This thought and action of “Burn the ships!” has been considered significant by several military strategists for over 2,000 years. Alexander the Great in 334B.C. on the invasion of Persia and Cortes in 1519 on the Spanish conquest of Mexico just to name a couple. Both leaders were victorious in this action by telling their men that they were not going back. This kept the troops focus of moving forward in battle. They did not have the option of looking or turning back.
As we enter this New Year, let us consider this thought of “Burn the ships!” as we leave behind 2021. Spending time looking back prevents us from moving forward with what lies ahead. Let us “Burn the ships!” of past failures and successes, that of bad habits, that of regret and disappointment, that of guilt and condemnation, and that of past mistakes. Our focus must be to “Burn the ships!” of anything in our past that would hinder us from accomplishing what God has called us to do. That’s exactly what Elisha did when Elijah placed his mantle upon him (1 Kings 19:19-21). Elisha used the wood from his plow to barbeque his oxen to feed his family and neighbors. Elisha literally “burned the ships” (his farming tools and livestock) of being a farmer to move forward in accepting God’s call to be a prophet.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian Church, “this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead” ~ Phil. 3:13. Let this be our approach as we embark on this year of tremendous possibilities. God has many good plans for us to walk in and to experience. One of the main things that can prevent us from seeing this happen is to continue to look back. When we are tempted to look back, it does not allow us to see the wonderful opportunities that are right in front of us. Romans 8:25 says “But if we hope and look forward to something we don’t have, we must wait patiently and confidently.” May we all wait patiently and confidently in hope looking forward to what God has planned for each of us in this New Year. ~ God’s blessings, protection, and favor to all.
Every year for Christmas Christians around the world celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. He left His heavenly home and took upon Himself human flesh to dwell among us. As He did so, we do not need to just think of a baby in a manger at Christmastime. Christmas is so much more than that. He came that He could die on the Cross to pay for our salvation and destroy the works of the evil one. That is what Christmas is all about for those know Him.
It is very rarely that people think of the Cross at Christmastime because it is the time set aside to celebrate Jesus’ birth. But in Philippians 2, Paul connects the two thoughts as he writes about God coming to Earth as a man. Paul says in verse 8 regarding Christ Jesus, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.” For the sake of our redemption, God came as a baby and took upon Himself the appearance and likeness of man to be our atoning sacrifice.
As Rick Renner has stated, “Out of His deep love for us, Jesus was willing to leave His majestic realms of glory to enter the realm of humanity. Shedding all His visible attributes that were too much for man’s flesh to endure, He dressed Himself in the clothing of a human being and was manifested in the flesh. That little Baby in Bethlehem was the eternal, ever-existent God Almighty, who came to us in the human flesh so that He could dwell among men and purchase our salvation. He was and is the only constant in this world of chaos and confusion.”
The Board of Directors and staff of Joseph’s Storehouse would like to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christ-Centered Christmas. May you all experience “The Real Reason For The Christmas Season” as you stay well and safe this holy holiday time. ~ God’s blessings, protection, and favor to all.
Being thankful is a choice. We must dwell on the good things in our lives and away from the disappoints, mistakes, failures, and heartaches that try to hold our focus. We need to make a conscious effort to choose to be thankful. It’s not that we are pretending that bad things have not happened to us; we’re simply obeying the Lord as we focus on the good and display an attitude of thanksgiving. Paul said, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Paul’s words could not be any more direct or clearer! God wants us all to give thanks – not be resentful, not be ungrateful, not be discouraged, but thankful. When we consider all the terrible things that could have come about in our lives but didn’t, we can find many reasons to be grateful. God has spared us from so much – and it is His will that we maintain a consistent, thankful attitude for the goodness that He has shown to us all.
We should be encouraged to make the decision today to start purposefully focusing on the good things God has done in our lives. Even if we think life has been tough, we can be assured that it has not been as tough as it could have been. God has been good to all of us. The best thing we can do when someone asks us how we are doing, instead of saying “I’m good or I’m fine”, respond by saying “I’m thankful!” This conscious verbal response will not only change our attitude, but it also transforms the environment around us. This
practice will change the way that we see our lives and how we relate to others.
Joseph’s Storehouse Board of Directors and staff want to express our thankfulness and gratitude for those of you who have volunteered, prayed, or given financially to this ministry. It would be impossible for us meet the needs of so many without your commitment and support. ~ God’s blessings, protection and favor to all.
Many of us, as Christ followers, have heard “we are Jesus hands and feet.” The scripture in 1 John 4:17 confirms those words by instructing us that “as He is, so are we in this world.” When we consider this confirmation, we must meditate on this truth to ponder our responsibility in having this manifested in our lives. This truth is contained in this passage that focuses on God’s love for us and the importance of our love for Him and others.
