth of who Jesus is, and the Truth of what you mean to Him.  The interesting thing about the Truth is this… it will always surface.  The Truth is, you are loved more than anything by the God who knit you together in your mother’s womb.  The Truth is:  IF you seek God with you whole heart, He promises you WILL find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).  The Truth is, you will never be more satisfied, more content, more fulfilled than when you are doing that which you were created to do, which is: Walk with God on a daily basis through this thing called life…TRUTH.

HOLD on to the TRUTH.  Jesus said, I AM the way, the TRUTH and the Life NO ONE comes to the Father BUT through Me.” John 14:6. Wrap yourself in Truth today.

4

APPLY IT:  Who or what am I following? Have I set myself to believing the TRUTH?  Who do I say jesus is?

3

LIVE IT OUT:  Today…. I will set myself to believing the Truth of God’s Word, and begin the process of hemming myself in by the Truth. Today, I will walk with God.

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JOIN US FOR KENDRA’S FREE WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY AT THE COVE, BEGINNING JANUARY 12, 2016.  (Also available LIVE on Periscope…see below.)

If you can attend in-person, we’d love to see you.  To register for her Tuesday evening study (January 12 – February 16, 2016), call 1-800-950-2092.

NOTE: If you are unable to attend in person, we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study.  We are also streaming the study LIVE via Periscope.  You can catch the replays here.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Philippians 3:13b-14

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 Philippians 3:13b-14

Step 1

THE FACTS:
Forgetting what is behind, straining toward what is ahead, PRESS ON toward the goal which God has called me.

Step 2

THE LESSONS:
Happy New Year! The beginning of the new year is a new beginning, a clean slate. Some people are sad to see 2015 go, and some are thrilled, leaving behind heartache and disappointment they shake the dust off of 2015 and are hoping for a brighter year. The year 2016 is unknown territory and for some of us, it’s daunting and unsure with all the world chaos going on.

Here, in these verses, the Apostle Paul is urging his readers to not be brought down by the past. Each day is a new day, a new opportunity to press in to what God has called you to do. We were all created by God, knit together in our mother’s womb for a unique purpose from the beginning of time, to know God, to walk with God and to need God. Many of us have things in our past that haunt us, things we have done perhaps decades ago that strive to chain us down and keep us from that God-given purpose. We tend to beat ourselves up for past indiscretions and then year after year strive to atone for them by living our lives in misery, enslaved and defined by these epic fails.

What if… in 2016… we decided to forget what is behind and strive toward what is ahead? Learn from the past for sure. Know we never want to repeat some things, but accept the fact we can never change the past, it’s done…the brick was laid… we hate it, we wish it was different, but what can we do? We can do nothing… so that is why God, not trusting you to another, came Himself with skin on, His name, Jesus! Jesus lived a perfect holy life, in order to pay the bounty on that indiscretion of mine and yours. We are unable to pay off, work off or talk off the mistakes of the past, but oh that we would press in to Jesus this year and allow Him to pay that debt He bought outright from us. Let it go at the foot of the cross once and for all. Jesus paid it all on the cross so that we could grab a hold of that purpose He has set aside for us. We have to let go of our past to press on today to His call.

Aunt Anne Graham Lotz tells a story of a monkey that I found appropriate to start this new year with. The question: How do you catch a monkey? The answer: you place a banana in a jar that is wider at the bottom, and smaller at the top, then bury the jar at ground level, leaving the top of the jar open for easy access to that banana. A monkey comes by, with his sniffer, he smells the banana, sticks his hand in the jar, grabs the banana and then makes a fist around that banana… you have now caught yourself a monkey. That monkey will scream and holler and throw his hand around, but that fist won’t fit through the neck of that jar. The monkey is caught, ensnared, and unless he drops the banana, he won’t ever be free.

Whatever your “banana” is, the answer is found in setting our eyes today in the Word of God. Intentionally setting our sights on Jesus (Hebrews 12), and when we see who Jesus is, and His incredible love for us, that banana will pale in comparison. When we see what it cost God Himself to forgive us of our past, and present us with a future we will be constrained by the love of God to look no where else.

