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TIMES ®™ | JULY ● AUG 2018

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TIMES ®™ | JULY ● AUG 2018

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QUESTION: “HOW DO I GET RIGHT WITH GOD?” Answer: In order to get “right” with God, we must first understand what is “wrong.” The answer is sin. “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3). We have rebelled against God’s commands; we “like sheep, have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).

By Tony Perkins • July 6, 2018

The bad news is that the penalty for sin is death. “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). The good news is that a loving God has pursued us in order to bring us salvation. Jesus declared His purpose was “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10), and He pronounced His purpose accomplished when He died on the cross with the words, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). FRC President Tony Perkins addresses the 2013 Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. Winston Churchill once said, “During their lifetimes, every man and woman will stumble across a 2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God great opportunity. Sadly, most of them will simply and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the pick themselves up, dust themselves down and Father of compassion and the God of all carry on as if nothing ever happened.” comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in The Apostle Paul spoke to that same issue of opany trouble with the comfort we ourselves portunity in Ephesians 5:15-16: “Look carefully have received from God. then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (ESV). Now, if Paul had grown up in this country, he might have told them, “Make hay while the sun is shining.”

PRAYER FOR DISCERNMENT WITH GODLY WISDOM Heavenly Father, we thank You for the opportunity that is before us in November. As we ponder all that is involved in the election process, we recognize that You, O God, are Lord over us and our nation. Help us to discern with godly wisdom how to cast our votes for the candidates who would best advance Your truths and Your values for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Well, the sun is shining right now in America when it comes to our First Amendment freedoms. And the church needs to be wise and act quickly—not only using our freedom to spread the Good News, but to put policies in place that will protect those freedoms around the globe for generations. Some of our fellow Christians remain skeptical or indifferent about our engagement in the political process. Don’t be foolish. Elections have consequences—many of them far-reaching ones, as we continue to see from the years of President Obama. But we also see the positive consequences of the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. We have to act while we can, to fortify our freedoms and ensure that government doesn’t try to quarantine our Christian faith within the four walls of our churches. A lot has been done, but there’s still plenty to do. For the millions of Americans who made this election about policy, their belief in the president’s platform has been rewarded with a year and a half of promise keeping. They’ve watched the president appoint excellent judges like Neil Gorsuch, enact broad and unparalleled pro-life policies, cut taxes, grow the economy and move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. President Trump is restoring religious freedom, rebuilding our military and protecting American interests abroad. That’s happening because evangelicals used their influence and platforms to remind people what was at stake in the election of 2016. Evangelical voters, especially the subset that George Barna calls SAGE Cons (Spiritually Active Governmentally Engaged Conservatives) turned out in record-setting numbers. Ninety-one percent of SAGE Cons representing 20 million U.S. adults voted— (continue on page 4)

Having a right relationship with God begins with acknowledging your sin. Next comes a humble confession of your sin to God (Isaiah 57:15). “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:10).

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This repentance must be accompanied by faith – specifically, faith that Jesus’ sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection qualify Him to be your Savior. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Many other passages speak of the necessity of faith, such as John 20:27; Acts 16:31; Galatians 2:16; 3:11, 26; and Ephesians 2:8. Being right with God is a matter of your response to what God has done on your behalf. He sent the Savior, He provided the sacrifice to take away your sin (John 1:29), and He offers you the promise: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21). A beautiful illustration of repentance and forgiveness is the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). The younger son wasted his father’s gift in shameful sin (verse 13). When he acknowledged his wrongdoing, he decided to return home (verse 18). He assumed he would no longer be considered a son (verse 19), but he was wrong. The father loved the returned rebel as much as ever (verse 20). All was forgiven, and a celebration ensued (verse 24). God is good to keep His promises, including the promise to forgive. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). If you want to get right with God, here is a sample prayer. Remember, saying this prayer or any other prayer will not save you. It is only trusting in Christ that can save you from sin. This prayer is simply a way to express to God your faith in Him and thank Him for providing for your salvation. “God, I know that I have sinned against You and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness – the gift of eternal life! Amen!” Have you made a decision for Christ because of what you have read here? If so, please find a Bible Based Church and tell them your a New Born Chrstian needing help. See the Church Ads we have in this paper to help you start out.


