While we are participants of our circumstances, we do not have to be victims in them. From Joseph's experiences, we can learn powerful lessons on how to prosper with the hand we are dealt.
Hey, I'm Josh Hallmark. And I want to thank you for listening to one of the Oaks podcasts. Remember this message from Isaiah chapter 61. God takes the seeds of brokenness and turns them in the Oaks of righteousness, and that's you. the title of my talk today is called prospering in your land of captivity. And I believe it was, Wes was talking earlier about the about the children of Israel being in Egypt. And the story that I want to talk to you today is actually the story of Joseph. And I would like to talk about Joseph, in the context of kind of where we are right now. As a nation, and as just as the world you know, we're still in the midst of this, this pandemic, where this is, it's not that this has never happened before. But this is probably the first time that any of us have ever experienced I know, at least in my lifetime, there's never been anything like this. And, um, anyway, it's something I would say one of the bigger impacts is it, it's been restrictive. And, and so I want to talk today about not not being a victim, to your captivity, to the the circumstances that you have found yourself in. And I think this is one of the ongoing messages of our church are one of my masma one of my personal messages is, is that God has given us power that we really have a, we have a choice, we have power in the midst of where we are, we're not victims, but God has made us victors. And so anyway, just a little bit. So just a little context. Jacob, y'all know Abraham, Isaac, y'all know Jacob, Jacob is the grandson of Abraham, Jacob had 12 sons, and Jacob, his, he had two sons, by Rachel, you guys might remember Jacob story. He had two or three different wives and children by them. But then Rachel was like, who he was smitten with, from the very beginning. He worked all those years for Laban. And then finally, he and Rachel married, and he had a child, Joseph, and he had another child, Benjamin. And so anyway, Joseph, the Bible says was Jacob's favorite son. How do you think that when any of your kids ever say that the other one is the favorite? Yeah. What if everybody knew it was Joseph. And in fact, not only did they know that Joseph was the favorite son, dad went and made him a custom made coat of many colors. And Joseph wore the code around. So there was continually this reminder to everybody, that Joseph's the favorite. And anyway, the way the story goes, is that Joseph was the favorite and and he was a little bit of a tattletale. And, you know, his brothers were doing something that wasn't right. Joseph gave a bad report, the Bible said, of his brothers. Let me just mention one more thing. His brothers are working. Apparently, he is not working. He's checking up on his brothers. And so they probably hated him for that. The Bible says they hated him, because he was the father's favorite. So they were they were green with envy, right? And then it says that Joseph gave a bad report of his brothers. And they hated him. All the more. Right? And so Joseph is, he's not one of these characters that you think oh, man, he's awesome. But in the midst of this, Joseph has a dream. In fact, he has two dreams. His first dream is that he is with all his brothers, and they have sheaves and like, imagine a stack of wheat. Okay, I've got a stack of wheat. It's all bundled up and the wheat would sit out overnight. By the way, that's where the though it would firm it and not farm it. And that's what caught you know, gluten we saw about gluten free is because the sheaves don't have the opportunity to do that outside in the because they're harvested so quickly. Anyway, that's an aside, but they all had sheaves. And so imagine Standing up bundle of cheese. And in, in the dream, all of their sheaves circled around Joseph, and bowed down to him. Pretty powerful dream, right? Has Joseph kind of at the center, he's kind of at the center of this dream. And so he does what any little brother would do is he goes and brags about it. He tells his brothers and it caused them to despise him anymore. They started calling him a dreamer. Right? He had another dream that the stars and the moon and the sun all bow down to him. And his, his brothers interpreted this dream to mean they're the stars. His dad even interpreted to mean that he was the son and mom was the moon. And and, and his dad was like, Am I really gonna bow down to you? It says that Jacob is I guess this is how much Jacob love Joseph. is Jacob says he pondered it. But the brothers were vehement against Jacob. I'm sorry, I guess Joseph because of this. So anyway, the brothers are all in Alabama for a spell and they say Come let us go to death in and just kidding. But they did say Come let us go to nothing. And they went to DOS and and the dad says, Hey, Joseph, why don't you go out and check on the brothers and see how they're doing right? So Joseph goes out, he checks on the brothers, he actually is looking for the brothers. He he finds somebody and says, Have you seen him? And they're like, no, I heard him say, comas got to death. And so he hits towards dopamine. And then in the distance, the symbol of their hatred, they see Joseph come in with his fancy coat on. And so they know who it is, right? here's a here's a brief aside, I'm gonna jump forward in the story just because I think this is interesting. Whenever Joseph's brothers, because you guys probably all know how this story goes. Whenever bro, Joseph's brothers, dip the coat in blood and take it back to dad. They all say is this Joseph's coat? Is that no. They say Is this your son's