Frankie Mazzapica - A Message For The Discouraged
Hello, my name is Frankie Mazzapica, the title of the message today is "A Message For Those Who Are Discouraged," "A Message For Those Who Are Discouraged". If you're not discouraged today, take notes, you'll need this message later. I want to just springboard straight into it by jumping into our foundational scripture that we're gonna use today to build the message. It's in 2 Corinthians chapter 7, verses 5 and 6, and it reads like this, this is Paul speaking, he says, "When we first came to Macedonia, we faced battles, we found no rest," we found no rest. "And we faced battles from every direction. There were battles on the outside and there was fear on the inside". And then, "God, who encourages those who are discouraged, sent Titus to encourage us".
It's fascinating because Paul is going to Macedonia because he wants to be used by God in that city. I believe that speaks to all of us, we want to walk with God, we want to be used by God, and oftentimes, when we want that the most, we experience the most discouragement. He's saying there was battles on the outside, fear on the inside. I'm not going to speak for very long today, but my four points are going to come out of those verses. The first thing I want to talk about is there was battles on the outside.
Now that verse sheds no light on what those battles were, but you cannot have a battle without an adversary, there was someone causing his life to be in chaos, there was someone that was supposed to be a blessing, and they were not, there was someone who, they were hoping their life was gonna be easier, but it isn't. If you're a parent, you know exactly what I'm talking about, where you want your children to live a better life than you, you want their life to be on smooth waters, and when that's not happening, your life isn't on smooth waters. You love your children more than you love yourself.
And so when we go into these seasons of challenge, and sometimes it's a financial challenge, and the trouble with financial challenges is you're never not thinking about it, it's always in the back of your mind. If it's a physical challenge, an emotional challenge, if you've been hurt physically, if your body is falling apart on you, and our bodies are made of clay, they're gonna crack, and when that happens, it's so difficult to continue to live our life with joy and with happiness. And it seems like these challenges accelerate or come with more force in the seasons when we're pursuing God the most.
And so there are three responses that we can have when we're entering into Macedonia, if you will, when we're stepping, when we're trying, when we're doing our best to serve God, to worship God, to partner with God. When we're doing our best and adversity comes, there are three options we have. The first option is to miss the opportunity altogether. Nobody plans to miss the opportunity, but you can't take the heat, you're full of disappointment, you're discouraged, so you check out and you miss an opportunity. The second option is that you capitalize on the opportunity. Children of God are identified during adversity because children of God, deep down inside, know that everything depends on who you depend on, and they begin to lean into the strength that can only come from the Holy Spirit.
Once again, let me say, children of God are identified, "Oh, oh, you're, ah," because of how we handle adversity. I've been to many hospitals to go visit people, and it's fascinating, the people that are sitting in that bed that have a relationship with God, they have a peace that passes their understanding and passes mine as well. I'm looking at them in the bed and I'm like, "How are you taking this so well"? Sometimes I walk out of the room and I get in the elevator, and I feel like a failure as a friend because they encouraged me more than I encouraged them. I'm like, "Where is this strength coming from"? I don't want to get ahead of myself, it's capitalizing on a moment, where other people fail, you get stronger. It passes your understanding because the problem is so aggressive.
So the first option is you can miss the entire opportunity, I'll get into more detail in a minute, the second opportunity is you capitalize on the moment, and the third option, you just let your life go in chaos, you collapse. Let me talk about, first, the possibility of missing. When adversity comes, when you're in the middle of discouragement, you can almost check out and walk off. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to in the lobby after service and they say, "I'm sorry, Pastor, you haven't seen me in a long time, I have just been going through hell, but I'm back now, doing a lot better". And I think to myself, "If you were going through hell, you needed to be in church more than when you are tiptoeing through the daisies, dancing through the daisies".
It's when adversity comes is when we need to be worshiping the most. I'm tired of talking, okay, help me out, I'm tired of talking to people that say, "I don't need to be in the sanctuary of God, God's everywhere," like, come on, that's called personal theology. In Psalms chapter 26, verse 8, David says, "I love to be in the house of the Lord, because it's where His glorious presence dwells". Yes, God is everywhere, he's omnipresent, but there's certain places on earth where he says, "You're gonna feel me here in ways that you're not gonna feel me anywhere else". And when these seasons come, when these troubles come, where the discouragement comes, you can miss an opportunity. Just like Thomas, when he was discouraged because Jesus had died, he ran, he backed out, and you can check out without anyone knowing.
