Monday, November 14, 2011

Sifting Out The Impurities

Luke 22:31-32 (AMP)

31Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain,
    32But I have prayed especially for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren.

Nowadays with all the modern processing and regulations for food it really isn't necesary to sift flour or grain like it was in the past. It used to be sifted to take out clumps and bugs. EWWWW.......
On October 5th I began an unexpected spiritual journey....a sifting period that I certainly didn't want....but that I decided the best way to walk through it would be to walk with hope and expectancy that God would show Himself faithful like I believed He would. Sooooo, I made a list of rules that I would not compromise on; No whining, no complaining, no fault-finding, no bitterness and no unforgiveness....just daily seeking the heart of matter what. The second night God gave me a Bible verse that really spoke to my heart...I discussed it briefly in my entry titled Water In The Wilderness. Don't get me wrong....I've cried....and I've worried a bit...and I've had a few moments of feeling sorry for myself, but every time God has either used the Bible, my husband Ben, song lyrics or Christian friends to encourage me and speak the truth to me.
During it all there was a thread I kept seeing regarding God's faithfulness as it related to people's obedience and times before great victory.....the number 40.
  • It rained for 40 days and nights with Noah (Gen 7:12)
  • Moses spent 40 days on the mountain with God...then he spent ANOTHER 40 days on the mountain with God after he disciplined the people. (Deu 10:10)
  • The spies searched out the promised land for 40 days. (Num 13:25)
  • The Jews wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of their complaining and disobedience. (Num 14:33-34)
  • Goliath tormented the Israelites for 40 days before David killed him. (1 Sam 17:16)
  • Elijah spent 40 days and 40 nights on Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8)
  • Ninevah was given 40 days and in that time they repented and were saved (Jonah 3:4)
  • Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days (Matt 4:1,2)
  • Jesus appeared on earth for 40 days after the crucifixion and resurrection (Acts 1:3)
 So whyyyyyyyy am I mentioning the references to the number 40?  Well, last Friday morning as I was brushing my teeth I looked up at the bathroom mirror to where I have stuck a post it note with the Bible verse Isaiah 54:10 (MSG) written on it. As I read it I suddenly felt what us old dog Christians call "a prompting in my spirit" that said, "Your 40 days are almost over". My body shot up straight as an arrow and I ran into the kitchen to look at the calendar. With toothpaste dripping from the side of my mouth I counted the days since October 5th. Sure enough.......Monday, November 14th marks 40 days. Since it's after midnight now as I'm writing this.....that means TODAY is my day 40.
Does that mean that everything is suddenly going to be hearts and flowers.........I don't know......maybe, and maybe not.........I have no idea what the next 22 hours hold...or beyond that.  I do know however that God has a plan and it is better than anything I could ever ask for or think.  I also know that I've made it through the past 40 days with God's grace and total favor and I have seen Him work in ways that have deepened my passion for Him and for His never ending faithfulness. I also know that even if I continue to go through a season of being sifted like wheat....I will CONTINUE to JOYFULLY praise God even in the face of adversity because I know that the byproduct of sifting is that impurities are removed. If I only praise Him and thank Him in the good times then what kind of faith do I really have....and if I think I have no more impurities that need to be removed then who do I really think I am? Only God is pure....and I'm certainly not God.

I don't know what you are going through right now, I don't know how hard your battle is or how long you've been carrying it....but I do know that God is faithful...even when we don't see or feel it. So don't give up or lose hope....your victory is on it's way.

Psalm 34:1 (KJ21)

 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

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