The Quiet Peace of the Holy Spirit

The blog below is by Dawn Verkaik and her experience at a Spiritual Retreat called the Quest. Oceans Retreat Center is hoping to host a Quest South Africa retreat for men in February 2022.

As I headed out the doors of a ranch with 14 other women in silence, I was fully equipped to spend the day out side but I had no idea where I was going to go or how I was going to fill 9 hours in the woods of Texas! It was my second full day on a Woman’s Spiritual quest where women from all walks of life came together to encounter the Lord in their struggles and deepest hurts; to find freedom from all that holds one back from living the life God intended.

Many deep, bitter hurts were shared & tears were shed the night before, and we were given the opportunity to go into the presence of God, bring Him all those struggles, hurts & frustrations, and trust Him to lead & guide us the entire day! What a gift! Yet I was anxious, nervous and feeling quite frustrated. I had never really done anything like this before, and I was unfamiliar with the “woods” of Texas and whatever critters there may be! Also, we had to fast the entire day!

Well, let me share how I was led throughout my entire day! In my devotions the night before I was greatly encouraged by His words in Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He leads me besides quiet waters; he guides me along the right path. Even though I headed out with these promises ringing in my head, it quickly & easily turned into frustration & doubt. I was marching out with other ladies, determined not to go where anyone else went, yet still not knowing where to go.

It had rained hard overnight, and my hiking boots & socks were soaked in no time as I walked through knee-high wet grass. I remember saying in frustration, “how am I suppose to find Quiet Waters anyway Lord?!” Then I felt His Spirit tell me, “Be Still.” So I stopped, took a minute to look around and to listen. Did I truly hear some water? Did I see some trees spaced just right for my hammock? I ventured down an embankment to a low lying area of trees, then I heard a “plunk”! Walking towards the noice, there it was! A quiet, barely flowing little stream! (not sure what had fallen in it?!?). My Quiet Waters! OK Lord! I can do this! Now to hang my hammock – which I’ve never done! The trees were just the right space apart, but then fear crept in as I was told snakes liked to lay their eggs near the base of certain trees!?! Well in no time I had my hammock hung quite well, and I settled in to it with my Bible, journal, workbook/ manual, water & umbrella!

As my day progressed, I remember feeling more and more at peace as I wrestled with my struggles and the things that hold me back from truly experiencing Gods goodness in my life! I listened to the birds chirping around me and thought of how much God cares for each one of them; how much MORE He will care for me! Also, listening to the wind as I felt it come from all directions around me. I sensed the Holy Spirit was surrounding me & filling me with how much the Father loves me! Later, following the instructions to take a “Hike with God”, I came upon water flowing into the quiet stream. This gave me a picture of desiring the Holy Spirit to flow into me; to fill me so that I could be rid of all my fears, worries and the things that hold me back in order to be used by God. I was overwhelmed with the closeness of our ever- present God and truly did not want my fast to end.

As I finish writing this I am celebrating Pentecost. How amazingly orchestrated. That on this day I am reminded once again that the Holy Spirit, our amazing advocate, desires to be sought after and to fill each person who loves God. You don’t need an entire day, you just need to be willing, open and take the time to be quiet & listen.

John 14:16-17 – I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.

To feel the Holy Spirit leading and guiding me throughout a day which began with anxiety and frustration, gave me a longing to have more & more of this peace and shalom that the Holy Spirit loves to give!

7 Years of the Father’s Faithfulness!

In the Bible the # 7 points to God’s perfection & completeness.  The best picture of this is Jesus Himself. The perfect Savior, He is  King of Kings. Yes, Jesus is the gift of the Father that shouts out for the world to see His faithfulness.

We give thanks to our Good Father and His children for 7 years of His faithfulness.

Love the Oceans Team:

Please Don’t Forget Thursday!

Why is Thursday so important you ask? No, it is not a public holiday, and I don’t know of anyone famous who has a birthday on the 13th. And for most people it will be just another ordinary Thursday at work, school or home.  So what’s the big deal?

Here is the reason why; on the 13th of May we should remember, celebrate, be in awe of one of the greatest events in the history of the world. On this day we remember Jesus ascending into heaven as King (see Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:9-11). Back when I was a kid I remember churches would still speak about this day and even have worship services celebrating it.

