Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Journey of Love with Jesus ~ by Amy Vest

Jesus is calling you to Himself. 

He is inviting you on a journey with Him. 

You were created for a journey of love with Jesus. 

This is a journey that is meant to deepen every year you walk with Him - amid all of the happy and hard times - bringing matchless joy to you, glory to Him, and overflowing in blessing to others. 

You were meant for this journey with Jesus, friend. 

Nothing compares. 

Never forget that you were created for Jesus and will not be satisfied anywhere else. 

He IS love and is calling you to a journey of love with Him. 


"I have loved you with an everlasting love; 
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness." (Jeremiah 31:3)

Let's take a glimpse at 3 elements of this journey of love:

1. Know His love personally and love Him in return.  He pursues and we respond. 
- Know for yourself His love in His Word, Salvation (more on this HERE), and His being present and at work in you every moment by His Spirit. (John 3:16)
- Love Him in return by putting Him first in heart, seeking Him, worshiping Him, and living for Him. (Mark 12:30) 

2. Live in and from His love. 
- Live in His love - soaking in it every day thorough His Word, prayer and fellowship with Him through the day, and remembering His love. (2 Thess. 3:5)
- Live from His love - letting the love that is forever and unchangeably yours in Him motivate and empower all you do vs. trying to live to earn His love that is already yours and cannot be earned. (2 Cor. 5:14)

3. Share His love. 
As you receive His love and love Him in return, allow that love to spill out to others. "We love because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19)

Oh, friend! You have the joy of walking in this relationship of love with Jesus every moment of your life!

It is a relationship. 
It is love. 
It is a journey. 
It is with JESUS! 

There is nothing sweeter in all the world.

And Jesus is calling us to this! 

I want to live each moment with: 
my hand in His hand and my heart in His heart, 
basking in His love and presence, 
soaking in His Word and listening to His voice, 
loving Him with all that I am, 
spilling out His love to others and calling them to know it for themselves...
Following wherever Love leads. 

Do you?

There is no other journey worth taking - and on this journey He guides you to all else He has for you. 

He is pursing you, revealing His love, guiding your steps, teaching you His Truth, giving grace to walk with Him. When you fall, He picks you up, when you disobey, He lovingly disciplines you and draws you close, when you are weak, He strengthens you...He will keep you.


Nothing can separate you from His love.

"...I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

As we embrace this, life - in all of its seasons - becomes an amazing journey of a deepening relationship of love with Jesus - the One who is Love. 

He has so much in store for you, friend. 

Jesus is calling you to this journey of love with Him - will you answer?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Keeping Truth Before Your Eyes ~ Practical Application ~ by Amy Vest

I want transformation by the Truth to be a lifelong quest, don't you? 

In seeking to know Jesus and be transformed by His Truth, one of the ways I have found to be so helpful is to have Truth around, so it is in front of my eyes and helps me fix my mind on it through the day.

 I love to:
1) Surround myself with Truth - to help focus on and bring encouragement in Truth throughout the day.
+
2) Help myself memorize Truth - by keeping the Truth before my eyes.

So let's look at a few ideas:


1) Surrounding yourself with Truth - I have found this to be incredibly helpful.  This way as I look around during my day, God's Word is before my eyes - and my mind, and then soul, are filled with His Truth.


Here are a couple pictures from my room:






2) Memorizing the Word - As I seek to hide His Word in my heart, it is so helpful to keep it before my eyes.

Here is one of my current favorite ways to do this - by putting it on the side of my dresser so it is the first thing I see in the morning:


Writing a verse on a sticky note and placing it somewhere you will see it is also a fabulous help!


There are so many other ideas and ways you can surround yourself with Truth, too.  I encourage you to seek Jesus for ideas - and pick a verse and put it somewhere you will see it often!


Then as you see, think on, memorize, and allow the Holy Spirit to apply the Truth to your heart, you will see Him bring beautiful transformation!


I hope these practical ideas are helpful on your journey with Jesus and being transformed by Truth!  


"...be transformed by the renewal of your mind..." (Romans 12:2) 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Question - We want to hear from you!






What is 1 thing (or more!) that helps you focus on Jesus?

Please share in the comments section below!



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Jesus: The Focus of Your Life ~ By Amy Vest

Where is your focus?

Stop and think about that, friend.

Where is your mind riveted, heart set, and mind directed?

You see where our focus lies is very
important.

