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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
Charisma House (March 1, 2011)
Francis Frangipane is senior pastor of River of Life Ministries in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which he began in 1989. Publication of Francis’ book The Three Battlegroundsin 1989 fueled demand for him as an international conference speaker. Since 1996, Pastor Frangipane has hosted a half-hour weekly television program for the Sky Angel Satellite network. Francis Frangipane is well known for his efforts in uniting thousands of church leaders in hundreds of cities around the world. The author is also a frequent guest on Christian television programs and has been profiled in several Christian magazines.
Visit the author's website.
This is a book for those who are unsatisfied with their spiritual progress and willing to do something about it. It is for every believer who feels he cannot exist unless he finds the fullness of God. Frangipane describes the path toward true holiness with these words: “It is a path full of both life and death, perils and blessings. It is a path upon which you will be challenged, empowered, provoked, and crucified. But you will not be disappointed. If it is God you seek, it is God you will find.” Our goal is to seek and to find the holiness that leads us into the true presence of God. If you are faithful to your goal of Christlikeness, God will give you the grace to live in His presence. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed, you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Col. 3:3–4). And as you persist with the Almighty, the sacred fire of His presence will consume the wood, hay, and stubble of your former ways. Power such as Jesus had will reside in your innermost being. Angels will stand in awe, for your gold will be refined, your garments light, and your life holy.
List Price: $11.99
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (March 1, 2011)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
The bigger I grow in God, the smaller I become.
[ Allen Bond ]
A Holy Man Is a Humble Man
Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29, kjv). The holiest, most powerful voice that ever spoke described Himself as “meek and lowly in heart.” Why begin a message on holiness with a quote concerning humility? Simply because holiness is the product of grace, and God gives grace only to the humble.
It is vital we understand that Jesus did not condemn sinners; He condemned hypocrites. A hypocrite is a person who excuses his own sin while condemning the sins of another. He is not mere “two-faced,” for even the best of us must work at single-mindedness in all instances. A hypocrite, therefore, is one who refuses to admit he is, at times, two-faced, thereby pretending a righteousness that he fails to live.
Indeed, the hypocrite does not discern his hypocrisy, for he cannot perceive flaws within himself. Rarely does he actually deal with the corruption in his heart. Since he seeks no mercy, he has no mercy to give; since he is always under God’s judgment, judging is what comes through him.
We cannot remain hypocrites and at the same time find holiness. Therefore, the first step we truly take toward sanctification is to admit we are not as holy as we would like to appear. This first step is called humility.
In our desire to know God, we must discern this about the Almighty: He resists the proud, but His grace is drawn to the humble. Humility brings grace to our need, and grace alone can change our hearts. Humility, therefore, is the substructure of transformation. It is the essence of all virtues.
At some phase in each of our lives, we all will be confronted with the impurities of our hearts. The Holy Spirit reveals our sinfulness, not to condemn us but to establish humility and deepen the knowledge of our personal need for grace. It is at this crossroad that both holy men and hypocrites are bred. Those who become holy see their need and fall prostrate before God for deliverance. Those who become hypocrites are they who, in seeing their sin, excuse it and thus remain intact. Though all men must eventually stand at this junction, few are they who embrace the voice of truth; few are they indeed who will walk humbly toward true holiness.
Therefore, sanctification starts not with rules but with the forsaking of pride. Purity begins with our determined refusal to hide from the condition of our hearts. Out of self-discovery comes forth humility, and in meekness true holiness grows.
If we are not enlightened to the depravity of our old nature, we become “Christian Pharisees,” hypocrites, full of contempt and self-righteousness. Did not our Master warn of those who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt” (Luke 18:9)? Every time we judge another Christian, we do so with an attitude of self-righteousness. Each time we criticize another church, contempt is the motive behind our words. The irony of our Christianity is that so many churches look upon each other with identical attitudes of superiority. The modern church has become overstocked with those who, thinking they were holy, have become the exact opposite of holiness because they so lack humility!
Yet the humility we seek is drawn from a well that goes deeper than the awareness of our needs. Even in times of spiritual fullness, we must delight in weakness, knowing all strength is the product of God’s grace. The humility we hope to find must go beyond the pattern of living proud lives, interrupted momentarily by intervals of self-abasement. Meekness must become our way of life. Like Jesus, we must delight in becoming “lowly in heart.” Like Jesus, His disciples are humble by choice.
Anyone Can Judge, but
Can You Save?
Hypocrites love to judge; it makes them feel superior. But it shall not be so with you. You must seek earnestly for lowliness of heart. Many zealous but proud Christians failed to reach holiness because they presumed they were called to judge others.
Jesus Christ did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Anyone can pass judgment, but can they save? Can they lay down their lives in love, intercession, and faith for the one judged? Can they target an area of need and—rather than criticizing—fast and pray, asking God to supply the very virtue they feel is lacking? And then, can they persevere in love-motivated prayer until that fallen area blooms in godliness? Such is the life Christ commands we follow!
To judge after the flesh requires but one eye and a carnal mind. On the other hand, it takes the loving faithfulness of Christ to redeem and save. One act of His love revealed through us will do more to warm cold hearts than the sum of all our pompous criticisms. Therefore, grow in love and excel in mercy, and you will have a clearer perception into the essence of holiness, for it is the nature of God, who is love.
One may argue, “But Jesus condemned sin.” Yes, and we condemn sin also, but the sin we must condemn first is the sin of judging others, for it obscures our vision from discerning sin in ourselves (Matt. 7:5). Understand this: we will never become holy by criticizing others, nor is anyone brought nearer to God through finding fault!
If we are honestly pursuing our sanctification, we will soon discover we have no time for judging others. Indeed, being in need of mercy, we will seek eagerly for opportunities to be merciful to others.
Yes, Scripture tells us that Jesus judged men in certain situations, but His motive was always to save. His love was perfectly committed to the one He judged. When our love toward another is such that we can honestly say, like Christ, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5), our powers of discernment will be likewise perfected, for it is love alone that gives us pure motives in judgment (1 John 4:16–17).
Do you still insist on finding fault? Beware, Christ’s standard of judgment is high: “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone” (John 8:7). Indeed, speak out against unrighteousness, but be motivated by the love of Jesus. Remember, it is written, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). In the kingdom of God, unless you are first committed to die for people, you are not permitted to judge them.
It is also important to note that the ears listening to gossip or criticism are as guilty as the mouth speaking it. Do not contribute to such sins. Instead, stop the offender from speaking and entreat him to intercede, as Jesus does, for that person or situation. Your ears are holy; do not let them come into agreement with the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10).
Remember, Christ did not condemn sinners; He condemned hypocrites. He numbered Himself with sinners—bearing our sins and sorrows (Isa. 53). This is the humility we are seeking. Indeed, holiness shines brightly through the meek and lowly of heart.