Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

The Elephant Revealed February 4, 2015

I wonder how many times when the elephant in the room is suddenly faced and its truths revealed that we discover the elephant wasn’t nearly as bad as we had expected.  In fact, the exact opposite is often the case, and we question why we had dreaded it in the first place.

I fully believe that will be the case with humility. Once we see humility for what it is, we will be pleasantly surprised. I also believe the enemy of our souls has known all along that humility is the crucial key to the Christian life, and therefore he has deliberately diverted us away from it.

Perhaps a look at what brought down the arch-enemy of God in the first place will give us some insight into the confusion surrounding humility. Before the world was created, Satan desired to take God’s place as the most-high God—in short, he wanted to be worshipped. In seeking that position for himself, he convinced one-third of the angels to buy into his plan. Satan did not deserve nor earn that position, but he exalted himself to that place. As a result, he and his team of rebellious imps were cast out of heaven.

It is easy to see why Satan approached Adam and Eve with his plan as well. His convincing, but untrue argument was to cast doubt on God’s integrity. Unfortunately, like the fallen angels, they too fell for Satan’s lies.

Can you imagine the grief in God’s heart when his crowned creation followed the path of his worst enemy? If we could grasp that fact, we might better understand why God hates pride so much. Pride cost God one-third of His angels as well as the creation that reflected His own image. But wait, that isn’t all—pride would cost Him even more.

The entire human race would now inherit the sin of pride from their parents’ DNA. It would cripple every child that would ever live. Pride would rise up in their hearts, and if gone unchecked, it would cause them to desire a position of highest honor and praise; perhaps even to be worshipped. What could possibly stop the universal spread of this devastating disease?

An antidote was needed, but what? The antidote must be equally as good as pride is bad. In His great wisdom, God knew that only the exact opposite of pride could counter its deadly effects on the human soul. Thus, it would require God’s greatest virtue—humility.

Being the supreme essence of humility, God determined it would be necessary to demonstrate this virtue to the world. The plan was made and set into motion—“our Lord Jesus emptied Himself and came to earth to live a poor man’s life and die a felon’s death.”1 Jesus gave up His perfect, sinless life on a despised cross to rescue us. There is no greater act of humility than that.

The antidote for pride would come with a high price tag. The unthinkable! The unimaginable! The unexplainable! The most painful of all costs! For 33 years God would be separated from His Son, and for 33 years He would foresee the excruciating pain His Son would endure. God saw it. God felt it. God allowed it. We want to scream, “Why? Why would God do that?”

If pride had not been stopped, we would be destined to join Satan and his angels in the eternal lake of fire. Yet, God thought we were worth saving. Can we not clearly see why God would have a deep and intense hatred for even a hint of pride? ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: Christ is the humility of God embodied in human nature; the Eternal Love humbling itself, clothing itself in the garb of meekness and gentleness, to win and serve and save us.2 ~ Andrew Murray

1Amy Carmichael, Candles in the Dark, CLC Publications, Fort Washington, PA, Pg.15; 2Andrew Murray, Humility, Fig Books.com, Pg.12

 

The Elephant in the Room January 28, 2015

Our God is so gracious to show us treasures we might otherwise overlook—such as the huge benefits in this thing called humility. I recently made a bold statement in my post The Fast-Track to Success in 2015:  In order to go higher in God, one must first go lower. If I even slightly aroused your thinking, I am thrilled.

For some time we have given Carte blanche privileges to denominational teachings, church leaders, and popular TV ministers; so much so that we find it difficult to accept some out-of-the-denominational-box ideas, even when they are firmly rooted in our Judeo-Christian beliefs.

So it is with humility, a subject that has neither been embraced nor taught for some time. Have we overlooked its value? And why wouldn’t anyone believe that it is for us, when we have the supreme humility of Jesus as our example? What do we think Jesus meant when He said, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted?”1

Could humility be the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about? Is it the obvious truth that is being ignored? Perhaps it is a message the enemy of our souls has purposely buried in the modern-day rhetoric of God’s plan for us. Most popular teachings today tell us that God wants us living the good life of the rich and famous.

The truth is that God wants us to deny ourselves, give up our life, and be available to Him for His purposes only. That, my friend, is the call to follow Jesus, and that is the destiny of all true followers of the cross. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”2

We are certainly called upon to humble ourselves, for giving up our life for Him will require much humility. That would mean no longer pursuing our will, but His will in all that we do, say, and think.  In order to acquire humility at that level, one must go very low. It is spelled: servanthood.

Because we were bought with a price and our life is not our own, 3 Christ has the authority to tell us what to do, say, and think. As His servants—with no rights, privileges, or say in the matter—we are told only to obey.4 Are any of us willing to follow Him that far?

This is a humility which many Christians in America know little about, and our American rights and privileges have not helped us get there either. Yet, if we profess to serve a humble God, who gave up everything for us, we must seek to be humble and embrace all that servanthood entails.

