Saying No to Our Appetites is SELF-CONTROL

The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT

Podcast Episode: The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT – SELF-CONTROL #2

Podcast – Self-Control #2

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, AND SELF-CONTROL. There is no law against these things.” [Galatians 5:22-23 NLT]

We need to understand that love is the first characteristic of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is well placed at the head of the list, for it permeates all the rest of the attributes. Somehow, if we live a life of love, the other virtues will attend us all the days of our lives. Love is the key that unlocks the entire fruit basket of Galatians 5:22-23, as well as permeating in the LOVE Chapter of the book of 1 Corinthians 13 – New Testament – in the Bible.

In John 14:6-7 NLT says, “6 Jesus told him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me. 7 If you had really known Me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him!”

In John 3:16-17 NLT says, “16 “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.”

We are glad to invite you all to join us in our Zoom Services; Sunday Service at 6 pm and Bible Study on Wednesday at 6 pm, and Praise & Worship/Karaoke on Friday at 7 pm Central Time (CT).

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Topic: Fruit of Holy Spirit & God’s Promises for All Our Every Needs, Book of Revelation and Romans, Pastor/Chaplain Elias book – “From the Words and Thoughts to the Swords and Battlegrounds”, Etc.

Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples,

Pastor/Chaplain Elias Aguilar Busuego Jr PhD DTM

Founding Pastor – Home Fellowship Churches – https://homefellowshipchurches.org

Chaplain – American Legion (AL) District 10 – Texas, AL Post 302 Hutto, TX, formerly at AL Post 447 Round Rock, TX

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trinityblessings@homefellowshipchurches.org is inviting you to scheduled Zoom meetings.

We are glad to invite you all to join us in our Zoom Services; Sunday Service at 6 pm and Bible Study on Wednesday at 6 pm, and Praise & Worship/Karaoke on Friday at 7 pm Central Time (CT).

To Join our Zoom Meetings, just click the link below:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7354863381?pwd=aFJXV0g4S0NZcUNVeGtZZ0NsTHVZUT09

Meeting ID: 735 486 3381
Passcode: 718522

Podcast – Self-Control #2

The Manifestation of the HOLY SPIRIT is on FIRE!

Moses Burned the Gold Calf

In Exodus 32:19-26 NLT says, “19 When they came near the camp, Moses saw the calf and the dancing, and he burned with anger. He threw the stone tablets to the ground, smashing them at the foot of the mountain. 20 He took the calf they had made and burned it. Then he ground it into powder, threw it into the water, and forced the people to drink it. 21 Finally, he turned to Aaron and demanded, “What did these people do to you to make you bring such terrible sin upon them?” 22 “Don’t get so upset, my lord,” Aaron replied. “You yourself know how evil these people are. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has gold jewelry, take it off.’ When they brought it to me, I simply threw it into the fire – and out came this calf!” 25 Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get completely out of control, much to the amusement of their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the Lord’s side, come here and join me.” And all the Levites gathered around him.”

Overwhelmed by the actual sight of the blatant idolatry and revelry, Moses broke the tablets containing the commandments which had already been broken in the hearts and actions of the people. There is a place for righteous anger. However, angry Moses might have been, God was angrier still – He wanted to kill all the people. Anger at sin is a sign of spiritual vitality. Don’t squelch this kind of anger. But when you are justifiably angry at sin, be careful not to do anything that you will regret later.

In Verses 21-24 described that Aaron’s decision nearly cost him his life. His absurd excuse shows the spiritual decline in his leadership and in the people. Those who function as spokespersons and assistants need to be doubly sure their theology and morality are in tune with God so they will not be influenced by pressure from people.

Moses calls for those who have not deserted God. Moses’ own tribe, the Levites, had stayed true to God and are called upon to execute the image worshipers, and three thousand are cut down (Exodus 32:28). Since God sent a plague after this for additional judgment (Exodus 32:35) it would appear that the action of the Levites was directed against the ringleaders of the rebellion and the plague would have afflicted all the participants. The fidelity of the Levites won them a special place in the service of God in the tabernacle (Exodus 32:39).

While Aaron gives excuses for the sins of the people, Moses sees that saying no to sin is the only cure for idolatry. Self-control can save the Israelites from their spiral into sin. If everyone were to obey every demand of every appetite, the world would be left in the charge of gluttons, rapists, murderers, and warlords. To follow our Lord Jesus Christ is to say no to our appetites, take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Amen!

