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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Calling Attention to Prayer

Hebrews 4 : 14 - 16, Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. NKJV

In Luke chapter 4, we can read that Jesus was tempted by Satan in the areas of provision, protection, and power. Nevertheless, The writer of Hebrews tells us that although Jesus was tempted in every point as we are, He remained without sin.

What gave Jesus the power that He needed to resist the temptation from Satan and remain obedient to the will of God on His life? The answer may shock you. The answer is prayer. Unlike many Christians, Jesus never underestimated the power of prayer; neither did He ignore the times when the Father would call Him away to the mountains to pray alone.

How is your prayer life? If it is weak, then how well do you resist temptation when it comes against you? There is a direct correlation between a prayer less life and unhealthy faith. Jesus told His disciples that they should pray lest they enter temptation; nonetheless, they slept while He prayed. He said, "Indeed the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." We don't have to fall prey to our flesh nature, consequently, allowing it to rule our hearts or our walk with God. If we will simply commit to spend time regularly in prayer, especially when we feel the drawing of God's Spirit to pray, then we will walk with God's presence on us.

When Moses was upon Mount Sinai for forty days, he didn't realize that his face was shining with the brilliance of God's glory. However, when he returned to the people, they saw the glory and hid their faces from it. Even the scribes and Pharisees acknowledged that Jesus had a greater authority on His life than they had. It was because He prayed to the Father... not just religious prayers. If you spend much time in prayer, others will recognize the presence of the Lord on your life. 

Beyond giving us power over temptation, prayer is simply inviting the Father to have His will done on earth as it is in heaven. You don't have to look very far to realize that this world is in desperate need for a move of God. It's time for the body of Christ around the world to enter our prayer closets and seek God's face for His divine intervention. Isaiah tells us that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. 

Our church is joining in with thousands of others beginning on September 28 for forty days of prayer for America's election and for the nations around the world. Please join in with us, as together we fulfill the scripture in 2 Chronicles 7 : 14. If we will pray, God has promised to respond with favor toward us and heal our land. Prayerfully consider becoming a part of this mighty move of God which is calling attention to prayer. This devotion goes out to many countries, and we invite you all to join us in prayer for your nation and your governmental leaders. Together, we can see the hand of God move in our nations like never before. Thank you for praying.

Seeking the Lord,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Was It a Trap or a Divine Set Up?

John 18 : 1 – 6, When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?" They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am He." And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground. NKJV

Paul gives us some insights into what happened the night that Jesus was betrayed. In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul tells us that if the rulers of this age had known what they were doing, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory.  Having stated this truth, let’s dig into today’s word.

When you read the verses from the gospel of John, it seems as though Jesus is walking into a trap of Satan. Isn’t it interesting that Judas knew where Jesus would be at that late hour? He knew this because Jesus had taken both, him and the other disciples with Him many times before. However, this night was different because Judas wasn’t walking with Jesus; he was leading the soldiers to capture Jesus while He was in the garden praying. 

We know that Satan filled Judas’ heart and used him to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver; this is made known to us when Jesus was eating the Last Supper with His disciples before they entered the garden. Satan was certain that he had Jesus trapped, and that he would bring an end to His earthly ministry. 

What Satan didn’t realize is that Jesus was instructed by His heavenly Father as to what He was to do that night and was told what Satan was planning through the greed of Judas. Therefore, Jesus didn’t walk into a trap as Satan would have people to believe; instead, Jesus was simply obeying the Father’s will that night. John goes on to tell us that Jesus knew what was about to transpire; and that is why Jesus went to meet the soldiers when they entered the garden. Furthermore, when they asked Him if He was Jesus of Nazareth, He told them that He was and every one of the soldiers fell backwards to the ground. God’s power was all over this situation, and the soldiers weren’t going to be allowed to do anything to Jesus or the eleven without God’s approval. Satan was blind to the plan of God; however, Jesus was fully aware of Satan’s plot. So, was this a trap of Satan or the divine plan of God? It was all God! 

