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Friday, December 30, 2011

Work Through Me, Lord!

Galatians 1 : 1 - 2, Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), NKJV

As a child of God and a minister of the Gospel, there's nothing that is as fulfilling as when the Lord flows through me to touch a person's heart and life. Paul tells us, in Corinthians, that we have this treasure in earthen vessels. He goes on to explain why the Lord has chosen to perform His will in this manner; it is so that the people will know that it is the power of God flowing through us.

I remember when R. W. Schambach, the famous evangelist, struggled with heart issues. For years this powerful man of God would lay hands on people and watch the power of God heal them. When he found out that his own heart was in need of a miracle, he sought the Lord, but the Lord chose to heal him another way;  instead of an instant miracle, R.W. had to undergo heart surgery. I later heard him on television wrestling with his own theology over healing because he had needed surgery...He struggled with "why", when the Lord had used him to touch so many lives over the years.

This is what Paul is saying in our verse in today's word. It's not according to our will or man's will, but God will perform His mighty work through people who allow Him to flow. Paul was quick to let the Galatians know where his power to be an apostle of the faith came from.

According to 2 Corinthians 5 : 18, we all have been given the ministry of reconciliation (that includes you). You might be thinking, "God could never use me." He will use you, but you must allow Him to work through your heart. If you will remember, before Paul became a mighty man of God, he was Saul, a murderer. And like he wrote in 2 Corinthians 5, he, too was a new creature in Christ. Saul humbled himself and sought the Lord's will over his own desires in life, and God was able to use him. The Lord will do the same work through you, but you must be willing to submit to His voice.

"Work through me, Lord" is more than just  you and me hearing the voice of the Lord. He can do far more than we could ever ask or think, if we will simply pray before we start our day or set out to accomplish His will; this is what I have discovered in my times of prayer. I no longer just seek to hear instructions from the Lord, but I press on in my prayer time to allow Him to fill my heart with His will. It's obvious that Paul had come to that truth in his own prayer life with the Holy Spirit. He had learned how to become and to accept the call of God that was on his life to become an apostle through his time in prayer with the Lord.

None of us has the power within our humanity to perform the wonders of the Lord, so we must take the time needed to prepare our hearts for Him to work through us. Prayer will determine if a minister is ordinary or extraordinary. Jesus always sought the Father in prayer and moved according to the leading of the Holy Spirit afterwards. At the end of His ministry on earth, He told the Jews one day. "The Father is always with me, because I always do those things that please Him." The result of a life of prayer and supplication is a life that pleases the Father in all that we say and do.

Thank You for Using Me Lord,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Can You Keep A Secret?

Matthew 6: 1 - 4, "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. NKJV

Matthew 6: 5 - 6, "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. NKJV

Matthew 6: 16 - 18, "Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. NKJV

When it comes to being a witness for Christ, our heavenly Father wants us to live out loud. Jesus commands us in Matthew 5 to be salt and light to the world. He instructs us to let our light shine in a way that brings glory to our heavenly Father. However, when it comes to our personal acts of worship and obedience to the Lord, Jesus commands that we keep them secret.

You will notice that in the areas of giving, praying, and fasting, our Lord doesn't give us an option. He only tells us "when" we respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit in these three areas, then we are to see to it that no one knows what we are doing because His desire is for our reward to come from God and not man. 

The Lord doesn't want us to give any place for our flesh to participate in these areas so that we may receive a greater reward from the Father... who sees what we secretly do. Our secrecy will also challenge the motive behind what we do for Christ and the kingdom of God. If we can give, pray, and fast without recognition from man, then it shows the Lord that we have truly fulfilled these acts of worship solely for His pleasure from a heart of love and gratitude.

Scripture commands that the emphasis in these areas of personal worship and devotion before the Lord be made on the importance of doing them in secrecy before God and not on the acts themselves. Doesn't this principle remind you of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter on love? He admonishes us to carry out what we do for God from a heart of love. If we perform acts of worship for the accolades of man, not from love, Paul tells us that our worship will be in vain. Therefore, we will know that we have given, prayed, and fasted from a heart motivated by love when we do them all in secret before God.

Only God knows,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Faint Not

2 Samuel 11 : 1 - 5, It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, "I am with child." NKJV

God had given David a divine purpose. In fact, He has given every person a divine purpose on the earth. Some will fulfill their purpose, and some will choose to fulfill the lusts of their flesh. One spring, when the kings went out to battle, David sent Joab and his servants. Apparently David had grown weary in serving the Lord by choosing not to carry out his purpose that spring.

If you will read chapter 12 in 2 Samuel, you will see where God tells David that He would have given him more... if the blessings that he had already received were not enough. Obviously, there had come a separation in the communion between David and his Lord. Let's look at this story from a different perspective. We're told in Galatians 6 not to grow weary in well doing, for in due season, we will reap... if we don't faint.

David had fainted in doing the will of God that year, and it cost him dearly. Perhaps the enemy had convinced David that he had reached the top, and that he had gotten all that God was willing to offer him; after all, he "was" king over Israel. Something made him decide to remain in Jerusalem instead of carrying out the Lord's purpose for his life. Take careful notice of what can happen should we decide we're too tired to go out into battle (to the war that is against the lusts of our flesh) and decide to give in to them. It opened the door for Satan to tempt David with adultery, and then to the murder of Uriah to cover it up.

Are you tired of doing well? Have you decided to stay at home instead of going to battle against the enemy of your soul? This one occasion in the spring of the year brought a curse upon David's house, and it cost him the child that was conceived.

In chapter 12, God speaks through the prophet Nathan and tells the king that if what he had given him had not been enough, that He would have given him so much more. This tells us that David wasn't looking to God to supply his desires, but to himself. He chose the lust of his fleshly heart instead of the passion of his heart for the Lord. David had allowed Satan to blind him to the blessings that God would have given him had he continued to obey. And Satan used that season to rob David of future blessings and the security of the past blessings that he had already enjoyed.

Instead of peace, the sword was now in the king's house. You see, in the context of the passage in Galatians 6, we're told that if we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption from our flesh. If Satan is lying to you about the blessings of God being dried up, and he's telling you that there is no reason in the natural why you should continue to go to battle and contend for the faith, beware. Jesus tells us in John 10 : 10 that the thief only hangs out with us so that he can steal, kill, and destroy the blessings of life that God has given to us. Lust will never give you anything other than a moment's pleasure, but will rob from you the blessings of peace, joy, and fulfillment. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Contending for the Faith,
Pastor Asa

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Am I a Sinner or a Child of God?

2 Corinthians 5 : 14 - 17, For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if one died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. NKJV

Do you know who you are in Christ? Who we are has been a mystery to mankind since our very creation. Wasn't Eve led astray by Satan and into sin over the mystery of her identity? Didn't Satan lie to her about the result of eating from the tree of knowledge; he told her that she would be LIKE God. By eating from the tree, Eve was rebellious, and we know that we can't become like God through disobedience.  Satan made it appear as though God was keeping something back or hidden from Eve and convinced her that she could discover the mystery of her hidden identity by participating in sinful activity.

Why did the Lord God create us in His image and likeness and then leave us ignorant about who we were? Since the Bible declares that man, both male and female were created in the image and likeness of God, we now know Who to go to for the answers surrounding the mystery of our spiritual identity. Obviously, God didn't desire for mankind to be a "ROBOT." He created us in His image, but with a void of the knowledge of who He is and who we are in Him so that we might seek to know Him through a relationship. The Lord God's desire is for us to want  to be intimate with Him. He wants us to desire Him, not just have knowledge about Him. By the Lord creating us with the void of knowing Him, He was giving mankind the freedom and the option to choose for ourselves to know Him. Unfortunately, man chose to "learn" about God outside the perimeters of God's provision and will. Instead of man becoming like God through Satan's lie, we became spiritually blinded to God's ways and lost our ability to know who we are or who we were to become. 

