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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Am I Really Saved?

1 John 3:18-21, My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. NKJV

In Jeremiah, the Lord tells us that the heart of man is deceitful above all things, and in Proverbs, we're instructed to place our trust in the Lord, lean not unto our own understanding, but acknowledge Him in all our ways. As Christians, we must be careful not to listen to our hearts, especially when it tells us to do something that is contrary to the Word of God. The Bible is our moral and spiritual compass and thermometer. Even though we have the Bible to go to in times of trouble, temptation, and testing, we must also rely upon the Holy Spirit to direct our paths.

Without the witness of the Holy Spirit to direct us with the Word of God, we would have to resort to listening to and depending upon our own hearts which can lead us down a wrong path. One of the ways I see that Christians must learn to listen and depend upon the leading of the Holy Spirit is with their salvation. You've probably seen people who regularly answer the altar call for sinners as if they had never been saved before. When you ask them if they have ever prayed the prayer of repentance, most of the time, they will answer, "Yes, many times, but I'm just not sure I'm saved." 

The Apostle John gives us the reason why this occurs in the hearts of Christians. We must obey the Word of God in action and not in word only. If we love the Word of God by keeping it in our daily lives, and we still doubt our soul's salvation, it's only our hearts condemning us, and we must, through faith, overcome our hearts. Paul tells us, in Romans 8, that the Holy Spirit will bear witness with our spirit that we are a child of God. We're not instructed to listen to what our hearts tell us or how our emotions make us feel, but, by faith, we are to trust the voice of God within us. 

If what I am writing describes your personal struggles with faith... in believing that you're a child of God... then just do what John tells us: Obey the Word in our life and look unto God who is greater than the condemnation of our own hearts. He knows all things, and we are to place complete trust in Him and not in ourselves. Only believe, and you will be free from the fear or doubt of whether you're really saved or not. 

By Grace through Faith I'm Saved,
Pastor Asa

Monday, July 30, 2012

You Are More Than a Conqueror

Romans 8:37-39, 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

Paul writes a very powerful truth that, as believers, we must all lay hold of in our personal walk with God...His love for us doesn't change when we find ourselves faced with various trials in this world. In fact, the Bible declares to us in Malachi and in Hebrews that God doesn't change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Since He doesn't change, that means that His attributes don't change either. He loved us before the foundation of the world. God loved us before sin entered the Garden of Eden or the heart of man. God loved us after sin defiled the heart of man. There's something very interesting about God's love for us, even while we were still sinners. 

We only begin to see the depth, the length, and the height of God's love in a much deeper way "after sin" than we ever could have seen it "before sin". I'm sure you share my sentiment...I'd rather not have known His love from this perspective, but it sure is reassuring to know that His love for us didn't change when we fell into sin. Now that we're on this side of sin, or rather that we have been bought from sin as its slave, we must keep our focus on God's love for us and not on the fallout that we face as a result of sin. Jesus not only paid the penalty for our sins, He also went to hell in our place and took back the keys (or authority) of death and hell... both were given to him through Adam's sin. 

Paul teaches us (through today's scripture above) the principle of how God's love doesn't change because we fell in sin so that we will have bold confidence toward our heavenly Father when the enemy of our salvation attacks us or our family. It is vitally important for us as believers and followers of Christ to not only know that God loves us, but that He chooses to love us... especially when we don't feel as though we deserve it. People who don't feel loved by others have little or no self-worth. It's easy for them to give up on themselves when faced with continuous trials or setbacks. 

As children of God, we also need to understand that no matter what we face in this life, it doesn't negate, diminish or alter the love of God for us. If something should happen that causes you to doubt God's love for you, just take a moment and read John 3:16. God didn't send His Son to die for Christians; He was given for the redemption of sinners. If God loved us while we were still sinners, how much more is He going to save us from the wrath to come? Jesus died in order to reconcile us back to God first and secondly, to save us from His wrath against those who choose sin over His love. Therefore, we don't have to fear when a crisis comes into our lives, because we know that it isn't God's wrath, but rather, it is Satan's attack against our confidence in God's love for us. Be BOLD today and know that God loves you so much. We're special because of Christ and God's love for us. 

Walking in God's Love,
Pastor Asa

Friday, July 27, 2012

Forgiving and Forgetting

Philippians 3:13-14, Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. NKJV

Have you ever gone to a public laundry and used one of the big dryers? Did you ever climb in one and take a spin? I guess you can tell I was definitely a young boy once. If you were to put a bucket of rocks in a dryer and climb in it and close the door guess what would eventually happen? You guessed it; one or more of the rocks would cause severe wounds to occur on your body. People are always asking why bad things happen to good people. Perhaps you've either asked that question or had someone to ask it of you during a time of heartache. Let's face it, we live in a world that is filled with rocks (sin) and eventually we're going to run into a rock (offense) or two. 

