Matt Hagee - The Choice Is Yours
We have a choice to make. We cannot decide not to decide. The graphic shows an individual at the crossroads. One path leads to blessing and the other path leads to curses. What you have to understand is that when you come to the crossroad and you have a decision to make, it is a no-parking zone. A lot of people park at the path of decision and think that until they know what to do, they're just going to wait on the Lord. That's not waiting on the Lord. That's called being lazy. Philippians says, "I forget those things that are behind me and I press on. I press on toward the mark of the prize of the upward call which is in Christ Jesus". This is Paul's way of saying, I have chosen to follow him.
Now if you decide not to decide, there's a description in the Book of Revelation. It says, "Since you are neither hot or cold, I'll spew you out of my mouth". If there was ever a description of the people who call themselves Christians and the church in America today, it's this individual standing at a crossroads, not making a decision. But you have to understand: we have to decide. We have to choose for ourselves whom we will serve. If we choose to serve the Lord, the Bible says in John 14:6, there is only one way. Jesus said it, "I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life. No man comes unto the father but by me".
If you make the decision to follow him, then you have chosen the path to blessing. And on the path to blessing, I'm not promising you that it's going to be the easiest ride of your life. If somebody told you that the life of faith was a flawless joyride, they lied. What I'm telling you is, is on the path to blessing, this narrow way, if you yield to the Lord, if you let him get out in front, if you put your will behind his will, Jesus said, "If any man come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me".
If you follow Jesus, it's not going to be the easiest ride of your life. But it's going to be a path that you can go as fast as you want to go to the blessings that God has for you to receive. He can do more for you in a moment than you can do for yourself in months. He can do more for you in a day than you can do in decades. He can do exceedingly and abundantly, above all that you could ever ask, think, or imagine. He can do something in your past, because he's the God of yesterday. He can do something today, because he is the God of the here and now. And he can already move into your future and prepare a way for you that you have the ability to see his goodness and his mercy all the days of your life.
Child of God, what I'm telling you is, there is only one way and his name is Jesus. And when you put him first, you find his blessings. And his loving kindness are better than life! You have a choice to make. Choose him and you receive his promises. Refuse him, and you embrace these curses. The first thing that you get on the road that is burdened and laden with curses is you get a caution sign. Deuteronomy 12:32, Moses cautioned the children of Israel. He said, "Don't add to or take away from the Word of God". It's perfect. There's another caution that you read in the Bible. It's the voice of the Lord. It says, "And you will hear a still small voice behind you saying, 'this is the way: walk in it.'"
That still small voice is on the path to blessing. And it's talking to you, as you're going the wrong direction, saying, "Hey, turn around! Turn your marriage around. Turn your family around. Turn your thought life around. Turn everything around. You're going the wrong way"! If you ignore the caution sign, the next sign you get to see is the wrong-way sign. The wrong-way sign connects to Proverbs 14:12. It says, "There is a path that seems right to man, but the end thereof is death". If you stay on this road long enough, it'll kill everything that's in your life. It'll kill every promise. It'll kill your future. It'll kill your hopes. It'll kill your dreams. It'll kill your peace of mind.
Why is the world we're living in suffering so many different ways? It's because we are going the wrong way. If you ignore the wrong-way sign, you come to the stop sign. And the stop sign is where you get one last chance to repent. It's where you get to stop doing your will and turn around and do God's will. The Bible verse connected to this is 1 John 1:9. "If we confess our sin, he is then faithful and just to forgive us our sin". But whichever path you choose, what you need to understand first and foremost is that every one of us have a choice to make. Today, I choose to believe. I choose to be blessed. This is what Moses was saying in Deuteronomy. He said, "I've set before you life and death". There's only two options.
