Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Jeannette Haley

Have you ever lived in a place where the wind blew hard—I mean really hard? Rayola and I did. Over twenty years ago we lived in an old farm house out on the Camas prairie that is located between Cottonwood and Grangeville, Idaho. We loved the sweeping vistas of endless sky and undulating hills, splashed with the vibrant colors of various crops. Great chasms and canyons beckoned to be explored as swirling morning mists rose from their shadowy depths, adding to the mystique of this special place. Even the Northern Lights could sometimes be seen as they danced to a silent symphony that I was certain I could hear with my “spiritual ears”.

All in all it was a wonderful place, especially for an artist, filled with sun and light and color. That is, except for the wind. Oh how the wind could blow across that prairie! They told us that it originated in Hell’s canyon which is the deepest river gorge in North America. From where we lived, we could see the jagged peaks of the Seven Devils, which are notable mountains in the Hell’s Canyon wilderness.

Sometimes it seemed as if the devil himself did indeed live in Hell’s Canyon, whipping up the wind into a fury that packed a wicked punch. One time as I was struggling to exit the house out the front door the wind caught me as I opened the screen door. It literally swung me around and flatted me against the side of the house, pinning me there until I managed to fight against this invisible opponent and struggle out to the car.

One day in particular the wind seemed bent on wiping us and the old house off the land for good. For hours it hammered, howled and pounded without ceasing, not even for a second. Deep down it began to dawn on me that there was more to it than just another windy day. This was somehow different—sinister—like an all out attack against our faith itself. Raising my voice against the roaring beast I declared, “Satan, no matter what you do to us, we will serve God anyway!” You can imagine my surprise when it instantly stopped! Nothing could be heard except for Rayola, excitedly running down the stairs announcing, “The wind stopped…it just stopped!” There wasn’t even the slightest breeze. All was calm for the rest of the day and night. Truly, He is the Master of the wind.

Sometimes after the farmers had plowed their fields, the cunning wind, as if it had a mind of its own, would angrily target the rich, black topsoil. Tossing it high into the air, the howling fiend forced it through the cracks and crannies of the old house until it grew tired of the game and dumped it unceremoniously into piles and small dunes in random places. In spite of all that, we loved it there with its solitary beauty, and the sense of eternity that filled your souls through the glory of limitless skies, and unhindered horizons. If any place holds the secret of making you feel as if you are living closer to heaven, on the “top of the world” this place is it. For us, it was wild and wonderful, beautiful and beguiling, free and flowing.

Except in the winter.

Winters tested our resolve in every way. It was as if that old house was the target for whatever Hell’s Canyon could throw at us, and throw at us it did. With only a small wood stove and a few narrow, inadequate electric strips to keep us warm we were no match for the winter wind. It literally blew right through the house. No amount of heavy duty cardboard on the inside of the windows that faced Hell’s Canyon, and no amount of vinyl window coverings tacked outside could stop the powerful force of the wind. Even the window curtains floated on the cold air that penetrated our best attempts to keep it out. The shrieking wind clawed and ripped at the aging roof, hurling fragments of wood shingles to the ground. We used them for kindling. The wind roared, and moaned and whistled. And we froze.

In time, and with mixed emotions, we moved from our old rental house. Following the Lord’s leading, we descended from our spectacular and inspiring perch on “the top of the world” into the valley of struggling humanity in the north Seattle area. There we were confronted with buffeting winds of another nature—winds of suffering, sorrow, loss, pain, testing, trials and tribulations.

And the wind blew….

Everyone—indeed, all of nature itself—experiences such “winds.” (See Romans 8:19-23.) No one is exempt, but God has left us with a “great cloud of witnesses” who have gone on before us, men and women of “renown” (or great faith and character) such as Job. We read in Job 1:18-19, “While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the  young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” Besides the great loss of his children, Job also lost his servants and means of providing food and clothes for his family and others, lost his mode of transportation (camels) and lost his health.

