Run to the Battle!

Last week I spent 6 days with the Lord, His Word, and some amazing men. During a morning prayer time the Spirit brought to mind the chorus of a song I knew in high school- hadn’t heard in years, the lyrics are “Let’s run to the battle, we got to run, run to the battle.”

Sitting below a beautiful tree journaling one day I realized I was the oldest one attending this retreat and I thought to myself, “How much fight do I have left in me?” But the reply from the Lord was to put on His spiritual armor and fight like never before. Then that chorus popped into my head and I recalled wearing that #26 jersey and my high school football coach giving that adrenaline pumping charge to the team before we ran onto the field.

We are living in perilous days and now more than ever followers of Christ are called to live out the gospel to the spiritually dead all around us. Yes, sometimes the weary side of me wants to sit this one out, but I was again reminded that Abba loves to use the weak to show Himself glorious (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Ponder the words of the song below, and if you like 80’s music check it out on You Tube. May the Spirit stir your spirit to pick up your sword and run in His strength into the battle:

“Some people want to live within the sound of chapel bells, but I want to run a mission a yard from the gates of hell. And with everyone you meet I’ll take them the gospel and share it well. And look around you as you hesitate for another soul just fell … Let’s run to the battle… 

Do you have your armor on? We’re in the middle of a raging war we’ve been training for so long. Have we learned to use His sword? We may not be many but we serve a mighty Lord and He’s made us more than conquerors so what are you waiting for? Let’s run to the battle, we got to run, run to the battle..

He has trampled down the enemy and has given us the victory when we pray we learn to see that His army we are marching on our knees. There’ll be times when we grow weak let’s keep our faith alive. Let your faces shine with glory for He’s helped us to survive and in that final hour when you feel like you’re ready to die will you hear the trumpet sound will you hear the warrior cry …run to the battle, we got to run to the battle.” Steve Camp

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do…This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7,9

The Power of the Gospel!


In a world filled with so much pain and uncertainty there is one hope – The power of the Gospel. Below is an amazing picture that Mike Verkaik shares of how the Holy Spirit has worked miracles in some young peoples hearts.  May this bless you with hope for His Kingdom will not be stopped!

“Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” This was the question being asked to three children that reside at the Wooden Shoe motel. Oh what a glorious day it was as they each responded, “YES”, and were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The day itself was beautiful, however, the moment was glorious as Jesus’ prayer in John 17 was answered once again.

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their (the disciples) message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.” (vs.20-22)

As heaven rejoiced, so did parents, friends, and volunteers standing around an oval above ground pool, as they watched the kingdom of God advance. Each immersion was a picture of the cleansing of our sins through the gift of the cross of Jesus Christ. Each embrace a representation of the acceptance, the love and the supernatural oneness we have with our triune God.

As the celebration came to a close a new call came from the pool. “Is there anyone else who on this day feels led to accept Jesus as their Savior and be baptized?”
There in the crowd, unknown to anyone but our Abba Father was Daniel*, a brother of one of the residents at the Wooden Shoe. As the call came a volunteer heard the words from Daniel, “I need a change, I need a change!” With tears in his eyes, and mom and dad’s, he walked forward, into the pool of God’s grace and promises. Mom and dad couldn’t believe it. Hugging his sobbing father, he said, “Mike, I never thought I would see this day, his heart was so hard.” Oh, the softening of the Holy Spirit, the pursuit of the Father and the forgiveness given through King Jesus. Jesus’ prayer for us once again resounding:

Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and know you have sent me. I have made you known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. John 17: 26

Oh what a glorious day! All praise and glory to our Abba Father and He calls those unto himself. Now, my we continue to ask as Paul did in Ephesians 1:17-20:

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

*name has been changed

Being Fruity

Do you know any fruity people? Before you answer that let me define what I mean. The “fruity” I’m talking about are those people who are so connected to the Vine, Jesus Christ, their lives produce lush spiritual fruit that others simply cannot miss.

Pastor Raymond is one “fruity” guy that I met earlier this year. His story is one of miracles. The Father literally picked him off the streets, dramatically healed him, and transformed him into a godly husband and father. He rose up the ranks as great leader in the fire department and upon retirement became a full-time pastor.

I’ve seen the fruit of his life in the people he has loved and discipled well. Whenever you’re around him you feel this overwhelming love, joy and peace. He truly is a man on fire and filled with the fruit of the Spirit.

One of the churches he pastors meets at Ocean View Care Center. The congregation gathers outside and battles the elements. This week Oceans Ministries was able to supply roofing materials because of gracious givers in the States. Pastor Raymond provided the manpower to build the covering for the courtyard. This roof will not only bless the children at the care center during the week, but also bless those who worship on Sunday.

I’ve told Patty that when I grow up I want to be like Pastor Raymond. He doesn’t strive to serve his community out of obligation but rather out of knowing a Good Father loves him and yes the fruit just oozes out of him. He can be leading a group of children in a song or fastening beams either way he is boundlessly and abundantly producing fruit for others to enjoy.

