From the Church in Israel

By Francis Frangipane

Israel is the epicenter of many of the world's events. Indeed, what happens in the Holy Land can cause powerful shock waves around the world. Daily, we are deluged by reports from newsrooms about Israel.  As we in the church have learned to care more for the Jewish people, we have become more sensitive to how the nation of Israel views us. We are even concerned about the viewpoints of the Orthodox Jews as well as the positions and threats of Israel's Islamic enemies.  Added to this sea of voices and opinions, we also listen to the teachings of evangelical preachers, calling us to pray for the peace and protection of the Jewish people.  All of this is good and acceptable.  However, most of us have yet to hear from the actual leaders of the evangelical church in Israel.

Thus, on a recent trip to the Holy Land, I made it a point to visit with a number of Israeli pastors.  I was so impressed with their love, faith and humility that I asked them if they would issue a statement that might, in some way, express their hearts to the wider body of Christ, especially to the church in America, but also throughout the world.  The pastors with whom I spoke were, in fact, representatives of a larger group of around 70 leaders.  As I listened to their hearts, it was easy to see that these were believers in pursuit of Christ's character.  Although they came from a variety of church backgrounds, their hearts were steadfastly united in Christ, and they are individuals given to prayer and evangelism. 

I believe Christianity needs to hear the voice of the church in Israel.  Thus, in the months ahead, my hope is to feature the perspectives and insights from leaders serving Christ in the Holy Land.  Indeed, I was blessed to learn that, when major hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast of the USA, these leaders did not automatically judge and condemn the United States.  Instead, they focused their congregations on redemptive prayer for America.  As I listened to them, I was deeply impressed that the church in Israel was truly growing into the spiritual temple of God (Eph 2:21-22; 1 Cor 3:16).  In a very moving way, I felt the significance of a genuine holy reality - as big a miracle of grace as the restoration of Israel itself.  The church in Israel was praying for believers in America and around the world.  They were truly becoming "a house of prayer for all nations."   

With the memory of Hurricane Katrina in mind, they sent this greeting:

To the Church in America,

Shalom. We are a body of leaders in Israel who would like to express our hearts concerning the tragic events which took place in America due to recent hurricanes. Please help us connect with as many of our brothers and sisters as possible by forwarding this letter to the Body of Messiah throughout the different churches in the USA.

First of all, please accept our apologies for not responding earlier. Sometimes the sheer enormity of these events leaves one at a loss for meaningful words. We are struck by the weight of the catastrophes which hit the Gulf States of the southern U.S. and by the resulting distress and suffering of so many people. We feel earnest sorrow for the great loss of life and livelihood; and we would like to assure our brothers and sisters in America of our love and prayers, as we earnestly beseech our God to intervene in this situation. We consider it important to let you know that we are standing with you in this critical hour, wanting to express our sympathy and brotherly friendship and taking the opportunity to utter our thanks for the American believers' faithfulness concerning their relationship to Israel. How often in years past have we received your intensive support in prayer and in generous giving!

Our main reason for wanting to extend comfort to you is the simple fact that you are our brothers and sisters in the Lord. In addition, God has used America again and again to provide assistance to Israel as a nation. We are bound together on many levels. "And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it" (1Corinthians 12:26).

At the same time it is our prayer that God will use this season of shaking as a new awakening of the American church, as well as the nation. May He impart His heart and thoughts to His people in more meaningful ways than in any previous generation. May His kingdom break through in new and bigger dimensions - within the United States and, through selfless American Christians, across the entire world! For it is written, "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

Israel - as God's chosen people and the firstborn among the nations - has experienced a history of much shaking, even to the degree of judgment (a history that has not yet come to an end). But we know that the reason for this is God's holy love and divine calling. He disciplines the ones he loves (Hebrews 12:6). The United States has been considered by all a favored nation, used mightily by God and blessed for her missionary work and for standing by Israel through the years. She has been given abundant material and spiritual blessings. She sees herself as the leader of the world. It is only to be expected that such a nation will be held accountable to a higher standard of righteousness. We want to encourage you to shine brightly amidst a darkening world. In this sense of blessing, calling and responsibility there are strong parallels between our nations, highlighting God's principle that "from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" (Luke 12:48).

We pray that your ear would be next to God's heart in the midst of the calamities which have stricken your great nation. May you tangibly experience His presence in every trying hour. Through the tears, may you and your nation experience the richness of God's mercy. May He be glorified in your courageous and compassionate response.

We love and appreciate you. We are with you.

Your brothers in Yeshua our Messiah,
Arthur Goldberg
Calev Myers
Marcel Rebiai
Eitan Shishkoff
Evan Thomas
Daniel YahavAvi Mizrachi
Howard Bass
Wayne Hilsden
Dan Juster
Asher Intrater
(And many others who were not available to sign this letter).

For more information on how you can support the emerging church in Israel, please contact
www.revive-israel.org.

The Tent of Meeting

By Francis Frangipane

"When Thou didst say, "Seek My face," my heart said to Thee, "Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek." (Ps. 27:8).

Time to Seek God
There are certain times when the Lord calls us out of the routine of our daily lives. These are special seasons where His only command is, "Seek My face." He has something precious and vitally important to give us that the familiar pattern of our daily devotions cannot accommodate. During such times people are often delivered of sins that have plagued them for years; others discover a depth in their walk with God that leads to greater effectiveness in ministry and prayer; still others experience breakthroughs in their families and are used by God to see loved ones brought into the kingdom.

Yet, here we are not seeking God for things or even for other people. We are seeking God for Himself. Maturity starts as we break the cycle of seeking God only during hardship; holiness begins the moment we seek God for Himself. A touch from God is wonderful, but we are in pursuit of more than just an experience - more than "goose bumps and tears." We are seeking to abide with Christ, where we are continually aware of His fullness within us, where His presence dwells in us in glory.

How do we enter this sacred place? If we study the life of Moses, we will see how he sought God and lived in fellowship with Him.

"Now 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." Exodus 33:7

Notice that "everyone who sought the Lord would go out." If we are going to truly seek the Lord, we must "go out" as did Moses and those who sought the Lord. We must pitch our tent "a good distance from the camp." What camp is this? For Moses, as well as for us, it is the "camp of familiarity."

Is there anything inherently wrong or sinful with the things that are familiar? No, not in themselves, but you will remember that when Jesus told His disciples to follow Him, He called them to leave the familiar pattern of their lives for extended periods and be alone with Him (Matt. 19:27, Luke 14:33). Why? Because He knew that men, by nature, are unconsciously governed by the familiar. If He would expand us to receive the eternal, He must rescue us from the limitations of the temporal.

This is not to say we neglect our families or that we become irresponsible as we seek God. No. God has given everyone enough time to seek Him. It is there. Having done what love would have us do for our families, we simply say no to every other voice but God's. We must redeem the time: cancel hobbies, forsake television, put away the newspaper and magazines. Those who would find God, find time.

Sadly, many Christians have no higher goal, no greater aspiration, than to become "normal." Their desires are limited to measuring up to others. Without a true vision of God, we most certainly will perish spiritually! Paul rebuked the church at Corinth because they walked, "like mere men" (1 Cor. 3:3). God has more for us than merely becoming better people; He wants to flood our lives with the same power that raised Christ from the dead! We must understand: God does not merely want us "normal," He wants us Christlike!

For the Holy Spirit to facilitate God's purposes in our lives, He must redefine both our definition of reality and our priorities in life. Christlikeness must become our singular goal.

For most people, however, our sense of reality, and hence, our security, is often rooted in the familiar. How difficult it is to grow spiritually if our security is based upon the stability of outward things! Our security must come from God, not circumstances, nor even relationships. Our sense of reality needs to be rooted in Christ. When it is, the other areas of our lives experience eternal security.

Yet, our fears run deep and are numerous. Indeed, most of us pass through life umbilically tied to the protection of the familiar. Experience tells us that many good people remain in lifeless churches simply because they desire the security of familiar faces more than the truth of Christ. Even people who have been delivered from adverse situations are often drawn back into hardship. Why? Because adversity is more familiar to them.

Consider that certain prisoners are repeat offenders simply because they are more accustomed to prison life than freedom. Is it not sadly true that often young girls who have been abused by their fathers unconsciously tend to seek out and marry men who eventually abuse them as their fathers did? Groping blindly through life, they sought for the familiar. It is significant that worldwide most people live within fifty miles of their birthplaces.

Humans are cocooned, insulated against change by the familiar. When we work all day only to come home, watch television, then collapse in bed, our lifestyle becomes a chain of bondage. These things may not necessarily trap us in sin as much as they keep us from God.

Moses would leave what was familiar and pitch his tent "outside the camp," where he would then seek the Lord.

"Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come." Hebrews 13:12-14

In the same way that Moses and those who sought the Lord went outside the camp, and as Jesus went outside the camp, so also must we, at times, leave the camp of what seems normal and predictable and begin to seek after God. Here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

This is one reason why Jesus said, "when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray" (Matt. 6:6). Christ desires us to leave the familiar, distracting world of our senses and abide in the world of our hearts, bearing in mind that the highest goal of prayer is to find God.

Every minute you seek God is a minute enriched with new life and new power from God. Give yourself a minimum amount of time - an hour or two each day, but do not set a limit, as the Lord may draw you to seek Him on into the night. And continue day by day, and week by week, until you have drawn near enough to God that you can hear His voice, becoming confident that He is close enough to you to hear your whisper.

If we are going to become holy, we must sever the chains and restraints - the bondage of desiring just an average life. We will choose to leave the camp of familiarity and place our tent in the presence of God.

Are You Having An Identity Crisis?

By Francis Frangipane

As Christians our faith tells us that Christ died as payment for our sins.  We believe He actually rose from the grave as proof that He was, indeed, sent by God.  Yet, it is also our conviction that, upon this resurrection event, not only were the sins of  mankind atoned for but, through Christ, a second Genesis began. 

Paul explains, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit"  (1 Cor 15:45). The word Adam means "man" and is representative of  "mankind."  There are now two Adams or two species of man.  The first species of man is the descendant of sinful Adam. His life orbits around his carnal or "natural" desires.  He carries both the DNA of Adam"s nature and the consequences of Adam's sin.  This natural man is focused upon fulfilling the needs of his soul. He is, indeed, a "living soul," but he is controlled by fears, physical needs, intellect boundaries, cultural environment and sin. 

The second species or race of man is Spirit-centered.  His thoughts, dreams and experiences originate primarily from the Holy Spirit, who lives in union with him.  The highest aspiration of the Spirit-centered man is not on attaining natural successes, but upon attaining conformity to Christ.  While the first man lives to experience what the world around him can give him, the last species of man, the Christ-man, lives for what he can give to the world: He is a "life-giving spirit."  The first Adam engendered descendants with problems; the spiritual descendants of the last Adam, Christ, provide the world with answers. 

New Creatures
While men divide over many things - culture, skin color, language or social status - from God"s view mankind is only truly divided into two subsets: those controlled by their souls and those controlled by the Holy Spirit.  One race is dead in sin; the other is alive in Christ.  One species of man is destined to perish; the other will live forever.  Just as the first Adam passed sin, weakness and death to his children, so the second Adam, Christ, passes virtue, power and eternal life to the children of God.

"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (2 Cor 5:17). 

"For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation" (Gal 6:15). 

We are not merely men of flesh temporarily acting spiritual, but we are spiritual beings temporarily living as men of flesh.  If you have received Christ into your life, you are part of the second Genesis.  You possess a new nature which, like Christ's, shall live forever.

Identity Crisis
Yet, too many of us suffer from an "identity crisis."  We are confused about who we really are.  We attend church, but internally we are still deeply identified with the traits and expectations of the first Adam.  Paul rebuked the church in Corinth, which suffered with fleshy attitudes, saying "are you not walking like mere men?  (1 Cor 3:3).  

Hear me well: If you have received Christ, you are no mere mortal.  The very same power that raised Christ from the dead, abides also in you. While you may experience many of the same trials that the descendants of the first Adam face, you are buoyed by God's Spirit as He faithfully works all things for good in your life.   On the other side of your trials is not death, but resurrection!

"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you" (Rom 8:11).

We may look human, but abiding within us is a treasure more valuable the earth itself: resurrection power. 

"And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power" (Acts 2:24).  Just as it was impossible for death to hold Christ in the grave, so it is impossible for the substance of "death" still in us - our sins and failures - to hold Him as well.  Christ conquers death as readily as light drives out darkness. Indeed, in all things we are "more than conquerors through Him who loved us"  (Rom 8:37 NIV).

Seated With Christ
As I was engaged in a particular struggle, a friend asked me, "How are you doing under the circumstances?" I answered, "I'm not under the circumstances; I'm seated with Christ in heavenly places.  My Father is God.  There is no weapon formed against me that can prosper.  I'm born again from above, a new creation; I am a partaker of the Divine nature." 

Everything I answered came directly from God's word and represents the reality granted me by faith in God's promises.  Faith unlocks the power of God's promises.  So, beloved friend, you are not under circumstances or "the weather," or pressures or curses; you are alive together with Christ (Col 2), and positioned in the shelter of God's domain.  Yes, we face conflict, which God uses to perfect our character, but He also "always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place" (2 Cor 2:14).

Beloved, if you are not using God's word to define and shape your spiritual identity, you will, in fact, be under circumstances and clouded by the oppression that abides on the first Adam.  You may still be a Christian, but you will suffer from your identity crisis.  This is why Paul said, "put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth" (Eph 4: 24).  You must accept, believe, and then apply the word of God until you are fully established as a new creation. 

"Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom 8:29).

This quest to walk in your new nature is the crux of your primary battles in life.  This is not just a war between your virtue and your vices. No, it is a war between your identity after the flesh and your true identity as a new creature in Christ.  "Faith," John tells us, "is the victory that overcomes the world" (1 John 5:4). You are a citizen of a new realm. As such, you must learn the customs and understand the language. In the kingdom of God, everyone believes what God says about them. When God speaks, His words create realities. Our faith accepts the grace and truth of God's word and, in so doing, our lives are transformed.

Yes, we will still fail, but Christ is greater than our failings.  True, we will still err, but in all things God works good.  Indeed, we pass through hard experiences that God uses to conform us to the character of His Son (see Phil 3:10), yet He also brings us through such things so we can possess the power of Christ's resurrection!   

Consider Paul's analysis of his personal journey:

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me" (Gal 2:20).

Again, he wrote:

"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day" (2 Cor 4:16).

Let us ask ourselves, is our spiritual consciousness focused upon what is inwardly "decaying" or are our hearts lifted to that which is "being renewed day by day"?  Are we living as mere men or as new creatures fashioned after the likeness of Christ?  Would you agree that it is time to get over your identity crisis?

Lord, forgive me for dwelling in the basement of my old nature rather than the penthouse of Your love and promises.  You have chosen me to reveal Your life, You've given me Your Holy Spirit and spoken to me through Your word.  I am Your child, born from above and destined to inherit Your glory.  I worship You, my Lord and King. 

If We Do Not Lose Heart

By Francis Frangipane

"He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time." Daniel 7:25

The prophet Daniel warns of a time when Satan, through the Antichrist, will seek to wear down the strength of God's saints. How this occurs in the final hours of the age remains to be seen, but on one level this battle already is going on today: Satan seeks to wear us out through delays ("alterations in times") and in compromise of God's Word ("alterations in law").

The final effect of what seems like never-ending delays is that believers are worn out. Do you know anyone who is weary with his or her battle? Are you yourself weary? I know many who seem trapped in situations that should have been remedied months and even years ago but the battle continues against them. Situations and people, often empowered by demonic resistance, stand in opposition to the forward progress of God's people. As a result of satanic spiritual resistance, many Christians incrementally accept this resistance until a quiet, but weighty, oppression rests on their souls.

This battle to wear out the saints may be rooted in conflicts with children or spouses; perhaps it is some unresolved issue or division within their churches. It may be a work conflict or health battle, yet on and on it goes. Like a skilled and masterful thief, the enemy daily steals the joy, strength and passion of Christians, and many do not even realize what they have lost or how much.

The scale is actually larger than our personal struggles. Consider the various conflicts in the world. Some have continued for generations. We can understand why, even in the midst of great worship and praise by the redeemed, there is a place under the altar in heaven where the saints continue to ask, "How long, O Lord?" (Revelation 6:10). Fifty-eight times in the Bible, from beginning to end, the phrase how long is echoed by those who grew weary with waiting.

Sometimes the delays are God-ordained to perfect faith; as we seek Him He helps us grow. On the other hand, there is a vicious attack against us to oppose and delay the fulfillment of God's plans for us until we grow weary and quit. Satan is the dragon whose goal is to "drag-on" the battle with draining, wearying delays. He persists until we wear out, give up and quit praying.

Additionally, as situations stretch beyond reasonably expected conclusions, weariness of soul can also exacerbate the original situation, leading to fleshly reactions or just overreactions, which also need resolution. We lose patience, eventually seeking relief rather than victory. This compromises the standards of God and conscience.

Perseverance
There is a reason the book of Revelation mentions the word perseverance seven times. Over and over again we see those who persevered and overcame. It is one thing to have vision, another to have godly motives, but neither will carry us to our objectives by itself. We must also persevere.

