20 October 2013

A Special Edition of 2e

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. We must not quit meeting together, as some are doing. No, we need to keep on encouraging each other. This becomes more and more important as you see the Day getting closer.Hebrews 10:24-25
If you are a believer, you should be in church.

Sunday is the day that believers gather for worship.

The Bible states that we should not forsake (put aside) this (regular) practice because the gathering for worship is where we encourage one another.  This encouraging is done in the Spirit and in the natural realm.  

'The Day' is approaching.  That can be clearly seen by the events of our times.  We need more encouragement as 'the day' draws nearer.

Go to church.

Worship.

Encourage.

Be encouraged.

Survive.

19 October 2013

Engage God ~ Part Two ~ Watch Out!

Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. 
Jer 23:24

No matter who you are, or where you are, or when you are.  This verse is in effect.  God is everywhere, at all times.  

Watch out! 

He is the Omnipresent One.  There is no where to go to hide from His Presence.  At no time are we not 'in' His Presence.

I know we were talking about the manifest Presence of God and this is not it.  However, the very nature of God allows Him to be present with His creation at any time and any place.  

This is NOT, however, the same as the new-age belief of God being present in all things; the trees, the sky.  He is God. He is a Spirit.  He does not need a flower to inhabit.  That is new-age and that is unscriptural.  

He is omnipresent.  He is always 'there'.  So, for Him to manifest that ever-present presence is no great task for Him.

It is the knowledge of this fact, and the faith in this very truth that allows us as believers to appropriate that Presence in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. Considering this truth daily will elevate you to the next level...

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 
Col 3:1-2
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 
1Co 3:16
The first reference there says that spiritually, we are seated with Him.  The second verse says that He is in us! 

Well, that certainly is a next level!  God's omnipresence is such that as believers, He is both with us and in us ~ always!

We are His adopted children.  He is always with us.  He will never leave us. In pain and sorrow, good times and bad, He is with us. His Presence surrounds us.  His Presence indwells us.

If you are saved and if you are contemplating these very truths, watch out!  You may be experiencing a bit of His Manifest Presence right now!

Go ahead, Engage God!

Next: Get Busy

Weekend Worship

I don't usually post a static image video for Weekend Worship, but this song is so powerful. Enjoy the Presence of God!

18 October 2013

Engage God ~ Part 1

One of my favorite 'parts' of this Christian walk is experiencing the Presence of God.  If you are reading this and you don't know how to engage God, keep reading.

The other night in a church service, I, along with many others, experienced His Presence.  It was seemingly a surprise if you weren't watching closely.  Truthfully, I saw it coming.  I just didn't KNOW I saw it coming until later. You know, hindsight and all.

God can show up whenever He wants, without notice or requirements.  There are, however, certain things He looks for in believers sometimes, as well.  Are they ready? Are they submitted? Are they obedient? Are they hungry? Are they worshippers?

Many of those things were in place the other night, and God made His Presence known.

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 

Heb 10:19-22
The 'holiest' referred to in the first verse is the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle.  It was the place where the high priests would enter. They only entered once a year and only after a seven day cleansing ritual to ensure their survival.  God's manifest Presence was there!

The scripture here says that WE are to have boldness to enter that same place.  

It says that we can enter through the blood of Jesus. 

If you want to experience the Presence of God, you must first have passed through the blood ~ the sacrifice of His own life.  You must be born again!

The scripture goes on to say that through that faith in Jesus, and in Him being our High Priest, we can draw near (go into the most holy place where the Presence of God is) with a true heart.  That we have full assurance of our faith in Christ as we enter, because we know that through salvation, our hearts and minds, our bodies have been cleansed by the sacrificial work of Christ on the cross.

Engage God.

If you are making a decision to receive Christ now, please check out the kind people at Need Him.

Next: "Watch Out!"

