Category Archives: Teaching

An Inspiring Translation of Romans 8

RomansText1Many of you know that, among the other things that I do, I also teach biblical Greek when needed at MorningStar University College of Theology. Since my normal focus for this blog doesn’t require a lot of Greek, I rarely reference it. But recently I was reminded of something that I often take for granted. I was at a pastors’ meeting, and was using a Bible program on my iPhone to check Greek and Hebrew references. Whenever the person who was speaking referenced a nuance of the original languages, I would check it. I usually check references to the original language because, on occasion, I will find that the person who is speaking has overstated the case for the meaning of a particular Greek or Hebrew word. Like a good Berean, I always have my iPhone at the ready.

What I didn’t realize while I was at the pastors’ meeting, is that the person to my right could clearly see me reading Greek and Hebrew scriptures from my iPhone as the speaker referenced them. At the conclusion of the message, that person told me what an amazing thing it was that I could work with the original languages. It was clear that the person saw it as a great blessing. I agree with that assessment, but rather than feeling a sense of pride, I am simply grateful that the Lord took me through an education system that had required me to learn the biblical languages. I do not suffer from any illusion that I would have sought those skills on my own.

As a result of the interaction at the pastors’ meeting, the Lord was able to remind me about Romans 8. He reminded me that he wanted me to use the skill set that he has given me to work on a translation of Romans 8 that is more accurate and meaningful than those that are available. That, actually, is not as difficult as it sounds. Most translations are done by a committee. Each committee member has theological prejudices and understandings that may actually close some areas of the Scripture to his or her understanding. Since it is a committee, there is no guarantee that the most appropriate or meaningful translation will be the one chosen.

The other problem translators have is the one of tradition. The King James Version has left its mark. Unless a new Bible is clearly labeled a paraphrase, it will not do well if it strays too far from the King James Version. Since so many of the newer translations have stayed fairly close to the King James Version’s choices in many areas, it has made it very difficult to break from the crowd with any sense of legitimacy.

Do not get me wrong, most modern translations are amazing tools for our growth in Christ, and the scholarship has advanced in profound ways from the days of Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, and those scholars who labored over the KJV. Our translations are special gifts from God, and the fact that we have so many good translations at our disposal is an incredible blessing. However, for the reasons mentioned above, every translation has strengths and weaknesses.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: At this point, some of you may simply want to scroll down to the translation of Romans 8 below. I’m about to get into a bit of grammar. Some of you will find it very interesting. It may put some of you to sleep. You know who you are. Scroll down now if you need to do so.

For those who are still with me in this paragraph, I will give an example of how the King James Version often sets the direction a translation can or will take. In Romans 8:28, the KJV translates the Greek in this fashion: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” This is a well known translation of the Greek, but it has theological difficulties in the English translation, and grammatical difficulties from the Greek. However, it is such a well known passage of Scripture, that newer versions are almost forced to stay somewhat close to it. I’ll give several examples from newer translations:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)

The NIV breaks the furthest from the KJV by making God the subject of the sentence. Instead of the rather nebulous concept of “all things” somehow working themselves out for good, the NIV clearly shows that God is the one who works all thing for good. That is significantly different than the other translations, and I certainly agree with that choice of the NIV translators to make God the subject.

There is still a puzzling problem with the verb. The verb most naturally means to “work with someone,” not to “make things work together.” None of the translations above incorporate this rather awkward fact into their framework. However, the verb clearly indicates that God is working with someone. So if God works with someone, it would be nice to know who that someone is. Actually, there is only one option: those who love him. The Greek phrase translated “those who love God” is in the dative case. The verb “works with” almost requires that it be followed by the dative case. These two phrases are like magnets being drawn together. “God works with” must irresistibly attract “those who love him.” Thus, this becomes the most grammatically and theologically appropriate translation of the verse:

And we know that God works all things for good with those who love Him; with those who are called according to his purpose.

This is a very natural reading of the Greek language of Romans 8:28. I polish it a bit in my translation below, but in my view, it is the only reading that makes the most sense grammatically and theologically. I am certainly not the only Greek scholar who translates it this way, however, the versions have stayed away from it (although the NIV did place this option in a footnote). My suspicion is that they stay away because it is too radical of a departure from the tradition.