It is affirmed here that “God is love” and that the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. God also instructs us that if He loves us, we ought to love one another. We discover the characteristics of love in 1 Corinthians 13 in which the writer refers this to the most excellent way. “Love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, it is not boastful, it is not arrogant, it is not rude, it does not seek its own way, it is not easily angered, and it does not keep a record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
These are some of the characteristics of our Heavenly Father. He is patient, kind, He does not envy, He does not boast or is arrogant, He is not rude or easily angered, He delights in the truth, He protects, trusts, hope and perseveres. God will never fail. Paul continues to say, “follow the way of love.” As God is love, so are we to be in this world. Our lives that others can see must reflect the God (who is love) that others cannot see. This reflection is accomplished by how we love Him and how we love one another. By this, love is perfected in us so that we have confidence in the day of judgement, because, “as He is, so are we in this world”. ~ God’s blessings, protection and favor to all.
“What is the Fear of God?” Many have given different answers to this complex question. One that seems to resonate with me the most is that the fear of God is to have a reverent awe and a healthy submissive fear of who He is. It seems to be easier for me to comprehend the reverent awe than it is the submissive fear. You see, I am amazed and stand in wonder of God and what He has done in this world as well as what He has done in my own personal life. It is a little harder for me to describe and understand the healthy fear admonished. Dr. Tony Evans gave an analogy that helped me understand this second part of the fear of God. He gave the example that when we are driving and we see a police car, what do we do? Most of us slow down. We understand the emblem on the car is representative of authority. It arrests us to change our actions to adhere to the speed limit that is safer and within the rules of the road. A healthy submissive fear has been created. It is the same for us when we know God. As we recognize His authority in our lives, it arrests us to change our actions to adhere to His commands. By doing so, we are more likely to make decisions and conduct ourselves in a manner that honors Him. Our submission to God’s rule and guidance creates a healthy submissive fear in us that He will bless.
God’s Word tells of many rewards He will bestow on those who fear Him. Knowledge, wisdom, mercy, goodness, prolonged life, blessings, instruction, and understanding just to name a few. Many more are listed throughout scripture. The last verses in the Book of Ecclesiastes written by Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, proclaims, “When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: fear God and keep His commands, for this is for all humanity.” May we all have a sincere desire to fear God and to walk in His ways. ~ God’s blessings, protection, and favor to all.
Most fathers give advice to their children as they are growing up. Some is very profound advice that is a lifelong benefit and other is more casual in nature. Regardless, it is an opportunity for the father to speak wisdom and direction into his children’s lives.
2 Timothy 2:1-7 contains fatherly advice from the apostle Paul who was a spiritual father figure to Timothy. He gives him five rules for life. The rules are so simple Timothy could have memorized them in short order. These simple rules provide a track for an abundant life, even in difficult times.
1) Be strong. Timothy is instructed to be strong in the “grace that is in Christ Jesus.” We can be strong in His promises, in His presence within us, in the privilege of prayer, in His perfect love, mercy and forgiveness.
2) Teach others. We are to teach others. This is one of the best scriptures on discipleship in the entire Bible. We must all strive to be qualified to teach others. As others are taught, it has a multiplying effect in the growth of God’s kingdom.
3) Endure hardship. If we are true followers of Christ, there will be hardships in this life. We must keep our eyes of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and His promises as we face trials of many kinds.
4) Stay disciplined. As an athlete, who must follow the rules to win the prize, we cannot win our prize unless we follow the rules found in the Bible. We must realize its promises, commands, truths, insights, encouragement, and instruction will help lead us to our heavenly reward.
5) Work hard. We must work hard in the kingdom of God as the farmer works hard in the fields. As the hardworking farmer is first to receive a share of the crops, so it will be for us in receiving our eternal home.
This fatherly advice was written by Paul to Timothy over 2000 years ago, but truth be told, this could be our Heavenly Father’s advice to His children today
Our whole life is based on the decisions we make, whether it is big decisions like if we choose to go to college, get married, our career, or have kids, or even smaller decisions such as if we decide what to wear today, where to have lunch, or whether to go for a walk or watch a movie. All these decisions we make in life can affect our immediate short term or long-term futures.
Pastor and Author Chuck Swindoll gives us four (4) key words to keep in mind when making life changing decisions:
1. ALWAYS look beyond the immediate benefits. One of the major temptations we face today is the promise of immediate gratification. We want what we want when we want it!!! We are so focused on what we want that we fail to consider what else will come to us as a result.
2. NEVER underestimate the impact of the permanent consequences. We must consider if the short-term benefit of our decisions is worth the consequences that cannot be changed. There are decisions in life, good or bad, that unfortunately cannot be altered.
3. FORGET about pleasing only yourself. We must consider how our decisions will affect others. We might think the decision we face today will only affect us. Not true. No one is completely independent from others and from the Lord.
4. REMEMBER that if the decision is going to take a toll on your walk with God, it is the wrong decision. We must consider how our decisions impact our relationship with God. There is no decision worth the price of interfering with the intimate fellowship we have with our heavenly Father. Each one of us today are at a place because of decisions that we have made in the past. As we make life changing decisions in the future, let us take into consideration the encouragement and recommendations from Pastor Swindoll. It is important for us realize that our decisions do determine our destiny.
