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

 

Rest ~ It can be yours for the right currency May 13, 2014

Filed under: Faith — Janie Kellogg @ 1:10 pm
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I think most all Christians believe that God intends for His children to be at rest—at least spiritually. We know we are called to work to spread the Gospel to all the world, to teach and train our children and new converts in the things of God, and certainly to wage war against the forces of evil; but spiritually, we believe that God wants us to be “at rest” in Him as our Heavenly Father.

 

As earthly parents, we do not want our children, especially small children, to be concerned about where their next meal is coming from, the growth of their college fund, the cost of their health insurance, or much of anything for that matter. We want them to be kids—to be light-hearted and carefree as they live life. After all, we are responsible for the big things, and there’s not much that kids can do about heavy issues anyway.

 

Why then do we think our Heavenly Father is any different? Did He not say that He clearly takes responsibility for what we eat, and drink, and wear? And what about tomorrow or the future? Didn’t He tell us not to worry about heavy issues like those? Isn’t He the only one who can do anything about those things anyway? Personally, I believe God says to us: “I’ll allow you to be human, if you’ll just allow me to be God!” 

 

Recently, we talked about entering God’s rest from Hebrews Chapter 4—a chapter rich with nuggets of insight for us. Here are a few of them:

 

  • It is possible not to enter this rest.
  • Entering requires faith, not just knowledge.
  • God was angry with those who failed to enter.
  • Everything has already been accomplished for us to enter.
  • All who enter must cease from his own works as God ceased from His works.

 

We have read these truths over and over. We think we understand what they mean, but we continue to live otherwise.  We continue “not” to believe God’s rest is for us. We continue to strive to please God with our human accomplishments. We continue to work to make God happy enough to let us enter there. Yet, based on these truths from Chapter 4, these things are simply not what is required.

 

Receiving things from God seems to trip us up. Just how do we get God to release His promises to us? I believe that God has a currency—a heavenly currency—that must be used in God’s economy. It is the one thing that God accepts when we come to get something from Him. That currency is FAITH! God has set in motion that everything that comes from Him can be obtained ONLY by using this currency. Scripture verifies my belief:

 

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him”. (Hebrews 11:6)

 

When we come to God for rest and do not come with faith, but with complaining, or self-pity, or offering up our good deeds, we are attempting to use some other form of currency. And God says “I won’t accept that currency. You must enter my rest on my terms, and my terms are by faith!” Can we not hear Him saying to us “Take me at my Word! Stop doubting me! Stop trying to earn it! Stop trying to coerce me! Cease from your works and simply believe ME!”

 

Do you get it? God wants us to stop trying and start believing! We must repent for trying to get there any other way; for blaming God that it’s too hard; and for trusting in our own works. It’s time to humble ourselves, believe God, and approach the throne of God with FAITH in our hands and our hearts. Thank Him that He provided it free of charge to us—except to believe Him. Thank Him for doing all the work and letting us off the hook. Our works don’t look so great anyway.

 

If you’re broke—dead-broke with no faith in your pocket whatsoever—ask our generous God to give you some. He longs to do that for you. If you come before Him with FAITH to enter that rest, it’s a guarantee that He’ll receive it and you will at last GO IN! ~ Janie

 

Oh God, I Need Some Rest! March 20, 2014

I’ve read it a thousand times—Hebrews Chapter 4. I’ve chased its interpretation for more years than I care to count. Still today, verse 11 perplexes me: “Let us therefore labor to enter that rest…” It doesn’t make sense to labor at resting. Why not just lie down and rest? To top that, the word labor in this scripture actually means to “make haste.”  So now I’m supposed to hurry at resting? I want to label this an oxymoron, but I know God doesn’t make mistakes.

 

Oh God, I need some rest! How I long for rest! I can only hope to find it someday!

 

I’m smack-dab in the middle of accounting season, near drowning in sheer circumstances. For an accountant, that means deadline upon deadline to meet with little recourse. Even a good night’s rest for the body is scarce. I told a friend the other day that it felt as if I were submerged in water and all that remained on the surface is one hand slowly sinking down through the bubbles from my last breath of air as I mumbled a final cry for help.

 

While it was intended to be funny, I wonder how many of us feel just like that about life. We’ve tried to keep afloat, made every effort to hold things together, did our best to swim against the current of never-ending demands on our lives, but somehow we feel that we might not make it. Does life grab you that way—hold you under until you’re not sure the next breath will come?

 

And what about our spiritual lives—ever felt that you’re just not getting the hang of it? You do all the right things, you work and give and help and support. You struggle with thoughts like, “Oh God, I’ve given and given and it never seems to work for me like Joel Osteen said it would!” And what about the strength we’ve been promised—you know from lofty verses like, “your strength shall be renewed, mounting up with wings like eagles?”1 Somehow that seems to have slip right past me. Yep, this eagle is merely hopping along on the ground trying to dodge the muck and mire of life.

 

If any of this sounds like you—I have good news. I’m not sure why its meaning has eluded me for so long, but Hebrews Chapter 4 is our answer. It is the very substance of what God knew we would need and what He provided for us in advance. Remember, God doesn’t make mistakes.

 

So what does it mean—this laboring to rest business? Newer translations say, “Let us be diligent to enter that rest.” It means: Let us hurry diligently at finding the rest provided by God and then enter into that rest. I suspect that we don’t hurry diligently because we do not know what that rest is or where it is. If we just knew what it was or where it was, we would!

 

While there are many clues to unfold in this chapter, let’s take a closer look at Verses 9 and 10: “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His (God’s) rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.”

 

Did you see that—ceased from his works? Let that soak in. Amy Carmichael said, “Perhaps what demands most will power is the resolution to cease from our own works, our own busyness, and to stay our minds upon our God.”

 

We know that earning salvation by good works is included here, for only the works of Christ at Calvary can save us. But don’t stop there. Look for more. Could this also be the key to living the Spirit-empowered life?

 

God has plan and a place for us to rest. God wants us to find and enter into it. Moses’ generation didn’t enter in because of unbelief. In other words, they heard about it, “but the word which they heard did not benefit them because it was not mixed with faith.”

 

We must first believe this rest of God is available to us. Once we believe it is there, we must hurry diligently to find it. Look up and look forward as we unpack the secrets to finding and entering that rest! ~ Janie Kellogg

 

1Isaiah 40:31; All other scriptures Hebrews Chapter 4.