Matt Hagee - Your Attitude Makes All The Difference
How many of you have seen people with the right attitude do nearly impossible things? How many of you've seen people with the wrong attitude hardly do anything? Your attitude makes all the difference. Every circumstance in your life today, your attitude helps you decide whether it's a blessing or a burden. Whether your challenge is inspiring you to believe God for more or it overwhelms you and you're frustrated by your circumstance. Your attitude is what you use to determine whether or not you're going to give God the praise and the thanks that he's worthy of or you're going to complain to everybody you meet about what you're lacking in your life.
The Bible says, "Let everything that hath breath, praise the Lord". And I would say since you can't hold your breath much past three minutes, those of you who are standing up pretty much prove you have air in your lungs. Now nowhere in the Bible do we read, "Let every person with a complaint praise the Lord". Why? Because complaining cancels out the power of praise. "Let everything", say it with me, "That has breath praise the Lord". You cannot make the difference that God wants you to make unless you have the right attitude. And your attitude is determined by these three things. One, the amount of gratitude that you have in your heart: two, the amount of time that you spend praising God: and three, the amount of time that you spend in prayer. Read with me 1 Thessalonians 5:16 through 18. If you're this, say, amen. The Bible says, "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything, give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you".
Heavenly Father, let us hear your word and apply it to our lives. Let us consider all of the goodness of God and give you the thanks and the praise that you're worthy of. Help us to understand the power that we possess when we pray in the mighty name of Jesus. And let us see in the pages of this text, your perfect will for our life to rejoice in all things, to give God thanks and praise. It's in your precious name that we pray and ask. And all of God's children said, praise the Lord.
You may be seated. Gratitude determines your attitude. The more thankful you are, the better attitude you'll have. Have you ever seen somebody receive a blessing, but they're ungrateful for the blessing that they've got? And in spite of how blessed they are, they still complain about how blessed they're not. How was Christmas? It was okay. I mean it beats breaking bricks in the prison yard: right? Yeah, I kind of need to work out. They've got an attitude about everything. What's your attitude? It'll determine your outcome. Gratitude determines your attitude, and your attitude determines your outcome. When the alarm clock rings tomorrow morning, what's your attitude? Oh, it's Monday. I've made it a point on purpose, every time I hear the alarm clock, to thank God. Why? Because I'm glad that I can hear it.
Consider the alternative. There are graveyards full of people, who would love to wake up tomorrow morning. The Bible says, "This is the day that the Lord has made". Say that with me. "This is the day that the Lord has made". "Let us rejoice and be made glad in it". Rejoicing is something that you do because you choose to. It has nothing to do with your circumstance. It has nothing to do with the details of your situation. It has everything to do with your attitude, and that's determined by the amount of gratitude you have. Tomorrow when you get in your car and you drive to work, as you're fighting through traffic to get to the office, are you going do thank God for the job that you have? There are people, who are going to work tomorrow, and they're not thankful for their job. There's a description that they have. It's called unemployed. Because you will not keep what you do not appreciate.
The Bible says, "In him, we live. In him, we move. And in him, we have our being". Recognize that it is the Lord who gives you the power to get wealth. The Bible didn't say God's going to give you wealth. It said he would give you the power to get wealth. So how did he give you that power? Through work. The New Testament says that he who does not work should not eat. That literally means that your work is a sacrifice of praise unto God. So when go to the office tomorrow, don't complain about all you've got to do today, and don't complain about all of the circumstances and situations that you're going to face.
Say, God, I thank you for this job. I thank you that you've given me strength. I thank you for the health that's in my physical body. I thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your perfect plan for my life. No matter where you're at today, no matter what you're facing, no matter what you're going through, you need to remember this: there are millions of people in this world who, right now, would be glad to trade places with you. You think it can't get worse. Somebody down below you is saying, "Come down here and let me go up there". My recommendation in order to maintain the proper perspective when it comes to being thankful and to having a heart filled with gratitude is to do what king David said, "Be thankful unto him and bless his name". Paul said it this way, in 1 Thessalonians: "Rejoice always". Say that with me. "Rejoice always".
In the good times, rejoice. In the bad times, rejoice. In the terrible times, rejoice. How many of you ever went through a bad time? How many of you know there's a difference between bad and terrible? "Rejoice always". "Be thankful unto him". Every Sunday, when we walk into this sanctuary and we're not persecuted because of our Christian faith: when we come into this atmosphere and we have the freedom and the liberty to lift our lands and to raise our voice and to declare the goodness of God, we should be thankful unto him and we should bless his name. Every day, we should be thankful for the joy of our salvation, because he has taken his blood and he has washed us white as snow, because he has forgiven us and set us free. Every morning when you see the sunrise, you should be thankful unto him and bless his name: for his mercies have been renewed like the morning.
