Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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 

Let us run with endurance...

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

~Hebrews 12:1-2 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

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!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

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 2019 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

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.




Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A God Story Life ~ by Amy Vest


A God Story: Walking closely with Jesus and following Him in surrender as He unfolds His perfect will for your life. 

I stood in the sanctuary after church, talking with a friend who had gotten married since I’d last seen her.  “It’s a God story, Amy”, she told me with joy as she started to tell me her story.  My heart rejoiced – God stories are my favorite!  “I want mine to be one, too.” I earnestly replied. 

But, even more, I want my whole LIFE to be a God story – don’t you, friend?  A life that displays God’s power and goodness, a life that is only explainable by Jesus, a life that points to God – a life story that is clearly written by the hand of God.  Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith” – and I am so glad!  Jesus is so wonderful and wise, His heart is love, and His plan is perfect.  I am so grateful that He is the Author of our story… I just want to let Him write His story freely in my life!  

After surrendering to Jesus at salvation, it is then a daily, moment-by-moment yielding to Jesus by the power of His life in us.  In the daily, moment-by-moment surrender, I need His help and strength so desperately.  Are you with me?

Our life and story is made up of moments.  It really takes place in the daily attitudes of our heart, Truth we know we should live out, promptings of the Holy Spirit to follow, choices to walk by the Spirit instead of the flesh, etc.  There are moments when we know we should: respond in love to someone who hurt us, slip off the computer and soak in time with Jesus, walk in Truth instead of how we feel, obey something that He is leading us to do, etc.  In these moments, we can yield to Him, say, ”Yes, Lord”, obey by His grace, and experience the joy of closer fellowship with Him as we walk into His best with Him, or, we can respond in selfishness and hinder our fellowship with Him and His very best in our lives.   

Maybe you have found this, too?  When I walk in yieldedness to Jesus, I see that He is all that I need and His plan is perfect.  I witness Him do wonders and my heart sings that nothing compares to His best.  Yet, the times I sin by trying to take control of the “pen” of my life and write what I think He has for me, or what I think is best, my peace fades and I make mistakes as I stumble away from His best.  Then Jesus so graciously brings repentance to my heart, forgiveness, redemption, and guides me back to surrender and the joy of experiencing Him.  I see afresh that I don’t want anything but Him, His glory, and His story for me.

That is really what a God story – and the purpose of our lives - is about: A close walk of dependent obedience to and relationship of love with Jesus, His work in us, and His guiding our steps and working through us for His glory! 

It is only in this place that truly we are satisfied, He is glorified, and others are blessed.  It is so essential to remember that the story of our life is a part of His Story of redemption – the beautiful love story of God drawing His people to Himself!  He has a special plan for your life story as a part of this biggest story.

It is so important not to compare the story that God is writing in our lives to the lives of others.  While the Lord and His Truth are always the same, every story is different because we are all individuals and the Lord knows exactly what you need to fulfill the purpose that He has for your life.

Over the past months, the Lord has been highlighting for me in His Word the verses in the Gospels where Jesus says, “Follow Me.”  It is a call to surrender everything – our self, desires, agenda – and follow the One that created, saved, and is our King!  It is a call to follow Him – not knowing where He will lead, but knowing He is all we need.

When we follow Jesus in surrender, we find the answer to the longings of our hearts in Him and He leads us into His perfect plan for our lives.  We find true life.  Jesus says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.   For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  (Matt. 16:24-25)  This is how we FIND our life – the life in Jesus for which we were created – and where He writes His beautiful story!

It is following Him and trusting Him for our:
~ Salvation, growth, and satisfaction
~ Daily needs, questions, struggles
~ Strength and grace
~ Guidance and future
~ and everything else!

There is no peace like the peace of following Jesus in surrender, resting in His hands, listening for His call to obey, walking in the grace that He always provides to do what He calls us to do, and letting Him do His amazing work in and through us!

The story of a person’s life is really as beautiful as the one whose hand it is in.

This story is a journey of faith – a beautiful, sometimes rugged, always-worth-it journey – of believing that God knows far better than we do. 

This past season for me has been a chapter that I didn’t expect as part of God’s story for my life.  Yet, I am seeing more and more beautiful glimpses of His purposes - that the times of pain, questions, and weakness were exactly what the Lord knew I needed to give me more of Himself, do a deep work in my heart, direct my steps in His plan, prepare me for what He has ahead, and so much more!  The longer I walk with Jesus, the more He shows me - I do not need to know the whole story of my life, because I know the Author.  “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Heb. 12:2) 

The One Who gave His life for us can so be trusted with every detail of the story of our life from beginning to end!

You can trust the Author, because you know:
~ His heart – He is loving, wise, perfect, and so much more!
~ His promises – He will never leave us (Heb. 13:5), He knows the plans He has for us (Jer. 29:11), all things work together for good for those who love Him (Rom. 8:28), etc.
~ The ending of the Story  – You will spend eternity with Him forever!