When this happens, we must make the decision of how we're going to respond to that bruise and the rock (or person that caused us to be inflicted). We can remember, and we hold that offense against them until we die with the bruise, but a better way to respond to the offense is to give it to the Lord... who, by the way, took our sins upon Him and was bruised for our iniquity. We give Him our hurts, disappointments, failures, and weaknesses through obedient faith. It's not enough to just have faith, but you must change your ways once you believe. After you give Jesus your hurts, you must be willing to obey Him as He begins the restoration process, so that you don't have to live with the poison of the hurt and become defiled by it.

 Jesus responded to our sins by forgiving us, but that isn't where the work of grace stopped; He went on to "forget" our sins. They have been casted into the sea, and He has chosen to remember them no more. Forgiveness is just part of the restoration work of moving forward from a past hurt. Paul tells us in the text today that he came to a place in his walk where he had to be willing to forget the things which were behind him and to move on toward the finish line for the prize.

If we choose to forget the wrongs that others have inflicted in our lives while in the inside of this "dryer"  called the world, then the Lord will wipe it from our hearts, and then our minds will simply forget it. Think of it in these terms; every computer has a monitor and a hard drive. The hard drive represents your heart and the monitor represents your mind. Even though you shut down the monitor, the system will keep the record of the account, because it is still on the hard drive. Choosing to forget allows the Holy Spirit to wipe it permanently off of our hard drive to be remembered no more...in the same way that God chooses to remember our wrongs no more. 

In Genesis 37, you will find the beginning of the story of Joseph. Most of us are familiar with his story...Joseph had many opportunities to be offended, but when God had delivered him from all that was wrongly done against him, Joseph had to come to a place of restoration in his personal life. After Joseph had been used so mightily by the Lord and fulfilled much of what God had foretold him in the early years of his life, he was given two sons by the names of Manasseh and Ephraim. It's Manasseh, the first named, whose name represents the message given for you today. Manasseh means: causing to forget; to remit or remove. Before we can move forward, there are some things that we have to remove. Usually, when taking a trip, most people pack a piece of luggage, but on this trip we must be willing to unpack our suitcases, and then move ahead with God. So ask the Lord what needs to come off of your hard drive or out or your suitcase so that you can move on into what the Lord has for the remainder of your life. He will remove that burden and destroy that yoke with His anointing and lift your head with His grace. Ain't God good?!!

Forgiveness will lead us to forgetfulness. Bitterness prevents the forgiveness process from being complete in restoring our hearts and minds. So if we stop in the middle of the forgiveness process and refuse to forget, then we are allowing bitterness to defile the fruit of the Spirit in our own lives. Fruit that isn't eaten eventually rots. Use the fruit of the Spirit and destroy the decay instead of allowing the decay to destroy your fruit. 

Moving Forward,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, July 26, 2012

All Aboard

Genesis 6:17-21, And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark -- you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them." NKJV

Isn't it interesting that God saved the animals, but the people who had rejected God and His Word perished? Under the new covenant, we see just the opposite. Jesus tells us in John 3, that He wasn't sent to condemn the world, but through Him the world might be saved. When the flood waters began to be released from the deep and poured out from the heavens, only those who didn't love or honor God lost their lives. This tells us that the flood didn't destroy them, but the sin in their hearts did. Even today, people don't seem to understand or care to know about that principle. 

Just as it was in Noah's day, the same is true today. People who reject the Lord and know they have sin in their hearts, but don't repent, tend to blame the reason for their sin on other people or circumstances. It's a total shame the way that people with sin in their hearts treat the living God and His warnings. God told Noah to preach to the lost of his day while he was working on the ark. Noah did as the Lord instructed him; for 120 years he preached according to God's instructions. Yet, after the 120 years, only he and his family were permitted on the ark. Can you begin to imagine the persecution and ridicule that Noah had to face building an ark that was large enough to house all of the animals, food, and supplies as well as 8 adults, in the middle of a dry land? Here Noah is... preaching about a flood; keep in mind, the earth, up to this point had never seen rain. If you will read Genesis 2, you will find that before the flood, there was a mist that arose out of the ground and watered the face of the earth; we call them geysers.

So, given all of these facts about the climate in Noah's day, the people simply dismissed Noah as being a religious fanatic. You can probably imagine how they mistreated him and wagged their heads in disgust as they passed by the building site of the ark. As we read the story of Noah and his faithfulness to God, it's easy to breeze over the fact that Noah endured for over a century the controversy of building this monstrosity of a boat while preaching that the end of civilization was at hand. In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells us that as it was in Noah's day, so it will be in the day of His return to this earth. We see all of the signs coming to pass just as they were foretold to us over 2,000 years ago, and people are responding to the church in much the same way as they reacted to Noah. They are rejecting the gospel of Christ.

The birth pains of creation are growing stronger as well as closer together. This tells us only one thing. Jesus' return is at hand, and we must prepare ourselves and warn our lost loved ones and friends to get ready. Even if the Lord should delay His return beyond our lifetime, none of us has the promise of tomorrow. A really good offense is the best defense. Are you ready should you get called out of the game of life today? If you're not ready, you can be!!

