Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Blessing of Seeking Christ ~ by Sarah

Dear Sisters,

It is so exciting to seek the Lord Jesus Christ with you, and to experience the fullness of His joy (Psalm 16:11)! The Lord is our Creator and has ordained the number of days each of us have here on earth, before we enter into His glorious presence to enjoy Him forever. Think of eternity as a unending line, without beginning or end, and then try to picture your life on that infinite stretch as the tip of a small needle. Our years on earth are but a vapor in light of eternity (James 4:14)! We must embrace every breath Jesus gives us  as a precious gift, and live only for Him, for He is the only reason for living, for hope (Psalm 71:5), and for eternal joy.

I am humbled by the thought that God, Who extends even the universe we live in, stooped to write us a Letter; a manuscript, in which He describes to us His character, how He desires us to live, and the glorious story of His love for us—before we were lovable!“Herein  is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). It is so exciting to read His Word each day, and as I see new gems of truth, I get so excited that I love to pass on these special verses with friends and family.

2 Corinthians 3:18 promises, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” I have experienced the awe of this promise—the Word truly does change our lives. I can't describe to you the incredible blessing God gives to those who truly seek His Word ardently. A few years ago, the Lord opened my eyes to the glorious depth of His Word, and from that time forward I made a commitment to go to the Word early every morning, and learn more about Him by studying the Scriptures. This time has never returned void; I have never regretted one moment spent at the feet of Jesus. He delights to meet with us when we put Him first in our life, and you can not imagine the joy that one finds there. The life that is hidden at the Cross of Christ our Lord is one that will be overflowing with His demonstrated love.

This is true, because the Scriptures reveal to us a picture of Who our God is. The face of Jesus is sketched on each page. These glimpses of our glorious Savior cannot but fill us with an ever-deepening awe at Who He is. Our excitement as we read the Bible will mount as the days go by, and will spill forth from our lives, as a shining witness to all we meet! Jesus told us this in John 15:4: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” Your face will radiate with humility as you abide in Jesus, and you will be so excited to tell others about your Redeemer. There is no way to “force” ourselves to truly love others as Christ wants us to, or make ourselves “useful to God”; this only can spring from that joy and love we find as we see Christ's unspeakable love for us!

As I have experienced the love Jesus Christ poured out to His people on the Cross, I have been spurred to share this with all know. Witnessing now is very important to me, not a scary burden. Loving God's Word really makes the Christian walk a joy to share with others. In the past, Scripture memory was a struggle for me to diligently apply myself to, but now that God has opened my eyes to its depths, I find this a complete joy and privilege. The benefits of God's Word is something I want my siblings and my friends to experience in their lives as well!

I encourage you to pour your life out in this letter from Jesus your Redeemer. Make it your very life (Deuteronomy 17:19), and you will be changed forever. Our hurting world needs those who are enraptured by the glories the Savior of the world. Never underestimate the power of simply knowing Jesus, for as you are changed by Him, others will see Him in you and desire to know Him for themselves. Share His love with your friends, extended family, to the hurting and dying, to those in the grocery story or on the streets—proclaim His goodness among the peoples (Psalm 108:3) at all times. He is worthy! He is the victorious Lamb! Shout His praise from the mountaintops forevermore!

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12).

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas, Friends!

Merry Christmas, dear friends!

As we celebrate this special time of year and all that it means, this has been glowing in my heart:

Jesus came for us. 

Jesus came to redeem and rescue us.

Jesus came to live the perfect life we couldn't live, die and take the punishment we deserved, rise triumphant over death, sin, and hell, and call us to Himself. 

He is calling us to see our sin and neediness of a Savior, surrender ourselves to Him and trust Him to save us, and live by His life within us.

When we answer this call, we are personally brought into that all-satisfying relationship with Him for which we were created ~ both now and eternally.

In Him we find the answer to our every need, our hearts find their satisfaction, and He is glorified as the world sees how good He is.

What a treasure our Savior has accomplished and given to those who are His!

May our hearts be filled with worshipful gratitude for His coming to ransom us and all it means to us as His own.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."  Luke 2:11

May your Christmas and year ahead be filled with Jesus and the wonder of being His,

Amy Vest for the LTLM Staff

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Outflow of a Transformed Heart ~ Isabella's Testimony

The Lord has blessed me with the privilege of being raised in a Christian home.  I came to know Christ at a very young age. When I was 3, I can remember being with my mom and asking Jesus into my heart. I realized that I was a sinner, and that Jesus died on the cross for me.

