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

 

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

 

Calm the Storm or Calm Me July 30, 2015

For most of my Christian life I have thought the biggest goal in prayer was to get the storms in my life calmed down—you know, like Jesus did for the disciples on the Sea of Galilee. I think differently now.

A few months ago I began preparing to teach a Bible study titled “Experiencing Peace.” Apparently, God thought I needed the opportunity to live what I was about to teach. In the past two months there have been, not one, not two, but three huge storms arise on the sea of my life. And when I say huge, I mean really B-I-G!

Remember the story of Peter walking on water?1 I can easily find myself in that story, but instead of walking on the water with Peter, you’ll find me hanging onto the boat for dear life along with the other eleven disciples. They unexpectedly found themselves in the middle of the sea, tossed about by huge waves and contrary winds. Yep, that describes my life for the past few months.

Before the first lesson of the study was ever taught, the Lord told me He was going to teach me something new. You see, I had been out on that troubled sea before where the massive waves and contrary winds blew up unexpectedly and almost took me under. I thought I had learned some great faith-saving techniques from that previous experience that I could share with others. God had something else in mind.

Here is that something else: God doesn’t have to calm the storm in order to give His child peace in the storm. How many of us have thought the best answer for any of our storms was for God to remove it?

If we look at the life of our Savior, we’ll find that the Father didn’t always remove the storms in His life; in fact, I don’t believe He removed any of them. And when Jesus was about to face the severest of all storms—the cross—He prayed, that if it were His Father’s will, this storm would be removed. But then He did something remarkable: He gave His Father permission to leave it there.2

We now know that God had a bigger purpose for that storm than calming it—our very own redemption, mine and yours, were wrapped up in the center that storm. It was completely necessary for Jesus to endure it; and He did. And I am certain that Jesus had peace in the midst of that storm!

Before facing the cross, Jesus had told His disciples that He was giving them His peace—the kind of peace that can be experienced right smack-dab in the middle of the fiercest storm, even one with ginormous waves and winds.3 Apparently, it worked for Him.

The song writer of Who Am I, recorded by Casting Crowns in 2003, got it right.4 These lyrics suggest something we can ask God to do for us in the middle of our storm: “Who am I that the voice that calmed the sea, would call out through the rain, and calm the storm in me?”

Our first step to attaining peace is found in giving God our permission to do whatever He deems best in any set of circumstances. Our prayer might sound like this: Dear Father, I ask you to calm this storm; but if that is not your will, then I ask you to calm me. It is then left up to God to do whatever He chooses. That, my friend, is called trust.

One of my three personal storms has now come and gone, uneventful I might add. The other two are presently calm; yet I know another storm can blow up at any moment. Storms are like that.

The issue here is how you and I will face our next storm. Can we trust our Father like Jesus did and leave the outcome in His hands? If so, we have already found a place of peace and rest. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: Leave yourself open to the circumstances of His choice, for this is perfect acceptance and rest in the will of God. If you do so, you are not a fool—you are in the company of the brave! For accepting the will of God in this way, “You became imitators of us,” Paul writes, “and of the Lord.”4 ~ Amy Carmichael

1Matthew 14:22-33; 2Matthew 26:39; 3John 14:27; 4John Mark Hall; 5Amy Carmichael, You Are My Hiding Place, Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN, 1991, Page 77

 

The Slippery Slope of False Peace July 16, 2015

Peace is a much desired commodity that manifests itself as a state of mind. We all want it. We all seek it. We are peace-full when we are free from threats to our safety and well-being. Who doesn’t want peace?

According to Jesus there are two kinds of peace, and since He is the Prince of Peace, I figure He knows what He’s talking about. In John 14:27, Jesus gave to His disciples an amazing gift: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The other kind of peace is obviously that which the world gives us.

I believe for many years we have mostly relied on the world kind of peace—the strength of our government and military, and a strong U.S. economy and dollar, all being maintained under the umbrella of a healthy respect for God’s laws and authority. For the most part, we have lived tranquil lives with those things securely in place.

However, for some twenty years I have heard it said that America is on a slippery slope. What I see happening daily disturbs my worldly peace: evil on the rise under the disguise of good; the threat of terrorism expanding with little or no resistance; the US economy struggling with a zero GNP; the strength of U.S. dollar and the markets vulnerable to collapse; and all these things pale in comparison to the depraved state of our moral condition. Seems to me, we’ve now gone one over the cliff of the slippery slope and are headed for a huge crash.

