His Righteous Right Hand

By Francis Frangipane

Dream, 12/21/08:
I was in an airport waiting for a delayed flight when a group of men invited me to join their card game. Although in real life I would be uncomfortable playing cards for money, in the dream I not only joined them, but I was soon winning most of the hands. In fact, I had hundreds of dollars accumulated in just a few minutes. In response, the other players began to scheme against me. Yet in spite of this, I repeatedly came out on top. Even when I lost a few hands, I would then win big the next round so that I covered my occasional losses.

A fellow who knew I was a man of God saw me and chided me for gambling. I understood his concern, but the game had a prophetic dimension to it, and it seemed right that I should be playing. The fact was, no matter what cards I was dealt or how the other players conspired against me, I consistently won. Of course, I couldn’t play presumptuously; I had to follow the rules and truly play the game. But I soon realized that the difference between my insufficient efforts and my amazing success was God. The Lord was actually on my side, working behind the scenes, helping me to emerge from the game like a champion.

Interpretation:
First, this was not a dream about God helping me gamble. It was a parable about winning at the game of life. I saw that, even when the cards are stacked against me, since God is with me, I inevitably will prosper. I also saw that when our faith is living, we have confidence. Confidence is the barometer of faith. God wants us confident in Him, regardless of our circumstances in life.

You see, too many of us are weighed down with doubt. This is vital, my friends, for our world has been baptized into fear, and fear is contagious. Many are quietly becoming so cautious that they are aren’t moving spiritually. They still live moral lives, but they have no goals set before them, no vision. Yet, it is in this very season of increasing fear that the Lord desires for us to be increasingly confident. Remember, I’m not speaking of arrogance, but confidence. Hebrews says, "Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward" (Heb. 10:35).

For people with faith, this is actually a day of great opportunity. People are asking questions, and the fields are ripe for harvest. In a time when fear will cause men’s hearts to fail, those who "know their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Dan. 11:32 KJV). God wants you confident!

Those Who Overcome
You see, there is a difference between knowing doctrinally God is for us and actually believing the Most High is at our right hand. Listen to the Lord’s promise:

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (Isa. 41:10).

If we genuinely trust Him, walk humbly, and persevere in faith, we will gain the upper hand no matter what circumstance or conspiracy is set against us.

One may argue, "Francis, you are delusional. No one can expect to win all the time."

The principle that God is with us, that ultimately we win if we do not lose faith, is a truth repeatedly declared throughout the Bible. Paul wrote, "God . . . 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). Underline those words "always" and "every place." Remember, Paul wrote 2 Corinthians under great duress (see chap 1). Yet, in that very context, he said God "always leads us in triumph."

When I told my wife the dream, she said she had just been studying Romans 8:28. This verse reads: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God." As we set our hearts to simply love God, we will discern He is, in fact, working in us, through us, behind us and often in spite of us! Indeed, as I review my life, I have found that none of the weapons formed against me have prospered (see Isa. 54). The Lord has always led me in Christ’s triumph.

Now, I am not implying that I’ve never failed or that my mistakes are few and rare. No, I fail often and come short daily. I’ve had to fight for my life at times, and sometimes the fight took months and even years. Yet, God has always been there; He is at my right hand to cleanse, restore and empower me no matter what I have had challenge me. I can say with awe, "No weapon formed against me has prospered."

Even in times of sorrow, the Lord never forsakes us. The psalmist wrote, "Passing through the valley of Baca (weeping)," God transforms our weeping into "a spring," and covers our pain "with blessings" (Ps. 84:6). Ultimately, even death itself will be "swallowed up in victory" (1 Cor. 15:54).

We Cannot Lose
There was one more part to the dream. As I walked away from the gamblers, two of them accosted me seeking at knife-point to take the money I had won. My response was to laugh out loud. "You want the money? Here. This means nothing to me. Money is not the source of my wealth."

Beloved, when God is the source of our prosperity, we can never be defrauded by man. He who steals our money, never takes our wealth. As the world’s economies wither and life’s challenges multiply, let us reclaim our focus: our great wealth is God Himself! No matter what cards we're dealt, He promises, "I will uphold you with My righteous right hand!"

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The Gift of Woundedness

By Francis Frangipane

The world and all it contains was created for one purpose: to showcase the grandeur of God's Son. In Jesus, the nature of God is magnificently and perfectly revealed; He is the "express image" of God (Heb. 1:3 KJV). Yet to gaze upon Christ is also to see God's pattern for man. As we seek to be like Him, we discover that our need was created for His sufficiency. We also see that, once the redemptive nature of Christ begins to triumph in our lives, mercy begins to triumph in the world around us.

How will we recognize revival when it comes? Behold, here is the awakening we seek: men and women, young and old, all conformed to Jesus. When will revival begin? It starts the moment we say yes to becoming like Him; it spreads to others as Christ is revealed through us.

Yet to embrace Christ's attitude toward mercy is but a first step in our spiritual growth. The process of being truly conformed to Christ compels us into deeper degrees of transformation. Indeed, just as Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered (see Heb. 5:8), so also must we. And it is here, even while we stand in intercession or service to God, that Christ gives us the gift of woundedness.

"Gift?" you ask. Yes, to be wounded in the service of mercy and, instead of closing our hearts, allow woundedness to crown love, is to release God's power in redemption. The steadfast prayer of the wounded intercessor holds great sway upon the heart of God.

We cannot become Christlike without being wounded. You see, even after we come to Christ, we carry encoded within us preset limits concerning how far we will go for love, and how much we are willing to suffer for redemption. When God allows us to be wounded, He exposes those human boundaries and reveals what we lack of His nature.

The path narrows as we seek true transformation. Indeed, many Christians fall short of Christ's stature because they have been hurt and offended by people. They leave churches discouraged, vowing never again to serve or lead or contribute because, when they offered themselves, their gift was marred by unloving people. To be struck or rejected in the administration of our service can become a great offense to us, especially as we are waiting for, and even expecting, a reward for our good efforts.

Yet wounding is inevitable if we are following Christ. Jesus was both "marred" (Isa. 52:14) and "wounded" (Zech. 13:6), and if we are sincere in our pursuit of His nature, we will suffer as well. How else will love be perfected?

Yet, let us beware. We will either become Christlike and forgive the offenders or we will enter a spiritual time warp where we abide continually in the memory of our wounding. Like a systemic disease, the hurtful memories infect every aspect of our existence. In truth, apart from God, the wounding that life inflicts is incurable. God has decreed that only Christ in us can survive.

The Wounds of a Prayer Warrior
Intercessors live on the frontier of change. We are positioned to stand between the needs of man and the provision of God. Because we are the agents of redemption, Satan will always seek the means to offend, discourage, silence, or otherwise steal the strength of our prayers. The wounding we receive must be interpreted in light of God's promise to reverse the effects of evil and make injustice work for our good (see Rom. 8:28). Since spiritual assaults are inevitable, we must discover how God uses our wounds as the means to greater power. This was exactly how Christ brought redemption to the world.

Jesus knew that maintaining love and forgiveness in the midst of suffering was the key that unlocked the power of redemption. Isaiah 53:11 tells us, "By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities."

Jesus possessed revelation knowledge into the mystery of God. He knew that the secret to unleashing world-transforming power was found at the cross, in suffering. At the cross, payment for sin was made. As Christ forgave His enemies, heaven's power rent the temple veil in two. Christ's stripes purchased our healing. I am not just talking about suffering, but the suffering of love.

The terrible offense of the cross became the place of redemption for the world. Yet, remember, Jesus calls us to a cross as well (see Matt. 16:24). Wounding is simply an altar upon which our sacrifice to God is prepared.

Listen again to Isaiah's prophetic description of Jesus' life. His words at first seem startling, but as we read, we discover a most profound truth concerning the power of woundedness. He wrote, "But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand" (Isa. 53:10).

How did the power of God's pleasure prosper in Christ's hand? During His times of crushing, woundedness and devastation, instead of retaliating, Jesus rendered Himself "as a guilt offering."

