Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

I’m Fed Up! If there is an action plan for Christians, I want to know what it is April 22, 2016

Weary, tired out, worn down, and fed up! That’s me. I can no longer watch the political hullabaloo being paraded before my eyes and ears by the news media. I’m done! Plain. Simple. Done.

I have been collecting my thoughts lately about how I should face the dire predicament in which our nation finds itself—you know, from a personal perspective. I recently determined to read as many articles and social media posts written by men and women of God and people of integrity as time allows. I prefer not to buy into conspiracy theories or doom day rhetoric, and my deepest desire is to know what God has to say to my heart. If there is such a thing as an action plan for Christians, I want it to know what it is.

Our frustration with America’s problems has reached a boiling point, and it is that frustration that fuels our anger. We can see that our elected politicians are not capable, or perhaps willing, to fix any of those problems, so our goal is to repair everything in the November 2016 election. You know—let’s make America great again. But our hope for a change for the better is being vested in a man or a woman—the one we feel has the wisdom, courage and stamina to take on this huge task. Unfortunately, as the struggle to find the right person continues, our hope diminishes day by day.

Pastor Andy Stanley from Atlanta, Georgia said, “We are looking to men to solve a spiritual problem.” Light bulb time! Of course, we are. And none of them, I repeat not one of them, can fix America’s spiritual bankruptcy. It began many years ago and has elevated to alarming proportions, in spite of the warnings given us by God.

As I have turned my attention to what God has to say rather than what the national media has to say, I have come to a conclusion. There is only one answer to our problem: God’s people must actually do what He says to do:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

There it is—the remedy for our spiritual sickness. As a nation we have turned away from God; we have broken His laws; we have laughed in His face; and we snubbed our noses at Him. Our sins wreck to high heaven. We need to repent for our nation, and God has promised that if we will do that, then He will hear and heal.

A few days ago Franklin Graham said that God isn’t looking for the masses to call upon Him, but for His chosen people to call. And it doesn’t take a great number of people to move the hand of God—it takes some who do what He said to do. Are you willing to be of them? Am I?

I plan to attend the Decision America Tour in Oklahoma City on April 27th when Franklin Graham gathers with Oklahomans at our State Capitol at 12:00 noon to pray for America. It’s a call to prayer, and I believe it is a big step in the right direction.

What if, over the course of the next six months that instead of watching the news, we use our time to bombard heaven on behalf of our nation? Imagine how powerful that could be if all of those who bear His name would do the same.

I believe that together we can do more. I also believe it is our only chance for survival. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “God will make a way, where there seems to be no way.” ~ Don Moen

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Counterproductive Prayers ~ What’s up with that? May 19, 2015

Do you ever wonder why the typical prayer meeting yields so few results? I do. I grapple with it continuously. I am certain the problem cannot be with an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God, so it must be with us and our prayers.

 

After all these years, do we still not know how to pray? I believe that as best we know how, we do pray according to God’s Word and in the Spirit both earnestly and honestly. Yet, more often than not, we see little or no results. Why is that?

 

Could it be that a conflict of interest is the cause of our poor success rate? Perhaps we do not correctly discern the will of God in our circumstances—be it illness, financial woes, or troubled relationships? The Word clearly says we are to count it all joy when we fall into various trials1—the trials of our faith that make us stronger Christians and shape us into the image of Christ.2

 

A closer look might reveal that most of our prayers are asking God to change or remove those circumstances—which are possibly the same circumstances He Himself orchestrated for our shaping. If that is the case, are those prayers not counterproductive to His plan to mature us and make us like Jesus?

 

Of course they are! We may simply have our eyes on the wrong goal. We want the good life—abundant and carefree—and plead with God to keep it so. Yet, God wants us to grow up spiritually and be useful to Him in reaching a lost world. Clearly, there is a conflict of interest here.

 

Jesus came to earth clothed in flesh to provide for God a human body in which to walk, talk, teach, and heal—thus displaying to the world the good nature of our Creator. He perfectly modeled His Father’s character of love, kindness, mercy and forgiveness. Then, sacrificing His life for the sake of others, Jesus set the example for all future believers to follow.

 

Therefore, every born-again Christian is called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus by yielding their own bodies as a living sacrifice for God to work through on earth.3 Our trials and troubles become the opportunities for God to do just that, making the difficulties we face today the will of God for us.4

 

We would all probably admit that some scriptures don’t seem to work for us. For instance, this one: “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.”5 Perhaps we have been tempted to question the validity of this scripture based on our past experience. Yet, if a trial is God’s will for us and we pray for Him to remove it, we are asking against His will rather than according to His will.

 

Counterproductive prayers could very well be the reason we are not getting what we ask of God.

 

Once we understand this, we will still pray over our troubles and woes, but at the end of each prayer we will deliberately give God our permission to do as He sees fit.6 The prayer so perfectly modeled by our Savior, “Yet not my will, but yours be done,” will become our prayer too.7

 

In that place of total surrender to God’s will, we put our lives into the hands of a loving Heavenly Father and accept what He chooses to give or not to give. While it may not be what we want to hear, that is where we will find rest for our souls and more answers to our prayers. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 (NASB)

 Small footprintKey Quote: “Faith is the willingness to receive whatever He wants to give, or the willingness not to have what He does not want to give.” ~ Elizabeth Elliott

 1James 1:2; 2Romans 8:29; 3Romans 12:1; 41 Peter2:21; 51 John 5:14-15; 6Luke 10:21; 7Luke 22:42

 

 

Be Anxious for Nothing ~ Really, God? January 13, 2015

Being anxious for not one thing is a pretty tall order, wouldn’t you say? I read these words and think surely they were written by someone who lived in another world.