Donations for Author’s Books

This book, “From The WORDS And THOUGHTS To The SWORDS And BATTLEGROUNDS” is planned and designed with three goals in mind (thought): • To help us become more like our Lord Jesus Christ – so much like Him that our family, loved ones, friends, and others in our lives can see Him manifested and reflected in our words, actions, and attitudes. • To help us surrender and submit to God and resist the devil. • To help us be always victorious in our lives by winning the spiritual battles. Author’s next book is coming soon, entitled, “From The BATTLEGROUNDS and WARS To The OVERCOMING And VICTORIES”

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Israel Failure to Learn

In Amos 4:1-3 NLT says, “1 Listen to me, you fat cows living in Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy, and who are always calling to your husbands, “Bring us another drink!” 2 The Sovereign Lord has sworn this by His holiness: “The time will come when you will be led away with hooks in your noses. Every last one of you will be dragged away like a fish on a hook! 3 You will be led out through the ruins of the wall; you will be thrown from your fortresses,” says the Lord.”

Amos began his second sermon by addressing the women of Samaria who were likened to the well-fed cows of “Bashan,” a territory noted for its luxuriant pastures and fat cattle (cf. Deuteronomy 32:14). Assyrian reliefs sometimes depict captives being pulled along with a rope fastened to a ring in the lip (cf. 2 Chronicles 33:11).

Israel’s wealthy women were called “fat cows” – pampered, sleek, and well fed (see Psalm 22:12). These women selfishly pushed their husbands to oppress the helpless in order to support their lavish life-styles. Be careful not to desire material possessions so much that you are willing to oppress others and displease God to get them.

Kine of Bashan – i.e., fat cattle such as those found in the rich pastures of Bashan. The rich pasturelands of Bashan were located east of the Jordan, between Hermon and Gilead. This area was famous for its fat and healthy cattle (Deuteronomy 32:14; Psalm 22:12; Ezekiel 39:18). The prophet’s earlier tirades were directed against the men of the ruling classes, the elite. He now speaks against the wives of these men, likening them to fat cows. These ladies were apparently given to excessive drinking. They were guilty of complicity in their husbands’ crimes of ill-gotten gain because they enjoyed the material benefits of the sin. These women craved luxury goods, thus motivating their husbands’ misdeeds.

The Lord GOD . . . by His holiness – God Himself swore, or took an oath, not in the name of some other power or authority but by His own holiness to act and to deal with this corrupt people. The Lord cannot endure sin and must punish the guilty because of His perfect holiness (Psalm 89:35). With hooks – Just as fish were taken from the water by hooks, the Assyrians led off prisoners (often a captured king) by a rope that was connected to a hook or ring in their nose. Similar language is used elsewhere to describe the treatment of the Israelites and Judeans by their enemies (2 Kings 19:28; Jeremiah 16:16; Ezekiel 29:4; Habakkuk 1:15).

Amos prophesied against the uncaring attitudes of the rich women (“cows of Bashan”). The problem with their affluence was that it blinded them to the pain and suffering of the poor. The problem with their affluence was that it blinded them to the pain and suffering of the poor. The women of Israel were partygoers, eating and drinking in complete oblivion or forgetfulness in a country where the poor were being sold into slavery for the price of a pair of shoes (Amos 2:6). Amos castigates these indulgent people on several other counts:  They denied justice to the oppressed (Amos 2:7). They hoarded plunder and loot in their fortresses (Amos 3:10). They crushed the needy and oppressed the poor (Amos 4:1). They promoted a culture of drunkenness (Amos 4:1).

All of these indulgences and cruelties were clearly the telltale signs of a culture in the last throes of moral collapse. Can we see parallels in our own times?

The number one question for us is: How can we learn self-control in the indulgent culture that we have become? Yet we must accomplish that goal. For if we will not say no to our own desires, our time in history will be futile, and God’s purpose in our lives will come to no avail. Let’s continue to pray. Amen!

Living by the Holy Spirit’s Power

In Galatians 5:16-21 NLT says, “16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”

Paul describes the two forces fighting within us – the Holy Spirit and the sinful nature (our evil desires or inclinations that stem from our body; see also Galatians 5:16, 19, 24). Paul is not saying that these forces are equal – the Holy Spirit is infinitely stronger. But if we rely on our own wisdom, we will make wrong choices. If we try to follow the Holy Spirit by our own human effort, we will fail. Our only way to freedom from our evil desires is through the empowering of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 8:9; Ephesians 4:23-24; Colossians 3:3-8).

