Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

What to do with a Dead Vision ~ June 8, 2015

What comes to mind when you hear the words “dead vision?” Here is what goes off in my head: Done. Over. Finished. Expired. Lifeless. Nada. Nil. Nothing.

I was recently tempted to call a promise of God—that has not yet been fulfilled in my life—dead. You know what I’m talking about because you have one too—the vision God dropped into your heart years ago, and you are still waiting for it to happen.

As I pondered the cause for the delay, I wondered if I had done something to hinder God from fulfilling His word to me. No sooner than I put that issue to rest (by asking for forgiveness for whatever I might have done), another accusation quickly surfaced to replace it, and then another, and another. You will recognize them, because you’ve heard them too:

“Maybe I didn’t hear God right. Perhaps I am believing for something God never promised? I must be daydreaming to think this could come true. It’s impossible. Did I just make this up? I might as well face it, that vision is dead!”

A few days ago a daily devotional reading by Amy Carmichael spoke to this very issue. She wrote:  “Our Lord Jesus has taught us to call the dead, the living.”1

It’s true. Hebrews 11:12 says: “Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky….” We know this as the fulfillment of God’s promise of a son to Abraham and Sarah very late in life. And in Romans 4:17 we read, “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”

We are given a clear example of the good-as-dead body of Abraham and the obviously-dead womb of Sarah being called the living. By all accounts their vision appeared to be totally impossible. Yet, in the remaining verses of Romans 4 we read how Abraham found the faith and the courage to call those dead things, alive.

Contrary to hope, Abraham believed in hope. (vs.18)

Not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead since he was about a hundred years old. (vs. 19)

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief. (vs. 20)

He was strengthened in faith and gave glory to God. (vs. 20)

He was fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform. (vs. 21)

Notice the verb phrases in these scriptures:  believed in hope; not being weak; did not consider; did not waver; was strengthened; gave glory; was fully convinced. These are the steps Abraham took while waiting upon God to fulfil the vision.

More modern-day language may sound like this: Don’t give up. Hang in there. Keep on keeping on. Stay the course. Trust when you don’t feel like it. Praise God anyway. Speak positive words of faith. Reaffirm your confidence in God.

Is it too late for us to apply these powerful verb phrases to our vision? Of course not! What if we were to defy the odds, disregard what we see, dismiss what we feel, disarm the voice of our enemy—and call our dead vision—alive! After all, if God Himself says something is alive, then it must be alive!

Hasn’t the enemy of our souls taunted us long enough with doubt and unbelief? As sons and daughters of Abraham, our father of faith, let’s tell God that we still believe He will fulfill His promise to us. Then we can move forward as if it is true, simply because God said so. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.~ Romans 4:18 [The Message]

1Amy Carmichael, Whispers of His Power, CLC Publications, Ft. Washington, PA, 1982, Pg. 121

Advertisements
 

Rest ~ It can be yours for the right currency May 13, 2014

Filed under: Faith — Janie Kellogg @ 1:10 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I think most all Christians believe that God intends for His children to be at rest—at least spiritually. We know we are called to work to spread the Gospel to all the world, to teach and train our children and new converts in the things of God, and certainly to wage war against the forces of evil; but spiritually, we believe that God wants us to be “at rest” in Him as our Heavenly Father.

 

As earthly parents, we do not want our children, especially small children, to be concerned about where their next meal is coming from, the growth of their college fund, the cost of their health insurance, or much of anything for that matter. We want them to be kids—to be light-hearted and carefree as they live life. After all, we are responsible for the big things, and there’s not much that kids can do about heavy issues anyway.

 

Why then do we think our Heavenly Father is any different? Did He not say that He clearly takes responsibility for what we eat, and drink, and wear? And what about tomorrow or the future? Didn’t He tell us not to worry about heavy issues like those? Isn’t He the only one who can do anything about those things anyway? Personally, I believe God says to us: “I’ll allow you to be human, if you’ll just allow me to be God!” 

 

Recently, we talked about entering God’s rest from Hebrews Chapter 4—a chapter rich with nuggets of insight for us. Here are a few of them:

 

  • It is possible not to enter this rest.
  • Entering requires faith, not just knowledge.
  • God was angry with those who failed to enter.
  • Everything has already been accomplished for us to enter.
  • All who enter must cease from his own works as God ceased from His works.

