Remembering Who We Are in Relationship to Jesus Christ, and The Mark of Obedience is SELF-CONTROL

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

JESUS CHRIST is the Reason for this Holiday Season

The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT

Podcast Episode: The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT – SELF-CONTROL #4

Podcast – Self-Control #4

“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). Karaoke location TBA.

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If you have any questions and/or concerns, please don’t hesitate to send them to:

Email: trinityblessings@homefellowshipchurches.org

Podcast Messages & Bible Studies Topic: Fruit of the Holy Spirit, God’s Promises for All Our Every Needs, Books of Leviticus, Revelation and Romans, Pastor/Chaplain Elias book – “From the Words and Thoughts to the Swords and Battlegrounds”, “From the Battlegrounds and Wars to the Overcoming and Victories” portions (to be published soon).

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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The Manifestation of the HOLY SPIRIT is on FIRE!

In the Beginning, JESUS CHRIST is the ETERNAL WORD

In John 1:1-14 NLT says, “1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. 6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of His testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him. 11 He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. 12 But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn – not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. 14 So, the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

Let me share the commonality of Genesis 1 – the Old Creation (Old Testament) and John 1 – the New Creation (New Testament) – of the words, “1 In the beginning …”

First, let me discuss the following Verses described in the “Old Creation”.

In Genesis 1:1, 26-27 NLT says, “1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

“26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like ourselves. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” 27 So, God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God, He created them; male and female He created them.”

The simple statement that God created the heavens and the earth is one of the most challenging concepts confronting the modern mind.

God did not need to create the universe; He chose to create it. Why? God is love, and love is best expressed toward something or someone else. So, God created the world and people as an expression of His love. We should avoid reducing God’s creation to merely scientific terms. Remember that God created the universe because He loves each of us.

The creation story teaches us much about God and ourselves. First, we learn about God: (1) He is creative; (2) as the Creator, He is distinct from His creation; (3) He is eternal and in control of the world. We also learn about ourselves: (1) Since God chose to create us, we are valuable in His eyes; (2) we are more important than the animals. (see Genesis 1:28; Genesis 3:6-17 for more on our role in the created order, and sin came in because of disobedience and caused the fall of humanity.)

Second and last, let me discuss the following Verses described in the “New Creation”.

In John 1:1, 12-14 NLT says, “1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

“12 But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn – not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. 14 So the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”

All who welcome Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives are reborn (Born-Again Christian believers) spiritually through the Holy Spirit, receiving new life from God. Through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, this new birth changes us from the inside out – rearranging our attitudes, desires, and motives. Being born makes us physically alive and places us in our parents’ family (John 1:13). Those who were born in this world exist only in body and soul, and their spirit is dead because of sin inherited from Adam and Eve. Being born of God makes us spiritually alive and puts us in God’s family (John 1:12). We as Born-Again Christian believers exist not only in body and soul but also in alive spirit who communicates to God – the Holy Spirit who help, guide, and lead us to God’s Words.

What our Lord Jesus Christ taught and what He did are tied inseparably to who He is. John shows our Lord Jesus Christ as fully human and fully God. Although our Lord Jesus Christ took upon Himself full humanity and lived as a man, He never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the source of eternal life.

This is the truth about our Lord Jesus Christ, and the foundation of all truth. If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to Him. That is why John wrote this Gospel – to build faith and confidence in our Lord Jesus Christ so that we may believe that He truly was and is the Son of God (John 20:30, 31).

John wrote to believers everywhere, both Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles). As one of our Lord Jesus Christ’s 12 disciples, John was an eyewitness so his story is accurate. His book is not a biography (like the book of Luke); it is a thematic presentation of our Jesus Christ’s life. Many in John’s original audience had a Greek background. Greek culture encouraged worship of many mythological gods, whose supernatural characteristics were as important to Greeks as genealogies were to Jews. John shows that our Lord Jesus Christ is not only different from but superior to these gods of mythology.

When God created, He made something from nothing. Because we are created beings, we have no basis for pride. Remember that we exist only because God made us, and we have special gifts only because God gave them to us. With God we are something valuable and unique; apart from God we are nothing, and if we try to live without Him, we will be abandoning the purpose for which we were made.

Do we ever feel that our lives are too complex for God to understand? Remember, God created the entire universe, and nothing is too difficult for Him. God created us; He is alive today, and His love is bigger than any problems we may face.

