Tag Archives: truth

POWERFUL WORDS FOR TROUBLED TIMES: TRUTH AND LIGHT

As I was praying for a particular situation a few weeks ago, the Lord spoke two words to me: Truth and Light. He told me to pray for those two things in that current circumstance. As I did, my understanding was opened to how those two words were indeed the answer.

Each of these words have a magnitude of power resident within themselves, but together they are dynamite! I soon began to pray for truth and light in every area of my life and my world.

When light is allowed to shine upon something, the cover of darkness is removed. It is then and only then that truth can be revealed. And what’s so great about truth? Well—the truth will set us free! Truth that is known, understood and acted upon will set men free from the lies of the enemy of God who dwells in darkness and desires that all of us dwell in darkness with him.

I recently challenged each of us to pray for ourselves that God would open our eyes, ears, mind and spirit to whatever we need to know that we currently do not know.  Remember—we don’t know what we don’t know, and we can’t see what we can’t see. Let that soak in.

In Jeremiah 33:3 the Lord tells His people to “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Truth and light come to us when we seek to know what God is doing behind the scenes—that which is not in clear sight or hearing.  

Truth and light are our only hope if this nation is to survive the current crisis. If truth and light do not prevail, our American way of life will be lost. It will be unrecoverable when it is declared that America is no longer a capitalist nation with individual freedoms of speech, religion, the right to bear arms, and a two-party democracy. If that happens, and it is totally possible, it will be because we the people did not seek for truth and light.

Once again, I ask us all to pray that God will open our eyes, our ears, our minds and our spirits to whatever we need to know that we currently do not know. Christians around the world are praying with us and for us! Surely we can pray for ourselves.

The Word of God is always the basis for truth, and Jesus Himself is the light of the world. Simply ask yourself what does God’s Word say and what would Jesus do?

Dear Ones, if God’s people seek for truth and light—God will give it!

See yourself on the winning side

I have come to realize by experience that if we don’t see ourselves on the winning side during these difficult days before Jesus comes for His church, we will be weak and fearful. Anxiety will overwhelm us. Doubt and insecurity will wreak havoc with our faith. In short—we will not be well. I suspect there are multiplied thousands, if not millions, of us who already fit this description.  

People all over the world have experienced the agonizing effects of COVID-19. In the United States, we are just beginning to see what damage the lockdowns alone have done—especially to the young and the old. My heart breaks as I think of the vulnerable children who are locked inside their homes with angry, depressed, and perhaps abusive parents or relatives. And my heart breaks equally as much for what has happened to the elderly.

Yesterday, I saw a Facebook post about the residents in a nursing home in Colorado who staged a protest to the lockdown. They were outside, lined up in wheelchairs and holding signs that said, “We’d rather die from COVID than to die from loneliness.” It is shameful what has happened to them.

Even before the onset of the pandemic, I had determined to prepare myself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally for the last days. You don’t have to look very hard to find a description of the last days in God’s Word (Matthew 24; Luke 21), and let’s face it—those days won’t be easy. I began asking God to lead me to books, people and programs on Christian Networks that would strengthen my faith.  

God has clearly answered that prayer. I have watched my faith grow and my confidence flourish. Powerful truths in God’s Word that I have known for 40 years began to come alive in my spirit once again. Apparently, I had stifled and stuffed down those truths because I was afraid if I voiced them or taught them, I wouldn’t be “politically or doctrinally correct.” I asked the Lord to forgive me, and today I no longer care whether or not I am considered correct by the world’s standards.  

Now before you criticize me, perhaps you have done the same thing. Haven’t we Christians toned down our beliefs on sin, so we won’t be out of touch with our culture? Aren’t we afraid to speak our true feelings about certain issues that cause division? Yep, it seemed best not to take a stand. And what we see today is a wanning church reaping the results of preaching a “weak gospel.”

