Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is a writing technique that mystery writers frequently use.  It gives readers a hint of what is to come and possibly who will be involved.  What I find fascinating about this technique is that originally it didn’t apply to fiction. The bible is filled with prophesies and actual events that were designed to help people see Who was coming and how things would happen. 

The Old Testament is more than a history book.  It is more than a book of law.  It is the introduction to God’s perfect plan.  Throughout the Old Testament we are given glimpses of a King who is to come and a Kingdom that will last forever.  While Saul was still king, God turned His face from him and told Samuel to seek out a new king.  Samuel found David, who was the least of the least.  Yet God made a covenant with David, telling him that “your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” 2 Samuel 7:16 (NASB)

When this happened, it was a hint to the people then, and to us, that David’s offspring would rule Israel and all God’s people forever.  Although traditional history tells us that didn’t happen according to earthly ways because we know that Rome conquered all that area, Jerusalem was torn down and the people dispersed over all the earth.  So, does this mean that God’s promise was broken?  NO!

David made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem when he returned the ark of the covenant.  He led the procession!  Centuries later, David’s direct descendent Jesus made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and He led the procession.

Jesus was welcomed by the people in Jerusalem and celebrated as their King!  While we all think we know the end of this story, we sometimes forget that God is faithful and He never breaks a promise. Jesus did die on the cross. 

But He rose again and now Jesus is fulfilling the covenant that God made with David, His kingdom is established forever.

Join us tomorrow morning, Sunday April 5, 2020 at 10:55 a.m.  We will be holding a live service in the parking lot at 964 W. Hwy 190 and we will be livestreaming on facebook.

Pastor Ann is going to dive deep into how Jesus fulfilled these shadow pictures and what it means for us today.

Consider

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds . . . encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” —Hebrews 10:24-25

The concept of gathering has taken many new forms over the last few weeks as many of us around the world seek a way forward for our churches. This new reality has made me wonder: Why do you go to your church? Why do you keep going back to the same group of people in the same building? I have asked these questions for years in membership classes or leadership trainings, and I am always interested in the answers. Some common answers are: My family attends here. My friends are here. I like how I feel when I am here. I love the worship music. I love the pastor. It is my weekly connection with God. I love my small group and couldn’t make it without them.

I have rarely heard the words from Hebrew uttered when I ask these questions. In fact, I have never had someone tell me, “I go to this church simply to encourage others.” I am sure that there are some who make it their mission each week to be a catalyst for love and good deeds, but if we are not careful, we can decide to go to church for what we can get out of the gathering instead of what we can offer to the gathering. 

I believe that Hebrews 10:24-25 is asking us to consider another way.

What if Christians around the world decided that the purpose of gathering together was to encourage each other to live each day for Christ? What if, when we gathered, we understood that true worship of God is connected to a love for our brothers and sisters? What if the connection to others is enhanced through authentic worship of God?

What if this coming Sunday, we consider the true purpose of Church: worship? In a world that is focused on the self, what if the church became a gathering that was focused on God and others? There is no question that love and good deeds would abound. 

As you think of each other this week, make it your mission to truly fellowship. Move past thinking of our basic needs and, in earnest prayer, thank God for His goodness and pray for the needs of others. As Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

Prayer for the week: Father, remind me that as I worship You this week, I have a responsibility to encourage others. Teach me what it means to have deep fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ and may my life encourage someone else to live for you!

Wendell Brown is the district superintendent of the North Central Ohio District, Church of the Nazarene.

The Holiness Today staff is currently participating with Christians around the world in limiting to our normal corporate worship participation due to the coronavirus. We are joyfully awaiting the resuming of normal worship schedules once the crisis has passed.

Written for Coffee Break

Day of Prayer & Fasting

Today has been chosen as a day of prayer and fasting by the Nazarene leadership in our district. We are asking that everyone join in and cry out to the Lord. The following guidelines have been provided. Please read through them and join us in crying out to our Lord in this time of need and uncertainty.

Prayer Guide

“Then if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NLT)

Before praying, stop and ask the Lord to speak to you.  Let His promises speak into your life right now.

Read Psalm 34

Psalm 9:10, Psalm 16:8, Psalm 18:30, Psalm 32:6-7, Psalm 33:4, Psalm 37:4, Psalm 46:1, Isaiah 26:3-4, Isaiah 43:1d-3a, Lamentations 3:21-26, Luke 11:9-10

Now acknowledge to God that you are ready to seek His Purposes.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”  Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

1 Chronicles 16:11, Psalm 40:16, Psalm 63:1, Psalm 105:1-4, Proverbs 8:17, Proverbs 19:21, Jeremiah 29:13, Lamentations 3:25, Hebrews 11:6

Remind yourself of God’s Greatness

Consider His power and majesty.  Think of the good things God has done in your life.  Consider His marvelous working throughout history.

