FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 011

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ANDREW THE FIRST DISCIPLE

30 AD – Jordan River Valley

Andrew idolized the man who came out of the wilderness calling the people to repent their sins. They called him the Baptist for he publically dared to go against tradition and baptise people in the Jordan. The religious leader said no one will come. But yet they came and they came in droves.

Like Andrew, they came to see if he is the one, for his appearance, mannerism and boldness were like that of an old legend come to life. So many came that finally the Jewish leadership sent priests to the Jordan to investigate. Watching him submersing one person after another angered one of the head priests.

“Who are you?” the priest demanded.

The Baptist didnot even pause in baptising. When he brought up a woman from under the water and helped her to the shore, he said, “I am not the Messiah.”

“Well then, who are you?” a number of them asked at the same time. But the Baptist was submersing another person paying them no heed.

“Are you Elijah?” asked a priest sarcastically. Some of them were laughing but stopped when they saw him chuckling.

The Baptist still chuckling, stood there knee deep in water, lifted up his arms to display his garment and long hair and beard. Then he nonchalantly replied, “No.”

Another asked, “Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”

The Baptist shook his head in the negative, as he submersed an old man.

“Then who are you?” asked a priest who seem to be concerned. “We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”

Then Andrew observed the Baptist’s posture change. There was also a gleam shining in his eyes as he faced them. He gestured to his followers to hold back the next person. Then looking to not just priests, he says in a very loud voice, “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the LORD’s coming!’ ”

Andrew was stunned, for he recognized those words. They were the words of the prophet Isaiah.

Other men who accompanied the priests also recognized the words as well. They were Pharisees, not priests, learned men of the leadership. They too asked, “If you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”

The Baptist smiled. Then he bent and cupped some water in his hands and said, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 11th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

If you want to support my writing, please use my Go-Fund-Me site below.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility

THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch1 – part 5

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Tyre

Cornelius saw that his ship was steering to shore north of the city. He saw anchored in a wide bay many other Roman ships busily unloading supplies and men unto a flotilla of small boats going back and forth to the shore. The other ships of his fleets were beginning to weigh anchor too but not his galley and the two other large galleys. All three ships had furled their sails and started to row closer to shore. At first, he thought the ships were going to be beached, then he saw several floating piers jutting out from the shore. His ship steered itself to one. Flavius who had come up to join him at the bow pointed at the pier ahead. Cornelius had to shade his eyes and peer at what he was pointing at. He finally focused on an officer waiting for his ship to dock. It was his commanding officer, Tribune Arturos, who arrived days earlier with the other three cohorts that sailed ahead of them.

Tribune Arturos was the son of a senator and belonged to one of the high class families of Rome. When Cornelius met him for the first time, he was unsure of the ways of the military. But he liked him. Unlike some high born commanders, he was not haughty and he was willing to learn. Eight months in, training and commanding two cohorts, Cornelius felt he will be a good commander.

“It looks like our young Tribune did not farewell on the sea voyage here,” commented Flavius with a little humor.

Cornelius smiled a little as he saw that Arturos’ armor was noticeably larger for his wiry body. He took a mental note to speak with Arturos that he does not have to use that ornately decorated breast plate except for ceremonial purposes.

“Flavius, you better get our standard ready. Looks like, we will be going formal.”

The ship gently moored itself on its port beam and the sailors secured the gang lines. Then they laid out the gang plank. Flavius, two other sub-officers and the cohort’s Signifer, a legionary garbed with a gray wolf head and pelt over his armor stood attention by the gang plank waiting for Cornelius. The Signifer carried the standard – a tall staff with the cohort’s emblem on the top. The emblem had the carving of Rome’s eagle encircled by a wreath. There were four medallions in a line below the main emblem. Cornelius put on his helmet and worked his way to mid-ship where they waited. Then they followed him off the ship. They formed up and together in step, they marched toward the awaiting Tribune. Then they stopped in precision. Cornelius saluted by banging his right fist against his chest then extended it with his palm facing out.

“Hail, Tribune.”

“Hail, Cornelius,” smiled Arturos as he reached out to shake Cornelius’ forearm. “Well met, indeed. How was the journey?”

“We encountered a storm last week but no ships lost. How was your trip over?”

