The Christ Pattern

By Francis Frangipane

The seeking heart habitually looks to God. Was not this the inner working of Christ's heart? Yes, consider the perfections of Christ. Though He was the embodiment of God in Heaven, He laid aside His privileges of equality with God. Instead, He "emptied Himself" taking the appearance of a man, and as such patterned for us the way of a perfect man with God (Phil 2:6-8). What we see in Christ is, in truth, not merely the perfection of one’s talent or leadership abilities; in Christ we see the perfection of a surrendered heart. His life is the maturation of spiritual dependency. Christ’s incomparable righteousness, His stunning virtue and unparalleled strength of character all had to be appropriated from God the Father.

Within the Trinity, Christ demonstrates how God, manifest as a Son, submits to God manifest as the Father. In so doing, Jesus also reveals how man, patterned after the image of God the Son, draws spiritual strength and substance in seeking the Father as his life source.

It staggers me that the Son of God said of Himself, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone" (Mark 10:18). Of course Jesus was good! He was perfect. He who gazed upon Christ, feasted upon God. Yet, even here, Jesus models the pattern we must follow if we would find true spiritual fulfillment.

Christian, let us grasp this one great truth: attaining righteousness is the result of seeking God. Jesus had no plan of action other than to mirror the things He saw His Father doing. Everything we see Jesus accomplish on earth was, in fact, the result of His times of seeking God. We see the boldness of Christ and assume He moved in great faith and authority - and He most certainly did. Jesus was bold, but He was never self-willed. His faith came from seeing and hearing the Father. Whether by intuition or by physical sight or by hearing God's voice, Jesus had an inner "radar" that kept Him continually tracking and following the Father's heart.

Jesus did nothing on His own initiative (John 5:30; 8:28). The pattern He set for us is not one of a man wielding unlimited power, but a man pure in heart, seeking God as both a Son and servant. In so doing, He perfectly demonstrates that, when we ask for power or virtue from God, we are, in fact, asking to be nearer still to God the Father. The pure in heart see God; the work of power is, in truth, an act of obedience to what God revealed beforehand.

Lord, walking close to You is my plan. Hearing Your voice is my strategy. Knowing Your heart is my confidence. Master, I pray the prayer patterned by Your Son: not my will but Thine be done!

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


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When the Morning Star Rises in Our Hearts

By Francis Frangipane

It is noble that we should fight for our nation and heroic that we stand against evil. Yet, lest we despair at what seems like slow progress, let us also keep our eyes on the bigger picture. There is a day coming when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  Beloved, even before that day of Christ's return, our Father has many spiritual breakthroughs awaiting the overcoming church. He will present to His Son a church radiant, clothed in Christ's character and power. 

The Morning Star
The day of the Lord, like the dawning of any calendar day, does not burst forth abruptly. It is not pitch black at 5:59 a.m. and then, suddenly, bright morning the next minute. The night sky gradually recedes, rolling back from the approaching light of day. In the process of time transitioning from night to day, another event occurs: before the dawn breaks, the morning star begins to shine on the eastern horizon. It is a faithful herald of the coming day.

This unique morning "star" is not an actual star at all, it is the planet Venus. In the morning it is situated in our sky above the eastern horizon, appearing at the right place and at the right time to "see" the sun and announce to those in darkness, the day is soon at hand. The morning star is a small, yet brilliant preview of the light which is about to come.

The picture of the morning star serves well the biblical image of what God seeks to do with the true church at the end of the age. Concerning the end times, listen well to Peter’s words:

"So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19).

Peter’s statement is weighty, providing inspired vision concerning one dramatic phase of end-time events. Peter speaks of the "morning star" rising in the hearts of God’s people before the Lord returns. Remember, the significance of the morning star is that it appears as a herald while it is still night. It can’t be seen during the day. But here, Peter tells us that before the millennial "day [of the Lord ] dawns," in anticipation of Christ’s return, the morning star shall rise in our hearts!

You see, there is a glory coming for the overcomer at the end of the age. When I say "glory," I mean the living presence of Christ in us will increasingly manifest through us. As Paul wrote, "For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor. 4:11).

I am talking about the actual, substantial life of Jesus being "manifested in our mortal flesh." I know some of us are caught up with the issues of our lives, but we need to keep our eyes on the vision of where God is taking us! I also know some will distort what I’m saying. But, simply, at the end of the age, God has purposed to reveal Himself through His people.

So, when we speak of the morning star, we are not referring to some New Age doctrine but the actual spiritual "wattage" of God’s presence increasing. We know that such luminescence does not emanate from ourselves; it comes from our union with the Lord Jesus, and it is worked in us through the Holy Spirit as we grow into full conformity with Christ’s words.

Yet, there is something to heed here. Over and over again, Jesus warned about His followers becoming preoccupied with the world or weary in the battle. Let us remember, it is to those who overcome that Jesus says, "I will give him the morning star" (Rev. 2:28). And then He says that He Himself is the "bright morning star" (Rev. 22:16).

A day is coming before the rapture, before the second coming of Jesus Christ, when those who follow Christ will be positioned, like the morning star - in the right place at the right time - and they will herald Christ’s return. They will come from every nation, people, tribe and tongue, yet they will be one, for Christ will have given them His glory (John 17:22).

I am not saying we won’t sin; temptation will always be in our world. Yet, if we stay true to Christ, if we don’t allow ourselves to be swallowed up in the cares and issues of this age, a time will come when the presence of the Lord Jesus, like the morning star, will rise and be visibly seen upon us. At that time, the word of Isaiah the prophet shall be fulfilled, which says,

"Arise, shine ; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising."
- Isaiah 60:1-3

If you desire to pursue more on this subject, see Pastor Frangipane's book, "The Days of His Presence" available from


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Spiritual Authority and the Things We Love, Part 2

By Francis Frangipane

As wide as our sphere of love, to that extent we have spiritual authority. We see this in the mother who loves her child. Such a woman has authority to protect, train, and nurture her offspring. She has authority to protect what she loves. The same is true of the husband over his family. His authority is not merely to rule but to establish in his home the life of Christ. True spiritual authority is born of love.

The individuals who love their local congregation have authority to build up that congregation. Their authority is not extended, however, beyond the boundaries of their love. If we love the entire body of Christ in a locale, our authority touches the lives of those in our city or region, either through the burden of prayer or through teaching or outreach and service.

The testing ground of all spiritual things is love, for love alone purifies our motives and delivers us from the deceitfulness of self. Even authority in spiritual warfare must be rooted in love. David gained the skills to slay Goliath, not on a battlefield, but by defending his father's sheep from predatory animals. David loved the sheep so much that he risked his life for them. So also we grow in authority as we protect our Father's sheep, the flock He has given us to love.

Authority is muscle in the arm of love. The more one loves, the more authority is granted to him. If we love our cities and are willing to lay down our lives in service to our community, God will enlarge our hearts. He will grant us new authority in spiritual warfare. However, no man should ever engage in confrontational warfare who does not love what he has been called to protect. If you do not love your city, do not pray against the ruling forces of darkness. Satan knows the genuineness of our love by the brightness of the glory that surrounds us. A man or woman without Christ-inspired love will soon shrink back and fail in spiritual warfare. Only love "never fails" (1 Cor. 13:8).

