Frankie Mazzapica - A Message of Encouragement for the Weak
Thank you for tuning in today, my name is Frankie Mazzapica, the title of the message is "An Encouraging Message for the Weak". I wanna define weakness for this particular message. When I say weak, I'm not talking about physically weak, I'm not talking about that today. What I'm talking about is a weakness that hardly no one knows you have, maybe just one or two people. But it's a weakness that involves the following things, and as I say them, you may say, "Yes, I relate to that one," and then you may say, "I don't relate to that one," but the weakness is the umbrella, and I just want to just share with you a few of them.
Number one is when you feel this sense of inadequacy, meaning what you want to do in your life, what you desire to do, the hopes and dreams that you have, you just feel inadequate, you have a weakness there. There's some people in this world that they believe they can walk on water, whereas you, you just feel inadequate. When you compare yourself to others, you just see that everyone has a skill set that you don't have. A weakness is insecurity, that's a weakness that not everybody can relate to. Weaknesses including a great amount of shame and guilt that will haunt you, that's a weakness. I wanna encourage you, today.
For those of you that feel weak, I want to encourage you today. And I wanna start just by laying the scriptural foundation. We're gonna talk about Gideon today. And in the story of Gideon, and I'll share the foundational scripture, where is it? Judges chapter 7, verse 2, but the story of Gideon is he had to fight a great army who had tens of thousands of warriors. He only had 22,000 warriors, and the Lord said to him, in Judges chapter 7, verse 2, he says this: "Gideon, you have too many warriors," he says, too many warriors to fight the Midianites. The Israelites will say that they, and they will gawk, they will boast, they will say, "Hey, look what we did in our own strength". They'll talk about their own victory and they'll say, "Look what we did".
And so, now, I need to put you in a position to where no one is going to be able to get glory, where you and everyone else is gonna back up and say, "There is no possible way this could have ever happened if it were not for God". And this is where God puts us while we are weak. In fact, he leads us to certain areas and causes situations to take place to bring this level of insecurity, to bring this level of uncertainty. As you get older, you find yourself carrying shame or guilt. And he he allows these moments to happen, just like he did with Gideon.
Now, I wanna talk, and I'm gonna tell the end of the story at the end of the message, but I'm gonna talk about three major points. The first point is this moment where God allows us to be weak, where he allows our confidence to drop. The second major point is when he introduces us to grace. The third major point is when he says, "Now back up and watch what I'm gonna do". So, here we go, let's dive right into it, it's when he allows our confidence to drop. See, Gideon already was in a position where his army was not big enough to fight this army. His confidence, his charisma, his leadership was already shaken, and now God is gonna shake it even more.
Hebrews chapter 12, verse 27, it says this, "All things will be shaken and removed," where God allows the very ground that you're standing on to be shaken so bad that everything you hoped you would be would begin to drift and fade into blackness and you end up hiding. You end up hiding these weaknesses and you just kind of freeze up, and you learn, listen to this, you learn to live with weakness, you learn to live in shame, you learn to live with guilt, you learn to live with insecurity. And the Lord is saying this: "I've allowed you to experience these things because I'm inviting you to make a decision, now that you're weak, are you going to freeze up, are you going to learn to live this way, or are you going to back up and say, 'I don't know where else to turn, I don't know what else to do, I'm too insecure, I'm too overwhelmed. I've got such regret, I'm so weak, I've got to come to you, because I have to find a place of grace'"?
I remember, when I was a small boy, these people were babysitting me in Arkansas. My parents, I don't know where they were going, but they babysitting me, and all of a sudden, this tornado started ripping through. This wasn't a tornado warning, that had happened a half an hour ago, the tornado was actually touching down and flipping houses over and spinning cars, breaking trees, lifting things up, throwing them down the street. And I remember that the man of the house, the man of the family, he said, "Hey, look, let's go, everybody get behind me, we're going to the front yard".
Now, as a kid, I wasn't super intelligent, but I know a stupid idea when I hear it. And he says, "Let's go," and we started walking out to the front door. And we're walking down the front yard, and all of a sudden he goes to this manhole. And I'll never forget, he grabbed the two bars, and he unlocked something and he pulled it up, and there was this rusty old ladder. And we all got backwards and we went down this ladder. And we were in this igloo-shaped sphere made of concrete, felt like an igloo. He pulled the roof down, and he locked it. And he looked in the igloo, and there was these little board seats, and I remember sitting there, and he said, "Okay, you're safe now, everything's okay". And all the fear, all the worry, all the concern, everything, we found a place where we could just breathe, we found a place where we weren't getting thrown around.
