The Safest Seat

Deep in the eastern Negev of Israel is a place called Arad. This ancient biblical city hosts the ruins of a temple that is a replica of the biblical description of the Tabernacle in the desert.

We love to take teams here to present a visual of what the Tabernacle looked like. In the picture above you see the Holy of Holies with a small stone seat representing the Mercy Seat, which sat on top of the Ark of the Covenant. (Oh and a few of the participants from our last trip in May 2023.)

Last week the blog topic was “Where is Home?” I believe one of the greatest pictures of “home” is when we are seated on the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies. This is where God chose to dwell with Moses and the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

As Moses declared in Psalm 90 that “Lord, You have always been our eternal home,” (vs. 1), he further describes this home in Psalm 91:1,2:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my fortress my God, in whom I trust.”

Moses, who I believe also wrote this Psalm, is pointing us to the heavenly Holy of Holies. If you read on in verse 4 it says:

“He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart..”

Over the Ark of the Covenant was the wings of the cherubim covering the Mercy Seat. This is the safest place in all the world, it is where the Father dwells and the place where all His children dwell when they trust in Him.

This week we celebrate our entrance into the Holy of Holies and the gift of climbing up on the Mercy Seat because of what Jesus did for us. When Jesus gave the victory shout on the cross, “It is finished,” The Father, with exceeding joy, ripped the thick, 60 foot tall veil from top to bottom. A powerful demonstration declaring that all who receive the blood of Jesus are forever welcome to come home and sit on the Mercy Seat (see Hebrews 10:19-20).

The Tabernacle and the Temple point us to Jesus who takes us into our forever home through His finished work on the cross. He brings us to the Father, where we take our seat with Him and receive complete forgiveness, no more shame, no more guilt, just full acceptance as beloved sons and daughters.

This Holy week reflect on the gift you have been given through faith in Christ. You have been given the safest seat of all, the heavenly Mercy Seat. Read the rest of Psalm 91, which describes this glorious truth.

In a world that is shaking at its core those in Christ find a home where they have the safest seat of all. No matter the wars, societal upheaval, fears propagated by the media, and the demonic lies of the enemy, we are safe on heaven’s mercy seat covered and protected by wings of eternal love.

Take your seat and sing your hearts out this resurrection weekend because you are seated in a home filled with heavens shalom which we as believers in Christ will inhabit for all eternity!!!!









Where is Home?

I have been thinking a lot about home lately. Recently I flew back from Africa to join Patty and meet our new granddaughter, help another daughter and husband move out of our home in Colorado to a place of their own, put our house on the market, and buy another home where we can shut the door and have no worries when we are in Fish Hoek.

In between all this, I began a book project about finding home- inspired from Jesus last teaching to His disciples the night before His death-and for some reason I can’t get the old John Denver song out of my head;

 “Country roads take me home, to the place I belong…”

Perhaps you understand why “home” is on the front and center of my prefrontal cortex. Where is home? South Africa, Colorado, where family and friends live, where is that “place that I belong?” As I counted up all the places over the years I have called home that number is quickly approaching 20. So home has to be more than a place where we dwell. And as for family and friends-they live all over creation so it’s hard to define that as home.

So where on earth is there a place called home-where I truly belong? The other morning I was reading from a man who traveled around a lot and for the last 40 years of his life he was constantly on the move living in a tent. Yes, Moses knew something about transition and leaving the security of a palace in Egypt to become a shepherd nomad who had no permit place to call home.

Moses words in Psalm 90 leave us with profound wisdom for our journey through life, right away in verse one he lays before us this great truth:

  “Lord, through all generations You have been our home! (NLT)

 In that one sentence you have the most important truth in all of life. All of Scripture given to us by the Spirit of God leads us to our real home-the only place where we truly feel we belong.

As the early church leader Augustine so rightly said,

 “Our heart is restless until it rests in You oh God!”

 We will never find the perfect place with the perfect people on this earth where we can find true peace; we will be forever “restless” in the search. Our heart’s true REST can only be found in knowing our home IS IN the Father’s arms of LOVE.

