Category Archives: Special Events

PRAYER NOTE: MAY 2018

Prayer Note(3)

THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING AND PRAYING

A survey of the book of Acts reminds us of the importance of prayer in the early days of the church. In fact, the church was birthed in prayer. Try to imagine yourself as part of the gathering of believers in that first “Upper Room Prayer Vigil.”  In obedience to Christ’s command to “stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49, ESV), they had gathered in Jerusalem to “stay and pray.”

And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.   All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.  (Acts 1:13-15, ESV)

PEACE AMONG PRAYER PARTNERS

Acts 2:1 tells us that at the moment of the coming of the Holy Spirit on that day of Pentecost, “They were all with one accord in one place.”

In his commentary on the book of Acts, Matthew Henry explains how prayer played a part in bringing this group of disparate individuals into that peaceful state of unity:

“And here they were with one accord. We cannot forget how often, while their Master was with them, there were strifes among them, who should be the greatest; but now all these strifes were at an end, we hear no more of them. What they had received already of the Holy Ghost, when Christ breathed on them, had in a good measure rectified the mistakes upon which those contests were grounded, and had disposed them to holy love. They had prayed more together of late than usual (Acts 1:14), and this made them love one another better.”

As that relatively small group of believers gathered, they were empowered by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the gospel with boldness. The practice of prayer was a regular occurrence in those early days. God’s Word was proclaimed, the church grew, and the prayer-circle expanded: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42, ESV).  Christ’s church was built on the rock-solid foundation of the gospel and God’s gracious response to the prayers of His people.

CALLED TO PRAY AND PROCLAIM

During His brief time of earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus had shown by example the importance of spending time in prayer and communion with the Father (see Matthew 14:23, Luke 9:28, and Mark 1:35), and as they sought to obey Christ’s final command to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15, NASB), these early believers followed His example and gathered often to pray.

Yet even in its infancy, the newborn church experienced its share of growing pains. Despite the prayers, conflicts arose and there was “trouble in the nursery.” Today’s church nursery scuffles usually involve a toddler hoarding animal crackers or snatching a toy, but back then the dispute was over the daily distribution of bread:

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distributionAnd the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this dutyBut we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’ And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of AntiochThese they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.  And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:1-7, ESV).

This passage highlights for us the apostles’ wisdom in leading the infant church. They understood the importance of caring for the physical needs of their flock, yet they would not allow it to take priority over the spiritual feeding of souls. Their recommendation to appoint “men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (6:3) to serve tables and oversee food distribution is proof that the leaders of the early church clearly understood their own apostolic calling: to pray and to preach.

PRAYER IS STILL PRIMARY

Fast-forward to today. Regardless of membership roles, music style, or the number of likes on a Facebook page, Christ’s church is still being built by praying and proclaiming. This same principle applies to us as Cove staff. As we seek to serve God by welcoming His people and proclaiming His Word, we know our efforts will only be effective if they are preceded by prayer.

JOB FAIRS AND FAITHFUL PRAYERS

Two job fair events were recently held at The Cove, and we praise God for the tremendous response. We as Cove staff prayed often prior to and during these events, and we continue to pray as our leadership proceeds with applicant interviews and hiring decisions. Please join us in asking the Lord to bring just the right people to serve Him at The Cove. Although we are in need of additional staff, our first priority is to seek God’s face for wisdom, guidance and provision. If you serve in an area with open positions, your workload may be heavy. Remember the psalmist’s instruction to “cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22, NASB), and continue to remain faithful in your work and in your prayers. As our founder Billy Graham once said, “You cannot afford to be too busy to pray.”

Keep praying and seeking!

—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 May.

