Unoffendable

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezek. 36:26).

God has a new heart for us that cannot be offended, an "unoffendable" heart. Beloved, possessing an unoffendable heart is not an option or a luxury; it's not a little thing. An offended heart is endanger of becoming a "heart of stone."

Consider: Jesus warns that, as we near the end of the age, a majority of people will be offended to such a degree that they fall away from the faith. Listen carefully to His warning:

"Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another . . . and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:10-12 KJV).

The Un-envisioned Place

By Francis Frangipane

If we look at the heroes of faith in the Scriptures, we will find people that, without fail, were people of vision. Yet, upon deeper study, we also discover that, even as people of vision, they often found themselves in circumstances that were unlike anything they expected. Yet, it was in this "un-envisioned place" that God established character in His servant. It was here where the Lord released power that fulfilled destiny.

Consider Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. He wrote of his "great desire" to travel to the church in Thessalonica more than once. Yet, he said, "Satan hindered us" (1Thess. 2:17-18)

The Three Battlegrounds

By Francis Frangipane

Introduction
I wrote The Three Battlegrounds to provide clear and balanced insight into the nature of spiritual warfare. Before we proceed, however, I have two concerns. The first is our need for wisdom. There is an old European proverb worth heeding. It reads: "Age and treachery will always defeat youth and zeal." Before we engage in spiritual warfare, we should know this about Satan: he is an ancient and extremely treacherous foe. On the other hand, the strength of most Christians lies primarily in idealism and untested fervor. It is not long, usually five to ten years in the ministry, and most zeal has waned. Without warning the minister’s call has deteriorated from a walk of vision to a mere job.

The Wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

February is Black History Month here in America. Thus I thought it would be timely to recall and apply the wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King. He was a man for the ages, a man whom God raised up and anointed.

Pastor Francis
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"In the final analysis, says the Christian ethic, every man must be respected because God loves him. The worth of an individual does not lie in the measure of his intellect, his racial origin, or his social position. Human worth lies in relatedness to God. An individual has value because he has value to God. Whenever this is recognized, "whiteness" and "blackness" pass away as determinants in a relationship and "son" and "brother" are substituted." --The Ethical Demands, Dec, 1962.

"Recognizing the necessity for suffering I have tried to make of it a virtue. If only to save myself from bitterness, I have attempted to see my personal ordeals as an opportunity to transform myself and heal the people involved in the tragic situation which now obtains. I have lived these last few years with the conviction that unearned suffering is redemptive. There are some who still find the cross a stumbling block, and others consider it foolishness, but I am more convinced than ever before that it is the power of God unto social and individual salvation." --Pilgrimage To Nonviolence, April, 1960.

"I Do Not Remember"

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

How little we understand of eternal redemption! How many times will God forgive you? If you have truly set your heart to follow Him, He will cancel your sins as often as you ask. Will He forgive you of the worst sin you can think of? Yes! You may have to live with the consequences of your misdeed, but God can use your repentance and newly found humility to inspire others. As for the sin itself, if you deeply and sincerely repent of it, not only will God forgive you, He will blot it out of His memory.

Let me share an experience. A certain man of God had been gifted with revelatory insight into people's lives. During an evening service he ministered to a Presbyterian pastor and his wife. By the gift of the Spirit, he revealed the couple's past, uncovered their present situation, and then disclosed to them what was to come. This work of God greatly impressed the couple, and as the prophecies were fulfilled, one month later the Presbyterian minister brought two other pastors, each with their wives, to another service for personal ministry.

A Forgiving Heart

By Francis Frangipane

During the last hours of this age, there will be two opposing factions in the world: those whose hearts are wrought with bitterness, resentment, and hatred; and those whose love has actually increased and who are experiencing the power of the kingdom of God. Jesus foretold these conditions in Matthew: "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. . . . Because lawlessness [iniquity] is increased, most people's love will grow cold" (Matt. 24:10, 12). But then He added: "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come" (v. 14).

What is this "gospel of the kingdom"? It is the whole truth that Jesus came to bring -- not only that which saves us from our sins, but also that which creates us in His image. It is the full gospel with all its requirements and all its rewards -- the full price for the full power. It is the most glorious pearl that man can possess: the presence of God in glory revealed within and among us.

Remember Job

By Francis Frangipane

There is much to say about the book of Job. Many scholars believe it is the oldest book of the Bible; all agree that it predates the wisdom books (Proverbs, Psalms, etc.). Another interesting insight is this: Job was not an Israelite. So the antiquity of this book combined with its Gentile hero makes it unique among all Old Testament Scriptures.