1 John 1:8-10, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. NKJV 

But By the Grace of God,
Pastor Asa 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our Faith Opens the Door

Hebrews 11: 6, But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. NKJV

Our God and the Father of our Lord is so gracious and kind to us because we have placed faith in Jesus as being the Son of God. Did you realize that from the very moment that you turned your heart to place faith in Jesus, God began to bless you? This insight gives us a better understanding into the love that God has for those who have placed their trust in Christ as their personal Savior. Let's look at faith in this light for a moment. When you came to faith in Christ, the blessings of God began to flow in your heart and life because you had realized that Jesus is the source of both this life and of eternal life. 

At the moment of faith in Christ, we are deemed blessed in God's eyes. Once we humbled ourselves and accepted the free gift of life through Christ, the grace of God was bestowed upon our lives. Can you imagine being blessed and having the grace or favor of God lavished on you simply because you believed? There was nothing that you did or could do in order to earn it, yet God freely gives us His blessing once we look to Jesus. 

Through faith, we can begin to comprehend the love that God has for those who receive His Son into their hearts. If we try and come to God in a way other than faith in Christ and try to earn God's favor and love, then we will never be able (or allowed) to experience either in our lives. Remember what the writer of Hebrews wrote in today's scripture, "But without faith, it is impossible to please God." We can now realize that faith opens the door for God's goodness to be dispensed upon us... there's nothing we can do to earn it.

If we can be saved by faith, apart from works or earning our salvation, then we must also continue to walk by faith, once we're born again. Faith in Christ will teach us how to rest in Him, and how to know that the same God who saved us by faith is the same God who will supply all we have need of now that we're in Christ. This will afford us the ability to deny self and selfish ambition in order to live our new lives pleasing the Father through faith. Faith empowers us to seek first the Kingdom of God and not be consumed with trying to work for something that we might need.  

I've made this statement before, but it bears repeating: It seems easy for people to trust in God for eternal security; so why is it hard to trust God for everyday needs and desires? The answer: We must continue living by faith after we have come to faith in Christ. This "faith walk" is accomplished by denying self and seeking the Lord. Remember, we need favor and not works to accomplish and obtain all that is needed in life. 

Resting in Christ,
Pastor Asa 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christians Must Stand for the Truth

John 8: 2 - 6, Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. NKJV

There's a huge difference between having a belief in the Bible as truth and standing on it as the truth. Jesus tells us in Acts 1 that once we become His disciples, we are to be witnesses of Him. Paul tells us that all believers have been given the ministry of reconciliation. We are to lead people who are lost in their sin into a relationship with the Father through Jesus, the Christ.

As Christians who have placed their faith in Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we will discover that our faith will often place us at odds with the world. First, they will ask you what the Bible says about a certain sin or another faith. After you give them chapter and verse, they will do to you as the scribes and Pharisees did to Jesus that day in the temple. They will ask you, "But what do you say?" Take notice that they asked that question in an attempt to use it against Him if He misspoke. "They tempted Him."

Recently, I watched an interview where the anchor was questioning the beliefs of a well-known pastor. In this particular discussion, the host brought up the teaching found in John 14: 6 about Jesus being the only way to the Father or heaven. This man was obviously concerned about this one verse, since he wasn't a believer in Christ. The host asked the pastor if he believed that John 14: 6 was true. The pastor answered very emphatically that it was and that no one could enter heaven except through Christ. After the host asked this question, he advanced the discussion in the same manner as the religious rulers did Jesus in the temple. He asked the pastor if he believed that people who rejected Jesus were going to heaven. To this, the pastor replied, "It's not my place to judge who's going to heaven and who isn't."

I only mention this scenario to bring out a very important point on the need for Christians to take a stand when the truth is being brought into question. The pastor was correct in that we aren't the final authority who will determine who goes to heaven. However, he did miss a great opportunity to take a stand for the truth by telling this man, who had rejected Jesus as being the Christ, that he was lost.

Had the pastor told the man that without faith in Christ, there is no hope for him, it would have given the Holy Spirit the opportunity to convict his guilty conscience. Now look back at what Jesus did when the religious rulers tried to tempt Jesus with the same type question. He told the men who wanted to stone the woman if they were without sin, they could throw the first stone. Jesus didn't back down when they took the focus off of Moses' law and placed it on HIM. He continued to tell the truth, though it placed Him at odds with them. This allowed the Holy Spirit to convict every man who was holding a rock of their own sin. They dropped their rocks and walked away convicted.

If we don't take a stand when our beliefs are brought into question by the world, then the world will miss the opportunity to be convicted of their sin. It's not easy, and it can cause us a lot of trouble when we stand... but we must stand anyway. What is more important, our well-being, or people's eternal souls? Jesus warns us in Matthew 10 if we seek to save our life, then we will lose it. However, if we lose our life for His sake, then we will keep it. We are to fear God, who is able to destroy our body and soul in hell; we are not to fear man who can only destroy our body. Have faith in God and take a stand for the TRUTH. The world is dying to hear it.

Preaching and Proclaiming the TRUTH,
Pastor Asa

Monday, July 23, 2012

Headed To the Mountains

Matthew 14: 22 - 23, Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. NKJV

There's something unique about living in the mountains of North Georgia. It's the place that many people travel to when they are on vacation or when they just want to get away from it all. However, it doesn't matter where you go when you need some time to be refreshed as long as you take the time to get away.

