Frankie Mazzapica - Lord, You Have Misled Me
Thank you for tuning in today, my name is Frankie Mazzapica. The title of the message is "Lord, You Have Misled Me". You have misled me. Let me just dive right into it. In Jeremiah chapter 1, Jeremiah was a young man. Now, I looked at the commentaries, I studied the theologians, because I wanted to know how young is young? And some of the theologians said that he was as young as 15 years old in the first chapter of Jeremiah. Others say that he was 19 or 20. I think the oldest age I saw was, like, 22, maybe 23. Either way, he was a young man, and in Jeremiah chapter 1, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said I am calling you to speak on my behalf. I'm calling you to hear my voice and tell others what you've heard.
Now, Jeremiah tried to get out of it. He said back to God I am too young for this. I'm not a good communicator. I don't have a lot of charisma. I'm not a great leader. I'm the wrong guy for you to be sending out to people. He was looking at the Lord, and the Lord reached down, and he touched his lips, and he said I am putting my words in your mouth. There are certain skills that you were born with. There's certain skills that you have developed over time through practice, and practice, and trying, and training, and studying. You have developed skills, but there are certain things that only God can give you. You can't study for it, you can't practice it and then get it, you can't go to school to get it. These are gifts that only God can give you. These particular gifts give you the ability to make a lasting impact.
A lasting impact is when you say something, you do something, that causes the person that you're talking to to never be the same again. I'll give you an example. I was in my early 20's and I was wrestling with this decision, and I was talking to a lady, I'm just gonna guess, maybe she was 74 or 76, and I was telling her how nervous I was. She reached across the table and she just patted my hand, and she said, "Frankie, just follow grace". At that moment, I felt... no, no, no, she said, "Just follow peace". At that moment, all the anxiety that I felt, it was surprising how it just left. It was surprising that at that moment, for the rest of my life, I can sense when I have peace on this side, when I have anxiety on that side. It was right there at that moment.
Now, if anyone else in my life at that time would have patted me on my hand and said the exact same thing, I don't know that anything would have happened. But God caused her at that moment to make a lasting impact in my life. She couldn't have studied for that. She could read 115 books and go to college for 72 years. You can't study for that. That is a lasting impression. A counselor can counsel a family for 17 years and help them tremendously, but oftentimes they can say one sentence and everything changes.
This is a lasting impact. You can pray for a person and they get physically healed, they'll never again be the same. This is what God does when we devote our life to him. When we say, Lord, my eyes are looking towards you, and I'm not gonna deviate. When I get discouraged, I'm still gonna worship you. When I have more questions about you than I have answers, I'm still gonna worship you. I may stumble a thousand times, but you're going to see me back at your throne of grace again and again, come on. And so, Jeremiah was touched by God. His mouth was filled with words. He became a very effective communicator.
I've got three major points for you that's based out of the Book of Jeremiah chapter 1 and 20. The first one is the ability to be a witness, for your life to be a witness. The second one is how our life is misled. Where God seems or feels like he has misled you. And then the very last point, point number three, is when your life, you are so committed that there is no other options.
Let me dive into the first one. We're gonna get this out of Jeremiah chapter 20 verse 1. When Jeremiah was doing exactly what God has called him to do, he's talking about the words that the Lord has placed in his heart. It probably wasn't out loud. God most likely spoke to him the same way he speaks to you and speaks to me. It's right down here in our heart. And he began to talk about it outside of the temple. Well, the priest heard what he was saying. He had Jeremiah arrested, whipped, and chained to the temple gates. I've often wondered what was Jeremiah saying that was causing such a disturbance. We have to remember who arrested him, the priest of the temple. It would be like if you were telling people about God outside of a church, and the pastor comes out and chains you to the door. You have to think what was Jeremiah saying that was so offensive?
