Tag Archives: Kendra Graham Bible Study

KENDRA GRAHAM SPRING BIBLE STUDY

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you  will grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. 

STEP ONE: Pray

STEP TWO:  Read the Text. 

Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink.

(Exodus 17:1, NASB)

STEP THREE:   WHAT DOES IT SAY?
THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE

All the congregation of Israel journeyed from wilderness of Sin according to the command of the LORD, camped at Rephidim and there was no water for people

STEP FOUR:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
THE LESSONS

Have you ever felt like God had definitely led you to a place; I mean you felt a calling deep in your bones and it took such a tremendous act of faith on your part to trust God in His leading, only to get where He led and all you see is lack and hardship?

I am sure you all are better than me, but my first reaction is not to get on my knees and pray, my first reaction is to raise some serious questions.  Did I hear God right?  Was this all a huge mistake?  Why would God impress such a bold move of faith and then lead me to a place like this?

I have some questions about what God is up to. Does He hate me?  Has He abandoned me?  Has God led me right off a cliff just to watch me fall?  Did God lead me here so that He could hide me from everything productive?

Here in Exodus 17:1, God’s people have followed Him all the way from Egypt, through the Red Sea, to Marah, to Elim, to the wilderness of Sin, and now to Rephidim.  Where is Israel going?  The people of Israel are on their way to Sinai.  God has promised to take them out of Egypt (Exodus 3:8) and lead them to Sinai (Exodus 3:12), and then God will lead them to the Promised Land (Exodus 3:8).

The Wilderness of Sin is halfway to S-I-N-A-I. Rephidim is 3/4 of the way to Sinai.  Israel is ALMOST there!

Rephidim was historically known as a “place of resting.” It was a place in the desert where there were palm trees, and it was known for having water. Yet here in this passage, when the Children of Israel arrive at Rephidim, there is no water.

This is a problem.  There is expectation when God leads you and calls you to a place, isn’t there?  Israel had faithfully followed God and His leading for more than two months at this point.  They had done some grumbling along the way, yes, but the Bible tells us the “whole congregation” followed God.  What did they get for following God?  Hardship and need.  As we come to this part of the story, it almost seems as if God went out of His way to dry up the water that was supposed to be there, doesn’t it?  It seems that way to me.

I think that at times as we read a familiar Old Testament story and already know its ending, some of the original tension of the story can be lost, and we’re almost prevented from getting a real appreciation of the amount of faith God was calling His people to have. Let’s stop where we are and live in the moment of this verse: God’s people followed Him to a place where they would have a greater need than before.  Can you see that in your own life?

God’s people could not manufacture water in the desert.  So many times we do not come to God until all other options are off the table, so God, in His grace and love, brings us to places where we cannot be creative enough to provide for ourselves.  God wanted His people thirsty.  Why?

God’s name is “Jehovah Jirah”—Jehovah, the LORD, the God who is highly exalted above all Gods, and Jirah, who wants to be personally known as your provider. The fact is, we do not know that God provides for us, until we have need.  We do not know that He is the Living Water (John 4:10, John 7:38)…until we thirst.  My soul within me cries “Ugh!” and “Yay!” at that very statement.  I hate to have need! Yet I love when I get to see God provide.

I tend to have faith that God will provide for Israel, and for Moses, and for my pastor, and for all the really important people in the world; yet my faith fails when it comes to me believing that God wants me to know He is my provider.  God wants to write His name across the stories of our lives, and He cannot do that so long as I continue to be so self-sufficient.  Dependence is both a great place to be and a hard place to be.  God was leading Israel, and God is leading you and me.  Let’s hold on to that together.

God leads us to where He is… out of Egypt to Sinai!  For the Children of Israel, Sinai was the place of God’s presence.  Remember that God goes before us like a shepherd goes before His flock (Psalm 23).  Keep following the Shepherd. Keep depending on Him. Keep pressing on, and keep your eyes on Jesus when all your eyes can see is dry desert and all your soul can feel is a deep thirst.

Hold on to the fact of who He isShout it out!  Shout it in the car…on your walk…in your house on top of your coffee table:  “JEHOVAH JIRAH is God’s name, and because of HIS name He will be MY JEHOVAH and MY PROVIDER even when I can’t see how!”
(See I Samuel 12:22)

STEP FIVE:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?
NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY
.

 When has God led you to a place that seemed more lacking than full?  When has Jehovah written His name, “Jirah,” your provider, across the story of your life?  How is God trying to teach you to trust in His name?  What causes you to doubt that God will provide for you?

STEP SIXLIVE IT OUT.

Today, in all the chaos, in all the empty, and in all my thirst, I will claim the name of Jehovah Jirah; even if I do not feel it or see it, I will shout what His name is and ask God to open my eyes and heart to the truth that He is “Jehovah” who wants to be known to me as “Jirah.” 


Will you prayerfully consider encouraging someone with your story of how God wrote His name of “provider” across the story of your life?  We would love to hear from you here, in the comments section.  Also, consider sharing your story of God’s provision with someone in your own community.  As God’s people we need to get back to a place where we not only remember His name, but believe it!  Your stories can help encourage us to hold on to Him in the hard and desolate places.  Life is hard, but Jehovah is Jirah!

Thank you again for joining us for this Bible study. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Praying that you have a very blessed week ahead!


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

 

Kendra Graham Bible Study: Week 5 Handout

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. Below is the handout for the fifth week of the Bible study with a few homework questions at the end. 

I AM
#ENOUGH
TO BE YOUR BANNER IN THE BATTLE

 

The Three Questions
I AM #ENOUGH to be your banner in the battle….
STEP ONE: Pray
STEP TWO: Read the Text.

Exodus 17:8-12a (NASB) (8) Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. (9) So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” (10) Joshua did as Moses told him and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill. (11) So it came about as Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. (12a) But Moses’ hands were heavy….

