Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

Seeing is Everything ~ May 2, 2014

Filed under: Vision — Janie Kellogg @ 1:26 pm
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Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

 

Who doesn’t want to see God? Or better yet, who doesn’t want to see, period?

 

Seeing means I have a clear view of where I am, where I’ve been, and where I am going. It means I can observe the things and conditions around me. It means I can know both beauty and danger. It certainly seems to be true that seeing is everything.

 

When we consider the two men who came to the temple to pray in Luke 18, we can conclude that the publican saw more than the Pharisee, for it was the publican that came away justified. A few things the Pharisee obviously could not see were his need for humility and mercy as he approached God. Not a good start. No doubt, he was counting on his own good deeds, but he missed it big time.

 

On the other hand, the publican had such a clear view of himself and his inability to stand before God in his own merit, that he smote his breast as he begged for mercy. He couldn’t even lift his eyes to heaven. Picture this man with his head bent low, tears streaming down his face, bitterness of soul, anguishing over his neediness—he could see God clearly because he saw himself clearly. This is big!

 

Let’s look at the promise again: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” How do we get pure in heart? Only one way: purity is given—granted—transferred to us by God. Being washed in the sinless blood of Jesus cleanses the stench and dirt of humanity from our lives. Bringing ourselves to the fountain filled with blood daily makes us pure in God’s eyes. And along with that purity, He gives us sight—the ability to see more of Him.

 

With newly granted sight, we can see more of ourselves, and thus more of our need for mercy. When we see our neediness and humble ourselves properly before Him, He responds to repentant and yearning hearts. We have thus positioned ourselves to receive everything God has promised to us. This is even bigger!

 

Take note: Seeing ourselves clearly is the key to positioning ourselves to receive from God!

 

Here are some things we must see:

 

  • How hopeless are my good works!
  • How helpless I am to help myself!
  • Without Jesus, I am doomed!
  • With Jesus, I am positioned to receive all God has for me!

     

    Seeing is priceless! I believe it is one of the keys to the kingdom that Jesus said would be given to the church. Finding God all starts with our ability to see. It will never happen by chance to one who isn’t looking. We will never stumble onto eternal life. No, it happens when God draws us to Himself and then allows us a glimpse of His holiness. Once we get a glimpse of a holy God, we will begin to clearly see our unholy, sinful condition. From that position, the promises of God are not far away. This is bigger still!

     

    If there is now a stirring your heart, consider this: “Is there something I don’t see?” Thank God for drawing you to Himself, and then ask for more spiritual sight. He will always answer that prayer for the pure in heart.

     

    The eyes of the heart are so critical, for if we do not have spiritual vision, we don’t have anything. We shall soon discover that entering God’s rest greatly depends on what we see. After all, seeing is everything! ~ Janie Kellogg

     

     

    For other faith-building readings, see “A Message for Rock-Bottom Disciples,” Treasure in Earthen Vessels, April 22, 2014.

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Higher Ground ~ A Recipe for Joy February 13, 2014

Filed under: Vision — Janie Kellogg @ 1:09 pm
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Is it possible that our level of joy is a measuring stick for our faith in God? The more I see into the spiritual world, the more I trust the One who controls all things, and the more I trust the One who controls all things, the less I fret and worry about earthly things, and the less I fret and worry about earthly things, the more joy I have!

 

For those of us who like visuals, my theory looks something like this:

 

Spiritual sight = knowledge of God = faith in God = trust in God = less worry = more joy!

 

What we see of God could be the single most important factor in all of life. Our spiritual eye health should be of utmost concern to us. Without a healthy vision of God, we are stuck in the muck and mire of earthiness—yet with it, we can soar to levels high above our worldly existence. Unfortunately, if we never learn to soar, we will continue to dwell far below what Christ made available for believers.

 

Listen to how the Apostle Paul described what God has given to us: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”1 Did you get that—blessed in the heavenly realms?

 

Look at another statement by Paul that describes where believers are: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus….”2 Did you get that—seated in the heavenly realms?

 

What could this mean? Please understand that God is not teasing us here. It means we can live above the world—above our earthly circumstances. It means we are no longer held in a decaying flesh by sin’s dread sway. Our flesh must submit to our higher order of life.

 

What are we thinking? Why is it that we submit to our flesh and give it such allegiance when we don’t have to? Why do we allow depression to darken our days; anxiety to hijack our faith; worry to weigh us down with burdens we’re not meant to carry; or fear to stop us dead in our tracks? Why do we bow down to this fleshly nature as if we are frail, helpless creatures? We are not!

