Optimism & Pessimism

July 6, 2001 PM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

If you would, open up your Bibles with me to the book of Genesis chapter thirty-seven. Genesis chapter thirty-seven. You all pray with me tonight. And when you get to Genesis chapter thirty-seven, signify by saying, "Amen."

Every now and then we all go through trials and tribulations in our lives. But sometimes these trials and these tribulations that form in our lives causes us to question God's plan and His purpose for our lives.

But when we look at Joseph, Joseph came under the perspective of victory, that no matter what my situation, I have victory. When we look at Joseph, he carried what we would call a spirit of optimism. No matter what he went through, he was optimistic about the outcome.

In the body of Christ, God is searching for a people that no matter what they go through, they know that all things work together for the good of them that love God, to them that are the calling, called to His purpose. Glory to God. Called according to His purpose.

In Genesis thirty-seven, he said,

1. And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.

2. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.

3. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.

4. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

5. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.

God was getting ready to use Joseph. And what Joseph did was, he gave the revelation of what God was getting ready to do before the time. You see, God will tell you (glory to God) what He's going to do, and he might not give you the interpretation of the thing. But sometimes we need to hold on to what God is saying until we receive the interpretation of what God is going to do.

His brothers hated him. They were already jealous of him. But then he told a dream that God had given him. And they decided (glory to God) that they were going to do away with him.

You see, every now and then you may get around a crowd of folks, and they may be related to you in the body of Christ, but because of your coat of many colors... You don't hear me. Because what God has painted on you, because of the rainbow of the Anointing that's on your life... Oh, you don't hear me tonight. Every now and then there's going to be a group of people that want to do away with you.

So they got a little plot together. And they said, "Let us destroy him." But one of the brothers said, "No, let's just put him in a ditch." And the Bible went on to say, as the Ishmeelites went by, they decided to sell him.

God is speaking to somebody's heart tonight. God has called you to do a work. And you've gotten so excited about it that you shown your anointing before the time. You see, if you show your anointing before the time, the devil can ambush you. The devil can have an opportunity to try to do away with you.

You remember we talked about Jesus and how God gave, Joseph a dream. And he spoke to him. He said, "Wait a minute. You need to hide that baby. You need to take that baby and cover that baby up."

You see, if you show your ministry... You don't hear me in this house. If you show you ministry before the time, Herod will destroy you.

They decided to sell him. They wanted to get rid of him. They wanted to get rid of that anointing.

You see, there's something special about you. As T.D. Jakes was saying, you are an original. There's a special anointing that has been placed on your individual life. You don't have to worry about how so and so does it. God has given it to you a different way.

They sold him. But he still kept an optimistic outlook. God is speaking to His people.

No matter where you are in the body of Christ, a lot of you are called to the ministry. Hello, somebody. God wants you to stay in a place where He can do all He needs to do with you until you come to a place, a maturity. Jesus didn't start doing His ministry until He was up in his thirties. Glory to God. You don't hear. And then when he was thirteen, He said (Glory to God), "I need to be about My Father's business."

But we have come into the place where we want to go about our Father's business before the time. Be still until God says otherwise.

He was still optimistic about his situation. Let me tell you what God will do when you stay optimistic. He'll give you favor. He'll give you favor with whomever He needs to give you favor with. In Genesis thirty-nine, it said,

1. And Joseph was brought down (in verse one) to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.

2. And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

Look at verse six.

6. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.

You see, you've been threatened about what your brother... You don't hear me. You've been threatened about what they said about you. You've been threatened about what they did to you. But if you stay optimistic, though it seem that you're in captivity, God is going to give you favor in your captivity. Oh, you all don't hear what I'm saying tonight. Who am I talking to? You ain't never been held captive.

The Bible said that Joseph was a prosperous man. Wait a minute, Joseph, how are you a prosperous man when you're already back in Egypt? He had favor because of his attitude. Oh, I feel the Holy Ghost.

What's wrong with our attitudes? We go through the flood, and we get an attitude. We start to go through a little bit of fire, and we get an attitude. Hell breaking through on the left and on the right, and we get an attitude. But where Joseph was, he got favor anyhow, because he had the right attitude.

Your attitude means more than anything else in the sight of God. You might not like where you are, but God can bless you right where you are. He ain't got to bring you into Canaan to bless you. He can bless you in Egypt, somebody. Oh, somebody got a revelation. He can make you a promised land right where you are. Oh, I feel the Holy Ghost. If you keep the right attitude. I feel the Holy Ghost tonight.

The Bible said that he had favor in the Egyptian man's house. Look at your Bibles. The Egyptian man...

