Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bought with a Price ~ by Ashley

“For you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)

In the past few months, God has been taking me back to the “basics” of the Gospel - reminding me who I was before He saved me, and how His work on the cross impacts my everyday life.  I have been struck with the fact that I did not choose Jesus.  He was the One who chose me before the foundation of the world, that I might be holy and blameless before Him (John 15:16; Ephesians 1:4).  In love, He predestined me for adoption as His child through Jesus Christ.  In Jesus Christ, I have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of my trespasses.  He lavished me with the riches of His grace, and sealed me with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of my inheritance (Ephesians 1:5-8;14).  

We are chosen.  Predestined.  Redeemed.  Forgiven.  Lavished with grace.  Sealed with the Holy Spirit.  And, my dear sisters, we are bought with a price…the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19).  As I spend time reflecting on how much God has done for me, and where my life would be without Him, I cannot help but want to glorify Him in my body and live in a way that pleases Him.  

I fear that for many of us, the idea of “glorifying God in our body” has been reduced to a list of rules,
standards, and guidelines.  We almost view it as a duty, or an obligation, rather than as a delight because of how much He has done for us.  The Lord has been challenging me to really stop and meditate on His great love for me – love that caused Him to give His life on the cross, in order that I might have abundant life.  Jesus Christ has bought us at the cost of His own life.  May it be our greatest joy to give Him back the life we owe in order that He might be in us. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"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

Summer Devotions Pursuit Testimonies!

We have been so blessed to receive the charts from all of you who took part in the Summer Devotions Pursuit this past summer!  Our hearts are so delighted and encouraged to hear the beautiful work that the Lord did in your hearts as you spent time with Him!  He is truly amazing and we are thrilled for how you experienced His goodness. 
May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek Him with all of your heart - every day of your lives!

(For those of you who completed the Summer Pursuit and mailed us your charts, your rewards are on their way!)

Here are some of the testimonies of the Lord's work as you spent time with Him this summer:

Thank you for the wonderful challenge, seeking our amazing Lord this summer together taught me so much! ~ Noemie, Ontario

I have so enjoyed participating in Summer Pursuit this summer.  It has encouraged and challenged me to make regular, scheduled, and dedicated time in God’s Word a priority these past few months.  In spending this time in the Bible, I have learned many things about God.  It is critical in life to be constantly fed and nourished in the Bible and to be reminded to always put Jesus first and to pursue Him in everything. This Summer Pursuit has helped me to draw closer to God and reminded me that no matter what time spent memorizing and reading God’s Word is never a waste. ~ Kaylee, MI

I feel so much closer with the Lord!  It was so hard to keep up with it, but I felt the Lord opening my eyes to many things that I did not see before.  It’s been an amazing summer with the Lord.  It’s hard to keep up with reading my Bible in the summer, this pursuit chart helped a ton.  Thank you!  God bless you! ~ Madisen, MN

I’d like to thank you so much for giving me access to this program!  It was hard in the beginning, but now that it’s done I’m so glad I did it!  I’ve grown a lot closer with the Lord this summer!  He has helped me to realize how much I have and how I often take church for granted when several others are being beaten because they love God.  My prayer life has definitely improved, too! ~ Miranda, MN

This Summer Pursuit helped me to persevere at memorizing verses.  I also enjoyed the Bible reading. ~ Celecia, MN

This is what the Lord did in my heart this summer that I will never forget.  When my friend first asked me to do this with her, I said yes.  Later as I looked at the chart I complained to my older sister saying, “What am I going to do for the ten other minutes after I am done reading the Bible?”  Like all older sisters do, she gave advice.  To make a long story short, I started talking to the Lord about it and I found I would get so into things, I would go overtime.  I also stay up later at night than the rest of my family so I read at night.  Now when I look back, I have to apologize to the Lord for complaining.  Now I have decided that even after the chart, I am going to keep reading and spend time with the Lord.  This was a true blessing to me. Thank You, Lord! ~ Kate, MN

The Lord has done great work in my life this summer. ~ Maria, NE

Thank you so much for all that you do for this!  May the Lord bless you all!  This was such an encouragement once again! ~ Rachael, KS

Thank you so very much for having the pursuit each summer.  It is always a blessing to me and my siblings! ~ Sarah, KS