Last week I spent two full days praying about one particular situation. During the early hours of the first day, I heard God speak to me: “Truth and Light. Pray for truth and light.” I began doing that very thing. Throughout the day, my eyes began to open to what a huge difference those two words could make in the situation for which I was praying. Next, I began applying those two words in other situations. It eventually became very clear: Truth and light could make a huge difference in every aspect of our lives—our nation, schools, churches, families, jobs, health, faith—in fact, our everything!

My friends, we desperately need TRUTH AND LIGHT in our world. There is distrust everywhere we turn. We clearly have a “trust” issue. COVID has taught us to not trust what our government is saying, what doctors are saying, and what scientists are saying. Politicians have deceived us. Our nation’s history is being torn down and destroyed before our eyes. Clearly, what is good is now called evil, and what is evil is now called good.

The Lord has spoken many encouraging things to me in the past few weeks. The words “truth and light” have exploded on the pages of my journals. God has shown me the “lies” that have been taught down through the ages deceiving millions of people, including God’s very own people. I will share these things with you in my future posts. But between then and now, I ask you to do three things:

1) Dare to believe that God is for you. He is not against you.

2) Begin to see yourself on the winning side during this unprecedented time in which we live. Jesus told us these days would come so we could be ready.

3) Pray that God will open your eyes, your ears, your mind and your spirit to whatever you need to know that you currently do not know.  

Pray this prayer for yourself: Dear God, in these strange and unsettling days, I desperately want to believe that you are for me and that I am on the winning side. I ask you to begin right now to open my eyes, ears, mind and spirit to whatever I need to know that I currently do not know. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” ~ John 8:32

Blessings to all ~ Janie

Another Spiritual Dream ~ What Does It Mean?

I have never put much emphasis on spiritual dreams, mostly because I never had any—until a year ago when I dreamed about the rapture of the church.1  But a few months ago, I had yet another spiritual dream. I knew instantly it was from the Lord and had meaning I should not ignore. I’m sure some will think I’m weird or ate too much Tex-Mex for dinner. Still, I feel the message is too important not to share.

 

In this dream, I was in a familiar place with no cause for alarm. My twelve-year-old granddaughter was with me in what I believed to be a safe place. However, I began to notice a questionable force moving toward me; and within seconds I knew I was in trouble. As I tried to fight off the attacker, I discovered that I had little strength. I kept saying to myself, “Why don’t I have any power? Where has my strength gone?”

 

When I saw an opportunity to run outside the building, I did. I ran as hard as I could—again questioning why I had such little strength. I finally stopped to catch my breath, looked back, and saw that the pursuer was not following me. It was in that moment when a gut-wrenching realization came to me—I had left my granddaughter behind. She was now in the presence of the attacker and I was not there to help her. At that point, I woke up with my heart pounding inside my chest.

 

There was no small stir in me, and immediately I ask the Lord what the dream meant. God was faithful to reveal its meaning. I will attempt to relate that meaning to you by addressing the different components of the dream.

 

First, the familiar place in the dream is reflective of the modern-day church as a whole, not singling out any group, church or denomination. What I thought was a safe place was actually not safe; but because it was familiar to me, I was oblivious to the danger. This speaks of where the modern-day church is in relation to our nation’s declining culture. For any of us who have lived in the 21st Century, we should clearly know by now that some organizations and institutions we once thought safe for our children, are actually not safe at all.

 

We have been tolerant of accepting the ways of the world into our own church culture. In short, we have become worldly. We have been lulled by years of complacency and trusted ourselves to hierarchical systems that tell us what we should read and believe. We no longer know how to hear from God for ourselves. We rarely, if ever, hear sin preached against from modern-day pulpits—but rather how to have the happiest life possible while on our way to heaven.

 

Secondly, my granddaughter represents the next generationsour children and grandchildren. They are right there with us. They are watching us and trusting our judgment. They believe we are doing what is in their best interest. And why shouldn’t they? The teachings and programs of the church have worked for us, why wouldn’t it work for them? The next generation has no clue whether it is safe or not, and sadly, they have not been taught to seek God for themselves.

