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Friday, September 30, 2011

God Wants to Take You beyond Limitations

Ephesians 3 : 20 - 21, Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. NKJV

WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. Are you born again? Do you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in your heart? Can God be in your heart and not be with you? Throughout the Old Testament, we read where God was with Israel. However, they limited the Holy One of Israel with their unbelief. God lives in our hearts, and God is with us. You may be wondering why I have belabored these points in my opening comments. It is to show Christians that, as a Christian, our greatest battle has already been won. The sin that once owned us and was a stumbling block that kept us alienated from the life of God has been abolished through the power of Christ. Now that God is with us, we can do all things through Christ, which gives us strength. NO LIMITATIONS!

God has promised us that He would withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly before Him. This requires that you and I walk in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. As we walk by faith, we gather the confidence that God is, indeed, with us because our carnal mind is being destroyed. The carnal mind is dominated by thoughts of condemnation and guilt, which tend to isolate the believer from experiencing the presence of God. When we feel separated from God's presence, it will greatly diminish our confidence to believe God to carry out His Word on our behalf. Consequently, our lack of confidence will give place to discouragement and unbelief.

Today, you may be facing what looks like impossible situations in the physical as well in the spirit. However, you don't have to struggle with a lack of confidence and assume that you're always going to have to live with limitations that seem to hold you back in your walk. The Apostle John tells us in his epistle, if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart. 

God lives in your heart through the Holy Spirit, so God is with you. If you don't have the confidence that God is with you, and you tend to assume that things are never going to change for the better, then you must step out in faith and ignore your feelings. Feelings will deceive us into believing that the Lord isn't with us, and if we fall prey to the feelings of our flesh nature, we will begin to believe that God isn't with us when, in reality, He is. If we believe anything that is contrary to God's Word, we are acting in unbelief. If you're faced with situations that seem to be insurmountable, then align your heart with God's promises from His Word in obedience and watch the power of God destroy the weaknesses of the flesh. 

Once you overcome the feelings and step out in faith, you will realize that God was with you all along. However, Satan was preventing you from knowing it through the veil of your flesh nature. Go beyond the veil, enter into the Holy Place, and see the salvation of the Lord today. This is your day to seize what God has promised, but Satan has been prevented from occurring in your life and on your behalf. All things are possible to those who believe.

Believing God for Your Breakthrough,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Promise Lives

John 1 : 10 - 14, He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. NKJV

When God is ready to carry out His will in the earth, He sends His Word to execute it. God created man to co-labor with Him and to fulfill His purpose in the earth. We know this because of the words that God spoke over mankind in Genesis 1:26 - 28. Man chose to rebel against God in order to please "self." Consequently, God had to replace His perfect will for man with His intended will by sending the Word in the form of flesh to destroy the bondage of sin over those He would call out to serve Him and fulfill His purpose in the earth.

Since the fall of man, God has had to work against the will of man in order to restore the authority of His Kingdom on earth. Instead of Adam being obedient to the heavenly calling on his life, he gave way to the will of man or flesh, which produced sin and rebellion in the hearts of all mankind. Originally, God wanted man to walk in agreement with Him and in dominion over the earth. If man had obeyed, they would have fulfilled all that God had spoken over them in Genesis 1. God is at work now, not only to fulfill His original will, but to save those who are called to carry out His " divine will" from the will of man or the will of flesh. 

Occasionally, when God calls someone to begin the work of fulfilling His purpose in their life, they begin to speak the will of man (or the will of flesh) and not God's will. When we respond to the calling of God on our lives by spewing out words of doubt and unbelief, it forces the Lord to begin shutting up the mouth of unbelief so that He can open the womb of faith. 

John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ. He was called by the Lord to bear witness of the Christ and to preach the gospel and call sinners to repentance. John was a mighty miracle of God. John's mother, Elizabeth was beyond the years of child bearing, yet God had caused her to become pregnant. In other words, God had opened her dead womb by faith to bring forth the voice of John in the earth. Whenever his father, Zacharias, heard about God's plan, unbelief began to speak through his mouth, and God had to shut that voice down. Zacharias wasn't allowed to speak until his son was born. There were three miracles that took place before God's plan could be fulfilled through John the Baptist. God had to open Elizabeth's womb, shut Zacharias' mouth, and bring forth the new life of John. Elizabeth was six months pregnant before she knew for certain that her baby was alive. The birth of this prophet of God was by faith, and unbelief could have no part in his arrival.

Why do you suppose Elizabeth had to wait six months before God would confirm that her baby was alive, even though it was God's will that John be born? Look back at the mouth and doubt of Zacharias. His words had influence over this pregnancy, or God wouldn't have shut him up from speaking. Elizabeth had to live in anxiousness for six months because of the words of her husband... until the day that Mary greeted her with good news. When Mary cried out to Elizabeth, the faith of Mary, who had conceived the Christ without a man, caused John to leap in Elizabeth's womb and be filled with the Holy Spirit. The will of flesh and of man had been abolished through the faith of a woman who had heard the voice of God.

Be careful what you allow to come out your mouth or who you give heed to when you share what God has planned for your life. The will of man and of flesh has to be abolished through our unwavering faith in what God has shown us or has spoken to us in our prayer time. The promise of God in your life isn't dead. However, it may be dormant and waiting for faith to speak the Word of life over it. The promise lives, and it lives in those who place their faith in Christ and obey God's will.

Blessed with God's Will and Purpose,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This One Belongs to God

Revelation 12 : 10 - 12, Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. NKJV

Do you still fight voices of accusation, even as a Christian? Does guilt have a stronghold on your mind to the point where you will draw back from seeking God or obeying Him in your walk? Anything that comes against a believer with the intentions of pulling them away from God is a lie of the enemy. If you hear a condemning voice in your mind or have a person in your life that beats you down and causes you to grow weary in serving God or in doing well, then know that it is an attack of Satan.

If the questions and the descriptions that I have written sound like my computer is in your living room, then God is speaking a word through me to you. If you struggle with any of the aforementioned items, you must first submit to God in prayer and resist the Devil's strategies that have been formed against you. As a Christian, you must know and understand that you don't derive your identity from your actions or your weaknesses, but from Christ. So when attacks of the enemy strike don't try to dig deeper in you, but rather dig deeper in Christ.

You're not the source of your righteousness; Christ is, and that is why we must go to the Rock of our salvation, run into the Refuge in times of conflict and find peace for our weary souls. As you train yourself to begin to recognize an attack as being just that, and you can stop giving completely over to its suggestions or its condemnation, then you have begun to overcome Satan's arsenal. The next step is to remember to "run to the Rock" or get your focus off the voices or storm and look to Jesus. He will empower you with His righteousness and show you how to respond properly to your attacker(s).

In today's passages, you will notice that after the accuser of the brethren was cast down, the Kingdom of God and the power of Christ was released. You see; you're in a battle, and you must remember not to take the conflict personally. This battle isn't over you or your righteousness, but over your faith in Jesus' blood and righteousness. Satan wants to make it about you; you are to remind your accuser it's all about Jesus. Once you arrive at the place in your faith walk where you're gaining understanding to overcome the lies and assaults, then you will begin to experience the power of Christ (confidence) in your heart. The Lord will begin to restore your focus on your future in Him and off of your past in sin. The Devil is a liar, but we must grow to the place where we no longer receive his lies as the "gospel truth."

You must exercise the gifts that God has given you as a believer, and one of those gifts is discernment. If something or someone speaks out something that seems to fit you, but causes you to begin to pull back away from God's will or His presence, then know that you need to discern this as being a voice of the accuser. Let the Lord fight this one. Jesus forewarned us that in this world, we would have tribulations. Nevertheless, He went on to say that we were to be of good cheer because He has already overcome this world. We're in Him and not of the world; therefore, we have also overcome.  If God wants to correct us, He can do it. He doesn't need Satan to tell us what is wrong. Amen? I thought so!

