WHCNorth Mobile App

Monday, February 28, 2011

But You Shall Receive Power

Acts 1: 6 - 8, Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." NKJV

The Bible is filled with Words of Wisdom, Knowledge, Prophecy, Truth, and etcetera. But how does a Christian know when a Word from God's Word is speaking directly to them? Do you just flip open the Bible and point to a scripture and say this must be God?
Jesus tells us in John 10 that His sheep (Christians) know His voice and another we won't follow. He also taught us in John 14 that He would not leave us comfortless, but would pray to the Father, and He would send to us the Spirit of Truth. Since the Father has given us the Holy Spirit, we must trust in Him and not lean to our own understanding; the Lord doesn't expect us to figure out the next step in our faith walk on our own. If you just randomly open your Bible and hope to hit the correct Word for the day, or you place a fleece before the Lord for confirmation to a prayer that you prayed, then know that there is a better way.

You see, we not only need a Word from the Lord to help us navigate life in a fallen world, but we must understand that God only gives us direction in the hour that it is needed. If we should be moved by impulse, we could be casting the seed of God's Word before its time and could risk it falling onto sterile ground or producing no results in our situations.

Let's suppose that you're having an issue with a co-worker, and you've asked the Lord to reveal wisdom to you from His Word. If the co-worker doesn't understand you or your faith, then there's a good chance that they will persecute you. If this is the case, then we want God to move quickly to alleviate the problem with the co-worker. Have you noticed that Christians tend to become anxious for God to move quickly on their behalf when they are faced with serious or difficult issues? This is why the Lord will only release "A Word in season" to those who are weary. It isn't based on the difficulty of our situation, but on the degree of our weariness. Hasn't the Lord promised us in 1 Corinthians 10 that He wouldn't place more on us than we're able to bear?

In our verses for today's word, the disciples asked Jesus if He was at that time going to restore the kingdom back to Israel. Jesus told them,"It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority." When I have heard ministers teach on these verses in Acts 1, they tend to stop where it says, "In His own authority," but Jesus didn't stop there; He proceeded to teach us the ways of God concerning the "timing" of the Father. He said, "You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses of Me in all the region and ultimately the world."

In other words, Jesus was telling them that it would happen, but not the way they thought it might. The kingdom will be restored when the Holy Spirit comes upon His people, and they move under the power or the authority of the Kingdom of God to fulfill God's will in the season that He has predetermined. I share this principle with you to say this: if you are looking to God for a Word of wisdom, knowledge, or etcetera, then you must be willing to wait until He sees that the timing is right. This way, His will shall be accomplished and not ours. It's not that God doesn't care about what we're going through. It is that He has a different perspective from His vantage point than we do; our view is generally from the temporal (flesh) view point, and His view is always from the eternal view point.

Now we understand better why the Lord will sometimes wait to answer our prayers when we find ourselves in fiery trials. There's another reason why the Lord will wait before releasing a Word of direction, and that is so He can see if we will wait on "His" timing, or if we will be moved by our carnal (impulsive) nature. Submit to God and resist the temptation to act on impulse; wait until you know that God has spoken a "Word in season" before you act. As a minister, I wait on the Lord to speak to me before I speak to the congregation or to you in a devotional. He knows what we need before we ask, but we must be willing to wait on God's ways and resist our own ways.

God's Way Is Best,
Pastor Asa

Friday, February 25, 2011

Breaking the Law

Ps 119:9-12, How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes. NKJV

Have you ever tried to please someone that you respected or loved but couldn't? If so, then you understand the pain and rejection that is incurred when you offer your best and find that it's just not good enough. Because of this, people walk around with scars in their hearts, and those scars can adversely affect every area of their lives. When you truly desire to please someone, and they continually reject your efforts to find affirmation, it can cause you to lose self-esteem, self-worth, and has caused many to loathe themselves.

As men, we seek affirmation from those we love and respect. First of all, let's look in the Word of God to find out where we acquired this need... and is having this need biblical? If your view of God is one that is based on rules and limitations that you have to measure up to, then you will fall short of "that view" of God. No man can live up to the standard of God's laws in their own human strength.

God told Adam not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Guess what? Even though Adam was sinless when God created him in His own image and likeness, Adam didn't keep God's law. Does this mean that God created Adam to fail? Absolutely not! Adam could have directed Eve's attention to the other tree in the garden called, "The Tree of Life." Had they partaken of the fruit from the tree of life first, they would have begun to experience the life of God in their souls, but unfortunately, that tree didn't hold the interest of their carnal desires. (Our five senses)

Let me ask you a question? Since man broke the law in the beginning, do you really believe that God thought man would now be able to keep the new moral code (or law) that He gave to Moses in Exodus? Was God just toying with us to make fallen man feel inadequate so that He could beat us down as if we were slaves? No, that is called condemnation. Condemnation is the result of feeling inadequate or unlovable when it seems like we can't please God.

God didn't hand down the Law on Mount Sinai just so we would break that set of rules, and He could point His finger at us in judgment and condemn us. Remember, man was already found guilty and sentenced in the Garden of Eden. The purpose of the Law on Mount Sinai was to show us that sin was in our hearts and that a sinful heart can't keep a Law that is holy.

Read Genesis 3 and you will see that when God came to Adam after he sinned and asked him if they had eaten of the forbidden fruit, he denied eating it and blamed Eve, his wife. When we seek to keep the "rules of God," there is also a part of us that lives in denial over what we have done. Denial is a coping mechanism that we developed because of man's fall into sin; it helps us to deal with condemnation in our own hearts. It also causes us to blame our sin on others instead of facing the truth, because we've tried to keep the Law and failed every time. If this describes your life, Jesus has some great news for you today.

Jesus tells us in John 3 that He didn't come into the world to condemn us; He came so that we might be saved from sin and condemnation through Him. The key words that we need to focus on are "through Jesus." Just like Adam couldn't keep the Law, because he didn't partake of the Tree of Life first, we can't keep God's Law until we first place faith in Jesus as our Savior and Lord. ONCE YOU TRULY PLACE FAITH IN JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR, THEN THE FATHER WILL ACCEPT YOU WITHOUT YOU HAVING TO KEEP ONE LAW.

When we receive Jesus in our hearts and know that He is the reason we are accepted by our heavenly Father, it will put an end to our seeking affirmation. Then we can live free of condemnation and simply obey the Father through our faith and not our works...which is earning the right to be a son. King David was a man that had committed adultery, and murder, and then tried to hide it from everyone. Yet, this man is recorded in the Bible as having a heart after the heart of God. David didn't try to keep the Law of God, because David loved the Law. When you love the God "of" the Law, He will empower you to keep the Law of God.

I'm Trusting and Not Trying,
Pastor Asa

Living the Blessed Life

Romans 6: 1 - 4, What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. NIV

Do you remember the day that you received Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord? If you haven't yet made the decision to do so, then I pray that you will today, because Paul tells us in Romans 3 that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Jesus came to earth as the Lamb of God to take away our sins, all because of His love for the Father. Yet, when we come to Jesus...even as someone that is broken... we are coming to Him filled with "self."

All Christians who choose to live a godly life in Christ must go through the process of dying to self. Let me explain what I mean. The other night I was preaching on the subject of abiding in the vine (who is Jesus) and of how we are the branches...with His life flowing through us, and I used an analogy about a cantaloupe to illustrate. Jesus tells us in John 15 that we must abide in Him, and He in us, lest we wither and be burned. A cantaloupe can't say to the vine, "I don't like the requirements being placed on me (that I must be connected to you) so I will disconnect myself and grow beside you." What would happen? The cantaloupe not only would not ripen...it would rot on the ground!