 

As Christians, we find ourselves in this vulnerable situation because we have been asleep. We refuse to hear any doctrine except our brand. We criticized the movement of God in any group other than our own, thereby offending the Holy Spirit. As a result, we have lost our strength, and we wonder where it has gone. The culture around us has declined to a dangerous point, and because we participate in group-think mentality—we are confident that our group is okay. Of course, we know what God wants, and of course, we have correct doctrine. We refuse to look outside our religious box to see where we are and what is happening around us.

 

As current events rock our world with a pandemic, a faltering economy, protests and lawlessness flowing into our homes through our television sets, we could think this is the end-time shaking the Bible speaks about. “This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.” (Hebrews 12:27, NLT) I suspect that “all” includes modern-day churches and modern-day denominations.

 

If we believe this describes the day in which we live, perhaps it is time to pray: “God, have I been asleep? What do You want to say to me and show me during this time? What about my life is out of sync with You and Your Word? Have I been guilty of group-think and not sought You and You alone? In these unusual and critical days, give me eyes to see and ears to hear. For the sake of my children—wake me up!”

 

Rest assured, those are words our Heavenly Father longs to hear from His complacent children. But don’t take my word for it. Ask Him for yourself. Lean in closely to hear His voice. Allow the Holy Spirit to rend your heart. At that point, a good old-fashioned time of repentance might be in order. You know, that word we have dismissed as non-essential for the church—R.E.P.E.N.T.

 

God’s message is clear. A good place to begin is 2 Chronicles 7:14. That four-step pathway to God is something we all can do: humble ourselves, pray, seek, and turn. And, if the leaders of your group/church/denomination tell you that you don’t have to repent of your sins or seek God for yourself, you should probably check things out. And if you decide to run, remember to take your children with you. ~ Janie Kellogg

1“What Has Happened to the Rapture of the Church” at www.TreasureinEarthenVessels.net.

How Much of the Holy Spirit Do You Have?

How much of the Holy Spirit do you have? Interesting question, huh?  Especially since some people believe that Christians either have “it” or they don’t have “it.” Wrong!

First of all, “it” is not an “it.” The Holy Spirit is a Person and is best referred to as “He.” This often-misunderstood member of the Holy Trinity has a personality, a purpose, and a plan. He has feelings, desires, and reasons for what He does or doesn’t do. He has assignments from the Father, gifts to deliver to believers, and a mission on earth. He was sent by Jesus, as a promise given to the earliest disciples and extended to every disciple since. And that promise, my friend, is to indwell every person who becomes a believer in Jesus Christ.

The question as to whether or not all true believers have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of them is answered in Romans 8:9 “…And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” Therefore, we can conclude that every person who is born-again has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him from the time of conversion, or else he hasn’t been born-again.

From that amazing first encounter with the Holy Spirit, we can begin to grow up into Christ because we now have a personal teacher to guide us into all truth. His goal is to eventually transform us into the image of Jesus Himself; however, His ability to do so is directly helped or hindered by our willingness to cooperate with Him. When we cooperate with our Indwelling Houseguest, we grow quickly. When we do not cooperate—well, not so much!

I think a better question, be it in 6 months after conversion, 6 years, or 60 years, is not how much of the Holy Spirit do you have, but how much of you does the Holy Spirit have? You see, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman, and He does not overpower us and take away our freewill. He occupies only the territory of our lives that we freely and willingly yield to Him. He will control only what we allow Him to control.

That explains why we sometimes see what should be mature Christians no further advanced than newborn Christians. They have given the Holy Spirit very little control of their lives. They continue to sit at the helm and steer their ship where they want to go, with little thought as to where the Holy Spirit wants to take them.