Now what does this story have to do with you and me? We have a promise in Romans 8 : 28 that says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Most of the time, we won’t know what the future holds; however, this doesn’t keep us from obeying God’s voice. Not only do we not know what God is up to, neither does Satan. Nevertheless, that doesn’t keep Satan from attacking us in our garden of prayer.

How many times have you been busy obeying God’s will in your life, then, suddenly you discover that you have walked into what seems like a trap of Satan? However, later, after seeking the Lord and experiencing His delivering power on your behalf, you realize that the attack has turned into a divine set up that either strengthens your faith or brings promotion into your life. 

The point of this devotion is to illustrate further to Christians the importance of prayer. Because Jesus had spent His time in prayer, God revealed to Him what He was to do and what Satan would try to do against Him. Prayer will prepare you spiritually for the unknown and give you supernatural strength to overcome the attack of Satan. As a result, you will be able to watch the hand of God turn your trial into a triumph and your test into a testimony. God is faithful!

Serving the Faithful God,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Keep Holding On

Job 1 : 13 – 22, Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house; and a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away -- indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" 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

…And Job held onto God. There are two very important points, which immediately come to mind concerning the horrific events that transpired in Job’s life that fateful day: God remained faithful to Job; and Job remained faithful to God. In other words, Job didn’t allow the loss of his family and his earthly possessions to cause him to stop placing his trust in God. He held on to his faith and commitment to the Lord, even though Satan had taken everything from him. 

Can you imagine the emotional pain and anguish that Job suffered after he heard the grim news about his children? Satan enjoys attacking the faith of believers in Christ. He wants to weaken and destroy our spiritual stance. He does this by exploiting the pain that we experience in response to the loss we face. We are perhaps our weakest immediately after a huge attack from the enemy has robbed us of someone or something that we have dearly loved. 

As a pastor, who has walked with believers through the loss of loved-ones, marriages, homes, and careers, I have witnessed first-hand that people tend to lose their spiritual direction afterwards. It’s almost as if they have suffered a concussion; they become dazed and just spin out of control. However, Job held on. He didn’t allow the enemy any space to rob him of his relationship with God through emotional pain. 

There are a couple more important points that we can take away from Job’s afflictions. Satan’s attack only served to prove what God had said about Job before the vicious attack against his family and belongings. God told Satan that Job was like no other person on the earth. He said that Job was BLAMELESS, UPRIGHT, one who FEARS God and SHUNS evil. God recited to Satan the Godly characteristics of Job, all of which flawlessly appeared in the furnace of his afflictions. God knew that Job would “hold on,” and he did just that.

The other point comes at the end of the nine-month ordeal of Job. God restored to Job twice as much as he lost during his fiery trial. There is a reward for those of us who, like Job, hold on to God until the end of our season of affliction. God will cause a greater blessing to come upon us and overtake us, as long as we remain faithful to God. Finally, Job’s story lets us know that nothing in this world is certain except God; and we need to remind ourselves of this truth every time Satan attacks us with loss.

Therefore, no matter what may come your way in this life, remember to hold on to God and allow Him to carry you through the difficult trials. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean to your own understanding. After all, one day this world and all that is in it will pass away. Nevertheless, God will still remain. Let’s hold on to the only One, who can keep us when everything else is gone, Jesus.

Thank God for Jesus,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, September 24, 2012

Where Do You Turn?

Isaiah 38 : 1 - 2, In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'" Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD... NKJV

Where do you turn when trouble invades your life? Please take more than a fleeting moment to think about my question to you. Really meditate on what your past decisions and actions were when you ran into difficult situations that overwhelmed you. All of us have a propensity to want to run to a person or a "crutch or vice" when trouble comes knocking on our door. However, as children of God, God should be the One to whom we turn in times of weakness or trouble. 

When we place our hope and trust in someone or something in a time of great need, we reveal what is in our heart by our decision. While we may find a temporary comfort and ally in a thing or a person, Jesus is the only Friend who will stick with you faithfully to the end. 

Too many times, we, as Christians make the mistake of turning to men, tangible things, or fun times for the solace that can only be found in Christ. As a result, we open ourselves to be inflicted with an even greater pain coupled with disappointment because those we trusted in weren't there for us. Both men and the things from this world are at best a very limited source of comfort and strength. We must understand and acknowledge that we are placing ourselves in a vulnerable situation when we turn to something other than God for what He alone can provide for us. 