Let me tell the story a little bit. He had a wife that had roaming eyes. Hello, somebody. And she got the bid on Joseph. And she watched him. Let me paraphrase this thing a little bit. She said, "Mmm. You know how we used to do. Mmm. We don't do that no more." She got the bid on Joseph.

And at the opportune time... The Bible said that all the men that would normally be in the house, they were gone. And the Bible said that she asked Joseph, she said, "Come and lay with me." And Joseph wouldn't. She asked him again, "Come and lay with me."

And the Bible said that Joseph went to run. There hath no temptation taken you but such is common to man. For God is faithful, who will not have you tempted above what you are able, but with every temptation make a way of escape.

He turned and he went to start running, and she grabbed. And she grabbed his garment. And when the man of the house got home, she made up a little story. It seemed as though she had the right evidence.

See, you're worried about what somebody got on you. Hello, somebody. As long as it ain't true, you ain't got nothing to worry about. Don't get quiet on me now.

She made up a little story. She said, "Look at here." She said, "I've got the garment of this servant that you've got in this house. You know what he tried to do? He tried to lay with me."

And all that favor seemed as though it went down the drain. The Bible said the Egyptian cast him into the king's prison with all the people that the king would through in jail. But did Joseph get upset about it? No. Joseph stayed optimistic.

There were two other people that were down in the prison with them. And Joseph interpreted the dream. He stayed on the Lord's side in his captivity.

We get thrown in jail, and we can't hear from God no more. I'm not talking about a physical jail. I'm talking about a spiritual jail. We get so depressed and so down (glory to God) that we couldn't hear nobody's voice, let alone a still, small voice.

But Joseph knew who belonged to. He knew with whom he had to do. There was no doubt in his mind that his God was able. There's no doubt in my mind that my God is able. I don't care where you're at, there's nothing impossible for God. Just stay in His Presence.

So Joseph was down there. And you know how they say in the old church, "I'm a waiting until my change comes." Hallelujah. I don't know exactly where you are right now, but you need to wait until your change comes. Don't start kicking against the prick now. Wait until your change comes.

So the king dreamed a dream. Mmm hmm. And the king did not understand the interpretation of the things. And he called for all the servants, all the people in the kingdom to try to interpret this thing. And they couldn't. But there was a man that spoke about Joseph. How many of you know, when you're at you're at your lowest point, somebody's still got something good to say about you? Oh, you don't hear me tonight. As long as you stay on the Lord's side, somebody's got something good to say about you.

They said, "There's a man that's in prison. And he's able to interpret dreams."

And so the king summoned him. And Joseph said, "Don't you all know that the Lord is the Revealer of secrets? He'll reveal this things. So Joseph prayed. And he gave the interpretation of the thing. He gave the interpretation of what the Lord was saying. The Lord was saying that there would be a famine for seven years. And there'll be plenty for seven years. But during the time of plenty, store up for those seven.

You see, when you are the head of a house, you got to have eyes to see. Because every now and then there's going to be a time of plenty. But the Bible says the day of adversity is set over against the day of prosperity. So adversity is sure to come. So I've got to have wisdom to lay something aside for adversity.

The Bible said that after he gave the interpretation of the thing, that Pharaoh raised him up. The Bible said that he was the second in command. You see, if you keep your attitude optimistic, I don't care where you are in your life; I don't care where you are in your ministry, God is going to do exceeding, abundantly above all you could ever ask or think, according to the power that rests on the inside of you.

Somebody needs to hear this tonight. You've been going through some things, but God's been checking out your attitude. And instead of having an optimistic attitude, you've had a pessimistic attitude. Even the world understands a truth about positive thinking. That's not the truth, but that's a truth. But we at the body of Christ have the truth. Oh, you don't hear me tonight. So how much the more shall we prosper and have good success, if we keep the right attitude? Be optimistic, no matter where you are right now.

Let me tell you. His brothers came, because they heard that there was food where Joseph was. And in chapter forty-five... Glory to God. Let me tell you what he said to his brothers. In verse five he said,

5. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, (he still had the right attitude) that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

6. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.

7. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

Now here's the part I like in verse eight.

8. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

See, when your enemies do you wrong... You don't hear me tonight. God is going to take everything that was meant for evil, and turn it around for your good. Look at chapter fifty and verse twenty. It said,

20. But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

You see, if you keep the right attitude, though they meant it for evil, your God is going to turn it around for your good, if you keep the right attitude, if you remain optimistic about the situation. Yeah, they're doing you wrong. Yeah, they're talking about you. Yeah, they won't give you what you're supposed to have on that job. Yes. But the God that sees the evil has got a plan. He's going to turn it all around for your good. Give God a handclap of praise.

