Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 118:5-6

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Psalm 118:5-6:

“When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?” (NIV)

Life is hard.  When it seems unbearable, He is our refuge.  He is our source of peace.   His Word will bring the encouragement that you need for each day.


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

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

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

Follow us on social media. click map

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KENDRA GRAHAM SPRING BIBLE STUDY

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you  will grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. 

STEP ONE: Pray

STEP TWO:  Read the Text. 

Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink.

(Exodus 17:1, NASB)

STEP THREE:   WHAT DOES IT SAY?
THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE

All the congregation of Israel journeyed from wilderness of Sin according to the command of the LORD, camped at Rephidim and there was no water for people

STEP FOUR:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
THE LESSONS

Have you ever felt like God had definitely led you to a place; I mean you felt a calling deep in your bones and it took such a tremendous act of faith on your part to trust God in His leading, only to get where He led and all you see is lack and hardship?

I am sure you all are better than me, but my first reaction is not to get on my knees and pray, my first reaction is to raise some serious questions.  Did I hear God right?  Was this all a huge mistake?  Why would God impress such a bold move of faith and then lead me to a place like this?

I have some questions about what God is up to. Does He hate me?  Has He abandoned me?  Has God led me right off a cliff just to watch me fall?  Did God lead me here so that He could hide me from everything productive?

Here in Exodus 17:1, God’s people have followed Him all the way from Egypt, through the Red Sea, to Marah, to Elim, to the wilderness of Sin, and now to Rephidim.  Where is Israel going?  The people of Israel are on their way to Sinai.  God has promised to take them out of Egypt (Exodus 3:8) and lead them to Sinai (Exodus 3:12), and then God will lead them to the Promised Land (Exodus 3:8).

The Wilderness of Sin is halfway to S-I-N-A-I. Rephidim is 3/4 of the way to Sinai.  Israel is ALMOST there!

Rephidim was historically known as a “place of resting.” It was a place in the desert where there were palm trees, and it was known for having water. Yet here in this passage, when the Children of Israel arrive at Rephidim, there is no water.

This is a problem.  There is expectation when God leads you and calls you to a place, isn’t there?  Israel had faithfully followed God and His leading for more than two months at this point.  They had done some grumbling along the way, yes, but the Bible tells us the “whole congregation” followed God.  What did they get for following God?  Hardship and need.  As we come to this part of the story, it almost seems as if God went out of His way to dry up the water that was supposed to be there, doesn’t it?  It seems that way to me.

I think that at times as we read a familiar Old Testament story and already know its ending, some of the original tension of the story can be lost, and we’re almost prevented from getting a real appreciation of the amount of faith God was calling His people to have. Let’s stop where we are and live in the moment of this verse: God’s people followed Him to a place where they would have a greater need than before.  Can you see that in your own life?

God’s people could not manufacture water in the desert.  So many times we do not come to God until all other options are off the table, so God, in His grace and love, brings us to places where we cannot be creative enough to provide for ourselves.  God wanted His people thirsty.  Why?

God’s name is “Jehovah Jirah”—Jehovah, the LORD, the God who is highly exalted above all Gods, and Jirah, who wants to be personally known as your provider. The fact is, we do not know that God provides for us, until we have need.  We do not know that He is the Living Water (John 4:10, John 7:38)…until we thirst.  My soul within me cries “Ugh!” and “Yay!” at that very statement.  I hate to have need! Yet I love when I get to see God provide.

I tend to have faith that God will provide for Israel, and for Moses, and for my pastor, and for all the really important people in the world; yet my faith fails when it comes to me believing that God wants me to know He is my provider.  God wants to write His name across the stories of our lives, and He cannot do that so long as I continue to be so self-sufficient.  Dependence is both a great place to be and a hard place to be.  God was leading Israel, and God is leading you and me.  Let’s hold on to that together.

God leads us to where He is… out of Egypt to Sinai!  For the Children of Israel, Sinai was the place of God’s presence.  Remember that God goes before us like a shepherd goes before His flock (Psalm 23).  Keep following the Shepherd. Keep depending on Him. Keep pressing on, and keep your eyes on Jesus when all your eyes can see is dry desert and all your soul can feel is a deep thirst.

