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Recovering What the Enemy has Stolen, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
January 12, 2022 7:00 am

Recovering What the Enemy has Stolen, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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January 12, 2022 7:00 am

Every time we let the devil get the upper hand in our lives, we surrender a little bit of territory that doesn't belong to him. But Dr. Tony Evans explains that it's not too late to go back and turn those defeats into victories.

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When life has shut down on you, and all your hopes have been burnt up, now you're praying for real. Dr. Tony Evans says when the Lord lets us fall, there's nowhere else to look but up. God knows if He doesn't allow stuff to happen, we'll never do business with Him. 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. Every time we let the devil get the upper hand in our lives, we surrender a little bit of territory that doesn't belong to him.

But today Dr. Evans explains that it's not too late to turn those defeats into victories. Let's join him. All of us go through extensive lengths to protect ourselves from theft. We have locks on our doors and our windows to protect ourselves from theft. We have alarm systems to warn us of uninvited guests, because we are concerned about theft. Their neighborhood watch groups, because we are concerned that what we have is not illegitimately removed from us. Not only is this an issue in the physical realm related to jewelry and clothes and technology and TVs and cameras and computers and a multitude of other things that might be stolen from our premises, it is also true in the spiritual realm.

You ought to be concerned about theft, because the Bible says in John 10 that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Many of us have been robbed. We've been robbed of our peace, because we're always in turmoil. We've been robbed of our joy, because we're always discouraged. Many have been robbed of their purpose, because they don't know why they're here, what they're here for, where they've been, or where they're going. Others have been robbed of their resources, because they live in perpetual debt, always struggling to make ends meet. Others have been robbed of their relationships, a breach between a parent and child or a happily-ever-after marriage situation or perhaps a single person still waiting for that person that, in their view, somebody else stole. Some of us have been robbed of our passion. Our get-up-and-go has gotten up and gone, and there's little fire left. Some have been robbed of their opportunities. You wish you could turn back the clock and get back that strategic intersection in life that you missed, and you wish you could do it all over again.

There's a generation of children who've been robbed of their innocence and have been left to raise themselves, because father is not there, or perhaps mother might as well not be there. There is theft going on, and the losses have been great and continue to be great. In 1st Samuel chapter 30, as the book of 1st Samuel concludes, David is in Philistine territory on the run from Saul. And it says, it happened when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day. Verse 1 says, the Amalekites had done a raid on Ziklag, overthrew Ziklag, burned it with fire, took captive women, all that was in it, both small and great, carried them off and went their way. There was a raid on their world. Their world got raided.

One day everything's looking fine, and one day everything is looking like it's gonna be okay. The next day there's a raid, and his whole world and that of his men were turned upside down because an enemy snuck in. When they weren't looking and stole, it says all they had, both large and great, and burned it with fire. So what we're talking about is total destruction. Their world is collapsing right in front of their eyes. What they had built up, what they had developed was now gone, and like any good thief, it was taken a long way away, and they didn't know where to find it.

So what we have here is a major theft that occurs. David and his men come back to see that their world had collapsed, verse 3, was burned with fire. Wives and sons and daughters had been taken captive, and David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to cry anymore. Have you ever cried that hard? See, that's a hard cry. You know it's a hard cry when you can't cry anymore.

Tear ducts have nothing more to deliver because you have wept till you can't weep anymore, sob till you can't sob anymore. Why? Because your world has been burnt up. Your world has collapsed. Your hopes have been destroyed. Your dreams have turned to nightmare on Elm Street, and everything about where you are right now looks like a disaster. Anybody ever been here where life looks like a disaster area?

Now I'm not talking about where you lose something minor that is easily replaceable. I'm talking about where life has shut down on you, and you cry till you can't cry anymore. It goes on to say, verse 6, Moreover, David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him. Now you already can't cry no more. Your tear ducts are already dry, and on top of what the enemy has done, now your friends have turned against you. You see, because he's not talking about now the folk who burned the city, he's talking about the folk who were riding with him. When they saw their mess, they had to find somebody to take this—David, if it wasn't for you taking us out of here, we would have been here if the enemy came. Because, see, everybody's been messed up by this situation, and if you don't know who to blame, then you find the closest person to blame. Things were in chaos. David has been weeping.

