Category: thoughts by Francis Frangipane

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Is your love growing softer, brighter and more visible? Or is it becoming more discriminating, more calculating, less vulnerable and less available? This is a very important issue, for your Christianity is only as real as your love. A measurable decrease in your ability to love is evidence that a stronghold of cold love is developing within you.

Jesus warned of our era. He said,

Many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:10-12).

\So let us honestly ask the Lord to examine us: Is our love hot or cold? Another persons thoughtlessness may have wounded us deeply, but instead of forgiving the wound or going to them and discussing it according to Matthew 18, we go to others with our complaint. The wound then begins to germinate into a root of bitterness, and many are being defiled (Hebrews 12:15). What is growing in us is not love but bitterness, which is unfulfilled revenge.

Again, Jesus warned that “stumbling blocks [would] come” (Matthew 18:7). There will be times when even good people have bad days; there will never be a time when “stumbling blocks” cease to be found upon your path. Remember also, people do not stumble over boulders but over stones — little things. When you have stumbled over something, you’ve stopped walking.

Have you stumbled over someone’s weakness or sin lately? Have you gotten back up and continued loving as you did before, or has that fall caused you to withdraw from walking in love? To preserve the quality of your love, you must forgive those who have caused you to stumble. Depending on the issue itself, it may be that you legitimately cannot trust them, but you do not have a reason to stop loving.

Every time you refuse to forgive or fail to overlook a weakness in another, your heart not only hardens toward them, it hardens toward God. You may still think you are open to God, but the Scriptures are clear: “The one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). You may not like what someone has done, but you do not have an option to stop loving them.

What do I mean by love? First, I do not merely mean “tough love.” I mean gentle, affectionate, sensitive, open, persistent love. God will be tough when He needs to be, and we will be firm when He tells us to be, but beneath our firmness must be an underground river of love waiting to spring into action. When I have love for someone, I have predetermined that I am going to stand with them, regardless of what they are going through. I am committed.

We each need people who love us, who are committed to us in spite of our imperfections. The fullness of Christ will not come without Christians standing with each other in love. We are not talking about salvation but growing in salvation until we care for each other, even as Christ has committed Himself to us.

The goal of pulling down the stronghold of cold love is to see our hearts restored to the heart of Christ. You will be challenged in this, but if you persist, you will discover the height and depth and breadth of Christ’s love. You will become “a body filled and flooded with God Himself” (Ephesians. 3:19 Amp).

By Francis Frangipane
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FURTHER READING

Feelings, Forgiveness and Peace

Overflowing with Life!

Dirty Oven – Sin in our life is like a dirty oven


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If you think you know God but do not live your life in gratitude before Him, it is doubtful that you really knew Him in the first place. A thankful heart honors God. Too often when we say we “know God,” what we actually mean is we know facts about God. But we should ask ourselves, “Do I truly know Him?”

Paul warns that just knowing doctrines about God is not enough to enter eternal life. He said,

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:20-21).

Even though we may know God, if we do not “honor Him as God or give thanks” to Him in our daily walk, our minds darken. When we are in that hardened, ungrateful state of mind, every word we speak is a spark lit by hell, set to destroy the quality of our lives (James 3:6).

H. W. Beecher said,

Pride slays thanksgiving . . . a proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.” We should be thankful that we do not get what we deserve!

When God gives us less than we desire, it is not because He is teaching us poverty; what He is teaching us is thankfulness. You see, life — real life — is not based upon what we amass but on what we enjoy. Even in difficult circumstances God still gives us much to appreciate. We fail to see what the Lord has provided because our hearts are wrong.

Someone once said, “When I see a poor man who is grateful, I know if he were rich, he would be generous.” A thankful spirit is akin to a generous spirit, for both appreciate and receive the riches of God. When we are thankful with little, God can entrust us with much.

By Francis Frangipane
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The body of Christ was 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 His disciples to “pray for” those who would persecute or mistreat them (Mathew 5:44). When Job “prayed for” his friends, God fully restored him (Job 42:10). We are to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6), and “pray for” each other so that we may be healed (James 5:16).

