Reaching The Edge of The Wilderness

Reaching the Edge of the Wilderness

If you take the lessons and introspections of the wilderness seriously you will eventually find yourself at the edge of the wilderness. That place where you can finally see what is waiting for you beyond the horizon, that place you know as your calling and purpose in life. For some it’s ministry, others business, or another type of career. No matter what it is this is the place where you can finally see what you only hoped could be possible one day.

It’s that place where promises get fulfilled where you can finally enjoy the benefits and added responsibilities of becoming who God created you to be. For some this could be a paid position at a church, others a place on the mission field, or a job teaching, or even serving in any other capacity. The years of grief, training, apprenticeship, seeming futility, small victories and painful growth are finally about to bloom into something wonderful. Something that you have hoped for and simultaneously expected to never actually happen.

It’s that place where promises get fulfilled where you can finally enjoy the benefits and added responsibilities of becoming who God created you to be.

With David this was the place he found himself in during the last months of his trek through the wilderness avoiding the persecution of Saul. So many years had gone by since his original anointing and commissioning by Samuel as a teenager. Now the process of Anointing, Apprenticeship, Activation were about to culminate in the season of Announcement.

Finding Comfort in Unexpected Places

The path to ministry, or any calling from God for that matter is never just a clear trajectory from point A to point B. Often God will take us through twists, turns and unexpected detours not to punish us or hold us back but to give us what we need to flourish in our callings.

The path to ministry, or any calling from God for that matter is never just a clear trajectory from point A to point B.

David faced an unexpected turn in his strategic retreat from king Saul, as he found himself serving a Philistine ruler named Achish the king of Gath. This same ruler that David pretended to be insane in front of years ago (1 Samuel 21:12-14), but since seems to have come to an understanding with. David received a home called Ziklag (1 Samuel 27:6) in exchange for him and his forces protecting the Philistines south-eastern territory from the Amalekites and other rogue tribes (1 Samuel 27:8).

On the surface David seemed to have sided with the same people who regularly raided his tribe’s territory and sent the likes of Goliath against his people. Yet by serving this Philistine king as a mercenary he also fulfilled a task which also benefited the tribe of Judah as well (1 Samuel 27:10), by keeping Israel’s ancient enemy the Amalekites (Numbers 14:43-45, Deuteronomy 25:17, Judges 6:3, 1 Samuel 14:48, 15:18) at bay deep in the southern wilderness.

What we see play out here in this story of David is how the path to our destination will sometimes take us to unexpected places. These paths seem to be taking us in the opposite direction from our calling but actually are preparing us in a way we didn’t expect. I had a season like this myself, for about three years I had a second job where I wrote investment articles about Canadian stocks. It wasn’t something I was particularly passionate about and at the time I was more focused on working on the home group curriculum and other sider project at the church I was attending.

These paths seem to be taking us in the opposite direction from our calling but actually are preparing us in a way we didn’t expect.

During this season I was writing four to five 3,000 word articles each week and it taught me how to present otherwise unexciting information in an interesting and concise way. It was an education I probably couldn’t have received anywhere else and it prepared me for what I’m doing now with my books and the regular content on my website. It was the polar opposite of what I wanted to do with my time and ministry but in the long-term it was one of the best things I could’ve done with my time back then.

The experience helped me pay off my mortgage quicker, it gave me the skills to write entire term papers in a day (without sacrificing my GPA), and how to structure information in a way which helped me greatly in writing my books. But that job was only for a season and many of you will face the same unexpected twists and turns in your journey as well. You just have to be willing to accept and recognize these detours and to do the best job possible at them because later on you’ll see how those unexpected places helped you become who God wanted you to transform into.

Typically, you’ll know this season of detouring and unexpected travels comes to an end because you’ll swiftly be kicked out of the nest so to speak. With my stock writing this came in the form of cutbacks which reduced the minimum payments for my articles to the point where it wasn’t worth the effort anymore. With David this came in the form of the other Philistine kings dismissing David and not allowing him to march with their army (1 Samuel 29:4-7).

While on the one hand the other Philistine rulers wanted nothing to do with David, Achish still recognized the faithfulness of David and had nothing bad to say about him (1 Samuel 29:3). Just because you’re in this place that feels nowhere near the place of your eventual ministry it doesn’t give you a license to do a poor job or to not be faithful in doing it. David remained faithful even in serving Achish and ensured his reputation was not eroded by his actions during a less that favorable point in his life.

Facing The Last Ditch Attacks of the Enemy

After being dismissed from the Philistine’s army David and his 600 men returned to their home in Ziklag, but instead of finding their families waiting joyously for them they returned to smoke, ashes and silence (1 Samuel 30:3). In an instant everything was gone their wives, children, flocks and possessions were nowhere to be seen. It was that feeling of abandonment by God and hopelessness which many of us have faced at one point or another. You walk into your place of comfort only to find everything torn down and left in ruin.