Every time you recognize his faithfulness in your past, in your present, and promised in your future, you should be thankful unto him and bless his name. Every time you have an imperfect day, and you're not the best that you could be, and you recognize that his grace is greater than all of your sin, and sufficient to cover all of your imperfections, you should be thankful unto him and bless his name! Every time he provides for you, every time he heals you, every time he protects you, every time he visits with you, you should be thankful unto him and bless his name! When you consider the power that you possess through the authority of his word, you should be thankful unto him and bless his name! When you know that he inhabits the praises of his people, and where two or three of us have gathered, he has promised to be there in our midst: you should be thankful unto him and bless his name!
Church, the Lord is in this place right now! Be thankful unto him and bless his name! Why? Because prayer changes your atmosphere. The Bible says, "The Lord inhabits the praises of his people". David was a man after God's own heart. Why? Because he knew how to praise God. "The Lord inhabits the praises of his people". The Bible tells us that he gives his angels charge over you. That's an everyday promise. But when you're going through the circumstances of your life, and you continuously praise God, what you do is you send a personal invitation to the throne room. And God says, hey angels, y'all come up here. I'm going to go down there and take care of this one myself. It is how you get God to show up himself when you praise him. God uses praise to demonstrate his power.
Consider when you read these two accounts in the Bible in the New Testament in the Book of Acts. You've got Paul and you've got Silas, and they're doing what God wants them to do. They're fulfilling the great commission. They're going into every land, and they're preaching the gospel. And suddenly, because of their faithfulness to the commission, they find themselves beaten and in jail. Now they didn't write a letter to the ACLU, and say, "Our civil rights have been violated". They didn't call a press conference and stand behind a bank of microphones to talk about their religious persecution. They simply, according to the Word of God, praised. The Bible says, "But at midnight, they were singing and praising and giving hymns unto God". Chained in the inner most part of a dungeon, knowing that they were being persecuted because of their faithfulness, they lifted their hands and they raised their voice, and they said: "God, I thank you that you're still with me. I thank you that your power is alive in me. I thank you that you're watching over me. I don't know how I got here, but I know that you're with me. And because you're with me, everything is going to be all right".
The Bible says that what happened next is that heaven came down to earth and began to shake the walls of the prison. The prisoners and the jailer called it an earthquake. But it wasn't an earthquake: it was a jailbreak, because God was sending his children a message. "When you praise me, I'll come and set you free. I'm here to tell you today, no matter what personal penitentiary you're sitting in, no matter what problem has you bound, if you can lift your hands and you can praise the Lord, heaven will invade your circumstance. It will break every chain that binds you. It will tear down every wall that holds you captive. It will set you free. And whom the son sets free is free indeed"!
The Bible tells us that the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God himself actually said, "I am the Lord: I do not change". And so because God is so consistent and so constant, it doesn't matter what circumstances in your life are changing. They change from day-to-day, hour-to-hour, and minute-to-minute. But because he is the same yesterday, today, and forever: you can praise him. If God's been good to you in the past, you can thank him based on what you've seen, for what you're believing for right now. If he's provided for you in the past, he'll provide for you today. If he's healed you in the past, he'll heal you today. If he's given you provision in the past, he'll do it today. He's still a way maker. He's still a mountain mover. He still has a plan for you. He said, "I'll never leave you, nor will I forsake you". He is the God, who is faithful from generation to generation. So because he's the same yesterday, today, and forever: we should be thankful unto him and bless his name! Give the Lord a handclap of praise.
When you live with a grateful heart, and you apply that gratitude to praise, the next thing that you will do is you will develop a habit of prayer. This is what Paul intended when he told the New Testament church, "Pray without ceasing". It's his way of saying, make prayer your habit. Before we get into the details of what prayer is, I believe that prayer is the most under and least utilized gift that God ever gave the church. We have no understanding of the amount of power we possess when we pray. But we do not pray. It is the most overlooked and under utilized resource in the Christian church today. How was the New Testament church built? Prayer. What brought revival fires in the past? Prayer. What healed the sick? Prayer. What conquered the enemy? Prayer. And yet, we wonder, where is God and what's he doing.
One of the reasons we don't pray is because we don't understand what prayer is. Prayer is not some nursery rhyme that you recite before you go to bed. Prayer is not some monotonous tone of chanting that you go through as a part of a ritual. Prayer is not some chore on your to-do list that you need to check off like brushing your teeth. You need to recognize prayer is a privilege. If the president of the United States walked into this sanctuary and gave you his personal business card, and said, "Right there is the number that comes directly to my desk: call me anytime," everybody in this room would say, "Wow, you're privileged because not everybody has that number". I mean you can get directly to the man with a phone call. Well here's what you need to understand about prayer. In the Old Testament, the children of Israel did not have 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, 365-access to God. They had to go to the tabernacle, a particular place. They had to come on a particular day. They had to come in a particular way. They had to have the high priest go through a particular ritual.
And then and only then did they have the opportunity to make their requests known to God. But when God sent his son, Jesus Christ, and he died that we might receive salvation, the book of Hebrews says, "Since we have so great a high priest," a high priest, who has conquered death, hell and the grave and is seated at the right hand of God, the father, a high priest who took the veil in the temple and tore it from top to bottom: since we have that high priest, the only thing that you need to do to talk with the maker of heaven and earth is say, "In the mighty name of Jesus". And suddenly, your before the throne.
