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Friday, March 29, 2013

It's Friday, but Sunday Is Coming

1 Corinthians 15: 22 - 26, For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. NKJV

The validity of the entire Bible rests upon one event... the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Paul uses different terminology; nevertheless, the sentiment is the same. If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and our faith is also empty (or in vain.) Let's take this discussion to a deeper level. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead proved that He was, indeed, the Son of God. It also demonstrated that He had authority over death, hell, and the grave. His resurrection also attested to His sinless life. By these, we know beyond any shadow of doubt that Jesus pleased the Father and redeemed us from the curse of sin. 

Let's digress for a moment. God warned Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge, lest he die. However, since Adam didn't heed the warning of God, he sinned; and consequently, brought death upon all mankind. From the time of Adam until the time of Jesus' resurrection, humanity lived under the bondage of fear and death. Outside faith in God's promises of the coming Messiah, no one had any hope of defeating death and leaving the grave. 

The result or consequence of sin was, and still is death. Death symbolizes the cessation of life or the separation of mankind from God, who IS life. In order for someone to have power over death, they would first have to overcome sin completely. The writer of Hebrews says that our High Priest (Jesus) was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. There was no deceit in His mouth. Nevertheless, the scribes, the Pharisees, and most of the Jews refused to believe that Jesus was their Messiah. They couldn't accept the truth that Jesus was the Son of God, and that He lived a sinless life, even though He gave them many infallible proofs. 

As the day drew closer for Jesus' passion, He warned His disciples of what would transpire when He returned to Jerusalem for Passover. When they heard what the elders would do to Him, they tried to prevent Him from going because they wanted to spare Him from suffering and death. These men understood the finality of death more than they understood that Jesus was the Son of God. Had they understood and accepted the truth of Jesus' identity and of His mandate from God to give Himself as the ransom for the souls of mankind, they would not have tried to stop Him from going to the cross. It was very difficult for them to believe that Jesus actually had the authority of God to overcome death, hell, and the grave. 

The DAY finally arrived for Jesus to make His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. A multitude of worshippers laid down palm branches to welcome their King. However, a few days later, the same crowd that had ushered Him into town with worship, and praise turned on Him and demanded that He be crucified. What caused the people to turn their hearts from worshipping Jesus to becoming angry and demanding His death? We know from what Jesus had previously told His disciples about the elders, scribes, and Pharisees that they were the reason for the revolt. Nevertheless, they were fulfilling the reason for Jesus' arrival on earth. 

Questions were flooding the hearts of those who secretly believed Jesus' teachings. Was Jesus really the Son of God? Did He actually tell them the truth when He taught them in their synagogues? There was only one way to lay their concerns and doubts about Him to rest, and that was through Jesus' crucifixion. On the dawn of the first day of the week, the two Marys came to the tomb to finish preparing Jesus' body for burial. However, when they approached the entrance of the borrowed tomb, they saw that Jesus was missing. Later, Jesus appeared to Mary and told her that He was raised from the dead and instructed her to tell His disciples the "GOOD NEWS."

The moment of vindication and authentication had finally arrived. Jesus overcame death, hell, and the grave. This was the proof that all of mankind needed in order to know, beyond any doubt, the true identity of Jesus. There would no longer be any need to question Him or to look for another man to be their Messiah. The truth that Jesus had come back from the dead and walked among His people for forty days before His ascension was proof positive He was the Son of God; and that He had pleased the Father. It also gave the Jews and all of mankind the hope that there is life beyond the grave. 

God, our heavenly Father, used death, which was the result of sin, to prove that He has all power over sin and death. Had it not been for the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, no one would have ever known the love that God has for humanity. We would have never known that God has authority over sin and death; and through His Son we can have victory over them as well. Aren't you thankful today that Jesus didn't listen to His disciples, who told Him to stay away from Jerusalem? Thank God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We shall live and not die, if we have placed our hope and faith in Him.

Happy Resurrection Day, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fit For the Kingdom of God

Luke 9: 56 - 62, For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." And they went to another village. Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, "Lord, I will follow You wherever You go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God." And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house." But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." NKJV

In the context of today's scripture, Jesus tells us that He didn't come to destroy men's (women's) lives, but to save them. Later in the passages, Jesus asked some men to follow Him. However, they all gave an excuse why they couldn't follow at that moment. Do you realize that same mindset is still alive and well in the church today? People want to be saved; nevertheless, they aren't concerned with following through by serving the purpose that God has saved them to accomplish.

In the western world, we have made Christianity all about being saved. Unfortunately, we have omitted the key component to walking in salvation, which is following the commands of Christ. In Matthew 10: 38, Jesus tells us that if we don't take up OUR cross and FOLLOW Him, then we are not worthy of Him. Notice in both scripture references today Jesus' focus isn't on salvation. His attention is on us following His lead and doing what He says, when He says to do it.

The men who "wanted to follow Jesus" didn't want to do so on Jesus' terms, but on their own terms. When you and I came to Christ, it was because we didn't have life; and we desired that He give us His life. However, now that we've accepted His life, does it mean that we are free to do as we please, or do what He requires of us whenever it's convenient for us? According to the verses that I've given you today, the answer is NO!

Jesus also instructs His followers in Matthew 16: 24 that we are to deny self. This is depicted in today's text by Jesus rejecting those who said they "desired" to follow Him; nevertheless, they excused themselves in order to do something they esteemed "more important" at the time. We may tend to think that this teaching is harsh. However, we need to remember that hell is eternal, and the rejection of Christ's invitation to follow Him is too serious to be taken lightly. 

Throughout his epistles, Paul teaches about being a true disciple of Christ. He tells us to crucify self by dying to the desires of our old man; when we are dead to our fleshly ways, we can then live for Christ. Paul also teaches us that our life in Christ is not ours; it is His, and we should live "the life" that is pleasing to Him. Christianity isn't based on convenience; it is based on commitment. If we aren't committed to following Christ, then Jesus tells us that we're not fit for the kingdom. 

Finally, in Matthew 6: 33 Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Placing Jesus and His will before our own makes it easier for us to forsake this world and its pleasures for an eternal reward. 

Throughout the gospels, you will find that Jesus was always very gracious and longsuffering with people's ways so that He might gain their trust. Even so, whenever someone came to Him, or when He called on them to do something, you will see that He was harder on them than those who just sought Him for a miracle. It is better not to make a vow to the Lord than it is to make one and then break it.