Jesus showed us the principle of separating ourselves from the crowd by His own example. Many times in the gospels, we read where Jesus would just disappear and head to the mountains to pray and seek His Father alone. As a pastor, I hear people complain about having to stay on the job; they need a break, but can't afford to go anywhere. Nevertheless, you can get away with the Lord and not even leave your property. Simply find a quiet place where you can concentrate on the Lord and abide there.

Vacations are wonderful for getting out of the office and away from the everyday duties and drudgeries so that you can clear your mind and rest your body. However, do you ever consider that you need time away just to refresh your soul in the same way that Jesus did in the mountains near Jerusalem? When we grow weary in well-doing, it opens the door for the enemy to begin to attack our weakened state. This doesn't always call for a trip to the beach or a scenic trip up to a mountainous get-away, but it does require that we find our own little sanctuary. We all need a place of solitude where we can be alone with the Lord and allow Him to wash over us with His love and presence.

The Bible tells us that we can be replenished in times of refreshing when we take the time to seek the Lord alone. If we neglect setting the time aside to be with the Lord and allow Him to pour back into us, then we will become dull and drained. Our perspective on life can become skewed because of feeling worn down.

Your alone time is not a time of fleshly indulgence, but rather a sacred time of sacrifice...a time where your main objective is to be filled with the power and goodness of God. Once you forsake everything in an effort to be filled with the Lord's goodness, it gives the opportunity for the Lord to capture your full attention. Now you're in a position to experience the presence and peace of God unlike anywhere else. When we sacrificially honor the Lord by seeking Him alone, He will visit us in a very real way that empowers us with fresh vision and new life.

Headed to the Sanctuary of His Presence,
Pastor Asa

Friday, July 20, 2012

Find Forgiveness at the Cross

2 Peter 3: 9, The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. NKJV

When was the last time you heard a sermon that was centered on the "Cross of Christ?" Anytime I think about the love of God and how He placed all of my sin and the sin of every person born into this world on Jesus, I am humbled. At the cross of Jesus, there is personal forgiveness, as well as forgiveness for all mankind for all generations.

Have you stopped to consider all that God did for us on the cross where Jesus hung? We were guilty, yet the Father forgave us. Jesus was innocent, yet it pleased the Father to lay upon Him the iniquity of all mankind. Long before you and I were born, Jesus had already paid the penalty for our sins against the Father. Does this mean that everyone is going to heaven? No, it doesn't. However, it does mean that the way has been made for every person to enter heaven. Unfortunately, not all will choose to accept the free gift of eternal life.

We are to acknowledge the death of Jesus on the cross as payment for our sin while we confess our sins before Him. Why do you suppose the Father chose to expiate our sin debt in this manner? God knows that Satan operates through the power of condemnation and works to hold people in bondage. God by-passed all of Satan's schemes when He laid all of our sin debt on Jesus and has given to us the free gift of eternal life.

If you struggle with guilt and shame as a child of God, even though you know you have been forgiven, then remember this one truth. You were saved by faith apart from your own works. Guess what? You walk in that same saving grace by faith as well. If we begin struggling with guilt, shame, and condemnation to the point we can't obey God's will, then know these are indicators that tell us we are slipping from walking by faith and have gone back under the law of works.

While on the cross, Jesus asked the Father to forgive mankind because He knew that we had been blinded by our sinful ways. The power of forgiveness breaks the bondage and the blindness of sin off of our hearts and lives. Do you need to be free from condemnation and guilt today? Ask the Father to forgive you and to fill you with His unconditional love and, for Christ's sake, He will.

Forgiven in Christ,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Putting God First

James 4: 6 - 8, But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. NKJV

God told Jeremiah that He had only good plans, not evil ones, for those who are called by His name...to give us a future and a hope. Unfortunately, there are the tendencies in humans to both be afraid of God and not to trust in Him. However, if we allow fear to keep us from trusting in the Lord, it will open up our hearts and lives to the tricks of Satan. 

To the human mind, it sometimes seems easier to run ahead of God, and then just pray that He protects us from the consequences of our own ways. Nonetheless, when we trust in our personal wisdom, and we follow our desires over God's will, our lives become chaotic. Chaos and confusion aren't from God, but are the result of our flesh being in control of our decisions in life. When God is given preeminence in our hearts, He will bring order into our lives.  

Even though God has given us freewill, willpower is no match to the spiritual power that Satan can exert over us when we run from the plan that God has for us. We may be able to say "no" to Satan for a while in our own strength, but eventually we will wear down and give into his devices. Therefore, we have to realize and acknowledge that we're in desperate need of God's grace so that we can overcome the spiritual struggles we face.   

Does your life have order and structure? Do you put God first in your life? There is a direct correlation between running from God's authority and experiencing chaos in our lives. In order for life to exist and produce, be fruitful and multiply, there has to be a healthy environment. God's Word sets the structure into place, which allows life to exist and flourish. If you read Genesis 1, you will notice when God looked at earth, there was neither light nor life on it. The first thing God spoke into reality was light, and then He spoke structure over creation. There was an order to everything God did because it was required so that life could come into existence on the earth.  

