Where does my JOY come from? (Part 7)

In 1990, I became ‘born again’ and I wish I could cite the hundreds of Bible verses that speak of what I gained when God sealed me with His Spirit. However, for this part of my self story of where my joy come from, there is one verse that I’ll focus on that is pertinant, Galatians 5:22-23.

On the first five years of my walk with the Lord, I underwent what I call the ‘School for Baby Christians’. Let me tell you, in that school, I learned a lot about the Holy Spirit and He taught me like a mentor. And one important lesson was that the Holy Spirit is real and not a figment of my imagination nor the brainwashing of others. You see, when the Spirit of God entered me, there was proof according to the Apostle Paul, the inspired author of Galatians, who wrote that “the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” [Galatians 5:22-23 NLT]

To emphasize this lesson, God took very good care of me like a mother hen who had gathered her chicks under her wings. I recall in those early years that I hardly underwent any negative effects of any trials that came our way (that is, my wife and I). It was like all life problems were suspended, at least for a short period of time. We were blessed. One aspect of His blessing was the incredible sense of peace I had. Where once the thought of death scared me, I had peace because I know where I’ll go when my time comes. As to anxiety and stress, well, one time, my wife returned with the news the our car was rear ended. My wife was upset but I was unusually jovial about the whole incident. One of the things I noticed was how much I can love unconditionally especially to those who the world would deem unloveable. I was even more impressed by how the Spirit worked on my self-control through which I became a disciplined student. I wish I became born again during my college days. I was such a lousy student then. Other hard trials happened, but instead of emotionally breaking down, the Spirit helped me learned and I grew in faith. So, much so, when the time came, I was ready to fly on my own.

In 1994, the bottom fell off from under me. That was the year, when the peso’s value went so low, I lost a lot of work in the broadcast production business. For awhile, my wife and my savings was down to a few thousand pesos and we had bills and rent to pay. You can imagine, how my mind tried to play tricks with discouraging thoughts. What sustained me emotionally was a promise of God in the Bible’s Old Testament. It read like this. “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” [Joshua 1:8 NLT] So, I did. I continued my daily meditation of the Bible and went to numerous Bible Study classes. Some thought I was wasting my time. I was even approached by a family member who took my Bible from my hand and slammed it on the table in front of me and said, ‘it will not put food in-front of me.’ Funny though, the Bible did feed me, so to speak.

One lesson I learned was that God always keep His promises. Less than a month after our bank account went very low, first my wife got hired on a new job and then, money (when needed and unlooked for) would come our way from unexpected sources. You see, by faith I acted upon on Joshua 1:8 and as promised, the Lord prospered me, so to speak.

I have been now walking with the Lord for more than 25 years and I have yet to be disappointed in how the Lord had led my life direction. Sure, it could seem to others that my life story was heading downhill. Since 1994, I have not been able to gain work (except for sporadic projects). Then in 2001, my body started to slow down to a point where I began to depend on an electric scooter. I graduated to a joystick controlled chair when my left arm… my working arm… lost all strenght in 2010. Then my legs gave out and I needed another machine to transfer me from my bed to my chair. By 2015, excruciating pain invaded my body and I was diagnosed that my spinal cord was being dangerously compressed. Today, it is 2018 and I am a quadriplegic unable to be independently mobile like in the old days.

I could be depressed but I choose to be grateful and joyful… an after effect of a Spirit filled life.

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

Where does my JOY come from? (Part 6)

John 3:3,7 NLT
[3] Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
[7] “…don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ “

Ephesians 1:13,14 NLT
[13] And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. [14] The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Here is a riddle that actually popped into my head as a way to prepare me for the significance of the spiritual truth that blew my mind away. “How do you fit a square peg into a round hole?” Believe it or not, this is actually a simplistic but yet precise illustration to what happened to me when I believed that Jesus died for my sins.

