Category Archives: Prophetic Themes

South Florida’s 2012 Hurricane Season

South Florida has enjoyed a six year respite from significant hurricane threats. That respite is over. This year will see significant threats, not just to South Florida, but to many other areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

The Lord began to speak to me about the hurricane season back in December and January (see Watch the Northwest and Are We Done Watching the Northwest Yet?). He told us that we would see some very difficult weather systems throughout this year. Those of you who have followed this year’s weather patterns know that prophecy has been validated by the last five months of extreme weather. However, we are just entering the hurricane season. Hurricanes, by their very nature, bring definition to the term Extreme Weather.

The Lord has shown us that three significant storms will threaten South Florida this year. That does not mean that all three of these storms will hit South Florida. God has given his people authority over weather systems. Like Jesus, his people can take authority over storms (see Matthew 8:23-27). I believe that when God’s people pray, the storms can be turned away, or their strength diminished. So, first and foremost, this article is intended to stir prayer among those who live in South Florida. It is time to man the walls of intercession.

Of the three storms that the Lord has spoken to us about, one of them will be larger than the other two. I also believe that at least one of these storms will move from a minor storm to a major storm extremely quickly. In a dream, the Lord showed me a storm that was riding a motorcycle. While that could speak to a storm’s ability to turn quickly, in this case I believe that it emphasizes the ability for a storm to accelerate quickly.

Many Texas and Louisiana residents will remember Hurricane Humberto from 2007. That storm went from a 35 mph tropical depression to a strong category one hurricane overnight. Texas residents fell asleep knowing that they might be in for a minor tropical disturbance, and found themselves battered by a hurricane just hours later. If the motorcycle represents such fast acceleration, we must watch every system carefully. We cannot assume that a low-level disturbance will stay a low-level disturbance.

As I wrote in my last post (see Tropical Storm Beryl), the Lord also showed us that we are in for a cleansing year. In fact, he gave some indication that we may see as many as three cleansing events, though I do not know if these events are all for South Florida. Cleansing storms are those that contain a call for repentance, and some level of  judgment on those areas that they hit. Don’t think of them as direct judgments from God (though they can be). Think of them rather as discipline as the Lord attempts to get our attention about inappropriate things in which we are involved. Inappropriate things are things that hurt people. The gambling industry, those areas that promote debauched lifestyles, and those who attempt to lure Spring Breakers with licentious promises, are all included in things that hurt people. If you live in a region that promotes things that hurt people, begin to cry out for mercy already.

We are also going to have to face fear this year. The storm pictured at the start of this article is Hurricane Floyd. Floyd threatened Florida in 1999. Immediately after Floyd missed Florida, I sat down with one of our city’s emergency management officials to warn him that we were going to be hit by Hurricane Irene that year.* While I was pleased that he received this information graciously, I most remember his eyes as he described the fear in South Florida when Floyd threatened. I remember him asking, “Where do you hide when a storm that big is coming right at you?” He then described the fear that enveloped South Florida. That type of fear wants to make a comeback this year. We must not allow it. We must remain in rest, even when monstrous storms approach. We must have our feet firmly fitted with the good news that brings peace (see Ephesians 6:15). When we walk in peace, we can stand in victory, no matter what happens.

I will provide more updates on the season as the Lord gives us more information. This is all I feel I have the liberty to share at this point. This feels like it is going to be a whale of a season. However, if God’s people stand in the authority he has given, we may come out of it with a whale of a tale.

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* I also told him that it would be a surprise when it hit, but that the Lord had given us authority so that it would not be catastrophic. Please see www.hurricaneirene.com or New Dawn Community Church’s website for more information on this event.

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Tropical Storm Beryl

“The last time two tropical storms formed before the official June 1 start of hurricane season, Theodore Roosevelt was president and the year was 1908.” That quote from this morning’s (05/26/12) South Florida Sun-Sentinel just about says it all. The Lord showed us back in January that we would have some intense weather this year (see Are We Done Watching the Northwest Yet?). The hurricane season isn’t even here—it begins June 1—and we have already broken a record of over one hundred years.

Those of us who are praying for South Florida have a lot on our plate this year. I will update this more fully after the hurricane season begins, but what I will say now is that we will see some hurricane threats this year. The Lord has given us many encouraging words about our authority over the storms. However, hurricanes are going to be a threat, and as we turn them away from our area, our neighbors also need to provide hedges of protection for their areas. If they don’t, we will see repeats of 2004 and 2005.

