The Secret to National Prosperity

By Francis Frangipane

For whatever ungodly conditions remain in the U.S., there are two biblical mandates America does obey that are fundamental to its economy and prosperity. I refer to them as "secrets" because, as Christians, we often speak of our nation as though it was completely without virtue.

I personally have felt the Lord's displeasure whenever I murmur or complain. After I repent for ingratitude, it is amazing how I am lifted above my circumstances; they are not as dark as they first appeared. Indeed, I actually can see what God is doing when I begin my intercession with thanksgiving.

So, even as we mourn for America's sins, we must also remain thankful to God for its virtues. It is not enough that we doctrinally know the truth of God if our attitudes contradict that knowledge. Thus, Paul warns,

"For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened."
-Rom 1:21

To pray without giving thanks dishonors God; it opens the door to futility, and darkens our heart's capacity to see the Lord and the blessings He has bestowed. Indeed, an unthankful heart is a grumbling heart, which makes our lives vulnerable to be "destroyed by the destroyer" (1 Cor 10:10). I have a Swedish friend, Lars Enarson, who taught me a great truth. He said, "Thanksgiving is the language of faith." Jesus prayed with thanksgiving (see John 11:41; Mark 8:6); Paul taught that we should always pray "with thanksgiving" (Phil 4:6). Ingratitude is a major stronghold in the church in America. We need to repent of it if we will truly fulfill God's will (see 1 Thess 5:18).

So, what has America been doing right that, according to God's Word, carries the promise of economic well-being? First, the United States is a giving nation. In fact, in the history of mankind there simply has never been a nation more charitable to other nations.

I know that a number of my colleagues are predicting divine wrath upon America's economy, but I would ask them to rethink or consider prayerfully the words of Jesus concerning the principle of giving. He said,

"Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."      
-Luke 6:38

The United States has cast its bread upon many waters and, economically and relationally, it is being returned to us. Think about it: when was there a calamity anywhere in the world where the suffering people were not helped by American hands, resources and finances? In fact, as the news breaks of a major disaster, American charitable agencies kick into action. Within hours, volunteers are at the scene and within days millions of dollars pour toward the need.

Here is an excerpt of a letter from a professor in Wisconsin. He wrote in response to the first two chapters of this book, which were published beforehand in our newsletter. He writes,

A doctor from a Rotary Club at the University of Minnesota was reporting on a project in Chile which his club and mine have jointly sponsored. We have been helping a school for deaf children with needed equipment, from school supplies and playground equipment to modern hearing aids which have been donated by a local manufacturer, Starkey Labs. At the end of his slides showing the school and the kids wearing their new hearing aids, he showed a picture of an older man. He said, "This man is originally from France. He told me that any place in the world that you see people from one country reaching out to help other countries, the Americans are behind it."

The amazing thing is that, for Americans, it does not take much coaxing to reach out and help. As soon as we hear of suffering people somewhere, we are looking for a way to respond. In fact, the president and chief executive officer of the national Council on Foundations, Dorothy Ridings, stated, "American giving to churches, foundations and other groups, is so phenomenal that this is being called the golden age of philanthropy" (Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 10, 1999).

God sees the suffering of mankind. Because of His great love, the Lord is touched by human tragedy, whether the suffering is in Africa or Central America, Kosovo or North Korea. In very real ways Americans seek to alleviate this sorrow among all peoples (see Judges 10:16; Heb 4:15 amplified).

Again, God promises,

"He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed.
" -Prov 19:17

I believe a certain measure of American economic strength is attached to the generosity of this nation toward others. It is a blessing upon our land.

The Jewish Connection
There is a T-shirt sold in the Holy Land that reads, "Don't worry, America, Israel is right behind you." There is a special friendship that exists between America and Israel that is unique in all the world. America has been especially generous and compassionate toward Israel. In fact, no nation in the history of the world has stood with Israel as we have over the last half century.

To understand what this means to God, we must look at His promise to Abraham:

Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you;

"And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
-Gen 12:1-3

In the very first promise that the Lord gave to Abraham, He provided a means for all nations to receive and sustain divine blessings. He said, "I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse."

This promise was not limited to Abraham, but it was passed on to Isaac and then to Jacob, to whom the Lord gave the name, Israel. In the Old Testament, Balaam prophesied under divine inspiration. He said of Israel, "Blessed is everyone who blesses you, and cursed is everyone who curses you" (Num 24:9).

Today, the people of Israel have inherited a most unique position among all nations: their origin can be tracked directly to an encounter with God. Israel's historic relationship with the Almighty makes the Jews a symbol, a unique possession, of God in the earth. The Lord has dwelt in their midst. From their beginning the Jews have been a people called by God unto Himself. The word holy means "set apart for God." As such, Israel, its land, and its destiny are holy, or "set apart" to the Lord. The people yet need revival. There is much need of prayer and support, but the God who brought them back will also raise them up.

Israel's relationship with America
According to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, there has "never been in Israel's long history a friend like the U.S." (speech welcoming President Clinton to Israel, Fall 1998). This is quite an endorsement, and it is true: America has been the most faithful, absolutely the strongest, and by far the most generous friend Israel has ever had.

As we said earlier, if there had been no U.S., there would be no Israel. The Jewish state has grown and become stable and is now prospering because God has used American strength and generosity. Indeed, the very fact that Israel has survived is because it grew up under the shelter of American friendship and commitment (see appendix for comments from various presidents concerning the Jews and Israel).

Israel receives more foreign aid from the U.S. than any nation, currently over five billion dollars a year. Additionally, it receives several billions of dollars annually in charitable contributions from North America and Europe but, again, the biggest donor nation is America.

Remember what the Lord told Abraham? "I will bless those who bless you." It was only a few years ago that the deficit was climbing to over five trillion dollars; now the U.S. has to decide what to do with its annual surpluses. America has been blessed with the strongest economy in the world, and nations throughout the world use the U.S. dollar as a secondary currency. To have a stable economy is not a sin. It is a blessing.

Yet, good people keep predicting the collapse and death of the American economy. It is true that the Lord will withhold certain appointed blessings if there is sin in other areas of our lives, so we must proceed with humility and the fear of the Lord.

But I want to add another observation concerning Israel and the United States. I call this an observation, but it is more the awareness of a supernatural mystery surrounding the relationship between Israel and America. It is something holy that is attached to our mutual destiny.
Since WWII, there has been a parallel between the United States and Israel. Both have risen together into the forefront of human affairs; both have deep spiritual roots in the God of the Bible. I feel, somehow, as revival comes to America it will not only touch the world; it will also birth the moving of God in Israel.

"For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved." -Rom 11:25-26

Listen to this thought: "a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in." God's plan for Israel is activated after the fulness of the Gentiles come to Christ. The entire sequence of end-time events stands in the wings waiting for the fulness of the Gentile harvest-and America in revival is key to this worldwide ingathering.

One More Thought
Besides America's charitable side toward the needy of the world and Israel, there is one other consideration. The economic stability of the nation has run parallel with the emergence of the prayer movement. The Scriptures tell us, "By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down" (Prov 11:11).