In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us that we're not to worry about food, shelter, or clothing. He instructs us to seek first the kingdom of God (spiritual structure) and His righteousness (our covering for sin), and all these other things will begin to fall into place. We're not created to chase money, people, or possessions. We were created to pursue God and His goodness. Placing God first is simply an act of your will that involves your heart. However, before we can place God as number one in our lives, we will have to love Him more than this world or its pleasures. Therefore, if you've been running from God, and now you're running from Satan, then stop, submit to God, and you will have the power to resist the Devil and watch him run from you.

Thriving in Christ,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Word in Action

1 Corinthians 4: 20, For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. KJV

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

When Jesus came to earth, He preached the gospel of the kingdom; and as the people heard His teachings and believed on Him, He began to demonstrate the power of the kingdom of God. Likewise, the Word of God gives us the authority to exercise spiritual dominion on the earth. However, why did Jesus give us both the Word and authority? Well, if someone makes a promise to you when you're in need, but they have no power to help you out, what will it profit you?

The Father has given us, his children the Holy Spirit to help us in serving His purpose on the earth. Remember, Jesus said, "Father, your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Once we receive power from the Holy Spirit, we are able to live the Word of God first; and then we are empowered to demonstrate the power of God. It is through the demonstration of God's Word that His love is displayed to a lost world. Consequently, we become a witness of Christ to the lost.

The Bible is a book of love in action. God sent His Word to build faith in the hearts of people to be able to receive the power and blessings of His great love. Love isn't a feeling; it is a fruit of God's Spirit at work in our hearts. Love is a word of action. For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only-begotten Son. If we are only hearers of the Word, but not doers of it, then according to the book of James, we deceive ourselves. Therefore, Jesus has given us the authority through His Word to fulfill God's will on the earth and to put the Word of God into action; this is why we have the book of ACTS. It's a book about the Acts of the Apostles under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  

Are you a student of the Word? Do you operate under the authority of the Holy Spirit to show God's love to the lost and hurting? Let us not love in word only, but in deed. When men see our good works, it will bring glory to our heavenly Father. Apart from Him, we can do nothing of eternal value. Ask the Holy Spirit to use you to touch the lives of others through the Word in action. LOVE!

The Word Became Flesh,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For Yet a Little While

Hebrews 10: 35 - 39, Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: "For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. NKJV

Are you waiting on God to move on your behalf? Are you in a season of trouble and looking for the Lord to deliver you from evil? Are you standing on God's promises and believing in Him for a miracle or a need to be supplied? If so, then let me ask you another question. How long are you going to wait on the Lord? 

It sure would be nice if while we're waiting on Him to move, the Lord would let us know just exactly when He's going to manifest His promise so that we don't have to WAIT. Nevertheless, why does the Lord require us to wait on Him before He gives us the need or fulfilled promise? Our willingness to wait on God shows that our complete trust is in Him. Even so, living by faith prepares us for His emanate return. God requires that the JUST live in a state of preparedness. We are commanded to be instant in season and out. In other words, God requires us to wait on Him so that we might learn how to be consistent... no matter the test. 

If I wait on the Lord, then I am disciplining myself to operate by faith instead of being moved by my flesh nature. However, the question that needs to be addressed today is this: How long should we be willing to wait on the Lord when we are looking to Him for an answer or a need to be met? We must determine in our hearts that we will wait on the Lord until He moves on our behalf. After all, it isn't going to be on our terms, but on God's. Once we make the decision to wait on the Lord "until," the length of time won't be an issue. 

If we focus on a specific time frame, it can cause us to grow weary while we wait. We may also be tempted to act or jump prematurely. However, if we leave the timing in God's hands and simply trust His will over our need, then we will be able to rest in full assurance that He is faithful; and He won't leave us hanging. God cannot lie. If He said it, He will perform it. Nonetheless, we must be willing to wait until He comes through for us. Are you waiting on the Lord?

I Know in Whom I Have Believed,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, July 16, 2012

Our Life Is In Christ

Acts 17: 28, For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring. KJV

Today I want to share some thoughts with you about the goodness of God. The Holy Spirit has been opening the eyes of my understanding in the past couple years so that I can recognize God's goodness in my life. Until the Lord began to deal with my heart about all that He had done and all that He was doing in and for my family and me, It seemed that I was only able to focus on the troubles and trials.

Satan loves to make things hard for believers. He and his demonic regime don't just want to attack us to make us struggle in our faith walk; they also want to discourage us so that we will dwell on the negative aspects of life. If this sounds like the way that you view life, then read on for better understanding. Satan had a stronghold on my mind through the lens of negativity. He was weaving a web of deception through my negative outlook on life, trying to convince me that I was a victim. However, God's Spirit stepped into my thought-life. The Lord began to speak to me through the passage in Psalm 27:13; I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. NKJV

As this scripture got down into my heart through my faith in God and His Word, the Lord illuminated my understanding so that I could see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Let me explain. God created birds to fly in the air. He created fish to swim in water, and He created man to walk on the earth. Consequently, the best environment for man is on the earth. If we should go high into the air, we will need oxygen; and if we should go into the depths of the sea, we will need diver's suits with air tanks. 

