Winnowing is Like Spring Cleaning

Last summer, as I read about the seasons of Israel, I realized there are more than four. I decided to split my year into 7 sessions (since the week has 7 days) and assign one area to each session.

  1. January 1: Paperwork, Budget, Review Insurance, Income Taxes
  2. February 23: Writing Next Year’s Bible Reading Guide, eBooks, Books
  3. April 16: Spring Cleaning
  4. June 7: Painting, Maintenance, Improvements
  5. July 29: Organize Basement, Laundry Room, Storage Room
  6. September 19: Fall Cleaning
  7. November 10: Prepare for the Holidays

Today I finished the 3rd session – spring cleaning. I scrubbed the refrigerator, freezer, and oven. I emptied the cabinets under both sinks and wiped them out. I cleaned the windows and washed curtains, drapes, blinds, and valances. I got into corners and removed cobwebs. I wiped down the baseboards.

I tackled each closet and assigned 2 days for the linen closet and another 2 for the office closet. It was rewarding to toss or donate unused items, wipe down the shelves, and organize the remainder.

The office closet took 3 days. I pondered that as I spent an hour finishing up on Saturday. (I try to leave Saturday for fun projects.) I realized it took so long because I organized everything. I didn’t toss much or donate many items.

There is freedom in assigning tough tasks to a time with a deadline. I kept going because my 4th session starts tomorrow. I told myself anything that did not get cleaned could wait until fall cleaning. But I managed to finish everything assigned each day.

At Easter, I cleared the dining room and David’s “Man Cave.” I stacked the boxes in the storage room. I hung a curtain in front of it. (At Christmas, I hung the curtain in front of the “Man Cave.” No one bothered looking behind it, LOL!) 😉

Each time I went into the storeroom and dug through the boxes stacked to the ceiling, I reminded myself that this room will be decluttered, cleaned, and organized starting July 29th. When it is unbearably hot outside, I will be in the cool basement filling boxes to sell, donate, and toss!

The living room wall got scuffed at Easter by an office chair. Instead of adding it to my list of projects on Saturday, I remembered I could do it first on June 7th when I start painting and improving. I gave myself time to work on everything during the year instead of working on everything at once.

How is that like winnowing?

Winnowing is throwing the wheat into the air, allowing the chaff to blow away. We are winnowed every day as we become more like Jesus. We are “up in the air” about something and we don’t know where we will land! But we can trust Jesus because He is the one holding the winnowing fork.

Jeremiah 15:1, “I will winnow them with a winnowing fork…”

New American Standard Bible

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Anything lost was unnecessary and unfruitful. It was just dragging us down. Each time we let go of things it leads to more freedom. The things we no longer need are taking space that is needed for something new God has prepared.

Isaiah 43:18, 19, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19) See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

New International Version

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After the events in May, we question God just as Jeremiah did.

Jeremiah 12:1, “Righteous are You, Lord, that I would plead my case with You; indeed, I would discuss matters of justice with You: Why had the way of the wicked prospered? Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease?”

New American Standard Bible

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God answered Jeremiah saying to strengthen himself and prepare for battle. Wars were fought in the thickets of Jordan.

Jeremiah 12:5, “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?”

New American Standard Bible

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We are to wholeheartedly turn to God.

2 Kings 23:25, “Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.”

New American Standard Bible

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Jeremiah 22:3, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.'”

New American Standard Bible

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And on Pentecost Sunday, when we started reading Acts, we were instructed further on how to live.

Acts 2:46, 47, “…taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47) praising God and having favor with all the people. …”

New American Standard Bible

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Acts 3:19, “Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

New American Standard Bible

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Like a good spring cleaning, times of refreshing are coming!

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August 17, 2013

Our time on earth is the only “Hell” the believer will ever experience. We go through times of hardship and think things just have to get better…but they may not! Jeremiah was in such circumstances.

Jeremiah 37:13-15, “…a sentry…seized Jeremiah the prophet saying, ‘You are deserting to the Chaldeans’…then said Jeremiah, ‘I am not’…the sentry would not listen…and brought him to the princes…the princes were enraged…and beat him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe….”

It went from bad to worse!

Jeremiah was:

  1. Falsely accused, 37:13.
  2. Not believed when telling his side, 37:14.
  3. Brought to the princes who became enraged, 37:15.
  4. Beaten, 37:15.
  5. Put in prison, 37:15.
  6. Left in the cells in the dungeon for many days, 37:16.
  7. Moved to the court of the guard, 37:21.
  8. Threatened with death, 38:4.
  9. Cast into a cistern full of mud, 38:6.
  10. Left to starve, 38:9.
  11. Rescued and moved back to the court of the guard, 38:13.