I am so excited about the story God is writing in your life, friend!  I am praying for you and cheering as He writes His perfect story in you.  He has amazing things in store!

I know that when we reach the end of our lives and look back over the story God has written in our lives, we will say with Psalm 18:30, This God—his way is perfect.”

May our hearts echo this prayer:
“I trust You and Your love, Lord.
Please have Your way in me.
I want You to write Your story freely in my life.
Please be glorified.
In the Name of Jesus, Who makes it possible,
Amen.”


Yes, that is what we want - a God story life.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Question - We love hearing from you!


What is one way Jesus is calling you to follow Him right now?

Please share in the comments section below!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Worshipful Thanksgiving ~ by Amy Vest


I love Thanksgiving.
I love reflecting on the blessings I've been given.
Most of all, I love worshipping the Giver of the blessings.

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord
to sing praises to your name, O Most High
." (Psalm 92:1)

This is amazing. 
While the gifts are good, the point us to the Giver.
While the gifts can make us happy for a little while, the Giver gives us joy forever in Himself.
Gifts cannot truly satisfy, but the Giver satisfies the deepest needs of our hearts for eternity.


"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (James 1:17)

This, my friend, is the secret to the best Thanksgiving ever - thanks for blessings that turns into worship of the Giver.

Whether you have a cozy time surrounded by people you love, or are facing deep pain, you see that the physical gifts can change, but the Giver is ever yours.

"...be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”' 
(Hebrews 13:5)

Yes, gifts may come and go, but the Giver - Jesus - is forever ours and forever by our side!

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!" (Psalm 107:1)

This has been so sweet and powerful for me - and I pray it is for you, too.  

The simple act of counting blessings with Jesus can turn into a sweet worship of Him - the Giver.


Let your
thanksgiving for blessings
become gratitude to the Giver
and
turn into worship of the One Whose heart we see in His gifts.


This leads us to a life of worshipful thanksgiving.

So, for example:
1) "I'm thankful to be redeemed."
2) "Thank You, Jesus, for redeeming me from my sins and bringing me into a relationship with You!"
3) "I worship You, Jesus, that You are my loving, gracious Redeemer."

Do you see how beautiful this can be?

He is worthy of all our worship - and oh, in it, He is glorified and our hearts find deep joy!

We have so much to be thankful for in Jesus, friend!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving giving thanks and worshipping the Giver!


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Question - We love hearing from you!




What is one aspect of your identity in Christ that means a lot to you? (For example: accepted, loved, etc.)

Please share in the comments section below!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

You are Forever Loved ~ by Amy Vest


Friend ~ Do you know how much you are forever loved?

Listen to these precious verses:

"For 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



Friend ~ Do you know how much you are forever loved?

Listen to these precious verses:


"For 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
NOTHING can separate you from God's love in Jesus.  Nothing.

As His own, you are loved with the everlasting love of the One Who IS love - God.

"
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."  ~ Jeremiah 31:3"...God is love." ~ 1 John 4:8

God loves you infinitely more in a millisecond than any person could love you in a lifetime.

His love is the love you were created for, the only place you are truly satisfied, and the strength to love in return.  His is the love you seek, the love that fulfills the deepest longings of your heart, and the love that will never ever let you go.  His love is the love that redeems, transforms, sanctifies, and causes us to desire to live for Him with all that we are.  His is the love we need.

"
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days." ~ Psalm 90:14

Today may you find deep rest, satisfaction, and joy as you live in the reality that you are loved more than you could dream by Him. 

Forever.

And may this result in a response of love to Jesus that spills out in every moment of your life.

"
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you." ~ Psalm 63:3

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Jesus – The Love of My Life – by Amy Vest


I am in love.  There is a love that has captured my heart like nothing else can.  A love that has pursued me, rescued me, satisfied me… A love so rich, so pure, so strong, so lasting… A love that has met the deepest longings of my heart... and I could go on forever.  It is the love for which I was made.

Jesus - The Love of my life.

When I pause and think of Him, love overwhelms me.
 
 
Jesus.  The One who: 
- made me
- came to earth for me
- lived a perfect life
- died a cruel death on the cross and descended into hell in my place
- rose back to life – victorious over sin and death
- drew my heart to see my need for Him, trust Him as my Savior, and surrender to Him as my Lord
- continues to pursue my heart and transform me into His likeness
- is preparing a place for me in Heaven and is coming to take me home
- walks with me every moment and will never leave me


All so I could know Him, taste His goodness, be satisfied in Him, worship Him, declare His goodness to the world, and live with Him forever! 
 

This is life.  This is love.  This is what my heart needs.  
This is Jesus – The Love of my Life. 
 

I am in love and I could talk for hours… but, you don’t need my words, you need to hear Him tell you from His Word – the Bible – about His love for YOU! 
Oh, look at His love for us – and inhale love and exhale joy: "...I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." ~ Jeremiah 31:3 "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." ~ Zephaniah 3:17 "For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you." ~ Psalm 86:5 "But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness."  ~ Psalm 86:15 "'I have loved you,” says the Lord." ~ Malachi 1:2 “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 "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." ~ 1 John 4:10 "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." ~ John 15:13 "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." ~ Gal. 2:20
…And the list could go on and on!


