Hello friends. BIG NEWS. I?m moving Swordsman of the Word to a new web hosting service. More, I?m rebuilding it from a dynamic WordPress site to a static website using Hugo. But first, before I talk more about this?.
I said in my last announcement that, because I?m going to close down my Patreon account, I?ve created two new accounts in Ko-fi and Liberapay to handle your gifts to me — Ko-fi for one-time donations, and Liberapay for recurrent donations. However, because of PayPal limitations in Liberapay, I?ve closed down my account on it just a few days later.
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Hello friends. Here’s a couple of important news.
First, I’m going to shut down my Patreon account. For two reasons. One is that I’ve never been able to give the necessary time and effort to create regularly my exclusive content. (And given the amount of works I’ve already planned for The Swordsman Network… that situation is doubtful to change.) Another reason is that I am much less enthusiastic in writing my devotional reflections (my main content for Patreon) if I don’t share them with as many people as possible.
Closing down my Patreon account has two main consequences: First, I’m going to post now in the main blog my devotional reflections — for free, and with the same Creative Commons license I apply to my essays. However, unlike in Patreon, there won’t be any schedule for them. I’ll post only when I have something to share.
Second, I’m relying now primarily on donations for support — there will no longer be any subscription for my exclusive content. (Any exclusive content from me you’ll get from the books I’ll sell someday.) In view of this, I’ve made two new accounts: in Ko-fi, for one-time gifts, and in Liberapay, for recurrent giving. (Both accept only PayPal.)
My friends, please, if you had ever found value in what I do, and would like to see me continue blogging, buy me a coffee, or better, become one of my patrons. I really need your help!
And to celebrate these new developments (even though I’m suspending my blogging for a while), and as a gesture of my faith in you, I’ve opened to the public my latest (and last) devotional reflection for Patreon.
My country, the Philippines, is suffering. Besides the COVID-19 pandemic, four typhoons had hit us in a row during the past month. And two of them, Rolly and Ulysses, had wreaked great devastations. In both properties and lives.
In my own province of Albay, two barangay communities had been destroyed by lahar flow. People had died. Houses were ruined. This is not to mention the destructions caused by the typhoons themselves, and not just in our province but in the whole Bicol region.
And right now, in the northern part of the country, a whole province is heavily flooded. Many people and animals had drowned. Many houses are partly or fully submerged.
My city has been blessed. There wasn’t much damage done to us, and our electricity is back. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but feel that these calamities have weakened my drive for blogging. And it’s too late in the year to make a restart. Yes, I feel that all the energy I have left is only enough for me to deal with odds and ends, and so that’s what I’m going to do.
My friends, here is my decision: I’m suspending my blogging until next year. And for these last six weeks of 2020 (and maybe also for the first few weeks of 2021), I’m going to work to settle all these changes I’ve made to The Swordsman Network. For it’s my goal that when I come back, my main focus will be finally on writing.
See you next year, my friends!
In the first of my new founding documents, Running this Blogging Race Once Again, I said that Swordsman of the Word had “become just my personal blog where I serve God through my writing, and where I earn a part of my living.” Nevertheless, by God’s leading, the ministry has grown over the past year. This announcement, which will become part of the new founding documents, is only to formalize the present extent of what I’m calling now The Swordsman Network.
Some parts of this network are still under construction though. One, my pastoral blog, is still empty of content. However, one purpose of this announcement is to set the boundaries of my present works, and so even though the network is not yet completed, it is necessary that I define now its components.
Read in main blog: [wp.me/s98iKC-45109]
From prehistoric times to the very beginnings of the nation of Israel. From the creation of the universe out of nothing to a man’s walk of faith that has impacted generations upon generations. These stories are filled with controversies, and debates have raged over them. Only myths, some say. Literal truths, others say. No matter. We’re not here for that. Rather, we’re here to enjoy God’s Word as it’s being read to us by one of the best voice talents there is, Winfred W. Henson.
Hello friends. I’ve decided to stop featuring videos from the BibleProject because, given the depths of the other resources I’ve been featuring, their introductory nature no longer fits with the others. Instead, I’m starting another weekly feature — audio recordings of the World English Bible — and so for the next 89 weeks or so, we’re going to listen to, read, and study the Scriptures itself. We’re going deeper now, my friends.