Moses encountered “his home” one day looking after sheep, it took the form of a burning bush and a heavenly voice declaring, “I AM.” What an astounding way for Moses to understand where his true home was (see Ex. 3). After that day Moses knew where home was and it wasn’t back in Egypt or even in the land of promise, it was daily dwelling in His Father’s eternal house of unfailing love.

This is why Moses could pray later in Psalm 90:

“Satisfy us each morning with Your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives!” vs. 14 (NLT)

As we approach Holy Week, meditate on how the suffering, death, resurrection of Jesus, “The Great I AM” is all about bringing you to the Father’s heart of love. His love for you, this is your true home. Sin pushed us out of the garden; but Jesus’ finished work brought us back in. This “heavenly garden” is the only place on earth where you can truly be satisfied and find a true home, a place of rest in a restless world.







Beautiful Acts of Kindness

I love to wake up early with a cup of coffee and spend time dwelling in God’s Word. On this particular morning I was reading Mark 14, the story of the woman who lavishly anointed Jesus feet with expensive perfume just a few days before His death. One translation described the scene as Jesus describing this gesture as a “beautiful act of kindness,” (Mk. 14:6).

While meditating on this Scripture my phone beeped and then beeped again. Bernie, the director of OceanView Care Center, was sending pictures of the “track uniforms” for the 60 new preschoolers and the teachers. Over the last several months a seamstress in the community received the appropriate measurements and sewed each uniform to size. Not only did each student and teacher receive a warm outfit for the upcoming South African winter, but also this local businesswoman was provided an income to provide for her family. The message from Bernie was full of thankfulness and joy!

As my thoughts returned to the scripture, this woman’s sacrificial and demonstrative act of love, and to Jesus’s description of a “beautiful act of kindness,” I thought to myself, “this is how Christ’s Kingdom spreads.” You see from 12,000 miles away leaders from Parker Task Force, a non-profit in Parker Colorado, was moved by their love for those living in a township and decided to give funds to Oceans Ministries to pay for the uniforms in order to bring joy and dignity to students and teachers.

“beautiful acts of kindness” always starts with a vision that is consumed with the glory of Jesus. The passage tell us on that day when the woman anointed Jesus’ feet many others were present in the home of Simon, including former lepers and all of the disciples. And yet, it seems that the unnamed woman was the only one who understood the glorious act of love that Jesus was about to endure on the cross.

This woman encountered a supernatural love from Heaven in Jesus, a love that was full of forgiveness and pure acceptance. Through the eyes of faith, she knew she was held forever in the arms of Jesus as a dearly loved daughter. That is why she could let go of a costly treasure, maybe her retirement fund, all because she found a love far more secure than any amount of money.

Over the years people just like this woman give costly gifts, “beautiful acts of kindness,” because they have been overwhelmed by Christ love for them. At Oceans Ministries we continually shake our heads and feel so humbled by these acts of kindness. And we get to watch first hand the impact of these beautiful acts have in so many hearts and how it spreads Christ’s Kingdom into difficult and dark places.

Jesus sees it all, and He is honored by our “beautiful acts of kindness.” At the end of this story Jesus makes this bold statement:

“I promise you that as this wonderful gospel spreads all over the world, the story of her lavish devotion to Me will be mentioned in memory of her.” (vs. 9)

As I reread those words, I think how Jesus is highlighting to each one of us how His Kingdom and the Gospel spreads. When we love Jesus by loving others (see Mt. 25:31ff) it is a “beautiful acts of kindness.” This kindness than points others to our Beautiful Jesus who gave everything for us on the cross so that we might truly know a love that will never let us go.

Please join me in this prayer:

Jesus, during this holy season of lent and beyond may Your beautiful Act of kindness at the cross overwhelm me. May I experience Your perfect love, knowing it is Your love that moves me to love others with beautiful Acts of kindness, so that Your Kingdom will be known all over all the earth! Amen