Back in 2004 both Francis and Jeanne were on track to bring hurricane force winds into Broward County. In both cases, the hurricane force winds were stopped
at the eastern county line, and the storms could not proceed across Florida until the hurricane force winds were north of Broward County. The top picture on the right is of Hurricane Francis. Notice the significant jump to the north that the eye took at the last minute. That jump spared Broward hurricane force winds. The bottom picture on the right is of Hurricane Jeanne’s wind field. The red area represents the hurricane force winds. Notice how the wind field contracts on the southern edge of the wind field as it approaches landfall with Florida. That contraction on the southern edge of the wind field spared Broward County hurricane force winds.

In 2005 Katrina was headed right for Fort Lauderdale as a tropical storm (map on left). At the moment the National Hurricane Center declared it a hurricane, it took a sharp turn south and did not come across Florida until it reached the county line. The south side of Katrina brought damage to Miami-Dade county, but the north side of the storm had no strength and Broward was spared. The only storm that made it through was Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Without getting into all the details of why we could not turn that storm I will simply point out two things: 1. She came in the back door. We had been trained to think that any storm coming from the west and crossing Florida would not be a big deal for us (we’ve learned that lesson); and 2. Wilma was one of the cleansing storms of 2005 that could not be turned.*

The Lord has clearly shown us that the respite of the last six years is over. While we’ve never stopped manning the wall, it is time to be on the alert, to stay in spiritual rest, and listen for the Lord’s direction. We will man the walls for our area. Those of you who live in areas threatened by hurricanes must also man your walls.

The hurricane season has not yet officially started, and yet we have already broken a hundred year old record. It is time to be on the alert.

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*Cleansing Storms are those storms that contain a cleansing call to repentance. The Lord uses such storms to call us to evaluate our ways—Wilma sat on top of Cancun and Cozumel for twenty-four hours as a category five storm. The message to them, which has been ignored, was about repenting of the debauchery and excess of Spring Break. Fort Lauderdale, the location that originated and popularized this major stumbling block to college age youth, also came in for some judgment as a result.

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Choosing Not to Participate

The other night the Lord gave me a dream about the economy. He showed me some things that are currently happening, and what people fear might happen. He also showed me how we can prosper no matter what happens to the economy.

While I was preparing to turn in that evening, I had asked the Lord for some insights on behalf of some friends of mine. He responded to that request by giving me a series of dreams. One of those dreams not only spoke to my friend’s situation, but it also contained an important message for all of us. It was a dream about living in God’s supernatural economy.

Before I explain the dream, I want to remind us about something from 2009. On April 23, 2009 Christian financial counselor Dave Ramsey held a Town Hall for Hope in order to, as he put it, “get real answers about the economy and turn back the tide of fear . . .” The event was streamed to over six thousand host locations—many of them churches—where over a million people watched the event live. During the event, Dave Ramsey made a memorable statement. He said that he was choosing not to participate in the recession. That statement sparked much discussion about whether it is even possible to make such a choice. My dream addresses that very issue.

Now, on to the dream: I was a passenger on a large commercial aircraft. I was sitting toward the front of the plane, and learned that the pilot was going to perform a particular maneuver as we approached the city to which we were headed. He planned to make his approach to the airport over water at a low altitude, and to dip his right wing twice on the approach. I didn’t know why he wanted to do this, but I didn’t like the idea at all because it felt too risky. Fortunately for me, the plane had a stopover at another city before we got to our final destination. I took advantage of that opportunity and exited the plane. Then, as things often happen in dreams, the scene changed and I was at the destination airport explaining to some people what the pilot of that aircraft planned to do. The people to whom I was speaking were very concerned about the possibility of a crash. That was the end of the dream.

As I prayed about the dream, I realized that the pilot planned a “double dip.” Since the news is filled with concern about a double dip recession hitting by the end of 2012, I don’t think the interpretation is too difficult. I believe the airplane represents the United States (or world) economy. People are riding that economy to what they hope is a positive destination. Even though we have been riding a recession for the last couple years, we are hoping to soon get the end of this recessionary dip. While double dip ice cream is usually a good thing, double dip recessions are not so good, especially since people often begin to fear an economic crash.