Those who followed David went from faithful companions to near mutiny, where they wanted revenge by killing David because of their loss (1 Samuel 30:6). The Amalekites struck knowing that the Philistines and Israelites were too busy fighting each other to protect their southern frontiers. This also could have been done out of revenge for David’s earlier attacks on them (1 Samuel 27:8). Either way David’s enemy had struck leaving him and his followers broken and at the point of despair.

We have to understand that our enemy is also an opportunist who lives at the edges of our own lives, looking for moments to invade and carry away the blessings God has given to us.

We have to understand that our enemy is also an opportunist who lives at the edges of our own lives, looking for moments to invade and carry away the blessings God has given to us. Satan always attacks hardest right before you enter into something new and powerful. He and his forces watch as you reach the summit of the mountain blocking your destiny and they wait just below the peak to stop you from seeing the lush valley of promise and fulfillment below.

They understand that the more successful you are at contributing to the expansion of God’s kingdom in this world the greater risk you pose to their own territory. In reality you are like David and his forces making raids into enemy territory and carrying off the spoils back to their own lands. The forces of the enemy see you as the great invaders who are coming to take their people away from them so they lie in wait for a moment where you are unprepared to resist their retaliations.

In that moment David lost everything, but he didn’t cower or give up but instead rose up and sought out God’s will in that situation (1 Samuel 30:7-8). Upon receiving the green-light from God David lead his forces to take back all that was lost. Days later David and his forces defeated the Amalekites and took back everything which was stolen, plus the riches of the Amalekites. David later shared those spoils with the leaders of Judah who supported him.

We must learn from this experience because we will have trials and times of failure and loss and we have to endure and push through it otherwise we will never recover what was lost and we end up drifting back into the heart of the wilderness and blaming God for our misfortunes. When we face these seasons of loss or spiritual attack, we have to come at it from the perspective of “I’m going to fight back and reclaim what was lost, plus interest.”

When we face these seasons of loss or spiritual attack, we have to come at it from the perspective of “I’m going to fight back and reclaim what was lost, plus interest.”

You cannot use these types of losses or attacks to discourage you from continuing in the path to your calling. Because if you throw in the towel, you’ll just become another beggar along the road or corpse in the ditch serving as a witness to all those who come along this journey after you, that “happily ever after” is not guaranteed.

There are struggles and battles that have to be won, and you can’t do it all alone, what would have happened if David left the six hundred behind and went off to fight the Philistines alone? He would have most likely ended up like the swordsman in Indian Jones, struck down without any real effort. Then all of the promises and anointing David received would have been made meaningless. You need to fight these battles with others as well, you need the support of those who are still in the wilderness and you need help from those who have come out of it.

The End Is In Sight

If you have proven faithful in the seasons of unexpected detours and the surprise attacks of the enemy, you’ll soon find yourself at the edge of the wilderness. The place where you’ve reached the summit of the immoveable mountain of your life, the one which said you could never enter into the fullness of your calling.

All that remains now is to walk down that mountain and enter the valley God has been preparing for you. The place where you are announced as being who God created you to be, the place where the anointing placed on you long ago manifests into an active calling, a visible platform, and the added responsibilities become real. To make it to this place you have to have learned how to benefit from the detours of life and you need to have developed the courage to take back what the enemy has stolen from you.

To make it to this place you have to have learned how to benefit from the detours of life and you need to have developed the courage to take back what the enemy has stolen from you.

Otherwise you still may find your way out of the wilderness, but you will be ill equipped and left with nothing but the proverbial shirt on your back. You’ll soon find out that you weren’t prepared and will have to go through the season of training and refining all over again. When we come to the summit of that mountain we don’t want to be like Moses who only received a glimpse of the promised land (Deuteronomy 34:1-4). Rather we want to be like Caleb who was able to enter into the promised land and take the territory promised to him, with a little help of course (Joshua 14:14, Joshua 15:13-17).

Just like the entire process of surviving the wilderness where you have to cultivate faithfulness, character and your relationship with God, exiting the wilderness takes even greater mastery of those matters. You can’t coast down the mountain so to speak because if you do you will inevitably fall over and impale yourself on a tree or fall off a cliff. This steady march down hill can be the most perilous part of the process because you begin to let your guard down and you try and rush the process because you are so close to the end.

This is where we tend to get lazy and “forget” the three great keys of 1) Go to Church, 2) Read your Bible and 3) Don’t Sin. Or we no longer see one or all of them as being important because we can almost touch the place of our Announcement into our calling. We hear that Saul has been killed and realize that in a matter of days or moments we will be made king so to speak. This is why we have to take the lessons, experiences and times with God we have lived though during the wilderness and become even more diligent so we can make it to the bottom of the mountain and receive our commission.

For those of you who do make it to the bottom of the mountain and are free of the wilderness, receiving your commissioning and having your calling announced to the world is not the end of the story, Next week we will look at the two paths your life can take once you have received the fullness of your long promised anointing.

