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.
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THE LIFE TO COME

"Behold the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them." Revelation 21:3

“Behold the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them.” Revelation 21:3  (Image from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel)

Many people in the USA are discouraged in these times. The increase in racial tension has been unexpected. The political differences within the nation have become sharper. Honesty and truthfulness have suffered. The brightness of a world, that we might have dreamed of, has lost much of its luster. Study the history of the world from 4000 B.C. to the present. We have never given up taking the property of others, killing and slaughtering one another, even rejoicing in the damage that has been caused. God warned us with the 10th Commandment:

“You shall not covet your neighbors’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant or his ox, or his ass nor anything that is you neighbor’s.”

God teaches us so that we may have better lives, and avoid the things that damage us. Do we value his teaching?

Of course, we should do our best in this life to make things good for others as well as for ourselves. We should be honest about our limitations. We need large sections of the teachings of the Bible to find as much truth and understanding, as is possible. The book of Revelation is the last book in the Bible. There are pictures and words in it that we may find difficult. However, it is a forward looking book that warns us of danger, but offers to us great hope.

1. Heaven is a holy place. Because God is holy, everything about heaven must be appropriate for enjoying the presence of God.

“But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” Revelation 21:27

2. Heaven involves being a new person. The Bible teaches us that we each have a unique identity. We will surely retain that uniqueness in the life to come. Nonetheless, God begins a new work in our lives.

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now, and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8:22,23

3. The life to come is being like Jesus Christ, not in his Divine nature, but in the quality of life that he represents.

“…until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13

4. Heaven is being with God.

“I heard a great voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them.” Revelation 21:3

Our knowledge will increase immeasurably. God is the greatest scientist. He is the mathematician par excellence. He is the consummate musician and artist. The expansion of one’s knowledge and capacity to reason in the future life will be absolutely incredible. Surely our senses will be greatly enhanced. Our Savior said that “we will be like the angels in heaven”. The gospel means “good news”.

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

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

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

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Dr Foster H. Shannon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

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




IMMEDIATELY THEY LEFT THEIR NETS AND FOLLOWED HIM

Raphael, The_Miraculous_Draught_of_Fishes_(1515)

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:20)

All of us who believe in Jesus Christ should have a hearty desire to grow in his grace. Christianity is not static; it is dynamic. We are not to stand still. We are to grow in our Savior. I Peter 2;2,3, “As new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby. If so be you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” So how do we grow? We are to be faithful students of the word of God. We are to assess our God-given talents and find ways to serve him. This means that we set aside a time each day that belongs to the Lord, to study his word, meditate on it, and pray.

“O Lord, in the morning you do hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you, and watch.” (Psalm 5:3)

Not infrequently, there are things that stand in our way, not bad in themselves, nonetheless, we have to be freed from them that we may love God and walk with our Saviour. Thus, the analogy of the runner in Hebrews 12:1,

“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,”

The runner could legally carry weights, but he does not want to, because they would impede him. In Luke 18:18-25, we have the account of the rich ruler who came to Jesus asking how he could have eternal life. He addressed Jesus as “good teacher”. Jesus responded, how did you know that I am good, since only God is good? Jesus listed a number of the commandments for him, and the rich man affirmed that he had observed them since his youth. Jesus told him that he lacked one thing:

“Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

The message here is that one cannot be saved simply by keeping the commandments (because no one can keep them fully and completely). We are not saved by works, but by faith. Salvation is a gift. I believe that Jesus was telling this man that there was an obstacle between himself and God that had to be dealt with. He was in love with his riches instead of in love with God. Jesus gave him an amazing offer: that he was to sell all that he had, give to the poor, and become a follower of Jesus. Jesus understood that what he owned stood between him and God. Jesus wanted to set him free. If we find ourselves loving property, or adventure, or fame more than God, we are on the wrong path. Peter and Andrew, James and John gave up their fishing business to follow Jesus. It is good for us to look within ourselves for those things that we love more than we love God. Our salvation is not in our good deeds, but in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, whereby he paid for all of our sins in offering himself on the cross in place of our punishment. All of us have things that we must leave when we come to the cross.

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.
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GOD SEEKS OUR WELL BEING

Creación_de_Adám

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

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

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

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

“Do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Our Lord also tells us that we will encounter difficulties.

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

Consider Psalm 103:1-5:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

 Thank you.

