Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Do You Know Jesus? ~ by Amy Vest

Do you ever wonder why you were created? God created you to have a personal relationship with Him, to glorify Him, and to live forever with Him in Heaven when you die. Apart from this relationship with God, you cannot find the joy, fulfillment, and peace that you were meant to have.

We all have a problem. There is darkness in our hearts. We have all sinned and disobeyed God. We have thought, said, and done wrong things. We have lied, cheated, been selfish, etc. God sees everything. Because God is holy and just, He cannot allow sin in His presence. Our sin separates us from God, and causes us to deserve His punishment, including being separated from Him eternally in Hell when we die. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Trying to do good things (“…and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” Is. 64:6), going to church, not sinning “really badly”, etc. will not save you, or earn you a place in Heaven. God is loving and merciful, but He is also holy and just. Even one little sin cannot be allowed before God. Otherwise, God would not be holy and just.

Because God is also loving and merciful, He made a way for us to be forgiven for our sins and be right with Him. God sent His son, Jesus Christ to earth. He lived a perfect life, died on the cross to take the punishment that we deserved for our sins, and rose again to live forever. In doing this, God made a way for us to be right with Him.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Receiving salvation from your sins through believing in and accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior will wash you from your sins, bring you into a right relationship with God, and make it possible for you to go to Heaven when you die. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It is a choice that you must personally make to receive as you would a gift. No one can make it for you. But, it is critical that you make it! (No one is promised tomorrow.)

Responding to God’s grace and believing in Christ is not something that takes place only in our mind – It is something that must take place in our heart and come out in our actions. Just like I can say that I believe that a chair will hold me up, I am not truly believing and placing my faith in the chair until I sit on it! It is the same way with believing in Jesus to save us. It is when we fully lean on Him to save us, that we truly are believing.

It is the most important decision that you will ever make, and it determines your standing with God and your eternal destiny in Heaven or Hell. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

If you choose to confess your sins to God, ask His forgiveness for them, turn from your sins, believe in Jesus to save you from your sins, and accept Him into your life as your Savior and Lord (which means the one who is in charge), you will be saved and become a child of God. John 1:12 says, “…As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.Christ will come into your life, wash away your sins, and enable you to live for Him. Then when God looks at you, He no longer sees your sin, but Jesus. Because of this, you can be in a right relationship with God, live for His glory, and spend eternity in Heaven with Him when you die. This is the most important thing in life, is what you were created for, is where you will find true peace, and determines your eternal destiny.

To be right with God, it is essential to:
  1. Admit your sin and your need for forgiveness.
  2. Confess your sin to God, ask for His forgiveness, and turn from your sins to follow Him.
  3. Believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and trust Him to save you.
  4. Surrender your life to Jesus Christ and invite Him to come in and control your life as your Lord and Savior.
You can pray something like the following prayer:
“Dear Lord, I know that I have sinned and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and I trust You to save me. Please forgive me for my sins, come into my life as my Lord and Savior, and help me to live for You. I choose to turn from my sins, trust You as my Lord and Savior, surrender my life to You, and to follow You from now on. Thank you for dying in my place so that I can be right with You and spend eternity with You in Heaven when I die. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Romans 10:9-11 tells us,
“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (ESV)
Once you have accepted salvation through Jesus Christ, your new life in Him has just begun! John 5:24 says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
To grow in your relationship with the Lord you should:
  1. Read the Bible, which is God’s word to you, each day (the book of John is a good place to start).
  2. Spend time daily talking to God in prayer.
  3. Worship the Lord, fellowship, and serve with other Christians in a church where God’s Word is preached.
  4. Live for Christ and tell others about Him.
The Lord will never leave you. He will make Himself more real to you as you seek Him and will satisfy the longings of your heart. The Lord will help you to live for Him! As His child, you have the joy of walking with Him in this life and the joy of knowing that you will spend eternity with Him in Heaven!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Witnessing and Gaining a Passion for Souls ~ Session 4 ~ Changing Your World for Christ Conference Video

Witnessing and Gaining a Passion for Souls ~ Changing Your World for Christ ~ Session 4 (2007 Edition) from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

Join us for Session 4 of the Changing Your World for Christ Conference ~ Witnessing and Gaining a Passion for Souls! This is a powerful and helpful session on sharing the Jesus we love with others!

