GOD DOES NOT WANT US TO BE ALONE

fellowship by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

I am writing this in a motel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We are currently on a thee week road trip from from Los Angeles through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. We were in Dallas for four days for the Fellowship of Presbyterians/ECO Gathering. There were at least 1300 in attendance. We had the opportunity to be one of the Exhibitors. We presented almost all of the books that we sell through Green Leaf Press, and sold a good number of them. I appreciated the opportunity to talk with many who came to our table. We have seen great beauty along the way in fantastic variety. We are blessed in what we see: grandeur, vegetation, and animal life. What also impresses me are the people: friends, family, and brief contacts. Our relationships with other people are of great importance! Renewing and strengthening relationships is very meaningful. God did not create us to live our lives alone. We need other people. How wonderful when you eat in a restaurant and the staff are courteous and kind to you; that friends and family are glad to see you. People are important to us. The Bible recognizes the importance of personal relationships, so it gives us commandments and instructions. Part of it is that we don’t put other people down to raise ourselves up. Consider the following: “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) We live in a day when many people are discouraged by failures in the governments, drug abuse, all kinds of violence and crime, and the terrorists and evil people in the world at large. If we believe in Jesus, we must reckon with the reality of evil. We cannot wish it away. However, we must continue strong and courageous in his presence and goodness. We have much to encourage us: 1. We are loved by God

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16)

2. 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)

3. We belong to God. We are enfolded into his family

“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12)

4. We are joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

“We are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” (Romans 8:16,17)

5. We are appointed to serve God.

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

“…what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2)

6. We are destined for a beautiful, eternal relationship with our Savior.

“…and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

“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)


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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CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO THE FUTURE?

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Lady Reading Crystal Ball

 

As we look forward to the New Year, most of us hope for something better. Many make New Year’s resolutions—hoping that their behavior will be better in some significant way. When we look back a year, we might wonder whether 2013 was better than 2012. If anything, the situation in the Middle East was worse with more conflict and no solution to the continuing slaughter in Syria. Conflicts in many African nations have increased. The federal debt in the United States increased: 2012, 16 trillion; 2013, 17 trillion. Many of the divisions that we have in the United States seem to have sharpened rather than lessened.

However, in our families and homes things may be different. Some may be healthier than they were in the previous year. Perhaps for the majority, things are about the same. In a nation of 317 million, how many lottery winners did we have last year? As we look forward to the future, we know that there are uncertainties. We may be surprised by good news or devastated by bad news. Our health may be very good or we may become seriously ill. Promises made to us may be fulfilled—and some not.

In contrast to the uncertainties in many areas of life, our Savior gives us a positive perspective. We are all created in the image of God. We are all loved by God. If we will allow it, we all have a purpose in life. And if we are trusting in Jesus Christ as our Savior we have many wonderful promises. Let us consider some of them as we look forward to the new year:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

“For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither shall they learn war nay more.” (Isaiah 2:3,4)

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

“And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, look up and rase your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:27,28)

The future is in God’s hands: if we are trusting in Jesus as our Savior, we are, for sure, in God’s hands.

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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DON’T WORRY

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Worry

“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)

Anxiety and worry have to do with a tomorrow, over which we have limited control. We are not sure what will take place in the future regarding our work, our relationships with family and friends, with our health, with our finances. When it comes to tomorrow faith in God is essential. The trouble with worry is that it concerns itself with things that may never happen. Worry is not a small matter. Anxiety and worry drain our strength, our energy, and our hope. Beware of giving yourself over to your worries—they can take possession of you.

Worry is more than concern. It is more than planning for the future. Anxiety is a particular kind of fear—fear of the future. It causes life to be out of balance, and is a continuing sense of disquiet and pain. For most of us—rightful concern, preparation, anticipation—and then worry and anxiety are on a continuum, and it is easy to slide from proper concern to unhealthy worry.

A close relationship with our Savior is the solution to our worries. In Christ one can be right with the world and the future. The believer in God is to fear God rather than man. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” (Matthew 11:29) It is far easier to respect, serve, and honor God than it is to placate all those persons, situations and inner feelings that appeal for our allegiance. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” (Matthew 6:34)

Believing in God, we trade an insecure future for a secure one. One of the difficulties for many people is that they become confused. They hear one thing one day and so live their lives in one direction—and they hear another thing the next day and try to live their lives in two directions at once. There is great peace in fearing (respecting) God, because in fearing God, we need fear no one else. In prayer God helps us to sift through the various inclinations that tug upon us.

There are things that we can do to make tomorrow alright or even better:

1. Show up for work

2. Don’t live beyond your means (Be disciplined in your financial planning)

3. Maintain a regular exercise regime

4. Don’t overeat or drink

5. Treat other people kindly

6. Above all else—put God first

Finally, We need to focus on and be grateful with what we have:

1. We are created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26)

2. We are loved by God. (John 3:16)

3. God wants those who trust in him to make the best of life: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

4. In our Lord, we have a future that is beyond compare: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, God has prepared for those who love him.” (I Corinthians 2:9)

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 Significance of Psalm Sunday

palm-branchby Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, the event prophesied in Zechariah 9:9 five hundred years before. Throngs of people had come to Jerusalem for the annual Passover festival; the population of the city of Jerusalem had swollen from about 50,000 to perhaps 200,000. It was the Sunday before the arrest and trial and crucifixion of Jesus. As Jesus came from Bethany, riding on a donkey, to an area near Herod’s Temple, he was welcomed by a large crowd who laid down palm branches in his path. “Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.” “The people cried out, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” Some recognized him to be the promised Messiah, but probably the majority saw him as the descendant of David who would become a new King of Israel and deliver them from Roman rule. Few, indeed, saw him as the Lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world, as proclaimed by John the Baptist.

Some of the Pharisees, leaders of the Jews, were alarmed at this tremendous welcoming of Jesus, because they viewed him as their enemy threatening to overturn the society of which they had invested their lives. While Jesus was daily teaching in the Temple—the leaders of the Sanhedrin were plotting his execution, because they saw in him a serious threat to their position, prestige, and wealth.

The Bible makes it plain that there are two ways: the ways of the world and the ways of God. People in the time of Jesus had to decide whether to believe in him as the Son of God and Savior of the World or to reject him. The same challenge remains with us today. We must choose between faith in God, and his approval, or to seek the approval of the world.  This is a bit difficult to parse, because the believing Christian will engage in many of the same practices and activities that the unbelieving do. But there will be a substantial difference in the way that they regard God, and in the purpose that they see in life.

Jesus said…I am the way , and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) May we celebrate the advent of Jesus Christ as the greatest man who has ever lived, and the one who forgives us and redeems us, and welcomes us into his eternal home.

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.
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.

‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!