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Watch the Northwest

Last week, while the Lord was speaking to Dawn, my wife, about some of the things that we should be aware of in 2012 (or in the near future beyond 2012), she saw a vision of a compass dropping down in front of her. She knew that the Lord was telling her to watch the Northwest United States. Since the Lord was speaking to her about things that could shake, we assumed it meant that we would see some level of shaking there in the coming year.

When the Lord tells us to watch something, we do just that. We pay close attention to what is currently happening in that place, and we ask that the Lord release more revelation and understanding. If the Lord has mentioned shaking, we understand that mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13). So we pray for shock absorbers for all the people that live in the area, and especially for his people who live there.

This week, the Lord gave me two dreams on the same night that directed my attention Northwest. In the first dream, I saw a friend of mine from Washington state drive his vehicle onto a highway that we all were waiting to get on. I believe that the highway represented the highway into 2012 and beyond. Streams of cars were getting on this highway, and I was waiting to get on the highway. My friend began his trip several hours ahead of me. As I approached the highway, I saw some police officers, so I asked them about the road. They told me there was a major problem a couple hours up the road. I instantly knew that my friend would be drawing near the problem, and that I needed to call him to warn him about it.

This first dream is pretty self-evident. As we all prepare to launch into our 2012 destinies, some of us will get to significant events, and even major problems, ahead of the majority. Those who first encounter the problems will teach the rest of us about the types of things we could encounter on the road ahead. However, even those who encounter the problems first can have warning. I believe the police officers represent the spiritual authorities of the Kingdom of God who have advance information and are willing to share it with us. When we get the information, we pass it along to those who need it.

So, from Dawn’s experience and my dream, I can share this insight: We need to watch the Northwest, and pray for it, because there is going to be a major problem that will teach us about the types of things we can expect as we advance into 2012. We also can alert folks in the Northwest to step into a heightened state of intercessory alert so that they are able to handle whatever is coming their way.

So what kind of problem could be coming to the Northwest? The same night I had the first dream about my friend from Washington state, I also had a second. In the second dream, I was in the state of Washington. I knew a severe storm was coming. In fact, the atmosphere felt like the atmosphere we experience in Florida before a threatening hurricane makes landfall. At one point in this dream, I saw the storm coming across a large bay from another populated area. It was dark and foreboding, and I knew it would be at our location within the hour. At that point, I checked out the house I was going to shelter in. By south Florida standards, the house was ill-prepared to weather the storm. Instead of the concrete, block, and stucco construction that enables us to withstand high winds, the house was a frame house that appeared a little dilapidated. As I took shelter in the basement, I noted that the basement was not secure against the high winds and moisture that I expected. When I listened to the weather report, I learned that the storm had become a category three storm (a major hurricane). As I listened to the report, I realized that it would be a lot safer to stay in the house of the same friend that I had seen in the previous dream. However, I knew he was not home and had not put his shutters up, because the storm was unexpected.

I believe these dreams, and Dawn’s experience, are about a storm coming to Washington state and its vicinity. I am not suggesting that it is a literal hurricane, since water temperatures are too cold for tropical systems. However, the Lord has spoken to me about weather events in the past. Since I live in South Florida, it makes sense he would speak to me in terms I can understand. When a hurricane becomes a category 3 storm, they call it a major hurricane because its winds are between 111 and 130 mph. Winds of that speed do major damage. So, even if the dream is not about a weather event, it is still highlighting a major problem on the road ahead.

One thing I did not mention about the dream may indicate that this is about a weather event. When I was checking out the basement of the house I would be sheltering in, I noted that the basement windows had been replaced by the working end of thin, flimsy, snow shovels. I was a bit disgusted in the dream because I knew that the shovels would provide inadequate protection for what was coming. These shovels could be an interpretative key. They may show us that the problem is a major winter storm.

This would not be the first major winter storm that the Lord has spoken to us about. Back in the summer of 2000, the Lord showed us that a terrible storm was coming to the Mid-Atlantic states. He showed us it would be a Perfect Storm scenario (three storms coming together). He also told us that he could not find anyone to pray about it. I began to share this information with folks who lived in the Mid-Atlantic, but everyone, and I mean everyone, I shared it with, did not believe it referred to a real storm. They thought it symbolized something. So I shared the information with our South Florida congregation, and we began to pray against a perfect storm in the Mid-Atlantic states. We experienced supernatural encounters and confirmations along the way, so we kept praying. Eventually we got to March, 2001. The weather forecasters began to forecast a perfect storm scenario in the Mid-Atlantic for March 5. On March 2, 2001 they began to call it the storm of the century as three systems targeted it. Several governors shut down their states for the expected storm on March 5th. But, embarrassingly, nothing happened. The March 6th, 2001 USA Today called it the Imperfect Storm because it missed. I happen to know why it missed. The Lord found someone to pray.