Indeed, when it comes to spiritual warfare, there are many things the Holy Spirit has to say that we are not able to hear until the base of our love is expanded. In His wisdom, the Lord protects us from presumptuously attacking the strongholds of hell and suffering loss. Yet, if we are truly anointed in God's love, the price to see our culture saved is not too great. But it will be a price that love alone can pay.

Authority to Build Up the Body of Christ

"For even if I should boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you . . . " (2 Cor. 10:8).

Many so-called "prophets" today think they are called, like Jeremiah, to "pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow" (Jer. 1:10). Jeremiah's message was to a people who were destined to be carried off into Babylon. The prophet spoke to a people who did not have the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus. Israel was, at that time, a nation that God Himself said was destined for captivity, and had been speaking and warning against judgment for over 250 years.

Yet, even if we had only the prophet Jeremiah as our example, God's commission of Jeremiah was more than confronting sin. It also included promises of restoration and deliverance, "to build and to plant" (Jer. 1:10). To represent the heart of the Lord, which is the true prophetic role, the servant of God must know both God's grace and His truth. We must know by revelation whether the Holy Spirit is preparing to destroy or seeking to rebuild.

Today, in my opinion, we are a people coming out of captivity, a people whom God is encouraging to build, as they did in the days of Nehemiah, Ezra, Haggai, and Zechariah. We have been in exile from the promises of God, but we are returning to rebuild the Lord's house. Yes, we are in a time of judgment, correction and discipline, yet it is not a time to tear down the body of Christ; it is time to establish and to build up.

The authority coming to the Church in this next outpouring will be an authority to restore the local, citywide church. Like Paul's authority, ours will be given for building and encouraging and not for destroying.

God has this new leadership constantly before His eyes. Pastors from many denominations, along with their congregations, are meeting together in prayer, seeking to draw the very fire and heart of God into their souls. Emerging from this foundation of humility and prayer is a new authority to make disciples of Christ. Because their love extends outward into their cities, their authority reaches outward as well, even into the heavenly places. These are the leaders whom God is raising up. And those whom God raises up, He backs up with His power. Authority is muscle in the arm of love.

Dear Lord, make me a willing sacrifice. I desire Your authority, Lord. Give me courage to surrender in obedience, even when I do not see the outcome and when all I see is loss. Help me to trust as I walk through the narrow gate. Establish in me Your love that I might defend Your people with authority. In Jesus' name, amen.

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Spiritual Authority and the Things We Love, Part 1

By Francis Frangipane

While the doctrines of Christianity can be taught, Christlikeness can only be inspired. By their humble and holy lives, this next generation of leaders will inspire multitudes. They will truly walk in Christ’s love; they will be granted great authority.

The Church has many administrators, but few examples of Christ; many who can explain the doctrines of Christianity but few who walk as Jesus walked. Indeed, while many stand in leadership today, not many function in the higher realms of authority that Christ purchased for His Church. However, a new badge of authority is coming to the Church. It will bring deliverance on a scale unprecedented; in some cases, entire cities will be turned toward God.

What is spiritual authority? It is nothing less than God Himself confirming with power the word of His servant. Moses exemplified spiritual authority when he warned unrepentant Pharaoh. The Spirit of God confirmed Moses’s judgments with power that broke the pride of Egypt. Jesus manifested spiritual authority when He confronted demons in people, silenced storms, healed diseases, and then fulfilled redemption in resurrection power. The Father let none of Christ’s words go unfulfilled.

The Bible provides us with many examples of those with spiritual authority. Every example tells us the same underlying principle: those who are raised up by God are backed up by God. They will "decree a thing, and it will be established" (Job 22:28). Such is the nature of spiritual authority.

The Source of Authority
Obviously, as pastors, leaders, and intercessors, we need to operate in greater authority. Yet while we enjoy a variety of graces that add to our personal edification, God gives us authority for one specific purpose: to fulfill His purposes on the earth. What are God’s purposes? One main unveiling of the divine purpose is seen in the Great Commission. Jesus said, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" (Matt. 28:18-19).

Christ gave the Church authority to make disciples. We have been much more successful in making converts than disciples. In our day, many are believers in Jesus, but few are truly followers of Christ. If the goal is discipleship, how do we accomplish this? We are to take our converts and teach "them to observe all that [Jesus] commanded" (v. 20). When the Church returns to teaching all that Jesus taught, our disciples will have authority to do all that Jesus did.

Yet, spiritual authority is not something we possess merely because we strive for it. We cannot buy it as Simon the magician attempted to do (Acts 8:18). The power of authority will not function simply because we copy the methods of another, as the sons of Sceva realized (Acts 19:14-16). Nor can it be attained automatically because we read books about building the Church. We cannot pretend to have spiritual authority. As we focus upon obeying the words of Christ, there are divinely ordained ways for Christ’s authority to unfold in our lives.

From the beginning of our salvation we have enjoyed the Father’s unconditional love. As we mature, however, there comes a time when the Father’s love toward us seems conditional. As it was for Christ, so it is for those who follow Him. He said:

For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life.
---John 10:17

Jesus lived in the deepest intimacies of the Father’s love because He laid down His life for the sheep. If we will grow in true authority, we will do so by laying down our lives for His sheep. Have you felt the drawing, the divine working of the Father bringing you into Christlike surrender? Be encouraged: He is equipping you for this next outpouring of His Spirit. But also be advised: your authority will be an outgrowth of your life laid down in love.

As leaders, we do indeed have administrative authority due to our positions in church government; however, spiritual authority transcends administrative authority. Here is the path to true spiritual authority: in full possession of our souls, without fear or intimidation by any outside source, we choose to lay down our lives for Christ’s sheep. Yes, in full freedom, with avenues of escape plainly within view, we fearlessly surrender our souls to God.No one controls us but God, yet our lives are laid down, like Christ’s, in intercession for others. When we could easily fight and win, yet turn the other cheek; when we are unjustly opposed, yet quietly endure---at those moments spiritual authority is entering our lives.

No one has taken [My life] away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative.
---John 10:18

Jesus was not forced to accept crucifixion; He chose crucifixion. Christ’s Gethsemane prayer was not an entreaty to escape the cross, for while Jesus was still in the garden, He told Peter, "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). Jesus had a choice: legions of warring angels and immediate personal deliverance, or death on the cross and deliverance for the world. He chose to die for us. The willful decision to lay down our lives as Jesus did is the very path upon which true authority develops. Jesus said, "I have authority to lay [My life] down" (John 10:18). His authority came in the laying down of His life. Our authority comes from the same source: picking up our cross and laying down our lives for others.

Authority, Not Control
Spiritual authority is the provision of God to transform the temporal with the power of the eternal. It is not something our flesh can imitate, nor is it found in the tone of our words or the gaze of our eyes. Divine authority requires divine sanction. This sanction comes from passing the tests of love.

When authority is administered without love, it degenerates into control. God does not call us to control His people but to inspire and guard them. The outcome of control is oppression, witchcraft, and strife. But the result of love is liberty and the power to build up and protect God’s people.

True spiritual authority exists above the realm of fleshly control. Our lives, and the lives of those who follow us, are laid down on our own initiative. It is a choice we make because of love. Since true authority itself is born in freedom, freedom is what it breeds.

