Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

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

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Could This Year Be “That Year” for You? January 14, 2016

Current day America is in a mess, and the world is in an even bigger mess! It seems to me that we are headed downhill toward final doom. How’s that for optimism about the New Year? Not so much, huh?

However, I do have some positive thoughts about this year. For instance, I believe that 2016 can be a great year for the church. It could actually be our finest hour as we become eye witnesses of the return of Jesus Christ. That event is on my mind a lot lately.

I currently feel that I do not have the power in my life to withstand the persecution coming to all Christ-followers. I also feel that I do not have ability to lead the women that I teach or to write God’s message to my blog readers. The question must be: What then can I do to get prepared?

I desire to surrender my life fully to the Lordship of Christ—my Holy House Guest, who lives within me. I long to fully obey Him, but cannot find the power to do so. Romans Chapter 7 is my testimony, too. Yep, it describes me to a tee. I expect many of you grapple with the same issues.

God knows my heart, and yours, and He bids us to come closer. On New Year’s Day I was entertaining the thought that 2016 might be the year I actually figure it out. After all, I’ve read dozens, if not hundreds, of books on the deeper walk, the inner life, and the secret place. Perhaps I will finally tap into it—this year.

And then on that first Sunday morning of 2016 my pastor preached a sermon titled “That Year.” My heart leapt within my chest. I could hardly believe my ears as he began to read this Scripture:

“Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.” Joshua 5:12

I grabbed it immediately as a word for me—it clearly resonated with what I had been thinking. So, I declared right then and there: This year would be that year for me to enter the Promised Land.

I’ve read about the Promised Land for decades. I know what it is filled with: milk and honey,1 so they say, and luscious fruit—large grapes—really big and juicy ones! I’ve longed to enter there.

What about you—have you ever longed to enter there? Some theologians believe the Promised Land refers to heaven; others for the here and now. I believe the latter. Regardless, for me it’s not about the fruit, the milk, or the honey. It’s about power in my own life to overcome this pesky flesh I struggle with.

Romans Chapter 8 tells me that it can be done, after all Paul did it. Many saints of old have done it. Why not me? And you? What if the Promised Land is the place where we finally have the power to fully obey the Holy Spirit and no longer yield to our flesh? Or the place where we begin to eat of the produce of that bountiful land—begin to partake of the power to say “no” to those things we don’t want to do and “yes” to the things we do want to do? Sounds logical.

If so, it’s clearly time for us to enter there.2 If not now, when? But we must remember that it takes faith to enter that place. The doubters didn’t please God then. They won’t please Him now either. Although it was promised to them, their unbelief kept them from inheriting it at all.3 Unbelief is clearly not a good route to take. But for those who believed, they moved forward by faith to claim the Promised Land as their own.4

Could 2016 be “that year” you and I move forward by faith to claim the Promised Land as our very own? Believers believe. I believe. Do you? ~Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered today, let us be afraid, lest any of you should think he has come too late and has come short of reaching it. Hebrews 4:1

1Exodus 3:8; 2Hebrews 4:1 3Hebrews 3:19; 4Joshua 21:43

 

What Difference Can One Person Make? ~ A Message of Hope December 4, 2015

When I look at the condition of our nation, I fear that our culture has fallen into the deep abyss. Efforts to simply stop the erosion appear to be in vain. Lawlessness prevails. As Christians, we try to live our convictions and share our faith; yet, it seems that we are making little impact on the world around us.

Many Christians believe that God’s patience will soon run out and His judgement will come upon America. But what can ordinary people without a platform and a microphone do about it? We tend to think it’s simply too far gone at this point, maybe even hopeless. Why not just forget about it and go on with life? Seriously, what difference can one person make?

Recently, I found a scripture in Jeremiah 18:11 that encouraged me. Read what God told Jeremiah to tell the people of Judah about His coming judgment:

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am shaping a disaster and working out a plan against you. Turn back, each of you from his evil way; correct your habits and change your actions for the better.’”

The culture of God’s chosen nation had also fallen into a deep abyss, and Jeremiah was told to warn them of impending judgment. Yet, (I’m so glad God always includes a yet) God gave them something each one could do to remedy the situation—or we might say, be a part of the solution. You see, what each one does can make a difference with God.

So what was it that each one could do? Let’s look again: the Lord said, “Turn away from your evil ways and correct your habits and change your actions.”

When it seems that our nation is beyond hope, God says we can do something about it—we can change our own ways. He didn’t say change the ways of our leaders, or of Congress, or of Hollywood. He didn’t say change the ways of our church or our families. He didn’t say to change the ways of anyone else, but “You turn, you correct, and you change your ways.”

