Tag Archives: Prayer

Prayer Note: December

“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually” (1 Chronicles 16:11, NASB).

Finding Meaning in the Mess

Anyone who has watched a young child open Christmas gifts knows the aftermath of messiness. As they rip the paper, bows, and boxes with their tiny hands, strips of paper and shreds of cardboard go flying through the air. Despite the joy and excitement of the frequent squeals of delight, the fact remains that Christmas is rather messy. But when you stop and think about it, the very first Christmas (the birth of Jesus Christ) was similarly very messy. There was nothing glamorous, pretty, or restful about His arrival in Bethlehem. From a smelly barn to a damp and musty bed of hay, Jesus entered this world already despised and rejected. Plus, there was the additional messiness of the difficult journey that Mary endured while nine months pregnant: “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child” (Luke 2:4-5, NIV).

Making the 80-mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem for census registration was no easy feat, especially since it had to be done by foot or by donkey. Everything about the journey preceding the time of Jesus’ birth was just downright difficult.

Praises in the Pain

But in the midst of this mess came the Christ child and a band of angels singing and shouting praises to God for His goodness, kindness, and mercy. In other words, amidst the less than ideal conditions, God’s people found a moment of pure delight. And isn’t that image of praise amidst the problems a powerful reminder and model of our approach to times of intimacy and prayer with the Savior?

Let’s just face facts. Our lives are often very messy. We face the fear and worry of illness, separation, pain, and loneliness. We confront seasons in which our natural inclination is to run far away from the messiness of divorce, death, depression, unemployment, rebellion, and addiction, because facing the pain is too much to bear. In these difficult days, it rarely feels like Christmas or a time of praise. But it is in these seasons of deepest doubt, fear, and worry that God reminds us that He hears our weeping. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV).

Consider the following promises of God’s compassion: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4, NIV). “I cried out to Him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me” (Psalm 66:17-20, NIV). “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV).

Continuous Praises

If you stop and think about it, the one thing missing from the Biblical account of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem is a string of complaints. Instead of bemoaning the ugliness and harshness of travel, homelessness, and a make-shift delivery room in an animal’s trough, Mary and Joseph and the Magi found sweet praise in the pain of this messy first Christmas celebration. From the earliest days of her pregnancy, Mary took the time to sing praises before her King, elevating the majesty of God during moments of prayer and reflection (see Luke 1 – the Magnificat).

A Christmas Challenge

Perhaps this Christmas finds you in a mess. Perhaps everything about life is currently very ugly, painful, and dreadful, and the last thing you want to do is praise the One who made you. It’s difficult in seasons of hurt to find a voice of praise and contentment. It’s hard to pray when we are pained. But never forget that our God does His best work in our messes. Jesus’ life was surrounded by a lot of mess, but the messiness of this world’s rejection gave us eternal salvation. Even when the last thing you feel like doing this Christmas is praying, look up to the heavens and begin to sing praise. Call out the name of Jesus over and over until you find rest in His arms. Never forget that our Messiah holds us most tightly in our messes, because He loves us too much to ever let us go.

Written by: Lori Brown, staff at The Cove


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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PRAYER NOTE: NOVEMBER 2018

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.”
(Psalm 126:3, NKJV)

Thank you for your faithful prayers for The Cove — we’ve seen the Lord’s faithfulness in amazing ways this year. The beginning of the year saw the passing of our beloved founder, Billy Graham; yet even amid the loss we saw evidence of God’s hand as the gospel was proclaimed and the Graham family strengthened, upheld and comforted.

Our 2018 seminar season will end with the Erwin Lutzer seminar scheduled for November 16-18; then things will get festive as our Christmas at The Cove concerts begin!

As we near the end of this year’s seminar season and move into November and the Thanksgiving celebration, it’s good to look back and express our gratitude at all that the Lord has done here at The Cove. When you lack the words to express your praise, there’s nothing like reviewing a passage from the book of Psalms to give voice to your thankfulness:

 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!  I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.  When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,  who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;  7 who executes justice for the oppressed,  who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;  the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.  The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.  10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!   (Psalm 146:1-10, ESV)

 We know the Lord keeps His promises and is true to His Word. He is faithful, and we’ve seen Him at work during Cove seminars and retreats this year. It might be best to allow our guests to give Him the praise in their own words.

The Lord sets the prisoners free…

“I had been holding onto areas in my life.  At The Cove I surrendered it all to Jesus.” (Evaluation comment, Chip Ingram Military Marriage Retreat, May 2018)

“[I’ve decided] to truly let Jesus be in control of my life and to allow the Holy Spirit to be the voice I hear, not Satan’s. To make God’s promises my reality.” (Evaluation comment, Will Graham seminar, August 2018)

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind…

“I have been lovingly convicted about the ways in which I grieve the Holy Spirit and ask His help to refrain from it.”