1 Chronicles 16:8-10, 1 Chronicles 29:11-13, 2 Chronicles 20:6, Psalm 29:2, Psalm 66:1-5, Psalm 77:12-14, Psalm 126:3, Isaiah 40:23-26, Ephesians 3:20-21

Confess your sins to God

“But we have sinned and done wrong.  We have rebelled against You and Your commands and regulations.”  Daniel 9:4 (NLT)

Take time here to honestly evaluate your life.  Where are you living outside of God’s will for your life?

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  This I declare about the Lord:  He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him.  For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.”  Psalm 91:1-3 (NLT)

In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles.  For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear Him.”  Psalm 34:6-7 (NLT)

Psalm 32:5, Psalm 38:18, Psalm 51:10-12, Psalm 66:18, Psalm 103: 1-5, 10-12, Proverbs 28:13, Isaiah 55:6-7, 1 John 1:9

Ask God to intervene and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Let’s pray that it won’t be as bad as feared, that the spread of the virus would recede and the numbers of those infected would not be as pervasive and widespread as many fear.

Joshua 1:9, Job 5:8-9, Psalm 23:4, Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 17:14, Philippians 4:6, 2 Timothy 1:7

Pray for those who are infected.

Exodus 23:25, Deuteronomy 7:15, Psalm 41:3, James 5:14-16, 3 John verse 2

Pray that those who need treatment will have access to it.

Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:8b, Matthew 7:7, Luke 12:24, Philippians 4:19

Pray for all of us in isolation.

The Psalmist said, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.     Psalm 46:1

2 Chronicles 20:12c, Psalm 23:2-3a, Psalm 46:10, Isaiah 32:17, Zephaniah 3:17, 1 Peter 5:7

Pray for the health workers/caregivers/first responders who are caring for those with COVID-19.

Pray for their protection from the virus, for their stamina during long and intense work hours, and for safe protocols to be observed in their institutions in order for the maximum number of people to remain protected.

Psalm 121:7-8, Proverbs 18:10, 2 Corinthians 9:12-13, Galatians 6:9-10, Ephesians 6:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, Hebrews 13:20-21

Pray for those who are grieving at the loss of loved ones/friends from this pandemic.

Pray for these that they would know the nearness and comfort of the Holy Spirit, that they would feel the compassion of friends and family members – even though we’ve been encouraged to practice social distancing – and a true sense of empathy and care.

Psalm 34:18, Psalm 119:50, John 14:1-4, 16, 26-27, Revelation 21:4

Pray for the U.S. and World Economies

For businesses that are having to shut down or will be adversely impacted by the associated economic downturn.  Please pray for those whose livelihoods are up in the air, who are waking up every morning with questions and are facing the future with a real sense of nervousness and anxiety. 

Deuteronomy 8:18, Matthew 6:31-34, Luke 12:27-31, Romans 8:31-32, 2 Corinthians 9:8-9

Pray for President Trump and the COVID-19 Task Force and all government officials and decision makers who are leading their respective countries and organizations through this crisis.

Pray that they might be used of God in their places of influence.  Pray that they would be able to mobilize resources quickly and effectively and get them to the people and places where they are most needed.

Psalm 33:12a, Proverbs 3:5-6, Joel 2:12-14a, Hebrews 13:7, 17, James 1:5

Pray for pastors and missionaries.

Pray for wisdom for each to know how best to carry out their ministry responsibilities, given the current restrictions.  Pray that God would give them the right words at the right time and the right actions for their situation.  Pray that their ministry’s effectiveness would not be compromised, but that God would carry them through this difficult time and use them for His glory. 

Deuteronomy 33:11, 2 Chronicles 1:10, Psalm 25:4-6, Psalm143:10, Isaiah30:21, Ezekiel 36:23b, Zechariah 4:6b, Romans 10:13-15, 1 Corinthians 2:13, 2 Corinthians 4:1-2, Ephesians 6:19-20, Colossians 1:28-29, 2 Thessalonians 3:1

Pray for the church.

That she would rise up and be what the Lord calls her to be:  an entity that cares in practical and sacrificial ways for “the least of these,” that she would manifest a winsome witness that would arrest the attention and capture the imagination of a surrounding skeptical world to where people that are currently far from God would begin to seek the Lord and open up to Him in real and genuine ways. 

Proverbs 1:5, Isaiah 65:1, Habakkuk 3:2, Matthew 4:19, Matthew 9:37-38, Luke 24;45, Acts, 2:46-47, Colossians 4:2-6, 1 Thessalonians 1:5

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Unless noted, all Scriptures are from the NIV.

