Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

Revival ~ Will it come and when? April 8, 2014

Nearly all of us say that we want Revival to come. We want an outpouring of God’s Spirit on us and others. We’d like to see huge masses of lost humanity turn to God. Our nation could certainly use a sweeping move of God, resulting in a return to moral values, honesty, purity, and goodness. Who among us wouldn’t like to see our churches filled to overflowing with people hungry for God? Bring it on! But will it ever come and, if so, when?

 

Good questions that I would like the answers to. Just this morning I was seeking God for that very thing, and in His faithfulness, He spoke to my heart. Afterwards, I wasn’t so sure I really wanted to hear the answer, but I wrote it down just the same.

 

I had been thinking about what is the greatest battle in my life. I determined that it is not the struggle to climb the corporate ladder, to make great financial gain, to store up for retirement, to become a VIP (very important person), or to have a huge influence anywhere for that matter. The biggest battle in my life is overcoming self. We must remember who self is or none of this will make sense: Self is Satan’s representative in my life and yours, inherited from the fall in the Garden of Eden.

 

Please bear with me for another writing on self. It’s not that I’m obsessed with the notion of dying-to-self; but since the awareness of who self is, I have gained clearer understanding of many of the gospel writings. It has been revolutionary, to say the least.

 

Now back to the garden—I can’t help but wonder if Eve had known who the serpent was, would she have made a different choice? If she had known that she was dealing with God’s greatest enemy, disguised as a serpent (the most beautiful of God’s creation) would she have even given him the time of day?

 

What about us? What about me? How often in a day’s time do I listen to God’s greatest enemy by way of his representative inside me? Is that not high treason on my part? Does it not align me on the wrong side of things? How can I knowingly choose to fight on the opposing side of right? Or am I like Eve, I don’t know who I am talking to so I take the bait? And like Eve, if I had just known it was Satan, I might have made a different choice. Really?

 

O God, open our eyes and let us see who it is that we are listening to! Is he not clothed as an angel of light? Does he have some slick story for me about how mistreated and abused I have been, and how, if only I would listen to him, things would get better? Will I look back and think with regret “If I had only known I was listening to a deceiver!”

 

It is actually quite simple to sort out who we are listening to: If our thoughts feed or benefit self in any way, we are listening to the voice of God’s enemy! Satan’s representative is actively trying to get us to fall for selfish lies and untruths. I am quite certain that we are listening.

 

Only you and I can determine if we are going to continue to listen to God’s enemy and our enemy. If we continue to feed on thoughts that lead to accusations, resentment, unforgiveness, ugliness, hatred, and evil of any kind—WE ARE BEING TRICKED!  We have yielded our members as instruments of unrighteousness (Romans 6:13), and we have aligned ourselves on the wrong side of right. What we need most is not sympathy from our friends, understanding for those who feel our pain, or for God to fix a bunch of other folks. We need a trip to the foot of the cross for repentance while we plead for a heaping portion of God’s great mercy!

 

We are more valuable to the Kingdom of God, not when we know the answer or preach the answer or write the answer, but when we BECOME the answer. How long has it been since we have been on our knees repenting before God for yielding our members as instruments of unrighteousness and begging for God’s forgiveness; actively and purposefully forgiving others; and then if necessary, asking those we have offended for their forgiveness as well?

 

God made it very clear to me this morning: When this happens among My people, revival will come.

 

We say that we long for REVIVAL and REST. Please don’t miss the word rest here. Yet, God offers it to us—if we are willing to do the hard work of repentance. But wait, God said that we don’t truly want it:

 

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength; but you would have none of it.” (Isaiah 30:15)

 

The answers to the questions: “Will revival come and when?” are clearly up to us—God’s people—not the unsaved, or the ungodly, or those sinners. I know where I’m spending the afternoon. “Oh, the cross; oh, the cross; the cross is my confession.”1

 

Thank You, Dear God, for not giving us rest until we have done what you require of us! ~ Janie Kellogg

 

1Kari Jobe, The Cross is My Confession

 

 

How Long Has It Been? June 5, 2013

An old song comes to mind this morning: “How long has it been since you talked with the Lord?” If it has been awhile, then perhaps you know the feelings of longing, emptiness, or even lack of peace.

There is nothing that satisfies the longing heart like the presence of God!