The crushing is not a disaster; it is an opportunity. You see, our purposeful love may or may not touch the sinner's heart, but it always touches the heart of God. We are crushed by people, but we need to allow the crushing to ascend as an offering to God. The greatest benefit of all is the effect our mercy has on the Father. If we truly want to be instruments of God's good pleasure, then it is redemption, not wrath, that must prosper in our hands. If we are Christ-followers, we must offer ourselves as an offering for the guilt of others.

Conformed to the Lamb
When Christ encounters conflict, though He is the Lion of Judah, He comes as the Lamb of God. Even when He is outwardly stern, His heart is always mindful that He is the "guilt offering." Thus, Jesus not only asks the Father to forgive those who have wounded Him, but also numbers Himself with the transgressors and intercedes for them (see Isa. 53:12). He does this because the Father takes "no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezek. 33:11), and it is the pleasure of God that Jesus seeks.

Is this not the wonder and mystery, yes, and the power, of Christ's cross? In anguish and sorrow, wounded in heart and soul, still He offered Himself for His executioners' sins. Without visible evidence of success, deemed a sinner and a failure before man, He courageously held true to mercy. In the depth of terrible crushing, He let love attain its most glorious perfection. He uttered the immortal words, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).

Christ could have escaped. He told Peter as the Romans came to arrest Him, "Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matt. 26:53). In less than a heartbeat, the skies would have been flooded with thousands of warring angels. Yes, Jesus could have escaped, but mankind would have perished. Christ chose to go to hell for us rather than return to heaven without us. Instead of condemning mankind, He rendered "Himself as a guilt offering" (Isa. 53:10, italics mine). He prayed the mercy prayer, "Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34).

Jesus said, "He who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also" (John 14:12). We assume He meant that we would work His miracles, but Jesus did not limit His definition of "works" to the miraculous. The works He did---the redemptive life, the mercy cry, the identification with sinners, rendering Himself a guilt offering---all the works He did, we will "do also."

Thus, because He lives within us, we see that Isaiah 53 does not apply exclusively to Jesus; it also becomes the blueprint for Christ in us. Indeed, was this not part of His reward, that He would see His offspring? (see Isa.. 53:10) Beloved, we are the progeny of Christ!

Read these words from Paul's heart:

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions" (Col. 1:24).

What did the apostle mean? Did not Christ fully pay mankind's debts once and for all? Did Paul imply that we now take Jesus' place? No, we will never take Jesus' place. It means that Jesus has come to take our place. The Son of God manifests all the aspects of His redemptive, sacrificial life through us. Indeed, "as He is, so also are we in this world" (1 John 4:17).

Paul not only identified with Christ in his personal salvation, but he was also consumed with Christ's purpose. He wrote, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Phil. 3:10).

For those who blame others for the decline of our nation, to be a follower of the Lamb, you must render yourself as an offering for their sin. By your wounds they shall be healed.

What a wondrous reality is the "fellowship of His sufferings." Here, in choosing to yoke our existence with Christ's purpose, we find true friendship with Jesus. This is intimacy with Christ. The sufferings of Christ are not the sorrows typically endured by mankind; they are the afflictions of love. They bring us closer to Jesus. We learn how precious is the gift of woundedness.

Let's pray: Father, I see You have had no other purpose in my life but to manifest through me the nature of Your Son. I receive the gift of woundedness. In response, in surrender to Christ, I render myself an offering for those You've used to crush me. May the fragrance of my worship remind You of Jesus, and may You forgive, sprinkle and cleanse the world around me.





Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The Power of One Christlike Life" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

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The Day the Lord Has Made


By Francis Frangipane

At any given moment there exists, at the doorway to the future, two possible realities. The first realm is a darkened world full of the consequences of sin. Its ongoing rebellion toward God, coupled with the unredeemed events of the past, makes this reality a living extension of hell. Here, conflicts escalate into wars and become more devastating; in this infected world, morality degrades into depravity. Yes, and among those who would seek to make a difference, the grip of fear immobilizes their actions. It is of this demonically manipulated world that the Scripture tells us to walk circumspectly for "the days are evil" (Eph. 5:16).

Those Who Make A Covenant With God

By Francis Frangipane

The Covenant- Keeping God
Throughout the history of God's dealings with man, He has revealed Himself as a covenant-making God. The Almighty covenanted with Noah, Abraham, Moses and David; He renewed His Abrahamic covenant in His call to Isaac and Jacob. Each covenant initiated a new wave of redemptive power into the world and forever impacted the human condition.

The word covenant means "to fetter" or chain together. It was the highest form of commitment that two individuals could share. Any of several rituals were employed to express the covenant partners’ unity: A sword might be passed, signifying that the two would be united against the enemy as one. They might pass a sandal between themselves, which symbolized they would travel any distance to be at one another's side. Or, they might cut an animal in two and pass between its halves. Just as the two halves, though separated, were still one animal, so the two covenant partners would become as one individual.

When the Lord initiated His covenant with a man, He did so as an extension of His eternal purpose; the man was a component in a series of divine initiatives. Contained within the Lord's covenant was His divine intervention, His supernatural wisdom and strategies, and His provisions.

Thus, if we look at the Lord's call to Noah, we see that it was not the ark, but the covenant of God, that preserved Noah and his family during worldwide judgment. Noah was a component, a factor in a series of divine initiatives, which accomplished the Lord's predetermined plans. God established the covenant, designed the ark and brought the animals. The Lord even shut the door after Noah entered the ark.

When the Lord established His covenant with Abraham, twice a flaming torch passed through the halves of the animals Abraham offered in sacrifice. The two passes signified that God would keep His part of the covenant and He would keep Abraham's part of the covenant as well! Today, a restored Israel testifies to God's faithfulness in His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And it is God's covenant with Abraham, not merely the Jewish military, which preserves Israel in our times.

When the Lord entered into covenant with man, God promised that the covenant conditions and possibilities would not only apply to His servant, but His servant's descendants as well. Noah and his family, Abraham and his seed, and David and his family were all united as beneficiaries of God's covenant relationship. Similarly, we are saved and sustained through life's battles by Christ's covenant with the Father.

Payment And Pattern
Our salvation has been secured, not only because Jesus died for our sins, but because His death was part of a covenant He had with the Father. The fact that Jesus suffered on my behalf is staggering, but His crucifixion was a component of an even more powerful reality: His covenant with the Father.

The terms of Christ's covenant were such that, if He would live His life blamelessly and offer that holy life upon the cross for sins, everyone who looked to the Son of God would be granted forgiveness. The Father would look to Christ's sacrifice and see justice; and sinners would look to Jesus and find mercy. Yet, as maturing disciples, we find in Christ's covenant-mission not only our peace, but also a pattern Christ calls us to follow. He told His disciples, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you" (John 20:21). Having laid down His life in covenant surrender, He now bids us, "Take up [your] cross, and follow Me" (Matt. 16:24). Of course, our cross does not replace His cross nor do the sub-covenants we make with God supersede Christ's covenant. The truth is, our cross extends the power of Christ's cross into our world and times, and our sub-covenant with God finds its backing because of Christ's covenant with God.

Thus, the Lord calls us to follow Him in personal covenants for our homes, cities and nations. The covenant we embrace is nothing less than the expression of Christ's nature, revealed again through us for our families, cities and nation.

The Harvest and Covenant Power
To many Christians, the idea of making a special covenant with God is unfamiliar. Yet, I believe that many have already felt the Holy Spirit speaking, urging them to deepen their commitment to Christ. Even so, covenants and our obedience to them must come from our hearts in response to the Lord's initiative. You will know the extent of your covenant by the measure of vision and faith, which also come from God.

Especially in the last days, we need to become a people who know the truth given us through Christ's covenant. And, in following Him, we should also know the unique endowment of grace He brings in making special covenants with us.

