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Summary: The fourth in the series deals with living life God’s way. Paul reminds Timothy that you cannot cheat and win in the game of life.

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Fresh Start

12 Secrets for Abundant Living

This week we are continuing in our series for the New Year - 12 secrets for abundant living. Remember that this whole series is based on 3 very important principles.

1. God has a plan for your life - Jeremiah 29:11 says “I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

2. There is a battle engaged for your life - Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

3. Too many of God’s people are losing the battle - Marriages, children, finances, life.

Over the last 3 weeks we have looked together at our first five secrets.

• 4 Questions - Who are you? What are you ? Where are you? What do you really want?

• Own It! Take responsibility for and control of your life.

• Embrace Positive Change!

• Make a Plan!

• Work your Plan!

Let’s get right to it this morning with. Look with me at II Timothy Chapter 1:1-7. Paul is writing in the latter days of his life to his beloved son in the faith Timothy. Timothy is ministering in Ephesus and dealing with many hardships. Paul ever the spiritual mentor writes from his lonely imprisonment in Rome - encouraging Timothy with the foundational principles of life - and calling on him to come to Rome to be with him in his final days. In this letter Paul shares our next two secrets to abundant living.

1) Secret # 6 - Start with the Spiritual - Paul says to Timothy - “kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you…”. If you want to live an abundant life it starts with the Spiritual. It’s amazing to me that we pay such little attention to the Spiritual aspect of our lives. We spend great amounts of time on work, health (exercise), sports, and recreation - but so little time on the Spiritual side of life. Cultivating our spirits becomes a job for the time that is left over or at best a job for Sunday mornings. Cultivating our spirits has become like weight loss drugs - Eat all you want, suck down all the delicious deserts you can hold - go to sleep and loose 150lbs in two weeks on Fatgo - our miracle weight loss pill. Except it looks like this - live any way you want to live, watch whatever you want to watch, fill your heart with the filth of the world - and in two short Sundays you can look like this on our new miracle spiritual growth formula - Churchgo. Spend just one hour a week inside these walls and all the trash of the world will fade into history - Just take Churchgo and all your problems will disappear. Spend all the time you want on anything you want and with miracle Churchgo you’ll find the abundant life that Jesus has promised. Oh nobody here would admit that’s the way we live life, but it is. Everything else in life is more important that the Spiritual things. God gets what’s leftover after everything else is finished. Now I have been accused over the years of advocating that people do nothing but church - nothing but Jesus - but that’s not at all true. I’m just advocating that it all start with Him. Look with me at Matthew 7:21-27. Jesus after offering the harshest stinging rebuke of all scripture tells us where life is to be founded. This is what I’m saying to you today - It starts with the Spiritual. If you want an abundant marriage- it starts with your Spirit. If you want abundant life for your children - it starts with the Spirit. If you want abundance in life - it starts with the Spirit. Christ is the foundation for all these things - and unless the Lord builds a house they labor in vain who build it. Abundant life begins with kindling afresh the gift of God that is within us.

2) Secret #7 - Do Life God’s Way - II Timothy 2:1-5 - You cannot cheat and win. “…he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.” You know it’s not a popular position today to remind people of God’s rules. We live in a world that sets its own rules for living. Look around you folks and see what living by our rules has gotten us. Almost ½ of all marriages end in divorce, approximately 1/4th of all pregnancies end in abortion, almost 50% of our teenagers are sexually active before they graduate High School, more than 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are living in single parent homes. The stats go on and on and on and on. What has all of this free living, making our own rules, going our own way gotten us? Do we live in a better world? Are we safer, more secure, or happier? Are our families better off? Yet the media and the world around us says, “keep it up we are only just breaking out of these restrictive Judeo-Christian shackles for life.” God spoke to Joshua when He called him to lead the people into the promised land and this is what he said, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Paul said “…he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.” It all means the same thing. If you want to live abundantly you have to do it God’s way. You cannot go your own way, do your own thing, and make your own rules and then expect God to bless it. God has given us an instruction manual for life - here it is - read it, know it, live it and your way will be abundant. It gives us the rules for marriage, for purity, for raising children, for living - and we ignore those rules to our own peril. Folks I want to tell you today that no matter how many people you get to agree that something is right and ok - if God says it’s not ok - He’s right.

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