According to the Word of God, the Lord “desires all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4). Therefore, Paul urged “that entreaties and prayers…be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority” (vv. 1-2). You see, the call is to pray for people.

But,” you argue, “my country (or city) is a modern manifestation of ancient Babylon.”

I don’t think so. But even if it were, when the Lord exiled Israel to Babylon, He didn’t order His people to judge and condemn their new cities. Rather, He said,

Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you…and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfareJeremiah 29:7

Time after time, the scriptural command is to pray for, not against; to pray mercifully, not vindictively. God’s call is for prayer moved by compassion, not condemnation. Indeed, my friend, at its very essence, the nature of intercession is to appeal to God for redemption to come to sinful people.

By Francis Frangipane
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There is a place of immunity for the believer, a spiritual fortress in Christ that shelters us from the attacks of the devil. For those who abide in this stronghold of God, the onslaught of the wicked one does not touch them. Here, in this secret dwelling with the Almighty, we are hidden from the effects of the accuser’s tongue; we are sheltered from the assignment of the destroyer.

The dictionary defines immunity as

freedom or exemption, as from a penalty, burden, duty or evil.”

This is how the living God wants His children to walk: in freedom from the penalties and burdens of sin, delivered from the duties of legalistic religion, protected and triumphant over the assault of the evil one.

In the Bible you will find hundreds of examples of God’s loving protection. Every time the Lord pleaded with sinful Israel to return to Him, it was to urge them back to His protection; each time they responded, they were secured again within the shelter of God. The Scripture says,

“He shielded them and cared for them, guarding them as the apple of his eye” (Deuteronomy 32:10 NAB).

A Father’s Care
God is not only our Creator; He is also our Father. As such, it is inconceivable that He would leave His children unprotected. In Matthew 6:8, Jesus says that our Father knows our needs before we ask Him. If we, even in our fallen condition, seek to provide for our children, how much more does God in His perfection seek to shelter and care for His offspring!

Scripture testifies that He has

“granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3).

The more we possess a true knowledge of the Almighty, the more accessible His provisions for us become. What has He given us? He has prepared an abiding place for us where all that we need concerning life and godliness is ours. It is a place where every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places belongs to us in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

David knew of this awesome place of protection. He wrote,

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress . . . in whom I take refuge; my shield and . . . my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2).

Again, speaking of those who fear God, David prayed,

“Thou dost hide them in the secret place of Thy presence from the conspiracies of man; Thou dost keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues” (Psalm 31:20).

And again,

“Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble; Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).

In David’s personal life, he knew the living God as a spiritual stronghold and a place of safety from conflict. The king was intimately familiar with this special place in God’s Presence. It was here, in the fortress of God, that David’s soul was sheltered.

For Those Who Follow Christ
This place of immunity was not just a special provision for prophets and godly kings. From the day of Christ’s resurrection, the entrance into the citadel of heaven was opened to all who would follow the Messiah. Discovering this abode, where Christ literally floods us with His life, is not merely the subject of this message, it is the object of our existence!

How shall we find this spiritual place? We simply begin by loving Jesus. He said,

“He who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him” (John 14:21).

If we persevere in love and obedience, Jesus has promised to progressively reveal Himself to us.

Consider the magnitude of Jesus’ promise! He continued,

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him” (John 14:23).

This unfolding revelation of Jesus Christ to our hearts is the path to the abode of God. It is this stronghold of the Most High which is the shelter of God.

Lord, with the psalmist I cry, “When shall I enter the courts of the living God?” You are our Father; do not hide Yourself from us, Your children! Bring us to Your lap, oh God! Hold us to Your heart; assure us with the fullness of Your Spirit that You, indeed, are near. Thank You, Lord!

By Francis Frangipane
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In the 73rd Psalm, the psalmist Asaph expressed a struggle we all might feel at times. He questioned why the wicked seem to prosper while the righteous are chastened. The whole idea was troublesome until he entered the sanctuary of God. Once in the presence of God, Asaph realized his error. As he compared himself to the unbeliever, he saw that, apart from the influence of God, he had nothing in which to boast. He said,

When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You” (vv. 21-22).

