Our Last Night in Sofia

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With this prayer trip finished, some of our team flew back to their homes from Skopje, and some of us were flying back from Sofia.  The teammates that had driven up to Sofia from Greece drove back home again.  We hugged and said our goodbyes, most of us will see each other at the next prayer trip in April.

There is a lot of love and unity that develops when people pray together, and especially when they are praying for each other.  This time I was the recipient of a lot of prayers because of a spiritual attack masquerading as a migraine.  It came 2 days ago, the evening before our prayer walk in Skopje (see my previous post “Prayer Walking in Skopje”).  I suddenly had a very sharp pain just above my left eye and in the left side of my neck just where the spine meets the skull.  This was accompanied by nausea.  I went to the room, skipping dinner, and I prayed there through the evening session.  The next morning, I heard that another one of our team had also felt sick, as with labor pains.  Hers was a reaction to what Macedonia was experiencing in the spirit, while mine was a full-blown attack from the enemy.

I know that mine was an enemy attack because I have been attacked this way many times, and it is always just before I go on mission trips.  As I prayed, I was in such pain that I was really beyond words.  But I heard the Lord say to my spirit, “Relax and rest in Me.  Listen to My heartbeat.”  I tried, but much of that time I simply couldn’t hear His heartbeat.  Finally, after about 2-3 hours, I really can’t say exactly how long, I felt better, and I heard the Lord say, “It has loosened its grip on you.”  What He didn’t say was that it was gone.

The next night, after our prayer walking day we were again praying and worshiping.  One pastor there said that Macedonia suffers from a spirit of rejection, and that some of the people present also needed to be freed of a spirit of rejection.  He invited the people to come forward who needed prayers for rejection.  Then he looked at me and said, “Sister, your body language says that you are suffering from rejection.”  I had my arms folded across my chest.  He said, “Open up and receive the freedom that God wants to give you.”  So I opened my arms, and he prayed for me.  I suddenly began to cough very violently—it was like the cough came all the way up from the bottom of my abdomen, and I was bent double coughing.  He continued to pray and I continued to cough, then I fell to the floor (but I think someone caught me, I really can’t say).  Once on the floor, a deaconess from his church came and prayed for me.  As she laid her hand on my stomach I began to feel peace and the coughing stopped.

Then I heard the Lord say, “The demon has loosened its grip on you, now you need to loosen your grip on it.”  I did.  In my spirit I let it go and began to push it away.  I turned on my side and began coughing again, and then it was gone.  I turned onto my back again and the relief I felt was so great that I began to cry.  When I stood again, I returned to my chair feeling exhausted, but good.  Then I began to laugh.  And I just sat there, laughing and laughing.

Yesterday in the car on the way back to Sofia another attack came.  About an hour outside of Sofia we stopped for lunch, but I didn’t eat, feeling again nauseated.  They advised me to take authority, but in my weakened state, I didn’t feel like I could.  The group prayed for me, and took authority over the thing.  The headache and nausea passed, and by the time we were in Sofia, I was feeling much better.

As I was praying about it, the Lord told me that I need to take authority over the demons.  The authority is mine, but I need to take it.  He said, “When you enter a place, they should all flee in fear of you.”  Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of 2 Timothy 1:7: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline,” (emphasis mine).  And I heard Him say, “You shouldn’t be timid.  You need to be bold.”  And I understood the last words of that verse: “power, love, and self-discipline” as a triangle.  That power and self-discipline come from love.  It’s like love is the battery that gives power and self-discipline their strength.  As I tap into the love, I will find the power to take authority over the demons that they will recognize as His authority, and they will flee from me.

Likewise, by tapping into that perfect love, I will find the self-discipline not to simply ride-out the attack in prayer.  Prayer has worked in the past against these attacks, but now I need to exercise the self-discipline to take authority over the demons immediately.

So last night Angie and I stayed another night in Sofia.  She is flying back to Germany as I write, and I will fly back to Milan this evening.  For our last night in Sofia, Bill and Vasha and Anton took us to the Mall of Sofia, where we ate at the Happy Bar & Grill.  Happy features traditional Bulgarian food and sushi.  Bill suggested a dish called Happy Bits with corn and cream.  I also ordered a Bulgarian salad with the wonderful Bulgarian cheese on it.  Angie had sushi, but hadn’t ever tried mixing a bit of wasabi into the soy sauce.  I’m not sure that she liked the wasabi so much.  For me, it’s just not sushi without wasabi.

After dinner, Angie did some shopping for her family.  I had already gotten bears from Bulgaria and Macedonia, so I didn’t need to do any shopping.  I definitely want to come back to Bulgaria.  The work that the Lord is doing here is amazing, and I love the people here.  God is good!

Touching the Hem of His Garment

I had an interesting conversation with God one night recently.  It was after attending a Charismatic Catholic cell group.  Even though they are charismatic (filled with the Holy Spirit), they still go to places like Lourdes, France to seek healing.  They also pray the Rosary—which is to the Virgin Mary (though they say that they don’t worship her as some do), and they still venerate the saints (though I don’t think they pray to them).

Many evangelical Christians, knowing that the Catholic Church is Babylon the Great from Revelations, believe that we should be evangelizing Catholics.  I also believe that the Catholic Church is Babylon the Great, but there are born-again, spirit-filled Christian believers in the Catholic Church.  Some who were born again in the Catholic Church left immediately, but some have stayed.  One friend told me that she feels called to be light and salt in the Catholic Church.  Because of these Catholic believers, I think that evangelicals need to have more respect and understanding for Catholics.  After all, if they came to a genuine faith in the Catholic Church, then there is clearly some power even in a watered-down Gospel.

God had clearly placed me into this Catholic cell group.  And they clearly do have the in-filling of the Holy Spirit.  But I was troubled because they do believe in things that I consider superstition.  So here was my brief conversation with God:

Why these believers still do these superstitious things?  They know that they can go directly to You in prayer, right?

Of course they do.  But you’ve noticed that I answer their prayers through these things.

I see that, but I don’t understand.

They are touching the hem of My garment in faith.  I honor any true show of faith.  Remember when I healed you of stomach ulcers?  You touched the radio while the preacher prayed.  Is that really any different?

I think it’s a fine line because I believe that the appearances of the Virgin Mary are not genuine.  The Bible is very clear about the worship of fellow creatures, whether they be angels or humans: it is forbidden.  Yet this apparition accepts worship.  I’ve noticed from my personal encounters with spirit beings that whenever it’s an angel sent from God, the encounter is always pleasant, both physically and emotionally.  But when it’s a demonic encounter, it is unpleasant (dizziness, faintness, sick feeling in the stomach, shakiness, and usually a feeling of terror or dread).  The people I spoken with have all confirmed that “Mary” sightings are always of the unpleasant variety.

The Bible is also very clear about the dead returning to earth—it doesn’t happen.  The only instance in which it has ever happened is in I Samuel 28.  Notice the witch’s reaction when the real Samuel appears—she wasn’t expecting him at all, but her familiar spirit (a demon), masquerading as Samuel.

And, finally, the Bible is very clear about the Catholic Church’s end: it’s not going to end well.  But first God will call His people out of the Catholic Church.  In its present state, the Catholic Church is still preaching the Gospel, though it is watered-down.  But once the antichrist comes on the scene, he will inspire the Catholic Church to embrace a more “universal” religion.  I think that when that happens, the believers in the Church will leave it.

So, I believe that we should share the Gospel with Catholics (because we can’t assume that all of them have really heard and understood the Gospel message); but I also believe that we should leave it to God whether they should stay in the Church or come out of it.