by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Dragon chasing an innocent person

“Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.” (I Peter 5:8)

There are approximately 1,500 homicides in the United States every month.
But the murder in mid-day in Oklahoma of Christopher Lane shocks many of us because of its randomness. Chris was in the United States from his native Australia, with a baseball scholarship at East Central University in Oklahoma. He looked forward to receiving his degree, returning to Australia, and beginning in the real estate business. On a nice, August 16, afternoon he was jogging in Duncan, Oklahoma, and was shot in the back and killed by Chancey Allen Luna, age 16, seated in the back seat of the car. He and James Frances Edwards, Jr., seated on the passenger side, age 15, face life in prison without the possibility of parole. The driver of the car Michael Dewayne Jones, age 17, will probably face a lesser sentence.
These three teenagers did not know Chris. They only knew him as a good target in their shooting gallery. So the purposelessness and the senselessness of the murder catches our attention. We wonder why? Of course, many come up with explanations, all of which may have some value: They were poorly educated. They had a bad family background. They were lost, looking for some meaning in life.  They were egregiously psychologically disturbed. Some or all of these things may be true, but underneath them is a root cause—the powers and forces of evil. These young men made choices, and their choices led them to a vicious act.
I suspect it to be politically incorrect to suggest that the devil may, at bottom, be the cause. The scriptures remind us that Lucifer is our spiritual and physical enemy, and that we need to keep our distance from him. “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.” (I Peter 5:8) “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
The evidences of the work of the evil one are all around us in the awful violence in Syria, in the conflicts in Egypt, in marriage disputes that lead to divorce, in thievery, embezzlement, unkindness, etc. The Bible is correct on this account, and those who ignore it and insist on secondary or tertiary causes grope around in the darkness. The powers and forces of evil are formidable. They continue destructive work twenty-four hours a day. One of Satan’s deceptions is that he does not matter very much. He would like for us to believe that he is just a joke. You remember the cute little phrase, the devil made me do it? Sin is seductive and enticing. It is easy to come up with excuses to get a little farther away from God. But sin ultimately captures the sinner; he becomes a slave to his disobedient desires.
John 1:4,5, “In [Jesus] was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” It is a blessing to read the scriptures. It is a blessing to believe in Jesus Christ, and draw near to him. Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;” John 6:67) “It is only when our relationship of glad obedience to God governs everything that we will be truly free.” (Marguerite Shuster, Christianity Today, April, 2013)

Foster H. Shannon
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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: 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.