SANCTIFICATION

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6;1,2)

I hope that you find what follows to be of encouragement and help: Sanctification may sound extra religious to many people. But sanctification represents good news. In essence it means that we can become better people in our walk with Jesus Christ. The Bible puts considerable value in sanctification. The words sanctify and sanctification are found throughout the Bible about seventy times.

Sanctification brings good news to us. It means that God is going to make us better people; that we may grow in his grace. Sanctification means that with the teaching of the scriptures and our obedience to our God, our lives will give evidence that we belong to Jesus Christ. We cannot claim to be perfect. We still struggle with sins in our lives, and must come to our Savior for his forgiveness.

When we look around us, we see and hear of things that we do not like; that offend us: stealing, lying, violence, killing; some parents abusing their children; husbands and wives disrespecting and harming one another. God has a better life for each one of us. We are not alone in the process of living. God stands by us .

“I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification.” (Romans 6:19)

“So put away all malice and guile and insincerity and envy and all slander. Like newborn babies long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” (I Peter 2:1-3)

“I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:9)

“Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am the Lord your God. Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctify you.” (Leviticus 20:7, 8)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witness, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin with clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:1,2)

“Now to him, who by the power at work within us, is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20)

It is good news that God is enabling better people! We are not on our own, we have a great God to help us!

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!




 

THE BLESSINGS OF GOD

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. ~John 16:33 (KJV)

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. ~John 16:33 (KJV)

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Psalm 103:1-4 reminds us to remember how much God has done for us:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name! Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”

Last Sunday I delivered a message on the theme, “The Blessings of God.” Some of us may think of God as hard and difficult. Thus, they look elsewhere for an easier path. As a result, they find more disappointment and difficulty on the way than they expected. This is being written on Wednesday (the day that this Blog is due). Just this morning we had the very bad news of a murder on the UCLA Campus in Westwood. One student murdered another, and then killed himself (or herself). It is unlikely that the murderer believed in Jesus or read the Bible!

John 5:10, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.”

I Peter5:8, “Be sober, be watchful, your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

These two passages, on the surface, are not good news. The presence of evil is manifest when we go astray and depart the path of goodness. We live in a world that is in turmoil. We see it in the violence in the streets in many American cities; in the killing that continues in Syria and Iraq, with little hope of resolve. We see it in the governing regime in North Korea. We see it in the city of Chicago, with a murder rate that is out of control. What is the matter with this world that we live in? It is right for us to ask, How do we find deliverance? Where is the help that we need? The problem is disregard for God and unbelief.

When things get difficult, we look to the scriptures for guidance. We understand that God knows what is good for us. He teaches us with his word. He comforts us with his presence. He forgives us of our sins. He blesses us with goodness. The way of Jesus is the best.

Matthew11:28-20, “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.”

God is the source of all goodness. We understand that God loves us. For the believer the end of life is not the grave but heaven. God promises to help you. His purposes will be fulfilled. You are given guidance of what road to take. We are delivered from confusion between right and wrong. We do what is right, because God teaches us.

All have a choice: To live with God or to live without him. All that is good proceeds from God. Those of us who believe in Jesus Christ should be eager to share his good news with others. The result will be a far better society.

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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WAITING FOR LIGHTNING TO STRIKE?

"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

The Power Ball lottery, with a prize that may exceed 1 billion dollars, has caught the imagination of the United States. Surely it is an innocent matter to put down $2.00 for a ticket, but many are buying multiple tickets. Some are even investing thousands of dollars in tickets! Your chance in winning with one ticket is one in 292 million. You have a much better chance of being struck by lightening.

Does this desire to become rich overnight teach us something about ourselves? The majority of people in the United States have a reasonable place to live, have decent clothing, and eat well. A substantial minority do not. In many passages, the Bible encourages us to give thanks to God for his blessings. It even warns us against desiring more than we need.

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never fail you nor forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5, 

We find another warning in I Timothy 6:10,

“For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.”

Probably the best advice, for many of us, is to work hard, save for the future, and not waste our money. We have sayings like, “waste not, want not”. In other words, our chance of winning one out of 292 million is exceedingly slight. Perhaps, a lesson to be learned from this present craze is to consider what we can do to improve our present situation rather than to wait for lightening to strike! In other words, make your efforts in areas that will be assuredly beneficial.

“He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits has no sense.”  ~ Proverbs 12:11

The Bible teaches us responsibility with our money:  

“Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house; and thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for your and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.” ~ Malachi 3:10

It also teaches us generosity:

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” ~ Proverbs 3:27

“One man gives freely and grows all the richer. Another withholds what he should give and only suffers want.”  ~Proverbs 11:24

My advice to those who may be strained financially: Discuss your situation with God in prayer; ask him for provision and guidance. The probability that your prayer will be answered is high. Gratitude to God is a commendable attitude. He gives us our very lives. He teaches us how to live. He gives us discernment between right and wrong. He forgives us of our sins, and makes us into new people. Our future with him is wonderfully bright.

 “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” ~ Hebrews 12:8

“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift.” ~ II Corinthians 9:15

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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SURPRISE AND DISAPPOINTMENT

 

"Thus saith the Lord unto you: 'Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chronicles 20:15

“Thus saith the Lord unto you: ‘Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Many of us were stunned by the attacks of ISIS in Paris, France. What caused eight young men to kill at least 129 people, and to seriously wound more that 300? What was the purpose? Why would that group spend many weeks planning violence, equip themselves, and then blow themselves up to destroy hundreds? What we see in this terrible event in France is what we see to a lesser degree in our own country! How many murders? How many occasions when scores of people are slaughtered with automatic rifles? In our own country, fathers, mothers, children, killing their own kin. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, later their son Cain murdered his brother Abel. Human beings have been killing one another ever since.

A factor that we may be reluctant to recognize is that we contend with evil every day, and not infrequently we hear or read or see the meanness that human beings are capable of. When Satan rebelled against God, with his angels, he was cast down to Earth. He is still with us. It appears to be his pleasure to temp us, to stir up strife among us, and to lead us toward wickedness which may lead to deceit, stealing, embezzlement, selfishness, and cruelty.

Our God who created the heavens and Earth and all of life is absolutely good, and he desires goodness for us. When we go astray and worship other gods we end up immersed in evil. We learn goodness from God. We learn righteousness, justice, and truth from God. Without him we are lost! Human beings are inclined to rebel and disobey God. It is in the Bible that we find out how we ought to live, and it is in Jesus Christ that we see goodness exemplified. Because he is aware of our sins, he went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, taking our judgment upon himself. If we believe in him, he forgives us and helps us learn how to live.

God gave us the Ten Commandments, plus many teachings to keep us in order. He gives us Bibles, he establishes the church, he gives us teachers and leaders to help us. He exalts justice and righteousness and truth, that we might have good lives. We depart from him or ignore him at our peril. Without him, we will eventually destroy ourselves. With him we can be happy and joyful a good deal of the time in this life and forever in the life to come.

What we are to do is explained to us in the Bible. For example, Ephesians 6:10-13, “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand.”

What can we do? Believe in Jesus and stay close to him. Follow his teachings, and teach and encourage others. Honor our Lord in your speech, and live in such a way that you become an encouragement to others.

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!




 

GROWING IN THE GRACE OF GOD

Reading-the-Bible3

Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee…”

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

The Supreme Court ruling allowing same sex marriage was a discouraging and jarring decision for many of us. We see this not only as an attack on the significance of marriage, but as an ignoring of the teaching of the Bible. I recognize that I have Christian brothers and sisters who will not have the same viewpoint. I note that a former president, a Christian, Jimmy Carter, said that the action of the Court would be approved by Jesus. Such a response disturbs me. Are we to quit reading the Bible and believing what it says? Are we to edit it so that it conforms with the secular thinking of the day?

If the Bible is the means whereby God reveals his will and his purpose to us, then it is worthy of our attention. Some have suggested, in one way or another, that much of the moral decline in out nation is that too many Christians have been asleep, disinterested, not paying attention. It was encouraging to read a significant front page article in today’s Los Angeles Times (8 July, “Spiritual war on same-sex marriage”) that many of our Christian brothers and sisters in the black community are speaking out and engaged regarding the Supreme Court decision, because they are offended by the degradation of morals in our society.

This brings me to a concern that I have had for some time. It is that many Christians appear to be too casual regarding the reading and study of the Bible. If it is God’s word to us, it is worthy of our careful attention. I think our schedules can be an enemy to Bible study. If so, we should reckon with it and rearrange our day. For some of us the first hour in the morning is dedicated to the study of the Bible.

“O Lord, in the morning you do hear my voice, in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you, and watch.” (Psalm 5:4)

But if it does not fit there, it should fit somewhere.

“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)

“Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31,32)

The Bible teaches us of the importance of reading the Bible. Some people assume it is a tough task, and not for them. I remember when I was in the fifth or sixth grade and began ice skating at the Coliseum in Tulsa, with some buddies. I was awkward, my blades bent inward, and I fell down a number of times. But after a few weeks I was standing up straight, and getting confidence in my skating. This is not a perfect example, but becoming a committed reader of the scriptures is like ice skating, it has to begin—and we need to be patient. A continuing daily encounter with scripture strengthens us all, and fits us to be a witness for our Savior. We need to be integrated with it. It will strengthen our spines.

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!




GOOD NEWS!

In Christ we move from darkness to light . . .

In Christ we move from darkness to light . . .

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.” (II Peter 1:3-4)

The gospel means good news. Frequently, those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, underestimate the riches that God disposes on those who believe.

In Jesus Christ we move from darkness to light—we move from guilt to redemption. We move from doubt to assurance. We have a wonderful eternal destiny that exceeds our imagination. We have riches in our Savior that are beyond measure:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (I Peter 1:3,4)

What was the secret of the disciples, the apostle Paul, and many others who built the church on the foundation of Jesus Christ? The disciples had spent at least three years with their Savior. They knew that he was for real. When Saul of Tarsus (Paul) encountered Christ in a vision on the road to Damascus, intending to persecute Christians, his life was transformed. These servants of God endured abuse, prison, and hardships because they knew Christ and his kingdom. We know that Paul was, at times, discouraged, but he was like the psalmists who ask God if he has forgotten them, always ending up praising God for his promises and his goodness.

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Our God is a God of salvation; and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death.” (Psalm 68:19)

They knew that they were on the edge of God’s eternal kingdom; that they were on the winning team. We think of the person who sees his glass full, not empty. The word of God overflows with good news.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (II Corinthians 2:14) 

The believer has the great privilege of being an ambassador for God to a world in need. Our lives are valuable because we belong to God, and because we know that we have eternal life with him forever. We know that he will never fail us nor  forsake us.

We live in a time when Christians can grow discouraged. The society that we live in has gone sour with unbelief, fornication, adultery, broken families, hopelessness, violence, and discouragement. Many seek relief in the crummy dramas that are on television. They do not realize that salvation is nearer than they think! We cannot exhaust the goodness, grace, and mercy of our God. Let us bless him, rejoice in him, and delight to do his will. We find in him the life that is life, indeed!

Foster H. Shannon
P.S.
By Robert J. Morgan, is available at GoGreenLeaf.com. It includes music and lyrics to the most loved Hymns of all time. This is your chance to take advantage of it at a great price!
 

 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!





OUR STRENGTH AGAINST THE POWERS OF EVIL

Illustration from Foster's book, THe Scroll with 7 Seals, What the Book of Revelation Really Says

Illustration from Foster Shannon’s book, THE SCROLL WITH SEVEN SEALS (What the Book of Revelation Really Says).  Illustration by Ruth Elliott

By Dr Foster H. Shannon

We cannot and must not ignore what is going on in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Nigeria. Isis, a radical Muslim movement is seeking to expand its control over Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and beyond. The movements have different names in Iraq (Isis) and Nigeria (Boko Haram). In the process of trying to control territory, they are especially focusing on Christians. On Monday of this week we learned of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptics (Christians) in Libya. Earlier as the Isis militants moved from Syria eastward and northward in Iraq, they sought out Christians and beheaded or otherwise killed them. They slaughtered several hundred Iraqi soldiers who had surrendered to them.

It is hard for us to not be distressed when we hear and see beheadings and mass executions. We are seeing before our very eyes the fulfillment of what the scriptures teach: that we are contending with the powers and forces of evil! In fact, we are seeing manifestations of evil, slaughtering, the kidnaping of young girls and making sex-slaves of them—a thirst for blood and a delight in the suffering of others, exemplified by cutting off heads and showing all of this on international television. We wonder if matters can get any worse!

The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death, and that those who resist the will of God, on the one hand, can do great harm and on the other hand will suffer for their evil, and be eternally separated from the presence of God.

We must not be downcast and crying that we do not know what to do! God has warned us against the powers of evil and their effects. These powers and forces of evil are formidable. Ephesians 6:12, “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Revelation 12:17, “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.” I think of a passage in Genesis, before the Flood: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) Surely we are seeing a similar thing in our day: the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.

Now what do we do? Do we despair? Do we give up praying? Do we give up studying and discerning what the scriptures teach? Do we remember Psalm 23? “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” (23:4) “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,” (I Timothy1:7) We must be in prayer that God will give strength to those who are opposing Isis. We must honor the promises of God found in the Psalms and many places in the Bible that God will watch over us and protect us. Our Lord said, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense to repay every one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:12,13)

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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GOD SEEKS OUR WELL BEING

Creación_de_Adám

Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, from the Sistine Chapel, courtesy Wikipedia.

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

It is not easy to be a Christian in these days. I suppose that it never has been easy. We have to contend with temptations. There are those who will think that we are either square or stupid. Many have affirmed their faith in Christ by being willing to die for him. Barrett’s estimate (World Christian Encyclopedia) is one Christian martyr out of every one hundred Christians. Things will go wrong in our lives, and we will wish that they had not. Yet we are far better off with Christ than those who are without him.

Indeed, our Lord warns us against walking on the wrong paths:

“Do not be conformed to the 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 Lord also tells us that we will encounter difficulties.

“Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2,3)

Consider Psalm 103:1-5:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all of his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

The above passage is just one of hundreds of promises that God gives to us to encourage us. As we believe in Jesus Christ, we know that God loves us and cares for us; that he desires the very best for us. Where else do we get such teachings and encouragements? One of our basic aims in life should be to please God rather than to impress our neighbor.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.” (Proverbs 9:10,11)

The teachings of the Bible are a treasury of goodness. The Ten Commandments teach us how to live. We are to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” We are taught to look out for the welfare of others.

“Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves better than others. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3,4)

God does not begrudge his children possessing nice things—but he warns us against worshiping them. It is Christians that have built hospitals. It is Christians that have established schools. Many of the universities in the eastern part of our country were established by pastors and Christian people. All kinds of feeding, caring, and healing ministries are going on today because they are inspired by the Bible.

Where do you find something better than the Bible? Where else do you find a Savior who has atoned for your sins? Where else do you find assurance of eternal fellowship with God?

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!





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!