Tag Archives: The Secret Place

When It’s Just One of Those Days ~

We all have them—days when we feel battle-weary, shell-shocked, and overrun by the enemy of our souls. Even if he didn’t win the battle, he certainly left behind a heap of rubbish for us to deal with.

I’m sure there were days when Jesus felt the same way. Not about Himself, but about others. He possibly knew the disappointment of healing someone’s life, only weeks later to see them lining up for another divine touch. He might have thought, “Will they ever get it?”

But we all have repeat patterns. How many times do we learn a hard lesson and then vow never make that mistake again? But we do. After all, we’re human, and unfortunately humans are prone to make mistakes and then repeat them over and over. The amazing thing is not that we ever reach a not-so-human status, but that we learn where to turn when our mistakes overwhelm us.

It is easy to think we can fix someone else’s quirks so they won’t blunder anymore; but it’s not true. If our fixing worked, we could fix ourselves. We can’t. Our best approach to our weak points is facing them, admitting them, and then running as fast as we can to the One who can help us. His name is Jesus.

Listen to His invitation: Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Yep, Jesus is the best Fixer in the business! He knows what is needed when it is needed. He knows where to apply pressure, when to apply it, and how much to apply. He also knows when to relieve the pressure, and exactly how much to relieve. He knows when to console and when to encourage. He knows when we should stay in the ring and keep fighting, or when it’s best to get out. He knows when we should push through a trial, or when to yield, sit on the sidelines, and let someone else fight for us.

He’s the perfect coach. He knows how to win. We may not always think so, since some victories are won by surrender. They have the appearance of defeat, but they’re not. At other times, victory comes by standing our ground and never bending to the forces that oppose us.

Who knows what to do when? Do we press on or accept the inevitable? If you’ve ever faced cancer, or divorce, or bankruptcy, or depression, or a family feud, or one of a million other overwhelming circumstances, you have some idea of the onslaught of options and what-if’s that flood your mind. The sheer overload zaps your strength, and you start to doubt your ability to make good decisions.

Because we are humans with limitations, we are given a loving, caring Shepherd to guide us through the maze of life’s hard places. If we let Him, Jesus will take responsibility for making the decisions we can’t. He looks at us with eyes of understanding and says, “I’ve got this.”

And He does. He has this one, and the next one, and the next. He never makes a bad call or a bad decision. He is a proven winner and can be trusted. Today, hear is “Come to Me,”1 and then keep it simple: Go to Him, accept His yoke, and learn from Him. Believe that He keeps His word, and you will soon find your soul resting. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “When you are very conscious of your faults, do not be discourage by them, but confess them to God. Do not excuse them, or accuse Him. Then, peaceably resume your usual practice of love and adoration of God.”2 ~ Bro. Lawrence

1Matthew 11:28-30;  2Brother Lawrence, The Believer’s Secret of the Abiding Presence, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN, pg. 29

What is the Missing Ingredient in Your Christian Life?

If I were asked today what is the one ingredient missing in my Christian life, I would answer without hesitation: power. If I were asked that same question about my church or the church at large, I would also answer without hesitation: power.

The modern-day church may have awesome services with large crowds, lights, music, drama, and near star-status preachers. We may also have beautiful buildings, paved parking lots; and exciting programs that provide outreach to our communities and missionaries around the world. But, there is one thing we do not have: power.

Divorce and broken homes among Christians mirror that of non-Christians. The number of Christians entangled with drugs, alcohol and pornography provides alarming statistics that the church must own. We struggle to make any progress whatsoever against immoral changes within our society. Healing is not experienced as we bury our own without expecting a miracle. Let’s face it—the church appears to be powerless.

The simple truth is that we actually have no power. Ever wonder why that might be? My husband and I have this conversation at least once a week. Answers are as scarce as hen’s teeth.

When the Holy Spirit brought 2 Corinthians 12:9 to my attention fifteen years ago, I began to search for its meaning. I mostly focused on God’s grace being adequate and what I might be missing in that great truth. I also tried to process how God’s strength could be made perfect in my weakness without much luck. And, I have remained clueless as to why Paul declared that he was not only handling, but embracing his infirmities. What I did not give much attention is the last part of this verse: “that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

What if we were to see those two things—weakness and infirmities—as perquisites for having the power of Christ? If so, then the power of Christ resting on Paul was conditional! Could it be right there in plain sight: the power of Christ resting on any Christian is conditional! The power of Christ resting on the church is conditional! Is perhaps the reason Paul said he would “most gladly rather boast in his infirmities” because these two things are the condition for having power?