There has been much teaching on how to be blessed by the Holy Spirit, experience His presence, and enjoy His gifts; yet, very little on how to yield our lives over to His complete control. Unfortunately, the church of today is mostly obsessed with the gifts and experiences, and we remain untrained in how to relinquish that control to Him. There is a widely believed misconception that the Holy Spirit is here to bless us, and at the same time, we get to keep our besetting sins. The problem is—that doesn’t line up with the Holy Spirit’s mission on earth.

Hudson Taylor, the famous missionary to China, used the term “the exchanged life” for the giving up of his life for the Christ-life. In other words, Taylor gave up what he wanted for what the Holy Spirit wanted, and died to the self that we all inherited from Adam and Eve. Of course, that sounds rather foreign to our modern-day easy-believe-ism teachings, wouldn’t you say?

This excerpt from Taylor’s writings clearly depicts a life that has been yielded up to the control of the Holy Spirit: “I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me….”

So, how much of the Holy Spirit do you and I have? We have an amount equal to the area of our inner being that we have currently yielded to the Holy Spirit’s control—that much, and no more.  The Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:18 say to be filled with the Spirit, implying that we can be partially filled, completely filled, or somewhere in between. So, which is it—a little, some, or filled?

Next, we will discuss being full of the Holy Spirit—what it looks like and how we can get there. ~ Janie Kellogg

1Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL, 2009, Pg. 165

How Much Do I Know About the Holy Spirit?

I have spent the summer of 2016 studying and teaching on the topic of the Holy Spirit. I knew that our Helper had many names and functions, but I had to ask myself honestly, “How much do I know about the Holy Spirit? I boldly told God that, if needed, He had my permission to hit the delete button on all I already knew and teach me afresh about this amazing Third Person of the Trinity. Today, I stand in awe as to how little I knew about Him previously.

You may think the delete button a bit drastic, but the more I studied, the more I became convinced that much of my teaching had been merely the interpretation and opinions of others who thought they had the Holy Spirit figured out. Some even thought they had a corner on Him, and honestly, that’s impossible! He is an amazing free-Spirit and no one is going to put Him in their narrow-minded doctrinal box of any size or shape.

I gleaned many treasures on this subject from the books and DVD studies by Jim Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, NY. Other insights have been gained from the works of R. T. Kendall, theologian and author of Holy Fire; and of course, from the many works of one of my favorite writers, Andrew Murray. Of recent, I re-discovered The Message, which is a paraphrasing translation by Eugene Peterson, whose contemporary language has unlocked old truths in understandable language. I must not forget my close companion, the Amplified Bible. Some days I simply sit and weep as I read from these works about familiar words now rendered new and fresh like water from a cool, clear stream.

How has this message been hidden from us for so long? Why hasn’t this essential understanding been granted before? What baffles me the most is why so many denominations have ignored this subject, or more importantly the Helper entirely. Get it? H-e-l-p-e-r! Ah, now you see my point—the one who helps us! Jesus described His sending the Helper so critical that He told His disciples not to leave Jerusalem without Him—the Helper, that is!

I think I have a pretty good idea who might be behind the strategy to keep God’s followers away from the one thing that can help them: Satan, himself. What better way to stop the spread of the Gospel than to hide from them the truth about the Helper? Yet, the pure unadulterated truth is that I need help and lots of it! And Jesus knew that. As my dearest lifelong friend said recently in our weekly ladies Bible Study, “He took care of everything we would need before He left us and went back to heaven.” That is a true statement if I’ve ever heard one.

I plan to share with you some of what I’ve learned on this summer’s journey. I’ve spoken at two Women’s Retreats during the summer months, and God lead me to teach on the Holy Spirit at both of them. Is it perhaps time for us as the Body of Christ to embrace God’s plan to empower us for the work He has assigned to us before Jesus returns? I think so. In my heart of hearts I believe that there has never been a day in our lifetime in which the Helper was so desperately needed. This is that day. Read Matthew 24 if you wonder what “day” I speak of.

