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?

WHY DOES GOD ALLOW EVIL TO EXIST?

Illustration from Foster Shannon’s Book, “The Scroll With Seven Seals”: http://www.gogreenleaf.com/the-scroll-with-seven-seals-what-the-book-of-revelation-really-says/

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

One of the questions asked by both believers and unbelievers is, “Why does God allow evil to exist?” We approach the subject of evil with humility. We recognize hat there are multitudes of factors that are beyond our understanding. The arguments from atheists and others go something like this:

  1. A good God would destroy evil.
  2. An all powerful God could destroy evil.
  3. Evil is not destroyed. Therefore God cannot be good, nor can he be all-powerful.

If we insist that God must not allow evil, then He should never allow inconveniences or disappointments. Neither would He allow warfare and disease. Should He not always protect us from traffic accidents and arguments? Should He not be responsible to see that in marriage, we never have a disagreement? If God is good, is it right for Him to deny us any pleasure? How is it that people can blame God for the bad things that occur, yet not be willing to praise Him for the good things that He pours out upon us? Are the atheists sulking, because God cannot be treated as if he were Aladdin’s genie?

God is not our enemy! We commit all kinds of sin, and then we ask why does not God do something about it? The answer is that God teaches us in the Scriptures regarding the kind of life that we should live. Through the new birth, He enables us to live virtuous lives. Reckoning with our sin and our inability to save ourselves, God is calling us to trust in Him for our salvation.

Where does the critic get the moral authority to sit in judgment upon God? Does our behavior throughout history, confirm us as wise and competent judges? Our troubles as human beings are the consequences of our own wrongs and sins. We fight wars. We steal from one another. We murder people whom we hate, or from whom we would take their possessions. Our primary enemy is not society; it is ourselves. We commit sins of all kinds, and then we ask why does God not do something about it? The answer is that God teaches us in the Scriptures regarding the kind of life that we should live. Through the new birth, God enables us to live virtuous lives. Reckoning with our sin and our inability to save ourselves, God is calling us to trust in him for our salvation:

“And there is salivation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts :12)

We live in a world that is in turmoil. We see it in the violence in the streets in many American cities; in the killing that continues in Syria and Iraq, with little hope of resolve. We see it in the governing regime in North Korea. We see it in the city of Chicago with a murder rate that is out of control, much of it blacks killing blacks.

Our future and our hope is with our Savior. He is our teacher. He is our helper. He is the God who will save us. “The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom then shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

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 A TREASURE

“Buy the TRUTH and sell it NOT!” Proverbs 23:23 . . . . . . . . . … The truth never dies. Live the TRUTH.

“Buy the TRUTH and sell it NOT!” Proverbs 23:23 . . . . . . . . . … The truth never dies. Live the TRUTH.

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

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.” (John 8:31,32) Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?”  Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.”  Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”  (John 18:37,38) Like Pilate, many today fail to honor the truth!

The Bible tells us that great power is in the truth. We all long for the truth and hope for the truth. The Bible also warns against the dangers of lying. If you go to a pharmacy to have a prescription filled, you expect the truth; something else has not been substituted. If you purchase an airline ticket to Beijing, you do not expect to be delivered to Tripoli.

I have served on a number of juries. My guess is that I have been called about ten times and served about six times. I currently have a call from the Superior Court to be ready to serve in August. I remember the instruction that we were given by the judge in one case: “If you perceive that the defendant is lying, you can conclude that he is probably guilty.”

Lying is like throwing sand into a well running machine. It messes up life. It can ruin relationships. Lying does more damage than we realize, and the liar fails to realize that people will stop trusting him. We have to hope that our candidates for President in the USA will be restrained in exaggerations, and remember that we have a Senate and a House of Representatives!

The Bible warns us that lying is offensive to God. John 8:44, [The devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  Revelation 22:15, “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murders and idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood”

I write this because I want to encourage us in our advocacy for our God, for our Savior. Truth has great power, and it cannot be overcome with falsehood. The liar always presents his untruths as if they were truths. The words of the Bible are true. They meet the tests of time, and they meet the tests of reality in our lives. We should not be ashamed to speak of the truth of God and of the Bible. Anthony Ashley Cooper Shaftesbury, English politician, philosopher and writer said, “Truth is the most powerful thing in the world, since even fiction itself must be governed by it, and can only please by its resemblance.” 

In Ephesians, chapter six, we are reminded of the contest between good and evil, between what is right and what is wrong. We read:

 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”

We are privileged to serve our Savior, and to speak for him.

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




 

Good 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.
Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!




