Repairers of the Breach – Part 1

“And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;

You will raise up the age-old foundations;

And you will be called the repairer of the breach,

The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.” (Isa. 58:12)

 The Gathering Together of the Saints

True Christians from all backgrounds share an expectation commonly known as the rapture of the church (see 1 Thess. 4:16-17). Although debate surrounds the timing of this event, Scripture assures us that at the last trumpet we will be caught up to “meet the Lord in the air” (v.17). So, while critics will say that Francis does not believe in the rapture, the truth is that I do. However, it is plain that, according to many Scriptures, there will also be a time of unusual grace prior to the rapture in which the living church of Jesus Christ, like a bride, makes “herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).

 During this unparalleled season of preparation, those who are alive in Christ shall realize a level of holiness and purity that will be the overflow of the presence of Jesus Himself manifested through the church (1 Thess. 3:11-13; Eph. 5:26-27; Phil. 1:9-10). The result of this new spiritual fullness will be a new level of unity. Faultfinding and gossip will disappear. In their place will be intercession and love. Wholeness will return to the citywide church. This also means that the ambition and division we see today between congregations will be identified as sin, which will be repented of before Jesus returns.

The truth of this message must be made clear, for most Christians consider oneness within the body inconceivable before Jesus returns. They have not discerned nor warred against the enemy’s lies, which have conditioned believers to accept strife and sectarianism in the church. It is my passionate conviction that the church that will ultimately be raptured will be free of strife and carnal divisions – it will be a bride “having no spot or wrinkle” who has “made herself ready” for her bridegroom (Eph. 5:27; Rev. 19:7).

According to Scripture, during the rapture, “in a twinkling of an eye” our bodies will be changed (1 Cor. 15:52). But our character, that is, the essence of who we have become, will remain intact. There will be no regrets or wondering how “those from that church” made it, for the living bride will be a church built together in love, meeting in separate buildings but serving the one and only Lord. These true disciples of the Lord Jesus will be known for their intense and holy love for one another – not merely in their individual local assemblies but within the context of a citywide church.

It is highly significant that the scriptural term for the rapture is called the “gathering together” (2 Thess. 2:1; Matt. 24:31). What ultimately will be consummated in our gathering together physically to the Lord will be precipitated by a spiritual gathering together of His body on earth. Concerning the era known as the “end of the age,” Jesus taught that the “good fish” shall be “gathered . . . into containers” (Matt. 13:48). And in the context of spiritual warfare, Jesus warned, “He who does not gather with Me scatters” (Matt. 12:30).

This scattering, dividing process among the Lord’s sheep has gone on long enough. Jesus has set His heart to bring healing and unity to His body. In this regard, through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord spoke a somber warning. He said, “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” (Jer. 23:1). The Son of God is not pleased with the carnal divisions in His body! Indeed, the Lord promises to chasten those pastors who continue to build their kingdoms without laboring together to build His. To them He says, “I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds” (v. 2).

In the tenth chapter of John, the Lord makes His goal clear: there shall be “one flock with one shepherd” (v. 16). He reveals it is the wolf nature which “snatches [the sheep] and scatters them”; and it is the hireling nature that allows the scattering to occur. But His promise to His sheep says this: “Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock…and they will be fruitful and multiply. I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer . . . nor will any be missing” (Jer. 23:3-4). The pastors of the last Christian church will be under-shepherds to the Lord Jesus; they will be anointed to gather together His remnant and under that anointing shall be “fruitful and multiply.”

Indeed, right now, in the context of humbling ourselves and submitting our hearts to His will, we are participating in being “gathered together.” This process will progressively increase until the barriers between brethren are melted by the overcoming nature of Christ’s love. Before Jesus returns, we will truly be “one flock with one shepherd.” We will be a holy and blameless sheepfold, meeting in different buildings but baptized into one body.

—————————————

One of the stated goals of In Christ’s Image Training is to inspire and empower individuals to be more Christlike in regard to their churches, cities and nations. Jesus said the future belongs to the church: whatever we bind will be bound and what we release will be loosed. The future does not belong to the wicked, it belongs to the praying, believing born-again church – it belongs to those becoming Christlike! In truth, In Christ’s Image Training is a society of redeemers who are not intimidated by evil but believe that with God all things are possible, even revival and times of refreshing.

A service of Frangipane Ministries, Inc.

Copyright (c) 2011

All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations

were taken from the NASB.

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This morning as I sought the Lord, I felt an urgency in my spirit to pray for President Obama. Yet, while I do pray for him daily, I also felt that my prayer was intercepted by my concerns with some of his policies and appointments. I honestly had to pray through my own disappointment to get to the “mercy seat” of God’s presence. Later this morning I read Victoria Boyson’s message. Victoria and her husband Steve are friends we have known for years; both have supported me in ministry at various times. Her word is a confirmation to the urgency I felt to pray for the president. Weigh this teaching for yourself, but also do not let your prayer be intercepted by a critical attitude.

 Our Nation’s Crisis: Stand and Pray

By Victoria Boyson

Back in the winter of 2008, the Lord spoke to me and told me that our city, Cedar Rapids, IA, would flood. I took His warning in stride and thought, “Okay, we’ve flooded before and been alright. A few flooded basements and swampy yards, but we can deal with it.” I prayed a prayer of protection over the city and thought nothing more about it.

 Then, in June of that year as the melted snow and ice from Minnesota and Wisconsin starting coming down the rivers our way, it looked like a much worse flood than I’d anticipated. Cities north of us had bad flooding, so we began preparing for what we thought could happen to us.

 But as the flooding reached our rivers, it started to rain, which greatly escalated the threat. It rained and rained and RAINED! It seemed like it hung over our city and just poured.

