Author: Oceans

Wonderfully Made | Psalms 139

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psalms 139 wonderfully made

We are wonderfully made by an ever-present God. There is something both comforting, sobering and completely scary about the majesty of God being with us.

Wonderfully Made | Psalms 139

God is with us all the timeI love reading how King David processed this very reality in Psalms 139.  He recognized that God knew him entirely, including his actions, thoughts and motivations. David meditated on how God was always watching, as if enamored by his every move. Like a friend who can read your mind and finish your sentences, David’s Lord thoroughly understood him. Indeed, God went before and after him as if to prepare the way and protect his blind spots.

Even before David was conceived, the Creator carefully designed his form and with immense power brought him into existence.  David responded, “Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high [above me], I cannot reach it” (Ps. 139:6 AMP). God’s presence humbled David as he soberly considered the weight of hosting Him at all times in all places. This divine company also invoked a since of confidence.  In verses eight through 11, David spoke of his assurance that God would even go to the darkest place to be with him, lead him and take hold of him.

Soaking in An Eternal Identity

No matter what abundance or despair David was facing, he knew that God’s supremacy and sovereignty would not be limited. Like a kid belongs to his daddy, David belonged to God, but in a much more personal and eternal manner. The fact that he was a wealthy king, beloved warrior, successful conqueror, well know musician and much more, all seemed to fade away in the light of this truth.  We can hear him soaking in his identity form the source of life Himself, “For You formed my innermost parts; You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well” (Ps. 13:13-14 AMP). David stood tall as he admired God’s intricate and skillful masterpiece knowing that he was a work in progress.

A Divine Awakening and Purpose

wonderfully made psalms 139David’s love for his Maker propelled him into action.  He knew that God affectionally appointed each day with his good in mind.  David affectionately addressed God: “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You (Ps. 139:17-18 AMP).  His future was before him even, though it had not yet taken shape.

David had a choice to live in light of these truths or completely ignore God all together.  Yet, knowing and meditating on God’s character brought him to joyfully and willing push away everything contrary.  His heart started hating the wickedness that distorted God’s goodness and he desired to physically remove himself for anything that minimized God’s glory.  Then, as if God placed a mirror in front of him, David prayed for his own spiritual freedom.  David unconditionally submitted himself to his King of Kings with a devotion to live in such a way that pleased Him and with a desperation to stay close.

Selah | Stop and Calmly Think About It

ps139-oceansedge
God knows everything and is all-powerful.  He designed us for a particular purpose and has the ultimate authority over us. Yet, He does not force us into His service.  He is a gentleman who wants our hearts more than our labor.  Psalms 139 reflects this very important aspect of our personal interaction with the Creator.  God is always present, available and ready to interact with us.

The second we turn to Him with a genuine heart, we will find Him.  “Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way” (Ps. 139:23-24). David’s prayer challenges us to dive into His goodness and His unconditional love, with an unconditional surrender.

Surrender Removes Obstacles

As we draw close to the Lord in this manner, our desire to have a deeper friendship with Him will bud new life. This personal connection roots and nourishes us as we experience God’s character first hand.  God is continuously calling us to follow Him down the path of eternal life. We must only look to Him and allow the obstacles to be removed.  It is in this place that our story begins to align with our divine destiny and our identity is found in our Heavenly Father.  For we are wonderfully made by an ever-present God.

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A Masterpiece In Progress Living The Good Life

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masterpiece living the good life which God

A Masterpiece In Progress Living The Good LifeA Masterpiece In Progress by Hannah Rico Fletcher

For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]. – Ephesians 2:10 (AMP) 

My family and I had the pleasure of visiting Roatan, Honduras.  It is known for diving which means clear water and beautiful reef.  Each day centered around the baby blue ocean and soft white sand.  From the shore, you could see the fish playfully moving in and out of the rocks and reef.  We brought our own snorkels and practiced with the kids in the shallows. The masks allowed us to fully engage, explore and appreciate the underwater world with every size, shape and color of fish.  It was a little taste of heaven.

