Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
For the last many weeks we have been looking at a series entitled, “The Abundant Life.”
• I wanted to take some time this morning to recap what we’ve been talking about and to sync this series thought to our hearts.
Almost 2,800 years ago the prophet Joel spoke of people who are stuck in a valley and unable to make a decision.
- You would think that after 2,800 years things would be different.
- You would think by now that we humans would be capable ofmaking a decision on some things in our lives.
- But apparently, the some of the same struggles that they had in that day, we still have today and one of them is the ability to come to a conclusion on a few very important things in our lives.800 years after the prophet Joel mentions these people who struggle in their lives with the agility to make a decision, Jesus said…John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.So we have this promise from God that we could live an abundant life.
• Now we’ve spent several weeks talking about what the abundant life looks like, but what’s important to understand every single day of our lives is that The Abundant Life is a decision.
We have to make a decision as to whether or not we are going to life The Abundant Life.
It’s a decision
- A conscious choice
- Every day – decide
- I choose The Abundant lifeI know that some really crummy stuff is happening right now, but I choose Abundance.
- I choose to be happy.
- I choose to love others.
- I choose to show grace
- I choose to be generous
- I choose to allow God to work in me and through me to blessothers.
- And as a result, I will in turn be blessed.I don’t know about you, but this series has really been effecting me lately.
- It’s caused me to be much more forgiving of other people.
- I’ve been showing grace in ways I never really considered in thepast.One of those areas is when people make mistakes.
- I’m learning to be patient and understanding.
- Like when the waitress gets the order all wrong.
- I’m like, “That’s ok, I’ll just eat what you brought me. I needsomething different anyway.”
- Now don’t think me a saint, sometimes I really want what Iordered, but when I can I try to show kindness and grace.Luke 6:38
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
I know we use this scripture when we are talking about our financial giving, but I believe the principle of this scripture goes way beyond that.
- I believe a person can make a decision to give in many ways.
- You give when you smile at someone.
- You give when you say “Hello”
- You give when you show love to someone you just met.
- Or someone who does not deserve your love for them at that moment.
- You give when you allow someone to make a mistake and you are patient and even help them to correct it.
- This is what I’ve been working on in my own live.
- Especially the being patient and forgiving thing.This week I had to do a bit of traveling and when my car to me is was about to run out of gas I thought it would be wise to stop and fill up.
- So, I pull off the highway and go to the first station I came to.
- I swipe my card and put the hose into the car and started thepump.
Now I’ve got 3 minutes and I’m board so I figure, I’m going to go in and grab some candy and a water.
- And as I’m in there, I smile as some of the people in the store.
- I say “hi” to the guy at the register and thank him as he rings upmy sugar fix.
- And as I’m leaving I smile at and say “Hello” and hold the door fora lady whose coming in as I’m going out.
I get into the car, put my candy and water where I can get to them as I travel and I begin to pull away.
- And then I hear it… A loud noise back in the rear of the car where the gas hose has just become detached from the pump and is now loosely hanging from my car.
- And I said it.
- I try not to say it…
- And forgive me guys, I know preachers aren’t supposed to use 4letter words, but it slipped out of my mouth before I thought about what I was saying.
• “Oh Crap”
I get out and look.
- No damage to my car, but the pump’s hose has been pulled fromthe pump.
- I’m like man this is going to cost me.
- I’m in trouble.
- I tried to see if there was some way I could put it back together,but there wasn’t.
So I’m heading in to talk to the manager and as I open the door, the same lady who I let in earlier comes out.
- She says, “Hello, I’m the manager. It looks like one of our pumps is giving you a problem.”
- I said, “Well actually, I forgot to take it out and drove off. I’m afraid I broke it.”
- She says, “Let me take a look.”
- She goes over, tries to see if she can get it put back together and she can’t.
- She say’s, “I’ll have my evening manager work on it, he’s taller and can reach it.”
- I said, “Well do you need some information from me?
- Drivers license
- Insurance card?