Please note that the theological implications of this sentence are staggering, and far different than the traditional understanding. In our normal understanding of this verse, God is working behind the scenes so that all of the things that happen to us, whether good or bad, work out for our good. What it actually states is that God is working with us, and we are actively engaged in working with God so that all things result in good. In the traditional translations, we are recipients of the actions of God. As corrected, we are participants in making all things result in good. In the corrected translation we become agents of God working to bring positive change in a world where negative things happen. All things are most certainly not good, but we actively partner with God to release as much good as we can into even the most awful situations.

I trust that the translation of Romans 8:28 whets your appetite so that you are eager to read the entire chapter of Romans. Translations by one translator certainly can also have their issues. However, one translator works without a committee, and thus can make choices that more clearly indicate what he believes is Paul’s intent. You will be able to see if I have achieved that objective.

I present my translation of Romans 8 here to fulfill an assignment that the Lord gave me, and to provide a clear and workable translation of the chapter:

Romans 8:1-39

  1. Now then, there is no sentence of death for anyone who is in Christ Jesus.
  2. For the power of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus set you free from the power of sin and death.
  3. For what the power of law was unable to do, in that it was weak on account of the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and He punished sin in the flesh of his Son for the sake of those who sinned.
  4. He did this in order that the legal requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who are not walking according to flesh, but according to spirit.
  5. For those who live only in flesh think of fleshly things, but those who live according to spirit think of spiritual things.
  6. For the thoughts of the flesh release death in all of its manifestations, but the thoughts of the spirit release unmistakable life and peace.
  7. For the thoughts of the flesh are hostile to God because the flesh is not submitted to the principles of God; it is unable to do so.
  8. And those who are living according to their flesh are not able to please God.
  9. But you Romans are not living according to flesh, on the contrary, you are living according to spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in your midst. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
  10. But if Christ is in your midst, the body has death working in it on account of sin, but the spirit has life working in it on account of righteousness.
  11. And if the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead lives in your midst, the One who raised Christ from the dead will also release life to your physical bodies through His Spirit dwelling in your midst.
  12. Now therefore, brothers, we are in debt, not to the flesh to live according to fleshly principles,
  13. for if you live according to fleshly principles, you will most certainly die a premature death. But if instead you put to death the fleshly deeds of the body with the Spirit, you not only will not die prematurely, you will have life in you,
  14. because as many as are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
  15. For you did not receive a spirit that is in bondage to the fear of death, but you received a spirit of divine adoption by which we cry, “Abba Father!”
  16. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
  17. Now if we are children of God, then we are also heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer together with Him in order that also we might share in glory together with Him.
  18. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.
  19. For the creation is filled with confident expectation as it eagerly awaits the revealing of the sons of God.
  20. For the creation has been subjected to futility, not willingly, but because the One who subjected it to futility has absolute confidence
  21. that the creation will be released from slavery to decay, and will be brought into the freedom and the splendor of the children of God.
  22. For we know that the whole creation together groans and suffers even until the present time.
  23. But creation isn’t the only one, we who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan in ourselves awaiting divine adoption, the freeing of the entire body of believers.
  24. For this hope we have been rescued, but it is no longer hope when you can see it. For who hopes for what he sees?
  25. But if we hope for what we do not see, we are patiently waiting.
  26. And likewise also the Spirit helps with our weakness. For we do not fully understand the absolute necessity of prayer, but the Spirit himself appeals on our behalf with inexpressible groans.
  27. And the One who examines hearts knows what the thoughts of the Spirit mean, because it is by the will of God that the Spirit approaches the throne on behalf of the saints.
  28. And we know that God works with those who love Him so that all things result in good; He works with those who are called according to His purpose.
  29. Because those He foreknew, He also set on a path to conform to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.
  30. And those He set on that path, He also called. And those He called, He also pronounced righteous. And those He pronounced righteous, He has also given honor.
  31. Therefore, what shall we say to these things? If God is our champion, who can oppose us?
  32. Indeed, He did not spare his own Son, but delivered Him up on behalf of us all. Since that is true, how will He not also, working with His Son, freely give all things to us?
  33. Who would dare bring an accusation against God’s chosen ones? God is the one who has declared them righteous!
  34. Who would dare bring a guilty verdict? Christ Jesus, the One who died, and more than that, was raised to life, He is also on the right hand of God and He is always pleading before the throne on our behalf.
  35. Who can divorce us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, dire straits, harassment, famine, nakedness, peril or threat of sword be able to do it?
  36. Just as it is written: “For your sake we are put to death the entire day; we are counted as sheep for slaughter.”
  37. But in all these things we are completely and overwhelmingly victorious through the One who loved us.
  38. For I am fully persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither current events nor future events, neither earthly powers,
  39. nor powers in the heavens above or in the depths below, and nothing else in all of creation is able to divorce us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