As you study the Book of Job, you can see how the winds of adversity hit Job emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Yet, in spite of all this Job said, “Naked came I out of the my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed by the name of the LORD” Job 1:21. And if these Satanically derived and devastating events weren’t enough, his friends turned out to be“miserable comforters” Job 16:1b. All they had to offer was their own limited understanding, knowledge, wisdom and theology. A good lesson here for Christians is that even truth, if taken to extremes, can become an untruth; and, theology, no matter how correct it may be, if applied in the wrong way to the wrong situation is nothing more than an empty, meaningless and sometimes cruel platitude.

The winds that blew against the fabric of Job’s life and faith were not winds of judgment, but rather served a threefold purpose. First, God had a man who refused to curse Him regardless of the suffering he experienced, thus silencing Satan. Secondly, Job’s faith was not only tested, but he came out knowing God in a greater way. He said, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” Job 42:5, 6. Third, the Book of Job stands forever as a testimony of integrity and faith in the midst of great suffering, and is a powerful reminder of the faithfulness of God.

And the wind blew….

Winds of change, winds of judgment. Who can deny that what we are seeing and experiencing in these end times is anything less than God’s Word being fulfilled, as world leaders unite to defy the living God? Psalm 2gives us God’s perspective: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure” verses 1-5. Regardless of how vile and terrible the winds of the wicked are, the Lord “has the last laugh.” Verse 6 declares, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” In spite of all the best efforts of the world planner, the final ruler will not be George Soros or his puppet, Barak Hussein Obama, but the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

God declares concerning the reign of His Son on the earth, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” verses 9-12. What precious promises those of us who put our trust in Him have, in spite of the trials and tribulations before us—times  when the strong winds of death and destruction are let loose upon the earth. We who belong to the Lord have great consolation in Him, knowing that the day is surely coming when the ungodly are “like the chaff which the wind driveth away” Psalm 1:4.

And the wind blew…the winds of false doctrine that are so often steadily blowing in churches across the land. Paul warned, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” Ephesians 4:14. The Body of Christ has always faced the winds of deception; however, in the world of technology that we live in today these winds are more varied, subtle, stronger and far spread than ever before. Many winds of doctrine can be compared with the honey-sweet song of the female Seirenes (sirens), who also lay in wait to deceive. According to Greek Mythology their singing was so alluring that sailors could not pass them by, but instead cast themselves into the sea, and perished. The three most notable sirens were Parthenope, Ligeia and Leucosia.

We can compare Parthenope with the winds of doctrine that put forth a maiden face. These winds blow softly, and appear innocent, pure and attractive. Never mind that underneath lie cunning craftiness designed to lead one’s heart away from the Word of God. After all, the allurement of maiden-face heresy is how it stirs up the sensual passions (youthful lusts) of both men and women. This false wind appeals to the pride and universal desire of all mankind for something that promises instant gratification—something that sounds “spiritual,” but feeds the flesh, and promises a place of ecstasy in the spiritual realm that is actually base and carnal.  This doctrine offers everything “positive” and beneficial to those who put their trust in it. There is no price to pay (taking up one’s cross), no self-denial, but rather all the “good” things that the world has to offer veiled in a thin veneer of religiosity. However, the Bible says that to be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God.

The second siren was called Ligeia which means clear-voiced, whistling. This siren, like the celestial voice Satan can use (and I heard that voice once, loud and clear) draws men and women through emotional experiences. This wind of doctrine powerfully stirs up the emotions through cleverly devised fables, and also sensual music, offering a completely different reality than God’s truth (which is reality). After all, it sounds so compelling, so beautiful, so wonderful and heavenly, who can reject it? It promises love, unity, peace and heaven. It shuns the clear teaching of Scripture concerning sin, death and hell. It allures and beguiles with half-truths, twisting the Word of God to say what it does not say in order to delude its victims into an ethereal fantasy that has no substance to it whatsoever.