When we repeatedly choose to turn to people and vices for the help and comfort that only God can consistently offer us, it can cause us to either lose or fragment valuable relationships. Therefore, we must choose to place God at the top when it comes to seeking a "very present Help" in times of trouble or weakness. When we practice this very simple but profound principle, it will protect us and the relationships that we value the most. 

Jeremiah tells us that we are blessed when we place our complete hope in the Lord. It's good to have family and friends there for us when we're in need as a limited source of comfort and strength. Nevertheless, we must never choose them or any other thing over turning to God. King Hezekiah knew exactly what to do when Isaiah spoke the word of the Lord to him. He chose to turn toward the wall and pray to God for mercy and an extension on his life. No one on earth has the power to extend life but God. Therefore, this is a perfect example of what we should do when "hard" times hit our lives. As a result of the King's decision, God heard his prayer and extended his life fifteen years. Only God!

Turning to God,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, September 20, 2012

God Is Still In Control

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

I want to take this opportunity today to encourage you to keep your focus on the Lord. Ever since Lucifer (afterwards known as Satan) fell, he has always tried to upstage God. In every major conflict between God and Satan, Satan has been defeated and demoted without fail. When Lucifer rose up in rebellion against God, God cast him out of heaven. Consequently, he lost the position and prominence that he enjoyed when he was an arch angel of God. 

Whenever Satan embodied the serpent in the garden and caused man to sin against God, God cursed the serpent. As a result, he went from walking to crawling on his belly. Furthermore, when Satan opposed God by nailing Jesus to the cross, God highly exalted Jesus and, once again, stripped Satan of even more of his dominion over mankind. 

In chapter 12 of the Book of the Revelation, we read that Satan will declare a war against the kingdom of God, and the church; however, we (the church) will overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, and loving not our lives unto the death. At which point, God will cast Satan out of the second heaven, and he will live on earth for a season... after the church has exited earth.

So why am I sharing about the failed attempts of Satan opposing our Great God? We all know that Satan is no match for God. Nevertheless, "we" can struggle with doubt and fear when the enemy attacks us. When we come under attack from Satan, we must guard our hearts against doubt and fear. Why? If we don't guard our hearts with all diligence when the enemy strikes, then we allow Satan to gain access through our doubts about God's protection. As a result, fear will consume our hearts. 

Do you remember what happened to Simon when, for only a brief moment, he took his eyes off Jesus while walking on the water? He began to sink and drown in the same water that he was previously walking upon. Just like Simon, we, too, lose spiritual courage and strength when we allow the world's problems to captivate our heart's attention. When this happens, it can cause us to give over to worry, doubt, anxiousness, and fear; and we began to sink in our own weaknesses. Greater is He (Jesus) that is in us, than he (Satan) that is in the world. 

When you see calamity, or you hear about all that is going "wrong" in the world, please remember to keep Jesus at the center of your heart's attention. Don't be pulled into believing the enemy's reports and becoming overwhelmed. God is still in control; and even though it's getting darker in the world, the Light of Christ is at the same time shining bright in us. If you find it too difficult to keep your focus on Christ because of the severity of the storms that are looming overhead, simply enter your prayer closet and seek the Lord with your whole heart. If you will choose to pray and seek God's face about the concerns on your heart, you will experience the power of God in your heart and life. The Lord will strengthen and encourage you to, once again, walk on the water in victory over your enemies. 

You Can Do This,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Living the New Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Kingdom Of Heaven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You Shall Know the Truth,
Pastor Asa

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beware of Self Deception

Jeremiah 17: 9 - 10, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings. NKJV

We're told in the book of James to be doers of the Word, not just hearers. When we hear God's voice or Word, but we have no intentions of obeying it, we open the door to self-deception. 

God spoke a powerful revelation to Jeremiah that gives us a better understanding of what James meant when he warned us about being deceived because of our disobedience to God's will. Not everyone who sits in church or hears the voice of God will take what is being said to heart. This is especially true if what is being preached or revealed by the Holy Spirit is contrary to their particular lifestyle or desires. 