The root of the word persevere is the word severe. We must face the fact that en route to victory our trials may get severe. Likewise, it is with severe faith - severe or extreme steadfastness - that we inherit the promises of God (see Hebrews 10:36). James tells us: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4).

Endurance. Perseverance. Steadfastness. These are the qualities that breed character, that transform the doctrine of Christlikeness into a way of life. "Let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect." The key to perfection, to a life "lacking in nothing" is perseverance.

Weariness of the Mind
Have you grown weary? You are not alone. Part of the weariness we feel comes from faulty thinking. If we had known the battle was going to take as long as it has, we would have prepared for it more realistically. Every building plan will probably take twice as long as we assume; every virtue will take a year, not a weekend, to be truly worked in us. It may take a generation for some of our loved ones to be saved. If things happen sooner, we can rejoice. But we must guard ourselves lest we prepare only for the easiest of breakthroughs; some things will not manifest without time and tears.

You may think that it sounds like unbelief to expect difficulties. I don't think so. I think it is wisdom. Wisdom is not the enemy of faith. I have found that if I don't trust God and relax, I become anxious, fretful and distracted. I have also found that the Holy Spirit will not descend and rest in power upon a man who is fearful and controlled by his external circumstances. Jesus" spirit stayed in abiding peace, yet still He accommodated delays as part of life's package. He was often delayed by the huge crowds or urgent needs of the people around Him. People died waiting for Jesus to show up. Did He become anxious? No, He stayed focused on the Father and without losing His trust in God, simply raised the dead.

At some point we must come to the conclusion that God knows when we are growing weary in battle - be it praying for the salvation of a loved one or one more frustrating delay in reaching our vision. We must trust that He knows our battle and that He has a miracle conclusion waiting us. I know a dear pastor who labored long and hard with a new building project, but it was constantly being delayed. It was first scheduled for completion in September, then rescheduled for December, then January and then February. Finally, with weariness in his voice, he called and asked if I could join him for their dedication. It was set for the first week of March.

"When exactly do you need me?" I asked.

He answered, "March fourth."

Suddenly the Holy Spirit illuminated my heart. I told him that God had chosen this date prophetically. The Lord wanted that church, as an army, to "march forth" into their destiny. In a flash, the weariness weighing upon him was gone; joy and a sense of destiny swept his soul. The delay wore him out, but the delay in the hands of God became inspirational.

Dear ones, let us persevere. We just do not know what the victory will look like when we finally break through. Consider Joseph. Betrayed, enslaved, slandered and forgotten, he had to endure to reach his destiny. But the time finally arrived, and never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined that the outcome would be so wonderful.

What we become is more important to God than what we do for Him. Our struggle, though we may have been delayed time and again, deepens our character. Maintaining our standards when pressed, finding grace when stretched, makes us true men and women of God. The Almighty One is in control. He knows how to take what was meant for evil and transform it into something good, even using the devil's own devices to bring him down. God has something marvelous in store for us otherwise the enemy would not be fighting so intensely. Indeed, Scripture tells us that Satan rages worst when he knows his time is short (see Revelation 12:12).

Character Before Breakthrough
We mentioned Daniel earlier as a prophet who warned about Satan's ploy to wear down the saints. God gave him a vision of the end of the age. Here is what he wrote: "I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them" (Daniel 7:21). This is the nature of the battle. There are times we feel war storming against our souls, overpowering us. But the prophet said the sense of overpowering continued only "until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom" (Daniel 7:22).

There is a principle here that, once understood, will lead to victory in our battles. There will be a time, inevitably, when we feel overpowered. Yet if we endure, if we climb higher into God, if we refuse to lose our trust in God, a time will come when the Ancient of Days enters our circumstances. Looking at our newly developed character, which has grown strong through perseverance, He will pass judgment in favor of our cause. God looks at our character, forged in the fire of overpowering delays and battle, and says, "Good, this is what I was waiting for."

Whatever your battle, whether you are praying for your country or standing for your children, whether your cry is for the lost or for the end of some local or personal conflict, remember the words of Paul: "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary" (Galatians 6:9).

Master, I ask that You work in me the character that perseveres until the end. Forgive me for being such a wimp. Help me to grow up, to stand up until the harvest I have sown spiritually bears fruit. Thank You for not giving up on me! In Jesus" name, Amen.

God's Reward

By Francis Frangipane

It seems every couple months there is a major disaster or conflict somewhere in the world. With regularity, the images of human suffering explode into our consciousness and we are confronted, not only with our frailty, but also with deeper questions about the nature of God.

Some, to be sure, file every natural disaster under the label, "wrath of God." The perception that the fist of an angry God is purposefully causing untold agony, destroying the righteous together with the wicked, is an acceptable reality to them. In my opinion, such thinking tends to keep people somewhat aloof from the calamities themselves.  Such analyses, however, are not easily assimilated by those whose hands have lifted the decaying bodies of the dead and whose ears still ring with the wail of the stricken.

Repairers of the Breach

By Francis Frangipane

"And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the paths in which to dwell" (Isaiah 58:12).

The Gathering Together Of The Saints
Most of true Christianity shares a doctrine commonly called the "rapture" of the church (I Thess 4:16).  And while study and debate surround the timing of this event, Scripture assures us that it will occur before Jesus Himself returns. 

However, before we are "caught up" to meet the Lord, there will be a time of unusual grace in which the living church of Jesus Christ, like a bride, makes "herself ready " (Rev 19:7). In this unparalleled season of preparation, while we will not become "perfect," we shall realize a new level of holiness of the quality in which Jesus Himself walked (I Thess 3:11-13; Eph 5:26-27; Phil 1:9-10). 

The result of this new spiritual fullness will be a new level of unity. Fault-finding and gossip will disappear.  In their place will be intercession and love. Wholeness will return to the church. This also means that the ambition and division we see today between congregations will be identified as sins, which will be repented of before Jesus returns. 

The truth of this message must be made clear, for most Christians consider oneness within the body inconceivable before Jesus returns. They have not discerned nor warred against the enemy's lies, which have conditioned believers to accept strife and sectarianism in the church.  It is my passionate conviction that the church which will ultimately be raptured will be free of strife and carnal divisions - it will be a bride "without spot or wrinkle" made ready for her bridegroom.

During the rapture our bodies will be changed. But our character, that is, the essence of who we have become, will remain intact.  There will be no regrets or wondering how "those from that church" made it, for the living bride will be a church built together in love, meeting in separate buildings but serving the single Lord.  These true disciples of the Lord Jesus will be known for their intense and holy love for one another - not merely in their individual local assemblies, but within the context of a citywide church.

It is highly significant that the scriptural term for the rapture is called the"gathering together" (II Thess 2:1; Matt 24:31). What ultimately will be consummated in our gathering together physically to the Lord will be precipitated by a spiritual gathering together of His body on earth.  Concerning the era known as the "end of the age," Jesus taught that the "good fish" shall be "gathered . . . into containers" (Matt 13:48). And in the context of spiritual warfare, Jesus warned, "he who does not gather with Me, scatters" (Matt 12:30). 

This scattering, dividing process among the Lord's sheep has gone on long enough.  Jesus has set His heart to bring healing and unity to His body. In this regard, through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord spoke a somber warning.  He said, "Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!" (Jer 23:1).  The Son of God is not pleased with the carnal divisions in His body!  Indeed, the Lord promises to chasten those pastors who continue to build their kingdoms without laboring together to build His. To them He says, "I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds" (vs 2). 

In the tenth chapter of John, the Lord makes His goal clear: there shall be "one flock with one shepherd" (vs 16).  He reveals it is the wolf nature which "snatches [the sheep] and scatters them"; and it is the hireling nature which allows the scattering to occur.  But His promise to His sheep says this: "Then I Myself shall gather the remnant of My flock...and they will be fruitful and multiply.  I shall also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer . . . nor will any be missing" (Jer 23:3-4).  The pastors of the last Christian church will be under-shepherds to the Lord Jesus; they will be anointed to gather together His remnant and under that anointing shall be "fruitful and multiply."

Indeed, right now, in the context of humbling ourselves and submitting our hearts to His will, we are participating in being "gathered together."  This process will progressively increase until the barriers between brethren are melted by the overcoming nature of Christ's love.  Before Jesus returns, we will truly be "one flock with one shepherd"  We will be a holy and blameless sheepfold, meeting in different buildings, but baptized into one body.

Do Not Criticize The Breach, Repair It!
"Thus says the Lord God, woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing. Oh Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins. You have not gone up into the breaches, nor did you build the wall around the house of Israel to stand in the battle on the day of the Lord" (Ezek 13:3-5).

God needs people who, when they see a gap in the citywide church wall, will go up into the breaches and rebuild the wall, so that the church will stand in the day of battle.  In every city, town and village, each of us need the other churches if we are going to stand in the day of battle. 

