TRUSTING IN THE BIBLE

Photo thanks to Mareesha, for creating it and sharing on Photobucket.

Thanks to Mareesha, for creating and sharing this photo on Photobucket.

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Many neglect the study of the Bible. Many ignore it. Some criticize it. How can we be assured to read the Bible with confidence? How can we find blessings in the Bible? The scriptures teach us, from the beginning, that the words of the Bible are the words of God. God has spoken through prophets, through angels, through apostles, and through Jesus, the Son of God.

God is the creator of the universe. All of the galaxies; all of the stars; all of the planets have been created by him. Everything that is living, plant and animal have been created by him. Every human being is created in God’s image. How do we know that the words of the prophets and apostles are authentic? Because of the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the recognition by their contemporaries that what they heard came from the Lord.

The Bible is consistent from beginning to end. It is the same God from Genesis to Revelation. It is evident that our great God, who has created all things, and people in his image, should communicate with us. How marvelous is his revelation! God wants us to know about him and his purposes. His purpose is that we should believe in him, and live with him in eternity. But there is a problem, and it is our rebellion. He gives us the Ten Commandments, and we do not obey them. He teaches us about goodness, and we seek other things. The consequences of our rebellion are warfare, murder, thievery, dishonesty, poverty, diseases, hopelessness, and eternal separation from God. The Bible explains:

“This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:3)

“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)

What the Bible says about us and our misbehavior and sin is accurate. The Bible’s analysis of the human race is confirmed in history. We are commended to be readers of the Bible:

“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)

“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16)

We talk to God as we pray. God talks to us as we read his Word!

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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DANGERS WE FACE

Michelangelo_Fall_and_Expulsion_from_Garden_of_Eden

Detail of Michelangelo’s Fall and Expulsion from the Garden of Eden

By  Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Whether we like it or not, we are contending with the powers and forces of evil. Consider our first parents, Adam and Eve. God put them in an ideal Paradise:

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Genesis 2:16,17)

To fulfill Adam’s life and her life, God gave him Eve to be his companion, his wife. They had plenty of everything. But Satan presented himself in the form of a serpent, who could speak. (She probably thought he was cute.) He told Eve that if they ate the fruit of the tree (God had warned them not to eat) that they would be like God. Of course, that was a lie, but Satan is accomplished in telling lies. God had given them a choice, either Paradise or death! Well, the fruit looked good, it was appealing, why should they not partake of it? The answer is that God had warned them of the danger, and they did not believe him, or thought God was depriving them from something they would enjoy. As a result they were expelled from the Garden.

The Apostle Paul warns us of the continuing battle between the will of God and the deceitfulness of the Evil One.

“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.” (Ephesians 6:12) 

I am writing this because many of us are inclined to underestimate the power of evil. It can be made appealing, look desirable, seem innocent. Some of the temptations that we face are power, prestige, wealth, and sensual pleasures. These things, in and of themselves may not be bad. They can even be good. Nonetheless they can be appealing to us, and spiritually destructive. That there is evil in the world can be seen even in the “little” sins that we commit and the awfulness that we see around us: Isis and Boko Haram in the Middle East and northern Africa, cutting people’s heads off and bragging about it, tyrants waging war to increase their power, men using automatic guns to kill scores of people. Husbands who kill their wives and children, and mothers who do the same. If you look out at the world and say, “what is going wrong”—it is that people are disregarding and disobeying God. He gave us the Ten Commandments and the moral teachings of the Bible for our good! Our Heavenly Father wants us to have good lives. Many fail to understand that.

We have good news. Jesus Christ suffered on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He invites us to come to him and repent and find new life. He tells us where to find strength:

“Therefore take the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod you feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the word of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17)

GOD IS LOOKING OUT FOR YOU AND FOR ME!

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!




 

EASTER AND THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS

Christ is RISEN INDEED!

Christ is RISEN, INDEED!

