blog-windingroad1A twist in the Road

The above statement is truly an understatement of how I am actually feeling.

As most of my readers are aware, I have been on a journey with my husband that I never expected to be on, nor did I particularly want to be on it for that matter.

The journey we have been on is called Non Hodkins Lymphoma, Cancer of the Lymph nodes. My husband has had many sick days over the last eight months, with many sleepless and restless nights as well.

We have spent countless hours driving to and from the Hospital as well as countless hours meeting with doctors, specialists, nurses, and interns.

My dear husband has had to endure having his dignity stripped from him as some of the tests have been quite embarrassing as well as very invasive, to all of these he simply went along with it, tried to smile and never said “No I refuse!”

He reminded me of Jesus in those moments, when the crowds and the Pharisees and the Sadducees mocked and ridiculed him, beat him and led him to his death on the cross, he did not utter a word against them, but lovingly went to the Cross for all of mankind.

My husband too was silent, enduring things that were by no means pleasant.

Along the way we met some amazing people, some of the people were the professionals, trained in the field of medicine to help us out, others were the cleaning staff, who quietly went about cleaning all day long where others messed, from toilets to passage ways, and then there were my personal favorites, the volunteers, the people who came daily into these wards and brought a smile and their beverage carts.

I remember when we went for our very first appointment and we were waiting to see the doctor, I was really thirsty and anxious about the news we were to receive from the doctor and I remember praying, “oh lord how I would love a cup of tea” not five minutes later this lovely older lady came down the passage way with her beverage cart that was laden with beautiful tea cups and saucers, cookies, coffee and tea and milk and cream, I nearly cried, it was such a gift to receive that tea at that moment.

Over the months I have seen the volunteers with the tea Carts move about the day care ward and every time I see them I remember how grateful I was to receive that first cup of tea.

I promise if it would have been appropriate I would have loved to hug each of them to say thank you so very much, they have no idea how a little smile and a cup of tea in the midst of fear, heart ache and turmoil can lighten up your day.

Another group of people that we got to interact with were the actual patients, the ones whose bodies had been ravaged by a unforgiving disease such as cancer, some of these precious people looked like the walking dead, their bodies ravaged by the cancer and the chemotherapy drugs, looking like skeletons that shuffled along.

Some were a little luckier and still had some meat on their bodies, but not many, and they all had one thing in common, they all wore hats, some colorful, some plain, some twisted and some tied, but it was their flag that they bore, the flag of cancer, of hair falling out in big clumps, of having to shave the rest off and then being cold because they had nothing to cover their heads any longer.

cancer patient, hair lossThis is in my opinion by far the worst part of the cancer treatment process, because your hair is something that identifies you as a woman or a man, you spend time washing, combing and generally grooming it daily, it is a part of your image, defining you, making you look good and then when they experience the shock of it coming out is almost too much to bear.

The men and women who face these challenges are truly courageous as they know that they are in danger of dying without treatment, so they fiercely cling to life and smile while having the horrible drugs pumped into their systems.

I had not realized until recently the affect that all of these things were taking on my emotional state, until I found myself feeling lost and sad and tearful and wanting to sit on the side of the road and not move another inch.

Whom am I to have such feelings, I was just the observer, I did not have my body hooked up to machines, IV’s and the like, I did not have to take handfuls of medications in order to not feel like throwing up, I did not have my hair fall out and my body racked with pain; but I was there to be with my husband every step of the way, to drive him, care for him, comfort him and console him when he needed it the most.

Now I can stand back and realize that it is ok to have these wild feelings for a little while, but the trick I believe to surviving these feelings and not allowing them to overwhelm me, I need to bring them to Jesus, they are real, they keep sneaking up on me when I least expect it, but I know that Jesus cares for me, and he wants to carry the burdens of my heart and bring me comfort and peace and joy, so that is where I will take my fears, sadness and despair and I know that without a doubt I will find hope, life, peace and joy in the presence of the Lord.

God cares for usPsalms 68:19

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

 

Army of Worshipers

When the Scriptures refer to the “heavenly host,” we usually think of “choirs of angels.” The word “host” in the Bible meant “army” (Josh. 5:13-14). It is an important truth: the hosts of Heaven are worshiping armies. Indeed, no one can do warfare who is not first a worshiper of God.

The Central Issue in Tribulation: Worship

One does not have to penetrate deeply into the Revelation of John to discover that both God and the devil are seeking worshipers (see Rev. 7:11; 13:4; 14:7, 11). Time and time again the line is drawn between those who “worship the beast and his image” and those who worship God.

In the last great battle before Jesus returns, the outcome of every man’s life shall be weighed upon a scale of worship: In the midst of warfare and conflict to whom will we bow, God or Satan?