Once we become born again, there is a process that every true believer must go through in order to be converted from the "self" nature into a believer who is being filled and motivated by God's love. Until we all choose to deny self, take up our cross, and follow in Jesus' footsteps, we can't have any part in Him nor experience the blessed life. If you will read Ephesians 5, you will see that Paul uses the marriage relationship as a natural demonstration of a spiritual relationship between Christ and the Church. We must leave all others and cleave only unto Him and be faithful to Him. This principle is especially important in the initial stages of becoming a disciple of Christ.

We must cling to His life in order that it might empower us to die to our individuality (or self nature). Remember, it was "self" that caused Lucifer to sin against God. It was "self" that reared its ugly head in the Garden of Eden and separated mankind from our Creator, God. Paul teaches on this principle even greater in Colossians 3, Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. NIV

As we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, we will be transformed by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, who resides within us, into children of God. As we continue in His Word, whether we feel like it or not, the Word will begin to transform our hearts... which will then change what we desire or seek after. Once this begins to emerge in your life, you will begin to experience the blessed life. But, that's not all; once you begin to experience the liberation and the freedom of living the blessed life, don't stop there, because that is only the beginning! When we grow beyond the point in our walk where we pursue God just to be blessed, and we continue on to pursue Him for "more of Him," then He will begin to reward us for being diligent seekers of God.

It's amazing how we can begin our faith walk being so filled with self, but, as we continue to abide in Christ and His Word, we become filled with the love of Christ; He then constrains us to live a holy and joyful life...all while living in a fallen world. You will know the love of God is replacing self when you love obeying the Word of God instead of "having to keep the Word."
Loving the Blessed Life in Christ,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Who Am I

Exodus 3: 9 - 11, And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt." But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" NIV

When God appeared to Moses and spoke to him from a flaming bush, Moses was on the run as a fugitive from Egypt; he was hiding out on the far side of the desert near Horeb, the mountain of God. What do you do when your past causes you to run right smack into the presence of God? You answer the call!

Just imagine the shock of seeing a bush on fire, but not consumed by the flames. Now imagine you hear the voice of God speaking from the bush... and if that isn't enough to make you faint, the Lord tells you to go to Egypt and set His people free. Like Moses, I would be asking the same question, "Who am I?" Moses was lost; he didn't know his spiritual identity.

The Bible teaches us a lot on the subject of being lost. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. Just like Moses asked the Lord that very important question, "Who am I?" All Christians must ask God that same question if we're going to fulfill the calling of God on our lives. Back in the beginning, when man sinned, we lost our spiritual identity; we began to identity with the creation more so than our Creator. Moses struggled to hear the plan of God, not because he couldn't hear, but because he didn't know who he was. All Moses could remember was his past and how Egypt was his enemy... because he had committed a murder. When God reassured him that the king who had pursued him was dead, He then told Moses the plan to deliver the people of God from their bondage.

It's vitally important for us to understand that not everyone that God called lived a perfect life. Just look at Saul of Tarsus; he murdered Christians in the early church. He was converted on the road to Damascus and became the Apostle Paul. If we are going to step out and fulfill God's calling on our lives, we must get to know the One who has called us first. He is our new identity. So if God has revealed to you His plan and told you to go back to the place that He has brought you out of and represent Him, you must first ask the Lord, "Who am I?" If not, the enemy will keep throwing your past up to you; he will use your mistakes, sins, and failures to hold you back from obeying the Lord.

When we look at the sure success of Jesus' ministry and how He was able to endure such horrendous suffering in order to complete God's will on the earth, we see an excellent example of someone who knew who they were in the Spirit. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he told Jesus to do something to prove His real identity. Because Jesus knew "full well" His identity, the seduction of Satan's provocations didn't move Jesus at all. Jesus knew that He was the Son of God, and He didn't have to prove anything to Satan. When we truly know our spiritual identity through an intimate relationship with the Father, we won't be moved to prove our calling to man. We won't feel the need to please man when we know who we are in Christ. Like Moses, we won't run from our calling, but we will face it boldly through our relationship with the Lord.

Your parents gave you a name when you were born, but when you answer the call of God on your life, He will give you a new identity. There is great freedom in answering the call of God. Moses' past no longer had a hold on his heart and life. He fled Egypt a fugitive and in bondage, but he returned to Egypt as a deliverer of the people of God. Who is God sending you to... as their deliverer?

Hidden in Christ,
Pastor Asa

Sign Up for Our Devotions

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Taking On Water

John 15: 19 - 20, If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. NKJV

I remember one day, when our family was on vacation, we took a three hour boat ride out into a bay in Florida. The captain of the boat told us that he was going to stick the nose of the boat out into the ocean for a moment. Now the ocean was particularly rough that day, and as we exited the bay and entered into the choppy ocean waters, the boat began to bounce up and down. This was very disconcerting to my wife, Debbie (women like security). But, isn't it amazing how a boat can just float on top of millions of gallons of water, but if only a few hundred gallons get on the inside of the boat, it can sink?

Well, when Jesus came to earth, mankind was drowning in sin. God had previously warned Adam in the Garden of Eden not to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In other words, God was putting man into an environment that was conducive for life to flourish; He didn't want him to allow sin to enter into the boat (soul). When they chose to eat of the forbidden fruit, it allowed sin to enter the heart and we fell (sank) into the one trap that God warned Adam to avoid.

Paul tells us in Romans 3 that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Therefore, we all need a Savior to deliver our souls from the very depths of sin. If you have received Jesus into your heart, then He has delivered you out of the flood that was caused by sin on the inside of your heart. His blood has washed and cleansed your heart in order that His Spirit might be able to enter it. The Holy Spirit fills our hearts as we yield to His leading; this allows us to walk above the lust for sin in this world. Now we're "in" this world, but we're not "of" this world. If we fully understood what that sentence meant, it would revolutionize the body of Christ around the world. For one thing, we know that we're not in this world alone, because we have the Spirit of God dwelling in our hearts. It means that we have victory over the worldly storms that try to cause our vessels (souls) to take on water. Jesus tells us to cast our cares on Him and don't take on the care (or water).

It also means that we must not try to fit into the world's system, because it is based on self and unbelief. Even though we are in this world, we still live in the Kingdom of God, and His kingdom is based on love and faith in Christ. Paul tells us in Romans 12 not to be conformed to this world; instead, we are to be transformed by the Word of God in order that we might know what the will of God is for our individual lives. Jesus has chosen us out of this world so that we might make a difference in other people's lives.
As we set out to fulfill God's purpose, we must guard our hearts so that we don't allow what we face out there to come in and cause us to begin to sink in unbelief. The enemy of your souls is constantly throwing things at your ships in the hope of gaining an entrance into your hearts. Keep the shield of faith, spoken about in Ephesians 6, over your hearts. The one way that I keep my shield of faith up to protect my heart is to always remind myself, "No matter what comes my way, the Lord is with me." He will never leave you nor forsake you. Therefore my trust is in the Lord, and this protects my heart. Where do you find yourself today? Are you living in troubled waters? Fasten your eyes on Jesus and ignore the storm until you see the power of God destroy the threats of the Devil in your life. Don't take on water. Trust God!!!

