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."

You may say, well, is that practical? I mean, what if the Lord doesn't return for another fifty years? We ask this question often from a motive that is insincere. The problem with most Christians is that we don't want to do God's will; we want to do our will in Jesus' name. We don't seek God to discover what He's doing; we seek Him to bless what we're doing. If people knew that Jesus was not going to return for fifty years; if they could pin Him down to an exact date, the week before He returned, they would pray, love and make things right with those they've sinned against.

I believe that, at least in part, this was what moved the Pharisees to ask when Jesus thought the kingdom of God was coming. Yet, Jesus gave them an answer that we, too, need to grasp. He said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Lk 17:20-21KJ).

They wanted to know when the kingdom was coming; Jesus told them where it would first be revealed. People always want to know when Christ is returning, not because they long for His return, but so they can continue to live selfishly and then, during the week before His return, make things right with God and man. But, God doesn't reveal when He's returning because He wants us to be dressed in readiness, living each day with godly passion and vision.

Oh, how addictive, how deceiving and self-justifying our selfishness is! The Lord doesn't want just the last week of our lives; He seeks all we are every day! He is not looking for "summer help" or "weekend warriors." The Living God seeks a people in whom He can dwell, a people who will become His kingdom on earth! Listen to the writer of Hebrews as the Holy Spirit revealed the unfolding of God's works in the earth. He wrote, "And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.'" And this expression, 'Yet once more,' denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

"Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire" (Heb 12:26-29).

Two things are unfolding at the same time. On the one hand, the world is being shaken by wars, rumors of wars, by famines, lawlessness, terrorism and threats of more terrorism. Worldwide, major companies are suffering scandals and bankruptcies; the economies of the nations are void of confidence as fear and indecision grip the heart of man. Yet, at the very same time that all this is happening in the world, God is restoring, upgrading and working in His kingdom!

Remember, the Pharisees wanted to know when the kingdom would come, but Jesus said the kingdom, in its initial phase, doesn't come with signs. In other words, we won't have a sign telling us we need to get up early and pray. There will be no omen warning us that we should turn off the television and seek God. The kingdom of heaven is emerging and incrementally unfolding within us as we obey God. Yes, and the most practical thing we can do is fully obey God in whatever He's called us to do!

You see, these are prophetic days, days when scriptures are being fulfilled before our eyes. The world as we know it is changing rapidly, and it will probably get worse and more helpless before Christ returns. In other words, when a house is on fire, one does not need a course on interior decorating. Likewise, when God is shaking all things that can be shaken, we must press into His kingdom and walk in the unshakeable fullness of His Presence.

These two realms, the shaking of the nations and the unfolding of God's kingdom, will be around us continually until the rapture. Indeed, listen to what else the Lord revealed, this time through Daniel. He is speaking of the last world order on earth and the introductory phase of God's kingdom. Daniel wrote, "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever" (Dan 2:44).

Get this thought: While the world is busy trying to fix its unfixable problems, the God of heaven is simultaneously setting up His kingdom! He is not setting up "church," but His kingdom. It's not coming outside of us, but within us---in our character, our love and faith. It is the gospel of this kingdom which shall be proclaimed in all the world for a witness, "and then the end shall come" (Matt 24:12).

Get in the Ark!
Jesus said these last days would be like the days of Noah. You want to see practicality? Look at Noah. To the world, Noah looked very impractical. First, he was building a boat on a mountain top. Second, people were living normal lives, the financial picture was improving: people were buying and selling. Every weekend you could see people marrying and being given in marriage. There was no reason to believe that judgments were coming, certainly not a flood, especially since it had never rained before! But, building a boat on top of a mountain is a practical thing to do if the earth is going to be destroyed by water. God's will is practical. Yet, while the world considered Noah a very impractical person, in the end Noah proved that doing the will of God is, literally, the only way to live.

True, Noah was told to get pairs of animals and food for them, which is a way of saying we do need a little of everything to keep us going right. But, if Noah did not bring along a couple of skunks, it really would not have mattered near as much as if Noah did not get into the ark. You see, the priority was to build the ark and warn the people. God sent the animals to Noah. And when we seek for the Kingdom and determine to live in the Ark of God's Presence, God brings to us the extra things we need to make it through life.

The boat Noah built was called an "ark." The ark was not just a boat, it was a symbol of God's promise to Noah and Noah's obedience to God. This point is very important. For Jesus said, "Not everyone who says, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the Kingdom, but only those who DO the will of My Father." Jesus did not say, "try to do," He said "do." He went on to say, "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and DOES THEM is likened unto a wise man who built his house upon the rock..."

