Focusing On A Higher Reality Is Joy

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The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT

Podcast Episode: The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT – JOY #5

“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 1 Corinthians 13.

Podcast – Joy #5

The Manifestation of the HOLY SPIRIT is on FIRE!

The Contest at Mount Carmel – God’s Words Through Elijah

In 1 Kings 18:20-21, 38-39 NLT says, “20 So Ahab summoned all the people of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. 21 Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.”

The Obadiah of the minor prophets was not the same man as this protector of the godly (1 Kings 18:3). Ahab’s comment that Elijah had caused the famine (1 Kings 18:17) sums up the lessons of the book of Kings. The people had to learn that it was not the prophets who had troubled the land. Rather, it was their own sins that had brought on the judgment of the Exile.

In Verse 20 describes the Mount Carmel – Mount Carmel is a thirty-mile long ridge, running northwest and southeast, jutting into the Mediterranean at its northwest end and dividing the coastal plain into the Plain of Acco and the Plain of Sharon. The main ridge reaches a height of about 1,750 feet and is about twelve miles long (“Carmel,” NBD). There were several good reasons for holding this thrilling contest here – a number of shrines were located in this area which were devoted to the various fertility deities (Gray); and when the rain clouds came to Canaan, they generally came in from the sea. The location of Mount Carmel, its elevation, and its view toward the Mediterranean made it an excellent “look-out” for the rain clouds which would her ald the end of the lengthy drought (cf. 1 Kings 18:42-45).


Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:20), a 1,742-foot-high promontory jutting in a northwest direction into the Mediterranean Sea, was thought by the Canaanites to be a dwelling of the gods. On this mountain, Elijah confronted the Baal cult.

In Verse 21 describes Elijah came unto all the people – A representation of each of the tribes, apparently, were summoned to witness the spectacle (Robinson). Here is the essence of Elijah’s message: Choose between the God of Israel and Baal. There is but one God, and He cannot be served along with another. Never before up to now in Hebrew history has the theme of monotheism been so clearly enunciated. How long halt ye between two opinions? – The Israelites had long been attempting to combine the worship of God with that of Baal. It was an unworkable union. Elijah proposed to decide for them the controversy between God and Baal by an appeal, by a visible sign from the supernatural world.

Elijah’s mockery attributed basic bodily necessities to Baal (1 Kings 18:27). Elijah was saying that Baal could not respond to his worshipers because he had gone to the toilet. The point of this display is summed up in 1 Kings 18:36, where Elijah acknowledged that the God of Abraham was behind all that he had done. God’s people always had trouble believing that God was speaking through His prophets. The people gave the proper, though temporary, response in 1 Kings 18:39.

In Verses 22-40 describe that since thunder and lightning are known manifestations of Baal (Gray), Elijah proposed that two bullocks be slain and placed on separate altars of wood, the one for Baal, the other for the God of Israel. Whichever deity responded by fire, Elijah proposed, he is the true God. The God of Israel was also known to have manifested Himself in flames and lightning (Exodus 3:2-6; 19:18, 19; 24:17). The priests of Baal led off by calling on their god. In vain did they continue invoking their deity, from morning till noon, when they tried a ritual dance around the altar (Gray). They danced themselves into a state of frenzy and of cutting themselves (1 Kings 18:28). Ritual slashing is thought to have enhanced prophetic ecstasy (Lindblom). Behind these rituals was the aim of arousing Baal, who was believed to die in the summer, only to be revived in the spring when the rains came (“Baal,” ISBE). No response was heard or seen. No fire descended. Elijah exposed their folly and fraud with taunts and sarcasm, and as the day was far advanced, began his own operations. Inviting the people to approach and see the entire proceeding, he first repaired an old altar of the Lord, which had perhaps been pulled down by Jezebel (1 Kings 18:30). Then, having arranged the cut pieces of the young bull, he caused four jars of water to be splashed all over the altar and round in the trench. Three times the water is poured out (1 Kings 18:34), perhaps to show that he was not preparing a trick (Robinson). Then, when Elijah had offered an earnest prayer (1 Kings 18:36, 37), the miraculous fire descended (Leviticus 9:24; Judges 6:21; 13:20; 1 Chronicles 21:26; 2 Chronicles 7:1), and consumed not only the sacrifice, but also the very stones of the altar. The LORD [Yahweh] He is the God – The witnesses were awestruck and were convinced of the supremacy of Yahweh (1 Kings 18:39). Elijah ordered the priests of Baal, who had been shown to be frauds, to be seized and killed. According to Mosaic law, false prophets and those engaged in pagan rituals were to be put to death (Deuteronomy 18:9-20). The execution of the Baal prophets took place at the brook Kishon, apparently because the area around the altar was now deemed a sacred spot by virtue of the theophany (Jones). Kishon today is called Nahr el-Muqatta’, which runs from northern Samaria to the bay of Acre just east of Carmel (“Kishon,” NBD).