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Six Minutes Can Change Your Life

Six Minutes Can Change Your Life

By now you should be able to recognize in yourself the traits of either the Doer or the Dreamer. Perhaps you’ve even found yourself looking for the happiness that supposedly is found within. With those shadows of our heart exposed, we now come to the place where we can discover how to overcome the Great Lie and find the happiness which Doers and Dreamers spend their lives chasing after.

The first thing we must do is accept that we must turn toward our Creator in order to find purpose, joy, and success, all of which are rooted in a relationship with Him. This all begins with our making regular time for God in our life. No matter how busy, convoluted, or chaotic our life may be, we must actively carve out time to sustain our relationship with God.

The first thing we must do is accept that we must turn toward our Creator in order to find purpose, joy, and success, all of which are rooted in a relationship with Him.

The words of Paul provide us with inspiration about how we’re to make time for God: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16‑18). Notice Paul doesn’t say “some of the time,” or “every other week,” or “only on Sunday.” He’s encouraging this Macedonian church to be constantly looking toward God. Not in some legalistic or mystical sort of way, but in a real way that touches and interacts with their actual lives.

However, to even begin this journey, we must have a starting point. That starting point is accepting Jesus as who He says He is, and who the Bible says He is: the Son of God, the Lord of all, King of kings, born of a virgin, performer of miracles. He’s the great teacher who came in the flesh, died upon the cross for our sins, and was resurrected, all according to the words and prophecies of the Bible, so we can have covenant fellowship with Him for all eternity.

Before we can go further, this matter has to be settled, because all that comes next is available to us only if we’re in a covenant relationship with God through the power and atonement of Jesus. Otherwise we’re still “outside the gate” and lost within the curse of sin.

If you’ve never called on Jesus, believed in Him, and received forgiveness, now is the time. All the benefits in this book and in the Bible begin with our saying, “Jesus, I believe that You’re who the Bible says You are. I come before You a sinner lost in the darkness. I ask You to forgive me and to make me clean. I declare that You are Lord and King of all, and I ask You to adopt me into Your family and covenant. I ask You to wash me in the power of Your blood and atonement, to give me eternal life, which has its origin in You. I thank You for dying for my sins and enduring the cross, and from this day on I shall live as a member of Your family and live as You did upon the earth.”

Being now in this place of relationship with God, we next have to develop it. This is similar to how you can be very close to some family members, while others you don’t really know. Those you’re close with are those you’ve put in the time to get to know; you’ve shared experiences and conversations with them, and you feel closer. The others, even though you don’t know them, are still your family, and you may see them at a wedding or other occasions, but you have no personal relationship with them beyond that of family ties.

It’s no different between us and the Trinity. We have two options. We can be either close friends or occasional acquaintances. To have that close relationship requires time and effort, and as we’ve seen with the Doers and Dreamers, these are scarce commodities which we’re used to spending on all sorts of other things.

There’s no all-encompassing formula to develop this kind of relationship between us and God (although many have tried to produce one). There’s no step-by-step process that automatically brings us to the level of Abraham and Moses as “friends of God,” or like John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

There’s no all-encompassing formula to develop this kind of relationship between us and God.

Are there signposts to give us a general direction? Yes there are, and the remainder of this book will show those to you. They come in the forms of time and grace.

Tithing Our Time

In church we’re taught that tithing is an important concept in Scripture because it represents giving our best to God. When Abraham wanted to honor God through Melchizedek, he freely and cheerfully gave, knowing that God was trustworthy to keep His promises. Abraham trusted God and saw Him not as just a cosmic entity or simply the source of one’s possessions, but as the source of all creation.

Fast-forward to our modern Christian culture, where we’re taught to give our money to the church—10 percent of all we earn plus any other gifts or offerings that are on our heart. We’re taught that it’s an act of faithfulness to give back to God, not because He needs it, but because it’s an opportunity for loving obedience on our part. As Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 14:14).

Although this concept is taught, very few actually apply this teaching in their own lives. I’m speaking as a member of a church’s financial council, where we have to manage programs that many people demand but few are willing to cover the costs.

The problem we run into these days is that we’ve removed the value assigned to our money. If I were a Jewish shepherd living before Christ, I would find myself evaluating my flock—the little lambs I’d helped feed when they were having trouble suckling, and had risked my life protecting from wild animals, and had watched grow. I had to give away my best—the healthiest and my favorites to God. My tithe was tied directly to my efforts. I was essentially giving the best of my life, my most prizewinning efforts.

Today we’ve separated our money from our efforts. With a swipe of a credit card I can spend money I haven’t yet earned. My paycheck magically shows up in the bank without any effort on my part, and all I see are numbers on a computer screen. There’s no tangible evidence of my work other than numbers and the ending of another week.

Work is seen as the thing we do because we need to eat and pay the bills, yet money always seems to be in short supply. Most people don’t tithe because they feel they’ve fallen so far behind with bills or have overextended themselves so much that there’s nothing left to give. “God doesn’t need this money; I need it to pay the electric company, plus I have to put gas in the car, and I have to buy coffee so I can function at work, and I need the cash for that sale at the mall later this week.”

While a tithe of our money is both scriptural and important, God also wants us to put Him first in all things.

