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.

Read More »

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

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

*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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

*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.

*Reaffirming My Convictions

Hello friends. I just want to give you a status update for this blog.

This sucks, I know, me not blogging. Do you miss me? Because I sure do miss talking with you and writing to you. And the recent challenges on my convictions about this ministry have made me realize just how important blogging has become in my life.

Today I am writing this short post to reaffirm to you all my convictions: I’ve meant every word I’ve said in this blog, especially my decision to become a full-time blogger for Jesus.

However, I also would like to remind you of a couple of things. One is that this ministry really belongs to God, not to me. He is the real boss, the one who makes the decisions. Another is that this is an assignment I can’t do alone. I need God’s help if I am to proceed and to succeed.

You see, my friends, it has now come to the point where God’s intervention is needed if I am to continue. I’ve done all I could, and now it’s all up to God. The ball is in his court.

But I don’t want to talk more about this. I believe that you all already know the things I want to say.

Just know that I’ve not given up, and that I remain steadfast in my faith — my faith that my God will provide for me, so that I can continue serving him… and you.

Meanwhile, I am busy studying. I mean to know much more about the Bible, the doctrines, and about writing when he calls me back here.

God bless you all!

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.

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

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!”

IMAGE
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.

Read More »