Every Christmas Eve Candle Light Service in our church, we attend and come to God in His presence in the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit. Our Pastor with his wife lights up their candles and pass it on. Then, everyone passes it on, too, by lighting next person’s candle light until everyone has lights. The message is about the Light and the greatest Gift of God – our Lord Jesus Christ love and forgiveness. This is the meaning and how we celebrate Christmas by loving, forgiving, and sharing the Gospel – The Good News.

“The darkness can never extinguish it” means the darkness of evil never has and never will overcome God’s light. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator of life, and His life brings light to humankind. In His light, we see ourselves as we really are (sinners in need of a Savior). When we follow our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Light, we can avoid walking blindly and falling into sin. He lights the path ahead of us so we can see how to live. He removes the darkness of sin from our lives.

We, like John, are not the source of God’s light; we merely reflect that light. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the true Light; He helps us see our way to God and shows us how to walk along that way. But our Lord Jesus Christ has chosen to reflect His light through His followers to an unbelieving world, perhaps because unbelievers are not able to bear the full blazing glory of His light firsthand. The word witness indicates our role as reflectors of our Lord Jesus Christ’s light. We are never to present ourselves as the light to others, but are always to point them to our Lord Jesus Christ, the Light. Amen!

Have you allowed the light of Jesus Christ to shine into your life? Let Jesus Christ guide your life, and you’ll never need to stumble in darkness.

Although Jesus Christ created the world, the people He created didn’t recognize Him (John 1:10). Even the people chosen by God to prepare the rest of the world for the Messiah rejected Him (John 1:11), although the entire Old Testament pointed to His coming.

All who welcome Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives are reborn spiritually through the Holy Spirit, receiving new life from God. Through faith in Jesus Christ, this new birth changes us from the inside out – rearranging our attitudes, desires, and motives. Being born makes us physically alive and places us in our parents’ family (John 1:13). Being born of God makes us spiritually alive and puts us in God’s family (John 1:12).

Have you asked our Lord Jesus Christ to make you a new person? This fresh start in life is available to all who believe in Jesus Christ.

“The Word became human.” By doing so, our Lord Jesus Christ became (1) the perfect teacher – in Jesus Christ’s life, we see how God thinks and therefore how we should think (Philippians 2:5-11); (2) the perfect example – as a model of what we are to become, He shows us how to live and gives us the power to live that way (1 Peter 2:21); (3) the perfect sacrifice – our Lord Jesus Christ came as a sacrifice for all sins, and His death satisfied God’s requirements for the removal of sin (Colossians 1:15-23).

The only Son of the Father” means Jesus Christ is God’s only and unique Son. The emphasis is on unique. Our Lord Jesus Christ is one of a kind and enjoys a relationship with God. He is unlike all believers, who are called “children of God.

What does John mean by “the Word”? The Word was a term used by theologians and philosophers, both Jews and Greeks, in many different ways. In Hebrew Scripture, the Word was an agent of creation (Psalm 33:6), the source of God’s message to His people through the prophets (Hosea 4:1), and God’s law, His standard of holiness (Psalm 119:11).

In Greek philosophy, the Word was the principle of reason that governed the world, or the thought still in the mind, while in Hebrew thought, the Word was another expression for God. John’s description shows clearly that he is speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ (see especially John 1:14) – a human being he knew and loved, but at the same time the Creator of the universe, the ultimate revelation of God, the living picture of God’s holiness, the one who “holds all creation together” (Colossians 1:17).

To Jewish readers, to say this man Jesus “was God” was blasphemous. To Greek readers, “the Word became human” (John 1:14) was unthinkable. To John, this new understanding of the Word was the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ to the whole world.

When our Lord Jesus Christ was born, He is the reason for this Season of Christmas, God became a man. He was not part man and part God; He was completely human and completely divine (Colossians 2:9). Before our Lord Jesus Christ came, people could know God partially. After our Lord Christ came, people could know God fully because He became visible and tangible in Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect expression of God in human form. The two most common errors people make about Jesus Christ are to minimize His humanity or to minimize His divinity. Lord Jesus Christ is both God and man.

