Category Archives: Teaching

Turning Away Hurricanes

StoppingtheStormAfter speaking with a prophetic mentor today, I felt I needed to issue this warning about what he has seen about this hurricane season. As I wrote in an earlier post (see The 2013 Hurricane Season), Bob Jones had seen a threat to our South Florida area this year. In that post I wrote: “Bob told me that he had seen at least one [hurricane] that we would need to push away, but that he was confident that we would be able to do so.”

He reiterated that same thing to me today, but added some sobering things. He believes that the storm that he has seen is a powerful storm that would bring a lot of damage wherever it hits. The good news is that he is confident that our congregation, and those who are praying with us for our area of influence, will be able to turn the storm away. The bad news is that as we turn this storm away, it will turn toward other vulnerable areas where the intercessory coverage, and the understanding of intercessory authority, may not be as developed. He has asked me to get the word out to as many leaders as I can. He wants entire coastlines protected by churches who understand their authority in Jesus Christ.

Bob asked me to remind people that we have the keys of authority that Christ has won for us. When we ask the Lord to intervene in things over which he has given us authority, we ask amiss. We need to take authority over storm systems and command them not to come into our arenas of influence. Bob said that we have enough degrees in the body of Christ, now we need decrees. That doesn’t mean that education isn’t good, or that the pursuit of educational degrees is somehow bad, but we should seek to grow in Christ’s authority even as we aspire to further education. While degrees are optional, standing in Kingdom authority is not.

Jesus taught us clearly on this topic. He said, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 NASB). He has given us the keys of authority, we must use them in accord with heaven. As the Head of the Church, the Lord issues decrees in heaven, then his Body binds or looses on the earth according to his decrees. Our authority derives from Christ’s finished work, and our direction comes through the Holy Spirit, but we are the ones exercising the authority he has given to us on this earth. If we choose not to use that authority on the earth, or do not understand our authority, we cannot blame heaven. We need look no further than the mirror. We have a job to do, and we must do it.

Please do what you can to stir up intercession during this hurricane season. We do not walk in fear. Peace is our mandate, and a major part of our protection. God will protect his people, but we also want to protect our regions as those who stand in the gap. The Lord is still looking for those, who like Abraham and Moses, intercede for those who deserve judgment. His heart is revealed in Ezekiel, “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30). His is still looking for those who will build the walls of protection, who will stand in the gap between grace and judgment, and release mercy to a region.
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Hurricane Warnings

FLLBeachLast week, the Lord indicated that Dawn and I were to visit and pray over three separate beaches in our county. This is the first time in our fifteen year history of praying against hurricanes that he has given us such a directive. My faith is normally modeled upon that of the Centurion who sought Jesus’ aid for his servant (see Matthew 8:5-13). When Jesus granted the Centurion’s request, the Centurion pointedly told Jesus that he did not need Jesus to come to his geographic location. The Centurion knew that Jesus could provide the aid by simply giving the orders. In the same way, I have realized that when a group of believers gathers together at their place of worship, they can release protection across their area of influence without necessarily going to every location personally. But this year, assuming we heard him correctly, he sent us to the beaches in person.

Why? I don’t know exactly, however, I can hazard some educated guesses. First of all, I think he wanted to remind us just how lost our beach culture is. Even though we live in the Fort Lauderdale area, we almost never get to the beaches. I suspect that the Lord wanted to show me what has happened in the years since Fort Lauderdale divested itself of Spring Break. While we are no longer an attraction for Spring Breakers, we certainly haven’t lost the sensual indulgence or the immodest apparel which were the hallmarks of that era. In fact, the apparel has become more immodest as the years have gone by. As we walked the beaches, we not only prayed against storms, we also prayed for the many spiritually needy souls whom we encountered along the way.

The second reason he may have called us to the beaches probably has to do with our increased need. We are holding our second prayer meeting of the season this evening, and events on the ground might have changed over the years so that personal involvement is more necessary. The Lord has taught us over the years that the more wickedness a region tolerates, the more susceptible to hurricanes (or other disasters) that region becomes. It’s as if our indulgence in sin pushes the protecting hand of the Father away from a region. Satan is looking for any gap that he can send disaster through in order to torment people. He is always seeking ways to kill, steal, and destroy (see John 8:44 and John 10:10). As the Father’s hand of protection is pushed away, intercessors must stand in the gap for their region. As that hand of protection is pushed even further away, they must increase their intercessory activity to match the gap between God’s protection and Satan’s hatred. While we did not have to walk the beaches in the past, it might now be a normal part of our activity, at least until revival and repentance are granted to our region (thus closing the gap again).