Indeed, Daniel 11:28-32 warns that the last days will be a time of unprecedented deception and spiritual intrigue. According to this text, Satan's rage will be hurled uniquely against "the holy covenant"! (v. 28a). Yet, in this same chapter we read, "But the people who know their God will display strength and take action. And those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many" (Dan. 11:32-33a).

The prophecy continues, "And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever" (Dan. 12:3). In the midst of great deception there will be a time and a people who know their God, have great insight, do exploits and lead many to righteousness. They will receive a new and powerful endorsement of God's Spirit.

Additionally, if the enemy will be warring specifically against the holy covenant, we can assume there is something of unparalleled power that Christ's covenant provides against Satan! A new authority is coming to those who desire full conformity to Christ. For a great harvest is indeed prophesied for the end of this age, and those leading the way will be individuals who understand Christ's covenant and have themselves covenanted with God for their land.

God's Unalterable Commitment
It is right to pray for the Lord to bless our lives. However, praying for the blessing and provision of God is not the same as covenanting with Him. A covenant is an altar upon which the Lord and His covenant partner give themselves fully to each other. The quality of a covenant relationship with God does not cease once prayers have been answered. For, in covenant love we mature from simply being "believers" to becoming living sacrifices, given to God's highest plans. By so yielding, He creates within us a life that He can use extraordinarily in the process of divine redemption.

Covenant power is greater than that which comes through prayer alone. The effects of a covenant reach far beyond simple faith. Prayer and faith are essentials; they are prerequisites, but not substitutes, for covenant power. The covenant relationship is a lifelong pledge, an unbreakable oath that God Himself initiates and promises to sustain. Contained within His promise is His unalterable commitment, not only to satisfy His redemptive purposes, but also to supply grace and faith to His human counterpart. Together, the all-sufficient God and a believing man accomplish the impossible through their covenant relationship.

The Power Released in a Covenant

A covenant with God accomplishes two interconnected goals. It thrusts us beyond "subjective prayer" (prayer made primarily for our personal needs), and it brings us into a deeper commitment to God. Out of greater commitment comes greater grace to accomplish God's redemptive work in the world. An example of covenant power is seen in ancient Israel during the revival that occurred after Athaliah, an idolatrous Judean queen, was dethroned. Jehoiada, the high priest, looked to God in covenant prayer. We read, "Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people, that they should be the Lord's people" (2 Kings 11:17).

The result of his covenant was that grace came upon the people and they cleansed the land of idolatry. We read, "So all the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet" (v. 20). Jehoiada's covenant brought the nation back to God and ended violence in Jerusalem!

Consider also the power released in Hezekiah's covenant with God. The nation of Judah had been fully corrupted by Ahaz, the preceding king. However, Hezekiah began his reign by seeking God's highest favor. He opened the doors of the temple and reconsecrated the priests.

Yet, the purification of priests and buildings by themselves would not have brought about revival had not Hezekiah taken one further step. He said, "Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His burning anger may turn away from us" (2 Chr. 29:10).

Just eight days after the king made a covenant with the Lord, we read, "Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly" (v. 36). The difference between a long-term struggle and a speedy turning of the nation was, I believe, in the power that was released when the king covenanted with the Almighty.

It is vital that we who are Americans remember that our spiritual forefathers were people who knew and exercised principles of covenant sacrifice. When they came to this country, they knelt on its shores and covenanted with God for this land, dedicating the "new world" to Christ and His kingdom. It is unlikely that the revival of our nation will come without local and national church leaders covenanting together with God for their land.

Making A Covenant With God
A personal covenant with God is a serious commitment, worthy of extended prayer and focused waiting before God. I have covenanted with the Lord to see the body of Christ delivered of carnal divisions and racism; my covenant goal is that Christ's prayer of John 17 be answered.

I have also united my life and faith with the covenants of our Pilgrim forefathers. Together with other brethren, both locally and nationally, we have covenanted with God to see this land restored according to 2 Chronicles 7:14.

I believe there will be a time when this nation, like all nations, will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev 11:15). Until then, whether revival comes quickly or we pass through the fires of divine judgments, our lives belong to Christ-not simply to be blessed or prosperous, but to see His highest purposes accomplished in our land.

However, not all of us will covenant with God for the nation. According to their faith, some will make covenants with Him for their families. Others will covenant to see abortion ended in their cities. While still others will covenant with God for the church--to see unity established in the citywide church in their cities.

Making a covenant with God takes us further into our goal of Christlikeness. It is the highest relationship we can enjoy with God and it is the most deeply surrendered. It is, in truth, that which brings Him the most pleasure. To those who covenant with God, He says, "Gather My godly ones to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice" (Ps 50:5). Today, as this nation stands at the threshold of two realities, let us take time in contemplative prayer and kneel before the Almighty Father. In Christlike, focused surrender, as Christ was a living sacrifice for our sins, so let us become living sacrifices to God for those we love. Let us embrace covenant oneness with God that His purpose and passions be fulfilled in our lives and in our times.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The Power of Covenant Prayer" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

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

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

Where a Desolate Soul Finds God

By Francis Frangipane

Jesus gave the last hours of this age a poignant headline. He called this period "The Great Tribulation." The word rendered tribulation means "grievous affliction or distress; pressure or burden upon the spirit." As we move closer toward the end of this age, we should expect that catastrophic distresses and pressures on man shall increase.

Added to the increasing stress of our times is the decreasing desire of government and society in general to restrain moral decadence. We live in a time when a significant portion of our society is in open and defiant rebellion toward God. The prophetic words of Psalm 2 are being fulfilled before our eyes: World and local leaders "take their stand and the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed" (v. 2). As they renounce moral values, their militant cry is, "Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!" (v. 3).

Jesus warned of this day, saying, "Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold" (Matt. 24:12, NKJV). If you are one who has resisted the increasing darkness, you know how intense and multifaceted the battle is. Whether you are fighting to remedy an injustice in your community or just trying to keep your family together, barely do we make headway in one area before five other areas are breeched.

In spite of breakthroughs occurring in several cities, many good people have grown weary. They are just going through the motions. The prophet Daniel warned of a time when the enemy would "…wear down the saints of the Highest One" (Dan. 7:25). To emerge victorious in this day, we must climb into the reality given to us by God in Psalm 91. There is place of replenishing life---a fountain of eternal life where we can abide. The Bible calls this place the shelter of the Most High.

Elijah: a Man Like Us
Elijah was a man with passions like ours, and he fought in a spiritual war similar to ours. In his battle for the soul of Israel, he stood against the wiles of Jezebel and her husband, King Ahab. Yet his most intense battle was not against visible foes but against personal discouragement.

As bold as Elijah was, he lived as a fugitive moving in and out of caves and places of hiding. Jezebel had murdered nearly all of the Lord's prophets, replacing their godly influence with the dark, satanic oppression accompanying the priests of Baal and the Asherah. A new initiative, however, had come from the Lord: Both Elijah and the prophets of Baal were to build altars, each to the deity they individually served. The God who answered with fire would be acknowledged as Lord over the nation.

King Ahab and all Israel came to the confrontation. Try as they may, the priests of Baal could draw no response from their demonic idol, Baal. In dramatic contrast, at Elijah's prayer, fire immediately fell from heaven and consumed his sacrifice. This was Elijah's greatest victory. And when the Israelites saw the display of God's power, they bowed to the ground saying, "The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God" (1 Kings 18:39).

But the Lord was not finished. After Elijah had the priests of Baal executed, he went to the top of Mount Carmel, and, kneeling face down, he prayed seven times for rain until the Lord brought a great downpour that ended a devastating three-year drought. On this one day, both fire and rain miraculously fell from heaven!

Perhaps if this tremendous day had occurred at almost any other time in Israel's history, the nation would have repented, but it did not. Baal worship should have ended, but it continued. In fact, nothing changed. Instead of the revival that Elijah envisioned, the opposite occurred: an enraged Jezebel vowed to kill the Lord's prophet, spurring Elijah to flee into the wilderness. There Elijah collapsed, exhausted and despondent, beneath a juniper tree. "It is enough; now O Lord," the weary prophet prayed, "take my life, for I am not better than my fathers" (1 Kings 19:4).

