Randal Cutter-Part 2-Whatever You Bind on Earth A Historical Record of How God Warned About Hurricane Irene. Incontrovertible Evidence That God Still Speaks Today.
would speak to some of our congregation members in order to give us more clarity. He met that hope beyond all my expectations.
The Lord began to pour out many dreams to the members of our congregation. On October 2, 1998, a twelve year-old member of our congregation had an amazing dream. She did not know that we were seeking information about storms, but when she told her mother the dream, her mother forwarded it to me.
In the dream, the young lady and a friend were walking along a road in Deerfield Beach, a small city in the northeast corner of Broward County about ten miles to the northeast of our city. As she and her friend were walking, they surveyed the damage that a hurricane had done to that area. They saw many houses that were torn apart. Everywhere they walked
they saw extreme damage. As they passed a hotel near the ocean, they saw beds and other things from the hotel in the street and on the beach. The damage was overwhelming.
When they walked back to the friend’s home, she noted that it was painted yellow, a strange detail since her friend’s home was not yellow in waking life. More importantly, she also noted that her friend’s father was watching the news on a battery operated portable television set. The news was filled with reports of the hurricane. It had hit Broward County by surprise as a category four storm. The news reported that wind speeds had gusted to almost two hundred miles per hour and had caused severe damage across the area.
As I read this dream, I was stunned by the description of the storm, and by the fact that it confirmed that the storm would hit by surprise. I instantly understood why the Lord was directing our attention to Irene. I’ve used the word
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catastrophe to describe this storm because that is exactly what a storm like this would be. If a storm of category four magnitude struck by surprise, the damage would be unimaginable. The death toll would be unthinkable. According to the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, a category four hurricane has sustained winds of 130 to 156 miles per hour. The hurricane center helpfully describes what a category four hurricane can be expected to do:
Catastrophic damage will occur
There is a very high risk of injury or death to
people, livestock, and pets due to flying and
falling debris. Nearly all older (pre-1994)
mobile homes will be destroyed. A high
percentage of newer mobile homes also will
be destroyed. Poorly constructed homes can
sustain complete collapse of all walls as well
as the loss of the roof structure. Well-built
homes also can sustain severe damage with
loss of most of the roof structure and/or
some exterior walls. Extensive damage to
roof coverings, windows, and doors will
occur. Large amounts of windborne debris
will be lofted into the air. Windborne debris
damage will break most unprotected
windows and penetrate some protected
windows. There will be a high percentage of
structural damage to the top floors of
apartment buildings. Steel frames in older
industrial buildings can collapse. There will
be a high percentage of collapse to older
unreinforced masonry buildings. Most
windows will be blown out of high-rise
buildings resulting in falling glass, which will
pose a threat for days to weeks after the
storm. Nearly all commercial signage, fences,
and canopies will be destroyed. Most trees
will be snapped or uprooted and power poles
downed. Fallen trees and power poles will
isolate residential areas. Power outages will
last for weeks to possibly months. Long
term water shortages will increase human
suffering. Most of the area will be
uninhabitable for weeks or months.
I remember reading that description several times trying to comprehend what would happen to heavily populated Broward and Palm Beach counties. I couldn’t imagine a storm of this magnitude hitting our area at all, much less by surprise. When a category four storm hits an area that is expecting to be hit it, the results are calamitous. What would happen if virtually no one prepared? I could only shudder at the thought. I realized that the damage that the young lady described in her dream was exactly the type of damage a category four storm would do. I knew that the Lord was giving me the details I had asked him to give.
I now knew that Deerfield Beach was ground zero for the most damage from this storm. Since a hurricane is not a small event, I realized that wide areas of Broward and Palm Beach counties were at major risk. But I also realized that Deerfield would be the most damaged.
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This also explained a part of Dawn’s dream that I have not mentioned. In Dawn’s dream, Irene brought deer steak when she visited. I know that most people call deer steak venison, however, in the dream it was specifically deer steak. I didn’t understand why Irene brought deer steak until I read this young lady’s dream. I realized that it was a grim reminder that this hurricane would slaughter Deer-field. It was one more way that the Lord let us know how serious this was.
ENGAGING THE STORM
Alerting the Troops
The Lord gave several other dreams to members and friends of our congregation over the next months that confirmed the things that we already knew about this storm. By this time, I was absolutely convinced that a hurricane named Irene was going to hit us in 1999. The Lord continued to confirm this in a variety of ways. We found out later, with some level of surprise, that the date that I had the first dream (August 11) was the birthday of Dawn’s sister, Irene. We viewed such “coincidences” as further confirmation of the things that the Lord was communicating to us about this monster storm.
As a pastor in Broward County, I realized that I could not keep this information to myself. I had relationship with many other pastors in Broward County, and I wanted to inform them of what the Lord was showing us. I received permission to share at our November pastor’s meeting. On November 4, 1998, I marshaled the facts that the Lord had given to us, and informed this gathering of what we faced in 1999. I didn’t attempt to rally them behind what God was showing to us. I
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was submitting it to them for judgment. I wanted their input on the things that the Lord was showing us.
I was impressed that they did not dismiss the whole thing out of hand. Over the years, each of us had received our share of hurricane “prophecies” from folks. In every case that I remember, those supposed prophecies were generic to the point of being almost impossible to rationally consider. What I presented was far different. I was able to share about a half dozen dreams that confirmed one another. Since I had not yet told the congregation what God had shown to us, there was no possibility of cross-contamination, or that people were having anxiety dreams based upon things they were hearing. I met and dealt with most of the obvious objections from the pastors. I was eager to see how these men whom I respected would respond.
When the group listened politely to my presentation, I was pleased. When several of the pastors asked good questions, I was very pleased. I believed we had achieved an important victory. Although the group, as a whole, did not get involved any further, I did receive encouragement and support from enough of them as individuals to have made the effort worthwhile. I also believed that we had achieved something of value, in that the majority of the group had adopted a wait-and-see attitude, rather than rejecting the matter out-of-hand. I did not expect more. None of us had ever dealt with something like this. We had no precedence to guide us. In spite of this, they handled the matter with maturity and tact.
Since I was connected to MorningStar Ministries, I also submitted our conclusions about Irene to them. I knew that as an international prophetic organization, they could have
encountered this type of thing before, and could have some insights that would help us. Steve Thompson was vice president of MorningStar at the time. He has a keen mind and good prophetic understanding. When he read what God had given us, he confirmed that the Lord was speaking to us, and that we were interpreting it correctly. He also encouraged us to keep pursuing the Lord on the topic.
This was an important contact. Up until that time I had no idea what to do with this information. I couldn’t imagine prophesying it in order to warn people. I knew very few people would listen, even in the Church. We simply didn’t have much of a grid for dealing with something like this in South Florida. However, Steve remind me that one of the main purposes of the prophetic was to marshal prayer against the disasters the Lord might reveal to us. Since the Lord had shown Irene to us, we concluded that he wanted us to call the churches of South Florida together to pray against this storm. Even though we realized that few churches would respond, we were confident that the Lord would bring enough of the Church together to do the job of protecting South Florida. Rather than looking ahead to the end of 1999 with trepidation, we realized that the Lord had enlisted us to make a difference on behalf of South Florida.
The Intercessory Call
It was vitally important that we understood our intercessory role, and the authority that our Savior had won for us. It is also vitally important in the days ahead that we understand those same things. God has called his prophetic people as intercessors to stand in the gap for their regions. The Lord had told Ezekiel, “I looked for a man among them who
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would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30). God has never stopped looking for people to stand in the gap. He is looking for those who will pray on behalf of their respective geographic areas, releasing his mercy and grace as necessary. Just as Jesus calmed the storms, so his people have been given authority to calm the storms and natural disasters that beset this world. Jesus has given his Church the keys to the Kingdom. He told Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18). When Jesus ascended into heaven, he gave gifts to men. The keys of authority were included in those gifts. When he calls us to defend an area, he makes certain we have the authority and power to protect that area.