Now, back to Washington state. I know a storm is approaching, and that it is bringing major problems, but I’m not absolutely certain it’s winter weather, though it could be. Whatever the storm is, they need our help. I have alerted some of the folks there that it is time to pray over a quickly approaching problem. This blog post is intended to alert even more intercessors. This is advance warning so that the Church is able to get it shutters in place. Shutters represent intercessory authority that brings protection to the people of an area. We have been given keys to open and shut (shutters). When things hit us by surprise, we do not have enough time to get the shutters up. The Lord spoke to us about 1999’s Hurricane Irene in 1998 so that we would have enough time to get the shutters up (you can read about that HERE). He spoke to us about the Perfect Storm of 2001 in the summer of 2000 so that we would have time to get the shutters up. He is now giving advance notice of a fast approaching problem so that we can get the shutters up.

We must keep prayer watch over the Northwest at this time. Not only so that we can provide shock absorbers for those who must go through this particular shaking, but also because we will learn about what we can expect in the near future for other parts of the United States. Watching includes praying, and it includes learning from what we see.

Watch the Northwest.

A Season of Praise

Christmas is here, with all of its complexity. It comes every year as a joyous reminder of the birth of our Savior. It comes with celebrations and families gathering, with holiday decorations and gifts. But it is also a bit more complex, in that every year it seems there is less and less of the Savior, and more and more of the Santa.

I’m not a Santa hater. I don’t think the Lord is all that upset about a figure patterned on one of his saints of old, who reminds us that Christmas is a season of giving. When the Lord wanted to speak to our congregation about our new location, he used the movie Miracle on 34th Street to let us know that he was up to something. In case you haven’t seen the movie lately, it is about Santa.

So, while I’m not a Santa hater, I’m not a fan of the fact that Santa has become the de facto reason for Christmas in the hearts and souls of many people. This truth is what makes the season more complex. When people lose the real meaning of Christmas to the veneer of the holiday traditions, they lose the very thing that makes this holiday, and our very existence, worthwhile.

I believe this is the reason that psychologists remind us that Christmas can be one of the most depressing seasons of the year. There are many lonely people who do not have relatives or friends with whom to celebrate the holidays. There are many dysfunctional families who come together for the holidays and hurt each other more than they help each other. Hurting people find out that gifts only make them feel good for a couple hours, and then the pain and futility of life without true purpose returns. Santa just doesn’t help people deal with the real issues of life.

The Savior does help people deal with those issues. In fact, we can really enjoy this holiday no matter what our current situation, no matter if we celebrate alone, with a dysfunctional group, or a healthy family, we can celebrate Christmas because it is about redemption. It is about the one who came to make all our efforts, all our relationships, and all our life worthwhile. Christ came into the world with purpose for our lives. He broke the bonds of futility and released eternal purpose and meaning.

When Zechariah, the father of John, got his voice back, he declared that the Messiah was coming

“to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” (Luke 1:74-75)

Santa just can’t measure up to that.

 

Merry Christmas!

What’s Up With Cuba? Part Two

Cuba is no longer a communist regime. It is still socialist and dictatorial, but it is no longer communist.

That is a strong statement, but I believe it is justified. The latest of Raul Castro’s economic reforms, a reform that becomes law in Cuba today (November 10, 2011), moves Cuba firmly away from its communist roots. Today, Cubans can buy and sell homes for the first time in fifty years. They not only can hold real estate, they can now buy and sell it.

One of the first planks of communism is the abolition of personal property rights. If you do a Google search of communism and personal property, you will find enough material to educate you quickly on the topic. The Communist Manifesto stated it clearly: “In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” When property rights are restored, communism is no longer the dominant principle in the culture.

The Guardian summarizes this change here:

Shortly after the Cuban revolution brought Fidel Castro to power in 1959, all homes effectively became the property of the state. Cubans who remained on the island were given the right to live in the homes they occupied and pass them on to friends or relatives. They were also permitted to swap houses. However, selling or buying was prohibited.

All that changed last week, when the Cuban government announced – with significant understatement – an “amendment” to the existing property law. What it amounts to is the creation of a legal property market and the most significant loosening of the state’s dominance of Cubans’ lives since the revolution.

The LA Times summarizes the changes here:

Starting Thursday, Cubans will be able to buy and sell their homes, and even set their own prices, without government intervention. That’s a sea change in a country where, until recently, private ownership was strictly forbidden and the accumulation of wealth considered a sin against the revolution. Fidel Castro confiscated most land titles after the 1959 revolution. Since then, Cuba’s version of property rights has amounted to little more than allowing citizens to occupy or swap homes. Even bequeathing homes to relatives who did not live in them was prohibited.

Today, Cuba is a far freer country than yesterday. Many Cubans suddenly have a wealth of equity, where before they had none. This is an amazing day for Cuba.

The Lord spoke to me about this day seven years ago (November 10, 2004). I published an article in February of this year entitled, “What’s Up with Cuba?” (you can read it here). In that article I explained a revelation the Lord had given me about Cuba seven years ago. The Lord used economic terms to speak to me about Cuba opening up. Using the economic terms the Lord had used with me, I figured out that the Lord was telling me that Cuba would open up seven years (to-the-day) from when He spoke to me.