Elijah had offered the Lord his very best effort. This day had been the culminating event of his life. Elijah had prayed that Israel would know the Lord was their God and that, in response, the Lord would turn Israel's "heart back again" (1 Kings 18:37). Yet, like the prophets before him, Elijah could not trigger revival for Israel. Discouragement overwhelmed him. He had had enough.

Have you been to the point of spiritual or emotional exhaustion where you too have said, "It is enough"? Perhaps you were frustrated by your own inability to effect positive change in your family or you've fasted and prayed for your church or society but no visible change occurred. You gave your all but found little success. Disheartened and weary like Elijah, all your resources were spent.

Elijah laid down and slept. As he did, an angel touched him and said, "Arise, eat" (1 Kings 19:5). At his head were bread and water. Elijah, weary with life itself, ate and withdrew back into sleep.

Once more the angel touched him. "Arise," he said "Eat, because the journey is too great for you" (v. 7). For all our visions, plans, and programs, the journey before each of us is also "too great." Indeed our journey is divinely designed to be too great for us. The Lord has no plan where we succeed without Him. Life is so constructed to drive us to God.

Back to Our Foundations
"So [Elijah] arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God" (1 Kings 19:8).

The Lord gave Elijah strength, not to send him back to battle but to bring him back to basics. If we become more consumed with our task than we are with our love for God, our lives will eventually become brittle and desolate. To restore our souls, the Lord brings us back to the essentials of our faith. Indeed, He might even stop our labors completely and direct us to the simpler realities of prayer, time in the Word, and worship. He reminds us that, of all He calls us to accomplish, His greatest commandment is to love Him with all our "heart…soul…mind…and…strength" (Mark 12:30). Without this focus, we lose touch with God's presence; we are outside the shelter of the Most High.

The Lord brought Elijah to "Horeb, the mountain of God." In Hebrew, Horeb means "desolation."[Hebrew: Charab - to make desolate.] The barren environment mirrored Elijah's soul. Yet to God, Horeb was actually a place where the issues of a man's heart were flushed to the surface. There is no theater at Horeb, no acting. It is the place of unembellished honesty and core-to-surface transparency.

How Did You Get Here?
Perhaps Elijah's greatest virtue was his zeal. Indeed, twice in his communication with God, Elijah speaks of having been "very zealous" for the Lord. But zeal unaccompanied by wisdom eventually becomes its own god. It compels us toward expectations that are unrealistic and outside the timing and anointing of the Lord.

To remain balanced, zeal must be reined in and harnessed by strategic encounters with the living God. Otherwise we become frustrated with people and discouraged with delays. We step outside our place of strength and spiritual protection.

Elijah had come to Horeb and lodged there in a cave. Soon the Word of the Lord came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (v. 9). This is one of the most important questions God will ever ask us. His question probes the reality of our spiritual state: "How did your service to Me become dry and desolate?" God wants us to know that when we fail to esteem Him as our first love, we will always find a desert awaiting us.

Our primary purpose in life must be to abide in Christ. Otherwise we can become so consumed with the deteriorating condition of the world that we fail to see the deteriorating condition of our own soul. In His love, the Lord stops us and forces us to look honestly at our heart: Is this existence that I now live the abundant life promised me from Christ?

Let's speak candidly. We have nothing to prove and no need to pretend. We can abandon the internal mechanisms of defensiveness and pride. If we are disappointed, we are free to express it; if frustrated, we can admit it. We must simply and truthfully evaluate, without rationalization, our true spiritual condition.

Lord, reveal to me my heart. Bring to the surface of my consciousness those disappointments and heartaches, as well as my sins and failures. Remove Remove the cargo of oppression from my soul. Help me, Master, to lie still as You perform heart surgery on me.

Transparency is the outer garment of humility, and humility draws the grace of God to our hearts. Is not intimacy with God the very thing we most neglect? And is not the Lord alone our source of strength in battle? If the enemy can distract us from our time alone with God, he will isolate us from the help that comes from God alone.

Let us, therefore, approach the living God without any garment other than transparency.

A Fresh Anointing
As the pressures of this age escalate, we will soon discover that yesterday's anointing will not suffice for today's battles. The Lord brought a new beginning to Elijah's life at Horeb---one that would ultimately release a "double portion" of power to Elijah's successor, Elisha. Under this new anointing, Jezebel would be destroyed, Baal worship abolished, and the only period of revival the northern tribes ever experienced would begin.

To reach a similar place of breakthrough, it will take more than the momentum of our own zeal. We should not be surprised if God calls us to pass through our own Horeb.

How will we recognize this place? Horeb is the voice of personal desolation; it is the desperate compelling of our heart to possess more of God. We must now listen carefully to the voice of God. For it is at Horeb that He brings us deeper into Himself. It is here, under the canopy of His compassion, that we discover the purpose of our brokenness: our desolation is, in fact, a time of preparation.

The Lord is about to bring a new beginning to you. When you return to the battle, you shall war from the shelter of the Most High.

Lord Jesus, apart from You, my life is dry and desolate. Forgive me for trying to do Your will without abiding in Your presence. I desperately need You, Lord. This day, I commit my heart to return to my first love. Teach me, Lord, to consider intimacy with You the greatest measure of my success. Let me see Your glory; reveal to me Your goodness. Guide me, Oh Holy Spirit, into the spiritual fortress of the presence of God. Amen.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The Shelter of the Most High" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.


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With the Glance of Your Eyes

By Francis Frangipane

"Who is this that grows like the dawn, as beautiful as the full moon, as pure as the sun, as awesome as an army with banners?" (Song of Sol. 6:10).

In spite of all the controversy and strife in our world, regardless of the clashing opinions in today's religious wars, the focus of Christ still remains upon His bride. It is our quest to turn our gaze toward Him.

Most of us sincerely love the Lord and are thankful for all He has done. However, too many are more comfortable celebrating what Jesus has done than accepting who He desires to be to us. We sing of His victories and teach of His mercies, yet rarely do we quiet our hearts and surrender to His presence. We want Him near enough to protect us but not so close that our consciousness is captured by His presence.

How Blessed is He Who Considers the Helpless

By Francis Frangipane

Flood Update:

A number of you asked to be updated concerning flood recovery here, and we greatly appreciate your concern. Until you see the devastation, its really hard to imagine the costs, both financially and emotionally. Estimates to repair the city and prevent future flooding will be well over a billion dollars, and that does not include costs to residents: more than 5,000 homes were damaged or destroyed---and more than 1,000 flood-damaged businesses and industries. Most of the people did not have flood insurance. In the end, the floodwaters covered 1,300 Cedar Rapids city blocks, 9.2 square miles in a city that covers roughly 70 square miles.

The cameras and national news agencies have left; the big charities and government agencies are on to other things as well. And while construction and remodeling crews are hard at work, it is now mainly the church and local volunteer help that are standing with flood victims. Among these victims are many elderly and otherwise lower income people who have no recourse right now. A number of churches also suffered devastation to their buildings. These are the people your financial gifts are helping. Every penny you’ve sent has either already been given or is dedicated to helping people, and we are giving with the hope of letting the love of Jesus shine through.

As for my wife and I and most of our church, we are fine. Our concern is for our city. I probably will not make another appeal, but on behalf of those who have lost so much, I will risk asking one more time. Please consider again sending support to help these people. These kind of disasters can hit anywhere in the country; floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes are our common enemies. Yet God’s word gives each of us a tremendous promise. He says,

How blessed is he who considers the helpless;
The LORD will deliver him in a day of trouble.
The LORD will protect him and keep him alive,
And he shall be called blessed upon the earth;
And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies.
The LORD will sustain him upon his sickbed;
In his illness, You restore him to health.