Therefore, in order for the believer to live in this fallen world, God placed us in Christ. He is our new environment; He enables us to live victoriously while remaining in our flesh suit on earth. If it wasn't for being in Christ while in this flesh world and having the favor and blessing of God on our lives, Satan would destroy us. But God! 

Now begin to focus on all the goodness that God has bestowed upon you to make your life comfortable. He has placed us on the only planet that is conducive for life; and He has positioned the earth at the correct distance from the sun, which allows us to be warm without being consumed. He gives us wisdom to build modes of transportation, and then protects us so that we arrive safely. God gives us good health and a sound mind to be able to accomplish our everyday tasks. The Lord blesses us with the material things that are needed to take care of our daily needs.  

Here is something that is very important to know and to put into practice. Jesus taught us a principle that we should apply every day. He said that whatever good you would have others do unto you, you, likewise, must be willing to do unto them. If we sow to our fleshly ways, we will reap corruption; however, if we sow to the Spirit, we will, of the Spirit, reap life and peace. If you desire to see the goodness of God in a greater dimension in your life, then you must live by these principles. When we choose to honor the Word of God in our hearts, and subsequently live them in out, God will see to it that we walk with His protection, provision, and power over our foes. As we honor God, He has promised that we would eat the "fat" or the blessed portions of the land. Therefore, begin to see yourself protected and provided for by the goodness of the Lord, and let God's peace fill your heart. He's got you covered.

In the Secret Place,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Spirit of Adoption

Rom 8:14-17, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. NKJV 
One of the definitions in the Greek for adoption is the placing as a son (daughter). Let's see how adoption plays a role in the life of a Christian. When we were lost in sin, sin alienated us from the life of God. James teaches us that when sin is full-grown, it brings forth death. God spoke through the prophet Isaiah and told Israel that His ear couldn't hear them to save them, not because He was deaf, but because their sin had separated them from Him.

Jesus came in the fullness of time and paid the penalty for our sins against God. In Christ, the Jews and the gentiles have been reconciled to God through His shed blood. Through Christ, we, who were afar off have been brought near to God. Before Christ was sent into the world, the gospel was only given to the Jews, but now the gentiles have been given the power to become children of God. We have been given the "spirit of adoption" and have become heirs of God and joints-heirs with Christ.  

The Apostle Peter seemed to have a very hard time understanding the love God  extended to the gentiles once Christ gave Himself for the entire world. In a vision from God, some food was lowered from heaven on a sheet, and Peter was instructed to partake of the banquet. When Peter saw the foods that were laid out on the sheet, which he considered unclean, he told the Lord that he wouldn't eat. The Lord gently, but firmly rebuked Peter and told him that He had made the food clean, and he was to partake of it. Later, Simon Peter learned that God had opened the Way for gentiles to be saved and adopted into His family.

When my wife was yet unborn, her biological parents were divorced. After she was born, and her mother remarried, she was adopted by her step-father. Since he was not a Christian and consumed alcohol, Debbie became the target of his anger and vengeance. Many times her life was placed in jeopardy as her step-father would hold a gun on her and would threaten her life. Unfortunately, Debbie didn't have a good experience being an adopted child. I bring her story up for one reason. We, who have been adopted and have found favor in the sight of God are also, at the same time, hated by the world that loves its own. 

Isn't it wonderful to know that you have been given the spirit of adoption and that God has accepted you into His family? We must remember this truth when we're faced by the hatred of the world and must learn not take it too personal. It's not us that the world has rejected. It is the One who has sent us to represent Him as His ambassadors. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 that we are to let our lights so shine before men that they will see our good works and glorify our FATHER in heaven.

He Calls Me Son,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Dead in Christ Shall Rise

1 Thessalonians 4 : 16 - 18, For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. NKJV

We're told in Romans 1 and Hebrews 10 that the JUST shall LIVE by faith. When you and I placed our faith in Jesus as the Christ, He filled our hearts and our souls with His life. I find that interesting because Christians still grow old, and they still pass away. Even so, the Bible says that the Just shall live by faith. 

After Adam sinned and brought death on humanity, God told him that he was taken from the dust and to the dust, he would return. When Jesus promised us life, He didn't mean we wouldn't physically die. He was letting us know that at the time of death, we will pass from this temporal life into eternal life. Though my body is alive, it doesn't have eternal life. My soul has eternal life because it is filled with God's Word and His Spirit. When my body dies, it will go into the ground, but my soul which contains life won't go to the ground. Instead, it will go to be with the Lord. Therefore, we must live by faith, even though our outward man is perishing day by day.

In Isaiah 55 we're told by the Lord that the Word which goes forth from His mouth won't return void, but it will accomplish what it was sent to fulfill. God sent His Word into the earth in the form of a seed. However, when His Word returns to Him, it won't be in the form of a seed. It will reside inside the fruit, and the fruit will be gathered to Him. If we have this hope, then we know by the Spirit of God, who dwells in our hearts, that one day we shall see all of our loved-ones who have gone before us in the faith. Our faith in Christ shall once again reunite us in glory. 

