Category Archives: Headlines

Enjoying God Moments

UpsideDownChildLast night I was taken aback by God. It was one of those moments that I knew he had done something, I just couldn’t figure out why.

Here is what he did: Several weeks ago I decided to buy an intermediate pair of boots (that’s Cowboy boots for the truly discerning among us). I have a couple pairs of really nice boots, and one really grizzly pair of work boots that have paint, mortar, dirt, and all sorts of stains on them. I don’t have anything in-between, and I was wearing the nice boots way more than you should wear dress boots. So I decided to get a low end pair for everyday use. Here is where things get interesting. As I checked the boot maker’s website, I found a low end pair of boots that met my needs. However, as I perused their styles, a nice pair of smooth ostrich skin boots caught my eye. As I checked things out, I noted that the ostrich skin boots were twice as much money as the other pair I was looking at. So I decided against the ostrich, found a vendor that had the cheaper boots at a reasonable price, and placed my order.

I received the boots yesterday. Actually, I didn’t receive the boots I ordered. That’s what took me aback. I received the boots I had decided not to order. When I opened the shipping package, I found myself staring at the smooth ostrich skin boots that had caught my eye. I actually sat speechless for a few moments. When Dawn noticed my rather dumbfounded expression, she asked what was up. When I explained, she asked me to check to make sure I hadn’t accidentally ordered the ostrich boots. I knew I had not, but I quickly verified that I had ordered and paid for the other, much less expensive boots.

The truly amazing thing is that the vendor could not have known I had even looked at the ostrich boots. And with hundreds of styles and options, it is impossible to believe that they just somehow accidentally grabbed the exact pair I had been looking at. That is why I was amazed.

Dawn commented, “I guess the Lord wanted you to have those boots.” Yeah, I guess.

Of course, I sent an email to the vendor to alert them to the switch. I am still waiting to hear back from them. But no matter how this turns out, I recognized that the Lord was doing something. I just wanted to figure out what. This morning he gave me a vivid dream that helped me understand.

In the dream, Dawn and I were sitting next to each other as passengers on a large aircraft. After we had taken off, and had been in the air long enough to attain cruising altitude, the pilot announced over the intercom that we had just now received permission to take off. He obviously thought this was humorous. In fact, to punctuate this fact, he put the aircraft into a roll and dive just to play around a bit. At the end of the dive he continued the roll so that we flew upside down for a brief period. I remember thinking apprehensively, “Don’t do that!” as I felt my hair following the direction of gravity. The captain righted the plane, and then just for fun, flew upside down again.

When I woke up, I remembered how real the dream felt, and I remembered the pilot’s playful nature. That’s when I realized what the boots were all about. The Lord was having fun. He enjoyed turning my world upside down for a few seconds as I struggled to comprehend how I held the ostrich skin boots in my hands. I have no doubt that he enjoyed himself a great deal at just how incredulous I must have looked, and I believe he enjoyed it when I knew he was up to something. He was enjoying one of his kids.

We really need to hear this message. We live in dire times. The world is getting to be a dark place. But I don’t believe our Captain is one bit concerned. He is so far ahead of this game, that his plans are already in flight before those on the ground, those who look at things from the natural perspective, even know he has taken off. He is so far ahead of the game, he can even afford to have a bit of fun with those who are going along for the ride.

This is an encouragement to everyone who has been so focused on goals and purposes that you have forgotten to enjoy the relationship we have with our Captain. Last time I looked, the joy of the Lord was still our strength. Give him some room the turn your world upside down for a few moments today. He might just surprise you.
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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 Last Enemy Falls

Calendar
I don’t remember being concerned about my execution date. I just knew it was coming. The leaders had decided that it was best that I die. I knew I had not committed some noteworthy crime, but I also knew that this fact didn’t matter. They had planned the execution, and they intended to go through with it. Apart from the fact that they planned on killing me, everything else seemed normal. I wasn’t even confined, but I did have an appointment that I had to keep.

The day of the execution came. I kept my appointment and walked to the appointed place. The leader was there, and so were his executioners. However, things took a difficult turn for them when I looked at them and said, “This isn’t going to happen.” As I spoke these words, everyone in the room became painfully aware that I was far better armed, and far better trained than anyone else in the room. Everyone knew that they could not force me to submit to their plans. They could not even hinder me. I turned and walked away from them, knowing they had no authority over me.

That is the dream that I had last week Friday. It is about our authority over death.

Death has reigned on this earth since Adam and Eve fell into sin. Every person born in previous generations, with very few exceptions, has died. Those of us who are still alive are walking around under a death sentence. There is a date marked on a calendar that we cannot see. We walk around living our lives as if everything is normal, just like in my dream, even as the day of execution draws near. This is an appointment that few have been able to avoid.

