Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

Savior? Yes ~ Lord? Not so much July 31, 2013

Filed under: Lordship of Christ — Janie Kellogg @ 8:09 pm
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Titles—some people have them; others want them. They denote a level of education, position, military rank, political attainment, great achievement, or even a status symbol linking us to some elitist club. But regardless of their origin, they tell us something about the person who holds them.

 

In various scriptures, Jesus is called Lord and Savior—titles with rich meaning. The Apostle Peter encouraged Christians to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”1 One thing is certain—these two titles tell us much about Jesus; but do we really know what they mean?

 

I fear many of us use these titles loosely—you know, like calling Jesus both Lord and Savior. Although they are commonly used terms within Christian circles, they hold serious implications and are words not to be taken lightly.

 

When asked if Jesus is my Savior, I will definitely answer—yes. But to be honest, when asked if He is my Lord, a more truthful answer is—not so much. I’ll explain.

 

The Bible teaches that any lost soul who puts their faith in the Savior of the world will be saved.2 When Jesus reaches out and pulls a person to safety, He becomes their personal “Savior,” a title He rightly earns. They gladly accept Him in that role and welcome its meaning. After all, who doesn’t want to be rescued and pulled from eternal damnation by a loving Savior? Count me in!

 

But the title “Lord” is another issue. It is possible that we don’t know the true meaning of the word lord, since it is not often used in our culture. And when the true meaning is revealed, our response might be, “Wait a minute—I didn’t sign up for that!”

 

Let’s take a look at the master/slave relationship in Biblical times to gain a better understanding. A master (also called lord) purchased or inherited a slave—a person who owned nothing and was forced to work without payment. In other words, the master literally owned the slave’s life. He told the slave what to do, where to go, how to act, when to speak; and the slave was expected to do so with absolute obedience.

 

Obviously, that was long before anyone knew about personal freedoms—such as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet, the Bible clearly states this same condition for all followers of Jesus: “You are not your own; you were bought with a price.”3 That’s right—Christians do not belong to themselves, but are owned by God! We were bought with the blood of the crucified Christ. Scripture clearly teaches that His death paid the ransom to free us from sin.4

 

Because Jesus Christ is both Lord and Savior, when we accept Him as our “Savior,” we also accept Him as our “Lord.” Yet, I believe few Christians grasp the role of Jesus as the Lord of their lives. We may call Him Lord in theory, but we clearly do not adhere to a slave’s life—being told what to do, where to go, how to act, when to speak; and we are oblivious to the idea of absolute obedience.

 

Have you ever wondered who Jesus might be talking to when He asks: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”5

 

Amy Carmichael wrote: “Sooner or later every child of the Father, every servant of the heavenly Master, has to learn that he is not here to do as he likes, but as the Lord commands.”6

 

There is much to explore on this subject of Jesus being our own personal Lord. His Lordship is a key component of this journey we are making together. Many treasures await us up ahead, so buckle your seatbelts and hang on!

 

My goal, when asked if Jesus is my Savior and Lord, is to be able to answer truthfully: Yes! Yes! How about you? ~ Janie Kellogg

 

 

12 Peter 3:18, 2Romans 10:13; 31 Corinthians 6:19-20; 4Mark 10:45; 5Luke 6:46 (NIV); 6Amy Carmichael, Whispers of His Power, CLC Publications, 1982, July 29.

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An Invitation from my Big Brother July 17, 2013

Sometimes I feel that people, even Christians, view God as demanding, controlling, and a hard-taskmaster. Do you ever feel that way? Perhaps we have all at one time or another thought His commands are difficult, if not impossible, to keep. But how freeing to the soul who finally figures out that His commandments are indeed impossible to keep—in and of ourselves.

 

Yet, God in His great love for mankind made a way to satisfy His requirement for righteousness—He sent His Son to earth to keep those commandments for us.  And Jesus did just that—perfectly, completely, and fully!

 

When we accept Christ’s substitutionary punishment for ourselves (for not keeping the commandments), we enter into a new relationship with God. We become His children. It is then that Jesus, our Big Brother, invites us to live in fellowship with Him and our Heavenly Father; and just as the Holy Spirit enabled Jesus when He walked on earth, He also enables us.1

 

With that in mind, try seeing God’s commands through these lenses:

 

As God’s child, I am invited to abide in Jesus, not demanded.

As God’s child, I am enabled to keep His commandments, not required.