MAY CALL TO PRAYER

Jim Henry — May 1-3
(Emcee: John Parrish; Worship Leader: John Chisum; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish)
Pastor Renewal Retreat— Jesus: The Joy of the Journey

 SeniorCelebration: Don Wilton with the Burchfield Brothers — May 7-9
(Emcee/Worship Leader: Tom Bledsoe; Musicians: John Innes, Burchfield Brothers; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Living it Up (1 Peter)

 Ron Hutchcraft — May 9-11
(Emcee: Michael Everhart; Worship Leader: Mark Christian; Pastor-in-Residence: David Taylor)
Uncommon Courage: Joshua’s Five Bold Choices for Our Uncharted Times

An Evening at The Cove with Veritas — May 11
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

Chip Ingram — May 25-27
(Emcee: Bill Wolfe; Worship Leader: Michael O’Brien; Pastors-in-Residence: John Parrish and David Taylor)
Military Marriage Retreat — God’s Blueprint for a Great Marriage

 Ed Stetzer — May 30-June 1
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: John Elliott; Pastor-in-Residence: Preston Parrish)
Pastor Renewal Retreat— Leading as Agents of Gospel Transformation

Prayer Note — January 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)

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:6, NASB).

Remember 2017? Terror attacks. Wildfires. Violent protests. Nuclear threats. Political divisions. A concert shooting. School shootings. Church shootings. Sexual assaults. Hurricanes. Floods. Earthquakes. Amid the chaos, confusion and sadness brought on by many of these tragic events, we saw glimpses of goodness, bravery, compassion and human kindness. Brave soldiers, firemen, police officers, EMTs, relief workers and ordinary citizens ran toward danger rather than away from it, saving lives, relieving burdens and providing glimmers of hope in the midst of heartbreak. Some made headlines while others did not.

One positive event that occurred last summer brought Americans together from coast to coast, and the hype surrounding it was almost as memorable as the event itself. Dubbed “The Great American Eclipse,” the total solar eclipse that took place in the skies over the United States on August 21 of 2017 was an unforgettable shared experience. Scores of Americans laid down hard-earned cash to buy goofy-looking protective glasses in cardboard frames. Some traveled great distances to gather in public squares, on mountaintops or in open fields along the path of totality. Many of us at The Cove even donned those classy protective shades to glimpse the eclipse from the Training Center deck or parking lot!

While many Christians were moved to expressions of awe and praise to God for the breathtaking display of His handiwork during the celestial event, there were also plenty of unbelievers who were moved to near-religious fervor at the spectacle—praising nature, the sun or “The Universe.” God’s common grace allows us all to recognize beauty when we see it. Almost equally as miraculous was the fact that despite our political or religious affiliation or skin color, we all were looking up in unison as the path of the eclipse moved from the Oregon coast and across the country to South Carolina.

As we reflect back on 2017 and look ahead into the new year, we may be tempted to give in to feelings of fear, anxiety, anger or disappointment. Some of us may progress into 2018 with heavy hearts as we still move in the shadows of a serious personal trial or loss. Like the shadow cast when the sun, moon and Earth aligned last August, we stand in a dark and gloomy place, wondering when the light will return. It’s in these places where we realize rose-colored glasses provide no help. We need much more than positive thinking to carry us through. We need to look up.

“Lift up your eyes to the sky, then look to the earth beneath; for the sky will vanish like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not wane” (Isaiah 51:6, NASB).

Despite the very real shadows that may obscure your path as you begin a new year, look up and acknowledge God’s sovereignty and seek Him through prayer and study of His Word. As we intentionally seek to view the world and our circumstances in the light of God’s eternal truth and unbreakable promises, we can gain the courage needed to walk through the shadowy places, knowing He walks beside us though we may not see His face.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4, NASB).

Before plunging ahead into the activities and events of this new year, let’s take the time to look up. Let’s pray and seek the face of our Shepherd, asking Him to light our path, guide our steps and encourage our hearts. His promises are true and we can trust Him!

“The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11, NASB).

 Keep praying and seeking!
—Donna Riesen


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events taking place on The Cove property during the month of January.

Women’s morning Bible study: January 9-February 27
(Teacher: Jane Derrick; Worship Leader/Emcee: Carole James)
Living the Blessed Life (Matthew 5:1-12)
Register online today.

