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!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Life of Worship ~ by Amy Vest


You are a worshipper.  Did you know that?  We are all worshippers. 

We are worshipping beings.  We were created by God to worship God.  We have this worshipping vacuum in our hearts and are always worshipping something.

So, what really is worship?  Worship is declaring the worth of someone or something.  It is essentially "worth-ship".

Let's ask:
"Who - or what - is my life declaring the worth of?"


Worship is first - and always - a heart state.  Then what we do flows out from that - to live a life of worship.

A friend recently said something that the Lord keeps using to encourage me, "He wants my heart, so that all that flows out is worship to Him."  Amen.  That is exactly what I want in my life, don't you?

Proverbs 4:23 tells us, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life."  
Worship in the heart flows out in a life of worship.

Living a life in God's presence of lifting Him high in your heart, acknowledging and adoring Him for Who He is, and then living your life in a spirit of response to this.

Romans 12:1, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

We are called to worship Jesus not only with our hearts, or our lips, but with our very lives.


Worship begins with our hearts, flows into our lives, and propels our actions.

Worship is a way that glorifies Jesus by showing that He is valuable above all else.

I just love Psalm 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." 

When you are beholding Who He is, worship comes naturally and flows out in how you live your life.

The Lord has used, and continually uses, worship of Him to change my life.

Worship makes me fall more in love with Jesus as I dwell on Who the One is Who is my God, Savior, Lord, dearest Friend, Love of my life, and greatest Treasure.  This echoes in my life.

As I gaze upon Who my God is, worship Him for it - it changes the atmosphere of my heart and then how I live in the reality of Who He is.
How do we actually worship?  Here are a few thoughts:
~ Behold God for Who He Is in His Word - This is where we know Who our God truly is and can worship Him for Who He is.  As you see Him, you know and love Him.
~ Lift Him up and declare His worth in your heart - This is where true worship begins and continues. 
~ Allow that worship to spill out in every area of your life - your thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions.

Some practical ways to live worship out:
~ Read through His Word, stopping to worship Him when you see an attribute of Who He Is.  For example, I read a verse that says, "The Lord is faithful..." (2 Thess. 3:3) and I lift my heart in worship and say, "Oh Lord, You are faithful! I worship You for Your faithfulness. Thank You that You are forever faithful to me."
~ Prayer - Taking what you know of God and offering it to Him in prayerful worship. I love worshipping Him both in my devotional time and also through the day and praying, "Lord, You are holy, perfect, pure..." and whatever I know of Who He is.  I love writing out Who He is from His Word in a journal - and this can be a powerful tool to look at and use for worship.
~ Sometimes it is simply seeing a glimpse of Him as I walk through my day, raising my heart in adoration, and saying, "Jesus, You are amazing!"
~ Singing, or turning on worship music that lifts Jesus high (often singing along!) and allowing it to usher my heart into worship.  This is so powerful as I go through the day in helping to keep my mind, heart, and eyes fixed on Who Jesus is and in a state of worship.  This can be any time from in my personal devotional time with the Lord, to cooking (yes, you may catch me paused in front of the kitchen sink with my heart and hands raised in worship), to driving in the car - and everything in between.
~ Talking about His goodness, worshipping Him in prayer, and singing with others who love Him raises my heart to worship Him.
~ and more!

Worship is not just a single activity, worship is a lifestyle.

I want to live a life that oozes worship of Jesus.
I want every pore of my being to declare that Jesus is worthy of all praise.
I want to inhale Jesus and exhale worship.


In my happiest moments, worship lifts my heart to Him; in the mundane tasks, it keeps my eyes on the supernatural; and in my deepest trials, it transforms my perspective and brings peace in light of all He is.

In every situation, worship says, "You are God.  You are good.  You are wise.  All is for Your glory."  It lifts my eyes from my circumstances to Who He is changes my perspective and transforms the atmosphere of my heart.   I see all that He is, my heart is lifted above my situation to Jesus, and there is deep joy, peace, and security no matter the circumstance.

