*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Note: This post is obsolete.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.

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

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.

IMAGE
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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*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.

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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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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The Greatest Reason

Creative Commons License When you are serving God, there may come a time when your faith is severely tested, and your hopes are shattered, so that you realize that your once-fiery passion is in danger of dying. More important, you find that believing in God and obeying him are now very hard to do. You are filled with doubts and questions.

You don’t want these things to happen though; you don’t want to lose your faith and turn your back on Jesus. Nevertheless, no matter how you try to feel otherwise and to believe that God is faithful, you just can’t shake off the feeling that he isn’t worthy of your trust anymore… and that everything you’ve done for him has been in vain after all.

It is really hard, to be in such a place.

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