WHAT IS THE SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEMS?

"I am the vine, and you are the branches . . ."

“I am the vine, and you are the branches . . .”

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

We have been doing a study at home on the book of Philippians. It is worthwhile, enjoyable and good. This last week I was struck by one passage:

“that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” (Philippians 2:15)  

Wow! this was written about 62 A.D. by the Apostle Paul. Who can find anything appealing in “a crooked and perverse generation”? Don’t we want to live in peace among people who are all good? What is happening to us?

We live with a lot of problems: a vicious drug traffic that is doing great damage to our neighbors in Mexico, that is enabled by the people in North America who are buying the drugs. In doing so, they not only contribute to evil, but those who use the drugs do damage to themselves. Mothers who destroy their unborn children; more than one-third of our children being raised in homes without a father; a devastating homicide rate, much worse among the black population; mass killings in public areas by young males, most of whom are white. Overseas, the incredible manifestations of evil seen in the blood-thirsty actions of ISIS in Syria, in Iraq and in neighboring countries. Boco Haram in Nigeria are killing and kidnaping thousands of people, and treating them terribly.

It is proper to ask, Is there a remedy? And the answer is yes. The God who created us loves us and desires for us to have good lives: to rejoice in our Lord, to obey his teachings, to sing and dance in his presence.

What are we to do? We abuse others, steal, lie, and embezzle. We eat too much and drink too much, honoring pagan gods that encourage us to “eat and drink and be merry”. 

We do better to begin with the Ten Commandments, continue with the Old Testament prophets, and regularly study the teachings of Jesus and of the apostles in the New Testament. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to take care with our speech, that we avoid disparaging others. It appears that many Christians hit their high point when they believe in Jesus and are baptized, which is vital. But we are to grow in knowledge and strength—not assuming that now we can just get along with our regular lives. The point is this: If we want good for ourselves and others, we must draw closer to our Lord, and encourage others to believe in him.

Our God is a magnificent healer, but we have to want to be healed. We do that by reading and considering his word—by doing our best to order our lives according to his teachings—to recognize that we cannot make it on our own; that we need his help.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Foster H. Shannon
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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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Lance Armstrong: The Truth about Lying

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“Every violation of truth is a stab at the health of human society.” ~Emerson

Lance Armstrong, winner of seven Tour de France Titles, celebrated as an
exceptional and stellar athlete, has for years been accused of doping with a number
of stimulating drugs to achieve maximum performance. Until last week he has
denied any use of performance enhancing drugs, and has virulently attacked those
who accused him of “doping”. It is a sad scene. Much, perhaps everything, that he
has gained has been lost. The adulation and respect that had been bestowed upon
him is gone. One wonders how much he would have gained—and how little lost had
he refused to use the illicit drugs, and had he been completely honest.

Lance Armstrong’s fall from fame and success raises a latent issue that has
been boiling underneath the surface for a long time. How widespread is lying, how
much is lying an accepted part of our culture, and how many people care little when
they resort to lying? Do not many argue that lying is acceptable if it is to protect
one’s reputation? How many of our politicians lie to us to attain or keep a coveted
position?

Why should we avoid lying? Why should we be assiduous in telling the truth?
The basic reason is because lying is a sin and offensive to almighty God. John
8:31,32, “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 8:44b, “ When [the devil] lies he speaks according to his
own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Revelation 21:8, But as for the
cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers,
idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and
brimstone, which is the second death.” We must add that there is not one of these
sins that cannot be forgiven, if one believes in the Savior and confesses the sin to
him!

It has been said that truth is the coin of the realm. We cannot have
justice without truth. We cannot achieve wholesome and happy families without
truth. Governments must depend upon the truth to achieve justice and
righteousness. Truth is essential in personal relations if there is to be trust. The
most careful adherence to the truth was essential to the Mar’s Rover, “Curiosity”,
successfully landing and completing its mission. Any malfunction would bring
disaster. Truth is essential to the preparing of wholesome foods and building good
automobiles.

Deliberate or casual lying is not only counterproductive and damaging, it is
wrong.

Foster H. Shannon

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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.