In the Eye of the Storm

tree front yard
This is my tree BEFORE Hurricane Irma.

I’ve been thinking a lot about hurricanes lately.  It makes sense being that I live in a state almost surrounded by water.  Last year all 67 counties of my home state, Florida, were affected by Hurricane Irma.  Every time I look outside my front door I’m reminded of the hurricane because my beloved tree is gone.   It once stood, grand and stoic- a pillar of beauty and shade.  Oh, how I miss that tree.

The past few years have been riddled with not just hurricanes, but also shootings, racial tension, mud slinging and civil unrest.  Our nation is in an uproar that doesn’t seem to get better as time passes.  Many people have thrown up their hands in defeat, while others continue to fight a battle they aren’t sure they can win.

As for myself, it would be easy to get caught up in the madness of it all.  It would be easy to lose hope.  But, I see all of these things from a biblical viewpoint.  I am looking at it through the lens of prophecy.   Many people shy away from biblical prophecy because it can be tied to “scary” books like Revelation, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah.   However, our view would change if we took the time to really study the meaning behind biblical prophecies.  We would then realize prophecy isn’t tied to disaster, as much as its tied to HOPE.  That hope is JESUS.

As the world keeps turning, we see more events occurring, both worldwide, and in our nation.  For brevity’s sake, I’m just going to touch on what we would consider “naturally occurring events”, or natural disasters.

Last year I wrote a blog talking about what I believe the Lord showed me regarding Hurricane Harvey.   Before Hurricane Harvey hit, I heard the words, rod of iron, via the Holy Spirit.  At the time I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant, but the first thing I thought of was Jesus, who returns with the rod of iron.   A little later, I felt led to look up Isaiah 11, but didn’t know what the verse was about.  After reading it I found out it is all about Jesus and his reign on earth during the Millennial Kingdom.  As I read through it I saw the verse that says, “he will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth.”  That took me aback because I realized that was referring to the rod of iron.   Later on I was reading about Hurricane Harvey and felt led to look up the meaning of the name Harvey and I found out it means BLAZING IRON.

I could picture Revelation 19 which says, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider was called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and wages war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns……….. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.  He will rule the earth with an iron scepter.”

At that point I saw a message unfolding, but it gets even better.  Remember how I said I felt led to look up Isaiah 11 earlier in this story?  Well, there is a particular verse that stood out to me.  Isaiah 11;6 says, “the wolf will dwell with the lamb.”  I just loved that verse because it reminded me that even the animals would be in peace when Jesus comes to reign.  His rod of iron would not only subdue the nations, but even the animals.

The morning after I read about Isaiah 11, and after I learned that Harvey meant iron, something amazing happened.  I went into my son’s room the next morning and I saw two stuffed animals on his bed:  a wolf and a lamb.   These stuffed animals had not been on the bed before this, so to me it was a unique confirmation.

Even more comforting was I had received this revelation at a time when I had a heavy heart.  I was feeling sad as I thought about my son, who has an auto immune condition.  This condition causes tics similar to Tourette’s Syndrome, and it causes multiple challenges on a daily basis.  I kept wondering if my son would ever be healed.  I wondered why we have to suffer pain in our lives.  I wondered if my son would be able to make it in this crazy, broken world.   Then I sensed the words “rod of iron” via the Holy Spirit.  Later, I understood the Lord was saying that no matter what I see in front of me now, he has it all in his hands.  He will come back and renew all things.  The wolf will dwell with the lamb.

I am telling you all this for a reason.  Firstly, I do believe Jesus’ return is sooner than we realize.  He is returning with the rod of iron, and he will bring peace to the earth.  I believe he is getting his Bride ready.   Revelation 19 says, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!  For the wedding supper of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.  Fine linen, bright and clean, was given to her to wear.”

Noah's Ark
This is a picture of the Ark Encounter in Kentucky

Now I’m going to share a few things about Hurricane Florence.  Back in late July/early August the Lord laid something on my heart.  During my daily prayer I kept sensing these two words- Noah’s Ark.   When I say that I sensed them I am saying that I felt like the Holy Spirit was bringing these words to mind.  It happened very often during the month of August when I prayed, or those words would be on my heart throughout my day.   I wrote it down because I wanted to keep record of it.  At one point I asked the Lord, “Is there going to be a flood?”  The only thing I could think of was that maybe a flood was coming due to some circumstance of weather- perhaps a storm.  But, I wasn’t really sure-  so I just prayed.

By the end of August, Florence had just showed up on the hurricane radar.  It started as a tropical wave on August 30.  Eventually, it became a tropical depression.  When I watched the reports on it, I wasn’t too concerned.  In fact, in the early stages as the storm progressed, forecasters didn’t think it was going to be a threat to the U.S.

