KENDRA GRAHAM: ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

For I am mindful of the sincere faith that within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother, Lois, and you mother, Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God…  (2 Timothy 1:5-6a)

What Does it Say?

I am mindful of the sincere faith in you which first dwelt in your grandmother and mother, I am sure it is in you as well.  I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God

What Does it Mean?

I have put off this blog for three weeks.  I don’t want to think about school starting again.  I am one of those parents that LOVES summer and wishes time would stop for a minute—but it never does.  Today, with my eldest child, I begin the trek known as “senior year.”  Today, like it or not, she will have her senior portraits taken.  My heart can’t handle it.  I don’t want to feel all the conflicting emotions that are fighting for precedence.

Bittersweet is a great term to describe it. “Bitter,” because this is my last year with her at home 24/7. This is my last school year to pour into my eldest daughter all the things she needs to know before she heads off to a college four hours away. This thought makes me panic; it makes me want to grasp to keep her here with me, just as she’s always been for the last 18 years. The bitter hurts.

(CJ’s Senior Graduation Pic)

This time can also be described as “sweet,” because I am so excited for her to embrace this new direction in life. I love that she prayed for months and months about where God wanted her go to school.  I can’t wait to watch the journeys she embarks on and what she gets to see.

My heart is an absolute conflicted mess.

Whether we as parents are dropping kids off at kindergarten or they are driving themselves to their first day of their senior year, the school year can be daunting.  Every year I say, “I want to be better, more engaged; I don’t want to forget which day is a half-day and what time my parent teacher conference is. I will not run from that dreaded science fair project and wait until the night before to get all the supplies. I will be on top if it this year!”

What does being “on top of it” really mean in the grand scheme of things?  What does it really look like?  I ran across these verses in 2 Timothy a few weeks ago, and God spoke to my heart about what is really important. Living out a sincere faith in front of your kids is a BIG DEAL.

As our kids go back to school this year, let us determine to kindle afresh our love for the Word of God.  A genuine faith is a faith that is not one where we dust off our Bible app on Sunday mornings. A genuine faith is one that gets us out of bed a bit earlier or drives us to stay up a bit later and open up the Word of God and ask God to transform our lives. A genuine faith is one that stirs up in us in such a way where we must carve out specific minutes each day for God’s Word and direction.

I remember in high school when I would get out of bed early to ensure I had enough time to properly tease my hair and hairspray it in place so that it did not move. I still remember glancing into the dining room and seeing my dad every day with his Bible open, reading the Word of God and praying.  That image is forever seared in my memory.  My parents lived out their faith in the most genuine way in front of me, and remembering my dad at that dining room table has had a life-long impact on me.

Here in these verses, Paul is reminding Timothy of his grandmother and mother. These two women, in the middle of a corrupt Roman society, lived out their faith. They lived out the message of the Gospel in front of Timothy. Their legacy of faith had impact. Paul uses that real life example of faithfulness in the home to stir up and remind Timothy of the faith that is in him as well.

Paul goes on to remind Timothy in verse 7 that God has not given him a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and discipline. It can sometimes be HARD and frightening to live out genuine faith in our culture today; but this school year as parents, let’s determine to pass on that legacy: the legacy of a sincere faith that is not just talked about but is lived out. This school year let’s determine to be disciplined, above all, in the Word of God. Let’s LIVE BOLD, faith-filled lives in front of our families.  A fire left to itself will burn out, so let’s stir the embers of faith this school year as never before.

Homeschool parents, public school parents, independent private school parents, and Christian school parents, what if we all together got on our knees and prayed fervently day after day for God to raise US up to live the Gospel in front of our kids in a supernatural way? Can we even imagine how in this school year we would see God work in unbelievable ways?

As the school year progresses we may fail at being those “super-parents” we expect ourselves to be: attending every performance, volunteering for every field trip, and having the most incredible science fair projects. But what if this year we determined to be those parents with a faith that is on fire? This will be hard; but God has not given us a spirit of fear but power, love and discipline.

Today, I embark on a bittersweet journey with my daughter.  I pray that above all she will remember the Gospel fire that lives within me. Let’s tackle this school year saturated in the sweetness of the Word of God.

What Does it Mean to Me?

When are you carving out disciplined personal minutes to be in the Word of God?  If not every day, will you determine to discipline yourself to open God’s Word three times a week?

Do you have a legacy of faith in your family, or will you be the beginning of that legacy?

How can your faith be described?

