Friday, July 29, 2011

A Ten Year Old's Adventure into Missions

Today’s guest blog is written by my ten year-old daughter, Erin. This was her first mission trip, and she was the youngest one there. I had my concerns, but she did great, and I am so proud. Here are her thoughts and lessons she learned.

At the beginning of the trip, I was excited to see Hannah. We did block parties together. We did nails together. She also helped me pass out the bracelets I made to the kids there. She’s a really nice girl and a great friend.

Erin is passing out her bracelets she made.

I saw lots of cows on the side of the road. I also saw children everywhere. We saw tons of mountains formed from volcanoes. We saw very small houses and rows of corn slanted on the mountains. I saw someone washing their clothes in the stream. In the country I watched women making pupusas. Pupusas is a Salvadoran dish made of something like tortillas filled with cheese, beans or pork.

I heard lots of Spanish each day. I heard laughter at the block parties. I heard crying too. The last thing I heard was everyone saying, “Adios, amigos.”

When we were in El Salvador I met this girl named Pati. She was 12, and we started playing soccer together. Then later I gave her a green purse that I had brought from home. I painted her nails and did jumpies with her, and me and her turned out to be “amigos.”

I felt sad for the people there because they are very poor. I felt sad to leave the Resendez family. I also felt happy to be back home. I felt really tired when I got back home.

I learned that we are more fortunate here, and that we should not take everything for granted. We should treat our stuff very well because the people there don’t have a lot of stuff. We should also be grateful for the water we have here. I think it was a great trip. It was really fun. I think it was a great experience. I will be going on another mission trip. If you like to do missions, you would like to do this.

Erin helped in the nursery on Sunday morning during church which is somethings she does at our church.
I’d like to thank all the people who gave money, who bought a bracelet, or who prayed for us. I’m very glad you are a part of my life. And thanks again. It was really kind of you to do that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

El Salvador -- Went to be a blessing but was blessed so much more

The trip begins with 4 truckers honking when prompted by the pumping of the arm, 56 plus dogs along the road to Chinamecca, two horses and one deceased cat. The mission trip to El Salvador ended with 961 souls being saved, 25 mission trippers returning safely, and one very tired but proud momma.

Even though this was my second time to go to El Salvador, it was going to be a very different kind of trip. My first trip was to speak at women’s conferences as the main speaker. To encourage women – my calling. I was in the company of Sally Frasier Gaspard, Lupe Meza and Susan Resendez on my first trip. That first trip really solidified my calling into women’s ministry, and it was part of Susan and her family’s call to serve in El Salvador as missionaries.

This second trip I went on because my ten year old daughter felt led to go, so we did what we needed to do to make that happen. She has had a heart for missions ever since her first Mission Week at Calvary when she heard the stories from real missionaries. Erin’s heart and compassion is part of what makes her Erin, but it is also part of my concern about taking her on this trip.

This was Erin’s third trip to fly, but her first to go out of the country. Our first two nights we stayed at the Bible Institute in Chinemecca. This is the place where nationals come for seminary, and once their training is complete they start churches. Showered in our flip flops. No air conditioning. But PTL (praise the Lord) for indoor plumbing!

The first two days on the ground we went to schools in the morning and held block parties in the afternoon. By the end of the day we were smelling quite righteous (hahaha). At the first school, Erin took her bracelets that we made using the Coke can tops. (Thanks for all who sent those to us) She was swarmed. All the girls wanted them. I had a little boy ask for one and when I told him it was for the girls his eyes teared up, so I put one on his arm. I just couldn’t make him cry. After Erin had given out her last one there were still more who wanted her bracelets. She came up to me, and in her sweet, deep voice said, “Momma, I feel so guilty. I don’t have one for all of them.” WOW! Erin has always been generous, but to associate guilt with her lack or her inability to give more was a big revelation for her.