In God Will I trust,
Pastor Asa

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Full But Never Satisfied

Hebrews 11 : 6, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. NIV

We all know that even Christians sometimes struggle with issues in their lives. Since we're all humans, we also have the frailties that are associated with our humanity. One of the issues that many Christians (and non-Christians) battle with is over indulging. You will know that you are over indulging in something when it places you in bondage to it. Millions of Christians are deeply in debt, because they're seeking to fill a void in their lives with material objects.

Any place in your life that has over indulgence (or abuse) of something is really a void in disguise. The mistake that we tend to make when addressing the issue of over indulging is trying to medicate it with something or someone. This might seem strange, but the thing that you desire isn't a desire at all; it is the absence of faith. The more you learn to trust the Lord, the less you will be driven by desires.

Anytime you want to know the root cause of something that you, as a believer, are wrestling with, just go to Genesis (Occasionally, the Lord sends me there too). Humans weren't created in the image and likeness of God to be dominated and manipulated by our desires. In fact, if you will read about Adam before the fall, you will see that God anticipated and supplied all of Adam's needs and desires even before Adam asked for them. (Gen. 1, 2)
The need to be desire-driven occurred when Eve believed the lie that the serpent told her about the character of God. The serpent began weaving his web of deceit by challenging the Word that God had spoken concerning the Tree of Knowledge. After he challenged the truth, the serpent continued on by replacing the truth with a lie. He told her that if she partook of the fruit, she would become like God. The lie that she chose to believe caused her to DOUBT the Word of God which, in essence, made her question the character of God.

The lie of the serpent broke the trust that Eve had placed in her Creator. If you will read Genesis chapter 3, you will see that the moment her confidence in God's Word being the truth was crushed, she saw that the fruit as something desirable. She replaced her trust in God for a desire. She desired the creation more than the Creator. As Christians, if we struggle with a lack of trust, then we will tend to worry, doubt and/or be afraid. Worry can lead to over indulgence as a form of self-preservation. It can become our security blanket while living in a fallen world. 

What is the answer to over indulgence? The more we fill our hearts with the presence and the love of God, the less we will need external things to fill our lives. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 that if we will hunger and thirst for righteousness, the Lord will fill us. Jesus also tells us in John 4, if we will drink of the water of life that He offers us, it will spring up as a well out of our inner being. In order for you to begin to experience the fullness of God in your life, you will have to trust Him. When He instructs you to put something down, simply obey His voice. It will be your trust and willingness to obey that will please the Father, and He will be allowed to reward you. Once you trust the Lord to the point of being free from the desire, the Lord might just give it back to you. He does this to show us that it isn't the thing that is evil; it is the lack of trust in our heart that is evil.

If you desire to trust the Lord, but thoughts of doubt prevent you from stepping out in faith, just ask the Lord to help you with your unbelief. All God is looking for is a sincere heart that chooses to love Him more than self. Once He finds such a person, because He seeks after true worshipers, then He will fill that heart with His love, liberty and presence.

Seeking After the Lord,
Pastor Asa

Monday, February 21, 2011

No Fear

John 10  : 37 - 39, If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand. NKJV

Fear is a very powerful force and is used by Satan to hold people in bondage. Do you have fear in your life, and that fear controls what you do or don't do? If so, please don't feel alone, because you're not. Because of sin, we have received the spirit of bondage to fear. Why? Because sin brings forth death, and death produces great fear. The key is to overcome fear through our obedience to the Father, who loves us more than we could ever love ourselves.

The passage above gives just one account of where people sought to kill Jesus. Yet, there are many stories in the gospels that let us know that His life was threatened many times; still, no one could stop Him. You see, Jesus wasn't in bondage to fear, and even though He knew there would be attempts to kill Him, He didn't allow man's plans and intimidations to cause Him to disobey the Father's will. Now that, my friend, is liberty in the Spirit.

Has the Lord ever told you to do something, but because you were intimidated by the fear of man, you chose to disobey God? The Father loves us too much to allow us to be controlled by fear, especially the fear of death. There have been times in ministry that I would obey God, and then I would hold my head down waiting for the proverbial "shoe" to drop. This just indicates that I wasn't developed in the love of God. It's obvious that I loved the Lord, or I would have disobeyed Him instead of confronting "my fears." But, I wasn't developed or completed in His love. I didn't have a trust in Him to the point that I could rest in the truth that He would keep me... even in the presence of my enemies.

If you will read Job 1, you will see where God is bragging on the faith and strengths of Job. God told Satan that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" NKJV

Although God revealed these good qualities in Job, we read a little later that Job was consumed by fear. He said, "The thing that I feared the most has come upon me." If the thing that he feared the most happened to him, then what were the other things that he feared less than this one, and how many were there? Makes you begin to think that fear held Job in bondage, doesn't it? Before his children were killed in the collapse of their home, Job tells us that he continually sacrificed to the Lord on behalf of his children. He was afraid that they would sin against God and die, so he sacrificed many animals. Guess what? They died while throwing a party.

The attack of Satan against the faith of Job in his God caused him to face and endure the very thing that he feared the most. Yet, through it all, and even though God had allowed Job to go through the pain of losing his children, Job never stopped trusting God. "Though God slay me, yet I will trust Him." Job understood that, in this world, we can suffer horrendous losses. He knew that it was possible to live through his worst nightmare. After his nine month ordeal had ended, Job, once again, experienced the goodness and faithfulness of God in his life. This time, he wasn't controlled by fear; because of Job's continued faith in the fiery furnace of affliction, the fear had been replaced with the character of God. The love of God had been perfected or developed in the heart of Job, and fear was cast out.

The Father loves us too much and has given too much for our redemption to allow Satan to torment us with the spirit of fear. We have been given the Spirit of adoption. Now, Satan can't control or manipulate us through fear, because we are being perfected in God's love.

In Love with God,
Pastor Asa

Friday, February 18, 2011

Just Beyond The Blessing

Genesis 22: 1 - 2, Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." NKJV

Are you waiting on God for a promise to be fulfilled in your life? Abraham is called the father of the faith; he believed God's promise that He would make him a father of many nations. For twenty-five years Abraham and Sarah waited on the Lord to fulfill the promise of a son. Can you imagine being a Jewish man with a name that meant, "Father of a multitude" yet you were unable to conceive? Just think of the shame and the reproach that he must have had to endure while waiting on the Lord to bless them with the promised son, Isaac.

 However, that all changed the day that Sarah gave birth to a miracle... seeing that she was ninety years of age. Have you ever noticed that people will sometimes turn to the Lord when they have a need that only He can fill, but once they receive their miracle, they tend to go back to their old lifestyle? But, as we see in our scripture today, this was not so with Abraham. Isaac has now grown to be a young man and God puts Abraham's obedience to the test. Will Abraham love his blessing more than the Lord?

Why is it important for you and me to know about the life and the decisions of Abraham? Because if we don't understand the principle reason why God asked Abraham to offer his son upon the altar, then we might have a tendency to relax once we get our heart's desire and then miss what is just beyond the blessing.

Gen 22:15-19, Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said:"By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son -- blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." NKJV

Had Abraham told God, "I don't want to obey your command and offer my son upon the altar, because I love him more," Isaac would not have had to climb upon the altar, and Abraham would have lived the remainder of his years enjoying his son but...