Deuteronomy 23: 21 - 23, "When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you. But if you abstain from vowing, it shall not be sin to you. That which has gone from your lips you shall keep and perform, for you voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God what you have promised with your mouth. NKJV

Let's be doers of the word, not just hearers; and then we can all fulfill Hebrew's 10:39, But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. NKJV

Following Christ and Denying Self,
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Walking in the Overflow

Genesis 1 : 27 - 28, So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." NKJV

When you received the Spirit of Christ into your heart, God blessed you with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. It might not have seemed like you were blessed the minute you were saved. Nonetheless, you were because you were reconnected to the Vine. When you received the love of God into your heart, you also received the life of God. The life of God empowers us to grow spiritually so that we can become who God intended us to be. However, although we have the life of God dwelling in our hearts, we still need to make the time to be in God's presence. In God's presence is FULNESS of joy (Joy is the fruit of the Spirit).

In John 15, Jesus tells us that apart from Him, we can do nothing. He also warns us to abide in Him (the Vine) so that we will bear fruit. If we don't abide, continue, and dwell in Him, we will wither spiritually. It's not enough for us to have the life of God; if we desire to be filled and produce fruit in the spirit, we must also live in the presence of God. 

In Christ, we are indeed blessed, but are we filled? Jesus tells us in Matthew 5: 6 that if we hunger and thirst for His righteousness, we will be filled. After the Lord blessed Adam and Eve, He gave them instructions. He commanded them to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Even so, it's impossible to fill something if we're drawing from an empty vessel. Therefore, if we're going to be blessed enough that we are able to bless others, then we must first be filled. As we abide in the Vine and bask in the presence of the Lord, He begins to fill us with Himself. Consequently, because of the overflow of our communion with the Lord, others can partake of the blessings that are released on us. 

Abraham walked with God; and as a result of his persistent faith, He was greatly blessed with physical things. Because Lot walked with blessed Abraham, he became blessed as well. Do you see how the overflow is supposed to operate? When we continue to walk with the Lord, others become blessed by the overflow of our communion with Him. Nevertheless, we must remain connected to the Vine long-term, if we want our abundant blessings to spill over onto the lives of others. 

There can be times in our walk with God that we may feel as if we have been uprooted. Sometimes it seems as if we have found momentum in our walk, we begin to produce, and suddenly the flow gets disrupted. Consequently, we may find it difficult or impossible to be faithful in our walk with the Lord long-term.  When this happens, the enemy is trying to prevent us from being filled; if we are not filled, how can our overflow bless others? It is certain that Satan does not want us blessed; however, neither does he want us so blessed that we're able to bless others who walk with us. 

Like Abraham, there will be those times in your life where distractions and attractions to "good" things have to be left behind. We must always keep God first in our hearts and in our walk, if we want to be a blessing to others. Your heavenly Father wants you to be so blessed that others become blessed just being around you. It's time for the children of God to be filled and to walk in the overflow of God's presence and blessings.

Abiding in the Overflow,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lose the Condemnation and Find Freedom

Romans 8: 1 - 4, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. NKJV

Paul was having a great day in the Holy Spirit when he wrote these passages on freedom in Christ. When Jesus came to earth, it was to save us from our sin, not to condemn us. If we have accepted Christ as Savior, we have been born again. However, we were born the first time as sinners, and as a result, we still have some residue from our old flesh nature that spills over into our new lives. When we have a sin conscious, it makes us feel guilty; and when our flesh nature gets into the mix, it makes us feel unworthy or less-than.

If we struggle with FEELINGS of unworthiness, and we're in need of a touch from God, the unworthiness can be a stumbling block to us receiving our answer. Therefore, we must overcome any feelings of guilt and/or unworthiness so that we can freely receive what Jesus has already paid in full for us to have. It's just a matter of us being able to receive the love of God into our hearts.

It's time we get past the old mindsets of the sin and flesh nature and begin to walk in, and declare our new identity in Christ. If we are in Christ, then we are a brand-new creature in Him; old things must now pass away, and this includes feelings of inadequacy. We all have weaknesses and blind spots that the enemy of our soul will try to hold over us. Nonetheless, if we look to Jesus and realize that it's not Him condemning us, it is our old man who is accusing us; we can overcome and receive spiritual freedom.

The best and quickest way to grow past any negative feelings or weaknesses of the flesh nature is to be certain that we are living according to the Spirit and not according to the dictates and desires of our flesh nature. We can overcome the flesh nature daily through our obedience to the Holy Spirit. Once our obedience is matured, we will have confidence over the voices of the flesh nature and begin to enjoy our new-found freedom in Christ. (The key is being persistent and consistent until we get the breakthrough that we need to silence the lies of the enemy.) 

If this word describes you, and you have struggled to walk in the freedom of Christ as a child of God, then start practicing your liberty in Christ today. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any areas in your life where your flesh has control instead of God. When you have identified these areas, then you can begin the process of crucifying the flesh through obedience... until condemnation is no more. You can do this! Christ will give you the strength to face any fear, guilt, or shame that may stand in the way of you walking in total freedom.

Walking It Out, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Restoration of the Soul of America

Luke 12: 13 - 21, Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?" And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." NKJV

The Word of God declares that we are blessed from the very moment we come to faith in Christ. Even so, just as a farmer plants a seed into the ground and waits for the harvest, the Word of God that brings the blessing of God takes time to produce fruit. Consequently, we must continue to abide in Christ and in the Word so that we will become partakers of God's blessings, bearing much fruit. When we walk with God, the blessings of God will come upon our lives and will eventually overtake us. 

Read the story of Abraham, who is known as the father (founder) of the faith in Christendom; you will see that when God first called him out of his father's country and away from his kindred, Abraham didn't have many possessions. Nevertheless, as he continued to walk by faith, God began to bless him in the natural realm making Abraham's name great among the people. 

The longer Abraham walked with the Lord, the greater He blessed him. The increase was so great that the herdsmen of Abraham and Lot begin to quarrel over the land in order to obtain adequate pasture for their herds. Therefore, the only thing the uncle and nephew could do was to divide the land and part company. After God had greatly blessed Abraham and made him rich, God gave Isaac to he and Sarah. The couple had finally acquired their heart's desire from the Lord. They both had reached a pinnacle in their faith walk and had witnessed the riches of God's favor and blessing on their lives. 

It was after God had richly blessed Abraham that He told him to take Isaac upon the mountain and offer him as a sacrifice unto the Lord. Did you realize that Abraham could have said, "I've gotten all that I've ever needed and wanted from the Lord, and I don't need God any longer?" We must be very careful when, after we've walked with God for a while, and He has blessed us that we don't get lifted up in pride and give the Devil a place to rob us of our spiritual inheritance. It is very hard stepping out in faith with nothing in the natural except "a word from God." However, it can become very dangerous when, after we've been blessed by the Lord, we allow ourselves to lose focus of God and dwell only on His blessings.

When God has blessed us with everything that we have desired, we must beware of the flesh nature and keep it crucified, lest we get lifted up and forget the Lord. If we should become lifted up through pride, then we will give the enemy an opportunity to take our passion and focus away from God and redirect it toward our possessions. God doesn't mind us being blessed and having possessions; He just doesn't want possessions to possess us. 