Companion handout available at!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”'
~ Mark 1:17

Follow Me ~ by Amy Vest

"Follow Me."  These words from Jesus have been a theme for me over the past months.  I can say with great confidence that there is no other path worth walking.

Every step taken with Jesus, in Jesus, and for Jesus leads us to more of Him and His matchless will for our lives.

In following Jesus, we find our life.

Listen to the words of Jesus,
"Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?"  Matthew 16:24-26

We answer the call to lose our life, find it in Jesus, and follow Him at salvation - and then follow Him as His own every moment of our life from that point on. 

It is the greatest journey.

When we follow other people, our hearts, etc. we are always going to be led astray.

This verse speaks the reality so richly: 
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

And Jesus says of Himself, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:16)

When we are following Jesus, we are on the right way - for He IS the Way!

There is no one I would rather follow.

This has been a season of looking to Jesus for His will in a variety of areas in my life.  As I seek Him in surrender - praying, "Jesus, You and Your will are all I want!" - the answer keeps coming, "Follow Me."  I am seeing afresh the sweetness of step-by-step, moment-by-moment fellowship with, listening to, and following in obedience to Jesus.  It is priceless how in this, He reveals His will in His perfect timing, knowing just what I need when.  Best of all, in the process He is giving me what I need and want most - more of HIM!

I love how this brings such a deepening in our personal walk with Jesus, instead of getting focused on a plan of action.  It is about following Jesus and His Word, a relationship with Him, and living from that vs. following a plan.  Yes, He reveals a plan of action and calls us to act, but when we are following HIM, we see that the relationship is most important and that it is about JESUS, by His strength alone, and for His glory.

We are called to follow Him and He will lead, shape us, and give us grace for every step.  I love how when Jesus called the disciples, He said, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)  He didn't say, "Become fishers of men, and then follow Me."  He said, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." 

Over and over again we see that He wants our hearts more than our hands, and a relationship more than our plans.  When the heart and relationship is in place, the rest will flow and be beautiful because it is JESUS!  Otherwise, it is of little to no eternal value.  "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

This Sunday I slipped into a pew before service wanting some time with Jesus.  I opened my Bible to the text the sermon would be on and began to read.  In the Lord's sweet plan, the text included these words, "...he said to him, “Follow me." (Mark 2:14) 

As I sat in the pew with my Bible in my lap, a dear older man walked by and said with a twinkle in his eye, "It's a good Book, by the way."  I smiled back and said, "The BEST!"

Isn't this just so beautiful?

Jesus calls us to follow Him,
He tells us how in His Word - the Bible,
He applies His Word to our heart and life by His Spirit,
and He enables us to follow in obedience by His grace.

As we follow, we receive more of Jesus and are led into His will, resulting in our joy, His glory, and blessing to others.

This is the life we were created for and to which Jesus calls us!

My friend, the best place to be is with Jesus in the center of His will.  Don't settle for lesser paths that only lead to distraction, disappointment, and destruction.

We are called to follow Jesus with our whole lives.

Stop and ask yourself these two questions:
1. Am I following Jesus as His own through salvation - Have I seen my sin and need for a Savior, trusted in Jesus and His death to save me from my sins, and given my life to Christ to follow Him? (read more on this HERE)

2.  What is one specific way (or ways) I know Jesus is calling me to follow Him today? 
Maybe it is:
- in obeying something in His Word
- in doing something you know He's called you to do
- in trusting Him to guide your future

As Jesus extends this call - "Follow Me." let our heart cry be:

"There is nothing I would rather do, no one I'd rather follow, and no place I would rather be!"

