The Answers to Life’s Greatest Questions

Where do you go to find the answers to the greatest questions of life? Unfortunately, many go looking for answers in the wrong places.

When it comes to the question of our origin, many listen to the atheist. This person says you came from nothing and will return to nothing.

When it comes to trying to find the purpose and meaning of life, many turn to philosophers. These men offer a wide range of answers, but ultimately none of them satisfy. They all vary from one philosopher to the next.

When it comes to trying to figure out where we are going after this life, many put their trust in the words of the atheists, agnostics, or even those who promote reincarnation. The atheist says there is nothing after this life. This life is all you have and afterwards you cease to exist. The agnostic is unsure and says there is no way to know for sure if there is more to come after this life. The people who believe in reincarnation insist that once you die you will come back to the earth in a different body.

People who look to find answers to life’s greatest questions in these places are wasting their time. None of these places can provide the truthful answers. The only source that can provide truthful answers is the Bible! The Bible is only book in the world to be produced by God Himself (2 Timothy 3:16).

  • The Bible tells us of our origin. It tells us that we didn’t just get here by chance. Instead we were made by the all-powerful Creator of the universe (Genesis 2:7). We were made more special and superior than anything else (Genesis 1:27). Since God made us, He has authority over us and we are accountable to Him.
  • The Bible tells us of our purpose. It tells us why God made and put us on this earth. We were not put here to do whatever we please. Instead, we were made to please and serve God (Ecclesiastes 12:13). We were made to bring God glory and be in fellowship with Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 10:31). We were made to love God and love others (Matthew 22:37-39). According to the Bible, our lives have true purpose and meaning!
  • The Bible tells us where we are going. It tells us of our destiny after this life. Unlike what the atheist says, this life is not all there is (John 11:25-26). Instead, there is much more to come! Since we were created in the image of God, we have an eternal soul. Where we go after this life depends on if we do God’s will. After this life, we will either live in eternity in the glories of heaven or the horrors of hell (Matthew 7:21-23; 25:31-46). We can have absolute confidence because Jesus was raised from the dead (1 Peter 1:3-5). In fact, it is this reality that should motivate us to serve God with all our hearts!

These are the answers that the Bible provides to the great questions of life. When we accept what the Bible says, we find deep satisfaction within and our entire perspective of life is impacted. Our lives are now given meaning and purpose. We now have motivation to keep doing good and press forward, even when life starts to get rough.

Will you believe and put your trust in God’s answers to life’s greatest questions?

– Shawn Jeffries

Are You Still Thinking about the Resurrection?

The national holiday of Easter is over, but are you still thinking about Jesus? Are you still thinking about His resurrection?

Unfortunately, for many “Christians” the only time they think about the risen Savior and attend worship service is on Easter Sunday. This idea is completely foreign to the New Testament! In the gospel we read about the early Christians coming together every first day of the week (Sunday) to worship God. Every Sunday they came together to remember the death of Jesus and by implication, His resurrection from the dead. They remembered these events by partaking of the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Acts 20:7).

But even beyond remembering the Lord’s resurrection on Sunday, God expects us to remember the resurrection of His Son all the time. The Apostle Paul emphasizes this in the verse below.

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel.”

–  Timothy 2:8

Paul says that the resurrection needs to constantly be on the forefront of our minds each and every day. Every day…

  • We need to remember that the resurrection is the most the significant event not just in religious history, but in human history! It impacted the entire world!
  • We need to remember how it fulfilled a promise made by Jesus. Jesus foretold that He would be killed by evil men and raised three days later (Mark 10:33-34).
  • We need to remember that through, it Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God, was verified (Romans 1:4). It verified that Jesus has the power to save us from our sins.
  • We need to remember how He was seen alive by hundreds of eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).
  • We need to remember how many of the eyewitnesses risked their lives testifying to others about what they saw (Acts 2:23-24, 32; 4:10).
  • We need to remember how it confirms that there is coming a Judgment Day and Jesus will be our judge (Acts 17:30-31).
  • We need to remember how it validates the preaching of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:14).
  • We need to remember how it validates our faith (1 Corinthians 15:17).
  • We need to remember how it gives hope to those who die in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:18).
  • We need to remember how it is the core of the gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Without the resurrection of Christ there is no legitimate reason for one to become a Christian!

As you can see, the importance of the resurrection cannot be overstated. Because of what it means and provides for us, it must be constantly in and on our minds.

