Sifting Season


5 Best Flour Sifters For Your Kitchen

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. – Luke 22:31-32 NIV

 When I first started baking—back in the dark ages of kitchen technology—almost every recipe that called for flour required that it be sifted. So when I furnished my first apartment, I bought a neat little avocado green sifter. And I used it, too.

Nowadays I don’t even own a sifter. Not because I don’t bake—well, I bake sometimes—flour just doesn’t need to be sifted anymore. It’s missing the lumps and the extra protein, a.k.a. bugs, that were once reasons for sifting. Plus the compacting that occurs when flour is handled and stored (in my case, for long periods of time) isn’t the problem it used to be.

Our modern flour caters to our hurry-up lifestyle. Anything that eliminates a step or two and shortens the process is the way to go.

But even with modern flour, sifting still can be beneficial. It separates and aerates the flour particles so they absorb better the liquids called for in the recipe. And sifting gives the flour a silky texture, fluffy and light.

Like flour, we, too, need to be sifted. Modern times have increased, rather than decreased, the need to separate the good stuff from the bad. Life’s rough handling leaves us with lumps of pain and confusion, and the bugs of an increasingly godless culture infect our minds, hearts, and spirits without us being aware of it or wanting it to. Overcrowded schedules press us down, leaving us helplessly wedged under the weight of too many commitments and too little time.

So every now and then we enter what I call the sifting season—a season of trouble, of heartache and pain, of problems with no answers and seemingly hopeless situations over which we have no control and which don’t make any sense to us.

Discouragement and doubt settle in for a long, unwelcome stay. We pray, but the ears of Heaven seem closed. We ask, but don’t receive. We seek, but can’t find. We knock, but the door remains shut tight.

Like the psalmist, we weep in despair, “Why have you forgotten me?” (Psalm 42:9).

But God has not forgotten us. He has allowed this season for a purpose: to sift us like flour, so that our lumps of stubbornness and selfishness are broken up, the bugs that have contaminated our very souls are removed, and we absorb better the truth and wisdom of God’s Word. It is during these times the wheat is separated from the chaff as we learn what’s really important and what we can do without.

The sifting takes time, for the life of faith is not a hurry-up lifestyle. There are no shortcuts to holiness.

But, like all seasons, the sifting season will come to an end, and we’ll have the texture of a more mature Christian—silky, fluffy, light, and free, and much better able to be used in the recipes of God.

Why are you downcast, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. (Psalm 42:5).

Read and reflect on 1 Peter 1:3–9; Psalm 42

 © 2012 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

More Than You Can Handle

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.  – Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

“God won’t give you any more than you can handle.”

You’ve heard that said many times, I’m sure—maybe even have said it yourself. The words are meant to comfort someone going through a difficult time.

But it isn’t true.

Gasp! What?

Doesn’t the Bible say God won’t allow a something to be more than we can stand? You may cite 1 Corinthians 10:13. But that verse says God won’t allow a temptation to be more than we can endure—temptation, not trial. There’s a difference.

Trials and tribulations are the hard times we go through, the times when we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Temptations are enticements to do wrong, to sin.

Trials, tribulations and temptations are all times of testing. Therein lies the confusion.

The Bible doesn’t tell us that God won’t give us any more hard times than we can endure. At times He does. Think about grief, loss, betrayal.

What does the Word tell us, then?

That troubles will come: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all (Psalm 34:19). “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jesus, as quoted in John 16:33).

To “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

To pray about it. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you” (Psalm 50:15).

Jesus Himself invites us to come to Him with our heavy burdens and He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28).

Oh, I could go on and on and on, citing Scripture.

But did you notice something about every Scripture I did quote?

Read the second part: God cares, delivers, overcomes, guards, gives rest.

Relief, strength, and victory come from God alone. Not our striving. Not our wit and wisdom. Not our own ingenuity.

Much is said and written about self-help. About overcoming in our own strength. About pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. About independence. We pride ourselves on how we can overcome difficulty without anyone’s help.

But we were never meant to be independent of our Creator. “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

When Joshua stepped into Moses’ sandals, he faced an overwhelming task: Lead the Israelites in battle to conquer the Promised Land.

Yikes! They faced crossing a river at flood stage, taking walled cities, and facing the giants of the land (the Anakim).

In short, it was a tall order—an impossible feat—without the help of El Shaddai.

And that’s what God wants us to realize as we face our Anakim, when we’re up to our necks in a flood-stage torrent, when we stare at a stubborn wall we can’t get through.

That with His help, we can do all things, but only through Him who gives us the wisdom, strength, and power to do so (Philippians 4:13).

He wants you to depend on Him.

Do you?

As I lift my eyes to the imposing and impossible mountain before me, remind me that my help comes from You. Help me to depend on You to overcome. Amen.

More tea: Read Joshua 1:1–9. The Psalms are excellent to read when facing the giants, especially Psalms 42 and 121.