Yet there is another narrative that is actually my main point of interest. The story of Job is not only about an innocent man suffering unjustly from a satanic attack; the bulk of the story concerns the suffering Job endured from his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar (and later Elihu). These men, probably religious scholars of their day, were friends of Job. Yet during his distress they falsely judged him; they became his accusers.

Righteous Judgment

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Previously I have urged you, my friends and colleagues, to resist the trends of anger and bitter cynicism that exist in our world today. Instead, we must strive to possess the "higher . . . thoughts" of Christ (Isa. 55:9).

In truth, our calling is to serve God as ambassadors of Christ (Eph. 6:20). A true ambassador is not only pledged to represent his or her leader; the ambassador is one who knows what that ruler actually thinks and what he would say. He receives regular communication with that leader and is current on his leader’s short-term and long-term goals. Should the ambassador be ignorant of the ruler’s view, he is trained to not offer his own opinions; he is to wait until he hears from the one he represents. The world doesn’t want to know what we think. There are some seven billion opinions in the world today. What the nations need is not to hear our opinions but to hear the One we represent: our King, Jesus Christ.

House of Thoughts

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

There are satanic strongholds over countries and communities, and there are strongholds that even influence, to some degree, churches and individuals. Wherever a stronghold exists, it is a demonically induced pattern of thinking. Specifically, it is a "house made of thoughts" that has become a dwelling place for satanic activity.

Removing Satan's Armor
"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder" (Luke 11:21-22).

Before we were saved, Satan was like a fully armed "strong man" guarding the homestead of our souls. On the day of our salvation, however, "someone stronger," the Lord Jesus Christ, attacked and overpowered Satan and stripped him of his armor. Our born-again experiences may be widely varied, but in the spirit-realm, a very similar war was waged and won for each of us. If we could have seen into the invisible world, we would have observed the Holy Spirit working with the angels of God to overpower and destroy the enemy's "armor."

The Stronghold of the Godly: Humility

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Satan fears virtue. He is terrified of humility; he hates it. He sees a humble person and it sends chills down his back. His hair stands up when Christians kneel down, for humility is the surrender of the soul to God. The devil trembles before the meek because in the very areas where he once had access there stands the Lord, and Satan is terrified of Jesus Christ.

Who Truly Are You Fighting?
It is important to recognize that the immediate source of many of our problems and oppression is not demonic but fleshly in nature. Indeed, one aspect of our lives, our flesh nature, will always be targeted by the devil. These fleshly areas supply Satan with unhindered access to undermine our prayers and neutralize our walk with God.

What Does Jesus Say?

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Great Gain
We must relearn how to think. We must learn how to pause before we speak -- give ourselves a moment to enter the secret place of God's presence -- and then listen to what Jesus has to say. For Christ Himself is the source of our discernment. In listening, we create the opportunity to hear the Lord's voice; postured before Him we can receive answers, wisdom and insights that we otherwise would not discern.

Indeed, using the gift of discernment, we can counter the advance of the enemy and reverse the gains he might have otherwise obtained. Consider the gospel story of the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11). As experts in the Mosaic Law, the Pharisees knew well that the woman had sinned. Wishing to publicly discredit Jesus, they brought her to Him hoping, perhaps, to prove Him a heretic:

"One Message"

By Francis Frangipane

The Lord alone will be exalted in that day." --- Isaiah 2:11

Normally my Sunday sermon is prepared a few days in advance, but this week was different. All week the heavens seemed like bronze. Saturday morning came, and still I was at a loss. Nothing seemed alive. It was now Saturday evening and I was pacing the floor seeking God. "Lord," I asked, "what is the message for tomorrow morning? What topic should I address?"

A dozen ideas filed through my mind, loitered momentarily in my imagination, and left as unanointed as they had arrived. I went to bed praying. When I woke Sunday morning, my prayer was still on my lips.

To Behold the Face of God

By Francis Frangipane

Have you not deeply desired to see God, to know Him intimately and truly? Beloved, to see Jesus is to behold God. Let us not consider it heresy: we can surely see God! But first we must renounce every perception of the Almighty other than what we have proven true in Christ.

Therefore study the life, teachings, and deeds of Jesus Christ, and you will remove the veil of mystery surrounding the nature of God.

Jesus said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).

What truth could be more profound? Each time we read of what Jesus did, we are actually beholding the nature of God. Every time we listen to what Jesus taught, we are hearing the voice of the living God.

The Grinch That Stole Christians

By Francis Frangipane

Can we have a little family talk? For most of you, this won't apply, but the devil has some of us bound, where we are focused on issues that are not the real issue. What do I mean? A few Christians have been taught that, according to Jeremiah 10:4, God is against the use of Christmas trees. The text reads, "They decorate it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers so that it will not totter." Superimpose the image of our silver and gold Christmas decorations and we have a "revelation" that God hates Christmas (or at least Christmas trees).

