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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST

Garden-Tomb-1

The Garden Tomb, Jerusalem, Israel – Photo courtesy of Your Divine Inspirations

 

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Easter Sunday is this week. It is the most recognized of all Christian celebrations. Why is it so significant? For many, it is a spring festival with parades, Easter egg hunts, dressing up, possibly remembering some of the nice things that Jesus has said. But for Easter Sunday, we reach much deeper than that. It is God’s challenge to the powers and forces of evil, who sought the destruction of
Jesus, through arrest, false trials, and execution. The Devil would no longer have to worry about the Son of God promised by the Old Testament prophets. Those who feared the teachings of Jesus could ignore them. Those who saw in him a threat to their cordial relations with the Romans would be freed from concern. Sin would be victorious!

Jesus was beaten, humiliated, crucified. His death was pronounced. He was buried in a tomb, a large stone was rolled against the opening, and a military guard was set before it. This was all on “Good Friday”. The followers of Jesus were all convinced that he was dead; thus, his burial in the tomb with the care of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. On the Sabbath (Saturday) the followers of Jesus rested. Early Sunday morning a number of believing women went to the tomb, with the purpose of completing the burial process for Jesus. When they arrived, they found the stone rolled away from the opening of the tomb. The Roman guard had fled, and the women encountered angels who told them that Jesus was not dead—that he was alive. They ran to report what they had seen and heard to the
disciples. Mary Magdalene lingered near the tomb and encountered Jesus—not expecting to see him—supposed that he was the gardener, and inquired what had happened to the body of Jesus. Then she recognized Jesus and worshiped him. He was not dead; he was alive.

The powers and forces of evil had met defeat with the resurrection of Jesus. More than that the forgiveness of sins for all who would believe in him had been secured! The New Testament recounts what many had been unable to understand:  the efforts to destroy the Messiah, The Son of God, the Savior had failed. But there was something more. The Old Testament, written prior to the earthly life of Christ, and the New Testament, shortly after his death, tell us that the purposes of God had been fulfilled.

All of us are sinful. We have broken the commandments of God. We have ignored the prompting of our consciences. We have deeply offended a perfect and righteous God. He could not and will not overlook the depth of our sin. His justice demands either condemnation or atonement for all of us. The Heavenly Father offered his Son as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all who will believe in him and trust in him. Jesus on the cross was the offering to God to endure the penalty for the sins of all who would believe. The Trinity made this possible. God is one, yet Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus, God could be in heaven condemning his Son for our sins and, at the same time, become the sin offering enabling God to forgive our sins.

There is good reason to worship and celebrate at Easter. The resurrection of our Saviour was a stupendous work on the part of God. It was a rebuke to all that is evil, and it was the assurance of triumph for all who believe in Jesus Christ. Let us rejoice as we worship on Easter Sunday!

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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THE PROBLEM OF EVIL

jesus-man-lies-sm

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

It is not unusual for many of us to feel that the world is being overcome with
evil! Where do we find goodness? There is only one source, and that is with the God
who has created us. We can pass laws to restrain evil behavior, and surely they help.
But all nations, from the beginning of history to the present, have been passing such
laws, and the problem of evil continues. Most of us would like to live in peace without
having to worry about those who would harm us—deceive us—exploit us—mislead us.
To ignore God is folly and dangerous. To attempt to solve problems without him will
frequently lead to disaster.

Many of us were stunned by the arrest of California State Senator, Leland Yee
the week of March 24. According to the San Jose MercuryNews: “The 65 year old
career politician has been charged with seven federal felonies as a result of dozens of
such clandestine meetings with undercover FBI agents, many involving promises of
political favors, influence peddling with fellow legislators and a Hollywood-stye scheme
to arrange a multimillion-dollar illegal weapons deal through the Philippines for an
undercover operative claiming to be a New Jersey Mobster.” Somewhere in his life, he
turned his back on goodness and decided to walk on the path of evil.