Joseph believed that everything that happened to him was ordained by God. Everything. You know, preachers will tell you know that, you know, the devil ain't supposed to, you know... The devil is a lie.

He'll allow the devil to think that he's got the upper hand. The Bible said, had they known He was Jesus, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, if they knew who He really was. But what they were trying to do for evil, God had a plan. Oh, I feel the Holy Ghost, if you don't feel the Holy Ghost. I feel the Holy Ghost for myself.

Let the devil think he's got the upper hand. The Bible says to agree with your adversary quickly. But see, that takes patience, doesn't it? That takes wisdom. If I agree with my adversary quickly while he's in the way, I'm going to stay out of prison. And I'm going to allow him to think that he's got the upper hand on me. But when it's all said and done, I'll be the only one standing in the Name of Jesus.

Just like Joseph, Paul said it, that we know that all things work together for good. Paul said we're perplexed yet not distressed. I mean, Paul had a revelation. He said, "No matter what state I'm in, I've learned to be content." Why? Because He's working it out for my good. I'm not going to murmur. I'm not going to complain. He's working it out for my good. He's working it out. Because I'm optimistic about God.

When we look at Jacob, he had a negative attitude. He had what we would call a persecution complex toward people and ministry. He had to leave home because first of all, he had a conflict with his brother and a conflict with his father. And then (glory to God) when he went with Laban, to win Laban's daughter over, he had a conflict (glory to God) with Laban, because he had a manipulative attitude. He had a pessimistic attitude. He tried to get the upper hand himself. He put his hands to everything himself.

Many of us are still trying to put our hands to what God is trying to do. But I tell you tonight, take your hands off of what God is doing, and let God be God. This is typical of ministers who have to lead their home church, because of conflicts with leaders and pastors. It wasn't until Jacob met the Lord and wrestled with the Lord that he was finally transformed.

Some of us need a supernatural transformation to take place. After he was transformed, he ceased in his manipulative methods that he used. Every time something unpleasant happened to Jacbob... In Genesis forty-seven, nine, he concluded that all things were against him. Mmm. Any time something happened, it was, "Woe is me."

But in Second Corinthians four, verse eight and verse ten, Paul talked about his trials that he endured. There's always a time that we need to be taught, taught what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. There's an old saying that children need to be seen and not heard. But in the body of Christ we're always trying to be heard and seen at the same time.

When we look at Jacob, he was one of those type of people that no matter how much tact you used, no matter how you walked on eggshells to get across what you were trying to say... Uh oh. Holy Ghost. No matter how much wisdom you put into the words, the spirit of correction always brought about a spirit of rejection.

Listen. Every now and then you're going to be corrected. Every now and then your pastor or a leader is going to have to tell you something. But James talks about a teachable spirit. I believe it's chapter three, verse seventeen. It talks about having a teachable spirit, a bendable spirit, a spirit that's easy to work with. Oh, hallelujah to Jesus.

Sometimes you try to work with folks, and you get a headache in the process. Be walking through a mine, a mine, trying not to step here, and trying not to step there, trying not to step there. Glory to God. We'll never grow like that. The spirit of correction should not bring about rejection. Let me say that again. I feel the Holy Ghost on me. The spirit of correction should not bring about a spirit of rejection.

If you keep that Jacob spirit before he was transformed, you'll never make it in the ministry. You see, people, when you ask them what church they go to, and they be walking around and running around place to place trying to prophesy to somebody, but when you ask them who's their pastor, they don't have a pastor, something wrong with that.

Don't allow ((Tongues) I feel the Holy Ghost.) the spirit of correction to bring about rejection. Don't be pessimistic like Jacob was. Don't be manipulative like Jacob was. But be optimistic like Joseph was.

The Bible says if God be for you, who can be against you? So on that job where you know that they're not doing you right, keep your mouth shut. In your marriage, when you know she or he is not doing you right, keep your mouth shut. When your child are rebellious and they don't want to listen, now you correct them. Hallelujah.

Joseph was raised up to where he was supposed to be, because of his attitude. We can take inventory all over this church. No matter what's going on where you are, keep the right attitude. Even if you got to move from where you are, keep the right attitude. Because the way you leave there is the attitude you going to bring where you going.

Joseph-optimistic. Jacob-pessimistic. Where do you fall? There's no middle. God said, "Either for Me, or you're against Me." There's no middle.

Give God a handclap of praise.

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