I trust that you are edified and encouraged. If you have any questions about the translation, I am more than willing to discuss the nuances of the translation with anyone who desires. I know that one question many readers might have is, “Why, in verse 9, do you translate Paul’s words as ‘You Romans,’ when the Greek word for Romans is nowhere to be found?” Ahh, that is a great question. I am glad you asked. The answer is that Paul used the plural form of “you” in several places in that section. It is obvious at those points that he was not addressing a hypothetical person (using “you” in the singular), he was addressing a group of people to whom he was writing. That group of people was the Romans. Whenever the “you” is plural, I have attempted to show that he was addressing the Roman congregation as a whole, rather than only the individual.

I trust you will be blessed by this translation. If you share it with others, you might want to link back to this blog so that they can see the reason for some of my choices, and ask questions if they are so inclined.

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The Winnowing Has Begun

TrainsThe Body of Christ is currently being separated into two groups. One group will be used in amazing ways in the days ahead. They will unleash the power of the Kingdom of Heaven with such love and grace that the world will stand in awe that such things are being done by mere humans. Those in this group will become God’s end time agents who will help turn Satan’s kingdom upside down, and will initiate the restoration of all things (see Acts 3:19-21). The other group will find themselves on the outside of God’s purposes, looking with longing and regret on what could have been.

The good news is that the group you join is your choice. The bad news is that many are currently choosing the path to disaster.

The Lord recently gave us a picture of the choice that we now face. The picture was that of two trains that run on parallel tracks side by side. The trains look almost the same. They appear to be going to the same destination. For all practical purposes they will run in the same direction at the same speed for quite some distance. But in the end, only one of the trains will get to its destination. The other will suffer loss.

The Lord then said that the two trains are the Encouragement Train and the Discouragement Train.

The Lord has warned us that there is a wave of discouragement coming. He issued a strong warning that it will be such an intense wave of discouragement that many will begin to waver. Even as he gave us this advance warning, he mentioned the Discouragement Train and said, “Don’t get on that train!”

I know this warning is necessary. I have been surprised at the amount of discouraging hype that has recently been released in the body of Christ. Relatively prominent teachers have released predictions about the times in which we live. I do not know their intent, or the full extent of their teaching, but I have seen the results. I have seen an onslaught of fear and self-focus among God’s people. Fear and self-focus are not a fruit of the spirit. Instead, they are evidence that we have boarded the Discouragement Train. If you have given in to fear and self-focus, get off that train right now!

Do not misinterpret what I am saying. I believe that there are certainly difficult times ahead. But one thing I know, we do not get through those difficult times by endlessly parroting what this moon or that seven year cycle portends for the future. Difficult times are upon us. Get over it. The world is under judgment. Get over it. We overcome all of it by focusing on the Kingdom authority we have been granted in Jesus Christ. We overcome it by focusing on our mission and purpose in a lost world as we lay down or lives for those around us. We overcome it as we have always overcome every obstacle in this new covenant era—by the blood of the lamb, the word of our testimony, and not loving our lives so much that we shrink back from laying them down if necessary.

