You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. Psalm 91:13

Posts tagged “Bible

Finals, All-Nighters and the Thirst for Satisfaction

College student! Stop for a second! Don’t avoid this because you are busy and I write too much. Take a break for a moment and be filled up on some truth that’s relevant to you!

It’s finals week here at the University of Central Arkansas. It’s been a busy week for me, but not overbearingly so. However, if you spend more than 5 minutes on social media this week you’ll see a lot of overwhelmed, burned out students. It’s understandable and even expected by the time spring finals roll out. Through all this I’ve come to see a deeper layer beneath it all. This post is for the college student or really any student.  Nonetheless,  it can be truthfully applied to much more with a little work.

The all-nighter study sessions. The massive caffeine infusions.  The tedious, methodical, bleary eyed, grind of reviewing the Power points, rewriting your notes, making the flash cards, memorizing the textbook(s), writing the novel sized research paper(s). They can be worth it. They are worth it for me because of Christ. That’s the key to all of it.

Would you laugh if I said that we are incredibly blessed to be able to have such burdens as those? And that though its okay to be tired and a bit pressed, there is a reason to be thankful for these kind of nights?

Look at the world. Very little of the world has opportunities to pursue dreams, callings and visions like we do. Yet you do. Maybe you don’t know what it is yet. Maybe you are certain of it. College is rare opportunity that VERY few get to experience. The purpose for college has been hijacked a bit by society, however the original purpose and values remain. You are in college and part of that means you are chasing after something bigger than most will ever get to. You have something worth pursuing intensely enough to stay up for and put in the countless hours. This is a unique opportunity in time and I promise you, it won’t last forever and when it’s gone, friends, it’s gone. Use what you’ve been given wisely.

One day all striving and chances to do such things will cease. 

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” – Ecclesiastes 9:10

“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah” – Psalm 39:4-5

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” – James 4:14

The time will come to reflect on your life and all that you did and failed to do. You as a believer will be judged as well. This isn’t the same judgment that leads to eternal life or damnation.  Nor will salvation be determined by your work at all so don’t misinterpret that. Salvation is through Christ’s redeeming work alone and not at all by any merit of your own.  The measure of your reward will be determined by this judgment based on the stewardship and obedience  to Christ (For a better in-depth explanation: Read this.)

See here’s the neat thing about work for us in Christ:

“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. ” – Psalm 128:1-2

This is an amazing promise to those that Christ calls his children. It means you’ll have work. Maybe not what you hoped for or expected but you will have work, that’s why you aren’t dead yet, your job isn’t finished. Have you ever spent a week doing nothing at all? Just sat around and watched the clock tick? It’s miserable. It can lead to a mental and spiritual depression because you were made to work and labor. God called it “good” before the fall. God himself works… Let me rephrase that. The Maker of all that is good, worthwhile and holy, the One who knows all, finds work worth doing. 

Secondly, it’s a promise to us that we will enjoy the fruits of our labor. Will that mean it will be easy? Not necessarily or even likely. Does this mean I’ll be healthy, wealthy or happy? Again, not necessarily and for many not likely. Then what? It means that all honest work  pursed for the Lord will matter in some way. Work will have an eternal significance. God will satisfy the intrinsic desire we have to labor well and cultivate in a meaningful fashion.

This does one of two things. It either makes us relieved and thankful, for we do not labor in vain or it convicts us for avoiding our responsibility to labor and to do so well.

Which leads me to this warning about your motivations to work and shirk your responsibility to work:

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” – Proverbs 127:1

“Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.” – Proverbs 12:11

“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10

So now would be a good time to stop for a second and ask yourself some tough questions. Ask yourself what your motivation is. For example, if you want to be in a medical field just to for money or recognition, those are both unworthy motives and ultimately they will not satisfy you. If it is to help others, though it is a good thing, that motivation alone will not satisfy you either. The motivation behind all goals and efforts must be Christ for there to be any true satisfaction and lasting achievement. He must be your ultimate purpose. Which means all goals must be in line with his Word.

There is a blessing, peace, joy and discipline that comes from understanding this and taking it to heart.

