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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Desiring More Of God’s Presence

Psalms 24 : 3 – 5, Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. NKJV

The purpose of today’s word is to call your attention to the privilege of having the presence of God in and on our lives. Paul tells us in Acts 17 that in Christ, we live, and move, and have our being. There are many great and wonderful blessings that God bestows upon us daily, which enable us to live and to prosper. Nevertheless, there is no greater blessing in our lives than being able to experience the very presence of God.

As I was thinking about the subject of God’s presence, a thought came to me in prayer. Which is worse, being born under the time of the law and not being allowed to enter into the holiest of Holies as a worshiper, or being born under the time of grace, where we have full access to God’s presence, but have no desire to enter? All believers have been granted a valuable treasure. We have the ability to come into the presence of God, who created us and has redeemed us from the curse of the law of sin and death.

Now that we see the favor and love of God… that He would grant us passage into His holy presence to commune with Him, what kind of life should we live? There’s one thing about entering into the presence of a holy and all-knowing God. If our conscience hasn’t been purged through the blood of Jesus, then guilt will manifest in the Lord’s presence. Therefore, we must choose to honor the gift of God’s presence in such a way that we conduct ourselves the same way in the world that we would while in the secret place of God.

The psalmist wrote that only those who have clean hands and a pure heart can ascend the holy hill of God, and then be able to stand in His holy presence. Through our faith in the work of Christ on the cross, we are made righteous in God’s sight. Because of our faith in Christ, God has granted us the grace to enter into the holiest of Holies (His presence). Although we are counted righteous in God’s sight through our faith in Christ, we must also choose to live righteously, so that we can have the boldness to approach God’s throne in prayer or worship.

The Lord is drawing His people back to Himself. What does that mean? He’s calling us (His children) back to living a life that is dedicated and consecrated to the principles of Christ. Consecration simply means that we are devoted to living for the sole purpose of pleasing God both in His holy place and in the world.

As we commit ourselves to living holy before the Lord, His presence will go with us into the world. Instead of ascending the holy hill of God, we will become carriers of God’s holy presence, just as Jesus did while He walked on earth. Jesus has commanded us to be salt and light to the world.

Even if you are currently living a devoted life to Christ, allow the Holy Spirit to use this message to challenge you to seek the Lord at a greater level in your pursuit of Christ. Remember, we are being changed from faith to faith, and from glory to glory. Just because we are passionate for Christ today doesn’t mean that God wants us to settle at that place, and grow stagnate. We must follow Him continually and passionately until we cross the finish line.

Seeking His Presence,
Pastor Asa Dockery

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Got Hope?

Hebrews 11 : 1, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

How is your thought life? Are you hopeful or are you experiencing discouragement? It seems when things are going well, folks tend to be very hopeful about their future. Nevertheless, when life takes a turn for the worse, and you can’t see a way out of your dilemma, hope can be very hard to hold on to. Perhaps you have been in a tough place, and all hope seems to be lost. Before you give up on life or God, let me share some truths with you from God’s Word.

Proverbs 13 : 12 tells us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life.” It matters greatly where you and I place our hope. In what or whom are you placing your hope today? We must not place too much emphasis on hope and consequently, lose focus of our purpose for having faith in our hearts. As the scripture states concerning hope being deferred: it can make our hearts sick. If “heart sickness” is happening in your life today, it may produce all types of negative thoughts and emotions. This is why we’re instructed in Proverbs 4 : 23 “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

The Word of God teaches us that when we are hit with hard situations and negative events that try to shape our perspective on life, we must guard our hearts from negativity. Solomon teaches us under the direction of the Holy Spirit that issues will spring from our hearts if we leave it unprotected. Therefore, keep your heart from becoming sick by utilizing the power of faith to support your hope.

Hope by itself has the power to sustain us. Even so, after a while, we can lose hope and be thrown into a downward spiral. What is the answer to this problem? It’s found in the scripture that I opened this column with today. Hope needs to be supported by a foundation (something greater than it), especially during trying times. There is such a thing as blind faith…where you know absolutely nothing about the outcome of a particular situation, but you continue to believe anyway. Then, there is biblical faith! This is faith that has been produced in your heart through prayer with your heavenly Father.

Take a few minutes and read all of Hebrews 11. You will see plenty of examples of ordinary people who, in prayer, received specific instructions from the Lord and then acted on their faith. This is true biblical faith at its best. Have you invested significant time in prayer about your current situation, or are you relying on hope alone? Allow me to give you an example of how biblical faith works, so that you’re not just hoping; you will have a sense of “knowing” what the outcome is going to be.

When God called Moses to lead His people out of the land of bondage (Egypt), the Lord told Moses about a land He was going to give to His people. God went on to tell Moses that this land of promise would flow with milk and honey. God also said the land would have houses they didn’t build, wells they didn’t dig, and vineyards they didn’t plant. However, since the Jews, nor Moses had ever been in the land of promise, they had to take God’s Word by faith.

One day, Moses sent spies into the Promised Land to see if it was as God had told them. When the spies returned, they brought back fruit from the land that confirmed what God had promised them. In other words, they had evidence (fruit) to confirm their faith and support their hope. It wasn’t blind faith. Once faith is released in your heart through prayer, it will fuel your hope. If you’re in a hard season, then seek the Lord until faith fills your heart. You will be able to move forward by God’s strength until the answer comes to pass in your life.

Hoping by faith,
Pastor Asa Dockery