We were as weak as a tumbleweed, we were as weak, in that storm, as a can, as an aluminum can getting blown down the street, just like leaves being pushed down the street, was as weak as we were. And, can I say? Gideon was that weak. God looked at Gideon and said, "We're gonna make your army even smaller. You have 22,000 people, it's got to get smaller, I gotta bring you to that place". And so he says this: "Go stand in front of 22,000 people, and say, 'All of you who are scared to fight, you can go home.'" Gideon's like, "Can we ask them anything else, can we ask them anything else"? Anyway, he stands up in front of 22,000 people, says, "If you're afraid, you can go home". 10,000 were left, 12,000 left, 10,000 left, 12,000 left. He's looking at it, like, "God, I have 10,000 people left". And the Lord says, "I'm stripping you even more".
Don't you hate that? I'm already insecure, I'm already fighting depression, I'm already overwhelmed, I'm already trying to figure out it. I can't even pay the bills. Okay, you're still not done. And so he says this: "I want you to take the 10,000 people, and I want you to bring them down to the brook and tell them all to drink out of the brook. Now, some people are gonna put their face in the brook and lap it like a dog. Other people are gonna take their hands and they're gonna lift up the water, and they're gonna drink out of their hands. Every single person who laps like a dog, send them home". He was left with 300 people. He backs up and says, "God, this is insane, I'm just gonna walk out to the battlefield myself, and just let them run me through. Let's just get this over with".
Have you ever been there? And so he says, "No, no, no, no, no, no, I've got you exactly where I want you, you're so weak you're in the perfect, perfect position". If you ever find yourself at the very bottom, where you think you're at the bottom, and all of a sudden there's another level of bottom. And then you get to that bottom and you're like, "Okay, this is about as bad," and there's another level of bottom. It's like, you know, I thought this was as mean as you could get, but there's another level of mean that I didn't even know you had.
And so, now, all of a sudden, it's time to introduce grace, point number two, where it says, "I've stripped you down to 300 people, your confidence is blown, your insecurity is sky high, you just wanna just lay down and say, 'I'm done.' Now that I got you there, this is where I get to introduce grace to you". You cannot understand grace and you cannot value grace until you need grace, we have no idea how bad we need it until we have to have it. See, let me explain to you what grace is. Grace is God's response to weak people. When he looks at people who are weak, he gives them strength in that exact area.
This is the grace of God. He looks at Gideon and he says this: "You are weak, you can't win anything, you don't even have a pile of rocks high enough to throw at the Midianites, but that's okay, I got you". See, there's a level of weakness that every single man and woman of God you read about in the Bible faced. Some of them were very, very blatant, others were never mentioned, people like one of the disciples that's coming to my mind right now, I don't wanna mention it because I'm gonna preach about them, but we don't get to hear the dark side of the mountain, the weak side. But we get to hear about David, who had insane weaknesses, insane. Has anybody ever whispered to themselves, "I'm David"? "I don't know how to say it any other way, I don't like it, I'm not proud of it, but I'm David".
There's a woman in the Bible who is one of the few disciples Jesus had who was a woman. She had seven demons, and the Lord walked up to her and delivered her of them all. She wasn't one of the 12 apostles, but she was one of the few disciples. Her name was Mary Magdalene. And wouldn't you know that not only did he deliver her, not only did he pull her into the inner circle, but she was the first one to meet Jesus at the tomb after he rose again? He took a person, he says, "I know where you're weak, I know your weakness, I know your shame, I know your guilt, I know what you're afraid of, I know the career that you wanna have, I know the relationship with me that you wanna have, I know you can't do it, you know you can't do it, I'm gonna help you do it". This is when God introduces grace to you.
Now, to get to this place where you're not just aware of grace, the grace of God is actually something real in your life, where you see weakness turn to strength, if we're not careful, we will celebrate the grace of God but never walk in the grace of God, we'll live our whole life in the same weakness that we've always had, even though we know what grace is. And how do you transfer from in the house, with a tornado coming, to an igloo of safety? How does Gideon move from a state of weakness to a state of strength? How does David, how does Mary Magdalene actually do that?
Can I tell you? You cannot drift into the presence of God, you have to pursue the presence of God, you have to make a decision, where you back up and you say, "I am going to pursue". Did you know, in the Bible, in 1 Timothy chapter 2, verse 8, it says, "In every place of worship," whether the church is in Texas, which God loves this state more than everyone else, whether the church is in California, whether the church is in Australia, in every place of worship, I want people to raise holy hands unto God. When you are so undone and tired of being weak, all these people did the same thing, Gideon, David, Mary Magdalene, Paul, all the way down.