"Lord, Yes, this may be my circumstance _____________, but THIS IS WHO YOU ARE ____________.  You are infinitely greater, wiser, and stronger.  I fix my eyes on You, lift You high for Who You are, and ask for Your grace to live in reality of this in a way that declares Your worth with every breath I take."


Jesus is matchless.  He alone is worthy of our worship.

Let's be worshippers of Jesus, friend.


This is what we were created for.

With every breath we breathe, let's set our eyes on Jesus, lift Him high in our hearts, and live lives of worship of the One Whose worth cannot be measured - until we step into eternity to worship Jesus forever!

Now, and for eternity, may our hearts and lives declare ~
"Jesus, You are worthy of all praise.  We worship You."
~~~~

What is one quality of Who God is that you are worshipping Him for today?  Please tell us in the comment section below!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Obedience - A Pathway to Joy ~ by Amy Vest

I don't often do this.  I don't often sit down with nothing on my heart to write about.  Usually there is something the Lord puts on my heart and gives me to write about. He causes the words to flow into my heart and out my fingers into words - and I pray He anoints them and uses them by His Spirit in hearts.

Today is different.

I have nothing specific to write.  But I feel Him beckoning me to write a blog post.  And so I am.

As I type, I realize that this is exactly what I am supposed to write about.  Obedience.  As I type that word - that word that can hold so many reactions - I know, this is what I am supposed to write on.  This is something He has been teaching me in a real, practical, moment-by-moment way lately.

Obedience to Jesus is something we never move beyond, only deeper into.

Obedience to Jesus shows that I believe Him, that I trust Him, that I love Him - obedience is outwardly witnessing that He is my Lord.

When I don't obey, I am really saying that I believe that what I think is good for me is better than what Jesus thinks is good for me. {Ouch, that hurts - but, it is true!}

Disobedience to Jesus is sin, proof of pride, foolish, and leads us in the wrong direction.

When I obey - even when I don't understand - I am saying that I believe Jesus is wise, good, loving, that His plan, ways, and heart is perfect, and that He will always keep His promises. 

Obedience to Jesus brings joy to His heart - and mine, is evidence of freeing humility in my life, and leads us to His best for us.

Obedience is proof that I love Jesus - and that I believe He loves me.

Jesus says it: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments." John 14:15

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands." 2 John 1:6

When we obey Him - what He calls us to do in His Word, the Bible, and what He leads us to do in moment-by-moment life in line with His Word - it brings us closer to Him.  When I listen to His voice and follow in obedience, I know more of His heart and am led in His path for me.  I want that - don't you?  But, when I disobey, I harden my heart and it hinders my closeness with Jesus.  Oh friend, we don't want that!

It is a daily, moment-by-moment choice.   It takes place in a million different ways each day - in answering His call to meet with Him in His Word, to speaking with love, to being honest in your work, to _________ - you can fill in the blank.  Each choice leads us either deeper with Jesus and His path for us, or hinders our relationship with Him and His work through us.

Here's the thing.  We cannot obey in our own strength.  Everything the Lord calls us to, He gives us the grace to do, and everything He calls us to do is impossible apart from Him - beautifully designed to cause us to rely on and come to greater depths with Jesus Who walks with us every step of the way.  It is saying, "Jesus, please help me obey You." and stepping out in faith, believing He always will!

And for the times we disobey, Jesus stands ready with open arms for us to turn from going our own way and run into His arms to walk with and obey Him afresh.

The path of obedience to Jesus is a doorway to greater joy - because it is a doorway to more of Jesus and His best for you.

Let's answer Him with a joyful, "Yes, Lord!" from a heart overflowing with love!

Friend, I imagine your heart is echoing this prayer with mine:

"I want to obey You, Jesus.  I want to want to obey You, Jesus.  I want to sit at Your feet, know You more, soak in Your Word, and to beg for and allow You to change my heart so that out will spill love that will motivate obedience to You.  I want to obey even when my feelings are leading me to do something else - because I know that You love and know what is best for me far more than my feelings do! I am asking You afresh for grace in this moment to obey You!  In Your Name, Amen."

What is Jesus calling you to obey Him in today?