He is now discouraged because he's got his own problems, and now the problem of everybody else coming on him, blaming him that the bigger problem existed. Because they were hurting, too, it says. They were embittered, each one, because his son, the loss of his sons and his daughters. So this is group pain. This is collective anguish. This is something everybody felt. Tagged onto verse 6 is a very potent line.

But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. Okay, watch this now. He does not have his family anymore. He does not have his stuff anymore. He does not have his home anymore.

They've leveled it with fire. The man has virtually nothing. He doesn't even have his friends anymore, because they've turned against him. So David is naked and alone. He's by himself. Well, not quite, because in the verse 6 says, he's strengthened, but David strengthened himself in the Lord. The reason why the reflective pronoun, himself, is used is because there was nobody else to strengthen him.

He was out there by himself, and you know when things have gotten bad in your world when it's just you, because there's nobody to fix it. He strengthened himself in the Lord. And if you really want to understand the book of Psalms, many of the Psalms are simply David strengthening himself in the Lord. As the deer pants after the water brook, Psalm 42, so pants my soul after thee, O God. Soul, why are you disquieted within me?

Hope thou in God. He talking to himself. He's strengthening himself, but he's doing it in the presence of God.

Now, look at his psychological makeup right now. David is, it says, distressed. David is down. David has been crying and weeping, but he drug his depression into God's presence.

See, a lot of times when we get discouraged because our lives have been robbed, we allow that to drag us away from God's presence. He said, feelings come with me. Pain come with me. Discouragement come with me. You've been beat down, broke down, beat up, but I'm dragging y'all with me. And we are going into the presence of the Lord, and I'm gonna get strength, not from people.

See, sometimes people can't give you what you need. It says David strengthened himself in the Lord. How can we tap into the Lord's strength the way David did? We'll find out in a moment when Dr. Evans continues this message from his new compilation, Coming to the Comforter. These 20 lessons cover why God allows painful circumstances to come our way, how he cares for us as we're going through them, how he uses them to build our strength and devotion, and what we can do to approach him for his help and healing. It includes bonus material we won't have time to present on the air, and if you contact us right away, it's yours with our thanks when you make a contribution in support of the ministry of the alternative. And right now, we'll also include a special bonus, a copy of Tony's brand-new book, Hope for the Hurting.

In it, he shows that no matter how negative the realities of life get, we don't need to let them define how things are going to work out for us, because there is help and hope even in the midst of our hurt. To request your copy of this special resource bundle, visit us today at or call us at 1-800-800-3222. And if you're looking to go even deeper into this subject or want to present this material to your small group, check out Obtaining the Companion Hope for the Hurting Bible Study DVD and study guide. Again, this is a limited time offer, so visit us right away at or call 1-800-800-3222 any time of the day or night and let one of our team members assist with your resource request.

Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. Dr. Evans will conduct with more of our message right after this. Alaska is a land where ancient glaciers drop house-sized chunks of ice into the sea, where grizzlies fish for spawning salmon, where the lush green canopy of trees is offset by distant snowy mountains, and where the word majestic is hardly enough to describe what you see. Nowhere else in North America is the scenery so spectacular and God's creative wonder so vivid. Come journey here with Tony Evans on an unforgettable urban alternative Alaskan cruise. You'll discover powerful scriptural truths from Dr. Evans and other gifted instructors, experience meaningful times of worship, and enjoy inspirational musical performances from talented musicians. There's plenty of time for rest and relaxation, luxurious accommodations, and incredible meals, all while surrounded by the breathtaking creation that is Alaska. To find out more about the urban alternative Alaskan cruise, visit today.

That's My cordless phone was in the den and I wanted to make a call. When I pushed the phone on, it went beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. It meant there was no power for me to make the call to the person I needed to call. In other words, the battery had run down. When I put my powerless phone to the base, the base shared with my phone power that my phone did not have, that the base had plenty of. My phone had no power because it had been drained by sitting out for an extended period of time. It did not have enough energy to help me make contact with the person I need to re- but the base still had plenty to offer my phone. As soon as I put the phone on the base, I pushed the base and the base engaged the phone so that now a conversation I couldn't have a minute ago, I could not have because my receiver got strengthened by the base. So you need to learn to go to the base when all the batteries have run out and you have been drained because your life has been ripped off from you, your hopes have been destroyed, your dreams.

