Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

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

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Out with the Old ~ In with the New December 31, 2014

It’s happening again—one year ends and another begins. Aren’t we glad it does? Whether it is cleaning closets or rearranging the priorities in my life, I like the feel of new beginnings. The Bible says that when we are born again of the Spirit, old things are passed away, and behold, all things become new.1

I like God’s behold—it means heads up! Take notice! Observe! Look right here! He often uses behold to get our attention when He has something important to say to us. In this verse, God is telling us that the time of the old fleshly man ruling over our lives is passing away, and the new life of Christ reigning in us is here.

What an encouraging word to those of us who are slow learners—out with the old selfish me and in with the new spiritual me! I’ve lived long enough to know that this doesn’t happen overnight, but praise God it was set into motion at the very moment I trusted in Jesus to save me from my sin.

My friend, our old self is in the process of being dethroned while our new spirit man is being groomed to take over. We are even now being shaped and formed to be just like Jesus, full of the Spirit and fully obedient to the Father. If it feels like a power struggle, it is. No doubt, our old self will fight and scream as he is being cast out, but he is condemned and death is his destiny. Our new life in Christ is coming in and growing just like Baby Jesus grew in grace and truth. Someday He will fully reign in us. That is our God-given right and our God-given destiny—for Christ to be formed in us.2 What a glorious, breathtaking thought!

As you celebrate the coming in of this new year of 2015, rejoice in what God has already done in your life, and by all means, look forward to what He is going to do in the coming year. Thank Him for every new glimpse of His glory that He has allowed you to see; for every new truth of His Word that He has opened up to your understanding; and every new level of faith along this journey that He has helped you reach. Those, my friends, are the true riches of His Kingdom that He is sharing with you.

Since God is always, always, always giving good and perfect gifts to His children, then behold, a new year means new riches of God coming your way! Thank Him for them; look for them; and embrace them when they come.

Wishing each of you a very Happy New Year! ~ Janie Kellogg

 

12 Corinthians 5:17; 2Galatians 4:19

 

Looking back or moving forward ~ which is it? January 1, 2014

Filed under: Holidays — Janie Kellogg @ 3:34 pm
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Ready or not 2014 has arrived, and we find ourselves on the brink of newness! Yes—newness! Don’t you love it? New beginnings, new plans, new dreams, new hair-do’s—for whatever this New Year holds, we are perched on go and the newness has begun!

 

Personally, I’ve never been fond of antiques, vintage, or old anything. I’ve always loved the new, the challenging, the refreshing, and the crispness of things different. Don’t get me wrong—I love things worth keeping—like older relatives who are priceless, memories that are too special to ever toss, and traditions that remind me of where I came from.

 

But, maybe I’ve learned to like new the hard way—because I’ve made deadly mistakes about wanting to keep things the way they are—you know, like buying two pairs of the same shoes (just in different colors). Or keeping an older version of computer software because it was familiar. It happens in food, music, cell phones, and a million other areas of life. Life is moving forward, not looking back.

 

Does God’s Word support my position? The first scripture that comes to mind is the story of Lot’s wife.1 What was she thinking? Honestly, to give up your very life for just one more look at the past. How many of us are guilty of the same, but perhaps haven’t suffered the same consequences? Or have we? Gazing at our sinful past will paralyze any of us. So don’t do it.

 

Today I read, “God wants us to get on with our lives. If we forever look back and feel burdened with sin, Jesus Christ sacrificed for naught.”2 It is true—Jesus died to redeem our past! We must get it settled, thank Him for newness of life, and move on.

 

Another story is that of the children of Israel complaining about the conditions of the wilderness—obviously not taking into consideration their freedom from slavery! 3 Ever wonder what it is about leeks and garlic that are worth going back for? God forbid! So it is with some of us. God has delivered us from the bondage of sin, set us on a new path to life and freedom, and we are complaining because we’ve had to give up some things.

 

Jesus said, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”4 Pretty strong talk, wouldn’t you say? Not a hint of indecisiveness allowed here. We’re either going on with God or we’re not.