We will walk in either the true authority of love, the false authority of control, or no authority at all. Both false authority and no authority are rooted in fear, and we react to fear in either of two ways. The first reaction, which produces false authority, is to seek to control those around us, thus making the circumstances around us more predictable and less threatening. The other response to fear is to refuse to accept and exercise any authority at all. Many relationships are simply the pairing of these symbiotic needs: the desire to control and the willingness to be controlled. Both are fueled by overreactions to fear.

Scripture tells us, however, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18). Since true authority is built upon love, its goal is to liberate, not dominate. Therefore, before one can truly move in spiritual authority, he must be delivered from fear and its desire to control; he must be rooted and grounded in love.

Authority to Inspire Christlikeness
When our teaching about God and our obedience to Him are one, spiritual authority accompanies our lives. Jesus astounded the multitudes, for He spoke "as one having authority" (Matt. 7:28-29). What He taught was consistent with how He lived. Therefore, we also must live and display the virtue we seek to teach.

Dear pastor, if we seek to train our congregations to pray, we ourselves must first be intercessors. You may say, "But out of a congregation of several hundred, only three people join me for prayer." Then with those three develop your intercessor base. Do not be discouraged, for you will win others. But the measure of our success is not the numbers in attendance on Sunday mornings. God has given us people so we may train them, not merely count them. Of this group, those whom we inspire to live like Christ are actually the measure of our success, the test of our effectiveness in the ministry.

Another may say, "But I’ve never been a leader." When anyone lays down his or her life in Christ’s love, others will see and follow. Whether you are a business owner, a housewife, or a teen, such a one can speak with confidence and authority as Christ’s disciple. In truth, if you are following Christ, others are following you. You are, indeed, a leader.

This next generation will not just teach the people; they will inspire the body of Christ to live like Jesus. Their example in all things will awaken godliness in those around them. From true virtue shall the leaders of tomorrow draw true authority, for when the nature of Christ is revealed, the authority of Christ soon follows.


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Reaching Your City For Christ

By Francis Frangipane

We recently introduced you to our dear friend, Phil Miglioratti. You'll recall, Phil is a Baptist pastor, a member of the National Prayer Committee, and also the publisher of the National Pastors' Prayer Network (a consortium of six blog sites, If you are a pastor or ministry leader, you ought to pray about utilizing the wonderful resources God is providing to rebuild the Lord's house.

Pastor Phil is passionate about Christ-centered unity in the church and just as passionate about winning the lost to Christ. He coordinates the "Prayer-Care-Share" initiative of Loving Our Communities to Christ in seventeen cities across the United States (,

This is the first of a two-part interview between Francis Frangipane and Phil Miglioratti.

The Land Beneath Our Feet

By Francis Frangipane

As a speaker in citywide and regional prayer conferences, I am often asked to unmask the "spiritual power" opposing the body of Christ in the conference region. City leaders and intercessors have even asked if I knew the "name" of the principle spirit that is resisting the church in their area.

"Do you want to know the name of the most powerful spirit opposing most Christians?" I ask. Eager faces respond affirmatively.

"It’s Yahweh."

My questioners, who suddenly look like a tree full of owls, are always bewildered by my answer. They are sure I misunderstood their question. Then, I explain. I remind them that, according to the Scriptures, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). So, if we are divided in our hearts from other churches, if we instinctively look down on other Christians or if we are at all self-promoting in attitude, we are walking in pride. As such, the Spirit that stands to resist our endeavors is not demonic; it’s God.

The Lord will not excuse our pride just because we sing three hymns on Sunday and consider ourselves "saved." God resisted Lucifer’s pride in heaven and He will oppose our pride on earth. What is most sad is, religious pride has been so homogenized into our Christian experience that we don’t even perceive it as being wrong. Yet it is without doubt the most offensive blight upon God’s people.

The Lord does not want the lost added to churches where they must assimilate the poison of pride at the same table as salvation.

The One Who Seeks and Judges
Jesus said of Himself, "I do not seek My glory." Yet, how many of our actions are expended doing the exact opposite of the nature of Christ! Our choice of clothes and cars, homes and roles in life so often have self-exaltation working in the background. Jesus continued, "there is One who seeks and judges" (John 8:50). Listen carefully to His words, for every time we seek to exalt ourselves we run face to face with God. One dimension of the Father’s heart is that He "seeks [glory] and judges" those who, through pride, exalt themselves. Indeed, my friends, consider with godly fear our American tradition of self-promotion. Though it is highly esteemed among men, it is actually "detestable in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15).

The Old Testament is replete with examples documenting the Almighty’s opposition to man’s pride. Time after time it was not Israel’s enemies that thwarted national prosperity; it was God. From generation to generation, the Lord allowed Israel’s adversaries to humble His people, to drive them toward desperation, humility and finally repentance. There, in brokenness and honesty, God could deal with their sins and finally lead them into national revival.

Listen how the Lord pleaded with Israel: "Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! I would quickly subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their adversaries" (Ps. 81:13–14).

So also with us. We need the might of God to be unleashed against our foes. For truly, terrible powers of darkness have invaded our land, and our adversary stalks our streets seeking whom he may devour. Our hope, however, is not merely in confronting the enemy, but in allowing God to confront us. Our victory over the enemy is directly attached to our full surrender to God.

If we truly learned of Him, we too would be "meek and lowly in heart" (Matt. 11:29 KJV). And God, who gives grace to the humble, would rescue us from the spiritual enemies of our nation.

Heal Our Land
The promise of the Lord is familiar. He says, "If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2 Chron. 7:14). You say, But I’m humbling myself and praying. Yes, but our humility to God is not complete until we learn to humble ourselves to one another.

The fact is, because of pride, we have yet to accept what the Lord means in His words, "If My people." We still interpret His phrase "My people" to mean "our people"---our limited circle of friends, relatives and Christians whose culture or style of worship is, more or less, like our own.

However, when the Lord thinks of His people, He sees a more expansive group. He includes all who have been born again in a city. All of us who "are called by [His] name," though we are diverse in gifts and assignments, must find unity of spirit before Him. And this begins with an amazing strategy: we must humble ourselves.

I know this goes against the grain of our historic church relationships. Satan has not only divided us from others, he has made us proud that we are separate. We think being separate is a virtue. But consider: only one group of people consistently found the Lord confronting and resisting them in the New Testament: the Pharisees. Literally translated, the word "Pharisee" meant "the separate." Of all the religious groups in the first century, it is the pride of the Pharisees that, today, the church most resembles.

We pray, "Lord, heal our land." But the land He intends to heal first is that which exists beneath the feet of the humble. It is the world of the praying meek, who find the transforming power of God as their companion.

The Lord’s remedy for our society is hidden within the life-relationships of Christians. We are always so mindful of what others have done wrong to us, but where have we failed others? What can we do to heal the land that exists between us and those whom we have hurt?

You see, as we become those who "humble themselves and pray" about what we have done wrong, healing from God begins to flow. When white Christians humble themselves and ask for forgiveness from African and Native Americans, God begins to heal the land under their feet.

If God resists the proud, remember also, He gives grace to the humble. Grace is more than being covered; it is being cleansed and changed by the power of God. Grace is God’s transforming power doing in us what we cannot do for ourselves.

When we pray, "heal our land," it is the land beneath the feet of the humble that God promises to touch and restore to blessedness.

