Release It!


Maybe one of the best ways to describe a follower of Christ is that they daily learn to “release it!” The other week with the help of a team from Haven church in Michigan we hosted an appreciation dinner for the teachers and staff of Ocean View Care Center.

After a wonderful meal and time of fellowship we gathered in the comfortable chairs in the family room for a time of ministry. Kayleigh Grassmid, youth director at Haven, read a prayer she was inspired to write specifically for the teachers and staff.

Hearing these truths from their Abba Father many hearts were moved and precious tears freely flowed from His daughters. These amazing ladies fight every day to bring love to children who come from all sorts of brokenness in their family environments. The teachers and staff have heavy burdens to carry as they seek to teach, train and provide a safe space for each of the students, and at the same time carry their own burdens for their own family.



At the end of our time together a basket of rocks was passed out for each one to take and hold. The rocks represented the hard and difficult circumstances in our lives from sins, heartaches, or impossible situations beyond our control that weigh us down.

1 Peter 5:6-7 was then read:

“If you bow low in God’s awesome presence, He will eventually exalt you as you leave the timing in His hands. Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you.”

Taking a few moments to be still, we reflected and prayed about what we may want to release. As we clutched that rock in our hands holding on so tightly to whatever it was we opened our hands and “released it” all to Him. Next, all 26 of us walked to the ocean and threw that sin, hurt, worry, pain, and fear to the One who lovingly cares. As the rocks were hurled into the Ocean we “released it” all to Him, trusting in the Father’s love to carry it for us so we can walk in the joy of His Son Jesus who lives in us.

It was a Holy moment on the beach as we lived in the spiritual blessing of releasing it all to the lover of our souls. I challenge you to: Find a rock. Find an ocean, lake or river. And “release it” all into His loving hands.




He Turns Dumps into Gardens

A year ago the place where the tent is erected was a dump. The community of Jim Se Bos discarded waste from their “homes” into this vacant lot.

A year ago a team from the US joined with Pastor Raymond and his team of Love in Action to feed hundreds of people from this trash site. Now this ground has become holy ground. A place where daily young children are feed and ministered to, where hundreds come every Wednesday to receive the only healthy meal all week.

On Good Friday this once dump was transformed into a beautiful garden with brilliant smiles, joyful songs, and heartfelt dancing. This place that hosted broken glass, discarded containers, and rotten smelly food, is now alive with heavenly hope.

What transformed this literal dump into a sanctuary of praise? Christ on the cross of Calvary, another forsaken sight outside the city, possibly a dump. Because of Jesus’s physically broken body, our life literally a spiritual wasteland can be turned into a magnificent garden. His perfect love was poured out in blood that Good Friday to heal the deepest wounds and brokenness in our human hearts to restore sinners to the Father’s arms of unconditional love. Oh there is power in the simple Gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus shared and lived out!

After the worship celebrations teams passed out 1000 loaves of bread and 1000 cans of fish into the community. Places of despair and darkness encountered the healing light of Jesus through His radiant children. It is hard to describe the joy as His love weaved through the crooked narrow streets of tin shacks.

It’s this constant, supernatural love from once discarded, broken people, remade by Jesus who have helped turn spiritual dumps into gardens. By the end of the weekend we saw many more broken hearts saved by the power of the resurrected Jesus and repent and turn their lives into gardens for the Father’s glory.

Our broken world is in desperate need to see and hear the love of Jesus who takes the discarded and broken things of this world and makes them into beautiful gardens. All who have been found by His love have a story to show and tell. May the Holy Spirit help you share yours with someone today!

“If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation the old is gone the new has come! All this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Cor. 5:17,18



Introducing Psalms Journal: A 21-Day Devotional Journal

This blog is written by Henry Miersma.

Psalms Journal is a newly released book, yes, but it is really a workbook–a devotional tool that invites you to meditate and reflect on one Psalm each day for 21 straight days, prompting you to journal your observations, reflections and responses to God’s Word. Additional prompts help you create prayer points for praying into the day’s Psalm.