coat? They won't even come there, bro. They just say Is this your son's coat? And obviously Jacob recognize it. And he's like, yes, this is you know, a beast has eaten him. But you guys think the brothers didn't know what the coat like? If you ever seen me wear this vest before? Would you recognize this video? If you saw this vest laying over here? You probably know it. And we're not brothers. I mean, we are brothers and sisters. But they saw Joseph all the time, in that custom made coat. And they're playing the I'm just telling you this is how much disdain they had for him. They said, Is this your son's coat? Of course, they knew it was his coat. Right? anyway. So back up, Joseph sees them. Number one, though, there's something to say is that God will actually use people who are stinkers, to bring about his purposes. When we think of Joseph, we think of this amazing man of God. But I want you to understand that there was a time in his life, where he was immature and impulsive. He was a tattletale. So I want you to think about the person that you don't like so much. And I want you to think that God might actually give them a dream. That's to be a nation changer. This is one thing I love about God is that he is able to see us in the midst of our immaturity, and still see the potential in what we can become. And God will even give you a fancy word. When you're proud about your fancy coat at the same time, God is so good, is all I'm saying. But God spoke to Joseph. And he revealed Joseph's destiny. And, um, but Joseph, I would say, Joseph, you know, the Bible even says that when Mary heard all these things about Jesus, these prophetic words about Jesus, she just pondered them in her heart. But this is not what Joseph did. Right? He was talking and, and his brothers, I just think that it might not have had to be that way. I really don't know. But all I know, is that God will use us, even when we have some immaturity in our lives. That's exciting, isn't it? We can still have a destiny. And God will also use our car conflicts with brothers and sisters in Christ. And use that to bring about our destiny and that cool, and that good news? Yeah, that's good news. So anyway, so they see Joseph coming from a distance. They recognize the coat they know it's him. They're like, here comes that dreamer. will show him Let's kill him. That's their intention is to kill him. And not everybody. There's 11 Brothers, not everybody wants to kill him. His brother. I think it was the oldest brother Ruben. He says I had a golden retriever named after him. Ruben was no offense if you know someone named Ruben. But Ruben says, No, let's don't kill him. What would that do? Why don't we sell him? Or why don't we, because they put him in a pit for a time. And I think there might have been another brother that was speaking on his behalf. But um, long story short, Ruben tried to get him into the pit to buy some time, so that he could come back and rescue him and get him back to his dad. So I appreciate that. I think that's something that we're these that Ruben wanted to do the right thing. There, at least initially, even though he probably hated Joseph too. Right? Joseph was talking about bowing down to him. Ruben was the firstborn son, he was the one that actually would have been, I don't know, that's just an interesting thought. But that that's the very one that was showing some maturity. But, um, but anyway, what happens next? Is there some ishmaelites traders, so there's some guys on their way to Egypt. So they lived in Canaan, which is north east of Egypt. So these are some Asian light traders coming down. And the Asian lights if I remember, right there on there on the, the eastern side of the Jordan, so they would have been coming across maybe Canaan, to get down to, to, to Egypt. And so they're on their way, they're going through death. And I guess, and that's how you get to the beach. Right? And so that's where they're headed. They're on their way. And, and they, they by Joseph, the brothers decided to sell him in captivity. So Joseph goes from being a favorite song, can you say a favorite son? So Joseph goes from being a favored son, to being a captive. And one thing that I just wanted to mention, is when we move from season one season of favor, into another season of favor, like we may be, I think Joseph is probably pretty happy with his lot in life. You know, I'm saying, he got a he got to report on his brothers, he kind of had a supervisor tight mindset. And he, and he had a fancy coat, right? He was looking good. And, and he went from having that place of favor, with his mom, with his dad, to that being taken away, but I do want to recognize that he was favored. And I want you to understand something is that you guys are favored. And one thing that switches and I just think this is part of Joseph destiny, is that he went from one season of favor, and we're gonna find out there, he came into another season of favor. But one thing that had to change, for him to move into another season of favor, was his context. And that context, just so happened to be captivity. Now, the reason I want to mention that is because what has happened in our world is that we're in that like, it seems like COVID has just squeezed us in terms of it's not kept. It's not slave captivity. But it is definitely we're in a different a different, I would say, from last year, January, this year, January, would you agree that we're in a different context? We're really different. I heard one of our teachers and our teachers meeting yesterday, she's got kids, that one's about to graduate high school, others about to graduate college, she's really alarmed at what her kids are going into. And I can concur. I