LIVE IT OUT:

Today, LORD, thank you for meeting me here in Your Word.  As today proceeds, please stir up Your Word within me.  Give me the power to live out the Gospel in front of my family today.


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.

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Verse of the Week: Jeremiah 29:13

Our verse for the week is found in Jeremiah 29:13, ” You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (NKJV).(Photo taken from the Will Graham seminar)

There is nothing sweeter than being in the Presence of God. It changes everything.


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.

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Saturday Snapshot: Operation Christmas Child

We had such a wonderful week with Operation Christmas Child as a  guest group!

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse. The mission is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.   The group met in the auditorium for worship and teaching. They spent time in prayer over the children and families that they would be reaching this next season.

One of the guests shared that his favorite part of giving a child a shoebox is when they first open it up. They are so grateful for each and every item. He shared that even getting a washcloth is something that the kids rejoice over. To see their eyes filled with hope and excitement is amazing! 

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 146 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories. For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received. 

We thank all of the amazing staff and volunteers who work so hard to reach these kids all over the world.


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.

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Weekly Bible Verse: 2 Peter 1:5-9

Our weekly verse comes from 2 Peter 1:5-9

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,  to knowledge self-control, to self-control, perseverance, to perseverance godliness,  to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins” (NKJV). 

No matter where you are today or who you interact with, remember that others can know the love of Jesus by the way you show His love to them.


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.

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Saturday Snapshot: August is Here!

 “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2, HCSB).

 

Can you believe that August is here? This is a great month to visit The Cove! The mountains are so beautiful this time of year and it makes for a perfect time to come and get renewed in God’s Word. We have an incredible group of speakers that include: Steve BrownWill GrahamRT Kendall, Stuart and Jill Briscoe with John InnesChip Ingram, and Herb Reavis, Jr.! 

A great time to escape from the distractions of the world and enter a place where there is peace and serenity. This is a time to just sit quietly with God’s Word and be immersed in His beauty.

From beautiful walking trails to dinner overlooking the mountains, The Cove will be a place for you to be renewed, refreshed, and recharged.


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.

 

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Playing with Boxes: Prayer Devotional

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.

Prayer Note(3)

 

PLAYING WITH BOXES

I recently saw a video of a toddler who received a mini-trampoline for Christmas.  After unwrapping the gift (with some assistance) and seeing the bright, colorful picture of a trampoline, he carefully climbed up onto the lid of the box, stood up, and began jumping up and down on the image of the trampoline!

Are we ever guilty of doing the same thing with God? He has given us the privilege of communicating with Him by means of prayer; and in a miraculous gift of His grace, He’s given us His promise to hear and answer (see Psalm 34:15, Matthew 7:11, John 15:16 and 1 John 5:14). Yet often our time is dedicated to everything but prayer. We read books and blog posts and articles on prayer, we download podcasts on prayer, we have prayer journals on our nightstands and prayer reminders on our iPhones. But do we pray? The books and blogs and podcasts are all good and helpful things, but if all we do is read about prayer, we’re like the toddler jumping on the cardboard box. God has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit to speak into our hearts, and He desires to share His own heart with us as we pray. Still, there are times when we’re guilty of simply looking at the pictures or jumping on the box rather than investing the time and effort for serious prayer.

Until we “open the box” to receive and use this powerful means of communicating and communing with our allpowerful God, we will only be wasting our energy—like the child jumping on the picture of the trampoline. He might experience a few brief moments of fun pretending he’s jumping on a trampoline, but until he experiences
the real thing, he won’t know what he’s missing. Our prayer life can be so much richer than simply giving thanks before meals and drowsily praying a few sleepy lines before we drift off to sleep.

Like the loving parent who gently removed the child from the box lid and then took out all the parts and assembled the trampoline, God desires to give us what we need for our prayers to become airborne. How do we get our prayer life off the ground? God Himself gives us the desire to pray (Philippians 2:13) and the faith to believe (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 12:3), and He has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us in our praying (Romans 8:26). Despite our apathy, weak faith and long list of excuses, we need only look up to our “Abba” Father and voice a simple plea for help.

“Help me, please, Lord! I’m all out of excuses and I’m tired of jumping on cardboard boxes. I want to know more of You and hear You speak. I want to be a faithful intercessor, praying on behalf of my family and friends, my church, and my country. I want to have Your heart—one that is broken over my sin and broken over the needs of a lost world that needs You. Lord, teach me to pray!”