Encouragement

My dear friends,

Today, I want to encourage each of you with a portion of Scripture found in Psalm 91:1-6, 9-10, 14-16. This is from the New Living Translation. “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks about in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High you shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. The LORD says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.'”

The challenge is for us to make the LORD our refuge and to live in the shelter of the Most High. That means that we can’t be getting up and running outside His shelter.  For it is when we get out running, distracted by all the things going on in our lives and world, that we lose our safety and security in the LORD. Our shalom fades quickly as we focus on everything around us. However, when we make HIM our refuge and intentionally live in Him with our whole selves, we can retain His shalom. Peace, shalom, is not the absence of something but the Presence of Someone, our great God! Let’s LIVE IN Him!

Loving you all and praying for each of you!

Pastor Ann

Crying Out

OMG has become such a part of our modern language that people don’t give it a second thought.  But what is it?  What does it mean?  Why is it so easy to say? If we back up a little…………

OH MY GOD!  No one ever says this without that exclamation point.  Sometimes its even more, as in OH! MY! GOD!

Seven letters.  So casually used, we don’t even think about their meaning.  These letters, placed in this order represent a prayer.  Not just a small little thing, but a prayer of power and perhaps of desperation.

When we are desperate, we cry out.  Even if we say we don’t believe, we cry out.  When physical pain is overwhelming and seems unending, we cry out.  When we are crushed emotionally, we cry out.  When our spirits have reached the point they can go no farther alone, WE CRY OUT.

We were made by God for fellowship with God.  I know that may sound real old fashioned and not “inclusive” according to our current culture.  The truth is that we cry out precisely because we were made by God for fellowship with Him.

Our crying out, whether it’s OMG, Oh God, Oh Please God, or another variation are all expressions of desperation.  We cry out like this when a full sentence or thought cannot come; when our ordinary, every day words are just not enough.  These utterances are our spirits reaching for the safety of home.  When nothing on earth will help, we turn to prayer. 

Once past the initial cry we are usually able to formulate the thoughts that will lead us into a deep prayer. The release of this cry will open floodgates within us if we allow it.  Desperate prayers stretch our faith and grow us spiritually as we ask and wait for results.  Desperate prayers have historically changed the world.  Elijah cried out and asked God to shut up the heavens and it didn’t rain for 3 years! 

Desperate prayers are what we need today in our country.  Prayers for the healing and protection of our country.  Prayers that will bring us back to the God of our founding fathers. 

Pastor Ann will be livestreaming at 11:15 on Sunday morning.  She will be bringing the message God wants us to understand about the great need of desperate prayer.  We hope that you’ll join us.  Please feel free to comment and share! 

SHALOM – More than Peace

Peace.  We tend to equate this word with a lack of violence or a feeling of quiet.  It’s a word that can be applied in our individual lives or to the world at large.  The concern about Covid-19 has reduced our feelings of peace as our levels of stress have risen.  Peace then, has been reduced in most of our lives recently.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you…” John14:27 (NASB)

If we follow this word “peace” back through history to the word that Jesus used we find that in Hebrew, the word is shalomShalom is an amazing word that encompasses far more than the simple ideas we hold of peace.

Shalom is used in reference to the well-being of others, to treaties among nations, in prayer for a range of needs from individuals to entire countries. It also includes the concepts of harmony, wholeness and completeness. Shalom was, and is, used as both a greeting and farewell.

When Jesus told his disciples that He gave them His shalom He was offering so much more than a quiet feeling or lack of violence.  Jesus was giving them the wholeness and completeness of His relationship with God.  He was giving us the opportunity to have this same relationship. 

At 11:15 a.m. on Sunday Pastor Ann will be bringing God’s current message to us about Shalom.  We will not be having our regular service but will livestream again this week due to the current situation with Covid-19. 

Please note that the church will be open, so if you have no sniffles, coughing or fever you are welcome to join us in the sanctuary.  PLEASE remain at home and join us on Facebook if you feel ill or have concerns of contagion.  THANK YOU for continuing to learn and grow in God’s word during this time.  His church will only grow stronger through this.  Shalom!

Just Ask – or Don’t!

  • “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” —Romans 8:26-27

With modern technology, we can ask a device a question and get an answer in mere seconds. Want to know what the weather will be like before you leave for work? Technology has the answer. Want to know what time your favorite team is playing, how to get somewhere, or listen to a joke? That device has the answer for each of your questions and can even give you step-by-step directions when needed! Each question is answered with great ease and precision—as long as you know the questions you need to ask. 