If we allow ourselves to get to a place where our possessions and our earthly wealth cause us to disobey and ignore God in our hearts, then we will be walking away from the only hope we will ever have in this life, or in the life to come. When we disregard God, we disobey God's Word; if we refuse to obey the Word, we no longer walk by faith. Consequently, the blessings, along with our hope will dry up.

If we choose to walk away from the God of hope because He has blessed us in the natural, then we are cutting off our own souls. Blessings apart from God cannot save our souls. Our souls can only live when we hear God and keep His Word. Remember the man in today's scripture. Instead of honoring the Lord with his substance, he decided to hoard up his blessings and take it easy. 

After we have been blessed, our faith will be threatened; the enemy will begin to tempt us to relax.  If we give in to Satan's plans, and we back away from God because of all the goodness in our lives, then we will fall into the same snare that the man in today's story did. What will it profit us, if we should gain the entire world, but forfeit our very soul? Nothing! 

America has experienced the greatness of God's favor, provision, and authority. Nevertheless, over the past fifty or sixty years, Americans have chosen to indulge in the pleasures of "our success," at the expense of standing up and defending the truth in our society. As a result, we are living in a secular society that offers no hope. Somewhere along the way, Americans have lost their way. However, it's time for us to return to the God of our salvation. It's not too late for both America and the church to turn to God, repent of our sin, and allow God to restore greatness to this country and His church. All God asks is that we, who are called by His name, humble ourselves and pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways; then, He will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land.

 We must return to the Lord with our whole heart, allowing God's mercy to restore the soul of America back to righteousness and holiness. If we want to see both America, and the church in this nation become what God intended us to be, then it must begin with you and me. This is our opportunity to become a part of a mighty move of God that will see the soul of America restored to the God who birthed this country.

Over the course of April, I will be sharing some very important information about an evangelistic outreach that will cover North America and Canada. Through this soul winning outreach, literally millions of souls can come to know Jesus in 2013. Together, we can see the glory of God return to this nation as never before. Will you join us? There is hope for America, and His name is Jesus!

If the Holy Spirit has touched your heart through today's devotion, and you want to share with us what has transpired in your life, please contact me at passion30@whcnorth.org.  The transformation has already begun.

The Goodness of God Produces Repentance, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

P.S. This devotion is an excerpt from the prophetic word God gave me for the nation this past Sunday. The title of the message is, "A Nation in Crisis." If you want to learn more about the hope we have in Christ and in God's plan to restore the soul of America, please log onto our website at www.whcnorth.org. You can download the video, the audio, or the transcript (which will be posted after 3-26-13). 

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Blessing of Abraham

Galatians 3: 13 - 14, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. NKJV 

I'm sure that if you have attended a church service during the resurrection season (Easter), then you have probably heard a sermon about Jesus dying for our sins. Jesus was the perfect Lamb that was offered as a ransom (or payment) for mankind's sin. But under the Levitical priesthood, there were men that were selected to serve as priests, and who offered sacrifices for the covering of Israel's sin. The office that Jesus filled while He was on the earth was very unique; Jesus is our High Priest, but He was also our spotless Lamb. As the High Priest, He offered Himself unto the Father in heaven, His offering was accepted, and payment was made in full.

Now that we have discussed the payment of sin by our Savior, let's look at the principle that Paul teaches us in Galatians. He tells us that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law... having become a curse for us. The Bible is very clear that all of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory; but did you realize that God gave mankind the Law so that we can know (or have consciousness) of sin in our hearts? Sin blinded man's heart to our own transgression against God's law. This is why you read in Genesis where Adam blamed Eve instead of confessing the sin in his own heart. His heart was darkened by sin to his own sinful ways.

When God handed down the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, and the Jews transgressed against the Law, it caused the curse to manifest in their lives. Look at the account where the Jews were in the wilderness before the law was given; there you'll see that they murmured against Moses and God and nothing happened (no consequences). Then look at the time that they murmured against Moses and God after the Law; they were bitten by fiery serpents. The Law revealed that we were living under the curse of sin and not just living in sin. The wages of sin is death.

Today the Lord wanted me to teach you the difference between sin and the curse of sin through the Law. If we are saved by faith, then we must also live or obey by faith so that the grace of God might continue to set us free from the bondage's of our flesh nature. But if we should decide to live according to the lusts of our flesh nature instead of walking by faith, then we place ourselves back under the law... through works and the curse of the Law. When, as Christians, we choose to live according to the lusts of the flesh instead of obeying God by faith, we are committing iniquities that allow the curse of the Law to manifest in our lives. If you struggle with iniquity as a Christian, which is defined as:  do amiss; bow down; make crooked; perverse; do wickedly, then all that the Father requires is that we repent and turn from our own wicked ways and obey His ways. Isaiah tells us that God has laid on Christ the iniquities of us all. In Christ, not only are our sins forgiven, but when we repent for disobedience and begin to obey, so are our iniquities forgiven. We are in Christ, but we must also live and walk in Christ in order to be free from the curse of the Law. 

Class Dismissed,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Sweet Taste of Freedom

Exodus 5: 1 - 2, Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.'" And Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go." NKJV 
Very few things in life deserve the price of spilled blood and the loss of life in order to obtain it. However, freedom is definitely worth the fight. If you have never been held against your will, imprisoned, or bound by an addiction, you may not give much thought to the value of freedom. Nevertheless, for millions of people around the world who live under great oppression and persecution, freedom is forefront in their minds. 
God created man to have and enjoy liberty. Man had this right because God placed us over the works of His hands; we were "in command." However, along with liberation and authority, the Lord God gave us freedom to choose. Unfortunately, the result of man's freewill was that he chose to subject himself to the control of Satan and his will. Since the fall of man, men have fought throughout history in an attempt to regain their freedom. Still, after thousands of years of conflicts, battles, and wars, we're living in a generation where freedom is only a dream to millions around the world; and those who are a free people are constantly threatened by the enemies of liberty. 
Let's look at Israel; they cried unto the Lord to be liberated from their afflictions in Egypt.  Even so, after the Lord sent Moses into Egypt to set His people free, the children of Israel soon turned on their liberator. When faced with the harshness of the wilderness, they longed in their hearts for the past land of bondage. Is it not amazing that they sought God for deliverance? Yet, after they were emancipated, they desired to go back into slavery once again? What they didn't realize and what Adam and Eve failed to see is that freedom comes with responsibility. Even though God had delivered the children of Israel and had given them their own land, we see where they forsook God for the idols of the heathen and went back into bondage as slaves to Babylon. 

