FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 022

SIMON THE LEPER
31 AD – The Sermon – Galileefaithful-encounters-cover-w

Simon thought he ended his sermon there, for the Nazarene paused for such a long time. But then he spoke of entering God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate and then of being wary of false prophets by deeply checking their fruit. Somehow, the delivery was a little different and Simon wondered if the narrow gate had something to do with him.

And sure enough, the Nazarene spoke of himself and said something that may be construed as blasphemous.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” [Matthew 7:21-27 NLT]

Then, the Nazarene stood up indicating he was done. The people started to clap and call out to him.

For Simon, the words of the Nazarene was heaven in itself. He had almost forgotten that he was stricken with a flesh eating disease that will sooner or later take his life. He so wanted to live not because he was afraid. But because he wanted to be part of the Kingdom of Heaven. He watched the Nazarene work his way down the hill through the crowd. It looked like he was making his way to a copse of low lying trees on his side of the stream. It was then he noticed some tents among the trees. A thought occured to him.

Suddenly, he was up and rushing down the hill with his son asking a little surprisingly on where he was going.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 22th 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.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

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 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

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

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

* King James Version

How can independent mobility be good for mental health?

Imagine this scenario – You were going through a park and meeting a man who recently suffered a stroke. He was being pushed around on a wheelchair by a hired caregiver. In that first meeting, his demeanor was light and friendly. Some months later, you ran into the same man. He was sitting by himself in his wheelchair under a tree. His caregiver was talking to someone else about 40 feet away. At first, you thought he was a different person, but then you recognized him as the same guy. Unfortunately, his appearance was of someone whose demeanor was totally opposite from when you first met him. He was slouching to one side with his head drooping. His face was sullen, skin blotchy, drawn in close to the bone and deep bags under the eyes. Then, there are the eyes that can only be described as sad… unhappy… bereaved of joy.

Of course, that is just a scenario. However, I have seen these eyes many many times. I have seen it in the eyes of the poor who gave up hope. I have seen it in the eyes of the abandoned paralyzed patients of an undermanned charity hospital waiting just to die. I have seen this in the eyes of our senior citizens doomed to waste away knowing they have lost control of their most basic independence… mobility under their own control.

28945002_10155927344076351_1194703167_o.jpgAt first, I could not understand how frustrating it can be to be totally dependent on someone to push me around in a wheelchair. Until I found myself in similar situation. Now, I am usually a good-natured guy but lately whenever my caregiver take me out, I always end up being a tiny tyrant of a ‘backseat-driver’. I’m constantly telling my caregiver to go here, to angle there, to suddenly stop and back up because I just spotted something. One thing I hate the most, is whenever something neat is happening I am facing the wrong way and the caregiver is always late to respond. It has gotten to a point where I enjoy staying in bed more where at least I have some control of my computer. (Of course, that is for another story.) In the long run, I really hate being ‘pushed around’, so to speak. Who does?

Depression and self-pity are things quadriplegics have to face and battle with everyday. But by God’s grace, technology has come a long way to provide us ways to improve the quality of life. In Youtube, I have viewed other quadries like myself living happilly and with renewed vigor on their hi-tech wheelchairs. I have a choice. I either wallow in self-pity and eventually succomb to depression. Or I use my God-given gift and do my very best to improve my current state of things. The draw-back is the very high prices of the equipment needed.

My challenge is to raise the funding so that I too can become useful and productive not just for myself but for others. So, I again plea for help to raise the money so that I can be independently mobile. 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

Becoming Paralyzed [Part 6 – Final]

Here is my accounting, so far. It has been 4 months in the hospital with almost 3 years of physical therapy (6 days out of the week) at home. I am still mostly stuck in bed depending on someone to do everything for me. My friend and Pastor, Steve, was paralyzed the neck down from a traumatic motorcycle accident. He was absent from us for about two years when miraculously we begin to receive video clippings of his progress. It started with him moving arms, then him being able to balance himself sitting, and finally, of him taking that precarious first step. Today, Steve is very active and one of the most animated Pastors of our church. So, I guess the most obvious question is why am I still paralyzed and did not progress like Steve?

