The God of the Mountains and Valleys

By Francis Frangipane

The battles we face are often intense times of weakness, distress, and confusion. If the events of our lives were charted, these would be the lowest points. Yet God is no less with us during difficulties than at other times. In fact, these valleys are often as much the plan of God as our mountaintop experiences.

There is a story in the Bible that speaks plainly to this truth. Israel had recently defeated the Arameans in a mountain battle. In 1 Kings 20, we read:

Then the prophet came near to the king of Israel and said to him, "Go, strengthen yourself and observe and see what you have to do; for at the turn of the year the king of Aram will come up against you." Now the servants of the king of Aram said to him, "Their gods are gods of the mountains, therefore they were stronger than we; but rather let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than they." --1 Kings 20:22-23

The enemy said that the God of Israel was a god of the mountains, but if they fought the Jews in the valleys they would defeat them. We read in verse 28:

Then a man of God came near and spoke to the king of Israel and said, "Thus says the Lord, 'Because the Arameans have said, "The Lord is a god of the mountains, but He is not a god of the valleys," therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.'" --1 Kings 20:28

No matter what the enemy tries to tell you, Christ is God of the mountains and God of the valleys. He has not stopped being God because you happen to be in a valley. He is the God of glory as seen in His power and miracles. In the valleys He reveals Himself as faithful, loyally committed to us in difficulties and distresses. In and through all things He is our God.

When we are on the "mountaintops" of our Christian experience, we can see our future clearly. We have perspective and confidence. When we are in one of life's valleys, however, our vision is limited and our future seems hidden. Yet valleys are also the most fertile places on earth.

Valleys produce fruitfulness. You can expect there to be a harvest of virtue when God dwells with you in the valleys.

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

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

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

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

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

Joseph's Trials
Consider Joseph. He was the second youngest of Jacob's sons and his father's favorite. His walk with God began with dreams and visions. Joseph's life is a pattern for many who have had a genuine call from God. Our walk with God may also have begun with a "travel brochure" of dreams and visions where God gives us a picture of His destination for us. Yet we fail to be able to see how His promises will come to pass in our lives.Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and delivered up by them to die. He was unjustly accused when Potiphar's wife tried to seduce him. He was imprisoned and forgotten by all except God who patiently watched and measured Joseph's reaction to difficulty.

Rich or poor, blessed or smitten, Joseph served God. He was being tested, but he continued to pass his tests. Joseph was on trial before men, but he was found innocent before God.

Finally, at the right moment, the Lord suddenly connected all the loose ends of Joseph's life. Everything that Joseph went through would have seemed cruel and unfair except that the Lord was shaping a man for His purpose. God uses everything we go through for future purposes that He alone sees. We do not see His ultimate plan while we are in the valley. We must remember the vision, keeping faith in what God has promised.

Just as He allowed Joseph to go through many trials, so He allows us to go through great conflicts as well. For He knows that our lives-what we have become through His grace-will help others find the shelter of the Most High God in their lives.

"Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, 'For,' he said, 'God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household'" (Gen. 41:51). God caused Joseph to forget the difficulty and pain of his life. There is something wonderful about the Lord's capacity to cause all things to work for good. With Jesus in our lives, a time ultimately comes when God causes us to forget all the troubles of the past.

"He named the second Ephraim, 'For,' he said, 'God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction'" (Gen. 41:52). God made him fruitful in the very things that afflicted him. In the land of your affliction, in your battle, is the place where God will make you fruitful.

Consider even now, the area of greatest affliction in your life. In that area God will make you fruitful in such a way that your heart will be fully satisfied and God's heart fully glorified. Ultimately, the Lord will touch many others with the substance of what you have gained. In a world that is superficial, Christ will produce something within you that is deep and living.

God has not promised to keep us from valleys and sufferings, but He has promised to make us fruitful in them. Without a doubt we each will pass through valleys before we reach our final goal in God. As we remain faithful to Him in trials, the character and nature of Christ Jesus will emerge in our spirits; and Christ will be revealed to those around us. He intends to make your life a key that unlocks God's shelter for others.

Lord, You are God of the mountains and the valleys. I know that Your faithfulness is my shield and my bulwark.

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


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The Shelter of the Most High" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.
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The Divine Pursuit:Stages of Seeking God

By Francis Frangipane

The divine pursuit begins with the humbling of self. Until we embrace humility, our natural mind displays itself as a god sitting in the temple of our thought-life. We are ruled by the tyranny of fleshly desires, soulish fears and human ambitions. To advance in God we must retreat from self.

Thus, when true meekness emerges in our hearts, it comes to silence the clamor of our fleshly minds. The volume on our self-righteousness mutes; the voice of our fears and inadequacies becomes a whisper. To humble our earthly perspectives and opinions, we must relegate them to a lower priority; they become mere background noise as our focus turns increasingly toward God. No pretense prevails; we come humbling ourselves. We bow on our face before the holy gaze of God. And in His light finally we perceive the darkness of our soul.

Thus, humility, at its root, starts with honesty. The humbled heart is truly and deeply acquainted with its need and, in the beginning, the awareness of one’s need becomes the voice of prayer. This confession, "I have sinned," puts us on the side of God concerning it. We agree with our Father that our behavior is wrong - we’re selfish, lustful and unloving. Thus, the process of healing begins during this moment of self-discovery. We are working together with God to defeat sin in our lives, and in this process of humbling ourselves the Lord grants us peace, covering, and transforming grace.