Finally, his soul brightened as he considered that God alone was his salvation, and his relationship with God was his strength. He wrote,

Nevertheless I am continually with You. … You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. … God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (vv. 23-26).

The summary thought of Asaph’s revelation, and the point of this message, is in verse 28. He wrote, “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.”

Let’s settle this truth once and for all: It is the nearness of God that produces our good. Christianity was never designed by God to be sustained by nice people trying to appear good. We’re not that good. We’re not that clever. And we’re not that nice. The only thing that can sustain true Christianity is true union with Jesus Christ. It is nearness to Him in all things that produces our spiritual fruit.

If we are honest, we will admit that, apart from the influence and work of God, there is nothing morally superior or remarkably virtuous about our lives. Our flesh has the same carnal passions as do people in the world; our soul carries within it the same insecurities and fears. Thus, apart from the influence of Christ in us, there’s no difference between Christians and non-Christians (except that Christians, when living separate from God’s presence, can be more obnoxious). It’s only our relationship with the Lord that keeps us from fulfilling the lusts and desires of the flesh, for apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Therefore, the strength of our walk does not originate from within ourselves; rather it comes from our relationship with Jesus Christ. Our virtue, if it can be defined as such, is that we have learned to prioritize seeking God; our character is the offspring of our oneness with Jesus. By this I mean, Jesus is not only first on our list of priorities; His influence rules over all our priorities. He inspires love in our relationships; His voice becomes the conviction in our integrity. God has made “Christ Jesus” to be to us

wisdom … and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Thus, the God-seeker desires to find the Lord’s pleasure drawn to every aspect of his soul. He also knows that, should an area of his heart exist in isolation from God, he will remain vulnerable to manipulation by the enemy in that area. So let me underscore the psalmist’s truth, and let us say with our own voice of conviction: it is the nearness of our God that is our good.

Oh God, You are the lover of my soul. Faithfully, have You extended Your hands toward me. Yet, I have been, at times, a drifter and distant. Master, this day I acknowledge my most wonderful times are those spent close to You. When my heart is near to You, I am partaking of the nectar of life.

By Francis Frangipane
Used by Permission

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As Christians our faith tells us that Christ died as payment for our sins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You see, we are not merely men of flesh temporarily acting spiritual, but we are spiritual beings temporarily living as men of flesh. If you have received Christ into your life, you are part of the second Genesis. You possess a new nature, which is the actual life of Christ’s — a life-giving Spirit.

By Francis Frangipane
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“How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion! Passing through the valley of Baca, they make it a spring”. Psalm 84:5-6

Baca means “weeping.” Each of us has times of weeping when our hearts and hopes seem crushed. Because God has placed in our hearts “highways to Zion,” however, we pass through valleys; we do not live in them.

Passing through the valley of Baca” Once we are on the other side of weeping, our Redeemer makes our valley experience into “a spring.” The very things that overwhelmed us will, in time, refresh us with new life. Whether we are experiencing the height of success and power or are in a valley of weakness and despair, the Lord is our God continually!

Has the enemy isolated you, causing you to doubt God’s love? Do not forget, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Even the hairs on your head are numbered. He cares. It is His love for us that redeems our hardships and not only brings good out of what was meant for evil, but also trains us to deliver others.

How did Jesus prepare to do wonderful works? Part of His training involved suffering. Christ was a man of sorrows. He was One who was acquainted with grief. Yet His suffering was the Father’s means of acquainting Him with the actual feelings of mankind’s need and pain. Because He suffered what we suffer, He is able to serve as a faithful high priest. If we yield to God’s plan for Christ to be formed in us, God will take our sorrows to enlarge our hearts. Once we have been acquainted with grief, we then can be anointed with compassion to deliver others.

Thank You for redeeming the conflicts of my life. I praise You for healing me and causing me to forget all the trauma of my past. Now Lord, help me to remember what I have learned. Cause me to remember that the crises in my life always precede the enrichment of my life. Help me to recognize that the place of my fruitfulness is in the land of my affliction. In Jesus name. Amen.

