“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no Law.” Galatians 5:22
WHAT DO WE WANT?
Do we want to be healthy, to have strength and good health? If so, we must WANT to take good care of ourselves.
WHAT SHOULD WE DESIRE?
To truly enjoy life we must avoid bathing ourselves in the nonsense that is all around us! We need to desire Goodness:
- What is right and what is reasonable.
- To keep our houses in order.
- To be thoughtful of others.
- To give and expect truth.
WHAT DO WE EXPECT OF THIS WORLD?
This world is not perfect. We need to recognize both the goodness of the world in which we live – and also reckon with its failures.
We are offended by those who lie to us in our families, our schools, our work and in our government. When people do not receive and understand the truth, they become corrupted. Don’t follow the liars! We must beware of believing half-truths, or building a picture of life that rests on silliness, but understand clearly what we are seeing – whether is good and reliable – or not. That is why we pray for those who have been elected to govern – and hope that they will tell the truth for the good of our cities, our states, and our nation.
Belief in God and faith in Jesus Christ will strengthen us and encourage us to know what IS good and wise.
“I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (I Corinthians 1:10)
HOW CAN WE OVERCOME?
We live in a world that is dangerous, unjust and to be reckoned with. The percent of the world’s population under the control of despotic regimes has been increasing, with present day despots obvious in Africa and Asia and South America as well, far worse than those of a Caesar or a medieval monarch. The world’s tyrants exaggerate their own wisdom and power and run their lives and nations as if people are their servants. Many observers warn that the growing restlessness and lawlessness of today may someday make the former American frontier look like a model society!
We must not follow the fallacies of those in higher positions, but examine everything we see and hear.
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6,7)
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” 1 John 4:1
We may not have the power to control nations, but we can control ourselves. We find great help from God and the Bible. He who made us, understands our situation. When we follow the Ten Commandments and the prophets in the Old Testament: Jesus, and the apostles in the New Testaments, we continue with the purpose and wisdom of God. And we are grateful for good Christians who inspire us, in spite of what is wrong with the world.
MANY LOOK FOR LOVE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES
We live among people who sell dangerous answers, ideas and medicines that will not help in the end. Many fall for drugs that temporarily please and satisfy them or make them proud. And thousands die from them. As of October 2017 in the USA, there were 52,404 lethal drug overdoses due to the use of opioids alone, and even more since then. May God give people the wisdom to recognize the dangers that attract them to ‘false hope’. And sadly, more than 32,000 people lose all hope and commit suicide each year in the USA. Unhappy and distraught when things don’t go well, they dislike themselves and don’t know where to turn. If we spot the warning sign in others let us turn to them and encourage them to get help. There are many Suicide Prevention Resources available.
WHERE CAN WE FIND GOODNESS?
We need the authority that comes from God. We suffer from a Secularism that wants crosses destroyed, Bibles excluded from schools, and ‘In God We Trust’ removed from our Currency. Thankfully, there are many good Christians who show us the way. And we can be disciples ourselves, regularly reading the Bible and in Church on Sunday learning from the teaching of faithful preachers. Indeed, we can serve where needed and positions open up. And if you have the opportunity to teach, you will grow even stronger. There IS good in the world, if YOU will allow it to be in YOU.
“For it is impossible to restore again to repentance, those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come.” (Hebrews 6:4,5)
WE NEED TO STUDY
We don’t know everything. We need to keep learning.
“Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
As you prepare for sharing the Word of God you will blossom. We grow objectively by reading good Christian books that are appropriate to Christianity. Is there a better alternatives than Judeo-Christian thought? Appreciate men and women of integrity— those who inspire us – who care for and help people in need.
Therefore, the key to a good life is to follow the teachings of our Savior: that we are to “love one another”. We are not to be selfish or thoughtless and uncaring. We are to sit at the feet of Jesus Christ. We are to be concerned with the welfare of others and to be generous and thoughtful.
“Owe no one anything except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, you shall not commit adultery. You shall not kill. You shall not steal. You shall not covet, and any other commandment are summed up in this sentence: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Romans 13:8, Galatians 5: 14
“Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10)
“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (I Corinthians 13:4) “So faith, hope, love abides, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13:7)
By Loving God we can trust that we will surely grow in His Grace:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1,2)
As Christians, we gain in strength and spirit by reading good books.
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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 eight books and working on number nine! 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.
Foster likes both classical and popular music, and roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
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