OUR STRENGTH AGAINST THE POWERS OF EVIL

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

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

By Dr Foster H. Shannon

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

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

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

We must not be downcast and crying that we do not know what to do! God has warned us against the powers of evil and their effects. These powers and forces of evil are formidable. Ephesians 6:12, “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

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

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

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

 Thank you.

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

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

cliff-for-blog2013

“How did we get into this situation?” (cartoon by Ruth Elliott)

Well, we have just gone off the fiscal cliff and the consequences have not been as some have predicted! As Christians we are challenged to be helpfully involved in the society of which we are a part.

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”(Jeremiah 29:7)

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and
thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.” (I Timothy 2:1,2)

As we might expect, God is looking out for us. He wants things to go well
for all peoples in all cities, counties, states, and nations! We find that goodness,
which he desires for us, in his teachings and instructions. God seeks to be of help;
he does not want us to walk into harm. Indeed, he warns us against harming
ourselves.
We have been reminded in the past few years that most politicians have one
thing in mind, and that is being reelected, reelected and reelected! They seek
to please their constituents by getting things for them from the general treasuries.
They raise the funds to do this through taxation, and if they cannot get enough
money through the revenues that taxes produce—then, they borrow the money to
placate us, and let future generations worry about the consequences. I remember
the statement of John F. Kennedy in 1960, “Ask not what your country can do for
you, but ask what you can do for your country.”
What has happened to that
spirit?
As we are concerned about the financial health of our nation and the states,
we need to follow some basic biblical principles:

“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 2:3,4)

Many of our politicians are teaching us to seek our own welfare and give it
top priority. If we are not careful, we will become like pigs nuzzling each other out
at the trough (if that has not already occurred). As Christians, we should be
motivated to seek the welfare of our cities, states, and nation. When something
comes our way that is to our benefit, we should ask if this is also to the benefit of
the nation as a whole. We may believe in separation of church and state (if we
properly understand what that means)—but surely we do not mean separation
from the high ethical and moral teachings that the Bible gives to us.

Foster H. Shannon

Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments by typing the address below into your mail program:

I applogize for the inconvenience, but this helps us avoid spammers! 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.

What do you do when things don’t go well?

 by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

What do you do when things do not go well?  You have a big day ahead of you, and you don’t feel well and you don’t want to do anything!  You have made careful plans for your day, and there are at least six unexpected events that delay you and distract you.  You have an appointment to make and forget about it—or someone has an appointment to see you and they fail to come.  You promise to do something for another, and you run out of time and it is not done.  Someone makes a promise to you and fails to fulfill it.  Or you read the morning news and wonder who will help us out of the messes that we are in?

READ Psalm 77

The psalmist is hurting.  He prays to God, and he is not sure that he is being heard.  When he looks out at the day he sees  trouble, and he finds no comfort.  He thinks of God, but he is so troubled that he cannot speak.   He remembers better days.  He feels that God is against him.  In a way he is asking if he has missed the train of faith and trust in God.  Then in verse 10 he wakes up.

He recognizes that the problem is not God—but his grief. Out of that realization regarding himself, he finds the resolution:  verses 11 and 12, “I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; yea, I will remember thy wonders of old.  I will meditate on all thy work, and muse on thy mighty deeds.  Thy Way, O God, is holy.  What god is great like our God?”  The psalmist’s plight and resolution remind me of two passages in the New Testament.  “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”  (Matthew 6:33)  “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set you minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”  (Colossians 3:1,2)

The conclusions come to the Psalmist.  “Your way is holy.”  (perfect) There is none other like You.  You are the God who works wonders and redeems your people.  Our God is always to be first in  our hearts!  Our Savior is always there to help us.

This psalm should remind us of those practices that will help us:

  • Turning our attention from ourselves to God
  • Reading the Bible daily
  • Being pro active for the Lord; engaging in his service; helping someone else 
Foster H. Shannon

Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments by typing the address below into your mail program:

I applogize for the inconvenience, but this helps us avoid spammers! 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.

Making The Most of Advent

We are in the midst of Advent, the four weeks leading to our celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  We celebrate that birth on December 25.  It could have been another day, because we do not know the actual date of Jesus’ birth.  For a very long time the Christian community has chosen this day to remember the gift that God has given to us in the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.

What we celebrate is the amazing wonder of the grace of God in giving his Son to the world—in the incredible life that he lived—and in the marvelous salvation he won for all who will trust in him.  Either God created us, or we are here by some inexplicable accident that is without understanding or meaning.  Advent, with the celebrations of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, recognizes that God chooses to reveal himself to us that we might believe in him.

Can we get this into our heads and how can we keep it?  That the God who created everything wants us to know of him, acknowledge him, worship him, and live according to his will.  No wonder that the music of this season surges with such joy!  Celebration of the gift that God has given to us in Jesus Christ is worthy of our best.  It is possible to be invited to a party to enjoy the company and the food and not realize the party has a purpose.  Sadly that is the case of many today who come to the party, but have no idea why they are there!

I am not suggesting that we give up giving gifts to one another.  If not overdone, they can be a part of the celebration.  But it is a tragedy if Christmas consists in celebrations that we do not understand and indulgences that have nothing beyond them.  What we remember and celebrate is too big of a deal for it simply to dissolve into our feasts and festivities!

God is our creator.  He is absolutely greater than we are.  He not only gives us physical life, he desires to give us eternal life with him.  Wholehearted thanksgiving and adoration and worship of God should be at the heart of our Christmas.  “For to us a child is born, to us a son if given, and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6)

Foster H. Shannon

 

Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments by typing the address below into your mail program:

I applogize for the inconvenience, but this helps us avoid spammers! Thank you.

More about Foster…

Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note

Dr. Foster H. Shannon has served as pastor of Presbyterian churches in Omaha, Visalia,
San Jose, and Alhambra. He was honorably retired from Alhambra True Light
Presbyterian Church in August, 1998. He served as Interim Pastor for Arcadia
Presbyterian Church from 2000 to 2003. He serves as Interim Pastor for Alhambra True
Light Presbyterian since May, 2011. He continues as President of Green Leaf Press. He
is the author of seven books. His more recent books include. Seven Strong Reasons
Why You Should Believe In Jesus Christ, The Scroll With Seven Seals, and Why Are
These Presbyterian Churches Growing? The Shannons have two children, Doug and
Kathy and three grand children. In addition to hIs enjoyment of being with his wife,
Janis and his family, he enjoys swimming, biking, reading, listening to “good music” and
California Football.

After receiving his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, Foster Shannon 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.  Fosterstarted his book ministry over 30 years ago. He publishes and distributes Christian Books online on The Green Leaf Press, Inc. website: www.gogreenleaf.com. He roots for the CAL Bears and LA Lakers and swims and bicycles weekly.