May this year be the year of healing for your heart. It cost God the agony of Calvary to provide us with the freedom and joy that is present and in Him, may we reach out this year and obtain Him. As we hold on to Jesus, we will forget all about that banana in the past that held us down for so long; this year may we have the strength to let it go. Let’s start this year, this day and the next and the one after that, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our days (Hebrews 12:1-3). This year, let’s daily seek God in His Word, starting now!

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What is your “banana” from last year(s) to this year? What do you just need to let go of so that you can press on toward all God has set aside for you to do? Do you need to let go of a ungodly relationship? Step away from an immoral practice? Let go of an unforgiving spirit, anger or bitterness from the past that continues to define you, enslave you and keep you down? Do you need to let Calvary pay once and for all that debt you seem to think is too great for the blood of Jesus to cover? This year will you be defined by the grace of Jesus or will you work yourself to death trying to make it right on your own? You will press on toward someone or something… so what will it be?

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Today I will press in to God’s Word and seek out what He has to say to me. I will ask God what I need to let go of, and what I need to grab hold of and do it.

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Special announcement from Kendra:

JOIN US FOR OUR FREE WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY AT THE COVE, BEGINNING JANUARY 12, 2016.

If you can attend in-person, we’d love to see you. Click on one of the links below to register.

If you’d like to register for Kendra’s Tuesday evening study (January 12 – February 16, 2016), click here.
NOTE: If you are unable to attend in person, we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study

Register for Kendra’s Tuesday evening study here or by
calling 1-800-950-2092.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Joshua 3:15-16a

ONLINE BIBLE STUDY-1

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 Joshua 3:15 – 16a

 

WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE. In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

FACTS:  Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest.  Yet as soon as the priests who carried the arc reached the Jordan, and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. Joshua 3:15 – 16a

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS. Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow?

LESSONS: ​

Faith is hard. 

Crawford Lorrits out of Fellowship Bible Church in Alpharetta Georgia always says this, “Faith is verb even when it’s a noun.”

Faith is always moving, doing, or waiting… not just talking about it, being academic in your Bible studies, and answering all the right questions in your workbook.  Faith is the 18” journey down from your head to your heart.  Faith is every day, living according to those beliefs you’ve said you believed for years.

Faith is never easy.

Sure, I have miracles in my life where God called me to do something, and I did it with my knees shaking and heart beating rapidly out of control, only to look back and see the awesome hand of God…. but each and every time it is always a conscious decision that I have to make.  I wish having faith was easier.  God always calls us to impossible things, where we show up and bring what we have, but if God doesn’t come through then we will be sunk.

My usual prayer in times like this is, “God DO SOMETHING!  If You change my situation, I WILL BELIEVE I PROMISE!”  God’s usual answer in times like this: “Kendra! YOU BELIEVE in ME FIRST and see how I change your situation.”   I ALWAYS want God to act first.  Well… God has acted first!  God has come to live among us, not trusting us to another, and His name is Jesus.  Jesus lived a perfect life, then took the penalty for my sin and your sin, upon the cross, and then 3 days later rose from the grave, so that we could walk with Him, and know Him because we were created to need Him, especially in impossible situations!

God has acted first.  I want God, however, to act in a certain way for ME NOW.  If God doesn’t do what I want Him to, then all of a sudden He hates me and He is being the stubborn one!  We always want God to do more, or do different–I know I do!  I want God to put the tangible in my hand now, so I know I have it, then I will do what He asks, however, if you think about it, there is absolutely no faith in that!  Give it to me, then I will have faith?  Have faith in what?  It’s already received, no faith needed!

Waiting for God to act FIRST is UNBELIEF.  Ouch.

Belief is holding on, when everyone and everything else around us says to let go and run the other way!  Belief is this: “Fine, I will step into that Jordan River at flood stage because YOU, God, have asked me to, and if I die, I die, but trust You!”

