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

NOT “HAPPY HOLIDAY”, RATHER
“HAVE A BLESSED MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
MAY THE JOYS OF JESUS CHRIST BE YOURS THIS CHRISTMAS!

Moved by the eternal, sovereign God, the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, ruler of the known world, issued his royal and earth-shaking decree. Augustus ordered all Roman subjects to return to their ancestral home-town to be enrolled for census and taxation (Luke 2). Thus God, working through Augustus, set in motion the most thrilling, joyful, miraculous, and greatest event in all history. Unknown to Augustus, he opened the curtain to the sublime and historical drama of human redemption. Joseph and Mary who are in the royal family of David the King, journey to Bethlehem, fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 5:2. Mary is pregnant, “for that which is conceived in her is of (from out of) the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 1:20, Amp.).

On the first Christmas the unseen Jehovah God stepped out of the Old and into the New Testament wrapped in the small body of a Man. To avoid the wicked depravity of Adam’s fallen nature, Christ is virgin born and sinless. How are the glorious names of our Savior, Lord and King, explaining His character and identity? Jesus means Jehovah the Savior, and Christ is The Anointed One. “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6). “His name Emmanuel … is God with us” (Mt. 1:23). “I am (Myself) the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live” (Jn. 11:25, Amp.). “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Me” (Jn. 14:6).

Thoughts on true humility
“The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus inside a woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.”
—C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Ultimate comfort
“For each of us the time is surely coming when we shall have nothing but God. Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will all be swept away… To the man of pseudo faith that is a terrifying thought, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain.”
—A.W. Tozer

Normally when we think of our Lord’s commands, we think of the 10 commandments . . . You shall not steal . . . Honor your father and your mother. Or we think of commands like . . . Love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength . . . Love your neighbor as yourself. But there is a command, repeated in the Scriptures, which we don’t normally think of when we think of God’s commands. By way of command God says, “Delight yourself in the LORD” (Psa 37:4) . . . “Be glad in the LORD” (Psa 32:11) . . . “Rejoice in the Lord” (Phil 3:1; 4:6). These verbs are all imperatives.

WHY IS THERE SO MUCH PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING IN THE BIRTH-STORY OF JESUS?

Luke 1:1-80

1-4: Luke the beloved Greek physician, companion of Paul and writer of Acts, carefully investigated the life of Jesus in 60 A.D., so that we may know for certain that the claims of Christ, in whom we believe, are absolutely true. Luke’s elegant and formal introduction, unique in Scripture, is a literary gem in polished Greek. Luke interviewed eyewitnesses, and Mary could have given him this most complete account of Christ’s birth in chapters 1-2, because “Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (2:9). Under Holy Spirit inspiration, Luke, with the diagnostic eye of a physician, writes the world’s most beautiful book, the longest and most accurate life of Christ ever written by a Gentile.

Prayers of thanks

The Bible’s close connection between prayer and praise caused 19th-century preacher J.C. Ryle to proclaim, “I dare not call that true prayer in which thankfulness has no part.” He points, for example, to Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6 (“By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”) and Colossians 4:2 (“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful”), both NIV.

Whenever we speak to God, Ryle adds, thoughts of his mercy and the hope of heaven should be at the forefront of our minds. “Surely,” he writes, “we should never open our lips in prayer without blessing God for that free grace by which we live, and for that lovingkindness which endures forever.”

Thank you, veterans!

On Veterans Day, we honor men and women who’ve served and sacrificed in one of America’s armed services.

On November 11, 1918, America and her allies signed a truce with German leaders, ending World War I. In 1919, President Wilson decided the United States should remember with gratitude the end of that war and honor military members by marking Armistice Day, or “truce” day. In 1954, Congress changed the name to Veterans Day, honoring veterans of every era.

Veterans Day highlights our country’s quest for peace, justice and freedom throughout the world. Followers of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, pray for unity among all nations and for the day when “nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4, NIV).