Make up your mind. How many of you know people who have problems making up their mind? It doesn't really matter how long you wait: there's still a decision to be made. Every day you've got to make up your mind. In every generation, there's come a moment to make up your mind. Every day, we have a choice to make. And what's important is that we have to recognize there is a difference between autonomy and omnipotent. What is the difference between those two words? Your power to choose makes you autonomous. That means that you choose for you and I choose for me. If I choose Jesus, it's not a carpool. I can't take you with me. If you choose Jesus, you can't take me with you. But if we choose Jesus, we can walk this road together. That's autonomy.
Omnipotence is power. And while God has given us the power to choose, he has not made us omnipotent. And in our carnal minds, we like to think that the ability to choose gives us the power to take out the consequences of our choice. How many of you know people who ignore the consequences of their choice? It's because they've confused autonomy with omnipotence. Let me put it to you in a simple way that everybody can understand it. In my autonomy, I choose vanilla bean blue bell homemade, old-fashioned ice cream. There is no other flavor. Now if I was not only autonomous but omniscient, I would not only choose blue bell ice cream: but in my omnipotence, I would take out the calories of blue bell ice cream. And it would be health food. Omniscience is I don't have the power to change the consequence of the choices.
And one of the things that we do in our spiritual life is we believe that we get to this crossroads, and even if we choose the path of curses, we can take all of the curses out. No, you can't. You're not omniscient. You're not omnipotent. God is the only one who has the power to take out the burden and the curse. And he did that when he sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to the cross. That's why the Bible says, "He, for our sakes, became cursed". He went all the way down to the end of this road in the pit of hell, and he took every curse that was ever going to be placed upon us, and he walked it right back up this road to a place called Calvary where he hung, and he bled, and he died. And he told the whole world, "I have paid the price of everything and every transgression that you'll ever commit in that path so that you can choose this path". "Therefore, choose you this day whom you will serve," and "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord"!
You can choose to sin, but you can't take away the consequences of sin. Because only that power belongs to God. Psalm 62, it says, "Power belongs to God". Say that with me. "Power belongs to God". That means that since he possesses it, it's his to distribute. Any power you have in your life, God gave you, which means he can take it from you. And he gave each of us this awesome power of freewill to choose. Choose to disobey him, the consequences of that choice lead to destruction. Choose to follow him, to believe in his power, and suddenly you begin to see what God can do. I choose to believe. In my autonomy, I choose to follow him. I choose to believe what the Bible says in Romans 1:16. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ: for it is still the power of God unto salvation".
Church, we have a choice to make in what we choose to say to others. We can choose to do what the New Testament says, "Preach the word," or we can choose to hope for the best. Have you ever recognized how encouragement has replaced the preaching of the gospel, how we're preaching wishy well sermons instead of pulling down strongholds? The Bible says, "Preach the word". It doesn't say, "Inspire others with a lecture". It says, "Preach the word". Why? Because if you lecture an addict, he'll stay an addict. If you encourage a sinner, they'll feel better for a moment. If you give words of inspiration to those who are weak, and they're wounded, and they're weary, they'll forget about their troubles for a little while, but those troubles will still be there when they are done talking.
But when you preach the word, you are declaring to others what Jesus did. When you preach the word, you are proclaiming his power over every power and principality. When you preach the word, the chains of addiction are broken and captives are set free. When you preach the word, sinners become saints, and those who are washed in his blood have become new creatures. When you preach the word, the weak are made strong, the wounded are mended, the weary rise up on wings as eagles. They walk and will not faint. When you preach the word, those who were slaves become sons and daughters. When you preach the word, old things have passed away, and ruined lives are mended, and shattered dreams are restored. When you preach the word, sickness is defeated, sin is conquered, the grave is the gateway to glory! When you preach the word, lives are changed and heaven rejoices, because of the power of his word!