One of the great questions asked after tragic natural disasters inevitably is, “Where was God?” I can virtually guarantee that question would have been asked in South Florida if Irene had hit by surprise as a category four storm. When disaster hits, it is human nature to survey the damage and ask after God. I suspect in most cases, he was there, but he could not find someone to stand in the gap with understanding. As a result, the disaster could not be averted.
The Lord is diligent about seeking those who will stand in the gap. He once called us to pray against a winter storm that was going to hit the northeast coast of the United States. It is not an easy task to mobilize South Floridians to pray against a winter storm even while they are basking in beautiful weather. But the Lord called us to do it. He specifically told us that he could not find anyone who would pray against the storm. He
was looking for someone to stand in the gap, but could not find anyone in that geographic area, so he offered the opportunity to us. That incident taught me about just how diligently our God seeks for those who will stand in the gap. I believe he is always looking for someone to stand in the gap in order to avert tragedy, but we may have a hard time hearing that call.
Does this mean that every natural disaster is avoidable? I believe that many are avoidable. I believe we have far more authority than we think. Psalm 115 tells us, “The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man” (Psalm 115:16). When God created this earth, he gave Adam authority over it. Adam lost it to Satan. Jesus won it back, and he has given those keys of authority to his Church. When we use the keys, good things happen and disaster is averted. When we do not use the keys, bad things happen.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that we can avoid every disaster. World history is about birth pains. The Bible clearly teaches that birth pains—natural disasters—must increase as the world wears down. However, even when natural disasters are unavoidable, we can use the keys to release protection for all those who are in harms way. We must take our job seriously, not only for the Church, but also because God doesn’t delight in the death of the wicked (see Ezekiel 33:11). If God doesn’t like it when the wicked are killed by natural disasters, how much must he grieve when such things harm children and other innocents? He intends to release his protection through his Church. If we are not doing our job, tragedy is multiplied. When we do our job, lives are preserved.
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Our congregation has learned a lot about this since 1998. However, when we first learned about Irene, we were stepping into new territory, and didn’t understand the fullness of our intercessory role. God would teach us through Irene, and he would use us many more times in the years to come to release protection to our area. But in 1998 we were taking fledgling steps.
Rallying the Troops
The Lord had shown us Irene. We knew that he does not rejoice when people perish, so we concluded that he had not shown us Irene to show us inevitable disaster. He showed us Irene so that his love for people could be manifest, and so that people would not perish. He showed us it so that we could bind it on earth in the same way that its death and destruction were bound in heaven. We knew what we needed to do, so we began to rally the Church in Broward County to help us.
I started with my own congregation. On a Sunday morning in January 1999, I began to unfold what God had shown us, and what role God had outlined for us. As I have previously mentioned, the Lord had prepared our congregation to step into this role. He had made us into a team. He now gave us vision for the things that needed to be done. We stepped into this mantle and began to pray against this storm. We also realized that we needed to have joint meetings with other congregations across Broward County.
To that end, I began to inform other congregations on March 1, 1999. We planned our first multi-congregation prayer meeting about Hurricane Irene on March 21, 1999. I invited just over fifty Broward congregations to participate
with us. I had written out what I believed God was showing us, and I shared how he had shown it to us (see Appendix 1). We had decided to send the invitation out by mail and facsimiles. We asked each church to join us for a special worship service and prayer meeting. Our purpose was to explain the threat, and to pray against it.
I invited churches from all sorts of denominations, from all spectrums of Christianity. Even if they did not respond, I hoped that there would be those in their midst who would respond by praying as individuals. I also, by clear example, wanted to inform these churches that God still loved and cared for his people, and was willing to communicate to protect us. I knew we had been called to take the area by storm, and I wanted to demonstrate God’s plan to as many of his people as I could.
Even though I had all these noble aspirations, I still paused before I sent the fax on that March day in 1999. I remember specifically thinking about my reputation. I realized I was sending this note out to people who knew me, and some of them even respected me. I wondered what this would do to my reputation. At that moment, the Lord nudged me in a way that made me laugh. He showed me that I really had not built much of a reputation. It is pretty difficult to damage something that you don’t really have. The logic and humor of t