Posts Tagged “Francis Frangipane”

Living God's HeartLiving Gods Heart

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (NIV)

Being in Christ – saying “yes” to God’s Lordship – gives us new roles and responsibilities. One of those roles is that of reconciler. God reconciled us to Himself and has now given us the ministry reconciliation. Our message is to be the same as Paul’s – a heartfelt “Be reconciled to God.”

The word “reconcile” means “to restore to friendship or harmony; to settle or resolve” (www.merriam-webster.com). That is our job – to be one who brings reconciliation.

And it’s pretty hard to do that job wholeheartedly when I am harboring an offense against someone. No matter how hard I try to suppress or hide it, I’m not successful. I’m just not that good an actor. And hopefully you aren’t either! Because being a good actor in this case, simply means being good at deception. We don’t want to be deceivers, we want to be people of love. People who have worked through anything we might be tempted to have against a person.

One of the marks of Christian maturity is not being easily offended. Francis Frangipane refers to this as having an unoffendable heart. Of all the heart conditions we’ve studied so far this year, I think this one takes the most work. This one requires that I choose to turn my back on intentional and unintentional attempts to offend me. It means that I choose not to take offense. It means that I choose to forgive even before there is a need to forgive. It’s so much easier (in the natural) to take offense and hold onto a grudge!

I can’t choose to have an unoffendable heart without the love of Christ in me and without making a decision to let His love rule my heart. His love overlooks offenses. It is patient, kind, not prideful or rude or self-seeking. It keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) The person who is easily offended isn’t characterized by those things. They are not patient with others. They do not respond kindly when they are offended, and their pride makes them easily offended. In not letting go of an offense, they are keeping a record of wrongs against them. Which, of course, makes them more easily offended with each interaction.

The disciples asked Jesus “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3, NIV) His answer included the following:

10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another… 12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Matthew 24:10, 12 (KJV)

As the world turns away from Christ, people take offense more easily. That leads to betrayal and hatred. Satan is on the prowl, seeking whom he may devour – one of his tools is to bring you to the point of taking offense. Yes, you!

It can happen so easily – unmet expectations, frustrated progress, or a bad night’s sleep can all lead to slipping in our practice of love.

We can’t develop an unoffendable heart on our own, but Christ has made us a new creature. God has kept His promise from Ezekiel:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV)

Need help with this one? (I do.) Ask for it.

Lord, help me to develop an unoffendable heart. Remove from me my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh. Put the love of Christ within me – filling my heart so there is no room to hold an offense.

 

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I love the discoveries I make as I review my notes from sermons I heard the previous year. As I read over the sermons from the first half of the year, I found a continual calling back to dependence on God, a continual encouragement to live above our circumstances by trusting them to Him. You can read highlights from those sermons here.

I got waylaid a bit before going over my notes for the second half of the year. It’s almost Easter and I’m just now publishing highlights from the second half of 2012. Sometimes life gets away from us, doesn’t it? I was tempted to not publish these because I’m so late, but these are too good to not share. I pray that you are as blessed as I’ve been reviewing what God said through mighty men and women of God in 2012.

On June 11th, I attended a prayer meeting. It wasn’t your typical prayer meeting, but a weekly “soaking” prayer time that takes place at Ekklesia Revived, our local prayer center. (You can find their Facebook page here.)  This is a time of sitting and listening to the Lord – soaking in His presence and waiting on Him. At the end of the prayer time, people share what they’ve heard from the Lord. Often God speaks through images, thoughts that come to our mind, or things others say. Here are my notes from one such “speaking”:

“I saw us dancing with the Lord” one woman said. When she said that, I immediately thought of the movie Hitch. “This is your dance space, this is my dance space” [Hitch instructed his client]. The Holy Spirit immediately said to me “It’s time to dance outside your space.”

How cool is that? I love the way the Lord speaks to us. Is it time for you to dance outside our space?

“For God to mend our hearts, we have to give Him all the pieces – or it will never be fully mended.” Pastor Dan Caudill, 6/17/12

“It’s not what you see, it’s how you see it.” A stray note in my written journal. I have no idea who said it. But it’s a good line!