First, let’s look at the bad news included in the dream. We are going to experience that second dip. Actually, those of you who follow financials more closely realize that many sectors of the economic world have already been experiencing a double dip cycle, but the dream indicates that it will probably get worse. As we look at current headlines, we have to agree. Greece and France are making moves that are threatening the Euro. As a result, financial markets around the world are a bit shaky. These financial tremors will continue to fuel negative speculation about a potential crash—though please note that the dream does not include a crash, only fear about one (in other words, a crash is not a certainty).

Now, let’s look at the good news. This dream makes it clear that Dave Ramsey was right, we don’t have to participate in any of this. In the dream, I chose to get off the plane before it performed the dips. That means it is possible to avoid riding the economic turmoil of our world or country. The question, of course, is, “How?” The answer is faith.

A recession begins when faith in the economy begins to collapse. When the Lord speaks to me in dreams, the right side often represents faith. That is why, in the dream, the pilot dips the right side of the plane. The double dip recession involves a loss of faith, not only in the economy, but in God’s ability to bless us through the economy. That is why we must refuse to participate.

The Lord has challenged my congregation not to participate in the natural economy, but to intentionally live in the Father’s supernatural economy. His supernatural economy doesn’t divorce us from the current economic system, but it does separate us from the negative cycles of that system. The Father’s supernatural economy is about giving and generosity. It is about giving firstfruits and sowing seed. It believes Jesus when he teaches us that the Father in heaven cares for our financial needs (see Matthew 6:25-33). It refuses to give place to fear and works to cultivate a generous spirit. It recognizes that there is a supernatural economy that works far better than the natural one.

When Dave Ramsey did his financial Town Hall back in 2009, he taught a bit on God’s supernatural economy, though he did not call it that. He explained that people who had stopped giving needed to start giving again. Dave said, “We can’t win if we can’t give.” He reminded his viewers that if they wanted to win with money and change the nation, they needed to learn to give again.

This is sound advice. When we do this, we will learn that the supernatural economy will actually take us to our economic destination far faster than the natural economy. This was a major point in the dream, though you might miss it. In the dream, I actually made it to the destination ahead of the plane I was on, even though I had chosen to get off of the plane early. This part of the dream communicates the exact same thing that Jesus did in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” When we choose to participate in God’s economy, the Father responds by giving us all the things that the world chases after in its economy, but with a major difference. Their economy is slower, less stable, and fraught with striving and worry. The Father’s economy is faster, rock solid, and filled with peace and joy.

When we begin to understand this, why would we choose to stay on the world’s economic airplane? If we have not yet done so, we need to take the steps necessary to get off of it, and live in faith again.

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The Next Great Wave

I recently had a dream in which the Lord gave me an item of great spiritual value. He then pointed to my belt and told me that the item worked in conjunction with it. When I woke from the dream, I knew that the belt was the belt of truth (see Ephesians 6:14). When I later spoke to a prophetic mentor about this, he agreed, and also referenced Isaiah 11. Isaiah says, “Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins” (Isaiah 11:5). My prophetic friend was pretty excited about this dream. He believed the dream was speaking about the next great wave of the Holy Spirit.

There have been two great moves of God’s Spirit since the nineties. The first great wave began in Toronto and spread out around the world. It was characterized by refreshing and renewal. People flocked to Toronto, and to other cities and ministries that had concurrent outbreaks of this wave. They found a refreshing that brought deliverance and healing. The second great wave began shortly after the first. God began to pour out his presence through the Brownsville Revival on Father’s Day 1995. While the first revival brought healing and refreshment to the Body of Christ, the Brownsville Revival focused on a change of mind. The word repentance is from the Greek word metanoia, which means a change of mind. The Brownsville Revival gave the Body of Christ an opportunity to change its mind about its ways, and to come clean before the Lord about things that did not honor him.

Both of these waves accomplished their purposes and have ebbed. The Body of Christ is now looking for God to send a third wave of his presence. As we look forward to his presence, we wonder in what form he will manifest himself this time. He came with refreshing. He came with repentance. What is next?

This would be a good time to read the article I posted last week entitled, Deeper Waters Are Calling. I wrote it as a precursor to this article. It is about the next wave of the Holy Spirit. That wave is commitment. My prophetic mentor believes that this is the next step that we take together in the Ezekiel River. I wholeheartedly agree with him, not only because he is an incredibly accurate prophetic voice, but also because the Lord has been showing me these same themes.

