Hi friends! We just returned from a week of camping with our Trailblazers DTS and it was an incredible few days filled with water sports, fellowship, and lots of quiet time with God. There are so many good things we’d like to share with you, so we’ll start by telling you what we learned. This week our lecture topic was spiritual warfare. The topic mixed with being in the outdoors 24-7 made this week one of our favorites so far (I know I say that every week haha). Spiritual warfare is actually much more personal and powerful than most people think. Spiritual warfare is all about spiritual authority. Spiritual authority is the right or position given by Jesus as well as spiritual strength (both the sword and the strength and skill to use it). Each of us has authority over the Enemy because God gave it to us. When He created humanity He gave authority on Earth to us, but the Enemy took it shortly after. When Jesus came, He took back that authority and gave it to us. This shows us that God is absolutely committed that the earth is our responsibility – He will not act on Earth apart from human relationship and involvement. God is so inclusive! The key is to walk in your God-given authority, or in other words, to own it. What does this mean? It means you have full authority in your own life – whatever the Enemy throws at you, you have already been given the authority to defeat it! We also learned that the Enemy knows that you don’t know you have authority over him, and he exploits that. He is constantly prowling around, looking for gateways into your life. His ultimate goal is to seperate you from God, and he will do it through your own negligence if you aren’t on guard, or he will do it through willful sin. So it’s important to be vigilant and watchful of any areas the Enemy could gain a foothold in your life. God also gave us some weapons to use against the Enemy including walking in the opposite spirit (for example responding to an environment of lust with love and care), prayer, fasting, worship, and proclaiming truth. So good!
This week was so powerful. I noticed that personally and as a group, God spoke to each of us so clearly and intimately. In lectures we discussed what taking authority in your life looks like practically, and the speaker felt that a lot of us (myself included) felt silenced by the Enemy; like our voice doesn’t matter to God. Each of us took turns declaring that God moves at the sound of our voice, and we had people pray over us that the Enemy’s stronghold in this area would be broken. I spent the rest of the day meditating over this lie that has subtly affected me over the years and realized the Enemy has done a really good job of making me believe that I’m ignored by both God and people. I truly felt like I wasn’t very important to people or to God, but after this week I know that is the Enemy whispering in my ear. Each of us matters to God and our prayers can literally change the world. God is eagerly waiting for each of us to ask Him to do big things! That same day I was praying for freedom in this area and reading my Bible when God spoke so clearly to me through scripture. He had me read the verse in Genesis when the angel comes to Hagar as she has just run away from an abusive situation and is undoubtedly suffering and feeling rejected. He tells her she is with child and to name her son Ishmael which means God hears (!). Then she responds by saying “You are the God who sees me. I have now seen the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). Boom. There I was being a Hagar, believing I was ignored by God and He tells me that He both hears me and sees me. God is so personal and compassionate it blows my mind.
Another area of conviction I had this week was in terms of my thoughts and words. As I wrote earlier, the Enemy is always on the prowl, looking for open gates He can enter your life through. Two of the ways he can do this is through your words and your thoughts. I realized I need to be more guarded with my mouth and my thoughts, intentionally using both to push me toward God, not away from Him. That means less fear, complaint, bitterness, and selfishness.
This week was so good! You all know I love camping and the outdoors. Not only was this the longest camping trip I’ve ever been on, but it was the first and only one that was centered around God. Usually, I have a strict, intense itinerary for camping – every minute is planned out with what I want to do. But this week, I left it all in God’s hands and just went with the flow – trying new things and spending the massive amounts of free time in fellowship and in conversation with God. He didn’t disappoint!
First of all, the lectures about spiritual warfare were amazing and freeing. I used to think following Jesus and reading the bible was just a checklist of not sinning and throwing up some prayers now and then, but now I realize my own important authority in the relationship. I realize that my words have power, and God hears them always. I realize that my daily decisions either bring me closer to or farther away from God. I realize the power I have over the Enemy, which also means the power I have to let him into my life as well (through thoughts, words, deeds, beliefs). This week I was convicted to enjoy the amazing things God has put into my life, but not let them turn into idols. For example, I used to idolize mountain biking. If I couldn’t get a ride in each day, I didn’t feel complete. I now look back at that and think how silly I was to put anything like that before so many more important things in my life, like my marriage, relationships, time with God, and developing my many other skills/talents/affinities. We are such amazing and complex beings, and God wants to use us for so many more wonderful things than we think or are led to believe by society.
This week was also the very first time when I actually, truly wanted to read my bible. It wasn’t an obligation or something I felt like I had to do. I read a lot, prayed a lot, and received a lot of insight into what was currently going on in my mind and my life. Three of the ways God speaks are through nature, scripture, and dreams, and I definitely heard Him in all of these ways while camping.
Trailblazers Camping Week
Up until this week, our days have been filled with nearly 12 hours of scheduled activities each day, so the free time we had while camping allowed us the necessary time to relax, reflect on the past 6 weeks (time flies!), and ready ourselves for the second half of our lecture phase. We camped on the shores of Myall Lakes National Park, and some staff brought boats for the first half of trip. We both did kneeboarding and sailed a catamaran for the first time! The lake had a slight salinity being next to the ocean, as well as a layer of tea tree oil from the trees surrounding it, so not showering for a week was simply remedied by a daily dip in the lukewarm water. We naturally woke up at sunrise, admired families of wallabies sauntering around all week, had lectures in a big circle under eucalyptus trees, formed tighter friendships beside the lake or by firelight each night, and ate our weight in hearty camp food and hot chocolate.
This week came right after our Outreach Phase locations were announced! It was extremely hard to remain tight-lipped with our decision all week, and unfortunately we still don’t know which team we will be put on. But we should figure it out very soon (tomorrow or the next day), and we will undoubtedly make either a quick social media post or include it in next week’s blog when we find out! We can’t wait to find out and fill you in on the next leg of our journey.