As sweet as freedom tastes to us all, there is still something that lies within all humans that looks for ways to keep us in or pull us back into the bondage of sin. The fallen nature of man doesn't desire to be submitted to God. In fact, the old nature and the carnal mind are enemies of God; we must die to "self" in order to live in freedom. We know that Christ came to free us from the power and the curse of sin. He dealt with the sin nature on the cross so that we could be set free to live a life of liberation through submission. Now that we have accepted Jesus' spilled blood as payment for our sin debt, we have overcome the sin nature. However, we must choose to submit to God's will daily in order to obtain victory over our carnal mind.          

We all must make one decision. Is God's freedom worth the price it costs us to gain and maintain it? In the natural, the only way to freedom is to win the victory over our enemies. However, in the Spirit realm, Christ has already won our victory. Nevertheless, the only way to hold on to freedom is to surrender our hearts and lives to God. Satan doesn't want you to view God as an ally; he would love for us all to view Him as our enemy to personal freedom. We must choose to believe the Word of God and live by it, if we truly desire to live free from sin. Faith in Christ is the victory that overcomes the world. If your life isn't surrendered to Christ and His plan for you, will you consider turning the control over to Him? Be set free so that you can enjoy life in Christ today.   

Freedom Is Everything, 
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Advancement of Technology

Daniel 12: 1 - 4, "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people-everyone whose name is found written in the book-will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge." NIV

It seems of late that the world has gotten on a fast-track when it comes to the advancement of technology. The foundation of technology is knowledge; and it has increased in the past decade like never before. During the industrial revolution, people's eyes and attention were focused on what man could extract from the earth and create for the betterment of society. Horse-drawn carriages gave way to cars and trucks. Plows that were pulled by oxen or mules were quickly replaced with farm tractors, which made agriculture easier for those who lived on farms; and humans were no longer limited to travel on the ground because aeronautics was introduced as the new, quicker way to get to your destination.

However, in recent decades, it seems that the industrial age has given way to the era of technology. We can now send an e-letter to someone on the other side of the world in a matter of seconds. Therefore, it seems our focus has been turned from that which man can extract from the earth; in today's world, we are captivated by the wisdom of man and his ability to move us with the latest and greatest electronic discovery.  

In many ways, life through technology has been enhanced and made much easier. It is as though there is no limit to what man can imagine and design. Now we have 3-D and 4-D imagery that pulls you into the very center of the action. Technology has shown us how to live life in a virtual world that has no bounds. 

Even so, all this knowledge, technology, and various modes of travel were foretold by a prophet named Daniel. The God of creation and eternity revealed to Daniel things that would occur in the last days before the return of Christ to the earth. So as great as the technology and discoveries of our time are, we must not forget our God, who said how it would be... centuries before it happened.  

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that knowledge will vanish. Like a fleeting thought of the mind, the technology that we are awed by today will be a thing of the past very soon. Obviously, God considered the knowledge and the technological advancements of our day as being note-worthy, or He wouldn't have shown them to his servant Daniel. It doesn't matter how old the Bible is because it is just as relevant today as it was in Daniel's time. Therefore, the Word of God must continue to be a part of our lives just as much as the breakthroughs and discoveries of today's modern world. We must learn how to break free from just being infatuated by today's electronic wizardry and learn how to utilize the tools that God has placed in our hands to reach a world with the "Good News" of Jesus Christ.  

Instead of drowning ourselves in the electronic age as a means of escape from the real world or separating ourselves from the world's advancements altogether, why not capitalize on this wave of knowledge for God's glory? After all, it is God who said these things would occur, and they have. The internet, social media, electronic devices, satellite, and, etc. are all forms of communications; and what greater message to be communicated than the hope that is found in Jesus and His cross.

I encourage you to both learn about and utilize the tools of today's technology to further your reach as a witness of Christ so that He might save a world that has become distracted by the frills of this modern age. Not since the Garden of Eden have we seen "knowledge" promise mankind so much as a way to distract us from what is really important... the will of God for our lives.   
Press "LIKE",
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Approaching God

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

When we approach God in prayer, we must always be mindful that God knows the needs we have, even before we ask. However, if God already knows what we're going to say, then why does He require us to come to Him in prayer with our requests? We find part of the answer to this question in James 4:7. God gives grace to the humble, but He opposes the proud. Therefore, when we humble ourselves and approach God's throne with our requests, it shows Him our humility and brokenness. 

Many people in today's society have forgotten how God has taken care of them; however, this isn't anything new...the children of Israel forgot the goodness of God while they were in the wilderness. Often times when a person or "a people" have to endure hardship and lack, they will forget all that God has done for them. 

The purpose for today's word is to address the pride and unbelief that people and believers have in their hearts when they come before the Lord. Allow me to explain. After the Lord delivered the children of Israel from the land of bondage, they seemed to forget very quickly all that the Lord had done on their behalf in order to set them free. Why did the Jews struggle to remember an occasion that was as monumental in the lives and in the history of Israel as God bringing them up from the land of bondage and parting the Red Sea to separate them from their oppressors?

When they entered into the wilderness, they had no provisions, such as food and water, and this "made" them dependent upon God. You might tend to think that they would be so thankful to God for bringing them out of bondage that they would never forget His goodness; and they certainly would not speak evil against Him. Nevertheless, because of the unbelief that was in their hearts, they did. They didn't want to be dependent upon the Lord, neither did they want to hear His voice or keep His commandments. 

Consequently, for these aforementioned reasons, the children of Israel constantly forgot God's goodness, even though He was faithful to provide for them for forty years. They repeatedly required God prove Himself to them, even though He already showed Himself to be trustworthy. Doesn't this sound like the Israelites were full of pride and unbelief? Yes, it does. Guess what? Our generation is duplicating Israel's acts of pride and unbelief against the Lord. We're following in their footsteps; however, we don't have to go down that same path and perish in the wilderness, forfeiting the promises of God in our lives.

Have you noticed how hard our society has become toward God and His Word? People are blaming the Lord for the trouble and trials that they're facing. Nonetheless, it isn't His fault. Pride and unbelief will blind people to their own sin; As a result, they will blame God and others for the consequences of their actions. Instead of humbling themselves and asking the Lord to forgive them, they point their finger at the face of God and demand He intervene and deliver them.

This is the question the Lord posed to me: Why is it that when people, who say they believe in God find themselves in a hard or painful place, they deem it necessary to question and blame God, instead of humbling themselves and seeking the Lord? We do this only when we don't want to be dependent on or have to acknowledge the Lord in our hearts. We simply want what we desire, not what God desires for us. This attitude must be changed before our situations can be changed for the better. It's time that ministers begin to call the nations to repentance for our prideful ways and unbelieving hearts.

How has your attitude been toward the Lord when you have had to face difficult days? Are you humble and broken before Him? Or are you pointing a finger at God and "telling" Him what you want Him to do for you? I know this is a very sobering word, but it's time we face our own sin and repent. We must humble ourselves before the Lord, call on His name, and turn from our wicked ways. Perhaps the Lord will hear our humble prayers, forgive our sins, and heal our land. 

If the Holy Spirit has touched your heart through this word today, will you email me and share what God has done for you? You can contact me personally at passion30@whcnorth.org.

Thank You Lord for Your Goodness, 
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Monday, March 18, 2013

You Ever Had One Of Those Days?

Psalms 42: 1 - 5, As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, "Where is your God?" When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. NKJV

There may be a small chance that you haven't realized it yet; nevertheless, you are in a spiritual battle. Perhaps you have not recognized the battle as demonic because the conflict was in the realm of the physical. However, in Ephesians 6, Paul tells us that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, and against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 

Nevertheless, there is a deceptive part concerning spiritual warfare that many Christians aren't aware of. Let's suppose that on your drive to work one day, you have an accident. Then, you arrive at work only to find that you're being dismissed. Both of these events transpired in the natural or tangible world. Consequently, where is the spiritual aspect of this warfare? First of all, Satan, the thief has stolen your car and your job. Nonetheless, here's where the deceptive part enters into the mix. Your spiritual opponent has you shaken up and "on the ropes." Therefore, he will begin speaking to you through the troubling circumstances that have taken place. 

Why does the enemy want to speak to us after a loss or a conflict has occurred? Allow me to explain further. In the Garden of Eden, Satan appeared as a serpent. If we are bitten by a snake, we will experience pain inflicted by his fangs. Consequently, the snake bite is representative of the car accident and the lost job. 

When a snake bites its victim, it is for releasing poisonous venom into the bloodstream in order to cause death. The venom is representative of the spiritual warfare that occurs after troubles have arrived in the natural realm; those troubles can open us up to toxic thoughts and feelings; if these feelings are left unchecked, they can adversely affect our (spiritual) hearts. When we allow ourselves to be harmed by these thoughts, then we are at a place in the trial where our difficulties devolve from the natural realm, move into the spiritual realm and can begin to undermine our faith.

If a natural occurrence takes place in our lives that opens our hearts up to the entertainment of doubts, fears, or unbelief, then we can know that Satan is definitely behind the scenes trying to overpower our faith in God and His Word. We have arrived at the place in spiritual warfare where it is crucial for us to guard our hearts from receiving any thoughts or feelings that might cause us to see God in a negative connotation. 

Satan will try to use losses or tragedies to cause us to doubt God and His Word. His goal is to get us to abort any, and all promises that we may have received from the Lord by getting us to harden our hearts against God. Satan knows that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Therefore, if he can get us to harden our hearts so that we don't listen to God's voice, then we can't receive our promises.

Now, you can clearly see why Satan attacks us in the natural first. He needs for us to give him an open door so that he can get us to turn our own hearts against the Lord. This is why God has given every single believer the shield of faith. By it, we are able to quench the fiery (poisonous) darts of the wicked. Faith becomes the shield we use in times of conflict; we must place it over our hearts so that we don't receive an evil report from Satan. We can't prevent bad things from happening to us. However, we CAN stop the venom from entering our hearts and further robbing us of future promises. 

Fully Utilizing the Shield of Faith, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, March 15, 2013


John 11 : 35, Jesus wept. KJV  

It only takes this one very short verse to show you that Jesus had emotions just like the others who wept at the tomb of Lazarus. I find it strange that Jesus would shed tears because He knew why Lazarus was dead; and He also knew that He was about to raise him up. Perhaps Jesus wept to show us that, as our High Priest, He could be touched with the feelings of our infirmities. However, my goal in today's Word is to help you see that Jesus is our example of how to live a life that isn't controlled by emotions.  

Through His Word, we know that God, Himself, has emotions. He feels both joy and anger; and since we were created in the image of God, we, too, have emotions. Nevertheless, unlike God, we are sometimes controlled and held like prisoners by them. Just as your skin has feelings, your soul or consciousness has emotions or feelings as well. God has given us feelings so that we can enjoy and experience His presence and His goodness; however, when the fall of man occurred, emotions became an easy target for Satan to exploit and use like a weapon against us. 
Have you had someone hurt you recently? If so, then you are more than likely experiencing some "raw emotions." When we are in a healthy emotional state, we can enjoy life through those things we are passionate about; nonetheless, the moment we become wounded, those emotions can become chains that can keep us from forgiving others and moving on with our lives.    
If you have been hurt by someone, the first thing you felt was an emotional pain from your soul. I don't see much difference between a hurt in your physical body and a hurt in your emotions. After you experience a pain in your body, it is usually followed by a reaction to try to protect the affected area. The same occurs with our emotional heart when pain has been inflicted upon it. Our emotions kick in and demand a response that will protect our heart from further hurt.    
Here is where our emotions can become chains that can prevent us from facing those who hurt us and dealing with the pain. Emotional pain can cause us to feel anger, hatred, or vengeful, which can lead to bitterness or a hard heart. When we're in this state of mind, Satan will try to exploit our emotional pain and the feelings that have resulted from that pain. He is the cause of most offenses in the world. We know this because Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that we don't war with flesh and blood; we war with spirits of darkness. Satan wounds us, hoping that we will begin to harbor "ill feelings" against the person or persons that have injured our hearts.    

As long as we hold onto the hurtful feelings, we hold ourselves in bondage to our emotions. If we don't let go, it will only prolong the healing process and can cause infection (sin) to fill our hearts. Here is where the Lord must be given a place to minister to us and our wounded heart and emotions.    

Paul teaches us in Romans 8 that, as the sheep of God, we are counted for the slaughter. He goes to write that we are killed all the daylong for Christ's sake. Next, he writes something that is very powerful that you must know in order to overcome this world and its offenses against you. Paul wrote that, through Christ, we are more than conquerors in all these hardships and heartaches. Therefore, we must not turn inwardly and view ourselves as the victim; we must turn to Christ and see ourselves victorious in our afflictions. How we see ourselves in the light of emotional hurt will either help or will hamper our healing process.

Satan wants us to view ourselves as victims so that we will hold onto the pain; we will then feel justified in our own mind in returning the favor to those who have wronged us. Although vengeance may make your flesh feel better, you will remain in bondage to your emotions, and can become physically ill as a result of holding onto the pain for an extended time. Refusing to let go will also displease our heavenly Father because He wants us to be free from unforgiveness. 
The key is to keep our eyes on Jesus, and on the afflictions that He endured and overcame through obedience to His heavenly Father. If we will see ourselves as God does and open our hearts up to His healing power,  He will begin to remove the pain. We hold the key to the chains of our emotions that keep our pain alive. If we give control of that key to the Lord, He will release us from the bondage that we have to hurt emotions; and the underlying pain will heal.  Our release of desiring revenge will empower God to set us free from Satan's agenda and power.     