Women’s evening Bible study: January 9-February 20
(Teacher: Kendra Graham; Emcee: Jill Gottenstrater)
Live Bold (Selected Scripture)
Register online today.

NOTE:
 
Can’t make it in person? Kendra’s Bible study will also be streaming live each Tuesday evening on Periscope, via Twitter, where you can watch from the comfort of your own home.

Bring Your Shoeboxes to The Cove for OCC National Collection Week

 

OCC Promo

It’s that time of year again to pack your shoebox(es) for Operation Christmas Child! 

A project of Samaritan’s Purse, OCC’s mission is to provide local partners around the world with shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies as a means of reaching out to children in their own communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Just like years past, The Cove will once again be a drop-off location for your shoeboxes during the National Collection Week, November 13-20, 2017.

We’re located at 1 Porter’s Cove Road, Asheville, NC (Just off of I-40, exit 55).

Learn how to pack a shoebox here, and come drop it off at The Cove during the following hours:

  • 9:00am-5:00pm ET Monday, November 13 through
    Friday, November 17
  • 12:00pm-5:00pm ET on Saturday, November 18
  • 1:00pm-6:00pm ET on Sunday November 19
  • 9:00am-8:00pm ET on Monday, November 20

Radio station 106.9 The Light will be at The Cove drop-off location on Friday, November 17 from 2:00pm – 6:00pm. They will be giving out free Christmas CDs to the first 25 families to bring shoeboxes.

We look forward to seeing you!

Watch this video to learn more about OCC and the amazing impact they have on children across the globe.

An Easter Message From Will Graham

EASTER MESSAGE WILL GRAHAM(1)

Perfection. Have you ever seen it? Sure, we may gaze at a snowflake, a flower or a child’s smile and feel that we are looking at perfection. But examine more closely – that snowflake will soon dissolve, the flower is missing a petal, and the child will certainly have his share of misbehavior. The fact of the matter is that in this world, very little is without blemish or defect.

The same can be said of the Old Testament sacrifices. They were not perfect and did not permanently purify anything. They had to be repeated constantly, and they never truly dealt with sin and judgment.

But when we look at the sacrifice of Jesus, the most pivotal moment in history, we witness something that is so perfect that it changes the course of eternity. Let’s visit Hebrews 9:23-28.

First, Jesus’ sacrifice purified everything—in heaven and on earth. Verses 23 and 24 share that not only the “copies of heavenly things” (in other words, the things of man) would be purified, but “the heavenly things themselves.” Christ’s blood had to be over everything, and therefore even the way into heaven must be covered and cleansed with blood as man comes to God. The sacrifice of Jesus – the very reason we celebrate Easter – is what makes it possible for us to enter into heaven. We have been cleansed through the blood of Jesus on the cross, all the way to the heavenly realm.

Second, Jesus’ sacrifice does not need to be repeated. Under the old covenant, the High Priest had to annually make atonement for the sins of the nation on Yom Kippur, year after year. Not true with Jesus’ sacrifice. Verses 25 and 26 explain that there is no longer a need for repeated blood sacrifices, as Jesus “…has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” He never had to repeat it because it was a perfect sacrifice—the shed blood of a man for men. That is why, as Christians, we don’t have to fear death.

Finally, Jesus’ sacrifice is perfect because it took away judgment. My friends, I’m sorry to break it to you, but – short of Christ’s return – you are going to die someday. Verse 27 says, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” We will all eventually pass from this world and stand before the Lord. However, thanks to the finished perfect sacrifice of Jesus, He has taken that judgment for those who believe. Verse 28: “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” What an incredible grace that we’ve been given! The debt has been paid!

What is the point of Hebrews 9:23-28? It’s this: Jesus’ sacrifice was so perfect that it purified everything from you and me, to heaven itself; it never had to be repeated, and took away our judgment.

