Monday, April 29, 2013

Thoughts From a Hospital Room ~ by Amy Vest

Tonight I am sitting here in the hospital with my precious grandma asleep in the hospital bed.

We received a call this afternoon telling us that my 92 year old Grandma had fallen, had a fractured hip, and was being taken by ambulance to the Emergency Room.  My parents and I packed up and headed to the hospital.  In the hours between then and now, much has transpired - tests, decisions, precious moments with Grandma, a with her talk about Jesus, and more.  Tomorrow, Grandma is supposed to have surgery - and due to her age and health condition, they are not sure that she will survive.  My heart’s biggest desire is to know for sure that she knows Jesus...   Tomorrow is a fresh day and it is in our Savior’s hands.               

These are treasures from the Lord that are ringing in my heart tonight:
~ "I've got you." was how I felt the Lord was holding me today.
~ If I have Jesus, I have all I need - in life, pain, and death.
~ Be ready to die - and prepare others to be ready to die.  Through knowing that you have been made right with God through trusting in Jesus’ death for the forgiveness of your sins and yielding your life to Him - and sharing this good news with others.
~ It is so important to be ready to share Christ all circumstances - this is fostered by walking in fellowship with Him, having His Word in my heart, and a message ready to share.
~ Life is short - a blip on the radar of eternity - in which to know Christ and make Him known.  Live it to the fullest by letting Him live in and through you.
~ Live each day like it was your last.  We never know.  I want to live each day and moment in close fellowship with Jesus, in surrender to His will, and embracing the task He has before me with and for Him with all of my heart.

Sisters, Life is short.  Jesus is all that we need in life and death.  The most crucial thing is that we know have trusted Him as our Savior of our sins and yielded our life to Him as Lord.  As we walk in surrender, He can live His life through us.  This brief time that we have here on this earth is our chance to know Him and share Him with others.  This life impacts eternity.  Let’s embrace it with all that we are.

Tonight as I lay down in the hospital recliner, I rest in my Jesus - Grateful that my life is in His hands.  Thankful that in my life, He is all - and in my death, He is everlasting life.  Longing that every moment of this earthly life will be lived with Him and for Him.

“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:10

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Inner Beauty: The Heart that God Cherishes ~ by Teresa

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. Psalm 90:17 KJV

            The snow shimmers in the cold winter sunshine, pristine in its beauty. It still amazes me how clear water droplets frozen into crystalline snowflakes added one upon the other in fluffy mounds of snow can look so pure and clean. I love the clean fresh beauty of snow with soft blue shadows accentuating its whiteness – how much more does our Lord delight in the beauty of a heart cleansed by His blood.

In a culture that mocks purity and promotes focusing on outward appearance, a heart that is focused on Jesus and a countenance that radiates His pure light is as dazzling as freshly fallen snow.
            As Christian women, our desire should be to please Jesus and learn what He cherishes. A heart that is washed with His precious blood and filled with His righteousness is what our great God loves and treasures. It is beyond worth and will never perish.
Do not let your adorning be external — the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear — but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. I Peter 3:3-4 ESV

Though our inner thoughts are hidden from the world to see, God knows what is going on inside our hearts. He desires that they are beautified by the qualities of gentleness and quietness – the opposite of harshness, anxiety, and aggression. These qualities are cultivated by learning to trust Jesus with our future, by letting go of the controls on our lives, and by developing hearts of compassion for the hurting and hopeless.

The Refiner's Fire
            Like the process of the refining fires used to purify gold, God often uses fiery trials and pressures in our life to produce an inner beauty that does not fade with time.But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold. Job 23:10
Through the last several years, I have gone through various trials: a broken engagement, my family’s financial struggles, and some difficult health problems. Through each painful valley, the Lord drew my heart to Him. I have found that the Lord often uses trials to soften my heart. As I learn to rely on Him alone, it causes me to let go of the things my heart once craved and cling to Him instead. Then I receive something of inestimable value – a nearness to His tender heart that I never would have experienced before.

