Bethel Baptist Church

"For from Him and to Him and through Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen." Romans 11:36

The Beacon

THE SHIELD OF FAITH
meditation on Ephesians 6:16

Ephesians 6 describes the Christian life as a life of battling against the enemy. It is a symbolic picture of the often-neglected reality of the life of a Christian, namely that every Christian, of every age, is at war. This passage calls on us to take off our rose-colored glasses and see that we are in a life and death struggle. Satan is described in the Bible as wanting to sift us like wheat (Lk 22:31). He is compared to a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Pet 5:8).

This passage in Ephesians reminds us that the battle belongs, ultimately, to the Lord. It is His war. We fight because we have joined His army, but the war is, fundamentally, between God and Satan. The battle is personal to us because we are being attacked and we must fight, but it is not our private war. It is God’s war. This is a great encouragement to us. Our leader in this war is Almighty God and He never loses. He will not lose this struggle. He cannot lose this struggle. He is the omnipotent God and so we live our lives with overwhelming confidence that even though we have many struggles with our sin and with Satan, victory will ultimately be ours.

THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST

“WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?”

A PUBLIC CONFESSION OF MY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST

(Rom. 10:9-13)

His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6).

My Redeemer … Messiah the Prince (Job 19:25, Dan. 9:25).

A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Is. 53:3).

He is altogether desirable … this is my beloved, and this is my friend (Song of Solomon 5:16).

Prophet…Priest…King (Deut. 18:18, Zech. 6:13, 9:9).

Decisions matter
Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.

—C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Restoring the balance
In Springs in the Valley (Zondervan), pioneer missionary Lettie Cowman tells of a traveler making a trek through an African jungle. Native tribesmen who helped carry loads walked rapidly on day one, covering a great distance. Yet the next morning they refused to move. When the frustrated traveler asked the tribesmen why they were just sitting, they said they’d gone too fast on the first day and “were now waiting for their souls to catch up to their bodies.”

Cowman writes, “This whirling rushing life which so many of us live does for us what that march did for those tribesmen. The difference: They knew they needed to restore life’s balance; too often we do not.”

God promises rest for our soul and body, so don’t overlook the importance of physical restoration. Only by taking time to recharge can you be an effective laborer in God’s kingdom.

Luke 24 reminds us that the greatest thrill for the Christian is the knowledge of God, that is to say communion with Him, specifically revealed in the Scriptures. When we understand the truth about God and when we taste Him, to use David’s word, and thoughts about God and affections for Him begin to take hold of our hearts and consume us, there is a resulting pleasure of the soul that is unlike any other pleasure we know. The heart of the Christian beats for God and it affects everything else.

The story from Luke 24 is a stirring one that tells us the reaction of two of Jesus' disciples as they understood, for the very first time and in ways they never comprehended before, the Scriptures which described Christ. Their reaction was joy and the thrill of understanding and a feeling of being overwhelmed by the truth. Their description was to say that their hearts 'burned' for the things Jesus taught them.

Luke 24:13 tells us that the event took place "that very day," referring to the day Jesus rose from the dead. It was a spring afternoon. Two people (one named Cleopas) were walking the 7 mile journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They had probably been in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. They were talking with each other about the events of the weekend. While they were walking, a traveler joined them. Luke 24:15 says it was Jesus Himself. But they did not know it was Him.

SHOULD WE KEEP ON PRAYING FOR THE SAME NEEDS? WHY MUST WE PRAY WITHOUT CEASING? ARE YOU CASTING ALL YOUR CARES UPON GOD?

Only the Bible tells us how to pray so that God will hear and answer. Scripture is God talking to us, and prayer is our talking to God. Prayer is needed for good health. It is an anti-depression safety valve. Are you stressed out with high blood pressure from sin, worry, hatred, anger and fear? “…casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully] (1 Peter 5:7, Amplified Bible). “The earnest [heartfelt, continued] prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its workings]” (James 5:16, Amp.).

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of” (Tennyson). “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below, words without thoughts never to heaven go” (Shakespeare). God’s “praise shall continually be on my lips” (Ps. 34:1).