You can check out, you begin to build distance, either emotionally or spiritually, and a lot of times you check out spiritually before you check out physically. Do you know that the average person comes to church one time every six weeks? Now this person believes that they come more often than that, but they don't. The scariest thing about that is that means that their children are only coming once every six weeks, their children. And where do you think these children are going to end up? They weren't raised like you were, your parents drug you to church, and if they were in town, you were in church.
That's not the way this generation is raised, they come to church when they feel like it, they come to church when it's convenient, they come to church when they have nothing else to do. But the children, do you think your children are gonna grow up and want to go to church and prioritize church more than you, and come to church more than once every six weeks? "I'm gonna go to church more than my dad, I'm gonna go to church more than my parents, I'm going to go to church more often".
Do we really think that's gonna happen? It does happen, some of you are heroes in the faith because your parents didn't go to church but you're here today, you're a hero in the faith, my father is a hero in the faith, that's what happened to him. But when a parent does not raise their children in church, because they don't prioritize it, they're teaching their children what to prioritize in life. And when they teach their children the Sabbath is a day of rest and so we're gonna rest as a family, you don't rest physically, you rest spiritually. That's why you can sleep for 12 hours and wake up tired, that's why you can go on a vacation and come home, and you say, "I need a vacation from my vacation," you don't rest physically, you rest spiritually. If you're in this room, there's only certain times where I want you to feel convicted and this is one of them, because you know better than that, you know better than that, you know better than that. And so this is the option that Thomas had, he bailed, he was gone.
Here's the second option, the other option is to capitalize on the moment. Joshua got thrown into a situation, and he was incredibly afraid, he was discouraged, he had to take over from Moses. Could you imagine? Moses dies, and now everyone's looking at you and saying, "Okay, you're the next Moses". Yeah right, bye-bye, meep-meep. This is what Joshua had to do. In Joshua chapter 1, verse 9, the Lord tells Joshua this is your moment, he says, "Do not be afraid or discouraged. For I am with you, and I will be with you wherever you go".
For those of you that are afraid and discouraged, I want you to know this verse, it's in John chapter 14, verse 18, where he says, "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you". In the seasons where we feel alone, we feel discouraged, we don't know what to do, we just feel like we're lost, the Lord sees those seasons and he says, "I will not leave you there, I'm coming for you, I'm coming for you". And in the moment that you're in, you just think, "I don't know how he's gonna come for me," but let your past encourage you in the present. He's always come for you, he will come for you now, and he will be there for you in the future. Does anyone believe in that? Come on. Let your past encourage your present.
The third option is to go ahead and let your life unravel, to begin to slip into that chaos, like Peter, he cursed three times, and denied the Lord while he was cursing. Now, I don't know if the F-word existed back then, but whatever the F-word was, he was probably using it. In the moment of discouragement, in the moment of frustration, in the moment, he goes into chaos. He was hurt, he was angry, he depended on the Lord, and the Lord didn't pull through. There's an acronym called HALT, H-A-L-T. Anytime you're hurt, angry, lonely, or tired, halt, run out of the room, get out of there, go put yourself in a closet, go to bed, there's something holy about going to bed. Are you with me? Say, "Yes".
I need this day to be over, going to bed. Hurt, angry, lonely, or tired, this is when you check out, I'm out. These are the seasons, this is what happens. Whenever Paul said, "We found no rest, we were surrounded. Battles on every side, fear on the inside". And then, the next verse where it says, "When we came into Macedonia, we found no rest. There were battles on the outside, fear on the inside. But God, who encourages those who are discouraged". To stay in a state of discouragement is to reflect our own weakness, because now we are looking to God to do our job as well as his job. His job is to do a miracle in your life, your job is to create an atmosphere for him to work that miracle. When you create an atmosphere, you are sending an invitation to him, "I need you moving in my life".
A lot of people want the miracle, they put their hands in their pocket, they squint their eyes, and they remain ticked, and they get ticked, and they get more ticked, and they slip down a spiral of being ticked. But when you create an atmosphere of worship, you create an atmosphere of his presence, you make yourself do it when you don't feel like it, this is when God steps in and says, "I see what you're doing, I know that you are weak," the Bible says this in Psalms 103, verse 14. It says this: "I remember how you were made, I remember that you were made from dust". He remembers, he knows the strength that we have, and so he says, "I'm gonna do what you can't do, but I need you to do what you can do, I need you to create an atmosphere that is an invitation for me to step into your life".