As you enjoy your Easter celebration, please take a moment to pause and appreciate Christ’s perfect sacrifice; the purifying final act that took away judgment for those that call upon His name. What a joy to place our eternal hope in Him!

God bless you!  — Will Graham


We’d love to see you in-person at The Cove…

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Interested in holding your own church retreat, conference or ministry event at The Cove?  Click here for information.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden.  Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Christian Blogger MeetUp at The Cove

Do you have a story to tell?  Have you been called to encourage others and share what God has been teaching you?

Join us at The Cove for a Christian Blogger MeetUp on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.!

Come network with fellow Christian bloggers, learn tips and strategies that will help your message reach more people, and participate in round-table discussions on blogging.


While attendance is free, your RSVP is required.

Click here to register online.

Space is limited, so reserve your spot today!

Christian_Blogger_Meetup_Pinterest_2016

Saturday Snapshot – Christmas Already?

If you’re like most of us and haven’t started humming Christmas hymns quite yet, you might be after seeing what’s now selling (like hotcakes) in Ruth’s Attic Bookstore!

You might be thinking, “Christmas stuff, already??”

Yes!  It’s for those organized people that actually do their Christmas shopping before the 2nd week of December!

Christmas in the bookstore Sept 9 2016 sm
Ornaments, ornaments, and more ornaments!
Christmas in the bookstore Sept 9 2016 3 sm
Christmas cards galore!
Christmas in the bookstore Sept 9 2016 2 sm
The Reason for the season — Jesus!

Since we’re on the subject of Christmas, we’d love to hear from you:

What is your favorite Christmas hymn or carol?
What is your favorite Christmas food?
What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Leave your answers in the comment section below.


Would you like to attend a Carol Sing, Women’s Christmas Luncheon, or a Christmas at The Cove dinner and concert?  We’d love to have you!  Click here for our Christmas events schedule.

Saturday Snapshot – Photo Challenge Recap

14Day_June_PhotoChallenge_Header_2016

The Cove’s 14-Day #InTheGardenPhotoChallenge is all done!
We debuted our photo challenge in the Saturday Snapshot post
three weeks ago.

#InTheGardenPhotoChallenge was all about putting a spotlight on the aesthetic and spiritual beauty in and surrounding a garden.

On The Cove’s Instagram (@thecovenc) feed we shared
images from the newly opened Ruth’s Prayer Garden each day.

How it worked: We asked everyone to post one photo per day on their personal Instagram and/or Facebook that followed our daily prompt. Everyone then included the hashtag #InTheGardenPhotoChallenge in their post!

Following are the images we shared, as well as some from others who have joined in and shared from their neck of the woods.

14-Day_June_Photo_Challenge_Pinterest_and_Blog

June 1: Bloom

BLOOM(small)

June 2: Light

LIGHT 1

June 3: Tree Bark

BARK(small)

June 4: Sky

SKY(small)

June 5: Cloud

CLOUD(small)

June 6: Green

GREEN(small)

 June 7: Moss

MOSS(small)

June 8: Stone

STONE(small)

June 9: Fragrance

FRAGRANCE(small)

June 10: Bird

BIRD(small)

June 11: Pathway

PATHWAY(small)

June 12: Prayer

PRAYER(small)

June 13: Growth

GROWTH(small)

June 14: Sanctuary 

SANCTUARY(small)

Thanks to everyone who has shared photos of their gardens with us!

See some of their photos here:

Screenshot_4

 

Screenshot_1

Screenshot_3

We hope you’ll make plans to visit Ruth’s Prayer Garden at the Chatlos Memorial Chapel and Visitors Center.

Click here for directions and operating hours.
Make sure to leave time to tour the Chatlos Memorial Chapel & Visitors Center while you’re here too.  Both tours are free.

And don’t forget to follow The Cove on Instagram @thecovenc.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Saturday Snapshot – Photo Challenge

14Day_June_PhotoChallenge_Header_2016
Do you have an Instagram or Facebook account? We would love for you to participate in our 14-Day Photo Challenge beginning June 1.