Elijah ran to Jezreel (1 Kings 18:46), Ahab’s camp, to report the victory of God and encourage popular opinion against Jezebel. Note the confession in 1 Kings 18:39. God’s control of the rain was a direct attack upon Baal’s supposed power.

The LORD – He is God! The Lord – He is God! Joy is the spontaneous result of seeing God in action, focusing on a higher reality.

it was very clear that when Pentecost (marks the coming and/or outpouring of the Holy Spirit) is poured out, so is joy. The people began to focus on the transforming reality of God. Joy was the result. It always has been and always will be.

            Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again: REJOICE!

Our joy is uncontainable when we think about the great gifts of God in 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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A Vision of Living Beings

In Ezekiel 1:4-28 NLT says, “4 As I looked, I saw a great storm coming from the north, driving before it a huge cloud that flashed with lightning and shone with brilliant light. There was fire inside the cloud, and in the middle of the fire glowed something like gleaming amber. 5 From the center of the cloud came four living beings that looked human, 6 except that each had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, and their feet had hooves like those of a calf and shone like burnished bronze. 8 Under each of their four wings I could see human hands. So each of the four beings had four faces and four wings. 9 The wings of each living being touched the wings of the beings beside it. Each one moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
10 Each had a human face in the front, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle at the back. 11 Each had two pairs of outstretched wings – one pair stretched out to touch the wings of the living beings on either side of it, and the other pair covered its body. 12 They went in whatever direction the spirit chose, and they moved straight forward in any direction without turning around. 13 The living beings looked like bright coals of fire or brilliant torches, and lightning seemed to flash back and forth among them. 14 And the living beings darted to and fro like flashes of lightning. 15 As I looked at these beings, I saw four wheels touching the ground beside them, one wheel belonging to each. 16 The wheels sparkled as if made of beryl. All four wheels looked alike and were made the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it. 17 The beings could move in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. 18 The rims of the four wheels were tall and frightening, and they were covered with eyes all around. 19 When the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. When they flew upward, the wheels went up, too. 20 The spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. So wherever the spirit went, the wheels and the living beings also went. 21 When the beings moved, the wheels moved. When the beings stopped, the wheels stopped. When the beings flew upward, the wheels rose up, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels.
22 Spread out above them was a surface like the sky, glittering like crystal. 23 Beneath this surface the wings of each living being stretched out to touch the others’ wings, and each had two wings covering its body. 24 As they flew, their wings sounded to me like waves crashing against the shore or like the voice of the Almighty* or like the shouting of a mighty army. When they stopped, they let down their wings. 25 As they stood with wings lowered, a voice spoke from beyond the crystal surface above them. 26 Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man. 27 From what appeared to be His waist up, He looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from His waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. 28 All around Him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me.”