No matter how bad things are going now, God will still take care of you. In the case of Jeremiah, he used an Ethiopian, Jeremiah 38:7-13.

July 15, 2013

Yesterday a man told me he was glad I was able to attend church. A year ago, I was only attending when I was on Prednisone. I thought back to my life then. It was not unusual for me to go for weeks or months without leaving the house.

Unfortunately, the Prednisone that was supposed to protect me from allergic reactions, lowered my immunity to the point that I could not fight off any virus or bacteria. It seemed that if someone at my husband’s workplace sneezed, I would catch the cold! He would bring the germs home on his clothes, but he never got sick.

After two months of continuous infections, the doctor ordered me to go out, a little at a time, to build my immunity back up. I attend church on Sunday mornings, but I do not mingle with everyone like I used to do. I am grateful for those few hours away from the house. I can agree with Isaiah in today’s verse.

Isaiah 25:1, “O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things, even purposes planned of old [and fulfilled] in faithfulness and truth.”

July 12, 2013

The letter from my insurance company asked for additional information. It was a form that I voluntarily sent, but was not required. It was on my computer that was struck by lightning on May 28th. I am not even sure I could reconstruct it, and even more discouraging, they wanted it to go back too May, 2012.

I called the company and my worker was on vacation. I left a message explaining why I would not be sending it with the receptionist. I felt overwhelmed. Today’s verses could not have been read at a better time.

Psalms 25:1, 2, “Unto You, O Lord, do I bring my life. O my God, I trust, lean on, rely on and am confident in You. Let me not be put to shame or [my hope in You] be disappointed; let them be ashamed who forsake the right or deal treacherously without cause.”

June 19, 2013

“I am the firm foundation on which you can dance and sing and celebrate my Presence. This is My high and holy calling for you; receive it as a precious gift. Glorifying and enjoying Me is a higher priority than maintaining a tidy, structured life. Give up your striving to keep everything under control – an impossible task and a waste of precious energy.” Jesus is Calling, by Sarah Young

My father, Charles Edward Cary, Jr., wrote this phrase in a letter to me in 1979. “We are in this life to spend and to be spent.” Sadly, I have spent most of my life trying to maintain a tidy, structured life and keeping everything under control.

Paul spent his life spreading the Gospel and worked to support himself, 2 Corinthians 12:14, 15. On top of that he paid the expenses for others out of his own income.

Acts 21:24, “Take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses…”

How will you spend your life?

May 23, 2013

I wanted to go to church last night, but it is only safe to go when it is under 80 degrees and softly raining. The pollen count has to be in the green zone.

The day was overcast and it looked like it could rain at any time. But the email I received yesterday said the pollen count would be in the yellow zone.

I went to a different allergy website and it was still in the yellow zone.

I typed in the zip code of my home town and still got the yellow zone.

Fifteen minutes later, I went back to the website and typed in the zip code of the town my home church is in and where the service was to be held. It still said yellow zone.

I was kicking against the goads.

Acts 9:5, “And Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goads [to offer vain and perilous resistance].” Amplified Bible

A goad was a stick with a pointed end used to prod animals along.

“The metaphor of an ox, only driving the goad deeper by kicking against it, is a classic one, and here forcibly expresses, not only the vanity of all his measures for crushing the Gospel, but the deeper wound which every such effort inflicted upon himself.” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. II

By the fourth time I checked the pollen count, I was depressed and battling self-pity. Normally, I read the email, accept the restriction, and plan something to do during that time.

I spent those hours watching “High Chaparral” while I finished my grocery list, mended and embroidered on a quilt square. I enjoyed myself because I completed my tasks for the day and had time to sew…

…In spite of the fact it started raining an hour after my family left!

 

April 5, 2013

One of my favorite lines in the movie “Courageous” is…“I don’t want to be a ‘good enough’ father.” That is how I feel as a musician. Last night at practice I felt like a ‘good enough’ musician.  This morning I found that justifying myself was a waste of time.

Ecclesiastes 7:20, “Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth who does good and never sins. [Isaiah 53:6, Romans 3:23]”

To sin is to ‘miss the mark,’ like missing the bull’s eye in archery.

“Referring to v. 16. Be not self-righteous, seek not to make thyself ‘just’ before God by a superabundance of self-imposed performances; ‘for true wisdom,’ or ‘righteousness,’ shows that there is not a just man.” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I

I went back and reread verse 16.

Ecclesiastes 7:16, “Be not [morbidly exacting and externally] righteous overmuch, neither strive to make yourself [pretentiously appear] otherwise – why should you [get puffed up and] destroy yourself [with presumptuous self-sufficiency].”

