Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Gift of the Heart

Christmas is such a special time of the year! Why do we celebrate? Why is this time so wonderful? It is all rooted in the deep meaning of Christmas. CHRIST. Jesus truly is, "The reason for the season." Yet, if we are very honest with ourselves we will admit that we can so easily get caught up in all of the activity around us, the things we need to do, and the places we need to go. As a result, we can so easily miss the purpose that we celebrate this special time of the year.

A few Christmases ago, I was thinking about what I was giving to people for Christmas. As I thought, it came to my heart to ask the Lord what HE wanted for Christmas. So, I asked the Lord, "Lord, what do You want for Christmas?" I remember Him saying, "I want your heart." My heart. The throne of my life, my affections, my will... This throne so rightly belongs to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, deserves to sit on the throne of my heart, as I humbly bow at His feet.

Yes, the Lord does not care so much about all of the decorations and packaging. He cares about the heart. The Lord looks right beyond the outward decorations to what really matters. "...for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 We can put all the effort we want to decorating and wrapping the outside of a box, but if there is nothing inside it will be of little worth. How easily we can put our effort, attention, and heart into the outward decorations of Christmas. This often ends up resulting in an empty feeling even amidst the activity of the season.But, if Christ truly has our heart and is the heart of why we are doing these things, then the activities can be a special avenue to worship, celebrate, and know Him more! The festivities that surround His birth will not be distractions, but will burst forth with meaning and will serve as reminders of our Savior. The decorations of the coming of the King, the gifts of the greatest Gift, the lights of the Light of the world... What matters most and makes all of the difference is where our heart is at! Someone once said, "The heart of the issue is the issue of the heart." The state of our heart dictates, motivates, and affects our actions. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." If Christ has our heart, He will impact all that flows out of it and the results will be incredible.

My friend, the Lord wants your heart for Christmas. A heart that views each situation in life as a gift that will allow it to know Christ more, a heart that beats for the Lord with a love that nothing can quench, a heart that seeks to please Him, and a heart that longs to share Him with a hurting world. He wants to be the focus of our hearts, the reason that we sing, the purpose that we live, and the object of our affection. He wasn’t born with the purpose that we would fill the season of His birth with activity, He came so that we could find the complete fulfillment of a relationship with Him.

I believe with all of my heart that this complete fulfillment in our relationship with Him is what He most wants to give to each of us this Christmas. The gift He is asking us to give Him is our hearts. I am praying that as we give Him our hearts and embrace His gift to us, we will have the most treasured Christmas we’ve ever known.

May Christ be the heart of our Christmas and may we give Him our hearts every day that we live.

Verse: "...for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Challenge: Give the Lord your heart afresh today. Set your focus on Him. Seek to find a regular time in your day (Both during Christmas and throughout the year) to check up on yourself and make sure that Christ is the heart of why you are living.

Merry Christmas!

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas! I hope that you have had a wonderful month and that you are having a meaningful Christmas season. This time of year is always so special to me. It seems to grow even sweeter the more I come to know and love the One Who’s coming we celebrate! To think that He came out of such love, to endure such pain so that we could have a personal relationship with Him if we would accept the gift of His salvation! Such love calls for all that we are! The article I am posting covers something that has been stirring in my heart recently and I pray that it will be an encouragement to you.

You are in my prayers as you continue to seek the Lord and find Him to be the greatest treasure in the world! Have a wonderful Christmas rejoicing in the Lord’s great love for you!

Much love in the One we celebrate,

Amy Vest

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Finding True Life in Surrender

Never stop short of total surrender to God.
Surrender means to, “yield, give up, submit, relinquish...”
The world, the flesh, and the devil all try to make us think that if we totally surrender all that we are and own to the Lord, we will be miserable. But the reality is just the opposite.
The secret to finding true life is to die to ourselves and allow Christ to fill us and live through us!