Interpreters often become so engrossed in guessing the meaning of the details of this vision that they overlook its major significance. It was a vision of the glory of the Lord (Ezekiel 1:1, 28). The vision left Ezekiel with an abiding sense of God’s glory, which was often reflected in his prophetic ministry (Ezekiel 3:23; 8:4; 10:4; 11:22). Whatever Ezekiel saw, he was limited in his ability to describe it. He used the Hebrew words translated “like” and “appearance” to describe what was completely beyond his earthly experience.


The “four living beings” (Ezekiel 1:5) were later identified by Ezekiel as “cherubim” (Ezekiel 10:20), an order of angels sometimes associated with the worship of God (cf. Genesis 3:24; Exodus 25:18-22). The singular was cherub and perhaps related to the Akkadian root meaning “to bless, praise, adore.” The spirit (Ezekiel 1:12) was identified in Ezekiel 1:20 as the “spirit of the four living beings,” not the Holy Spirit. The chrysolite (Ezekiel 1:16), literally, “tarshish,” is a stone perhaps like topaz. Over the heads of the living creatures was a “surface” that served as a platform for the “throne” (Ezekiel 1:26). Comparison of Ezekiel 1:26-27 with Revelation 1:13-18 suggests that the one sitting on the throne was our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ezekiel didn’t see the kingdom of God like everyone else did. But when he did see it, it came to him in vivid impressions that told him that his LORD was no pastel God. This was not a Rembrandt-style God who liked umbers and ochers. This was the God who could combine stripes, prints, plaids, and neon colors in such a way that He colored the earth with indescribable joy.

But best of all, when this God of the wild palette spoke, there was work to be done. Ezekiel received his purpose, wrote down his color-clashing visions, and went off to do his work. Joy speaks to us in all kinds of ways – in ways as unique to each of us as His purposes are different for every believer.

Description of The Speaker – Our Lord Jesus Christ

In Revelation 1:12-16 NLT says, “12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across His chest. 14 His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And His eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and His voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in His right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from His mouth. And His face was like the sun in all its brilliance.”

John’s vision was of the majestic person of our Lord Jesus Christ, the risen and glorified Lord, standing among the churches. The vision is similar to that recorded in Daniel 7:9-14. But this picture of the risen Lord is radically different from the picture presented in the Gospels, where the risen Lord was mistaken for a gardener and made breakfast for his disciples by the Sea of Galilee. In Revelation the risen Lord is revealed as the fearsome Judge, first of the churches and then of the world. The Lord is presented in this startling way in order to motivate the readers to pay attention. The “seven gold lampstands” (Revelation 1:12) are identified in Revelation 1:20 as the seven churches. The picture of seven lamps occurs in Exodus 25:37; 37:23; and Zechariah 4:2. The “seven stars” (Revelation 1:16) are identified in Revelation 1:20 as seven “angels.”


There are a variety of opinions regarding the identity of the seven “angels.” Some have understood John to be referring to the human leader or pastor of each local church. Others have viewed them as guardian angels of the churches (1 Corinthians 11:10). And others believe the term “angel” should be understood literally as “messenger,” referring to the human messengers sent by the churches to visit John and receive our Lord Jesus Christ’s letter to their churches (cf. Revelation 2:1; for other human messengers in Scripture see Haggai 1:13; Malachi 2:7; Matthew 11:10; Luke 9:52; James 2:25). The order in which the churches are addressed is strictly according to geographical arrangement.

The Temple’s Dedication With Great Joy

In Ezra 6:16 NLT says, “The Temple of God was then dedicated with great joy by the people of Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the people who had returned from exile.”

The children of Israel . . . kept the dedication . . . with joy – The old people who had wept at the laying of the foundation were mostly, if not all, dead by now. Thus, the ceremony was carried on with expressions of the liveliest joy; all rejoiced at the completion of this national undertaking.

The people, former exiles, celebrated the dedication of the temple with joy. They had witnessed the miraculous workings of God to bring them back to their land and restore to them their house of worship. They joyfully celebrated God’s power in a simple recipe that woke the world around them to joy.

