WHCNorth Mobile App

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The God of Holiness and Love

Romans 7: 7 - 13, What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. NKJV

Whenever we read Genesis 1 and 2, we can get a glimpse of the love that God had for mankind before the fall. After God created man, both male and female, we're told that God blessed them and commanded them to be fruitful, multiply, and to have dominion over the earth. God provided for every need that man had. However, when we get to chapter 3, we see a drastic change. When mankind fell into sin, we lost the favor of God. God drove the man and woman out of the garden of provision; and they had to work for their food, instead of partaking of the fruit of God's labor. Nevertheless, when I say that man lost the favor of God, I don't mean that we also lost God's love for us. 

Throughout the Old Testament, we see glimpses of God through the lens of holiness and the Law. When God introduced Himself and His Law to the Jews at Mt. Sinai, the presence of God caused the Jews to be afraid of God. As a result of the fear and unbelief in their hearts, they told Moses that they didn't want God to speak to them. Nevertheless, Moses told them God's purpose for revealing His holiness to them. Moses said, "God has come down to us to show us the fear of the Lord that we might not sin against Him." The fear of Lord keeps us from sin. God revealed His holiness to man after the fall, instead of displaying His love because He wanted mankind to learn, through their experience with God's holiness and His raw power, that they were sinners and in need of a Savior.

Nonetheless, if we study Israel's walk with God throughout the Old Testament, we not only see the holiness of God, we also see the goodness of God. Just look at how many times Israel (the nation) turned away from God and sinned against Him. Even so, after God corrected them, He reached out to them. The Lord allowed mankind to experience the consequences of their sin; however, at the same time, He offered them His goodness so that they might turn their hearts away from sin and back to Him. 

After several thousand years, God brought an end to the old covenant because of the weakness of man's flesh. The Jews couldn't be saved by their own good works. Therefore, God sent His Son to be the holy sacrifice for our sins that we might receive the grace of God to overcome sin through faith in Christ. Jesus' arrival on earth was the introduction of a new covenant as well as the revelation of God's grace for the entire world. Jesus told the Jews that He didn't come to do away with the Law of God; He came to fulfill it. 

Once Jesus had fulfilled the Law of God through His love for His Father, God could show mankind His unconditional love. In this new covenant, the focus is on God's love. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son." Out of God's love for fallen man, God reveals the plan of salvation through His grace. It is God's holiness and His goodness that lead us to repentance. However, it is our faith in Jesus and God's grace that saves us from sin. God introduced His holiness first in order to bring us to a place where we could see that we were sinners and were hopelessly lost. Now, we can freely receive God's forgiveness and the grace that is needed to live holy through His love in us, and not through the Law.

When you and I accepted Jesus, we didn't "get religion."  We received a brand-new nature in our new hearts. As a result, we can live holy before the Lord through the love of God that has been given to us through the Holy Spirit. No longer do we have to "try" to live right and keep the Law; we can love God, and through His love keep the Law. Since man chose sin over God's will in the Garden of Eden, God first had to place man under the rule of His law so that He might bring us to the end of selfishness and self-righteousness. However, now we can have the power and liberty to live under grace through love. The more we love our heavenly Father, the easier it will be for us to please Him by obeying His will for our lives. Let's put God first in our hearts so that He can bless us, and in turn, we can be a blessing to the world.

God's Amazing Grace, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Speaking the Truth in Love

Ephesians 4 : 11 - 16, And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ -- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. NKJV

How can a believer address the issue of unrepentant sin in another person's life without coming across as judgmental or intolerant? In order to gain a better understanding of the complexity of the sin in people's hearts, and of how we should confront sinners, we must look to Jesus as our example. We can see first-hand how Jesus addressed the issue of iniquity in the lives of sinners throughout the gospels. John chapter 3 tells us that Jesus didn't come to condemn the world; He came to save the lost. Nevertheless, while Jesus never condemned anyone for being in bondage to sin, neither did He give them a pass. He called sin, sin. However, even though Jesus showed love and compassion for the sinner, He was not tolerant of sin.

In today's scripture, Paul teaches us to grow up in Christ so that we will know how to speak the truth in love appropriately. There is a delicate balance that must be developed between truth and love. Therefore, children of God must mature in spiritual understanding before we can practice what Paul describes in Ephesians 3: 14 - 15. In other words, we have to know for ourselves what the Bible says about sin and the principle of forgiveness for sinners... through our own experiences, not just knowledge. 

Jesus said that there is none good but One ...God. Consequently, when we speak the truth in an attempt to bring someone out of their sin, we are, at that point representing Jesus...or speaking on His behalf. Even so, if we're not walking in truth and love in our lives, we will either lean toward harshness or toward tolerance in order to compensate for our own weaknesses and/or immaturity. Look at how many times the term "walk in" is used in the New Testament. We are commanded to "walk in the Spirit," "walk in love," "walk in grace," and "walk in knowledge of the truth." Consequently, the more consistent we are as believers at walking in truth and love, the easier it will be for us to speak the truth in love to those outside the faith. 

I've been around a long time. I've seen the pendulum swing from legalism over to tolerance. This switch tells us that not only are we as individuals struggling with the best way to reach sinners, but the body of Christ as a whole is also grappling over the best way to reach the lost. If we just focus on our own spiritual maturity and our consistency in keeping the truth, the Holy Spirit can use us in a greater capacity as salt and light to those lost in the darkness. Salvation is first personal. Jesus told His disciples to begin at home, in Jerusalem, before launching out into Judea and Samaria. 

It's not our job to "fix" or "save" anyone from sin. It is our duty to be a genuine representation of God's truth and love. We are to be a reflection of God's excellent work in us, so that others can see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven. You see; it's not what we "do" that should bear the emphasis. It is rather what God has been allowed to do in us that should speak the loudest to the lost. 

Reaching Out in Love, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Abraham Believed God

Galatians 3: 6 - 9, Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. NIV

We're instructed by the Apostle Paul to study the Word of God so that we might show ourselves truly approved to represent the heart of God. When we don't know exactly what the Word has to say about a particular subject, or we don't know its meaning, then we assume certain details that can mislead us and those we teach. Having stated this, let me say that Abraham didn't have a clue who God was when He spoke to him in Genesis 12. Nevertheless, in spite of Abraham's ignorance of God, he chose to go ahead and believe God when He spoke His will over Abraham's life.  

If only it were that easy and simple for everyone to take God at His Word and not waiver when He speaks to us. However, that's not always what happens. There's a part of us that wants to respond to truth more like Thomas than like Abraham when it has been spoken. Thomas was told that Jesus had risen from the dead, but he refused to believe it; he stated that he would have to see for himself before he would believe.