“The Holy Spirit selected this seminar for me because He knew that I needed to know more about Him.”

(Evaluation comments, James Merritt seminar, October 2018)

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down…

“God reassured me that the trials in my life were always multi-faceted, not just for my growth, but to also be a platform to share Christ with others and ultimately bring Him glory.  I also reflected on truly grieving my circumstances and trusting God to be enough.” (Evaluation comment, Lisa Harper Women’s seminar, July 2018)

“Renewed my commitment to continue serving the church, even though they are rural, elderly, and very small in number.”
(Evaluation comment, Jim Henry Pastor Renewal Retreat, May 2018)

“My wife and I have been experiencing a very difficult time at our church.  We still don’t know what we will do, but we have purposed to walk in joy!” (Evaluation comment, Jim Henry Pastor Renewal Retreat, May 2018)

The Lord loves the righteous…

“[I gained] a deeper understanding of my identity in Christ and of His amazing, all-sufficient grace!”
(Evaluation comment, Pete Briscoe seminar, June 2018)

“What touched me most from the teaching is that the Holy Spirit loves me. I never thought that. I always knew the Holy Spirit was a person. I regarded Him as a Him, but it never struck me that He loves me just like Jesus does and just like God does.”
(Testimony excerpt, James Merritt seminar, October 2018)

The Lord watches over the sojourners…

“I had a horrible wreck two days ago, prior to coming to the Cove, and God just spent this time with me nurturing and restoring me and telling me I was saved because he loves me.”
(Evaluation comment, Tony Evans seminar, July 2018)

“We have been praying for guidance. When my husband retires we are going to be full-time missionaries. God has given us more direction and confirmation through prayers.”
(Evaluation comment, Michael Easley Military Marriage Retreat, March 2018)

He upholds the widow and the fatherless…

“While hiking, I met two women who helped me be reminded that God is the best and only Father my kids and I need.”

“I don’t need to struggle with loneliness.  He is always right by side: my ‘BFF’…my brother…my Daddy.”

(Evaluation comments, Lisa Harper Women’s Seminar, July 2018)

 

These testimonies are just a small taste of God’s goodness and faithfulness in 2018. As you continue to serve the Lord in whatever role He has placed you, remember these testimonies of how He has worked in your life and in the lives of His children who visited The Cove.  “He who calls you is faithful” (1 Thessalonians 5:24, ESV). Remember that rock-solid truth, and praise Him for it!

—Donna Riesen


We appreciate your prayers for these events that will take place at The Cove in November:

An Evening at The Cove with Selah — November 1
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

Jim Henry — November 2-4
(Emcee: Michael Everhart; Worship Leader: Selah; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett)
Faith: The Bridge Between What Is and What Can Be

Henry, Richard and Mike Blackaby — November 5-7
(Emcee: Michael Everhart; Worship Leader: Johnny Prettyman; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish)
Questions from Heaven: The Greatest Ever Asked

Guided Personal Spiritual Retreat — November 7-9
(Facilitators: John Parrish and Trish Lancaster)

Joe Stowell — November 12-14
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Michael O’Brien; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
The Power of a Transformed Life

Erwin Lutzer — November 16-18
(Emcee: John Parrish; Worship Leader: Shannon Wexelberg; Pastor-in-Residence: David Taylor)
Cries From the Cross: A Journey Into the Heart of Jesus

Christmas at The Cove with Annie Moses Band — November 29
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

Christmas at The Cove with Sisters — November 30
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)


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

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

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

Follow us on social media.click map

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

PRAYER NOTE: SMALL THINGS

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

SMALL THINGS

From tiny houses to minimalist design…small is big right now. There are websites, blogs and apps to help you reduce clutter and downsize anything from your wardrobe to your life.  Taken in the right spirit, this new appreciation for smallness can be a good and positive thing—a counterbalance to the excesses we so often fall into.

But what if the only thing small in your life is your bank account, your education, or your list of accomplishments? What if your trial looms large in comparison to your tiny store of strength, courage or faith?

A BIG TASK

The Old Testament book of Zechariah contains messages of hope for the future as it records the prophet’s words to the people of Judah who were returning to Jerusalem after their 70-year exile in Babylon. After his initial call to repentance (Zechariah 1:1-6), Zechariah turns to recording visions of encouragement and reassurance given by God to His people. Faced with the enormous task of rebuilding the temple, the returning exiles felt small indeed.