Hold on to the fact of who He isShout it out!  Shout it in the car…on your walk…in your house on top of your coffee table:  “JEHOVAH JIRAH is God’s name, and because of HIS name He will be MY JEHOVAH and MY PROVIDER even when I can’t see how!”
(See I Samuel 12:22)

STEP FIVE:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?
NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY
.

 When has God led you to a place that seemed more lacking than full?  When has Jehovah written His name, “Jirah,” your provider, across the story of your life?  How is God trying to teach you to trust in His name?  What causes you to doubt that God will provide for you?

STEP SIXLIVE IT OUT.

Today, in all the chaos, in all the empty, and in all my thirst, I will claim the name of Jehovah Jirah; even if I do not feel it or see it, I will shout what His name is and ask God to open my eyes and heart to the truth that He is “Jehovah” who wants to be known to me as “Jirah.” 


Will you prayerfully consider encouraging someone with your story of how God wrote His name of “provider” across the story of your life?  We would love to hear from you here, in the comments section.  Also, consider sharing your story of God’s provision with someone in your own community.  As God’s people we need to get back to a place where we not only remember His name, but believe it!  Your stories can help encourage us to hold on to Him in the hard and desolate places.  Life is hard, but Jehovah is Jirah!

Thank you again for joining us for this Bible study. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Praying that you have a very blessed week ahead!


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

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

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

Follow us on social media.click map

 

Weekly Bible Verse: Hebrews 4:14-16

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Hebrews 4: 14-16:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

In times of trial or struggles with sin, how comforting it is to know that Christ has been there and understands what we are going through!  Because He did not sin, we know that we can look to Him for strength and grace when we are in need.


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

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

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

Follow us on social media. click map

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Saturday Snapshot: A Look Around The Cove

If you have never visited The Cove, we would love to invite you to come this year. Founded by Billy and Ruth Graham, this 1200 acre property  is one of the most beautiful places to visit in North Carolina.

As soon as you drive through the entrance, you will feel the peace and the presence of the Lord.  Billy and Ruth Graham prayed over this property for years and the staff continue to pray before guests arrive.

This photo was taken behind one of our Inn’s on property. A place to relax and to focus on God’s Word. It is also a great place to have conversation with friends.

A photo of the outside of the Training Center at night. The Training Center has a 458 seat auditorium, meeting spaces, Ruth’s Attic Bookstore, and more.  The outside area is a favorite among guests. It is very peaceful and quiet.  The rocking chairs provide the perfect place to take in the mountain views.

We have many trails for hiking or just peaceful walks. One specific trail is approximately 3 miles long and leads to the top of the mountain behind The Cove. It has a panoramic view of the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Dining Room provides chef-prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You will want to come hungry.

“There are two gorgeous chapels in eastern America. One is at Duke University and the other is here at The Cove.” —Billy Graham

The Chatlos Chapel and Visitors Center is open Monday-Friday for guests to visit and the cost is free. A wonderful place to also view the history of Billy Graham and the ministries of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.


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

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

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

 

Follow us on social media. click map

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Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 28:6-7

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Psalm 28:6-7:

“Praise be to the Lord,
    for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him.”

Start your week off with praise to the Father and take comfort in knowing that He hears your cries for mercy.  He is your strength and shield and always there to help you.  Praying that this brings you joy and sustains you in the week ahead.


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

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

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

Follow us on social media. click map

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Shoulder to Shoulder: Singleness after Widowhood

Our blog post comes from one of our staff members at The Cove. Patty Nicholas has worked at The Cove for 15 years as a Guest Services Event Coordinator.  Patty lost her husband seven years ago to a heart attack. She lost her father two days later to a rare illness. Through her grief journey, God has given her a voice now  to help others. 

Shoulder to Shoulder : Singleness After Widowhood.

“Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day (1 Timothy 5:5, KJV). 

I recently read a statistic which stated that in the United States alone, 700,000 women become widows every year. Another statistic stated that one in five women will be widowed by the time they are fifty-six. These figures are shocking . . . and then it happens to you.