Jesus told his disciples, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19). He said that before his victory on the cross. Now that he has crushed Satan’s head, we have even more authority, and more power to overcome. We are overcomers. There is nothing that Satan can unleash against the Body of Christ that is able to overcome it. The gates of hell, all the evil that Satan is capable of marshaling against the Church, will not be able to stand against the power of God’s overcomers. Rather than focusing on the judgment and the evil, why don’t we focus on our job description? Why don’t we extend the Kingdom of God and the shelter it provides (see Matthew 13:31-32) wherever we go?

The Lord showed us another picture recently. He showed us that he was setting out nets to trap those who were releasing fear among his people. When he told us this, I knew that some of the very things that have recently released so much fear in the Body of Christ were part of the trap. As the Lord showed us the trap, he said, “It is a huge challenge when you hang around chickens. Chickens have a tendency to make you doubt and second guess yourself. They are not encouraging at all. They’re always skeptical, and they are always chickens.”

The Lord is beginning to draw the chickens away to the Discouragement Train so that the chickens do not hinder the people of God. Then his people will board the Encouragement Train and can encourage each other once the chickens have been separated in the current winnowing.

There is a time soon coming, and even now upon us, where the righteous will shine forth as the sun exercising the authority of the Kingdom of Heaven. However, before that can happen, the winnowing must take place. Those who claim to be a part of God’s Kingdom will board the one train or the other. Those who preach fear and discouragement will be removed, just like the ten spies who discouraged Israel (see Numbers 14:36-38). It is a time like that which Jesus prophesied in Matthew 13 when he said,

“The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:41-43 NASB)

If you are on the wrong train, I don’t believe it is too late to jump off, but now is the time. Get on the right train.


Shameless Plug for Drinking Water in Kenya:

A friend of mine, Pat Selvey, is living in Kenya digging wells to save the lives of children there. He asked if I would advertise an opportunity to purchase a drilling rig. The ministry has already raised most of what is needed for the drilling rig. Here is what Pat wrote, and a few excerpts from the website:

There is a water crisis in Africa. In many areas waterborne disease is the biggest killer of children under the age of 5. Water born disease is preventable. Clean drinking water for 150,000 school children requires that Hydrating Humanity purchase a deep-hole drill rig. We have been able to raise over $265,000 so far. Our goal is to raise $300,000 as quickly as possible to get this drill rig purchased and deployed into the Kuria School District in Southwest Kenya.

Would you consider being a part of raising the additional money needed? Every dollar given in this fundraiser will be used to purchase this critical equipment. Your gift of $10, $50, $100, $1,000 or $10,000 gets us one step closer to helping kids get clean water for the first time ever! It truly is a gift that will keep on giving!

If you would like to help, or to find out more, click HERE.


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Fifty Shades of Nausea

fiftyshadesThe newest demonic attempt to subjugate men and women by snaring them with perverse sexual hooks is breaking records across the United States as it aims for $500 million dollars worldwide. At the same time, since the Lord pays very close attention to such things, it is probably also sealing Hollywood’s fate. I was going to entitle this post Fifty Shades of Demonization, but I am so saddened by the fact that Satan has been able to use Hollywood to foist this video trojan horse on so many people, that I’m feeling a bit sick about it. The demonic influence, the hooks, that this movie will impart to those who are not already afflicted in this area, will cause them pain, confusion, and physical and mental heartache for years to come—and may accompany some to their death bed long after destroying the joys of their marriage bed.

Pornography, any pornography, is an attack against the marriage bed, and will bear bitter fruit decades beyond its experience (except for those who are delivered by God’s grace). It is a fruitless pit that has entrapped millions of men and women into a negative spiral that destroys relationships with both God and man. The fact that Hollywood has become so facile at packaging it in a form that is breaking records, only speaks to their culpability, and to their ultimate recompense.

Last night I had the pleasure of dining with a group of friends who lead other churches in my area. It is always an enjoyable time as we spend time growing together while sharing food. It was a great night in a lot of ways, except for one point that threatened my digestion. One of the pastors at the table brought up the fact that many of those who were helping make Fifty Shades of Depravity so successful, were Christians who attended our churches every weekend. I was, as the British are wont to say, gobsmacked. As several voices were raised in affirmation of his statement, I responded rather adamantly, “Not in my congregation.”