While a tithe of our money is both scriptural and important, God also wants us to put Him first in all things. Time is the most precious commodity in existence. We can trade our time for money or things, but we can’t buy more time. We live life as a series of moments, and all we have is the moment we’re in right now. Money can be printed, gold can be mined, houses can be built, but you can’t create time, and you can’t open up a savings account to store up hours to use another day.

Maybe it’s time to look at this idea of tithing from an entirely different perspective. What if I took the concept of tithing and linked it to my desire to give my all to God?

This would never replace my financial tithing, which is both scriptural and good. Rather, in my desire to give God the best of myself, what if I also give to God the only real thing I have of value—my time? How I spend my time is how I spend my life, and every moment I deliberately focus on God, I change my life for the better. This is so much greater than anything the Doer or the Dreamer could ever imagine or accomplish with where they invest their time.

Consider what Jesus told the religious leaders of His day in Luke 11:42: “Woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” The Pharisees were giving to God financially, but they lost the point of it all. They lost sight of God’s heart, and for the sake of religious obligations, they traded away relationship with Him.

For a moment let’s replace my wallet with my clock. Let’s say I’m awake sixteen hours a day. If I wanted to tithe my waking hours, I’m looking at an hour and thirty-six minutes each day. Now, ask anybody who’s already starved for time if they could fit an extra hour and thirty-six minutes into their day to spend with God, and they’d say you’re out of your mind. How could anyone possibly change their life so drastically to even come close to doing that? Isn’t ninety minutes on Sunday morning enough?

But even if you somehow found that much time to give to God—what would you do with it?

But even if you somehow found that much time to give to God—what would you do with it? After the first few minutes, your mind would begin to wander, and it would be a constant battle to get it back. I’m not judging you; I’ve experienced this as well. After two or three minutes, you stare at the ceiling and wonder, “Okay, now what?”

Without any idea of what to do, we can quickly become discouraged or bored, and then a sense of struggle becomes associated with your time with God. Instead of trying to figure out how to set aside so much time in our day, we should just look for a starting point and take it one minute at a time.

One Minute at a Time

Rather than trying to lump the whole tithe of time together, what if we divided this tithe of our time into more bite-sized increments that are easier to control?

In every hour we’re awake, what if we spent six minutes building our relationship with God? What if we then took those six minutes and break them down into separate one-minute exercises—six different things we could talk to God about for one minute each? Every time an hour goes by, and we see the hand of the clock change, we’re prompted to take a minute out of our busyness to pause and turn our mind toward God.

This is where the concept of “six minutes of grace” comes into play. In our time with God each hour, we take these six keys, and we use each one for one minute at a time. By focusing for one minute on each of these six elements, we’re helped to draw closer to God and to align our will with His.

This isn’t just some magic number. And doing it just for the sake of doing it won’t do us any good. It’s a starting point to transform our lives from one which is focused on ourselves to one which is focused on God and our relationship with Him.

Some people will do the six-minute exercises every hour; some will do it only a couple of times a day, and others every other day. What’s important is not checking the “done” box on a list, but really developing a relationship with God.

In my own life, this practice of making room for God hasn’t always been this formal. However, the heart of this concept is what has changed life for the better for my wife and I. This lifestyle has brought us through many rough patches. It’s the cornerstone of our relationship with Jesus. This format is the easiest way to show us what’s important in our lives, and it gives us a guideline on how to fellowship with the great Creator.

The heart of this concept is what has changed life for the better for my wife and I.

We must make room for God, and this approach of tithing our time helps to keep us accountable and focused until the novelty becomes a habit, and the habit becomes a lifestyle which produces fruit in our lives and draws us closer to God.

You can do these exercises out loud, or you can do them silently. It can happen when you’re driving, as each red light gives you a minute or so of opportunity. It can happen while you’re making coffee or breakfast, or while you’re walking, or during the spaces between life’s activities. It can happen anywhere and at any time.

Have we forgotten that God is the most interesting being in all the universe? Yet more often than not, we treat Him like a pet rock sitting on our dresser. Do we actually understand what’s available to us? The One who created everything in Genesis is standing at the door of our lives asking to be a part of it. But like the gentlemen He is, He won’t kick in the door, but will knock ever so gently and wait for us to open up to Him.

We chase after goals, dreams, money, success and happiness—all that feeds the Great Lie—but will we chase after the one thing that actually matters? The one thing that’s more real, powerful, and fulfilling than anything else we could ever dream?

Even if we have only one minute in the entire day, we can purpose to use it to show gratitude to God (more on this in chapter 6). This is the personification of Philippians 4:8, where Paul says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Spend even just a minute in appreciation of God and of all He has done. If the minute has passed and you don’t have any more time, come back to this exercise later when you can. Focus on one step at a time, and spend longer or repeat the ones that are on your heart. Give God your attention—deliberately—one minute at a time.

The desired outcome here is for you to carry on your conversation with God throughout the day, using GRACE as a guideline. Don’t make this a religious exercise, but rather a reminder of how much we need Him throughout our day.