When we choose, as Abraham did, to believe ONLY God and His Word, it releases the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts and lives to fulfill in us all that God desires for us. What would happen in the body of Christ if we just believed God and His Word without the confirmation of seeing physical evidence like Thomas required? I can tell you on the authority of today's scriptures that we would see the supernatural power of God manifested in us and through our obedient faith just like Abraham.

Now remember, even though Abraham believed God, the manifestation of God's promise didn't occur for twenty-five years after it was spoken. Even so, this didn't prevent Abraham from continuing in the faith. Why? Abraham believed God and refused to believe or accept any report that contradicted what God had promised. I have taught extensively about the reason it took so long for God to release the manifestation of His promise in the natural. Nevertheless, today, let's look at it a little deeper.  

When Jesus heard that Lazarus was dead, He waited until he had been dead for four days because the Pharisees (religious zealots) believed that people could still revive themselves after three days. Jesus wanted them to know for sure that no flesh had anything to do with the resurrection of Lazarus. There are many examples in the Old Testament of when God waited until people's ordeals became humanly hopeless to revive or resurrect, just so that we would know that God can perform what is impossible for us.

While I have concentrated on Abraham's faith in believing God for a son of his own, we must not forget to look at what his faith did for Abraham's stand in God's sight. Our faith in Christ (what God has said and done for us) makes us righteous in God's sight. As we continue to believe God, even though all of His promises haven't been fulfilled on our behalf yet, God is at work on the inside forming Christ in our hearts. By the end of our faith journey, God will fulfill both His will in us and through us so that we might have all that has been promised to us. 

Because Abraham simply believed God, he became both the father of Isaac and the father of the faith. You may be trusting in God for a need in your life, but God is busy working through your faith to transform you into the image of His Son. God didn't just give Abraham a son; He gave him a son by promise...Christ in you, the HOPE of glory- by promise.

Waiting On God,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, January 28, 2013

In My Name

Mark 16 : 17 - 18, And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." NKJV

There is a huge difference between power and authority. A weight lifter has power. However, that doesn't automatically mean they have authority. They might be able to power-lift the front of a car, but a policeman can raise one hand in the middle of a highway and stop hundreds of cars. When you and I are weak, Christ is our strength. It is through His authority that we are His ambassadors.

When Jesus tells us that we can perform the miraculous in His name, He is giving us spiritual authority over the kingdom of darkness. Another word for authority is jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is the realm in which a person of authority must operate. If they should go beyond their jurisdiction, then they will lose their authority. 

When Adam sinned, he forfeited the dominion over the jurisdiction that God had granted to him. Satan gained that dominion over the realm of Adam through his sin. However, after Jesus came to earth and obeyed the will of His Father, God gave Him ALL authority in heaven, the earth, and beneath the earth. Before Jesus departed from the earth, He gave us (His ambassadors of the Kingdom of God) His name. In His name, we have jurisdiction over the principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness in high places, and the rulers of darkness.  

Everything that was lost in Adam as it pertained to our God-given dominion was replaced and increased in Christ for the believer. Adam was only given dominion in the realm of the earth and the first heaven. In Christ, whatever we bind on earth will also be bound in the third heaven where God and Christ dwell. Whatever we loose on earth will also be loosed in the third heaven. 

Now that you know you have authority in the name Christ, and you also know where your jurisdictional lines allow you to exercise your spiritual authority, you can begin to have signs and wonders follow you. Here's a hint: You have to exercise your authority in order to have the confidence to walk in your authority. Now go find a person in need and put that God-given authority to work for them. 

There Is Power in the Name of Jesus,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, January 25, 2013

Living Large in Lean Times

Mark 8: 35 - 37, For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? NKJV

Throughout the Word of God, the Lord has repeatedly promised to take care of His people. Nevertheless, when times get hard and things become lean, we still have a tendency to doubt. Why does God allow us to go through "dry seasons" such as drought or "lean seasons" such as famine? He tells us in Deuteronomy 8 that He led the children of Israel through the wilderness and allowed them to hunger to see whether they would honor His commands or disobey them. If they kept the commands during the lean times, then God would know they had chosen to live by faith and not by sight. 

God brought the children of Israel into the wilderness for a specific purpose. Even so, it was not an attempt to destroy them; He could have allowed Pharaoh to do that at the Red Sea. God transitioned the Jews from Egypt and into the wilderness to transform them from slaves into His sons and daughters, so that He could bless them in the end. Therefore, whenever God is ready to bring transformation into believer's lives, He will allow us to enter "lean" times. If we are walking by faith, then we will allow our hearts to be kept by trusting in His Word and faithfulness. However, if we are walking in the power of the flesh through unbelief, we will harden our hearts and believe that God is out to get us.

Is the body of Christ correctly discerning the hard times we must endure? God is using them to transition us from a season of abundance and into a season of leanness so that He can perform a deeper work in us called "transformation." God wants to perfect His work in us, but He has to complete it through our faith. This means our faith has to be put through the test to see whether we will cooperate with His will.

In Matthew 4, Jesus told Simon, Andrew, James, and John who were fishermen to follow Him, and He would make them fishers of men. Immediately, these men left their livelihoods and their families behind. In the physical realm, they were entering a transitional season into a lack of natural blessings (their willingness to leave all); nevertheless, they were entering into a large arena of spiritual blessings. They were about to see the Messiah first-hand perform the greatest miracles ever known to man. However, at the same time, they were leaving everything and everyone whom they loved. God used lack to transition them into a greater realm of His glory, and because they trusted and obeyed, Jesus transformed them into fishers of men. 

Just like Egypt was not home to the Jews, this world isn't our home. God had a Promised Land for His chosen people, and He has a land of promise for us called heaven. We're in the midst of a mighty transition. God is transforming believers so that we're no longer driven by the desires of the flesh, but, instead are led by the Holy Spirit. God created us as living beings or souls; however, He doesn't intend for us to remain that way. Therefore, He sent Jesus into the world. God wants us to trust in Jesus so that we can be transformed from a living soul into a spiritual son or daughter of God who is filled with eternal life. 

Nevertheless, in order for us to endure this season of leanness, we will have to possess an eternal perspective, lest we lose heart and faint while doing God's service. Let us not grow weary, throw up our hands, and quit because of unbelief. Instead, let us trust what God has said in His Word and what He is speaking to us in this devotion and wait until the transformation is complete. God is indeed at work within our hearts, and He will do us good in the end.