If our desire is to have the qualities listed in Galatians 5:22-23 (the Fruit of the Holy Spirit), then we know that the Holy Spirit is leading us. At the same time, be careful not to confuse our subjective feelings with the Spirit’s leading. Being led by the Holy Spirit involves the desire to hear, the readiness to obey God’s Word, and the sensitivity to discern between our feelings and His promptings. Live each day controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit. Then the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ will be in our mind, the love of our Lord Jesus Christ will be behind our actions, and the power of our Lord Jesus Christ will help us control our selfish desires.

Freedom from the law does not imply freedom to do whatever we please (Galatians 5:13). Neither do we live in the Spirit in some sort of “middle ground.” Instead, we live on another plane altogether – we have truth as opposed to falsehood; we have grace as opposed to works; we act out of love as opposed to being subject to the law; we are supervised by the Holy Spirit as opposed to being supervised by the law.

Paul contrasted the desires of the sinful nature and the works of the Spirit-filled life in Galatians 5:19-21 and Galatians 5:22-23. Paul’s list of sins falls into four categories. These particular sins were especially prevalent in the pagan world, and the Galatians would have readily understood them. With few exceptions, we recognize these sins as present in our own time as well.

In the first category three sexual sins are mentioned:

  • Sexual immorality—Any form of illicit sexual relationship. The term serves to spotlight forbidden sexual behavior between people or indirect participation as an audience.
  • Impure thoughts—Moral uncleanness. Perhaps no sexual act has taken place, but the person exhibits a crudeness or insensitivity in sexual matters that offends others. An example today would be the excessive use of sexual humor (or what is supposed to be humor) where people make statements with a sexual double meaning.
  • Eagerness for lustful pleasure—Open and excessive indulgence in sexual sins. The person has no sense of shame or restraint. This is the outworking of sexual immorality and impurity.

The next two sins are religious sins particular to pagan culture:

  • Idolatry—Worship of pagan idols. A person creates substitutes for God and then treats them as if they were God. This person is giving in to sinful human desires.
  • Participation in demonic activities—Involvement with the powers of evil, at times using potions and poisons. With idolatry, a person acts in a submissive role in relation to evil; with demonic activity, the person is an active agent who serves the powers of evil.

The next eight sins pertain to conduct toward people (interpersonal relations) that has been motivated by sinful desires. It’s sad to note, but many of these social sins are often seen in our churches today:

  • Hostility—A condition of fixed enmity between groups. This may be real, unresolved conflict whose cause has been forgotten but which has yielded a harvest of bitterness.
  • Quarreling—Competition, rivalry, bitter conflict—the seeds and the natural fruit of hatred.
  • Jealousy—A feeling of resentment that someone else has what another feels he or she deserves.
  • Outbursts of anger—Selfish anger. The plural form conveys the meaning of continual and uncontrolled behavior.
  • Selfish ambition—The approach to life and work that tries to get ahead at other people’s expense. Not only might this refer to what we call “workaholism,” it also implies a mercenary, aggressive attitude toward others in the pursuit of one’s goals.
  • Divisions—Strong disagreements or quarrels. The situation that can quickly develop between people when a disagreeable attitude prevails.
  • The feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group—Dissension created among people because of divisions. This describes the tendency to look for allies in conflict. The almost spontaneous generation of cliques demonstrates this characteristic of sinful human desires.
  • Envy—A desire to possess something awarded to or achieved by another. Or even the twisted logic that cries “Unfair!” about another’s circumstances and expresses the wish, “If I can’t have that, they shouldn’t get it either!”

Finally, Paul lists two sins, common to pagan cultures, that are often connected with the rituals of idol worship:
1. Drunkenness – Excessive use of wine and strong drink.
2. Wild parties – Drunken, carousing “parties,” often filled with sexual promiscuity, were associated with festivals of some pagan gods. The feasts in honor of Bacchus were particularly infamous for their immorality.

And other kinds of sin – Paul added an “etc.” to show that the list was by no means complete. Anyone living that sort of life refers to the lifestyle of people who habitually exhibit these characteristics. This does not mean that believers who lapse into any of these sins will lose their salvation and their inheritance. But people who habitually exhibit these characteristics reveal themselves to be enslaved to sinful human nature. They are not children of God; thus, they cannot have any part in the inheritance in the Kingdom of God. People who have accepted our Lord Jesus Christ and have the Holy Spirit within them will manifest that new life by making a clean break with such sins as listed above.

