Father Into Your Hands We Give Our Lives


The words below are written by Lori Kroll who along with her husband Keith organized this trip with graduating high school seniors from Zeeland East High School in Michigan to Lesotho Africa. The trip is in memory of their dear son Zach who went to be with Jesus way to soon. Zach loved serving with his family in Lesotho and this trip is a fitting way to honor his memory. As a team our theme for our time here is from the words of Jesus on the Cross: Father into your hands we give our lives.

 Meditate on these beautiful words below from a mom who had to let go of her son and handed him over into the arms of her faithful Father whom she has had to trust.

On Saturday, our team journeyed to Semonkong, Lesotho to see the world’s longest freestanding waterfall. As we started our ascent up the mountain, I knew that the long, sometimes challenging hike would be worth it in the end. We would be able to enjoy God’s amazing creation along the way and at the end of the hike we could sit and take in the beauty of the waterfall. Well, I was right . . . the waterfall did not disappoint.

As I sat there taking in the beauty of the falls, I reflected on our day’s journey. The road to Semonkong was winding and uphill most of the way. As we drove around the corner at one point in the journey, we had to avoid a pile of fallen rocks on the road. Women were washing their clothes in the river or in pools of water on the side of the mountain. Cows were grazing by the river as their shepherd boy watched nearby. Many people were pushing wheelbarrows to a source of water so that they could fill their containers. Off in the distance there was a waterfall frozen in place as it cascaded down the mountain. At times, the clouds covered the sun and cast a shadow on the side of the mountain.

Isn’t this much like our journey in life? Just because our life gets bumpy and there are hurts and pains that get in the way, it doesn’t mean we are off course. Level paths do not lead us to the mountaintop. Actually, the right road is going to have highs and lows, smooth spots and obstacles, all which make the journey both broken and beautiful at the same time. God can turn our toughest hardships into our greatest purpose.

Earlier in the day, my Bible app alerted me to the verse of the day, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; the leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Water is an important commodity and a source of life. As we graze by the streams of living water, our Shepherd lovingly watches over us. One a regular basis, we need to push our empty souls to the true source of life for a much needed refill of His grace, mercy and love. At times, it may feel as if our source of life is frozen and distant and not available for us to draw from, but it is then that we need to wait and be still for God’s timing. And when the dark clouds of despair cast shadows on our souls, may we cling to God’s promise that our troubles our only temporary and that the warmth of His love will shine again in our hearts.

Let us be like trees planted by the water. Trusting in our faithful God to supply exactly what we need in good and bad times so that we may never fail to bear fruit. I pray that you may enjoy God’s amazing goodness and find life’s journey worth it on the way to our eternal home. And, as our Abba Father promises . . . heaven, the home he created especially for us, will not disappoint!

Father into your hands we give our lives!

3 Way to Grow in Intimacy – Part 3 – Living Obediently


“Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”


I can still hear my Great Grandma Zwart singing the chorus to this old hymn. Little did she know she was planting a powerful truth in my impressionable heart on how to grow in spiritual intimacy with my heavenly Father. Just the other day the chorus came to mind as I was struggling with fear about taking another step of faith I sensed the Father asking me to take.


The last two weeks I shared the Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4, reminding us that intimacy begins with Listening to the voice of the One True Father God and next we need to make every effort to keep Looking at His unfailing love for us in His Son Jesus. But if you truly want to flourish in intimacy the 3rd step is vital, Living Obediently.


Hear the words of the Shema once again:


“Hear O Israel the LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.”


That last phrase means to love your Abba Father with everything you got, which would be the Hebrew way of responding by living an obedient life.


I can tell you from experience that my greatest growth in intimacy has come when I have jumped off a spiritual cliff in obedience expecting the Father to catch me. He wants all of you, not just a part. He desires to be the one in complete control of every aspect of your life. When we hold any part of our life back we risk experiencing the overwhelming love and faithfulness of our Good God. He keeps calling out for us to jump into His arms, but believe me every time that first step scares me to death, but over the years He has never dropped me once. And every act of obedience has brought me to life changing experiences of His love that I would have missed if I stayed at the edge of the cliff.


Take a few minutes and sing these verses with me of the hymn Trust & Obey:


When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey!


But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay, for the favor He shows and the joy He bestows are for them who will trust and obey.


Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet, or we’ll walk by His side in the way, What He says we will do, where He sends we will go never fear, only trust and obey.


What is the Father saying to you today about Living Obediently? What is He calling you to lay on the alter or asking you to let go of? Where is He asking you to follow Him and jump? Today Trust & Obey and get ready to fall into the everlasting arms of your loving Father who will never fail those who Trust & Obey!



Oceans Ministries Israel Trip 2018


Thank you for your interest in the Oceans Ministries Israel trip. We wanted to give an update on the current details. The prospective dates are June 18-29. There is a possibility that the trip dates could change slightly a day or so based on airline availability for the group. We should able to confirm the date within the next few weeks when tickets are available for purchase.


The land package is secured with a tour agency called E.D.I. Travel We have worked with them in the past and they have done an excellent job. Boaz Shalg, a 7th generation Israeli, will be our tour guide. He is fantastic and has many years of experience. Please go to the website and view a video about him. www.editravel-israel.com.

As soon as we obtain the cost of the airline tickets we will be able to give you the exact price for the trip.

