"If your life was a movie would you watch it?" ~ Troy Sherman. Photo by Jonathan Roberts.
This week's topic was "Spiritual Warfare." When I first heard this, I admit I was a bit dismayed. Sure, spiritual warfare is exciting, but it didn't seem to line up with what God was in the process of teaching me.
Boy was I wrong.
Troy Sherman (son of Dean Sherman) started off our first session with a focus on the book of Daniel. The very first slide showed this:
"Daniel - God is my judge."
The words struck me as though I had never discerned their meaning before; as a child I would think of God judging people from his throne. But this time I received a question.
How often do I use my mind to judge for myself what is right and wrong?
How often do I ask God what his opinion is in the day-to-day decisions in my life?
Isn't that exactly what eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was all about? The moment when humankind began to make decisions based on their own judgement rather than centering them on the Lord?
Just like last week, this stuff is so gold I have to simply share some of my notes. I don't expect you to read it all - but why not idly scroll through and see what pops out at you?
Spiritual warfare is to consistently hear God's strategy and make it happen (let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven).
Perspective: if you drop a rock in water, the rock moves through the water towards the bottom because it is more dense. A more dense object moves through a less dense object. Therefore, angels, demons, the spiritual, love, etc., is more dense and powerful and can move through the material world... *mindblown*
Everything is spiritual. My actions, however "godly," are just as spiritual as "ungodly" ones.
We can grow in spiritual authority; it seems to develop through choosing Jesus during times of suffering - much like working out.
Embrace the little weights and stop longing for the big ones.
Goal: having a "guardian demon" that tells other demons; "Woah dude, don't touch this guy. Every time we attack him he chooses God and becomes more loving and even stronger."
If faith is honoring God, fear is honoring the devil.
Stop asking for miracles and start being the miracle.
God has equipped us with all the revelation and free will necessary to be a miracle to people not only through prayer but also our actions. Which of these is a miracle? A man who was healed instantaneously through prayer, or the man who invented penicillin and saved millions of lives? Both are miracles, both are spiritual.
The enemy of good is compromise. Steel your resolve and love in action.
Are you more interested in the power of Jesus or the heart of Jesus?
If all you're concerned about is your problems, your problems will consume you. Sometimes we don't have problems... we're just selfish. Go serve.
God owes us nothing, because he has given us enough. The miracles of grace, salvation, eternity with him, etc., we should need nothing more.
"If God heals me, awesome. If God doesn't, awesome!"
Pray like it all depends on God, and work like it all depends on us.
You don't need as much faith as you think. You need to obey more than you think. Be the miracle.
Perspective: all he expects of us is to do our best with everything we have - that's it. As a father who loves his children's scribbles, he's not going to shove you into a book of famous art and tell you that you suck!
King David didn't miraculously heal people... but how many times have the Psalms been a miracle to you?
What have you chosen to allow yourself to be named? Names don't have power unless you give them power.
Your words speak power, and too often we use it for our detriment. Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy and thought to your dreams than your fears.
Why would God give more revelation to you when you aren't already walking in the revelation that he's already given you? (i.e., in the Bible).
Some things are so important to God, he won't tell you, he will show you.
God is the most emotional being in the universe. The word grief (often times the Lord grieves for his people) in Hebrew means to be struck with such emotional stress you can't breathe.
"I believe it takes more faith not to see a miracle" ~ Troy Sherman
Faith should be something you already have, not something you have to conjure up - faith should be a lifestyle.
Those that see are those that try! Don't give up on spiritual power. Whoever said, "I tried making out, and it was awkward, so it's not for me"? Stop saying that spiritual power isn't for you. Just keep trying in the midst of contentment - not complacency - with God.
Peter (meaning Rock), walked on water. How ironic is that? How beautiful is that...
We can choose to be the miracle today. Every act of love is a miracle because Jesus is supernaturally in us and loving through us. "By this the whole world will know... that you love one another [not by signs and wonders]."
Forgiveness is primarily for the victim. The Jews who forgave the Nazi's for what they did lived on average 20 years longer than the Jews who did not.
Look at every negative thing as an opportunity to perform another miracle - that is, grace. Freely you have been given, freely give. This is living out spiritual warfare.
We got to put all this into practice when we went into downtown Denver and struck up conversations with people as led by the Holy Spirit. This time, I wasn't looking for God's miraculous powers. Instead I walked in thankfulness towards his love and obedience to his voice, and, long story short, I witnessed the Holy Spirit do battle with demons over the man I spent the entire night talking to. Please pray for him.
LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING AHEAD
Can't believe it was snowing a month ago! Random throwback to when we were still all getting to know each other. (From top left to right: Mischu from Switzerland, Porter from Arkansas, myself, and Michael from Pennsylvania). Photo by Jonathan Roberts.
We are roughly halfway through our lecture phase of DTS. Time is flying, but things are happening!
I've formed some incredible friendships here. In my small group of five guys, each one of us are amazed at how God matched each one of us together for our growth.
Our team has continued to get closer than ever. Everyone gets along and can work together well. As our hearts are melting under the heat of God's love and tender whispers, we are all becoming more bold and loving than ever during our Friday nights when we reach out to the homeless and needy.
This Thursday we hung out with refugee children near Denver to get to know them and love on them - on the last week of June we will be running a VBS-like program for them.
This coming week, we will be learning skits, dramas, and dances for the upcoming VBS and outreach in the Philippines and Indonesia. This way, we can communicate the love of Jesus to men, women and children despite language barriers! Since we all know each other so well now, everyone is excited to jump in and play their part with a willing heart.
Meanwhile, we are acutely aware of and praying into the pressing conflicts in the Philippines and Indonesia. Here are a couple articles to give you some context of what we'll be be jumping into in August.
Eating dinner with the team! Small group-leader Steve on my right. Josh from Hillsong (Australia) on my left.
This past weekend we went camping somewhere in the middle of the Rockies. It was a great time to prepare for whatever living conditions we'll be facing on outreach, and to practice gratefulness and joy despite cold nights, hot days and peckish mosquitoes. There's a spreading rumor that we might do a two-day trek to reach some unreached people groups in Indonesia...