WHCNorth Mobile App

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kept from Things I Cannot See

Matthew 26: 20 - 22, When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. Now as they were eating, He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me." And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, "Lord, is it I?" NKJV

Is it possible for a Christian to know what they are capable of doing? God told Jeremiah that the heart of man was desperately wicked and deceitful above all things, and who can know it. God also told Jeremiah that He searches our hearts. According to today's passage, the disciples not only didn't know who the betrayer was, but each one wondered if it was him.

Likewise, when we get into desperate situations, it can cause us to panic and become defensive or territorial. If we should allow the power of lust to rule our hearts, it can drive us to commit unrighteous and evil acts. The key to overcoming the evil that is in our hearts (caused by the fall of man) is to trust God with our whole heart. As a husband, father, and pastor, I ask the Lord regularly to keep me from acting out of my heart in a sinful way against Him.  

While studying God's Word, I have found that there is nothing wrong with telling other like-faith believers that you don't trust your own heart. In fact, the Bible tells us in Proverbs not to lean to our own understanding, but in all our ways, we are to acknowledge God. Peter tells us in his epistle that Satan is going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. How does he know who is a likely candidate, and who isn't? He sets us up in certain challenging situations, and when the test comes, he moves in with his lies with the hope that we won't turn to God, but, instead, listen only to him.

Remember, Jesus calls us sheep, and as such we are vulnerable to the wolves of the world. If we should stray from the protection of our Shepherd and the communion of the flock of God, we can become prey for Satan to attack us in our mind, emotions, and desires. If you feel that God has given me this word specifically for you, then know there is something you can do today to keep you from crossing certain lines that will place you at odds with the Lord.

Each disciple asked Jesus if they were the one He was speaking about that would betray Him.  Likewise, we must also turn to the Lord and ask Him to keep us from listening to or trusting in our own hearts. This is called having integrity before the Lord. Once we give ownership of our hearts over to God, it is His responsibility to keep us from anyone or anything that might be a setup from Satan.  

Satan preys on our spiritual ignorance and blind spots so that he might gain an upper- hand over us. Paul tells us in Timothy that Eve was deceived, but that Adam wasn't deceived. Therefore, we must give our entire heart over to the Lord and place our trust in Him. As we begin to practice this, the Holy Spirit can begin to lead us into all truth, keep us from temptation, and deliver us from evil.

When God called Abraham out of his father's country and away from his kindred, it's obvious that Abraham had some flesh issues in his heart. On occasion, when he would go into a new place, he would ask Sarah to tell a partial lie; he asked her to say she was his sister and not his wife. He did this because of fear that the men of that village or city would try to kill him in order to get Sarah, since she was very beautiful. Let me interject this thought: notice that Abraham totally excluded God from the situation and made an assumption, which ultimately got him into trouble with the king. He was leaning on his own understanding (Genesis 20).

One day Abraham entered Gerar, whose king was named Abimelech. To protect himself, Abraham asked his wife to lie. Because of this fabrication, the king took Sarah into his house that night. God appeared to the king while in a dream. In the dream, God told him that he was a dead man because he had taken another man's wife. Of course, you can imagine how this made the king feel, seeing that he had been lied to by Abraham. When the king told God that he had done this out of the integrity of his heart, God replied, "Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore, I did not let you touch her.  

I love this story because it shows how God will keep me when I have been set up by someone else's wrongs...wrongs that might cause me to believe a lie and sin against God. God will keep us from sin as long as we honor Him continually in our hearts, as He did with Abimelech. God didn't allow the king to commit a sin that would bring a curse on him and his people. The Lord doesn't want us to be pierced through with great sorrow because of sin that we committed out of our ignorance. He desires that we trust in Him and honor His Word so that He might keep us from entering into temptation. Fear and lust both want you to listen to them as you make daily decisions; listen to God instead.

Lord, is it I?
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Free At Last

Romans 8: 12 - 14, So, dear brothers, you have no obligations whatever to your old sinful nature to do what it begs you to do. For if you keep on following it you are lost and will perish, but if through the power of the Holy Spirit you crush it and its evil deeds, you shall live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. TLB

The Lord hates sin, and He hates it for a good reason; it destroys the souls and lives of those He has created and loves. We can see the love of God in the story of Israel's great exodus from the land of bondage. Pharaoh was an oppressive king over God's people. The taskmasters under Pharaoh were cruel to the children of Israel. If they didn't meet their daily quota of bricks and hard labor they would beat them. But after 400 years of that oppression, the Lord heard and answered the cries of His people because of their afflictions.

In much the same way, sin is a harsh taskmaster over God's fallen creation. So as He sent Moses to deliver Israel, He has also sent Jesus to deliver fallen man from the oppression of Satan over the world. Just as Egypt had cruel taskmasters, we too have the flesh nature to contend with on a daily basis. Although, we, who are born again have been made free from sin, we also know that the flesh nature which is rooted in bondage to the spirit of fear wants to oppress our lives with habits, lusts, and weaknesses of our flesh.

Even though you are a Christian that has experienced the saving grace of our heavenly Father, you may still be struggling with bondage to sins and to fear in your life today. This isn't the time to retreat in condemnation, but it is an opportunity to hear some "good news" about your plight. Jesus never came to condemn fallen man because of sin; He was sent to love us and give His life for our sin that we might become God's righteous children.

I will ask different people from time to time if they're being obedient, and they all seem to have the same answer: "I'm trying to obey, or I'm trying to quit doing wrong." The truth is, God never required us to "try" ... this is why He has given us His Holy Spirit. As we set our hearts to obey the Lord, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to overcome any struggle, offense, mountain, or fear that might try to stand in our way. Just as Paul wrote in the verse today, we are not obligated to obey our old sin nature and indulge in its evil desires, but we can, through the power of the Holy Spirit put to death the deeds of the sin nature and live in freedom. Our heavenly Father doesn't want us to live in bondage or put up with oppression from the Devil of our past. He has given us everything we need to live a fulfilled life of godliness.