 

THE BLESSINGS OF GOD

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

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

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew11:28-20, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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

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

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




 

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!




 

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!




 

SURPRISE AND DISAPPOINTMENT

 

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

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

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." Hebrews 13:6

“So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:6

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.” (I John 5:19)

“Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.” (I Peter 5:8)

These two passages, on the surface, are not good news. The presence of evil is manifest when we go astray and depart the path of goodness. It is fair for us to ask where do we find deliverance? Where is the help that we need? We tend to use the word, evil, for behavior and sin that has reached an extreme level: Natzism and the Holocaust, Issis in the Middle East, Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighboring countries, parents who murder their children and children who murder their parents. These remind us of the capacities that human beings have for great evil. The disregard of God, and ignoring one’s conscience can lead to human behavior that is detestable and horrible.

We live in a world that is in turmoil. We see it in the violence in the streets in many American cities; in the killing that continues in Syria and Iraq, with little hope of resolve. We see it in the wickedness of the governing regime in North Korea. We see it in the city of Chicago, with a murder rate that is out of control; much of it blacks killing blacks. We saw it in in the foolish recklessness and vandalism that occurred in Huntington Beach, California 21 July 2014. People rioting, not for any cause or belief—just for the delight of destroying and pillaging property and fighting with one another!

We seek for a life that is free of evil. We do not fully understand what there is in our lives that make us say and do and think things that are wrong and are on the borderline of evil. If we, who believe in Jesus Christ, have a strong desire to please him—that makes an important difference. We are not sinless, we still struggle with our sin, nonetheless, we recognize that God has made a difference in our lives. While that is very good, it may lead us to underestimate the power of evil and the damage that it does. In other words, all of us are to be on our guard.

As we ponder some of these things, what are we to do? The Bible urges us to be strong:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

“Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (I Corinthians 16:13,14)

We are to be students of the word of God. We are to worship regularly. We are to avoid associates with those who themselves are evil. We are to keep company with those who can be helpful and encouraging to us. Our God is well able to deliver us from the bondage of sin, and to lead us in the paths of righteousness.

“He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:2,3)

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!




WHAT IS THE SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEMS?

"I am the vine, and you are the branches . . ."

“I am the vine, and you are the branches . . .”

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

We have been doing a study at home on the book of Philippians. It is worthwhile, enjoyable and good. This last week I was struck by one passage:

“that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” (Philippians 2:15)  

Wow! this was written about 62 A.D. by the Apostle Paul. Who can find anything appealing in “a crooked and perverse generation”? Don’t we want to live in peace among people who are all good? What is happening to us?

We live with a lot of problems: a vicious drug traffic that is doing great damage to our neighbors in Mexico, that is enabled by the people in North America who are buying the drugs. In doing so, they not only contribute to evil, but those who use the drugs do damage to themselves. Mothers who destroy their unborn children; more than one-third of our children being raised in homes without a father; a devastating homicide rate, much worse among the black population; mass killings in public areas by young males, most of whom are white. Overseas, the incredible manifestations of evil seen in the blood-thirsty actions of ISIS in Syria, in Iraq and in neighboring countries. Boco Haram in Nigeria are killing and kidnaping thousands of people, and treating them terribly.

It is proper to ask, Is there a remedy? And the answer is yes. The God who created us loves us and desires for us to have good lives: to rejoice in our Lord, to obey his teachings, to sing and dance in his presence.

What are we to do? We abuse others, steal, lie, and embezzle. We eat too much and drink too much, honoring pagan gods that encourage us to “eat and drink and be merry”. 

We do better to begin with the Ten Commandments, continue with the Old Testament prophets, and regularly study the teachings of Jesus and of the apostles in the New Testament. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to take care with our speech, that we avoid disparaging others. It appears that many Christians hit their high point when they believe in Jesus and are baptized, which is vital. But we are to grow in knowledge and strength—not assuming that now we can just get along with our regular lives. The point is this: If we want good for ourselves and others, we must draw closer to our Lord, and encourage others to believe in him.

Our God is a magnificent healer, but we have to want to be healed. We do that by reading and considering his word—by doing our best to order our lives according to his teachings—to recognize that we cannot make it on our own; that we need his help.

“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)

Foster H. Shannon
P.S. I have appreciated hearing from a number of you. However, every response that I have made has been returned as undeliverable.
To get in touch with me please use this email address:   fjshannon[at]sbcglobal[dot]net  
Reformat the email address by placing the @symbol where I wrote [at] and a (.) where I wrote [dot].
I wrote it this way to cut down on the automatic robots that look for email addresses to send spam messages to.

 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!