But I imagine if you ask most church goers today or even pastors what is the 13th of May you will get a blank stare or “I have no idea!” Most followers still celebrate Christmas, Easter, and a few even Pentecost, but Ascension Day has almost vanished in most Christian circles.

Maybe it is a barometer of deeper issues plaguing the church today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an over the top liturgical celebration guy and If I wasn’t a pastor I might have missed Ascension day as well. But it is what the day represents that we need to desperately need to rediscover in our day and be reminded of every day, Jesus is now KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!

I understand why our world is being controlled and paralyzed by fear which satan loves to propagate by any means he can. But because Jesus left this earth 40 days after His resurrection and went to take His throne at the right hand of the Father His followers should overflow with a victorious faith.  The disciple John got a glimpse of what our Warrior King looks like right now in Revelation 19:11-16:

“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. And the One sitting on the horse was named Faithful and True. For He judges fairly and then goes to war. His eyes were bright like flames of fire, and on His head were many crowns…He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in pure white linen, followed Him on white horses. From His mouth came a sharp sword, and with it He struck down the nations. He ruled them with an iron rod, and He trod the winepress of the fierce wrath of Almighty God. And on His robe and thigh was written this title: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Ascension day reminds us that Jesus is this Revelation 19 King right now and His reign will take over every nation, tribe, and people group on this plant. Everyone born will bend the knee to His glorious rule and reign when He comes again in the same way He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:11).

Ascension Day also confronts me with the question is He my warrior King and will I give up everything to ride with Him? You see Ascension Day preaches there is only ONE King, the perfect God/Man Jesus and this Glorious King demands all my heart. Maybe that is why Ascension Day has been conveniently hidden away in our culture where self is preached as king.

In these unsettling days the church needs to once again wake up to the powerful truths and blessings of seeing Jesus at this very moment as the KING OF KINGS AND THE LORD OF LORDS!

So mark Ascension Day on your calendar and perhaps together we can both daily celebrate Christ the Ascended King. Alleluia! Amen!

Heaven Came to the Junk Room

Written by Mike Verkaik

The room in the center of the Wooden Shoe motel is called the banquet hall. During the early years of the motel’s existence it hosted receptions, celebrations and weddings. Though there are remnants of those festive years, the room is mostly used as a storage room for spare parts, broken furniture and Christmas decorations.

However, a week ago Sunday this stained and junk filled room was radiant with the majesty of King Jesus as songs of praise and worship were lifted up to the throne room of our Father. The empty cross of Jesus was at the center of not only this room, but of the whole motel as our Savior’s name was proclaimed as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

This was our first worship service held at the motel. We continue to be amazed at how Abba is opening doors for His name to be proclaimed in various ways. Receiving permission to have a worship service each Sunday is continued assurance that our Father is reclaiming this motel for His glory.

As we prayed before our worship time, we openly admitted that we had no idea how many people would come, but were given contentment that even if it was just the volunteers, we would be thankful to proclaim Jesus’ name from the center of this establishment. We were overjoyed to see 15 people show up, including 4 adults. Once again the gathering was led by the children as they took the front seats looking forward for another opportunity to learn and sing praises to their Father in heaven.

Each day we are seeing Jesus’ words lived out as He called the children to him and said, “ Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16)

As we dwell, pray and develop relationships with residents at the motel, this is a question asked frequently. What church are you from? As we tell them our church location and name many will express interest in joining us in worship. Yet, few have followed through from their desire on a weekday to the fulfillment on a Sunday. We are excited to have them now join us as we continue to establish His church at the motel, and bring the familiar good news of Jesus to them. So many of the residents are those who have received the good seed of the Word, but have not developed good soil to hear the word, retain it, and by preserving produce a crop. (Luke 8:15b)

Would you join us at Oceans Ministries in praying for His church to be established and flourish at the center of the Wooden Shoe motel, so that it will bear fruit and disciple the residents that are looking for a community of believers, or have walked away in there shame and addictions. May His kingdom come, and His will be done as we faithful follow our Savior’s steps to make our Father known.