THE TRUTH OF THE WORD OF GOD IS EVIDENT

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

We live in the world, hoping that it will be good, but to our dismay, we find it filled with much evil: thievery, deceit, murder, warfare, adultery, licentiousness. The Bible makes sense. Its message is the same from beginning to end. It tells us what we are and why we are. It lays out a path for us that we may have a good life. God created the universe, the world in which we live. He created the plants and the animals, and he created men and women in his image.

Either the universe just happened without any explanation, or it was planned and conceived by God. It is a contradiction to say that the universe and all that is in it, just happened! Without God there would be nothing. Those who affirm intelligent design are right.

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse;” (Romans 1:18,19)

Regarding this issue, read Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, and a dozen others who are on our Green Leaf Press book list. Check our website, www.gogreenleaf.com for books that will enlighten you and encourage you, and help you to be a teacher of others.

God has rightly assessed our human nature. We are sinners who foolishly ignore and contradict the word of God. The Bible warns clearly and accurately of the dangers of evil; that multitudes have chosen darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil. The Bible states that we all are in conflict with evil. We must reject 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)

God provides a path of salvation for all who will believe in him. God understands that we have no ability to save ourselves. Because of our inability, he has taken our salvation upon himself. Salvation is in Jesus Christ. We ask him to forgive us of our sins that we might belong to God. We are warned in Scripture that there are many who will not believe, and their future will be disaster.

“I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36,37)

“Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. He who does good is of God; he who does evil has not seen God.” (3 John 11)

Jesus invites us to entrust ourselves to Him.

The words of Jesus from John, chapter 10:

I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and go in and go out and find pasture.”

“I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.”

“I give them eternal life and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.”

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!




 

MAKING DECISIONS

decision2

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

All of us must make decisions. What time do we get up in the morning? My dear wife has to decide what it is that we should eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (yes, I do give her some suggestions and some help). What college should I attend? What vocation shall I choose? How shall I dress today? Which bills should I pay first? Where shall we go on vacation?

We have the responsibility to choose what we shall believe. There are only so many options: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, Agnosticism, New Age, (Syncretism, a mixture of religions) We should choose the one that is most true, that makes sense, that is most consistent, that upholds goodness and avoids harm. In the world in which we live, we have seven choices. Atheism and Agnosticism are choices of disbelieving in God or questioning the likelihood of God’s existence. Every person has a choice to make, whether they like it or not. There is either the wrong religion or the right religion. I think it is essential to remind people that they only have seven choices, and which choice they make is vitally important!

We live in the world, hoping that all will be good, but to our dismay, we find it filled with much evil: Thievery, jealousy, cruelty, lying, deceit, murder, warfare, adultery, licentiousness. Where is the path to goodness? The Bible makes sense. Its message is the same from beginning to end. It tells us what we are and why we are. It lays out a path for us that we may have a good life. God created the universe, the world that we live in. He created the plants and the animals, and he created men and women in his image.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1,2)

We know that we need to be better people. There are many people who are incredibly bad. The Bible speaks to this reality. It urges upon us a good life. God seeks our salvation. We find salvation in Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for our sins. It is only in Jesus Christ that we find forgiveness and new life. The Bible assesses our situation far better than any other religion.

God provides a path of salvation for all who will believe in him and trust him. God understands that we have no ability to save ourselves. Because of our inability, he has taken our salvation upon himself. Jesus came to Earth for the people of this planet. He offered himself up for our sins. God is triune; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ came to Earth in order to atone for our sins. We cannot atone for our sins. The heavenly Father punished his innocent Son for our sins. Jesus is our Savior. With the sacrifice of his life, he paid the penalty for our sin. We are invited to believe in him, trust in him, obey him, rejoice in him. In these matters Christianity is unique.

On making decisions, make sure to watch this special interview with Foster, on the Book of Revelation:
Click on the image above to see excerpts from an interview with Dr. Shannon talking about the book of Revelation!

Click on the image above to see the video.

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!




 

FAITH AND CONFIDENCE

lion-in-mirror

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“If my people, who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

I was ordained for ministry in March 1959, since before that time and to the present, I have been preaching, teaching, and writing about the significance and meaning of the Bible. I understand that some people are confused by the Bible, and frankly others have chosen to reject it. The foundation of what the Bible teaches is that we are to have a living relationship with our God forever. That God has created the universe and all forms of life. That God has created us in his image; we are his offspring, and he desires that we live with him forever.

The essential matter for all of us is that we are to live in obedience with what God teaches us. A serious obstacle is the powers and forces of evil that would draw us into their realm. We need understanding, and we are faced with choices—and all too frequently we may be tempted by what is at hand instead of the grace and mercy and glory of God. Even the best of Christians will acknowledge that they struggle with their sin (they have made wrong choices).

Our God understands our predicament. We need forgiveness. In the Old Testament times, that forgiveness came through confession, repentance, and offering sacrifices. Even though we are dealing with more than two thousand years in the Old Testament, we learn that our forgiveness and salvation comes through Jesus Christ: the atonement and salvation that was made possible through the cross of Jesus Christ.

“For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” II Corinthians 5:21

God took upon himself our salvation, as he came into this world as Jesus Christ. God is triune, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father condemned the Son on the cross for our sins, we receive him by believing in him, and seeking forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

Remember the words of Joshua 24:15,

“Choose you this day whom you will serve.”

We are responsible to cast our lot with our Savior. In him, we find forgiveness for all of our sins. Our salvation is not in us. It is in the grace and mercy of God in placing our sins in our beloved Savior.