You see, the square peg was me and I so wanted to go through the round hole very much like the way I desire to be in Heaven. But a square peg can never go through the round hole unless it can become a round peg. In John 3, Jesus said that ‘You must be born again’ or else ‘you cannot see the Kingdom of God.’ To keep this short, let me already reveal that the one who is ‘born again’ is the round peg. So, if the square peg wanted to go through the round hole, how does it become a round peg? Or in this case, how does one become born again?

In my last post, I have said that because of sin I can never earn my way into Heaven. Guess what, there is no way the square peg can transform itself into a round peg. So, what can the poor square peg do? Enter God… and rightly so. For only God can take a square peg like myself and make me new… make me born again. How? When I believed, God placed His Spirit in me (Ephesians 1:13). I’ve been born anew where once I was once without His Spirit and now I am indwelt by Him. As the Bible says, I am a new creation. And by the way, I have and still am REJOICING this truth, even in my present condition as a quadriplegic. Halleluhiah! But my story doesn’t stop there. In my next posting, I’ll show you how my Spirit filled life sustains my continued joy.

Until the next post,

Johann Q

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NLT – New Living Translation

Where does my JOY come from? (Part 5)

Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Romans 6:23 NLT
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

In my last post, God did the hardest part and for my joy to be ‘overflowing’, I had to do my part. Let me say, that my joy today is anchored on, first overwhelming gratitude to what Jesus did on the cross. The second part is that I was so happy and relieved to the biblical truths based on the passages above. This needs some explaining.

I always thought that I had to be a perfect person to enter Heaven. This always scared the heck out of me. For I knew I could never live up to it. I really thought I was doomed and I was right to think it. Look at the first part of Romans 6:23. The term ‘wages of sin’ for me means that because of sin, I earned (that is, deserved) death and in this case, Hell. But then, here comes the good news.

In the past, I didn’t really know the true meaning of the word, ‘grace’, which means undeserving favor. This is what I gleaned from the Bible passages above. Sure, I deserved death but salvation was never meant to be earned. This was actually a great relief, but I felt I still had to do something. I prayed it was something that I was capable of doing to God’ satisfaction. The answer was in the verse above of Ephesians 2:8 and especially in John 3:16 which says, “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.”

There it is. God did not ask us… ask me… to be perfect to enter eternal life. All he asked was that I “believe” in Jesus, the one whom He had sent. This made me very happy but not as joyful as to what happened next.

Until the next post,

Johann Q

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NLT – New Living Translation

Where does my JOY come from? (Part 4)

Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:11 NLT)

We all need heroes. As a boy, with the exception of my Dad, my heroes only existed in comic books and on the silverscreen. Now I have a hero who should be the ultimate Hero… a Hero of heroes. And I found him in the pages of my Bible.

In my indept reading of the Bible’s Old Testament, God had both indirectly and directly promised that He would send a Redeemer… a Messiah… a Savior… and if I could add, a Hero. In the New Testamony, that Hero, without a doubt in my mind and heart, is Jesus. I wish I could write down everything that I have wonderously discovered. The number of pages would be equivalent to that of the Bible. And frankly, the Bible would still be a better read than anything I could write. So, as I always say to everyone, “Don’t take my word for it. Pick up a Bible and read it for yourself.” For myself, Jesus is my Savior and my Hero. Let me tell you why.

In a nutshell, Jesus did the one thing that no one else could have done. He bridged the chasm that separated us from God. How? He took our sins… my sins… upon himself and died on the cross. He did this for all mankind – past, present and future. If this is not hero stuff, I don’t know what is. In my book, He is worthy of my faith. He should be worthy of yours. Again, don’t take my word for it.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus fulfilled God’s plan to reconcile us back to Him. To solidify His promise, He resurrected Jesus from death and as the Bible said, He is now ‘seated in the place of power at God’s right hand’ (Luke 22:69 NLT). God did the hardest part. Now, for my joy to be ‘overflowing’, I had to do my part. And to this day, I have not looked back and have no regrets. Even today, as I continue my life as a quadriplegic, I feel no regrets. For it is hard to regret with the kind of joy in my heart. But that is for another story.