17 October 2013

2e

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

Romans 12:2

16 October 2013

The Empowered Church

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.Matthew 28:18


 That same power that had been bestowed on Christ following His death, burial and resurrection was what was bestowed upon the church by Him and through the Holy Ghost.

So, now we stand empowered in the face of turmoil, both political and moral, both at home and abroad, yet, we stand, doing nothing.

Empowered, yet seemingly powerless.

When will the church sit in its rightful place? In heavenly places? 

Empowered.

15 October 2013

2e

I always pray to the great and glorious Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
I pray that he will give you the Spirit, who will let you know truths about God and help you understand them, so that you will know him better. 
I pray that God will open your minds to see his truth. 

Then you will know the hope that he has chosen us to have. 
You will know that the blessings God has promised his holy people are rich and glorious. 
And you will know that God's power is very great for us who believe.

It is the same as the mighty power he used to raise Christ from death and put him at his right side in the heavenly places. 
He put Christ over all rulers, authorities, powers, and kings. 
He gave him authority over everything that has power in this world or in the next world. 
God put everything under Christ's power and made him head over everything for the church.

The church is Christ's body. 
It is filled with him. 

He makes everything complete in every way. 

Ephesians 1:17-23 ERV


What does "2e" mean?

14 October 2013

A Clean Heart: A Retropost

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.  

Psalm 51:10

I was awakened last night from a dream.  The dream brought up old issues of strife and hurt which I had previously had against someone.  As I awakened from the dream, I knew that I was to pray for that person.

How do you pray for someone against whom your heart is not clean?  

Fortunately, mine was.  As I contemplated the dream and the feelings it invoked, I realized that they were only old feelings; they did not reflect the truth in my heart.

I remember when I originally dealt with those emotions regarding that person.  I had settled it then.  Now, God was confirming that for me. As I sat on the edge of my bed, I knew I could pray.

In Psalm 51, David's issues were with himself; and with his sin.  He asked God to cleanse him, wash him, purify him, and create in him a pure, clean heart.  It was then, and only then, that David says, he could do God's work, bringing others to Him.

If our hearts are not clean, against God, others or ourselves, we can not walk in all that God has for us.

Whether it be praying for someone else, teaching others about God, or just our own success, our heart must be clean.

11 October 2013

Dig In!

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.Pro 18:21


Recap: 


"Life and Death"
"The Hands of Your Tongue"
"Power is in your Hands"
"I'm lovin' it"


"Shall eat" indicates that you will have no choice.  Whether you want to or not, once those words come from your mouth, you will eat its fruit.  If its fruit is life, you'll eat life.  If its fruit is death, you'll eat death.

You shall eat whatever fruit you produce whether you think it's tasty or not.

When I was a kid, we were allowed one food item that we could choose.  That item was our 'no-like'.  We could change it every year, but whatever it was, we didn't have to ever eat it.  Everything else, we had to eat.


If there was a food that wasn't our no-like, we had to eat it.  If we didn't eat our peas at dinner, they were put in the refrigerator, and we were served them cold for breakfast.



It was the concept of "SHALL EAT".



This is exactly what the Word means when it says "...they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."

I see people throwing out food that they put on their plates themselves.

What?!

YOU put it there. YOU eat it.

You can’t do that in the Spirit either.

A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.Proverbs 18:20
There it says it again.  Your belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of your mouth.


The word belly here is from an unused root meaning to be hollow; the belly, especially the womb; also the bosom or body of anything: - belly, body, + as they be born, + within, womb.
Your being…that empty place, shall be satisfied, filled, with whatever you say.


Here's the Amplified version:
A man’s [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil]. Proverbs 18:20 
"I'm sooo sick."  "i'm sooo tired."  "I'm sick and tired!"  "I'm broke."


Dig in, baby!  Your words, your food, you shall eat it.



If you want steak, potatoes and broccoli, but you keep getting chicken, pasta and corn, you should check what you are saying.
Also in Proverbs 18:20, the KJV says satisfied, meaning full.  Because really, you won't be satisfied as in the sense of satisfaction.  But it is saying that you will be full of that fruit when you eat it; and you shall eat it.