Because of the early reports, I shrugged off the storm and figured it would be no big deal.  But, when I went to pray I heard this still small voice that said, “Watch this one.  Keep an eye on it.”  So, I did.

As time went on I realized the storm was changing.  It went from being “not a threat” to a major Category 4 storm- with potential for becoming a 5.  Not only that, the storm did something not predicted by many of the storm models.  Actually, no storm in recorded history had threatened to grow to a Category 5 storm from so far north.   In addition, the storm moved in ways not predicted by computer models.  Before anyone knew it, this storm had people seriously worried, including me!

Luckily, Florence weakened before it hit the Carolina coastline, hitting as a Category 1 storm.  But, the problem is that is was a very slow moving storm.  Slow moving means more time to pummel cities with rain.  More rain means more flooding.  We are talking 2-4 inches of rain per hour.    The center mass of the storm was more than twice the size of Pennsylvania!  That’s large enough to affect a lot of cities.  Not only that, the storm stalled, giving it plenty of time to pound certain parts of the Carolinas over and over again.  At times, the storm went as slow as 2-3 mph.  Add storm surge to this, and you can see why this storm devastated the Carolinas with massive flooding.  Basically, storm surge is like giant walls of water that will smash coastlines and homes in a a short span of time.

Sounds a lot like Noah’s Ark to me!  In the time leading up to the storm’s actual landfall- (BEFORE IT HIT), I became curious about the name of the storm and what the name meant.   I looked up the name Florence and this is what it said: “to flower”, or to blossom.   So, essentially the name refers to when a flower blossoms.   After I read the definition I didn’t think much of it.  I couldn’t see how it related to anything at all.  Nonetheless, I knew the Carolinas were going to endure some major flooding and I was genuinely worried about it.  The only thing I knew to do was pray.

flower tag
This is the flower tag

On September 11, (three days before the storm would hit), I

IMG_9365
This is my “Yeshua” necklace – see the stem and petals?

walked into my room and found something I’d forgotten about.  It was a tag I had put on my dresser.  The tag was decorated with flowers (see pic).  The strange thing is that a few months prior I was going to throw this tag away, as I had no use for it.  It came off a package and I didn’t need it.  I went to throw it away, but for some reason I put it on top of my dresser instead.   For months that tag lay on top of my dresser- just sitting there.  Every day I’d look at it and wonder about it.  Anyway,  on September 11 something clicked as I saw the tag.  I realized it had flowers on it.  I thought about Florence, which means to flower or blossom.   I stood there wondering if it was just a coincidence, or something else.  Then, I realized I had on my Yeshua necklace.   Yeshua means Jesus in Hebrew.  I put it on today, but I hadn’t worn it in months.  I looked at my necklace and guess what?  It’s in the shape of a flower.  At that moment I asked the Lord, “Are you coming soon?”  I didn’t get an audible answer- LOL.   But, I wondered…………

 

Here comes the bride
This is the book

When the storm finally hit, it devastated the Carolinas.   It reminded me of Hurricane Harvey because of the massive flooding.  One evening I was laying on my bed and thinking about the hurricane.  I closed my eyes and I pictured something.  I pictured a flower girl.  She had on a white dress and carried a basket full of white flowers.  I wondered why I was picturing a flower girl at that moment.  What comes to mind when I think of a flower girl?  A wedding of course!  Then I realized I pictured a flower girl and Florence means blossoming flower.  I asked the Lord again, “Are you coming soon?” After all, Jesus is coming back for his Bride! As I thought about this, I realized I had just gotten a book in the mail on September 13, a day before the storm actually hit.  Guess what the book is called? Here Comes the Bride!   It is a book that discusses the ancient Jewish wedding ceremony.  The Bride was summoned by a shout and a trumpet blast!  Sound familiar?  “In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the Last Trump. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will all be changed.”  This verse is describing the Rapture, where the Bride is snatched away in the blink of an eye.

I couldn’t believe the timing of all those things.  I’m not saying Jesus is coming tomorrow!  I just get the sense that he is on his way.   I am not sure the world is ready though.

Jesus was asked about the Kingdom of God by his disciples.  They wondered when it would arrive.  One of the things Jesus says is, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.  People were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark.  Then the flood came and destroyed them all.  It was the same in the days of Lot.  People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.  But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.  It will be like this on the day the Son of man is revealed……. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.”  Luke 17: 26-34

It took Noah a long time to build the Ark.  Some scholars say 120 years, while others say 75.  Either way, it was long enough for plenty of people to see him building it!  It was too big to miss!    There was plenty of time to repent and turn to God during this long span of time!  But, what did most people do?  They laughed it off, or ignored him.

It is not so different now.  People often laugh at the idea that Christ is returning.  They think it’s in the distant future, or it will never happen in their lifetime, if at all.  Well, at some point Christ WILL RETURN.  The question is, do we see the boat being built, or are we just mocking the builders?