However, that will change. In 1 Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul states that Jesus must reign at the right hand of the Father until all of his enemies are put under his feet. Then Paul teaches us about Jesus’ last enemy: “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26 NIV).

Before Jesus returns, death will be dethroned. Jesus must sit at the right hand of the Father until he puts all his enemies under his feet. As the head of the Church, Jesus is guiding and directing us to batter down the gates of hell. The kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ. The Church, at Jesus direction and using his authority and gifts, will put all Jesus’ enemies under his feet. Jesus will not return until every last one of his enemies is vanquished. At a certain point, death will be the only remaining enemy; then death, too, will fall.

My dream was about death’s fall. One day in the future, hopefully the not-so-distant future, a generation of Christians will wake up to find that they have more spiritual authority and more spiritual power than death. They will realize that Jesus has given them so many spiritual weapons, and has trained them so well, that they no longer have to submit to death. They will gladly and victoriously say to death, “This isn’t going to happen anymore!”

When will this happen? Before Jesus comes again. He will remain seated at the Father’s right hand reigning until the last enemy is defeated. I believe he gave me the dream to let me know that he has been training his Church so well, that even though they might not realize it, they are gaining the authority and equipment necessary to defeat death. One day they will be confronted with death, and realize that they do not have to put up with it anymore. On that day, death will fall, and the stage will be set for Jesus’ return.

The Lord gave me a dream to let me know this is on his agenda. I saw death fall. The day is scheduled on the Lord’s cosmic calendar. I am praying that day come quickly.
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Getting Russia’s Attention

Chelyabinsk Meteor Video StillLast Tuesday, February 12th, hours before President Obama’s state of the Union address, two Russian “Bear” bombers—purportedly armed with nuclear missiles—circled the United States territory of Guam in a calculated message to the United States. Russia, though diminished, still has the nuclear ability to destroy the United States, and it certainly did not want President Obama to forget that fact as he made final preparation for his State of the Union speech.

Then, last Friday, on the day that the entire world was watching for asteroid 2012 DA14 (see Asteroid Close Call for more information on that), the Lord sent Russia a message. An asteroid, estimated to be about a third of the size of 2012 DA14, exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in southern Russia. The small asteroid did amazing damage to the city. Videos of the strike proliferated on the web, mostly because almost every Russian car has a dash cam. Security cameras captured the concussive impact of the blast as windows exploded, doors were blown down, and some buildings were severely damaged. Over twelve hundred people were injured. Scientists have estimated the blast at over five hundred kilotons of energy, about thirty times the power of the atomic blast over Hiroshima. One headline reported, appropriately, that the asteroid struck with “Nuclear Intensity.

Let’s see, on Tuesday Russia rattled its nuclear saber to remind the world that it has the power to destroy those who threaten them. Then on Friday a five hundred kiloton explosion takes place over an important city in southern Russia. It’s like the Lord was sending a message or something. The only way it could become more obvious is if the Lord had chosen to detonate this meteor over the city and province in Russia that is most known for its nuclear weapons development. Oh, wait, that is exactly what happened. Chelyabinsk and Chelyabinsk Oblast, the province in which Chelyabinsk is located, led the Soviet/Russian nuclear weapons program. It has the unfortunate reputation of being the most radioactively contaminated area on earth. In a July 2011 article, the UK Telegraph reported that the, “region is synonymous with the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons programme and deadly pollution.” It added, “Formerly a production centre for weapons-grade plutonium, it now hosts a giant nuclear fuel reprocessing centre with a terrifying safety record.”

As I often write when the Lord does something like this, “You can’t make this stuff up.” This is more than an amazing coincidence. This is the Lord sending a clear message to Russia, a shot over the bow, if you will, that reminds them that he can rattle his saber, too. If I were to interpret the message, I believe it would read something like this: “Don’t threaten world peace with your nuclear arsenal. Your weapons look like popguns compared to what I have available.”

I hope someone in Russia is paying attention, and can understand the language of the Lord.
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Special Thanks: Thanks to Tracy Schellhorn and Tricia Wilson, both members of the MorningStar Fellowship of Ministries, for their research and revelatory insight into this event.
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Asteroid Close Call On February 15

10311161_sOn Friday an asteroid capable of leveling an entire city will come closer to the earth than many of our country’s communication satellites. Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass about seventeen thousand miles from the planet on Friday (February 15, 2013). For a distance comparison, remember that the moon is about 250,000 miles away. This asteroid is about a hundred fifty feet across, which means that it would create quite a crater if it hit land. However, because of its relatively small size, it would only be a regional catastrophe instead of a worldwide one.

