Category Archives: Teaching

Don’t Forget to Wave

timelineI have been spending a bit of time grappling with time. The Lord has been showing me things about time, and about how time was created for us; we were not created for time. I hope that last sentence reverberates around your soul for a little while. It is a paraphrase of what Jesus said about the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath.

You see, in Jesus’ day, the Sabbath had become the master of the people. God intended to bless his people through the Sabbath, breaking the daily work cycle every seven days. The Lord knows us so well that he commanded that no work be done on the Sabbath. He understands our compulsion to work, to accomplish, and to achieve so well that he placed an absolute prohibition against work that could only be broken for emergencies. However, the legalists had taken over the sabbath principle, and turned the day from a day of rest to a day of meticulous rule keeping and mendaciously applied strictures on every day life. The sabbath law, which had been created to liberate man from bondage to work, had been turned into something that tied them more firmly in bondage. The Sabbath had been created to serve man, but the legalists made man serve the Sabbath.

In the same way, time was created to serve man, but after the fall it became man’s master. When death entered into the world, the clock started ticking. Suddenly, mankind had a finite amount of time to accomplish all the goals and pursuits that could have filled an eternity. Time, which had been created to bless mankind by marking days and seasons and years, instantly became man’s master.

However, when Jesus defeated Satan, he brought life and immortality to light (see 2 Timothy 1:10). One of the results is that time is no longer supposed to be our master, it is supposed to be our servant. The implications of that statement are well outside the scope of this article, and for now, mostly outside the scope of my understanding. But the Lord is trying to knock my blinders off so that I understand more.

To that end, he dropped a seed of knowledge into my soul today that left me dumbfounded for a minute. That tidbit is about the great cloud of witnesses. These witnesses are mentioned in Hebrews 12:1, just after the writer to the Hebrews has listed the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. Having drawn attention to these heroes who have gone before, the writer to the Hebrews says that “we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witness” (see Hebrews 12:1).

One accepted truth about time is that God exists outside of time. He created time for us. When I think of God existing out of time, I like to think of time as a foot long ruler. I imagine that one end of the ruler is the beginning of time, and the other end of the ruler is the end of time. In this view, God’s consciousness is larger than the ruler; it is larger than time. In reality, as he views time, he is viewing and interacting with every second of time simultaneously. That means that God is interacting with Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, Luther, and us all at once. We are the creatures of time, he is not.

I know, for many of you, I am messing with your heads right now. Actually, I am messing with your blinders. Until you begin to see time in this fashion, you will be limited to the human perspective. When God put eternity in our heart (see Ecclesiastes 3:11), he made it possible for us to conceive of time from his eternal perspective, rather than our limited time-saturated experience.

While this has implications for whole areas of theology—again, outside the scope of this article—as I stated earlier, the Lord showed me one thing today that stopped me in my tracks. He had recently given us a prophetic picture of a dear mentor who has passed into eternity. He actually showed us a picture of him sitting on a very comfortable chair, with a ringside seat, watching events that he helped set in motion begin to play out. He is truly part of the great cloud of witnesses. It was a very encouraging picture.

I was contemplating that picture today, and realized that since my friend was now outside of time, he could begin to see time from God’s perspective, though in a much more limited way. Although I believe our intellectual capacities will be incredibly expanded once we are free from the results of the fall, we are not God. We do not have his capacities. So I was considering how my friend might be moving his chair around different slices of time to take in the events of history. I realized, that since he can now see from God’s viewpoint, that it is possible to move his chair around the different slices of time and watch them as they occur. Do you feel your blinders shifting yet?

As I considered this, I realized that my friend could be watching slices of time in which he played a role. Then it suddenly occurred to me. That means, that while he was on this earth, my friend was already a part of the great cloud of witnesses watching the events of his life, and the lives of those around him, unfold with all the intricacy of a tapestry being woven together. Then the moment of revelation came. I realized that the great cloud of witnesses already includes every believer who will ever name the name of Christ.

What do I mean? When we, each of us, enters into that eternal state, we step out of time and take our seat in the great cloud of witnesses. We all then have the ability to peer through the sea of glass from God’s perspective outside of time. In a sense, we will be able to move our chairs to whatever place in living history we desire. We will see God’s glory played out in history as witnesses of his glory, from the beginning of time to its end.

