I originally wrote this article on the 7th October 2016, four days before Yom Kippur. At the time hurricanes were lashing the Florida coastline. Now, exactly 8 months later, in the same year 5777, the Western Cape coast of South Africa where I live has been pounded by the worst storm in decades. The day before landfall, all that you could hear about in conversation and on the local radio was the question,"Are you ready for the storm?" Schools were closed and gigantic waves bombarded and swamped the beach communities. Yet, at the same time, just 5 hours along the coastline, another town, Knysna, which is a very popular arty tourist destination, was battling raging fires which have gutted 25% of the town buildings, including the hospital, local school hostel and the Anglican church. The national road on both sides of the town was closed and fleeing residents had to gather at the lagoon on the sea edge to await rescue.
What struck me is that the gale-force winds preceding the cold front brought bucketing rain where I live, but further away along the same coastline, more than 20 fires were ignited by that same wind. The residents of Knysna were probably preparing for flooding and wind damage but all their preparations were of no use in the face of the gigantic flames that drove them from their homes. The eye of the storm hadn't reached them yet but the winds which heralded its coming had a prophetic message of its own. The day that burns like an oven is here and many are left without root or branch. And it is the winds who are His messengers in these days. Sometimes they bring the spirit of judgment and burning before they bring the heavy latter rain...
Psa 104:4 Who makes winds His messengers, flames of fire His ministers.
"Are you ready for the storm?"
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!
Actually, I was searching for something else on my computer archives when the title of this article almost jumped out and hit me in the chest. Usually when this happens, I know something in there is going to speak to me.... And sure enough, sentence upon sentence struck a chord. Or to be more accurate, huge chunks of what I had typed with my own two fingers began to reverberate deep in my spirit. It's time to be reminded of these things AGAIN! WE have passed the milestone of Pentecost and 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]!
I know this is a long post, but make a cup of coffee and come back and read what is below with an open eyes and listening ears. As Paul says, "I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle (tent, body), to stir you up by way of remembrance..."(2Pe 1:13) I pray it will jumpstart the heart of anyone who is on the verge of being lulled to sleep at this pivotal hour...
Stormy Winds that do His Bidding (7th October 2016)
Hurricane Matthew is presently hitting Florida, having decimated Haiti and the Bahamas. It is followed by tropical storm Nicole forming in the Atlantic. A state of emergency has been declared by the earthly government of the regions. But who can discern what is before them on the TV screens? Who can hear intelligently the coming roar in the eye of the storm? Some hear thunder, some hear a sound, a few hear a voice. That voice has a Name. It is the God of Glory who thunders. And what does He say? “Lift up your heads o you gates. The King of Glory is coming in. Yield, you princes at the gates!!” and the ignorant and scoffers say to themselves, “Who is this King of glory? Why should we heed His voice?” and immediately comes the roar, “the Lord of Hosts. He is the King of Glory!”
It is no coincidence that these hurricanes hit their exact locations during the exact time of the Days of Awe – those days between Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Trumpets, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Judgment(12th October this year). God is not willing that any should perish and these Days of Awe are meant to be a breathing space, a pause in which to do final examinations of our hearts and lives before the Heavenly Accountant does His final perusal of the books of our lives in this pivotal crossover season. When the bookkeeping is complete, will we be weighed in the balances and found wanting? Will the writing appear on the wall for us, even as we feast and feed our flesh? Have you learned from the mistakes of those who have gone before you about the danger of walking in pride, or are you drinking of the same cup as Belshazzar, abusing the vessels of the house of the Lord with your words and praising the gods of gold and silver? (Daniel 5) Are you looking back at the success of your ministry and planning huge expansions for the coming year, not giving God all the glory for any good thing that has come your way, during these Days of Awe? If so, you may be unaware that in the dark night that is at the door, your soul will be required of you! ( Luke 12:14-21) The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning in this period but the heart of fools is in the house of feasting.
