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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Resurrection Power of Christ

2 Corinthians 12 : 7 - 10, And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. NKJV

Have you ever gone through something as a Christian that you thought you would never be able to bear, much less overcome? Can I tell you, by the authority of God's Word, that there is something far more destructive to your soul than anything you have faced in the past or will ever face in this life while walking by faith? SELF is a far greater enemy to our own soul than Satan, suffering, and even death.

 In order to keep us on guard as His children, God has given every person both a measure of faith and His Word (Romans 12). With this portion of faith, we can choose to resist the works of the Devil that cause us great horror, anguish, and pain. As we stand in defiance to Satan's attacks through our faith in Christ, the grace of God will come upon our hearts and will empower us to overcome our flesh nature (self) and trust the Lord. The end result of this type of battle against our faith will cause us to know Christ and will also cause us to become conformed into His image... as long as we stay the course.

In John 3, Jesus tells us that He wasn't sent into the world to condemn the world, but that THROUGH HIM the world might be saved. He goes on to say that many will reject Him, because their deeds are evil, and they hate the LIGHT. It is the will of man that will send people to hell to live eternally in the lake of fire... not God. In order to become a child of God, we had to submit our will to Him as our Lord. Now He is the Lord of our lives, and we are the earthen vessels that are to bring Him glory and honor through a holy life. Since self has been and will continue to be our worst enemy, God uses our faith in His Son to overcome the world.

Do you remember, in Daniel 3, the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the three Hebrew men that were threatened with being burned alive in a fiery furnace if they didn't bow their knee to the King's idol? They told the king that their God was able to deliver them from the fire, but that, even if He didn't, they would still be delivered in the fire from the wicked king. You see, they didn't allow the threat of being tortured and killed by fire make them go back on their faith in God. Here's the clincher! Since they chose to suffer for their faith, God kept them with HIS resurrection power while they were in the furnace. When we choose to suffer for the sake of Christ instead of giving into the will of our flesh (self), then God will give us, in exchange for our trust, His mighty power to confront, endure, and conqueror our enemy. Then we will know our God and be strong.

As we are conformed unto the death of Christ, in order that the body of sin might be done away with, we are at the same time, through our faith, partaking of His resurrection power. As we partake of God's resurrection power during the furnaces of our life, we also know that death has no power over our souls either. You might be asking, "Why does God put us through all these trials and afflictions? Does He want to kill us?" NO! He wants us, through faith in Him, to crucify the flesh nature so that we might become partakers of His DIVINE nature and overcome the last enemy which is death.

Hebrews 2 : 14 - 15,
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. NKJV

Through our faith and God's amazing GRACE, He empowers us to live a life of spiritual freedom in spite of Satan's attacks against us. He sent Jesus to set us free from sin through His death and to liberate us through His life in us from the fear of death so that we can obey His Word. So the next time you're faced with an unthinkable horror, remember this: You're a child of the Most High God, and He is with you to empower you with resurrection power. His power will carry you through if you will submit to His will as Paul did. 

Submitted to His GRACE,
Pastor Asa

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jesus Said

John 6: 60 - 64, Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?" When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe." NKJV

I can look back to when our three sons were attending primary school and elementary school and remember that, as young parents, Debbie and I were stretched many times to accomplish all that was required to see that their needs were provided for. Debbie was the president of the P.T. A. (Parent-Teacher Association), and I helped her fulfill the duties that her role carried as the president. We held many fund raisers and special events for the children; so I know how you must feel when raising your family and juggling a career makes life very demanding.

Even though we sometimes lead very busy lives, and we can find some fulfillment in that, there is far more to life than having a good time or watching our children grow up and become blessed young men and/or women. If we're not careful, as adults, we can live in the strength and knowledge of our soul... which includes the mind, will, and emotions, and we will bankrupt our lives, because we have forgotten the Source of life.

In today's scripture verses, Jesus tells us that His Words are spirit and they are life. In order to fully enjoy, and sometimes just endure life, we must tap into the life-giving power that is contained in the Word of God through our faith in Jesus Christ. There's only one small obstacle that humans must overcome in order to be able to receive life from what Jesus has said. Here is the obstacle: After Jesus told His disciples that His words were spirit, and they were truth, He went on to say that there were some people who were present that day that didn't believe. You see, without faith, we can't come into agreement with the Lord and access the power that is needed to live a spiritually victorious life in the natural, earthly, realm.

Let's take this discussion a step deeper. Before God created man, He made the statement, "Let us create man in our image and according to our likeness. We know that God is Spirit, because the Word tells us this many times. Here's the dilemma: Paul tells us, in Romans, that the law of God is spiritual, and we are carnal (Soulish). He also writes, in 1 Corinthians 15, that the first Adam was a living SOUL, but the Last Adam, Jesus is a life-giving SPIRIT. So you can see that, even though we were created in the image of God, we weren't created spirit beings. This simply means that humans have the breath of life, but not the Spirit of Life dwelling in us. So when we place faith in God's Word and in Jesus Christ as His Son, He gives us the Spirit of life so that we are able to live beyond this life (into eternal life).

So, while you're dropping off your children at school or practice, taking the family dog to the veterinarian or groomer, and delivering your clothes to be dry cleaned for the next work week don't forget to get into the Word and read what Jesus has to say about eternal life. You might be thinking, "Well I'm saved, and I already know all there is about eternal life." That's fair, but did you know that you also need the Word of God to live a victorious life while you still exist in the natural realm. It's time we look at the Bible as a "RIGHT NOW" Word instead of a "SOME DAY" Word. The Just are SAVED by faith, but we must also LIVE by FAITH.

Through modern technology, you can take the Word of God with you and read it while you're waiting on your children, the groomer, and the cleaners. You don't have to run off of battery (soul) power alone, you can live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Put some super on your natural today and spring into action against the enemy of your soul through God's inspired Word.

We Have an App for That,
Pastor Asa 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Romans 2: 1 - 4, You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? NIV

According to Paul, we can be harder both on ourselves and on others concerning the matter of sin than God is. As fallen humans, who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, it would appear that we would extend more mercy toward others' transgressions, but that isn't always the case. Since we have a tendency to be more critical toward others' sin than our own, it can cause us to begin to struggle in our own walk of faith and grace.

A guilty conscious can cause the recipients of grace to forget just how God has found us, and where He has brought us from. A guilty conscience can also cause us to judge people who are in sin and demand swifter justice, and yet turn right around and beg God to extend His mercy and grace to cover our own shortcomings and failures. There is a perfect example in John 8 of how a guilty conscience can cause people to be very judgmental and condemning of others... even after they have committed the same sin and/or received forgiveness themselves. 

While Jesus was teaching early one Sabbath morning, some men brought a woman to Him that was caught in the act of adultery. These men were ready to try her case, convict her of sin, and condemn her to death until Jesus spoke up. He reminded them of something that they had not taken into account... they also had a sin issue in their own hearts. Once Jesus reminded them of their past, the men saw the error of their ways and dropped their rocks. Once they were gone, Jesus told the woman that He didn't condemn her either. Then He said to the woman, "Go and sin no more." Don't you find it interesting that the guilty men wanted to stone her, but the GUILTLESS Man forgave her and released her without punishment?

Through the teaching of Paul and the love that is demonstrated through Christ, we can begin to see that God is LONG SUFFERING when it comes to sin. He doesn't "fly off of the handle" like people do when they find out that others have sin in their lives. When you think about the difference between man's point-of-view toward sin verses God's point-of-view toward sin could it be that we also know, through experience, what it is like once we have tasted of God's goodness, and we want others to taste of it as well? When we mix God's goodness with our zeal and judgmental attitude, we will fall short of God's grace every time... as it pertains to reaching out to people in their faults, failures, and sin.