By Francis Frangipane
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See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled Hebrews 12:15

It is impossible to pass through this world without being struck by injustice or heartache. Unless we process our struggles in Christ, a single wounding of our soul can create a deep bitterness within us, poisoning our very existence. In my forty-six years of ministry, I have known far too many Christians who have perfected the art of looking polite while living inwardly with an angry, cynical or resentful spirit. They have swallowed the poison of bitterness, and they are dying spiritually because of it. The problem is that, as Christians, we know it is wrong to react with open anger toward people. However, rather than truly forgiving and surrendering that injustice to God, we suppress our anger. Anger is a result of perceived injustice. Suppressed anger always degrades into bitterness, which is, in reality, unfulfilled revenge.

Embittered People

A bitter soul is trapped in a time warp; the person dwells in the memory of their pain. Several years ago I met a woman who had suffered a difficult divorce. I talked with her every six months or so for two years, and each time we talked she said exactly the same negative things about her ex-husband. Although she was divorced from him, she was now married to a bitter spirit that held her captive to her heartache.

An embittered soul continually blames others for their situation. I’m thinking of Naomi in the Book of Ruth. Here was a person who blamed her bitterness on God. She was angry that He allowed hardship and loss in her life. “The Lord has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21). In effect she was saying, My sorrow is God’s fault.

Contrast her life with that of Job’s first encounter with loss (Job 1). Job lost his children and possessions, yet he bowed and worshiped: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

How we handle sorrow reveals the depth of our worship of God. When life cuts us, do we bleed bitterness or worship? Job bowed and drew close to God. Naomi withdrew and talked about the Lord with her back toward Him. I have dear friends who lost their only son when he was a teenager. In the midst of their heartache, they have become examples to everyone of true worship. Over the years, their pain actually purified and deepened their worship; their suffering made them more compassionate toward the suffering of others (See 2 Corinthians 1:3-4). I also know others who have suffered the sudden loss of a loved one and, within weeks, withdrew from God and became embittered. Adversity does not perfect character; it reveals character. It exposes what is happening inside of us.

Poisoned

In ancient times mankind experimented with vegetation, seeking to learn which plants were edible and which were poisonous. In his search, he discovered that, generally speaking, if a plant or fruit was sweet, it was usually safe to eat; bitter plants, man discovered, would either sicken or kill. Likewise, the bitter experiences of life, if we ingest them into our spirits, can become a spiritual poison that destroys our hopeful expectations and attitudes. Such an experience may enter your soul via a relational wound or injustice; it can begin through a major disappointment or loss. However, once bitterness enters the human soul, like ink spreading in a glass of water, it can darken every aspect of our existence.

Indeed, not only can bitterness ruin our lives, Hebrews warns that a root of bitterness can “defile many” (Hebrews 12:15 NIV). A spiritual root of bitterness is a hidden, unresolved anger that is buried beneath the surface of our lives. Outwardly we look “properly Christian,” until we begin to discuss with others the situation where someone hurt us. As we speak, that root “springs up” and it defiles others. If you haven’t dealt with your bitterness, beware when you speak to others, lest you defile them with your words. If you are listening to an embittered person, take heed that the spirit of bitterness is not being transferred to your life as well!

God desires to rescue us from bitterness so we can truly love and laugh again. Let us, therefore, sincerely approach the throne of God’s grace and ask Him to show us the garden of our hearts. Yes, and let us see if our souls are truly free of the root of bitterness.

By Francis Frangipane
Used by Permission


If you don’t know Jesus in a personal way you can begin a relationship with him today. The first step is a prayer telling him you believe He is who He says He is and a second step is surrendering control of your will and life to him.  These can be communicated in a simple prayer (prayer is talking to God):

“Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”


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The Effects of a Passive Spirit

Scripture contains many examples of David’s valor. As a young man, for instance, while others trembled, David was ready and eager to face Goliath. David is an example of one whom God chose, whose passions for God sustained him for most of his life.