It was unbelief that caused Adam and Eve to believe Satan's lies about God. If they had chosen God's way of knowing Him as Lord, they would have  discovered their spiritual identity. So wouldn't it stand to reason that "faith," the opposite of unbelief, would be the way to know God and to know who we are spiritually? When we choose to walk by faith in Christ as Abraham, Sarah, and a host of other men and women of God have done, we have chosen the only path that will lead us to know God and discover our true identity. The path of righteousness is the only avenue that gives humans the liberty to be all that God has called us to be. Faith in Christ and obedience to His Word liberates us from the bondage of the flesh nature so that the new man can burst forth. To the degree that we can say we know God or His ways will be the degree that we will know our spiritual identity. Therefore, if we desire to know our true identity and seek to be free from this world, then we must form a deep desire and hunger for God and His righteousness. Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that if we hunger and thirst for Him, we shall be filled.   

There's only one way to fill that void completely in our hearts and that is to seek God with all our hearts, souls, mind, and strength. As we diligently seek Him, He will reward us with the understanding of who we are in Christ. Any other way we choose to try and discover who we are, other than God's predetermined plan, will end up in disappointment and disaster. We have learned that lesson through the decisions of Adam and Eve. Let us choose to walk in the Light while He is with us so that we won't stumble in the dark and fall.

Discovering Who I Really Am,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Christmas Prayer for You

Luke 1: 30 - 38, Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy one who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." NKJV

The very first story that is told in the Bible is the account of creation. God looked at His creation and saw that there was a void in the earth. Something catastrophic had occurred leaving the earth formless and void. However, if you read the story found in Genesis one, you will see that God was restoring and filling the earth with living vegetation and living creatures. Throughout the Word of God, we can see God at work restoring the earth and the lives that had been devastated by the evils of sin.

Since the fall of man, mankind has had a void in their hearts. The fall caused us to become separated from the very presence of God. As a result of that void, people have pierced themselves through with many sorrows in their effort to fill that void with something other than the presence and life of God. Although sin originally separated us from the life of God, it did not separate us from the love of God. The love of God overcame His wrath against sin and caused Him to send His Son to earth.

For God so loved the "world" that He sent us His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him would not perish, but have everlasting life. God created a void in heaven and filled the womb of a virgin on earth. What is so amazing and glorious about this virgin conceiving and giving birth to the Christ-child is the truth that she didn't need a man in order to obey God's will. When Mary heard the angel tell her about God's plan to allow her to bring forth the Christ into the world, she agreed with His Word instead of doubting it. As a result of her faith and willingness to agree with God, the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and the formation of Jesus began in her womb. 

This event of Mary becoming the Mother of God is the greatest story of all time. Many traditions and forms of celebrations have arisen over the centuries to commemorate that joyous occasion. Over two-thousand years later, people celebrate the birth of Christ and remember how God filled the void in man by first filling the womb of a virgin without the aid of a man. The lesson that we need to learn from the method God used to send His Son to man is very important. God shows us through the immaculate conception of His Son that we don't need man to partake or to enjoy His goodness and life in our lives. In fact, the more we try to add "man's ways" to the gift of God's Son and the celebrations that surround this blessed event, the less we will be able to experience the liberty of His gift.

In what should be a fulfilling and heart-warming season, we are witnessing an upswing of anxiety, depression, and despair in more and more people because of the "frenzy" that is brought on by a world that overshadows and surrounds this sacred event. As Christmas, which is the celebration of the birth of Christ, becomes more and more about something else, disastrous results can occur. Anytime something is misused or misrepresented, such as Christmas has been by the world, it will also alter the intended purpose, and the results of the season that surrounds it.

Christ was sent to earth to fill the void that was caused by man turning his heart on God. If we should turn our hearts toward the world's view of Christmas at the expense of not having Christ as the focal point, then the season won't have the power to fill the void in our hearts. Remember, it was Satan convincing Eve that she could find fulfillment outside of God's will that formed the void to begin with.

The "Christmas" that the world portrays will leave you empty and hurting. However, the CHRIST-mas that is spoken of in Luke 1 will fill your hearts and lives with great joy, whether you have a worldly Christmas or not. Always remember that nothing can replace Christ and the joy that He gives to the human heart. It's good to share our love through gifts and Christmas get-togethers, but our love didn't empty heaven in order to fill the hearts of mankind. It was God's love that did that. 

If you have to be away from your family and the ones who mean the most to you this Christmas, instead of looking at what you don't have, begin to thank God for the Christ that is always with you and allow Him to fill that void in your heart with His presence. Doesn't the Bible teach us that when we have Christ in us, we have the "HOPE OF GLORY?" Christmas and hard times come in seasons. Christ is year-round and will never forsake you, especially in your darkest valleys. If you are hurting this Christmas because of lack, separation, or the loss of a family member, then invite the Lord to fill that void with His comfort, peace and love. 

I want to thank you personally for allowing this ministry to be a part of your life this past year. Today, I pray that God will heal the brokenness in your life and fill your heart with His comfort and joy. May the Holy Spirit surround you wherever you might be this week and cause you to know that He loves you. May the LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. 

Fill in the blank. MERRY _______________mas. It isn't the same without Christ.

Merry Christmas Y'all,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hope Waits

Romans 8 : 24 - 25, For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. NKJV

Have you ever found yourself in a valley, and it seemed as though God was no where around? Even though we may "feel" forsaken, we know from His Word that He has not left us. In Romans 12: 3 we find that God has given every person the measure of faith. We're also told in Hebrews 11: 6, that without faith, it is impossible to please God. So if God has given us faith and requires us, as His children, to live and walk by it, then He might be telling us that there will be times in our relationship with Him where "things" will put it to the test. Since we know that God can't lie, and that He won't ever leave or forsake us, and since we also know His Word is truth from cover to cover, the only other component in this relationship is "us."

We all need something that is greater than our human abilities to help us stand, not fall, during trying times. We need something strong so when it looks like "its" over, we can know beyond a doubt that God is still with us, and we can lean on the everlasting ARM of the Lord and not faint. As long as we hold on to the faith that we have placed in Christ and the Word of God, then we will have the strength to keep our relationship intact, no matter what weapon Satan forms against us to try and separate us from walking with our heavenly Father.

One of the Old Testament names given to Jesus by the Father is Emmanuel. Emmanuel means, "God is with us." If we truly believe that He is with us, then we won't lose faith when something unexpected occurs. However, there are times when tragedy hits hard, and we can begin to struggle with our faith in God because we can't see the goodness of God anywhere. Whenever something adverse hits our faith walk, and we lose faith, and we lose all hope, it means that we don't see any positive in our situation or even how God could possibly work it out for our good. The human response to such a scenario is to feel as though God has forsaken us. If this should be the case, then our next reaction will be to quit moving forward. Once we stop moving forward in faith because we have given up on God, the tendency will arise to want to go back. Old ways can look inviting during a time of deep anguish and pain because of the familiarity of the past mixed with the uncertainty of the future. 

Remember, we are talking about the principle of faith and how we are to lean on that faith when trouble comes against it. As Christians, we must learn effectively how to activate the power of faith so that we might overcome this world and continue moving forward in our relationship with the Lord. Whenever Israel came upon an unexpected trial in the wilderness, and it seemed all hope was gone, the natural, human response was to give up and want to go back into Egypt, the land of bondage.  Consequently, God can now use the Israelites as an example to teach us how to respond correctly to hopeless situations. 

