Tag Archives: Bible Study

Distractions: A Psalm By Quinn Graham

We have a modern-day psalmist on our hands:  Quinn Graham, Will Graham’s son and Billy Graham’s great-grandson, has written a special  psalm to share. This one, entitled “Distractions” is a great reminder for us to keep our focus on God. 

Distractions

I

Distractions are a big thing in our world

They well… distract us

They distract us from God

You should never get distracted from God

When getting distracted you tend to put God aside

When you put Him aside for later you tend to forget                     

And when you forget about Him

You could take a wrong turn in the  path and start heading away from God

Heading away from God is a bad thing

 

II

At first you may not notice it

Then it grows

You start to feel like something is missing but you don’t know what

Even though you know God exist you still have a hole in you

That’s when you know you have wandered to far from Him

Instead of putting Him first you start putting the things that distract you first

You care more about your idol than your God

Once noticing it you would want to turn back to Him

But the problem is the Devil           

He wants you to stay distracted

He wants you to love your idol more than God

That’s when you know that enough is enough

And you need to put your idol down and go back to God

 

III

God’s hands are always open, and He will forgive you no matter what

He loves you no matter what you did

You may have other things in life that distract you but…

You just need to put God first.


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.

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Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 55:22

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

“Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken”

Throughout the Bible, God tells us that we can lean on Him in times of struggle and He will take care of us.  There is nothing He does not understand and nothing beyond His control.


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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Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 19:32

Our weekly bible verse comes from Psalm 19: 32:

It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.”

Where would we be without strength and guidance from our Heavenly Father?  Even in the valley, with Him as our guide, we will never be lost.


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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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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Weekly Bible Verse: Isaiah 41:13

Our weekly bible verse comes from Isaiah 41:13 (NIV):

 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Navigating through this life without God is a difficult and uncertain task.  We can be certain that if we take God’s hand and trust His guidance and wisdom, there is no reason to fear.  He will help 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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Weekly Bible Verse: Ephesians 2:19

Our weekly bible verse comes from Ephesians 2:19 (NIV)

” Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household”

Acceptance in this world is fleeting.  We know this is not the case with our God and Father.  We are His and He is ours.


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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Weekly Bible Verse: Matthew 28:20

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Matthew 28:20:

…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

What a comfort to be assured of His presence always!  Through His Word and the presence of the Holy Spirit, we can experience Him each and every day.  When we seek Him, we will find Him!


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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An Easter Message from Will Graham

The Agony of Betrayal: An Easter Message by Will Graham

As we consider Christ’s death and resurrection – His perfect sacrifice and His victory over sin and the grave – we naturally focus on the unbearable physical pain Jesus endured on our behalf. However, this Easter I want you to consider a different kind of suffering: the emotional pain Jesus experienced as those who were closest to Him turned their backs.

Jesus personally chose 12 disciples whom He poured himself into. They were His best friends; His “inner circle.” They surrounded Him, traveled with Him, learned from Him, and served in His ministry.

Jesus loved them, and yet He knew – long before they did, in fact – that a couple of these men would publicly betray Him.

Judas, of course, is the one that comes instantly to mind. We’re told in Luke 22 that “Satan entered into Judas…” (ESV).  John 13:2 says “the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him” (ESV). Judas went to the chief priests and officers, accepted a payment from them and then betrayed Jesus into their hands.

Judas’ treachery was the ultimate betrayal, directly resulting in a Jesus’ trial and the agony of the cross. But I wonder if the second betrayal might not have hurt just as much as the first.

Along with James and John, Peter was one of Jesus’ closest and dearest friends. When Jesus was being arrested in the garden, Peter violently defended him by attacking the high priest’s servant. (While this earned Peter a rebuke from Jesus, it also showed that he was no coward and he was willing to defend Christ to the death).

Given this, Peter’s denial of Jesus must have stung deeply. Literally at the same moment that Jesus was being beaten and ridiculed (Mark 14:65), Peter was busy distancing himself from Christ (Mark 14:66-72). Three times people approached Peter to ask him if he was associated with Jesus, and three times Peter denied Him, even going so far as to “…invoke a curse on himself and to swear, ‘I do not know this man of whom you speak.’” (Mark 14:71, ESV).

At a time when Jesus was being accused and beaten, His friends turned their backs on Him. What emotional pain this must have caused, even as Jesus knew it was coming and understood that it had to be!

Maybe you’re reading this and it sounds a little too familiar. Maybe you have friends or family members who have turned their backs on you, or perhaps – like Judas – they were instrumental in causing the suffering you are now enduring. Maybe you’re struggling through pain and despair, and the people you thought you could depend on have disappeared. Bodily pain hurts physically, but emotional pain slices directly to your soul.

My friends, I’m here to tell you that people will let you down. People will turn their backs on you and cause you pain. But here’s the key – Jesus was forsaken, betrayed and crucified, but He conquered all of that! People are imperfect, but Christ is risen and will not let you down!

The Bible tells us not to put our faith into men or princes. Instead, this Easter place your eternity in the One Who endured scorn, pain, and – yes – betrayal from His friends, so that you may have a hope that extends far beyond the pitfalls and pains of this 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.