That is why the great cloud of God’s people are known as the great cloud of witnesses. They witness God’s glorious works on the earth from the beginning of time to its very end. When we, each of us, step into that great cloud, we will be able to see from God’s perspective, like my mentor and friend. We will also be able to move from one slice of time to the next, examining God’s glory on display in the individual lives of every person who ever lived on this planet, in the individual lives of every animal and every insect that ever lived on this planet, in the birth and death of stars and galaxies throughout the universe. The staggering complexity of this universe means that we will be busy for quite some time giving glory to God for everything he has done from the very beginning of time to its very end. In the process, we will learn about new facets of our Creator and King, and be able to give him glory with even more understanding.

Now, to the reason for the title to this article. Since at some point in our future we will step out of time, and since we will then no longer be subject to time, but will be able to see time from God’s eternal perspective, this means that you and I are already a part of that great cloud of witnesses. We are witnessing the events of time as they happen, and as members of that great cloud, we are also observing the events of this slice of time, watching events unfold around the world and around the universe, but most certainly also seeing how the Lord worked in our own lives during this slice of time. That means—and this is the part that might startle—that means that we are already watching ourselves. So how about giving yourself a wave?

Paul, of course, described this by saying that we are already seated in the heavenly places with Christ:

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7 NIV)

So go ahead and wave.

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Another Historic Hurricane Season

RecordBreakerFor the ninth year in a row, Florida has not been struck by a hurricane. This is the longest stretch that Florida has not been hit by a hurricane—by four years—since records were first reliably kept in 1851. Florida is not the only state with good fortune. The United States is enjoying the longest stretch of time since the Civil War without a major hurricane making landfall.

While the hurricane season is not officially over until November 30th, it feels like it is time for God’s praying people to take a victory lap.

If you have followed this blog for long, and have read the posts on intercessory authority, you know that God’s people have incredible authority when they wield the keys of the Kingdom. We only need to pick up those keys and use them. This hurricane season, and the records that continue to be broken by such peaceful seasons, is further evidence that God’s people are beginning to understand their intercessory authority.

If it were up to me, and very often it really is up to us, Florida would never be hit by another hurricane. To that end, we have our prayer warriors and our protecting hedges in place throughout the hurricane season. We have been reinforcing those hedges through intercessory prayer every year since 1999. It is no coincidence that just as we, and many other intercessors, have begun to understand and apply our authority over the hurricane season, that the seasons began to diminish in intensity. Each and every year we gain more understanding and authority, and each year for the last nine, the storms keep turning away. This is either an amazing coincidence, or it is incredible evidence of the authority the Lord has granted his Church. I believe, without any doubt, it is because of the authority his Church is learning to wield.

Ken Kaye, a weather reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, summarized the record breaking 2014 hurricane season in an article he wrote on November 21 (read the full article HERE). Here are some quotes from Ken’s article:

Because the state on average is struck by a hurricane once every five years, it’s “astounding that Florida has gone so long without a hit,” said Dan Kottlowski, lead hurricane forecaster for AccuWeather.com.

Since 2005, 61 hurricanes have bypassed Florida, the last being this year’s Hurricane Gonzalo, said Jim Lushine, a retired forecaster and tropical expert. “That’s the third-longest streak of missed hurricane strikes in the past 100 years,” he said.

In addition, the season presented some mysteries . . . the Atlantic basin is supposedly entrenched in a period where hurricanes form frequently and more intensely, yet this year’s overall tropical energy was about two-thirds normal . . .

El Niño, initially predicted to emerge by the heart of the season, was a no-show. Yet the wind shear over the Atlantic basin was remarkably strong and eerily similar to El Niño conditions.

Still, he said, the atmosphere is complex and “we just don’t fully understand what’s going on out there in the tropics.”

That last quote is my favorite. One almost has to feel sorry for those trying to understand what is happening when they are unable to factor in the supernatural. How can a scientist factor prayer into any equation? It is a difficult proposition for them.

My goal is to become so good at praying against hurricanes, that we confound the scientists even more fully. Almost by definition, that is what we are saying anytime we call forth supernatural response into this natural realm. The supernatural will always confound those who focus only on the natural world.

I’m already watching next season closely. Several years ago the Lord spoke to me in a way that made me believe that we may have to counter a specific threat in the 2015 hurricane season. As a result, I will be even more alert for next season, and praying that at its end, we will have extended the number of years since Florida’s last hurricane strike to ten.

I believe we have an incredible authority to stop almost any storm when we are engaged in the intercessory authority of God. However, I do have one caveat: I also know about cleansing judgments. The Lord sometimes uses storms as discipline when we stray from his purposes. You can read more about this topic in my post entitled Cleansing Hurricanes (see that post HERE). The Lord hasn’t spoken to me, as far as I know, about the next cycle of cleansing storms. I personally hope there isn’t another cycle of such storms, but I know how rebellious we can be, and I also know that cleansing hurricanes are an important tool in the hands of a loving Father who wishes to call his children to repentance.