Transforming Beauty
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 
This spirit of inner beauty that the Lord longs to work in our hearts is cultivated unconsciously in the life of a believer. If we were conscious of the fact, we would quickly become prideful of “our beauty.” It does not come as a result of our own effort and struggle. This inner beauty will only come through prayerful meditation on His Word each day as we seek His face. When we look to Jesus and not at ourselves, our lives will be transformed from one degree of glory to another.

Mary of Bethany
            We see in the life of Mary of Bethany a heart of inner beauty. She chose to sit at the feet of Jesus instead of frantically rushing around in last minute preparations. He treasured her devotion to Him above any other service she could have rendered. Again we see her falling at the feet of her Lord when Jesus came after Lazarus died. Her weeping “deeply moved” Him so that He wept too. (John 11:33&35) Shortly before Christ died, Mary anointed His feet with costly ointment – a lingering fragrance that was extravagant and sacrificial.  Her position before Jesus was always one of submission and reverence. Three times it was recorded that she was at His feet; in worship, sorrow, and love.

When we come to Jesus in quiet adoration, let’s come in reverence and submission like Mary did, sitting at His feet in wonder, love, and praise.

Sitting at the Feet of Jesus
By Joseph Lincoln Hall
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Oh, what words I hear Him say!
Happy place! so near, so precious!
May it find me there each day.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would look upon the past;
For His love has been so gracious,
It has won my heart at last.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Where can mortal be more blest?
There I lay my sins and sorrows
And, when weary, find sweet rest.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
There I love to weep and pray,
While I from His fullness gather
Grace and comfort every day.
Bless me, O my Savior, bless me,
As I sit low at Thy feet.
Oh, look down in love upon me;
Let me see Thy face so sweet.
Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus;
Make me holy as He is.
May I prove I’ve been with Jesus,
Who is all my righteousness.

The Heart of the Matter

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

            Though our “outer” lives are important, our hearts are what the Lord is concerned about. As young ladies, it is so easy to look at our outward appearance and judge others by their looks or what they wear. Thankfully the Lord looks at our heart and judges our motives, not our appearance.  
And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9
When we possess inner beauty our lives will reflect Christ to those around us. We will come to see that it is of great worth – something that the Lord cherishes above all else. Inner beauty will actually start to transform us on the outside as well. Christ’s light will shine through our eyes, His loving words will be on our tongue, and His joy will cause our countenance to radiate His beauty.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Becoming Beautiful on the Inside ~ by Sophia

If you were to have asked me a few years ago if I loved Jesus and wanted to glorify Him, I would have immediately said, “Yes!” Although this is what I said I wanted, my life played out a different allegiance.

It started with one of Satan’s craftiest and most effective lies for girls, “You aren’t beautiful.” Listening to Satan is one thing, but I began to wholeheartedly believe him. “It’s true,” I thought, “I’m not beautiful.”

I was ashamed of how ugly I thought I was, and I was set out to change myself and the way I looked in order to be the most beautiful and outwardly adored girl on the planet. The skinnier I became, the more beautiful I thought I was. For months I pursued my passion to become beautiful, only to discover I couldn’t attain it, no praise was enough praise, and no one cared enough. Outward beauty became my idol. And because it became that, Jesus was shoved to the side…I would go to church and all, but I had no love for Him, no passion for His glory; I was miserable, depressed and lonely.

Jesus tells us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Matthew 22:37)

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at (the) appearance or at the height of stature…for the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Jesus wants our hearts to be beautiful before Him. It doesn’t mean much to be beautiful on the outside, but it takes His help for a heart transformation to occur and for us to be beautiful girls on the inside; girls that radiate Him.

A truly beautiful girl is one who is grounded on Jesus, whose relationship with Him changes every aspect of her life; whose passion is for Him alone, and one whose heart cares for the things that He cares about.

 “But on this one will I look (says the Lord): on him who is poor (humble) and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.”
Isaiah 66:2b

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” John 7:18

 “Do not let your beauty be that outward adorning of arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or of putting on fine apparel; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

After many months of living my precious idol, there came a point where I was so sick, so downtrodden, so incredibly depressed, that life didn’t seem to matter anymore. And it was in that time when there was no one else to turn to but Jesus, that He showed me exactly what I had done. I had put something temporal before Him, Who was supposed to be my Everything. I truly saw that the world cannot satisfy you, only Jesus can. It was a long journey after that of His grace leading me to repentance, Him breaking my prideful and selfish attitude, and destroying my idol; but to this day, I see it as one of the best things that could have happened to me. Jesus showed me that my quest for beauty should belong on the inside. He showed me that He is SO worthy to be sought after and that His promise to reward those who seek Him is true. And He has set me free from that bondage I was in.