God is long suffering; it's not that He winks or permits sin. Instead, He is giving humans an opportunity to repent of the error of their ways before it's too late for them. It is the goodness of God that produces true Biblical repentance and not man's hellfire and brimstone judgments. If Jesus didn't condemn sin in people's lives, then how can we, as His ambassadors do so?  I'm writing this to you because the Lord revealed a scripture to me today that ties in with Paul's writing in Romans. Now, hopefully, we can clearly see the heart of God and change the way we go about confronting sin in other people's lives.

Isaiah 6: 1 - 7, In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged." NKJV

In this setting, Isaiah is mourning over the death of King Uzziah. (We mourn over the sin in our life that produces death.) In the same year that the king died, Isaiah saw the beauty and power of the Lord. It was while he was mourning over a death that God revealed to him His beauty and majesty; this causes Isaiah to realize that he is a sinner, a man that is undone and who has unclean lips, and is living among a people of unclean lips. You see, it was the goodness of God coupled with the brokenness of loss that brought Isaiah to a place of repentance. The Angel touched the lips of Isaiah and purged him of his sins. As a result of this encounter with God's goodness, Isaiah answers the calling of God to become a prophet and to speak to the nation of Israel for the Lord. An amazing story isn't it? So let's allow the beauty and the power of the Lord to shine through our hearts to others and watch as the conviction power of God turns a hard heart into a heart of flesh.

Lord, I Want to See Your Glory,
Pastor Asa

Monday, March 28, 2011

Is Hell A Real Place?

2 Peter 2:1-2, But there were false prophets, too, in those days, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly tell their lies about God, turning against even their Master who bought them; but theirs will be a swift and terrible end. Many will follow their evil teaching that there is nothing wrong with sexual sin. And because of them Christ and his way will be scoffed at. TLB

In Matthew 24, Jesus tells us to beware of false prophets in the last days. He also tells us that many will be deceived through the lies of these false teachers. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4: 4 - 6, There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. NKJV

 Lately, we are hearing many voices on television and on the internet professing that there are many ways to heaven. But, according to the Word of God, there is only one God and only one way to God, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. Recently, I have heard of some "preachers" saying that hell wasn't real, or that there was no literal hell. They justified this on the premise that God is love, and a loving God would never subject a human being to an eternity of horrific suffering.

God didn't create evil, nor was He the originator of sin... as some would have you to believe. In chapter one, James tells us that God cannot be tempted with evil nor does He tempt anyone with sin, but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Therefore, sin exists because Satan came to Eve in the form of a serpent and seduced her to rebel against God's commandment, and she sinned. You see, we must know the truth if we're going to be able to overcome the deceptive ways of false teachers.

Now let's address the lie about "a loving God wouldn't send someone to hell." First of all, God won't send anyone to hell, but if we reject Jesus and refuse to confess our sins as sin, then our sin demands punishment. Here's the good news: when Adam and Eve chose to sin against God's will, and through that sin brought a curse upon all of mankind, God could have allowed us all to perish without a second chance, but He didn't. If you have sin in your life, then know that there is still hope. God is definitely the God of the Second Chance for those who call on His name, Jesus.

Is God a God of LOVE? Absolutely! Is God a God of justice? Absolutely! But, instead of demanding justice of fallen man, God sent His only begotten Son and poured His wrath upon Him for our sin. In John 3, he tells us that Jesus came into the world to save sinners, not to condemn them. Now tell me, does that sound like a God that would send you to hell? He allowed Jesus, who was innocent, to pay the price; then He forgave us, for Christ sake, who were guilty and allowed us to go free.

So what will happen to those who choose to reject the GIFT of the God of the Second Chance? Their sin and not God will condemn them to eternal punishment. Could they have avoided that punishment? Yes. Jesus took the sin of the entire world and for all generations upon Himself; yet, He was sinless. The price for our sin has been paid, but we must accept that free gift. If someone should choose to reject Jesus, the writer of Hebrews warns us that there is no other sacrifice.

So why does a preacher who preaches from the Word of God contradict the Word? Peter tells us why in today's passage. They will cleverly tell their lies about God, turning against even their Master who bought them; but theirs will be a swift and terrible end. 2 Many will follow their evil teaching that there is nothing wrong with sexual sin. And because of them Christ and his way will be scoffed at. 

They have allowed sin to fill their hearts, and instead of confessing their sin as sin and repenting of it, they seek to justify their sin by perverting the truth that they, themselves, once believed in as teachers of Christ. Beware of false teachers that would try to seduce you away from the truth and corrupt your soul with falsehood. There is indeed a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. If you have sin in your life, today is the day of salvation. Simply call on Jesus, confess your sins, and ask for His forgiveness. He will cleanse you with His blood and fill your heart with His Holy Spirit, and you will live with Him forever and ever.

Hell Is Not My Home,
Pastor Asa

Friday, March 25, 2011

Keeping Your Focus on Jesus

Matt 24:9-14, "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 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. NKJV

Since the creation of man, Satan has tried to be creative in the area of distraction. When I was in elementary school, a couple of boys made it their mission in life to bully and intimidate me. Though they made threats and occasionally inflicted pain upon me, I never allowed their intimidation to prevent me from doing my school work. Now that I'm a pastor, I can look back and see that those bullies were only helping me prepare for the "real" battle. Satan is constantly trying to bully me and God's people around with the hope that we will become so fearful that we will lose faith in God and stop obeying His will in the earth.

 God has given me a scripture in Isaiah 54 that can help us to combat the spirit of fear when Satan rears his lying head against us. God has promised those who remain faithful to Him that no weapon that is formed shall be able to prosper against us. Wouldn't it be nice if it stated instead, "No weapon shall be able to be formed against us?" If that were the case, then where would our faith and trust in God come into the picture? Satan doesn't just use threats; he will also use pleasurable distractions to lead believers away from fulfilling the plan of God in our lives.

When we see the devastation that is going on in the world today, we must remember the words written in 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

If the devastation should cause us to do anything, it should draw us closer in fellowship with our heavenly Father through intercession. Yet, we see in the church that when calamity occurs, people will generally become distracted and fall away from the purpose of God for their lives. Let me write to you in this light; imagine that the news has been tracking a tornado that is scheduled to come through your neighborhood. Since there is emanate danger, you have someone keep watch while you keep your eyes on the news anchor. As they announce on the news that the tornado is just about to hit your neighborhood, you hear the person watching for the actual tornado yell, "It's across the way and headed for us." And instead of remaining inside of your home, fear drives you out into the fury of the storm where you have no protection.

This occurs whenever Christians focus on the report of the enemy's plots and plans and not on God's promises to protect and preserve us as in Psalms 91. Let me conclude with this thought. Jesus foretold us about these events transpiring over two-thousand years ago, and it was written down for our admonishment. "Seeing" warns us in Matthew and says, "See that I have told you before it happens, lest you become offended." (My version)

Read the passage from Matthew 24 again and look at what Jesus tells us while all of the deceit, hard heartedness and tribulation are taking place. ...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.

