Tag Archives: intercession

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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A Disastrous Hurricane Season

tracking-chart-2013It was a disastrous hurricane season for those who attempt to forecast hurricanes. “Pretty much everyone who tried to forecast the number of hurricanes bombed,” said Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist of Weather Underground. Twelve forecast teams predicted an average of sixteen named storms. Yet this season, which ends tomorrow (Nov. 30), saw only thirteen named storms, including two lowly Category 1 hurricanes (see this story from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for more).

Ken Kaye, staff hurricane watcher for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, who wrote the above referenced article, also added this:

“It was one of the most remarkable hurricane seasons on record, largely because it was so calm – right in the middle of a period of heightened intensity.”

The famed hurricane forecasters at the University of Colorado, William Gray and Phil Klotzbach, lost their funding this year. Though sources state that it has little to do with their errant forecasts this year, the insurance company that is the source of their major funding has refused to disclose its reasons. Certainly, in view of the fact that insurance companies need solid information to set their rates, the spectacularly inaccurate forecast for 2013 had to play a part.

I am not celebrating the humiliation and embarrassment that hurricane forecasters suffered this year. But I am celebrating. I am celebrating the fact that God’s people are clearly stepping into their authority. Since hurricane forecasters cannot factor the Body of Christ into their forecasts, they have an impossible job. While I feel for them, I cannot but celebrate the good news that God’s people are beginning to understand their authority over negative weather events. Ever since Jesus told the disciples that they were demonstrating little faith in the face of a storm, his implicit challenge to step into faith has resonated with his disciples through the ages. We need to exercise faith over all such storms.

I can’t end this post without this comment from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA):

The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ends on Saturday, Nov. 30, had the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982, thanks in large part to persistent, unfavorable atmospheric conditions over the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and tropical Atlantic Ocean. This year is expected to rank as the sixth-least-active Atlantic hurricane season since 1950, in terms of the collective strength and duration of named storms and hurricanes.

If I were to edit their comment, it would read, “thanks in large part to the intercessory understanding of the Body of Christ.”

Unless something comes up, this will be my last post on the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. Most news articles are stating that it was uneventful. In the natural that is true. However, in the realms of spiritual authority, it was remarkable. God’s people have done their jobs. Thanks for standing in authority with us. Well done.

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Main image credit: National Weather Service

The Miracle of Peace

DebateSome might prefer juggling with sharp objects over doing what we did Tuesday evening. A group of pastors, just slightly under a dozen to be more precise, decided to discuss the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial. This topic has polarized our culture as people from different ethnic backgrounds have interpreted the trial, and the events preceding the trial, in wildly different ways. Our decision to discuss this trial presented risk because, while the the group consisted of Bible-believing Christian clergy members, we were from a broad range of ethnic backgrounds. As a result, the discussion was sometimes loud—even a little heated, but even as we respectfully disagreed on points of view, we forged ahead for about two hours attempting to see things from each other’s perspective. At the end, I, for one, realized that it’s a miracle that people from different backgrounds get along at all.

The problem is that we all have different life experiences. Those life experiences color how we interpret everything around us. We cannot assume we know how other people are interpreting the events we are witnessing. We haven’t lived in their shoes. We haven’t seen life from their perspective. We are seeing events through the grid of our experiences, and others are seeing those same events through the grid of their experiences. When our life experience differs greatly, our interpretive grids also vary greatly.

This came out in our meeting on Tuesday. As we hashed through things we knew about the two young men whose lives intersected in tragedy, we came to understand that both young men were angry, and both had just reasons for their anger. One young man was angry that the homes in his neighborhood were being burglarized on a regular basis. He felt justifiable anger over this violation. He saw another young man walking through the neighborhood whom he did not recognize. He did not know that the young man was visiting someone in the neighborhood. He saw that other young man as part of the problem, and directed his anger at him.

For his part, the other young man was also angry. One of the pastors at our meeting, a man of African-American heritage, helped us understand why he was angry, even justifiably so. He told us that black young men get tired of being treated like bad guys in their own neighborhoods. They get tired of being asked what they are doing and why they are there, especially when they are doing nothing wrong and have every right to be where they are. They get angry because many people do profile them. From witness testimony at the Sanford trial, it is obvious that the younger man felt violated by the man who was following him. No doubt he resented being viewed as a threat when he was simply walking back from the store to the house of a family friend. His anger, understandably, was directed at his pursuer.

