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Frankie Mazzapica - Improbable Victories

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    Frankie Mazzapica - Improbable Victories
TOPICS: Victory

Thank you for tuning in today. My name's Frankie Mazzapica. The title of the message is "Improbable Victories". Improbable. The victories that just, you have a small chance of being victorious in that particular area. You have a small chance of salvaging that relationship. It just feels like it's too far gone. Your health challenges, it's almost like sometimes you have a health challenge and you just learn to live with it because it just seems, the victory seems too far gone. And maybe it's in other areas of your life, an addiction, or whatever, it just seems like it's too far of a reach. It's an impossibility. But, I wanna tell you that there are improbable victories in store for you.

And I wanna use a gentleman in the Bible that he had an improbable victory in front of him. But improbable victories are only necessary when you are facing a problem that's overwhelming and I wanna share, it's in Judges chapter 11 and I'm gonna highlight verse 1, 2, and 3 and then at the end I'm gonna jump into verse 32. But it reads like this. And now, Jephthah, it's a difficult word to say, but Jephthah, he was a Gilead and he was a mighty warrior. His father was, his name was Gilead, but he was a son of a prostitute. And the Bible says that Gilead's wife had several sons. And so, Jephthah's half brothers chased him away and they yelled at him saying this, "You will not receive any of our father's inheritance, for you are a son of a prostitute".

And so, Jephthah fled his brothers and he went to live in a town called Tob and then soon, this is very interesting, a band of rebels came and surrounded him and began to follow him. It's an improbable victory for him to be able to bounce back from that. I've got three major points. The first point is how people get counted out. The second point is this improbable strength that God seems to cause to rise up within people. And then, the very last point is improbable victories. Let me just talk, first of all, about the people who get counted out.

The first person, obviously, in the story that would get counted out by most people would be the mother of Jephthah, the prostitute. We don't know how she found that lifestyle. Most often, people that got caught up in that lifestyle are doing it to survive. They're trying to survive something and what the Lord is telling her is, "I am going to show you that I have a plan for you that's far greater than the season that you're stuck in. I'm gonna walk you out of this. Other people may count you out. They may look at you and discard you and think terrible things about you". But, what the Lord did is he placed within her, a mighty warrior. And that's what it says in verse 1, that Jephthah was from Gilead and he was a mighty warrior. He's showing her, your life is incredibly significant. Other people may look down on you, but I have placed within you something great.

And so, I want us to just kind of sink into that. Nobody knows what you've been through and then some people do know what you've been through. But either way, the Bible says in Philippians chapter 2, verse 13, that he has put himself, his own power, within you to give you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. He's drawing you to himself. He knows that you are not strong enough to do what pleases him. And so, he puts his strength into you and I wanna say to you that he is working, that's what it says, he's working in you. For example, your organs, and within you, are working. Your heart, it's working. Your lungs, they're working. In the same way, God, he's working in you. You don't know how it happens. You don't know when he's doing it, but I'm telling you, he's doing it all the time. All the time, he is pumping in you. Is anyone grateful for that? Come on. You're grateful for that. Thank you.

There are some people in this world who suffer with a condition called schadenfreude. It's a condition that... in English, it's a German term, but it means joy, hurt. In other words, people take joy when someone else is suffering. When someone else is struggling. We see this when we're driving down the highway, how, when there's an accident that in the right shoulder of the highway, everyone who is in the far left lane, they don't need to slow down. There's no obstruction in the left lane. There's no reason for that lane to go slow except for the fact that there's this schadenfreude and most of those people who wanna look out the window and just, they're so curious on the pain that some of them may be experiencing. It turns into a TV show. It's like, oh.

Now, those of us that are a hundred cars back, we're yelling at those people, "Move! There's nothing to look at, stop it". And then when we get up there, we're like, now what's going on over here? Are you with me, do you agree? What's going on over here? But, on a very serious note, when someone is jealous of another person, when someone has been hurt by another person, it's like, often times, they're cheering and hoping to see them fail and this is a condition that we need the Lord's help to flow through individuals and push that out. Because, for people who struggle with this, they don't want that in them and it's just like any other struggle. Lord, I need you to take it out.

But, the people that I'm talking about are the people in our own lives. Jephthah had these exact people as brothers in his own family. They wanted to see him fail, they wanted him out, they didn't like anything about him and they were pushing him out and sometimes we know exactly who these people are. You want me to fail. You don't like me. Sometimes they tell it straight to our face, which is just wonderful. But we'd appreciate that more than we would appreciate the other option of talking about us behind our back. Are you with me? Say yes. Are you with me? Say yes.