You may be thinking, "You don't understand, I have revelation of the end-time move of God.  These churches barely believe in Jesus."  The Word tells us that "without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater" (Heb 7:7).  If you are truly "greater," without a hint of pride, you will seek ways to be a blessing to other churches. Your Christlike love will cast out fears.  You will truly have a burden to see the entire body of Christ brought forth, not just your local assembly; you will respect the diversity of ways through which Christ reveals Himself in the church.  In truth, Jesus said that the greatest among us would become the "servant of all" (Mk 9:35; Matt 23:11).

If a church in your city holds to and confesses Jesus as their Lord and Savior, then that church is needed to complete God's work in the city.  As you join one another for daily or weekly prayer, you will be blessed and surprised by God's preparation of others.  Do not come with an attitude to teach or lead, but to love and serve.  In this, God is not looking for leaders, but followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If we do not adjust to His will, we will be unable to stand against the enemy.  Indeed, the day in which we live is not a day of peace, it is a time of war.  God is gathering us together not only to Him and each other, but also against the spiritual forces of wickedness in every region.  Therefore, the breaches between us must be filled, the walls built, and we must learn to stand together in the day of the Lord.

You Be The People
You do not have to go to college to find fault with the church.  In fact, if you remember, you could find fault with the church even before you were a Christian. You do not need skill to find fault.  But if you want to be like Christ, you have to be willing to lay your life down for people's sins.  You have to be an intercessor who "stands in the gap."  The "gap" is the distance between the way things are and the way things should be.  You stand in that space, cast down the accuser of the brethren, and intercede!  Have you seen something that is wrong? It is only because Jesus wants you to stand in the gap and pray to see it changed. 

Some of us have cried for years, "Where are those who will lead us into Christ's fullness?"  We have assumed that God had others in mind.  What the Lord is saying, however, is "You be the men and women that others are looking for." You be the peacemakers, the sons and daughters of God that bring healing and order to His church.

The responsibility is upon each of us.  There is a tremendous job ahead, but the Lord Himself has promised, "Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the paths in which to dwell" (Isaiah 58:12).

Let us lay our lives down in committed faith, that in our lifetimes, on this earth and in our communities, the corporate church of Jesus Christ will be restored, united and made ready as a bride for her Beloved!

Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book,  "The Three Battlegrounds" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

Two Realities

By Francis Frangipane

At any given moment, standing before our world there are two core realities. The first is that which is the consequence of present and past events.  In this realm, wars become more destructive, immorality becomes more rampant; disease multiplies out of control, and fear strengthens and becomes immobilizing.  In part, this darkened, demonically manipulated reality is what we actually have today, yet clearly a more hellish, worse version of our present world is preparing to emerge.  It is of this diabolical world that the scripture speaks of when it warns: "the days are evil" (Eph 5:16).

Yet, there is another reality that is also available to mankind.  This second realm is the "prayed for" version of the first reality.  It, too, stands prepared to show itself.  This reality is full of miracles, divine reversals and divine intervention.  It is the world of sin confronted, conquered and redeemed by the power of heaven.  The scripture calls this reality "the day which the Lord has made" and commands us to "rejoice and be glad in it" (Ps 118:24).

Since time began, both of these realities have always existed.  The Scriptures bear witness to numerous occasions when people have cried out to God and found the Almighty a willing ally in transforming their culture.  When Israel humbled themselves, repented and prayed, and sought again the face of God, the Lord intervened and scattered their enemies.  Consider also the ancient Ninevites.  When they, too, humbled themselves with fasting and prayer, divine mercy fell upon their culture as well.  Indeed, the transformation of their culture was so stunning that Jonah, the prophet sent by God to announce Nineveh's destruction, actually was displeased that Israel's enemies received mercy.  Jonah lamented, "I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity" (Jonah 4:2).

Jonah knew the mercy of the Lord.  He also knew that, once a people humbled themselves before the living God, no enemy that stood against them could prosper.  The Lord, indeed, was standing ready to show Himself strong on behalf of those who feared Him.

As I have lived and known the Lord, He has relentlessly proven over and over again to be a God who answers prayer.  He stood with our armies in WWII; He helped bring down the atheistic Soviet Empire.  I believe He stands ready today to overthrow militant Islam as well.

However, I also know for God to answer prayers, we must pray them.  Muslim extremists are poised in many countries of the world to launch terror attacks.  Some of these might be terrible in size and devastation.  The source of many of these terror attacks are the Mullahs who preach hatred and stir up radicals in their Friday night meetings.   At the same time, Intercessors for America has set apart Fridays for prayer and fasting, specifically to counter the demonic powers that attach themselves to the words of these Mullahs.  We aggressively support this initiative and want to encourage everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus to join this prayer siege until we see the demonic power behind radical Islam broken.

We also ask that pastors and church leadership teams embrace a lifestyle of prayer, leading their congregations into intercession during all regularly scheduled services.  It was prayer that brought an end to the Soviet Empire; it will be prayer that breaks the demonic power that is fueling Muslim extremists.  No man can stop the march of time, but our intercession can bring the power of heaven to bear upon this world.   With hearts aflame with the spirit of Christ, we can rejoice together in seeing the day which the Lord has made

The Power of a Transcendent Life, Part 2

By Francis Frangipane

In our last message, we stated that the destiny of every Christian, according to Paul, is to be conformed "to the image of [God's] Son" (Rom 8:29).  Typically when I remind people that our core destiny is Christlikeness, most people just nod, affirming the general truthfulness of my statement.  However, they really do not believe that it is true.  Indeed, when people think of their destiny, they first think of something they will do for God, something that involves the visible demonstration of  a unique gifting or ministry calling.  But neither our gifts nor a specific calling represent the core reality of our destiny. 

So, let me state it again: Our destiny is to be Christlike.  Our responsibilities and gifts may be as varied as the seasons of our lives, but our enduring destiny is that part of us that becomes Christlike in nature.  God wants us to develop our gifts and, of course, He has created us to fulfill certain tasks or ministries, but we must never lose sight of the main purpose of our existence, which is to become like Jesus in all things.

The Pure Focus; the Pure Life
The sad fact is, we have all seen ministry leaders whose gifts and callings were so powerful, so captivating that they seemed capable of bringing heaven itself to earth.  Then, to our shock, we discovered later that these very same individuals, some who had built great religious empires, were secretly in the grip of the most disgraceful sins.  How could such things occur?  When our primary focus rests upon the development of our gifts or calling rather than our character, we become increasingly vulnerable to satanic deception. 

You see, a time will come when, to some degree, we actually begin to master our gifts and calling. We know how to pray.  We learn how to preach or prophesy or sing in church.  We even master the appearance of sincerity when we minister or are in church.  Outwardly, we have convinced the world we are spiritual, yet inwardly we have become bored with our staged, Sunday morning performance.  Having somewhat mastered our gifts and calling, the challenge is gone.  In its place, a secret hunger, born of the flesh nature, now begins to grow.  No one who sees us discerns our inner decline; even our closest friends are fooled.  Instead of hungering for the fullness of Christ, we begin craving the lusts of the flesh, or desiring earthly success or material possessions.  Yet, none of these things can ever satisfy our inner man.  The grief in my spirit is that I have seen people perfect gifts while neglect Christ.  Their failure scandalizes the body of Christ and brings shame to the name of Jesus.  I have seen this happen far too many times.  

The antidote for spiritual emptiness is the pursuit of Christlikeness.  Possessing the character of Christ fills our gifting and tasks with living substance.  We can say, like Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal 2:20).  Paul said, "Christ lives in me."  It is Christ living in us that brings true spiritual fulfillment to our lives.

Beloved, Jesus Himself promised that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness 'shall be satisfied" (Matt 5:6).  To possess the nature of Christ is its own reward.  He is the pearl of great price; the treasure hidden in the field.  Christ Himself is the narrow path that leads to life.  We do not need crowds to see us perform nor applause to affirm our goodness.  When we possess Christ, we eat freely of the Tree of Life and find eternal fulfillment.

Becoming Like Him
One may ask, "How shall I become like Him?" We might assume attending a Bible school would secure our answer or going on to the mission field would transform us -- worthy endeavors, indeed. Yet, the actual power to become like Him is with us already. It comes through the Holy Spirit as He deepens our relationship with Christ. To become like Him is, in fact, a natural consequence to intimacy with Him.  

Let me explain.  I grew up in an Italian home.  My parents sprinkled their English with Italian phrases and words, and I learned to speak English, and a tiny bit of Italian, by living in relationship with them.  In fact, until I was about 18 years old, almost my entire world view was passed on to me from my parents.  It was perfectly natural to talk, act and think as they did because of my relationship with them.

Likewise, we do not have to "try" to be like Christ in some mechanical way, we simply need to live in close relationship with Him.  Jesus Himself put it this way: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing" (Jn 15:4-5).