Right now He is calling me to obey and go help prepare dinner.  I'll see you later! :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Question - We love hearing from you!


What is one area you see your need for Jesus right now?

Please share in the comments section below!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Freedom of Neediness of Jesus ~ by Amy Vest

I have some very good news for you - You are needy.  "Is that good news?", you might ask.  Yes, very good news.
You see, you and I were created by God as needy human beings.  Every single one of us.

We live in a culture that tells us we should not be needy, or we should pretend we have no needs.

We have a God that tells us we were created as needy humans, depende
nt on an all-sufficient Savior.  We were created for a relationship with Him that glorifies Him and satisfies us.

This beautiful need is meant to drive us to Jesus.  That is what makes it good news.

Our need + Jesus' sufficiency = all we could ever need.

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:19)

Oh friend!  I have found such freedom and joy in realizing and embracing my neediness and Jesus' sufficiency.
  {Deep breath}  I don't need to try to be something I can never be, or do something I can never do on my own strength.  No.  I can turn to Jesus in my need and find all I need - and all I could ever want!

I love praying, "Jesus, I need You!  I am so needy and You are so sufficient." and experiencing His sufficiency - His fullness to meet my every need - wash over me every time.  This only deepens my love and trust as I taste His goodness.  This is how we were created to live!

First, we must see that we are needy, before we can receive the solution to our need.
Pretending we have no need is both prideful and a lie - and it will get us nowhere.  Acknowledging our need and embracing Jesus sufficiency floods us with joy - and through His life in us, the Spirit moves and bears fruit in and through our lives.

What are some of our needs?

We need:
- saving from our sins
- grace
- forgiveness
- love
- guidance
- breath
- hope
- help
- satisfaction
...and so much more!

In our neediness we can look to Jesus, or we can look other places.  Where we look determines what we will receive.  Jesus fulfills us, anything else will leave us needy and empty.  Jesus created the need and He alone can fill it.
Jesus is the answer - and is the source of the answer - to our every need.
You see, seeing your need of Jesus is a beautiful thing.  The beautiful thing is, the more we see our need, the more we can turn to Jesus and can welcome His sufficiency in our lives.

Every need that drives you to Jesus is your friend.

First we see our neediness of Jesus at salvation, aware of our desperate neediness of and seeking for His forgiveness and redeeming life.
  (See more on this HERE.)  Salvation begins a moment by moment relationship of dependence upon Jesus every day of our lives as He draws us closer, makes us more like Jesus, and enables us to live for Him by His life within us.  

I love how the Lord has given us the earthly evidence of our neediness of Him in our need to eat, drink, rest, etc. every day.  We need Him to provide these things for us - and these things are a picture of our deeper needs of our soul.  Our souls are hungry, thirsty, etc. and Jesus alone can fill these needs.  

This morning I was reading in John where Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me 
shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (Matthew 6:35) and marveling once again that we can keep coming to Him over and over and He always has full supply - and there is always more of Him to know and be satisfied by.
Let our hearts prayer be, "Jesus, I cannot breathe, or obey You, or make any eternal difference without You.  I need You.  Jesus, You are, and I ask You to be to me the:
 breath in my lungs
salvation to my soul
love in my heart
truth to my mind
guide to my path
...and so much more!"


And when we call, He delights to come, live His life in and through us, and meet these needs.
When we depend on Jesus, His life, power, and Spirit, there is no end to what He can do!  

We as Christians were meant to live lives that are not explainable in human terms - only in terms of Jesus.  The only way this will happen is when we live lives dependant on Jesus.

How can we do this?  I am so glad you asked.

Here are a few ways to start:
~ Prayer - When we pray, we acknowledge that God is the One we need and rely upon.  Living in a spirit of prayer each moment is such a sweet evidence of dependence.  "Jesus, I need You, depend on You, look to You for all I need."  "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God... Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)  And we are always in need, so we can always draw near! 