The reason you may not have heard much about 2012 DA14 is that astronomers have assured us that it will zoom quietly past us on Friday. The science behind such calculations is quite good, and astronomers can confidently state that there is no danger to the earth this go round. Of course, there are some conspiracy web sites that question whether any government would allow astronomers to release information guaranteed to panic a significant chunk of the population. Perhaps we can discuss such ethical conundrums in a future post. In this post, I do not want to discuss the “What ifs,” but rather our authority over the “What ifs.”

As I wrote back in September, the Lord has shown me an asteroid/meteor that strikes the earth. That wasn’t the main point of the September post, which was about God impacting earth with his presence, but it did rate a mention (You can read that post HERE). I didn’t flesh out the details of the asteroid in that post, but I will share in more detail here.

Back in December of 2011, I had an experience where I was standing outside watching an asteroid descend through the atmosphere to the southeast of Florida (an asteroid that encounters our atmosphere becomes a flaming meteor). When I write that it was an experience, I mean that I experienced it. My memory has recorded the event as if it really happened. Assuming that the details of the experience were true to life, I can tell you what a large meteor looks like when it plunges through the atmosphere to the southeast of Florida. It is pretty impressive.

I didn’t know how far away the meteor was from Florida’s shores, simply because I did not know its size. If it was a small meteor like 2012 DA14, then it would have been fairly close; if it was larger it would have been further away. It really didn’t matter that much to me. What mattered is that I knew that we had authority to deal with this thing. I turned to the people who were with me and told them that we needed to regroup back at the church in order to deal with this situation.

There were two things that I understood from that experience. First, that at some point in the future we will have to deal with an asteroid hitting off the southeast coast of Florida. Second, that we have intercessory authority to protect our area from its effects.

Again, astronomers are very clear that 2012 DA14 is not the asteroid that I saw. But that hasn’t stopped me from praying about it, and asteroids in general. In fact, I have been using this celestial flyby as an excuse to discuss this topic with my congregation, and to pray against any negative effects from this asteroid, or any future asteroids. In essence, I have been using 2012 DA14 as practice and preparation for a future event, whether expected or not.

This is pretty normal for us. God has trained us to be a praying congregation. We have learned the importance of intercessory prayer for our geographical area. Because we live in a hurricane zone, we normally pray that the Lord establish hedges around our area of influence to stop hurricane force winds from entering. That prayer, of course, is based upon the hedge of protection that the Lord established around Job (see Job 1:10). Job was protected against windstorms, among other things, until his hedge was removed. We want that same type of hedge to protect us from our windstorms and other threats.

As I have been praying against the effects of an asteroid strike, I wondered how you raise a hedge against an asteroid? When I picture hedges, I imagine them to our north, south, east, and west blocking negative things. That picture works well against some effects of an asteroid strike. If the asteroid hits in the ocean, the hedge will block a tsunami, and even the windstorm created by the concussive force of a strike, but what about a direct hit from above?

As I thought about this, I realized Job’s hedge had also protected him from above. After the hedge was removed, fire fell from heaven and burned up and consumed his flocks and servants (see Job 1:16 NASB). Lightning doesn’t normally burn AND consume what it hits, especially when we are discussing a large number of animals and people. However, a meteor exploding in the air above those people and animals would consume them. I suspect that a meteor destroyed Job’s sheep and servants. When I saw this, I realized that Job’s hedge even protected him from negative celestial events.

We have added this understanding to our prayers. As we have prayed about an asteroid strike, we not only have asked that our hedge would protect us from all horizontal risks, but also that our hedge would protect us from all things above us. And, even though we are not in a recognized earthquake zone, I have even prayed that our hedge would protect us from things below us. In doing this, we are seeking the Lord while he may be found. When the day of disaster comes, we do not want to be caught flatfooted.

These are important prayers. Psalm 116:15 tells us: “The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man.” That simply means that we need to exercise our authority on this earth. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth (see Matthew 28:18). He has chosen to give those keys to his Church to use on this earth (see Matthew 16:19). As the head of the Church, he directs us how to use the keys he has given us.

Back in December of 2011, the Head of the Church pushed me in a particular direction. He showed me something, and then made certain I understood we have the authority to deal with it. He has given us keys that even protect against negative celestial events. I have chosen to use those keys. I also invite you to use Friday’s celestial event as an excuse to strengthen the hedges around you. You have the authority.
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Update: The news stations are reporting this Friday morning that a meteor hit Russia about 9:20 AM local time on February 15th (today). The resulting concussive blast (sonic boom) sent over 500 people to the hospitals at last report. Initial reports indicate that the Russian military found a hole 20 feet in diameter where part of it hit.

Yes, this is bizarre. On the day that the world is looking at 2012 DA14 to skim by, one so significant that hundreds are injured hits. I don’t have anything from the Lord on it, but it is bizarre.
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