A Final Word of Encouragement

The Apostle Paul, toward the end of his life, toward the end of a ministry driven by the Risen Lord Jesus, shares quite openly in one of his final letters to the churches, the true meaning of life.

 

In a letter to the church at Philippia, in the book of the Bible titled “Philippians,” he writes inspired by God, by the Holy Spirit, in chapter 3, verses 7 through 11:

 

7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

 

The Apostle speaks of gains and losses- something with which we can all relate.  Paul’s only gain near the end of his life is Jesus Christ!  I imagine that he wished he had felt that way much earlier in life, during the dark days when he persecuted Christians.  Interestingly, Paul is not ending with a long speech about regrets.  Instead, God has given him greater wisdom on what his life has really been about:  he was meant to lose anything and everything- whatever necessary- in order to “be found in Jesus Christ,” in order to live entirely under the direction of the Holy Spirit, committed to living with Jesus and for Jesus.

 

Be encouraged! Jesus is with you all. He is asking you every morning with “new mercies” as the Scriptures say, to “cut your losses” and count knowing Jesus and living as He wants you to live as what matters most. Therein lies the challenge.  We want to be comfortable.  We want security.  We delight in prosperity.  We applaud ambition.  However, our only aim needs to be “to be found in Jesus,” and to have the continual desire to “know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death.”

 

If you feel sadness…

If you feel depressed…

If you feel lost…

THEN INSTEAD OF PICKING YOURSELF UP “BY THE BOOTSTRAPS” AND PRESSING ON IN YOUR OWN STRENGTH, PRESS ON IN JESUS’ POWER.  PRAY.  ASK HIM EVERY MOMENT TO TEACH YOU HOW TO LIVE IN HIS RESURRECTION POWER-

 

THAT POWER THAT IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE WAY OF THE WORLD

THAT POWER THAT SHOWS COMPASSION WHETHER OR NOT IT IS DUE

THAT POWER THAT STANDS UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT

THAT POWER THAT BRINGS PEACE

THAT POWER THAT COMES ONLY FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT.

 

I will remember fondly the days of blessing that I experienced through the Caldwell Brethren Church Family…the days of growing more in my walk with Jesus…the days of developing friendships in Christ that I will always treasure.  I urge you, as I imagine the Apostle Paul might and certainly our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is urging all of us now:

 

Press on. Chins up.  Caldwell Brethren Church is part ofthe Body of Jesus Christ.  Our God is from everlasting to everlasting.  You will soar, as the Psalms say, as if on eagle’s wings.  The point to not miss is that the time of soaring is now!  Even at a time of reminiscing of things gained during our ministry together and now looking at potential losses, the Lord Jesus says to be “lost in Him!”  Let Him do the driving.  The Church will continue to grow as long as His people are present, striving to be transformed more and more into Jesus’ image by the power of the Holy Spirit!

 

The true meaning of life? 

“Have Faith in God,” as the beautiful old hymn says, “He’s on His throne!”

Just have faith in Jesus.

Take time to be alone with Him.

Talk with Him throughout your day.

Deny yourself and Follow Him.

He’s got everything covered.

He always has.

 

 

In the Peace and Power of the Risen Christ through the Holy Spirit,

 

I love you all, into eternity.

 

Sister Vanessa Mitchell

July 2014- “Joy Does Come…”

So “Blue” is the name of my youngest dog as many of you know. Although I have three very sweet indoor dogs, Blue is the one with the eternal “puppy heart.” He is about 2 years old but thinks that he is a baby. His favorite spot of course is always with me, wherever I may be. There also isn’t a toy that he doesn’t play with endlessly. Blue is a Dachshund with a furry white neck, much like some sort of fancy scarf. He’s silvery blue & white all over. The other two are a Dachshund and a Shih-Tzu. Blue, however, has truly taken my heart with the way he embraces every moment of the day. A steady but short rain just passed over our home and Blue decided to stare out into the rain. He has no interest in napping like the others. Napping on a rainy morning? That might sound tempting to a lot of folks, but not this little guy. Blue and I both seemed to be inspired by the steady raindrops and entranced even by the leaves that seemed to be getting greener by the second. Blue seems to know that every minute in his day is precious.

The half-brother of our Lord Jesus, James, writes in the Holy Bible, in the Book of James, chapter 4, verses 13-15, about how to face our lives every day:

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” 14 Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.”

Could the secret to daily joy in our lives be as simple as following what our pets choose to do? Probably not entirely. However, looking to each day, each week, each month, and each year, as God’s time and ourselves as His children, seeking to do what the Lord wishes, is critical. Understand that even though you and I are “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes,” we are alive in Christ, whether on earth or in Heaven! What is more, when we live under the umbrella of God’s plan now, we are filled with His joy and satisfaction in life!

Where is your heart today?
Are you satisfied with whatever lot in life you find yourself in?
God is with you wherever you are to give you strength and peace.

The big question is:
Are you living in the joy of the Lord?

Do you need to take a step into a new place or a familiar place where the Lord wants you? Maybe He’s been calling you for a while to do something in particular.
What is it?
Is delayed obedience worth the risks?
Joy comes with obedience to Him.

Maybe a little time gazing out into the rare but sweet Texas summer rain is what you need today. Or just watching the trees on your farm or in your backyard sway and soak up the sunshine.
Who knows what new wish the Lord has for your life?
He might just tell you if you pause long enough to enjoy His friendship.

In the Holy Love of Jesus Christ,

Sister Vanessa