Some of you may be thinking, the devil has me where he wants me. Well, so does God. Dr. Tony Evans says even when Satan throws the first punch, God delivers the knockout. When evil shows up and God is put in the equation, good comes out of it. This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative. Just because two people are looking at the same painting doesn't mean they're both seeing the same picture. Perspective makes all the difference.
Dr. Evans will tell us how the right perspective can get us through anything. Let's join him. There are many here who are waiting for God to do something. You're waiting for, as the old folks say, your change to come.
You're waiting for that thing. Maybe you're in a situation in life, even as a Christian, and you're saying, I didn't sign up for this. I didn't sign up to still be single. I didn't sign up to be walked out on and be remaining as a single parent. I didn't sign up for this miserable relationship. I didn't sign up to be stuck in this job.
I didn't sign up for this. And when is this thing going to happen that I'm believing God for, asking God for, calling on God for, desiring God for? When do I arrive at my destiny?
Well, obviously, that question is going to be different for every person. All I want you to know is that if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have one. But let me say this. As you meander through the detours toward your destiny, that is your divine design for your greatest good, his greatest glory, and the advancement of his kingdom. As you maneuver your way there, the thing that will keep you going is having the right perspective.
And that's what I want to conclude the series with. I want to make sure that you're looking at the right thing the right way. That's perspective.
Perspective is how you perceive or view something. It's like the boy who lost his contact lens, and he was looking for it for 30 minutes, and he couldn't find it in the grass. He told his mother. His mother looked for five minutes and found it. He said, Mom, how could you find it so quickly? She said to him, you were looking for your contact lenses.
I was looking for $150. Your perspective affects what you wind up seeing. And so it is important that you have the right perspective, particularly when you're on a detour, when you're not in the spot, you're not in the sweet spot yet. You're not in that place where you know this is where God has designed you to be.
You're in a—you feel like you're in a faraway place. One of the things I don't relish doing, I don't look forward to doing, is walking on the treadmill. Walking on the treadmill, walking fast, sweating hard, going nowhere.
I'm not covering any territory. You do it to, you know, get your heart working, to burn some calories, but it's boring. And so whenever you find me on a treadmill, as I'm sure with many of you, you are walking on the treadmill while watching television. In fact, in every workout place you go to today, the TV is built into the treadmill because they know everybody feels the same way I do. And so they have televisions in order to shift your focus while you work, to get you looking at something different than the anguish you're feeling at the moment.
And one of the things you know is when you are focusing on something on television while agonizing on the treadmill, while it doesn't remove the effort, it enables you to bear it better because something else has grabbed your attention and has owned your focus. As you maneuver to your destiny, I want to share with you what will allow you to go up the inclines and declines, the positives and negatives that you will face on your way at arriving at the place God has for you, and it will have to do with your focus. There is a secret to your spiritual success and arriving at your destiny. It's not really a secret.
We've talked about it, but I want to focus in on it. So let me show you Joseph's secret. Now, our key verse is chapter 50, verse 20. As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result to preserve many people alive. You meant it for evil. God meant it for good to bring me here.
Stay with me. If you will look back at chapter 39, track with me, here's what you will read. Chapter 39, verse 2 says, the Lord was with Joseph. Chapter 39, verse 3 says, how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. Chapter 39, verse 5 says, the Lord blessed the Egyptians' house on account of Joseph. Chapter 39, verse 21, Joseph is in prison, says, but the Lord was with Joseph. Chapter 39, verse 23 says, because the Lord was with him.
Now let me move over to chapter 41. Chapter 41, verse 16 says, Joseph answered Pharaoh saying, it's not me, God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer. In verse 28 it says, it is as I have spoken to Pharaoh, God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. Verse 32 says, now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God.
And God will quickly bring it about. The secret to Joseph arriving at his destiny is he refused to leave God out of the equation no matter what the circumstance was. He gets put in a pit, God is with him. He gets turned over as a slave, God is with him. He gets put in Potiphar's house, God is with him.