In any case, the Lord’s direction highlighted something I stated in my last post. We can expect some level of storm activity this season for the South Florida area (as well as other regions). If there were no specific threat, I doubt that the Lord would have sent us to the beaches.

I also have another specific word from the Lord about a strategy that Satan has released against our region this year. I’m not going to explain what that strategy is, simply because we will be dismantling it in tonight’s prayer meeting. However, the very fact that the Lord gave us a specific strategy indicates that we are countering some level of increased threat.

We are at a very early point in the hurricane season. The Lord is preparing his troops to bring protection to their areas of influence. I am grateful for every direction and strategy he releases to us. He does not delight in death and destruction (see Ezekiel 18:23). So he helps us stand in the gap for our regions of influence. Pay attention to the strategies he is giving you. They may make all the difference this season.
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The 2013 Hurricane Season

stormyweather1Are you prepared for the hurricane season? Many of those who post about the hurricane season remind us to be prepared “just in case.” You can find lists of items that you should have prepared, just in case your area is hit by a major hurricane. While I remind people that stocking up for emergencies is part of being a good citizen and neighbor, I believe that our best preparation for the hurricane season involves standing in the authority that Jesus Christ has won for us. He died and rose again to win the keys of authority for his Church. We use that authority in many different ways, but for those of us in South Florida (or any other hurricane prone region), it is absolutely vital that we use our authority to protect our region from hurricanes.

We held our first intercessory meeting for the hurricane season just over a week ago. As I have often mentioned, we do not wait for the storms to come to us. We recognize that destructive hurricanes are released from hell to harm population centers. We don’t like to wait for Satan’s strategies to emerge during the hurricane season. We are much more comfortable preempting his plans by using the keys of authority that Jesus has given to us. We use those keys to lock the door on Hell’s strategies against our area of influence, and to unlock the purposes and blessings of God in our weather patterns.

Last year the Lord alerted me to three specific storms that Satan’s agents intended to use against South Florida (see South Florida’s 2012 Hurricane Season and 2012 Hurricane Season Recap). The Body of Christ rose to the challenge of the storms, and none of the three presented any problem for our immediate area, though they certainly troubled some other areas.

Bob Jones, one of my prophetic mentors, asked me recently if the Lord had given us anything about the 2013 hurricane season. While the Lord has shown us some things about the tornadoes and storms troubling other areas (see More Storms Coming and Tornadoes and Rain), he has not given us much about our own hurricane season. Bob told me that he had seen at least one that we would need to push away, but that he was confident that we would be able to do so.

I mentioned to Bob, that at this point, I believe that the Lord is only speaking to us about specific threats when there is something we can learn from it, or something that we must expend more intercessory effort over. Since the Lord has given the earth to man (Psalm 115:16), I believe he expects us to walk with intelligent stewardship over it. When I release a task to employees, or to my children, I actually expect them to perform the task. I will train and equip them for the task, I will also monitor things to ascertain whether they are being done correctly, but at a certain point I will simply expect that they will handle the task without much further input. I will certainly encourage them appropriately, but the highest form of praise is the fact that I no longer need to micromanage what they are doing.

In the same way, the Lord gives us callings, tasks, that he intends we carry out on his behalf. He trains and equips the members of his Body to do these tasks. He certainly encourages us along the way, but he also expects that we will grow up into our callings as we mature. He will certainly give us information as we need it. But if we do not need it to accomplish our task or develop our relationship with him at a higher level, he really does not need to tell us every detail of what is coming.

Do not get me wrong, I like the details. Back in 1998, the Lord spoke to us in great detail for over a year about a specific threat to our area. He gave us the information, and the wisdom about what to do with that information, so that Hurricane Irene did not devastate our region in 1999 (see Hurricane Irene). Since then, I have learned that there are threats the Lord will speak to us about, and there are some that he does not bother to speak to us about. I have learned to be at peace with either circumstance.

