TRUTH IS TO BE CHERISHED

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By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Jesus said “Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.”

Pilate then asked him, “What is truth?”

We live in a time that truth does not get its due respect. Many people in our nation believe that it is all right to lie, if it is in a good cause. Of course, if it is your case, it is always a good cause! So you are free to deceive! Lying and deceit are harmful to our lives, to the lives of others, and to the society in which we live. Lying can be destructive to families. Lying can be destructive to business. Lying can be destructive to our governing processes.

“Do your best to present yourselves to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (II Peter 2:15)

The Enron Corp. was a web of lies, and filed for bankruptcy on 12/2/01. The related scandal caused the dissolution of Arthur Andersen, one of the world’s top five accounting firms. Early in 2001 the company’s stock had been at $80 to $90 per share. By November, the stock previously considered a blue chip was virtually worthless. 5/26/06 Jeffrey Skilling (chief executive) was convicted of 19 of 28 counts of securities fraud and wire fraud. Sentenced to 24 years, 4 months in prison; Kenneth Lay (chairman) was convicted of six counts of securities fraud and faced a total sentence of up to 45 years. He died on 7/5/06. Sixteen people pleaded guilty for crimes committed at the company. Thousands of Enron employees and investors lost all of their savings, children’s college funds, and pensions when Enron collapsed.

The Christian religion has to do with objective truth.

  • God created the heavens and the earth
  • God revealed himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  • God delivered the people of Israel from Egypt
  • God brought the people of Israel into the land of Canaan
  • Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried. He rose again from the dead
  • Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins on the cross
  • Those who believe in Christ are to be his witnesses
  • If we believe in Jesus and trust him as our Savior, we shall be with him forever

Truth frees us from spiritual blindness: Ephesians 4:17,18

“Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”

Truth frees us from the slavery of sin: Romans 6:16

“Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Truth frees us from the fear of death: John 5:24

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” “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)

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.
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GROWING IN THE GRACE OF GOD

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Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee…”

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

The Supreme Court ruling allowing same sex marriage was a discouraging and jarring decision for many of us. We see this not only as an attack on the significance of marriage, but as an ignoring of the teaching of the Bible. I recognize that I have Christian brothers and sisters who will not have the same viewpoint. I note that a former president, a Christian, Jimmy Carter, said that the action of the Court would be approved by Jesus. Such a response disturbs me. Are we to quit reading the Bible and believing what it says? Are we to edit it so that it conforms with the secular thinking of the day?

If the Bible is the means whereby God reveals his will and his purpose to us, then it is worthy of our attention. Some have suggested, in one way or another, that much of the moral decline in out nation is that too many Christians have been asleep, disinterested, not paying attention. It was encouraging to read a significant front page article in today’s Los Angeles Times (8 July, “Spiritual war on same-sex marriage”) that many of our Christian brothers and sisters in the black community are speaking out and engaged regarding the Supreme Court decision, because they are offended by the degradation of morals in our society.

This brings me to a concern that I have had for some time. It is that many Christians appear to be too casual regarding the reading and study of the Bible. If it is God’s word to us, it is worthy of our careful attention. I think our schedules can be an enemy to Bible study. If so, we should reckon with it and rearrange our day. For some of us the first hour in the morning is dedicated to the study of the Bible.

“O Lord, in the morning you do hear my voice, in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you, and watch.” (Psalm 5:4)

But if it does not fit there, it should fit somewhere.

“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)

“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)

The Bible teaches us of the importance of reading the Bible. Some people assume it is a tough task, and not for them. I remember when I was in the fifth or sixth grade and began ice skating at the Coliseum in Tulsa, with some buddies. I was awkward, my blades bent inward, and I fell down a number of times. But after a few weeks I was standing up straight, and getting confidence in my skating. This is not a perfect example, but becoming a committed reader of the scriptures is like ice skating, it has to begin—and we need to be patient. A continuing daily encounter with scripture strengthens us all, and fits us to be a witness for our Savior. We need to be integrated with it. It will strengthen our spines.

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!




CHAOS IN LOUISIANA

Shoppers decimate shelves in a greedy feeding frenzy. What happened to, “Poor, but honest”?

