Category Archives: Behind The Scenes

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.

Follow us on social media. click map

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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.

 

Follow us on social media. click map

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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.

 

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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Saturday Snapshot: Lisa Harper at The Cove

We are launching into this weekend with an amazing women’s event led by Lisa Harper! Lisa started her career with six years as the director of Focus on the Family’s national women’s ministry where she created the popular Renewing the Heart conferences, attended by almost 200,000 women, followed by six years as the women’s ministry director at a large church in Nashville. Her academic resume includes a Masters of Theological Studies with honors from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. Now a sought-after Bible teacher and speaker, Lisa was on the Women of Faith national arena tour for eight years and speaks at many other large multi-denominational events as well as at hundreds of churches all over the world.

The Cove welcomed over 500 women to this sold out event this weekend. As women gathered in the Training Center, there were lots of laughter, great conversations, and also quiet moments to focus on the Lord.

We saw mothers and daughter, friends, and more come together to spend this weekend.

Love seeing the connection made among each other and also many meet new friends that will last a lifetime.

If you have not had a chance to experience the beauty of The Cove and to be taught by some of America’s leading Bible teachers, we would love to invite to visit us! Be sure to visit our website to see all upcoming events!


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

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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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