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

 

My Non-Customary New Year’s Wishes ~ 2016 January 1, 2016

I find myself saying the customary greeting “Happy New Year” with a little reluctance this year. Oh, it’s not that I don’t wish happiness for my friends, family, and folks in general, because I do. But this year somehow happiness just doesn’t quite cover it. Maybe in years-gone-by when life was normal, the world safer, and most people wanted the same things in life. But not this year.

I am amazed at what I see and hear all around me, and I ask, “What has happened to common sense?” Have we totally lost our moral and spiritual compass? I fear that we have or else we are too afraid to speak up for what we know is right. If I analyze what has happened in America, I could easily believe there was a targeted attempt to keep the moral and sane quiet!

However, I do not want to turn my new year’s blog into a political paper. What I desire to do here is to tell you some of the things I wish you—and for me too—things much greater than happiness.

I wish for you to have peace—not the peace that the world gives because it will not benefit you much. Rather, I wish for you the peace that Jesus gives1peace with a holy God. Until Jesus came to make peace for us,2 we were in a heap of trouble, and today, if you have not made your peace with God, you are still in a heap of trouble. Judgement day is waiting in the wings for all of us. Don’t put it off, but make your peace with Him today. He is anxiously waiting for you to do that very thing. In fact, He is delaying His coming just waiting for you.3

My next wish is a sound mind. May God help us all to yearn for soundness that comes from Him, along with power and love.4 How is it that we think we can live beyond our income, individually or as a nation, and it will all come out in the wash? Or that we can defy the laws of God and He won’t notice? Or we can remove Him from our public places and still be a nation whose God is the Lord? Or take the lives of millions of unborn babies and God will wink at it? Or that we can fill our lives with excessive food, entertainment, and material things and we won’t pay the price for it in our spirits? The Bible clearly tells us that God gave the Israelites what they ask for, but sent leanness to their souls.5

I also wish for you to have courage—the kind of courage that isn’t afraid of a defeated foe!6 Why are we afraid of a loser? May we know the BOOK, remember what it says, and live accordingly. For Jesus’ sake, may His people begin to act like the victors He made us to be.7 We must not cower to fear, to secularism, to a sub-standard, soft Christianity, or to anything less than being the people who bear His matchless name. May we hold the Christian flag high in our hearts, our love for Christ where all can see, and stop yielding to a political correctness that is sure to pull us under. We cannot and we must not falter now. We are called to suffer for Jesus sake,8 not to happiness that can be found in chasing after the things of the world.

My last wish for you is a sense of urgency. May you and I clearly recognize where we are in the bigger scheme of things. The return of the Lord Jesus is upon us; the end of all things is near.9 May we wake up and decide that God is all that matters. It’s true for us and for our families. We must not miss heaven for the pleasures of the world. Eternity is long and hell is hot, I don’t care who has minimized this reality. Do what you need to do today. Tell your kids and grandkids that Jesus is coming soon.10 Get serious about knowing and serving Him, sharing the Gospel with others, and taking a stand for righteousness now—and be urgent about it!

I trust that my non-customary new year’s wishes do not offend any of you. You are precious to me and certainly precious in God’s eyes. But let’s face it: It is time to be alert and sober11—time for His people to be His people, standing up and proclaiming the truth. We must not turn-tail and run when our time of trial comes, and the only way I know to be prepared is to be at peace with God, of a sound mind, courageous and urgent! And that is my wish for all of us in 2016!

Happy New Year ~ Janie Kellogg

1John 15:27; 2Ephesians 2:14; 32 Peter 3:9; 42 Timothy 1:7; 5Psalm 106:15; 6Revelation 19:20; 7Romans 8:37; 8Philippians 1:29; 91 Peter 4:7a; 10Revelation 22:7, 12; 111 Peter 4:7b

 

I’m no Elijah ~ or am I? October 23, 2013

What Christian wouldn’t like to be another Elijah—you know, the prophet who had a showdown with the false gods of his day? Remember that famous Bible story where Elijah set up a huge demonstration on Mount Carmel and called down fire from heaven onto altars that had been doused with barrels of water. When Elijah loudly proclaimed, “Will the real God please show up,” He did. God had orchestrated the entire event to prove to the wayward children of Israel that He alone is the one true God.1

 

Don’t you wish an Elijah would show up today? I suspect some of us might have opportunities for an Elijah-size showdown with the false gods in our culture—if we were to look for them. But I think that many of us (me included) don’t look for those opportunities since the gods of our day are just too intimidating. Certainly a challenge against any one of them would be considered “politically incorrect.”

 

Personally, I am happier minding my own business. That kind of courage just isn’t my cup of tea. Such bold faith is surely reserved for the special servants of God. Actually, I am more like Elijah on the next day when he ran for his life, hid under a tree, and had a pity party praying that he could die.2

 

So what is the difference in the Elijah on Mount Carmel and the Elijah under the tree? I don’t know for sure, but it probably had something to do with his level of faith on those two separate days. On day 1 Elijah had been a man of courage. He clearly heard and obeyed the voice of the Lord. He boldly took a stand even though he was outnumbered 450 to 1. Elijah trusted that if he did his part, God would show up. I’ve had some days like that—well, maybe not exactly like that.

 

On day 2 Elijah must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed (or maybe he didn’t get up at all). He didn’t have clear direction about what the Lord wanted him to do like he did on day 1. He was on the defense running for his life, not on the offense and calling the shots like he was on day 1. Nor was he sure of the outcome of his circumstances as he had been on day 1. Elijah simply didn’t have the strength to be anything different than just who he was—on day 2. Now I’ve definitely had some days like that.

 

Come to think of it, I may be an Elijah after all. You see, God met Elijah wherever he was—on day 1 and on day 2. He was with Elijah when he had the faith to call down fire from heaven, and He was with Elijah when he felt “winky-wonky” and ran for his life. Winky-wonky was a term used by Grandmother Grace Kellogg when she didn’t feel quite up to par.

 

The fact is: God never changes!3 He is faithful and strong and loving and caring, and He meets me in my place of need wherever I find myself—on my own Mount Carmel standing up against false gods or hiding in the bushes until the threat against my life passes.

 

Do you feel bold today, perhaps able to tackle one of the many false gods in our culture? Or do you feel like staying in bed and pulling the covers over your head? Either way, our faithful God is with you and He will be with you tomorrow too.  Bold or winky-wonky—God is with us for the long-haul. Jesus said it like this—I am with you always, even to the very end! 4 ~ Janie Kellogg

 

11 Kings 18; 21 Kings 19; 3James 1:17 (NLT); 4Matthew 28:20