Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

It looks like Greek to me! January 31, 2012

Filed under: Vision — Janie Kellogg @ 4:44 pm

My mother-in-law has a unique cross-stitched plaque that is an illusion. At first glance, it appears to be characters from the Greek alphabet. However, since I do not know Greek, I’m not certain that it is Greek; but as the old saying goes, “It looks like Greek to me!” These characters are cross-stitched with light-colored thread against a background of dark-colored thread. Even though you study it for a long time, unless you can read Greek, you probably can’t figure it out. But when someone points out a different way to look at it, and you begin to focus on the dark-colored thread rather than the light-colored thread, you plainly see the letters: J E S U S.

Many of us have studied the Bible for a long time, and we think we know what it says. We’ve heard the stories countless times and can recite key verses, yet occasionally we see something we have never seen before. Sometimes the Holy Spirit gives us enlightenment of a scripture or another person simply points out a new truth; but however the insight comes, it is of great value to our Christian growth.

When we read the Apostle Paul’s words: “your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), do we really grasp what he meant? Or how about the mysterious declaration: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20)? Did Paul know a secret that has perhaps eluded some of us? Down through the centuries other great men and women of faith have written about what is considered by some to be “a deeper walk with God.” Hudson Taylor, the pioneer missionary to China, referred to “the exchanged life.” Once in a great while, we hear of a lone modern-day seeker who finally tips over the top and discovers something that empowers their life beyond the ordinary life of most believers. One book about 20 such people is titled “They Found the Secret” by V. Raymond Edman.

We tend to think extraordinary individuals like Oswald Chambers, Charles Finney, or Dwight L. Moody were chosen by God to do great things and therefore were equipped with greater power. I’m not so sure. I believe God promises His power to all born-again believers. Yet for most Christians, we remain powerless against our flesh and its victories over us. We do not live lives hidden with Christ at all, but rather with our fleshly nature on full display for all to see.

In the next few weeks, we are going to take a different look—with our upgraded spiritual lenses—at some of the secret things of God. While the promises of God are not in clear sight to everyone, He never intended for His Word to be an illusion to His own followers. According to I Corinthians 2:10, God has revealed these secrets to us, and we should never have to say “It looks like Greek to me!” After all, the Bible clearly teaches that if we look for J E S U S, we will find Him. ~Janie Kellogg

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Upgraded lenses January 23, 2012

Filed under: Vision — Janie Kellogg @ 1:21 pm

Before I was brave enough to have Lasik eye surgery, upgrading my corrective lenses involved more than the optometrist getting my prescription right. Overshadowing the entire event was the gigantic decision of picking out new frames. This is especially stressful for women, since eyeglasses not only cost an arm and a leg, they have to match our entire wardrobe for the next two+ years. Simply put, they are perhaps the most difficult fashion statement we make.

For more years than I care to count, I wore eyeglasses on my face. I tried wearing contact lenses of every kind, but for whatever reason, they did not work for me. On this day I picked up the new eyeglasses at the optometrist’s office that I had ordered a few days before. I had been careful to pick out frames of the latest style and was confident they would look great on me. So I thought. Yet I caught myself looking in the rearview mirror repeatedly during the drive home.

I was anxious for my family to see the new glasses thinking they would relieve my concerns. As expected, they all assured me that these new frames were perfect for me. Unsatisfied with their response, I kept asking them the one crucial question: “Do they make me look younger?”

“Of course they do,” they said in unison.

But the jury was still out as far as I was concerned, and for the next few days I grappled with the issue. “I don’t think I like these new glasses after all,” I boldly said. My words were met with opposition from my family, which resulted in more trips to the bathroom for more glances in the mirror.

Finally I caught it—these new glasses actually made me look older! When I announced this discovery to my family, they acted as if I had lost my mind. Yet in my heart of hearts, I knew it was true—I looked older. I began to think about how I could solve the problem. Perhaps the optometrist would be compassionate and let me exchange the glasses for another pair, for a small fee of course.

Then the light bulb came on. Hello! I didn’t look older to anyone but me, and I looked older to me because I could now see myself clearly. With these new upgraded lenses I could see all the wrinkles that had not been visible to me before. My wrinkles had been in clear view of everyone else all the time; it was just now that I could see them too!

This experience reminds me of the times in my life when my spiritual eyes were enhanced to see things the way God sees them. God’s Word is like upgraded lenses—it helps me see the real me, the wrinkles in my character, my attitudes, and my actions. Sometimes what I see is not a pretty picture. I like to think those unwanted wrinkles are hidden from those around me; but the truth is, they are in clear view of all who watch my life—God included.

