A Hard-Won Triumph of My Faith

Creative Commons License Last month, July 12, 2020, marked the second-year anniversary of Swordsman of the Word. When I made my first post in this blog two years ago, I was full of hope and expectation about the blessings the future might bring. Well, I never thought that the next two years would turn out to be such a struggle getting this ministry off the ground, and that they would bring me — in addition to the blessings — much pain, hardships, and regrets. And that is because, in the final analysis, Swordsman of the Word had seemed to others to be much too radical and much too ambitious to be attempted by someone like me. A nobody. Gifted, maybe. But still, a nobody.

What I’ve been reminded of recently, however, is that this ministry is ultimately only between me and God. I’m the one whose faith in him is being tested. And I’m the one who is accountable. I’m the one who is standing before him in judgment and giving account of the things I’ve done in regard to it. (As I have declared in Running this Blogging Race Once Again, the only authority I recognize now for this ministry is the Bible, God’s Word.) Therefore, as long as I’m in line with the things God has said, and as long as I have his approval for this work, what others think of Swordsman of the Word doesn’t really matter. People’s opinions (and people’s obstructions) don’t affect its legitimacy, nor will they overcome its power and continuity.

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*Community Page Reopened

Hello friends. It’s a new beginning for my Facebook page, Swordsman of the Word Community. Come and check it out :)

Like in this blog, our focus there is serving you, and it can be a good springboard for your spiritual journey. We offer a weekly sermon and daily devotions from Charles Spurgeon (a great 19th century preacher), daily readings from the World English Bible (downloadable as PDFs), and links to other Christian resources and stuffs. (Of course, I also post there the links to my blog posts here.)

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*Collections Pages Updated

Hello friends. I’ve updated my Collections pages. You might want to check them out, for they reflect my future plans and the present status of Swordsman of the Word.

Also, I’ve been busy the past several days, not writing, but dealing with odds and ends — so that I can finally return to blogging as painless as possible. I’m nearly finished now, but I need some time off to recharge.

Expect my new essay on the last week of July.

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*Adopting TGC’s Confession and the Creeds

Creative Commons License Before I resume writing for this blog, I would like to settle first one necessary foundation, and that is a clear declaration of my theological position and convictions.

As you’ve probably known, my friends, I’ve been without a statement of faith from this ministry’s beginning — and I’ve only talked about generally accepted doctrines. And that is because, initially, I had a local church to associate with, and so the matter was not that urgent. But more important, it’s also because I wasn’t yet prepared, theologically, to formulate my own doctrinal statements, or to adopt someone else’s.

However, now that I’ve struck out on my own — with Swordsman of the Word already an independent entity — this kind of situation where I have no faith-statement is no longer acceptable. Even what I said in my last two blog posts that I’m going to be orthodox in my teaching is not enough. I need now to be specific about my theology, and I need now to make a stand.

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A God-Centered, People-Oriented Blogging

Creative Commons License Like a farmer who waits for the seedlings he’d planted to grow, and thus I have also waited for my ideas for Swordsman of the Word to grow — under the nourishment of my studies, prayers, and leisure activities. And like an engineer endeavoring to design an efficient manufacturing process, and thus I have also struggled — slowly — to create a clear and coherent whole out of my many and developing ideas.

Despite the sense of guilt that kept telling me that I should be working hard, I didn’t rush writing this essay because of its importance. Because like with my previous essay, Running this Blogging Race Once Again, I’m continuing to lay down the path for the future — for myself and this ministry. So it’s better to be delayed and sure of my direction, than to be hasty and miss the way.

And what I’ve realized is this: Swordsman of the Word is now the culmination of two separate works: (1) the work that God has been doing in my life all these years, and (2) the work that I’ve done for it so far. That is, I’ve been redefining the ministry in the light of who and what I am now as a Christian (the result of the Holy Spirit’s sanctification of me), and also in the light of my experiences and the results of my efforts since I started this blog a year and a half ago.

In computer programming imagery: All that has gone before were only the planning, coding, and testing stages. This is now the finished product, ready for distribution.

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Running this Blogging Race Once Again

Creative Commons License There have been many challenges and difficulties in getting this ministry off the ground — lack of resources, lack of support, lack of humility, and lack of faith. To those of you who have followed my progress, you know the things I went through. And you probably thought — after many months of silence from me — that I’d finally given up. I won’t blame you if you did.

But the truth is that I just didn’t want to proceed without God’s explicit approval, and so I’ve waited on him. Despite all the energy, time, and tears I’ve already spent on this blog, I’ve still waited on God — for him to prove to me that he really wants me to spend a significant part of my life blogging for him.

And so God has. Answered me. Proven it to me. And so here I am. Running this blogging race once again.

My thanks and gratitude go to Dale, my brother in Christ, whom God has used to bring me back on this racetrack. This one is for you, bro.

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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.

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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.

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