Because Abraham obeyed God's command and offered Isaac upon the altar, God granted him great authority. After this one act of faith, God made a vow to Abraham that he would be blessed even more and that his descendants would also be blessed and have authority over their enemies. This gives us a lot to think about, once we have been blessed by the Lord's graciousness. Will we continue to be obedient and faithful to the Lord when He asks us to give up something that we hold very dear to our hearts?  Does the Lord want us to be blessed? Absolutely, but He doesn't want the blessings to have us. If they don't captivate our hearts, then He can really bless us!

Blessed to Be a Blessing,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, February 17, 2011

When The World Says, "No" (But The Lord Says, "Yes")

Psalm 75: 1 - 6, How we thank you, Lord! Your mighty miracles give proof that you care. "Yes," the Lord replies, "and when I am ready, I will punish the wicked!  Though the earth shakes and all its people live in turmoil, yet its pillars are firm, for I have set them in place!" I warned the proud to cease their arrogance! I told the wicked to lower their insolent gaze and to stop being stubborn and proud.  For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God. He promotes one and deposes another. TLB

This devotion is a relevant word for every Christian that receives this email today. It doesn't matter if you work in the White House or if you are a Domestic Engineer in your own house; this is a word from God's Word for you. Occasionally, I have Christians share with me the problems that oppose them in their workplace. First of all, Jesus tells us that if the world hated Him, then we also will be hated. Secondly, He was hated without a cause, and if you let your light shine as a child of God before the world, they too will hate you without a cause. Now that we have the ugly part of living in a fallen world out of the way, let's see what the Lord has to say about promotion for you. Biblical promotion has more to do with you as a person than the office you now hold or that you one day hope to occupy. It is the favor of God being released upon your life that causes others to admit that God is with you, whether or not they like it or agree with it.

Since you have chosen to place your trust in Jesus as your Savior, you have found favor in the Father's sight. The result of that favor is total acceptance. Paul tells us in Ephesians that we have been accepted in the Beloved. Our faith in Christ has brought our hearts in agreement with the Father, and as we continue to seek the Father's heart and fulfill His will, He has promised to reward us. This is why people on your job or in your own house might choose to hate you for nothing more than being born again. So when God decides to promote you, just get ready for war to break out in the camp.

As a Christian, you must know that you are hated, persecuted, and despised by man just because of your love of Jesus and the Father's acceptance of you. It's not like you and I go around and taunt people in the world by saying, "I'm accepted by my heavenly Father and you're not." Yet the ones who persecute you the most are feeling condemnation, because you enjoy your spiritual freedom in Christ.  Because of their jealousy, they resent you. Cain and Abel brought their offerings to the Lord one day, and God had respect for Abel and his offering, but rejected Cain and his offering. God rejected the offering, because Cain didn't bring the correct sacrifice; Cain brought the fruit of the ground that had been cursed even though he knew that God required an animal sacrifice.

It was God's acceptance of Abel that caused Cain to hate his brother to the point of taking Abel's life. So, we can see how our Father's acceptance of us can cause us to be hated without a cause. Here is the point of today's word: If you're looking to God for promotion in your life, marriage, finances, career, ministry, etc., then know that it is the Lord who promotes you; it is not man. If you know in your heart that it's time for a promotion, because the Lord has told you that it is... but someone is fighting you, then know that they are being stiff-necked and rebellious to the Lord. What we must not do is engage in the battle for our right to move ahead. This is the time to be still and see the salvation of the Lord.

You are fighting a spiritual battle, because the person that is opposing you and seems to be "standing in your way" is really resisting God and not you. The key to securing a victory is remaining humble and waiting on the Lord to accomplish what must be done in order to raise you up. Both Peter and James tell us to humble ourselves unto the Lord, and He will raise us up in due season. The Biblical way of moving "UP" is bowing "DOWN" to the Lord. The more humble we become, and the more we trust in Him to promote us, the quicker He can raise us up.

Waiting on the Promotion,
Pastor Asa

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Matter of the Heart

Luke 13: 34, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!'" NKJV

If you've ever wondered what your heavenly Father is like, then all you have to do is look at the heart and ministry of Jesus. One day, Jesus said to Phillip and the other disciples, "If you have seen me, then you have seen the Father." So, why does it seem to man as though God is a million miles away from them? The fact of the matter is that He is as close our next breath or our next heart beat. He is the Giver and Sustainer of all life. Why then do mankind and even God's own people feel so disconnected from their Creator? We can find the answer to this question in the writings of Paul.

Ephesians 4 : 17 - 19, This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; NKJV

The rejection of God's Word by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden separated the heart of man from the light of God as well as the life of God. The Bible reveals to us in 1 Samuel 16 that God doesn't see as man sees, because He looks upon the heart. This tells us that, God, the Creator of man and the Father of Christians doesn't communicate with us through our minds, but He communicates to our hearts. Once we became separated from God's Word through rebellion, the human heart became darkened (No faith). As a result of walking in spiritual darkness, we began to walk according to the fallen or carnal (temporal) mind. When a person or a people chooses to walk in spiritual darkness, they become controlled by their thoughts, desires, and feelings. Faith isn't an option, because it involves the heart; we must trust in the Lord and not in self.   
So, as a Christian beware of the poison of a hardened heart. It can cause you to reject the only lifeline that connects you back to a real relationship with the Father. Remember, I am addressing the reason why many believers feel like God is nowhere to be found even though they have faith in Christ.

Perhaps this will further clarify my point. When Jesus came to God's chosen people as their Messiah, the heart of the Jews was hardened to the truth that Jesus spoke, and they rejected their Savior. In the same manner, a Christian can allow a hardened heart to prevent him from knowing the heart of the Father. You may be thinking, "How can I be a Christian and still not know the Father?" Look at the story of Philip in John 14: 9. The disciples and Philip had walked with Jesus. (We too have walked in faith with Jesus.) They had heard His powerful messages and witnessed the miracles that Jesus did. Yet, they didn't believe in their hearts that He and the Father were One. This is revealed to us in this account in John. The hearts of the disciples were still hardened to the truth that Jesus was the Son of God and that the Father was with Him, even though no man could do what Jesus did apart from God. Now think back at the times that Jesus rebuked the disciples over their lack of faith. In essence, they doubted the true identity of Jesus as the Son of God... even though they walked with Him.

So what is the answer to the dilemma of Christians not knowing the Father or their feeling like He is far removed from their hearts? Jesus told them in John 14 that they would do the works that He did... and even greater works. He goes on to tell them that, if they love Him, they need to keep His commandments. This kept them in the faith as disciples until they received the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the disciples and our witness that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. It is through the Holy Spirit and being led by Him that we become and remain the children of God. So you see, when the Jews rejected Jesus' truth, because they rejected Jesus, they couldn't see the heart of the Father. They wouldn't open their hearts to their salvation; therefore, they ultimately rejected their only Messiah. As a result, they have suffered great destruction and heartache. As Christians, we must continually guard our hearts so that we don't become hardened against the keeping of God's Word. If our hearts are made pliable through our obedience, then we will come to know the Father as our heavenly Father as well. We, Christians must walk by faith until our hearts become softened through the keeping of God's Word, and then we will begin to gain understanding. The Holy Spirit gave the disciples understanding about the relationship between Jesus and the Father. As we continue in the truth, then the Holy Spirit will give us understanding concerning our Father, and we will no longer feel disconnected; we will become one with Him. Wow, isn't God good?