Tim asked me to share how the book came into being, so I’ll start by asking this: Have you ever spent a significant amount of time walking alone with someone–just the two of you? My wife Rhonda and I did that some years ago when we committed to join a group from church on a tour of Israel. We were advised to get into good hiking-shape for the trip, so we set aside multiple hours a week, for several months, to do exactly that.

Rather than walk the flat sidewalks of our neighborhood, we drove 10 minutes to a loop of fire-roads that meandered up-and-down our local hills. There we could walk side-by-side for close-to an hour while getting in a good workout.

Did we get into good hiking shape? Yes, we did. But there were added benefits, too. The hikes provided us with an extended time where we could be together, talk quietly, and catch-up with each other’s life. Those long walks together were great for our relationship.

That season helped me understand the level of relational intimacy implied by the phrase walking humbly with our God found in Micah 6:8. That phrase tells me that our Father in Heaven desires for us to slow down and regularly spend extended time alone with Him. So when Tim wrote last week about how we live in the “noisiest time in human history,” it struck a chord in me because I recognize my need to “work on my walk” and Satan is seemingly doing everything possible to distract me from spending time with God!

It was within that spirit, of desiring to work on my own walk with God, that Psalms Journal was born. But it is not why it exists.

The Genesis of Psalms Journal

Psalms Journal is a result of two adventure retreats I took in the wilderness of Utah, some twenty-five years apart. The first trip included hiking the slot canyons of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The second was a multi-day canoe trip down the Green River.

Two things tie the trips together in my mind.

First, both trips featured solo time in the profoundly stark quiet of the Utah wilderness. Second, both trips were the brainchild of my cocontributor and cousin (by marriage), Dave Tanis.

During the first trip in 1997, Dave provided the members of our group with a devotional outline to use during our quiet time. At the bottom of the sheet was a list of eighteen psalms to consider reading. The outline’s title was “Actively Acknowledging and Engaging in God’s Presence.” I used the outline during the trip and continued using it when I returned home. I’ve kept the worksheet ever since.

Fast forward twenty-five years: Dave invited me to join a group of men on a combination adventure/spiritual retreat canoeing Utah’s Green River. Remembering my need to improve my walk, I agreed to join the group. That was April of 2022.

I spent my solo time on that trip sitting on a mesa above a bend in the Green River, enjoying the protective shade of a stand of cottonwood trees and the views of red-rock canyon walls around me. It was there, while journaling, that I felt a prompt from the Spirit centered on the word writing.

I wrestled with that prompt for quite a while. After returning home and praying for several months for clarity, I didn’t feel called to write, myself. Instead, my understanding of the prompt I received is this: I believe God wants us to write—to journal, to cry out to Him from the depths of our hearts. My role has been to create a tool that encourages us to write.

That’s why Psalms Journal exists.

Once my role became clear to me, I decided to expand upon the outline Dave Tanis provided back in 1997. Consulting with both Dave and Tim Spykstra, we produced the final list of 21 psalms and the prompts that guide you through the journaling process.

Reflect, Journal, Pray

Psalms Journal is a devotional workbook that offers a guided journey through twenty-one selected psalms to help you ponder their meaning and examine their connection to your life today, all while you develop a habit of journaling and praying.

It is designed to help you with:
• Thinking–to truly focus as you ponder and meditate on His word
• Growing–in Knowledge of God’s Word
• Authenticity–in taking an honest appraisal of your own heart
• Learning–on how to be transparent with God
• Retaining–to remember what you read and study
• Referencing–tracking how God has worked in your life, both currently and in the past
• Prayer–formulate your prayers based upon the words and themes of these 21 selected Psalms

The ultimate goal is for you to discover the heart of the living God, to cry out to Him through journaling and prayer, and to strengthen your walk with Him.

Click here to find the book on Amazon!

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)