HEAVEN

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

What is life about? The beginning, the middle, the end? Is it good or is it bad? Do we just live, or do we have a purpose in our living? For some people, it is just to get by. The Bible gives us instructions so that we can have a good life.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great 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, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

This passage from the Bible reminds us that there is a good life to be lived. But what about the end, death and burial and mourning?

The Word of God affirms that there is something great beyond this life for all who have believed in and entrusted themselves to Jesus Christ. That is, that the believer will dwell with God forever in Heaven.

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the first born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of the just man made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.” (Hebrews 12:22-24)

All who believe in Jesus Christ are destined for Heaven:

“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)

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building form God, a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens. (II Corinthians 5:1)

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)

“But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Philippians 3:20,21)

What is Heaven like? It is being a new person. It is being akin to Christ. It is being with God and seeing the magnificence and beauty of his glory.

“The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will! Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!” (Psalm 103:19-22)

We do not want to demean this life. There are many good things for those who will believe in and honor God. Nonetheless, when we look about, we see the murders in Chicago, the awful behavior of Stephen Paddock who murdered fifty people in Las Vegas and wounded 400 more. Harvey Weinstein, prominent and successful in Hollywood, who sexually harassed scores of women. We could go further with Isis in the Middle East and Kim Jong-Un in North Korea.

The life that God calls us to is incredibly better than what we see on earth all too often. God calls us to his life and his kingdom—in this life and in the life to come. We have many reasons to be joyful.

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!




 

WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE

plant-hands-2

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

As we look forward to the new year, we should remember that Christianity is dynamic; in it we find new life. We are drawn by God to believe in him. We understand that Jesus Christ is our redeemer; that we are accountable for our sins, and that Jesus went to the cross for that very reason. He suffered for our sins. He paid the penalty that was our due. So we commit our lives to him. We find forgiveness and acceptance through Jesus Christ. We affirm our faith in him. We are baptized in his name. We rejoice in our salvation. Ours is a living religion. As we believe in Jesus Christ, we are to walk with him. We are to grow in his grace.

The book of Romans teaches us of our salvation in Jesus Christ. It further reminds us that we are to become the people that God would have us to be. The believer has the calling to align his or her life with the will and purposes of God. The Bible gives the name sanctification to the process of Christian growth. Believing in Christ, we belong to him. We are members of his family. We are brothers and sisters with all who believe in our Savior.

“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? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”~Romans 6:1-4

We are to grow in the grace of God, because he is preparing us to live with him for all eternity! Our destiny is with our Lord in heaven.

“And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” ~ II Corinthians 3:18

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

As we look forward to the new year, let us look with confidence in our Savior that we will be growing in his grace. We are to be like a growing tree:

“He is like a tree planted by the streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers.” ~ Psalm 1:3

We can celebrate the New Year with the psalmist:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” ~Psalm 27:1

THE CHRISTIAN DOES NOT SEE THIS LIFE AS THE END!

“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

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




 

PRINCE OF PEACE

manger_scene

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

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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