He commands us to remain focused and walking by faith and NOT BY SIGHT. He is very capable and willing to keep us in our hour of need as long as we don't break rank and run out from spiritual covering (Obedience). If fear has gripped your heart and your attention to the point that you're slipping in your walk, it means you're being seduced into Satan's deceptive web of fear. Ask the Lord to strengthen your heart with might through the Holy Spirit and repent. (Ephesians 3) Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil. Why? Because God is with us; His rod and staff they comfort us, and we will DWELL in the house of the Lord forever. PROTECTION from the storm!

Abiding Under the Shadow,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Want to Glorify Jesus

James 2: 14 - 17, What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. NKJV

How does a Christian bring glory to Jesus anyway? Do we do this through our words of praise and adoration? Partially, but it is a life that demonstrates the love of God that brings glory to Christ. James gives a great example that shows us what true and complete faith should look like. In the analogy, James addresses the issue of us telling people about Jesus, but not showing them Jesus through our love for Him. If we don't learn to effectively show them Jesus, then the need in their lives will never be supplied.

When Jesus came to earth, it was for the sole purpose of glorifying the Father among the Jews. He accomplished this by obeying the Father's will while He walked among His own people. It was toward the end of His ministry and life on earth that Jesus told the disciples of His soon coming death on the cross. As He discussed this event with them, Jesus said that He was not alone, because the Father was with Him. Catch this next statement from the mouth of our Savior: "He is with me BECAUSE I always DO THOSE THINGS that please the Father." In other words, Jesus pleased the Father by being willing to serve God's purpose in the earth and not His own desire. As a result of Jesus' obedience, the Father empowered Him in His greatest moment of anguish and suffering to glorify God in His body.

By the same token, we must show our faith ... not just talk about it to others. As we demonstrate our faith through obedience, then the life of Christ is released into our hearts; that Life will cause us to live a godly life in a sin filled world. In John 15, Jesus tells us, His disciples, that we are to abide in the Vine (Him) through active faith in accordance to the Word and the will of God. Then we will bear fruit and be His disciples indeed. As we bear fruit, our lives will glorify our heavenly Father and Christ, His Son. What is the Holy Spirit telling you to do in your life? Are you being obedient or has fear kept you from stepping out? In order for your faith or mine to be complete or save us, we must follow up His instructions with our obedient actions; then we will overcome self and glorify our Savior and Lord.

I Am Not Alone,
Pastor Asa

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When She Heard

Mark 5:27-28, When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, "If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well." NKJV

You can see in the passage above that what we hear can, and will affect our lives. That's not only true in the world, but also in the church. When you hear negative comments about healing being in the past, and that miracles aren't for today, those words can affect your ability to believe. The Bible instructs us to guard our hearts, for out of it flow the issues of life. Fortunately, this woman, who had an issue of blood for twelve years heard about all the wonderful things Jesus had been performing in other people's lives, and this caused faith to arise in her heart. She believed that if she could touch Him, what had happened to others would also come true for her. She heard, she said, and she acted on her belief in what she had heard. Doctors couldn't help her, and money had failed her, but faith in Jesus made her whole.

Mark 5:29-30, Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. NKJV

Immediately her problem of twelve years was over. Active faith caused her to overcome a long-term problem. Do you have an issue in your life that needs a touch from the Master's hand? Take a few moments and read about miracles that Jesus performed in the Word of God, and allow your faith to reach out and touch Him through prayer. Like this woman, you have no need that anyone pray for you; just believe that you receive, and Jesus said you shall have what you ask for.

Romans 10:17, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. NKJV

The moment you receive your miracle, or healing let us know; through your testimony others can have their faith increased and receive their breakthrough.

In His service,
Pastor Asa

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

And You Visited Me

Matthew 25: 42 - 43, For I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' NKJV

Paul was given amazing revelations about God's infinite wisdom, as well as divine understanding about Jesus as the Christ. In Colossians, he tells us that God has made known to us what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

It is a mystery to the world that a sinner can be transformed and become righteous through faith. Since the lost don't believe in God or in His Word, they don't believe that a person can truly change. This can help us understand why worldly people, who refuse to believe that a person can be born again and change, also struggle with forgiving those who have wronged them. Man wants us to make things right before forgiveness is granted, but God extended forgiveness to us while we were still sinners, two-thousand years ago. When we seek God's forgiveness, He then gives us Christ, and Christ in us makes us right; it is not of our own works.  We must accept His forgiveness by faith, because we can't do anything to earn it or undo anything that we've already done.

The world doesn't realize or acknowledge that God can transform us, because Satan, the "god of this world" has blinded them to the truth that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. Jesus describes what the term "saved by faith" means when He told His disciples to allow the children to come to Him for of such was the kingdom of heaven. He also used the innocent faith/trust of a child to tell us that if we desire to be saved from sin and to not go back into it, we must become like a little child and trust our heavenly Father... without conditions. When we place our trust in the work of Christ and allow Him to fill our hearts, we become a new creature in Him.

Sometimes, we, Christians can find ourselves in very difficult and demanding situations. It is in this context that Jesus is teaching us, His disciples, to reach out to people wherever they might be. Since Christ is on the inside of us, people might not recognize Him in us as quickly when we are homeless, hungry, sick, naked, or in prison, but God does. Jesus teaches us to look at people as He does. He doesn't look at our surroundings, bank account, education, gender, ethnicity, or failures, but He does look on the heart. Since He looks on the heart and has forgiven us while we were sinners, He requires us to look beyond others' faults and see their needs through eyes of compassion.

As you can see in today's scripture, Jesus can be found in all types of situations. Yet, if we don't seek Him out while He is there in the hearts of the hurting and cast down, then He will find fault with us when we stand before Him on Judgment Day. God is just and the justifier of all that will believe. He is just toward me, and He is just toward you.  So, if I treat you unjust while He treats me just, then I will pay the price for the error of my own self-righteous ways. By the same token, if someone is treating you unjustly, you are not justified by returning the same treatment to them. We must trust the Father, who sees the things that are done in secret, but rewards (good or evil) openly.

If you're a Christian, and you're not already involved in your church's benevolent ministries, then GET INVOLVED; reach outside the walls! Let's be Christ both to those who have Christ, but don't look like Him, because of where life has landed them and to those who need to meet Him for the first time.

Reaching Out to the World,
Pastor Asa

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Blessing of Abraham

Galatians 3: 13 - 14, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. NKJV

I'm sure that if you have attended a church service during the resurrection season (Easter), then you have probably heard a sermon about Jesus dying for our sins. Jesus was the perfect Lamb that was offered as a ransom (or payment) for mankind's sin. But under the Levitical priesthood, there were men that were selected to serve as priests, and who offered sacrifices for the covering of Israel's sin. The office that Jesus filled while He was on the earth was very unique; Jesus is our High Priest, but He was also our spotless Lamb. As the High Priest, He offered Himself unto the Father in heaven, His offering was accepted, and payment was made in full.

Now that we have discussed the payment of sin by our Savior, let's look at the principle that Paul teaches us in Galatians. He tells us that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law... having become a curse for us. The Bible is very clear that all of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory; but did you realize that God gave mankind the Law so that we can know (or have consciousness) of sin in our hearts? Sin blinded man's heart to our own transgression against God's law. This is why you read in Genesis where Adam blamed Eve instead of confessing the sin in his own heart. His heart was darkened by sin to his own sinful ways.

When God handed down the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, and the Jews transgressed against the Law, it caused the curse to manifest in their lives. Look at the account where the Jews were in the wilderness before the law was given; there you'll see that they murmured against Moses and God and nothing happened (no consequences). Then look at the time that they murmured against Moses and God after the Law; they were bitten by fiery serpents. The Law revealed that we were living under the curse of sin and not just living in sin. The wages of sin is death.