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They were good people, but nobody in our family line had ever amounted to much, living instead under a curse of poverty and defeat. Then one day, at age 17, my dad committed his life to Christ, and God put a dream in his heart to preach.

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Certainly, the odds were against him. But God is not limited by our environment, family background or present circumstances. God is limited only by our lack of faith. I’m so thankful that Daddy didn’t listen to all the naysayers. He believed that God had more in store for him than staying home and picking cotton. And because he stayed focused on his dream and was willing to step out in faith, he broke that curse of poverty. Now, my siblings and I, and our children, grandchildren, even our great-grandchildren, are all going to experience more of the goodness of God. Let me challenge you to believe for more. Don’t travel the road for the next 50 years and be at the same place you’re at today.

Quit looking at what’s wrong and start thanking God for what’s right. Get up each day expecting God’s favor. This could be the day you get your miracle. The day you meet the person of your dreams. The day your child returns home. That’s how you stay enthusiastic, even in tough time: You stay filled with hope. “What if I do all that and nothing happens?” I hear you saying. “I’ll go to bed all discouraged, another disappointment.”

Maybe you came from a family like my dad’s, where they didn’t have much. Perhaps you hail from a long line of divorce, failure, depression or mediocrity. You need to say, “Enough is enough. I’m going to start believing God for bigger and better things.” That was the attitude of Phyllis, one of our members at Lakewood. When Phyllis was 16 years old, she got pregnant and had to leave high school. Her dreams were shattered. She rented a cramped, small apartment in which to live and raise her son, eventually going on welfare. But finally Phyllis said, “I refuse to pass this lifestyle down to my children. I’m going to be the person God wants me to be.” She got rid of all thoughts of defeat and failure and started expecting the supernatural favor of God. She did her part, and God did His. Phyllis got a job at a school cafeteria collecting kids’ meal tickets. The job paid minimum wage, and Phyllis was thankful for it. But she wasn’t satisfied, believing that God had better things in store. She went back to school for her high-school diploma. But still, she wasn’t satisfied. So, after working all day, she began attending college at night. In four years, she graduated with honors, then returned for her master’s degree. Today, Phyllis is reaping the rewards of that effort. She’s not on welfare anymore; she is a principal in that same school district where she used to collect the meal tickets. She, too, broke the curse of poverty in her family. You can do something similar. Dream bigger dreams. God wants to do more than you can even ask or think. Start living your best life now!

“Yes, but Joel, it’s been a rough year. I’ve gone through so many disappointments. I’ve lost a lot of good things.” Maybe so, but have you considered this: If it were not for the goodness of God, you might have lost it all. Why not be grateful for what you have?

No, you can go to bed saying, God, even though it didn’t happen today, I’m still believing for good things in my life, knowing that I’m one day closer to a breakthrough. Friend, no matter what you’ve been through, no matter whose fault it was, no matter how impossible your situation may look, the good news is that God wants to turn it around and restore what has been stolen from you. Most of all, He wants to restore your relationship with Him. God doesn’t want you simply to feel a little better for a few days. No, God is in the long-term restoration business. He doesn’t want you simply to survive that marriage. He wants to turn it around and restore to you a strong, healthy relationship. God doesn’t want your business to merely make it through the murky economic waters. He wants your business to excel! Start expecting things to change in your favor. It’s your faith that activates the power of God. Remember, if you obey God and are willing to trust Him, you will have the best this life has to offer — and more. You can start living your best life now.


