Calming the Fear of Ebola

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon
ebola1Many in our nation and in the world are being frightened and disturbed by the threat of a new plague: Ebola. It is devastating the countries of West Africa: Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. People are aware of the history of plagues that have killed tens of thousands and even millions.

The Bible warns of them.

“And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and the rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given power over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:8) 

Sicknesses, diseases, and plagues can become much worse if the desirable processes of cleanliness are neglected. Human irresponsibility can contribute to disaster. Thus, plagues may result from human neglect, or they may be used by God as judgment upon those who reject his teachings. Regarding hygiene, God gave to the Israelites extensive teachings and directions. For example, read Leviticus 15:1-15. There are many such passages in the Old Testament, more than a thousand years before Christ, that teach the importance of hygiene.

“Thus says the Lord of Hosts, behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence…because they did not heed my words, says the Lord, which I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets.” (Jeremiah 29:17 & 19)

“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn, that he may heal us; he has stricken and he will bind us up.” (Hosea 6:1)

In the United States, and in most of the countries of the world—at the present time—the greatest problem is fear and panic which may lead to actions which exacerbate the danger. It may cause us to take excessive measures for ourselves, and to neglect those who really need help. Especially in times of danger, we need to keep our heads. After we or others have taken prudent measures of prevention, it is important that we pray to God, not just for ourselves but for all others. It is also important that we trust in God to deliver us. Disasters or threats to our health or safety can shake us up and cause us to think of and renew our relationship with God. It can draw us away from things that are wrong or useless, so that we can attend to the study of God’s word and worship him.

We must remember that we should pray for and care for many people; both those who are nearby and those who are far away. Regarding the present threat of Ebola—it is in our interest to help the people of West Africa lest this disease spread to the rest of the world. We are to call upon the Lord and seek his guidance. We are to come close to God that he may deliver us from fear. Finally, we are to reaffirm that our hope is in Heaven—that God awaits us, and has prepared a place for us.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me uttering slanders against me, my adversaries and foes, they shall stumble and fall. Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3)

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

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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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HOW TO HANDLE DISCOURAGEMENT

by Foster Shannon

Pastor, Educator, Writer, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Sports Fan

 

Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never…” Winston Churchill

All of us get discouraged at times. Are you looking forward to the new year with confidence and hope—or with discouragement? At some times discouragement is hard to avoid, but some people allow themselves to get deeply discouraged, and end up in a slough of despond.

Common causes of discouragement:

  • Your investments do not pan out
  • Your hopes for your children are not realized
  • 
You lose your job
  • You don’t feel good
  • You have been criticized
  • Things don’t work out
  • Someone that you have looked up to—disappoints you

We need to recognize that though discouragement is normal—we should not entertain it! Discouragement can result when we attempt something and fail. Discouragement inclines you to quit—to give up. Discouragement comes when someone talks you out of something that you thought would be good to do. (“Some people die with the music still in them”) Discouragement comes when we recognize that our abilities are not up to the challenge. Excessive expectations can lead to discouragement. We need to recognize that some things may be beyond our reach. Excessive desires can lead to discouragement

Many people, both Christian and non-Christian look out at a world that is violent, evil, hateful, selfish—and ask why does God not do something about it? We may question God’s authority. We even begin to blame God for our misfortune. Discouragement can lead to rebellion against God: “He let me down. He did not help me.” We blame others for the plight that we are in. Disappointment can lead to Discouragement to Despair to Bitterness—and even Hatred. Despair: to lose or abandon hope; to become hopeless; to lose faith. We must not take the path of despair. There are many things that we can be afraid of. Fear is normal. Through faith and determination we overcome fear. Moby Dick, Starbuck, the chief mate of the Pequod: “I will have no man in my boat,” said Starbuck, “who is not afraid of a whale.”

God helps us. Some of us may be too finely tuned. We may expect too much, and find disappointed and discouragement. We can be hard on ourselves—expecting or desiring too much.

Psalm 62:1,2, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly moved.”

I Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

II Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

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.