 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

It takes faith to throw off all else and cling to Jesus; to forsake the world’s outward quest for
beauty (which doesn’t fulfill you) and pursue the creation of inward beauty. But this beauty lasts! And it pleases and brings God glory!
One of my favorite sentences in Psalms is found in Psalm 66:12, where it says, “…But you brought us out to rich fulfillment.” That has been so true in my life! When my passion is Jesus and my heart is longing to become beautiful for Him, He honors that desire; He brings me to a place of rich fulfillment in Him!

 “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”
Psalm 9:10

“Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.”
Matthew 5:8

God lead me through some very tearful, hard times of surrender that were necessary because my heart was dirty with all the idols and sin that I had allowed to grow there. A beautiful heart doesn’t come overnight; I have to daily ask for God’s grace to help in developing it.

Even lately, I’ve discovered that even though sometimes I think I have it…God shows me just how needy I am, and just how sinful my heart it; He leads me back to the place where I realize that in my own flesh I can’t be beautiful on the inside. It is an everyday work of God, a work that continues on thorough my life.  

What is your heart passion? Are you striving to be beautiful on the outside, while ignoring God’s pleading for a heart that is beautiful?

“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you…and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

He has given us His precious Son that we might be reconciled to Him. He has given everything that we might be found to have His righteousness, experience the joy that He brings and be filled with His power and presence! He is so worthy!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Memory Verses Video ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4

Join Amy and the conference attendees in learning this month's memory verses - 1 Peter 3:3-4 - with actions!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Releasing Session 3 ~ "The Importance of Inner Beauty" ~ The "Beautiful to God" Online Conference!

Dear Friends,

"What is true beauty?  Is it perfect makeup, a cute outfit, well styled hair?  Or, is it something more radiantly life changing?  As we grow in the amazing journey of knowing and loving Jesus and His Truth, our perspective of what is truly beautiful is transformed.

...We live in a world that promotes external beauty – but, if you think of it, it has nothing else to hope for than this life!  When you know Jesus, understand His ways, and have the hope of eternity in Heaven, it changes everything!  The beauty He calls us to is so much deeper - beginning at the heart and shining out! ...It is a beauty of Jesus in the soul that is eternal and impacts every area of our lives.  It is being a young woman who knows and radiates Jesus in a beautiful way that has a lasting impact on everyone she touches.  Let’s pursue beauty in His eyes!"  {Excerpt from the article:
The Radiance of True Beauty ~ by Amy Vest.}

I am so excited to look together in this session at the incredible beauty that the Lord calls us to embrace - A beauty that results in glorifying Him, satisfying us, and blessing others!  Will you join me?

With much love to you in Jesus,
Amy Vest
for Loving the Lord Ministries, Inc.

~ Announcing the April Giveaway! ~

The giveaway this month is: The "Beautiful to God" DVD and Workbook Set (2004 edition - which is somewhat different from the online version)

There are 4 ways to enter (girls, young women, and women of any age can enter):
1. Memorize our memory verses for the month and quote it to someone. (April's is ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4)

2. Watch the video and comment on our blog ( beneath the video post, sharing one thing the Lord is doing in your heart right now to cultivate inner beauty.

3. Spend as much time each day getting inwardly beautiful as you do outwardly beautiful - with the Lord in Bible reading, prayer, etc. (You receive 1 entry for every day you do this!)
(For encouragement on having powerful devotions, you can watch a video by clicking

4. Share
the Session 3 video on Facebook, your blog, or by email, encouraging your friends to join us.

You can do all of the above! (You can enter an unlimited number of times.)

Email and tell us your number of entries by April 25th to be entered for the giveaway drawing! We will announce the winner on the blog on April 30th!

