Today we learn about what the war within our hearts really is and how we already have the advantage in the quest for victory.
What did David do to earn God’s attention? What was it about that the shepherd from Bethlehem that garnered God’s attention to the point that he was the one chosen to be the future king of Israel? That is the question, and it is the starting point of our look into the process of New Beginnings and how God can take us from a promise all the way up to its manifestation in reality.
To get a good look at this process and how we can work along side God to see it come to pass we will be looking at the lives of two people in the coming weeks. Later we will look at the transformation of Saul into Paul but today I wish to begin taking a look at the life of David. Before David became a king and received the fulfillment of God’s promise he first had to receive that promise in the first place.
All the way back to the beginning at we find this teenager out among the sheep living a normal quiet life. The son of Jesse and the grandson of Boaz and Ruth, David was just ordinary, he as the youngest of eight sons took care of the family’s heard of sheep. He would have spent long lonely nights out in the wilderness as he completed his yearly grazing circuit (see Psalms 23) throughout the region. During this time it is evident that David used that isolation to build his relationship with God.
At this point in his life he was mostly sheltered from the controversy unfolding in the life of Saul, Samuel’s prophetic ministry tour between Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah, and the Philistines encroaching on his tribe’s territory. Those were problems outside of the realm of control for a simple shepherd boy, but it seems that David did not waste his time outside of all that was going on. David sought God, he learned how to worship through music, he meditated on the scriptures (Psalms 63:6) and he learned the lessons of protecting his flock with God’s help (1 Samuel 17:34-35).
Earning The Promise
Eventually the day came when Saul took things too far, he disobeyed the words of Samuel the Prophet/Judge and took his place as priest so that the people would be appeased and the battle could commence. Following the rebuke God gave through Samuel it was clear that in God’s eyes that it was time to appoint a new king. Samuel was then sent by God to seek out Jesse of Bethlehem to find this new king. However, God wasn’t looking for another man that was literally head and shoulders above the rest like Saul was, a man the people assumed would make a good king. Instead God lead Samuel to appoint someone whose heart was worthy to lead the people, more as a shepherd and less as a warlord (1 Samuel 16:7). Eventually after turning down Jesse’s seven other sons it was revealed that an eighth son was out in the field, so David was sent for and appeared before the prophet.
1 Samuel 16:12-13 12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah. (NKJV)
Just like that, in an instant David went from being the lowest of his family to being commissioned to become king, of not just his family or tribe but of the entire nation. This is the kind of calling many Christians dream about, especially those who aspire to be in ministry. The idea that one day a prophet, or preacher or denominational leader will be commanded by God to come to your house and hand you the keys to the kingdom. This is something many people want and desire but very few ever encounter, and for good reason as we will soon see.
You see David didn’t do what He did to become King or hope someone would notice what he was doing. He wasn’t playing his harp to impress the tabernacle’s band-director, David wasn’t at the hunting lodge showing off the bear and lion pelts and David wasn’t in the gate of city advertising himself as the next great leader in the tribe of Judah. David was just living his life for God and in relationship with Him, it wasn’t about impressing other people, but it was about drawing closer to God out in the field where no one saw him.
I fear that today we often try to earn God’s commission through our works and actions and miss the point entirely. We do volunteer work, attend bible studies and do a host of other things to try and impress the right people and hope that they notice enough that they play the role of Samuel in our own lives. It’s about impressing everyone else other than God, because we convince ourselves that if the people are happy and impressed that God must be as well. Especially when we use the results of whatever we are doing to justify it as helping to build the kingdom.
Using Work As Currency
I find it hard to believe that David would have developed his relationship with God because he was hoping to convert those hours, songs and prayers into some sort of currency or rewards points which he could exchange for a blessing or commission. I don’t think for a second that David ever expected anything like this to happen to him and that is why God was able to choose him and say that he had a heart like his own.
It’s because David wasn’t working towards receiving a calling, rather he was just loving and worshiping God simply to love and worship God. So much of what came later in David’s life is rooted and grounded in those early years alone with the sheep, when no one was looking. It’s becoming more and more common today that we base everything we do in relationship with God and what we do in and around the church around what the “net benefit will be for ourselves.”
I’m not immune to this either I was led into this trap as well where I volunteered and oversaw ministries not only because of the impact it could have on people but I saw them as stepping stones to something better than what was in front of me. When you have a heart that is corrupted (or at the very least flavored) by this lie eventually we learn how to do life, ministry and relationship without God being involved. That’s because we are serving the system instead and prayer, worship and devotion are just seen as necessities that need to be done to keep the machine running.
We have it all backwards and the life of David confronts us with that truth.