Nearly seven years ago, I became a number when I lost my husband. How does one move from being married for almost twenty years to suddenly single in the blink of an eye? Just like any other emergency, if you have some advance preparation, you are able to handle the situation. I already had a strong relationship with God.
I found this passage in 1 Timothy 5 both comforting and true.
It was true. I was desolate. Loss of income, loss of friends, and in loss of direction for my life thrust me into a very dark and dry season. It was also true, that when felt as if I had lost everything, I still had the Lord. He was my oasis in the desert.

It was comforting to know that God could fill that void in my heart. I reached out to Him in prayer and supplication, I found I could trust Him for everything.

You don’t have to be widowed, single, or even desolate to reach out to God. However, there is a unique relationship with a person on their own. When you have nothing else and God is all there is, you realize God is all you need.

Questions:
How prepared are you for an emotional emergency?

Has there been a desolate time in your life when God showed you He could be all you needed?

If you are not widowed or single yourself, is there someone that you know who can use an encouraging word?


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

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

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

Follow us on social media. click map

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Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 3:3-6

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Psalm 3: 3-6

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
 I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
 I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.”

This verse is a great reminder that we can call out to our Father and He will protect us and sustain us with His peace in all circumstances. We can sleep in peace and awaken to His unfailing love and protection.


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

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

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

Follow us on social media. click map

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PRAYER NOTE FOR MARCH 2019

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

“Rejoice in hope. Be patient in tribulation. Be constant in prayer.”
(Romans 12:12, ESV)

Meaningful Morning Prayer

“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there” (Mark 1:35, NASB).

I am an identical twin, which means my sister and I are quite similar, except when it comes to the alarm clock. My sister bounces out of bed before sunrise, eager to accomplish great things before breakfast, while I consider 10 a.m. “early.”

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus used the early morning hours to engage in His most purposeful prayer habits. He willingly got up in the darkest morning hours to slip away and get alone with His Father. I imagine that He did not want to have His prayer time interrupted by other early risers or the hustle and bustle of market merchants preparing to sell their wares to the crowds. Jesus knew that places of solitude would focus His ability to hear from God. In Luke 5:16, we are reminded that He frequently sought out the lonely, quiet places that many of us struggle to find today.

While Jesus repeatedly offered verbal models of meaningful prayer, I believe that His greatest prayer lesson was unspoken. Jesus’ prayer life was powerful because it was quietly purposeful. Prayer wasn’t an afterthought; a random act, or just something He fit into His schedule after a full day of healing the sick. Instead, His prayer life was highly intentional and meaningful. The greatest lesson we can learn from His example is that of intentionally saying “no” to the things that rob us of our quiet time with Jesus. May we learn to crave those dark, lonely, but quiet early morning times of sharing with the Savior so we have wisdom and hope for life’s most difficult journeys.

—Lori Brown

We appreciate your prayers for these events that will take place at The Cove throughout the month of March:

Women’s Bible Study  (Tuesday Mornings through March 5)
(Teacher: Dottie Edwards; Worship Leader & Emcee: Patty Stump)
Hope in Christ Matters…Tell Others Why!

Gold Star Wives’ Retreat with Preston & Glenda Parrish
and Alyssa Gavulic  (March 8-10)
(Emcee: Bill Wolfe; Worship Leader: Janelle Flint; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett)
Finding Lasting Hope: Encouragement from the Book of Ruth

Evening at the Cove with Jason Crabb  (March 10)
Emcee: Bill Wolfe

Alex McFarland  (March 22-24)
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: John G. Elliott; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Daniel and Revelation: How God Wrote History in Advance

Women’s Spring Luncheon with Angela Cottrell  (March 24)
(Emcee: Patty Stump; Worship Leader: Lily Cottrell)
Prayer: The Unexpected Thrill of Journeying with God

Will Graham  (March 25-27)
(Emcee: Traynor Reitmeier; Worship Leaders: Mark Christian, Richard & Gina Kingsmore; Pastor-in-Residence, John Parrish)
The Desert Belongs to God


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

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

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

Follow us on social media.click map

KENDRA GRAHAM BIBLE STUDY – WEEK 6 HANDOUT

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. Below is the handout for Kendra’s final week of evening Bible study, with a few homework questions at the end. 

*To view this final Bible study via Periscope, click here.