Yet, while this warfare shall culminate in the establishment of the Lord’s kingdom on earth (see Rev. 11:15), we must realize the essence of this battle is the central issue in our warfare today. Will we faithfully worship God during satanic assault and temptation? True worship must emerge in the context of our lives now. For no man will worship through the great battles of tomorrow who complains in the mere skirmishes of today.

You will remember that the Lord’s call to the Israelites was a call to worship and serve Him in the wilderness (see Exod. 7:16). Indeed, when Moses first spoke of God’s loving concern, we read that the Hebrews “bowed low and worshiped” (Exod. 4:31). But when trials and pressures came, they fell quickly into murmuring, complaining and blatant rebellion. Their worship was superficial, self-serving and conditional — an outer form without an inner heart of worship.

This same condition of shallow worship prevails in much of Christianity today. If a message is given that speaks of the Lord’s great care for His people, with eagerness do we bow low and worship. But as soon as the pressures of daily living arise or temptations come, how quickly we rebel against God and resist His dealings! The enemy has easy access to the soul that is not protected by true worship of the Almighty! Indeed, the Lord’s purpose with Israel in the wilderness was to perfect true worship, which is based upon the reality of God, not circumstances. The Lord knows that the heart that will worship Him in the wilderness of affliction will continue to worship in the promised land of plenty.

Without true worship of God, there can be no victory in warfare. For what we bleed when we are wounded by satanic assault or difficult circumstances is the true measure of our worship. You see, what comes out of our hearts during times of pressure is in us, but it is hidden during times of ease. If you are a true worshiper, your spirit will exude worship to God no matter what battle you are fighting. In warfare, worship creates a wall of fire around the soul.

Worship: The Purpose of Creation

We were created for God’s pleasure. We were not created to live for ourselves but for Him. And while the Lord desires that we enjoy His gifts and His people, He would have us know we were created first for His pleasure. In these closing moments of this age, the Lord will have a people whose purpose for living is to please God with their lives. In them, God finds His own reward for creating man. They are His worshipers. They are on earth only to please God, and when He is pleased, they also are pleased.

The Lord takes them further and through more pain and conflicts than other men. Outwardly, they often seem “smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isa. 53:4). Yet to God, they are His beloved. When they are crushed, like the petals of a flower, they exude a worship, the fragrance of which is so beautiful and rare that angels weep in quiet awe at their surrender. They are the Lord’s purpose for creation.

One would think that God would protect them, guarding them in such a way that they would not be marred. Instead, they are marred more than others. Indeed, the Lord seems pleased to crush them, putting them to grief. For in the midst of their physical and emotional pain, their loyalty to Christ grows pure and perfect. And in the face of persecutions, their love and worship toward God become all-consuming.

Would that all Christ’s servants were so perfectly surrendered. Yet God finds His pleasure in us all. But as the days of the Kingdom draw near and the warfare at the end of this age increases, those who have been created solely for the worship of God will come forth in the power and glory of the Son. With the high praises of God in their mouth, they will execute upon His enemies the judgment written (see Ps. 149). They will lead as generals in the Lord’s army of worshipers.

 

Written by:

Francis Frangipane

This word was taken from Pastor Frangipane’s book, The Three Battlegrounds, available in our bookstore.

http://francisfrangipanemessages.blogspot.ca/

 

 

 

The Stronghold of the Godly: Humility

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?

You will remember that, at the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, the judgment of God against the devil was that he should eat dust (Gen. 3:14). Remember also that God said of man, “you are dust” (v.19). The essence of our carnal nature — of all that is carnal in nature — is dust. We need to see the connection here: Satan feeds upon our earthly, carnal nature of “dust.” Satan dines on what we withhold from God.

Therefore, we need to recognize that the immediate source of many of our problems and oppressions is not demonic but fleshly in nature. We must contend with the fact that one aspect of our lives, our flesh nature, will always be targeted by the devil. These fleshly areas supply Satan with a ready avenue of access to undermine our prayers and neutralize our walk with God.

It is only our exaggerated sense of self-righteousness that prevents us from looking honestly at ourselves. As Christians, we know the Holy Spirit dwells within us, but we must also become aware of where we are tolerating sin if we will be successful in our war against the devil. Therefore, be specific when you submit yourself to God. Do not rationalize your sins and failures. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is a perfect shelter of grace enabling all men to look honestly at their needs. Accordingly, be honest with God. He will not be horrified or shocked by your sins. God loved you without restraint even when sin was rampant within you; how much more will He continue to love you as you seek His grace to be free from iniquity?

