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.

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).

The Cup, Part Two: Christ Living in Us

 By Francis Frangipane

Having a true vision is not the same thing as having a godly motive. A person could have a vision directly from God, yet be driven by self-promotion and ambition in seeking to fulfill it. Jesus preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. This is vision. But He also taught: "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross" (Matt. 16:24).

If we will follow Jesus, notice we each have been given our own unique cross: "let him take up his cross." God has a cross specifically designed to crucify our fleshly ambitions en route to reaching our vision.

Consider Joseph: God had given him a dream of his future, but rather than quietly ponder the divine experience, he exalted himself to his ten older brothers. He assured them that one day they would each bow, like stacks of wheat, in subservience before him. His fleshly immaturity awakened a fleshly, even diabolical plot among his brothers: they sought to kill him. Joseph's vision was from God, but his motives lacked character, and his actions nearly cost him his life (see Gen. 37).