Today the Lord wanted me to teach you the difference between sin and the curse of sin through the Law. If we are saved by faith, then we must also live or obey by faith so that the grace of God might continue to set us free from the bondage's of our flesh nature. But if we should decide to live according to the lusts of our flesh nature instead of walking by faith, then we place ourselves back under the law... through works and the curse of the Law. When, as Christians, we choose to live according to the lusts of the flesh instead of obeying God by faith, we are committing iniquities that allow the curse of the Law to manifest in our lives. If you struggle with iniquity as a Christian, which is defined as:  do amiss; bow down; make crooked; perverse; do wickedly, then all that the Father requires is that we repent and turn from our own wicked ways and obey His ways. Isaiah tells us that God has laid on Christ the iniquities of us all. In Christ, not only are our sins forgiven, but when we repent for disobedience and begin to obey, so are our iniquities forgiven. We are in Christ, but we must also live and walk in Christ in order to be free from the curse of the Law.

Class Dismissed,
Pastor Asa

Friday, March 18, 2011

What Good Thing Must I Do?

Matthew 19:16, someone came to Jesus with this question: "Teacher, what good things must I do to have eternal life?" NLT

There is so much more to being a Christian than being righteous. In no way am I diminishing the work that Christ did while on the earth on our behalf. Even the writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 6: 1 - 3, Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. NKJV

Paul teaches us in the book of Romans that the Just shall live by faith. It's not enough for us to be saved by faith, but we are required by our heavenly Father to live this new life by faith. Faith comes from hearing, but hearing comes from the Word of God. (My Version) In Hebrews 11: 6, we read that without faith, it is impossible to please God. So we must also "walk" by faith and not just be "saved" by faith. What does this mean for you as a child of God? 

Jesus asks those who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him And learn of Him, because He is meek and lowly of heart... as we do as He asks, we will find rest for our souls. Most Christians understand that no one is saved by their own works, but through faith in the work of Christ. But have you given much thought to: "Now that I'm a Christian, how do I go about living this Christian life?" If it was possible to live the Christian life in our own strength, then why would we be given the Holy Spirit and God's grace? As Christians, we can grow very tired of always living right in this fallen world. This is why I'm writing this devotion to you today. Jesus doesn't want us to grow tired while doing well, because we will reap in due season... if we do not faint along the way.

How many believers do you know personally that have grown cold in their relationship with the Lord? If you were to ask them why, most would probably tell you that they just grew tired. In the same way that we were saved by faith, we must also learn how to live by faith. Now that we are born again, without faith or trust in the Lord, there can be no grace extended. What is grace? It is described in 2 Corinthians 12 as God's strength when we become weak from the trials in this life on earth. If we refuse to trust the Lord in the trials of life, then we will grow weak without God's grace to carry us through them. In this story, Paul was obedient, but his obedience was met with persecution, affliction, and heartache. At that point in his walk, Paul didn't need righteousness, but he did need God's grace to come on His life.

Here is how grace came on Paul's life to help him endure the trials of being obedient in world that is filled with rebellion. Instead of Paul telling God, "I quit because of the afflictions I am suffering as a result of living righteous," Paul chose to trust in the Lord and continued walking with God. Once he chose to continue by faith, the grace of God came on his heart and his attitude changed immediately. He tells us, in chapter 12 that after God extended him grace, he rejoices in his afflictions and in persecution. The reason he was rejoicing, instead of complaining was because the power of Christ had come upon his heart to endure in God's strength and not in his own strength. God will give grace to the humble, but He will resist the proud. It might not look like you can make it in the natural, but just remember this; you're not alone, because God is with you. Scoot over and let God take the weight off of your shoulders and carry it for you to the finish line!

God's Grace Is Sufficient,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Let Your Faith Carry It

Mark 11:23-24, For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. NKJV

Do you sometimes feel like there's a huge weight on your shoulders? Well, you are not alone; it's hard to live in this world and not get weighted down sometimes, but, thankfully, we don't have to remain under that burden. We have an Advocate with the Father, and His name is Jesus. He sits at the right hand of the Father and ever lives to make intercession for us. As our High Priest, Jesus knows what it is like for us to live in a fallen world, because He experienced burdens and anguish when He walked on the earth.

If you have a heavy burden on your heart today, I have some really good news for you. Your faith in Christ gives you the access to take that burden before the Lord and leave it on the altar. So let me ask you a question. What has you troubled or burdened down with heaviness? Got it in your thoughts? Now allow me to take you outside of your burdensome situation for a moment. Does Jesus have all authority in heaven and on the earth and beneath the earth? Yes He does. Does He dwell in your heart through the power of the Holy Spirit within you? Yes, greater is He that is within you than he that is in the world.

We've established that there is nothing too hard for Jesus. In fact, Jesus tells us that, with God, nothing shall be impossible. As a general rule Christians don't struggle with the issue of Jesus' authority; where the battle erupts is when our authority as a believer is challenged. This is why Jesus tells us in Mark that we must not allow doubt to enter our hearts when we take a stand of faith. So how do we overcome doubt? In Genesis 3, the serpent questioned the truth of God's Word and the character of God. His lie caused Eve to doubt God and His Word. So how does faith come? Faith comes through the ear gate just like doubt did in the beginning. When we're standing in faith for a burden to be removed from our hearts, we must cast any doubt down that might cause us to second guess the validity of God's promises to us. 

Having stated these truths, please allow me to leave you with this final illustration. The other day I heard that Debbie and I were going to have to do something that disturbed me, and I began to feel the weight of having to face the situation. Later that week, I was reading something out of a book, and I noticed that when I read about the authority that we have in Christ, the truths in that book lifted that weight. At that moment, I knew that I was no longer carrying the weight of that encounter... even though we still have to do it.

My faith was now carrying that burden; my heart wasn't. This is why it is so vitally important that you get into the Word and allow the Word to get into you. The Bible gives us truths that pertain to any and all situations that we will face in the world. Once we receive God's truth pertaining to a particular situation or burden, our faith becomes energized and carries the weight so that we don't have to as we confront and go through difficult times in our lives. The writer of Hebrews tells us to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us and let us run the race with endurance. With your faith carrying the weight, you're free now to expend your spiritual energy running the race.

Staying Focused on Christ,
Pastor Asa

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

He Has Given Us His Life and Name

Ephesians 2:4-8, But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, NKJV

The name of the Lord is to be praised from the rising of the sun until the going down of the same! Christians have so much to praise God for; while we were dead in our trespasses and sin, God loved us so much. If you are a Child of God, then you have been given a new life that will never end. You know first-hand what it's like to experience the resurrection power of God in your heart and soul. God is so loving and faithful toward those who place their trust in Him. He not only gave us His life, but the Lord has given us His name, and in that name we have His authority to rule over the enemy.

I'm sure you've heard of heroic rescues where someone put their life on the line in order to rescue another person from death. As a toddler, my niece drowned, and a man happened to be on the scene who knew exactly what to do in order to revive her. I mention this only to show you the depths of God's love for you as one of His children. None of the people who have risked their own lives to save the life of someone in harm's way, no matter how heroic, has given what we have received from our Lord. Those who have saved someone's life could never promise those who have been brought back from a deadly situation that they would never have to be subject to death again; they only had the power to rescue.

