Frankie Mazzapica - Friends, We Are In Warfare
Thank you for tuning in today, my name's Frankie Mazzapica. The title of the message is "Friends, We Are in Warfare". We are in warfare. Let me say this, the one thing that we all have in common is we're all believing God for a miracle. There's nobody in this room, and there's nobody you know who is on smooth grounds in every area of their life. If their finances are stable, there's a relationship that's unstable. If their relationships are all stable, then it's something else that's unstable. It may be their health, it may be finances, but all of us are believing God for a miracle in some area of our life. Everyone is fighting a battle.
The enemy is after all of us. He wants to pull us down. He wants to distract us, and discourage us, cause us to be distracted to where we're paying more attention to our problems and our worries than we are to him. Where we're fretting more than we're praying. He wants to discourage us, to make us believe that it doesn't matter how much we pray, God's not gonna be any more involved than he is today. We begin to underestimate his willingness to get involved in our life and overestimate how effective we could be if we just focus. But if we look past over the course of our life, we can clearly see that when we have tried to do things ourselves, it was futile. We found ourselves running on a treadmill, if you will. But when we look back on the miracles in our life, the special moments in our life, we know that it was always God who put his hand on the situation.
Does anyone here believe that? You know that that is true. But what the enemy is constantly doing is distracting us, pulling us down, trying to convince us that we can be close to the Lord if we do not pray. There's no relationship that you have that is close, that is intimate, that is trusted if you do not talk to them. The communication, the sharing of your heart is what brings you guys together. The enemy wants you to stop worshiping, not to raise your hands in the house of God. In 1 Timothy chapter 2 verse 8 it says when we come into the house of the Lord, we should raise our hands. I remember, and I've always been this way, the moment I walk into a sanctuary, the first thing I do is I raise my hands.
But I remember being in high school, I invited my friend, his name was Michael. I'll never forget it, we sat in the center section. I walked in and he was standing next to me, and I went to raise my hands, and all of a sudden, I thought I know he's gonna be looking at me. Nobody likes it when you think people are looking at you. And I thought to myself, I'm not gonna do it. And then I just felt this thought, I felt like the Lord was allowing me to hear the devil's thought. I didn't raise my hands because I didn't want them to see me, and I felt like the devil said, "Well, that was easy". That bothered me.
The Bible says that he has set you up like a light on the hill. In a dark world, you're a light on the hill, meaning, hey, everybody, look at him, hey, everybody, look at her. You're in a dark world, I've made you into a light on the hill, I want people looking at you, I want people seeing you, but the enemy comes along, and he pulls you down, he keeps you from praying, he keeps you from worshiping.
I wanna tell you, I wanna emphasize, this is not your own emotions, these are not your own thoughts. The discouragement, the distraction, the weight, the stress, these are not your emotions. You are in the middle of warfare, friends. You say, "How do you know that"? Because we were not designed to ever fight these battles. When God made Adam and Eve, that was the way that that scene, that era, that was the way he created us to be. Where Adam and Eve heard the Lord walking in the garden, they heard him coming long before they saw him. They sensed the Lord is here. You will, in your relationship with the Lord, you will think the Lord is here. The Lord wants me to pray. Your thoughts go in that direction, and all of a sudden, then you respond to the thoughts and the desires that you have. They heard the Lord walking.
I wanna say that's how we were designed. We weren't designed to handle this weight. We weren't designed for it. How did this ever get into the world? I mean, you know the answer to that, it was because man fell because they ate the fruit. Now we're fighting things that we were not designed for and it's warfare. I wanna tell you, friends, it's warfare. It is warfare. You are fighting these things because there's demons on the earth that are provoking you, that's trying to defile you, that are shooting arrows at you, that's laying grenades like land mines, waiting for you to wake up so you can go through your day, and they send that one person that really irritates you.
There's constantly a plan, constantly a scheme. They're looking at you to find your weak points. Where you're weak, I'm probably not. Where I'm weak, you're probably not. The enemy looks and says I know where they're weak, I'm gonna attack. I'm gonna attack, attack, attack. We're in the middle of a war, and we don't get any days off. Don't you wish, like, when there's a war between nations, most of the time there's this huge attack, and then there's just kind of like a moment where the attack stops and everyone kinda regroups, and maybe there's another wave of attack. There are no waves in your life, it's just constant.
The missiles just keep coming. The imps, the demons, hear this, hear this, you are constantly warring, but the Bible says in 2 Corinthians chapter 2 verse 11, we should not be unaware of the devil's schemes. He's not doing anything new. He's not attacking you in a new way. The situation looks different, the details look different, but he's been attacking you this way since you were just a child, when you were a teenager, when you were an adult. He's been attacking you the same way. The Bible says you shouldn't be unaware, you ought to see it coming. You ought to be able to say, "Devil, I know this is you".