“There must be a desire in each of us to see God move. Wherever we are is to become a habitation of our Lord.” Pastor Larry Klaiber, 7/22/12

“He is our Shepherd and without Him we are helpless and harassed. (see Matthew 9:36)” Pastor Larry Klaiber, 8/26/12

“There isn’t a wall that satan can build that cannot be torn down – demolished – with praise.” Pastor Dan Caudill, 9/23/12

“Praise disarms a complaining spirit.” Pastor Dan Caudill, 9/23/12

(And I would add – and we all need that!)

During our worship time on September 30, 2012, I made these notes in my written journal:

During worship I saw an image of mighty warriors standing in front of the king – creating a protective wall around him. Nothing gets through them. That’s how we’re to be for one another – especially when we see one who has fallen. As I considered this, I saw an image of many guards standing over a fallen warrior. They were clearly giving the fallen warrior time to heal. They were not standing guard over his death. It was not a death watch, it was a protection detail giving time to heal. They were saying to the enemy “we’re standing here and you’re not getting through. We’re providing a protective barrier until our brother has healed.”

Lord, make me one of those warriors!! Enlist me in that army. Teach me that dedication and that steadfastness and that courage to stand. Not here, satan! Not now!

PS note: The sermon that followed that day was titled “Faithful, Fearless Courage!” God was preparing me to hear the sermon and respond!

“God says that no one can stand against us. Does our life show we believe it? Pastor Dan Caudill, 9/30/12

“Trust requires action before God moves.” Pastor Dan Caudill, 9/30/12

“The battle has nothing to do with the size of the enemy; it has everything to do with the size of our God. So don’t minimize the size of the problem, just maximize the size of your God.” Pastor Dan Caudill, 9/30/12

“Let the darkness cause us to be excited – because the light is preparing to come!” Francis Frangipane, 10/13/12

“Darkness gives off an air of deception that nothing can penetrate it – making it seem as if there’s no use in trying to impact it. It is a deception. God is the God of Light. He created the Light. The Light has overcome darkness.” Francis Frangipane, 10/13/12

“There’s been a lot of talk about ‘weapons of mass destruction.’ Satan now uses ‘weapons of mass distraction’ and it leads to a quiet erosion of our life.” Francis Frangipane, 10/13/12

“In the uncertainty of change, cling to God.” Pastor Larry Klaiber, 10/28/12

“God’s sole purpose is to change us – to make us more like Christ. Therefore, our sole purpose should be to let Him!” Pastor Dan Caudill, 11/25/12

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Living God's HeartLiving Gods HeartAs we begin our series Living God’s Heart the first characteristic we want to focus on is developing a seeking heart. A seeking heart looks for God. It watches for what He is doing because what He is doing reveals His nature, His plans and His purposes. It seeks Him in every situation.

A seeking heart wants to know God – know ALL of Him – the good, the bad and the ugly we might say…except that there is no bad and ugly in God. There might, however, be some things that appear bad or ugly to us. If that’s the case, it’s because we don’t yet know God. What might seem bad to us might be things that are good for us but we resist them – like eating our vegetables when we were a child (or perhaps still as an adult). Or what might seem ugly to us is really God’s justice – or even His love. If we seek to know God, we will set aside our agendas, our expectations and even our opinions and say “Lord, I want to know You. Teach me Your ways.”

We are in good company when we develop a seeking heart. Moses, a man God called His friend, desired to know God better:

12One day Moses said to the LORD…“13If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor.…18bThen show me your glorious presence.”
Exodus 33:12a, 13a, 18b (NLT)

King David, the only man Jesus described as after God’s own heart desired to know God better. He wrote these passages in Psalms:

Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.
Psalm 25:4 (NKJV)

LORD, teach me your ways, and guide me to do what is right because I have enemies.
Psalm 27:11 (NCV)

Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.
Psalm 86:11 (NLT)

And although it doesn’t specifically say that King David wrote Psalm 119, it bears his fingerprints and many scholars attribute it to him. I like this verse:

Put false ways far from me; and graciously teach me your law.
Psalm 119:29 (NRSV)

Clearly, King David desired to know God.

A heart that seeks God wants to know Him personally and intimately. A heart that seeks God takes delight in Him. Such knowledge and such delight doesn’t happen without intentionally pursuing the One who wants us to be caught.