Let’s look at it again. If weakness and infirmities are the things that qualified Paul to have the power of Christ operating in his life, we can easily see why he was glad to acknowledge them. The power of Christ is worth everything!

If true, then by admitting our weakness—we qualify for the power of Jesus; by proclaiming our strength—we do not qualify for the power of Jesus.

Check out Isaiah 40:29 ~ “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength,” and James 4:6 “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Choosing weakness clearly goes against our human nature, as well as most everything we’ve been taught. But God says if we do—if we refuse to promote ourselves, our strength, our adequacies—His grace will be sufficient.

The equation looks like this:  Having humility equals having power; or simply: Humility equals power.

In light of this discovery, other scriptures are starting to make sense to me. Try it out for yourself. We will cover some of them next time. Don’t forget to digest the Key Quote below. I am so grateful for God’s great patience with me, for I have so much to learn. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “I feel deeply that we have very little conception of what the Church suffers from the lack of this divine humility—the nothingness that makes room for God to prove His power.” 1 ~ Andrew Murray

1Andrew Murray, Humility, Fig-books.com; Page 25

What’s In It For Me?

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

You Do Know It Is Tax Season?

I recently spent a few days with the son and his family. Being the accountant for my son’s two businesses, we all know that January through April is grueling for me. The deadlines during this time of year are constant, and missing one can be painful and costly.

Each year during tax season, my state of well-being is jeopardized due to the stress. I tell my family that I have a legitimate excuse for over-eating, not exercising, being impatient, critical and cranky. Jokingly, I began to use my one-size-fits-all excuse for everything.

My twelve-year-old granddaughter found it to be amusing. When her mother asked her to set the table for dinner, we were both surprised to hear her say, “Well, I can’t right now. You do know it is tax season?” We all had a good laugh, yet I couldn’t help but wonder how many times I make similar silly excuses for not obeying my Heavenly Father.

He tells us to “love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind,”1 and I have to question if I even know what that means. Then He adds, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”2 Oops! I wonder if my one-size-fits-all excuse holds water with God. Will it help me here? And even if it does, what about when April 15th has come and gone?

I don’t think excuses work with God, nor do I think He is amused by any of it. You see, He has bigger plans for me (and you). Getting me through a finite season of anything on earth is not His objective. He desires that I learn to come to Him and allow Him to help me manage my stress.

My big brother, Jesus, who faced the ultimate stress while on earth, is totally aware of my stress-full circumstances. And because He is, He gives me an invitation: “Come to Me, all (that includes me and you) who labor and are heavy-laden (that’s overworked), and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”3

Did I hear the word R-E-S-T! That’s exactly what I need. It fits my bill perfectly. I’ll take it! Sign me up—and make that a double portion! Oh, but wait; there is one condition—I must come to Him. But who has time for that? You do know it is tax season, right?

Yet, at His invitation, I think I’ll press the pause button on those deadlines; turn off the depressing news about the next heinous act of terrorism; and Facebook, it matters not if I miss some trivial tidbit there. I’ll even silence this cell phone for a spell, and sit here at my Savior’s feet. Who knows, I might learn something.

Don’t let Jesus’ learn slip by. He meant it. It’s a powerful word with hidden truths imbedded in those five little characters. Perhaps for starters, we can learn what Jesus means by “His yoke.” It must be a good thing since Jesus doesn’t offer us junk.

A yoke means we bow our heads low and allow Him to put His Lordship—His control—His purpose and plan—over our lives. Then, all yoked up with Jesus, we trust Him to turn us onto the correct path; steer us in the right direction; make the best decisions for us—and we simply follow Him. You see, a yoke won’t let us go in any other direction. And that, my friend, Jesus called easy!4

Oh Jesus, please help me learn to do that! As I sit here in silence, I hear You say, “I will teach you all you need to know; but I cannot—unless you come to Me.”

So what are you and I going to do with His generous invitation today? We can start by turning down the noise in our lives and listening for His “Come.” And yes, let’s do it, even if it is tax season. ~ Janie Kellogg

 Small footprintKey Scripture: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

1Luke 10:27; 2John 14:15; 3Matthew 11:28-29; 4Matthew 11:30

The Elephant in the Room

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

Be Anxious for Nothing ~ Really, God?

Being anxious for not one thing is a pretty tall order, wouldn’t you say? I read these words and think surely they were written by someone who lived in another world.

After all, this is the day in which Christians are persecuted for their faith. Entire groups of people are being uprooted and displaced. Nations rock from the winds of cultural shock, financial collapse, and horrifying evil. A world that seems to be spinning out of control sends chills down my spine.