Living the Good Life

masterpiece living the good life which GodSeeing and swimming with a sea turtle has always been on my bucket list.  So, a wave of joy came over me when my husband pointed one out in the shallow reef.  I swam as fast as I could to keep up with him as he gracefully moved through the reef. He kept looking back at me as if to simply acknowledge my presence and continued along his way.

His beak was spotted with shades of yellow and orangish-brown.  His neck had cracks and bumps that seemed to reflect a purplish-blue. His shell was a combination of amazing plates of armor perfectly placed and unified.  I rubbed my hand on his back and felt the soft and even mossy surface. Soon after the turtle led me to a 20-foot drop off. I soaked in the beauty of how my new friend moved as he disappeared into the deep blues of the ocean.

I was completely out of breath and an overwhelming sense of thankfulness came over me.  I had no idea how I was going to find my way back to my husband through the shallow underwater maze and I didn’t care.  I had just seen an outstanding masterpiece and I wanted to remember every detail.  The artistry and elegance was a testimony to the existence of a masterful Creator. 

Seeing what God Sees

A Masterpiece In Progress Living The Good Life (2)I know this same Designer made me but honestly it is hard for me to think of myself with such awe.   When I look in the mirror I am not captivated with an overwhelming sense of thankfulness.  As I go about my daily routine, I forget that God considers me a work of art that needs to be treasured and guarded.  Instead, I feel normal, wooed by this world and life passes mostly without consideration. This really got me thinking about the disconnect between how God describes me in Ephesians 2:10 and how I see myself. I seemed to be missing something.

If the word masterpiece was meant to describe my physical appearance, accomplishments and deeds, I would continue to be faced with my shortcomings. It seemed to me that I could either strive to improve or accept a sense of failure (either on God’s side or my own).  Then I realized my focus was off.  I was never meant to be the main character. Instead, I am the work of art testifying to God’s craftsmanship in a continuing creative process.

A Masterpiece In Progress

Like a potter sitting down with fresh clay, God sees my potential (Isaiah 64:8). The truth about my lack makes His strength, grace and compassion shine. He started by offering a full spiritual transformation from death to life.  Instantly, I was completely redeemed by my acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as payment for my sin. Freed from the burden of past failures and the striving effort to be worthy; I am compelled to daily submit to His refining work.  He gently and intentionally strips away my old sin nature and continues to mold and shape me.  

As I humble myself, soak in His love and walk in the good works set out for me, I find myself identifying more with who God is and less with the old me and this fallen world.   I now look in the mirror and see God’s goodness and find joy in the process. I was created and designed for this very purpose: to be a testimony to God’s goodness and be fruitful accordingly.  His commitment and promise to accomplish His work in me is awe-inspiring and supernatural. I see my growth but God sees His masterpiece.

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Capturing Hearts

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capturing hearts, kids club, jaco beach, costa rica, christian internships, christian lifestyle, mission team, ministry, internships, international living

Capturing hearts at kid’s club

Today is Saturday! That means kid’s club at the park in Invu, a low-income neighborhood with a strong need for love that is capturing hearts. After cruising on my bike through the neighborhood, waving at familiar, smiling faces, I arrive at the park. Kids play soccer or swing, jump, and slide on the toys while they wait for the activities to begin. Last week, a few hairdressers volunteered their time and gave everyone free haircuts. A visiting mission team from South Carolina told the story of Joshua and his Israelites and the tumbling walls of Jericho. Sarah (the leader of kid’s club) asked the kids, “¿En quién confiamos?” which means, “Who do we trust?” They all shouted their reply, “En Dios!” which means, “In God!” Next, everyone colored a cardboard trumpet. This week, we talked about how we should be thankful for the awesome women who help us in life. Mother’s day is August 15 here in Costa Rica, so everyone made colorful paper flowers to give to their mothers. I went from table to table helping all of the adorable kids. After munching on some galletas (cookies) with marker-stained and sticky, gluey hands, the kids run, laugh, and play until about 12:30. Each kid gets to go home with a bag of rice and beans for their family. This week, we also gave out a little gift bag for them to take home to their moms with items such as soap and lotion.

 

It is incredible to see these kids come out to to the park (often by themselves) to learn about God! Kid’s club is a great way to love on the kids of Invu. Perhaps these kids will take the Godly messages home and share it with their families. I am praying that God will continue to use kid’s club as a way to capture the hearts of these precious young children and use them to shine light among their community.