Last week in our community prayer time we took the 9 fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23 and assigned a fruit to each person in the room. Corporately we asked the Lord to release that fruit in our lives and in our community. It is no secret that our community, country and world is in desperate need of fruity followers of Christ Jesus. We trust that this powerful time of prayer produced some fruit within each of our lives and into the community here in Fish Hoek!

Can I challenge you in your personal prayer time or in your family devotions to take one of the 9 fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control and each day ask the Holy Spirit to produce that fruit in your life as you grow deeper into Jesus the True Vine. Jesus taught us in John 15:8 that our goal in life is to produce fruit, in fact so much fruit for others to eat and enjoy that our Father in Heaven will be glorified.

Lord Jesus make us fruity!!!!

Beauty from the Ugly

Take a few seconds and look at the photo of the vine. What do you see? During our time with the students meditating on John 15 in the vineyard I captured this picture. It looked so much like a cross, in fact I observed rows and rows of crosses all over the hilly landscape.

Not much beauty in this gnarly, rutty looking vine.  It appears dry and dead with no sign of life. Yet, I am reminded in Isaiah 53, of the prophetic portrait of the suffering servant Jesus:

“My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance, nothing to attract us to Him. He was despised and rejected…we turned our back on Him and looked the other way,” (vs. 2-3).


In the midst of this vineyard the beautiful work of an ugly cross preached powerfully to my soul. My life emerges from the most ugly, unjust, event in history. A perfect Savior who took on the full flood of evil and damning sin to break its curse and bring life to the spiritually dead. Listen again to Isaiah 53:

“Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down…He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed.  All of us strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the guilt and sins of us all,” (vs. 4-6).

As I focused on the cross like vine and Isaiah 53 I sensed the Spirit say “This is it, this is the one thing My world needs!”  There is no life apart from the cross, all true life comes through being united to Christ in His death (Gal. 2:20). As you look again at the pictures you’ll notice that the branches come out of the cross like a vine. Apart from the vine the branch does not exist (John 15:4).

In these turbulent times our greatest need is to return to an ugly cross and find the beauty of true life. Adam and Eve walked away from the Father’s love by listening to the lie of satan and eating from the forbidden tree in the beautiful garden. The Father offers you and me a way back into His beautiful love through an ugly tree stained with the blood of His Son.

One tree brought fear, hate, disunity, jealously, every form of evil and spiritual and physical death. The cross brings abundant life and fruit that will bring healing to the nations. The fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

In the middle of the vineyard that day I felt the Father call me back to the Vine, to make the vine, my One Thing, to remain in His beautiful perfect love given to me at the Cross. And to live the Cross and share the message of Cross as the only hope for our world.


Remaining in the Vine


Written by Mike Verkaik

As I sat in the beauty of Groot Constantia vineyard I soon became overwhelmed with the visual picture of Jesus’s words that were before me. My view of choice was a hillside patch of vines that overlooked much of the entire vineyard. As I looked at row after row of pruned vines, my focus slowly went to the single vine located five feet in front of me.

The words I read the day before from True Vine, by Andrew Murray were still echoing in my mind. “The believer has but one reason for being a branch – but one reason for their existence on earth – that the heavenly Vine may through them bring forth His fruit. Happy the soul that knows this, that has consented to it, and that says, I have been redeemed for one thing.”

With the resurrected understanding of my calling as a branch, I saw myself on that hillside as a cutback, seemingly lifeless branch. I was solely connected to the larger vine that contained all the life giving sap that I needed. In that instance the beautiful scenery surrounding me changed into His holy ground as I began to read John 15.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (vs. 5)

While continuing to read the verses, tears began to flood my eyes, and I was not sure why. So I began to write in my journal and pray. “Abba, why am I crying? Is it the duplication of the moment you had with your disciples and the awe of your presence and closeness in this moment? Is it the sad conviction and realization that I don’t remain in You as much as I should, nor do I love the way you call me to love? Maybe it’s the understanding Jesus, that You aren’t going anywhere and your promise to remain in me is constant, despite my failure in reciprocating that commitment? Or is it the overwhelming realization once again that You have actually chosen me and appointed me so that I might go and bear fruit?”

Focusing again on the pruned vine in front of me the Holy Spirit began to reveal the pruning He was doing and that I needed in my life. Shortcomings, prideful tendencies and self-centeredness continued to be revealed as I wrote the list of items that had crept back into my life. A reminder of the constant journey we are on to just be the branch and to live our life in total dependence on the sap we get from the Vine, and loving care of the gardener.

When my time in front of the vine ended I packed my bag and looked up to head down the path. The rainbow picture I saw brought to life the words of John 15:9

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”

What a gift the team was given to spend time in a vineyard, and see the visual of the vine and what it means to be a branch. The time spent reading, writing and dwelling was a healthy cleansing of the heart and soul, and a new revelation of His desires for relationship with us.

Moving forward into this week may we choose to dwell in His spiritual vineyard, and give him our time, our listening ear and our eyes fixed upon Him.
As we live into being His branch, He will be faithful, and through the power of the Holy Spirit reveal to us the true meaning of remaining in Him.