Ministers of Jesus Christ
Church of The Lord Jesus Christ
Assemblies of The Apostolic Faith
Atlanta, Georgia - USA
Apostle Dennis G. Smith, Pastor and Spiritual Overseer

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Date: June 14, 2020
To all the Saints of God,
     Grace and peace be unto all the Saints of God around the World.  As this Coronavirus Pandemic continues, we are continually reminding the Saints of God that we are obeying the magistrates and following the guideline of the health and governmental authorities for the safety of all people. 
     "In accordance with Georgia Governor executive orders in the United States of America, we continue to strongly encourage all Georgians and visitors to wear face coverings in public and use social distancing, wash your hands, and get tested with or without symptoms.
     Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order on June 11, 2020 that relaxes more restrictions put in place since April to stem the spread of Covid-19 and immediately lifts the shelter-in-place order on those 65 and older unless they have underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung disease. Most of the other relaxed measures go into effect at midnight on June 16.

    Special thanks to all the Saints who attended the Sister's Meeting and Regular Church Services today. It is truly a blessing to worship together in love. Also we want to continually encourage all who desire to worship with us. The next services will proceed as follows:
on Sunday June 21,2020 Brothers Department meeting and Church Services from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm,
on Sunday June 28, 2020 Youth Department meeting and Church Services from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm,
on Sunday July 5, 2020 Executive Board meetings and Church Services from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. 

All services will take place on Sundays only from 11am until 2pm to allow for proper cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces. No night services during the week due disinfection procedures. Baptism, pray and tarrying service, will continue each Sunday following all safety protocols including the use of personal protective equipment.  
     As we obey the Magistrates, we have complete faith that God will continue to hear our prayers and provide a way for us through these uncertain times.

Romans 13:2-4 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

TITUS 3:1-2 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.  
This week’s encouraging words of growth focuses on:

 Prayer for the Forgiveness of others… Part I

   JOH17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

     In this part of the pray of Jesus, he prays for the unity of the body of Christ, what Apostle Paul also calls the Unity of the Faith.  A prayer of Jesus Christ addressed to His Father before His betrayal and crucifixion, the events which the gospel often refers to as His glorification. Sometime called, "Our Lord’s Intercessory Prayer", because "it is considered as a pattern of the intercession he made for his Saints".

EPHESIANS 4:11- 16 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

     Here the word Faith is dealing with our confidence in what we hold to be true, or believe and teach as doctrine.  We must all speak the same thing because there is only one gospel.  Prayer is an invocation or act of supplication making a special request to God asking him to provide an outcome for ourselves or intercession making a special request for someone else to God to provide a outcome for them according to his will, through deliberate communication with God.  This is the reason why it is surprising that some so-called Christians do not believe you can talk to God.  Clearly, they do not know or understand what prayer is.  
     Many times, this is a part of blessing those that curse you and praying for them which defame or persecute you.  You are going to have to pray for the yourself also for the strength to take the ridicule from them when your carnal mind or the devil is trying to make you retaliate against them.  The parent will need the calmness to deal with the rebellious child.  The employee will need the fortitude or mental strength to deal with an overly aggressive demanding employer. All people need the move of the Spirit of God to deal with the injustice done by police officers who are supposed to be keepers of the peace in protecting and serving the community by assuring liberty and justice for all people regardless of their racial, or religious affiliation.  You can see the daily need for the power of prayer to produce prosperity your in life.
 MATTHEW 5:43 - 45 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

