CALLED TO SERVE

With GOD as the HEAD… We can be the Arms and Legs!

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

God has rightly assessed our human nature. We are sinners who foolishly ignore and contradict the word of God. The Bible warns of the dangers of evil, that multitudes have chosen darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil. Adam and Eve, whom God made, rebelled against God and turned to sin, rejecting God’s teaching and guidance. That rebellious spirit has been our inheritance ever since. The Bible teaches that we all are in conflict with evil. We must flee 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)

What the Bible says about human beings is accurate. He calls upon us to turn to him. From God flows discernment, truth, righteousness, goodness, understanding, and salvation. God wants us to be people of integrity, adhering to the truth, keeping promises, doing what is right, loving what is good.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1,2)

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

We have the privilege of learning about Jesus, believing in him, finding life in him. He teaches us what is right. We need to be his followers. He bids us join him in his ministry in this life.

“But seek first [the Father’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:30)

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation God’s own people that you may that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (I Peter 1:9)

As believers in Jesus Christ we are not a separate clan loosely associated with him. We are stunned to realize that we are called to work with and for him.

“And whatever you do in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17)

God has called us to a great service! We my tend to think of Jesus as distant, not closely connected. Actually, he is right with us, wherever we may be. Let us not say that we cannot help. Let us accept the opportunities that he sets before us. Isn’t it great that our Lord needs us in his work! Should we not recognize that we are honored to be called on by our Lord to work with him?

“And [Jesus] said to them , “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” (Luke 10:2)

The Lord calls some to be missionaries—but what about the mission God calls us to, where we are?

TRUTH IS A TREASURE

“Buy the TRUTH and sell it NOT!” Proverbs 23:23 . . . . . . . . . … The truth never dies. Live the TRUTH.

“Buy the TRUTH and sell it NOT!” Proverbs 23:23 . . . . . . . . . … The truth never dies. Live the TRUTH.

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Jesus: “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) Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?”  Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.”  Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”  (John 18:37,38) Like Pilate, many today fail to honor the truth!

The Bible tells us that great power is in the truth. We all long for the truth and hope for the truth. The Bible also warns against the dangers of lying. If you go to a pharmacy to have a prescription filled, you expect the truth; something else has not been substituted. If you purchase an airline ticket to Beijing, you do not expect to be delivered to Tripoli.

I have served on a number of juries. My guess is that I have been called about ten times and served about six times. I currently have a call from the Superior Court to be ready to serve in August. I remember the instruction that we were given by the judge in one case: “If you perceive that the defendant is lying, you can conclude that he is probably guilty.”

Lying is like throwing sand into a well running machine. It messes up life. It can ruin relationships. Lying does more damage than we realize, and the liar fails to realize that people will stop trusting him. We have to hope that our candidates for President in the USA will be restrained in exaggerations, and remember that we have a Senate and a House of Representatives!

The Bible warns us that lying is offensive to God. John 8:44, [The devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  Revelation 22:15, “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murders and idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood”

I write this because I want to encourage us in our advocacy for our God, for our Savior. Truth has great power, and it cannot be overcome with falsehood. The liar always presents his untruths as if they were truths. The words of the Bible are true. They meet the tests of time, and they meet the tests of reality in our lives. We should not be ashamed to speak of the truth of God and of the Bible. Anthony Ashley Cooper Shaftesbury, English politician, philosopher and writer said, “Truth is the most powerful thing in the world, since even fiction itself must be governed by it, and can only please by its resemblance.” 

In Ephesians, chapter six, we are reminded of the contest between good and evil, between what is right and what is wrong. We read:

 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”

We are privileged to serve our Savior, and to speak for him.

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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TREASURE THE BIBLE… READ IT!

treasure_chest_anim

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it, for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)

In order for us to enjoy a good life, God has given us the 66 books of the Bible. It was written by prophets appointed by God, who spoke and gave us the written word that we might have life and wisdom. Their contemporaries recognized that what they spoke and wrote was authentic; that it came from God; that these were not ordinary writings.

The Bible is a gift of God that we might know him, believe in him, and find the best of life in him. It is important that we become students and readers of the Bible, because in it we find the teachings that are vital to our lives. The study of the Bible is to be at the center of our lives. We live in times when regular Bible study is not easy. There are many things to do—and many things to distract us: TV, telephone, becoming engrossed in fixing little things, etc. It is easy to procrastinate and to postpone the study of scripture. Our understanding of our Savior’s will for us and his eternal purposes is vital. Bible study is important to our prayer lives, for as we bring our requests to God it is important that we be listening to God. He speaks to us, teaches us, and corrects us as we read the scriptures.

The apostle Paul encourages us to be like a craftsman that has mastered his trade:

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:13)

The first Psalm reminds us that the word of God is to be in our hearts:

“Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

This means that we must set a time of the day when we read and study the scriptures. We also need a fallback time—so when there is an unavoidable interruption, we know the alternate time when we will return to the scriptures.

If you are relatively new in Bible reading, remember that the Bible is composed of sixty-six books; 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. It is difficult to swallow the entire Bible in one bite! Think of studying a book at a time. Begin with Matthew and John; then Romans and Ephesians. In the Old Testament read Genesis, Exodus, the Psalms, Isaiah. Continue in both Testaments until you have read all 66 books, and then read and re-read.

The rewards of Bible study are great. Jesus emphasized the priority that the kingdom of God is to have in our lives:

“seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

 “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)
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.

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