Since the church has begun to bless America's cities, and pray for this nation and its leaders, we have seen the blessing of the Lord return upon us. I realize that economic conditions run in cycles and that, at the time of this writing, we are at the peak of growth. This could all change tomorrow, and will certainly be adjusted and shaken by the global effects of the Y2K problem. However, the words that experts are currently using to describe America's economy are all superlatives: "phenomenal," "extraordinary," "unprecedented," to name a few.

I don't think we realize the impact that the prayer movement has had on bringing change to the world. We are seeing so many areas transformed in our society: the statistics for crime, abortion, divorce and sexually active teens are lowering; God is doing a great work. It is also inevitable that there will be tremors in the financial sector of the world. However, for as long as we continue giving to oppressed peoples, particularly Israel, I think America's economy will continue to be resurgent and strong for the near future. 

The Beloved

By Francis Frangipane

We have been talking about prayer, Christlikeness, and the future of America. I would like to continue that focus, but look at the manifestation of Christ on earth as it impacts the Father. There is something utterly pleasing to the Father when Christ is revealed. It actually goes far beyond not destroying the wicked; it touches His heart in the depths of His nature.

Thus, to satisfy God, we must perceive what the Son presents to the Father in terms of their relationship. Let us, therefore, consider first the weightiness of having Jesus Christ as our mediator with God.

Jesus says that the Father has loved Him from "before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). The love that exists between the Father and the Son transcends the boundaries of time. Before the ages began or the stars were young; before the earth, man or angels were created, the Father and Son have known only love. Their union within the Trinity is so complete that, though they are two distinct personalities, the Scripture can state with perfect fidelity: "The Lord our God is one God."

During His ministry, Jesus spoke frequently of this love between the Father and Himself. He said, "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand" (John 3:35). Again we read, "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing" (John 5:20). And again, "I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do" (John 14:31).

In Jesus' first public appearance, this love between Father and Son engulfed the scene at the river Jordan. While Jesus was still in the water, "heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, 'Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased' " (Luke 3:21-22).

Do not rush past this phrase, "My beloved Son." Jesus is not just "a son," or even "the Son," He is the Father's "beloved Son." There is no one like Him. Here, in this incredible, inaugural moment, the Father Himself draws near. Almighty God moves from His throne in the highest heaven until His face is at the edge of our physical world. From eternity the Father speaks to His Son: "In Thee I am well-pleased."

Then, the Almighty turns and repeats the identical thought to John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased" (Matt 3:17).

Note: in both times that He spoke, the Father could not help but express His love for Jesus. In truth, the Father is consumed with love for His Son.

We do not have a human reference to understand the energy, the passion, and the unrestrained oneness that exists between the Father and the Son. We can only stand and watch in awe, and learn of it. It is the essence of heaven; it is the nectar of eternal life.

"Beloved . . . in Thee I am well-pleased."

The deep, unfathomable perfection of God, the incomprehensible ethos of the divine nature, knows only pleasure in Jesus. The Almighty, who gives to all life, receives life from the Son and is fulfilled to the depth of His being. The Father gazes at His Son and harbors no slight shadow of regret, no lingering wish for someone or something to be done better. We behold God on earth satisfying God in heaven: perfect surrender in the embrace of perfect acceptance.

Their relationship is amazing. Yet, add to it the fact that, prior to this encounter, Jesus had not accomplished any miracles; there were no signs or wonders, no vast multitudes. Outwardly, a carpenter named Jesus came, like everyone else, to be baptized. Until that moment, Jesus' life was unremarkable. He was another woodworker.

How was it that, even in the common tasks of an ordinary life, Jesus drew the praise of heaven? At the core of His being, He only did those things which pleased the Father. In everything, He stayed true, heartbeat to heartbeat, with the Father's desires. Jesus lived for God alone; God was enough for Him. Thus, even in its simplicity and moment-to-moment faithfulness, Christ's life was an unending fragrance, a perfect offering of incomparable love to God.

Privately, the unfolding stream of divine passion from the Father for Jesus never abated; the Jordan was but the first public exchange. We see other references as we proceed through the Scriptures. Look at Matthew's account, chapter 12. Christ's public ministry has begun. Listen to how that which was written from eternity past again describes their holy relationship. Many are following and He is healing them all, yet He bids the multitudes to not make Him known.

In order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, might be fulfilled, saying, "Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles." -Matt 12:17-18

Listen to the sacred text, the prophetic word chosen to describe the Father and His beloved. God cannot speak of Christ, or even make reference to Him, without calling Him "My beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased."

One day, indeed, we will gaze upon the face of God's beloved and we will know that to see His face is the highest blessedness of heaven.

Again, look in Matthew 17. On the holy mountain Jesus was magnificently transfigured before three of His disciples. His face shone like the sun. His garments became white as light, flashing like lightning. Moses and Elijah appeared, talking with Christ. Into this splendor, Peter nervously presented an idea. While he was still speaking, a radiant cloud formed and then overshadowed the disciples. Out from this living splendor, again, the voice of God was heard:

"This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" -Matt 17:5

The all-knowing, all-wise God, the Creator of heaven and earth, in the only times He has ever spoken audibly to mankind, has said the same thing three times: "This is My beloved Son." In all the unlimited creativity of the mind of God, there is nothing more profound, no greater revelation than to say, "Listen to Him!"

In each occasion that He speaks, the Father returns to glorifying His beloved. We hear this information, we write it down, we think we grasp God's truth; but we do not. We underline but do not understand. Too quickly we seek to move to another insight, but the voice of God brings us back. In the Father's eyes, there is no other truth. We have not genuinely understood who Jesus is, otherwise we would feel as the Father does.

This love within the Godhead is the symphony of the universe. It is what makes heaven heavenly. Even as we are awed by such all-consuming oneness, Jesus asks that each of us, as His disciples, would be included in this holy hymn of heaven. He prays, "O righteous Father . . . I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:25-26).

Jesus prays that the same love, the same overwhelming fulfillment that the Father has in His Son, may also be manifested in us. In other words, God desires that we become as totally consumed with Jesus as is the Father!

What Christ Provides
But this is a book about intercession for America. How, then, does the love between the Father and the Son connect us to America and praying for its need?

To answer that, let me pose this question: What is it, uniquely, that the Father has found in the Son that so fulfills Him? I believe the Son's gift is this: Jesus presents to the Father the opportunity to satisfy His deepest passions and to reveal His highest glory, the nature of which is love.

We see this in Jesus' statement, "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life" (John 10:17). The Son presents to the Father reconciliation between heaven and earth. He allows God to be revealed as He truly is: not a harsh judge but a loving Father.

Perhaps it is incomprehensible to us that God could suffer or feel pain, yet Scriptures reveal that the Spirit of God relates in interactive union with this world. In His eternal nature, the Father sees man's end from the beginning. However, in His relationship with mankind's journey through time, the Scriptures are plain, the heart of God is vulnerable to humanity.

In Noah's day, we read that the Lord was "grieved in His heart" (see Gen 6:3-6). The Psalms revealed that Israel "grieved Him in the desert" (Ps 78:40). The word "grieved" meant to "worry, pain or anger." We know that, when a sinner repents, there is increased joy among angels (Luke 15:7), but what happens in heaven when God is grieved?

You see, the Lord participated vicariously in the suffering of His people. Indeed, in Judges we are told of a time when "He could bear the misery of Israel no longer" (Judges 10:16).

