Notes From The Cove

Wednesday Devotions: A Study in Nehemiah

First Fruits

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte

 

Nehemiah 10:33-37 (NASB)

for the showbread, for the continual grain offering, for the continual burnt offering, the sabbaths, the new moon, for the appointed times, for the holy things and for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of our God. Likewise we cast lots for the supply of wood among the priests, the Levites and the people so that they might bring it to the house of our God, according to our fathers’ households, at fixed times annually, to burn on the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the law; and that they might bring the first fruits of our ground and the first fruits of all the fruit of every tree to the house of the Lord annually,  and bring to the house of our God the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks as it is written in the law, for the priests who are ministering in the house of our God.  We will also bring the first of our dough, our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the new wine and the oil to the priests at the chambers of the house of our God, and the tithe of our ground to the Levites, for the Levites are they who receive the tithes in all the rural towns.”

This section of Nehemiah 10 is a continuation regarding the agreement the people signed as a renewed commitment to the Lord after they returned to Jerusalem from seventy years of exile. The walls of protection around Jerusalem, now rebuilt, and dedicated to the Lord, sparked a revival among the Israelite people.

Verse 33, speaks of the different offerings specifically for temple worship. Showbread, grain and burnt (sacrifices) were all offered to the priests to atone for the sins of the people and to worship the Lord for the “appointed times”, or holy days.

In verses 34-35, the tithe, or tenth of the first fruit is what God required from each household to be brought into the temple. Wood, mentioned specifically, was particularly important for the upkeep of the temple because they would not be able to offer “burnt sacrifices” without it. They cast lots to determine a schedule as to when each family would provide this needed item. Grain, and “first fruit” of every field and tree as important to provide a living wage to the men who worked in service to the Lord.

Verse 36 tells us the people were also asked to bring the first born of our son, cattle and herds. The law outlined in Exodus in the law, and was exemplified in 1 Samuel when Hannah brought Samuel to the temple for service to the Lord. The people agreed to give God everything. As we would say today, to be all in for Him.

Finally, the people were asked to bring other provisions into the storehouse. This would allow for the temple workers to give to those who were in need.

Serving Others Forward Together

 

Psalm 68:5-6,9-10 (NASB)

“A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.
 God
makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land . . .  You shed abroad a plentiful rain, O God;
You confirmed Your inheritance when it was 
parched. Your creatures settled in it;
You provided in Your goodness for the poor, O God.”

What can we learn from Nehemiah?

·         Understanding that paying a tithe to the church is not just Biblical, but it is also a way to  provide the necessary tools for service to the Lord.

·         Give over and above what is required to help with practical needs for others in the church body.

·         When God gives us a blessing, offer it back to Him as an act of obedience and watch the amazing return because we were willing to sacrifice.

·         Be faithful in what God has called us to do so others working in ministry can focus on their calling.

Luke 1:53-55 (NASB)

 He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed.
 “He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.”

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. How can I make paying tithes more of a priority knowing God’s intended purpose?
  2. Where is God asking me to give on top of tithing?
  3. What can I do to help take care of others needs?
  4. Are those working in ministry able to take care of their own needs on what they make?
  5. How can I be a better steward with what God has given me?

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

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

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

 

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Wednesday Devotions: A Study in Nehemiah

A Renewed Commitment

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte

Nehemiah 10: 30-32 (NASB)

 “We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons.When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day. Every seventh year we will forgo working the land and will cancel all debts. “We assume the responsibility for carrying out the commands to give a third of a shekel each year for the service of the house of our God.”

Following the dedication of the walls, the children of Israel put together a written commitment to serve the Lord. The leaders, priests, and then everyone else signed the document as a way to show their dedication to keeping their word. Today we get the first glimpse into the contents of their commitment.

Nehemiah 10 | Bible Teaching Notes

In verses 30, the people agree to not give their daughters in marriage to the neighbors, or take daughters from the people around them for their sons. Does this mean the Israelites were racist? No, what this is referring to is being “unequally yoked”, or in other words, God does not want us to marry unbelievers. We find examples throughout scripture where people married unbelievers and it never turned out well.

