THE GIFT OF GOD

Mother and Child- by Ruth Elliott at 16 yrs old, in Pen and Ink.)

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Christmas celebrations, rejoicing, and thanksgiving are appropriate for the gift that God gives us in the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. The carols can be wonderful! In the background are the many passages in the Old Testament that foretold the coming of the Messiah.

”Therefore the Lord himself will give a sign. Behold a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6,7)

“In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek and his dwellings shall be glorious.” (Isaiah 11:10)

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah; from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore, he shall give them up until the time when she who is in travail has brought forth.”then the rest of his brethren shall return to the people of Israel.” (Micah 5:2,3)

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son; and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:10-13)

“And Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her: the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34,35) “And Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:38)

Caesar Augustus decreed a census for a large section of the Mediterranean world, that included Judea. As required, Joseph, with Mary, went up to Bethlehem to be enrolled in the census. During that stay, Mary gave birth to Jesus. The inn was filled. They found a place for the baby in a manger. In a nearby region, shepherds were watching their sheep. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them. He told the shepherds not to be afraid—that the Christ was born. The shepherds came to the manger. They told Mary and Joseph of what the angels had said to them.

They met the prophetess, Anna, who gave thanks to God, and spoke of Jesus to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. They returned to Nazareth And the child grew and became strong. They brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. They encountered Simeon, who inspired by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

As we look forward to the growth of Jesus Christ into adulthood, we recognize the magnificent qualities that he posses. He was a great speaker and leader. He is the founder of the Church. He healed many, including raising people from death. He is the greatest man who has ever lived!

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made though him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4)

We give gifts at Christmas time because of the gift that God has given to us, and the example of the Wise Men who came from Persia bringing gifts to the Messiah gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)

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!




 

HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!

the nativity

Photo thanks to Amy Jung

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

We are now in the midst of the Advent Season, the four weeks that precede Christmas Day. It is the time that Christians remember and celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who emptied himself of many of his divine prerogatives, and came as a baby in order to come and dwell among us.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which you have in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

Promises of the miraculous birth, life, death, and the powerful resurrection of our Savior are foretold in the Old Testament. Some of the passages, written more than one thousand years before the birth of the Savior; others hundreds of years before.

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feed, until he comes to whom it belongs; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (Genesis 49:10)

The hope of the believing people of Israel was primarily in the good news of the coming Messiah in scores of passages.

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, Your God reigns.” (Isaiah 52:7)

The greatness, the glory, the magnificence of the coming Messiah was celebrated by the prophets in the Old Testament—and also his suffering.

“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)

One of the promises was that the Messiah would bring a good and perfect government. A major problem in our world continues to be the corruption and evil of many governments: leaders who use their position to benefit themselves at the expense of the people—whom they are supposed to serve.

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

Where is the peace? How is it that we have so little of it? Because when we fail to live by the teachings of scripture, we bring the roof down on our heads. Our Savior teaches us how to live in peace, and we are remiss in following him.

“So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

“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)

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)

These teaching apply to the nations as well as to individuals. If we say and do what we are taught to do, surely we will have an encouraging influence upon others.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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!