Don’t worry or feel badly if you forget a step, or do the steps out of order, or don’t finish. This is just the starting line for what can become a deep, rich, and meaningful relationship that will bring you so much joy.

The more you repeat the exercise, the more God will become a priority in your life. The time you’re giving Him becomes focused, because each minute has a purpose. Over time, your moments of praise will give you a new sense of purpose in all that you do. Your life will become about doing simple everyday things for the glory of God.

As you begin this journey, I highly recommend that you incorporate journaling into this process. Journaling can be a key factor in making time for God because it forces us to slow down and consider what we’re writing down. It also gives us something to look back on later. We forget so much because of the busyness of life; it’s amazing what falls between the cracks of our mind.

Creative Commons LicenseSix Minutes Can Change Your Life Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

From Surviving to Thriving in the Wilderness Pt. 2

From Surviving to Thriving in the Wilderness Pt. 2

We’ve seen so far over the past few months the path which David’s life took as it progressed through the “4 A’s” of Anointing, Apprenticeship, Activation and Announcement. Despite our desire for God to take us straight from the place of Anointing to the place of Announcement where we are recognized as being in the fullness of our calling, we must first survive the wilderness.

It’s in the wilderness as we have seen in Part 1 where you are faced with the realities of your heart and you’re given the opportunity to test your character, preparedness and devotion to God before you are given the full measure of your life’s calling. In part one we addressed the “Why” of having to go through the wilderness and now we must look at the “How” of not just surviving the wilderness season but thriving in it as well.

Faithfulness Brings Activation

For David the wilderness was not a time of quiet reflection, it was a time of adventure, risk, action, and leadership. David was on the run from king Saul who was proverbially frothing at the mouth to kill David and secure his kingdom. This meant that David was constantly on the move and living in the less desirable areas of the Judahite wilderness. David had to be constantly on the move but he wasn’t alone. Over time he attracted others from the kingdom who were outsiders and misfits but at the same time they recognized something special about David.

Those people followed him and abandoned their comforts, security and the quietness of their mundane lives to follow this shepherd/general/musician into the desert with the hope that he would succeed Saul, the king God no longer endorsed. But for those people to follow him David first had to go out and live out a small measure of his calling. He led the people, delivered the oppressed from the Philistines (1 Samuel 23) and he forged what would later become the inner circle of the kingdom of Israel. David’s advisors, generals and mighty men came out of this season of the wilderness, and they didn’t suddenly appear after David became king,

Those people only found David because he was already acting with the wisdom, leadership, and devotion of a king, even through the crown wasn’t on his head yet. I feel that this is similar to the process we go through when we try to fulfill our calling or find our own place in ministry. You don’t automatically wake up one day and get handed the keys to a church of 5,000 people when you’ve never done any kind of ministry or received any training. That is a recipe for disaster, and it highlights the reason for the wilderness training and waiting we have to go through.

Yet at the same time just because you don’t have a 5,000 person church or a fancy title, or a paid position doesn’t mean that you don’t go about and do many of the things you would be doing with those opportunities, titles, and positions. It is the process of progressive faithfulness where you are faithful with small and seemingly insignificant matter and you are rewarded with the chance to do something greater next time (Luke 16:10). It is like the parable where those who were faithful with financial responsibilities were rewarded with the ability to oversee entire cities (Luke 19:17).

It is the process of progressive faithfulness where you are faithful with small and seemingly insignificant matter and you are rewarded with the chance to do something greater next time

How can you dream of being a great evangelist like Reinhard Bonnke or Daniel Kolenda if you refuse to go about your own community and preach the gospel? How can you dream of being a great pastor if you don’t have a heart for the people in your present church? How can you desire to be a mighty teacher if you don’t take any opportunities to teach even one or two people? All of the great things we want find their roots of their fulfillment in the little things we do today.

I’ve had to go through this as well, I’ve had times and seasons where I taught small groups but I didn’t see it as a burden or a waste of my time. It was an opportunity to learn how to teach, write and communicate with people so I could develop the skills I felt God was trying to refine in me so I could do greater things. There are times when you will feel like it’s not worth the extra effort, but it always is.

At one church I was a member of I taught mid-week “adult Sunday school” for a couple of years. It was a curriculum that I had put together and the first year I taught it I had nine people attend. I was happy with that and the 20 lessons that came out of that course I still use today and they have shown up in my articles and books. I still benefit from the work I did back then because I was faithful with the process, I treated those notes as something which could become greater later in life and I didn’t see that small class as being beneath my calling.

I was really challenged with this in the second year I ran the course, I had seven people sign up and only one showed up to the first night. That is a real challenge to not only your desire to be faithful but also your pride as well. The one person that showed up wanted to learn and that was all that I needed to know, so for the next four months we met ever Tuesday and I taught that material with the same zeal and quality I would if there was fifty people in that room.