Leucosia, meaning “white substance” is the third siren. What is this mysterious white substance? It brings to mind the “white light” of the New Agers whose “light” is spiritual darkness and death. According to 2 Corinthians 11:14 Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. How else could he deceive the nations? How else could he deceive well-meaning people? We must never allow ourselves to be lulled to sleep by all the ear-tickling winds of doctrine that cause us to ignore the “wiles of the devil.” The siren call of the New Age can be overwhelmingly alluring to those who want to understand “all mysteries” and “hidden things.” It truly can cause a person’s mind to enter into a “white fog” of endless seeking for the “real meaning” behind everything, including Scripture. People who pride themselves in their intelligence and give themselves over to the powerful spirit of deception of the New Age (which is really ancient paganism) find themselves afloat on a bizarre sea of disconnected thoughts, teachings, emotions and experiences. Satan knows how to play with the human intellect—he knows how to interject mental “experiences” into a person’s mind that will convince him or her that this is indeed reality. The truth is, once a person enters through the wide door of metaphysics, and the occult in order to understand the “hidden things” and “mysteries of the ages,” they have entered into a demonic realm that only God and the blood of Jesus can deliver them from. This is a dangerous place to find oneself, yet we linger near the forbidden door to the occult, and play along the edge of the abyss every time we expose ourselves, or our children, to any of the New Age beliefs, practices, philosophies, teachings, books, movies, charms, artwork or music (to name a few.)

While volumes have been, and could be written defining and detailing the myriad of “winds of doctrine” ranging from the most blatant down to the most subtle, such knowledge is worthless if a person does not love the truth. Unless a person truly embraces a genuine love for the truth, he or she will be sent a “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” 2 Thessalonians 2:11. Receiving a love for the truth means receiving Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life. It means receiving both the written Word, and the Living Word into one’s heart, and loving Him with everything within you. Loving the truth means believing that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” John 4:24. Loving the truth means loving what God loves, and hating what God hates. It is loving the truth through the fear of God, obedience to His will, and living in godly sobriety. Loving the truth means living it.

Winds of doctrine will continue to blow until Jesus returns to rule and reign. Therefore, it is vital that the people of the Lord know Him, know His Word, walk in His Spirit, and know how to test spirits, which we are commanded to do in 1 John 4:1. One of the other reasons people are so easily swayed by false teachers and prophets is because they have never been properly discipled in the first place. They may have been taught by many teachers, yet have never been discipled in the ways of God. Therefore, anyone who comes along who claims to be a Christian, or who sports a certain title that may give the impression that he or she is genuinely saved and living a holy life, or who has a “big ministry,” and so forth can easily deceive a person who has never been discipled and established in the faith.

And the wind blew….

About 120 people were all in one place, in one accord when it suddenly came—the mighty, rushing wind.“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” Acts 2:1-4. The fulfillment of Joel 2:28       and the words of John the Baptist who prophesied, “he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” Luke 3:16b. The promise came in a mighty, rushing wind—the promise of Jesus.“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” John 16:7, 8.

Consider what Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:6-8, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh: and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Jesus made it clear that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Man must be “born again” of God’s Spirit if he is to enter into God’s kingdom. The disposition of man must be changed from the old selfish, self-life to the new disposition of a son or daughter of God. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15.

Just as the powerful winds that blow over the face of the earth alter the landscape, so too must we, if we would be truly born from above, allow His Spirit to regenerate us from within. 2 Corinthians 5:17 has not changed in spite of what many false prophets teach. God’s Word never changes, and still declares, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

And the wind blew…the unseen wind, the wind of the Spirit who assures us that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18.

Prayer: Thank You Lord, for your mighty, rushing wind of the Holy Spirit. Blow over my life today, fill me anew with your Spirit so that I will receive power to be a bold witness of the Lord Jesus Christ to those who are lost. Amen.