  • STEP THREE WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE

In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word; a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

8: Amalek came and fought against Israel. 9: Moses to Joshua: Choose men FOR US and go fight Amalek. I will station myself on top of hill with staff of God in hand. 10: Joshua fought against Amalek, Moses Aaron and Hur to top of hill. 11: As Moses held hand up, Israel prevailed, let hand down Amalek prevailed 12a: Moses’ hands were heavy.

  • STEP FOUR: WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS

Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow? Meditate on these. Ask God what lesson it is that He wants you to hear or learn.

8: There WILL be battles. People will try to take our freedom and send us back to slavery. In these moments we can often experience incredible periods of doubt, during which we question everything and wonder if maybe this “freedom thing” just isn’t for us. During these times it’s easy to slip back into victim mentality, thinking this is as good as it gets for people like us.

9: There are different responsibilities for different people in the same battle. Even here we see Moses display great faith as a leader should. #lessoninleadership God is #ENOUGH, and God’s plan for Moses was not on the battlefield but on the praying field. Be confident in where God has called you, and don’t try to control areas that you are supposed to delegate and let go. “for us” – Notice the direction was not to get the strongest, the smartest, or the ones with the most experience…the only qualification for battle was to find those men who are “for us.” God chooses people who have hearts that are for Him. Your resume may be impressive…your Biblical knowledge may be superb…but if your heart isn’t right… you cannot be trusted and will not be chosen for battle.

10: We need to man our unique battle stations and not drop the ball, sleep in, or forget to show up. The battle is real, and real lives are in the balance. It matters that you show up.

11: The posture of prayer. Oswald Chambers said, “Prayer is the work.” When we direct the eyes of others towards Jehovah in our personal battles, we begin to see Jehovah Nissi overwhelm the enemy and empower us in His strength to continue to fight and press in and not give up. When we drop our eyes from the vertical to the horizontal, the battle will overwhelm us and take our breath away. Prayer is essential to see the victorious work of God personally and corporately.

12: Prayer can bring us to weariness more than any other action. Prayer is work that we have to set our minds and hearts to! Don’t give up because of the way things seem, or because of the lack of movement or the length of time you have been pleading. Keep praying in the weariness…often at the weariest moment is where we will see the biggest victory.

  • STEP FIVE: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME? NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY.

Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.

As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think. This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

8: When has there been a battle in your life that you had to fight? How often would we rather just appease the enemy, thinking the enemy will leave us alone if we are just tolerant enough? What battles are worth fighting? What hills are worth dying on? Are there any? Have we hidden from the battle too long? How are we called to stand and to “do all to stand” (Ephesians 6:13)? How does that look today? Where have I been satisfied to have a victim mentality?

9: Where have you been called to serve? Are you able to serve in your area with passion and precision, or do you feel like you also need to serve in all the other areas as well because no one will do it right if it’s not you leading in every aspect? What kind of heart would God say you have? What, or Who, are you “for”? Are you for you? Are you for God? What do your actions say about who you are for? Are you willing to ask God to reveal who you are for? Do you have a heart to be for Him, or do you have a list of reasons why you are too injured, too weak, too hurt, too ignorant to be used by God?

10: What keeps you in bed and prevents you from showing up daily to the battle? What causes you to think that your presence is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things?

11: Are you panicking about all your eyes see? All your heart feels? The immensity of the battle? The reality of the battle? Will you decide today to pray over that battle each and every morning, even before you get out of bed each day? Will you take that step forward today…come out of hiding, reach your arms to heaven, and pray and look to Jehovah who wants to be your Nissi, your banner? How would it look today for you to walk out in strength keeping your eyes UP, UP, UP all day? It will take determination….

12: What are you weary of praying about? When, in your weariness, have you seen victory? Will you share that and encourage another weary soul with it?

  • STEP SIX: LIVE IT OUT.

Look over all your facts, lessons and applications for a given passage.
Is there a main theme to them? Does one verse stand out over the rest for some reason??
Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart. Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.

Today I will show up to the battle… in my role… Today I will pray for the heart Jehovah needs me to have Today I will pray… pray… and pray… not ignoring the fight Today I will KNOW…. I AM THAT I AM IS MORE THAN #ENOUGH in my battle Shout that out throughout today, then tomorrow Help my unbelief.

Watch the Bible Study online! Click here.

HOMEWORK:
Do the Three Questions on: Exodus 33:17-23 Read: Exodus 32 and 33

Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com


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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KENDRA GRAHAM BIBLE STUDY: WEEK 3 HANDOUT

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you. Below is the handout for the third week of the Bible study with a few homework questions at the end. 

AM
#ENOUGH
to FEED you…

STEP ONE: Pray
STEP TWO:  Read the Text. 

Exodus 16:1-3 (NASB)

1 Then they set out from Elim and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin which is between Elim and Sinai on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt.  2 The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.  3 The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt when we sat by pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

STEP THREE:  WHAT DOES IT SAY?
THE FACTS ONLY, PLEASE

 In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word; a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.

  1.  From Elim, all the congregation of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin between Elim and Sinai
  2. The WHOLE congregation grumbled against Moses & Aaron
  3. Sons of Israel said “Would that we died by LORD’s hand in Egypt by pots of meat when we ate bread to the full; you brought us into wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
STEP FOUR:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
THE LESSONS

Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?

 Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow? Meditate on these. Ask God what lesson it is that He wants you to hear or learn.

  1. When God moves, we need to follow; even if it means leaving comfort for the unknown. Things get hard and we tend to give up in the middle. We want God to make the journey easy, predictable and comfortable. Being in the middle is a HARD place to be.
  2.  It is human nature to look to blame people for why you are where you are.  We tend to blame others for not being God.
  3. When things get hard, it is easy to sell our souls for a bowl of chili with a baguette on the side. We want to leverage our #deliverance and control God.  Personal comfort above all. We tend to believe what we see and feel over the presence and promises of God. What it comes down to is the fact that we do not really believe God has our best interests in mind. Sure God loves Moses and Aaron and will provide for them; it’s easier for them, because God loves them… God just doesn’t care about us, the little people, like that. God will never leave us or forsake us, but we are willing to trade our eternal soul for a minute of relief. The name of God is Jehovah Jirah… Jehovah, the high exalted God who wants to be known as MY PROVIDER…  God cannot provide unless there is a need that you cannot meet. I AM more than #ENOUGH to provide for YOU.
STEP FIVE:  WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?
NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY.

Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend, or your son or daughter.

 As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.

 Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time than you may think. This is where Scripture meditation becomes real. This is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next.  Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?

How do you try to control when and where God leads? When was there a time when things were going great, you were following God, seeing God work, and then you got into the “middle” of it and felt God abandoned the calling and you so you gave up? Or did you not give up and continue to hold on in faith?  What causes us to bail out of where God is leading us personally?

  1. When have you cast blame on someone else because it was easier than going to God in humility and asking Him where He is in the middle of the mess?
  2. What is your price?  You have left or are willing to walk away forever from God if __________________________? You are willing to walk away from God unless he does _____________________________?

Do you want the “what” that Egypt has to offer or the “Who” that God is?  Let’s be honest with God here… we ALL know the “right” answer, but between you and God ,what is YOUR answer?  Do your words match with your life?

Do you really believe the God whose name is Jehovah Jirah will provide for you personally?

STEP SIX:  LIVE IT OUT.

Look over all your facts, lessons and applications for a given passage. 

 Is there a main theme to them?  Does one verse stand out over the rest for some reason?

 Hold yourself accountable to live out in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart.  Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.

God has led us to the middle…. and God will lead us out. We live on God’s promises and the fact of His name, not explanations. 

            Know the promises of God.

                        Hold to those promises.

                                    Even in the middle when we want to quit,

                                                throw in the towel,

                                                            give it all up for a  minute of comfort…

                                                                        HOLD one more day.

 HOMEWORK:

Do the Three Questions on:

Exodus 17:1-5— any verses

Get stuck?  www.annegrahamlotz.com


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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KENDRA GRAHAM: ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

“And you shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for 6 days. (4) Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark; then on the 7th day you shall march around the city seven times and the priests shall blow the trumpets. (5) And it shall be when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall will fall down flat, and the people will go straight ahead”  (Joshua 6:3-5, NASB)

What Does it Say?

  • You march around the city, all men of war circling the city once, for six days.
  • Priests carry seven trumpets before the ark.
  • On the 7th day, march around city seven times; and priests blow trumpets.
  • When they make a long blast on the trumpets, the people will shout with a great shout.
  • Walls will fall flat.  People go straight ahead.

What Does it Mean?

I shared earlier this summer about my visit to Seattle and the unforgettable experience of watching a glass blower as he placed glass pieces into the fire and went on to create absolute masterpieces.  A piece of that glass now sits on the desk where I study each morning.  It’s a jellyfish paperweight.  (I know that may seem like an odd choice, but my Aunt Tina and I signed up for a glassblowing class, and that was the craft of the day!)

I was hesitant to try my hand at this.  I had been watching the skilled artist do his thing, and I was blown away by his talent.  I do not have talent.  I should tell you that I stopped doing art projects when I was six and my snowflake in Miss Ruyle’s class turned out to be a total disaster. Yet Aunt Tina is such an encouraging person, and since she was going to take the class, I agreed to give it a shot. We signed our names on the waiver (the one that states the ovens are 2,000 degrees), and we picked a time slot to blow a piece of glass together.

The description of the class sounded innocent enough. The first qualification was that the participant had to be over the age of five—yes, a jellyfish glass paperweight is something a 5-year-old could make. I kept reminding myself of that all day. My heart raced as Aunt Tina and I returned to the glass shop at our appointed time. I was terrified the jellyfish would be similar to the snowflake downfall of 1980.

The glassmaster took me into the studio and had me pick out colors.  That was easy enough.

Then the work began. He put a piece of glass on a rod and patiently talked me through the process.  It was challenging.  I had to keep my rod spinning the entire time while simultaneously adding color and shape to my glass blob. The glassmaster never left my side, continuing to  instruct me and once in a while taking over the task of spinning the rod when I forgot and became distracted with a different task.

In the end, I did it!  My jellyfish looked like a jellyfish and everything!  I could not have done it if the glass master had left my side.  The individual tasks were none too hard or overwhelming, but I could not have completed the entire project without without the help and guidance of the skilled glassblower.

God Brings Down the Walls

This experience reminds me of the times when God asks us to step up and do something with Him.  Here in this passage in the book of Joshua, God was going to bring the walls of Jericho down.  God did not need Joshua or his army; yet He was teaching them what they could do if only they would live a life of obedience to Him.

Jericho was a formidable city—daunting with its huge outer walls. From the outset, the task seemed impossible; yet God was with Joshua as He had been with Moses.  As these verses record, God told Joshua exactly what He wanted him and the Israelite army to do:  Joshua and his army were to walk around the city once a day for six days; then on the seventh day, they were to walk around it seven times.

Simple Tasks, Unconventional Strategy

Was this beyond their capabilities?  No.  If the Israelites could do anything at this point, it was walking—they’d just finished doing that exact thing in the desert for 40 years!  Walking was in their gifted column.  GREAT!  Easy peasy.  Oh, and the priests would need to go out in front, carrying seven trumpets; and just behind them would come the Ark of the Covenant (a visual reminder of God’s promises and provisions).

Is any part of that task list difficult?  No.

Does it make sense? No, not so much. God was clearly telling Joshua what He wanted the Israelite army to do; now the question was, would they do it?

This is not how war is done, by the way. No general has ever re-used this tactical plan.  Priests do not normally go in front of the army.  Priests are not usually armed.  When the priests blew those trumpets, they probably already felt like sitting ducks; and now, drawing all that attention to themselves, well….

Did God hate them?  Did God want them killed for some reason?  Had God read the rules of war?  I’d have a lot of questions, especially if I’d been one of those priests:  “Joshua, did you hear God right?”