That first evening at the block party I found one of the ladies who headed up the women’s trip last year. Her name is Vashti. I reminded her of our past connection, and we caught up on what happened in the two years since we met. I introduced her to Erin and saw her two girls. She asked if I would be there the next day, and I said I would. She went home and made Erin and I matching aprons to bring the next day. I went to bless and was blessed instead.

The next morning we went to more schools and invited them to the block party that afternoon where they would hear the Word of God. After the block party we made our way to the hotel back in San Salvador. AHHHH, air conditioning! Swimming pool!

Thursday was our rest day. We spent a lovely day spending time together on the black sand beaches of El Salvador and sliding down a water slide on the side of a mountain. It was gorgeous, and the fellowship was wonderful!

On Thursday, we went to another school, but in a small remote country area. This by far was the hottest day of our trip. I thought my skin was on fire, and even though I had been using 50 spf every day of the week with multiple applications, I still got burned. After the school, we went door-to-door to invite the neighbors to the block party. A translator from the local church went with us, and Erin, Brenda and I were matched with Susie, a sweet young lady. Erin’s fear of roosters came into play, but not one of them attacked her. Many accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior at this block party. It just goes to show what Satan means for harm (the hottest day of all) that God can use for His good and His glory.

The next day, we went door-to-door evangelism in a different area with a different church and translator. We were matched with Daniel, a young man in college whose identical twin was an interpreter for another group. We witnessed to a lady at a stand selling fruit, and she was saved. We would go on to lead three other sets of mothers and daughters to Christ that day. What I loved was that Erin was there watching taking it all in. A couple of times, she would say, “I want to do the next one.” We tell her that would be fine, and we would get there and she would go silent. And if you know Erin at all, you know that is not the norm. I’d lean over and say, “I thought you had this one.” To which she would respond, “I’ll get the next one.” In the end, we let her be the icebreaker. She would invite them to the block party through the use of our interpreter. I am so thankful Erin had that kind of exposure.

The block party that day was simply AMAZING! The Calvary group arrived to set things up, but the church members who had been out going door-to-door witnessing and inviting the neighbors to the party were already there unloading and setting up. I got in line to help unload the trailer, and without fail one of the men from that church would step in front of me and take the item I was going to grab. This church had it going on! These fellow Christians were EAGER TO SERVE! I was in awe because we don’t see that kind of heart for service in this volume here. I was working the balloons with the twins which I affectionately renamed Pete and Repete, Claire, and Juan. While Kurt was preaching, we were getting ready because they were expecting a large group of people. They were right. They estimated about 2000 would show up. Of that number about 1000 would be members from their church! The result of the presentation of the gospel – 750 decisions made for Christ. An AMAZING DAY!

Sunday was just as amazing going to the Mejicano Church. They have 1000 people in the early service and about that many in the second service with only two people on staff. When asked what problems does the pastor have to deal with since he doesn’t have any staff to speak of, he said he had to encourage people to give up their posts of service because everyone needed an opportunity to share. They had to learn to take turns serving. Did you read that? They had to take turns serving because they ALL wanted to serve their Lord! From holding and dispensing the toilet paper at the restrooms to rocking babies…everyone wanted to serve. We could really learn a lesson from this church.

I know most of the photos I’ve posted on Facebook have been of us goofing off or laughing, but it’s only because the rest of the time we were working and sweating it out. I was blessed this trip on many different levels and will blog more about the lessons I learned, but I want you to know, I’ve asked Erin to write a blog from her perspective. I hope you will read it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saul and Myron