We can speak more about such things in future years. For now, we can celebrate. The year of our Lord, two thousand and fourteen, has been a record breaking year for God’s people. That fact is worth a bit of joyous celebration.
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Turning Away Hurricanes

StoppingtheStormAfter speaking with a prophetic mentor today, I felt I needed to issue this warning about what he has seen about this hurricane season. As I wrote in an earlier post (see The 2013 Hurricane Season), Bob Jones had seen a threat to our South Florida area this year. In that post I wrote: “Bob told me that he had seen at least one [hurricane] that we would need to push away, but that he was confident that we would be able to do so.”

He reiterated that same thing to me today, but added some sobering things. He believes that the storm that he has seen is a powerful storm that would bring a lot of damage wherever it hits. The good news is that he is confident that our congregation, and those who are praying with us for our area of influence, will be able to turn the storm away. The bad news is that as we turn this storm away, it will turn toward other vulnerable areas where the intercessory coverage, and the understanding of intercessory authority, may not be as developed. He has asked me to get the word out to as many leaders as I can. He wants entire coastlines protected by churches who understand their authority in Jesus Christ.

Bob asked me to remind people that we have the keys of authority that Christ has won for us. When we ask the Lord to intervene in things over which he has given us authority, we ask amiss. We need to take authority over storm systems and command them not to come into our arenas of influence. Bob said that we have enough degrees in the body of Christ, now we need decrees. That doesn’t mean that education isn’t good, or that the pursuit of educational degrees is somehow bad, but we should seek to grow in Christ’s authority even as we aspire to further education. While degrees are optional, standing in Kingdom authority is not.

Jesus taught us clearly on this topic. He said, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 NASB). He has given us the keys of authority, we must use them in accord with heaven. As the Head of the Church, the Lord issues decrees in heaven, then his Body binds or looses on the earth according to his decrees. Our authority derives from Christ’s finished work, and our direction comes through the Holy Spirit, but we are the ones exercising the authority he has given to us on this earth. If we choose not to use that authority on the earth, or do not understand our authority, we cannot blame heaven. We need look no further than the mirror. We have a job to do, and we must do it.

Please do what you can to stir up intercession during this hurricane season. We do not walk in fear. Peace is our mandate, and a major part of our protection. God will protect his people, but we also want to protect our regions as those who stand in the gap. The Lord is still looking for those, who like Abraham and Moses, intercede for those who deserve judgment. His heart is revealed in Ezekiel, “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30). His is still looking for those who will build the walls of protection, who will stand in the gap between grace and judgment, and release mercy to a region.
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Hurricane Warnings

FLLBeachLast week, the Lord indicated that Dawn and I were to visit and pray over three separate beaches in our county. This is the first time in our fifteen year history of praying against hurricanes that he has given us such a directive. My faith is normally modeled upon that of the Centurion who sought Jesus’ aid for his servant (see Matthew 8:5-13). When Jesus granted the Centurion’s request, the Centurion pointedly told Jesus that he did not need Jesus to come to his geographic location. The Centurion knew that Jesus could provide the aid by simply giving the orders. In the same way, I have realized that when a group of believers gathers together at their place of worship, they can release protection across their area of influence without necessarily going to every location personally. But this year, assuming we heard him correctly, he sent us to the beaches in person.

Why? I don’t know exactly, however, I can hazard some educated guesses. First of all, I think he wanted to remind us just how lost our beach culture is. Even though we live in the Fort Lauderdale area, we almost never get to the beaches. I suspect that the Lord wanted to show me what has happened in the years since Fort Lauderdale divested itself of Spring Break. While we are no longer an attraction for Spring Breakers, we certainly haven’t lost the sensual indulgence or the immodest apparel which were the hallmarks of that era. In fact, the apparel has become more immodest as the years have gone by. As we walked the beaches, we not only prayed against storms, we also prayed for the many spiritually needy souls whom we encountered along the way.