God calls us to tasks, and often those tasks are not beyond our capability; we can walk, we can blow a trumpet, we can shout…. but the task does not appear to promise success in the end. We might end up a laughing stock. We’ll be the butt of jokes.  That person will never speak to me again if I do that.  My friend will think I’m crazy.  We may think of a host of reasons not to obey God and take up the task, but what if we simply obeyed?  How might we see God work?

All for God’s Glory

Whatever task He is asking you to perform, the work is impossible without God.  He is doing the work, just as the glassmaster was really making the jellyfish that was in my hands.  The work can’t be done—and is impossible to complete—without the Master at our side.  It’s God who deserves the credit and the glory in the end.

Can’t you just hear Joshua’s response as the news reporter interviewed him after the walls fell?  “Yah, well, we really had been practicing walking with power, and well, these new Air Jordan sandals, well they did the trick!”  The idea of Joshua taking the credit is laughable.  There is no other explanation but God. The problem often lies with us wanting a tithe of God’s glory.

Closing the Faith Gap

When God calls me to things that are only possible with Him, the question really comes down to obedience.  There is always a gap between what I can do and what God must do.  That gap is faith.

Do we have ears to hear what God is asking of us and the faith to do it?  His command could be as simple as, “Text that friend of yours this verse that I showed you today.”

“But she’ll think I’m crazy!” So we don’t.

What if we did??  Obeying in the simple things is HARD, but in the end we just might see those walls of Jericho fall if we can get over our pride and desire for control and if we let God put those sandals on our feet to walk, place a trumpet in our hands to blow and give us a message for our voice to shout. The simplicity of faith is often HARD as we rely on God to do what He says He will do.

What Does it Mean to Me?

Do I have a testimony of a time when God nudged me to do something simple and I did it?  What were the results?  Was it for my harm or for His glory?

Has God ever called me to do something my pride just wouldn’t allow me to do?  Have I ever regretted that?

Live it Out:

Today I pray that You, Lord, will make me sensitive to Your Spirit.  Give me the faith to stop and talk to that person who passes my way, to encourage a clerk at the store with a gift or a word, or perhaps just text a friend with a verse.  Lord, may it be You Who leads me. I tend to think I know best, and I know there’s someone who needs to hear from me. Help me to obey as You lead.


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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KENDRA GRAHAM: ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

#Enough for the Next Step

 

“So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. ”
( I Kings 19:8, NASB)

 What Does it Say?

He arose, ate, drank and went in the strength of that food 40 days and nights to Horeb, mountain of God.

What Does it Mean?

My husband and I recently watched “Hacksaw Ridge,” a movie that depicts the true story of Desmond Doss and the battle that occurred on Hacksaw Ridge in May of 1945.

A conscientious objector, Desmond did not object to his responsibility to serve in America’s military; but because he refused to take a life, he refused to carry or shoot a gun. Desmond Doss was a medic who was determined to save life, not end it.

The Medic Without a Gun

The battle that day was a grave one, and Desmond walked into it armed with nothing more than his medic supplies, his Bible and his faith.  Many lives were lost, and the American forces retreated off the ridge and back down to safety—all but the injured and the medic without a gun. Those who could retreat, did so; yet Desmond stayed, determined to treat, care for and protect the injured left on that ridge (American and Japanese).  Fear and exhaustion overwhelmed Desmond as he cried out to God, asking Him why he was there…

Immediately a cry was heard through the black smoke: a soldier, in pain, needing attention. The exhausted young medic asked God for the strength to get to the injured man and for the wisdom to be able to help him.  Alone in the dark that night, Desmond Doss treated and lowered to safety more than 75 soldiers who would have no doubt died without immediate attention.  When Desmond was interviewed years later, he remarked that his only prayer had been, “Lord, help me get just one more to safety.”  Just one more…

The Prophet Praying to Die

In this chapter of I Kings, Elijah is beat up, exhausted and ready to die. Unable to muster one more step, the beleaguered prophet sits down beneath a juniper tree (rotem– broom tree).  There, God provides shade in the middle of the wilderness, to take the heat off of Elijah. He then provides the prophet with food and water (resources that are desperately lacking in the desert). God comes to Elijah, providing the prophet with what he needs to take the first step, then the next step and then the next.

The Journey to Where God Is

Where was Elijah going, anyway?  God was leading Elijah exactly to the same place He leads us today: to where He is.  Elijah had just enough sustenance to make it to where God was—Horeb, the mountain of God.  Horeb, the same mountain where Moses had been leading sheep and encountered the bush that burned but was not consumed.  Horeb, the mountain to which God had led the children of Israel after their deliverance from Egypt.  Horeb, the mountain where Moses had been given the Ten Commandments—the mountain Moses had climbed when he cried out, “Show me Your glory.”

The journey to Horeb was a long, arduous, 40-day trek; yet it was a journey with purpose:  God wanted Elijah to know Him, to know His Name.  Elijah had given up comfort, ease and worldly prosperity, but he would gain an intimate knowledge of who God is and who he, Elijah, is to God.  Was the risk of giving it all up worth the reward in the end?

In the end, Elijah—the man who had begged for death to come swiftly—never tasted death as he was swept up in a whirlwind directly into the presence of God.  All the wealth and power that King Ahab and Queen Jezebel had at that same time in history could not be compared to the impact, testimony and relationship that Elijah had with the Great I AM.

Elijah had just enough for the next step… and found out God Himself was #enough, especially in the struggle.

 

The God Who Is Enough

Today, perhaps you are like me and the next step is exhausting to think about.  As Elijah was fed by God, may we too come to His Word today and depend on His provision for the same thing.  Dependence on God is a great thing, but it leaves no room for personal glory; and although we hate the thought of being dependent, in reality all of us are.  We’re dependent on a job, a relationship, a paycheck, a church, a doctor, or a coach… What if we just turned our eyes to Jesus and depended on Him to work through all those things?  Oh it’s hard, and we will fight giving God control over even the smallest detail, not to mention the largest!