He gets put in jail, God is with him. Every time we see Joseph in a different situation, whether it's good or bad, we see God. God will control where you go, where you wind up, in spite of the detours that you have to go through to get there. Some of you may be thinking, the devil has me where he wants me.
Well, so does God, because the devil is not the only one in this equation. He says, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. Now here's what I want you to catch, the order. Evil, God, good.
Let's go to that order again. Evil, God, good. When you search the scripture, here's how it plays out. When evil shows up and God is put in the equation, good comes out of it. So what the enemy has got to do is he's got to bring evil and keep God out so you don't get the good. Because if he can keep God out of the middle, he can keep evil in control. But the moment you take evil and bring God in the middle, God turns evil into good. And it's the equation all through the Bible. Job found evil, but when he submitted himself to God, God flipped it and made it good. The people were hungry, 5,000. What did Jesus do? He took the mess to God and said, God, you got to feed these people. And now we got good. God turns evil to good when he can get smack dab in the middle. Dr. Evans will illustrate that point with a series of if-then statements when he returns in a moment.
Don't go away. If you're like most Christians, there are people in your life who know you but may not know Jesus. I really want to do something about that, but don't feel equipped to share your faith effectively. In other words, maybe if you knew more, you could do more.
Well, that's where the Tony Evans Training Center comes in. It's an online Bible school with classes that will take you deep into the most important core concepts of the faith. You can start with our free introductory course on evangelism. Then move on to subjects like spiritual warfare, marriage building, maturing in the faith, and many more. The content is challenging, but you can move through it at your own pace any time you're online. There's also lots of custom content from Tony and an online forum where you can get your specific questions answered.
Go to TonyEvans.org and follow the link to the Tony Evans Training Center. It's like having a seminary on your smartphone. Now the message we're listening to today is part of Dr. Evans' nine-part series exploring how the path to our destiny is oftentimes unexpected and unpredictable. Through the lessons contained in Joseph Detours to Destiny, you learn how to make the most of the unexpected twists you face in life as God prepares you for a future you never imagined. We'd like to send you a copy of this complete series on CD or instantly downloadable MP3s as our thank-you gift when you make a donation to help support Tony's ministry. The alternative is a 100% listener-supported broadcast, so we depend completely on you to stay on the air. Visit us today at TonyEvans.org or call us at 1-800-800-3222 to make the arrangements and request your copy of the Detours to Destiny audio series.
I'll repeat that contact information after part two of today's lesson. Here's Tony. If Joseph hadn't worn the coat of many colors, the brothers wouldn't have been upset. They wouldn't have put him in a pit. He wouldn't have been sold to the Israelites. He wouldn't have been sold to Potiphar, and he wouldn't have had to deal with Miss Potiphar. But because he had to deal with Miss Potiphar, he got now put in a place where he now incarcerated unjustly. But the only reason he's incarcerated unjustly is because he met Mrs. Potiphar, who happened to be married to Mr. Potiphar. And he only met Mr. Potiphar because he had been sold to the Israelites.
And he only was sold to the Israelites because he was in a pit caused by jealous brothers because of a coat his father made. But if he wasn't in jail, then he wouldn't have met the baker and the cupbearer, because the baker and the cupbearer were in the same jail that Mrs. Potiphar had him thrown into. So he happened to be in the same jail, a jail he shouldn't have been in and wouldn't have been in, if he hadn't have been sold to Mr. Potiphar, met Mrs. Potiphar, because the Israelites picked him up after buying him from his brothers who didn't like him because of the coat he was wearing. But because he's now in jail with the cupbearer and the baker, they have a dream and need an interpreter.
