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,