“I don’t mind telling you. I was sick all the way until we arrived two days ago.” Both of them laughed about it. “The camp is only three miles up the coast. The city of Tyre is about twelve miles south. City is off limits by order of the governor.”

“Tribune?” asked Flavius. “Why did we have to land here? I thought there was a Roman port farther south. What was the name of that port?”

“Caesarea,” answered Cornelius.

“Governor Pontus Pilate wanted to hold court at Caesarea-Philippi in the mountains of Lebanon. Tyre was a lot closer than our base down south. So far, our three cohorts plus five other auxiliary cohorts will bolster the old Ninth Legion there. The rest of the fleet with the rest of our forces will sail south tonight and garrison Caesarea. Meanwhile, Flavius, you disembark the rest of our men from those ships and get them settled at our camp. Cornelius, you and I have a meeting with General Gaius tonight.”

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The story continues on in my next post a week from now.

If you are interested in reading the entire ebook, you can find my ebook in Amazon.com for only $1.99. Just click the link below.

Thank you

Johann Q

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 010

 

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DEMACLI, THE LEGION DEMONIAC
24 A.D. in the region of the Decapolis

Three nights later, he returned to the villa disheveled and dirty. He tiredly lowered himself to the ground next to the gate. A servant saw him and quickly brought Habbi.

“Master, we searched for you for days.” Seeing that he was aslpeep, Habbi shook him. “Master… master!”

Like waking up from a bad dream, Demacli sat up straight, looking around in confusion. He grasped Habbi’s sleeve and croaked in a parch voice, “Wha… what happened to me?” After drinking some water that a servant hastily brought, he said, “I woke up in a cave some miles from here. I don’t recall anything.”

 

“We are bringing you home,” his father said. “Habbi will stay to continue the business. My son, according to the priestess, you have been fooled by Ate, the goddess of mischief. I have heard that she had been casting her spells among the Jews lately. But I have heard of a prophetess of Hermes hiding in Cadasa in the region of Phoenicia that may free you. We must go there.”

“I hate to leave father but…”

“I know, my son. You have built so much, but I think you need not fret for I think you’ll return.”

But deep in his mind, Demacli heard a thousand laughters.

24 A.D. in the region of the Sidon, Phoenicia

“Can this hovel be the place?” The father asked their guide. The house was no more than a dilapidated shack in the edge of a forest miles from the nearest village. Though it was in shambles, there were signs of habitation.

“Oh yes, witch be there! But me no go near. You go… you go.”

Demacli was feeling a little better. The voices were not so overwhelming since they left the village they were lodging in for almost three weeks looking for this elusive prophetess.

He and his father got off the horses they were riding. The guide took the reins of the horses and rode a short distance away to wait for them. Together, they approached the shack and when they got close enough. His father placed a hand on Demacli’s arm to signal a halt.

Then, he called out, “We seek the prophetess of Hermes. We seek her aid.”

No answer came but Demacli noticed at a window a torn curtain move. Clearly, someone was in there.

“My son needs your help. I have silver to offer.”

They waited outside for about an hour, then suddenly the door opened and a feminine voice said, “Come in.”

Demacli was expecting to see an old chrone but to his surprise, they were met by a beautiful woman. She was not young but still held the beauty of her youth.

“I am Elpida. What makes you seek me? I am no longer a prophetess. Since I was cast out of Greece and returned home here where I was born, I have been branded a witch because I heal the poor with my poltices and potions.”

 

“Then, it is your healing that we seek,” said the father. He told her all of Demacli’s condition.

She had Demacli sit before her. She took his head and cupped his face with her hands. She looked into his eyes for what seem the longest time.

“I have come across this before,” she sadly said as she sat back rubbing her face like she was tired.

“This is not the work of the goddess of mischief. This is much older… even older than our gods.”

“What can we do?” asked the father.

“I cannot help you. All I can say is that in time, the spirits that dwell in you will eventually take control of you. You will be capable of doing despicable things but it will not be you. It will be them. There is more. These spirits are evil and they are spiteful toward us who walk this world. Legend says they were once favored but then, because of the evil done by their leader, they were cast down here on the earth never to return. They will torment you. Those evil things that you will do, you will be aware of it and it will drive you mad.”

Again the father asked, “Is there no hope for my son, ever?”

