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Posts Tagged ‘Sift as wheat’

How many times in life do we ask, “Why, Lord, why??? Why me? Why now?” I’ve asked that question more times than I can count, and I’ve learned it’s a good thing to ask, because God always answers. He always shows and teaches me knew things through every dire circumstance I go through.

I was listening to CBN’s Spiritual Gifts Seminar online when Gordon was teaching about Moving in the Power of God, and what he shared really touched me and taught me something I needed to hear regarding a situation I have been struggling with.

(I am adding my notes from Gordon’s teaching in another post for anyone who is interested in reading them. Of course, you can also watch the teaching yourself at:

http://event.cbn.com/spiritualgifts/event/?EventID=114120)

Here are the key passages Gordon spoke from:

 

Luke 22: 

31“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

 33But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

 34Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Peter Disowns Jesus

54Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 

 57But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

 58A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” 
      “Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

 59About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

 60Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62And he went outside and wept bitterly.

John 21:

Jesus Reinstates Peter

 15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”

      “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

      Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

 16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

    Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!

 

These passages literally brought tears to my eyes even as I listened to Gordon speak on them and later read them, simply because I could so identify with Peter. Like Peter I had forgotten my past so much so that I thought I was perfect in one particular respect. I thought I could never fall into one sin, or be like the other “sinners” who are blinded and don’t quite realize what they are doing. In the past I had always discerned well when confronted by such situations and was able to deal with them strongly – maybe even overly so. I had even built up a reputation for being against those that gave into it and failed the test – not so much against the persons really, but the issue itself, although I did distance myself from people who gave in for fear of being associated with such behaviour and falling into it myself. Ask any of my close friends and they will testify to this. “Janie doing that? No way!” It was totally unimaginable.

And then, boom! A weak point in life and I rolled headlong right into it, almost before I realized what it was I was getting myself into. Sure I can blame circumstances, people and the enemy himself, but none of that is truly justified because it was a conscious mental decision to just do it followed by some very foolish actions. I can well imagine Jesus looking straight down at me the same way He looked at Peter, while the rooster crowed. “Did you really think you were immune and that you could never fall into this yourself? Well, guess what? You’re wrong!”

However, that was not the end. Thankfully, I do not serve a God who is quick to condemn and does not forgive. I can’t tell you how pathetically miserable I have felt about myself, putting myself through self-condemnation and knowing full well that what I was doing was wrong. One the one hand I wanted to be free of it, but on the other hand I actually enjoyed it because it gave me some kind of false comfort. Perhaps it made me feel good about myself and let me forget the sad reality, or perhaps a million other things, none of them justified in any way. 

The only thing that gave me comfort today was to know that despite Satan having asked for me to “sift me as wheat”, Jesus had been praying for me. He had prayed that whatever I went through, my faith would not falter and that I would return to Him. And not just that, but that after I myself had overcome, I would be able to strengthen others like me. Sure, I would go through this rough patch in life as difficult as it was because I was being sifted as wheat, refined, purified. When I had come through I would be a vessel fit for the Master’s use, and the Master would use me to encourage and help others through my own example. Wow!

I love how Jesus has his talk with Peter after the resurrection, commissions him into his service and basically reinstates and reaffirms His call on Peter’s life. It’s such a weight lifter just to know that God does not give up on us just because we have failed in a test, but that He is willing to forgive and accept us when we repent of it. I am so thankful that His call on my life hasn’t changed just because I screwed up. His plans still remain and I can go to Him with a repentant heart in that faith. 

I can literally hear Jesus say to me, “Janie, Janie, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Janie, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Ah! That brings tears to my eyes just typing it! So here I am, turned back to strengthen my brothers and to comfort others with the comfort I myself have received from above.

I can imagine that anyone reading this might be wondering what this great, big “sin” is that I have been writing about. Well, it’s something I’m not quite comfortable talking about yet, but I will in time. And really, it’s not so much about what sin it is as much as it is sin and struggles itself, because what I have learned is applicable in any trial and testing. So I am thankful to have been sifted as wheat.

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These are some notes I took down from Gordon Robertson’s teaching on CBN’s Spiritual Gifts Seminar.

 

Moving in the Power of God

Gordon Robertson

26 May 2009

http://event.cbn.com/spiritualgifts/event/?EventID=114120

 

Mark 9:23

All things are possible to him to BELIEVES. 

The only requirement to achieve the impossible is belief.

Doubt & unbelief are evil, they do not belong there and you need to get rid of them because doubt and unbelief affect your thoughts and come at you with thought patterns that are unbiblical, unscriptural, worldly – they belong better in Egypt than they do in the Promised Land.