I grew up watching a cartoon. It was called "Garfield". Anybody used to watch "Garfield"? Put your hands together if you love "Garfield". I love that guy. I love that guy. I watched him just as a kid and he was orange and I just thought he was just amazing and I wanted my own Garfield, right? Like, I just need a little Garfield. It's like, for people who like "Star Wars," you want your own little R2-D2, you know, just follow you around and have, you know, tools come out of his face, you know. But, you want, and so, I was like, well, I can't have a Garfield, I want a cat. I remember wanting a cat. And my grandmother, on my Brazilian side, we called her "vovó" and my grandpa was called "papá," and we went there, we lived, we never lived... well, they lived in Miami, we used to go visit them. And we walk in and my grandparents had a cat and he was orange. It was awesome. They called him Newton and it was crazy. I didn't understand as a kid.

As soon as I got around that cat, my eyes would swell up just, like, they wanted to fall out of my face. My nose is running. I can hardly breathe. I'm petting this cat and, little did I know, I was petting sickness right in front of me. I found out I was allergic to cats. Not only am I allergic to cats, if you invite me over your house and you think to yourself, oh man, Frankie's allergic to cats, let's put the cat upstairs. I will walk into your house. You got a cat. You got a cat. Is there anyone here, it's either cats or dogs you can, in a second, even if you don't see it? Come on, there's, like, something's up in here. And when I'm there, I know I got about 40 minutes before I'm allergic to them.

I wanna like them, but when I'm around them they make me sick. There's people that are around you, and what do you gotta do? The same way you treat, I treated cats. It's like, baby, it's been real, it hasn't been real good, I'll see you later, bye bye. There's a circle and you're not coming in this circle and I'm not stepping out. I don't wanna be around you. Now, we don't have to tell them that, even though it would be fun, because I don't want, and then there's some people you can't do that, you live with them. And so, you gotta kinda feel it out, okay? Atmosphere is changing? Time for me to go in this room. Stick your head out. Are y'all done? Are you done yet? Are you done? Have you calm down? Have you eaten? Have you chilled out a little bit?

And it's like, we gotta be careful with this environment. But Jephthah, he got ran out, he was counted out, ran out. But then, while he was gone, it was fascinating, because his brothers, who chased him out, and the elders of the town were being attacked by the Ammonites and they needed a general, they needed someone mighty. And so, they went and found Jephthah. And they said, "Will you come back and be our commander"? And he looks back at them, he says, "Why are you coming to me now? Where was this then"? Have you ever thought that before? It's like, the phone rings and you see their name on the caller ID, even though you change their name to "Do not answer".

It's like, oh, why do you like me now? Where was this then? They come back to him and they say, well, you're mightier than us all. You have to ask the question, if you counted me out and now you see my strength, why don't you have the same strength? Is there none among you? You see, people who have been counted out begin to build a strength within that helps them overcome everyone else's doubts. Come on. And that kind of strength only gets built up in the people who have been cast down, in the people that have been overwhelmed, in the people who are fighting battles that they believe that they would never overcome. The people who have had to look at dragons and face them down. The people that have had to shake snakes off of them because they're trying to pull them down. It's the people that only know rough roads not smooth roads, rough roads, rough times, tough seasons.

You know, Mike Tyson was asked in an interview, "Do you want one of your boys to be a boxer? You want one of your boys to be a fighter"? Mike Tyson said, "My son doesn't ever need to get in that rank. He wasn't raised like me. I was raised on the street. I had to fight, not because I wanted to, I had to fight to survive". He goes, "My son was born in a millionaire's family. My son's been... he had a silver spoon in his mouth. He doesn't know what it's like to have to fight. There's people out there, if he goes to fight them, they had to fight just to live, they'll slaughter him".

You see, Mike Tyson knows you gotta have, you have had to have overcome something to have any strength at all. These elders came to him and said, we know you got a strength that we don't have. Do you know that people know those of you who have strength? That's why they wanna be around you. People who have chosen to be your friends, they don't have to pick you to be their friends. They have other options. There's people in their life that they've chosen to not be friends with, but they wanna be friends with you. Why is that? You have something within you that's been built up throughout the seasons, throughout the battles, through the tough times that gives them strength and encouragement when they're with you. If they weren't receiving strength and encouragement, if they weren't feeling stronger, if they weren't laughing, if they weren't having a good time, they wouldn't be around you. But, it's through all those times that when people counted you out, when people were ignoring you, when people just stopped thinking about you, that's when you built that inner strength.

