WHAT GOD WANTS FOR YOU!

Jesus And The Children, by Ruth Elliott, 2003

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Please forgive me for being late with this week’s Blog. We intend to post it every other Wednesday. Janis and I recently returned from a ten day trip to Hawaii that was very good. As a result we had to do some catching up when we came back!

All of us who have children, have hopes and desires for them. We would like to be a good example to our children, we would like for them to grow in knowledge and understanding. As they grow, we hope that they will choose a good path for their lives; that they will choose goodness over evil. Faith in Christ, plus high regard for the teachings in the Bible gives great support for the future that we hope for.

We receive good guidance from the teachings that we find in the letter of Paul to the Colossians. He writes this letter while in prison in Rome. Whatever situation we find him in—he is engaged in serving his Savior, Jesus Christ. Twelve of the twenty-seven New Testament books were written by Paul He was a great traveler for Jesus Christ, by road or by ship. He covered much of the Roman Empire. He wrote to the Romans that he aspired to go to Spain (Romans 15:24), but we are not assured that he reached Spain. There is no evidence that he went to the British isles. His allegiance for his Savior must be a great example and encouragement to each of us.

The letter is addressed to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ in Colossae. They have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ through Paul’s associate, Epaphras. Through his ministry, a strong church was established. It was Paul who came to Asia and established himself in Ephesus. Out of Ephesus many churches were planted; Colossae was one of those churches.

All who believe in Jesus are the children of God. The teachings that Paul brought to Colossae are God’s instructions to his children: “We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9,10)

This emphasizes that our intentions are to seek and understand and do the will of God. It clearly implies that we are to be students of the Bible, engaged in the Christ’s Church looking for the fulfillment of God’s will.

“He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” (Colossians 1:13)

“And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard,” (Colossians 1:21-23)

In this remarkable scripture, we find the Heavenly Father’s desire for parent and children.

Foster H. Shannon
More about Foster…
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
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GOD ANSWERS PRAYER

On the road to Damascus: Saul on the road to becoming Paul.

On the road to Damascus: Saul, on the road to becoming Paul.

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

One of the most impressive people in the New Testament is the Apostle Paul. We encounter him as a fiery Jew willing to attack anyone who diverted from the faith of the Hebrew religion in that day. Of course, we know that the doctrine of that religion included the promise of a Messiah who would save his people and the world. Jesus was the fulfillment of those Messianic promises which are embedded in the Old Testament. Paul (Saul of Tarsus) did not recognize Jesus and Christianity as being that fulfillment. He became a persecutor of Christianity, holding the clothes of those who stoned the Deacon Stephen, because of his Christian faith and witness for Christ. Paul went from Jerusalem to Damascus to destroy the Christian community there. On the outskirts of Damascus he was confronted by a vision of Jesus:  “as he was going along and approaching Damascus suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice from heaven saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you Lord?”

The reply came, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city and you will be told what you are to do.” (Acts 9:3-6)

From that he became one of the greatest Christians who have ever lived, giving his life fully in the service of the Christ; he never married.

Along with many other faithful people, Paul proclaimed Christ, and was a key in establishing the Church in the Roman world. He was inspired by God to give us thirteen of the books in the New Testament. He was a man of prayer and prayed for the healing of many people. Yet he encountered a time when his prayer was answered with a No! We read about this in II Corinthians, chapter 12. Speaking in the second person he tells us that he was caught up to heaven:

“And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person…was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat….But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth.”

Paul then speaks of a thorn in the flesh that Satan gave to torment him–to keep him from being too elated. [we do not know what it was, but it is obvious that it was a serious matter] Three times he pleaded to the Lord that it would leave him.

The Lord said,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”

So his prayer was answered, but not in the way he hoped. At times God does not answer our prayer as we have wished, because he always seeks what is best for us.

“Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:19) God teaches us to pray; to be assured that God hears our prayers and answers them.

“You do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2)

“Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete,” (John 16:24)

Let us have a personal prayerful relationship with our Savior every day!

