GOD IS WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO

"So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." Hebrews 13:6

“So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:6

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.” (I John 5:19)

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

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. It is fair for us to ask where do we find deliverance? Where is the help that we need? We tend to use the word, evil, for behavior and sin that has reached an extreme level: Natzism and the Holocaust, Issis in the Middle East, Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighboring countries, parents who murder their children and children who murder their parents. These remind us of the capacities that human beings have for great evil. The disregard of God, and ignoring one’s conscience can lead to human behavior that is detestable and horrible.

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 wickedness of the governing regime in North Korea. We see it in the city of Chicago, with a murder rate that is out of control; much of it blacks killing blacks. We saw it in in the foolish recklessness and vandalism that occurred in Huntington Beach, California 21 July 2014. People rioting, not for any cause or belief—just for the delight of destroying and pillaging property and fighting with one another!

We seek for a life that is free of evil. We do not fully understand what there is in our lives that make us say and do and think things that are wrong and are on the borderline of evil. If we, who believe in Jesus Christ, have a strong desire to please him—that makes an important difference. We are not sinless, we still struggle with our sin, nonetheless, we recognize that God has made a difference in our lives. While that is very good, it may lead us to underestimate the power of evil and the damage that it does. In other words, all of us are to be on our guard.

As we ponder some of these things, what are we to do? The Bible urges us to be strong:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

“Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (I Corinthians 16:13,14)

We are to be students of the word of God. We are to worship regularly. We are to avoid associates with those who themselves are evil. We are to keep company with those who can be helpful and encouraging to us. Our God is well able to deliver us from the bondage of sin, and to lead us in the paths of righteousness.

“He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:2,3)

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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GOOD NEWS!

In Christ we move from darkness to light . . .

In Christ we move from darkness to light . . .

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.” (II Peter 1:3-4)

The gospel means good news. Frequently, those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, underestimate the riches that God disposes on those who believe.

In Jesus Christ we move from darkness to light—we move from guilt to redemption. We move from doubt to assurance. We have a wonderful eternal destiny that exceeds our imagination. We have riches in our Savior that are beyond measure:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (I Peter 1:3,4)

What was the secret of the disciples, the apostle Paul, and many others who built the church on the foundation of Jesus Christ? The disciples had spent at least three years with their Savior. They knew that he was for real. When Saul of Tarsus (Paul) encountered Christ in a vision on the road to Damascus, intending to persecute Christians, his life was transformed. These servants of God endured abuse, prison, and hardships because they knew Christ and his kingdom. We know that Paul was, at times, discouraged, but he was like the psalmists who ask God if he has forgotten them, always ending up praising God for his promises and his goodness.

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Our God is a God of salvation; and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death.” (Psalm 68:19)

They knew that they were on the edge of God’s eternal kingdom; that they were on the winning team. We think of the person who sees his glass full, not empty. The word of God overflows with good news.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (II Corinthians 2:14) 

The believer has the great privilege of being an ambassador for God to a world in need. Our lives are valuable because we belong to God, and because we know that we have eternal life with him forever. We know that he will never fail us nor  forsake us.

We live in a time when Christians can grow discouraged. The society that we live in has gone sour with unbelief, fornication, adultery, broken families, hopelessness, violence, and discouragement. Many seek relief in the crummy dramas that are on television. They do not realize that salvation is nearer than they think! We cannot exhaust the goodness, grace, and mercy of our God. Let us bless him, rejoice in him, and delight to do his will. We find in him the life that is life, indeed!

Foster H. Shannon
P.S.
By Robert J. Morgan, is available at GoGreenLeaf.com. It includes music and lyrics to the most loved Hymns of all time. This is your chance to take advantage of it at a great price!
 

 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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OUR STRENGTH AGAINST THE POWERS OF EVIL

Illustration from Foster's book, THe Scroll with 7 Seals, What the Book of Revelation Really Says

Illustration from Foster Shannon’s book, THE SCROLL WITH SEVEN SEALS (What the Book of Revelation Really Says).  Illustration by Ruth Elliott

By Dr Foster H. Shannon

We cannot and must not ignore what is going on in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Nigeria. Isis, a radical Muslim movement is seeking to expand its control over Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and beyond. The movements have different names in Iraq (Isis) and Nigeria (Boko Haram). In the process of trying to control territory, they are especially focusing on Christians. On Monday of this week we learned of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptics (Christians) in Libya. Earlier as the Isis militants moved from Syria eastward and northward in Iraq, they sought out Christians and beheaded or otherwise killed them. They slaughtered several hundred Iraqi soldiers who had surrendered to them.

It is hard for us to not be distressed when we hear and see beheadings and mass executions. We are seeing before our very eyes the fulfillment of what the scriptures teach: that we are contending with the powers and forces of evil! In fact, we are seeing manifestations of evil, slaughtering, the kidnaping of young girls and making sex-slaves of them—a thirst for blood and a delight in the suffering of others, exemplified by cutting off heads and showing all of this on international television. We wonder if matters can get any worse!

