STRENGTHENING THE CHRISTIAN

paul-and-timothy

 

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

We have family Bible study almost every Sunday evening after dinner. This coming Sunday, we are beginning with II Timothy, chapter 1. A passage in that chapter stands out for me:

Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner but take your share of suffering for the gospel in the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling,… (II Timothy 1:8,9)

What was it that struck me about this passage? It was Timothy’s position in the leadership of the church. He was Paul’s #2 man. He was a leader above many in the growing church. Here are some of them: Apollos, Archippus, Artemas, Barnabas, Epaphroditus, Luke, Onesimos, Priscilla & Aquila, Silas, Titus, Tychicus, and Zenas. There were others. Yet Timothy needed to be refreshed. He needed to be encouraged. We may find ourselves saying, Amen, recognizing that we need to be refreshed in the Lord. We should give priority to our Bible study and our prayer time.

Let us look at what Paul said to this valuable Christian leader:

  • “Rekindle the gift of God that is within you.” Is this not a clear teaching here that believers can have times when they grow discouraged, and need to be invigorated?
  • “Do not be ashamed of testifying to our Lord.” There are people who will put us down at any sign of our personal faith in Jesus Christ. Now, we do not have to shout or be irritating. Rather than being ashamed, we should be encouraged and devoted to our Savior. Explaining carefully, what Jesus means to you.
  • “Take your share of suffering for the gospel.” It seems to me that we prefer to have things go well. We do not like difficulties. We want to avoid suffering, if we are able. I am not suggesting that we be ready to go out and suffer! Nonetheless, the Bible makes it clear that suffering will come our way, and do not be surprised, but it may turn out to be valuable.

Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. (James 1:2)

What may seem to be unwelcome to us, may turn out to make us better people. Again, we read, Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12) Difficult times will come to all of us. Especially, when the difficulty arises to challenge our faithfulness to our Savior—by a clear and kind response, we can be an encouragement to others, and strengthened in our own faith. Unwelcome difficulties come into our lives, we can either cry or praise God. If we are moved to prayer we are thereby strengthened in our faith. One thing we know for sure. God will uphold us.

Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Foster

Dr. Foster H. Shannon, Green Leaf Press

Green Leaf Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 880 Alhambra
CA 91802-0880
(626) 281-7221
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.
THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.
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AN IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY

tree-by-water

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

A major problem for many Christians is that they do not read the Bible often enough. We may be inclined to depend on the Sunday morning sermon or on the Sunday School Class. These are important, but they are not the end of the line. Again and again in the Bible we are urged to value, to read, to study, to meditate on the scriptures.

According to the Gallup Poll, more than half of Americans believe that the Bible is the word of God. Here are the Bible reading habits according to Gallup: 12% say they read the Bible monthly; 21% say they read the Bible weekly; 16% say they read the Bible every day. 41% say that they rarely or never read the Bible.

“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)

“You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” (I Peter 1:23)

I have been teaching a Sunday School course on “Ten Outstanding Christians” at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, Redondo Beach. Right now I am finishing up the last five, week by week: George Whitefield, Hannah More, William Wilberforce, Shaftesbury, and William Ewart Gladstone. Hannah More and four men (of course, there were many others) nonetheless, were the leaders in a movement, with strong Christian foundations that transformed England for one hundred and fifty years. They varied in their backgrounds and their talents, but this they had in common: they were devoted students of the Bible—and on its teachings, they built their lives.

The Christian is to grow in the grace of our Lord from the time of new birth until he/she enters Heaven.

Thus, I Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation…”

In your reading of the Bible, it is important to set aside a time every day for study and prayer.

“O Lord, in the morning you do hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you, and watch.”  ~Ps.5:3

The Bible must be read and studied one book at a time. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament. In my opinion, it is better to spend at least one-half of your reading time in the New Testament. It is good in your study of the Bible to have a notebook at hand, and to write some notes and to outline (not too complex) the book you are reading. If you are fairly new in Bible reading, here in my recommendation for a starter: Matthew, John, Acts, Romans, Genesis, Ephesians.

