THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Epilogue – part 3

THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES – Caesarea

Then his vision cleared and the man was gone.

“Cestus!” he called.

“Are you feeling unwell, sir?”

“On the contrary, I am feeling much better. I want you to take two of our men and ride for Joppa. Go to the tanner’s house. There you will find an old friend of ours, Peter. Bring him back here.”

Some days later, Peter was at his door with some of the brethren from Joppa who accompanied him. Peter entered but not they. Cornelius was about to hug him but remembered that Peter was the holy leader of the church, so he bowed down to him in respect.

But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man.”

Then Peter noticed the many people assembled. And he said to him, “You yourselves know, Cornelius, how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. So I ask for what reason you have sent for me?”

So, Cornelius told him of his vision and how he acted on it by sending for him. He led Peter to the other room, and said, “Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” [italics – Acts 10:27-33]

Peter took a short pause, then he began. “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ for He is Lord of all, you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed.

“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

“We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

While Peter was still speaking these words, Cornelius suddenly felt deep within him an incredible sense of peace and joy that he had never experienced before. There was also something else, he felt loved. He looked at his wife and the others and knew they were all gifted in similar ways. There was both tears and joyful laughter from everyone. Then, there was songs of worship in Hebrew.

Peter, who was so moved, commanded for the brethren from Joppa to enter, so that they may witness that the Holy Spirit also fell unto these Gentiles. He then declared, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” [Italics – Acts 10:34-48]

The whole household was then baptized in a pool at the garden. Peter stayed with them for few more days until Cornelius, his wife and his household boarded the ship bound for Rome. Peter and he embraced their farewells.

As the ship sailed off, Cornelius went to the prow and placed his hands on the railing and smiled to himself. He had first come to this country in search of meaning. Now, he leave with a greater sense of understanding, contentment and a determination to fulfill a mission. Then he was joined by his wife, Trax and Cestus.

Trax then asked, “Father, what awaits us next?”

“A new ADVENTURE!”

THE END… or Is it?


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Johann Q

ADVENT Story Revealed part 1

Where the story truly begins?

Every year, at around the month of December, most of the contemporary world celebrate a well known ADVENT event; that is Christmas. By definition, Advent means the beginning of an event or the arrival of a person. It also means ‘an invention being made’, which is important for this article but this will be for later use. For now, Advent is also a traditional time period of four weeks when the religious prepare spiritually before December 25.

Though Christmas is an expected holiday, many still have no clear understanding of what to really make of it. When asked about Christmas, most would correctly answer that it is the day that Jesus Christ was born. But when asked about the more important life-changing aspects of Christmas, you wouldn’t believe how many shrugs and blank stares I get. Of course, this is not new to me.

Romans 10:2
For I (the Apostle Paul) can testify about them (Israelites) that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.

Like what the Apostle Paul wrote, Biblical knowledge is sorely lacking. Many enthusiastic folks may know the gist of Christmas but a lot of it is not based on actual Bible knowledge.

So, for this Advent time, I offer myself as a fascilitator into the BIBLE that I love and that changed my life. How do I qualify? Let me state that I am not a scholar. But God had set me and many more of us who believe to be witnesses to His goodness.

So, let this Advent tour of the Bible begin. Most Christmas stories start with an angel visiting a fourteen year old girl and revealing to her that she will become the mother of Savior of the world. But a question must be asked and in need of an answer.

Why does the world need a
SAVIOR?

The answer to this, we must go way way back to the very beginning.

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

I think I’ll leave you to read the rest of Genesis 1 on your own. As your guide, I would like to show you how the psalmists expressed what they felt about creation.

Psalm 33:6-9
The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs. Let the whole world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him. For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.
Psalm 74:16-17
Both day and night belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun. You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter.
Psalm 104:24-25
O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small.

Then God made us…

Psalm 8:3-5
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.

How were we created?

Genesis 1:26-27
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God; male and female he created them.

Consider how special you are to Him.

After He created us, He was very pleased then He rested. So, I think I will pause here for now. We will tackle ‘Why does the world need a SAVIOR?’ in my next posting.