I believe in his promises. And I believe in prayer. Prayer changes things. Oftentimes, people say, "Well I just find it hard to pray. I find it hard to believe. I find it hard to trust because of what I've been through". Let me help you understand something. God never promised not to put you through something. He promised he'd never leave you. He'll let you go through it, but he'll be there with you in it. He'll let you go through the valley, but he'll be the rod and the staff that comforts you in the valley. Jesus said, "I'll never leave you nor will I forsake you". Every step of the way, he's right beside you. If you go into the fire, he'll be in the flames with you. If you go into the dark clouds of the storm, he'll be riding in the vessel with you, able to lift up his voice, and say, "Peace, be still".
If you go through a season of heartache, he'll be the joy that comes in the morning. If you go through an hour of sickness, he'll be the great physician who brings healing in his wings. If you go through a time of struggle, he'll be the one who says, "Cast all of your cares upon me, because I care for you". In a moment of pain, he'll dry your tears. In a moment of weakness, he'll give you strength. In a moment when you've lost hope, he'll be the hope that brings you the victory. But child of God, don't give up! He's there with you! He'll fight for you! He'll lead you! He'll provide for you! Believe in the God who believes in you! I choose to believe. Why? Because belief is the most powerful thing that you can do. There are people who do not pray, because they do not believe that prayer will work. And then there are people who do pray, but they don't believe in the prayer they're praying.
Here's what Jesus said, "Whatever you ask in prayer, believe," and "Whatever you ask in faith believing, he will do it". Jesus put his father's name on it. He said, "Whatever you ask in prayer". Here's a certificate. It's a prayer certificate. It says, "Whoever asks, receives. Whoever knocks, the door shall be opened. Whoever seeks, they will find". And he's promised you that whenever you get to that point where you have to ask for something, as long as you ask in faith believing, whatever you ask for, God will do it. Whenever you come to a barrier and you need that barrier to be opened, if you knock on it, in Jesus' name, that door will be opened. And whenever you come into a season of need, whatever you're seeking for, you're going to find it. Why? Because he has already gone before you. He has made a way for you. He has prepared an answer for you. His promise is already waiting on you.
All you've got to do is have faith and believe in the God who has promised you he'll do it! Prayer is powerful. Prayer has the power to change your business. Prayer has the power to resurrect your marriage. Prayer has the power to bring your children out of the far country. Prayer has the power to drive sickness from your body. Prayer has the power to reunite your family. Prayer has the power to revive a church, to bring revival to a nation. Prayer has the power to move heaven and earth. Believe in Jesus Christ and pray in faith believing, because the gates of hell cannot stand against you! I not only believe in the power of prayer, but I believe in the power of praise.
Psalm 150, "Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord". If you're breathing today, you've got a job to do. Praise the Lord. Jesus Christ is having his conversation with the woman at the well. And Jesus tells her something that often gets skipped over whenever we see it. But Jesus says, "The father is seeking". Think about that. God can create heaven and earth in six days: and yet, he's looking for something. The one who can create all has a desire in his heart, and he said, "The father is seeking those who will worship him". When you start to worship God, you're giving heaven just exactly what it wants. Psalm 100 says, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise".
Now understand that gates and courts are legal terms. Gates are the boundaries of his provision, and courts is where the judge sits and rules. Here on this earth, if you go to court, you go with a complaint. "Your honor, I protest". You don't ever go in there and go, "Oh, judge, you look fabulous today". But in heavenly courts, if you want to receive a ruling from on high, the king above all kings, the Lord above all Lords, you don't go in and protest, you go in and praise. We enter his gates, his city, with thanksgiving. Isaiah 60, it says, "And you shall call the walls of your city salvation and your gates praise". Whenever you complain, you are distancing yourself from God. And whenever you praise him, you are drawing close to him. David said this that reminds us of the power of praise: he said, "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth".
