Dearly Beloved in Yeshua,
STORMS are the focus of this month’s letter. The Lord impressed us with the pervasive,
abundant, frequent, and great variety of storms that are coming upon the earth. Natural storms called
hurricanes. Natural floods. Spiritual floods of evil. Political storms. Sports-affiliated storms. Storms of
violence. Firestorms. Even God-ordained storms.
Some of us have a hard time believing that a loving God would send storms, but the Bible
says otherwise. God’s love does not negate His justice. The God of the Bible can send storms and
stop them at will. He is Almighty God! There is no such thing as “Mother Nature,” just “Father God.”
Referring to God’s enemies, the psalmist declared, “So pursue them with Your tempest, and frighten
them with Your storm” (Psalm 83:15). In the Book of Nahum we read, “The LORD has His way in the
whirlwind and in the storm” (Nahum 1:3). God Himself says, “I form the light and create darkness, I
make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).
Consider the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Through the end of September, there were thirteen
named storms, eight hurricanes, five of them major hurricanes. Three category-four hurricanes made
landfall in the US: Harvey, Irma, and Maria. As Jamie looked at these names, she noticed the initial
letters of each spell: HIM. We believe that God allowed the storms for His purposes. A major purpose
is to WAKE UP both believers and pre-believers to our need of HIM. We have become self-absorbed,
self-sufficient, and self-worshippers. Many in the Body of Messiah are lukewarm and complacent. We
are all in need of repentance, a radical turning back to God, that we might fulfill our destiny to be salt
and light in the world.
There is a scene in the movie The Sound Of Music where a thunderstorm occurs. All the von
Trapp children rush into Fräulein Maria’s bedroom and jump on her bed to be close to her and to be
comforted during the storm. One of the purposes of storms is for all God’s children to run to Him for
safety and comfort. Our God controls the weather. The weather does not control Him. “He calms the
storm, so that its waves are still” (Psalm 107:29). Yeshua, the Messiah, is still Lord of the storm. When
Yeshua rebuked the winds and the sea in Galilee, and the storm became a great calm, His disciples
marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:27). He
is Ben Elohim, the Son of the Living God!
Storms and God’s Judgment
When Jamie began writing her book Kiss Me Again, the Lord told her that storm clouds were
gathering, so she must give His people an “umbrella.” The prophesied storms have arrived, and the
“umbrella” (His Everlasting Love) is needed now more than ever. It is imperative that we hide ourselves
in Messiah, and His love, so that we can weather the storms in security and confidence. In order to
do this, we must keep our accounts short with the Lord. Repentance must be a daily discipline. The
timing of Hurricane Irma, during the month of Elul, the Hebrew month of repentance, seemed like a
God-incident. When Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas, we also wondered at
Thanking God for HIS faithfulness and yours! the significance. Corpus Christi means Body of Christ.
Does God have a message for His Body? We think so. We hear the Lord speaking to us from 1 Peter 4:17,
“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will
be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 expands on this idea, “For if
we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that
we may not be condemned with the world.”
It seems to us that a Holy God is trying to get our attention. He prefers mercy over judgment but
will do what needs to be done to have a pure, spotless bride. As Jamie surveyed the major damage
done by Hurricane Maria here in Fort Lauderdale, there were mostly lots of trees broken off in various
places. Many of us did not even lose electricity. We were mercifully spared. The Ruach spoke three
words to Jamie: “I am pruning.” God is pruning spiritually. Yeshua praises pruning in John 15:2. It is not
always pleasant, but the end result is more and sweeter fruit.
Our holy God prunes—and judges—pride, an insidious sin that resides inside all of us. “Behold,
the Lord has a mighty and strong one, like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm like a flood of
mighty waters overflowing, who will bring them down to the earth with His hand. The crown of pride…
will be trampled underfoot” (Isaiah 28:2-3). In Kiss Me Again, Jamie wrote that bride and pride are a
terrible combination. May we all rend our hearts and ask God to forgive us for our prideful thoughts
and ways (Joel 2:13).