For Steve, he grew up with normal muscle tones. So, when he recovered from his spinal cord damage, he still had good muscles to regain more strenght. My situation, like many who were affected by polio from the 1930s to the 60s, our aging muscles tend to go downhill faster than normal muscles. So, what little muscles I have left may or may not lead me back on my feet. You would think that exercise would help me become stronger. That is a yes and no answer.

Normal muscles when exercised gain strenght because there is balance how they grow when exercised. Unfortunately, depending on the severity on how the polio disease affected the body, the balance in muscle tone is a factor. The greater the severity, the greater the imbalance. My best friend is a polio victim of the 50s like me who had just suffered a mild stroke. Polio had left him to be dependent on crutches. I’m afraid after the stroke, no physical therapy treatment will allow him to ever use crutches again. I pray he can gain hand control back so he can drive his electric wheelchair.

My reality is that one leg is stronger than the other. I grew up depending mostly on my good leg. Post polio weakened my strong leg but the compression sped both legs deterioration somewhat that I could not carry my own weight. Then, there are my arms which unfortunately never had any real muscles. With the compression, I couldn’t even hold a pen in my right hand nor hold a ball with my left.

I used to joke that exercise was against my religion. Well, in some ways, excercise will probably not give me my legs back nor even my hands. But I do have a strong neck and a determined brain to be not such a useless burden to others. So, I again plea for help to raise the money so that I can be independently mobile.

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

Becoming Paralyzed [Part 4]

For years, I lived with the dark shadow of physical deterioration and excruciating pain, but when I met with the spinal surgeons, a ray of light pierced right through that shadow and I was so filled with hope. I was excited.

SPINE POSTOP 1a.jpgThe first operation took place on the same week of Halloween. The plan was that the surgeons would cut open the front of my neck, remove the C4 bony segment of my cervical spine. Then they more or less scraped off some hardened material that was causing the compression. After which, they shored up the missing bony segment with a titanium cage and a screwed-on plate. The operation took about 15 hours or so. Though the doctors were optimistic, the verdict for a successful outcome was still in question. My wife and the lead surgeon stayed by my bedside at the ICU practically the whole night waiting for signs. Those signs came in the morning when after some poking, I indicated to them that I felt it. You can well imagine the audible sigh of relief in that room.

Of course, there was one hitch that I did not count on. The pulmonary doctor discovered that for years, I have not been breathing properly and that this a big factor in my recovery. Her estimation was that this was an after effect of the compression and post-polio. This is ironic to me because when I was a baby of 1 year, I caught polio and it mostly attacked my lungs. My father, who is the hero in this story, secured not 1 but 2 iron lungs, which is a great feat in itself in 1958 Philippines. The iron lung was a rigid steel case fitted over a patient’s body, used for administering prolonged artificial respiration by means of mechanical pumps.

iron lung   Google Search.png

In a nutshell, I survived and my lungs were always a subject of praise. (There was a time I can swim the length of an olympic pool in one breath.)

Today, I am dependent on a much more technically advanced and portable respirator. By God’s grace, I am able to go off the machine from time to time. Anyway, let’s get back to the story.

JQ ICU POSTOP 2For weeks, I had to keep my neck from moving too much. My wonderful wife was the guardian angel who diligently watched over me. She watched me like a hawk and a good thing too. I won’t go into details but if it wasn’t for her, there could have been a couple of times… well, let’s say that there were a couple of close calls. Today, my wife is the reason that all the hardware in my neck are still firmly intact. I thank the Lord for her.

Allow me also to take this advantage to tell you that my family came to my support in both finances and encouragements. Then there was support & prayers from not just my home church but from other Christians from abroad, as well. I don’t mind saying that I was and still am grateful and humbled by such graciousness.

Well, on my next post, I’ll cover the outcome of the next stage of the operations and tell you about how I experienced psychosis and dreamt up some really wild tales.

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