These are the kinds of things that can happen when God’s people begin to witness God working in the world around them. And joy is always noticed by the world. Be joyful! Amen!

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Paul’s Vision and His Thorn in the Flesh

In 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 NLT says, “1 This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know – only God knows. 3 Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know 4 that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. 5 That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

In Verse 1 describes Paul felt compelled to move to the next category about which his opponents had been boasting: visions and revelations. It is clear from the frequency of disclaimers about boasting in this section (2 Corinthians 11:30; 12:1, 5-6, 9-11) that Paul thought of bragging about revelations as the height of folly. A revelation by definition was purely God’s work. Yet apparently, Paul’s critics were boasting in revelations. In effect, they were saying that they had been judged worthy of these revelations. Only a fool boasts in something that is so clearly the work of God.

In Verse 2 describes that although Paul didn’t give many details about this ecstatic experience, he did write that he was caught up into the third heaven. In Paul’s day, the notion of multiple heavens – from three to seven heavens – was common. Scholars who have systematically analyzed the use of the words “heaven” and “heavens” in the Old and New Testament believe that the Scriptures use the word “heaven” to refer to three separate places. The first heaven is the earth’s atmosphere (see Acts 1:9-10); the second heaven is the entire universe, which contains all the stars (see Genesis 1:14). The third heaven, beyond these two heavens, is where God Himself lives (1 Peter 3:22). This is the “heaven of heavens” (Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 68:33). Whether or not Paul had this three-fold division of the heavens in mind, it is clear that he considered the third heaven as the highest heaven. Paul saw his revelation as an extraordinary and unique revelation (Revelation 12:7).


It was fourteen years ago that Paul experienced this revelation. Although Luke records a number of visions and trances Paul received (Acts 9:3-7; 16:9; 22:17-21), including the one Paul experienced while visiting Corinth (Acts 18:9-10), none of those visions fit the description here. Paul described this revelation as such a rapturous experience that he heard words he could not repeat (Revelation 12:4). The fact that Paul couldn’t express what he heard might explain the silence about this revelation in the book of Acts.


Fourteen years before the writing of 2 Corinthians would be around A.D. 40, close to the beginning of Paul’s ministry. Paul may have experienced this revelation when he was in Arabia (see Galatians 1:17; 2:2), or when he was in Antioch (Acts 13:1-3), or when he was stoned outside of Lystra and assumed dead (Acts 14:19-20).

Joy and pain are both elements of focus in our worship. Pain creates a need for God, and joy is the footprint of His presence in our lives. So, let’s praise and worship God in Spirit and in Truth, Amen!

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 love, 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 gentleness and self-control, the 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 JOY Series of Podcast, we will learn the following PURPOSES of this fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT:

  • The Joy of God’s Creativity – Podcast Joy #1 – To understand and appreciate the creation of God
  • A Positive Attitude Is Joy – Podcast Joy #2 – Learn how to acquire a positive attitude
  • The Presence of God is The Infallible Proof of Joy – Podcast Joy #3
  • The Reward of Endurance is Joy – Podcast Joy #4 – To receive and experience the reward of endurance
  • Focusing On A Higher Reality is Joy – Podcast Joy #5 – To focus on the higher reality and experience God’s presence
  • The Reveling of Angels is Joy – Podcast Joy #6

Three (3) Questions we can answer from these Sources: The Bible and Guidance of the Holy Spirit

Observation: What do these passages say to you?

Interpretation: What do these passages mean to you?

Application: How do the meaning of these passages apply to you or to your situation?

If you are not sure that you are Born-Again Christian believer, please take a look of one of our ministries, “An Invitation To Meet Our Lord Jesus Christ” at https://homefellowshipchurches.org/an-invitation-to-meet-our-lord-jesus-christ/

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Suggested Prayer: 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!

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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In Malachi 3:10-12 AMPC says, “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.

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