When I investigated insurance fraud in Texas, periodically I would take a trainee into an appointment where I would take a recorded statement of someone. On this particular day, I took a kid right out of college named Myron. Myron was green as a gourd in the insurance industry and in taking statements, and soaking wet, he may have weighed 140 pounds. I was scheduled to take the recorded statement of an insured that had turned in a claim reporting that his truck was stolen. What our insured didn’t know was that I knew where his truck was, and I knew what he had done with it. But I was giving him the opportunity to tell the truth. Our insured was 5’ 10” and was a “no-necker” – meaning he worked out all the time and didn’t have an ounce of fat on him. He walked into the office with a protein drink, tank top and shorts. His biceps were as large as both of my legs combined. He was bald and had a goatee. He strolled to the chair I directed him to, and I started sizing him up and formulating my game plan. I sat across the desk from him making sure to note where the panic button was. In the event that something should go wrong, I could push the panic button, and theoretically, people from the back of the office would run to my rescue…theoretically. Myron was sitting to my right near the door. The insured had a barbed wire tattooed around one of bicep, and he had another tat on his other arm that I could not quite make-out.

I began taking the statement in a conversational manner looking for how he would answer my questions when he was relaxed. Where did he look? What was his body language? What words did he use and the pattern of them? And as I was asking questions, inside my mind I was snickering thinking that this guy could really hurt me…he was HUGE! Double-checking the location of the panic button, I continued on into his history. Come to find out, our insured had been in the Special Forces and that tat I couldn’t make out…yeah, that was a Special Forces tat. At that point, I stopped worrying about the panic button because I knew he could break every bone in my body before I got to the panic button, and as I glanced at Myron, well, I knew he would be of no help. So, I continued on, and the insured provided great details…they were lies, but they were in great detail.

Fortunately, I was given instructions not to confront. My instructions were to give him an opportunity to tell his little story of lies, and I did. Then I cut him loose.

As I look back on that experience had I had to confront this beast of a man, I think I could relate to how Ananias felt when God told him to go meet with Saul. With the nervous giggles, “Um, God, do you see how big this guy is? Do you know how bad to the bone he is? He can break every bone in my body before I could reach the panic button, and Myron, here; he ain’t gonna be much help in my defense.” The other part of that would be, “God, are you sure you want me to talk to him because he’s not really on your side. I think you could find someone better suited for the job…really.”

Think about the person who scares you the most. For some it would be going to maximum security prison. For some it would be going to the bad part of town. For some it is talking to the person in the next cubicle or that person in your family. Now, God tells you to go to them and share God’s words with them. That is how Ananias felt, but God said “go,” and Ananias did. Did you? The results for Ananias were a story for the ages. He was able to see the hand of God change Saul to Paul.

Then there was the other question… “God, why him?” So many times people get so distracted, especially in church, with what other people are doing or not doing that they lose their effectiveness, lose sight of the dream God has given them. Too often people are concerned with how they aren’t included in a certain clique or how this person was preferred over another to trust God to handle it all. IT AIN’T YO’ BABY TO ROCK IF SOMEONE ELSE IS DOING SOMETHING! You are responsible for yourself and your obedience to God and your relationship to God. PUT YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES OR BIG BOY BRITCHES ON and GET OVER YOURSELF. Why Saul? Why not Saul? Why Stephanie? Why not Stephanie? Focus on what is important…on WHO is important. Be obedient. Follow where He leads you, and don't worry about what the others are doing and not doing. I promise you won’t regret it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The INDEPENDENT becomes the DEPENDENT -- not a fan

South paw. Left-handed. Only one in their right mind. Accident proned living in a right-handed world. I have heard all of these for I am a lefty. Growing up, I hated having notebooks with the rings on the left, and there were certain pens that I couldn’t use because they would smudge. This would not be the only thing that would make me different nor the only thing that would force me to do things differently than others. If you are right-handed, have you ever tried being a lefty for a day? Eat with your left. (After all the fork is on the left, shouldn’t you use your left hand?) Wear your watch or jewelry on the opposite side. Anything you would do with your right you would stop and do with your left. Awkward, isn’t it? Uncomfortable? Doesn’t really make sense to do it with your left because you are more efficient doing the task with your right.

Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Verse 9, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God does not always choose to do what is comfortable for us. God does not always choose to use the person we think He should use. We’d like to put God in a box, but He is God and cannot be contained by anything man creates. Sometimes He does a thing just because He can.

What has driven me to this whole thinking and reasoning is reading Acts 9. Why would God choose to send the PERSECUTOR to the PERSECUTED? Because He can, but in order to do so, God has to shake Saul’s world upside down, inside out, and all around. It wasn’t comfortable to say the least. You see, to get Saul to where he needed to be, the POWERFUL had to become POWERLESS. The IMPRISONER had to become IMPRISONED by his own inabilities. The SIGHTED became BLIND. The INDEPENDENT became the DEPENDENT -- that's a tough one. The LEADER had to be LED. The STRONG had to become DEFENSELESS. God did not write Saul off the books because he was difficult -- thank goodness. Instead, God chose to take Saul down to bare metal. Been there, done that. Are you there now? If you are, take hope. Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

God is so good. He loves us too much to leave us in the state we are in. He can use anyone whether they are a willing vessel or not. He knows what it takes to get a person’s attention. He knows the calling He has put on each person’s life, and in verse 15 of Acts 9 God said, “This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.”

God does not always choose to work within the confines set by man. Sometimes He chooses to shake things up. Keeps things interesting, don’t it! That is why it is so imperative that we have an intimate relationship with Him. No one is to be overlooked. God doesn’t write anyone off as being useless. Who would have thought God would use a Christian-slayer to be a Christian leader? Have you written anyone off? If so, you might want to seek God’s guidance about the best practice for that person. He may just have you devote yourself to praying for that person, or he may call you out like Ananias to go and minister to him/her. AWKWARD! What will you do when that happens? Will you go and trust God’s ways, or will you miss out on the blessing and stay put? This journey isn’t about your being comfortable. It’s about growing in your faith and in your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. He can use you, and He will, if you allow Him.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Teleporting in the Bible: Running in the Bible -- "Alex, what are 'Things we miss when we don't take time to dig'?"

Before Star Trek was introduced to us in 1966 and before we heard about “teleporting,” do you know that “teleporting” happened in the Bible? Personally, I’m not a Star Trek fan, but the creator and writer was very creative and imaginative. At any rate back to my point, teleporting actually occurred in the Bible.
During our study of “Out Live Your Life,” my mind has really become intrigued with Acts 7 and 8. When you make time, I highly recommend focusing on this passage of Scripture for a week…at least!

Okay, on to support my point. After Stephen was stoned, Saul and others turned up the persecution of the church which caused its members to spread. Persecution sort of back-fired here, because persecution caused the believers to go in all different directions, and as they went they spread the Word of God. What Satan means for evil, God can use for good (Romans 8:28). The church grew!

Philip went to Samaria, and he was filled with the Spirit doing as the Lord led him to do. People were saved. Unclean spirits were cast out. Miracles were performed. Then the Lord spoke to Philip (8:26). He told Philip to go to a road that goes to the desert. What I personally noticed was that Philip didn’t ask what he’d be doing, he didn’t complain about leaving the mountain high he was on, he didn’t voice his concern about going to the desert road. Verse 27 says, “So he got up and went” – like this was the most ordinary thing. I heard from the Lord, and I obey him. Completely unfettered by his own agenda or what he thought might be his personal restraints as to why he couldn’t go.

When Philip got there, the Spirit told Philip to go to a specific chariot that was parked along the road. I love verse 3—“Then Philip ran.” God speaks and gives direction – Philip runs to complete it. God leads: Philip runs to follow. He literally runs. I think he runs out of obedience, but I also think he runs in anticipation to see what God is going to do. Are you excited or are you anticipating what God is going to do next? Are you anticipating how God is going to use you next? If not, start running to it, the endorphins might help you ;>

God lead him to the place where he was supposed to be. Philip ran to it. God provided the opportunity – the eunuch was already reading the Scripture and had questions. Sometimes we are the sowers, and other times we are the reapers. Philip and the eunuch didn’t have much in common. The eunuch had a place of position and authority. The eunuch had prestige and money. Philip was a refuge. The eunuch was dark skinned. Philip – not so much. Yet, God brought both men together and provided the means for which they could communicate and find unity. It’s a God-thang.