 

It could be time to start thinking out of the box or out of this world. We need only take our rightful position in the heavenly realms beside our Conquering King. And when the enemy of our soul says, “What do you think you’re doing UP there with Jesus?” look down into this earthly pool of accusation, doubt and discouragement, and reply, “I’m up here in the heavenly realms where God put me.”

 

That should make our joy barometer rise!

 

It has been said that many Christians live beneath their privileges. But why? I believe we live beneath our privileges, which includes a lack of joy, because we do not truly know our God. We do not know experientially where He has seated us, mostly because do we understand heavenly realms.

 

So where are you and I? Do we see and understand heavenly things from where we are now? Or is it time for us to reach for a higher spiritual plane where we can see more, understand more, believe more, trust more, and worry less? Is it time for you and me to have more joy?

 

The writer of the song “Higher Ground” got it right. Read these powerful words:

 

My heart has no desire to stay | where doubts arise and fears dismay;

‘Tho some may dwell where these abound | My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand | By faith on heaven’s table land;

A higher plane than I have found | Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.3

 

As for me, “I’m pressing on the upward way; new heights I’m gaining every day!” I hope you will come and go with me. ~ Janie Kellogg

 

 

1Ephesians 1:3; 2Ephesians 2:6; Higher Ground by Johnson Oatman, Jr.

 

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.

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Confessions of a Seeker’s Heart January 15, 2013

The song replays in my head over and over. It isn’t the tune that lingers long after the Christmas Holidays; it is the implied meaning of the words: “Do you see what I see?” “Do you hear what I hear?” and “Do you know what I know?” I keep asking: Is it true—some see more, hear more, and know more than others?

 

Obviously, the characters of the song—the wind, the shepherd boy, and the mighty king—had different viewpoints from which to witness the miraculous birth of the Christchild.

 

The wind with no physical limitations could easily see “a star, a star dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite” better than the little lamb.

 

The little lamb with no distractions should hear “a song, a song high above the trees with a voice as big as the sea” better than the shepherd boy.

 

The shepherd boy informed by an angel would know “a child, a child shivers in the cold” that the “mighty king in his palace warm” knew nothing about.

 

Each was in a place of optimum sight, sound, and knowing over those who saw, heard, and knew less. Or, could it have been their ability to see, hear, and know things in the spirit realm, and had nothing to do with where they were positioned? Regardless of what caused the disparity, it is apparent that some saw, heard, and knew more.

 

Is the same true of people? Some people see greater glimpses of God at work in the world than others. The still small voice of God—unnoticed and unrecognized by much of the world—is heard clearly by some. The Apostle Paul prayed that all the saints would know the width, length, height and depth of God’s love (Ephesians 3:18). Some do, but more don’t. Even the most perceptive among us are aware of only traces of God at work in our world. And what about me—how much do I see, hear, and know of the activities of God?

 

Moses obviously saw, heard, and knew more than the average Israelite. I think his forty days on the mountaintop were possibly days of sheer delight—days he didn’t want to end. At least, not end so that he could come down the mountain to deal with non-seeing-hearing-knowing people. Later, he asked to see God’s glory. God said that no one could see His face and live to tell about it. A compromise was struck—God granted his wish. He hid Moses in the cleft of a rock while His glory passed by, and Moses saw God’s back (Exodus 33:18-23).

 

Do I get that? God responds to those who want more. He only refused Moses’ request to see His face because God knew Moses couldn’t withstand such greatness! If I want to see God—He will let me. That is, He will reveal as much of Himself to me as I am able to endure.

 

I confess: I am not content with what I now see, hear and know. I want more. The more I get, the more I want. Seems I am never satisfied. More insight drives me to even more insight. Hearing His voice today makes me want to hear it again tomorrow. Knowing Him fuels my desire to know Him better.

 

How will I get more sight, sound, and knowing? The apostle Paul said, “…the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3:8). What was Paul willing to give up to fully know Jesus? All things. What will it take for me to fully know Jesus? The same.

 

In the meantime, here are the desires of this seeker’s heart:

 

I will continue to see glimpses—and O how wonderful those glimpses are!

 

I will continue to hear His still small voice now and then—striving to hear it above all other voices.

 

And, I will continue to know Him here a little and there a little—slowly and surely, as I am willing to give up those things that hinder me, I too will experience “the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.”  ~ Janie Kellogg

 

“Oh, the fullness, pleasure, and sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!” ~Jim Elliott