We all have evil desires, and we can’t ignore them. In order for us to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we must deal with them decisively (crucify them – Galatians 5:24). These desires include obvious sins, such as sexual immorality and demonic activities. They also include less obvious sins, such as hostility, jealousy, and selfish ambition. Those who ignore such sins or refuse to deal with them reveal that they have not received the gift of the Holy Spirit that leads to a transformed life.

In this passage, Paul offers us a four-word antidote to indulging ourselves in our appetites. It is not a message of negativity. It is instead a proactive approach that each individual believes both initiates and completes. What is this four-word recipe for success in a life of self-control? It is this: Live by the Spirit! When we live by the Spirit, says the apostle, we will not indulge ourselves in the never-ending clamor of all those appetites that beg our indulgence.

What are these horrible flings into indulgence? See Galatians 5:19-21. To read this list at first may seem like we are reading of sins so terrible that we ourselves could never be guilty of them. But don’t believe it. It is nothing more than the grace of God that keeps us from falling into these sins at any given moment. Amen!

Remember, too, indulgence never jumps into great crimes on the first leap. The truth is that we move into great sin through baby steps of compromise. Consider this list:

  1. Sexual immorality begins in simple office flirtations.
  2. Impurity and debauchery start with pornography.
  3. Ambition begins with buttering up the boss.
  4. Drunkenness begins with one simple drink.

So, it is through the little bargains we strike with Satan by which we lose our usefulness to our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the power to overcome our appetites and to defeat Satan. Before He left earth and ascended to heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ promised to send a Helper to His followers, for us, too, who are Born-Again Christian believers. This Helper is our key to living for our Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gives us the strength to resist any compromise. For it is through by the Holy Spirit, the One sent to help us become holy and grow in our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Avoiding Sexual Sin

In 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 NLT says, “12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything” – but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 13 You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 14 And God will raise us from the dead by His power, just as He raised our Lord from the dead. 15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16 And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” 17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So, you must honor God with your body.”

Apparently, the church had been quoting and misapplying the words “I am allowed to do anything.” Some Christians in Corinth were excusing their sins by saying that (1) Jesus Christ had taken away all sin, and so they had complete freedom to live as they pleased, or (2) what they were doing was not strictly forbidden by Scripture.

Paul answered both these excuses: (1) While our Lord Jesus Christ has taken away our sin, this does not give us freedom to go on doing what we know is wrong. The New Testament specifically forbids many sins (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) that were originally prohibited in the Old Testament (see Romans 12:9-21; 13:8-10). (2) Some actions are not sinful in themselves, but they are not appropriate because they can control our life and lead us away from God. (3) Some actions may hurt others. Anything we do that hurts rather than helps others is not right.

Many of the world’s religions teach that the soul or spirit is important but the body is not; and Christianity has sometimes been influenced by these ideas. In truth, however, Christianity takes very seriously the realm of the physical. We worship a God who created a physical world and pronounced it good. He promises us a new earth, where real people will have transformed physical lives – not a pink cloud where disembodied souls listen to harp music. At the heart of Christianity is the story of God Himself taking on flesh and blood and coming to live with us (Emmanuel – God is with us – see John 1:1m 14), offering both physical healing and spiritual restoration.

We humans, like Adam, are a combination of dust and spirit. Just as our spirits affect our bodies, so our physical bodies affect our spirits. We cannot commit sin with our bodies without damaging our souls because our bodies and souls are inseparably joined. In the new earth, we will have resurrection bodies that are not corrupted by sin. Then we will enjoy the fullness of our salvation. Amen!

Freedom is a mark of the Christian faith – freedom from sin and guilt, and freedom to use and enjoy anything that comes from God. But Christians should not abuse this freedom and hurt themselves or others. Drinking too much leads to alcoholism; gluttony leads to obesity. Be careful that what God has allowed you to enjoy doesn’t grow into a bad habit that controls you. For more about Christian freedom and everyday behavior, read 1 Corinthians chapter 8.

Sexual immorality is a temptation that is always before us. In movies and on television, sex outside marriage is treated as a normal, even desirable, part of life, while marriage is often shown as confining and joyless. We can even be looked down on by others if we are suspected of being pure. But God does not forbid sexual sin just to be difficult. He knows its power to destroy us physically and spiritually. No one should underestimate the power of sexual immorality. It has devastated countless lives and destroyed families, churches, communities, and even nations. God wants to protect us from damaging ourselves and others, and so He offers to fill us – our loneliness, our desires – with Himself.