Crying Abba Father,
Pastor Asa

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Soaring Above Your Mountains

Isaiah 40: 29 - 31, He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. Even the youths shall be exhausted, and the young men will all give up. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. TLB

Do you need a lift in your heart or in your emotions today? If you're like me, you wake up some mornings with the weight of the world on your shoulders; and then there are those days that you get up full of strength and life. In the scripture above, we see that Isaiah also knew that we all get exhausted or worn out from time to time.

I remember as a child running on the football field at school. The coach of our Physical Education class would run us until we would fall over in exhaustion. We would have to stop and rest for a moment, catch our breath, and regain some strength in order to finish the course. Our coach would push us beyond our limits so that we would learn how to run with endurance. Even though we discovered that there was more to our own strength than we first realized, at the end of the class, we were still worn out.

There is a term that is used with runners that I want to expound on with you today. Runners can do well for a while, but then they start looking for their "second wind"... a boost of energy that their body releases that allows many runners to finish strong. When God created man in Genesis 2, we were a soul(ish) being (not spiritual). Simply stated, man was created with a soul, but did not possess the Spirit of God... only the breath of God. You might think that this is strange, considering man was created in the image and likeness of God, and He is a Spirit. Jesus said in John 4 that God is Spirit. So why did He create us with a soul that did not contain the Spirit of God?

The answer was in the Garden of Eden. The tree of Life was in the garden, but man didn't choose that tree. Yet, we read in Genesis 3, that had they eaten of that tree, they would have had eternal life; but because they had sin, God kept fallen man from eating from the tree of Life (after they had sinned) so that man could be redeemed from the fall...otherwise, man would have had to live forever in that fallen state. Adam didn't wait on God to fulfill all that He had spoken over him and Eve; he tried to be "god" in his own strength. And as a result, we all have sinned and "fallen" short of the glory of God.

The Lord instructed Isaiah to write that those who wait on, or place their hope in the Lord will receive supernatural strength. I have read this passage most of my life, but the other day, the Holy Spirit gave me a greater understanding concerning the truth contained in it. Hebrews 10 tells us that we have need of patience after we have done the will of God in order that we might receive the promise of God. So, we are to be obedient in God's will, and then we must wait for the fulfillment of the promises of God. He will arrive on the scene with Dunamis power and energize our hearts with His strength and life. This passage is more than a truth; it was also a prophecy concerning the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or "The Promise" of the Father that Jesus spoke about in John.

He told His disciples to tarry (or wait) on the promise of the Father in Jerusalem after His Passion. For ten days, after Jesus' ascension into heaven, the disciples were in the upper room praying and waiting. While they were praying, there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty rushing wind. When the Spirit of God filled the room where they were assembled in unity, each believer was baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire. The120 that remained in the room had successfully waited until the Promise was released upon them by the Father.

On that day, those 120 people experienced the life of God's Spirit fill their hearts. They had tasted and seen the goodness and faithfulness of God. Even though we live on this side of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which is the fulfillment of Isaiah and Jesus' prophecies, we still must learn how to wait on the leading of the Holy Spirit. As you face the mountains in your life today, turn your attention to the Father, and He will give your heart the lift that you need to soar high above them. Jesus told His disciples that they would know their season of power and deliverance, because the Holy Spirit would fill them with power from on high. Place your hope in the Lord today and know that He will lift you high above your mountains as you wait patiently upon His timing.

Waiting on the Power to Soar,
Pastor Asa

Monday, February 14, 2011

Seeing With Your Heart

Hebrews 11: 1 - 3, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. NKJV

How do you see things in your life? Do you look at life through your eyes or through God's eyes? Did you know that we can use God's eyes to see instead of being limited by our own sight? When we don't mix faith with our sight, then we can become vulnerable to the lies of Satan. So, as Christians, we are commanded in the Word of God to walk by faith and not by sight. Our human senses are limited in that we can only see the facts and not the truth that might lie just beneath the surface of any given situation.

One of the repercussions of sin is spiritual blindness. It caused man to no longer see as God sees; he now sees through the eyes of his own limitations. So when sin or our fallen nature got us in a pit where there seemed to be no way to escape, Satan could convince us that we were at his mercy as long as we obeyed him. But God, through Jesus, saved us from the pit of sin and despair. The writer of Hebrews gives us a very powerful insight into one of the purposes of faith in a Christian's life. Faith in God and His Word gives us the ability to understand God's ways.

Have you ever wondered why we choose to commit sin when faced with certain decisions instead of choosing the path of righteousness? When people don't include faith in their decisions, when faced with seemingly impossible or very painful decisions, unbelief will cause them to feel abandoned in their problem. As a result of the isolation, some will give up all hope and agree with the enemy's lies... as Eve did when the serpent lied to her. They're walking in the darkness of sin, instead of the light of truth.

We all have a choice to make today. We can choose to live our lives on the basis of how we perceive them to be, or we can look to the Lord and allow Him to show us the path that we should choose. It requires faith and trust to allow God to direct our footsteps in life. But if we will allow Him, He will lead us on a path of victory and freedom. No longer will you have to live your life in bondage to fear or the lies of the enemy. Let me leave you with a final thought:

Joshua 6 : 1 - 3
, Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. And the LORD said to Joshua: "See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. NKJV

Why did the Lord instruct a man who had sight, to see? Joshua's sight with his eyes was fine, but it was how he viewed the situation that God corrected. The Lord told Joshua to see, and then He told him what to look for. Joshua was looking through the eyes of defeat, because Moses was dead... and Joshua was intimidated by the elders of Israel. He was overwhelmed by the duty of leading this great nation of people over into the Promised Land.

So God had to capture Joshua's attention from seeing things through the eyes of the past; He instructed Joshua on how to see through faith in His Word. God didn't change Joshua's sight, but God's Words changed the way Joshua perceived the situation to be in the natural... and his faith in God gave him the strength to take the land. Joshua saw himself as a victim or inadequate for the job, but God revealed the truth to him. His own perception kept him from seeing victory in the natural. Faith will change our perception, but we must first place our trust in the Lord and listen to His voice... not our own.

Seeing with My Hearing,
Pastor Asa

Friday, February 11, 2011

Are You Hearing or Listening?

Romans 10 : 13 - 17, Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. But how shall they ask him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them unless someone sends him? That is what the Scriptures are talking about when they say, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace with God and bring glad tidings of good things." In other words, how welcome are those who come preaching God's Good News! But not everyone who hears the Good News has welcomed it, for Isaiah the prophet said, "Lord, who has believed me when I told them?" Yet faith comes from listening to this Good News-the Good News about Christ. TLB

How well do you hear? Today I'm going to reveal a family secret. The Dockery's are known for not listening when someone is speaking to them. We have the ability to hear without listening, and this gives us the ability to know that someone is speaking without interrupting what we're listening to. There is a very popular website called iTunes that is a great resource for teaching videos and music. Our son, Benjamin has a T-shirt that reads, "iTune you out."

In our defense, let me say that this "problem" has been around since God told Abraham to listen to his wife. Husbands have ignored wives for generations, and wives have learned how to use this to their advantage. Yeah ladies, you know where I'm going with that. "Honey, I'm going shopping." This is the line that is used on husbands as they are absorbed in their favorite sports or other program on television. If they say, "yes dear" with that passive voice, then the next line is... well you get the point.