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● ● Google ● ● ● Ph.# 325.829.2389 (continued from page 2) and 94 percent of them voted for Donald Trump. And based on post-election polling, 59 percent of them said they made their decision based on the GOP’s platform position on life and religious liberty. That’s an important point because it shows that despite what the media says, evangelical voters are discerning. They were able to separate personality from policy. Evangelicals helped pull America back from the brink. But the election was not the end of our responsibility. It was the beginning of our opportunity. First, we have to act on that opportunity, but just as important, we have to preserve it. And that means making our voices heard at the ballot box this November. Because of the importance of evangelical voters, there’s an intense effort in the media to suppress their turnout in the upcoming elections. Progressives understand that if they can dampen the enthusiasm of conservatives and if pro-family, pro-life voters get discouraged and stay home in the midterms—the reform is over. The restoration of religious freedom and the freedom of speech will end.


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Progressives need just 24 seats to retake the gavel of the House. In every midterm election since the Civil War, the president’s party has lost, on average, 32 seats in the House and two in the Senate. With roughly 40 members of the president’s own party set to retire, Congress is easily within the far Left’s grasp. If conservatives—and in particular, evangelical voters—do not turn out, the House will change hands. One of the first orders of business will be the impeachment of President Trump. And while the Left may not succeed in removing him from office, they will most likely succeed in stopping what this administration is doing. And what is it doing? The Trump administration isn’t just enacting a conservative agenda in line with the Constitution. It is systematically dismantling the policies of its left-wing predecessor. Throughout history, America has never seen a wave of sweeping policy reversals like this from a conservative president. Slowly but surely, President Trump is demolishing key parts of the framework for the big government model that’s been expanded regularly by left-leaning presidents since FDR. That’s why the Left is unhinged. They won’t be able to jump back in the driver’s seat and shape policies that aim to remove Biblical values from the public square. They’ll have to rebuild—and that will take time, especially if they don’t have the courts to help them in their activism. That’s why every judicial nomination is being obstructed by the very liberal New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. We have to act while we can to fortify our freedoms and ensure that government doesn’t try to quarantine our Christian faith within the four walls of our churches. A lot has been done, but there’s still plenty to do: The forced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood must end.

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The Johnson Amendment must be eliminated to give pastors the freedom to speak freely without fear of government threats. (continue on page 6 )

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Even though we do not always see the good ends to which God is working things out, we can be assured that a time will come when we will understand and see more clearly. Our lives are like a quilt. If you look at the back side of a quilt, all you see is a mess of knots and loose ends hanging out all over. It is very unattractive, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the work. Yet when you turn the quilt over, you see how the maker has craftily woven together each strand to form a beautiful creation, much like the life of a believer (Isaiah 64:8). We live with a limited understanding of the things of God, yet a day is coming when we will know and understand all things (Job 37:5; Isaiah 40:28; Ecclesiastes 11:5; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2). Where is God when it hurts? The message to take with you in hard times is that when you cannot see His hand, trust His heart, and know for certain that He has not forsaken you. When you seem to have no strength of your own, that is when you can most fully rest in His presence and know that His strength is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

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YOU CAN LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE NOW DON’T BE LIMITED BY A LACK OF FAITH A woman shopping in Houston happily hummed a You may not be able to see it right now, but the closed doors are good, the delays are tune as she collected the items she wished to purchase and approached the cashier. The clerk just stared at good, the bad breaks are good. Instead of resisting it, trying to pray it away, embrace it. It’s not her for a long moment, as though wondering what working against you; it’s working for you. It may be uncomfortable, but when God brings it all together, it’s going to work to your advantage. Trust Him. was wrong with her, offering an obligatory, “How are you doing today?” That’s all it took. The woman nearly bubbled over. “How nice of you to ask! I’m doing great. I am so blessed!” The clerk looked at the woman quizzically for a moment and then said, “Let me ask you a question. Do you go to Lakewood Church?” “Why, yes I do. How did you guess?” The clerk shook her head and smiled, “I should have known. Everybody that comes in here like you is from Lakewood.” What a great compliment! That’s the way it should be. God’s people should be the happiest people on earth. So happy, in fact, that other people notice. Why? Because we not only have a fabulous future, we can enjoy life today! Living your best life now means being excited about the life God has given you. It means believing for more good things in the days ahead, while living in the moment and enjoying it to the hilt. Too often, we get comfortable with where we are in life and use that as an excuse to remain in mediocrity. “My parents were poor,” we say with a pout. “Before them, my grandparents were poor. Nobody in my family has ever amounted to much, so I guess I won’t either.”

