Here We Go Again

here-we-go-again

 

So, uh, it’s been, uh, a while since we met like this. I mean as reader and blogger. Ya’ know, I never meant to be gone this long. I wanted to take a break from the writing. I wanted to re-wrinkle my gray matter; smart brains are more wrinkly and mine was getting a little, ahem, smooth. I needed a pause, a timeout.

I had hoped that one day I would be successful enough to take a sabbatical. That’s what CEOs and Fortune 500 types call it. It turns out what I got was a hiatus. A hiatus is the ugly step-cousin of the sabbatical. It is, however, further up the family tree of respectability than going on the lam, but hiatus is no sabbatical. As chance would have it, the end of my silence comes nine months after its inception.

Coincidence? I think not.

Continue reading “Here We Go Again”

Jesus Can’t Save Your Life

I didn’t realize that I had brain damage. I just stumbled onto the fact while trying to follow Jesus. It turns out I keep believing that my physical being is what matters. I can’t seem to get a grip on the idea that this body is a costume, a tool. The real me, the one that can make a difference, is wearing this bag of flesh.

I forget that we are three-part beings. Each of us is a spirit. We have a body and a mind. Two of these are more ethereal, which makes us think they carry less importance than the other. That is a mistake. The spirit and mind are no less significant than the body. However, the body is tangible, touchable. It seems more real.

The mind interfaces with both the spirit and the body. I stick to the physical perspective. That’s not always bad. I feel the pain of a burn, so I use my mind to determine if the stove is on before touching it. I should include my spirit side in the use of these same sets of mental deductions and realize that some of the actions of my body are damaging to my spirit. Then I should stop them. But I don’t.

I think the idea that time is limited to my flesh causes me to prefer my body over my spirit. Time is fundamental to beings with a physical element. We are born with time running out, dying. This is an artificial incentive to pay more attention to the body.

This meat suit has an expiration date. While my spirit may live forever, this earthgear will not. There will come a day when I can no longer be effective in the physical realm because I will be dead. I know, I know–Zombie Apocalypse and all that. Despite the undead, the prospect of that day begs the question, “What did you do with your time here on earth?”

Did you waste your life or spend it?

Either way you can’t save it. You can’t keep it from expiring. Nothing you do can make it last forever. Even Jesus can’t save your life. He may save your soul but your life is expendable. You have a small window of opportunity to make an impact on earth.

Are you wasting it or spending it?

Photo Friday

It’s Friday and you know what that means.

PHOTO FRIDAY!!!

Yeah baby. That’s when I take a few of my cell phone snapshots, churn out some witty banter for the captions and then share them with you as an impromptu tour of Paraguay Barba style. If you have missed some of stops on this tour click here. I really don’t want you to have an incomplete Photo Friday tour.

Now on to this week’s photos.

I forgot I had this gem.It slipped by undetected when I did the furlough edition. How many Taco Bells have you been to that "passionately" do anything? Has Taco Bell ever given you an "experience that help[ed] get a little more out of life"? I am totally missing that.
I forgot I had this gem. It slipped by undetected when I did the furlough edition. How many Taco Bells have you been to that “passionately” do anything? Has Taco Bell ever given you an “experience that help[ed] get a little more out of life”? I am totally missing that.
A local grocery store got these "fun size" Hershey candies. I have ranted about the fact that these are anything but "fun size" before. It's like eating shrimp without the anaphylactic shock. A lot of work getting the wrapper off for little payout. Compound that with the price here, $6.15. NOT FUN
A local grocery store got these “fun size” Hershey candies. I have ranted about the fact that these are anything but “fun size” before. It’s like eating shrimp without the anaphylactic shock. A lot of work getting the wrapper off for little payout. Compound that with the price here, $6.15. NOT FUN
This is yerba. The brand is Compañera, meaning companion. It's used like classmate or associate/friend. The cool thing is it doesn't matter your preference, this yerba has you covered. You like brunettes, got it. You like redheads, check. How about a blond, no problem. They even have an auburn hair represented. I hope you like the face because the choices stop at the hair.
This brand of yerba is called Compañera meaning companion, classmate or associate. It doesn’t matter your preference this yerba has you covered. You like brunettes, got it. You like red heads, check. How about a blond, no problem. They even have an auburn hair represented. I hope you like the face because the choices stop at the hair.
Are there Split soft drinks in the US now? Look at the bottom right of the label and you'll see that familiar Pepsico logo. Pepsi released a complete line of Split here. There is cola, like-Sprite, like-7-up and several fruit flavors. MMM I love second string beverages.
Are there Split soft drinks in the US now? Look at the bottom right of the label and you’ll see that familiar Pepsico logo. Pepsi released a complete line of Split here. There is cola, like-Sprite, like-7-up and several fruit flavors. MMM I love second string beverages.
.
.
We went to give blood for a friend in need. In the waiting room at the hospital was this 42" flat panel TV. It was off but I'm told it picks up 1 5/8 channels with that $2 rabbit ear antenna taped to the wall with medical dressing. This made me so sad that my blood had too many bad vibes, and I was turned away. Maybe not...
We went to give blood for a friend in need. In the waiting room at the hospital was this 42″ flat panel TV. It was off but I’m told it picks up 1 5/8 channels with that $2 rabbit ear antenna taped to the wall with medical dressing. This made me so sad that my blood had too many bad vibes, and I was turned away. Maybe not…
This is us. Yes. We are a family of super heroes. Think The Incredibles but more toward the end of the movie. A friend, Jamie Lee, did this pop art portrait for us. If you're interested I will include a link at the bottom of this post. He is a Londoner and fellow missionary here in Paraguay.
This is us. Yes. We are a family of super heroes. Think The Incredibles but more toward the end of the movie. A friend, Jamie Lee, did this pop art portrait for us. If you’re interested I will include a link at the bottom of this post. He is a Londoner and fellow missionary here in Paraguay.