 Suddenly, the reality of the disaster that was occurring hit us – the rain just wouldn’t stop and the river that runs through our city could not contain it. We began to pray and to take the situation very seriously: our prayers echoed the fear in our hearts. I felt the level of intercession in the city heightening. We were finally taking this threat seriously and, through prayer and intercession, the rain stopped and the flood began to recede. But it took too long for us to react.

 It flooded our downtown and many homes and businesses were destroyed. Those who could afford it, rebuilt, but many businesses closed for good. Thousands of people were suddenly left without homes, clothing and food, struggling for the basic necessities of life.

 Our Nation’s Crisis

That fall, our nation started experiencing the first of a series of birth pangs starting with the stock market fiasco. Then, the night before the elections of ’08, the Lord showed me a vision. In it, He showed me a great wave coming against the United States, but this wave was made up, not of water, but of people. Our country’s governmental leaders were picked up and carried by this wave. Specifically, I saw President Obama picked up and taken where he did not want to go. He had no control of what was happening to him or the nation and could do nothing to stop it.

 I then saw President Obama in the White House on his knees crying out to God in prayer begging God to help him, because he knew nothing could stop what was happening but God. I saw the glory of God surrounding him as he prayed. I knew this part of the vision would occur only if we, the church, prayed – its occurrence hinged solely on our taking it seriously and interceding for the President and our nation.

 I saw in the spirit thousands of people all over the Earth praying for President Obama – beseeching God for him and his leadership of this nation. Whether you like him or not, he’s the only President we have. If we pray for him and bless him, we will be blessed, but if we curse him, he will be a curse to our nation. That’s why God commands us to pray for our leaders (see 1 Timothy 2:1-4).

 The Watchmen’s Response

I had this vision a year and a half ago and, even then, I felt that whatever the wave was, it would happen about half way through Barack Obama’s presidential term; that would be somewhere in the next six months.

 What I learned from the flooding in Cedar Rapids was that, had we taken it seriously and pressed in much sooner, we might not have sustained such devastation. At anytime, we could have chosen to stand against it.

 We, as the watchmen of this great nation, need to take seriously the threat that’s quite obviously coming against us. We must stand for our nation against the enemy who would destroy it with the same unbending ferocity our founding fathers did in fighting for it.

 Many Christians act as if they would prefer God to come down and destroy our nation through His judgment. Yet, it is the church that is responsible for the stewardship of the nation He’s given us. We inherited a Christian nation from our forefathers and it’s up to us to appreciate it and defend it.

 Our enemy is neither democrat nor republican or any government official. Our enemy is much more sinister and covert and he wants to keep our anger and frustration focused on a person or group. Satan is not out for control of this nation – he’s seeking its total annihilation.

 BUT!

You are here in the United States of America and abroad for such a time as this by God’s design. Little ole you is the secret weapon God has planted here on Earth to take down the enemy, prayer by prayer and tear by tear – on your knees pleading for God’s help.

 Though you may seem weak, though you feel unimportant or even invisible, though you may be from the most forgotten region on the globe, YOU are God’s remedy for the chaos of the world.

 Gideon stood before the Lord as He sent him out to conquer the Midianites and asked the Lord how he could defeat his enemy since he was from the weakest family in the weakest clan in the weakest tribe of Israel (see Judges 6:15). The Lord replied, “I will be with you, and you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man” (Judges 6:16). All you need to remember is, God is with you and you will be made fearless by His power.

 We cannot continue to take the threats of our enemy lightly. As a church, as intercessors and children of God, we must wake up as a city being flooded and intercede. There is no other answer – no political or military group can help us – God is our only answer. We must humble ourselves and find our destiny in the difficulties we’re facing and stand against Satan.

 Always remember the greatness of our God! We must remind ourselves daily of His goodness and greatness. As His church, we should decide that we will fear nothing but Him, for as Psalm 9:3 says, “My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you.” Nothing is greater than our God! NOTHING!

 We are called to speak into existence the will of our Father as carriers of His presence on this Earth.

 Please stand with me and pray for our President and our nation. Thank you and God bless YOU.

A service of Frangipane Ministries, Inc.

Copyright (c) 2010

All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations

were taken from the NASB.

 Please visit our website for additional messages and resources.

 If you wish to contact us with comments or questions about this email, you may do so by writing us at comments frangipane org

 

 

With the Glance of Your Eyes

“Who is this that grows like the dawn, as beautiful as the full moon, as pure as the sun, as awesome as an army with banners?” —Song of Sol. 6:10

In spite of all the controversy and strife in our world, regardless of the clashing opinions in today’s religious wars, the focus of Christ still remains upon His bride. It is our quest to fix our gaze upon Him.

Most of us sincerely love the Lord and are thankful for all He has done. However, too many are more comfortable celebrating what Jesus has done than accepting who He desires to be to us. We sing of His victories and teach of His mercies, yet rarely do we quiet our hearts and surrender to His presence. We want Him near enough to protect us but not so close that our consciousness is captured by His presence.

 As awesome and liberating as it is to know what Jesus has done for us, until we actually surrender ourselves to Him, our religion will be hardly more than a “history lesson.” Religion is not enough. It satisfies neither us nor Christ. Jesus wants to also know us.

 You say, But He does know us! In His omniscience, He knows everything.

 Yes, but in His love He seeks to know us as His bride living in unbroken union with Him. Because He purchased us with His blood, He has the right to our souls, our secrets, and our dreams. He wants the person we are when no one else is looking. Yet, He will not force Himself upon us. This is not the way of love.