So, Philip travels with the eunuch a ways until they found some water. HANG ON! THIS IS WHERE THE TELEPORTING HAPPENS! The eunuch wants to be baptized, so Philip baptizes the eunuch. When the eunuch comes up out of the water verse 39 says the “Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any longer.” Verse 40 says Philip then appeared in Azotus. TELEPORTING via the Spirit!

What a phenomenal story of faith and obedience of Philip! What an amazing story and testimony he had! God continued using Philip.

Where are you today in your walk with God? Are you a believer? Do you follow Him? Do you run when He leads you somewhere? Do you obey when God puts someone in your path? When something bad happens, do you look to see how God is going to turn it around? If you aren’t, then you are missing the ride of your life. You are missing out on a great adventure.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Transitional Thursdays -- Not a Fan of Vanilla

It’s been a while since I wrote about the transition. It seems as if the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing in corporate America. They had one team reviewing the facilities and whether or not we were going to need them, and yet another group revising how we would do our jobs and from where we would do them. That’s right – they didn’t know about each other. So, while it may look good temporarily that my position is supposed to remain in the field, but if you go by the other study, I don’t have an office to pee in (hahaha).

Transitions happen in every area of our lives. Right now, Patrick is working in Arkansas. He’s been up there since the beginning of May, and we aren’t sure when he’ll be home to stay. When he’s home, it is oh so nice and comforting. When he’s not home, we are good, but we miss him.

Then I think about the calling God has put on my life…women’s ministry full time. There are times that I’m very thankful that I don’t work in the church. It would be like another career or job in a boy’s club but different. That probably makes no sense, but when I started in SIU, there weren’t many women in the field. It’s just a different feel than what it is today because there are more women in my field than before. Women have a natural instinct for it. But church work…I just don’t know. At least by doing women’s ministry on the side, I don’t feel like I have to break through the glass ceiling in the evangelical church. By not being on staff in the church, I can focus solely on ministering to the women God has called me to lead and minister to. And fortunately, I'm blessed to do this in a church that I love. As for full time status, I’m used to working in a diverse corporate culture which isn’t found in the evangelical church unfortunately. Who knows? Maybe one day that will change. Only God knows for sure.

For now, I am thankful for the opportunities God has provided me to encourage, to pray for, to minister to, and to love on the women of Calvary. Women who are going through divorce, grief, difficult marriages, child rearing – I love ministering to them. I love introducing them to other godly women who can encourage them in their walk and give them godly counsel. I love encouraging our women to have church outside the walls of Calvary. Our women are plugging into different ministries around town loving on the people God created…a diverse people. I’m so thankful that God didn’t just create vanilla. How boring that would be, even though that is my son’s favorite flavor. (Personally, I’m a Rocky Road or Happy Trails kind of ice cream person.) I’m thankful that in His great wisdom He gave all the spiritual gifts to all who believe…women and men, white, Hispanic, Asian, African-American, etc. He didn’t give some of the gifts to one part of the population and another gift to another. We are to exercise the gifts God gave us.

Won't it be great when we all get to heaven and there is no religion to separate us? Won't it be great when we all get to heaven and worship Him together -- male and female, all races and all believers?

So, I’m not anxious about the calling God has put on my heart. He is bigger. He is in control. I am just responsible for being obedient. He's responsible for everything else.

I will not be anxious about whether or not I will or will not have a job come the end of the year because humans in corporate don’t know what the left hand is doing. He is bigger. He is in control.

I will eagerly await the day that my husband feels like we are where we need to be fiscally in order to return to working in Shreveport daily instead of out of town. I know God has this under control too.