The End, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Principle of Sowing and Reaping

Genesis 8: 22, "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease." NKJV

Galatians 6: 7 - 9, 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 given you two passages of scripture today in order to establish a truth about sowing and reaping. Did you know that in a later season in life, you will reap what you are presently sowing? In fact, you are reaping today from the deeds that you have sown in the past. Most of our lives, or at least most of what affects our lives is the direct result of us either sowing good seeds or bad seeds. Jesus tells us that whatever we would want men to do to us, we should do to them. 

However, you may be saying, "I'm a good person, and yet I've been abused and rejected my entire life." I'm glad you brought that issue to the table; let's address it. Between springtime (sowing) and fall (harvest) the seeds and plants that are sown in a garden have to overcome many obstacles before they can begin to produce fruit for the planter to consume. Our being "good" doesn't mean anything to Satan; he attacks us and seemingly gets away with it when we are spiritually ignorant or immature. Nevertheless, once we hide the Seed of God's Word in our hearts so that we won't sin against it, it will give us victory over the enemy, who tried to destroy us while we were "sprouts." Sorry, I couldn't resist.

In other words, while we're getting to know God, His Word, and His ways, Satan will attack us until we come to the knowledge of the truth and counterattack him, defeating his weapons of destruction. My wife was abused as a child by a wicked step-father; even so, she believed in God while she was being abused. It wasn't until she grew up spiritually that she was able overcome the abuser; because of her strength over him, Satan was not allowed to carry out his plans (through her step-father). Consequently, he was unable to affect her adversely as an adult. 

God is a debtor to no one. He has seen everything that man has done to you. Oh, by the way, he has seen what you have done to others. We will all reap what we have sown; the only way to have "crop failure" for the bad seeds we have sown is to ask God for His forgiveness. Unforgiveness holds on until rotten seeds have enough time to grow; then they are able to hold us in debtor's prison or emotional bondage. Just let go of the hurt feelings and the unforgiveness, and let God forgive you of your past. 

You see; just being "good folks" won't keep the enemy from trying to pluck us out of God's Word and uproot us. However, if we'll keep ourselves rooted and grounded in God's Word, despite Satan's attacks against our immature faith, then eventually we will grow up spiritually and be strong enough to destroy his work. So while there may be short seasons when we sow this month and receive a harvest the next month, spiritual growth takes years and even decades; nevertheless, we must remain consistent in not giving up when attacks come. If we remain faithful to God until the end, He has promised to save us from this wicked and vile world. We will be able to reap an eternal reward in exchange for the few decades that we chose to serve God by sowing toward our spiritual retirement in eternity. 

Sowing in Sorrow and Reaping in Joy, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Honoring God Is the Key to Your Victory

Genesis 3 : 2 - 7, 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." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. NKJV

It's mind-boggling how Adam, who was created in God's image and likeness desired the tree that brought death over the Tree of Life. You have to wonder why someone who was that close to God's heart could make such a disastrous decision. Nevertheless, instead of dwelling on the "why," let's see if there is anything that we can learn from Adam's mistake that will keep us from making an error in our own lives.

When they are in their formative years, most children have the innate desire to be like their mother and/or father. Consequently, shouldn't there have been a desire in Adam to want to be like God? We know that Eve had a desire to be like God; however, she took the wrong avenue. She chose to do it apart from God, in the power of "self." 

The reason Adam succumbed to Satan's temptation and sinned against God was because he didn't honor God in his heart; consequently, he also did not honor God's command not to eat of the tree of knowledge. When we don't honor God in our hearts, then we are left only with the willpower of our flesh, which has no muscle to withstand Satan's seductive ways. Dishonor is the reason why so many people can't seem to find the control that is needed to overcome temptation. As a result, they enter into sin...just like Adam. Let's take this word deeper.

Isaiah 53: 1 - 3, Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. NKJV

Remember, we're seeking to learn something from Adam's mistake so that we don't repeat it. Therefore, why wasn't the Tree of Life ever mentioned by God or Adam before the fall? And why was Eve more intrigued by the tree of knowledge than the Tree of Life? I submit to you, based on the above scripture from Isaiah, that the fruit from the Tree of Life wasn't as appealing to their flesh as the tree of knowledge. Likewise, there was nothing about Jesus as a fleshly man that would attract people to Him for a spiritual relationship. When Adam ignored God's command not to eat, he was then drawn by the power of his soul's pleasures to the tree that had the most appeal. And Satan played on that appeal. Remember, the Tree of Life represented Jesus and had to be more desirous in the spirit than the flesh. This is why so many people, including many Christians are drawn away from the things of God and attracted to the glamour of the world's pleasures. Sitting in a game seems to be more appealing to many believers than sitting in a church. One feeds the flesh, and the other feeds the spirit man.

We must also take into account that God created man, both male and female as living beings or living souls. Therefore, after Adam decided to dishonor God in his heart, they were driven by their senses instead of their spirit. Does this mean that God created them to fall? It absolutely does not! He's trying to show us through the liberty and mistakes of freewill what happens when His people dishonor Him and His commandments: We will have no power in our flesh to resist the allure of the sensuality of this world's pleasures. Jesus has taught us that apart from Him, we can do nothing; however, we can do ALL things through His strength? 

Honoring the Lord, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Name of the Lord Is to Be Hallowed

Acts 4 : 8 - 12, Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." NKJV

We are told in God's Word that His name is holy. Therefore, we are to honor His name with the lives we lead. Our speech, conduct, and character are to be a true reflection of Christ. Nevertheless, if we should choose to live in a way that doesn't agree with God's commands, then we are dishonoring and defaming the Lord's name. 

When God descended upon Mount Sinai and gave His Law to the Jews, He commanded them not to take the Lord's name in vain. Even so, have you noticed how society uses God's name outside of the context of holiness and reverential adoration?  

People use God's name in "religious" connotations to suit their own form of worship, but in John 4, Jesus tells us that God seeks those who worship Him in Spirit and truth. Just because people use the name of the Lord, or use the name "God" in a religious setting doesn't mean that they're referring to the God of the Bible, neither does it mean that they have a relationship with Jesus. 

Before we can hallow the name of the Lord and speak with true authority in Jesus' name, we must first know Him. Jesus also warns us not to follow signs and wonders. The Greeks of Jesus' time came seeking a sign from Him. However, He told them that it was a wicked and perverse generation that seeks after them. We, who know Christ don't have to seek or follow signs because He is the truth. Apart from Him, there is no "other" truth.