- She says, “No it will be fine. We all have those days where something happens and we just say, “Oh Crap”.Luke 6:38
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.What constitutes the Abundant Life for you?
- Are you someone who makes a lot of mistakes?
- Do you drive off with gas hoses still hanging out of your car?
o Sow some seeds of kindness.
o Sow some forgiveness.
o Making a decision to live The Abundant Life doesn’t mean
that abundance is just going to come rolling your way just because you know Jesus.
o But it is going to happen as you plant the seeds and reap a harvest of the things you need in your life.
Do you need more spiritual blessings in your life?
- Than plant some spiritual seeds.
- Read your bible.
- Plant spiritual seeds and when you do, spiritual blessing will come your way.Sadly, the only thing some people know about God is His name.
- Which is a good first step.
- But when they have trouble in their life, they are like, Hey Jesus, I need your help.
Maybe we should plant some seeds here.
- Maybe we should get into the Good Book and find out about Him.
- And how our lives could serve Him better.
- And how we could be a better witness and example to others.
- Before we go “Needing Him to fix our problems all the time.”
- Maybe open a door so to speak.
- You never know, you might have just opened the door for themanager.I know a person who’s always doing for other people.
- She has a very generous heart.
- I’ve been watching her make some right decisions in her life.
- She text me this week and said she found in her “junk” drawer anenvelope with cash in it and written on it was the word Mortgage.
- She doesn’t know how it got there, but I believe He does.
- On her Facebook page, this week she shared about the job she justgot and the raises she received not after she started the job, but just during the interviewing process.How did that happen?
- She’s chose Abundance, not when she opened the “junk drawer”,but several months ago when she said, “I’ll be taking over cleaningthe church.”
- She’s been planting some seeds.
- She didn’t know that’s what she was doing possibly, but she’s been reaping the harvest of her generosity of late.Does anyone in here need someone to forgive you of something?
- You know who people forgive?
- People who forgive.The Abundant Life for some of us would simply be living in the realization that someone we hurt very badly many years ago has forgiven us.
- Do you know how that is going to happen?
- What you do unto others is what is going to be done unto you.
- I know it sounds impossible, but it’s true.I don’t know how you feel about it, but I choose abundance.
- I choose not to be angry.
- Not to be selfish
- Not to unforgiving
- Not to be self-centeredI choose The Abundant Life
- I choose to be happy.
- I choose to love.
- I choose to forgive.
- I choose generosity
- I choose kindness
It’s A CHOICE!
I’m not sure we are supposed to live any other kind of lives especially as believers.
- I’m pretty sure we are supposed to be a bit more like Him than we are ourselves.
- Paul said , 1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.Paul said, I’m trying to be like Jesus.
- Someone said, “Well, I’m my own man. I don’t need anyone to tellme how to live.”
- How’s that working out for you – really?Jesus is our example and we’ll never truly understand what it is to live The Abundant Life, until we begin to follow Him and His teachings.Jesus told his disciples, Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
- To become fishers of men was to enter the ministry.
- Following Jesus helped those men find God’s purpose for theirlives.The most confident and blessed and happy people are people who have found God’s purpose for their lives.
- Can we say we’re found that yet?
- God’s purpose?
- It’s a choice.
- Those men could have said “no” and kept on fishing.
- But instead, they made a decision and immediately set down theirnets and followed after Jesus.What’s your decision today?
- Are you going to stay in the valley?
- Stuck with the rest of the masses who can’t decide whether or notto know Jesus?
- Whether or not to accept Him into their lives?
- Whether or not to live the Abundant life?Have you ever heard this phrase, “Going Forward”?
- Going forward, I’m going to do such and so.
- What happens when “Going Forward happens in our lives is wemove from the stuck place we are at to a place of momentum that is forward moving.We make a decision to not stay where we’ve been, and we “move forward”.
• And as we “move forward” in Christ some positive things begin to happen. Some small and some not so small changes begin to take place in our lives and as they do, John 10:10 begins to happen as The Abundant Life that Jesus came to bring us begins to take place in our lives.