Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

There’s a War Going On April 24, 2012

Filed under: Faith — Janie Kellogg @ 12:23 pm

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a war going on:  a war in the world, in our nation, in our communities, schools, churches, marriages and families. Like all wars, it is the good guys against the bad guys. Of course, I am certain that I’m always on the side of the good guys. But whether you know it or not, there is an even bigger war going on—a war in the heavenlies—and you guessed it, it is the good guys verses the bad guys once again.

 

In reality, the war in the heavenlies is the main war, and our scuffles here on earth are merely side-wars of the bigger war. It all began before the earth was ever created—Satan had a jealousy problem and started a rebellion against God. But being mightier than Satan, God threw him out of heaven, along with a third of the angel-army Satan coerced to go with him. The war between good and evil has been on ever since.

 

Because Satan is no match for God in wisdom, power, authority, beauty, and character, he uses one single strategy to fight this war. Know what it is? It is lies, lies, and more lies. You might recognize this tactic in the political debate of the day—one party accuses the other of doing what they themselves are doing. Let me explain how that works. If Satan doesn’t tell the truth, he accuses God of lying to you. Because Satan doesn’t keep his word, he accuses God of being unfaithful to His Word. Since Satan is a thief, he accuses God of taking things away from you. When Satan doesn’t have power, he accuses God of not being powerful enough to solve your problems. If Satan doesn’t care about you (and trust me, he doesn’t), he accuses God of being indifferent and not caring about you either. Sound familiar? The first deceptive lie was sold to Eve in the Garden of Eden, and this war of words continues today.

 

Because Satan can never match God’s magnificence, he attempts to discredit God by tempting people to disbelieve God’s character—who God says He is and what He says He will do. God speaks to people in many ways—His written Word, the Holy Spirit, creation, and through other believers—and immediately Satan begins his subtle attacks of calling God a liar. Think about it. What did Abraham, known as the friend of God, do that pleased God? He believed what God said! Abraham believed God so much that he packed up his family and followed Him, not even knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8) Do you want to please God? Do you want to be God’s friend? It all starts with believing Him and not the lies of His enemy. (Hebrews 11:6)

 

You might be wondering what we are going to do about this colossal war that is going on in the world. Things appear to be headed south, and one might think the world is going to implode any day. First of all, we aren’t going to do anything about that war. Here is an insight that might help you come to grips with the world situation and the outcome of this greater war. It is going to come down exactly the way God said it is going to come down, as told in the book of Revelations. There’s nothing we can do to change or impact that war—God doesn’t even need our help. He is very capable of fighting His own battles, and He is going to come out on top! God will win the war! In the end He will put all of His enemies under the feet of His Son, Jesus! (I Corinthians 15:24-25; Psalm 110:1) Satan’s days are numbered! If you don’t believe me, read the Book!

 

Rather than worrying about a war we can do nothing about, we can be engaged in a war much closer to home—the one inside you and me. That is the war we can do something about and the war we will talk about next. You don’t want to miss my next post: “Who said Whitney Houston couldn’t sing?”  ~Janie Kellogg

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Have Your Own Personal Resurrection! April 17, 2012

Filed under: Encouragement — Janie Kellogg @ 8:47 pm

Easter has now come and gone, and just like every year it was celebrated with real-life church dramas, magnificent music, and the fanfare of colored eggs and white bunnies. Some brave soul asked the question, “Why do the bunnies and the chickens get all the attention?” Good question. But also like all the other years, we Christians who celebrated the glorious resurrection of our Savior will calm down and settle back into our usual state of “this-is-just-the-way-life-is” routine.

 

But what if we had our own personal resurrection—a resurrection from the dead, mundane, ordinary life we are living, and begin to walk in the newness of life that Jesus provides for all believers? (Romans 6:4) Easter can be a time of decision for those of us who are tired of being beat up by the enemy of our souls, or are sick of yielding to our besetting sins, or have come to the sad conclusion that God doesn’t answer prayer or heal sick bodies any more. Then there are those who live in fear that somehow this failed economy means certain ruin, or believe the news reports that America is no longer a Christian nation and that a majority of Americans do not believe in God. Nonsense! I was reminded the other day that in the 1970’s Newsweek announced on their front cover that “God is dead.” It wasn’t true in 1970 and it’s not true in 2012!

