Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

The New ME! February 27, 2013

There is a huge war going on and it’s not the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, or anywhere else in the world. Actually, it’s much closer to home. The war that prevails, that is the most concern to my life, is inside me!

 

Like most believers, I was taught that once I am saved, I’m saved; that Jesus loves me forever; and I’m on my way to heaven. Although assured of making it to heaven when I die, I didn’t expect it to feel like I’d get there by the skin of my teeth, the hair on my chinny-chin-chin, fighting every inch of the way. Why does it seem as if I am in a battle for my life?

 

Because I am—the battle for my spiritual life—the life of the new ME!

 

It was a joyous event when I accepted Christ and learned that my old fleshly nature had been overruled, dethroned, and replaced. Yet, while my fallen-from-God’s-intended nature is completely, officially, and legally no longer in control of me,1 I still have this ongoing debate with my flesh—the old ME!

 

The fact is I have an enemy that I didn’t have before I accepted Christ. Until now, my own fallen nature didn’t have to fight for survival since it was already in control. But now that I have a new life living on the inside, the old ME is trying to make a comeback. And the war is on—I am at war with myself!

 

Few Christians are prepared for the war they will inevitably face—the old ME verses the new ME.   In case no one spelled it out: self doesn’t die easy. Here is one very important fact has been left out of much Christian teaching: Now that I am saved, it’s up to ME to appropriate this life-changing truth into my everyday life.

 

But the Apostle Paul didn’t leave it out. In Ephesians 3:16 he prayed for me and you about this very thing. He prayed that “out of His (God’s) glorious riches, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.”  That is the same inner being Paul described in Romans 7:22 that wants to obey God—that’s the new ME—the newly born-again life of Jesus.

 

But why are so many Christians struggling to win a war that has already been legally won? Not only are they struggling to win the war, some have lost battle after battle and have the scars to prove it. The casualties of this war are huge. Many Christians give up, drop out, and never expect to win the fight.

 

Consider this: How many Christians actually know how to defeat the enemy of their souls? Know how to put the enemy to flight? Bring every thought into captivity? Love their enemies? Love their neighbor as themselves? Submit to one another? Forgive seventy times seven? (Are you kidding!) Crucify their flesh? Turn the other check? Go the second mile? In everything give thanks? Need I go on?

 

My point is not to call attention to the failures of Christians. My point is this: By the way we live it appears this gospel isn’t powerful enough to do what the Bible says it will do. Do we believe in a powerful gospel or a powerless gospel?

 

The problem is not with our gospel—it with us—we have failed to appropriate (take, seize, adopt, usurp, grab) the very truth of the gospel we profess to believe.

 

Perhaps we have not yet figured out how to be strengthened with power through His Spirit that is required to win this battle with our legally dethroned, stubborn self, as Paul prayed we would.

 

I wonder if many modern-day believers even know this power is available. And if so, have they learned how to tap into it?  Be assured that God did not intend for us to be lacking in power. He made every provision for His children to live a victorious and powerful Christ-like, Christ-centered, Spirit-filled life.

 

It is time to unwrap and expose the truth about how to appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives. If you haven’t joined the journey, it’s not too late! ~ Janie Kellogg

 

1Treasure in Earthen Vessels, “My Faulty Default” – February 19, 2013

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My Faulty Default February 19, 2013

Of course I know what “default” means:  someone failed to repay a loan. Right? Apparently not, in this age of modern technology, and I was behind the curve.

 

At thirty-five my first computer class was intimidating, because I knew little to nothing about the new technology taking over my world. Even my years of experience in business didn’t help. Not here; not now.

 

So what’s with this word “default?” I seriously thought I knew what it meant. Eventually, I figured out it was the original settings on this ingenious beast setting in front of me.

 

Computers are programmed to respond to a command the same way every time. For example, F1 is always Help; F3 is always Print. These default settings are built in at the factory, and they remain that way until someone, who understands the internal workings of computers, changes them do otherwise.

 

What does this have to do with me? A lot—since I too am programmed.

 

My default was originally set to live in perfect fellowship with God on this amazing Planet Earth. From the get-go I would be able to walk with Him, talk with Him, and understand His ways. Imagine that—God and me on the same page!

 

Then it happened, right there in the Garden of Eden, my original setting was changed in a moment when Eve chose to experience evil. She had already experienced good since everything around her was good—God had called it so.

 

When Satan tempted her to eat of the tree of good and evil, she made a really bad choice.1

 

Go ahead and blame Eve. That’s the easy thing to do. Yet thousands of years later in my own garden of life, I did the same.

 

Because of Eve’s choice, my default (along with that of the entire human race) was reset to obey my sin nature. In other words, my fallen-from-God’s-intended-nature is now in control of ME.2 One could say that I have a faulty default.

 

So there it is—better known as self—reigning on the throne of my life and making my decisions. I am a slave to it3 and will continue to be until someone, who knows how to reprogram ME, resets my default.

 

In the meantime, self is looking out for ME. You know—it’s all about ME. I’m on guard for anyone who might hurt ME, take advantage of ME, do ME wrong, or give ME the short end of the stick. I also have a keen eye for anything that would rob ME of the credit, compensation, or glory due ME. I know it sounds selfish, but I prefer to call it self-preservation.