Will you answer Jesus call to follow Him?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Getting a Vision from the Lord for Your Life ~ Session 3 ~ Changing Your World for Christ Conference Video

Getting a Vision from the Lord for Your Life ~ Changing Your World for Christ ~ Session 3 (2007 Edition) from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

Join us for Session 3 of the Changing Your World for Christ Conference ~ Getting a Vision from the Lord for Your Life! This is an encouraging and insightful session on seeking the Lord for His beautiful purposes for your life!

Companion handout available at!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What Are You Building Your Life On? ~ by Amy Vest

"Boom.  Boom, boom."  I partially woke up and then drifted back off to sleep, thinking people were setting of fireworks in our area.  "BOOM!"  I was awake.  No, it wasn't fireworks - it was real thunder, really close.

I checked the weather to see how serious it was.  We were under a flash flood warning for a few hours.  I was grateful as I reflected on how our house should be safe in a flash flood because of the position and construction.

As I sat there in the dark, an illustration Jesus gave came to mind:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”  Matthew 7:24-27

Our lives are like houses and we will all face storms.  Where we are building is crucial.

Let's ask ourselves, "What are we building our lives on?"

Jesus tells us that if we build our lives on Him and - hearing and doing - His Word, we will stand secure.  But, if we base our lives on other things, we will fall.

The Bible - the Word of God - is 100%, unchanging, and infallible Truth.  This is where He shows us Who He Is, what is Truth, how we can know Him, gives us His promises, guides us in the way He created us to live, and so much more.  When we base our lives on His Word, by His grace, we are unshakable.

I know from personal experience that when I build my life on anything but the Word of God, instability results.  Feelings, circumstances, people, appearance, money, etc. all are fallible and changing.  Jesus and His Word are Truth and steadfast.

Every area that is built on Jesus and His Word will stand secure.

Notice that there are two parts to Jesus' illustration - 1. Hearing, and 2. Doing. First, we must hear God's Word - by reading or listening to the Bible. Secondly, we must act in obedience to what we've heard.

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."  James 1:22

Imagine you wanted to build something and you just read the instructions but never acted on what you read.  We must read the Bible and receive God's grace to live in it. 

So, if today I read, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding...", I have heard it.  Now I must ask the Lord for help to apply it in my daily life - to put my faith in Him and His Word over my logic or feelings.  The more this takes place by the Lord's power, the stronger the "house" of our lives will become. 

Jesus invites us to hear and build our lives on His Word for His glory and our good!

I want this, don't you?

Let's answer Jesus' call to receive His grace to both hear and do His Word today - and build our lives upon what will last forever!


Join the conversation! 
We'd love for you to leave a comment below and share:

What is one verse from the Bible that you are building your life on right now?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Captivated with Jesus ~ by Amy Vest

Captivated with Jesus.  This is how I want to live.  You too?

Let's ask ourselves the very real question: What are you captivated with?

We can tell what we are captivated with by what we think and talk about, spend time and money on, or do in our spare time.  What would it be for you?  I am asking myself the same question.

Who - or what - has your heart? 

I want it to be Jesus.  Always.

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." ~ Matthew 6:21

What does being captivated with Jesus look like?  Here is a little glimpse.

When you truly meet Jesus, fix your eyes on Him, and grow in knowing Him, everything else fades more and more into the background in view of the glorious light of all that He is.  The tinfoil of the world that used to sparkle grows dull in light of the radiance of Jesus.  You realize that Jesus alone is the source of all you desire and the only place to look.  When you become captivated with Jesus, it is a point of no return - you are never the same and desire to only grow knowing Him more all of your life. 

Jesus' love, purity, grace, faithfulness, power, patience - and so much more - captivate your heart, both satisfying you and making you long for more of Him!
  You fall more and more in love with Jesus, taste true satisfaction that you long for in the deepest parts of your soul, are riveted on His glory, and you want more.