can see that that is a different time is a different context. But the good news is, is that that even in the context of captivity, you can find a season of favor, how about that, and that God's purposes are bigger than the smaller seasons of captivity. Now, for Joseph, this was not a small season. This was a season of his life. But let's look at what happened. One more thing that I want to say about Joseph in his initial area favor, it does not seem like he carried that favor with humility. He was definitely favored. And everybody knows the favorite, but there was pride in the way that he interacted with that favor. And and one thing I would love to say to you right now is just stop. A lot of us have blessing on our lives. But you don't want to, you know, want to flaunt your coat, you know, I'm saying you want to carry what you got with humility, because that helps you have it and it not have you in terms of the favor. So God forbid and this happens this happens to a lot of people is that the very favor that God gives them can become their destruction if there's not humility. And so anyway, this is one reason that I've always prayed and I primarily pray in this when I was actually a young man if I pray see more, but I used to pray this when I was a young Christian is Lord, don't let my favor out, run my my humility or something like that, that I used to pray is I wanted to develop the capacity to hold the blessing that God would give me So anyway, um so let's go to let's go to potter's house. Okay, let me I'm learning how to use my, my device here. My notes are 100% written written digitally and that night, I like this thing. But I'm still learning how to use it. Here it is. Okay. So let's look at this. This is this is Genesis chapter 39. So we skipped from 38 to 39. Joseph's whole story is about 10 chapters long, by the way. So it's something that you could you could read in one sitting or a couple sittings, to read about his whole story. But Joseph was captured, and he was taken down to Egypt, the Bible says Potiphar, an Egyptian, who was one of Pharaohs officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the ishmaelites and had taken him there. And so he goes to potter's house. Potiphar is the captain of the guard. Basically what that means is um, so imagine prisons in Egypt, but there's a certain prison where Pharaohs personal captives go. So these might be people that Pharaoh decides to execute, or to hold for a time. The, the, this type of prison was probably more like a house arrest kind of situation. Will Potiphar was in charge of the guard for this type of prison. Okay, so Potiphar he helped, at least this is what I read is that he, he was, it was like, it was like a special section of, of informed law enforcement or whatever. But Potiphar was in charge of it. But part of her bought Joseph for his own estate. So part of her brains, Joseph to his own estate, Joseph has gone from being the favorite son to now he is a slave. And this is what the Bible says about Joseph in his captivity, can you say in his captivity, is this is very important for us. We can either be a victim, you can have a slave mentality, or you can be in captivity, and have this be your story. This is what it says, The Lord was with Joseph. And he prospered. And he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him, and gave him success in everything he did. Joseph found favor in his eyes. And let me get the MA sorry, he found fire and gate. And he became his attendant Potiphar put him in charge of his household. And he entrusted to his care, everything he own. From the time that he put him in charge of his household and all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian, because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So he left Joseph in care of everything he had. It's just like repeating the same thing with Joseph in charge. Potiphar did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. So Joseph was so committed and I want you to think about something real quick. Do you think about your boss this way? Like the people that are in your upline, do you think how can I take care of them and this is something that we will see Mark Joseph's life in every new employment situation that he finds himself in. First is with Potiphar here's what Joe's of date. And I think this is really, really key. This is actually the thing that I want you to get today is that Joseph, he's in a season of favor. And then he's moved to a season of captivity, where things are restricted. And I don't know if you guys know what it feels like to feel restricted, I feel like life is not what it was before. It is so easy to look back on life before COVID. And just think I wished it was that. But at some point, I don't know how long this is gonna last. At some point, we're gonna have to say, I receive the context that I am now in. And I believe that the Lord is with me in the current context, and we need to understand something there were people in Egypt during the seven years of famine, who were made very rich by that famine, and there were people who were very poor by that same famine. Now, here's a question is, which one do you want to be? And so it's really important that we adopt the same type mentality that Joseph had, even though he was a slave, he still trusted in the Lord. The Bible says, The Lord was with him. And the Lord was with him to so much that God was blessing his boss because of the blessing on him. That's the same thing. I don't know if you guys remember Jacob, when Jacob worked for light Laban The Bible says that, that Laban was blessed. Because I don't think labor was necessarily a godly man, he had his household idols and all that Laban was blessed, because