In Matthew 7, Jesus tells us that many will come to Him on Judgment Day and say, "Did we not cast our devils in your name?" "Did we not heal the sick in your name?" And Jesus will say to them who had performed miracles in His name, "Depart from me, you who work iniquity, I never knew you." The fact that people can speak the name of the Lord over someone and get miraculous results is not an indicator that they have a relationship with Jesus.

Do you remember the sons of Sceva? Sceva was a Jew and chief of the priests. His sons thought they could use Jesus' name to cast an evil spirit from a man without knowing Jesus for themselves. Nevertheless, when they adjured the wicked spirit to leave the man, the spirit said, "Jesus, I know, and Paul, I know, but who are you?" These men were trying to use Jesus' name without knowing Jesus. 

Jesus warns us in Matthew 24 that in the last days many will come and say that they are Christ. He told us that deception would be very pervasive in the end days. So the next time you hear someone say "God" or "Jesus" notice the fruit of their lives... not the names they drop. This "fruit inspection" can prevent you from being deceived. Finally, always remember to hallow or honor the name of the Lord so that you keep it holy. Not only is the world watching you, but the One whose name you're using is as well. The name of the Lord is to be praised from the rising of the sun to going down of the same.

Holy Is the Name of the Lord, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Joy of Walking Into Your Inheritance

Mark 4: 14 - 20, The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred." NKJV

The Holy Spirit has given me understanding of a principle that is the key to our victory as a believer in Christ. Inevitably, when we decide to study the Word or step out in obedience to the voice of God, persecution enters our lives. We can all think of times when we made decisions to move forward in our faith walk and trouble followed; nonetheless, how did we respond to the persecution that came against God's Word because of that choice?  

Did we continue to confront the spiritual challenges by faith and obey, or did we faint because of a lack of understanding? Let's look at an example that will help us connect with this teaching on a personal level. Sometimes, the Lord gives me, as a pastor a specific direction for our local church and its people. However, it has happened that shortly after I delivered the instructions to the congregation and set things in motion, hardships would hit. 

Nevertheless, in order to gain victory over the attacks of the enemy, we must first be able to recognize why these problems have suddenly flared up against us. Our failure to see spiritual warfare in the natural realm as persecution against the Word can cause us to misread the reason for our problems.  Let me explain. If I don't make the connection between the Word being spoken and acted upon, and persecution invading my life, then I will think that I am being punished for something I did wrong. 

This is exactly what Satan wants us to believe. He doesn't want us to understand that the attacks we're experiencing are the result of the Word; they are not happening because something isn't right in our lives. Whenever you and I receive God's Word and encounter an attack in the physical realm, we must guard our hearts so that we don't fall prey to Satan's devices. If we fail to discern that the problems in our lives are the result of persecution for the Word's sake, then we have the potential of taking it personally and hardening our hearts. 

To define this principle further let me add: after the Lord gives us a Word of instruction, He wants us to obey it so that we will receive the promise that is connected to the commandment. Satan attacks us between the Word being received and the promised being fulfilled; his hope is that we will give up on the promise. Therefore, when we step up in faith, and then trouble immediately arises, we know that it's just the enemy trying to choke out God's Word so that we will quit and abort our victory.  

Unbelief can cause us to give up in the heat of the battle. Nevertheless, faith will guard our hearts and empower us to endure the conflict because we know that something better is on the horizon. Let me leave you all today with one more example. God told Moses to lead His people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. After God gave Moses instructions, He promised Moses that He would lead them into a land flowing with milk and honey. However, on the way through the wilderness, persecution began to arise against the children of Israel. Unfortunately, because their hearts were filled with unbelief, they didn't realize that their hardships were spiritual persecution. Instead, they blamed their problems on God and Moses. 

As a result of the Israelites failure to discern the truth about their trials, they repeatedly hardened their hearts against God's voice. In the end, none of the people who came out of Egypt were allowed to inherit the Promised Land, except for Joshua and Caleb. Because of Israel's unbelief, Satan was successful in robbing them through persecution; consequently, they did not receive the blessing that was connected to the Word. 

So, if God has spoken a Word of promise with instruction to you, and you find yourself facing trials, then just exercise patience and endure to victory. Don't allow persecution to choke out the Word that you have hidden in your heart. Allow the power of the Word to sustain you through the wilderness experience until you inherit the promise of that Word. You can do all things through who gives you the strength.

Doing All to Stand,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, January 18, 2013

Do You Have a Need?

Philippians 4: 16 - 20, For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. NKJV

In Luke 4, we read that Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread because He had been fasting and was hungry. However, Jesus rejected Satan's offer to use the anointing on His life for the sole purpose of taking care of His personal needs. Instead, Jesus told Satan what the Word said about this particular need. He said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." Jesus could have easily used the power of God on His life to turn the stones to bread, but, instead, He chose to allow His faith in God to provide His needs. In other words, He placed the responsibility of His needs being supplied on God, not on Himself. This freed Jesus so that He could focus on other people's needs.

Christians can learn much from the way Jesus responded to His personal needs and the tempter's voice. Nevertheless, our humanity sometimes causes us to put the cart before the horse. This is an old adage I've heard since I was a child. It means we sometimes get in a hurry and rush ahead of God. Since it is human nature to place personal needs before anything else, believers have to work diligently so that they don't fall prey to that mindset of unbelief. 

Jesus didn't place His needs before God's will for His life. Therefore, He didn't have a problem telling Satan the truth or overcoming his seductive lies. Whenever we wait on God to supply our needs, it keeps us from living in bondage to our flesh or to man. It places the burden of provision on God, our heavenly Father and not on us. When we choose to live by faith and wait on God's provision, we are placing a demand on the anointing and favor of God. 

When you have an unmet need, instead of allowing fear to push you into supplying the need in your own strength, stand on the promises of God that speak directly to the issue at hand. As we put this principle into practice, our faith will please God, and He will give us favor with Him and man. Now we're living by faith instead of the demand of our need. Standing on what God has declared from His mouth produces supernatural results. The more we discipline ourselves to trust in the Lord to take care of us, the less we will be dependent on the flesh of man. This will liberate us from the bondage of the flesh nature. The end result will be a blessed life. 

It all begins with a correct decision to trust God and not self. You can do this. Just get out the Word of God and find a promise that speaks to your need. Begin to pray that Word to God and then be still until you see the answer. Let me leave you today with a very powerful verse that I pray when seeking the Lord for the needs of the church to be taken care of.

