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!




 

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




 

MAKING THE BEST OF LIFE

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

"...he leadeth me beside the still waters..." Psalm 23:2

“…he leadeth me beside the still waters…” Psalm 23:2

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (Jesus: John 10:10)

We frequently refer to God as our Heavenly Father–recognizing that he is the epitome of what a father should be. That is, that he looks out for the welfare of his children. In this passage Jesus offers us an abundance of life, not a life of abundance. An abundance of life would be a complete life—a life that is filled with goodness.

Most (not all) parents want what is best for their children. The children may not understand. They may think that their parents have not kept up with the times, and don’t know what is going on in the world. Most of us come to the point when we realize that our parents knew more than we thought; that indeed they were looking out for our welfare. Of course, we recognize that the best intentioned of parents can make mistakes.

But God does not make mistakes. He always wants what is best for us. That is why he gave us the Ten Commandments. He knows that if we live by them we will have better lives for ourselves and for others. But many humans see the Commandments as oppressive; depriving of pleasure. Like the child, we feel that we know better than God. The Bible teaches that to live in God’s will is to have life, and to ignore him and his teachings will result ultimately in disaster.

In this life, we find ourselves in a struggle between what is good for us and for others—and for what we want. The Bible acknowledges this struggle.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5,6) “

All of us can recognize the truth of this passage. Our Savior offers up his life in atonement for our sins, and his teachings for our good. He gave us two basic rules: #1 to love God with our heart and our soul and our mind. #2 to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is good both for us and for our neighbor. In Jesus Christ we find newness of life.

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

Rather than depriving us of life, God gives us life. All of us have choices to make! There are bad and even wicked and evil things to be engaged in. But life is not all bad; the world is not all bad.

We are bidden to grow in Jesus Christ, and to seek the best of life!

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Indeed, the opportunities for wholeness and enjoyment are immeasurable. It is our sin—our perversity—that brings us to choose the evil over the good. In Jesus Christ, God forgives us of our sin, and he sets a path for us that will bring joy.

God is good!

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.

‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!