The writer of Hebrews defines faith for us in a way that can help us to better understand it, and to utilize it more effectively against Satan's devices. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. As little children, we used to go out and look up at the sky at night and wish upon a star. This type of faith has no substance or true hope because a star can't supply our needs or desires. However, God can, and He will. When God makes us a promise that He will never leave or forsake us, then you can stand on that promise when hell lashes out against your faith in Christ.

We must understand that our faith is the substitute for our ears, eyes, and human abilities when all hope seems to be gone. True faith in God's Word will produce a valid witness, not the "blind faith," like a fairytale. If you should encounter an attack of the enemy that leaves you doubting the faithfulness of God, BE STILL. Wait until you can begin to sense the witness of God's presence in your heart surrounding you before you react. Generally, fear will try to seize your heart and cause you to feel alone at the moment something destructive occurs. Don't believe the lie of Satan or react. Instead, be still and wait until you can begin to see the salvation of the Lord.

I used the verses from Romans 8 about hope today to help you understand that faith sometimes has to wait. Instead of allowing fear and unbelief to fill your heart when tragedy occurs, just be still and wait through the hope that only comes from a life of walking by faith. After a season of working through your emotions, you will begin to experience the faithfulness of God once again, and then instead of sliding back, you will desire to continue moving forward.

So the next time you find yourself in a situation, and something tells you to go back, just remember, there's nothing back there. God is with you and in your future. God doesn't live in our past because unbelief hangs out there. If you're too weak spiritually to move forward, then let hope strengthen you to wait on God to remove the darkness and make a way of escape for you. True hope will wait on God until He can clear the way for us to continue moving forward in our relationship with Him. God hasn't forsaken you; you just got blindsided by Satan. 

God Knows the Way Out of Here,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

God's Amazing Love

Romans 8 : 34 - 39, Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NKJV

There's no possible way for us as humans to describe fully the love that God has for us. The purpose of today's thoughts isn't a veiled attempt to excuse sin, but rather to use what we, as former sinners, have gone through to illustrate further the experience and depths of God's love. The first account of God's love in the Bible is found in Genesis 2, where God provided the needs of Adam and Eve. All that mankind needed was supplied for them by the Lord God. Consequently, we can look at God's provision and better understand His love for us. Everything is fine until we get to the part in the story of God's love for us where man decided to take advantage of Him and His graciousness, and they chose to sin.

What would be the outcome of such a damnable decision? Would God choose to love mankind even after Adam and Eve ignored the goodness of God and decided to choose sin and its consequences over the bountiful blessings of the Lord? If you read the rest of the story in Genesis 3, you will see where God looked at the fallen state of man and made the choice to kill an innocent animal in order to cover the nakedness and shame of the fallen couple. This action was the first indication that God chose to continue displaying His love for the man whom He had created to be in His image and likeness. In order to justify and to cover the sins of the guilty, it required the life of an innocent animal. Where is the justice in this? Why did an innocent creature of God have to give its life so that a person who had consciously and deliberately chosen to sin could have his shame covered? We see now, that in order for God to love fallen man, it would come at a high price to God and creation, but it was a COST (CROSS) that God was willing to pay in order to show us the depth of His love for us, as sinners.

Jesus tells us in John 8 that Satan was a murderer from the beginning. We know this by the account of man's choice to sin and die. Nevertheless, it was God, who took the first life. For the first time in the Word of God, we see the exchange of a life for souls. Does this mean that we can continue in sin and allow God to kill innocent lives to restore us... and through these continued sacrifices, witness the depths of God's love for us as sinners? I echo the words of the Apostle Paul,  "Absolutely not!!!"

This is where repentance enters the story of God's love for fallen man. When God came to Adam and asked him if he had eaten of the forbidden tree, God was giving man an opportunity to confess his sins and "get right." Instead, Adam chose to deny his actions and blamed them on his wife. If we should deny that we have sin, the Apostle John tells us that the truth is not in us, and we are liars. However, he also says, if we confess our faults to God that He is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Therefore, when you and I sin, we must look at God's love as a way OUT OF SIN and not the means to remain in sin, lest we perish in sin.

Does God love obedient children? Yes. Does that mean that God doesn't love disobedient children? No. Sin has cost God the life of His Son on earth. Consequently, because of sin, we, who didn't know the righteousness of God, have now become the righteous seed of God in the earth through Jesus. We have also become recipients of God's love at a much deeper level. Sin cost us everything. Even so, it cost God even more. We, who have chosen to REPENT of our past mistakes and failures, will never pay for one sin by going to HELL. Christ had to pay the price for us as the Last Adam, and through His life, God's wrath has been forever appeased. 

By Grace through Faith Are We Now saved,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Trading Your Sorrow for Joy

Colossians 3: 1 - 11, If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.  Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. NKJV

According to scripture, Satan is his most effective when he is coming against the minds of believers. The reason for this is very simple. Our minds aren't based on truth; they are carnal and are not submitted to God's Word. Therefore, Satan can use our lack of knowledge of the truth to try and convince us of things that are based on his lies, and we will believe them, if we don't know who we are in Christ.

Since our unregenerate or carnal mind isn't submitted to truth, nor can it be, Satan will use situations of all types in an attempt to get us to react to his lies about us. If he can get us "to move" out of our position of authority because of something that he originated, then he knows that we don't have the knowledge of the truth in that area of our life and will proceed to use that ignorance or weakness to hurt us.

 Satan embodied the serpent and was successful in his plan to deceive Eve because she was devoid of the truth concerning God and her identity in Him. Satan simply convinced Eve (though it was a lie) that she didn't have the things she desired when she obeyed God's will. He told her that she wouldn't die if she partook of the forbidden fruit, but rather she would be like God.

If everything that we are and have is wrapped up in Christ, then why would we desire to look to the world? This principle is very important, and all Christians need to be aware of the consequences of violating it. When we look to the Lord to be the source of all that we desire and all we do, He will keep us protected from the devouring spirit that operates through the deceitful lusts of the world. In Christ, we are kept, and in Him, we are complete. However, if we look to the world, it will show us what we lack and will try to provide that need for us. Nevertheless, it will cost us our liberty in Christ. 

We must not look to the world to show us what we are in need of or lack as a child of God. Consequently, by doing so, we open ourselves up to be pierced through with many sorrows just as Adam and Eve were after the fall. The old flesh nature has to die in us, who have accepted Christ as our Savior and our only Source. When we die to the carnal (or flesh nature) that makes us view ourselves as incomplete, even though we're in Christ, we won't feel the need to look outside of Christ for our needs or desires to be met.

The world loves to tell us that we are incomplete, so that we will act in our own strength and attempt to fill that void which was created by the world. You can see that this will lead to a vicious cycle; we will never be fulfilled. It is for this very reason that we're told throughout the New Testament to put to death the deeds of our flesh and live to God. Keep your eyes and your desires focused on Christ and live a healthy, fulfilled, and blessed life filled peace and contentment. As we learn to delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. When God gives us a desire, it also means that it was given without any strings attached. 

There is a void in every person on earth. This void is the need to live in liberty. As long as we try to fill that void through carnal thinking, by viewing what the world has and basing our need on its values, we will live in bondage as believers. However, if we will die to the need to look outside of Christ to find freedom and liberty through people or "stuff," then we can have and maintain a life of fulfillment and peace. 

