Ava Seventh Day Adventist – Connie Opeka

An Amazing Fact – Happiness is caused by favorable outward circumstances in life, but true joy comes from knowing and being connected to God, regardless of the circumstances. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit! Galatians 5:22-23

Elder Peter Eberhardt delivered some thoughts about the Christmas story titled, “Following Yonder Star.” God meant for others, as well as the Jews, to know that Christ had come. In a country far to the east were wise men who had studied the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and who believed that His coming was near. The Jews called these men heathen, but they were not idolaters. They were honest men, who wanted to know the truth, and to do the will of God. God looks upon the heart and He knew these men could be trusted. They were in a better condition to receive light from Heaven than were the Jewish priests, who were so full of selfishness and pride. These wise men were philosophers. They had studied the handiwork of God in nature and had learned to love Him there. They had studied the stars and knew their movements. 

When the wise men saw the star, we’re told in Matthew 2:10 that “they rejoiced with exceeding great joy!” Elder Eberhardt explained the difference between happiness and joy, sharing several Bible texts regarding joy.  Psalms 16:11 tells us that “in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

And so, God came to be with us – Immanuel = God With Us. For God became a human. That is a stunning thing, when you consider it. The Omnipotent surrendering omnipotence, the Monarch subjecting himself to his own subjects, the All-Powerful making himself powerless, the Maker of the Universe consenting to be bound by the same laws He Himself had made. God would not require of His people anything that He did not also require of Himself. He faced the same tests and dangers that we do, with no strength or support that is not available to us! May we not allow His life and death for us to be in vain.  As we understand what He has done and is doing for us, we will want His presence! And, in His presence is fullness of joy!

“With unutterable love, Jesus welcomes His faithful ones to the joy of their Lord. The Saviour’s joy is in seeing, in the kingdom of glory, the souls that have been saved by His agony and humiliation. And the redeemed will be sharers in His joy, as they behold, among the blessed, those who have been won to Christ through their prayers, their labors, and their loving sacrifice. As they gather about the great white throne, gladness unspeakable will fill their hearts, when they behold those whom they have won for Christ, and see that one has gained others, and these still others, all brought into the haven of rest, there to lay their crowns at Jesus’ feet and praise Him through the endless cycles of eternity.” Great Controversy 647

Holiday seasons can often be a time of reflection. We always look at the birth of Christ during Christmas, but this year, let us reflect on our birth, our spiritual rebirth in Christ. Daily, we must be born again and walk in newness of life. Jesus was born for a very specific time and purpose, and so are we. It is time we understand this purpose and help proclaim God’s prophetic message for these closing hours of Earth’s history.  Please contact us if you would like to study further to know about this purpose. 

We invite you to visit the Community Services Center located on the church property – open every Tuesday from 10:00 – 2:00.  Year-end totals for 2018 per Gwyn Downs are 2,039 people served; 15,185 items given away; and 912.25 hours were given by our volunteers. We appreciate your donations and support and look forward to serving our community in 2019. 

If we can be of assistance to you, please call the church at 683-5713, or Elder Eck Ulrich at 683-3343.  Check us out at www.avaadventistchurch.org and follow us on Facebook! May God bless and keep you!