Tag Archives: prophetic

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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Image credit: USS Ronald Reagan, Public Domain

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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Earthquakes And Your Prayer List

seismicThe Lord recently spoke to us about earthquakes. He said, “This is a year that is ripe for earthquakes.” He then showed us that there is a soft spot along the New Madrid fault line.

Now, before we begin to get excited about that, remember that this is an intercessory blog. When the Lord speaks to us about something, he does so that we can alert intercessors to add earthquakes to their prayer lists. He lets us know where it would be good to focus our prayer attention so that people and property are preserved. That is his heart.

You will not usually see me post “doom and gloom” prophecies, simply because I understand the role intercessors are supposed to take. Since 1998, when the Lord first showed me 1999’s Hurricane Irene, he has been training me to view every potential disaster as an opportunity to manifest the power and love of the Kingdom. There are really two ways to manifest the love and power of the Kingdom. The most common way is to respond to a disaster. We see something really bad happen, and the love of Christ wells up in us so that we respond to the human suffering and need with generosity and life. I believe this is the way of Romans 8:28 where Paul taught us,

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. (My Translation)

Bad things happen in this fallen world. However, God has purposed to use his people to release as much life as possible through his people in order that when a bad thing happens, more life is released through his people than the death that the disaster and destruction brought.

Most of you who are reading this post probably see the flaw in this first way of manifesting the power and love of the Kingdom. The bad thing actually happens, people are injured or killed, and suffering is released. While it is absolutely important that we rush to respond to those needs, wouldn’t it be nicer if we could be like the comic book super heroes who actually prevent the disaster from happening? Wouldn’t it be great if God’s people got so good at hearing from him, and so good at wielding the Keys of Authority, that disasters were averted and human suffering was avoided?

The answer to that question is obvious. And this is where we leave the comic book scenarios behind. Instead we pick up the truth of what Jesus said about the authority he would give his Church:

Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. (Matthew 18:18-20 ESV)

The Church is becoming the Kingdom when it understands its authority, and uses that authority to protect those who live around them. Eventually the whole Church will understand this mandate (see Matthew 13:33). But for now, those with ears to hear must take up the Keys whenever the Lord focuses our attention in a particular direction.

At this time he has focused our attention on earthquakes. As an aside, we might ask, “Why hasn’t he focused our attention on the Zika virus?” In response I would write, “If we need the Lord to tell us to pray against a deadly virus that is spreading through the world at such an explosive rate that it threatens a generation, then we do not yet recognize our role.” One doesn’t wait on direction from the Lord when one sees an out-of-control truck hurtling down the street at an unsuspecting child. One acts quickly and reflexively to rescue the child. For intercessors, the Zika virus should have already gained a major part of our attention simply because it is such a horrific threat, and it should stay in major focus until it is vanquished.

The Lord may not need to speak to us about the Zika virus threat because it is so obvious, but he does focus our attention on such things as earthquakes because we are often unable to detect their imminent arrival by natural means. So the Lord helps us to focus on them through supernatural communications. He is always looking for those who will stand in the gap for an area that is under threat (see Ezekiel 22:30). That means that when he tells us that we are in a year that is ripe for earthquakes, he is giving us an invitation to stand against them on behalf of our geographic areas of influence. In truth, he is telling us that the Kingdom of God is now ripe for some incredible uses of the authority he has given us. When he tells us that the New Madrid fault has some weaknesses, those who live along that fault line, and those who support them from afar, have an opportunity to exercise our authority so that built up stresses are relieved through small and relatively inconsequential movements of the earth, rather than through one gigantic slip that releases death and destruction. While we can certainly manifest the Kingdom of God by responding to an earthquake with the love of Christ after it has happened, I would much rather use the Keys to prevent the death and destruction that one would bring. I know that those who are reading this article are with me on this.

So the year is ripe for earthquakes. I believe that by telling us this that the Lord is saying that the year is even more ripe for intercessors to use their authority and stop devastating earthquakes. That is how we need to read every prophetic headline, even the “gloom and doom” variety, written by people who often do not yet know their authority in the Kingdom. We live in a broken world. Those who understand Kingdom must do their best to fix it wherever they have opportunity.

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Update: I wrote this article on Friday during the mid-afternoon, and schedule it to be published on Monday morning because more people read the article on weekdays. However, in view of the fact that an earthquake in Taiwan of magnitude 6.4 has been reported, I am publishing immediately. Please pray for the people of Taiwan, and be prepared to demonstrate the Kingdom in other tangible ways as opportunities become available.

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A New Strain of Avian Influenza

turkeyJust when we thought it was safe to stop praying for turkeys (and chickens), Indiana suddenly reports that a new strain of avian influenza has appeared, and is threatening to once again decimate the industry. At this point, over 400,000 birds have been euthanized in DuBois County, Indiana.

If you recall, the Lord gave us advance warning last year about a strain of avian influenza that took out almost fifty million birds (see post HERE). It was finally stopped in June when intercessors took the keys of authority and used them to cut off that strain (see post HERE on that use of authority). At that time, health officials warned that it could come back in the fall, but it did not.

However, a new strain has made an appearance, and that means we have to get back to work. However, it should not be that difficult to stop this strain. Whenever we have won a victory in the realms of the spirit as we did last June, that gift, calling, or authority becomes ours. In the same way that Elijah gained authority over the fire on Mt. Carmel, and was then able to call that fire down in other circumstances (see 1 Kings 18 and 2 Kings 1), so when we experience spiritual victory, we also gain authority for the future. That simply means that if we will take authority over this scourge and command it to stop, this strain of influenza should soon disappear. I do not want to miss the fact that regional authority is important, so intercessors in Indiana should certainly lead the way, but each of us, no matter our geographical location can add our authority, and also forbid it from making an appearance in our regions.

One last thing, when the Lord spoke to us last February, he told us that there was an opening against turkeys because of a lack of thankfulness. Remember to repent of your own lack of thankfulness, and for that of your region as you pray. Perhaps the Lord will release a renewal of thankfulness in our regions if we do.

I believe we can make quick work of this current outbreak using our authority. We only have to actually use the authority we have been given.

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