Rich in the Blessings of God,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, December 19, 2011

Grieve Not the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 4: 29 - 32, Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. NKJV

For a while, the Lord has been speaking to me about believers and the need for us to guard our hearts from the wiles or strategies of the Devil. I see two primary and effective ways that Satan works in order to cause a Christian to grieve the Holy Spirit. Satan will find entrance into our hearts so that he might gain power over our decisions when we act or react to temptation and/or offense.

Many times when Jesus made reference to the Holy Spirit being our Comforter, He also mentions that He is the Spirit of Truth. If we should allow anything (offense) or anyone (offender) to cause us to stumble from obeying the truth, then we, too, will grieve the Spirit of Truth.

When we're single and out on our own, it's easy to make a rash decision and do something on the spur-of-the-moment, but when you get married, there's another person who must be included in the decision-making process. When you and I were out in the world doing our own thing, it was all about self and what made us happy, but now that we're born again and married to Christ, we must first consider His will over our own. Doesn't Jesus instruct us in Matthew 6 to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? Remember, "Father knows best."

As the Lord has been showing me specific principles and examples of what can happen once these principles are violated, I couldn't help but share these valuable truths with you today. When God called John the Baptist into the ministry, He told John how he would be able to recognize the Christ. Obviously, God had foretold to John that one day he would have the high honor of baptizing Israel's Messiah. John 1: 32 - 34 says, And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God." NKJV

Please notice that, even though Jesus and John were cousins, John didn't know Jesus was the Son of God until the Holy Spirit made Him manifest by descending upon Jesus. Once the Holy Spirit lighted upon Jesus, John knew for certain that, indeed, this was the Christ. At this moment, John was fully engaged in his calling to be the forerunner of Christ and to bear witness of Him. However, later in John's ministry, something transpired that caused John to fail to see Jesus as the Christ, and he began to question the calling and authority that rested upon Jesus.

Matthew 11: 2 - 3, And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, "Are You the Coming one, or do we look for another?" NKJV

You're probably wondering the same thing that came to my mind when I realized what John was actually doing in this passage. How could John, the forerunner and witness of Christ, suddenly doubt the VALIDITY of Jesus' calling and authority? What could Jesus have possibly done to John that caused him to doubt Jesus was the Christ and to forget all the times that God through the Holy Spirit had confirmed this to be true? Jesus did nothing against John, but rather John took an offense over something that had gone wrong in his own life or ministry.

Matthew 11: 4 - 6, Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me." NKJV

Let's take a moment to look at the spirit of offense in John's life. Notice that John's perception about Jesus changed when he came under the influence of offense. He began to see Jesus in a different way than the way that was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. The spirit of offense had "so" blinded John that he began to question the very One that he-himself had confirmed to be the Christ. This also happened with Adam and Eve after they entered into temptation and offended the Law of God in the garden. They viewed God with a different understanding after their offense than they did before it. When they opened their hearts to sin and the spirit of offense, they became afraid of God for the first time. God didn't change. However, sin had changed their hearts, which distorted their perception. The same transformation had taken place in John's heart as well. He no longer stood in confirmation and agreement that Jesus was the Christ, but was in opposition to the point that he wanted Jesus to prove Himself to him.

John had allowed an offense to replace the influence of the Holy Spirit. He had begun to grieve the Holy Spirit by the new attitude he had developed...probably while he was in prison awaiting to be executed for the gospel's sake. Even though he confessed on the banks of the Jordan, "I must decrease and Christ must increase." Apparently, John wasn't in total agreement with the way God was allowing him to decrease. Maybe he didn't feel he deserved to be in prison. So beware how you handle an offense when something unexpected or tragic occurs in your walk with Christ. We cannot allow the spirit of offense to push the influence of the Holy Spirit completely out of our hearts and begin to disobey the will of God. John was going back on his calling when he made the decision to allow an offense to make him doubt the authority that was on Jesus' life. There's so much more than can be said about today's subject, but I realize this is a devotion and not a book. To protect your heart from taking on offense when faced with a seemingly impossible situation, ask the Lord to keep your heart. "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from all evil." In Jesus' name, I pray.

Enduring the Test of My Faith,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, December 16, 2011


Psalms 1 : 1 - 3, Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men's advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely. They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper. TLB

It's always refreshing when you can begin your day with some good news. I believe that is why the Lord has led me to share a portion of the first Psalm with you today. Please reread it until it begins to get deep into your spirit. Just look at the blessings that God has laid up for those who make the decision to remain planted by the river of living water.

As Christians, you and I have been called by our heavenly Father to undergo the conversion process of being made into the image of Christ. There are no shortcuts or detours; there is only faith and obedience through good times and difficult times. Now that we have been born again and have a glorious future in Christ, we realize and better understand the principle that apart from Christ, there is no life. In Christ, we move and live and are. We have accepted that truth and have chosen to conduct our lives according to the purpose and plan of our heavenly Father. We also know that this will require that we center our lives on Christ. 

In other words, we must be willing to abide within the confines of the will of God in order that He might be allowed to transform us, through our cooperation, from being a carnal soul into a spirit-filled son or daughter of God. For many in Christendom, it might seem a little too demanding to have to give our "all" to Christ so that God can take what remains and change us into a person who continuously reflects the true nature and heart of Christ.

Once again, you may want to read the passage for today. In it, we're instructed to part company with the world and become planted in Christ. This will require us to be sold-out, committed, and consistent with the calling of God on our lives for as long as God allows us to live. Initially, committing to Christ at this level can be more than a little intimidating and can also seem impossible. However, it might seem this way because we are only focused on what we're being asked to give up. In today's scripture passage, we read that God has promised to reward those who make such a high commitment to Him with life, blessings, peace, and prosperity. When we allow God to transform us and to make us prosperous, it's not the same as the prosperity of the world which causes great sorrow. The blessing of God makes us rich and adds no sorrow to our lives. 

The writer of Hebrews exhorts us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. This is a commandment of Christ, and we would do well to obey it. As we assemble ourselves together on a continual basis, the Lord will see that we are actively engaging in our own conversion process. Being in Christ means you have eternal life; however, serving Christ means that you have taken the next step in the process of allowing Him to live through you. As we continue engaging in His will while being planted like a tree by the water brook, God will cause us to begin to flourish, even in times or seasons of drought.

The word for today is CONSISTENCY. If you're not consistent as a child of God to the call of God, then your life can be compared to a farmer planting a tree or vine and going out every month and plucking it up. The results are disastrous. We're told in John 15 to abide in Christ, and as we remain connected to the vine, we will bear much fruit, and our fruit will remain. If you're not committed to your service to God in the way that God has had me lay it out for you today, I challenge you to take the next 12 months and commit to the Lord at a deeper level. Go to church, get involved in the work of the ministry where God would have you to serve, and stay rooted no matter what tries to pluck you up by the roots. At the end of the 12 months, you will see a difference in your life and walk. Others will also see the change and be blessed by the presence of God on your life.

Abiding in the Vine,
Pastor Asa Dockery


Job 1: 20 - 22, Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. NKJV

It seems that with each passing week, Jesus' prophecies concerning the last days are speaking louder and louder. We can see with our own eyes the unveiling of the final days and the fulfillment of Jesus' Words. However, we must also remember that Jesus warned His disciples what would happen before His return. He foretold end-time events to them (and to us) so that when these things come to pass, we wouldn't be offended by them.

The prophet, Hosea, tells us, in no uncertain terms, that God's people can be destroyed if they don't know the truth. Ignorance of Christ, what He requires of His disciples, and what it will cost to follow His teachings in a fallen world can prove to be disastrous. If we are ignorant of these truths, but we still seek to follow or obey Christ, then Satan will exploit our ignorance and bring an offense. Offense means: to stumble or cause to sin. Peter warns us in his epistle that Satan is going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to know what the Word of God says about being a true disciple of Christ and to know what Christ requires of us, lest we become offended and return to sin.