Today, open God’s Word and ask Him to feed you…. just enough for the next step.  May God show you that His Name and His promises are #enough.

What Does it Mean to Me?

When has God given me just enough for the next step?  (Your testimony matters!)

How do I need God to provide strength for the next step?

What promises of God do I find in His Word that I can hold on to in times of exhaustion and heartache?

LIVE IT OUT

God, You promise that You are Jehovah Raah, the Shepherd, so lead me. You say You are the bread of life and the living water, so nourish. God, You claim that You are Jehovah Shalom, peace, so bring peace to the tumult.  God, Your Word tells me You are Jehovah Nissi, my banner in times of battle, so take up for me.  Please give me the strength to lay these things down at Your feet, and grant me the faith to believe that You are #enough for the next step.

 



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- UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION

 “I AM the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage.  I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.  Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I AM the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”

(Exodus 6:6-7, NASB)

What Does it Say?

I AM the LORD and WILL bring YOU out from burdens of Egyptians. I WILL deliver YOU from bondage, I WILL redeem YOU with outstretched arm. I WILL take YOU for MY people.  I WILL be YOUR God. YOU shall KNOW I AM, who brought YOU out.”

What Does it Mean?

There is a powerful message of freedom in the new movie, “Unbroken: Path to Redemption.”  The main character in the film, Olympic champion and World War II hero Louis Zamperini is a man burdened by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of his wartime experiences. After Louie’s plane crashed, he survived 47 days at sea on a raft in the South Pacific—only to be captured by the Japanese and specifically targeted and tortured by Mutsuhiro Watanabe, known to prisoners as “The Bird.”


(Picture of Louis and “The Bird”)

Louis was plagued by nightmares which kept him in bondage and drove him to alcohol, enabling him to forget his misery, if only for a few hours.  On this dark and dangerous path of destruction, Louis’ marriage was being destroyed and his relationship with his daughter threatened. His very life was destined to come to an abrupt end if Louis continued in the direction he was headed.

In a key scene (without giving the entire movie away), Louis finds himself at a point requiring him to choose who he will bend his knee to. The image of “The Bird” is mocking him, telling him, “You will NEVER be free from me!”  “The Bird” is saying in not so many words, “BEND YOUR KNEE TO ME!”  Louis walks towards him, drawn to destruction…. drawn to bend his knee forever to the very thing that will kill him. But…there is hope. Behind Louis’ right shoulder there’s another image—a different choice: a preacher, with an outstretched arm, preaching the Word of God. It’s a choice that offers FREEDOM from all that has burdened him. In this moment of great struggle, Louis does bend his knee.  (You’ll have to watch the movie to see to whom.)

Here is where the choice lies, for each one of us.  We will bend our knee to the slavery Egypt offers or to the freedom the living God offers. The misery of bondage beckons us, reminding us that we’re broken—useless and left alone by a God who has forgotten us and cannot hear our cries. The TRUTH of God’s Word reminds us that we are loved—that we were created on purpose, with purpose. There is a battle raging over your very soul. Your choice matters. Your knee will bend, but to whom is what lies in the balance.

The truth is that God, with His outstretched arm, has broken the chains of bondage that have kept us enslaved to the world and all its misery. Here in Exodus, God declares what He is going to do for His people; then the story continues and HE finishes it.  I love what Pharaoh’s magicians say about what is happening in Exodus 9, “It is the finger of God.”  Forget all the power of God’s outstretched arm to save His people: God is doing it with just a finger (I bet it was the pinky finger)!

God saved His people. But, why?  Did He save them just to put a feather in His cap?  Just to impress the superpower of the day?  It was more than just saving… God saved His people so that they could knowI AM,” personally.

God created us to know Him.  He led His people into the wilderness not to torture them, but to teach them. God saved them from horrific misery and bondage; but it was more than that, and God continues to be more than that today.

Through Jesus Christ, God came personally in the form of man.  He came for one reason: to free us from the bondage and misery the world has to offer.  Jesus, by the power of His out-stretched arms on the cross, conquered the power sin has over our lives. Three days later, He conquered death and the grave when He rose from the dead in power. The chains of sin and death are broken forever, not just so we can be saved, but so that for the rest of our lives we can experience the power of that freedom and know its author personally. His name is Jesus.

We are not forced into freedom, it is a choice.  Freedom—the path to redemption—is an incredibly difficult choice.  As you watch the movie, you’ll see it played out. In Laura Hillenbrand’s book, Unbroken, Louis himself states just how hard the struggle was to walk away from “The Bird,” when he says, “It is actually hard to walk away from everything that is killing you.”

God severed the chains of bondage that had gripped Louis Zamperini’s life, and He can do the same for us today, if only we will walk away from our bondage and walk towards God, accepting the freedom He has bought for us with His own blood.

The very same choice the Hebrews faced so long ago is the choice you have before you today:  Bend your knee to Egypt, or bend your knee to the LORD GOD who has delivered you with His outstretched arm. (Or finger!)  You cannot live on both sides of the Red Sea; you must choose. Egypt will kill you in the end. The Bible tells us “the enemy “has come to steal, kill and destroy,” but Jesus has come to give LIFE and LIFE abundantly (see John 10:10).

What Does it Mean to Me?

  • What kind of life are you holding on to? Are you living a life with your knee bent in bondage to the past—toward bondage to guilt and shame? Toward enslavement to the rat race and a life defined by the power and influence of Egypt (the world and its culture)?
  • Why do we choose to live in bondage instead of freedom?
  • Why is it so hard to leave Egypt and all that it has to offer?

LIVE IT OUT

LORD, open my eyes to see You, and open my heart to follow You. Take away the struggle of chasing Egypt, and place within me a new heart to hear and follow You. Oh, that I may know the One who freed me!

Watch the trailer here. 