Of course, we only know in part and prophesy in part (1 Corinthians 13:9), so I wasn’t exactly certain how this “opening up” would take place. I wasn’t even certain it would be something that you could point to out in the open, or if it would be something “behind the scenes” that we would not know about. Last week, when I saw the Associated Press article about this new Cuban property law, and then saw that it was scheduled to be implemented today, I knew that this was the reason that the Lord pointed to this day. This law will change everything in Cuba. This is the day that Cubans have been waiting for.

This is an amazing day for Cuba, but it is only the beginning. New life and prosperity are on the horizon. I do not know exactly how it will unfold, but it will unfold. Cuba is opening up.

Rina, Friend or Foe?

Earlier this week we celebrated (?) the sixth year anniversary of Hurricane Wilma’s visit to South Florida. Those of us who remember Wilma, have a strange sense of déjà vu as we watch Rina follow a similar late season track around the Caribbean. There are certainly differences between Rina and Wilma, not the least being that the Lord had spoken clearly through major prophetic ministries that 2005 was a season intended to get our eyes firmly on the Lord (a cleansing hurricane year). I have heard no such word this year.

What I have heard, is the Lake Okeechobee needs rain, and the Lord wants to help us with that.

As a result, when I see Rina, I see an opportunity. Obviously, that opportunity is also mixed with a hurricane threat, though forecasters are stating that Rina could lose much of her strength by the time she draws near Florida. Since I remember what they had said about Wilma, and that it would not be as severe as it was, I take forecasts with a grain of salt. To be fair to hurricane forecasters, they always tell you to take intensity forecasts with a grain of salt. They are still developing their science. They do very well, but there are too many variables, and in all reality, too many opportunities for supernatural interaction from both sides, for forecasters to nail it down.

So, since I want Rina’s rain without Rina’s hurricane force winds, I know how to pray. I will pray that Rina has no hurricane force winds as it approaches Florida, and I will also pray against negative flooding rains. But I will ask that it be a beneficial event for South Florida (especially the Lake Okeechobee watershed), a part of the United States that depends on tropical systems such as this to keep its lakes and aquifers healthy.

And I will plan on a wet weekend.

Filling Lake Okeechobee

On the evening of August 7, the evening that starts Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the Lord told Dawn that we were going to hit a number of home runs at our meeting that night. When Dawn shared this with me, I knew that one of the home runs needed to be our prayer that Lake Okeechobee would fill up.

Lake Okeechobee is an important part of South Florida’s water supply. We have been having problems with the lake’s water levels, because the South Florida Water Management District and the Army Corp of Engineers will not let the lake fill to its normal level of eighteen feet above sea level. The Dikes and Levees surrounding the lake are so compromised and in need of repair (currently being done), that they will not allow the lake to get over fifteen feet above sea level. While this is an important safety measure, it creates a problem for South Florida’s water supply.

Sometimes the dry seasons in South Florida are so dry, that Lake Okeechobee can drop four or five feet before the summer rains fall. When the lake drops below ten feet, we are in trouble. When it drops below nine feet, we are in big trouble, and water restrictions become draconian.

You will understand our need, then, when I report that as of October 1, Lake Okeechobee was at eleven feet above sea level. To make matters worse, our winter dry season has started weeks earlier than normal. Things were looking very bad.

In view of the negative outlook, I knew we must use our authority and pray that Lake Okeechobee would receive abundant amounts of rain quickly. The weather forecasters had stated that there was some sort of tropical disturbance over the Bahamas that would impact Florida on some level over Yom Kippur, so we decided to call it over Lake Okeechobee’s watershed. I really wanted a home run. What would a home run look like? I didn’t really know, but I was hoping we could get close to the twelve foot mark.

In retrospect, that would have only been a double. Yom Kippur turned out to be very wet as the tropical disturbance over the Bahamas did move over South Florida. We didn’t realize how wet things were until the Sun-Sentinel published an article on Saturday calling the weather on October 8, Yom Kippur, a hundred year rain event.

Here are the important quotes from the article in the Sun-Sentinel:

The lake, South Florida’s primary backup water supply, is expected to rise as much as 2 feet because of water draining in from storms in Central Florida . . . . Oct. 8 turned into the wettest day in nearly 100 years for areas near the Kissimmee River, which drains into Lake Okeechobee. Rainfall averaged about 6 inches across 3,000 square miles, with some areas getting as much as 14 inches.

I am already prepared to call this a home run, but I’m really not certain that is the only impact that our prayer has had. We are having a very wet and soggy day in South Florida because of another tropical disturbance some distance to our southwest. I saw the system developing near Mexico on Saturday, and made a mental note to call it in over Lake Okeechobee on Sunday. So, yesterday, we again prayed for rain over Lake Okeechobee and called this system to head toward our area. Today, for the first time, I saw the computer models for this system. As you can see from the graphic, things could get a lot wetter before this system disappears. That can only help the lake’s water levels. Most of the models put the system right over Lake Okeechobee’s watershed on its way over Florida (Lake Okeechobee is marked in blue on the graphic). That would certainly help the lake’s water levels and alleviate a lot of our concern about the dry season.

When you are playing baseball, home runs are beneficial and fun. When you are praying for rain which will help the people and economy of an area, a home run is a powerful reminder of God’s mercy and the authority he has given his people in prayer. We’ve just hit one of those. Let’s keep going after more.