Furthermore, we must also realize the same truth that Job knew when he served God... we "own nothing." If we understand that God has allowed us to steward His possessions on earth in order that He might know whether we can be trusted with eternal riches and glory, then we will gain victory over the offenses of Satan. Job didn't charge God foolishly; neither did he sin against God because he had a good understanding that God had given him everything. Therefore, he could say without malice in his heart, "The Lord has given and the Lord has taken." Jesus told the disciples, "Freely you have received, freely you are to give." If we should love anything or anyone more than Christ, it will open up the door for Satan to bring an offense and cause us to stumble.

Satan knows his end is drawing closer with each passing day. Consequently, he is like a raging and roaring lion. His desire is to take out as many of God's warriors as he possibly can through the "door or avenue" of offense. We don't have to fall prey to Satan's devices because we have the Greater One living within us; we are not alone. John tells us in his epistle not to love the world, neither the things that are in it. If we love the world, then the love of the Father is not in us. He goes on to warn us that this world will pass away, and the lusts of it will also, but only those who do the will of God will live forever. 

Our focus as Christians in these last days must be on what God has already done for us on the cross. We must not fall in love with this world to the point that we disobey God's will. What will it profit us if we were to gain the entire world, but have to forfeit our souls in the process? We must live by faith like never before. We must hold on to our faith and love God more than ever. By these, we will be able to keep the faith and overcome this world for Christ. Then we will have a great and eternal reward awaiting us in heaven. There's nothing as fulfilling as the goodness of God to a grateful heart.

Thankful for the Gift of Eternal Life,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Being Enlightened by the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 1 : 15 - 21, Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. NKJV

Welcome to a new day to live out the plan of God for your life and to glorify your Lord. However, we don't always know what His plan is. Even so, not knowing is a good thing because it keeps us looking to God for wisdom and direction, especially when we encounter a trial or setback that wasn't expected. Have you had "the unexpected" happen in your life recently? Have you been blind-sided by a situation that has caused you to lose sight of the path for your life? If this describes where you are in your walk with Christ, then Paul has given us an answer in today's scripture that will assist us when we go through dark seasons and blinding tragedies in life. Nevertheless, first, let's lay some foundation so that you will have a better understanding of it.

If you read Genesis 3, where Adam and Eve partook of the tree of knowledge, you will discover that their eyes were opened, and they became self-conscious. Just as the serpent had predicted, they had gained an understanding of good-and-evil. I have always found this portion, "the eyes of them both were opened," of scripture interesting, since they could already see. Consequently, we know that Moses was alluding to the eyes of their understanding and not their physical sight. Once man had partaken of sin, we became aware of a fallen world, and in exchange, we lost God-consciousness, in the way that Adam and Eve had only known.

This brings us to the scripture for today's devotion found in Ephesians 1. When we rejected sin and believed on Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord, our heavenly Father gave us the Holy Spirit. Through Him, we have the ability once again to know God and learn about His ways and to see God without the use or benefit of our physical, human eyes for sight. Besides our eyesight, we also have what Paul described as "eyes of our understanding." When Adam and Eve sinned, mankind lost the understanding that allowed us to see or perceive God and to trust in Him even though He is invisible to the human eye. 

You may be asking, "Why is this information important to me as a Christian?" As you face dark seasons in your life, where it seems as though the Light of God's presence has been extinguished, or you are blind-sided by tragedy, you don't have to allow yourself to feel isolated, lonely, or abandoned by God anymore. Since becoming a child of God and receiving the Holy Spirit, you now have someone who will remain with you through every season of your life. He will be there when this world goes "dark and cold" to reassure and comfort you. 

It is during the trying times of life that humans can lose all hope. However, once we accept Christ and receive the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit gives us enlightenment. He does this so that we will have hope in our heart to stand, when it appears that in the natural, physical realm, there is no hope to be found. We must, at that moment, decide to either look to God or look at our circumstances. If we will choose to take our eyes off what is seen and begin to trust in the unseen God, who dwells within us, then He can begin to enlighten our understanding and lead us on in our walk of faith. Through the truths that God has given, we all can learn to lean more on the God of hope during times of isolation and heartache. We can know that we have a hope and a future, even when it seems as though all hope is gone. Allow the Lord to enlighten your understanding and to lead you into greener pastures and a greater hope in Christ. Remember, this world is not our final destination. We're just passing through on our way to an eternal reward in Christ.

Seeing the Invisible through Eyes of Faith,
Pastor Asa

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Inheritance Is Given By Promise

Galatians 3: 16 - 18, Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise. NKJV

If there was a law of God that we could keep in order to inherit eternal life, then there would be no need for faith. Please take a moment and meditate on that statement. There is no law or no good thing that we can do that would grant us access into heaven. If we really know this to be the truth, why do so many "believers" try to avoid operating by faith? Ignorance isn't a legitimate excuse in the Kingdom of God. In fact, the prophet Hosea wrote under the leading of God's Spirit, "The people of God are destroyed from a lack of knowledge." If we choose to plead ignorance as an excuse for not walking by faith, then we are only deceiving ourselves and opening a door that will allow us to be devoured by the enemy.

The writer of Hebrews tells us in chapter 11, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." Paul teaches us in Romans 10 that faith can only be released in our hearts when we hear God speaking to us through the Holy Spirit or through His Word. Therefore, we can conclude that the only way to please the Father and to inherit the promises of the Kingdom of God is to seek to learn and to obey His will. Some might try to say, "This sounds like you're adding works to salvation. After all, aren't we saved by faith in Christ alone?" To this I would ask, "Is there another way that I can walk by faith and be in complete agreement with the Father while I fulfill His purpose for my life on earth?" Paul has already taught us that the inheritance can't be given by keeping the Law.

We're told in Romans that the JUST shall live by faith. In Hebrews, we find the same statement. However, it is followed by this verse. "If any man draws back in unbelief, the Lord will have no pleasure in them." James also teaches us to add action or works to our faith. Well, we can't just do our own thing and call it God's will. So we can say then, that walking by faith means we listen for the voice of the Father, and we read His Word to train our spiritual ears to hear and our hearts to obey His commands. Just like there's only one Way to the Father, there is only one way to live by faith and in agreement with the Father once we accept Jesus as the Christ in our life. We had better understand now, through this principle, that those who continue to walk by faith after their initial commitment to Christ are walking in a relationship with the Father and not operating by works. Christianity is based on a relationship and not on our works. We can't commit to Christ as our Savior and afterwards live by the Law or do our own thing. 

If we are truly saved by grace through faith, then we will add obedience to our faith, and do everything that God commands us to do. This will let the Lord see "through our actions" that we are living by faith. Then He can reward us with the fulfillment of His promises because we have chosen to "live" by faith and not just accept Jesus by faith. The question we must ask ourselves is this. "As God's child, am I living my life according to God's will or according to my will?" Allow the Holy Spirit to give you the answer. It's all based on a relationship by faith.

I Love the Lord,
Pastor Asa

Monday, December 12, 2011

Truth and Unity Walk Together

Amos 3: 3, Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? NKJV
Psalms 133: 1 - 3, Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing --Life forevermore. NKJV

When Jesus established His church, He set it upon the foundation of who He is. He is TRUTH. Jesus didn't base it on man's opinions, conjectures, or philosophies.