 In truth, we love because He first loved us. We become committed to Him because of His commitment to us. This inter-penetration of our lives with Christ’s – this oneness born of love – is the only destiny for the church for which Christ is content. At the end of the age, nothing short of oneness with Christ will sustain us.

 God is Love

I know the fear of the Lord and that it is the beginning of true knowledge. I delight in the fear of the Lord. Yet, like the apostle John, I have too have “come to know and have believed the love which God has for us” (1 John 4:16). God is love. Let us consider that the apostle who fell before Jesus as a dead man on the Isle of Pathos later wrote, “There is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18).

 The Lord knows our holy fear is a strong deterrent from sin as well as a powerful ally in walking uprightly. Yet, to draw near to Him we must know more than the fear of God; we must believe in “the love which God has for us.” It is this perfect love from God that “casts out all fear, because fear involves torment” (v. 18). It is this love alone that can bring the bride of Christ into her destiny.

 The Heart of God

You may be reading this article and the thought of seeking God, of drawing nearer to Christ, may have triggered an initiative to do so. Yet, when the thought first awakened within you, urging you to enter His presence, something also quickened in the heart of Christ. He says,

 “You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; you have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes” (Song of Sol. 4:9).

 Your glance, even if it was no more than the briefest anticipation of being with Him, made His heart beat faster. The King James Version reads, “Thou hast ravished my heart.” This is how the heart of Christ responds

to our desire to be with Him.

 Jesus is not returning simply to destroy wickedness; He is coming for a bride. At the end of the age our task is not simply to prepare for the rapture or the tribulation but to prepare for Christ Himself!

 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).

 You see, our preparation is for Christ. The bride isn’t wallowing in fear at what is coming upon the world; she is swallowed up in love at who is coming to this world! We are not being prepared for a date, but a marriage! There is nothing more important to Jesus Christ than His bride, the church. For her He died; for her He lives to make intercession.

 His love proved itself capable and worthy of winning our full redemption. Our most noble task is to fearlessly surrender to Him whose heart beats faster with the single glance of our eyes.

 Lord, I confess, I’ve been distracted and anxious with my many tasks. Indeed, even my duties on Your behalf have, in a way, taken the place of Your presence. Master, beloved lover of my soul, I repent. I desire to know You, even as You have known me. Lord, I come.

A service of Frangipane Ministries, Inc.

Copyright (c) 2011

All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations

were taken from the NASB.

Please visit our website for additional messages and resources.

If you wish to contact us with comments or questions about this email, you may do so by writing us at comments frangipane org.

 

 

The Seeking God

Question: What will happen if, in your spiritual walk, you turn lukewarm instead of steadfastly seeking the Lord? The answer is, nothing will happen. Meteors won’t fall from the sky and hit you. Nothing that is not common to man will happen to you. You will simply remain the same as you have been: unchanging. An unchanged life is judgment enough.

 If we don’t steadfastly walk with God, we simply cannot be transformed. Yes, one’s spirit can still be saved even if we have built our lives with “wood, hay and stubble” (1 Cor. 3). But we will have accomplished little toward our eternal destiny. The glory awaiting us will be barely noticeable, a flicker, compared to those who embraced their transformation on earth and now, in eternity, “shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matt. 13:45).

 The Almighty doesn’t demand we change. True, He will convict us of sin and push us away from a slope into hell, but He isn’t going to dominate our will or make it impossible to disobey Him. Convictions and warnings from the Spirit will help save us from hell, but they won’t equip us for Heaven.

 My point is this: our pursuit of the Lord cannot be motivated simply by fear or relief from a present conflict. The treasure of God’s Presence is the extreme value in all the universe. He must be sought for the incomparable worth of knowing Him for Himself. For this goal we seek Him.

 Yet, He also seeks something from us. Does He simply enjoy watching, year after year, billions of humans feeding incessantly upon temporal realities? Or is the Most High seeking something more profound in His creation of man?

 Here’s what Jesus taught about the nature of God. He said that the God of creation is a seeking God: He seeks that which was lost; He seeks true worshipers, and He is “like a merchant seeking fine pearls” (Matt. 13:45). We need to understand this about the Lord: He is not seeking the typical, but the valuable. It is in His nature to seek people who, having accepted Christ, now pursue conformity to Him as the central passion of their hearts..

 He tests the sincerity of their commitment: will they offer their precious lives to God as followers of Christ? Though they rise and often fail, they do not withdraw. They have purposed to offer to the Father hearts made pure in the fire of His love.

 Is this not what the Father should expect, especially since the actual Spirit of His Son dwells within us? Though many are called and few are chosen, yet from those who respond does He not anticipate a reward for His sufferings? That reward is this: that He would see replicated within us the same faith, love, and redemptive nature that Christ Jesus Himself manifest. This is what the Father seeks.

 Trained Not Just Saved

“By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:5-6).

It is one thing to believe in Christ, another thing to believe like Him. Jesus said that His goal with us is not only to save our souls, but then to “fully train” us until we are actually “like [our] teacher” (Luke 6:40). This is the holy quest of God; it is the first and eternal purpose of creation: to make man in the image of God (Gen. 1:26).

One may argue: well, I tried to follow Christ but I was hurt (or, I didn’t agree with my church’s doctrines; or, I faced a battle greater than I could handle).

Yes, but without such challenges how will the nature of Christ develop within us? God put us in impossible situations specifically to accommodate our transformation – where we would learn to draw upon the grace and power of His Son. The journey toward Christlikeness will, inevitably, compel us beyond the boundaries of our human nature, and so it should be.

The Father found one pearl of great price in His Son. Yet His heart searches still to see His Son revealed in a many-membered body. He continues today seeking for true worshipers whose hearts stay soft even when conditions are hard. He seeks the precious value of a redeemed people who, when faced with injustice, find greater manifestations of Christ’s love by which they respond. Their hearts are steadfast regardless of delays or trials.