As you and I seek to have a deeper walk with God, are we willing to put on upgraded spiritual lenses? In so doing we might see some things that have actually been there all along but just not in clear view to us. If God chooses to lead us out of our comfort zone of beliefs, are we willing to go with Him? God’s chosen people believed a Redeemer would come, and He did. But because Jesus didn’t fit their preconceived ideas of what a Redeemer should look like, many of them missed Him.

Just as upgraded lenses are costly, new spiritual lenses could cost me my pride, my prejudices, my preferences, or even my preconceived ideas. Yet, if they will help my spiritual perception, I’m going to take a chance and ask God for them. You see, the one thing I don’t want to take a chance on is missing Jesus!   ~Janie Kellogg

 

Happy New Year with some fresh new thoughts~ January 16, 2012

Filed under: Holidays — Janie Kellogg @ 2:34 pm

There is so much I like about the word new. You know what I mean—the possibilities are endless—a new job, a new house, a new relationship, a newborn baby, new shoes, new hair-do. Every morning when my husband leaves for work, he steps outside, takes a deep breath and says, “Ah, it feels good to breathe some air that hasn’t been breathed before.” Of course, he’s talking about new air.

We stand on the threshold of a new year, and no doubt there will be new resolutions, new diet and work-out plans, and new beginnings of all sorts. The word new is one of those catalyst words that help us leave the old behind and arrive at a different starting place. It has a hint of hope attached to it, a positive ring that tells the world we’re on a bigger, better path than we were before.

But then I like the word new even better when preceded by the word fresh. Think about it. We all like a fresh new look. We get excited about a fresh new idea. We admire someone with a fresh new approach. Doesn’t everyone appreciate the chance to get a fresh new start? Let’s face it, a fresh new anything has appeal. Except that is, when it comes to our Christian faith. There we might be a bit skeptical of anything that says fresh or new. After all, we are confident that we know what we know, and what we know is the only way to think about it—isn’t it?

Christians today are perhaps the best educated in the history of the Church. We own no less than four or five different translations of the Bible, numerous commentaries, concordances, and have attended dozens upon dozens of Bible studies, seminars and retreats. We have tried theory after theory, and formula after formula, yet we still find ourselves thirsty for more and lacking passion in our walk with God. Could it be that the problem is not what we know or don’t know, but how we look at things? Maybe what we need is not more knowledge, more seminars, or even more blessings; but a fresh new way to look at what we already know. My blog is about that very thing—a fresh new look at our knowledge of God and His promises to us.

I have been a seeker of God most of my life. My search started when I was little girl growing up in the mountains of Southeast Oklahoma. I often sat on the creek bank that ran behind my home and skipped flat rocks across the small stream. I remember looking up into the vast blue sky against the beautiful piney-woods backdrop and asking, “God, where are you?” I have continued that search throughout my life, always looking for what the Bible calls “the pearl of great price.” My thirst to know God has brought me to where I am today, one who continues to ask, seek, and knock, fully believing that “everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened”(Luke 11:10 NKJV).

If you are seeking a fresh new spiritual outlook, perhaps my blog will speak to you. I will not be sharing another method to attain financial blessings or success. Instead, I will be sharing my journey into the deeper, hidden things of God where the blessings and the riches are not of this world. As a believer in God, who “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV), I want to challenge you to take a fresh new look at the hidden life in Christ, how to discover or re-discover the secret place, and how to abide there. If you are looking for a challenge in 2012, I hope you will join me on this fresh new journey.  ~Janie Kellogg

 

Here We Go! January 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Janie Kellogg @ 11:16 am

Treasure in Earthen Vessels is finally up and functional. Please be sure to check out the Welcome tab for a brief story behind the name of the blog and why it was created. If you don’t already know me, you might want to visit the About tab. Also, the Help tab gives helpful hints on how to get around in the blog, subscribe, leave a comment, and the various search features provided. To return to the Home page from any of the other tabs, click on the “Return to Homepage” button in the top green box.

If you are interested in following my blog, enter your email address in the subscribe section and click on the subscribe button. As a subscriber, you will receive a notification in your email inbox when I make a weekly post on the blog.

I am keenly aware that time is a precious commodity. As one writer points out, none of us get more than twenty-four hours in a day. It is my hope and prayer that you will find Treasure in Earthen Vessels an inspiration to your life that is worthy of your time. ~Janie Kellogg