Consequently, if divisions should arise in the church, they will stem from man's beliefs and not because of the truth. In Ephesians, Paul writes to us about the body of Christ coming to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. We must all grow in our faith, until we all come to the unity of the faith. Christ is the only way to the Father. He is the only- begotten Son of God. Until we become mature in our faith and understand this truth about Jesus, we will continue to be divided over what we choose to believe about Christ and the Word of God. All Christians, who are truly born again, already believe unanimously that He is the Christ, the Son of God. Nevertheless, the body remains largely divided by our personal beliefs about scripture and/or our personal interpretation of the Word.

Truth isn't divided, nor can it ever be. Therefore, if we walk in the truth and don't hold too closely to our opinions, then we will also walk in unity in the body of Christ. If all that I have written up to this point is, indeed, truth, how will we know when someone is walking in the truth, or just sharing a personal interpretation, or is operating under the influence of the spirit of error? This is where the Holy Spirit comes into the maturation process. When Jesus was preparing to return to His Father, He told His disciples that they would not be abandoned. They wouldn't be left to try and figure out everything that He had taught them concerning the Kingdom of God and the Father on their own. The Father sent the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus also called the Spirit of Truth. 

Whenever truth is taught and when it is heard, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to bear witness or confirm to the hearers that it is truth. If someone should interject opinions, or conjecture, then the Holy Spirit won't bear witness to the truth. This brings up a very important question. How can a believer know when they have heard from the Holy Spirit? The Spirit of Truth will only speak from the Word of God and won't confirm man's beliefs as being the truth. Therefore, as a believer, it is your personal responsibility to be willing and ready to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit when He either confirms or rejects something that has been proclaimed as truth. If a person should harden their hearts to the voice of Truth, then it will open them up to be deceived by man's deceitful ways.

Divisions arise when something other than truth has been spoken to a body of believers as truth, but not confirmed by the Spirit of Truth. When division occurs, either in the body of Christ or a body of believers because someone has presented opinion or personal beliefs as truth, then know that some have heard the Holy Spirit, and some have not. The Apostle John teaches us in his epistle that this is the way we will know the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error. If you're truly concerned about being deceived by a minister, and you don't know if they're really hearing from God, you must do as Proverbs 3 : 5 - 8 says, 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. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. NKJV

Jesus tells us plainly in Matthew 7 that if we, being evil know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will the heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him. Where there is truth, (if all are hearing from the Holy Spirit) there should also be unity, and where there is unity, there will also be the blessing of God-life forever. 

Walking in Agreement with Truth,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, December 9, 2011

Grace to Enter the Presence of God

Hebrews 10: 16 - 23, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. NKJV

I have had the privilege of visiting Africa on a few occasions and sharing the Gospel there. I was both humbled and blessed to see how the African people honor ministers who preach the "Good News." I never got the sense that the team that served us while we were there were man-pleasers, but rather they recognized the hand of God on us and showed great respect for the anointing. When you compare the respect of the African people for those in ministry to that of people here in America, you soon realize that not all Christians honor the gift or presence of God the same. The purpose for me sharing that brief story with you isn't an attempt to shame American believers, but to draw your attention to an even greater matter.

Jesus said, "If they have kept My saying, then they will keep yours also." When you witness to someone in the name of Christ, and they accept your testimony, you can know that they have first acknowledged and honored the presence of God on your life. If they reject your testimony, don't be offended at them because they haven't rejected you, but rather the Lord's presence that is on you. As humans, we can sometimes under-value the gift and favor of God. We do this when we misuse or misappropriate His gifts or His favor to benefit our flesh and not our walk. The purpose of Jesus coming to earth and shedding His blood was to fulfill God's desire to have mankind reconciled back to Him. Once Jesus accomplished God's will on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn from the top all the way to the bottom. At that moment, God was revealing to the world that "the way" had been made for us to come into the presence of the Holy God. Through the shed blood of Jesus, we can obtain mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. 

As Christians, we can access the throne of Grace and become closer to God through the work of Christ. This is the intended purpose for God's grace being extended to sinful man. You already know that not everyone honors or appreciates the price that was paid or the significance of having the opportunity to be reconciled to God through Jesus. Some will attempt, as the believers in the church at Rome, to misappropriate or cloak grace in order to have a license to partake of the ways of this world. God didn't send His Son to suffer at the hands of evil man and to be hung on a Roman cross, just so we could have a license from Him to continue in sin. Anyone who misuses and abuses the blood of Christ and the grace of God to continue in sin or to justify a carnal lifestyle is treading on very dangerous ground. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. For God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 6).

I will conclude today's word with this last thought. If you are in need of salvation from sin, a deliverance from bondage, or a healing in your body, there is grace for you to obtain the help that you need today. Through God's mercy and grace, He has chosen to forgive us our sins without us having to pay the sin-debt ourselves. Why would we want to frustrate the grace and goodness of God by desiring sin instead of holiness? Apart from God's grace, no one would have the power to become holy, as He is holy. Even so, now, through His grace, we too can become holy as we leave the ways of the world behind us. Allow this word to be one of encouragement and one that will challenge you to access God's grace as a means to grow closer to God and to become more separated and distanced from the ways of the world.

Thanking God for His Grace,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Through It All, God Has Been There

Psalms 139: 7 - 10, Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. NKJV

The Bible has much to say about times and seasons. I have noticed over the years of being in ministry and counseling that oftentimes believers go through certain seasons or trials together. A term that is commonly used to describe this phenomenon is, "it comes in waves." You may not hear about a certain issue for a while, and then it seems that many people are hit "all at once" by the same type of opposition.  

Unfortunately, Christians aren't immune to trials and tragedies just because we have faith in Christ for eternal life. Knowing this, we must remember that we are God's children, and our heavenly Father has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, we are empowered and comforted by His presence to face, confront, and overcome the fallout which is associated with pain and loss. Please pay close attention to what I'm about to share with you. Christians are still human. We have feelings and thoughts that arise during (and especially after) trials hit us. Whenever a person is hit with sudden pain, grief, or loss because of a tragedy or unexpected setback, the human nature demands a response. This "natural" response can cause a believer to feel rejected and alone, even in a crowd of other believers. 

Since we know that this reaction can occur during a personal loss, we must be on guard with our faith. Recently, I've heard several people sharing their hearts about feeling lonely. Loneliness is yet another response of our emotions to experiencing loss or rejection, which can cause Christians to draw back from society and from fellowshipping with other believers. At this point, we must also realize and acknowledge that, even though sorrow and loss are a part of this season, God is still in control, and His presence is with us no matter the hardship. 

Satan knows by observation that "saved humans" will wrestle with their faith when affliction enters their lives. So we must see him as a wolf whenever we have a season of suffering or grief. Wolves work very diligently to seek out weak or vulnerable sheep who have strayed away from the rest of the flock. The sheep who are isolated or separated from the rest of the sheep make an easy prey for the wolves to attack and devour. 

As hard as it might be for you to see God as a loving, heavenly Father, who cares for you during a difficult season, you must, once again, see that God is with you, and that you're not alone. By your faith, you can silence the "voices of hurt, loss, rejection, and isolation" and turn your attention back to the goodness of the Lord. I can personally attest to this truth; "It works!" Whenever I have had to face dark seasons, I've learned to keep my eyes on Jesus and my ears attuned to His Word. Trials and personal tragedies must be met with the faith and determination that God is with us, and He has not forsaken us. Therefore, I don't have to believe my emotions or thoughts. Instead, I choose to stand on the truth of God's covenant Word with me and my family. You know what? My emotions and thoughts have failed me, but God and His Word have always carried me and our family through the darkest of times. 

