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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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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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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Called For the Missions

Creative Commons License I’ve never been the kind of person who constantly watches or reads the news. In fact, oftentimes I know much less than the average TV watcher should know about current events. However, this doesn’t mean I don’t care.

My philosophy about my awareness of the things happening in the world has always been that of limitation: I try to know them only in a general way, without being burdened by them, and only if I need to. Yes, I’m no news buff, no watchman, because honestly, what can I do about this multitude of problems that will make any difference? Rather, as befitting my personality, my focus has been internal. I seek to know God more — the only one who has the power to make a real difference — and to further prepare myself to be of use to him. As the Bible says:

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might…. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. — Ephesians 6:10,12 WEB

However, now that I’m undergoing training for the ministry in Bible school, it is imperative that I start now taking more seriously the world around me: I need now to give also some time in my studies to the world outside.

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It Ain’t About the Money, Nor the Fame (4)

Creative Commons License It’s all about knowing God.

And to know God, to really know God, is to be loved by God. Maybe not exactly in the ways you’ve always wanted. But for sure, to be loved in ways you’ve never thought possible or even imagined.

I know the questions that are burning in your mind right now. Is this really possible? Is this for real? Yes, it is. Because it happened to me.

I don’t know about you, my friend, but when I was much younger — in my teens and young adulthood — I used to think that a love relationship would solve all my emotional problems. All the loneliness and emptiness I felt, and all my pains, would all somehow magically disappear, and I would be filled with joy… if only someone would love me.

That probably sounds familiar to you, eh? Maybe you can even personally relate. This is not the time, however, to talk about the reasons why I was like that, nor to dwell more on the story. And that is because my story was a really troubled one. My woes were more than mere adolescent angst and a need for validation, which I believe all of us go through in our lives.

And so for now just know that, if I am a girl, I wouldn’t love who I was back then. Instead, I would run away fast, as many had indeed done. Because honestly, I was just plain scary. And weird. And I had this black hole in my heart that was screaming, “LOVE ME! LOVE ME!”

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Pexels.com

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

If I had been born to a better station in life, I would have undergone psychotherapy — I know this now. As it was, I struggled alone for years. With my identity. With my runaway thoughts and emotions. With loneliness. With rejections. That is, until God found me, and made me fall in love with him. With Jesus.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. — Luke 19:10 WEB

At last… at long last… I’d finally found the love I desperately needed. And yes, it was not what I had imagined, but it was much more than I could ever hope for. Life and love, joy and peace were all literally poured into the black hole of my heart as God took residence, until I was overflowing.

I was never sure of my salvation before; I was then.

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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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