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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KENDRA GRAHAM: ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

“Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you.  I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.  I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.”   (Leviticus 26:11-13, NASB)

 What Does it Say?

I will make MY dwelling among you. My soul will NOT reject you. I will walk among you, be your God and you MY people.  I AM the LORD your God who brought you out of Egypt, so you not be slaves, I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

What Does it Mean?

Aaron Shust recently wrote a song called, “Zion.”  There’s a line in the song that says, “You have no other shepherd, you have no other Lord.”  This phrase has been rolling around in my heart and mind for a few days, and in the end it brought me back to Egypt.

God’s chosen people had been captive in the land of Egypt for over 400 years.  Pharaoh was the leader God’s people knew.  The Egyptian gods were gods with whom the Hebrews were well-acquainted.  Throughout the land of Egypt, Pharaoh was seen as deity—a direct descendant of the gods.  In the eyes of the Egyptians, He made the sun rise and set, and he ensured the Nile would flood so the crops could grow. It was Pharaoh who brought the seasons and Pharaoh who protected the land.

Do you think it was possible for the Hebrews to believe that their own God had forsaken them after 400 years?  Is it too far-fetched to think that some Hebrews even found themselves in Egyptian temples, worshipping Egyptian gods?  Did the Hebrews ever look to Pharaoh to have their needs met?

In many ancient pictures of pharaohs, the ruler is portrayed holding a shepherd’s crook in one hand and a flail in the other, with his arms crossed over his chest.  In this way, the pharaoh was represented as being the shepherd and lord (or master) of Egypt.  The flail had multiple meanings: it was seen as a tool representing harvest, but it was also seen as a tool of power and punishment. The shepherd’s crook, on the other hand, represented the pharaoh as the leader of his flock.

In the Exodus, God’s chosen people were called out from under the leadership of and bondage to the pharaoh, yet that was all the Hebrews had known for generations.  God must have seemed very silent to them throughout those years of captivity.  Exodus 3 speaks of the pharaoh being a harsh taskmaster, breaking the Israelite slaves in both body and spirit.  Yet here in this Leviticus passage we see it revealed that Pharaoh would no longer be shepherd and lord:  YHWH, I AM that I AM would be their God and they would be His people.  That was the deal.

God was not ignorant of the hardships His people endured.  The Exodus 3 passage tells us God heard their cries and sent Moses, the deliverer (a foreshadowing of the day when God Himself would come as deliverer through Christ’s incarnation).  Here in Leviticus, the Word of God reminds His people that God did not reject or forsake them.  YHWH is a God who desires to walk with His people; yet in order to walk with them, God had to call them out.  When God called His people out of Egypt—out from under the thumb of Pharaoh, out from bondage, and out and away from the gods Egypt worshipped, He was calling them #home.  They would have to go through the desert, yes; but that was where they would learn to walk with, see, and experience the love of this personal God who #delivered them.

God’s call is the same today, and the same choice lies before us.  We are created to serve someone or something; that’s how it is. The choice is Egypt, or God.  Egypt had all the amenities and wealth of life. Sure, the Israelites were slaves. It was terrible and they were miserable, but it was predictable. Walking with God in freedom is a daily choice of dependence.  Freedom is HARD.

God created us to walk with Him—to know Him and to need Him.  There is no better shepherd, no kinder Lord than the LORD, YHWH.   We have been called out from the slavery the world offers, into the freedom that God gives.  The world of Egypt (the world) offered slavery and death, and it still does today; whereas God gives LIFE and life eternal (John 10:10).

I pray that you’ll determine today to have no other Shepherd, no other Lord.  Resolve to let YHWH lead you #home, even if the desert must be traversed in the process.  Oh, that we have ears to hear the One True God and voices to declare that the LORD is our God and we are His people.

What Does it Mean to me?

Who is my shepherd?  Who is my Lord?  Am I walking with God daily in freedom, or am I a slave to the world and all of its demands?

Do I even want to live in the freedom God gives?  What is the hardest thing I would have to leave behind in my “Egypt”?

Live it out:

Teach me how to walk with You, Jesus, even if it is through the desert.  Draw me to Your Word and teach me.  Give me the strength to live in the freedom You offer and died to give.  (John 3:16)

“Zion”
Aaron Shust


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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Having Mixed Emotions About Back to School Time? A Word for Parents

Having Mixed Emotions About Back to School Time?
A Word for Parents

As our kids go back to school this year, let us determine to kindle afresh our love for the Word of God.

For I am mindful of the sincere faith that within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother, Lois, and you mother, Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God…  (2 Timothy 1:5-6a)

What Does it Say?

I am mindful of the sincere faith in you which first dwelt in your grandmother and mother, I am sure it is in you as well.  I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God

What Does it Mean?

I have put off this blog for three weeks.  I don’t want to think about school starting again.  I am one of those parents that LOVES summer and wishes time would stop for a minute—but it never does.  Today, with my eldest child, I begin the trek known as “senior year.”  Today, like it or not, she will have her senior portraits taken.  My heart can’t handle it.  I don’t want to feel all the conflicting emotions that are fighting for precedence.

Bittersweet is a great term to describe it. “Bitter,” because this is my last year with her at home 24/7. This is my last school year to pour into my eldest daughter all the things she needs to know before she heads off to a college four hours away. This thought makes me panic; it makes me want to grasp to keep her here with me, just as she’s always been for the last 18 years. The bitter hurts.

(CJ’s Senior Graduation Pic)

This time can also be described as “sweet,” because I am so excited for her to embrace this new direction in life. I love that she prayed for months and months about where God wanted her go to school.  I can’t wait to watch the journeys she embarks on and what she gets to see.

My heart is an absolute conflicted mess.

Whether we as parents are dropping kids off at kindergarten or they are driving themselves to their first day of their senior year, the school year can be daunting.  Every year I say, “I want to be better, more engaged; I don’t want to forget which day is a half-day and what time my parent teacher conference is. I will not run from that dreaded science fair project and wait until the night before to get all the supplies. I will be on top if it this year!”

