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.

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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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The Price I Pay for Victory

Creative Commons License I’ve just finished making my to-do lists using a new method: markdown and HTML. Dividing my many tasks into different categories and subcategories — my tasks for the various aspects of my life and work — I then write my lists in plain text files using a simple markdown editor. These text files are individually converted to HTML pages, to be viewed in a web browser. To make my browsing efficient, I’ve added a basic system of page linking, just like in a website.

The result? Not only are my lists much easier to update now, and to adapt to changes compared to, say, using a task-management software, but my own minimal design also gives me a good overview and summary of my tasks, making prioritizing much easier. The states of my life and work, and my direction have all become clearer, and thus lifting much of the pressure I’ve been feeling lately.

Now, if only life itself is as easy to manage and to understand as our lists of things to do….

Because oftentimes, as we deal with our problems and struggles every day, we can become so focused on what is in front of us, that we forget to consider the bigger picture. We can forget how the pieces of our lives might fit together in the overall scheme of things. This doesn’t sound good, right? After all, we want to make the best of our lives, and so we don’t want to waste our limited time doing things that don’t really matter.

But I’m saying to you now, my friend, that as long as we also don’t forget to thank God continually for all the things he has done for us, and as long as we take an occasional break and try to keep everything in perspective, there is nothing wrong with this: To be focused on our present concerns, and to forget the rest.

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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.

*Patrons Freebie #2

I am sometimes guilty of not spending enough time with the Lord, especially when I have a lot of things to do. And I only remember to stop and seek him out when I find that I’m already running on empty — I’m sluggish and irritable, and my joy is drained. During the busy months that led to the launching of my website, Swordsman of the Word, there had been many instances of this.

I don’t know how original I am, but I’ve always had this principle that when I’m building something, I need first to establish the foundations as soon as possible, and at a great cost, usually to myself (late nights, eye strain, fatigue, lack of exercise). When that is done, I can then proceed with the work in a reasonable, healthy, and even leisurely manner. I picture it as building a tower: the foundations I need to build ASAP (can’t do anything else until this is done), and the superstructures for the rest of my life (or something like that).

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It All Belongs to Him

Creative Commons License And so, yeah. The decision has been made and acted upon. For better or for worse, I’m now a full-time blogger for my Lord Jesus Christ — with no visible support except for his grace, and with no plans of action except for his ways.

With this essay I am closing this series of founding documents for Swordsman of the Word. Things have not turned out as I imagined them when I started this website nearly a month ago; rather, they have turned out to be more beautiful. Who would have thought that I’d become a Patreon creator, and not just a blogger? Who would have thought that I’d share my writings freely through Creative Commons? And who would have thought that I’d serve now God full-time through this blog, instead of blogging being just a “sideline” while I do some “real work”?

Even this very essay has not turned out as I imagined. I had thought of working on a previous draft, to talk now at length about the greatest reason why I’m doing all this, which is my love for God. But the supposed-to-be short introduction had expanded into more than 700 words, so that I deemed it wise to shelve that draft for another time, and to write instead about these topics that I’ve discovered to be far more important to me than I first realized.

You see, there is a lot of advice out there on how to be successful — as a blogger in particular, and as a creator in general. They talk about how to write effective blog posts, how to market myself and grow my audience, how to stay motivated, etc. And I would certainly follow them, no doubt — if I am your normal blogger and creator. But I’m not. And so I thought that, as a closing to these founding essays, I’d share my philosophy about these matters.

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A Crucial Need to Overcome

Creative Commons License Writing is therapeutic, they say, and I’ve certainly found that to be true in my own life. Unquestionably, writing in my journals and blogs have had positive effects on my mental and emotional health over the years. For a deep and introvert person, it was a kind of self-expression that I greatly needed — a releasing of my pent-up thoughts and emotions. It was freedom to a certain extent.

But as I grew in my faith, and as my nature is changed by the Holy Spirit, writing has become much more than a kind of therapy for me, much more than a form of self-expression, and much more than just a way I use to serve God. For writing has also become a very effective process that I use to deal with my many personal issues, particularly spiritual and emotional issues.

Because I find that writing about these matters, especially in the presence of the Holy Spirit, changes my soul. In leaps and bounds.

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*Patrons Freebie #1

It is July, not January, but with everything I’ve been doing lately — the launching of my website, Swordsman of the Word, and the launching also of my Patreon page to find support for my writing — it really feels like a new year for me. Indeed, I “stand upon the verge of the unknown” as I work towards possessing my promised land.

This is actually an act of faith, starting this Patreon page. I don’t have yet many followers in my website, and I don’t have yet any network. But God’s direction has been clear about this, and so here I am, building this channel through which God’s supply would come — hoping for those “springs that shall never dry,” for those “fountains and streams that shall never be cut off.”

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To Know God More (That’s Why)

Creative Commons License The other day, in the small Bible-study group where I belong, we talked about how to make sure we are really Christians, or followers of Jesus Christ. Our study leader had another responsibility to attend to, and so the teaching for that night was assigned to a member of our group.

The lesson was basic to most of us, as it was meant to be. We are Christians because we are obeying the commandments and teachings of Jesus Christ. “Jesus therefore said to those Jews who had believed him, ‘If you remain in my word, then you are truly my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’” (John 8:31-32 WEB).

The teaching was going well, and I was remembering past experiences of my own obedience to Jesus. This made me want to share something to my group mates, and so I did, as our meeting was closing. But what I said triggered some arguments I didn’t expect.

This is what I said to them, that an outward show of obedience is not enough, especially if you are only following God’s commandments legalistically. I said that to make sure you really are a Christian, you must not only be obeying Jesus and his commandments, but you must also personally know him. After all, that is his promise, that if we truly obey him, with all of our hearts, we will know him. We will know God.

“One who has my commandments, and keeps them, that person is one who loves me. One who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will reveal myself to him” (John 14:21 WEB).

Our discussion has given me the idea for this essay. I had meant to write an article about the Bible itself to start off our study, but I think that it would be best if I first talk about the direction we’ll take and the very purpose of this website — to expound more on what I’ve already said on my About page.

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An Assignment I Can’t Do Alone

Creative Commons License How does one qualify to be a teacher of God’s Word? Must he possess the credentials, resources, and seminary background? Or is there only a minimum requirement: at least some core foundations already settled within himself, like basic training and a deep personal relationship with Jesus? Or are his salvation, personal Bible reading, and willingness to teach already enough?

I’m not here to dwell on these questions, however. I think that many of you are of the same opinion as I am, and that is, one doesn’t need to be a graduate of a seminary to qualify for teaching, but he does need basic training and a mature relationship with God. After all, this is how my own church works: I myself am being discipled and will soon finish our workers’ training, and so qualify to be a Bible-study leader of small groups.

I ask these questions, and I state my own position, because this is simply my way of affirming in my own heart that I am qualified to serve on this website, teaching the Word of God. Personally, I need this affirmation, and having this is only my first step towards fighting the doubts that sometimes attack me. You see, God has called me here to do things that are beyond myself, beyond my abilities, and so I need his help and power to accomplish them. But before I can depend on him, on outside help, I need first to believe in the things that are already in me. I need to put in perspective the things I can do, and the things I cannot do without God.

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