Then the priests STEPPED…. The water did not part until they STEPPED… verb…  (If I was one of those priests I totally would  have thought God hated me for sure, and what did I ever do to make Him so angry! Forget woman’s lib in this case!  Men, you can carry that ark!) God delivered the priests.  God calls us to do those impossible things that only He can do.

We love to preach, “Believe in God!” to so many people throughout our lives, yet when it comes down to having to hold on and step into an impossible situation in our own lives, God’s Word is all of a sudden a lie, and God owes me first.

I taught Bible studies and went to Bible studies for years before I literally had to set my heart to believe all those promises, and hold on to the character of God I knew about so well in my head.  I would preach to people, “God can put the broken pieces of your life back together! Praise Him in it!”  It was not until I wanted to curse God in the pieces of my life did I see how hard that really is.  It wasn’t until my life was the one in pieces did I know the Master Artist, Jesus, really will create beauty from ashes.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME NOW? APPLY IT…. TODAY. Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think. This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

​Where is God calling us to have faith?  In our jobs, marriages, homes, schools, churches?  IS faith a verb for us, or a noun?  Would  we rather wait for God to work, then we will believe, or will we believe what God has said and who God is and walk in that faith?


LIVE IT OUT!
Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart. Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.

Today, live this day praising the God of the impossible!  Step out onto the waters that He has called you to with confidence.  Stop shaking our fists at who we wish or think God to be, and START getting in His Word to see who God says He really is!

Homework: Pick a verse or a few verses and use the three-question method to see what the lessons are, how they apply to your life, and how you can live it out.

Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!

JOIN US FOR OUR FREE WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY AT THE COVE, BEGINNING JANUARY 12, 2016.

If you can attend in-person, we’d love to see you. Click on one of the links below to register.

If you’d like to register for Kendra’s Tuesday evening study (January 12 – February 16, 2016), click here.
NOTE: If you are unable to attend in person, we will continue the online study as well, using lessons shared during the LIVE study.

Register for Kendra’s Tuesday evening study here or by calling 1-800-950-2092..

If you’d like to register for Jane Derrick’s Tuesday morning study (January 12 – February 23, 2016), click here.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Philippians 2:13

ONLINE BIBLE STUDY-1

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 Philippians 2:13.

WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

FACTS :
“God is at work, in you, for His pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow?

LESSONS:
God is at work.  I love the C.S. Lewis books about Narnia  that my kids and I are listening to AGAIN for the 100th time in the car.  The phrase that always gets me is when the books states,
“Aslan is on the move!”  The question would be raised, “How do you know such things?” and the reply would be something along the lines of, “Look around, you can’t miss the signs! They are everywhere in everything!” Oh, to be as astute as the characters in those books!  I am so slow to learn, slow to obey, and quick to ask questions.  I wanted to see God on the move after listening to the excitement of how Aslan was working in those books.  Silly, I’m sure.  It was a simple prayer, “Lord, open my eyes, today, to see where you are on the move.”

I gassed-up the car and met the student driver who would be driving to get the rest of her hours required for her license, then jumped in the car with my eldest and her friend who we would be taking on a 2-1/2 hour journey to a soccer game.

We made it to the game, without incident, and then we began to work our way back up the mountain.  The girls weren’t hungry yet, so we decided to drive on for 30 minutes; by then, my eldest was going to to “die of hunger!” I asked where they would like to stop.  “Zaxbys!” was the reply of my child.  My eyes got wide, and my brain began to spin… “Zaxbys?”  This may not sound like a strange request, but my daughter has NEVER had that request!  When she was 5, she had a meal from there and threw up for the next 2 days.  I don’t think the restaurant had anything to do with it, I think the stomach bug that hit the kindergarten class did.  It has been 10 years.  I made sure of her request, because there was a Cookout in the same parking lot.  The final choice was Zaxbys.  I bought the girls dinner, everyone ate like they were famished and then we got up to leave to go to Cookout for milk shakes.