If we ask Him, the Lord will put the pieces together for us and draw us into deeper communion with Him. God will give us the desire to pray and the time to pray, and the faith to believe; and His Holy Spirit will guide us and prompt us with regard to who we should intercede for and how we should pray on their behalf.

Our loving Father has told us to come to Him with our needs and requests. So jump in with both feet and pray!

Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2, HCSB)

By: Donna Riesen

We appreciate your prayers for these upcoming August events:

Steve Brown — August 3-5 
(Emcee: Michael Everhart; Worship Leader: John Chisum; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett)
How to Be Right Without Being Insufferable

 Will Graham — August 10-12
(Emcee: Traynor Reitmeier; Worship Leader: Mark Christian; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish)
Satan’s Snares and God’s Goodness

 Stuart and Jill Briscoe — August 13-15
(Emcee/Worship Leader: Tom Bledsoe; Artist: John Innes; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
SeniorCelebration — A Celebration in the Psalms

 R.T. Kendall — August 20-24
(Emcee: Michael Everhart; Worship Leader: Marty Goetz; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett)
Intensive Bible Training — Popular in Heaven, Famous in Hell

 Chip Ingram — August 24-26
(Emcee: Bill Wolfe; Worship Leader: Stephanie Seefeldt; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Why I Believe

 Herb Reavis, Jr. — August 27-29
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Stephanie Seeffeldt; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish)
The Second Coming: Hope for the Here and Now

 


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.

 

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Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 119:33-35

Our verse of the week comes from Psalm 119: 33-35

Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,  that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.  Direct me in the path of your commands,
    for there I find delight” (NIV). 


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: Summer at The Cove

The weather has been so beautiful at The Cove this summer. This past week was especially nice. Our guest worship leader and Bible teacher this week was Michael Card. Our staff heard from so many guests how much they enjoyed his teaching and that he was so personable with everyone. We took a few snapshots of our guests outside, Michael Card signing his album and books, and also the beautiful view! Enjoy these pics! 

The flowers around The Cove are gorgeous this time of year!

A view from the deck of The Training Center!

Michael Card with some guests!

Beautiful worship in the auditorium!

One of the most beautiful drives.


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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Experience The Cove

Experience The Cove
By: Maggie Mae Everett

An inside look from one of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association summer interns. A personal experience by Maggie Everett.

The Cove

I didn’t know what to expect when I heard that I would be headed to the Cove for a personal spiritual retreat.

What I do know is that my very first thought was about all the work I would be behind on and all the emails I would miss while I was gone. My life often seems like a marathon that is entirely run at a break-neck pace. It is rare that I take a second to completely stop everything and be still for a few days. The moment I entered the Cove, a sense of peace came over me. I know that may sound cliché, but for someone who is always busy, this was a feeling I don’t often get to enjoy.

The Cove provided an environment of encouragement, which was reinforced by its down-to-earth staff. Everyone that you meet at the Cove wants you to truly feel how loved you are. No matter where I turned, there was love poured into every aspect of my time there.

For the first time in awhile, I was okay with not having to be going every single second. Instead, I was able to pause for long enough to breathe and really take the time to see all that was around me. The Cove gave me the opportunity to reflect and see more clearly how the Lord had beautifully orchestrated my life to bring me to that specific place in time. I was able to really look back on my life and all the moments that God had been so faithful to bring me through. That time allowed me to recognize how every moment was a part of His divine plan for my life, both the hills and the valleys. Things may have not always felt good at the time, but I was able to finally understand how God had worked them out for my good. It was an overwhelming and humbling time of growth in my personal relationship with Christ.

The peacefulness of the Cove is in the simple beauty of being surrounded by God’s creation and the presence of God. The mountains, the trees, and the smell of fresh air take you away from the stress of everyday life. I left my time there truly feeling rejuvenated and also invested in by the people I encountered. It was the epitome of a breath of fresh air.

Whether attempting to take a hike in the pouring rain with my fellow interns or enjoying a time of fellowship over an amazing meal, The Cove provided me with memories that I will cherish forever. However, I think that the best takeaway for me was a fresh sight to see how the Lord so deliberately directs our paths, as well as a renewed encouragement to endure the obstacles I may encounter along the way. In a world so quick to tear us down, I am thankful for my time of growth and encouragement at the Cove and those who were there to build me up.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

– 1 Thessalonians 5:11


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: ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—An earthenware vessel among the vessels of the earth!  Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands?’”  (Isaiah 45:9, NASB)

What Does it Say?

Woe to one who quarrels with his Maker. Will clay say to potter, “What are you doing?” Or the thing made say “He has no hands?”