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

Where does my JOY come from? (Part 3)

What makes Good News good? The answer depends on how the bad news affected you. This part of my story tells how bad news turns to incredible joy.

After I realized that God may not let me into Heaven, I was instilled with a desire to find out why and how to make it right with God. Getting a Bible came to mind. Originally, I had a KJV* Bible given to me by a friend, but because of the archaic English, I had a hard time getting into it. So, I went and found a simpler Bible. The next question was, “where do I start?” You see, I have not really read the Bible before. But God took care of that as well, though at that time, I was not aware of it. I remember going to a favorite childhood tale of Joseph which I found at the tail end of Genesis. The Bible story of Joseph was richer than the story of my childhood and there were gaps in my understanding of what I read. So, I started at the beginning of Genesis. Then my mind and my heart opened up like a floodgate.

It was an experience I will never ever forget in my whole life. Not only did the stories come to life but I began to have clear understanding into the complex biblical principles. Also, I had no problem believing. It was like I was given a gift to recognize Truth. I read and read the Bible every chance I got. I could not put it down. Coupled with weekly Bible Studies, I felt myself grow in knowledge of Him whom I always thought was beyond anyone’s understanding. In hindsight, that was always God’s plan for me. That I got to know Him first, through the historical and chronological reading of His story. Though I immensely enjoyed the reading of God’s story, the true joy that is in me today have not taken root yet. That came when I made the most important choice in my life.

In getting to know God closely, there was always a clear message for me. This is where the bad news came. You see, I realized I had a SIN problem that separated me from God. I’m not just talking about my own sins (which was plenty), but a sin problem that went as far back to the Garden of Eden. It is the sin that doomed all mankind… that doomed me to eternal damnation. Upon realization, I sought forgiveness and chose to believe God’s answer to all our sin problems, Christ Jesus. This is where the GOOD NEWS come in.

The telling of this part of my story need a little bit more expansion. So, let’s leave it here for now.

Until the next post,

Johann Q

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* King James Version

Where does my JOY come from? (Part 2)

I have said before that the joy I experience is not my own. It does sound enigmatic, so it does need explaining through my life story.

My father told me, once upon a time, that as a baby, after my polio episodes, he would often cover my head with his hand. He did that to all the babies (siblings & cousins) in our family at least one time each. Infants would squirm and try to wriggle out of my father’s firm but gentle grip. My father was not being cruel and abusive. I believe he was assessing what kind of personalities we’d grow into. He confided with me that when he gripped my head, I didnot squirm nor struggled. And when he released his hand, I gave him a gurgling laugh. He was amased. He said, I was the only baby that he repeated the process because I was such a happy baby. It is funny what memories floats up to help illustrate a point.

Anyway, in my last posting I mentioned a dark cloud had been infringing at the borders of my happiness. You probably thought that the dark cloud was the opposite of my happiness. You are right. However, sadness and depression is not the culprit. It is just the by-product. The true culprit was not emotional but spiritual: SIN. Now, at that time, I didn’t know it was sin that was dampening my life.

From college to my early married days, I was getting farther and farther from the knowledge of God and was focusing more in my self interest. Then in 1990, God took a hand. It was just when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the height of Operation Desert Shield, a build-up of the US-led coalation of military forces. It was Easter Week and the NEWS was talking about Iraq starting a nuclear war which will destroy the world. For the first time in my life, I was thinking more on my mortality. It was when I was watching an old favorite religious TV movie that I was confronted with a disturbing question. If I was to stand before God on that very day, would He let me into heaven? The answer was way to obvious in my heart. God would not let me in, for I suddenly knew I was not deserving. As soon as I came to this… let us say, frame of mind… the Lord changed me.

My story, of course, does not end there. It actually started there because something in me became new (not of my doing). But I will continue this story on my next post.

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