2 Corinthians 6:14

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

Because the people had just come from seventy years of exile in Babylon due mostly in part from the sin of idolatry, the need to stay spiritually pure was a big deal.  Therefore, the issue was something they felt the need to commit in writing with everyone signing in agreement.

In verses 31 and 32 the contract continues with keeping the Sabbath day holy and also committing to a Sabbath year for the land. This was something outlined by Moses from God Himself during the time in the wilderness. By renewing their commitment to God’s law in a way that they would also not buy or sell from their neighbors on the Sabbath, the people set the example to their neighbors, and they set themselves apart as God’s chosen people.

What can we learn from Nehemiah?

·         Being unequally yoked can also mean agreeing with what the world says is “true’ for them. Don’t be afraid to be different and hold to God’s truth.

·         God wants us to go to all the world in evangelism. He wants us to change the world and not the other way around. Do not let the world change me.

·         Remember to be an example in how I do things.

·         Make a renewed commitment to seek God’s will and be obedient to His will.

 

These next few weeks will be a study of what the Israelite people put their names to in commitment to God. These three verses today are a good reminder that our commitment starts with setting ourselves apart and not conforming to what the world says, but what God says to do.

Romans 12:2 (NASB)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. In what way am I letting other people turn my heart away from God?
  2. What am I accepting as okay in others that could lead me down a path I do not want to go?
  3. In what area of my life am I a good example to others and what area do I need to do better?
  4. What can I do to be a better steward of my time and resources?

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

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

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

 

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Wednesday Devotion: A Study in Nehemiah

Blessings and Curses

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte

Nehemiah 10:28-29 (NASB)

 “Now the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of God, their wives, their sons and their daughters, all those who had knowledge and understanding, are joining with their kinsmen, their nobles, and are taking on themselves a curse and an oath to walk in God’s law, which was given through Moses, God’s servant, and to keep and to observe all the commandments of God our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes;”

Nehemiah 10 | Bible Teaching Notes

Chapter 9 and the first half of chapter 10 told the story of dedication of the walls of Jerusalem. There was a collective repentance of national sins, and a revival began to sweep through the people if Israel. The leaders and the high priest put together a document, a commitment to be faithful to God’s commandments and follow Him. In verse 27 chapter 10, the leaders all signed the document.

Today, we see that the rest of the people, from the priests on down also made a commitment to follow God. In this renewal, the people join with the leaders to remain separate from those who occupy the land. They agreed to be different . . . set apart for God. The Israelite people also resolved to take on both the blessings if they followed God’s commands, laws, and statutes; and the curses outlined by God to Moses if they failed to obey.

To hope for God’s blessings was easy. Everyone wants God’s blessings. However, no one wants God’s curses, which, are also translated as the judgements of God. The people recently returned from seventy years of enslavement in Babylon, which was traumatizing. They reasoned that they experienced the worst of God’s judgement and they would never repeat the same mistake again. They fully expected that from that day forth, they would only experience the blessings of God.

Can you identify? I certainly can.

What can we learn from Nehemiah?

·         Don’t be afraid to be different. Be worthy to be called by God’s name. (Christian)

·         Remember the curses as well as the blessings of God, and don’t be afraid to warn people if we see them walking down a dangerous path of sin.

·         Speak the truth in love, but don’t let that hold us back from reminding people of God’s truth as stated in His Word.

Nehemiah is a book of amazing hope. The people pulled together and rebuilt the walls in a way that could only be described as miraculous. They experienced a great outpouring of national heartbreak against their sin and revival ensued. The warnings were also there for all to heed.

Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)

 “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. How am I different from others and how am I still like the world around me?
  2. Would others say I am Christ like?
  3. What curses or judgements do I tend to forget about?
  4. What fears are holding me back from speaking the truth to others?
  5. Do I tend to focus on God’s blessings more that His judgements?

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

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

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

 

 

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Anne Graham Lotz Live Stream Event

Live Stream with Anne Graham Lotz

“Drawing Near to the Heart of God…Through Prayer”

Join Anne Graham Lotz for a special live stream event November 6-8 at The Cove. Her seminar is entitled “Drawing Near to the Heart of God…Through Prayer.” Whether you are a Bible scholar or know little about God’s Word, watch and discover how to have a vibrant, intimate relationship with Him.

Click here to register for this live stream event. 