There may be just one individual in a neighborhood or just two in a city that are truly seeking hard after Christ, but these worshipers have attracted the attention of God. They are the salt of the earth. They pursue sonship. They are the focal point of the seeking God.

In my forty plus years of ministry I have seen many who began the race well, only to stumble over the issues of life and go spiritually dormant. Yet among those who stumbled, there are true sons and daughters, and Jesus promises that a “bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish” (Isa. 42:3). God is calling them back. In spite of their failures, He intends to use them: they will showcase Christ’s grace. For those who have been forgiven much, love much. They will reveal the wonders of Christ’s glory.

A service of Frangipane Ministries, Inc.

Copyright (c) 2011

All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations

were taken from the NASB.

Please visit our website  for additional messages and resources.

If you wish to contact us with comments or questions about this email, you may do so by writing us at comments frangipane org.

 

Removing the Burden of Regret

 “Why did I disobey the Lord?”

“If only I had kept my mouth shut.”

“If only such and such hadn’t happened, my life would be so much better.”

Regret. The gift that keeps on giving. Nothing so chains us to our past failures like regret.

I know too many Christians who were running well, yet at some point fell into sin. The worst thing is they knew better. They were not ignorant of Satan’s devices yet they fell. The outcome of their failure was that, in the very place where their joy once shone brightly, now a wearisome oppression exists. This oppression looks like an aspect of repentance, but it is not. It is demonic. It is a vision-stealer forged in the fires of hell.

I’m not saying that we should never have regret or that regret doesn’t have a legitimate place in our contrition. Yes, we should have remorse and godly sorry for the things we have done wrong, but there is a difference between godly sorrow and demonic oppression. If we have repented for our sins, and if we have truly grieved over them, there is a time to cast the burden of regret onto the Lord. It is time to let it go, even as the Scripture commands us to cast our care upon the Lord “for He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7 NKJV).

Let us never forget: Jesus is not just the Savior of new converts; He remains our Savior, committed and faithful throughout our lives.

To Set the Prisoners Free

Still, we cannot allow regret to become a demonically manipulated weapon used against us. It will paralyze our walk with God. I’m thinking of parents who feel they failed in raising their children or church or civic leaders who have stumbled and fallen into sin. There are great people who have fallen—who have been buried spiritually under the weight of self condemnation and regret.

Christ came to set captives free, even when those captives have created a mess of themselves. Consider King David who, in reflection upon his life, wrote, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken . . .” (Ps. 37:25). Remember, this is the same man who, between the seasons of having “been young” and now becoming “old,” committed the most heinous sins of adultery with Bathsheba, and then, to cover his sin, he ordered the murder of Uriah, her husband.

Yet, looking back on his season of repentance, David realized that, though disciplined and judged as he was, he was not “hurled headlong.” Through it all the Lord had held firmly to “his hand” (v. 24). Consider: even in David’s sin, the Lord did not him let go!

Instead of rejecting David, the Lord worked to restore him. Yes, there were consequences. The Lord warned that because of David’s sin “the sword shall never depart from [David’s] house” (2 Sam. 12:10). Evil would be raised up “against [David] from [his] own household.” (v. 11). This was fulfilled by David’s son Absalom who committed his own crimes against David.

Yet, even as David fled Jerusalem, even in his brokenness and grief and being cursed by his enemies (2 Sam. 16:5-15), we see a remarkable quality to David’s heart. Grieved and humbled before men, David strengthened himself before the Lord. In his cleaving to the Lord, he wrote a song that was full of confidence in God. For all the struggles and pain that he brought upon himself, here was a man who sinned but was not living in the grip of regret.

The subheading of the third psalm tells us it is “The Psalm David wrote when he fled Absalom.”

O Lord, how my adversaries have increased!

Many are rising up against me.

Many are saying of my soul,

“There is no deliverance for him in God.” Selah.

But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,

My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

I was crying to the Lord with my voice,

And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah.

I lay down and slept ; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people

Who have set themselves against me round about.

Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God !

For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek ;

You have shattered the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord;

Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah.

A New Covenant of Grace

When we come to Christ, we come to One who has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). You and I, even as Gentiles, have been chosen by God who personally promised to rebuild and restore the tabernacle of David (Acts 15:15-17). For those who are in Christ, He promises “I will give you the sure mercies of David” (Acts (13:34 NKJV).

I’m saying it is time to rise back up – wiser, more discerning, but completely free of the chains that have bound us. I’m thinking also of Naomi, the mother-in-law of Ruth, in the genealogy of David. Naomi suffered the loss of so much, yet in her latter years, she found again the blessing of the Lord so that the women praised the Lord as Naomi’s redeemer and prayed, “may he also be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age” (Ruth 4:15).

And this is my prayer for you as well, that the Lord would be a “restorer of life” to you and One who is your “nourisher,” even in “your old age.” Even as you grow wiser and more humble, may the Lord remove from you the burden of regret.

In my forty plus years of ministry I have seen many who began the race well, only to stumble over the issues of life and go spiritually dormant. Yet among those who stumbled, there are true sons and daughters, and Jesus promises that a “bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish” (Isa. 42:3). God is calling them back. In spite of their failures, He intends to use them: they will showcase Christ’s grace. For those who have been forgiven much, love much. They will reveal the wonders of Christ’s glory.

A service of Frangipane Ministries, Inc.

Copyright (c) 2011

All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations

were taken from the NASB.

Please visit our website for additional messages and resources.

If you wish to contact us with comments or questions about this email, you may do so by writing us at comments frangipane org.

