*Working on Other Aspects of My Life

Hello friends. I know you won’t like this news, and so I’ll just make this brief.

It’s clear to me now that my work on this blog since I came back last March has only been part of more preparations for my ministry. And now that this particular preparation was done, God has led me to work on other aspects of my life…. In other words, I’m again postponing my work on this blog until God, my boss, calls me back here.

I told you that my other website, Swordsman Library, was just for fun. Well, I hadn’t lied, because that was indeed my intention. But I’ve also always known, even many years before, that someday God would call me to do this kind of work — online publishing — especially of Christian literature. That is why I’ve already been preparing for it, on and off, for years, particularly in the area of computer programming. Well, guess what, that someday has already come. My library is no longer a fun project, but a serious one.

My present concern is to learn the knowledge and skills to build my own small computer programs using Python. Of course, I’m neither aiming to master the language nor become a professional software developer, but to learn enough to become productive in this area. And my focus, obviously, will be on text processing and conversions.

Anyway, if all goes well and if God agrees, I might be back sometime in July.

God bless you all!

Notice: This post is not included in the CC license.

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*Working on My “Fun” Project

Hello friends. You’ve probably guessed the reason why I’ve been silent for a while, and you’re right: I’ve been very busy working on the foundations of my new website, Swordsman Library.

Yes, I said that this will only be a “fun” project, and not “work.” Still, the foundations need to be built first before this project can be truly fun, and so that’s what I’ve been doing.

To give you a better idea of what I’m talking about: As you may have noticed, I’ve already customized the library’s appearance to complement this blog. Also, the basic structure and pages have already been set. This work on the website itself is part of the foundations. However, this is only the wrapping, so to speak. What am I to do with a new website/blog if I have nothing to post? And so I’ve been working on that too.

For example, I’ve come up with this structure for my blog posts, under the category of Bible Story:

  • A short introduction by me
  • An illustration by Gustave Doré (or maybe by James Tissot)
  • The story itself from the World English Bible (WEB)
  • A related extract from Matthew Henry’s Bible commentary
  • A related extract from Alexander Maclaren’s sermons
  • A related extract from Charles Spurgeon’s sermons

Obviously, if I am to make a regular posting of this kind, I must already have in my computer hard drive — readily accessible to me, and easily posted to WordPress — the WEB text, Henry’s commentary, and Maclaren and Spurgeon’s sermons. (The greatest challenge in all of this is to collect, process, and archive Spurgeon’s 3,500+ sermons… which I’m still doing right now!)

Anyway, my friends, I’ve told you these things so that you’ll know that I’ve not forgotten my plans and promises for this blog, Swordsman of the Word. The fact is, I’m working hard to finish ASAP the core foundations for my library so that I can get back here.

And so how much more time I need? I think maybe a week more, tops. Then I’ll post some musings about a book I’ve read. After that, it’s back to serious essay writing.

Thank you for your patience!

Notice: This post is not included in the CC license.

*A New Complementary Website

Hello friends. I have created a new WordPress.com website to complement this blog, and it is Swordsman LibraryRead Christian classics and the Bible.

Yes, this is still in its very early stage of construction, but I decided to share it now and make it public because doing so will give me a strong motivation to work on it. You see, MUCH labor is still needed before this website can be in a reasonable shape — it is a library after all — and working on it privately is sure to be discouraging and taxing. For example, I’m planning to publish at least one of the Public Domain Bible translations available, particularly the World English Bible.

And so it would be much better for me if I do this as a fun project — and not as work — and with you sharing it with me every step of the way :)

And why am I doing this, you ask. After all, there are already many websites like this one I’m planning.

Well, besides the strong leading that I’m getting from God, I personally want to do this too. I love reading, especially about God and the faith, and I’d like to share some of what I’m reading with you. Furthermore, I’ve wanted for a long time to have my own copies of the Bible on the internet, and while I’m it, why not include some of the best Christian classics? Lastly, this library can serve as a good promotional tool for this blog, Swordsman of the Word.

This project is made possible because of WordPress’ new block editor. It now allows for custom HTML to be included in the post, and this, I hope, would make publishing the Bible and other books much easier.

This new website will have two sections: the library itself, which will be made up of a hierarchy of pages, and a blog, which I’ll update every week or so. For my blog posts, I’m thinking of posting extracts, both from the Bible and Christian literature, but with my own short introduction and/or commentary.

Anyway, I hope that this work will be blessed!

Notice: This post is not included in the CC license.

Some Measures of Faith

Creative Commons License So this is it. After a whole year of making preparations and laying down the foundations, I’m finally starting my “real work” for this blog — the first of my collections of essays, Faith Foundations. Will I measure up to the promises I’ve made?

But first I want to thank you, dear readers, for sticking by me through this difficult first year of blogging. There are not many of you yet, but I value the trust you are giving me.

For this first post I will explain my philosophies behind this essay collection in particular, and my biblical and theological studies in general. This is entitled Some Measures of Faith because there are some things that we need to take on faith — you as the reader, and me as the writer — as we progress in this series, at least in the beginning.

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*Changes in My Writing Plans

Hello friends. There have been some changes in my plans for writing.

First, about Light to My Path:

As I announced, the purpose of this essay collection is “for us to use God’s Word as our guide to life.”

The change is that I’m limiting my Scriptural basis on the books of Psalms and Proverbs only.

However, to make sure that I won’t be amiss in my teaching, especially in presenting the whole of God’s message, I’ll be using two classic commentaries as my primary references: Charles Spurgeon’s The Treasury of David, his phenomenal work on the book of Psalms, and Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.