Jesus not only rescued us from an eternity of condemnation, He has given us the Holy Spirit of promise, who is our guarantee that we will never be eternally separated from God (life) again. After he made us alive unto Himself, He made us to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. God has given us the name of Jesus that we might have authority over the enemy, who once used the power of sin to destroy our lives. So you see, God not only saved us and gave us eternal life, but He has also given us authority to live a holy life... free from the bondage's of sin and the fear of death.

God didn't just restore us back to where man was before sin came into the world, but He has made us to sit with Christ in heavenly authority over the Devil. Don't you feel a "Praise" coming on? If you will take time to meditate on all that Jesus did for you while you were a sinner, it will cause His life and hope to spring up in your soul like a river. "When I think of His goodness and all that He's done for me it makes want to shout!"

Declaring His Greatness,
Pastor Asa

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

He Has Given Us His Life and Name

Ephesians 2:4-8, But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, NKJV

The name of the Lord is to be praised from the rising of the sun until the going down of the same! Christians have so much to praise God for; while we were dead in our trespasses and sin, God loved us so much. If you are a Child of God, then you have been given a new life that will never end. You know first-hand what it's like to experience the resurrection power of God in your heart and soul. God is so loving and faithful toward those who place their trust in Him. He not only gave us His life, but the Lord has given us His name, and in that name we have His authority to rule over the enemy.

I'm sure you've heard of heroic rescues where someone put their life on the line in order to rescue another person from death. As a toddler, my niece drowned, and a man happened to be on the scene who knew exactly what to do in order to revive her. I mention this only to show you the depths of God's love for you as one of His children. None of the people who have risked their own lives to save the life of someone in harm's way, no matter how heroic, has given what we have received from our Lord. Those who have saved someone's life could never promise those who have been brought back from a deadly situation that they would never have to be subject to death again; they only had the power to rescue.

Jesus not only rescued us from an eternity of condemnation, He has given us the Holy Spirit of promise, who is our guarantee that we will never be eternally separated from God (life) again. After he made us alive unto Himself, He made us to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. God has given us the name of Jesus that we might have authority over the enemy, who once used the power of sin to destroy our lives. So you see, God not only saved us and gave us eternal life, but He has also given us authority to live a holy life... free from the bondage's of sin and the fear of death.

God didn't just restore us back to where man was before sin came into the world, but He has made us to sit with Christ in heavenly authority over the Devil. Don't you feel a "Praise" coming on? If you will take time to meditate on all that Jesus did for you while you were a sinner, it will cause His life and hope to spring up in your soul like a river. "When I think of His goodness and all that He's done for me it makes want to shout!"

Declaring His Greatness,
Pastor Asa

Monday, March 14, 2011

Christ in You

2 Peter 1: 2 - 8, Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. NKJV

In Ephesians 2, Paul is very emphatic when he describes how we become saved. He teaches us that God's grace, through our faith in Christ saves us. Paul teaches us that, once we make the commitment to serve the Lord, we are then required to live by faith. As Peter teaches us in today's scripture, it is through our continued faith and obedience that we are empowered to partake of God's divine nature.

Let's digress for a moment. In Romans 3, Paul tells us that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. So, how does a holy God and a vile sinner become one? For us to be partakers of God's nature, we must become one with Him; how is this possible? Let's give this issue more than a fleeting thought. Peter begins his exhortation talking about how we (become partakers of God's divine power), but toward the conclusion of this passage, he explains that we must move on into the place in Christ (by faith) where we (become partakers of His divine nature). Yes, Jesus saved you the very moment you believed in Him as the Lamb of God that takes away your sin, but that was the power of God. Do you remember what Paul wrote in Romans 1? The preaching of the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and then the gentile.

Therefore, we can conclude that God wants us to be filled with His divine nature to live a godly life and not just be partakers of His divine power. To assure that we, who name the name of Jesus move beyond the moment of salvation and become partakers of His divine nature, He has designed our new walk to be carried out by His eternal promises. As Christians, we haven't received the fullness of our inheritance. In fact, Paul teaches us, in Ephesians, that God has only given us the earnest (or down payment) of our inheritance in Christ. So the benefits of our full salvation are given to us as we continue to become partakers of Christ's divine nature through faith.

We can see more clearly now why God requires us to first fulfill the will of God, before we can receive the promise of God through our faith in what Christ has already (past tense) done for us. Through these great and precious promises, we are being (present tense) transformed by faith. If we should stop living by faith, we stop the transformation process. But as the writer of Hebrews stated, we are not of those who draw back in perdition (lawlessness), but we believe unto the salvation of our soul. Jesus tells us, "Those who endure to the end shall be saved."

Let us, who have been touched by the power of the gospel continue, by faith, in obedience to the Word of God in order that, through our obedient faith, we can become partakers of God's divine nature... having escaped the lustful corruption that is in this world. Please take the time to read the excerpt from Peter's epistle in the above passage once again. The Holy Spirit inspired him to instruct us to continue moving in our faith until we become partakers of His divine nature, but it doesn't stop there. As we mature and begin developing the fruit of the Spirit, we are to add to our faith: virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. We are on a journey, walking away from the image of the first Adam and, through faith becoming like the Last Adam (Christ). Indeed, our God is an awesome God!!!

Becoming a Partaker by Faith,
Pastor Asa

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Comfort of the Lord

Isaiah 40: 1 - 5, "Comfort, yes, comfort my people," says your God. "Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and tell her that her sad days are gone. Her sins are pardoned, and I have punished her in full for all her sins." Listen! I hear the voice of someone shouting, "Make a road for the Lord through the wilderness; make him a straight, smooth road through the desert. Fill the valleys; level the hills; straighten out the crooked paths, and smooth off the rough spots in the road. The glory of the Lord will be seen by all mankind together." The Lord has spoken-it shall be. TLB

I have noticed that if the enemy can't trip up a believer with a temptation to sin against the Lord, then he will use a weapon called "injustice" against us. Proverbs 4 tells us to guard our hearts with all diligence... for out of the heart flow the issues of life. By examining this verse, we can see where Satan targets us with his poisonous darts. If he can't get us to sin against our God, then he will try to turn us against our faith; Satan tries to convince us to be offended toward God and toward our faith by using an injustice that has been done against us. He would love for us to blame God for the wrongs that have been done to us.

When the serpent entered the garden of God, his intention was to separate man from God through sin. With temptation, he led Eve astray from the truth of God and caused her sin against God in order that he might inflict her with injustice. Remember, it was her son, Cain that committed the first murder on earth. He killed his brother, Abel who was righteous and obedient to God's will. Doesn't that sound like injustice to you? The son who had sin in his heart lived, and the righteous son was killed because of his obedience. Wait, that sounds like what happened to Jesus on the cross? Pilate had the authority to release a prisoner of Rome from among the Jews, but instead of choosing the innocent, Jesus, the people chose a thief called Barabbas. Only a short time before, those same people were shouting to Jesus as He entered the city on a donkey, "Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." Now they're shouting, "Crucify Him." Now, isn't this a very good example of injustice in the earth?

Even though the death of Jesus is very troubling, to us who have been forgiven by His shed blood, it is "Good News". You see, He was afflicted so that our sin debt could be paid in full, and so that we could be comforted. He is a righteous Judge; His holiness demands justice, but His mercy provides forgiveness and a way of escape. Man chose to enter into sin, but God gave His Son to die in our place, so that now we can live under the grace of God. We live in a fallen world plagued by sin and injustice, but God has made a way for us, who believe and trust in Christ, to escape the injustices of this world.