Consider: the Spirit of God was not aloof, separated from Israel's condition. Just as the Spirit hovered over the pre-creation world, so He brooded over Israel, being deeply involved, moved to the point of being unable to "bear the misery of Israel" any longer.

Since mankind's fall, there has been a restless longing in the heart of God toward man. Indeed, if we are unreconciled with someone whom we love, do we not also carry heartache until we are restored? By providing atonement for man's sins, Jesus heals the estrangement, the wound, in the Father's heart, and then He extends that healing to man.

Paul explains what Christ has done in his letter to the Colossians. He writes:

And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. -Col 2:13-14

Mankind's unpayable debt is paid; God's incurable wound, healed. Not only do we have peace with God through the sacrifice of Christ, God has peace with us. He is freed from the limitations of justice; now He can remove the penalty of sin through love.

Let us celebrate what Christ has done: The demands of divine wrath, which could not be settled by man, are fully settled by God Himself through Christ. God is longing for reconciliation and healing with humanity. Indeed, Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a certain king who wished to settle accounts" (Matt 18:23). This is God's heart, through Christ: He desires to settle accounts with mankind!

As long as we ourselves abide in mercy, the full panorama of divine mercy will remain open and fully active toward mankind's need. When we pray, "in Jesus' name," we are coming to the Father with the goal of mercy in mind. The announcement that we have come "in Jesus' name" signifies we are representatives of Jesus' purpose, which is mercy and not judgment.

Come boldly for mercy!

The Father has never taken pleasure in the death of the wicked. The idea that He has enjoyed destroying sinners is a satanic slander which Christ came to dispel. His attitude toward mankind is exactly the opposite: His joy increases when sinners repent. Because Christ's sacrifice for sin has led to millions who have repented, Jesus has increased inestimably the Father's joy.

Because judgment is now atoned for in Christ, the Father has full freedom to answer every prayer of mercy. He no longer is constrained to decide between judgment and mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment!

The church can come boldly into the throne of God's grace and stand before the mercy seat in prayer for the world around us. This is what Jesus gives to the Father: perfect fulfillment of God's love, perfect fulfillment of His compassion, perfect unveiling of the highest glory of God.

In fact, the very inspiration to intercede is the result of Christ working within us. Every time Christ is revealed through our intercession, wrath is delayed and divine mercy begins searching for the opportunity to triumph. When we pray, "God be merciful," we are not merely delaying His wrath; in truth, we are delighting and fulfilling His heart for mercy!

Do you not also feel, increasing in you, the Father's love for Jesus? He brings heaven to earth and bids us to join Him in the redemptive purpose. To cover sin, to not condemn but rather to intercede, is to reveal the nature of Christ. Whenever Christ is revealed, mercy triumphs, and the Father is well-pleased.

Lord Jesus, I desire to join You in bringing pleasure to the Father. Forgive me for my shallowness and indifference. Help me to see in You the pattern of love that never ceased to bring pleasure to the Father. You are the fragrance that pleases God. Come forth in Your mercy, even through me, and make me a source of delight unto the Father. Thank You, Lord, for You are my beloved, too, and in You, I find the river of God's pleasure. 

Is the United States in the Bible?

By Francis Frangipane

So, if the Lord's immediate plans are not to destroy America, then what is in God's heart for this nation? Is there anything in the Scriptures about the United States upon which our faith can rest? The Bible has a number of general promises that we can apply to our land. These, though they lack clear or specific references to the United States, still supply a foundation for our faith. Isaiah 60:1-3 is such a text. It reads:

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness the peoples; but 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.

Think of it! Nations and kings will come to the glory of Christ arising in the church! Regardless of where on earth you currently live or how dark the world is around you, this text is a living promise to all who pray for their nation!

Personally, I have stood upon this word often, especially in the face of America's spiritual darkness, when doubts would creep in and I'd wonder if all effort was too late. Isaiah assures us that, if God's glory rises upon us, even in the midst of deep darkness over the people, nations will come to our light.

But, you say, America is too rebellious, too unrestrained. The Second Psalm gives us encouragement to persevere in prayer when it seems governments are casting away the cords and fetters of godly, moral restraint (see Ps 2:3). In the face of the world's rebellion, the Lord says, "Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession" (Ps 2:8).

There are many other Scriptures that call us to pray and believe for a national awakening (Isa 52:15; Ps 67:4; etc.). But I want to submit a text to you that may, indeed, specifically refer to God's plan for America in the days ahead.

The Eagle's Wings
The Scriptures speak of a time when great persecution will break out at the end of the age. In the midst of this persecution, we read an arresting message in Rev 12:14. It says:

And the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, in order that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.

The book of Revelation is, by definition, a book of revelations. Its symbolic portraits must be interpreted not only in historic terms but also in light of end-time realities. Frankly, no one has accurately been able to interpret this book to the satisfaction of everyone else. It would be a sin of bold presumption on my part to assume I am the first to present an infallible interpretation. Even as we seek to stay humble, let us cautiously proceed, relying on God and time itself to confirm His Word. In that attitude, let me submit to you my thoughts.

The above Scripture speaks of the wings of the great eagle being given to the woman. The woman is not a singular individual, but a symbol of the holy, praying church, pregnant to give birth to its end-time elect (see Matthew Henry's Commentary on Rev 12:1-11). Amidst great spiritual warfare, she delivers her child, who in turn is caught up to God (Rev 12:5). Some interpret the woman to be unsaved Israel giving birth to Christ, but this cannot be, for the woman overcomes her conflict with the dragon by the "blood of the Lamb" (Rev 12:11). Therefore, since she trusts Christ, she must symbolize the true, glorious Church, those who hold "the testimony of Jesus" (Rev 12:17).

Just as the woman represents a holy people, so the "wings of the great eagle" depict a provision from God that secures for the woman refuge from the rage of the evil one. The eagle symbolizes something which is capable of providing protection from what would otherwise be a worldwide persecution of Christians by the dragon.

I submit to you that this reference to a "great eagle" could very easily be a prophetic portrait of the United States of America. Before you dismiss such an idea, consider: There simply has never been in the history of the world a nation more committed to being a refuge for persecuted people than America. Additionally, when we consider that the national symbol of the U.S. is the "great eagle," the symbolism becomes even more plausible.

It is this defense of freedom, as well as the American ideal of protecting human rights, that is central to what it means to be an American. Indeed, many of those who originally came to America did so while fleeing persecution for their faith. In a real way, this Scripture has already been fulfilled by many of our founding fathers. The persecution our forefathers suffered was sown, like a seed, into the DNA of American culture. Protection for persecuted people, from God's view, has always been at the center of America's historic purpose.

To provide shelter to persecuted people is still central to our ideals today. Since God provided the great eagle to symbolize protection of persecuted Christians at the end of the age, and since it is also the symbol of America, we ought not to abandon ourselves to a hopeless view of the future. It is in our compelling interest to pray that America would continue to be a place of provision and protection right up until the rapture of the church. 

Indwelt By God

By Francis Frangipane

Do we understand what it means to be blessed? Perhaps we are more familiar with what it means to be cursed. The Bible definition of a curse meant "to be bound with a spell," "hemmed in by obstacles," or "rendered powerless to resist."

I think many Christians are fighting the effects of curses against their lives. Even though they may not identify as a curse the resistance or heaviness that they frequently feel, they are aware that something is working against them.

