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: March 14, 2021

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. 


     Health authorities and governmental officials continue to strongly encourage people to wear face coverings in public and use social distancing, wash your hands, and get tested to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus.  In some places wearing face mask is mandatory in all indoor and outdoor public spaces.


    As of March 11, 2021, the City of Atlanta, Georgia remains in Phase I of the Reopening Plan due to the infection rate of the coronavirus.   Throughout the State of Georgia businesses must continue to operate with social distancing and sanitation rules to keep customers and employees safe.  Covid-19 vaccinations are currently offered to health care workers, first responders, individuals ages 65 and older and their caregivers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and 911operators, educators and staff, adults with intellectual, disabilities and parents of children with complex medical conditions.  As of March 15, 2021, adults aged 55 and older, individuals with disabilities and certain medical conditions will also be eligible for vaccinations.


     We are continuing online service through Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube.   Baptism and prayer service are available using social distancing and 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:


 Watch for your welfare and your soul (part 1)

 By Apostle Dennis G. Smith


Roman 13:1 - 2 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. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.


     Probably one of the most difficult area for Christians to fully understand is the power of government, the need for secular government, and their response to obligations required by civil government.  When the laws of the old testament are not studied, taught, and understood in its proper context, some people begin to see the government of nations as their enemy.  This can lead to non-participation in voting during elections and multitudes of civil repression because the viewpoints of unbelievers may be the prevailing ideology that is promoted when Christians are misled to think that they should not be a part of the civil government.  This scripture teaches in plain language that government comes from God and anyone who despises government shall receive damnation.


     We see this when the viewpoint of conscientious objection or conscientious scruples are taught as Church doctrine.  This doctrine is promoted by some as essentially declaring that Christians do not participate in military combat, violent warfare or the bearing of arms, ownership and possession of weapons of war, or gun ownership and is sometimes misrepresented in the actual context of the bible sometimes following the path of Pacifism notions that is promoted by other world religions such as taught in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.   It was written to allow Christians who were faced with the military draft or forced military service to avoid violent combat and to choose other military service when dealing with wars perhaps that were a result of fascism, racism, hatred, or imperialism.


   This teaching against the bearing arms or weapons of warfare may sometimes lead some to become cowards when protecting themselves or their own family members, or the cities and nations in which they lived against lawless criminals.  And also, into thinking that they cannot become governmental leaders.  This doctrine may be better promoted to say that we let every man be persuaded in his own mind when faced with the consequences of forced service in combat or violent warfare or when elected to civil governmental offices.   Why?  Because the bible teaches us that some of the disciples of the Lord Jesus were armed with swords and served as Roman tax collectors.


John 18:10 - 12 Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.  Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?  Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,


John 18:25 - 27 And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples?  He denied it, and said, I am not.  One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman, whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?  Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.


      We do not want to imply that the Apostles or disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ were not armed with weapons such as swords.  Because Apostle John says it was Apostle Peter who was with the Lord Jesus Christ and was armed with a sword.   But we want to teach that they did not use violence in the promotion of the gospel and were prohibited by the Lord Jesus in defending him from arrest with violence.


Matthew 26:51- 53 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?


     The Lord Jesus also replied that he could call up lesions of angels which is understood to be angels of violent warfare if he desired too, but bloodshed, or warfare leads to more death.  In others words our goal is not to be brawlers in dealing with all men whenever possible.  The real issue that is before all men is whether or not this condemns the use of violent when it is not possible to respond with peace when dealing with criminals and the lawless.  Also, how to protect our families from criminals destroying our neighborhoods and the communities in which we live.  It would seem obvious to most that this authority to punish evil doers who are lawless and unrepentant is given to the governments under which we live by God Almighty and we comply with the righteous governing policies in dealing with crime to protect ourselves and our families.


      Many people think of the Lord Jesus as a pacifist against all use of combat or violence based on their understanding of his Sermon on the Mount.  In the sermon the Lord Jesus stated that ye resist not evil.  This is understood by some to mean that a person should not fight or resist an evildoer but should turn the other cheek. "If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well … Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who use you and persecute you."   


Matthew 5:38 - 39 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.


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.


     Most people understand that the turning of the other cheek, is teaching us not to seek violent revenge when we are angry but learn to calm the situation and forgive those that do us harm whenever possible.   In other words, to be the peacemaker in situations that result in conflict.  This does not imply in any way to most people that we should allow evil to run rampage in our life or the area in which we live.


     The Lord Jesus Christ in preaching words of forgiveness, surrendering himself freely to an enemy intending to kill him and prohibiting his followers from defending him teaches us how to forgive those that trespass against us and not seek revenge.  How to respond seeking peace whenever possible and not with eye for an eye judgement seeking revenge but to leave punishment in the hands of the civil government that are ordained of God to execute justice.  This is what the Lord teaches us when he demands that vengeance is mine saith the Lord or vengeance and punishment belongs to Godly order.  We would have fights and wars everywhere if people took matters of justice into their own hands.  From this all can see clearly that the Bible is teaching us to respond with love and not the desire to get even or seek revenge.  