The Bible tells us that it's easier to overtake a fortified city than it is to reach a person who is living under the power of offense. Let's put this principle into proper context. Sin didn't prevent God from sending Jesus to seek and to save that which was lost. Sin didn't stop Jesus from hanging on a Roman cross and dying for our sin debt. But, "our offense" can hinder God and Jesus from saving us from the hurt and disappointment caused by the injustice that was released in the beginning when Adam and Eve sinned. Just like it wasn't fair for Jesus, an innocent, to be hung on a rugged cross and a convicted thief to be allowed to go free, life for us can sometimes be unfair. But, today, because of His death, burial, and resurrection, we have good news. We don't have to allow the injustice of living in a fallen world prevent us from receiving all that God has for us. Jesus has made a way of escape so that we are able resist the temptations of life and overcome them through Him. It isn't fair that He died in my place, but isn't that what God's grace and comfort is all about?

If you struggle with unforgiveness, or you are offended at God because of a tragedy in your life, you can be free, right now, through the same grace that sent Jesus to die on, what should have been, "our" cross. Remember, if Satan can't get us to enter temptation and sin, then he will use injustice as a weapon against us. The key is to walk in faith, humbly before the Lord. He will see to it that no weapon formed against shall be able to prosper. Nothing can separate you or me from the love of God in Christ.

Surrounded By His Grace,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, March 10, 2011

His Word Brings Peace

Matthew 6 : 25, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? KJV

When you read the writings of Jesus, it won't take long for you to realize that He has a different outlook on life than we do. If we will take what Jesus has said to heart and live our lives accordingly, then His Word will cause us to live in peace and not in worry or fear. Christians who don't really take the passage above to heart are more prone to live under the spirit of anxiousness and fear... instead of peace and hope.

Jesus begins His exhortation in Matthew 6 by telling us not to take thought (worry) for our lives, as it pertains to the things that are essential to sustain us in this natural world (food, clothes, and etc). This is the very place where God and man differ. This life isn't as important to the Lord as the one that we will enter once we leave this body. It is in this context that He admonishes us not to love this world or our lives in this world, but rather He wants us to love and trust Him more. Yet, as humans, we tend to be consumed more by this present life than we are about how we will spend our eternal existence.

To bridge this chasm between the Lord's view on this life and our view, He has told us to submit our present life into His care and only focus on keeping His will and Word in this present world. If you and I will honor His request, the peace of God will be allowed to guard our hearts and minds. When we put into practice the principles of His teaching, we will learn how to rest and enjoy this life more. If we reject His instructions to trust in Him, then we will worry, labor, and forfeit His added blessing on our lives. So, instead of Jesus asking us to give up our lives, He is essentially telling us to give up "control" over our lives so that we might enjoy it more readily. 

Did you know that it's the little foxes spoil the vine? It's the little things that we allow our flesh nature to drive us to do that allow the enemy to rob us of living a blessed and peaceful life. The more we allow ourselves to trust in God's Word and in His ways, the less we will feel driven or forced to defend what we have. Do you feel driven most of the time? Are you tired from stress, worry, dread, and fear? Simply put into practice the Words that Jesus spoke in Matthew 6 and watch how the peace and provision of God begin to allow you to enjoy life in a chaotic world.

John 14: 27 - 28, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. NKJV

Safe in the Arms of Jesus,
Pastor Asa

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Walking Out of the Pit

Luke 17: 3 - 5, Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him." And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." NKJV

Do you remember the song that we sang in Sunday school when we were children called, "Yes, Jesus loves me?" It made a bold statement of faith. There was a line in it that says, "I am weak, but He is strong." I have discovered that life offers many challenging opportunities that you and I must confront and conquer? Indeed, where we are weak in these challenges, if we allow Him, He will show Himself strong through us, and we will overcome.  It is interesting to know that sinners are faced with these same temptations and trials (1 Cor. 10: 13). But, unlike the sinner, we have committed to placing our trust in the Lord and not in ourselves. When we were in the world... separated from the life and power of God... we would just run to the ways of the world when trouble invaded our lives, but not now. No longer do we have to run into a deeper pit of bondage as a means of hiding from trouble. The salvation that we received through faith in Jesus offers us power to "overcome" this world...once we're saved, we don't just sit here, doing nothing, waiting to leave this world.

When the Lord came into our hearts, He removed the stronghold of the bondage to the spirit of fear and gave us His Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. But it is at this juncture that many believers find themselves living in fear and not faith. It is HARD to move past "believing" in Christ... over into "trusting" in Christ. If you want to be free from the stronghold of fear on your mind that wants to rule the actions of your heart, you must confront your fears in faith. How many Christians today are living in a pit of some sort? How many are afraid to move forward, because they simply don't trust that God will be there when they tell the Pit goodbye? If you're in a pit of bondage, and you're a child of God, today is the day for a "breakout!!"

In our text scripture today, Jesus commanded His disciples to forgive a brother that offends him, and then repents of the offense. But, Jesus didn't stop there, He went on to say that they should forgive him, if need be, seven times in a day. When the disciples heard this saying, they responded just as you and I would respond; they asked Jesus to increase their faith. Jesus simply told them to activate the faith that they already had. Once you activate the seed of faith in your heart, then your confidence will grow, because you will begin to see the faithfulness of God in your obedience. Now you're walking by faith instead of abiding in a pit. The more you step out in faith, despite the fear that you encounter along the way, the greater your confidence will grow in Christ. With each act of obedience, you will grow from faith to faith, and glory to glory into the image of Christ.

Today, if you're being held in captivity by a habit or by the bondage to fear, and you desire to be free to walk by faith, then I want to agree with you for victory. TODAY! 

Matthew 18 : 19, Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. KJV

Father, I agree with my brother/sister concerning the fear in their heart that has placed them in bondage to a person, a habit, or a thing. In Jesus name, we declare that Christ has set them free, and they are free indeed! Let your power and glory manifest on them right now as I pray and release them to serve you without fear. In Jesus' name we ask.

Now that you have obeyed the Word in prayer, it's time to face the fear. Now you're going to activate your seed-faith, and you will experience the power of God to move. At this point, whatever you do, don't look back...even if it's just to see how far you've advanced away from your past. Keep your eyes on Jesus, the Strength and the Joy of your heart. Please let us know what the Holy Spirit has done in your life today; your testimony might empower others to take a stand of faith and be free.

The Power of Christ Is Liberating,
Pastor Asa

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Comfort One Another

2 Corinthians 1: 3 - 5, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. NKJV

I recently spoke with a young man who is aspiring to be a minister one day. He was telling me how hard his week had been. As I listened to his plight, I was reminded, as a pastor, of the things Debbie and I have endured. Then the Holy Spirit began to use me to speak wisdom into the heart of this young minister. As we sat in the sanctuary where he attended church, I began to explain how the people had come that Sunday morning to hear words of comfort, hope, and faith. If, as ministers, we never go through any difficultly, then there will be no way that any of us can relate to those who sit on the pews. Hebrews tells us that we have a High Priest who has been touched with the feelings of our infirmities. He can comfort us, because He knows what it is like to be afflicted and have the Father comfort Him in His afflictions.

Today, as I was asking the Lord what to send to you as a word of encouragement, He directed me to this passage in Corinthians. As I read the words that Paul had written over two thousand years ago, it dawned on me just how much the Lord had directed me to speak into the young minister's heart. God allows ministers to experience pain and suffering that He might give us comfort. As we receive that comfort, then we can, in turn comfort others who do not know God as we do.

