All posts by mcoleman

Weekly Bible Verse: Ephesians 5

Our verse of the week comes from Ephesians.

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. ” (Ephesians 5: 1-2, NKJV)


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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Mercy and Grace: We Need Both

Mercy and Grace: We Need Both!

By: Will Graham

Grace and mercy. Mercy and grace. Two terms that are often used interchangeably. They go hand-in-hand, but there is indeed a difference. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve.Grace, conversely, is getting something you don’t deserve. Picture this: You’re racing down the road, handily breaking the speed limit, when suddenly you see the blue lights flashing behind you. There’s something you do deserve in this situation. You deserve a ticket and a fine. You broke the law, and there’s a penalty for that crime.After a brief conversation, the officer lets you go with a warning. That is mercy. You deserve that speeding ticket, but you are not getting what you do deserve.

Now, imagine that you have a project due at work, and – try as you may – you have not been able to complete the task. Without it, you have no chance of achieving the bonus you’ve been working towards. At the last second a colleague jumps in and saves the day, helping you with the last remaining pieces. That would be grace. No matter how hard you worked, you didn’t deserve the bonus. You fell short. But somebody else came along and provided what you needed.

Why do I bring up this distinction? Because all around us are people who desperately need both of these blessings, and they are both freely given by Christ through His death and resurrection. The Bible tells us very clearly who we are and what we deserve. We are sinners who have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Because of that, we deserve death; eternal separation from the Holy and Perfect Father (Romans 6:23). No matter what we do in our own power and effort, we cannot change that fact.

But this is where Christ comes in with His mercy and His grace! We do deserve death, but as we call on His name and make Him the Savior of our lives, we receive mercy. We don’t deserve to come into the presence of God, but we are given that eternal promise through grace.

We’ve found that promise and have the hope of Christ because of it! Meanwhile, all around us are people who are struggling through this world, trying their best to do more good than bad, thinking that is their path to eternity. They’ve never truly experienced grace and mercy, though they’re hungry for it. My friends, look around you and I promise you will see someone who will break your heart; someone on a path leading to destruction. Share with them the hope that is within you, and allow God to open the door for them to “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)


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: JULY 2018

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)

ROAD WORK

“Sometimes I’m asked to list the most important steps in preparing for an evangelistic mission, and my reply is always the same: prayer…prayer…prayer.”  —Billy Graham

Our relationship with God is sometimes referred to as our “spiritual walk,” our “walk with God,” or our “faith journey.” Recent road work at The Cove has reminded us that we as a staff are “road workers,” preparing the way for people to come here to meet with God and move closer to Him in their journey of faith.

PAVE THE WAY WITH LOVE

The Apostle Paul often used the “walk” metaphor in his letters to the churches.  In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul explained that as believers, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, NASB).

In chapter four, the apostle described what that walk would look like:  “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,  being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3, NASB).

FOLLOW YOUR FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS

In the opening verses of Ephesians five, Paul stresses the importance of walking in love, giving us the picture of a young child walking beside his father and trying to imitate his walk. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;  and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2, NASB).

While we will never reach our Heavenly Father’s standard of perfection in our own strength, we are told to be imitators of God and to walk as Christ walked.  If we have repented of our sin and accepted Christ’s offer of forgiveness through His blood, we are transformed, reborn and adopted into God’s family. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and the leading of God’s Word, we can choose to walk in a way that shows others the family resemblance. Loving others with a selfless, sacrificial love will point them to Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice to bring us to God.

PREPARE THE PATH WITH PRAYER

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul commends the believers and expresses thanks to God for their faith in Christ Jesus and their love for all the saints. Paul’s love for them is evident as he assures them of his unceasing prayers:

“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understandingso that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,  to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might,  for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light” (Colossians 1:9-12, NASB).

The roads at The Cove are in great shape, ready to receive vehicles filled with individuals who will come here seeking a closer walk with God.  Our peaceful walking trails await those who need a quiet place to meet with Him amid the beauty of His creation.  So what’s our job now as “road workers”? As Cove staff, we have various job descriptions and To-Do lists, but there’s one thing we’re all called upon to do before every seminar or event: we pray.

