Tag Archives: prophetic

A Sign in the Heavens?

Meteor

At 8:08 PM on January 16th, a meteor suddenly appeared over Michigan, and exploded, causing a seismic impact that registered 2.0 on the seismic meters (this was not technically an earthquake, because it was caused by a sound wave).

The apostle Peter, quoting the prophet Joel, spoke about the signs that we can expect the Lord to release, “I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below” (Acts 2:19 NIV). For Christians who take these words literally, the meteor was a twofer. There was a sign in the heavens, the meteor flaming out in the heavens, and a sign on the earth, the shaking.

Obviously, the problem with such signs is that without some sort of divine manuscript, we have no idea what they mean. For this reason, we usually treat most such events as just interesting circumstances, and watch the videos of them with the same fascination everyone else does, without attempting to discern a deeper meaning.

But that doesn’t always work for those of us who lean toward the mystic side of life (and that is an apt description of those 584 million Christians who lean into the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit). So-called “Charismatic Christians” expect the Lord to give indications of his will on the earth in the same ways that the scriptures reveal he has always done.

And that’s why I’m writing about this particular event in the heavens. Those who have read my page for longer periods of time know well that I take certain dreams and visions seriously. That means I engage with them at some level. However, because I have studied such topics for over three decades, and have also researched in areas of the subconscious, I understand that not all such things are from God. But there are some dreams that are most certainly from the Lord, and those dreams usually authenticate themselves in some obvious way.

Let me share one easy example. On November 10th of 2004, I woke from a dream in which I was told that the people of Cuba would experience a positive economic change in seven years. The oddest part of the dream is that I was also told that it would occur at the time that $8.00 invested in a U.S. Savings bond would be worth $10.00. I don’t know about you, but to me that was strange, especially since I had never invested in a U.S. Savings bond, and certainly did not know the interest rate at the time.

One of the first things I ask when I have a vivid, memorable dream is, “What is going on in my life that would express itself through my subconscious in a dream of this sort?” I realize that the subconscious mind is always at work, and often expresses itself in dreams. However, there wasn’t any real reason I would have such a dream. The dream does not involve my personal or family well-being, and this topic is not something I was studying or contemplating at the time.

Since I couldn’t come up with any real reason I would have such a dream, I did what any good seeker would do. While I was having coffee later in the morning, I checked what the interest rate was on a U.S. Savings bond. Then I calculated how long it would take $8 invested on November 10th, 2004 to be worth $10. I found out that at that time the interest rate on U.S. Savings bonds was 3.25%. I then pulled out my trusty calculator, and figured the annual interest on $8.00, of course adding the interest each year before calculating the next year’s interest. My calculation for the next years (later verified in Quicken) showed the following: Year one interest was 26¢, year two was 27¢, year three was 28¢, year four was 29¢, year five was 29¢, year six was 30¢, and year seven was 31¢. If you add those numbers (a total of $2 exactly) to the original eight dollars, you get $10 at the end of the seventh year from November 10th, 2004.

Do you see what I mean about the authentication? With a little bit of imagination, I could postulate that I must have come across an article about Cuba’s economy, or perhaps overheard a conversation about it that I had forgotten. However, I can’t imagine how my subconscious could have come up with the formula in the second part of the dream. I couldn’t begin to figure out the answer to the formula until I received information from an outside source about what the interest rate on a U.S. Savings Bond was at that time. It was only obvious after I figured out the equation that the second part of the dream was saying the same as the first part, that there would be a positive change to Cuba’s economy in seven years. Because of these oddities, I strongly suspected the dream was from the Lord, and that he was trying to communicate about something that would happen seven years in Cuba’s future.*

Was the dream accurate? I have no doubts. On November 10th, 2011, at exactly the end of seven years from when I had the dream, a law took effect in Cuba which allowed Cubans to own private property for the first time in fifty years. This very positive economic change shifted the entire economy of Cuba away from its communist roots. This is an obvious fulfillment of the dream, and takes it from the realm of high probability that the Lord was communicating, over the threshold of reasonable doubt to an obvious example of a time the Lord communicated.

That was a rather extended illustration, but it was necessary so that we understand the field on which we are standing. People who consign all dreams to the realms of the subconscious mind have not done their homework. There is far more to this field of study than most people understand.

With all of that as background, lets address the signs in the heaven and on the earth of last week. I believe that there is a high probability that the Lord did provide a bit of a manuscript for what it means back on October 7th of last year. On that day, my wife, Dawn, had an experience in which she was told to watch what happened on January 16th. In another experience we were also told to watch Michigan, and that there would be a sign in the heavens that the veil between God’s realm and the earth was being opened.

The nice thing about experiences like this is that you simply have to wait and watch and let events either authenticate or falsify the dream. We knew that if these things were from the Lord, something obvious would happen on January 16th that would help us understand. A spectacular meteor strike, caught on video and shared virally around the world, most certainly fulfills the requirements of a sign in the heavens. The fact that it happened over Michigan, and happened on January 16th ticks those checkboxes in a way that makes me believe the Lord really was communicating something. It would be an incredible lack of faith to simply label these things as coincidences.

As a result, it appears that we actually do have an informal manuscript, a bit of a roadmap to last week’s “sign in the heavens,” based upon what we received earlier. It certainly isn’t Scripture,** but I am confident that the meteor fits the biblical description of a “sign in the heavens” for all the reasons stated above. What was it a sign of? The signs were intended to point to one thing; the veil that exists between God’s realm and our realm is opening.

I know. Some of you may be a bit let down. It seems that if God went through all the trouble of sending a perfectly good meteor to blow up over Michigan as a sign, that there should be more associated with it. Well, it is actually a lot of information if you look more closely. At Jesus’ baptism, we are told,

After Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up out of the water. Incredibly, the heavens opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending in the form of a dove and land upon him. (Matthew 3:16)

When Jesus was about to embark on a ministry of presence and power, the veil between heaven and earth opened, the Spirit and power poured forth, and everything changed.

I think you would agree that if that same sort of miracle working power were again being poured forth on the earth, it would be worth a sign in the heavens. That is specifically what I believe the Lord intended to communicate on January 16th. Of course, time will tell. If we begin to see more power available to the people of God in answer to their prayers, if we see an uptick in miracles, and even more signs and wonders, we will know that this sign is being validated. In the meantime, it is an encouragement to keep pressing in to the Lord with prayers, petitions, and intercessions. Let’s see what God is up to.

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* Because of the high probability that the Cuba dream was actually inside information from the Lord intended to encourage the Cuban people with whom I had contact, I shared the dream and its meaning in many different venues, and even wrote about it. You can read what I wrote on February 26th, 2011, eight months before the law was enacted HERE. You can also read what I wrote about it on November 10th, 2011 HERE.

** Please note that dreams and visions can never contradict the clear words of Scripture. If they do, that is a certain sign that they are not from the Lord. However, they can give us great encouragement about the things God is doing on behalf of his people.

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Texas, Faith, and Grief

IrmaMy wife, Dawn, recently had an odd experience that featured Texas. When I say she had an experience, I mean the type of experience where you are hearing things explained while you are in that in-between place. I often have those type of experiences when I am just falling asleep, or just waking up (the in-between state), and hear a few snippets about something. I’ve learned over the years, and so has Dawn, to grab on to the things we hear at that time so that we remember them. When she gets these snippets, they are often about things that give us opportunity to look at current events, even awful events, in a slightly different way. I’m certainly not saying that she gets the full picture or details of things, but the things she gets often give us alternative views to ponder as we look at the world around us.

Last Saturday, in an in-between moment, she got several different snippets about the South, and one on a related note about Texas. Obviously, Texas has come into the national consciousness because of the awful events that occurred in Sutherland Springs, but that happened a day later. Texas was not in our thoughts last week, and although we live in South Florida, we don’t live in the South. Any true southerner could easily testify to that fact.

The first thing she heard was that there is a big ball of anger growing in the South. Then she heard that the Lord had tried to put out some of that anger through the floods that have been hitting Texas over the past couple years, and especially through Hurricane Harvey this year.

When she told me what she had heard, I was puzzled. I don’t view floods as a pressure relief valve. If anything, I would think that they exacerbate anger because they threaten lives and do lots of damage to property. But as I thought this, I had a clear picture of what happened during Harvey. I remembered the news stories about the people of Texas helping each other; I remembered the Cajun Navy arriving to help. I remembered how people cheered each other on to help others; and then I understood.

We all know the anger that is growing in our nation. There is a clash of world views taking place that is separating families, friends, and neighbors. If the news reports are accurate, we just saw a sitting United States senator attacked by a normally well-respected and rational neighbor for his political positions. This past summer we saw congressmen (and those tasked to help them) shot for their political affiliation while practicing for a congressional baseball game. These things are not normal. But there is a growing anger in our country. It is building, and as a result, some will act out of their anger, targeting perceived threats to their wellbeing and their beliefs.

