It’s time to unclog the wells

April 30, 2021

Recently I heard someone say, “We need to dig the wells again.” I thought that meant we need the anointing of God that once flowed freely in the life of the church. Remembering the 1970’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Florence, I murmured a quick prayer, “Do it again, Lord, do it again here!” (But the words I’d heard were “We need to…”We need to…”)

At a meeting with several other intercessors this week, the Lord began speaking to us:

“The spiritual wells of the Holy Spirit that were opened here in the 1970’s have become clogged with chunks and rocks and boulders and dirt. Doubt, unbelief, wrong belief and ignorance. Anger, worry, anxiety, frustration, depression, disappointment, even complacency and apathy have been piled on.

Many distractions and diversions, the ordinary busyness of life have been dumped in until there’s little sign the wells were ever there. It’s time to dig those wells out. You, this small group of you, can begin that process.”

(Holy Spirit continued…)

“New wells are being dug, present tense. Where a well never existed before, a new well is springing up — in a living room, a storefront, a back yard, a church building, a workplace, even a school. Young children who were told Bible stories about Jesus now believe them; Jesus is their Savior now. They are beginning to pray for their family and classmates, teachers and other adults. They will pray for the sick and they will be healed.”

As he spoke I began to see these new wells, almost like grass sprouting up here and there. But these weren’t water wells — they were oil wells, each one topped by a flame! I realized that they weren’t just wells of God’s manifest presence, these were wells of his supernatural power. “Fire power,” to ignite his passion in our hearts to see people saved, truly saved. Rescued, healed, and delivered.

His supernatural fire to burn away things in our lives, including some things that aren’t bad in themselves but would hinder God’s plans. (Matthew 3:11-12.)

The message ended with a thought-provoking statement, two assignments, actually:

If you truly desire revival, you have to “re-dig” the old wells, clean out those self-imposed blocks of spiritual debris; and

Dig new wells for the Holy Spirit’s presence to flow through, not allowing preconceived notions and memories of his past work to create blocks to his working now.

How, Lord? How do we do this? Here’s what he answered.

  • By repentance, prayer and intercession, praise and worship
  • Listening and obeying the Holy Spirit as he specifically directs our actions, our prayers and decrees
  • Allowing the gifts of the Holy Spirit to operate in our lives
  • Teaching the Word, including by “show and tell.” Dealing with Ignorance in the body of Christ, as much as it depends on us; our words, testimonies and examples are powerful
  • Exercising authority over spirits of compromise, complacency, apathy, deception and distraction in our own lives and in our areas of influence

Repentance and forgiveness aren’t just important, they are essential.

Some of us were here when God’s spirit was poured out in Florence, and some of us are responsible for clogging up those wells.

We took his blessings for granted. We got busy with life, we let distractions and diversions block his presence. Deception too, believing the lie, “That was nice, but this is real life.”

Others of us weren’t even born yet, but that’s no excuse to accept the status quo.

We can take the initiative to repent as did Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 1:5-11.) Ask for forgiveness and extend forgiveness. Ask the Lord what to pray and pray that; what to speak, then speak that.

God delegated his authority to the body of Christ to decree, declare and command what he wants done in the earth. Do we really want to see revival?


Matthew 3:11-12 (NASB) “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Nehemiah 1:5-11 (NASB) “I said, Please, LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps the covenant and faithfulness for those who love Him and keep His commandments: let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open, to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have committed against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.”
“Remember, please, the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I have chosen to have My name dwell.’”
“They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand. Please, Lord, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to [fn]revere Your name, and please make Your servant successful today and grant him mercy before this man. Now I was the cupbearer to the king.”

He’s taking the blinders off

April 12, 2021

We’re in a time of spiritual pause, the Lord said to me last night. He is turning his “ship of state,” the body of Christ, to re-focus their attention.

I had been feeling a bit off spiritually, mentally, emotionally, during the day. It was sort of like waiting for the other shoe to fall. I’m sure you’re familiar with that icky feeling. I’ve felt it several times in recent years. It’s always significant, I’m sure, but just what the significance is hasn’t always appeared. And so as I prayed last night, I asked him “What’s going on, Lord?”

And that’s what he said: A spiritual pause; a re-focusing.

I imagined a huge ship. The captain can’t just jerk the steering wheel to change direction, it takes a while for a ship of that size to make a turn. It moves slowly, slowly, bit by bit until the change is complete.

He is mobilizing his spiritual army and changing directions of the entire army, the Lord told me. It will take a little time. How much time? I asked, but he didn’t say.

He went on. The body of Christians worldwide have been acting like race horses with blinders on. Running around and around, horses wear blinders to block out distractions from their main focus — getting ahead. And so it has been with the human race, he said, even many if not most Christians.

My inner vision switched from the horse racetrack to the “rat race…”

What has been our focus? I asked myself. The main focus of myself, my family and friends, other people I’ve known in and out of church over my lifetime? I gave that some thought.

It wasn’t complicated. Here in America, we’ve been so focused on getting through school and college, getting a job or career, we’ve put blinders on ourselves out of necessity. We needed to avoid being distracted by less essential things, hindrances to a successful life.

Many of us focused next on getting married, having a family and raising kids. Buying a house, then a better house. Dealing with everyday stress with hobbies or vacations. Community volunteering for good causes. Trying to save for a “rainy day” or retirement. Taking care of any health problems that arise in ourselves or the family. Those things were important, weren’t they?

And of course unless we ourselves were called to a ministry of some sort, a Christian’s life meant going to church, supporting ministries and missions, praying and studying the Bible as much as possible. In our spare time we kept up some with current events, especially those that affected our own. There’s nothing evil in any of that, is there? I was thinking.

No, the Lord said, but I’m taking the blinders off now. I’m refocusing everyone’s attention. Directions are changing.

My people will see things they don’t see now. They will see what happens in the spirit world as well as the natural world. They will discern, begin to sense and feel the warfare going on around them.

Distractions? Oh, there will be a lot of distractions.

They’ll notice people they didn’t notice before. The man hurriedly walking down the street. Tired clerks in the store. Shoppers without smiles. Neighbors you see but have never met, co-workers you don’t really know, church members whose faces you recall but names you don’t. People in stores. Gas stations. Doctor’s offices. Hospitals. Workplaces. Needy people under attack everywhere you look, worried, anxious, sad, angry or depressed. Some are desperate. Disconsolate. There’s no more time for complacency in the body of Christ.

Along with distractions comes discomfort, he said. Unease and dissatisfaction. This war may have started without their notice, but they will notice it now. There really is a war, there really is an enemy, and the enemy really is out to kill everyone he can — believers and non-believers alike. But while the warfare is escalating, the turning is accelerating. A change in direction is coming: the army is mobilizing.

I was concerned about what I was supposed to do with what I was hearing. Why are you telling me all this? I asked.

Well, you’re not the only one, he said. As he spoke I could almost see a small smile on his face. Listen. Discern. Arm. Pray and intercede. Decree, declare and command.

Watch and warn. And so I am.

Battle Array

“SHOCK”. That’s the subtitle of the post I wrote on January 1, 2021. https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2021/01/01/2021/

“Wait and see. Keep praying,” the Lord told me, and so I have been. Since then:

  1. On the evening of January 1 as I was praying before going to sleep, the Lord gave me a mini-vision of an array of angels dressed in battle armor, thousands upon thousands of them in the heavens. Silent and still they stood arm to arm, facing the earth. Above and behind them a fierce spiritual battle was going on, but these warrior angels weren’t taking part in that battle; they were protecting the earth.
  2. On January 2, the Holy Spirit told me, “It’s coming down.” He showed me the warriors descending from the heavens onto the earth. My prayers became even more intense.
  3. On January 3, he said, “The battle is joined.”
  4. On January 4, he added, “We are now on a war footing.”

After that evening I haven’t heard anything specific from him during my night-time prayers. There’s just a deep sense of continued watchfulness.

Despite having received those words, like so many others I was terribly shocked at what happened at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. I realized that the Lord’s word to me about 2021 was coming to pass.

What will happen next? The Lord hasn’t told me. He may or may not. He just keeps saying, “Wait and see. Keep praying.” This is a spiritual battle and it’s not over.

2021

SHOCK.

Praying these past few days and wondering to myself “What will 2021 be like?” I asked the Lord that question. Usually my question starts a conversation with him, sometimes short, sometimes long, but always more than just one word.

Not this time. I just keep hearing that one word. Shock.

I feel 2021 will be a year like no other. Many people have said goodbye to 2020 with relief, as if somehow turning the page on the calendar will erase all the trauma of this past year. I don’t feel relief, however, I feel wariness. Watchfulness. Spiritual senses on full alert.

I have no idea if this word is a personal message for me alone, for my family, my friends, my prayer partners, for America or the whole world. The Lord isn’t telling me, yet. I simply get an impression, “Wait and see. Keep praying.” And so I have been.