For me personally, I want to be able to look back when my time is done and say for all the pursuits in my life, “Yeah, I lost sleep some nights. Yeah, I pushed myself to mental, physical and even spiritual exhaustion some times. Yeah, I had moments of questioning if its worth it and fought fiercely against apathy. I was once a worthless wretch with no aspirations. Jesus paid it all, freed my soul and renewed my heart, my motivations and my pursuits. And through all these things, He was my rest, He filled me with himself when I was weak, he became the ultimate goal behind all my other goals. I ran with a joyful abandonment and focus towards the finish line, but only to cross it so I could reach Jesus waiting on the others side.  And now I’m here, at labors end, satisfied  not by my work but by Jesus’s. He made all my efforts “good” and worthwhile., and used them to shape me into His image. I truly started at the bottom and now I’m here. Thank you dearly, my Father.”

Relish the earned exhaustion that comes from your efforts; give thanks for them, be intentional with seeing the eternal significance behind them and keep your head high and your heart full.


For those who are unsure of their direction at the end of this semester:

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” – Proverb 16:3

For those of you up all night  this week:

“Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.” – Proverbs 20:13

For those in need of mental and spiritual rest: 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

For those who are anxious and worried:

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:5-7

And I’m here for any and all of you, stranger or friend, not just this week but every week. If you need encouragement, prayer, advice, or just someone to talk to just let me know.

Much Love,


“God has created each of us with a thirst that only He can quench.  French philosopher Pascal called it a God-shaped vacuum in our hearts that only He can fill.  Or as Augustine put it, “Our souls are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”  Man is perpetually seeking.  To whatever degree we don’t know the unseen and eternal realm; we seek answers in the seen and temporal.  We look for eternal answers among temporal things.  But we discover that they cannot provide them.”

“The soul of man bears the image of God; so nothing can satisfy it but He whose image it bears.”


What Is the Central Unifying Message of the Bible?

I want to introduce a friend of mine that I’ve mentioned in my blog before, Demian Farnworth. He has been kind enough to write a guest post. I know you all will enjoy it, and I’ll be writing about my mission trip in Oklahoma City real soon. Stay tuned.
**Guest blog by Demian Farnworth from Fallen and Flawed.**

The Bible. It can be one of the most difficult texts you’ve ever read. But you know what? It doesn’t have to be.

You can learn the the basic point behind the complex message of the Bible… without reading the whole thing.

In fact, I can tell you what it is in three simple words. But you have to promise me something. You have to promise me you’ll dig deeper beyond this simple cheat sheet.

You have to promise me that you’ll sink some intellectual and emotional capital into reading the Bible.


Now, a host of suggestions have been made as to what is the central unifying concept that runs through Scripture. Let’s look at several attempts.

Sellin, a German scholar, said the central theme of Scripture is the idea of holiness. There is no doubt that holiness is indeed an important concept. But that’s not it.
Some scholars suggest the central theme is the word “LORD,” the Hebrew word Yahweh—the LORD, the covenant God. While a central theme, were not quite there.
God elects Abel and Seth over against Cain. He chooses Shem over against the other brothers, Abram out of the many, then Judah, and so on. The principal of election runs right through all of the Scriptures. But it’s not the central theme.
From the kingdom of Israel to the kingdom of God, kingdom is a reoccurring concept. But it’s not the central unifying concept. There’s more.
God and Community
Others say that what ties Scripture together is that God rules over his community. True, but there’s something even more central.
Still others argue that the Bible is simply a collection of different confessions about who God is. In other words, there is really no unity in God’s revelation. This is wrong.

Covenant German Old Testament scholar, Walter Eichrodt, says the theme is covenant. Close, but no cigar.

No Unifying Theme
And German Lutheran pastor and Old Testament scholar Gerhard von Rad says that there is simply no unifying theme. Again, an incorrect position.

So, what is the single unifying concept of the Bible. The deal is it’s not just one concept–it’s three.

See, the unifying themes of the Bible are covenant, kingdom and mediator. Throughout the Scriptures God makes a covenant with his people to create a kingdom where he will serve as mediator.

Why is this important to know? If you keep this fact in mind as you go through Scripture, you will understand more readily and easily what God is saying and doing in each text you read.

You’ll immediately spot the covenant. Then the kingdom will emerge. And, of course, you’ll see the mediator. Not necessarily in that order. But all three are almost always there.

In addition, as you preach and teach, it’s helpful to keep these central concepts in mind and ask yourself, “How does my passage particularly relate to these three themes?”

This will naturally cause Scripture to come to life. Words will pop off the paper. Pages will zing by. And the stories will carry you up, up and away.

Now, go give it a try like you promised.

The Triune God

The Trinity. I’ve been putting off this topic for quite a long time. You see, I love theology. I find it fascinating. I spend nearly my entire school day, reading up on such things. I however deal with a few issues. For one, I feel anything that I could say, for the most part can be found other places, better said. Secondly, I usually don’t get the full gist of it all. Finally, I have an even harder time trying to explain it then I do trying to learn it. I would consider myself fairly intellectual, but my realm of intelligence is emotional and inter-personal. Laws, processes, and definitions are tough for me. My theology is a very emotional theology. Not one that is swayed with my mood. Nor one similar to a impassioned church service invitation. Those are emotions from my head. I’m talking about the emotions of the heart. A God-centered heart specifically. So rather than giving you a textbook answer on the theology of the Trinity. I’d much rather give you my layman’s theology, and if you hunger for deeper understanding, I’ll point you in the right direction. Fair enough?


The Light Shall Not Be Overcome (Spiritual Warfare Pt. 3)

That would be a reference to John 1:5 if you are wondering. I want to start right in on this. We’ve learned who we are fighting, and how to be equipped for the fight, it’s time to get down into it.

How on earth (literally) do we fight against such things as ourselves? I mean after all, at first glance it seems pretty counter productive. What about the world? Being hostile to the world also seems to give the wrong image. Finally, how do we fight against Satan, when we’ve never seen him physically? It seems like we have a lot to deal with. Thankfully, Christ is on our side.


The Holy Outfit (Spiritual Warfare Pt. 2)

Okay maybe the armor of God, sounds better, can’t blame a guy for trying though! It’s pretty clear what this post is going to cover. Originally this was a two part series, but now I’ve decided to flesh it out into three. Just to much to cover to not make it that way. Let’s jump in though, alright?

Gearing up for battle needs to be the first priority. Scripture tells us that we are to put on the full armor of God, directly for confronting Satan. The armor of God consists of the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, all gifts given through salvation in The Son.


Knowing the Enemy (Spiritual Warfare, Pt. 1)

This is a topic I feel that is the most important to begin on considering this is the premise of the whole direction of the blog. I feel that if we started anywhere else on any other topic or idea, we would be getting ahead of ourselves. I’m making it into two posts though because there is a lot to talk about and it breaks it up a bit. So let us have a little talk about spiritual warfare shall we?

Before I begin into this, I want to make one fact perfectly clear: The war is already won. Christ gave that final blow on the cross two thousand years ago.


The Heart of Worship

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I know I personally had a great one. I found out some really crazy, amazing news. I am going to be a brother again! As I’ve mentioned before, my Dad remarried in May, and I went from being an only child to having a 14 year old step-brother, 17 year old step-sister, and a 20 something step-brother (Sometimes I don’t add him to the count because I’ve seen him once at the wedding and once at Christmas). Friday I found out that I’m going to have a new sibling. I’m extremely excited. This sibling will share the same blood that runs through me, which to a guy who’s been an only child, that’s a mind-blowing concept. I don’t know the gender yet and while I’m hoping for a little bro (as is the rest of my family), I’ll be extremely thankful either way. The crazy thing is I’ll be 37 when this kid turns 18. His or her’s birthday will be sometime in August. All I gotta say to that is go God! =D He is good.

However, down to business! I want to give you an idea of how I came about this post and how I’ve come about a few others, because it’s one of the most enjoyable times in my week. I work in a certain ministry called MOTION. Which is where the students use dancing, singing, instrumentals, Step, and a few other things to witness to others and share the Gospel. I myself however am highly uncoordinated and instead found my use in the tech crew, helping set up and tear down for the band and running the sound board for them. The best part of this is, while they are practicing, I have free time just sitting behind the board. Across the hall people are dancing, a few rooms down people are singing, and here I have this band working hard trying to perfect the music to glorify Christ. Everyone is doing their thing, but all with a common goal in mind. Glorify Christ, Bring others to Him. It’s great. So while I’m sitting their in this amazing atmosphere, I like to spend time there either reading or memorizing Scripture, or letting God speak to me about this blog. Now Sunday, I was doing all 3 and I came to a verse. Jonah 2:8. It caught my eye and since then I haven’t been able to leave it alone.

“Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope for steadfast love”