Christlikeness is the consequence of our relationship with Christ in us.  Our holy goal is to cultivate our relationship with Him until we possess as a living reality the substance of His life. We do not study His word to be good, but to know Him.  Our prayer life is not a 'spiritual discipline," but a place of communion with Him.  We do not worship out of  duty, but to ascend into His heart and become like Him.  Intimacy with Jesus Christ is the path to the transcendent life.

The Power of a Transcendent Life, Part 1

By Francis Frangipane

There are a great many books written today about developing our spiritual gifts or discovering our purpose, most of them are absolutely worthy of our attention. Recognizing our gifts and being trained to serve God in our individual calling is part of doing His will. Yet, there is a deeper, more essential goal -- an objective that is ultimately far more valuable both to God and ourselves. I am talking about the genuine quest to possess the likeness of Christ.

We marvel at the life of Paul. Here was a man who wrote Scriptures, who led many thousands to Christ; he founded churches and was proficient in all the spiritual gifts. Yet, what compelled him forward in life was not his calling, but his passion to be like Christ. He articulates this profoundly in Phil 3:10. He wrote,

"that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death."

My concern is that, over the years, I have seen far too many people who devoted themselves to perfecting their gifts or ministry, but neglected the deeper quest of conformity to Christ. To seek spiritual fulfillment from "our ministry" or "gifting" is to walk a path that actually leads away from the fulfillment.

Let me reinforce this point about the nature of our calling: my calling is not the core element of my destiny. A person's calling is a combination of divine preparation and a present assignment. A calling often unfolds or even changes throughout the seasons of life. As important as our calling is, the core of our destiny is not rooted in what I do for God, but in the conformity of my heart to Christ's. Christlikeness is my destiny. God may use my calling to perfect Christlikeness, but the purpose of my existence is to become like Jesus. Spiritual gifts and ministry assignments are only passengers in the car as I journey toward the fullness of Christ.

Predestined to be Conformed
Speaking of destiny, Paul wrote, "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom 8:29). Do we see this? We are "predestined to become conformed" to God's Son. When the New Testament speaks of destiny, it is almost always in the context of becoming Christlike. A "calling" or task may be to serve as a pastor or teacher or a housewife or in the marketplace, but regardless of my outward responsibilities, my core destiny -- the reality that continues unfolding within me regardless of outward circumstances -- is to embrace a life "conformed to the image of [God's] Son."

You see, our destiny is not what we do for God, but who we become to Him. As we reach for Christlikeness, our love for God becomes richer, our witness to sinners more powerful, and our secret life holy. As we seek conformity to Jesus, we discover that all our spiritual desires are rooted and nourished by conformity to Him.

Apart from Him, we may think we are doing great or important things, yet Christ tells us "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up" (see John 15:1-8). With Christ, however, even in the midst of conflicts, trials and temptations we manifest "the life of Jesus . . . in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor 4:8). This, indeed, is the transcendent life of God.

The Gifts and Callings
It is to our shame in the west that many of our seminaries do not focus on becoming Christlike, but rather devote themselves primarily to theology and hermeneutics. Obviously, we need correct biblical knowledge, but even more do we need conformity to Christ. Even in our churches we labor to see people released in "their gifts," and may we never stop! But let us not neglect the more foundational work of seeing Christlikeness structured into the congregational attitude.

Paul taught that the gifts and calling of God were "without repentance" (Rom 11:29 KJV). The apostle was writing about Israel and the irrevocable place she has in God's future, yet the principle of which he speaks is true for us as well: God's calling on our lives, and His gifts, remain living realities independent of our state of heart. The gifts and calling of God exist "without repentance."

A pastor can still preach and even inspire the congregation, though he is living in serious sin. His "calling" is not dependent upon the current state of his righteousness. A worship leader that commits adultery Saturday night still may stir a congregation Sunday morning because his gift still works "without repentance" of his sin. The evangelist that weeps as he saves souls, even after he spent the night drunk, thinks that God has excused his lawlessness. Yet, even while the Holy Spirit is working through the minister's gifts, the man himself is in grave danger. For after he has preached to others, he himself might be disqualified (see 1 Cor 9:27). We have all seen gifts and callings remain functional even though individuals led double lives, with hearts that were trapped in sin.

The fact that the gifts and calling of God operate somewhat independent of our character tell us that God will use imperfect people. But we still must beware. A day may come when we look to our gifts or ministry and plead, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?" But Christ will not have it. Instead, He will utter those most terrible words, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" (Matt 7:21-23).

You see, our gifts are necessary and understanding our calling is vital. Yet, attaining the nature of Christ is our destiny.

Beloved, as we approach the end of the age, a new priority is coming to God's people: the summing up of "all things in Christ" (see Eph 1:9-10). Both our gifts and our calling must serve our destiny, which is to reveal the nature of Christ. The focus that brings meaning and fulfillment is that which works to conform us inwardly to Christ. Our lives are to become "a fragrance of Christ to God" (2 Cor 2:15). Yes, the path to Christlikeness is the way to the transcendent life of God.

The Building Site of the Temple

By Francis Frangipane

The building of the house of the Lord involves more than finding help in our time of need. There are costs to attaining God's best. If we would have His greatest provisions, we must yield to Him our greatest loves.

Two Temples
The Scriptures refer to two types of temples: one of stone, which was built in Israel, and the other made of flesh, which is the church. The first temple, Solomon's, was built at a predetermined site which God selected.  Even as the Lord carefully chose the building site for the temple of stone, so He is looking at the landscape of our hearts, seeking to make us His temple of flesh.

Two important events were instrumental in designating the temple site. These events developed over many years, but were nevertheless a composite of what we ourselves must become.  The first is found in the life of Abraham.

The Lord brought Abraham to a place of spiritual fulfillment in his son, Isaac. But a time came when it was required of Abraham to choose between his love for God and his love for what God had given him. The Lord commanded Abraham to take his son to the land of Moriah. There Abraham was told to offer Isaac on the mountain of God's choosing.

"On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance.  And Abraham said to his young men, 'Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you'" (Gen 22:4-5). Please notice Abraham's last statement, "we will worship and return." We see here the perfection of faith in the atmosphere of worship. Abraham's faith told him they would both return, but it was his attitude of worship which enabled him to go up. The story is well-known.  The angel of the Lord stopped Abraham, knife in hand, from taking Isaac's life. Yet, it was within the plan and purpose of God to require obedience of His servant. Abraham's love for God was tested and proven true.

Likewise, to qualify for the house of the Lord, the first attitude we must possess is a worshiping heart; we must be willing to give to God what we love the most. For pastors it may be surrendering personal dreams concerning their ministry or their churches. For intercessors it may be giving up their role of leadership in a local prayer group in order that those praying might be integrated into a larger corporate body.

In death every man ultimately surrenders all he owns to God.  Those who are called to build Christ's house do so by surrendering even their highest loves and their very desire of fulfillment to the Almighty.  It is a death not unlike the death of the flesh. Hope of human recovery is abandoned; the sense of trust abides alone in God. Abraham offered to God his greatest love, Isaac, who was the embodiment of his spiritual fulfillment. He laid all his dreams upon an altar he built with his own hands.

Abraham was willing to trust God to fulfill His promises, knowing that death is no barrier to the Almighty. So also, those whom God chooses as the building site of His house will give to God what they have loved the most.  Within their yielding, worshiping hearts, He will build His house.

The Full Price
In the next scene we find David.  He is standing upon a mountaintop overlooking Jerusalem; his sin has brought the Lord's displeasure upon the nation. In  response to his repentance David is told to build an altar to the Lord on Ornan's threshing floor. The mountain upon which David is standing is Mount Moriah, the same place where, six centuries earlier, Abraham offered Isaac to God.

Although Ornan freely volunteered his oxen for the sacrifice and his ox yoke for the fire, David refused. He said, "For the full price you shall give it to me, that the plague may be restrained from the people...I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing" (I Chron 21:22-24).

In contrast to what has been typical of our American approach to God's call, here again we behold the nature of those in whom the house of the Lord is built.  They are not looking for shortcuts in their service to God; they refuse to give that which is another's. Rather, these yielded souls pay the full price; refusing to offer the Lord that which costs them nothing. 

Let me add this: On Mt. Moriah Abraham had a revelation of the nature of God.  He called this place, which would ultimately become the site of Solomon's temple, "Jehovah-Jirah": The Lord will provide.  From that time it was said, "In the mount of the Lord it will be provided" (Gen 22:14).

Many Christians wonder why, if "provider" is the nature of God, they receive so little response from Him? The answer is partly because the provisions of God are not given randomly or to support our selfish inclinations. Rather, "in the mount of the Lord it will be provided." In truth, the provisions of God are without limit to those who give their all to Him. For on the building site of the temple, where His house is built, there will be an abundance.