I've got three major points for you in regards to us being in warfare. The first one is under the umbrella of entertainments, the second one is under the umbrella of unforgiveness, and the third one is to be prepared, to be alert. Let me jump into entertainments. I have a friend of mine, his name is Matt. He's actually a pastor in Birmingham. He's been here to preach, he's phenomenal. He's a very close friend. And a few years ago, he decided I want my relationship with the Lord to be at a higher level than it's ever been, and so he began to establish appointments with God that he refused to miss. If you set up a lunch appointment tomorrow with someone, you're sure to be there. If you're running late, you're sure to call them and say I'm running late.
And if you can't make a noon appointment that you set, you almost try to get there at 12:30 or 1 o'clock. The same is true when you make an appointment with God. You set the appointment the day before, and if something comes up and you can't reach that 9 o'clock, that 7 a.m., that 2 p.m. or maybe 7 p.m, something comes up, you treat it the same way you would with any other person. I wasn't expecting this moment. I wasn't expecting this issue. I'm gonna pray here instead of there. He continued to pray on and on, and one of the ways that he unwinded... am I using that word? Here is a better way of saying it, when he got home after a long day, he would unwind by... you see how I fixed that? He would unwind by sitting down and watching television.
There's no harm in watching television, but he was flipping through and then he started noticing that maybe there is harm because there's always something popping up that he didn't know was gonna pop up. And he could feel the presence of the Lord saying, "I don't want you to see this, change the channel," and then something else came on, "Change the channel again". And he just felt the Lord finally tell him, "You're watching too much television". And he said back just in his heart, not out loud, "What on television can I watch"? The Lord said back to him, "Not much, not much".
Do you agree with that? Not much, it's the entertainments where the enemy tries to come through the gates in our life. The gates are our eye gates, what we see, and what we're looking at, or our ear gate, what we're listening to. We gotta be very careful about the music that we listen to. The Bible says this, that we ought to, in Psalms 34 verse 1, "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praises will always be on my lips". It's very hard to bless him and praise him whenever you're singing songs that are contrary to your relationship with the Lord, contrary to what he loves. Let me say this, that the spirit that you entertain the most will be the spirit that influences you the most. Do you agree with that?
Let me go on to my second point, because in regards to unforgiveness, I don't know that I have ever seen a spirit be more effective than the spirit of unforgiveness. I don't know that I've ever seen a person's growth be stunted quicker and longer than unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is a funny thing, because typically you don't harbor unforgiveness towards a lot of people, typically it's towards one person. It's just that one person that really has grinded your gears. To be a little bit more blunt, they hurt you. You trusted them, they hurt you. I don't have to give examples, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
The Bible says this in a story, Matthew chapter 12 verse 43. It says this... no, it's not 12:43, it's 18. What is it, 18:34, 18:34. Jesus was telling a story about a person who was forgiven by their master, and the person who was forgiven refused to forgive someone else. The person who was forgiven did not deserve to be forgiven, but he received forgiveness anyway. But then he looked at his friend and he did not deserve to be forgiven, so therefore he didn't. Isn't it fascinating how we love to come to the Lord and say, "Thank you for being a merciful God. Thank you for forgiving me and blessing me, even though I don't deserve it. You have given me unmerited favor". We want it for ourselves, but we don't want it for someone else.
Isn't that fascinating? And why is that? Because that person is evil in our eyes, and maybe what they have done truly is evil. But this is what the Bible says in Matthew chapter 18 verse, what is it? 34, Matthew 18:34. Jesus says this, that the master saw that his servant did not forgive, and so he released the tormentors. I want you to imagine, like, somebody holding 20 Doberman pinschers on leashes, 20 Doberman pinschers on leashes. This side's Doberman pinschers, this side are pit bulls. They haven't been trained. I know there's people that says, "No, pit bulls are really loving," enjoy yourself.
So, imagine them untrained, they wanna attack, and all of a sudden, the Lord says these tormentors, if you refuse to not forgive, I'm gonna release the tormentors. You have not given forgiveness, now the tormentors will torment you until you forgive. And this is something that we have to recognize, that there are some times we are able to forgive someone in a moment, and other times forgiveness is a process, and we are not strong enough to just all of a sudden snap our fingers and forgive, because the cut was too deep. Then I'll tell you this, all of us have been hurt by someone. All of us, in a moment, if we're not careful, can go right back to those emotions.