It is both our privilege and our responsibility to pray for each other and for those who will come to The Cove. The physical tasks we perform on a daily basis while serving here will have no lasting spiritual impact unless they are carried out in love and bathed in prayer. Acknowledging that only the Holy Spirit can truly open a heart, we do our best to prepare a safe, comfortable, welcoming environment free of distractions which might take attention away from the truth of God’s Word. As we seek to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,” faithfully and prayerfully carrying out the tasks He has called us to, we help to clear the way for the Lord to work.

Let’s commit being faithful in prayer. Consider praying the words of Colossians 1:9-12 for your co-workers, loved ones, and for all those who will visit The Cove in the month of July.

—Donna Riesen


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events that will take place on The Cove property during the month of July.

JULY CALL TO PRAYER

Lisa Harper — July 6-8
(Emcee: Patty Stump; Worship Leader: Stephanie Seefeldt; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Women’s Seminar— The Life of Job: An Unlikely Joy

 Don Wilton — July 9-13
(Emcee: Bill Wolfe; Worship Leader: Stephanie Seefeldt; Pastor-in-Residence: Preston Parrish)
Intensive Bible Training — Come, Holy Spiri

Alex McFarland — July 16-18
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Johnny Prettyman; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish)
Amos: The Principles of Revival and the Pathway to Spiritual Awakening

Guided Personal Spiritual Retreat — July 16-19
(Facilitator: John Parrish

Tony Evans — July 19-21
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Johnny Prettyman; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett)
Kingdom Disciples: Heaven’s Representatives on Earth

An Evening at The Cove with Michael Card — July 22
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

Michael Card — July 23-27
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Michael Card; Pastor-in-Residence: David Taylor)
Intensive Bible Training — Follow Me

 Darren Thomas — July 27-29
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Michael O’Brien; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Restore My Soul

Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 119: 33-40

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. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.  Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good. How I long for your precepts! In your righteousness preserve my life.” (Psalm 119: 33-40)

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 John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 

(John 10:10, NASB)

What Does it Say?

The thief comes to steal, kill, destroy.  I came that they have life abundantly

What Does it Mean?

Life is hard. Suicides are up all over the world. The recent loss of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain show that the hopeless perception of suicide as the only option reaches across all socioeconomic groups.  Regardless of whether you are rich or poor, hopelessness can seep in no matter who you are or where you live.  In the United States, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death overall and the second leading cause of death from the ages of 10 to 34.  There were twice as many suicides than homicides in 2017. People are hurting and hopeless.

Over the past few weeks I have been writing about the desert and what an intense struggle it is to hold to the Word of God when all you see around you is a barren, unforgiving land. Has God brought you out to this place to forget you, or lead you off a cliff, or abandon you?  My answer is a resounding, “NO!”  God has brought you to this place of desert because of His kindness and love. This makes no sense, right?  In the desert places of life, you have nothing else to do but to cling to God.  Dependence upon God for your very survival is the only choice. It is through these times of desert in our lives that God in His grace shows us our desperate need for Him. If it were not for these times, would we be tempted to think we didn’t need Him?  God provides shade in the desert (link to previous blog on the broom tree)  and then shows us how we can grow to be shade for others in their desert places(link to previous acacia blog)). He shows us why just living the easy life on the surface is so dangerous (link to previous eucalyptus blog), and He shows us that although He has called us to hard places, even there He has provided all that we need (link to previous blog on goats).

Two weeks ago at the hospital where I work, God brought me a patient.  This patient was scheduled to undergo a cesarean section for her third baby; and before we went back to the operating room, she bluntly told me she wanted to die. I sat down with her and we had a desert talk. Life is hard, and I am so sorry. The enemy would have you believe that your life has no purpose, that you are more a problem than a help.  The enemy has one game plan, and that plan is as bold as these three words that Jesus spoke in John 10:10: to steal, kill and destroy.  The enemy wants to steal your purpose and to kill and destroy the very thing you were created for.  All of us are created to walk with God, to know God and to NEED God.  Our need for God is not a design flaw.  The enemy knows exactly what we were created to do, so if he can keep us far from it, then he wins.  This is what the enemy’s plans are for you, your family, your friends and your church.  Bold?  Yes.  But it’s not the end of the story.