I couldn’t imagine. I just could not imagine. I know God’s people can be a mess as they grow up in him, but I also know how passionately the folks that I pastor are pursuing the Lord. They understand that they are to be in the world, but not of the world (see John 17:13-19). They understand that in the day we are living that the Lord has called us to waist deep commitment in him (see Ezekiel 47:3-6); that waist deep commitment involves sanctifying our sexual lives. They understand that if they want to be anything more than Satan’s plaything, someone he can torment at will, they will wear the breastplate of righteousness and thus, guard their hearts (see Ephesians 6:10-18). How could anyone who is pursuing the Lord with any level of energy put Fifty Shades of Deviance into their ear and eye gate? I still cannot imagine.

Don’t misunderstand, I can imagine how people who are playing church can do such things. I can imagine how those who are still infants, tossed back and forth by every wind of deceitful teaching can do such things. I can imagine how someone who hasn’t been taught about true grace and righteousness might do such things—or even those who are fighting demonic strongholds. I just cannot imagine how a Christian who is being sanctified by the Lord Jesus Christ through his Holy Spirit could easily do such things. The war, the anguish, the ripping away of peace, the groaning as our spiritual strength wastes away, these things that accompany rebellion make it all but impossible for a Christian to lightly step into something like this movie. I can imagine that there are Christians who are deceived into seeing Fifty Shades of Degeneracy because of their lack of spiritual growth and discernment, I just can’t imagine that there would be many, nor that it would be all that enjoyable an experience. If they have not totally seared their conscience, they would feel the cords of bondage wrapping around them as they partake of the putrid leavings of a degenerate director.

Obviously, I expect that most people who read this blog are not among those so deceived. However, if you have been thus deceived, there is forgiveness and deliverance available, it is as close as calling out to Jesus for his help. He truly has come to set us free from such bondage (see John 8:34-36). However, it always starts by recognizing our great error, and then focusing on his great grace. He cannot forgive excuses. He most heartily forgives repentance as he strengthens us for future victory.

As I wrote above, Fifty Shades of Debauchery may also be one final nail in Hollywood’s coffin. The Lord is so merciful, that when he was forced to send judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah because the outcry against them had reached heaven, he also put their sin on display so that those who could not hear the outcry would be able to see that his judgment was just. In much the same way, Fifty Shades of Degradation has now showcased how adept Hollywood has become at packaging the most depraved material for a mass audience. It has become a master at causing many to stumble. As a result, I can hear echoes of Jesus’ words reverberating through the atmosphere:

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
(Matthew 18:6)

If those pastors who voiced their opinion that many Christians are stumbling into this movie are right, I would expect to see a divine response ere long. My hope is that they are absolutely wrong.

Kyrie eleison!


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Don’t Forget to Wave

timelineI have been spending a bit of time grappling with time. The Lord has been showing me things about time, and about how time was created for us; we were not created for time. I hope that last sentence reverberates around your soul for a little while. It is a paraphrase of what Jesus said about the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath.

You see, in Jesus’ day, the Sabbath had become the master of the people. God intended to bless his people through the Sabbath, breaking the daily work cycle every seven days. The Lord knows us so well that he commanded that no work be done on the Sabbath. He understands our compulsion to work, to accomplish, and to achieve so well that he placed an absolute prohibition against work that could only be broken for emergencies. However, the legalists had taken over the sabbath principle, and turned the day from a day of rest to a day of meticulous rule keeping and mendaciously applied strictures on every day life. The sabbath law, which had been created to liberate man from bondage to work, had been turned into something that tied them more firmly in bondage. The Sabbath had been created to serve man, but the legalists made man serve the Sabbath.

In the same way, time was created to serve man, but after the fall it became man’s master. When death entered into the world, the clock started ticking. Suddenly, mankind had a finite amount of time to accomplish all the goals and pursuits that could have filled an eternity. Time, which had been created to bless mankind by marking days and seasons and years, instantly became man’s master.