Some curses are generational in nature. The Scriptures warn that the sins of the fathers will be passed to "the children, and on the third and the fourth generations" (Deut. 5:9). There are character traits, sinful attitudes and cultural prejudices that can be inherited from our parents.

Without really knowing why, we often unconsciously live out the behavior patterns of our parents.

These traits, attitudes and prejudices act on our childhood with measurable and persistent power. Our parents' sins repattern themselves within us; their life choices are passed onto us, hemming us in, reproducing the same failure patterns in us that they suffered. And we feel powerless to resist.

When we come to Jesus, He begins to break the patterns of those curses and to replace them with blessings. In fact, His goal is that we not only receive His blessing, but that we become a blessing as well.

Before Jesus brought us to Himself, we were not just looking at hell through a window: we lived there. But Jesus was not repelled by our sin and corruption. He did not come to condemn those captured by evil; rather, in His love, He came to set the captives free. Our Lord is the same God who gazed upon the darkness and chaos in the pre-creation world and brought forth goodness.

Likewise, He looked at the darkness of our lives and, instead of condemning us, in His love He began to change us. Speaking for myself, I know I am a person whom God has blessed. In so many ways, my life has been transformed, set in order and filled with a goodness that has come from above.

But what does it mean to be blessed? The word "blessed" or "to bless" occurs nearly 300 times in the Bible. The word translated in English as "blessed" actually represented three different words in Scripture, each with somewhat different meanings.

The first we see in the Beatitudes: "Blessed are . . ." This word was originally used by secular Greek writers and it referred to the "highest state of blissful happiness such as the gods enjoyed." It then came to mean "possessing the character of Deity." So, when we consider what it means to be blessed using this word, we are talking about two interconnected realities: godly character and joy.

Another word, also translated "blessed," meant "to be declared indwelt by God." It was a proclamation, not in theory or theology but in true spiritual substance. God had so engaged Himself with the transformation of one's inner life that He now actually dwelt within that person.

Thus, to be blessed is to become the human habitation of Christ. He works in us, redesigning our thoughts and attitudes until He can abide in us as He abides in heaven. Within the heart that God designs, God abides.

Divine Interference
Another aspect of being blessed speaks of when God interferes with your life. Mary, Jesus' mother, had her life "blessed," or "interfered with," by God.

There is a time when the Almighty must stop the momentum of our ideas and even cripple our ambitions. In our distress and confusion, we begin to question our direction and, for the first time in our lives, begin to look to God. These divine interruptions in our lives may not seem like a blessing at first, but anything God touches in His love will ultimately overflow with blessing.

In Galatians 3 Paul tells us that "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness" (v. 6). He did not just believe there was a God, he believed what God said. Do you believe what God has said about you, that the Lord has interrupted your life to change you until you are indwelt by God?

The first place where blessing begins to flow is when we respond to the divine interruption with faith: without arguing or doubting, we simply believe what God has said. The moment we surrender to God's interruption, the blessing, or indwelling, begins.

There is a tremendous power in simple faith. The believing soul is a place where curses and oppression flee, where blessing increases. And there is a blessing in persevering in your faith. Abraham was 76 when God first spoke to him; he was over a hundred when the promise came to pass. If you give up your faith, if you give up your hope, you throw away the blessing.

"Those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse" (Gal. 3:9,10). If you are living without faith, you are under a curse. If you think you can get favor with God by obeying the Law, you are under a curse. If you believe you have received favor from God because you believe Jesus died for you, you inherit God's blessing through faith.

What about obedience? Certainly, God calls us to obey Him. But the power that enables our obedience emerges through faith in God's ability to change us more than in our ability to obey the Law. This is the righteousness based on faith.

If you hold the promises of God, despite what you are seeing, you already have the indwelling of God in your spirit.

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13). He absorbed the penalties for our disobedience. We don't keep the Law, we keep Jesus.

There is nothing in us that is good. When we try to come to God on our own personal goodness, we are under a curse. But we can always come to the Father through the blessing of Christ and His sacrifice.

So to have faith in Christ is the first place the blessing of God flows to us: "That in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles" (Gal. 3:14).

The Worshipper
In the Old Testament the root word for "blessed" meant "to bend the knee or to kneel down." This word speaks of the attitude of heart that enables it to receive the blessing of the Lord. It speaks of the relationship of the soul to our Master, our King. As we seek God with deep and holy reverence, the very attitude of worship toward Him allows His blessing to flow naturally from His heart to ours.

Another example of this is seen in the 32nd Psalm. David writes, "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven" (v. 1). The world is spending millions of dollars on psychiatrists and psychologists trying to relieve people of guilt. Yet, Jesus paid the price for the healing of your soul. He died to deliver us from guilt, fear and negative thinking.

The Blessing On the Persevering
Elizabeth said to Mary, "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord" (Lk 1:45). If you are believing for healing in any area of your life or relationships, before you attain the place of blessing, there will often be a trial period. But if you hold to the Word and keep your heart steady in what God has spoken, there will be a point where others will say, "Blessed is that one who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken by the Lord."

A Personal Promise
In the early 1970s the Lord spoke to my heart that there would be a massive revival at the end of the age. In the '70s the church was full of fear and darkness. There was very little anticipation that God was ever going to do anything in the world.

The '80s became a time of self-centered activity. Churches were seeking to become materially prosperous. And now, in the '90s, the churches are becoming less self-centered and more God-centered. Revival is coming.

In fact, every week nearly a million people come to Christ worldwide. There is reconciliation beginning between races and healing between churches. All through those years I believed the word that God had given me, even through the battles. Now we are living the dream of that word.

Listen to me: Blessed are you if you don't stop believing. Blessed are you if you persevere until the word God gave you comes to pass. I know I am blessed today because I did not let go of God. I held the word God spoke to me until it began to come to pass in my life.

Jesus says in John 13:17, "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them." Take in the Scriptures, take His promises, and persevere to live them out. God does not want you living with a curse on your life; He wants to indwell you Himself!

Here is where we most purely find the blessing: in the Word. If the Word abides in you and you abide in Christ, both heaven and earth shall proclaim you blessed: indwelt by God.

God wants to bring the very spirit of Jesus Christ through your personality, through your job, into your home and your family. This living presence of Christ is His manifest blessing. It is more than the opposite of being cursed; the blessing means to know no obstacle. It is to have God in your mind regardless of the outward conditions of your circumstances. It is to be blessed in the midst of strife around you, to have peace in your soul in the midst of the conflict in the world.

To be blessed is to have perfect union with Christ. God is not just your religion; He is God, living as God in your life! Have you received Christ? Are you believing His promises? Then I proclaim over you: you are indwelt by God! Curses over your life are declared void of power, for God has touched you. You are blessed!  

He Who Has Clean Hands

By Francis Frangipane

It's time to examine what flows out of our hands in ministry.

The call was from a pastor I'd known for years. I had always appreciated his heart. Every Sunday during communion he would pray and gently lay his hands on each person's head. Now, however, his voice was troubled. He asked if we could meet at his church and I agreed.

As we sat in his office he confessed, "I started smoking. No one knows, not even my wife. I only smoke when I'm by myself in the car."

"Well, I've heard worse things," I answered, relieved that he wasn't confessing a real sin."