God loves us so much that He came Himself, not trusting you or me to anyone else.  God came with skin on, and His name is Jesus.  Jesus came to give us LIFE.  He always leads to LIFE.  Even in these places of desert and struggle and hardship, cling to Jesus and He will show you LIFE in the middle of the desolation.  For some reason it is easier for us to believe we deserve the plan of the enemy, but that is a lie. Jesus came because of His great LOVE for US.  God so loved us that He gave His Son Jesus to die on a cross so that we may LIVE. (John 3:16, I John 4:9)

God trusts us with these times of desert.  The desert is no joke: it is a struggle to see God, to hear God and to cling to God, but my friend, there is LIFE there! Water will flow from illogical sources, and food will show up in ways you could never have imagined.  The desert just may become the place where you saw God and walked with Him more intimately than you could ever describe. Just keep walking.  Keep holding.  Keep digging deep into the hardened earth for that ounce of water.  You have purpose given to you from the highest ranks of heaven, so don’t be so quick to just give that away.

I literally told my patient that God sent me to her to tell her just how precious she is to Him and just how big her purpose is.  I shared John 10:10 with her. Tears streamed down her face as she decided then and there to fight for the LIFE God has given her. Are these the streams in the desert that Isaiah 35 speaks of?  “Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.  Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert” Isaiah 35:6 (NIV).

Maybe tears are not the streams we dreamed of, but those tears that day gave hope to the hopeless. If I had not been in the desert, I would not have seen this woman who was in desperate need of shelter. Perhaps God has trusted us with walking through hard places so that as He shows us His provision, we can then be that provision for others.  It’s hard, but this current desert has not been wasted, and so I will hold to that.

For He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.” Hebrews 13:5 (NASB)

 What Does it Mean to me?

 How has the enemy tried to steal, kill and destroy your purpose?

What desert have you been entrusted with to encourage you to CLING to the PROMISE of who God says He is?  How has God encouraged you to continue clinging when everything else in this world screams at us to curse God and die?

How has God given you LIFE?

LIVE IT OUT

Today I will LIVE, beating back the lies of the enemy with the TRUTH of God’s 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: Isaiah 64:8

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) 

As we go through our week, may we be reminded that we are in His hands. The hands of God.  He is working on growing us, shaping us, and molding us to be like Him.


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: Ministry in Action

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'” (Matthew 9: 35-38)

I wanted to start with this scripture since it is so fitting to share a little on one of our groups here this past week. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team joined us as a guest group to teach and train their staff and volunteers how to deal with tragic situations and to be the first response to the emergency.

The Rapid Response Ministry  trains God’s people for grief ministry and deploys crisis-trained chaplains to provide emotional and spiritual care to those affected by man-made or natural disasters.

They were able to meet in several of our meeting rooms for breakout sessions including topics like, “Grief after Trauma,” and more. They also had time to relax and just spend alone time in the Word and enjoying the beauty surrounding The Cove. 

As they ended their conference on Thursday afternoon,  we had Brandon Heath arrive for an “Evening at The Cove.” Brandon came in Thursday afternoon for his soundcheck and had an amazing night of worship that evening. Here are a few pics from his soundcheck and our guests arriving! 

It’s always great to come early to our events so you can enjoy the many rocking chairs that we have on our grand patio that overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Guests will also be greeted by warm smiles with our friendly staff as they arrive on property. 

We ended out weekend with an incredible Men’s Event led by NFL Today Sportscaster James “JB” Brown. He challenged, motivated, and inspired men to be the best husbands, fathers, and leaders in their community by standing on the Word of God!

It truly was an amazing week at The Cove. It is so beautiful to see God at work through the teachers, worship artists, chaplains, and guests that we have come through our gates. We have some great things coming up! Be sure to check out our schedule of all upcoming speakers and artists!


