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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*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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*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!”

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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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It Ain’t About the Money, Nor the Fame (2)

Creative Commons License It’s all about knowing God.

But as exciting or wondrous that might sound to some, this kind of life is no walk in the park. Rather, it is a narrow path.

True also for some other religions maybe. But this is much more than just a rigid way of life — much more than just a bunch of rules and rituals to follow.

Genuine Christianity is about having a real relationship with a living God. The living God. The triune God who has neither beginning nor end. The Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit.

And so if you say to that God, “my life is yours, Lord Jesus,” you better mean it, my friend. Because your life will never be the same again.

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

For sure, you’ll get to spend eternity in heaven with God — spared from the judgment in hell — and you are born again. A new creation in Christ. What’s more, you will have the power of the Holy Spirit within you, to help you live a victorious and overcoming life. WOW. You know, all these Christian stuffs you’ve probably been hearing about all your life — on the internet, on TV, in books.

But what might not have been properly explained to you, my friend, is that when you say these words, when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your life is not yours anymore — but his. It now belongs to God. And he’s the one now who will decide what to do with your life. Not you.

Salvation is easy. It is a gift from God. All you have to do is accept it. But submission to his Lordship? Now, that is another matter.

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It Ain’t About the Money, Nor the Fame (1)

Creative Commons License It’s all about knowing God.

And so it truly begins now — my work for this ministry, Swordsman of the Word. The vision is laid down, the setup is all done for now, and my present course is defined and planned.

But the fact that this post is very late, even though I’m supposed to be working “full-time,” and the fact also that I haven’t yet written anything new for my Patreon page… are only proofs of my struggle against my circumstances, which limit my ability and freedom to serve God. Moreover, they also show how difficult it really is trying to understand (and to write about) how he, God, has been working in my life all these years.

And by the daring title of this post, It Ain’t About the Money, Nor the Fame, I have assigned to myself a difficult task indeed.

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Pexels.com | Unsplash.com | Openclipart.org

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

How would you go about it yourself, I’m asking you, my friend. If you’ve never had a lot of money, and if you’ve never been popular, how would you go about convincing people that the greatest possession they can ever have in this life are not these things, but their relationship with God?

And if you are reminded every day of the high costs of having that relationship, say, being persecuted because of your beliefs, how would you go about convincing people that the greatest accomplishment they can ever achieve, and the greatest investment of time and energy that they can ever make, is to know God deeply?

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The Price I Pay for Victory

Creative Commons License I’ve just finished making my to-do lists using a new method: markdown and HTML. Dividing my many tasks into different categories and subcategories — my tasks for the various aspects of my life and work — I then write my lists in plain text files using a simple markdown editor. These text files are individually converted to HTML pages, to be viewed in a web browser. To make my browsing efficient, I’ve added a basic system of page linking, just like in a website.

The result? Not only are my lists much easier to update now, and to adapt to changes compared to, say, using a task-management software, but my own minimal design also gives me a good overview and summary of my tasks, making prioritizing much easier. The states of my life and work, and my direction have all become clearer, and thus lifting much of the pressure I’ve been feeling lately.

Now, if only life itself is as easy to manage and to understand as our lists of things to do….

Because oftentimes, as we deal with our problems and struggles every day, we can become so focused on what is in front of us, that we forget to consider the bigger picture. We can forget how the pieces of our lives might fit together in the overall scheme of things. This doesn’t sound good, right? After all, we want to make the best of our lives, and so we don’t want to waste our limited time doing things that don’t really matter.

But I’m saying to you now, my friend, that as long as we also don’t forget to thank God continually for all the things he has done for us, and as long as we take an occasional break and try to keep everything in perspective, there is nothing wrong with this: To be focused on our present concerns, and to forget the rest.

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