However, when Jesus defeated Satan, he brought life and immortality to light (see 2 Timothy 1:10). One of the results is that time is no longer supposed to be our master, it is supposed to be our servant. The implications of that statement are well outside the scope of this article, and for now, mostly outside the scope of my understanding. But the Lord is trying to knock my blinders off so that I understand more.

To that end, he dropped a seed of knowledge into my soul today that left me dumbfounded for a minute. That tidbit is about the great cloud of witnesses. These witnesses are mentioned in Hebrews 12:1, just after the writer to the Hebrews has listed the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. Having drawn attention to these heroes who have gone before, the writer to the Hebrews says that “we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witness” (see Hebrews 12:1).

One accepted truth about time is that God exists outside of time. He created time for us. When I think of God existing out of time, I like to think of time as a foot long ruler. I imagine that one end of the ruler is the beginning of time, and the other end of the ruler is the end of time. In this view, God’s consciousness is larger than the ruler; it is larger than time. In reality, as he views time, he is viewing and interacting with every second of time simultaneously. That means that God is interacting with Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, Luther, and us all at once. We are the creatures of time, he is not.

I know, for many of you, I am messing with your heads right now. Actually, I am messing with your blinders. Until you begin to see time in this fashion, you will be limited to the human perspective. When God put eternity in our heart (see Ecclesiastes 3:11), he made it possible for us to conceive of time from his eternal perspective, rather than our limited time-saturated experience.

While this has implications for whole areas of theology—again, outside the scope of this article—as I stated earlier, the Lord showed me one thing today that stopped me in my tracks. He had recently given us a prophetic picture of a dear mentor who has passed into eternity. He actually showed us a picture of him sitting on a very comfortable chair, with a ringside seat, watching events that he helped set in motion begin to play out. He is truly part of the great cloud of witnesses. It was a very encouraging picture.

I was contemplating that picture today, and realized that since my friend was now outside of time, he could begin to see time from God’s perspective, though in a much more limited way. Although I believe our intellectual capacities will be incredibly expanded once we are free from the results of the fall, we are not God. We do not have his capacities. So I was considering how my friend might be moving his chair around different slices of time to take in the events of history. I realized, that since he can now see from God’s viewpoint, that it is possible to move his chair around the different slices of time and watch them as they occur. Do you feel your blinders shifting yet?

As I considered this, I realized that my friend could be watching slices of time in which he played a role. Then it suddenly occurred to me. That means, that while he was on this earth, my friend was already a part of the great cloud of witnesses watching the events of his life, and the lives of those around him, unfold with all the intricacy of a tapestry being woven together. Then the moment of revelation came. I realized that the great cloud of witnesses already includes every believer who will ever name the name of Christ.

What do I mean? When we, each of us, enters into that eternal state, we step out of time and take our seat in the great cloud of witnesses. We all then have the ability to peer through the sea of glass from God’s perspective outside of time. In a sense, we will be able to move our chairs to whatever place in living history we desire. We will see God’s glory played out in history as witnesses of his glory, from the beginning of time to its end.

That is why the great cloud of God’s people are known as the great cloud of witnesses. They witness God’s glorious works on the earth from the beginning of time to its very end. When we, each of us, step into that great cloud, we will be able to see from God’s perspective, like my mentor and friend. We will also be able to move from one slice of time to the next, examining God’s glory on display in the individual lives of every person who ever lived on this planet, in the individual lives of every animal and every insect that ever lived on this planet, in the birth and death of stars and galaxies throughout the universe. The staggering complexity of this universe means that we will be busy for quite some time giving glory to God for everything he has done from the very beginning of time to its very end. In the process, we will learn about new facets of our Creator and King, and be able to give him glory with even more understanding.

Now, to the reason for the title to this article. Since at some point in our future we will step out of time, and since we will then no longer be subject to time, but will be able to see time from God’s eternal perspective, this means that you and I are already a part of that great cloud of witnesses. We are witnessing the events of time as they happen, and as members of that great cloud, we are also observing the events of this slice of time, watching events unfold around the world and around the universe, but most certainly also seeing how the Lord worked in our own lives during this slice of time. That means—and this is the part that might startle—that means that we are already watching ourselves. So how about giving yourself a wave?