God Is Looking For Those Who Love Him More Than His Benefits
We don’t serve God to become superstars, or to get popular among people, or even to get a promotion at work/ministry. The end result or our life and actions isn’t to reap the rewards our benefits (be it financially or in any other arena) for ourselves, but it’s in becoming closer to God. Then and only then do we progress and succeed because that kind of promotion in life comes out of the overflow of our relationship with God, not the other way around.
My prayer life is not about advancing my ministry or career, rather those things are advanced because I regularly spend time with God. I think we have everything backwards. It is like we see ministry, or whatever our calling is as being like a boat on the water, pushing forward and leaving waves and ripples behind. We them assume that those waves and ripples represent our relationship with God. However, the opposite is true our relationship with God is that boat, while our life and calling is represented by those ripples. Everything else is supposed to come afterwards and like ripples and waves they remain as the evidence to other people that we were there while God was moving across the water.
Our attention must be placed solely on what is happening inside that boat which is our relationship with God. We pray, we study we communicate with God and we set our face towards His then as that happens our boat continues to push forward faster and faster leaving behind a greater wake behind us.
That is how ministry works, that is how we live out our callings (no matter which arena of life your day is spent in) and that is how we change this world. Not buy serving some ideal or mission that we think will please God and change the world but by loving and serving God. This is the lesson from David he worshipped in the wilderness not because He as trying out for Israel’s Got Talent but because he loved God. Doesn’t the phrase about David having a heart (1 Samuel 13:13-14, Acts 13:22) after God’s make so much more sense now?
We see this lifestyle of David’s demonstrated in his psalms:
Psalm 13:5-6 “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” (NKJV)
Psalms 18:1-2 “I will love You, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. (NKJV)
Psalm 25:12-15 12 Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.13 He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth. 14 The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. 15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. (NKJV)
Psalm 63:3 “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.” (NKJV)
These aren’t the words of someone putting on a show for God or people, but they are the declarations of a person who knows God and is seeking Him out. That kind of knowledge and wisdom only comes out of relationship, true relationship with God. Not because you deserve it, or your think it will benefit you in the long run or because God’s owes it to you as payment for previous services rendered.
David in these verses is talking about trust, love and reverence towards God, they are the foundation stones to a real relationship with God. As opposed to the false foundation stones of obligation, duty and tradition which lead us not into a relationship with God but into a business arrangement where we exchange service for blessings. This is another example of why God could trust David to no just be a king but also a person declared to have a heart like His own (1 Kings 9:4, Acts 13:22).
Having a heart after God’s also means being obedient to His words (Acts 13:22) and that is one of the missing links in all of this. How is it any different than what Jesus said in John 15:14 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” David was faithful to the covenant between God and Israel and used those words to ensure that his heart was following after not just the idea of God but the standards he commanded through Moses.
What’s The Great Key?
What is “The Key To Receiving A Promise From God” the key is relationship, and it is relationship that is not self-serving but is based out of a desire to be with God just for the sake of being with God. Is it any different in the natural, do you have friendships or even a spouse that you only spend time with just to get something tangible out of it? Did you marry that person to impress their parents enough to hire you (this applies to business and at times even more so in the church!), or do you use friendships to advance your career (even if you’re not even qualified for that promotion)? We take these ideas and try and use them against God but He can see through our façade and that is why we never seem to get what we want out of a relationship with Him.
We could also picture our relationship as a great key and upon that key of are ridges of faithfulness, obedience, hope and love which are used to unlock our purpose in life. Now we begin to understand the heart of David and why he was chosen by God to become king. Simply because David as a boy was not trying to become a king but was rather focused on pleasing and following after God. As David loved and followed God he found himself in the place where God elevated him to the place of being a king. We need to keep the order correct, serving and loving God results in destiny being unlocked, and we do not chase after our destiny in the hopes that it will lead us to serve and love God.
Hebrews 11:6 “… for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (NKJV)
Even with me personally my biggest “advancements” in ministry didn’t come because I was advertising myself or trying to outwork or out maneuver others around me. Rather those opportunities came because someone else in prayer heard God say to give me an opportunity, or to help them out in what they were doing. While on the other hand whenever I have tried to “play the game” so to speak it never resulted in anything beneficial and usually brought me to places of burden, frustration and hopelessness.
I can’t base my prayer and devotion time around trying to impress God or other people. Those times are for me and God and what I’ve found is from those times of relationship is that ideas, books, concepts, and articles just naturally flow out of those times. To a much higher degree than when I “set aside time to get a word to talk about.”