You Belong to God,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Seventy Times Seven a Day

Luke 17: 1 - 5, Then He said to the disciples, "It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 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

Jesus commanded us to love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls. He also commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Have you ever stopped to think about what we are saying when we say that we love God? God has given us life and through the death of His Son, He has paid our sin debt so that we might live free from sin and shame. What's not to love about God? Once we get beyond the initial experience of accepting God's gift of salvation, we soon discover that being a Christian can't be fulfilled in the weakness of our flesh nature. Before we came to Christ, we could show sympathy for people who hurt. We could show compassion and, at times, forgiveness to the people we love.

When God gave us His Holy Spirit, it was His way of telling us that we can't accomplish any spiritual task apart from Him. Even though we had the capacity to have sympathy and love for others, and we could, to a degree, forgive, we were wineskins that were old and rigid. Now that we've been made into new wineskins in Christ, we must develop our faith and the willingness to become larger containers of God's love in the earth. In the original Greek language of the Bible, there are three levels or categories of love mentioned. One level is friendship (phileo). The next level is the intimate love between a man and wife (eros), and the greatest level is God's love (agape). However, when Jesus commands us to love our enemies, He intends for us to love them with God's kind of love. 

Look at the response of the disciples when Jesus told them to forgive their brother seven times a day. They admitted that they neither had the faith nor the capacity to forgive someone that much. Let's fast-forward two-thousand plus years to today. Have you ever made a mistake or committed a sin and the people who said they loved you suddenly forgot your name, or that they even knew you? Has someone offended you, and you removed them from your contact list and moved on without them? I bring this up to illustrate that we can be very rigid when being confronted with other people's offenses against ourselves, yet demand mercy when we're the one at fault. Jesus warned the disciples, and us, to take heed when someone offends us. We must be very careful how we respond to the wrong they have done against us, so that it isn't allowed to prevent us from loving them in the same way God loves us. The disciples responded in much the way that you and I would respond, "Lord, increase our faith or capacity to love." Since we are now the children of God, God allows opportunities for our new wineskin to be stretched and filled with more of His grace and love for others.

The Apostle John asks us a very penetrating and revealing question in his writings. He asked, "How we can say that we love God, whom we have not seen and not love our brother whom we have seen?" Obviously, God knew that as humans, we would struggle to love others to the same degree that He has loved us, so He has given us the Holy Spirit; it is through Him that the love of God has been dispersed.

Consequently, we must allow our minds to be changed or renewed because we're not limited to love others only with human love. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we now have a greater capacity to love people. As we submit to the Lord to become willing to forgive and to love after the offense has occurred, God can stretch the new wineskin and fill it with more of His love.

God Stretches New Wineskins,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, September 26, 2011

Do Christians Have to Sin?

Romans 6: 1 - 4, What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. NKJV

Romans 6: 11 - 13: Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. NKJV

What does it mean to be a disciple of the teachings of Christ? Does it mean that we have salvation, and we're just waiting on the return of Jesus to take us out of this body of sin? Paul taught Timothy on the importance of rightly dividing the Word of God so that, as a minister, he wouldn't be put to shame. Anyone can twist the Word to fit just about any belief out there in the world. If someone should alter the Word of God to accommodate a lifestyle that isn't consistent with the entire gospel of Christ, then it ceases being truth and has no power to save a soul or change a person's heart.

Paul didn't mince words when it came to establishing the principles that God, through Christ, has set in His Word for the believer. Our old sin nature that was given to us by the sins of Adam cannot inherit the promise of eternal life. Therefore, God had to offer up a spotless Lamb to pay the price for man's sin debt so that we can be bought (or ransomed) from the rule of Satan over mankind's soul. When Jesus died on the cross, He stripped principalities and powers of their authority and made an open spectacle of them through the cross. He descended into hell and took back the keys of authority over hell and the grave. Now that Christ has ascended into heaven and shown Himself as the Lamb and the High Priest to the Father, we all have been given the opportunity to leave the domination of sin and die to our flesh nature and live a holy and righteous life before God.

Since Christ has died for all humans and redeemed us all from the curse of the law of sin and death, we no longer have to live our lives in bondage to Satan or sin. The key to living free from the sin nature, or the Adamic nature, is to surrender our hearts to Christ and make Him our Lord and Savior. If this is true, and the Word declares to us that it is, then why do so many Christians choose to live in sin and not walk in righteousness and holiness? The answer is found in Romans 6: 11 - 13: Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. As long as we choose to walk by faith in obedience to the voice of God and the Word of God, we won't fulfill the lusts of the flesh. If we die to our flesh through obedience to God's divine will, we will no longer be ruled by sin through the lusts of our flesh nature. So if we die to the flesh nature, we won't sin. The flesh nature gives place for sin to rule our hearts and ultimately, our lives. However, this does not have to occur in a believer's life. 

As Christ's disciples, we must not live this new life according to the old lusts of the carnal or flesh nature. We must submit to God, resist the Devil, and he will flee from us, just as he did with Jesus, who was submitted to God in the wilderness. If you find that today's word demands more than you're able to offer, then today can be the first day of the rest of your walk. Begin practicing your faith by obeying God and allowing Him to set you free from any habit, addiction, or relationships that might be holding you in bondage to the flesh nature. As you obey daily and seek God with your whole heart, He will do the work of setting you free from the old man and renewing you to become the person in Christ that He ordained from the foundation of the world. You can do it, and these devotions can help you succeed. Now place one foot in front of the other and begin to walk out your salvation. You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you.

Walking It Out by Faith,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, September 23, 2011

When Men Rewrite the Truth

Matthew 15: 1 - 6, Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God" -- then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. NKJV

Where did the Pharisees come from? They are a sect of Jews, who were wealthy and who saw themselves as better than their fellow countrymen. The Hebrew word for Pharisee means: separatists or to be separated. They sought the accolades of man more than God. The entirety of their worship was the outward expression of certain customs and practices. The earliest record that I have found dates the emergence of this sect of Jews and their customs as far back as 150 years before the birth of Christ.

By the time Jesus had arrived on the scene, this group of self-righteous men had found prominence in the eyes of both the Roman and Jewish leaders. Through their vain form of worship of God, they had greatly influenced the Jews and led them astray from the true meaning of God's Laws. They took upon themselves the role of interpreting and enforcing the Laws of Moses which they felt were applicable to their own philosophies. Today, we would call it "picking and choosing" the parts of God's Word that we desire to keep and being dismissive of the rest. It was amid all of this confusion that God sent Jesus to begin to preach "THE TRUTH" to His people. 

God, through Jesus was calling His people back to Himself to worship Him in Spirit and in truth, so He could, once again, bless them. As Jesus went about preaching the truth, many times He would reference the "false beliefs and teachings" of the Pharisees and the scribes. Throughout the gospels, you can read where Jesus would dispute the teachings and the traditions of the elders, Pharisees, and scribes by preaching the truth according to the Law of Moses and the faith of their father Abraham. As Jesus' influence grew among the Jews and especially among the poor, the Pharisees watched as their power and influence began to erode. This "threat" caused them to begin to devise plots where they could trap Jesus in His own words. However, when their feeble attempts to discredit Jesus failed, they sought ways that they might destroy Him and bring an end to His earthly ministry. 

The people of Jesus' day who listened to His teachings were set free, not only from their sins against God, but were also set free from demonic possession and oppression. Consequently, the people experienced the freedom that obeying the truth can provide. Through these encounters with the power of the living God, Israel began to be torn between the traditions of man and the truth of God. Today, that same battle is still being raged in the world, the battle between religion and the truth. Jesus tells us in John 8, if we will continue in His teachings, we will come to know, or recognize the truth, and the truth that we know will set us free from bondage. God desires for His people to be free to worship Him with their whole hearts... not according to man's traditions. 