But when you're full, is there room for anything else? Nope.



Would you like to be full of death and have no room for life or be full of life with no room for death?



Wow.



You MUST eat whatever your tongue puts on your plate ~ and you'll eat it until you're full.



That's us, what about others?


Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.Eph 4:29

The word minister means to serve.  We are supposed to serve grace by the words of our mouth.


Are we doing that in our conversation? Is our communication corrupt? dead?or living?



Do we know the difference between life and death?

Do we have the discipline to hold our tongue?


Remember the button I gave you?



What if I told you that by pressing that button, you would release earthquakes and tsunamis throughout the earth? Would you press it?  Of course not,  That would be death.



What if I told you that by pressing that button, you would release a million dollars into every household and reveal the cure for cancer.  Would you press it? Absolutely! That would be life.



What if I told you that by pressing the button, one or the other of those things would happen, but that I wasn't sure which one.  Would you press it?  Probably not.  



We know the difference between life and death, and we are responsible to choose whether to speak life or death.  If we are not sure whether our words will produce life OR death, then it is best to say nothing at all.



Not only will our words feed ourselves, but we also serve others.



Let's serve grace; to ourselves, and others.

09 October 2013

What are the Hands of my Tongue?

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Pro 18:21


So, we understand what is death and what is life.  We know the difference between the two. 



We understand that the power is being placed in the hands of our tongue.



But just what is the “power of the tongue”?


 “the hands of our tongue”?

Hint: Some people give their tongues too many hands.

The hands of your tongue is talking. Words spoken are your hands. That;s where the power lies. that;s where the responsibility lies.  In your words.

Death and Life are in Talking!

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.Genesis 1:3

Does light qualify as life or death? Life. Light is life.  When God created all He did, He was creating life.  He did so by speaking words.  Life and death were in the power of His tongue.  Except for mankind, everything God has made was by His word.


We have that same power as believers! Life and death are in the power of the tongue.


and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.


"Love it."  Do you love the power of talking.  Conniving people will even calculate their words to get a certain result.  Manipulative people will choose their words carefully so as to get someone to believe, do or go the way they want them to! 



Do you have affection toward the power or the tongue (talking)?

Do you indulge in it ~ like to talk too much?

Well, the Word says that you shall eat the fruit of your words.

UP NEXT.... "Dig in!"

07 October 2013

Your Tongue Has Hands

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Pro 18:21

What is death?

Death would be, most simply, the absence of life.  Disease and illness are death, not life.  Poverty is death, not life.  Hatred is death, not life.  "You're stupid!" is death, not life.

But do we know what death looks like?  Do we know what it looks like before it actually has taken over the place of life.  First, we can say that death can not exist where life has not previously existed,  That will be comforting in a moment.

I have a plant that a friend gave me to take care of. Well, let's say I had a plant ~ because as of now, it's dead.


But before it died, it was alive. I had placed it outside with the rest of my plants for the summer.  It was doing well.  Then it got hot; too hot.  This plant began to shrivel.

I watered it more; too much.  The plant began to droop.

I brought it back inside. Too late.

I put it by a nice window. But it was too far gone.  Death had taken over. 

My apologies to Graciela.

You see, there comes a point where you recognize that life is less and death is more.  If life doesn't increase, death will.  And death will overtake life, and win.

What is life?  Conversely, life is the absence of death.  Healing is life.  Wealth is life.  Love is life.  "You're smart and intelligent!" is life.

Life is represented by, can be identified by, growth.  There was a point, after I brought that plant in, when I saw some new leaves sprouting.  I really thought it had a chance. "That plant's dead!" they said.  "No! Look at these little buds!  They're green!" I said.  I had hope.

You see, if there is growth, there is life.  I knew that.

Death and Life are in the Power...