Yet David also provides an example for us of what happens to good people when a passive spirit triumphs. For there was an occasion when David did not pursue his enemies, and the consequences were grave. It happened because he allowed a passive spirit to subdue his will.

Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 11:1).

During a time of war, the king accepted a passive spirit into his soul. Soon we find this great warrior king almost helpless to resist the unfolding spiritual attack.

Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance
(2 Samuel 11:2).

The woman was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. From the moment David accepted the influence of that passive spirit, his resistance was weakened; a paralysis of conscience occurred. Scripture says that “when evening came David arose from his bed.” Perhaps it was customary to rest in the afternoon, but it strikes me as inconsistent for David to nap while his men fought. It is possible that this nap was not a response to a bodily need but an expression of the slumber that gripped his soul. He was in bed until “evening.”

This heaviness of soul resting on David was actually part of a larger, synchronized spiritual attack. The other part of that battle was the quiet, inner prompting that stirred Bathsheba to bathe in a place where David could see her. Finally, David, unable to resist, and in defiance of his noble qualities,

sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her” (2 Samuel 11:4).

Dear friend, remember: This terrible moral failure was not driven by David’s lust or flagrant rebellion to God. A passive spirit introduced David to his sin! The problem was simply that, in a time when the kings went forth to war, David stayed at home.

We ourselves are in a time of war. The Spirit of God is calling us to fight for our souls as well as our families, cities and nations. Indeed, God’s Word reveals that

the Lord will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies” (Isaiah 42:13).

Is that holy fight in you? Is there a war cry in your spirit? If you are born again, that cry is within you, even if it has been muted by lethargy.

We will never succeed as overcomers without carrying in our spirits the war cry of God. We must stop resisting the call to prayer; we must embrace the reality of spiritual warfare; and we must fight with the weapons of warfare that God has given us, both for our own progress and also on behalf of those we love.

Conversely, the moment you surrender your will to a passive attitude, you should anticipate that a temptation appropriate to your weakness will soon follow. It may not be Bathsheba; it may be pornography on the Internet. Or it may be a coworker who begins to look attractive at a time when you and your spouse are struggling. Whatever the area of weakness in your life, Satan will seek to exploit that area. It will likely not be a bold frontal assault. He will approach you quietly, in whispers, relaxing your spiritual guard. What disarmed you was a passive spirit. If the enemy succeeds in this first stage of his assault, you will soon find yourself wrapped up in something that can devastate you and your loved ones.

By Francis Frangipane
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Jesus warned about our days, saying,

Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:10).

The Lord’s warning was not just about conditions in the world; He is speaking to His disciples. He warned about conditions in the church.

Today, the church is overstocked with Christians whose love has grown cold.

As a result, rancor fills our conversations. We have become a sub-culture that is mad that the world has not become Christian, while we are tolerant that we are not Christlike.

When you discuss things that are wrong, does rancor come forth or prayer? The word rancor came from Latin rancere, which meant, “to stink.” (See rancid). This is exactly what we exude heavenward when all we do is find fault and criticize. The smell of our rancor ascends into the awareness of God. These things ought not to be.

On the other hand, intercessory prayer is a sweet aroma to God. Again, when we pass through trials and determine to emerge more like Jesus, our very lives become “a fragrance of Christ to God” (2 Corinthians. 2:15). Amazing! in spite of our flaws and weaknesses, while we are living in this harsh world, we can actually become like Christ.

Indeed, may this be the passion of all who trust God’s Son: to become a fragrance of Christ to God.

By Francis Frangipane
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Francis Frangipane Thoughts by Men

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Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him,One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
Mark 10:21

Too many Christians have given up on the vision of becoming like Jesus. They know they are sinners saved by grace, but they do not see themselves living out a transformed life. They have accepted the lie that the Holy Spirit can’t train them as He did the first century Christians. Before we doubt whether we are the caliber of the first disciples, here is a fact sheet compiled from over 200 New Testament Scriptures concerning those whom Jesus first called.