I used this slide in my teaching throughout the summer. Might it be your prayer too?

holy-spirit-i-need-you

I’m wondering if some of you feel that same need for His help. Maybe you too think that He has never clearly been explained to you, that so much about Him is uncharted territory, or misconstrued rhetoric. Perhaps you would even now ask yourself, “How much do I know about the Holy Spirit?”

Doesn’t some cool, clear water from the spring of living water sound refreshing about now? If so, stay tuned. My prayer is that together God will lead us to a mighty source of truth and encouragement in our confused and thirsty world. I’m praying this will be an amazing stretch of our journey together.  ~ Janie Kellogg

God Speaking

As a choir director, I am always looking for new music. I like it all—hymns, traditional, contemporary, and country gospel music. If it’s about Jesus, it’s worth a listen. But what I look for most often is the music that speaks something to my heart. You know, when God is revealing a new truth to your life and then you hear a song that perfectly says what God has just shown you. I know you have had that experience too. I generally go, “WOW! God, I am blown away!”

It is like the singer is speaking out loud what is already planted in my heart. So it was a few days ago when I was the guest speaker for a Ladies Retreat. The praise team was singing a song that was somewhat familiar to me, yet I couldn’t place where I had heard it before. Obviously, I knew it pretty well because I sang along quite easily. But where had I heard it?

Finally, it dawned on me. It was a song I had considered several months ago, downloaded the soundtrack, practiced it, and then decided it wasn’t for my church, not now anyway. Maybe too contemporary; or maybe not the combination of instruments I liked; but for whatever reason, I had put it on the back burner.

But standing there in that beautiful sanctuary with precious young people leading the worship with a single guitar and bongo drum, this once-rejected, not-such-a-perfect-fit song spoke volumes to my heart! So, why was a song that hadn’t worked for me, now resonating with every fiber of my being?

Harbor Retreat 2016 - 2

It was God’s way of speaking to me—and to all who will listen—with that inner voice that points us to the hidden truths in His Word. The Holy Spirit is actually commissioned to do that for us: “He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). Did you notice the personal pronoun in the verse? He guides you and me to the truth about who God is; what He has done for us; and how He longs to be in relationship with us. That night, His voice came through loud and clear. God speaking!

For that retreat and for the Bible study I am currently teaching on the importance of the Holy Spirit, I simply needed that song. It confirmed all I had been researching, writing, teaching, and now singing. My Faithful God had connected the dots for me, and I can hardly wait for the choir to learn it, the Ladies Bible Study group, and maybe even you, too. If you haven’t heard it before, google it and listen to a YouTube version with the words. It is called “Holy Spirit, You Are Welcome Here,” by Francesca Battistelli.  I have also included the words below. I challenge you to read them slowly and allow them soak into your inner-being.

This song will help us kick off a new series of teaching the Lord has recently opened up to me. We’ll just say it is the backdrop to prepare our hearts to hear what He wants to say to us. But in order to hear God speaking, there is one prerequisite: We must make the Holy Spirit, the Divine Teacher, welcome in our hearts. As for me, He is oh so welcome, and I am ready to hear God speak. How about you?

Holy Spirit, by Francesca Battistelli

 

There’s nothing worth more

That could ever come close

No thing can compare

You’re our living hope

Your presence, Lord.

 

I’ve tasted and seen

Of the sweetest of loves

Where my heart becomes free

And my shame is undone

Your presence, Lord.

 

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here

Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere

Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for

To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

Your presence, Lord.  (2Xs)

 

Let us become more aware of Your presence

Let us experience the glory of Your goodness (4Xs)

 

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here

Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere

Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for

To be overcome by Your presence, Lord.

I hope you will join me for the next few weeks/months. It’s been a busy summer, and I am excited to get back to writing and posting on my blog—especially when God is speaking.  Blessings to all. ~ Janie

Photo ~ Harbor Church, Oologah, OK, July 29, 2016

 

I May Have Just Found My Voice ~ How About You?