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Jesus was illegally arrested by the officers of the Sanhedrin, and unjustly tried before the Roman governor, Pilate. After struggling to find another way to avoid the judicial process, Pilate caved. Pilate had already said that he had found no guilt in Jesus. Yet because of the cries of the crowd, and the threat that Pilate’s failure to act would be reported to Rome—Pilate reluctantly committed Jesus to execution by crucifixion. The soldiers that had stood by the cross reported to Pilate that Jesus was dead.

The body of Jesus was taken by Joseph of Arimathea along with Nicodemus, with Pilate’s permission. On Good Friday he was placed in a new tomb, and a stone was rolled in front of the entrance. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James witnessed this event. A guard was set before the tomb to assure that no one would come and steal the body, and the stone was sealed.

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. An angel from the Lord told them that Jesus had been raised from the dead. On the morning of the Sabbath a group of women went to the tomb hoping to complete the burial process. They found the tomb empty. On that Sabbath following the crucifixion, Jesus appeared to a number of his disciples. The disciples went to Galilee to a mountain to which Jesus had directed them. They worshiped him, some initially doubted, but were convinced when they saw him in person.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the crown jewel of Christian witness and theology. The tomb was empty, Jesus could not be found, then he appeared to the women, to two disciples on the way to Emmaus, and in the evening to at least ten of his disciples.

“After his suffering [Jesus] presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)

The disciples, and many others with them, were convinced that this Jesus who had been killed and confirmed dead had been raised from the dead. Had this not happened there would be no Christianity and no church. The disciples would have returned to Judaism and their former relationships. On the Mount of Olives, the disciples and a crowd witnessed his ascension to heaven. They began proclaiming the resurrection of Christ (at the risk of their lives) and the good news of the salvation that is found through him.

The resurrection confirms the Old Testament. It is the foundation of the New Testament and the Christian Church. It is certainly and undeniable historic fact! With that we may believe in him. With that we may faithfully follow him. With that we may be assured, that when we depart this life, we shall live with him forever.

For your reading this week include one or all of these passages: Matthew 27:1-28:19; Mark 15:1-16:18; Luke 23:1-24:52; John 18:28- 21:19.

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!




 

RESPECT FOR OTHERS

vintage-boxing

Calling names is just a lazy way of neglecting the process of reason.  “Be angry, but do not sin” Psalm 4:4

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the counsel and whoever says “You fool” shall be liable to the hell of fire.” ~ Matthew 5:22

It appears to me that the above section of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, gets little attention. Anger leads to harm, and we should keep it under control, lest we say and do things that we will later regret. When Jesus said, “You fool”, he could have said “You idiot”, “You moron”, “You are stupid!”.

I have been watching with dismay the candidates for the Republican and Democratic nominations insulting one another. Virtually all of them claim to be Christians! Many years ago, President Lyndon Johnson, said something like this: “I do not think that my audience is interested in my opinion of my opponents.” Surely all of the candidates do much better if they tell us what they believe, what they disbelieve, and what they would do if elected President.

Do we sink to the level of calling other people disparaging names, when we disagree with what they do or say? I am not saying that we should not offer criticisms of people, whom we see doing wrong or of ideas that we recognize as fallacious. But calling them names does little good—and can produce considerable harm. Please understand that I do not look favorably on Political Correctness. It is an excessive effort to avoid imagined speech that might possibly discourage or hurt someone else. It is a significant threat to freedom of speech, which implies that we are not to punish people for saying things that we dislike. Indeed, Political Correctness is aimed at Christianity, that Christians should keep silent about their beliefs.

What should we do? God has given us the power of reason, to discern between good and bad. If we object to what someone has said or done, we should be able to explain it. Calling names is just a lazy way of neglecting the process of reason. We understand that almost everyone insults others, whether present or absent. But the behavior of the majority is not necessarily the indication of what is right! I have to tell you, that thinking about this matter is going to make me more careful in how I express myself regarding others, including those with whom I strongly disagree.

There is another side to criticism, and that is commendation and recognition of the good that someone else does. There are few of us who would not be helped by an encouragement or a word of thanks. God gives us wonderful words of encouragement in the Bible:

“We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28

“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 103:2-5

“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

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.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!




 

PRINCE OF PEACE

manger_scene

“For to us a child is born; to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ~ Isaiah 9:6,7

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

The word “peace” is used more than 320 times in the Bible. That puts it in the category of very important. The Christmas season elevates the reality and value of peace. We properly associate promises of peace with the advent of our Savior.

An angel appeared to shepherds in the field at the time of Jesus’ birth:

 “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” ~Luke 2:13,14

Almost all of us prefer peace. We do not want trouble. We don’t like arguments. We don’t want to be robbed. We want to avoid physical harm. We do not want to lose members of our family and our friends due to violence. We dread the destruction and devastation of war. The people of Isis and Boko Haram do not want peace. They find war and killing delicious. They believe it to be their calling. They are servants of the devil. Jesus Christ gives us peace in many ways:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” ~John 14:27

In Jesus Christ we find peace of mind because we know that we are here for a purpose. God wants us to be his children, and to belong to him forever. Though we go astray and disobey him, he teaches us through the scriptures and redeems us in Jesus Christ. At times when I am troubled or hear from someone that he or she is troubled, I suggest, begin reading in the Psalms. Of course, we must read the New Testament, that tells us in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ we may be forgiven of our sins and set on a new path. If we do not have peace, we need to draw closer to our Savior.

In Jesus Christ we can find peace in our family, and among our associates.

“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

“So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”  ~Matthew 7:14

In Jesus Christ peace is possible among nations thanks to the Ten Commandments and the teachings of our Savior. Unfortunately we have tyrants who have no regard for God and his teachings. When Christ comes, he will bring permanent peace.

“All of the ends of the earth shall remember and shall turn to the Lord; and all of the families of the nations shall worship him. For dominion belongs to the Lord. And he rules over the nations.” ~Psalm 22:27,28

When we struggle with ourselves, in our families, and among others, let us turn to Jesus Christ who is our friend, our Savior, and our eternal future. The Christmas Season is appropriately a time of joy!

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!




 

TRUTH IS TO BE CHERISHED

bible-light-rays-web

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Jesus said “Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.”

Pilate then asked him, “What is truth?”

We live in a time that truth does not get its due respect. Many people in our nation believe that it is all right to lie, if it is in a good cause. Of course, if it is your case, it is always a good cause! So you are free to deceive! Lying and deceit are harmful to our lives, to the lives of others, and to the society in which we live. Lying can be destructive to families. Lying can be destructive to business. Lying can be destructive to our governing processes.

“Do your best to present yourselves to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (II Peter 2:15)

The Enron Corp. was a web of lies, and filed for bankruptcy on 12/2/01. The related scandal caused the dissolution of Arthur Andersen, one of the world’s top five accounting firms. Early in 2001 the company’s stock had been at $80 to $90 per share. By November, the stock previously considered a blue chip was virtually worthless. 5/26/06 Jeffrey Skilling (chief executive) was convicted of 19 of 28 counts of securities fraud and wire fraud. Sentenced to 24 years, 4 months in prison; Kenneth Lay (chairman) was convicted of six counts of securities fraud and faced a total sentence of up to 45 years. He died on 7/5/06. Sixteen people pleaded guilty for crimes committed at the company. Thousands of Enron employees and investors lost all of their savings, children’s college funds, and pensions when Enron collapsed.

The Christian religion has to do with objective truth.

  • God created the heavens and the earth
  • God revealed himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  • God delivered the people of Israel from Egypt
  • God brought the people of Israel into the land of Canaan
  • Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried. He rose again from the dead
  • Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins on the cross
  • Those who believe in Christ are to be his witnesses
  • If we believe in Jesus and trust him as our Savior, we shall be with him forever

Truth frees us from spiritual blindness: Ephesians 4:17,18

“Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”

Truth frees us from the slavery of sin: Romans 6:16

“Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Truth frees us from the fear of death: John 5:24

“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.” “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)

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!




 

BORN ANEW

God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out,“Abba,Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:6,7

God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out,“Abba,Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:6,7

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Sometimes people have a negative attitude toward Christianity. They focus on what you can’t do rather than on what you can do. The word, Gospel, means good news. The Bible tells us that we have new birth when we believe in Jesus Christ.

“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12,13)

“You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” (I Peter 1:23)

New birth is definitely a positive, not a negative. New life in Jesus Christ is to be preferred to old life without him. When we believe in Jesus, we recognize that we have been given much. We have been adopted into God’s family. We have become joint heirs with Jesus Christ, and are promised a wonderful destiny. We find the assurances of heaven in many places.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born again 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.” I Peter 1:3,4

The Bible assures us that when we depart from this life, we will be with our Lord in heaven.

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

Last week, we had the privilege of attending the Presbyterian Fellowship meeting in San Diego. One of the messages that we heard was from the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Damascus, Syria. His message was quiet and soft spoken. It was based on I Peter, chapter one. I had to listen carefully to hear him. The message was good, but what especially caught me was his demeanor. He is living and working in one of the most dangerous places in the world–especially for Christians—and his peace and confidence that he would carry on his ministry whether it be life or death was amazing.

The new life, when we are joined with our Savior in heaven, will be marvelous beyond our comprehension. We should celebrate this, but we should also celebrate the transforming work God does in our lives now. We are not only to love God, we are to love our neighbor, and to seek his well being as we would seek our own well being. Our patterns of life are changed for the best. Jesus Christ becomes our leader and our guide. We do not lie. We do not seek revenge. We become students of the Bible. We accept the Ten Commandments as a chief guide for our lives. We have a desire that others believe in Jesus as we have believed in him. In the realm of marriage, we learn to give up our selfishness and seek the well being of our husband or wife. To believe in Jesus Christ is to live forever!

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!




THE TRIUMPH OF THE RESURRECTION

resurrection

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

This coming Sunday we celebrate Easter, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is absolutely the most significant event in the history of the world. Jesus purposefully allowed himself to be taken to the cross, because there the Son of God suffered the punishment of God the Father for the sins of the world. He suffered for every person who will come to him in faith and confess their need of his forgiveness—without which no one can be saved. There are those who question the reliability and dependability of Christianity. The resurrection, the deliverance from death of our Lord, guarantees the reality and certainty of Christ.

When Jesus was with his disciples on that Thursday night, he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane,

“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39)

He chose his path to the cross, because he knew that there he would make our forgiveness possible. The resurrection was and is a reality. It is not just something that we wish were true. It is true.

Jesus suffered terribly from the abuses of the soldiers. He was arrested and taken before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor. Pilate understood what Jesus enemies were about. He knew that Jesus was innocent, but he lacked the courage to do what was right. So he gave in to the crowd that demanded Jesus’ death, and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus. He was taken to Golgotha, and nailed to a cross. The cross was set into the ground, and he was bleeding from the nails in his hands and in his feet. Later, to advance his death, a sword was plunged into his side.

“But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.” (John 19:24) “And Jesus cried out with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.” (Matthew 27:50)

A large crowd witnessed all of these events.

Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin and a righteous man, asked Pilate for the body of Christ that he might prepare him for burial.

“And Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph.”

He was buried by Joseph of Arimathea, with the assistance of Nicodemus.

Let us reflect. We know that Jesus lived. We know that Jesus died. We know that he was raised from the dead, and that he was with his disciples for forty days after his resurrection, and that he ascended to heaven. We know the many promises in scripture that he will return to this world. The world will be redeemed, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth.

Perhaps it is evident that there would be no Christianity, no church, no hope, were it not for Jesus Christ. The transformation of the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus; the rapid growth and development of the church would have been absolutely impossible without the resurrection. Let us be renewed and refreshed in the good news of the resurrection of our Savior. HE IS RISEN!

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!