Category Archives: Headlines

An Epic Winter Snowstorm

snowstormAt first the title to this post, An Epic Snowstorm, almost sounds like fun. I can remember growing up in northern climes, and looking forward with anticipation to every snowstorm. To my mind, and the minds of my equally young schoolmates, snowstorms conjured thoughts of closed schools, snow forts, and sledding. We gave little thought to the economic impact of such storms, or the other inherent dangers that accompany them. Our thoughts were far more focused on the fun of such storms, rather than their furor.

But their furor is a reality. It is because of this reality that we must once again pay close attention this winter. The Lord has spoken to many of his prophetic people about severe winter weather, weather that many parts of the United States have already begun to taste. He also recently spoke to us about a particular storm for the Midwest that he called epic.

When the Lord uses words like epic, it means something. We have had many bad snowstorms that the Lord has barely spoken to us about. Bad snowstorms happen. They drop a lot of snow in a short period of time, slow or stop transportation routes, and generally bring things to a standstill for several days. The Lord’s language indicates that the storm that is coming will disrupt things far beyond the norm, last much longer, or otherwise create a lasting impact.

When the Lord speaks to us about severe weather, it is because we need to pray against it. Thus, this is an intercessory alert for the Midwest (and because of the way winter weather moves, regions to the east of it).

The Lord also showed us something else about this storm that brings us great concern. He showed us the demonic influences that Satan’s forces will attempt to release with this storm. He has prepared a type of insanity that will accompany the storm. I don’t know exactly how it will manifest, but I can imagine people doing irrational things that put lives at risk, especially if power outages and extended transportation disruptions develop. Such insanity can turn a bad situation much worse.

The last time the Lord gave us a warning about severe winter weather, he gave us about three weeks of advance warning to marshal his prayer warriors (see Watch the Northwest). The Lord has not given us any time frames, but we can assume that he will give us enough time to adequately respond to this alert.

Please stand with us for those who will be impacted by such a storm. Stand in spiritual authority against any level of insanity that Satan’s forces would attempt to release attendant to this storm. Pray that lives would be preserved, and that the storm would not be so epic that it would cause mass suffering or hardship. Stand in the gap for all those in harms way.

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A Disastrous Hurricane Season

tracking-chart-2013It was a disastrous hurricane season for those who attempt to forecast hurricanes. “Pretty much everyone who tried to forecast the number of hurricanes bombed,” said Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist of Weather Underground. Twelve forecast teams predicted an average of sixteen named storms. Yet this season, which ends tomorrow (Nov. 30), saw only thirteen named storms, including two lowly Category 1 hurricanes (see this story from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for more).

Ken Kaye, staff hurricane watcher for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, who wrote the above referenced article, also added this:

“It was one of the most remarkable hurricane seasons on record, largely because it was so calm – right in the middle of a period of heightened intensity.”

The famed hurricane forecasters at the University of Colorado, William Gray and Phil Klotzbach, lost their funding this year. Though sources state that it has little to do with their errant forecasts this year, the insurance company that is the source of their major funding has refused to disclose its reasons. Certainly, in view of the fact that insurance companies need solid information to set their rates, the spectacularly inaccurate forecast for 2013 had to play a part.

I am not celebrating the humiliation and embarrassment that hurricane forecasters suffered this year. But I am celebrating. I am celebrating the fact that God’s people are clearly stepping into their authority. Since hurricane forecasters cannot factor the Body of Christ into their forecasts, they have an impossible job. While I feel for them, I cannot but celebrate the good news that God’s people are beginning to understand their authority over negative weather events. Ever since Jesus told the disciples that they were demonstrating little faith in the face of a storm, his implicit challenge to step into faith has resonated with his disciples through the ages. We need to exercise faith over all such storms.

I can’t end this post without this comment from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA):

The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ends on Saturday, Nov. 30, had the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982, thanks in large part to persistent, unfavorable atmospheric conditions over the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and tropical Atlantic Ocean. This year is expected to rank as the sixth-least-active Atlantic hurricane season since 1950, in terms of the collective strength and duration of named storms and hurricanes.

