As I have been following the accounts of both hurricane Harvey and Irma this week, the Spirit has been prompting me to reread some of the posts I have written concerning winds and the days we are in. I have been quite sobered when looking at the actual choice of words given me during the writing of ‘Stormy Winds That Do His Bidding’ and ‘The Spirit Wind Quartet’ (I will share the relevant sections below). For those of us who are alert and watching for the Lord’s return, the events that unfold in the natural realm often speak concerning spiritual principles and therefore give warnings.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit the spiritual is not first, but the natural; and afterward, that which is spiritual.
So it follows, first natural judgments and then spiritual judgments…In Isaiah 66, the prophet writes concerning coming judgments:
Isa 66:15 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire and with his chariots like a whirlwind to render his anger with fury and his rebuke with flames of fire. Isa 66:16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD judge all flesh; and the slain of the LORD shall be multiplied.
Every day during Elul, the shofar or trumpet is blown calling people to repentance. With fire ravaging the western side of USA and hurricanes simultaneously slamming the eastern side, the picture is too graphic to ignore the message being trumpeted by this visual depiction of Isaiah 66:15. His chariots come like a whirlwind or hurricane – with hurricane Irma packing winds stronger than ever recorded before, so much so that they are setting off earthquake monitors, one trembles at the prospect of the arrival or landfall of His judgements in the lives of those who are not walking as He directs. He truly has begun the process of shaking everything that cannot be shaken and as much as those who serve Him fully have had knowledge of the verses that speak of this, the actual unfolding or manifestation of the process will test even our faith. The Hebrew word for hurricane means ‘to snatch away, to terminate utterly’. What a powerful description wrapped within this one word of those who are caught up by the Lord at His coming as opposed to those who have rejected Him. (In the revelations I received at the beginning of the year 5777, I shared concerning being swept up into the whirlwind of His ruby red cloak).
We know that we are now halfway through the month of Elul, which is the time when we are supposed to be taking stock of our lives and dealing with unrepented sin and all ungodliness of thought and life before the Feast of Trumpets. Beloved saints of God, watching the scenes unfold after Hurricane Harvey, it struck me that apart from the loss of life, there was massive loss of material possessions and homes. Huge piles of belongings sodden with dirty water piled up on pavements and I became aware of the huge difference between these scenes and those of similar flooding victims in Asia, who owned little in the way of worldly goods. Materialism is defined as ‘a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values’ and it is painfully apparent that the octopus tentacles of Mammon have laid hold of many victims as one views the aftermath of the flooding. It is almost as if the floodwaters have caused the contents of the interiors of these houses to be vomited out into plain view. I am not trying to minimise the suffering of these victims but seeing as we live in bodies which are our earthly ‘tents’ as Paul puts it, these scenes serve as a strong reminder that the day is coming when God makes manifest the counsel of men’s hearts and everything we have hidden in our hearts, including idols and secret ungodly ways will be put out to open view. The Spirit has been dealing with me strongly in the area of fleshly ways during Elul and the propensity to pander to the comfort of Self in me has been an eye-opener. In the midst of praying for the victims of these disasters, let us not ignore the spiritual lessons that their trials are speaking to us. I am reminded of the words of James:
Jas 5:1 COME NOW, you rich [people], weep aloud and lament over the miseries (the woes) that are surely coming upon you. Jas 5:2 Your abundant wealth has rotted and is ruined, and your [many] garments have become moth-eaten. Jas 5:3 Your gold and silver are completely rusted through, and their rust will be testimony against you and it will devour your flesh as if it were fire. You have heaped together treasure for the last days… Jas 5:5 [Here] on earth you have abandoned yourselves to soft (prodigal) living and to [the pleasures of] self-indulgence and self-gratification. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
Oh my goodness, ‘the pleasures of self-indulgence and self-gratification’! Exactly what the Spirit has been putting His finger on. I have been pondering the fact that hurricane Irma has passed over the Virgin Islands and there has been horrendous damage to property in these areas. We as the Bride of Christ are intended to be prepared as virgins for our Bridegroom, not having had intimacy with any other:
2Co 11:2 For I am zealous for you with a godly eagerness and a divine jealousy, for I have betrothed you to one Husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 2Co 11:3 But [now] I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Are there any areas in which you have been seduced from wholehearted devotion to Christ? Is there any place in your heart where the idol of Self has decorated in plush furnishings instead of preparing for and gratifying your Bridegroom? I have had to be honest with myself and admit to a definite for renovation in some areas!
1Pe 4:1 SO, SINCE Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God], 1Pe 4:2 So that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills.
Richard Branson, the millionaire playboy who resides on his own private island in the Virgin Islands boasted that he had erected hurricane-proof buildings and would ride out the storm. After Irma passed by, it was reported that he spent the time hiding out in the wine cellar and that many buildings had been severely damaged. Saints, let us not foolishly boast of being ‘storm-proof’ and pride ourselves on our own preparedness but rather spend time on our knees asking the Lord to search us and show us any wicked way in us, that we may be led in the way everlasting, like psalm 139v23 says.
One thing that happens as a hurricane strikes is that the electrical power grid goes down – in other words, one is plunged into darkness. At that point, preparation in the form of other light sources makes a huge difference. At some point we may have to actually suffer the loss of our material goods as the days ahead unfold, but let us at least be found to be rich toward God and in possession of enough stored oil for our lamps, Bride of Christ!
