The True Foundation: Christlikeness

By Francis Frangipane

Christ Himself is the eternal blueprint for our lives.  Only in studying Him, in measuring ourselves by Him, do we grow securely upon the foundation of God. 

Beloved, we were created to become like Christ.  Yet, some would lead us to a lesser destiny.  They teach that a stumbling, disobedient people can somehow also be the same "overcomers" spoken of in the Sacred book.  Yet, God's plan has not faded out or become obsolete!  Even as Christ has not changed, so neither has the plan of God for the church.  Our transformation will burn in God's heart "until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ" (Eph 4:13).

The Grinch That Stole Christians

By Francis Frangipane

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

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

Prophet, Priest and King

By Francis Frangipane

The Anointing
We refer to our Lord as Jesus Christ, but His name, simply, was Jesus (or Yeshua in Hebrew).  The term Christ comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew word for "Messiah," which meant "the Anointed One."  Thus, it would be perfectly accurate to call our Savior, "Jesus, the Anointed One."

But where does the phrase "Anointed One" come from and how does it apply to the Lord?  While anyone could anoint and refresh their head with oil (or anoint the dying for burial), only a special blend of spices and oils was used as "holy anointing oil," and then only in sacred ceremonies (see Ex 30:22-31).  It was copiously poured upon the consecrated individual, perhaps a liter or more flowing down upon his head, beard and garments (Ps. 133).  It was an obvious outpouring of oil, not merely a dab on the forehead as might accompany our use of anointing oil today.  It was done with solemn prayer and reverence, for it was through this ritual of anointing that Israel's prophets, priests and kings were identified and then dedicated to God.

Overcoming Discouragement

By Francis Frangipane

The Jews had been defeated by Nebuchadnezzar and, because of their long and extended rebellion to God, the Lord allowed them to be exiled to Babylon.  Yet, now their appointed time of judgment had passed; it was time for the Lord's promise to be fulfilled.  Indeed, He had assured them, "After seventy years...I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place" (Jer. 29:10 KJV). 

Initiated by the fasting and prayer of the prophet Daniel, Israel had entered a season of divine visitation: men with both integrity and vision were raised up and financial provisions came.  The display of divine grace had created an atmosphere of awe and excitement among the people of God - He was "causing [them] to return" to Israel!  Yet, how He brought them back was just as miraculous: Israel's God revealed Himself to King Cyrus of Persia, a gentile king, and actually "Appointed [him] to build [the Lord] a house in Jerusalem" (2 Chron. 36:23).  In fact, Cyrus encouraged a national offering for Israel's journey; he restored the treasures taken by Nebuchadnezzar from Israel, and he issued a royal edict, legally authorizing the return of the Jews to Israel. 

The Love Motivated War Mode

By Francis Frangipane

If we will succeed in these difficult days, it will be, in part, because we have renounced the seductive limitations that accompany a peace-time mentality.  Indeed, we must embrace an aspect of spirituality that is unfamiliar to many Christians - one that is both militant and vigilant toward evil.  We must appropriate "the war mode" aspect of the mind of Christ.

Over the last few months the Holy Spirit has been calling the church to rise in intercessory prayer and in the exercise of spiritual authority.  With holy urgency in my heart, I say we do not have time to languish in self-pity about life's injustices.  In a time of war, we must not be distracted by little inconveniences.  We must possess a war mentality.

The Bronze Bow

By Francis Frangipane

A number of years ago, during a time of spiritual weariness and uphill battle, the Holy Spirit gave me a unique anointing to wage warfare.  This special endowment of grace came through a dream, which began with me lying down in a house, resting.  Suddenly, members of our church entered the home and told me that our enemies were returning and I was needed to engage this demonic horde in battle.  I remember lamenting, "Why am I always picked to do battle?"  Tired and weary, I stepped outside.  On top of a distant ridge, sitting on horses, I could see rows of enemy warriors.  Someone near handed me a bow and arrows, but my aim wavered and, due to the distance, my arrows all fell short.  The depression upon me deepened as I could hear the mockery of the enemy warriors, scorning my attempt to hurt them.

Seeing Him Who is Unseen

 By Francis Frangipane

The Lord asked Elijah, "What are you doing here?"

And he said, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." 1 Kings 19:10

It can be a crushing experience to give your very best and still fall short. Elijah had been discouraged with God's people. Thinking he had failed, he fled Jezebel and begged God to take his life.

The Scripture tells us that "hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Prov. 13:12). Elijah desperately wanted to see the nation awakened in repentance, but he did not understand the role God would have him play. Perhaps Elijah's main mistake was that he was personally shouldering the burden of Israel's revival. Not knowing his own place, he assumed the place of God.

As Christ's Passion Becomes Ours

By Francis Frangipane
    
What is it about The Passion of the Christ that stirs people so deeply?  After all, it is just a movie, isn't it?  Yet, Mel Gibson's portrait of Christ and His sufferings, for many, has awakened emotions people never knew they had; it resurrects longings many thought were dead.

The power of this movie is that it speaks to the very DNA of our spiritual identity as Christians. It does not matter whether we are Lutherans or Catholics, Baptists or Pentecostals, something fundamental about ourselves is being unearthed from antiquity and restored to our souls.

Let me explain.

"Thy Face, Oh Lord, I Shall Seek"

By Francis Frangipane

There are some things in life that cannot be attained cheaply or superficially.  Scores of scriptures call us to something much more consuming and fulfilling than just having a religion about Jesus Christ.  Yet, the challenge is to focus and centralize our efforts to appropriate what Jesus came to give.

He warns, "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matt 24:37-39).

The biggest battle we each might fight is to stay focused on God long enough to learn how to abide in His presence.   Before we can redeem the world, we must redeem our time.  And we would think that with all the time saving conveniences we have in life, that this would be easy, but it is not.

Love Never Fails

By Francis Frangipane

Some of you know that I've been away on a semi-sabbatical since late November. It has been an important time.  Admittedly, I initially came focused on getting a book or two written; I had also purposed to finish the structure of our association of churches and ministries.  Both these projects are still "front burner" realities, for which I appreciate your prayers!

However, after we arrived the Lord gave me a simple, yet profound promise.  He said, "But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself" (Ps 4:3).  In the truest sense, the ultimate purpose of this time away is not for me to be dedicated to writing, but to the Lord. I'm understanding a true "Sabbatical" involves a Sabbath unto God.  I am set apart for Him. 

A month ago, after seeking the Lord, He spoke another liberating word.  Just before I fell asleep that night He reminded me that the, "one who fears is not made perfect in love" (1 Jn 4:18). Again, it was a simple word, but it spoke deeply to my heart.