“I have traveled the earth seeking wisdom. Knowledge I have collected from Greece, Egypt, Sidon, Phoenicea, Persia and even the lost religion of ancient Mesopotamia. In every one, I have gleaned the existance of one God who is the god of all gods. It is to this God that these evil spirits fear the most. If there is any hope, seek those who worship the one God. Go to the Jews.”

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 10th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS. Here we pause the story of Demacli. We will see him again 7 years later. Meanwhile, we jump forward in time to 30AD to the story of Andrew, the first disciple.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

If you want to support my writing, please use my Go-Fund-Me site below.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 009

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DEMACLI, THE LEGION DEMONIAC
24 A.D. in the region of the Decapolis

A year had passed. Demacli was riding on a carriage carried by six slaves down a wide boulevard being hailed by people of different classes. When they got back to the villa, Habbi was there waiting for him.

“I take it, Master, your meeting with the Roman was fruitful.”

“It wasn’t but then it was. The Roman was no help but the Egyptian I talked to will aid us to double our profits for the next year or so.”

“That is good, Master. Your father would be proud.”

“Yes… it is too bad he wasn’t here.”

“As a matter of fact, I just recieved a message from your father. Your entire family will be here in three days.”

“Three days, you say.” Inside Demacli was concerned.

“What is wrong, Master? Why the frown?”

“Ah…” He shook his head. “Nothing that concerns you, Habbi. I am going up and I am not to be disturbed.”
He went up straight to his room.

“Why is my father coming? Why now?” Demacli asked himself.

“He is coming because he wants to take away from your success!” It was his voice he heard but harsher. “He is jealous of you!” His voice again but more weaselly. Other voices in his head began to intrude by suggestting other things about his father.

“Enough! You’re all too much again,” he said clutching his head. “Speak to me one at a time.”

Echoing deep inside his mind, he thought he heard many laughters as if from a jest fading away. One voice came out but more authoritative.

“So, your father is arriving. What will you do?”

“What is there for me to do?” Demacli whined.

“Stop your whining. You be the man! Face up to your father, if need be.”

“Yes… if need be.”

Then, the other voices returned.

 

“Greetings, my son,” said a portly man, as he slowly alighted out of a horse driven carriage. Following him was his mother who was slightly taller.

“Hail to you, father and mother,” Demacli said as he first embrace his mother then grasped the forearm of his father, Roman style. Looking around, he asked, “Where are my sisters?”

“Oh, we left them in Hippus,” his mother said.

“Ah yes, Hippus. I miss our home. I miss the hills that overlook the Sea of Galilee. Come. You must be hungry.” He led them to the covered patio where lunch was being laidout for them.

After an hour, the table was being cleared by the servants. They were lounging around on big plush cushions under a canopy of vines and fragrant flora. What fronted them was a garden of palm trees and circular pond with a statuate of Dionysus holding up a stalk of grapes.

“You have done well for yourself, my son,” his father said looking around. “We are pleased at your accom…”

The voices in Demacli’s mind intruded again with many suggestions that his father was less than sincere and also that his mother seem secretive. He had to struggle to keep his mind focused.

“Demacli! Are you listening?”

“Ah, ummm… yes… I mean, I am sorry, father… mother. I am a little distracted, today.” He stood up quickly and agitated. Not waiting for them to ask anything, he said, “You must be tired. Habbi will lead you to your room. I… I must go!” Then, he dashed out the doors of his villa and was walking fast down the street. The whole time, hundred of voices were laughing and jabbering away mostly about why his father was here. It was so distracting that Demacli didn’t realize that he was already a mile outside the city, running up a hill .

When he got to the top, he collapsed to his knees and screamed in anguish, startling a nearby flock of goats.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 9th segment of my 2nd ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

If you want to support my writing, please use my Go-Fund-Me site below.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility

THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch1 – part 4

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Tyre

“Tyre ahead”, a shout came from above.

Cornelius scanned the distant horizon. The city was still some distance away and he could not distinguished any visible structures yet. But there were signs of commerce coming and going. The sea lanes were busy with boats of all types and from different countries. He recognized Phoenician merchant ships with their colorful sails. Their deep water brigs have been known to navigate the whole of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Some have even ventured to the cold shores of Britannia. He watched a pair of Egyptian boats going north probably plying their wares to the coastal cities of Asia Minor. A small Greek coaster following the Egyptians sped away to avoid getting closer to the Roman fleet. He surmised that it was one of those Aegean pirates that frequently preyed on unsuspecting merchantmen. A fishing fleet of Arabian Dhows of different sizes were racing home bringing their catch for market.