This word 'power', in the original language speaks of being ‘in the hand’.

“It’s in your hands now.”

When I am given a task to do, whether in ministry or at work or even something on my honey-do list, once I am given it, it's my responsibility.  It's in my hands.

If I gave you a button and told you that this button was programmed to do something when pressed, would you press it? 

Would you press this button without knowing its power?

Well, THAT power, whatever it may be, would be in your hands.  It's like the saying: "The ball is in your court."

I taught Cecilia this concept growing up. I am currently teaching Elijah this. It's a way of teaching them about responsibility and accountability.

When you have power; when it's in your hands, you have a responsibility.  You carry the weight of the actions you take with that responsibility and in most cases, you will answer, or be accountable to someone for what you did.

So, the responsibility of death and life are in the hands of your tongue.  The responsibility of spreading death or life is in the hands of your tongue.

To be continued...

NEXT: What Are the Hands of My Tongue?


04 October 2013

Mass Transit Part Three ~ THAT's my In-Laws' House!


View Larger Map

My in-laws' house is somewhere in here.

After generously and in a VERY norteamericano sort of way, paying my taxi driver. I walked across the street to wait for what was probably the 'last-chance-bus' to home. Shortly, after I crossed, my taxi driver friend follows with some of his compañeros. He says they want to be sure that I get on the right bus. I am sure at this point that they all figure they will be handsomely rewarded for their efforts.

As the bus pulls up, they all mutter something in Guaraní. I say thank you and get on the bus. The taxi driver follows. He says he wants to be sure that I get off at the right stop. He talks to the driver in Guaraní. I imagine my whole saga being re-told, probably missing some parts and fabulously fabricating others.

I proceed to the third seat on the right, because my in-laws' house, when it passes will be on the right. I sit with my head and shoulders OUT THE WINDOW. I do NOT want to miss the stop this time.

I recognize each turn.

I finally see the half tires on the neighbor's property line. This is IT!. I pull the cord as he turns the corner.

On the road I see the silouette of my father-in-law. 


STOIC. 

He is standing in the road in front of his house waiting for me. It was very prodigal son-like.

I get off the bus. He comes over to me. He looks very concerned.

I realize that the taxi driver gets off with me.

"How are you getting back?", I ask.


"You're going to drive me", he replies.

I look at him, puzzled. He laughs.

"No I'll walk", he says.

We all laugh.

I did NOT think that was funny.

He and my father-in-law talk a bit as I go inside. I think they ended up knowing each other - a friend of a friend of a friend etc sort of thing. Or at least that's what they SAID!

As I go inside, I am pleased to see my oblivious children. I am sure that any talk of my troubling MIA-ness was all in guaraní in the home, so they never realized that daddy was missing in the dark Paraguayan countryside. I could sense that my in-laws were worried.

As we lay in bed that night, my wife grabbed me. "I was worried for you Papi", she said, "I was praying the whole time."

"Aah!, What were you worried about? If I can do NY city subways, I can do Paraguayan colectivos!"

But I really am such a norteamericano.

03 October 2013

Mass Transit Part Two ~ Kilometro 21

Please be strapped into your chair as you read this. I do not want anyone getting hurt as their laughter knocks them to the floor.


View Larger Map

This is Kilometro 21.

On the left, the large white building is the gas station with the tan building being a sort of 'convenience' store. On the right of the dirt road, you can barely make out some taxis parked on the corner, with some garages for repair/storage of those taxis just to their south on the dirt road.


I can't believe I was able to locate this place on Google maps!


So here I am standing at Kilometro 21, (not my in-laws house). It is just before 9 pm. The buses I am told, run until 10. I am waiting for the bus to come by. I know the bus I was on was "no longer operating for the evening", but there are multiple buses that run the same route. I know what it looks like. It always stops here. There are other people waiting.

Two words: Taxi driver.

