Tuesday, March 24, 2015

To Know Jesus More ~ by Amy Vest

Jesus.  When you read His Name, what comes to your mind?

What comes to your mind when you think about Jesus is the most important thing about you.  Who you know and embrace Jesus to be shapes the rest of your life, what you believe, and your eternal destiny!

You were created to know Jesus for who He really is, to be satisfied in Him, and to live in - and live out of - the reality of who He is. 

Our souls were made to know Him in a personal experience of who He is - not just to know about Him in our heads.  

Think of one of your best friends.  When you met them, you began a relationship and a friendship was kindled.  But, you have become close by growing in knowing one another more, right?  It is the same, and so much more, with Jesus!

Philippians 1:9 says, "And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge..."  Are you ready for something really neat?  The word knowledge in Greek (the original language of this verse in the Bible) is epígnōsis - epí, meaning "on, fitting" and gnṓsis means, "knowledge gained through first-hand relationship".   

So, knowledge is really is - "knowing through personally meeting with Jesus and experiencing Him for who He is YOURSELF"!  That is how our relationship with and love for Jesus increases - through knowing Him this way.  It is kind of hard to love someone you don't  really know, isn't it?

Get this - You begin a transforming relationship with Jesus the moment of salvation (more on this HERE) when He draws you to personally trust in Him to save you and give your life to Him.  From that place, Jesus invites you to an ever-deepening relationship of growing in knowing Him more every day!

Let that sink in for a moment. 

Your whole Christian life is meant to be an ever increasing journey of experiencing Jesus more!  It turns every moment into an exciting opportunity to know Him.  The happy times He makes Himself real as your song and source, the trials He show us He is your comfort and rock, the times of waiting and every other thing we experience are all opportunities to step out in faith that He is who He says He is and experience that reality for yourself. 

Every personal encounter with Jesus transforms you, satisfies your soul, and deepens your relationship with Him.  When you experience Jesus, you will never be the same.

Talk about a reason to get out of bed in the morning!

I could so easily really get going about the joy of personally knowing Jesus, how it has changed my life, and how it is what we are created for - but then this would become a book instead of a blog post. :)  So, for now, I will just say these things:

You have to experience Jesus for yourself.  People can tell you about Him for years, but you will never understand until you know Him yourself.

The more we know Jesus, the more we see all that we have in Him, become increasingly satisfied in Him, grow in loving Him, desire to obey and trust Him, long for others to know Him, and want to know Him more!

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ."  Philippians 3:8

~ How do we grow in knowing Jesus? 
There are so many ways  to grow in knowing Jesus. The biggest way the Lord reveals Himself to us is through His Word, the Bible.  All of the other ways we can come to know Him - meeting Him in prayer, listening to sermons, spiritual growth books, His work, etc. - ALWAYS must line up with who He tells us He is in His Word.

The Bible is God's Word to you - revealing Who He is! 

I distinctly remember a time when Jesus met with me years back when I was reading my Bible.  I was reading the Bible because I knew it was good to read and I was gaining so much from it.  As I read, I came across Psalm 18:2: "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."  It was as if the Lord spoke to my heart and said, "Amy, read My Word to know WHO I AM." 

When we read the Bible this way, it becomes a treasure hunt to discover more of who Jesus is!  He invites us all on this treasure hunt - and the riches of who He is awaits us!

A beautiful place to begin reading in the Bible to know more of who Jesus is, is the book of John - It tells so much about Jesus' life on earth, what He said, and more!

~ A "Who Jesus Is" Journal ~
One thing that has been so sweet and helpful in knowing Jesus more, has been keeping a journal of who He is!  There are photos scattered throughout this post to give a little idea of what it could be like.  There is no wrong or right way to do it!  Here are a few ways that have blessed me:

~ Listing who He is - Simply writing out qualities of who He is - "loving, patient, kind, holy, faithful, my Shepherd..."  This is so sweet to do and think on all that I have in Jesus!  This is a beautiful list to use in your prayer and worship time, too.  "Jesus, I thank You, that You are so faithful to me, You never fail me.  I praise You that You are patient with me and never give up on me.  Lord, You are so loving!  Your love fills me and satisfies the deepest parts of my soul..."  This is something - both listing and worshipping - that you can do through the day, too.