Then Cornelius heard running bare feet coming behind him. He didn’t need to turn around to see who it was. It was Trax. A boy in his early teens came to the railings next to him in excitement. He was pointing, clapping and waving to passing boats. In his excitement, he made no vocal sounds at all. He was a mute. He could hear and he does have a tongue, but he can only make clicking and mouth sounds. No words come out. Most of society would label Trax as a simpleton. However, Cornelius sees a lot more in this boy. So much so, that he developed a close affection for the lad that he made him part of his household. But from society’s point of view, Trax is still a slave. That was what he was when Cornelius purchased him.

Some years back, in a battle skirmish, Cornelius found himself fighting a very burly Trajan mercenary who was so intent on cleaving his head in half with his battle ax. He would have succeeded if it were not for a sprightly young slave boy – a muleskinner – who tackled the mercenary from behind. And when the mercenary turned to strike, instead of running away, the boy faced him crouched in a fighting stance with only a skinner’s knife in his hand. The mercenary was so enraged and distracted that he did not see Cornelius throw a deadly javelin that killed him. Cornelius had no idea why the boy, Trax, who was so named by his master – the head mule driver – risked his life to save him. Trax’s master wanted to beat him for abandoning the mule train which had scattered. But Cornelius intervened and gave the mule driver a bag of silver without counting it and Trax belonged to him. Cornelius kept him as a personal servant but he wore no slave collar.

“There you are, boy!” Jacob came puffing and huffing, “no sooner than I turn around to pack our things, you disappeared on me.”

Trax starts pointing towards the city and starts clapping his hands.

“The lad is just excited,” smiled Cornelius.

“Ah… The ancient city of the Sidonians, Tyre.” Looking slyly at Cornelius, he asks, “In the book of Kings, what Queen came from that city and brought havoc to the northern kingdom of Israel?”

“I knew you were going to asked that,” He responded with a knowing smile. “It was Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians. King Ahab married her during the time of the Prophet Elijah and brought her to the city of Jezreel when the kingdom Israel was already divided into two nations. It was she who brought the worship of Baal into the North Kingdom. This eventually lead to the one God allowing the kingdom to be conquered by the Assyrians and exiled.”

“Excellent!” Jacob said proudly “You are truly my prized student. Your brother and sisters may have enjoyed the stories of my people but it was only you that was inquisitive… always asking questions. Good questions. I remembered when I approached your father for permission to teach you the Scriptures. I was hesitant and feeling some trepidation that your father might upright and sell me.”

“I remembered. Father came to me that night and asked me if I wanted to taught by you. I said yes. Then he just looked at me for a longtime without a word spoken. Then he nodded his head and whispered into my ear saying, ‘Don’t let the old goat turn you into a Jew!’

Jacob started to chuckle. “Your father is a brave and wise man and he loved you enough to allow you to explore new things. Did I not tell you one time that you were the reason why I became a bond servant to your father for life? When your father as magistrate saved me from the debtor’s prison, I was to work off my debts to your father for seven years and then I would be free.” Jacob’s eyes was tearing as he placed his hand on Cornelius shoulder. “But then your education was progressing wonderfully. I had no sons of my own… Well, I went to your father and by the traditions of my people I chose bond servant hood. Now, I am your bond servant since your father signed me over to you.”

“Look, Jacob,” Cornelius gestured to the land. “Your homeland at last.”

“Aye,” sighed Jacob “It’s been about 30 years since I left my family for Greece. Herod was still king of all Judea, Perea, Galilee and Samaria. It was what he did that I chose to leave Judea.”

“For all the years that I have known you, you have yet to tell me why you left.” Cornelius saw that Jacob was staring out with a blank stare. “Jacob!”

“Ah!? … Ahem… Oh yes… Well, I shall tell you one day… I promise. Come Trax,” Jacob turned to walk back below. “We must prepare to disembark.”

 

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The story continues on in my next post a week from now.

If you are interested in reading the entire ebook, you can find my ebook in Amazon.com for only $1.99. Just click the link below.