Obamacare must be overturned and replaced with patient-centered health care. The Senate needs to continue confirming strict constructionists to the courts.


Don’t believe that lie. My dad came from the poorest of families. His parents were cotton farmers, and they lost everything in the Great Depression. My grandmother worked 14 to 15 hours a day washing people’s clothes, earning 10 cents an hour. (CONTINUE ON PAGE 14)


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Cover your family, friends, and relatives in prayer. Ask God to strengthen them, to protect them, to heal them, to show them favor. Pray that they will accomplish their dreams. Pray that they will make their mark on this generation. Your prayer can make the difference. Your prayer can cause God to send the angel. 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety/cares on him because He cares for you.

A MIRACLE PUT IN MOTION by Joel Osteen on August 3, 2018 You have things you’re believing for—perhaps a dream to come to pass, your health to turn around, or to meet the right person. You’ve been praying for a long time, but you don’t see anything happening. It seems like God is on vacation and as though your prayers aren’t doing any good. But what you can’t see is that God is at work behind the scenes. He not only heard your prayer, but He put the miracle in motion. The psalmist said, “The very day I call for help, the tide of battle turns” (Psalm 56:9). In the unseen realm, God begins to change things in your favor. Just because you don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean the answer is not on the way. The people who see breakthroughs and promises fulfilled are the people who keep praying, keep believing, keep standing in faith.

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In the Scripture, Daniel had been praying and fasting day after day, asking God to help him, but nothing was changing. Then one morning, he saw a vision in which an angel appeared to him and said, “Since the first day that you set your mind…to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me…” (Daniel 10:12–13). Notice that on the first day he prayed, God heard him and dispatched the angel—the miracle was set into motion. Don’t believe the lies that say your praying, believing, and standing in faith is a waste of time. On the first day you pray, God begins to line up the answer to your prayer. It’s on the way. What’s the delay? Like with Daniel, there are forces trying to keep you from your healing, your freedom, from a new level. The good news is, the forces for you are greater than the forces against you. It took the angel twenty-one days to get to Daniel. Your prayer may be taking a long time to be answered, but get ready—your twenty-first day is coming. The angel has already been dispatched with whatever you need. Right now that angel is fighting through the forces of darkness. Every day when you thank God and say, “Lord, I believe my twenty-first day is coming. The answer is on the way,” the angel is getting closer. It’s just a matter of time before it shows up.

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L7 S4 (CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4) God must be welcomed back into our public life.

Always mention where you seen their Ad! The president ran and has governed by the theme “Make America Great Again.” But America will only be great again when it becomes good again. And that’s not government’s mission, but ours, as followers of Jesus Christ. Benjamin Franklin said, “History will also afford frequent opportunities of showing the necessity of a public religion, from its usefulness to the public; the advantage of a religious character among private persons; the mischiefs of superstition, and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern.” Let’s be wise and make the best use of this moment in time, this opportunity. ©2018 Tony Perkins Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council. The scripture quotation is taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version.