There you have it. This week’s tour of Paraguay from my cell cam. I hope you enjoyed the trip and didn’t get car sick in the tram. Have a great weekend. Here is Jamie Lee, aka Brit Art, on Facebook.

Which photo is your favorite? Why?

Prove It!!

 prove-it

Today’s post is a podcast.

Today I’m talking about the end of Matthew chapter 3 and the beginning of chapter 4. Take a look.

3:17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

4:3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Satan basically says”Prove who you are to Jesus.”
I think the same thing happens to us. We become believers and God looks down and says, “This is my son,” or “This is my daughter.” I also think that Satan does the same thing he did with Jesus. He comes and says, “So, you’re a child of God, huh? Prove it.”
What happens next? What do we do with that challenge? Give the podcast a listen and share in the comments.
Are you a child of God? To whom are you trying to prove it?

 

 

Subscribe through iTunes here. . . or drop this URL

[   http://www.ramblingbarba.com/feed/podcast/   ]

in your favorite Podcatcher.

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The Shell Game

Have you ever heard the old saying “The good is the enemy of the great”? Much of what I write is, at least in part, influenced by the concept in this proverb. This is a warning. These words are trying to keep us from settling for satisfactory, mediocre. If we aren’t careful, we will be so blinded by the good that we will stop just short of the truly great that could have been.

shell-gameI think this happens to us in our Christian walk. At the root of this is the old shell game. Remember that street hustle from way back, the one with three shells and a ball? Well, this time there’s a twist. There’s a ball under two shells already. When you walk up, you put God under the third. Then the shells start to spin and twist, in and out, in complicated patterns.

It’s tough to keep your eye on the right shell. You can feel the earth move below your feet. Your concentration on the moving target is causing you to feel dizzy. The action stops and you have to pick. You have no idea what’s under the other two shells and you don’t care. Confidently you stare at the shell with God under it. You’re going to win.  However, as you reach out to commit to your choice, a sudden pang of doubt slices through you. No matter. You push fear aside and turn over the shell on the left, and out pops church.

It puzzles you. Church, huh?

While you’re pondering church, the confidence man running the game deftly slips your God in his pocket.

In the end what you find is good. You think you can do a lot of good with the church you have selected. You can point a lot of people toward God. You can disciple them in their own walk with Christ. You can reach out and meet the felt needs of the less fortunate. You feel satisfied and decide not to play anymore. Why risk it? You are going to do a ton of good. You call it a win.

Some time passes and you find you are disillusioned. Sure you are doing a lot of good but you feel distant, like there’s more. More for you personally. You’ve felt like this for a while, but you keep coming back to all the good you’re doing as the answer. Maybe it is the answer, but not to this question. So you go back and find the grifter to play another round.

You take another chance at finding what seems to be missing. The spinning begins. The circles, the patterns, the dizziness–they all return. Then you pick. It’s your family.

Hmmm, family.

Family is good, you say, convincing yourself. God expects us to care for our families. Maybe you were too bogged down in church and neglected your family. You cut your time demands at church in favor of family time. You trim out all unnecessary activities at church to focus on your wife and kids. In the end, that hollow feeling returns. Family doesn’t fill that void.