 

The Seeking God

Question: What will happen if, in your spiritual walk, you turn lukewarm instead of steadfastly seeking the Lord? The answer is, nothing will happen. Meteors won’t fall from the sky and hit you. Nothing that is not common to man will happen to you. You will simply remain the same as you have been: unchanging. An unchanged life is judgment enough.

If we don’t steadfastly walk with God, we simply cannot be transformed. Yes, one’s spirit can still be saved even if we have built our lives with “wood, hay and stubble” (1 Cor. 3). But we will have accomplished little toward our eternal destiny. The glory awaiting us will be barely noticeable, a flicker, compared to those who embraced their transformation on earth and now, in eternity, “shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matt. 13:45).

The Almighty doesn’t demand we change. True, He will convict us of sin and push us away from a slope into hell, but He isn’t going to dominate our will or make it impossible to disobey Him. Convictions and warnings from the Spirit will help save us from hell, but they won’t equip us for Heaven.

My point is this: our pursuit of the Lord cannot be motivated simply by fear or relief from a present conflict. The treasure of God’s Presence is the extreme value in all the universe. He must be sought for the incomparable worth of knowing Him for Himself. For this goal we seek Him.

Yet, He also seeks something from us. Does He simply enjoy watching, year after year, billions of humans feeding incessantly upon temporal realities? Or is the Most High seeking something more profound in His creation of man?

Here’s what Jesus taught about the nature of God. He said that the God of creation is a seeking God: He seeks that which was lost; He seeks true worshipers, and He is “like a merchant seeking fine pearls” (Matt. 13:45). We need to understand this about the Lord: He is not seeking the typical, but the valuable. It is in His nature to seek people who, having accepted Christ, now pursue conformity to Him as the central passion of their hearts..

He tests the sincerity of their commitment: will they offer their precious lives to God as followers of Christ? Though they rise and often fail, they do not withdraw. They have purposed to offer to the Father hearts made pure in the fire of His love.

Is this not what the Father should expect, especially since the actual Spirit of His Son dwells within us? Though many are called and few are chosen, yet from those who respond does He not anticipate a reward for His sufferings? That reward is this: that He would see replicated within us the same faith, love, and redemptive nature that Christ Jesus Himself manifest. This is what the Father seeks.

Trained Not Just Saved

“By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:5-6).

It is one thing to believe in Christ, another thing to believe like Him. Jesus said that His goal with us is not only to save our souls, but then to “fully train” us until we are actually “like [our] teacher” (Luke 6:40). This is the holy quest of God; it is the first and eternal purpose of creation: to make man in the image of God (Gen. 1:26).

One may argue: well, I tried to follow Christ but I was hurt (or, I didn’t agree with my church’s doctrines; or, I faced a battle greater than I could handle).

Yes, but without such challenges how will the nature of Christ develop within us? God put us in impossible situations specifically to accommodate our transformation – where we would learn to draw upon the grace and power of His Son. The journey toward Christlikeness will, inevitably, compel us beyond the boundaries of our human nature, and so it should be.

The Father found one pearl of great price in His Son. Yet His heart searches still to see His Son revealed in a many-membered body. He continues today seeking for true worshipers whose hearts stay soft even when conditions are hard. He seeks the precious value of a redeemed people who, when faced with injustice, find greater manifestations of Christ’s love by which they respond. Their hearts are steadfast regardless of delays or trials.

There may be just one individual in a neighborhood or just two in a city that are truly seeking hard after Christ, but these worshipers have attracted the attention of God. They are the salt of the earth. They pursue sonship. They are the focal point of the seeking God.

In my forty plus years of ministry I have seen many who began the race well, only to stumble over the issues of life and go spiritually dormant. Yet among those who stumbled, there are true sons and daughters, and Jesus promises that a “bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish” (Isa. 42:3). God is calling them back. In spite of their failures, He intends to use them: they will showcase Christ’s grace. For those who have been forgiven much, love much. They will reveal the wonders of Christ’s glory.

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The Commitment of an Intercessor
Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if Thou wilt, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Thy book which Thou hast written!” (Exod. 32:31-32)

The prayer of Moses is remarkable. Moses was not only the leader of Israel, he was an intercessor as well. Ultimately, an intercessor gives up all personal advantage for the sake of those for whom he prays. Moses knew he personally had favor with God. Yet he presented himself as a remarkable portrait of one irreversibly committed to Israel’s transformation. He said, “If Thou wilt, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Thy book.”

Moses said, in effect, that he was not serving for individual gain or glory – this was not about him, but about the people he loved and served, rebellious as they were. The soul of Moses was bound together with the future of Israel. Similarly, we must see ourselves irreversibly bound together with the lives of those we pray for, both family and friends, as well as our community and nation. Moses would not be blessed, honored or pleased apart from the fulfillment of God’s promise to the Hebrews. If God would not forgive them, He could not have Moses either. Israel and Moses had become a package deal.

Have you struggled with situations in your personal life in which you cannot seem to break through? Perhaps you are spending too much time on your needs and not enough time praying for others. Make a prayer list of people with desperate needs, and as you intercede for them, see if the Holy Spirit doesn’t break through for you, too. Indeed, include your enemies and those who have hurt you. Remember the story of Job. When he prayed for his friends, God healed him (see Job 42:10). Intercession not only transforms the world, but also transforms us.

Lord Jesus, I am awed at Your willingness to show mercy. You actually changed Your mind about judgment on sinners because of one man, Moses. Lord, in my world and times, let me be that one who so delights You, who is so intimate with You, that my prayer for mercy outweighs Your judgment to destroy the disobedient. May the favor You have given to me be multiplied to those who yet do not know You, and may it spread until all the earth is filled with Your glory!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Recently updated and revised, The Power of One Christlike Life carries a cargo of gold from the heart of a man after God’s heart. If you have never read this book by Pastor Frangipane, it contains the nectar of his walk with God. This book is freighted with revelation about the nature of God in Christ, and how the key to everything spiritual is found in the pursuit of Christ’s likeness.