~ April Memory Verse ~

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.” 
~ 1 Peter 3:3-4

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Jesus ~ "the radiance of the glory of God..." (Hebrews 1:3)

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a beautiful week in Jesus!  As I was working today on getting the video ready to release to you later this week (I am SO excited!!!!) - I came across this verse that so perfectly says what we are talking about this month in the beauty of Jesus, His redeeming work for and in us, and His sanctifying work in us to fill us with Himself and His radiant beauty:

"He (Jesus) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high..."  Hebrews 1:3

That is our Jesus!  Isn't He amazing?  I just love pursuing Him with you!

Have a beautiful day walking with Him!  I can't wait to seek Him more together!!!

Much love and I will be in touch,


Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Radiance of True Beauty ~ by Amy Vest

What is true beauty?  Is it perfect makeup, a cute outfit, well styled hair?  Or, is it something more radiantly life changing?

As we grow in the amazing journey of knowing and loving Jesus and His Truth, our perspective of what is truly beautiful is transformed.  The more we experience His heart and He changes our hearts through His Truth, the more we will begin to see as God sees, value what He values, and desire to live our lives in line with longing to be beautiful to Him out of love for Him!

Seeing beauty from God’s perspective is like holding a finely cut diamond close to the light and watching the radiant lights that sparkle everywhere.  It is a beauty that is deep, fulfilling, life-giving, radiant, and eternally glorifies God.  This is the beauty we want to pursue.

Beauty in its truest form is Jesus ~ His heart, His character, His Spirit.  We could talk for hours about His love, purity, holiness, radiance, strength… and the list goes on.  This beauty far surpasses anything merely external.  It is a beauty that transforms.

As a result, beauty in its truest form in us as humans is Jesus Christ filling and radiating from our lives!  The more our lives are emptied of us and filled with Jesus, the more we will be truly beautiful with the radiance of His life shining from us!  This is a beauty that, as a result, fulfills us, blesses others, and glorifies the Lord.

It:  ~ Fulfills you – by you being filled with and fulfilled by Jesus.  (Psalm 107:9)
~ Blesses others – by Jesus living through your life and touching others in a way that forever changes their lives, as only He can.  (2 Cor. 4:7)
~ Glorifies the Lord – by showing in your life how good and beautiful He is and others being drawn to worship Him.  (Matt. 5:16)

This is the beauty we were created to experience and radiate! 

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

We live in a world that promotes external beauty – but, if you think of it, it has nothing else to hope for than this life!  When you know Jesus, understand His ways, and have the hope of eternity in Heaven, it changes everything!  The beauty He calls us to is so much deeper - beginning at the heart and shining out!  External beauty in and of itself does not last, is shallow, and is unfulfilling.   While it is important for your external appearance to be a beautiful reflection of Jesus and your heart (allowing the cover to match the contents), our priority and value should be where God has it - on the inside.  “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

It is a beauty of Jesus in the soul that is eternal and impacts every area of our lives.  It is being a young woman who knows and radiates Jesus in a beautiful way that has a lasting impact on everyone she touches.  Let’s pursue beauty in His eyes!

A powerful passage on this is 1  Peter 3:3-4,  “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.”

Let’s focus on a few parts of these verses:
~ “adorning”Where are you placing your emphasis, hope, and value?  Is it on the external or the internal?  What consumes your thoughts, time, or priorities?  Is it Jesus and His life in you, or is it yourself and making sure that you have the perfect outfit or makeup?  Proverbs 11:22 is a helpful reminder, Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.”  One thing that can be helpful is timing yourself and seek to be spending more time focusing on the inner “adorning” (time with the Lord, prayer, reading the Bible, journaling, etc.) than you do on the outside (hair, makeup, clothes, etc.).  Let’s let Jesus help us place our emphasis on what really matters – His life in us!

~ “imperishable beauty” – This is talking about a beauty that doesn’t fade with age, but lasts forever.  Think of yourself 50 or 60 years from now. J (Quite the thought, isn’t it?)  We will look a lot different.  Then - what will matter more where you put your emphasis - on the inside or outside?  How about when you are standing in front of Jesus at the end of your life?  Visiting nursing homes is so inspiring to me – here we see a picture of what imperishable beauty is.  Those who have made their walk with the Lord a priority shine beautifully and His life in them continues to have a lasting impact others, even when their bodies are fading.  Let’s invest our lives in what will make a transforming difference now, and will last forever!

