Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

I’ve lost the faith, but not all October 29, 2016

2016 has been a hard year for those of us who try to live by our faith. While I can honestly say that my faith in God—the faith that matters most—has not failed one iota, my faith in many other things has. Here’s why.

Never in my lifetime have I seen Americans marching and shouting to kill the police men and women who are willing to die to protect them. Never in my lifetime have I seen people indifferent to such atrocities as shown in the Planned Parenthood videos of the murder of innocent babies. Never in my lifetime have I witnessed tolerance of blatant corruption in high places, at all levels of government and on both sides of the aisle. Today, I have lost faith in people and in government.

Furthermore, I have been a proud Republican all of my life—that is, except for a few months when someone convinced me it would be better if I changed parties so that I could make a difference at the local level. Later, I decided I didn’t care because I was a true conservative at heart, and I changed my registration back. My Dad was the 8th person to register as a Republican in the county where I grew up, so you can see I didn’t exactly grow up in “red” country. I have always believed the best of the Grand Ole Party and had faith that it represented my values. But come January, I will register as an Independent. Today, I have lost faith in my political party.

I have also watched “political correctness” re-shape the American church. We Christians have been shamed for clinging to our guns and Bibles, and we accepted the shame without resistance. In our churches, we have been suppressed to withhold the truth of God’s Word if it might in any way, shape or form offend anyone for doing anything, including sin. We have watered down the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has given us so great a salvation until the next generation can hardly recognize it, much less experience it. Our culture has influenced the church much more than the church has influenced our culture. Today, I have lost faith in the organized church.

Yet, all is not lost. There are some things in which my faith still stands tall and strong. First, my faith in God has not faltered, and I pray it never does. He has always been faithful to His Word, His Name, His people, and His promises. You and I can bet the farm and everything else on God’s faithfulness!

I have not lost faith in the Constitution of the United States, and I hope I never do. Our forefathers did an incredible job of framing it 240 years ago, and while some have tried to interpret it to suit their fancy, it still stands tall on the world stage as the model and envy of every modern civilization. I have not lost faith in its ability to ensure the freedom and justice for all that’s embedded within its structure.

And lastly, I have not lost faith in love. God is love and He created mankind—out of love. He has a plan and purpose for every life—out of love. He sent His Son to die a sacrificial death in order to save us from eternal damnation—out of love. He is in control of this world, as well as the rise and fall of every leader and every nation—out of love. He has a group of born-again, blood-washed, Spirit-filled believers who will be witnesses of His redeeming grace as long as the earth remains—out of love. And when He says enough is enough, He will take His own out of this sin-sick world to spend eternity with Him—out of love!

Make sure you know where you stand. And if your faith feels that it is failing in some areas like mine does—whatever you do, don’t let your faith in God fail! Faith in God is all that will matter in the end—and it’s nearly the end. ~ Janie Kellogg

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I May Have Just Found My Voice ~ How About You? May 2, 2016

I have never thought of myself as courageous—you know—the brave and fearless type. Actually, I’ve considered myself a scaredy-cat—scared of being home alone at night, scared of upsetting apple carts, and scared of offending anyone. But as I have grown older, I’m learning how to deal with these issues.

It has been years since I’ve worried about being home alone at night. And upsetting apple carts—well, I have inevitably upset some carts along the way, but I lived to tell about them. Then there is this thing of offending others. I certainly do not want to offend anyone, but if being scared keeps me from speaking truth, then something is wrong with that picture.

I believe the political correctness issue in our culture has gone way too far. Does it seem to you that someone is offended at everything? I read a sign the other day that said something like this: “Our society is careful not to offend anyone, except God.” Perhaps that’s because God doesn’t speak out or demonstrate when He is offended. (He will, however, eventually get the last word.)

We see demonstrators clamoring for free speech for those who want to speak obscenities against God, yet all havoc breaks loose when someone speaks in favor of God or prays in His name. I keep wondering why this imbalance is so widespread and accepted by the masses. It could be because all of the people have not yet found their voices—most especially those who believe in God, in goodness, in righteousness and in decency.

Could we be losing this battle simply because we are afraid to speak? If that is the case, then the opposing forces have already won, and soon the name of the Lord our God will not be permitted in the public square. At the same time, all obscenities can be spoken at will—because believers are not courageous enough to find their voices.