He continued. "I know smoking is wrong, but that's not what's troubling me. Within three weeks after I lit my first cigarette, I was approached on four separate occasions by different people I had prayed for. It was incredible--each person privately confessed they had suddenly developed a craving for cigarettes! As I laid my hands upon them to bless them, I had also been imparting to them my sin."

This, indeed, was more serious. If four people out of a church of 200 were willing to seek help, how many more might be struggling with the same problem but not reaching for help? We prayed together and I encouraged him to be honest with the church about his smoking. I added, however, that if he wasn't going to tell the congregation, the least he should do is stop laying his hands on their heads.

That event occurred over 16 years ago, but it isn't isolated. Another incident occurred with a sister in Christ who was ministering to a man in our church. Recently divorced, this fellow was new to the things of the Lord and, though he was now regularly attending church, he had yet to receive the Holy Spirit's gift of speaking in tongues. One evening, under the pretense of wanting to pray for him to receive "the baptism," she took him to her home. After encouraging him to trust her, she laid her hands upon his head and prayed. In a little while, he indeed, began to pray in tongues. Yet, two hours later he found himself in bed with the woman.

A couple weeks later, the woman candidly confessed her sin to my wife and me. Not only did she admit she had seduced this young man, she said she could actually tell when her thoughts degenerated to lust and the exact point when a spirit of lust passed through her hands and entered the man!

I can't explain theologically how such a thing can happen. I know that pure water passing through a rusty pipe will be stained. Regardless, it frightens me that a Christian can lay hands on someone's head and impart evil.

Let me relate one more incident. Seeking to upgrade my marriage to a higher level, I once asked a minister friend to pray for me. He laid his hands on my head and prayed a perfectly "Christian" prayer. The result, however, was that a flood of impure thoughts also entered my mind through his hands. I hadn't immediately discerned the origin of this warfare until, three days later, I asked the preacher if he had been struggling with an unclean spirit. He admitted he was and together we broke the power of this battle. I then warned him to never lay hands on anyone while unrepentant sin was active in his heart.

The Bible identifies the act of laying one's hands upon another's head and praying as an important part of Christian ministry (see Mk 16:18;1 Tim 4:14; Acts 8:17;13:3). This form of blessing was first practiced in the Old Testament (Gen 48:14; Ex 29:10; etc.). In fact, the Hebrew word translated "ordain" means "to fill the hands."

Today, with renewal and revival breaking forth in many places, the ministry of "laying on of hands" is more visibly a part of evangelical Christianity than any time in the last century. While I do not want to restrain the work of the Holy Spirit, I believe we need to carefully prepare ourselves, as ministers, to represent Jesus. For whatever is in our spirit, whether good or bad, has the potential to flow through our hands.

Entering the Holy Place

We need to do more than just qualify people in our churches for this ministry; as leaders, we ourselves must walk holy and humbly before the Lord, allowing the Lord to upgrade our standards of personal integrity and honesty.

The psalmist wrote, "Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord and who may stand in the holy place" of God's presence? The answer is plain: "he who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood. . ." (Ps 24:3-4). "Clean hands" implies that we have not touched what is unclean; that is, we have not reached out toward sin. One of my favorite Scriptures comes from the book of Job. Eliphaz tells Job that God will "deliver one who is not innocent, and he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands" (Job 22:30).

In the New Testament, however, our purity does not come simply from not touching what is impure. Our righteousness must originate from a higher level; we must receive our virtue from Christ Himself.

Thus, Jesus tells his disciples, "if I do not wash you, you have no part with Me" (Jn 13:8). Our righteousness is never based upon what we do, but upon Who Jesus becomes to us. He is the Living Vine from which we draw our virtue and power (Jn 15:4). This is vital to our success, for plainly the question rises in every honest heart: "Who among us is so pure as to not impart one's sinfulness"?

Over the years, in addition to my personal life with Christ, I have developed a "ministerial preparation" patterned after the high priest in the Old Testament. Of course, I substitute New Testament spiritual realities for their Old Testament counterparts, but by applying the high priest's activities prior to his temple service, I too can deal honestly with my personal imperfections while simultaneously allowing God to use me. I follow the priestly procedure every time I minister to God's people. And when I do it, I am as serious as the high priest entering the temple of Yahweh.

Let's look at what the basic steps the priest took prior to beginning his temple service. First, he had to cleanse himself in water. For me, the water symbolizes the word of God (see Eph 5:26; John 15:3). So, I wash in the Lord's living word, asking him to speak to my heart and reveal where I need cleansing. As He shows me where I have fallen short, I consciously ask for forgiveness.

Next, the priest removed his common clothes and put on the beautiful and costly priestly garments. Similarly, I "put on Christ." I remind myself that I am a new creature, created in "the likeness of God, in holiness and righteousness of the truth" (Eph 4:24). I step out of my soul's limitations and climb to the higher ground of the nature of Christ. This is not a "put on," but a putting on of that which God says I am. I bear the dignity and power of this new nature as I step toward the holy place.

Just as the high priest would then offer a sacrifice for his sin, so I recount the eternal sacrifice offered for me: I gaze upon the Lamb of God. With the sacrifice of Christ central both in the Father's mind and, once again, in my own, I boldly come to the throne of Grace.

Finally, the priest would anoint his head with a specially fragrant oil. Likewise, having prepared myself through repentance, through putting on the new man, through the blood of Christ, I then ask the Holy Spirit to anoint me with His liberty and power.

I do this little procedure every time I minister. It rarely takes more than 15 minutes, yet I can clearly recognize that my dependency has shifted from reliance upon myself to a conscious drawing upon the provisions, power and virtue of God Himself. Whether I am "in season or out," I am confident that what comes through my hands will have first passed through the cleansing Presence of the Almighty.

What If You Were Defiled?
Jesus said, "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward" (Matt 10:41). God places unique and powerful gifts in His ministers' lives, and all we have to do is receive them as being sent from God and we will reap a spiritual reward. So, the last thing we want to do is become overly suspicious of those who are praying for us.

At the same time, the Lord does not want us to receive a demonic hitchhiker into our spirits during the process. Without becoming overly cautious, neither should we become totally naive. As was stated, there may be times when something unholy is imparted to us through the hands of a minister. What should we do? As a precaution, before we come forward to receive prayer, each of us should ask the Holy Spirit to filter anything that will not make us more like Jesus.

Yet, our coming for prayer should never be a substitute for our personal devotion to the Lord. It is here, in our intimacy with Christ, that the "reward" of another's spiritual gifting is cultivated; and it is here that God can reveal to us any unclean things that may have been imparted. If, after receiving ministry, you recognize that you are now struggling with impure thoughts, imaginations or passions, renounce them. And, if you are fairly sure something unholy was imparted to you, you might privately talk with the individual who prayed for you.

In this time of renewal and blessing let us reach for the best that the Holy Spirit is giving, but let's also strive to make sure its the Holy Spirit we are receiving. Let us walk with clean hands and a pure heart so that Christ will be fully exalted in our midst.

God Talking to God

By Francis Frangipane

We have been studying the influence that one mercy-motivated intercessor can have upon the heart of God. In this, we looked at Abraham and then expanded our study to Moses. The Lord heard the intercession of Moses as he stood between divine judgment and Israel's sin, and he stayed in the place of intercession until God's Word concerning Israel came to pass.

