And Then the End Shall Come, Part 2

By Francis Frangipane

It is no secret that we live in prophetic times. Besides two world wars, earthquakes and famines, our generation has seen the return of Israel to its land, and we have personally witnessed the spectacular increase of knowledge and travel (Dan. 12). Spiritual signs are like towns we pass through en route to a further destination: they reveal approximately where we are as we approach the Lord's return.

Yet it is important to not assume we are further than we are. There are two major end time signs that we have not yet passed through. I'd love to be wrong, but it's my opinion that those planning for an immediate rapture should probably unpack. For, while we should be dressed in readiness, the gospel of the kingdom has not been proclaimed worldwide (Matt. 24:14) nor has the Antichrist been revealed (2 Thess. 2:1-3). Both these things must occur before Christ returns.

The Vision for Our Times

By Francis Frangipane

Christ, Our Prefect Mentor
Today, perhaps more than at any time in our nation's history, we stand at a crossroads. Will this nation move toward heaven or hell? Will we see a national awakening or national destruction? I am fully convinced that if we stand for our cities and neighborhoods--if a remnant in the church truly becomes Christlike in prayer, character and motives--we will ultimately see the glory of God fall again upon our land.

Yet, to possess the glory of Christ again through the church means, among other things, that godly leaders will need to mentor and train disciples in the way of the Lord. We simply do not have enough time to all mature spiritually at the current pace. We not only need revelation of the potential of Christ in us, but we need impartation from leaders who are walking in some measure of Christlikeness now (see Rom 1:11; 1 Thess 2:8). We need the spiritual fathers in the church to accept that, while they are not perfect, God can use them to mentor and train pastors, intercessors and the future leaders of the church.

Cease Striving and Know that I am God

By Francis Frangipane

Jesus warned of our days. Speaking of the unfolding difficulties in the world, He warned, "See to it that you not be terrified" (Lk 21:3). Indeed, He also said that one prevailing affliction that shall plague humanity would be "men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of . . . things which are coming on the earth" (Lk 21:26 NKJ).

Today, heart failure is the number one killer of men in the western world. In America, nearly one million people will die this year from some form of heart disease. Approximately every 30 seconds another heart fails and a person dies. There may be many contributors to heart failure, but a main source is the inability to handle stress.

Tomorrows Leaders, Today's Sacrifice

 By Francis Frangipane

The oak tree grows out of the grave of the acorn.

Return to the Cross
Those who will be tomorrow's leaders will pay God's price today. Other Christians may seem to be enjoying the benefits of Christ's blessings while doing little to obtain them. You who have answered Jesus' command, "Follow Me," will find no easy path before you. Yet, it is written, if we "suffer with Him" we shall also be "glorified with Him"(Rom 8:17).

How does a disciple actually suffer with Christ? At the core of our existence, we choose to let the way of Christ guide us rather than the way of man. The cross is the cost we pay so Christ's redemption will succeed.

Our cross puts to death our self-preservation instincts, as well as our fleshly ideas and ambitions. Before Jesus will truly manifest in power in our lives, He requires an end to striving with our flesh. Self must die for Christ to manifest in power.

Both Payment and Pattern

By Francis Frangipane

It should be noted that most Christians understand the significance of Christ's crucifixion, and are bowed in thankful reverence toward it. Here, at the foot of the cross, our need meets God's provision. We find forgiveness, redemption and healing. These are well-known, established truths of the gospel. They are proclaimed and re-enacted for us in an variety of expressions, rituals, and celebrations. With trembling awe we gaze at the Lord of life dying on the cross; we are captured by God's grace.

But Jesus' cross was not only the payment for mankind's sins; it was also the pattern for His disciples' lives. If we would walk in His footsteps, we must ascend beyond the foot of the cross; we must see ourselves nailed with Jesus to the redemptive purpose of God, for we are called to extend heaven's love into our times and needs.

Lord, What is "Practical"?

By Francis Frangipane

Ask Him. Go on, ask the Lord, in view of the times in which we live, what He considers practical. I venture you won't hear Him saying things like, "My son, invest in an IRA", or "Child, always get eight hours of sleep." No. As I know the Lord---and He is practical---He will say something like, "Both righteousness and wickedness are coming to full maturity upon the earth, and the world order, as you have known it, will soon be gone. Therefore, stop worrying about the things of this age. Prepare yourself to live continually in My Presence and abandon yourself to Me and My will and I will guide you through the days ahead."