Ouch! It is always easier to blame the mess on others. We prefer to complain about what is wrong with everyone around us. But if we listen closely we can hear God say: “You can make a difference.”

Did the people in Jeremiah’s day accept that challenge? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Read what Jeremiah wrote in verse 12: “But they will say, ‘That is hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act in accordance with the stubbornness of his evil heart.’”

They may have heard what God said with their ears, but they didn’t hear with their hearts. Instead, they deemed it hopeless. They chose rather to follow their own plans and evil hearts.

What about you and me? Will we hear God’s Word with our hearts, or will we pronounce it hopeless and stubbornly follow our own plans? I hope not. Rather, I hope we will look within and ask the Holy Spirit to show us what we need to change about ourselves. I challenge each one of us to be courageous enough to do this.

Did you know that God does change His mind? Don’t miss the powerful footprints below, and may we start to believe that each one of us can make a difference in the here and now.  ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: “Who knows but that the Lord may relent of His plan to destroy us.  And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it. As he was destroying, the Lord looked and relented of the disaster, and said to the angel who was destroying, ‘It is enough; now restrain your hand.’” 1 Chronicles 21:15

Small footprintKey Quote: “All changes—spiritual revivals, a turnaround in a church, a barren life now bearing fruit—begin when there is a discontentment that say, “I refuse to accept this.”~ Jim Cymbala, “Storm,” Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2014, Pg. 38.

 

Do You Have a Blessed Hope? October 20, 2015

Sometimes it is helpful to talk to oneself, and I think this is one of those times. Simply ask yourself, “Do I have a blessed hope?” According to the Apostle Paul the blessed hope is that event we Christians expect to happen in the future. He wrote: “while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)

As the world grows more complex and ungodly in what the Bible calls the last days, many Christians believe Jesus will come and rescue them from the destruction coming upon the earth. I personally have that hope, and I trust that you do too.

But this is not just any kind of hope—it is a blessed hope. The word blessed means sacred, sanctified, and holy—that which comes from and is associated with a holy God. Only those who walk closely with Him can have such a hope—because only those who are redeemed by His blood, forgiven of their sins, and regenerated by the washing of His Word can possess holy hope.  While some people may have hope in something or someone other than God, it would not be a holy or blessed hope.

For many years I was afraid of this upcoming event—mostly because I wasn’t certain that I had been born-again. Even after I became a Christian, it was still not my favorite subject as I wanted to watch my children grow up and just live life. Today, however, I can honestly say that I look forward to this event with all my being.

It appears to me that the time will come, and perhaps is not too far into the future, when our beloved America will not be the same. My grandchildren will not likely enjoy the land of the free and the home of the brave. The landscape of the American culture is quickly changing, and at this rate, I can only imagine what it will look like in another ten years.

I also question if the world itself can survive for another ten years. Our modern-day threats are a very real danger to civil society in all nations. Paul defined the last days well when he used the term “wax worse and worse.” (2 Timothy 3:13) That actually means to grow more evil. Is that not what we see on the horizon?

So what are we to do? Many folks do what I did for years— I buried my head in the sand because it was too uncomfortable to think about. Others listen to and believe all the doomsday rhetoric and then set out to build bunkers and store up supplies. Some believe it is a myth and nothing at all will happen.

I wonder how many of us actually believe the words of Jesus when He foretold the last days: “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring…..Now when you see these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” (Luke 21:25, 28)

I personally know of no better way to deal with the days we are living in than to take the advice of Jesus. He said to read the signs (and they are clearly here) and then to look for our redemption.

So that dear friends, is my plan for the last days. You might call it an escape plan (check out the Key Scriptures below), but I call it an overflowing blessed hope! ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprint Key Scripture: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Key Scripture: “Keep awake then and watch at all times; praying that you may have the full strength and ability and be accounted worthy to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of man.” Luke 21:36

 

When the Immediate becomes the Relevant October 6, 2015

“The best way you can prepare is to prepare spiritually,” are the words God spoke to my heart in 2010—and every time since when I pray: “Lord, what must I do to prepare for the coming storm?”

I often assume that everyone is aware of the perilous times coming to America and the entire world, but maybe not. My Dad was an avid reader and news watcher, and I am regularly reminded of things he said would happen in America someday. I literally see those things happening now!

When I was a child, conversations about the last days terrified me; but today, not so much. I am not afraid now because I personally know the God who is in charge of this world, and I trust deeply in the powerful promises given His children.