Today, all over the world, Christians face many unforeseen circumstances. What happens when we’re not quite sure what to ask? What happens when life hits us with things that we can’t explain? What happens when we don’t know what to do? What happens when our world is so shaken that we can’t even process our predicament? 

For those of us in Christ, there is great comfort! The Spirit is here to help us. When we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit takes over for us.

God has given every Christian the privilege of simply existing in His presence. When we are overwhelmed, we need not worry about what to say or do. God allows us to forget about the questions entirely because His Spirit intercedes for us! There are times when the only thing needed to have a vibrant prayer life is to exist in the presence of God. 

I don’t know the strength of your prayer life. You may use wonderful words or the simplest of phrases as you call out to Him. You may wish you had more to say in your alone time with God. Please take heart and let these words in Romans speak to you: “And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (8:27).

Your prayer life isn’t dependent on your words—it is dependent on spending time with God. He wants to be with you, and He knows what you need even before you know what to say.

Prayer for the week: Father, allow me to exist in this moment in Your presence. Teach me how to rest in communion with Your Spirit. I don’t know what today holds, but I trust my life to you! Amen. (Now, spend some silent time in the Lord’s presence.)

Wendell Brown is district superintendent of the North Central Ohio District Church of the Nazarene. He is also the founder of Tragedy Into Triumph, a nationwide simulcast reaching hundreds of thousands of people over the last 12 years for the gospel of Christ. He is passionate about discipleship and finding new ways to tell the story of God’s love!

Written for Coffee Break

Adversity

If you are old enough to be reading this you have already faced adversity in your life.  Adversity is part of the human condition.  No one lives on this earth in perfect bliss.  So why does everyone make such a fuss when things aren’t right? 

We all, every single one of us, wants our own way and most of us don’t like change.  Will you be honest and agree with that?  What we do when we don’t get our way tells others who we are and who we follow. 

Learning to trust God when things aren’t right is a large part of believing in Him and being a Christ follower.  It’s easy to say I believe in Jesus when life is easy and we are having things our own way.  It involves growing in faith, growing in trust in our relationship with Him, to say this when a new virus is discovered, when the economy takes a downturn, or when it gets a bit more personal.  Our faith is tested when our child becomes seriously ill, when we are forced to consider changing jobs or our living arrangements are altered. 

Pastor Ann will be talking to us about a remarkable man and how we can have faith like his tomorrow morning, Sunday March 15, 2020.  We will be live-streaming her message on Facebook at 11:30 a.m.  Please join us!

COVID-19 = Local Restriction of Events

Good evening!

We’d like to let all y’all know that events at Cove Nazarene have been cancelled pursuant to the

Declaration of Local Disaster published by County Judge Roger Miller at1:10 pm on March 13, 2020.

The ladies St. Patrick’s Day celebration scheduled for Saturday afternoon (tomorrow) has been cancelled as have ALL regular church services for Sunday, March 15th, 2020.

Please join us for Sunday worship on our Facebook page as we live-stream Pastor Ann’s message. 

Body Parts

What are your gifts and talents?  In the Nazarene Church we believe that God has given every person on earth unique gifts and talents to be used for His Glory.  Why would He do that? Jesus explained that we are His body on earth.  Just as the human body has many parts that do many things, God created humanity with talents and abilities to do many different things. 

Take for example, our eyes which are designed only to see.  They can’t taste or smell or hear.  Our eyes serve us by allowing us to view the world around us.  Each of our senses performs a service to the rest of the body by doing what it was designed to do.  We don’t think about how our bodies work when everything is doing its job.  We take for granted that our feet will carry us, our hands will hold things and that our mouth will taste that wonderful burger that our eyes see on the plate in front of us. 

Our gifts and talents lie beneath the surface. They aren’t as obvious as our hands and feet.  Many of our talents appear as we grow and mature, becoming apparent in school or other activities.  Some are only released as we become better acquainted with God and His purpose.

Michelangelo was blessed with an artistic talent that required many parts of his body; his eyes to take in information about the human body, his mind to process that information and break it down into the smallest details, his hands to carve and paint, his back to lift, his feet to take him to the marble quarry or onto the scaffolding.  Because all of these diverse parts worked together for him, we have been able to enjoy his sculptures and paintings for hundreds of years. 

Just as Michelangelo created extraordinary works of art that have served as reminders of God and His creation, each of us has a unique place in God’s plan to serve in the body of Jesus.  As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, our own extraordinary gifts come forth for us to share with the world.  Are you curious to learn more about the gifts and talents that God has poured into you?  Would you like to use them as part of Jesus’ body?  We would encourage you to join us Sunday morning to hear Pastor Ann bring as she brings us a message of how God can help each of us grow in our gifts and talents.