Hounded by a lack of resources which included crop failures and financial distress, God’s people needed the encouraging visions God shared through His prophet.  They needed a reminder that their smallness would not hinder the completion of the work they’d been called to do.

The book of Zechariah is not simply a long cheerleading session or a collection of motivational speeches. It is a proclamation of the omnipotent God’s plan for His people. “Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem’” (Zechariah 1:16, NKJV).

A GREAT GOD

Zechariah delivered the encouraging promise that the temple would indeed be built, despite the seemingly meager resources of the returned exiles: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6, NKJV).

“Zerubbabel’s hands have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent me to you. For who scorns the day of small things? These seven eyes of the Lord, which scan throughout the whole earth, will rejoice when they see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand” (Zechariah 4:9-10, HCSB).

Through these words, the great God who had called His people to be a reflection of His glory was giving them the assurance that the seemingly impossible task facing them would be completed. Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, had begun the work of building the Lord’s house, “and his hands will complete it,” the Lord declared. With such an assurance, who would indeed “scorn the day of small things?”

As believers today we may not be called to build a physical temple, but our great God calls even the smallest of us to participate in the great work of building His kingdom. Regardless of the part we’re called to play, the key is to work for His glory and not our own. When we seek to have God’s vision for the world, we begin to recognize our own smallness and learn to depend upon and magnify His greatness.

We come to God in a prayer of humility, recognizing our weakness and casting ourselves on the one who is all-powerful—Almighty.  We bow before Him in repentance, confessing our sinfulness and placing our trust in the Savior who is holy, just and sinless, yet merciful and forgiving. We come to Him in need, acknowledging our lack of resources and leaning on our loving Father who knows our need before we ask. (See Matthew 6:8.)

The “day of small things” may not be an easy or comfortable day, but praise God it can be a day of deep spiritual growth for each of us if makes us recognize our need and drives us even lower to our knees.

A TIMELESS PROMISE

And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly will I rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NKJV).

—Donna Riesen


SeniorSalt Impact Hymn Sing — October 1
 (Emcee/Worship Leader: Ron Whittemore)

Jonathan Falwell — October 1-3
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Shannon Wexelberg; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
The Power and Promise of Heaven: Letting Our Tomorrow Guide Our Today

James Merritt — October 3-5
(Emcee: John Parrish; Worship Leader: Shannon Wexelberg; Pastor-in-Residence: David Taylor)
A Holy Who? God’s Spirit and Our Relationship to Him

An Evening at The Cove with Laura Story — October 7
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

Kay Arthur & David Arthur — October 8-10
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Stephanie Seefeldt; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett)
Dying to Live: Exploring the Crucified Life

Prescription for Renewal — October 12-14  (and Missionary Medicine Seminar — October 11-12)
(Main Speakers: Jim Cymbala and Joni Eareckson Tada; Host: Franklin Graham)

Albert Mohler, Jr.— October 23-25
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Marty Goetz; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish)

Pastor Renewal Retreat — The Bible’s Story as the Story of the World: How Biblical Theology Rescues Ministry from Triviality

Bob Russell — October 29-31
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Johnny Prettyman; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Living Confidently in Turbulent Times


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

Preparing Your Heart for Prayer

 

Preparing Your Heart For Prayer and Following in His Footsteps
By: Donna Riesen

“Sometimes I’m asked to list the most important steps in preparing for an evangelistic mission, and my reply is always the same: prayer…prayer…prayer.” —Billy Graham

PAVE THE WAY WITH LOVE

The Apostle Paul often used the “walk” metaphor in his letters to the churches. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul explained that as believers, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, NASB).

In chapter four, the apostle described what that walk should look like: “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3, NASB).

FOLLOW IN YOUR FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS

In the opening verses of Ephesians five, Paul stresses the importance of walking in love, giving us the picture of a young child walking beside his father and trying to imitate his walk. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2, NASB).

While we will never reach our Heavenly Father’s standard of perfection in our own strength, we are told to be imitators of God and to walk as Christ walked. If we have repented of our sin and accepted Christ’s offer of forgiveness through His blood, we are transformed, reborn and adopted into God’s family. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and the leading of God’s Word, we can choose to walk in a way that shows others the family resemblance. Loving others with a selfless, sacrificial love will point them to Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice to bring us to God.

PREPARE THE PATH WITH PRAYER

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul commends the believers and expresses thanks to God for their faith in Christ Jesus and their love for all the saints. Paul’s love for them is evident as he assures them of his unceasing prayers:

“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light” (Colossians 1:9-12, NASB).

