The King's Friend

By Francis Frangipane

Over the last few years, I’ve watched a certain spiritual decline attach itself to many. My concern is this: we talk and sound no different than the world. Too often our words are mean, without grace or love. It is as though we have no revelation of the power of our words.

Jesus taught that we will be judged for every idle, unchristlike word that we speak. (see Matt 12:36). Words possess a unique power to affect reality. The truth is, in many ways we are living today what we were talking about yesterday. Our words are the seeds of our tomorrows. They are trailblazers -- the pioneers which affirm and establish our direction in life.

Some feel words are not that important. They recoil at the idea that "life and death are in the power of the tongue." But I'm quoting Scripture, and the Bible tells us that there is a weightiness to words, a spiritual cargo, that conveys either life or death to those who receive them.

Consider: if I wrote down a string of profanities and curses, each word would have the power to download into our soul a measure of uncleanness. James says that he who does not sin with his words, the same is a perfect man.

On the other hand, words can be the vehicles of satanic infiltration in a person’s life, especially critical words. A harsh word spoken to a child by a parent or teacher can literally crush that child’s self-worth.

Recall how the words of Job’s friends became vehicles of satanic oppression, as they burdened Job's soul causing him to counter, "To whom have you uttered words? And whose spirit was expressed through you?" (Job 26:4). Likewise, it should be our quest that the spirit that is "expressed through" us is the Holy Spirit.

Our words can either bring to people a sense of renewal or hope, or we can speak and release death to another's heart. As Proverbs tells us, "He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is full of grace, the King is his friend" (Proverbs 22:11). Don't you desire that Jesus, the King of kings would be your personal friend? Then let us speak with grace upon our lips.

A Covenant of Release

By Francis Frangipane

Israel was hopelessly outnumbered. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon "and all his army, with all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem" and its remaining cities (Jer. 34:1). Because of Israel’s sin, apparently even the Lord, Israel’s protector, had withdrawn. For nearly forty years, Jeremiah the prophet pleaded with God’s people to repent, but they would not have it. Israel was nearly apostate, and the dire warnings of the prophet Jeremiah were about to come to pass.

However, hidden in the ways of God was a plan, a redemptive strategy that would reverse Israel’s direction. If the Jews implemented a "Year of Remission" (see Deut. 15:1-18), God would show to them the same mercy they showed to one another. What was required was that "each man [would] set free his male servant and each man his female servant . . . so that no one should keep them, a Jew his brother, in bondage" (Jer. 34:9)

When the Lord Builds His House

By Francis Frangipane

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

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

During these past 25 to 30 years God has had His church "at the quarry " shaping the leaders, preparing their hearts to become a living dwelling place, a spiritual house of the Lord. Under the hammer of the Word, many pastors and lay people have softened their doctrinal opinions. God has been reducing their definition of Christianity to the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ (see 2 Cor 11:3). At the same time, the Lord has also laid His axe to the root system of jealousy and selfish ambition (see James 3:16).

Measure Those Who Worship

By Francis Frangipane

"Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, ‘Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations'" (Rev. 11:1-2).

For whatever else this verse ultimately means, it tells us that the Spirit of God is measuring worshipers. He is looking for those whose treasure is in Heaven and who abide in the "inner court" of God's temple.

Consider: in our world of terrors, pressures and trauma, our only refuge exists in the living presence of God. We must not accept a religion about God and assume it is the same as living in the presence of God. If we are to truly dwell in the Divine Presence, one thing perhaps above all others will take us there: we must become true worshipers of God.

Christ Our Passover Lamb

By Francis Frangipane

While we can forgive and cover non-Christian traditions in love, we should not let these traditions obscure the profound truth of God's Word. The early church had great reasons they celebrated the Feast of Passover. This annual tradition was not only commemorative -- it was also prophetic in nature. And while we would expect that the Jewish disciples would celebrate Passover, so also did the Gentile believers. We see this clearly in Paul's letter to the Corinthians. He wrote, "Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast" (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

Deliverance From Bitterness

By Francis Frangiapne
(En Español)

There are two conditions of the heart no one can hide: one is when the heart is filled with love and the other when we are infected with bitterness. Either condition can take over our thoughts and both can filter our entire view of life. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must make our highest quest to possess hearts full of God’s love. Indeed, how successful we are at revealing Christ’s love is the true measure of our spirituality.