You Shall Know the Truth,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Water or Cola?

Psalms 42: 1 - 2, As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. NKJV

The Bible is filled with typology and symbolism. A dry and parched land is used throughout the Old Testament to illustrate to us what the absence of God's presence and sin does to the stray or the lost soul of man. Water is a very valuable resource to all humans, but it becomes very precious when that resource becomes scarce.

Life is filled with many pleasures and spiritual distractions that can lead us away from having and maintaining an intimate fellowship with our heavenly Father. Since we understand that Satan will use the pleasures of the world to lure us from the living water of God, we must continuously guard our hearts from his temptations.

When a person becomes thirsty after working or exercising, they can quench that thirst with various liquids that have been produced by man. When I am parched and need to be rehydrated, I grab some water and find that it takes care of the thirst very quickly. However, there are times when I'm in need of refreshment, and I will reach for a cola or sports drink and ignore water. When our bodies crave water, many times we allow our taste buds to override our thirst. Instead of drinking something natural, a lot of times, we will choose to drink something that has carbonation and flavors that enhance the experience.

Living in this world offers us a wide array of choices, but if we desire to quench the thirst of our parched souls, there's just one choice. Jesus tells us in John 14: 6 that He is the only way to the Father. Jesus came to earth so that we might have life and enjoy it to the full. The psalmist tells us that there is no lack for those who trust in the Lord. In this world, we will have lack because this world is not kind. However, the Kingdom of God supplies every spiritual need we will ever have because God is love, and love gives.

When your soul thirsts for spiritual refreshment, do you turn to the very Source of life, or do you allow your desires to cause you to look elsewhere? Like water, God will seem dull and even bland to the carnal appetites of the flesh, but our soul will die without His living waters. God is faithful to all who call on His name. He is faithful to those who are thirsty and only need Him when they're in trouble, and He is faithful to those who thirst for Him constantly. 

Jesus told the woman who was thirsty that if she drank from Jacob's well, she would thirst again. He offered her living water that would flow out of her innermost being and would never run dry. As Christians, we can run to God, or we can run after God. Are you thirsty for God, or do you have a thirst for God?

Drinking from the Fountain of Life,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Family Quarrels

Genesis 4: 6 - 8, So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. NKJV

The Word teaches us that Adam and Eve committed the first sin against God. Unfortunately, mankind has had to suffer the consequences of their actions for thousands of years. After they sinned in the garden, God told them what would be the consequence of their sins. It never occurred to them that one day they would have a son, who would take the life of his brother and cause them unbelievable pain and heartbreak. I can make that assertion on their part because they had no record or way of knowing what sin really does to the human race. How could they know what murder was or that their own flesh and blood was capable of such a horrific act of violence?

Adam and Eve transgressed the commandment of God, and it caused them to have sin in their hearts. However, when Cain slew Abel, it was the first act of sin recorded in the Word against another human. Satan used the sin that was hidden in the heart of man to afflict deep sorrow and hatred upon the first family. All through the Old Testament, we can read where family violence was a way of life for many Jews, who followed the Lord. Just because we know Christ, it doesn't mean that Satan won't attack us or our families and cause us to have to endure some horrible trials.

When Cain discovered that God showed respect for Abel and his offering, but rejected him, it caused Cain to become violently angry and filled with jealousy. Paul tells us to be angry, but not to allow sin to rule our hearts or actions. It was one thing for Cain to be mad, but he also had a jealous heart against his brother's accomplishments. Jealousy is a work of the flesh or the result of sin in the heart of humans. It drove Cain to take the life of his own brother.     

As Cain allowed sin to fill his heart with violence and turn him against God, Satan also used that occasion to turn his heart against the family. The Apostle John wrote in his epistle, "How can we say we love God, whom we have not seen, when we don't love our brothers, whom we have seen?" Sin not only turns our hearts away from God, but it is manifested through our actions by turning our hearts on each other.

God warned Cain not to allow sin to rule over his heart. He also told him that he should rule over sin. Every believer in Christ has the power to rule over sin, but they must be submitted to God and His authority. The Apostle James tells us to submit first to God, resist the Devil, and he will flee from us. If we refuse to submit to God or His Word, then we can become just as open to violence or violating God's Word as Adam, Cain, or David. David was considered by God to be a man after God's own heart and look at the violence he carried out. The result of David's sin brought domestic violence to his home and family, and cost him and Bathsheba great sorrow and loss.

God instituted the family before He introduced His church to humanity. He ordained marriage before He introduced the family. It seems to me what God esteems and holds dear or sacred, Satan loves to defile and destroy with hatred and violence. The Holy Spirit had to "constrain" me to write this as a devotion to you today. I enjoy writing words that encourage and uplift our spirits. However, today, the Lord wants us to realize the need for prayer to be directed to help families that have been torn apart and\or destroyed because of family violence.

You may be a victim of family violence and wondering if God knows or even cares. This is your WORD from Him today, a Word to show you He not only knows, but He also cares for you.

The Name of the Lord Is a Strong Tower,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No More Sacrifices

Romans 10: 1 - 4, Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. NKJV

Only Jesus Christ can offer the world true salvation. When Jesus died upon the cross at Calvary, the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom. The writer of Hebrews tells us that we have a High Priest, Jesus, who has gone before us and poured out His blood on the mercy seat in heaven. Now we can enter that holy place through faith and find help in times of trouble.

Consequently, what does all this mean for the person who places their faith in Christ? Our salvation is complete in Christ! We don't have to sacrifice animals and believe in Christ. We don't have to add works of the flesh and have faith in Christ. When we accept Jesus, the Father accepts us freely and pardoned.

Does this mean that we are perfect when Christ enters our hearts? No, it doesn't. Now that we have received Christ, we must become Christ-like. The church of Galatia was filled with Jews, who had come to faith in Christ. However, soon after they believed, they were tricked by unbelieving Jews to add the works of the law to what Christ had done for them. You see. We all struggle with feelings of inadequacy and insecurity in our souls, even after we come to faith in Jesus. This is why we're told in Romans and Hebrews that the JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH. 

Now that you're in Christ, you must continue to walk by faith, even though your salvation is complete in Christ. As we obey by faith, we are then transformed from being carnally minded people into becoming spiritually minded Christians. Even though we are saved in Christ, we haven't been made perfect in love. Let's look at this process in a different light. When a baby is born and begins its new life, the parents soon realize that their bundle of joy has many demands that must be taken care of by them. As you and I begin our new life in Christ, we also discover that there are many needs, which can cause us to look outside our obedience to God in order to obtain them. Paul tells us in Galatians 3: 1 that we are to obey the truth. As Christians, we obey the truth by adhering to the doctrines and commands found in the Word of God and by obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit. As we obey the truth and leave the religion of works behind, the Father can change our hearts and to mature us to become His sons and daughters. 

Does this mean we won't have any more challenges as believers? No it doesn't. Even so, through the knowledge of the truth, we will learn how to go to God and trust Him to bring us successfully through all of life's problems and situations. Christ teaches us to rely on our heavenly Father... not on our own abilities. This is true faith.

Worshiping God with My Whole Heart,
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Living the New Life

Romans 6: 1 - 4, What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. NKJV

 Have you struggled with desires that contradict the Word of God since you have become born again in Christ? If so, then know that you're not alone. We're all humans, and we all have an old nature that we must confront and conquer so we can live free from the power of sin. The good news that I want to share with you today is that the greater One now lives in you, and your new life is hidden in Christ and not out in the world. When the Spirit of God filled your heart, He evicted your old master, the Devil, who ruled over your old life through the power of sin through the bondage of fear.

