“God’s favor is a big deal—it’s right up there with faith, grace, and the mercy of God.” Steven Furtick
Psalm 30:5 NKJV
“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”
A few days ago, I began to research scripture about “God’s favor”. I found over 70 places in scripture where God’s favor is mentioned. This is what I am reminded of:
• God’s favor is priceless.
• God’s favor is immeasurable.
• God’s favor gives us security.
• God’s favor is for every season of our life.
• God’s favor is found among the righteous.
Bible characters, like Noah, David, Mary, and Paul all experienced God’s favor. These, among others, experienced God’s favor in unique ways.
I too desire to experience God’s favor. Some of the ways to experience God’s favor are to love God, love people, hate sin, live a holy life, and be faithful to God.
I have heard several prophecies at the beginning of 2019, that this is a year of harvest. I say yes and amen! I’m praying for you to experience God’s favor, and see His harvest. “May God be merciful and bless us. May his face smile with favor on us.” (Psalm 67:1 NLT)
As Jesus reminded us in Luke 4:19 (NLT) “…the time of the Lord’s favor has come”. May you be empowered with the Holy Spirit to influence the lives of others, heal the brokenhearted, to see the sick healed, and see those that are in bondage, set free. When you experience God’s favor, you will be empowered to influence!
This is your season!
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
The song by William Murphy that says, “this is my season for grace and mercy” keeps coming to mind. I believe that this is our season, and we will reap from the seed we have sown. I am expecting an abundance of God’s blessings for you and your family.
Recently in “Sparking Gems” by Rick Renner I am reminded of the power of the sword of the Spirit, mentioned in Ephesians 6:17. In this devotion, Renner speaks of three different types of swords used by the Roman soldiers. The one used for practice was large, heavy, and took two hands to handle. Another was long, but often only wounded the enemy.
The kind of sword that was used mostly for battle, is the one mentioned in Ephesians 6:17, and comes from a Greek word ‘machira’. Renner describes it as “an exceptionally brutal weapon”.
It was one that was shaped like a dagger-type sword, razor sharp on both sides of the blade, and the tip of the sword often turned upward to do more bodily harm. I think you get the picture! This had to be a powerful weapon the Roman soldiers used against the enemy.
In Hebrews 4:12, the word of God is referenced as “sharper than any two-edged sword.” Today we have one of the most powerful weapons in our hand- God’s Word! It is not only good to fight battles with, but it also equips us to do His good work. It will bring correction in our lives, as well as give us guidance when needed.
Coming off of a three-week Sabbatical, I’m more convinced than ever of the power of God’s Word. I encourage you to make it a part of your daily time, reading and listening to what the Spirit of the Lord has to say. It will empower you to influence those you serve!
“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word” (Psalm 119:114).
Now that we are a few days into 2019, most New Year Resolutions will be forgotten, but I’d like to give a few suggestions for how we can accomplish our goals this year. Goal-setting, if done correctly, can provide great opportunities for spiritual growth, and empower you for influence.
The Bible is full of examples of men and women that set goals. Noah’s goal, as instructed by God, was to build the ark. Jacob’s goal was to have Rachel as his bride. He gave 14 years of his life to reach this goal. Nehemiah’s goal was to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, and he did so in 56 days.
In Nehemiah 2:17, we read, “Then I said to them, ‘You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproached.’”
We not only read of Nehemiah’s goal, but we are also given the reason behind his goal. Nehemiah stated, “that we may no longer be a disgrace.” Knowing the why is often the motivation for the what!
Setting goals may not be for everyone, but if you would like to be on this goal-setting journey with me, let’s get started. Here are five ideas in goal-setting:
1. Aim. Be specific in setting goals. If your goal is to read more books in 2019, decide how many and purchase the first three on your list.
2. Block out time. Often, we leave it up to finding time to work on certain goals. The reality is that time is never found. All of us have 24 hours a day to achieve our daily goals if we are intentional to block out the time.
3. Prioritizing goals. Not all goals require specific times of our day, but they do require our attention. Prioritize what is most important. Some days we will not have time to accomplish all of our goals, and that is okay.
4. Guard your goals. Warning! Don’t share your goals with everyone. Some people wouldn’t understand the reason for your goals. Determine who the key people are that will help you accomplish your goals. Ask them to hold you accountable.
5. Keep score. Focus on the gain and not the gap. Measure success and not defeat. There are many ways to keep score, such as using planners, apps, or journals. Find what works best for you, but be sure to keep score and celebrate the wins.
May your new year be filled with God’s wonderful blessings, as you work to accomplish His will for your life. Blessings!
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm23:5).
As we celebrate Thanksgiving many of us will sit down for a feast with family and friends on Thanksgiving Day. Many of you will enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but there is another table prepared and that is the Master’s table. You are invited to sit at the Master’s table, in His presence, and enjoy His blessings daily. Your invitation should read:
COME AS YOU ARE
Others may have tried to discourage a Canaanite woman from coming to Jesus, but she came anyway. She was broken over the condition of her daughter, but because of her faith Jesus said, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” Her daughter was healed!