I have never thought of myself as courageous—you know—the brave and fearless type. Actually, I’ve considered myself a scaredy-cat—scared of being home alone at night, scared of upsetting apple carts, and scared of offending anyone. But as I have grown older, I’m learning how to deal with these issues.

It has been years since I’ve worried about being home alone at night. And upsetting apple carts—well, I have inevitably upset some carts along the way, but I lived to tell about them. Then there is this thing of offending others. I certainly do not want to offend anyone, but if being scared keeps me from speaking truth, then something is wrong with that picture.

I believe the political correctness issue in our culture has gone way too far. Does it seem to you that someone is offended at everything? I read a sign the other day that said something like this: “Our society is careful not to offend anyone, except God.” Perhaps that’s because God doesn’t speak out or demonstrate when He is offended. (He will, however, eventually get the last word.)

We see demonstrators clamoring for free speech for those who want to speak obscenities against God, yet all havoc breaks loose when someone speaks in favor of God or prays in His name. I keep wondering why this imbalance is so widespread and accepted by the masses. It could be because all of the people have not yet found their voices—most especially those who believe in God, in goodness, in righteousness and in decency.

Could we be losing this battle simply because we are afraid to speak? If that is the case, then the opposing forces have already won, and soon the name of the Lord our God will not be permitted in the public square. At the same time, all obscenities can be spoken at will—because believers are not courageous enough to find their voices.

Here is where I am: I have no desire to offend people who don’t believe in my God, but I do have a desire to serve my God and obey Him. Our forefathers fought and died to give our citizens the right to serve God Almighty without persecution from the government. Yet, just last week I read about a registered student group who was told they would need a permit before talking about Jesus on the campus of a major university.1 It seems that free speech today protects everyone except those who want to serve God. Our forefathers would turn over in their graves at such distortion of our Constitution.

So what are you and I going to do about it? When the apostles Peter and John were threatened NOT to speak in Jesus’ name any more, they found their voices:

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard. (Acts 4:18-20)

And what was the result of finding their voices?

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all. (Acts 4:33)

It is clearly time for the people of God to find our voices. Come to think of it, I may have just found mine. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. Luke 12:11 (NIV)

1Todd Starnes, Want to Talk About Jesus, You’ll Need a Permit, American Dispatch, April 28, 2016

Have You Decided Yet Which Side You Are On?

If you think the chaos surrounding the 2016 Presidential election is unprecedented, you are not alone. We find ourselves grappling with the questions: Who do we believe? Who do we trust? Which candidate has the right answers? If it were not so incredibly serious, it would be laughable. I have been interested in politics all of my life, and almost tried out for the debate team as a senior in high school. You’ll notice I said almost. Today, I struggle to even watch what is happening.

When I was just a little girl, my dad would say that if Americans don’t wake up soon, the time will come when the electorate will be deceived, their freedoms taken away, and civilization reduced to two groups—the elite and all the rest of us. He fully believed this would lead to a future one-world government. The only possible way God-fearing, freedom-loving people would fall for such a scheme would be to promise them a better life, give them something for nothing, and convince them that others are responsible for their unhappiness.

I believe that time is here. The continual shift away from our Judeo-Christian values and the decline of moral fiber in our society signal a change we may not have intended. While Americans currently seem to be at a pivotal point, they are perhaps waking up too late. The sleeping giant may well find that “the land of the free and the home of the brave” has unsuspectingly slipped away from us.

While politics are an important part of our American culture, they are not the supreme power nor do they have the final say in our destiny. God does. He always has. While discussing the dismal condition of our nation with family members, I simply said: “I think it’s time to figure out what kingdom you belong to and set your hopes on it.” Everyone agreed. I know which kingdom I belong to and it is not of this world. In fact, I am a stranger and a pilgrim here.1 I belong to the Kingdom of God where He reigns supreme; and my greatest hope lies in praying that His kingdom will come and reign on earth, just like it does in heaven.2

If you are banking your hopes on this world, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. This war that is brewing on earth isn’t going away and it isn’t going to end well. In fact, it will become too horrible for God to keep His chosen ones here,3 and He will come to snatch us out of it.4 All hell is going to break loose because God said that He will shake everything that can be shaken.5 The lies of Satan, that great deceiver, will be exposed, and those who have followed him will see the error of their way.6 Unfortunately, at that point it will be too late for those who have ignored God.