Our theme is “In The Garden.”  We chose this because we will be celebrating the opening of Ruth’s Prayer Garden (and sharing photos from this garden), right here at The Cove in Asheville, NC, on June 2, 2016!

So, here’s how you can take part in our 14-Day Photo Challenge: Beginning June 1, share one photo per day on your Facebook or Instagram account based on the photo prompts we’ve outlined below and include the hashtag: #InTheGardenPhotoChallenge. 

By using the hashtag #InTheGardenPhotoChallenge we’ll all be able to see what each other are posting in that one central search location.    

14 Day June Photo Challenge Pinterest and Blog

Don’t worry if you’re not a professional photographer–neither are we!  We will be using both an iPhone and a Canon camera to take our pictures.

Need some ideas of what to share? Post a picture of the flowers blooming in your yard (or your neighbor’s yard), the bumble bees pollinating the blooms in your garden, or a photo of the special place you call your spiritual sanctuary. Each day we will be sharing photos from Ruth’s Prayer Garden.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we will be sharing in our
14-Day Photo Challenge! One of Ruth Bell Graham’s favorite flowers was a rose. What a fitting bloom to commemorate her legacy in Ruth’s Prayer Garden at The Cove. 

SM_Rose_in_Garden_2016

FYI: Anyone taking part in the photo challenge may have their photos shared by The Cove and other participants. 


We hope you’ll make plans to visit Ruth’s Prayer Garden at the Chatlos Memorial Chapel and Visitors Center.  Click here for directions and operating hours.  Make sure to leave time to tour the Chatlos Memorial Chapel & Visitors Center while you’re here too.  Both tours are free.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Something New at The Cove: Ruth’s Prayer Garden

67-7721-sm

“We cannot pray and remain the same. We cannot pray and have our homes remain the same. We cannot pray and have the world about us remain the same. God has decreed to act in response to prayer. ‘Ask,’ He commands us. And Satan trembles for fear we will.”  —Ruth Bell Graham,  Legacy of a Pack Rat

By Donna Riesen:

Ruth Bell Graham was a woman of prayer; and Ruth’s Prayer Garden, opening June 2, 2016 at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, is designed to honor her memory and encourage others to pray. As the wife of evangelist Billy Graham, Ruth’s schedule was packed full with commitments—at times she traveled with her husband to crusades around the world, yet most often Ruth supported him behind the scenes and out of the spotlight by shouldering the responsibility of caring for their five children at their home in Montreat. This remarkable woman could not have had the impact she had on her husband, her family, and the world, without the daily discipline of prayer.

Winding along pathways surrounding Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Ruth’s Prayer Garden will offer a peaceful place for prayer and meditation amid the natural beauty and serenity of The Cove.

“My grandfather wanted this place to be known as a mountain of prayer,” says Will Graham, executive director of The Cove and grandson of Billy and Ruth. “There’s prayer going out all over The Cove, from our Intercessory Prayer Team to our staff prayers to our Personal Spiritual Retreats. There are so many needs facing us today, we can’t pray enough!”

“Like The Cove itself, this garden is designed to be an extension of my grandparents’ home at Montreat,” Will says.

With five children in the household, the Graham home was a place of laughter, activity, and the usual childhood scrapes and squabbles; but more importantly, it was a place of prayer.

RUTGH WITH KIDS

“I would go down to her room late at night,” daughter Anne Graham Lotz remembers. “I would see the light on underneath the door and I’d go in, and she would be on her knees in prayer.”

Daughter Ruth Graham reflects, “Faith was the very heartbeat of life at Little Piney Cove. We began and ended each day as a family on our knees in prayer.”

Ruth’s Prayer Garden was created to honor and perpetuate this legacy of prayer.