Here is where I am: I have no desire to offend people who don’t believe in my God, but I do have a desire to serve my God and obey Him. Our forefathers fought and died to give our citizens the right to serve God Almighty without persecution from the government. Yet, just last week I read about a registered student group who was told they would need a permit before talking about Jesus on the campus of a major university.1 It seems that free speech today protects everyone except those who want to serve God. Our forefathers would turn over in their graves at such distortion of our Constitution.

So what are you and I going to do about it? When the apostles Peter and John were threatened NOT to speak in Jesus’ name any more, they found their voices:

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard. (Acts 4:18-20)

And what was the result of finding their voices?

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all. (Acts 4:33)

It is clearly time for the people of God to find our voices. Come to think of it, I may have just found mine. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. Luke 12:11 (NIV)

1Todd Starnes, Want to Talk About Jesus, You’ll Need a Permit, American Dispatch, April 28, 2016

 

I’m Fed Up! If there is an action plan for Christians, I want to know what it is April 22, 2016

Weary, tired out, worn down, and fed up! That’s me. I can no longer watch the political hullabaloo being paraded before my eyes and ears by the news media. I’m done! Plain. Simple. Done.

I have been collecting my thoughts lately about how I should face the dire predicament in which our nation finds itself—you know, from a personal perspective. I recently determined to read as many articles and social media posts written by men and women of God and people of integrity as time allows. I prefer not to buy into conspiracy theories or doom day rhetoric, and my deepest desire is to know what God has to say to my heart. If there is such a thing as an action plan for Christians, I want it to know what it is.

Our frustration with America’s problems has reached a boiling point, and it is that frustration that fuels our anger. We can see that our elected politicians are not capable, or perhaps willing, to fix any of those problems, so our goal is to repair everything in the November 2016 election. You know—let’s make America great again. But our hope for a change for the better is being vested in a man or a woman—the one we feel has the wisdom, courage and stamina to take on this huge task. Unfortunately, as the struggle to find the right person continues, our hope diminishes day by day.

Pastor Andy Stanley from Atlanta, Georgia said, “We are looking to men to solve a spiritual problem.” Light bulb time! Of course, we are. And none of them, I repeat not one of them, can fix America’s spiritual bankruptcy. It began many years ago and has elevated to alarming proportions, in spite of the warnings given us by God.

As I have turned my attention to what God has to say rather than what the national media has to say, I have come to a conclusion. There is only one answer to our problem: God’s people must actually do what He says to do:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

There it is—the remedy for our spiritual sickness. As a nation we have turned away from God; we have broken His laws; we have laughed in His face; and we snubbed our noses at Him. Our sins wreck to high heaven. We need to repent for our nation, and God has promised that if we will do that, then He will hear and heal.

A few days ago Franklin Graham said that God isn’t looking for the masses to call upon Him, but for His chosen people to call. And it doesn’t take a great number of people to move the hand of God—it takes some who do what He said to do. Are you willing to be of them? Am I?

I plan to attend the Decision America Tour in Oklahoma City on April 27th when Franklin Graham gathers with Oklahomans at our State Capitol at 12:00 noon to pray for America. It’s a call to prayer, and I believe it is a big step in the right direction.

What if, over the course of the next six months that instead of watching the news, we use our time to bombard heaven on behalf of our nation? Imagine how powerful that could be if all of those who bear His name would do the same.

I believe that together we can do more. I also believe it is our only chance for survival. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “God will make a way, where there seems to be no way.” ~ Don Moen

 

Have You Decided Yet Which Side You Are On? March 19, 2016

If you think the chaos surrounding the 2016 Presidential election is unprecedented, you are not alone. We find ourselves grappling with the questions: Who do we believe? Who do we trust? Which candidate has the right answers? If it were not so incredibly serious, it would be laughable. I have been interested in politics all of my life, and almost tried out for the debate team as a senior in high school. You’ll notice I said almost. Today, I struggle to even watch what is happening.

When I was just a little girl, my dad would say that if Americans don’t wake up soon, the time will come when the electorate will be deceived, their freedoms taken away, and civilization reduced to two groups—the elite and all the rest of us. He fully believed this would lead to a future one-world government. The only possible way God-fearing, freedom-loving people would fall for such a scheme would be to promise them a better life, give them something for nothing, and convince them that others are responsible for their unhappiness.

I believe that time is here. The continual shift away from our Judeo-Christian values and the decline of moral fiber in our society signal a change we may not have intended. While Americans currently seem to be at a pivotal point, they are perhaps waking up too late. The sleeping giant may well find that “the land of the free and the home of the brave” has unsuspectingly slipped away from us.