The cycle of Israel's sin and God's justice repeated itself time and again. In essence, it was always the same: Israel rebelled; God threatened destruction; Moses interceded; God forgave.

Exposing the Accuser of the Brethren

By Francis Frangipane

More churches have been destroyed by the accuser of the brethren and its faultfinding than by either immorality or misuse of church funds. So prevalent is this influence in our society that, among many, faultfinding has been elevated to the status of a "ministry"! The Lord has promised, however, that in His house accusing one another will be replaced with prayer, and faultfinding with a love that covers a multitude of sins.

Satan Wants To Stop Your Growth
This chapter is written specifically to expose the activity of the accuser of the brethren among born-again Christians. There are individuals who are trapped in cults where mind-control and deception are involved; we are not dealing with the uniqueness of their problems in this study. Rather, our goal is to see the Living Church delivered from the stronghold of faultfinding, and to have our hearts turned instead to prayer.

Discerning the Jezebel Spirit

 By Francis Frangipane

We are going to confront a stronghold of immense proportions. It is a way of thinking that exists unchecked in most churches. We are going to expose, and then destroy, the hiding places of Jezebel.

Understanding The Spirit Of Jezebel
"But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols'' (Rev 2:20). You may challenge my using the above quote and addressing it to American churches. You may argue that not one of the pastors you know has anyone who openly instructs people to commit acts of immorality. I understand your sense of alarm. I agree that you probably know of no one who brazenly preaches that sexual lust and idolatry are not sins. When we speak of Jezebel, we are identifying the source in our society of obsessive sensuality, unbridled witchcraft and hatred for male authority.

Coming of Age

 By Francis Frangipane

The devil is trying to concentrate his efforts to bring [America] down morally, spiritually. Because he knows if he brings America down, there is probably no other nation in the world that will stand in his way. America is a main deterrent force against evil powers in the world today.      -Dr. Thomas Wang (AD 2000 and Beyond)

As an atheistic state, Russia's official stand was that there was no deity. God was a myth. Stalin taught that religion was merely the "opiate of the people." In fact, the Soviet communists mocked the reality of God. Their first cosmonauts bragged that they had flown to "heaven" and found no God there. Two generations of Russians were taught on every level of academia that God simply did not exist. The lie, "there is no God," saturated their society. Then the Lord spoke: There is no Soviet Union. Almost instantly the USSR vanished.

Its collapse was the most significant event since the end of World War II. Civilization is still rubbing its eyes, struggling to awaken to the reality in which it currently finds itself. It is as though mankind lived with a disease it thought terminal: nuclear war. The diagnosis has been changed and our condition is no longer terminal.

So, where do we go from here? Since 1991, everything about life on planet earth has changed. We no longer live beneath the shadow of nuclear death. You say, "I still think nuclear war will destroy the world." Well, you are welcome to live in whatever oppression you choose, but Jesus said plainly that, while we would hear of "wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened . . . that is not yet the end" (Mark 13:7).

Yes, there may be nuclear bombs that fall into the hands of terrorists, and limited military conflicts will certainly involve us in the days ahead; but according to Christ, "war . . . is not . . . the end." So, if you are still afraid of nuclear annihilation even though Jesus commanded us, first, "do not be frightened," and secondly, that war will not destroy the earth, maybe you are being emotionally drained for nothing.

However, I don't want to minimize how difficult it has been for American Christians to accept that we have been given more time. We have had such an "end of the world" mentality. Some Christians are almost mad that their predictions about Russia, World War III, the fall of the United States, and the beginning of tribulation did not come to pass. Jeremiah said that he did not long for the mournful day. But sometimes I wonder if some of us are disappointed that the world hasn't been destroyed.

Since we are still alive and the world has not come to an end, we ought to finally come to terms with the fact that God has given us more time. Or maybe we always had more time, but we are just now discovering it. How much, only the Father knows, but we have time enough to rethink the short-term future and act in great boldness for the sake of the lost in the world.

So let's consider: In light of the Cold War's end, what principles shall guide and define the next millennium? As long as we remain on planet earth, the church needs to see itself seated at the table of world consciousness, drafting its role in shaping the world to come. Indeed, we have every right to be there. For, as we said, it was the influence of Christian values homogenized into American culture that God honored in toppling communism.

I believe that the 21st century, at least in the beginning, will continue extending the "American century." God has given this nation the position of worldwide influence. What we do with this responsibility, and why God is empowering the church at this strategic time, is central to our destiny.
You say, "God could get the gospel out by Himself. Nations do not need to be free to do so. Look at the church in the Roman Empire."

Yes, the early church was able to advance, and even flourish, in spite of persecution. But remember, Christians were only persecuted during various intervals. There were extended seasons when they were not oppressed by the Roman government.

Today, however, in nations where the gospel is outlawed or where Christians are tortured or jailed, there is a definite need for at least some freedom. Cultures must be opened somewhat before the gospel can expand.

Indeed, it is in this regard that I believe the Lord will continue to use America to keep doors opening in the otherwise closed cultures and societies of the world. The more openness these societies embrace, the greater the gospel can be proclaimed and received. Indeed, prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, something unheard of in communist lands began to occur. The Russians called it glasnost. It means "openness." Worldwide, openness is what the influence of America provides.


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America's Unfinished Task

By Francis Frangipane

The awesome solemnity of the role of the USA in the post-"cold war" world is only now beginning to dawn on many. -Patrick Johnstone

To perceive America's future, we must appreciate its past. Without stepping into pride or blind nationalism, we need to esteem how God has used the United States, especially since the 1940s. Indeed, just as the Lord commanded Israel to recall their blessings and honor Him for their victories so, with humility, we should call to mind God's mighty hand upon this nation.

Let us not forget how, during World War II, the Almighty empowered the U.S. to defeat Nazism and Japanese imperialism. Then, for the next forty-five years, the Lord manifested His resolve to arrest the advance of Soviet communism, ultimately using the spiritual, economic and military strength of America to topple this stronghold of atheism.

For more than sixty years, God Himself has maximized the global influence of the U.S. Beneath the shelter of American benevolence, and economic and military strength, Christianity has spread exponentially to many nations. It was God's hand upon this nation which played a significant role in opening the world for the sake of the gospel.

You say, "God doesn't need America. He could have snapped His fingers and immediately these evil empires would have crumbled." That's true. God could have used plagues, meteors, angels or other nations; He could have opened the ground and swallowed Germany, Japan and Russia in a heartbeat. Psalms 115:3 tells us that our "God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases." The Almighty can do anything He pleases in any way He pleases. Therefore, since He obviously chose to use America to defeat these demonic strongholds, we must conclude America was His first choice and using America is what pleased Him most.

Recent History
One of the most significant consequences of World War II was that the number of nations leading the world dropped from five: Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Soviet Union and the United States, to two: the Soviet Union and the United States.

The Soviet bloc of nations covered one-sixth of the earth's land mass. For nearly fifty years, these two remaining superpowers competed with each other to possess the future of the world. Each nation reinforced its ideological position by continually increasing their military strength; every event on the world stage was an opportunity to advance international propaganda.