STEP ONE: Pray

STEP TWO: Read the Text.

Exodus 33:21-23 (NASB)

(21) Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; (22) and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. (23) Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.

STEP THREE: 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.

(21)     The LORD: There is a place by Me…you shall stand…on rock

(22)     It will come…while My glory is passing I will put you in cleft of rock and cover you with MY hand until I have passed

(23)     THEN I will take My hand away and you shall see my back, but face shall not see

STEP FOUR:  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?  Meditate on these. Ask God what lesson it is that He wants you to hear or learn.

(21)    If we want to see the glory of God first-hand, then we have to go where God is. To know “my God” will take effort and patience. God calls us to specific places because He wants to be personally known by us. He is often visible in our lives, but we don’t like the location, the effort demanded or the amount of faith that it will take to get there.

(22)    God tells Moses that He is going to show Moses His glory; then, when God gets there, He places Moses in a dark and hard place, only to then cover it with His hand and make it even darker. This is not the “glory” we were anticipating when we asked.  God trusts us with dark places for a reason. We need to hold on to His promise when we can’t see how it is going to work out and we surely don’t understand it. This dark, hard place would not be how I thought God would show me who He is. God’s promises are #ENOUGH to hold to in the dark.

(23)    When God takes His hand away, we will be able to see His glory on the backside. Once God passes, His presence changes everything and we can see all the places He has unmistakably touched here in the desert. His presence is #ENOUGH to make this dry, unforgiving place, a place of refuge, not a prison, a place of blessing not curses, a place of thankfulness not bitterness. His presence is #ENOUGH in our deserts, period.

STEP FIVE:  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?

(21)    Do you want to see God’s glory in your desert? What are you willing to do, and what are you not willing to do? Has God called you to come to a place near Him but it doesn’t make sense, and the journey will be uncertain? Maybe God is calling you to the desert, and that is not where you want to see God, so you stay put? Did you realize that there is effort required each day to come to where God is in His Word and listen?  When it comes down to it, do you really want to see God’s glory in your life on His terms or yours?

(22)    How many times do we have more questions than answers about where God has placed us? When have we questioned God’s methods in our lives?  Are we trying to get out of this hard, dry place on our own before God’s glory passes by? What causes us to bug-out early and forget His promises to us? IN this dark, hard, dry place, will we hold to the hope that God has not forgotten or forsaken us here? What promises are you holding to in the dark of your situation?

(23)    Has God been working in this desert and you have missed it? Are you willing to look back and see all the places that God led you, held you, and protected you in your suffering? Has God ever flipped a dark place around for you, where you hated every minute of the struggle, but when you got to the end, and you looked back you saw God in unmistakable ways? Will you allow God to make this desert a place of refuge for you?  Will you trust that God is #ENOUGH for you? Will your faith be forged or forgotten in this place?

STEP SIX:  LIVE IT OUT.

Look over all your facts, lessons and applications for a given passage.

Is there a main theme to them? Does one verse stand out over the rest for some reason?

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.

God’s presence is Available and is #ENOUGH

…Focus my feet to come.

God’s presence is #ENOUGH in the dark

…Focus my heart to hold on to His promise.

God’s presence is #ENOUGH to see me through

…Focus my eyes to look and see what He has done
and where He has been in my life.

Jehovah—who is highly exalted above all gods—wants to be known personally by you.

I pray that 2019 is the year in which God’s people allow Him to teach us and test us, even in the desert, and show us how to do more than preach the Message with our lips, but BE the Message with our lives.

Shalom and blessing to you

Shema Israel!

                                                            Adonai Eluhanu

                                                            Adonai Echad

I know the journey is hard and unbearable at times; hold to the promise of who Jehovah is, and we will find that I AM that I AM is more than, #ENOUGH

God bless you all!

–Kendra Graham


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

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

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

Follow us on social media. click map

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Weekly Bible Verse: Isaiah 54:10

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Isaiah 54:10 (NIV).

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”

We do not always know that challenges the week in front of us will hold.  However, we do know that God’s unfailing love is with us and He is faithful in all things. He is the one who brings peace and comfort. He is the one who gives us strength. Look to God this week and remember His promises.


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

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

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

Follow us on social media. click map

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The blog of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove