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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Frankie Mazzapica » Frankie Mazzapica - God of the Hills and Valleys

Frankie Mazzapica - God of the Hills and Valleys

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    Frankie Mazzapica - God of the Hills and Valleys

Thank you for tuning in today, my name's Frankie Mazzapica. The title of today's message is "God of the Hills and the Valleys". God of the Hills and the Valleys. Let me just lay the scriptural foundation straightaway. It's in 1 Kings chapter 20 verse 28. And the Israelites, God's chosen people, were fighting against the enemy, and the enemy's name, they were Syrians, and they said to the Israelites, "Your Lord is the God of the hills, but not the valleys". If you watch military strategies, the military that has the high ground always has the advantage of those who are on the low ground. Life is going good for them, obviously. Just work with me. It's never good to be in war, but they're in a great position.

And what the Syrians are saying is when life is going good, God is on your side. When you're on the hills, God's on your side, but when life is not going good, you're in the valley, you're there all alone. You get comfortable not having God come through for you, because he's not. Get comfortable with your prayers not being answered. Get comfortable with when you talk to the Lord, it feels like you're talking to a wall, because he's not the God of the valley. He's not gonna be there when you need him most. When things are going good, sure, you'll enjoy worshiping him, it's easy to pray, but when things are not going good, he's gonna be nowhere to be found. Well, the scripture says that the Syrians said that, but what the Israelites knew is that he's God when things are going well, and he's right there on your right-hand side when things are not going well. Does anybody...can you testify to that?

Come on, I got three major points and a few subpoints. The first one is, I wanna talk about God being the Lord of the hill, but I also wanna talk about how he is indeed the Lord of the valley. And then number three, I wanna talk about having a mindset that the Syrians had. So, when you're on the mountaintop, I wanna say that there's certain mountaintops that not everyone has experienced. There's mountaintops when things are going well, things are going good, that's a particular type of mountaintop, but there's another mountaintop that not a lot of people have experienced. This is a mountaintop when you have had a personal moment with God where nobody has to convince you that he exists. You know that he does, and nobody can talk you out of it. People who have experienced God are ruined for the rest of their life. Are you with me?

They're ruined, because it doesn't matter how long they ignore God, God is always in the back of their mind. It doesn't matter how long it's been since they've been to church, they feel this tug and this draw to come back to church. You can't run too far, and there's nowhere you can hide, because you've experienced the Lord being there for you. People who have experienced the presence of God are God chasers for the rest of their life. What do I mean by a God chaser? You're always praying in your mind. You want more of him. Whatever it is that you've experienced in the past, you want more than that. There's a side of your heart, and maybe your entire heart, where you say, God, if you're real, and I know that you're real, I need, I must experience more of your presence. I will never be happy if I do not experience your presence.

You know, we don't necessarily say that out loud to our friends and our family, and if you're like me, I'm not really an emotional person, and so that's kind of tucked into your heart. But you know and I know that once you know God is there, there's nothing in your life that you want more. There's nothing, and you've been ruined, you've become a God chaser. David was ruined. He was a king, which means he had all the money he could ever need. His kid's, kid's, kid's, kid's, kid's, kids were gonna be wealthy. He had more servants than he even knew. He had, like, 300 wives, which meant he had a lot of stress. Sorry, never mind, I shouldn't. But there's a reason why God said man and woman shall be together, just, you know, and the only people that would have more stress than a man with a whole bunch of wives is a woman with a whole bunch of husbands, so let's just balance that out.

But anyway, David experienced the presence of God, and this is what he said in Psalms chapter 27 verse 4, he said, "This one thing I want". I don't want more money, I don't want more, I don't want, this one thing I want, and further than that, this will be the only thing that I will seek, to dwell in the presence of the Most High, to dwell in the temple, to seek his face. Oh, if I could just see your face. I'm gonna live my life seeking your face, and to worship him in the sanctuary. This is the only thing I want. Paul was a God chaser. He had his own business, and his business was a successful business, because when he traveled to other churches, he would say to them I don't need your money to travel and to come to you.

Essentially, I have my own income. I have my own business here. But he said of his own business and of everything else, he said this in Philippians chapter 3 verse 8, he said, "For the sake of God, I discard everything in my life and count it as garbage that I may grab, that I may hold more of God". He's backed up and said it's all distraction, it's garbage. The best way I can explain this revelation is to ask you is there anyone in this room who's had someone you dearly love pass away? Just wave at me. I mean, dearly love. When that happens, or let me back up. My wife had her father pass away. How long ago was it? Seven years ago. For an entire year, and she even has these, you know, these waves, but for an entire year, she would just constant, she wasn't herself, she was a shell, and she would say over and over again, "None of this matters, none of this. None of this matters".