Soak in His love, friend – and join my heart in saying, “I love You, too, Lord!” 
 

I love the reality that we never say “I love you” to Jesus without Him first having loved us!  “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)  
 
And, His love will never fail those who have trusted in Him as Lord and Savior!  (Romans 8:35-39)  Nothing – even death can separate us from Him and His love.  No matter what happens or has happened, what we do or don’t do, what we feel, what others think or say, or even our lack of love.  Nothing.  No – Jesus said it, and that settles it. 
 

Listen closely to Romans 8:35-39:  
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For 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.”


Oh, it makes me want to love Him and worship!  A verse the Lord blessed me through and I memorized recently is “…I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning…”  Psalm 59:16  {I just had to pause and sing!}  When we’ve known love like this, we just can’t be quiet.

The more we know this precious Savior who we were created to be satisfied in, the more we will proclaim “…your steadfast love is better than life…”! (Psalm 63:3)
 
 

I remember the years of longing and feeling that nothing on this earth could satisfy… and the overwhelming fulfillment that washed over me when Jesus opened my eyes to see that HE ALONE is the One who “satisfies the longing soul”.  (Psalm 107:9)

Friend, He is seeking your heart – and He is seeking mine.  He wants us to know Him for the first time in salvation (seeing our sinfulness, trusting in Jesus and His work on the Cross to save us, surrendering our lives to follow Him, and receiving His forgiveness, life within us, and grace to walk with Him), and then bring us ever deeper in a relationship with Him for as long as we live!  This is what we were created for and the only place we will be satisfied. 
Jesus.  Jesus alone.


Let’s receive His grace to refuse to settle for things less than Jesus – things that will never truly satisfy the deepest longings and aches of our souls.  Not even good things out of place – holding the place that is rightfully Christ’s.  What can some of those be?  Friends, clothes, activities, music, books, food, success… you can add what it is in your life. 
 

A big one can be the desire for human love.  The desire for human love – and the desire for marriage and that one person to especially love – is natural.  If it is the will of God for me to marry and grow in loving, being sanctified by, and serving Jesus together with His man for me, I will treasure it as a beautiful gift from His hand that He has seen best for His glory and my good.  But, no mere person can ever satisfy the deepest needs of our heart – as expecting them to only sets us up for disappointment. 

Nothing and no one can ever satisfy the deepest needs of our heart.  Only Jesus can.  As we are satisfied in Him, the other things in life are optional, added blessings that He gives as gifts to help us love the Giver – Jesus - more!  These gifts can be given or taken and we still have all we need in Jesus.
  
And, oh!  The times that I become distracted, look to other things for love, and don’t love Him as I should, HE STILL LOVES ME AND PURSUES MY HEART!  In His deep love, He will not let me stay in a state that brings less joy to me and less glory to Him.  It is the same for you.  This is the truest love.
  
He is in His very nature and Name, Love.  “God is love.” (1 John 14:16)
 
 
Just like any human relationship, the most important relationship with Jesus, takes cultivating.  The amazing thing is that He always keeps His side of the relationship!  There are special things He has given us that by the power of the Holy Spirit help us know, love, and grow in our walk with Him! 
 
Here are some things that have been helping me fall more in love with Jesus lately:
~  Time in His Word and conversational prayer
~  Worshipping Him for Who He is – and keeping a list of His qualities (i.e. loving, my Redeemer, patient, etc.)
~  Keeping Him first priority in my thoughts, heart, and time – and obeying His leading
~  Journaling and remembering His faithfulness to me over the years {Happy sigh}
~  Being with others who love Him
~  Seeing and soaking in His love in the little things
(You can find some more ideas by clicking HERE.) 

 

The most important thing is receiving God’s grace, and allowing Him to do a deep work, to cause you to want and seek Him above all else.  He always meets you here.   

And when He meets you, you will be satisfied. 
 

I want to live with a heart satisfied in Jesus, a life lived by His life within me, and a passion that overflows and sparkles out of my eyes when I talk about Him.  I want a journey of love with Jesus that only deepens every day of my life.  Don’t you? 
 

Remember He is always pursuing your heart – you must only receive His grace and respond. 
 

As you and I do, I know we will say,

“Jesus is the Love of my life.”


~~~~~~~~~~~
 
For more encouragement in this love relationship with Jesus:
 

Videos:
A Relationship of Love with Jesus - https://vimeo.com/19587008
Jesus is Your Best Friend - https://vimeo.com/59284885
 

Article: ~ Ways to Grow in Loving Jesus –http://beautifultogod.blogspot.com/2014/11/practical-ways-to-grow-in-loving-lord.html

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Question - We love hearing from you!



What is one way you can live for eternity today?

Please share in the comments section below!