~ The Bible - Going to God's Word proves we know we don't have answers and we know He does.  Turn to His Word for your answers.  Ask His Holy Spirit to open your eyes to His Truth.
~ Relying on His Spirit and life within us vs. depending on our own strength or instinct.  We can easily tend to try to do things on our own or depend on what we think is best.  When we are looking to and listening for Him, He can guide us in line with His Word.
~ Starting your day - I love talking to Jesus as I wake up and praying something like, "Good morning Jesus, I love You, You are all I need, I want You, Lord.  I surrender myself to You afresh.  Please give me more of You and live Your life in and through me today."

The Christian life is meant to be daily moment by moment dependence on Jesus.  As we live this way, we taste His sufficiency that both satisfies us and spills out in fruit in and through our lives.

This is the life you are created to live.

Embrace your neediness and let it drive you to embrace Jesus, friend.

In the sufficiency of Jesus you will find all that you need.

Friday, August 31, 2018

The Summer Devotions Pursuit 2018 ends today!


The Summer Devotions Pursuit 2018 ends today, friends!

We hope that this summer was just the beginning of a lifetime of meeting with Jesus daily, memorizing His Word, sharing fellowship with others who are seeking Him, and walking with Him every moment of your life!  There is no greater joy!  We are cheering for you as you continue to walk with Jesus!

"He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things." ~ Psalm 107:9

Please be sure to mail your charts to us by September 7th and we will send you your reward package!

We would love to hear - What is one thing Jesus did in your heart as you spent time with Him this summer?

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

You are Loved ~ by Amy Vest

Dear Sisters,

Sometimes we just need someone to remind us of this truth:

You are loved.

Let's listen to Jesus:

"...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

May your day be blessed beyond measure as you soak in His endless love for you!

Grateful to be loved by our Jesus together,
Amy

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Sweetness of Selflessness ~ by Amy Vest

Selflessness.

What comes to mind when you hear this word?  Cringing and drudgery, or joy and freedom?

Let's take a look.

We are naturally selfish, focused on our self, and wanting what we want to satisfy ourselves.  Selflessness is not something that we come by automatically. 

Here is the amazing thing:

Selfishness is natural.
Selflessness is supernatural.


Selflessness is only possible because of Jesus.

While basically anyone can, should, and will be blessed when they choose to put others first in action - true selflessness is really a condition of our heart that flows out in how we live our lives.  This is transformation only Jesus can bring.

It is a change from a focus on self to focus on Jesus, Who fulfills you and enables you to focus on others.

This change begins at salvation when you turn from following self to follow Christ, and it continues for your whole life with Jesus on earth as He works in you.

Just this morning I was reading John 3 and read once again that beautiful verse, "He must increase, but I must decrease."

This is the beautiful thing - the "less" of self, means the "more" of Jesus in our lives! I want this, don't you?

The more we are emptied of ourselves, and the more we are filled with Jesus, the more we will taste the sweet freedom of selflessness.  It is a process - and it can be painful, because self does not like to decrease - but, the increase of Jesus FAR outweighs it.

I don't know about you, but when I am focused on myself, I am empty, unfulfilled, and miserable.  But, when I am allowing Jesus to empty me of self, fill me, and love others through me, there is so much joy!

This is a reality that has been transforming my world:

I can freely deny myself when I realize that Jesus is all I need.

Do you see how this works?  When I have everything in Jesus, I no longer need to look for fulfillment, acclaim, rights, etc. - I have all in Jesus and know He cares for me! 

Then I can follow His example.

He gave of Himself, so that I could have all in Him. I can now deny myself for Him and so that He can give Himself through me to others.

The Lord has recently been deepening this in my heart in the area of sensitive availability to my family.  I can be going about what I think is the Lord's role for me in a day - and then a need comes up for someone close to me.  I sense a gentle tug of the Holy Spirit in my heart to set the project aside and see how Jesus can use me to minister to that person - sometimes it is simply a hug, helping them with a project, or praying with them.  In that moment, I can listen to Jesus, deny myself, and reach out to that person - and if I do, there is so much joy, more of Jesus, and He works.  I want to live in this every day - and Jesus delights to grow us!