If I were to edit their comment, it would read, “thanks in large part to the intercessory understanding of the Body of Christ.”

Unless something comes up, this will be my last post on the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. Most news articles are stating that it was uneventful. In the natural that is true. However, in the realms of spiritual authority, it was remarkable. God’s people have done their jobs. Thanks for standing in authority with us. Well done.

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Main image credit: National Weather Service

Very Slow Hurricane Season

ProtectionWhile the hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to the end of November, the season is fast passing by. The main feature of this season is that there have been no main features. Those of you who read this blog regularly, know that I will not declare victory over the current hurricane season until it is over. We have a responsibility to stay on the wall until every threat is canceled. However, I am extremely pleased with what I have seen so far.

Yesterday, in an article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, weather-reporter Ken Kaye wrote this about the current season:

October, usually the meanest stretch for hurricanes in South Florida, instead might be relatively calm this year.

The same atmospheric conditions that have so far tempered storms could persist into November, said Phil Klotzbach, the Colorado State University climatologist who develops seasonal outlooks.

“I don’t see any significant storm development in any of the reliable global models, and consequently, I expect the rest of the season will continue to be very quiet,” he said.

Several forecast teams had predicted the season would see an above-average number of hurricanes and potentially be extremely active. But so far it has been remarkably subdued, with only two Category 1 hurricanes (Humberto and Ingrid). Normally five hurricanes emerge by the first week of October, including two major ones.

“We are working very hard on trying to figure out exactly why the season has been as dead as it is,” Klotzbach said. For now, experts say dry air, Saharan dust and wind shear have slowed down storm formation. (see rest of Sun-Sentinel article).

I could tell them why the season has been dead. God’s people are learning to stand in authority over these storms. His people have learned to take up the keys that Jesus provided for them, and to turn the keys in the locks that shut down hurricanes. This doesn’t mean that we won’t see more activity this season, it simply means that we are currently doing a pretty good job, so good in fact, that forecasters are trying to figure out what is going on.

October is a month where we usually see more Caribbean storm development, rather than the Cape-Verde storms which come across the Atlantic. We are praying that we will not see any development this year. However, if something does develop, we have less notice because of the proximity of the Caribbean to the United States. This reminds us to pay attention, and to continue to use our authority to protect life and property through intercessory prayer.

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A Slow Hurricane Season?

CapeVerdeSeveral sources are reporting that this has been the slowest start to a hurricane season on record. Those reports are incorrect. The erroneous reports state that this is the first season on record that we have not had an Atlantic hurricane by this time. However, the Weather Channel found five hurricane seasons where the first Atlantic hurricane did not form until September (67, 84, 88, 01, 02). While this certainly is a season with a slow start, we will have to get through September 11 with no hurricanes in order to set a record.

Even though this isn’t yet a record breaking season, it certainly has had a slow start. One of the reasons for such a slow start is that there is a large area of dry air over the Atlantic. None of the storms coming off Africa—the so called Cape Verde-type storms—have been able to survive passage through that dry air. Those of us who live in hurricane-prone areas truly appreciate that. This South Floridian extends his thanks to everyone who has prayed against hurricane force winds this season. I’m certain the dry air is an answer to our prayers and intercession.

However, the Lord has shown us that we are not out from under threat, no matter how slow the season may seem. The National Hurricane Center would heartily agree. We have much of the season in front of us. Even if we successfully fend off all the Cape Verde-type storms so that none become hurricanes, we still have those late season Caribbean disturbances to deal with. As if that isn’t enough to keep us on the prayer wall at this time, the Lord has also given us some indication that a storm may develop in an unusual way in order to get around our normal prayer patterns. I don’t know exactly what that means, but it will keep me on the alert.