Even though our souls have been redeemed from the power of death, and we shall never die, our earthen vessel will perish and return to the dust. The body is the last part of our triune being that will be redeemed from death. Then the final work of the redemption process will be completed, and the souls of those who have died in Christ will receive their glorified body. Just as we're going to be reunited with our loved-ones, we will also be reunited with our bodies...new and improved of course!

Romans 8 : 22 - 24, For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. NKJV

Awaiting My full Redemption,
Pastor Asa 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Lamb of God

John 1: 29 - 30, The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me. NKJV

The prophet Isaiah was given many insights by the Lord about the coming Messiah when he wrote Isaiah 53. Isaiah describes Him as being like a lamb. He wasn't saying that the Messiah would be a lamb, but that He would come with the gentleness, meekness, and willingness of a lamb. These characteristics were most evident in Jesus on the day that He was falsely accused by bogus witnesses during a mock trial. Nevertheless, the Lord of glory did not open His mouth to defend Himself.

Peter tells us that when Jesus was subjected to verbal and physical abuse, He never responded with the same attitude toward His enemies. The more things that men did against Jesus on the day of His crucifixion, the further Jesus displayed the innocence and gentleness of a lamb.  

Now let's take a short journey back in time: When Adam and Eve sinned against God's command, God demonstrated His infinite love and wisdom by revealing His plan for man's redemption. The Lord killed an animal and covered their nakedness with its skin. There is a term used in the Old Testament called "atonement." In this term, we understand that God used the blood of animals as a covering for Israel's sins until the Messiah could come and redeem mankind from the curse of sin, not just "cover" our sins.

Nowhere in Genesis chapter three are we told what type of animal was sacrificed for its skin. However, later in Genesis four, we begin to see a small glimpse of what the animal might have been; we read that Abel offered lambs unto the Lord, and the offering was accepted by Him. Nonetheless, how did Abel know what animal would be an acceptable offering unto God if God had not already taught them? It is not until Exodus twelve that we're shown by the Lord how the lamb would serve as a substitute for the sins of man. Instead of using the skin of lambs, in this story God instructs Israel to use the blood of the lamb and to apply it to the door posts and lintels of their houses.  

We see how God has advanced the understanding of Israel in the purpose of a LAMB. In this application, God uses the blood to protect the children of Israel from the destroyer. The lamb wasn't just a covering for nakedness; now the blood of the lamb was used for protection from death. With each glimpse into the application and purpose of lambs in worship, the children of Israel were being taught about their Messiah, who would come one day to deliver them from sin.

However, instead of using skin, this Lamb of God- Messiah would clothe God's people with His righteousness. We would no longer be required to apply the lamb's blood to our door posts because He would pour out His blood on a cross; all of mankind could now be redeemed from the curse of the law. Throughout the books of the Old Testament, the lamb is spoken about and used in worship before the Lord. Even so, it's not until Isaiah writes that we begin to know that the lamb represents a man sent from God to be a sacrifice for our sins.  

Therefore, the plan of God was made abundantly clear when John the Baptist saw Jesus and declared, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." However, even though the people heard what John had said about Jesus, they still didn't see how Jesus could be God's Lamb. It wasn't until the day that Jesus was brutally beaten, hung on a cross, and offered on the Day of Passover that we see Him as God's precious and harmless Lamb. The revelation was now clear and the plan of God for man's redemption was completed on the same day. Jesus was made manifest to destroy the works of the Devil. When Jesus was revealed as being the Lamb of God, He also completed the work of God. He was indeed God's spotless Lamb who TOOK away the sin of the world.

Have you been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb? Have you placed your faith in the work of Jesus on the cross? If you have not, then you can be made clean. You can be saved from your sin, today, and become accepted by the Father into the family of God. Simply believe on the Lord Jesus and confess Him as your personal Savior and Lord. If you have applied the blood of Jesus to your heart by faith, please contact me at prayer@whcnorth.org and let us rejoice with you.  

Washed by the Blood of the Lamb,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

There is a Connection

Genesis 12: 1, Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. NKJV

Genesis 12: 4, So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. NKJV

I was sitting in church this past Sunday listening to a guest speaker talking about having the faith to see what God sees. As he was sharing with our congregation, the Holy Spirit spoke something into my heart that made me take notice. In Ephesians 2, it says that we were created in Christ unto good works that we should walk in them. The Lord let me know that He is re-creating us as we walk in faith (not according to sight). The Lord is perfecting us in two primary areas of our hearts and lives.

He gave me the passage about Abram, who happens to be the father of faith for the entire world; God told Abram that in him all of the nations would be blessed. When the Bible talks about Abram (or Abraham) being the father of the faith, it is because God originated the covenant of faith with him and no other. It was out of Abraham's faith and covenant with God that the Jews became a people. Before the faith conversion and the covenant with the Lord, Abram was just another gentile. God made him a Jew by his faith in God's promises and covenant with the holy people of God.