I expect that some of you went out last week and bought supplies of water, rice and beans. Many of us will do what we can to provide for those we love, and we should—if it gives us any comfort whatsoever. But I believe that whatever we do to prepare in the physical, while it may bring some peace of mind, will never be enough. There is no way to fully prepare physically for that which is coming.

I say that not to alarm you, but to encourage you to give your attention to the most important thing that you can do: prepare spiritually. Do you know God’s promises? Do you know His voice? Could you rely on Him for survival?

Recently, while talking to my daughter-in-law about a situation, this phrase simply came out my mouth: the immediate has become the relevant. I believe the time will soon come in our lives and in our nation when the immediate will be so difficult that it will become more relevant than the future, or for that matter, anything else. We are perhaps even now on the brink of such a time.

For decades, Christians in America have lived the good life—and aren’t we thankful! God has blessed us with freedom, peace, and prosperity. Yet, as the Israelites were entering the Promised Land, God warned them not to forget the Lord their God when things were good. But they did forget, and we know that God’s judgment came because of it. Could that be where America is today?

Unfortunately, America has forgotten the Lord. We have elected leaders who do not know God or His ways, and as a result the laws of our land no longer reflect God’s holy commandments. It is inevitable that we will suffer from these bad choices. I fear it will soon be a crime to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as to speak out against sin of any kind.

So, instead of concerning ourselves with careers, investment plans, retirement, and what college our children will attend, the immediate has become the relevantthe need to survive in these last days upon the earth.

In case you do not know how current events relate to Bible prophecy, I encourage you to get informed. I have listed one great website below, and there are many others. Daily, we see or hear of events setting the stage for the return of our Lord. Jesus told His followers to be ready—aware, awake, and then sound the alarm for others. Whatever you do, don’t turn a deaf ear.

I like to think of my reaction to these challenging times in this way: I don’t want to cry or crater; I don’t want to shake in my boots or run for the mountains; I want to finish S-T-R-O-N-G!

And I want you to finish strong as well. God has told us how to remain safe, and in the coming weeks we will look closely at some of His powerful promises. Watch for the footprints—the verse below is incredible! ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand]. Psalm 91:1 (Amplified Bible)

Small footprintKey Website: www.prophecyinthenews.com Prophecy in the News, hosted by Dr. Kevin Clarkson, airs on the Church Channel on Sunday afternoons. Check your guide for the correct time in your area.

 

Preparedness ~ How to keep your heart from failing for fear September 21, 2015

The days we are living in feel really scary to me. If you are a news watcher, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the whole world is in chaos. There are so many problems and seemingly few solutions. And I’m not talking about small problems—I speak of earth-shattering events like thousands of people being slaughtered or displaced from their homes, the rise of unprecedented lawlessness, and the erosion of commonly held values.

But then Jesus warned us it would be like this. Isn’t our Lord wonderful to always tell His children ahead of time what to expect. I think of the time the Lord came to bring judgment to Sodom and Gomorrah, and He said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?” We know He didn’t hide it from Abraham, and even allowed Abraham to intercede for his nephew, Lot.

It is the same today. Over 2000 years ago Jesus explained what to expect in the last days. Read Matthew 24 and Luke 21. He said there would be “Men’s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth….” (Luke 21:26) If you haven’t read those chapters lately, you must do so. But one thing you must not do is be among those who hearts fail them for fear (terror). You ask, “But how?”

Preparedness can mean the difference between hearts failing and not failing. In 2010, I began to seek the Lord about how to prepare for the difficult times coming to America. You see, when the Y2K event came along, my family was fully prepared to handle most anything. We had stored up food, water, fuel, and everything imaginable to get through months or perhaps years of hard times, if necessary.

However, when the year 2000 arrived, nothing happened. The underlying problem was that computers were not capable of processing dates beyond December 31, 1999. Yet, because utility companies, airlines, governments, states, and local entities PREPARED in advance, no computers failed. I know this for a fact because I worked for an electric utility company at the time. The Y2K Task Force had fixed the problem long before the morning of January 1, 2000 dawned. It wasn’t that the possibility of disaster wasn’t real, because it was; but proactive people did what was necessary to head off any breakdowns in our electronic systems. Thankfully, we didn’t need our extra supplies. However, nothing went to waste as it was given away or used up during the next year.

I would like to propose to you, as believers in God who know that perilous times are ahead, to be proactive and prepare yourself!

While seeking the Lord in 2010, the Holy Spirit spoke this to me: “The best way you can prepare is to prepare spiritually.” I have done that with every fiber of my being, and I am fully confident that as for me and my house we are spiritually ready. However, we are also storing up a few extra quantities of water and food sources, although nothing compared to what we did in 1999. I simply do not want to be unprepared such that my heart might fail because of fear. Preparedness can save us from panic.