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

They…
dined with Him, often became hungry, often didn’t have time to eat, twice miraculously fed the multitudes with food Jesus multiplied.

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

They…
did what was not lawful on the Sabbath, broke the traditions of the elders, entered the Kingdom of God and walked in God’s power.

They…
were often frightened, fell on their faces, were sometimes afraid, were very astonished, they frequently marveled, they were at times indignant, and they rejoiced exceedingly.

They...
became weary on a number of occasions, grumbled and withdrew, some stopped walking with Jesus; even after the resurrection some still doubted, they wrote the New Testament and died for their faith.

They…
were taught to pray for the Kingdom to come and for laborers for the harvest, yet slept while Jesus prayed; they spent ten days in continuous prayer before Pentecost, and prayed corporately every day afterward at 3:00 p.m..

They…
forgot provisions, made commitments they could not keep, individuals begged them to heal people they could not heal, they attempted to exorcise demons that would not leave, they rebuked parents who brought children to be blessed, they abandoned Jesus in His darkest hour, they were frequently jealous and often ambitious, and they turned the world upside down after the resurrection.

They…
had a tendency to invent doctrines, tried to command fire to fall on the Samaritans, put a limit on how many times to forgive, presumed the apostle John would not die, wanted to build tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Elijah, became the tabernacle of God on earth after Pentecost.

They…
prepared cities for the arrival of Jesus, prepared the Passover for the last supper, and were prepared by God to represent Christ; ultimately, they were prepared to die for the Lord.

They…
remembered what Jesus taught, received the great commission, faced terrible opposition from principalities and powers, Jews and Gentiles, yet they reached their world with the Gospel of Christ.

Therefore, seeing that God was not limited by the mistakes of Christ’s disciples, let us read the words of Christ as though we were sitting at Jesus’ feet. Let us approach Him with faith, believing all things are possible for God, even the transformation of our hearts.

By Francis Frangipane
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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” Ezekiel 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 Matthew 24:10-12( KJV).

Many” will “be offended.” The result? The love of “many” will grow cold. My prayer is that we will hear His words with holy fear.

When we allow an offense to remain in our hearts, it causes serious spiritual consequences. In the above verse Jesus named three dangerous results: betrayal, hatred and cold love. When we are offended with someone, even someone we care for, we must go to them. If we do not talk to them, we will begin to talk about them. We betray that relationship, whispering maliciously behind their back to others, exposing their weaknesses and sins. We may mask our betrayal by saying we are just looking for advice or counsel, but when we look back, we see we have spoken negatively to far too many people. Our real goal was not to get spiritual help for ourselves but to seek revenge toward the one who offended us. How is such action not a manifestation of hatred? For an offended soul, cold love, betrayal and hatred are a walk into darkness.

People don’t stumble over boulders; they stumble over stones, relatively small things. It may be that the personality of someone in authority bothers us, and soon we are offended. Or, a friend or family member fails to meet our expectations, and we take an offense into our soul. Beloved, if we will “endure to the end,” we will have to confront the things that bother us.

When Jesus warns that we need endurance, He is saying that it is easier to begin the race than finish it. Between now and the day you die, there will be major times of offense that you will need to overcome. You might be in such a time right now. Do not minimize the danger of harbouring an offense!

No one plans on falling away; no one ever says, “Today, I think I’ll try to develop a hardened heart of stone.” Such things enter our souls through stealth. It is only naivete that assumes it couldn’t happen to us. I know many people who consistently become offended about one thing or another. Instead of dealing with the offenses, praying about them and turning the issue over to God, they carry the offense in their soul until its weight disables their walk with God. You may be doing fine today, but I guarantee you, tomorrow something will happen that will inevitably disappoint or wound you; some injustice will strike you, demanding you retaliate in the flesh. Will you find more love, and hence, continue your growth toward Christlikeness? Or will you allow that offense to consume your spiritual life?