Jacob was working for him. Now Wouldn't it be a neat testimony for you for it to be said for your boss to think there is so much blessing going on right now when I look at it, I see that it's because of that person being you. And here's the deal, Joseph had a heart see so there's so much junk in our culture, where it is the it is the the way of our culture to sit around the the the watercooler if you will, and just talk bad about your upline? I will say this, if Joseph had done that too much, he probably had his head cut off, right? But instead of sitting around the watercooler talking about how unjust it was, that he had been put, he had on it was injustice. It's the epitome of injustice, Joseph had a mouth, but he should have never been putting sold into slavery because of it. Right? It was the the consequence far outweighed. What instigated it? Anyway, Joseph did not embrace the victim mentality. That victim mentality says that I am a slave to this situation, because of someone else. I want you to understand something, it might be somebody else's decisions that cause you to be where you are right now. If somebody else has abused you, and you're in a situation right now, where you are in, or somebody else has made choices that have affected you, and put you somebody, maybe a business partner cheated you or something like that, and you're in the situation you're in, okay, you're here, but blaming them will not get you a favor from the Lord in that captivity. And so what Joseph did, is he started serving, he started to see this rack way. He started in his hula hoop. What can I do? In my hula hoop? I heard Stephen Covey describe it like this. There are two circles, two spheres, there is my circle of influence. And then there's my circle of concern. My circle of concern would extend to what's happening in our nation, our Capitol, there's, you know, the only thing I can really do about my broader circle of concern is to pray and intercede, to ask the God of heaven to do something about it. And I think that is that that is really all we can do in our circle of concern, but in our circle of influence, this is the epitome of being faithful in the little things that Jesus talked about. The little things are the things that are near you? What if the kingdom of heaven being at hand means that it's right here at you. And instead of you looking over there, see if Joseph had kept his eyes back towards Canaan, he would not have been able to embrace his current context, say this when we say circle of influence. So Joseph's circle of influence was not very big to begin with, Joseph started doing something that other people noticed God was with him in that. And because Joseph focused on his circle of influence, the part that he had access to your circle of influence is the place that you have authority over. And it might be small, maybe you have authority over your one desk, okay, start there. are you tracking with me, don't take authority that you don't have. That won't work for you, that'll get your head cut off, right. But what you can do is take the authority that you have and be faithful in that circle of influence. And Joseph, in his circle of influence, started being faithful. And the Bible says that he grew in favor. Do you know what that means? That means he grew in influence. That's the nature of it. So we can blame. Let me just say this, as long as you're blaming, you're not growing in favor. As long as you're blaming, you're not growing in favor, you can blame or you can grow in favor. And here's the amazing thing. Is that, um, is that Joseph grew infant favor, and in particular, would give him Do you know what happens when you do a good job? You get more, right. Some of us don't like that so much, but, but that's what happens. Joseph grew in favor. And then he became in charge of the whole household. And then y'all know the story about what happened with Potter for his wife. And, Joseph, here's something interesting, you always got to be aware of what is in your circle of influence, and what is not your circle of influence. Now, Joseph, had a very clear boundary, that I have everything I have access to everything in this household, but I don't have access to this man's why that was really clear. See, if that same pride had been in Joseph, he might have thought, Man, I got this going on. I could do I, you know, I can do whatever I want and get away with it. But he didn't. He said, How can I do this to God? And so anyway, you guys know the story, right? Potiphar comes home, his wife is like this Hebrew that you brought in here is taking advantage of us. She's making spore to me. And part of her is irate. And so he puts Joseph in prison, but I'll tell you something. Potiphar put Joseph in the prison. That was like he was in. He was in charge. And so he was not putting he was put in a prison. That was like the kings, you know, who you remember some other characters from the same prison? The King's cup bear, the king's Baker. And so that's not terrible company. I mean, it is they're all criminals. They're in prison. And I don't necessarily think he was treated. Well, I think they're treated better than the other prisons that may have been available on the ship. I mean, surely, they were. He was in prison. But I think that if Potiphar had really believed that it happened, he would not have put Joseph in prison. I want you to know something that Chris Bowden says this is that your rep, your repetition is your reputation. This one off thing that happened? I think Potiphar did not fully believe it. He had to do something to save face. But what do you guys think that that a master like Potiphar would have done with a slave that tried to violate his wife? What