Eye to eye and weapon for weapon, neither nation would flinch or allow itself room to publicly lose face. Nuclear war was the unthinkable option: a dread specter in the world's subconsciousness. The threats and counter-threats of nuclear conflagration were not without substance: the U.S. had dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. Ever escalating their destructive capabilities, weaponry was measured in a frighteningly insane calculation: the number of times each could destroy the other with its arsenal.

Not since the days of Noah was mankind closer to destruction; never was the planet itself closer to annihilation. For almost fifty years, the American Eagle and the Russian Bear circled each other in a ring of death, each nation facing its foe in an unrelenting confrontation. The Cold War drained economies, people and patience.

It was difficult to imagine that there could ever be another way of life or a different, more rational world order. For those who are too young to remember, the Cold War was a time of abiding oppression upon all nations. There existed no solution, no wisdom, and no hope of resolution and reconciliation. From the ongoing confrontation in Berlin to the terrifying Cuban missile crisis, to the thousands of nuclear warheads poised in readiness to obliterate all life on planet earth, the only strategy was deterrence. Only the guarantee of nuclear retaliation and mutual annihilation kept the world from nuclear war.

Then, inexplicably and without warning, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics began to unravel. Almost before our eyes, the nation disintegrated. Its fall was unprecedented. Never had so great and formidable a nation simply ceased to exist without either an assassination of its leadership or a sweeping civil war or revolt. Truly, there were no clearly observable outward signs of turmoil that indicated such drastic change was at hand.

The FBI and CIA were stunned; the news media were astounded; the prophetic teachers of Christendom, dumbfounded. Everyone had the USSR pegged; everyone was wrong. The sudden fall of the second most powerful nation in history was perfectly inconceivable. Yet it happened.

While military theorists, philosophers and politicians debate the various explanations on how the USSR collapsed, there were two results of its fall that were actually partial fulfillments of Scripture. First, the demise of the Soviet empire was orchestrated by the Lord to release the Russian Jews "from the land of the north" and restore them "to their own land" (Jer 16:14-16). Second, He desired to break the power of godless communism and thus open the Russian peoples to the gospel of Jesus Christ (Matt 24:14).

One Superpower Under God
There was a third outcome to the fall of the USSR which most of us, as Christians, have been slow to recognize or value. Simply, the death of the Soviet Union left one nation standing as leader of the world: the United States. America was not a battered foe, but triumphant; it had not been weakened by the conflict but, in many ways, actually strengthened.

Previously, at the end of WWII, Winston Churchill made an astute observation. He predicted that the world would follow "America's stride" into the future; increasingly, now, it is so.

It is important to remember: America is not an atheistic country, communistic, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic or pagan; it has not descended into a "post-Christian" era, as have its European allies (though the standards of a large minority of U.S. Christians have slid). For whatever is wrong with America, it must be noted that the sole remaining superpower-the leading nation of the world-is also the most openly Christian.

In fact, in spite of its sin and obvious moral failures, since WWII America has remained the bastion of evangelical Christianity. This nation has been the primary launching pad of the most aggressive missionary outreach in the history of the world.

Let me quote Patrick Johnstone of the United Kingdom. He is considered by many to be the most respected compiler of statistical information on prayer and evangelism in Christianity. In his comprehensive resource book, Operation World, as an Englishman, he writes of America: "No state in the world has been so strongly influenced by biblical Christianity."

Spiritual War
I do not believe that the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union was merely a military or cultural battle; at its deepest levels, it was a spiritual conflict. It was a war between a nation that recognized, to some degree, the influence and sovereignty of Christ versus a system whose "state religion" was atheism, which vehemently opposed the very idea of God.

Indeed, America's national motto, though tested, remains In God We Trust. Every time there is a cash transaction in this nation, there is a witness to our spiritual heritage. For those with living faith, our motto remains an attainable vision for our future.

Atheists have challenged this motto often, taking it to the Supreme Court. Every time, their challenge has been unanimously rejected by both liberal and conservative judges alike.

A motto, according to Webster's dictionary, is a "guiding principle . . . a phrase expressing the spirit or purpose of an organization." A motto is an ideal more than an attainment. It's the standard toward which an organization charts its future, even while falling short of it.

More than half of all Americans sincerely consider the phrase, In God We Trust, as a true statement, reflective of their own lives. The trust expressed may not be a moment-by-moment reliance that the deeply spiritual possess; it may be true only in times of trouble, yet in times of trouble, eighty-five percent of Americans turn to God.

This maxim abides at the center of America's spiritual consciousness. Whether that ideal is wrapped in Methodist, Baptist or Pentecostal garments; whether it is expressed through high church liturgy or an inner city storefront, it is the guiding principle of the majority of Americans. We may disagree concerning how to worship, but most Christians in America agree concerning Whom we worship: We pay homage to the God of the Bible. To a large majority of Americans, the Lord is not only "God," but He is "Father" as well. He is the Supreme Being revealed in the New Testament, who sent His Son to die for our sins, to whom the majority of Americans look to in prayer.

You say, "Wait, the church in America is carnal, worldly. It's not New Testament Christianity." The first century church was far from perfect. They had divisions (see 1 Cor 1:11-12; Acts 15:37-39); immorality (see 1 Cor 5:1; Rev 2:18-21); leadership scandals (see 2 Tim 4:10); false doctrines (see Rev 2:14, 2:20); and dead churches (see Rev 3:1). Everything that we consider wrong with the church today was wrong then. They were imperfect Christians who turned their world upside down. God used flawed Christians then, and He is still doing so today.

I was born in 1946 and grew up during the Cold War. I still can recall times when, during the Sunday service, prayer was offered to God for Russia. It was ungarnished prayer, but sincere; simple, yet serious. Millions of average Americans were looking earnestly to God in prayer. I am fully convinced that when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, it was an answer to the countless moments of intercession that were offered to God from ordinary American people.

Yes, I'm sure people from many nations were also praying, including Russia itself. However, the essence of this conflict was between America, a nation whose motto was In God We Trust, versus a nation who categorically denied the existence of God, the USSR. The fact that Mikhail Gorbachev announced the dissolution of the Communist Party on December 25, 1991-the day we celebrate Christ's birth-is a profound witness that God was in America supporting His cause against atheism.

I am also convinced that when the USSR fell, a demonic stronghold that influenced much of the world also crumbled. In a real way, the dark "powers of the heavens" were beginning to experience the first of God's mighty end-time shakings (see Heb 12:26-27; Matt 24:29). As further evidence of this truth, consider: Since the fall of the Soviet empire, Christianity has harvested more souls worldwide than the sum of all previous centuries combined! The fact is, since America became the last remaining superpower, the harvest of the nations has begun on a scale unprecedented in world history!

Workers From Every Nation
I do not mean to imply that American Christianity has alone harvested these souls. No. In fact, in a few places Americans were not even involved. Men and women from many nations, together with the 60,000+ missionaries from the United States, have been sent by God to the uttermost parts of the world. Additionally, much of the harvest is occurring through the labors of Christian nationals, converts in foreign lands, whom the Holy Spirit has empowered to win their nations for Christ. We, in America, are participants with many others in the spreading of the gospel.

Still, the Lord has used the U.S., through its influence as world leader, to keep the nations open toward the biblical concepts of freedom, human rights and justice. This is not a little thing.