If a Christian or sinner hears a truth from God or His Word and knows that it is meant for them, nevertheless, they're not willing to implement that truth, they will seek to justify or give an excuse as to why they can't or won't obey the Lord. 

Do you suppose God is going to allow Christians (or anyone) simply to ignore His Word and His warnings? No, He will not allow them just to go on with their lives without their actions having consequences. You see; God not only told Jeremiah that He would give to every man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings; in the first chapter of Jeremiah, He also said that He would watch over His Word to perform it in the earth. Therefore, if we choose to ignore God's will, and we do not do what His Word instructs, then the Lord is going to see to it that we reap the reward of those actions. 

God wants us to realize that our actions have consequences. We need to change our actions, or we will reap bad fruit from them. Paul tells us in Romans 6: 23 that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The ultimate goal of our heavenly Father is for us to learn from our wrong decisions or our unwillingness to obey His will so that we will turn our hearts completely over to Him and be saved. It is essential for Christians to be doers of the Word and not hearers only so that the Word will give us the power to live a life that is filled with an abundance of blessings and rewards. 

Let Us Be Doers of God's Word, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Do Not Be Ashamed of the Gospel

2 Timothy 1: 7 - 12, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. NKJV

The Holy Spirit has been dealing with my heart about the bondage that Christians are living in pertaining to fear. We must understand and realize that Satan is the author of fear, and he uses it to hold Christians (and all people) in bondage. The Lord has also revealed some powerful truths that will help His people overcome the spirit of bondage to fear that so we can step out in faith and please Him. One of these truths is found in today's scripture. 

Paul is encouraging Timothy, a young minister, to exercise his faith instead of allowing the spirit of fear to cause him to be ashamed of preaching the gospel. Paul reminds Timothy of the faith that was in his grandmother as well as in the heart of his mother, and he was certain that it was in Timothy. Paul was striving to divert young Timothy's focus off the negative works of Satan; therefore, he asked him to remember the legacy of faith that resided in his family's rich history. As Christians, we, too, must take our focus off of the "what if's" of this world and the rejection of people toward our message of Christ, and, instead, concentrate on our faith walk. 

Satan loves to get our attention off of Christ being in us and working through us, so that he can draw our attention to ourselves. When we look at ourselves instead of Christ, it will cause us to fall prey to either intimidation or self-exaltation. Being the elder minister, Paul understood this. He went on to tell Timothy that, although he had suffered much as a minister, he wasn't ashamed to preach the gospel of Christ, whether it was in a church or in prison. Not only did Paul use the strong examples of Timothy's family to direct his attention, he also used his own personal testimony of suffering to show Timothy that he needed to trust God with the circumstances and just preach the Word of God. 

The Apostle John tells us in his epistle that it is our faith in Christ that gives us the victory over this world. Therefore, as believers in Christ, if we're struggling with being ashamed of the gospel of Christ and sharing our faith with others, then we must make an important decision. We must choose to obey God's will and to suffer for Christ's sake so that the power of Christ will rest upon us. We've been called out of darkness to be salt and light to this world. As such, we are commanded to go into the entire world and declare the Good News of the kingdom.

It's time for us as Christians to begin to set our heart's attention on Christ and on fulfilling the Father's will, instead of allowing fear to intimidate us so that we don't speak God's truth in love to this world. Will you join with me in prayer and ask God to grant to the body of Christ the courage that we need to proclaim His truth to this generation? In addition, pray that the Lord would give us a heart that is committed more to Christ than to ourselves or self-preservation. It's time for us to reach the world for Christ. 

In His Service,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

You Don't Have to Fear the Truth

John 8: 31 - 32, Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." NKJV

Since the fall of man, he has been afraid of God. Whenever God's presence descended upon Mount Sinai, there was thundering and lightning, the ground quaked, and the people trembled. The sight of God was so overwhelming that the Jews refused to hear God's voice. Let me interject something here. If the presence of God was so terrible and frightening, why was Moses not afraid to enter the thick darkness and speak with God? 

