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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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 (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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*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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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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*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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*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.

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