Let’s pray: Dear Father, You said the healing of our land begins with the humbling of ourselves. Master, reveal to my heart those with whom I am estranged. Grant me courage to forgive and honesty to see where I contributed to the strife. I long to be an ambassador of reconciliation. Therefore, lead me to bring healing to the relationships in our world, and so bring healing to the land in which I dwell. In Jesus’ name. Amen

This message is taken from our In Christ's Image Training school curriculum.


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 God bless your pursuit of His heart.

Time to Learn Righteousness

By Francis Frangipane

"At night my soul longs for You,
Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently;
For when the earth experiences Your judgments
The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness" (Isa. 26:9).

Fear Among the Nations
There is trepidation among the nations, and indeed there should be. Political leaders strike poses of confidence, yet express anxious whispers and dread when they are alone:

What is happening in our world? Will it get worse?

No one really knows the outcome of this time. But here is what is occurring worldwide: Over the past year the veil of deceit and subterfuge that hid the corruption in many nations is being lifted. God is exposing corruption, whether it is rooted in Wall Street or among politicians or leaders in the church.

The sense of privilege, that one can live without accountability either to God or to the law of man, is being judged by the Lord. There are no special people who are exempt.

One should not assume that things are worse today than ever before. I don't believe so. There have always been corrupt leaders whose practices were masked with deceit. It is in this season that the Lord is peeling off the mask.

This is not a bad thing, although it will be very bad if leaders do not embrace righteousness as the way out. The fact that these things are being exposed is a good thing. If we respond correctly, it means that a more honest set of leaders will arise to replace those who were corrupted. It means that, if we submit to God, our economy and culture will turn a corner into a time of renewed blessing.

However, if we resist, if we persist in deceitful ways, we should not expect God to bless us.

Thus, it is imperative to discern this season. We are in a time of increasing judgment. The world and its structures are in a collision course with the Kingdom of God.

We have underestimated the authority and function of the Holy Spirit; we have assumed He has come only to inspire or comfort. Yet, Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes into the world, He comes also to confront and convict the world "concerning sin and righteousness and judgment" (John 16:8).

You see, God has an agenda, a grand plan, and it is not just to bless and prosper us as we live mostly self-centered lives. His ultimate goal is to see the kingdoms of this world become the "kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ" (Rev. 11:15). Thus, Jesus commands us to pray, "Thy kingdom come. . . . on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10).

Remember, Jesus' message was "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). We are in the season of the kingdom. We either repent and change our ways so they conform to righteousness, or we face the consequences.

If we don't repent, God renders a decision accordingly. He judges us. His motive is still to redeem, but He will not refrain from judging the sin that rules us. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. This is not the season to try to negotiate with the Almighty. The only option He gives us is to humble ourselves and pray. It is time to seek His face and aggressively turn from our evil ways. If we would have healing in our land, we must take the path the Lord provides.

The Consuming Fire
Thus, speaking of the last days, the Lord warns, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven" (Heb. 12:26). God is focused on more than blessing a few people here and there. He is coming to shake and subdue the cultures of man. Hebrews continues:

"This expression, ‘Yet once more,' denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain" (v. 27).

Two things are occurring simultaneously: God is shaking what can be shaken, and He is establishing His kingdom, which cannot be shaken. We must migrate out of trusting in man and enter into the unshakeable life of the Kingdom of God.

Hebrews concludes:

"Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire" (vv. 28-29).

Let us focus on this reality: God is a consuming fire. Not long ago a revival tried to emerge amidst great controversy. To the shock of many, God exposed the hidden sin in Lakeland's leader. To what degree this revival itself was true or false is still debated, but one thing is true: millions of people nightly joined via Christian television praying and calling forth in unison, "Fire! Fire! God pour out your fire." The ministry itself was called "Fresh Fire."

What did we suppose, that "fire" in God's dictionary means blessing? Or even healing? No. Fire means purification. It consumes and purifies the sacrifice – indeed, it consumes everything that can be burned. This one prayer was certainly answered: when the body of Christ prayed for God's fire, chaff in the church, starting with leadership was the first to ignite. And then the fire spread into the world systems, exposing the corruption and greed.

While many hope that the rapture will rescue them from tribulation, it will rescue no one from the fire of God. Recall, my friend, Paul's word: the day of the Lord will be "revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work" (see 1 Cor. 3:13-15).

"For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Pet. 4:17).

Judgment begins first with the household of God. Fire came to the church first, and it has only just begun to burn.

My advice is that we stop judging others and take inventory of our own condition. Where we have sinned, we humble ourselves before the Almighty. By humbling ourselves, I mean that we confess our secret sins, the areas of our soul's bondage – our fears, lusts and deceits, those things we are most ashamed of – and bring our sin to the cleansing light of God's grace. My counsel is that we not put this off for another day, but we humble ourselves now, passionately and thoroughly.

Do not look for shortcuts; do not seek to justify yourself to God. The judgments of God are in the land. It is time to learn righteousness.


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When a Leader Sins

By Francis Frangipane

Transferred Guilt
When church leaders serve the living Christ in love, aggressive faith, and prayerful humility, the people who live in harmony with their anointing become rich in the presence of God. Conversely, when a leader scandalizes a congregation by committing a major sin or is led into Christ-denying doctrinal deception, the heartache of his downfall is also absorbed into the perception and attitudes of those in relationship with him.

This precept, that a leader's sin carries negative consequences, is seen in other positions of authority as well. Do you remember how you felt when you heard the details of former President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky? Or consider the distress that crushes a family when a father or mother commits serious sin and ends up going to jail. Unless it is remedied, the impact of these events is similar to that of a curse upon one's life.

The Bible speaks of God "visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me" (Ex. 20:5). The oppressive consequence of serious sin is actually passed from the fathers to the children, and then beyond from one generation to the next. This oppression must be discerned and atoned for, or its effect will work against us trans-generationally.

"Guilt on the People"
David ordered Joab to take a census of Israel. Joab begged the king, "Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?" (1 Chr. 21:3 NIV). God forbade taking an unauthorized census. It could represent a shift in a leader’s heart from trusting God to trusting the strength and numbers of his people. David sinned, yet his actions brought "guilt on Israel," and a plague struck killing tens of thousands.

People positioned in places of authority sometimes think they are "special" and the rules of integrity do not apply to them. Yet, the fact is, there are more rules, not less. Leaders are to be judged by a stricter judgment. This is because the failure of a leader has greater consequences. For us in the church, the recent failures of Ted Haggard, Todd Bentley and others has opened a sewer from hell, pouring into the larger church a multitude of contaminating influences.

In the Old Testament the Lord provided a means to deal with both the leader's sin and its subsequent effect on those under that leader’s authority. Thus, the Lord says, "If the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord a bull without defect as a sin offering" (Lev. 4:3).

"Guilt on the people" is the effect of the leader’s sin upon them. This resulting mixture of fear, shame, apprehension and anger is now the people’s sin. It is a state of being that exists outside of the blessedness of a right relationship with God. The "guilt on the people" does not mean that they have sinned in the manner of the leader, but that their reaction to the leader’s sin has them positioned in an "unblessable state" of being. This "unblessed state," be it from anger or heartache, as legitimate as these things seem, is now a "guilt on the people" which must be acknowledged and atoned for.

Demons Haunt the Scene of Past Transgressions
As much as they wish it were otherwise, wounded congregations often carry a discernible cloud of heaviness upon them. For years, the influence of their wounding surfaces in conversations, attitudes of cynicism or in fearful anticipations. Worse, their shared, unremedied pain becomes a beehive of demonic exploitation, where human attitudes of mistrust, anger and confusion remain vulnerable to demonic manipulation.