What does being “on top of it” really mean in the grand scheme of things?  What does it really look like?  I ran across these verses in 2 Timothy a few weeks ago, and God spoke to my heart about what is really important. Living out a sincere faith in front of your kids is a BIG DEAL.

As our kids go back to school this year, let us determine to kindle afresh our love for the Word of God.  A genuine faith is a faith that is not one where we dust off our Bible app on Sunday mornings. A genuine faith is one that gets us out of bed a bit earlier or drives us to stay up a bit later and open up the Word of God and ask God to transform our lives. A genuine faith is one that stirs up in us in such a way where we must carve out specific minutes each day for God’s Word and direction.

I remember in high school when I would get out of bed early to ensure I had enough time to properly tease my hair and hairspray it in place so that it did not move. I still remember glancing into the dining room and seeing my dad every day with his Bible open, reading the Word of God and praying.  That image is forever seared in my memory.  My parents lived out their faith in the most genuine way in front of me, and remembering my dad at that dining room table has had a life-long impact on me.

Here in these verses, Paul is reminding Timothy of his grandmother and mother. These two women, in the middle of a corrupt Roman society, lived out their faith. They lived out the message of the Gospel in front of Timothy. Their legacy of faith had impact. Paul uses that real life example of faithfulness in the home to stir up and remind Timothy of the faith that is in him as well.

Paul goes on to remind Timothy in verse 7 that God has not given him a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and discipline. It can sometimes be HARD and frightening to live out genuine faith in our culture today; but this school year as parents, let’s determine to pass on that legacy: the legacy of a sincere faith that is not just talked about but is lived out. This school year let’s determine to be disciplined, above all, in the Word of God. Let’s LIVE BOLD, faith-filled lives in front of our families.  A fire left to itself will burn out, so let’s stir the embers of faith this school year as never before.

Homeschool parents, public school parents, independent private school parents, and Christian school parents, what if we all together got on our knees and prayed fervently day after day for God to raise US up to live the Gospel in front of our kids in a supernatural way? Can we even imagine how in this school year we would see God work in unbelievable ways?

As the school year progresses we may fail at being those “super-parents” we expect ourselves to be: attending every performance, volunteering for every field trip, and having the most incredible science fair projects. But what if this year we determined to be those parents with a faith that is on fire? This will be hard; but God has not given us a spirit of fear but power, love and discipline.

Today, I embark on a bittersweet journey with my daughter.  I pray that above all she will remember the Gospel fire that lives within me. Let’s tackle this school year saturated in the sweetness of the Word of God.

What Does it Mean to Me?

When are you carving out disciplined personal minutes to be in the Word of God?  If not every day, will you determine to discipline yourself to open God’s Word three times a week?

Do you have a legacy of faith in your family, or will you be the beginning of that legacy?

How can your faith be described?

LIVE IT OUT:

Today, LORD, thank you for meeting me here in Your Word.  As today proceeds, please stir up Your Word within me.  Give me the power to live out the Gospel in front of my family today.


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: ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—An earthenware vessel among the vessels of the earth!  Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands?’”  (Isaiah 45:9, NASB)

What Does it Say?

Woe to one who quarrels with his Maker. Will clay say to potter, “What are you doing?” Or the thing made say “He has no hands?”

What Does it Mean?

I recently traveled to Seattle, Washington. Greeted by Seattle’s cold and rain, I began to feel as if the cold weather continues to chase me! As I navigated the city’s rain-soaked streets, I was drawn to what seemed to be the warmest spot in town— a unique glass shop called Art by Fire. The ovens inside the shop were 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and my Aunt Tina and I could literally feel those ovens breathe their warmth into the chilly side street we were walking. In the days since our visit to that unique place, my heart and mind continue to process our experience.

My aunt and I watched with intrigue as the glassmaker placed a rod into the fire to take hold of a lump of glass. As he removed the clear hot piece of glass, he continuously turned the rod to prevent the glass from falling off the rod and on to the hard concrete floor. As long as the glass remained in this red-hot state, it stayed incredibly pliable. The artist then added color, firing the glass again as it cooled and became less moldable. While the glass was at its hottest, the glassmaker used tools to shape the lump of glass into a work of art. We watched in amazement as the master designer reached for pliers and began pulling apart pieces of glass to create the petals of an iris. Then, with creativity and great skill, he applied a large putty knife of sorts, placing pressure in the proper places and rounding certain pieces out at just the correct angle. When I asked how he’d learned to create these amazing pieces, the artist said, “I see them in my mind, then my hands get to work.”

As I watched this extraordinary artist work, a verse in Isaiah came to mind: “..will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’”  (Isaiah 45:9, NASB).

The glass didn’t scream at the creator when put into the fire. The glass needed to be put into the fire so that it could be formed and so that color could be added. The glassmaker told Aunt Tina and me that it was the fire that solidified each piece’s unique color. The glass would cool quickly as the artist worked, so multiple trips to the fire were needed.  The process was fascinating: Early-on it was difficult to see what the piece was going to become, but by the end it was obvious—the lump of glass had been transformed into something beautiful—a true piece of art that was worth every penny of the price listed on the tag.

My heart was softened as my eyes witnessed the process from start to finish. I so often become frustrated with God because of the fire He leads me to walk through. I tend to immediately think that God hates me and doesn’t care if I die or if I hurt. I am evidence of the creation screaming at the potter, “What are You doing?!”  The process is often excruciating as I fight and refuse to face the fire, doing all I can to run from the extreme heat; but what if I allowed the Creator to place me where He needs me to be, for as long as I need to be there?

The interesting thing about that glass-artist was that when he placed the glass piece back into the fire to heat it up, it was never in there for very long: just long enough to make it pliable—then it was immediately removed. The artist explained that while the glass piece was being fired he had to pay very close attention it, constantly turning the piece to prevent it from falling off the rod or getting destroyed in the fire. If the artist left the glass in the heat of the fire for too long, it would liquify the glass, defeating the purpose of the piece.