                                                Psalms 41:1-4

Many of the people here are helpless. Would you extend yourself once more and give to those in need?

Thanks so much,

Pastor Frangipane

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From the bottom of my heart, on behalf of Cedar Rapids and eastern Iowa, thank you for standing with us.

Video of  Cedar Rapids

Arial photos


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Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

By Francis Frangipane

Consumer Confidence Sinks to 16-year-plus Low, so warned the headline of a recent Associated Press article. The article continued, "U.S. consumers are the gloomiest they've been since the tail end of the last prolonged recession. Inflation, sinking home values and soaring gas prices have pushed confidence to the lowest level since 1992."

You can feel the gloom seeping into our culture right now. Look at the stock market. the market is a barometer of the confidence investors have for the future. Nine months ago the stock market had climbed to 14,198. Today, it is down almost 3,000 points to 11,570. Two things control the mood of Wall Street: fear and greed. When times are good, the market climbs, but when people are fearful, their spending becomes conservative causing the market to drop.

But, is gloominess justified? The article said that consumer confidence is at "the lowest level since 1992." Does anyone remember 1992? In December of 1991 the Soviet Union had collapsed. Suddenly, the Cold War was over and America had won. Our values, vision and strength had prevailed against godless communism.  A "new normal" existed with unbelievable potential, yet most Americans were still so conditioned by the threat of nuclear war that six months into 1992 consumer confidence was lower than it is today.

What happened next? Well, in spite of the cloud of gloom over most of civilization, investors began to realize that the world had become a better place. As a result, the longest economic boom in American history began. Christian missionaries also recognized the opportunity and began the greatest surge in evangelism since Christ. Missiologists were amazed! Since 1992 more people have given their lives to Christ than the sum of all those converted since the first century!

So job losses, floods, fires and other disasters seem to be multiplying in our days. Yes, times are rough. Yet, while these are hard times, God still is working all things for good. "Hard" times do not mean "bad" times. It just means we must apply faith, keep listening to God, and for heaven’s sake, not lose our joy. Times of darkness are actually when the leaders of tomorrow are being forged. If you see light while others see gloom, your faith will inspire others to follow you into the future.

A Time of Great Potential
Personally, I believe we are on the brink of many new breakthroughs, both in the natural realm and also in the kingdom of God. Major breakthroughs are about to occur in the next three to five years. I’m not telling you to invest in the stock market, but I am saying, "Don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward" (Heb. 10:35).

Consider technology. New sciences are developing energy sources that have zero emissions and are utilizing resources that are abundantly available. Oil will still be necessary, but the idea we were running out of oil is wrong. Huge oil fields offshore in Brazil and also in the upper Dakotas and Canada offer hope for lower energy costs. New breakthroughs are also emerging in medical research. Health cures for many of mankind’s most devastating diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease, are on the horizon. These discoveries have the potential to be as stunning as Jonas Salk’s vaccine in eliminating polio.

One may ask, what about Muslim extremism? Of course, we cannot relax our guard. The enemy is never more dangerous than when his end is near. However, for all the criticism leveled at President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, I believe the bulk of the terrorist challenge we faced seven years ago has been effectively countered. The fact is, the al Qaeda led jihad against the West has failed. Bin Laden’s dream of leading a worldwide uprising against America has morphed into his own worst nightmare: He is despised both in and out of Islam.

"Al Qaeda has lost considerable popularity because its indiscriminate violence has provoked a backlash among Muslims, who have been its principal victims. Al Qaeda has murdered more Muslims than non-Muslims, more Afghans than Americans. Also more Iraqis than Americans," says James Phillips, Research Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies.

Today, the vast majority of Muslims consider bin Laden a false prophet and a heretic. Additionally, many high profile Muslim clerics are now teaching that the Koran does not call for military jihad, especially against enemies that possess vastly superior military strength. Yes, there is still Iran, and we must finish the job in Iraq and Afghanistan, but generally speaking, nearly every Muslim nation in the world has taken its stand against al Qaeda and radical Islam. Each is arresting radicals and putting them in jail.

People on the Islamic street are quietly realizing the disproportional consequences of their war against the West. They know that when Muslim extremists bomb two buildings in America, America conquers two Muslim nations in the Middle East. Moderate Muslims may not love us, but they have come to fear making America their enemy. We can thank President Bush for his passion to defend America.

Although peace is itself a worthy goal, the real outcome of the defeat of al Qaeda is a Muslim world that is seeking ways to accept the West without importing our wantonness. The shift is from confrontation to understanding the differences in our cultures and respecting them. And, this is good news for the spread of the Gospel.

Locally
You say, You don’t understand my problem. No, but I understand my problems. Here in Cedar Rapids we are dealing with the effects of a "500-year" flood. We can succumb to darkness and retreat into gloom, or instead, we can fix our eyes upon God and follow Him into citywide transformation. It may take a couple years, but the river of mud that overflowed the banks of the Cedar River has been countered by a river of life bringing healing, help and hope to the city.

Indeed, the church here was united; thousands of volunteers had truly gird themselves to serve. Even so, we have grown deeper in our unity and compassion. God has been able to export into our city something that, in many ways, is like heaven to those in need.

The testimony of a united, serving church has touched every level of government disaster relief. They have all stated the same thing: They’ve never seen churches working so selflessly or in such unity before. A new realignment has been created between the kingdom of God and our community. So, yes, our immediate circumstances are staggering, yet our eyes are on Christ and the power of His kingdom.

For each of you who has been standing with us, God bless you! Your prayers and gifts have been a great encouragement. For those who have actually come here to physically help, thank you! To all, I say, stay encouraged. Don’t be afraid of the dark! The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

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At the Threshold of Glory


By Francis Frangipane

Before Jesus comes to be glorified in the earth, He is coming to be glorified in the church.

Our salvation grants us more than just church membership and a conservative perspective. We have, in truth, become one with Christ. The Lord Jesus is our head; we are His body. He is our husband; we are His bride. He is the true vine from which we, His branches, draw our life and virtue. These images, and many more, speak openly and passionately of our eternal union with the Son of God.

Yet on a personal scale, only in the briefest of flashes have we glimpsed His mighty power working with us. We pray, we ask, we travail; but we give birth, as it were, only "to wind" (Isa. 26:18). Most of our sick receive just enough grace to endure suffering; they are not healed. On a national scale, only during the heights of revivals and spiritual awakenings has the church truly seen the arm of the Lord revealed and society significantly transformed.

However, as the day of Christ's return draws near, this seeming absence of power is in the process of dramatic change. Indeed, the promise of the Father to the Son, which shall be fulfilled on the highest level prior to the Lord's return, is that God's people "will volunteer freely in the day of Your power" (Ps. 110:3a).

There is a "day of . . . power" at hand. Yet, not only this, but accompanying this time of power will be a glorious holiness, a radiance that will also appear upon God's people: "In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew" (Ps. 110:3b). As the day of the Lord draws near, we shall shine like the dew lit by the first rays of the millennial morning.

At the end of the age, the world will see the Lord Jesus Christ leading His church in ever-increasing displays of glory. Great power from God shall rest upon those who are choosing now to humble themselves before Him. Without hype or self-promotion, the presence of God shall again be revealed among His people.

The God of Glory
Nearly every Christian I know believes we are in the closing hours of this age. How close to the end, no one knows; and when Jesus will return, none presume a guess. If our hope has truly come from heaven, then the praying, hungering church of Jesus Christ is about to enter a season of extraordinary manifestations of God's glory. We are about to engage in what Bible scholars call a "dispensational" moving of God's Spirit. During such times, the Lord has always manifested Himself in glory.

It is true that no one has seen the Father's glory, but God the Son has manifested Himself in glory numerous times in the past. Abraham saw Christ's glory while he was in Mesopotamia. Isaiah beheld Him in the year King Uzziah died. Ezekiel fell before the Living One by the river Chebar. Daniel, David, Habakkuk, Solomon, Zachariah, and Haggai all saw the glory of the Lord. In truth, the Bible was written by people who had seen God's glory!

