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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

 

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

Where is Your Focus? Devotion on Psalm 16:8-11

Where is your focus? 

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:8-11)

I love how this verse starts: “I keep my eyes always on the Lord.” We must ask why? Why does this verse start with these words? As we read  further in the passage we see the result of keeping our eyes on the Lord. Let’s take a look at what happens when we do this.

  1. He is our strength.  “With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” The Word tells us in Psalm 61:3, ” For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.” Also we see his strength in our lives in Psalm 28:7  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.” When we keep our eyes focused on the Lord, He is always with us. Regardless of the  battles we may be facing, He is our strength. With Him by our side, we will not be shaken. We can rest in complete assurance that He is with us in all situations. Even in our thought life.

Have you ever had something come into your mind that gave you fear, frustration, anxiety, or anger? These things are not from the Lord. These are things the enemy uses as a strategy to shake us up. You see, satan knows that if we take our eyes off the things of the Lord, then our eyes will be focused on what he has distracted us to see. The Lord says that we should focus on, “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9) When we focus our eyes and think of Him, we have peace. We have joy. We will not be shaken.

2. He gives us joy and He is faithful. Verse 9 states, “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.” As we just saw in Philippians, we will have joy and peace, and we can rest when our eyes are focused on God.  He takes delight in us and views us as His perfect and most beautiful creation. He is faithful to us and is always with us.

We see His goodness in Zephaniah 3:17 ” The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”  This beautiful time with the Lord is what the enemy wants to steal from you. How can you stay in this place of perfect peace? A place where you have lasting joy, no matter your situation? The answer is simply by putting your focus on Him always. 

3. He gives us direction and all eternal pleasures!You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” What a way to end this passage! By keeping our eyes on the Lord, we can know the path of life, we are filled with joy and His eternal pleasures! No wonder the enemy would love for us to take our eyes off the Lord. 

 My prayer for you today is that you turn your eyes and your focus to Jesus. That you combat anything that the enemy of this world tries to use to distract you. I pray that you can remember the Lord’s protection and love for you.  As you finish reading this blog, I would ask you to focus on the words in this next passage. This is His promise to you today. This is what He will give you when your eyes are on Him. 

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’  Surely he will save you  from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you,no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. ‘Because heloves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.'” Psalm 91

Have a blessed day!


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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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.

 

Follow us on social media. click map

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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

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

Prayer Note: April 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)

JUST WHO DO WE THINK WE’RE TALKING TO?

“…in Jesus’ name, amen.” We often end our prayers in this way—probably more times than we can count. But what do we do after our petitions have been made and our prayers ended? After saying amen, have you ever raised your head, risen from your knees and stooped right back down to pick up your burden?


The little girl stood with tiny feet planted in the cool, wet sand. A strong, salty breeze blew and the hot sun warmed her skin. Not yet old enough to comprehend the immensity of the vast ocean before her, she busied herself with the task of collecting water in her little red pail. With patient determination she squatted low and tipped the bucket down to allow the incoming wave to fill it. Then, squealing with excitement, up she jumped, grinning as she ran, cool seawater splashing over the sides of the bucket as she scampered across the sandy shore. Her parents watched, amused at the seriousness with which their little one viewed this endeavor. The tiny water-bearer grinned up at them as she dumped the seawater into the hole she’d dug earlier. She watched with a mixture of fascination and exasperation as the thirsty ground drank up most of her offering. Then, shrugging her shoulders she rose and ran back down to the shoreline for another fill-up. With sober determination she knelt and tipped the bucket down to allow the next wave to fill it. Satisfied, she lifted her head, scanning the huge incoming waves with wide eyes and an expression of surprise. “Mama,” she cried, “it just keeps on coming!” Then she lifted her half-filled bucket and began making her way back across the sandy beach…

How often my prayer life resembles the activity of this industrious child on her first trip to the beach. I bow my head and dutifully tilt my bucket of need, prepared to catch the incoming flow of blessings I’ve requested of my Father on behalf of myself and those I love. After pouring out praise and petitions, I rise and think the ‘task’ of prayer is complete. Another item checked off my list. Yet often the depth of need seems to remain or grow bigger. Worry and anxiety return to keep me company. I’ve poured out my bucket of prayers, yet the burden still weighs heavy and the depth of my need increases.

LIFTING OUR EYES

What if, instead of keeping my head lowered and my eyes on my tiny bucket, I simply lifted my eyes to survey the vast ocean of grace and goodness in front of me?

What if when we prayed, we paused with each request to consider Who it is we are coming to? How might our prayers change if we began to try to comprehend just a fraction of the limitless sea of sufficiency we have in Christ? Would it help us to pray without ceasing if we paused to remind ourselves that His mercies never cease?  (See 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and Lamentations 3:22.)

“Lord, there’s a big decision I have to make—please give me wisdom. Your Word says that You Yourself are the embodiment of Wisdom, and that in You ‘are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Colossians 2:3, NKJV). You’ve told me to ask for wisdom when I need it (see James 1:5), so I’m asking now. Thank You for hearing and answering, Lord!”

“Jesus, I’ve blown it again. I’ve failed You and fallen into the same hateful sin. I confess it before You and ask You to forgive me. You are the Savior who died to pay the penalty for my sin, and You are my Redeemer and Deliverer. (See Colossians 1:13-14.) Thank You that nothing in all creation can separate me from Your love.” (See Romans 8:38-39.)

“God, I’m facing a huge task and I’m in need of strength. Your Word tells me that You are my ‘refuge and fortress’ (Psalm 91:2, ESV).  You are omnipotent—all-powerful, and You give strength to the weary and power to the weak. (See Isaiah 40:29.)  I need Your strength and power today, and I’m trusting You for it. Thank you.”

“Lord Jesus, these waves of grief and loss washing over me threaten to knock me off my feet. The Scriptures tell me that you were ‘a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’ (Isaiah 53:3, NKJV) and that You are ‘near to the broken-hearted’ (Psalm 34:18, ESV). Please help me as I bring these pieces of my shattered heart to You. Let me rest in You, trusting You to hold me and bring comfort, courage and healing.”

“Heavenly Father, the need I’m faced with appears huge—insurmountable—like a towering mountain casting a great shadow over me. Yet I thank You that I can ‘seek refuge in the shadow of Your wings’ (Psalm 57:1, HCSB).  Help me to remember that You are the all-sufficient Creator who holds all things together. (See Colossians 1:16-17.) As I lift my eyes to the hills, help me to remember that my help comes from You, the Maker of heaven and earth. (See Psalm 121:1-3.)”

As we pray for the seminars and events that will take place at The Cove this month, let’s search the Scriptures, claim God’s promises, and pause to remember just Who it is we are talking to.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:14-19 NKJV)

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 April:

Jan Harrison — April 8
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor; Worship Leader: Shannon Wexelberg)
Women’s Spring Luncheon —
Life After the Storm: God Will Carry You Through

SeniorSalt Impact Hymn Sing — April 9
(Emcee/Worship Leader: Ron Whittemore)

Jim Cymbala — April 10-11
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Shannon Wexelberg)
Pastor Renewal Retreat—
Breakthrough Ministry: Lessons From the Book of Acts

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

An Evening at The Cove with David Phelps — April 19
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

 

Cove Bible Verse for the Week of April 2nd

Let’s put on the full armor of God this week!

This week’s verse is Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.


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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Cove Bible Verse for the Week of March 26th

God has great plans for you!

This week’s verse is Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.


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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Cove Bible Verse for the Week of March 19th

May we serve the Lord with a humble heart this week!

This week’s verse is Luke 18:14

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”


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

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest