WE HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF SERVING OUR LORD

1 Chronicles 29:14b “…Everything comes from You, and all we give comes from Your hand.”

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

In 1960; President, John F. Kennedy, said in his Inaugural address,

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” 

The message was that if we receive, we are to give. It is disappointing to run into people whose only concern is what they can get. We receive great riches in Jesus Christ: He teaches us how to properly live our lives. He nurtures and strengthens us. He paid the penalty for our sins on the cross. We are his children. It is appropriate for us to become his servants.

BELIEF—WORSHIP—SERVING

It is most important that we hear the word of God; that we believe in Jesus Christ; that we affirm him as our Savior and are baptized. We ask God to guide us and to care for us. We are to honor him and to obey him. God calls us to serve him. He gives us gifts that fit; that are appropriate:

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are vanities of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (I Corinthians 12:4-7)

We who believe in Christ are called upon to serve God.

“And these words which I command you this day shall be on your hearts; and you shall teach them diligently to your children.” (Deuteronomy 6:6) 

“Keep my commandments and you will live, keep my teachings as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 7:2,3) 

“And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and in earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:19,20)

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

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom…”  (Colossians 3:16) 

“I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”  (Jude, verse 3)

“…and what you have heard from me before many witness entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

“You are the light of the world….Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13 & 16)

We are to bow before the authority of our Lord! We are to grow in his grace. We are to expect opportunities to serve him. We are to prepare ourselves so that we can adequately give others reasons to believe.

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!




 

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Yesterday, we sat with some friends to view eastward the San Gabriel Valley from our balcony that is on a ridge about 300 feet above the Valley Floor. The fireworks celebrations, in surrounding cities and homes, was impressive. It underlines the importance of the Declaration of Independence. Today is one day after the fourth of July, one of the great celebrations of our nation. It was on the fourth of July, 1776 that fifty-six prominent men signed the Declaration of Independence. Forty were members of churches. The others were either Deists or Unitarians. The largest church number was twelve Presbyterians.

What was the basis for political separation of twelve colonies from Great Britain? The colonists viewed King George III (1738-1820)as a tyrant seeking to dominate the thirteen colonies from the British Isles. What was their rationale? It was that God was sovereign, and that he willed freedom for his people. The king had ordered unreasonable taxes on the colonies. He had sent British troops and German mercenaries to bring the colonies under his will.

What was the rationale of the colonists?: That a sovereign God had given them freedom. What follows is the beginning statement of the Declaration of Independence:

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, their separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinion of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

…“appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions,”…“And, for the support of the declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

The background of this declaration was the Great Awakening led by Jonathan Edwards, Gilbert Tennent, John Wesley, and George Whitefield, “The Great Awakening was an evangelical and revitalization movement that swept Protestant America and especially the American Colonies in the 1730s and 1740s, leaving a permanent impact on American Protestants “ (Wikipedia)

Whitefield had a great love for America. He sailed to America in 1739, 1744, 1754, 1764, and 1769. He drew exceedingly large crowds, and made an impressive impact. He became a friend of Deist Benjamin Franklin, who published many of his sermons, in his weakly paper. Franklin was awestruck with Whitefield’s oratorical power. The result of the Great Awakening was that a great foundation was laid for the Declaration of Independence, 13 July 1776!

We believe that the Bible is the word of God, that it is given to us through prophets and apostles. The Bible emphasizes truth and condemns lying and deceit. It reminds us that God is sovereign, and that we are to believe and honor him. He teaches us to treasure what is right and to avoid what is wrong. Selfishness, cheating, stealing, lying, deceiving can do great damage to any society. The Bible teaches us to respect and help others:

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

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!




 

CALLED TO SERVE

With GOD as the HEAD… We can be the Arms and Legs!

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

God has rightly assessed our human nature. We are sinners who foolishly ignore and contradict the word of God. The Bible warns of the dangers of evil, that multitudes have chosen darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil. Adam and Eve, whom God made, rebelled against God and turned to sin, rejecting God’s teaching and guidance. That rebellious spirit has been our inheritance ever since. The Bible teaches that we all are in conflict with evil. We must flee evil and not embrace it.

“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 the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:17 & 19)

What the Bible says about human beings is accurate. He calls upon us to turn to him. From God flows discernment, truth, righteousness, goodness, understanding, and salvation. God wants us to be people of integrity, adhering to the truth, keeping promises, doing what is right, loving what is good.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1,2)

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

We have the privilege of learning about Jesus, believing in him, finding life in him. He teaches us what is right. We need to be his followers. He bids us join him in his ministry in this life.

“But seek first [the Father’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:30)

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

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation God’s own people that you may that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (I Peter 1:9)

As believers in Jesus Christ we are not a separate clan loosely associated with him. We are stunned to realize that we are called to work with and for him.

“And whatever you do in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17)

God has called us to a great service! We my tend to think of Jesus as distant, not closely connected. Actually, he is right with us, wherever we may be. Let us not say that we cannot help. Let us accept the opportunities that he sets before us. Isn’t it great that our Lord needs us in his work! Should we not recognize that we are honored to be called on by our Lord to work with him?

“And [Jesus] said to them , “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” (Luke 10:2)

The Lord calls some to be missionaries—but what about the mission God calls us to, where we are?

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!




 

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.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!




 

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!




 

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!




 

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!




LIGHT AND LIFE AND GOODNESS

lightbulb-lit-for-others

 

 

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

God loves us and desires good for everyone. When we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and are baptized into his name, we enter a new world. We bask in the love of God; we are strengthened in the truth and reliability of the scriptures. We recognize that we are not alone. We have guidance and strength in our Savior.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is
that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Even though we see evil about us, and nations and people doing dreadful things, we know that better days are coming. We know that there is right and there is wrong, and that goodness flows from God.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1,2)
From the apostle Paul:

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own…forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

We belong to our Savior. He is the source of our life, of our well-being. What we do, we do with his counsel and his strength. It is evident that we are not to hold our Savior at arms length. We converse with him in prayer. We seek his guidance, his enablement and strengthening and encouragement. We cannot lead a worthwhile life without him. He is the source of our happiness, of our joy. It is our Savior that make our lives worthwhile. He is the Creator, the Teacher, the Redeemer. In him we find life, and in him life is very good. Jesus said,

“I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Thus, believing in Christ, we are to be the light of the world. Jesus pointed out that we do not light a lamp and then cover it up, rather we want its light to shine. (Matthew 5:14-16) There are those about us who would have us keep to ourselves and be quiet about our faith in Jesus Christ, but we cannot do that. We must not let them intimidate us. We must take great pride in our Savior. We must want others to know about him. There are people about us whom we may encourage.

Almost all of the people in our nation believe that God exists. But they may not read the scriptures, and they may not know much about him. We need not approach people, as if we have righteousness and they have not—but that we have found life in Jesus Christ, and have good news to share. If we love those about us, we must want what is best for them. The best is to be found in the Bible and in our Savior. May God deliver us from arrogance—but may he help us to be generous to the people among whom we live, and encourage them to find the hope and good news that is in Jesus Christ.

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!