The last time a hurricane did something that got through our defenses was in 2005. At that time, we simply did not expect significant hurricane threats to come at us from the west. Though we watched hurricane Wilma closely, and even prayed about her in our regular meetings, we didn’t call a special prayer meeting. Forecasters told us that Wilma would be a spent storm as it hit Florida’s west coast. Since it had to travel a hundred miles over land to get to us on the east coast, we didn’t think it was much of a problem. So when Wilma strengthened as it passed over Florida, and released destruction in our area, we learned a lesson and closed that gap in our understanding.

While we certainly still have gaps in our understanding, we can learn. We can ask the Lord to teach us how to pray even more effectively in this arena. We can ask the Lord to teach us more about the intricacies of hurricane development so that we can counter any plans from Satan’s Kingdom to get one through.

Do I believe that we can stop every hurricane? I think the biblical answer to that question is obvious. The one who quieted a raging storm with a word has given us his authority (See Matthew 16:18-19). He has also called us to stand in the gap for our geographic areas (See Ezekiel 22:30). Until he warns me that the gap is too large to cover, I will pray believing that our prayers will stop hurricanes from hitting our area of influence.

Can our prayers stop any hurricanes from developing this year? Or at least delay them to the point that we do set a record for the slowest start to a hurricane season? Let’s continue to pray, and find out.
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(http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/)

The Miracle of Peace

DebateSome might prefer juggling with sharp objects over doing what we did Tuesday evening. A group of pastors, just slightly under a dozen to be more precise, decided to discuss the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial. This topic has polarized our culture as people from different ethnic backgrounds have interpreted the trial, and the events preceding the trial, in wildly different ways. Our decision to discuss this trial presented risk because, while the the group consisted of Bible-believing Christian clergy members, we were from a broad range of ethnic backgrounds. As a result, the discussion was sometimes loud—even a little heated, but even as we respectfully disagreed on points of view, we forged ahead for about two hours attempting to see things from each other’s perspective. At the end, I, for one, realized that it’s a miracle that people from different backgrounds get along at all.

The problem is that we all have different life experiences. Those life experiences color how we interpret everything around us. We cannot assume we know how other people are interpreting the events we are witnessing. We haven’t lived in their shoes. We haven’t seen life from their perspective. We are seeing events through the grid of our experiences, and others are seeing those same events through the grid of their experiences. When our life experience differs greatly, our interpretive grids also vary greatly.

This came out in our meeting on Tuesday. As we hashed through things we knew about the two young men whose lives intersected in tragedy, we came to understand that both young men were angry, and both had just reasons for their anger. One young man was angry that the homes in his neighborhood were being burglarized on a regular basis. He felt justifiable anger over this violation. He saw another young man walking through the neighborhood whom he did not recognize. He did not know that the young man was visiting someone in the neighborhood. He saw that other young man as part of the problem, and directed his anger at him.

For his part, the other young man was also angry. One of the pastors at our meeting, a man of African-American heritage, helped us understand why he was angry, even justifiably so. He told us that black young men get tired of being treated like bad guys in their own neighborhoods. They get tired of being asked what they are doing and why they are there, especially when they are doing nothing wrong and have every right to be where they are. They get angry because many people do profile them. From witness testimony at the Sanford trial, it is obvious that the younger man felt violated by the man who was following him. No doubt he resented being viewed as a threat when he was simply walking back from the store to the house of a family friend. His anger, understandably, was directed at his pursuer.

Both young men had justifiable reasons for their anger. Unfortunately, there were no peacemakers to step between them that evening. There were no peacemakers to help them explain their anger to each other, and to resolve it in a peaceful manner. There was no one there who was able to pour oil on turbulent waters. As a result, as often happens, anger lead to confrontation. The confrontation escalated beyond words, and an awful tragedy occurred.

We couldn’t be in Sanford to help that evening. But we can help now. We can be peacemakers. If we will attempt to see events through the interpretive grid of both young men, rather than just the one we most identify with, we can become peacemakers. We can pour the oil of peace on the troubled waters of our time. That is our opportunity, that is our job description. If we take up that challenge, we will see a miracle. That miracle is the unbelievable grace of people from different backgrounds getting along.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9 ESV).

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