     But the bible does not condemn punishment of criminals and thieves.  We must all be able to separate the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was dealing with our salvation from our sins when he allowed himself to be arrested and killed.  And from this point we will see that the civil government primarily deals with order, justice, the punishment of evildoers and other duties pertaining to our health, safety, protection, and overall welfare.  Apostle Paul indicated this when he said that law is for the lawless, the ungodly, for murderers, for any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.


1Timothy 1:5 - 11 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:   From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.   But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,   For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;  According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.


     Authority from God is seen as conditioned on civil authorities obtaining control righteously and using this authority to maintain safety and protection for all.  For this reason, the duty of obedience for the Christian is based on whether or not the civil authority fulfills the obligations of righteousness given to them by God.  So, governmental authority obtained by unlawful or criminal actions is not from God.


     The Apostles taught obedience to civil law in the protection, health, and safety for all, which is the same as when you obey your parents in family life.   But we do not give obedience to the unrighteous or wicked demands of men in government in committing criminal acts or demanding that we disobey the word of God.  


          Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.


     It is clear from history that the bible has been twisted to justify forced slavery or the forced ownership of men as personal property against the will or choice of the enslaved individual by kidnapping people and selling them which is a criminal action which the word of God condemns as menstealers or those who force men into slavery by implying obedience to unrighteous governmental acts.  This is the reason why we must examine everything based on the family unit, the nucleus of all society.  No one in a family of love will own each other but will love, honor, and respect each other as members of the family if the family is functioning in Godly love.  In the family the government of the father and the mother is for the safety, health, protection, and mutual respect of all the brothers and the sisters.  Nations then are formed by the gathering of multiple family units.  From the family relationship we can now see and understand that obedience begins with children obeying their parents which is the first commandment with promise.  


     God has ordained civil government for the purpose of order. Orderly and lawful processes are part of the divine order of God and is meant for human good, health, and protection of all people. Civil governments are also as we have said before, for the punishment of evil doers.  From this we can see the difference between forgiveness applied by an individual turning the other cheek and the government who punishes the evil doer.


1Peter 2:13 - 18 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:  As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.  Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.  Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.


     One noteworthy example of this is in the bearing of arms or ownership of guns.  Some Church organizations appear to speak against gun ownership and killing in their doctrines, rules, and bylaws.  This is probably because of their interpretation of the sixth commandment which says, “Thou shall not kill.”  Notice that the commandment does not say, “Thou shall not own weapons that kill.” 


     From this you should recognized how men interpret words based on their own thoughts, lust, and desires and not based on the actual context in which it is written.  The bible clearly does not condemn all killing in general or we could not eat any animals, fish, or eliminate rodents.  The bible does not condemn weapons for killing or we would have no way to protect ourselves against bears, wolves, snakes, lions, or other vicious animals who threaten us or our families or to kill animals for food.   So, we know that the interpretation by some men may be for political and religious control or simply based on misunderstanding the context that is written and not based on the teaching of Biblical truth.  And if you do not comply with their misinterpretation, they may usurp authority not given to them by God and try to separate you from your family and friends.  


     Many Churches recognized this error and wrote that we suffer license for gun ownership for personal protection, hunting, vicious animal control, etc.…which are examples perhaps of gun control rather than a denial of gun ownership.  Some emphasized the words “do not commit murder” or the taking of innocent human life as the interpretation of the sixth commandment “Thou shall not Kill”, because the law of the Old testament definitely authorized the killing of men by stoning who were guilty of various violations of the law and the Israelites were God’s chosen people who also were under the moral law that stated, “thou shall not kill”.   The key here is to note that those who were punished by stoning until death were not innocent but guilty of crimes or sin.


Leviticus 20:26 - 27 And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.   A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.


Leviticus 24:21- 23 And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.  Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.  And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.



     We are not under the old testament law of stoning people today, but it serves as an example for learning and understanding the Moral law, civil law, and ceremonial law and how they were applied.  It may sound silly that we have to explain that the sixth commandment is only dealing with innocent human life and not the ownership of tools used for cooking and eating that can also be used as weapons to commit murder or weapons of war.


     People have even added sayings emphasizing that weapons do not kill by themselves, but people are the killers.  This has been added to help clarify misunderstanding versus deliberate attempts by other wicked, cruel men to disarm and make certain racial and ethnic groups who were sometimes kept ignorant of the truth, and defenseless for the purpose of political power and control over them.  This may indicate that false teaching has been used as a weapon to mislead innocent people.  It is this type of criminal deception that we do not obey when launched by those in civil or religious government.  In other words, we must constantly watch for our own welfare and our own soul for there are many deceivers among the Church and in the world.  This is what we must teach to the present and future generations.


We continue with a Message from Apostle S. McDowell Shelton …. Another Generation ………


By Bishop S. McDowell Shelton


     We want to dedicate this message to all of the parents, both old and young.  You know, I think it is really more fitting to honor the mother and the father on the same day.  You did not come here by mother alone, or by father alone.  You see, the Bible puts them both together...  It says: 20:12) "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."  Paul, writing to the Church at Ephesus said: (Eph. 6:2) "Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;"   It may not be the first commandment in number; but it is the first commandment with promise. 