Sooo, Transitional Thursdays will probably not be an ongoing event on my blog, but every now and then I may have to reaffirm my faith that God is in control, and I’ll blog then on this subject. Thanks for being patient as I work through these things. It’s all in the journey He has set before me, and while I may feel like I’m going at it blind, I know He knows the way, and He will not forsake me (Is 42:16).

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wonders: What Will You Do?

Do you know who James Zwerg is? I remember watching an interview with James Zwerg, and I couldn’t help but watch the whole piece. Zwerg was from Wisconsin but was going to a college in Tennessee in the early 60s. His roommate was an African American young man who invited him to ride a bus. Some of you know them as the “Freedom Riders.”

James was described as “humble and modest,” but he says he had a hot temper as a child. So as he went through the training on civil disobedience, he wasn’t sure he would be able to maintain the calmness necessary for the job.

His family did not understand his desire to participate and cut off ties with him for a while. Before Mr. Zwerg stepped a foot on the bus, he wrote his family a letter stating he would most likely be dead when they read it, and yet he rode the bus anyway. After some setbacks the bus ride made it to Alabama. There was a mob waiting. Men and women used whatever they could find to beat the riders.

“Branch writes: ‘One of the men grabbed Zwerg's suitcase and smashed him in the face with it. Others slugged him to the ground, and when he was dazed beyond resistance, one man pinned Zwerg's head between his knees so that the others could take turns hitting him’.”

“Zwerg, whose religious faith had been considerably strengthened by earlier Civil Rights efforts, recalls that his beating was preceded by "an incredible religious experience." Upon asking God for the strength not to fight back, Zwerg describes feeling "a peace that I've never experienced again in my life.”

Later Zwerg would meet Rev Martin Luther King and become a pastor for 10 years. In his TV interview he said he had searched for that type of bond that he had with the other riders and that type of peace since the riot and had never found it. He became a pastor thinking he could find that bond again, but after 10 years of dealing with the people of the church, he realized it was not to be.

“A peace that I’ve never experienced again in my life.” This was the phrase that popped into my mind when I read about Stephen in Acts 7.

Stephen was described as one with a good reputation, full of the Spirit, wisdom and faith. He was a servant who was full of grace and power who performed great wonders and signs. He was an over-comer, and when it mattered the most, when his faith was tested, he chose to teach. He taught the Sanhedrin, the scribes and Pharisees about how they have persecuted and rejected everyone God had sent them starting with Moses. He pointed out that God’s presence isn’t contained in the Tabernacle carried to and fro or in the temple, but that God Almighty sits on His throne. Jesus Christ whom they had just put to death was now with God. Stephen pointed out that the laws were given by angels, and yet, they still did not obey God.

When you point out the sins of a nation, the sins of the church, the sins of a group of people – they will not like it. They rose up to stone Stephen. Acts 7:55-56, “But Stephen, FULL of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”And while they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep” (vs 59-60).

Stephen didn’t fight back. He didn’t resist. He prayed, and then he went to meet his sweet Savior.

James and Stephen both experienced the peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7) in the face of abuse and death. One who still searches for that kind of peace today, and one who lives forevermore with the Prince of Peace.

My question for you today is this. By outliving your life, you will come against opposition. How will you handle it? It’s been over seven years ago that our pastor said that the desire God had put on his heart was to put a banner over the city of Shreveport. Do you know why it has taken us as a church so long to get to the place where we can reach out and start spreading that banner? Opposition. Opposition within our church, and now some opposition within our community. Pastor Rick has stayed the course. Will you? When it gets hard will you stay and stand in the gap? When you are tired, but there is a block party to assist, will you come? Satan will do whatever he can to keep you from where you need to be serving. Just like the Sanhedrin, scribes and Pharisees there will be people who say, “You can’t do that,” or “That’s not going to do any good.” What will you say? What will you do?