1 John 5: 14 - 15, Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. NKJV 

Waiting On God's Provision, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, January 17, 2013

We Can Come Boldly To God's Throne

Hebrews 4: 12 - 16, For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a Discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. 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

Isn't it great that we were privileged to be born under the dispensation of God's grace? I thank God that I am saved by His grace. Mercifully, none of us have to take a spotless lamb with us when we worship the Lord. By our faith in Christ, God has saved us through His grace. What is so powerful and liberating about God's grace is the truth that you and I had absolutely NOTHING to do with it. It was God who planned and initiated our salvation. We were lost and blinded by the god (Satan) of this world. Nevertheless, when it was time, God called us, and we answered the summons to come out of sin and into His holy presence.

However, whenever people don't know God or His ways, it's easy for them to be afraid of Him. We see this in Exodus 20 when God came down on Mount Sinai to give Moses the Law. The presence of God descended upon the holy mountain, and there was thundering, lightning, and the ground began to shake. When the Israelites saw the terribleness of God's power and the dark clouds that surrounded His glory, they became very afraid of God. God was seeking a closer relationship with His people, but they misread His actions. They thought that God was going to destroy them; consequently, they told Moses to go and speak to God for them.

Moses warned the people not to be afraid; God had come so that His fear would be before them to keep them from sin. You see; it is the fear of the Lord, not being frightened of God that keeps us from sinning against Him. When the people of God lose the fear of the Lord, they will enter into temptation and sin.

Isn't it interesting that Moses walked into God's presence, but the children of Israel wanted nothing to do with Him? They witnessed Moses go into God's presence and walk out alive; however, they never considered that they would be allowed to go there themselves. What was the difference? Psalms 103 says that Moses knew the ways of God, but Israel only knew His acts (miracles, signs, and wonders). When people don't know the ways of God, they will be so bound by fear and unbelief that they will distance themselves from God's presence, instead of running into it to get to know Him.

Because of the Israelites weaknesses and how they repeatedly ignored God, He brought an end to the old covenant and established a new covenant. When you read the Old Testament, it doesn't take long to realize that the "God" of the Old Testament wasn't as longsuffering and gentle as the "God" of the New Testament. It's not that there are two Gods or that God has changed. So what is difference? The covenant was changed; we're no longer under the Law. We are under grace.

When Jesus (God in the flesh) came to earth, He didn't bring two tablets of stone in His arms like Moses did when he came down from the mountain of God. John tells us in his gospel that Jesus came filled with grace and truth. Now we can face the truth (God) without fear because of God's grace. If there is one thing that this generation needs to stop doing, is "running" away from God's grace. We don't have to run from facing the truth or God's glory because we are under grace. The reason the "God" of the old covenant is different than the "God" of the new covenant is because of His grace. 

The Old Testament reveals God's awesomeness and holiness under the Law of God, but the New Testament reveals God's patience and love under grace. I'm grateful that God didn't do away with the Old Testament because it reminds us of the terror of God, lest we forget His goodness and take His love for granted. Now that Christ has come and has died on our behalf, we have a High Priest who is interceding on our behalf at the right hand of God. Consequently, children of God can come boldly into His presence and throne, and not be afraid.  

When Jesus spilled His blood, it didn't change the greatness of God's holiness. It only changed how we see God's view of us. Instead of seeing God as being so holy and terrible that we can't be around Him, we see Him as approachable. Today, through the blood of Jesus, you have the ability to enter the presence of God and not worry or be frightened of His presence. Although we don't have to be afraid of God, we still need a healthy respect or fear of the Lord so that we don't slip back into sin. I like to see God's grace like this: Grace wasn't given to man to see how far from God we can go, but to see how close to God we can come.

Becoming One with God in Christ,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Bride of Christ

Hebrews 2: 2 - 4, For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? NKJV

Can you hear Him? Can you sense His Spirit? The Lord is calling His children (His Bride) back to Himself. Children of God have been given the greatest gift ever known to mankind. God has given us His only-begotten Son; and when we place our faith in Him, God extends His grace to us. We will know when we have received the gift of God's grace because we will love God with our whole heart. Instead of being afraid of God, we will develop and have a hunger to be in His presence and to learn more about Him.

God's grace isn't an excuse for sin; it is an exodus from sin. Therefore, we must become and remain humble in God's sight so that He can continue to set us free from the bondages of the flesh nature. When we read about the ongoing relationship between God and Israel in the Old Testament, we see that there were times when Israel honored God, and there were many occasions when they rejected Him. 

The Lord is calling His children to return to Him so that He can extend His grace and goodness toward us once again. It is our responsibility to become true disciples of Christ and to honor His commandments in our lives. Whenever Israel fell away from their relationship with the Lord, they would seek to justify their sinful ways in His sight. Of course, this ploy didn't work with God. He told them that their sins would find them out.  

Through their prideful ways, the children of Israel abused God's loving-kindness and tender mercies. Instead of being thankful to the Lord for all of His goodness and favor, they continued in sin. Like Israel, many in the body of Christ are also allowing their pride to cause them to abuse God's grace. In place of utilizing God's grace to draw closer to the Him, some are turning away from His goodness for the pleasures of this world. 

ALL believers everywhere need to get honest and serious about their walk with Jesus and to honor Him once again in their hearts. It's time for Christians to be salt and light so that others will see Jesus in us. God has placed His Holy Spirit in our hearts so that we will have the power to discipline ourselves. It is up to us to keep ourselves pure and undefiled by the world. Jesus has told us, "Where much is given, much is required." You and I have a mandate on our lives. We must choose to live godly in an ungodly world. Peter tells us that judgment begins at the house of God. Let us judge ourselves so that we're not judged and condemned. 

It's time for the church (Bride of Christ) to rise to the moment and let the love and holiness of God shine out of us. Jesus is returning for a pure and spotless Bride. Let's rid ourselves of the spots and blemishes of the flesh nature, and put on true righteousness and holiness. Let the goodness and love of God shine through you so that God can use you to impact others in your family and world. May the grace of God draw us closer to Him than we've ever been before. 

His Grace Is Sufficient,
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Wisdom of God is Greater Than Satan

1 Corinthians 2 : 7 - 8, But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. NKJV

Have you heard the old adage that says, "Ignorance is bliss?" Well, the Lord doesn't want His children to walk in darkness or spiritual ignorance, because it can cost us greatly. If we don't know the ways of God, we might tend to think that only Satan is in control in the earth, and then lose all hope and faith in the Lord...and that is exactly what Satan is shooting for with his fiery darts.