Jesus said in John 10: 10 that He came so that we might have life in us and enjoy it to the full (or in abundance). We can only obtain that level of life in our soul by allowing the Holy Spirit to liberate us from the bondages of the flesh nature. If you struggle with a habit or sin and have felt as though you couldn't ever get free, then take these verses out of Romans 8 and meditate on them until you see the chains of oppression begin to fall off of your life. Each day when you wake up ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to live that day in total victory over the enemy of your soul. The key to total breakthrough is consistency. He or she that endures to the end shall be saved. The Lord wants us to walk in His life and experience His liberty in our hearts. My prayer for you is that this word today will become a reality in your life, and you will enjoy life as never before.

Walking in God's Power and Love,
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Total Transformation

Matthew 16 : 13 -18, When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. NKJV

I have been a pastor for eleven years and during this time, God has had me to preach consistently on one topic. Can you imagine what subject would be so important to us as believers that God would have a church camp out on it for this long? Give up? The subject is obedience. I have never known why God wanted me to teach obedience, in some fashion, week after week, and year after year; nevertheless, I obeyed.

Graciously, this week the Holy Spirit revealed the reason to me. In Romans 1:17, Paul instructs us that the just shall live by faith. It is impossible to please God without faith. However, how do we live by faith? Faith comes from hearing and hearing comes from God's Word. We live by faith when we keep God's Word and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We live by faith when we seek to know and fulfill God's purpose and plan for our lives after we are born again.

In Ephesians 2: 8, Paul tells us that we receive the gift of salvation by our faith and through God's grace. Let's take a moment to break that verse down. According to Romans 12:3, you have a measure of faith in your heart. When you place your faith in Jesus as the Son of God, God will, at that moment, grant you the grace (power) to become His child. Therefore, power is released when Christians exercise their faith and obey God, which will cause them to inherit the promises of God. This power called God's grace also empowers us to be transformed into a new creature in Christ.

Nevertheless, what happens when believers decide that they don't want to listen to the voice of God or live according to the Bible or God's purpose? Why wouldn't a believer desire to please God? Well, that's a subject for another day. If we don't obey God, then we're not walking by faith. Consequently, we won't receive the grace of God to inherit the promises of God; and we will remain unchanged spiritually. James 4: 7 says that God opposes the proud (those who strive to be friends with the world); even so, He will give more grace to the humble (those who choose to be a friend of God). Jesus said we're His friends when we keep His commandments.

To establish further what I'm teaching, I want to conclude today's word with an example of someone who is called the "father of the faith." God appeared to Abram and told him to leave his father's country and to separate himself from his kinfolks. Abram stepped out in faith, but he didn't fully obey God's voice because he took his nephew, Lot with him. For twenty-five years, Abraham walked with Lot; and for the same amount of time Sarah didn't give him the son he had been promised. However, shortly after Abraham parted ways with Lot, Sarah became pregnant with Isaac, who is called the son of promise.

We can plainly see that Abraham's partial obedience prevented the grace of God from empowering Sarah to bear a son in her old age. When believers partially obey God and then try to justify their disobedience, it will prevent the grace of God from releasing the power in us to receive the promises of God in our lives as well. Don't take my word for it. Study the Word of God for yourselves, and you'll come to the same conclusion. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Salvation isn't just about receiving promises of natural blessings in this life; more importantly, it's about being transformed into the image of Christ. When Simon spoke in agreement with what the Father had revealed about Jesus being the Christ, God released His grace, and it transformed Simon into Peter. Christ is first revealed "to" us by the Holy Spirit, and then He is revealed "through" us as we choose to live by faith. 

By Faith through Grace,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rest for the Weary Soul

Galatians 2 : 16, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. NKJV

In his writings, Paul teaches us that we are made complete in Christ. Therefore, you and I have been made whole in God's sight, not through our own works, but through Christ's works. All that was required for us to be made complete is that we place our faith in the work that Jesus fulfilled on our behalf when He was on the cross.

The more we understand how faith really works, the less we will try to earn salvation or God's favor after we're born again. Too many times, we focus on the subject of earning salvation. However, very rarely do we pay attention to believers who struggle with unworthiness in their faith walk, and therefore, try to "earn" God's favor. We are not human-doings; we are human-beings. 

When Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan and rose out of the water, His Father spoke from heaven and said that He was well-pleased with Him. Please note that this was the very beginning of Jesus' public ministry; at that point, He hadn't done much of anything that seemed to have significant eternal value. Nevertheless, God said that He was WELL PLEASED with Jesus. You may wonder how this could be, seeing that no works had been done at this point in His ministry. This is exactly what the Holy Spirit wants us to grasp in our understanding today. Jesus didn't try to earn favor with God; however, He did strive to know and fulfill God's will in His life while on earth.

If we simply imitate Christ in our commitment and obedience to God's will through our faith in Christ, then we, too, will cease from our own works or efforts and concentrate on loving God. This will allow us to just "be" instead of trying to "do" things that will somehow please the Father. 

Do you struggle with your salvation? Or, if you're saved, do you struggle with being worthy in God's sight? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, then I invite you to begin to invest time getting to know God and learning to recognize His voice when He speaks to you. When you get to the place of having the confidence to hear God's voice and know that it is He speaking, you will subsequently find your significance through hearing and being and not through struggling and works. God tells us in Jeremiah 33: 3 to call on Him, and He will answer us and show us great things that we do not know. The focus shouldn't be on knowing things, but rather it should be on calling on God and listening to Him.

Abiding in His Rest, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Deceived No More

Proverbs 14: 11 - 12, The house of the wicked will be overthrown, but the tent of the upright will flourish. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. NKJV

Do you know someone who confesses to be born again, but their beliefs and actions don't reflect the principles of Jesus' teaching? I thought so. Before we dive into today's topic, let me ask you a sobering question. If you were deceived by the enemy and were living in a way that is displeasing to God, but didn't realize it, wouldn't you want someone to pray for you to know the truth? Consider what I just asked you for more than just a moment before you answer the question. 

Today's passage from Proverbs tells us that there is a way that seems right to us, but its end is the way of death. Just because we believe something and "feel" in our hearts that it is correct, it does not make it so. In fact, if we believe something that doesn't line up with God's Word, then that belief can invite death into our life. God spoke through the prophet Hosea and told us that His people are destroyed because of a lack of knowledge concerning the truth.