Creation is very much part of the Christmas story. And I hope that you would share this to everyone and this attitude…

Psalm 145:3-7
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Epilogue – part 2

THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES – Caesarea

The years passed and he read of the incredible growth of the church in Jerusalem. As there was incredible growth, there was also tremendous persecutions. He heard of the stoning of Steven. The arrests of Peter and John. Then there was the strange tale of a zealous Pharisee named Saul who vehemently hounded believers even as far as Damascus, but then returns to Jerusalem as a newly professed believer. Many are suspicious, but he heard that Peter took him under his wing.

Not all things were bad news. Cornelius received two manuscripts. The first was a copy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ written by young John Mark whom Jacob wrote was being mentored by Peter. When he read his piece, he could tell it was written more for non-Jews. So, he read it to his wife, his household and to anyone in the garrison willing to listen. The other manuscript he received was a copy of another Gospel of Jesus Christ written by the former tax collector but now one of the Twelve Apostles, Matthew. His manuscript was a lot more extensive than Mark’s. It is quite clear that this gospel was written more for the Jews. He was quite happy of the many references to the older Scriptures in Matthew’s manuscript. This helped when he had his weekly discussions with his Jewish friends at the local Synagogue of which he helped many of its members .

Things are changing for Cornelius. He received a letter from his father that there is a post position opening for him with the elite Praetorian Guards of the emperor. Cornelius considered and prayed about it for a long time. He accepted the position and they are set to leave by the end of the week.

He was meditating in the garden of his house when his eye sight blurred alarmingly. Every where he looked, it was blurry and dim. He was about to call for help, when a man as bright as the sun appeared and was walking slowly towards him. He then realized he was seeing a vision for the surroundings was still blurred, the approaching man was quite sharp and clear.

“Hail Cornelius!” The man said. “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. Now dispatch some men to Joppa and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter; he is staying with a tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea.” [Acts 10:4-5]


The story continues on in my next post.

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WORD Sent Forth #17

Who Pleases God? – The Poor in Spirit

Matthew 5:3
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Who are the poor in spirit?

Isaiah 66:2
Has not My hand made all these things? And so they came into being, declares the LORD. This is the one I will esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at My word.

Jesus illustrated this in Luke 18…

Luke 18:9-14
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

God made these promises…

Psalm 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

So, what is your part?

Matthew 23:12
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

What action can you do right now? You can pray for the right spirit.

Psalm 51:10
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

IS YOUR HEART CONTRITE?

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Epilogue – part 1

THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES – Caesarea

Ten years had passed. Cornelius is the garrison commander of the port city of Caesarea. As his practice, he did not keep residence in the garrison but chose to live in a small villa in the city with his wife, the Lady Pheobe, and his legally adopted son, Trax. Cestus is still with him with a number of his men from Spain who had remained loyal. They with their respective wives are now part of his household. Jacob, whom Cornelius gave his freedom, is at Antioch helping with the developing church there.

During those ten years, Cornelius kept close tabs with some of the disciples. He had heard that Jesus may have appeared to about five hundred people within a span of forty days after his resurrection. Then he got an accounting from Matthew and Simon of how the Eleven watched Jesus literally ascend into the heavens.

Just about three months since He saw Jesus last, at the time of the Pentecost, the Twelve with the newest member being Mathias, were again gathered together for their usual practice of prayer and making plans. With them were the mother of Jesus, including Jesus’ brothers and sisters, Jacob and about a hundred other followers. Cornelius had some expectation that something was going to happen but not exactly what. When he received a message from Jacob, he was filled with amazement.

While they prayed together, the room they were in was inundated with the sound like a violent rushing wind that filled the entire house. Then, a single flame of fire appeared above the heads of each of them. The feeling they all felt was indescribable. Jacob wrote that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, for they began to speak in other languages. But it did not end there. In that particular neighborhood lived devout Jews from other nations. They inquired what was that great noise of rushing wind was? Then the disciples started to talk to them in their respective languages. They were amazed because they knew that the disciples were Galileans and how was it that were conversing in their native language. More people gathered asking what was happening. Speculation upon speculation were doled up until the commotion reached the steps that went up to the Temple Mount. Before it became too chaotic, it was Peter who stood up and gave an incredible sermon about Jesus being the Christ. To Cornelius, what was most incredible was Peter speaking to all those people was feat on its own. The sermon was so arousing that three thousand people professed that they believed and the church in Jerusalem was established.