Cost is $30 and includes all four seminar sessions and the Q&A period. The live stream will be available for on-demand viewing a full 30 days after you initially access it. You can also purchase DVD, CD, and flash drive recordings of the seminar from our bookstore by calling 828-771-4800, option 3.

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

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

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

 

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Tuesday Devotions: A Study in Nehemiah

National Sin, National Agreement, Personal Commitment

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte

Nehemiah 9:36-38 (NASB) & 10: 1-27

“Behold, we are slaves today, and as to the land which You gave to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its bounty, behold, we are slaves in it. 37 “Its abundant produce is for the kings whom You have set over us because of our sins; They also rule over our bodies and over our cattle as they please, so we are in great distress. 38 “Now because of all this we are making an agreement in writing; And on the sealed document are the names of our leaders, our Levites and our priests.”

10 “Now on the sealed document were the names of: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah. These were the priests. And the Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel; 10 also their brothers Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, 11 Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah, 12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, 13 Hodiah, Bani, Beninu. 14 The leaders of the people: Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, 15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, 16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, 17 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, 18 Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai, 19 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, 20 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, 21 Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, 22 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, 23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, 24 Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, 25 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, 26 Ahiah, Hanan, Anan, 27 Malluch, Harim, Baanah.”

As we close out Chapter 9 in the book of Nehemiah, I have mixed emotions. The entire chapter up to this point told the story of the re-built walls and of the grand celebration. Yet today, we see the people were still not free. They rebuilt the broken and burned city, and yet they remained oppressed. After a celebration and re-dedication of the city, God’s chosen people faced the reality of the new type of slavery that they were forced to endure.

The land still belonged to the king, along with the abundant produce the land provided.

Because of national sin, the entire nation suffered, so today, the congregation made an agreement to return to the God of their fathers. They put this agreement in writing which was the first real step toward revival and freedom. The first 27 verses of chapter 10 are a list of names of those who signed the agreement on behalf of the people.

selective focus photography of person reading book

As I write, the world as we know it has been turned upside down due to a virus that has swept across our land. On the heels of the virus, an upheaval of social unrest, followed by one natural disaster after another. I wonder if we, just as the people of Nehemiah’s day are under a time of judgement for the many, many sins of our nation. If we could stop for a moment and look at how the Israelite people responded to their trials, perhaps we would have the revival many have been praying to God for all these years. After years of sin and months of hard labor, the people could finally recognize their own part in the nation’s judgement.

What can we learn from Nehemiah?

·      Be the one who stands up and calls out the sins of our nation.

·      Be the one who will seek out those in need and help them find freedom from sin through a relationship with Almighty God.

·      Make a renewed covenant with God and seek His will.

·      Be bold as Nehemiah and be the first to step out in faith.

 

Nehemiah was the first to sign the document, then the priests, then the temple workers. Our national healing needs to start with those who will cry out to God. He is faithful, and He will hear our cries and He will heal our land.

2 Chronicles 7:13-15

 “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people,  and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.”

 

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. Am I held in bondage to a particular sin and what is holding me back from giving it to God?
  2. What will I do to take the first step in walking the land God has already given me?
  3. Am I willing to go where He sends me?
  4. What commitments or steps of faith am I afraid to make?
  5. What am I doing that will be a good example to others in their walk with God?

 

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

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

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

 

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Pastor Renewal Retreat Online at The Cove

The Cove is offering a retreat for Pastors and their spouses through a livestream event with Pastor Chip Ingram at The Cove. This is an opportunity for pastors and their spouses to get rejuvenated to continue the important Kingdom work that God has called them to do. A time to receive insight, instruction, and best practices from experienced Christian leaders.

This upcoming livestream event is September 28-30 and is $30 to register. Can’t watch live? You can still sign up and get on demand access to the session videos for 30 days after the event. The video on demand will be available on October 1st. Click here to register for this livestream or learn more information.

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

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

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

 

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Weekly Bible Passage: Mark 3:25-33

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Mark 3:25-33:

woman wearing brown sun hat

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,  because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”  Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.  Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

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

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

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

 

 

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The Future: A Psalm by Quinn Graham

We have a modern-day psalmist on our hands:  Quinn Graham, Will Graham’s son and Billy Graham’s great-grandson, has written a special  psalm to share.