When I took a trip to Italy several years ago, I stood in the colleseum in Rome where many Christians were martyred for their faith, and I had to wonder, "Am I that strong? Are my convictions and my faith that strong that I am willing to die for them?" Many have answered with their lives, and many have fallen short. Where do you stand?

(You can read more on the interview with James Zwerg at

Friday, July 1, 2011

Driving While My Car Shade Was in the Front Window -- Yep, of course, I can't explain

Today, I did something that I have never done before, and I have to preface it by telling you I had just finished swimsuit shopping (a traumatic event in and of itself) and having lunch with my mom where we talked about my passion – Women’s Ministry. My mind was coursing in a million and one different directions because I hadn’t taken my Strattera in a couple of days, so I can have multiple thought processes going at one time, and I can talk REALLY, REALLY, REALLY fast.

I pulled up to the light nearest my office, and as I pressed the brake and came to a stop, I reached over, grabbed the silver reflector that I put on my front dash to keep the heat out, and I began putting it in the window…my front window. Did I mention that I was stopped at a red light? After I completed the task, I looked around and saw the vehicle next to me and the driver within it. I immediately snapped back into reality realizing those around me could see me sitting at the red light with my car shade up and functioning. I immediately started doing the nervous laugh that went to flat out gales of laughter with tears rolling down my face, as I prayed to God that no one had seen me or would see me as I was taking it down. Of course, I have to call and tell my momma. I can’t keep my stupid acts to myself. I figure if I’m laughing, others might need something or someone at which to laugh. In my family, you have to learn to laugh at yourself, or they will laugh without you.

Have you noticed that sometimes we do things by rote or habit? It’s just a natural flow of events. I stopped, therefore I put up the blinder. I’m brushing my teeth, so I try to put on my deodorant but on top of my shirt – not that this has happened to me, mind you. You know, blinders aren’t bad. They keep the sun out of your vehicle. They lower the temperature degree of the interior of your vehicle. It protects your dash from being damaged by the sun. Blinders have their functional place, but it’s the timing of its use that is critical. It's the small details. Putting a blinder in the window while you are driving ain’t the right time on any day.

Doing things by rote isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. They are easily scheduled. They are predictable. We can do them mindlessly and with little effort.

And while doing things by rote and the practice of utilizing an everyday objects to make life more pleasant and palatable isn’t harmful, I do believe our relationship with Jesus Christ should be anything but rote or habitual. If we look forward to women’s ministry events because it is what we’ve always done, then it’s by rote. It’s predictable, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Personally, I like to be surprised by new events and experiences. I think they enrich my life. But when we start putting God in the “by rote” department, then we come to a problem. You see, we need to expect the unexpected with God. Too often, Christians put God in a box of what He can and cannot do. My mom has a quote on her desk. It reads, “Whatever your faith says God is, He will be.” He is more than capable to do anything, but it’s our own limitations, our own lack of creativity, our own self-restricted level of faith that puts the cap on what He does in our lives. Did you get that? You might need to read it again. I had to. We need to be asking our heavenly Father for those “surprise blessings.” Every good and perfect gift comes from Him according to James.

If we start using our Bible (an everyday object in the life of a Christian) for one purpose only like for convicting other Christians, then we are missing its full power and effectiveness. When we use the Bible only for our own enrichment, then we are leaving out the evangelistic part of the Bible.

When we are willing to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, when we are willing to do things outside of our comfort zone, and when we are able to see what God wants us to see, it’s amazing how clear our vision can be. He can remove the blinders – those things that keep us from moving forward – and restore our vision so we can move down the path He has chosen for us exposing us to the majesty and the infinite possibilities only He can fulfill.

So, I encourage you to take your blinders off as you go along your Christian way. Ask God to reveal His majesty to you in new and real ways and prepare yourself for who God reveals himself to be. I promise it will be an amazing ride!