The answer to this puzzling question is very simple. The children of Israel allowed unbelief to rule their hearts; and, consequently, they rejected God. Moses, on the other hand, entered God's presence with faith and, therefore, understood what was really going on that day. In Exodus 20, Moses told the people not to be afraid of God. God was only revealing His power to them so that they might possess a reverential fear of the Lord that would keep them from sin.

Jesus gives us even more clarity as to why people, and many Christians, are either afraid of God, or they are fearful of "facing" the truth. John 3: 19 - 21, And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." NKJV

It's not that we're afraid of the truth, itself; it is that we understand that the truth of God will force us to face our fears. The Jews in their unbelief didn't want to have to face the realization that they had unconfessed sin in their hearts. God wanted them to come into His presence in faith so that He might use their faith to overcome the fear that held them in bondage to the power of sin.

Are you on-the-run? Is there something from your past or hidden in your heart that you don't want anyone to know about? Does the fear of being put to shame cause you to run instead of trusting God to defend you? When God appeared to Moses at Horeb, he had been on-the-run for murdering an Egyptian. Therefore, when God revealed to Moses the plan to send him back to Egypt to free the Jews from Pharaoh's power, Moses was afraid to return. God explained to Moses that the Pharaoh who pursued him was dead. 

When Moses turned his life over to serve the Lord, it caused him to have to go back and face his past. Even so, because Moses was obeying God, he returned to Egypt with power and liberty. Like Moses, God has a far better plan for your life than to see you run from your past or from a failure. If you turn your life and the outcome of the situations that have made you afraid over to God, then He can set you free from the fear that is caused by unbelief. Remember this: God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.

Walking in God's Love,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Faith Comes By Hearing God

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

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

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

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

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

The Just Shall Live by Faith,
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Doing the Right Thing Requires Grace

Genesis 22: 1 - 3, Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning... NKJV

On occasion, God may call on you to give up something or do something that will require His grace in order for you to be able to obey Him. We can see this in today's scripture when God requires Abraham to offer his only son upon an altar of sacrifice. We read in this story about how quickly Abraham responded favorably to God's request. However, we need to dig deeper and glean some truths from his obedience that will help us to submit to God when it's hard to do so. 

We must realize that Abraham and Sarah endured pain and disappointment for twenty-five years while waiting on their promised son. When it's been hard, or you've waited a long time for God to supply a desire or need, and you finally acquire it, it becomes even more special to you because of the process that you had to undergo. Nevertheless, Abraham arose early in the morning and set out to fulfill God's will for his life.

How did this man muster up the strength that he needed to offer up his only son in order to be obedient to God's command? It's very obvious that Abraham had acquired great faith in God over the previous twenty-five years. It was his faith in God's character that empowered him with the grace that he needed to sacrifice his son.

We're living in a time when sacrifice isn't a popular subject. It's seems doing the "right thing" or fulfilling the purpose of God is difficult to find. Instead of paying the price to stand up for Godly principles that cause a change throughout the world, too many are succumbing to fleshly pressures and comprising their values and personal convictions. 

Even though these are things that Christians have to confront and to overcome in this generation, we don't read where Abraham backed off from doing the right thing in God's sight in his day. You see; Abraham loved God more than Isaac or anything else, and he proved his love for God by offering Isaac up on Mt. Moriah. 

As Christians, we are inundated by secular humanism and the exaltation of self, but if we truly desire to please the Lord through our faith, then we must choose to love God more than ourselves. I have found in my own walk with God that when He requires something that stretches my faith and challenges me to the core of my being, it is because the Lord wants to bless me even greater. It's in those moments of great tests that I have to decide to either please God in faith or please myself through unbelief. 

Do you have the power to do the right thing in your walk with God? If not, then today God is giving you the truth from Abraham's story that will empower you to defeat the enemy and to step out in faith. You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you. Nevertheless, you have to also be willing to sacrifice (obey) first. 

Living the Blessed Life, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Access Granted

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

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

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

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

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

Changed by Faith in Jesus,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Salvation Is Free

Ephesians 2: 4 - 9, But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. NKJV

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Drawing Closer to God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walking With God Each Day,
Pastor Asa Dockery