I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom 12:1-2

Monday, December 20, 2010


My pastor at Destiny Church Mike Goolsbay said something on Sunday that had me writing as fast as I could. I hope I wrote it down correctly. He said, "You can stay where you are until God changes you, but it is inexcusable to keep yourself out of the presence of God." I was amazed and loved the quote, but immediately wondered if it was scriptural. A few minutes later Pastor Mike read us Isaiah 64:6-8.

6 All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
7 No one calls on your name
or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and have given us over to our sins.

8 Yet you, LORD, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

Also see Is. 29:16, Is. 45:9, Jer. 18:1-6, and Rom. 9:19-21.

I haven't thoroughly studied this, but what a revelation it is in this era of self-help resources! I don't have to change myself, but I do need to submit to God changing me. Imagine the clay trying to mold itself. He is the potter. I just need be on the pottery wheel and submit to His molding.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Influence and Appreciation

This morning I realized one reason (not the only reason, but a very significant one) that God led me to be a math education major in college. Lately, with my new thoughts on education, I have really questioned the path I took through high school and college; but I remember clearly that the Holy Spirit led me to major in math education when I was just a junior in high school. Today I have a level of understanding I didn't previously have, thanks to this revelation (which came during praise and worship at church, as insights often do for me.) It still doesn't answer all of my questions, but I am happy to have this piece of the puzzle and wanted to share it.

I realized that God led me to be a math education major so that I could be discipled by a certain mathematics professor, Dr. Rakestraw, a true hero of the faith. From the first semester of my freshman year through my senior year, I was privileged to learn from this great man. I believe there was only one or two semesters of college when I didn't take one of his classes (very unusual, even in a small department like mathematics.) Dr. Rakestraw was a tremendous teacher. He held down a consulting job with a major oil company "to support his teaching habit." He was the real deal: a true mathematician, published original mathematics and all; AND he could explain calculus and linear algebra so that everyone in the class could understand (a truly rare combination.) But the real influence on my life was his walk with the Lord. Every semester he started the first class with "Axiom 1," as he called Col. 3:17, "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." He would tell us that he believed in tithing, and not just money. He believed in tithing time, so in our 50 minute classes, we would give the first 5 minutes each day to God. In those 5 minutes a day (or 10 if he really got going) for the 6+ semesters I sat under him, I received about 24 hours of solid Bible teaching and character training. He would usually open his Bible and share something he had personally been reading or something that the Lord had shown him. Occasionally he would have a book recommendation or a story or some advice for us to follow, but mostly it was simply the Word and his thoughts on it. Those 24 hours have stood me in much better stead than the 240 or so hours of mathematics he taught me (although those were good, too, just not eternal.) In addition, Dr. Rakestraws life exemplified godliness. He was a man of integrity and was always soft-spoken, loving, and kind, even to his most obtuse students. He also demonstrated his belief that God had a plan for each of us.

As a result of his example for most of the six years I taught high school and junior high mathematics, I began each class in a similar manner (at least most classes, unfortunately I was less consistent than Dr. Rakestraw.) I pray that some of my words impacted my students the way Dr. Rakestraw's did me, but I KNOW that I got much benefit out of teaching a small Bible lesson 5 times a day to my classes (that was over 300 hours of teaching the Bible, even allowing for a lot of skipping!) It is true that the teacher learns the most, and God's Word does not return void.

Isaiah 55:11
"so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Dr. Rakestraw passed into the next life ten years ago and the world is a poorer place without him. I am eternally grateful for his influence and look forward to thanking him in person some day, but today I am going to write a Christmas card to his widow (thank goodness for the internet, I just hope the address is correct) telling her what I wish I would have told him when he was alive.

Thank you, Dr. Rakestraw, for your obedience to daily teach your students from the living Word of God; and thank You Lord for leading me to a university and a major that put me in the position to learn from such a man.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

So much going on inside

Honestly I cannot even describe it. God is working in several areas of my life. I am feeling such a draw towards small groups/Bible study/discipleship. I also must let go of my clutter and some things that aren't clutter, but have become idols to me (I only discovered that they were idols after God spoke to me about getting rid of them.) I am in the process of following the Lord in something He told me to do in regards to orphans, but I am sensing a shift and am a bit scared by it. I have many excuses that roll around in my head part of the time, but the most of the time there is a sense of excitement all over me.

Just yesterday a blogger I follow posted this: http://aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/2010/12/nets.html

And this morning I read in Hebrews 10 again (have been "stuck" there for some time.)

Heb. 10:23-25
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

"The day" is definitely drawing near. In this verse I see small group and individual discipleship and encouragement.

Heb. 10:32-34
But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly, by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one.
We do not value persecution like they once did. Accepting it joyfully. Not happy about the persecution, but thankful that we are counted worthy to suffer for the Lord's sake, and willing to take that stand. Not just fighting the persecution with politics. We have a better possession and an ABIDING ONE!

Heb. 10:37-38
For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.
May I not shrink back! I was put here for His glory, and I want to give pleasure to Him. He will give me the grace I need to follow Him all the way if I provide a willing heart. By His grace, I will put actions to my words.

One more thing: I realized that all of this is going on INSIDE me, yet most people who know me would never know it. I hope to change that. To let my light shine. It scares me to think that people may know what a freak, what a radical, I am; but I am ready to drop my nets and follow Him.