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!




 

THE BLESSINGS OF GOD

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. ~John 16:33 (KJV)

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. ~John 16:33 (KJV)

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Psalm 103:1-4 reminds us to remember how much God has done for us:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name! 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”

Last Sunday I delivered a message on the theme, “The Blessings of God.” Some of us may think of God as hard and difficult. Thus, they look elsewhere for an easier path. As a result, they find more disappointment and difficulty on the way than they expected. This is being written on Wednesday (the day that this Blog is due). Just this morning we had the very bad news of a murder on the UCLA Campus in Westwood. One student murdered another, and then killed himself (or herself). It is unlikely that the murderer believed in Jesus or read the Bible!

John 5:10, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.”

I Peter5:8, “Be sober, be watchful, your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

These two passages, on the surface, are not good news. The presence of evil is manifest when we go astray and depart the path of goodness. We live in a world that is in turmoil. We see it in the violence in the streets in many American cities; in the killing that continues in Syria and Iraq, with little hope of resolve. We see it in the governing regime in North Korea. We see it in the city of Chicago, with a murder rate that is out of control. What is the matter with this world that we live in? It is right for us to ask, How do we find deliverance? Where is the help that we need? The problem is disregard for God and unbelief.

When things get difficult, we look to the scriptures for guidance. We understand that God knows what is good for us. He teaches us with his word. He comforts us with his presence. He forgives us of our sins. He blesses us with goodness. The way of Jesus is the best.

Matthew11:28-20, “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 gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

God is the source of all goodness. We understand that God loves us. For the believer the end of life is not the grave but heaven. God promises to help you. His purposes will be fulfilled. You are given guidance of what road to take. We are delivered from confusion between right and wrong. We do what is right, because God teaches us.

All have a choice: To live with God or to live without him. All that is good proceeds from God. Those of us who believe in Jesus Christ should be eager to share his good news with others. The result will be a far better society.

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!




 

RESPECT FOR OTHERS

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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

EVIL MEN WAX WORSE AND WORSE IN BOKO HARAM

Nigerian School Girls

Nigerian School Girls, photo courtesy of Breitbart

 

The news from Nigeria is disturbing, upsetting. Unfortunately we know that there are troubles all over the world. But somehow the kidnaping of almost 300 school girls, who may be compelled to become Muslims, who may be sold into slavery, or who may be used as prostitutes—especially offends us. The Boko Haram is a blatant manifestation of the powers of evil. We must pray, that even at this late date, the girls may be found and delivered from their evil captors.

Many people are calloused, they feel that they cannot be troubled with the pain of others. They may find the problems of the world to be over whelming. And there is something to be said for that. We cannot become so absorbed in the problems and pain in the world that we cease to do the things that we ought to do or fail to live the life that we are appointed to live. Nonetheless, there are events that must engage our concern.

In situations similar to this, some ask, “Is it in our national interest to get involved?” I think that it is in our interest that justice triumphs over violence; that righteousness prevails over indifference; and that mercy prevails over disinterestedness, and that help is given where it may be effective. There are many passages of scripture that rebuke us if we do not care—if we are indifferent. The difficulties of this situation are formidable—but we should pray.

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:16,17) Everyone helps his neighbor, and says to his brother, Take Courage! (Isaiah 41:6) 

It is helpful to ask why do we and many people over the world care? What difference does it make? It is the teaching that we have had from the Bible for 3000 years. Because of that teaching many understand that life is a gift of God; that every person is created in his image. That is, life is significant and valuable. This has not been so—in much of history—and it is not so in many places today. Some resort to believing in a rigid fatalism. The consequence is indifference: “whatever will be, will be” Many believe in reincarnation, if you die you will come back as a something.

The Judeo/Christian perspective is different. We believe that every life is precious; that we are to love our neighbours as ourselves. Jesus gave us the story of The Good Samaritan, who went out of his way to save a person, who had been beaten and robbed and left by the side of the road to die. As Christians we value life because it is good when we walk in the will of God, and because we anticipate the promises of God in a blessed and complete life in eternity. We can always pray, and be ready to help those who are in need—even if at the time we are not sure
how to help.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church an in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20,21)


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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IS IT HARD TO BE A CHRISTIAN?

Jesus_Savior_Pilot_Me

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Is it hard to believe in God? It appears that many think that it is hard. They cite deficiencies in the scriptures; the failure of God to banish all evil, and Christians who are not true to their faith. It is said that the British philosopher and mathematician, Bertrand Russell, an atheist, was asked—if he died and found himself standing before God, what would he say? He responded, “not enough evidence”.

Actually, the evidence is abundant. The scriptures say, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1,2) The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, “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.” (Romans 1:19,20)

Jesus was asked by the pharisees, “Show us a sign from heaven.” The fact is that Jesus was daily performing miracles around them, giving sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, hearing to the deaf, feeding multitudes—but they wanted something special. They wanted to be compelled to believe! Jesus refused, although he pointed ahead to his resurrection by referring to Jonah who was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish. It appears that if people are determined not to believe, nothing will change them.

The evidences for Christianity are many:

  • the evidence of design in the universe and in all of life
  • the consistency and reliability of the Bible
  • the person of Jesus Christ; no other human being is his equal
  • the public miracles of Jesus
  • the astounding resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • persons whose lives are radically transformed by their Savior
  • without righteous, justice, and goodness we are destitute without God

Our troubles, as human beings, are the consequence of our own wrongs and sins: we fight wars; we steal from one another; we murder people whom we hate or from whom we would take their possessions, we can be mean and cruel. I am speaking of the human race. We commit all kinds of sin, and then we ask why does not God do something about it? The answer is that God teaches us in the scriptures the kind of life that we should live. He reckons with our sin and in our inability to save ourselves in calling us to trust in him for our salvation. Every person on Earth has the opportunity and responsibility to believe in God; to study the scriptures; to confess Christ as Savior; to become engaged in the work of the kingdom of God. Is it hard to believe in God? Jesus said, “take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28,29)

What is the gain in following Jesus Christ?

  • We are forgiven by God of all of our sins
  • We become members of God’s family
  • Life has meaning and significance
  • Sanctification: we grow to become the persons that God would have
  • We live eternally in heaven with our Heavenly Father

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)


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!