On our way out, a Zaxby employee stopped us and the girl asked a question, “If you were with a friend, and your friend was hungry and all they wanted was a milkshake from Cookout, would you buy them one?”  I was taken back.  My head was spinning; “Is this girl asking me for money?”  I was confused, I am a slow processor. The girl explained again how she and her friend had gone on break; she didn’t have any money with her, but her friend did.  “Don’t friends help each other once in a while?”  I told her she was right–they do. Often friends give to one another when they can.  Satisfied with my explanation, the girl returned to work.

There was a stirring in my heart, “Aslan is on the move, here!” I was taken by surprise.  I spoke up from somewhere–who knows where–and asked, “Excuse me, what kind of shake at Cookout is so delicious that it has strained your friendship?” She replied, “Oreo, of course!” I smiled and walked out with the girls.  Again, my heart stirred.  I was going to buy that exact  milkshake for myself; I had already decided long before that moment, but the Oreo shake was not to be consumed by me, I was to give it to the girl at Zaxbys. I talked it over with the girls in my company, and they all agreed we should do it.

Soon we arrived back at Zaxbys; the girls were so excited to give this shake to this girl they didn’t even know.  It was awesome to watch.  They found the girl, asked her to turn around, and gave her the Oreo shake.  The girl was visibly shaken.  She held the cup with the delicious ice cream and crumbled cookies in absolute disbelief.  The girl said thank you, and that she never would have imagined
someone would do something like that for her, and she didn ’t understand why.

She tried to give it back.  We told her that she was worth it.  The girl then put the cup down, and turned her back to us, wiping the tears that had formed so quickly.  She could not look at us again.

We turned and left. I have thought of that girl often in the last week, and prayed for her.  I don’t know what is really going on in her life, but God is on the move.  He’s on the move in her life, and He works through us, not because He is incapable of making an Oreo shake appear, but because He wants to show us just how much He loves His handmade creation…. individually.  Crazy as you may think I am, that Zaxbys visit was Providential.  God had something to show me, a student driver, two soccer players and a few Zaxbys employees.  I will never know the impact He made in that employee’s life, but it made a difference in mine.

God is indeed on the move, because  we are His pleasure, and He gave everything He had to prove it.  “For God SO LOVED the world (the individuals in it) that He gave His only Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in Him (Jesus), will not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Oh, that we may see the love of God come to life and work right in front of our eyes!

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME NOW? APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think. This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

God is always at work. What would happen if we, who claim to be His church, watched where He was at work and joined Him, everyday, not just once in a while?  What testimony of the love of God would we have to share?

LIVE IT OUT!

Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart. Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.

Today, as I go about my day, Lord God, will you open my eyes to where You are on the move, then give me the strength to join You.

*Please note: Kendra will no longer assign specific homework for this study. She will still use the Three-Question approach and recommends you do the same. Kendra would love to hear what Scripture is speaking to you at this season in your life. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!

 

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study

ONLINE BIBLE STUDY-1

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 Isaiah 42:16.

WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

FACTS :
I will lead in paths they do not know.  I will guide.  I will make darkness into light. Rugged into plains. These are the things I WILL DO. I will not leave undone.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow?

LESSONS:
If you have children of school age, then this is the time where there is hustle and bustle like no other.  The beginning of school… the beginning of homework, projects, club sports, school sports…the impossible schedule begins.  I’m three weeks in, and I’m six weeks behind.  Time to take a deep breath.

I have three children…well, my oldest is now a young adult and the middle one is a tween and then there is the “upper, lower school” 4th grader… All three kids are in different schools, and not just lower, middle, and high school–they are in three separate school systems with three separate school schedules and calendars–just to simplify my life, you know?