The problem is that we continue to repeat this habit. We focus on something. We put our full effort toward that thing and find it unfulfilling.

Our soul is longing, searching for that great thing among the good we do.

However, we will never find the great in those things. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not hating on church regardless of your brand of it. I am not against families and their priority in our lives.

I am against anything that is shifted to the place where God should reside in our lives. He must be Number One. Not that Sunday School lip-service Number One we tell the pastor, but a real, all-or-nothing first place in our lives.

You could keep going back to the back alley and betting your focal point du jour. You may even pick a shell with some facsimile of Jesus under it. But, these will never satisfy.

The best way to get out of this circle is not to play. If you have God where he belongs. If He is the absolute of your life then do not take your eyes from Him.

Don’t allow restlessness to entice you to seek good when you have great dwelling within you.

Give some advice in the comments to those who may already be in this circle of good. How can we get out of it? How do we stay out of it?

Photo Friday

It’s back, y’all. I’ve been buzzing around town and picking up some good stuff for this week’s cellcam tour. So, form a single-file line and have your tickets ready to be stamped before entering the tram. If you bought a season pass, you can enter the tour at any point along the way by clicking here to see other posts in this series. Hang on to your hat. Here we go…

Have you ever been drinking a cool refreshing Coke only to look over and someone else had inadvertently picked up your bottle and put their big, slobbery mouth on it? How can you stop this travesty? Get a Coke with your name on it. Gah, so simple.
Have you ever been drinking a cool refreshing Coke only to look over and someone else had inadvertently picked up your bottle and put their big, slobbery mouth on it? How can you stop this travesty? Get a Coke with your name on it. Gah, so simple.
Paraguay is the land of postage taping deals together. Ladies you're gonna want to get in on this one. Everyone knows that only women use a blender so they packaged a flatiron for your hair with it. Make a smoothie and make your hair smoother.
Paraguay is the land of postage-taping deals together. Ladies, you’re gonna want to get in on this one. Everyone knows that only women use a blender, so they packaged a flatiron for your hair with it. Make a smoothie and make your hair smoother.
This sign says not to try out the deodorants. Is that really a problem? Do people walk in some where and pit a new stick of stinkum for a test drive? I wasn't aware but then again I just buy my stinkum rather than steal it a pit at a time.
This sign says not to try out the deodorants. Is that really a problem? Do people walk in some where and pit a new stick of Stinkum for a test drive? I wasn’t aware but then again I just buy my Stinkum, rather than steal it a pit at a time.
Recently a Senator got caught being, well, a Senator. These 20 were enough to vote him immunity. The people of Paraguay started this campaign. "We reserve the right to deny entry to these senators that voted no to remove the immunity. You are not welcome here." 3 weeks later the second vote was unanimous to remove immunity.
Recently a Senator got caught being, well, a Senator. These 20 were enough to vote him immunity. The people of Paraguay started this campaign. “We reserve the right to deny entry to these senators that voted no to remove the immunity. You are not welcome here.” 3 weeks later the second vote was unanimous to remove immunity.
We went up to one of the Catholic churches this week. It's a beautiful location and Day of the Virgin is Sunday. There was lot of buzz going on in preparation. We notice a line forming and found that is was for confessional. Outside. In the open air. In plain view. I don't like confessing anyway but doing it in front of everyone is out of the question.
We went up to one of the Catholic churches this week. It’s a beautiful location and Day of the Virgin is Sunday. There was lot of buzz going on in preparation. We notice a line forming and found that is was for confessional. Outside. In the open air. In plain view. I don’t like confessing anyway, but doing it in front of everyone is out of the question.

 

These are not Tic Tacs. They do not freshen your mouth and they do not come in a tiny plastic pill-like container. These are actually bootleg Oreos.
These are not Tic Tacs. They do not freshen your mouth and they do not come in a tiny plastic pill-like container. These are actually bootleg Oreos.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Photo Friday. Have a great weekend.

Which photo is your favorite? Why?

Requiem for the Struggle

sunburstI have been having a terrible time getting back into the rhythm of writing this blog since returning from our furlough. Life tends to cycle. It is a breathing organism. It is a struggle to continue to thrive while fighting off the ever-present process of dying that started at birth.

Mortality.

We have ups and downs. We are conditioned by our humanity to think in terms of this struggle from a physical standpoint.

Our physical being seems to be the most important part of our existence because it is the most tangible. We feel hot or cold. We feel hungry or sleepy. We feel pain when we are injured. Our bodies demand our attention or they will cease.