The Amplified Bible, speaking of the effects, or the dwelling place, of unexpiated sin, gives us an insight into this demonic infestation. It reads, "The shades of the dead are there [specters haunting the scene of past transgressions]" (Prov. 9:18).

That understanding, that "specters haunt . . . the scene of past transgressions," tells us that when we pass through the disappointment and heartache caused by another's sin, if we do not find a way to forgive and to react as Christ, our human reactions can become a magnet for ongoing warfare and oppression. Thus, to move into a future God can bless, we must be cleansed of the unredeemed past.

What is especially unfortunate is that the unredeemed past can be transferred to individuals who join a church, yet were never partakers of the original wounding. New believers come to churches where mistrust of leadership has residence. Soon, through the osmosis of human relationships, the same fears, mistrust and suspicions that were resident in the old Christians can surface in the life of the new Christian. Simply replacing pastors will not bring healing; what needs replacing is the cloud of heaviness that remains in that church. For, not only did the fallen leader need forgiveness, cleansing and renewal in Christ but, as we stated, what was transferred to the people must be cleansed as well.

Perhaps we are tempted to think, "So what? Leaders come and go. I walk with God. Their fall doesn't affect me." Individually, you may indeed be blessed; but, you will never know the descent of the Lord's corporate blessing on a church until you experience renewal.

If we fail to deal with the effect fallen leadership has had on us, it is possible that our future relationships with church leaders will be colored with fear and suspicion. Remember, the Lord's promise is that He will raise up "shepherds over [His people] and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing" (Jer. 23:4). Unless we are cleansed of the effect of our negative experience, the filter of our mistrust might disqualify us from seeing godly leaders when the Lord brings us to them.

You see, there is a corporate blessing coming to the church that is greater than the individual blessing. The corporate blessing carries a unique reward for those who overcome offenses and persevere in faith for each other and their leaders. This is the Pentecost anointing that was in the 120 who were able to overcome the failings of the original twelve. Here, in the corporate blessing, is where God pours out His Spirit and touches multitudes, turns cities, and empowers His people with the life of heaven.

On a local level, your leaders may be godly, but each time a national leader fell, for some the "mistrust level" toward all church leaders increased. The cumulative effect of moral failure, both on a national and local level, has smothered the fire in many Christian hearts. If you are a pastor and you are wondering why people have not responded to your teaching as you hoped, it is possible they are carrying woundedness from a previous leader in a former church. Among church attenders, this woundedness has been translated into a polite, yet numbing attitude of suspicion. They may not hear you because they have distanced themselves from the memory of pain; and distance hinders hearing.

The Cure
The antidote for a leader's sin in the Old Testament was to "offer to the Lord a bull without defect as a sin offering." Of course, we have a Sacrifice for sins greater than the blood of bulls and goats. Indeed, one of the great graces of the Christian faith is that, as we yield to God, as we forgive others, He promises to cleanse us as well. His love makes all things new. We can be delivered from being hardened wineskins.

Thus, to facilitate this new grace, let me speak for all leaders who have failed you. Forgive us. For every leader who has stumbled badly, remember there are a hundred still climbing the mountain of God. So, release that man or woman who misused their spiritual authority or betrayed the solemn responsibilities entrusted to them and fell in sin. Again, I ask you to forgive leaders who have fallen or failed your expectations.

Let us also take up our positions to intercede for our leaders. God never intended that congregations would not participate in their leaders protection and inspiration. Your leadership reflects, at least in part, the answer to your prayers. Pastors without prayer support are uniquely vulnerable to the battle. If you haven't given your heart to intercession, perhaps it is time to stand in the gap for the leaders in your church.

As followers of mankind’s Redeemer, God invites us to the ever-renewing work of His grace. Yes, let us structure greater safeguards and accountability for those in leadership, for their sakes and ours. But let us also remember, though the Lord visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children, He also shows His "lovingkindness to thousands" who love Him (Ex. 20:6). Let us surrender our heartache to the Lord and release ourselves from the pain caused when a leader sinned.


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Prayer Warriors, Part 2

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Jesus told a parable to show that men ought to pray at all times and not lose heart (see Luke 18:1-8). In other words, if you are not praying, you will lose heart. Most of the things I pray for I have to persevere and pray through to get the answer. God desires to see something deeper come out of my prayer time than just answered prayers. He wants me to become like Jesus, so he arranges battles that are character-forming. Not only will they ultimately change the world around me, but they'll change me first. This is what all true prayer warriors have discovered.

When we picture a prayer warrior, we usually see a great-aunt or grandmother. I think that every family has one. You never find them looking into a crystal ball to know the future for little Johnny---they are at the throne of God creating Johnny's future in prayer. They are not wondering if Mary is going to make it; they are praying her through to victory. They do not have time to lament Harry's drinking problem; they are storming heaven to see him delivered.

Prayer warriors are the most frightening, powerful, demon-chasing, world-moving beings on earth. In truth, they act like children of God! If they were to gaze at a crystal ball, it would explode! They look at astrological predictions and rebuke them. They never wonder about the future because they are too busy creating it through their faith in God.

Prayer warriors are positioned by God to pray for their families. I remember when my Dad came to the Lord. For ten years we would intellectually clash about God during our visits. Finally, on one trip he arrived at our home "armed" with an argument against God. He said, "If there really is a God, why doesn't He always answer prayer?" He was secure in his position, and I was tired of the argument. I went into another room for a few minutes and prayed, "Lord, you've got to give me an answer."

When I returned I could see my Dad felt he won this round. I love my dad very, very much, but I said, "Dad, forget all the people that you think didn't get answers to prayer---you yourself are an answer to prayer! You are alive today because our entire family daily prays for you." (He was very overweight and smoked a pack of cigarettes daily). Then I continued, "But let's experiment. You say God doesn't answer prayer; we say He does. So, for one week we won't pray for you, and well see what happens."

I can't remember ever seeing my dad turn so pale. He looked over at my Mom and said, "Hon, tell the boy not to do that." Then, with beads of sweat forming on his forehead, he said to me, "Okay. What do I have to do to keep you praying for me?"

In three minutes, he went from not believing in prayer to begging us to keep praying for him. I said, "Dad, the only way I'll keep praying for you is if you pray right now and give your life to Christ,” and my dad at that moment received Christ. The Lord answered my prayer.

Prayer anchors us in God's strength for our battles. Each of us knows prayer works: we are saved because someone else prayed for us! Thus, looking at the miracle of our own conversion, we gain confidence in God's help to transform others.

Luke 21:36 tells us to be "praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." Every time the Bible talks about standing before God, it is speaking of a position of anointed authority and commissioning. Elijah stood before God as did Gabriel. It speaks of one who stands before God as an attendant to the Almighty. When they decree God's Word, it comes to pass.

Jesus said, "With God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26). Under that banner, we pray and believe God. The Holy Spirit ever lives to make intercession. All we need to do is open our hearts to Him and prayer is going to come forth.

Look at the terrible issues of our world right now. Every need we see is where God wants us to release, through prayer, His future for that situation. God shows us what is wrong so we can pray for things to be made right. Why waste energy criticizing what's wrong when our prayers can change it!