Moses beheld Him, then Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy Hebrew elders as well. Exodus tells us these men "saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself" (Ex. 24:10). Of their encounter with the Almighty, we read, "and they saw God, and they ate and drank" (Ex. 24:11).

Think of it: "They saw God!" Could anything be more wonderful? Is there not a jealousy within you for that experience---to actually gaze upon God? To behold the Lord's glory is not only scriptural but typical during dispensational moves of God. The fact is, over three million Israelites saw God's glory on Mount Sinai. Young men, old women, and little children---people of every age and physical condition---all saw "the glory of the Lord [as it] rested on Mount Sinai" (Ex. 24:16)!

Yet, that unveiling of glory did not stop at Sinai. The entire Hebrew nation followed a cloud of glory by day and was illuminated by a blazing pillar of fire-like glory at night. This happened not just once or twice but every day for forty years! How much more shall the Lord of glory manifest Himself to us at the end of the age?

Jesus said that he who is least in His kingdom is greater than those under the old covenant (see Matt. 11:11). In what ways are Christ's followers "greater"? Those in the Old Testament saw His glory from a distance, but He has chosen to reveal His glory in and through the church! Is it not written, He is coming to be "glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed" (2 Thess. 1:10)?

Indeed, Jesus has not only given us His name and His words (see John 17:6,14), He has also granted us to partake of His radiant splendor! The very glory that was manifest in the Old Testament, He now has deposited in the spirits of those washed and made pure in His blood. He said, "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them" (John 17:22).

Yes, God will again reveal His glory at the end of the age. His divine integrity requires it be so. The unsaved world will receive from God one last, legitimate opportunity to choose, not merely between the church and the sin, but between the radiance of heaven and the horrors of hell. In truth, at the end of the age, both realms will be manifested in fullness on earth.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The Days of His Presence" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.


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From Visitation to Habitation

By Francis Frangipane

There had not been a prophet in Israel for more than 400 years. Now, in the spirit and power of Elijah, John the Baptist stood in the Judean wilderness. Lightning flashed from his eyes as his message thundered across the terrain of human souls before him. The storm of God had returned!

Historians tell us that John's penetrating ministry brought nearly one million people to a baptism of repentance. It was an unprecedented beginning to a time of visitation. It was into this electrified atmosphere of awakened faith that Jesus came, bringing miracles previously unseen in Israel's history. The presence of the living God was flowing through Christ; His message was unparalleled: the kingdom of heaven was at hand!

Yet, for all the multitudes, miracles, signs and wonders, incredibly, Jesus lamented over the nation. He wept because, according to His view, they failed to "recognize the time of [their] visitation" (Luke 19:44).

In what way did they miss this move of God? Certainly, vast multitudes responded to John's call for repentance. Clearly, people were in awe of the supernatural: the incurable had been cured and demoniacs delivered! And, what of the multitudes that followed Jesus into the wilderness whom He fed the loaves and fishes – didn't they recognize the uniqueness of this hour?

Obviously, the crowds were very familiar with the healing, miraculous dimensions of a visitation (see Luke 4:14-19; Isaiah 61:1-2). Yet, when God comes in visitation He is seeking two unfolding realities: to destroy the works of the devil and then build His kingdom into the lives of the newly healed. He does not come to heal us so we can drift back into our old lives. He heals us so He can transform us into His image. Indeed, the very captives He sets at liberty He then empowers to “rebuild the ancient ruins . . . raise up the former devastations and . . . repair the ruined cities” (Isaiah 61:4).

To ignore or minimize this transformational goal is serious. When we are given much, much is required. You see, the word visitation not only means a time of healing; it also refers to a time of inspection, of being examined closely. God not only participates in the joy of our deliverance, He is also examining us to see if we will now respond in increasing obedience.

Our obedience actually creates a different future for us, one that is blessed. Yet, if we do not respond, there are calamities awaiting also. He tells the newly healed to “not sin anymore” lest something worse happen (John 5:14). To the delivered He warns that, if their soul remains unoccupied after having their inner lives cleansed and put in order, the “last state of that man becomes worse than the first” (Matt. 12:45).

You see, at the very moment God removes our burdens, He is also removing our excuses. Having now been freed from oppression, the Lord expects that we will put aside our differences, reconcile and unite as a heavenly community, and begin to transform our world.

A New Season of Outpouring
Over the past years, the Lord has raised up an international armada of intercessory ministries. As a result of the prayer movement, especially TheCall and other solemn assemblies, the beginnings of a visitation are emerging. Reports are coming almost weekly of supernatural manifestations and revival. Many feel we are close to a spiritual awakening.

Yet, while my heart swells with joy, I also fear. For when we cry for a holy visitation, we are crying for God’s kingdom – the very reign of God to be done on earth as it is in heaven. My concern is, when we entreat the Almighty for His kingdom, are we truly ready to surrender ours?

Most in first century Israel did not understand the goal of a visitation; they were blessed, touched and healed, but they did not attain God’s purpose, and for them Jesus wept. Nevertheless, on Pentecost Christ's disciples did, in fact, carry the visitation to its appointed purpose: the early church became the dwelling of God on earth. The citywide church was united, committed to prayer and focused on Jesus (see Acts 3:1). Miracles were ordinary, as was extravagant giving to the poor. The early church set the standard for visitation: signs, miracles and conversions, but also Christ-centered unity among church leaders and believers alike.

If there is no functional, Christ-centered unity among the churches in your city, then let's begin by praying for the leaders. Yes, let us rejoice in the beginnings of revival. But, with sobriety, let us also keep in mind that the goal of a visitation from God is that we become the habitation of God.

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When Average Men Follow Christ

By Francis Frangipane

Before we doubt whether we are the caliber of the first disciples, here is a fact sheet compiled from over 200 New Testament Scriptures concerning those whom Jesus first called.

THE DISCIPLES... came to Christ, believed in Him, followed Him.

They...
dined with Him, often became hungry, often didn't have time to eat, twice fed the multitudes.

They...
received special authority to heal and deliver, became Jesus' confidants, were often rebuked and corrected, were entrusted with the mysteries of God's Kingdom.

The Full Price

By Francis Frangipane

King David and the elders of Israel were all dressed in sackcloth. They had come, each lamenting in deep repentance, to a particular mountain overlooking Jerusalem. David had sinned by taking an unauthorized census. His heart had drifted from its abiding trust in God to trusting in the strength and numbers of men. This was a serious rebellion for a man like David. Worse, David's sin had awakened the Lord's wrath and the nation was under severe judgment (see 1 Chron. 21).

Yet, the angel of the Lord appeared to David and his men and instructed them to build an altar to the Lord on a nearby threshing floor. This is not just another passing event in Israel's history; David was about to step into a pivotal moment in the unfolding of God's will in the earth. For this particular mountain was actually Mount Moriah, the very place where centuries earlier Abraham, Israel's ancestral father, came to offer Isaac in an act of supreme worship to God. It is likely that David was actually standing within a short walk of the very place where Abraham would have offered Isaac to God had not the Lord stopped him.

So David isn't standing on just any mountain, but upon Mt. Moriah, where God tested and proved the devotion of His servant (see Genesis 22). Six centuries have passed, and while nothing visible remains of Abraham's altar, the memory of Abraham and Isaac journeying to Moriah in unquestioning worship is a living reality burning brightly in the heart of God.

The Jebusites
When the angel tells David to build an altar on the nearby threshing floor, it must be noted that the land and the threshing floor belong to a man identified as Ornan (1 Chron. 21:18; "Araunah" in 2 Sam. 24:18). Remarkably, Ornan is a Jebusite. He is one of the few surviving Jebusites, who were long-standing enemies of Israel, and he is living outside of Jerusalem on Mt. Moriah.