He just happened to be in the right place with the right gift at the right time to help them with their dream. But he wouldn't have been there if he hadn't have been put there by being charged with a crime he didn't commit, by being sold in a way he shouldn't have been sold, by brothers who were jealous because of a father who made him a coat. But if he wasn't in jail, then when the cupbearer heard that Pharaoh had a dream, he couldn't say that I know a guy in jail named Joseph who interprets dreams because he interpreted my dream. The only reason that the cupbearer could tell Pharaoh about Joseph is Joseph was in jail with the cupbearer. But the only reason Joseph was in jail with the cupbearer is because he was put in prison unjustly because he was in Miss Potiphar's house, and the only reason that Miss Potiphar's house is Mr. Potiphar bought him, and the only reason Mr. Potiphar bought him is because the Israelites sold him, and the only reason the Israelites sold him is because they bought him from his brothers, and the only reason they bought him from his brothers is because his brothers were jealous, and the only reason the brothers were jealous is because he had a coat from an insensitive father, so now he's interpreting a dream from Pharaoh. Pharaoh now says, send Joseph to me. Pharaoh only calls Joseph because he was in jail with the cupbearer. Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dream. Pharaoh now makes him second in charge in Egypt.
Wait a minute. How you gonna be second in charge of Egypt? You don't have a political degree. You don't have a resume. You don't have background. You're not even Egyptian.
You don't even belong to the same race. But he gets second in Egypt by Pharaoh because he interprets a dream only because the cupbearer remembered him two years later, only because he was in jail when he wasn't supposed to be, only because Pharaoh bought him, only because his brothers sold him to the Israelites, and only because his father made a coat. On top of that, when his brothers needed to get something to eat, they had to come up to Egypt and ask Joseph, how we gonna get some food? He says, I'm gonna feed you.
But wait a minute. How you gonna feed your brothers from Canaan in Egypt? Well, the only reason I'm here in Egypt and can feed my brothers is because I've been made second in charge, and I've only been making second in charge because I interpreted the dream, and I only interpreted the dream because the cupbearer remembered me, and the cupbearer remembered me because I interpreted his dream, and the only reason I was in the same place with the cupbearer is that Potiphar's wife put me here, and the only reason she put me here is because I was working for Potiphar, and the only reason I was working for Potiphar is because the Israelites sold me, and the only reason the Israelites sold me was because my brothers were jealous of me, and the only reason my brothers were jealous of me is my daddy made me a coat I never asked for. How did all this happen out of a coat I never even asked for? Oh, but that ain't the end of the story because the brothers now moved their whole family to Egypt because Egypt is where the food is, but when they moved their whole family to Egypt, God now births his people, the Jewish nation, in the land of Egypt. Well, wait a minute. How did we get a whole nation coming from 12 brothers because Joseph happened to be there second in command when it all started with a coat he never asked for?
Because God can take one evil after another evil, one mess after another mess, one situation after another situation, and still bring you to your destiny. And so I want to challenge you today to not be satisfied. You say, but Pastor, I'm getting pushed down.
I'm facing some of you. Have you ever been to a beach, and you have a beach ball, and you try to push a beach ball down? The further you push it down, the more you propel it. See, when you push it way down, when that baby pops up, it's going to pop way up because what you're pushing it into becomes a springboard for where it really wants to go. So I don't know what the enemy is doing to submerge you. All I know is when God lets you loose, you're going to come up out of there, and you're going to have a statement that will bring you good, God's glory, and that will advance God's kingdom in your life.
So here's what you do. I want you, first of all, to not give up on God, to not give up on God. The tendency is, when you're down, to give up on God. The worse it is, the harder you run to Him.
Okay? The more miserable it is, the more aggressive you go after Him. It's easy to praise Him, worshipping Him in the sunshine. But if it's storming outside, I want you to make your praise happen, force your praise out, and I want you to run to God in the dark.