 

I also think about the good advice from the Apostle Paul: “…And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”5 As with any race, the distance to be covered is not behind us, but rather before us. Looking back serves no purpose in this race whatsoever.

 

So which is it—are you looking back or are you moving forward? Since we can’t do both, we must on this first day of 2014 make a decision. Will we dwell on our past sins, crave leeks and garlic, be indecisive about whether we’re in or out, and run this race while looking over our shoulder? Or, are we going forward with God in 2014?

 

NEWNESS is waiting for us to embrace it and make it ours. God has big plans for you and me in this New Year, yet we must claim them and get in step with the Holy Spirit, our Guide. Will it be safe? Certainly. Will it be easy? Probably not. Will it be worth it? Absolutely!

 

Our God is a God of NEWNESS!

Ask Him to visit you in a new way in 2014.

Ask Him to fill you anew with His Holy Spirit.

Ask Him to introduce you to your own Holy House Guest.

Ask Him to help you walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of your flesh.

Ask Him to burden your heart for the lost and help you lead someone to Christ.

Ask Him to show you how to pray for our troubled world and then pray and believe He hears you.

Ask Him to draw you closer to Him and make Him your BFF.

Ask Him for the best year ever!

 

Whatever you do, don’t forget to ASK. “For everyone who asks, receives.”6 Let us get out of our easy chair of complacency, learn a new song about Jesus and worship Him, and then be about our Father’s business. Newness is here!

 

Happy New Year to all! ~ Janie Kellogg

 

 

1Genesis 19:26; 2Jean, Mary & Frank James; 3Numbers 11:5; 4Luke 9:62; 5Hebrews 12:1 6Luke 11:10

 

My Three New Year’s Wishes January 8, 2013

Filed under: Encouragement — Janie Kellogg @ 7:29 pm
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As the first day of 2013 dawned last Tuesday, I found myself wondering what the year would hold for me and my family, my nation, and my world. At the dismal close of 2012, it seemed as if the whole world were spinning out of control. Even while reading Christmas card wishes for a “Happy and Prosperous New Year,” I doubted that happy and prosperous were likely, in light of such gigantic problems.

 

In my quiet time with God that sun-sprayed morning, I focused on what things could make this a happy and prosperous year. My Holy House Guest led me 1 Corinthians 13. This chapter is commonly known as the love chapter, because it defines what love is in real terms, not what Hollywood or country music say it is. We should re-read it often. The writer also speaks of things that will go away after Jesus returns to earth, but what caught my attention were the three things that will remainfaith, hope, and love. As I pondered the uncertainly of the next 365 days, I wrote in my journal that faith, hope, and love were my three New Year’s wishes for both me and my troubled world.

 

My first wish is for faith. Personally, I wish for faith to write God’s message with power and clarity, for faith to win the lost to Christ, and faith to move mountains of fear and unbelief anywhere I encounter them. Within the body of believers, I wish for faith that results in signs and wonders, healings, miracles, and demonstrations of power, as experienced by the 1st Century Christians. I wish for faith that delivers people from the bondage of sin, restores families and marriages, and gives children a safe environment both in and out of the womb. I wish for faith that brings an awakening to righteousness in our country, causing establishments of sin to shut down as they did in days when Charles Finney preached across America. I wish for God’s own people to repent of our sins, our friendship with the world, and our indifference to the things of God. Plainly stated—I wish for REVIVAL in America!

 

With the world crumbling around us as nation after nation falls into turmoil and unrest, my second wish is for hope—hope in the “God of hope” (Romans 15:13). I hope for a cure for cancer, Lou Gerick’s disease, and every other life-sucking disease. I hope for the end of wars, world hunger, and sex-trafficking. I hope for men everywhere to hate what is evil. I hope for world leaders to stop killing their own people and to work together for the good of all. I hope for truth and righteousness to be restored in governments around the world—especially in America. I hope for integrity to trump political parties, denominations, and union affiliation; and for godly character to motivate actions rather than personal gain or ambition. I hope for the Church of Jesus Christ to be clearly recognizable as the people with the answers.

