Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

Help Wanted: Weak People Apply Here October 22, 2014

Why is it that we so often forget that God uses weak people and small things? It is not the strong, or the high and mighty, or the fittest, or the courageous that match the job descriptions for openings in the Kingdom of God.

The apostle Paul declared this: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”1 I know you’ve read it a thousand times, but read it again.

I’ve grappled with the meaning of these words for years, but recently I experienced it in real life. I was in over my head and I knew it. Even with all my super-duper-hyped-up-positive-thinking energy, I did not have within me the ability to complete the task before me.

The task was a special service at my church that I was coordinating. The program included eight choir songs and 20 speakers. For days my legs ached with the stress of this annual event that is followed by an all-church dinner. Cooking to do, programs to print, and last minute instructions for speakers—all swirled through my head as I dressed for church.

Minutes before leaving my house, with hands shaking and fearing that I would forget something important or make a big mistake before it was over, I cried out to God. I openly admitted my weakness, claiming Paul’s humbling words as my very own.

In those brief minutes with my face on the floor, I traded my weakness for God’s strength. It worked. According to the words of J. I. Packer, to those who will admit their weakness, God will show himself strong.

“For only at the point where the insufficiency of natural strength is faced, felt, and admitted, does divine empowerment begin….Divine strength is perfected in conscious human weakness….If I could remember each day of my life, that the way to grow stronger is to grow weaker, if I would accept that each day’s frustration, obstacles, and accidents are God’s ways of making me acknowledge my weakness, so that growing stronger might become a possibility for me….May God in His great mercy weaken us all!”2 ~ J.I. Packer

This is indeed valuable information if you need strength for something you are facing today. Admit your weakness and watch God show up! ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “For only at the point where the insufficiency of natural strength is faced, felt, and admitted, does divine empowerment begin….Divine strength is perfected in conscious human weakness.” ~ J. I. Packer

For more Secret Place Secrets visit www.treasureinearthenvessels.net and follow the footprints.

12 Corinthians 12:9-10; 2J. I. Packer quoted in Dr. Bruce H. Wilkerson, 30 Days to Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc. 1999), 90.

 

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The Turned-Off Power Source October 13, 2014

Several years ago I lived through a major ice storm in northeastern Oklahoma. For five and a half icy-cold January days, I survived without the comforts of home—light, heat, and a curling iron, to be exact. I was most grateful for my fireplace which provided both heat and light. On day four, just as cabin fever was reaching dangerous levels, my son hooked up a shiny new generator. The purr of the motor was music to my ears.

At mid-morning of day six, I watched a caravan of electric utility repair trucks enter our rural community and one-by-one repair the downed lines to each home—mine included. However, a few hours after the trucks had moved on, I still had no power. We discovered that for the generator to work properly, the main switch to the electric power coming into my home had been turned off. One flip of the switch and my power was on again!

Ever feel like your spiritual power has been turned off? Ever wonder why? When you first became a Christian it seemed that things were so clear. You found new truths in God’s Word regularly and enjoyed walking with Jesus. But somewhere along the way, that clarity began to fade, and now you even question what you thought you once understood.

Paul instructed us, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit” (Eph. 4:30). To grieve means to sadden or to make sorrowful. When we disobey God’s Word by doing or saying things that Christians should not do or say, we sadden our Holy House Guest. And when we bring sorrow to Him, He withdraws and our spiritual clarity is shut down. Grieving the Holy Spirit is equal to turning off the master switch to our spiritual lives. For some, their power switch has been off for years, and they do not know how to get the power back on.

The following quote from Oswald Chambers says it so well:

“You could read volumes on the work of the Holy Spirit, when five minutes of total, uncompromising obedience would make things clear as sunlight….It is not study that brings understanding to you, but obedience. Even the smallest bit of obedience opens heaven, and the deepest truths of God immediately become yours.”1

If you have a power shortage at your spiritual house—new insights, fresh revelation, and fellowship with the Spirit all seem to be shut down—I encourage you to get alone with God and ask Him to show you where you are being disobedient to His Word. If you are honest with Him, He will show you. And once He does and you become obedient—the power (and clarity) will return. Trust me on this one—I’ve been there! ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “Even the smallest bit of obedience opens heaven, and the deepest truths of God immediately become yours.” ~ Oswald Chambers

For more Secret Place Secrets visit www.treasureinearthenvessels.net and follow the footprints.

1Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 10

 

The Game-Changing Power Source October 6, 2014

The Holy Spirit is alive and well on planet earth. Really? Where? Well, according to God’s Word, He lives inside every born-again believer.1

Remember that the Holy Spirit is the personal representative of the triumphant, resurrected Christ. That’s right—the triumphant Christ—not the defeated, nor abused, nor victimized Christ. Jesus willingly submitted Himself to death on the cross because our own victory hinged on His sacrificial death. His goal was not only to be triumphant over the flesh, death, hell and the grave, but to be the first of many sons and daughters to be triumphant over the flesh, death, hell and the grave.2 He fully intends for us to be just like Him—triumphant followers.

Do you know any triumphant followers of Jesus? Are you one? I fear that in the eyes of onlookers, we are better described as the bedraggled, bewildered, and barely-hanging-on believers that are not quite sure Jesus will keep His promises. We think the Promise Land is a fantasy world that we will never reach in this life. Reality tells us that we can’t see it, claim it, or possess it; therefore, the Promise Land must be in heaven.

So triumphant followers, is it?  Yet, it is difficult to say our names in the same sentence as triumphant when our track record for winning souls or getting prayers answered is highly suspect. Many of us believe that God fully intends for us to be triumphant, but we ask, “How can this be?”

It is not until we discover the Indwelling Holy Spirit deep inside our being and begin to cooperate with Him, that we will find the divine power switch. That would be like locating the master switch that controls the electrical power coming into your house—the switch that makes everything work as it is intended to work.

Power changes everything! It changes our attitude, our spiritual and mental stability, and our outlook for the future. The rules of engagement change as well, in favor of the one with the most power. We move from fearful disciples to triumphant overcomers. Sound like any other motley group of believers you have heard of before?

Yet, I fear many have not met this game-changing Power Source. Jesus clearly said that “Apart from me you can do nothing.”3 And He also said, “But you will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes on you.”4 I clearly see a problem, and I clearly see the solution.

Looking for the game-changing power switch? It is found only in knowing, embracing and honoring the Holy Spirit. ~Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “The Holy Spirit was given for this one purpose—that the glorious redemption and life in Christ might with divine power be conveyed and communicated to us. We have the Holy Spirit to make the living Christ, in all His saving power, and the completeness of His victory over sin, ever present within us.”5 ~ Andrew Murray

For more Secret Place Secrets visit www.treasureinearthenvessels.net and follow the footprints.

1John 14:16-17; 2Hebrews 2:10; 3John 15:5; 4Acts 1:8; 5Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ, Starling and Black Publications, Copyright 2013, Pg. 75