How’s your heart?


Written by Mike Verkaik:

How’s your heart?

That is the question I asked myself and the team as we started several days of our kingdom encounter at Oceans Retreat Center. The Spirit placed it on my mind after  reading Psalm 119:81 which started with the words, “I’m lovesick” (TPT)

I am so blessed to join students whose desire in traveling to South Africa is birthed out of living a life of lovesickness to know and understand more of their Abba Father. Providing them with time and a focus to have their hearts go hard after His glorious presence. Jeremiah 29:13 reminds us, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

The Oceans kingdom encounter includes experiences in worship, prayer, service, study and journaling. Below are excerpts from blog entries that the students wrote for family and friends.  Be blessed and encouraged as you read the encounters they had as  they ran hard after their God:

Student 1:

Pastor Raymond assigned our team to partner with a group of 3 or 4 people from the community, and pray over the storms in their lives. I walked up to a group of 4 men, and heard some incredibly tough things they are going through in their lives. Then, one man in my group, who I recognized from the last time I was in South Africa, shared how he struggled with a spirit of fear. I was surprised as I remembered him being incredibly outgoing and welcoming as he sang in front of church. A spirit of fear is something I struggled with before my first trip, and still struggle with sometimes now. A fear of what the people around will think if I try to stand out as a person who lives their life fully devoted to Jesus Christ. To hear that a man, so outgoing and joyful in the Lord, struggles with a similar thing as me, gave me encouragement, and it was a privilege  to pray over him. Praying for peace for him, as well as for confidence to continue being outgoing for the Lord, made me feel the Lord’s peace the most on this entire trip.

Student 2:

I personally had a really cool encounter with God and how God sent signs for me that perfectly went with how I prayed for him to give me signs: I was sitting on top of Elsies peak with Fish Hoek to my left and Simonstown to my right. As I was praying and looking over False Bay I asked God to give me a sign that He was here and in my life. It wasn’t that I was doubting as much as I was just needing an extra boost of confirmation. While looking at the water there was a weird light spot in the water, and the shape of the light spot reminded me of a scar that one of my buddies had. It was a really weird thing to be symbolized but it was what God sent my way. 

Then I went to my Bible to read a passage from a book that was similar to my buddies name. When I was flipping to that chapter I did not yet know what verse I was going to read. Then, God put a voice in my head that said, Isaiah 60:4. I flipped to that verse and the first sentence of the verse was, “Lift up your eyes and look about you.” So I finished reading the passage and put my Bible away so that I could just look around for another sign. After about 5 minutes of looking, I saw a lighter shade of water again and this time it was shaped like an arrow. Believe me when I say this, the arrow was clear as day. 

After I saw the arrow, I followed the end to where it was pointing to the mountains across the bay. As I was looking I saw a path in between the mountains, and the path had a couple zig zags, then it split into a Y shape. Immediately, the word “choose” shot into my head. It was telling me that I need to choose to be a follower of the Lord myself. I cannot rely on my parents and how they raised me to choose that, I need to choose. Also, I need to choose all the right choices just like Jesus would have chosen when he was on earth. So that was a life changing experience and I love how I can share that with all the readers.

Student 3:

“If you knew that Jesus was coming in the next few weeks, what would you change.” When Pastor Raymond asked that question, I was swarmed with a feeling of guilt. I was thinking about it and I was like, why do we need to change? We shouldn’t want to change, we should be living to our full potential and live up to our fullest when it comes to God. We shouldn’t just change and pray more or worship more or help people more because we know he’s coming. We should be able to do that now, not knowing when he is gonna come. 

That is something that really stuck out to me and made me think a lot and reflect on my decisions I have made and the decision I want to make in the future when it comes to growing my relationship with God.

Student 4:

During this trip I had this word on my mind: “foundation”.  I am really trying to build my foundation on Christ and to grow a deeper connection with him. Throughout these two weeks I really felt God talking to me through other peoples actions and words. 

Yesterday there was this man praying over us at Overflow Church and he was talking about having a foundation with Christ and how he saw a vision of wet cement and how your foundation will always be rocky at times, but God will always dry that cement and I really felt God speaking to me in that moment. I also learned this about His foundation while I wrote in my journal on a rock by the ocean.  I had a vision of a wave, and how the flat part of the water is Gods love for us that will never change, and when the wave is building up, that is the storms we are going to have to face throughout life, but God will always bring us back to shore.

So how is your heart? May you seek and find the lover of your heart today and encounter His Kingdom overflowing with love!!!!

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