The reason there are so many "believers" who remain worldly in their beliefs and actions can be attributed to their lack of reading and applying God's Word to their hearts. Therefore, their minds aren't renewed; and, as a result, they will remain conformed to the ways of the world. We must hide God's Word in our hearts so that we don't sin against it. If you know someone who confesses Jesus as Lord, but lives like they're still in the world, then begin to pray for God to remove the blinders from their spiritual eyes. Ask the Lord to place a deep hunger in their hearts to read and to devour the Word of God. 

If we know someone who is trapped in a web of deception, we are commanded in the Word of God to pray for their soul; read Ezekiel 3 as a reference. Further, throughout many of Paul's letters to the churches in Asia, Paul said that after hearing of their faith, he prayed continuously for the new converts to Christ. He prayed that God would open the eyes of their understanding. A lack of understanding is a leading cause of new believers not having a hunger for God's Word. As we pray for "carnally" minded believers to come out of the fog and walk in the Light of truth through the application of God's Word, then the Holy Spirit can bring clarity to their hearts. 

It's just not enough to say I believe in Christ and not know the Word of God; this will set believers up for failure in their faith walk. Will you take some time right now and make a list of people in your life that you know do not walk in the truth, but, instead are deceived? When you compile your list begin to pray regularly for the deception to come off of their hearts. You will be excited and blessed as you watch God move in their lives, and you witness their spiritual turn around. Please drop me a note when you witness a revival in the lives of your loved-ones and friends.

Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Help Is Only a Prayer Away

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

Are you faced with a situation in your life that seems like a mountain? Do you feel overwhelmed with life? Unfortunately, I have found that life doesn't wait until we're strong enough to face a difficult situation before it notifies us of an adverse change. Nevertheless, Jesus has given us the key that will move the mountains out of our lives that prevent us from moving forward in Him. We must come to the Father in faith and call on Him in prayer. 

Through Christ, faith gives us the access we need for our prayers, petitions, and supplications to be heard by our heavenly Father. Faith in Christ gives us the assurance that God exists, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. You may have already noticed that when trouble shows up at your door, there is a tendency to feel all alone and insufficient to meet the demands of the problem. It is for this reason that Jesus instructs us to have faith and only believe when we pray. Faith in God will dispel the forces of darkness, which can come against our minds and our emotions in troubling times. 

Wolves will watch a herd of sheep and wait for one to stray away from the rest, and then they attack the one that is the most vulnerable. Satan understands this principle and copies it; this is why he so enjoys being the bearer of the bad news that will make us feel alone and isolated. He wants us to get overwhelmed, give way to feelings of inadequacy, and give in to his plans. Satan uses adversity to cause us to have thoughts of doubt arise in our hearts. 

Consequently, we're instructed by the Lord not to doubt. We are to believe and speak God's Word in faith against the situation(s) that come against us. As Christians, we are not alone in this world; we have an Advocate, our High Priest who ever lives to make intercession for us. Thankfully, we also have the Holy Spirit; and He is our Comforter. No, you're not alone. Nevertheless, you can feel isolated. Even so, you must remember to exercise your faith and always pray. With God, all things are possible. The help that you need today is only a prayer away. 

Praying and Believing,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Liberty of Being Spirit Led

Romans 8: 12 - 17, Therefore, brethren, we are debtors -- not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 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

The Apostle Paul teaches us that when we are saved, we are to walk by faith and not by sight. Consequently, as children of God, we must not be moved by what we see, feel, or experience in the world; instead, we must be led by the voice of the Holy Spirit. 

In today's scriptures, Paul tells that we have confirmation of our new birth experience in Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. You will notice that God, our heavenly Father left nothing to chance when it came to our soul's salvation. Our new life in Christ begins and is walked out through the power and wisdom of the Spirit of God. 

Do any of us as God's children know what tomorrow holds for us? Can we determine in our own hearts the best path to take when we are faced with decisions that can have a direct and adverse impact to our walk of faith? The answer, of course, is NO. Therefore, it is essential for believers to rely on and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit in their everyday lives. 

As a believer, do you seek the Holy Spirit and allow Him to lead you through your day? If not, then you are relying on your own wisdom, past experiences, and emotions to direct your decision-making process. This is exactly the reason why the children of Israel walked in proverbial "circles" in the wilderness. They refused to listen when the Holy Spirit tried to give them direction. However, what does this mean to the New Testament believer who hardens their heart to God's voice? It can cause us to live a life that repeats our past mistakes over and again. 

We know this because Paul exhorts us in today's passages that we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear. When there is an absence of faith in our daily walk, we will give a place to fear. Being frightened keeps us bound to the familiar; consequently, we remain unchanged. People who practice a "wilderness method" toward life end up being cyclical and will never break free from their past.

In Romans 8, God is giving believers the revelation knowledge and the invitation to be led by the Spirit; consequently, we are enabled to break free from the bondages of the flesh nature. Only when we decide and commit in our hearts to listen to the Holy Spirit and therefore, walk by faith does the Christian walk become exciting and liberating. If this sounds inviting to you, and you're tired of living a mundane life, then do what Peter did when Jesus told him to step out on the water. Become a water walker today by listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. 

Walking by Faith,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, October 22, 2012

When Trials Come

Matthew 18: 7, Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! NKJV

1 Peter 4 : 12 - 13, Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. NKJV

In Ephesians 2, Paul teaches us that we have been saved by grace through faith, not of works lest anyone should boast. Nevertheless, let's take a more in-depth look at that principle through this word today. Even though we are Christians, we all periodically face trials and temptations. Peter teaches us not to think it strange when we're faced with these fiery trials; we should know that these are a test of our faith, and we are only partaking in the sufferings of Christ.

Although we know that we have been saved by grace through faith, we don't always know how to react when we are faced with fiery trials. However, if we will allow the Holy Spirit to teach us, He will give us greater insight into the truth as to why the enemy strikes out at us. If we truly understood the depth of being saved by God's grace, then we wouldn't struggle when faced with trials. Nevertheless, we do struggle occasionally, don't we?

When we're faced with temptations and trials, the struggle isn't over the issue of salvation, but rather it is over our spiritual identity. When I speak about our spiritual identity, I am referring to how we view ourselves when we are brought under the microscope of Satan's accusations. Have you noticed that your confidence can become shaken in your faith walk when Satan attacks you or your family?  If this has happened to you, you should not be alarmed; we all have moments of weakness during times of testing.