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

~ Matthew 16:24-26

As we surrender our self to the Lord (our will, desires, dreams, loves, things we are holding onto), He is then able to fill us and use us in ways that are beyond our wildest dreams and the make an impact that reaches through all eternity.

It is a step that we take to surrender our lives to Christ and then it is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment choice that we must accept His grace to make for the rest of our lives.

When we “lose” our life in surrender, we truly “find” it in all it was meant to be!

Sisters, let’s not settle for anything short of TOTAL surrender!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dear Friends,

You are always close in heart and we hope you are doing well in the Lord!

The Lord has been doing so much in the ministry and in bringing things together for upcoming days of ministry over the past weeks. He is amazing. We can’t wait to update you!

Upon returning from the last conference, there was a flurry of activities and now currently, I am just recovering from 12+ days of the flu. Now we are catching up and preparing for the coming year with great anticipation for what the Lord has in store!

The Lord has used all of the events of the past weeks in a powerful way and has been doing a deep work in my heart… and I have seen afresh how He has so much He wants to teach us every day, if we will only listen and let Him work! I am so excited to share more in the days to come.

We rejoice in what the Lord has been doing in your hearts and are so excited for all that He has in store for seeking Him together in the days ahead! Know that we are praying for you and we love you very much.

On to love our Jesus more together!

“When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
Psalm 27:8

Your sister in Him,

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Discipleship Gathering - December 12th

You are invited to join us for the Girls Discipleship Gathering Christmas Event on December 12th!

This special Christmas version of the discipleship gatherings will include:
~ Singing Carols
~ Learning about the miracles surrounding Jesus' birth
~ Sharing a favorite Christmas tradition
~ Testimonies
~ Lunch will be provided

We hope to see you there and celebrate our Jesus together!

For more information, you can visit our website or email Elizabeth at!

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 8:9

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nothing satisfies like Jesus.

November Girls Discipleship Gathering

At the last Girls Gathering we watched Amy's session from the "Changing Your World for Christ" series and discovered “Secrets to Being Mightily Used by God”.

Here are a few of those secrets:

~“Make and keep the Lord as #1 in your heart, life, and focus.” James 1:8

~ “Learn the Power of Prayer.” James 5:16

~ “Live and serve the Lord in His strength.” Isaiah 40:30-31

~ “Live to please Him and don’t fear what other people think of you.” Gen.17:1

One of the very special aspects of being apart of these Girls Gatherings is having sweet fellowship with one another. It is a place where you can be refreshed and encouraged as you interact with other girls who are following Jesus and are desiring to know Him more each day.

If you would like to join us in this month’s challenge, here it is:

~Talk to Jesus throughout the day!

~ Listen to His promptings!

~Purpose to glorify Jesus in all that you do and ask Him to help you not be distracted! “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17

We would encourage you to prayerfully consider joining us on the 2nd Saturday of each month at Vision of Glory church facility to seek the Lord together! We hope to see you there! Blessings to you as you seek Jesus!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Great is His Faithfulness!

Lamentations 3:21-26,
"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Conference Follow-up Completed!

Congratulations to all of you who participated in and completed the Conference 30 Day Follow-up!

We trust that you have grown closer to the Lord and He has continued to do His beautiful work in you!

It was so exciting to seek Him together and we look forward to continuing to do so in the days to come!

As you continue to seek Him, we are claiming the promise that, "...He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

Conference Follow-up - Day 30 - Your Personal Choice

The essence of a life that is beautiful to God is:

Someone who has come to Jesus for the forgiveness of her sins, accepted Him as her Lord and Savior, given Him full control of her life, and now is seeking and living for Him with all of her heart.

It is a life that is SET APART for the Lord.

YOU must personally make this choice! Noone can make it for you! Will you respond to this call to seek the Lord and live a life that is beautiful to Him? There is nothing better in the world!

~ DON’T SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS THAN GOD’S BEST!!!! Is. 55:8-9 The Lord’s ways are so much higher than ours and SO WORTH IT!!!!!!!