Ministry is supposed to be an overflow of your relationship with God, and your relationship with God is not supposed to be a by-product of your ministry. I am not just talking about full-time ministry here I am talking about whatever place or opportunity God has placed you in to either spread the gospel or to strengthen/support existing believers. This also applies to every arena outside of the church as well along with your job/career, everything you do should be an extension of your relationship with God and God is looking to use you in a variety of different ways beyond just preaching about the great commission.
David’s heart made him a king in God’s eyes and we must never forget that being a king didn’t make David’s heart like God’s. This is the beginning, David’s life, devotion and relationship with God paved the way for everything that happened in his life afterwards. It propelled him into a life of twists and turns and when David backed away from that relationship or he silenced his heart that is when trouble arose in his life. It is that heart of devotion, worship and closeness to God that set him apart and when he drifted away from that is when things went wrong.
Now David has gone from a live of sheltered devotion to receiving a grand promise from God and next week we will learn how David started to live a life that would cultivate the promise into a reality.
To go deeper in your journey with Christ check out my new book Understanding Who You Are: A Survey of 21st Century Christian beliefs which is now on sale. Available in paperback (Canada or USA) and eBook! Get your copy today and discover not just your purpose but how you can build the Kingdom of God here on the Earth
The Key To Receiving A Promise From God Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
What does God have in store for You and Conway Christian Resources in 2019? Watch and find out!
Go behind the scenes and learn how this ministry is driven by three key words which can change your life: Discover, Build and Support.
Podcast Of This Message
As we enter this new season where I will be teaching about New Beginnings (more info HERE) I thought it would be best to talk about where I’ve come from and why this ministry exists. So rather than my normal teaching I want to describe to you why I’m here and why you are right there reading about it. Especially since so many of the people who are frequenting this site recently are those I’ve yet to have the pleasure of meeting in person.
Who am I
Well the short answer is, I’m Cameron, aka some guy from Canada on the internet talking about Jesus, Christianity and the Church. Seriously though, I’ve been a believer for 18 years now following my own “road to Damascus” experience and since then I have spent countless hours teaching, studying and applying God’s word. I believe strongly in discipleship, the power of God and the necessity of our understanding of the scriptures and the theological keys they describe to us.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Theology, and have spent several years creating curriculum for my home church, along with a major project for the Foursquare Gospel Church of Canada. I’ve been a home group leader, bible study teacher/content creator. a member of a church financial council, and a “volunteer” youth pastor. However, unlike many other people God has not called me to the regular Tuesday to Sunday job of being a pastor. My life and heart is rooted more in teaching, writing and discipleship. I’ve always seen myself as more of a teacher with a prophetic edge than as a pastor. In my years of lay-ministry I’ve had the privilege to help many believers and pastors in their walk with Christ.
The desire of my heart is to provide an insightful look into not just the scriptures themselves but also through challenging everyday people along with their motivations, beliefs and their actions to see if they are actually living out what they claim to believe. I doesn’t hide behind “christianese”, or hard to understand theological terms, but rather I wish to speak openly, bluntly and clearly through pictures and everyday language to make the Bible and foundations of our faith clear and applicable.
As I’ve said before I don’t take a pastor’s perspective, I’m not a councillor, I’m a teacher/writer with a prophetic edge who wants to make it clear what you need to do in your life even if it is hard to do so, seemingly unattainable, or appears to be something you don’t want to hear. This is why I spend so much time studying and speaking about matters such as the Cross, our Identity as believers, our rights under the New Covenant, how to Hear God’s voice, and how to live as a faithful Christian in God’s kingdom upon the Earth.
What is CCR?
Conway Christian Resources is my full-time job, by which I provide to hungry believers the tools they need to become strong, vibrant and effective Christians in this world, right here and right now. CCR is a ministry by which I am able to reach Christians who are hungry to grow and are looking for information and resources which are rarely spoken of on a Sunday morning (which typically deals more with inspiration than biblical study). This is to be a hub where people can learn, grow and share what God is doing in their lives and how God is using them to bless and encourage others.
There are several key factors that make up what I am doing through CCR, I believe and proclaim the divinity of Christ and our need for His salvation. I believe in the power of prayer and the tangible effect in can have on our natural world, through changes in peoples hearts and all the way to full blown miracles and healings. I believe in the need for holiness (grounded in humility rather than pride) and Christlike living and I am a staunch advocate for Christians having lives which are the same “behind the pew” as they are behind closed doors.
I seek to create teachings through CCR which demonstrates the need in a believer’s life to have the Spirit of God in equality with the Word of God. This means that I hold God’s ability to move and speak today as being dependant on our reliance and understanding of His scriptures. This leads to what I believe is the greatest need in the church today, biblical literacy. It pains me to see not just everyday Christians but people in leadership and pastoral positions who do not have a basic grasp of the foundational truths and stories of the Christian faith.