Thus, love cannot long exist as an unexpressed or hidden secret. If love is real, it will be seen in a thousand manifestations reaching to the heart of its beloved. Love, which is in truth passion for oneness, is too powerful to be contained by mere discipline or self-control. Indeed, is not love boldly displayed in its unrequited gifts, and is it not heard in its many encouragements and expressions of concern? Is it not tangible in its unabashed enjoyment of time spent with its beloved?

The Morning Star

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

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, retreating from the approaching rays of light. Even before the dawn breaks, the morning star faithfully heralds the coming day, announcing to the world still in darkness that light is at hand.

The Scriptures use the image of the morning star to depict the church at the end of the age. Indeed, this visual portrays well the reality that awaits us.

Concerning the end times, Peter wrote:

The Divine Purpose

By Francis Frangipane

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28).

Even before I came to Christ, the phrase, "it all works for good," was a familiar coping mechanism used by believers and nonbelievers alike. Yet this spiritual truth really is not a promise for everyone. What I mean is that there are many things in life -- horrible things -- that are not working for good. For instance, millions die without accepting Christ who will not go to Heaven. Others languish in prolonged agony, suffering from unspeakable diseases, physical trauma or war. What of abortion, human trafficking and drug addiction? Do any of these work for good?

The House of Prayer

By Francis Frangipane

Jesus said His Father's house would be a "house of prayer for all the nations" (Mark 11:17). True intercessory prayer is born of love and comes in the midst of sin and need. It comes not to condemn, but to redeem. The truth is that all nations sin. All cultures have times of crises. Yet these times can become turning points if, in the time of distress, intercessors cry to God for mercy. Thus, prayer brings redemption from disaster.

We must understand: the church is created not to fulfill God's wrath but to complete His mercy. Remember, we are called to be a house of prayer for all nations. Consider passionately this phrase: "prayer for." Jesus taught us to "pray for" those who persecute and mistreat you. Paul tells us that God desires all men to be saved. Therefore, he urges that "entreaties and prayers . . . be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority" (1 Tim. 2:1–2). When Job "prayed for" his friends, God fully restored him (Job 42). We are to "pray for" the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6) and "pray for" each other, that we may be healed (James 5:16)

A Society of Redeemers

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Before we discuss a number of ways we can develop our powers of discernment, let us acknowledge that our world is under a great, multidimensional assault. Hell is advancing and its goal is to swallow civilizations in darkness. I've seen the demonic legions, strident in their rebellion, shaking their fists toward Heaven as they lay claim to our open and foolishly naive cultures.

I have even known, on a rare occasion or two, the intimidation of the Prince of Darkness. I've felt the weight of his confidence as he gloats at how unprepared the church is -- how divided and carnal. Satan does not doubt he will fulfill his intention to rule this world.

Unoffendable, Part 2: False Expectations

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

In our last teaching we looked at offenses and examined the lethal effect an offended spirit could have upon our lives. We discussed how the only way to not be permanently offended was to attain the unoffendable heart of Jesus Christ.

Attaining Christ's heart is not a minor issue. Remember, Jesus warned that in the last days "many" would be offended.

A wounded spirit is not the same thing as an offended spirit. We may have experienced a cutting remark or slander from someone that wounds us. As the wave of this event rolls over our thoughts, it is right at this moment that we must determine the outcome, that with God's help we will make this work for us. It is at this juncture that we must process our wounds in a Christlike manner. If we fail to respond rightly we will begin to fake our Christianity.

Unoffendable

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezek. 36:26).

God has a new heart for us that cannot be offended, an "unoffendable" heart. Beloved, possessing an unoffendable heart is not an option or a luxury; it's not a little thing. An offended heart is endanger of becoming a "heart of stone."