The Bible makes it clear that God chastens those He loves (Hebrews 12:5, 7, 11). If we are not
corrected by Him, we are not really His children. The bride of Yeshua needs to have a healthy fear
of the Lord, not the cringing fear of a wrathful, vengeful God, but the reverent fear of an All-Powerful,
Sovereign Creator of the Universe, who is also our Father in Heaven. These two kinds of fear are in
Hebrew תירא (tee-RAH), fear with terror, and יראת (yee-RAHT), fear with reference and awe. It is time
to open ourselves up to any changes that our Father desires in us. Thus, we will fulfill a verse from
Revelation which ends with “and his wife has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).
Storms and Birth Pangs of Messiah
The word for storm in Hebrew is se-ah-RAH ( סערה ). It literally means a disaster, danger,
destruction, calamity, or trouble. No one can deny that we are living in troubled times. Storms of all
kinds abound. On October 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history left
59 dead and 527 injured. It was a storm of unprecedented violence. We are living in the End of Days
(Acharit Hayamim, Ah-ha-REET ha-yah-MEEM in Hebrew). Traditional rabbis believe that these are
the days immediately preceding the coming of Messiah. They liken this period of time to the increasing
pain and suffering of a woman about to give birth to a child. It is said, “Just as a child comes only
through birth pains, so too comes redemption.” Birth pangs of Messiah in Hebrew is Chevlei Mashiach
(KHEV-lay Mah-SHE-ach). Birth pangs, according to the rabbis, include globalized godlessness,
unbridled selfishness, greed, chutzpah, shamelessness, and a general lack of gratitude. Some ancient
sages said that just before the coming of Messiah, Ishmael will rise in power to terrorize the world!
We, as Messianic Jews, know that Messiah has come, but we agree that there are indeed birth
pangs occurring before His Second Coming. Violence has increased. Sin is rampant. God is mocked.
Dangerous spirits of anger and division have spread like cancer throughout our country. There are
wars, ethnic cleansings, earthquakes, famines, and signs in the heavens spoken of in Luke 21:9-
11. People are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-4). In the midst of these
stormy conditions, God is moving to fulfill His purposes in the earth. “For we know that the whole
creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the
firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the
redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22-23).
If the rabbis are correct, we don’t have much time left. They believe that the six days of creation
parallel the six millennia that the world as we know it will exist in. We are now in the year 5778, the
sixth millennium, which, in Orthodox rabbinic teaching, denotes a spiritual “Erev Shabbat,” or “Eve of
the Sabbath.” In other words, the world is now involved in the “Friday afternoon” preparations for the
Shabbat of the Mashiach (Messiah).
With the Shabbat of Messiah comes an era of joy and peace in His presence. The rabbinic
sages (Shabbat 31a) state that one of the first questions asked of a Jew when he faces the Heavenly
Tribunal is whether he yearned for and anticipated the coming of Messiah. How about us? May
we be able to join Rabbi Saul (Paul) in proclaiming, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but
also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
God, Our Shelter in the Storm
Storms will come, but we do not have to be found without a covering. The Prophet Zephaniah
gave the following advice: “Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what He
commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the
LORD’s anger” (Zephaniah 2:3 NIV). David, fleeing from Saul into a cave, had his own storm with
which to contend: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the
shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until the calamities have passed by” (Psalm 57:1). After
the Lord had delivered David from the hand of Saul, he said, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress
and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence (hamas, in Hebrew). I will call
upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised. So shall I be saved from my enemies” (2 Samuel 22:2-4).
When we belong to Yeshua, when He is not only our Savior but our Lord, we have the assurance
that He is always with us—in storm and in sunshine. He has said, “…I will never leave you, nor forsake
you” (Hebrews 13:5). Even in the midst of pruning and chastening, His everlasting arms uphold us.
The Messiah’s love for His own is unconditional. Even when we are unfaithful, our God is Faithful. That
is very good news! Ask the Lord to help you stay under His umbrella. Love Him. Seek His face. Obey
His Word. Yield to His Spirit. “…Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts”
Storms Are Educational
We conclude with Day 2 of Kiss Me Again since it deals with the theme of storms. May it be an
encouragement to each one of you.