If we, as the body of Christ, don't know the ways of God, and we find ourselves in a "furnace situation," it can leave us feeling all alone and vulnerable to Satan's lies. The voice of Satan intensifies when we can't hear God or know what the Lord's plans are when we face the furnace of affliction. To me, this is the definition of isolation, and the reason why many believers choose give up in a heated battle over their faith. Satan will use our spiritual ignorance (of not knowing the ways of God) to lead us astray while he is pressing us with the threat of danger. Therefore, it is essential that you and I know the truth that is contained in the Word of God and that we continually seek God's face.

Paul gives us wonderful insights in his writings that allow us to understand and know the ways of God. What Satan doesn't know, but we can know (through the Word of God) is that Satan is ignorant of the ways of God. Satan believes in his heart that he is wiser in his ways than God is. If you will look at today's text, Paul shows us how God used Satan's ignorance against him to carry out the will of God to crucify the Lord of glory.

It's important that we understand the previous statement. Satan will use our ignorance of God and His Word to deceive us, but God's wisdom is greater than Satan. Let me put it this way; if Satan knew what he was really doing when he attacked you and me, he would leave us alone. How do we know this to be true? Just read Romans 8 : 28, where Paul is giving us the revelation that God has promised to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose...that He will turn around the trials that were meant to bring evil to us and use them for our good.

Have you ever done something that seemed like the right thing to do, and it got you into a bunch of trouble? It was a trap of Satan, and it worked to a degree, because you thought you were doing the right thing... but now you're in trouble. Generally, this is where we will call on the Lord and seek His face and His direction to lead us out in victory. As we do, through His wisdom, the Lord will begin to show us strategies that will conquer the enemy's lies. When we come out of that trial with the victory, we become more like Christ through our faith. Then, guess what? God  just used the ignorance of Satan, through our faith, to turn an evil situation into a glorious victory that grows us in our faith walk with the Lord. God didn't set up our fall; it was our ignorance of the trap that set everything into motion... but, thankfully, God delivers us from all of our afflictions.

This is why God tells us to seek Him early... to call on Him, and He will answer us before we fall into the traps of ignorance. Isn't our God amazing? The cross in the natural looked like Jesus' defeat, but in the Spirit, it was the final act of God that sealed Satan's defeat and brought us victory over our own sin. WOW!

I Love the Lord,
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's Time We Take a Stand

1 Samuel 17: 32 - 36, Then David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth." But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God." NKJV

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul warns us that perilous times will come in the last days. Guess what? They're here! We are seeing the end days with our own eyes, just as Paul described them. People want to know why things have grown worse so quickly in our society and in the world at large. Jesus gives us the answer in Matthew 24. He tells us that in the final days before His return, deception and fear will be prevalent. In the book of Timothy, Paul confirms what Jesus foretold in Matthew 24 about the love of many waxing cold. 

When a believer or a believing nation allows their heart(s) to turn from God, and they begin to pursue the lusts of the flesh, it opens that person or nation up to fear. If we search the scriptures, we will learn what happens when God's people forget God and follow other gods (flesh). Fear and bondage will take over the people of God. Instead of fearing God, they will be afraid of what men think. Consequently, instead of speaking the truth and living by the truth written in God's Word, they will skirt the truth in order to please man rather than God.

We are living within a society that is filled with the works of man's flesh (Galatians 5). Instead of "Christians" being in love with Jesus, many, including leaders in the church have backed away from being so passionate about Christ and the truth. The more Christians back off from being salt and light in the world, the darker our world will become. It's time for Christians to stop running from God's presence and begin to run toward His throne of grace so that they can obtain mercy in their time of need.

What is the remedy for what is ailing our great land? It is to simply do what Jesus commanded us to do in the gospel of Matthew. He said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Christians must fast their carnal desires and form a hunger for true righteousness and holiness in their hearts. It will be a sacrifice of self. However, isn't our nation and the souls of mankind worth a little inconvenience? 

It's time we return to our "First-love," Jesus. We must, once again, lay our lives at His feet. Instead of running from truth or the confrontations that arise from standing for the truth, let us be like David. We can be encouraged by remembering the past battles that God has brought us victoriously through. It's time we stir up our faith by recalling all that Jesus has done for us and all that God has performed through us, His children. Let God arise in our generation and let His enemies be scattered.

Will You Take a Stand Today?
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, January 11, 2013

The God of All Comfort

Psalms 119: 49 - 50, Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope.  This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life. NKJV

In Psalm 139, David wrote about the faithfulness of God's presence abiding with His people. David tells the Lord that no matter where he has been in life, he has the testimony that God's presence was with him there. This is what David declared to the Lord. "If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," even the night shall be light about me." 

How can David make such grandiose statements, unless he has actually experienced them? I find it refreshing that David doesn't dwell on the fact that he had either been to hell, or gone through hell; and, consequently, was telling God all about his troubles. Instead, David praises God about the truth that he had discovered while he was suffering and how His presence had comforted him.

 Isn't it amazing that God, who is holy and all-knowing loves us so deeply that His presence is always with us? He's the God of all comfort. Therefore, if we don't have His Spirit and His Word, or we are not a child of God, we will never be comforted. 

Before man sinned, God warned them about the death and sorrow that they would have to face. However, even though God knew beforehand what was about to come upon all mankind, He took it a step further, became a man, and suffered right along with us. He sent His Son to earth to experience what man had to endure. Even so, God didn't stop there. While Jesus was learning what it meant to suffer as a man in order to obey God's will to become our Kinsmen Redeemer, He was at the same time suffering so that fallen man could receive the comfort of His Spirit.

Because of Jesus' obedience on the cross, we have access through Him to receive the God of all comfort in our hearts. Now, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Did you catch that last statement? What makes sin and suffering so hellish is that while in sin, a person is separated from the comforting presence of God. God's presence restores our soul with the joy of our salvation. His presence is as refreshing water to our thirsty soul. 

Nevertheless, in order to access and receive the comfort of God, we need to open our hearts to trust Him. This may be difficult at first because sin and the world teach us not to trust anyone. Even so, if we give God our hearts, He will fill it with His presence and bring us comfort. No one has to live this life apart from the presence of God. We must give the Lord our hurts and our afflicted souls, and then allow Him to make all things new.

If you have been in a dry land, spiritually speaking, or you have been away from the Lord for a while, and you're ready to return to Him won't you take a moment and ask Him to restore your soul and to fill your heart with His joy? I sure would be blessed to know if you have responded to the Lord's outstretched hand today and have accepted the God of all comfort into your life. Please email me at prayer@whcnorth.org and let me know what God has done for you. 

Those Who Mourn Shall Be Comforted,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, January 10, 2013

You Can Do This

Genesis 4: 1 - 7, Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man from the LORD." Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." NKJV

When Jesus died for our sins, He gave us the power to say no to sin. However, we would be surprised to know that many Christians and even some church leaders don't know this to be true. Many Christians still believe that we remain under the bondage of sin's weight and control, even though Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil.