I’ve also made some extra effort to make this even more enjoyable for everyone. I’ve created a YouTube channel where those recordings are being published (this way I have control over them). I’ve also created a Google Site where you can read the Bible text being read, and where I’ve added book and chapter introductions.
To begin our journey together through the Bible, play now this video and click on the links :)
Listen on YouTube: [youtu.be/3t7Ax4p3qg0]
Read Bible text: [tinyurl.com/y46gjm5x]
Warning: This message ain’t for the closed-minded and the hard-hearted. If you don’t like hearing about sin and hell, and about the judgment and wrath of God, and if you are offended by Christianity’s claim that it’s the only true religion, then, please, don’t listen to this sermon. But if you’re honestly looking for answers and are willing to keep an open mind — even though those answers may be hard to accept — then I encourage you, my friend, listen to this. For this has the potential to change your life — for the better, and for all eternity.
Hello friends. This is the first of our weekly feature of sermons from John MacArthur, and for the next twenty weeks or so we’re going to study this two-volume series on the Foundations of Christianity.
In this first message John MacArthur talks about HOW we are made right with God. It’s the very gospel message, the very Good News that Christians proclaim, and that good news is… there is hope. We can be reconciled with God right now — we don’t have to live in godlessness — but that we can live a much blessed life.
Are you ready? Then listen now on Grace to You: [tinyurl.com/yyocmdq6]
Tonight is a time for remembering the good things about being a Christian. To remember, especially, when we first knew Christ and was forgiven of our sins. To remember when our hearts were filled with overwhelming joy and love for our Saviour who had died for us. No, tonight we lay down our burdens, our heartaches, our worries, our regrets. Tonight we rest in the presence of our Lord Jesus.
Hello friends. Here is a song from Hillsong — Saviour King. Just play it over and over, and let the Holy Spirit wash away all the years of dirt, sweat, and tears in our souls. And then tomorrow… we start anew.
Note: Soon we’re going to start a weekly feature of sermons from John MacArthur, and for the next twenty weeks or so we’re going to study the foundations of Christianity. For us Christians, this is a good opportunity to strengthen our faith. And for those of you who are here for answers, this is a good opportunity for you too. Stay awhile.
Watch on YouTube: [youtu.be/FOySJ3t46EU](more…)
I am an outsider. That’s how I’ve felt — in regards to my relation to the Church — most of my Christian life. Rejected by the world but loved by Jesus, I thought that my only chance of finding a place where I could truly belong is within the community of believers. After all, that’s how it’s supposed to be — an upside-down Kingdom, where the poor, the weak, the broken-hearted, the outcasts, the slaves, and the nobodies are given priority. But guess what? I’ve been rejected in the Church too. Many times.
Is it me? Am I just too different? Too weird? Too deep? Or maybe I’m just too talented. Too gifted. Do I arouse intense feelings of envy in others? Or maybe I’m just too committed to God. Too passionate. Too honest. And too unpredictable. Do I convict them of their lukewarmness? Of their sins?
God knows how long I’ve waited to find the right people… and God knows how much I’ve tried to belong. But it’s clear to me now that, no matter what I do, and no matter how much love I give, I might never be truly accepted in the Church. And that is because of my vocation itself, my calling. You see, my friends, God has ordained it that I, Arjay, would not stand among them — other believers — but to stand a bit separated from them. On the boundaries. At the gates.
I am a Swordsman of the Word, and I stand at the gates — between the Church and the world, and between them and God.
Read in main blog: [wp.me/s98iKC-34062]
Being “biblical” is a big deal among Christians. (Well, at least among those who recognize the authority of the Bible and consider it as God’s Word.) And yes, I do believe that it is imperative that one’s church and ministries are all grounded in God’s Word. And yet, this word — biblical — is also abused much. Because the Bible is such a big book and written in antiquity (it covers a large number of topics and is hard to understand in some places), it can be (mis)used as a tool to further one’s own ends. From cults trying to ensnare biblically-illiterate people with their false doctrines, and even to evangelicals trying to correct religious people of their practices, especially Catholics, the Bible and the supposed adherence to its content have been used many, many times to justify one’s own actions and motives, even if those actions and motives are not really pure. Indeed, some Christians may even use the word biblical as an excuse for their laziness to study theology and the works of great Bible teachers of the past, saying (and with implied superiority), “As for me, I’m biblical. I only teach from the Bible.”
