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

FORGIVENESS
meditation on Psalm 32

It is not a pleasant task to look at ourselves as we really are. In fact, it is so painful that we try to avoid it whenever possible. From time to time when others point out our faults to us (usually a spouse), we often quickly dismiss their comments as an error in judgment on their part. But admitting our faults is fundamental to our well-being. The alcoholic, for example, must first admit that he has a problem before he can be helped.

But far beyond emotional health, the Bible instructs us that admitting our faults before God is necessary for spiritual life. There is no relationship with God without repentance of sin. Without humble and sincere confession of sin before our God, there is no life in the soul, no abiding peace, no lasting joy.

Sin resides within each one of us here and it is deadly. It manifests itself in a hundred different ways. It shows itself when pride rears its ugly head and in our hatred and greed and selfishness and lust and bitterness and envy. It affects the way we talk, the way we think, what we say about each other and the way we do our jobs and the way we relate to our spouses and children and our neighbor. It affects everything. There is not a single aspect of our living that is not touched by sin and its effect is unspeakably destructive. It has a deadening effect on everything that God has designed for life. It kills joy, it robs people of peace and hope and purity.

Stephen & Ginger Jordan
Philippines

From their blogs dated February 25 and March 6.

As we return to the Philippines, we make the transition back to village life one step at a time.

Upon our arrival back to the Philippines, we spent four days in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. During this brief time, we spent time shopping for items that we can’t usually find on our island. This usually means long rides in taxis through the Manila traffic.

Trip to the village - After a one-hour commercial flight, our family arrived back to Puerto. A few days later, Stephen, Abigail, and Luke made the three-hour road trip to our village. During their four-day visit, they attended church with the believers and painted their rooms. Moving back to the Philippines is hard for the kids as they said good-bye to their friends in the States. However, we promised them that upon our return to the Philippines they could repaint their rooms. This promise gave them something to look forward to.

Abigail chose to go with a light brown with a dark green trim. The boys decided to paint their room with a dark blue with yellow trim (for University of Michigan) and with orange trim (for Detroit Tigers). As promised, Stephen also painted the team logos on the doors.

During our time in Puerto, we have needed to do some maintenance on our vehicle and have needed to shop for everything because our kitchen cabinets in the village are empty. This is a massive order that includes everything from “A to Z”: “AA” Batteries, Baking Powder, Cream of Chicken soup, Dish soap . . . Mayonnaise, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal, Pasta . . . Yeast, and Ziplock bags.

“JESUS SAID TO THEM, ‘WHY ARE YOU SO FEARFUL? HOW IS IT THAT YE HAVE NO FAITH?’ AND THEY FEARED EXCEEDINGLY. . . ‘O YE OF LITTLE FAITH. MY PEACE I GIVE TO YOU. LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED, NEITHER LET IT BE AFRAID.’” (Mark 4:40-41, Matthew 8:26, John 14:27)

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11, NIV).

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father’s consent. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31).

John MacArthur:

Without the resurrection, our Christian faith would be just wishful thinking, no better than human philosophies and speculative religions. In fact, the noted seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke, some of whose ideas were incorporated into the Declaration of Independence, wrote, "Our Saviour's resurrection is truly of great importance in Christianity, so great that His being or not being the Messiah stands or falls with it."

Every Easter the newspaper runs an article that casts doubt on the resurrection. Just how important is the resurrection to the Christian faith? The oldest Scripture passages contain the message of resurrection hope (see Job 19:25-26). Death has never been the end for the believer, but simply a gateway to eternal life in heaven. Abraham was ready to sacrifice his only son Isaac because in faith "he considered that God is able to raise men from the dead" (Hebrews 11:19). The Lord assured Daniel that believers "will awake ... to everlasting life" (Daniel 12:2).

INSIDE THE GATES OF PEARL
the inexpressible glory of heaven

In John Bunyan's (1628-1688) The Pilgrim's Progress the two travelers, Christian and Hopeful, make their journey to the Celestial City. In Bunyan's allegorical style, the Celestial City is heaven. The description that comes from his pen is stirring to every heart that longs for that everlasting place. Christian and Hopeful are ushered to the gate of the City by two Shining Ones (angels) sent to see them across a great River, which is death. As they all approach the City, they talk about the wonders of the place they are going to.

"The talk that they had with the Shining Ones was about the Glory of the place, who told them, that the beauty and glory of it was inexpressible. . . . You are going now, said they, to the Paradise of God, wherein you shall see the Tree of Life, and eat of the neverfading Fruits thereof; and when you come there you shall have white Robes given you, and your walk and talk shall be every day with the King, even all the days of Eternity. There you shall not see again such things as you saw when you were in the lower region upon the earth, to wit, Sorrow, Sickness, Affliction, and Death, for the former things are passed away. You are going now to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to the Prophets, men that God hath taken away from the Evil to come, and that are now resting upon their beds, each one walking in his Righteousness.