Ecc 7:4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth and sensual joy. Ecc 7:5 It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.
Have you heeded the rebukes God has brought your way through the mouth of the wise in the last month... and is there fruit of repentance? Those whom He loves, He tells their faults. In this season, only a fool would think he is rich and has need of nothing (Rev 3). Are you poor in spirit, painfully aware of how much you need the covering of the Blood of the Lamb? Or are you still judging both unbelievers and the godly, unaware that you are stinking with pride and guilty of the very same crimes before God? (Isaiah 58). Is your lifestyle the fast God has chosen or do you still think that all He requires is a day to humble yourself? Are you washing the outside of your cup but inwardly have a heart full of wicked thoughts toward your unsuspecting neighbor who dwells beside you?(Luke 11:39) Have you shut your ear to the cry of the poor, not knowing that this means when you cry out yourself, you will not be heard by Heaven?(Proverbs 21:13) Have you learned to rightly divide the Word or do you think all the scriptures about judgment are for those around you and all the words of blessing are your rightful due? Will you be able to say like David the following words when the accounts are balanced on Yom Kippur and the recompense for the year to come is released by the Great Judge’s gavel?:
Psa 18:20 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness (my conscious integrity and sincerity with Him); according to the cleanness of my hands has He recompensed me. Psa 18:21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from my God. Psa 18:22 For all His ordinances were before me, and I put not away His statutes from me. Psa 18:23 I was upright before Him and blameless with Him, ever [on guard] to keep myself free from my sin and guilt. Psa 18:24 Therefore has the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness (my uprightness and right standing with Him), according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.
It’s easy to look at the sky or the weather channel and see a natural storm coming in, but are our ears tuned to a layer of sound beyond the realm of the earthly? David could hear it:
Psa 29:3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is upon many (great) waters. Psa 29:4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
What do you hear? Do you hear His voice in this season or do you just hear thunder? Do you just see the heavy rain approaching and run to batten down the hatches of your earthly homes? Or do you, like Elijah the faithful intercessor, hear the sound of the heavy latter rain and gird up your loins and outrun the Ahabs in the power of the Spirit.
First the natural; then the spiritual. It was God who battened down Noah’s hatches after all his years of preparation, then lifted him and his family above the flood, and then Noah could open the upper window for the double portion of heavenly light. Some hear and see in this season with their natural senses - but do not understand. Have you prayed for a wise and understanding heart? 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? Have you read the Book of Joel recently, not leaving out the uncomfortable verses? Or do you still believe the restoration of the years the locust has eaten arrive at your door, without your repentance and realignment to the God Who calls you to be holy as He is holy?
These are such searching questions but if you haven’t asked them yourself by now, I pray the Holy Spirit will grant you grace in these next days to wrestle with them to a place of breakthrough.
Are your spiritual eyes open or do you only see with your natural eyes? What does it look like when the God of glory thunders, what accompanies His coming as a response to the cry of His intercessors?
Psa 18:9 He bowed the heavens also and came down; and thick darkness was under His feet. Psa 18:10 And He rode upon a cherub [a storm] and flew [swiftly]; yes, He sped on with the wings of the wind.Psa 18:11 He made darkness His secret hiding place; as His pavilion (His canopy) round about Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. Psa 18:12 Out of the brightness before Him there broke forth through His thick clouds hailstones and coals of fire. Psa 18:13 The Lord also thundered from the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice, amid hailstones and coals of fire.
Where are those who have understanding of the times to know what His people ought to do when they see the hurricane approaching and hear the roar in the wind? David has some timeless advice for this tired old world:
Psa 68:32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, sing praises to the Lord! Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! Psa 68:33 [Sing praises] to Him Who rides upon the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, He sends forth His voice, His mighty voice. Psa 68:34 Ascribe power and strength to God; His majesty is over Israel, and His strength and might are in the skies. Psa 68:35 O God, awe-inspiring, profoundly impressive, and terrible are You out of Your holy places; the God of Israel Himself gives strength and fullness of might to His people. Blessed be God!