By Francis Frangipane

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It is not hard to recognize one who has spent extended time at a newsstand: his conversation overflows with the drama of current affairs. And, it is not hard to discern a person who has come from a sporting event, as their face reveals the outcome of the game. Likewise, people can tell when an individual has spent extended time seeking God. An imperturbable calm guards their heart, and their countenance is radiant with light, as with the morning dew of Heaven.

Beloved, to seek and find God is everything.

The Eternal Imprint

It is to our shame that, in our era, church services do not focus more on actually seeking God. Yes, we do honor God and thank Him for what He has done. We hear a sermon and, perhaps, enjoy a time of fellowship with others. Yet only rarely do we depart a congregational meeting with the fire of eternity reflecting off our faces. Instead, we fill up with information about God without actually drawing near to Him. Most of us are still largely unaware of God’s presence.

While we rightly need church programs, fellowship, and times for ministry training, we must not automatically assume that religious indoctrination is the same thing as actually seeking God. And while I am often blessed listening to contemporary Christian music, even godly entertainment is no substitute for my own worship encounter with God.

Therefore, let us ask ourselves: Is there a place and a time set apart in our spiritual lives where we can give ourselves to seeking God? What if the Spirit of God actually desired to manifest Himself during our worship service? Would the Lord have to wait until we finished our scheduled program? I respect and recognize the need for order; we need the scheduled times for announcements and the defined purposes that currently occupy Sunday mornings, but have we made room for God Himself?

He Knew Not That His Face Shone

When we first determine to draw near to God, it may seem we have little to show for our efforts. Yet, be assured: even the thought of seeking God is a step toward our transformation. Still, we often do not notice the first signs of our spiritual renewal, for as we grow increasingly more aware of God, we simultaneously grow increasingly less aware of ourselves. Though we may not see that we are changing, others certainly will.

Consider the experience of Moses. The Lord’s servant had ascended Mount Sinai, and there stood before the living God. The eyes of Moses were actually filled with God’s sun-like glory; his ears actually heard the audible sound of the Lord’s voice. Yet, when Moses returned to the people, the Bible says he “did not know that the skin of his face shone” (Exodus 34:29). When the Israelites saw the fire of God’s glory on the face of Moses, “they were afraid to come near him” (v. 30). They saw he had been with God.

The church needs more people who have, like Moses, climbed closer to the Almighty, people who have stood in the sacred fire of God’s presence. Instead, we exhaust ourselves arguing over peripheral doctrines or styles of music in our song services.

Perhaps there are benefits to constantly debating the nuances of our doctrines, but are we not more truly thirsting for the reality of God?

Our goal is to, day by day, draw nearer to God. He has commanded that we come boldly to His throne of grace. To receive the help we need, we must arrive at His throne. Remember also that our confidence comes from Christ Himself. He promised,

Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:8).

We are seeking a lifetime of increasing devotion, though it may certainly begin in a season of drawing near. In spite of natural and spiritual obstacles, as we persevere, the Lord assures us,

How much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matthew. 7:11).

If we do not cease seeking and knocking, we will discover unfolding degrees of intimacy with God. Even now, He’s drawing near. The Lord promises,

Everyone who … seeks finds” (Matthew 7:8).

Master, to possess more of You is the heart-focus of my existence. Draw near, blessed Redeemer, fulfill Your desire for me by fulfilling my desire for You.

by Francis Frangipane
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For many, Christianity is simply the religion into which they were born.

For others, although Jesus is truly their Savior, their relationship with Him is hardly more than a history lesson, a study of what He did in the past. For those who truly love Him, however, Christ is Savior and more: He is their very life (Colossians 3:4). When Jesus is your life you cannot go on without Him.

There is a story of a young man who, in his search for God, came to study at the feet of an old sage. The master brought this young man to a lake, and then led him out into the shoulder-deep water. Putting his hands upon his pupil’s head, he promptly pushed him under the water and continued to hold him there until his disciple, feeling he would surely drown, frantically repelled the old man’s resistance. In shock and confusion the young man resurfaced. “What is the meaning of this?” he demanded. His teacher looked him in the eyes and said, “When you desire God as you desired air, you shall find Him.”

