“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2
“We cannot pray and remain the same. We cannot pray and have our homes remain the same. We cannot pray and have the world about us remain the same. God has decreed to act in response to prayer. ‘Ask,’ He commands us. And Satan trembles for fear we will.” —Ruth Bell Graham, Legacy of a Pack Rat
By Donna Riesen:
Ruth Bell Graham was a woman of prayer; and Ruth’s Prayer Garden, opening June 2, 2016 at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, is designed to honor her memory and encourage others to pray. As the wife of evangelist Billy Graham, Ruth’s schedule was packed full with commitments—at times she traveled with her husband to crusades around the world, yet most often Ruth supported him behind the scenes and out of the spotlight by shouldering the responsibility of caring for their five children at their home in Montreat. This remarkable woman could not have had the impact she had on her husband, her family, and the world, without the daily discipline of prayer.
Winding along pathways surrounding Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Ruth’s Prayer Garden will offer a peaceful place for prayer and meditation amid the natural beauty and serenity of The Cove.
“My grandfather wanted this place to be known as a mountain of prayer,” says Will Graham, executive director of The Cove and grandson of Billy and Ruth. “There’s prayer going out all over The Cove, from our Intercessory Prayer Team to our staff prayers to our Personal Spiritual Retreats. There are so many needs facing us today, we can’t pray enough!”
“Like The Cove itself, this garden is designed to be an extension of my grandparents’ home at Montreat,” Will says.
With five children in the household, the Graham home was a place of laughter, activity, and the usual childhood scrapes and squabbles; but more importantly, it was a place of prayer.
“I would go down to her room late at night,” daughter Anne Graham Lotz remembers. “I would see the light on underneath the door and I’d go in, and she would be on her knees in prayer.”
Daughter Ruth Graham reflects, “Faith was the very heartbeat of life at Little Piney Cove. We began and ended each day as a family on our knees in prayer.”
Ruth’s Prayer Garden was created to honor and perpetuate this legacy of prayer.
The garden was also designed to be a reflection of Ruth’s love of nature and appreciation for the beauty of her North Carolina mountain home. Lucas Jack, horticulturist and supervisor of Grounds Maintenance at The Cove, explains how great care was taken to convey Ruth’s personality as a gardener and plant- lover. When asked about the process of planning and designing the gardenscape, Jack noted, “Everything that I know of Ruth Graham has been learned secondhand, which is difficult when trying to piece together a ‘botanical personality.’ I learned she really didn’t have dislikes but had a lot of favorites. She loved color and appreciated gardens in general, and we’ve tried to convey her botanical personality by including many of the plants and flowers she loved.”
Roses, daylilies, touch-me- nots will line the winding paths. “Our goal was not to overwhelm the visitor with the landscape,” Jack says, “but to allow them to enjoy the experience and feel as if they are part of it.”
Ruth’s love for color and beauty may have been the result of two strong childhood influences: her early childhood years in China as the daughter of medical missionaries, and her teen years in Montreat.
According to grandson Will, “My great-grandfather Nelson Bell loved gardens and gardening. He loved flowers and plants, and he used them to teach lessons to his children. When we work with our hands in a garden, God teaches us things.”
If she were here today, Ruth Bell Graham would probably agree. When you visit Ruth’s Prayer Garden, enjoy the view and take time to smell the roses; then bow your head and echo the disciples’ request to Jesus: “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1, NKJV)
We hope you’ll make plans to visit Ruth’s Prayer Garden at the Chatlos Memorial Chapel and Visitors Center. Click here for directions and operating hours.
Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.
The beauty of the spring season is upon us and a wonderful reminder that our Creator, Almighty God, brings new life to all who seek His face.
With spring in mind and Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 8th, 2016) right around the corner, we’re sharing some lovely seasonal products from Ruth’s Attic Bookstore at The Cove. Whether you purchase in person, or call and have us deliver right to your home, we hope you will find something that will delight you, or be the perfect gift for someone special in your life.
Each of these products are great reminders of how God shows His love, mercy, and grace to us each and every day.
To order any of the products seen on this post, you may either purchase on-property at Ruth”s Attic bookstore, by phone at 1-800-950-2092 (menu 3) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see a full list of events at The Cove, click here.
God bless you!
This creamy and satisfying side dish is a guest favorite here at The Cove!
Risotto is very versatile, and goes well with lots of different dishes. Add in wilted spinach, cherry tomatoes, pesto, or cooked crab meat for a more creative dish! Risotto is paired well with chicken or steak and is delicious with asparagus.