Do you ascribe strength to God or take pride in your own spiritual prowess? Do you tremble at the Word of the Lord or are you settled on your lees, unable to discern the signs of the times? The year 5777 is indeed the year of the Sword, but before you get to be appointed worthy to wield the sword of the Lord, the double-edged sword of His Word comes to deal with you! Have you learned to subdue your flesh and sow to the Spirit – because that two-edged sword is coming to deal with all flesh IN YOU.
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 plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
Have you been rejoicing at the thought of the year of the sword bringing you a knighthood from the Throne? Know you not that an encounter with the One who wields the sword has caused all righteous men in the past to fall on their faces as if dead. Yes, the King of Glory is coming on the clouds and sending out His cloud of witnesses to the four corners of the earth for the final harvest, but only those who have survived His dealings with the unclean in His House, will be carried on the wind of His Spirit to their assignments. Are you sure the one you are worshiping is the God of all the earth or have you fallen victim to doctrines of demons and consumed unclean teachings, dancing around a counterfeit ‘god in the midst of us’ crafted by the prophets of Baal?
Isa 66:17 They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, says the LORD. Isa 66:18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. Isa 66:19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.
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!
Then a live coal from off the altar will be commissioned to bring a personal message of cleansing for us, straight off the fiery golden altar of incense that stands before the Throne. Then our ears will be allowed to hear the counsel of the war room in Heaven and their dilemma. They don’t know who will go for them. There are so few willing to follow the Lamb wherever He goes these days, especially when they must volunteer before knowing the destination. The Father is looking for holy seed, willing to fall to the ground and die in any soil of His choosing, that a rich harvest may be reaped. Not an attractive tour destination for unsurrendered flesh. Can your ears hear the heartbreaking yearning in the Voice that asks, “Who will go for Us?”....Who is willing to become a ‘burning one?’...Who is willing to walk with the fire of Lord shut up in their bones?
By the time Hurricane Matthew passes and exits, Yom Kippur will be here. Be found presenting only the Blood and not the filthy rags of your own righteous deeds that day. Matthew is closely followed by tropical storm Nicole forming in the Atlantic. How interesting. Do you have your face to the current gale force wind, willing to let Him blow from you every encumbrance that hinders your holy walk? Matthew means ‘gift of God’. As the God of Glory thunders and orders the princes at the gates to yield before His advance, it is an ancient echo of that long ago day when the Son of God, so recently slain, swept like a whirlwind into the place of the dead where the demonic hordes were celebrating their victory over the Lord of Life, and He took captivity captive, before sweeping out again carrying gifts for men in His wake.
1Pe 3:19 In which He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 1Pe 3:20 [The souls of those] who long before in the days of Noah had been disobedient, when God's patience waited during the building of the ark...
Perhaps you have been held, imprisoned in the place of the dead through your disobedience to the convicting voice of the Spirit in times past? Then the present shakings and violent urging wind of the Spirit swirling around you is a hurricane called ‘Matthew’, a gift from a Father who wants to give you as a gift to men....if you obey His lead. There is a place of peace in the center 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.
And what is this storm Nicole that comes in Matthew’s wake? Nicole means ‘victorious overcomer’. Can you not hear the echo of the messages to the seven churches in Revelation? “I know your works....and I have this against you....He who overcomes, I will grant to...” Beloved, if we will submit to the jealous whirlwind of Love that comes in these days of awe, cooperating with the slightest conviction of the searching Spirit of Truth at the unveiling of the smallest wicked way in us, we will find ourselves in the ‘glorious afterward’; part of the cloud of witnesses that form the stormy wind called Nicole; that band of glorious overcomers who have been weighed in the balances and not found wanting; the ones assayed and sealed with the signet of the Silversmith as vessels of honor, fit for every good work.