If we take the Ezekiel River as a metaphor, then the Toronto Revival was ankle-deep. It was about the body of Christ being reminded how great it was to splash around in the river of life, but it didn’t call us into deep relationship or commitment. It was a refreshing that restored relationship with the Lord.

Of course, that would make the Brownsville Revival knee-deep. As I explained in Deeper Waters Are Calling, knee-deep water represents reverence for the Lord. The repentance that was released at Brownsville was seated in an understanding of and reverence for the holiness of God. That deep level of reverence changed people’s minds about God (repentance) and highlighted how important it is to follow his will.

The next wave will be the waist-deep waters of commitment. When we stand in waist-deep water, we are committing ourselves fully and freely to the Lord. We then become the bond-slave who can respond to even the slightest shifts in the Holy Spirit’s current. We will become Kingdom People. Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” When we truly understand that our lives are better spent building his kingdom than our kingdom, the world will change, and the Church will step into its destiny.

This is what the Lord is waiting for. He wants to release more power, and more things of great spiritual value to us, but those things will only work with the belt of truth, commitment. They will only work while we are standing in waist-deep water. That is why this next wave is so important. The Body of Christ will get some valuable new equipment.

The next great wave of the Spirit is upon us. I do not know exactly how it will manifest, but its fruit will be a commitment that results in power. I’m eagerly looking forward to that wave.

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Deeper Waters Are Calling

Several years ago the Lord gave me a dream about standing in waist-deep water. A friend of mine, who was with me in the dream, was excited about where I was standing. When I later spoke to a  mentor about the dream, he got as excited as my friend who had appeared in the dream. I already knew that the dream was about the river of God (Ezekiel 47), but my mentor added something I hadn’t considered. Water up to the waist represents commitment.

Up until that time I had never considered the very practical aspects of the river of God. I understood that God is very practical about how things apply in our lives; I just had never considered how this applied to the river of God. I should have.

It has been many years since I began to understand that since the belt of truth covered our loins (see Ephesians 6:14), Paul was teaching that spiritual warfare included having our sexuality governed by God’s truth. On the one hand, illicit sexual expression violates our ability to stand before the enemy. On the other hand, godly sexual expression between a husband and wife is spiritual warfare. It not only helps us stand our ground, it takes ground from the enemy. As such, it is a part of our armor that must be defended from every attack launched by the enemy of our souls. This is very practical and important truth.

Since I understand this about the belt of truth, it should not have been a surprise that there is a similar message about the waist-deep water in Ezekiel 47. This very practical section of scripture outlines our walk toward God and his spiritual power in our lives. The first verses outline the work and flow of God’s Holy Spirit.

Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side.

Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits,[a] and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” (Ezekiel 47:1-6a ESV)

When the Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts, we begin to experience his life, a life that proceeds from the throne of grace. We begin our Christian walk in the ankle-deep water of his presence. This is the level of beginning sanctification. As we walk about in the ankle-deep water, our feet are continually cleansed by the Spirit’s presence. This is a beautiful picture of his work in our lives.

When Jesus was washing the disciple’s feet at the Last Supper, Peter did not want him to do so (see John 13:1-11). Jesus insisted by telling Peter, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me” (John 13:8b). At once Peter understood that Jesus was doing far more than washing his disciple’s feet; Peter grasped that Jesus was illustrating a truth about spiritual cleansing. So he responded by asking Jesus to wash his hands and his head also. Jesus patiently explained to Peter that since he belonged to Jesus, he did not need a bath because he was already spiritually cleansed. However, when one walks in the world, one gets dirty feet. By his actions, Jesus was highlighting the need that Christians have for spiritual cleansing on a daily basis. Jesus urged the disciples to do for each other what he had done. As he helped them by cleansing their physical feet, we need to help each other by cleansing the “dirt” of this world off each other’s souls.

Jesus’ actions and teaching help us understand the Ezekiel River. Once we have come to Christ, we have been bathed so that we are no longer of the world. However, since we are in the world, our feet can get dirty as we go about our daily walk. When we walk in the River of God, our feet are cleansed by God’s Spirit on a continual basis. This ankle-deep water is the water of repentance and restoration.

Obviously, we never take our feet out of this water, but we don’t stay at the ankle-deep level either. As we grow in the Lord, the Holy Spirit begins to draw us into higher levels of understanding and consecration.When we are walking in ankle-deep water, we are still in control. The currents of the Holy Spirit may swirl around our feet, but we can remain standing where we wish.That changes as we begin to wade further into the river. As we go deeper, it is harder to resist the currents of the Holy Spirit.

