Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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


"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!

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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?

Saturday, April 17, 2021

You are Loved ~ by Amy Vest Cox

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, April 14, 2021

You are a chosen race...

 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

 ~1 Peter 2:9

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Consider Jesus ~ by Amy Vest Cox


“Consider Jesus…” (Hebrews 3:1)

These words keep ringing in my heart.  As they do, the Lord is applying them in a transforming way that echoes in my life.

Take a moment to let these words sink in.

“Consider” in Greek means = "to observe fully:—behold, consider, discover, perceive."

Picture considering something for purchase.  What do you do?  You look at it, think about it and different aspects of it, and take deep interest in it.

Who does this verse call us to consider?  Jesus!

When you consider Jesus – Who He is, what He said and promised, what He has done and is doing – you begin to see more and more in His Word that His:
- power is limitless
- love is unchanging
- wisdom is perfect
…and so much more!

The reality of who He is colors every other area of your life – and it is life changing.

For example - If I am fixing my eyes on, thinking about, worshiping Him for, and living in faith in His love and control over all things, I will struggle less and less with fear about the future and embrace today more and more as His best for me.

Can you see how this affects our lives?

Jesus changes everything, and when we fix our eyes on Him, everything begins to change, too.

Isn’t this exciting?

I love analogies and the Bible is full of them.  Hebrews 12 compares our Christian life to a race.  If you have done any kind of running, you will understand the pictures in these verses.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.~ Hebrews 12:1-3

I was in a race with my brother and some friends and it was a wonderful experience.  I noticed this as I ran – when my focus got too much on my running friends, the weather, or feelings of tiredness – my performance changed.  But, when I focused where I should, I was able to plug along and embrace the race.

It is similar in a much deeper way in our Christian life.

We can love Jesus so much, and yet our mind can slip to spending most of our time considering things other than Jesus.

When I look within or without and consider myself and my weaknesses, circumstances, relationships, or feelings – I grow weary, faint, and discouraged.

But, when I look up and consider Jesus and His strength, His Word, and His work – I am encouraged, strengthened, and spurred on to run with and for Him with all of my heart.

Jesus invites us to lift our eyes from:
- our need to His sufficiency
- our weakness to His strength
- our sin to His grace
- our pain to His comfort…
and then run with patience the race He has for us, knowing He is with us every step.

This is the life that He is calling us to, friends.  Let’s receive His grace to fix our eyes on and consider Jesus.  As we do, our lives will be transformed. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Reminders of Jesus ~ Practical Application ~ by Amy Vest Cox

I love reminders, don't you?

If you are like me, even when you want something so much, it is easy to get distracted and reminders can be so helpful!

When I was growing in my walk with Jesus, I wanted to have something that reminded me of Jesus, His love, and my relationship with Him.  He gave me anything shaped like a heart as a reminder of Him and His love for me.  

It was so amazing to watch as suddenly heart shaped things started appearing everywhere - clouds, a carrot in my salad, a splash of paint on the sidewalk, and so much more!

Often I will see the reminder, smile, and say, "I love You, too, Jesus!"This shifts my whole perspective as my eyes are lifted from my day to the One Who loves me and is my life - and then changes how I live!

Often the Lord will bring it just when I need it - like one time I was cleaning the bathroom and having a harder day.  I looked at the counter as I cleaned and there was a heart shaped puddle of water!  My whole perspective changed as I remembered Jesus and His love for me!

This reminder continues to be so sweet to this day.  (Scattered through this post are a few pictures from the last couple of weeks!)

These reminders can be such a powerful tool in pointing our minds and hearts to Jesus and living more fully with Him as our life!

"For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness."  Psalm 26:3

I have other reminders as well - a ring I wear, things around my room, sunlight sparkling on the water, a loon's call, etc., but the heart-shaped things remain the sweet, practical reminder that Jesus uses again and again to turn my mind to Himself and His love!

Young women I know have chosen all kinds of things - roses, butterflies, stars, the cross, sparkles, etc. - that are special reminders in their walk with the Lord!  

I encourage you to ask the Lord what you can have as a reminder of His love and a tool to point you to living with Him as your life!

It is important to remember that He is always there, He always loves you, and He is always true life whether you are seeing those reminders, or not.  These reminders are just a sweet tool the Lord can use to encourage us in Himself and in living with Him as our life!

I want that, don't you?

May Jesus use these reminders to encourage you in your journey of drawing deeper with Him!

~~~

It's your  turn - we want to hear from you!  What is a reminder you have of Jesus and living with Him as your life? We'd love for you to leave a comment below!

Join us for Videocast 2 - A Relationship of Love with Jesus!

Loving the Lord Videocast #2 - A Relationship of Love with Jesus from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

A Journey of Love with Jesus ~ by Amy Vest Cox

Jesus is calling you to Himself. 

He is inviting you on a journey with Him. 

You were created for a journey of love with Jesus. 

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

You were meant for this journey with Jesus, friend. 

Nothing compares. 

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is nothing sweeter in all the world.

And Jesus is calling us to this! 

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

Do you?

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

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


Nothing can separate you from His love.

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

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

He has so much in store for you, friend. 

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Let us run with endurance...

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

~Hebrews 12:1-2 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Jesus: The Focus of Your Life ~ By Amy Vest Cox

Where is your focus?
Stop and think about that, friend.

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

You see where our focus lies is very
important.

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

You were created to have Jesus as your focus.

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

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

Listen to this amazing promise:

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

Oh, friend, can you relate with me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Where is your focus today, friend?

May it be Jesus.

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

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

Let's look to Jesus as the focus 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Join us for the inspiring Videocast 1!

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



Hi Friends!

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

These are special videos covering important topics and we like to treat them like heart to heart coffee chats with Amy. 
Join us today for Videocast 1 and be encouraged in Jesus and the life He has called you to in Him!

Watch and enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2021

Stepping into a New Year with Jesus ~ by Amy Vest Cox

I love this reality:

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

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

Listen to His sweet promises for those who are His:

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

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

Jesus is with you, friend.

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


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

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

He will be with you every step of the way.


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


What a beautiful reality!

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




Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A God Story Life ~ by Amy (Vest) Cox


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Question - We love hearing from you!


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

Please share in the comments section below!