Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

What’s In It For Me? February 17, 2015

In recent years, business managers have begun to wake up to the fact that employees stay with a job for reasons other than their paychecks.  Believe it or not, there are more important things in life than money. Shockingly, even in a bad economy, statistics indicate that 2 million Americans quit their job every month.1 Isn’t a job worth keeping under any circumstances? Not so, says the research.

There are various factors that cause employees to make changes, such as not liking the boss or lack of recognition. But employees often base their decision on the simple question: “What’s in it for me?” They question whether or not a job fulfills their needs and is it really what they want to do with their life. The truth is a paycheck is not the only motivator behind what we do.

This same factor of “what’s in it for me?” carries over into other parts of our lives. For instance, we don’t work just for the money itself, but we work because we like owning a home, taking vacations, and building a retirement. We don’t cook and clean just because we love to do so—we cook and clean because we like to eat and live in a clean house.

I believe it also influences our spiritual lives. While the promise of life after death is a huge benefit in our walk with God, we still expect to get something from our commitment in the here and now. And God—who is certainly a good manager of His Kingdom—knows full well that we need and should expect benefits in the here and now. There has to be something in it for us, or like in other things—we probably won’t stay committed to it.

In my study of humility I have discovered a huge benefit that we have often missed. We know that Satan doesn’t want us to find it, and has gone to great lengths to hide this truth from the church for many years. Yet, to those who look for it—God faithfully reveals this powerful truth.

While found in various places in God’s Word, it is certainly spelled out in 2 Corinthians 12:9 ~ And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God, who provides the benefits we need for living the Christian life on earth,2 also shows us where they are and how to tap into those benefits. It could be compared to you and me having a checking account with money in it, but without any checks. There has to be a method—a technique or process—to access our money when we need it, or else it is of no benefit.

I have spent fifteen years wrestling with this one verse (2 Corinthians 12:9), and my Father and yours has helped me see at least a part of its meaning. Begin to look at it now; read it; memorize it; chew on it. We will unpack this word of truth, and if you haven’t already, I know you will see it too.

So what’s in it for you and me? The answer is MUCH. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “Embrace humility. It’s the only way up.”3 ~ Chris Tiegreen

1 Alan Hall, I’m Outta Here!, Forbes.com/sites; 22 Peter 1:3; 3Chris Tiegreen, The One Year at His Feet Devotional, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., August 8

Advertisements
 

The Unnoticed Power Source September 19, 2014

The personal representative of the resurrected Christ—whose name is Holy Spirit—lives inside all believers. And He is there, even if we’ve never felt Him or spoken to Him.

God Himself sent the Holy Spirit to play a key role in every new-creation life. The Bible clearly defines the Holy Spirit’s job description: He will guide us into truth in a world full of fallacies. He will be our Helper, and we certainly know we need help. He will comfort us when life deals us a hard blow. He will teach us the will and ways of God, and get this one—He will help us remember all the things Jesus told us! What a friend this Helper can be, that is, if we get to know Him.1

Yet in spite of the Holy Spirit’s vital role in our lives, He has been mostly unnoticed and even ignored by many Christians. The very plan of God to carry out His work on earth by His own power working in His followers has been foiled by misconceptions of this all-important factor.

Just as the works of Jesus were done because of the Father’s presence in Him, likewise, our works will be done by His presence in us. Check out Jesus’ words in John 14:10 “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (NIV)

I humbly ask: Do you know the Holy Spirit? Have you met Him? Do you know what He likes and dislikes? Do you know He has feelings? Do you care? Do you know that you should care?

If your honest answer to any of these questions is “no,” you are living far beneath your privileges as a child of God. You are living the Christian life on your own power, without the aid of the Helper. An even worse demise is that you are being drastically short-changed in your relationship with God.

Regardless of where you are today, the Holy Spirit wants you to know Him, seek Him, find Him, and yes, learn to interact with Him. Begin now to pray that God will show you how. He longs to answer that very prayer for you! ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “Are we conscious of His presence? Do we realize the incredible treasure that we have within us? Or do we keep Him buried deep down inside, unaware of the power and the pleasure that’s available in His promise?” ~Chris Tiegreen2

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

1John 14:16-17, 26-27; John 16:13-15

2Chris Tiegreen, author of The One Year at His Feet Devotional, and editor at Walk Thru the Bible Ministries.

 

How Low Can You Go? April 11, 2013

Sometimes this Christian life feels like I’m stuck in third grade! You know what I mean—we want to move on to higher things, but the Teacher says we’re not ready yet. Seems we haven’t nailed down the basics—reading, writing, and arithmetic. Perhaps the multiplication tables are not laid in stone, and because of it, our progress is hindered.

 

So it goes with my progress to be like Jesus. I know I’m saved and on my way to heaven, but this sanctification process is grueling. I want to discover all the amazing things God wants me to know, experience, and incorporate into my everyday life. But I’m stuck here—in Romans Chapter 7.

 

For fear that some may lag behind, it is necessary to linger long in the hidden truths in Chapter 7. The Apostle Paul clearly describes a carnal Christian in these hard-to-own words: “for what I want to do, I do not do; but what I hate, I do.”1 Sounds just like me, and I must find out why.

 

On my non-stop search for answers, I find this:  “God’s means for greatness are not climbing up the ladder, but going down,” writes Chris Tiegreen.2 “He who is least among you all, he is the greatest.”3

 

Yet another hard pill to swallow in American culture: going down. That couldn’t possibly be the way to greatness, could it? It so goes against the grain.