I wanna say that oftentimes just saying the name of Jesus can be offensive. Just saying "church" can be offensive. What ends up happening is that we end up not saying Jesus because we don't want anyone else to feel uncomfortable. We don't say that we go to church, not because we don't love the Lord, but we don't want to make anyone else feel uncomfortable. I have found in my own life that if I just put the name of Jesus in a sentence, if I just mention church in the middle of a sentence, it causes the person that I'm talking to to know immediately where I stand. It's not that they expect me to be perfect, they know that I can't be perfect. Sometimes we don't say Jesus, we don't say church, because we don't want them to feel uncomfortable, and we also don't want to posture ourselves as if we're perfect.
I want to tell you that either one of those thoughts should never hold us back, because you have been called to make a lasting impression on someone's life, and it starts with doing something as simple as mentioning his name. Do you know that God called you to be the salt of the earth? And sometimes we get a little overwhelmed on how challenging that could be. But if you take salt, and you take the top off, and you dump it on your food, you've ruined the meal. What you're supposed to do with salt is you just kind of sprinkle it on there to cause thirst. It's sweet, it's nice, it brings flavor. It's just a little bit. And this is what Jeremiah was trying to do. He was trying to put just a little bit of salt out there, but he did not anticipate what was gonna happen.
I have a friend of mine, I'm just gonna change his name. I'll call him Jeff, how about that? So, we're all on this text thread, and all of a sudden, what did I say my friend's name was? Jeff, there we go. Jeff says, he mentions Jesus, and I saw it and I went, "Whoa, he just went public". Because that's not something that I've ever seen him do. On another thread, the atheist texts me and he says, "Oh, I didn't know Jeff was a Christian". I mentioned that to Jeff. I said, "Hey, you just made a great impact".
I meant for it to be an encouragement. He felt so bad, because he says he and I, or the three of us have been friends for years, and he never thought that I was a Christian by the way I live, by the way I talk, the things that I say, and he felt really bad about that. But what I admire about Jeff is that it was at that moment where he said that will never happen again. People will always know who I love, and who I serve, and where I go to church. Your primary assignment is to tell people who you worship and where you worship. I want to encourage you to say, God, give me the courage to do that. Don't let me get discouraged or distracted, let me have the courage to just at least say Jesus, just at least say church, and if people push back, I'm not gonna stop. I've dug my heels in the ground, and this is what I'm called to do, this is what I'm born to do.
Number two, all of a sudden, Jeremiah says this in chapter 20 verse 7. He says, "O Lord, you have misled me". I didn't see this coming. I thought that I would just say Jesus, I thought that I would say your words, and everything would be good after that. He goes, but you have misled me. You have overpowered me. He goes, you have misled me, and let me just go back, I missed a short phrase. You have misled me, and I allowed you to mislead me. You've overpowered me. You're stronger than me. I am mocked every day. People are laughing at me. And so, here he is, he's said Jesus's words, now he's backing up and he's like, I did not expect, listen to this, for the battle to be this fierce. You hear me on that?
As children of God, we find ourselves in battles that we back up and we say, I didn't expect for it to be this hard. I knew life was going to be hard, but not this hard. I knew I'd have problems, but these problems are almost unbearable. Lord, I feel like I've been misled. I thought that you were going to pave the way before me and everything would be just fine. I want you to know that he has paved the way before you. He has straightened out the crooked paths. What he's doing is he's causing you to become stronger. Your problems don't get easier, you get stronger. You become a source of strength. Do you receive that?
Now, the question is, is during these seasons where you have already said, look, I am being misled, I feel like I'm being misled, but deep down inside, you know that some way, somehow, God has got your best interests in mind and he's protecting you. What do you do during those seasons? What do you do when discouragement arrives? What do you do? I've got a friend of mine, I'm gonna change his name, too. He was dating this girl who was very dear to him, and they both hit a severe rough patch, and they became very addicted to drugs, became alcoholics, and they couldn't get themselves out of this rough patch. They could not do it. And so, they went to a particular city outside of the city that they live in, and one went to one rehab center, and the other went to another rehab center. They committed to get clean, to get over this challenge.
