Tag Archives: christianity

A Special Someone on Valentine’s Day

It is good to love someone, and it is good to be loved by someone.

It is good to hold someone, and it is good to be held by someone.

It is good to cherish someone, and it is good to be cherished by someone.

It is good to have someone special, and it is good to be special to someone.

It is good to have someone as your sweetheart, and it is good to be someone’s sweetheart.

It is good to care for someone, and it is good to be someone who is cared for.

It is good to share your heart with someone, and it is good to have someone share their heart with you.

It is good to dream someone’s dreams, and it is good to have someone dream your dreams.

It is good to know the depth of someone’s soul, and it is good to have someone know the depth of your soul.

It is good to help someone make life’s decisions, and it is good to have someone help make the decisions in your life.

It is good to forgive someone’s faults and failures, and it is good to have someone forgive your faults and failures.

It is good to soothe someone’s heartache, and it is good to have someone soothe your aching heart.

It is good to put your arms around someone who is afraid, and it is good to feel someone’s arms around you when you are fearful.

It is good to bear the pain of someone who is hurting, and it is good to have someone bear your painful hurt.

It is good to hold someone’s hand when life is difficult, and it is good to have someone hold your hand in difficult times.

It is good to live life with someone, and it is good to have someone live life with you.

It is good to be one with someone, and it is good to have someone be one with you.

For God had said, “It is not good that man should be alone,” so He made for him a special someone.

 

Appreciate the “special someone” that God has given to you this Valentine’s Day.  ~Janie Kellogg

 

Living on the Lighter Side

Blink. Blink. Blink. The electricity is off again, and I realize that I love light.

 

On a dark night in rural Oklahoma this is a life-changing event. It’s hard to see my hands in front of my face. I hurry to light a candle. All activity has ceased; the television is quiet; the treadmill still. There is nothing to light the screen on my computer—it sits dark. As I am giving thanks for the glow of the candle, I think about how much I genuinely love light.

 

Light means life. Darkness means something else—but definitely not life, as evidenced by my still, lifeless room.

 

“The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding unto the simple.” That’s me—I am both simple and lack understanding. And because of it, I equally love the light that comes from God’s Word, especially when it brings the understanding of a newfound truth into my hungering heart.

 

I can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s like trying to thread a needle, or remove a sticker underneath my skin, or read the small print on a medicine bottle—I cannot get too much light. So it is with God’s light—I am in no danger of getting too much.

 

I continually pray for more light from His Word. But then God has a purpose when He dispenses light. The Bible says that God sent His Son “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”

 

Later, Jesus turned to His followers and said, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.

 

I hear the call to be a light-spreader. Millions still live without the Light of World. “God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light.” As I sit here in the quiet of my dim surroundings, I wonder how people could love darkness. Why would anyone choose to live there?

 

Truth is life-giving light to hearts dwelling in unlit places. Even a trace is glorious and calls for celebration of a joy-gift from God.

 

I think of how my dark room needs life-giving light tonight—just like God’s dark world. His plan has always been to fill His children with that life-giving light and send them out into the darkness to spread it around. It seems only fair that the Master Light-Giver would expect a yield from His investment of light in my life.

 

Am I willing to share the light given to me? Does God want to use me to reach those living in the shadows of death? Do I even see them sitting there—over on the darker side? Is it possible that the light shining from my life could guide some lost soul to the path of peace? Is it bright enough to be seen? Bright enough to show anyone the way to the lighter side?

 

Dear Lord, help me love light even more. Help me be a light-spreader—by speaking light to those I meet today; by living light so those who see me see You; by writing light so others can read and understand. May the light You invest in me not be in vain.

 

And Lord, would You help my electricity to come back on soon, since I really do prefer living on the lighter side! ~ Janie Kellogg

 

Psalm 119:130 (NKJ); John 3:19(NLT); Luke 1:79 (NLT); John 20:21 (NLT)

There’s a Whole Lot of Living Going On

It continues to baffle me. No matter how hard I try to conquer it, this slimy flesh of mine wiggles its way out of the squeeze, jumps off the anvil, and springs back into action. I have gone so far as to condemn it to death, taken it outside the city gates, and crucified it there. Killed it. Buried it. Done.

 

It didn’t last. I had to do it again. And again. And once more, again. A hundred times or more. I documented it in my journal, “Today, self died.” Months later I wrote again, “I attended a funeral today—mine!”

