All posts by mcoleman

God’s Gifts: A Psalm by Quinn Graham

We have a modern-day psalmist on our hands:  Quinn Graham, Will Graham’s son and Billy Graham’s great-grandson, has written a special  psalm to share. This one, entitled “God’s Gifts,” was inspired by a message Quinn recently heard his dad preach. Enjoy this reminder of God’s goodness, love and grace…

God’s Gifts
God has a gift for everyone
There is no price
His gift is free
His gift is eternal life
This gift is free because He loves us
He paid the price for us
He was beaten and suffered on the cross for us                                               
He paid the price
He bridged the gap for us
So that we can come to Heaven
And spend eternal life with Him

Gods gift isn’t just eternal life
He gives us peace
So that we won’t fear anymore                                                            
He gives us joy
So that we can rejoice in His name
He gives us a purpose                                              A purpose that no one else has
He gives us spiritual life
This spiritual life is our new life with God
Spiritual life tells God that we can come up to heaven
His last gift is forgiveness
The only way to heaven is forgiveness
The only way to be forgiven is accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior
Have you accepted Jesus into your life?


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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KENDRA GRAHAM ONLINE BIBLE STUDY – PSALMS

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” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

KENDRA GRAHAM NOTES FROM PSALM 121

“The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand.”  (Psalm 121:5)

 What Does it Say?

The LORD is your keeper, your shade at your right hand

What Does it Mean?

Have you ever felt like you were in a wilderness? Struggling just to make it another step?  I am going to be honest here: This winter and spring have been HARD. We all go through times of struggle and dryness, and it’s easy to feel left alone and beaten down by the elements.

I grew up in the desert of Tucson, Arizona, where the sun beat down relentlessly day after day—in the summer the temperature could rise as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit.  (It was a dry heat, but 115 degrees is still 115 degrees!)

When you think of the desert, you may envision nothing but sand for miles and miles; yet in reality the desert is not just a vast expanse of sand—there are mountains, cliffs, and even vegetation. One particular plant called the “desert broom tree” can be found in the desert and in other rocky places all throughout the landscape of my old stomping grounds. Not a tall tree by any means, the broom tree is more like an overgrown weed/shrub; and although I can’t really say the plant is beautiful, in the fall it does produce some pretty flowers. The humble broom tree does have its uses, though. It can be food for rabbits, and Native Americans have a history of using its leaves in tea for medicinal purposes.

The roots of a broom tree will grow deep down into the desert floor, finding the most minute bits of moisture which enable it to not only survive the elements, but to become a hearty plant—so hearty, in fact, that it can be a difficult plant to eradicate from the landscape.

As kids, we used the shrub for shade. We would play for hours outside; then, to cool ourselves from the intense heat we would sit under the broom trees and re-hydrate.  Believe it or not, it made a remarkable difference—under that overgrown weed bush the temperature would be 15 degrees cooler. The desert broom brought the welcome relief of shade, and the bushes were plentiful enough for all of us kids to sit underneath our own personal shrub.

Do you recall someone else who else rested under a broom tree in the desert?  In I Kings 19, Elijah—who was running from rotten King Ahab and wicked Queen Jezebel—rested under a broom tree.  God preserved the exhausted prophet’s life in the middle of the wilderness by feeding him and providing for him a shady resting place under the big shrub.

The more I thought about God’s shade and the broom tree, I noticed something I really didn’t like:  The broom tree does not block out all the sun. When I want God to give me shade from the elements that are relentlessly beating down, I want complete and total shade and refreshment. I want a majestic Oak, surround by nicely trimmed and mowed Kentucky bluegrass, at the banks of a clean, refreshing stream of mountain water. (I don’t ask for much, do I?)

When God provides a broom tree in the wilderness, sometimes I find myself complaining—deciding just to die on the desert floor rather than accept the shade He is offering.

The shade God offers is just enough.  Sometimes it may be the big oak; but more often than not, it’s simply a filtered shade that decreases the temperature to a bearable degree. Thinking about the shade at His right hand tells me that God’s shade is never further away than the length to which I can stretch my own right hand. His shade is always close. God takes the brunt of the sun so that I can be in His shade, and yet I still find fault with it.

These past months have been difficult. Sometimes the “strong” (maybe more accurately termed  “stubborn”) person I tend to be strives to keep going forward… whether in rain, snow, wind or sun.  As I read these verses and remember those days of playing in the desert of home, I realize God may be simply telling me to rest awhile. “Come; sit, under this broom tree, Kendra. All the elements that are distressing you will not be taken away; but under here, under My shade, it’s cooler. Here, in My shade, I will give you not only rest but the strength you need.”

What Does it Mean to Me?