Focus = "a center of activity, attraction, or attention, a point of concentration, directed attention."

You were created to have Jesus as your focus.

When we lift the eyes of our heart to Jesus, our perspective changes - because Jesus changes everything.

Putting our focus on Jesus shows that we know that:
~ He is our only hope.
~ He alone can satisfy.
~ He is worthy of our trust and all that we are.

Listen to this amazing promise:

"Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed."  Psalm 34:5

Oh, friend, can you relate with me?

When I lift the eyes of my heart to Jesus - peace washes my soul, fulfillment floods my heart, and security fortifies my spirit.

This is the beautiful thing:
When our eyes are on Jesus, the rest of our life is colored by the reality of all that He is.

As I walk through my day focused on Jesus and I face an overwhelming situation, I know that He is my help.  If I face weakness, He is my strength.  If I face pain, He is my comfort.  If I experience joy, He is my song.

I want to live a life that is riveted on Jesus, don't you?

I long for our life's cry to be "...our eyes are on You."  2 Chronicles 20:11


If you are like me, you can get distracted.  It is so easy to get our eyes on ourselves, circumstances, people, things... But these things are fleeting, empty, and can never deliver the satisfaction that only Jesus can bring.

I love how Jesus in His love will not allow our focus to drift for long.  He kindly brings reminders - whether in the form of joys or trials - that lift our eyes to Him.  As we regain our focus, His peace washes us once again.


We need to have our eyes fixed on Jesus in all of the seasons of life - because we need Him all of our life.


What are some ways we can fix our eyes on Jesus?
~ Choosing in our heart to direct our mind to Him.
~ Praying and asking for His help.
~ Being in the Word.
~ Memorizing and meditating on Scripture.
~ Worship.
~ Journaling about His faithfulness.
~ Gathering with friends who love Him.
~ Having reminders of His love.
~ and so many more!

The beauty of having our focus on Jesus has been powerfully real for me the past couple of weeks in different areas.  When my focus has been on other things, I found lack of peace.  But, when my eyes have been on Jesus, and considering those things with Him and in light of Him, there is inexpressible peace.

Jesus invites, calls, and equips us to live with Him as our focus, friend.

As He is our focus, our hope is never disappointed, our heart is fulfilled, our perspective is transformed, and our lives are lived differently in light of all that He is.

There is no time like this very second to lift our eyes to Jesus and find the transforming fulfillment of having Him as our focus!

Where is your focus today, friend?

May it be Jesus.

"...let us run with endurance the race before us, looking to Jesus..."  Hebrews 12:1-2

Look to Jesus, friend.  You will find that He is all that you need.  I am looking with you.

Let's look to Jesus as the focus of our lives.

Let us run with endurance...

"...let us run with endurance the race before us, looking to Jesus..."  

~Hebrews 12:1-2 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Join us for the inspiring Videocast 1!

Loving the Lord Videocast #1 - Intro & Heartbeat from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

Hi Friends! 

In the days to come, the beloved Videocasts will be making a re-appearance on the blog and the truths they contain are just as alive and needed as ever!

These are special videos covering important topics and we like to treat them like heart to heart coffee chats with Amy.  She would love to hear your thoughts in return in the comments section below!

Join us today for Videocast 1 and be encouraged in Jesus and the life He has called you to in Him!

Watch and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Welcome to a New Year with Jesus!


Happy New Year, Friends!

Welcome to a New Year with Jesus!

There is so much more of Him to know, His Word to soak in, and life in Him to experience this year!

I am so excited and ready to embrace it together, are you?

Listen to this beautiful verse:


You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance.” ~ Psalm 65:11


Jesus has amazing things in store for this New Year and I am asking Him to meet us in a powerful way!

He is so amazing!

You are so invited to visit the blog often and interact with our online community in the comments!  

(You can subscribe to posts in the right column of the blog, or by emailing us at info@lovingthelordministries.org.)  

We are so excited to bring you encouragement and cheer you on as you walk with Jesus in the coming year!   
   
As we launch into this New Year, please leave a comment below and introduce yourself and share 1 thing that you would like to seek Jesus on together in the coming year!  I’ll get us started. J 

Oh, I love Jesus, you, and seeking Jesus with you!

He is our life!

Let’s run into 2018 with arms and heart wide open to Jesus and all that He wants to do in and through us! 

It is going to be an amazing year with Jesus!