In that moment I could of bailed on the class using the excuse that it wasn’t worth my time, or I could of thought about the times I spoke in front of hundreds of people and feeling like God had demoted me some how. Instead I saw it as a moment of testing where God wanted to see if I wanted to be a success rather than a servant. It’s not easy going through those times, I’ve taught in rooms full of people and I’ve had days where no one showed up, but I feel that it’s in the times when no one shows up that God is examining our hearts the most.

Instead I saw it as a moment of testing where God wanted to see if I wanted to be a success rather than a servant.

Impurities in gold only rise up when it’s in the furnace, and that’s what the seasons of training and wilderness does. It takes the proverbial gold of our life and calling and heats it to the point where all of the dirt, flaws, and imperfections rise to the top so they can be scrapped off. But we resist going through this process because we fear what we could lose in the process, or we fear what might be lurking inside of us so we avoid the process and remain content with being less than what we could be.

People Will Eventually Recognize Your Calling and Support You

Often what you will find is that when you have a legitimate calling on your life and you demonstrate consistent character and faithfulness people will begin to recognize those things in your life and help you take the next step. We see this idea play out between David and Jonathan where the calling of God and the faithfulness of David forced Jonathan to embrace what God was bringing into reality.

1 Samuel 23:17–18 “17 And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that.” 18 So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. And David stayed in the woods, and Jonathan went to his own house.” (NKJV)

We can’t be demanding about this, it has to come naturally and through the leading of the Holy Spirit. I strongly believe that God wants to use other people to help establish you so you can maintain a covering and protecting offered by the church community. Even with myself the majority of “opportunities” I’ve received in the church have come by a pastor or leader taking me aside and saying that God spoke to them or impressed upon them to bring me in to help in a project or a ministry. This has happened repeatedly in my life, I haven’t had to advertise my gifts or callings because I was always faithful with whatever was placed before me and I had a lifestyle which matched up with my calling.

It is that faithfulness and devotion to loving God that opens up doors in your life and not begging and petitioning anyone and everyone to give you an opportunity.

It is that faithfulness and devotion to loving God that opens up doors in your life and not begging and petitioning anyone and everyone to give you an opportunity. Really if you want to be in ministry and get opportunities all you have to do is A) show up B) be faithful and C) don’t sin. At one church I was made the “volunteer” youth pastor because I showed up to the launch of the new youth ministry and wasn’t discouraged when barely anyone showed up and all of the other volunteers ran off. I was asked to create curriculum for one church because my pastor at the time got an impression from God to reach out to me about that program. Although with that example I had already served for over two years teaching and helping out with the youth program (ages 10-12), again faithfulness brings promotion and opportunity.

This is all the personification of what it says in Proverbs 18:16, “A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men.” We can see this idea also play out in the relationship Barnabas vouching and supporting Paul (Acts 9:26-27) or even to a lesser extent Baruch’s support of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36:4, 10).

It is through the people God leads into your life which helps you fulfill His purpose in the world, as long as your life and character lives up to that calling. Because having people supporting isn’t always about them promoting you it can also be about correcting you and protecting you. We see this play out in 1 Samuel 25 with the story of Abigail and Nabal as David was (justly) prepared to retaliate against Nabal for denying him the commission soldiers would receive for protecting a shepherd’s flock. But in that moment Abigail who saw something greater in David than just being a mercenary for local shepherds intervened and saved David from making an impulsive decision and preventing God from intervening in the situation (1 Samuel 25:32-33).

Not All Opportunities Bring God’s Favor

Something else I believe must be addressed whenever we talk about thriving in the wilderness season is that not all opportunities are from God, or even bring more of his favor into our lives. This is a critical revelation that we must face head on if we’re to survive the wilderness. Because there is no guarantee that you make it out of the wilderness morally, spiritually or naturally alive. You could go in the bar of gold and come out being nothing more than dross (or the sludge which floats to the top).

Where many people go wrong is that they see an opportunity to take a shortcut out of the season of apprenticeship or activation and go directly to being announced (or made king in David’s case). It could be through unethical means, or through something completely innocent but either way it is an attempt to bypass God’s plan and hurry the intended results. We all know how this mentality worked out with Abraham and Hagar, but we tend to think that we are immune from such mistakes.

It could be through unethical means, or through something completely innocent but either way it is an attempt to bypass God’s plan and hurry the intended results.

Not once but twice David was offered one of these shortcuts to his destiny, in 1 Samuel chapters 24 and 26 David has an opening to kill Saul and take the crown. David’s followers tried to convince him to strike (1 Samuel 24:4) but each time David refused because of the legacy of God’s anointing on Saul (1 Samuel 24:10, 1 Samuel 26:9). Even when David only cut off and took a chunk of Saul’s robe while he was going to the bathroom in the cave there was apprehension and regret for doing that (1 Samuel 24:5).

Most other people, including David’s top lieutenants wouldn’t have hesitated to kill Saul in that moment, but David’s honorable actions forced even Saul to publicly profess David’s future as the king of Israel. Although this didn’t stop Saul from trying to kill David again later.