Of course, this same clash of world views is happening in Texas and the South, just like virtually everywhere else in our country. But the floods that Texas experienced certainly quelled that anger, if even for a brief moment. When I saw the news clips of people risking their lives to rescue those who were trapped in the floods, I noted that no one was asking for anyone’s worldview, their political beliefs, or their position on hot button issues before deciding to help. People of different ethnic and religious backgrounds helped each other. People who had different political views pitched in to rescue those who were in danger. They recognized their shared humanity, and reached out to help. For that brief moment the ball of anger was diminished.

As Dawn came out of that experience, she had one more snippet. She saw into the spirit realm and was shown an evil being. She knew this being’s job is to stir things up in Texas, and cause confusion whenever Christians there are wrestling and praying over major issues. If there is a threat that Christians might be approaching a breakthrough against a stronghold, such as the growing anger, his job is to do everything he can to plug the breach those folks are causing. As she was coming out of that experience, she knew intercessors needed to target this being because of the damage he is capable of doing.

Since we recognize that God often uses these in-between snippets to stir up prayer, we prayed about these things even as we discussed them. As a result, when we heard about the awful things that happened in Sutherland Springs, we couldn’t help but believe that the Lord had shown us some spiritual things behind the scenes. If ever we wanted to see behind the scenes, this was one such time. The plain facts were overwhelming. A close-knit church family lost twenty-six of its members and friends, including men, women, and children, to a violently angry man who had lost any remnants of his compassion, or his sanity. It is difficult to contemplate such horror and bloodshed without being overwhelmed by the tragedy.

Throughout this week, I have been praying for the people of Sutherland Springs, asking that the God of all comfort meet them. At the same time, because of the behind-the-scenes glimpse, I have been wondering what that little community of faith was doing that so panicked the spiritual agents of darkness that they felt it necessary to move against them. I have been remembering what Dawn heard on Saturday. Whenever Christians are effectively wrestling against evil by living for righteousness, there are evil spiritual forces stirred against them. This idea of wrestling is biblical terminology for living the opposite of whatever negative behavior is on display. In the case of growing anger and separation, it would usually manifest by obvious expressions of love and peace in the community. So I have to ask, “What life was this little community of believers releasing that they were such a threat?” And of course, it would not just be them. What life is the surrounding Christian community releasing that this confusion and pain was released into their midst?

These questions have helped me grapple with eternal truths during this week of sadness. My questions have informed my thoughts in a comforting way. If my understanding is anywhere near the mark, then these twenty-six people are not just victims of a senseless act of violence. They, and other Christians surrounding them, were actually such a threat to Satan’s plans that he had to stop them. In essence, they were spiritual warriors on the front line of this particular battle, and even though we lost them on earth, they were welcomed into the Lord’s heavenly embrace with a heroes welcome.

Of course, even with this understanding, I am still sad. I still grieve for all those who were lost, and especially the children whose lives were just starting. I grieve for those who are overwhelmed by pain and loss, and will continue to pray that the Lord meet them and help them. But if what I suspect about that Christian community is true, there will be hundreds, and even thousands of those from the believing community who will be reaching out to support them in their time of need. That knowledge does help at some level.

“And we know that God works with those who love Him so that all things result in good;
He works with those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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What to Do with Your Pipe Dreams?

PipeWe’ve all had dreams of the future, and the exciting possibilities that can unfold in our future. These dreams fill us with enthusiasm for future feats and potential advances in our lives, or in the lives of those around us. Dreams are the stuff of hope and vision.

But what happens when life intervenes in ways that tend to dampen the vision? Or worse yet, what happens when the storms of life drench the dreams with such soggy reality that our past dreams slide inexorably toward that awful basket of derelict visions labeled “Pipe Dreams.” When enough past dreams collect in that basket, it is easy to let vision die. It is just too painful to see our dreams shattered by life’s realities. As a result, we tend to limit our vision, and dream only safe dreams, mundane dreams, dreams that will not change the world.

I can imagine Abram’s dreams sliding toward that dreaded basket of broken vision. He was convinced he had heard from God about a son. Yet night after night, as he glanced toward the stars, he knew he was no closer to fulfilling the vision. His vision for this dream was so dead that when the Lord showed up to tell him the vision was about to be fulfilled, he tried to argue him out of it (see Genesis 17:15-20). That is a dead vision.

I can imagine Joseph’s dreams turning to ashes as he saw his brothers’ camp fading in the distance while being transported to Egypt for an unknown fate. His dreams had been so real. The whispers of the night had made him believe he was destined to lead, to rule.