Before we launch out in aggressive warfare, we must realize that many of our battles are merely the consequences of our own actions. To war effectively, we must separate what is of the flesh from what is of the devil.

Allow me to give you an example. My wife and I once lived in an area where a beautiful red cardinal kept its nest. Cardinals are very territorial and will fight off intruding cardinals zealously. At that time, we owned a van which had large side mirrors and chrome bumpers. Occasionally, the cardinal would attack the bumpers or mirrors, thinking his reflection was another bird. One day, as I watched the cardinal assail the mirror, I thought, “What a foolish creature; his enemy is merely the reflection of himself.” Immediately the Lord spoke to my heart, “And so also are many of your enemies the reflection of yourself.”

Before we have any strategy for attacking Satan, we must make sure that the real enemy is not our own carnal nature. We must ask ourselves, Are the things oppressing us today the harvest of what we planted yesterday?

Agree with Thine Adversary

You will remember that Jesus taught:

“Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing” (Matt. 5:25-26 KJV).

Jesus is speaking here of more than avoiding lawsuits. In fact, He speaks in such a way as to indicate that, in regards to this particular adversary and this particular judge, we will always lose our case and end up in prison.

This parable explains God’s view of human righteousness. In the narrative, the adversary is the devil and the Judge is God. Satan, as our adversary, stands as the accuser of the brethren before God, the Judge of all. The truth Christ wants us to see is that when we approach God on the basis of our own righteousness, the adversary will always have legal grounds to “cast [us] into prison,” for our righteousness is “as filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6 KJV).

When Jesus says, “Agree with thine adversary quickly,” He does not mean obey the devil. He is saying that when Satan accuses you of some sin or flaw, if the devil is even minutely right, it is to your advantage to agree with him about your unrighteousness. If he accuses you of being impure or not loving or praying enough, he is right. The key is not to argue with the devil about your own righteousness because, before God, your righteousness is unacceptable. No matter how much you defend or justify yourself, you know inwardly that often the accusations of the devil have morsels of truth in them.

Our salvation is not based upon what we do but upon who Jesus becomes to us. Christ Himself is our righteousness. We have been justified by faith; our peace with God comes through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). When Satan comes against you, he tries to deceive you by focusing your attention upon your own righteousness. The more we recognize that Jesus alone is our righteousness, the less the adversary can assault us in the arena of our failings.

Thus, when the accuser comes seeking to condemn you for not having enough love, your response should be, “That is true, I do not have enough love. But the Son of God died for all my sins, even the sin of imperfect love.” Step out from the shadow of satanic assault and stand in the brightness of your Father’s love. Submit yourself to God and ask for Christ’s love and forgiveness to replace your weak and imperfect love.

When Satan seeks to condemn you for impatience, again your response should be, “Yes, in my flesh I am very impatient. But since I have been born again, Jesus is my righteousness and through His blood I am forgiven and cleansed.” Turn again to God. Use the accusation as a reminder that you are not standing before an angry God but rather a throne of grace which enables you to boldly draw near to God for help (Heb. 4:16).

A vital key, therefore, to overcoming the devil is humility. To humble yourself is to refuse to defend your image: you are corrupt and full of sin in your old nature. Yet we have a new nature that has been created in the likeness of Christ (Eph. 4:24), so we can agree with our adversary about the condition of our flesh.

But do not limit this principle of humbling yourself to only when you are involved in spiritual warfare. This precept is applicable in other situations as well. The strength of humility is that it builds a spiritual defense around your soul, prohibiting strife, competition and many of life’s irritations from stealing your peace.

A wonderful place to practice this is in your family relationships. As a husband, your wife may criticize you for being insensitive. A fleshly response could easily escalate the conversation into a conflict. The alternative is to simply humble yourself and agree with your wife. You probably were insensitive. Then pray together and ask God for a more tender love.

As a wife, perhaps your husband accuses you of not understanding the pressures he has at work. More than likely he is right, you do not know the things he must face. Instead of responding with a counter-charge, humble yourself and agree with him. Pray together, asking God to give you an understanding heart. If we remain humble in heart, we will receive abundant grace from God; Satan will be disarmed on many fronts.

Remember, Satan fears virtue. He is terrified of humility; he hates it because humility is the surrender of the soul to the Lord, and the devil is terrified of Jesus Christ.

 

Written by Pastor Frangipane

 

This word was taken from Pastor Frangipane’s book, The Three Battlegrounds, available in our bookstore. It is currently part of a three-book offer that also includes This Day We Fight! and The Shelter of the Most High. All three books sold separately are $39.85, but this week only they are available as a package for just $19.85 (plus shipping and handling).

http://francisfrangipanemessages.blogspot.ca/