The roads at The Cove are in great shape, ready to receive vehicles filled with individuals who will come here seeking a closer walk with God. Our peaceful walking trails await those who need a quiet place to meet with Him amid the beauty of His creation. So what’s our job now as “road workers”? As Cove staff, we have various job descriptions and To-Do lists, but there’s one thing we’re all called to do before every seminar or event: we pray.

It is both our privilege and our responsibility to pray for each other and for those who will come to The Cove. The physical tasks we perform on a daily basis while serving here will have no lasting spiritual impact unless they are carried out in love and bathed in prayer. Acknowledging that only the Holy Spirit can truly open a heart, we do our best to prepare a safe, comfortable, welcoming environment free of distractions which might take attention away from the truth of God’s Word. As we seek to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,” faithfully and prayerfully carrying out the tasks He has called us to, we help to clear the way for the Lord to work.

Let’s commit being faithful in prayer. Consider praying the words of Colossians 1:9-12 for your co-workers, loved ones, and for all those who will visit The Cove in the month of July.

Keep praying and seeking!


Join us in prayer for the following upcoming events:

Alex McFarland — July 16-18 (Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Johnny Prettyman; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish) Amos: The Principles of Revival and the Pathway to Spiritual Awakening

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

Tony Evans — July 19-21 (Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Johnny Prettyman; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett) Kingdom Disciples: Heaven’s Representatives on Earth

An Evening at The Cove with Michael Card — July 22 (Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

Michael Card — July 23-27 (Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Michael Card; Pastor-in-Residence: David Taylor) Intensive Bible Training — Follow Me

Darren Thomas — July 27-29 (Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Michael O’Brien; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish) Restore My Soul


Follow us on social media. click map

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PRAYER NOTE: JULY 2018

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

ROAD WORK

“Sometimes I’m asked to list the most important steps in preparing for an evangelistic mission, and my reply is always the same: prayer…prayer…prayer.”  —Billy Graham

Our relationship with God is sometimes referred to as our “spiritual walk,” our “walk with God,” or our “faith journey.” Recent road work at The Cove has reminded us that we as a staff are “road workers,” preparing the way for people to come here to meet with God and move closer to Him in their journey of faith.

PAVE THE WAY WITH LOVE

The Apostle Paul often used the “walk” metaphor in his letters to the churches.  In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul explained that as believers, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, NASB).

In chapter four, the apostle described what that walk would look like:  “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,  being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3, NASB).

FOLLOW YOUR FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS

In the opening verses of Ephesians five, Paul stresses the importance of walking in love, giving us the picture of a young child walking beside his father and trying to imitate his walk. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;  and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2, NASB).

While we will never reach our Heavenly Father’s standard of perfection in our own strength, we are told to be imitators of God and to walk as Christ walked.  If we have repented of our sin and accepted Christ’s offer of forgiveness through His blood, we are transformed, reborn and adopted into God’s family. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and the leading of God’s Word, we can choose to walk in a way that shows others the family resemblance. Loving others with a selfless, sacrificial love will point them to Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice to bring us to God.

PREPARE THE PATH WITH PRAYER

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul commends the believers and expresses thanks to God for their faith in Christ Jesus and their love for all the saints. Paul’s love for them is evident as he assures them of his unceasing prayers:

“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understandingso that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,  to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might,  for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light” (Colossians 1:9-12, NASB).

The roads at The Cove are in great shape, ready to receive vehicles filled with individuals who will come here seeking a closer walk with God.  Our peaceful walking trails await those who need a quiet place to meet with Him amid the beauty of His creation.  So what’s our job now as “road workers”? As Cove staff, we have various job descriptions and To-Do lists, but there’s one thing we’re all called upon to do before every seminar or event: we pray.

It is both our privilege and our responsibility to pray for each other and for those who will come to The Cove. The physical tasks we perform on a daily basis while serving here will have no lasting spiritual impact unless they are carried out in love and bathed in prayer. Acknowledging that only the Holy Spirit can truly open a heart, we do our best to prepare a safe, comfortable, welcoming environment free of distractions which might take attention away from the truth of God’s Word. As we seek to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,” faithfully and prayerfully carrying out the tasks He has called us to, we help to clear the way for the Lord to work.

Let’s commit being faithful in prayer. Consider praying the words of Colossians 1:9-12 for your co-workers, loved ones, and for all those who will visit The Cove in the month of July.

—Donna Riesen


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events that will take place on The Cove property during the month of July.