     You must make a request to God on behalf of other people for the benefit of all people.  This is why we pray for kings, presidents, governors, armies, police forces, politicians, judges, the entire nations of the planet to be touched by God saying let your Kingdom come and your will be done.  We pray for understanding and peace in dealing with a situation of trouble before you or help and strength to get you through all seen and unseen problems.  Since you know that nothing is too hard for God, you work toward a peaceful, righteous outcome in living with all men. 
     To have unity we must all come to the same understanding of the knowledge and information before us. To do this we must put confidence or trust in God and in the doctrines or teachings of the Bible.   We must not condemn people who lack understanding but work to increase their knowledge and make intercessory pray for them based on the promises of God because he can touch them and make them whole.  Because if the gospel is hidden from them, it is hidden from those who are lost.
     As we have said before, faith also means conscious knowledge and acceptance of the divine authority of God leading to obedience and the practice of good deeds required for living a righteous life and obtain spiritual growth.  Faith involves more than outward obedience to the commandments of God but must also lead to increasing our personal understanding and application of religious teachings.  Without understanding the result can lead to teaching for doctrine the commandments of men to uphold communal traditions and religious showmanship to set up our own way of holiness.  
     Many times, rules in the Church were not based on actual biblical references but on the Judgement or assessment of the community’s reaction to items of lust or habit like coffee, tea, television, over the counter medicines etc.
Many people today, perhaps most of the young Saints today are unaware of the period when Apostle Shelton took us out of the schisms and isms that separated and divided many of the local Churches.  To do so, he had to take charge, and magnify the Apostleship given to him, yet pray for the forgiveness of those who lacked understanding. The following sermon is one of the teaching he preached as he led us on the right path.

                                                                                      By Bishop S. McDowell Shelton

In Matthew 6:9-15 you will find the prayer they call "The Lord's Prayer", but we would advise you very strongly whatever prayer you pray, it better be the “Lord Jesus Christ's prayer”  and everything else you do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.  But this particular prayer sometimes called the Disciple’s Prayer is mostly recognized by that name; “The Lord’s Prayer”.

 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And for give us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13) In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
You will find in Matthew 11:25 - 26 that He prays the prayer of thanksgiving for things hidden and things revealed an interesting thought this is.

MATTHEW 11:25 -26 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.  Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

So, He is thanking God for things hidden, that they are hidden from the wise and the things revealed. …………
These Prayers, with the exception of the great intercessory prayer where He prays in a general sense, are collectively thought of as the seven prayers of Jesus.

They try to squeeze these numbers in. We will not say He only prayed seven or eight times. If we know anything about Him at all, He has prayed many times in His flesh.  If He came here in the flesh, He had to pray. The Bible does not record them all but does it not say if everything should written of Him even the world itself could not contain the books that were written? (See John 21:25)
     But He prayed at the grave of Lazarus and Lazarus came forth.  He prayed for Peter. We preached a few years ago in Washington, D. C., the message entitled "I Pray for Thee that Thy Faith Fail Thee Not". He prayed for Peter that his faith failed him not.  You must look into Peter's denial with a closer view.  You do not judge Peter too harshly otherwise you would say the prayers of Jesus who is God Almighty were not answered.  Peter denied Him—did not that mean that his faith failed him, that fear overrode his boldness at this time? It does not mean that he did not still believe Him to be the Lord God of heaven and earth.  In a moment of weakness—see this is the difference with people in the moment of weakness—they might commit adultery, they might lie, they might smoke, steal or do whatever, but if they are right and their
faith has not failed them; they will come right back to fighting the good fight of faith. 
     But somebody with the wrong spirit, they may never go to movies, they may never steal, they may never commit adultery; but if they have the wrong spirit they are like a lump of soiled deformity and depravity.
     We never read where anyone who and really did it with all of their heart, and with the heart of bitterness, have gotten right.  Of course, if you do something ignorant and you do not understand, that is another thing at the time of his ignorance God winked at him.  But, if you are doing it under bitterness, I never read where the root of bitterness came into the Church.

We see the gall of bitterness in various places in the Bible indicating a heart that is not right.  Nevertheless, a request for intercessory prayer is put forth.

ACTS 8:20 - 24 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.  Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.  Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.  For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.  Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

In Luke 22:31 - 32, He prayed for him that his faith failed him not. He prayed in the temple in John 12:27. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
     Sometimes people say 'Bishop, take a rest', but this is why we are Bishop, to kill ourselves for His sake; to be killed all the day long.  That is why we are in the endeavor of building the kingdom. That is why we are Bishop, to suffer pain, to grow old before our time through wear and use, to be troubled in our spirit, to know no private life or personal happiness or personal gain, to be a complete sacrifice, to be made a fool of, to be taken advantage of, to show ourselves an example, to be hurt, to groan and to pray our last prayer. 