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Kendra Graham Bible Study: An Easter Message

Exodus 17:4-6a

(4)So Moses cried out to the LORD saying, “What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me.”

 (5)Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.”

(6a) “Behold I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”

 What Does it Say?

(4) Moses cried to the LORD.

(5)  The LORD said: Pass before the people, take elders and staff which struck Nile and GO.

(6) I will stand before you on rock at Horeb, strike rock, water will come for people to drink

What Does it Mean?

 It is Easter!  He is risen!  He is risen indeed!!  This passage of Scripture may seem like an odd one for the Easter season to you, but I was moved  this winter when I was studying these verses just how much God loves us and gave Himself for us, no matter what the cost would be to Him.  In order to provide for His people, the Provider would be stricken.

The people are thirsty and want the provision of water (See my previous two blogs on Exodus 17).  God wants the people to want the Provider. He wants people to come to Him. Then the provision will be given without measure.

God led His people out of Egypt, through the wilderness, in order to get to Sinai.  Sinai is where the presence of God lived, until the Law was given and the measurements and directions for the Tabernacle.  Once the Tabernacle was built, then God’s presence would be among His people as they journeyed to the Promised Land, and then finally, His presence would rest in the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem that would be built many years down the road from this point.  God wants to live among His people, and He wants His people to want the same.

The people of Israel had journeyed in the wilderness around two months at this time, with the first destination being Sinai  (Exodus 3).  Israel was 3/4 of the way to Sinai and mutiny was afoot.  Sinai was anywhere from a 1.5 day journey to a 3 day journey from where they were currently, but the people refused to move until God gave them water, if He could.  The people tested God and wanted to kill Moses.

Moses, in verse 4,Cried out to the LORD.  Moses did not have a search committee formed, or resign his position because the vote was unanimous against his leadership, he cried out to the LORD and asked Him what to do.  God told Moses to take the staff, the staff that struck the Nile. This staff  is a big deal because it was no ordinary staff.  This staff was the physical reminder to the people of the power of God.  Moses was also to take some elders, and then walk before the people.  Moses was called on to have faith and walk that faith out before that angry mob.  I would have wanted a trap door or back door or another plan except walking in front of all the people who wanted to stone me.  Coming to God will always demand faith.  God then told Moses to go.

Go where?  Go to the rock that is at Horeb, which is the back side of Sinai, Moses knows this place well (Exodus 3).  Moses, the staff of God, and the elders are to finish the journey to Sinai.  Finish the journey in their exhaustion, weakness and thirst.  God is calling Moses to come to Him.  This is the same call that God has given out since the beginning of time and continues even today, especially at the time of Easter, “Come to Me”.  So Moses goes to where God is.

What is Moses to do when he arrives there?  God told Moses that I will stand before you, you shall strike the Rock.   Moses is to use the staff of God, the physical representation of God’s Almighty power and strike what?? The ROCK, the very heart and presence of God.

Matthew 26:31, “Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away because of Me this night for it is written, ‘I will strike down the Shepherd’…”

Isaiah 53:3-5,10a,  “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from who men hide their face He was despised,And we did not esteem Him
(4) Surely our griefs HE HIMSELF bore, And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him STRICKEN,SMITTEN of God and afflicted
(5) But HE was pierced through for our transgressions
He was crushed for our iniquities;The chastening for our well-being  fell upon HIM
And by HIS SCOURGING we are healed
(10a) But the LORD was PLEASED TO CRUSH HIMSELF, putting HIMSELF to grief
He would render HIMSELF as the guilt offering

 See this here in the desert with Moses! Do not miss this Good Friday service at the Rock of Horeb at Sinai!!  God, came and stood before Moses, and commanded Moses to strike Him, with what??  With that staff,  the physical representation of all the power of God Almighty.  God strikes Himself, so the people can live.  Out of the Rock came water for the people at the expense of God Himself.  Do you see it?  Here, at the Source, truly is Living Water.  Hear again John 7:37 with all the passion that Jesus said it with, “… Jesus stood and CRIED out saying, ‘ If ANY man is thirsty, let him COME TO ME AND DRINK.”  Jesus continues in verse 38, “He who believes in Me, as Scripture said, from him will flow rivers of living water.”

God struck Himself to provide us with LIFE.  Jesus, who is God with skin on, was stricken by God Himself; God pouring out all of His wrath that sin demands upon Himself so that we can live.  God paid the debt that our sin demands.  This life is available if only we believe that God has done it.  This step of faith draws us to the cross by faith, and accepts what God has done on our behalf.  Each of us is invited to make that journey in our mess, weakness, thirst and exhaustion.  1John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is the choice laid out before us.  Who do you say Jesus is?  This Good Friday we remember how God was stricken, but Sunday is coming!!!!  Jesus defeated sin on the cross and defeated death at the grave on Sunday when He was risen by God to LIFE!!!!  Jesus always leads to life!

Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ and you will be saved! Acts 16:31

Oh, that you would come!!  Hear how God pleads for you!!

