Category Archives: Devotional

I Am Not Afraid

One of our newest interns at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Abigail Bowen, wrote a devotion entitled, “I Am Not Afraid” that we would like to share with you. 

I Am (not) Afraid

Every day we come face to face with our fears. Fears of failure, of not being enough, of rejection, loss, hurt, and many others. When our fears make their appearance, we pull our guard up and use cleaver phrases to disguise the real reason we won’t do something. “I’m not qualified,” we say. “Someone else would be better at that.” Or even, “Someone else is already doing that, and I wouldn’t be as good.” Translated, these excuses say one thing: “I am afraid.”

In the Bible, there are so many examples of courageous men and women who hardly seemed fazed by these types of fears. God, however, was intentional in making sure that there was a backstory for each of those people. He revealed character flaws in everyone so that when we read the Bible, we can see the way He works through people, despite their fears and flaws.

Moses is a man God worked through in incredible ways. But the grand moment when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and called him to free the Israelite’s, he made excuses about his qualifications for the task.

In Exodus 3:11, right after God finished telling Moses His desire for him to rescue His people from slavery, Moses responded, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” To which God explained, “I will certainly be with you” (3:12). That wasn’t enough for Moses. He kept asking for signs and proof that God was who He said He was. He said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you” (4:1). So, God gave him more signs and more miracles. Even after he exhausted all of his questions, and God thoroughly proved Himself, Moses had one more excuse: “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (4:10).

Whenever I read this story, I always think to myself, “Moses, C’mon! God is literally talking to you through a burning bush what more do you need?” But then, I remember how many times I am scared to do what I know God is calling me to do. I turn to him with all my excuses and questions, trying to convince Him that He has the wrong person for the job.

That’s what fear does in our lives—it keeps us from listening to the burning-bush moments from God. It tells us that we need more evidence that this is what we’re supposed to do, where we’re supposed to go. Or, fear comes in and simply tells us that we aren’t qualified.

We all know how the story ended: Moses went to Egypt and rescued the people, but he could only do that because he trusted God. God doesn’t rely on what we can do; He focuses on what he can do through us. So, when God calls you to something, and life throws the doubts into your mind, remember what He promised Moses.

“I will certainly be with you” Exodus 3:12 (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 Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Faith to Walk on Water

At The Cove, we have morning devotions with our staff. These devotions are led by managers of each of the departments. We also have employees who write and share devotions from time to time. One of our managers, Michelle Coleman recently wrote a devotion entitled, “Faith to Walk on Water” that we would like to share with you.

Faith to Walk on Water

Our devotion comes from Matthew 14:22-23

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,  and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.  Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.  Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

What does it take to have the kind of faith that Peter had to step out of the boat and to walk on the water? When we read this passage, we sometimes see the Peter that did not focus on Christ and began to sink. However, there was the other Peter. The one that had the courage and bravery to actually step out of the boat. As we study Peter, we see a disciple that wavered in his faith at times. He was passionate,  but also uncontrollable in his emotions.  In this moment of stepping out of the boat, he showed his passion and his boldness in getting to God. He was the only disciple that even thought about stepping out of the boat. However, when he took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink.

Do you remember that moment that you accepted Jesus into your heart? It was a defining moment in my life. I remember being so excited about this new relationship. I wanted to learn everything I could about Jesus. I was bold in telling others about Him and could not get enough of the Bible. This passionate enthusiasm began to diminish when I went through some tough times. I remember hitting my first “storm” a few months later and my thoughts immediately turned to the situation in front of me. I started processing how I could fix the situation. I took my eyes off Jesus and began to get overwhelmed and fearful in looking at the issues that surrounded me.  When I finally turned my attention back to God in the midst of this time, I had an overwhelming sense of peace and a new perspective.

What we saw in Peter on the water was a man with a Kingdom mindset. A man who had a focus on Jesus and not on the world around him. By having this mindset, God enabled Peter to do the impossible. Peter had the strength, courage, and ability to walk on the water in the middle of the storm.  When he took his eyes off Jesus, the fear set in.

I do not know what you may be going through today. What I do know is that God can give you His peace in the midst of the storm. He can give you the ability to not only get through this time, but can do greater than you can even imagine. His Word states in Proverbs 18:10:

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
    the righteous run to it and are safe.” 

