Monday, August 15, 2011

The Glory Falls in France

French views of Paris and Biarritz

“I can’t geet up, I am stuck” were the words of the French pastor who was interpreting in one of the meeting we just did in France. Struck by the glory of God to the ground, he was then glued to the floor and unable to get up and keep interpreting. The move of God’s power through the congregation bowled him over and we were left without an interpreter. I repeated a few phrases in French like Gloire a Dieu! to fill the air, while he laid stuck to the ground as the Lord continued pouring out Spirit in great power.

The glory and light of God fall in power ( above and photos below)

My broken French wasn’t even noticed though as the glory was falling so radically and people were crying out, laughing, some screaming and receiving deliverance. We began to get hammered by the glory as well and the meeting was just completely overtaken by the power of God and was so glorious it just continued on and on with no way to conclude the meeting – God just kept moving and moving!!

When the Lord moves like that it blows out the “in by 10 out by 12” stuff that we call church! The glory just takes over and all the human-planned stuff is left by the wayside while God does His real work of the kingdom: Healing, and pouring out His love, power, grace, and compassion as He transforms hearts and lives with the reality of His presence.

That move of God was phenomenal enough but we've had others following it as we ministered later again in the cities of Tours and then Paris. In another meeting the Lord began to move by His Spirit even during the preaching, visibly touching people with His power even while we were still speaking. He has continued to bless many with power, grace, and healing as well as bring some to salvation and re-dedications as we've continued to minister in France. We had a very powerful time ministering in Paris--the interpretation situation was quite unstable but a woman who just happened to be at the church before moving into another area the next week and who spoke very good English and French volunteered to interpret at the last moment and we had a very radical time. The woman interpreting testified that she was herself touched for the first time in her life by the Spirit of God in such a powerful way as we prayed for her as well. Many received deliverance and the filling of the Holy Spirit and healing power- Gloire a Dieu!

Preaching together at a French service -- we've been doing more ministry together--sharing the preaching, teaching and praying for people--than any trip in the past!

It is a glorious thing to see the Lord move so powerfully in a place as dark as France. It is one thing to go into a place that is quite alive and see God do some awesome works but quite another to go into such a dark, dark country and see such a radical move of God: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it!

As well as seeing the Lord move so gloriously we have also had some wild divine appointments and some blessed encounters with fellow believers. We just happened to run into a young french guy who was in relationship trouble and approached us about how to make a call to the United States—guess we’re not as incognito as Americans as we would hope to be. We talked with him a bit as he was stressed about his girlfriend in the US and it opened an opportunity to witness to him and even to pray for him right there out on the walking corridors of Biarritz. We were also blessed to connect up with some fellow believers from Christian Surfers as we mutually passed through the southwest of the coast of France and enjoyed a bit of fellowship and a few waves together and prayed and talked about ways to reach into the French and Basque culture—surfing can be a good tool as they are quite hip on it here. We also had a divine appointment with a German guy that let me use his longboard when we came across some small waves further up the coast and the topic of Luther was a good segue to talk to him as well.

Getting blessed with a bit of warm water and French surf in-between ministry. A good way to get the batteries recharged and meet unbelievers.

Spiritual Battlefield With Fiery Darts Flying

Like I said it really is quite awesome to see a move of God like the one we just had in a place like France since France is definitely a heavy battleground spiritually. It is all the more awesome when God moves in such an oppressed place but it does not come without a heavy price. For it is truly a very dark place spiritually, a recent study by missiologist Peter Wagner reveals the depth of the spiritual darkness as the average French person is more likely to go to a physic or spiritualist than an actual doctor when in physical need. Darkness covers the land and thick darkness the people as the actual Bible-believing regenerated Christian population remains below 1%. Think about that for a moment – less than 1% percent of the population is saved! France’s history is also riddled with persecution of vital Christian movements that have sprung up in the past which they deliberately sought to wipe out (we will touch on that in a moment).

As well as experiencing the glory of God we have also definitely felt the sting of the spiritual battle every time we have touched the ground in this nation and this trip is no exception. We have already experienced so much spiritual warfare in the short time while here that it is stunning. From the moment we crossed the Channel from England to France and came upon the ground here we have experienced intense spiritual warfare. While passing through Normandy, on the way to our ministry destination, and seeing first hand the incredible sacrifice made by those Americans and British soldiers who liberated this land from the hand of the Nazis during WWII, the Lord began to truly speak to us about the price of liberty. Shortly after God visited us so powerfully we were in a car accident. Praise God we are all ok and not hurt, except for some soreness in Bryan’s back, but we were definitely shaken up quite a bit. The deductible for car rental insurance in France is quite high so we definitely could use your prayers and financial support (link) as we have been hit by the enemy while walking in the glory—walking in God’s glory and power is so awesome but it also makes you a target of the enemy as old friends like Harald Bredesen and Lonnie Frisbee used to remind us from the pages of Scripture.

Rows and rows of crosses at Normandy speak of the American and British soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice to liberate the occupied land of France and Europe. A new wave of soldiers of the cross are needed to see spiritual liberation in Europe today!

The warfare has continued with other things like clothes being destroyed. Right before preaching we were getting ready to go to the service when Mercedes just barely touched a barely warm iron to some pants I was going to wear which immediately did the weirdest thing and began smoking and smoldering and had a strange huge hole burned into them and were rendered useless, neither of us have ever seen anything like that before – it is a hard thing to deal with as you only bring so many clothes when traveling and a lot of other clothes have been ruined as well, I barely have anything left to wear and have had to buy other clothes; it seems like I’m leaving a trail of clothes behind throughout Europe on each trip. Anyways, we can definitely use your prayers and financial support, anything you can donate at this time would be definitely appreciated (Make a donation) as we have recently had quite a few extra unexpected expenses like train tickets and clothes that we weren’t planning on having to get; after the accident we had other unexpected charges like the car deductible we mentioned too.