You know, I was a youth pastor for almost ten years. My wife and I, we're a youth pastor, and there was this young girl that just kind of grew up in the youth group and when she, I can't remember, I think she was 17, she got pregnant and all of us were just shocked. It's like, oh my goodness, I can't believe this is happening. And she got pregnant and then the people who knew about it, they just looked at her like, oh my goodness, look at this. Look at this bad decision. Oh my goodness. But would you know that it, when she had her baby, the baby, what's it called when they're born too, they're born premature. Thank you. The baby was born premature and so he had to be in... what's that? NICU, thank you. Somebody should come preach this message. Had to be in NICU and I went there to pray for the baby and it was so rough because there was tubes all over him. His name was Jackson.

And I go and I see the mother, and I won't say her name, but she, I'll just say her name to bless her, her name is Jordan. And I'd go pray for Jordan and then I'd go pray for her boy, Jackson, and she was embarrassed about what was going on. But do you know that eight years... no, six years later, her son is strong. One of the smartest kids in her class. She is by far, by far, one of the best mothers I have ever seen in my life. Ever in my life. Her son's making straight A's and he's just doing amazing, she's doing amazing. If you were to see her, you're like, oh my goodness. We didn't see this coming. Yeah, you counted her out too soon. She knows how to crawl back, she knows how to claw back. And when people run into problems, who do you think they go to? They go to Jordan. I love being around her. This is the kind of things that take place when people who have been counted out, that God begins to put a strength in their life.

Those of you that are listening to me right now, you have obvious gifts that we can all see. It's your personality, your intelligence, but we can see that. But the best of you are the things that God has placed within you that we cannot see that are growing like seeds within you. That's the best of you. And I want you to know that you need to realize that the best of you hasn't even begun to flex at its full strength yet. When you realize what you bring to other people's life, when you get a hold of it, you begin to do it more often because you begin to realize that's your strength. Let me help you this morning. This has nothing to do with my... well, it does have something to do with my message, but it feels like a sidebar because I didn't really prepare. What do you need from people? What can you not get enough of? What is it that people give you that feels fresh and new every time they give it to you? And it doesn't matter who it is, you always need the same thing. For me, I constantly need encouragement.

Now, don't embarrass me and come up to me after service and tell me I'm amazing, it would be very embarrassing. But, I need it. What I've learned is that what we need most is what we're gifted the most. Are you with me? It's what we're gifted in. I need encouragement. What has the Lord called me to do? To encourage. What is it that you need that you can't get enough of? There's a phenomenal book out there called, "The Five Love Languages". I forgot who the author is, but it's not hard to find. He talks about the five love languages. If I can remember, it's quality time, which is not mine, but quality time, giving gifts, encouragement, acts of service, words of affirmation. Did I already say encouragement? Go read the book, you'll love it. Which one of those five things do you need the most? Well, if somebody comes in and does the dishes for you, do you just like, I wanna live with you for the rest of my life?

Then, that's what you're called to do. My wife's love language, it wouldn't be so easy, God just found humor in this, made sure that her love language was not my love language because if it were my love language, it would be easy for me to give what I need, I give. Guess what her love language is. I'll just give you one guess, say it out loud. One, two, three. Yeah, quality time. I get it, I get it, I get it. So, what does she need to do? Since that's what she needs, that's what she needs to give. Let me just kinda close on this last thought that improbable victories always come with improbable decisions. When you make decisions that lead, that's sacrificial, that's tough, that's difficult, it leads to victories.

In Jeremiah chapter 1, verse 17, the prophet says, "Gird up your loins so that you can fight freely, so that you can be strong". What does he mean when he says gird up your loins? Those people, in the biblical times, they didn't dress like you and I, they weren't wearing Levi jeans, they weren't buying their clothes from the mall. They sewed their own clothes and they all wore robes. Jeremiah says this, when you get ready to fight, gird up your loins, tie that robe into a knot so you can fight. What he's saying is, take everything that's slowing you down, tie it up, get it around you and fight. I wanna say the same thing. What is it that the enemy does to slow you down? What temptation does he bring before you? What is it that you have whenever you start thinking these thoughts? You have to say, I love you, I love you, I praise you, I love you, I praise you. It doesn't matter, and I say this all the time, as Smith Wigglesworth said, "You don't have to pray an hour a day, but don't let an hour go by without praying". That's girding up the loins. You're getting rid of the things that slow you down and you're lifting your voice with praise. That's what brings improbable victories. Does that encourage anyone? Does it encourage anyone?
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