 

1 Timothy 4:12 NIV

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

For more information about my ministry and the ministries in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica please contact us at Ocean Edge

Categories: Lifestyle Blog

Intern life at Oceans Edge

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intern life at oceans edge, jaco beach, costa rica, christian internships, christian lifestyle, mission team, ministry, internships, international living

Ocean’s Edge Internship

Intern life at Oceans Edge

Today was my first full day serving the intern life at oceans edge ministries.

My name is Ashley, In the fall I studied abroad in Heredia and fell in love with Costa Rica. After returning home, I felt called to devote part of my summer to serving God. Having a huge heart for Ticos, I’m thrilled God led me back to Costa Rica to Jacó beach! (Ticos is the word for local Costa Ricans.)

For a total of four weeks I will be serving as a short-time intern. I started the day with a walk to the beach and then read my Bible at a little shop in Jacó Walk (a boardwalk of new restaurants and stores). Today, the intern team and I worked with a high school youth group from Texas to clean up the Oceans Edge property. We did everything from picking weeds to organizing linens. Everyone worked hard with happy servant hearts. After the group left, the Oceans Edge crew headed to Taco Bar to grab a delicious dinner before the Spanish church service at Radical. In seeing a thriving Christian community here in Costa Rica, I am reminded of God’s vast, infinite love. Although there may be many differences among people of different cultures – from the food we eat, to the language we speak, to the skin color we have – we are all one in God and God is in all of us. What a beautiful thing that unites us all together! It’s pretty mind blowing to think that our God not only created the universe, but loves and knows each and every one of us around the entire world. Though this world is big, he is not far from each one of our hearts.

Acts 17:26-27

“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”

For more information about the ministry i am partnering with, and what God is doing here in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica please contact Oceans Edge

Categories: Lifestyle Blog

Joy in Jaco, Costa Rica

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Joy in Jaco, horizon church, The Edge, Cost Rica, Jaco Beach, Christian mission trips, Missions, Joy, happiness, oceans edge, ministry

Joy in Jaco

Hello, my name is Emily and I am here in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica on a short term mission trip. I am really enjoying my time here so far! I’ve been amazed by all the joy in Jaco. Even though living conditions are rough and the town of Jaco is struggling with some very serious issues, the people of Jaco surprise me with their positivity and happiness. It’s truly inspiring.

The children

in Jaco Beach, for example, absolutely love Kid’s Club which meets every Saturday in the neighborhood park, hosted by Horizon Church a local English speaking church here in Jaco. They play fun games, make awesome crafts, and learn about “Dios” (God). Not only is it a great way to spread God’s word, but it also builds community and stability for the children. At the end of Kid’s Club they do what they call “Beans and Rice ministry”. Each child is sent home with a bag of beans and rice to help feed their family for the week, a slogan everyone has come to know and love here is “Beans and Rice and Jesus Christ”. I had a great time participating in jump rope, soccer, and sac races this Saturday at Kids Club, and was blown away by the Joy in Jaco shining through each child’s smile.

Samson

Joy in Jaco, Samson, The Edge, Cost Rica, Jaco Beach, Christian mission trips, Missions, Joy, happiness

Samson, The Edge property dog

Oceans Edge’s new “guard dog”, was brought home this weekend. At just six weeks old he has some growing to do to fit into his new role and protect the property! He is incredibly cute and is a great addition to the team here at Ocean’s Edge. Although my time here in Jaco is short, I have learned so much about the town, myself, and God. I’m learning that being joyful is an internal, consistent state that can only stem from God. Happiness will ebb and flow, but joy is deep rooted and strong. I’m very thankful for my time here in Jaco, for the relationships made, and for the joy found.

For more information about the ministry or the local church here please contact Oceans Edge and come see for yourself all that God is doing in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica.

Categories: Lifestyle Blog

Why Don’t We Praise God More?

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Praise God Devoted Paths Divine destiny

Why Don’t We Praise God More?