Both young men had justifiable reasons for their anger. Unfortunately, there were no peacemakers to step between them that evening. There were no peacemakers to help them explain their anger to each other, and to resolve it in a peaceful manner. There was no one there who was able to pour oil on turbulent waters. As a result, as often happens, anger lead to confrontation. The confrontation escalated beyond words, and an awful tragedy occurred.

We couldn’t be in Sanford to help that evening. But we can help now. We can be peacemakers. If we will attempt to see events through the interpretive grid of both young men, rather than just the one we most identify with, we can become peacemakers. We can pour the oil of peace on the troubled waters of our time. That is our opportunity, that is our job description. If we take up that challenge, we will see a miracle. That miracle is the unbelievable grace of people from different backgrounds getting along.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9 ESV).

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Sitting Under The Willow

Willow

The Lord gave us an important message for intercessors while I was preparing for a ministry trip to England and Wales. He showed us the picture of a weeping willow tree, and then explained that there are two sides to the tree. He told us that one side represents a very good thing. That very good thing is when intercessors tap into the heart of the Lord and begin weeping and interceding before him with groans that words cannot express (see Romans 8:26). He also let us know that the other side represents a very bad thing. That occurs when intercessors take their eyes off the promises and power of the Lord. At that point depression and despair are very real dangers. The Lord is calling intercessors to step away from depression and discouragement into his promises and purpose.

When we received this word, I knew it was for my ministry trip. I knew that I would have opportunity on two of my stops to deliver public words to those assembled. So, of course, I was asking the Lord if this word was for both of those ministry destinations.

At the first ministry stop at a congregation in southwestern Wales, right when I was about to get up and speak, I realized that I did not know if weeping willows were indigenous to the United Kingdom. I didn’t want to give a word picture if those gathered did not know the picture. Thankfully, the congregation had wireless internet, so I was able to check with a search engine. When I entered my query, the first result was about a pub in the UK called the Weeping Willow. I almost laughed out loud when I saw that the proprietors, a husband-wife team, had the same first names as one of the couples who were leaders in the congregation at which I was ministering. You can imagine that we had a fair amount of fun with that particular reference, and that the Lord greatly encouraged the congregation to step forward in the true “spirit” of intercession.

On my second stop, this time at a conference in England, I was once again asking the Lord if I should share the weeping willow word. While I was having coffee on the first full day of the event, I was visiting with the pastors of the Welsh congregation where I had shared the word first. They also were attending the conference. While I was visiting with them, one of them told me that they suspected that the weeping willow word was also for the conference. When I asked why they suspected this, they told me to look behind me. When I turned and looked out the window into the courtyard behind me, I saw that the central feature of the courtyard was a weeping willow (the actual willow is pictured above). When I saw that, I agreed that I needed to release the word at the conference.

While it was obvious that I was to share this word on my trip, I also know that it has application far beyond Britain’s shores. Sometimes we, as intercessors—wherever we live—can get so caught up in the strategies of the enemy, that we forget that we are on the victorious side. We can become like Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, in the Lord of the Rings. While he was able to accurately see into the counsel of his enemy, he was deceived into thinking that the enemy was unstoppable. As a result he became an impediment to victory.

We cannot afford to become impediments to victory. When the Lord shows us things over which we are to pray and intercede, he is showing us the path to victory, not defeat. We must see through the eyes of faith, not self-focus or despair.

How can you tell if you are partaking of the wrong side of the weeping willow? When you are on the correct side of the willow, you may become engulfed in amazing and intense bouts of  intercession, but when that intercession is done, the intensity should lift. An intercessor on the correct side of the tree should be able to get up and enjoy the rest of the day without having depression or anxiety trail after them. If those things do trail after you, it is time to evaluate what has happened to compromise your faith. It is vital that you make the necessary course corrections so that you do not make a shipwreck of your life or ministry (á la Denethor).

Our intercession is a powerful tool. Like most power tools, it must be used correctly. The Lord has taken the time to remind us of the operating instructions for our benefit. We need to be on the right side of the weeping willow. In that way we can accomplish his purposes.
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Photo credit: Randal Cutter

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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