We must choose to continue moving deeper into the things of the Holy Spirit, but we must also understand the message of the thousand cubits. Each stage of the journey is a thousand cubits long. Ten is a number of completion. Ten cubed is one thousand (emphasizing completeness in God’s season). We cannot truly choose to move deeper in the Ezekiel River until the water has completed its work in us at its current depth. Until the ankle-deep water has achieved its purposes, any choice to move deeper will be shallow and unsustainable. We will simply not have the resolve to move deeper until the Spirit has completed his work in us at our current level. We can speed this work up by cooperating with the Spirit’s goals in our life, or we can slow the process down by resisting his molding and shaping. But we will not move on until we have traveled the thousand cubits in our souls.

During each stage of this journey, we surrender more of our self-will to God. We can easily resist the Spirit’s pull in ankle-deep water. We can even, to an extent, resist the currents of the Holy Spirit when we are standing in knee deep water—as long as those currents are not too strong.* We can certainly feel his nudges at a much higher level, but we can usually resist them if we choose. However, once we get waist deep—the level of commitment—we are at the mercy of the current. The Holy Spirit can push and pull us where he wants us to go. When we get to the next stage of the river beyond that, the water that is so deep that we can only swim, the Spirit’s current will take us wherever he wants us to go.

I believe that we must understand this dynamic of the Ezekiel River, or we will be content to stay in the shallows throughout our entire life. We must go deeper if we want to be used by the Holy Spirit. We must move beyond the ankle-deep water to the deeper waters beyond. How do we go deeper? We choose to go deeper by an act of our will.

When we understand the practical aspects of the Ezekiel River, we can understand how to proceed into deeper waters. We can strive to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in his current work, and we can can consciously aim for deeper waters in our lives. While we can stay in ankle-deep water as long as we desire, those who want to be used by the Lord must press another thousand cubits to the knee-deep water. The knee-deep water is the water of reverence and intercession. In the Old Testament, a bent knee is a sign of worship and adoration. More than that, we learn from Solomon’s example that when a knee is bent in reverence it gives voice to supplication (see 1 Kings 8:54). The knees symbolize humility before the Lord, a humility that recognizes our dependence upon him, and results in supplication to him. We can choose to bow to the Lord’s dominion over heaven and earth in this fashion, and by doing so, enter into the Ezekiel River up to our knees. Knee-deep water is for those who have begun to understand their authority on the earth, and are committed to establishing God’s Kingdom with it.

But deeper waters keep calling. As I have already mentioned, waist-deep water symbolizes commitment. The parts of our body below the waist represent our base nature. This part of our nature must be cleansed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is not about denying our sexual identity. Christians are not called to abstinence, rather they are called to celebrate their sexual identities in the bonds of marriage, recognizing that the Lord is at work even in our marital intimacies.** At this level, because we have begun to understand true commitment, we can feel the shifts of the Holy Spirit’s current far more easily. Even if we wanted to resist, we are so committed that we are no longer able to effectively resist his nudges. We have walked through the waters of repentance and renewal. We have knelt in the waters of worship and intercession. And now we have moved on to commitment. All that’s left is to wade in another thousand yards so that our will becomes one with the Holy Spirit’s current, and his will is done in us as it is in heaven.

Now I understand why my prophetic friends (in the dream and in real life) were so excited by the waist-deep water. We haven’t seen much of the church operating at this level. But we will. When that happens, we will see the Bride begin to step into her true role. When that happens, everything will change. That becomes clear as Ezekiel’s vision continues:

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea;[b] when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh.[c] And wherever the river goes,[d] every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea[e] may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. 10 Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea.[f] 11 But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. 12 And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.” (Ezekiel 47:6b-12)

When the Bride steps into the deep waters, bitter waters become fresh, life is released, fishermen (evangelists) will practice their trade freely, and healing will be released to the nations.

The deep waters are calling. Step into them.

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* Ocean rip currents are often so strong that even those wading in knee-deep water can be swept off their feet and overwhelmed by the strength of this current.

**Of course singles are not excluded from the waist-deep level. While they will not give expression to their sexual energies, their willingness to govern themselves freely according to God’s plans for sexual expression is their spiritual warfare.
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