I know that political party roots grow deep, just as mine do, but I would challenge us all to take a much broader look at what is currently happening. As the battle lines are being drawn, do not mistake this for the usual rise and fall of the most popular political party of the day. Party affiliation has nothing to do with it. What you and I are witnessing on our television screens is the war between good and evil, between the spiritual powers in the heavenlies, between God and Satan. This is a great battle for the souls of men—and that could mean yours, if you have not yet decided which side you are on.

Personally, I fear that our streets could soon erupt into lawlessness, our cities explode with rioting, and our government could fall before our very eyes. We are at a crucial point in history as the stage has been strategically set for our nation to implode from within. A house divided against itself cannot stand.8 I hope and pray none of this happens; but just in case my fears are justified, now is the time to decide which kingdom you belong to—God’s kingdom or Satan’s kingdom. The final decision is upon us. ~ Janie Kellogg

Theoden: I will not risk open war.

Aragorn: Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Key Scripture: For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:2

1Hebrews 11:13; 2Luke 11:2; 3Matthew 24:21-22; 41Thessalionans 4:16-17; 5Hebrews 12:25-27; 62 Thessalonians 2:8-12; 7Revelation 12:12; 8Mark 3:25

A Thanksgiving Scene We Will Never Forget

Thanksgiving! Oh, the joy of being with family is almost too precious to describe. The scenes are incredible! We gather around to welcome the newest members; we measure the height of kids growing tall; we recognize personality traits that remind us of a one taken away; and we surely take notice of the graces of life more apparent in each of us. We look on as our offspring learn to be ducks in the bigger pond, and we cherish their successes. Life simply evolves, not without its pain and sorrow, and yet we give thanks.

It’s in scenes like these that the giving of thanks is so appropriate, for in all of them—sacred or sad—we thank the One who gave them to us. His instruction manual tells us to give thanks in everything.1 We not only can, we must; for the Giver of Life does all things well. While we may not always like what is handed to us, He who gives it makes no mistakes.

We can call it acceptance, for that is exactly what it is. Acceptance of what our Heavenly Father has chosen to give to us. I love the story about a little girl who was born both deaf and dumb. When questioned why God would have made her so, she thought for a moment, and then with trembling hands boldly wrote out her response: “Even so, Father, for it seemed good in Your sight.”2

What kind of faith does it take for acceptance like that?  How do such young eyes see such mature truths? And what about us—do we know the meaning of acceptance? Or do we spend our time and energy trying to change that which was given?

Acceptance is what thanksgiving is all about. It is that deep swelling of faith within us that eventually rises to the surface and says, “What God has chosen to give is good and I am thankful for it.” We may not understand it or fully embrace its treasure, but we are still grateful to the God who gave. And why is that—because He can be trusted.

It is comforting to know that one day we will see things more clearly—for we shall see Him as He is, as well as all the things we haven’t understood. We only know in part now and see through a glass dimly.3 But just hang in there—a new day is about to dawn.