Satan intends for his planned attacks to take us under and cause us to give up when we are beginning our walk of faith and still immature in it. This simply means that we have not yet come to trust the God that we declare to have placed our faith in for salvation. When our faith is tried by an offense of Satan, we will begin to closely examine ourselves. We might ask, "What have I done wrong that has caused God to bring this upon me?" If you have said this, or something similar, then please notice on whom the attention is focused. Where does your attention go when life seems to come unraveled at the seams? If it is on you, then your confidence or trust is in "self" and this must be purged from your life. 

If your focus is set on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith, then this is proof that you have already come through many trials which the Lord used to purge you from being self-confident. I'm not casting dispersions upon you because we all must go through the same process of becoming totally reliant on Christ and not self. If we should believe that we could change ourselves during a trial, then what is the need for Christ to be in our lives? I've been the victim of self-condemnation for many years, so I can recognize the signs of that particular characteristic. However, I have learned that when trouble comes, it's too late for me to plead my case, so I turn to the Lord for help and ask Him for mercy and to avenge me of my adversary.

Now, instead of looking to myself when offenses come, I turn to the God of grace and ask Him to fight my battles for me... and I hold my peace. It wasn't the trials that transformed me and my way of thinking; it was my faith in God as my Deliverer and Defender. We were created in the image and likeness of God, but Adam's sin made us depend upon ourselves instead of our Designer. In the New Testament, God wants us to be transformed into the image of Christ, but we must first have our minds renewed. So present yourself as a living sacrifice unto God and allow Him to change you when Satan attacks your faith. I no longer just believe in God's grace; I have experienced its wonder- working power in my life. 

If God be for Us,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Broken but Loved

John 3: 17, For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. NKJV

It's obvious when you look at creation as a whole that God loves diversity. Debbie and I have three sons, and each one of them is different from the other two. They're distinct in almost every way, even though they're brothers. It amazes me to watch each son become their own person, and as I watch the maturation process developing each of our children into the person in which they are to become according to God's plan, I realize that I am witnessing the vastness of God in their individuality. At the same time, even though they are very different from each other, I can see the connectedness of love.

In much the same way that God looked beyond our sins, weaknesses, and flawed behavioral patterns in order to love us back to Him, we are to grow in love toward each other. When God saved us, He didn't look at us, as though we would always remain the same; instead, He saw us as the people we would become when we chose to accept and embrace His love. As a pastor, I have the privilege of watching the children of our church over the years as they grow up and become young adults. It amazes me to watch as these young adults begin to walk in a new season in their lives and how they struggle to make sense of their beliefs and how to apply them to everyday life.

Paul tells us in Romans 3 that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are all broken vessels in need of God's love in our lives so that we might be transformed into the original masterpiece that was intended by our heavenly Father. Inevitably, each young person has to come to the place in their faith walk where they must decide whether they're going to depend on God and allow Him to love them through their struggles, or choose to rely on "self." Even though we sometimes choose to walk away from the Lord, it doesn't prevent God from continuing to love and protect us.

In spite of our flaws, God has made a commitment to mankind to love us through the hard seasons of life. We all struggle at times over our faith in God because we are faced with difficult decisions and fiery trials while living in this corrupt world. This is a normal part of maturing and of coming to know the God that Christians call "Abba Father." Just as God didn't condemn us as sinners, but sent His only-begotten Son into the world that we might be saved, God is still deeply in love with us, as He works in our hearts to cleanse and to mature us in His love.  

Even though we taught our children beginning at a very early age about Jesus and salvation, each of them has their own belief system. This has taught me a very important principle. Sin has definitely had a major impact on all humans in the way we view God and how we each respond to God. Even though we were originally created in both the image and likeness of God, sin altered the image and changed the likeness in which we saw God. Therefore, we have a "world view" of God before we come to the knowledge of the truth. As sinners or fallen humans, we have our own way of thinking and believing... but not according to truth.

The Bible teaches us to train up our children in the way they are to go and when they're older, they won't depart from that path. God is our heavenly Father, who not only loved us while we were sinners, but continues to love us while He changes our hearts to see Him through eyes of truth. If you're a child of God, then you're on the same journey as me. Together, God is working through our mistakes, failures, and sins to bring us to the knowledge of the truth and to know His love, which surpasses knowledge. Through it all, God has never stopped loving us. Although He has loved us, He wouldn't allow us to remain the same as when He picked us up out of the miry clay. We may be broken, but we must never forget that we are deeply loved by our Creator and heavenly Father.  

Covered by the Love of God,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Lord Calls You Blessed

Deuteronomy 28: 1 - 9, "Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: "Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.  "Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.  "Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. "Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. "The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. "The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. "The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. NKJV

You don't have to feel blessed in order to be blessed. As children of God, we are blessed because we have the life of God dwelling within us. The presence of God is upon us at all times. Even though the world  is filled with doubt and unbelief, we don't have to partake of either of these characteristics. 

The Lord has given us the promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Nevertheless, we must know what God has said about us in His Word and stand on those promises that He has declared over us. You may say, "I don't ever remember God speaking His promises over my life." Didn't the Lord tell Abraham that through him, the families of the earth would be blessed? Doesn't the Word of God declare that every promise of God is yes and amen in Christ? Therefore, if you are in Christ, you have been blessed by the Lord.

Just as Jesus quoted the Word back to Satan in the wilderness, we must also speak God's Word over our families. When you hear the Word of God coming from your lips, faith will be stirred in your spirit, and will empower you to receive from God's Spirit within you. You are blessed in your rising up and in your lying down; you are blessed in the city and in the field. All that you possess is blessed. Your land is blessed.  

I fully understand that we live in a fallen world where Satan is going about, seeking whom he may devour.  Even so, God has given us the power to choose. We can elect to be either a victim or a victor. 

I am reminded of the story of David at Ziklag. David and his men were away from their families while fighting a battle. However, while they were in combat, the Amalekites invaded Ziklag and burned it. They captured the women and children and took held them hostage. When David and his men returned to Ziklag, they saw the ruins of their dwelling places and became aware of their missing belongings.