If it isn't possible for people to live apart from sin, then why would God tell Cain that he should rule over it, instead of allowing sin to dominate him? Why would God tell us repeatedly in His Word to live holy and righteous before Him in this evil world, if we could never accomplish it? 

Jesus, alone, destroyed the stronghold of sin that held mankind in bondage to it. As a result, we, who are in Christ have the power to live free from sin by taking control of our flesh nature and its lusts. God told Cain that sin's desire was to control him. We know that Satan had already used fleshly desire to seduce Cain's mother, Eve into committing the first sin. Therefore, we must submit our flesh nature, along with its lusts, to the Lordship of Christ. We do this by choosing God's will over our own will. When we submit to God and resist the Devil, we will experience the liberating power of God to live without sin.

Have you ever tried to quit committing a particular sin or evil desire, but found that you didn't have the power to do so? If your answer is yes, then let me give you some hope. Even though sin has no power over a believer, we won't know what that means or be able to experience it until we learn how to say no to the flesh nature. 

Let's look at this from another perspective. Consider that our soul is a house and that our hearts are the door for the house. If we should let our flesh nature operate the door knob, it will allow an evil desire to be conceived and cause us to become vulnerable to sin. Now, let's suppose that we say "no" to our carnal desires and "yes" to God's will. At that point, the Holy Spirit will gain control of the door knob, and the flesh will have to "take a hike." 

You hold the key to the door of your soul. Through your desires, which lead you to make decisions, you will either open the door to sin or to holiness. A desire comes from your soul, but a decision comes from your heart. We must never allow our soul to rule our heart as Cain did, lest we give into temptation, evil desire, and sin. Proverbs 4: 23 instructs us, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life."  Overcoming sin isn't about quitting. It is about laying down your will for God's will. You can do this. Nevertheless, you have to do it through Christ, who gives you the strength. 

Greater Is He Who Is in Me,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Living Soberly

Titus 2: 11 - 14, For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. NKJV

When Jesus died on the cross at Calvary, it wasn't just for our sins. He died so that when we come to faith in Him, we can live our new lives for Him, and He will be glorified through us. Jesus was a type of Seed. Consequently, we, who believe in Him as our Savior are His fruit. Once we accept Jesus' redemptive work as payment for our sins, we are the benefactors of God's grace; God has an inheritance in us. In other words, when we become born again, it is no longer all about us; all things now connect to God. Nevertheless, how will we choose to live our lives after coming to faith is God's inheritance? If we should choose to be entangled in the cares and pleasures of this world, then God will receive no glory for the work that He has accomplished in our souls.

We are commanded in God's Word to live soberly. This term simply means that we are to live holy and undefiled having a sound-mind and being self-controlled under the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, only the believers who fear the Lord will be willing to exercise self-control or discipline while living in this present world.
I can't write about this subject and not be reminded of the sin of Samson and David. They were both godly and God-fearing men who allowed their flesh nature first to seduce them and then intoxicate them into committing sin with no hesitancy. Unfortunately, because of their evil actions, great sorrow and shame took over their lives. They were reaping what they had sown; Romans 3 instructs us that the wages of sin is death. 

We're living in very troubling times today; even so, we must be spiritually minded so that we can discern the times in which we're living. Many are wondering where God is in all the madness and calamity we're seeing. Some are even considering that God has washed His hands of us. However, if we know scripture, we know that those whom God loves, He also chastens or corrects. God is allowing this generation to reap a small portion of what it has sown in the flesh, to shock us out of our slumber or drunken stupor. Even so, as a result of the correction that God has allowed, many believers have given themselves over to fear because they don't know the ways of God. 

If we read Matthew 25, we will understand that the Bridegroom had to awaken the ten virgins prior to His return. Five of them were wise and were prepared. Nonetheless, they fell asleep while waiting. However, five of them were foolish. The unwise virgins misused their time while waiting on their Bridegroom; they did nothing to get prepared. Nevertheless, what does this parable mean to believers in the world today? It means that we must not allow ourselves to be seduced into living for the pleasures of self. Instead, we must be about our Father's business serving the Lord with whole hearts. If we commit, and we live according to God's will, His Spirit will keep us from falling asleep spiritually and entering into temptation. Those who drink do so at night. We must not adopt and adapt to the ways of the world just because it appears that God has forsaken us. It's only a test to see whether or not we will obey God's commandments (Deuteronomy 8).

Are you a Christian, who is concerned or maybe even worried about the direction society is headed in our generation? Are you living everyday to serve God and to fulfill your destiny in Christ? The Lord is calling us to awake and to arise from our slumber. He is calling His church back to their First-love so that we can bring Him glory in the earth. God isn't trying to destroy the world. He is working very diligently to prevent Satan and the flesh of man from destroying it. God wants to sober up His people so that He can continue blessing us. Even though we have already chosen to accept Christ, we must choose this day Whom we will serve. Let's glorify God by living a sober and blessed life until Jesus returns.

Living Every Day for Christ,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Is Jesus Your King?

1 Samuel 8: 6 - 9, But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." So Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day -- with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods -- so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them." NKJV

 As individuals and as the body of Christ, we must never make the mistake of asking God out of our lives, and then turning to man to provide what only God can. Is Jesus your King? Do you look to Him to supply all of your needs? Israel asked to replace their spiritual King with an earthly one, and God granted that desire. Nevertheless, in the following scripture, God told Samuel what will happen to a nation when they have known God, but decide to reject Him as King because they believe man has a better way of leading them. 

1 Samuel 8: 11 - 18, And he said,"This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day." NKJV

Remember, when God led His people into the wilderness, it wasn't man who provided their needs; it was their God. As long as Israel allowed God to rule over them, even though they didn't obey His voice, He took great care of them (Deuteronomy 8). They were required to live on what God provided for them in the wilderness; however, they weren't in bondage to any man or dictator lording over them. 

Even so, the moment they rejected God as their king, God warned them of the severe consequences that would come upon them by making such a foolish decision. As long as God was permitted to be their provider and protector, the children of Israel didn't have the burden of being accountable for their own provisions. However, once they decided that man was a better choice than God, they became responsible to "Keep man up," so that he could take "care of them." 

Now, does that sound like a wise trade-off? Absolutely not! It wasn't the king who was providing for the people; neither was he defending the people. It was the people who were both doing all the work and sacrificing their children for the king. What kind of horrible system is this? Even so, nations throughout history have chosen to accept man's rule over God's. They have sacrificed their sons and daughters, as well as their liberties, in order to reject God and give a man rule over them.