Trying to hold on to hurt or wounded emotions only holds us in bondage and keeps the pain of the past fresh. Once we obey the Word of God and forgive from the heart, as God, for Christ's sake has forgiven us, then the healing process can begin. The hurt can be filled with God's love, making that area of your heart stronger than it was before the offense occurred. Finally, it comes down to your will or willingness to forgive and release. This is an act of the heart.    

Forgiven and Forgiving,
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

We Are Tried by Our Words

Matthew 12: 35 - 37, A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." NKJV

Have you ever been hurt by someone who had "good intentions?" On many occasions, people have promised me they would do something, yet I have found that their words weren't followed through with action. It's a good thing to be sincere when we tell someone that we will offer our help to them. Nevertheless, sincerity alone won't bless others; we must keep our word. If a relative or friend whom you love and trust doesn't do what they have told you, it gives place to disappointment and can damage the relationship between you.

In today's scripture, Jesus teaches us that we are either justified or condemned by our words. What we speak out our mouths will reflect what is really in our hearts. Needless to say, if we tell someone that we'll be there for them and fail to show, afterwards, our words will condemn us. However, on the other hand, if we are who we say we are, and we do what we tell people that we will do, then we are justified by our words; and they can trust us. 

There's an interesting scripture in James that will help us to understand why Christians have to go through fiery trials in life. James says that we are blessed when we ENDURE temptation; for when we are TRIED/APPROVED, we will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Notice that tried and approved or interchangeable. 

Why are Christians tried? It is to see if we are, indeed, who we say we are in Christ and to see whether we will do what we tell others we will do. Be aware of this principle when you speak "a promise or commitment" out your mouth. You will be tried by your words to see if what you have spoken is, in fact, true.  We come "under attack" after making or speaking a vow because the enemy wants to prove we're  not the REAL thing; however, God wants to know if He can reward us for sticking to our commitment, even after we have been tried by our words. Satan is out to cause us to fail by throwing obstacles in our way. Nevertheless, if we'll hold on and ENDURE (follow through anyway), then we will overcome, and Satan will learn that we are for real; and we will, subsequently receive a reward/blessing from God because we "kept His Word or principles of character." 

Consequently, don't think it strange if you are inundated by attacks when you take a stand or publicly declare something that has not yet been put to the test. A perfect example of the principle that I'm expounding on is found in the book of Job. Before Job was tried by Satan, God had spoken some great words of praise over Job's character. It was these declarations of God that got Job "placed on trial." Immediately, after God spoke to Satan about Job's integrity, his entire life was turned upside down. Did Job curse God, like Satan said that he would? No, he did not. Did Job sin against God, like Satan thought he would? No, he did not. Did Job keep the integrity of his heart and hold on to his faith in the goodness of God and endure the trial? YES, he did!

Did Satan's attempt to discredit Job and make God a liar materialize as he said it would? No, it did not. Therefore, we can conclude that Job's trial further solidified or established the truth about God's faithfulness, Job's character, and Satan's self-deception. At the end of the trial, Job was blessed by the Lord with a double portion of everything that he had lost, just as James said in his letter. After you have been tried/approved, then the Lord will give you the promise.

We must be very careful when we make grandiose statements and embellish the truth about something, lest we open the door for Satan to try our words by throwing us in the furnace of afflictions. By our words, we will be justified and by them, we will be condemned. There's an old saying, which goes something like this: "Silence is golden." 

If the Lord Is Willing, I Will Do Such and Such,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Investing for My Future

Matthew 6: 16 - 21, "Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. NKJV

There are two types of mindsets mentioned in the Word of God. There is an eternal perspective, and there is an earthly or temporal perspective. The person who has an eternal outlook on this life will live for Christ. However, the person who has an earthly take on life will live only for themselves; they will not concern themselves with eternity.

When Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount, He emphasized to God's chosen people just how vitally important it was for them to obey God because He wanted them to have treasure in heaven. He also warned them not to be like the scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites, who did religious activity only to be seen by people... rather than to please God. According to Matthew 6, they received their reward when they sought to impress men...in other words, that's all they got. However, if we choose to obey God in secret, then He will reward us openly.

James warns us in his epistle to be doers of the Word and not just hearers only. If we are merely hearers, we won't follow through with obedient actions; consequently, we deceive ourselves. If we should decide to do only those things that our flesh nature agrees to, instead of obeying the Holy Spirit, then we will have no eternal reward laid up for us in heaven ( 1 Corinthians 3:15). In Matthew 16,  Jesus teaches us to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and to follow Him. Consequently, if we practice these commands, we will store up treasures in heaven, and God will reward us here on earth as well...all because we have chosen to please Him instead of ourselves.  

It's human nature for a person to want to do only just enough to "get by." Jesus addresses this slothful attitude in His sermon. He gives many examples of how the scribes and Pharisees had "watered-down" the commandments of God in order to please themselves. Jesus also said that they would not enter into the kingdom of heaven. The Lord goes on to tell us to "Go the extra mile." When we go beyond the limitations and weaknesses of our flesh, and we obey God's voice and Word, then He will reward us for our sacrificial obedience unto Him. 

Paul tells us in Colossians 3 not to be "man pleasers," only doing those things that we think will please someone so that we might receive a reward or accolade from them. Instead, he instructs us to do everything as unto the Lord; if we seek to please God, He can reward our faith. 

It's obvious to us that God used the story of the scribes, the Pharisees, and the hypocrites as examples of men, who were trying to appease God with their own unrighteous works. However, their labor in the flesh was not accepted by Him.  In comparison, we see Jesus, who exceeded, through simple obedience, all that the religious zealots had done in the "name of God." Jesus never tried to make excuses for disobedience; He never killed one lamb or goat to atone for His sins because He ALWAYS obeyed His Father. Like Jesus, our faith and reward only begin when we say "NO" to our fleshly ways and obey God's will. (Ro. 10:4)

 If you, too, desire to please your heavenly Father and want to receive an eternal reward for your obedient works, then you must first crucify self and its evil passions; and, after that be willing to listen to the direction of God in your life. Faith alone is what God requires to please Him. Jesus did just that! Therefore, we, who obey like Jesus did and walk by faith, instead of pleasing ourselves are going to have both an eternal reward and be blessed while on earth. 

Through Christ Alone,
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Do You Like Me?

Hebrews 12: 11 - 17, Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears. NKJV

Do you allow others to determine how you value yourself? You'll probably say, "No," and you should. However, there are times when we all allow what others think or say about us influence how we view ourselves. Even though you might not listen to a negative statement that has been spoken against you or your abilities, the words can still leave a residue in your memories. 