Answer: The Bible teaches that God reigns over the nations from His holy throne in heaven (Psalm 47:8; Isaiah 6:1, 66:1; Hebrews 4:16). Even though we know that God’s presence is in some sense uniquely in heaven, the teachings of Scripture also make it clear that God is omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time). From the beginning of Scripture, we see the presence of God hovering over the earth, even when it was still formless and empty (Genesis 1:2). God filled the world with His creation, and His presence and glory continue to inhabit the whole earth (Numbers 14:21). There are many examples throughout Scripture of God’s presence moving on the earth, interacting with His creation (Genesis 3:8; Deuteronomy 23:14; Exodus 3:2; 1 Kings 19:11-18; Luke 1:35; Acts 16:7). Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.” Jeremiah 23:24 exclaims, “‘Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” Psalm 139 is an amazing study in God’s omnipresence. Where is God? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God is with you, beside you, above you, and inside you. God’s presence and watchful care never leave you. If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, God is right in front of you, inviting you, drawing you, offering you the love, mercy, and grace that He longs to give you. If you are unsure of your relationship with God through Jesus Christ, please read the article on how to “Get right with God.” on page 15. Perhaps a better question than “Where is God?” is “Where are you, in relationship to God?” Where is God when it hurts? It seems we desire to know the answer to this question most when faced with painful trials and attacks of doubt. Even Jesus, during His crucifixion, asked, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). To the onlookers of that time, as well as to those who first read the story, it seems that God did forsake Jesus, so we obviously conclude that He will forsake us as well in our darkest moments. Yet, upon continued observation of the events that unfolded after the crucifixion, the truth is revealed that nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even death (Romans 8:37-39). After Jesus was crucified, He was glorified (1 Peter 1:21; Mark 16:6, 19; Romans 4:2425). From this example alone we can be assured that even when we do not feel God’s presence in the midst of our pain, we can still believe His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). “God sometimes permits what He hates to accomplish what He loves” (Joni Erickson Tada). We put our trust in the fact that God does not lie, He never changes, and His Word stands true forever (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Psalm 110:4; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 7:21; 13:8, James 1:17; 1 Peter 1:25). We do not lose heart over painful circumstances because we live by faith in every word that has proceeded from the mouth of God, not putting our hope in what is seen or perceived. We trust God that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs all the suffering that we will endure on this earth. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, because we know and believe that what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 5:7). We also trust God’s Word, which says He is constantly working things together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). (CONTINUE ON PAGE 13)


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Some ask; What does it mean that God is with us?

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by Joel Osteen on August 10, 2018

Sitting in traffic for hours feels like you’re going nowhere. If you’re tired of spending more time in your car than you do at home, then,

We all face opposition and things that come against us. It’s easy to get discouraged and give up on what we’re believing for. Sometimes we feel alone, as though nobody knows or cares about what we’re going through. We get weary and faint in our mind.

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In Hebrews 11, it talks about the heroes of faith and all the amazing things they accomplished. It wasn’t easy. They endured hardships, were mistreated and had plenty of opportunities to give up, but they stayed faithful and fulfilled their purpose. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” This passage paints the picture of a huge heavenly stadium filled with the saints of old, and the heroes of faith are cheering us on in our race. All of heaven is rooting for you, including your loved ones who have gone before you. They’re watching you right now and calling out, “Go for it! Life may get tough, but you’ve got what it takes. We believe in you.” When you’re tempted to faint in your mind and settle, look up through eyes of faith and hear the cheers from the heavenly saints. Think of the heroes of faith. They didn’t have a Bible like we do today. They didn’t have the written promises to stand on like we do. They didn’t know how it was going to turn out, yet they chose to believe. Think of David, think of Moses, think of Abraham and Sarah. They withstood hardships, endured ridicule, fought giants, overcame enemies. They made it through the desert without a podcast encouraging them. They made it to the Promised Land without airplanes, without grocery stores, without GPS. They made it without all the conveniences that we’re blessed with. Imagine what you and I can do. This is our day to set new standards, to take new ground. Are you fainting in your mind? Are you giving up on a dream, talking yourself out of doing something great? God is saying, “Get your passion back.” Your relatives have paid too great a price and made too many sacrifices for you to stop where you are. Quit letting life’s light afflictions keep you from running your race with purpose. When you’re tempted to get discouraged, just look up and imagine in that heavenly stadium that people are calling out your name, saying, “Run, baby, run! Stay strong. This is your time. You are well able. Leave your mark!”

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Answer: It is good to know that God is omnipresent (everywhere at one time)—it is one of His attributes. Coinciding with His omnipresence are the attributes of omniscience (all knowledge) and omnipotence (all power). These concepts are a bit much for us humans to comprehend, but God knows that, too (Isaiah 55:8). God fills His creation and is universally present in person, in understanding, and in power at all times. “He is not far from any one of us” (Acts 17:27).