Today I’m burdened and praying for our LifePoint ministers with health issues. There is healing at the Master’s table for you.
Prayer: Lord, may You heal their brokenness, restoring them to good health and strength.
COME WITH EXPECTATIONS
On another occasion the disciples came to Jesus, encouraging him to send the multitude to the villages, to buy food for themselves. Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary-you feed them.” The disciples’ responded, “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” Jesus prepared a table of abundance, and the five thousand people plus were fed with food left over. The disciples and the multitude received more than expected on that day.
Prayer: Lord, may each minister and his family experience an abundance this Thanksgiving.
COME WITH GRATITUDE
When we come with gratitude, it keeps us from having an attitude. When we have thankfulness, it leaves no room for thanklessness. We have so much to be thankful for, both personally and corporately! Come to the table with thanksgiving!
Prayer: Lord, help us to come into Your presence with thanksgiving for You are good!
COME WITH A FRIEND
In scripture we see where Jesus invited people to sit with Him at the table for a meal. Who will you invite today to sit with you at the Master’s table? Be intentional in inviting others to join you in your place of worship this Thanksgiving.
Prayer: Lord, I pray that we will be intentional to invite and to follow up with our guests.
Go ahead and respond to His invitation today: come as you are, come with expectations, come with gratitude, and come with a friend! I pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Have you ever noticed in the letters of the Apostle Paul how much he values the friendship of others? In almost every letter that the Apostle Paul writes, he concludes with exhortations or greetings from his friends. In Romans 16:21, the sub-heading in my Bible reads, “Greetings from the Friends of Paul.” I believe Paul was a great leader that knew the importance of surrounding himself with friends and invested into the relationships that God entrusted to him.
Paul writes in I Thessalonians 2:8, “We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”
Three words stands out in this verse: care, share, and dear.
Caring for Others
The retail business I once worked for had a slogan, “What we do best is care!” Truly caring for others is what cultivates life-giving relationships.
“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
Sharing with Others
In Acts 2:45 we read that the early church members sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all in need. We live in a culture today, where many people value luxury and wealth, but as followers of Christ we are called to give to those in need and share what God has given to us.
This part of the verse, “because you had become” indicates that relationships were built over time. We must be willing to invest in the relationships that God has given us.
This year’s theme, This Is Us, will focus on Enriching Relationships. As we approach our Kingdom Life Conference, June 6-9, I encourage you to attend! This week will provide so many different opportunities for all of us to strengthen our relationships with God and with others. We hope to see you there!
“Should you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt?” II Chronicles 13:5 NKJV
Salt is used for many things. It preserves, purifies, seasons, and creates thirst.
In the Old Testament, it also represents covenant relationships. Even today Arab men get together, and sometimes express their loyalty and devotion to one another by saying, “There is salt between us.”
Salt has been used for centuries in the Arabian wedding ceremonies to symbolize the covenant between the bride and the bridegroom. Legend tells us that salt was part of the dowry for young women preparing for marriage – believing salt is as valuable in the desert as gold on the stock market.
Salt is first mentioned in Leviticus 2:13, also found in Numbers 18:19, and again in 2 Chronicles 13:5.
In fact, in the Old Testament we see that salt was one of the ingredients added to the sacrifices offered to God.
The Apostle Paul encourages us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. There is to be salt between us and God. Salt, is symbolic of our loyalty to God. There is also to be salt between us as believers in Christ. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth,” but the truth is that if the salt does not leave the salt shaker, then it is of little benefit.
“Leonardo da Vinci caught this concept in his painting of the Last Supper…On the table in front of Judas was an upended salt shaker, its contents spilling onto the cloth. It was the perfect symbol of broken covenant.” -Jamie Buckingham
As a family we will come together this summer, June 6-9, 2018 for our Kingdom Life Conference to worship, laugh, and pray together. This will be a time of strengthening our relationship with God and with the network of churches and ministers that we are in covenant with.
This is us! We are the salt of the earth, in covenant relationship with God and one another.
“Behold, I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth. Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 NKJV
The Lord Who Burst Through
While in Israel, I was reminded of a story that happened in Baal Perazim, which means “the Lord who bursts through.” I Chronicles 14:11 NLT
It was there that God told King David to march forth when he heard the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees. When David moved with obedience in a previous battle he exclaimed, “He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood.”
I’m compelled to encourage you to march forward. God desires to use you to defeat the enemy like a raging flood.
Spring Forth for Easter
As Easter approaches, use this time to gather your troops, prepare your team, and march forward!
Here are four tips as you prepare for your Easter Service(s):
Promote your Easter Service by inviting guests to attend.
Prepare for your Easter Service so that your guests will have a great experience when visiting.
