Wednesday, August 24, 2016
At least 21 people have died in floods that hit the Macedonian capital, Skopje, following torrential rain. - Aug. 7. 2016
The victims' bodies were found on Sunday morning after the storm passed. Several people are still missing.
Some of the victims drowned in their cars. Parts of the city's ring road were swept away in the floods, dragging cars into nearby fields.
Three-and-a-half inches (93mm) of rain fell in Skopje in the storm - more than the average for the whole of August.
The water level reached as high as five feet (1.5 meters) in some of the affected areas, reports said.
"Everything was a mess. Televisions, the fridge, the sofa, everything was floating... it was a nightmare," said Baze Spriovski, a 43-year-old from Singelic in the outskirts of Skopje. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37002364
Short History of Macedonian Origins
Macedonians are a people group that have come together over many centuries. The assimilation of peoples have been; in the ancient time there was the Thracian people and then the Illyrians, In the late 6th century BC, the Achaemenid Persians stayed awhile put they retreated as the Greeks became stronger, then in the 4th century B.C. Phillip II begin to establish what could be considered the first Macedonians and gave them a country. Phillip’s son Alexandra the Great built a fighting force and conquered half the known world. From the fall of Alexandra until 1991 (approximately 2100 years) the Macedonian people were subjects of multiple empires that tried to control the Balkan land mass; Romans, Greeks, Serbians, Bulgarians and Albanians. By majority Macedonians are predominately Slavs due to the Slavic invasion of the Balkans in the 6th thru 8th century.
The question begs to be asked, why would God establish Macedonia as a nation after 2000+ years of occupation? Is there a seed that was dormant for all that time and now is springing forth? Although the Macedonian people have intermarried with many nationalities, they draw upon the days of Alexandra the Great as their inspiration for the future.
In addition, 33% of the Macedonian population is ethnically Albanian. The Macedonians and Albanians do not assimilate well and so there is constant friction between the two groups.
1) Pray for the Macedonian people to recover from the unexpected flooding. May God help them in the process to see His mighty hand.
2) Please pray for the Christians in Macedonia to rise up and be helpful to their neighbors regardless of nationality.
3) We are often reminded of Israel and how that after 2000 years they became a nation again. In a way this is also true with Macedonia. Pray that Macedonians would recognize that they have destiny as a nation.
4) Pray for the spheres of influence in Macedonia; family, religion, education, business, government, media and arts/entertainment. Ask the Lord to prepare people that honor Him to take leading positions in those areas.
5) This past spring, we spent some days in Macedonia visiting churches and also the House of Prayer. Let us pray for the Macedonian Christians as they live for Him in a culture where few know of His love.
6) Let us thank the Lord for the House of Prayer in the capital of Skopje. May those brothers and sisters move into a realm of total victory as they lift up Jesus over the nation.
7) Let us believe for an out-pouring of God’s mercy upon Macedonia. Lord come and purify Your children so You can flow through them to show Your love.
8) May the Christians go the extra mile to reach out to their Albanian neighbors. Macedonians and Albanians can live in peace when Jesus is their peace maker.
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Monday, August 15, 2016
The doctrine of the Assumption says that at the end of her life on earth Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven, just as Enoch, Elijah, and perhaps others had been before her. It’s also necessary to keep in mind what the Assumption is not. Some people think Catholics believe Mary "ascended" into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power.
The Church has never formally defined whether she died or not, and the integrity of the doctrine of the Assumption would not be impaired if she did not in fact die, but the almost universal consensus is that she did die. Pope Pius XII, in Munificentissimus Deus (1950), defined that Mary, "after the completion of her earthly life" (note the silence regarding her death), "was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven." http://www.catholic.com/tracts/immaculate-conception-and-assumption
After talking to a leader of one of the churches here in Croatia, we understand in part the obsession with Mary worship. This brother shared that Croatians are very attached and admire their mothers, the matriarch of their families. Therefore, this strong affiliation with Mary is a psychological connection that somewhat translates to them spiritually. Another Croatian Christian explained how that Croatian Catholics pray to Mary because Jesus is the “suffering one” carrying the burdens of the world, therefore they feel it is best instead to pray to His mother, who can convey the heartfelt concern of redemption. Have you ever noticed that in many cathedrals Mary will be portrayed above Jesus? This is especially true in Croatia. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce the immaculate conception of Jesus, he did say, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:28) Yes she should have a special place in our heart, but Mary was a human being, a sinner. She should never be placed above the Lord Jesus Christ. The roots of this heresy go very deep in Croatia. This belief has pulled a thick veil over the eyes of many. Mary worship is an intricate part of the chains that bind many Croatians. We encounter born again Catholics and it is wonderful to see them love Jesus! Usually they face a long and hard process to walk away from Mary worship. This truly is a spiritual battle!
1) Thank the Lord for Croatian mothers. They have to be very courageous to have withstood the turbulent history of Croatia. Pray that they will be honored appropriately.
2) Let us pray with deep conviction against the cures of Mary worship that dominates Croatia.
3) Young Croatians are turning away from the Catholic church by the droves. This can present a challenge, because they associate the Catholic church with all Christian churches. Let us pray into this trend, in that their empty hearts will actually be filled by the Holy Spirit.
4) There is a strong movement of Charismatic Catholics in Croatia. Please pray that they would be so drawn close to Jesus that Mary worship would be revealed for what it is, and fade from their experiences.
5) With Croatia being 90%+ culturally Catholic, evangelization of the country is very slow. Pray for God’s strategies, wisdom, boldness and passion to reach Croatia.
6) Pray for evangelicals in Croatia, that they would not despise their Catholic neighbors but love them and reach out to them with Jesus’ love.