The Lord our God in the midst of us is mighty. Our weapons are mighty to pulling down strongholds. Stop thinking of yourself as unable to pray. That's a lie out of hell. You are a prayer warrior!

There was a time when that great aunt or grandmother was a younger woman. She might have been just like you, and God showed her the needs around her. His grace came and she made a decision not to judge, but to pray. She didn't start off strong, but she became strong. Now it’s your turn to make that decision to be the prayer warrior for your family, church or city!"

Let's pray: Lord Jesus, You said that the armies in Heaven follow You, and Your name is called “the Word of God.” Help me to not only believe Your Word, but pray it in the power of the Holy Spirit! I accept that You have called me to be a prayer warrior. By Your grace, I receive a new anointing in intercession. Amen!


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Prayer Warriors, Part 1

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

In our rapidly changing times people are desperate to know the future. Barely do we adjust to the last changes, when totally new realities explode into our world.

In answer to the common fears spawned by change, society has seen a plethora of occult and demonic sources--fortune tellers, astrologers and psychic hotlines---all pretending to be able to peek into the mystery of tomorrow. Indeed, how many otherwise intelligent individuals glimpse, at least occasionally, at their "astrological signs" trying to get an edge on knowing the future!

Why anyone would consult someone who can't predict their own future is beyond me. These fortune tellers almost always live in abject poverty. Shouldn't their ability to predict the future at least work for themselves? They could invest in the stock market or pick the right lottery numbers. They can't even predict or better their own fortune, yet people go to them for discernment.

Tremendous Power In a Christian!

For Christians, God condemns this demonic, fleshly probing into the unknown. Indeed, as intercessors, He has called us not to wonder about the future, but to create it through the knowledge of His Living Word and prayer! Our Father gives us access to the future right now. You ask, How do we know what to pray? The Lord Jesus told us plainly,

"Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:9-10).

We can look at the conditions of the world and faint or look at the possibilities of God and take faith. To bring revival is to pray for the reality of God's kingdom to manifest on earth. Jesus was not offering His disciples a millennial prayer focus, for that rule of God's kingdom is coming whether we want it to or not! No, but Christ calls us to pray for God's kingdom to manifest in our world today.

How will tomorrow look if God answers the prayer Christ gave us? Read the gospels. What we see in the life and power of Jesus Christ is a faith picture of God's kingdom. Jesus said that we can have that same full manifestation. In fact, He actually commanded us to pray for heaven's release!

The Prayer Womb
The reality God has planned will always manifest first in the prayer life of His intercessors. When you hear from God and then pray His Word, you are impacting the unformed essence of life with the Spirit of God Himself! Thus, God calls us, not only to know His Word, but to pray it. We must go from intellectualizing God's Word to being impregnated by it.

I know churches have special areas where intercessors can pray or people meditate. But maybe we ought to change the name from "prayer room" to "prayer womb." For everything good and holy that we see manifested in people, in churches and in life is first conceived, and then birthed, in the womb of prayer.

We have answers to prayer all around us. The place you are living in is an answer to prayer. Your church is an answer to prayer, as well as are your pastors, teachers and youth workers. As a church member, your attendance and participation is an answer to the prayer of your pastors and intercessors. When you asked God to lead you to the church you should attend, your current church became God's answer to your prayer!

Paul wrote, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might" (Eph. 1:18-19).

If you are a Christian, there is a power accompanying your life that is greater than great—the "surpassing greatness of His power." It is not human power, but the actual "strength of His might."

Think about it: The strength of God Almighty is attached to your prayer life!

The power of God's might is His resurrection power. What does resurrection mean? It means that things which look dead, smell dead, and act dead, can be touched by God and raised to life!

God demonstrated this "power toward us who believe" first "in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:19,20).

Right now, you have resurrection power attached to your prayer life! You can look on things that are absolutely dead and pray forth eternal LIFE! The power in us is the same potency God demonstrated when He raised Jesus out of the grave; it is resurrection power. Our mission is to bring resurrection life to situations that are dead.

If the devil challenges your prayer, remind him that you are seated with Christ, "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come" (Eph. 1:21). Christ's authority is final. But not only has the Father put "all things in subjection under His feet," but He "gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all" (Eph. 1:22-23).

Notice the Lord uses anatomical metaphors to explain the downlink of authority: Christ is the "head" of a "body" that has all things put under its "feet."

This is a most profound understanding of our role: What the Head, Christ, has attained, the feet of the church walk out. In other words, God has positioned the church as the living bridge between the terrible conditions on earth and the wonderful solutions from heaven!

As we truly, passionately, and accurately submit to Christ in prayer, the kingdom of heaven steadily enters our now prayed-for world. The key of course, is to know Christ's word. We do not have authority; Christ has authority. What we have is revelation and submission. But as we submit to the Word, and persevere in prayer, we can see the future conformed to God's will.


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Follow Those Who Follow Christ

By Francis Frangipane

"Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us." -Philippians 3:17
Paul faced a major problem in the first century. False teachers had slipped into the church. The apostle warned the Philippians, and us by extension, to recognize the differences between a true man of God and a deceptive teacher or prophet. Without any sense of false humility, Paul declared that both his vision and his spiritual attitude were examples for us to follow. He instructs us in our powers of discernment to look for and "observe" leaders who exemplify the centerpiece of God's purpose, which is to possess the likeness of Christ.

The context in which Paul wrote describes both his self-righteousness before he found Christ and his utter abandonment of fleshly confidence afterward. We will study these verses carefully. For in an age of increasing deception, not everyone who cries "truth, truth" is speaking in defense of conformity to Jesus.

"Beware of the Dogs"
Paul began his discourse by revealing three distinct types of false teachers. He warned, "Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision" (Phil. 3:2). These three each have their modern counterparts.

The first group Paul identified as "the dogs." The phrase "beware of the dog(s)" is familiar to us today. It means there is a vicious animal here. In Paul's day, most dogs were scavengers that ran in packs. One could find dozens of canines eating off the rubbish heaps outside cities, their faces bent downward as they sniffed and rooted out garbage to feed upon.

Today's church has similar people, fault-finders, who incessantly and self-righteously feed upon the garbage and failures of the human condition. Paul is saying, Beware of those who always have something negative to say, who are continually judging or slandering others. If you listen to them, you will become like them. Their words will rob you of vision, leave you without joy, and drain you of energy.

Paul wasn't saying, of course, to completely ignore what is wrong in people. We need discernment. Let me state plainly: There are serious doctrinal errors and sins in the modern church. But when you observe a pattern of angry, self-righteous fault finding in a person, when their primary view always seems negative, beware. Remember, Jesus warned of the Pharisees who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt" (Luke 18:9). Beware when your teacher must frequently tear down others to lift himself up.

"Evil Workers"
Paul next warned against the "evil workers." He describes this group briefly in the first chapter. These individuals do, in fact, proclaim Christ, but they do so from "envy . . . strife . . . selfish ambition" rather than from love (Phil. 1:15-17). For them, building a church is a competitive endeavor, a business. James also underscores this problem, saying, "For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing" (James 3:16).

Part of Paul's efforts as an apostle was to build Christ-centered unity among Christians. However, the "evil workers" were self-centered rather than Christ-centered. Before we follow any leader, we truly ought to see the influence of Christ growing in that individual's character. Look to hear the pastor speak, at least occasionally, of his or her vision of attaining Christlikeness. Look for evidences of humility; listen to hear his burden for prayer, and see how he cultivates unity with other Christian churches. If your pastor or leader is growing in these values, then he is also growing in trustworthiness. As he seeks to follow Christ, the fruit of his ministry will, most likely, be healthy.