 

We are in the Easter season, the springtime of new life when trees, grass, and plants of very sort come out of their dormant state to grow and bloom again. Christ’s triumphant victory over death, hell, and the grave is just that—a picture of new life, ready to grow and bloom in the lives of believers. If Jesus Christ came up and out of the grave of death and defeat, then so can we! How did He do it? He submitted to the will of God the Father—even though it included death on the cross—because He knew that His Father wouldn’t leave Him in the grave (Psalm 16:10; 49:15). He believed in the power of God to bring Him back to life. Do we believe God is going to leave us in a dead and defeated state, beaten down by our enemy or do we believe God has the power to bring us back to life and out of our graves of despair, disappointment, fear, or hopelessness?

 

My Bible still says that Jesus wins this war! My Bible still says that Christ died for me so I can LIVE! My Bible still says that it ain’t over this it’s over, and friend, it ain’t over yet! You and I can still have a personal resurrection this Easter season—it’s not too late! By faith in a faithful and all-powerful God, we can wake up and arise from a state of deadness. We can believe and know that God is still on the throne and in control of this world and everything that happens in it. We can make Jesus the Lord of our lives, and when we do, He becomes Lord of everything that affects us. Satan has no more power to keep us down and depressed than he had to keep Jesus in that grave, or bound by grave clothes, or stuck behind a huge boulder over the entrance of the tomb. Got any boulders standing in the way of your freedom?

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to come up and out of my stupor. I’m ready to believe God and look up in faith knowing assuredly that HE’S ALIVE! HE LIVES! OUR GOD REIGNS! Instead of cowering down in fear, let us as God’s strong and mighty army of believers raise our banners high and ALL HAIL THE POWER OF JESUS’ NAME! If we don’t have a message of hope for the world, who does? We have been quiet, polite, and politically correct far too long. Like our ancestors from the first-century church, we face the challenge of sharing the Resurrected Christ with the world. Let’s start with our own personal resurrection! ~Janie Kellogg

 

Get Up and Out of That Stupor April 11, 2012

Filed under: Encouragement — Janie Kellogg @ 11:00 am

It just dawned on me that I have been in a stupor. Know what that means? A stupor is a state in which the mind and senses are partially or completely dulled—a state of apathy. Sounds serious, doesn’t it? Well it is. It is the condition I find myself in over the state of our nation and the perplexing problems that have our political leaders baffled. There’s our failing economy, our growing debt, our stressed relationships around the world, the turmoil within our own borders, not to mention the price of gasoline. Since it’s too depressing to think about, I find myself wanting to bury my head in the sand.

 

Even closer to home is the fact that I have also been lulled into a stupor by sin’s consequences on my spiritual well-being. For years my besetting sins have lured me into thinking I will never conquer them. I have become lazy in my worship and seeking the face of God. Busy-work compels me to get-er-done rather than spending time in prayer. Complacency has hypnotized me into believing I will never be what God wants me to be. I have failed so many times, and now I feel that I am too old to be of any use to God whatsoever. All opportunities have slipped through my hands. Besides, I will never be able to stay in close relationship with God, so why try. I have lost so many battles that I nearly concede that I have lost the war.

 

But wait a minute! Is this not the Easter season? Is this not what Christ’s resurrection is all about—raising people from the dead? Those who are dead in trespasses and sin? Those who have given in and given up on ever being free from Satan’s cruel grasp upon their lives? Those whose hope has taken a leave of absence?