Did you know that you can hear the vacuum, the dishwasher, and the television but only one of them will actually have your attention? This got me to thinking about the subject of hearing, and how it can affect our walk with the Lord in either a positive or a negative way. There is a huge difference between hearing and listening. God wants us to listen to His voice and pay attention to or heed His Word.

In order for us to accomplish that, we must use more than our ears; we must also listen with our hearts. The ear cannot process sounds and make decisions, and the mind cannot hear sounds; it only processes what the ears hear. You will know that sounds or someone's voice are not reaching past your ears and entering into your heart the moment you don't understand what they said.

This was the problem that Isaiah was speaking about in today's scripture. The Jews heard the message about the gospel, but their hearts were hardened against the Word. They didn't mix the Word that they heard with faith so the "Good News" didn't profit them. When Jesus spoke to the Jews, He used a form of communication called, "parables". One day His disciples asked Him one why He spoke to the crowds with parables, yet spoke plainly to them. Jesus told them that it was because of the hardness of people's hearts. They could hear what He was teaching them, but they couldn't perceive... or understand with their mind, because their hearts were full of unbelief.

In Matthew 15, Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that they worshipped God with their lips, but that their hearts were far from Him and their worship was in vain. God doesn't communicate with us through our ears, but He relates to us through our hearts. If our heart isn't pure, then it will affect how we hear God's Word. If you struggle to understand God's Word when you read it, then ask God to touch your heart. If you vacillate on whether or not to follow His instructions when you hear the Holy Spirit speak to you, then ask the Lord to touch your heart.

Husbands, if you always tune your wife out, then she will begin to believe that you have no time for her. She will tend to believe that you love other things more than her. Guess what? This is the way God views our relationship with Him when we listen to the world, but ignore Him. Jesus told us in John 15," If you love Me, then keep my commandments." In other words, listen to what I say and prove that you heard it by doing what I requested.

Listening for the Voice of God,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jesus Is the Entrance into Life

John 14: 6, Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. NKJV

If I could use one word to describe Jesus today, it would be "refreshing". There is nothing stuffy or stale about Him. Jesus isn't the Author of religion, but of relationship. In the beginning, God didn't create Adam as an idol from dirt; He created a son. When Jesus came to earth, it was to seek and save THAT which was lost... our relationship with God. He reconciled man back to God, and then returned to heaven as the Son of God.

There are many people that want to view Jesus and Christianity as just another "religion." Jesus tells us, in His own Words, that He has come that we might have life and enjoy it in abundance. Having said that, let's look at a truth that might help you in your ongoing relationship with the Father. Although Jesus tells us that He is the Way, He doesn't want us to stop at the door, rather He wants us to go through that door and discover life in Him. He gives us the key to the new life that is only found in Him in Matthew 6. He tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added to us.

So if we want to know the Father more intimately and fully, then we're not to seek religion; we are to seek the kingdom. You might be asking yourself, "How does seeking the kingdom first cause me to know God more?" If you will recall, Lucifer, which was Satan's name before he fell, promoted himself to the place that was intended for only God. If we want to know God in the same way that Jesus does, then we must deny self and seek the kingdom first.

YOU WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE DISCOVERING THE KINGDOM OF GOD when you begin to live life the way that God originally intended us to live it. Kingdom refers to authority and dominion; if we will walk in authority in the spirit, then we will also have dominion in the natural realm as well. When we pursue a true relationship with the Father on the basis of seeking the kingdom first, we will discover freedom from the flesh nature and carnal desires. These attributes were not a part of God's original plan, but were added when Satan entered the garden.

Therefore, we must be consumed with a righteous pursuit of God and Godliness, and then we can put off the things of the world. The more you pursue God on a consistent basis, the fresher your life will become. Jesus makes life in a fallen world worth living. He will take the plain or mundane and transform it into glorious treasures. The will of man and sin has taken the blessings and life out of our earthly existence, but Jesus has come to restore what has been stolen from us. 

Let's not make our new life in Christ about religion. But let's live and enjoy our new life in Christ in order that we might bring glory and honor to God through the overflow of blessings in our lives. Religion will stop at the door of righteousness and progress no further; it will promote self, but relationship will seize righteousness, deny self, and enter into eternal life with great anticipation. I guess you want to know how to pursue the Kingdom of God? Jesus told the distracters in His life that He must be about His Father's business. He always pleased His Father and not self or man.

Another way to look at the principle of seeking the kingdom first is the teaching that Jesus gave in John 12. He said, "Except a grain of corn goes into the ground and dies, it will abide alone. But if it dies, then it will bring forth much fruit." Until we deny self and give of ourselves to serve God in His kingdom, we can't walk in the abundance of life. If we live our new lives for Him, then He can and will increase us.

The Grace of God Produces Abundance,
Pastor Asa

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Walking in Your Spiritual Identity

Hebrews 12: 1 - 2, Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. NKJV

I recently preached a message entitled, "Living in Dominion in a Fallen World." I discovered a truth by the Holy Spirit that was so profound and powerful that I wanted to share it with you today. If you look around in today's society, you can see the "church" becoming a lot like the world in many respects. The fact of the matter is we are all humans. But, that can't be used as a basis for choosing to live in sin as a Christian. In Romans 6, Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes to us that, if we are born again, our old man is dead; sin should no longer have dominion over us.

If you are born again and struggle with the weakness of the flesh nature and desire sin, then know that you don't fully understand or know your spiritual identity. When you were born, your mom was asked what she would name her new baby. In much the same way, you were born again as a child of God and given a new identity in Christ. (Ref. 2 Cor. 5) When we don't understand what it means to walk in our new nature or spiritual identity in Christ, we have a tendency to identify with our old ways and desires.

The remedy to dying to your old carnal or fleshly ways is to continue to walk by faith. What does that mean? You no longer listen to what your heart, lusts, the world, or Satan is saying. Rather, you adhere to the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. As you begin to walk by faith, and you discover your new identity apart from sin, your fleshly desires will begin to scream out, "Stop this faith stuff; I need some attention." You will know when your old man is getting the attention of your heart, when you begin to look at what walking by faith is keeping you from.

If this describes where you are spiritually, then you should know that you have gotten to the place in your faith walk that today's passage is teaching us all. When our flesh nature and worldly desire begins to tell us what we're missing while trusting and following Jesus, then we will have to begin to make some tough decisions. But if we will make the correct choices, we will find that it will get easier as our faith grows, and we walk consistently in our new identities.

It will become easier for two reasons. As you say "no" to the old man and "yes" to the Lord's will for your life, the old man is being crucified by the Word daily. As a result, you will walk in more authority over that flesh nature that once ruled you. This will make it much easier for you to say no to the flesh and the cares of this world. But, if you get to a place in your walk with Christ where it seems like He is asking more of you than you are receiving from Him, then know that is the time to seek Him more. Remember, you must decrease, and Jesus must increase. If you decrease, and yet don't pursue Him more, then the flesh nature will grow back stronger.

 The desired result is to seek first the kingdom of God and walk in His righteousness by faith, and everything else will be put in its proper place in our lives. Then we will walk in the fullness of our new identity and in spiritual authority. FREEDOM!!!

Crucifying the Flesh Nature,
Pastor Asa

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lord, Illuminate My Understanding

John 8 : 12, Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." NKJV

The Bible tells us that Satan is the author of confusion. Jesus said that Satan is a liar and the father of all lies. As you already know,  Satan represents darkness and loves to work under the cloak of darkness and/or ignorance so that his deeds won't be exposed.