Foster H. Shannon
More about Foster…
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
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HELP WANTED

"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people" Ephesians 6:7

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people” Ephesians 6:7

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30)

One of the blessings of God is that when we believe in him, he calls us to enter his service. It is a great privilege for us to follow Jesus Christ, and be his joyful and willing servants. Prior to the moment when Jesus ascended to heaven, he gave his followers a commission:

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

I wonder if we sometimes make the error of thinking that God’s calling is to others, but not to us? We encounter many who would suppress Christianity, who would treat it as irrelevant. We are a part of a society that experiences too much violence. For those of us in California, and other states, laws are passed to enable suicide for the ill and distressed. The Ten Commandments are being removed from schools and public buildings. What is to be put in their place? All of us need rules. An increasing number of couples are choosing to live together without marriage. Great harm is coming to American families.

In her book, How The West Really Lost God, Mary Eberstadt reminds us of the cost of the weakening of Christian witness in order to make Christianity easier for people:

“… these reformist efforts bit by bit contributed to an unwanted and unexpected denouement: they weakened both literally and figuratively the foundations of which those same churches depended—i.e., natural families. In their efforts to reach out to individuals who wanted a softening of Christian doctrine, the churches inadvertently appear to have failed to protect their base: thriving families whose members would then go on to reproduce both literally and in the figurative sense of handing down their religion.” (page 140)

We might ask, well why are things the way that they are? Why did God not create us ready-made to be in his presence (Heaven)? I think, because he wanted people who would freely choose to love him; because he wanted a people who loved righteousness and justice and truth. If our choice is an important factor—then we must be given the option of bad choices as well as good choices.

The Ten Commandments were given by God through Moses about 1400 B.C. Thus, they have been with us for about 3400 years. As God has blessed us with life and breath and many delights and enjoyments—for our sake—he draws a line regarding what we can properly do (Exodus 20:2-17). Here is an abstract:

I. You shall have no other gods before me.

II. You shall not make for yourself a graven image—you shall not bow down to them or serve them.

III. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

IV. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

V. Honor your father and your mother.

VI. You shall not murder.

VII. You shall not commit adultery.

VIII. You shall not steal.

IX. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

X. You shall not covet.

What is our choice: to be in the game on the field—or to be a spectator in the bleachers?

Foster H. Shannon
More about Foster…
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!




 

HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!

the nativity

Photo thanks to Amy Jung

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

We are now in the midst of the Advent Season, the four weeks that precede Christmas Day. It is the time that Christians remember and celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who emptied himself of many of his divine prerogatives, and came as a baby in order to come and dwell among us.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which you have in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

Promises of the miraculous birth, life, death, and the powerful resurrection of our Savior are foretold in the Old Testament. Some of the passages, written more than one thousand years before the birth of the Savior; others hundreds of years before.

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feed, until he comes to whom it belongs; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (Genesis 49:10)

The hope of the believing people of Israel was primarily in the good news of the coming Messiah in scores of passages.

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, Your God reigns.” (Isaiah 52:7)

The greatness, the glory, the magnificence of the coming Messiah was celebrated by the prophets in the Old Testament—and also his suffering.

“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)

One of the promises was that the Messiah would bring a good and perfect government. A major problem in our world continues to be the corruption and evil of many governments: leaders who use their position to benefit themselves at the expense of the people—whom they are supposed to serve.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Where is the peace? How is it that we have so little of it? Because when we fail to live by the teachings of scripture, we bring the roof down on our heads. Our Savior teaches us how to live in peace, and we are remiss in following him.

“So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

“Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:2,3)

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)

These teaching apply to the nations as well as to individuals. If we say and do what we are taught to do, surely we will have an encouraging influence upon others.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

 Thank you.

More about Foster… Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!





 

Calming the Fear of Ebola

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon
ebola1Many in our nation and in the world are being frightened and disturbed by the threat of a new plague: Ebola. It is devastating the countries of West Africa: Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. People are aware of the history of plagues that have killed tens of thousands and even millions.

The Bible warns of them.

“And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and the rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given power over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:8) 

Sicknesses, diseases, and plagues can become much worse if the desirable processes of cleanliness are neglected. Human irresponsibility can contribute to disaster. Thus, plagues may result from human neglect, or they may be used by God as judgment upon those who reject his teachings. Regarding hygiene, God gave to the Israelites extensive teachings and directions. For example, read Leviticus 15:1-15. There are many such passages in the Old Testament, more than a thousand years before Christ, that teach the importance of hygiene.