Perhaps Joseph’s stay at Potiphar’s house had sparked hope. His gifts were being recognized as he served an official of Pharaoh’s court. But if hope had been kindled, the torrential rains of reality quickly extinguished them in a prison cell. Prison reality so limited Joseph’s dreams that his primary hope was simply to get free from prison (see Genesis 40:14-15). As a prisoner in Egypt, he was among the least of the least in that nation. Any dreams of leading or ruling had become embarrassing memories of childish ambition.

I can imagine Moses’ dreams being flattened by his reality. He had dreamed of being Israel’s deliverer, raised up in amazing special privilege to become the hero of the hour. At the point when it seemed that his dreams were on the cusp of being fulfilled, when his true people would turn to him in hope, and his influence with his adopted people would pave the way, he was rejected by his fellow Israelites and hunted as a criminal by his peers. Forty years of reflection on his colossal blunders, and the stark reality of life on the backside of the desert, had so smashed his early dreams of being Israel’s deliverer, that he told God to send someone else to do the job (see Exodus 4:13).

Dreams can turn to disappointment. Disappointment stokes the fire of disillusion. Eventually the original vision has been relegated to the bin of embarrassing pipe dreams.

What do you do with that bin? Do you ignore it, and shudder with shame every time a memory shard works its way to the surface? Do you dust the pipe dreams off on occasion to use as a cautionary tale aimed at correcting youthful idealism? Or do you bitterly reflect on what might have been?

I have a suggestion. Take that collection of old and broken dreams and offer them up to God. Give him an opportunity to breathe on them. In the Bible stories I have mentioned above, the characters involved were confined in roles that had diminished their original dreams. As a result, they lost vision. But then God breathed. He stirred up the currents of his Holy Wind, and vision became reality. Those who had lost vision could dream again.

Perhaps it’s time to let God breathe on your dreams. Give him permission to resurrect the dead husk of visions long past. You never know what wonderful notes the Lord may release through your pipe dreams as his Wind blows through them.

What do you do with Pipe Dreams? Every once in a while, you set them apart, and wait for the Wind to blow on them.

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North Korea: A Prayer Thought

UssRonaldReaganEvery once in a while, I have a nudge from the Lord about a particular topic or focus. Some Christian traditions call these nudges burdens or leadings. Others call them words or some type of revelation. Obviously, these are not limited to Christian tradition, and those who are from different faith traditions also understand the nature of these nudges. Those without a faith perpective might call them hunches, or even premonitions. Whatever we call them, they are a common part of Christian experience; and whatever you call them, I have been dealing with one lately.

I have spent some time praying about the situation in North Korea. I hope that you have also. The situation is chaotic, unstable, and of course, very dangerous because of all the parties involved. The ever-present military threat to the civilian populace of South Korea (and North Korea), as well as the continued verbal incitements toward war from North Korea’s leader, should have us praying for the continued peace and prosperity of that region.

It was during a time of prayer on April 18th that I felt a nudge in a particular direction. While I was praying, my prayer focus shifted to praying for our ships that were being deployed around the Korean peninsula, and as a part of that prayer, my attention was directed to the USS Ronald Reagan. This was an odd turn of events for several reasons. First, I have not seriously given thought to the fact that our ships at sea would be in danger from North Korea. We all know about North Korea’s missile threat to its neighbors and others, and of course, we also know a bit about the nation’s nuclear ambitions and threats, but I had not been all that concerned about the naval assets that the United States has in the region. However, I found myself praying that the personnel and the ships in the region would remain safe. Second, while I am conversant enough with military affairs to know that the Ronald Reagan is an aircraft carrier, I knew precious little else about its current disposition or deployment.

As I usually do after getting a nudge, I decided to find out more about the USS Ronald Reagan. I could not recall the name of the carrier strike group that had been deployed to the Korean peninsula, but I also wanted to find out more about it. It turned out that the carrier that had been deployed to Korea was the USS Carl Vinson. In addition, I found out that the USS Ronald Reagan was at its base in Yokosuka, Japan, undergoing scheduled maintenance.

As you would probably do, I simply made a note to pray more about this situation, and went on with my day. Then, on April 24th I read a CNN report (see CNN report HERE) that said:

North Korea’s state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in an editorial the country is ready to illustrate its ‘military force’ by sinking a ‘nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike.’

You can imagine that this piece of information got my attention. As a result, I have asked my congregation to pray for the safety and wellbeing of those deployed in the region, and for peace to reign over the Korean peninsula. We have also prayed these things publicly at our congregational meetings. We will keep this type of prayer up until peace and stability returns more obviously to the region.