Lord Jesus, I desire to be fully given to You.  Forgive me for offering costless sacrifices and borrowed gifts.  Jesus, I want to pay the full price.  Lord, I know the issue is not what I can do for You, but what You can make of me.  I surrender my all to You.  May the quality of my life be suitable for Your house.  And grant me a heart of faith and worship to bring my Isaac to the altar. In Jesus' name, amen.

Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The House of the Lord" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

When the Lord Builds His House

By Francis Frangipane

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

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

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

All across the world holy men and women of God are being fitted together into a living temple for the Lord. Burning in their hearts is a new vision for a united, citywide church. Together with their congregations, these servants of God are building their churches, not upon the typical American base of self-promotion and human enterprise, but upon a substructure of corporate, citywide prayer and Christian love.  With great passion and deep humility, their singular goal is to see Christ Himself formed in the church (see Gal 4:19).  In so doing, they are laying the foundation for the house of the Lord. It is a testimony to Christ's wisdom and power how graciously these "living stones" accept one another and fit together. The Scriptures tell us that when Solomon built the house of the Lord,  "there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being  built" (I Kings 6:7).

These men and women, often of very different church backgrounds, are finding themselves kneeling in one another's buildings and praying at each other's side.  Their common prayer is that the Almighty might unite them in Christ and finish the house of the Lord - that Christ Himself might heal their cities.

God will answer their prayers.  The house of the Lord is beginning to emerge upon the building site of the praying, citywide church.  The time of devastation and shaping, of being hammered and cut to size, is nearly over.  The day of power is at hand.

The Obedience Of Christ
This is not a work born out of compromise. It would be an error to assume the goal of this moving of God was unity. No, our objective is obedience. Out of obedience to God in prayer and true desire to be Christlike, a new meaning to unity has come.

Our focus is upon Christ. Paul instructed the church to take "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor 10:5).  The areas of our thought-life which are not captive to Christ, are the areas where we are losing our battle against hell. But when our vision is focused upon the Lord and becoming like Him in obedience, the conclusion of what Paul spoke shall be fulfilled: "And we are ready to punish all disobedience whenever your obedience is made complete" (2 Cor 10:6). 

It would be presumption to speculate on all that this verse means.  We know that Paul was not referring to flesh and blood; he was not warring according to the flesh (see Eph 6:12). The implication here is that when the obedience of the church is made complete there will be an unleashing of the mightiest display of spiritual power the world has ever seen.

This revelation of power was not attained in Paul's day.  The provision was there in that the prince of the world was "judged," "rendered powerless" and "disarmed" at the cross, but obviously, "all disobedience" was not punished in the first century. 

Let us ask the Lord Himself: Is there something yet to come forth through the obedient church that will bring judgment upon spiritual wickedness and disobedience, which will also deliver many cities?

When The Lord Guards The City
"Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain" (Psalm 127:1).  Before we discuss this verse, it is important to explain a particular characteristic often found in the Hebrew Scriptures. Often the Old Testament writers communicated truth by repeating two views of the same thought. We see this especially in Psalms and Proverbs. An example would be: "With the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips" (Prov 18:20). The same concept is presented twice in two ways. Another example is, "I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old" (Psalm 78:2). Truth is conveyed utilizing a poetic rhythm that is both beautiful and functional - a way to compress two corresponding thoughts into one idiom.

In this regard, when the Psalmist admonishes, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain," he is saying the same truth in two ways. The work of the Lord is a bridge connecting these two thoughts: the house He builds will stand; the city He guards will be protected. 

How can the Lord guard the city? The house of the Lord is a house of prayer; intercession brings the presence of God into the city. Let me say this another way: When the Lord builds the house, then the Lord will guard the city. The specifications of His building plans require His people to be praying, loving and investing themselves into their cities, empowered by His anointing. The house of the Lord will change our communities!

Jesus confirms this in His promise that "I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt 16:18 KJV).  He is stating that when His house is built in obedience to His Word the strongholds of evil over individuals and cities will be broken.

When there is revival in a city, what happens to the powers of darkness in the heavenly places?  Where do they go?  The answer is: they are displaced by the fullness of God's Spirit in the regional church!  Paul tells us that it is "through the church" that the manifold wisdom of God is revealed "unto the principalities and powers in the heavenly places" (Eph 3:10). And what is happening in the spirit realm?  The church is blessed with "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph 1:3)!  The prevailing influence upon society in this case comes from heaven; the Lord guards the city! 

When the church is not built according to Christ's directives but remains selfish and divided, the principalities and powers have access in a greater degree to the souls of men. In such cities, spiritual wickedness guards the city.

One does not have to be very discerning to see this is true. On your next drive from the country into a city, you will notice a distinguishable cloud of oppression as you enter the city. That invisible barrier is the range of influence of the ruling spirits which weigh on the community.  The demonic power of that area is the "strong man, fully armed," who "guards his own homestead"; whose "possessions are undisturbed" (Lk 11:21).

But when the church is obedient to Christ, it will be united with other believers and unstoppable by the powers of hell.  Through the church - its prayer, love and action - the Lord will guard the city.

Whatever You Bind Will Be Bound
Let me explain the interaction between the spirit world and the thoughts and actions of men. As I see it, the spirit realm can be accessed and occupied by either angels or demons, depending upon the attitude of man upon earth.  Although the earth is the Lord's, He put all things under man's feet; that is, under man's responsibility.

When Satan tells Jesus that all the world and its glory "has been handed over to me" (Lk 4:6), he is speaking a half-truth. The world has indeed been given to the devil, not by God, but by man!

We have wrongly assumed that the devil has divine approval to attack our neighborhoods and cities. Satan has access to the domain of darkness, but he can only occupy those areas where mankind, through sin, has allowed him.

Thus, Jesus tells the church, "whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt 16:19; 18:18KJV). Notice that Jesus gave the same instruction for two seeming different situations. The context of Matthew 16:18-19 deals with the devil, while the focus of Matthew 18:15 is sin. These realms are interconnected.  The sinfulness of mankind, his evil thoughts, words and actions, is itself the very shelter of the devil over our cities! Since this is true, then righteousness in the church proportionally displaces the devil in the spirit realm, offering Satan no hiding place. He may tempt, but he cannot abide. Indeed, when the church truly draws near to God, the devil flees.

New Vision
If we work together to build the house of the Lord, our strengths will be amplified rather than diminished.  One of the pastors in my city has been used by God to picket abortion clinics and stores which sell pornography. Before the churches began to pray together, the most people he ever mustered for a protest was 120. However, because a larger number of churches united with him in prayer, over 4,000 people came to stand against abortion! Since that time, the local television and newspapers have been far more sympathetic to the cause of the unborn.

Where the churches are united, the benefit upon teens will be wonderful. Imagine how it would be if there were a citywide youth group where large numbers of Christian teens could meet and unite. Older teens could develop leadership skills and pastoral care over younger teenagers.

Without limiting their overseas missions, pastors are realizing the first mission field they need to support is local.  Ministers in churches are beginning to build together, training individuals from their congregations to go to other churches in the city where together the entire local Christian community is being built up.

Ultimately, how will the house of the Lord differ from current Christianity?  Although the Lord has visited the church with revival in the past, He will dwell in power in His house!  Healing and deliverance will be commonplace; holiness and grace will fill the atmosphere.  Where the house of the Lord is built, the protection of the Lord will be felt.

Living Testimony
Our ministry is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. When we first started praying together with other pastors and intercessors in the city, the state of Iowa was experiencing an 11 percent increase in violent crime. During this same time, however, in Cedar Rapids violent crime decreased 17 percent. FBI files confirm that Cedar Rapids became the safest city of over 100,000 people in the United States in that year.  In spite of the enemy's counterattack, Cedar Rapids remains one of the safest cities in the nation.  We continue to experience many wonderful and significant breakthroughs in our city.

To the degree that the Lord's house is established in our cities, lawlessness will proportionally decrease. The time is soon upon us when, unless we are building the Lord's house, our labors may actually be in vain.  But the Holy Spirit's encouragement to us is unwavering: When the Lord builds the house, then the Lord will guard the city!

Lord, thank You for Your dealings in my life.  Thank You for shaping my heart to fit in with other believers in my city.  O God, increase Your work in this region until Your entire church is one body, one force, one weapon in Your hand against evil!  Build and then enter Your house, Lord Jesus.  Open the door of Your house, and step onto our streets.  Guard our cities with power. In Jesus' name, amen.

Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The House of the Lord" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

The Measure of Maturity

By Francis Frangipane

It has been my experience that too many of us, as Christians, have been confused about love.  We have assumed that attaining the look of love was the same reality as actually being transformed into a loving person.  I"m not saying that we have consciously planned on being shallow or noncommittal, but that somehow we have settled on the cosmetic instead of the real. 