What Does it Mean?

I recently traveled to Seattle, Washington. Greeted by Seattle’s cold and rain, I began to feel as if the cold weather continues to chase me! As I navigated the city’s rain-soaked streets, I was drawn to what seemed to be the warmest spot in town— a unique glass shop called Art by Fire. The ovens inside the shop were 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and my Aunt Tina and I could literally feel those ovens breathe their warmth into the chilly side street we were walking. In the days since our visit to that unique place, my heart and mind continue to process our experience.

My aunt and I watched with intrigue as the glassmaker placed a rod into the fire to take hold of a lump of glass. As he removed the clear hot piece of glass, he continuously turned the rod to prevent the glass from falling off the rod and on to the hard concrete floor. As long as the glass remained in this red-hot state, it stayed incredibly pliable. The artist then added color, firing the glass again as it cooled and became less moldable. While the glass was at its hottest, the glassmaker used tools to shape the lump of glass into a work of art. We watched in amazement as the master designer reached for pliers and began pulling apart pieces of glass to create the petals of an iris. Then, with creativity and great skill, he applied a large putty knife of sorts, placing pressure in the proper places and rounding certain pieces out at just the correct angle. When I asked how he’d learned to create these amazing pieces, the artist said, “I see them in my mind, then my hands get to work.”

As I watched this extraordinary artist work, a verse in Isaiah came to mind: “..will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’”  (Isaiah 45:9, NASB).

The glass didn’t scream at the creator when put into the fire. The glass needed to be put into the fire so that it could be formed and so that color could be added. The glassmaker told Aunt Tina and me that it was the fire that solidified each piece’s unique color. The glass would cool quickly as the artist worked, so multiple trips to the fire were needed.  The process was fascinating: Early-on it was difficult to see what the piece was going to become, but by the end it was obvious—the lump of glass had been transformed into something beautiful—a true piece of art that was worth every penny of the price listed on the tag.

My heart was softened as my eyes witnessed the process from start to finish. I so often become frustrated with God because of the fire He leads me to walk through. I tend to immediately think that God hates me and doesn’t care if I die or if I hurt. I am evidence of the creation screaming at the potter, “What are You doing?!”  The process is often excruciating as I fight and refuse to face the fire, doing all I can to run from the extreme heat; but what if I allowed the Creator to place me where He needs me to be, for as long as I need to be there?

The interesting thing about that glass-artist was that when he placed the glass piece back into the fire to heat it up, it was never in there for very long: just long enough to make it pliable—then it was immediately removed. The artist explained that while the glass piece was being fired he had to pay very close attention it, constantly turning the piece to prevent it from falling off the rod or getting destroyed in the fire. If the artist left the glass in the heat of the fire for too long, it would liquify the glass, defeating the purpose of the piece.

Sometimes it seems like “forever” in the furnace; but if I decided to stop fighting, and allowed the Creator to fashion what He wants, adding the color He desires (not the color I demand), what kind of testimony would my life become?  What if I allowed the Creator to use those pliers to pull away the petals from the stem so that I could become what He desires me to be? I confess I don’t like the heat of the fire or the pressure of the pliers. Yet I know this truth: God never promised life would be easy, but He did promise that we would never be alone and that He will never leave us or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5).  The book of Romans tells us that the “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18, NKJV) and that “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NASB).

We can trust the Creator. The white-hot heat of the fire or the burning heat of the desert is not for our harm, but for our good. This is where faith comes in. We have faith for something, because it’s hard.  We hold on to the fact of God’s promises when everything around us and everything in our hearts says to put our fists in the air and RUN from the fire and from everything we thought we believed about God.

What if we held on, pressed in, and really believed what we have said we believe? Then our lives would reflect a work of art that only God could create. The choice to trust is yours. This is hard! I wish it were easy, but I encourage you to press on, my friends… through the heat of the desert and the flame of the fire.

What does it Mean to Me?
  • How hard has it been to choose to stand in faith and not run in fear, anger and bitterness?
  • When have you seen God or felt the closeness of God while going through the fire?
  • How can we pray for you today if you feel alone in the midst of the fire?

LIVE IT OUT

Today, LORD God, give me eyes to see Your hand on that rod while this fire threatens to overwhelm me, and give me a heart to accept it as I cling to Your Word. Give me today a specific promise from Your Word that I will claim. Instead of the anger and bitterness I feel rising in my soul, may Your Word be the cry of my heart.


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