In Verses 15-17 described that this teaching about sexual immorality and prostitutes was especially important for the Corinthian church because the temple of the love goddess Aphrodite was in Corinth. This temple employed more than a thousand prostitutes as priestesses, and sex was part of the worship ritual. Paul clearly stated that Christians are to have no part in sexual immorality, even if it is acceptable and popular in our culture.

In Verse 18 described that Christians are free to be all they can be for God, but they are not free from God. God created sex to be a beautiful and essential ingredient of marriage, but sexual sin – sex outside the marriage relationship – always hurts someone. It hurts God because it shows that we prefer following our own desires instead of the leading of the Holy Spirit. It hurts others because it violates the commitment so necessary to a relationship. It often brings disease to our bodies. And it deeply affects our personality, which responds in anguish when we harm ourselves physically and spiritually.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 questioned and described – What did Paul mean when he said that our body belongs to God? Many people say they have the right to do whatever they want with their own bodies. Although they think that this is freedom, they are really enslaved to their own desires. When we become Born-Again Christians, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. Therefore, we no longer own our bodies. That God bought us “with a high price” refers to slaves purchased at an auction. Our Lord Jesus Christ’s death freed us from sin but also obligates us to His service. If we live in a building owned by someone else, we try not to violate the building’s rules. Because our body belongs to God, we must not violate His standards for living. Amen!

When we are truly free of the control of any appetite on our life, then we are truly free to minister to others. But if we try to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and any other single appetite, we risk having something besides Jesus Christ becomes the Lord of our lives. When that happens, our usefulness to Jesus Christ is over.

To be faithful requires but one great motivation. Think of what our Lord Jesus Christ paid to purchase us, and then let’s endeavor, try, attempt, make an effort to be worth the purchase price and the reputation.

My Pastor at https://bridge.church said, and I quoted, Delayed obedience is disobedience”! So, let’s obey God with the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Words. Amen!

God is Holy So We Must be Holy

In Leviticus 11:44-45 NLT says, “44 For I am the Lord your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. So do not defile yourselves with any of these small animals that scurry along the ground. 45 For I, the Lord, am the one who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy.”

There is more to this chapter than eating right. These verses provide a key to understanding all the laws and regulations in Leviticus. God wanted His people to be holy (set apart, different, unique), just as He is holy. He knew we (they) had only two options: to be separate and holy, or to compromise with their pagan neighbors and become corrupt.

That is why He called them out of idolatrous Egypt and set them apart as a unique nation, dedicated to worshiping Him alone and leading moral lives. That is also why He designed laws and restrictions to help them remain separate – both socially and spiritually – from the wicked pagan nations they would encounter in Canaan.

Born-Again Christians also are called to be holy (1 Peter 1:15). Like the Israelites, we should remain spiritually separate from the world’s wickedness, even though unlike them, we rub shoulders with unbelievers every day. It is no easy task to be holy in an unholy world, but God doesn’t ask us to accomplish this on our own. Through the death of His Son, “you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault” (Colossians 1:22). Amen!

Holiness is the fruit of self-denial. Indulgence can only isolate us from a relationship with God, but if we practice a life of temperance and of faith, we will draw near to Him.

But what is God really trying to accomplish with these kosher taboos of Leviticus? Is God trying to restrict His people to a killjoy life in which they will always be on the lookout for sin and never really enjoy a single day of positive living? Of course not. Every taboo that God asks us to honor is given for our own sake and for the sake of the kingdom of God.

Take the Ten Commandments: Are they intended to regiment and restrict our freedom? It is not their constraint that is so important. At the center of every you shall not is a glorious liberty – not a coercion. What kind of world would we have if everybody went around lying, stealing, murdering, and committing adultery at will? It is only when we honor these constrictions that we become truly free – and the world along with us.

The result of our honoring of God’s commandment, says these verses in Leviticus, is that we are truly free. We have been set free by our own desire for holiness and in the practice of self-control. Amen!

This concludes our 2nd Series of the “Fruit of the Holy Spirit – SELF-CONTROL

Prayer is important (Luke 18:1-8), but the attitude of prayer is vitally important. The people who had great self-confidence and scorned everyone were the Pharisees and other religious leaders who saw themselves as the only ones righteous enough to be acceptable to God. To these people, our Lord Jesus Christ told a story about two men who went to the Temple to pray. These two men were as different as could be: the one was a law-keeping and religious Pharisee, and the other was a dishonest tax collector.