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Faithful Friend
By Asher Intrater

One of the most important characteristics of a godly person is to be faithful. That means to be faithful to your friends, a faithful friend. The edition of our book “Covenant Relationships” in Hebrew is called, “Faithful Friend.” Yeshua said that the ultimate goal of discipleship was to produce friends for Himself (John 15:15).

“Pursue love” – I Corinthians 14:1

To pursue love means to pursue people by means of love. Being a faithful friend demands initiative and effort. It does not just wait for someone to come along. It reaches out to demonstrate faithfulness to others. Saul (Paul) blessed Onisiphorus because he searched and found Paul when he was in prison (II Timothy 1:17). Paul also rejoiced to do the same thing; he left a successful ministry opportunity to search out his friend Titus. Finding Titus was considered a greater “triumph” than success in ministry (II Corinthians 2:14-15).

“He loved them to the end” – John 13:1.

Yeshua loved His disciples all the way to the end. Being a faithful friend involves a process. It is a series of tests. It has a price to pay. That price increases along the way until it demands faithfulness even unto the death (Revelation 2:10). Faithfulness is a long path of dialogue, confrontation, forgiveness, disappointment, pain, and sacrifice. To be faithful is to go all the way with another person.

“If your brother sins against you go to him and rebuke him between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have won your brother” – Matthew 18:15.

This verse more than any other describes the process of covenant dialogue from a faithful friend to another when there is a problem. The purpose is not just moral confrontation but an effort at restoring relationship. To be faithful you must continually enter into honest loving conversations to correct problems and restore relationships. There is no such thing as human relationship without problems.

If you love Me, keep My commandments” – John 14:15 (13:34; 15:9; 15:10; 15:12; 15:16).

Love is something we are commanded to do. It is based on obedience, not on emotions. Love has emotions but is not dependent on them. It is not even dependent on other people. Trust is dependent on others’ trustworthiness. However, we can love people before they are trustworthy. Yeshua loved the whole world (John 3:16), but He trusted no one (John 2:25).

All people are basically unfaithful in their “human” nature, but God is faithful to us in spite of our unfaithfulness to Him (Romans 3:4). Likewise to be faithful to someone is a unilateral decision on our part. Be faithful even if no one else in the world is. Choose to walk in loyalty and integrity; in humility and grace.

A good relationship demands the mutual faithfulness of both sides. However, your being faithful to that relationship is your side alone. A good husband will decide to be a good husband to his wife regardless of what kind of wife she is (and vice versa). We do what is right “as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:21, 22; 6:1, 6:7).”

“A brother is born for adversity” – Proverbs 17:17.

To be faithful is to be aware when a friend is in need or in trouble. That is the time to run to be close. It is hard to demonstrate faithfulness when everything is going well for the other. When the going gets rough is when we get going to help. Those are the choice opportunities.

“Make for yourself friends through unfaithful mammon…” – Luke 16:9.

Yeshua emphasizes here the simple point that friends are more important than money. He does not mean to “buy” friends in a manipulative, controlling manner. Rather, money can be a tool in building relationships. Anything you can buy with money is less important than friendship. Everything in this world is temporary. Only faithful relationships are eternal.

Money is not a means to purchase goods for ourselves, but a means to bless people. People are often in financial need. Money can be used to demonstrate faithfulness. When you use money to help others, you raise the opportunity to develop trust.

“Many a man declares his own loving-kindness, but a man of faithfulness, who can find?” – Proverbs 20:6.

In this world today, many people speak of love, but a person who is faithful to his friends is a rare commodity. Let’s be one of them.

Recently updated and revised, The Power of One Christlike Life carries a cargo of gold from the heart of a man after God’s heart. If you have never read this book by Pastor Frangipane, it contains the nectar of his walk with God. This book is freighted with revelation about the nature of God in Christ, and how the key to everything spiritual is found in the pursuit of Christ’s likeness.

Available in paperback for $9.75 (retail $13.50)
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To Walk With God

In the days ahead many will be stirred by proclamations, both true and false, of ominous events set for fulfillment on specific dates. However, we are not being prepared for a “date” but for a marriage. It is the depth of our day-by-day relationship with Christ that defines walking with God at the end of the age.

The confidence we have as we face tomorrow is rooted in the quality of our walk with God today. Thus, as these days unfold, the way of the Lord will be revealed for what it truly is: a narrow path upon which we walk with God. It is an indisputable truth: the only way to prepare for Jesus’ second coming is to faithfully obey what He commanded in His first coming—and His first command was “Follow Me” (John 1:43).

What does it mean to “follow” Jesus but that we walk faithfully with Him throughout our life. The fact is, we anticipate the nearness of the Lord, but we do not know when He might return. While I believe we are very near to the end of the age, still it may be many years before some of the unfulfilled prophecies come to pass. Regardless, our call is to follow the Lamb—to walk with Him every day.

If we study the Scriptures, we will see that, from the beginning, the Lord always provided for those who walked with Him in His presence. No matter what occurred in the world, God’s servants were not held hostage to the fears and anxieties of their times. Their walk with God prepared them for all things.

Jesus said the days prior to His return would be as the days of Noah. Let us look again at Noah’s life. God did not give Noah a predetermined date specifying when the flood would come. The Lord gave Noah two things: a task, which was to build the ark, and time to get the job done.