Unfortunately, we live in a world that loves to hate. People might not walk up to your face and say that they hate you. Nevertheless, they can still do cruel things against you. Paul lists the works of the flesh in Galatians 5; among those are attitudes such as jealousy, contentions, and envy. Therefore, it's our responsibility to be "prayed up" and "suited up" with the armor of God so that we don't allow people to influence or taint the way we see ourselves in Christ. Let me explain the term "in Christ." When God looks at us through the blood and obedience of Christ, He doesn't see us as lost and undone. Consequently, God doesn't have to tell us constantly, or even mention how awful we are when we make a mistake or blow-it. 

Instead, God views us through the finished work of Christ; He sees us as righteous. God has chosen to redeem and restore us to wholeness by believing in us... that one day we will become all that He has already declared us to be through Christ. Now, here is the big question you must consider and answer for yourself: Do you get your identity from man or from God? If you look to people whom you respect and love for acceptance and approval, then you're setting yourself up for a let-down. People (us) are flawed, and we all know it. Someone may love and respect you; however, they may be dealing with something in their own heart... a jealousy, envy, or other fleshly weakness, which causes them to give you a negative report that just isn't true. Even so, if you lean too much on people's opinions, you could receive a false diagnosis into your heart and lose the strength to press on into completion in Christ. 

Therefore, we must look to Jesus, only hearing what the Word of God and the Holy Spirit have to say about who we are; we must not dwell on the opinions of man. Nevertheless, if we do seek approval from others (and we all do at times), then we must always remember that they don't love us in the same way that God loves us. The world belittles anything and anyone associated with God, not because the thing or the person is bad, but because their hearts aren't right toward God. 

Over time, the world, if we allow it, can cause us to lose honor and value for the blessings and the acceptance we have found in Christ. This brings me to the point of today's word: Esau was convinced by Satan through unbelief that his life was over if he didn't sell his birthright to his brother, Jacob for a bowl of stew. Therefore, he sold his birth right, which represents the eternal and priceless, for something that was temporal and worthless in comparison; Esau did this because he was convinced that his life was over. 

Just like Esau, if we, too, allow the world or people we love to decide our value, then we can be influenced to diminish the value of the eternal blessings that God has bestowed on us; and we will fall prey to living beneath God's best for us.

 Here is a practical example to help you grasp the importance of today's teaching. Let's suppose your spouse doesn't give you the time, attention, and validation you would like to have. If you don't turn those unmet desires toward the Lord and find fulfillment in your relationship with Christ, then inevitably you will begin to take on a mindset that could prove dangerous to your relationship with your spouse and to Christ. Because you're not getting "your needs met" by your spouse, it could give you the "feeling" that you're not worthy or that something is "wrong with you." If you give in to these lies from Satan, then it could lead you into some dangerous waters. 

Let's suppose you're at work or at your favorite store and someone of the opposite sex begins to notice things about you that your spouse discounts, and this other person begins to make you "feel" valuable once again. Now, you're at a vulnerable place where you could fall into an emotional or illicit affair, all because someone has tapped into a need that your spouse should have provided. Therefore, we must not draw our identity from anyone but Christ, lest we give ourselves over to seduction and fall into a spiritual trap. Through Christ, you can do all things and overcome all things. We all just have to be willing to walk by faith, not led by people's opinions or our feelings. If this word describes where you've been emotionally, then I pray that the Holy Spirit will set you free from hurt and rejection and fill you with God's love. After all, Jesus is our Bride-groom, and He will supply ALL our need. 

Waiting on Jesus to Meet My Needs,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sorrow Precedes Promise

Psalms 30: 5, For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. NKJV

Have you been asking God to give you a promise that is written in His Word? If so, then allow me to share some insight with you so that you can endure the sorrow that precedes the inheritance of the promise. 

It's always exciting when married couples hear they are going to have their first child. The new mom just beams with joy and great anticipation over the thoughts of bringing a brand new life into the world. I see this quite often at our church. It's interesting to watch how new moms respond when they experience the various changes and stages of their pregnancy. For example, shortly after discovering they are pregnant, many women begin to experience "morning sickness." 

Later, as the pregnancy progresses, they realize how much of a toll this new creation is taking on their physical being. Then finally, the day of delivery arrives; the moment has come to bring little "Johnny or Susie" into the world. Suddenly, the joy of childbirth gives way to pain, sorrow, and anguish (John 16:21). The smile that was once on the face of the new mom has been replaced with screams and tears as she brings forth her child in delivery. Labor can't be allowed to go on for too long, or it could do irreparable damage to the mom. Therefore, if the delivery doesn't progress quickly enough, the doctor may determine to take the baby in surgery...causing even more pain and a much longer recovery time for the new mom.

Here's the point to today's word; it will help you hold on during the delivery process...while God is getting you ready to receive your promise. In today's scripture, we read that God's anger is for a moment. His favor is for life. Just as the birthing process doesn't take long, nevertheless, it produces much pain and sorrow for the mom, the same holds true when receiving a promise from God; we sometimes have to endure a short season of sorrow and suffering in preparation for our promise to arrive. 

There're a couple of dynamics taking place here that can help you better understand why suffering may be involved in receiving promises from the Lord. First of all, you're standing in faith on God's Word; and we know that this principle invites spiritual persecution (Mark 4:17). When persecution comes against us because of the Word's sake, it can cause us to back away from believing our promise will soon arrive, since suffering is involved at that point. 

There's another dynamic also at work. It requires us to continue to stand or endure even when the persecution or birth pains begin. In order to withstand and overcome any fleshly weakness that might cause us to abort the process of delivery, we have to continue to persevere by faith. Remember, a promise that is given by God can only be received by faith. Therefore, trials may begin shortly before delivery of a promise; they will try our faith to see if it is genuine. If we should decide that the promise isn't worth the pain or trouble, we may stop believing and give up on our faith. The Holy Spirit does not want us to give up. Hence, He directed me to write this for you today. He said, "It is at the point of breakthrough or delivery that many will stop the birthing process simply because they don't realize that suffering is an integral (essential to complete) part of inheriting the promises of God." 

Just like God's anger is for a moment, but His favor is for life, the season of sorrow is only for a moment compared to the length of time you will have to enjoy the promise. All we want is a promise; however, God wants us to be made complete in Christ through our faith. Consequently, anytime we ask for a blessing from the Lord, He sees it as an opportunity to develop His characteristics in us through our faith. 

Now, let's look at the other side of the "coin." Why do we experience the suffering that is involved when we begin to go into the delivery of our promise from God? It's also found in Mark 4:17. Satan persecutes us in an attempt to discourage us so that we won't push (endure) until the promise comes. The enemy's goal is to talk us into aborting the promise; nevertheless, God will reward us even greater when, in faith, we resist the Devil's temptations and keep on pushing. God gives us the promise in Romans 8 that He will work all things together for our good.