Reading this verse in Isaiah today brings such comfort.  One thing is for sure, I have desperately sought God and prayed extensively about where my children need to attend school.  God has taken me by a way I do not know.  I would have never chosen this on my own.  God leads us.  God leads me to the places He is, places He wants me to go, not the places I think are logical, or that fit in my routine, or make sense to me at all.  We are truly as good as the blind when it comes to trying to guess where God is calling us and what it really looks like.  God may give you or me a vision, or a calling, but the “where” and the “who” that calling is to, will always take us by surprise.  We try to guess, we try to assume, but usually the way He wants to take us is full of obstacles and impossibilities or full of push back on our part because it’s not where we want to go.

Blind people have to trust in the one leading them as they clasp the arm and implicitly follow the one with sight.  We need to trust in the One leading us.  I may not see the reasons now or ever, but need to trust that God has me and will never lead me to where He isn’t, but only to where He is.  Trust… God will make the impossible journey, possible.  I don’t know how it will work out,  I am asked to trust, to actively place my faith in God evidenced by my personal obedience.  God will do it.  God will do it all and not leave it undone.  Isn’t that great?  God doesn’t get in too deep and then bolt from the situation and leave us to figure out how to get out.  God is the God of completion (Philippians 1:6:  Being confident of this very thing that He who started a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.)

When asking God recently while I was driving to and fro from the various schools, why three places all across town, and how exactly He was going to work all this out all year, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “I have blessed you indeed, I have enlarged your territory, My hand is with you. (I Chr.4:10).  I replied, “I don’t remember asking to enlarge my territory, or bless me like this.” My heart was stirred as God brought me to this verse in Isaiah.  God will make the rugged place plains.  I don’t know how or why, but I pray He will enable me to be faithful in the territory to the people to which I am called.

We have our own idea of the paths we want God to lead us to.  Perhaps it is time that the people called by His name, start trusting the ways and places God Himself wants to lead.  We would never guess where they are or to what they lead to, but be assured, God is in charge of making the hard places traversable, and the dark places light, it’s what He does, it’s who He is.  Oh! The Places He leads…. if only we can have the faith of a blind man! 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME NOW? APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think. This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

Are you asking God where He wants to lead you, or are you begging God to lead you in the places you have figured out?

Where has God led you today?  To what co-workers? Children? Patients? Friends? Sickness? Hardship?  Where has God led you to show you more of Himself and who He is?

LIVE IT OUT!

Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart. Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.

Today, Lord, open my eyes as I follow You on the path you have set before me.  Allow me to see You today in the places You lead.

*Please note: Kendra will no longer assign specific homework for this study.  Instead, she will highlight Scripture and lessons that God gives to her, personally, each week in relation to her everyday life.  She will still use the Three-Question approach and recommends you do the same.  Kendra would love to hear what Scripture is speaking to you at this season in your life.  Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!
 

 

Kendra Graham’s Summer Bible Study — James 1:4

Kendra Graham(1)

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Summer 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 James 1:4.

WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

FACTS:
Let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect, complete, lacking nothing.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow?

LESSONS:
As I conscientiously  took care of my critical patient, her mother was wrapped up in a blanket in the corner, trying to be strong.  Her daughter’s condition could go either way, and she knew I was fighting to get her a bed in the ICU as the results on her labs came back each hour.

The mother of the patient began to tell me story after story of how her daughter had lengthy stays in the hospital since she was a small girl, and how she prayed even now at her bedside that God would strengthen her sweet child, yet again in this moment, and save the life of this precious 25-week baby that was growing inside her each day.

The questions came rolling out of the mom’s heart, as her daughter lay in bed without the energy to interject.

I remembered my patient that encouraged me earlier in the summer and shared the Truth of who God is, and how His grace is enough for this day, even when we hate the circumstances.

“God has a purpose for both the baby and the mamma,” I heard the mother of the patient say through tears.  “Perhaps, the baby too, will have a fight ahead of him, being so small, and who better to care for him than a mamma who fought the odds and won time after time?  God has a plan.  God is in control, even though I want to be the one to control the outcome.  God sees the big picture and He is trustworthy.”  In spite of the mother’s fear, she claimed the character of God.

