Prayer Changed the Mind of God

By Francis Frangipane

The visible glory of God descended, then manifested on the top of Mt. Sinai. As many as six million Israelites heard the audible voice of God speaking to them from the majestic fire. The entire nation quaked and trembled in holy fear. In response, Israel's leaders begged Moses that no further words be spoken to them by God. Moses agreed, then turned and ascended the mountaintop and entered this frightening holy blaze where He remained for forty days. (See Exodus 19:17-20:19; 24:18.)

Incredibly, when Moses delayed his return, the Israelites began to rebel, making for themselves an idol, a golden calf, similar to the idols of Egypt. They did this in full view of the glory of God, defying His glory with their outrageous idolatry. (See Exodus 32:1-8.)

Pardon for an Unrepentant People

By Francis Frangipane

According to Your Word
Moses sent twelve spies to Canaan to bring back a report of the land. When they returned, ten said that, though the land was good, Israel would surely be defeated by the inhabitants. Although Joshua and Caleb argued that Israel certainly could drive out their enemies, the people moaned, complained, and rebelled, even seeking to stone Joshua and Caleb and return with new leaders to Egypt. And again, the anger of the Lord was kindled against them and threatened to bring judgment (see Num 12-14).

Faithfully, once more Moses intercedes.

"I pray, let the power of the Lord be great, just as Thou hast declared. The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations." -Num 14:17-18

Just as Abraham had prayed centuries before him, Moses focuses upon two things: the integrity of the Lord and His great mercy. God is slow to anger, He is abundant in lovingkindness, He forgives people. When the Scripture says He will "by no means clear the guilty," it speaks of those who sin yet do not repent. Yet even here the Lord is able to be entreated.

Remember, the Israelites have rebelled, they are not even aware that their sin has them at the threshold of God's wrath. The Lord looks at a nation of unrepentant, sinful people on one side and one man, Moses, praying on the other. Even though Moses acknowledges that the Lord will not "clear the guilty," Moses still prays that God would forgive Israel,

"Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Thy lovingkindness, just as Thou also hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now." -Num 14:19

Listen in awe at the Lord's response to Moses' mercy prayer. He says, "I have pardoned them according to your word" (Num 14:20).

Incredible!

Three million Israelites had not repented, nor rent their hearts, nor confessed their sins to God and one another. Not one of them who sinned possessed a broken, contrite spirit. Yet, the Lord says, "I have pardoned them." This is utterly amazing to me. The Lord granted Israel forgiveness "according to [Moses'] word."

Staggering!

One man with favor from God brought mercy upon three million people who had not repented.

Then, in case we think this is some kind of easy grace, the Lord reaffirms His purpose with all nations, beginning with Israel. He says, "But indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord" (Num 14:21).

The integrity of the Lord is non-negotiable. He says, in effect, Though I forgive, I am not going to change My plans. All the earth will be filled with My glory.

When we ask God for mercy, we are not asking Him to compromise His intentions. We are only asking that He forgive the sins of people until He can fulfill His purpose. In truth, we are in complete agreement with His desire. We earnestly want His glory to overshadow America, to fall upon Canada, to roll through Europe and Asia, Israel and the Middle East-all over the world, in fact. We shout a resounding "Yes!" to the purpose of God. Fill America with Your glory, Lord. Fill Canada. Fill Europe. Fill Israel and Africa, Asia and Australia with Your majestic glory. But we also pray, until Your purposes are perfected, reveal Your mercy and forgive the sins of Your people.

We need a vision of God's ultimate destiny for our nation: America "will be filled with the glory of the Lord." He will hear our prayer for mercy as we reach, with Him, toward His ultimate goal. Do you doubt this? The mercy prayer worked for Moses. God brought Israel from Egypt to Canaan through the prayer of His servant.

You say, "But that was Moses, I am a nobody." Jesus said, "He who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater" than the greatest prophets in the Old Testament (see Matt 11:11). How can that be? We have the power of Christ's blood covenant to aid our quest for mercy!

Yet, God indeed used Moses to bring an imperfect people from promise to fulfillment. Whether we are praying for our nation, our cities, our churches, or our family, the Lord will "pardon them according to your word."


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Power of One Christlike Life, available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

One Man

By Francis Frangipane

God's Response to Redemptive Intercession
When Abraham was confronted with the possibility of Sodom's destruction, he did not immediately jump on the "Destroy Sodom" bandwagon; instead, he went before the Lord and prayed for mercy for the city. Abraham's prayer is an amazing study on the effect a mercy-motivated intercessor has on the heart of God. Indeed, my objective here is to gaze into the heart of God as it is revealed in the discourse between the Lord and Abraham.