"The Judaizers"
The third warning was aimed against the "false circumcision" (Phil. 3:2). These were the Jewish Christians who, when they were saved, tried to make Christianity an extension of Judaism. This last teaching was the most dangerous because it seemed the most plausible.

The essence of this error was that Christ's atonement was not enough for salvation; you also had to keep the whole system of Mosaic Laws to be saved. Today, people continue to import religious obligations into the salvation experience. In exposing and warning against the influence of the "false circumcision," Paul set a firewall against the bondage of legalistic requirements for salvation. And while the way is indeed narrow that leads to life, the Way is a Person: Jesus Christ. We do not arrive at our goal by keeping laws but by entrusting ourselves to the keeping of Christ.

The True Pattern
It is one thing to be able to discern what is false, but it is of much greater value to know clearly the pattern of the true. Thus, Paul uses chapter three of Philippians to reveal his attitude of heart. In so doing, he gives us the pattern of what we should look for in a leader.

After presenting his remarkable pedigree in versus 5-6 - an Israelite by birth; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness defined in the Law, found blameless - Paul then renounces the very things he attained, saying: "But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ" (v. 7). For the mature, no position or esteem among men can replace the "surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus [our] Lord." The most amazing of achievements become "rubbish in order that [we] may gain Christ" (v. 8).

Paul separates himself further from the Mosaic Law, revealing that his quest is to "be found in [Christ], not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ" (v. 9). Having been saved from the consequences of the Law, and having received a new source of "righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith," Paul is liberated to pursue his true destiny: Christlikeness!

Beloved, we began this study with Paul's admonition to "observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us" (v. 17). In the following verse, God reveals the pattern we want to copy:

"That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead" (vv. 10-11).

There is a difference between knowing a collection of religious truths and actually knowing Christ. Truth is in Jesus; He Himself is the way, the truth and the life. To know Him is eternal life, and to live in fellowship with Him is to partake of the nectar of heaven.

Yet, knowing Christ also means knowing the fellowship of His sufferings as we lay down our lives for the redemption of others. For those suffering for Jesus, remember: participation in His sufferings is part of knowing Him.

Paul did not embrace death as an entity by itself; he embraced Christ's death, which is not only the death of self, but also the triumph of love. It is this surrender to "death for Jesus' sake" that allows "the life of Jesus [to] be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor. 4:11).

Paul continued in Philippians, "Not that I have already . . . become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:12). Again, we are looking at the pattern God seeks for each of us. A mature Christian is one who lives in pursuit of God!

Paul said, "One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (vv.13-14). What did Paul choose to "forget"? He let go of the wounds, forgave the offenses, and released to God the disappointments of yesterday. He pressed toward the prize of possessing Christ.

Many teachers will come and go throughout your life. Remember Paul's warnings as you pray about whose teachings might influence you. Look for those who are pressing toward the prize of Christlikeness. As for the others, pray for them, stand with them, and, as you are led by the Lord, even attend their churches and encourage them in love and prayer. But if they are not going where you are going, do not follow them!

Paul set the pattern for us. In these times of deception, accusation and false discernment, let us look for and observe those who walk after the pattern of Paul. Let us discern the influence of Jesus in those who lead us. As we clearly see the Lord, let us follow those who follow Christ.

Taken from Francis Frangipane's book, "The Days of His Presence" available at


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By Francis Frangipane

I was out early one morning riding my bicycle when suddenly, to my left, came the horrific sound of an automobile accident; it occurred about eighty feet from me at a stoplight. I turned just in time to see one car sliding sideways, while the other car, with the hood and grill pushed up like a pug, was rocking back and forth from the impact.

Yet, other than dial 911, I didn't know what to do in this emergency. In fact, even as I walked toward the crash site, I found myself wrestling against a barrier of fears and apprehensions: What would I find? Would the passengers be bloody, seriously hurt or even dead? What would I do if a car caught fire?

When I arrived, I found there were only two people involved, the drivers of each car. Thankfully, while each was emotionally shaken, neither was physically hurt.

Yet, I wasn't fine. I was troubled by my inability to quickly respond. After the police arrived, I left pondering my reaction to this accident. I realized a significant part of my fear was due to being untrained. My lack of emergency first aid training left me unprepared to cope in a crisis situation. Without the knowledge and skills provided by training, the best I could offer is to call 911.

Why am I sharing this story? As Christians, many of us are unprepared to cope with spiritual emergencies in life. We are "saved" and we can pray, which is the spiritual equivalent of calling 911. But we are not trained to deal with crises and life issues. Many are not adept at spiritual warfare; they don't know how to effect reconciliation when divisions arise; they are not confident in ministering healing or discernment about issues.

You see, our salvation experience is the first step in a life of ongoing spiritual training and equipping. We may not all become pastors or missionaries, but we still need to know how to respond in an emergency.

Consider King David. He said the Lord, "trains my hands for battle" (Ps. 18:34). David didn't just fight, flailing at the wind; God trained him until David could bend a bow of bronze. David became mighty in battle. When others fled, intimidated by the sight of Goliath, David made plans to cut the giant down. Why was David confident? God trained David in previous confrontations with a bear and a lion. David knew what to do in a crisis.

Today, we are living in a state of national emergency, but most Christians are only dialing 911 in prayer. We need to be a first responder - a Christ-responder - who knows God and can do exploits (see Dan. 11:32).

Indeed, anyone can see our society and economy is failing, but God calls us to rebuild the ancient ruins, not just walk among the ruins and wonder what happened. We are called to be repairers of the breech, restorers of the streets in which to dwell (see Isa. 58:12). The Holy Spirit has redemptive answers for our cities and neighborhoods, creative remedies that will bring peace and prosperity back to our communities.

There are people who are hurting that God wants us to touch. Yet, before we can go out, first the Holy Spirit must train us. He says in Isaiah 50:4, "The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple."

Christ wants our tongues to be trained so we can speak as His representatives. People are weary, yet the Lord wants us to minister heart-to-heart resuscitation to those exhausted by their battle.

You see, it's not enough to be a Christian and simply try to be good. We need to be trained. Such training can come to us directly from the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit can use previously trained people to train us. Indeed, if we see someone who is Christlike in a particular area, who responds to life's emergencies with calm authority, we should not hesitate to ask them to train us in the area of their maturity (see Eph. 4:11-12).

The book of Hebrews urges us to "remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith" (v. 13:7).

We are not to merely copy other people, but upon careful examination of their virtue - considering the outcome of their way of life - seek to learn from them. Jesus Himself said, "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40).

Beloved, our goal is to be like Christ. With our focus upon Him, it is not a weakness to seek spiritual training from others whom He sends. Just as I desired to know how to serve in a physical emergency, so we need to know how to serve in spiritual emergencies as well.

The present conditions in our world are not merely judgments from God; they are opportunities for the church. Current conditions are making people ripe for evangelism.

God needs disciples who have been trained and tested. We cannot stand paralyzed by fear, watching the catastrophic events of our times unfold. We must become Christ-responders.