When has God been that filtered shade in the middle of the wilderness of life for you?  Was it a friend who dropped by to encourage you? Was it a single ray of sunlight in the middle of a long, cold, dark and dreary winter?  Was it a phone call, a text or an email?  Take time to thank God for sending that broom tree; and if you don’t have eyes to see His shade, will you pray that today you feel that shade your soul is so in need of?

LIVE IT OUT

Stretch out your right hand as far as it will go, and say with passion and belief, “You, oh God are MY shade at my right hand!”  Say this every minute of the day if you have to. Every time you use your right hand today, remember God is your shade…. your broom tree.  Hold to it.

 

COVE BIBLE VERSE FOR THE WEEK OF APRIL 23RD

He is Faithful

Our verse for the week comes from Hebrews 10:23. 

He is faithful in all things. We can have this hope and not fear or doubt because He is always with us.


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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Special Message from Will Graham: Are the Lost Worth the Cost

Are the Lost Worth the Cost?

By: Will Graham

God’s gift of salvation is free to us as we call upon His name and place our faith and hope in Him. Praise the Lord for that free gift! Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of our sin is death (eternal separation from God), and that is too much for us to bear. But while the gift of salvation is free, this does not mean that there is no cost to being a follower of Christ.

So many want to live the Christian life without any sacrifice, but there’s more to it than that. For instance, in saying “Yes” to Christ, we’re saying “No” to much of what the world around us has to offer.

Another “cost” that Christians should—must—pay is associated with reaching the lost; those who haven’t yet recognized their need for a Savior and are still living life on their own terms in a dark and dying world. If you look at Luke 15:8-10 you’ll see what I mean:

Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents”  (Luke 15:8-10, NKJV).

“Light a lamp” First, it can cost resources to look for the lost.  The text tells us that the woman lit a lamp in order to find her lost coin. You may not think that’s a big deal, but the lady chose to use a very precious and expensive asset by lighting the oil. That’s how important the coin was to her.

“Sweep the house” Second, it can cost time to look for the lost. Whether the English word “sweep” here literally means cleaning, or if it means searching inch-by-inch, both reflect a laborious investment as she seeks the prized coin. She did it without hesitation because of the value of that which was lost.

“Search carefully” Finally, looking for the lost will cost patience and thoroughness.  The woman “searched carefully until she found it.” She illuminated the room, searched, cleaned, and looked again. There was an emotional investment, and she continued because it was precious to her.

Yes, there is a price to be paid for reaching the lost. The question remains: Are they worth it?

Do me a favor—stop for a moment and think about those around you who have not made a decision for Christ. Think about your mom or dad, your brother or sister, your neighbor, your co-worker.

Now tell me—are they worth it? Of course they are!

In fact, our text tells us that the souls of those around us are so important that “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” 

 Every soul is precious and needs to hear the message of hope in Jesus Christ. He paid the ultimate price for you. Ask Him to help you as you extend yourself to reach others.

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Click here for a schedule of seminars, 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: Pastor Renewal Retreat with Jim Cymbala

Our week started with a Pastor Renewal Retreat featuring the ministry of Pastor Jim Cymbala.

Pastor Cymbala was born in Brooklyn, New York,  and serves as the lead pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle. Because of the challenges God has brought him through over the years, Pastor Cymbala is an amazing speaker for other ministers to hear.  So many pastors today can relate to those same challenges.

When Jim and his wife started in ministry,  they found a congregation of less than 20 people meeting in a rundown building located in an impoverished part of downtown Brooklyn. Over the years God has shown his faithfulness to them and their congregation in many incredible ways. Pastor Cymbala believes that churches are built on prayer!  Brooklyn Tabernacle’s present campus includes a large renovated theater in downtown Brooklyn where thousands of people come each week to hear the Good News of Jesus.

Jim is the author of several books,  including Fresh Wind Fresh Fire, which was named Christian book of the year. His wife, Carol, directs the six-time Grammy Award Winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir whose music has blessed people around the world.

Cove Pastor Renewal Retreats include free meals and lodging (based on availability) for those actively serving in pastoral ministry. Each retreat provides the opportunity to interact with peers and receive insight, instruction, and best practices from experienced Christian leaders. We are pleased to offer these retreats as an opportunity for pastors and their spouses to be refreshed in the Word and have some time to rest.

Of their retreat experience this weekend one pastor and his wife wrote, “We had an amazing time at The Cove with Pastor Jim Cymbala. God has a way of using servants who have a passion to share the Word to lift and edify others. We are filled-up and encouraged.” We were sold out at this weekend’s retreat, but we do have many more coming up! We encourage you to let your pastor know about these retreats! We hold them during the week so that pastors will still be free for their church’s weekend services. It will be a blessing to your pastor and their spouse.