Praise God? For some, the idea of worshiping God brings up questions of His worthiness or even existence. For me this is not the case, God has proven Himself as praiseworthy and deserving of all that I am and all that I have. I have found His love to be freely given, forgiving and patient. I hear Him calling me to holiness with a hopefulness that I will choose life to the full.  I know His intention is to protect me from the consequences that steal, kill and destroy.

I have found that God is also true to His promises, although, sometimes it is not in my timing or how I expected it. With humility and grace, I know He hears my prayers and cares about my struggles.  He is always present with me offering wisdom, companionship and healing. All of this is to say, I can testify to the goodness of a life unconditionally surrendered to Him.

I have found the strongest motivator to praise God is my understanding of His character and my personal experience of His love. Yet, I find myself distracted by the busyness of this world. With my attention directed at so many other things, I quickly feel the loss of intimacy that comes when I am more closely walking hand and hand with God. Still, He “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7). 

God’s Rightful Place

Praise God God's Rightful place

The one and true God of the Bible is not manmade or a power that can be harnessed. We see only a reflection of His majesty and glory on the earth, but one day He will make Himself fully known.  The Bible says this experience will bring us all to our knees in reverence, some in fear and others in pure gratitude (Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11).  Still, on that day we will all praise God.

He is the all-powerful LORD of Lords with a throne of sapphire, surrounded by a brilliant light (Ezekiel 1:25-28).  From this lofty place, He holds the Stars and Earth in place. With His laws of science, He regulates the earths distance from the sun, gravitational pull and our atmosphere. God allows our hearts to beat, our eyes to see and our lungs to breath deep (Colossians 1:17).

God is also intently involved in our continued existence and everyday lives. When he looks at us, it is with pleasure, favor and care. He sees our heart ache. He laughs at the funny things we do and smiles when we delight in His gifts. We have His attention (Psalm 8:4-8).

My Rightful Place

Praise God Personal Experience

I have been decisively created and ordained for a divine purpose (Eph 2:10). Nevertheless, as God’s beloved, I am free and have the ability to embrace the path He has set out before more or to choose my own path.  With this freewill, I give heart to whom I please. I steward my feelings, will and intellect. My strength will be spent and my worship released as I allow. 

The responsibility to walk in liberty, make the most of my days and intentionally direct my praise to God is my own.  With this being the case, I pray that God’s unfailing love would rest on me, that my eyes would constantly refocus on His goodness, and that nothing would holds me back from falling more in love with Him (Galatians 5:1).

“From heaven the Lord looks down & sees all mankind; from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth- he who forms the hearts of all who considers everything they do… May your unfailing love rest upon us” Ps 33:13-15, 22

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Satan’s Agenda | Ocean’s Edge Lifestyle

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Satan’s Agenda | Ocean’s Edge Lifestyle

By Melissa New | Ocean’s Edge Intern Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone would just tell the truth? If the Devil didn’t have an agenda? Unfortunately, he does and Satan’s Agenda is to do anything that opposes God (1 John 3:8, 2 Corinthians 11:3, John 8:44). I have been realizing this more and more each day and realizing the implication of Satan’s Agenda for us is that he wants to deceive and lead us away from God. One of the ways he tries to do this is by false teachers and prophets.

“False Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible.” – Matthew 24:24

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD.” – Jeremiah 23:16

Ferocious Wolf

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” – Matthew 7:15

The way I interpret the last scripture is that this “ferocious wolf” prophet will look like an authentic believer. However, they will not be a messenger of Christ. They will probably even know scripture well! Even the Devil quoted Psalm 91: 11- 12 to Jesus, trying to tempt him:

Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city. He had Jesus stand on the highest point of the temple. “If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down. It is written, “ ‘The Lord will command his angels to take good care of you. They will lift you up in their hands. Then you won’t trip over a stone.’ ” – Matthew 4:5-6

God’s Word

So what do we do with this information?

We need to know God’s Word like our lives depend on it- because they do. We need to be able to discern Satan’s agenda and whether something is Biblical or not. When we know scripture and are lead by the Holy Spirit, we can be confident in our discernment. This is the only way we will be able to obey the following verse:

“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

La Cumbre Camp | Horizon Pre-Teen Camp

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La Cumbre Camp

La Cumbre Camp | Horizon Pre-Teen Camp

The past few days I had the honor of helping to lead at La Cumbre Camp. I went with Horizon Church on this three-day pre-teen retreat and nine of our youth kids joined as well. La Cumbre Camp is located up in the mountains near the capital city, San Jose.