Therefore, if you're standing in faith waiting on a promise from God, and you're experiencing persecution keep pushing, enduring, and holding on in faith. When you hold the manifested promise in your hands, you will have shown your faith to be genuine; and you will have overcome the Devil, which means you have greater spiritual authority as a result of persevering. It is a win, win!

You Can Do All Things through Christ, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Friday, March 8, 2013

Kept Strong by the Word

Deuteronomy 11: 8 - 9, "Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land which you cross over to possess, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the LORD swore to give your fathers, to them and their descendants, 'a land flowing with milk and honey.' NKJV

There is a word from the Lord that has exploded in my heart and spirit that you need to hear. Why do you need to hear it? Like so many in the body of Christ, you have most likely experienced persecution, heartache, and setbacks. These attacks come against us from our adversary the Devil; he sends them to undermine our faith. However, as faith walkers, we do well until we begin to experience heart-wrenching or physical pain. It is when we go through the lowest valleys of life that doubts, fears, unbelief, and hurt will try to talk us out of having faith.

Nevertheless, during the hard seasons of life, we must make a conscious decision, whether to continue walking by faith or to draw back in unbelief. As a pastor, I hear from people around the world who tell me how tough it is for them to live by faith in the times in which we live. As a result, I am strongly compelled by the Holy Spirit to share the truth with you today about where you may be, why you may going through the fire, and what you can do to overcome it.

James tells us that if we will submit to God and resist the Devil, he will flee from us. Even so, in the context of this scripture, James mentions that God gives more grace. Some seasons in life require "more grace" than others, such as a loss of a family member, a career, or a home. The key is to find the strength that you will need in order to ENDURE this trial, overcome it, and continue to walk by faith. 

In today's scripture, you will find the key to living victoriously...even in adversity. God's Word will give us the strength that is needed to confront, endure, and prevail over the trials that come our way in life. If we will keep, obey, and continue in God's Word, then the Word will keep us during the hard seasons of life. God not only wants you to overcome the trials sent to you by Satan; He wants you to be restored and brought into a better season. According to James 1:12, after you have been tried and found faithful, you will be rewarded. Therefore, if there has ever been a "time" in life that the people of God need to know and stand on God's Word, it is now!

It is only when we know and obey the Word of God that we are truly walking and living by faith.  When we choose to live by faith, then God allows us to inherit the promises He has given to us from His Word. You can do this, but you have to do it in God's strength, not in yours. If you're not familiar with the Word of God, let this word challenge you to get in the Bible and then let it get into you. If you're already knowledgeable of God's Word, nevertheless, you haven't applied the Word to your conduct, behavior, or speech; I challenge you to allow the Word to have a place in your heart. Keep it; and it will keep you when the enemy rages against you.

As Moses told the children of Israel, I want to encourage you as well. "Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land which you cross over to possess, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the LORD swore to give your fathers, to them and their descendants, 'a land flowing with milk and honey.'

Be Strong through God's Word Today, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Good Work

Colossians 2: 8 - 10, Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. NKJV

Philippians 1: 3 - 6, I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; NKJV

In Colossians 2, Paul explains that we are complete in Christ. Nevertheless, we learn in Philippians 1 that God is still at work in our hearts and in our lives; He is performing His purpose in us so that we will be able to stand before the Lord complete on the Day of Christ. Even so, if we take both scriptures and place them together, as I have in today's word, it appears as if Paul is contradicting himself. In one letter, we're complete in Christ; however, in the other letter, God is still working on us until we have been made complete.

Why does it seem as though there is a discrepancy in the scriptures? Inconsistencies are seemingly evident when we take scriptures out of their context and take them at face value. So what was Paul really communicating to us about being complete? We know from scripture that Jesus is the only way to the Father. When Jesus offered Himself as atonement for the sin of the world, His gift was accepted by the Father. There is no other "work or offering" that can be brought before God...it is only through Christ's blood that anyone can be saved. Therefore, we are complete in Christ.

On the other hand, God is performing a work in us to bring us into completion (or perfection.) While our salvation in Christ is perfect or complete, we are not. Therefore, God allows us to be tested so that through our faith and patience, we can become complete. We must remember that God isn't angry at us when trials come to test our faith and our hearts...God is examining whether or not we will remain obedient to Him. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord will deliver us out of them all. When we confess that our faith is in Christ, it will be tried in order to reveal if it is genuine. If it is sincere faith, then the plans of Satan and his weapons that are formed against it will fail; and we will be successful in overcoming his evil devices.

Do you remember what God said about Job before his faith was severely tried? God said that there was no one like Job on the earth. He also said that Job was a righteous man, one who fears God and shuns evil. Nevertheless, Satan expressed a different view on the character of Job. Satan told God that if He removed all that he owned, Job would curse God. You can read about Job's response to the trial in the first few chapters of Job. He never sinned against God, nor did he bring accusations against Him. Therefore, the things that Satan spoke about Job's character were false, and what God said about Job was true. Even so, none of this was established in the natural realm until after Job had been tried for nine months. 

The trial of Job PROVED that he was a devout man of faith in God. Likewise, when we, who are in Christ, endure the trials and temptations of this world, and overcome them, it is further proof that our faith is in Christ and not in ourselves. James 1: 12, mentions the principle of being approved by trial. He said, "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been tried (approved), he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."

 According to James, we're blessed when we are tempted, but we do not yield to it. Instead, we conquer it through our faith. Nonetheless, have you noticed that when you tell others you're going through a trial, or that you've been tempted by the world, some will condemn you? Even so, James says, if we will endure the trial or temptation by faith, then we are blessed, not condemned. So why does God allow our faith to be tried? 

There are a few reasons; the first of which is to see whether we will remain obedient to Him in the fire (Deuteronomy 8). Another reason God allows us to go through the fire is to teach us to fear Him with reverential respect (Exodus 20: 18 - 20). If we will fear the Lord and remain obedient through the afflictions of this life, then God will reward us... after we have proven ourselves faithful to Christ. The result of such a process is the development of Godly-character in us so that we become like Christ.

The final reason or motivation as to why God allows us to endure trials is because He loves us. Therefore, He doesn't want us to lose our reverential fear for the Lord and go back into sin. The fear of the Lord will keep us from sin. We're told in Hebrews 12 that God chastens those He loves and scourges every son (daughter) that He receives. Whenever we are chastised by the Lord, it isn't because He is angry at us; it is because He loves us. God loves us enough to correct us when we allow our old fleshly ways to direct our paths. His love never fails! 

 If you would like to hear more on this teaching, you can click on the link provided to hear the sermon, "No Weapon Formed Against You Shall Be Able To Prosper." http://www.cross.tv/95001

Overcoming This World By Faith in Christ,
Pastor Asa Dockery