I love, love, love this passage about Jesus and our call because Him:


"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." ~ Philippians 2:3-11

This is where true life is found - in denying ourselves and letting Jesus increase in us and through us to others!

What is an area you feel the Lord calling you to less of self and more of Him in today, friend?
  I am asking myself the same question.  Let's let Him work and bring the sweetness of selflessness in us!

I do want to whisper a little clarification to those of you who may be like I was and think this may mean something it doesn't - it does not mean that you never get sleep, or have to say "yes" to every person's request - and definitely it does not mean that you give up what God has shown you is right!  We are humans with God-given limitations.  Selflessness is a heart condition and attitude of yielded focus on Jesus instead of self, and then on others, to pour out your life for Him however He leads!

Selflessness is saying "no" to self and "yes" to Jesus.  It is putting Jesus first and then allowing Him to turn our eyes to others.  It is a heart transformation by Jesus that radiates out in our lives in joy, freedom, and service.

When we are selfless, the world sees something different.

I want to live a life whose only explanation is Jesus. Selflessness is one of those things.

Knowing this is only possible with Jesus, let's run to Him, find all in Him, and allow Him to give to others through us.

In this we will taste more and more the sweetness of selflessness - more of Jesus in and through our lives!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Question - We love hearing from you!


What is one thing Jesus uses to grow you in Him?

Please share in the comments section below!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

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!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Jesus - No One Compares ~ by Amy Vest

Jesus.  The most precious Name in the world.  The One to Whom no one compares.  The only source of all we need.  Jesus.

Oh, friend!  He has been showing His goodness, grace, holiness, nearness, and reality so much lately.  My heart has been falling more deeply in love with the One I need so desperately.

He is matchless.

I could talk about Him for hours, but there are 4 precious realities that I want to share about Him that have been bringing so much joy to my heart.

Jesus:
1. Is real -
He is so real.   He wants to be real to you.  The things He says in His Word about Who He is are not just words on a page, they are reality.  He wants to make Himself so real to you and is working in your life for this purpose.  We can watch each day for Him to reveal to us the reality of Who He is as we walk with Him through the day.  This is a prayer He delights to answer. 

How is He real to you?

2. Only satisfies -
Jesus alone is the satisfaction of the vacuum in our heart.  He will not allow you to be satisfied in anything else.  He is always wooing you to Himself.  He alone can satisfy the longing He created.  We can respond through running to Him for our joy - through prayer, time in His Word, walking with Him each moment, and making Him the object of our love and pursuit.  As we do, we always find the reality of this verse, "He satisfies the longing soul..." Psalm 107:9

Where are you looking for satisfaction?

3. Wants your heart -
Oh, how He wants your heart!  He made you for Him and He will never stop pursuing your heart.  This is such faithful love.  He wants your heart more than your words or your hands.  “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."' Matthew 15:8 "For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6  He will not let you settle for outward actions - He wants your heart.  And you can be so glad - when He has your heart, you are satisfied and He is glorified.  When your heart is His, all that flows out is worship.

Is your heart with Him?

4. Calls you to an endless journey and romance with Him - He invites you to enjoy and embrace this personal relationship of love with Him that touches every area of your life. Every day of this life until we step into eternity is an opportunity to walk moment by moment with Him - learning His heart, understanding His Word, being knit more closely to Him.  All you face serves to make Him more precious - the trials, victories, and everything in between.  Life is so full of purpose, anticipation, and joy as you open your eyes each morning to a new day of walking with and knowing Jesus more!

Will you walk with Him today?


These are precious realities that have been filling me with so much joy.  I pray they will do the same for you.