The Almighty could have destroyed wickedness in a heartbeat. Yet, the Scriptures tell us that the “patience of God kept waiting . . . during the construction of the ark” (1 Pet. 3:20). The priority of God was focused not on what was to be destroyed but on what was being built.

Too many of us are so focused on what the devil is doing that we fail to see what God is doing. The focus of the Lord is not on how dark evil becomes but how Christlike the church becomes! There is a grace streaming from God’s heart. In the midst of great darkness, the Lord has purposed to bring glory to Himself and protection to His people.

God told Noah to build the ark. When the task was completed, then the flood came. We also have a task, a vision from God: build the house of the Lord and participate in the harvest of the nations. Jesus did not say, “When evil gets worse the harvest begins.” He said, “when the crop permits . . . the harvest has come” (Mark 4:29).

Certainly, God’s highest plans will not be diverted by the increase of wickedness. One may say that God’s justice demands He destroy the wicked! Yes, but His nature demands His good plans and promises concerning His glory in the church first be fulfilled!

Look again at Noah. Noah lived at a time when “every intent of the thoughts of his [man’s] heart was only evil continually.” His world, like ours, “was corrupt in the sight of God, and . . . filled with violence” (Gen. 6:5, 11).

Yet, during these same days, “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8). What was unique about Noah? How did he find the preserving grace of God in his life? The Scriptures tell us, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:9).

I love this Scripture: Noah walked with God. What does it mean to walk with God? It means that we stay yielded to His Word and attentive to His presence. Though we do not see Him, we know Him. We have found our place of security in the Almighty. Our peace comes from Him, not people, places, or things.

The name Noah means “rest.” As the Lord’s servant, Noah not only knew his mission in life, but he found His place of rest in God alone. Step-by-step, day-by-day, Noah lived in the Lord’s presence. Noah walked with God and was intimate with Him.

But to know someone deeply does not happen quickly. It takes time to penetrate through the veil of unknowing into the place of enduring friendship and intimacy. This is why walking with God is so pleasing to Him, for it creates a time-tested relationship between God and man. We no longer are controlled by the opinions, criticisms, and approval of the world around us. Only as our walk with God matures does intimacy with the Creator truly begin and peace about the future increase.

Consider Abraham. Abraham was called the friend of God (see Isa. 41:8). When he was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless” (Gen. 17:1). Walking with God leads to purity and intimate friendship with God. It is the source of becoming blameless.

Abraham’s descendants, Isaac and Jacob, also walked with God (Gen. 48:15). The lifelong companionship between the Almighty and these patriarch’s set the standard for all who followed, from the kings and the prophets of Israel to each Christian who walks with God today.

My Own Experience
We should not be hard on those who have falsely affixed a prophetic event or even the Second Coming to a specific date. It is usually the sincerity of these people that propels their prophecies into regional or national prominence. I, myself, was swept up in a similar experience in the mid-seventies.

Those were days when threats of nuclear war seemed everywhere; many Christians were predicting divine judgment for America. During those days, I came across an article about a huge comet that was due to appear on Christmas Day, 1975. Previously unknown, the comet was named Kohoutek after the Hungarian astronomer who discovered it. The signs of the times confirmed my fears, but when I read in a religious publication that Kohoutek meant “the wolf that devours the lamb,” I felt certain that this was a “sign in the heavens” confirming that the end was near.

Compelled by my inner convictions, I began to warn every church in Detroit, all 1,200 of them, that the world would end that Christmas. I even managed to become a guest on the most-watched morning talk show in Detroit, where I warned as many as three million people of God’s imminent wrath.

Christmas came and went and nothing happened. The comet was an over-exaggerated astronomical flop. I had been so sure of my insights, so fearfully compelled by the signs of the times, yet so wrongly informed. Then in late January, I happened to meet a woman fluent in Hungarian. I asked her to translate Kohoutek into English. She thought it meant something like “add a tomato to the stew.”

God knew my motives were right, even though my knowledge was wrong. Out of that humiliating experience I began to research other “end of the world” movements in church history. In my study, I discovered two significant items that occurred in Europe. Masses of people were convinced the year 1666 would see the rise of the Antichrist. This thought led to waves of fanaticism and fear which spread from country to country.

I had also been reading a devotional containing a series of letters written by a man named Brother Lawrence, a monk who served Christ as a dishwasher in a monastery. The simple, yet profound, sense of God’s presence that accompanied Brother Lawrence made this book, The Practice of the Presence of God, an enduring Christian classic. But what changed my life was that his first letters were written in the year 1666, during the time when Europe was awash with fear of the Antichrist! For all the turmoil in the world around him, at least one soul dwelt in the peace of Jesus Christ.

Brother Lawrence serves as a model for our generation. For when the terrors and confusion of the end of the age increase, it is only in the Lord’s presence that we shall find a calm harbor. And to truly know Him then, we must walk with Him now.

Enoch Walked With God
One of my favorite texts is from Genesis 5:22-day24. It reads, “Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years . . . and he was not, for God took him.” Hebrews 11:5 tells us that Enoch had “obtained the witness . . . he was pleasing to God.”

Enoch walked with God 300 years. Every day, Enoch arose and sought the Lord, walking faithfully with the Almighty. Eventually, Enoch became so pleasing to God that, without passing through death, He was taken home to be with the Lord.

So also with us, when we faithfully walk with God we bring great pleasure to our Father. The Scripture says that Enoch “obtained the witness” that his life was “pleasing to God.” God communicated His pleasure to Enoch. To know the pleasure of God is to taste the nectar of heaven itself.

Whatever may happen in the future, the God of the future is walking with us today. And while we may not be able to see into tomorrow, our faithfulness to Christ today is our best security for whatever lies ahead.