 

The message of Easter is one of hope because Jesus overcame death, hell, and the grave! All of us were once dead in our sins, dwelling in a living hell, and bound by grave clothes. Satan wants to keep us there as long as he can, and if we ever get free, he will work diligently to bring us back to that same place. Those of us who find ourselves in bondage to Satan’s tricks and lies over and over must take the first step to rise up out of our stupor and move toward the Living Savior. We must refuse to live a defeated life. Just as we took that very first step to accept Christ as Savior-Redeemer, we must take many more steps toward Him as our Rescuer-Restorer. It is an on-going lifetime process of being rescued from Satan’s attempts to pull us back into his grasp. Jesus has plainly said that no one can snatch us out of His Father’s hand! (John 10:29)

 

You and I are worth something to God! After all, He paid a very high price for us. He is waiting for you and me to cry out to Him. It’s time to hear the Savior calling us to get up and out of that stupor. He has given us power over all the forces of the enemy, but if we do not claim that power it will do us no good. How do we claim that power? We have to turn on the engine of our faith through time with God—prayer, praise, worship and intimate fellowship with Him. It matters not how much horsepower is under the hood of our car unless we start the engine!

 

God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The only thing we can agree with Satan on is that we are nothing, worthless, and of no use to God, except for the fact that we have been resurrected to a new life in Christ Jesus. It is no longer you and I that live, but Christ who lives in us! Remember, this Resurrected Christ who now lives in us didn’t lose the battle or the war. Next time, we will talk about having our own personal resurrection. It’s not too late! ~Janie Kellogg

 

Vision ~ How Important Is It? April 5, 2012

Filed under: Vision — Janie Kellogg @ 12:59 pm

The three most important factors in selling real estate property are: 1) location, 2) location, and 3) location, so I am told. All other factors, such as the condition of the property, aesthetics, and selling price are certainly considered, but the main selling point with prospective buyers is where the property is located.

Similarly, there are three most important factors in walking with God, and I believe they are:  1) vision, 2) vision; and 3) vision. In other words, what we see—our vision—is to walking with God what location is to selling real estate—it far outweighs any of the other factors. Proverbs 29:18 says that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” This tells us that vision is essential for survival. If someone desires to walk with God, it is necessary that he sees what God wants him to see. Otherwise, he will not be able to follow God accurately, and according to this scripture, he could lose his way altogether.

A few years ago when I began to sense the call to write and to prepare myself for that call, God showed me I had a vision problem. This came as a total surprise, since I was totally unaware of any such problem. However, there were things about the message I intended to write that had to be corrected before I could go any further—either into a deeper walk with God or into a vocation of writing for Him. My vision was equally crucial in both cases.

As God began to deal with me about my vision—how I saw certain things—I discovered that I had worn blinders for much of my life. I think it is important to repeat what I mean by the word “blinders.” According to Webster, blinders are two flaps on a bridle that keep a horse from seeing to either side. They eliminate distractions to the animal and allow it to focus on the task at hand, such as running a horserace or plowing straight rows in a field. For people, we could then say that blinders are things that hinder us from seeing anything other than what is right in front of us and anything different from what we are intended to see. I believe blinders become ingrained in our personal belief systems formed by our parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, culture, etc. Whether good or bad, they help shape who we are and what we believe about many things. In some instances, they are placed there intentionally by those who rule over us. Other blinders are unintentional, such as family traditions simply handed down from one generation to the next. But whatever the case, they are a powerful force in our thinking, our opinions, and our values.

My purpose in addressing blinders is certainly not to offend anyone, but to share what God has shown me about my own blinders. My writings are not intended to be politically correct, slanted for or against any doctrine or group, nor written to win a popularity contest. My intent is solely to speak the truths shown to me. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 2:4 “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.” My heart’s desire is to be pleasing to God, if in fact, He has entrusted me with His gospel. Before the changes in my vision occurred, I believe God had not nor could not entrust me with the gospel.

So buckle your seatbelts and hang on to your hats as we make this journey. We will take a deeper look into what God wants us to see and what might be hindering us from seeing it. We might just figure out why it feels like we have been going around in circles and getting nowhere. Walking with God really is about our vision, our vision, and our vision. ~Janie Kellogg