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

It was Saturday, 12 October that the electronic EBT system, (electronic benefit transfer cards) operated by Xerox for the Federal Government, broke down for several hours. During this period of time, Food Stamp Cards could not be used in seventeen states. In two Wal Mart stores in Louisiana, the company decided to remove any limits on the cards so that they could be used for needed food purchases. Many people in these two stores went into buying frenzies. They purchased things that they must have known full well were not allowed by the EBT, including television sets. One woman attempted to purchase $700.00 of food, when her card showed that she only had a valid 49 cents on it. Managers in Wal-Mart stores in Mansfield and Springhill, Louisiana called in police to stop people from loading up several carts with as many things as they could hold. It is reported that in stores, where the cards were temporarily left inoperable, people helped themselves to whatever they chose, and went out without paying. “Shelves were picked clean and went empty until stores were able to restock.” These people had to know that what they were doing was wrong, despite whatever inner excuses they may have given to themselves.

Probably at this point, someone is going to say, “Foster why are you picking on these poor people.” My answer is that the basic laws of life apply to all people. Regarding our relationship with our Lord, there is a reasonable question to ask: “What would you do if no one else were looking?” The Seventh Commandment states, “You shall not steal”. Do you think it is all right if someone steals your property? I know, this is different! The government has a lot of money—and, certainly, Wal Mart is not strapped for cash. The reasoning that would follow: if your economic status is above average or if you are a municipality, or the federal government—it is OK for people to steal!

It is time for us to reaffirm that we expect honesty of the rich, the middle- class and the poor.

You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall your judge your neighbor. (Leviticus 19:15)

To the degree that we lie and cheat and steal, we deprive someone else of something that rightfully belongs to them. Indeed, the victims may be those who pay taxes, and have their taxes raised to pay for the costs of thievery and dishonesty.

Hopefully, most of us believe in and prefer justice: that the laws of the land treat all people equally. To the degree that we cheat, steal, and lie, personal relationships break down, business operations can be seriously damaged or destroyed, and respect for governments can evaporate. In other words, the greater the disregard for the basic laws of society, the more likely that society will become dysfunctional and even disintegrate.

It is proper for each of us to take a look at ourselves, and make sure that we are committed to the laws of God, that are meant to keep us from harm and misery. It is also proper for us to be sympathetic with those who are truly poor and give to churches, World Vision, Salvation Army and other agencies.

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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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.

‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!

 


 

Syria… Agree or Disagree?

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

sheep caught between rocks

Caught between a rock and a hard place…

What is going on in Syria, at present, is disturbing, terrifying, and upsetting. What, if anything, are we to do as a nation? Have opportunities for some kind of effective intervention passed us by? As with a few other of my blogs, I would like to ignore this subject–but cannot. I find myself disturbed by much of what I read and hear on the subject of Syria. One of the most offensive statements that I hear is “It is not in our national interest”. I gather that it is not in our national interest to care about other people–or to do anything that might be of help to them. Really, should we only look out after ourselves?

Jesus was asked on more than one occasion: “Teacher, Which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Probably the inquiry was focused on the ten commandments found in Exodus, chapter 20. Rather, Jesus referred to two passages in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might”–and from the book of Leviticus (19:18), “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

In a defensive response to this, one of his inquirers asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Perhaps, he was thinking of the family next door. In response, Jesus related the story of The Good Samaritan, who came to the aid of a Jew who had been beaten and robbed; left to die by the side of the road. Other people passed by, and ignored the victim of violence. It is clear in the teaching of Jesus that our neighbor is someone in need, whom we might be able to help.

At this time, the majority of the people in the United States would like to forget about Syria, and say that it is none of our concern! The situation is perplexing with Muslim fighting Muslim. It seems to me that the United States of America (and other nations) have three choices:

  1. In some way assist President Assad to maintain his authority over the people of Syria.
  2. In some way assist the four disparate groups that are seeking to overthrow Assad.
  3. To sit by: Let them continue to kill each other and see what the end result is. In that case we may find the end result much more disturbing than we supposed. Human beings have frightening capacities for wicked and evil behavior. The Middle East is of inevitable concern to the USA. Assad has been the enemy of Israel, of Iraq, and to some degree of Jordan. Total inaction by the United States may have the effect of supporting Assad in killing his own people.

I want to discuss this with you, because, in some measure, I believe that this is our business. My concern at this point is that we think about Syria–and come to conclusions that we can defend when we talk with others. I would be pleased to have you agree with me–but also would be happy to have encouraged you to think seriously about this matter, even if your perspectives are different from mine. There are two basic things that all of us can do:

  1. Recognize that God loves the world, and that we are his servants.
  2. Pray for the people of Syria.

I like this sentence:

“Because I cannot do everything, I will not fail to do something.”

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

Thank you.

More about Foster…

Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note

Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. He is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. He is the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, which he established with others in 1981. Green Leaf Press, Inc. publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.

‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!

 


 Thank you to ProProfs for the image…