David could have very easily fallen prey to a victim mindset and given up on his faith in God, but he didn't allow unbelief to take the place of God's promises. Instead of having a pity spell like his men, David chose to encourage himself in the Lord. How does someone go about encouraging themselves in the Lord? Like David, we, too, can raise our spirits by reciting the Word of God back to the Lord and reminding Him of His covenant. When David was praying, he asked the Lord if he could pursue and overtake his enemies. In response to his request, the Lord told David, "Pursue, for you shall overtake them, and without fail, you shall recover all. When you are blessed, and you hold on to your blessing in difficult times through faith, then you are able through Christ to recover all.

It's time for the body of Christ to begin to recover from the loss incurred through demonic attacks against our families and us. It's time for Christians to take a stand like David did that day. We must go to God in prayer. I challenge you to take the passages from today's word and begin to quote them daily over you, your family, and the challenges you face. If you do that, God will watch over His Word that you have spoken and perform it in your life.   

You Are Blessed,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Knowing The Father

John 1 : 15 - 18, John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'" And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. NKJV

The prophet Malachi declared that God is the Lord, and He does not change. Even so, what is truth according to scripture, and why do we need to know the truth and walk in it? In the first chapter of the gospel of John, he writes to us about the Word of God. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Holy Spirit revealed to John the origin of truth that has the power to save people's souls. The truth that we now know to be the Word of God proceeded from the mouth of God.

Therefore, we know that truth didn't begin with man, but with God. Just by the Lord revealing this one truth about His Word, He assures us that man's beliefs and opinions have nothing to do with truth. In other words, if what we believe or what we speak as humans doesn't line-up with the Word of God, then we must be willing to accept that we are wrong in light of the Bible and begin to embrace change... if we want to know God for who He really is.

As you continue to read the first chapter of John, you will begin to see a progression of the plan of God as it pertains to the manifestation of His Word as truth. John boldly declared to his generation that the Word which proceeded from the mouth of God had become flesh and dwelt among them. We know that Jesus began as the Word of God, but when Mary received the will of God to bring God's Son into the earth to preach and proclaim the truth, He became a man. Once Jesus, the Word of God was born in the world, He was known as the only-begotten  Son of God.    

Why is it important that we understand where the Word originated, and that He became flesh? Jesus is the only (MAN) that has proceeded from the heart of God. He is the only man who knew the Father (our Creator) from the beginning. He is the only man who knows God for who He really is and not according to the knowledge of man or man's beliefs. Remember, God spoke to Mary, the mother of Jesus, about His plan to send His Son into the world in order that we might be saved. Instead of Mary being impregnated by a man, God impregnated her with the Seed of His Word through her faith. Now we can have assurance that Jesus is not just a man or just another prophet sent by God; He is, in fact, the Word and the Son of God.  

When Jesus spoke to the people of His day, He spoke the truth like no other man. He also spoke as One having great authority. Why was Jesus different than the "other ministers" of His time? He was the truth, and He had personal and intimate knowledge of God because He had been with God since the beginning. No man can make that claim, only Jesus.  

Therefore, if we as humans desire to know the truth, we must be willing to turn to Jesus, the Word of God, and believe in Him. If we will, then the Father will begin to reveal Himself to us, even though we haven't known God at all. We can conclude that truth doesn't come from our minds, but is revealed to our heart through faith in Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, we can come to know the Father and walk in the truth, just as He knew the Father and walked in the truth.

If you desire to know God as your heavenly Father in the way that Jesus does, then you must be willing to obey the command that Jesus spoke to the Jews, who believed on Him in John 8. He told those who believed in His teachings that they must continue in His Word, and they would know the truth and the (revealed) truth would make them free. There's only one WAY to the Father and one way to know Him as the true God; His name is Jesus, the Son of the living God. This is eternal life (John 17 : 3).

Walking in the Light,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, October 15, 2012

May the Lord Strengthen You

Ephesians 3 : 14 - 19, For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height -- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. NKJV

Are you weary of being engaged in a spiritual battle with the enemy? There were even times in Jesus' own life and ministry when He grew tired; this is why prayer is essential to every believer in Christ. If we weren't in a battle against Satan, it wouldn't be difficult to maintain our faith. However, we ARE engaged in a battle; and prayer is the key to overcoming weariness and battle fatigue. 

Jesus knew when to separate Himself from both the crowds and His own disciples and seek strength and help from the Father. We, too, must set aside some time to be alone with our heavenly Father and allow Him to strengthen us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Whenever we grow weak spiritually and, consequently, become weary, there is a greater tendency for us to step back from God's will. Satan knows this, and that is why he pushes against us constantly. We must be wise, recognize when Satan is pushing, and take control of the situation through prayer. Paul tells in 1 Corinthians 10 that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they're mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. As we pray, the Holy Spirit strengthens us with His might, enabling us to have energy and drive once more. The joy of the Lord will once again fill our hearts, giving us the power to defeat the tricks of Satan that wear us down. 

We're in a spiritual battle. Therefore, we must be continuously strengthened by the Spirit of God. He can do things through us that we can't begin to do on our own. There is no limit to what God can do through our willingness. Nevertheless, we must cooperate with His will before He can release His power in us.

I strongly feel that the Lord directed me to write this word specifically for someone who is about to give up the "good fight of faith." The Lord wants you to know that He is with you; however, you must turn to Him in your weakness so that He can give you His strength to overcome and to progress forward in faith. Don't give in to Satan. Instead, submit to God, resist the Devil, and he must flee. 

God Is a Very Present Help,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, October 12, 2012

Free to Serve God

Hebrews 9 : 13 - 15, For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? NKJV

In the context of today's passage, we read that God wants us to move beyond dead works and begin to serve Him with our hearts. However, in order for us to serve Him apart from dead works, we must first be willing both to seek and to listen to His voice. This brings me to the point of today's devotion. If you're a child of God, then you know that your sins have been forgiven by the Lord, and they will be remembered no more. Today, I want to ask you if you know that the blood of Jesus has done more for you than simply purchase your forgiveness. His blood not only offers us forgiveness of sin, but if we will pursue God's will and serve it in the earth, we will also discover that His blood cleanses our hearts and minds from the consciousness of sin.