The lyric of an old song goes, "don't worry, be happy." Most of us know that is easier said than done. Worry or anxiety is an emotion that we all are challenged with from time to time. Some more than others. If it is carried to the extreme, it can cause critical health issues such as a reduced immune systems, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, ulcers, and others.
The battle with anxiety can be exceedingly difficult to overcome by natural or medical means. Jesus had such a concern for us regarding this common struggle that He addressed it directly in His Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 6:25-34 gives us hope and a promise regarding worrying about this life. He says that if God gives attention to the needs of the birds and flowers, how much more will He do for us regarding our needs.
Jesus tells us not to worry, "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and He will give you everything you need (Matthew 6:33)."The word "seek" in this verse means to keep on keeping on until one has obtained. What is Jesus charging us to diligently seek after until we have obtained it? The Kingdom of God and His righteousness. It has been said that the Kingdom of God is where God has rule and reign over all areas of our lives. His righteousness can be defined as the divine standard God has established for mankind's actions and attitudes to be in right standing with Him. Jesus is telling us if we will first seek God's rule and reign in our lives and live according to His divine standards, we will have everything that we need. That is truly a kingdom cure for worry. ~ God's Blessings, protection, and favor to all.
In the early hours of Tuesday, March 3rd, Middle Tennessee, including our own Wilson County, was hit hard with deadly tornadoes. The one that came through Wilson County stayed on the ground for over 60 miles. Davidson, Wilson, Smith and Putnam Counties were devasted. Countless homes and businesses were damaged and many were completely leveled. Lives were lost, and many others were injured. It was horrific.
Even though we were without power at our facilities, we immediately began coordinating with the Operation Blessing disaster response team to get an emergency tractor trailor full of food and supplies to meet the need. The truck and our power both came Wednesday afternoon, allowing us to start distributions early Thursday morning. We opened our doors for those who were able to come, and we sent food and supplies to other areas including Putnam County and Mt. Juliet. We worked through other local ministries with boots on the ground to distribute to those who were unable to come pickup for themselves. We have continued to work with other agencies and organizations to receive and distribute emergency assistance.
We were still providing disaster relief from the tornadoes when the newest disaster came on the scene: Covid-19. The coronavirus provides its own unique challenges. We have all had to change our way of life- some of us more drastically than others. During both of these disasters, we as a ministry, and we as a community, have come together to help our fellow man. We are asking for everyone to continue to do so. While some people are hoarding necessities at the expense of others who may be in need, we see the best in humanity as you reach out to ask what can you do, what can you give, to help the cause.
We expect more people than ever to need food, toiletries, diapers, and hygiene products during this unprecedented time in our history. For those of you who can afford to do so, we still need financial contributions to cover the costs of overhead. It takes $$ to pay the large electric bills that keep the big walk-in freezers and coolers going, and to pay for freight for the big trucks or maintenance and fuel for our own old trucks, as well as the numerous other expenses to keep us going. For others, donations of extra food or supplies you may have is always a blessing. For the young and healthy, we still need volunteers to help with the food giveaway so that we can keep our elderly and disabled volunteers safe. You may call us at 615-453-5777 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Follow us on Facebook for continuous updated information.
Just to remind everyone of the changes this month, I am reposting this here as well.
DUE TO COVID-19 CONCERNS, THE FOLLOWING CHANGES WILL BE IMPLEMENTED DURING THE MARCH 26th & 28th GIVEAWAYS:
We will NOT be opening the building up to the public.
We ask everyone to REMAIN IN YOUR CARS. You will be lined up in order of arrival.
Please have your JOSEPH'S STOREHOUSE CARD on your dash or in hand so that it is visible to our volunteers. You will be directed through the pickup line from there for volunteers to load your food.
Please make sure your car TRUNK IS EMPTY so that volunteers will be able to easily load them.
If you normally receive adult or baby DIAPERS, please have your need, including size, written on a slip of paper. We will try to accommodate those needs as well, but we cannot guarantee as these supplies are low due to the recent tornadoes.
WE ASK FOR YOUR PATIENCE AS THIS IS NEW TO US ALL.
VOLUNTEERS, please arrive between 8-8:30AM for assignments. Prayer room volunteers will be reassigned to other areas. We will try to have gloves available, but if you have your own, please bring a pair.
If you have (or anyone near you has) been sick or exhibited symptoms associated with the flu or Covid-19 virus, PLEASE STAY HOME.
Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
Get ready for COVID-19 now
Take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.
Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
Avoid crowds as much as possible.
Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
Have supplies on hand
Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.
Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus.
Stay home as much as possible.
Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks
If a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time. (An outbreak is when a large number of people suddenly get sick.) Depending on how severe the outbreak is, public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.
Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
Determine who can care for you if your caregiver gets sick.
Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs
Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs*:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion or inability to arouse
Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
What to do if you get sick
Stay home and call your doctor.
Call your healthcare provider and let them know about your symptoms. Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
Community preparedness planning for COVID-19 should include older adults and people with disabilities, and the organizations that support them in their communities, to ensure their needs are taken into consideration.
Many of these individuals live in the community, and many depend on services and supports provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence.