The Battle for “Shema”

“Our greatest desire is for you to hear the voice of your Father!” We make this statement to every group that comes to Oceans Retreat Center, as one just arrived from the US, fresh off a long exhausting flight. We gather into the family room, challenge them to disconnect from their phones and all other distractions so that they are able to hear what the Spirit has to say.

This is a battle for both the youth and adults as an avalanche of data covers our minds with a suffocating force keeping us from encountering the breath of true life. You can challenge me on this-but I believe we are living in the noisiest time in human history. We literally are connected to thousands of voices a day from all over the world demanding our attention, and most of those voices seek to suck the life out of us.

When God redeemed the people of Israel out bondage in Egypt one of the first things He taught them was the “Shema.” This Hebrew word means hearing, to bring victory. Even to this day devoted Jews will say the “Shema” first thing in the morning and last thing at night:

“Hear O Israel: the LORD our God is One. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Dt. 6:4-5

The LORD was bringing His children into the Promised Land, however this land was filled with anti-God voices. Each person would battle against the culture and all it’s seductive lies-it was essential to hear the truth and live it..

His voice is the “One and only” which brings victorious freedom. His voice of love is made flesh in Jesus. In Jesus we have the Father shouting to us His forgiveness, grace, love, and the path for His children to live in victory. When we encounter His voice we become passionate lovers bringing His love and light to a dark world (see John 1:1-14).

How do we battle for Shema in this historic season of demonic noise attacks? Let me tell you what we are starting with our current team from the US. A friend of Oceans, Henry Miersma, has just put together a powerful tool titled Psalms Journal, and we are using advance copies. This book is a 21-day challenge to daily read and listen to the Father’s voice in a Psalm. As you mediate and listen you write down prompting from the Spirit in the journal. The final step is to pray those truths back to the Father asking for His Spirit to help you live into it.

Over the years, I have found that daily listening to His voice in the Word, writing truths down, and then praying them become a spiritual trifecta that battles the noise and helps me live the “Shema.” I believe with all my heart as the Father’s children practice these 3 disciplines a victorious hearing will take place that overcomes the world.

For next week’s blog I asked Henry to share how this Psalms Journal came about. You will be blessed by how the Father spoke to him and His step of faith to obey what he heard.

Praying you will hear your Father’s transforming voice today as you listen, write it down, and pray it back to Him!

The Securest Seat!

We’re pretty sure we saw a Chinese submarine lurking off our shores the other day as South Africa, Russia, and China have been doing military drills together over the last month. At the same time we have a radical political party which has called for a national strike to shut down the country in protest over our economic collapse and other politically motivated reasons. You add to this all the shaking that is going on all over the world from natural disasters, wars, banks collapsing, political turmoil, etc. it’s hard to find something in life that is truly secure.

As I saw the red star on the submarine it was a surreal moment that disrupted the peaceful setting with a few disturbing thoughts. But as my mind was jumping all over the place I was reminded of the Psalm which I mediated on that morning, especially these words:

“He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness nor the plaque that destroys at midday.” (Psalm 91:4-6)

In my journal that morning I wrote these word; “Thank you Abba Father that I can live under the wings of your love on the Mercy Seat, the safest place to be. A seat filled with forgiveness, authority, covenant promises, miracles, provision, protection, love, grace, everything good is there. A seat where You speak to Your children, a place of eternal hope…the greatest seat in the world, the most expensive seat ever purchased with precious blood and this is where I’m called to live…”

The Holy Spirit was reminding me that I live, because of the cross of Christ, in the heavenly holy of holies seated with Christ on the Mercy Seat. With the wings of the cherubim covering His beloved children with everlasting protection from any attacks of the enemy.

Remember we have a symbolic picture of what our seat looks like in the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 37:1-9). The place where once a year the high priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrifices on the Mercy Seat as a symbol of the complete forgiveness that would come in Christ. Now all the Father’s children who have put their faith in the finished work of Jesus are seated with Him in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:6).

So whatever may happen in this world we view it from the securest vantage point in the universe. Our souls are held forever secure with the loving arms of the Savior on the Mercy Seat.  Don’t miss how the Psalm ends:

“Because He loves me,’ says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.” (vs. 14-15)




Praise at the Paint Store!

               Deb’s journal

The Oceans Retreat Centre building is rather thirsty for paint so we’ve gotten to know the manager, Deb at the paint store, rather well.

“Pastor Tim how are things today?” smiled Deb.

My response was “Hectic!” A good South African term which means busy or out of control.

Deb could see I wasn’t feeling very pastoral, as we fellowship at the same church. She continued “let me show you something.”