This is where you, as a follower of Christ come into the story. When you received Jesus as Savior and Lord, along with that invitation, you accepted the Light of life into your heart. Therefore, as you continue to walk in the truth (or light), you will know things without having knowledge of them. You may wonder how it can be possible for a Christian to know something apart from having previous knowledge of it. Jesus always knew what was in someone's heart, even before they spoke to Him. Many times in the Gospel Jesus gives us the answer as to how this was possible. Jesus said the Father speaks to me, and I speak what I know from the Father. It would be like having a personal tutor and listening to them teach you new things that didn't come from your mind, but from your ears.

As you already know, we are living in some dark days. Now let's hold that thought for a moment. Jesus said we are "in" the world, but we're not "of" this world. When the sun sets, and the land becomes dark that is when people begin to turn on their "lights." It's not time to sit in darkness ... being complacent, but it is time to trim our wicks and fill our lamps with oil and let our lights shine in this dark world. How do we do this? The same way that Jesus did. He followed the voice of His Father and honored the written Word of God in His daily life. As He obeyed, it caused Him to walk in victory and exposed the darkness or evil in the hearts of unjust or wicked people.

We who follow Jesus and keep His sayings don't have to worry about the darkness, but we must be willing to listen to the truth and act on it in our personal lives; as we do, it will release the power of God to illuminate our lamps and cause us to shine like the noonday sun. We will have knowledge from the Lord that has come from our ability to hear Him instead of coming from our human mind ( thoughts and reasoning). One is based on God's truth, and the other bases its information on situations, conditions, and the behavior of others. If there has ever been a time in our lives that we need to walk by faith in the Lord, it is now. God is still on the throne, and He rules over the affairs of man. Satan isn't in control, but seeks to gain control over Christians through the threats of his lies. If you are anxious or worrying over the darkness, then turn to the Lord and allow Him to reveal the truth about what is happening. Once He speaks, not only will you have illumination, but you will know God's will concerning you. There you will find peace in the center of God's will.

Be Still and Know He Is God,
Pastor Asa

Monday, February 7, 2011

The God of Restoration

Joel 2: 12 - 14, "Now, therefore," says the LORD, "Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him -- A grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God? NKJV

From time to time, the Holy Spirit will give me a Word that is prophetic for the body of Christ. Prophetic simply means that He gives us insight into His plans so that we might know that we are not alone or abandoned in this world. Doesn't the Bible tell us that His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path? So it's no strange thing that He should occasionally give us prophetic utterances to lead our steps.

Does it seem that you're in a hard season in your life? Does it seem as though God has hidden Himself from you? Do you find it hard to hear from the Lord concerning your decisions and situations? If your answer is yes to one or more of the questions, then I can tell you, you're not alone. The natural question to ask at this point is, "Why"?

Hebrews 11 tells us that God rewards those who diligently seek Him. We are definitely living in a season where many people in the church have turned a deaf ear to the Lord. As a result, it has impacted the entire body of Christ in a negative way. Lest you think that what other Christians do doesn't impact the rest of the body, let's look at some scriptures. Paul was correcting the church of Corinth, because they allowed a man who was committing fornication with his father's wife (step-mother) to go unchallenged. He warned them that sin which is tolerated is called leaven, and leaven will spread through the entire loaf of bread. Leaven is a metaphor for spiritual pride in the church.

Another example of the entire body being affected by a man's sin is the account of Achan. Joshua sent a small delegation of Israel's army to fight in Ai. They had just defeated the fortified city of Jericho and all of its mighty men of valor, so the adrenaline of the men was running high. Achan had taken a portion of the spoils from Jericho (the accursed thing) and had hidden it in his tent. This went against the commandment of God. As a result of Achan's sin, the men of Israel were defeated by the men of Ai. This greatly discouraged Joshua and the men in Israel's army. One man's sin that remained covered, just as the man in the church at Corinth sin, caused the army of God to lose a battle.

 Now that we have scripture to confirm this word, what do we do as obedient Christians about the sin (in the camp)? Please read today's passages again. We must turn to the Lord and seek Him as never before. Why does the Lord require us, who are obedient and living sacrificially, to offer more prayer and time for the sake of others who are in sin? Do you remember Lot, Abraham's nephew? He was in Sodom and Gomorrah at the same time that God was about to destroy them. Abraham asked God if He would destroy the righteous with the wicked. God told Abraham that He wouldn't destroy them for the sake of ten righteous people (if there were ten righteous, then He wouldn't destroy it). What was Abraham doing? He was interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah. Because he prayed, God showed Abraham what would be required to preserve the lives in those plains.

Let me challenge you today on the authority of God's Word to begin praying and seeking the Lord on behalf of the body of Christ around the world. Who knows, but perhaps God will relent from the things that have been set in motion and reveal to us a new plan of restoration. After all, He is the God of restoration. We are the ministers of reconciliation and restoration. We sure do have a lot of work ahead of us, but won't it be wonderful when God gets His way in the earth through His obedient church?

Praying for the Lost,
Pastor Asa

Friday, February 4, 2011

Christ Has Redeemed Us

Romans 8: 1 - 5, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. NKJV

Did you know that what you believe affects your life, whether it's in a positive way or a negative way? Beliefs affect our perception as well as our actions; they also impact our words, and words are used to frame the world that we live in. John tells us in his gospel that God created the world with His Word. Having said these truths about our beliefs, let's look at one belief in particular.

Do you allow the situations, and circumstances of your life to determine what you believe? If things are going well with you, do you believe that you're blessed, and if they're not going well, you believe the opposite? Jesus tells us in John that though we're in the world, we aren't of the world, because Jesus did the work on mankind's behalf.

What exactly is Jesus speaking about... being in the world but not of it? He tells us in John 3, that if we will believe in Him, then we will become born again; we won't be born of the flesh, but by the Spirit of God. When we place our faith in the Word of God as the truth, the Word of God separates us from the rest of the world's population. Through the Word of God, we become kings and priests unto our God and more than conquerors now that we are made new in Christ. Simply put, we are blessed, but the world lives under the curse of the law of sin and death.

Paul teaches us a principle that we must know, understand, and believe deeply in our hearts. If you are truly born again, then you no longer live under the curse of the law of sin and death. Christians live under a different rule of law than sinners. We who have been redeemed through the precious blood of Jesus live by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ. Laws work whether we believe them or not. If someone should think that the law of gravity doesn't work, and they jumped from a high rise to prove their belief, they would soon get an understanding that the law of gravity works no matter their personal beliefs about it.

However, since we were born of a woman under the curse of sin and death, we are required to believe in the law of the Spirit of life for it to impact our fallen condition. You can believe that physical exercise helps you maintain a healthier body, but if you never exercise, then your belief in it won't change your health. In other words, if we believe in the law of the Spirit of life, but not enough to allow the Word to change our hearts, then it won't have the power to change our circumstance. You may ask, "Why is it that we have to believe and act on the law of the Spirit of life for it to be activated, but we don't have to act on the law of the curse of sin and death?" Adam acted on the law of the curse of sin and death; his actions placed all of us under that law. But when Christ came to earth as the Last Adam, He redeemed those who were under the curse of law through our faith.

So when we believe in the truths of God's Word, we must take our faith one step further and implement it through action. Remember what I said earlier? Our beliefs affect our perception and our actions. The truth is, Jesus has already broken the curse of sin for all mankind 2,000 years ago, but we must access that blessing through our faith today. In Christ, you are blessed... whether you feel like it or not. Begin acting on the law of the Spirit of life in Christ today, and you will see a change in your attitude as well.