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Heaven Within Our Reach

By Francis Frangipane

Since time began, the Kingdom of Heaven has been an interactive reality in man's destiny. God (and angels) spoke to man "from Heaven" (Gen. 21:17; 22.11; 22:15), the Lord gave man promises and blessings from Heaven (Gen. 24:7; 49.25), and when necessary brought judgments upon wicked men "out of heaven" (Gen. 19:24).

Indeed, the revelation of God's kingdom in the Sacred Writ is no incidental issue. The Bible records several hundred verses where Heaven or God's kingdom is mentioned in its various phrasings. It is this kingdom that I'd like us to consider, first as it is revealed in the Old Testament and then as it was manifest in power through Christ in the New Testament. Our focus will remain upon God, of course, yet we must also learn of that realm that surrounds the Most High: His eternal abode.

This realm called Heaven is not only "real," but it is "an everlasting kingdom" that "endures throughout all generations" (Ps. 145:13). Nations rise and fall, men and cultures emerge in pride and vanity only to disappear, yet God's kingdom abides forever.

The Time Is Fulfilled
For all the references to Heaven in the Old Testament, with few exceptions, the actual life of Heaven remained remote and inaccessible to the common man. Israel had the Law and the Prophets; it had moments of glory and divine visitation. Yet, the kingdom of God was greater than even Israel's standards of righteousness.

It was out of Israel that the Messiah came, yet His message was not a restoration of the Law. It was the proclamation of God's kingdom. Both Jesus and His forerunner, John the Baptist, heralded the same incredible word:

"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15).

The time was fulfilled? Yes, a new dispensation had arrived! The Kingdom of God was at hand? Yes, Heaven was within the reach of men. The realm of God had come near! The message of the kingdom was without precedent, yet it was so! Every manner of sickness was healed instantly at the touch of Jesus' hands, for Heaven was at hand! The demonically tormented were instantly set free, for Heaven empowered Jesus.

Yet, as the Holy Spirit empowered Christ, so He empowered and commissioned His disciples, and Heaven manifest through them as well! Through the battalion of His disciples, the authority and compassion of Heaven flowed. They had power to heal, to deliver, even to raise the dead.

"And as you go, preach, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 10:7).

Heaven, "at hand?" What did that mean, but that Heaven itself, once remote and inaccessible to common men, was now close enough to reach from where men were.

Beloved, this is what Jesus said church should look like! Healing, deliverance, power: the kingdom of Heaven manifested through the lives of surrendered, yet believing men and women.

And this is what the church will look like before Jesus returns.

This Gospel of the Kingdom
Jesus knew there would be a great falling away from God's kingdom. He warned of false prophets and teachers arising to mislead many. Certainly, we have seen our share of watered-down, superficial Christianity. Yet in spite of our failings, Jesus made a remarkable prediction. He said,

"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:14).

In spite of a great falling away, there is a great gathering back to God's kingdom. Let us hear Christ's words with faith. He said before the "end shall come" and He returns, the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all nations. He did not say that the whole world would be subdued before He returns, but that the whole world would witness the kingdom of Heaven, preached with power, before His return.

Let me emphasize His reassuring point. He said, "This gospel" – that is, His gospel, His teaching, the "words in red." If we focus on becoming like Him in obedience to His words, He promises to increasingly accompany our preaching with His power to perform miracles, signs and wonders.

He said, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached." Not the gospel only of salvation (as wonderful as it is!), but also the message of the kingdom. The gospel of salvation is free. We cannot access the kingdom without experiencing salvation by faith in God's grace. Yet, many in the church have been parked in the realm of salvation without ever seeing and believing the promise of God's kingdom.

Beloved, our theology has been diluted by unbelief and dead traditions. We need to return to the words of Christ. We need to press into the reality of God's kingdom. For as this age ends, certainly Heaven will be within reach.

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The Cup, Part Three: Leadership is a Call to Die

By Francis Frangipane

In Matthew 20:17-19, Jesus sought to prepare His disciples for the hardships that awaited them. He warned that a time was coming when He would be mocked, scourged and crucified for the sake of redemption. In the midst of this utterly sober warning, incredibly, the mother of James and John requested of Jesus fulfillment of her family's ambitions! She said, "Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left" (v. 21).

She's thinking advancement, position and place; Jesus is thinking scourging, mocking and death. She's looking for the crown; Christ spoke of the cross. Jesus' answer speaks not only to silence her ambitions, He speaks to ours as well: "You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?" (v. 22).

Amazingly, they said to Him, "We are able." In truth, they hadn't any idea of the price that was to be paid. It was only pride, ignorance and ambition talking. Yet, listen to how Jesus answered them: "My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father" (v.23).

Hear this you who desire true spiritual fulfillment. Jesus was telling them, I cannot fulfill your ambitions. I can only show you how to die.

Yet, even in their immaturity, Jesus knew they would overcome. He assures them, "My cup you shall drink." They would outgrow human ambition and become great examples for us. And we too shall drink His cup. Jesus describes the elements of that cup as He continued, again slaying the dragon of ambition,

"Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give Himself as a ransom for many" (vv. 27-28).

If we will advance with Christ, consider the words He uses to describe the doorway into power: "slave . . . serve . . . ransom." Notice, He didn’t point out the rewards, which are many; He showed them the way to true resurrection power. Give yourself as "a ransom" for the sake of your family, your church or city. Position yourself in prayer, fasting and faith for others. Stand in the gap so others might live. This is the cup that leads to spiritual fulfillment.

But let me assure you, this is not a gloomy path; this is the path to the life of heaven. For when Christ lives in us, He comes with an overwhelming, sustaining joy. The Scripture says, looking at the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross (Heb. 12:2). The cross delivers us from the prison of self-absorption; it releases us into the true reality of God, in whose "presence is fullness of joy" and in whose right hand are "pleasures forever" (Ps. 16:11).

One may argue, "You don't understand Francis, I've been hurt."

Yes, we all face heartache and disappointment, and the pains we experience can be deep. Yet, in seeking justice for ourselves, we must guard against the voice of self-pity. Indeed, self- pity keeps all our wounds alive. Instead of carrying the cross, we carry the offense. We must rebuke self-pity and command it to leave. We are followers of Christ! Therefore, forgive the offense and let it go. This is not a deep truth; it is the basic path of Christ!

Paul wrote of the source of miracles and virtue in his life. He said, "That the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted . . . but not crushed . . . always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus might be manifested in our body" (2 Cor. 4:7-10).

What is this "dying of Jesus"? It is dying in the manner Jesus died: when offenses come, when we are struck with injustice, when people fail or even betray us, we position ourselves in redemption; we pray the mercy prayer, "Father, forgive them." The only way ambition can be fulfilled is if we are ambitious for Christ to be revealed through us.

Paul continued,

"For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you" (2 Cor. 4:11-12).

Beloved, death has a work that it accomplishes in us. Is this not exactly what we desire above all things: "the life of Jesus . . . manifested in our mortal flesh"?

Paul says, "So death works in us." In the hands of our eternal Designer, death is not our enemy; it actually becomes an ally in the transformational process of our souls. It performs a work in us we cannot otherwise fulfill. For the death of our old self leads to the manifest life of Jesus.

Here abides true spiritual fulfillment, not in our striving to create a place for ourselves, but in laying down self to create a place for Jesus.

Leadership is a call to die. Spiritual maturity is to drink deeply of the cup of Christ.


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