If you've ever lost a loved one and you can remember what you said during that time, you just said none of this matters. All this success, and this pride, and, you know, I can make decisions, none of this matters. I don't know if you're... it's all garbage. This is garbage. And in those moments when you lose someone, the reality of what life is really like and how short it really is, it's as short and as quick as warm air, warm breath on glass fading away. Everything is garbage. And it's the enemy's plan to make garbage look good. It's the enemy's plan to come along next to Paul and say being a God chaser, you can't even see God, like, what is wrong with you?

You could build an empire with your business. It's garbage, it's just complete garbage. I know we need to have a job, I know we need to be paying bills, I know that there are other things that are critically important, but let's keep in mind that it cannot consume us. We must be a God chaser, not a money chaser. We gotta be a God chaser, not a car chaser. Come on, we gotta be that person. Every woman here can be a powerful woman of God. Every man here can be a powerful man of God. The question is, is whether or not you want to be that God chaser. A.W. Tozer once said that everyone is as close to God as they want to be. These are God chasers.

Let me transfer or go on to the second point. We talked about what it's like on the hills, but let's just now combat that comment the Syrians said. When life is good and you're on the hill, God will be there, but when you're in the valley, he is not the God of the valley. Well, let's push back on that. Because people who do not know God do not understand people who do, and people who do know God can't explain what it's like to know God. We can't find the vocabulary, the vocabulary that says I can't explain it, but I just have this assurance that everything's gonna be okay. I can't explain it. We don't have that vocabulary. But when you're in the valley, there's this voice, "He's not here with you right now. You're all alone and you don't have any answers. You're stuck, you're stuck".

I talked to somebody before the service, and he said, "Look, I need you to pray for me. It's the holidays and I just lost my job". And he's a young man, he has his young wife, and he was like, "We're planning on starting a family and I don't even know if I can pay my bills now. I just lost my job". That's not called losing your job, that's called being in a dark valley, that's what that's called. And they're saying God's not in that valley, and the Lord knew, he knew that we would think that. He knew that the enemy would tell us that, and so he put a key scripture right in the Bible just so we could read it during that season of feeling like we're in the valley.

It's in Song of Solomon chapter 2 verse 1 where it says, "I," God speaking, "I am the lily of the valley. I'm the most beautiful thing in the valley. That if you just take a minute and just close your eyes and focus on me, just put your mind's attention, your heart's affection on me, I'm there in the valley. I am the most beautiful thing in the valley. I'm there". There is in Northern California, you know, there's mountains everywhere in California, but there's this one particular mountain where there's a valley, a sharp valley. I forgot the cities, but it's a valley, and it's very hard to find. But the name of the valley, you can go home and you can look it up, it's called Calla Lily Valley. And when you get there, you know you're there, because it's covered with lilies from one side to the other. It's a slope of lilies. And when you get there, you'll say to yourself, this is an odd place for so many lilies.

I'm gonna tell you, there are people in this room, in this room right now, that can say I was in a valley so deep with addiction. I know he's in the valley, because that's where he found me. Is there anyone? That's where he found me. There's people in this room that could say you may have found him on the mountain, and I'm happy for you, but it was during the darkest season of my life where I found him. It was when I didn't think anyone cared about me. It's a horrible feeling, knowing that you love other people but being unsure whether or not other people love you. It's a horrible feeling. The feeling of feeling stuck, meaning that the season's not gonna change. But there's people all throughout this sanctuary that can say that's exactly where he found me.

Don't tell me he's not the God of the valley, that's where I met him. That's where I fell in love with him. I'm the one who was rescued. Is there anybody in this room that says that's where I found him? I wanna talk about this Syrian mindset. The Syrian mindset is when we look at other people or we think about God, you know, it's easy for us to get sucked into that. When times get tough, I don't know where he's gonna be, and hey, I'll pray for you, but deep down inside we're like, I don't know if it's gonna work or not.