Paul tells us in Philippians that Christ died on the cross, and it was through His death that He disarmed principalities and powers, triumphing over them, He made an open spectacle of them. Jesus now has the keys that Satan used to have in his possession, death and hell. You see. Isaiah teaches us that when Satan was in power over the world, and before the cross of Christ, he would imprison people's souls, had absolutely no mercy on them, and wouldn't release them. However, when Jesus came and descended into hell, He stripped Satan of the authority that he had gained over mankind when Adam sinned in the garden. When Jesus departed from hell, He led captivity captive and took souls with Him from the holding cell. Satan's authority was stripped by the CROSS. 

Preachers love to share the gospel and teach on the work of the cross of Christ. Jesus taught His disciples that they also must take up their cross (die daily), deny self, and follow His example in order to both have and enjoy the new life that has been given to us freely. He has, indeed, set us free from sin and the power of sin through His cross, but now we must be willing to live the new life of faith by carrying our cross and crucifying the self or old nature daily. Once again, Jesus broke the power of sin off of those who believe in Him, but Satan can regain that ground if we choose not to die to self. However, if we choose to die to self and obey God's will, sin can't touch us because the door of self has been shut and sealed.

Paul addresses an issue that he discovered in the church at Rome, and it is still being dealt with in churches today. Christians are professing to be born again, but using grace as a cloak (or excuse) for continuing in sin.  Paul, in a loving, but sharp rebuke, explains to them, and us, that as many as are in Christ have now died to the power of sin. If this is true, and we all know that it is, then why do Christians still struggle with sin? It's not that you and I struggle with sin; it is that we still have the old nature (self) that tries to bring us back into bondage to the power of sin.

It is for this reason that Jesus teaches us to take up our own cross and deny self. When we say that we love Christ, but refuse to obey Him, we give place to the old nature to drive us back into sin. Paul tells us in Romans 8 that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but obey the Holy Spirit. When the church at Galatia decided to stop obeying the truth and wanted to go back under the Law, Paul told them that they had fallen from grace and were back under the curse of the Law because they weren't living by faith. 

If as a Christian, or a new convert, you find it too hard to obey Christ and die to the old pleasures of sin, then you will never become strong enough to crucify the lusts of your flesh; eventually, those unrestrained or un-crucified lusts will drive you to commit sin in your heart against God. If you believe that can never happen, then I invite you to visit a jail or prison sometime and ask the inmates how many of them committed their crimes "after" they were saved. The truth is very clear, even though we're saved, we still have to love Christ enough to hang self upon our own cross and die to the old lusts and thoughts of our old man. As Paul taught us in Ephesians 4, we must then put on the new man who was created in true righteousness and holiness in Christ Jesus.

Even though we're free through the cross of Jesus, Satan tempts us with lustful desires to indulge in the old man so that he might entrap us in sin once again. We don't have to fall prey to his deceptive lies or strategies, if we will simply love Jesus more than life itself. After all, He is the One who gave us eternal life, freely.

Enjoying the New Life Hanging Out on the Cross,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Kingdom Of Heaven

Matthew 5: 17 - 20, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. NKJV

Today, we will learn a very important lesson concerning the truth!! Peter admonishes us in his epistle that no prophecy that is contained in scripture was given by personal interpretation of the prophets, but was God-inspired through the power of the Holy Spirit, who moved upon them.

When God invited Israel to meet with Him at the base of Mount Sinai to become acquainted with Him, His presence and power made them afraid. Out of fear, they chose not to hear the voice of God; they wanted to listen to Moses instead. This is dangerous for two reasons: It gives place for people to dismiss man as their spiritual authority, as we see in the account of Israel under the leadership of Moses, and it also gives place for leaders to begin to misinterpret the Word of God and to lead people astray. Jesus didn't come to earth as our High Priest to get "in the way" of mankind getting to God. He came to be the "ONLY WAY" for man to know God.

The latter reason, dealing with leaders' misinterpretation of the Word and leading others astray is where the Holy Spirit is leading us today. In the context of today's scriptures from Matthew's gospel, we see Jesus establishing truth with those who were present that day. He told the Jews that He had not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. In order for Jesus to fulfill the Law, He had to have been sent by God. This statement set Him apart from the other leaders of the temple and Judaism. He proceeded to inform the people that anyone who disobeyed the Law and taught others to follow suit was the least in the Kingdom of heaven. He went on to say that whoever kept, or obeyed the Law completely, and taught others to do the same would be the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. Once again, He set Himself apart from the religious leaders of His day with this statement. If you read Matthew chapter 5, you will notice how Jesus begins to teach them what has been said of old; then He begins to set the record straight. Further, He told the crowd that their righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, or they wouldn't be allowed to enter the Kingdom of heaven. 

When Israel rejected the opportunity to hear the voice of God, it opened the door for Satan to lead God's people astray from the true righteousness which comes by faith and not through works of man. When the Law proved to be more demanding on them than the people wanted to bear, they simply interpreted it to mean what they wanted it to say... according to their own lusts and sin. They allowed men to lead them according to their own point-of-view rather than God's intended view. This practice caused Israel to establish their own form of worship and righteousness... according to Matthew 15 and Romans 10.   

Therefore, Jesus began His teaching ministry with His longest sermon, revealing the false doctrines of the Pharisees. Later, Jesus privately warned His disciples of the leaven (sin) of the Pharisees. You can see through today's word what happens when God's people ignore, or refuse to listen, to the voice of God. It gives place for the flesh of man to misinterpret the truth of God's Word to fit our carnal ways and lusts.

Jesus tells us in John 10 that His sheep know His voice and another, they won't follow. If you find it hard to hear and know when God speaks to you as one of His own, then you must invest time in His presence and seeking His face. He will open your ear to hear the Holy Spirit. As Israel ignored the voice of God, it gave place for a group of men to arise on the religious scene and to lead them astray. As the Old Testament closes, you hear of prophets, kings, priests, and high priests, but who were the Pharisees? I guess you could call them lawyers, who took it upon themselves to interpret correctly God's Law when they, themselves, according to Jesus' teachings didn't know God. They come on the scene between Malachi and Matthew's gospel. Doesn't it seem as though we are living in a time when men are trying to rewrite and misinterpret the Word of God through political correctness? Just sayin'

You Shall Know the Truth,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Avoiding The Pitfalls Of Distractions

Luke 10: 38 - 42, Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." NKJV

God created us in His own image and likeness. Consequently, since God is a triune being... Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we, too, carry the distinction of being triune; this sets us apart from any other creature. If you have received the Holy Spirit into your life, then your spirit has been regenerated. God now occupies that part of our being, and He gives us the authority to die to the weaknesses and lusts of our flesh nature. Remember, Jesus told the disciples when they fell asleep in the garden that their spirits were willing, but their flesh was weak. So instead of praying, they slept, and this caused them to enter into temptation.

As Christians, we are to utilize the power of the Holy Spirit through humility to bring our fleshly nature under control so that we might serve God and not self. This will require that we invest the time that is needed to seek God's face through prayer and being faithful students in God's Word. These simple steps will assure us that we will have the spiritual strength to overcome the wiles of the Devil when he tempts us with distractions.

It's easy for us to become distracted and not even realize that we have allowed those distractions to cause us to neglect being in God's presence. This was the case in Martha's life as she sought to "serve" Jesus, who was visiting her house. Although it appears that Martha is being a gracious host, if we peer deeper into the story, we soon discover that Martha's heart isn't filled with pure motives. She resents the fact that her sister, Mary, is just sitting at the feet of Jesus and hasn't offered to help her with serving Jesus. If Martha were doing this service unto the Lord as a way to honor Him, then she wouldn't hold resentment in her heart against her sister, but it doesn't stop there. She is so consumed and driven by a "works mindset" that she demands that Jesus tell Mary to help her serve.