What Does it Mean to Me?

When have you come to Jesus?  What is preventing you from coming today?

LIVE IT OUT!

Lord, today help me to come to you in my weary, exhausted mess.  By faith I believe Jesus came, died on the cross for my sin and rose again to life the third day.  Come into my life and give me that living water that cost You so dearly.  Help me to live this day and the next and the next after that at the Source.  Thank you for Good Friday, and Easter Sunday! 


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

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

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

 

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Kendra Graham Bible Studythecove.org

 

Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink,” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me?” Why do you test the LORD? But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said “Why now have you brought us up from Egypt to kill us and our children and our livestock  with thirst?” (Exodus 17:2-3)

What Does it Say?

The people quarreled with Moses, “Give us water”  Moses: Why quarrel with me? Why test the LORD?

The people thirsted for water, grumbled against Moses, “Why have you brought up from Egypt to kill us, children and livestock?”

What Does it Mean?

Previously, we see that Rephidim was a place of resting, a place where water was historically expected to be.  The whole congregation of people had followed God, done what He has asked and where did it get them?  It got them to a place where water should be in abundance; yet,  there was nothing.  It is almost like God went out of His way to dry up the water personally.  God let them down again…. isn’t that where we go when this place of need becomes our story?

Oh, we know that God is going to provide Israel with water, we have read the story, but when God leads us to a place where we have taken a huge leap of faith, and then He does not provide in the way that is expected,  disappointment and questions about who God really is come to the surface.  Did we hear God right?  Is God really going to provide, for us, personally?  Is He leading us off a cliff?

Where was Israel going?  The two million plus people of God were on their way to Sinai where they would receive the Law, and then, God said He would lead them into the Promised Land (Exodus 3).  Israel had at this point spent close to two months in the desert, traveling from Egypt to Sinai.  Sinai was literally in view of Rephidim, they had just a little bit further to go, just a few more days to press on and get there.  God was leading His people by the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night to Sinai, to the place where the Presence of God lives.  God was leading His people to Himself.  Think about that.  The children of God, the people after His own heart, had been away from home for 400+ years, and now they were this close to home…. this close to the heart of the Father…  Think, just for a minute… if your child had been gone a long time from home, and now you knew that they were on the journey back, and they were so close to home… what would you be willing to do to get them home a little quicker? It was almost like God was saying, “Don’t stop here, don’t stop now, come the rest of the way, it is just another 1.5-3 days away!  Come on! Keep coming!   The people were so close.

Instead of pressing in and pressing on, the people got angry.  In verse two it says they “tested the LORD.”  Why is that such a big deal?

God had lead Israel out of Egypt and throughout this wilderness journey, God was testing His people to see what was in their hearts (Deuteronomy 8:2).  God knew what was in their hearts, but the people did not know.  God had taken them out of Egypt in a hot minute, but it would take much longer to get Egypt out of them.  Here, at Rephidim, the people are tired of being the students, tired of God’s testing.  The people in their stubbornness decide to turn the tables on God.  The student is demanding obedience from the Teacher; “Give us water that we may drink”.  It is almost like God’s people are telling God that they are done with His arrangement. They are done being His people and they are done calling Him LORD. Unless He provides water for them to drink here and now, if He can.

Since God is not visible, the anger of the mob falls to Moses.  Moses speaks to God and God speaks to Moses. If Moses does not fix this situation pronto, not only are they done with God, but they will be done with Moses.  Mutiny is on the horizon.

In verse 3 the saying which hurt the heart of God most boils to the top.  The true heart of the people comes out as we read, “They thirsted there for water.

The people just wanted relief; they wanted what was expected to be in that location.  The people wanted the water that would drain off the mountain and pool there at Rephidim.  The people wanted water that would to quench their present thirst; water that would be soaked into the dry and thirsty ground, and leave them wanting again in a minute.

God was trying to teach the people that it’s not about the water!!!  It’s about the Source of the water!!!  We beg and demand for God to give us the provision, but we have no interest in the Provider.  Jehovah Jirah, the God who provides, because it is His name to do so, pleads with His people to COME TO ME!  Genesis to Revelation is the same message, God pleading with, and miraculously making a way for His people to come to Him!  God pleads for us to come to Him, not a ministry, or to the good things we are doing for Him, or to a denomination, or to a program.  He pleads time and time again, and died Himself to make it possible so that we can COME TO HIM!

It is time that we stop begging day after day for the provision and start the trek in our thirst, in our need, in our exhaustion to come to the Provider.  Jesus said in John 7:37, “Any one who thirsts, COME TO ME and from you will flow rivers of LIVING water.”  It is time church, that we stop settling for everything else under the sun, and come to the Source.  At the Source, there will be a never ending, never drying up supply.  Oh, that you would come….

What Does it Mean to Me?

When was there a time that you felt God let you down because He led you to a place that was empty and left you in extreme need?

When have you plead for the provision instead of pressing in to the Provider?

LIVE IT OUT

Today, LORD, show me where YOU are in my need, in the dryness of the journey, and teach me to drink from You.


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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