Thank you

Johann Q

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 008

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DEMACLI, THE LEGION DEMONIAC
25 A.D. in the region of the Decapolis

“Master! The caravan has arrived!” A voice shouted from below.

“That makes your third investment in four months coming in with no mishap,” said Habbi. “Luck is finally with you.”

“Yes, it has,” Demacli said yawning.

“Master, what ails you? In some nights, we can hear you talking in your sleep. Sometimes, we hear screaming.”

“Bad dreams,” Demacli said almost hauntingly as he stood up and went to the window. “It is always the same dream.”

“What dream haunts you so?”

“I… I am in my room and hundreds of… shadows are trying to break in! Some nights, I can here them beckoning me to let them in. When I awaken, I am drenched in sweat. I try to stay awake but… my eyes become heavy. Then, the dream comes again.”

“Master, since you have gone to the temple of Dionysus, your businesses have done well. But now you are haunted by this. You must return to the priestess.”

 

“What is it that you seek of the gods?” asked the priestess in the center.

“I have these dreams…”

“Have your business improved?” asked the priest on the right.

“Are you not debt free?” asked the one on the left.

“Do you want… more? …fame? …power?” asked the priestess in an alluring voice.

“Yes… but the dreams?”

“Let them in,” said all three together.

 

Demacli was in the same room of his dream. The room was bare, devoid of any objects. There were no windows. The walls were lacking of decor and the ceiling was domed. Against one wall, there were double doors with a wooden bar across them keeping closed. Outside, he can hear the wind blowing and something that sounds like thousands of footsteps circling the room.

The doors rattled. Demacli’s heart raced and he rushed to the doors to make sure the bar was secured. He rested his forehead against the doors to calm his heart down. Then, there was a knock and a female voice.

“Remember the wealth… remember what we can give you. Let us in!” Those three words rung out again very slowly, but with the voices of thousands. “Let… us… in…”

Demacli started to tremble and shake all over. He wanted what the voices were offering but yet he was desperately scared. But as the voices continued, his resolve weakened. He straightened himself and slowly lifted the bar. He swung the doors wide open. Then, he woke up.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 8th segment of my 2nd ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS. In my next posting, we will follow Demacli’s story a year later.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

If you want to support my writing, please use my Go-Fund-Me site below.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility

 

Jesus 101 – Depths to which you dig

Everyday, I get in my email from the Bible Gateway website, a daily verse. The verse I received below rang a bell and so, I had to write about it.

Romans 11:33
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

I remember hearing this insightful modern day parable. This is how it went.

A young farmer was working the farm of another man for ten years. One day, he wanted to go out on his own and purchase a piece of land to farm. But he had not saved enough to buy good bottom land. He ended up purchasing a piece of land that no one wanted. It was located in hill country. It was all he could afford but he was willing to make it work. The next day, with a plow on his shoulder, he had climbed the hill to the land that he had not really seen yet. When, he got there, to his disappointment, he discovered that the land had little fertile top soil and was filled with rocks and stones of different sizes. He returned home dejected and very depressed, so much so, that he had not gone back for years.

One day, his friend found him wallowing in self pity, saying what a fool he was for purchasing a useless piece of land. They both went back to take a look so he can show  his folly. When they got there, he started to weep again. But his friend looked around very intently then he picked up a handful of stones. Looking at them a little more closely, he whooped in laughter. The depressed farmer asked if his friend found his situation funny. Then, his friend showed him the stones in his hands. At first, he thought they were just pebbles but then he found that they were really unpolished diamonds and a variety of gems. His friend indicated that his was filled with them. The farmer started to meticulously mine his land. The deeper he went, the more riches he found. He was the richest man in the land.

That land represents our Bibles. You wouldn’t believe how many people have casually purchased a Bible then leave it on the shelf neglected and collecting dust. They fail to see that within those pages is invaluable treasure that comes in the form of the wisdom and knowledge of God. Enter Jesus. He is the ‘friend’ in the story and he sheds light to show what you, me… all of us (in one time or another) have missed out.

Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20,21) So, in a nutshell, start digging through your Bible! And start digging deep! Put all your heart on it and you’ll see what true wealth is. And by the way, you don’t have to dig by yourself. Give me a call and I’ll help. I don’t mind adding more wealth to my bank account in Heaven.

Until the next post,

Johann Q

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility

 

NLT – New Living Translation