by Mary Lindow
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The words; "When Harsh Winds Blow - Chaff Must Go"
have been playing themselves over in my mind.
As I have pondered them and have allowed the Voice of the Holy Spirit to instruct me as to why I have been impressed with this rather unwavering statement I sense the Lord addressing many deeper issues that are well anchored and maintained within our souls as believers.
These blustery currents in the natural can be devastating to property, trees, and all living-breathing creatures. We have all seen what the devastation of hurricanes and tornadoes can do in a very short amount of time.
Often when listening to the traumatic stories of those who have lived through a nightmarish storm, the realities of what they hold near and dear have been laid bare and brought to the surface. Many weep over the loss of family photographs or tender things like Grandma s old chipped china and are unconcerned about larger material items, but are deeply thankful for the safety of family members after a traumatic event.
Others, are shaking fists at the sky and are enraged that they have been infringed upon during a difficult time, and want somebody else to pay for it!
THE HARSH WINDS OF LIFE BLOW UPON THE GODLY AND THE UNGODLY.
NO ONE IS EXEMPT.
There are some of life's storms that threaten to blow away everything we've depended on as well.
Friendships are tested, relationships are strained, and the Lord uses these harsh winds blowing against our lives to remove the crusty chaff that can form and harden around the seed of our lives.
Those who are independent in nature find a bitterness creeping into their attitudes and heart. They feel infringed upon when things are not easily controlled or maneuvered in their favor. And so, the Holy Spirit allows the winds to blow until a conviction penetrates the self centered soul and exposes the fleshy comfort zone of,"My Way, My World, My Rights" !
No man has power over the wind to contain it;
so no one has power over the day of his death.
As no one is discharged in time of war,
so wickedness will not release those who practice it.
HOW LONG WILL THE HARSH WINDS BLOW?
As long as we practice wicked behavior in the eyes of the Lord, and no matter how hard we try, we cannot stop it! He is winnowing us, allowing us to be caught up into the refining wind of the Holy Spirit's conviction so that the chaff and waste places in our souls is removed.
(Yes you can say "ouch" right about now!)
CHAFF MUST GO! WHY?
Chaff is a waste material plowed into the soil or burned.
Chaff, as a waste product from grain processing, shows us a symbolic use of the idea that refers to something seen as worthless.
This is where we read, "to separate the wheat from the chaff" from Matthew 3. It means to separate things of value from things of no value. Another example is in Psalm 1 which says: "Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away".
We Christians often presume that because we are redeemed through the beautiful sacrifice of Christ for our lives, that we have an opportunity for an easier and more privileged life.
This is simply not so! We are given a shield and a holy stamina to withstand the wiles of this world, but no free passes to a life of ease.
THE LORD LOVES ALL OF MANKIND
He longs for ALL of mankind, (that includes you and I) to come to a place of trust in His way not our way. Fully stripped of self-will, self-gratification, self- justification, and self-focus.
"He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
I KNOW! I KNOW! THIS STINGS!
"But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts,
do not boast about it or deny the truth."
I can hear a few righteous folks saying, "I would never boast about envy!"
Well! Selfish ambition is well hidden in our personal behaviors.
We offer gifts or opportunities for others to be blessed or helped as long as we are feeling in control and benevolent at the time of the offer or good intention. But when the winds of life shift and the Lord allows the chaff of "waste materials" of our soul to be Tornadoed -bitterness and exclusive rights abound!
Huffiness, abrupt harshness and passive aggression will manifest and expose the soul's clinging nature which does not want the hand of God striping away any safety veneer that we use to protect our approach to life.
A CHANGE IN THE SPIRITUAL CLIMATE HAS OCCURRED!
"A strong wind was blowing,
And the waters grew rough."
Jesus allowed the wind to be a teaching point for his disciples.
They had walked with Him, talked with Him and served alongside Him. But trusting Him when the Storms and Harsh winds blew reveal a weakness that we all must look at, and often. We trust the Lord when things are going our way, but when the Harshness of a storm blows us off the course that we set, many times we run to our own devices or Plan B.
So many at this time in this difficult age are screaming...
Lord! Don t you care about me? The winds are blowing, and I am fearful for my life! If you Love me, why are you allowing this horrid event to occur?