Loads of love and excitement,


Amy Vest for the LTLM Team


"You crown the year with Your goodness..."

"You crown the year with Your goodness,

And Your paths drip with abundance."
~ Psalm 65:11

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Stepping into a New Year with Jesus ~ by Amy Vest


I love this reality:

When you step into a new year, you step into it with Jesus.

This reality changes everything.  Jesus changes everything.  Jesus is everything you need.

Listen to His sweet promises for those who are His:

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

"I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matt. 28:20)

Jesus is with you, friend.

He goes with you, before you, and within you.


In Him you have an:
All sufficient Savior
Faithful Shepherd
Truest Friend
Unfaltering Guide
Ever present Help
Unfailing Love
Reigning King
and so much more!

He is: 
your only hope
all you need
with you
for you
working all things for your good
giving what you truly need
going to keep you to the end

He will be with you every step of the way.


The Jesus you have known in the past will be the same in this coming year - "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Heb. 13:8) -  and each step offers the opportunity to discover so much more of Who He is!

What a beautiful reality!

Yes, you can step into this new year - and each new day of the rest of your life - with joy, because you step in with Jesus.



I am with you always...

  "I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  
~Matthew 28:20

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Wonder of Immanuel - "God With Us" ~ by Amy Vest

I stood outside gazing up into the winter sky in breathless awe as I pondered the wonder of the reality:

Immanuel - "God with us."

GOD - the King of the universe, the One we were created for, and the only answer to the longings of our hearts
WITH - being not just far off in Heaven, but taking on human form and becoming present and near

US
 - not just with the angels - but with us needy, sinful humans desperate for Him!

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 
Matthew 1:23

In Jesus - our Immanuel - God came to be with us, so that we could be with Him forever.

Jesus came to be with us, so that He could redeem us from our sins through His perfect life, death on the cross in our place, and resurrection from the dead - triumphant over sin, death, and hell.  He did this so that those who trust in Him as their Savior, receive His grace to turn from their sin, and surrender their life to Him as Lord, could be with Him forever as His own.  What amazing love!

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Jesus came so that we could enter into an eternal relationship with Him. He came to rescue us from sin, to allow us to know Him, to transform us into His Image, and so that we could walk with Him every moment.

Isn't this amazing?

When Jesus is with us, everything changes.

He brings salvation to the lost, hope to the hopeless, comfort to the hurting, healing to the wounded, joy to the discouraged,  peace to the troubled, freedom to the captive, satisfaction to the longing... He is all that we need!

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. " Philippians 4:19
I love how the Gospel of Matthew begins in Chapter 1 with Jesus being "Immanuel - God with us" - and ends in the last chapter with Jesus promising His disciples - "I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

He has promised, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

My heart can't stop whispering, "God with us." this Christmas season... and I don't think the wonder will ever disappear, because its reality never will.

{Deep, grateful breath}

"Thank You, Father for sending Jesus.
Thank You, Jesus for coming.
Thank You, Holy Spirit for opening our spiritual eyes to Jesus."

Immanuel - God with us.  And because He came, we will never be the same.

Have an incredible Christmas rejoicing in Jesus and treasuring the reality that He is with us - and for those who are His, we will be with Him forever!

God with us...

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.” 


~Matthew 1:23 


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Love Story for God's Glory ~ by Amy Vest


As we conclude this series on "Love Story and God's Glory", I pray you have been encouraged with a deeper treasuring of the Big Love Story of His redemption and a bigger vision for considering marriage for His glory! 


There is a bigger story than our earthly love story.
  This story is the purpose of our lives and is the Love Story you are called to no matter what your earthly love story looks like.  All of your life and relationships will flow from where you stand in this Love Story.

The Biggest Love Story – The Gospel - God created people to be in fellowship with Him, bringing joy to man and glory to God.  But people sinned and broke our relationship with God.  God showed His powerful love by sending His perfect Son Jesus to earth to die on the cross for people’s sins and rise victorious – offering forgiveness of sin, a restored relationship with God, and eternal life in Jesus.  When we trust in Jesus to save us and give our lives to Him as our Lord, we become His - the Bride of Christ – forever.

This is the most beautiful Love Story of all time.  All of life and human love stories point to this.  Only when we grasp this Love Story will we be fulfilled, and be able to have the right approach to a human love story - lived in, from, and for this Love Story.

The Big Love Story - and a human love story - are about Jesus.