Did you know that Paul said, in 1 Timothy chapter 1, verse 15, he says, "I am the chief of sinners, nobody sins more than I"? He goes, all these things, what do these people do, to where grace is not just something they preach and talk about, they actually live it, they purposely take steps on walking and pursuing that direction? In Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 13, it says this: "You will seek me and you will find me, if," capital letters on if, bold print on if, if is a conditional word on the promise, "If you seek me with all your heart". "You will find me, if you seek me".
You will experience grace and strength, if you seek me. This is not for everyone who just stands there and go, I'm so tired, I'm just so tired, I'm just exhausted. No, no, no, get used to it, sweetheart, get used to it, this is your life story, get used to it. Unless you back up and go, "Oh, okay, I get it, I get it, grace is not a feeling, grace is a place, and it's a place, and that place," come on, "is right down in here". And he gives you strength and he lifts you up, and he says the weak will call themselves strong, I'm gonna lift you up. And that's how God introduces grace.
Point number three is when God backs up and he says, "Now watch what I'm gonna do. You've already pursued grace, you've already pursued my presence, and that's all I need you to do". In Psalms 51:17, it says, "The sacrifice that God desires is a broken heart. He will not reject a broken and a repentant heart". When we come in our weakness, we say, "Okay, I can't do it anymore". And so he looks at Gideon and he says this: "Okay, okay, okay, this is your role, I want you to tell all 300 men to go to their tent, get out a clay pot, and tell them grab a ram's horn".
Some of them are like, "My horn is like a kazoo, this is embarrassing". Grab your kazoo. Some people have this big ram's horn, grab it all, get the ram's horn, get the clay pot, and everybody grab a torch. And on the count of three, give me some poetic liberty here, I want you to surround the Midianite army, and in the middle of the night at a certain cue, I want everybody to blow their horn. Then grab your pot and crack it on the ground, take a rock, crack it, then light your torch, hold it up over your head, and shout out, "For Gideon and the Lord, the victory is theirs".
Now, when Gideon came to the 300 said, "This is what God wants us to do," I believe that they said, "I think you're forgetting something, I don't know what you're forgetting, but I think it involves bows, arrows, spears, and shields. Like, the pot thing isn't working for me, I don't see that working". You ever say that to God? "Whatever you're doing, it's not working, I'm just telling you now, it's not working". Have you been there? Come on, encourage me. "It's not working," like, "Just hold up, just hold up, I'm working".
So they surround the camp, they bash it together, God gives them the victory, the Midianites start stabbing each other. Let me tell you about a friend of mine, where God did this exact thing, where the smallest thing caused the greatest victory. I have a friend of mine named Matt, he can't see out of one eye, the other eye, he can barely see. He fell off a roof years ago, he can barely walk, his charisma is not anything to brag about. But he said, "God, I'm just gonna pursue your presence, like, I'm not the man I used to be. I was Don Juan Demarco, the greatest lover who ever lived, at one point in my life, now look at me. But I'm just gonna, I'm gonna seek, I'm gonna pursue your presence".
He received grace, and God said, "Now watch what I'm gonna do". He called me up one day and he says this: "Hey, someone in Africa is giving me an orphanage". And I was like, "Oh my goodness, this is crazy". I said, "How many kids are in the orphanage"? Says, "Three, and I'm moving there, and my daughter Rebecca is gonna run it, and this is what we're gonna do". Now, I could hear his voice, he had already made the decision, and so I'm like, "Well, praise God, praise God," and I was like, "Oh, dear God".
Two years later, let me show you some pictures on what's going on. Two years later, in Uganda, this is a line of people. Come on, show me the rest of them. This is, can you see this? Come on, give me some more, give me some more. Look at this, they're sitting there worshiping God. They knew nothing about God. Come on, give me the, that's him right there. He's just like, "Jesus loves you," boom, hands go up. Look at how, he had three. Next one. Oh my goodness, look at this, they're loading up. Show me the next one, come on. He started a Bible school. Look, these people got diplomas. Look at this, the officials in the community. Are you kidding me right now?
Look, he had a baptism service, there's people, oh my God, there's Rebecca in the middle, people getting baptized everywhere. There's Rebecca, she's a wonderful girl. Next one, right here. Is that all of them, is that all of them? Keep this in mind, the talent level is not what got him to where he is, what got him to where he is was, after he was stripped of every strength, all the confidence that he could have ever dreamed of having, he pursued his presence, became familiar with grace, and God backed up and said, "Okay, now just step back, I'm opening up doors that no man can open. Just relax". Come on, put your hands together for that, will ya? Come on.