The garden was also designed to be a reflection of Ruth’s love of nature and appreciation for the beauty of her North Carolina mountain home. Lucas Jack, horticulturist and supervisor of Grounds Maintenance at The Cove, explains how great care was taken to convey Ruth’s personality as a gardener and plant- lover. When asked about the process of planning and designing the gardenscape, Jack noted, “Everything that I know of Ruth Graham has been learned secondhand, which is difficult when trying to piece together a ‘botanical personality.’ I learned she really didn’t have dislikes but had a lot of favorites. She loved color and appreciated gardens in general, and we’ve tried to convey her botanical personality by including many of the plants and flowers she loved.”

SC1EC45213102809000

Roses, daylilies, touch-me- nots will line the winding paths. “Our goal was not to overwhelm the visitor with the landscape,” Jack says, “but to allow them to enjoy the experience and feel as if they are part of it.”

Ruth’s love for color and beauty may have been the result of two strong childhood influences: her early childhood years in China as the daughter of medical missionaries, and her teen years in Montreat.

According to grandson Will, “My great-grandfather Nelson Bell loved gardens and gardening. He loved flowers and plants, and he used them to teach lessons to his children. When we work with our hands in a garden, God teaches us things.”

If she were here today, Ruth Bell Graham would probably agree. When you visit Ruth’s Prayer Garden, enjoy the view and take time to smell the roses; then bow your head and echo the disciples’ request to Jesus: “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1, NKJV)

75B-4288-2

We hope you’ll make plans to visit Ruth’s Prayer Garden at the Chatlos Memorial Chapel and Visitors Center.  Click here for directions and operating hours.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Message from Will Graham: An Easter Message

EASTER MESSAGE WILL GRAHAM(1)

But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with HIs wounds we are healed. ~ Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)

While the New Testament details the crucifixion extensively, my own personal belief is that there is no greater text dealing with the suffering of Christ than Isaiah 53:5. As we near Easter — a time in which we remember and celebrate the finished work of Jesus on the cross — I’m once again reminded of this emotional, poignant passage. This single verse shows so much about our own human brokenness, and Christ’s incredible sacrifice.

When Christ suffered, it was not pointless suffering, but it was in order to meet four of man’s greatest needs.

Forgiveness: Isaiah says that, “He [the Messiah] was pierced for our transgressions.” The word for transgression is that of rebellion or revolting. In other words, we have rebelled against God and His commandments. We’ve sinned against Him, and we need forgiveness. God’s answer is that He sent His only Son Jesus to shed His blood for our sins in order to forgive us of our sin. (See Hebrews 9:22)

Substitution: Man is not only sinful but he is guilty and deserves punishment for breaking God’s commandments. When we break laws in society, punishment is given to us. For example, we receive a fine when we are caught speeding. However, when we break God’s law, the punishment is death. (See Romans 6:23) Therefore, man’s need is not necessarily to get out of punishment or a reduction in punishment, but man needs a substitute. Jesus was pierced, crushed, chastised and wounded — for OUR sins. And because Jesus loved us, he chose to take our place. He became our substitute.

Peace: Since we broke the covenant with God, our natural human status is to be in conflict with the Lord; the opposite of peace. Knowing this, and knowing that we could never afford to pay for such a peace, God gave His Son to take the wrath the God in order to appease His holy nature. Man was in debt to God and God paid His own bill. Jesus’ chastisement on the cross enables us to have peace with Him.

Healing: Due to our own actions, we allow sin to come into our bodies and start to bring about death. This is spiritual death, and because it is spiritual, we need a divine cure: Jesus. Christ’s death on the cross allows spiritual healing to come to our dying souls. By His wounds we are healed.

Our sinful human nature is not a surprise to God. Yet in His love for us, He provided a way for us to find forgiveness, substitution, peace and healing through Jesus.

Perhaps as you read this, you are beginning to realize that you’ve never found forgiveness, or healing, or peace. You’ve struggled to do the right thing, trying to earn your way to heaven, only to fall time after time.

If this sounds familiar, now would be the perfect time to find out the true meaning of Easter, and place your faith in the One whose death and resurrection we celebrate this season!

God bless you.  — Will Graham