    You see there is a promise attached to honoring your father and your mother.  Most young people feel that the honoring of the father and the mother is a thing that is done only because the parents want to have the authority or to make their lives more miserable.  They are young and rebellious and do not understand, but it is a part of your Apostolic Faith to honor your father and your mother.  There is a promise attached that if you do this, your days will be longer on the earth. In Ephesians 6:1, it says "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right."


     People talk a generation gap. They think they have something.  I have never known a generation between whom there was not a gap. There has to be some kind of gap.  You see, you have to be a certain age before you can start a generation.  The difference is wider with some families and closer with others; but they are similar.  It has been basically a problem that with the new generation, comes a kind of independence, and they begin to rebel against the generations before them.  Particularly when they learn how to hold their own fork and cut their own meat.  I wonder sometimes if this is all bad.  Some of it is and some of it is not.


     You must remember that one generation passes, and another generation comes on.  And as one generation passes away, the generation that is born after it must begin facing the world, making a living, building the houses, and raising their present generation.  Unless at sometime in their lives the parent generation begins to loosen the strings and let them make it for themselves and make their own decisions, they will never be able to face this world.  It is harder for some parents to let go than it is for others.  There will come a time that as the child was cut from the cord at the time of birth, you will have to bring them to a, certain point then lift up your hands and bless them.  


     That is what Jesus did to his Church, you know.  He was our example. Jesus is with us in Spirit even unto the end of the world (See Matthew 28:20), but the only way you can be with the oncoming generation is that you leave behind a legacy, a memory of good works and of wise judgment which is passed from one generation to another.  In this way you can continue to be with them.


     Somehow, with all of the bad judgements, we have survived.  You must remember that parents are only human beings.  They are very special human beings. They are not all geniuses. They are not all the wittiest individuals that have through, nor the wisest philosophers; but somehow, someway, they had the instinct or the intelligence to raise the generations that are now criticizing them.


     Parents, not just people who have children, have always wanted something better for the oncoming generations.  Generally, when the oncoming generation has things better, they begin to look down on their own parents.  They tend to feel that they are just a little better than the parent generation which usually brings about feelings of hurt.  You begin remembering all the nights of suffering, all of the labor, the care, and all the affection that you put in them.  But let me tell you one thing; you have to learn to get a joy out of doing and let that be a satisfying portion.


     Not many people have the capacity to be thankful.  If you sit around waiting for them to be thankful, you are going to be a disappointed person.  It takes patience—much patience.  It takes a kind of love that God gave to us.  Not because we had done anything to merit it, but he just gave it to mankind and still lets the sun and the rain come.  Whether man does wickedly or not, he still lets him breathe.


The scripture says: (Eph. 6:1, 2) Children, obey your parents, in the Lord: for this is right.  Honor thy father and mother which is the first commandment with promise;” This is a commandment that has a promise that if you obey it, it may be well with you.  We are going to explain why it is better or it is right, as the scripture says to obey one's parents.


     I do not care how intelligent you may be, how educated you may be, there is a kind of experience that can only be achieved by living.  Because the parent generation has lived longer and have experienced certain things which you are yet to experience, they can tell the generation coming after them certain things on how to conduct themselves that it might be safe for them.  Even though they may not have done all of the things right themselves, but by their own mistakes they have an experience that they want to pass on to the next generation that they might avoid the pitfalls.  In their time of maturation, of growing up; they feel that they know it all.  They get to a point where they feel that they have all the answers.  They tend to look down on the advice of the parent as being old fashioned and out of date.  Of course, the parent's past experience and advice got them to where they are, but this present generation looks on it as being repressive.


We will continue with these messages in Part 2……….


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 by immersion in water in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, then continue in prayer, tarrying until you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost with the sign following speaking with other tongues as the spirit gives you utterances.  Then you must 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.  In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ who is God Almighty. Amen


With perfect love,
Apostle Dennis G. Smith

Currently the following groups are eligible for COVID vaccine in Georgia:

·         Healthcare workers (physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, EMS personnel, environmental services, etc.)

·         Residents and staff of long-term care facilities

·         Adults aged 65+ and their caregivers

·         Law enforcement, firefighters, first responders


Beginning March 8, 2021, the following groups will also be eligible for COVID vaccine:

·         Educators and staff (Pre-K, K-12, DECAL licensed or exempt childcare programs)

·         Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers

·         Parents of children with complex medical conditions


 Present Guidelines for Individuals and Businesses in Phase 1:

         ·        Stay home except for essential trips.

         ·        Wear face coverings in public.

         ·        Frequent hand washing.

         ·        Social distancing followed and enforced where practical.

         ·        To-go and delivery orders from restaurants.

         ·        Continue practicing teleworking.

         ·        Frequent cleaning of public and high touch areas


 Social Distancing guidelines:

·                 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 contact with people 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. Wear a Mask when:

·             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. 

·                 In all public spaces indoors and outdoors.


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.