Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Always a Reason to Rejoice ~ by Amy Vest

"Rejoice in the LORD always." ~ Philippians 4:4

What are you rejoicing in today?

As we approach Thanksgiving, our hearts are reminded to give thanks for all of God's blessings to us. This brings a sweet sense of God's provision as our Source and gratitude for all He has given.

It seems that rejoicing takes us a step deeper - from gratitude TO the Source for His gifts, to joy IN the Source - the Lord - as the Source of all true joy.

Rejoice means, "to feel or show that you are very happy about something, to give joy to, to feel joy or great delight."

I was thinking on Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the LORD always..." recently and noticed it calls us, yes, to rejoice, but that we are to rejoice in THE LORD.

We always have a reason to rejoice in Him - because He is always good.

He is:
Redemption for our souls
Hope our hearts need
Love our hearts crave
Peace that calms our souls
Joy that never ends
...and the list goes on and on.

Things, circumstances, and people all change, but Jesus never changes. These other things can be gifts that cause us to rejoice in the Giver, but He alone unchangingly satisfies.

We can even rejoice through hard trials, not because we like the trials themselves, but because we know and trust that the One Who is Love has a purpose that is much deeper. This purpose includes us coming to know Him more through everything we face in life and, as a result, rejoice more in Him!

Friends, we can rejoice in our Lord always - for He is forever good.

"Rejoice in the LORD always, I will say it again, rejoice." ~ Philippians 4:4

Will you allow Him to be your source of joy today?

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Video Post ~ The Impact of a Life that is Beautiful to God ~ with Amy Vest

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!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Connecting the Dots ~ by Pam

Do you remember when you were young, and you got those big books with numbers on the pages with dots? You could not tell what the picture was until you connected all the dots. Our lives are like that. Sometimes we are unable to see the whole picture of God's plan for us. 

I want to connect the dots of God's grace. Eph. 2:1-9; "And you He has made alive who were dead in trespasses and in sins. In times past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. But God Who is rich in mercy for His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive together with Christ... For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works lest anyone should boast." As one not coming from a Christian home, the fact that Christ reached down and saved me plays such an important role in my desire to disciple other women.

A few months ago I attended the funeral in Mississippi of a dear friend of mine. Mr. Crawford was a godly man, and his whole family has been like family to me over the years. As I sat in the funeral service The Lord began to do a wonderful thing for me. He began to connect the dots in my life. I looked around the room and saw so many people who were involved in my life and who affected my life for Christ.
I Cor.5:20; "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we beg you in Christ's stead, be reconciled to God." The granddaughter spoke at the funeral and shared that her grandfather always prayed that the next generation would know Christ. That struck a cord with me that day. This godly man had a child who became my best friend in my younger days. He was burdened for my soul. Mr. Crawford's child was being used to change my life forever.

I was converted and had two sons who are now serving the Lord (connecting the dots!). My sons have been all over the world affecting the next generation, spreading the Gospel. All these events the Lord did in my life were connecting the dots. But one last big dot connects. Our family has a ministry and our passion, my passion, is to affect the next generation for Christ... Psalm 78:4; "We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wonderful works which He has done." The dots were connected. I saw the bigger picture; to be part of affecting the next generation.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Practical Ways to Grow in Loving the Lord ~ by Amy Vest

Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to: “…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)

Here are some practical ways to grow in loving the Lord:

~Make Him and loving Him your #1 priority and focus – in every area of life! Start your day with Him and keep Him as most important in all details of your day. Something that has really helped me is the moment that I wake up (or am coming into consciousness) to turn my heart to the Lord and tell Him good morning and that I love Him. Then I roll out of bed and land on my knees. It starts your day out right and sets a good patter for the rest of the day!

~Daily spend time with Him. Remember that your walk with the Lord is a relationship! It takes time and energy to deepen a relationship. Your personal time with the Lord is a critical key to growing in your relationship with the Lord. Remember that He is real and is right there with you when you are having your personal time with Him! If you have not been faithful in your personal time with the Lord, you can start today! The Lord is waiting for you with open arms.

~Read the Bible daily. It is your spiritual food and without it your spiritual life will begin to starve! Through the Bible you come to know the Lord better and know how He wants you to live. It is the Lord’s letter to you. Read it carefully, He has lots to show you! It has the answer to every question and is the final authority for our lives.