Even Peter in his zeal to get out a boat and see if it was indeed Jesus calling to him to come, once he was out of the safety of his own control and the winds blew against him, he focused on it, and not upon Jesus, who was there the whole time. Peter cries out, "LORD I am Perishing SAVE ME!!
CONTROL IS A DEEP, DEEP NEED
Perhaps the deepest need people have is for control. When we feel out of control, we experience a powerful and uncomfortable tension between the need for control and the evidence of inadequate control.
Without the Presence of God in our lives we will attempt to control everything,
every event and every person around us in order to attain the sense of order that we crave.
DRAWING NEAR TO GOD
It was James, the brother of Jesus, who wrote to the believers in Jerusalem,
"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double- minded people!"
If we draw near to God, he will respond and draw near to us. Drawing near to God is spending time with Him, worshiping Him, praying and talking to Him, inviting Him into every aspect of our lives.
BRING YOUR HEART UNDER HIS LORDSHIP
James then gives us the blueprint for drawing near. If you've committed sin, confess it, get rid of it.
Next, ask the Lord to examine your heart, your motives, and the things that make you do what you do.
Bring your heart under His lordship as well.
May our actions be manifestations of a clean heart and conscience.
Allow HIM to remove the Chaff, the wasted time controlling things, and TRUST Him to align your life.
Notice that when he writes about this he says, "Purify your hearts, double-minded people."
What does he mean by "double-minded"?
A person who is double-minded is drawn in two completely different directions.
And so he or she will get nowhere fast because loyalty is divided and they will vacillate between faith and unbelief. A double-minded person is unstable in all his/her ways and his/her spiritual walk is inconsistent because he/she tries to serve God and his/her own interests and gamble their life against the Harsh Winds. We've all learned that this kind of living never works.
You cannot serve two masters.
GOD DOESN'T PLAY GAMES!
No one is going to get very far with God by playing spiritual games. It will soon be discovered that the only people playing the game with you will be me, myself, and I. It's just like people thinking that they can "ride the fence" into the kingdom. There is no riding the fence, there is no lukewarm support group you're either in or out. If we really want to know Him, we are going to have to get serious about our relationship with Him.
A MOMENT IN HIS ANGER - A LIFETIME IN HIS FAVOR.
God disciplines for a moment when He wishes to get our attention and our lives may indeed become painful for a period, but then comes His favor. God doesn't delight in either our depression or our damage. When He begins to deal with the chaff in our lives, it is for our advantage, that we may be conformed to His likeness and reflect His holiness.
When we sense God s disapproval, when it appears He has withdrawn from us,
it is only so that we see our utter need of Him.
When life seems to be so sour, when everything crumbles, we must remember what we say we believe, that God s favor is with us, because of Christ s worthiness given to us, because we are adopted and His - which means that His favor always wins out over His disapproval.
This picture is painted well by the words "Weeping remains for a night." Weeping and sorrow are pictured as a traveler who comes to stay for a night. The pain and sorrow we feel may seem as though it has moved in with us like an unwelcomed guest who decides to stay for a very long time.
BUT, REJOICING COMES IN THE MORNING.
Your mourning will dissipate in the morning. Your winter will melt into summer. God will replace your sighing with singing. Grief will give way to gladness. What was once bitter will be made sweet, What was once a desolate wilderness will be transformed into a paradise.
Like the first rays of the sunrise which dispel the harsh winds and gloom of night, God gives us joy when the darkness of our problems seem as though they ll never leave.
YOUR CROSS HIS GLORY
What is so crucial to understand is that as a Christian, your life will be filled with times of weakness and strength, with want and wealth, with disgrace and honor, with crosses and comforts, miseries and mercies, joys and sorrows, delight and mourning. And as this cycle of separating Chaff from our lives reoccurs many times in our lives it moves us from the cross to glory.
For your own health and so that you find all your satisfaction in Christ alone, God will send you times of great growth and other times of emptiness.
When the harsh winds blow, know that God desires that you find your hope and comfort by His own fire.
When the balmy breezes come, give Him praise and thanksgiving for the warmth He provides.
"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed."
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Copyright 2012 "THE MESSENGER " ~ Mary Lindow