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

meditation on Ephesians 5:18

Ephesians 5:18 is a familiar verse. "Do not get drunk with wine for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit." It is interesting to ask why Paul made reference here to being drunk. Why doesn’t he just say that we should be filled with the Spirit? There are probably two reasons. The first is with reference to the drunken, licentious worship that went on in Ephesus. The religious activity that went on in the Temple of Diana, in the name of worship, was detestable. There was drinking, immorality, and gluttony, all under the guise of worship. Paul is saying that for the Christian drunkenness is not acceptable because it is debauchery.

A second reason why Paul refers to drunkenness is to draw a parallel between being under the control of alcohol and being under the control of the Holy Spirit. The first part of verse 18 tells us something about the meaning of being filled with the Spirit. To be filled by the Holy Spirit means to be under His influence, to be controlled by His thoughts and desires. The verses which immediately follow show us what it is like to be filled by the Spirit. ". . . addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Eph 5:19-21).

There are four things here that result from the filling of the Holy Spirit … speaking to each other in songs … making melody in your heart to the Lord … giving thanks in all things … submitting to one another. This is what the filling of the Holy Spirit looks like.

Shan Reed
North American Baptist Conference
Ibukino 3 Chome 14-9-903
Izumi Shi, Osaka Fu
594-0041 Japan
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In October I will be heading back to the U.S. for home assignment. I look forward to thanking you in person and sharing how God is at work in Japan. Although my fall schedule is already full, after the New Year my schedule is wide open. Please let me know when you’d like me to visit your church for Sunday worship, Bible studies, Awana, youth group gatherings, retreats, camps, VBS, and/or any other fellowship gatherings.

I am grateful for Ken and Rachelle Johnson and their family as they have worked at Komyo Christian Church this past year while the Ewing family was on home assignment. Thank you for your prayers for us this year!

God’s richest blessings to you as you continue seeking and serving Him right where He has placed you.


  • Please pray for Komyo Christian Church as we study God’s Word together.
  • Pray for continued growth for each member and regular attender at Komyo Church.
  • Please pray for Paul and Melissa Ewing as they transition back into ministry in Japan after a year of home assignment.


Since there is no way to date rock itself, geologists date the fossils found in the rock layers. Evolution is the basic assumption behind this system of dating. For example, the Trilobite was a prehistoric insect-like sea animal about the size of a large cockroach. By looking at the geological calendar or evolutionary time chart, you see the evolution of the Trilobite dated during the Cambrian Period of the Paleozoic Era, 600 to 225 million years ago. For a copy of the geological time chart resembling the rock strata with fossils see World Book Encyclopedia, “Earth, History of”, Vol. 6 (Field Enterprises).

I once asked my Historical Geology professor at Wayne State University in Detroit to tell me how the layers of rock were dated. He said, “We date the rocks by the fossils.” Then I asked him how he dated the fossils. His reply was, “We date the fossils by the rocks.” I went on to ask him if the Carbon 14 method was used in geological dating. His answer was, “The Carbon 14 method is unimportant in geology. We date the rocks by the fossils.”

R.C. Sproul quotes:

  • We are secure, not because we hold tightly to Jesus, but because He holds tightly to us.
  • We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to live all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God. That is what the Christian life is all about.
  • When there’s something in the Word of God that I don’t like, the problem is not with the Word of God. It’s with me.
  • No matter how much injustice I have suffered from the hands of other people, I have never suffered the slightest injustice from the hand of God.
  • God doesn’t want me to play with religion. He doesn’t want me to dabble in church. He wants me—body and soul.
  • The grounds of your justification are the perfect works of Jesus Christ. We’re saved by works, but they’re not our own.
  • We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.

The power of weakness

In Tramp for the Lord, Corrie ten Boom describes traveling to Russia during the Cold War — when Christians were being persecuted — to thank an old woman who’d been secretly translating Christian books (including ten Boom’s). Ravaged by multiple sclerosis, the woman could move only an index finger. Yet with it she typed constantly, translating words while praying for people who would eventually read them.

Ten Boom’s reaction was, “Oh Lord, why don’t you heal her?” But the woman’s husband said God had a purpose in his wife’s suffering. Although the secret police closely watched other Christians, they left this woman alone, assuming she couldn’t accomplish anything.

Jesus works through our weaknesses, making his power perfect in them (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). He doesn’t ask if we’re capable — only if we’re willing.

meditation on Micah 5:1-5

Ever since Adam deliberately rebelled against God's command and sin was introduced into the world, life has been harder and darker and more discouraging than it ever was in the garden of Eden. Every generation has its own burdens, but they are fundamentally the same burdens. The troubles of our world in the 21st century are only variations of troubles that have plagued every century. But the troubles today are complicated by an international community and multiplied by the number of people in the world today.

The Christmas season is wonderful, not because it offers an escape from the turmoil all around us, in every corner of the world, but because it reminds us about a man who is the answer to the troubles of our world, and the troubles of our country, and the troubles of our hearts. The description of Jesus Christ in Micah 5 is a description of someone whom the world needs and whom our souls long for … someone to bring peace to our globe and peace to our hearts.

The fulfillment of Micah 5 is shown in Matthew 2 when Herod was searching for a child whom many were saying was the King of the Jews, the promised Messiah. Herod inquired of the Jewish priests concerning where this Messiah was to be born. They told him that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and they quoted Micah 5:2 as the source of this idea.