Kingdom Conquering Faith

By Francis Frangipane

Often I have heard Christians presumptuously state what they were "going to do to the devil." The outcome, however, has often been a testimony of what the devil did to them. At one time or another we have all fallen into boasting of our plans or achievements only to fall headlong, tripped by our own pride. Consequently, it is vital to recognize the pitfalls of presumptuous or arrogant "faith" before we approach the idea of "taking our cities."

Nevertheless, while we want to avoid the excesses of presumption, the consequences of unbelief are worse. Jesus never rebuked anyone, saying, "Oh ye of too much faith." We have suffered because we have been too weak to believe God's promises. There is a legitimate dimension of faith that comes from the Holy Spirit. It is motivated by love and guided by wisdom; it comes from heaven empowered to turn our cities back to God. It is no less powerful than the faith of those who "turned the world upside down" in the first century.

Return To Your Dwelling Place In God

By Francis Frangipane

Ultimately, I believe there are only two acceptable, core attitudes we should have toward the Almighty. The first attitude is heartfelt abandonment. This is the result of having found the Lord's Presence in a new unfolding of His glory. Heartfelt abandonment will always be accompanied by transcendent awe, unspeakable joy and irrepressible love. All of these are the result of having laid hold of the Lord; they are the consequences of His presence.

The second core attitude we must possess comes in the seeming absence of God's presence. It is a relentless longing, an unquenchable thirst, to find Him whom your soul loves. Abandonment and longing are the two tracks that lead us into our destiny in God and guides into true spiritual fulfillment.

It Takes a Citywide Church

By Francis Frangipane

It is incredible, but many Christians actually believe that the only unity there will be in the last days is in the apostate church. The very spirit they think they are avoiding, the antichrist, is what has divided them from the rest of the church! (see I John 2:18-19) It is simply unscriptural and a sin for the believing, citywide church of Jesus Christ not to maintain the unity of the Spirit!

United in Worship and War
One need not be a biblical scholar to recognize the Jews had to be uncompromisingly united in their worship of God. All Israel was required to come to Jerusalem three times a year to worship during the feasts. If their worship was compromised to where they began to serve the pagan gods of the region, they were quickly defeated in their battles.

Unrelenting Love

By Francis Frangipane

The Bible describes our relationship with the Christ in strong symbolic pictures of oneness: He is Head of a body, Husband of a wife, God in His temple. In spite of these powerful metaphors, there remains a sense of distance between the Presence of the Lord and ourselves. This distance is a test. Our call is to possess that love of God which reaches even into eternity and brings the glory and Person of Christ into His earthly House.

Those Who Seek After God
"God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there is anyone who understands, who seeks after God" (Psalm 53:2). We simply must have more of Jesus. In the face of increasing wickedness in the world, our programs and ideas have failed. We need God. Those who understand the hour we face are seeking Him. The wise know that Christ Himself is our only strategy and hope.

Cleansing the Holy Place

By Francis Frangipane

Within every Christian there is a secret place, a sanctuary we must prepare for the Lord. This holy place is not unlike the Holy of Holies in the Jewish temple. Not until this place is cleansed will the Lord dwell with us in the fullness of His Spirit; not until this room is pure will we truly become a house for the Lord.

Bring Out the Unclean Thing
"And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thess 2:14).

The Lord is cleansing us for the distinct purpose of bringing His people into His glory. Yes, out of His desire to present a pure bride to His Son, the Father is purging the church of its sin. He is refusing to allow our inter-church relationships to continue without love. According to the Scriptures, before Jesus returns, the body of Christ will be holy and blameless (see Eph 5:27; Titus 2:14; I Thess 5:23; Col 1:22; Phil 2:15; etc.). Through new and successive levels of purification, the house of the Lord will again receive and display the glory of God.

Obtaining the Endorsement of God

By Francis Frangipane

If we will gain God's greatest blessings, we must embrace His highest purpose.