Can you hear, above the roar of the storm, the request of the Heavenly Bridegroom concerning our works and our ways? Can He confidently set His seal signifying the hallmark of a pure vessel on your heart and your arm? Will you only say what He says and do what He does from here on?
Son 8:6 Set me like a seal upon your heart, like a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy is as hard and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame [the very flame of the Lord]! Son 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.
Will you be fully His or is your heart still divided? Are you completely His, body, soul and spirit or are you still flirting with the world and its ways? Do you think these questions would be good for other people to read, or do you allow their painful light to pierce the shutters of your complacency? Do you understand how late it is, Bride of Christ? He is trying to get you to the Church on time! Don’t miss the wedding....
Jas 4:8 Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. Jas 4:9 [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins]. Jas 4:10 Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant].
How can I ask all these piercing questions? Who do I think I am to suggest that many in the Body of Christ are beyond unprepared for what is about to hit planet earth? Quite frankly, I thought I was becoming ‘someone’...that is until the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord took me up on my request for a visit. And He decided to stay a while, seeing as I had asked for wisdom very earnestly. It didn’t occur to me really just what I was asking for at the time.....but now I understand. And am grateful He came.
It is fresh from this encounter with the Lamp of the Lord, that I dare to share a portion of the meal He prepared for our ‘date’. I have been sitting under an appointment with the Spirit of Judgement and Burning (Isaiah 4) for at least 6 months and have been horrified at the sight of what the searchlight of the Lord has unearthed in the depths of my heart. I fancifully supposed that I had advanced quite far along the road of sanctification...until the veil of spiritual pride was lasered off my blinded eyes! Since that operation, I have prayed the words of psalm 51 so often, it is almost as if they originally rose from the foundations of my own weeping heart. With swipe after swipe of that fearsome two-edged sword over my trembling head, I have taken the stinking pockets of secret pride, unforgiveness or worse, and cast them far from me day after day, despairing that there can be still more to deal with....until finally, I can say I am beginning to learn what entering the Kingdom like a little child might mean. Perhaps I see a glimpse. But then I remind myself that I may be able to understand all mysteries, but if I have not love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:2)... and here I am, back to worshiping Him for the sweetness of the sound of His amazing grace to a wretch like me.
I have learned to love the Refiner’s fire and the incredible kindness of the Lord in leading me, the daughter He loves, to repentance - by telling me my faults. I understand He is preparing me to share His glory and the only way I will ever even be apportioned the honor of carrying a minute measure of His glory, is if I truly grasp that without Him, I am nothing; that unless He gives me words to write, I have nothing of value to say; that the robe of righteousness my Bridegroom bought for me is the most valuable garment I will ever possess! It is vastly superior to any tailor-made couture garment that the Harlot Church of Babylon could ever conjure up for me; for without it’s ruby fold’s enveloping my frail earthen vessel, I will never see Him face to face or be able to enter the full glory of His manifest presence. And I want to. Even more now.
My prayer is that this burning season in which I dwell may remove any remaining old flesh in the shofar of my earthen vessel; that I may release from this point on, as He wills (and not when men demand a word), a clear concise heavenly sound, that cuts through all the earthly jangling sounds confusing His precious Blood-bought Bride. If the message of my life can be somehow a signpost to the banquet on mount Zion, then the journey will have been worth it all. How about you?
Isa 4:3 And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem and for eternal life, Isa 4:4 After the Lord has washed away the [moral] filth of the daughters of Zion [pride, vanity, haughtiness] and has purged the bloodstains of Jerusalem from the midst of it by the spirit and blast of judgment and by the spirit and blast of burning and sifting. Isa 4:5 And the Lord will create over the whole site, over every dwelling place of Mount Zion and over her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory shall be a canopy (a defense of divine love and protection). Isa 4:6 And there shall be a pavilion for shade in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge and a shelter from storm and from rain.