It all comes down to having a singular focus on Jesus. It is having a Kingdom mindset in every situation. Peter grew in his faith after this moment and led one of the greatest movements in history of spreading the Gospel. Later in Peter’s ministry, he was able to encourage people who were being persecuted for their faith in God. It was a very dark and painful time for Christians. Peter said to them, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). He pointed people back to a focus on Jesus. To “gird up the loins of your mind” meant to take every thought captive that was not from the Lord. Peter knew that the only way the people would endure this horrific time in history was to focus everything on Jesus.

As we end this devotion,  a question remains. Where is your focus? Are you trusting God for every situation in your life right now? He will calm the storm and give you the tools to walk through the toughest of times. He will give you His peace when there is none.

My prayer is that you have the faith that Peter demonstrated to trust God in this season and have a singular focus on Him.

If you would like to know more about having a relationship with Jesus Christ, please click here. He loves you and has a great plan for 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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Struggling in the Stillness

At The Cove, we have morning devotions with our staff. These devotions are led by managers of each of the departments. We also have employees who write and share devotions from time to time. One of our staff members, Lori Brown recently wrote a devotion entitled, “Struggling in the Stillness” that we would like to share with you.

Struggling in the Stillness

“The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” Exodus 14:14 (ESV).

Exodus 14 encourages me every time I read it.  After 400 years of slavery and torture in Egypt, God creates a way for the Israelite’s to escape bondage and head to the promised land. Life is good and filled with much rejoicing as the people rush out of their homes and toward the Red Sea. But things get tricky at the water’s edge. Reality hits hard as the people acknowledge they have two choices: to die at the hands of Pharoah’s advancing armies or drown in the deep waters. Yikes! It is any wonder that the group’s songs of praise turn to panic as they feel trapped and alone.


Each time I read about their panic, I can’t help but imagine God looking down from heaven, shaking His head, saying, “Really? Could you not trust me for at least 24 or 48 hours? Are you really going to let those deep waters put you in panic mode? Do you not believe anything I said or promised Moses? And by the way, how did you lose your obedience and trust in me that fast? You haven’t even been gone a week from Egyptian bondage.”

Sadly, I see myself in their fear and panic. Despite God’s repeated blessings, there are days when I wrap myself in a mantle of disobedience and defiance, believing the God who promised to deliver just left the building. On Monday morning after a weekend of worship and praise, I say I’m going to trust God with all my heart, but by lunch time Tuesday, when life’s challenges hit, I turn into a grumbling, complaining wilderness soul who seriously believes God is pushing me back to Egypt.

As I grow louder with my grumbling complaints, I imagine God looking down and whispering in my ear, “Really? Are we going to do this again? How long are you going to keep running? Don’t you think it’s time to trust? Isn’t it long past the time to be still and confident?”
Like a preschooler on the front pew, I struggle to be still or quiet for more than a few seconds. Well, hold on. Let’s take this one step further and admit the real issue, since it’s not just impatience: I REALLY struggle in the silence and quiet that accompanies a season of waiting on God to act because my mind registers his silence as total abandonment.

While I know in my head that God has a mind-blowing “Red Sea” plan to make a way in my impossible circumstances, just as he did for the Israelite’s, I still believe that I have to “fix” things, meaning I can’t fully trust Him. But lack of trust and an unwillingness to be still while he prepares and provides only leads me to a good, old-fashioned spiritual melt down. Anger and grief finally yield to pure exhaustion when I reach the end of my rope and yet again admit that I’m not the one who can part the waters.


If you’re also at that point of fatigue, frustration, and doubt – that place of realizing that none of your efforts can ultimately fix the problem or make a way in the wilderness, then take hope in this promise today. Your God is STILL in the business of rescuing His people, but not without stillness before Him. Being still and waiting for Him to make a way is an act of obedience, and God desires that full surrender before He can show the path. God cares for His creation, so take time to be still while He guides you into his perfect will.


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: A New Season

As we move into this next season, we can expect that change is coming. We see it between summer and fall, as the temperatures cool slightly and the leaves slowly begin to change. We see it as kids go back to school and families  wrap up vacations and return to work.  We all know it’s inevitable that we will experience change in our lives, in ways big and small.

As we anticipate that change is coming, what are some ways that we can be prepared and stay firm in our foundation? Let’s take a look at Psalm 28:7, ” The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (NIV).