The story continues on in my next post.

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Johann Q

WORD Sent Forth #16

The Focal Point for Salvation

In a clandestined meeting with Jesus of Nazareth, Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader and lawyer was given a life-changing lesson on faith.

Jesus said this…

John 3:14-15
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

What is the story about the ‘serpent in the wilderness‘?

This story went way way back in the time of the ancient Israelites after God rescued them from 400 years of slavery from Egypt. They have been wandering in the wilderness for some years now.

One other thing, at this time God had just given the Israelites a victory against a harrassing tribe. Then…

Numbers 21:4-5
They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

By the way, the miserable food they were grumbling about was the “Manna” (heavenly bread) that God daily provided for them.

What happens nexts?

Numbers 21:6
Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.

This should serve as a lesson on why we should have a healthy fear of God.

Numbers 21:7
The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The people wanted the snakes to go away, but God had something else in mind.

Numbers 21:8-9
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

So, what was Jesus’ point by paralleling himself hanging on the cross to the bronze snake on a pole? What was the lesson?

First consider: How were those bitten by a deadly snake healed?

Numbers 21:9b
Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and LOOKED at the bronze snake, they LIVED.

Incredible! Was the bronze snake magical? It was not the snake! It did nothing!

What saved anyone bitten was the simple act of looking at the bronze snake? How could ‘looking’ heal a snake bite? By itself, it’s impossible. Unless, God commanded it so…

Numbers 21:8
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.”

This is important! The very act of just looking so that they could be miraculously healed is an act of FAITH that God will keep His word. The fact that verse 9 showed that they did live is proof that…

Joshua 23:14
“Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.

Going back to Jesus’ point.

John 3:14-15
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

Just as the bronze snake was the focal point for salvation for anyone bitten, then Jesus being hung on the cross is the focal point for salvation for everyone doomed because of SIN.

Do you BELIEVE?


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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch24 – part 5

THE PROMISE OF LIFE – Site of the Tomb, Emmaus, Galilee

It had been twenty days now and yet no other word of Jesus had reached Cornelius. He had heard that Jesus made an appearance twice to the Eleven disciples. He also heard that they retreated to Galilee. So, Cornelius decided to ride to Galilee alone, while Cestus was to take Jacob and Trax to Bethany.

Cornelius went to the one place that he thought he would find Jesus. It was dark when rode to the same copse of trees which was the campsite they used when Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. But there was no campsite. There was no tent and camp fire. There was no one about. He sighed and walked up the hill to same place he and Jesus talked that first time. Under the stars, Cornelius stood on the top of that hill that overlooked the glistening water of the Sea of Galilee praying to see Jesus.

“Cornelius,” a voice said his name from behind.

He quickly turned around to find Jesus standing there. His face was not the same ordinary face. It was clean and had no marks or scars at all. His face looked majestic and there was a glow in it. In fact, his whole body emminated a soft glowing nimbus of light.

Cornelius went down on his knee and said, “My Lord.”

“Well met, Cornelius. My Father in Heaven is well pleased with you. Come, sit with me.”

When he sat by him there was no more glow about him.

“I know your heart’s desire, Cornelius. You wish to accompany me. I tell you that where I go, no man can come until I again return. For now, you must abide your time for a little while until you receive that I promised you. There are many things that must happen. The first of which will be unto those Chosen few who believed unto me. Then your time will come. For now, maintain your faith.

“One other favor, I ask. At the time of the Pentecost, send Jacob, your tutor, to be with my disciples and watch the will of my Father take fruit. Then you too will join in to reap the harvest.

“Fare well, Cornelius.”

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The story continues on in my next post.

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.

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Johann Q

WORD Sent Forth #15

How can you be sure if the Holy Spirit is in you? How can you be sure that you are truly born again? How can you really be sure that you are saved from eternal damnation?

The answer is the ‘fruit’ that you produce.

Matthew 7:16,17
By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

What are the bad fruits?

Mark 7:21-23
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

Romans 7:5
For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.

1 Corinthians 3:3
…for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?

What is the good fruit?

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

John 14:26
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Isaiah 11:2
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Romans 5:3-5
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

John 15:1-17
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. …

Ask yourself, what kind of fruit do you produce?


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