While politics are an important part of our American culture, they are not the supreme power nor do they have the final say in our destiny. God does. He always has. While discussing the dismal condition of our nation with family members, I simply said: “I think it’s time to figure out what kingdom you belong to and set your hopes on it.” Everyone agreed. I know which kingdom I belong to and it is not of this world. In fact, I am a stranger and a pilgrim here.1 I belong to the Kingdom of God where He reigns supreme; and my greatest hope lies in praying that His kingdom will come and reign on earth, just like it does in heaven.2

If you are banking your hopes on this world, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. This war that is brewing on earth isn’t going away and it isn’t going to end well. In fact, it will become too horrible for God to keep His chosen ones here,3 and He will come to snatch us out of it.4 All hell is going to break loose because God said that He will shake everything that can be shaken.5 The lies of Satan, that great deceiver, will be exposed, and those who have followed him will see the error of their way.6 Unfortunately, at that point it will be too late for those who have ignored God.

I know that political party roots grow deep, just as mine do, but I would challenge us all to take a much broader look at what is currently happening. As the battle lines are being drawn, do not mistake this for the usual rise and fall of the most popular political party of the day. Party affiliation has nothing to do with it. What you and I are witnessing on our television screens is the war between good and evil, between the spiritual powers in the heavenlies, between God and Satan. This is a great battle for the souls of men—and that could mean yours, if you have not yet decided which side you are on.

Personally, I fear that our streets could soon erupt into lawlessness, our cities explode with rioting, and our government could fall before our very eyes. We are at a crucial point in history as the stage has been strategically set for our nation to implode from within. A house divided against itself cannot stand.8 I hope and pray none of this happens; but just in case my fears are justified, now is the time to decide which kingdom you belong to—God’s kingdom or Satan’s kingdom. The final decision is upon us. ~ Janie Kellogg

Theoden: I will not risk open war.

Aragorn: Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Key Scripture: For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:2

1Hebrews 11:13; 2Luke 11:2; 3Matthew 24:21-22; 41Thessalionans 4:16-17; 5Hebrews 12:25-27; 62 Thessalonians 2:8-12; 7Revelation 12:12; 8Mark 3:25

 

Making Sense Out of the Nonsense February 24, 2016

My husband and I were keeping our evening ritual of watching our favorite news channel when yet another story was reported that made no sense to me whatsoever. In my usual tone of controlled outrage coupled with staggering unbelief at the news story I had just heard I said, “That is crazy! What is wrong with people? Don’t they understand what they are doing?”

I expect that you make some of those same comments, wondering how seemingly normal, well-educated people can make the decisions they are making today. To be honest, it outright baffles me.

A few days later God dropped a word into my spirit—derision. I began my search and it didn’t take long to find the Scripture the Lord was pointing out to me.

Why do the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing?   The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.”  He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. ~ Psalm 2:1-4.

I grabbed my Hebrew dictionary and looked up the word derision. The root word “la′ag” means mock, laugh, or scorn. As I thought of these verses in light of our current lack of common sense, I couldn’t help but wonder if God is looking down and laughing at America! Are we a nation being held in derision?

I know we don’t like to think so. After all, our modern-day message of the gospel is that God sits in the heavens and just waits to pour out blessings and wealth on His people regardless of their behavior. Besides, we are still His specially favored nation. Aren’t we?

But let’s consider a few things happening today. Are not people in high places in our land setting themselves against God by determining that there are other gods that must be recognized? Does not our nation long to be free from the Laws and Commandments of God as spelled out in the Bible? Hasn’t this specially favored nation declared that it is no longer a Christian nation? Yet, when such announcements are made, we say little and do nothing. We have tolerated God’s commandments to be removed from our schools and now the public square because we are afraid of political correctness, losing elections, and a biased news media.

Could it be that God looks and laughs at our choices and says, “If America no longer wants to be a Christian nation, then so be it. Let’s see how that works out for them.”

I am afraid we are seeing how it works—not very well. It is not a pretty picture, to say the least. We can no longer make sound and reasonable decisions, we are up to our necks in debt, and we are not unified on any subject. Right is twisted and scorned, while wrong is praised and honored. Hatred seems to be the growing response towards those who break the law, riot, abuse and kill the innocent among us, but also for those who simply have different political views.

I believe it is totally possible that America is being held in derision. God could very well be mocking us for our senseless choices and our lack of courage to take a stand for righteousness; and collectively, we are now paying a high price.

I may not be right; but if I am, it sure helps make some sense out of all the non-sense. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. ~ Proverbs 14:34 (NIV)