When we look at Abraham's prayer, we discover an amazing power granted us in intercession. And what is that? God is looking for a mercy reason that would justify Him delaying or canceling wrath. We must not belittle this principle, for in it is great hope for our land as well. The mercy reason for delay is found in the compassionate prayer of an intercessor.

At the Threshold of Glory

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Before Jesus comes to be glorified in the Earth, He is coming to be glorified in the church.

Our salvation grants us more than just church membership and a conservative perspective. We have, in truth, become one with Christ. The Lord Jesus is our head; we are His body. He is our husband; we are His bride. He is the true vine from which we, His branches, draw our life and virtue. These images, and many more, speak openly and passionately of our eternal union with the Son of God.

Yet on a personal scale, only in brief flashes have we glimpsed God's mighty power working with us as it did with Christ, especially in these latter years. We pray, we ask, we travail; but we give birth, as it were, "only to wind" (Isa. 26:18). Miracles manifest, but they are rare. On a national scale, only during the heights of spiritual awakenings has the church truly seen society significantly transformed.

The Revelation

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

The God of Glory
Nearly every Christian I know believes we are in the closing hours of this age. How close to the end, no one knows; and when Jesus will return, none presume a guess. If our hope has truly come from Heaven, then the praying, hungering church of Jesus Christ is about to enter a season of extraordinary manifestations of God's glory. We are about to engage in what Bible scholars call a dispensational move of God's Spirit. During such times, the Lord has always manifested Himself in glory.

It is true that no one has seen the Father's glory, but God the Son has manifested Himself in glory numerous times in the past. Abraham saw Christ's glory while he was in Mesopotamia. Isaiah beheld Him in the year King Uzziah died. Ezekiel fell before the Living One by the river Chebar. Daniel, David, Habakkuk, Solomon, Zachariah, and Haggai all saw the glory of the Lord. In truth, the Bible was written by people who had seen God's glory!

The King's Friend

By Francis Frangipane

Over the last few years, I’ve watched a certain spiritual decline attach itself to many. My concern is this: we talk and sound no different than the world. Too often our words are mean, without grace or love. It is as though we have no revelation of the power of our words.

Jesus taught that we will be judged for every idle, unchristlike word that we speak. (see Matt 12:36). Words possess a unique power to affect reality. The truth is, in many ways we are living today what we were talking about yesterday. Our words are the seeds of our tomorrows. They are trailblazers -- the pioneers which affirm and establish our direction in life.

Some feel words are not that important. They recoil at the idea that "life and death are in the power of the tongue." But I'm quoting Scripture, and the Bible tells us that there is a weightiness to words, a spiritual cargo, that conveys either life or death to those who receive them.

A Covenant of Release

By Francis Frangipane

Israel was hopelessly outnumbered. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon "and all his army, with all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem" and its remaining cities (Jer. 34:1). Because of Israel’s sin, apparently even the Lord, Israel’s protector, had withdrawn. For nearly forty years, Jeremiah the prophet pleaded with God’s people to repent, but they would not have it. Israel was nearly apostate, and the dire warnings of the prophet Jeremiah were about to come to pass.

However, hidden in the ways of God was a plan, a redemptive strategy that would reverse Israel’s direction. If the Jews implemented a "Year of Remission" (see Deut. 15:1-18), God would show to them the same mercy they showed to one another. What was required was that "each man [would] set free his male servant and each man his female servant . . . so that no one should keep them, a Jew his brother, in bondage" (Jer. 34:9)

When the Lord Builds His House

By Francis Frangipane

It is possible for Christ's church to be so properly aligned with heaven that the Spirit of the Lord actually displaces the powers of darkness over our cities. To the degree that the church is so joined to God, the Lord's Presence guards the city: crime and immorality proportionally decline; revival begins to spontaneously break out. But be forewarned, only if the Lord builds His house will He then guard our cities (Psalm 127:1).

The Corporate, Citywide Church
"And the house, while it was being built, was built of stone prepared at the quarry, and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being  built" (I Kings 6:7).

During these past 25 to 30 years God has had His church "at the quarry " shaping the leaders, preparing their hearts to become a living dwelling place, a spiritual house of the Lord. Under the hammer of the Word, many pastors and lay people have softened their doctrinal opinions. God has been reducing their definition of Christianity to the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ (see 2 Cor 11:3). At the same time, the Lord has also laid His axe to the root system of jealousy and selfish ambition (see James 3:16).

Measure Those Who Worship

By Francis Frangipane

"Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, ‘Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations'" (Rev. 11:1-2).

For whatever else this verse ultimately means, it tells us that the Spirit of God is measuring worshipers. He is looking for those whose treasure is in Heaven and who abide in the "inner court" of God's temple.