We have a free printable version of the recipe found at the bottom of this post.
Creamy Risotto Recipe
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot (or 1/4 onion), chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
2 cups chicken stock or cold water
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a medium skillet over low/medium heat. Add garlic and shallot and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add Arborio rice and sauté for an additional 3-4 minutes or until shallots are tender. Pour in chicken stock (or water) and bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat. Do not cover and stir occasionally. Continue to add stock (or water, as needed) as rice cooks until it becomes tender and liquid begins to absorb. This can take 10-20 monutes. Stir in heavy cream and Parmesan cheese once rice is cooked. Incorporate salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy! Let us know how you like it!
To find additional recipes from The Cove kitchen click here.
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 Acts 16:23-25
“When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; (24) and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. (25) But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:23-25
(Verse23) struck with many blows, threw into prison, (verse 24) fastened feet in stock, (verse 25) Paul and Silas were praying and singing to God, prisoners were listening.
Recently, some of the information about what happened behind closed doors to Saeed Abidini has come out in interviews in the media. I had the honor of spending a day with the Abidini family not so long ago. It overwhelms me when I hear the horrible atrocities that Saeed had to endure. Saeed was beaten so badly one day that he was unable to sleep for 20 hours, he was in so much pain. What did Saeed do? He prayed for his captures, his family, the other prisoners and praised God. This blows my mind. How is this humanly possible? Answer, it isn’t.
How often do we read these stories, especially the one of Paul and Silas in prison, and we tell it with such gusto each and every VBS season, how God shook the prison and set the captives free, and they sang in prison and it was great! It is great… but when you hear of a beating first hand, of someone you know, and you look in their eyes, and you see the scars, and you hear of the torture… it is almost something you don’t want your children to hear or ever know about.
It’s sobering. It’s frightening.
At least it is to me. Perhaps you have a greater faith than me and would step up with gusto to endure such cruelty. I tend to have an easier time bringing questions to God about the whole situation. I did not listen to Saeed’s story and break out with a hymn of praise as he was describing the beatings. Tears were welling up in my eyes and my heart was heavy. That was me, don’t get that confused with how Saeed was.
Saeed had the most peaceful look upon his face, as if he was remembering those moments in the dark with Jesus. Saeed is not bitter or angry, instead he is grateful that God entrusted him with such a story of grace. There were others in the prison who needed to hear Saeed’s prayer and praise. There were others, an American, who needed his encouragement. There were prison guards who needed to know that Jesus saves, and gives strength to the weak.
Saeed said that while in prison, the presence of God was so permeated that you could not miss it if you tried. God was so close to him, and His presence so real to him in this time that he could not help but praise His name. Saeed was pressured to turn his face away from Jesus, but he said he couldn’t… not even if he tried. Then he praised even more. God trusted Saeed with a difficult testimony.
It takes so much less for me to run from God and shake my little dust fist in the air and tell God that He got all this difficulty wrong in my life. God needed Paul and Silas to press in here, in this prison, because there was a jailer and captives that He loved more than anything. Paul and Silas had been in the streets for days preaching about the Gospel to the Philippians, but alas, it would not be the testimony preached from the rooftops that would reach these particular people… it would be the testimony lived out in prison that would finally capture the heart of the jailer.
God was trusting Paul and Silas with suffering, they had to be in the innermost cell… they had to have a jailer employed to keep them in… the lengths God will go to for one person, a jailer no less… but through it all, the presence of God would so drench that place, that even when the foundations of the prison would shake, the captives would refuse to leave.
This is what the presence of God does.
We were created to experience His presence, and in His presence, joy is inevitable even when your feet are in stocks. It wasn’t the fact that Saeed, Paul and Silas were delivered from the pit that gave them joy, the fact of joy was the presence of God in the pit.
“Freedom in Christ is not a matter of location, but a matter of the heart” -Casper Ten Boom (when he was captured and placed in a concentration camp in World War 2.)
What about you? Perhaps today you find yourself in a pit, in a place of struggle and everywhere you look is darkness and frustration, and you are questioning where God is in this???
Today, will you ask Him to focus your eyes on Him, and even in this place of bondage, give you freedom? Where is it that you need to press in to, and grab a hold of that testimony God wants to forge in your life? “When God leads us down hard paths, He gives us strong shoes.”- Corrie Ten Boom from The Hiding Place.
LIVE IT OUT: Today Lord, open my eyes to see where You are working. Give me strength to walk where You lead.
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.