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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.

Ophelia?

Ophelia? Really?

Who comes up with these names?

There is still a lot of warm water that could aid in Ophelia’s development. So add this storm to your prayer list. We are in the latter part of the season, but that doesn’t mean that we can get off the hurricane prayer wall, especially during this busy season.

Thanks to everyone who has prayed and used the keys Jesus granted his church to reduce the impact this season could have had. Please keep up the good work.

Katia/Katrina

We aren’t fooled by the name change. Katia is Katrina’s new alias. When a storm does significant damage, a government can issue a request that its name be retired. Because of the damage Katrina did to the Gulf Coast in 2005, that request was made and its name was retired. Now we have Katia (No offense to anyone with the name Katia, but how do you get Kaht-Cha from that spelling?). Katia is Katrina’s latest incarnation.

I only have two real comments on Katia. The first is that Katrina hit on August 29th, 2005. We are only a few days beyond that date, which reminds us that we are experiencing a very active hurricane season. In 1999, Hurricane Irene did not hit until October 15.

The second comment is really a prayer focus. While we do not know Katia’s real direction yet (the computer models vary widely), I have a prophetic direction based upon something Bob Jones told me. Bob Jones, a prophet whom the Lord has given much information about hurricanes in the past years, told us earlier in the year that the Jacksonville area was under threat this year. So as we have held our hurricane prayer meetings this year, we have added prayers for Jacksonville’s protection. While Katia may not threaten Jacksonville, it is worth praying for it by name because of Bob’s warning. Of course, we can also extend our prayers to the entire coast line. I’m sure the good folks along the coastlines north and south of Jacksonville would appreciate the extra coverage.

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Update: It is now Monday morning (Labor Day) and it appears that Katia is going to bend out to sea. Many folks have prayed that this would happen, and it appears that this is exactly what will happen—according to the National Hurricane Center’s five day forecast. Notice in the graphic below that all the computer models now show the bend out to sea (the black line is the extrapolated direction based upon the motion for the last twelve hours, it is not really a computer model). This storm is still worth watching and praying over, but it does not appear to be a real threat to the United States coastline.