As we talked on, I shared with him that he should take notice of how he was struggling in his difficulties, and that he should realize that perhaps he knew God at a greater degree than many of those who had attended service with him that day. If he, having an intimate relationship with the Lord is struggling, then how much more will the people who attend church, and who might not even know the Lord be struggling to either grasp faith, or hold onto faith in God? We are to comfort one another... whether the people we comfort are Christians or sinners. In doing so, we are allowing others to experience the love of God. They already know what the world does to them, but do they really understand that God loves them and desires that they be comforted with the same comfort that we have been comforted with ourselves?

None of us enjoys pain or suffering, but there's nothing we can do to prevent it from visiting us from time to time. Remember, we're told by Jesus that in this world we will have tribulation, but we should be of good cheer, because He has already overcome the world. (Ref. John 16) BUT, in our suffering we can allow the Lord to comfort us with His love through the Word, the Holy Spirit, and the body of Christ. As difficult as it is to have to endure suffering, it's an even greater blessing to be comforted by the God of comfort, and then be allowed to share that comfort with others as they hurt. So in a way, we are all the ministers of God... comforting one another in the love of God.

Who knows, but the Lord might just use you one day to bring comfort to a hurting person who is lost, and through your love, you will lead them to the God who IS LOVE. It is a pleasure and an honor to be allowed by the Lord to minister to you on a daily basis. May these words uplift you and give you the hope to endure and overcome so that you can comfort others in their time of need.

Freely We Have Received,
Pastor Asa

Monday, March 7, 2011

There Were Two Trees

Genesis 2: 9, And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. NKJV

Did you know that the Bible says the Lord surrounds Himself in thick darkness? This might sound odd or puzzling considering that God is light, but it means He hides Himself behind a shroud of mystery. It is our delight to search out the Lord and discover, through intimacy, the mysterious ways of God. As Christians, our knowledge of God is very small in comparison to who God really is in all His splendor and might. Isaiah tells us that there is no one who can fathom His understanding. No one can figure God out through human reasoning or logic; yet, Jesus tells us that He reveals His secrets to small babes. Through obedient faith, we can receive understanding of God's ways and His wisdom through the Holy Spirit.

For instance, did you ever stop to think that there was another tree in the garden besides the tree of knowledge? So, why do we dwell more on the forbidden tree than we do on the Tree of Life? Could it be that we relate more with that tree because of what it has cost us...or, more importantly, what it cost our Savior and Lord? Why don't we take more thought to the Tree of Life, and why didn't Adam and Eve partake of it instead of the forbidden tree? Look at from this view; Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, but were obviously drawn more to the tree of knowledge than the Tree of Life. The reason is very simple, God created them as living souls who didn't possess the Spirit of God. He created them with a void that could only be filled with His presence, but "they" had to make the choice to fill the void with His presence. 

God commanded Adam not to partake of the forbidden fruit, but there was one little problem.  Adam was a "living soul", and Paul tells us in Romans 7 that the Law of God is "spiritual". This is why the Jews could never "keep the law" as a way to please God, but Jesus, "through obedience" was able to fulfill the law completely. They were soulish, but Jesus was a life-giving Spirit. So why did God command soulish man to keep a spiritual law? Now you can see where the Lord is leading us. Had Adam and Eve desired to partake of God's divine nature, they would have eaten of the Tree of Life first; instead, they chose to ignore that tree. Satan intentionally drew Eve's attention away from the Tree of Life and caused her to fixate on the carnal tree. God also said that if Adam and Eve were to have eaten from the Tree of Life after the fall (they sinned), then they would have lived in that fallen state forever. Now we can blame Adam and Eve all we want, but the truth is we, who are in Christ still struggle with fleshly desires that champion for our attention and cause us to ignore our fellowship with Jesus. We have a family to raise, a career to fuel, and the excuses just keep piling up. Instead of giving excuses, God wants us to hunger and thirst for Him first. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all the other things listed will follow us.

In order to fulfill Jesus' command, to seek the Kingdom and His righteousness first, we will be required to walk by faith; it will also place our carnal desires way down the line. But here's the really good part. If we will seek Christ first and do His will over our own desires, then He has promised to reveal Himself to us. This is called becoming partakers of His divine nature. The eleven disciples who remained with Jesus until His ascension into heaven knew more things about Him and were stronger disciples than the other seventy (also handpicked by Jesus) that left Him after a season.

Proverbs 25: 2, It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter. NKJV

If we will allow a hunger for God and His wisdom to develop in our hearts to the point that we will seek Him in the darkness, then He will reward us with revelations that will give a deeper understanding to us concerning His Word (Jesus). The last book of the Bible is you guessed it, the Revelation of Christ. Paul tells us in Ephesians that God has hidden wisdom that has been held back from past generations, and it will be released to us for our glory. Only when we partake of His divine nature, through faith, will we be able to contain the glory of God. Does this cost us much? It will only cost us our carnal nature, because God will share His glory with no man. Perhaps this explains why so many are comfortable with knowing the basics instead of getting to know the One who has redeemed us. Jesus tells us that, in order to become His disciples, we must deny self, take up our cross, and follow Him. What has the Lord asked you to give up in order to be filled with more of Him? There's something greater on the other side of that cross. Glory!

Hungry for More,
Pastor Asa

Friday, March 4, 2011

He Showers Rain on the Just and the Unjust

1 Peter 1: 16 - 17, He himself has said, "You must be holy, for I am holy." And remember that your heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites when he judges. He will judge you with perfect justice for everything you do; so act in reverent fear of him from now on until you get to heaven. TLB

If you're a Child of God, then you're enjoying the goodness of the fruit of God's labor and the blessings of Christ's sufferings. We can enjoy the good things of God, because we have been born again and have been made a new creature in Christ; sometimes, though, we need to be reminded that we used to be sinners and in need of God's grace. Like me, you've probably heard the statement that says, "But for the grace of God." Therefore, we must remember to extend the same grace to others that we were given... like God, we must become impartial to the unjust. Peter reminds us of a very important principle that needs to find its way back into the modern church: when each one of us stands before the Lord on the Day of Judgment, we won't be given special privileges just because we accepted God's grace.

A Christian doesn't have to stand before the Great White Throne judgment; only those who rejected Jesus must face that kind of judgment. But, as Christians, we will be made to stand and give an account for what we did in this life before the judgment seat of Christ. Peter tells us that God requires His children to be holy, just as He is holy, and we are to obey the Word of God while we live in this present world.

Peter also teaches us that God, who is our righteous Judge, is without partiality. He wants us to know that about Him so that, as His children, we will remain impartial toward sinners in the way we approach them. This attribute is one of humility, because God is humble. Jesus tells us in the gospels that He didn't come to be served, but to serve. He didn't hang out with only the "religious" crowd; He mostly hung out with the sinners (though He never excused sin). He did this, because He was sent to call the sick to repentance... not the well. The point He wants me to make is that He didn't shun the sinners and treat them as a lower class of humans as did the religious leaders of His day.

Matthew 5: 43 - 48, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. NIV

Just think about this for a moment. If God had been not been impartial toward sinners, then none of them would have been saved. When I read these verses that Matthew quoted in his gospel, it sounds much like the verses in Peter's epistle that was used as our text today. God is good to the just and to the unjust, and He requires us to act in the same manner of humility. God has proven that He is indeed impartial by allowing His Sun to shine on the righteous and the unrighteous. He allows the rain to fall in its season upon those who love Him and upon those who despise Him. Now that we are children of God, He wants us to truly represent Him by showing love toward the lost in the same way that we show love toward our friends. If this sounds hard for you to accomplish, it is. This is why the Father gave us His Spirit. It is through the Holy Spirit that the love of God is spread abroad. Human love can't love its enemies, but God's love has the capacity to love His enemies without limits.