Battles of the Past Reflect the Intense Warfare

As I have said, the sting of the spiritual battle is something we have experienced every time we have touched the ground in this nation, some things that happened here to us in the past are:

One time a car we were using started by itself with no one in it and lurched forward when I was standing in front of it and sought to run me over and then ran into a wall and caught on fire –can you say “Spiritual Warfare!?!” Another time, a room we were staying in started to catch on fire. And on yet another occasion when we were crossing the border and coming into France a train conductor one time began yelling at us for no reason whatsoever the moment we crossed into France. We have been targets of pickpockets but they were thwarted. Our last time here we began to receive the news of the death of my younger brother while driving through France into the Balkans – one of the heaviest things ever to deal with while on the mission field.

Understanding the situation through their History of Spiritual Darkness, Oppression, and Persecution—This is France!

As stated before, France’s history is riddled with persecution of vital Christian movements that have sprung up in the past, which they sought to literally wipe out:

In the 1100’s a pre-reformation group called the Waldensians sprung up in the South of France seeking to turn back to the Bible, praying for others for healing and following Christ fully. They were severely persecuted as the French State aligned with the Catholic Church in a literal crusade—known as the Third Crusade—to wipe them off the face of the earth. When the Catholic leader came upon the town of Beziers he was asked by the lead soldier if they shouldn’t sort out the Catholics first before the killing began to spare their fellow Catholics. The Leader replied with the infamous statement, “Kill them all and let God sort them out.” The few surviving Waldensians were driven into the hills of Switzerland to try and eke out a survival.

Later during the Reformation, a Reformation group of believers arose called the Hugenots who again sought to return to a biblical faith. A massive massacre was launched against them slaughtering somewhere near 100,000 Christian believers in Frace, including women and children. The remaining surviving Hugenots fled for safety to the English Port and Protestant city of La Rochelle where the Catholic Cardinal Richelieu issued a blockade so no goods or supplies could get in until all were starved to death. French reform leader John Calvin himself also had to flee to Switzerland to stay alive and carry on the work God called him to do there.

The American revolution had many Christian influences and aspects to it stemming from the Protestant Reformation. England’s and Scotland’s Reformation directly influenced the American Revolution and march towards liberty as well.

A Purely Secular Revolution and a Society Chained to Empty Philosophers

France’s Revolution was nothing like this at all, and in fact it was completely contrary to the Christian-based ideals that influenced the early Americans: Because of the severe corruption of the Catholic Church the leader of the French Revolution Robespierre sought to completely expunge every aspect of Christianity from French society and life. He even went so far as to create a new calendar so that no Christian holidays like Christmas or Easter could be celebrated and so absolutely no vestige of influence from Christianity would remain in the French society he sought to create. Furthermore, the French Revolution took a path that was so bloody that it is said the blood from the guillotine flowed waist-high down the streets of Paris. England, it is said, was spared this heinous violence specifically because of the impact of the preaching and ministry of George Whitfield and John Wesley and the Methodist Revival.

France does not know, nor has it experienced, hardly any of this revival nor reformation history and thus remains chained in the medieval dungeons of darkness bound to its failed secular philosophers and mindset that is pulling the whole of Europe down into the bottomless abyss.

Historic views at every turn (above and below)

Thinking of themselves as enlightened, the French are perhaps the most in darkness of all the European nations, having known very little of any kind of lasting vital and true Christian impact.

It was France recently that had the lines in the European Union Constitution removed recently that referred to Europe’s unique Christian history—they couldn’t stomach a reference of any kind to Christianity—the ghost of Robespierre lives on as they vie for that purely secular state like the old defunct Soviet Union—any comparison with the US because they are both western democracies truly ends there.

It is no wonder the intense darkness one encounters here but then it is even more glorious to see God break through and touch lives!! Needless to say we can us your prayers and support while ministering here and other places in Europe.

On Some Other Notes—News You May or May Not Have Heard About!

Looks like we left England at just the right time! As you’ve probably heard on the news, the English nation was consumed by four days of severe rioting, with people even being killed in certain areas. In fact, the very street we were staying on in London was shown on the news as one of the places hard hit by the severe rioting. Some of the very stores we shopped at and walked past every day have been torched and looted and burned to the ground while the “do-nothing” police merely looked on like a bunch of spectators.

Europe in general is reeling from a debt crisis as is the US, and France’s credit rating looks like the next one to take a hit. The French economy as well as the rest of Europe is feeling the pinch!

Ireland is being hit hard on many different fronts, the economy is in tatters and the Prime Minister of Ireland and the Archbishop of Canterbury (England’s spiritual leader in the Anglican Church) both recently stated that the Catholic Church has lost all its credibility and can never be trusted again due to the child sex abuse scandals involving Catholic priests—the situation and cover ups over here are even worse than the US if you can imagine that! It continues as a denomination that won’t reform itself! Spain, Portugal, and Italy are all reeling from the debt crisis as well and are constantly in the news here as they teeter on the brink!

Everything that can be shaken will be shaken—God indeed is shaking the nations!!

Thanks for your prayers and support as we proclaim the true Ruler of all Nations' sovereignty and power and glory!

Blessings, Bryan, Mercedes, and Patrick Marleaux