1 Samuel 24:17-22 “Then he said to David: “You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil. 18 And you have shown this day how you have dealt well with me; for when the Lord delivered me into your hand, you did not kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him get away safely? Therefore may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 And now I know indeed that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 Therefore swear now to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not destroy my name from my father’s house.” 22 So David swore to Saul. And Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.” (NKJV)

I know today we don’t have to worry about killing Saul (or our pastor) to advance our calling or ministry in the wrong way. There are still many things we can do to compromise our walk with God in exchange for a Fast-Pass to our calling. Some people use manipulation, others teach corrupted doctrines, others play politics, but the most common seems to be the desire to abandon their current church and move to greener pastures. Now I’m not saying that you have to remain at one church for the entirely of your Christian life, rather I am talking about stepping outside of God’s plan and taking matters into your own hands.

Yes, there are times when God may call you to move from one congregation to the other but that is according to his will and not your own. Often people get frustrated and imagine that everything would be better somewhere else at a place where their gifts and abilities will be recognizes, praised and put to work. But the reality is that those kinds of advancements come from faithfulness and following God’s guidance in your life. At times he will leave you were you are and at other times He will call you to another place, much like how a soldier gets transferred from one base to another.

Often you will know that it is God calling you to move if your initial reaction is pain or loss, if its relief or joy then it may be your own mind trying to lead you astray. I’m speaking from personal experience here and I’m basing this on the many people I have known who have transferred churches with and without God’s guidance. Those who did do it with God’s leading were blessed and took the next step in their calling, while those who rushed into “greener pastures” faltered and remained in the wilderness.

Thriving Today and Tomorrow

Like David we will all face challenges to bypass God’s plan for our life, or we end up like Eve who questioned God’s goodness and nature in exchange what she had for something else. The wilderness is that place where we can face these challenges with the least amount of collateral damage to ourselves and to the church at large. It’s the place where God can correct us and strengthen us before we have the pressures of the world, ministry, or the full weight of our calling placed upon us. This is done out of love because God wants not just the church to thrive but the people who make it up as well, because when one succeeds the other does also. However, God’s measure of succeeding is often much different than our definitions.

How to go from just surviving in the wilderness to thriving and developing in you calling? It’s done through faithfulness, integrity, character, hard work, devotion and the heart of a servant. You begin to thrive in the season of the wilderness when you accept that you are in that season and you use every opportunity to prepare your heart and spirit for the future. The seeds you sow in this season will become the fruit you eat when you are placed in the fullness of your calling, it isn’t the other way around.

How to go from just surviving in the wilderness to thriving and developing in you calling? It’s done through faithfulness, integrity, character, hard work, devotion and the heart of a servant.

You will thrive in this place when you begin to see mountains as opportunities, and you learn how to walk out your calling by living in part as if you have already “arrived” at the place God has called you to be. You can’t be lazy or dormant in this place because if you are you will never leave the wilderness, and you may even become stumbling blocks for those who come through the wilderness after you.

In this entire process of the “4 A’s” of Anointing, Apprenticeship, Activation and Announcement there’s no guarantee that you’ll make it through all four stages. At any point you can get derailed or lost on the journey. Matters such as work, faithfulness, and relationship with God are mandatory or you will find yourself endlessly repeating the same stage over and over again just as the Israelites continued in the same cycle of blessing, idolatry, judgment, and deliverance for hundreds of years.

You can’t just rely on pleasantries between you and God to carry you through this season, this is the time where you develop your relationship with Him. Otherwise if you fail to learn these lessons, you neglect your relationship with God, or you take a shortcut out of this season you’ll just end up launching a ministry where the only god you serve is yourself.

Creative Commons LicenseFrom Surviving to Thriving in the Wilderness Pt. 2 Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Discover – Build – Support

Discover - Build - Support
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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!

Creative Commons LicenseDiscover - Build - Support Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

We Need An Outside Perspective

Winnie on the couch looking for perspective on life
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AS WE GO ABOUT OUR LIVES AT TIMES WE ARE VICTIMS OF A LACK OF PERSPECTIVE. You see as I was preparing to write this blog I was once again distracted by my dog Winnie, who jumped up beside me despite the unbearable heat in the house. I was trying to discover what it was that I should talk about this week but every couple of minutes my dog started gnawing on her back foot. I ignored it the first few times but then I leaned in to see if there was some grass or seeds stuck in there from an earlier trip to the park. The thing is that I couldn’t find more than a blade of grass or so, but Winnie just kept on gnawing and pulling at her foot. I also started to smell the familiar aroma of fake grapes, you know that smell from candy that is in no way related to the fruit its named after, yeah that smell.

So I flipped over her paw and saw a bunch of dead grass mixed in with some gum or some other kind of candy. Now that I knew what was going on I grabbed some paper towels and started to clean her but she wouldn’t cooperate. All of my attempts to clean her foot were met with headbutts and her nipping the top of her foot. I then unleashed the big gun one of her favorite snacks, a stick made out of sweet potato and bacon. Finally, I was able get to work cleaning her and getting all of the mess off of her foot.