 

Against the grain of what? Let’s examine. Against the grain of self-achievement, self-sufficiency, self-worth, self-esteem, self-made, self-taught, self-anything! That is the grain that going down works against: S-E-L-F.

 

Jesus taught and modeled the exact opposite. The Son of God said, “I do nothing on my own.” 4 If Jesus needed God, how much more do we? How then do we get God doing for us? Here is the mystery—fully hidden from the proud and self-sufficient—we go lower.

 

Whether we like it or not, humility is the way to God. There is no other way, but to admit helplessness (depravity) and depend on God. The lower we go the more of God we get. Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.”5 See it! Peter urges us to “humble yourselves under God’s Mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time.”6

 

Being lifted up any way other than God’s lifting won’t last—it will eventually collapse.

 

Humility and depravity—words that come to our aid—position us correctly before an Almighty God. We’ve tried everything else—self-help books, self-taught Bible studies, self-sanctification efforts—all have failed us. Are we not yet ready to try the proven path found in God’s Word?

 

It is time that we stop our self-efforts, cease from our own works, and toss our 10-step plan to successful Christian living out the window, and go lower.

 

Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”7 Why? We are in the wrong position to receive more truth from God. It could be that fourth grade material is just too hard for us. We cannot grasp it yet, not in this position.

 

Where then is the right position? Somewhere lower and we must find it.

 

Let us seek a place away from the world’s activities, away from the TV, the music, and even the books. Shut it all down and get still before God. Bring every thought into captivity. Do not entertain any thoughts of pride or self-achievement; they destroy our ability to find God and fellowship with Him.

 

Seek God’s presence. Crave His presence. Cry out for His presence. Learn what is required to acquisition His presence, and then wait for Him.

 

Are we quiet enough yet to hear His still small voice? Have we heard Him call our name today? Have we learned to practice His presence on our knees, in our closet, until we hear Him say, “You are mine?” We simply must stay there until we do.

 

If we still cannot hear the voice of God, there is only one option—go even lower. ~Janie Kellogg

 

 

1Romans 7:15; 2At His Feet One-Year Devotional, Chris Tiegreen, Sept. 21; 3 Luke 9:48; 4John 8:28; 5 2 Cor. 12:10; 61 Peter 5:6; 7John 16:12

Also see Treasure in Earthen Vessels post: A Hard Pill to Swallow, and God Wants Me to Fail.

To find these other related posts, type the Title into the Search field and press enter.

 

 

What Is the Treasure? March 13, 2013

Filed under: Vision — Janie Kellogg @ 1:17 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Whether you are reading my weekly blog Treasure in Earthen Vessels by accident or by choice, you might be asking “What is the treasure?” You are not alone. Actually, that is the most asked question generating hits to my website.

 

It has been my question too, ever since God brought this scripture to my attention: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Cor. 4:7). Even though it has taken years to unearth its hidden message, my quest to find it has been worth every effort. My blog is about that treasure in 2 Corinthians 4:7 and here is why.

 

After leaving the busy, corporate world to work from home, I decided to pursue my love for writing in my spare time. I anticipated sitting beside my fireplace every morning and writing about the goodness of God to my life and my family—a picture of perfect bliss with a pen in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

 

Within months, my husband was diagnosed with fast-growing prostate cancer. Instead of the fireside chats with God that I had envisioned, my journals filled with real life experiences—more closely akin to scripts from reality TV shows as my faith was tested, tried, and stretched. Out of my search for God during this painful chapter of my life, that left me widowed at 53, I found an amazing truth. It had much to do with 2 Corinthians 4:7.

 

I had never been satisfied with the status-quo of Christianity. My thirst for more took me on an intense search into the writings of Oswald Chambers, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, Andrew Murray, Brother Lawrence, Henry Nouwen, and many others. I longed to find the secret they had found, yet had seemingly slipped through the cracks of much modern-day teaching.

 

What did they have? What did they know? What power were they able to tap into that set them apart as great men and women of faith? As I pursued “the pearl of great price,” I became the one who, when she discovered the treasure in the field, sold all, and bought the field that she might have the treasure also.1 My efforts were not in vain.

 

Today, I am a work-in-progress, and although discouraged at times with my lack of progress, the Holy Spirit continues to connect the dots for me. He has led me to the secret place, and through the writings of my faithful friends who made this journey before me, He is teaching me how to abide there.

 

Somewhere along the way, the meaning of 2 Corinthians 4:7 became perfectly clear—the Treasure is the Indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

My blog—also a work-in-progress—is dedicated to encouraging others to press on in their journey to find the Treasure. I post my findings, and yes, my struggles, as I continue to seek how to incorporate this immeasurably valuable truth into my everyday life.

 

I hope you will decide to join me in this pursuit—something I believe God fully intends for all of us to find. A comment by writer Chris Tiegreen points us in the right direction: “We never discover truth. It is always revealed.”2

 

Ann Voskamp yields another clue: “Because the God-likeness within our smallness speaks to Father-God in His magnificence. I hadn’t understood….that all wonder and worship can only grow out of smallness.” 3

 

Much awaits us. Clue after clue—may we seek to remove the earth, the worldliness that keeps God’s truths buried and unrevealed, except to those who make the effort to find them.

 

My post on November 22, 2012, The House Guest – A Short Story4, reveals some of my own personal findings in a fictional format. I hope you will check it out. And then, let’s get on with our spiritual expedition! ~ Janie Kellogg

 

1 Matthew 13:44-46

2 Chris Tiegreen, The One Year at His Feet Devotional, Tyndale House Publishers, March 12

3 Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, Zondervan, 167

4 The House Guest @ www.treasureinearthenvessels.net, Archives – November 22, 2012