What was David saying? He was saying that praise is not a feeling: praise is a fact. You see, when you praise based on how you feel, there will be days when you feel like it and days when you don't. Ed McMahon shows up at your door and he brings his $50.000 check, "Oh, praise the Lord". No. Praise ed McMahon. That's his check, because there's a guy next door to you who doesn't have a reason to praise the Lord because he didn't get a check. That's when you praise based on feeling. When you praise based on fact, "From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, his name is great and greatly to be praised". It doesn't matter what's happening down here on the earth. Circumstances can change one second at a time. But God is still on his throne. And as long as he's on his throne, he's still worthy to be praised, and everything is going to be alright.
You praise him because the fact is, he is great and greatly to be praised. You praise him because it is he who made us and not we ourselves. You praise him because when we were bound, he sent his son and he set us free. You praise him because when we were stained with the curse of sin, he washed us clean. You praise him because when we were lost, the fact is he found us and he redeemed us. You praise him because the fact is, when we deserved it, he spared us from it. You praise him because his loving kindness is better than life. His goodness and mercy are following after you. His favor is making a way for you. And every weapon formed against you will not prosper. Child of God, let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Give the Lord a shout in this house today!
Can we stand to our feet? Praise is not only how you get in God's presence, but praise is how you endure in this life. Jesus said, "They who endure to the end, the same shall be saved". And the thing about endurance is there's nothing comfortable that comes with it. And oftentimes, in our pride, we want to make endurance about what we can take. But when you understand the principle of biblical endurance, it's not what you can take: it's what he took from you. And praise is how you do that.
Look at the example of Job. Job had a day that would cause anybody to give up. As a businessman, his business was in ruin. As a married man, his marriage was on the outs. As a father, his heart was broken in a million pieces, as he had just received news that all of his children died in one day. Any of that would cause you to lose your mind all by itself. But get hit with it all in the same day, and every one of us would not excuse Job if he said, but he endured. He endured and he saw the goodness of God in the end of his life far greater than anything he'd ever known before. Oh, we celebrate the end of Job. But how did he get through it? Believe me: I'm glad that there's an ending. But I want to know how do you get through it, because most of us are living our days living through it.
And Job says it in one sentence, Job 1:21. He said, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. But blessed be the name of the Lord". He said, "The Lord gives". The Lord gave me a business. The Lord gave me my children. The Lord gave me his goodness. The Lord gave me all of these blessings. I don't know why he gave them: he just did. And the Lord took it away. If he's all powerful, then it had to go through his hand. Job said, my job is not to know why God gave it and my job is not to know why took it. My job is just to say, "God, thank you for it. Thank you for it. Thank you for it. Blessed be the name of the Lord".
So here's how I want to close this service. I want every one of you to raise one hand of prayer. And I want you to raise your other hand in praise. And for a moment, I want you to open up your mouth and pour out your heart to the Lord, because I believe that in this room today, there's some folks who owe God some praise and thanksgiving. You've complained about what's going on in your life. You've complained about the direction of things here on earth. You've complained about everything that you can think of. But the thing that you really need to do to turn your life around is choose to praise him. Praise him for his goodness. Praise him for his mercy. Praise him that he spared you. Whatever you do, don't look at the circumstance, but look at the one who has given you victory in all things. And give him praise and give him glory and give him honor: for he is great and greatly to be praised:
Heavenly Father, today in this sanctuary, I thank you that as we enter into your gates with thanksgiving and into your courts with praise, we are receiving answers in this place. I thank you, in faith believing, that marriages are being restored in this place. I thank you that businesses are being blessed in this place. I thank you that destinies are being shaped in this place. I thank you that as men of God and women of God and people of faith are calling upon you, that you are answering them: that you are moving mountains for them: that you are causing their enemies to flee from them: that you are silencing those who are accusing them: that you are physically and supernaturally working inside their body. Right now, disease is being defeated in this place, because the king is in this house.
Child of God, believe it, because if we can believe it, all things are possible! Give the Lord a handclap of praise! Give the Lord a handclap of praise! Give the Lord a handclap of praise! Hallelujah! He's great and greatly to be praised! Bless his holy name! Hallelujah!