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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CHRISTOPHER LANE MURDER

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Dragon chasing an innocent person

“Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.” (I Peter 5:8)

There are approximately 1,500 homicides in the United States every month.
But the murder in mid-day in Oklahoma of Christopher Lane shocks many of us because of its randomness. Chris was in the United States from his native Australia, with a baseball scholarship at East Central University in Oklahoma. He looked forward to receiving his degree, returning to Australia, and beginning in the real estate business. On a nice, August 16, afternoon he was jogging in Duncan, Oklahoma, and was shot in the back and killed by Chancey Allen Luna, age 16, seated in the back seat of the car. He and James Frances Edwards, Jr., seated on the passenger side, age 15, face life in prison without the possibility of parole. The driver of the car Michael Dewayne Jones, age 17, will probably face a lesser sentence.
These three teenagers did not know Chris. They only knew him as a good target in their shooting gallery. So the purposelessness and the senselessness of the murder catches our attention. We wonder why? Of course, many come up with explanations, all of which may have some value: They were poorly educated. They had a bad family background. They were lost, looking for some meaning in life.  They were egregiously psychologically disturbed. Some or all of these things may be true, but underneath them is a root cause—the powers and forces of evil. These young men made choices, and their choices led them to a vicious act.
I suspect it to be politically incorrect to suggest that the devil may, at bottom, be the cause. The scriptures remind us that Lucifer is our spiritual and physical enemy, and that we need to keep our distance from him. “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.” (I Peter 5:8) “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
The evidences of the work of the evil one are all around us in the awful violence in Syria, in the conflicts in Egypt, in marriage disputes that lead to divorce, in thievery, embezzlement, unkindness, etc. The Bible is correct on this account, and those who ignore it and insist on secondary or tertiary causes grope around in the darkness. The powers and forces of evil are formidable. They continue destructive work twenty-four hours a day. One of Satan’s deceptions is that he does not matter very much. He would like for us to believe that he is just a joke. You remember the cute little phrase, the devil made me do it? Sin is seductive and enticing. It is easy to come up with excuses to get a little farther away from God. But sin ultimately captures the sinner; he becomes a slave to his disobedient desires.
John 1:4,5, “In [Jesus] was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” It is a blessing to read the scriptures. It is a blessing to believe in Jesus Christ, and draw near to him. Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;” John 6:67) “It is only when our relationship of glad obedience to God governs everything that we will be truly free.” (Marguerite Shuster, Christianity Today, April, 2013)

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.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. He is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. He is the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, which he established with others in 1981. Green Leaf Press, Inc. 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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