Jesus literally prophesies to Simon Peter that he’s going to betray Him.

Luke 22:31-32

Satan has asked for you – has Satan ever asked for you?

That he may sift you as wheat – it’s God’s devil (Job – Satan goes to God to ask for you; Kings – a lying spirit comes to God and days I’ll solve your problem, I’ll go and put myself in him) – what’s up with that???

Note: God is NOT the author of any temptation – He is a good God.

When he sifts you as wheat, what is He trying to accomplish in you? Getting rid of the chaff – the junk.

Sifting wheat – got to toss it up in the air over and over, grind it against the other kernels so what’s left is pure wheat

You don’t want to take chaff into the mill to make flour coz it will really mess up the flour – gotta get all the chaff sifted off before the wheat is really good.

There are trials and tribulations that we may go through and Jesus’ specific persecution will come, offenses will come, you are going to be offended in your lifetime.

What do you do with that & how do you process that?

Peter is faced with an offence that he himself does – not with offences that other people do to him – and he swears it will never happen, I’ll never do that. But he does it anyway.

BUT I HAVE PRAYED FOR YOU

So when Satan’s asking, Jesus is praying – we have an advocate with the Father, we have got a good lawyer.

Holy Spirit’s task is helping & comforting

Jesus’ task is an intercessor; the best one there is, praying for us

That your faith should not fail, and when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren

Has Satan come to sift you? And if he has, are you recognizing that? 

It’s insane to think that you’re better off on your own way as opposed to God’s way 

It’s much better in ministry. Are the attacks more? Yes. Is the sifting getting worse? Yes. Is God trying to make you into a vessel of silver and gold? Yes. You’re marked for sanctification. You’re meant for the inner court. He’s not going to take broken clay vessels in there. So He’s going to mould you and remake you and if necessary refine you again and again and again until those impurities are gone. It’s not an easy process. The metal smith needs to get the temperature hot enough to make sure all those impurities are gone. What is left is mouldable, formable and usable.

What is He trying to refine?

You thoughts, gut reactions, emotions and your faith.

Every one of those areas is going to get refined, sifted, purified, so you can be of fit service for the king.

In any earthly kingdom, is the king going to hold some common impure thing in his hands? No. He wants the best.

What does God want for you? The best.

We should “count it all joy” when various trials and tribulations come because that means you’re being sifted. 

Jesus appears to Peter after the resurrection and asks Peter 3 times, “Do you love me?”

Each time was followed by a commandment, “Feed my sheep”, “Feed my lambs”, do what I’m instructing you to do. It was a commissioning and a restoration. Peter was really hurting. The other disciples have got to know that Peter messed up big time. It shows the love of Christ being poured out, where He kept no record of wrong and all He wanted was to have Peter back. “I want Peter back. I’ve prayed for this moment. I’ve prayed for him to return. I’ve prayed for his faith to be strengthened so that he can strengthen his brothers. He can show them by example how you can come back from anything. You can come back from the worst of the worst and you can still find forgiveness, you can still find restoration. Because the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance. (Rom. 11:29)” When He called Peter, He meant it for all eternity. It wasn’t based on what Peter did, it was based on the initial call and the love of Christ poured out to him. 

Jesus hasn’t given up on you, and He is still praying for you. No matter how many tests you’ve failed, He’s still praying for you.

Keep in mind that Satan is a defeated foe.

So when he comes to sift you, the weapons of his warfare are:

He will throw anything he can use at you – he will come to accuse, distract, discourage, divide, loves to sow rumour, loves to sow division, he wants to attack your love coz he figures if he can quench your love he can quench your faith (faith works through love), he wants to remove any hope you have, he wants to steal your joy… but his ONLY WEAPON is to bluff you. It hasn’t really changed since the Garden of Eden. He comes at you with, “Did God say…?” So often we swallow that and say, “Well, I don’t know if He said that…” You start looking at your outward circumstances opposed to the Word of God, and think, “This is horrible! If this is what serving God means, it was better back in Egypt. At least in Egypt I had leaks and onion and garlic, and plenty of fish from the Nile… in this desert, all I’ve got is manna.”

Satan’s main tactics:

Hinder

Delay

Distract

Keep us away from God’s main purpose for our lives

The wonderful thing is, when he is directly confronted with the Word of God he leaves. Learn from the temptation of Jesus in the desert. All Jesus did was quote from the book of Deuteronomy. He didn’t argue with the devil, he didn’t complain about how hot it was in the desert, he didn’t say, “Boy, I’m so hungry, I would want to eat one of those stones.”