My newly penned definition for peace is: Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the calm assurance that in the end we win. I trust that you will prepare yourselves for the really scary days ahead so you can face them with calm assurance. First and most importantly, find peace with God, and then trust Him to take care of His own. He may or may not lead to you do anything more; but if He does, do it.

I love the words to Chris Tomlin’s song “I Will Rise,” because they define so well the destiny of the Redeemed:

There’s a peace I’ve come to know

Though my heart and flesh may fail

There’s an anchor for my soul

I can say “It is well.”

 

Jesus has overcome

And the grave is overwhelmed

The victory is won

He is risen from the dead.

 

There’s a day that’s drawing near

When this darkness breaks to light

And the shadows disappear

And my faith shall be my eyes.

 

Jesus has overcome

And the grave is overwhelmed

The victory is won

He is risen from the dead.

 

And I will rise when He calls my name

No more sorrow, no more pain

I will rise on eagles’ wings

Before my God fall on my knees

And rise, I will rise. ~Chris Tomlin

 

There are no more comforting words that I can give to you than what Jesus gave to His followers in Luke 21:28 ~ “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

It seems to me that these really scary days could actually be the last days. If I’m right, it’s time to look up! ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: “So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” Luke 21:28 (NLT)

 

 

Big Waves Can Be Big Fat Lies August 21, 2015

It recently dawned on me that the storms of life themselves are often not as bad as the agonizing fear we endure while thinking about them. Satan uses the elements of our storms to traumatize us by parading dozens of fabricated possibilities through our minds. While we listen to his big-fat lies, our peace goes out the window.

Remember the story of Peter walking on the water and how his fall happened right after he did the impossible?1 I think walking on water should have been a huge faith-builder, don’t you? Yet, that is how our enemy works—we do something supernatural when Jesus bids us to do it—and as soon as we get into the thick of it, Satan bombards our minds with big waves of doubts: Those waves are too big! Those winds are too strong! You can’t do this (never mind that Peter just did!) You’re a goner for sure!

Peter had done the impossible while he was focused on Jesus, and then he failed. Why? He started entertaining the thoughts of the enemy as fact, and at the moment He took his eyes off Jesus to look at his circumstances, he began to sink.

How many of us have had a while-then experience? You know, we were actually doing something impossible while we had our eyes on Jesus; but then we lost our focus and sank. I remember going on my first mission trip and thinking: Scaredy Cat me going to a third world country! Or me with so little knowledge of music leading a choir! Or me a country girl from nowhere speaking at a women’s retreat!

Sometimes the enemy is so good at his big-fat lies, we doubt if we ever did that impossible thing at all. But I believe we can learn an important lesson from Peter: We must never take our eyes off Jesus! The question is—how can we keep from making Peter’s mistake?

First of all, we need to realize that we are not helpless against our enemy. No matter how long we’ve yielded to the practice of allowing Satan access to our minds, we can put a stop to it. We simply must retrain our minds, and here’s how.

There is a wonderful promise found in Isaiah 26:3 “You (God) will keep him (or her) in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You.”

God promised that if we will keep our minds on Him, we can avert the tormenting lies of Satan and watch our peace return. It will take time and effort, but since it only takes 21 days to form a new habit, we’ll soon be on our way to victory over Satan’s big-fat lies.

Start with hiding this promise of God in your heart; rehearse it in your mind; believe it will work for you; and then practice it. With Satan’s first attempt to make things look worse than they are, stop immediately, and purposely turn your mind to Jesus. When it happens again, repeat the process; and then again, and again. Our hearts will calm down, regardless of how terrifying our circumstances are because God promised it and God cannot lie!

We have been tricked into listening to Satan’s lies by thinking it might be God’s voice and therefore we must pay attention to it. Yet, God’s voice will not bring fear to our hearts2, so do not listen—not now, not later. No wonder Peter warned believers to “be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”3 Don’t let it be you!

We think the recipe for having peace must be difficult and something only super-spiritual saints can accomplish. But it is God’s plan for all of His children to have peace in our storms by keeping our minds on Him.

I know that it works, since I just came through three storms in my own life using this technique. Remember, we’re not trying to calm the storm, but we’re seeking to allow God to calm His child. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Thought: Peace is not the absence of trouble; rather peace is the calm confidence that in the end we win! ~ Janie Kellogg

1Matthew 14:25-32; 22 Timothy 1:7; 31 Peter 5:8