It’s when I am consumed by this one dimension that my focus shifts. I place too much emphasis on the things around me. Those things that I can see and feel; that I can do something about. I lose sight of the more pressing matters. I forget that changing my environment doesn’t change the man. I forget that I can’t work my way to a paradise, but I try. No matter how many checks I put on my lists, I am no closer to Him. I am missing something. Life seems cloudy. But that’s not really life; not a complete one, anyway.

It’s at this point I begin to grieve in my prayer times. When I do, I go to my playlist, my music library. I look for those tunes that help me connect to my Father. I did that this morning and I pulled out the nugget below. The video is a little old-school but the lyrics are great. If you don’t know about John Cox then “You’re welcome.”

Sunny Day by John Cox

 

Please tell me if it’s right to ask You every night
To save me
‘Cause I should’ve known by now how to use the sacred vow that
You gave me

Strip me of all my pride, let me come along for the ride
Forever
Don’t leave me all alone, all I want is us to be
Together

Bridge:
The sky is clearing for a sunny day
Like a cloud my troubles drift away
The sky is clearing for a sunny day, sunny day

Chorus:
Seems like You’ve opened up the door
I’ve never felt this way before
You traded sunshine for my rain
I am oh so glad You came

Never seen a love like this
It makes me wonder what I’ve missed
Never will I be the same
I am oh so glad you came

Verse 2:
Take a long look into my past, you will find me just as bad as
The worst ones
Closer look and you might find, I was born with an evil mind
Like the first ones

Strip me of all my pride, let me come along for the ride
Forever
Don’t leave me all alone, all I want is us to be
Together

Bridge:

Chorus:

What makes your day sunny? How do you chase away the clouds? Do you kick the dog?

Photo Friday

Today is a Photo Friday lite. There is one less pic this week. Sorry for that. My head has been in other places. The recording studio where I do the podcasts is in the shop. Yeah, that’s right. I use the plush back seat of my 19-year-old Mission Mobile as my audio crib. The motor went south and is being rebuilt. I am feverishly looking for another suitable place to record.Until then we have the pictorial tour of Paraguay via my cell cam.

BTW, click here for more Photo Friday posts like this one.

From time to time we get a chicken from around the corner. They are rotisserie cooked over a wood fire. Lest you fear they are not the highest quality bird available there is the baked feather freshness gauge. Could your chicken feather survive hours slow roasting over hot wood coals?
From time to time we get a chicken from around the corner. They are rotisserie cooked over a wood fire. Lest you fear they are not the highest quality bird available there is the baked feather freshness gauge. Could your chicken feather survive hours slow roasting over hot wood coals?

 

Perhaps the tantalizingly fresh chicken has you hankering for a slab. you could hop in this Toyota "Joinus" and come on over. You would think a car named Joinus would be bigger.
Perhaps the tantalizingly fresh chicken has you hankering for a slab. you could hop in this Toyota “Joinus” and come on over. You would think a car named Joinus would be bigger.
The reason we had the fine, feathered friend for lunch was someone did Joinus. This is Niko the Wonder Dog getting a back massage from one of our little mission buddies. The dog is spoiled. He is 3 times her weight but is controlled by her little finger.
The reason we had the fine, feathered friend for lunch was someone did Joinus. This is Niko the Wonder Dog getting a back massage from one of our little mission buddies. The dog is spoiled. He is 3 times her weight but is controlled by her little finger.
I like jerky. I like smoked and cured meats. I like wild game. I like wild game made into jerky or smoked and cured. However, I draw the line at "Wild Board." I can't begin to tell you how dry that is. How it splinters in your teeth. Not to mention I don't know whether to eat it or build with it.
I like jerky. I like smoked and cured meats. I like wild game. I like wild game made into jerky or smoked and cured. However, I draw the line at “Wild Board.” I can’t begin to tell you how dry that is. How it splinters in your teeth. Not to mention I don’t know whether to eat it or build with it.
I'm going to close out today with Spooky Tree. This thing looks like a Hollywood movie tree. I pass it all the timewalking and I'm always looking for a Hobbit or something to jump out of it. I beefed up the spooky factor with some editing.
I’m going to close out today with Spooky Tree. This thing looks like a Hollywood movie tree. I pass it all the time walking and I’m always looking for a Hobbit or something to jump out of it. I beefed up the spooky factor with some editing.

That’s all for this week folks. I hope you enjoyed our little tour. Don’t forget to get your tickets validated for discounts at the gift shop.

Which one is your favorite? Why?

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