I've had them, 99.999999% chance you've had them, and we have to say to the Lord, "God, if I'm ever gonna be able to forgive, you're gonna have to do a miracle". This is up there with walking on water. This is up there with making water into wine. This is up there with making stars out of nowhere. I'm gonna need some help. And I'll tell you this, that there is not a restaurant in the world that I could walk into today and see someone that's still walking on the earth and not be able to walk up to him and say hi. That is a miracle. Do you agree with that? That's a miracle.
I have a friend of mine who pastors a church in Louisiana, it's the only state I know that walks by ditches, and they look and they see bugs, and they're like, "You know what? I'm gonna eat that right there. I wonder what that tastes like. I'm gonna eat that". I'm just picking, I'm just joking around. Kind of joking around. They're like, "Here, eat this," and I'm like, this happened a million times, wave your hand if this ever happened to you. They say, "Eat this," and you say, "Well, what is it"? And they'll go, "Just eat it and I'll tell you afterwards". Has that ever happened to you? And I'm like, "All right, I'll eat it," boom. "What is it"? "It's a frog leg. Doesn't it just taste like chicken"?
No, it tastes like something weird. Anyway, I digress, but I have a friend of mine that pastors in Louisiana, and he had a guy come down for prayer for the 1,000th time, and finally he said, "You know, I really believe that your relationship with God, the growth has stopped because you've refused to forgive your wife who has left you". He knew him personally, and the man said back to the pastor, he said it like this, "If forgiving my wife is necessary to be close to the Lord in a greater way, if unforgiveness is going to cause me to go to the pit of hell, then just let it happen, because I'm never gonna forgive her".
It's one of the saddest stories that I've ever heard. That someone would say that I will sacrifice being close to the Lord, I will sacrifice my intimacy with the Lord in order to keep on hating this person. You see, unforgiveness is interesting, because it causes a separation in the relationship. Jesus hasn't gone anywhere, he's still right next to you, but there's separation there. It's kinda like you sitting at dinner across the table with somebody you love. They're right in front of you, they're 2 feet away, but the relationship feels weird. It feels distant.
Something needs to be talked about. There's something there that's causing the awkwardness to be there. That's what happens when you don't forgive someone. Jesus is there, but he doesn't feel as close as what you wish he was. These are the moments where you have to back up and say, Lord, I'm gonna need your help once again. You have given me grace, you have given me strength in so many areas. You've done miracles in my life, I'm gonna need another one, why? Because I wanna be close to you. Is anyone here, you wanna be close to the Lord? That's your number one desire, you wanna be close to him.
So again, we're in warfare, particularly in the area of entertainments, particularly in unforgiveness, and then my last and third point, I want to urge you to stay aware. See, Peter said this in 1 Peter 5:8. He says, "Stay alert, stay aware, for our mighty adversary is prowling around looking for someone to attack". In Job chapter 1 verse 7, there's a scene in heaven where the Lord is on the throne, and Satan is in the throne room. You see, Satan cannot do anything on the earth without asking the Lord if it's okay. You see, some of us may say how in the world, Lord, did you let this happen? I want you to know that all things work together for the good who love them.
In Romans chapter 8 verse 28, all things. You may say I don't know, there's something that happened, there's something that happened, that's happening right now, there's no way, no way that this could be good. I wanna say that medicine always has an ingredient inside of it that if you were to only have that ingredient, it could probably kill you, but because it is mixed with other things, because it's all together, all of it has been mixed, it always turns out to make you better. He takes the tough times, the hard times, the disappointments, the victories, the great times, he mixes it all together, and what do we see around us? Who do you see in the mirror? You see a warrior who's been on the mountaintop, he's been in the valley.
Come on, you're strong, you're strong. When you see other people struggling, you say, look, I've been there, I know what it's like, and I can tell you, girlfriend, if you can just survive, you're gonna look back on this and say that was the toughest battle I've ever faced, but I'm stronger for it. I'm stronger for it. Come on, can anyone testify to that? You gotta be aware. We've gotta be alert. And I'll say this, and this is very important to this message, that when we recognize that maybe we have opened up a door through entertainments, opened up a door through friendships that entertain us but they're hurting us, we've opened up a door because of unforgiveness, or something we've said, something we've done, and we know that at that moment, we have allowed the enemy access to our life to torment us even greater, it's very important that we do three things, that we repent, we rebuke, and we renounce.
We say, Lord, I'm sorry for doing that, give me the grace to not do it anymore. And then we rebuke, Satan, get out of my house. Get away from me. Stop tormenting me. Get out, I rebuke you in the name of Jesus. And then to renounce is to identify the door that he came in on. I know I did that, but I'm telling you, devil, in the same way you came in, I'm telling you to get out. I'm telling you to get out. To renounce is to identify how it happened, and to tell him, "Get out of my life right now". Does this help anybody, come on?