In all of this, John the Baptist practiced self-control, and in every act of self-identification, he said very clearly, “Jesus Christ is the big deal, not me. He must increase; I must decrease.” John showed us that the essence of self-control is remembering who we are in relationship to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Self-Control is the result of self-denial. Self-denial is the practice of seeing our lives in terms of other people. We were not placed on this earth to be gluttons of God’s abundance. We were put here to reclaim the world by denying what we might have enjoyed in order that we may enjoy a kind of abundance that cannot be known until we have denied ourselves. When we utter the words “I renounce,” God gives us a trumpet to announce the King, our Lord Jesus Christ. 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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Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah in Nebuchadnezzar’s Court

In Daniel 1:6-17 NLT says, 6 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names: Daniel was called Belteshazzar. Hananiah was called Shadrach. Mishael was called Meshach. Azariah was called Abednego. 8 But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. 9 Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. 10 But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.” 11 Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 12 “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others. 17 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.”

Nebuchadnezzar changed the names of Daniel and his friends because he wanted to make them Babylonian – in their own eyes and in the eyes of the Babylonian people. New names would help them to be assimilated into the culture. Daniel means “God is my judge” in Hebrew; his name was changed to Belteshazzar, meaning “Bel, protect his life!” (Bel, also called Marduk, was the chief Babylonian god.) Hananiah means “the LORD shows grace”; his new name, Shadrach, probably means “under the command of Aku” (the moon god). Mishael means “who is like God?”; his new name, Meshach, probably means “who is like Aku?” Azariah means “the LORD helps”; his new name, Abednego, means “servant of Nego/Nebo” (or Nabu, the god of learning and writing). This was how the king attempted to change the religious loyalty of these young men from Judah’s God to Babylon’s gods.

Daniel resolved not to eat this food, either because it was forbidden by Jewish law, such as pork (see Leviticus 11), or because accepting the king’s food and drink was the first step toward depending on his gifts and favors. Although Daniel was in a culture that did not honor God, he still obeyed God’s laws.

Daniel “made up his mind” to be devoted to principle and to be committed to a course of action. When Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself, he was being true to a lifelong determination to do what was right and not to give in to the pressures around him. We, too, are often assaulted by pressures to compromise our standards and live more like the world around us. Merely wanting or preferring God’s will and way is not enough to stand against the onslaught of temptation. Like Daniel, we must resolve to obey God. Amen!

It is easier to resist temptation if we have thought through our convictions before the temptation arises. Daniel and his friends made their decision to be faithful to the laws of God before they were faced with the king’s delicacies, so they did not hesitate to stick with their convictions. We will get into trouble if we have not previously decided where to draw the line. Before such situations arise, let’s decide on our commitments and what we will do. Then when temptation comes, we will be ready to say no. Amen!

God moved with an unseen hand to change the heart of this Babylonian official. The strong moral conviction of these four young men made an impact. God promises to be with His people in times of trial and temptation (Psalm 106:46; Isaiah 43:2-5; 1 Corinthians 10:13). His active intervention often comes just when we take a stand for Him. Let’s stand for God and trust Him to protect us in ways we may not be able to see.

Anything short of complete obedience meant execution for the officials who served Nebuchadnezzar. Even in such a small matter as this, the official feared for his life.

The Babylonians were trying to change their thinking by giving them a Babylonian education, their loyalty by changing their names, and their life-style by changing their diet. Without compromising, Daniel found a way to live by God’s standards in a culture that did not honor God. Wisely choosing to negotiate rather than to rebel, Daniel suggested an experimental 10-day diet of vegetables and water instead of the royal foods and wine the king offered. Without compromising, Daniel quickly thought of a practical, creative solution that saved his life and the lives of his companions. As God’s people, we may adjust to our culture as long as we do not compromise God’s laws. Amen!

Daniel and his friends learned all they could about their new culture so they could do their work with excellence. But while they learned, they maintained steadfast allegiance to God, and God gave them skill and wisdom. Culture need not be God’s enemy. If it does not violate His commands, it can aid in accomplishing His purpose. We who follow God are free to be competent leaders in our culture, but we are required to pledge our allegiance to God first. Amen!

This permissive stance on overeating is an odd forgiveness since the Bible condemns it so often. Further, the Scriptures define fasting as manner of self-control that enhances the prayer life and deepens the life in our Lord Jesus Christ. This passage in Daniel speaks to the spoiling of life and health by over-indulgence. Daniel survives very well on vegetables and water. But surviving was not Daniel’s goal. He wanted to thrive spiritually. He wanted to be sure that permissive gluttony did not leave him a poor lover of God. It’s a legitimate concern for us as well. Amen!

