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.
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SANCTIFICATION

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6;1,2)

I hope that you find what follows to be of encouragement and help: Sanctification may sound extra religious to many people. But sanctification represents good news. In essence it means that we can become better people in our walk with Jesus Christ. The Bible puts considerable value in sanctification. The words sanctify and sanctification are found throughout the Bible about seventy times.

Sanctification brings good news to us. It means that God is going to make us better people; that we may grow in his grace. Sanctification means that with the teaching of the scriptures and our obedience to our God, our lives will give evidence that we belong to Jesus Christ. We cannot claim to be perfect. We still struggle with sins in our lives, and must come to our Savior for his forgiveness.

When we look around us, we see and hear of things that we do not like; that offend us: stealing, lying, violence, killing; some parents abusing their children; husbands and wives disrespecting and harming one another. God has a better life for each one of us. We are not alone in the process of living. God stands by us .

“I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification.” (Romans 6:19)

“So put away all malice and guile and insincerity and envy and all slander. Like newborn babies long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” (I Peter 2:1-3)

“I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:9)

“Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am the Lord your God. Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctify you.” (Leviticus 20:7, 8)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witness, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin with clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:1,2)

“Now to him, who by the power at work within us, is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20)

It is good news that God is enabling better people! We are not on our own, we have a great God to help us!

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




 

RESPECT FOR OTHERS

vintage-boxing

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

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. ~ Psalm 103:2-5

“Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” ~ John 8:31, 32

PRINCE OF PEACE

manger_scene

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

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




 

TRUTH IS TO BE CHERISHED

bible-light-rays-web

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

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

Pilate then asked him, “What is truth?”

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

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

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

The Christian religion has to do with objective truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (II Corinthians 2:14)

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




 

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!