And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat,
for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain. Isaiah 4:6
Before moving on to the next verse in the Song, the Lord has something to say to us from another part of His
Word. From time to time, I will include other verses from other books of the Bible, which help clarify or expand
upon a verse of the Song. Today’s verse, Isaiah 4:6, expands upon the idea of God being our shelter in the storms of life.
While I have never been on the Sea of Galilee during a storm, I understand that storms can occur very quickly
and unexpectedly. The same happens in life. That is why we need to be prepared for them. Here in Florida, there are
people who never put their umbrella down; they use them as shade from the sun as well as shelter from the rain. It
behooves us to do the same thing spiritually. God’s love must be the umbrella that overshadows and protects us, in good
times and in bad.
Storms in the life of Yeshua’s bride are providential, not accidental. They are not meant to destroy us, but rather to
empower us. I read an article in the Good News paper, October 2014, by Dr. Samuel Lamerson, a professor of New Testament
studies, in which he pointed out that we often assume that we are in the middle of a storm because we have disobeyed God.
This is not true. In the account of the storm on the Sea of Galilee in Mark chapter 4, Yeshua’s talmidim (disciples) were
in the boat because the Lord had told them to get in with Him, “…when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let us cross over
to the other side.’” The disciples were doing what Yeshua told them to do. Then, the storm came, but not because of disobedience
on their part. Sometimes it is obeying the Lord that brings trials to us.
Why does the Lord allow the storms to come? One reason is that they are educational. We learn from the storms
of life. One thing the disciples learned was that, even though waves were crashing into their boat, and it was beginning to
fill with water, Yeshua was totally at peace, “But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow.” We would have done what the
disciples did: Panic. “And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’” (vs. 38)
Yeshua did care, and He was totally in control. “Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’
And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How it is that you have no faith?’
And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!’” (Mark 4:39-41)
Our Bridegroom is Lord of the storm. He has authority over every storm that we will ever experience. He is
in the boat with us. He is the Ark of our salvation. He is not worried, and He is in control. These are the truths that we must
cling to when storms come our way. Yeshua IS the Truth. We must cling to Him, to stay very close.
My dear friend Debby told me a story that reminded me of this truth. She was with her adult son when a South
Florida rainstorm descended upon them. Her son quickly put up an umbrella to protect them from the storm.
Debby was not quite under the umbrella, so her son gently reminded her, “Mom, if you don’t stand really close
to me, you’re going to get wet.” Stay close! Yeshua offers us the umbrella of His love, but we are only completely protected
as we stay close to Him, abiding in His sheltering love.
Our Beloved has authority over storms. So can we. I love what Bill Johnson has to say about this truth in his
book Experience the Impossible, “You have authority over any storm you can sleep in.” The author makes the point that the
Messiah was setting the standard in Mark 4 for how we are to face life-threatening storms effectively—in rest, through
abiding in Messiah. This abiding is being profoundly connected to the heart and mind of God, in a place where we experience
the peace that Yeshua promised us.
The Messiah is our Sar Shalom, our Prince of Peace. The bride in the Song is called the Shulamite maiden.
While the bridegroom’s name, Shlomo (Solomon), means “peace is his,” her name means “peace is hers.” This is
the quality that should characterize every child of God. Peace. Shalom. When we live in a constant awareness of God’s love for
us, and His presence within us, we can have what the Bible calls “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). This
is God’s supernatural shelter, even in the midst of life’s storms.
Dear El Makhseh, God, my Shelter,
Thank You for being my Shelter in the storms of life. Please help me to stay close to You, under Your umbrella of love, when
I face trying times and difficult situations. I am so glad that Yeshua is in my boat, in total control of my life. I receive
His peace today, believing that in the storm, Yeshua is Lord of all!
Your beloved bride,
P.S. During the night of January 10, 2017, I found myself repeating a sentence over and over in my sleep. I
believe, without a doubt, that it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me. He said: “As the world careens toward a
cataclysmic conclusion, our God is Calm, Confident, and In Control.” Yes, He is. And He is your Peace!
May you find yourself hidden in Yeshua in every storm you face.