~Prayer is so important. It is so vital that your talk with someone that you want to get to know better! Share your heart with the Lord, praise Him for Who He is, confess and ask forgiveness for anything that He show you in your life that is not pleasing to Him, ask for His help to obey, and listen to what He wants to say to you. Seek to really come into His presence with your heart prepared to meet with Him.
~Walk with Him throughout the day. Remember that the Lord is always with you and that walking with Him does not just end when you leave your quiet time! Walk through your days with the Lord. You can always talk with Him.

~Carefully choose things that will help you in your walk with the Lord and not pull you down. What you watch, listen to, enjoy, etc. will make up who you are and directly impact your relationship with the Lord. Don’t take your choices lightly! What I always like to ask myself about things I am considering watching, reading, listening to, enjoying, etc. is, “Will this draw me closer to the Lord or distract/pull me away from Him?” If it does not seem definitely one way or the other, it usually means that is would be a good idea to pass on it. (Those things only waste time and really can be a distraction from what is good.) It is good to hold things up to the light of God’s Word and see if they match up with what He says is right. (For example, try Phil. 4:8-9.) We really should just fill our lives with what the Lord says is right.

~Time. You can use your time in ways that will either encourage you in the Lord, waste your time, or do damage. Your time is so valuable and the way that you use it shapes your life. Spend it on the Lord, what He says is right, and what will last for eternity.

The friends that you have will drastically impact who you are and become. Choose them so carefully! Allow the Lord to be your best friend and choose friends who will encourage you in the Lord (instead of encouraging you towards TV, excessive outward focus, wrong attitudes, boys, etc.).

~ Church. Become involved in a church where Jesus is glorified and the Word of God is preached. This can be powerfully used by the Lord to grow us in knowing, loving, and becoming like Jesus.

~Fellowship. It is so important that we spend time with people who are seeking for the Lord and will help us on in our walk with the Lord! If you do not have regular contact with other like-minded girls, you might want to think about starting a Bible study.* This can give you encouragement in seeking the Lord as you have fellowship with other girls who are desiring to follow Him.

~Ministry. It is so important that once you find true satisfaction in the Lord, you pass it on to others. There are so many opportunities to share the Lord and serve Him! Some things that you can do include: Serve at home, encourage siblings, younger children, friends, etc. in the Lord (share about what the Lord has been doing in your heart, memorize Bible verses together, study the Bible together, etc.), help out at church, and start a discipleship group/Bible study for younger girls. (For free study material, you can visit

~Get a vision from the Lord for your life! When your focus is on Him alone, you will not have other things clouding your vision to see clearly what the Lord has for you. Don’t waste your life with a clouded vision. God has great things in store for you! If you will seek Him and live to love Him with all of your heart, He will give you a vision for your life that is beyond your wildest dreams right now.

~Allow Him to work in your life and make Himself real to you. Never stop the Lord from working in you! It may not always be the most comfortable, but it is always for your best! Seek to know the Lord in deeper ways each day through your personal time with Him, reading your Bible and other books that will help you grow in the Lord, etc.).

~Accountability. I would so strongly encourage you to find someone to hold you accountable for seeking and loving the Lord! It will help you stay on track more than you could ever imagine!

The more that you come to know the Lord, the more you will see how wonderful He is. As a result, you will more naturally tend to love Him. Remember that loving the Lord and knowing Him is the greatest thing in the world and the only place that you will find true fulfillment! He loves you so incredibly much! Seek to love Him with all of your heart –You will never regret it!

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” ~ Philippians 1:6

Sunday, November 2, 2014

An Honest Walk of Love with Jesus ~ by Amy Vest

I was on a little walk in the crisp autumn air. As I walked, Jesus and I talked. I poured out my heart honestly before Him, and He spoke to my heart as only He can. Then, I looked down to see a heart shaped leaf in my path.

This walk was such a reminder that the Lord wants to hear us share our hearts honestly with Him, to speak His Truth to our hearts, and to show us that He is intimately involved in our lives. 

I am so grateful that we were created to, and can, share every step of this walk of life with Jesus. I know that the path He has is a path paved with His love.

"All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies." Psalm 25:10 

The Lord wants us to live in an honest, humble, and close walk of love with Him every moment, friends.

"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

He is inviting you to walk with Him in this way. Will you respond and take a step?