After all, this is the day in which Christians are persecuted for their faith. Entire groups of people are being uprooted and displaced. Nations rock from the winds of cultural shock, financial collapse, and horrifying evil. A world that seems to be spinning out of control sends chills down my spine.

Even closer to home are troublesome issues. The death of too-many-too-young-to-die begs for answers to the why questions. And then there are the sick and the lonely. One cannot visit or call enough to meet the needs all around. Some who have fallen likely won’t get up, be it physically or emotionally.

So how did the old Apostle—or God—expect us not to be anxious? Is a non-anxious existence even possible in our world?

Tall orders call for tall actions! That weary and worn old missionary/preacher recommended prayer as the answer. “Tell God,” he says, “and His peace (which, by the way, you won’t understand) will guard your heart and mind.”1

My heart certainly needs some guarding. Do you ever feel like wearing a sign that says, “Caution: Too many straws dumped here could break this camel’s back!”

Then Paul added another action to the plan for not being anxious: “Think on good things.” Obviously, I’m dwelling on the bad ones: the fear; the pain, the loss, the suffering. How about you? What are you thinking on?

But Paul said we shouldn’t. Apparently, there are better things to focus on that are true, not fabricated; noble, not shameful; just, not unfair; pure, not defiled; lovely, not despicable; and good, not evil.

So what was I thinking? Of course there are things that are virtuous and praiseworthy. Paul said to think about them and meditate on them, and then will come the great promise of God:  P – E – A – C – E.

The peace that God promises to us is a perfect peace that the world cannot receive, but it can be mine and yours. That is, if we follow Paul’s instructions and be careful what we think about.2

You see, Paul knew by experience what he was talking about, for he also lived in a world that persecuted Christians for their faith. He was one of them. The next time our faithless words “Really, God?” question His control over our messed-up world, we must closely listen for God’s calm and loving response:  “Really, my child, really.” I’m certain that Paul did.

I’m praying for each of you to have God’s indescribable peace in your life today in spite of the turmoil in your world. Really. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” ~ Isaiah 26:3

1Philippians 4:6-9; 2Isaiah 26:3

 

Doing something is what we are about ~ even if it doesn’t work January 20, 2014

Filed under: Vision — Janie Kellogg @ 8:37 pm
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It comes as little surprise to anyone that doing nothing is not the best option for almost any problem we face. Actually, the only time that doing nothing is acceptable is when God says to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” In those times, it is totally in our best interest to do nothing.

 

But instructions to do nothing are rare. God most often gives us something to do, and our greatest challenge is to hear from Him what that something is. While God’s Word is full of commands and guidelines in any given situation, we humans have a tendency to make up our own rules.

 

When God says “believe,” we doubt that believing will be enough.

When He says “trust,” we try to change the circumstances.

When He tells us to “wait,” we rush ahead to accomplish our own goals.

 

As proactive get-er-done people, doing something is what we are about—even if it doesn’t work!

 

In fact, we are so busy doing what we think are the right things that we don’t have time to find out what God actually wants us to do. I fear that is the case in restoring America, repairing our communities and schools, reviving our churches, salvaging our families, and most importantly, saving ourselves from the demise of overload, both physically and spiritually.

 

The truth is—we are tired. We are tired from doing all the many things we believe will fix our problems; yet the things we have spent our energy doing haven’t worked. For starters:

 

  • We hear a Politian commit to fix the nation’s problems; yet all too soon we are vastly disappointed. We quickly look for the next Politian.
  • We participate in an improvement program in our community or school, and eventually see that the task is too big and our resources too small. We set out to recruit more people and raise more money.
  • We get excited when our church announces a new trendy campaign to revive it members, but after it has come and gone, little had changed. We don’t understand why it failed, since it seemed like such a great plan.
  • We commit to spending more time with our family, but when work, school, and sports scream for attention, we yield to their      demands. Family relationships suffer, and we whine because it has to be so hard.
  • And then there is our personal time with God—what we call a “quiet time.” Since there’s no quiet time to be had in my life, surely God understands and will let me off the hook. I’m sure I’ll do better next year, or when the kids grow up, and definitely when I retire.

 

Does any of that sound like your life? It does mine. So why is doing what seems to be perfectly good ideas not working for us?  Here’s why:

 

God did not tell us to look to political leaders for the answers.

God did not promise that our communities and schools will be better through humanitarian efforts.

God is not obligated to bring revival to His people through any manmade campaign.

God said that we will reap what we sow, and family relationships are not exempt.

God does not reveal Himself to those who want to spend time with Him—only to those who do.

 

Be assured that God has something for us to do! Doing nothing or doing the wrong things will never yield the right results. Our nation, communities, schools, churches, families and personal lives are suffering today because we have done too much of the wrong things.

 

It is surprising when at last we discover what it is that God wants us to do. It is not hard, or difficult, or impossible. We would not give our children something to do that was beyond their capability. And neither would God!  ~ Janie Kellogg