Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

Is There Power In the Cross or Not? December 9, 2014

“Oh yes, there is power in the cross,” we quickly say. “The blood of Jesus has saved me from my past sins and will take me to heaven when I die.”

Sound familiar? Why is it that we can so easily trust Jesus with our past sins and future sins, yet we have little or no confidence that He can save us from our present sins? Why do we remain in bondage to those pesky little habits that so easily beset us?1  I fear we have somehow been tricked into thinking there is no hope for us in that area.

I am astounded at the power this message from Satan has over our lives. Why wouldn’t saving us from present sins be as easy for Jesus as saving us from past sins or future sins? Ponder that thought. Are we missing something here?

Jesus told the complaining crowd, “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”2

The truth is that neither is hard for Jesus, the Healer, the Forgiver, the Deliverer, and the Savior! He can heal a paralytic as easy as He can save him from his sins. Likewise, He can save us from our present sins as easy as He can save us from our past or future sins.

I believe that we live in bondage to our present sins mostly because no one preaches the power of the cross anymore. We’ve failed in our attempts to improve our flesh so many times that we’ve given up, and even the preachers of today have failed so many times that they’ve given up too. They can tell us how to get to heaven, but they can’t tell us how to be saved from the bondage of present sins.

Part of the great announcement about the birth of the Messiah is that He would save His people from their sins.3 That includes us and that includes now! We can be free solely because Jesus did His part. He died to free us from all of our sins, and if we aren’t free it is because we do not know how to claim the victory that He won for us.

We must first begin to believe this victory applies not only to past and future sins, but also to these here and now sins from which we cannot shake free. If the Son sets us free, we will be free indeed!4   This promise is for us, and we shall soon see how to claim it in the here and now.

Most assuredly, there is power in the cross!  ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “Am I seeking to stop sinning or have I actually stopped? To be born of God means that I have His supernatural power to stop sinning.”5 ~ Oswald Chambers

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

1Hebrews 12:1; 2Mark 2:9-10; 3Matthew 1:21; 4John 8:36; 5Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, August 15

Advertisements
 

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.

 

 

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

 

Footprints ~ Pointing the Way August 8, 2014

While I have heard the call of God to write something and have struggled with what I am supposed to write, one thing is clear: I do know what not to write.

As I slowly unearthed the secret place secrets discovered by the great Hall-of-Faith Heroes over the past 500 years, I readily knew that anything I attempted to write would be a do-over—it simply has already been written. Who could touch the poetic beauty of Amy Carmichael, the eloquent style of Oswald Chambers, or the theological brilliance of Andrew Murray? Certainly not me!

I am the first to admit that I have neither the historical knowledge nor the theological background to make the point, define the logic, or explain the argument of what scripture means by the term “the secret place.” God always equips us for what He calls us to do, and I am surely not equipped for that task.

A few months ago, as I was whining about my lack of ability to write such important information, God simply said: “Point the way.” That made sense. I might actually be able to do that—point you to the works of many great writers who certainly did/do have the qualifications to write such information.

Since Jesus’ assignment to the first-century disciples in Acts 1:8 was to testify of what they had seen and heard and knew by experience, I will also share with you my experiences in finding the secret place. I am equally sure that you have some to share with me.

In the meantime, may we never forget our high calling to be His witnesses, especially to those we meet today. And don’t forget to watch for those footprints pointing the way! ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprint Key Scripture: “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20

 

New Feature on Treasure in Earthen Vessels Blog July 22, 2014

I am excited to announce a new feature on my blog, Treasure in Earthen Vessels. Starting next week, I will begin posting shorter, more frequent, devotional-type writings on various topics. My first topic of devotional writings will be called The Secret Place Secrets. If you are already subscribed to my blog, you will automatically receive these devotionals directly in your email inbox. If you are not subscribed, please read the note at the bottom on how to subscribe.

The secret place has always intrigued me. For the past 15 years I have searched diligently for the meaning of that mysterious abode, as found in Psalm 91. I have read dozens of books about what it is and how to get there. Slowly, God has opened my understanding to at least some of it. Throughout these years I have recorded my journey and the secrets I learned along the way. It is with great joy and much humility that I attempt to share them with you.

I must give credit to the many authors whose works guided me to this place. I will forever be grateful to Amy Carmichael, Oswald Chambers, Hudson Taylor, Henri J.M. Nouwen, Raymond Edman, Sarah Young, and many others—who have enhanced my search. Yet, no one has spoken into my life as deeply as Andrew Murray. I am indebted to each these saints for faithfully documenting their findings for people like me—and you—who would come along behind them searching for this very place. In the weeks to come, I will share some choice excerpts from many renowned writers on this topic.

I am also grateful for Angela Thomas, a modern-day author and speaker. While watching a video session from her amazing Women’s Bible Study “A Beautiful Offering,” I heard Angela tell how she comes before God face down on the floor in her daily prayer time. The Holy Spirit— my Holy House Guest—quickly pointed out that my own personal prayer life was indeed lacking. I decided to give it a try. Words cannot express what this has done for my quest to find the secret place. Thank you, Angela, for challenging me to make this powerful posture before God a reality in my life.

However, my deepest gratitude belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, for it is His continuous wooing of my heart that has ultimately brought me to this place. Looking back, I clearly see that it has been my own unwillingness to surrender my all to His Lordship that hindered me from entering there. His loving-kindness and patience with me is astounding! Truly, the Lover of my soul and Pursuer of my heart deeply longs for me—and you—to enter that place of intimate fellowship with Him.

I trust that The Secret Place Secrets will be a very real blessing to you in your journey. I hope the richness of these shorter messages will be enough to keep you reading and their briefness enough to make it doable.

I dearly love to hear from my readers! Please let me know what you think by hitting the reply button on this email or use the comment section on the website at the bottom of each post. ~ Janie Kellogg

Note: To subscribe to my blog, go to www.treasureinearthenvessels.net and enter your email address in the green subscribe section on the right side of the screen. Once you click the subscribe button, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Please do so shortly or it will expire and you will need to repeat the process. If you are relying on Facebook to get notifications of my new posts, you are probably NOT subscribed and will likely miss many of them.