He gives Grace to the Humble,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, March 3, 2011


James 4: 17, Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. NKJV

I'm was thinking about the passage of scripture that I extracted today from the book of James, and I realized that sometimes some of the greatest nuggets in God's Word are hidden in plain sight, yet other times they're tucked away and preserved for a specific time and reason. We hear much taught on the subject of committing sin (the act of commission), but how many times have we heard about the sin of "omission". James defines this principle in very simple terminology. When God tells us to do something that is good, and we choose to disobey His will, then the good that we don't do becomes sin to us. I can imagine hearing someone responding, "I'm just now grasping a hold on the understanding of the sin of commission, and now this!"

When God created the earth and everything on the earth, including the trees, God looked at what He had created, and said it was good. When He created man and finished His work on the earth, God looked at everything that was completed, and He said it was very good. Having said this let me ask you a question. Was the Tree of Knowledge evil? If everything that God created was good, and the tree of knowledge was created by God, then it too was good. So, if it was good, what made it evil? God set boundaries around that particular tree and commanded man not to eat of it. Since man didn't obey God in the good thing that he was supposed to do, Adam's actions then became sin. So, it wasn't that the tree was evil; it was that Adam chose to sin against God's will... which produced the evil. When people live in denial of sin, they tend to blame their sin on "outward elements" instead of confessing their sin which comes from "an evil heart of unbelief".

When God appeared to Abram in Genesis 12, He commanded Abram to leave his father's house and his relatives. He departed from his father's house and his kinfolks, but he took his nephew, Lot, with him. Is hanging out with relatives a sin? Of course not! But if the Lord tells you to separate from them as He had instructed Abram to do, and you don't do as God asks, to you it is sin. The sin of omission is just as much a promise blocker as the sin of commission. When Adam didn't do what he was supposed to do, didn't it get him driven out of the garden of God? The sin of omission caused Adam to lose the provision of God, along with the promise of dominion and blessings.

If you will read Genesis 12 - 19, you will see that Abram desired for God to fulfill His promise of a son, but God's hands were tied by Abram's partial obedience. Partial obedience can be justified, but isn't justified in God's eyes. We see this, because Abram couldn't receive the promised seed (Isaac) until he and Lot parted company. If you will read Genesis 21, you will see that God appears to Abraham after Lot has settled in Zoar and tells them that they are about to receive their promise. For twenty five years Abraham walked with Lot and for that same amount of time, God's promise was being held up. Yet, the moment that Abraham fully obeyed, God was able to release Abraham and Sarah's blessing of a son. Flesh and blood can't inherit the kingdom of God. This means Christians must live according to the Holy Spirit and not according to our desires or our wills... if we are going to walk in kingdom dominion in the earth. What are you not doing that you should be doing so that God can do what He has promised for you? Something for you to chew on today while you seek to please the Lord by faith;

Matthew 7: 21 - 27
, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock."But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." NKJV

Walking by Faith,
Pastor Asa

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Jesus, the Lover of Your Soul

Romans 5: 6 - 10, For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. NKJV

Today, the Holy Spirit instructed me to share the LOVE of JESUS with you. I suppose we all need to be reminded of the love that Jesus has for us now, and of the love that He displayed for us while on the cross. Paul tells us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Out of the love that God has for the world, He gave His Son.  Jesus, who knew no sin, loved us so much that He became the offering for sin, and it is through Him that we are able to be reconciled back to our heavenly Father. Sometimes it seems as if fallen man wants to push the limits of God's grace and love...maybe, just to see how deep His love is for us? I can tell you that there is no greater love than that of Jesus being hung on a cross for us when we didn't deserve it? Jesus tells us in John 15, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."

Have you ever done something that hurt someone so deeply that they pulled back in their relationship with you or vice versa? Peter tells us in his writings that we all have an adversary called the Devil. He seeks to destroy lives and relationships because he hates God, and God is love. Satan also hates what God loves, and God loves you so much. Even though Satan attempted to pit God against us by seducing us with sin (he thought that we might provoke God to wrath with our sin), God didn't allow sin to keep us separated.

Satan doesn't just provoke God by seducing us to indulge in the pleasures of sin; our adversary also provokes us to be angry with God... once we start to reap the wages of sin, people often blame God. If you really want to see the hatred of Satan, then contrast his ways to those of Jesus on the cross. Not only did Satan attempt to destroy us through our own rebellious actions, but he sought to destroy Jesus when He came to save us from our sins; if that isn't pure hatred, then I don't know what is.

Today we have seen a very small glimpse of the LOVE that God and Jesus have for us. As you meditate on His love, consider the Words of Jesus found in John 15. John 15: 14 - 17, You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another. NKJV

Jesus didn't just tell the world that He loved us; He demonstrated it through His death on the CROSS. As His friends, we are required to demonstrate our love for Him by keeping His sayings and loving each other. By this, He will know if we truly LOVE Him or not. You see, it takes God or God's love in our hearts to fulfill what Jesus requires of us to be His friends. "Jesus, the Friend of sinners," is what they called Him while He was on the earth, and that still stands true today.

I Am a Friend of God,
Pastor Asa

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Developing Your Faith to Finish

Romans 5: 1 - 5, Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. NKJV

We know that troubles and trials are just part of living in a fallen world. But did you know that Satan will use trials, afflictions, infirmities, and etc. to try to prevent you from having faith in Christ? Remember when you were a sinner; there were hard times and pain even then. But now that you're a Christian doesn't it seem those afflictions have intensified? Our adversary, Satan, is going about as a roaring lion seeking those that aren't walking by faith in order that he might devour them. (Ref. 1 Peter 5)

Satan believes that if he applies pain, coupled with spiritual pressure to the weaknesses of our flesh and emotions, then we will give in and go back into unbelief. Satan doesn't take into consideration that our faith in Christ is our strength. In other words, we're not leaning on the arm of the flesh or man's strength, but we're "enduring" through our faith in Christ. The more our faith is tried, and the longer we endure the fiery furnaces of life, the more precious our faith becomes. When our faith has been tried by fire, it will only increase our confidence in Christ to deliver us. Thus it will be our faith in Christ that will give us victory over the Devil, the very one who attacked our faith in the beginning with the trial.

The key to gaining victory over the weaknesses of the flesh nature where you don't "throw in the towel" is to walk by faith. How does that work? Paul teaches us in Romans 10 that faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God. If we will feed our soul a steady diet of God's Word, then the Lord can speak from the Word that we have read and energize our faith by speaking a word in season to our weary soul. Let me say that "a word in season" doesn't necessarily mean that the season will come to a close, but it will "empower you to endure" until the weakness of the flesh nature has been replaced with the character of God.

Once we overcome the flesh nature and endure to the end of the trial, then the season will conclude. While you are waiting for victory, the Holy Spirit will be your coach and your personal trainer; he will encourage you daily. The Lord will also bring people into your life that will speak words to cheer you on in your faith, but you must continue to endure. Paul used several sports metaphors in his writings, but the one thing he stressed is that we keep in the race until the victory is won.

You may be asking, "Why does our heavenly Father allow our faith to be tried so often in this life?" It is because we are learning to be obedient through the things that we suffer; He is forming us into the image of Christ...mature children of God who are filled with God's love and power.

Running the Race,
Pastor Asa