This Pharisee’s actions and his prayer provide a picture of his life and occupation – he was a separatist, but his separatism and desire to remain clean before God had hardened into a lifestyle of self-righteousness. He stood by himself and prayed.

The words of this prayer, however, while probably true, were not prayed in the correct attitude of humility before God. He thanked God that he was not a sinner like everyone else. While the Pharisee was probably not like everyone else in a lot of ways, he erred in thinking that he was “not a sinner.” This Pharisee knew that he was far better than the tax collector he saw praying across the way. Tax collectors were not noted for their honesty, so this Pharisee compared himself favorably, telling God that he himself had never cheated or sinned or committed adultery. And, by the way, he also fasted twice a week and tithed from his income.

This Pharisee was confident of himself and his righteousness, while at the same time despising this other man, even though he, too, was in the Temple praying to the same God. The Pharisee did not welcome the tax collector who may have been seeking God; instead, the Pharisee gloated that he was so much more righteous.

The focus shifts to the tax collector who had come to the Temple and seems to have known full well the extent of his sin. He felt so low that he did not think he could even lift his eyes to heaven into God’s face; instead, he beat his chest (a sign of sorrow), praying for God to be merciful to him. He recognized himself as a sinner. He had been convicted of his sin and had come to the one place where he could find forgiveness. He had come to God, humbly recognizing that he did not deserve mercy.

Surprisingly enough, only the tax collector returned home justified before God. The word “justified” means God’s act of declaring people “not guilty” of sin. Only the tax collector recognized his sin; therefore, he was the only one God justified. The self-righteous Pharisee had said that he had no sin; therefore, there was nothing for God to justify for him. He returned home no different than when he had entered.

The principle is that no one has anything of value to bring to God in order to deserve salvation, mercy, justification, or even a second glance from God. The proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored. Acceptance before God cannot be achieved by good deeds, piety, or any amount of self-proclaimed righteousness.

This passage illustrates why most of us would rather deal with an honest sinner than an ego-driven church member.

Those who focus on how they look to others are those whose religion is mostly performance. Those who know they are sinners, on the other hand, find their needs too great to imagine that they could achieve actor-status before God.

We must remember that our Lord Jesus Christ called the Pharisees hypocrites, and that word means “actor’s mask.” But gentleness is naked – stripped and vulnerable. It never argues that its face is pretty – only honest. So, the tax collector goes home justified because integrity has replaced egotism. Gentleness never appeals to people of power, but it learns worship in the simple acts of openness and integrity. Amen!

Please continue below for the Invitation to meet our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you all!

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Now, let’s talk about “Prayer and “Salvation”.

Prayer is the key that unlocks and reveals faith. Effective prayer needs both an attitude of complete dependence and the action of asking. Prayer demonstrates complete reliance on God. Thus, there is no substitute for prayer, especially in situations that seem impossible.

So, let our hearts and minds in tune with God, in the power of God, the Holy Spirit. Let’s continuously and persistently pray for God’s perfect will be done. We as Born-Again Christians have been tried and cleansed, we have moved freely into a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ that is more powerful than it was before our trials. We are at home in the presence and fellowship of God, for we are heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ, more like Him that we could ever have dreamed possible. So, let’s continuously and persistently pray for God’s perfect will be done. Amen!


The principle is that no one has anything of value to bring to God in order to deserve salvation, mercy, justification, or even a second glance from God. The proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored. Acceptance before God cannot be achieved by good deeds, piety, or any amount of self-proclaimed righteousness.

Let’s never get over the effect of God’s saving transformation on people’s lives. People who were lost in sin, filled with anger and bitterness, give up their hatred and become approachable as we have studied and learned last time. That is, of course, why we minister to others. Those of us who minister are not people to whom (fruit of the Holy Spirit) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control comes naturally. We are people who have been remodeled by grace. We thankfully leave our old natures far behind as we embrace the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, the first of the list > agape love of God, and in our treatment of others. Amen!

Sunday by Sunday as we come to worship, let me encourage our brothers – and sisters-in-Christ, and I want my readers and listeners to be both strong in the faith and sensitive to others’ needs. Because all, we as Born-Again Christian believers are strong in certain areas and weak in others. We constantly need to monitor the effects of our behavior on others.