I know you're looking for blessings, you're looking for destiny, and rightly so. But I'm giving you the secret. It's Joseph's secret. He didn't know when God was going to do any of this. Look, it took him 13 years after being put away as a slave before he even gets to Pharaoh. It takes 22 total years before he connects with his brothers again. So this is a 22-year saga in his life. It took Moses 40 years before God could get him where He wanted him to take him to his destiny. It took Noah 120 years before God could get him to the place where God would fulfill His promise to him.
It took Jesus 30 years before God launched him into public ministry. So just because you got a year or two of inconvenience, just because you got a little time where it's not working out like you like it, just know that when you are—see, what we want is a microwave God when God is more of a crockpot God. He wants to smooth that thing and He wants to let that thing bubble and sit and simmer until it's cooked through and through, until the transformation occurs fully in your life. So I want you to go after your destiny and then say, God, I'm going to give you everything. I'm going to overdose on you. I'm going to overdose on you. God, I'm getting ready to get on your nerves. I'm going to worry you to death.
Not that I can worry you to death, but if I could, I would, because that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to dog you, God. I'm going to go after you. I'm going to, as David said, as the deer pants after the water brook. I'm going to pant after you, oh God.
I'm coming after you. I am going to not let you go like Jacob. I'm not going to let you go till you bless me. I am not going to let you go till you show me what you have for me.
You're going to get tired of me. I want you to give it all because we've been alive long enough to know this world can only give you so much. And what it gives you tries to take, and here's how you'll know. Here's how you'll know that God is working on your behalf.
It won't be because there's no challenges. It won't be because nothing's wrong. You'll know that God is working on your behalf because every time it looks like you're going down, you bounce back. Every time it looks like you're going to lose, something turns it. That means evil but God good. So when you say evil but God good, evil but God good, what is he doing?
Evil but God good, evil but God good, evil but God good. He says I did evil but God good to bring me to this place. So he's moving you down a chain to arrive you at destination that he has planned for you.
So he keeps bouncing you back in the middle of it. Dr. Evans will come back in a moment with a final illustration about what it really means to bounce back from a detour. But first, we're getting close to the end of Tony's current series, Joseph Detours to Destiny. And there's more material in this collection than we've had time to bring you on the air.
So don't miss your chance to get the full length versions of all nine messages on CD or instantly downloadable MP3s. As I mentioned earlier, this audio collection is yours with our thanks when you make a donation toward Tony's ministry. Just visit TonyEvans.org for the details or call us at 1-800-800-3222.
Again, that's 1-800-800-3222 or online at TonyEvans.org. Dr. Evans believes there's a desperate need to reclaim civility in our culture today. And he encourages each of us to find ways to demonstrate kindness to everyone we encounter through the course of our day. Our acts of kindness change the atmosphere of our communities for good and for God. Well, coming up tomorrow, when you order something online, you typically get to choose how fast you want it delivered.
Well, Dr. Evans will explain why that isn't the case when we pray, as he talks about how to wait for God's perfect timing. Right now, though, he's back with today's closing illustration. When I was a boy growing up in Baltimore, my father bought me a balloon punching bag. I loved that balloon punching bag, and no matter what I did to it, it kept coming back. I'd hit it, boom. It hit the floor, bam. Then it would bounce back, bing. I'd go, boom. It would hit the floor, bam. It would bounce back, bing. I'd go, boom, boom. It would go, bam, bam. Then it would bounce back, bing. One time I kicked it, it hit the wall, hit the ceiling, and it came back, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bing. No matter what I did to it, it kept coming back.
The reason it kept coming back is there was a weight at the bottom that was heavier than the air at the top. So no matter what I did to it up here, down there determined where things wound up. But I can guarantee you, somewhere down the line, something's going to go, bam. And you're going to go, bam. But if you're on the right foundation, you're coming back, bing. Something else may go, bam, bam. And you may go, boom, boom. But if you're on the right foundation, you're coming back, bing. In fact, the devil may come after you with all he's got. He may go, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, just hitting you every which way. And you may go, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. But if you wrestle on the right foundation, you're coming back, bing. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
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