Jesus Is a Very Present Help,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Don't Forget the Lord

Deuteronomy 8 : 7 - 17, For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. "Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest -- when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end -- then you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.' NKJV

God takes great delight in the prosperity of His people. Consequently, when God created man, He provided everything they needed. In fact, if you read Genesis 1 - 2, you'll see that God supplied all of man's need even before man realized there was a need. After man sinned in the garden, we see that it was God who sacrificed the first animal to cover the nakedness and shame of man. God was introducing the beginnings of the Levitical system of Priests and sin offerings for man's sin, and He did this before man had even the slightest clue of what it was all about. However, we won't fully understand all that God did for Adam and Eve, as it pertained to their sins and His killing of that first animal, until we read about the Pascal lamb in Exodus. Even after all that God had promised Adam and Eve and after God had provided their every need, before they knew they had one, they still turned their back on God.

 I realize that the scripture for today's word is lengthy, but it is to prove a point. God warned Israel through Moses not to forget Him after He had blessed them with the fulfillment of every need in their lives. God not only provided for them, but in the wilderness where there were no grocery stores, or fast-food chains to get food, God provided them with manna, not from the earth, but from heaven. Is it not amazing how God first provided man with food from the ground, but in the wilderness, He brought bread down from heaven. God also provided them freedom from the bondages of man. If all this were not enough, God was about to give them their own land which they would possess. Although other inhabitants occupied the Promise Land, God was about to evict them from the premises because of His love for Israel. The Israelites were about to inherit houses they didn't build, vineyards they didn't have to plant, and wells that already existed. All of this, God did because He loved Israel. 

God also warned Israel not to forget Him and all the goodness that He had deposited into their lives by ignoring His commandments. After we've seen all the examples that are offered in the Word of God where the Lord was so gracious toward both the nation of Israel and in individuals who had favor in His sight, you might tend to think that Christians wouldn't follow in the same footsteps of forgetting God or His Word. 

Grace is the greatest gift that God has given to mankind. Through God's grace, we have been forgiven without going to hell. We have been redeemed without dying for our sins. We have been cleansed from sin and guilt without shedding one drop of our own blood. We have been given the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to live a holy life before God because apart from Him we can do nothing. All God asks of His people is that we keep His Word and hide it in our hearts that we might not sin against it. He asks us to keep His Word so that we won't forget that it is the Lord, who has given us the power to obtain the wealth. Even so, it seems in every generation, many forget the Lord and all of His goodness and begin to exalt "self" as God. 

When we honor and keep the Word of God in our daily living, it will keep us rooted and grounded. Once a Christian turns from the Word as their source of life, they soon become prideful and begin to get lifted up because of the blessings in their lives that were the result of God's goodness. I don't know where you are reading this in the world today, but in America, many have forgotten and turned their backs on God as their source. Many have forgotten the Word of God and gone after other gods just as Israel did in the Old Testament.

Let me end this personal time of devotion with a question. Have you forgotten the Lord by ignoring and disobeying His Word? Grace can only work when we remain submitted to the Word of God. There is no other written document that can attract and release the power of God's grace but the Word of God. If we forsake God's Word because of the blessings of grace, then we, too, will go astray from God. Please pray today for the hearts of believers who have strayed away from the path of righteousness like the prodigal son, that God would grant them repentance. God is very much in the work of reconciliation and restoration of His people. The Lord blesses us when we're cast down, and He will restore us when we get lifted up and fall away. God is good.

Thank You, God,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hold On to Your Dreams

Jeremiah 29: 11, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. NKJV

Paul teaches us that the just (or Christians) are to live by faith. In order to keep our souls alive and connected to the Lord, we must operate by faith. Do you have a vision or a dream that hasn't come to fruition yet? Are you feeling the desire to step out of the everyday norm and do something extraordinary? If this describes you, then continue reading today's word.

When God called Abram out of his father's country, He promised Abram and Sarai a land that would be their inheritance. God only required that they leave their families behind; He then invited them to walk with Him and hear His voice. In Romans, we're told that Abraham believed God, and it was accounted unto him as righteous. All Abraham had to do was be willing to hear God's commands and obey them, and he became blessed. It was God who gave Abraham the vision of inheriting his own land; this didn't come from Abraham's desires.

I tell you this about Abraham, because we all need to know that God will give us visions, dreams, and promises to lead us out of a barren land over into a fruitful one, but we must hear and obey. This is one way that God has chosen to bless us as His people. We're told every Sunday in church to obey the Word of God and our souls will live, but how many times are we reminded to live by stepping out in faith when we know that the Lord has placed a promise in our hearts to bless us.

If you travel to a third-world country, where the people aren't taught the Word of God or allowed to worship Jesus, you will see hopelessness and death all around the people. They're not living by faith, but by sight...so their souls are dead. This is very sad, but it's true. In America we are very blessed, but if we don't walk by faith as believers we, too, will begin to die. Our blessings will begin to deplete and diminish before our very eyes, and if we're not careful, we can slip into a pit of despair. The Lord desires that His people be blessed and prosperous, but He requires us to walk by faith so that we might inherit the promises.

If you know in your heart that the Lord wants you to step out in faith and do something that will be extraordinary, what is holding you back? Is it fear of the unknown? Once again, in America, fear has a death hold on the people. Our economy is in peril because many who have money won't release it... because of uncertainty in the business world. This is called hoarding, and hoarding is caused by unbelief. It's one thing for the world to be dominated by fear, but if we allow fear to hinder us from releasing our faith, then we are in sin before the Lord.

If you are sure that the Lord is leading you to step out in the face of great opposition, then know that He is with you... and with God, all things are possible. One thing you don't want to happen is that you miss your window of opportunity and then have live in regret because of it. Take that step of faith, walk on top of the water of unbelief, and see the power of God carry you into a new day or season in your life.

Lord, please help all of us who know that you have given us a promise, vision, idea, or opportunity to step out in faith and see your salvation. Let us not allow fear or doubts to cause us to miss our moment of destiny so that we live in regret the remainder of our lives on earth. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen!

Praying for Your Success,
Pastor Asa

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lord Help Me

Matthew 16 : 19, And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." NKJV

Even as Christians, we don't always understand the ways of God. As I was praying today, the Lord was speaking to me about people, saved and sinners alike, who struggle to believe that God is a very present HELP in a time of need. He let me see a person in their distress crying out to Him, "Why God, where were you?" However, we can't always lay the blame for "calamity and trials" at the Lord's doorstep and not be willing to assume some responsibility in the matter. Taking responsibility to do "our part" doesn't include getting under condemnation; it simply means that we are proactive rather than reactive to the devices of Satan. Allow me to share some keys that will assist in closing the door to Satan's lies, and in opening the door for God's presence to be your strength in times of trouble.

We can have as much or as little of the power and presence of God in our lives as we desire. However, we're the ones who have to initiate the release. If we tend to ignore God in good times, and, instead, we only desire to seek Him or feel His presence in times of desperation, then Satan can use that mindset to make us feel isolated and abandoned by the Lord. We're the ones who must invite the Lord into our heart, life, family, home, job, and church.

In Genesis, God gave man, both male and female dominion over the earth. They had been given the power to bind or loose whatever they desired. God left the decision up to them, but only after He let them know the boundaries and repercussions of wrong decisions. Unfortunately, they chose to use that liberty and authority to indulge in fleshly activity and not in obeying the Lord. As a result of their careless decisions, the door was opened for Satan to move in and separate them in their hearts and minds from the presence of God. Their decisions to neglect God's will for carnal desires ultimately caused man to feel abandoned by the Lord. Nevertheless, man made the initial decision to choose self over the Lord.