We are going to spend some time here, because we really cannot go higher with God until we first go lower. Lower is our true destiny; and as difficult as it sounds, I promise it will be worth the trip! There is a great message in humility that has been hidden from this generation of believers—it simply got lost in the “seek the good life” mentality. The truth about the way of the cross can open a whole new spiritual dimension for us. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “Here is the path to the higher life. Down, lower down. This was what Jesus said to the disciples who were thinking of being great in the kingdom….Look to it that you humble yourselves and take no place before God or man but that of a servant; that is your work…. Just as water ever seeks and fills the lowest place; so the moment God finds the creature abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless.”5 ~ Andrew Murray

Additional Insight: Refer to “What Other Writers Say about Humility and Depravity” in Treasure in Earthen Vessels, April 18, 2013. (Use the search feature and enter “What Other Writers Say.”)

1 Luke 18:14; 2Luke 9:24; 31 Corinthians 6:19-20; 4 John 14:23; 5Andrew Murray, Humility, Fig Books.com, 2012; page 17

 

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

 

Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord August 22, 2014

After years of searching for and writing about the secret place, I recently summed up my findings in an earlier post with this single statement: There is more to this walk with God than I currently know and possess.

 

I believe the biggest mistake we make as Christians is to think that we already know all there is to know about God. That one prideful attitude clearly puts us on the team with those who have “eyes that cannot see and ears that do not hear. It squarely lines us up on the side of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. It bars our ability to grasp many things Jesus “has to say to us,” and keeps us locked in the same room with those who “cannot bear it now.” It identifies us closely with the woman at the well to whom Jesus said, “If you only knew who it is that speaks to you,” yet we do not know.

 

The person who says “I’ve got it all” blocks his own pathway to experiencing the more Jesus promised His followers. One only needs to read Job 38:1 through Job 42:6 to understand how totally minuscule is our knowledge of the great and mighty God. If this whirlwind discourse to Job doesn’t send us to our knees, then we very likely abide in a sad, prideful state. It will do us good to read it now and then.

 

After an awakening to Job’s own utter smallness, he responds to God: “But now my eyes see You.” I am reminded of the lyrics to Michael W. Smith’s popular song from a few years back:

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord,

Open the eyes of my heart.

I want to see You.

I want to see You.

 

May our prayer today be one of genuine admittance that we are needy—greatly in need of God’s grace and light in our lives. The suitable word here is humility, and oh, how we need it. That is, if the eyes of our hearts are indeed to be opened to see the Lord! ~ Janie Kellogg

 

Small footprintKey Concept:  If we believe that we currently have it all, we will never see, hear, know, or possess the “more” that God promises to us.

 

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

 

There is more to this walk with God ~ August 5, 2014

It has been 15 years since I first heard God’s call to write. The big question is: Write what?

I record this call in my journal every time I hear it—“Call to write ~ 2001; Call to write ~ 2004; 2006; 2010; 2011; 2012; 2013; 2014.” I write it in the margins of the books I read and re-read. Perhaps dozens of times I have documented my call to write—to write something anyway.

In those 15 years, I have filled many journals with something. In 2005-2007, I completed a two-year writing course through the Christian Writer’s Guild. Yet, even upon finishing the course, I wasn’t any closer to knowing what to write.

However, through that writing course God put me on the trail of a new ideology—new to me anyway. I didn’t question its validity because of the spiritual giants who embraced it, such as: D.L. Moody, Andrew Murray, Hudson Taylor, and A.W. Tozer, to name a few.

I found it in many places, often obscure and not fully defined, but it was there nonetheless. One very helpful book was: “They Found the Secret” by V. Raymond Edman, who wrote about the lives of 20 spiritual gurus and their discoveries. I gradually dug deeper into the lives of many of those 20 people, always coming up with the same conclusion.

Today, I can sum up my findings with this one single statement: There is more to this walk with God than I currently know and possess. That has been the crux of my on-going search and that search has clearly led me to the secret place.

That something will be the content of The Secret Place Secrets. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Concept: There is more to this walk with God than I currently know and possess.

 

See other Secret Place Secrets at http://www.treasureinearthenvessels.net.

 

The Secret Place Secrets July 28, 2014

Filed under: The Secret Place Secrets — Janie Kellogg @ 11:37 am
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Why secrets? Why not findings, or discoveries, or how about insights? To me, findings sound mathematical, discoveries scientific, and insights, well, really theological. So, I chose to call them secrets, mostly because that is what they are. You know—valuable information not readily available and given exclusively to those who actually want to know. Those things reserved for special ears only.

We all like them—secrets, that is. Who doesn’t want the secret for making to-die-for cheesecake or the world’s best BBQ? Or even a tip on the best doctor or hairdresser in town? Oh, we must not forget those anti-aging products that actually work. Let’s be honest—the list of subjects for which we desire personally-proven insider information is endless!

It is so totally us—we all have personal secret conclusions that we like to tell our friends (or actually anyone) who might be interested in what we have to say. We all do it; we share those special secrets we’ve learned while living life.

The content of The Secret Place Secrets will be the personal tidbits of my own journey to that special place mentioned in Psalm 91—my faith, my struggles, my successes, and yes, my hard lessons. I will also share with you the “what to do’s” and “what not to do’s” that I learned along the way, as well as powerful writings from admired spiritual gurus that support my conclusions.

I expect most of us know that famous scripture-with-promise by heart: “He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1. ~ Janie Kellogg

Note: In case you missed it, check out my last post “New Feature on Treasure in Earthen Vessels Blog,” at www.treasureinearthenvessels.net to learn more about what you can expect from The Secret Place Secrets.

 

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