Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

You Do Know It Is Tax Season? February 10, 2015

I recently spent a few days with the son and his family. Being the accountant for my son’s two businesses, we all know that January through April is grueling for me. The deadlines during this time of year are constant, and missing one can be painful and costly.

Each year during tax season, my state of well-being is jeopardized due to the stress. I tell my family that I have a legitimate excuse for over-eating, not exercising, being impatient, critical and cranky. Jokingly, I began to use my one-size-fits-all excuse for everything.

My twelve-year-old granddaughter found it to be amusing. When her mother asked her to set the table for dinner, we were both surprised to hear her say, “Well, I can’t right now. You do know it is tax season?” We all had a good laugh, yet I couldn’t help but wonder how many times I make similar silly excuses for not obeying my Heavenly Father.

He tells us to “love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind,”1 and I have to question if I even know what that means. Then He adds, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”2 Oops! I wonder if my one-size-fits-all excuse holds water with God. Will it help me here? And even if it does, what about when April 15th has come and gone?

I don’t think excuses work with God, nor do I think He is amused by any of it. You see, He has bigger plans for me (and you). Getting me through a finite season of anything on earth is not His objective. He desires that I learn to come to Him and allow Him to help me manage my stress.

My big brother, Jesus, who faced the ultimate stress while on earth, is totally aware of my stress-full circumstances. And because He is, He gives me an invitation: “Come to Me, all (that includes me and you) who labor and are heavy-laden (that’s overworked), and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”3

Did I hear the word R-E-S-T! That’s exactly what I need. It fits my bill perfectly. I’ll take it! Sign me up—and make that a double portion! Oh, but wait; there is one condition—I must come to Him. But who has time for that? You do know it is tax season, right?

Yet, at His invitation, I think I’ll press the pause button on those deadlines; turn off the depressing news about the next heinous act of terrorism; and Facebook, it matters not if I miss some trivial tidbit there. I’ll even silence this cell phone for a spell, and sit here at my Savior’s feet. Who knows, I might learn something.

Don’t let Jesus’ learn slip by. He meant it. It’s a powerful word with hidden truths imbedded in those five little characters. Perhaps for starters, we can learn what Jesus means by “His yoke.” It must be a good thing since Jesus doesn’t offer us junk.

A yoke means we bow our heads low and allow Him to put His Lordship—His control—His purpose and plan—over our lives. Then, all yoked up with Jesus, we trust Him to turn us onto the correct path; steer us in the right direction; make the best decisions for us—and we simply follow Him. You see, a yoke won’t let us go in any other direction. And that, my friend, Jesus called easy!4

Oh Jesus, please help me learn to do that! As I sit here in silence, I hear You say, “I will teach you all you need to know; but I cannot—unless you come to Me.”

So what are you and I going to do with His generous invitation today? We can start by turning down the noise in our lives and listening for His “Come.” And yes, let’s do it, even if it is tax season. ~ Janie Kellogg

 Small footprintKey Scripture: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

1Luke 10:27; 2John 14:15; 3Matthew 11:28-29; 4Matthew 11:30

 

The Best Invitation You’ll Ever Receive September 12, 2014

Most of us enjoy receiving invitations to parties, weddings, and exciting events that add benefit and spice to our lives. And we might even consider it challenging to get invited to certain gatherings, you know, the ones that signify prestige. Of course, when we do, we RSVP quickly.

A meeting with God Almighty is such a gathering—where unholy man meets with Holy God. According to scripture, God lives inside all born-again believers. He promised to come and abide in us, and therefore, our body becomes His temple. That’s right, we are God’s house.

And then we hear the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28 saying—“Come to me.” Does that mean to come to the physical place where Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father in Heaven? Eventually, yes; but for now, we’d have to die to get there. Since we cannot go to where Jesus is physically, He came to us, to live inside His followers by means of His spirit. He clearly told His disciple, “I will be with you always.”

So our invitation to “come to Jesus” is to come to Him in a spiritual sense—a meeting of spirits you might say—our spirit meeting with His spirit. God has set aside a special place just for those two spirits to meet, and it is called the secret place. God is there, and He invites us to come there too.

We are continually summoned by the Lord Jesus to meet and fellowship with His spirit. That representative of the resurrected Christ has a name—He is Holy Spirit. And where will that meeting take place? Right again—in the secret place inside your own being!

Here is the best invitation you’ll ever receive! Jesus says “Come to me” inside your own being. Turn your focus inward and look for Him, and He will meet with you there.

Small footprintKey Scripture: “Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21

Small footprintKey Quote: “God himself showed me the way….to return home and to look for God where God can be found—in my own inner sanctuary.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

 

Don’t Miss the “Come” of Christmas December 20, 2013

Christmas is upon us once again, and by our very traditions we will come to the manger for a fresh look at Baby Jesus. We will come to view or perhaps participate in musicals, plays, and programs in myriad types of pageantry and merriment. Regardless of their content, they all serve one purpose—to remind us to come and celebrate the Reason for the season.

 

I love the word “come.” It is a word of invitation and welcome. It speaks to our longing hearts: “You are wanted!” Who doesn’t remember the cherished sound of Mamma calling us to “Come to dinner,” or the joy of friends saying “Come to see us,” or how good it feels when someone invites us to “Come to church on Sunday?” In short, a hearty “Ya’ll come” makes one feel warm all over.

 

The word come is also used to compel us to do something when there is good reason to do it. A little coaxing might be the better way to describe it. We reach out our hands to a toddler and compelled him or her to “Come to me.” Ah yes, come is a good word!

 

It is simply impossible to have Christmas without the joyful sound of “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” Who doesn’t love to join in the familiar chorus: “O come, let us adore Him; O come, let us adore Him; O come, let us adore Him; Christ the Lord!” This best-loved hymn by John F. Wade truly compels us to come and worship our Christ.

 

However we celebrate Christmas this year, we must not miss the come of Christmas. It is tucked within that miraculous Gift given to us by God. And what a Gift it is! The Creator clothed Himself in humanity so He could save us. The magnitude of the humility of God on our behalf is baffling. Why did He do it?

 

We can find the answer in the come of Christmas, if we will but look closely at the God-child. We think it doesn’t make sense—born to poor and lowly parents, a manger in lieu of a royal cradle, and some very strange onlookers. What was God thinking? Yet, from that humble setting, we can easily hear God’s come: “You—young or old, rich or poor, black or white, educated or uneducated—are welcome here.” There in the cold, dark surroundings of Bethlehem’s mystery, God invites us to “Come, see what I have given you. Come, gaze at incarnate flesh. Come, join the angelic celebration. I want you this much!”

 

We feel the warmth of God’s come in the age-old story that compels us to believe in the virgin birth, the boy Jesus, the carpenter turned preacher, the miracle-worker, the dying Savior, and the resurrected Lord. It compels us not only to come to the manger, but to come to the cross where we can receive salvation. This Christmas, may we linger long enough at that manger to hear Jesus say, “Come to me, all of you….”

 

Wherever you find yourself this Christmas of 2013, I wish you all of the blessings that family and traditions have to offer. And whatever you do—don’t miss the come of Christmas!

 

O Come, let us adore Him! ~ Janie Kellogg