In these SELF-CONTROL Series of Podcast, we will learn the following PURPOSES of this fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT:

  • To know the path of coming to maturity
  • To remember who we are in relationship with Christ
  • To learn to say no to our appetites
  • To receive freedom from permissiveness
  • Learn to manage our moods
  • To have a discipline life and mark of obedience

On every Podcast, I always have three (3) questions we can answer from only these two (2) Sources: The Bible and the Guidance of the Holy Spirit. The following are:

First is about our > Observation: What do these passages or Scriptures say to you?

Second is about our own > Interpretation: What do these passages or Scriptures mean to you?

Third is about how we can apply > Application: How do the meaning of these passages or Scriptures apply to you or to your situation?

If you are not sure that you are Born-Again Christian believer or you have relatives, loved ones, friends, neighbors, and people in your circle of influence, please take a look and/or guide them to one of our ministries, “An Invitation to Meet Our Lord Jesus Christ” at https://homefellowshipchurches.org/an-invitation-to-meet-our-lord-jesus-christ/

Let’s give an opportunity for the lost souls to experience on being Born-Again Christian as explained by our Lord Jesus Christ in the book of John 3 in the New Testament of the Bible.

It is as simple as A, B, & C > Admit, Believe, & Confess. All Born-Again Christian believers prayed this simple prayer, we called “Sinner’s Prayer”

“Father God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I acknowledge and admit that I am a sinner and I need a Savior. I believe and have faith in Jesus Christ who was born of Virgin Mary, died on the Cross for the penalty of my sins, and rose again that I may have the eternal life. I confess and declare Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord of my life. Please comfort, guide, and help me Holy Spirit to live and grow in my spiritual life according to Your Words, purpose, and perfect will of God, in my Lord Jesus Christ name, Amen!”

If you prayed this, “Sinner’s Prayer” sincerely in your heart, you are Born-Again Christian believer. However, you are a spiritual baby who needs to grow up. (See 1 Peter 2:2). You need to find a church or fellowship to grow spiritually. We are glad to establish or bring the fellowship to your own home if it is safer by appointment.

Now, let me pray for all of you:

Father God, we come into your presence in our Lord Jesus Christ name, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ for Your agape love and forgiveness you have done on the Cross of Calvary, and continue to intercede for us in prayer. Thank you, Holy Spirit as our Helper and Comforter. Thank you for the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, courage and strength. We cling, yield, plug-in and tune-in to you Holy Spirit to help us understand God’s Words, obey them, receive Your divine revelation, know the Truth that sets us free, and apply them in our lives, in our Lord Jesus Christ name, Amen!”

Let’s praise and worship God in Spirit and in Truth. Give all thanks to God for all answered prayers.

Please send your > Praise Reports (answered prayers) and New Prayer Requests via email to: trinityblessings@homefellowshipchurches.org. God bless you all and our families!

Donations for Author’s Books

This book, “From The WORDS And THOUGHTS To The SWORDS And BATTLEGROUNDS” is planned and designed with three goals in mind (thought): • To help us become more like our Lord Jesus Christ – so much like Him that our family, loved ones, friends, and others in our lives can see Him manifested and reflected in our words, actions, and attitudes. • To help us surrender and submit to God and resist the devil. • To help us be always victorious in our lives by winning the spiritual battles. Author’s next book is coming soon, entitled, “From The BATTLEGROUNDS and WARS To The OVERCOMING And VICTORIES”

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A Message to be Blessed:

A Call to Repentance and Be Blessed

In Malachi 3:7-15 AMPC says, “7 Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?’ 8 “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it”, says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” [Malachi 2:2.] 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer (insects and plagues) for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruits before the time in the field,” says the Lord of hosts. 12 “And all nations shall call you happy and blessed, for you shall be a land of delight”, says the Lord of hosts.

If the people would obey God, giving as they should, God would flood His people with blessings. There would be an overabundance of God’s blessing if He was given what He requested.

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse – See 2 Chronicles 31:11; cf. 1 Chronicles 26:20; Nehemiah 10:38; 13:5, 12. If the temple storehouses were empty, it was the people’s fault. God had already blessed them with enough to give a little back to Him.

Instead of destroying our crops (blessings), God would make them come in greater abundance than we had ever imagined possible (Amos 4:9; Haggai 2:19; Zechariah 8:12). The devourer – probably referring to locusts, though the word here is general in meaning (Baldwin). In the Near East, locust swarms are known for their ability to damage huge tracts of agricultural land (see note on Joel 1:4).

A delightsome land – All of the blessings promised to Jacob would come to pass if the people would obey God (Deuteronomy 33:29; Zechariah 8:13). Their land would be a delight to all who saw it (Daniel 8:9).