We've heard many sermons and Bible studies on the power of Jesus' blood to forgive us of our sins, but how many times have you heard about the cleansing power of His blood? Forgiveness pertains to the way the Father sees our hearts, but cleansing has to do with the way we view our heavenly Father. If we know that our sins have been forgiven, we will be liberated from the power of sin. However, if our minds haven't been purged by His blood, we can struggle with being in the presence of God. This can explain, to a degree, why some believers are still afraid of God after they have received the Holy Spirit in their lives.  

The Jews who were led out of Egypt, the land of bondage, by Moses were afraid to hear God's voice when they came to Mount Sinai. They told Moses to speak with God and then tell them what He commanded, and they would obey. They were forgiven, or out of bondage, but they were afraid of God because of having a guilty or shameful conscience while in His presence. This is where many believers pull away from God; it is simply because they aren't taught about the cleansing power of Christ's blood in the walk of the believer.  

This fear comes from living their entire lives in unbelief. Now that God had delivered them and has saved us, He desires us to serve Him without fear. In order to dispel the fear of man, God requires us to walk by faith. The only way you and I can walk by faith is through obedience to God's Word and His voice. If you're afraid to be in the presence of God because you "FEEL" guilty or ashamed, even though you know that the Holy Spirit dwells in your heart, then know that you must submit to God by walking in faith and not in fear. Are you going to heed your feelings of fear now that God has saved you or will you submit to God and resist the Devil?

The first generation of Jews refused to obey the voice of God, and God didn't allow them to enter His rest or the Promised Land. The second generation obeyed the voice of God, and faith saved them from perishing in the wilderness. We all have a choice to make when we become believers in Christ. Will we serve God or will we allow a guilty conscience to keep us running from the God, who has already saved us from our sins?  

Romans 5: 8 - 11, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. NKJV

Now that you have been born again, you must take the next step and begin to serve Him by faith. Seek God with your whole heart and you will find Him. Don't be afraid to hear His voice or face what He might ask of you because He is for you. We don't have to fear the God that saved us, but we must reverence Him and honor His will in our lives. If we will reverence the Lord through obedient faith, He will purge our guilty conscience, and it will keep us from sin (Exodus 20:20).

Free from the Guilt of Sin,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Watching Over the Weak

1 Corinthians 8: 9 - 13, Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall. NIV

To say that I am a Christian is to say that I am Christ-like. The simple fact that I tell people who don't have knowledge of Christ that I am a child of God holds me to a higher standard. However, although we may be Christians, it doesn't mean that every believer knows this principle or abides by it in their personal walk.

If you will remember in Genesis 4 when God questioned Cain as to the whereabouts of his brother, he replied to God with a selfish attitude saying, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Whether we realize it or not, whether we accept it or not, as Christians, we are held accountable by our Lord Jesus to be salt and light to a lost world. If we cause our brother, who may be weaker in the faith, to stumble and fall back into sin because we have liberty in Christ, then we will be held personally responsible for being derelict in our service unto the Lord. 

We are citizens of the Kingdom of God, who have been given both the authority and the mandate to exemplify the rule of Christ in the earth. Therefore, God holds us, his children, to a higher level of accountability before the world.

We must guard our hearts from selfish indulgences and protect our Christian witness around anyone who may be struggling with their faith in Christ. Does that mean that God wants us to walk around quoting the Word of God and covering ourselves in white robes all the time? No, it doesn't. Let's refer to today's scripture. Paul was addressing someone who was in the presence of a brother who was known to struggle in his conscience when he observed believers who consumed meat that had been offered to idols. Obviously, these two men knew each other well. Therefore, we must protect our witness in the presence of those who know us better than they know Christ so that we might allow the Lord to use us by our good works to show them Christ. (Mt. 5:16)   

It grieves the Holy Spirit when Christians choose to satisfy self over the need to be an effective witness for Christ before the world. Allow this word today to challenge you to become a greater warrior in the faith for the sake of those around you who don't know anything about Christ except for the One who lives through you.

Being Salt and Light for Christ's Sake, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When Attacks Become Personal

Philippians 4 : 6 - 7, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. NKJV

Your heavenly Father loves you. However, when the love of God is taught or shared from a believer to a non-believer, it is generally in the context that God gave His only-begotten Son to die in our place. It is true that when you accepted Christ as your personal Savior, you became a victorious child of the Most High God. Through Jesus and the work of the cross, you have been made more than a conqueror, and He causes us to always triumph over our enemies.

Nevertheless, since we haven't died, gone to heaven, and remained there, none of us have really had to put the promise of eternal security to the test. We know that Paul taught us to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, but none of us has faced that battle in our walk of faith, yet. I'm not suggesting that we have to die before we have proof that salvation belongs to us. I'm just merely stating that we haven't had to face eternity so none of us have been able to realize the degree of the love of God. Therefore, we have to fight the spiritual battles that we face in this life with the assurance that God is with us "by faith."

During an attack of the enemy, the love of God is put to the test and tried more so than any other time in our walk. It is during an assault against us that we can begin to waiver in our faith that God truly does love us. Why does it seem easier to believe the Bible and the truth that God does, indeed, love us more so when times are good, but then we struggle with our faith when we come under an attack?

Here is the explanation that the Lord conveyed to me about this struggle. I have found in my own walk that it is easier for me to pray and have faith for someone else who is battling the very thing I am enduring myself than it is for me to stand in faith for my situation. Perhaps you have found this to be true in your life as well. Why does it seem that our faith is stronger at times when we pray for others and weaker when we have to believe for ourselves?

The key to winning any battle is to have the ability not to take it personally. Our battles are harder to obtain victory over because it's personal to us. It's good that we have noticed this occurs so that we can go to God and learn an even greater truth about the authority of God in our lives. God not only loves us, but He has also given us His authority on the earth through Christ so that we might walk in dominion over the schemes of the Devil.

The Lord said, "The battles that I face, though it appears to me to be a personal attack, still belongs to the Lord." In the same way that I can fight with more vigor when someone asks me to pray for their situation, when I realize that this "personal" battle is really God's battle, and Satan is trying to get me in between God and the battle, then I can then obtain the confidence to fight Satan on a spiritual level. No matter how personal the battle may be and believe me, I have experienced many personal attacks; we must never take ownership of the battle. We are in this world to serve God (not ourselves). Therefore, it is God who will fight this battle, and it is God who will win this battle. We will be still and see the salvation of the Lord.      