Patience to wait through adversity and trust God with our life and the lives of those we love is extremely difficult.  We have ideas, and dreams and visions of how things are supposed to be and if God doesn’t work them out in the here and now, and in the most logical way to us, then we lose our faith, we get angry, we raise our dust fists to God and wonder if He is sleeping on the job.

It’s hard.  Life is hard.  Adversity is a guarantee.  This is why we must stay in God’s Word daily.  We must literally claim His character, this day and the next, claiming verses such as James 1:4–trusting that God is working things out for His reason, His purpose–which is to solidify our faith in Him as we see Him do the impossible, bring strength to the weary, peace to the hurting, and grace to the falling.

This I know…. God is not in a hurry, but is patient and long suffering as He continues to mold me in His image, especially through adversity.  Press in to the mercies and promises of the God who loves you and gave His life for you.  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes on Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life John 3:16.  God went to extreme measures for us, may we trust Him with the paths He leads us to.

“ If God sends us on strong paths, He provides us strong shoes.” – Corrie Ten Boom.

*The baby lived, the patient remained critical for days, eventually being able to go home, yet some of the damage that happened during the pregnancy will most likely not be reversed. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME NOW? APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

*Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think.   This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

What circumstances in your life have left you questioning God’s character more than claiming it?

When God doesn’t work quick and up front and in the way you most see fit, do you abandon God or are you willing to be patient and press in to what He is teaching?

What character of God will you claim today as you are in God’s Word?

LIVE IT OUT!

Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart. Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.

Today, as my heart is hurting, and one I love is fighting for life, I will claim Lamentations 3:21-23:  This I call to mind and therefore I have hope; because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions are new every morning …

Give me the grace to hold on to Your Word, the one thing from the beginning to end of time that will not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)

Homework: Isaiah 42:16

Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!

Come Celebrate the Ministry of Lloyd John Ogilvie at The Cove

Lloyd John Ogilvie for 2014 and 2015

Come celebrate the ministry of Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie during his final time speaking at The Cove, August 14-16, 2015.  Dr. Ogilvie,  an amazing man of God, prolific author, spiritual leader, and gifted Bible teacher has been a regular speaker at The Cove since 2004.

His seminar titled, Grace Upon Grace, will encourage your walk with the Lord, as you immerse yourself in His truth and learn to live in the flow of His breathtaking grace.

We hope to see you here August 14 – 16, 2015.  Your presence would be a blessing to him.

Click here to register for this special event today.

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Click here to visit our resources page.

2015 Five-Day Intensive Bible Training Seminars at The Cove

2015 summer seminars
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 offer a 5-day format,  allowing you time to really dig into God’s Word.  Open to anyone, these seminars are led by seminary-level instructors.

As you are making summer plans, we hope you will consider setting aside time to grow in your relationship with God right here at The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina.

2015 Intensive Bible Training Seminars
(To register or get more information, click on one of the speaker names below or call 1-800-950-2092.)

Being Captured by the Passion of Christ (Scripture Focus: John 18-20)
with Woodrow Kroll, 
June 15-19, 2015

How to Read God’s Word Like a Bible Scholar: A Practical and Engaging Exploration of Scripture (Genesis to Revelation)
with Mark Yarbrough, 
June 22-26, 2015

NOTE: This seminar is available for seminary credit (graduate level) and CEU credit (for teacher certification) through Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS). Financial assistance is offered to currently enrolled DTS students who desire to attend this seminar.

Discipleship Counseling: Helping Others Walk in Freedom and Grow in Christ
with Neil Anderson, 
June 29- July 3, 2015

The Book of Zechariah and the Coming of the Lord
with Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., 
July 6-10, 2015

Hesed: A Portrait of God
with Michael Card, 
July 13-17, 2015

NOTE:  Join Michael for An Evening at The Cove (dinner & concert)on Sunday, July 12th .  Click here for details.

For a list of all events at The Cove, click here.

intensive bible training Seminars at The

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