     Jesus knew why He was born. He talked about a cup passing because He was in the flesh. We know what our job is, but we are often misunderstood when we do good. There is slacking back, bad judgment and disbelief. Those who we love turn against us and become enemies of the cross of Christ, and we give them over to Satan.  Our own familiar friends who eat at our table and eat our bread kick up their heels against us. 

     Our enemies sometimes become those of our own household, but nevertheless we know why we were born and why we became The Bishop. Not to grandstand, not to display, but to bear witness to the Truth.
     He knew why He had come. He had come to go to the cross. Naturally, we would like to avoid pain. When we know someone is going to tell us something shocking and something that is going to bring the pressure up and to make another sleepless night, we might say to one of the overseers, you find out what it is, though you have to tell us, but somehow it is not as hard.  It is like a filter when somebody else tells you. Someone may say the church burned down in such and such a place or they need $20,000 tomorrow. And though we cannot get to the person who needs $20,000, we can get on you and say $20,000!  And it somehow gives us a little relief. We have to pay it, you understand. We know we must pay it and you have nothing to do with our having to pay it. We want the cup to pass and we say why is it so much money? You do not know; we know you do not. 
     It is the reason why we were born; it is the reason why we came into the world. There is no hand to help. Someone said, 'Bishop, I wish I could help you.' We wish you could, too. You think if you could help us, we would not let you? We are to the point in life that we would take all of the help we can get.
     The only thing that is required, that your spirit is right; we would not even ask you your name. We do not want anyone helping us with the wrong spirit. We need all the help we can get, but as far as our spiritual life you cannot help us. The things where people can help—the natural affairs—they will not, but they look into our Bishopric, into the burden of our spirituality and our job, our election and our calling, and say 'Can I help you?' If you could help us our dear children, then you could also hurt us. But you can neither help us spiritually nor can you hurt us.
      We happen to be an instrument and we happen to be a servant, not of you, nor are we your servant in another way. We are the servant of someone else and we are in His service, and we have to wait and see what He says. If God says stand up, we must stand. If He says go, we must go. If He opens the door before us, we must walk in. If He says not today, we do not care how much you say "come on. We must say,” No, not today”.  If He says you must go through persecutions, stripes and sufferings, then we must look to him and say 'Your Grace is sufficient.'  There is no hand to help, though your eye may pity, We wish it were.
     Do you think we would do better if we could? But we have made a promise and we have a commitment. We meant what we said—to defend the Apostolic Doctrine, to give our life in full service, to put forth this Church first beyond our lives, our reason, our thoughts, our own personal love—that God should come first in our lives, that we should dedicate our life in fullness for the stand of truth.  We made a vow to the Lord and cannot turn back.  For one day soon, we might pray our last prayer and we want to hear Him say, well done.  You have opened your mouth and spoken and have not gone back on your word.

JOHN 12:17 - 27 The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.  For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.  The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.  And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:   The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.  Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.  And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.  He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.  Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say?  Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

     Here the Bible reveals that after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, who had been in the grave for about four (4) days, that many of the people in the surrounding area began to follow him because of the miracle that he performed.  The miracle proved to all who heard about it and saw Lazarus alive that Jesus Christ had the power over life and death.  As a result the evil ones did not rejoice but were seeking to kill both Lazarus and Jesus Christ. But little did they know that in killing Jesus Christ he would rise again from the dead completely and thoroughly defeating the devil and leave proof of the resurrection from the dead.  