He strengthened himself, it says, in the Lord. And David, verse 8, very critical, inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue this man? Shall I overtake them? I don't know who they are because we weren't here.

I don't know where they are. So I need you to tell me, is it worth my time trying to get back what the enemy has stolen? When the enemy has ripped you off and you don't know what to do and you don't know anybody who can tell you what to do, that's because the Lord wants to be the only person who can direct you in the way that you ought to go. It is an opportunity to discover God at a deeper level. You see, when you've been ripped off, you don't pray vague prayers anymore.

When you've been ripped off, you don't come talking about, Now I lay me down to sleep. When life has shut down on you and all your hopes have been burnt up, now you praying for real because you're talking about this need, this problem, this situation, this pain, this mess, this discouragement, and what should I do? Because I need something specific now. I need a Rhema word. I don't just need to read a book.

I don't just need to hear a sermon. I need a Rhema word. I need a prophetic word. I need a word that's specific to my mess. You see, I'm hurting right now.

I'm struggling right now. The point is, when you are hurting, you don't want general, you don't want business as usual, and so you don't do business as usual with God. And God knows, if He doesn't allow stuff to happen, we'll never do business with Him. He goes into God's presence, and He hears a word from God. Verse 8, God says to David, Pursue, for you will surely overtake them, and you will surely rescue all.

Okay, what's the first word there? Pursue. He waited on the Lord in order to get clarification about what He should do, but then He had to get up and go get what had been taken from Him. He waited on the Lord. He inquired of the Lord only to get clarification about what He ought to do.

Then He got up, got on His horse, and went to get what the enemy had stolen. See, people operate from one or two extremes. They inquire of the Lord, but never get up.

Lord, I need a job, but don't go job hunting. Lord, I need to do this, I need to do that, but they never get up, get on their horse, and go after what God has said. On the other side, there are a lot of folk who live on the horse. They're running all over the place, trying to find what the enemy has stolen, but they never inquire of God. So they're going in circles, doo-doo-doo, you know, they're going around and around, but they're never arriving at a destination. If they would have been inquired of God first, they wouldn't wasted days, months, years, and decades. See, a lot of folk here today have been running around trying this, trying that, trying him, trying her, trying this circumstance, trying that, and you've been going in circles because you never inquire of the Lord, you just got on the horse, talking about, I got to find it. He waited on the Lord to get clarification because going into God's presence saves time. It saves time because then, you know, see that's what Jesus did. It would always talk about him going before his father to find out what his father was up to so that when he showed up among people, he didn't waste time.

He didn't waste time because he had already inquired, and he didn't inquire generally, he inquired specifically, what do I do now about this problem? And listen, this is good news for your own spiritual growth, I'm my own spiritual growth. God always has a word with your name on it. Now there is a general word for everybody, you know, the Word of God applies to everybody, but the Word of God doesn't tell you your word.

That is, it doesn't give you a specific application. God has to burn that into your spirit. How you are to act in application of the Word in your specific situation. Dr. Tony Evans, talking about how God empowers us to turn past losses into victories. If that's something you'd like to accomplish in your own life, let me suggest you look into getting the full-length copy of today's message, including material we didn't have time to present on the air.

It's called Recovering What the Enemy Has Stolen. In fact, it's part of that special resource offer I mentioned earlier, the 20-message teaching compilation, Coming to the Comforter, along with the special bonus of Tony's brand-new book, Hope for the Hurting. There's even a companion Bible study guide and DVD if you want to dig deeper into understanding God's hope and peace in times of trouble. To get the details and make the arrangements, just visit, make a contribution to the ministry, and let us say thank you by sending these powerful resources your way.

Again, that's, or by phone 24 7 at 1-800-800-3222. There are certain things that haven't changed throughout history, and one of those is the fact that people need the Lord. Today, our culture is in desperate need of a movement of kindness, and Dr. Evans believes that when we share kindness with one another, we're not only doing a good thing, we're doing a godly thing that can help those around us glimpse his kingdom. Look for opportunities to be an ambassador of his kingdom kindness every day. Well, tomorrow, more from Dr. Evans on taking back the parts of our lives Satan has stolen, including some thoughts on the connection between the blessings we receive and the blessings we give. I hope you'll join us. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-28 21:28:01 / 2023-06-28 21:35:46 / 8

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