~ Seek the things that will encourage you in Christ and get rid of the things that distract you from Him and living for Him. Heb. 12:1-2

~ TASTE the Lord’s goodness and the fulfillment of a life lived for Him for yourself! If you have already begun to do this, seek to do it more! I am on this quest with you! Ps. 34:8

~ Continue seeking and growing in the Lord every day! It is the most incredible, life-long journey! Every day is an opportunity to grow closer to the Lord and become like Him! Never settle for where you are at in your walk with the Lord. Press on to know Him more! Hos. 6:3

~ Keep your eyes on Jesus. Seek to know, love and obey Him with all that you are! Your relationship with the Lord is the most important thing! Everything else will flow out of it! Remember, "The main thing is to keep the Main Thing, the main thing."

~ When the Lord is your best Friend and Treasure and you love Him, all of the other areas of life will fit together!

Matt. 22:37-40 - "And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

Matt. 6:33 - "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

As you focus on, seek, and follow the Lord, you will know Him, find true fulfillment, love Him, and become more like Him.
As a result, you will become beautiful to God and impact your world for Him!

He is calling YOU to this - Will you respond?

Today ~
- Write a summery statement of what God has done in your heart these past 30 days!
- Review the goals that He has given you and find an accountability partner to encourage you in seeking His best for your life!
- Tell the Lord your decision to live for Him and ask Him for His help to live a life that is beautiful to Him!

As you continue to seek, love, and live for Him, you will see the reality that, "...Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Conference Follow-up - Day 29 - Setting Goals

It is so important that we seek the Lord for His will, set goals towards fulfilling it, and take action on those goals!

Someone once wisely said, "No one plans on being mediocre, mediocrity is the result of no plan at all."

Proverbs 29:18 tells us, "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."

One of the greatest temptations we face is to drift through life without clarified goals or true vision. In Christ we are called to so much more than this, friends! Proverbs 14:15 says, "...the prudent man looketh well to his going." Let your vision be Christ. As you seek and keep your eyes on Him, allow Him to give you a vision for your life and to help you set goals that will help make that vision real in your life.

A goal is something that helps you clarify your priorities, grasp what you want to accomplish, and give you something towards which to work.

It is so important that you personally seek the Lord and set goals for your life!

As you set goals, ask yourself:
- Why am I here on earth?
- What are (should be) my priorities?
- Where will these priorities and the resulting choices lead?
- How will this impact my life, those around me, and eternity?

A good process for goal setting is to seek the Lord and:
- Confirm what your goal is. (Set realistic goals. This could be memorizing a verse or two of Scripture a week vs. memorizing the book of Job in a day!)
- Figure out how you are going to practically work towards it. (See below.)
- Ask the Lord for His help. (We can’t do this on our own, but God gives us grace to do everything He calls us to do!)
- Take action! (Goals are good, but if you don’t act on them, they are not going to help you much!)

For example, my biggest goal is to know the Lord more. Writing it out could be something like this:
Goal #1 - To know the Lord more.
Application to life:
- Give Him priority over other things.
- Spend time with Him every day. (Even set a certain amount of time and what part of the day you will aim for.)
- Read a book that will encourage you in your walk with Him.

~ Today - Seek the Lord and set 3 goals for your life. Write out application steps for each goal. Choose 1 goal to focus on today.

We’d love to hear what your goals and plans of action are! E-mail them to us at!

Proverbs 4:26, "Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Conference Follow-up - Day 28 - Living for What Counts

Life is so short. All we do in this life impacts eternity - the life to come! That is FOREVER!

Let’s ask ourselves - "What really matters?" Our relationship with the Lord, His Word, and people’s souls are the only things that will last for eternity.

It is important that we keep an eternal perspective. "How will this impact eternity?" This doesn’t mean that you never get together with a friend, or are refreshed, but even then, what is the purpose of it? It likely will mean that you spend more time reading God’s Word than surfing the internet. Sometimes it will mean opting out of "pleasure" activities, so that you can invest your time in something that lasts. It is worth it!