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 Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Follow us on social media. click map

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Weekly Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 4: 7-10

Our weekly verse comes from 2 Corinthians 4:7-10:

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side,but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”


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: Samaritan’s Purse

We had a wonderful week at The Cove with some great weather! The rain finally stopped and the sun came out! It was just beautiful! One of our guest groups this week was Samaritan’s Purse. They arrived mid-week and are hosting their staff and volunteer retreat here.

They brought with them ” Feel the Fury”.  This is a  tornado simulation that puts you in the midst of a catastrophic storm. They opened it up for The Cove staff to also visit.

When you enter ” Feel the Fury,” you walk in a room that first resembles a kitchen. As soon as you are in there,  an alarm goes off and you hear the news station saying to go to a basement. There is a tornado on its way to your area. You then enter into this next room that looks and feels like a basement.  While you are in this room, you hear the sounds of a tornado ripping through the community around you. They have monitors set up to also watch the destruction of the tornado that is surrounding your home.  When it is over, you exit to a room where you are surrounded by the images of destruction. You see toys scattered under garbage cans, people that look in shock, and hear first count testimonies from ones that just encountered the storm. People who have lost everything. It is a dire situation.

You feel the sense of loss almost immediately.

You start to understand that everything that someone has worked for their whole life is gone.

There is a sense of loss so great that it feels all hope is lost.

Then you see Samaritan’s Purse pull up in their black trucks with supplies. They have volunteers running toward you to help. They represent hope again. Hope that things can be restored. But there is much more to Samaritan’s Purse. They are also bringing the Hope of Jesus Christ with them. They are there to not only help repair the damage but also to bring the hope of Jesus Christ and his love to all who are in need.

This is such an amazing organization! Since the 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. We are excited to have them with us this week as they have a wonderful retreat with their staff and volunteers!


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

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

PRAYER NOTE: JUNE 2018

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)

FAKE FEARS AND REAL TEARS

There’s been quite a commotion taking place outside our office window this week, as we’ve watched a live performance of Angry Birds take place every day. A brilliant red cardinal has apparently taken over the tree just outside the window, and he is passionate about protecting his territory. Several times throughout the day we’ve seen him fly in with eyes blazing and feathers ruffled. The real ruckus begins when he sees his own reflection in the window. He spreads his wings wide and flings himself toward the imagined intruder, tapping repeatedly with his sharp beak. His outbursts had lessened by Thursday afternoon; we believe overcast skies may have dimmed the reflection and calmed his frazzled bird-nerves.

Like this agitated cardinal, have you ever been guilty of fighting a fake fear? If we’re honest, most of us could confess to conjuring up imaginary catastrophes that haven’t yet occurred and then watching them grow in intensity as our worried mind grows more fretful by the minute.

Though we’ve all fallen victim to imagined fears, we also know there are times in life when we are confronted with very real situations in which the normal human response is one of fear. Illnesses come, banks fail, floods rise and tragedies occur. And yet our Heavenly Father tells us to “Fear not.”

A new route to work now finds me navigating the twists and turns of a winding mountain interstate that’s a popular route for truckers. When possible, I try to steer clear of them and give them plenty of space. One afternoon as I traveled home from work on this winding route, I came around a wide curve only to find myself facing the huge metal grill at the front of a semi-truck cab. The cab was suspended at the back of a tow-truck, but for an adrenaline triggering split-second, I was gripped with the sensation of an oncoming head-on collision with a gigantic beast of a vehicle. As the adrenaline rush melted, I relaxed and broke into a grin as I realized my “brush with death” had been an optical illusion.

A cardinal fears the intrusion of a rival bird into his territory.  A human being fears death. His own reflection poses no real danger to a bird; yet death is the ultimate danger to be feared by all.  It is natural for human beings to fear the prospect of death; but for the believer in Christ, death is simply the entrance into the presence of the Lord.