 

Last, but most importantly, I wish for love. I am reminded of the words from a once popular song: “What the world needs now is love, sweet love; that’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…not just for some, but for everyone.” I believe love would solve all of the world’s problems—but only if it is LOVE FOR GOD. If all people loved God and lived to please Him alone—not bowing to other gods, leaders, governments, religion, or people—the problems of the world would disappear. I wish for a world in which love rules over fear, hatred, greed, and selfishness; a world where pride, prejudice, jealousy, unforgiveness, and revenge are dismantled and replaced with love. Oh, how I wish for love, sweet love—not just for some, but for everyone.

 

Is it realistic to wish for such optimism in our world? Of course! Did not Jesus teach us pray to our Heavenly Father, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?” These are the very prayers God will and does answer. The Bible says in Revelation 11:15: “The whole world has now become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever” (NLT). That, my friend, would make 2013 a very happy and prosperous year! Let us not just wish; let’s start asking. ~Janie Kellogg

 

What! Another New Year Already December 31, 2012

Filed under: Holidays — Janie Kellogg @ 12:50 pm
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Perhaps like me, you are asking, “How in the world did it get to be 2013?” Growing up in a home where my parents believed we were living in the last days back in the 1960’s, I surely thought that Jesus would have come by now. Actually, I thought He would come before I graduated from High School, or got married, or had children. And what about those years in between then and now? Are they not much like a vapor, as if they simply passed through my hands?

 

Regardless of how we look back on years gone by, either with joy or regret, it is more beneficial to look forward to that year which we are soon to embark upon ~ 2013. The Apostle Paul said, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3: 13-14). This new year comes with great upward opportunity to do many things. Do we not all love new beginnings? I know that I do. I love to let the past be the past, wipe the slate clean, and get a fresh start. That is what 2013 holds for us, if we will see it through those lenses. Maybe then, we can look forward to this new year with great anticipation.

 

The thing I look forward to most is new revelations from God, His Word, and His ways. I am awed at what I now see that only 12 months ago, I did not see. You may ask, “How does that happen?” It happens a little at a time. To describe it as the Bible does, it comes “Precept must be upon precept….line upon line….here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10). You see, we cannot withstand ALL of the revelation of God at once. He told Moses, “You cannot see My face, for no man shall see Me, and live” (Exodus 33:20). WOW! We should be grateful that God gives revelation only as we are able to accept and absorb it.

 

We are to be ever-seeking, ever-increasing in the knowledge of God. That is His plan for us, to slowly but surely allow His Spirit to bring the light of God into our very beings. We must have light to live. We must have light to grow. We must have light to mature. Light literally “dawns upon us” gradually as we seek the face of God. I’d like to think I could have a Damascus Road experience, but it hasn’t ever worked that way for me. It comes as I ask for it and as God chooses to grant it. He, being all-wise, knows what I am ready for and what I can receive. I must be grateful for whatever He chooses to give.

 

With any new revelation also comes the taunting sin of pride. Don’t you hate it? About the time pride tries to enter my heart over a fresh revelation, I am reminded of the clear fact that there are still vast unknown truths and mysteries of God yet unrevealed to me. I must remember that humility is the key to more revelation, and to that I bow my head and humbly say, “Thank you” to the Gracious One who gives opening of the eyes, here a little and there a little.

 

May 2013 be a year of revealed truths in our lives. Let us ask the Father to open our eyes to see them; ask Jesus to enlarge our hearts to accept and receive them; and ask our Holy House Guest to make us consciously aware of them when they come our way. If we do those things, 2013 will be a year of great revelation! Are you ready to press even more for the prize of the upward call of God? I know that I am, and I will be writing about those very things in the coming year. I hope you will join me on this 2013 journey, and invite a friend to join us as well. Happy New Year to all! ~ Janie Kellogg