JOHN 12:28 - 25 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.  The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.  Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.  Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.  This he said, signifying what death he should die.  The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?   Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

They did not know what was happening. People never know what is going on and that is why they need to have a preacher to tell them.  Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. "This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth forever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?"  In other words, God was going to die, but the people said we heard that Christ abides forever. 
     Someone may say you are the Bishop and you are talking about toothaches? We are talking about the teeth today and the gums. You live long enough and go through enough strain, you will find that everything in your body aches, everything you have on you or in you will ache. Do not talk about one place, when you grab one place, you will grab another, and it all aches and no one can understand that until it they have bodily pains. 
    "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, we have heard out of the law that Christ abideth forever and how sayest thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man? (John 12:32-34)
There were those who were looking right at Him, looking at Him and not being able to discern who He was.

We will pick up here on next the week for the written message and you will grow in your ability to recognize how to Bless all those around you through prayerful communication with God.  Your road to lifelong prosperity will be clearer before your eyes.
May the Lord Bless you and Keep you and eternally hold you in the center of his will, may he open your understanding that you will come to know that you must repent of your sins and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, then continue in prayer until you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost with the sign following speaking with other tongues as the spirit gives you utterances.  That you will leave the principles of the doctrine and go on to perfection overcoming the love of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life and continue steadfastly in the Apostle’s Doctrine remembering always that he that endures until the End, the same shall be saved. Amen
With perfect love,
Apostle Dennis G. Smith
Guide to opening small Church Meetings beginning June 14, 2020
Please be aware that if someone infected with coronavirus comes into the Church building it may contain infection for 72 hours afterwards unless cleaning is carried out.  Remember that the Church building is being accessed by other people undertaking essential work such as construction contractors, cleaning and maintenance personnel so that the proper safety protocols must be followed such as social distancing, and the use of personal protective equipment such as mask, gloves, and possibly face shields.  Because of the risk of infection, it is best that you get tested for the virus to protect yourself and others before attending a small meeting of 25 or less people as the restrictions are lifted.
     If multiple people are entering the building, even one at a time they must  maintain  the six feet apart  social distancing recommendations.
All individuals entering the building must be warned of the risks to their lives should someone enter not following safety protocols calling reckless endangerment to others as faith in God which is absolute foolishness.   A record of who goes in the building and when will be kept with proper regard for the risk of transmission. A supply of hand sanitizer, mask, and gloves will be kept with the record near the main entrance to the church. It is best for people to bring their own pens to use or wear gloves when touching all surfaces including Bibles.  A record of who is in the building and when will be maintained so that if there is an incident at the Church it will be clear who was the last person known to have been in the building.  Do not listen to those who call safety guidelines lack of faith or who have a poor understanding of the doctrine on fear. Fear is only detrimental to your soul when you are afraid to live a holy life because of what people will say or do to you, or you have no reverence and love for the Lord Jesus Christ who is God Almighty.
 What Is Social Distancing?
Social distancing means staying away from close contact in public spaces. It includes actions like staying out of places where lots of people gather and maintaining distance — approximately 6 feet — from others.
Social distancing also includes minimizing contact with people by avoiding public transportation when possible, limiting nonessential travel, working from home, and skipping social gatherings.
All people should practice social distancing — not just those who are seriously ill or at high risk.
Social distancing is a proven way to slow the spread of pandemics.
When to Wear a Mask?
Those who are staying home and have no close contacts who are infected with COIVID-19 do not need a mask most of the time. However, wearing a nonmedical or homemade mask may be helpful in certain situations or for certain populations.
•          Shopping at essential businesses, like grocery stores or pharmacies.
•          While visiting your health care provider.
•          Traveling on public transportation.
•          Interacting with customers/clients at essential businesses.
•          When feeling sick, coughing, or sneezing.
Because homemade masks protect everyone else from the droplets created by the wearer, it is important that as many people as possible wear these masks when leaving their homes.
This helps prevent those who may be infectious but are only mildly symptomatic or not symptomatic from spreading the virus to others in the community.
Everyone should remember the phrase: “My mask protects you; your mask protects me.” By increasing the overall number of people who are containing their coughs, sneezes, and other droplets, it will help us control the overall spread of the virus.