Anytime you need him, you can call on him and he'll answer you, and show you great and mighty things that you know not. Anytime you're overwhelmed, you can call on him, and he'll give you peace that surpasses understanding. Anytime you're in battle, you can call on him, and he'll be the glory and the lifter of your head. Anytime you're sick, you can call on him and he'll heal you by the stripes that he's borne upon his back. Any need that you have, you can call on him. And my God shall supply all of your needs according to his riches in glory! The things that you're wishing were different, don't complain about them: pray about them. Things you want to see change, don't tell the world the five things that you would do different: pray about them. The point is is that when the Bible says, "Pray without ceasing," it means to do it so consistently that you don't even recognize that you're doing it. It's just part of who you are.
And the reason why that's important is because it's through that process that you get the proximity and the intimacy in your relationship with God that helps you hear his voice when others cannot. For example, for 40 years, I have been in relationship with my father. For 40 years, I've learned from, been taught by, mentored by, and led by this man. Over those four decades, I have learned how to communicate with him and how to understand him when other people can't even understand what he's doing. I know what he's saying when he doesn't say a word. How many of you know somebody that well?
Now that didn't happen over night. I didn't sit down one day in my mid-20's, and say, "Dad, you need to really connect with me so that we have this bond". It was something that was developed on a daily basis for years. And now, because of it, I know what to do, and how to do it, and why to do it, and when to do it, and where to do it because I have this familiarity with him. I've been in meetings before, and people will come out and go, "That went really well". I go, "It went terrible". They say, "Well what do you mean? Pastor didn't say anything". I said, "That's just it". And I'd say, "His mother taught him that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". Little things like that, but things that make a real difference.
People often say, "Well I just want to know what God wants me to do". And I'll ask, "Have you asked him"? They say, "Well, he doesn't answer me". He will if you listen. But you've got to learn how to hear his voice. And the only way you do that is pray without ceasing. Don't just give it an occasional try. Do it on a regular basis. Your attitude makes the difference. Say that with me, your attitude makes the difference. You will not retain what you do not appreciate. But what you appreciate, you will share with others. How many of you've ever gone to a really good restaurant, and then you told everybody you knew? Oh, it was the best. It might not have been the best, but you're telling everybody it was the best.
Ladies, you buy a new pair of shoes, and you've got to tell 15 of your friends how they make your toes feel. We all have different things that we appreciate. And the more we appreciate them, the more we want to tell other people about them, because we want those people to participate in what we appreciate. The problem is that whenever it comes to the things of God and how good God has been, when somebody asks us, we don't appreciate him: we're intimidated. Do you go to church? Occasionally, yes. Do you pray? Sometimes. You see the Bible says that we are the bride of Christ, which makes Christ our groom. That's the love relationship that we should have with him. How many of you are married? If you went into a public setting, and your wife was asked the question, "Are you with him"? And she went, "Occasionally". "Yes". "Sometimes".
How many of you would want to have a more intense conversation about that? You see the Bible calls it "Boasting in the Lord". And it's something that because of his goodness in your life, you should be willing to do all day long. How was your day? God has given me a great day. How are things going? They are going wonderful, because God is good and his mercy endureth forever. You ought to go to work, bragging about Jesus. You ought to go to school, bragging about Jesus. You ought to tell your friends all about Jesus, because I don't know what you've experienced lately that was worth sharing with others. You haven't experienced anything that's made a difference in your life like the King of kings and the Lord of lords, Jesus Christ.
Sitting in this sanctuary are difference makers. Sitting in this sanctuary are people who can contribute to what God is doing today that they'll be talking about in the next generation. Will you be a difference maker? Will you be the kind of person that they look back on 40 years from now and talk about how faithful, how loyal, how kind, how gracious, how willing? The only way you can do that is that you have to decide, I want to be thankful to the Lord for all that he's done for me. And I want to serve him as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. We mentioned the Bible says, "The Lord doesn't change".
In the book of Isaiah, Isaiah sees the Lord seated on the throne. And the Lord says something. He says, "Who will go for us"? And Isaiah says, "Here am i: send me". If God hasn't changed, then the same question he asked of Isaiah is the same question he's asking you today, "Who will go for us"? And he doesn't need you to have all the gifts and talents in the world. He just needs you to have the kind of willingness to say, "Lord, here am i: send me".
Can we stand ? With every head bowed and every eye closed, you're in this place and you say, "Lord, here am i: send me. I'm willing to make a difference. I'm willing to be used by you for your purpose in this generation". If that's you, I want you to raise your hand right where you are.
Lord Jesus, you see their hands raised. You understand why they're here and the purpose that you brought them. You recognize every gift and every talent, because you've numbered every hair that's on their head. Now I thank you for every difference maker that has walked the journey with this congregation and for those that you're raising up now to catch the baton and carry it forward. Use them for your glory in this generation: that our children and our children's children would celebrate the faithfulness of God in all of our tomorrows, in Jesus' name. Amen.