Small Groups

There were three other youth groups in attendance in addition to Horizon Church. All the kids were between 9-12 and almost all were completely bilingual. I wish I could speak English and Spanish as well as these kids could! There were multiple small groups and I had a group of six kids assigned to me and my co-leader, Melissa. We stayed in these small groups for our morning devotionals, afternoon Bible studies and daily activities. One of the best part of the camp was definetely the nightly dance parties. Two hours before bed we would all dance for an hour straight so that the kids would be tired. The plan worked and they were begging us to go to sleep!

Salvation

I loved leading the pre-teen aged kids because they are so sweet and aren’t at the age yet where they are too cool to care. They are enthusiastic about everything and get excited about little things. I also love how genuine they are as they have no problem letting you know if something you said doesn’t make any sense. This was especially helpful when we were going through devotions because Melissa and I were able to answer some of their questions. We were so blessed to see two people in our small group receive salvation and give their hearts to Christ- the very first day! Then, on the second evening, another girl in our group gave her heart to Jesus. What a blessing it was to see these young children cross from death to life!

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The Edge New Roof | A Walk Of Faith

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Edge new roof walk of faith (1)

The Edge New Roof

Edge new roof walk of faith (1)Sunday morning a crane drove up to the back of the Jaco Missions Base and started lifting the 14-meter-wide beams into place for the new Edge roof. Just a few hours later, the English-speaking church met on their new property to pray and enjoy a ground-breaking ceremony. What a day of victory for the Christian body in Jaco and a reason to celebrate for the hundreds of people that have poured into God’s work here.

Edge new roof walk of faith (1)I have come to realize that it is a visionary gift to see the dream as completed even though the ground is not broken. Standing on the Church property, I could see the buildings as if they were finished. I could imagine the sunlight shining through the trees in the courtyard and hear the greeters loving people as they filled the sanctuary. For me it is as good as done!

In the same way, for years, I have envisioned the Edge’s new roof towering over the living area. I have given the tour over and over, pointing out where the door would be and how you walk into the welcoming sitting areas. I have shared the dream of pulling all the apartments together and never having to deal with flooding again.  Today, I can physically touch the door post and see the roof line. It is surreal!

Victory is a walk of faith

I want to stop and soak in this moment with you. With these pictures, you get to see what I have dreamed about for so many years. The development of the Edge Missions Base has been a hard path full of blood, sweat and tears, but I stand in awe of how it has progressed. There were many times that logic told me to hang up my hat and call it a day. I faced many heavy moments when I saw so much need and the resources where nowhere in sight. In these moments, I could quote the verses to support a full stop and call it wisdom. But God! Don’t you just love that phrase!

The thought of having to name and thank all of the people who have built into and supported this property over the past 14 years is overwhelming. Hundreds of individuals have helped in different ways not knowing what the end would look like and without expecting any credit. I have been one of the blessed few to see this work progress since edge mortgage paid off2003 and what I will say is that it is inspiring to see what can happen when we all do a little for a God-size vision.

We paid off the remainder of the mortgage with a bridge loan that includes the cost of completing the current phase of finishing the roof. We will pay off this loan with the rental income and donations, as they continue to come in. The blessing is that the loan has no interest, no due date and no legal tie to the property itself. This miracle defies logic and is more than we could have ever asked. Thank you God!

Called to Overflow

It is so clear that God is the momentum behind what is happening here. That is a powerful thing. When we yield to God’s will we can feel unsettled in the wildness of the unknown. Yet, in the middle of the storm we can always look up to our heavenly father. His peaceful face calms us, His gentle voice beckons us closer and when we sink and struggle… we can rest in His hands. All for us can take advantage of this blessed life to the full. I pray we may all experience the overflow of the individual walk of faith to which we have been called.

The Edge God size vision

We are standing by to help you plan a mission trip to Jaco Beach Costa Rica.  Contact us to join the team with as a prayer or financial partner.