Oh, he seemed so helpful. I knew when he approached me that he was just looking for a fare from the 'norteamericano'. I explained my recent adventure to him. He asked about where my in-laws lived. I gave him the half-tire-my-property-line-Paraguay vs Germany-Vicente-Felipa-three-turns-in-from-the-church 'directions'. He ended up being the only Paraguayan who did not pretend to know everyone in town. 


He looked puzzled. 

He calls across the street to some other taxi drivers. About 4 of them now are all talking Guarani seeming as if they are attempting to figure out the great mystery of the ages. 

One of the younger ones says something and they ALL say, "Oh yes, yes. I know where that is!" 

"Oh, Great!" 

I felt more secure with his uncertainty. He assures me that he knows where this church is and that the young kid actually KNOWS my in-laws. Yeah, right.

Two words: It rained.

As we get into the taxi and drive off, it starts raining; not a lot, but raining. This rain is only the manifestation of the humidity I had been 'enjoying' all evening. I am 6'1" and 280 pounds. 


I sweat. 

Humidity condenses on me. He was shorter, but just as stocky for his height. 

Perspiration? We were equal.

I am not so sure what kind of car this was. It seemed to be a mixture of several different cars all put together in one of those garages. I realized as we drove off that this vehicle was a stick shift with no first gear


We jerked violently to a start. 

We were off! As we drove along toward the church, which is on this same road, the rain really started coming down. He winds up his window, except for a crack at the top. I follow suit. He is not using his wipers. We make a turn. I tell him that the church is straight ahead. he assures me that my desired destination is, you guessed it ~ that way.

The car stops. "Is that it?" he asks. 


I look out the window to see a church. 

Nice church. 

Not the church. 

"Oh, OK", he replies. "It must be the one that is that way

We jerk to a start. 

We're off again. The rain is really coming down now. He takes me to about 4 different churches. None of them are the right one. If you knew the make-up of this area or any back roads towns in rural Paraguay, you would understand my amazement at the fact that there were even so many churches and that he knew where so many were! 

I keep trying to explain to him that the church that I am referring to is back on the 'main' dirt road. 

He assures me again that Fernando and Felipa live that way, and he knows how to get there. 

Oh, Father! Please come to my aid. It's Vicente and Felipa! 

Who knows who this Fernando and Felipa are. I am sure they are very nice people and may even take in a lost norteamericano for the night. But my wife and children are at Vicente and Felipa's house.

Three words: Mechanic for hire.

So as we are driving in the manifested humidity, we too big sweaty men in this Toyo-nissa-onda-ford taxi, the windows are fogging up. Now, as I said, he is not using his wipers. Had he used them, he may have avoided the fogging up of his windshield. And, he is not using the defroster either. 


Such the foreigner I am! 

The car stops; and stops in the 

most. secluded. darkest. spot. on. the. planet.

He reaches under his steering wheel! Again, I am thinking 'easy prey'. He fiddles around with something.

The engine dies. 


The lights go out. 


uh-oh.

He pulls out a wire from the dashboard and connects it to whatever he was fiddling with under the steering wheel.

The radio, the wipers and the defroster all come on.

We sit there a while, in the dark.

He says nothing. 


I am praying.

The windshield clears up.

He disconnects the wires again; dead car, no wipers, no defrost, no radio, no engine, no lights.

He reconnects the other wires. The car starts, the lights go on, we violently jump over first gear and we're off again!
After our late night local Capiata church tour, I finally convince him at 9:30 to take me back to Kilometro 21 (not my in-laws house) so that I can at least make one final attempt to get on the last bus. He obliges me. We finally both agree on one thing: Kilometro 21 is (say it with me); that way!

I can now see 'kilometro 21'. It is well lit, there is a gas station, some taxis, some people hanging around, loud music. That is not my in-laws' house. We arrive. He charges me the equivalent of $1.40 for my 45 minute church tour. I pay him the equivalent of $7.00.

It has been almost 3 hours since I last saw Julian.

To be continued....