We were meant to live lives that are filled with joy, fulfillment, and meaning. This will come as we focus on, seek, and live for what really matters!

Isaiah 55:2, "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me..."

It is a daily, moment-by-moment choice. As we make this choice through the day, let’s ask ourselves these questions, "Is this what the Lord wants me to do?", "When I stand before the Lord, will I be glad I did this?", and "Will this last for eternity?"

"Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Conference Follow-up - Day 27 - God's Work Through You

The Lord wants to use you to impact this generation - and eternity - for Him!

Esther 4:14 says, "...who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

The Lord has had His women in every generation:
~ The Esthers, Hannahs, Ruths, and Marys of the Bible.
~ The Susanna Wesleys, Amy Carmichaels, and Gladys Alywards through the ages.
~ And, in this generation, He is calling YOU!

These other women made the choice to walk closely with God and to allow Him to do whatever He desired in and through their lives. He wants to, and will, do the same with you, if you allow Him to!

It will all depend upon the choices you make - which will determine how closely you know the Lord and how fully you live for Him! There is such a need today for people to stand up and live for what is right!

The need is great for young women to live the lives of Truth and freedom that God has called us to. Lives that triumph the cause of Christ and the Gospel in this generation. Lives of purity, devotion, and conviction. Lives that show what truly matters.

The Lord is calling you. He is saying like He did in Isaiah’s day, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" Let our response be, "Here am I! Send me."

Let’s allow Him to work through us! (2 Cor. 4:7) This can be serving at home, at church, at school, with relatives, with each person with whom you come in contact, in your city... and anywhere else!

As you step out in faithfulness to God - He is going to use you to fill that need!

You are "...come to the kingdom for such a time as this!"

"...I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." Isaiah 6:8

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Conference Follow-up - Day 26 - Choices

Who you are today is the result of the choices you have made.

Each day is filled with defining moments.

The result of every choice will either draw you closer to the Lord or push you from Him!

It is so important that we make our choices carefully!

Choices we make every day include:
~ Priorities
~ Friends
~ Use of time
~ Input - What you watch, read, listen to
~ Output - What you do, say, act like
~ How spend money
...and more!

Seek the Lord and His wisdom as you make your choices. Choose what will help you to know Him. The more you do this, the more you will taste Him, see that He is good, love Him, and desire to make more choices that will bring you closer to Him!!!

"...choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve..." Josh. 24:15

Friday, October 30, 2009

Conference Follow-up - Day 25 - The Impact of One Life

Your life impacts others far more than you will ever know!

Who you are greatly affects the impact that your life will have.

The more you walk with the Lord and allow Him to work in you, the more beautiful and God-glorifying your impact will be!

Your life can show others how close someone can get to God, that it is possible to live fully for God, and the beautiful work that He does in a life that is seeking to be beautiful to Him!

You are evidence to those around you - and the world - what a Christian is like. "The proof is in the pudding." You are not pudding, but you definitely are proof! People are watching you to see if you have what they want. Let’s make sure we are truly allowing the joy that comes from Christ to show in our lives!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Conference Follow-up - Day 24 - Your Attitude

Our attitude shows what is inside of us.

It is the result of the condition of your heart and what you choose to believe - which affects how you respond to life.

The attitude you have when you do things is really important! God cares about your heart. 1 Samuel 16:7, "...the LORD looketh on the heart."

The more that your life is based on the Lord, and the more He is in control of your life, the more stable and unchanging your attitude will be. Malachi 3:6, "For I the Lord do not change..."

Psalms 43:5 is a powerful reminder of how to have a good attitude, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

When our hope is in God, we have every reason to smile (have a healthy countenance!) and our souls cannot be cast down! I find that when I am having a hard day, it is when I am hoping in something besides the Lord!