The Workmanship of God: Christlikeness
In the last days, God's word promises that the "mountain of the house of the Lord will be established" (Isa 2:2). Our sincere conviction is that if this dwelling place of God truly emerges in our cities, it will transform entire regions and great revival will emerge. However, I would make it clear from the beginning, if our goal is anything other than becoming a home for Jesus, this truth will simply become another "wind of doctrine"; we will again be blown off course. Without the abiding fullness of Christ in the church, we will have no more impact in the world than a political party, whose strength rests in numbers and not God.

The Deception Surrounding Splits

By Francis Frangipane

I want to commend those who sent us their comments about church splits. We received more responses to this subject than any previous message. From my best analysis, about five percent blamed pastors, saying that the pastors were in serious sin, heavy handed, weren't in "the river" or refused accountability to anyone (sadly, this is true among a minority of ministers). Twenty percent wrote simply to encourage us to write the book. However, amazingly, 75% spoke of being "deeply devastated" by a split, some calling it "hell on earth." These people usually wrote long and obviously painful emails. They grieved for their pastors, the loss of friends and the "death" of their church. These individuals said the division arose from a subordinate leader or group within the church.

The Issues is Not the Issue

By Francis Frangipane

Last week, as we discussed church splits, we marveled that heaven itself endured a time of strife where Lucifer challenged the leadership of God. The Scriptures reveal that a full third of the angels succumbed to the persuasion of Lucifer's spell. We do not know what lie the devil was able to weave, but that angels could, on the one hand, know God in His unlimited capabilities, yet believe a strategy could emerge that could defeat Him is a testimony to the unfathomable cunning of Lucifer's wiles.

Recognizing that Lucifer was able to divide so great a number of angels from God, we also should not be surprised that he is able to separate good friends during a church split. Let us, therefore, continue to remove the mask from Satan's activities and seek rather to be those who overcome him (Rev 12:11).

In the Furnace of God's Glory

By Francis Frangipane

God's word assures us that the Redeemer we see in the gospels is the same Lord Who enters our lives when we are born again. The same things Jesus did in the first century, He promises to do again for us today. Indeed, Scripture confirms that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever" (Heb 13:8). If the person we call "Jesus" is not as wonderful or powerful as Jesus of the gospels, we are serving the wrong one.

Thus, if we will truly know the real Jesus, we must re-acquaint ourselves with the reasons Jesus came. For His goals for our lives are the same as His goals in the first century.

And Then the End Shall Come, Part 1

By Francis Frangipane

Because we live in prophetic times, there exists a great deal of passion concerning prophetic perspectives. Christian analysts on gospel television stimulate ever growing constituencies with new "signs" and "revelations," all pointing to the return of Christ.

Generally, such zeal is healthy, for we should live spiritually alert and sensitive to our times. However, it is also easy to make false assumptions, where we believe we are closer to the end of the age than we actually are. The primary problem is that, once we accept the premise that we are at the final stage of end-time events, we step out of sync with the Father's heart.

My Journey By Denise Frangipane

By Denise Frangipane

The following message was taken from the booklet, "Overcoming Fear!" by Denise Frangipane.

Before I appropriated the gift of Christ's peace, I was always looking for something to distract me from my fears. There were few times when I found myself alone while growing up in a family of eleven. My sense of security came from having people always around me. In fact, I hated being alone, especially in the darkness.

To keep from dealing with my gloomy, fearful thoughts, I would occupy my mind with radio, television or books. When all these distractions were removed, however, I was left with an unending supply of tormenting, disabling thoughts.

The enemy had gained free access to my undisciplined thought life. In fact, even after coming to Christ I was still bound by certain fears. Doctrinally, I knew God was love, but I did not fully comprehend His personal love for me. I often carried guilt and condemnation when I stumbled. Not only was I fearful of the world around me, I was also afraid of God and the punishment I thought I deserved.

True Revival: Conformity to Christ

By Francis Frangipane

We have three foundational standards in our home church, River of Life Ministries. One is to be a house of prayer. That means our hearts are positioned to stand in the gap in prayer between the judgement and the mercy of God. Our earnest goal is to manifest the intercession of Christ Himself, where redemption brings an end to sin rather than God using His wrath.