My whole childhood, I can remember my parents teaching me about Jesus and sharing the scriptures with me. I grew up loving Jesus and learning about Him. But later on when I was about 10, I started to fear, and doubt in whether or not I was truly saved. I kept pushing it aside though, telling myself, your fine, you already “prayed a prayer”. But I continued to fear and doubt. I wasn’t sure if I would go to Heaven or not if I died tonight. I didn’t feel I had what I thought a Christian should have. I didn’t feel satisfied. I knew there was more to life. As I observed the lives of my parents and other godly men and women, I saw that Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), and that life in Him is totally satisfying (Ps. 107:9)! I went to a girls conference and the speaker, was talking about fully surrendering your life to Christ. She shared her testimony, and up to this point, it was so similar to my story. I saw that to follow Christ, I needed to fully surrender my life to Christ, and not only make Him my Savior, but also my Lord.

When I was 11, I surrendered my life to Jesus! And from that moment on, the Lord placed a peace and joy in my heart like I never even thought possible! My life has never been the same since that moment. He has been my best friend ever since.

As I started really seeking the Lord, with all of my heart, that’s when I truly started to find Him (Jer. 29:13). He satisfied my every longing, and gave me a genuine peace and joy!

I started thinking about other girls I knew, who didn’t know Jesus, and who didn’t have this precious gift. I wanted to do something, I didn’t know what, so I began to pray about it. As I did, the Lord just really placed it on my heart to start a girls Bible study for some neighborhood girls. This had never crossed my mind before...It was something that was way out of my “comfort zone”, and to be honest, I just didn’t think I was capable of doing something like this. I really had a heart though, to share with other girls how beautiful life can be with Him! I talked to my parents about it, assuming for some reason they would say no. But to my surprise they really encouraged me to do this. At this point, I had no idea where to I just prayed. The Lord was so faithful and lead me every step of the way.

In June of 2009 when I was 14, I held a Summer Bible study at my house for some neighborhood girls. 3 came that year. We studied “What Friendship and Life are all about” by Loving the Lord Ministries. I really felt this was something the Lord wanted me to continue to do. The following Summer we studied “Beautiful to God” by Loving the Lord Ministries.

At this point it was no longer just a Bible study for neighborhood girls...girls from church started coming friends and even others I had never met before. I saw that there was a great need to encourage girls in the Lord. So now annually every Summer I do a girls Bible study. Last year around 13 girls came, and this year up to 23 girls came. Wow! Each time, we study God’s word, pray, and then we usually do a craft that goes along with what we studied. Have a snack and if there’s time we’ll play a game. I have been amazed at who the Lord has all brought! And what He’s all done through it! I have learned so much! And have been so blessed by all these girls hearts to seek God and desires to learn more about Him! It’s been so sweet to see them grow in the Lord! He has worked in such amazing ways through this! My ministry is to learn to be a vessel that the Lord can work through to reach out and become an encouragement to others.

Praise the Lord for how He working...and will work!!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Giving ~ by Amy Vest

Giving… Snow is softly falling to the ground this morning…

The Lord is stirring in my heart…

He is working, like a potter with clay, in this heart.

Pulsing in my heart and mind:
Being given to Him.
Letting Him give His life through me.
Giving in a daily laying-life-down way.

I read this morning, “Greater love has no one than this, that a man lays down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

So, I ask the Lord today to give His life through me – even when it hurts, even when people don’t care, even when I feel I have nothing left to pour out…  When I have received all I need in my Gift - “…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23) - my Jesus – I can seek to give.

I am called to walk in His steps… to die to myself so that He may give His life through me.  But, I can only do this because of what He has already done in laying down His life to reconcile me to God and by what He has already given by His life pulsing in those clinging to Him in faith – I can only do this by His life and love in me.

So, as I step away from the computer to go upstairs to clean the bathrooms, to help with family needs, to go to an event and interact with people… The Lord keeps speaking to my heart that is not the doing so much as the heart attitude…    

“And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “…it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant… For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:42-45

My heart is asking Him to help me, to fill me with Himself, to rivet my eyes on Him and then on the needs of others, and to let His life and love pulse through me…

Will you join me?