The second reason he may have called us to the beaches probably has to do with our increased need. We are holding our second prayer meeting of the season this evening, and events on the ground might have changed over the years so that personal involvement is more necessary. The Lord has taught us over the years that the more wickedness a region tolerates, the more susceptible to hurricanes (or other disasters) that region becomes. It’s as if our indulgence in sin pushes the protecting hand of the Father away from a region. Satan is looking for any gap that he can send disaster through in order to torment people. He is always seeking ways to kill, steal, and destroy (see John 8:44 and John 10:10). As the Father’s hand of protection is pushed away, intercessors must stand in the gap for their region. As that hand of protection is pushed even further away, they must increase their intercessory activity to match the gap between God’s protection and Satan’s hatred. While we did not have to walk the beaches in the past, it might now be a normal part of our activity, at least until revival and repentance are granted to our region (thus closing the gap again).

In any case, the Lord’s direction highlighted something I stated in my last post. We can expect some level of storm activity this season for the South Florida area (as well as other regions). If there were no specific threat, I doubt that the Lord would have sent us to the beaches.

I also have another specific word from the Lord about a strategy that Satan has released against our region this year. I’m not going to explain what that strategy is, simply because we will be dismantling it in tonight’s prayer meeting. However, the very fact that the Lord gave us a specific strategy indicates that we are countering some level of increased threat.

We are at a very early point in the hurricane season. The Lord is preparing his troops to bring protection to their areas of influence. I am grateful for every direction and strategy he releases to us. He does not delight in death and destruction (see Ezekiel 18:23). So he helps us stand in the gap for our regions of influence. Pay attention to the strategies he is giving you. They may make all the difference this season.
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The 2013 Hurricane Season

stormyweather1Are you prepared for the hurricane season? Many of those who post about the hurricane season remind us to be prepared “just in case.” You can find lists of items that you should have prepared, just in case your area is hit by a major hurricane. While I remind people that stocking up for emergencies is part of being a good citizen and neighbor, I believe that our best preparation for the hurricane season involves standing in the authority that Jesus Christ has won for us. He died and rose again to win the keys of authority for his Church. We use that authority in many different ways, but for those of us in South Florida (or any other hurricane prone region), it is absolutely vital that we use our authority to protect our region from hurricanes.

We held our first intercessory meeting for the hurricane season just over a week ago. As I have often mentioned, we do not wait for the storms to come to us. We recognize that destructive hurricanes are released from hell to harm population centers. We don’t like to wait for Satan’s strategies to emerge during the hurricane season. We are much more comfortable preempting his plans by using the keys of authority that Jesus has given to us. We use those keys to lock the door on Hell’s strategies against our area of influence, and to unlock the purposes and blessings of God in our weather patterns.

Last year the Lord alerted me to three specific storms that Satan’s agents intended to use against South Florida (see South Florida’s 2012 Hurricane Season and 2012 Hurricane Season Recap). The Body of Christ rose to the challenge of the storms, and none of the three presented any problem for our immediate area, though they certainly troubled some other areas.

Bob Jones, one of my prophetic mentors, asked me recently if the Lord had given us anything about the 2013 hurricane season. While the Lord has shown us some things about the tornadoes and storms troubling other areas (see More Storms Coming and Tornadoes and Rain), he has not given us much about our own hurricane season. Bob told me that he had seen at least one that we would need to push away, but that he was confident that we would be able to do so.

I mentioned to Bob, that at this point, I believe that the Lord is only speaking to us about specific threats when there is something we can learn from it, or something that we must expend more intercessory effort over. Since the Lord has given the earth to man (Psalm 115:16), I believe he expects us to walk with intelligent stewardship over it. When I release a task to employees, or to my children, I actually expect them to perform the task. I will train and equip them for the task, I will also monitor things to ascertain whether they are being done correctly, but at a certain point I will simply expect that they will handle the task without much further input. I will certainly encourage them appropriately, but the highest form of praise is the fact that I no longer need to micromanage what they are doing.

In the same way, the Lord gives us callings, tasks, that he intends we carry out on his behalf. He trains and equips the members of his Body to do these tasks. He certainly encourages us along the way, but he also expects that we will grow up into our callings as we mature. He will certainly give us information as we need it. But if we do not need it to accomplish our task or develop our relationship with him at a higher level, he really does not need to tell us every detail of what is coming.

Do not get me wrong, I like the details. Back in 1998, the Lord spoke to us in great detail for over a year about a specific threat to our area. He gave us the information, and the wisdom about what to do with that information, so that Hurricane Irene did not devastate our region in 1999 (see Hurricane Irene). Since then, I have learned that there are threats the Lord will speak to us about, and there are some that he does not bother to speak to us about. I have learned to be at peace with either circumstance.

Those who analyze weather patterns have told us we can expect an active hurricane season. Veteran prophet Bob Jones has seen some specific threats. That means we all must man the walls of intercession and authority. That is our task. Let’s do it well this season.
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