Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

It Takes a Long Time November 18, 2014

In a culture driven by instant results, we find it hard to accept anything that takes a long time. Just imagine buying a magic wrinkle-removing cream that advertises, “It takes a long time to see results.” No way! No one is attracted to a product, process, career or anything else that takes a long time.

The truth is: things that take a long time are better. There’s wine and cheese—we’re told that older is better. Wisdom comes with gray hair or years of experience. Education is only acquired after years of study. Relationships are sweeter as the years go by, and friendships that last a life-time are highly cherished.

So it is with the things of God. The longer we walk with God, the better we know Him and the more acquainted we become with His methods of dealing with us. Ultimately, the more we know about Him, the more we love Him.

Although we know these truths, it is difficult for us time-bound earthlings to understand that our eternal Father—who is not bound by time—is in no hurry whatsoever. When we give our lives to Him, He starts the process of conforming us into the image of His dear Son.1 You can take my word for it—that takes a long time!

The reason it does is because our fallen natures have been in control for so long that our filters are carnal, earthly, and selfish. We see everything through those muddled lenses. When we learn that God loves us just the way we are, we rejoice; yet in time we realize that He loves us too much to let us stay that way.

God’s own Son came to earth to rescue us from our ungodly, selfish nature and transform us into godly, obedient sons and daughters. Even though it takes a long time, God never gives up on us. If we have a stubborn streak and resist His efforts to change us, still He is patient and kind. He never declares: “This one is impossible.” The Word says that all things are possible with God—and that includes transforming me and you.2

Even now He is attempting to open our eyes to eternal truths. In His efforts to change us, He is always bidding us to come and spend more time with Him. We can be assured that in time He will accomplish His good purpose.3

Why not surprise God today by giving Him some extra time? One of the hidden secrets of the gospel is this:  The way to shorten the time it takes to become like Jesus is to spend time alone with God. If only we would. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “We are designed with a great capacity for God, but sin, our own individuality, and wrong thinking keep us from getting to Him. God delivers us from sin—we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience.”4 ~Oswald Chambers

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

1Romans 8:29; 2Matthew 19:26; 3Philippians 1:6; 2:12-13; 4Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, November 18.

 

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A Chance to be Like Jesus November 11, 2014

The issue looms large in my head. Seems like a simple disagreement between two people. “Not so,” comes the whisper of the Holy Spirit from deep within, “it is much more.” My protest was as weak as water.

For one who has long sought for the Holy Spirit to be in full control of my life, I am here and now given an opportunity to see my prayers become reality—this is indeed a chance to die.

Amy Carmichael, missionary to India in the early 1900s, used the term often. Her biography carries the title A Chance to Die, and there is no way to read her many works without coming face to face with this concept.

Just when we’re sold on the idea that the Christian life is surely the good life, we find embedded within the writings of such great saints as Amy, the mysterious concept of death to self in order to have life with God. Please don’t miss the “in order to.” It is the cause and effect concept:  In order to have this, one must do that. We find the same idea in Jesus words: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”1

So just what does Amy mean by a chance to die? When we are faced with the painful yielding up of our way in order to allow another to have their way, it is a chance—an opportunity—to die to self. And when our flesh screams a gut-wrenching “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” we can deliberately choose to give up our right in favor of God’s will.

We can easily know God’s will in such matters. The instructions to love one another, forgive one another, submit to one another, and turn the other cheek are strategically implanted throughout our divine instruction manual. It is with spiritual eyes that we can see these golden opportunities to practice what we preach.

Once we begin to look for them, we can see them everywhere—in our own little nothingness-bickerings—a chance to say “No” to self. After all, that is the essence of Calvary—Jesus saying “No” to having His way. Because of the Father’s plan to redeem mankind, Jesus didn’t demand His right to live, but saw it as a chance to die so others could live.

What makes us think our “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me,” will be anything less?2 It won’t. Each little controversy, each yielding and submission to God’s way is an opportunity to be like Jesus, that is, if we can recognize it as such—a chance to die. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “Welcome anything that calls you to your only true position: ‘I have been crucified with Christ….3 A crucified life cannot be self-assertive. It cannot protect itself. It cannot be startled into resentful words. The cup that is full of sweet water cannot spill bitter-tasting drops, however sharply it is knocked.”4 ~ Amy Carmichael

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

1Luke 9:24; 2Mark 8:34; 3Galatians 2:20; 4Amy Carmichael, You Are My Hiding Place, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN, 1991, Pg. 74.

 

 

A Big Fat Lie November 3, 2014

It amazes me how shrewd the enemy of Christ is when he attempts to repackage the gospel in untruths or half-truths and sell it to mankind (namely me!) Honestly, if Satan can sidetrack believers by feeding us big fat lies about God, then he has won a partial victory.

How many modern-day Christians have bought into the big fat lie that “God just wants me to be happy,” only to find ourselves disillusioned a few years down the road? Or maybe, “God just wants me to be rich, or healed, or my life’s dream fulfilled?”

The stark truth of the gospel is that God wants me to be like Jesus, regardless of the cost to me personally. He wants me to know Him, love Him, fellowship with Him, and turn over control of my earthly life to Him so that His purpose can be fulfilled. That, my friend, will include death to my self, my will, my way, my plan, my dream, and my everything else!

“Paul speaks of…‘the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.’1 He was willing to lose all things and to keep looking and looking and looking into Christ so that he might know Him better. How much are we willing to lose, that we may know, and so be able to see?” ~Amy Carmichael2

Our carnal minds scream: “But wait, I thought God wanted me happy. I don’t want to lose anything—it’s more that I want!”

How hard it is for our fleshly natures to see this great hidden truth, but how blessed is the soul to whom the Spirit of God reveals it. Paul was indeed a blessed man for he knew by experience the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”3 Does that not say every? Could it be that we have blessings we do not see?

Have you ever found yourself disillusioned that God hasn’t done what you expected Him to do for you? Could what you thought God wants for you be different from what He really does want for you? Perhaps our view point is the problem.

I fear we have bought into a big fat lie of Satan. Is it not time to look and look and look for the great hidden treasures of God’s Kingdom? It is indeed, but the real question is: Are we willing to lose anything to find them? ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “He (Paul) was willing to lose all things and to keep looking and looking and looking into Christ so that he might know Him better. How much are we willing to lose, that we may know, and so be able to see?”2 ~ Amy Carmichael

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

1Philippians 3:8; 2Amy Carmichael, You Are My Hiding Place, Bethany House Publishers, Page 84; 3Ephesians 1:3