Even closer to home are troublesome issues. The death of too-many-too-young-to-die begs for answers to the why questions. And then there are the sick and the lonely. One cannot visit or call enough to meet the needs all around. Some who have fallen likely won’t get up, be it physically or emotionally.

So how did the old Apostle—or God—expect us not to be anxious? Is a non-anxious existence even possible in our world?

Tall orders call for tall actions! That weary and worn old missionary/preacher recommended prayer as the answer. “Tell God,” he says, “and His peace (which, by the way, you won’t understand) will guard your heart and mind.”1

My heart certainly needs some guarding. Do you ever feel like wearing a sign that says, “Caution: Too many straws dumped here could break this camel’s back!”

Then Paul added another action to the plan for not being anxious: “Think on good things.” Obviously, I’m dwelling on the bad ones: the fear; the pain, the loss, the suffering. How about you? What are you thinking on?

But Paul said we shouldn’t. Apparently, there are better things to focus on that are true, not fabricated; noble, not shameful; just, not unfair; pure, not defiled; lovely, not despicable; and good, not evil.

So what was I thinking? Of course there are things that are virtuous and praiseworthy. Paul said to think about them and meditate on them, and then will come the great promise of God:  P – E – A – C – E.

The peace that God promises to us is a perfect peace that the world cannot receive, but it can be mine and yours. That is, if we follow Paul’s instructions and be careful what we think about.2

You see, Paul knew by experience what he was talking about, for he also lived in a world that persecuted Christians for their faith. He was one of them. The next time our faithless words “Really, God?” question His control over our messed-up world, we must closely listen for God’s calm and loving response:  “Really, my child, really.” I’m certain that Paul did.

I’m praying for each of you to have God’s indescribable peace in your life today in spite of the turmoil in your world. Really. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Scripture: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” ~ Isaiah 26:3

1Philippians 4:6-9; 2Isaiah 26:3

The Fast-Track to Success in 2015

I love the mysteries of God tucked within the pages of His Holy Word just waiting to be uncovered by seekers. God is so faithful to perform that which He promised. Take this one for example: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”1

One favorite that I recently discovered is the secret to going higher in my spiritual walk. We’ve all heard the advice to work harder, jump higher, and run faster. Yet after having tried it all, we find ourselves weary from the workout. What I am about to say might shock some of you; actually, you could think I’m not on the fast-track but on the wrong track!

Remember that Jesus prefaced the mysteries He taught over 2,000 years ago with these words: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”2 In other words, it takes ears that are spiritually tuned to hear and know what Jesus is saying. Ears not spiritually tuned (or trained) simply won’t get it. So it is with this week’s blog.

With your ears tuned to the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit, consider this strategic plan for success in 2015: Success for a Christian means finding the pathway to the higher life in Christ—a life of peace, of power, and of a deeper, more intimate relationship with Christ Himself. There is only one path that leads to that higher life: We must go lower—much lower than we’ve ever imagined.

Oh, I know it goes against most everything we’ve been taught—such as to name what we want, tell God about it, begin to speak it, and lo, it will magically appear (as if there is power in repeating something until it comes true). That is not faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.3 The Word speaks nothing of wishful thinking or speaking. Besides, it hasn’t worked; so why hang on to a failed strategy?

Jesus clearly laid out the plan: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

“Servanthood is integral to the gospel. Nowhere else does Jesus give us a path to greatness.”5 Jesus not only gave the plan, He modeled it—He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.6 If we are to find true success in 2015, we must go lower—in humble submission to the Father’s will. We too must die to ourselves and become His servants, allowing Him to have His way with us. Call it following Jesus, if you will.

There is a secret power in humility that can be ours if we will but lower ourselves to find it. Amy Carmichael says it is found in the dust at the foot of the cross.

Humility is a difficult concept to receive; yet, it is God’s plan for success. Want to be successful in 2015? Then seek to go lower. His Word cannot fail, and neither will we, if we follow it. ~ Janie Kellogg

Small footprintKey Quote: “Servanthood is integral to the gospel. Nowhere else does Jesus give us a path to greatness.”5 ~ Chris Tiegreen

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

1Jeremiah 33:3; 2Matthew 11:15; 3Hebrews 11:1; 4Matthew 20:26-28; 5Chris Tiegreen, The One Year At His Feet Devotional, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., January 5; 6Philippians 2:8

 

Is There Power In the Cross or Not?

“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

It Takes a Long Time

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.

 

A Chance to be Like Jesus

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.