 

The Future

brown concrete road during daytime

The future is unpredictable

No one knows what is coming around the corner

It could be something tragic

Or it could be something marvelous

The only person who knows is God

He knows what will happen the next day, week, year, decade, lifetime

All we know is that we should trust in Him

He knows what we will never know

We try to predict what will happen next

But we fail because you can never predict what God will do

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”


-Proverbs 3:5-6

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

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

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

 

 

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Tuesday Devotions: A Study in Nehemiah

God of Compassion and Judgement

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte

Nehemiah 9:28-35 (CJB) Complete Jewish Bible

 “But as soon as they had rest, they did evil again before You; Therefore You abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they ruled over them. When they cried again to You, You heard from heaven, and many times You rescued them according to Your compassion,  And admonished them in order to turn them back to Your law. Yet they acted arrogantly and did not listen to Your commandments but sinned against Your ordinances, By which if a man observes them he shall live. And they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck, and would not listen.  “However, You bore with them for many years, and admonished them by Your Spirit through Your prophets, yet they would not give ear. Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.  “Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or forsake them, for You are a gracious and compassionate God.  “Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness, do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before You, which has come upon us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers and on all Your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria to this day.  “However, You are just in all that has come upon us; for You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly.  “For our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers have not kept Your law or paid attention to Your commandments and Your admonitions with which You have admonished them.  “But they, in their own kingdom, with Your great goodness which You gave them, with the broad and rich land which You set before them, did not serve You or turn from their evil deeds.”

8. Repentance and Revival (Nehemiah 8-13). Rebuild & Renew: The Post-Exilic Books, by Ralph F. Wilson. JesusWalk Bible Study Series.

In this extended section of scripture, Ezra, the high priest continues his sermon to the Israelite people during the dedication of the re-built walls where he reminds the people of their cyclical pattern. One of sin and disobedience, which would lead to some sort of oppression and or bondage, which would cause a national cry to God for help. Finally, there would be repentance and a return to God and His blessings.

Early in my walk as a Christ Follower, I used to read passages like this and wonder how a people who had a close relationship with God and had been given so many blessings could ever wander so far from Him. I bet I am not the only one. Yet today, I see some of the same things happening.

As I studied this passage, a couple of things stood out to me. God is long suffering, and goodness is on full display as He gave his people chance after chance to repent. God demonstrated His love with judgement and hard times as a way to call His people back to Himself. No matter how far we roam, and no matter what we do, verse 31 says “In Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or forsake them, for You are a gracious and compassionate God.”

God is the same today as He was all those years ago. He is great and mighty, and He will bring judgement. He is also gracious, compassionate, and willing to bring us back to Himself when we repent.

As I see many of the same patterns happening today, I am in constant prayer for the church, and the American church in particular who has been given so much. I pray we learn from history, and seek God in repentance for the sins of our nation. I also pray for God’s great compassion on us His Church, His Bride.

What can we learn from Nehemiah? 

  • God admonishes his Children as a loving parent. He sets boundaries for a reason.
  • Pray and grieve over national sin as much as I do for my personal sins.
  • If I sin and turn from God, He will allow consequences for my actions.
  • Have hope in the hard times because God is full of compassion and only allows things to happen that will bring us back to Himself.
  • Trust Him in both the good and the bad. Ask if there is a lesion to be learned in the trial.

God is slow to anger and quick to redeem because we are His children. He loves us with the everlasting love of a father. Take heart. Know that even though times may be hard, He is with us through every trial.

woman sitting on brown bench while reading book

Isaiah 43: 1-2 (NASB)

 “But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.”

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. Where have I become stubborn and try to do things my way?
  2. In what area of my life am I prone to wander away from God?
  3. What hard things in life do I know God allowed to call me back to Himself?
  4. Am I at a place where I need to repent and return to God?
  5. In what way do I ignore national sins in my prayers?

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

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

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

 

 

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Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 33:18-22

Our weekly Bible verse comes from Psalm 33: 18-22 (NIV):

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,  to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.”
person standing on hill
As you start your week, you can put your hope in the One that will never forsake you. God is with you today and He is with you this week. Spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word and He will fill you with joy, hope, and peace.
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Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

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

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

 

 

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