The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death, and that those who resist the will of God, on the one hand, can do great harm and on the other hand will suffer for their evil, and be eternally separated from the presence of God.

We must not be downcast and crying that we do not know what to do! God has warned us against the powers of evil and their effects. These powers and forces of evil are formidable. Ephesians 6:12, “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.

Revelation 12:17, “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.” I think of a passage in Genesis, before the Flood: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) Surely we are seeing a similar thing in our day: the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.

Now what do we do? Do we despair? Do we give up praying? Do we give up studying and discerning what the scriptures teach? Do we remember Psalm 23? “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” (23:4) “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,” (I Timothy1:7) We must be in prayer that God will give strength to those who are opposing Isis. We must honor the promises of God found in the Psalms and many places in the Bible that God will watch over us and protect us. Our Lord said, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense to repay every one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:12,13)

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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GOD SEEKS OUR WELL BEING

Creación_de_Adám

Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, from the Sistine Chapel, courtesy Wikipedia.

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

It is not easy to be a Christian in these days. I suppose that it never has been easy. We have to contend with temptations. There are those who will think that we are either square or stupid. Many have affirmed their faith in Christ by being willing to die for him. Barrett’s estimate (World Christian Encyclopedia) is one Christian martyr out of every one hundred Christians. Things will go wrong in our lives, and we will wish that they had not. Yet we are far better off with Christ than those who are without him.

Indeed, our Lord warns us against walking on the wrong paths:

“Do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Our Lord also tells us that we will encounter difficulties.

“Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2,3)

Consider Psalm 103:1-5:

“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 of 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.”

The above passage is just one of hundreds of promises that God gives to us to encourage us. As we believe in Jesus Christ, we know that God loves us and cares for us; that he desires the very best for us. Where else do we get such teachings and encouragements? One of our basic aims in life should be to please God rather than to impress our neighbor.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.” (Proverbs 9:10,11)

The teachings of the Bible are a treasury of goodness. The Ten Commandments teach us how to live. We are to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” We are taught to look out for the welfare of others.

“Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves better than others. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3,4)

God does not begrudge his children possessing nice things—but he warns us against worshiping them. It is Christians that have built hospitals. It is Christians that have established schools. Many of the universities in the eastern part of our country were established by pastors and Christian people. All kinds of feeding, caring, and healing ministries are going on today because they are inspired by the Bible.

Where do you find something better than the Bible? Where else do you find a Savior who has atoned for your sins? Where else do you find assurance of eternal fellowship with God?

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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PROMISES

We Have God'sTelephone Number! Jeremiah 33:3

We Have God’sTelephone Number! Jeremiah 33:3

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Here is a passage of scripture that is very good to start the new year with:

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

No anxiety—no worry? Wow! Don’t we have concerns? Do things always go well for us? How can we not be concerned? Where do we get the idea of not being concerned? I think, because in Jesus Christ we find the fulfillment of all of our needs. Even in disappointments we know that he will be with us.

1. We are loved of God.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

2. Believing in Jesus Christ we have forgiveness of sins, and are enfolded into God’s family.

“For all who are led by the Spirit are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

“it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:16,17)

3. God gives us purpose.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9)

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”

4. We are enabled of God.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (I Corinthians 12:4-7)

5. We are assured of a marvelous future:

“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (I Corinthians 15: 49)

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” I Corinthians 2:9)

“Thou dost show me, the path of life; in thy presence there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)

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.
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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!





 

Calming the Fear of Ebola

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon
ebola1Many in our nation and in the world are being frightened and disturbed by the threat of a new plague: Ebola. It is devastating the countries of West Africa: Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. People are aware of the history of plagues that have killed tens of thousands and even millions.

The Bible warns of them.

“And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and the rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given power over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:8) 

Sicknesses, diseases, and plagues can become much worse if the desirable processes of cleanliness are neglected. Human irresponsibility can contribute to disaster. Thus, plagues may result from human neglect, or they may be used by God as judgment upon those who reject his teachings. Regarding hygiene, God gave to the Israelites extensive teachings and directions. For example, read Leviticus 15:1-15. There are many such passages in the Old Testament, more than a thousand years before Christ, that teach the importance of hygiene.

“Thus says the Lord of Hosts, behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence…because they did not heed my words, says the Lord, which I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets.” (Jeremiah 29:17 & 19)

“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn, that he may heal us; he has stricken and he will bind us up.” (Hosea 6:1)

In the United States, and in most of the countries of the world—at the present time—the greatest problem is fear and panic which may lead to actions which exacerbate the danger. It may cause us to take excessive measures for ourselves, and to neglect those who really need help. Especially in times of danger, we need to keep our heads. After we or others have taken prudent measures of prevention, it is important that we pray to God, not just for ourselves but for all others. It is also important that we trust in God to deliver us. Disasters or threats to our health or safety can shake us up and cause us to think of and renew our relationship with God. It can draw us away from things that are wrong or useless, so that we can attend to the study of God’s word and worship him.

