By Dr.Foster H. Shannon
Almost all of the decisions that we make affect someone. We live in a sea of decisions that were made before we were born! The decision of Eve to allow herself to be beguiled by the devil and then Adam’s decision to follow her in disobedience of God has impacted the human race ever since. We are affected in our daily lives by thousands of decisions made before we were alive: where our parents chose to live, what work they engaged in, our ancestors that decided to make North America/the United States their home, perhaps.
The counselors of King George III who urged him to bear down on the Colonies; the decision of King George III to impress his will on the American colonists with armed force. George Washington and the founders of our nation—all impact where we are today. We may ask why are we where we are; why did this happen? The answer, at least in part, is that thousands of decisions made by others over hundreds of years have brought us to this place.
I remember our visit to Lebanon in 1973 and to Israel and to many countries in the eastern Mediterranean. Things were much better at that time than they are now. As we traveled the roads in Lebanon, I observed many good cars severely damaged left by the side of the road (Mercedes seemed to be in abundance). I asked, what was going on to cause so many accidents? I was told that many of these people are Muslims and believe that Allah has determined everything. Why be conscientious about your driving?
“Whatever will be will be.” We call this determinism.
Many believe in a determinism that rules out free will. Indeed, a lot of things have been determined for us, but our choices and decisions are important. The Bible recognizes free will and human responsibility. The Bible speaks of choices:Joshua 24:11: “And if you be unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”<br/ > John 3:19:” And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” <br/ > Matthew 11:28: “Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”<br/ >
I acknowledge, that when I speak of my salvation in Jesus Christ, I give the credit to God. But there must be some response. We are called upon to believe and obey. We remember that virtually every decision we make will have an impact upon others. If a person never reads the Bible, does not attend church, curses in the name of the Lord and savors bitterness in his life—he has made a series of decisions that will keep him forever alienated from God. And those decisions impact the lives of other people!
Again and again we are called to believe in the word of God, to believe in Jesus Christ, and to honor our Lord by the way that we speak and live—and thereby find life.
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.
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