God gave Abram a command with a condition; the result would be that He would give to him a child of his own. We can plainly see that Abram was obedient in coming out of his father's country and away from his kindred, but he brought Lot with him; this is called partial obedience. Obedience is the first area that the Holy Spirit is at work in. He is perfecting it in our hearts that it might become evident in our everyday lives as believers. The Word of God instructs us to delight ourselves in the Lord, and He will give us even the desires of our hearts. There's two ways to view this verse. First, if we delight in Him, He will give us whatever we desire that is good; the other way to view this goes far deeper than what we desire. As we learn to find our delight in the Lord, then He will begin to change our hearts to desire the things that are in alignment with the plan of God for our lives. I tend to go with the second rather than the first view point, because it centers on "The Lord" being Lord in my life and not my temporal desires being my lord.

Abram walked in partial disobedience with Lot for twenty-five years, and for twenty-five years Abram waited on God to make good on His promise to give he and Sarah their own son. As we struggle to learn how to overcome the flesh nature and stand on our own two feet with the Lord, we are at the same time tying the hands of God from releasing the promises. This is what the Holy Spirit meant when He said, "that He is working in the hearts of believers to get us to the place that we can fully obey and fully receive all that the Father has promised for those who are in Christ Jesus." One can't be separated from the other; they are directly connected one to the other. The key is to always walk by faith (or in faith) and not by sight or the natural senses. You might say that Abram walked in partial faith and partial flesh. God wants us to come all the way out, because the flesh can't inherit anything from the Lord.

If you're like me, you've been in this walk of faith a long time. You're not where you would like to be, but you're not where you used to be either. The Lord is changing us from faith to faith and from glory to glory into the image of Christ. When we are complete, then we will leave our "Lots" behind and conceive our "Isaacs" and be a blessing to the world and to the kingdom of God.

What are your visions, ministries, dreams, and prophecies? Are you walking by faith or are you walking with "Lot?" There's one thing about walking with God... He has promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. The good work that He has begun in you, He will see it to completion. This is why you will feel the Holy Spirit nudging you every once and awhile, because He has to get you to arrive at the place where the Lord is already waiting on you so that He can bless you with your promised seed.

Be Blessed Today,
Pastor Asa 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Developing Boldness to Enter His Presence

Hebrews 10: 19 - 22, 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. NKJV

Are you a bold Christian, who is fearless when it comes to entering the presence of God and enjoying His goodness? You might be surprised to learn that many believers struggle with being near Him. However, there's a very good explanation as to why even believers are "bashful" when it comes to entering the presence of God. 

Today, my main focus is the way people react differently to His holy presence in a church service. Many believers sit as far back in church as they possibly can, thereby, getting lost in the crowd. They're very timid and shy in God's presence. Nevertheless, they possess a hunger to be there. As a pastor of many years, I have discovered that if you bring attention to someone who struggles with being in God's presence, it can cause them to back away altogether.  I you are bold, this tendency may seem a little immature or backwards to you; therefore, allow me to share some insights with you today.

The subject the Lord has me addressing today isn't about a personality trait. It is a spiritual issue among many in the church. The writer of Hebrews does a masterful job at describing why believers aren't bold in God's presence and why many will run if they're called on in a service. He writes that we must draw near to God with a true heart in FULL assurance of faith. This tells us that we must learn how to be developed through our faith in Jesus so that we can gain the boldness to be in God's presence, unafraid and unashamed. He goes on to address the importance of having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. These are the primary roots that cause believers to be apprehensive about being in God's holy presence. Therefore, it is a spiritual issue.  

Where did this backwards attitude originate, and how can children of God overcome it and have boldness to enter? It originated in the garden with the fall of man. When Adam heard God's voice, he hid himself from the presence of God. Part of the answer for this dilemma can be found in Psalms 103; here, we're told that Israel knew the ACTS of God, but Moses knew the WAYS of God. Why was there a distinction between Moses and Israel? Moses obeyed God from the beginning of his relationship with God. Through an obedient heart to God's commands, he had his heart purged of the evil conscience of his past.  

Although Moses initially struggled with his inadequacies while in God's presence, God quickly taught him to look to the Lord for assurance. As a result of Moses' obedience to the voice of God, he could learn the ways of God. However, Israel didn't have a deep desire to obey God. This lack of want-to caused them to fall prey to their guilty conscience, and it kept them from entering into God's presence. When God invited His people to know Him at Mount Sinai, after bringing them out of Egypt, they rejected His invitation because of fear. The reason was very simple. Because of their unbelief, they had no desire to obey His voice and overcome timidity.

If you are fearful about being in God's presence, or you feel "unworthy" or "dirty" in His presence, then this is a word from the Lord for you today? Instead of looking at your weaknesses and failures, which are unbelief, begin to focus on hearing and obeying God's voice in your life. As you develop a hunger to know God's will and then obey it, His Word will begin to purge your conscience from the residue of sin, which causes guilt and shame. Before you know it, you will develop the boldness to come into the presence of God, bask in the warmth of His Light, and not feel ashamed. Faith has to have a beginning; therefore, why not start right now? Submit to His will, and the Lord will do the rest. It all begins with a decision to trust and obey the Lord.  

Nothing like His Presence,
Pastor Asa Dockery