I'll never, ever forget, I went to Atlanta, I can't remember why I was there, it was some kind of conference or something. But I was in Atlanta, and I was renting a car, and so I think it was from Budget or something like that. And so I walk in and there's nobody there, which is like, "Thank you, Jesus," there's nothing more frustrating than standing in one of those zigzag lines. And so I walk in and I'm like, "Okay, there's nobody here, this is awesome. Thank you, Jesus, for the favor that's on my life".
And so, anyway, I walk in and there's this lady, she's the only one behind the counter, I'm sure there was people in the back room or whatever, but she had worship music playing in Budget. And so I come walking in and I'm like, "Okay, she cares nothing about cancel culture, which I love and I honor, she cares nothing about people coming in and saying something that would be opposite of her beliefs". Do you know that a Christian who lives a Christian life out loud will always cause controversy? And the sad thing is sometimes we want the approval of the people around us so much that we don't live out loud because we can't handle the controversy.
So this lady was sitting behind the counter and she was playing worship music. And so I walk in, I'm enjoying the worship music, I don't say anything, I get the keys, I fill out the paperwork, I'm walking out, and I turn around and I look at her, and I say, "I think you're a rockstar, I admire you for playing that worship music, and I have enjoyed every single moment". And she said something that I will never forget and I hope you never forget it either. She said this: "Ain't nobody gonna create this atmosphere for me, I gotta create it myself". Isn't that good? Ain't nobody gonna do it. I want to tell you, turn on that worship music in your house, turn on the worship music in your car.
Say, "I don't like Christian radio," okay, that's fine, find the songs you do like. If you know another Christian who listens to worship music, say, "Hey, send me your playlist, my playlist stinks, send me a playlist, I need some worship music in my life". I'll tell you this, the things that you watch on TV are coming in the house, the worship, the songs that you listen to with your ears are coming in the Spirit, you can't stop it, you cannot stop it, it's coming in, it's coming in. You say, "Well..." it's coming in.
You say, "I don't believe that". Have you ever met in your life a person whose heart burns for God who listens to music that's not godly? Have you ever met a person like that, ever? The only people who justify secular music are the people whose heart does not burn for God. They may have made the decision that they believe in Jesus Christ, they may even have a reservation in heaven, but their heart doesn't burn for God because there is a cooling spirit tangled up in the lyrics of secular songs, there's a cooling spirit when you watch something on the screen that's not of God, it just comes in, because it used to convict you and now it doesn't.
Why is that? How does that happen? What happens when a heart gets seared? There once was a day that you weren't as hard-hearted, you loved the Lord, you were open to God moving in any way he wanted to, he just needs to take you slow because you don't understand a lot, but now, that's not what it is at all, it's a heart made of stone, we can't convince you even if an angel were to show up and write on the wall, you'd still be, "I think I was dreaming". This is how you get calloused. I want to say, create the atmosphere, create it, put on the worship music, when you're in a room alone, raise your hands up in the air, tell the Lord, "I need you, I need you, I love you".
Raise your hands up in the air, get in the car and say, "I'm not getting on the phone, I'm gonna make my car a sanctuary as it goes down the street". You may not be Moses, you may not be Mary, you may not be Martha, but you can raise your hands, you can look up to God and say, "I don't know that I have the time or the energy or the anointing or the ability to pray for an hour, but this moment right here is for you, I'm raising my hands, I'm lifting my chin, I'm putting my," come on, come on. How many times have I been sitting at a table with people in a restaurant, and I'm sitting there listening to them and my ADD kicks in. I'm good with that, ADD means A Deeper Dimension.
So if you have children with ADD, just say, "Thank you, Lord, my children are blessed". And so I'll leave the table and I'll walk into the bathroom, and I'll shut the stall and I'll just raise my hands unto the Lord, and just say, "You're on my mind, and I love you. I gotta go back to the table, I can't talk to you for very long, but just know that".
Smith Wigglesworth once said, I don't always pray an hour, but I never let an hour go by without praying. This is how you establish an atmosphere, not just in your home, not just in your car, but wherever you go. I have thought to myself many times, "You may not be in a revival, you may not be in a season where your heart burns for God and there's something special going on in your life and you feel close to the Lord, but in this 3 foot radius, it's on like Donkey Kong, I'm having a time with the Lord". I don't care what's going on outside of this 3 feet radius, this 3 foot radius, but wherever I go, I'm in my circle, I'm in my prayer circle, I've got a wall of fire around me. Is anybody with me on that? Come on, do you receive that?