In his book The Stronghold of God, Francis Frangipane reminds us that God “will not fight for our attention, He must be sought.” God does not impose Himself upon us. In my first blog of 2013, I quoted Isaiah 65:1:

The LORD says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.
Isaiah 65:1 (NLT)

God waits for us to seek Him. And when we do, He rewards us – we have His assurance that we will find him

13“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you,” declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 29:13-14a (NASB)

His promise to the Israelites remains His promise to us today. We will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart.

God wants us to seek Him and He promises that He will respond – He promises that we will find Him. What a reassurance, when our earthly bodies and spirits feel so inadequate to touch the heart of God! Next week we’ll look at how to seek God – how to develop a seeking heart. This week, let’s work on desiring to know God – let’s work on the desire to develop a seeking heart. Pray with me:

Lord, I want to know You and I want to know Your ways. Yet I get caught up in this world at times. Grab my attention – remind me that You are waiting to respond to me. Teach me Your ways so that I see You at work in this world. Lord, develop in me a heart to seek You in every situation and every moment.

I encourage you to pray a prayer like this each morning this week. God will answer your prayer and next week you’ll be ready for the next step.

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“Then war broke out in heaven, Michael and his angels going forth to battle with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no room found for them in heaven any longer.”
Revelation 12:7-8 (AMP)

This blog post, titled The War Over Reality, by Francis Frangipane caught my attention this morning. It has been adapted from his book The Three Battlegrounds, available at Arrow Publishing’s online Bookstore.

While its message feels especially appropriate during this Christmas season, I know it is a life message appropriate for the whole year. Jumping off the phrase “there was no room for them in heaven” (Revelation 12:8, AMP), Frangipane writes about spiritual warfare in a unique way.

“This war in Heaven is difficult for us to comprehend. How do angels and demons, beings who do not die from wounds, wage war? With what do they do battle? And how do they conquer one another? Without exceeding the bounds of our knowledge, we can safely say this: All spiritual warfare is waged over one essential question: Who will control reality on earth, Heaven or hell?”

Christmas is pregnant with possibilities – the possibility for family dissension at annual gatherings; the possibility for personal meltdowns caused by unmet expectations or grief; the possibility of illness brought on by over-stressing our bodies, minds and spirits as we attempt to do all things and be all things to all people.

Who will control your reality? Will it be the influences of the world or the influence of God?

“We should also recognize that the ancient Greeks, in whose language the New Testament was written, had no word for ‘reality.’ To them ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ were the same essence. If we seek to experience the true work of the Holy Spirit, we should understand that the Spirit has been sent to establish the reality of God’s kingdom in the lives of Jesus’ followers. Thus, as we become one with the Spirit of Truth, and as we fully embrace the Word of Truth, we are brought into the reality of God Himself!”

Let me again encourage you to spend time with God during this busy season. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring God’s reality into your world.

And as you attend to things in your every-day, Christmas-season life – those activities and events that are routine and those that happen only during this season – take His truth – that is, reality as only Believers can know it – with you.

“We do not fall in sin as much as we are seduced by it; every sin is cloaked in some measure of deception. But as these lies are uncovered and destroyed, as our thought-processes are freed from illusions, we will discover the blamelessness, perfection, and truth of Christ in us, the hope of glory (see Colossians 1:27).”

Take Christ with you this Christmas season.

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Francis Frangipane wrote the following in an email to subscribers. I appreciated the warning and wanted to share it. You can check out his books and training school here. The emphasis in the middle paragraph is mine.

Jesus warned about our days, saying, “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matt. 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 Cor. 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

Let’s major in love and prayer – that is, becoming like Christ – and not even minor in rancor.

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Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.
Matthew 24:12

This article by Francis Frangipane, titled Beware of the Stronghold of Cold Love, touches on the last two Let’s Be PC! Blogs I’ve written –

“A major area of spiritual warfare that has come against the church is the sphere of church relationships” Frangipane states. He cautions us to guard against unforgiveness saying “An earmark of this corporate, overcoming church will be its commitment to love.

His article is worth reading and taking to heart. Has a broken relationship (and lingering unforgiveness) caused your love for the Church to wane, and hence your church attendance to wither? Check out Frangipane’s article for encouragement to move beyond unforgiveness and lackluster church attendance.

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