Category Archives: Prophetic Themes

The Earth is Groaning

digitalearthI have a vivid and not particularly pleasant memory from my childhood. My family had been attending a family reunion on a hot summer day at a great uncle’s property several hours drive from our home. These family reunions were always a lot of fun, and for most of the day I enjoyed the festivities, but by early evening I was sicker than the proverbial dog. A flu bug, or more likely, a touch of food poisoning from a salad gone bad in the afternoon heat, brought a miserable end to an enjoyable day. I remember the long drive home. I was sitting in the back seat of the family car feeling absolutely miserable. I needed relief from the misery, and I discovered one thing that did help. If I groaned softly, it took a bit of the pressure off. I actually felt slightly better. Unfortunately for me, I was not alone, and I soon found out that the rest of my family didn’t enjoy listening to my pressure relief valve. Though they certainly felt compassion for me, one of them reminded me that groaning wasn’t going to make me feel better. I was too sick to argue, but if I could have worked up the energy I would have announced, that yes, groaning was making me feel better.

The Lord spoke to us recently about the earth’s pressure relief valve, its groaning. He indicated that we needed to think about the earth’s groans in a bit more literal fashion than was our wont. The passage to which he was referring in this discussion is Romans 8:22, and it speaks about the entirety of creation groaning. It says, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (NIV).  When the Lord spoke to us about this, he narrowed our focus from the entirety of creation down to just our planet. He wanted us to think about the earth, and he wanted us to know that it, too, is groaning.

When I have read Romans 8:22 in the past, I have speculated about what Paul meant in this passage. The apostle Paul wrote about the entire universe being subjected to frustration and groaning. As I have grappled to understand this passage, I have envisioned an impatient groaning as a kind of universal background noise. I never really credited inanimate objects with groaning, rather I would think about the created beings. I would think of the senseless waste and slaughter that takes place in the animal world, and how animals who were created to fill a peaceful role must now kill and be killed in order for species to survive. I can imagine the groaning of the feral female cat in our neighborhood as she loses kitten after kitten to predators, or the groaning of a duck hen being trailed by the ever-shrinking number of ducklings. I can also imagine that, at some core level of being, the predators who must stalk, crush, and kill to survive, must groan over this change to their basic purpose and design.

While I can imagine these things accounting for the groaning mentioned in Romans 8, that is not how the Lord presented it. He didn’t anthropomorphize the earth, that is, he did not give it a groaning human personality, nor did he point to the animal creation. Instead, he showed us that the groaning is a physical manifestation of the planet’s subjection to decay. He directed our attention to the earthquakes, the tsunamis, the mudslides, and the ferocious storms. He pointed to the many different ways that natural disasters manifest, and he showed us that these are the groans of the earth. These are its pressure relief valve. He wanted us to think in terms of the earth groaning whenever we see these natural disasters manifest.

This change in focus helps me understand the dynamics of our time even more fully. The planet itself has been subject to frustration and decay. This physically impacts the planet and its atmosphere in such a negative way that pressure must be released. It must groan. When it does, we call that groaning a natural disaster.

This is a bit of a perspective change on my part, but in another way, it is not. In the Romans passage mentioned above, Paul also added that the creation has been groaning “as in the pains of childbirth.” This is imagery we understand because Jesus used it. When he referred to the end of the Jewish age in Matthew 24, he described the disastrous things that would occur as the birth pangs of the church age. In that same way, Paul reveals that the groans of the earth are the birth pangs for the age to come. This is familiar to us.

In addition, since the tempo of the groans are compared to the pains of childbirth, we can understand what an increase in the tempo of the earth’s groans means. We know that painful contractions increase in intensity and frequency as a birth is about to happen. That means that we can expect to witness an increase in the frequency and intensity of these groans as the day of creation’s liberation draws near. We are literally witnessing the birthing of the new heaven and the new earth. While that will not release celebration over each new disaster, it will help us understand what is happening.