Well, while he was there, someone came up to Damien and said, "Hey, why don't you give Jesus a chance? You've tried everything else, why don't you give him a chance"? So, he went back to his room that night, he got on his knees, and he said, "God, I'm having trouble even believing in you, but Jesus, will you help me"? The next morning he woke up, he was completely delivered, he had no desire for anything again. He was shocked. All the things that he was addicted to, he didn't have those addictions again. But he had one huge concern, what would his girlfriend think? So, the day came, he got out of rehab, she got out on the same day, they met and he was nervous to talk to her. And he said to her, "How you doing"? And she was nervous to talk to him, it was awkward, and she said, "I found Jesus".
They ended up getting married, my goodness, and they're expecting a child soon. And I'm sitting here, I was listening to this testimony the other day, and I was like, are you serious? And so, it's a living witness, and just as a sidebar, when my friend told me the story about going to rehab, he was a living witness to me, he impacted my life. I'll never forget that story. Chances are, many of you in this room will never forget that story. Your testimony is so powerful that it has the ability to make a lasting impact. Some of you may say, "Well, I've never been in rehab, it doesn't sound like that".
Look, all of us have walked through battles. All of us have walked down a path where we thought, I don't see any end to this. I don't know if my life will ever change. All of us have seen God step into our life and lead us out of rough patches. I want to say to you, don't keep that story a secret. Somebody needs to hear it. It has the ability to make a lasting impact on someone's life. This is when your life becomes a living witness. And during the seasons where you say, I feel like I'm misled, can I just say that you will feel misled the less you pray. The more you pray, the more confidence you'll have that God is there. You may be surrounded by all kinds of problems, but in your three-foot radius, you'll have this assurance that God has taken care of everything. Do you receive that? Come on, come on.
The last point I wanna share is this attitude of life not having another option. He says this in verse 9. He says in spite of all this trouble, in spite of feeling like he was misled, in spite of feeling discouragement, he says if I say I will never mention the Lord again, if I decide that I will never even say his name, his word burns in my heart. It's like fire shot up in my veins. I grow weary. I get tired of trying to hold it in. I cannot do it. You know, if you have ever experienced the Lord's kindness, his love, his presence one time in your life, one time, you may say I'm never going to worship him again, I'm never going to go to church again, I'm never going to trust him again. But in your heart, that one experience will always burn like an ember in your heart. We grow weary when we try to carry our burdens by ourself. It gets discouraging, it gets overwhelming, and we back up and we say, I grow weary trying to do this myself. I cannot do it. I cannot hold it in.
You know, Peter said something in John chapter 6 that has always resonated with me. Jesus just finished feeding a multitude of people, thousands of people, with just a few fish and a few loaves of bread, and he noticed that they were following him because they wanted more to eat. And he wasn't sure if they truly were believing in him as the Messiah, as the Son of God, and so he decided to test their faith by taking them a little bit further along in the relationship, just to see how they would respond. Whenever our faith is being tested, it's when what we were anticipating doesn't happen, when all of a sudden, we get confused with what's going on around us. That's when our faith is being tested. And so, he saw them following him around, and so he says to them, he says let me tell you about communion.
Now, he doesn't say communion in the passage, but he starts to describe it. See, as many of you already know, communion is when you take bread to remember his broken body on the cross. It's when you take wine or juice and you drink it to remember his blood that he shed for you. And so, what he says in this moment towards the end of John chapter 6, he says if you truly believe in me, you have to eat my flesh and drink my blood.
Now, the Bible says that his disciples left him. Not the 12 that he called individually, there were other disciples around, and the Bible says that they were so confused, they were so put off, that they left. And he looks at the 12, and he says, are you gonna leave, too? And Peter says back to him, "Where are we gonna go"? If we do leave, where are we gonna go? In other words, before I met you, I remember what my life was like. I don't want my life to be without you ever again. And if I have to be confused during certain seasons, if I have to back up and just say I don't know what's going on, I don't have another option. I'm not giving myself another option. I'm gonna raise my hands and I'm gonna praise him. Come on, do you receive that today?