Another of our goals is to attain Christ's meekness. This forever will be a goal because the moment we assume we've attained it, we've actually lost it. Yet, possessing the humility of Christ remains an ever living passion in our spirits. Without humility, we can't see with clarity what we lack in spiritual substance. Humility enables us to grow in all the other virtues and gifts we see manifest in Jesus.

However, the very center of our vision at River of Life is to attain the character and power of Jesus Christ. Humility helps us see what we lack; prayer helps us appropriate God's provision for that need. Yet, the pinpoint goal is the full revelation of God's Son manifest within a many membered body.

In God's Tabernacle

By Francis Frangipane

Jesus warned of the deception which would occur at the end of the age. When we consider His words, we instinctively think of false teachers and prophets; and these will, indeed, mislead many (see Matthew 24). But there is another dimension to the enemy's tactics that is, perhaps, even more dangerous. For we may actually know the truth, but be too preoccupied and distracted to obey it. If this is the case, greater judgment will fall on us than upon him who did not know God's will at all.

Jesus warned, "Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap" (Luke 21:34).

Conformed to the Redeemer

By Francis Frangipane

As Christians, we spend too much time battling basic, elementary battles: "Am I truly saved?" "Am I really forgiven?" "Is there really a heaven?" God has so much more for us. He seeks to form in our thought-life the very mind of Christ. The Holy Spirit comes, not just to give us goose bumps and chills, but to restructure our attitudes and perceptions until we think with the thoughts of Jesus Himself.

Paul wrote, "My little children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you." Our goal is not merely to be saved and go to heaven, but for Christ to be formed in us on earth. We are not just to have a religion about what Jesus did; we are to possess the very life substance of the Messiah Himself. Yes, it means we indeed will go to heaven; but it is more: Christ now comes again to earth and, through our yieldedness to Him, is given flesh and blood access to this world. Yes, we face conflicts, but it's to bring forth Christ within us; indeed, we face persecution, but it's only so Christ will shine.

When Money Becomes Our Servant

By Francis Frangipane

Many ministers hate discussing finances; others are obsessed with it and teach about it all the time. Because Jesus Himself referenced it, we must put the issue of personal wealth into perspective. In the great overview of topics the Lord desires we learn, He has both promises and warnings concerning the issue of money.

The fact is, in Jesus' teaching there isn't a subject Jesus used more often than that of money or wealth. He compared heaven itself to a treasure in a field and and He said if we would be generous in our giving, whatever we gave would be multiplied and returned, "pressed down, shaken together [and] running over" (Matt 13; Lk 6). He warned it was easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter heaven, yet He promised that "There is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times as much at this time . . ." (Lk 18:29-30). We are not to lust for wealth, but Jesus also promises that those who give all, that they will gain much more than they give.

The Miracle of Life

By Francis Frangipane

Without fail, as long as we live in this world, pressures and heartaches will hunt the human soul, often springing upon us when we least expect them. Jesus, too, faced conflicts, but He did so from the perspective of one who lived in the fullness of God's Presence. For all He endured of spiritual warfare or frustration with His disciples or attacks from the Pharisees, His spirit always was full of life in abundance.

How did Jesus obtain such inner strength? We read that He "would often slip away to the wilderness and pray" (Lk 5:16) and, again, that He would climb to a favorite mountain and spend "the whole night in prayer" (Lk 6:12). We know He prayed, but His time alone with God was most often spent in the beauty of God's creation in the wilderness or the mountains. During His nights in prayer, I don't picture Jesus spending the entire time on His knees; rather, I think that, at least for a while, He laid back, put His hands beneath His head and then, while gazing at the stars, talked to His Father.

From Setback to Setup

By Francis Frangipane

There has been a subtle spiritual attack -- a cloud of unbelief -- that has settled on a number of people. Some folks have not even noticed how unbelief has imperceptibly crept into their thought life; others have been in major battles, suffering from relentless questions concerning the validity of God's promises. People are finding themselves in circumstances that are far removed from what they hoped or envisioned.

Even if this spirit is not affecting you personally, it may be working against your loved ones or isolated members in your church community.

If we look at the heros of faith in the Scriptures, we will find people that, without fail, found themselves in circumstances that were unlike anything their faith expected. If we pursue our investigation, we will also see that it was in the "unexpected place" that God established character in His servant, which in turn released power that fulfilled destiny.