JULY CALL TO PRAYER

Lisa Harper — July 6-8
(Emcee: Patty Stump; Worship Leader: Stephanie Seefeldt; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Women’s Seminar— The Life of Job: An Unlikely Joy

 Don Wilton — July 9-13
(Emcee: Bill Wolfe; Worship Leader: Stephanie Seefeldt; Pastor-in-Residence: Preston Parrish)
Intensive Bible Training — Come, Holy Spiri

Alex McFarland — July 16-18
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Johnny Prettyman; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish)
Amos: The Principles of Revival and the Pathway to Spiritual Awakening

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

Tony Evans — July 19-21
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Johnny Prettyman; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett)
Kingdom Disciples: Heaven’s Representatives on Earth

An Evening at The Cove with Michael Card — July 22
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

Michael Card — July 23-27
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Michael Card; Pastor-in-Residence: David Taylor)
Intensive Bible Training — Follow Me

 Darren Thomas — July 27-29
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Michael O’Brien; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Restore My Soul

PRAYER NOTE: JUNE 2018

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

FAKE FEARS AND REAL TEARS

There’s been quite a commotion taking place outside our office window this week, as we’ve watched a live performance of Angry Birds take place every day. A brilliant red cardinal has apparently taken over the tree just outside the window, and he is passionate about protecting his territory. Several times throughout the day we’ve seen him fly in with eyes blazing and feathers ruffled. The real ruckus begins when he sees his own reflection in the window. He spreads his wings wide and flings himself toward the imagined intruder, tapping repeatedly with his sharp beak. His outbursts had lessened by Thursday afternoon; we believe overcast skies may have dimmed the reflection and calmed his frazzled bird-nerves.

Like this agitated cardinal, have you ever been guilty of fighting a fake fear? If we’re honest, most of us could confess to conjuring up imaginary catastrophes that haven’t yet occurred and then watching them grow in intensity as our worried mind grows more fretful by the minute.

Though we’ve all fallen victim to imagined fears, we also know there are times in life when we are confronted with very real situations in which the normal human response is one of fear. Illnesses come, banks fail, floods rise and tragedies occur. And yet our Heavenly Father tells us to “Fear not.”

A new route to work now finds me navigating the twists and turns of a winding mountain interstate that’s a popular route for truckers. When possible, I try to steer clear of them and give them plenty of space. One afternoon as I traveled home from work on this winding route, I came around a wide curve only to find myself facing the huge metal grill at the front of a semi-truck cab. The cab was suspended at the back of a tow-truck, but for an adrenaline triggering split-second, I was gripped with the sensation of an oncoming head-on collision with a gigantic beast of a vehicle. As the adrenaline rush melted, I relaxed and broke into a grin as I realized my “brush with death” had been an optical illusion.

A cardinal fears the intrusion of a rival bird into his territory.  A human being fears death. His own reflection poses no real danger to a bird; yet death is the ultimate danger to be feared by all.  It is natural for human beings to fear the prospect of death; but for the believer in Christ, death is simply the entrance into the presence of the Lord.

The New Testament book of John paints the poignant picture of Martha as she grieves the death of her beloved brother and Jesus’ friend, Lazarus. Yet perhaps even more painful than the loss of her brother was the heart-rending perception that Jesus couldn’t be trusted. Martha was fearing that this great teacher who had healed countless others had let her down—had failed to show up as healer when His own dear friend, her brother, was at death’s door. As Jesus arrived on the scene three days after Lazarus’ death, a heartbroken Martha went out to meet Him. Her emotions raw, she blurted out the truth of her wounded heart: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21, NKJV).  Martha had faced the fear of loss as she watched the life of her brother slip away; yet she was now dealing with the perceived fear that she had misjudged Jesus. Even while she clung to the Old Testament promise of a coming resurrection and the hope of seeing her brother again, she remained gripped by the fear that Jesus had failed her and forsaken her.

When Jesus responded, “Your brother will rise again,” Martha gave the dutiful theological reply, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” (John 11:24, NKJV)

Christ’s next words would reveal His identity, power and promise to Martha and to believers down through the ages: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26, NKJV).

With her brother still cold in the grave, Martha responded with a rock-solid declaration of faith. “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world” (John 11:27, NKJV).

Verses 28 through 44 tell the rest of the timeless story. Martha’s sister, Mary, fell at His feet weeping, echoing the earlier words of Martha: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Moved with compassion, Jesus asked to be taken to the tomb. We see the depth of His compassion in the Bible’s shortest verse. Packed with meaning and emotion, it reads simply, “Jesus wept.”