Hidden in Christ,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Taking a Stand for the Truth

Genesis 3: 2 - 5, And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'" Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." NKJV

Luke 4: 5 - 8, Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours." And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'" NKJV

God is calling on His people to take a stand for the truth. However, we must both know and practice that truth in our everyday lives in order to gain the power we need to stand up to and oppose Satan. If Christians pay little or no attention to the Word, and they don't hear the truth being preached, then they will be an easy prey for Satan's temptations; they will have no power to defeat him when he attacks them on a personal level. 

In Hosea 4, God rebuked the priests of Israel for removing the truth from the people. He told them that there was no truth or mercy being proclaimed; and as a result of that void, God said that His people were destroyed because they lacked knowledge. Therefore, we can conclude that we must know the truth as Jesus taught us in John 8 in order to be set free. 

Paul tells us in Timothy that Eve was deceived. We can only be deceived when we don't know the truth about a particular matter. In Eve's case, the temptation was about her knowledge of God, or lack thereof. Satan was able to convince her (by deception) to BOW to him in order that she might become LIKE God through sin. However, when Satan tried this same strategy with Jesus, he failed miserably. Jesus didn't act on Satan's temptation; he simply STOOD on God's Word and prevailed against the seduction. 

Satan was sure that Jesus would bow and worship him in order to gain authority over the kingdoms of the world. Nevertheless, Satan didn't realize that Jesus was the embodiment of truth. He not only knew the truth, but He obeyed God's will. As a result of knowing the truth, Jesus knew that the Father had already given Him authority and promised Him the nations of the earth, as well as the kingdoms of the world. 

Consequently, Jesus didn't bow to Satan's pressure of trying to get Him to disobey the Father so that He could gain authority and glory through sin. He didn't need to bow to Satan's evil lies and tricks. Instead, He stood on God's Word and prevailed against Satan.
As a Christian, you've probably felt the pressure that comes from living in today's society; it tries to get you to bow down and compromise your convictions. Even so, you also know that God is with you, and He will fight your battles for you. All you need to do when you come under a spiritual attack is to keep the Word and stand on it in faith. 

In our generation, we have witnessed the spread of corruption and sin. We have watched as society systematically removed God from government and schools. However, it's time for the church to take stand for God's Word and allow the Spirit of God to lift a standard of righteousness against the flood of the enemy. It's time for the tide to turn. If God be for us, then who can be against us? The Holy Spirit is calling believers around the world to prayer, fasting, and consecration. He's calling us back to His Word and back to living holy. With God, all things are possible. 

Standing on the Word,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, October 8, 2012

God Will Do What He Said

Galatians 6 : 7 - 10, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. NKJV

I have found that walking by faith and believing God for a promise to be fulfilled in my life isn't hard until Satan sticks his nose in my business, then faith becomes a struggle. The Apostle James tells us to count it all joy when we fall into various trials. Let me preface this passage with these thoughts: Have you ever had the Lord make a promise to you, and you got excited with anticipation of the fulfillment of that blessing or increase in your life? Only to discover that shortly after you experienced the goodness of the Lord, it seemed as though the bottom just seemed to fall out of your life. Things that worked well for you may have even stopped working altogether. You no longer had normal problems; instead, they quickly escalated into weird and unexplainable coincidences or happenings.

It's one thing for a believer to have a bad day, but when we have a bad day when we were expecting a blessing from heaven, it tends to cause us to become disillusioned and disappointed. Now, I will remind you what James tells us to do when faced with various trials. We are to count it all joy and wait on God's promise to be fulfilled because we know that God can't lie. Therefore, we wait on God while exercising great patience. We're taught that we should have joy when we meet with disappointment and discouragement instead of breakthrough. We should feel joy, not because we're not human (now that we're a Christian), but because we know that God is faithful, and this is a test to see if we will remain faithful even though it appears God has abandoned us.

The promises of God aren't given to people who walk in unbelief. Instead, they are granted to those who are found to have faith in God when it appears as though God has forgotten what He has promised. If this process sounds strange or new to you as a believer, then allow me to give you a couple of examples before you begin your day that will encourage you to hang on and not give up on God.

In genesis 1 : 28, God promised Adam and Eve that they would have dominion over the earth, over the animals, and that they would also replenish the earth. After this time of prophecy and blessing, God put them in the Garden of Eden to test their hearts. Would they hold on to the promises of God and obey His voice in the interim or would they grow weary while waiting on God and disobey? We see that God tested their hearts by placing them where they had to decide, which, in turn, would determine if He could bless them. Unfortunately, they made the wrong choice and lost the blessing of God.

In Exodus, God made a promise to Israel that He would give them a land flowing with milk and honey. Shortly after Israel was delivered from the land of bondage, they found themselves in the wilderness having to depend on God for food and water. The wilderness was nothing like the promise they had heard about while they were in Egypt. When the people realized that God had brought them to the wilderness and not the Promise Land, they begin to rebel because they didn't count it joy. They allowed discouragement and disappointment to cause them to harden their hearts to the voice of God in unbelief. Since they chose to walk in unbelief, God couldn't bless them with the Promised Land.

God speaks through Moses in Deuteronomy 8 and tells the children of Israel why He had brought them through the wilderness. It was the same reason that He placed Adam and Eve in the garden and why He tests our hearts after we receive a promise. He allowed them to hunger to see if they would keep His commandments  and to see what was in their hearts. When we expect God to fulfill His Word, but He tarries the fulfillment of it, and we go into a decline instead, we must be careful to guard our hearts so that we don't allow unbelief to fill our hearts.  

 If you will read James 1:12, you will discover that James is no longer talking about trials. He says, "Blessed is the man or woman who endures temptations." Why did he change his focus from trials to temptations? While Adam and Eve waited on the unfolding of God's promises, Satan came and tempted Eve. While Israel waited on God to fulfill His promise, Satan tempted them with unbelief, and they entered into that temptation. While Jesus waited on the provision of the Father after forty days of fasting, Satan tempted Him; however, Jesus was submitted to God completely.  