I also believe we can help mitigate the negative impact of these contractions if we are alert to their timing. In that way, we can act as a sort of anesthesiologist. In the same way a deft anesthesiologist’s intervention makes the labor more manageable without hindering the delivery, I believe our active intervention through intercession can help alleviate the pain of these groaning events. We do that by standing in the gap for those in harms way, and by using our authority to mitigate intensity of the contractions in population centers.

The earth is groaning. We will see more evidence of that in the days ahead. If we keep our ears on the ground, we can hear it. If we turn our ears heavenward, we can help ease the negative impacts. The Lord is giving us eyes to see, and ears to hear. Let us use the information he is revealing for his glory, and for his purposes.


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An Epic Winter Snowstorm

snowstormAt first the title to this post, An Epic Snowstorm, almost sounds like fun. I can remember growing up in northern climes, and looking forward with anticipation to every snowstorm. To my mind, and the minds of my equally young schoolmates, snowstorms conjured thoughts of closed schools, snow forts, and sledding. We gave little thought to the economic impact of such storms, or the other inherent dangers that accompany them. Our thoughts were far more focused on the fun of such storms, rather than their furor.

But their furor is a reality. It is because of this reality that we must once again pay close attention this winter. The Lord has spoken to many of his prophetic people about severe winter weather, weather that many parts of the United States have already begun to taste. He also recently spoke to us about a particular storm for the Midwest that he called epic.

When the Lord uses words like epic, it means something. We have had many bad snowstorms that the Lord has barely spoken to us about. Bad snowstorms happen. They drop a lot of snow in a short period of time, slow or stop transportation routes, and generally bring things to a standstill for several days. The Lord’s language indicates that the storm that is coming will disrupt things far beyond the norm, last much longer, or otherwise create a lasting impact.

When the Lord speaks to us about severe weather, it is because we need to pray against it. Thus, this is an intercessory alert for the Midwest (and because of the way winter weather moves, regions to the east of it).

The Lord also showed us something else about this storm that brings us great concern. He showed us the demonic influences that Satan’s forces will attempt to release with this storm. He has prepared a type of insanity that will accompany the storm. I don’t know exactly how it will manifest, but I can imagine people doing irrational things that put lives at risk, especially if power outages and extended transportation disruptions develop. Such insanity can turn a bad situation much worse.

The last time the Lord gave us a warning about severe winter weather, he gave us about three weeks of advance warning to marshal his prayer warriors (see Watch the Northwest). The Lord has not given us any time frames, but we can assume that he will give us enough time to adequately respond to this alert.

Please stand with us for those who will be impacted by such a storm. Stand in spiritual authority against any level of insanity that Satan’s forces would attempt to release attendant to this storm. Pray that lives would be preserved, and that the storm would not be so epic that it would cause mass suffering or hardship. Stand in the gap for all those in harms way.


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Relational Bits From the Lord

LastSupper300X400I haven’t posted in a while, and it isn’t because I do not have material. It has to do with that little commodity called time. However, I have a few moments, and thought I would share two interesting tidbits with you.

First, we were having a conversation with the Lord recently—you know the type, he speaks, you listen—and he showed us a picture of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. As he was showing this, it was evident that the painting really bothered him. He made it clear that the original scene wasn’t like this at all. He was especially concerned that it missed the intimacy of the event.

Of course, we all know this. We understand that the people of Jesus’ time reclined when they ate. The picture below recreates an informal Roman table scene from the era. At a Jewish banquet such as Passover, the seating would have been more formal. Jesus, as the host, would have reclined on his left elbow, second in from the left. His attendant, his right-hand man, would have been immediately in front of Jesus reclining at the first position on the left. We know that John filled that first position, since his head was level with Jesus’ chest (see John 13:21-25). Then the rest of the guests were arranged around the table from there, placed from the most important to the least important. This little detail helps us understand why the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest on the way to the Passover celebration. MealMore than likely, they were fighting over the seating arrangement at the table. They had missed Jesus’ point about sitting at the least important position at the table, the far right, and allowing the host to honor you by moving you into a more important position closer to the host (see Luke 14:7-10).