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Pray Always

On a more personal level, God is with all believers today in that His Holy Spirit indwells us. This indwelling can only happen if one is born again (John 3:3). First John 5:11-12 tells us it is Jesus who indwells us: “This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” And Jesus said the Father comes to abide with us: “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” (John 14:23). In Galatians 2:20 Paul says, “Christ lives in me.” Then in 3:5 he says that God has given us His Spirit. In verses 26-27, he says that believers are “baptized into Christ” and are “clothed” with Christ. (God is as close as our clothing!) Galatians 5 then discusses the fruit of the Spirit and states in verse 25, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” With many such verses as these, it is clear that God is in three Persons and that all Three dwell in all bornagain believers—at all times (Matthew 28:20). One of Jesus’ titles is “Immanuel,” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). When Jesus came into this world, He was truly, literally “God with us.” Because God is with us, we know that we will never be separated from His love (Romans 8:38-39). God’s presence assures us that we can accomplish His will for us (1 Chronicles 22:17-19). God’s presence overcomes our fear, worry, and dissatisfaction (Hebrews 13:5). The Holy Spirit in us is always praying for us (Romans 8:26). We are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), which means we should maintain an attitude of prayer and receptiveness in order to verbalize prayer to God whenever He leads. He is near to His children, attentive to their cry (Psalm 34:15). We should verify that we are indeed walking with the Lord our God by often consulting His Word, fellowshipping with other believers, and seeking godly counsel from pastors, Christian counselors, and Christian friends. We should have the attitude that we are at all times in ministry with the Lord. The Holy Spirit will lead us. We will see God at work. God is alive, and He is near. He wants to communicate and commune with us. That is the joy of the Christian life.


TIMES ®™ | JULY ● AUG 2018

Find us on Google or Visit Our Home Page: ● PH.# 325.829.2389 ● E-Mail: ● ● ● QUESTION: “HOW CAN I PLEASE GOD?” Answer: Pleasing God is, or should be, the goal of all believers—all who call upon the name of Christ for salvation. The requirements for all who want to please God are that they must seek God by faith, walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh, and walk worthy of our calling in obedience and submission to the will of God. These things may seem impossible to do, but God wants us to please Him, and He makes it possible for us to please Him. We do these things by the power of His Spirit who lives in our hearts. Paul reminds the believers in Rome that “they who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). So the first step in pleasing God is to accept the sacrifice for sin that He provided in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Only then are we “in the Spirit” and not “in the flesh.” We do this by faith because “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). In Romans 8, Paul explains the difference between the sinful nature and the nature of those regenerated by the Spirit. Those who are still in their sin have their minds set on sinful desires, whereas the ones regenerated by Christ have a completely new mind that is controlled by the Spirit and desire to live in accordance with Him. “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Romans 8:6-7). So the first step for believers in pleasing God is to be sure we are walking in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Furthermore, we must live by faith (Hebrews 10:38). God cannot be pleased with those who “shrink back” from Him because they have no confidence in Him or they doubt the truth of His declarations and promises, or who do not believe that His ways are right and holy and perfect. The requirement of faith and confidence in God is not unreasonable; it is just what we require of our children and spouses, and it is an indispensable condition of our being pleased with them. So it is with God.

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Therefore, pleasing God is a matter of living according to His precepts, commandments, and doing so in love. We always want to please those we love, and the New Testament is full of exhortations to righteous living and loving Christ by obeying His commandments. Jesus made this very plain: “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). The Epistles are God’s plan for believers and are filled with exhortations to display throughout our lives the behavior that is pleasing to God: “For the rest, then, my brothers, we beseech you and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you have received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more” (1Thessalonians 4:1).

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TIMES ®™ | PG.09 by "TheTejanoTimes" Your Peoples Magazine  

AUGUST 2018 | ● Religious Freedom Hangs in the Balance ● God is with us. by "TheTejanoTimes" Your Peoples Magazine  

AUGUST 2018 | ● Religious Freedom Hangs in the Balance ● God is with us.