Paul, of course, described this by saying that we are already seated in the heavenly places with Christ:

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7 NIV)

So go ahead and wave.


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Another Historic Hurricane Season

RecordBreakerFor the ninth year in a row, Florida has not been struck by a hurricane. This is the longest stretch that Florida has not been hit by a hurricane—by four years—since records were first reliably kept in 1851. Florida is not the only state with good fortune. The United States is enjoying the longest stretch of time since the Civil War without a major hurricane making landfall.

While the hurricane season is not officially over until November 30th, it feels like it is time for God’s praying people to take a victory lap.

If you have followed this blog for long, and have read the posts on intercessory authority, you know that God’s people have incredible authority when they wield the keys of the Kingdom. We only need to pick up those keys and use them. This hurricane season, and the records that continue to be broken by such peaceful seasons, is further evidence that God’s people are beginning to understand their intercessory authority.

If it were up to me, and very often it really is up to us, Florida would never be hit by another hurricane. To that end, we have our prayer warriors and our protecting hedges in place throughout the hurricane season. We have been reinforcing those hedges through intercessory prayer every year since 1999. It is no coincidence that just as we, and many other intercessors, have begun to understand and apply our authority over the hurricane season, that the seasons began to diminish in intensity. Each and every year we gain more understanding and authority, and each year for the last nine, the storms keep turning away. This is either an amazing coincidence, or it is incredible evidence of the authority the Lord has granted his Church. I believe, without any doubt, it is because of the authority his Church is learning to wield.

Ken Kaye, a weather reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, summarized the record breaking 2014 hurricane season in an article he wrote on November 21 (read the full article HERE). Here are some quotes from Ken’s article:

Because the state on average is struck by a hurricane once every five years, it’s “astounding that Florida has gone so long without a hit,” said Dan Kottlowski, lead hurricane forecaster for

Since 2005, 61 hurricanes have bypassed Florida, the last being this year’s Hurricane Gonzalo, said Jim Lushine, a retired forecaster and tropical expert. “That’s the third-longest streak of missed hurricane strikes in the past 100 years,” he said.

In addition, the season presented some mysteries . . . the Atlantic basin is supposedly entrenched in a period where hurricanes form frequently and more intensely, yet this year’s overall tropical energy was about two-thirds normal . . .

El Niño, initially predicted to emerge by the heart of the season, was a no-show. Yet the wind shear over the Atlantic basin was remarkably strong and eerily similar to El Niño conditions.

Still, he said, the atmosphere is complex and “we just don’t fully understand what’s going on out there in the tropics.”

That last quote is my favorite. One almost has to feel sorry for those trying to understand what is happening when they are unable to factor in the supernatural. How can a scientist factor prayer into any equation? It is a difficult proposition for them.

My goal is to become so good at praying against hurricanes, that we confound the scientists even more fully. Almost by definition, that is what we are saying anytime we call forth supernatural response into this natural realm. The supernatural will always confound those who focus only on the natural world.

I’m already watching next season closely. Several years ago the Lord spoke to me in a way that made me believe that we may have to counter a specific threat in the 2015 hurricane season. As a result, I will be even more alert for next season, and praying that at its end, we will have extended the number of years since Florida’s last hurricane strike to ten.

I believe we have an incredible authority to stop almost any storm when we are engaged in the intercessory authority of God. However, I do have one caveat: I also know about cleansing judgments. The Lord sometimes uses storms as discipline when we stray from his purposes. You can read more about this topic in my post entitled Cleansing Hurricanes (see that post HERE). The Lord hasn’t spoken to me, as far as I know, about the next cycle of cleansing storms. I personally hope there isn’t another cycle of such storms, but I know how rebellious we can be, and I also know that cleansing hurricanes are an important tool in the hands of a loving Father who wishes to call his children to repentance.

We can speak more about such things in future years. For now, we can celebrate. The year of our Lord, two thousand and fourteen, has been a record breaking year for God’s people. That fact is worth a bit of joyous celebration.

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