The Apostle John wrote about a future scene that is very different from our unexplained ones. Here is a paraphrased glimpse of what he saw just up ahead. Please read it slowly, even out loud, and try to see if you can picture yourself there, in this scene:

I heard what sounded like a mighty shout of a great crowd in heaven, exclaiming, Hallelujah—Praise the Lord! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God! His judgments are true and sound and just and upright. He has judged and pronounced sentence and doomed the great harlot who corrupted and demoralized and poisoned the earth, and has avenged the blood of His servants. And again they shouted, Hallelujah—Praise the Lord! Then the twenty-four elders fell prostrate and worshipped God Who sits on the throne, saying, Amen! Hallelujah—Praise the Lord! Then from the throne there came a voice saying, Praise our God, all you servants of His both small and great. After that I heard what sounded like a shout of a vast throng, like the boom of many pounding waves and like the roar of terrific and mighty thunderpeals, exclaiming, Hallelujah—Praise the Lord! For now the Lord our God, the Omnipotent, the All-Ruler, reigns! Let us rejoice and shout for joy—exulting and triumphant! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His Bride has prepared herself.4

I certainly have my favorite phrases, such as “a mighty shout” (not a timid one); “a great crowd” (God has a big family); “all you servants of His both small and great” (small comes before great, just like Jesus said they would); and “His Bride has prepared herself” (Oh my, we must be ready for the wedding). Are you?

That is a thanksgiving scene we will never forget. I trust that I will see you there! ~ Janie Kellogg

11 Thessalonians 5:18; 2Matthew 11:26; 31 Corinthians 13:12; 4Revelation 19-Selected excerpts from the Amplified Bible.

What to do with a Dead Vision ~

What comes to mind when you hear the words “dead vision?” Here is what goes off in my head: Done. Over. Finished. Expired. Lifeless. Nada. Nil. Nothing.

I was recently tempted to call a promise of God—that has not yet been fulfilled in my life—dead. You know what I’m talking about because you have one too—the vision God dropped into your heart years ago, and you are still waiting for it to happen.

As I pondered the cause for the delay, I wondered if I had done something to hinder God from fulfilling His word to me. No sooner than I put that issue to rest (by asking for forgiveness for whatever I might have done), another accusation quickly surfaced to replace it, and then another, and another. You will recognize them, because you’ve heard them too:

“Maybe I didn’t hear God right. Perhaps I am believing for something God never promised? I must be daydreaming to think this could come true. It’s impossible. Did I just make this up? I might as well face it, that vision is dead!”

A few days ago a daily devotional reading by Amy Carmichael spoke to this very issue. She wrote:  “Our Lord Jesus has taught us to call the dead, the living.”1

It’s true. Hebrews 11:12 says: “Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky….” We know this as the fulfillment of God’s promise of a son to Abraham and Sarah very late in life. And in Romans 4:17 we read, “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”

We are given a clear example of the good-as-dead body of Abraham and the obviously-dead womb of Sarah being called the living. By all accounts their vision appeared to be totally impossible. Yet, in the remaining verses of Romans 4 we read how Abraham found the faith and the courage to call those dead things, alive.

Contrary to hope, Abraham believed in hope. (vs.18)

Not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead since he was about a hundred years old. (vs. 19)

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief. (vs. 20)

He was strengthened in faith and gave glory to God. (vs. 20)

He was fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform. (vs. 21)

Notice the verb phrases in these scriptures:  believed in hope; not being weak; did not consider; did not waver; was strengthened; gave glory; was fully convinced. These are the steps Abraham took while waiting upon God to fulfil the vision.

More modern-day language may sound like this: Don’t give up. Hang in there. Keep on keeping on. Stay the course. Trust when you don’t feel like it. Praise God anyway. Speak positive words of faith. Reaffirm your confidence in God.

Is it too late for us to apply these powerful verb phrases to our vision? Of course not! What if we were to defy the odds, disregard what we see, dismiss what we feel, disarm the voice of our enemy—and call our dead vision—alive! After all, if God Himself says something is alive, then it must be alive!

Hasn’t the enemy of our souls taunted us long enough with doubt and unbelief? As sons and daughters of Abraham, our father of faith, let’s tell God that we still believe He will fulfill His promise to us. Then we can move forward as if it is true, simply because God said so. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.~ Romans 4:18 [The Message]

1Amy Carmichael, Whispers of His Power, CLC Publications, Ft. Washington, PA, 1982, Pg. 121