FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK ~ We find in Exodus 15 that the Israelites are put to a test by God. They have just been delivered from Pharoah and his army by crossing the Red Sea on dry ground. Moses and the Israelites sang a song to the Lord praising Him for their deliverance. But just three days later after traveling in the wilderness, they could not find water to drink. The people began to grumble and complain. Grumbling and complaining is a sign of a failed test. They had just experienced a miracle of God of incredible proportion and now could not believe that God was aware that they needed water to drink.
Did you ever take a test in school that covered material that you had not covered in class or was assigned in homework? Some of us might have thought so at the time, but probably not. It would not be fair to the students to test them on material and information that they had not reviewed. The same is true about our Heavenly Father. He will not put us to a test that we have not received prior teaching or instruction. This is an important principle for us to remember as we face the challenges of life. How we respond to those challenges determines whether we pass, fail, or learn from the experience. There are tests we will pass that will allow us to continue to grow in our faith. Unfortunately, there will be tests that we fail. How we react to failure will affect us either negatively or positively. If we grumble and complain because we go through trouble, we have truly failed. But if we learn from the experience, we still have a chance to grow from the trial. Growth to be more prepared and equipped to successfully face obstacles in the future. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it an opportunity of great joy when your faith is tested. Then your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when it is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”~ Blessings, protection, and favor to all.
FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK ~ Life is full of natural milestones that mark various stages or significant happenings in our lives. Milestones refer to specific times that function as markers in our journey through life. Natural milestones are things such as the day you got your driver’s license (mine marked with a flat tire), graduating high school or college, wedding day, the loss of a friend or a loved one, or your children being born to name a few. These are times that we look back upon that can bring us joy, encouragement, comfort, or even sadness at times.
As one author has said, “While natural milestones in our lives are meaningful, they are not as significant as spiritual milestones. Spiritual milestones lift our eyes from the challenges (or discouragement for the moment) and help us get a glimpse of the journey as a whole. They can inspire us to take that next step of faith and experience God at work.” Those steps help create examples of spiritual milestones such as the day that we became a Christ-follower, encounters with God forever etched in our minds and hearts, prayers written and kept in a Bible, specific verses memorized, songs that have touched our lives, or storms in life that we have survived with God’s help. We must make time in our busy lives not to neglect to mark, record, and share these important times on our spiritual journey.
“I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old” (Psalm 77:11). Making the intentional effort to remember and celebrate the spiritual milestones in life will cause us to be aware of God’s presence in our lives. He is always present and working. It is a matter of whether we will see Him or not. Remembering our spiritual milestones in life will help us notice Christ and remind us we can always trust His lead. ~ God’s blessings, protection, and favor to all.
FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK ~ I will be the first one to admit that I really like the flavor of salt. It is a great enhancer to the flavor of certain foods. It is also used as a preservative. It helps prevent rot or decay of certain foods. The salt that we have today is a stable compound that does not lose its effectiveness. This was not the case with the salt found around the Dead Sea. It was contaminated with gypsum and other minerals causing it to lose its effectiveness as a flavor enhancer or preservative. It was thrown out onto the footpaths to kill vegetation.
Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the salt of the earth...” (Matthew 5:13). We, as Christ-followers, are considered people who bring flavor and preservative factors to the world around us. We should change the flavor of society as we bring the savor of Christ to those we encounter. It is our responsibility to also bring a preserving force to our communities that struggle with spoil and decay. God’s Word working through us helps bring a thirst for God and a preventative to the corruption that is affecting our world.
As salt, we must be careful that we are not contaminated so that we lose our effectiveness for Christ. The world will always be a force to be reckoned with as it appeals to us in ways that will contaminate us. It will make every effort to divert our focus away from God and His will for our lives. It’s temptation of possessions, money, higher status, and recognition are nothing new since it was the same for Adam and Eve as well as for Jesus. James 4:4a says, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?” Let us all stand in defense of being contaminated by the world. May we not lose our uniqueness as a preservative and savor that may affect our ability to make a lasting difference for God’s kingdom. ~ God’s blessings, protection, and favor to all.
FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK ~ As most of you may know, this ministry was founded over 23 years ago by Bro. Bob & Sister Peggy Evans. They were called to focus on feeding the elderly, the disabled, and single parents. Over the years that has grown to cover anyone who has a need of food. Veterans, the displaced, the working needy, the unemployed, and others are now welcome and are provided with provisions for them and their families. As this focus has transitioned, so has the number of individuals in need increased over time. 2022 was the largest year yet in the number as well as percentage of increase for those coming for food. Here are a couple of vital facts:
• The number of families increased by 50.9% over 2021
• The number of individuals increased by 67.1% over 2021
As we have seen this increase in demand, we have also seen an increase in our cost of keeping the ministry operational. But it is because of dedicated individuals like yourselves that we have been able to meet the growing need presented before us. We are thankful and humbled for your consistent prayers, your volunteering of your valuable time, and/or your sacrificial giving financially to see that the work continues. Please keep praying that we will have availability to ample food supplies, please keep volunteering as your time permits, and please continue to give financially as you are able so that we can remain faithful to our mission. The only way this can be accomplished is by allowing God to work through you and me. By Him working through us, He can work through Joseph’s Storehouse. It is only through us and His guidance that we will be able to finish the race that He has placed before us. His faithfulness through us and the ministry has literally helped feed thousands of families over the years. Psalm 9:1 says, “I will praise you Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.” ~ God’s blessings, protection, and favor to all.
FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK ~ A resolution has been defined as “a firm decision to DO or NOT DO something specific”. Resolutions are usually made in our culture during the New Year celebration. Some of the most common ones are to lose weight, spend less, get more organized, exercise more, etc. Unfortunately, somewhere before the end of January, most of us have either abandoned our efforts or have forgotten what our resolution was. Most New Year’s resolutions are broken because most see the benefits do not outweigh the cost. Lack of time, motivation, or loss of zeal after starting figure into the cost.
Christ-followers should be more focused on making a daily resolution. One that the benefits far exceed the cost of time, motivation, and zeal required. One that can have a greater chance of success because it is renewed daily. Jesus said, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Jesus himself gives us a daily resolution: “Deny oneself and take up one’s cross.” A resolution that not only has immediate benefits but eternal rewards as well.
How can we deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily? One author has given us a few guidelines of how to do so: (1) By surrendering fully to the Lord daily. This means a life of absolute denial to self and the world. (2) By daily imitating Christ. If we live for Christ and daily imitate His lifestyle, we will exemplify His love, mercy, grace, kindness, gentleness, and compassion that will glorify our Heavenly Father. (3) By spending quality fellowship time with God in prayer and meditating on His word. Without prayer and the word of God active in our lives, we will find it almost impossible to deny ourselves. Our daily resolution and our greatest desire should be to deny ourselves and take up our crosses and follow Him. By doing so, we can truthfully say, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). ~ God’s blessings, protection, and favor to all.