Luke tells us in this story that Martha was "distracted." I find his assessment of her to be somewhat strange considering that someone needs to serve the others if the evening is going to be a success. King Solomon tells us that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. Martha was distracted because her life was driven by works and was off-balance. Mary, on the other hand, sought to learn from Jesus and not be driven by the "works of man" as a means to please others. Because Mary prioritized her time and gave honor to Jesus, she was persecuted by her own flesh and blood. You see, if we're like Mary and aren't driven by distractions to perform, then we will be persecuted with feelings of inadequacy because we're not "doing our part."

Mary was listening to Jesus, who was imparting eternal truths into her life. Satan doesn't want us to focus on eternity; instead, he uses the weaknesses of our flesh to drive us so that we become consumed with the temporal and lose sight of what is really important. As Christians, we have certain duties that demand large portions of our time on earth, but we must not allow these duties to become distractions where we give more honor to the temporal than we do to listening to the Holy Spirit about the eternal. Jesus gently, but firmly corrected Martha by telling her that what Mary was receiving from Him would never be taken away from her. Martha forsook an eternal moment with Jesus for a temporal moment with the dishes.

When we take the time to ignore the distractions in this life to meditate and listen to the voice of God, He will impart truths into our lives that will sustain our souls and can never be stolen from us by Satan. The Word of God endures forever, and when we choose to hide God's Word in our hearts, Satan can't rob those "promises in the making" from us. If you find yourself constantly driven to the point that you can't rest in the presence of the Lord, and it grates your nerves to watch other people sit at the Master's feet, then this is your eternal word for today... REPENT.

Times of Refreshing in God's Presence,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

With God All Things Are Possible

Matthew 5: 21 - 22, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. NKJV

Matthew 5: 27 - 28, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.'  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. NKJV

Matthew 5: 43 - 45, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; NKJV

Do you remember the moment you asked the Lord to save you from your past sins and failures and to accept you as His child? Didn't you feel clean and brand new when God applied the blood of Jesus to your sin stains and your guilty conscience through your faith in Christ? It reminds me of the time when God used Moses to bring the children of Israel out of the land of bondage and away from the oppression of man.

The children of Israel were crying out to God because of their anguish and the oppression of their taskmasters. As slaves to Pharaoh living in the land of bondage, the Jews knew what hard work without reward was all about. We can't even begin to imagine how these "slaves" were threatened and beaten daily by their enemies. However, God heard their cries and saw their afflictions and brought them out of their bondage with a high-hand.

While these former slaves were leaving what had been their prison camp for 400 years, they were still taking with them all the memories and scars of their experience of that land. Once they saw God drown Pharaoh and his mighty army in the Red Sea, they knew their days of bondage, and anguish were over. 

As hard and painful as slavery was for the Jews and their families to have to endure, they discovered something in the wilderness that challenged them even greater.  Once they had crossed the Red Sea and were now alive in the wilderness, they soon discovered that the land didn't have the resources that were needed to supply their need for food and comfort.

This nation of former slaves knew what hard work was all about, but God was going to introduce them to a new principle called "living by faith" apart from their works. He was going to supply all their needs and fight their battles; all He asked of them is that they would obey His voice and keep His commandments. When the people realized that the land couldn't handle their needs, it caused them to begin to worry for their lives. Instead of trusting God, they allowed unbelief (God had forsaken them) to fill their hearts. In spite of their unbelief, God supplied all their needs and fought their battles. He remained faithful to His people, even though the people had turned in their hearts against His voice.

As they saw what was ahead for them, they began to reminisce about how "good" they had life in Egypt. They obviously had selective memory because they had forgotten about the days and nights of anguish and crying out to God for deliverance from their oppressors. Nevertheless, they chose to harden their hearts to God's voice, even though they knew God was taking care of them. We must guard our hearts from unbelief when life doesn't go according to "our" terms. If we belong to God, then we must also believe that God knows what we need, and in addition, we must realize that it's not always found at a store or a job, but from Him.

When they hardened their hearts because they didn't agree with God's plan of getting them to the land of promise, it prolonged their stay in the wilderness. You see, the Promised Land would only be granted to those who lived by faith, and they weren't willing to hear God's voice. God couldn't bless them for their disobedience. All those who came out of Egypt and were filled with unbelief died in the wilderness. You may be asking, "What does this have to do with me?" Well, here is where "we" come into the story.

Look back at today's passages. Jesus introduced a new principle when He began to preach to the Jews; that principle involved, not the Law, but truth and grace. Jesus took what was hard to keep under the Law and made it impossible under grace. I gave you three examples from all that Jesus taught that day on the Mount of Olives to show you how much harder it is for a believer under grace than those who were under the Law (JEWS).

Why would Jesus take something that people struggled to obey in the Old Testament and make even harder to obey under the New Testament? It is so we would realize, like Israel, that man doesn't have life by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. We can't keep Jesus' commandments in our flesh, so we must humble ourselves and realize that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus taught us that what is impossible with man is now possible with God. Through faith in Christ, we have become children of God, and GOD IS WITH US!

With God, all things are now possible. You can obey Jesus' commands, even though they require more than sacrifice because He has given to you, His Holy Spirit. Now you must be willing to walk humbly by faith and receive the grace to inherit the promises of God's Kingdom through your faith. You and I can't live a holy life in the weakness of our souls. However, we can live holy before God through His grace, as long as we humble ourselves to His voice. Be encouraged today and know that God is with you. You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you. 

Praying for You to Succeed,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Living by Faith

Deuteronomy 8 : 1 - 3, Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. NKJV

According to Romans 10, if you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, you are saved. Furthermore, Paul tells us in Romans 1 that the just (those who are saved) shall LIVE by faith. I used the above passage from Deuteronomy today to illustrate God's meaning of faith and how those who are declared to be just find life through that faith. God begins by telling us to keep all His commandments and to be careful to observe them. If you're like me, you find it hard just to remember people's names, imagine having to know and remember over 600 laws that are recorded in the Old Testament. How does someone keep the law? Jesus simplified it in the gospels by commanding us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, body, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. On these two commands hang the entire law and words of the prophets. Simply put, we are to love and through that love, we will keep all of God's commands.

Let's digress for a moment and discuss the faith (or the lack of faith) that Israel had when Moses led them out of the land of bondage. For 430 years, the descendants of Abraham had been enslaved to Pharaoh. However, after this time had passed, God remembered His covenant with Abraham and looked upon the afflictions, the sorrow, and the oppression of His people. Once the Jews heard the news of God's deliverer (Moses) being sent to bring them out of bondage and away from their taskmasters, it caused elation to fill all their hearts. They were grateful and felt vindicated to learn that God had remembered them in their distresses, as His chosen people.

Do you remember how you felt when God forgave you of your sins and gave you the gift of the Holy Spirit? The common testimony among new converts is how they felt when the weight of their sins rolled off of their shoulders, and the shame was completely removed from their hearts. Do you also remember the excitement of having a new life and a new direction for your life? These feelings, along with the experience of salvation, let us know how the Jews must have felt when they saw Egypt behind them, and Pharaoh buried in the Red Sea. 

This new- found excitement soon gave way to concern and worry when the children of Israel realized there was no food or water in the wilderness. Once these issues became real, life-threatening situations, they subsequently turned on God and Moses for bringing them out of Egypt... where they had it "so good." They quickly forgot the feelings of gratitude and excitement when they had to face the nothingness of the wilderness. Why would God bring "hundreds of thousands" of people into a land that didn't have the resources to adequately provide for their needs? Well, God didn't intend for the children of Israel to spend the next forty years wandering in the wilderness. It should have only taken them eleven or twelve days to make the short journey from Egypt to Jericho. 