* * *

Second, about Light of the World:

As I announced, the purpose of this essay collection is “to help you know who Jesus really is — as he is revealed in the Scriptures, and as I have personally experienced him.”

The change is that I’m postponing this collection indefinitely.

Why? I’ve realized that writing this collection isn’t going to be just a matter of course for me…. Instead, it will require much time and effort, things I cannot yet give in the present time.

For example, to talk effectively about Jesus’ earthly life means that I would have to go beyond what the Bible reveals about him in the Gospels, and must know also the geographical, historical, political, and cultural contexts of Palestine during that time.

Furthermore, it is unavoidable that I would have to deal with the many controversies and questions surrounding Jesus, and that is already in the realm of apologetics.

* * *

And third, about Faith Foundations:

This is an essay collection that I proposed, but later postponed. It’s basically about the doctrines of the Christian faith.

Now I’m restoring this collection, because it is my replacement for Light of the World.

My present studies include a primer on systematic theology, and this will be my source of information and ideas for my essays.

My main references will be the three-volume Exploring Christian Theology by Holsteen and Svigel. These are the books we are using in Bible school class.

That is all.

Notice: This post is not included in the CC license.

Blogging Thoughts

Creative Commons License This post is the start of a new category for this blog: musings. A set of short reflections on related topics. And I created this new category because sometimes I have many things to say, but don’t have the time nor the energy to write them down as essays. This is also a good way to make the regularity of my posting more consistent.

I am all set to begin writing for the first of the two essay collections I announced, Light to My Path. I am also all set to begin writing earnestly my devotional reflections for Patreon. But before I do these, I thought that I should write first a few things about this ministry. A kind of a wrap up for the months that passed by.

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My Side of the Story (4)

Creative Commons License If we believe in God, or even in just the existence of God, we acknowledge that there is someone who is far greater than us in power, in knowledge, in wisdom. And yet, isn’t it odd, that despite this acknowledgment, many of us are still trying to live our lives in our own ways? Maybe it’s because we aren’t just religious enough for God to matter to us?

Well, actually, it’s not odd, but makes sense. If the only things we know about this God is that he is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, then we probably wouldn’t entrust to him our lives.

But we Christians know God much more than that (I hope). He is all those things, and more. God is also holy. God is love. He is just. But he is also merciful. Our Father. Our Lord and Master. Our Savior. Our Counselor.

And so we acknowledge God — that he is indeed far greater than us in power, in knowledge, in wisdom — and we try to live our lives according to his ways.

But here now is my question: Having thus acknowledge our own smallness compared to God, why is it then that sometimes we act as if we already know everything there is to know about him, his Word, and his ways?

And that’s just ironic, isn’t it? From knowing almost nothing to knowing everything. Or is this kind of attitude simply inherent in us as human beings?

My friends, this is just a loving reminder. The Bible tells us to lean not on our own understanding, and to see not ourselves as wise, but to trust in God and fear him instead (Proverbs 3:5,7). God himself reminds us of the reason why:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” says Yahweh. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” — Isaiah 55:8-9 WEB

And you need to hear this reminder because my subject for this last part of my essay is a hot one — hearing and obeying God’s voice. Or, in broader terms, knowing his ways.

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My Side of the Story (3)

Creative Commons License There is no question that, besides having the assurance of eternal salvation, a Christian also has the promise of a blessed life here on earth.

In Matthew 6:33, Jesus speaks about having our needs provided for if we “seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness” (WEB). In John 10:10, he also speaks about having come for his sheep so “that they may have life, and may have it abundantly” (WEB).

This same promise can be found in the Old Testament. The writer of the first Psalm compares the righteous man who loves God’s Word to “a tree planted by the streams of water, that produces its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither” (WEB). But God himself declared this promise most beautifully:

It shall happen, if you shall listen diligently to my commandments which I command you today, to love Yahweh your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. I will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. — Deuteronomy 11:13-15 WEB

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My Side of the Story (2)

Creative Commons License “And I would do anything for love,” declares one famous song. “I’d run right into hell and back.”

“And I would do anything for love!” declares this one famous song, over and over again. “I’ll be there till the final act… And I’ll take the vow and seal a pact.”

And it’s true, isn’t it? People have done a lot of good (and stupid) things for love. Driven by this intoxicating feeling (or by the infuriating lack of it), they have accomplished wondrous deeds: build a palace, write a song, write a poem, or rob a bank.

Love, it seems, does make the world turn on its axis :)

Seriously now. Though I haven’t yet experienced true love with a woman, love is indeed the main driving force in my own life. And like countless others before me, I’ve also done some unbelievable things (some would say stupid) because of it. You know what I’m talking about, my friends. I’m talking about my love for God… for Jesus.

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My Side of the Story (1)

Creative Commons License I might have said this a few times before, but I do believe that this time I’ve really come to a new season, and not just in this blog, but in my life as a whole — a season where I can finally get down to do serious works for God, especially as a blogger. I’ve spent the past three weeks making the changes that will take this blog to its new direction, and soon I was all set to begin writing in this fresh context.

However, last Sunday a brother in the Lord said something that made me forget my convictions for a while, and I seriously wanted to look back into the recent past — the past that I’ve only just left behind. Yes, it was only an innocuous remark; no harm was intended. Still, the seed was planted, and it speedily grew into a selfish desire for justice: I wanted to write something and defend myself against the many judgments that were thrown at me these past couple of years.

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