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

We Have God'sTelephone Number!  Jeremiah 33:3

We Have God’sTelephone Number! Jeremiah 33:3

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Here is a passage of scripture that is very good to start the new year with:

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

No anxiety—no worry? Wow! Don’t we have concerns? Do things always go well for us? How can we not be concerned? Where do we get the idea of not being concerned? I think, because in Jesus Christ we find the fulfillment of all of our needs. Even in disappointments we know that he will be with us.

1. We are loved of God.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

2. Believing in Jesus Christ we have forgiveness of sins, and are enfolded into God’s family.

“For all who are led by the Spirit are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

“it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:16,17)

3. God gives us purpose.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9)

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”

4. We are enabled of God.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties 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)

5. We are assured of a marvelous future:

“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (I Corinthians 15: 49)

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” I Corinthians 2:9)

“Thou dost show me, the path of life; in thy presence there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

 Thank you.

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

shepherds see angels

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

The greatest Christmas gift is Jesus Christ! We are impressed with the gifts which the Magi brought: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts were expensive and impressive. They inspire the giving of gifts during the Christmas season. However, the major giver for Christmas is God the Father, who gave his only begotten Son so that we might have forgiveness of our sins and gain an eternity in his presence.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Gifts are important at Christmas, are they not? Think of how the children look forward to Christmas day and the opening of gifts for which they have longed. Indeed, there are relatively few who are not enticed—and looking forward to receiving a gift at Christmas. We give Christmas gifts out of love. Sometimes we give Christmas gifts to impress. Some may even give Christmas gifts to outdo someone else in their giving. The purchase of Christmas gifts has become an important factor in our economy. We all know of Black Friday: the Friday after Thanksgiving, when the department stores claim to begin making a profit for the year. The commotion regarding Christmas has become an important economic factor for many businesses.

We read in Romans 3:24,

“…they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,” “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God…” (Ephesians 2:8)

We note that gifts are given without any expectation of payment on the part of the receiver. Thus, when we speak of salvation we see it as an act of God’s grace. We are undeserving; unable to repay!

Much of the Christmas music that we cherish and enjoy reminds us of the greatness and glory of our God—and that the true riches are to be found in him. There is a lesson from the gospel of John, chapter four, when Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman near the well.

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink’, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)

“Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King;

Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!

Joyful, all ye nations, rise, Join the triumph of the skies;

With the angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hail the heaven born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings, Risen with healing in His wings,

Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die,

Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to Give them second birth.”

CHRISTMAS IS A TIME TO HUMBLY RECEIVE THE GREAT GIFT THAT GOD GIVES US

IN JESUS CHRIST—AND TO EXPRESS OUR ADORATION OF HIM.

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

 Thank you.

More about Foster… Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
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THANKSGIVING DAY, THURSDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2014

Thankyou-God-adjBy Dr. Foster H. Shannon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

 Thank you.

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





 

GOD DOES NOT WANT US TO BE ALONE

fellowship by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

I am writing this in a motel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We are currently on a thee week road trip from from Los Angeles through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. We were in Dallas for four days for the Fellowship of Presbyterians/ECO Gathering. There were at least 1300 in attendance. We had the opportunity to be one of the Exhibitors. We presented almost all of the books that we sell through Green Leaf Press, and sold a good number of them. I appreciated the opportunity to talk with many who came to our table. We have seen great beauty along the way in fantastic variety. We are blessed in what we see: grandeur, vegetation, and animal life. What also impresses me are the people: friends, family, and brief contacts. Our relationships with other people are of great importance! Renewing and strengthening relationships is very meaningful. God did not create us to live our lives alone. We need other people. How wonderful when you eat in a restaurant and the staff are courteous and kind to you; that friends and family are glad to see you. People are important to us. The Bible recognizes the importance of personal relationships, so it gives us commandments and instructions. Part of it is that we don’t put other people down to raise ourselves up. Consider the following: “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 2:3,4) We live in a day when many people are discouraged by failures in the governments, drug abuse, all kinds of violence and crime, and the terrorists and evil people in the world at large. If we believe in Jesus, we must reckon with the reality of evil. We cannot wish it away. However, we must continue strong and courageous in his presence and goodness. We have much to encourage us: 1. We are loved by God

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16)

2. We are created in the image of God

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

3. We belong to God. We are enfolded into his family

“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12)

4. We are joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

“We are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” (Romans 8:16,17)

5. We are appointed to serve God.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (John 6:33)

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

6. We are destined for a beautiful, eternal relationship with our Savior.

“…and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

“Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)


Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

 Thank you.

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