The New Testament book of John paints the poignant picture of Martha as she grieves the death of her beloved brother and Jesus’ friend, Lazarus. Yet perhaps even more painful than the loss of her brother was the heart-rending perception that Jesus couldn’t be trusted. Martha was fearing that this great teacher who had healed countless others had let her down—had failed to show up as healer when His own dear friend, her brother, was at death’s door. As Jesus arrived on the scene three days after Lazarus’ death, a heartbroken Martha went out to meet Him. Her emotions raw, she blurted out the truth of her wounded heart: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21, NKJV).  Martha had faced the fear of loss as she watched the life of her brother slip away; yet she was now dealing with the perceived fear that she had misjudged Jesus. Even while she clung to the Old Testament promise of a coming resurrection and the hope of seeing her brother again, she remained gripped by the fear that Jesus had failed her and forsaken her.

When Jesus responded, “Your brother will rise again,” Martha gave the dutiful theological reply, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” (John 11:24, NKJV)

Christ’s next words would reveal His identity, power and promise to Martha and to believers down through the ages: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26, NKJV).

With her brother still cold in the grave, Martha responded with a rock-solid declaration of faith. “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world” (John 11:27, NKJV).

Verses 28 through 44 tell the rest of the timeless story. Martha’s sister, Mary, fell at His feet weeping, echoing the earlier words of Martha: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Moved with compassion, Jesus asked to be taken to the tomb. We see the depth of His compassion in the Bible’s shortest verse. Packed with meaning and emotion, it reads simply, “Jesus wept.”

Jesus knows our hearts. He knows the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15, KJV). After the raising of Lazarus and the display of His power over death, he would later go to the cross, where He would utter the cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Real or imagined, there is no fear the believer will encounter that our Savior has not faced and conquered. Because of His sacrificial death on the cross, we need never fear separation from God, though at times His face may seem hidden and His voice silent. Even death itself cannot touch us; because of Christ’s resurrection and victory over the grave, we merely pass through its shadow as we enter eternity with Him.

In his book Facing Death, Billy Graham related the experience of Donald Grey Barnhouse, a well-known preacher and theologian in the first half of the 20th century. Barnhouse’s first wife died of cancer, leaving him with three children all under 12. The day of the funeral, Barnhouse and the children were driving to the service when a large truck passed them, casting a noticeable shadow across their car. Turning to his oldest daughter, who was staring sadly out the window, Barnhouse asked, “Tell me, sweetheart, would you rather be run over by that truck or its shadow? Looking curiously at her father, she replied, “By the shadow, I guess. It can’t hurt you.” Speaking to all his children, he said, “Your mother has not been overridden by death, but by the shadow of death. That is nothing to fear.”

What a beautiful illustration of the psalmist David’s words, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23: 4, KJV).

Through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, He conquered death and the grave. Although the shadow of death may bring the chill of fear, we have the promise of eternal life in heaven with Him.

Our God is such a kind and merciful God! He knows that we are subject to worry, anxiety and fear. He commands us to “fear not,” yet He also “remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14, NKJV) and has graciously given us numerous verses in His Word telling us to “fear not” or to “be not afraid.”  His Word is packed with promises of His presence, protection and power. That means whether our fear is real or imagined, there is a promise for us to claim.

The next time you get your feathers ruffled and begin to feel agitated, anxious or fearful, pour out your heart to the one who says, “ ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand’ “ (Isaiah 41:10, NASB).  Grab hold of His hand and His promise, and hang on!

—Donna Riesen


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events that will take place on The Cove property during the month of June.

JUNE CALL TO PRAYER

 

An Evening at The Cove with Brandon Heath — June 14
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)
 

James Brown — June 15-16
(Emcee: Bill Wolfe; Worship Leader: Michael O’Brien)
Men’s Event—
Break the Huddle and Run the Play: Are We Running the Plays God Has Called for Us?
 

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. — June 18-22
(Emcee: Michael Everhart; Worship Leader: Michael O’Brien; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Intensive Bible Training—
The Majesty of God in the Midst of Suffering: Studies in the Book of Job
 

SeniorSalt Impact Hymn Sing — June 25
(Emcee/Worship Leader: Ron Whittemore)
 

Mark Yarbrough — June 25-29
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leaders: Richie & Gina Kingsmore; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Intensive Bible Training—
What Does Jesus Think? Having the Mind of Christ