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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Don't Run When Trouble Comes

John 10: 11 - 13, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep..." NKJV

Every believer should make the choice to serve the Lord's purpose in the earth thereby glorifying Him in their lives and serving as a witness to others. However, we must realize that when we make that commitment to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him, it will come at a price. As a matter of fact, the higher your calling is the higher the price you will have to pay. I am in no way suggesting that you are somehow paying for your salvation; there are many examples in the Bible of where God called people to serve Him, and it was expensive for them. For some, the price was so high that it cost them their lives.

Basically, once you have chosen to accept God's will over your own desires in life, you will have to choose to love Him more than yourself or this world's goods. Just because we decide to love God and to display our love through obedient actions doesn't mean Satan won't try to distract us or cause a diversion in our lives to get us off focus. He will try to threaten us in an attempt to get us to back off in unbelief instead of moving forward in our faith. If the enemy finds something that is effective in our progression in Christ, he will keep using it against us so that we stop obeying the Lord.

Have you made a commitment to Christ to serve and please Him with your life since you have become a Christian? Did you encounter a hardship or an attack of Satan that may have caused you to back off of your commitment? If so, then know that you're not alone. Now that God is dealing with your heart, it is important that you decide to begin moving onward.  

Through the grace of God, the Lord will keep working in your heart; He will begin healing the pain of loss so that you will become strong enough to engage in the good fight of faith again. Once you get to the place where God knows you're ready to advance, He will give you instructions to step out in faith once again. Falling doesn't have to be fatal, but quitting can be. You see; the just shall live by faith, and if anyone draws back in unbelief, the Lord will have no pleasure in them (Hebrews 10).

You may be new in your faith in Christ and afraid to step out; you may have been walking with the Lord a long time and been injured along the way and stepped back. Nevertheless, all of us need to make the decision to set our face like a flint and choose to suffer for Christ so that He will be glorified. We must decide to decrease that Christ might increase in us. God has promised to restore to us the years that the enemy has stolen from us. Come on! Let's walk on the water together.

By the Grace of God, 
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Protection From Deception

Proverbs 4: 20 - 23, My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. NKJV

As believers in Christ, we have been redeemed from the curse of sin and death. Consequently, we must place our faith in this truth without wavering, lest we open the door of our hearts to the enemy. The Word of God not only tells us that our God is just in all His ways, and that He loves us; it also gives us countless examples, which prove He is faithful to His people. If you're wondering why I mention the character of God while teaching on afflictions, allow me to explain. We must arm ourselves with the truth about God so that we will be able to stand when we find ourselves afflicted by Satan. 

Paul teaches us how to be effective in spiritual warfare by putting on the whole armor of God. Therefore, it is crucial that we get into the Word of God and learn about Him and His divine nature. If we don't know intimately the God that we say we believe in, then Satan can use pain and disappointment to find an opening in our armor. Not only do we need to know our God so that we can be strong in battle; we must know what He has said in His Word about us. 

If we should go into a season of affliction and not have a good understanding of God's ways and His nature, then we are susceptible to being hurt. This brings us to the reason for today's word. Once our hearts are wounded by the enemy concerning our faith in God's goodness, we can begin to see things in a different perspective. A perfect example of this is when Satan convinced Eve that God didn't want her to eat of the tree of knowledge because she would be like God. She didn't know God's ways the way she should have. Therefore, she became hurt at God and began to see what was forbidden as something that was favorable for her future.

Eve took on a "wounded spirit" mentality. Consequently, she saw herself as a victim of God's doing. Satan was successful in turning her heart against God without her realizing that Satan was the instigator. When a believer becomes wounded in their heart during a time of battle or affliction, it can cause them to become cynical (distrustful, pessimistic, sarcastic) about God and His Word.  

I can tell when a Christian has been wounded in their heart and has allowed cynicism to replace faith. Instead of them walking in agreement with me as their pastor, or in agreement with the promises of God, or what God's Word declares about them in Christ, they begin to "find fault" with authority and spiritual matters. It is because they have allowed a lying spirit of the enemy to convince them of something that isn't true about God concerning their situation. When a person becomes cynical, they can be easily led down a dark and foreboding path of bitterness and of isolation away from God's presence.  

There is so much that can be taught on this subject. However, I pray that what I've written will help you to guard your heart. If you are hurt, or you experience hurt in the future, be careful that you don't open yourself to believe a lie about God and what He has declared over you as one of His children. One of the signs of believing a lie is a change in your perception of God. God never changes. Therefore, it is us who has changed how we view God. If God be for you, then who can be against you?

Keeping Our Hearts Protected,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Prayer of A Hungry Heart

Psalms 119: 33 - 40, Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord. As long as I live I'll wholeheartedly obey. Make me walk along the right paths, for I know how delightful they really are. Help me to prefer obedience to making money! Turn me away from wanting any other plan than yours. Revive my heart toward you. Reassure me that your promises are for me, for I trust and revere you. How I dread being mocked for obeying, for your laws are right and good. I long to obey them! Therefore in fairness renew my life, for this was your promise-yes, Lord, to save me! Now spare me by your kindness and your love. Then I will have an answer for those who taunt me, for I trust your promises. TLB

There are a whole lot of distractions in the world that can lead us astray from the Lord and into temptation. The key to overcoming the diversions that are sent to you by Satan is to watch for anything that tries to pull you or your heart away from serving the Lord. We're all humans; and on occasion, we can get blindsided by our flesh and become distracted spiritually.

The psalmist teaches us how to guard our hearts from the trappings of our flesh that can cause us to stray from God's path for our life. We must be willing to admit to ourselves, and to the Lord, that we have weaknesses; and we must also pray to the Lord that He will keep us from being led away into temptation through our flesh nature. Our humble heart will show the Lord that we know our weaknesses, and that we desire to walk in His ways and obey His will. It also invites the Lord to be our shield and defense from subtle attacks of the enemy that could cause us to sin against the Lord.

If you haven't already, you will discover that there is a waiting period between your obedience to God and in Him releasing the promise in your life. There is always a season of testing between believing in God and coming to know God beyond any doubt. It is in the waiting seasons of life that we must be on guard against the strategies of the wicked one. It is also during these times that our flesh can become weak and cause us to entertain thoughts concerning giving in to pleasures of this present world.

The psalmist teaches us to be mindful of God's goodness and faithfulness when we find ourselves growing weary while waiting on the Lord. He sought the Lord to keep him from slipping away from loving God more than himself. This prayer is an admirable one for believers to pray. It shows the Lord that we hunger after Him more than we desire to indulge in the world's delicacies. We should love the Lord more than the pleasures of this world.  After all, our existence on this earth isn't about having pleasures; it is about receiving life for our soul so that we can live for God. Do you have a hungry heart for God, but struggle to show that hunger? I pray that this word today will give you the enlightenment that will help you remain true to your convictions and to the Lord. God rewards those who DILIGENTLY seek Him.

Seeking to Be Filled with God's Goodness,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Monday, June 24, 2013

Do Not Despair

Psalms 9: 3 - 14, My enemies will fall back and perish in your presence; you have vindicated me; you have endorsed my work, declaring from your throne that it is good. You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked, blotting out their names forever and ever. O enemies of mine, you are doomed forever. The Lord will destroy your cities; even the memory of them will disappear. But the Lord lives on forever; he sits upon his throne to judge justly the nations of the world. All who are oppressed may come to him. He is a refuge for them in their times of trouble. All those who know your mercy, Lord, will count on you for help. For you have never yet forsaken those who trust in you. Oh, sing out your praises to the God who lives in Jerusalem. Tell the world about his unforgettable deeds. He who avenges murder has an open ear to those who cry to him for justice. He does not ignore the prayers of men in trouble when they call to him for help. And now, O Lord, have mercy on me; see how I suffer at the hands of those who hate me. Lord, snatch me back from the jaws of death. Save me, so that I can praise you publicly before all the people at Jerusalem's gates and rejoice that you have rescued me. TLB

 I can tell you from my own personal battles that it is easy to give into despair and lose all hope when you find yourself overwhelmed by your enemies. Even so, I encourage you not to lose hope when you're facing a storm because God has kept you; and He will keep you until this season has passed. Remember, we're in a spiritual battle, and we must resist the enemy's attacks and threats by standing in faith on God's promises. 

The Lord compelled me to write today's word to you from Psalms 9 as confirmation that He hasn't abandoned you. If you're in a terrible season, it WILL come to an end. Apparently, you have had to face some situations; people have obviously shaken your peace and perhaps your faith. Nonetheless, you must not allow despair to cause you to be moved from trusting in the Lord. God is faithful, and He will keep you in times of trouble; and when the difficulty has ended, God will move those who seek to destroy you far from you. 

Satan will use people and harsh situations to try to get us to lose heart or faith in God. Nevertheless, we must not give in to his threats or lies. If you allow the enemy to move you, let it be into the Lord's presence. We need to remain in the presence of God; however, we especially need to be there when we find ourselves in a vulnerable place, and our faith is giving way to fear and doubt.

It's one thing to face danger; nonetheless, it's an even greater threat when we find ourselves in a spiritual place where we are giving our hearts over to despair. The Lord wants you to know today that He is still with you; and He will bring you out of this, if you continue to hold on to Him and the Word of God. The One who watches over us neither slumbers nor sleeps, and He is faithful to keep us from harm.  

If you're on the verge of losing all hope, and you're about to give in to the spirit of fear, please consider this devotion as a direct word from the Lord to you. It is confirmation that you can hold on until this season is over. The Lord loves you and wants to show you His love through this word. We are told in Romans 10: 17 that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The Word of God is spiritual food, and His presence is the spiritual strength your soul needs to face another day with hope. When God is with you, it's not over; it's only the beginning of a new season in Christ. We're being changed from glory to glory into the image of Christ. 

If you know that this was God's Word to you today, will you contact us so that we can pray for you? You can email your prayer request to prayer@whcnorth.org. You can mail us at WHCN, P.O. Box 968, Morganton, Ga. 30560. 

The One Who Called You Is Faithful,
Pastor Asa Dockery 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Holy Nation of Kings and Priests

Exodus 19 : 5 - 8, Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel." So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the LORD commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do." So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. NKJV

In Christ, we have been made a nation of kings and priests unto our God. It is God and not man who has ordained us to be raised up above all people. However, in order to grasp fully what it means to be a holy nation of kings and priests, we have to look to God's Word for clarity. 

Since the fall, man has struggled with both pride and insecurity. In fact, it was pride and a haughty look that caused man to fall. (Proverbs 16: 18) Even so, it was also caused by the sense of insecurity that Satan found in Eve's heart. (Genesis 3) Satan convinced Eve that she lacked one thing... to be like her God. He proceeded to tell her that if she ate of the tree of knowledge, she would become like God, knowing good and evil. 

As children of God, we must guard our hearts from comparing ourselves to someone else lest we fall into the traps of Satan. Unfortunately, this not only happened to Eve; it also happened to God's holy people, Israel. Even though God had ordained Israel to be above all the people of the earth so that He could display His love, mercy, and goodness through them, they didn't see themselves in the same way. They wanted to be like other nations who had their own king.

When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, He reiterated what God had spoken through Moses...we are a holy people before the nations of the world. He didn't use like vernacular; nonetheless, the meaning is the same. He declared over us in Matthew 5 that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. This sounds a lot like an exalted people to me.  

Jesus also said that we are a city that is set on a HILL that cannot be hidden. God didn't raise Israel up, nor did He raise us up as new covenant believers to show how good we are. He has raised us to show the world how good He is to us. Jesus instructed us to let our lights shine in such a way that men will see our good works and glorify our heavenly Father. However, in order for us to bring glory to the Lord, we will have to carry out God's will and not our own desires. This is what is implied when God ordained us to be kings and priests. He wants to raise us up in the world so that others can learn about our God and come to faith in His Son, Jesus.

In spite of God's desire to promote Israel as His very own nation of kings and priests, they chose to be like other nations. They wanted to have a king to rule over them. Israel had fallen prey to their personal foolish desires and insecurities, which caused them to reject their God and His blessings on them. If you read 1 Samuel 8, you will see what the nation of Israel was willing to subject themselves to in order to have their very own king.  

As Christians, we must be very careful that we don't fall into the same trap as Israel and desire to be more like the world instead of serving God. It's time for the people of God, who have forsaken their kingdom assignment and identity for the pleasures of this world, to return to their first love. We must be about our Father's business; we must humble ourselves under His mighty hand so that He can exalt us in due season. God has created us in Christ Jesus to rule in heavenly places. However, Satan will try to seduce us to serve his agenda instead. Are you a Christian? Are you serving God's will for your life in Christ or are you serving yourself? The Lord tells us in Deuteronomy to choose life so that we and our descendants might live and possess our inheritance.  

Serving Christ by Serving Others,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Hebrews 10: 35 - 36, Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: NKJV

As children of God, we must learn how to obey both God's voice and His commandments. We're told in Hebrews 5 that even Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered. Why do you suppose obedience is so important to God? Today's scripture gives us one of the most important reasons. Our heavenly Father works His good pleasure in our lives through the principle of faith. Therefore, God has given us His Word in "seed" form. If we place our faith in His Word and obey His will, God has promised to bless us with His promises.

If we ignore God's Word or His will for our lives, then He can't release His promises to us. This principle brings us to the point of today's devotion: has the Lord instructed you to obey Him in an area, and you, for whatever reason, have put off doing it? All Words from God have a season; and some of them have a small window of opportunity to be obeyed? Consequently, if we should procrastinate past the season that was given for a particular Word from the Lord, we will have allowed unbelief to cause us to miss our harvest of blessing from that Word.

Do you have remorse or regret in your life over past opportunities when God told you to obey, but you ignored His voice? I certainly have; and many in the Bible did as well. Nevertheless, through much suffering, I have come to realize that obedience is far better than living with heartache and regret. When the Lord instructs us to obey Him, and it seems hard at the time, remember that God desires to bring a blessing or harvest in your life; however, He must have your cooperation. Even so, He loves to challenge us in the areas of our lives where the flesh nature is most dominate. As He instructs us, and we step out in faith, His Word goes to work in our hearts to cut away the power of our flesh nature that has kept us from living in the blessings of the Lord. 

Let me leave you today with an example of procrastination that turned into quick obedience through much longsuffering. Abram, the father of the faith was instructed by the Lord to leave his father's house and all his kindred and go to a land that God would show him. Abram left as God commanded; however, he brought Lot, his nephew with him. This is called partial-obedience for those who keep score. Nevertheless, in God's eyes, it is still unbelief and disobedience. After twenty-four years, Abraham left Lot behind and walked on with God. As a result, approximately one year later, Sarah gave birth to Isaac, the son of PROMISE. 

In Genesis 22, after these things had transpired, God tested Abraham's obedience once more. God told Abraham to take his only son and offer him on a mountain that He would show him. The Bible tells us that after God spoke to Abraham and gave him specific instructions, he got up EARLY the next day and obeyed. Abraham learned through much suffering the cost of disobedience. However, he also learned the blessing of obedience. As Christians, we must come to the place in our walk of faith where we understand the blessing of obedience, and we arise quickly. If the Lord is prompting you to obey, and you haven't, ask Him right now to give you the power to submit so that you will receive His promises. 

Learning Faithfulness,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

CROSSing Over

Matthew 10: 34 - 39,  "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.' He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. NKJV

Whenever you and I became a believer in Christ, we made a decision to become one with Him. Paul tells us in Philippians 2 that Christ humbled Himself and became a man. After He was flesh, Jesus chose to suffer the death of the cross that He might redeem fallen man from sin. If He has redeemed us from sin and called us "out" of the world so that we can become one with Him in the Spirit, then we must obey His will. 

Jesus, the Son of God, became flesh for one reason, that He might be our Kinsmen Redeemer (the book of Ruth). After the resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven and received His gloried body (John 20).  Now that He has risen from the dead, Jesus is no longer flesh. God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and truth. Therefore, as believers and imitators of Christ, we're not to live according to the desires or ways of this world. We must be willing to die (our cross) to the flesh and it desires.

I have found that it is far easier to make an initial commitment to Christ than it is to carry out that commitment. We make commitments to become one with Christ in "good faith," but when God requires us to keep that commitment in our lives and not only in our hearts, He gives us the grace to embrace the change. As we become one with Christ in the spirit, we must be willing to love the things in this world less. In today's verses, we can see that Jesus requires us to LOVE HIM MORE. If we should choose to love this world more than Him, then we're not worthy of Him. Therefore, if the Lord has asked something of you that requires sacrifice from you, you must be willing to die to that relationship, status, or possession in order to become changed. After you have obeyed, you will receive more of His power and experience more of His love. God doesn't change, but as we allow Him to change us, it allows us to receive and experience more of Him. 

Has the Lord asked something of you that you find difficult to let go of or give up for Him? If so, you're in good company. John the Baptist came to a point in his walk where he had decided to decrease so that Christ might increase. We must also decide, as John did, to decrease in our flesh in order for Christ to increase in our hearts and lives. Here's a hint: God ALWAYS has blessing and increase in mind when He asks something of us. He rewards those who diligently seek Him, especially if it costs us everything we love.

Losing the World but Gaining Heaven,
Pastor Asa

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fulfilling Your Divine Purpose

Ephesians 2 : 10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. NKJV 

Do you seek to live the life that God has planned for you as a Christian? Do you seek to please Him by your faith? One day, all Christians will stand before the Judgment seat of Christ and give an account for the way they chose to live their lives on earth. Please continue to read. It's not that Christ is lining us up before Him to condemn us, but rather His desire is to reward us for a job well done. The only ones who'll be ashamed before Him will be those who chose not to obey the Father's will. (Matthew 7: 21)

Paul tells us in the text for today that God has created us in Christ for good works that we SHOULD walk in them. If God has laid out the road map, and we follow that map by faith, then we will end up at the correct destination. However, if we should attempt to stray from the preset coordinates, we won't please the Father.  

How do we please the Father? Hebrews 11: 6 says that without faith, no one can please (or come to agreement with) the Father. Romans 10: 17 says that faith comes by hearing. So when you and I hear the voice of the Father and do what He commands of us as His children, we please (or agree with) His will and fulfill the plan for our life.  

Here is an example of pleasing the Father by faith. In Genesis 1, God is speaking out of His mouth in heaven those things He desires to see on earth. As God speaks from heaven, the Holy Spirit, who is hovering on the earth, empowers the Word and fulfills the plan that was previously spoken from heaven. When God sees on earth what He has willed in heaven, then He declares at the end of the day that it was good. 

We were created in Christ unto good works that we should walk in them. The only way to fulfill God's plan for your life and walk in agreement with Him is to hear His voice and do as He directs you. This is exactly what Jesus did while He was on the earth. He listened to His Father and obeyed His will on earth; it pleased the Father, and He accepted Jesus' sacrifice at the end of His life. Now God has greatly rewarded Jesus by giving Him authority in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.

If you're a Christian, but don't know the will of God for your life, then let me leave you with a passage that will help you discover His will for you.

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

Seeking the Father, 
Pastor Asa

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Obedience Brings Promotion

John 15: 14 - 16, You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. NKJV

There are Christians, and then there are obedient Christians. Jesus teaches that if we discipline ourselves to follow His will and not our own, it affects how He views us. Consequently, do you seek the Lord so that you might know and do His will in your life? Are you a disciple of God's Word? And do you allow it to be the standard by which you live your life? If so, then Jesus sees you as His friend. 

In America, we have within our government an organization called the Central Intelligence Agency. This group of people handles some of the most classified and sensitive information concerning our national security. However, as important as this information is to our public defense, it doesn't even compare to the wisdom that Jesus reveals to those who obey His will in their lives. Doesn't the Bible teach us that except the Lord watch over the city, the watchmen stay awake in vain? If we should be so consumed with temporal knowledge that we make no time or effort for serving Jesus, what will it profit us eternally? Absolutely nothing!

Jesus' desire is that we, His disciples be obedient to His voice and His calling, thereby fulfilling His divine purpose in and through our lives. As we are faithful to Him, He will begin to reveal His hidden wisdom and secret plans to us. It is vitally important that Christians learn to be obedient to the Lord. Our submission will allow Him to have greater influence in the direction of the affairs of all men. 

When we are well-trained in our obedience, Jesus will see that we are raised to places of prominence. For example, God revealed to Joseph in the book of Genesis the interpretation to Pharaoh's dream. Therefore, as a result of having divine insight, Pharaoh exalted Joseph over both the economy and the plan that carried Egypt and the Jews through seven years of famine.

It's high time for us as the people of God to set our affections on things above and not on the earth. We need to be about our Father's business; we must allow Him to use us as SALT and LIGHT so that this world might be preserved from corrupt men. You may see yourself as insignificant. Nevertheless, all you need is to be obedient and faithful to God. He will take care of the rest. Who knows? You might just be the next Esther or Nehemiah that God uses to deliver His people. 

May we all lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us and let us run the race that God has set before us with great joy and endurance. Jesus desires to call us His friend.

Serving His Purpose,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Salvation Requires Trust in God

John 3 : 14 - 16, And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. NKJV

Do all Christians fully understand what it means to be "saved?" Jesus, Himself tells us that in order to receive everlasting life, we must place our faith in Him. To have faith in someone means that you trust them with something that is personally precious or valuable. When we say that we trust in Jesus for our soul's salvation, it is with the understanding that He is the only hope of having eternal life. 

The result of completely trusting in God or knowing God beyond all doubt, fear, or unbelief is to have peace in our heart. Therefore, we must question whether we possess the trust and peace that are necessary to be sure about our eternal destination? If we do, then we understand salvation and have arrived at a place of peace in our relationship with Christ where we can now rest. However, if you still struggle over your eternal security in Christ, then you haven't yet learned to trust God completely. Consequently, God has me writing this word of encouragement to you so that you might learn how to both develop trust in God for salvation and have peace in your soul.

Let me give you a couple of natural examples that can help bring clarity to the subject of eternal salvation: Someone is swimming in a pool or a body of water. Something happens, and they begin to drown; if someone rescues them, we call this, "saving his or her life." Someone is involved in a car accident, and their lives are placed in danger because of injuries sustained in the crash; if the first responders are able to keep them alive until they can get proper medical assistance, we can also call this "saving his or her life." 

Even so, Jesus came to deliver or save us from being a prisoner of sin. When He died on the cross and descended into hell, He took back the keys of death and hell and stripped Satan of his authority over mankind. Remember, Jesus didn't die just for Christians; He gave His life for the entire world.

Have you encountered some trials since you believed in Jesus as your personal Savior? If so, then, please don't consider it a strange thing that your faith has been tried. Now that you have placed faith in Jesus to save your soul, it is His responsibility to save you from the storms of life and the attacks of Satan that are launched against you. It is through the fiery trials and storms of life that we learn how to trust in the faithfulness of God to deliver us out of all our afflictions. The trials that you and I face as believers in Christ prepare us to trust in the Lord with full assurance concerning our eternal salvation from death, hell, and the grave.

You may think what I am teaching today seems foreign or strange, but can I tell you it is scripture? Romans 8:28 reads, "God will work all things together for good to them who love God and are the called according to His purpose." Since God is with you during the storms and trials of life, He can transform the situations we face into builders of faith. Consequently, He is teaching us to trust in His wisdom and grace, and not in ourselves. 

The lesson we must learn when we find ourselves in "a situation" is to be still and keep our eyes on Jesus. We have to turn to the Lord for wisdom, direction, and His timing on the decisions that need to be made that will lead us through and out of the trials. Relying fully on the Lord's help will teach us to trust Him; and the trust we gain will cause us to know Him at a deeper level. As a result of trusting in the Lord during the storms, instead of running in fear or unbelief, we will be much stronger spiritually. You can do all things through Christ, who gives you the strength.

My Help Comes From the Lord,
Pastor Asa

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Day I Was Thrown Into the Furnace

Daniel 3: 16 - 18, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He ill deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up." NKJV

Let me introduce myself; my name is Hananiah. However, you may already know me as Shadrach. The other day, while I was serving the king in my province in Babylon, I was summoned to the king's palace. Every official and every leader of the Babylonian empire was, likewise, made to appear before the king to hear a new declaration about an image that the King had built. 

As we stood around waiting for the appearance of King Nebuchadnezzar, I wondered what the purpose of this vast conclave of leaders was. Almost immediately, I saw the king and his herald enter the court yard. Everyone was gathered with considerable anticipation awaiting the news that brought them there that day. Then, the king made a decree that as the music was played, everyone, including us leaders, had to bow down before the great image and pay homage to it. You can probably imagine the thoughts and feelings that began to rush through my mind and heart as I heard this blasphemous announcement. 

The herald declared to the enormous crowd that if anyone should decide not to give honor to the golden image when the music sounded, they would be taken immediately and thrown into the furnace. At that moment, I made a life-changing decision, "I will not bow to that image." You see; I am a Jew, and our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has commanded us to place no other god before Him. Consequently, I must obey my God's command.
Later, that very same day, the music began to play throughout Babylon. Nevertheless, I didn't bow down and worship this false god. Even though I was seen by some Chaldeans, no one said anything to me about my defiance of the king's decree. Perhaps I would be excused since I had already found favor with the king when he made me a leader in his empire? 

When I heard the music sound throughout the region, I didn't think twice about my decision not to worship a dead idol. However, I knew that such a controversial determination could very well cost me my life; nonetheless, I didn't flinch. A few days later, as I was busy fulfilling my duties, I was, once again called into the presence of the king. When I arrived at the palace, I saw the same men from Chaldea, who knew that I didn't bow down in worship. As I was being brought before the king, I noticed the men pointing at me as they spoke to the king.

As I stood before him, the king rose up and was filled with rage. He asked me if I was going to worship the image or choose to be thrown into the furnace. I have to admit that some feelings of doubt filled my heart. "Would my God deliver me from this fiery furnace, or would I perish in the flames for standing up for what I believe?" I didn't see God's presence; it seemed as if I was standing alone in my decision, but somehow I knew that He was right there with me because a calm assurance filled my heart. I replied to the king. "I won't bow to this image that you have commanded us to worship."

I went on to tell the mighty king that my God would deliver me from the fiery furnace; and nevertheless, even if He didn't, He would deliver me from the king's hand. In response to my answer to him, the king became enraged against me. He commanded the furnace to be heated seven times greater than before. The king's attendants took me and bound my hands and feet. As the doors to the furnace flung open, the men who were going to throw me into the flames were immediately incinerated. As I fell into the flames, I was amazed to see that my God was standing in the flames with me. God had allowed me to make the decision to trust Him. However, He didn't appear until I was thrown completely into the furnace. 

Today, you may be facing a situation that is similar to the one I had to confront. Consequently, you may be wondering whether God will deliver you out of it or walk with you through it. I can tell you first-hand that our God is faithful. He is in complete control of your life. Nevertheless, He wants you to trust Him with the outcome. When you give your life and care into His hands and take the first step into the "furnace," you will begin to sense His presence as He fills the place you are in today. 

I found it very perplexing that even though the flames didn't burn my flesh or clothes, they did burn off the bindings that had been placed on my hands and feet. When it was all over, Satan tried to tell me the flames didn't exist; however, I reminded him that they were real enough to consume the mighty men who threw me into the furnace and real enough to burn up the restraints that kept me bound. Consequently, the flames that were meant to destroy me were used by my God to destroy those things that had me bound. I found myself walking around and praising God in the midst of this furnace because He had shown Himself faithful to me in my greatest hour of need.

Jesus teaches us in Matthew 16: 25 - 26, For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to 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

Trusting God in All Things,
Pastor Asa

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Value Of Patience

Hebrews 10 : 36, For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. KJV

When a woman conceives, typically she must wait forty weeks for the fetus to develop, and then she can deliver her child. The writer of Hebrews touches on this principle in his letter to the Jews. Every promise in the Word of God has conditions attached to them. We know this to be true because God told Israel, and Jesus told His disciples and all those who believed on His name that if they would obey, they would be blessed.

However, there's more to receiving promises than just obeying the requirements that come with a given promise. We must also have patience that we might wait for the manifestation of the promise(s) in our lives. Generally speaking, the fulfillment of a promise on our behalf is what we're seeking, but God desires us to be willing to wait. Have you ever wondered why God operates on a different time-table than us? Martha told Jesus that He was four days late; Jesus told her that according to God's clock, He was on-time.

Why is patience being perfected in our lives so important to God? Jesus tells us in Luke 21:19, By your patience possess your souls. We can become so consumed by our natural needs that we lose sight of the importance of maintaining a healthy soul. Remember the Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostle John, and the apostle wrote, "Beloved I would that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers." Since we're more concerned over our needs and God is more concerned about the condition of our souls, there is a struggle that comes as a consequence of this dichotomy.  

Since our soul is won or lost based on our patience, God esteems patience many times over the comfort of our flesh that wants everything "now." So how do you suppose God has chosen to produce patience in His people so that we're willing to endure by faith until the end? 

James 1 : 2 - 4, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. NKJV

Do you find it difficult to count it all joy when trials come against you and your family? When trials come into a Christian's life, they will require trust in God and humility before Him. When we are patient in our trials, it shows the Lord that we, indeed, trust Him. As we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and wait for His delivering hand to bring us out of the trial and restore us from the hurt and loss that occurred, our patience will mature our character.

The difference between a mature Christian and an immature one is patience. The trying of our faith produces patience, but patience matures us as the children of God. So the next time you lose your patience, remember this; "THERE'S A TRIAL FOR THAT."

Patiently Waiting on God,
Pastor Asa

Thursday, June 6, 2013

We Will Believe Him

Matthew 27: 41 - 43, Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'" NKJV

Don't you find it amazing and at the same time very perplexing how the spiritual leaders witnessed all that Jesus did in forty-two short months, yet refused to believe that He was the Christ? These supposed "men of God" were so filled with unbelief that it caused them to disregard the greatness and validity of Jesus' works. These "holy men" showed nothing but distain and contempt for Jesus, yet they were willing to say that if Jesus would come off of the cross in response to their demand, they would believe Him to be the Son of God.

We can see through both the hearts and words of the voices that mocked Jesus that day how unbelief negatively affects the human heart. Unbelief, if we allow it to rule our hearts, can cause us to become cynical toward God. The people that ridiculed Jesus that day weren't interested in coming to faith in Him as Christ, but simply used this moment of vulnerability to spiritually persecute and oppress Him.

Doesn't it almost sound "noble" of them to offer Jesus the chance for Him to "win" them over to faith if He would just come down off of the cross? Why do you suppose Jesus ignored the "cries" of those who said they would "believe" if He would do this one act of pleasing them? Let's think this offer through for a moment. If Jesus had submitted to the will of a few men who were taunting Him, He would not have fulfilled the Father's will and pleased the wrath of God against fallen man. In other words, you and I would have no case before God. After death, every person that has ever been born would spend eternity separated from their Creator in torment. Aren't you glad that Jesus ignored a few voices so that He could save countless souls from an eternity of torment, and so that He could give us eternal life? Let me leave you with this final thought for today.

Acts 1: 3, ...He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. NKJV

We can see that Jesus remained in Jerusalem for forty days after His passion. He showed His disciples and those who would believe that He was alive and that He was indeed the CHRIST, the Son of the living God. However, here's the point you must catch today.

Acts 2 : 22 - 25, "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know -- Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. NKJV

The very same men that mocked Jesus on the cross and saw His mighty miracles, the very ones who said, "If you be the Christ come down from the cross and we will believe you," were now persecuting His disciples. In other words, they lied to Jesus while He was on the cross. We know this because Jesus not only came down from the cross, but He also came up from the grave after being dead for three days...and they "still" did not believe Him. Tell me, which would make a greater impact on you if you were a sinner seeking salvation? To see Jesus pull the nails out of the wood that held Him to the cross and come down or to see Jesus alive for forty days after you watched Him be placed dead in a tomb for three days?

Unbelief refuses to believe in Jesus as being the Christ, the Son of God. Therefore, we must make a choice to place faith in Jesus. We must not try to get Him to prove Himself to us. It's all about trust.

Trusting in the Lord,
Pastor Asa

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Humility and Repentance

Psalms 103: 8 - 10, The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. NKJV

The mercies of God are new every day. This is a good thing because humans are known to be repeat offenders. Isn't it great to know that we have a heavenly Father, who understands our weaknesses and faults? It's always encouraging and uplifting to read or hear about the goodness and mercy of God, but sometimes it can be hard to hear the requirements that God has for those who love Him. Doesn't Jesus require those of us who love Him to demonstrate our love by keeping His commandments? The gift of salvation is free, but once we become born again (redeemed from our sin debt), God has a purpose for our lives.

Our God is a merciful God; He loves sinners and broken people, but He is also a holy God, who hates sin. A God is merciful and kind toward us as sinners, He still requires us to repent of our sins and faults so that He can forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  

There's a story in Genesis about a man who killed his brother and asked God to have mercy "after" God had pronounced his sentence. God granted him mercy, but we don't see anywhere in the story where the man repented.

Genesis 4: 10 - 15, And He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth." And Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me." And the LORD said to him, "Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him. NKJV

While reading the above scripture, did you notice that Cain told God that his punishment was more than he could bear? Did you see the heart of God change toward Cain after he had pled his case? God granted him mercy because Cain asked for mercy. Why do you suppose God would grant an evil, murderous person mercy when he didn't repent of the sin that he had committed? Even though Cain had not repented of murdering his brother, he still had humbled himself (at least in this one area) by asking for God's mercy. God will not place more on us than we are able to bear. Therefore, Cain received the mercy he had asked God to give.

The accounts in the New Testament where Cain is mentioned show him as being evil. However, we must be careful not to jump too hastily and condemn Cain, lest we condemn ourselves. Didn't God look beyond our faults and send Jesus to die for our sins before we had an opportunity to repent? Even though God has granted us mercy instead of condemning all of mankind to eternal condemnation, we are still required to ask for forgiveness and to follow that request with a change of heart. (REPENTANCE)  

Cain did receive mercy that day because God is merciful, but Cain didn't seek nor did he receive forgiveness for his sins. When God addressed Cain about his evil deeds, Cain did exactly what his father Adam did, he denied his sin. God won't always strive with us should we choose to ignore His forgiveness by not admitting our wrong doing and repenting of it before Him. If you have wronged someone and have committed a sin, but you haven't repented for it, then make things right. Today is the day of salvation through God's forgiveness and restoration. Confess what you have done before Him and ask Him to forgive you, and He will give you a clean heart. Not only will God grant you mercy, but He will also forgive you and He will wipe away every guilty stain with the precious blood of His Son through repentance.  

Pastor Asa

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Lord Is Our Helper

Genesis 3: 9 - 10, Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." NKJV 

When the Lord God came to fellowship with Adam, He soon discovered that sin had entered the heart of man. Even though God knew that Adam and Eve had sinned, He still didn't jump to conclusions and pass judgment against them. Instead, the Lord began to question Adam as to how he knew that he was naked. God didn't bring up the word "SIN," but asked him if he had eaten of the tree of knowledge. You and I both know that God wasn't ignorant of the sin in Adam's heart. However, the Lord was giving Adam a chance to take responsibility for his own actions.

This account of the fall of man into sin gives us a glimpse into our own hearts and carnal nature. Take notice that once man had sinned, he became afraid of God. Adam and Eve were so fearful of their actions that they tried to hide it from God. Here is the contrast between God and us: On one hand, God is patiently working with Adam and Eve trying to get them to confess their sins and repent. On the other hand, sin had so filled their hearts with fear that they were too WEAK to face the truth about what they had done.

God never stopped loving and reaching out to man, but the fear that sin produced in their hearts (and ours) causes us to become blind to God's goodness and grace.  Sometimes when we're forced to face the truth about our own faults and sins, it may seem easier for us to run. When the opportunity to sin arises in our hearts, the Lord will convict His children about hidden sin as He did with Adam. If you find yourself struggling with being faced with the truth about sin in your heart and life today, but out of fear you're hiding it from God, let me share some good news with you.

Remember, the Lord didn't force the truth on Adam. Instead, He asked him some questions? He wants us to trust Him and not fear Him when we have unconfessed sin in our life. Our trust will enable the Holy Spirit to begin the reconciliation process in our heart. Fear that is left unchecked can cause us to resist the goodness of the Lord, which leads us to repentance. The decision to trust God is the first step toward humility and becoming broken over our sin. At this point, you are submitting God and resisting the Devil. Therefore, the stronghold of sin will begin to crumble from your heart. Now you are in a position to receive strength from the Lord, our help in times of trouble, to confess your faults and receive the forgiveness of God. It's a great comfort to know that God loves us, even when we miss the mark. He shows us His goodness instead of judgment. It is even greater to experience His forgiveness once we confess our faults and turn from our wicked ways.

Jesus teaches us in John 15 that apart from Him, we can do nothing. When Paul realized that he had sin in his heart in Romans 7, he also realized that apart from Christ, he was just a hopeless wretch. I share those two references with you to encourage you with this final point. You and I have no strength to face the truth of who we are and what we have done apart from the strength of Christ. Therefore, when the Holy Spirit reveals sin that is residing in our heart, if we will simply humble ourselves, then He (JESUS our Helper) will give us the strength to walk in the truth. Furthermore, we will have the courage through our obedience to face it. This is called God's amazing GRACE. His strength is made complete in our weakness. To access God's grace, we must humble ourselves and agree with His will. The Lord is your Helper today. You can lean on Him.  

Standing Still, 
Pastor Asa

Monday, June 3, 2013

Victory Is Sweet

Hebrews 2 : 14 - 16, Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. NKJV

It has been said by someone that sin doesn't die; nevertheless, we are to die to sin. Long before God made man, sin entered creation through the prideful heart of Lucifer, who became Satan after his fall. Satan is the originator of sin.

When God placed man in the garden, He warned Adam not to eat of the tree of knowledge, lest he die. However, Adam and Eve allowed sin to enter the hearts of men; because of their disobedient actions, sin was now "living" in them. Even though Adam refused to confess his sin to God, he was conscious of the shame and guilt of it. We know this because Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of God when He approached them.

When God asked Adam if he had sinned, it was the deceitfulness of sin that kept Adam silent and in denial. If we don't confess our sin to God, it will keep us in bondage as well. We are commanded in the Word of God to confess our sins before the Lord first, and then we are to turn away from them.   

However, many people fall into the trap of condemnation over the sin that is living in their hearts and manifesting in their lives. As a result of the condemnation, they try to stop sinning in their own power. You must remember that sin doesn't die; it is us who's flesh nature has to die in order to overcome sin's strangling hold. It was for this reason that God sent Jesus into the world to die for our sin. Since Jesus had no sin in His heart, nor was any deceit in His mouth, He didn't have to die TO SIN; instead, He had the power to die FOR OUR SIN.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus told His disciples that if they desired to be His disciples, they would first have to deny self, take up their cross, and follow His example. Jesus knew that each disciple had to come to a place in their walk of faith where they would have to choose to die to the old life of sin. We, too, as Christ's disciples have to make the same decision to die to sin that we might live unto God. Until believers choose to die so that they can live, they won't have the power to quit sinning. If we could stop ourselves from sinning without the power of Christ in us and working through us, then He died in vain. We are to submit to God, resist the Devil, and then he will depart from us.

In other words, we must first honor God in our hearts. It is through our honor of the Lord and His authority in our hearts, that He can give us the victory over the sin in our lives.

In God's kingdom, if you desire to receive, you must first give. If you desire to be exalted, you must first become humble. If you long to live apart from sin, you must first die to the sin nature by the Spirit of God. Victorious living in the kingdom of God will cause us to suffer for a little while, but the liberty we experience afterwards will be well worth the pain.

Dying to Live,
Pastor Asa Dockery