Maybe in the days ahead I’ll hear more of an explanation from him, or maybe events will make it clear. We’ll see.

In the meantime, Joy with a capital J, thankfulness, praise, supernatural peace that passes understanding, healing, health and wholeness, all are ours in the Lord and well worth thinking about.

If MY people, God said

I have spent more time than usual meditating and praying for the last couple of weeks, praying in tongues more than usual, and just listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit as to what or who to pray for. Or command, declare or decree about. It’s like listening or waiting for the “other shoe to fall,” if you know what I mean. I sense something unsettling going on in the spirit world.

Again I am receiving “positive” blog posts and “happy” emails from prophetic believers who predict another Great Awakening in the almost immediate future. I don’t sense that, however. The church has gone through that sort of prophesying before, in recent years. A lot of happy people were praising the Lord for those wonderful predictive words, looking expectantly for it to happen in America, any day now, any day now!

But it was more like wishful thinking, than actual prophecy. Situations in this country didn’t get better immediately, as so many expected — they got worse.

And I have a distinct feeling that the worst hasn’t happened yet. The enemy hears those exciting prophecies and makes his plans, causing chaos and havoc, stirring up hate and murder, destroying people and property, and the church at large didn’t seem to see it coming.

It’s past time for the militant church to take authority over the enemy, to truly discern the motives and behavior patterns of the enemy and take action. Some preachers are doing that, preaching and teaching how to do that, but there aren’t enough who are. Yet. That’s another one of my ongoing prayers.

“If MY people,” says that scripture – not those other people, not the pagan people, not the unbelieving people – God’s own people have to heed his words:

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

All that’s not to say there isn’t another Great Awakening ahead. I believe there is. Many hundreds of people are being born again in various nations of the world.

But here in America, the enemy is having too much success in creating disasters, inspiring and instigating more and more evil behavior in ordinary people – many who were law-abiding people just a few months ago, joining the lawless crowd already at work.

Flashpoint . Critical mass . Paradigm Shift . 2019

Late in 2018 I read many opinions and prophecies from around the world about the year ahead, from both secular and spiritual sources. The majority were optimistic and encouraging, although some did contain warnings about continued opposition from certain areas.

“Overall things will improve,” they said, “socially, politically, and spiritually, eventually. There may be a bit of conflict beforehand — but 2019 will be a good year, even a great year.”

That was thought-provoking to me, considering these messages came from all corners of the world, from varied spheres of interest. Spiritual leaders encouraged continued prayer. And so I prayed about it.

“What should we expect in 2019, really?” I asked the Lord. Here’s what he told me:

“Confusion and uncertainty will affect many in the body of Christ. ‘Am I believing right? they will ask themselves. Am I praying right? Did I vote right?’ “

“Why?” I asked him. His answer was brief: a short list with no further explanation:

Flashpoint — Critical Mass — Paradigm Shift

And so I did quite a bit of research to be sure I knew just what those things were:

  • Flashpoint: Chemically, the lowest temperature at which vapors of a volatile material will ignite, when given an ignition source. Gasoline and spark plugs in a car engine, for example.

In International Relations, a flashpoint is an area, or a dispute, that has a strong possibility of developing into a war. Political pundits today include the Middle East as a major flashpoint.

  • Critical mass: The smallest amount of fissile material needed for a sustained nuclear chain reaction, such as in a nuclear power plant. (A supercritical mass would result in an explosion, such as the atomic bomb in WWII.)

This concept is used in other contexts, such as group dynamics, where it refers to the smallest percentage of people in a group needed to trigger a change. On occasion it takes quite a long time, not to mention lengthy persuasive arguments, to acquire the needed percentage. Amending the U.S. Constitution to allow all citizens to vote, for example.

  • Paradigm shift: Paradigm refers to a pattern, model, or overall concept accepted by most people in an intellectual community, because of its effectiveness in explaining a complex process or set of data. A paradigm shift is a change caused when someone discovers data that disproves the pattern or concept.

One notable scientific paradigm was believing the Earth is the center of the universe, that the sun, moon and stars all revolve around the Earth. That changed with the discoveries of Copernicus and others (telescope) in the 17th Century.

“Justification is by grace alone” (Romans 1:17) was a major paradigm shift in the religious world, instigated by Martin Luther and resulting in the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century.