Pray for the guests that will be attending. (Write down names of people that you know that may visit or that have been invited.)
Plan to follow-up on all guests.
In a recent Coaching Event with Josh Hannah, he made this statement, “it’s not about the numbers, it is about the names.” I agree! If we fail to get names (and phone numbers), usually there is no follow-up. If we do not follow-up, then the percentage of the guests returning anytime soon decreases significantly.
Be intentional in reaching out to the unsaved and the unchurched in your community. Put the four P’s in motion – Promote, Prepare, Pray, and Plan. May you experience an overflow on Easter Sunday!
If we look throughout the scriptures, Jesus has a lot to say about ministering to the poor!
I read recently of a college student that went with a group to the inner city to minister to the homeless for a weekend. They were instructed to bring very little with them for the duration of their trip. This story reminded me of what Jesus told his disciples when they choose to follow Him.
“He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.” Mark 6:8
While the reason for the limited supplies for the disciples and for the college students may have been different, the fact is that they traveled lightly to do ministry.
The college student ended up giving his very costly tennis shoes to a homeless man and taking the worn penny loafers of the man in exchange.
“God’s blessing was not to be held hostage or hoarded but shared with others.” Eric Bryant
In the early days of Christ’s ministry he shared in Nazareth that His blessings were for those inside and outside of that city. He shared the example of God blessing Naaman, the Syrian. The crowd became angry, pointing fingers and yelling at Jesus. As a result, Jesus found himself at the edge of a cliff, his life endangered by those around Him.
“But he (Jesus) walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” Luke 4:30
He did not allow the pressure of the crowd to offset his plan to help others in need. From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus knew the importance of ministering to the broken, the disabled, the forgotten, the oppressed, and the poor.
Let us follow Jesus’ example
LifePoint Ministries (IPHC) is a network of churches and ministers that has a passion for the needy. Benevolence funds, clothing banks, food banks, and shelters for the homeless are all part of the DNA of who we are as a ministry. Relationally, you are making a difference in the lives of the poor.
While this is one of many characteristics of LifePoint Ministries, “this is us”. This is who we are in Christ. A church that has a passion for the needy!
I recently read of a well on an old farm place that in the most severe droughts survived and provided fresh cold water. Years later the well was abandoned due to the renovation of the old home and county water being provided in the area.
Recently, someone decided to uncover the old well and draw water. To their surprise the well had dried up. Why? Because when the well ceased from being used, mud begin to creep into the crevices’ and clogged up the spring of water that previously had flowed into the well. As long as the well was used there was a steady flow. It is when it was not being used that it became dry.
As long as we allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us, we will experience God’s blessings. It is often when we stop or hinder the flow that the well runs dry.
“Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.” John 7:38 NLT
For many it may seem that the well has ran dry. When this feeling happens to me, I examine the well, I examine my heart.
For the water to flow from the well, there has to be water in the well. I am praying for a release of God’s blessings to flow in abundance in your lives. I’m not praying for “just enough” but praying for “more than enough!”
Here are five prayer points I’m praying for you:
•That your prayer life is strengthened
•That the Gifts of the Spirit will flow as you minister to others.
•That you will be able to share the message of Christ boldly
•That there is a steady flow of His provision for all of your needs.
•That relationship with other colleagues in ministry will be strengthened
I believe that 2018 will be a year of God releasing many blessings on this ministry. I look forward to seeing these things come to fruition.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17 NKJV
What is Christmas really about?
•To the storekeeper it often means greater sales
•To the city employees it means Christmas decorations
•To Hallmark it means Christmas movies
•To the kids it means a wish list
•To the church it means Christmas plays & dinners
All of the above are apart of our Christmas festivities, but let’s not forget the reason for the season. One of my favorite stories that I continue to share will be reminded of the true meaning of Christ at Christmas time is found in Luke 2:25-35. It is about a godly man by the name of Simeon making a trip to the temple to see Jesus the Savior of the world. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple Simeon took Jesus up in his arms and embraced Him.
“Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace.” (Luke 2:28,29 NLT)
One of the reasons I like this story so much is that Simeon took the Child in his arms and blessed Him. I can only imagine the hush over the room and the attention that Simeon must have drawn from Mary, Joseph, and possibly others. Simeon had been anticipating this moment for some time. He knew that this precious baby boy would change the world and it was his last wish to see the child before he left this earth.
It is my prayer this Christmas season that we too will be reminded of the true meaning of Christ-
That it will be more then just Christmas plays, movies, and decorations. That it will be a time that we proclaim the message of peace and goodwill toward others. That it will be a time where we will enjoy His presence more then we enjoy the presents we receive. It is my prayer that we will embrace Christ and his word during this Christmas season.
Bishop Tim Lamb combines over 34 years of pastoral and church planting experience to lead LifePoint Ministries. Bishop Tim's unique prophetic insight, forward-thinking leadership, and compassion for people combine to make him an effective leader for our pastors and churches.