Category Archives: Teaching

The Winnowing Has Begun

TrainsThe Body of Christ is currently being separated into two groups. One group will be used in amazing ways in the days ahead. They will unleash the power of the Kingdom of Heaven with such love and grace that the world will stand in awe that such things are being done by mere humans. Those in this group will become God’s end time agents who will help turn Satan’s kingdom upside down, and will initiate the restoration of all things (see Acts 3:19-21). The other group will find themselves on the outside of God’s purposes, looking with longing and regret on what could have been.

The good news is that the group you join is your choice. The bad news is that many are currently choosing the path to disaster.

The Lord recently gave us a picture of the choice that we now face. The picture was that of two trains that run on parallel tracks side by side. The trains look almost the same. They appear to be going to the same destination. For all practical purposes they will run in the same direction at the same speed for quite some distance. But in the end, only one of the trains will get to its destination. The other will suffer loss.

The Lord then said that the two trains are the Encouragement Train and the Discouragement Train.

The Lord has warned us that there is a wave of discouragement coming. He issued a strong warning that it will be such an intense wave of discouragement that many will begin to waver. Even as he gave us this advance warning, he mentioned the Discouragement Train and said, “Don’t get on that train!”

I know this warning is necessary. I have been surprised at the amount of discouraging hype that has recently been released in the body of Christ. Relatively prominent teachers have released predictions about the times in which we live. I do not know their intent, or the full extent of their teaching, but I have seen the results. I have seen an onslaught of fear and self-focus among God’s people. Fear and self-focus are not a fruit of the spirit. Instead, they are evidence that we have boarded the Discouragement Train. If you have given in to fear and self-focus, get off that train right now!

Do not misinterpret what I am saying. I believe that there are certainly difficult times ahead. But one thing I know, we do not get through those difficult times by endlessly parroting what this moon or that seven year cycle portends for the future. Difficult times are upon us. Get over it. The world is under judgment. Get over it. We overcome all of it by focusing on the Kingdom authority we have been granted in Jesus Christ. We overcome it by focusing on our mission and purpose in a lost world as we lay down or lives for those around us. We overcome it as we have always overcome every obstacle in this new covenant era—by the blood of the lamb, the word of our testimony, and not loving our lives so much that we shrink back from laying them down if necessary.

Jesus told his disciples, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19). He said that before his victory on the cross. Now that he has crushed Satan’s head, we have even more authority, and more power to overcome. We are overcomers. There is nothing that Satan can unleash against the Body of Christ that is able to overcome it. The gates of hell, all the evil that Satan is capable of marshaling against the Church, will not be able to stand against the power of God’s overcomers. Rather than focusing on the judgment and the evil, why don’t we focus on our job description? Why don’t we extend the Kingdom of God and the shelter it provides (see Matthew 13:31-32) wherever we go?

The Lord showed us another picture recently. He showed us that he was setting out nets to trap those who were releasing fear among his people. When he told us this, I knew that some of the very things that have recently released so much fear in the Body of Christ were part of the trap. As the Lord showed us the trap, he said, “It is a huge challenge when you hang around chickens. Chickens have a tendency to make you doubt and second guess yourself. They are not encouraging at all. They’re always skeptical, and they are always chickens.”

The Lord is beginning to draw the chickens away to the Discouragement Train so that the chickens do not hinder the people of God. Then his people will board the Encouragement Train and can encourage each other once the chickens have been separated in the current winnowing.

There is a time soon coming, and even now upon us, where the righteous will shine forth as the sun exercising the authority of the Kingdom of Heaven. However, before that can happen, the winnowing must take place. Those who claim to be a part of God’s Kingdom will board the one train or the other. Those who preach fear and discouragement will be removed, just like the ten spies who discouraged Israel (see Numbers 14:36-38). It is a time like that which Jesus prophesied in Matthew 13 when he said,

“The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:41-43 NASB)

If you are on the wrong train, I don’t believe it is too late to jump off, but now is the time. Get on the right train.

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Shameless Plug for Drinking Water in Kenya:

A friend of mine, Pat Selvey, is living in Kenya digging wells to save the lives of children there. He asked if I would advertise an opportunity to purchase a drilling rig. The ministry has already raised most of what is needed for the drilling rig. Here is what Pat wrote, and a few excerpts from the website:

There is a water crisis in Africa. In many areas waterborne disease is the biggest killer of children under the age of 5. Water born disease is preventable. Clean drinking water for 150,000 school children requires that Hydrating Humanity purchase a deep-hole drill rig. We have been able to raise over $265,000 so far. Our goal is to raise $300,000 as quickly as possible to get this drill rig purchased and deployed into the Kuria School District in Southwest Kenya.

Would you consider being a part of raising the additional money needed? Every dollar given in this fundraiser will be used to purchase this critical equipment. Your gift of $10, $50, $100, $1,000 or $10,000 gets us one step closer to helping kids get clean water for the first time ever! It truly is a gift that will keep on giving!

If you would like to help, or to find out more, click HERE.

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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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