You find yourself thinking, "I want to dive into my Bible or a book about Jesus - not so I look spiritual - but, because I want Jesus - to discover and personally know more of Him who has captivated my heart!  I want to be where He is, know His heart, and live in a way that honors Him."

Your heart echoes the prayer in Psalms 27:4, "One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple."

It is not that we never struggle or get distracted with other less important things.  We are human and we will.  But when we do, we always see that those things never truly satisfy, and the Lord will always bring our hearts back to our true joy - Jesus!

Nothing compares to Jesus.   

When we are captivated and satisfied by Jesus, all of life takes on a new perspective. 

It is not that we never think about or love anything or anyone else!  It is that Jesus is the One who captivates our hearts and we see everything else in light of being captivated with Jesus.

For example:
~ I still eat food - but, I do it, not looking to the food to satisfy me like only Jesus can, but for it to nourish me to walk with, love, and serve Him more!
~ I still treasure time with people - but, I do it looking to Jesus to satisfy what no human can, and seeking to share and receive His love through fellowship and ministry.
~ I still... and you can fill in the blank for yourself.  Do you get the picture?

He gives us all we need and then gives us His desires in light of all that He is.

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."  ~ Psalm 37:4

It is where our heart is.

Yesterday in church, we sang one of my favorite songs, and these words struck me so sweetly and strongly, "We will fix our eyes on You, so we can set our hearts on You."

Here is something important to remember - If you want to be captivated with Jesus, do not wait until you feel captivated with Jesus.  Seek Jesus, ask Him to reveal Himself to you, pursue Him... As you know Him, you will grow in captivation with Him.  It is about riveting our hearts on what His Word promises will satisfy - Jesus - and then allowing our feelings to follow.

Here are some helpful ways to do this:
~ Giving Him first place in your heart
~ Time with Him
~ Reading His Word and growing in knowing Who He is
~ Prayer
~ Worship
~ Fellowship with others who are captivated with Him

Here is the beautiful thing - Jesus wants to captivate your heart, friend.  He is pursuing your heart - both to save you from your sins and then for an ever deepening personal relationship with Him.  He is for you and wants to help you to listen to His Word, see evidences of His love, and know Him.  He promises to help you as you pursue Him, battle the enemy's distractions, and embrace all that the Lord has for you in Himself. Your call is to respond by His grace and pursue Him - and prepare to be dazzled with all that He is.

"Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you." ~ Jeremiah 31:3

Jesus created you to be captivated with Him.  This is where your deepest joy and His greatest glory meet.

Jesus, only Jesus is all that you ever need.

It is a lifelong joy of growing more captivated with Jesus.

The promise - "Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed."  ~ Psalm 34:7

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Change Must Begin in You ~ Session 1 ~ Changing Your World for Christ Conference Video

The Change Must Begin in You ~ Changing Your World for Christ ~ Session 1 (2007 Edition) from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

Join us for Session 1 of the Changing Your World for Christ Conference ~ The Change Must Begin in You ~ as we look at how the Lord brings transformation from the inside out!

We encourage you to download the handouts available on the website and do a personal Bible study with the material!  You can find the handouts by clicking HERE!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Exciting News - July Online Conference - Changing Your World for Christ!

We are so excited to announce that for the month of July, we will be posting one video session each week from the Changing Your World for Christ Conference!*

This conference is designed to encourage you in allowing Christ to do a transforming work from the inside out to bring His glory in and through your life in a way that not only changes you, but also the world around you!

Sessions include:
~ The Change Must Begin in You
~ Secrets to Being Mightily Used by God
~ Getting a Vision from the Lord for Your Life
~ Sharing the Gospel
~ The Impact of One Life

The sessions include companion handouts that will be posted on the LTLM website - - along with the videos!

(This conference was held and recorded in 2007.)

The first session will be posted this week, so stay tuned!

We look forward to seeking Jesus with you!

*Due to a lack of video posts in the past and then posting some early to offer a video each week of this month, we will resume the every other week video posting pattern mid August through the rest of the year!