As God’s child, I have a choice to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, not a mandate.

 

In His invitation to “follow me,” Jesus encourages us to walk like Him, talk like Him, think like Him, have faith like Him, and please the Father like Him. In other words, we have a choice to be like Jesus or to be like the world.

 

Have you made your choice?  Are you living your choice? These are two very different questions. Many Christians believe they have made their choice, but are still not living their choice.

 

God created man with a “free-will” to love Him or not to love Him. God did not want to have relationships with robots, and we need only to look at human relationships to understand why. What we want is a mutual relationship with people who want a relationship with us. Anything less is undesirable.

 

What an amazing place to be—in mutual and desired relationship with God Almighty!

 

How do we treat that amazing relationship? Is it mostly a one-way street: we ask and God gives? Again, we can look at human relationships to see a clearer picture. Do parents want children who become ungrateful demanders of things, but don’t spend time with them? Not!

 

God has much to give us that we both need and want—love, peace, and protection, to name a few. Sounds much like the things children need and want from their parents. Yet parents also have needs and wants from their children—love, respect, and appreciation. This kind of two-way relationship is what we all desire, and it is the same with God.

 

Consider this: We are invited to be the children of God—children who receive from their Heavenly Father and children who give back to their Heavenly Father. When we see it in this light, there is no place for words like demanding, controlling, or hard-taskmaster. They simply do not fit.

 

What happy children we can be! That is, once we understand and experience what Jesus made possible for us: the power to become the sons and daughters of God,2 joint-heirs with Jesus,3 and members of the household of God.4

 

Come to think of it, I am a happy member of the great household of God with an amazing Big Brother who modeled perfect sonship for me. It is my privilege and birthright to follow in His footsteps. How about you—are you a happy child of God? You can be. ~Janie Kellogg

 

1John 14:16-21; 2John 1:12; 3Romans 8:17; 4Ephesians 2:19

 

Choose Joy July 11, 2013

Filed under: Encouragement — Janie Kellogg @ 12:47 pm
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[This week I am publishing a devotional written by my son, Brent. He is the Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Thanks, Brent, for sharing this great word with us.]

It is almost a guarantee—put me in rush hour traffic and I will lose my cool, my patience and my joy! While standing in line three deep at the local supermarket, I tend to lose my joy there too.  The more I think about it—I seem to be living in a “joy-less” society.

People are grumpy.  We make lousy neighbors. We come home, close the garage door, and retreat into our own lives.  We look to medications, doctors and therapists to help us discover happiness.  We think buying that one more big toy will make us content.  Somewhere as a nation we have bought into the lie “more is better.”   Thus we have become “joy-less.”

I love how the Bible is full of hidden treasures.  Psalm 16 is a powerful chapter that unlocks the secret to “joy-full” living.  It is so powerful that it can change the course of a person’s life; yet it is almost a whisper in scripture.  If you find yourself reading for quantity – you might just miss it.  Personally, I think our culture as a whole has missed it. Because we live for quantity of life, we have missed the whispers of God’s still small voice.

We may find a clue to our dilemma in verse 11:  “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  This verse lends to beautiful worship songs and inspiring art work; but as far as practical theology—let’s face it, we don’t practice it very much.  Could the reason we have so much road rage and too many impatient shoppers is because we have no joy?

Statistics tell us that the number of people attending church each year is decreasing.  Alarming news headlines certainly reveal that fewer people are living out their faith.  If Psalm 16:11 is true, and we know it is, then it makes perfect sense that our culture is angry and empty. Simply put: If time in God’s presence equals joy, then no time in God’s presence equals no joy!

This may be overstated, but I believe we lack joy because we fail to spend time in the presence of God.  Something happens when we start the day with God.  It puts the rest of the day in proper perspective.  It places the circumstances in His control and the stress in His hands. Yet, many of us are far too busy to stop and enjoy our Creator.

Instead of talking about the grumpy drivers on the highway and angry shoppers at the supermarket – let’s talk for a second about you.  Do you have joy in your life? Do you see the world as a heavy place, full of things that press your buttons; or do you see the world as God’s creation and His masterpiece to be celebrated and enjoyed?  The difference in how you see the world may be in how you spend your time.

As followers of Christ, we should choose joy!  Nehemiah 8:10 tells us, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”   I encourage you to choose to spend time in God’s presence this week—it has the potential to change your outlook on life.  ~Brent Kellogg