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.
The tradition of giving and receiving is certainly not new to us. It goes back almost to the beginning of the human race. This tradition has been a special part of all nations, cultures, and societies, making it something that all humans throughout history have taken part in. Days such as birthdays, weddings, births, anniversaries, and others have been viewed as gift giving days.
There is no greater time to experience this tradition than during the Christmas season. It is an integral part of the season for family and loved ones around the world. Most of us take the time to consider the wants and needs of others as we plan to purchase those special gifts. Our desire is that the gift given is received as an expression of our love, appreciation, care, honor, or respect of that individual. The normal response to receiving a gift is to reciprocate by the action of giving a gift in return. Thus, the tradition of giving and receiving continues.
Christ-followers have the honor to experience this tradition, not only during the Christmas season, but every day of our lives. You see, our Heavenly Father gave all of mankind the greatest Gift ever given at that first Christmas, His Son Jesus. Father God considered what we needed, a Savior, and what we wanted, a relationship with Him, and He gave it to us as a Gift in Jesus. It was an expression of His love for us and a desire to have fellowship with us. Now we have the opportunity to reciprocate by giving Him our lives as a gift. We have no greater gift to give Him than our very lives as an offering for His use and His glory. Let us celebrate this Christmas by continuing to accept God’s gift of His Son Jesus and the offering of our lives as a gift to Him.
May we all experience and know God’s blessings, protection, and favor during this Holiday season.
FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK ~ Thankfulness is foundational to the Christian life. Thankfulness is a conscious response that comes from looking beyond our blessings to the source from which they came. As Christians, we have been saved from death, forgiven, and adopted as God’s children. There could be no better reason to have a grateful heart!
In Luke 17 we read about the ten lepers that Jesus healed. They begged Him to extend to them His mercy. Jesus sent them to the priest and as they obeyed, they were healed. The lives of these men were ones of hopelessness and despair. They were forbidden to enter their hometowns, live in their own homes, or even touch their wives and children. Can we even come close to imaging what these men felt and experienced as they ran to tell their families what had happened? In their excitement, only one of the lepers took the time to return to Jesus and thank Him for what He had done. Jesus asked, “where are the others?” Ten had been healed. But only one considered the Source from which the blessing came and took the time to thank and worship the One who had given him back his life.
We must realize that we too have been healed, made whole, and restored by the Savior. He has graciously given us His abundant life freely for us to enjoy. We must not be like the nine lepers who rushed off and did not stop to give thanks for their incredible healing. Our everyday lives should be saturated with thanksgivings to God for what he has done and is doing for each one of us.
We at Joseph’s Storehouse give thanks to the Father for those who have and continue to pray, volunteer, and give financially to the ministry. We are thankful and grateful that you have made a decision to partner with us. ~ God’s blessings, protection, and favor to all.
FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK ~ From time to time, I like to eat popcorn while watching a movie. There is an anticipation as I hear it in the microwave as it goes Pop! Pop! Pop! It is the smell of it cooking, the salty flavor, the kernels in my teeth, and the dipping sauce that I dip it in. The cooking process in the microwave creates moisture in the bag that turns into steam. The steam rises pressing against the shell of the corn. When the shell cannot handle it any longer, you hear the kernel pop as it becomes popcorn. Because of what’s on the inside has gotten so hot that the outside of the kernel cannot take the pressure any longer, it gives way to the expansion of the outer shell. That’s when you get fluffy, delicious popcorn. (Hint: my son-in-law tells me that 1:45 in the microwave makes perfect popcorn).
What pops out of us as Christ-Followers when the pressures and difficulties of life frequently come our way? Is it a reflection of the flesh and its sinful nature (anger, quarreling, jealousy, envy, impurity, selfish ambition, etc.)? Or is it that of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, etc.)? The struggles in our lives can build up to such a point that what is on the inside of us pops out and is revealed by our outward expressions and conduct. For that reason, we are in constant need of quiet time with the Father, meditating on His Word, and listening to that still small voice that He so eagerly wants us to hear. That is what will allow the Spirit to rise up in us so that when the pressures of life come, what pops out of us will be a reflection of His character, conduct, attitude, and actions that will bring Him glory, "...so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies... "2 Cor. 4:10b ~ God’s blessings, protection, and favor to all.
FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK ~ I have heard a few individuals and read several articles that compared Christians as being a “thermometer or thermostat.” Most of you are familiar with that little box on some wall in your home called a thermostat. It controls and changes the temperature inside the house, based on its setting. The thermometer measures the actual temperature in the house. As a Christian, are we a thermometer or a thermostat? A thermometer Christian registers the ebb and flow of the good times and the bad times. If the day is going well, they are upbeat and have a good attitude, and folks enjoy being around them. When things change causing chaos and confusion in their lives, their attitude and appearance drops creating a toxic and troubling environment. They do not provide a calming effect to others during their times of crisis.
The thermostat Christian brings forth a constant to their environment. When they experience changes in life, they are not controlled by their environment. Instead, they can control their attitude and behavior regardless of the circumstances that enters their lives. They are not affected by the change in temperature around them. They are the ones who set the temperature. The thermostat Christian has received revelation knowledge found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” The body of Christ needs more Christ followers to be thermostats that can set the temperature or environment in which they live and work. Thermostat Christians need to be those who will stop reflecting the temperature of this world and its selfish ways and are more concerned about trusting God and seeing that His will be done. God’s blessings, protection, and favor to all.
FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK ~ Many things have been happening within the Joseph’s Storehouse Food Ministry (JSFM) so far this year. Below are some of the highlights of some of our regular work as well as community participation, food donations and distributions.
• Dancing Lights Food Donation to JSFM.
• JSFM Enhanced Facebook interaction.
• JSFM presentation to Lebanon Housing Authority.
• JSFM presentation to Lebanon Breakfast Rotary Club.
• Mother Daughter Fashion Show fundraiser for JSFM.
• JSFM program at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy Elementary Chapel.
• Food For Thought Grant developed new JSFM promotional video.
• JSFM at Second Harvest Food Bank Focus Group.
• Cumberland Univ. Food Services donation to JSFM.
• JSFM donated drinks and food bars to Lebanon High School Football Team.
• JSFM donated peanut butter & cereal to MTSU Food Bank for students.
• Escapees RV Club 300 units at the fairgrounds• food drive donation to JSFM.
• JSFM Recognition by Kroger’s corporate initiative of “Zero Hunger Zero Waste” at their Lebanon grand re-opening.
JSFM MONTHLY FOOD DISTRIBUTION ~ We have seen as significant increase in the number of families and individuals coming for food this year. From January to July, the increase has been 63.3% (853 to 1393) in the total number of individuals served per month. We had 62 new applicants in July who registered for food which is a record. Currently, we continue to provide approximately 150 lbs. of food, drinks and personal items per household. It is our continued mission to search out the necessary food supplies needed for adequate food inventory for distribution.
We are honored to serve those who need food for their families. With the help of those who pray, volunteer, and give financially to the ministry, we will be able to continue that privilege during these challenging days that we all face. ~ God’s blessings, protection, and favor to all.
“Inasmuch as you have done unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me.” ~ Matthew 25:40
FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK ~ The Apostle John was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the Word of God and giving his testimony about Jesus. At that time, he wrote letters to the seven (7) churches recorded in the book of Revelation. At the end of each letter, there was extended a promise to those who were considered overcomers. It was a white stone that was part of the promise to the Church in Pergamum, known as the compromising church (Revelation 2:17). A white stone had significant meaning during that time. When a Roman trial concluded, and it was time for a panel of judges to vote for the defendant’s innocence or guilt. A black stone symbolized a vote for guilt, and a white stone denoted a vote for innocence. If there were more black stones, it was a verdict of guilty and if there were more white stones, it was a verdict of not guilty.
Another way the ancient Greeks used white and black stones was for vote-casting. It was a great privilege to vote about civic issues in public elections. Votes were registered by casting a black or white stone in a large vase and counted. Black stones stood for a vote against an issue and white stone was for the issue. The Romans also used a white stone as a reward for the winners in athletic competitions. There were great feast and celebrations that were given after the games. Each winner was given a white stone that was considered entrance into the celebration. No athlete without a white stone was admitted.
The white stone was significant to those who were overcomers at the church of Pergamum as well as it is for Christ-followers today. It represents for those of us who are considered overcomers that we have been found not guilty because of the price that Jesus paid for us all. It also lets us know that God is for us and not against us. And finally, because of what Christ did for us on the cross and His resurrection from the dead to provide our salvation, we as overcomers and victors will have entrance into an eternal celebration in Heaven with our Heavenly Father and all the saints. Let us all strive to be overcomers for great is our reward. ~ Blessings, protection, and favor to all.