Apparently those things would happen — or begin to happen — in 2019.  Any one of them would cause or contribute to confusion and uncertainty around the globe, including across the church world. “Optimistic and encouraging?” Not exactly.

After a while I prayed again and asked, “How should we respond to those things?”

“Having done all to stand, STAND,”  he said, emphasis on STAND. 2019 is going to be an interesting year, I thought to myself.

I was right.


(Originally published January 1, 2019; slightly edited to republish June 10, 2020.)

 

Do you still want America? I asked God…


In recent months I’ve been praying for the many intercessors across America, that as they pray, they will truly listen to God’s voice and speak (petition, command, declare, decree) what He wants spoken. In detail sometimes, in generalities sometimes. And particularly these days about our nation.

In a bedtime conversation with the Lord the other night, I asked the Lord “Do you even still want America?” I was wondering if and when he would get sick of the spiritual conditions in this nation as it is right now. He replied, “Define America.”

Then He began to show me images of the many, many aspects of this nation as it is right now – not just the continental United States but its islands, territories and protectorates, including embassies in foreign lands.

Physically (the multiple geographic regions coast to coast and around the globe) to begin with, then socially, politically, religiously, governmentally, and quite a few other aspects. Business. Education. Research. Medicine. Science. Entertainment. Communication. Infrastructure. Construction. Technology. Exploration. Military. Security.

That conversation and those images continued for some time, but the Lord never specifically answered my question except to finally say, “I created this nation.” I knew then that he didn’t intend to abandon it, no matter what was happening. I’m grateful for that.

“Show me how to pray, how to speak,” I asked him for the umpteenth time (it’s a frequent prayer of mine). It was an interesting few hours.

2020

December 27, 2019

What will 2020 be like? I asked the Lord tonight.

“Pause. Full Stop. Go back,” he said.

He showed me people on the wrong path because of wrong decisions in the past.

Unhappy. Unsuccessful. Dissatisfied. Depressed.

Frustrated. Fearful. Anxious. Angry.

I saw chaotic situations and confused circumstances, small and large communities of people at odds with each other. Coworkers. Families. Friends. Men and women in business, religion, and government.

In the coming days, weeks and months, the Lord will get his message across, if he has to yell.

Pause! Full stop! Go back!

Go back to where you made the wrong decision, the wrong turn. Where you were faced with two paths and you chose the wrong one. Set aside ego and pride, admit your mistake – your wrong – and begin again on the right path. (In other words, I thought, repent.)

And if they don’t, I wondered? One way or the other, 2020 will be an interesting year.

Are These the Days of Elijah?

“These are the Days of Elijah, declaring the Word of the Lord,” goes the first line of a contemporary Christian song. The song is encouraging and challenging. And thought-provoking — especially thought provoking.

That song ran around in my mind as I read several verses from the Epistle of James recently. James 5:17-18 (KJV) says, “Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”

James was using Elijah as an example after exhorting us to pray effectual, fervent prayers that avail much. In the Wuest New Testament version, James 5:16(b) reads “A prayer of a righteous person is able to do much as it operates.” Hmmm. Do much. Operates. Prayer? Interesting.

I turned to the Old Testament, I Kings chapter 17 and 18, the account of Elijah and the rain. I wanted to see exactly what it was he prayed.

I found Elijah’s spectacular statement about rain in I Kings 17:1, but no prayer. “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” (Ahab was King of Israel and not a good guy. He was married to Jezebel, not a good guy either!)

No prayer about the rain, just that statement. I read on. I found Elijah praying in I Kings 17:20-21, but not about rain. He was praying that God would let a little dead boy’s soul come back to him. God did, of course.

In I Kings 18:36-37, Elijah and 850 fake prophets were having a competition up on Mt. Carmel to see who was the real thing and who wasn’t. All the people of Israel were gathered around the mountainside watching, just like one of our super bowls.

Elijah didn’t actually ask God to do any specific action. He just asked God to make Himself known, and also make it known that Elijah was God’s servant. God did, of course. He sent fire from heaven and burned up Elijah’s water-soaked altar and sacrifice. Then Elijah executed all those fake prophets.

Still, no prayer about rain, just a statement Elijah made to Ahab — get off the mountain, the rain’s coming. He did and it did. I kept on reading I Kings. Maybe there was more about this rain event somewhere else.

I found Elijah praying in I Kings 19:4 — actually more like whining. Jezebel was after him because all her fake prophets were dead and Elijah was having a pity party. “…take away my life…” God didn’t do what Elijah asked this time, he sent an angel to bring him a hot breakfast instead. A 40-days-worth hot breakfast at that.