Like I said, I don’t know when he’s returning, but I can see lots of signs that it could be in my lifetime.  I pray it is in my lifetime!!!

Now, on to Hurricane Michael.   I felt like this hurricane came out of nowhere!  I turned on the news and there it was.  It grew in strength like a lion.  On October 7 it was a tropical depression, and by October 9 it was already a Category 4 hurricane.   It approached the Panhandle of Florida with peak winds of 155 mph. By October 10, it hit the Panhandle with a destructive punch.  Mexico Beach was flattened, and Panama City sustained grave damage.

This particular week I happened to be studying Genesis 1:1-6:8.   This is actually the schedule followed in Messianic and Orthodox Synagogues for reading the Torah- the first five books of the Old Testament.  Each year, after the High Holy Days, the cycle starts over.  Each week a different part of the Old Testament is studied/read, with the books going in order.  The New Testament is also read, when following a Messianic schedule.

Genesis 1:1-6:8 is also called Beresheet in Hebrew.  This means: In the Beginning.  Genesis 1 describes how God created the heavens and the earth.  It describes the six days of creation, and the seventh day when God rested.  The gist of the scriptures are that God is in control, and he is in charge of the universe.

Hurricane Michael actually hit on Cheshvan 1 on the Hebrew calendar.   This is October 10 on our regular Gregorian calendar.  What’s interesting about this is that the month of Cheshvan is when the Great Flood began (Noah’s Ark).  Not only that, it was a year later, also in the month of Chesvan, when Noah left the ark.

God had to hit the “reset” button on the Earth because the people had become so wicked.  But, Noah and his family were spared.  Why?  Because Noah “walked with God.”  He respected and loved God.  He didn’t live like the rest of the world.

When Hurricane Michael hit, I thought about the fact that God is in control of every single part of creation- the sun, the moon, the planets, the water and the weather too.  I also thought about the name of the hurricane- Michael.   What does Michael mean?  The name means: who is like God?  This is actually meant to be a rhetorical question because there is NO ONE LIKE GOD.  He is unmatched in power, authority and perfection.

Michael is actually an archangel in the Bible.  He is mentioned in the books of Daniel, Jude and Revelation.   He is one of only two angels who are mentioned by name in the Bible- Gabriel is the other.   Archangel means he has a very high rank.  He is described in the Bible as fighting demonic forces.  He is a warrior angel and assigned as the archangel for the nation of Israel.  Daniel the prophet was told that Michael is “the great prince who protects your people.”  Daniel’s people are the Jews since he is Jewish.  Michael also has an important job in the End times.  According to Daniel 12, Michael will arise when the Great Tribulation occurs.

As these hurricanes continue to batter our land we can simply say, “It’s just global warming.”  I think there is more going on here.  I think we are experiencing birth pains.  As we inch closer to the return of Christ, it is like labor pains that a pregnant woman experiences.  They usually start off mild and farther apart.  But, they steadily get stronger and closer together, and more painful.  It varies from woman to woman, but the pattern is the pains get more intense and closer together over time.  Then, the woman gives birth.  In Matthew 24, Jesus says, “nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  These are the beginning of birth pains.”

Natural disasters and major world events will increase in number and severity as we await the return of our Savior.   Instead of  living in fear, we must continue with our work.  Like Noah, we must continue to build the boat.  We need to get people ready to get on that ARK.  As long as we are on this Earth, our work is not done.

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This is the sticky note I found

Like many I have worried about the days ahead.  I was worrying about it just the other day.  I was worrying about even the smallest problems in my own home.  But, I was reminded of a verse.  I found the sticky note you see in the picture on the day I was worrying.  It said, “The battle belongs to the Lord.”  This verse is from the story of David and Goliath.    Yes, the giant was huge, but God was huger- I know that’s not a word, but you get the point.  God is much bigger than any giant.

 

As  I mentioned before, I was reading Genesis 1 on the week that Hurricane Michael hit.  The title of the Torah portion I was reading was called Beresheet, which means In the Beginning.   Just so you know, “In the beginning” is exactly how the first sentence of the Bible begins.   Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”   There is something quite extraordinary about this very first sentence of the Bible.  If you break down the sentence into Hebrew letters you will find that this very first sentence tells us Jesus would die on the cross.