 

Defeat has triumphed over me. Victory has eluded me. It’s not that I don’t have the desire for self to die—I do. I really do. Perhaps I just don’t know how to kill it. A few years ago I wrote a profound statement: “I am going to die to self if it kills me!”

 

I suspect I am not alone. Actually, I’m certain I’m not, since the Apostle Paul described a similar battle in Romans 7. This chapter has perplexed me for years. I know it by heart. It is me—my testimony. Paul’s and mine. I still wonder how Paul could have described my exact struggle:

 

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do….As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me….So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members” (vs. 15-23; Emphasis added).

 

The only word in this chapter I must correct is the gender of the one with the heart-wrenching admission: “What a wretched woman I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (vs. 24)

 

The word wretched is a hard swallow. It means: worthless, base, despicable, inadequate, inferior, shameful, and vile. O despicable me! How perfectly that describes the way I feel when I mess up, fail my Lord, allow my flesh to rise from the dead, and once again do what I do not want to do.

 

There is, however, a vast difference in Paul’s outcome and my experience. He heralded his success in the very next verse: “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (vs. 25) His victory statement is simple, concise, and matter of fact.

 

Why can’t it be like that for me? Why can’t I find the key that Paul found to unlock the mystery of conquering self? At least a million times I have asked that same question.

 

I must resolve the issue. I cannot move on until I do. I’ll keep asking and searching, searching and asking. There is an answer; yet not easily found because of the war waged against my finding it. I am sure God isn’t teasing me—He wants me to find the key to this age-old mystery.

 

I make one helpful discovery: There’s a whole lot of living going on between Romans 7:24 and Romans 7:25. There was for Paul, though his declaration of victory was so certain that he stated it as if it had just happened.

 

My Lord slowly grants seeing eyes. And I’m close—so close I can taste it, feel it, sense it, and believe it. I claim it as mine.

 

Join the journey. ~Janie Kellogg

Confessions of a Seeker’s Heart

The song replays in my head over and over. It isn’t the tune that lingers long after the Christmas Holidays; it is the implied meaning of the words: “Do you see what I see?” “Do you hear what I hear?” and “Do you know what I know?” I keep asking: Is it true—some see more, hear more, and know more than others?

 

Obviously, the characters of the song—the wind, the shepherd boy, and the mighty king—had different viewpoints from which to witness the miraculous birth of the Christchild.

 

The wind with no physical limitations could easily see “a star, a star dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite” better than the little lamb.

 

The little lamb with no distractions should hear “a song, a song high above the trees with a voice as big as the sea” better than the shepherd boy.

 

The shepherd boy informed by an angel would know “a child, a child shivers in the cold” that the “mighty king in his palace warm” knew nothing about.

 

Each was in a place of optimum sight, sound, and knowing over those who saw, heard, and knew less. Or, could it have been their ability to see, hear, and know things in the spirit realm, and had nothing to do with where they were positioned? Regardless of what caused the disparity, it is apparent that some saw, heard, and knew more.

 

Is the same true of people? Some people see greater glimpses of God at work in the world than others. The still small voice of God—unnoticed and unrecognized by much of the world—is heard clearly by some. The Apostle Paul prayed that all the saints would know the width, length, height and depth of God’s love (Ephesians 3:18). Some do, but more don’t. Even the most perceptive among us are aware of only traces of God at work in our world. And what about me—how much do I see, hear, and know of the activities of God?

 

Moses obviously saw, heard, and knew more than the average Israelite. I think his forty days on the mountaintop were possibly days of sheer delight—days he didn’t want to end. At least, not end so that he could come down the mountain to deal with non-seeing-hearing-knowing people. Later, he asked to see God’s glory. God said that no one could see His face and live to tell about it. A compromise was struck—God granted his wish. He hid Moses in the cleft of a rock while His glory passed by, and Moses saw God’s back (Exodus 33:18-23).

 

Do I get that? God responds to those who want more. He only refused Moses’ request to see His face because God knew Moses couldn’t withstand such greatness! If I want to see God—He will let me. That is, He will reveal as much of Himself to me as I am able to endure.

 

I confess: I am not content with what I now see, hear and know. I want more. The more I get, the more I want. Seems I am never satisfied. More insight drives me to even more insight. Hearing His voice today makes me want to hear it again tomorrow. Knowing Him fuels my desire to know Him better.

 

How will I get more sight, sound, and knowing? The apostle Paul said, “…the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3:8). What was Paul willing to give up to fully know Jesus? All things. What will it take for me to fully know Jesus? The same.