The first thing you must do, therefore, is to actually hear Christ's words in the depth of our spirits. But it is the application of His words that is practical. Obedience to God's will is for us, what getting in the ark was for Noah---it preserves us through the time of shaking that are coming upon the earth.

Truly, there are many good preachers and teachers that can teach better than I the basics of living in the natural world. There are Christian psychologists, Christian financiers, even Christian aerobics; all capable of helping you succeed in their respective skills. Whatever you need can be found in a "how to" book somewhere, which can help you. Get answers, but set your focus high on the will of God. Indeed, the most practical knowledge we need is the knowledge of the will of God. For He, Himself is our Ark of Safety in the days ahead.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please feel free to forward this message to others; acknowledging our web site would be kindly appreciated.

Reprint Agreement
Your interest in duplicating and re-sending this material is a joy to us. We only ask that you also provide website information for the Ministries of Francis Frangipane. The only exception is if the article is actually an excerpt from a book by another publisher. In this case they have asked that they be listed as the reference. Finally, any questions about the teachings of Francis Frangipane can be sent to info@frangipane.org. God bless your pursuit of His heart.

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.

Abraham exercised this same faith in respect to the promise of God. Not wavering in unbelief, he grew strong in faith. He knew the heart of God, and that it is the Lord's very nature to give "life to the dead" and call "into being that which does not exist" (Rom 4:17). Abraham knew if the Lord had but ten righteous men, He could deliver Sodom! God is giving us this kind of faith for our cities!

Look at the achievements of our forefathers in faith. Remember, these individuals served God in the Old Testament. God has given greater promises to us (Heb 11:39). Through faith, God's people "...conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight" (Heb 11:33-34).

Many Christians think knowing God's promises is the same as obtaining them. True faith endures through trials, gains character in the testings and literally obtains the promises of God. Faith "conquered kingdoms" in the Old Testament and faith can conquer our cities today! It can draw Christ's very righteousness into the church, enabling us to lay down our lives for our communities, just as He did for the world.

Our flesh says, "I am weak." Yes, Hebrews informs us that our forebears "from weakness were made strong" and "became mighty in war." Our sense of weakness is an improvement over all who are strong in their own strength! Though we acknowledge our weakness, yet in respect to the promises of God, we can grow strong through faith. Faith "shuts the mouths of lions"--- those voices which would otherwise devour us with discouragement or fear. Because of Christ's accomplished victory, and through the knowledge of His word, we are learning to become "mighty in war." We know that, if evil entered our cities through our negligence, evil can leave through our diligence! Indeed, it is possible to put the "foreign armies" of hell "to flight"!

We might question, "But does this fit into my eschatology?" Our "eschatologies" can be an excuse for unbelief. The fact is, we do not know when Jesus is returning. What we do know is that the devil is here now and has invaded our cities.

Where is the church? The body of Christ has been trapped in a doctrine which says: "Between now and when Jesus returns, all that will exist is the apostasy and increasing evil." Paul warned about this time saying, "...in the later times some will fall away from the faith" (I Tim 4:1).

We must incorporate into our understanding the historic fact of the Dark Ages; for over one thousand years the church was in unbelievable sin and apostasy! It is quite possible that the major part of the falling away has already occurred! We may actually be in what the Bible refers to as the "periods of restoration" (Acts 3:24).

Paul said that in later times "some" will fall away. He did not say "all," but "some." From what will they fall away? They fall away from the faith! Now, let us become personal in this matter of the apostasy. Let's not look for the apostasy anywhere else but in the areas of our own hearts. Where have you fallen from confident, expectant faith? Where are you imprisoned by unbelief? If you look at your soul and see no hope for Christ to dwell there, to that degree your faith has fallen. Again, if you gaze at the church and see it as irreparably trapped in sin, you have fallen from faith in that area. And, if you look at your city and it seems incurable, it is likely that your faith is less than what God has provided. Faith looks at life and says, "with God all things are possible!"

Apostasy is indeed here and those who only see a defeated church and darkened cities are, in their own way, living in an apostatized state of unbelief! They know what God has done, but they are dead to what He is doing. They are blind to the harvest, deaf to the outpouring of the Spirit and ignorant of the emerging, unified church! And if you are such a one, please, do not feel condemned, for the grace of God is, even now, here to rescue you from the stronghold of unbelief!