Jesus knows our hearts. He knows the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15, KJV). After the raising of Lazarus and the display of His power over death, he would later go to the cross, where He would utter the cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Real or imagined, there is no fear the believer will encounter that our Savior has not faced and conquered. Because of His sacrificial death on the cross, we need never fear separation from God, though at times His face may seem hidden and His voice silent. Even death itself cannot touch us; because of Christ’s resurrection and victory over the grave, we merely pass through its shadow as we enter eternity with Him.

In his book Facing Death, Billy Graham related the experience of Donald Grey Barnhouse, a well-known preacher and theologian in the first half of the 20th century. Barnhouse’s first wife died of cancer, leaving him with three children all under 12. The day of the funeral, Barnhouse and the children were driving to the service when a large truck passed them, casting a noticeable shadow across their car. Turning to his oldest daughter, who was staring sadly out the window, Barnhouse asked, “Tell me, sweetheart, would you rather be run over by that truck or its shadow? Looking curiously at her father, she replied, “By the shadow, I guess. It can’t hurt you.” Speaking to all his children, he said, “Your mother has not been overridden by death, but by the shadow of death. That is nothing to fear.”

What a beautiful illustration of the psalmist David’s words, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23: 4, KJV).

Through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, He conquered death and the grave. Although the shadow of death may bring the chill of fear, we have the promise of eternal life in heaven with Him.

Our God is such a kind and merciful God! He knows that we are subject to worry, anxiety and fear. He commands us to “fear not,” yet He also “remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14, NKJV) and has graciously given us numerous verses in His Word telling us to “fear not” or to “be not afraid.”  His Word is packed with promises of His presence, protection and power. That means whether our fear is real or imagined, there is a promise for us to claim.

The next time you get your feathers ruffled and begin to feel agitated, anxious or fearful, pour out your heart to the one who says, “ ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand’ “ (Isaiah 41:10, NASB).  Grab hold of His hand and His promise, and hang on!

—Donna Riesen


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events that will take place on The Cove property during the month of June.

JUNE CALL TO PRAYER

 

An Evening at The Cove with Brandon Heath — June 14
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)
 

James Brown — June 15-16
(Emcee: Bill Wolfe; Worship Leader: Michael O’Brien)
Men’s Event—
Break the Huddle and Run the Play: Are We Running the Plays God Has Called for Us?
 

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. — June 18-22
(Emcee: Michael Everhart; Worship Leader: Michael O’Brien; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Intensive Bible Training—
The Majesty of God in the Midst of Suffering: Studies in the Book of Job
 

SeniorSalt Impact Hymn Sing — June 25
(Emcee/Worship Leader: Ron Whittemore)
 

Mark Yarbrough — June 25-29
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leaders: Richie & Gina Kingsmore; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Intensive Bible Training—
What Does Jesus Think? Having the Mind of Christ

 

PRAYER NOTE: MAY 2018

Prayer Note(3)

THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING AND PRAYING

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

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

PEACE AMONG PRAYER PARTNERS

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

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

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

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

CALLED TO PRAY AND PROCLAIM

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

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

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

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

PRAYER IS STILL PRIMARY

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

JOB FAIRS AND FAITHFUL PRAYERS

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

Keep praying and seeking!

—Donna Riesen


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events that will take place on The Cove property during the month of May.

MAY CALL TO PRAYER

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kendra Graham Online Bible Study – Judges

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

KENDRA GRAHAM NOTES FROM JUDGES

So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD” (Judges 6:6, NKJV).

What does it Say?

Israel was greatly impoverished and cried out to the LORD

What Does it Mean?

We don’t need God … well, until we need God. We hate that God allows hardship.  If God really loved us then He would give us everything we wanted—when we wanted it—and would not allow any difficulty or struggle to come into our lives.  God would not allow us to hit rock bottom, that’s for sure!  Isn’t that what we think a loving God would be like?  When life hits us hard and knocks the wind out of us, we do not question our love for God—we question His love for us.

In verse one of this chapter, we read, … the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD.”  Israel decided against following God’s laws, choosing instead to follow their own hearts.  God’s chosen people believed that they knew best, and that they no longer needed God.

The Israelites started out focused on God; and as they walked with God, He allowed them to prosper. Somewhere in the midst of prosperity, however, they forgot God. Israel decided to live life the way they wanted to; they did not want to be strapped down to God’s Word and obedience to Him.  And the Scriptures tell us that Israel’s God—refusing to force obedience—allowed His people to walk away from His protective hand. God allowed the Midianites to ruin and ransack the land.  The first few verses of this chapter reveal how the Midianites were like locusts on the land—everything that had been full became empty, and the land was left barren.  The livestock and crops were taken.  The children of Israel were living in caves and dens, full of fear that the Midianites would come back and take their lives.  The lives of God’s people had not just fallen apart—they were completely dismantled.  God’s people had lost everything.  The people were greatly impoverished.