The problem in Malachi 3:7-12 was the people’s departure from God as reflected by their neglect of tithes and offerings. Two annual tithes were required according to Israelite law – one for the Levites (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:21), and one to be used in worship at the annual feasts in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 14:22). A tithe was required every three years to provide for the needs of the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28-29). There is debate as to whether this tithe for the poor was in addition to or served as a substitute for the tithe used in worship.


The New Testament pattern for tithing is proportionate giving – a person is to give “in relation to what you have earned” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Certainly a tithe should be given proportionate to one’s wealth, but not all proportionate giving is a tithe.


The anticipation of blessing for obedience to God’s command to tithe was based on the Mosaic covenant, which promised blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience (Malachi 3:10; cf. Deuteronomy 28:15-68). Generally, God will meet the needs of His own people (Psalm 34:9-10; Philippians 4:19), but that is not an unconditional guarantee. There certainly were and are exceptions. Yet, where God chooses not to provide physically, He gives sufficient grace to go without (2 Corinthians 12:9).


The problem in Malachi 3:14-15 was that the people were guilty of arrogant words against God. They were saying, “There is no prophet who is serving God,” and “God is not concerned about justice.” God responded by showing that He did distinguish between the wicked and the righteous. The righteous would be blessed, and the wicked would be judged.

A Call to – Make A Difference – Generous Giving

In 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 NLT says, “1 Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in His kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. 3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do. 6 So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. 7 Since you excel in so many ways – in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us – I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. 8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches. 9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. 10 Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. 15 As the Scriptures say, “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.”.

Paul, writing from Macedonia, hoped that news of the generosity of these churches would encourage the Corinthian believers and motivate them to solve their problems and unite in fellowship.

During his third missionary journey, Paul had collected money for the impoverished believers in Jerusalem. The churches in Macedonia – Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea – had given money even though they were poor, and they had sacrificially given more than Paul expected. Although they were poor themselves, they wanted to help. The amount we give is not as important as why and how we give. God does not want us to give grudgingly. Instead, He wants us to give as these churches did – out of dedication to our Lord Jesus Christ, love for fellow believers, the joy of helping those in need, as well as the fact that it was simply the good and right thing to do. How well does your giving measure up to the standards set by the Macedonian churches?

The Kingdom of God spreads through believers’ concern and eagerness to help others. Here we see several churches joining to help others beyond their own circle of friends and their own city. Let’s explore ways that we might link up with a ministry outside our city, either through your church/fellowship or through a Born-Again Christian organization such as Convoy of Hope – The Bridge Church -Hutto, Texas (My adopted local home church). By joining with other believers to do God’s work, we increase Christian unity and help the Kingdom grow. Amen!

The Corinthian believers excelled in everything – they had faith, gifted speakers, knowledge, enthusiasm, and love. Paul wanted them to also be leaders in giving. Giving is a natural response of love. Paul did not order the Corinthians to give, but he encouraged them to prove that their love was real. When we love someone, we want to give that person our time and attention and provide for his or her needs. If we refuse to help, our love is not as genuine as we say.

There is no evidence that our Lord Jesus Christ was any poorer than most first-century Palestinians; rather, our Lord Jesus Christ became poor by giving up His rights as God and becoming human. In His incarnation, God voluntarily became man – the person Jesus of Nazareth. As a man, our Lord Jesus Christ was subject to place, time, and other human limitations. He did not give up His eternal power when He became human, but He did set aside His glory and His rights (see Philippians 2:5-7). In response to the Father’s will, He limited His power and knowledge. Our Lord Jesus Christ became “poor” when He became human because He set aside so much. Yet by doing so, He made us “rich” because we received salvation and eternal life.
What made our Lord Jesus Christ’s humanity unique was His freedom from sin. In our Lord Jesus Christ, we can see every attribute of God’s character. The Incarnation is explained further in these Bible passages: John 1:1-14; Romans 1:2-5; Philippians 2:6-11; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 1:1-3.

The Christians in the Corinthian church had money, and apparently, they had planned to collect money for the Jerusalem church a year previously (see also 2 Corinthians 9:2). Paul challenges them to act on their plans.

Four principles of giving emerge here: (1) Our willingness to give enthusiastically is more important than the amount we give; (2) We should strive to fulfill our financial commitments; (3) If we give to others in need, they will, in turn, help us when we are in need; (4) We should give as a response to our Lord Jesus Christ, not for anything we can get out of it. How we give reflects our devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

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