“[Jesus] came to his own home and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:11-13

The words of Jesus:

“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 10L27,28

We can look into an imaginary mirror, and become disgusted with ourselves. We need to look to Jesus and trust in him. He is our Savior. His promises are sure.

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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FORGIVENESS

forgive-me
By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Please Read: Matthew 18:23-35

A very rich king had loaned ten thousand talents to one of his servants. This would be a very large sum, probably the equivalent of several million dollars today. After a period of time, the king called upon the servant to repay what he had borrowed. The servant said he no longer had the money; he could not pay. As a consequence the king ordered the servant to be sold with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment would be made for them. The servant was shocked, he fell on his knees and begged the king to forgive him and that somehow, he would be able repay the loan. The king had pity on him, and ordered him released, and the debt forgiven.

The text tells us that when he went out, he met a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii (call it one hundred dollars). He grabbed the servant by the neck, and demanded that repayment be made. The servant was unable to repay, so he fell down on his knees, and begged for forgiveness. The king’s servant ordered his fellow servant to be put in prison, until he should pay the debt. Other servants reported to the king what he had done. The king summoned the servant who had been forgiven much. The king rebuked him, and ordered him put in jail until full payment be made. Jesus said, “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

The meaning of this parable is obvious. We come to God seeking forgiveness for all of our sins, because Jesus paid the penalty for our sins on the cross. He forgives us for every sin: what we have thought, what we have said, what we have done. We need to seek his forgiveness every day!

Matthew 18:21, “Then Peter came up and said to him, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

I hope that we all get the point! What God has done in forgiving us is exceedingly greater than any forgiveness we may give. When we forgive a member of our family, or an employer, or a teacher, or someone that made an unfilled promise—we must not carry around the faults of others for all of our lives. It will dishonor our Savior. Our hurt can turn into bitterness; we can become slaves in resentment; we can even become self-righteous.

Our Lord wants us to be free of resentment and hatred. I am not suggesting that we should commend bad manners, or crime, or evil. We honor our Lord when we look through the cross of salvation and forgive. Indeed, we can rejoice in the grace and mercy of our Lord! We can show our gratitude through our faith and our loyalty.

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!




 

NEW LIFE IN CHRIST

"...neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:39

“…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold the new has come.” (II Corinthians 5:17)

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)

“Like newborn babes, 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 2:2,3)

We have new birth by the Spirit of God. It is proper to say that in Christ we are born anew. How is it that we are new? We are less centered in ourselves and more centered in God. We now live in God’s realm other than in our realm or the realm of the world. We become students of the Bible. We know that God loves us. We do not see life as meaningless. We understand that we are accountable to God. We do what is right, because the Bible teaches us. We are delivered from confusion concerning good and evil.

We have the desire that others believe in Jesus as we have. Jesus Christ becomes our leader and our guide. We seek to do unto others as we would wish others to do unto us. (Matthew 7:12) We accept the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) as a chief guide for our lives. We learn to love our neighbors, desiring what is best for them. We seek God’s guidance regarding our schooling—our vocation—our marriage. In the realm of marriage we learn to give up our selfishness, and seek the well being of husband or wife.

We seek God’s counsel in rearing our children. We teach them about the Bible and about Jesus Christ. We understand that we are living under the wings of God’s protection. Therefore, we take care of what we eat and what we drink. We do not presume upon God, and risk harming our bodies. We understand that sexual intercourse is a blessing in marriage, and a sin and stumbling block outside of marriage.

We pray for the wellbeing of others. We know that God will deliver us from sin, and protect us from harm. We are not pessimistic, because we know that we are in God’s hands, and that we will live in his presence, in his glory, in the incredible beauty of heaven—for all eternity.

As Christians, we are on the winning team. Many of the rioters that we see are confused. They lack a compass. They are looking for meaning, and not finding it. They need to find a relationship with Jesus, the light of the world. We have the opportunity to help other people.

“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 gentile and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

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!




 

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!




 

HEAVEN

"...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 (KJV)

“…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 (KJV)

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

This life has its ups and downs. Its disappointments and victories. Its truths and its falsehoods. One can live a life of discouragement and loss—or one of sound hope and joy. If you think of life as a book, the last chapter has to be fulfilled. For the one who believes in Christ, the last chapter is Heaven, eternal joy with our great God. Hopefully, we all have visions for success in business, in education, in music, in politics, in writing and more—but all of these are just on the way; important and significant, but not final. Our destiny is either with God – or with eternal separation from God!

Someone asked me, “When we are in Heaven will we just sit on a cloud playing a harp? Is that all there will be in eternity?”

Similar questions illustrate the paucity of the knowledge and imagination of many when it comes to contemplation of the life to come. When we bring together all of the teachings in the Bible regarding Heaven (even though we do not see as clearly as we might like) we surely will realize that it will, indeed, be a marvelous, wonderful life!

“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)

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

“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)

An important observation that we might make about heaven is that it gives substance, meaning to life; for living this life according to the will of God. Rene Pache wrote in his very fine book, The Future Life,

“If another world does not exist, nothing in this life makes any sense.”

All that is wrong will be made right by God. His judgment will come upon those who disregard him, and his blessing upon those who believe in him. Awareness and belief in the life to come is vital to maintaining the present life in its proper perspective. We are limited, both by our experience and by the limitations of human reason, because we are not yet ready for the full disclosure of the heavenly vision, just as a three year old is not ready for many of the realities of adulthood.

Heaven is a holy place (in full trust with the character of Jesus Christ). Everything in heaven must be in harmony with the presence of God.

“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)

Wherever we are—in success or failure—in sickness or in health, we can always rejoice in our Lord and in his salvation!

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.
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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