A love story based in Jesus, through His life in you, and for His glory.


A love story that points you and every one watching to Jesus.


A love story for His glory.

"...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

We are called to live, consider marriage, and marry to the glory of God - in a way that declares how good He is.  Isn't this amazing and exciting?  It twinkles with beauty - and the sweet reality is that God's glory and our joy always go hand-in-hand.

Let Jesus write your love story, friend. The One Who is Love and the creator of love can - and must - be trusted with the pen of your love story.

As you are satisfied in Jesus, growing into who He has called you to be, and are considering marriage for His glory, He will write the perfect story for His glory in your life.

Many of you know my favorite illustration to use when I talk about marriage - and I want to share it as we conclude this series.
Picture this:


You are running the race of life with Jesus. 
You are running with Him, in Him, and for Him with all of your might. You are loving the run and are satisfied in Him. As you run, you begun to think,"I'd sure love to have a running partner, but I don't see anyone around here."

At this point there are 2 decisions you can make.

1. You can let the thought enter your mind, "Maybe if I just get off course a little, I can find someone." This will both get you off course and cause you to likely end up with someone sitting on the sidelines, not running the race - causing heartache in both ways.
OR
2. You can keep running the race to know Jesus and make Him known with all that you are, and trust Him to bring someone who is running with the same passion. You can join paths and continue the race together as teammates. In this there is so much joy.

If He calls you to singleness, He will always be enough, you are fulfilling your purpose, and you can run the race fully satisfied in Jesus!

Whether single or married to someone who is running the race with Jesus, you are running the race and living the Big Love Story.

If it is His will for you to marry and He leads you into marriage, you and your husband can go on mission together to know Jesus and make Him known.

It is joining together as one in a love story founded on, thriving by, and for the glory of Jesus - as part of the Big Love Story for His glory!

I love these verses as we look at this, "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!...And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken."  (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12)

Two to walk with Jesus together, cheer one another on in Him, and lift one another up when they stumble. Companions and comrades on the journey with Jesus.

I have been so inspired by the love story of Charles and Susanna Spurgeon. Their mutual hearts that deeply loved Jesus, longed to grow in Him, and beat with passion to share Him formed such a unity and unusually beautiful marriage.

As you and the husband God gives you go on mission with Jesus together to:
- know Him
- grow in Him
- love and serve one another
- make Him known
it brings great glory to God, joy to your marriage, and blessing to others.

This union reflects Christ and the Church - the Big Love Story - to a world who needs Jesus.

Oh friends! Yesterday at church I saw a living example of what I wrote about in the last post - and my heart is still so full of joy.  In the worship service there was an older couple in their 70s sitting in front of me. It was obvious from everything about them that they loved Jesus, one another, and others.

The darling older gentlemen with a twinkle in his eyes slipped into his seat before service after serving in the bookstore.  His adorable wife gave him a warm smile and patted his leg. They sat there shoulder to shoulder, leaning against each other in their coordinating sweaters, soaking in the teaching of the Word. The older man lifted his hand in worship as we sang.

After service, the man slipped out to help in the bookstore again and we visited with his wife.  Our conversation with her confirmed what was obvious in their living. As she warmly talked with joy shining from her eyes, it was clear they had spent their lives loving Jesus, loving one another, loving others, and living for Him and His Kingdom. 
This is vision we want to keep before us for marriage - the vision of loving Jesus, loving others, and living for Him together in a way that points people to Jesus.

It begins with walking with Jesus this way ourselves, trusting Him to bring someone with the same heart, allowing Him to lead us into marriage, and then living for Him together every season of the journey as we grow and mature in Him!

A Love Story for His glory.

God is writing a story for His glory in your life as a part of the Big Love Story. 
Whether an earthly love story is in His perfect plan for you or not, you have the matchless satisfaction, purpose, and joy of living in the Big Love Story with Him.

As you walk in love with Him, surrendered to His plan, embracing life with His love wherever He calls you, with the goal of making much of Him, whatever it holds will unfold - for your greatest good and His greatest glory.

He is calling you:
Seek Me.
Trust Me.
Follow Me.
Glorify Me wherever I place you.
I love you and have the best in store.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Walk hand-in-hand with Jesus and He will lead you in His Love Story for His glory. And there will be a happily ever after - and there will be no end.

A future and a hope...

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."


~Jeremiah 29:11