The Pattern

By Francis Frangipane

Why does the Lord tolerate the grief and suffering that abounds on planet Earth? Jesus explained it this way. He said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it" (Matt. 13:45-46).

The Lord’s parable reveals to us that God is not just sitting in Heaven, He is actually looking for something valuable, something costly, on Earth. Yes, the Father found one pearl of great price in His Son, Jesus Christ. But there is something else the Father seeks, and that is the replication of His Son in us.

Love Motivated Warfare

By Francis Frangipane

Jesus knew this world was a realm under satanic siege. Planet Earth was not a place of peace but a realm at war. From the casting out of Lucifer and his angels from Heaven, to the temptation in the Garden of Eden, to Babylon and the multiplication of nations under satanic influence, planet Earth has been an embattled world. The idea that somehow our era is less threatened by evil is the height of deception. We must fight if we will follow Christ into victory.

The War Over Reality

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

The Principle of Displacement
"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" (Rev. 12:7-8 AMP). Notice the phrase, "there was no room . . . for them in heaven." The war against principalities involves displacement: Christ filling the spiritual territories once held by Satan.

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?

The Perseverance of Christ

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

Unyielding Perseverance
The book of Revelation mentions the word perseverance seven times for good reason. Over and over we see those who persevered and overcame. It is one thing to have vision and another to have godly motives, but neither will carry us to our objectives by itself. We must also persevere.

Consider this word persevere. Its meaning is rooted in the word severe. It is the exact opposite of lethargy.

Over the last forty-six years, there were a number of times when I was stretched in ways that were severe or extreme. I always came out of the experience stronger and more Christlike, yet it was definitely not the way I would have chosen for myself. You see, it is through faith and perseverance that we inherit the promises of God (Heb. 10:36). James tells us that "the testing of [our] faith develops perseverance" and that "perseverance must finish its work so that [we] may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything" (James 1:3-4, NIV).

The Valley of Baca (Part 2 of The Valley of Fruitfulness)

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

The psalmist wrote, "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" (Ps. 84:5-6). Baca means "weeping." Each of us has times of weeping when our hearts and hopes seem crushed. Yet, because God has placed in our hearts "highways to Zion, 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 (Heb. 2:17-18). 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 of Baca, but if we hold to the vision of God, what was spoken will come to pass in its time.

Just as God allowed Joseph to go through many trials, so He allows us to go through conflicts as well. 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). All the difficulty and pain of his life were wiped away when the Lord fulfilled His Word. 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, that the crises in my life always precede the enrichment of my life, that even here, in the Valley of Baca, there will be a spring of refreshing that will transform my pain into blessing.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Shelter of the Most High, available at www.arrowbookstore.com.