Consider: Jesus warns that, as we near the end of the age, a majority of people will be offended to such a degree that they fall away from the faith. Listen carefully to His warning:

"Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another . . . and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:10-12 KJV).

The Un-envisioned Place

By Francis Frangipane

If we look at the heroes of faith in the Scriptures, we will find people that, without fail, were people of vision. Yet, upon deeper study, we also discover that, even as people of vision, they often found themselves in circumstances that were unlike anything they expected. Yet, it was in this "un-envisioned place" that God established character in His servant. It was here where the Lord released power that fulfilled destiny.

Consider Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. He wrote of his "great desire" to travel to the church in Thessalonica more than once. Yet, he said, "Satan hindered us" (1Thess. 2:17-18)

The Three Battlegrounds

By Francis Frangipane

Introduction
I wrote The Three Battlegrounds to provide clear and balanced insight into the nature of spiritual warfare. Before we proceed, however, I have two concerns. The first is our need for wisdom. There is an old European proverb worth heeding. It reads: "Age and treachery will always defeat youth and zeal." Before we engage in spiritual warfare, we should know this about Satan: he is an ancient and extremely treacherous foe. On the other hand, the strength of most Christians lies primarily in idealism and untested fervor. It is not long, usually five to ten years in the ministry, and most zeal has waned. Without warning the minister’s call has deteriorated from a walk of vision to a mere job.

The Wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

February is Black History Month here in America. Thus I thought it would be timely to recall and apply the wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King. He was a man for the ages, a man whom God raised up and anointed.

Pastor Francis
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"In the final analysis, says the Christian ethic, every man must be respected because God loves him. The worth of an individual does not lie in the measure of his intellect, his racial origin, or his social position. Human worth lies in relatedness to God. An individual has value because he has value to God. Whenever this is recognized, "whiteness" and "blackness" pass away as determinants in a relationship and "son" and "brother" are substituted." --The Ethical Demands, Dec, 1962.

"Recognizing the necessity for suffering I have tried to make of it a virtue. If only to save myself from bitterness, I have attempted to see my personal ordeals as an opportunity to transform myself and heal the people involved in the tragic situation which now obtains. I have lived these last few years with the conviction that unearned suffering is redemptive. There are some who still find the cross a stumbling block, and others consider it foolishness, but I am more convinced than ever before that it is the power of God unto social and individual salvation." --Pilgrimage To Nonviolence, April, 1960.

"I Do Not Remember"

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

How little we understand of eternal redemption! How many times will God forgive you? If you have truly set your heart to follow Him, He will cancel your sins as often as you ask. Will He forgive you of the worst sin you can think of? Yes! You may have to live with the consequences of your misdeed, but God can use your repentance and newly found humility to inspire others. As for the sin itself, if you deeply and sincerely repent of it, not only will God forgive you, He will blot it out of His memory.

Let me share an experience. A certain man of God had been gifted with revelatory insight into people's lives. During an evening service he ministered to a Presbyterian pastor and his wife. By the gift of the Spirit, he revealed the couple's past, uncovered their present situation, and then disclosed to them what was to come. This work of God greatly impressed the couple, and as the prophecies were fulfilled, one month later the Presbyterian minister brought two other pastors, each with their wives, to another service for personal ministry.

A Forgiving Heart

By Francis Frangipane

During the last hours of this age, there will be two opposing factions in the world: those whose hearts are wrought with bitterness, resentment, and hatred; and those whose love has actually increased and who are experiencing the power of the kingdom of God. Jesus foretold these conditions in Matthew: "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. . . . Because lawlessness [iniquity] is increased, most people's love will grow cold" (Matt. 24:10, 12). But then He added: "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" (v. 14).

What is this "gospel of the kingdom"? It is the whole truth that Jesus came to bring -- not only that which saves us from our sins, but also that which creates us in His image. It is the full gospel with all its requirements and all its rewards -- the full price for the full power. It is the most glorious pearl that man can possess: the presence of God in glory revealed within and among us.