We have developed an "altar" ego, a look for church that lasts, at best, just a few minutes longer than the church service itself.  All we have really accomplished is to perfect the art of acting like Christians. 

I think we have yet to learn to consistently walk according to the standards of Christ's love.  I hear how quick some are to speak about the flaws of those they supposedly love, and I wonder, what kind of love demeans an individual behind their back?  When I witness unloving words from a Christian's mouth, I am reminded that we have much to learn about Jesus and what it means to follow Him.

David prayed, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer" (Ps 19:14).

Our words are the by-product of our meditations.  Whatever is brooding in our hearts will eventually ascend to our lips.  If we have unforgiveness prowling within, our conversations will be barbed with negative comments; even in moments of light-hearted banter, if we are harboring bitterness, it will slice through our speech.  Jesus taught that "the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart"  (Matt 12:34).  We cannot fix our words without first fixing our hearts.

When the Lord judges us for our words, it is because He is seeking to purify our hearts.  True, the heart is deceitful above all things and it is difficult to know our own iniquity.  Yet if we simply pause and listen to how many of our words are without love, we can track them back to the real problem: loveless hearts. 

A New Anointing
Christians are in the fire of God.  The Holy Spirit is purging the church from negative chatter.  A fresh anointing is at hand where God's people shall speak with the character necessary to represent Him.  What the Lord told the prophet Jeremiah He is speaking also to us:

'therefore, thus says the LORD, "If you return, then I will restore you -- before Me you will stand; and if you extract the precious from the worthless, You will become My spokesman"" (Jer 15:19).

Let us pray that as God exposes our lack of love a time will soon come when we will pray with credibility: "You have tried my heart; You have visited me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress" (Ps 17:3).

Do we see this? God judges the quality of our entire lives by the soundness and substance of our words.  Thus Jesus warned, "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment" (Matt 12:36). Let us consider Christ's warning soberly.  He continued, "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matt 12:37).  James adds, "Judgment will be merciless to him who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13).  I have a holy fear in my heart concerning these warnings.  I know that if I am merciless toward others, God will be merciless toward me.  

Character Counts
Sometimes I think we try to mask our critical attitude by calling it "discernment."  The fact is, most of what manifests in our discussions about others is simply judging after the flesh.  If we truly love an individual, we will be as loving in their absence as we are in their presence.

Jesus said His disciples would be known by their love.  Paul said that the love of Christ is supposed to control us, which means it is the nature and discipline of love that keeps us from joining in verbal attacks or even subtle criticisms. You see, it takes character to avoid being sucked into gossip and criticisms.  There is a high road we can take.  It starts with prayer, it extends to grace, it is slow to speak, it approaches an individual with a meek heart, it talks privately with the person;  it is forgiving when wronged and patient with the spiritually immature.

Of course, if someone is involved with criminal activity or seriously endangering others through their sin, we must love the greater community and take steps to protect the innocent. There is a time to discipline or even publicly expose sin (Matt 18:15-17), but it's after we exhaust other means of correction -- and even then, our motive should communicate our hope of redemption and not allow our disclosure to become a smokescreen for revenge.  In all things, love must guide our words.

Child's Eye-View of Love
Recently my youngest daughter, Eden, sent me a list of quotes that came from little children. Each child was asked to describe what love meant to them. Their answers were, at times, quite intriguing.  One in particular, from a four year old boy named Billy, has stuck with me. He said, "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."

That thought seems to say it all: "When someone loves you . . . your name is safe in their mouth."  Behold this clarity of vision as love is defined by a little child.  When we truly walk in Christ's love, those around us will be safe -- and others will see the love of Christ that controls us.

Beloved, to walk in covering love is to show ourselves truly acquainted with Christ.  Let us ask God, "Father, show me my heart.  Is Your love ruling, even in the unseen areas of my life? Are the names of others safe in my mouth?"

We Love Because He First Loved Us

By Francis Frangipane

Do you love Jesus Christ?  Is there a part of your heart that not only intellectually accepts Christ's death for you, but actually loves Him for the price He paid? 

Do you love His word and appreciate the many times He's rescued you from difficulties and battles, many caused by your own sin or foolishness?  Do you love how He accepts you unconditionally when you turn to Him? He has forgiven every sin you have ever committed.  How can you not love Him? 

For too many people, knowing Jesus goes no deeper than agreeing to the historical fact of His existence. However, loving Him is a distant, almost unnatural reality for them. They take His name in vain or anger and, incredibly, use it as a curse. However, when you say the name of Jesus, its very sound calms the troubling in your heart.  They mock His righteousness and delight in lawlessness.  Yet, you love righteousness, even if you fall short of your own spiritual aspirations. 

The fact that you possess love for Christ, even if your love is imperfect, proves something vital about you. The very existence of your love has been cultivated and awakened by God's love for you.  The living Christ has actually approached you and revealed Himself to you. As it is written, "We love, because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).

Today, Christians argue about doctrines and divide over eschatologies.  Yet, let us look at the deeper issue: do we each love Jesus Christ?  If so, our love for Him is the result of His love for us.  You see, the proof that we truly know Jesus Christ is not measured by the degrees we post on a wall, but the degree of love for Him that burns in our hearts. 

Do you love Him?  If so, it is because your love is a response to the relentless warmth of God's love for you.  His love has proven itself irresistible. He says, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you" (John 15:16).  Again, He says that "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44).  Even our coming to Him is a product of His love for us.

When I say, "I love You Jesus," it is because at some point, long before I knew Him, before I could discern His voice or recognize His influence in my life, His love was drawing me to His heart. Yes, I know I am not worthy, but still Christ loved me.  True, I have no righteousness of my own, but I imagine there was a moment in heaven when the Son turned to the heavenly Father and said, "I love Francis. I will bring him to Myself, show him My ways and become the strength of his life." 

Never wonder if God loves you. Rather, look at your heart. Do you love Him? If so, your love for Him is proof of His love for you. We love, because He first loved us.

Heavenly Father, help us to pause, to absorb into our consciousness the impact of Your purposed love for us. Let this wondrous love influence everything we think and all that we do and become: I am my Beloved's and He is mine. You banner over me is love.  Let my life be flavored by Your unfailing mercy until, with all my heart, I love You, even as You have loved me.

Walking in Eternal Life

By Francis Frangipane

God's end time people will "end time."  What I mean is that, as we near the end of the age, we will increasingly learn how to walk in eternal life, abiding above the boundaries, constraints and the pressures of the realm of time.   We"ll see what's coming and either avoid it or announce it, but we won't be limited by it.

Jesus taught that those who come to Him "have everlasting life" (Jn 3:16).  Right now, we have eternal life in our spirits.  Yet, how do we access the timeless place of God's presence?  This is a serious question, for we have become more 'time conscious" than "God conscious."  Schedules, meetings, appointments and deadlines all fuel our anxieties and compel us to live horizontally, instead of vertically in the Presence of God. 

The Lord seeks to deliver us from anxiety, but that can only happen if we truly learn to walk in the Holy Spirit.  The sad fact is, most Christians fail to spend time with the Holy Spirit.  We pray, even calling upon the Lord, but few are they who have cultivated moment by moment openness to the Spirit of God. 

"But, when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come" (John 16:23).

The Holy Spirit "will guide . . . He will speak . . . He will disclose" to us what we otherwise could never know or attain.  To guide, speak and reveal are forms of communication.  Clearly, the Father sent the Holy Spirit to talk to us.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.  There are issues in our hearts that the Holy Spirit alone can reveal and remove.  Listen to Him, like Christ, He does not come to condemn but to save.  His voice is Salvation speaking to us. 

Jeremiah said that the heart is deceitful above all things.  We cannot objectively know ourselves.  Yet the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth sees and understands our ways.  Trust Him, He cannot be deceived.  Indeed, the ancient Greeks used the same word for truth as they did for "reality."  Thus, we could accurately say that the Holy Spirit is the 'spirit of Reality." He shows us the reality of our need and the reality of God's answer.  To hear Him is to hear the voice of eternal life. 

Jesus lived in union with the Holy Spirit continually.  The miracles He accomplished came through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Through the Spirit He saw the things the Father was doing; He heard the words the Father was speaking.  Every strategy we may come up with pales in comparison to seeing God and doing what God does and hearing God and saying what God says.  You see, Jesus lived in the dimension of time, but was not limited by it.  His consciousness was always aware of the eternal realm. 

Even the urgent news of Lazarus" illness did not make Jesus move anxiously.  As right as it seemed to rush to Lazarus" aid, Jesus was aware of another reality.  He was conscious of the heavenly Father.  Because He knew that the Father was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, He lived without hand-wringing or being driven by anxious thoughts or pressures.