Easter may be over. Sunday may still be a few days away. Be the significance of the resurrection still remains! Will you make sure to be ever mindful of it?

– Shawn Jeffries

 

When Heaven Rejoices

On Monday night they did it again! For the sixth time in their history the North Carolina Tar Heels won the NCAA National Championship. They beat Gonzaga 71-65 in the title game.

If you are a Tar Heels fan, then you probably didn’t sleep much last night. You probably spent much of the night celebrating and rejoicing over your team winning the big game. While there was nothing wrong with that, it is interesting to consider the things that excite us and cause us to rejoice and celebrate.

  • For many (like me) sports does this. When their favorite team wins the championship they jump; they shout; they scream; they high-five. They buy the championship t-shirt and hat. They watch the big game over and over again on their DVR. They brag and boast to their friends on Facebook.
  • Other people are excited about musical concerts. When they attend one they will applaud and celebrate over the sound of a person’s music.
  • And still others get very excited when they experience a personal achievement. Whether it is getting a promotion on their job. Or, hearing news about a pregnancy. Or, hearing someone accept an offer they made on a house.

In life we can find ourselves celebrating over a variety of different things. But what about God? What about those in heaven? What causes them to celebrate?

While this may sound like a weird question, it is one that Jesus addresses in the gospel. In Luke 15 Jesus talks about three instances when people celebrated.

  • In verses 3-7, He talks about the shepherd who has 100 sheep. When he loses one he searches diligently until he finds it. When it is found, he rejoices and urges his neighbors to do the same.
  • In verses 8-9, He talks about a woman who loses a coin that is very precious to her. She searches diligently and carefully until she finds it. When it is found, she calls her friends and neighbors together saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I lost!”
  • In verses 11-32, He talks about a father who loses his son. His son wanted his inheritance early so he could go out into the world and waste it on sinful living. When the boy comes to his senses and returns home the father rejoices and throws a huge celebration.

Why did Jesus tell these stories? The answer is found in verses 7 and 10. Jesus uses these stories (parables) to illustrate how God and His angels respond when one sinner repents. While the world celebrates sports, concerts, and personal achievements, those in heaven celebrate when a sinner comes to God. Those in heaven throw a party when a lost soul humbly decides to seek God’s forgiveness. That is what matters most to God!

What about you? Have you given heaven a reason to rejoice? If not, will you? If you currently live a life of sin (a life which is outside of the will of God) will you stop and come to God? If you will, like the lost boy’s father, your heavenly Father will also accept and welcome you. The angels will celebrate the reunion. They will take special notice of your decision and throw a party in heaven!

Will you give heaven the opportunity to rejoice over the most important matter in the world?

– Shawn Jeffries

Wrong Things People Say About the Devil

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

– 1 Peter 5:8

Do you believe in the devil? If so, what exactly do you believe about him? Unfortunately, for many people they are absolutely clueless when it comes to their greatest adversary, the devil. This can be seen by some of the false things they say about him.

Here are four wrong things people say about the devil:

  • “He is not real.” Many people believe that the devil is nothing more than a made up creature from the human mind. They view him as no different than a character found in Marvel comics or Lord of the Rings. Some even say that he is nothing more than a symbol of evil. And yet, the Bible teaches something different. According to the Bible the devil is just as real as God the Father and God the Son Jesus. He was there in the beginning tempting Eve (Genesis 3:1-5; Revelation 12:9). He tempted the Lord in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus preached about him over and over again (Matthew 13:39; 25:41; Luke 8:12; 22:31-32; John 8:44). You can’t reasonably believe in Jesus while refusing to believe in Satan. Jesus said the devil is real!
  • “He is Lucifer.” This is another common misunderstanding about the devil. The idea comes from Isaiah 14:12 (KJV). But a simple study of the context reveals the truth. In Isaiah 14:4, we learn that the “Lucifer” mentioned in verse 14 is actually the king of Babylon (probably a reference to King Nebuchadnezzar). The King of Babylon would be humbled and brought low by God. The devil is called by many names in the Bible (ex: Satan, the tempter, the evil one, the serpent of old), but “Lucifer” is NOT one of them! This misunderstanding has come from an abuse of Isaiah 14.
  • “He is equal to God.” While the devil may want you to believe this statement, it is wrong. The devil is nowhere close to being equal to God. He does not possess the qualities of deity. Unlike God, the devil is not all knowing (he did not know the outcome of the trials he put on God’s servant Job). Unlike God, the devil is not omnipresent. God is able to be everywhere all the time (Psalm 139:7-12). The devil is not! In fact, when Satan is resisted there is some sense in which he will flee from us (James 4:7). Unlike God, the devil is not all-powerful. God is sovereign and has unlimited power (Psalm 135:6). The devil is limited in what he can do. He could only do to Job what God allowed (Job 1:12). He had to ask permission to test Peter (Luke 22:31). God will not allow him to tempt us beyond what we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Unlike God, the devil is not from everlasting to everlasting. God has no beginning and no end (Psalm 90:2). At some point the devil was created and chose to rebel against God.
  • “The devil is not a real threat in my life today.” This is the main lie Satan wants you to believe. But the Bible says otherwise! Scriptures say that the devil is very interested in you. In fact, he is the greatest threat you have in your life! He wants to be your spiritual father (John 8:44). He is scheming against you (2 Corinthians 2:11). He wants to seek and devour you (1 Peter 5:8). He wants to hold your soul captive and deceive you into doing his will (2 Timothy 2:26).

Satan is indeed a strong enemy. He is more powerful than us (Ephesians 6:12). But, thankfully, he is not more powerful than God! When we are strong in the Lord, and dressed in His armor, we will defeat the devil every time (Ephesians 6:10-11)! The devil knows this already. Do you?

– Shawn Jeffries

 

God Is Everywhere

Only twelve people have been able to successfully travel to the moon. Only three people have been able to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot on the ocean floor. There have been more people on the moon than on the bottom of the ocean!

From this we see that there are limitations in what we are able to do and where we are able to go. For us to be able to travel to the moon and reach the bottom of the ocean takes huge effort and resources. But with God that is not the case! There are no limitations to where God is able to be. He is omni-present. He is able to be everywhere all the time. He is able to see and keep record of all we do!

Consider several verses that announce this truth:

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.”

 – Psalm 139:7-10

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”

– Proverbs 15:3

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”

– Hebrews 4:13

The omni-presence of God should impact us in two ways:

First, this reality should comfort us. The fact that God is able to be everywhere all the time means that there is never a moment when He is not with us (Matthew 28:20). There may be times when people leave us and forsake us, but God never will (2 Timothy 4:16-17).  Even though we can’t see God with the naked eye (because He is spirit according to John 4:24), He is there. Even though He dwells in heaven (John 14:2), His presence is always with us. He sees what we are doing; He hears our prayers; He is fully capable of helping us in our lives.

Second, this reality should also put some godly fear in our hearts. Since God is capable of being everywhere and is watching all we do, that means there is nothing we can hide from Him. He knows the words we speak, the things we are watching, and how we are treating others. God is aware of all we do and He will hold us accountable for our actions (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). This is something Joseph understood while living as a slave in Egypt (Genesis 39:9). Unfortunately, Ananias and Sapphira had to learn this the hard way (Acts 5:1-11).

The fact that God is able to be everywhere and see all is just another quality He possesses that makes Him so great! The challenge for us is to be mindful of this all the time. If we are constantly aware of the presence of God, we will be lifted up in our dark moments and ever mindful of how our actions impact our relationship with Him.

– Shawn Jeffries

Lessons from Ants

Chances are you have seen them – a lot! They are hard to miss. They are creatures that we battle with all the time. They have a powerful bite. They are capable of killing both people and animals.  They are tiny, but attack in great numbers. They are ants!

Ants are a very intriguing creation of God. On the surface they appear to be small and insignificant, and yet, the Bible says there are so many important lessons to be learned from them.

Consider the words from the wise man Solomon:

“Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.” – Proverbs 6:6-8

According to Solomon there are at least three life lessons we can learn from ants.

  • There is a lesson about preparation. Notice how Solomon tells us to observe the ant. He says the ant prepares for the future. He prepares his food in the summer so he won’t become a victim in the winter! He is smart enough to understand that today is not all there is. There is more to come. In due time the winter will be here and if he doesn’t have food stored he will starve.

Are we as wise as ants? Are we storing up and preparing for the future (Matthew 6:19-21)? The Bible says there are two inevitable events we are going to have to deal with in the future: death and judgment from God (Hebrews 9:27). Unfortunately, for so many they live each day as if this life is all there is. They fail to understand that our lives are just “a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). We are here but a short time on this earth. Eventually we will die, stand before God in the judgment, and then dwell for eternity in either heaven or hell (2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 25:46). The decisions we make now (each day) will determine our eternal destinies after this life! It would be wise for us to consider this constantly and make sure that we have surrendered completely to the Lord Jesus (Mark 16:16; John 12:28; 14:6). Those who do are wise like the ants. Those who don’t will suffer once the inevitable occurs.

  • There is a lesson about team work. The text in Proverbs 6 speaks of how the ants have no chief, officer, or ruler. And yet, every ant in the group has a function; they have something important they must do! Ants don’t work against each other. Instead, they work together. They cooperate with one another in an effort to accomplish a common goal. Some tend to eggs; others make sure that the queen is fed and taken care of; some search for and store food for the entire nest; others build the nest; some are soldiers and protect the nest.

In a group of ants every one has a job to do. Likewise, it is the same way in the church of God! In the church, or family of God, there is something important for everyone to do. Every member has a function in the body (1 Corinthians 12:12-20). Every one has a talent and ability for service (1 Peter 4:10-11). Every one has a purpose and responsibility to achieve so that the rest of the group can be successful (Ephesians 4:11-12). The question is: are we (if we are Christians) fulfilling our role? Are we using our talents to benefit others and build up the body of Christ?

  • There is a lesson about persistence. Have you ever destroyed an ant mound, only to find it rebuilt in just a few days? While that can be very frustrating, there is a lesson to be learned. The lessons is: ants don’t give up! You can knock down and destroy their hard work, but they will come together and build it again. No matter what, they will never quit until they are dead!

God wants His people to possess the same attitude. No matter what challenges we face in this life (no matter what things may discourage us and knock us down), we must never quit on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). Instead, we must collect ourselves, remember the blessings we have in Christ, and press forward to the prize of heaven that awaits us in the end (Philippians 3:13-14). Ants never give up! Christians shouldn’t either!

Ants may irritate us from time to time, but there is a lot we can learn from ants. The question is: are we at least as smart as them? I pray and hope that we are.

– Shawn Jeffries

Sunday’s Are Always Super

Yesterday marked one of the most important days of the year for many people in this country. At 5:30 central time the New England Patriots faced off with the Atlanta Falcons for the biggest prize (the Lombardi trophy) in the biggest game (the Super Bowl). The NFL’s Super Bowl is a HUGE deal in the minds of many. It is the largest single day sporting event in the world (over 1 billion people will view this game on television worldwide). Of the top 10 most watched American television programs of all time nine of them are Super Bowls. Commercials sell for about $5 million per 30 seconds!

While Sunday is deemed “super” for many people, for Christians every Sunday is super. Every Sunday is extremely significant for Christians, not because of some sporting event, but because of the key events that happened on this day 2,000 years ago.

  • It was on a Sunday (the first day of the week) when our Lord Jesus was raised from the dead and appeared to many of His disciples (John 20:1-18). The resurrection lies at the very foundation of the Christian faith. If Jesus was not raised that Sunday morning He was nothing more than a liar and deceiver (Matthew 16:21; John 2:19-22). If Jesus was not raised than that means that God the Father was not pleased with His sacrifice and we are still lost in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:13-19). But thank God that the tomb was found empty on Sunday morning! Praise the Lord that on the first day of the week Jesus was found to be victorious over Satan and death! As someone once said, “When Jesus rose from the dead He transformed your tomb from a permanent residence to temporary housing.”
  • Sunday was also the day when the Lord’s church was established. Jesus promised to build a church (a universal body of saved people) in Matthew 16:18. In Acts 2:1 we learn that it was on Pentecost when this promise was fulfilled. Pentecost was a Jewish feast day under the Law of Moses. It took place 50 days after the Jews partook of the Passover. It also always took place on the first day of the week (Sunday). That means it was on a Sunday when the Lord began “adding to the church day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
  • Since the resurrection and establishment of the church took place on Sunday, it would only make sense to find Sunday being significant to Christians in the Bible. It would only make sense that we find saints coming together on Sunday to partake of the Lord’s Supper and give generously to God (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). It would only make sense that Sunday is a day of worship where God’s people gather to hear preaching, pray, and sing praises to God.

Let us be mindful of these things as we anticipate each Sunday. Let us always remember that Sunday is the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10). It is a day when disciples gather to worship God and encourage each other (Hebrews 10:23-25). It is a day when saints are reminded of many important things pertaining to their faith.

There is nothing wrong with watching the Super Bowl. But let us not get so absorbed in the hype surrounding the biggest game of the year that we forget what really makes Sunday super.

– Shawn Jeffries