do you think would have put him in prison? No, he would assault him in half. He would have hooked a horse to both legs and pulled him in half. He would have done something far worse than putting him in a house arrest tight. compound. Prison. Right. And so that's just my two cents. That's what I think. And Joseph, you know, I'm sure he's got Good grief. I try to do what's right. And then you know, I'm right back in this situation. But guess what Joseph did when he got to the prison. This shows that some of us some of us read the temperature and some of us carry the temperature Joseph carried the temperature, you understand, I'm saying he was a thermostat, he was not a thermometer. He got in another context of captivity. And what happened there you guys know the story is the Bible is basically the same thing. It says in Genesis 2939 21, that Joseph was put in charge of all the help in the prison. So Joseph had this gift of administration, by the way, I think it's brilliant. Joseph was an administrator. And he had the ability, he was a manager that he had the ability to manage people and things. And the prison warden, the Bible says, saw that God was with him. And it took that same story, where it says that, hey, the prison, the prison warden, gave no thought for anything that happened. Wouldn't you love you just another thought, wouldn't be just a great testimony. If your boss didn't have to worry about the things you were in charge of. Some of us, our boss might really be worried and really thinking, are they going to do this right? But what if our reputation was so good, that our boss was not worried that they had to check up on us, and that they had to be worried it says about pot over and about the warden that they gave thought for nothing, they were not worried about the things that were under Joseph's care. And that really says to me that Joseph was actually trying to help them. He was not just doing it for him. There was a faithful spirit that Joseph had. And And so anyway, you guys know the whole story that while he was in the prison, the baker and the cut bear, they had dreams, Joseph interpreted these dreams. And so just a couple things. I'm gonna start laying the point here. Is that, um, is it there's two things that Joseph did, actually three things, four things, I'm gonna tell you four keys that Joseph had that served him well, in captivity. Number one I just mentioned is he had a heart that was towards his outline, the he had a heart for the warden, to do things, so that the warden didn't have to think about anything. Let me just say something, sometimes. What we do is we create more work for our outline. But that's not what Joseph do. Sometimes, and ginger, and I've experienced this at times, you know, where we had hired somebody and hiring them, this is for our business. They just find things for us to do. Well, that's not why we hired them. Right? We needed the hill, but they're actually just telling us more what we need to be doing. That's not I would not call that that Joseph spirit. Joseph thought, How can I help now? Here's the crazy thing, you guys. Y'all know that Joseph? Finally he becomes like, the um, what do you call it? The the visor of? there's a there's a term I forget what it's called. The second in command of Egypt, you know, second, only the pharaoh his visor is at the top. Is that the right word? Anyway, he is like the, he's like, yeah, so he's like the chief administrator, for the whole for the whole nation. And he's overseeing this, this grain program? Well, as people start losing their money, they admit this is during the famine, Joseph actually gets more from them. And this might sound kind of harsh, that Joseph says, will I guess you could sell your livestock. And then after that, they're still famine. And Egypt still has grain? And they're like, well, I guess you could, we could make a bargain where in the future when things come back around, you give a fifth of all your proceeds to the king. And they're like, agreed, will be bound by that. So in the future, and so so Joseph takes their wealth. He takes their their livestock, and he also but I want you to understand something this is really important is that this was Joseph attitude. Joseph is not just thinking how can I do what I think is right, in my situation, but he's thinking how can I bless the man that I'm serving? I'm just throwing this out at you. I think that this was very critical to the level of trust that the Pharaoh had with Joseph to Joseph delivered him. You guys do know that when somebody would offend the pharaoh hoots in that prison, right. The cut bear he got restored the other guy what happened to him Yeah, he got home. And so Joseph having this, this level of committed to the king, I guess there's a fear you didn't want to be killed. But I think that that's not the spirit that Joseph had is that he really wanted to serve the king. And you see this with Potiphar. You see it with the prison warden. And you see it with, with Pharaoh. And I think it's because this is the weather that Joseph carried on the inside of him, and this is what we want. And instead of being a victim, in captivity, we can be victors in captivity, and we can grow in favor. There was this psychologist named Viktor Frankl. And he was a Jewish man who was who he was caught by the Nazis, he was put in a concentration camp, he saw a lot of death and destruction, there really humiliated. And he had this revelation while he was there, that they could not enslave him in his mind. Every freedom had been taken this actually sparked this whole ideology that he came up with afterwards. I don't know that he was a Christian, but this ideology of personal freedom. But I think it's neat