“Blessed is the person who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

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!





 

GOD DOES NOT WANT US TO BE ALONE

fellowship by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

I am writing this in a motel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We are currently on a thee week road trip from from Los Angeles through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. We were in Dallas for four days for the Fellowship of Presbyterians/ECO Gathering. There were at least 1300 in attendance. We had the opportunity to be one of the Exhibitors. We presented almost all of the books that we sell through Green Leaf Press, and sold a good number of them. I appreciated the opportunity to talk with many who came to our table. We have seen great beauty along the way in fantastic variety. We are blessed in what we see: grandeur, vegetation, and animal life. What also impresses me are the people: friends, family, and brief contacts. Our relationships with other people are of great importance! Renewing and strengthening relationships is very meaningful. God did not create us to live our lives alone. We need other people. How wonderful when you eat in a restaurant and the staff are courteous and kind to you; that friends and family are glad to see you. People are important to us. The Bible recognizes the importance of personal relationships, so it gives us commandments and instructions. Part of it is that we don’t put other people down to raise ourselves up. Consider the following: “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 2:3,4) We live in a day when many people are discouraged by failures in the governments, drug abuse, all kinds of violence and crime, and the terrorists and evil people in the world at large. If we believe in Jesus, we must reckon with the reality of evil. We cannot wish it away. However, we must continue strong and courageous in his presence and goodness. We have much to encourage us: 1. We are loved by God

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16)

2. We are created in the image of God

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

3. We belong to God. We are enfolded into his family

“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12)

4. We are joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

“We are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” (Romans 8:16,17)

5. We are appointed to serve God.

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

“…what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2)

6. We are destined for a beautiful, eternal relationship with our Savior.

“…and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

“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)


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!

 

 

JESUS DOES NOT WANT YOU TO WORRY

GodsYellowPages-sm2

Why Worry if you can pray? If you CAN’T pray, THEN you have something to worry about!

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“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.” (Philippians 4:6,7)

What do we worry about?

1. What do other people think of me?

2. Will I be able to pay my bills next month?

3. Do I have an unrecognized disease or ailment?

4. Will I succeed in getting a job?

5. Will we have enough money when I retire?

6. What does God think of me?

The Philippians passage reminds us that we are not to be anxious or worry about anything. It affirms that the remedy is in our prayer life: supplication, thanksgiving, and requests. Prayer is very important for everyone who believes in God. Worry and distress drain our energy. They cause us to concentrate on our problems rather than on the solutions. They cause us to lose focus and to let our imaginations run amuck, so that in our thought processes we seek to solve problems that will never arise. There is something about praying about these concerns that brings us to the assurance that we have not been left alone. If something is on our mind, it is very important that we share it with God.

“Cast all you anxieties on him for he cares about you.” (I Peter 5:7)

Thanksgiving helps us to remember what is good: The love of God, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that the destiny of everyone who believes in Jesus Christ is with God for all eternity. That God guides us into much that is good for us: righteousness, justice, compassion, goodness, truth, love for our neighbors. That God is concerned for our needs and will provide for them as we trust in him and seek to serve him.

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat? Or What shall we drink? Or what shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

This scripture passage reminds us that our priorities are important. Some of our difficulties may result because we seek the wrong things. If we believe in Jesus Christ, we commit ourselves wholly to him; we are a part of his family. We trust in him, we enjoy him, we delight to do his will. We know that he is with us and will not fail us! It is true that times of unexpected crisis come, that we find greatly disappointing and even shattering. We should turn to God first, but we must also avail ourselves of friends and family. We should not go it alone!

“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.” (Jeremiah 29:11,12)

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!

 

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.

THIS BLOG IS CHANGED EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY.

Please ‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!