 

In the meantime, here are the desires of this seeker’s heart:

 

I will continue to see glimpses—and O how wonderful those glimpses are!

 

I will continue to hear His still small voice now and then—striving to hear it above all other voices.

 

And, I will continue to know Him here a little and there a little—slowly and surely, as I am willing to give up those things that hinder me, I too will experience “the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.”  ~ Janie Kellogg

 

“Oh, the fullness, pleasure, and sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!” ~Jim Elliott

Connecting Dots

I’m a relentless dot-connector. I simply love to connect dots—or better said, I like for things to add up, make sense, and complete the picture. If you have joined me in this dot-connecting journey I am on, perhaps you’ve gotten tired of all the writings on goals. I have. But my goal has been to lay a foundation for sharing with you the insights God has given to me, so together we can—you guessed it—connect some dots!

 

Along with being a dot-connector, I am a God-seeker. I love Psalm 63:8 that says: “My soul followeth hard after Thee.” I want to follow after God hard. From an early age, I have searched for Him, becoming a student of the Word as well as a reader of many Christian books. To my surprise, the Holy Spirit recently led me to study the saints from a century ago. As I read about the great men and women of faith from that generation, I discovered they all had something in common—a deep walk with God resulting from close communion with Jesus’ representative, the Holy Spirit. I also have found that they were relentless in their obedience to His voice. They sold all, gave all, and actually followed Jesus’ examples. (Many of these books are listed under the Resources tab on my website.)

 

For some reason, I see a “dot-disconnect” between the lives of modern-day Christians (mainly mine) and the disciples who literally walked on earth with Jesus, who were a part of the first Church, and who lived a century ago. I have searched high and low, wondering what I am missing. What part of “follow” don’t I understand? I listen to today’s popular messages on finding my destiny, fulfilling my dreams, being all that I can be, and feel that they lean more toward an advertisement for the American way of life than being a follower of Christ. The Word of God says to be a partaker of His suffering, take up my cross, and die daily. Do you see the disconnect I see?

 

As a dot-connector, I continue to seek for the missing link to what Jesus taught and what we as modern-day believers have actually experienced. I believe that God is slowly but surely opening my understanding. A clearer meaning of the gospel is steadily dawning upon my soul. It comes in tidbits and pieces, maybe through the words of a song, or a sermon here and there, and definitely from the books I read. I am embarrassed to say that at times I have missed it and unknowingly embraced the wrong ideas; yet I have always, always had a yearning in my heart to know the deep things of God.

 

In no way can I say that I have arrived anywhere, except to be closer today than I was yesterday. But it is an extraordinary journey that I am on, and you too, if you choose to come along with me. As God’s children, we possess a priceless treasure in these earthen vessels, and I am gradually learning to uncover that treasure, to dig it out from beneath the rocks and soil of earthly thinking that hide it from my understanding.

 

Next week I will post on my blog my very first short story titled “The House Guest.” I believe the Lord gave me this story to open my understanding to the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of every believer. I will refer to it many times in upcoming blog posts. Please don’t miss it! ~ Janie Kellogg

The Right Goal for Every Christian

When it comes to goals, we need to get it right. What we focus on is one of the key building blocks of a Christlike life. I believe the great writer Oswald Chambers had it right—the goal is God Himself—and that is the right goal for every Christian. In fact, the goal of all Christianity and its teaching should be to find God, commune with Him, and learn to abide in Him. Converts should be pointed to this truth and helped to make it a reality in their own lives. It has absolutely nothing to do with prosperity, success, power, big ministries, the size of congregations, or the mode of worship. The reason we so often get it wrong could be that the blind is leading the blind, as many Christian leaders have the wrong goals or have not experienced abiding themselves.

 

In our defense, there is a good reason for this great malfunction in the church. It is ironic, yet so true, that Satan has done a magnificent job of placing desirable counterfeits before our eyes to lure us away from God. It is merely a repeat of the scene in the Garden of Eden. Remember, Satan is the one who desires to be worshipped above God. He is the one who hates God with a passion, and he will do anything to keep mankind from seeking after and following God. Is it any wonder that he presents himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14)? Satan cunningly displays his counterfeits to look like the real deal and to appeal to our fallen human nature. A closer scrutiny of these widely-embraced counterfeits reveals their appeal to the flesh.