I noticed something quite significant about this month of Elul in 5777 (note the repetitive dates involved):
21st August – solar eclipse (sign in the sky)
23rd August – 1st of Elul
**DURING ELUL, SEVERE HURRICANES FOLLOW ONE AFTER THE OTHER
21st September – 1st Tishrei (Feast of Trumpets)
23rd September – Rev 12 sign in the sky
The Lord has seen fit to flank both ends of the month of Elul with heavenly signs like bookends, underlining and highlighting its extreme importance for us as Believers and during this month, severe natural disasters have struck. This month of Teshuvah or ‘repentance and return’ is definitely more important than any other you have ever entered into. You will not get this opportunity again to bring your life completely under the shadow of the Almighty with nothing separating you. If you haven’t already, this is the time to procure that extra oil. Just before Elul, I heard the Lord say that the period of grace is ending and had the understanding that this referred to those of His people who have knowingly delayed sorting out areas of their lives which are displeasing to Him. I don’t know about you but as I set out to seek the Lord as Elul started I received a barrage of tailor-made temptations which challenged the goal I had set to spend more time with Him! That is a sure sign it is the right thing to do! It is time to put to death the works of the flesh and live as sons of the Light and Sons of the Day, because judgment will not be stayed for much longer. We have to deal with our propensity for self-centeredness in the Church of Jesus Christ. Flesh stinks but the aroma of Christ draws others to Him.
ONE THING TO REMEMBER ABOUT A SIGN IS THAT IT IS NOT INTENDED ONLY TO BE GAZED AT WITH AWE AND REVERENCE!! (like millions did at the eclipse on 21st August, only to continue living as before when it was over) A sign speaks; it points somewhere; it tells you where you are headed. When travelling, we do not camp below a sign that we have been waiting to see. We read its inscription and become excited that our destination is closer than we realized. We move forward with renewed energy knowing we have travelled in the right direction – OR NOT, depending on what the sign says! It may indicate we have been on the wrong path altogether and must make urgent adjustments to our course. All in all, the occurrence of a sign is a time for us to consider our ways and evaluate our course or way of living! The total solar eclipse spoke of coming judgment upon the nation – and the hurricanes which followed close on its heels underscore that people are running out of time to get right with God.
Here is a recap of what was written in STORMY WINDS THAT DO HIS BIDDING:
‘I have to ask you, Beloved, concerning what is about to hit the earth in these days ahead, “Are you ready for the storm?” It is going to bring the unexpected; dealings you may not be prepared to face. Have you found the secret place of the Most High to take refuge in? And for those who have been dwelling there in the eye of the storm for some time, be aware that the speed of this particular storm is very fast. That means the location of the eye of the storm moves along at the same pace with the rest of the cold front. I wouldn’t get too attached to any particular geographical location at this point in time. Like the Israelites of old, when the cloud moves, you move!
WE are headed toward the Fall Feasts again – and I get the sense that the storm that is going to make landfall in that season is unprecedented in world history. I do not know if we are spiritually prepared for its onslaught… I only know that the King of Kings is coming in, riding on the wings of this particular hurricane. And all our material possessions are going to be powerless to save us in that day. So where do we choose to be positioned? Are we going to be among the winds that are His messengers, burning with zeal as the flames of fire that are His ministers? Will we be those who rejoice because we are dwelling in the heavenlies, as the following verse describes?
Rev 12:12 Therefore be glad (exult), O heavens and you that dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in fierce anger (fury), because he knows that he has [only] a short time [left]!
Can you see a hurricane on the horizon and understand that it precedes the coming of the King of Glory? Or do you just see coming destruction and try to save your lives? Do you batten down your own house hatches and run to the nearest natural shelter or have you already lost your life for His sake and run into the shelter of the Most High. Are you one of the sinners in Zion who are afraid as the Spirit of judgment and burning approaches, or have you prepared your heart through repentance and already dwell on the heights in the Lord’s secret place (Isaiah 33:14-17), where you only witness the reward of the wicked?(psalm 91) Are you exactly where He has instructed you to be at this time because you know and obey His voice? Or will you be part of the long queues on those interstate highways, following the fleeing crowd but not knowing where you are going?
Have you stocked up your storehouse with the Bread of Life for the days of famine ahead? Is the spring of Living Water in your heart flowing freely or is it clogged by boulders of unforgiveness and pride? Have you washed your hands of your spiritual adultery and made your heart pure through sincere repentance so that you may ascend the hill of the Lord (psalm 24:3-5) or are you going to cut another groove in pathway round that same mountain, ever learning but never seeing the Truth?
When we can hear with our spiritual ears the source of the spiritual Sound behind the natural sound, and realize the fearsome truth of the moment in which we stand; when the eyes of our hearts are opened to see just Who is heralding His approach with shakings and thunderings and lightning bolts of revelation, then we will, like Isaiah, also realize the true state of our own hearts and lips. It’s not like he was visiting houses of ill repute before this encounter. Isaiah was a man of God. Yet what he saw shook him to his foundations:
Isa 6:4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Isa 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone and ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!
There is a place of peace in the centre of the whirlwind that anyone can reach if we are willing to humble ourselves. The secret place of the Most High is situated in the eye of the storm and the way there is a narrow path but once you are there, He guards you like the apple of His eye. There is a place of perfect peace for those whose minds are anchored on Him, no matter what unfolds without.’
I mentioned in my message ‘Kiss the Son’ about considering our ways.
Psalm 2:12 “Kiss the Son lest He be angry and you perish in the way. Blessed are all those who seek refuge in Him”
None of us want to perish and it has to do with the WAY we are found walking in when judgment falls. There is time to consider and correct our ways as the last two weeks of month of Teshuvah unfolds. Separation is coming between those who are self-centered and those who are Son-centered. Which side of the divide will you be found on?