Oh how we need to walk in the Spirit today.  In every situation, we would consciously be aware of God's involvement in our lives! 

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9). 

God has a system of thoughts and ways that are totally on another plane, yet He invites us to abide with Him!

Beloved, we are not mere human beings. We each are a temple for the Holy Spirit, but we must cultivate a listening heart if we will do the things that God is doing.  A Christian is not just someone living out a natural life, hoping that God will bless him.  No, God has more for us than that.  Jesus set the standard, and He's given us the Holy Spirit so we can follow Him.

Spirit Filled?
When we are born again, we begin a journey with the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit gives us gifts to help us grow; He baptizes us in power to increase our effectiveness.  All of this is to lead us until we are actually filled with the Holy Spirit, where we think and act like Jesus. 

Many of us think we are already filled with the Spirit, but we are not.  We have three quarts of self and one quart of the Holy Spirit, and we think we have a gallon of God.  There is still too much self ruling in our hearts.  In America, some pastors identify themselves as being Spirit filled and say they pastor Spirit-filled churches.  To be perfectly candid, I have never attended a church that is truly Spirit filled.  In the Book of Acts, we see a picture of a Spirit-filled church.  The leaders met daily for prayer, and on the way to prayer, their shadows healed the sick!  Their offerings went to feed the poor.  Out of their sense of love and community, they held all things in common.   In that atmosphere, the church grew exponentially. 

I know some are thinking, "My church is getting close to this example."  Oh, I forgot to mention, in a Spirit filled church, if you lied, you died (see Acts). 

You see, let's not accept that we are further along spiritually than we are.  God desires to take us further, deeper into eternal life.  Having a spiritual gift doesn't mean that you are filled with the Holy Spirit; being born again does not mean you are also Spirit filled.  I have never met a truly spiritually mature person who was anxious; no one who is nervous about time can truly be led by the Holy Spirit. 

Where Do We Go from Here?
In our quest to walk in eternal life, we must allow the Holy Spirit to excavate our hearts of self.  If we want to tune into the God channel we must tune out the 'self channel," where the anxieties, fears and sins exist.  

I want a heart that can hear God; I want perception that can see God. We are too much like the world. How do we break this?  Spend time with the Holy Spirit.  Ask Him to talk to your heart and then write down what you feel He is saying.  If we want more of God, we must cultivate the awareness of His Presence, and especially listen for His voice.

We must also take faith and believe that the Spirit is here to help.  Zechariah 4:6 teaches us that it's not by our might or power, but it is by the Spirit of the Lord that we succeed.  Acts 2:17 tells us that in the last days God seeks to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. I love the words "pour out." We must stop thinking 'thimble" and think Niagara Falls!

It's time to step out of the box called 'time," and live in the Spirit.  I"m not suggesting that you become unreliable or are late for your appointments, but that you give yourself to learning how to hear God's voice and how to live in His presence.   If you are one of God's end-time elect, then it's time to rise above the pressures of time and walk in the eternal life of God.

For the Sake of the Children

Dear Friends,

Although you don't hear much about the Asian tsunami in the news anymore, the reality is that there are still millions of children that are living with its aftermath each day. To many of them, it means never seeing their parents again. To others, there is the ongoing vulnerability of being kidnapped and sold as sex slaves.

Below is a report sent out by K.P. Yohannan, founder and president of Gospel for Asia. http://www.gfa.org  Please take the time and allow the Lord to speak to you.   There are other links to ministries also reaching to help in this region at the conclusion of this email.

Thank you,

Francis Frangipane
_________________________________________

Gospel for Asia Video Update - Tsunami Orphans, One Month Later
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January 26, 2005  -  Vol. V  Issue 3  -  160,000 Subscribed
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Dear Friends in Christ,

It has been one month since the tsunami, and for many in the West, it is now a distant memory.  The news media has moved on to other topics.  But I have just returned from Sri Lanka and India, and for the children there who lost their parents to the killer waves, this event will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

During my time with these children, I came to understand the depth of their loss -- and what it means for their future.  Who will nurture them during their critical years as they grow from a child into a young adult?  Who will guide their development as they seek meaning and purpose as they go through adolescence and into their critical teen years?  Where will they find life-sustaining hope after their dreams were lost in the waves?

Gospel for Asia is committed to be there for these children as long as God gives us this privilege.  Already, we are responsible for some 10,000 boys and girls who have no one else to turn to.  And we are taking this privilege seriously -- providing water, food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and the nurturing and counseling these traumatized children require.  But even more important, we are letting them know that their heavenly Father will never abandon them, and that through His people, His love will surround them all the days of their lives.

Thank you for remembering these children in your prayers. They need your support now as never before.

May God bless you as you live for Him,

K.P. Yohannan
Founder & President
Gospel for Asia
_________________________________________

Here are a few organizations where you can give to help with the relief efforts.

Salvation Army
http://www.salvationarmy.org/

International Justice Mission
http://www.ijm.org/

Voice in the City Ministries
http://www.voiceinthecity.org/

World Vision
http://www.worldvision.org/

Catholic Relief Services
http://www.catholicrelief.org/

Anguish in the Heart of God

By Francis Frangipane

While the tragedy of the Asian tsunami has drawn our hearts to its widespread death and apocalyptic devastation, there has been another tragedy repeatedly striking this same region for decades.  Yet this ongoing disaster has been almost completely ignored.  What is the horror of which I write?  This part of the world is infamous because of the trafficking of slavery, especially women and children. 

The Polaris Project explains: 'trafficking in persons, also known as human trafficking, is the modern practice of slavery. It is the third largest criminal industry in the world today, after arms and drug dealing, and is the fastest growing."

Quoting information from the Salvation Army: "Almost 200,000 Nepali girls, many under 14, are sexual slaves in India. Experts estimate that 10,000 children aged between six and 14 are virtually enslaved in brothels in Sri Lanka. Around 15,000 children were sold into sexual slavery in Cambodia between 1991-97. Asian women are sold to North American brothels for $16,000 each. The Thai Government reports that 60,000 Thai children are sold into prostitution -- independent non-governmental organization (NGO) experts estimate the figure to be closer to 800,000."  See Sexual Trafficking: Fighting the New Slave Trade 

In his swearing-in speech in March, 2003, John R. Miller, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, said: 'the dimensions of the modern day slavery challenge that we face are vast. There are not thousands or hundreds of thousands but over a million people who are trafficked and enslaved every single year. That's right -- over a million every single year."
I could go on. Picture your child kidnaped and sold into a sex ring.  This is the evil of this horror.  Multiply your outrage by a million women and children a year and we can get a glimpse of the anguish in the heart of God. 

There is some effort to counter this wickedness on an international scale. The United States, in its implementation of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, has become increasingly more vigorous in its strategies to protect and assist victims, prosecute traffickers, educate travelers, and prevent trafficking (See Article). Still, a great many of those kidnapped and sold into slavery come from the nations hit by the tsunami. 

I believe the Holy Spirit is using the tsunami, not only to stir compassion in the world, but also to spotlight the sickness and horror of the slave trade.   Now is the time we must mobilize spiritually.  What can we do?  First, let us pray with fervor and give with generosity to help the regions stricken by the tsunami.  Yet, as the Holy Spirit exposes this deep wickedness upon a worldwide stage, let us prevail in prayer for a worldwide response to crush the slave trade.  
  • Pray for all those Christian aid workers who have been welcomed into these non-Christian nations.  Pray that God will use them to truly represent His heart.  Pray for their protection and strength.  This is an unprecedented opportunity, especially in reaching the lost. 
  • Pray that nations will stop tolerating the sexual exploitation of women and children, that they will enact and enforce strict punishment of slave traders and pimps.
  • Pray for the local pastors and Christians who are already living in this region of the world. They are the ones who must deal personally with this great tragedy while also rendering themselves servants of God to help others. They need our prayers to stand in this hour of testing and find ways to transform their culture.
  • Pray that the markets for slaves will also come under international pressure and that those who carry out these wicked crimes will be incarcerated.
Finally, support with your prayers and funds those organizations that are currently involved in rescuing and rehabilitating the victims of slavery.  One place to start is with the Salvation Army, which not only has people on the ground in these areas, but also knows which ministries have been effective in rescuing people from slavery.  Another organization you can give through as well is the International Justice Mission headed by Gary Hagan http://www.ijm.org

Just as the tragedy of 9/11 focused the world on the horrors of Islamic extremism, so this tragedy is turning our eyes, resources and resolve toward ending modern slavery.  Where is God in the tsunami tragedy?  He is in our hearts to remedy this horrible injustice.

Here is an updated list of a few organizations where you can give your gift.

Salvation Army
International Justice Mission
Voice in the City Ministries
World Vision
Catholic Relief Services