*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.

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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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*This Blog’s New Direction

Hello friends. Here now is the new direction this blog will take for the next few years — in accordance with my new vision for this ministry, and with my now-completed calling from God to become both a teacher and a missionary.

As with the last time I tried to set the direction of this blog some months ago, my primary consideration is still sustainability. With the great changes that are still happening in my life, especially the training I’m undergoing (and will undergo), I want my blogging to be just a matter of course, and not something I have to give much effort to. That is, I want my blogging to be just a natural result of my study of the Bible and of my relationship with God.

Because of this, I have suspended the two essay collections I proposed before — Faith Foundations and Faith Explorations — and will start two new ones instead. Though I’ll still write stand-alone posts from time to time, most of my posts for this blog will fall in either of these two new collections. They are Light to My Path and Light of the World.

I write personal essays — not expository articles — and that means that my writing is subjective and biased, and also that I would give you only minimal historical and cultural backgrounds. But that is okay, and I believe that that is also what you want. After all, my primary purpose for writing is not for you to learn new information, but to help you know God more: himself and his ways.

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*Redefining My Vision

Hello friends. This is a heads-up to the major changes that are coming to this ministry. I still need about a month before I can get back to blogging, but I’m writing this now because I want to firmly commit myself to this new path.

The bottom line is that this blog will now be solely dedicated to my personal essays and reflections, on both the Bible and my own life.

These will all remain the same: The blog’s title, tagline, audience (Christians and non-Christians), purpose (to know God more), and spirit (the balance between truth and grace). Also, I’m still going to pursue full-time blogging, hoping that I’ll get support from you, especially through my Patreon creator page.

What have significantly changed are these: (1) my proposed types of content (there won’t be articles and Bible studies anymore); and, (2) the people who are responsible for this ministry (there is now only me).

In other words: My blog, my content, my subjectivity, my responsibility.

Maybe the vision that God had given me when I started all this will still come true… but the reality of my life now is this: God is opening other doors for me, and I don’t want to be held back waiting for things that might take a long time in coming.

Thank you all for your patience and prayers. These past several months have not been easy for me. Most of all, thank you for your friendship.

I will see you.

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

*My New Present Course

Note: This post is obsolete. This ministry already has a new direction..

Hello friends. I’m laying down the direction this blog will take — not for the next few months — but for the next few years. There have been more changes in my plans.

Note: I’m still on my break, but I’m posting this now so that I can worry about other things.

As I had explained in the post My Present Course, which I wrote about a month and a half ago, I meant to write only personal essays for the time being (and to hold back my other plans, particularly my plan to write articles and Bible studies) until my circumstances get better.

However, writing my testimony has made me understand more my limitations, in both my abilities and freedom to serve God. And this new understanding has made me realize that it would be best if I do not yet attempt any major undertaking for this ministry — while I’m still being trained in Bible school, and while great changes are still happening in my life. In other words, my work for Swordsman of the Word — for the next few years, and not just until my circumstances get better — should be easy-enough to do, without demanding too much effort from me, and it should also be sustainable.

Therefore, in the light of this, I am going to continue with writing only personal essays, which is what I already do best, until I am ready to try bigger jobs some years down the road.

* * *

I say “personal essays” because my posts will still be in essay form, and I will still be looking chiefly at my own life for illustrations. However, their main purpose now is to teach, and their primary nature will be doctrinal and pastoral — unlike the essays I’ve written for my testimony, which are, by definition, largely about myself and my own walk with God.

There will be two threads (or two collections) of these essays that I will write simultaneously. The first one, which I’ll call Faith Foundations, will be mostly about the doctrines of the faith, and is primarily intended for those of you who are already believers. The second one, which I’ll call Faith Explorations, will be mostly about discovering the Christian faith, and is primarily intended for those of you who are still seeking for answers.

In both these essay threads, because I acknowledge that I’m no Bible expert, I’ll be using in my writing a number of Bible-study guides, and so much of my research has already been done for me. As I’ve said above, this is about my work being sustainable and easy-enough to do.

Anyway, in addition to the practical reason I’ve explained, there are two more personal reasons why I’m doing my work like this. The first one is that writing these essays will not only reinforce but also enrich my own personal knowledge of God and of Christianity. And the second one is that by focusing on the essay form (and its various subforms) for the next few years, I’ll be able to master this craft, and so I will have in my arsenal at least one weapon I know very well how to use.

There are so many things to do. And much of my talents and gifts are still unexplored. But at least I’ve already developed my writing skills well enough, particularly my essay writing skills, that I am able to serve God in this way.

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It Ain’t About the Money, Nor the Fame (3)

Creative Commons License It’s all about knowing God.

And knowing God means living your life according to his Word: his commandments, his values, and his ways.

And perhaps there is nothing more radical (and more scorn-garnering) than working to succeed in God’s Kingdom, but not in this world:

To hope and work for things unseen, yet believed in.

To find joy and fulfillment in a work well-accomplished — rather than a work well-applauded.