Yes, there is terrible darkness in the earth and a gross darkness upon the peoples; severe judgments are here and will get worse. However, the promise of God---no, the command of God to His people is full of both faith and power. In the midst of the most terrible of times, the greatest darkness, the Lord proclaims, "Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you." He assures us, though "Darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness the peoples . . . the Lord will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you. And nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising" (Isa 60:1-3).

In the midst of the deepest darkness God is sending the brightest light! The word of the Lord states, "Nations will come to your light...kings to the brightness of your rising!" Whatever your eschatology, insert "nations" coming to God's light and "kings" to the brightness of Christ"s glory.

Do you see? If we remain trapped in fear and unbelief, we are already a part of the "falling away from the faith." Those who "know their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Dan 11:32 KJV). But, if we are cleansing our hearts from sin, if we are uniting our hearts with that holy army being raised up in this hour, God will use us to bring "nations" to the light of the Lord. "Kings" will come to the Redeemer. Yes, there is hope even for Sodom to be turned back to God!

Let's pray. Lord Jesus, we repent for our unbelief and apathy. Master, Your grace saved us; we know You can do anything. Give us faith---Your faith---for our cities. Help us to see the expanse of Your love and its capacity to turn even a Sodom back to You! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please feel free to forward this message to others; acknowledging our web site would be kindly appreciated.

Reprint Agreement
Your interest in duplicating and re-sending this material is a joy to us. We only ask that you also provide website information for the Ministries of Francis Frangipane. The only exception is if the article is actually an excerpt from a book by another publisher. In this case they have asked that they be listed as the reference. Finally, any questions about the teachings of Francis Frangipane can be sent to info@frangipane.org. God bless your pursuit of His heart.

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.

The deception we battle about seeking God is rooted in the fact that, like ancient Israel in Babylon, we have lived too long in exile from our inheritance. In our apostatized condition we have legitimized superficiality and allowed shallowness to become our acceptable norm. Thus, the call is issued from heaven: Return to your dwelling place in God! For the Promised Land of the church is the dwelling place of God's Living Presence.

You say, according to II Chron. 7:14, "But we have humbled ourselves and prayed; we are turning from our wicked ways. Why has He not healed our land?" He has not heard our prayer because we desire our healing more than we desire our God. You see, there is yet one more imperative 2 Chronicles calls us to fulfill. In the context of repentance and prayer, He said, "...and seek My face."

Beloved, when the Lord called David to seek His face, David responded, "Thy face, O God, I shall seek" (Ps 27). This is the essence of one who has "a heart after God." We seek God for His heart, not merely His hand. We have asked Him to extend His hand, to touch and heal us. But the Lord, in His great love for us, desires we seek His face.

Thus, the Holy Spirit bids us to draw near to God. His word promises that, as we draw near to Him, He will Himself draw near to us. It is the nearness of His Spirit which descends upon us and, through us, heals our land.

Again the Lord speaks, "I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me" (Hos 5:15).

Together, using the very words provided us by Hosea as our template, the Lord even gives us words with which we respond, "Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but he will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him" (Hos 5:16).

Yes, even the prophet Hosea encourages us with his words as well, "So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth'' (Hos 5:15-6:4).

Is this not the very cry of your heart, that the living presence of God would saturate the dryness of your soul? Come to us, O Lord, like the rain watering the earth!

Therefore we conclude, it is time to seek God. We urge every pastor to guide their church and every parent to lead their family into an attitude of seeking God. Consecrate a room in your church or home and call it the "tent of meeting." It is right, beloved, and timely, to seek after God.

"Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And it came about that everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp"(Ex 33:7). Everyone who sought the Lord entered the tent of meeting. Dear friends, the Holy Spirit shall help us. For the mission of the Spirit is, summarily, to lead us into the presence of Jesus. And this He will do until Christ is as real to us as the world was when we were sinners.

The Promise of God
Is it possible that we can be delivered of a superficial life? Yes. For the Spirit He has given us, dwells within us and He "searches all things, even the depths of God" (I Cor 2:10).

If you are weary of a life without God's fullness, then seeking the Lord may be a turning point in your walk with Him. Our hope rests in the integrity of His immutable word: "Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you" (Jer 29:12-14a).

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, my soul yearns and even longs for Your courts. Guide me into Your holy Presence, dear Lord. Let me find You again in a new way. I cannot live without Your constant love. I am desperate for You Jesus. Restore my longing for You until I find You, and in finding You, abandon myself totally into Your love. Amen. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please feel free to forward this message to others; acknowledging our web site would be kindly appreciated.