So why did God bring them to a place of "nothingness?" To teach these former slaves of sin how to live by faith. To have faith means that you know that GOD IS WITH YOU ALWAYS! In spite of all that God had done for Israel, the people never allowed faith to enter their hearts. All they could see or wanted to see is how God brought them out of Egypt, where they had leeks and onions and pots filled with food, to a place that was desolate. Instead of humbling themselves and allowing God to be their God, as Abraham did when he left his father's house to go to the same land the Israelites were  going, they decided to hold on to their unbelief. Even though Moses told them why God brought them through such a place... so that God might see what was in their hearts, they still refused to hear about a God that loved them, so they chose to harden their hearts to God's voice. 

You may be asking why God has allowed you to go through some troubling places in your new life. You might have wondered on occasion how the God of your salvation could allow you to go hungry at times and lose precious possessions that you may have once owned. The JUST shall live by faith. You know in your heart that God has never left you, nor has He forsaken you, even though Satan has tried to make it appear as though He has abandoned you. The generation that came out of the land of bondage died in the wilderness because of their unbelief. We know God is with us, but we must obey His voice when He speaks if we are to inherit God's promises and live. Guard your heart as you go through the storms of life so that you don't allow unbelief (God has abandoned me) to fill your heart with bitterness. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He shall direct your paths.

Faith Is the Victory,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Kingdom Doesn't Stop

Matthew 11 : 12, From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. NIV

 Do you have goals set for your life? Well, we all need them to help us see where we are in life. When you drive down some roads, you will notice that there are mile markers along the side of the highway; these are indicators of how you are progressing in your travels. As God was creating in Genesis 1, He would stop at the end of each day and celebrate that day's accomplishments. Setting realistic goals and obtaining them is a healthy way to measure the progress we have made during a certain period of time. When someone is seriously injured, the doctors will set goals and timelines for a person's recovery. It gives that person something to look forward to during their recovery process. If a person doesn't set goals, then there is no gauge to monitor their progress. This can allow complacency and frustration to arise in their heart, because there's no vision in their life to compel them to strive for anything.

God wants us to set goals for ourselves and to accomplish them with His help. Then, just like He did in the beginning, He desires for us to celebrate those milestones in our lives... so we know that actual progression has been made. The kingdom of heaven works in much the same way; it doesn't stop progressing just because men on earth aren't willing to seek after it. If anything, just the opposite takes place. God loves a big challenge. Men who oppose Him or His will in the earth don't intimidate Him in the least. As Christians in this world, we will find times of great opposition to God's will being fulfilled through us. The major key to overcoming spiritual opposition is resisting fear.

I have watched several economists, C.E.O's, business owners, bankers, etc. talk about what is going on in the nation's economy and why it isn't progressing as prognosticators had hoped. A vast array of influential leaders attributes the stagnancy of our lagging economy to "fear of the unknown". Now let's put this into a spiritual perspective. Has God ever stopped a move that He had orchestrated because of fear? If you will remember, many times the Jews were in fear over their enemies, but God always had a plan that required them to move forward in faith and in spite of their fears. Each time that they obeyed God and moved forward in the face of great opposition and even greater fear, God always met them on the other side with tremendous blessings and greater authority. God never stops nor does the kingdom of God come to a screeching halt, because it doesn't run based on fear. God is love and the kingdom of God is based on God; therefore love is the driving force behind the expansion of the kingdom of God.

Here's where you come in; you're a human, but you're also a Christian... if Christ dwells in your heart. This economy isn't moving forward, according to analysts who know what they're talking about. The fear is based on the uncertainty of the future. As Christians, we know our future is secure because God holds our future in His hands. Therefore, when fear tries to stop our forward progression, we step over into faith in what God is saying and not what man is telling us about the future. If we should listen to the world, we would stop giving into the kingdom and begin to hoard. Isn't that just the opposite of God's will? "Give and it shall be given unto you." So we see that this fear comes from the enemy that opposes the blessings of God being released upon obedient people. If Satan can get people to stop their giving and stop their investing because of uncertainty, then progress stops.

What we need to do is keep believing and obeying the Word of God. Also, we need to pray for God to reveal the plans and methods that need to be implemented to overcome the uncertainty in people's lives. Once people begin to see light or hope in the future, they will release what is in their possession and this will allow the flow to begin again. Money is called currency, and that is derived from current. Money flows like a current until fear (or man) tries to stop the flow. We all must make a decision much like the widow of Zarephath, who was sure that she and her son were going to die because of the famine. Though she resisted obeying (the Lord) at first, she later obeyed, and they had food until the famine ended. We too must decide to obey God's Word and Spirit and give into the Kingdom of God knowing that He will bless us, and the current will continue to flow from heaven to us. If it were easy, everyone would do it, but the just shall live by faith. If you know someone who is facing financial struggles, please forward this email to them. If the body of Christ will take a stand against the fear and begin to progress forward, we will be able to see God move the obstacles out of the way. Then we can celebrate the dawning of a new day, financially.

Ecclesiastes 11: 1, Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. NKJV

Sowing into Your Life the Word,
Pastor Asa

Friday, September 9, 2011

Faith Comes By Hearing God

Romans 10: 1 - 4, Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. NKJV

God called Moses to lead the children of Israel to the wilderness so they could worship Him. The Lord God has always had a plan to reconnect His people with Himself through holy fellowship. When God instructed Moses to lead the people to Mount Sinai, His purpose was for them to get to know Him. When the presence of God descended on the mountain, His power caused lightning, thunder, smoke, and the mountain to tremble. This encounter with the living God caused Israel to draw back in great fear. Moses told them not to be AFRAID... however, he further added that the fear of the Lord would keep them from sinning against the Lord.

Out of fear and anxiousness at the awesomeness of God's power and presence on the mountain that day, the children of Israel told Moses to go and speak with God. However, they, themselves, rejected listening to God's voice on earth (the very avenue by which they could walk by faith). Instead, they wanted Moses to speak with God and tell them what God wanted of them. They also vowed to do all that God would command of them... through the mouth of Moses.

Here's where the story takes a turn. As God was descending upon Mount Sinai to speak with His people, He was also preparing to hand down His Law. The Law of God would spiritually govern the actions of this holy nation. When people have the Law of God, but refuse to listen to the voice of God, it opens the door for man to establish his own form of righteousness. As a result of Israel choosing to ignore the voice of God and, instead, listening to the voice of man, it left them to interpret what God meant to say according to the dictates of their own hearts.

In the New Testament, God has fulfilled the Law through the obedience of Christ, and we don't have to keep the Law. Instead, new covenant believers have been given the Holy Spirit, who represents the voice of God in the earth. As we listen to the Holy Spirit and obey the truth, our faith makes us righteous apart from the Law. Being made righteous through faith means that we measure up to God's standard. Righteousness is not based on our works, but on our faith in Christ and on our obedience to His leading. If you struggle with inadequacy and have the Holy Spirit living within your spirit, then you must focus on being obedient to the voice of God. Only through faith are we made complete. If we should ignore the voice of God like Israel did, then we, too, will fall from grace and go back under the works of the Law. There is freedom from works for those who place their faith in Christ and obey Him.

The Just Shall Live by Faith,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, September 8, 2011

There is a Secret Place in Perilous Times

2 Timothy 3: 1 - 6, But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! NKJV

Please take the time to read the entire word today, because I believe it was given by the Lord specifically for the days we're living in.

When Paul describes the last days, he gives us valuable insights into what will be the root cause for the trouble that erupts. All the things Paul lists get their root from self-sufficiency... not depending on God through faith in His Word. He describes the last days as being perilous times, because some people will have a form of godliness, but deny its power. Basically, people will try to be godly apart from the righteousness of God in Christ. When society becomes self-sufficient, this opens the door for Satan to destroy through corruption.