When David became king, he conquered the Jebusites, captured their chief city, Jebus, and renamed it Jerusalem. Only a few Jebusites still lived in the area; among them is Ornan, who owns the threshing floor next to where David is standing. Ornan was watching King David, along with Israel's elders, as they knelt to the ground before God. Incredibly, this Jebusite also beholds the angel of the Lord, with sword in hand, hovering between heaven and earth.

It must have been an amazing scene. Terrified of both the angel and the king, Ornan creeps out from the threshing floor and bows to the ground before the king, willingly offering to David not only his threshing floor, but also "the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for wood and the wheat for the grain offering." Ornan says, "I will give it all" (1 Chron. 21:23). Yet David refused.

Remember, Ornan is a Jebusite, not a Jew. He had no right to this land, especially since God had given it all to Israel, including the land of the Jebusites (see Exodus 13:5). As a conquering king, David could justify taking the threshing floor, yet listen careful to David's words. He is speaking to a Jebusite when he says, "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" (1 Chron. 21:24).

Just like Abraham before him, David will not offer to God that which cost him nothing. He will pay the full price.

The Temple of God
"Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite" (2 Chron. 3:1).

When Solomon built the temple, he chose this site: the place where Abraham offered Isaac and where David, in sackcloth, paid "the full price." Today, for true Christians, Christ Himself is our temple. Certainly, of all men, Jesus paid "the full price."

Furthermore, through our union with Christ and one another, we too have become a temple of God. Yet, let us not measure ourselves by lowered standards, for God reveals the spiritual DNA of the temple as it manifest in history---in Abraham, in David and in Christ, who all paid the full price of surrender. Such is the standard for us as well.

Beloved, at the revelation of God even the gentile Ornan, a Jebusite, willingly offers his property and, though refused, participates as an example of those who truly become the temple of God.

Today, the spiritual temple of God is being rebuilt in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and Jew and Gentile are uniting in a holy habitation of the Lord. Yet this unity is not just a gathering of peoples, but an ascending of the nations up the holy hill of the Lord (Ps. 15, 24; Is 2:2). As our forebears exemplified, let us not offer to God that which is superficial or costs us nothing. For Jesus' sake, let us present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice, which is our reasonable service of worship (see Romans 12:1).

In a world intoxicated with self-gratification and deception, I am saying there are costs to becoming Christlike. Let us not offer to God that which is another's nor present to God a sacrifice which costs us nothing. Yes, salvation is free, but to possess Christ's life, let us put away a life of compromise. By the grace of God, let us pay the full price.

Lord Jesus, I desire to be fully given to You. Forgive me for offering borrowed gifts that cost me little. I want to pay the full price. Lord, make me a willing sacrifice. May my life be a true sacrifice, born of Your grace and appropriate in the building of Your house. Amen.

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

Grace Works!

By Francis Frangipane

Whether we realize it or not, most Christians of Protestant lineage carry in their doctrinal heritage the revelation of Martin Luther, that "the just shall live by faith." For whatever flaws may have otherwise been in Luther's life, his contribution remains a living revelation in the consciousness of the modern Church.

Today, we know we are saved by grace and justified by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ. The Lord's grace remains a consistent, liberating power in our lives. If I fall, grace does not retreat; rather, it lifts me up. If I become virtuous, I know virtue is truly the result of grace working in me.

We must never forget that salvation is the gift of God. As it is written, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).

God knew us before we were born. Before we knew Him, He was working in us in secret, drawing us to Himself. He led us to someone who then helped us find Christ. Of course, we told others that we made a "decision for Jesus," but in truth, it was God who made a decision for us before the foundation of the world.

So, we can thank God in Christ for liberating us from a "works based" salvation, thanking also Paul for explaining grace so well in his epistles, and Luther for persevering to see this great truth restored. It is obvious why "salvation by grace" is the inspiration behind most of our greatest hymns.

Salvation and Good Works
Christ delivered us from a religion about God and brought us into a family fathered by God. We are not working for acceptance or to earn our salvation. Such a difference is profound.

Yet, the revelation that salvation is not based on our works should not be interpreted as though the family of God is a "work-free zone." God has not liberated us from the realm of works, only from self-generated, religious "dead works." As new creations, the Holy Spirit dwells in us in an eternal relationship. His presence is a living reality, capable of speaking to us, inspiring and directing our lives to fulfill God-inspired works.

Thus, just after Paul explained our salvation is not "of works," he writes: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10).

We are not saved by our works, but neither are we saved from works. The truth is, we have been "created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand." So we are saved by faith, but God has a plan for us that requires we work with Him to see it come to pass.

Destiny
Our destiny doesn’t just happen; it is connected to our fulfilling the "works, which God prepared beforehand." God is producing something in each of us that fits into the grand scheme of His will on earth. It may be a life vocation or a prayer ministry or feeding the poor or developing spiritual gifts or editing for a Christian writer or raising godly children. The list is as endless as it is varied.

But whatever God's will is for us, Paul says, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:12-13).

"God is at work in you." This is such an amazing reality. It does, indeed, inspire fear and trembling, yet it is also the source of great confidence. For if it is God who is working in us, He will soon be working through us. It will look like us working, but it will really be God manifesting His works through us.

You see, our lives are the outworking of God’s grace. Our task is to seek Him, to study His Word, to minister to Him through prayer and worship, and to draw close to Him so we can discern what He is doing in us. Then make His inner working visible through us.

This is exactly how Jesus revealed the Father. He said, ". . . the Father abiding in Me does His works" (John 14:10). Again, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working" (John 5:17). And again, "We must work the works of Him who sent Me . . . " (John 9:4).

There should be God-inspired ideas, love-activated thoughts bubbling up into our minds from the redemptive Spirit of God. His inner working will ultimately affect every area of our lives. He will reach to others; He will work through us to reveal Jesus. These are the "good works" that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

He whose grace led us to Christ will also conform us to Christ as we obey Him. Yes, grace works!

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Praying for America By Asher Intrater

Asher Intrater is a Jewish believer in Jesus Christ, serving the Messiah in Israel. Asher's perspectives and insights are highly valued in Israel and beyond. He is also personal friend of Pastor Frangipane. Francis has asked us to pass on this urgent prayer request. www.revive-israel.org


Israeli press briefly covered the story of Barak Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ, preaching a sermon in which he repeatedly shouted, "God damn America, God damn America!" (There is no word in Hebrew for "damn" and the statement had to be translated as "God curse America".)

It is not my purpose in this article to deal with the political implications of his connections with Obama, nor with the theological issues of "liberation theology," nor even from the question of Obama's personal faith – as he openly professed that he "found Christ" in that church. I would like to approach it from a perspective of prayer: the need for us to be PRAYING FOR America.

The Jewish people were commanded to pray FOR the nation of Babel (Iraq) when they lived there in exile in the 6th century BC – Jeremiah 29. All Christians are called to pray FOR those in authority – I Timothy 2.

Jeremiah 29:7
Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it: for in its peace you will have peace.

No doubt it was difficult for the Israelites in Babel to pray for the nation they felt had abused them. Yet in their generation, Babel was the world leader, just as America is the world leader today. Although it seemed to them paradoxical, praying for Babel's well being would result in their well being. So today, America's well-being is still beneficial for most Christians, Jews, and suppressed peoples around the world.

It is easy to feel resentful against America, even for those who live there. The entertainment industry has spread sexual immorality and licentiousness; the people are often over-fed, comfort-worshiping, and self-indulgent. And yet, would you really want a world without America?

America is the only nation that has made a clear stance against Islamic Jihad. It is the only nation that has consistently supported Israel in the U.N. It is the nation which has produced most of the biblical and faith-based literature that is available. It is the nation with the best form of elections, court systems, and law making in the world. (On Friday, Iran held national elections in which all of the candidates who stood for reform against Ahmadinejad's regime were disqualified before the voting began.). America guarantees civil rights and freedom of religious expression more than any nation.

Over the last six months the U.S. dollar has fallen almost 25% on the international market. The majority of Christian charitable organizations, as well as evangelistic missions, receive their financing through the dollar. That means this year all those ministries have effectively lost 25% of their support base.