It could be said that the peace the world gives is nothing more than a slippery slope of false peace—shaky, unstable, and certainly not enduring. It will not hold up in troubling times. When God shakes this world like He said He will in Hebrews 12:26, the world-given peace will not suffice. We need more.

What are we to do? Where are we to put our trust? Our nation’s currency states that we trust in God, but our actions to cast Him from the public square say otherwise. So are we still a Christian nation whose God is the Lord, or are we not? Will we continue to have God on our side as we have for over 200 years; and if not, will our nation survive?

The Bible tells us that in the last days we shall see “men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:26). It’s not so difficult to see how that can happen for these are certainly heart-failing days.

But wait. Jesus knew it would be like this. Did He not tell us that these terrifying days would come? And because He knew, He provided in advance just what we need—that gift of peace! Remember, He gave us His peace—the peace that only the Prince of Peace can produce and give. It is a peace that says, “In the midst of this storm you are loved. You can find a refuge from these horrendous days when you hide yourself securely in Me.”

Dear friends, we are not peace-less, and we must not let our hearts fail us for fear! We are to be light and salt in a dark and decaying world. Jesus says to us today, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He already has and we need to act like we believe it. We are left here to shine that glorious light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not yet know our Savior. There are many that need to know Him, and therefore God needs for us to be courageous, salty, and lights in this dark hour.

Want to trade in your false peace for the real thing? Call upon the Prince of Peace and He will hear your earnest prayer. As His followers, we must not let our hearts be troubled or afraid, but rather we must start polishing the globe of our lanterns. Much light is needed. My prayer is that you and I will not miss one opportunity to shine for Jesus! ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

 

Got Peace? July 4, 2015

Today is the Fourth of July, and once again we Americans have celebrated our freedom just as we do every year on this historic day. Yet, I can’t help but reflect on the events of the past few weeks and how they have disrupted my peace. Perhaps you feel the same way.

While my generation has had its fair share of wars, turmoil, and challenging times, I have never quite felt as if the whole world were about to implode. Not like I do today. “The world is going to hell in a handbasket” seems to be an understatement for the days in which you and I live. What can we do? Where can we turn? What kind of world will our children and grandchildren face? Troubling—to say the least!

During the summer months I am teaching a Bible Study on PEACE, and I find the subject both timely and relevant to the nightly news. In fact, I expect that many of God’s people are looking for that very thing. Therefore, I have decided to share some of my findings about this greatly sought-after commodity known as p-e-a-c-e on my blog—where peace comes from; how we can get it; how we can keep it; and how we can share it with others.

It is interesting that the first two times Jesus saw the disciples after His resurrection, He said to them: “Peace be with you,”1 and “Peace to you!”2 Those too were troubling days, much like the ones in which we live. The political powers of that day had just crucified the very One who was sent to earth to bring peace. He was misquoted, misunderstood, falsely accused, persecuted, tortured, and put to death. Sound familiar? Those who speak today as Jesus spoke then could likely face some of the same treatment. But then, Jesus warned us it would be that way.3

For many years my Dad talked about what he saw on the horizon of America’s future. He was well-read and kept abreast of the political winds that were shaping the culture of the world and our nation. If I heard him say it once, I heard him say it a thousand times: “If people don’t wake up…this is what will happen!” He was right on track; for today it has happened just like he thought it would.

So how do you and I face the inevitable? Jesus warned us, and now we see it as an absolute possibility that we too could be misquoted, misunderstood, falsely accused, persecuted, tortured, and perhaps for some, put to death.

I will start with Jesus’ words that are applicable to His disciples of any age: “Peace be with you and peace to you!”  Since He is already with all born-again believers, then He, whose name is Peace, is with us. We have His peace—not only within reach, but right here in our hearts.

It is also important to understand that His peace is not the same peace that the world gives—His peace is genuine, satisfying, and eternal. It is ours and it has already been given to us. We simply must learn how to claim it and wrap ourselves in the security blanket of His promised peace. We must learn to do what Amy Carmichael did: “she tucked herself into God.”

You are invited to come along for the ride. Hopefully, it will be a peace-full one. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “When we come to know our Father of Lights—when we tuck ourselves into God by trusting Him as little children—He will carry us through.”4

1John 20:19; 2John 20:21; 3Matthew 24:9; 4David Hazard, “You Are My Hiding Place—Amy Carmichael,” Bethany House Publishers, 1991, Pg. 10