 

We have read these truths over and over. We think we understand what they mean, but we continue to live otherwise.  We continue “not” to believe God’s rest is for us. We continue to strive to please God with our human accomplishments. We continue to work to make God happy enough to let us enter there. Yet, based on these truths from Chapter 4, these things are simply not what is required.

 

Receiving things from God seems to trip us up. Just how do we get God to release His promises to us? I believe that God has a currency—a heavenly currency—that must be used in God’s economy. It is the one thing that God accepts when we come to get something from Him. That currency is FAITH! God has set in motion that everything that comes from Him can be obtained ONLY by using this currency. Scripture verifies my belief:

 

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him”. (Hebrews 11:6)

 

When we come to God for rest and do not come with faith, but with complaining, or self-pity, or offering up our good deeds, we are attempting to use some other form of currency. And God says “I won’t accept that currency. You must enter my rest on my terms, and my terms are by faith!” Can we not hear Him saying to us “Take me at my Word! Stop doubting me! Stop trying to earn it! Stop trying to coerce me! Cease from your works and simply believe ME!”

 

Do you get it? God wants us to stop trying and start believing! We must repent for trying to get there any other way; for blaming God that it’s too hard; and for trusting in our own works. It’s time to humble ourselves, believe God, and approach the throne of God with FAITH in our hands and our hearts. Thank Him that He provided it free of charge to us—except to believe Him. Thank Him for doing all the work and letting us off the hook. Our works don’t look so great anyway.

 

If you’re broke—dead-broke with no faith in your pocket whatsoever—ask our generous God to give you some. He longs to do that for you. If you come before Him with FAITH to enter that rest, it’s a guarantee that He’ll receive it and you will at last GO IN! ~ Janie

 

Who Said Whitney Houston Couldn’t Sing? May 2, 2012

Filed under: Faith — Janie Kellogg @ 3:16 pm

I was recently shocked and saddened by the death of Whitney Houston, perhaps the greatest female vocalist of our time. I was even more shocked to learn that for much of Whitney’s career she struggled with thoughts of inadequacy, such as “I can’t sing good enough,” or “I’m not pretty enough.” Someone tell me how that happened.

 

As a singer and choir director who barely makes the grade—that would be me—I can’t even go there. Those thoughts are absurd. Whitney Houston had a voice to die for! You know what I mean. It’s the same thing those of us who are cheesecake lovers say about cheesecake—cheesecake is to die for! We say that about something we really desire. I can’t help but wonder how many young girls around the world would give their two front teeth to sing just half as good as Whitney Houston, me included.

 

A Whitney-Houston-kind-of-voice will come along perhaps only once or twice in our lifetime. Her perfect pitch, sharpness of tone, incredible range, and the soothing melodious sounds that came from her voice were unmatched. It was angelic in many ways—perhaps the greatest vocal gift God ever bestowed on a human being. And it was truly that—a gift from God.

 

Why then did Whitney think she couldn’t sing good enough? Good enough for what? When you are the best, who is there to compare yourself to? Would you like to know who told her she couldn’t sing? There is simply one answer to my question:  a gross lie of that magnitude could only have come from the father of lies—Satan himself. Yet, it seems impossible that someone as talented and beautiful as Whitney Houston could have doubted her amazing gifts. If we do not yet grasp the power of Satan’s lies, we need only to look at the tragedy of Whitney Houston’s life.

 

Remember that we are in a war—a war of words. God speaks words of love and life to His created sons and daughters, and Satan comes along and announces that God is not believable. As it was with Eve, the resulting outcome of our lives depends on who we choose to believe: God or Satan. When we choose to believe God, we can have the abundant life Jesus promised to believers. When we choose to believe Satan, our lives can be difficult, troubled, and eventually taken from us. The Bible says that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). His tactic to take us down always begins with a lie.

 

Please don’t miss my point:  It is critical that we know which voice to believe, because that is the voice we will act on. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:12, “I know whom I have believed.”  Do you know who you believe? As our beliefs and values are currently being shaken to the core, it is essential that our lives are built on a solid foundation—a foundation of truth. A life built on sinking sand has only one destiny—destruction. Whether we realize it or not, every life is built either on truth or on a lie. There is no neutral ground. If you do not know God’s voice today, you have a great deal of homework to do. The day of testing is upon us, and we must clearly know WHO to believe.  ~Janie Kellogg

 

Note: If you have questions or desire help in knowing God’s voice, please feel free to contact me through the comment feature on my website. Your comments can remain confidential.

 

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