Sometimes it seems like “forever” in the furnace; but if I decided to stop fighting, and allowed the Creator to fashion what He wants, adding the color He desires (not the color I demand), what kind of testimony would my life become?  What if I allowed the Creator to use those pliers to pull away the petals from the stem so that I could become what He desires me to be? I confess I don’t like the heat of the fire or the pressure of the pliers. Yet I know this truth: God never promised life would be easy, but He did promise that we would never be alone and that He will never leave us or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5).  The book of Romans tells us that the “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18, NKJV) and that “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NASB).

We can trust the Creator. The white-hot heat of the fire or the burning heat of the desert is not for our harm, but for our good. This is where faith comes in. We have faith for something, because it’s hard.  We hold on to the fact of God’s promises when everything around us and everything in our hearts says to put our fists in the air and RUN from the fire and from everything we thought we believed about God.

What if we held on, pressed in, and really believed what we have said we believe? Then our lives would reflect a work of art that only God could create. The choice to trust is yours. This is hard! I wish it were easy, but I encourage you to press on, my friends… through the heat of the desert and the flame of the fire.

What does it Mean to Me?
  • How hard has it been to choose to stand in faith and not run in fear, anger and bitterness?
  • When have you seen God or felt the closeness of God while going through the fire?
  • How can we pray for you today if you feel alone in the midst of the fire?

LIVE IT OUT

Today, LORD God, give me eyes to see Your hand on that rod while this fire threatens to overwhelm me, and give me a heart to accept it as I cling to Your Word. Give me today a specific promise from Your Word that I will claim. Instead of the anger and bitterness I feel rising in my soul, may Your Word be the cry of my heart.


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: ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9, NASB)

What Does it Say?

Have I not commanded YOU? BE strong, courageous; do not tremble or be dismayed. The LORD your GOD is with you wherever you go

What does it Mean?

I recently had the rare opportunity to go to Scotland with my husband, Will. Among the places Will was privileged to preach was the historic town of Falkirk—the town in which William Wallace, the hero of Scotland’s history of freedom, was betrayed by his own countrymen and then dragged to Edinburgh where he was put to death. As you may know by now, I love history. I wish I’d loved it when I was in school! Although dates and battles continue to confuse me, I’m often inspired by the life stories of people from different time periods.

 John Knox (photo: Getty)

The Scottish people have a long history of courage, and among the most courageous individuals in the annuls of Scottish history stands the towering figure of John Knox.  Born somewhere around 1572 (no one knows the exact date), Knox became a tutor to nobles—a decent, respectable, and safe job to have. Yet the safe and secure life of John Knox was forever changed when he heard the Gospel preached by George Wishart. Embracing that Gospel, Knox bent his knee to the King of kings and decided to live his life for Jesus with passion and courage. Yet that courage soon melted away from Knox as he watched his mentor and evangelist George Wishart strangled, beaten and burned in the courtyard of St Andrews Cathedral by Cardinal Beaton.

Not long after the martyrdom of George Wishart, the church gave the nod to John Knox to carry forth the message of the Gospel to all parts of Scotland. The people were bound by the government and church of the day, but the Gospel would set them free! That evening when John Knox received the call to preach, he ran home, got into his Scottish cupboard (closet) and cried, petrified and frozen by fear.  At that moment not an ounce of courage could be found in him.  Knox could not preach.

A fearful John Knox left the country and found himself in the presence of John Calvin, where for the next 18 months he studied the Word of God. I love that God did this, don’t you? Isn’t it so encouraging to know that even the great men of God were afraid? God understands that we are afraid, so He meets us in it and teaches us through it, so that we can, with His strength, rise above it!

John Knox did return to Scotland under the rein of the wicked Mary, Queen of Scots.  As Knox boldly proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus to his fellow countrymen, it sparked a nationwide revival. The monarchy and the ruling church of the day hated Knox for what he was doing, but the people of the country loved him and turned to God. Queen Mary of Scots was forced spare Knox’s life, since the monarchy feared a rebellion and total upheaval if Knox were to be killed.

As it turned out, John Knox died of old age, preaching the Gospel with boldness and courage to any and all who would listen.  When he died, the nation of Scotland mourned—so much so that Knox’s body and grave ended up being decimated. A stone courtyard (now used for parking) was erected directly above his burial plot. The country refused to forget the light of  the Gospel that Knox brought to a dark and dreary land on the verge of hopelessness.  Today, the site of John Knox’s grave may indeed be a parking space (space 23, to be precise), but his impact will never be forgotten.

John Knox once said that all he had to offer the Lord was his mighty weakness.  God used the mighty weakness of John Knox in a powerful way.  This mighty man of weakness was quoted as saying, “Lord, give me Scotland or I die!”  God honored that.

What if we were courageous enough to give God our weaknesses?  Forget about all the strengths you have. It is usually our weaknesses that prevent us from embracing the purpose that God has set apart for us, isn’t it?  John Knox boldly preached his first message in Scotland on June 11, 1546 at St Andrews Cathedral, the location where he had seen his dear friend George Wishart killed. The very place that took his fear is the place that God used to spark a powerful revival in his land. I cannot even process it all.  I stand in awe of God.

It was humbling to be standing in the ruins of that very St Andrews Cathedral on June 11, 2018, with my husband, Wil Graham, who with his Scottish heritage was there in the great country of Scotland to once again see God work in a mighty, mighty way. I was privileged to be able to watch and witness the hand of God moving across the country from Peterhead, to Aberdeen, from Banf to Fraserburgh to Grangemouth, Stirling and Falkirk.  The remnant of Scotland is just as strong and courageous as they were in 1546.

God is on the move!

What does it Mean to me?

What weakness is keeping you controlled by fear instead of faith?

When has God asked to use the mighty weakness in your life?

LIVE IT OUT

Today I will ask God to give me the courage demanded for what He has called me to do.

“A man with God is always in the majority”  –John Knox


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