So, I went back to school for a 6-day camp and that has been one of the most life-changing events in my life. It was in those 6 days that I began to understand God more than any moment in my entire life. I thank God for showing me so much mercy as to go for the camp and for delivering me from certain notions I had about Christianity that weren’t true. Here are some of the lessons I learned:
Your dream life is very important:
God wants every way possible to speak to us and one of the ways He speaks to us is through our dreams. At night, when we are asleep, our minds are at their most vulnerable. It is a great opportunity for God to speak to us (as well as the devil to deceive us). God usually speaks to us in our dreams allegorically, using elements we are very familiar with to speak to us. Allow me to give you an example and a testimony concerning this dreaming factor. Last night I had a dream and in the dream, I was struggling to use my laptop. I turned the laptop and opened it up to try to see what it was, and I noticed it was a problem from the hard drive. The computer wasn’t reading the right information from the hard-drive so it was very difficult for me to use the PC. Praise God that while I was sleeping, I heard a voice (it was the Holy Spirit) interpret the dream for me.
Apparently, the computer was ME and who I thought to be myself was GOD. The hard-drive being faulty and reading the wrong instructions was talking about the fact that I wasn’t studying the Word so I was having some wrong mindsets and false notions which weren’t allowing God to use me.
I wouldn’t have known this at all if I didn’t know that God speaks to us in our dreams in a very special and personalized manner. D’accord, that sometimes it may be explicit, but most of the times they are allegorical. As the Woman of God, Auntie Derby said, “dreams are parables”. I remember how, through the Spirit, she would interpret our dreams and someone’s dream about plantain chips was actually to reveal something about the Kingdom of God. Interesting isn’t it? There are so many times God has spoken to us through our dreams that we do not realize.
So in dreams, we usually see people; some we are familiar with, and some we aren’t familiar with. The people we see in dreams usually represent people far different from who they are in reality. I remember several people dreaming and seeing Auntie Derby in their dreams. Apparently, in the dream, Auntie Derby didn’t represent Auntie Derby but represented God or even the devil. God uses people we trust and hold in high esteem to speak to us in dreams. Someone had a dream, where he thought it was Auntie Derby speaking to him but it was actually the devil trying to deceive him. The devil is fine to cause deceit and mischief once he can hide behind people to do that. We can know if it is God or the devil speaking to us when we are firmly grounded in the Word of God. We should never take any dream for granted and we should have something to document our dreams in because they are very important. Dreams were potent tools used in the Bible. Auntie Derby said she had dreams from 8 years ago which she didn’t understand until recently. From that I realized the need to document the dreams. Oh and also, there’s no static formula for interpreting dreams– It takes the Spirit to do that.
God has a plan and purpose for each and everything He created. In that light, God has a special plan and purpose for you. In conjunction with this special plan and purpose He gave us, He gave us something called free will. Free will allows us to decide whatever we want to do with our lives. God gave us freewill as a gift and it is a very lovely gift. As C.S Lewis said in his book, Mere Christianity,
“He gave them (us) free will because
a world of mere automata could never love and therefore never know infinite
But giving us free will also meant that we could decide whether or not to serve God and whether or not we would follow His plan for us. And this is where sin comes into the picture. Sin means “missing the mark”, and thus anything that we do that does not fall into what God wants us to do or created us the way we should be. But that is not the whole picture. In the New Testament, sin is not only what is done, but what is conceived in the heart. Such that if a man looks at a woman with lust it is considered adultery (Matthew 5:27-28) and if a person hates his brother it is considered murder (1 John 3:15). Also, sin means outright disobedience. If God tells you to let’s say, pray for this or that person to get healed and you don’t do it, you’ve disobeyed and thus sinned.
The interesting thing is that the gifts of God can still operate in you even when you are in error. There are so many people healing the sick, touching lives, delivering people from demons with the genuine power of God but because they are not doing so according to God’s instructions, they are being sinful. That is why Jesus would say Get away, you workers of iniquity, I don’t know you. (Matthew 7:23). They are indeed working iniquity because they didn’t obey God but rather were doing the things that seemed right in their hearts that they thought God would be proud of.
Righteousness is an interesting topic because it is not something that we can use our human moral standards to measure. As Auntie Derby pointed out, if Jesus was to be in our present day, a lot of us would have called him a false prophet because of some of the things he did. Besides, how can someone said to be very humble, speak with authority saying he is the son of God? How can he say he will destroy a temple and in 3 days rebuild it? A temple that had taken so many years to build? Why would a righteous man be defending his disciples plucking grain during Sabbath, which was clearly wrong according to the law? (Mark 2:23-27). This is to say that God’s standards for what righteousness is is clearly not what we, using our moral ideals, can comprehend. Graciously for us, God has given us grace to enable us walk according to His will. He has also given us the Word, which is to transform us through the way we think so that we can understand His will and purpose for us (Romans 12:2).
It is very easy to dismiss that mercy simply means forgiveness but mercy goes way beyond that. God’s mercies are not only available for forgiveness but also to exempt us from the consequences of the sins we commit. When we understand mercy, we begin to see how gracious God has been to us. Imagine we paid the price for every single wrong we did. How would our lives be?
Mercy has been made available not only to be exempted from the consequences of our unrighteousness but also to set us back on the path of God’s righteousness. Mercy also goes before us to make things better for us. For instance, it was by God’s mercies I made it to the fire camp and I learnt what I learnt.
Beyond the physical:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.” — Ephesians 6:12
Once the devil can hide behind humans to cause harm and do mischief, his mission is complete. We are quick to judge people when they are rude and wicked to us; to those who hurt us and abuse us. We fail to realise that these people are usually influenced by forces that cause them to do what they do. And these forces gain influence through sin. When people sin, we may be tempted to take things at phase value but the sins create loopholes for the devil to cause afflictions and trouble’s in people’s lives. There are so many people that have diseases and afflictions not only because of their sins but also because of the sins their parents or forefathers committed.
A lot of the world’s social issues like terrorism, human rights abuse, rape culture, epidemics and others are all products of the works of the forces of darkness and as Christians, it is our duty to wage war against these forces, to destroy the works of these forces.
One very essential thing I learned was about pride. I used to thing pride meant simply seeing yourself better than everyone else, but that was just one piece of the large puzzle. Pride constitutes so many things including self-ambition, self-righteousness and the mere sense of comparing yourself to others. Pride is anti-God, because it acknowledges the self without giving credit to God. There are so many things that constitute pride but I will leave that for another post.
To be very honest, all that I have said is but a very tiny piece of everything that I learned during the camp. Ultimately, everything we learned was pushing towards the point that God desires a deep and personal relationship with us and the foundation for that is holiness and righteousness, rooted in a firm knowledge of the Word and a deep love for God. I will never in my life forget the experience I had with the Holy Spirit during this meeting. It has indeed turned my life around and I’m looking forward to next year’s Fire Camp.