Good Without GOD?

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (Photo credit: Elizabeth Elliott, 2006)

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for 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. You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah (29:11-13)

I remember a slogan that I read years ago. “If God seems distant, guess who moved.”

Indeed, we are to welcome God into our hearts and find him! In prayer, we speak to God. Through the scriptures, God speaks to us. It is important to every believer, that he or she reads the Bible every day.

The Bible is full of statements of encouragement for each one of us. In the words of scripture, there are many promises and encouragements. God states that he loves us. That it is his desire that we find forgiveness and salvation in Jesus Christ. He encourages us to pray—that he will heal us, guide us and strengthen us.

I see that an atheist organization in California is posting billboard notices:

good-withoutgodanim

They could not be farther from the truth. Human beings without God are murderers, thieves, liars, selfish, despots, destroyers, licentious, embezzlers, corrupt. Goodness comes from God, and goodness is not to be found elsewhere; there is no alternative. The killings in Brussels, in Germany, in Istanbul, in Orlando, in San Bernardino call our attention to the evil in our midst. Mexico, the nation to our south, has been struggling with the corruption of the drug trade for decades. We do not know how many have been killed, robbed, or tortured by the drug cartels. How many in the United States contribute to this evil by purchasing the drugs? Are we praying for life and goodness and freedom for the people of Mexico?

One mistake that Christians may make is to underestimate the powers and forces of evil. God in his goodness gives us the remedy: Read or reread Ephesians 6:10-17:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God.”

In chapter three of the Gospel of John, we have wonderful promises from God along with a strong warning:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him….And this is the judgment that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

If you believe in Jesus Christ, you are very fortunate. If you are willing to consider what it means to believe in Jesus Christ, you are fortunate. All of us must recognize that we cannot go it alone. We need our Savior.

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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THE POLITICAL RESPONSIBILITY OF CHRISTIANS

"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's. . . "

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. . . “

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“Jesus said to them,’Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17)

Jesus recognized the political scene, and affirmed the priority of God’s will. We are told to pray for our political leaders:

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.” (I Timothy 2:1,2)

It is evident that God desires a peaceful and good life for each one of us. The atmosphere should be “godly”.

Although we are to seek God and his kingdom (Matthew 6:33), we are not to ignore the governmental scene around us. We are to be good stewards in our position of being the citizens of the United States. What are we to look for? Men and women of integrity who respect the truth and tell the truth. Men and women that seek the welfare of their country, and are perceptive and have understanding. We need leaders who are competent and strong in truth, justice, and righteousness.

Truth When our leaders lie to us, we become cynical, and wonder when tobelieve them and when not to believe them.

Jesus: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

We wonder why they are not telling the truth. Do governing officials tell us what we would like to hear, rather than what we ought to hear? When the truth is told, we can be happy knowing that we are dealing with reality and people with integrity.

Justice means that in the same circumstances, all are to be treated equally. It does not matter whether we are black, white, or brown. It is not to matter whether we are rich or poor.

“My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” (James 2:1)

“You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.” (Leviticus 19:15)

“My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” (James 2:1)

Occam’s Razor needs to be observed: “no complexity without necessity.”

Righteousness means that we do what is right, we do not lie, steal, or embezzle. We do not mislead, we do not cheat. We have high regard for God, and endeavor to do what he teaches us to do. We seek out and live by the teachings of scripture.

One of the privileges we have in the United States is to vote for officials and for propositions. We should not sit on our hands. We should be engaged, informing ourselves, studying the issues and showing up at the voting booth. We understand that we are servants of our Savior, and to make our decisions in harmony with the goodness he teaches us. Let us pray for our states and our nation, and for God’s guidance that we may be responsible citizens.

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.
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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.
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WAITING FOR THE SUNRISE

"He that is faithful in little is faithful in much" Luke 16:11 “...let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matt: 5:16

“He that is faithful in little is faithful in much” Luke 16:10  

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“If the gold rusts, what will the iron do?”

We live in a time when Christians, who believe in God and admire the truth of the Bible, may find themselves discouraged. We see values that have been previously held in our nation eroding. Changes in views of morality have come like an avalanche. Good people who have held views of the sacredness of marriage have been caught up by the winds of change. Others have been stunned by the change of mind that many have had on this and other subjects. It was not that long ago that a majority in our nation believed abortion to be a sin to be avoided. Now the position in our society is about 50-50. In the 1940s fifteen percent of marriages ended in divorce. At the present time, it is about fifty percent. One-third of our children do not have a father in the home. The percentage of couples who choose to live together without the benefit of marriage has increased substantially.

It is tempting to give up and withdraw—to throw in the towel! Many who have held to the basic moral teachings in the Bible have changed their minds, and interpreted the scriptures differently. It is easy to be caught up and carried away by this flood. We have a calling from our Saviour that we find in Matthew, chapter five:

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how will its saltiness be restored.” “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

What should we do in these days? Should we dig our fox holes and hide? No, someone needs to be the gold. Someone needs to be the light. Someone needs to be the salt. We have a wonderful view of the San Gabriel Valley from our house—looking east. Almost every morning we can see the sunrise, and I never get tired seeing it. Every day it comes up and every day we have light! We rejoice in the light of the new day! What would we do if we did not have that light? We have many neighbors who are trembling with fear, and who are waiting for you to show up. If those who know you, see that you are firm in your convictions—they will be encouraged. The world is waiting for us to see that we are faithful to our God.

Goodness is not an invention. It is not something that someone stumbled on. It comes from God, and without him we would not have known goodness. God knows better than we do! We, who believe in him, are to be the light and the hope of the world. The Bible from beginning to end assesses our plight and our potential. Read II Peter, chapter two. God knows that our trouble is heavy. Through Peter, God calls us back to the prophets of the Old Testament and to the disciples of the New. May we celebrate and rejoice in the greatness of our God!

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.
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THE GOSPEL IS GOOD NEWS!

Sharing the Truth in Love.  A Nicky Imber Bronze of two old men talking.

Sharing the Truth in Love. A Nicky Imber Bronze of two old men talking.

by Dr Foster H. Shannon

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (II Timothy 2:24,25)

From the Bible, there are some basic requirements that we must fulfill:

  1. Believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, so that we may find forgiveness and fulness of life.
  2. Become students of the Bible.
  3. Read, study, and think so we can fulfill the instructions of I Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.
  4. Share your faith with others. As Christians we must be pro-active, eager to tell others about our Savior.
  5. Take care that we communicate God’s word in an appropriate manner. We are not to be rude. We are not to yell. We are to be respectful. We are not to act superior and put others down. May we love those with whom we speak.

Certainly it is good to know that you are right in what you have to say, but we must remember whom we are serving!

“I am the vine, you are the branches….for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

There are passages in II Timothy that we should find helpful:

“Remind them of this, and charge them before the Lord to avoid disputing about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” (II Timothy 2:14)

“Avoid such godless chatter, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.” (II Timothy 2:16)

“Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” (II Timothy 2:23)

Evidently, the Christians in the first century had problems similar to ours. That is, people are blabbering a lot of nonsense today. It is as if all that we have to do is to spit out words, and everyone will think that they are cute and interesting. Much of gossip is similar. Someone tells us something and we take it for the truth, although we have not verified it. To make it more interesting, we embellish it, add to it, to the end that the person who started the questionable statement would not even recognize it.

These are days when the winds are blowing against those who have a high view of scripture. We are required to swim upstream against the currents. We do not believe that any group of people should be reviled or despised because of the color of their skin, their language, their location or cultural practices. But we believe that there is both right and wrong.

“Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. He who does good is of God; he who does evil has not seen God.” (III John 11)

We want for people to get along with one another. Conflicts are disturbing—they may make us uncomfortable. Yet, as we have the privilege of believing in God, we also have the responsibility to tell others about him!

Thank you.

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!




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.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!





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.
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THANKSGIVING DAY, THURSDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2014

Thankyou-God-adjBy Dr. Foster H. Shannon

We give thanks to God for everything. He has given us our lives. He is the creator of everything: of the mountains, the oceans, the rivers, the lakes, the streams, planet Earth, the solar system, the entire universe. And he has created us in his image and called upon us to live lives that are worthy of him. He gives us home and family and friends.

He gives us the Bible so that we may understand his purposes and plans, so that we may know how to live healthy and happy lives. He warns us of the dangers that we face, how to avoid them, how to live through them. He does not give us his commandments and moral teachings to annoy us! Rather he seeks our well being, and we ignore him at our peril. We have all stumbled and fallen, disregarded his will, and taken our own course. We have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and need his favor. He has taken the consequences of our sin upon himself in the person of Jesus Christ, so that the Heavenly Father poured out his wrath on our sins in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of all who will call upon and trust him.

We properly thank God for the food and clothing and many other things that he gives us. But above and beyond all of that, we have the atoning work of Jesus Christ that makes possible a living eternal relationship with our God.

“since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 3:23,24)

“He saved us, not by deeds done by us in righteous, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and the renewal in the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10,27,28)

There is no greater gift, than the gift of salvation, which we have in Jesus Christ. May we thank him, and thank him, and thank him!

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” (Abraham Lincoln)

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!





 

IT IS IMPORTANT TO CHOOSE AND TO VOTE

voting-booth

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

No more than ten days ago, we had elections in all fifty states for members of the House of Representatives and for the Senate–and then for governors and other state and county and civic officers. It appears that the voter turnout was about 40%, somewhat lower than the average for mid-term elections. It is evident that more than half of the people who could have voted did not vote, and this is, unfortunately, usual in mid-term elections. A democracy needs an informed and engaged participation by the citizens. To be indifferent or not to care is irresponsible.

Joshua challenged the people of his day:

“And if you be unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

All of us make choices every day. We should prefer wise choices over unwise; good choices over bad. What and whom are you going to believe in? Do you have something in which you put belief and trust that is superior to the Bible? The Bible explains where we come from and why we are here. The Bible teaches righteousness, justice, and truth. The Bible explains to us the struggle of life—the direction of life—the fulfillment of the promises of God. Our God is the fountain, the source, the giver of all that is right and true. God gave us the Ten Commandments, not to annoy or harass us—but so life might be good for us and for others.

“Jesus then said to the Jesus 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)

Indeed, there are other faiths and other beliefs, and people can follow them if they choose—but if they so choose, their destiny is death and eternal separation from God, who is the source of life and of all that is good. Those who choose another way will be on the wrong road, and the destination will be terrible. We may believe in God and walk with him, or we may choose not to live in accordance with his will. We may gain temporary success and fame and riches—but without God, there will be nothing in the end. It is God who gives us the true law—who teaches us what is right. If there is no God, there is no law. Christianity is the only religion that has a Savior! Jesus took our place; he suffered the penalty for our sins, and gives us eternal life.

Is it not a blessing if we can join the psalmist in saying,

“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.” (Psalm 103:1-5)

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.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!