 

When has an imitation anything ever matched the greatness of the real thing? Never! It may look authentic and have some degree of shine and appeal, but it can never contain the matchless qualities of the real thing. So it is with Satan’s bargain deals; they will never match an intimate relationship with God the Creator. Nothing the world has to offer, even at its finest, can ever compare to the magnificence of knowing Christ in His fullness. The world can never contain the fullness of Christ, nor can our own hearts contain the fullness of Christ. As humans, we can only withstand a taste of His splendor this side of heaven, and it is given to us as a “down-payment” of what is to come (Ephesians 1:14). Dear Christian, there is so much more ahead!

 

We are pursued by a glorious God who desires an intimate relationship with us, yet we have chosen worldly counterfeits instead. What an insult to the Creator that He has to take second, or third, or tenth place in the lives of His very own people! Some doctrines teach that a one-time experience with God is sufficient and that one gets all of God at the point of rebirth. Those misconceptions will keep us from discovering the reality of an ever-growing relationship with God that just begins on earth and continues throughout eternity. It is like saying “I do” to a marriage partner and then going separate ways. We would quickly say that is a relationship in concept only. There is no intimacy until the two are joined together and experience daily life together. Our relationship with God is no different.

 

A sad result of today’s wrong-goal teaching is that believers are encouraged to seek God’s blessings rather God Himself and they end up with empty, boring, and unfulfilled spiritual lives. Continual seeking for more of God is to be an on-going part of our Christian experience, and it is a disillusioned soul or church who thinks they have it all. May God help us hunger and thirst for more of Himself!

 

Jesus’ promise is still true today, “For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door shall be opened” (Luke 11:10). In case you think this doesn’t work because it has failed you in the past, try applying it to the right goal and watch what happens! ~ Janie Kellogg

The Winning Ticket

Did anyone else notice the looks of disappointment on the faces of the second and third place winners in the 2012 Olympics? It was obvious that second or third place was not the reason they put their bodies through years of intense training, nor was it the object of their sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears. It was not what they had invested their entire lives in. Clearly, they were out to win the gold and nothing less! It was little consolation to simply finish for any athlete who intended to win the race. Yet as Christians, we are in danger of settling for second or third, or perhaps last place, in our race to live the Christian life. The reason is simply this: we have the wrong goal.

 

If our goal is good health, we will be disappointed. If our goal is more wealth, we will be disappointed. If our goal is bigger and better jobs, careers, positions, houses and cars, we will be disappointed. All of those things eventually rust, decay, or go away. We will grow old; lose our strength, our waistline, our hair, and our appeal. Jobs, careers, and positions all topple eventually, as a younger and stronger work force takes over. Houses deteriorate and cars wear out, not to mention that they go out of style. Replacement and retirement are in our future. Even when we succeed at reaching any of these goals, we will be disappointed.

 

Why? Because of God’s extravagant love for us, He will not allow lesser goals to fill the void in our hearts that only a relationship with Him can fill. When we pray for those things, we might actually be praying in direct opposition to His goal for our lives. And then we wonder why God doesn’t always answer our prayers. Go figure. The sooner we learn the futility of chasing the wrong goals, the sooner we can get down to business pursuing the right goal.

 

The right goal for every Christian is not a happy life; not a successful Christian ministry; not even a good reputation as a devote saint. It is not more experiences; not more blessings; not more goodies. The right goal for every Christian is God Himself. The goal that matches the yearning in God’s heart for you and me is to KNOW HIM. He wants us to reach that goal. He will move heaven and earth for us to reach that goal. He will defeat the works of Satan in our lives so we can reach that goal.

 

Because many religious organizations and spiritual teachers have the wrong goals themselves, we have not been taught the right goal or how to reach it. I’ve heard mature Christians say they are still hoping God will “stir” them or “zap” them, or do something beyond a mundane, lifeless, powerless, repetitious, hope-we’ve-got-it-right-relationship-with-God existence. Dear Christian friends, we were made for more! Are you tired of the up-and-down cycles; committed one day and defeated the next; feast and famine experiences; thinking another “how to” book will surely fix the gnawing hunger and emptiness in your heart?

 

Well, hang on to your hat because I have some great news for you! God is ready to do that very thing. The blessings of God Himself, His presence, Christ’s life exchanged for yours is right there at the top of God’s To-Do-List! And He’s simply waiting for you to make Him your goal! He’s been ready all along. It’s like mega-lotteries who announce the winner, but the winning ticket holder never steps up to claim the prize. Isn’t it about time for you to step up and claim what God has for you? ~ Janie Kellogg