“Thus says the Lord of Hosts, behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence…because they did not heed my words, says the Lord, which I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets.” (Jeremiah 29:17 & 19)

“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn, that he may heal us; he has stricken and he will bind us up.” (Hosea 6:1)

In the United States, and in most of the countries of the world—at the present time—the greatest problem is fear and panic which may lead to actions which exacerbate the danger. It may cause us to take excessive measures for ourselves, and to neglect those who really need help. Especially in times of danger, we need to keep our heads. After we or others have taken prudent measures of prevention, it is important that we pray to God, not just for ourselves but for all others. It is also important that we trust in God to deliver us. Disasters or threats to our health or safety can shake us up and cause us to think of and renew our relationship with God. It can draw us away from things that are wrong or useless, so that we can attend to the study of God’s word and worship him.

We must remember that we should pray for and care for many people; both those who are nearby and those who are far away. Regarding the present threat of Ebola—it is in our interest to help the people of West Africa lest this disease spread to the rest of the world. We are to call upon the Lord and seek his guidance. We are to come close to God that he may deliver us from fear. Finally, we are to reaffirm that our hope is in Heaven—that God awaits us, and has prepared a place for us.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me uttering slanders against me, my adversaries and foes, they shall stumble and fall. Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3)

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

 Thank you.

More about Foster… Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
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GOD DELIVERS FROM FEAR

The  Good Shepherd, by Bernhard Plockhorst

The Good Shepherd, by Bernhard Plockhorst

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“In the days of Ahaz [735-715 B.C.] the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they could not conquer it.” (Isaiah 7:1) 

After the death of Solomon (931 B.C.), the nation of Israel was divided between south and north: Rehoboam succeeded his father as king of Judah and Jeroboam became king of the ten tribes (north), which kept the name of Israel. Frequently there were costly wars between the two kingdoms. Judah continued with the Temple and the system of worship that had been given to them by God. Jeroboam, being fearful of losing the allegiance of his people, lest they should go down to Jerusalem for worship, devised a new religion for the ten tribes of the north. The priests were no longer the descendants of Aaron; the Levites remained with Judah, so new sacred assistants were invented by Jeroboam along with religious practices contrary to the instructions given by God.

In Isaiah, chapter 7, we see Judah threatened by a frightening alliance from the north: Israel and Syria.

“The heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.” (Isaiah 7:2)

Today, we worry about the serious troubles and conflicts presently in Syria and Iraq. The powers and forces of evil seem to be overrunning a vital part of our earth. Our nation has experienced many wars from the Revolutionary War to the present conflicts in the mid-east and beyond. It is very easy to ask questions: Why does God allow this? Why doesn’t God do something about it?

The prophet, Isaiah assured the people of Judah that God would be their protector:

“Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint…” (Isaiah 7:4)

Through Isaiah, God tells Ahaz and his people that the attempted conquest of Jerusalem will fail and that in sixty-five years, the northern kingdom (Israel) will be no more.

Ahaz, and many of his people, had trouble believing in the reassurances of God. As a consequence, God told the people of Judah that they would have to deal with a much more devastating army (Assyria). The lesson is evident: in difficult times we are to trust in God, we are to stay with him. I am impressed by that passage in John’s gospel when Jesus had given his followers a tough message, and many of them departed from him (John 6:52-59). Jesus turned to his disciples and asked them if they would also go away. Peter said:

“Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

I think that the message is that we are (fortunately) stuck with our God! When we see his blessings we are to rejoice and give thanks to him. When things go the wrong way for us, we are to trust in him all the more.
“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“Fear not, little flock, for it is you Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  (Luke 12:32)
“and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch themout of my hand.” (John 10:28)

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

 Thank you.

More about Foster… Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!

 

 

WE NEED THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

ten commandmentsby Dr. Foster H. Shannon

We have a saying, “If all else fails read the directions.” God teaches us what is right for our benefit. He knows that we find health and healing and prosperity in his word. God cares for us more that we realize. He wants us to be able to distinguish between right and wrong. Because of that he has given us the Ten Commandments, The Sermon on the Mount, and a plethora of teachings in the letters of the New Testament.

Many of the sceptics in our time are affirming that we do not need the Bible or the teachings of the Bible. They see God as a spoil-sport trying to take the fun out of life. The Scriptures tell the truth: “The wages of sin is death.” Either we go our way or God’s way. Our way ultimately leads to jealously, greed, strife, anger, and worse.

The Ten Commandments were given by God through Moses about 1400 B.C. Thus, they have been with us for about 3400 years. As God has blessed us with life and breath and many delights and enjoyments—for our sake, he draws a line regarding what we can properly do (Exodus 20:2-17). Here is an abstract:

I. You shall have no other gods before me

II. You shall not make for yourself a graven image—you shall not bow down to them or serve them.

III. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain;

IV. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

V. Honor your father and your mother.

VI. You shall not murder.

VII. You shall not commit adultery.

VIII. You shall not steal.

IX. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

X. You shall not covet.

Which of the above should we be able to do without or to ignore? As you know, the posting of the Ten Commandments in our schools and in many of our public buildings has been diminished a great deal. A plethora of law suits have resulted in the taking down of the Ten Commandments. A reasonable question is what do you put in their place? We need to know what is right and what is wrong. We need to understand that to follow the wrong path is ultimately disastrous.

“But the wicked are like the tossing sea, and it cannot rest. And its waters toss up mire and dirt. ‘There is no peace’, says my God,  ‘for the wicked’.” (Isaiah 57:20,21)

The Evil One will try to tell us that we should go our own way; do the things that we enjoy; live it up. The truth is that we are sinners that need forgiving, redemption, and reforming. We need rules. We need guidelines. We need to do our very best to live as God would have us to live. Our God, in his mercy, has given us good rules to live by. We recognize that we are not saved by the law, but by the atonement of Jesus Christ, who paid the full penalty for our sins in his suffering on the cross. Yet, as we believe in Christ, we are to live as he would have us live!

“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.”
(Joshua 1:8)

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

Thank you.

More about Foster… Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!

 

DOES GOD ANSWER OUR PRAYERS?

Albert Durer’s Hands painted by his brother Albrecht Durer

Albert Durer’s Hands painted by his brother Albrecht Durer

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.  Matthew” 21:22
Prayer is exemplary in the Bible. We find it everywhere. There are many teachings on prayer; many commendations of prayer. Jesus is an example to us in his recourse to prayer—and the Bible is abundant in teaching and inviting us to pray. Jesus gave us instructions regarding prayer:

1) Don’t pray like the Pharisees who love to be heard in public for the impression that they can make. (Matthew 6:5)

2) Pray in private; “Go into your own room and close the door and pray there.” (Matthew 6:6)

3) “Watch and pray that you do not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:46)

4) “bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:28)

5) Jesus gave us a pattern of prayer in the Lord’s Prayer: “Hallowed be thy
name—Thy kingdom come—Thy will be done…Give us this day our daily bread…Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

Prayer presumes a personal relationship with the living God. There are prerequisites to prayer: We must pray in faith, believing that God will hear and answer our prayers. We must pray according to the will of God;

“Hitherto have you asked nothing in my name; ask and you will receive that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24)

If we affirm that God answers our prayers, we mean all of the following: That he will give us, sooner or later, what we have asked of him. That he will tell us to be patient and wait; the answer will come. That the answer will come because we have asked for something that is good for us or for others. That we are to be in harmony with God in our prayers.

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7)

Jesus told the parable of the widow and the judge (John 18:1-8), who ignored her and refused to decide her case, because it was a small matter that was beneath him. However, she persisted, and continued to come back to court. He finally said, to get her off his back, “I will decide her case”.

“And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily.”  (John 18:7)

Prayer does not mean that we put God under our control. We are to be submissive to God, who is amazingly great. He is not to be submissive to us. Prayer is not like Aladdin’s Lamp (just rub it and your wish will be fulfilled). Indeed, prayer is speaking with God. We should expect to listen as well as to speak. He speaks to us through the scriptures, through the Sunday sermon, through our consciences.

Many have recognized that there are five aspects to the complete prayer:
1) Adoration and praise
2) Confession
3) Thanksgiving
4) Supplication
5) Intercession

“Call to me and I will answer you—and will tell you great and hidden things which
you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

Thank you.

More about Foster… Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.

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There IS Gain With Pain

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Mark 2:  The paralyzed man being let down through the roof in front of Jesus.

Mark 2: The paralyzed man being let down through the roof in front of Jesus.

The knee replacement surgery, which I experienced on the 10th of January, and the accompanying slowness of recovery and pain has caused me to reflect again on what the Bible has to say about temptation, difficulties, and trials. The Bible makes it plain that all people will suffer in one manner or another, and that the end result can be beneficial. Suffering takes many forms: disappointment, failure, illness, financial losses, mistreatment by others, etc. The experiences of the unbelieving are not necessarily beneficial, but the difficulties of life can lead the believing to draw closer to their Lord. “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:6,7)

One of the greatest of Christians, the apostle Paul, suffered from a thorn in the flesh. We do not know what it was, but it must have been severe, otherwise he would not have mentioned it. In II Corinthians, chapter 12, he tells of a special blessing; being caught up in the spirit to Heaven and experiencing marvelous things. But our Lord must keep the lives of even the best of Christians in balance. Thus, Paul writes,

“to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated.”

God’s purpose for us is that we may grow in his grace:

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (II Corinthians 3:18)

Why do we need to be tested? As we look to the scriptures, we find good reasons:

1. To keep us from being conceited. Conceit is overweening self-esteem; having an excessively fine opinion of one’s self. All of us have gifts and abilities, and in some areas find ourselves more able than others. It is all too easy for us to think that we are not only more gifted and skilled–but that we are superior to others.

“Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others as better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

2. That we may never forget our need of God and draw near to him.

“For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

3. That sanctification, our growth in grace, may continue as we reckon with factors in our lives that do not belong.

“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Our conclusion: Temptations, illnesses, disappointments will come. Some of our suffering, we bring on ourselves through our own sins, carelessness and bad decisions, but much of it comes from the world, the times in which we live. We are to draw near to God for comfort and strength; to seek his will; and to reckon with our faults

“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.” (Psalm 118:5)

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

Thank you.

More about Foster… Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.

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THE WORTHWHILENESS OF A LONG JOURNEY

3wisemen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from
the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of
the Jews?’ We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew
2:1,2 NIV)
The Magi (Wise Men in many English Bibles) came from the East. This story
properly belongs with the celebration of the birth of our Savior, although their arrival
was at least a year (probably more) after the Savior was born. Near the beginning of
the first century A.D. Parthia (Persia) was the most prominent kingdom east of the
Holy Land. We properly think of them traveling on camels, which were the Cadillacs of
their day. The camel travel is undoubtedly based on Isaiah 60:6, “A multitude of
camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba
shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of
the Lord.”
The journey of the Magi could have covered as much as a thousand miles. If
we estimate their travel time at 30 miles per day, the journey would have taken at
least a month, if not more. We also properly think of them as traveling on camels,
because they were court astrologers, which would have placed them high in their
governmental structure. In their day, astrology was looked upon as a science. When
they arrived in Jerusalem, they were properly received by Herod the Great as
important emissaries. The whole city took note of their arrival. But their primary
intent was not a diplomatic mission. They had come to find the Messiah of the Jews,
to worship him and bring him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We know for
sure that there was more than one of the Magi. We have probably liked to think of
them as three because they brought three gifts.
At the time of the visit of the Queen of Sheba, Solomon was among the
greatest of kings in the Near East. Like the Magi, she made a long and costly journey
to see Solomon. This event finds a parallel in Luke 11:31, “The queen of the South
will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she
came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold,
something greater than Solomon is here.” In our day, the rover, Curiosity, is
searching the surface of Mars, and the Chinese have just landed a mobile explorer on
the Moon.
How can we miss the lessons to be found here? It is not worth our trouble to
find the Lord? To have God is to have everything. Not to have him is to be incredibly
deprived. Some live their lives as militant and proud atheists, not wanting to have
anything to do with God. But many others just seem plain indifferent. We find
encouragement from the prophet, Isaiah: “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call
upon him while he is near;” (Isaiah 55:6) The Christmas Season is a good time for
us to be renewed in worship and in the wonder of our great Savior. May many, who
seem to be tone deaf and not paying attention, find our Lord in these days!

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

 Thank you. More about Foster… Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.

Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!