How long did it take for God’s people to come back to God? Was it right away?  Did they return before they wandered too far from God?  Did they quickly see how God loved them, instantly understanding that walking with God and following His laws was for their protection not for harm?  Sadly, no.  Israel was no different than we are.  We walk away from God. We demand God leave us alone; and then when He does, our lives really fall apart and our fists fly as we blame God for everything . In our pride and stubbornness we determine we will “show God,” so we fight and fight and fight the Midianites until we are utterly exhausted. If we’re honest, it is not Midian we are so upset with—we’re angry with God for being so far away from our terrible plight.

Meanwhile, God has not gone anywhere. It was not God who walked away.  God is still where He can be found (Deuteronomy 4:29, Isaiah 55:6), but we refuse with all that is in us to go back to Him.  So we continue to live in our pride, digging a hole deeper and deeper until we are greatly impoverished physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.  Here, in this passage in Judges, Israel fought Midian and lived in their own stubbornness for seven years. Yet God is patient and has eternity to wait.

Israel did not turn and cry out to God until they had lost everything.  They lost their land, their prosperity, their food, their homes…their pride.  Did you know that it is impossible for a prideful, arrogant person to “cry out to the LORD”?  Prayer takes humility.  Prayer takes an attitude of “I need You, God because I can’t without You.”

Seven years of hardship.  Seven years of pain.  Seven years of loss.  Seven years of bitterness towards God for allowing Midian to do such atrocities.  Seven years of living in their pride, even in the midst of humiliating circumstances.  Seven long years of trying to show God they could fix it without Him.

But God loves us enough to wait. We have such a misunderstanding of God’s love, don’t we?  When I read this passage I could not help but think of the prodigal son.  The Father allowed the son to leave, and then he waited.  Love waits.  It waits until we are done.  God’s love kept Him waiting for His people, and that same love keeps Him waiting for you and me. God has not gone anywhere. God is found in His Word, and in His Word you and I will find that God is love. He loves for His children to cry out to Him. When we cry out to God, we find Him waiting with arms open wide—not condemning us, but loving us.

You and I were created to walk with God—to know Him and to need Him. As we walk with God and cling to His promises day by day, we will not find our lives to be problem free and full of material wealth, yet we will live a life full of God.  God’s purpose and personal plan for each of us is to live a life full with Him!  In the midst of hardship we can have peace, patience, and perseverance (John 16:33, 2 Corinthians 4:8).  In the midst of prosperity we can have a thankfulness for God’s generosity and presence (Psalm 127, James 1:17).  The key to a life of purpose is God Himself.  Cry out to God today and begin anew to walk with Him.

What Does it Mean to Me?

What causes you to cry out to the LORD?

When was a time you walked with the LORD faithfully, but then fell away?

What will it take for you once again to walk with the God you were created to walk with?

LIVE IT OUT

LORD, today as I cry out to You, help me to come back to You. Teach me Your Word.  Walk with me once again as this new day starts.

————————————————————————-

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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Prayer Note: April 2018

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

JUST WHO DO WE THINK WE’RE TALKING TO?

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


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

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

LIFTING OUR EYES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep praying and seeking!

—Donna Riesen


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

PRAYER NOTE: FEBRUARY 2018

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

FEAR OF MISSING OUT

It drives advertising and marketing strategies, affects online and retail sales, and dominates many of our decisions, large and small. It can influence what we order in a restaurant, whether or not we’ll attend a party, or where we’ll buy our next house. It can drive parents to overschedule their children, college students to abandon their studies, and spouses to dissolve their marriages. From career choices to social media usage, both major and minor decisions can be affected by this little four-letter acronym: FOMO.

An abbreviation for “fear of missing out,” FOMO describes the phenomenon of anxiety that results when we fear we might not be included in an exciting or enjoyable activity that others are experiencing. The phrase was coined in the early 21st century and is used mainly with regard to feelings brought on by the images of happy perfection we see on social media. At one time or another, we’ve all fallen victim to FOMO.

Most of us understand the positive and negative affects Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have had on our culture and collective psyche. While the upside includes increased connectedness and opportunities for online social interaction and networking, the downside can include feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and depression. To many of us, FOMO seems an unfortunate yet unintended consequence of today’s constant connectivity.