When the world is at peace, and there are no threats of war or calamity, the people of the land don't have to be on guard. They can live in a sense of security that the world is safe. You don't have to take things as seriously as you do when the world is filled with peril. On September 11, 2001, America had a wakeup call that told us that we were now living in perilous times. People listened to all kinds of news agencies and broadcasts seeking information and direction. As the people of this nation and the world watched with unspeakable horror, they began to hang onto every word that was broadcast over the airways. We heard that President Bush was safe and was in the air with the protection of the Air Force. We also heard that all flights were grounded and made to land wherever they happened to be at the time... instead of flying into their original destinations. You see, things changed instantaneously and dramatically when perilous times erupted.

Life becomes very serious, and what you hear takes on a greater weight than before the trouble struck. Why do you suppose humans get serious only after trouble strikes as opposed to being careful or observant at all times? Could it be because we enjoy living life on our own terms? Paul teaches us in today's scripture that living this way can open a door that will lead us into becoming self-sufficient. The Sunday following 9/11, churches began to see an influx of new people filling the pews. We watched as people, who before that terrible day ignored God, now, all of a sudden find a new reason to worship Him. I'm writing this to say that when trouble hits, people turn to Lord and away from self. Why? Because things have become very serious, and they realize that everything in their life depends on what they hear and how they respond.

We're told in Psalms 91 that there is a secret place for those who place their trust in the Most High God. The psalmist writes, "Only with our eyes shall we see the reward of the wicked, but it will not come near us." It is our faith in the Lord and His Word that keeps us from calamity during perilous times. God wants us to trust in Him and live soberly or watchful. He doesn't want us to indulge in the pleasures of this world at the expense of listening and heeding to His Word for us. We see trouble as the biggest threat to our well being, but God views self-sufficiency as the biggest enemy to our souls; let's allow Him to help us keep our "self" nature from destroying us.

In conclusion, if you will read Deuteronomy 8, you will find that God allowed His chosen people to experience some tough times. In this chapter, God tells us the reason He allowed His chosen people to suffer hunger; it was so that they would become humble and trust in God... not in self. They needed to be at a place in their walk with the Lord that they would live by every Word that proceeded from the mouth of God...and not depend only on the daily bread that sustained them.

If you're a pastor who receives these devotions, this is a word of encouragement for you to seek God for direction as never before. The flock of God doesn't need to get into fear, but be led by the Spirit of God through these troubling times. Seek the Lord diligently, because He hasn't forsaken us; He is challenging us to turn to Him with our whole hearts. The Lord's direction will calm our fears, reinforce our faith, and give us the peace we will need to live in a volatile world. Remember saints, we're in this world, but we're not of this world, because we place our trust in the Lord. Be encouraged today and know that our God is still in control; He desires His people to hear His voice... that He might bless us even in perilous times. God bless you today; that is my prayer for you and your family.

In the Secret Place,
Pastor Asa

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Aligning Our Actions with Our Beliefs

Ephesians 4: 20 - 24, But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. NKJV

It's very easy to become a born-again child of God, but it's very challenging, to say the least, for a Christian to become Christ-like. Whenever Jesus taught the people of His day, He would use physical things and human problems in order to communicate to people who were carnal thinkers so that they could comprehend spiritual concepts.

When a woman gives birth to her baby, she realizes the infant is going to act and speak as an infant. It is the parents' responsibility to nurture and train that child up in the way that he or she should go. When you look at a new-born baby or an infant, you don't always know if they are a girl or boy. It takes time and development for a baby to take on characteristics that distinguish its identity. 

If we don't understand that a Christian has to be renewed in the spirit of their mind in order to be Christ-like, we might have a tendency to judge their actions and say they're not really saved. Just because a person believes in Jesus for their soul's salvation doesn't mean that they have allowed the Word to change their heart. 

Spiritual immaturity is manifested in our actions. If we haven't taken the time to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into the truth, then we will remain carnally minded, and our actions won't always align with our beliefs. When this occurs, it causes others to question the authenticity of our faith. Paul definitely understood the transformation process as one of being changed from a carnal minded person into a spiritual minded disciple of Christ. He had to undergo such a transformation in his own walk and life.

The Bible is our moral compass. It teaches us how we should behave, vote, conduct business, and how to settle disputes within the body of Christ. Therefore, Christians are to show their love for the Lord by keeping His commands. Until the Word of God is revealed to our hearts, it is possible for a Christian to walk in carnality or in the ways of the world.

If your actions contradict the Word of God and people see the contradictions, then your witness of Christ is made ineffective. In other words, there will be no fruit in your life. Jesus said that we should live in such a way that men will see our good works, therefore, causing them to glorify the Father because they know our works are of Him. Let me challenge you today to realign any area of your new life that doesn't agree with the Word of God. As a Christian, our conversations are to be holy and not filled with gossip and filth. Jesus asked how sweet water and bitter water can flow from the same fountain. It was in this context that He taught about doing His will, not just being religious, that He spoke about this fountain in us. He doesn't want us to only have a "form" of godliness. He wants us to be clothed in humility and godliness as the children of God. To seek change means that you must first seek God, and He will cause the change to occur that you seek.

Being Changed From the Inside Out,
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Access Granted

John 7:37-39, On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. NKJV

Paul teaches us in his writings that we are ambassadors of God's Kingdom on the earth. Jesus also told His disciples (and us) that we are in the world, but we are not of the world. You may ask, "How is it possible that I be a Christian, who lives in the world and yet not be a part of the world?" It is because you have been born again by faith in Jesus Christ. Now, you're a citizen of the heavenly kingdom of God, and you are to fulfill your heavenly assignment. Everything to do with God and His Kingdom must be understood, accepted, and inherited by faith in His Word. We live in the reality of a fallen world, but as Christians, we are not to live in bondage or under the power of the sin that is in the world. We have been made free through our faith in Jesus Christ and have been called to serve Him in the earth.

Jesus gave us an example of how the principle of faith operates in the heart of a believer. He asked those present at the feast that day if they were thirsty, and told them that if they were, they could come to Him and drink. If you read His invitation with a carnal mind, you would draw the conclusion that He must have had a container of water and was offering some refreshment to the guests. If that were the case, then the next statement that He made about "living water" wouldn't make much sense. When we make the transition over to faith, it opens us up to a whole new world where God supplies all of our needs, not man.

When we are first introduced to operating as spirit beings in the realm of the Holy Spirit, it seems strange to us. However, as we grow in our faith as children of God and become comfortable with the understanding and speech of the Kingdom, the ways of this world become foreign to us. When His ways start to become your ways, you will know that your faith in God's Word is changing your heart and causing you to become spiritually minded and no longer carnally minded.

The key to walking in the understanding of the Spirit and accessing the promises and provision of God while in this world is to walk by faith in God's Word. As they believed on Jesus, He gave them the power to become children of God and to have the living water begin to flow out of their innermost being. By faith, we can tap into the realm of heaven where God dwells and bring into this realm all that is needed to protect and sustain us in this life. Once we establish in our hearts that we're going to live always by faith in Christ and His Word, we will grow in confidence that He is a very present Help in times of trouble. We will have the certainty that He is with us at all times and in all situations. At this point, we will then understand what God's grace has done for us. Through our faith in Jesus, we can be transformed and live in the world as pilgrims or sojourners waiting for the day of Christ's return. Faith takes our attention away from how we began in the garden and changes us to look forward to the future when we shall be reunited with Christ. 

Changed by Faith in Jesus,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, September 5, 2011

Salvation Is Free

Ephesians 2: 4 - 9, 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, not of works, lest anyone should boast. NKJV

If we are made complete in Christ, and we are according to scripture, why do believers struggle with such feelings as rejection, unworthiness, isolation, etc., after accepting Christ? Paul teaches us about salvation in a way that helps us to overcome the feelings in our hearts. If we have accepted the gift of God, salvation into our hearts, then we have also received the Spirit of Truth as well. The Spirit of Truth will begin to reveal to us the inadequacies of our flesh nature- the old man. This is the point at which many Christians begin to struggle in their faith walk and might make a premature decision to give up and believe their feelings. This struggle stems from being carnal beings who lived according to feelings and desires our entire lives until salvation set us free. Now we are required to walk by faith. Even though we are learning to walk by faith and not be driven by our feelings or desires, there will be times of weakness where our old mindset will try to pull us back into walking according to the flesh through guilt and shame of having those earlier feelings. However, we can overcome the feelings of our hearts by continuing to walk by faith.