We must remember that we should pray for and care for many people; both those who are nearby and those who are far away. Regarding the present threat of Ebola—it is in our interest to help the people of West Africa lest this disease spread to the rest of the world. We are to call upon the Lord and seek his guidance. We are to come close to God that he may deliver us from fear. Finally, we are to reaffirm that our hope is in Heaven—that God awaits us, and has prepared a place for us.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me uttering slanders against me, my adversaries and foes, they shall stumble and fall. Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3)

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.
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WE ARE NOT ON OUR OWN

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

As we believe in Jesus Christ, we know that we are not alone. He is our Savior who forgives us of our sins, and enables us to lead a life that is worthy of him. Yet those who believe in our Lord may tend to discouragement. That discouragement is seen in many Christians as they withdraw to the shelter of their homes and their churches—feeling incapable of dealing with a world that is in a mess.

But our God encourages us! “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (II Corinthians 2:14)

God has worthy things for each one of us to do. He is our leader; he is our guide; he is our teacher. He teaches us how we should live, and what we should do.  Belonging to Jesus Christ, we are to be engaged in the work of God. But we look at ourselves and find ourselves insufficient. We need to keep firmly in our minds whom we are serving. God does not ask us to operate on our own strength—he promises to be with us.

There are no limits to God’s power and authority. He created our planet, our solar system; the Sun that makes life possible. He has created billions of galaxies, and within those billions of galaxies are billions of stars. His Universe is incredibly vast. He has created every atom, every molecule—and he has made us with all of our gifts and abilities. He raised Jesus from the dead. He invites us to share in his work, to be his witnesses, his ambassadors. We are reminded of his limitless power.

“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,” (Colossians 1:11)

We are very limited when we depend upon our own strength—but with God all things are possible.
We are at the beginning of the college football season. The players don’t just show up for the first game! They have had spring training—and then weeks of preparation for the first game. We need to be preparing ourselves in daily Bible study–gaining knowledge–so we are ready to speak up and to act on behalf of the kingdom of God. We should expect to be challenged in the world in which we live.

“For it is the God who said, ‘let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (II Corinthians 4:6)
“With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can man do to me?”  (Psalm 118:6)


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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DOES GOD ANSWER OUR PRAYERS?

Albert Durer’s Hands painted by his brother Albrecht Durer

Albert Durer’s Hands painted by his brother Albrecht Durer

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.  Matthew” 21:22
Prayer is exemplary in the Bible. We find it everywhere. There are many teachings on prayer; many commendations of prayer. Jesus is an example to us in his recourse to prayer—and the Bible is abundant in teaching and inviting us to pray. Jesus gave us instructions regarding prayer:

1) Don’t pray like the Pharisees who love to be heard in public for the impression that they can make. (Matthew 6:5)

2) Pray in private; “Go into your own room and close the door and pray there.” (Matthew 6:6)

3) “Watch and pray that you do not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:46)

4) “bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:28)

5) Jesus gave us a pattern of prayer in the Lord’s Prayer: “Hallowed be thy
name—Thy kingdom come—Thy will be done…Give us this day our daily bread…Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

Prayer presumes a personal relationship with the living God. There are prerequisites to prayer: We must pray in faith, believing that God will hear and answer our prayers. We must pray according to the will of God;

“Hitherto have you asked nothing in my name; ask and you will receive that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24)

If we affirm that God answers our prayers, we mean all of the following: That he will give us, sooner or later, what we have asked of him. That he will tell us to be patient and wait; the answer will come. That the answer will come because we have asked for something that is good for us or for others. That we are to be in harmony with God in our prayers.

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7)

Jesus told the parable of the widow and the judge (John 18:1-8), who ignored her and refused to decide her case, because it was a small matter that was beneath him. However, she persisted, and continued to come back to court. He finally said, to get her off his back, “I will decide her case”.

“And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily.”  (John 18:7)

Prayer does not mean that we put God under our control. We are to be submissive to God, who is amazingly great. He is not to be submissive to us. Prayer is not like Aladdin’s Lamp (just rub it and your wish will be fulfilled). Indeed, prayer is speaking with God. We should expect to listen as well as to speak. He speaks to us through the scriptures, through the Sunday sermon, through our consciences.

Many have recognized that there are five aspects to the complete prayer:
1) Adoration and praise
2) Confession
3) Thanksgiving
4) Supplication
5) Intercession

“Call to me and I will answer you—and will tell you great and hidden things which
you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

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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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.

THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.

Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!