All this is interesting, but why did the Lord choose to highlight this for us? I believe that he wants to remind us about relationship. As people, we tend to make spiritual things into formal ceremony rather than relational celebrations. Da Vinci’s portrayal of that Passover celebration turned it from the intimate event that Jesus hosted, into something that errs from Jesus’ intent. I believe we can learn a lesson about the Lord’s desire for intimacy by simply remembering the event as it would have been, not as Da Vinci pictured it.

The second thing that I want to highlight today also involves being close to the Lord. The Lord showed us how many people are walking around with headphones on, ear buds in, or are otherwise consuming media content. It is certainly not a bad thing to enjoy music, to read, or watch entertaining videos. However, if we have something plugged into our ears all the time, it is very difficult for us to hear the Lord through the noise. Just imagine the Last Supper if several of the disciples had ear buds in, and others were checking their emails or texts. You can imagine that the intimacy would have evaporated. If we do not give ourselves some downtime away from media, our intimacy with the Lord will be greatly hindered.

These are two key things about intimacy and relationship that the Lord has shown us recently. I will write an article soon to wrap up the Atlantic hurricane season. There is a lot going on. I will take some time to post things that I am seeing soon.


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Walking in Your Vision

VisionWalk300X400Now is the time to press in for healing for your eyes and your feet. God is speaking about improving our vision, and our ability to walk that vision out. When he begins to speak about spiritual truth, he will often demonstrate it in the natural through physical healing. He is doing that very thing right now.

The Vision

I had coffee the other morning with a friend of many years. He told me about something the Lord showed him while he was at the eye doctor recently. My friend is near-sighted (unable to see far), and has astigmatism. As a result, his glasses are the progressive vision type. However, because he has the type of astigmatism that can actually get better as you age, his prescription is changing. The eye doctor told him that he could tell that his eyes were getting better because of how he had to move his head in order to read. Rather than performing a simple movement to read, my friend had begun, unconsciously, to hold his head “just so” in order to make up for the difference between his better vision and his prescription glasses. If left unchecked, this would have caused levels of physical stress to my friend’s head and neck. The doctor, of course, fitted him with a new prescription so that he could once again have a normal range of movement when he wore his glasses, eliminating the stress.

Pay attention, I am writing about more than eye glasses. This is a parable about spiritual vision. As a result of his visit to the eye doctor, the Lord began to speak to my friend about spiritual vision. The Lord showed him how often the body of Christ gets stressed because it attempts to fit itself to an old vision, and how often increased vision (revelation) requires a change in our tools.

When my friend told me this story, he did not know something I had just shared with my congregation on the Sunday before our meeting. I had told my congregation that my eyesight has been getting better.

I have fought the need to using reading glasses since I turned forty lo those many moons ago. When I first noticed the need for reading glasses, I bought some +1.25 glasses from a wholesale store. For those of you who do not know, that level of magnification is like  starter reading glasses. Since that time, about a decade, I have had that same level of magnification. During that time I have persevered and prayed that I would not need to increase the magnification, and would even try not to use them if I could do so comfortably. As a result, I am very aware of what I can and cannot read without reading glasses.

I became aware of a change while I was reading a credit card brochure a couple weeks ago. While I was reading the fine print, it suddenly occurred to me that I was reading the very small print without any reading glasses. I noticed that I could even read the very small print under the boxes where you fill in your details if you want to apply. I was a bit shocked because I haven’t been able to read such small print without using reading glasses for quite some time. But now I found that I could.

I was pleased by this change, and did share what was happening with my congregation, but I did not put a spiritual lesson to it—other than encouraging people to press in for healing. Within days the Lord made certain that my friend would not only have a similar experience, but the Lord also made certain that my friend would understand the spiritual point and share it with me.