Yet, with humility we not only acknowledge our need, we take full responsibility for it. We offer no defense to God for our fallen condition. We’ve come, not to explain ourselves but to cleanse ourselves. Though we may have suffered injustice, we abandon self-justification or accusation toward others. We are consumed with the condition of just one soul, our own; and our quest is for mercy, not vengeance.

At some point, however, our humility toward God, if it is genuine, will regenerate and bloom again in our relationships with others. We will be able to laugh at ourselves; we will no longer take offense when challenged or accused. If we have been embittered by life, we now forgive. And, if we sinned against another, we humbly ask their forgiveness. We must deal with our offended heart. The Lord God may not require us to trust everyone, but He does call us to forgive (Matt. 18:21-35).

In a world where the heart of man is "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" ( Jer. 17:9 KJV), in Heaven’s eyes, to tearfully acknowledge our need is a breakthrough.

A People of Prayer
The road to healing a society, whether it is a community, a church, or a family, begins with humbling ourselves to God and to one another. The Lord, who dwells "on a high and holy place," also dwells "with the contrite and lowly of spirit." It is the contrite and lowly the Lord promises to revive (Isa. 57:15).

Yet, humility is not our final goal. We must learn also to be a people of prayer. Prayer is the voice of our dependency. Strong, independent people do not pray; dependent people broken of self-will pray and look to God. Prayer is not a laser beam; it is a prism that accommodates variations of color and expression. Whether our cry is in supplication or silence, regardless if it is tearful or rejoicing, at its core, prayer is not just telling the Lord our needs; it is transferring those needs to God.

It should also be acknowledged that, especially in the beginning, prayer is often an expression of fear - fear concerning the threats and conditions of life, and fear that our sin or circumstances will overwhelm us or a loved one. Yet, we do not pray because we fear; we pray because we have a promise from God. He has said He will "hear from Heaven … and heal." Thus, at some point, fear must be displaced by faith; our prayer must be an expression of our growing trust in God. The world will remain a fearful place, but prayer empowered by faith can transform our world.

The Goal God Seeks
If we humble ourselves and pray, we will have ever increasing access to God. Yet, while we may experience degrees of breakthrough, our hope is to see God actually heal our land. It is encouraging to see that, today, the prayer movement has become a force in the earth. However, if we are honest, the depth of healing we have sought has not occurred. We have fasted and prayed, but the greatest breakthroughs have not come. Why? Perhaps we have sought God’s hand more than His face.

First, it is right to seek God’s hand. Indeed, Scripture asks, "To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" (Isa. 53:1). Jesus cast out demons by the "finger of God" (Luke 11:20). Seeking the arm or hand or finger of the Almighty certainly is of great value. But the Lord did not say, "Seek My hand." Rather, He calls us to seek His face. We must lift our prayers beyond the needs of our world, and let our highest prayer be to seek God for Himself.

"If My people … seek My face," He says. Until now, our pilgrimage has been about us coming to God with our needs. Now, it is about Him. In this shift of focus, beloved, is the power to turn nations. When we become true God-seekers - individuals whose delight is perpetually in the Lord - we will secure the full help of Heaven. And more, we will rise to meet the consummate reward of Heaven: to see the face of God (Rev. 22:3-4).

As a leader in the prayer movement, I ask you to join me in making my highest goal to seek the face of God. Whether we live in times of crisis or times of peace, my heart says to the Lord, "Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek" (Ps. 27:8).Yes, we have prayer, and from our hearts, we humble ourselves and fast and weep. Yet, until we are obsessed with love for God, we will always fall short of the greatest fulfillment. It is time to rise higher.

In a parallel promise given by God to Jeremiah, the Lord spoke to a people in exile from their land. He assured them that His plan for them was for their welfare and not for calamity (Jer. 29:11). And again He brought their focus to seeking Him. He says, "Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:12-13).

In the next verse, the Lord reinforces His promise, saying, "And I will be found by you" (v. 14).

The Spirit of God desires not only that we seek Him but that we actually find Him! The humbling of our soul and learning to pray - these are not simply spiritual disciplines or mechanical things we do for the sake of revival. They are heart preparations. The invitation from the Lord to seek His face is not to be taken lightly; indeed, it is staggering!

God desires intimacy with us. To seek His face is to behold the divine expression and to hear the tone of His voice. From this vantage point of His presence, we can truly turn away from evil. For to know His love is to know why we’ve been created.

God-seeker, do not doubt the outcome of your pursuit. He says with glad assurance, "And I will be found by you."

Oh God, my insides ache for You, to know You and walk in Your ways. You are my exceedingly great reward, the pearl of great price. I love You, Master. And I will seek You until I truly
find You.



Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The Days of His Presence" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

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Please feel free to forward this message to others; acknowledging our web site would be kindly appreciated.

Reprint Agreement
Your interest in duplicating and re-sending this material is a joy to us. We only ask that you also provide website information for the Ministries of Francis Frangipane. The only exception is if the article is actually an excerpt from a book by another publisher. In this case they have asked that they be listed as the reference. Finally, any questions about the teachings of Francis Frangipane can be sent to info@frangipane.org. God bless your pursuit of His heart.

Two Sets of Books

By Francis Frangipane

It was not a dream. It was simply a thought in the middle of the night, but it came into my mind with such clarity that it roused me from my sleep. It said, "He keeps two sets of books: one is exact and the other forgiving."

I barely had time to wonder who it was that kept these mysterious two accounts when the parable of the wise, but wasteful, steward surfaced in my mind. The story, which comes from Luke, chapter 16, tells of a manager who was about to be dismissed for squandering his employer's wealth.

"What shall I do," the steward pondered, "since my master is taking the stewardship away from me?" (vs 3).