Alive in Christ,
Pastor Asa  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

God Formed Man of the Dust

John 8: 56 - 59, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. NKJV

While studying the Bible, I have discovered that there were people who rejected Jesus, because they didn't believe Him; but, in the verses that followed, Jesus would confirm to those that remained with Him that He had spoken the truth. Just imagine for a moment; there will be people in hell that talked to Jesus face to face and walked away from their only way to heaven, because they just wouldn't believe Him. Yet, we know that if they had hung out with Him a little longer, they would have seen the confirmation of the truth. Doesn't the Bible tell us that God confirms His Word with signs and wonders following?

There were people in Jesus' day that sought a sign from Him that would prove to them His true identity. Jesus told those who sought signs that there would be none given except for His burial and resurrection. Yet, we see where Jesus would confirm to those who did BELIEVE on Him that He was the Son of God. So what can we conclude by these truths so far? Signs and wonders won't make a doubting Thomas believe. But if we will take Jesus at His Word, then He will confirm to us that His Word is the truth that saves us from our sins.

Example: God has never, nor will He ever give the Holy Spirit to someone who doesn't believe that Jesus is the Son of God in the flesh. However, for those who place their faith in Jesus as the Christ, God will confirm their faith by imparting into their hearts the Holy Spirit to confirm to them that they are now His children. So, without faith, we can't please or agree with God, but when we believe in Jesus, He will give us His witness.

To fully appreciate what I'm about to share, please read the last part of chapter 8 and the first part of chapter 9. Throughout chapter 8, the Pharisees are opposed Jesus and tried to make Him out to be a liar and a blasphemer; they did this because Jesus told them that He was the Son of God, and that they weren't the children of Abraham. Finally, He told them that He existed before Abraham was even born. When they heard this truth, it caused them to be filled with rage and violence, and they tried to stone Him.

As Jesus was departing from the temple, He saw a man that had been blind since birth. Remember, He has just been threatened by a group of religious zealots, and now He is about to confirm His true identity, but they won't be a part of it. Jesus spit on the dust of the ground and made clay; He then took the clay and placed it on the sockets where this man's eyes were supposed to be and told the man to go and wash at the pool of Siloam. Once the clay was washed off of his eyes, the man had sight for the first time in his life.

The Jews knew how God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and, here Jesus is, using dust to form eyes for this blind man. Do you suppose the people put the two things together and realized that they were standing in the presence of God that day? Through this creative miracle, Jesus confirmed what the religious Pharisees wouldn't even hear.

What are you faced with in your life today? Do you have faith that Jesus is Lord of your life? If we will only believe, then He will confirm His Word with signs and wonders on our behalf. What a mighty God we serve!

By Faith I Can See,
Pastor Asa

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Fresh Start

Hebrews 9 : 13 - 15, For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? NKJV

Are you in need of a fresh start in your life? Then what a blessing it is for you that one of Jesus' names is Alpha, meaning the beginning; in Him, you can have a fresh start. There's more to being in Christ than just knowing that your past sins are forgiven. Although Christians believe that they are forgiven when they accept Jesus as their personal Savior, many of us still war with the thoughts and scars of our past, and we carry them over into salvation.

Unfortunately, becoming born again doesn't make us fully understand all that Jesus did for us on the cross. Peter tells us in his epistle that Satan is going about as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. When we don't know or understand the "good news," it leaves the door open for Satan to war against us in our minds. God tells us in Hosea that His people are destroyed because they lack knowing the truth.

Ministers have done an excellent job teaching converts on the principle of forgiveness. But, I have found that people can know that they are forgiven and still beat themselves down because they struggle with a guilty conscience. Read what I'm about to write to you very carefully. You can know forgiveness, but if you don't know that the blood of Christ has also purged your defiled (or guilty) conscience from dead works, then you will carry guilt over into grace and try to earn your freedom.

Satan understands that you are forgiven in Christ, but if he or his imps see that you struggle with shame or self-blame over past sins, then he will quickly become your accuser. He will shoot fiery darts of condemnation or unworthiness at your mind in the absence of truth. It's not that you haven't received forgiveness, but that you must understand that Jesus' blood also purges your guilty or defiled conscience from the stains of past sins. So not only does Jesus' blood offer you atonement, but it goes the extra step and cleanses your conscience from even the shame or pain of sin. Spiritual ignorance of truth will cause all of us to struggle with something that, in Christ, is supposed to be buried forever. When we struggle, then Satan will know that we are an open target for spiritual warfare. When the warfare begins to assault our minds, then we will have a conflict between what we believe in our hearts and the thoughts in our minds. Since we can't override the thoughts in our minds, because of an absence of the knowledge of truth, we will try to work (dead works) to satisfy or earn a freedom that has already been extended through forgiveness.

So you can see how vitally important it is for believers to know what it is we say that we believe. Only when we know the truth will truth have the power to be released into our spirits, so that we can overcome the warfare in our minds, and then find God's peace for our lives. Now you know that not only are you forgiven, but you're also free. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

Discovering the Truths in Christ,
Pastor Asa

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We Must Decide

Hebrews 11 : 24 - 26, By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. NKJV

Our Lord has told us in the gospel of John that we're in this world, but we're not of this world. When you and I were born, we were born into this natural realm, but when we became born again in Christ, we were born into the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is a spiritual realm.

We exist in the spiritual realm of God's kingdom only through our faith in Christ; when we believe in Jesus, (receive Him into our hearts) then the Father will give the Holy Spirit to each of us. When anyone has repented and asked Jesus to be their Savior, they become new creatures in Christ. We can see the principle that I'm sharing today illustrated for us by looking into the life of Moses.

The story of Moses is very intriguing. When Moses was a baby, the king of Egypt sought to destroy him. Moses' mother, in an attempt to preserve his life, placed him in a basket. She took him to a river and there she said goodbye to her child. As the basket floated down the river, Moses' sister walked along the bank of the river and watched over the child.  His sister kept quiet when she observed a servant of the King's daughter take the baby to the Egyptian princess, and the princess received the child as her own.

When the King's daughter took the child, she asked her maid-servant to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. It happened that Moses' sister knew a woman who could nurse the baby for the princess (Moses' own mother). As Moses' mother provided for her own son in the house of Pharaoh, she taught Moses that he was a Hebrew and not a child of the Egyptians. As an Egyptian, Moses had the best that money could buy; he could enjoy the pleasures of this world without restraint. But as a Hebrew, he would be rejected and pursued once again.

Though he was born the son of a Hebrew woman, there came a time in his life that he had to choose which way he would go. As children of God, we have to make the same decision. Although we are born again, there will be those moments when the Devil will tempt us to become like those in the world, but we must choose to suffer as Moses did in Egypt. He chose the reproach of Christ as greater riches, because he knew that there would be a reward one day.

 In those moments when Satan is tempting us, we must remember whose child we are and continue to esteem the reproach of Christ over the pleasures of sin. If we will, then there is laid up for us a reward in heaven. Jesus tells us in the gospels that if we leave family, houses, land, or possessions for His name sake, then we will receive them back one hundred-fold in this life and eternal life as well. He has loved us, but He wants to know if we will love Him more than this world's riches.

Laying Up Treasures in Heaven,
Pastor Asa Dockery