Remember Job

By Francis Frangipane

There is much to say about the book of Job. Many scholars believe it is the oldest book of the Bible; all agree that it predates the wisdom books (Proverbs, Psalms, etc.). Another interesting insight is this: Job was not an Israelite. So the antiquity of this book combined with its Gentile hero makes it unique among all Old Testament Scriptures.

Yet there is another narrative that is actually my main point of interest. The story of Job is not only about an innocent man suffering unjustly from a satanic attack; the bulk of the story concerns the suffering Job endured from his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar (and later Elihu). These men, probably religious scholars of their day, were friends of Job. Yet during his distress they falsely judged him; they became his accusers.

Righteous Judgment

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Previously I have urged you, my friends and colleagues, to resist the trends of anger and bitter cynicism that exist in our world today. Instead, we must strive to possess the "higher . . . thoughts" of Christ (Isa. 55:9).

In truth, our calling is to serve God as ambassadors of Christ (Eph. 6:20). A true ambassador is not only pledged to represent his or her leader; the ambassador is one who knows what that ruler actually thinks and what he would say. He receives regular communication with that leader and is current on his leader’s short-term and long-term goals. Should the ambassador be ignorant of the ruler’s view, he is trained to not offer his own opinions; he is to wait until he hears from the one he represents. The world doesn’t want to know what we think. There are some seven billion opinions in the world today. What the nations need is not to hear our opinions but to hear the One we represent: our King, Jesus Christ.

House of Thoughts

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

There are satanic strongholds over countries and communities, and there are strongholds that even influence, to some degree, churches and individuals. Wherever a stronghold exists, it is a demonically induced pattern of thinking. Specifically, it is a "house made of thoughts" that has become a dwelling place for satanic activity.

Removing Satan's Armor
"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder" (Luke 11:21-22).

Before we were saved, Satan was like a fully armed "strong man" guarding the homestead of our souls. On the day of our salvation, however, "someone stronger," the Lord Jesus Christ, attacked and overpowered Satan and stripped him of his armor. Our born-again experiences may be widely varied, but in the spirit-realm, a very similar war was waged and won for each of us. If we could have seen into the invisible world, we would have observed the Holy Spirit working with the angels of God to overpower and destroy the enemy's "armor."

The Stronghold of the Godly: Humility

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Satan fears virtue. He is terrified of humility; he hates it. He sees a humble person and it sends chills down his back. His hair stands up when Christians kneel down, for humility is the surrender of the soul to God. The devil trembles before the meek because in the very areas where he once had access there stands the Lord, and Satan is terrified of Jesus Christ.

Who Truly Are You Fighting?
It is important to recognize that the immediate source of many of our problems and oppression is not demonic but fleshly in nature. Indeed, one aspect of our lives, our flesh nature, will always be targeted by the devil. These fleshly areas supply Satan with unhindered access to undermine our prayers and neutralize our walk with God.

What Does Jesus Say?

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Great Gain
We must relearn how to think. We must learn how to pause before we speak -- give ourselves a moment to enter the secret place of God's presence -- and then listen to what Jesus has to say. For Christ Himself is the source of our discernment. In listening, we create the opportunity to hear the Lord's voice; postured before Him we can receive answers, wisdom and insights that we otherwise would not discern.

Indeed, using the gift of discernment, we can counter the advance of the enemy and reverse the gains he might have otherwise obtained. Consider the gospel story of the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11). As experts in the Mosaic Law, the Pharisees knew well that the woman had sinned. Wishing to publicly discredit Jesus, they brought her to Him hoping, perhaps, to prove Him a heretic:

"One Message"

By Francis Frangipane

The Lord alone will be exalted in that day." --- Isaiah 2:11

Normally my Sunday sermon is prepared a few days in advance, but this week was different. All week the heavens seemed like bronze. Saturday morning came, and still I was at a loss. Nothing seemed alive. It was now Saturday evening and I was pacing the floor seeking God. "Lord," I asked, "what is the message for tomorrow morning? What topic should I address?"

A dozen ideas filed through my mind, loitered momentarily in my imagination, and left as unanointed as they had arrived. I went to bed praying. When I woke Sunday morning, my prayer was still on my lips.