Friend, as you receive His grace to embrace Jesus as your reality, satisfaction, heart's treasure, and purpose in living, your heart will love Him more and we can declare together:

"There is none like you, O Lord, and there is no God besides you..." 1 Chronicles 17:20

Jesus.  No one compares.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Question - We love hearing from you!



What are distractions for you from living for Jesus?

Please share in the comments section below!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Fullness of Joy - The Presence of Jesus ~ by Amy Vest

The presence of Jesus.

There is nothing like it in all the world
.

"In your presence is fullness of joy."
 Psalm 16:11

The presence - the nearness - of the One Who is our Savior, our Friend, our everything.

When you know Jesus is with you, you know that you have all that you need.  
For those who belong to Him, He has promised to be with you - forever.

"I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
 (Matthew 28:20) - and then to usher is into His presence in Heaven forever!

This, my friend, is the only way we find true, lasting, and full joy - in the presence of the One we were created to know and Who "satisfies the longing soul" (Psalm 107:9) - Jesus.


Jesus is with you right now.


Stop and let that sink in.

Jesus is right there with you.  Wherever you are.  
I know some of you are probably reading this in a hospital room, at home, on the road, or in different countries.  Some of you are happy, some of you are tired, some of you are crying. 

Jesus is there. 

Stop and ask:

How does the reality that Jesus with with me change my life?
The reality that Jesus is right here with you will change everything, if you embrace it.

All that He Is, is right here.  This inspires awe, worship, security, fulfillment, and obedience.


 I love to whisper "You are here." in the midst of my days.
Some moments it is soaking in His presence under a starry sky or in my time of devotions, other times it is treasuring His nearness in times of deep pain or while babysitting a household of lively kiddos, and much of the time, it is embracing the everyday moments with the One Who is my life.

Life is beautiful when it is lived in the presence of the Beautiful One.  Painless?  No.  But, deeply beautiful, because the reality of Jesus colors everything I encounter.

The One Who Is:
The Bread of Life - meets me in my soul's hunger
The King of Heaven - is in control
The All-Sufficient Savior - is all I need
The Shepherd - is there to guide and nurture me
... and everything else He tells us He is in His Word - is with you. 

Jesus wants you to share life with Him.

Friend, you have the opportunity to live every moment with Jesus.

To walk with Jesus every moment.
To turn your thoughts into a conversation with Jesus.
To soak of the reality that He is in you and with you.
To allow His presence to impact all you do and touch others that are desperate for Him.


Feel it?

I want to make a little note for those of you who are more "feelers" like me.  The presence of Jesus is 
a reality whether you can feel and sense it or not.  There are times when His presence feels so near and other times when we cannot feel it and must stand on the truth of His Word where He promises, "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)  His presence is always just as real and unchanging, regardless of our feelings, ideas, or the circumstances of the world.

Miss it?
While His presence is just as real and unchanging, we can become distracted with less important things coming first in our hearts or minds, or believing those things will give the joy only His presence can give - or even seeking to hide from His presence (we can't - Psalm 139) because of the guilt of sin in our lives.  Listen to this beautiful truth, "
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God..." (1 Peter 3:18)  Jesus died for our sins to take the punishment we deserve, make us right with God, and restore the relationship with Him that was broken by sin.  Our response must be to turn from our sin to follow Jesus, receive His forgiveness, and live in the joy of His presence!

Welcome it!
I love praying, "Jesus, thank You that You are here.  We welcome Your presence, Lord.  Please have Your way."  Think of how you welcome your best friend to your house. Is it with passive agreement? No. It is with shouts of joy, open arms, and a heart of love, right? Oh, friends! Welcome the presence of Jesus - with arms and heart wide open as far as possible to the One Who is your life.  When Jesus comes, there is always joy - fullness of joy!

Friend, Jesus is right there with you now.  He is present.  He is real.  He is ready to meet you.

Welcome Him with an open heart, soak in His presence, and share your life with Him each moment.


He invites us to a life lived in His presence - when we respond, we find joy, because we receive Jesus.