You know, I'll pray for you when things are going good, I don't know if that's gonna work or not. Let me say this, everything depends on who you depend on. If you're depending on yourself, lower your expectations, because it's most likely you're gonna experience more of the same. But if you put your eyes, you look to the Lord, and you say with a sincere heart, "If you don't come through for me, I don't know what's gonna happen. Lord, you're gonna have to help my unbelief. My faith is thin, but I need you to help me anyway". You know what the Bible says in Revelation 3 verse 8? It says "I've opened up a door for you. I've made a way for you to escape. I've made a way for the seasons to change. You haven't seen it yet, but it's before you". And then it says this," I know that you are very weak, but you have stayed faithful to me. You kept leaning into me. You kept putting your chin up to me, and I know you're weak, but I got you. I got you". Don't you love God? Come on.

I remember my family took a trip to Costa Rica a few years ago, and we were there, and we decided that we wanted to take a little four-hour tour. And one of the tours that was available, the one that we selected, was to go down this mountain and to see a waterfall. Evidently, it's just some gorgeous waterfall that you could only see if you went down this mountain, and so we were all in. Now, in Costa Rica the guys are called ticos and the ladies are called ticas. And so, this young tico, I guess he was like 25, 26, so we're going down, down, down, down down, and it took forever. It was me, not my kids. I was like, "Are we there yet"? I could hear the waterfall, we're getting closer because the sound of the waterfall is getting louder and getting louder.

We get down there, and man, it was majestic. I mean, just, I mean it was so high it was coming down, it was just crash, bang, bang. And then there was just, like, this reservoir that it was falling into, and the tico said, "You guys wanna get in"? And I was like, "No, that's good". The whole family, "Yeah, we wanna get in". Here we go. So, he goes just take your shoes off and jump in, and I'm like, you see, that's where the problem is right there. I'm the guy, some people just... me, I wanna make sure there's no rocks or there's a knife sticking up out of the ground. I'm, like, feeling it out, the whole family, boom, splash, splash, splash, splash, splash.

So, I'm finally in, and the tico says this, he goes, "Do you guys wanna go up the waterfall"? Like, splash, splash, I'm like, no, we're good. Whole family, "Oh, we wanna go". And so he goes, "Let me show you the route". And so, there's these, like, rocks that lead all the way up, but it's like, splash, splash, and here the tico goes, and I'm like, okay, nobody likes a showoff, let's start there, okay. And so, up goes my first daughter, here goes my son, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. My wife is Canadian, she snowboards, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. So, here here I am, scared to death, trying to act like I'm not scared. I take Kate's hand, she's seven at the time. I was like, "We got this". "Are you sure"? "Promise, here we go".

I'm walking so slow, every single rock is wet. Some of those rocks have green on top, you know what that means? That's suicide rock, that's what that means. I'm, like, holding, like, holding stuff, everybody's up top. "Oh, my goodness, is this heaven"? No, hell, that's where we are. The tico goes, "Do you need help"? I said, "No, I'm good". Showoff, he can tell I'm not good. Down he comes, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, and he looks at me and he's like, "Do you want me to carry Kate up"? Now, here's the thing. I love Kate more than I love me, right? My hands are the safest hands that girl has ever held in her life. I'm looking at this guy that I've known for about 45 minutes, and he's like, do you want me to take the love of your life, now, my wife is the love of my life, but she's up there laughing at me. Do you want me to take your daughter and carry her for you?

And I'm looking at him, and I've got severe indigestion because I just met this guy, he's gonna run up green rocks, and so I thought, I think she's safer in your hands than she is mine, go ahead and take her. He scoops her up, he's got her like this, and up he goes. He goes up there and I was like, oh, my daughter is safe. And then I'm like, "Do you think you can carry me"? Everything depends on who you depend on. My hands were weak and I knew it, and sometimes the most powerful thing that we can do is just, I can't do it. Like, I can't do it. And in the secrecy of your bedroom, when you're laying there at night and you can't sleep, and you just say I can't do it, never forget what I'm about to say.

Short prayers are powerful prayers. They are powerful prayers. And surrendering, like I did with that tico, it's the most humbling thing that you can do. I can't do it. I can't do it anymore. I cannot do it anymore. And we've been there, and it's at those moments where the Lord says I'm about to show you I am in the valley. I'm the lily of the valley. I've saved you out of the valley before, watch me do it again. Sometimes God will show you new giants just so you can back up and say, wow, he can conquer that one, too? And then you get to talk about it. Please hear me say he's the God of the hill and he's the God of the valley. Does anybody love him? Come on, does anybody love him?
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