No matter what change comes in our lives, it cannot destroy the unshakeable truth that our God’s love for us never changes.  He is our strength and shield for everything.  We can always lean on Him for the support that we need. Change and transition is hard for most people, but it becomes less difficult when we recall the promise that God is always  our firm foundation.  One of the ways that we can stay strong is by trusting in His Word,  meditating on verses just like this one and holding tight to His promise.

Another way to stay strong is by simply acknowledging and anticipating that change will come. It may come through a trial or just by a shift in life circumstances. Maybe it is a positive change that you direct, knowing that you want something new. Knowing that change will arise can prepare you for it.  As we look at 1 Peter, we see that the Apostle wrote this letter to his Christian brothers and sisters who were getting ready to face a change that would threaten their very lives: persecution.

In this short epistle (letter), Peter encourages the believers and instructs them in how to face the looming persecution they will undergo because of their faith. He tells them to, ” gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13, NKJV). When he spoke of “girding up [their] mind,”  Peter was referring to what many of those early Christians knew as “girding up your robe.” In the historical context of this verse, the term is reminiscent of the ancient Near Eastern custom of pulling up long robes and tucking them a belt when running so that nothing would be loose. In this passage, Peter is telling them to do this with their mind. He is saying that their focus needs to be on Heaven and on Jesus. Peter understood that when believers are heading into persecution, they have to make sure that their only thought pattern and focus is the Lord. He knew that these Christians would not endure if they did not have that singular focus in their mind. They could not allow “loose” thoughts to run wild. As we acknowledge that change will come to us in the days ahead, let’s remember to prepare our minds by focusing on Christ and Him alone. The enemy may want to put doubt, fear, and other things in our minds, but we will stand firm as we keep a singular focus on Him.

Another way to stand strong is through worship. Psalm 59:16 states, “But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.” As we move through change and things begin to feel uncomfortable, that is the time to press-in even more in our worship of the Lord. As we enter His Presence, everything changes! Our perspective changes, and we gain hope and strength. We have peace. As we walk through seasons of change, we must pursue His Presence in the difficult moments.

How are you going to go through the changes that will come this year? How about the battles you know are inevitable. We can anticipate opposition, just like the people Peter spoke to in 1 Peter. Because of the words the Lord spoke to them through Peter’s letter, they had a plan of action when that time came. They were prepared; and because they were prepared, the First Century Church exploded! As those early believers kept their eyes on Christ, they did not waver; and as a result, everyone around them deeply desired what they had. Those around them wanted that eternal promise.

We have the same opportunity to show Christ to everyone as we ourselves go through periods of change. As people watch us go through this next season, will they be drawn to Christ in us? Will they want what we have? We must make up our minds now as to how we will go through this next season. He is with us and will never leave 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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Devotional- Rooted in Christ

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”  (Matthew 7:24-25)

When the storms come in your life, are you shaken? It is normal for all of us to experience feeling uncomfortable, unsettled, fearful, heartbroken, or even like the wind has been knocked out of our sails. We will feel the blow. This verse clearly says that the winds blew and beat on that house. When we go through storms, it will sometimes feel like we have been hit mentally, emotionally, and physically. It hurts. We will feel it. Jesus is not saying that we will not feel it. He is telling us that if we are rooted in Him and in His Word that we will not fall. It will not destroy us. He gives us the tools we need to withstand the storm.

He gives us strength. The kind of strength to endure any storm in our lives. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3)

He gives us peace. A peace that we cannot attain from the world. It is a peace that is lasting. A peace that will cover us! John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” We have nothing to fear when we are in His presence. When we are rooted in Him. He is the Prince of Peace. He says that,These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

He gives us joy in the midst of the storm! It is one thing to just get through the storms of life by simply just getting through them. But God offers us to have joy in these tough times. We can have joy because through the storms we are gaining strength.  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

It is up to us to study and read His Word. It is our lifeline for everything we need in our lives. After we read it, we must act on it. We must put it to the test and activate it in our lives. The Word says in James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. ” That means that we take His Word and literally stand on what it says. When storms come and we know that they will, we must root  ourselves so deep in Him that it will not shake or move us.  Take some time to memorize some key verses like the ones above to call upon when you need them.  Listen to worship music and give Him thanks for the blessings in your life.  We would also love to encourage you and pray with you. You can click here and we have someone available to chat with you right now!

May God be with you today and always!


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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