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

Community - the encouragement of Christian brothers and sisters

William Shakespeare seemed to know the value of friendship. He wrote: "Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel." Solomon wrote: "Faithful are the wounds of a friend" (Prov 27:6) and "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Prov 27:17). It has been said that a man is rich if he has a few good friends in his lifetime. Our friends are crucial to the quality of our lives. With good friends we are helped immeasurably; without them we are profoundly diminished.

Perhaps no other single passage in the New Testament lets us see in the mind and heart of Paul with respect to his friends than Romans 16. This is one of those passages we might have the tendency to pass over without much thought as we read through the New Testament, but that would be a mistake. Though not laden with theological phrases, like most other passages in Romans, these verses give us rare insight into the bond between Christians in the early church.

Romans 16 is a call to deep-rooted community that is often lacking in our superficial culture. Let ask that God would cause us to go deeper in the reality of our community together as we consider what is said in this passage. The foundation for Christian friendship, seen in this passage, is not common personality or common hobbies, but rather a common relationship to Jesus Christ and those things that issue from that relationship, namely work and suffering.

HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD?

If you have the popular god, weak, in-man’s image, afraid of Satan, nothing-but-love, the god of human imagination, you have great big worries and troubles. God in Christ, the Living Creator, the Sovereign God of Scripture, is holy, sin-hating, righteous-loving and “is angry with the wicked every day” (Ps. 7:11). “God is a Spirit, Infinite, Eternal and Unchangeable in His Being, Wisdom, Power Holiness, Justice, Goodness and Truth . . . Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism). The God of Scripture, not only handles all your problems, as well as world troubles, but His Providence works all things together for good for those who are in Christ (Rom. 8:28).

His attributes include Infinity (great beyond measure), Omnipotence (all power), Omniscience (all knowledge) and Omnipresence (present everywhere) (Ps. 147:5, Rev. 19:6, 1 Sam. 2:3, Jer. 23:23). The study of God is so important, that all other studies are nothing by comparison. “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” “There is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee” (Ps. 42:2, 73:25). “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace: Thereby good shall come unto thee” (Job 22:21). “Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

Happy New Year!

Resolution One: I will live for God.
Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.
—Jonathan Edwards

A New Year's Plea

Lord, let me stand in the thick of the fight,
Let me bear what I must without whining;
Grant me the wisdom to do what is right,
Though a thousand false beacons are shining.

Let me be true as the steel of a blade,
Make me bigger than skillful or clever;
Teach me to cling to my best, unafraid,
And harken to false gospels, never.

Let me be brave when the burden is great,
Faithful when wounded by sorrow;
Teach me, when troubled, with patience to wait
The better and brighter tomorrow.

Spare me from hatred and envy and shame,
Open my eyes to life's beauty;
Let not the glitter of fortune or fame
Blind me to what is my duty.

Let me be true to myself to the end,
Let me stand to my task without whining;
Let me be right as a man, as a friend,
Though a thousand false beacons are shining.

--- Edgar A. Guest

The Promise of a King
Christmas, 1,000 years before Christ

The background to the story in 2 Chronicles 17 (cf. 2 Sam 7) is very rich. David had become king in Israel, just as God had promised him he would be. There came a time when David began reflecting on the fact that Jerusalem was the center of worship in Israel. David had brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, but something was missing. There was no temple for the ark. The central place of worship continued to be what it had been for 400 years, ever since the people of Israel left Egypt, a tent made of animal skins. We know it as the Tabernacle. It was 45 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 15 feet high.

David made a statement about this fact in 1 Chronicles 17:1 … "I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent." What David wanted to do was build a house for the Lord, a temple, a glorious temple where the Ark of the Covenant would be housed. But God did not want David to build Him a house, because David’s rule had been characterized by war and great bloodshed (1 Chr 28:3). Instead God would let David make all the preparations and David’s son, Solomon (whose name means ‘peace’) would build the great temple. What God said to David on this occasion is significant for all humanity.

Stephen and Ginger Jordan
New Tribes Mission
P.O. Box 261
5300 Puerto Princesa City
Palawan, Philippines
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thanksgiving Day will mark exactly four months since I, Ginger, fell down the stairs and injured my elbow, so I have many more basic things I am thankful for this year. I am thankful for a family who each joined in to do the work that I was not able to do, from making meals to combing my hair. I am thankful for a husband who helped do the most menial of tasks that I was not able to do, like helping me to get dressed. And now, four months later, I am thankful to be able to do all of these basic things without help and without pain. Things like washing my hair, brushing my teeth with my right hand, opening cans of vegetables, making cookies, and kneading bread are all things I am so much more grateful to be able to do.