 

Jesus talked about this very thing. He said saving my life isn’t the best route to take—that is, if I want to follow Him.4 No doubt, that decision will require a change in my current default setting.

 

I’ve tried to change it, all by myself—unsuccessfully. Haven’t we all tried—unsuccessfully?

 

I needed the skill of the Master Programmer, someone who understands the inner workings of human hearts. I needed Jesus, the Creator and Author of life. He was the only one who could successfully change my default.

 

And He did! Jesus changed it the day I believed in Him as my Lord and Savior. Completely. Officially. Legally.5

 

 In a moment, I became a new creation and the old sin-default-setting is now gone.6 I am returned to perfect fellowship with God just as He intended for me to be in the beginning.

 

But then, that is what Jesus does—He sets captives free. I am no longer a slave to my faulty default. No one else has to be either. ~ Janie Kellogg

1Genesis 3:4-7; 2Romans 7:17-20; 3Romans 7:14; 4Luke 9:23-24; 5Colossians 2:13-15; 62 Corinthians 5:17

 

A Special Someone on Valentine’s Day February 13, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Janie Kellogg @ 9:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It is good to love someone, and it is good to be loved by someone.

It is good to hold someone, and it is good to be held by someone.

It is good to cherish someone, and it is good to be cherished by someone.

It is good to have someone special, and it is good to be special to someone.

It is good to have someone as your sweetheart, and it is good to be someone’s sweetheart.

It is good to care for someone, and it is good to be someone who is cared for.

It is good to share your heart with someone, and it is good to have someone share their heart with you.

It is good to dream someone’s dreams, and it is good to have someone dream your dreams.

It is good to know the depth of someone’s soul, and it is good to have someone know the depth of your soul.

It is good to help someone make life’s decisions, and it is good to have someone help make the decisions in your life.

It is good to forgive someone’s faults and failures, and it is good to have someone forgive your faults and failures.

It is good to soothe someone’s heartache, and it is good to have someone soothe your aching heart.

It is good to put your arms around someone who is afraid, and it is good to feel someone’s arms around you when you are fearful.

It is good to bear the pain of someone who is hurting, and it is good to have someone bear your painful hurt.

It is good to hold someone’s hand when life is difficult, and it is good to have someone hold your hand in difficult times.

It is good to live life with someone, and it is good to have someone live life with you.

It is good to be one with someone, and it is good to have someone be one with you.

For God had said, “It is not good that man should be alone,” so He made for him a special someone.

 

Appreciate the “special someone” that God has given to you this Valentine’s Day.  ~Janie Kellogg

 

 

Living on the Lighter Side February 8, 2013

Blink. Blink. Blink. The electricity is off again, and I realize that I love light.

 

On a dark night in rural Oklahoma this is a life-changing event. It’s hard to see my hands in front of my face. I hurry to light a candle. All activity has ceased; the television is quiet; the treadmill still. There is nothing to light the screen on my computer—it sits dark. As I am giving thanks for the glow of the candle, I think about how much I genuinely love light.

 

Light means life. Darkness means something else—but definitely not life, as evidenced by my still, lifeless room.

 

“The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding unto the simple.” That’s me—I am both simple and lack understanding. And because of it, I equally love the light that comes from God’s Word, especially when it brings the understanding of a newfound truth into my hungering heart.

 

I can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s like trying to thread a needle, or remove a sticker underneath my skin, or read the small print on a medicine bottle—I cannot get too much light. So it is with God’s light—I am in no danger of getting too much.

 

I continually pray for more light from His Word. But then God has a purpose when He dispenses light. The Bible says that God sent His Son “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”

 

Later, Jesus turned to His followers and said, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.

 

I hear the call to be a light-spreader. Millions still live without the Light of World. “God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light.” As I sit here in the quiet of my dim surroundings, I wonder how people could love darkness. Why would anyone choose to live there?

 

Truth is life-giving light to hearts dwelling in unlit places. Even a trace is glorious and calls for celebration of a joy-gift from God.

 

I think of how my dark room needs life-giving light tonight—just like God’s dark world. His plan has always been to fill His children with that life-giving light and send them out into the darkness to spread it around. It seems only fair that the Master Light-Giver would expect a yield from His investment of light in my life.

 

Am I willing to share the light given to me? Does God want to use me to reach those living in the shadows of death? Do I even see them sitting there—over on the darker side? Is it possible that the light shining from my life could guide some lost soul to the path of peace? Is it bright enough to be seen? Bright enough to show anyone the way to the lighter side?

 

Dear Lord, help me love light even more. Help me be a light-spreader—by speaking light to those I meet today; by living light so those who see me see You; by writing light so others can read and understand. May the light You invest in me not be in vain.

 

And Lord, would You help my electricity to come back on soon, since I really do prefer living on the lighter side! ~ Janie Kellogg

 

Psalm 119:130 (NKJ); John 3:19(NLT); Luke 1:79 (NLT); John 20:21 (NLT)