~ List who He is with verses from the Bible that talk about that quality - This is really special.  As you read your Bible, ask the Lord to reveal to you by His Spirit who He is and keep your eyes open!  When you see something about Him, you can write it in your journal like this:

Shepherd ~ "The Lord is my Shepherd..."  Psalm 23:1

This is so precious to go to and let His Word speak to your heart about who He is!

~ Do a personal study - You can approach it in any way that the Lord leads you!  A way that He has had me doing recently that has been such a blessing to me is to have a little outline like this when I am looking at an aspect of who Jesus is:
~ Who He is:
~ Verse(s) about this:
~ Have I personally experience Him as this?  If so, how?
~ How does this reality of who He is change my life?
~ What is one way that I can live in this reality today?
~ Ask Him to make this reality real - or even more real.
~ Write out a prayer of worship for who He is.

Friend, Jesus wants you to know Him.  He is inviting you to an ever deepening relationship where you personally experience Him and find Him to be the answer to the longings of your heart.  Will you answer?

"Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”   Hosea 6:3


For more encouragement on growing in knowing Jesus:
~ Having Devotions that Change Your Life Videocast - https://vimeo.com/23062783


We'd love for you to comment and share:
What is one thing about who Jesus is that you love?  (Example - loving, faithful, etc.)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Vibrant Christian Life Conference - Session 1 - Having a Real Walk with God

Vibrant Christian Life Conference - Session 1 - Having a Real Walk with Jesus (2007 Edition) from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

Join us for Session 1 of the Vibrant Christian Life Conference - Having a Real Walk with God!  This conference was originally held in 2007, and we are excited to be able to share it again with you!  We pray that you are blessed and encouraged to a deeper relationship with the Lord!

Companion handout coming soon to www.lovingthelordministries.org!

"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

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Jesus – The Love of My Life – by Amy Vest

I am in love.  There is a love that has captured my heart like nothing else can.  A love that has pursued me, rescued me, satisfied me… A love so rich, so pure, so strong, so lasting… A love that has met the deepest longings of my heart... and I could go on forever.  It is the love for which I was made.

Jesus - The Love of my life.

When I pause and think of Him, love overwhelms me.

Jesus.  The One who:
- made me
- came to earth for me
- lived a perfect life
- died a cruel death on the cross and descended into hell in my place
- rose back to life – victorious over sin and death
- drew my heart to see my need for Him, trust Him as my Savior, and surrender to Him as my Lord
- continues to pursue my heart and transform me into His likeness
- is preparing a place for me in Heaven and is coming to take me home
- walks with me every moment and will never leave me

All so I could know Him, taste His goodness, be satisfied in Him, worship Him, declare His goodness to the world, and live with Him forever!

This is life.  This is love.  This is what my heart needs.  
This is Jesus – The Love of my Life.

I am in love and I could talk for hours… but, you don’t need my words, you need to hear Him tell you from His Word – the Bible – about His love for YOU!
Oh, look at His love for us – and inhale love and exhale joy: "...I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." ~ Jeremiah 31:3 "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 "For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you." ~ Psalm 86:5 "But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness."  ~ Psalm 86:15 "'I have loved you,” says the Lord." ~ Malachi 1:2 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." ~ John 3:16 "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." ~ 1 John 4:10 "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." ~ John 15:13 "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." ~ Gal. 2:20
…And the list could go on and on!

Soak in His love, friend – and join my heart in saying, “I love You, too, Lord!”

I love the reality that we never say “I love you” to Jesus without Him first having loved us!  “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) 
And, His love will never fail those who have trusted in Him as Lord and Savior!  (Romans 8:35-39)  Nothing – even death can separate us from Him and His love.  No matter what happens or has happened, what we do or don’t do, what we feel, what others think or say, or even our lack of love.  Nothing.  No – Jesus said it, and that settles it.