Other than those verses, I did not find where Elijah prayed for anything, much less rain. He did have conversations with God. God would tell him places to go, people to see, and things to say, and Elijah would obey.

Elijah would say something was going to happen, and it happened. Elijah would command something to happen, and it happened.

I wondered, what was James talking about then, Elijah praying about rain? As far as I could tell Elijah NEVER prayed about rain. He just said something about rain — first, he said it wouldn’t, then he said it would. Both times it happened.

I discovered an interesting thing about the word that Paul used for prayer in James 5:17-18. It’s the Greek word proseuchomai, a word that can also be translated “worship.” I believe what Elijah did was worship, commune, converse with and listen to God. Elijah asked God for something, then God did it? No.

God asked Elijah for something, and then Elijah did it. He said what God told him to say; he spoke God’s word.

Our focus is wrong when we think about prayer. We think of it as our presenting a list of requests to God hoping he’ll stamp Approved, then pestering him until we get it. We plead and we beg, sometimes we pout and we doubt.

What if we worshiped, communed, conversed and listened to God instead? Let him ask us for something, then went out and did it?

Here’s one scenario that may have happened with Elijah and the rain. Elijah is worshiping God. He cries out his adoration and his passion to know God better. He fervently asks God to use him in some way and asks, “How can I be of service to you?” Then instead of saying “Amen” and going away, Elijah listens for God’s reply.

God says, “Okay, here’s what I want you to do. I want to stop it from raining for three and a half years, and stop the dew, too. Go tell Ahab. Go say my words.”

So Elijah went and told Ahab. He spoke God’s words, that there would be no rain or dew for three and a half years. Three and a half years later, Elijah was worshiping and conversing with God again and God says, “I’m going to send rain again now. Go tell Ahab. But first, get rid of all those fake prophets.”

Elijah obeyed, got rid of the fake prophets, spoke God’s words to Ahab again, Rain is coming, and it came!

Many believers ask God to do something, then turn their attention back and forth from God to the problem, waiting for Him to get off his throne and carry out their wishes. Their focus is blurry from all that twisting and turning.

We need Elijah’s focus. It’s not complicated, it’s just different from what we’re used to doing. Focus on God, worship Him, and get his instructions — then focus on the assignment and carry out his instructions.

Go places, see people, speak God’s words into the situation. And get God’s desired results. God’s desired results! Those are the kind of days of Elijah I want.

(First published in 2013.)

Dream warnings, again: Downtown Florence, SC

Dreaming, early Saturday morning, August 17, 2019

As the dream began, I found myself alone in my car attempting to drive west in the 200 block of Cheves Street, where the original McLeod Infirmary had previously stood. I don’t know where I had been but with muscles tensed and teeth gritted, I was determined to make it home somehow. It was daytime but hard to tell what time of day; the sky was cloudy and gray. Afternoon, perhaps.

The street was in very bad shape. The pavement was broken or missing in places with holes, some really deep, and chunks and piles of debris in the street and along the edges.

It looked like the street had been bombed. Or had there been an earthquake? I didn’t turn my head to look to either side of the street; simply controlling the car was requiring all my attention. Were any buildings still standing? I don’t know, but obviously a disaster had befallen downtown Florence.

Traffic was practically nil; only a few other vehicles were visible on the street. An oncoming car tried unsuccessfully to maneuver around a pile of rubble, then slowly reversed to do a careful U-turn. I saw no police, no firemen, no military presence, only myself and a few other civilians.

When I finally arrived at Irby Street I saw that Cheves Street ahead was completely blocked, only upended slabs of broken concrete and asphalt where the driving lanes should be. I was able to turn right, finding one lane relatively clear until I reached West Evans. I couldn’t tell if North Irby Street ahead would be safe to drive, but I needed to head west anyway.

I turned left onto Evans Street and slowly proceeded down that block, but on reaching Coit Street again found huge gaps and holes in the pavement. Only a narrow lane was clear enough for me to drive forward, but just past the City Center building the street basically ended. Nothing but a deep hole, piles of debris and a muddy ditch remained of the street. I would have to go back, find another way.

The dream ended there and I awoke, clearly recalling those horrifying details. Downtown Florence had been attacked. The protectors had failed.

During the seven years since the last dream warning (see link below) about the City of Florence, many intercessors have prayed for the spiritual protection of our city. Have we prayed for the right things? In the right way?

https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/dream-warnings-revisited/