FOMO ISN’T NEW

Fear of missing out existed long before the internet. In fact, FOMO has been influencing our emotions and decisions since Satan tempted Eve in the garden. Worried that God was withholding something good, Eve fell for Satan’s lie and ate the forbidden fruit. (You can read the whole account in Genesis 2:15-3:24.) From that day on, we’ve all been subject to the negative effects of FOMO. Cain killed his brother Abel…David killed Bathsheba’s husband Uriah…lots of other people killed lots of other people out of an unhealthy and ungodly fear of missing out. And it’s a pretty safe assumption that even Solomon—the wisest man in the word—was a victim of FOMO, since the Bible tells us he had 700 wives! (See 1 Kings 11: 1-4.)

THE GOOD KIND OF FOMO

The Bible contains numerous accounts of individuals who experienced fear of missing out. Jacob, out of fear of missing out, deceived his father and stole his brother Esau’s birthright, cheating him out of his inheritance as the firstborn.  After learning that Esau was angry enough to kill him, Jacob fled from Canaan in fear for his life. Genesis 32 gives us the picture of Jacob’s return after 20 long, eventful years. Longing to see his elderly father, Jacob is arriving under the shadow of dread—fearful that big brother Esau may still be nursing a grudge. After dividing up his flocks and herds and sending a huge peace offering of livestock ahead of him to Esau, the Bible tells us that Jacob “arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day” (Genesis 32:22-24, NKJV).

Author and preacher Ray Stedman explains what came of this long night of wrestling:

“Many messages that I have read on this account have commented on the fact that Jacob was mighty in prayer because he wrestled with God all night long and thus prevailed. But I have already indicated that it is not true that Jacob wrestled with God. It is God who wrestled with Jacob, trying to break down his stubborn self-reliance, his feeling that it all depends on him, that he has got to do it or else it is not going to get done, that God is really going to do nothing in the situation.

Furthermore, Jacob did not prevail over God by wrestling. The moment of prevailing comes when his hip is broken, when he is absolutely helpless and can do nothing but hang on. That is when he prevailed with God. That is what this account is teaching us. God responds to that sense of human helplessness. This is also what Paul is teaching us in Second Corinthians, when he says, ‘His strength is made perfect in my weakness, for out of weakness am I made strong,’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).” (RayStedman.org)

The good kind of FOMO results when we have an encounter with God that makes us understand our own weakness and reveals to us more of His greatness. Jacob, who had spent his life trying to manipulate circumstances to his favor, finally began to understand more of who God was. God won the wrestling match and Jacob came away with a permanent limp; a greater vision of God; and a new name: Israel.

In the New Testament, Luke 19:1-10 gives us the account of Zacchaeus, a wealthy but vertically-challenged tax collector who wanted to see Jesus. Since this white-collar criminal regularly cheated and stole from those with whom he had financial dealings, it’s no wonder that no one in the crowd was willing to step aside and allow him to stand close enough to see.

Zacchaeus, however, was determined not to miss out. Unable to push his way through the crowds, the diminutive money-man found a sycamore tree and climbed it to get a better view.

His persistence paid off, as Jesus looked up and announced, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”  Zacchaeus need not have worried. Verse 10 tells us that “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus would have found him, sycamore tree or not!

The good kind of FOMO is the kind that drives us to search for Jesus. The kind that makes us hit our knees, knowing that we need an encounter with God. The good kind of FOMO is a God-given, grace-filled discontentedness with the spiritual status quo. Far from materialistic envy, it’s a recognition of our own spiritual poverty and a desire to experience “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (see Ephesians 1:18).

FEBRUARY FOMO

The best thing we can do is to begin February with a healthy dose of good FOMO—hitting our knees and seeking God as we never have before. We are honored to serve in a place where others come to seek Him, yet we can easily take for granted the privilege that is ours. Let’s praise God for the opportunity to serve him here, and let’s determine not to miss out on His blessing by trying to work in our own strength. God has called us to this ministry, and He will equip us with what we need to serve Him. The good kind of FOMO is the kind that God places deep within our hearts—the hunger for more of Him.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13, NKJV).

Keep praying and seeking!

—Donna Riesen

“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually. ”
(1 Chronicles 16:11, NASB)


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following event that will take place on The Cove property during the month of February.

FEBRUARY CALL TO PRAYER

Women’s Bible Study, Morning
Tuesday mornings through February 27

Women’s Bible Study, Evening 
Tuesday evenings through February 20

An Evening at The Cove with Jason Crabb
February 18
(Emcee: Bill Wolfe)

Thank you for praying!