Was this not the attitude of the psalmist when he wrote, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1)? You see, there is a place in seeking God where our heart goes beyond the limits of casual desire, where the actual issue becomes one of survival–where I need Christ as a drowning man needs air and as a parched deer needs water. It is here, where we feel we cannot exist without finding the reality of God, that our deepest passion is fulfilled

By Francis Frangipane
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Light Shines in the Darkness

It is not enough to know God exists. If we will live in the awareness of the heavenly, we must be freed from the boundaries of the earthly. To awaken faith, the Holy Spirit will take us through times when the presence of God cannot be clearly discerned. The Lord’s goal during these times is to bring to maturity our spiritual senses.

Therefore, do not accept that God has permanently hidden Himself from you, though during trials it may seem so. He is teaching us to see in the dark and to hear in the silence. He is making Himself known to our inner man so that, regardless of outer circumstances, we can continually be led by His Spirit.

To see God, beloved, it is imperative that our vision become spiritual and not just sensory. To hear God, we must learn to tune out the clamor of our fears and earthly desires. The outcome of this inner spiritual working is an increasing perception that nothing is impossible for God. The time of darkness, though it comes as an enemy, actually compels us to seek God more earnestly; we learn to even more revere God’s light. Never mistake temporary darkness for permanent blindness, for today’s training is the very process that opens us to see God’s glory. Ultimately, we will discover the truth of what Isaiah wrote, that “the whole earth is full of [God’s] glory” (Isaiah 6:3).

Lord, Open Our Eyes!

Did not Moses endure “as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27 KJV)? Indeed, the Bible was written by individuals who actually beheld the glory of God. To see the glory of God is our call as well. Our spiritual vision is not an imaginary device of the mind, but that which comes from the living union of the Holy Spirit with our hearts. Did not our Lord promise that the “pure in heart . . . shall see God” (Matthew 5:8)? And is it not reasonable to expect that, if Christ truly dwells within us, we ought to perceive life with unveiled minds? Just as it is written,

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Yes, if we remove the veils of sin, shame and self-absorption, if we persist in seeking God, staying focused upon His Spirit and Word, we should expect to see the glory of the Lord. Such open perception is biblical and should be pursued! Yet there are those who say access to greater spiritual realities is a false hope and a heresy. I say, beware of the leaven of the unbelieving Christian. For such people would have you accept religion without vision as though to see God’s glory was sin.

Consider how many in the Bible actually saw the glory of the Lord: Abraham saw the Christ’s glory while he was in Mesopotamia. Isaiah beheld Him in the year King Uzziah died. Ezekiel fell before the Living One by the river Chebar. David, Habakkuk, Solomon, and Zechariah all saw the glory of the Lord (Acts 7:2; Isaiah. 6:1; Ezekiel 3:23; 2 Samuel 6:2; Habakkuk 3:3; 2 Chronicles 7:1; Zechariah 1:8). Moses beheld Him, then Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy Hebrew elders as well. Exodus tells us these men actually “saw the God of Israel.” The Bible describes this incredible scene, saying that “under [God’s] feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself ” (Exodus 24:10). The concluding thought is staggering; it reads, “And they saw God, and they ate and drank” (Exodus 24:11).

Think of it: They beheld God! Could anything be more wonderful? Is there not a jealousy within you for that experience — to actually gaze upon the God of Israel?

Be assured, to behold the Lord’s glory is not only scriptural but typical, especially during the pivotal decades between ages (which is where we are today). The fact is, over six million Israelites saw God’s glory on Mount Sinai. Young men, old women, and little children — people of every age and physical condition — all saw “the glory of the Lord [as it] rested on Mount Sinai.” These same people actually “heard the voice of God” speaking to them (Deuteronomy. 4:33)!

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

If you are a God-seeker, except for times of darkness when the Spirit refines your spiritual senses, you should expect to see the glory of God! There should be an anticipation that any day now — as you enter your prayer room or go for a walk, or in a dream — the Spirit of God is going to appear to you in some marvelous and life-changing way.

By Francis Frangipane
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Francis Frangipane Thoughts by Men