Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

Have You Decided Yet Which Side You Are On? March 19, 2016

If you think the chaos surrounding the 2016 Presidential election is unprecedented, you are not alone. We find ourselves grappling with the questions: Who do we believe? Who do we trust? Which candidate has the right answers? If it were not so incredibly serious, it would be laughable. I have been interested in politics all of my life, and almost tried out for the debate team as a senior in high school. You’ll notice I said almost. Today, I struggle to even watch what is happening.

When I was just a little girl, my dad would say that if Americans don’t wake up soon, the time will come when the electorate will be deceived, their freedoms taken away, and civilization reduced to two groups—the elite and all the rest of us. He fully believed this would lead to a future one-world government. The only possible way God-fearing, freedom-loving people would fall for such a scheme would be to promise them a better life, give them something for nothing, and convince them that others are responsible for their unhappiness.

I believe that time is here. The continual shift away from our Judeo-Christian values and the decline of moral fiber in our society signal a change we may not have intended. While Americans currently seem to be at a pivotal point, they are perhaps waking up too late. The sleeping giant may well find that “the land of the free and the home of the brave” has unsuspectingly slipped away from us.

While politics are an important part of our American culture, they are not the supreme power nor do they have the final say in our destiny. God does. He always has. While discussing the dismal condition of our nation with family members, I simply said: “I think it’s time to figure out what kingdom you belong to and set your hopes on it.” Everyone agreed. I know which kingdom I belong to and it is not of this world. In fact, I am a stranger and a pilgrim here.1 I belong to the Kingdom of God where He reigns supreme; and my greatest hope lies in praying that His kingdom will come and reign on earth, just like it does in heaven.2

If you are banking your hopes on this world, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. This war that is brewing on earth isn’t going away and it isn’t going to end well. In fact, it will become too horrible for God to keep His chosen ones here,3 and He will come to snatch us out of it.4 All hell is going to break loose because God said that He will shake everything that can be shaken.5 The lies of Satan, that great deceiver, will be exposed, and those who have followed him will see the error of their way.6 Unfortunately, at that point it will be too late for those who have ignored God.

I know that political party roots grow deep, just as mine do, but I would challenge us all to take a much broader look at what is currently happening. As the battle lines are being drawn, do not mistake this for the usual rise and fall of the most popular political party of the day. Party affiliation has nothing to do with it. What you and I are witnessing on our television screens is the war between good and evil, between the spiritual powers in the heavenlies, between God and Satan. This is a great battle for the souls of men—and that could mean yours, if you have not yet decided which side you are on.

Personally, I fear that our streets could soon erupt into lawlessness, our cities explode with rioting, and our government could fall before our very eyes. We are at a crucial point in history as the stage has been strategically set for our nation to implode from within. A house divided against itself cannot stand.8 I hope and pray none of this happens; but just in case my fears are justified, now is the time to decide which kingdom you belong to—God’s kingdom or Satan’s kingdom. The final decision is upon us. ~ Janie Kellogg

Theoden: I will not risk open war.

Aragorn: Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Key Scripture: For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:2

1Hebrews 11:13; 2Luke 11:2; 3Matthew 24:21-22; 41Thessalionans 4:16-17; 5Hebrews 12:25-27; 62 Thessalonians 2:8-12; 7Revelation 12:12; 8Mark 3:25

 

Call a Spade a Spade March 27, 2014

If I sound like a broken record, I am. Yet in my search to discover the mysteries of God, including the promised rest in Hebrews 4, I am continually led to the same subject: death to self. An insight I recently gleaned from Andrew Murray’s writings brought some clarity to the issue that has perhaps baffled Christians for centuries. Murray, the Christian icon from South Africa, clearly believed that self is Satan’s representative within each of us.

 

If this is true, then I must ask: “Why would I yield to Satan’s representative rather than Christ’s representative, the Holy Spirit?” I doubt that I intentionally do so, yet I find myself doing it all the time. However, with this revelation, it should be easier to identify just who it is that I am supposed to be denying.

 

Consider this thought: Satan does his work in me through his representative in me—self. Light-bulb flash here! That concept is difficult for Americans to accept because of the mindset that we are entitled to the American dream. If self wants something, especially something good and wholesome, we believe that we have a right to have it, do it, or say it.

 

While that could be true in this kingdom we call America, it is NOT true in the Kingdom of God. When we were born again by the Spirit, we changed kingdoms. We are no longer members of any earthly kingdom.

 

Jesus tried to explain what the Kingdom of God is like, and according to His teachings, God’s Kingdom and America are not the same thing. America, with its many freedoms, may be the closest thing on earth to the Kingdom of God, but it is far from being the same.

 

Being born into God’s Kingdom changes everything—it changes who we are, how we act, what we say, and most importantly, what we think! Kingdom-thinkers see things the world cannot see, and therefore, we have a new mindset about everything. As we grow in Christ, this difference will surface time and time again.

 

The biggest battle we face is that of changing our way of thinking to God’s way of thinking. Who is going to influence us from this time forward, now that we are members of the heavenly kingdom? Will Satan’s representative be the dominate influence, or will the Holy Spirit be the dominate influence? Andrew Murray encourages us to “Let every Christian make this his one great plea and aim: to have the mind that was in Christ Jesus.”1

 

Author Chris Tiegreen wrote: “We are not allowed to fit God’s mission in around our higher priorities….We may pursue the American dream or the Kingdom of God, but not both. We may give up everything or not give up everything, but not both. Christ compels us to choose.”2

 

We all love choices. America was built on the freedom to choose, most particularly religious freedom. We can choose to be a disciple of Christ, take up our cross and follow Him, or we can choose to follow after the things of the world. What we cannot do is both—or one could say, we cannot have our cake and eat it too!

 

Our problem is that we are confused about what following Christ actually means. The world has sold us a bill of goods that resembles the things of God, such as patriotism, prosperity, pleasure, health consciousness, and such, while in reality these are a mirage. Christ’s kingdom is not made up of such things. After a long discourse about the things of life that we tend to worry about, Jesus said, “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things….but seek his kingdom….”3

 

Step Number 1 to entering the rest of God is quite simple: Ask God to help us see ourselves in the light of His Word. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”4 Are we actually denying self anything?

 

Denying Satan’s representative in us is not optional if we want to enter God’s rest. I didn’t say it, Jesus did. And He will help us do it as soon as we get honest with God, and call a spade a spade. For no one will be allowed to enter that rest who tries to bring Satan’s representative along with them. Once we make the connection, rest is not far ahead. ~ Janie Kellogg

 

1Andrew Murray, The Believer’s Secret to the Abiding Presence, Pg. 120. 2Chris Tiegreen, One Year at His Feet Devotional, March 23; 3Luke 12:29-31; 4Matthew 16:24