All for the Glory of GOD

In 1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT says, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

In chapter 9 Paul used himself as an example of a mature Christian who disciplines himself to better serve God. In chapter 10, he uses Israel as an example of spiritual immaturity, shown in their overconfidence and lack of self-discipline.

Our actions must be motivated by God’s love so that all we do will be for His glory. Keep this as a guiding principle by asking, Is this action glorifying God? or How can I honor God through this action?

What is the purpose of God in our lives? Just this: that whatever we do should exalt Him. If we have any current activity or avocation (diversion or distraction) that would detract from (diminish the importance, value, or effectiveness of something, or to speak ill of) His immense love, then stop it. Resolve that we will accept His purpose for our lives and live in such a way that when we walk into a room people will long to get to know the God we serve.

Do we love Him? Then let’s stop doing it; stop eating it; stop drinking it! This is Sanctifying Life.

Whatever we do – eating or drinking – let us do all for the glory of God. This simple statement is the most positive of all guides to self-control. We often try to learn self-control by making a big list of do’s and don’ts and then make ourselves miserable trying to become great believers by all the things we deny ourselves. This is not to play down self-denial, but it is better to focus on what we can enjoy in our Lord Jesus Christ rather than focusing on the things we are trying to avoid.

What is the purpose of God in our lives? Well, as simply as it can be put, it is to glorify God. How do we glorify Him – by posting a list of no-no’s and trying to be good by our negations? Never! We merely ask ourselves at every juncture of life whether what we are about to do does indeed glorify God. If not, don’t do it. Again, the rule is simple: Whatever we do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 worked so well that we didn’t have to wait for heaven to get a little closer to having our glorified body. Self-control provided the key to our victory, in Jesus’s name. Amen!

Choose Life, Prosperity, and Obey GOD

In Deuteronomy 30:15-16 NLT says, 15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.”

Moses challenged Israel to choose life, to obey God, and therefore to continue to experience His blessings. God doesn’t force His will on anyone. He lets us decide whether to follow Him or reject Him. This decision, however, is a life-or-death matter. God wants us to realize this, for He would like us all to choose life. Daily, in each new situation, we must affirm and reinforce this commitment. Amen!

Self-control is three things, says Moses. It is loving God, walking in His ways, and keeping His laws. Here is the recipe for self-control with only three ingredients. And when the loaf is baked, the recipe proves so complete that we sit with our Lord Jesus Christ, feeling our relationship with Him grow deeper as we eat of this simple recipe. The self-control that bears the mark of obedience will always enhance our relationship with Lord Jesus Christ.

All in all, our walk with our Lord Jesus Christ will be as victorious as we are submissive. Our closeness to Him and our degree of self-control always maintain the same happy ratio. Amen!



Our Freedom should be less Important to us than Strengthening the Faith of a Brother or Sister in our Lord Jesus Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 8:7-13 NLT says, “7 However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated. 8 It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do. 9 But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. 10 For if others see you – with your “superior knowledge” – eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? 11 So, because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed. 12 And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ. 13 So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live – for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.”

Paul addressed these words to believers who weren’t bothered by eating meat that had been offered to idols. Although idols were phony, and the pagan ritual of sacrificing to them was meaningless, eating such meat offended some Christians with sensitive consciences. Paul said, therefore, that mature believers should avoid eating meat offered to idols if it would violate the conscience of weak Christian.

Christian freedom does not mean that anything goes. It means that our salvation is not obtained by good deeds or legalistic rules; it is the free gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Christian freedom, then, is inseparably tied to Christian responsibility. New believers are often very sensitive to what is right or wrong, what they should or shouldn’t do. Some actions may be perfectly all right for us to do but may harm a Christian brother or sister who is still young in the faith and learning what the Christian life is all about. We must be careful not to offend a sensitive or younger Christian or, by our example, cause him or her to sin. When we love others, our freedom should be less important to us than strengthening the faith of a brother or sister in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our liberty is immense in our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet we are to rein in the wide latitudes of our choices. We must be free in Jesus Christ to select all that He permits us. If our Lord Jesus Christ approves any appetite for our enjoyment, it is ours to enjoy – with one exception. There may be something that our Lord Jesus Christ approves for us, but if someone else saw us doing it, they might accuse us of being superficial or worldly. Then for the sake of those whom our liberty might injure, our Lord Jesus Christ asks us to desist, stop, discontinue from that activity. Amen!

This concludes our 4th 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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