This desire to see believers fully equipped is a driving factor in much of what is produced through CCR. I firmly believe that every time God calls someone there is always a preparation period, CCR products are here to help you in that season so you can be released to make a tangible change in this world and reveal the glory of Jesus and the reality of the kingdom to all people.
This ministry and myself personally receive spiritual supervision and guidance two people; Tom Gardner a pastor and director of Leadership Encouragement and Development for the Foursquare Gospel church of Canada. And from Henry Schmidt, a “retired” pastor and Bible College Professor/Dean from Abbotsford B.C. who has (and continues to) shepherd and guide countless pastors, evangelists and ministers in dozens of countries during the past 30+ years.
What are we looking to Discover?
If you’ve looked at this web page or any of the social media you’ve probably seen some version of these words several times; Discover, Build, Support. These three words provide the backbone of what is created and released through CCR because I feel that these three words and their meaning can help us attain everything God has laid out for us to receive in this life.
The word Discover here is just short-hand for a longer statement, “Discover Your Purpose.” Here we have two loaded and key words and together it represents the first stages of our relationship with God. What we are to discover is the truths of scripture and the realities of God which are living and active not just in our hearts but in the world in general. This is the beginning stage of our walk with God where we become familiar with who God is, what His nature is like, what do the scriptures say about life and how we can faithfully live out those truths.
As we develop we begin to understand our purpose in this world, that is why God created us and what we are to do with our lives. Our purpose is linked with our identity and it is difficult to separate the two, we then must learn not just our personal identity (personality, gifts, talents, interests) but our larger identity in Christ (His heart, nature, desires, love and ways of living). The coming together of our personal identity and our new identity in Christ (Romans 6) provides us with the insights, faith, and clarity to know how to live in this world. Not according to our own desires but in a way which reflects God’s heart, draws people to the cross/kingdom, demonstrates the power of the Holy Spirit in action and stands is grounded upon the teachings of the scriptures.
In this whole process of discovering who we are in Christ I believe the most important concept to remember is that: Relationship + Purpose + Character = God’s will in our lives unlocked!
What Exactly Are We Supposed To Build?
I believe one of our greatest calls as believers and members of the New Covenant is to Build the Kingdom. By that I am speaking about far more than just growing or supporting your church, but it has to two with everything from discipling/helping a couple of people and all the way up to seeing the kingdom grow and be strengthened in entire nations.
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Its not just about our own efforts but it really is about allowing and inviting God to be king on the earth right here and right now. It’s about honoring and respecting His rule and power and using our lives as conduits for that dominion to spread throughout the earth. If we think about it the entire Bible is the testimony and the proclamation that God is King over the earth, and Jesus’s ministry was about demonstrating the inauguration of that rulership. We then act as agents and ambassadors of that kingdom and seek to witness the territory of God’s dominion spread throughout the earth one heart at a time.
Building the kingdom is then about expanding the frontiers of the Great King’s territory and strengthening the existing “towns” deep within the kingdom (Matthew 4:23,6:10, 6:33, Luke 4:43, Luke 9:2, Luke 10:8-12). This is done through evangelism to expand the boundaries and the second task is done through discipleship, fellowship (groups, churches, denominations, etc.), prayer and cooperation with God.
A kingdom is literally the dominion of a king, it is the area in which he rules, protects and administers justice (Matthew 6:10). So it is with God, His kingdom is the territory on earth found within the hearts of people (Luke 17:21) whereby He rules in righteousness (Revelation 11:15), He protects His family members from invading forces and He administers justice which is balanced between holiness and mercy.
Our job then is to live according to His standards and decrees (Galatians 5:21), to follow the example of Christ (Romans 14:17), to preach the gospel, to walk in love, to move in power (Matthew 4:23, 1 Corinthians 4:20) and to disciple people (Acts 19:8) so they to can go out and accomplish (Matthew 6:33) all of this in their own lives. In my article Why The Church Fails To Conquer The Gates of Hell, I cover what happens to the church and believers when we fail to live out this call to expand the kingdom and how to overcome those issues.
Luke 12:31-32 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. 32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
What Am I Expected to Support?
The church is about more than me, myself and I, others will come after us who will continue to carry the banner in the battle for the world so we must learn how to prepare them for victories which will come after we are gone. This passing of the banner is what is behind this call to Support the Next Generation.