Those who analyze weather patterns have told us we can expect an active hurricane season. Veteran prophet Bob Jones has seen some specific threats. That means we all must man the walls of intercession and authority. That is our task. Let’s do it well this season.
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Unless You Also Repent

15794713_s“Unless you repent.” Jesus repeated these three words twice while speaking to a crowd of his followers. He spoke them the first time while referring to the actions of a homicidal maniac who had murdered tourists who had come to a special event. He spoke them the second time while referring to people who were victims of an industrial accident at a work site. Since we have been traumatized by similar events this week, we should probably pay attention to what Jesus said about them.

We can find what Jesus said in the book of Luke, chapter 13.

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)

While Jesus was meeting with a group of people, someone decided to let him know the latest headlines. The Roman governor of Judea once again demonstrated his brutal nature by viciously attacking pilgrims in Jerusalem. It was a shocking and unexpected attack that would have grieved the nation. Rather than raging against the perpetrators of the massacre and calling for justice, Jesus directed his listeners toward the fragile nature of life.

To consolidate his point, he told about the tragedy in Siloam. We have no other description of this event, but some believe this was a construction accident, and that the majority of those who died were workers who were building the tower. Again, this was a shocking event that would have grieved the nation because of the orphaned children and widows left behind by this tragedy. Rather than attempting to assign blame for the accident, Jesus again directed his listeners toward the fragile nature of life.

Why did Jesus do this? We live in a world where bad things happen. Homicidal maniacs, industrial accidents, and myriads of other threats and diseases are always threatening to strike down friends and family. These things happen to good people, people we enjoy as friends, family, and neighbors. They can also happen to us, unless we take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and our families. That necessary step is repentance.

Repentance is an oft misunderstood word. People don’t like it all that much because it conjures up images of froth-mouthed preachers slamming pulpits and condemning sinners. Images such as that do not have a whole lot to do with repentance. The Greek word that is translated “repentance,” literally speaks to a change of mind. When Jesus uses it in Luke 13, he is calling on his listeners to turn their minds away from their self-reliance, to repent of their lack of God-focus, and to agree with God that they desperately need him for life and protection. That is the repentance of which Jesus spoke. The wondrous thing about this repentance, this agreement with God, is that it can protect us while we live in a world where bad things happen. It can stop us from perishing in events caused by homicidal maniacs, negligent building owners, or the myriad of other threats we face in this world.

I was once walking down the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia with a friend of mine during a Spring thaw. I wasn’t very comfortable walking down the street we were on, because workers were clearing ice from the roofs of the five and six story buildings on that street. When I asked about it, my friend, who lived there, told me that it was common for large chunks of ice to fall unexpectedly from the buildings during a thaw. He explained that many people had been killed in this way. The workers were making certain that this street was safe.

We walked back on that same street a bit later that day. Since the workers had already finished the street, I didn’t feel uneasy about the ice. As my friend and I were walking down the street, he was telling me a story about some ministry he had done in India. The story included a particular van that they had used in India. Just as he was telling me this story, one of those exact vans passed by us in the street. This so surprised him that he stopped short, thrust out his arm, and pointed at the van in amazement. He stopped so quickly that I almost ran into him, and had to stop abruptly to avoid him. Just as I was turning my head to look where he was pointing, a massive chunk of ice slammed onto the sidewalk right where we would have been if he had not stopped so abruptly. The chunk was easily large enough to have killed us both. If that van had not gone by right then, we would have become two more victims of a senseless tragedy.

Why did we receive such obvious protection where others had not? I cannot speak to their stories, and would do them a disservice if I tried. I only know our stories. Both of us were walking in repentance. We understood our vital need for God’s protection in our lives. This is not about religion, sincerity, or merit. It is about humility agreeing that we cannot do it on our own. Because we had repented in this way, we did not perish.

Obviously, I do not know the people who have been killed and injured in our most current tragedies. I do not know their stories, nor do I pretend to know their stories. I am grieved and horrified by their senseless loss. My heart aches for those who have lost loved ones, and for those who have to experience a long healing process. If I think about it too closely, it is overwhelming to me and my heart becomes heavy with sorrow. I recognize that some are heroes who put their lives in harms way in order to save others. I am not thinking about them as I write these words, nor would it be appropriate to do so.