Let's use an example to help you grasp what the Lord is saying to us today. A person isn't feeling well, and they go to their doctor. Once the doctor has listened to the person's description of the symptoms, he begins to examine the patient to determine what is causing their discomfort. After the examination, the doctor determines that his patient is suffering from a health condition that is treatable through proper diet and exercise. This would be the equivalent of someone who is beginning to walk by faith according to the truth hearing the Holy Spirit reveal to them the weaknesses that have held them back from obedience in the past. Like the patient who receives directions from their doctor, we should be willing to hear instructions from the Holy Spirit as He reveals the weaknesses in our walk. 

Instead of listening to the Lord for instruction, we tend to get hung up on the fact that we have a weakness or desire that must be corrected. Instead of moving forward by obeying the Holy Spirit, there is a tendency to want to give up because we have learned the root cause of our issues. If we draw back into unbelief instead of walking with the Lord in faith, it can cause us to either begin to take ownership of the feelings of rejection, unworthiness, etc. as a part of our new identity or to try doing works in the strength of our flesh nature to earn what is only freely given to us.

If this word describes what you have been fighting in your spirit, and you know that it is truth, then submit to what the Holy Spirit is saying and follow His instructions. Just like the doctor gives a diagnosis and a prescribed cure, so does the Holy Spirit... but in a spiritual context. This means we have to accept it and obey His direction by faith. As we learn to walk by faith and listen to the leading of the Spirit of God, we are learning to walk in our new identity by God's grace. Sometimes, even though you follow doctor's orders and are on the way to recovery, you will have flare-ups from the condition; it can also be that way in our spiritual walk of faith to recovery...sometimes, we have a flare-up and lean on the understanding of our flesh nature. There will be those times when the flesh nature will hinder your development because we're all humans. However, we must also remember that this battle with our flesh nature and its weaknesses is fought and won by faith so that it might be by God's grace. Salvation is the gift of God, and no one can earn it through the works of their flesh. Obey and walk by faith, and you will see victory in your life.

Learning to Accept the Free Gift of God,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, September 2, 2011

Drawing Closer to God

Proverbs 3: 5 - 7, Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil. NKJV

Throughout biblical history, the Lord has called and drawn His people to Himself. Today, I feel deeply compelled to share a few insights with you as to the reason God desires our fellowship. First of all, He loves us more than our spiritual hearts or our human minds have the ability to comprehend. God has shown us His vast love through the cross of His Son, Jesus; there He demonstrated to us just how much He values His fellowship with His children. God didn't allow sin and our initial rejection of His love to stop Him from loving us even greater. It was one thing for God to make a garden and offer mankind dominion, but when man rejected His love for the pleasures of sin, God gave His only-begotten Son as ransom for our sin debt.

When we're first drawn to Christ as a sinner to receive forgiveness for our sins, God is also inviting us to get to know Him on a personal and intimate basis. This is where the battle begins for a new convert. It's easy to fall into a spiritual "rut" once you become born again. There is a tendency to believe that getting saved is all there is to spiritually acquire. However, can I say that salvation is only the beginning of an awesome relationship with your Creator and Father?

As you begin to pursue a deeper walk of faith and a greater understanding of who God is and who you are in Christ, Satan will begin to stir up either your flesh or the flesh of others to try and dissuade you from pursing intimacy with the Lord. Now, let's see how today's scripture can encourage us to trust in the Lord and lean not to our own understanding. If we continue to walk according to our fleshly desire, and the carnal knowledge that we trusted in as a sinner, even though we're born again, it will prevent us from getting to know our God. If we don't get to know God beyond salvation, then how will we come to trust Him to lead us? 

Therefore, all who have received Christ must come to the same place that John the Baptist came to in his own ministry. After the initial experience of salvation, we must listen to the Holy Spirit and begin the process of being transformed through the renewing of our minds so that we might become like Christ. When Jesus arrived on the scene and was baptized by John, John said that he must decrease and Christ must increase. After we are baptized into Christ, we, too, must begin the humbling process of decreasing in the carnal knowledge of our past and begin listening to the leading of God's Spirit to bring into conformity to God's will for us as His children.

We must train ourselves to develop a taste for the things of God so that we will begin to seek God and value the times of refreshing that comes from being in His presence. If we should ignore or lose interest in the development of spiritual senses and appetite, then our spirit man will remain immature and weak against the strategies of Satan. Satan preys upon the spiritual ignorance of Christians, especially when we don't invest the time that is needful for us to become one with God. 

Paul teaches us throughout his writings that we should have our mind and/or the spirit of our mind renewed in order that we might put off the old man who grows corrupt. As we grow in the knowledge of the Lord and walk by faith, we will be renewed and begin to put on the new man or take on our new identity which is created in true righteousness and holiness. Salvation is more than a onetime experience. It is the beginning of becoming Christ-like as we walk by faith and seek to become one with Him through obedient faith. 

Walking With God Each Day,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Romans 8: 28 - 30, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. NKJV

As believers in Christ, we have been taught much on the subject of salvation. However, today, I want to introduce to you a word that Paul used in his writings that also pertains to our salvation, but takes us in a different direction than traditional salvation messages tend to take us. When we think of salvation, there is the tendency to lean toward the understanding of having our souls rescued from sin... and this is absolutely true, but salvation doesn't stop the moment you become born again. In fact, it is the beginning of a brand-new life in Christ. Since we are born again, we are to live this new life through faith. We accomplish walking by faith when we learn about God's purpose for us, and we choose to serve His purpose. After all, we now belong to Him.

This brings us to the reason for today's devotion and the word "called." Paul tells us that we are the called of God. This word simply means invited of God. Once we become children of God, He invites us to become instruments of righteousness on the earth to proclaim and expand the Kingdom of God in the earth. Over the years, the word "calling" has become synonymous with those who answer God's call on their lives to have a pulpit ministry. Paul explains his use of "CALLED" by teaching us about the purpose of God and fulfilling His purpose as His children while we remain here on earth. As you and I accept God's invitation to serve His purpose in the earth, it gives God the ability to work in us His good pleasure. So as we serve His purpose in the earth by obedient faith, we are at the same time giving God access into our lives to change us or to conform us into the image of Christ. 

Paul tells us in today's verses that God not only called us, He also justified us, and those He justified, these, He also glorified. The justification process that Paul spoke about and Jesus taught His disciples about might be new to your understanding, but it isn't a new doctrine. Do you remember Jesus told the Jews, who believed on Him as the Christ that if they should continue walking in His Words, they would come to know the truth, and the truth would make them free? (John 8) He also told His disciples that if they wanted to come after Him, they had to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. As we answer God's invitation to serve His purpose on the earth, it gives God access to our hearts through our faith to change us into the image of Christ. We have Christ in our hearts the moment we become born again, but we have not become Christ-like in our soul (mind, will, emotions). 

Here is how you can implement this teaching in your life today. Now that you have accepted Jesus into your life and have become saved, do you fully know and understand God's invitation to serve His purpose in your new life in Christ? Paul also teaches us in Romans that Abraham believed God, and God accounted him as righteous. God considered Abraham righteous because Abraham believed and served God's purpose for him on the earth. God made him to be the "father" of the faith. We see that Abraham was made righteous apart from the works of the law because of faith alone. There's more to salvation than being saved. We will discover our new identity and destiny in Christ once we both accept God's purpose and live by faith through our obedience to His heavenly calling.

Called to Serve His Good Purpose,
Pastor Asa Dockery