Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

We Need a Little Love December 20, 2018

Filed under: Holidays,Uncategorized — Janie Kellogg @ 10:19 am
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Our annual Christmas Cantata includes the song We Need A Little Love. It challenges me. My first reaction is “Yes, we do need a little love”—but then something inside me screams: “Don’t we need a lot of love?” It seems there’s never been a time when there has been such a shortage of love. We see it in the lives of displaced refugees around the world; on the faces of starving children waiting in line for a cup of soup; and the homeless souls hiding in the shadows of our own cities. The need for love comes in all colors, sizes, and shapes—the shape of a broken heart, an empty heart, and even those we think are heartless. Yet every heart needs love. The question is whether or not their need for love can be filled by someone this Christmas.

 

For me, let’s just say I prefer a Hallmark Christmas, and I bet you do too. After all, isn’t Christmas made of gingerbread cookies, dazzling lights, and storybook endings? I wish. But I’m afraid that is not the norm even though it may seem that all Christmases end well. I remember years ago when I was a young wife and mother, how I tried to make each Christmas the best Christmas ever—only to find myself with an empty heart and wallet when it was all over. You might remember that feeling as well. The let-down occurs when the holiday comes to a close, the hype is gone, and there’s only a mess to clean up.

 

I’m not sure if I just grew up somewhere along the way or if I’ve learned by experience that the real joy of Christmas comes with simpler things—like having those we love nearby, sharing our blessings with the less fortunate, and taking time to worship the Christ of Christmas. Nothing else is lasting. The chorus of the song says this:

We need a little love to light the world from up above

Spreading good tidings to men, peace once again

That’s what my heart’s dreaming of, we need a little love.

 

Instead of thinking about how much love we need, perhaps we should focus on how much love we can give away. If we have even a small amount of God’s love, we can light up our world—this space around us that we call ours. We certainly have good tidings to share with others that Baby Jesus is the Savior of the whole world. And if we will let Him come into our broken and empty hearts, He will fill each one with His eternal peace. Who knows, maybe even the heartless will find some heart and turn to the Lover of their souls. Actually, I think that’s exactly what my heart is dreaming of.

 

These simple gifts of Christmas—love, light, good tidings, and peace—are ours to receive and ours to give away. What more could we need? So the songwriters were right all along—we really do need only a little of God’s love! My Christmas prayer is that you and I will join with thousands of Christians around the world this year in giving the most lasting gift of all—a little love.

Merry Christmas to all ~ Janie Kellogg

 

The Slippery Slope of False Peace July 16, 2015

Peace is a much desired commodity that manifests itself as a state of mind. We all want it. We all seek it. We are peace-full when we are free from threats to our safety and well-being. Who doesn’t want peace?

According to Jesus there are two kinds of peace, and since He is the Prince of Peace, I figure He knows what He’s talking about. In John 14:27, Jesus gave to His disciples an amazing gift: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The other kind of peace is obviously that which the world gives us.

I believe for many years we have mostly relied on the world kind of peace—the strength of our government and military, and a strong U.S. economy and dollar, all being maintained under the umbrella of a healthy respect for God’s laws and authority. For the most part, we have lived tranquil lives with those things securely in place.

However, for some twenty years I have heard it said that America is on a slippery slope. What I see happening daily disturbs my worldly peace: evil on the rise under the disguise of good; the threat of terrorism expanding with little or no resistance; the US economy struggling with a zero GNP; the strength of U.S. dollar and the markets vulnerable to collapse; and all these things pale in comparison to the depraved state of our moral condition. Seems to me, we’ve now gone one over the cliff of the slippery slope and are headed for a huge crash.

It could be said that the peace the world gives is nothing more than a slippery slope of false peace—shaky, unstable, and certainly not enduring. It will not hold up in troubling times. When God shakes this world like He said He will in Hebrews 12:26, the world-given peace will not suffice. We need more.

What are we to do? Where are we to put our trust? Our nation’s currency states that we trust in God, but our actions to cast Him from the public square say otherwise. So are we still a Christian nation whose God is the Lord, or are we not? Will we continue to have God on our side as we have for over 200 years; and if not, will our nation survive?

The Bible tells us that in the last days we shall see “men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:26). It’s not so difficult to see how that can happen for these are certainly heart-failing days.

But wait. Jesus knew it would be like this. Did He not tell us that these terrifying days would come? And because He knew, He provided in advance just what we need—that gift of peace! Remember, He gave us His peace—the peace that only the Prince of Peace can produce and give. It is a peace that says, “In the midst of this storm you are loved. You can find a refuge from these horrendous days when you hide yourself securely in Me.”

Dear friends, we are not peace-less, and we must not let our hearts fail us for fear! We are to be light and salt in a dark and decaying world. Jesus says to us today, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He already has and we need to act like we believe it. We are left here to shine that glorious light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not yet know our Savior. There are many that need to know Him, and therefore God needs for us to be courageous, salty, and lights in this dark hour.

Want to trade in your false peace for the real thing? Call upon the Prince of Peace and He will hear your earnest prayer. As His followers, we must not let our hearts be troubled or afraid, but rather we must start polishing the globe of our lanterns. Much light is needed. My prayer is that you and I will not miss one opportunity to shine for Jesus! ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

 

Just enough light for the step I’m on August 1, 2014

Many years ago I heard a speaker say, “If you’re not journaling, start now!” I took her advice and I have never regretted one of the 26 red spiral-bound 6”x9” notebooks that I have used up journaling. And, I have no plans to stop. Ever.

I told my children that if my house catches on fire, I won’t risk my life rescuing the family photos—it will be my journals that I go in to get!

They are filled with life—my spiritual life! I have never done the “Dear Diary” thing and never plan to. But I do document what God speaks to my heart as we walk together in this Father-daughter relationship.

My journals are filled with the treasures I have taken the time to capture with pen and ink. They are priceless to me—my very own words of encouragement, correction, and love messages from my Heavenly Parent! And, they are my memory that won’t fail as I grow older.

Within these journals I have recorded the key concepts that were revealed to me as I journeyed to the secret place. I can trace God’s hand leading me one step at a time. He opened my understanding and then enabled me to take the next step.

I love the song by Stormie O’Martin, “Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On.” That’s the story in my journals—God giving me just enough light to make the next step—not the ones for next week, or next month, or next year.

So, if you’re not journaling, I hope you start now! As we move forward, I will identify the key concepts, scriptures, and quotes for you. I like to call them footprints. I am so grateful to the writers who left some footprints along their path for me. Check out the one below. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Concept: As I journey to the secret place, God gives me just enough light for the step I’m on.

 

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know August 27, 2013

Filed under: Holy Spirit — Janie Kellogg @ 12:46 pm
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The early morning light dawns and we awaken to another day. Who knows what will happen in this day—the next 24 hours? We don’t, but thankfully God does. He gives light so we can at least see where we are going.

 

Ever think about what would happen if the sun didn’t come up some morning? We would likely start our day as usual, using lights generated by a man-made power source, but eventually we would feel the strain of life without sunlight. In short, it would be devastating because light sustains life. Without it both plant and animal life would be altered, crops would fail to grow, food supplies would dry up, and our bodies would long for natural light as man-made sources diminished. All I can say is “O God, keep the light on for us!”

 

Our spiritual life is equally dependent on God for light. It has been many years since I began my quest for spiritual light. I describe it as my pursuit to find God. Yet, the truth is that God has actually been pursuing me, attempting to pry me loose from the world, the love of it, and the world’s way of thinking.

 

I have wanted loose. It just isn’t that easy. But gradually, I feel its hold on me giving way. Blinders are beginning to fall at my side and the puzzle pieces are coming together. Spiritual light sustains life too, and I really do need to see where I am going.

 

Susan Klein writes: “You don’t know what you don’t know. What else have I been missing all my life because I’ve been trusting in my own insight rather than trusting God?”1 (Read that again.)

 

How many of us are courageous enough, or better yet, humble enough to admit that we don’t know it all? The next question is equally challenging: If we know that we don’t know what we don’t know, then shouldn’t we be looking for it?

 

In politics we often hear the term “failed policies.” You know, some politician has a plan to improve things, but instead things get worse. That, my friend, is a failed policy.

 

Do we not do the same thing with our plan to follow God? We inevitably do things our way. We base our beliefs, and therefore our actions, on what we’ve been taught. We are sure our doctrine is right. Yet when we aren’t successful, do we ever stop to consider if we are following “failed policies?”

 

Jesus encountered a group of well-established, doctrinal folks called Pharisees. Do you want to know what it was that they didn’t know? They didn’t know that Jesus was the Son of God, the promised Messiah, the very One they were looking for. They missed it big time, even with all their years of training, memorizing scriptures, and keeping the law—they missed the most important truth in all of history: God Incarnate! And He was right there under their noses.

 

What about us? Are we tired yet of our failed doctrine? Tired of doing training exercises that yield no results? Missing what might be the most important truth of the gospel? Are we missing the very thing we have been looking for and searching for? Could it be right here under our noses?

 

What do you think Paul meant when he wrote: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”2 Was he not looking for some things he didn’t yet know?

 

In the next few weeks I am going to share some thoughts about the Christian life that may have been right here under our noses all the time (at least mine anyway). It is perhaps the missing link to discovering the victorious life, the puzzle piece that’s been out of place or even lost. It is the simple word: Obedience. Well, come to think of it, it may not be so simple after all.

 

We will begin with “learning to lean.” You see, learning to lean on God is like learning to let your dance partner lead on the dance floor—there just cannot be two leaders. Dancing with God can be a beautiful thing once we learn how to allow Him to lead. But take note, the dance will never happen short of total obedience.  ~Janie Kellogg

 

 

1Susan Klein, The Secret Place, August 17, 2013

2Philippians 3:10

 

 

Living on the Lighter Side February 8, 2013

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)