Instead, like Jesus, I am pointing in another direction. I am pointing at you. The losses we have experienced this week remind us of how fragile our hold on life can be. Jesus’ prescription for certainty still rings through the centuries, “Unless you repent, you too cannot be certain that life’s uncertainties will take you out. However, if you agree that you desperately need God’s help and protection, he will give it.” That is a lesson we can take to heart.
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My sympathies and my condolences to those who are mourning this week. The Lord can lift heavy burdens. The same Lord who would not let his listeners speculate about the moral or spiritual qualities of the victims of tragedy, also reached out to those who grieved. His invitation still stands, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
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The Curve

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November 27, 2012

On September 30th of this year, the Lord told us that we were about to enter a sharp curve on the road ahead of us. He warned us that that the curve was so sharp that it would feel like a change of direction. However, he also indicated that we would still be on the same road to the same destination. When we pursued him on this rather startling bit of revelation, he added that the curve would help us avoid some time-wasting obstacles that otherwise would have appeared on the road ahead.

When he first gave us this word, I took it as a personal word. However, as time has gone by, I have realized that it is an important word for the Body of Christ in the United States. We are on a curve. We wanted the road to go in a different direction. For our own good, and so that we do not lose precious time in the days in which we live, the road curved away from our desired route. We are still headed to the same place. It is certainly a more scenic route, but we will not miss our destination.

On November 10th, the Lord spoke about this curve again. He showed us two more specific things about the curve. The first, is that it isn’t just a curve, it also goes uphill. The second is that it is a shortcut. Then, on November 12th, he told us we were already on the curve.

Because we had just come through the presidential election in the United States, I began to understand what the Lord was saying. By November 10th, the Body of Christ in the United States was reeling from the elections. We knew the direction that we needed to go in order to bring back moral sanity to our nation, but our nation did not go there. The path to our destination, a destination that includes renewal and revival, suddenly seemed very steep. It suddenly looked like we were on the wrong road. The elections certainly threw us a curve. But here is the key point: It is really a shortcut to our destination.

That shortcut part didn’t make much sense to me, but when we pursued the Lord asking how it could be a shortcut, he simply reminded us that our thoughts are not his thoughts; his physics are not our physics. He then spoke to us about a scene from The Great Mouse Detective. The Great Mouse Detective is an animated Disney movie from the eighties. At a certain point, the movie’s evil genius sets up a false leader over the people to control them. However, even as the evil genius attempts to do so, the hero of the movie exposes the charade, and the evil plan fails in a spectacular way. As a result, the entire populace is awakened to the danger, and begins to respond to the threat.

Those of us who have been praying for revival in America can easily recognize the themes. Even though I do not understand our Hero’s methods, I know I can trust him implicitly when he tells me we are still on the right road. I can trust him to expose Satan’s plans against America, and watch every false leader be exposed and/or revived. God’s righteous plan is still on track.

I already feel some of those who are reading this article protesting: “You are looking for a silver lining in this debacle. The prophets were wrong. The United States is under judgment. We are no longer on the right road.” All I can say to you is, “I understand your turmoil.” The Lord graciously began to speak to us about this curve back in September. We certainly did not understand it then, but as I began to understand what the Lord was saying, it has helped me stay out of turmoil and stay focused on the Lord’s supernatural physics. Let me try to help you, if I can.

Many people are disappointed that gifted and well-known prophets appeared to back the wrong horse in this election cycle, but I am not so certain that they did. Can I challenge us all to grow up a little in our walk with the Lord? Can we leave childish things behind for a moment?

I am asking serious questions of you. We need to grow in our understanding if we are going to grasp the Lord’s methods. We will start with another question: Was Jonah wrong when he prophesied that Nineveh would fall in forty days? The Lord told him what to prophesy, but then circumstances changed in Nineveh because the leaders and the people repented. As a result, God released mercy. Here is the point we need to grasp. The people of Jonah’s time did not have the book of Jonah. When Nineveh was not consumed, Jonah looked like he had been absolutely, completely wrong. But he was not. He had prophesied correctly.