7) We should pray for the Charismatic Catholics. May the Lord move in a mighty way to rescue them from the empty rituals of the church.
> Please leave a Comment or Reaction so we will know you Prayed.
Monday, August 8, 2016
"Old Zagreb" was originally made up of two settlements, Gradec (also known as Gornji Grad) and Kaptol. The two settlements were situated on two neighboring hills, separated by a creek.
The existence of Kaptol, the settlement on the east slope, was confirmed in 1094 when King Ladislaus founded the Zagreb diocese. The bishop, his residence and the Cathedral had their seat in the southeast part of the Kaptol hill. Kaptol Street ran from the south to the north across the Kaptol terrace with canons' residences arranged in rows alongside. As the Latin word for a group or body of canons is "capitulum" (kaptol), so Kaptol got its name. The canons also ruled this settlement.
NOTE: Originally, a canon was cleric living with others in a clergy house or, later, in one of the houses within the precinct of or close to the cathedral and conducting its life according to the orders or rules of the Catholic church.
In 1242 Gradec received a charter of great privileges from the Hungarian King Bela IV to organize a city of artisans and merchants. Gradec, had their own autonomy, judiciary, privileges in crafts and trade, plus the right to organize fairs. They could travel to markets without paying custom duties and Gradec citizens were encouraged to build city walls for defense.
As these two areas of Zagreb developed over the centuries they had deep differences due to their inception; Kaptol, being clerical as church ministers and Gradec, being the merchant class which held as their main concern trade and commerce. Over the years there were many skirmishes between the two.
The spiritually alert in Zagreb recognize that this division in the early days of the city has the effect of a “spirit of division” that effects the city and even the country. Not only is there strong division in the political life of Zagreb but the churches are effected also. There have been many church splits and the churches have a history of discord amongst each other.
We do have hope! Throughout the course of several years, we have seen forward movement and some signs of healing. In the Upper Room HOP, where we pray for the country, we often pray for the churches to reject this “spirit of division” and come together in unity so they may fight the real enemy, Satan and his tactics. The creek has long since, been paved over and now only the keen observer can see a difference in the two areas of the city.
On another note: Today is a special day! On August 8th 2008 Jerry, started systematically praying for the Balkan countries, increasingly known today as Southeastern Europe. We carried an intercessory burden for this region for many years but on that date, eight years ago, Jerry heard the Lord say: make it systematic and develop a pattern of prayer. In 2009 the blog was created and intercessors begun to join in prayer and those interested in the spiritual condition of Southeastern Europe. This is likely how you landed on this mailing list. The blog became a catalyst to focused prayer on the spiritual, political and socioeconomic problems of Southeastern Europe.
To check out the archives of previous blogs, open the following: www.freebalkans.blogspot.com and www.istprayer.blogspot.com. Please note the name change from Freebalkans to ISTprayer in September of 2015 to align with Intentional Strategies for Transformation, our new ministry name.
1) Let us focus our prayers on the spirit of division in Zagreb. It seems that the secular in Zagreb for the most part have passed on, no longer being concerned about the divisions of the past. Unfortunately, it still effects the government and the evangelical churches.
2) The evangelical churches need to resolve these divisions in order to present the true message of Jesus Christ to the lost. Pray that Christians would have a revelation of Christ love as described in Matt 22:36-39.
3) Christians should be an influence on merchants and encourage good business practices. Let us pray for Christian businessmen/women and the godly influence they can have on the business climate of Zagreb and beyond.
4) Pray for Zagreb which is a city of influence. As the capital of Croatia, it is the largest in the nation, with a population of 1 million, and it is located in the center of the country.
5) As the capital city, it is important that Zagreb has a healthy Christian expression and influence on the country. Pray for an evangelical explosion in Zagreb that will develop a Christian hub in order to affect the rest of the country. May there be a day when Zagreb churches are sending out evangelist throughout Croatia.
Thank the Lord for how we saw His love of Southeastern Europe for the past eight years. Many, many thanks to each of you who have lifted up petitions in prayer for this region. There is a reward waiting for you! Today, Southeastern Europe remains the lest evangelized part of the world, with only about 0.5% evangelical believers, but off in the distance we see a small cloud, the size of a hand! Come and pour out Your Glory, Lord!
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Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Please join us in praying for Intentional Strategies for Transformation. We are intentional in finding strategies to transform Southeastern Europe (Balkans) for the sake of righteousness. We wait in prayer for God to impart wisdom to us for the task.
Here in Croatia as well as most of the Southeastern Europe, the populace goes on vacation for much of July and August. At IST we are learning to tailor our work load to better fit this culture and still be just as productive during this time.
1) Now that we are a legal Non-Governmental Organization in Croatia, let us pray for legal status in America. Pray that the filling of the 501 (c) 3 paper work will proceed on schedule.
2) Pray that we would always hear God’s heart for IST Group and the nations it intends to serve.
3) Upper Room Zagreb is functioning well. More people are joining us for prayer four times a week. Setting aside our upper room for prayer has been a blessing to our home and it opens a door for others to encounter the Lord. Pray that we continue to seek above all God’s presence.
4) Pray that the Upper Room will continue to be a place where lives are changed and godly destinies are revealed to hungry hearts.
5) Although August is a vacation month for Croatians, pray that spiritual warfare over the country would not be halted.
6) Pray for the pastors of Croatia. Balkan pastors are men and women of great dedication. They generally have to work a full-time job and pastor also.
7) We truly love those that partner with us in their giving. Pray for our partners to be blessed in their walk with the Lord. May the Lord reward them with His presence daily.
Please leave a Comment or Reaction so we will know you Prayed.