But you know what, my friends, if you really want to use the word biblical for yourself, then you better make sure that you are truly well versed in the Scriptures, including its history and proper interpretation, and you must also be grounded in good theology (which are primarily based on Scriptures). Or, if you’re still a student and still learning, you must follow the teachings of those who are. Even then, you must also recognize that no fallen human person can ever know God’s Word perfectly (this is why there are different theological positions); or that everyone would just accept everything that God has said, even those that are clearly and plainly revealed (this is why there are bad theologies).
And now, the reason why I’m talking about this: Perhaps one way of finding out if a Christian truly takes God’s Word seriously (that is, if he really is concerned about being biblical) is to ask him, “Do you believe in election?” “Do you believe that God, by his sovereignty, has chosen his people, and not the other way around? That is, that we didn’t choose him, but that he chose us — and only some of us — for salvation, and therefore, that there are those he didn’t choose?” You see, this is one clear biblical teaching that many Christians reject.
Hello friends. Pardon me for the rather lengthy introduction. Today we’re going to listen to John MacArthur talk about this doctrine of election. He’s going to show us how biblical this doctrine is, and I hope that a clear understanding of it will bring you — as it did to me — light amidst your confusion, and then freedom from your unnecessary burdens. As John MacArthur said, if you don’t believe in election, then saving people becomes your job, not God’s.
Note: James Boice, whose message on justification I featured in my last post, had talked about election briefly. This time we’ll explore this doctrine more fully.
Listen on Ligonier: [tinyurl.com/y5cp75lt]
I’m not proud about it, but I belong in a corrupt Church that is ripe with sin, division, and false teaching. These past weeks I’ve been talking about God’s Kingdom and showing you what it’s like on the inside, especially the good things. But now I’m going to show you a glimpse of its “dark side” — a side that you probably don’t see much on the surface. Probably because the outside is so smooth and shiny.
“Are you saved?” many Christians ask people. And then (what your answer is doesn’t really matter) they will say to you, “You only need to repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Then you will be saved, and will go to heaven when you die. Or else, you’ll go to hell.”
But if you think about this even a little deeper, your inevitable questions would be, “Why do I need to be saved? From whom? From what? And why would accepting Jesus Christ save me? How does that work?” Sadly, many of these Christians will just give you blank stares. I know, because I used to be one of them.
The simple gospel message we were told to share to other people never satisfied me. Even when expounded on the pulpit, the message never seemed complete. In the back of my mind, there were always these questions — questions that I didn’t realize I had. It was not until I studied theology myself that I began to fully understand the gospel, and to know how it works.
Hello friends. Today we’re going to listen to James Boice talk about justification by faith alone. If you’ve never really understood what these words mean — propitiation, redemption, justification, etc. — then don’t miss this opportunity. I’ve chosen this rather theological message because I want to help those of you who honestly want to know these things, and who are willing to invest some time and effort. (This is a one-hour conference message given to a mature Christian audience, and so you might have some difficulty in listening.)
Also, if you want to have some idea on what’s wrong with the Church, then this message is for you. Given more than 20 years ago, the problems described in this talk could only have gotten worse.
Listen on Ligonier: [tinyurl.com/y6drv5z4]
His name is a curse word for many people. “Jesus #@*% Christ!” From the weather turning bad to a favorite team losing the game, all they can say is, “Jesus #@*% Christ!” It’s rare now to watch a non-Christian movie or to read a non-Christian novel without seeing his name being mocked, blasphemed, or openly attacked. And all I can think about this is, what a tragedy, that so many just cannot see who JESUS really is.
Hello friends. For the past weeks we’ve been looking at Luke’s Gospel, and along the way we’ve talked about Jesus Christ being not only as the Savior, but also as the eternal Son of God and the King of Kings. Maybe, as with many people, you still have some difficulty understanding or accepting all these, and so today I’m going to share with you a music video. It’s from a Hillsong concert, and it shows the reality of this Kingdom — and the reality of Jesus’ Lordship over his people — right here, right now, on this earth, in the 21st century. The song is called What a Beautiful Name.
The truth is, once your eyes and heart have been opened to these things by the Holy Spirit, there’s nothing you would want more than to love and worship Jesus, and to give reverence to his holy Name.
Watch on YouTube: [youtu.be/nQWFzMvCfLE](more…)