You have salvation in Christ! What greater reason is there to have a good attitude? Psalms 35:9, "And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation." When we really keep that in perspective, a good attitude will come a lot more easily.

Make the choice to have a good attitude by accepting the Lord’s grace, basing your life on Him, and rejoicing in the reality that you are His!

Today ~ Choose to base your life on the Lord, to think and believe His Truth, and to have a good attitude that brings glory to Him!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Conference Follow-up - Day 23 - Meditating on Scripture

There is incredible power in Scripture meditation - Reflecting upon the Word of God and allowing Him to make it to come alive to you.

Psalms 1:1-3 gives us a special promise about meditating on Scripture.
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

Special helps in meditating on Scripture:
~ Ask the Lord to help you understand the verse(s)
~ Think about what it means
~ Ask how it applies to your life
~ Personalize the verse ("Blessed is (your name) if she does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly...")
~ Pray the verse to the Lord ("Lord, You say that (quote verse) - Will You help me to do that?")
~ Record what you learn
~ Let your mind be fixed on it as you go through the day (You can do this when you have memorized it!)
~ Seek to apply it to your life, with the Lord’s help!

Today ~ Take the verse you memorized yesterday and meditate on it.

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." Joshua 1:8

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Conference Follow up - Day 22 - Memorizing Scripture

It is so important that we memorize Scripture!

Yesterday we looked at the importance of the thoughts we choose to think. A critical part of this is what we allow to fill our minds.

Colossians 3:16 tells us, "Let the word of Christ dwell (LIVE) in you richly..."

It is a powerful thing to commit Scripture to memory and allow the Lord to make it a part of you!

Some benefits of memorizing Scripture:
~ It helps shape how you think, what you do, and who you become.
~ Your heart is filled with Truth and you gain the Lord’s mind on things.
~ You are better able to identify the lies of Satan and fight his attacks.
~ You always have Scripture with you.
~ It often comes to mind when you need it the most.
~ It gives you guidance for every situation of life.
~ It helps you to always have a ready answer.
~ The Lord will use it to speak to you, to help you know Him more, and to change your heart.

Helps in memorizing:
~ Ask the Lord to show you verses to memorize.
~ Find a regular time to memorize - in your devotions, when you are doing the dishes, etc.
~ Write the verse on a 3x5 card and carry it with you - or put it in a place you will see it often!
~ Method - As you memorize a verse, it can help to work in segments. You can start by memorizing 5 words. Once you get those down, you can add a few more. Go through as much as you have memorized and keep adding more as you work!
~ Set (realistic) goals for memorizing.
~ Find someone to hold you accountable!

Job 22:22, "Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart."

As you commit the Lord’s Word to memory, He will bring beautiful results!

Today ~ Choose and memorize 1 verse.

Psalms 119:9-11, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Conference Follow-up - Day 21 - Thoughts and Truth

Your thoughts are so very, very important!

Your thoughts shape who you are - What you choose to THINK will affect what you BELIEVE and what you believe will affect your BEHAVIOR. So, really, what you choose to think about will affect your relationship with Christ, the way that He is glorified in your heart, and then what your witness is for Him in the world.

It is critical that we choose to think true thoughts that will lead us in the right direction!

The key to telling what thoughts are true and what are false is to compare them to the Bible.

This is one reason it is so important that we are faithful to do the following:
~ Read Scripture
~ Memorize Scripture
~ Meditate on (think about and study) Scripture
(We will cover these more in the days to come!)

Remember this: *True thoughts bring us freedom, lies of the enemy bring us bondage.*
John 8:32 says, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

If we see that a thought is not true, 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us what to do:
"We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."

Let’s set our minds on Christ, fill them with Truth, and seek to bring every one into obedience to Christ!

"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:1-3 (Emphasis added)

- Spend 5 minutes reading Scripture.
- Look at your thoughts. Ask yourself if they line up with Scripture - are true thoughts.
- Choose to accept God’s grace to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ!

Ps. 139:23-24 - "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!"