The message is this: The Lord is increasing our vision. This is going to require some changes on our part.

The Walk

Why will increased vision require change? The problem with increased vision is that it not only helps us see God’s plan, but it can also help us see the obstacles more clearly. God’s plan is to take us through the obstacles, but that will only work if we don’t get consumed by worries about the obstacles.

The Lord wants to help us avoid this trap. He recently told us, “I am healing feet right now.” He then explained, helpfully, that it was a sign. He told us that we was going to do this “because people need to walk in a greater level of peace right now. They need to be in peace for what is coming.”

Many prophetic people have begun to walk in an increased vision of what is coming. Some of the things that are coming do not look all that pleasant. If you lack peace, you will miss what God is doing as you stress out over perceived problems. If you have peace, you can be used by God to bring relief and refreshing to those around you. So, as God is healing eyesight (vision), he is also healing feet (peace). These two things must go together so that we remain balanced and faith-filled in our walk.

As I wrote at the beginning of the article, press in for physical healing if you have issues with either your eyes or your feet. But more importantly, also allow God to work on your spiritual vision, and to release the spiritual fruit called peace into your life. It will bear even greater dividends as we walk out our visions together.


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A Slow Hurricane Season?

CapeVerdeSeveral sources are reporting that this has been the slowest start to a hurricane season on record. Those reports are incorrect. The erroneous reports state that this is the first season on record that we have not had an Atlantic hurricane by this time. However, the Weather Channel found five hurricane seasons where the first Atlantic hurricane did not form until September (67, 84, 88, 01, 02). While this certainly is a season with a slow start, we will have to get through September 11 with no hurricanes in order to set a record.

Even though this isn’t yet a record breaking season, it certainly has had a slow start. One of the reasons for such a slow start is that there is a large area of dry air over the Atlantic. None of the storms coming off Africa—the so called Cape Verde-type storms—have been able to survive passage through that dry air. Those of us who live in hurricane-prone areas truly appreciate that. This South Floridian extends his thanks to everyone who has prayed against hurricane force winds this season. I’m certain the dry air is an answer to our prayers and intercession.

However, the Lord has shown us that we are not out from under threat, no matter how slow the season may seem. The National Hurricane Center would heartily agree. We have much of the season in front of us. Even if we successfully fend off all the Cape Verde-type storms so that none become hurricanes, we still have those late season Caribbean disturbances to deal with. As if that isn’t enough to keep us on the prayer wall at this time, the Lord has also given us some indication that a storm may develop in an unusual way in order to get around our normal prayer patterns. I don’t know exactly what that means, but it will keep me on the alert.

The last time a hurricane did something that got through our defenses was in 2005. At that time, we simply did not expect significant hurricane threats to come at us from the west. Though we watched hurricane Wilma closely, and even prayed about her in our regular meetings, we didn’t call a special prayer meeting. Forecasters told us that Wilma would be a spent storm as it hit Florida’s west coast. Since it had to travel a hundred miles over land to get to us on the east coast, we didn’t think it was much of a problem. So when Wilma strengthened as it passed over Florida, and released destruction in our area, we learned a lesson and closed that gap in our understanding.

While we certainly still have gaps in our understanding, we can learn. We can ask the Lord to teach us how to pray even more effectively in this arena. We can ask the Lord to teach us more about the intricacies of hurricane development so that we can counter any plans from Satan’s Kingdom to get one through.

Do I believe that we can stop every hurricane? I think the biblical answer to that question is obvious. The one who quieted a raging storm with a word has given us his authority (See Matthew 16:18-19). He has also called us to stand in the gap for our geographic areas (See Ezekiel 22:30). Until he warns me that the gap is too large to cover, I will pray believing that our prayers will stop hurricanes from hitting our area of influence.

Can our prayers stop any hurricanes from developing this year? Or at least delay them to the point that we do set a record for the slowest start to a hurricane season? Let’s continue to pray, and find out.

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