~ “meek and quiet spirit”
A meek and a quiet spirit are only possible when it is the life of Jesus living, working, and flowing through us.  We cannot manufacture, fake, or “paint on” this spirit.  It is only the result of Jesus within us – of time with Him in prayer, reading His Word, and allowing Him to work in our hearts.  It then flows from us like a beautiful fragrance flows from a flower.  Let’s stay dependant on Jesus and allow Him to work in us to make this a reality in our lives!

~ “very precious in the sight of God”
This is, above all else, why we want to pursue this inner beauty of Jesus within us – because it is pleasing and precious in the sight of the One we love!  What is valuable to Him is what really matters.  Let’s live for what is very precious to the One Who is our life, out of love for Him!

Having our hope in Jesus, valuing what He values, pursuing being filled with Him, and His life flowing from us results in a lasting beauty that is precious to God.

How can we specifically cultivate this true beauty, by the grace of God at work in us? 

This true beauty is cultivated in ways including:

~ Knowing Jesus and being filled with Him – This comes through salvation and a personal relationship with Him.  It is the Lord that creates this beauty in us, first through our redemption and then through working in us to transform us into His likeness. 
I want to make a very important reality very clear – there is a difference between justification and sanctification:
- Justification – [a 1-time event] - When you trust Jesus to save you from your sins and surrender your life to Him at salvation, Jesus saves you and you are eternally justified, so that when God looks at you, He sees Jesus.  This makes you beautiful to Him!  There is nothing that you can do to earn God’s favor or justification in your own strength.  Jesus has done that for you.  As a result, you are already saved and you already have God’s favor through Jesus’ work for you on the Cross – nothing can ever change that. 
- Sanctification – [an ongoing process]Once you are saved (justified), God desires to sanctify you – conforming you to the image of Jesus – for His glory and your good.  The more He empties us of our selves and fills us with Jesus, the more He can shine from our lives for His glory!
So, rest in Jesus’ justifying work for you, and allow this to compel you to seek to fully allow Him to do His sanctifying work in you!  As we walk with Him and He does His sanctifying work in us, He will increasingly shine from our lives!

~ His Word The Word of God (the Bible) is His way to let us know who He is, for Him to speak His Truth to us, and for Him to work in us.  It is the “guidebook” to what He says is true beauty and what He calls us to.  It changes your life as you read what He says and the Holy Spirit applies it to your heart.  As we are daily in the Bible, reading it, memorizing it, and thinking about it through the day and seeking the Lord’s help to apply it to our daily life, the Lord will work and change our hearts.
As we look to Jesus and the Word, we see that JESUS is our final example of what we should desire to be!   Even humans through whom He shines beautifully, come short of all that He is and calls us to be!  Keep Jesus and His Word before you as your example of true beauty.

~ Surrender to Him – It is so key to walk in yielded softness of heart to His work in us and obedience to His direction, as the One in charge of our life.  Radical transformation takes place as we obey out of love for Him, instead of out of duty.  It is allowing our heart to be like soft clay in the hands of a potter.  As the Lord works in you through the joys and trials of life, He is able to sanctify you, empty you of yourself and fill you with Himself, shape you, and do what He wants in you.  This is sometimes painful to our flesh.  But, it is an issue of choosing your pain – the initial pain of being emptied of and dying to self, but then experiencing the joy of Jesus’ life filling and radiating from you, OR the pain of staying right where you are and missing all that Jesus had for you! 

It is a life of this – day by day, moment by moment – looking to and loving Him, learning from His Word and valuing what He values, letting Him work in you and fill you, and allowing Him to flow through you to touch others for His glory! 

As this takes place in your life, watch how He will increasingly fill you with His satisfying life that shines from you in beautiful ways and has a lasting impact!  This is the beauty to which He is calling us!

May we all purse the beauty of Jesus that we were created to be filled with and radiate! 

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  Proverbs 31:30