Correspondent: Connie Opeka
December 26 – Christmas is now past and the New Year is almost upon us, and while some of us are reminiscing about the events of the past, others are starting to plan for the future. Many of us will make New Year’s resolutions at this time of year. We like to think about the things we can do to improve our health and wellbeing, and hopefully we will also be thinking about improving our spiritual health, our faith – our relationship with God.
How do we keep from making a shipwreck of our faith? That was what elder Eck Ulrich was concerned about in his sermon last week titled “The Rudder.” He told us he had recently read a book titled “Shipwreck” by Cindy Lou Bailey. He had been drawn to the book by the picture on its cover of the sunken, rusting hulk of the German World War 2 battleship, the Bismarck. He told us that his father had served on the Tirpitz, which was the sister ship of the Bismarck. These Bismarck-class battleships were the largest surface ships built by Germany before and during the Second World War.
We all know the end of this story about the sinking of the Bismarck, but are we aware of what it was that sealed her fate? After the command was given to take Bismarck down, a fleet of English warplanes went out and torpedoed her but were largely unsuccessful because of her armored hull. However, the last torpedo hit the rudder, causing considerable damage and crippling the boat so that it could only do one thing – turn in a large circle. That is when England’s ships came in and bombarded her until she went down.
Proverbs 11:1 says “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is His delight.” Elder Ulrich likened our conscience to a rudder and went on to explain how a compromised conscience can send us in circles, eventually making a shipwreck of our faith. It isn’t always easy to do the right thing in the face of hardships, but each time we rationalize and compromise it becomes more likely that we will do it again, and again. But look at the experience of the apostle Paul – he was beaten, stoned, and five times received 39 stripes. Rather than using these experiences as excuses, he said in Romans 13:14 “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh.” Jesus knows just how much we can handle, and He promises to make a way of escape so we can bear it.
So, as we approach the beginning of this new year, let us make a resolution to surrender our hearts and allow Him to guide us: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
We invite you to visit the Community Services Center located on the church property – open every Tuesday from 10:00 – 2:00. We appreciate your donations and support as 110 people in our community were served during the month of November. Cherie Downs manages the center and we appreciate the 40.5 hours of time given by our volunteers as they gave away 1,088 items. 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!