because I think it's connected to what Joseph the wavelength he got on. And for us, we can believe the Lord is actually with us. But Viktor Frankl, when he was in prison, he got this idea that I'm free, no matter what they do, they can't have my person that's inside of here. They can do whatever they want with me, but they can't have what's in here. He became so powerful, that his presence became so powerful, that he became even an inspiration, not done The only other prisoners. But he became an inspiration and other guards, which I think is really fascinating. But this is somebody that begin to understand that no matter what happens to us, God has given us power. In fact, God has given us so much power that he's going to hold us accountable for at the end of our lives. But I think that that only means that he ultimately believes in us that he would give man that much authority. So four things Joseph did, I'm landing the plane. Number one, he served him in, that he was under number two, is that he cultivated wisdom and faithfulness. He was a problem solver. He was administrator. And that's the whole wisdom side. That's a muscle that he was working on. A third thing that Joseph cultivated is the supernatural in his life, when he had the opportunity to translate the baker and the and the, the cub bears dreams. He said, I can't, I can't do it. But I'm interpretation belongs to the Lord. And then he proceeded to interpret the dream. So it was no longer giving himself credit like he had done earlier in his life. But he's pointing back to Jesus and back to the Lord saying, The Lord will give you the interpretation. But he was on it, he was ready. With the interpretation. That means that Lifeline that vine thing was connected. And then again, when Pharaoh had his dream, Joseph quickly interpreted it. But here's the neat thing. Some of us think that they're either really supernatural are really administrative. But Joseph kind of had both pieces. He was into the supernatural. But then as soon as the pharaoh told him his dream, and he interpret it, well, then Joseph had an idea for how to administrate a plan based on the prophetic words. So I think that's a really neat thing to know is that Joseph cultivated wisdom and faithfulness, he cultivated also the supernatural. And then he served them in he was under and here's the fourth one is that Joseph had integrity, he would not sleep with Potiphar his wife and i think that this is one of the things that we need to know if we're gonna have favor, we want these things we want if we want to grow in favor. So at the end of Joseph's life, y'all stand with me at the end of Joseph's lie, this is actually when he became the visor or whatever the word is called when he became the the second in command. Joseph had two kids, and I just think this is the he had one son I'm a NASA am a NASA means God. He named him a NASA and he said, I'm naming him a NASA for God has made me forget the trouble of all my father's household. And this is an understand that Joseph carry that he had to deal with that. And we need to know that, you know, Joseph did not just cut them off that that had gone with him. And he finally saw that the Lord's faithfulness, so I mean, understand this was hard for Joseph. This was not he was not a super superhuman. This was difficult. For him, but then he had Ephraim. And he said, then I love this. And this is this is how and today. He said he had Ephraim, and he named Ephraim Ephraim for God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering. And I think that's the word of the Lord for the day, is that God can actually make us bountiful, and fruitful in the midst of our season of suffering. And that's exactly what he did for Jasmine, I think is neat, because he ended up having a kid named him that I met. And so let's pray, let's put our hands on our hearts. And here's what I want you to do. I want you just in your mind's eye to accept the fact that we are in the midst of a pandemic. We have some turmoil going on our nation right now we want to pray. We want to pray that this, this transition of power these next few days, it'll go smoothly that things will calm down in our nation. And we want to pray for a supernatural awakening some of us might be really scared about where it feels like our nation is headed, are we going to become communists or socialists, and all this stuff, but the thing that we can know is, no matter what happens, God can prosper us with favor if God can do for Joseph, under a dictatorship, then God can do it for us right now in the most free nation in the world, right. And so we just want to trust that the Lord is still here, even when we feel maybe like some of our freedoms are being infringed on, the whole stuff would stop and Twitter accounts and being censored and all this, this really strikes at the heart of, of a society that's built upon freedom. But we need to know even in the midst that I don't like that stuff. That does scare me. But we need to know that God is with us, and that he can show us favor in the midst of being restrained or constrained, no matter what it looks like. And no matter what situation we're in. So here's the deal. I want you in your mind's eye right now to just say, you know what, I'm not going to be a victim to this stuff. I'm not going to be a victim to what someone's done to me. I'm not going to be a victim to injustice, that was probably was really injustice, but I'm going to find God's favor. In my current context. I'm going to find my circle of influence and begin to serve the Lord in that hula hoop. So let's just do this. Can we commit ourselves right now? Let's pray. For more information about the visit the Oaks dot o RG thanks for listening