Thank you so much for putting this together!  It was a blessing! ~ Emily, MO

It has been such a great summer focusing on Christ!  Every summer, for my family and I, is busy.  It can be hard to remember personal time with the Lord.  But this summer has been a gift, using my summer as a way to focus on Christ and getting to know Him better!  It was very great to know that my accountability partner was doing this with me so we can learn more about Christ together!  She is a great friend that has really encouraged me this summer.  Now that I have experienced how blessed I was this summer, I am going to continue through the winter!  I am going to remember that, so I can go and tell others what a great summer this was and encourage them to do this as well!  ~ Daisy, MN

I have grown in the Lord through Bible study and reading God’s Word.  I have learned Who Jesus is, His commands and promises.  I have really enjoyed summer pursuit. ~ Meredith, MN

This summer I have felt me wanting to have my devotions in the morning or evening.  I am so thankful for this summer pursuit.  I would be laying in bed at night wanting to read my Bible and before this summer, that definitely wasn’t the case. ~ Grace, MNThank you for the Summer Pursuit.  I want to pursue Jesus every day of my life! ~ Elisabeth, MN

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Surrender – A Pathway to Joy ~ by Amy Vest

When Jesus calls us to surrender to Him, He is calling us to joy.

In giving up ourselves and our agenda, we receive more of Him and His best, abundant life.

Jesus tells us,
"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."  - Matthew 16:24-15

We do this first at salvation – a once and for all turning from ourselves and sin to follow Jesus as our Lord.  Then it is a daily receiving of His grace in sanctification to grow in living more and more yielded to Him in every moment of our lives.

Surrender is:
letting go of control, yielding, and releasing my all to Jesus,
letting Him be my All and King of my life,
and allowing Him lead me to and do His best in my life.

I see Him bringing me to greater and deeper surrender the longer I walk with Him – which always brings more joy, because it brings more of Jesus!  Surrender can be painful to our self (self doesn’t die easily), but the life that results is far worth it.  It is an emptying of our self and a filling with the transforming life of Jesus.

Surrender is not an option for us as Christians – Jesus said,
"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24) Following Jesus in surrender is a life like no other – You don’t want anything else!  When you know His heart, you know that all He calls us to is for our good and His glory.

Jesus only calls us to surrender our life, love, time, possessions, plans, desires, etc. so that He can give us more of Himself and His best.   

It is like Him holding out sparkling gold, when our hands are full of dull mud. 

When we resist surrendering to Jesus, it hinders our fellowship with Him and keeps us from His best.  Every time we surrender to Jesus, it brings us closer to Him.

Even this afternoon, such peaceful joy flooded my soul as I surrendered afresh to my Jesus.

It is saying to the Lord, “You and Your will are better than anything I surrender.” 

It is evidence of trust.  Trust in His heart of love that only allows things for our good and His glory, even if we don't fully understand right now.

I have learned that my life is safest in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus – the One who loved me and gave His life for me.

Jesus knows what is best.
You can trust Him.
Surrender to Jesus always leads to life - a life filled with joy, because it is filled with Jesus.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

~ Living for Eternity Videocast - Part 2 ~ with Amy Vest ~

Loving the Lord Videocast #9 - Living for Eternity (part 2 of 2)
from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

We have this short moment in time to invest our lives in knowing Jesus and making Him known. Charles Spurgeon said, “Time is short. Eternity is long. It is only reasonable that this short life be lived in the light of eternity.“ Join Amy Vest as we consider this together, discuss what it can look like in our lives, and are encouraged to look to the Lord for how to live our lives for what counts for eternity!

This video is the second part of the “Living for Eternity” videocast. You are welcome to watch this part alone, but if you have not seen Part 1, we encourage you to watch it as well!

Matthew 6:19-21, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

~ Living for Eternity Videocast - Part 1 ~ with Amy Vest ~

Loving the Lord Videocast #8 - Living for Eternity (part 1 of 2) from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

We are given life by God and are on this earth for a very short time. All that takes place in this life directly impacts our eternity and the eternities of others.

It can be easy to focus on the “here and now” and what we can see in this life because we live in a world that focuses on this life because they do not know Jesus and don’t have hope of anything past this life! But the Lord calls us to know the deep purpose of living this life for Him and eternity - the life to come!

Join Amy Vest as she takes you to a graveyard as we consider the importance of living our lives in light of eternity!

2 Cor. 4:18, “…We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”