That is probably the end of what I would have done with this particular nudge if there had been no further developments. But I just read a report that the USS Ronald Reagan has completed its maintenance, and on Tuesday left Japan to rendezvous with the USS Carl Vinson. The CNN report states (see full report HERE),

The US Navy is moving the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula where it will conduct dual-carrier training exercises with the USS Carl Vinson amid heightened tensions in the region, two defense officials told CNN.

Again, you can imagine how this piece of information drew my attention. I certainly felt I understood the reason for the nudge back in April when only a week later North Korea threatened to destroy an aircraft carrier. But now the carrier that I had specifically prayed about on April 18th is heading to the region.

I am certainly not over-anxious about this, or even assume that I fully understand why the Lord has us praying these things. I do believe that the one who created all things likes to invite us to pray over issues that impact people and circumstances in this world in order to change those things. So when things like this come together, I usually publish a call to prayer so that intercessors throughout the world have a chance to receive the invitation. Together our prayers can certainly pour the oil of peace on troubled waters. I think you understand how that metaphor is most appropriate in this situation.

Please join us in praying over this difficult situation in North Korea. Pray also for all those who live in the region, and for those who have been deployed in that region. Like all our military personnel, they always can use our prayers.

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Eyes to See, Ears to Hear

potatopumpkinsThere are times that the Lord is hilarious. One such instance of hilarity is found in Jeremiah 1:11-12. In that passage, the Lord asked Jeremiah what he could see. Jeremiah responded, “I see the branch of an almond tree.” In Hebrew, the word for “almond tree” is pronounced “shakad.” Then, I presume with a straight face, the Lord told Jeremiah that he has seen rightly, and says, “For I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” The Hebrew word for “watching” is pronounced “shokade.” Remembering that Hebrew originally did not have written vowels, the words would be written like this: almond tree (skd), watching (skd).

You see? That is punny.

In the Bible, the Lord often spoke through puns, parables, and riddles that needed interpreting. We know that. Those of us who believe that the Lord can and does still communicate through some of the dreams we get (but perhaps not through that dream you had after eating a large pepperoni pizza, you know the one, where you are walking through your High School clad only in your underwear), know that he uses images that can be heavy on puns and word images.

Let me tell you about two such images he gave to my wife recently. In one of these picture snippets, she is running through a hospital pushing a covered gurney toward the emergency room. She was aware that she dreaded looking under the sheet to see who was on the gurney. However, when she did finally look, she saw that it was an ear of corn that was filled with worms.

Now, an image like that would normally move us to pray for the corn harvest this year. Since time immemorial, the Church has prayed over the harvest. An image such as that is as good excuse as any to apply some of those prayers to the corn harvest. The Lord works through such things all the time to release the prayers that are needed in a particular arena of need. Since we know that, we use such things as a reason to pray. We view it as good prayer exercise.

Dawn saw the second image about a week later. In that picture she saw a potato patch with a pumpkin in it. Honestly, when she told me about this, I was more than underwhelmed. While I haven’t planted pumpkins or potatoes in any garden since I moved from Wisconsin almost thirty years ago, I had no idea what portent a pumpkin in a potato patch could hold.

However, some of you do plant potatoes, pumpkins, or both, and you know what we had to find out through research. It is not good to plant pumpkins and potatoes together. If you do, neither will thrive, and your harvest will be awful.

That is very useful information—if you are planting potatoes or pumpkins. We are doing neither. So again, I have to assume that the Lord gave the image as a bit of a warning about a threat to the potato harvest this year. If so, we need to pray accordingly. We need those potato chips and French fries (and the host of other good things that come from potatoes).

But this is where the Lord’s humor makes it entrance even more fully. After he had given Dawn this image, and we and our intercessors had diligently prayed for the harvest of these two vegetables, the Lord reminded us that corn has ears, and potatoes have eyes. Suddenly, we realized that there was a bit more to these messages than a word about the corn and potato harvest (though it is certainly good to pray about them). It is also about our ability to see and hear what God is doing.

That is an important reminder for us, not only in the United States during a rather unsettling election cycle, but wherever we find ourselves (Brexit anyone?). Things are so confused and so unsettled around the world, that we really need the Lord to open our eyes and ears. We need a harvest of spiritual fruit that allows us to discern what it going on, and how to respond to it. The images that Dawn received remind us that we cannot afford a crop failure of true discernment during this season.

So, in addition to the corn and potato harvest (the natural), I have also added our ability to accurately discern the Lord’s will (the spiritual) to my prayers during this season. Of course, by writing this, I am inviting you to join me. We need to see. We need to hear. And of course, we need to keep those potato chips coming.

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