Reprint Agreement
Your interest in duplicating and re-sending this material is a joy to us. We only ask that you also provide website information for the Ministries of Francis Frangipane. The only exception is if the article is actually an excerpt from a book by another publisher. In this case they have asked that they be listed as the reference. Finally, any questions about the teachings of Francis Frangipane can be sent to info@frangipane.org. God bless your pursuit of His heart.

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.

However, in addition to unity in worship, they also had to be united in warfare. Unless they embraced their battle as "one man," their victory was rarely assured. (See Jud 6:16;20:1,8,11;I Sam 11:7; Ez 3:1; Neh 8:1)

From the beginning, the heart of the Lord has been for us to be our brother's keeper. Today, He is calling us to cease fighting with one another and to become a family that fights for each other.

There is an Old Testament story which captures the heart we are seeking. The Israelites were in the land of Gilead about to cross the Jordan River. However, the tribes of Reuben and Gad, which had amassed much livestock, asked that their inheritance be given first, as the land on which they stood was suitable for grazing. Their request angered Moses for he assumed they sought to divide from the nation in order to gain their individual inheritance (Num 32).

Yet, Reuben and Gad had a greater vision than Moses realized. The declaration they made to Moses is the attitude we must have concerning the other churches in our city. Reuben said, "We will build here sheepfolds for our livestock and cities for our little ones; but we ourselves will be armed ready to go before the sons of Israel, until we have brought them to their place..." (Num 32:16-17). They refused to put down their swords until there was peace and prosperity for all of Israel.

So also for us, we must realize we are all part of the same body. When one congregation is in a battle, we are all in battle. While we should, of course, develop our local congregations, yet individuals should be trained to stand with the rest of the body of Christ in the city. Imagine if the attitude of Rueben and Gad, "We will not return to our homes until every one of the sons of Israel has possessed his inheritance" (Num 32:18), became our attitude as well.

Dry Bones or an Exceedingly Great Army?

One obstacle we must overcome is the illusion that we, because of our ability to "rightly divide the word," are more spiritual than those in other churches. This deception infects churches across the board. Consequently, we remain divided, kept in isolation by our own spiritual pride, never discerning that the enemy has the church down the street similarly thinking they are more spiritual than we.

However, as God delivers us all of our arrogance, as we truly become more spiritual, we see that we are not called to judge other churches but to lay down our lives for them. Indeed, what God is doing today is very much like the period of restoration when the Jews returned from Babylon. In those days, Nehemiah supervised the building of the wall around Jerusalem. He instructed the workers to carry a building tool in one hand and a sword in the other (Neh 4:17). If one section of the wall came under attack, a trumpet was sounded and all the Jews rallied to defend that area.

So also it must be for us. Many times the enemy has been able to defeat a particular church only because the rest of the local body of Christ was indifferent or unaware of the battle. In this context especially, we must perceive that it takes a citywide church to win the citywide war.

I hear the reply: "The churches in our city are dead and we alone are left." Such was Elijah's lament, but God assured him there were yet 7,000 who were faithful. Ezekiel also thought he stood alone, but God brought him out to a valley of dry bones and commanded him to prophesy. After the bones came together, then the Spirit entered and, behold, they were "...an exceedingly great army" (Ezek 37:10b).

Today, God has an "exceedingly great army" He is preparing. Through them He intends to pull down the strongholds in their cities. We must be connected in Christ before the Spirit will anoint us for effective spiritual warfare. We need prophetic vision to see beyond the apparent deadness of our local churches. We must perceive the army God is raising up in this hour, and embrace anointed intercession born of such vision.

Please hear me. We can have national days of prayer, regional weeks of supplication---we can even call tens of thousands to pray for specific areas to change, but if the church which dwells in that area is bound and divided by strife, the enemy will not be plundered. Whenever we pray against the spiritual forces of wickedness over a region, our first line of offense is praying for the churches to be united in their worship and their warfare. Why pray for the church? If "there is jealousy and selfish ambition" in the church, there will inevitably be "disorder and every evil thing" in that locality (James 3:16).

Therefore, we conclude: It takes a citywide church to win the citywide war. All of our individual evangelistic programs, our Sunday teachings and aggressive attempts to bind principalities and powers are only of limited value if we, the born-again church, remain divided. However, even as one person"s transformation from carnality to the image of Christ can revolutionize a church, so the transformation of the citywide church into the image of Christ can revolutionize a city.

Let's pray: Lord Jesus, forgive us for our spiritual pride, of the way we think too highly of ourselves. Lord, I personally confess that I need my brothers and sisters in other churches. God, I see that we cannot win our war if we remain divided. Lord, unite us to pray in the Spirit and to see our churches and our cities flooded with Your Presence! Amen.