Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

When It’s Just One of Those Days ~ March 5, 2015

We all have them—days when we feel battle-weary, shell-shocked, and overrun by the enemy of our souls. Even if he didn’t win the battle, he certainly left behind a heap of rubbish for us to deal with.

I’m sure there were days when Jesus felt the same way. Not about Himself, but about others. He possibly knew the disappointment of healing someone’s life, only weeks later to see them lining up for another divine touch. He might have thought, “Will they ever get it?”

But we all have repeat patterns. How many times do we learn a hard lesson and then vow never make that mistake again? But we do. After all, we’re human, and unfortunately humans are prone to make mistakes and then repeat them over and over. The amazing thing is not that we ever reach a not-so-human status, but that we learn where to turn when our mistakes overwhelm us.

It is easy to think we can fix someone else’s quirks so they won’t blunder anymore; but it’s not true. If our fixing worked, we could fix ourselves. We can’t. Our best approach to our weak points is facing them, admitting them, and then running as fast as we can to the One who can help us. His name is Jesus.

Listen to His invitation: 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. Matthew 11:28-30

Yep, Jesus is the best Fixer in the business! He knows what is needed when it is needed. He knows where to apply pressure, when to apply it, and how much to apply. He also knows when to relieve the pressure, and exactly how much to relieve. He knows when to console and when to encourage. He knows when we should stay in the ring and keep fighting, or when it’s best to get out. He knows when we should push through a trial, or when to yield, sit on the sidelines, and let someone else fight for us.

He’s the perfect coach. He knows how to win. We may not always think so, since some victories are won by surrender. They have the appearance of defeat, but they’re not. At other times, victory comes by standing our ground and never bending to the forces that oppose us.

Who knows what to do when? Do we press on or accept the inevitable? If you’ve ever faced cancer, or divorce, or bankruptcy, or depression, or a family feud, or one of a million other overwhelming circumstances, you have some idea of the onslaught of options and what-if’s that flood your mind. The sheer overload zaps your strength, and you start to doubt your ability to make good decisions.

Because we are humans with limitations, we are given a loving, caring Shepherd to guide us through the maze of life’s hard places. If we let Him, Jesus will take responsibility for making the decisions we can’t. He looks at us with eyes of understanding and says, “I’ve got this.”

And He does. He has this one, and the next one, and the next. He never makes a bad call or a bad decision. He is a proven winner and can be trusted. Today, hear is “Come to Me,”1 and then keep it simple: Go to Him, accept His yoke, and learn from Him. Believe that He keeps His word, and you will soon find your soul resting. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “When you are very conscious of your faults, do not be discourage by them, but confess them to God. Do not excuse them, or accuse Him. Then, peaceably resume your usual practice of love and adoration of God.”2 ~ Bro. Lawrence

1Matthew 11:28-30;  2Brother Lawrence, The Believer’s Secret of the Abiding Presence, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN, pg. 29

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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