Consider: in our world of terrors, pressures and trauma, our only refuge exists in the living presence of God. We must not accept a religion about God and assume it is the same as living in the presence of God. If we are to truly dwell in the Divine Presence, one thing perhaps above all others will take us there: we must become true worshipers of God.

Christ Our Passover Lamb

By Francis Frangipane

While we can forgive and cover non-Christian traditions in love, we should not let these traditions obscure the profound truth of God's Word. The early church had great reasons they celebrated the Feast of Passover. This annual tradition was not only commemorative -- it was also prophetic in nature. And while we would expect that the Jewish disciples would celebrate Passover, so also did the Gentile believers. We see this clearly in Paul's letter to the Corinthians. He wrote, "Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast" (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

Deliverance From Bitterness

By Francis Frangiapne
(En Español)

There are two conditions of the heart no one can hide: one is when the heart is filled with love and the other when we are infected with bitterness. Either condition can take over our thoughts and both can filter our entire view of life. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must make our highest quest to possess hearts full of God’s love. Indeed, how successful we are at revealing Christ’s love is the true measure of our spirituality.

Thus, love cannot long exist as an unexpressed or hidden secret. If love is real, it will be seen in a thousand manifestations reaching to the heart of its beloved. Love, which is in truth passion for oneness, is too powerful to be contained by mere discipline or self-control. Indeed, is not love boldly displayed in its unrequited gifts, and is it not heard in its many encouragements and expressions of concern? Is it not tangible in its unabashed enjoyment of time spent with its beloved?

The Morning Star

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

The day of the Lord, like the dawning of any calendar day, does not burst forth abruptly. It is not pitch black at 5:59 a.m. and then, suddenly, bright morning the next minute. The night sky gradually recedes, retreating from the approaching rays of light. Even before the dawn breaks, the morning star faithfully heralds the coming day, announcing to the world still in darkness that light is at hand.

The Scriptures use the image of the morning star to depict the church at the end of the age. Indeed, this visual portrays well the reality that awaits us.

Concerning the end times, Peter wrote:

The Divine Purpose

By Francis Frangipane

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28).

Even before I came to Christ, the phrase, "it all works for good," was a familiar coping mechanism used by believers and nonbelievers alike. Yet this spiritual truth really is not a promise for everyone. What I mean is that there are many things in life -- horrible things -- that are not working for good. For instance, millions die without accepting Christ who will not go to Heaven. Others languish in prolonged agony, suffering from unspeakable diseases, physical trauma or war. What of abortion, human trafficking and drug addiction? Do any of these work for good?

The House of Prayer

By Francis Frangipane

Jesus said His Father's house would be a "house of prayer for all the nations" (Mark 11:17). True intercessory prayer is born of love and comes in the midst of sin and need. It comes not to condemn, but to redeem. The truth is that all nations sin. All cultures have times of crises. Yet these times can become turning points if, in the time of distress, intercessors cry to God for mercy. Thus, prayer brings redemption from disaster.

We must understand: the church is created not to fulfill God's wrath but to complete His mercy. Remember, we are called to be a house of prayer for all nations. Consider passionately this phrase: "prayer for." Jesus taught us to "pray for" those who persecute and mistreat you. Paul tells us that God desires all men to be saved. Therefore, he urges that "entreaties and prayers . . . be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority" (1 Tim. 2:1–2). When Job "prayed for" his friends, God fully restored him (Job 42). We are to "pray for" the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6) and "pray for" each other, that we may be healed (James 5:16)

A Society of Redeemers

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Before we discuss a number of ways we can develop our powers of discernment, let us acknowledge that our world is under a great, multidimensional assault. Hell is advancing and its goal is to swallow civilizations in darkness. I've seen the demonic legions, strident in their rebellion, shaking their fists toward Heaven as they lay claim to our open and foolishly naive cultures.

I have even known, on a rare occasion or two, the intimidation of the Prince of Darkness. I've felt the weight of his confidence as he gloats at how unprepared the church is -- how divided and carnal. Satan does not doubt he will fulfill his intention to rule this world.

Unoffendable, Part 2: False Expectations

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

In our last teaching we looked at offenses and examined the lethal effect an offended spirit could have upon our lives. We discussed how the only way to not be permanently offended was to attain the unoffendable heart of Jesus Christ.

Attaining Christ's heart is not a minor issue. Remember, Jesus warned that in the last days "many" would be offended.

A wounded spirit is not the same thing as an offended spirit. We may have experienced a cutting remark or slander from someone that wounds us. As the wave of this event rolls over our thoughts, it is right at this moment that we must determine the outcome, that with God's help we will make this work for us. It is at this juncture that we must process our wounds in a Christlike manner. If we fail to respond rightly we will begin to fake our Christianity.

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
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"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.