Listen closely to Romans 8:35-39:  
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Oh, it makes me want to love Him and worship!  A verse the Lord blessed me through and I memorized recently is “…I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning…”  Psalm 59:16  {I just had to pause and sing!}  When we’ve known love like this, we just can’t be quiet.

The more we know this precious Savior who we were created to be satisfied in, the more we will proclaim “…your steadfast love is better than life…”! (Psalm 63:3)


I remember the years of longing and feeling that nothing on this earth could satisfy… and the overwhelming fulfillment that washed over me when Jesus opened my eyes to see that HE ALONE is the One who “satisfies the longing soul”.  (Psalm 107:9)

Friend, He is seeking your heart – and He is seeking mine.  He wants us to know Him for the first time in salvation (seeing our sinfulness, trusting in Jesus and His work on the Cross to save us, surrendering our lives to follow Him, and receiving His forgiveness, life within us, and grace to walk with Him), and then bring us ever deeper in a relationship with Him for as long as we live!  This is what we were created for and the only place we will be satisfied.
Jesus.  Jesus alone.

Let’s receive His grace to refuse to settle for things less than Jesus – things that will never truly satisfy the deepest longings and aches of our souls.  Not even good things out of place – holding the place that is rightfully Christ’s.  What can some of those be?  Friends, clothes, activities, music, books, food, success… you can add what it is in your life.

A big one can be the desire for human love.  The desire for human love – and the desire for marriage and that one person to especially love – is natural.  If it is the will of God for me to marry and grow in loving, being sanctified by, and serving Jesus together with His man for me, I will treasure it as a beautiful gift from His hand that He has seen best for His glory and my good.  But, no mere person can ever satisfy the deepest needs of our heart – as expecting them to only sets us up for disappointment. 

Nothing and no one can ever satisfy the deepest needs of our heart.  Only Jesus can.  As we are satisfied in Him, the other things in life are optional, added blessings that He gives as gifts to help us love the Giver – Jesus - more!  These gifts can be given or taken and we still have all we need in Jesus.
And, oh!  The times that I become distracted, look to other things for love, and don’t love Him as I should, HE STILL LOVES ME AND PURSUES MY HEART!  In His deep love, He will not let me stay in a state that brings less joy to me and less glory to Him.  It is the same for you.  This is the truest love.
He is in His very nature and Name, Love.  “God is love.” (1 John 14:16)

Just like any human relationship, the most important relationship with Jesus, takes cultivating.  The amazing thing is that He always keeps His side of the relationship!  There are special things He has given us that by the power of the Holy Spirit help us know, love, and grow in our walk with Him!
Here are some things that have been helping me fall more in love with Jesus lately:
~  Time in His Word and conversational prayer
~  Worshipping Him for Who He is – and keeping a list of His qualities (i.e. loving, my Redeemer, patient, etc.)
~  Keeping Him first priority in my thoughts, heart, and time – and obeying His leading
~  Journaling and remembering His faithfulness to me over the years {Happy sigh}
~  Being with others who love Him
~  Seeing and soaking in His love in the little things
(You can find some more ideas by clicking HERE.)


The most important thing is receiving God’s grace, and allowing Him to do a deep work, to cause you to want and seek Him above all else.  He always meets you here.   

And when He meets you, you will be satisfied.

I want to live with a heart satisfied in Jesus, a life lived by His life within me, and a passion that overflows and sparkles out of my eyes when I talk about Him.  I want a journey of love with Jesus that only deepens every day of my life.  Don’t you?

Remember He is always pursuing your heart – you must only receive His grace and respond.

As you and I do, I know we will say,

“Jesus is the Love of my life.”


For more encouragement in this love relationship with Jesus:

~ A Relationship of Love with Jesus - https://vimeo.com/19587008
~ Jesus is Your Best Friend - https://vimeo.com/59284885

Article: ~ Ways to Grow in Loving Jesushttp://beautifultogod.blogspot.com/2014/11/practical-ways-to-grow-in-loving-lord.html

"In this is love..."

"In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
~ 1 John 4:10