We have got to realize we outnumber Satan 2:1. He took a third of the angels. God still has 2/3rds. Who comes to minister to you in these times of trial, in your moment of Gethsemane? Angels come to strengthen you. So you’ve got:

Jesus praying for you

God the Father loving you

Holy Spirit comforting & helping you

A whole host of angels

What are you worried about?

James 1:2-8

Count it all joy

when you FALL into various trials – it’s ok to fall; we want to beat ourselves up every time we fall – James says, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials…”

knowing that the TESTING OF YOUR FAITH produces PATIENCE

but let patience have its perfect work

that you may be PERFECT and COMPLETE, LACKING NOTHING.

We want to get out of the crucible. “I’m tired of this refining fire, it’s really hot right now. I don’t mind these impurities; they’re not so bad. This chaff around my kernel of wheat is really comforting to me. I’m used to this. I’m not used to being sifted.” You’ve gotta let it work all the way through. Let patience have its perfect work.

Have you ever thought of yourself as perfect?

Are you ready to say, “God, pour it on!”? Be careful. How much of a test are you willing to take? Realize that the author and finisher of our faith took some real big ones. Did people speak evil of Him? Yes. Did people accuse him of sins He didn’t commit? Yes. Did people wanna kill Him? Yes. The nails didn’t feel good, the wood on the cross didn’t feel good, it didn’t feel good to hang naked on a cross, they spat on Him, a crown on thorns on His head – and through it all He loved. 

I need to get to a point where my affirmation comes from Him, my identity comes from Him, and I know I’m good wheat. If He wants to use me for special service, ok. Coz I’ve learned that in His hands I’m a whole lot better, when I’m filled with His presence I’m a whole lot better, when I’m upheld by His righteous right hand I’m a whole lot better, and His plan is a whole lot better.

If any of you lacks wisdom – common thing in trials, we don’t see the end from the beginning and we get focused on the moment, on the moment of pain

Let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, WITH NO DOUBTING

For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by doubting, for let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a DOUBLE MINDED man, UNSTABLE in all his ways.

Don’t be like the children of Israel. “I don’t wanna go into the Promised Land. I’d rather go back to slavery in Egypt.” And they stood between the Promised Land and Egypt for a full forty years, wandering aimlessly. Don’t do that. Be single-minded in purpose. I’m going to go to Heaven. That’s a good destination. Along my way to Heaven, the guy who promised me Heaven said I’m going to go through trials, tribulation, persecution, and I’m going to be offended. Yipee! But all of that is to try and test my faith, to let me become perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Are you counting it joy? 

How do you get through it? How to get answers to prayer in the midst of trial?

1. Does your heart condemn you?

1 John 3:20-22

For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things. But if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence towards God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

All things are possible to him that believes. No matter what the situation, with God all things are possible. You can overcome whatever it is.

But if your heart condemns you, you’re in trouble. We all know this instinctively. When Adam and Eve sinned, they ran and hid and covered themselves because they were ashamed. You have trouble even going to God. So whatever it is, get rid of it. And we have this confidence that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We just have to take whatever that thing is and put it at the cross, and turn and repent of it, and go the other way. Leave it. Don’t pick it back up again.

2. Are we praying in accordance with His will?

1 John 5:14-15

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him: that if we ask anything according to His will He hears, and if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

How do you pray in accordance with the will of God?

Find a promise. Did God promise? Did God say? E.g.: I WILL pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters SHALL prophesy.

Find a commandment, turn it into a promise. E.g.: Go, heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead…

If we pray in accordance with His will, we know that He hears us.

What’s the promise of the Spirit? You don’t just get a part of the Spirit. So when the whole Spirit comes and fills you, you get every gift. If you lack faith, faith is a gift of the Spirit and you can have more of it. All you have to do is ask for more. Name it, you get it because you’re praying in accordance with the Word of God and His Word says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.” I’ve got flesh. How about you?

Other promises: He forgives ALL your iniquities; He heals ALL your diseases. He restores your strength. He will renew you.

When you get to the part when you just want all things to be made new: Behold, all things are made new. I make all things new.

Do you lack in Joy? Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. You get it. It’s a promise. You’re praying in accordance with His will.

But realize that fruits are grown. The gifts are instantaneously given and you can exercise. The more you exercise the more you get and the better you get. But fruit is always grown. It takes time to mature. You’ve gotta see it through.

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