If you were to look at the ancient Hebrew Bible, you would get a clear picture of God’s aleph tav 1plan for salvation from the very first sentence of his Word.  If you look at the ancient Hebrew Bible you will find an untranslatable word in the middle of the sentence, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  Right smack in the middle are two Hebrew letters which are called the Aleph, and the Tav.   These two letters together are not a word.  They are simply the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  The first letter is the Aleph, and the last letter is the Tav.  What’s amazing about the Hebrew alphabet is that it is based off of pictographs, or pictures representing the letters.  These pictures have meanings as well, which means the letters themselves have meanings.  The English alphabet is not designed this way.  The Hebrew alphabet is unique in that its letters don’t just stand in to make words-  the letters of the Hebrew alphabet have specific meanings and even number values assigned.

aleph tav 2The pictograph for the Aleph is an ox head.   The meaning behind the ox head is leader, strength and God.  The pictograph for Tav is two crossed sticks, which resemble a cross.  The meaning behind this letter is a covenant, mark or sign.  When you put both pictographs together you get this:   God himself, symbolized by the ox head, would make a covenant with man, by the cross with sticks.  God became a sacrificial animal who was placed on this cross of sticks.   God would send his son, the sacrificial strong leader, to die on the cross.  This would be the sign to man of his covenant.

In Revelation 22:13 Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”   Keep in mind, this part of the Bible is in Greek so the words Alpha and Omega are the Greek words for first and last.  But, in Hebrew Alpha and Omega would be Aleph and Tav.  Alpha= Aleph and Omega=Tav.

Jesus is saying in the last book of the Bible that he is the Beginning and the End- the Aleph and the Tav.  If we go back to Genesis 1:1, the first book of the Bible,  we see it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  And in that first sentence (in the middle) we have the Aleph and the Tav- the Alpha and the Omega-  WE HAVE JESUS!  He is the first and the last.  If you pick up other translations of the Bible you won’t see this astounding revelation!  You have to go back to the ancient translation in order to see the aleph and tav in the middle of the sentence.

In John 1:1 it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”   Who is the WORD?  Jesus!  He is the living word.  And……we see the actual two letter “word” in the first sentence of the Bible referring to him- the aleph and tav.

Isaiah 44:6 also says,  “This is what the Lord says, ‘Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty; I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”

So, what does all this have to do with Hurricane Michael, Florence and Harvey?  Well, what it means is that we have a Savior named Jesus Christ.  He is the first and the last- the beginning and the end.  Who is like him?  No one!  No one can save but him!  One day he’s coming for his Bride at the sound of the last trump!  He’s also coming back with a rod of iron to subdue the nations, and rule the earth.  Will everyone be ready?  No, unfortunately they will not.  Many will be eating and drinking and giving in marriage and have no clue he has arrived.  When the Rapture happens, people left behind will be quite shocked at the mysterious disappearances.  “Hey, weren’t those the people who were building that gigantic boat?” some will say…….

I don’t know when that will happen.  I just think the clock is ticking and at some point the alarm will go off- the trumpet that is!  Some people will wake up in glory and some will wake up to tribulation.

door knocking
William Holman Hunt’s painting of Jesus knocking at the door

Recently, while in prayer, the Lord impressed this verse on me from Revelation 3:20- “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”   Immediately I began to picture that verse in my mind.  I went on the Internet and typed in the verse and found the painting that illustrates this verse so beautifully.  The one I have pictured here is by William Holman Hunt, and it was painted in 1851.  In the picture you will see an overgrown door, which implies that the door hasn’t been opened for a long time.  You will also see that there is no doorknob, or handle.  That means it can only be opened from the inside.  The message:  We have to ask Christ to come into our hearts.   He won’t force his way in.  We must ask him to come in. There are many versions of  “Christ Knocking at the Door”, but  this one emphasizes that some of us wait a  long time to let Christ in our heart.  That’s why the door is overgrown with vines. Honestly, if you have a loved one who isn’t saved, the time is NOW to talk to them about Jesus.

It’s interesting to note that this verse (Revelation 3:20), is one of the last things Jesus says to the Churches.  There are seven churches addressed in Revelation 2 and 3.  The last church addressed is the Church of Laodicea.   Keep in mind that these churches represent the spirit of the Churches today.  It is not one particular church being addressed.  It is really the spiritual condition of people within the churches. This Church is addressed in Revelation 3:20 (Church of Laodicea) is the Lukewarm Church.  They are a church that is neither hot or cold.  Christ says to this church;  “So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot or cold- I’m about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’  But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”  Later, Christ goes on to say, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest and repent. Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

In this day and age, it is not a time to be lukewarm.  This is the time to be alive in Christ- on fire for him!  We need to be the light in all these disasters, wars, and difficulties of this present age.  Being lukewarm will not accomplish much for the Kingdom.

A King is returning!  This is something to be excited about.  In the eye of the storm we must remember there’s a King on the Throne.  And like the word Michael, which means, “Who is like God?”, let’s remember there’s no one like our King.

Natural disasters are heart breaking and certainly scary.  But just remember they are a reminder that all this won’t last forever.  The Earth groans, waiting for its creator to come back, or maybe I should say it spins like a hurricane.  But, Jesus is  on his way……………I hope you have opened the door for him.

If you have a few minutes, watch the video below.  It has a powerful message.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the battle belongs to the Lord

 

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