In the New Testament, Jesus has given us the authority to bind and loose, and to invite the presence of God into our lives on a moment-by-moment basis. God is always with us, but He doesn't always manifest on our behalf because we haven't invited Him or given Him that place in our life. If you're a parent of older children, you understand this principle very well. As Children mature past adolescence, they begin to seek their own identity and independence. While they are going through the process of becoming mature adults, you will discover they don't always seek your advice. However, they will accept your help when their decisions cause them distress.  Unfortunately, Christians can be the same way with their heavenly Father.

If you're a child of God, but you have sometimes felt that God has abandoned you, or maybe in a time of need, you felt He wasn't there for you, then decide to allow His presence to fill your heart and life through a deeper hunger for Him. Through the fall of man, Satan has been given access to cause people trouble, but he can't be successful in separating us from the love of God in Christ. Make a commitment to allow the Holy Spirit to have greater influence and access in your life. As you draw nearer to God, God will draw nearer to you. Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. We will make a choice based on how we treat our daily relationship and fellowship with the Lord; we will either have power over the enemy, or we will allow him to rule over us. Which will you choose?

Seeking the Lord Daily,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, December 2, 2011

God's Grace

Ephesians 2: 8 - 9, 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 you're a child of God, then God's grace has been at work in your life. However, which do you think is harder for God to accomplish, transforming a sinner into a child of God or transforming a child of God into the image of Christ? Both require our cooperation and faith in Christ. Without active faith, we can't please (or agree with) God. James tells us that faith alone cannot save. If we believe in Christ, then we will obey the Lord and seek to please Him.

The work of justification can only be released into a person's life after they act on God's will or Word. If we are saved by grace through faith, then we must also live by faith after becoming born again. Therefore, we must not live for our own pleasures and agenda, but rather for the pleasure of our heavenly Father. After all, it is God who works in us both to will and do His good pleasure. When the Holy Spirit, who dwells within all believers in Christ, speaks specific instructions to us, we must be willing to obey Him. In the text for today's devotion, Paul mentions the grace of God and the works of man. If God instructs us, then it will require our obedient faith. However, once we step out in faith, God will release His grace on us so that we can accomplish what He has required. This is a work of grace.

Let's look at an example of someone's faith and will being aligned with God's will and grace. A young virgin named Mary was asked to bring the Son of God into the world. When she heard from the angel, Gabriel, about the will of God, she was puzzled as to how this could happen, since she was not yet married. Gabriel told Mary about her cousin, Elizabeth, who was once barren, but was now six months into her pregnancy. Then he went on to tell Mary that she wouldn't need a man; the Holy Spirit would overshadow her, and she would conceive the holy Child of God. When she HEARD His instructions, Mary agreed with God's will and said, "Be it unto me according to your word." When she believed and SUBMITTED or ACCEPTED God's will, it released the power of God (GRACE) to bring about the manifestation of God's promise.

We sometimes have a tendency to dig our heels in the ground when we come upon something that is hard or appears to be impossible... even though God hasn't told us to stop doing it. However, once we cease walking forward by faith, we also forfeit God's grace, which empowers believers to move forward in their walk and maturity in Christ. Further, if we should allow an offense by someone or something to stop us from obeying or walking by faith, we will also stop the flow of God's grace. 

In Galatians 5, Paul points out this very truth to the believers in the church of Galatia. They started out believing in Christ and walking by faith, but other non-believing Jews told them that they also had to be circumcised in order to be saved. After the Messianic Jews heard that they had to add circumcision to their faith, they reverted to the works of the law. Paul informed them that they were no longer living by faith and had FALLEN FROM GRACE. Yes, that is correct. You can read Galatians and see; that is exactly what Paul told the Jews, who had reverted to their old ways. 

You don't need faith in Christ and something else. Nevertheless, once you have placed faith in Christ, you must then obey Him and walk by faith in order to grow and mature by God's grace. If we don't operate by faith as a New Testament believer in Christ, we will try "works" to measure up or try to replace the absence of God's grace on our lives. 

Finally, we can see how our faith and God's grace work hand-in-hand (together) by the story of Peter walking on the water to reach Jesus. Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water during a storm. When Peter saw someone out on the water, he said, "Lord, if that is You bid me to come out on the water." Jesus told Simon to come. When Simon HEARD the Lord's command, faith arose in his heart, and he stepped out of the boat onto the water. As long as he obeyed the Lord's command and kept his eyes on Jesus, God gave him the grace to walk on top of the water. However, the moment Simon allowed the storm to distract him, and he took his eyes off Jesus, fear and doubt filled his heart. The Grace was gone. Consequently, Simon began to sink into the water. When faith no longer held Simon's attention on Jesus, the flow of grace was no longer allowed to be released...the very thing which empowered Simon to do the impossible. 

Are you moving forward by faith or are you sinking deeper into something that you once had victory over when you were walking by faith? We all need God's grace, but He requires faith and agreement to flow from our hearts.

Walking Under the Grace of God,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What We Believe Does Matter

1 John 5:4-5, For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? NKJV

As children of God, who have been redeemed and made alive unto God in Christ, we must see ourselves as more than conquerors in every situation. Please note that it doesn't mean you will win every conflict or sail through every trial without hurt or loss. Remember the Words of Jesus in John 16: 33, "In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world." The key in this verse isn't about how well we will fare in this world of hardship and heartbreak; it is in knowing that, through Christ, we have the power to overcome any obstacle, weapon, or offense formed against us. Consequently, we learn to never lose sight that we have already obtained the victory in Jesus.

According to John 3: 16, if we believe in Jesus as the only-begotten Son of God, we have eternal life. This foundational truth gives our heart and soul the assurance that when this life is over, we will bypass death, hell, and the grave. Since we have this hope concerning our eternal existence, we also have hope that no weapon formed against us in this present life will be able to separate us from the hope that we have in Christ. 

Preachers and Christians alike seem to focus primarily on the subject of the eternal. However, today, I want to point out that Jesus includes our trials and tribulations in the victory that we have in Him while remaining in this world. If we believe that we are truly born again, then we will view ourselves as more than conquerors through Christ, who gave Himself for us. Jesus doesn't just want us to know that we have victory as God's children in the after-life; He also wants us to utilize the hope and comfort His has provided in order to strengthen and sustain us while we must live in the "nasty now-and-now". 

Proverbs 23 tells us, as a man thinks or believes in his heart, so is he. Therefore, what we believe, and what we hold to be true in our hearts will affect our existence both today and tomorrow. We must see salvation as more than eternal life with God, and begin to embrace the truth which Jesus declared to us in today's passage: in Him, we have victory over the world and its tribulation. If we fail to see the connection between eternal life in Christ and in the victory we possess in order to live in this corrupt world as more than conquerors, we can take on a victim mindset, and then become open to an offense against God...the very One who saved us while we were yet sinners.

We can now see more clearly how our beliefs directly affect our attitudes as believers. If we don't see ourselves as "saved and victorious," then we can become weak in our faith and allow doubt to influence our point-of-view. Consequently, our Christian witness will be adversely affected. When the Holy Spirit saved us from the "old man," He did more than just give us victory for eternity. Through our salvation, we also have been given the victory that we need to overcome this world and to live victoriously. It is up to us to decide. The Lord told Israel through Moses, "Today, I set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore, CHOOSE life, that both, you and your seed may live." 

We have the faith, but we must put our faith to work. Through the Word of God, we can activate and implement our faith to overcome this world and its problems.

More Than a Conqueror in Christ,
Pastor Asa Dockery