I have been spanked!

I had planned on playing the songs, with the bands on the internet, five times today…or until I played them perfectly. But I leave for ladies retreat in a few hours and I still have to pack, do laundry, make a grocery list, etc. After reading today’s verses, I will play them each once or twice and leave the rest up to God.

 

March 24, 2013

Today I was “winnowed” – up and down all day.

  • I got ready for church, but found my son, the drummer, wasn’t feeling well.
  • I got the keyboard out and was ready for practice, but no sound would come out. (My husband turned the volume up; that fixed it.)
  • A member of the worship team offered to loan me a full size keyboard to practice on; but when he dropped it off there was no power supply.
  • I was so excited to play Easter hymns at the nursing home service that I tried to exit the van before removing my seat belt.

It was like the process described in today’s verse.

Matthew 21:45, “And whoever falls on this Stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom It falls will be crushed to powder [and It will winnow him, scattering him like dust].” [Isaiah 8:14; Dan. 2: 34, 35.]

“Winnow – to free (grain) from the lighter particles of chaff, dirt, etc., esp. by throwing it into the air and allowing the wind or a forced current of air to blow away impurities.” The Random House Dictionary of the English Language

I should have expected it when I read today’s devotional.

“This is a time in your life when you must learn to let go: of loved ones, of possessions, of control.” Jesus is Callling

 

 

December 6, 2012

I have heard it said over and over, that we are only given 70 years. Today I read the verse that assumption is based upon.

Psalms 90:10, “The days of our years are threescore and ten (seventy years) – or even, if by reason of strength, fourscore years (eighty years); yet is their pride [in additional years] only labor and sorrow, for it is soon gone, and we fly away.”

Amplified Bible Notes: “This Psalm is credited to Moses, who is interceding with God to remove the curse which made it necessary for every Israelite over twenty years of age (when they rebelled at Kadesh-barnea) to die before reaching the promised land (Numbers 14:26-35). Moses says most of them are dying at seventy years of age. This number has often been mistaken as a set span of life for all mankind. It was not intended to refer to anyone except those Israelites under the curse during that particular forty years. Seventy years never has been the average span of life for humanity. When Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes, had reached 130 years (Genesis 47:9), he complained that he had not attained to the years of his immediate ancestors. In fact, Moses himself lived to be 120 years old, Aaron 123, Miriam several years older, and Joshua 110 years of age. Note as well that in the Millennium (The period of a thousand years during which Christ will reign on earth. Revelations 20:1-7) a person dying at 100 will still be thought a child (Isaiah 65:20).”

So, to my friend, Larry, who turned 70 yesterday, I ask, “What are your goals for the next 30 years?”

That also applies to the two men, who are closer to 60 than 50, that we will be celebrating their birthdays tonight, “What are your goals for the next 40+ years?”

What are mine?

October 15, 2012 – Relevant

When we regularly read the Bible, God will highlight verses that speak directly to our hearts and our situation. Today’s verse spoke to mine.

Genesis 40:14, “But think of me when it shall be well with you and show kindness, I beg of you, to me, and mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house.”

“Nothing has hitherto met us in the record indicative of Joseph’s feelings; but this earnest appeal reveals a sadness and impatient longing for release, which not all his piety and faith in God could dispel…The Divine purposes required that Joseph should obtain his deliverance in another way, and by other means, (v. 23)…Now that God’s set time had come (Psalms 105, 19), no human power nor policy could detain Joseph in prison. During his protracted confinement he might have often been distressed with perplexing doubts; but the mystery of Providence was about to be cleared up, and all his sorrows forgotten in the course of honor and public usefulness in which his services were to be employed, (41:14)…It cannot be doubted that he would humbly yet thankfully acknowledge the hand of a special Providence in conducting him through all his chequered course to almost royal power; and we, who know more than Joseph did, cannot only see that his advancement was subservient to the most important purposes relative to the Church of God, but learn the great lesson that a Providence directs the minutest events of human life.” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I

Out of today’s readings I found:

1)      God knows my feelings.

2)      Others have experienced the same despair.

3)      My sadness does not reflect my faith.

4)      God has a divine purpose for me.

5)      He has many ways and means of deliverance.

6)      He has a set time.

7)      No human power or policy can detain me after that set time.

8)      We all have doubts.

9)      The mystery will be explained.

10)   My sorrows will be forgotten.

11)   I will be useful.

12)   I will serve again.

13)   God is conducting me through this course.

14)   God directs the minutest events of my life.

Yesterday, Joel Osteen’s sermon  title was, “Another Ingredient is Coming”. God has not compiled all the ingredients of my life yet, or He is not finished mixing them up. But I know He is working.