Why does a person with an important position, prestige, and respect stoop to
deceit, corruption, and conspiracy? Here, we have a single individual. But alas, the
story has been told in the lives of many others, and in all times and locations.
Choosing evil over good is not uncommon. Yet, what we desire in all people is
goodness. What we find all too often are “successful” people, who are consciously
willing to do wrong to add to the money or power that they already have. As we look
at the world, we must not always see it through skeptical eyes, as if there is only
darkness. Neither, should we live in a denial as some do, ignoring or explaining away
the evil that is in our midst; pretending that it does not exist.

Where do we get the concept of goodness and integrity? We are fortunate that
we know the source. Our Savior, of whom we read in the Bible, is the ultimate source
of light and life and goodness. All other sources are either insufficient or detrimental.
We must bend our wills to the will of God. “I myself am satisfied about you, my
brethren that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able
to instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)

The words in the following passage were written by the prophet, Jeremiah, but
it is a promise for us today: “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare
it in the coastlands afar off; say, He who scattered Israel will gather him, and
will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock. For the Lord has ransomed
Jacob, and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. They shall
come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the
goodness of the Lord,” (Jeremiah 31:10-12) Healing and help and goodness come
from God.

We need good institutions of government, education, business, family. Do we
sometimes look in the wrong place? Our salvation is in our Lord!

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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ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE!

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

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

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

The Bible deals with many themes: the crucifixion of our beloved Lord, the wages of sin, disobedience, suffering. These themes and others like them are important. But it would be a mistake to take any one of them and stew in it so that we cannot see the forest for the trees. The overall emphasis of the Bible is positive. Christ triumphed over the powers of death, sin, and evil in his suffering on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Suffering can draw us closer to God, help us to see our need of him, help us to give up things in life that are no good. We are set free from the burden of sin through the grace of God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—not because of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9)

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

God is the creator of the universe and of planet Earth

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

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)

We are loved by 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)

“Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? (Ezekiel 18:23)

God gives us a new life

“You have been born anew not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;”

“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. (John 11:28)

God gives us purpose in life

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

“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)

Our Savior leads us in victory

“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)“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

Our Savior’s purposes will be fulfilled

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,” (Revelation 1:1,2)

“And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

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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WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN PEOPLE ARE UNUSUALLY GOOD TO YOU?

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

The Good Samaritan, by Vincent Van Gogh

The Good Samaritan, by Vincent Van Gogh

“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” (Luke 10:13,14)

My experience the past few days is unlike that of the traveler who was beaten and robbed and left by the road to die. I chose to have knee replacement surgery with the hope and confidence that I would be able to walk better and have less pain and discomfort. So the surgery was performed last Friday at the UCLA Orthopedic Hospital in Santa Monica. I was released Monday afternoon to return home. At times, the pain has been considerable. I am dependent upon a walker to get around—in fact, I have been just plain dependent on the doctor and his assistants and upon my wife and son and daughter. I guess that I expected good treatment—but I was overwhelmed by the kindness, thoughtfulness, helpfulness, and consideration that I received.

What I am saying is—that there was something more than these people just doing their job. They were always ready to go out of the way to be of help. When I asked for help getting in and out of bed, or something to wash with—there was no sense that I was imposing on these people. They were thoughtful, generous with their time, and in amazingly good spirits. So what has been, in some respects, a tough physical experience—has become an immeasurable blessing! The medical people and my family were going above and beyond the call of duty. I could not help but think of Jesus and his disciples, who brought healing to many people along with encouragement and hope.

The words mercy and kindness are found many times in the Bible. The Good Samaritan was a wonderful example of those qualities. Especially, if we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we are called upon to be kind and merciful and helpful. When we go out of our way to help someone else, we are being faithful to the teachings of scripture. Kindness begets kindness.

Micah 6:8, “He has showed you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Ephesians 4:32, “and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

I Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient and kind;” Colossians 3:12, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience,”

What about those who are kind to us? We should be appreciative, commend them, encourage them. And we should be grateful to God, for it is our God that teaches us to do good rather than evil, to help rather than to hurt, to care for those who are in need. Where would we be without the example and teachings of our Savior? It is from our God that we are encouraged in consideration, thoughtfulness, goodness, honesty, righteousness, and justice.

“The Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him who hears say, Come. And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price.” (Revelation 22:17)

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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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!