To adhere to ancient principles of good conduct in the midst of today’s ultramodern and spiritually-bankrupt culture.

And to aspire to greatness, not by seeking positions of influence and power, but by becoming the lowest — serving God by serving all.

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Pexels.com | Unsplash.com | Openclipart.org

Note: This post is part of the series My Testimony.

The above might have made you confused, my friend. After all, if you look around you, there are many Christian leaders who have sought success and power just like anyone would — and except maybe for their add-ons of so-called “Biblical principles,” the methods they have used to achieve these things do not differ much from the rest.

Well, I don’t have yet the authority and knowledge to call them out, if they are really in error, but let me show you something, my friend. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, and the one we are supposed to follow, exemplified the type of leadership that he wants for his disciples, and that is servant leadership.

Jesus summoned [his disciples], and said to them, “You know that they who are recognized as rulers over the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you, but whoever wants to become great among you shall be your servant. Whoever of you wants to become first among you, shall be bondservant of all. For the Son of Man also came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” — Mark 10:42-45 WEB

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It Ain’t About the Money, Nor the Fame (2)

Creative Commons License It’s all about knowing God.

But as exciting or wondrous that might sound to some, this kind of life is no walk in the park. Rather, it is a narrow path.

True also for some other religions maybe. But this is much more than just a rigid way of life — much more than just a bunch of rules and rituals to follow.

Genuine Christianity is about having a real relationship with a living God. The living God. The triune God who has neither beginning nor end. The Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit.

And so if you say to that God, “my life is yours, Lord Jesus,” you better mean it, my friend. Because your life will never be the same again.

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Pexels.com | Unsplash.com | Openclipart.org

Note: This post is part of the series My Testimony.

For sure, you’ll get to spend eternity in heaven with God — spared from the judgment in hell — and you are born again. A new creation in Christ. What’s more, you will have the power of the Holy Spirit within you, to help you live a victorious and overcoming life. WOW. You know, all these Christian stuffs you’ve probably been hearing about all your life — on the internet, on TV, in books.

But what might not have been properly explained to you, my friend, is that when you say these words, when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your life is not yours anymore — but his. It now belongs to God. And he’s the one now who will decide what to do with your life. Not you.

Salvation is easy. It is a gift from God. All you have to do is accept it. But submission to his Lordship? Now, that is another matter.

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It Ain’t About the Money, Nor the Fame (1)

Creative Commons License It’s all about knowing God.

And so it truly begins now — my work for this ministry, Swordsman of the Word. The vision is laid down, the setup is all done for now, and my present course is defined and planned.

But the fact that this post is very late, even though I’m supposed to be working “full-time,” and the fact also that I haven’t yet written anything new for my Patreon page… are only proofs of my struggle against my circumstances, which limit my ability and freedom to serve God. Moreover, they also show how difficult it really is trying to understand (and to write about) how he, God, has been working in my life all these years.

And by the daring title of this post, It Ain’t About the Money, Nor the Fame, I have assigned to myself a difficult task indeed.

IMAGE
Pexels.com | Unsplash.com | Openclipart.org

Note: This post is part of the series My Testimony.

How would you go about it yourself, I’m asking you, my friend. If you’ve never had a lot of money, and if you’ve never been popular, how would you go about convincing people that the greatest possession they can ever have in this life are not these things, but their relationship with God?

And if you are reminded every day of the high costs of having that relationship, say, being persecuted because of your beliefs, how would you go about convincing people that the greatest accomplishment they can ever achieve, and the greatest investment of time and energy that they can ever make, is to know God deeply?

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*My Present Course

Note: This post is obsolete. I’ve already written about my new present course.

Hello friends. I’m laying down the direction this blog will take for the next several months. There have been some changes in my plans.

As you might have read in my post, An Assignment I Can’t Do Alone, this website (now a ministry) is an assignment I received from God, and I have had serious misgivings about starting this. One major reason for my doubts were my circumstances: I had very little resources, I struggled with my finances, and I still had responsibilities for my family. And guess what? Even though I have obeyed by faith and Swordsman of the Word is now up and running, my circumstances haven’t yet changed much since I began all this, except that I now have this added responsibility, a big one: running this ministry.

My friends, the inescapable fact is that I can’t do much for this ministry in my present situation. I simply can’t. Another inescapable fact is that, though I know God is blessing me now because of my obedience, the changes in my life that I’ve been praying for won’t happen overnight. They need time to be worked out.

Therefore, I am seeing the next several months as my transition period — from where I am now, to the place where I can truly work for God because he has provided for my needs.

The good news is that God doesn’t expect me to produce beyond what I am capable of. There is this story in the Bible, the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), which clearly shows that God expects results only according to the abilities he has given.

And so, the question is, what can I produce now for Swordsman of the Word, given my present situation and abilities? The essays I’ve already been writing, of course.

This then is my present direction: To continue with my personal essay writing, and to hold back my other plans (particularly my plan to write articles and Bible studies) to a later (and proper) time.

And as already established, my essays will have the general theme of overcoming. I hope that these will be a great help to many.

See you all then in my next essay!

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