However, if you read the entire chapter, it isn't talking about Christmas, but idols and people who worship them. So if you are sitting at home reading this and it's prior to December 25, you can get a Christmas tree. It's okay as long as you don't worship it. In fact, if you're reading this and it's past December 25, that might even be better -- Christmas trees and decorations are very inexpensive after Christmas.

When the Unclean Becomes Clean

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

There are unfathomable mysteries concerning the Messiah's entrance into our world, realities that are beyond our powers of comprehension: His divine conception, the manifestation of the angelic hosts, the miraculous star that led the wise men, etc. Yet one reality strikes me the most: of all places where the Son of God might have been born, His birth came in the uncleanness of a stable.

With myriads of angels at the Almighty's command, we might assume the world's Creator would have orchestrated better accommodations, perhaps the home of a rich man or more appropriately, a king. Yet the staging of Christ's birthplace was symbolic of His life and purpose. Indeed, when I contemplate the message broadcast in the birthplace of Christ, I realize that He who was born in the uncleanness of a stable is not offended or repulsed by the uncleanness in you or me.

The Silent Harvest

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

In a dream I found myself inside the mind of a dying man. The man had been in a coma for some time; his family had been praying, but they did not know whether or not he had accepted Christ. All they were sure of is that, throughout his life, he had resisted their efforts to lead him to Christ.

As I dreamt I became so acutely aware of the man's state of mind that his thoughts, feelings and struggles almost seemed my own. Although his eyes were nearly closed and his vision clouded, he could see his loved ones at his bedside. I watched as he tried to reach toward his family, but outwardly his arm never lifted. I heard him speak their names, but no sound whispered through his lips. A loved one holding his hand asked, "If you hear me, squeeze." He heard and pressed his fingers against hers, but no movement was seen; his hand clearly remained limp. He was conscious; he could hear their prayers; he felt the warmth of their kisses on his face yet was perfectly incapable of responding.

If We Do Not Lose Heart

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

The prophet Daniel warns of a time when Satan will "wear down the saints of the Highest One" (Dan. 7:25). How this occurs in the final hours of the age remains to be seen, but this battle is already occurring today. The final effect of what seems like never-ending delays is that believers are worn out.

Do you know anyone who is weary with his or her battle? Are you yourself weary? I know many who seem trapped in situations that should have been remedied months and even years ago, but the battle continues against them. Situations and people, often empowered by demonic resistance, stand in opposition to the forward progress of God’s people. As a result of constant demonic opposition, many Christians gradually accept a quiet, but weighty, oppression on their souls.

"With the Glance of Your Eyes"

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

"Who is this that grows like the dawn, as beautiful as the full moon, as pure as the sun, as awesome as an army with banners?" ---Song of Solomon 6:10

We were created for more than just having a religion. Indeed, in regards to satisfying our deeper longings, a time will come when we realize that religion is not enough. It satisfies neither us nor Christ. God's Word reveals that Christ wants to actually, personally, know us (Matt. 7: 22-23).

You say, "But He does know us!" In His omniscience, He knows everything. But in His love He seeks to know us as His bride, where we live in unbroken union with Him. Because He purchased us with His blood, He has the right to our souls, our secrets, and our dreams. He wants the person we are when no one else is looking. Yet He will not force Himself upon us. This is not the way of love.

It's a Package Deal

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

In 1983 I was asked to serve as pastor of a faith church. I had been away from the ministry for three years, and I had no idea what a "faith" church was, except that faith as a biblical concept seemed fairly sound. So I agreed.

I should add, this was not just any faith church; it was a satellite-dish-in-the-front-yard faith church. Painted across the top of the dish in huge, bright red letters were the words, "Jesus Is Lord."

I should also explain that my three-year hiatus between pastorates was due, in part, to a deep sense of failure I was carrying. A member of my former church died from a virus that within four days left her completely paralyzed. I had been with her, fasting and praying during this time. But when she died on the fifth day, the helplessness I felt crushed my confidence in prayer. It was the most traumatic experience of my young ministry.

Perfectly Weak

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

According to the Scriptures, Moses was "educated in all the learning of the Egyptians." Indeed, as a prince in Egypt, Moses had grown to be a "man of power in words and deeds" (Acts 7:22). Thus, it is hard to equate this eloquent and cultured man with the stammering shepherd who, at eighty years old, was overwhelmed with his inadequacies, so much so that he pleaded with God to choose someone else.

Consider: the Lord took a self-assured world leader and reduced his opinion of himself until he possessed no confidence. And it was in this state of mind that God decided to use him. Having been thoroughly convinced of his unfitness for leadership, Moses was now qualified to lead.