What about Ezekiel? You may not know this more obscure story. But the Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy against Tyre because it had gloated at Jerusalem’s fall. This is what he told Ezekiel to prophesy:

“For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: From the north I am going to bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, with horsemen and a great army. He will ravage your settlements on the mainland with the sword; he will set up siege works against you, build a ramp up to your walls and raise his shields against you. He will direct the blows of his battering rams against your walls and demolish your towers with his weapons. His horses will be so many that they will cover you with dust. Your walls will tremble at the noise of the war horses, wagons and chariots when he enters your gates as men enter a city whose walls have been broken through. The hoofs of his horses will trample all your streets; he will kill your people with the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. They will plunder your wealth and loot your merchandise; they will break down your walls and demolish your fine houses and throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea. I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be heard no more. I will make you a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets. You will never be rebuilt, for I the LORD have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 26:7-14 NIV)

Then, sixteen years later, the Lord told Ezekiel that Tyre had not fallen. He told him to prophesy this:

In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month on the first day, the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon drove his army in a hard campaign against Tyre; every head was rubbed bare and every shoulder made raw. Yet he and his army got no reward from the campaign he led against Tyre. Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army. I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 29:17-20)

I am certainly not attempting to shake your faith in prophecy today, but I am asking you to leave childish things behind. The Lord is sovereign, of that there is no doubt. But in his sovereignty, he has given the earth to man (see Psalm 115:16). When Nineveh repented, God adjusted his plan to fit the change in human hearts. Prophecy is a conversation between God and man. God announces to man what he intends to do. Man then continues on his path, or responds in a way that changes how God accomplishes his plan. If we can grasp this aspect of prophecy, we will have matured a bit more in our faith.*

Israel prayed that Nineveh’s scourge would be lifted from her back. God sent Jonah to lift the scourge. When Nineveh responded to the prophetic conversation with humility, God did not overthrow Nineveh. However, Israel’s prayers were still answered since Nineveh’s new-found humility and repentance lifted the scourge from Israel for a generation. Mercy triumphs over judgment (see James 2:13).

In the same way, the Remnant of Israel prayed that Tyre would experience justice for its wickedness in gloating over Jerusalem’s demise. Through Ezekiel, God announced that Nebuchadnezzar would release his justice by destroying Tyre. However, by the time Nebuchadnezzar arrived at Tyre sixteen years later, something on the ground had changed. Perhaps God had raised up intercessors who responded to Ezekiel’s prophecy by praying for mercy. Perhaps the leaders of Tyre read Ezekiel’s prophecy and repented. They still received a cleansing judgment—Nebuchadnezzar did ravage and destroy the settlements on the mainland and subjected Tyre to a ruinous siege—but again, mercy triumphed over judgment. Tyre did not receive the total judgment that Ezekiel had prophesied. Yet Ezekiel prophesied correctly.

Is it possible that this is what has happened in the United States? God’s people were praying that the moral scourge released in our current administration would be lifted from our nation. Did God announce the lifting of this scourge through his prophets, so that his people could pray and mobilize? Is it possible that his people humbled themselves so ardently, that they fasted and prayed so fervently, that they moved the heart of God? Is it possible that God has now moved to speed up the timetable for revival, that he has changed our direction so that we get to our destination more quickly? Has he honored the word of the prophets and answered our prayers according to his divine physics in a way that we do not yet understand?

We may not be able to answer all of these questions yet, but I do know that God’s people truly listened to his Spirit and prayed for this election like never before. Please don’t confuse the visible church with the people of whom I speak. The visible church is a mixed bag of non-Christians, lukewarm Christians, and on-fire Christians. I am discussing the on-fire Christians. I watched them pray ardently, fast fervently, and move the hand of him who rules this world. I know they did their job. In fact, they might have done it so well that we are now on a curve which is a shortcut to our destination. It may not look like one, but it is.

We are not children. We do not need simplistic answers. We are the growing and maturing Bride of Christ. We are leaving childish things behind and growing into perfection. This curve is one of the tools the Lord is using to get us there.

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*There is always a prophetic tension as a result of this “prophetic conversation.” The prophets are truly dependent upon the Lord to sustain them, because on occasion their prophecies will appear incorrect as events on the ground change, and God releases mercy into the mix. This does not justify a prophet’s refusal to be corrected, or to blindly hold on to a prophecy that appears to have been incorrect. However, it does help us to release mercy when established prophets (such as Jonah and Ezekiel) appear to miss on a prophetic word.
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