We are excited for what the Father has planned for the group that will be going next June. We strongly believe that God’s glory will be encountered in amazing ways. Standing on the land of Israel is a wonderful way to experience God’s Word coming alive with life changing power.

If you haven’t signed up for more information and would like to be on the list please email either of us.

Bryan Vander Tuig


Tim Spykstra




3 Ways to Grow in Intimacy – Part 2 – Looking

Patty and I recently celebrated 30 years of marriage and have been reflecting on the journey together. As 21 year olds we were rather naïve about what was ahead but by God’s great grace He has carried us through the challenges along the way. One specific way that has helped us stay focused in in our marriage has been a wedding picture mounted on the wall in our bedroom-this picture has traveled with us to several states and daily greets us. It is a visual reminder of June 26, 1987, where we made a covenant before God, family, and friends that this commitment was to last until “death do us part.” The picture incites in me a variety of emotions, to “wow we were so young,” to “Patty was stunning and still is, and I had hair and it wasn’t gray.”


Last week I shared the first step to intimacy with the Father is to daily HEAR or LISTEN to His voice of love speaking to you as in the Shema (Dt. 6:4):


“Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One….

The next part continues:

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”


As I look at my wedding picture it brings me back to the covenant of marriage Patty and I made and awakens my love and affection for her. The same thing happens when I take time to LOOK at God and the “pictures” of His overwhelming love for me it awakens my love for Him. Here are some key visuals to take note of:


  • Acts of His Love seen in Redemptive History – As I read His “Love Letter” from Genesis to Revelation I envision His passionate love rescuing His sinful people. Read the book of Hosea for another great example of this.
  • Daily reading the Gospels – Everyday I read a portion of the Gospels and as I listen and look to what Jesus has to say I remind myself this is a picture of what God and His transforming love is like.
  • Looking at Jesus during times of Communion and Baptism – Recently I got to see Jesus with a group of students in Africa where towards the end of our trip we spiritually ate and drank the love of Jesus. As we reflected back on the cross and His love poured out for us many in the room were brought to tears as His Spirit invaded hearts. Both Baptism and Communion are signs and seals of the Father’s love given to us in visual forms to help our faith to become sight.
  • Worshiping in Spirit and Truth – Also during my last trip to Africa while worshiping with the family of God, I was overcome with a vision of the Resurrected Jesus standing next to me-what incredible encouragement and healing love that brought. Worship takes us from the natural into the heavenly realm and opens our spiritual eyes to see His glory.
  • Serving the Least – If you want to grow in intimacy with God just start serving the least of these. Read Matthew 25:31-46 and practice it-you will be overwhelmed by the visual of Jesus in orphans, widows, homeless, prisoners, the needy and sick.


I challenge you to use these five points to help you see the Love of your God and incite a passionate love that will bring you deeper into an intimate encounter with Him.


3 Ways to Grow in Intimacy – Part 1 – Listening

When searching to purchase another home the familiar saying about the importance of “location, location, location” is often referenced. In my research and study for the devotional Climbing Prayer Mountain a question I was asked was “What would be the key factors to develop Intimacy with God?” The first thought that came to mind was time, time, and time!


The person on earth I’m most intimate with is my wife Patty. The reason why is I have spent an incredible amount of time with her going way back to the first time she caught my eye at the tender age of 4. Developing intimacy is more than just hanging out together, to grow in an intimate relationship there are a few other things you must do as well. In growing in my intimacy with Father God I have found 3 vital truths that I must spend timing doing listening, looking, and obediently loving. Today we will look at the first one:


Time Listening: The Jewish people declare the Shema, (Dt. 6:4-9), 3 times a day which begins with;


“Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.”


Intimacy starts with “hearing.” Our Father is always speaking to you and His number one desire is for you to listen. Once you begin to hear His voice no other voice will come close to satisfying your soul. How the enemy knows this and therefore bombards your world with the noise of twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snap chat, the talking heads of media as well as a host of demonic internal lies shelling your mind daily. The warfare for your ears is intensifying at a horrific speed in our technology culture. Maybe it would be good for us recite the Shema three times a day as well. These words remind us that we need to hear from the most important voice of the universe, the voice of Our Heavenly Father.


Several years ago I was stuck in traffic on the 91 Freeway in Southern California, ugh! I was heading to the beach to spend the day in prayer and was more than frustrated, even a little upset at God. I felt the nudge to pick up my Bible and turn to Psalm 46, which I read that morning before heading out. To redeem the time I started to memorize it and got stuck on verse 10, “Be still and know that I am God.” How ironic, I’m on one of the busiest freeways in the US, stuck in traffic, it’s extremely noisy, and I hear the Father say to me, “my son you need to learn to be still and really take time to know me in the midst of your crazy busy world.”


Since hearing the Father’s voice that day, not at the beach but on the 91, I’m attempting to “shut up and listen” more. I’ve found the Father has a lot to say and that He is God and I’m not. I have found out I need to have more time in His Word just to get to know Him better, not to prepare for sermons, bible studies, or blogs, but to really get to know Him and delight in His loving voice. Listening can be hard work. It means daily dying to self, saying no to other voices even good ones, and trying to keep my ADD mind focused on Him and not million other distractions. Yet, even though I feel like an infant with the art of listening, I’m starting to learn that there is One Amazing, Loving Father God, and I’m not Him, praise the LORD!