Proverbs 13:22 speaks to us about how “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” Yet we need to look at this verse and see an inheritance as not just being gold, silver or land, it can be about so much more. To change our outlook of our role in the kingdom we have to see ourselves as preparing an inheritance of people rather than riches in this context. Really when I speak about this subject I am speaking of leaving an inheritance or people, leaders, and ministries which will benefit the church and the world long after we are gone (or the very least retired).
Our time, knowledge, wisdom (Ecclesiastes 7:11), experiences are an incalculable gift in themselves and we need to realize that the church will continue on longer than we will in this earth so we must prepare the next generation of believers to surpass our own accomplishments and participation in the church.
I bring this up last because Discover – Build – Support represents the entire life cycle of a follower of Christ. You enter into the kingdom though the cross, then you discover your identity and purpose in life, you then live out that purpose and grow the kingdom in your own little corner of God’s territory, then finally you train and encourage others to do greater than you did, you give to them all of the tools and insights God has given to you so they can continue running the race, albeit just a little faster and a little stronger (which is what we want).
When we fail to provide a spiritual inheritance or we fail to take seriously what God has promised those who come after us we fall into the same trap that Israel did in the book of Judges. Those people failed to take their natural inheritance, they forgot the God who brought them out of Egypt and they ended up living worse than the Canaanites around them. They became indistinguishable from those around them and all that God had done in Joshua’s generation was lost and forgotten.
There is no guarantee that the next generation will follow after God just look at Israel’s history and the likes of Josiah, Hezekiah and David died. Their faithfulness did not translated into the next generation remaining faithful in their hearts towards God. We can see the same thing happening in the church as well, that is why we have the old saying of there being no such thing as “spiritual grandchildren.”
In many ways this has to do with the idea of discipleship but it takes it to the next level. Traditionally discipleship is seen as taking a new believer and getting them to the point where they become “competent” in the was of God, Christianity and the church. However, what is needed beyond that is a type of discipleship which teaches people how to become or surpass those who are teaching them. It is about moving from Sunday school discipleship and into a spiritual and biblical apprenticeship process.
Supporting the next generation is then less about taking them from toddlers to infants, but it is about taking a person from being a spiritual child and making them an adult. Our goal is not to just get new believers “potty trained” but to equip them to be master craftsman of20 the future who will continue to proclaim the kingdom of God has entered this world. It is not enough to teach “Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so,” I believe with all of my heart it is about training people to find God, know His heart and have a rock-solid understanding of His words.
The Books Are Key
Through God’s leading and faithfulness CCR is now my full-time job and it is my honor to help other believers grow in their walk of faith, even those who I may never even meet. This is done through free resources such as this blog, the CCR Podcast and the Life Beyond Church Youtube videos, along with various other offerings on this website and on social media. I will also be providing a growing collection of paid resources which go much deeper than a 2,000 to 3,000 word blog allows for.
I’m also honored to have my own book in print/eBooks and available for others to learn from and enjoy. Understanding Who You Are: A Survey of 21st Century Christian Beliefs (paperback, eBook, more info HERE) is my way of condensing everything a person needs to know to be a Christian today. It also doubles as the textbook for the Foursquare Gospel Church of Canada’s Full Ministerial Diploma’s Survey of Christian Beliefs course. But don’t get worried this book is not a typical theology book, it was written so that any Christian no matter their age, experience or education can easily read it, understand it and apply its truths to their own lives.
Not only is this book available but I also have a 52 week intensive group discussion guide based on the book, with a trimmed down 14 week version coming soon. I’m also in the process of creating an Audiobook for Understanding Who You Are to allow people to learn from it in pretty much any place or situation.
I have two new books scheduled for release in 2019 with one in April and another earmarked for November. Both of which I believe will offer immense value for believers who are trying to make their way through this live. These new books and resources combined with the weekly blog, podcast and video keeps me quite busy these days.
This isn’t just a cheap-plug of my materials but rather I am demonstrating how the concepts of Discover – Build – Support need to be imparted to everyday Christians, and the books (and other resources) provide the most comprehensive and affordable way for me to accomplish that.
The Two Key Scriptures
Before we go I want to leave you with the key scriptures that I believe holds everything in my life and ministry in perspective.
CCR – Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (NKJV)
Personal – Ephesians 5:14 “Therefore He says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light.” (AMPC)
I pray that his has been insightful as to why my life and ministry is about, and I pray that you will continue to learn and grow from what is available here. I invite you to share what you have been learning with others, and to continue liking and commenting on what you are learning.
God bless and take care!
To go deeper in your journey with Christ check out my new book Understanding Who You Are: A Survey of 21st Century Christian beliefs which is now on sale. Available in paperback (Canada or USA) and eBook! Get your copy today and discover not just your purpose but how you can build the Kingdom of God here on the Earth
Discover - Build - Support Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.