I Will Remember Their Sins No More

By Francis Frangipane

Holiness is attained only through an unfolding experience with the grace of God.

Removing the Barriers Caused By Sin
Have you ever had a close friend but talked critically about him to someone else? The next time you were together, did you notice something almost artificial about your relationship? You were not as open nor as honest with him. Because of your sin, there was a small but measurable distance between both of you. Though you may have been ashamed of what you did, if you stayed unrepentant, you actually started to avoid the one you hurt - if not socially, at least with your eyes and heart.

You may have shared a world together beforehand, but now the interpenetration of personalities, the sense of being "at home" in one another's soul, is gone. Unless there is repentance, the distance between you will probably widen until the relationship itself is over. Although neither of you may understand why you drifted apart, the love you possessed died because you sinned and failed to repent.

At An Inconvenient Time

By Francis Frangipane

The Lord has multitudes who believe in Him, but only a minority who truly worship Him. True worshipers find their fulfillment in adoring God. The fragrance of their worship rises, not only during the scheduled times of church services, but also during inconvenient times.

A true worshiper will rise early before work or school; they're up before the household so they can be alone with God. Instead of being frustrated by delays, they transform difficulties and setbacks into opportunities to magnify God. You might see one of these worshipers sitting in the car next to you during a traffic jam, singing along with Christian music in their car.

A true worshiper has learned the secret of worshiping God at inconvenient times.

I, too, find the Lord leading me to worship Him during inconvenient times. I might be alone writing or working on some important project when something awakens in my spirit: I become aware that the presence of the Lord is near. Yet, He isn't commanding me to worship, He's inviting me. The time of worship may be as little as 10 or 15 minutes or it might be much longer. Regardless, I turn from what I was doing, pick up my guitar and begin to worship Him.

Frankly, I am not a good musician; I only know a few chords. Yet as I worship, I know the King of heaven is actually pleased with my offering. He has granted me an audience, and in some mysterious way, He causes me to feel that the sound of my worship is the only thing He hears as I'm singing.

The Invitation
I, for one, desire my worship to become all consuming. Yet, I confess that a primary obstacle I must overcome is the inconvenient timing of His invitation. It seems like He actually waits until I am focused on some important project - something He actually wants me to complete. Or it might be late at night when I am almost asleep when the opportunity to worship draws near.

Yet, the very fact that I have responded, in spite of the "inconvenience," actually refines and sweetens my worship. Indeed, when I worship in our Sunday service, I admit I can be carried by the sound of the music and the participation of others around me. I am in an atmosphere of worship, so my praise may actually be something imparted to me by others and not purely my own. However, when He comes at an inconvenient time, my response reaffirms that my worship is real and that God truly is first in my life

What is also a great pleasure to me is that, given such short notice, He does not expect from me a large production. As wonderful as Sunday worship services are, He is not looking for a professional song service, just something real from my heart.

Another blessing is that, often, my wife will hear me worshiping and, without fail, join me. As I worship, I'll soon notice a voice singing alongside me in the background. She's as absorbed as I am in the presence of God. It doesn't matter what she was doing, she loves to bow before God and that, too, sweetens our worship.

Prayer and Worship
There is a difference between prayer and worship. Prayer is an appeal to God based on our needs and the needs of our world. The world is filled with people, each with heartfelt and urgent requests, that are welcomed by our Father in heaven, and they are each heard in the throne room of light. However, worship is not the articulation of our need; it is the consummation of our love. It is what we offer to God regardless of the status of our needs.

Recall the Gospel account of the ten leprous men who cried to Jesus for healing. After the Lord answered their prayers and healed them, they all went their way. One, however, stopped and turned "back, glorifying God with a loud voice . . . he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him" (Luke 17:11-19). Full of gratitude to Christ, this man returned to bow in worship before God. You see, many people will pray, multitudes will find answers, but few will return to Him in worship.

Beloved, if worship flows genuinely from our hearts, the Lord will repeatedly invite us into His presence. His invitation will approach the doorstep of our souls quietly. It will come disguised as a simple desire to love Him. If we follow this desire, it will lead into the presence of God.

As we worship Him, He will grant us inner strength and peace. As we come with thanksgiving, He will refresh us with His love and joy. Let us delight in the privilege of becoming true worshipers of God, even when the opportunity comes at an inconvenient time.

The Sanctifying Power of Christ

By Francis Frangipane

"For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy" (1 Corinthians 7:14).

In the above verse, we discover an important life principle: the process of sanctification for an unsaved husband or wife actually begins when their partner is born again of the Spirit. The word sanctify means "to consecrate or set apart to God." In this context, however, sanctification does not automatically imply salvation; rather it means that a process leading toward possible salvation has begun in earnest.

From God's view, the influence of Christ's power working in the life of the redeemed has a drawing effect upon the unsaved marital partner. The unbelieving spouse experiences the blessings, benefits and influence of a life in the process of transformation; they are eyewitnesses to Christ's love as He reveals Himself to, and then through, a redeemed spouse. In all these ways, the "unbelieving" soul "is sanctified through" the "believing" spouse, so that even their "children . . . are holy" (1 Corinthians 7:14).

What is true in principle for a marriage is also true on the wider scale of a neighborhood or community. An unbelieving city can be sanctified, or "set apart for God," by the presence of a believing, praying, active church. Even a very evil region, one that is due the penalty of divine wrath, can be set apart unto the Lord because holy people are walking its streets, praying for its sinners and working toward redemption. God sees the influence of the redeemed and, because we are willing to walk in mercy, He is willing to forestall wrath.

This preserving effect of the saved upon the unsaved is exactly what Abraham discovered when he interceded for Sodom. As he stood praying before God, Abraham learned that the influence of ten righteous souls could spare an entire city from divine wrath (see Genesis 18:23-33). This also is exactly the same thing Moses realized about the power of his intercession. The Lord would have destroyed Israel for its flagrant sin, yet He granted mercy instead. Moses "stood in the breach" (Psalm 106.23). The result? "The LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people" (Exodus 32:14).

The positioning of Moses in prayer, even while Israel had not yet repented nor sought God, opened a mercy door in heaven. As long as Moses stood in intercession before God, mercy flowed toward Israel. Amazingly, "the Lord changed His mind." Oh, the power Christlike people have upon the heart of God! Let us never diminish the great privilege God gives us through prayer!

This intercessory positioning before God is what Jesus seeks for us today. As His representatives before God and man, He says a most profound truth concerning our role: "You are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13). Salt, from ancient times, has been used as a preservative. The ancients would take meat and rub it with salt. The salt stopped the process of decay and preserved it. The process was called "curing."

Your praying, fasting, caring commitment to your neighborhood or city sanctifies that community unto God. The influence of a godly church has a curing effect upon that which otherwise will soon decay.

As we stand praying for our cultures, we are mindful of the many predators stalking our world: there are terror threats, bird flu, earthquakes and hurricanes, the bold advances of sin, the effects of global warming and the threat of all out war, plus many other enemies. While we do not deserve divine help, we need God's protection. You ask, "My life is but a single soul. What can I do?" Your life is a seed in which God sees a future harvest. The moment you open your mouth in prayer, a process of redemption is beginning for your region. And as long as you don't give up on your community, God won't give up either.

Prayer:

Lord, I come before You again today, carrying in my heart my people. Oh Master, I pray for mercy. You said "Mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13). I plead for mercy, for revival, for forgiveness to fall upon my nation. You said the blood of Your Son would "sprinkle many nations" (Isaiah 52:15). I offer the blood of Jesus for my country. Forgive us and change us for Jesus' sake. Amen.