Let’s look to the Giver, who was and is the Gift, and seek for Him to give His life through us today.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Releasing Session 8 ~ "The Impact of a Life that is Beautiful to God" ~ The "Beautiful to God" Online Conference!

Session 8 ~ "The Impact of a Life that is Beautiful to God" from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

Close your eyes. Think of yourself 5 years from now. Now try 10 years. How about 50? Now really stop, be still, and think of yourself in eternity. What will really matter then? All that will matter is your relationship with the Lord and secondly the souls of people...

We each have one life – a short blip on the radar of eternity – and the results of what takes place in that blip will last for eternity...

As you receive the Lord’s grace to pursue Him above all else, know His heart, let Him work in you, and be a surrendered vessel for Him to pour out His life – you will experience the reality that He fully satisfies, He is glorified, and people are blessed in a way that ripples through eternity.

Please visit our website for handouts and study questions for this session!

~ December's Memory Verse ~

“...No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”
~ 1 Corinthians 2:9

~ Announcing the December Giveaway! ~

The giveaway this month:
BOTH: 1 Friendship Conference DVD Set (7 sessions, 2004 edition) and 1 Beautiful to God Conference DVD set (7 sessions, 2004 edition)

There are 6 ways to enter:  1. Memorize our memory verse for the month and quote it to someone.  (December's is: 1 Corinthians 2:9)
 2. Watch the video and comment on our blog ( beneath the video post, sharing one thing the Lord is teaching you about leaving an impact for Him.
3. Spend 15 minutes of personal devotions with the Lord in Bible reading, prayer, etc.
4. Write a prayer to the Lord from the response of what your heart's desire is as we conclude this conference.
Then tuck the letter somewhere where you will see it and remember His work in your heart
5. Complete the study guide for Session 8.
6. Share the Session 8 video on Facebook, your blog, or by email, encouraging your friends to join us!
You can do all of the above!
Email: and tell us your number of entries by December 21st to be entered for the giveaway drawing.
(You can enter a total of 6 times each month with the above opportunities.)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Impact of Your Life ~ by Amy Vest

Close your eyes.  Think of yourself 5 years from now.  Now try 10 years.  How about 50?  Now really stop, be still, and think of yourself in eternity.

What will really matter then?  All that will matter is your relationship with the Lord and secondly the souls of people.

Look at your life no
w.  What is the impact of your life is having right now?  What will it be after you are gone?
 Each of our lives has an impact.  No matter who you are or where you are – your life is having an impact.

We each have one life – a short blip on the radar of eternity – and the results of what takes place in that blip will last for eternity.

3 things – Let’s look at 3 things that will impact - the impact - of your impact - on eternity.  Are you ready?

1) Knowing Jesus
All of your life, eternity, and impact hinge on your relationship with Jesus Christ - A relationship with Jesus in coming to Him for salvation from your sins, and then growing to know Him in a real, personal way.  In salvation, you receive God’s grace to fully trust in Jesus as your Savior from your sins and surrender to Him as the one in charge of your life.  He saves you from your sins, makes you right with Him, gives you the assurance of Heaven with Him when you die, and fills you with His life to live in Him and to pour Himself through you as His ambassador to the world. 

As you grow in this relationship with Jesus as you seek Him, spend time with Him in prayer, base your life on His Word, and allow Him to reveal Himself to you and work in you - you will come to know Him more and more as the One who saves, satisfies, loves, never leaves you, is your strength, holds your hand, guides you, teaches you… and He transforms you from the inside out!  As you know Him, you are satisfied, He shines from you, and you long to share Him with others!  The outflow of this relationship with Jesus – of Him in and through your life - will be an impact on the lives of others that will last forever.