Upcoming Pastor Renewal Retreats led by:

Jim Henry: May 1st-3rd (click here to view more)

Ed Stetzer: May 30th- June 1st ( click here to view more)

Richard Blackaby: September 4th-5th (click here to view more)


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 – Judges

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” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

KENDRA GRAHAM NOTES FROM JUDGES

So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD” (Judges 6:6, NKJV).

What does it Say?

Israel was greatly impoverished and cried out to the LORD

What Does it Mean?

We don’t need God … well, until we need God. We hate that God allows hardship.  If God really loved us then He would give us everything we wanted—when we wanted it—and would not allow any difficulty or struggle to come into our lives.  God would not allow us to hit rock bottom, that’s for sure!  Isn’t that what we think a loving God would be like?  When life hits us hard and knocks the wind out of us, we do not question our love for God—we question His love for us.

In verse one of this chapter, we read, … the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD.”  Israel decided against following God’s laws, choosing instead to follow their own hearts.  God’s chosen people believed that they knew best, and that they no longer needed God.

The Israelites started out focused on God; and as they walked with God, He allowed them to prosper. Somewhere in the midst of prosperity, however, they forgot God. Israel decided to live life the way they wanted to; they did not want to be strapped down to God’s Word and obedience to Him.  And the Scriptures tell us that Israel’s God—refusing to force obedience—allowed His people to walk away from His protective hand. God allowed the Midianites to ruin and ransack the land.  The first few verses of this chapter reveal how the Midianites were like locusts on the land—everything that had been full became empty, and the land was left barren.  The livestock and crops were taken.  The children of Israel were living in caves and dens, full of fear that the Midianites would come back and take their lives.  The lives of God’s people had not just fallen apart—they were completely dismantled.  God’s people had lost everything.  The people were greatly impoverished.

How long did it take for God’s people to come back to God? Was it right away?  Did they return before they wandered too far from God?  Did they quickly see how God loved them, instantly understanding that walking with God and following His laws was for their protection not for harm?  Sadly, no.  Israel was no different than we are.  We walk away from God. We demand God leave us alone; and then when He does, our lives really fall apart and our fists fly as we blame God for everything . In our pride and stubbornness we determine we will “show God,” so we fight and fight and fight the Midianites until we are utterly exhausted. If we’re honest, it is not Midian we are so upset with—we’re angry with God for being so far away from our terrible plight.

Meanwhile, God has not gone anywhere. It was not God who walked away.  God is still where He can be found (Deuteronomy 4:29, Isaiah 55:6), but we refuse with all that is in us to go back to Him.  So we continue to live in our pride, digging a hole deeper and deeper until we are greatly impoverished physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.  Here, in this passage in Judges, Israel fought Midian and lived in their own stubbornness for seven years. Yet God is patient and has eternity to wait.

Israel did not turn and cry out to God until they had lost everything.  They lost their land, their prosperity, their food, their homes…their pride.  Did you know that it is impossible for a prideful, arrogant person to “cry out to the LORD”?  Prayer takes humility.  Prayer takes an attitude of “I need You, God because I can’t without You.”

Seven years of hardship.  Seven years of pain.  Seven years of loss.  Seven years of bitterness towards God for allowing Midian to do such atrocities.  Seven years of living in their pride, even in the midst of humiliating circumstances.  Seven long years of trying to show God they could fix it without Him.

But God loves us enough to wait. We have such a misunderstanding of God’s love, don’t we?  When I read this passage I could not help but think of the prodigal son.  The Father allowed the son to leave, and then he waited.  Love waits.  It waits until we are done.  God’s love kept Him waiting for His people, and that same love keeps Him waiting for you and me. God has not gone anywhere. God is found in His Word, and in His Word you and I will find that God is love. He loves for His children to cry out to Him. When we cry out to God, we find Him waiting with arms open wide—not condemning us, but loving us.

You and I were created to walk with God—to know Him and to need Him. As we walk with God and cling to His promises day by day, we will not find our lives to be problem free and full of material wealth, yet we will live a life full of God.  God’s purpose and personal plan for each of us is to live a life full with Him!  In the midst of hardship we can have peace, patience, and perseverance (John 16:33, 2 Corinthians 4:8).  In the midst of prosperity we can have a thankfulness for God’s generosity and presence (Psalm 127, James 1:17).  The key to a life of purpose is God Himself.  Cry out to God today and begin anew to walk with Him.

What Does it Mean to Me?

What causes you to cry out to the LORD?

When was a time you walked with the LORD faithfully, but then fell away?

What will it take for you once again to walk with the God you were created to walk with?

LIVE IT OUT

LORD, today as I cry out to You, help me to come back to You. Teach me Your Word.  Walk with me once again as this new day starts.

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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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