She pulled out a journal with a list of 20 praise and thanksgiving items listed. She said she has to! Deb went on to share that some years back she went through an extremely dark season of loss and grief. So many people she loved in a short time passed away and the shock shattered her heart and paralyzed her emotionally. The pain kept her imprisoned with little hope to find freedom from the despair.

Deb was challenged in a grief support group to start each day with 20 things she was thankful for. As she heeded this advice and daily practiced thankfulness heavens light broke through the stronghold of darkness. “First on my list is always faith,” she pointed out, “It was only through the gift of faith in Jesus and His love for me that I’m here today.” It was in Deb’s thanksgiving to Jesus for His love and daily blessings that the battle was won.

Early the next morning I was reminded of Deb’s powerful testimony as I battled my own racing thoughts of what appeared like another “hectic day” brought on a heavy sigh. But before my mind could race to far down the freeway of stress-I picked up my journal and jotted down all the things I was thankful to Abba Father for. Before I knew it I ended up with 21 blessings and the presence of shalom replaced the sigh and set the tone for a blessed day.

The Biblical truth of the transforming power of thanksgiving flows like a mighty river through the core of Scripture. Thanksgiving is not always easy, it takes an obedient faith, especially when times are dark. But when Abba’s children choose gratitude even in the midst of grief His grace will flow in supernatural ways.

One of my favorite Biblical stories of this truth is found in 2 Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat is faced with 3 warring countries rapidly descending upon Judah. In the natural there is no way to defeat the onslaught from happening. But the King called the people together for prayer to seek Divine intervention.

The Word of the LORD came back to them and said;

“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld,” (vs. 15,20).

And as a declaration of their faith Jehoshaphat appointed the choir to lead the army into battle and they sang Psalm 136:

“Give thanks to the LORD for His love endures forever!”

And as the people began to sing and praise the LORD the enemies began to fight against themselves and destroyed one another, thus bringing victory to His singing children.

How thankful I am for Deb and the needed reminder of the supernatural power of Thanksgiving. As she challenged me I would like to challenge you to start your day with a thanksgiving list and watch the Father take care of your enemy whatever that may be.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ’s Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17







The Forming Wave of Revival


Watching in wonder, massive waves began to form as surfers flooded the secluded beach not far from where we live. We had just attended a funeral of a precious saint, and needed some soul time, the impromptu drive resulted in watching surfers pounded while paddling to their sweet spot to catch the perfect wave. After an enduring  battle their efforts brought forth an experienced surfer’s heaven as huge waves were caught-the ones with the barrel or tube.

Spiritual Waves appear to be hitting shores around the world. Perhaps you’ve  have heard about it? The February 8th revival that broke forth on the campus of Asbury University in the small town of Wilmore, Kentucky.  After an ordinary chapel service a group of students stayed and kept worshiping and the floodgates of heaven poured down upon them. A wave of the Spirit hit!

There was no hype, no celebratory speakers, just a few hungry students pressing into the Father’s heart and He released His love in a supernatural way. It was a repeat of what happened 53 years earlier in the same chapel where the Spirit brought repentance and a great awakening to the holy, loving heart of God. Since that chapel service thousands of people from all over the world invaded the small university and town to encounter a Sovereign work of the Spirit.

The wave that hit Asbury is now hitting several other colleges, universities, churches, and schools across the US and the world. What is so amazing about this move is how the younger generation is caught up and thrust forward by His transforming grace. Over the past several years this generation has encountered demonic darkness and a heaviness which has sought to destroy their hope. BUT NOW these young people are being filled and overflowing with the joy of heaven.

Recently a group of middle school students on Oceans campus for a Kingdom Encounter. To be honest we were all a bit apprehensive and thought it could be a challenge to connect. However, by the end of our time together we witnessed how the Spirit saturated hearts. Together we shared times of confession, tears, prophecies, praying over people with a mighty boldness, and coming up with spiritual truths and insights that only the Spirit could have taught. The Father is raising up a new wave of young people that will cover “the earth with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea,” Hab. 2:14.

How, I praise Abba for this small group of Asbury students who skipped class, remained in the chapel, and sought to find a spiritual wave to empower their thirsty souls. May this encourage each one of us to press into this promise from Jesus:

“…so it is with your prayers. Ask and you’ll receive. Seek and you’ll discover. Knock on heaven’s door, and it will one day open for you. Every persistent person will receive what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he needs. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door.

Let me ask you this: Do you know any father who would give his son a snake on a plate when he asked for a serving of fish? Of course not! Do you know of any father who would give his daughter a spider when she had asked for an egg? Of course not! If imperfect parents know how to lovingly take care of their children and give them what they need, how much more will the perfect heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit’s fullness when His children ask Him.” (Luke 11:9-13)

Keep paddling out for there’s a Wave Coming!