Yes, you and I will have to face some serious and burdensome trials while we wait on the faithfulness of God. In the meantime, we must be careful to guard our hearts against weariness, and we must encourage ourselves until the promise comes. Have you gone through so much hardship and discouragement that you have either given up or are about to give up on God's faithfulness? Allow these truths to begin to get down into your heart and spirit and stir up your faith to keep on obeying and believing.  Who knows? This might be the breakthrough word that takes you over, and into the very promise that you were about to believe couldn't be inherited. In your patience, possess you, your soul.

Waiting on the Faithfulness of God,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why Me Lord?

Romans 8 : 10 - 17, And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors -- not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 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

It doesn't matter what church you attend, eventually someone is going to sing "Amazing Grace." We love to sing, discuss, and hear sermons about God's amazing grace. After all, if wasn't for His great grace, none of us would be attending the Marriage Supper of the Lamb with our Bridegroom in heaven someday. However, if you look beyond the surface of God's saving grace, you will discover that it wasn't fair. How could God offer His innocent Son upon a cruel cross and allow Him to go to hell in our place? If that wasn't bad enough, then He allowed us, who were guilty of sin, to be released from the penalty of sin and didn't require us to do one thing to deserve or earn it? Where's the fairness in that, I ask?

Now that we've discussed God's saving grace, let's turn our focus to God's empowering grace. The first paragraph addresses the love of God that brought us to salvation in Christ. This paragraph will address the love of God that empowers us to become Christ-like. Ouch! I love today's passages from Romans 8 where Paul teaches us about the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, as Christians. I was with him like air in a tire, until he got down to that last sentence. What does he mean, telling us believers that we have to suffer with Christ if we're going to rule with Him one day?

Since becoming a child of God, have you had to suffer some stuff that caused you to feel ashamed? Why does God allow Christians, who love Him with their whole hearts to suffer certain trials? Does it mean that God isn't pleased with us, and that He wants to teach us a good lesson? No, it doesn't. Remember, the JUST shall live by faith. Why would God not require us to pay for our sins while we were sinners, but make us pay for our weaknesses now that we're His children? You see; that reasoning doesn't make sense or line up with the Word of God. Paul tells us in Romans 5, if Christ died for the ungodly while we were still sinners, how much more, now that we have been made just through His blood is God going to save us from His wrath?  

When Christians experience trials that bring shame or embarrassment to them, we must choose to suffer the reproach of Christ right along with Jesus. The key is to continue in obedience during the trial, just as we did before the trial began. Job stated in his afflictions that even though God slay him, yet he would trust Him. The only other option is to take on a victim mindset and accuse God falsely. This is called giving yourself to the spirit of offense. 

Let's talk about grace not being fair for a moment. If Christ, who was innocent, was willing to suffer the shame and disgrace of the cross for us, then shouldn't we also choose to suffer the reproach and shame of being associated with the cause of Christ for Him? I'm not suggesting that disease, and disasters make you more righteous or holy, but what I am implying is this... in all things we are to be thankful and remain pliable in God's hands. The trap that we must be careful not to fall into is the one where we say, "Why me Lord?" "God, this isn't fair!"  

Paul had every "right" to teach the church about the sufferings of Christians in order to reign with Christ one day. Once God converted Paul and called him into the ministry, he soon realized beatings, stoning, ship-wrecks, and snake bites would become a real part of his walk and ministry. Out of desperation, Paul asked God to take the reproach away from him, but God replied, "My GRACE is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in your weakness." Is God's grace fair? No, it isn't. Nevertheless, thank God for our sakes, it isn't. However, God's grace is indeed just. This too shall pass. Faith in the fire transforms us into the image of Christ.

Walking by God's Unmerited Grace,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Only Wise God

1 Timothy 1 : 15 - 17, This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. NKJV

God saw a world lost in sin, and instead of judging us and condemning us to eternal torment, He offered His only Son as payment for our sin debt. God's infinite love gave Him the ability to see beyond our faults and failures, and find us of value to Him and His kingdom. 

When Paul wrote about Christ's divine purpose for coming to earth, it reminded him of the work of grace that Jesus had done in Paul's own heart and life. At that moment, Paul realized just how great and supreme our God really is and consequently, he began to praise God.

However, before Paul's conversion, he was a Pharisee in the Jewish religion. He took great pride in knowing God's law and in being able to interpret it. Paul was a zealot for his religion and beliefs; often he would boast about the wisdom he had gained. Nevertheless, when God changed his heart on the road to Damascus, Paul began to experience the wisdom of God. After receiving a divine revelation from the Holy Spirit during his conversion to Christ, Paul made a powerful statement about man's wisdom versus God's wisdom. "The foolishness of God is wiser than man; and the weakness of God is stronger than man." 

It was in his conversion that the blinders on Paul's spiritual eyes came off. For the first time, he saw himself as the wretch that he was before Christ made him a new creation. The more Paul experienced the love of God and His saving grace, the further he witnessed the greatness of God's wisdom. These experiences with his God and Father gave him the ability to articulate how God's wisdom far surpassed both man's and Satan's wisdom. No other place in Paul's writings better depicts this than in 1 Corinthians 2: 8. He tells us, "...which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." In today's vernacular we would say that God outsmarted all His enemies. God knew that Satan deceived Eve and caused man to sin against Him. Nonetheless, even though mankind was blinded by Satan, God was not deceived. 

Before men fell into sin, God had already devised the plan of salvation. In other words, God knew how to "right the wrong."  And, Satan was not privy to the way that God would fulfill His plan to redeem fallen man. In fact, God used Satan to fulfill His plan by allowing him to fill Judas' heart and betray the Lord of glory. By the time Jesus arose on the third day, Satan knew he had been outwitted and overthrown by God's wisdom. 

Do you trust in God's wisdom to see you through the trials and trappings of this world, or do you trust in man's wisdom? The Word of God is the wisdom of God you need for every situation you will ever face in life and in death. When we turn to God's wisdom, and we place our trust in Him, we will have the peace of God that will surpass understanding. You can lean on His everlasting ARM today!

Safe and Secure in Christ,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Promise Lives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 1, 2012

God Wants to Take You beyond Limitations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Believing God for Your Breakthrough,
Pastor Asa Dockery