She knew something was wrong but she was gnawing on the wrong place and wasn’t actually doing anything the make things better. My dog lacked the perspective to see what was really going on with her foot and she lacked the dexterity to see the sticky problem causing her irritation.

I wonder how often that happens to us as believers, we feel an irritation somewhere in our lives so we just blindly start gnawing in the general direction and hope that it makes things better. We don’t know exactly what is going on but we can narrow it down to a general area of our lives. Problems such as figuring out our purpose, general frustrations of life, bills unable to be paid, life feeling empty, prayers appearing as if they are unanswered, struggles with sin, and troubles at home, work, school and so on.

A Different Set of Rules

We feel something is out of place but we can’t see what is going on, we need help from someone with a better and a higher perspective. Just like Winnie needed my help to get the gum or what ever it was off of her foot so to do we need God to help us in our daily lives. God knows all and sees all and is a whole lot smarter than we are. God said through the prophet Isaiah that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” (Is 55:8).

This means that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit see things from a different perspective than we do. It also means that He has different means to solve problems than what we would come up with on our own. Think of the story of Gideon, he was told to conquer the Midianites by waving around torches, pots and playing trumpets. Three hundred guys facing an army of untold thousands and all they were supposed to do was blow some trumpets and break some pots. That was far from a sound military strategy, but it worked.

We see the same expression of God’s higher and different ways through Jesus who at face value did everything that a Messiah was supposed to do wrong. He didn’t build a school, He didn’t fight the Romans. He didn’t set up a new Davidic Kingdom, He didn’t advocate for vengeance on Israel’s enemies, He constantly stood against the Pharisees and on and on. Jesus in the eyes of the people around Him was a failure, but in God’s eyes He was an astounding success.

Jesus in the eyes of the people around Him was a failure, but in God’s eyes He was an astounding success.

We have to imitate Jesus’ perspective

Jesus speaks about Heavenly things as one who calls Heaven His home, so He has a full perspective of the universe and all of creation. He knows us better than we know ourselves and He knows the end result of any course of action we take. This is why teachings such as the Beatitudes are so hard for us to apply, because it goes against our natural desires and calibrates us to God’s desires.

We must remember that we have been called to have the Mind of Christ, to act as He acted, to believe as He believed and to have our souls and bodies submitted to our spirit as He did.  To disconnect ourselves from how we lived before and to renew our minds to conform with His ways not our own. Paul calls this having our minds renewed (Romans 12:2) and He encourages us to set our minds on things that are higher than ourselves and our world (Colossians3:1-3). Otherwise we are doing nothing more than getting our feet covered in mud, gum, twigs and rocks which not only slow us down but cause endless frustration and pain.

Did you know that Jesus watches and judges us by our thoughts and motives (Matt 5:28), as opposed to people who watch and judge us by our actions? This can be hard for us to grasp at times, but it is critical to our walk with God. You see when we filter our hearts through Matthew 5, Galatians 5 and 1 Corinthians 13 eventually we will be changed for the better.  It won’t happen overnight but over time, through trials and temptations these pillars of life become the roots by which the fruits and gifts flow out of.   If someone expects that love will grow out of our miracles, or patience out of prophesying, they have no real roots and will wither away either from temptations, a dry season, or a lack of patience.

A two-part process

This is a two-part process, we are to look at the world, ourselves and others through the same lens that Jesus does. While the second part is a constant reminder for us to turn to God when we have trouble, irritations, frustrations, problems. Just like my dog Winnie she was unable to fix her foot without outside help, help that could see things she couldn’t and actually bring relief. When we make time for God and when we make Him the first place and we go to Him when we have problems then we are more likely to find relief. Or at the very least the strength to endure because God does not always bring an instantaneous remedy to our problems.

Jesus watches and judges us by our thoughts and motives, as opposed to people who watch and judge us by our actions.

With Winnie I spent about 30 minutes cleaning, combing and cleaning her back paw.  It wasn’t a band aid type clean up it took time and I had to keep her distracted with her chew stick the whole time, otherwise she would try to “help” and make things harder to deal with. Perhaps it is the same with us and God sometimes, as God uses His higher perspective to bring us relief, or answers to prayers. However often we are so focused on the problem that we are flailing around and making it harder for Him to finish His work. If only we had some sort of distraction like Winnie’s sweet potato and bacon chew to help us through the operation. If we think about it we do and it comes in the forms of worship, praise, the presence of the Holy Spirit and our faith in God’s role as our loving Father.

Philippians 2:5-11 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NKJV)

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Are you looking to develop your relationship with God and better understand the Bible? Pick up a copy of one of my books today.

Understanding Who You Are: A Survey of 21st Century Christian Beliefs paperback, eBook | paperback, eBook
Indigo, iBook, Nook and more HERE

Six Minutes of Grace: The Key To Finding Happiness and Purpose paperback, eBook | paperback, eBook
Indigo, iBook, Nook and more HERE

Six Minutes of Grace Journal paperback | paperback

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Outsourcing God: How Good Sheep Get Lost by Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.