As the first person raptured by Christ, Enoch sets the standard for all whom Jesus will one day gather to Himself. They simply and passionately walk with God.

 

Article Written by: Francis Frangipane

http://www.frangipane.org/
The preceding message is adapted from a chapter in Francis’ book, The Days of His Presence. For more information on this book, please visit the Arrow Bookstore.

Rule in the Midst of Your Enemies!

True peace does not come from extreme indifference, nor does it originate from becoming so “spiritual” that you fail to notice the world around you. Peace is the fruit of being confident in God’s love; it is born of the revelation that, regardless of the battle, “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). You are not self-assured, you are God-assured.

The God of Peace Will Crush Satan
To wage effective spiritual warfare, we must understand and use spiritual authority. Spiritual authority, however, is not forcing your will upon another person. When you have spiritual authority, you have established God’s peace in an area that once was full of conflict and oppression. Therefore, to truly be able to move in authority, we must first have peace.

The apostle Paul taught, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:20). When we maintain peace during warfare, it is a crushing deathblow to satanic oppression and fear. Our victory never comes from our emotions or our intellect. Our victory comes by refusing to judge by what our eyes see or our ears hear and by trusting that what God has promised will come to pass.

We will never know Christ’s victory in its fullness until we stop reacting humanly to our circumstances. When you truly have authority over something you can look at that thing without worry, fear or intimidation. Your peace is the proof of your victory. Jesus’ authority over the violent storm (see Matthew 8:23-27) was the exercise and expansion of His peace over the elements. He did not fight against the storm, nor did He fear it. In perfect peace, He faced its fury and subdued it with His authority. In Pilate’s court, in a world stirred to an emotional frenzy by the powers of hell, a holy tranquility surrounded Christ—peace that was born out of His resolve to do God’s will no matter what the cost. His Spirit emanated a calm that perfectly represented the peace at God’s throne. In a matter of moments it was no longer Jesus who was on trial, but Satan, Pilate and the religious establishment in Israel.

Satan’s arsenal consists of such things as fear, worry, doubt and self-pity. Every one of these weapons robs us of peace and leaves us troubled inside. Do you want to discern where the enemy is coming against you? In the network of your relationships, wherever you do not have peace, you have war. Conversely, wherever you have peace, you have victory. When Satan hurls his darts against you, the more peace you have during adversity, the more truly you are walking in Christ’s victory.

Paul tells us to be “in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you” (Phil. 1:28). Your peace, your immovable stand upon the Word of God is a sign that you are positioned correctly in focused submission to the will of God. The very fact that you are “in no way alarmed” by your adversary is a sign that you have authority over him.

Peacemakers Are Sons of God
Peace is Spirit power. Peace is an attribute of the Holy Spirit, and when you are walking in peace, you are walking in power. A peacemaker is not merely someone who protests against war; he is one who is inwardly so yielded to Christ in spirit and purpose that he can be called a son of God (see Matthew 5:9). Where he goes, God goes and where God goes, he goes. He is fearless, calm and bold. Peace emanates from him the way light and heat radiate from fire.

In the battles of life, your peace is actually a weapon. Indeed, your confidence declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil. You see, the first step toward having spiritual authority over the adversary is having peace in spite of our circumstances. When Jesus confronted the devil, He did not confront Satan with His emotions or in fear. Knowing that the devil was a liar, He simply refused to be influenced by any other voice than God’s. His peace overwhelmed Satan. His authority then shattered the lie, which sent demons fleeing.

Rest Before Rule
In the 23rd Psalm, David declared, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me” (v. 4). There is a place of walking with God where you simply “fear no evil.” During his lifetime, David faced many enemies including a lion, a bear and a giant. In this psalm he stood in the “shadow of death” itself, yet he feared no evil. David’s trust was in the Lord. He said, “You are with me.” Because God is with you, every adversity you face will unfold in victory as you maintain your faith in God. David continued, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (v. 5). The battle you are in will soon become a meal to you, an experience that will nourish and build you up spiritually.

Only God’s peace will quell your fleshly reactions in battle. The source of God’s peace is God Himself. Indeed, “before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal” (Rev. 4:6). The glass sea is a symbol: there are no ripples, no waves, no anxieties troubling God. The Lord is never worried, never in a hurry nor without an answer. The sea around Him is perfectly still and totally calm. All our victories flow out from being seated here with Him.

God is our Father. The heavenly Jerusalem is our mother, the birthplace of our new nature (see Galatians 4:26). And you, you are a beloved child of God, part of the Father’s family and a member of His household (see Ephesians 2:19). You must know by revelation that you are not struggling to get into heaven; rather, you were born there in spiritual rebirth (see John 3:1-8 AMP). Let your heart be settled and positioned correctly in your relationship with the Almighty.

To those who have been born again from above, He says, “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet” (Ps. 110:1). Before you go into warfare, recognize that it is not you that the devil is afraid of; it is Christ in you! We have been raised up and seated with Christ in heavenly places (see Ephesians 2:6). This is why the Holy Spirit continues to speak to us that worship of God is our first response in battle. Position yourself in the presence of God. Sit, at rest, in the knowledge that Christ has already made your enemies the footstool for your feet. From a position of rest, the Word of the Lord continues, “The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies’ ” (Ps. 110:2).

Rest precedes rule. Peace precedes power. Do not seek to rule over the devil until you are submitting to God’s rule over you. The focal point of all victory comes from seeking God until you find Him, and after finding Him, allowing His presence to fill your spirit with His peace. From full assurance at His right hand, as you rest in His victory, so will you rule in the midst of your enemies.

The preceding message is adapted from a chapter in Francis’ book

  The Three Battlegrounds
The Shelter of the Most High
This Day We Fight

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