Before the fall of Soviet communism, the activity of the living church in Russia was small and embattled. Afterward, literally millions of people made confessions of faith and began their journey into salvation. Yes, the number of Christians can still increase during persecution, but it is also true that there are times when God must simply say, "Let My people go" (Ex 5:1), and the controlling powers of darkness are henceforth restrained from hindering the gospel.

This War Is Not Over
We said earlier that if America did not exist during World War II, we would be under the influence of Nazism. Furthermore, if America had not existed since World War II, Soviet communism (atheism) would have expanded virtually unchecked throughout the world. In both cases, it was primarily America (in league with its allies) that stood against these demonic philosophies. This, in turn, has increasingly opened the world for the spread of the gospel.

However, there are some who think American culture itself is a threat to the gospel. Certainly, in some ways, I agree. We have demonic strongholds in our own land that are a menace and must be brought down. If "freedom" is our virtue, it has also become our vice. For freedom has, for many, degenerated into lawlessness and license. As I mentioned in the preface, we have many things wrong with us as American Christians.

But, the idea that the U.S. must be destroyed so a purer Christianity can emerge is unfair for several reasons. First, condemning the United States is fatalistic and unbelieving in nature. Indeed, whatever is not of faith is sin (see Rom 14:23). Such thinking conveniently excuses the church from having to love, pray, fast, witness, and be involved as salt and light in the earth. Generally speaking, the attitude that America must be destroyed is the opinion of those whose love has grown cold (Matt 24:12); it is not the cry of those who care for America and are interceding for it.

In spite of predictions that America will spiritually and socially decline into irreversible darkness, the opposite is actually occurring. The incredible reduction of the crime rate (lowest since statistics began) reveals that something is happening in the United States as an answer to prayer. Abortion rates, divorce, teen pregnancies and people oppressed by poverty are all significantly dropping as well. Indeed, revival and renewal conditions, like the first drops of a summer thunderstorm, are breaking out in a number of churches.

We live in a time when ministries such as Mission America are bringing together large segments of the body of Christ for prayer. Scores of denominations and hundreds of prayer ministries are uniting, seeking God with fasting and prayer for revival in North America. Perhaps, for the first time in centuries, the church is not dividing, but is actually uniting around the Person of Christ.

I do not believe that Christ has inspired America's prayer movement only to ignore the prayers and then destroy us. There are millions of people praying fervently for the United States. A profound number of Christians are humbling themselves, praying and seeking the face of God like never before. So, even while we must acknowledge that America has major strongholds of sin, we have the encouragement from God Himself that He who began this good work will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.

Yet, there is one more reason why, I believe, the United States is not about to be destroyed: America's role as the defender of freedom is not over. True, we no longer need to stand against Nazism or Soviet atheism, although the threat of communism is far from over. However, let us consider a future without the United States: In the hour of America's demise, radical Islamic extremists would begin their long-awaited Muslim holy war, Jihad, against all non-Muslims. In Asia the "Red Dragon," communist China, would begin the assimilation of the far east; and every ambitious, militaristic dictator would begin the brutalization of its weaker neighbor nations.

God's task for America is far from finished. In truth, it is just beginning. If the church continues to embrace Christlike intercession, not only will the Lord continue to reduce lawlessness in our cities, He will transform the soul of the United States and use this nation for the most glorious period of its history. Today, America does not stand at the brink of destruction, but at the threshold of its destiny. 


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A World Without America

By Francis Frangipane

Recently, a number of respected church leaders, frustrated with America's slow turn to repentance, have proclaimed that divine wrath is coming to our land. "If God does not destroy America," one influential pastor wrote, "He will have to repent to Sodom and Gomorrah."

Certainly, there are many things morally wrong with America, but America is not Sodom or Gomorrah. Neither is it a re-emergence of the spirit of ancient Babylon. You will not find charged against this land the "blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth" (Rev 18:24). The spiritual influence of these archetypes is here, just as they are also manifested throughout the world, but America is much more than the sum of its sins and failures.

A World in Revival and Harvest

By Francis Frangipane

We began this book by asking you to consider what the civilized world would be like without the United States. Now, I'm going to ask you to consider a world with America in revival. I do not mean a revival merely of emotional religion, but a deep revival, born of genuine Christlikeness in the church. Picture America experiencing a Christ awakening, where a priesthood of mature believers join the Lamb before the throne of God's grace; where the Lamb is offered as sacrifice for America's sin, God receives the sacrifice and, according to 2 Chronicles 7:14, He heals our land.

Picture a repentant America touching Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist peoples with the love of Jesus. Picture a holy America where our movies have moral, Christ-inspired lessons and where the message of redemption is played out in a myriad of ways around the world. Envision a million praying, loving missionaries, empowered by the Holy Spirit to heal and encourage nations on every level of society.

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).

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."


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."

An Intercessor is Committed
Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said,

"Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if Thou wilt, forgive their sin-and if not, please blot me out from Thy book which Thou hast written!" -Ex 32:31-32

An intercessor gives up all personal advantage for the sake of those he prays for. Moses knows he has favor with God. Yet, he presents himself as a remarkable portrait of one irreversibly committed to Israel's transformation. He says, "If thou wilt, forgive their sin-and if not, please blot me out from Thy book."

Moses is saying, in effect, that he is not serving for individual gain or glory. The Lord's servant cannot be separated, blessed, honored, or pleased apart from the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel. If God will not forgive them, He cannot have Moses either. Israel and Moses have become a package deal.

Some have struggled with situations in their personal lives where they cannot seem to break through. Perhaps you are spending too much time on your needs and not enough time praying for others. Make a prayer list of people with desperate needs, and as you intercede for them, see if the Holy Spirit doesn't break through for you. Remember the story of Job. When he prayed for his friends, God healed him. Intercession not only transforms the world, it transforms us.

One More Thought
Moses accomplished what the Lord gave him to do: Through him, God brought the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land.

The book of Psalms records the tremendous role Moses played in bringing Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land:

They made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped a molten image. Thus they exchanged their glory for the image of an ox that eats grass. They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt, wonders in the land of Ham, and awesome things by the Red Sea. Therefore He said that He would destroy them, had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him, to turn away His wrath from destroying them. -Ps 106:19-23

One man changed the mind of God.

But something happened on that journey that was not good for Moses. Israel was thirsty. This time, instead of striking the rock to bring water, the Lord told Moses to speak to it. Angered at the people for their sin, Moses struck the rock instead. This action disqualified Moses from entering the Promised Land (see Num 20:8-13).

I have often pondered this situation. It has grieved me that Moses went so far, yet could not enter. Then it occurred to me, it is possible Moses couldn't enter the promises because there was no one praying for him in the hour of his sin.

Everyone needs someone who will pray for them. You need to pray for your pastor, and pray for those who pray for others. Everyone has at least one place in their heart that is not yet transformed, an area that needs the intercession of Christ to emerge through a friend on their behalf. Even Moses, intercessor for millions, needed an intercessor to pray and stand in the breach of obedience in his own life.

Lord Jesus, I am awed at Your willingness to show mercy. You actually changed Your mind about judgment on sinners because of one man, Moses. Lord, in my world and times, let me be that one who so delights You, who is so intimate with You, that my prayer for mercy outweighs Your need to destroy the unsaved. May the favor You have given to me be multiplied to those who yet do not know You, and may it spread until all the earth is filled with Your glory! 


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 God bless your pursuit of His heart.