Life, salvation, or leaving a lasting impact are not possible apart from Jesus – and they were never meant to be.  You were created for that relationship with Jesus, and all of life is meant to drive you to that relationship – and impact will result.  “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

2) Surrender -
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”  Matt. 16:34-36
There is nothing more freeing - more secure – more fulfilling – than surrender to Jesus.  As you
live yielded in His hands, He will work in you and then through you to do things you never could have dreamed.  It is the greatest adventure of all time.
There was a point in my life when surrender sounded scary – and that was because I didn’t know Jesus well.  But, when He drew my heart to surrender to Him in salvation and then opened my eyes to my need to live in yieldedness to Him, I began to witness the wonder of the most incredible life imaginable… and would never trade it for the world.  Knowing Jesus as He worked in and through me? – yes.  Watching miracles unfold? – yes, because it was Jesus and not me.  Comfortable to my flesh? – no, but, so fully secure.  Worth it? - without a doubt.  As a child of God – the only option.
It is bowing before Him moment-by-moment, saying, “Yes, Lord. I am Yours.  I will do whatever You desire, by Your grace.”  It is obeying when it is not comfortable, loving someone unlovable, speaking Truth when you are afraid, stepping out in faith when you cannot see…  As you live in surrendered obedience - even when it’s hard - Jesus can live and love and work in and through you in ways that leave a mark on eternity.

3) Eternal Perspective -
“The best use of a life is to live it for something that outlasts it” is a quote that has echoed in my heart.
This spring, I sat at my grandma’s bedside, holding her hand while she was in her final hours of life on this earth... The reality was so vivid that we all have a very short time on this earth before we each will slip into eternity.  We each have only one life to live and then it is over – and all of eternity will echo with the impact.

This should not be a morbid thing that causes us to sit around in gloom – the total opposite!  This should fill our hearts, minds, and lives with purpose to live every moment to the fullest in a way that will make an impact forever and give a vision to invest our lives in far past the surface things of this earthly life to what will last forever – a walk with God, His Word, His purposes, people’s souls.
It is a daily, moment-by-moment choice we make.  As we walk 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?"

It likely will mean that you spend more time reading God’s Word than surfing Facebook or the internet.  Sometimes it will mean opting out of “pleasure” activities, so that you can invest your time in something that lasts – like discipling a younger girl over ice cream, praying for a missionary, helping your mom cuddle your siblings, or organizing a Bible study.  It doesn’t mean that you never get together with a friend, or are refreshed, but even then, what is the purpose of it – to be built up in Jesus and advancing His Kingdom, or to focus on self and what you want?  The key is that you are living in surrender to the Lord and letting Him live His life, love, and Truth through you wherever He calls you.  I can tell you from personal experience – and long for you to experience for your self - that it is worth it, so much more fulfilling than living any other way, and lasts forever!
The Impact -
As you walk with Jesus in surrender with your eyes on eternity – HE will bear fruit through you.  This is the fruit that lasts forever – what CHRIST does in and through you – as you cling to Him.  Not fake fruit that you try to produce by trying to work on your own self effort that will never have any lasting value.
As you abide in Him, He will bear fruit.  Let’s listen to Jesus again,

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:4-5)

History is dotted with girls and women who walked with a real God and let Him fill them in a way that changed them and flowed through them to impact the world for His glory.  Just like Esther was in her day, you are “come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) to be filled and used by God for His eternal purposes!  The needs are great.  We have a great and powerful Savior.  He desires to pour His life into and through you in dynamic ways to leave a lasting impact for His glory.

As you receive the Lord’s grace to pursue Him above all else, know His heart, let Him work in you, and be a surrendered vessel for Him to pour out His life

– you will experience the reality that He fully satisfies, He is glorified, and people are blessed in a way that ripples through eternity.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

~ The Wonder of Belonging to the King ~

It is an inexpressible,
And wondrous thing,
To belong to Christ Jesus -
The King of Kings.

To be fully ransomed,
By His sinless blood,
As Christ’s own purchased Bride,
Of His matchless love.

Saved from my sin,
And God’s righteous wrath.
Enfolded into His family,
Secure in Heaven’s path.

By placing full faith,
In Jesus alone.
Who took all my punishment,
For my soul to atone.

And by turning from self,
The world, and sin.
And surrendering to Christ,
To be fully His.

In Him is life,
Abundant and true,
Washed from all sin,
A creation made new.

Rescued by grace,
By mercy healed,
By love satisfied,
By His Spirit sealed.

His heart to know,
His Kingdom to seek,
His precious Word,
To set me free.

The joy of His presence,
Now and forever.
The sweetness of Him,
As my greatest Treasure.

For all of eternity,
I will sing,
Of the wonder of belonging,
To the King of Kings.

~ Amy Vest
(Copyright © December 2013)