When America began to turn its back on God, it was in a much better state of affairs than it finds itself in today. Like Israel, we have placed ourselves in bondage to man by rejecting God as our King... to a degree. In the past 12 years, America has increased its debt more than 10 trillion dollars. If we look at a graph on the internet of the rate of U.S. borrowing since its inception as a country, we will realize that we are suddenly drowning ourselves in national debt. Since our government can't produce money, but receives its revenue from its citizens, we are now called upon to take care of the mounting debt. All the while, economists and governmental officials have been warning our leaders that this direction will soon bankrupt our country. 

However, here is the point of today's word: No man can take God's place as king in our lives or in our nations. There is no man and no nation that has enough wealth to replace God. In Psalms 24, we're told that the earth and its fullness and everyone who lives upon the earth belong to God. Therefore, only God can take care of man's needs.

The needs of the people are far too great for us to take care of apart from God's goodness and favor. Our economic situation in America is just another warning sign telling us that we need to repent and turn to God and ask Him to be our King once again. As long as America acknowledged the God of the Bible, at least in its activities in the government and society, we as a nation flourished. However, now that this nation has kindly asked God to give us a man to rule over us, just as Israel did, we have quickly slipped into bondage. 

Let us, who know the Lord and seek to follow in His ways begin to humble ourselves and seek God's face and His mercy for our great nation. Perhaps He will take our sacrifice of praise and prayer and turn the deeds that were meant to produce evil by Satan and use them to bring about a mighty move of God in our land (2 Chronicles 7: 14).

Many churches began a 21-day fast this week. Will you join with us in prayer and fasting for the salvation of nations to be performed in 2013? God is waiting on the return of His people to righteous and holy living before He can move in our nation(s). If you have a desire and a hunger to be a part of this time of humility and repentance, please email us and let us know. One can chase a thousand, but two can put ten thousand to flight. Thank you for your participation. prayer@whcnorth.org

Jesus Is the King of Kings,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, January 7, 2013

Avoid the Pit of Condemnation

1 Peter 4 : 12 - 14, 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 

How do you respond to trouble when it knocks at your door? I have seen how many Christians (including me) respond to trouble. There is a tendency to ask, "What did I do wrong that caused this trouble?" But here is the danger in asking   such a question: It places your attention on you and not on the righteousness of God. Do you remember what kind of a day scripture says that Job had when he lost his family, his livestock, and his health? He lived under the old covenant... before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But thankfully and unlike Job, we're under the new covenant (of grace by faith in Christ), and we do have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Father has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth and to convict us when we sin against the truth. God doesn't have to use fiery trials to break us of sin. But if we don't want to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, then He will let us reap the corruption of our flesh. 

So when you face trouble in your life, do you struggle with self-condemnation? I have heard some teachers say that if a Christian has problems, it's because they lack faith. Peter contradicts that teaching and explains the correct purpose of the trials. We are partaking of Christ's sufferings when we are faced with trials in this life. Will we continue in faith or will we draw back in unbelief? 

The purpose of having faith isn't to keep us from having trials, but it is to be placed in Christ so that we might walk in the righteousness of God as His child. So when a trial visits your house or interrupts your life, look to the Lord to lead you through it; do not look to your own weaknesses. He has given you the measure of faith (Romans 12 : 3), and He promises to help us endure the trials by faith and to then overcome the trials while remaining in faith. 

So if you have faith in Christ today, and you're faced with job termination, sickness, relational conflicts, etc., then know that God has already given you the power to overcome the trials of life. The key to having  victory in your battles is in your faith. The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord, not us, will deliver us out of them all. He will be faithful, but we must remain faithful. Those who endure to the end will see their salvation. 

Waiting on the Lord, 
Pastor Asa

Friday, January 4, 2013

I Tried But Failed

Proverbs 24: 16, For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity. NKJV

At some point, all of us have tried to quit a habit or a sin because we felt the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Even so, it's easy for us to become discouraged when we try to either quit something or begin something new, and we fail at it. However, instead of throwing up our hands and deciding to live with the issue or bondage, we should remind ourselves that this isn't our battle. In today's scripture, we see that the righteous may fall; nevertheless, they will rise again... but that isn't true for the wicked. What is the difference between the two? Jesus is. 

The wicked person doesn't have the power of Christ in his or her life because sin has separated them. The unsaved don't have the grace of God to cover them when they fall because they have rejected His love. Since they don't have Christ dwelling in their hearts, they fail; and they don't recover because they have no power over sin.

However, this isn't so for the person that has been redeemed. Christ in us makes all the difference; we know that, in Christ, we are forgiven and accepted in God's sight. Therefore, if we should stumble and fall, we understand that God won't abandon us; even so, through our brokenness, He will empower us to get back up once again.

We are made righteous in God's sight through our faith in the work of Christ. Jesus came to earth and died both for our sin debt and to set us free from the bondage of sin. It is without any works of our own; it is simply us placing trust in what Jesus has done for us that God has forever pardoned every believer in Christ. Nonetheless, once we are born again, it is our responsibility to accept God's forgiveness of our past sins and to receive His love into our hearts. You couldn't pay for your sins, neither can you stop sinning apart from God's help.

When we struggle with accepting God's forgiveness and unconditional love, we will also struggle with old habits, mindsets, and sinful behaviors. Therefore, we must learn how to delight in the Lord, even though we may still struggle with the truth that He has completely accepted us and loves us. As we learn to delight ourselves in the Lord, He will begin to grant us the desires of our heart. God has always loved us, and we know this because of what Paul wrote in Romans 5: 8. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

Now, we need to learn how to love God. Paul teaches us a very important principle in Ephesians 5. He wrote, "He who loves his wife also loves himself." When a man doesn't love himself, he will have difficulties loving his wife. Paul goes on to teach us that the relationship between a husband and wife is a representation of Christ's love for His bride, the church. Therefore, I submit to you on the authority of God's Word that we must learn to delight ourselves in God and love Him before we can have total and complete victory over our own flesh nature. We have to give ourselves completely to Christ in the same way that a wife gives herself to her husband, and the two become one. 

It's certain that you and I can't quit sinning apart from Christ, but if we will "work" on becoming one with Christ, instead of trying to quit on our own or in our own strength, then His power can begin to fill our hearts and set us free. Therefore, this year let's focus on becoming one with Christ. We must allow Him to take care of the things that we have no power over. Let the transformation begin.

Being Made New in Christ,
Pastor Asa Dockery