What a privilege it is indeed to be in a gathering of God’s people when His presence shows up. Has that ever happened to you?

It happened to me last week. Not one person left that place untouched by the power of God. What a joy to see young people run to the side of one who has reached out for spiritual help, place an arm around their shoulders and pray intently for them. Or to see them weeping with one whose heart has been convicted to confess their sins and accept God’s forgiveness.

It seems that our fast-paced American culture has imposed on us a quicker approach to responding to the Spirit of God. We now accept a simple show of hands—while no one is looking—to signify to the speaker behind the microphone that we have decided to follow Jesus. Certainly more simplistic, less noticeable, and non-intimidating, wouldn’t you agree?

It is likely that walking a church isle or bended knees at an altar no longer have a place in modern worship. But could it be possible that while we have accommodated our time restraints, we have cut ourselves short of the sweet and precious movement of God’s Spirit upon our hearts and lives?

Old-fashioned? Probably. But I must ask: How long has it been since the Spirit of God fell upon your congregation, bringing the convicting power of God to everyone present? Or since you’ve felt the presence of God move on your own heart, drawing you closer to Him?

Who said it is old-fashioned to allow God to work among His children? Are we embarrassed at what God might do? Are we so afraid of ridicule from other believers or the world that we have purposely omitted the opportunities for God to work in us? And who cares what the world has to say anyway.

I wonder if we know what to do with His presence when it shows up. Amazement, reverence, fear, awe, humility, praise, worship, and adoration all appear on my list of “to do’s” while in the presence of Almighty God.

But however we handle it must not be the focal point of our concern—the important thing is that He comes! How precious to our hearts when our Lord comes to meet with us!

How long has it been since you talked with the Lord,
And told Him your heart’s hidden secrets?
How long since you prayed? How long since you stayed
On your knees ‘til the light shone through?
How long has it been since your mind felt at ease?
How long since your heart knew no burden?
Can you call Him your friend? How long has it been
Since you knew that He cared for you?
(Words and Music by Mosie Lister)

However long it has been is not the issue. Even if it has been a really long time, we can fix it now. Let the world say what they may. Let the religiously-correct ridicule if they want. But do not let another day pass until you find a place to get alone and meet with your God. He is waiting to meet with you; waiting to tell you that He cares for you; and waiting to bless you with refreshment that comes only from Him.

I suspect that as we have our one-on-one meetings with the Lord, we will find Him showing up regularly when we meet together. Oh, one more thing—when this happens, the world will marvel and realize that we too have been with Jesus! (Acts 4:13) ~ Janie Kellogg

 

Since Self is on the Throne March 6, 2013

“Take up your cross and follow Me,”

I heard the Master say.

But denying myself to answer Your call,

Is a price too high to pay,

Since Self is on the throne.

 

Love my enemies; bless those who hate;

Pray for those who spitefully use me.

Surely, Lord, You don’t require that,

For much too vulnerable I’d be,

Since Self is on the throne.

 

Forgive one another as Christ forgave me;

Your Word says this is a must.

But I was treated too unfair to ever forgive.

So You’ll not ask that of me, I trust,

Since Self is on the throne.

 

To him who strikes me on the cheek,

I’m to offer the other side.

Surely this doesn’t mean what it says.

Why, my “rights” would be denied,

Since Self is on the throne.

 

Be kind and tenderhearted one to another;

Your Word teaches this, ‘tis true.

But to esteem others better than myself

Is much too difficult to do,

Since Self is on the throne.

 

You say I should learn to be content,

Regardless of my state.

Yet I’m striving to get ahead in this world,

For doing without I hate,

Since Self is on the throne.

 

On earth You made Yourself no reputation,

And that I can’t understand.

When worldly wisdom drives me on

To be all that I possibly can,

Since Self is on the throne.

 

There is no profit to gain the whole world,

If my very own soul I lose.

But dying daily seems barbaric to me.

Is there some other plan I can choose,

Since Self is on the throne?

 

I’m told in everything give thanks;

Grateful I’m supposed to be.

But Lord, can’t You see, this is not about You,

For this is all about ME,

Since Self is on the throne.  ~ Janie Kellogg

 

Note: Also see Treasure in Earthen Vessels, “Who’s the Boss,” March 6, 2013

 

Confessions of a Seeker’s Heart January 15, 2013

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