While most true believers in Yeshua (Jesus) would never voice such harsh statements as Reverend Wright, the spirit of revenge and resentment against America has had a subtle influence on many. Much so called "prayer" or "prophecies" concerning America have been nothing more than complaining and accusations before the throne of God. The result has been an inadvertent cursing of the nation and its leadership. Others have had their prayers simply neutralized, figuring it is just best not to pray for America at all.

I believe it is urgent to pray for America right now. Here are a few key pointers:

1. Moral repentance – May there be a sweep of revival across America, resulting in a sincere turning to God, integrity in government and business, a breaking of the spirits of Jezebel, rebellion and lust, a flourishing of true communities of faith.

2. Politics – May godly and righteous people be elected for the presidency, the Congress, the Senate, governors, mayors and judgeships in this year's election in November 2008. May President Bush have an effective and fruitful last year in office.

3. Economy – May the dollar stabilize and rise again on the international market, and may all the charitable and missionary organizations have their budgets met. May godly men and women arise to prosper in the business world.

4. Military – May there be a clear victory in Iraq, with the international terrorist forces being broken and scattered, with a stable and just government coalition of local Iraqis arising to run the country, and with the return of American troops. (And I personally would hope for Bin Laden to be captured or removed approximately 60 days before the elections in America.)

5. Israel – May the U.S. continue to be a loyal friend to Israel in these End Times. (The Israeli papers were quick to note that Wright's "damning" of America was partially connected to America's support of the State of Israel.)

Note: President Bush and other world leaders will be in Jerusalem for the celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary at the same time as the Global Day of Prayer and "The Call, Jerusalem" scheduled for May 11. (In fact, they will be meeting immediately after us in the same auditorium at the Jerusalem Convention Center.) Perhaps you should plan to come take part in this sacred assembly, or at least take the day to fast and pray together with us.

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

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

A Jealous God

By Francis Frangipane

Have you ever sensed spiritual resistance, as though some power much greater than you was deliberately opposing your success? We often assume it is the devil who is fighting us. Allow me to suggest that, on some occasions, what is standing in your way may not be an enemy at all; it may actually be the jealousy of God.

Is the Almighty jealous for us? Yes. The Lord describes Himself often in the Bible as "a jealous God" (Ex. 20:5, 34:14; Deut. 4:24, 5:9, etc.). We should expect He would be jealous since we have actually been created for His pleasure. While His covering, nurturing love accepts us as we are, a time comes when He begins to confront the false gods, the idols, which rule in our hearts. Indeed, anything in us that denies Him full access to our souls, that stands between our hearts and His, becomes His enemy.

The revelation that His jealousy will fight against our hidden idols can be frightening if we are intent upon sin, yet it can also be liberating if we desire intimacy with Him. For He will not allow us to find enduring fulfillment in something apart from Him.

Listen to His command in Exodus: "Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, lest it become a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim --- for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God" (Ex. 34:12-14).

Oh, let us hear God's heart in trembling fear. The Lord's very name is Jealous. Jealousy is central to His nature. Indeed, it is an abomination that false gods should occupy our hearts, for we are the temple of God.

A Land Of Idols
Israel committed many sins, but the worst of them involved idol worship; idolatry, beyond all others, tried God's heart. How does that relate to us, you ask? We don't have other gods in our society. Yes, we do. Though they are not standing openly in our city squares (usually), the idols in our land are just as demanding. In fact, our nation is full of false gods that influence both our actions and our thoughts. Since we each were created to worship God in focused purity, God must confront the idols in our hearts. Indeed, from His view idolatry is unfaithfulness.

Recall the Lord's word, "No one can serve two masters." One of the most dominant idols in our culture is obsession with wealth. Even though our currency says "In God We Trust," it is more often the dollar we rely upon, not God. In fact, while billions of the world's poor starve, we are addicted to spending our wealth selfishly upon ourselves.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, "You cannot serve (bow before) God and mammon." God, not money, must be our master. If we tithe, give to the poor, and do not let money rule us, wealth can certainly become our servant, and thus a blessing to us and others. But if we allow finances to rule us, mammon can easily become a false God adding stress and greed to our existence. Yet, remember: Jesus did not say we couldn't have money; He said we couldn't serve money. The voice of mammon must be subdued if the Lord alone is to be our Master.

Betrothed To One Lord
Consider the powerful influence that entertainment, sports, fashion and the drive for success and materialism have over American society. If the Lord has to compete with our passions, then we are harboring idols in our hearts. Fear also is a powerful idol that rules many souls, especially during these times.

We must see God's jealousy as His desire to love and shelter us through life. He is without the dark, evil elements that human jealousy has. But even with our finite understanding, we know jealousy is response to unfaithfulness in a loved one. Once human jealousy awakens, it easily can become a consuming fire. If this has happened to you, then you know somewhat how our unfaithfulness affects the Lord's heart. Paul certainly was thinking about this when he wrote, "For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin" (2 Cor. 11:2).

James 4:5 says, "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us." Yet, James also said, "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4).

The Lord jealously desires our spirit; He calls us into oneness with Him, where we live fearlessly and radiantly as His bride in the earth. Sometimes, as I seek the Lord, I call Him by His name "Jealous." It has a profound effect on my heart. I know He knows me and loves me. As I surrender to Him, I actually advance deeper into the secret chambers of His love. Yet, should I pursue other things at the expense of my time with Him --- even this writing itself --- I feel the fire of His jealousy. I am hemmed in and unable to advance successfully anywhere except toward Him.

The Idol Of Wanton Immorality
We've discussed the idol of mammon and we've mentioned other idols such as fear and worldliness. But let me also speak candidly about another false god: the powerful idol of unbridled sexuality.

Remember, in Exodus 34 we previously read the Lord's command to cut down the Asherim. The Asherim were fertility goddesses worshiped in the ancient pagan countries surrounding Israel. They were demons that had infested human sexuality and perverted it until sex actually became a central object of worship.

Today, in America, we may not have Asherim or fertility poles on the street corners, but certainly the realm of human sexuality has been exploited by the demonic realm. Sexuality is the bait used to sell a myriad of products that, in themselves, have nothing to do with sex. It's a demonic power in our world that is corrupting millions of people.

Let me be very plain: If you're watching movies or looking at other media that glorifies wanton or perverted sexuality, you're serving a demonic idol. My friends, don't compromise with immoral entertainment. Don't compromise with the sensuality that oozes from most of the fashion and music industries. Put an Internet filter on your computer so you won't stumble. Get rid of the cable movie channels that bring immorality into your home. One thing leads to another and you will soon be under the power of a corrupting and addicting influence that will literally consume your soul.

The Lord created sexuality for the purpose of natural reproduction. Reproduction is God's design, yes. But Satan has manipulated God's purpose in order to bind people to their fleshly identity. Once bound, we find ourselves trapped in an almost irresistible and insatiable hunger for increasingly perverse forms of sexuality, none of which have a purpose in reproduction or marriage fulfillment.

Beloved, don't tolerate open doors to immoral filth. Capture the first inclinations toward sensuality, for it leads to seduction and many a life has been destroyed by this idol. Do not "own" perverse thoughts that urge you toward adulterous or homosexual lifestyles. If you fall, get up, repent, and rise again (See Mic. 7:7-8). Remember, God wants you to destroy the idol of wanton sexuality, not have it destroy you. You must be aggressive and stand up and fight!

Before we pray, let's recap: God jealously desires your heart. He is looking for people who are faithful to Him in their spirits. And, He calls us to tear down and destroy the inner idols that hold influence over us.

Lord Jesus, I submit my heart to You. I want a heart free from idols, free from false gods, free from demonic masters. Father, I repent for allowing idols in my heart. In Jesus' name, I take authority over every unclean spirit that has gained access to my life through my compromise. Lord, be Thou the only God who sits in the temple of my heart."


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

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