Thursday, April 30, 2015

"...we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
~ 2 Corinthians 4:18

Vibrant Christian Life Conference - Session 4 - Living for Eternity

Vibrant Christian Life Conference - Session 4 - Living for Eternity (2007 Edition) from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

Join us for Session 4 of the Vibrant Christian Life Conference - Living for Eternity - as we look at the importance and joy of living for what will last forever! 

Companion handout coming soon to!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Obedience - A Pathway to Joy ~ by Amy Vest

I don't often do this.  I don't often sit down with nothing on my heart to write about.  Usually there is something the Lord puts on my heart and gives me to write about. He causes the words to flow into my heart and out my fingers into words - and I pray He anoints them and uses them by His Spirit in hearts.

Today is different.

I have nothing specific to write.  But I feel Him beckoning me to write a blog post.  And so I am.

As I type, I realize that this is exactly what I am supposed to write about.  Obedience.  As I type that word - that word that can hold so many reactions - I know, this is what I am supposed to write on.  This is something He has been teaching me in a real, practical, moment-by-moment way lately.

Obedience to Jesus is something we never move beyond, only deeper into.

Obedience to Jesus shows that I believe Him, that I trust Him, that I love Him - obedience is outwardly witnessing that He is my Lord.

When I don't obey, I am really saying that I believe that what I think is good for me is better than what Jesus thinks is good for me. {Ouch, that hurts - but, it is true!}

Disobedience to Jesus is sin, proof of pride, foolish, and leads us in the wrong direction.

When I obey - even when I don't understand - I am saying that I believe Jesus is wise, good, loving, that His plan, ways, and heart is perfect, and that He will always keep His promises. 

Obedience to Jesus brings joy to His heart - and mine, is evidence of freeing humility in my life, and leads us to His best for us.

Obedience is proof that I love Jesus - and that I believe He loves me.

Jesus says it: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments." John 14:15

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands." 2 John 1:6

When we obey Him - what He calls us to do in His Word, the Bible, and what He leads us to do in moment-by-moment life in line with His Word - it brings us closer to Him.  When I listen to His voice and follow in obedience, I know more of His heart and am led in His path for me.  I want that - don't you?  But, when I disobey, I harden my heart and it hinders my closeness with Jesus.  Oh friend, we don't want that!

It is a daily, moment-by-moment choice.   It takes place in a million different ways each day - in answering His call to meet with Him in His Word, to speaking with love, to being honest in your work, to _________ - you can fill in the blank.  Each choice leads us either deeper with Jesus and His path for us, or hinders our relationship with Him and His work through us.

Here's the thing.  We cannot obey in our own strength.  Everything the Lord calls us to, He gives us the grace to do, and everything He calls us to do is impossible apart from Him - beautifully designed to cause us to rely on and come to greater depths with Jesus Who walks with us every step of the way.  It is saying, "Jesus, please help me obey You." and stepping out in faith, believing He always will!

And for the times we disobey, Jesus stands ready with open arms for us to turn from going our own way and run into His arms to walk with and obey Him afresh.

The path of obedience to Jesus is a doorway to greater joy - because it is a doorway to more of Jesus and His best for you.

Let's answer Him with a joyful, "Yes, Lord!" from a heart overflowing with love!

Friend, I imagine your heart is echoing this prayer with mine:

"I want to obey You, Jesus.  I want to want to obey You, Jesus.  I want to sit at Your feet, know You more, soak in Your Word, and to beg for and allow You to change my heart so that out will spill love that will motivate obedience to You.  I want to obey even when my feelings are leading me to do something else - because I know that You love and know what is best for me far more than my feelings do! I am asking You afresh for grace in this moment to obey You!  In Your Name, Amen."

What is Jesus calling you to obey Him in today?

Right now He is calling me to obey and go help prepare dinner.  I'll see you later! :)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

"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."'
~ Matthew 16:24-25

Friday, April 17, 2015

Vibrant Christian Life Conference - Session 3 - Finding True Life

Vibrant Christian Life Conference - Session 3 - Finding True Life (2007 Edition) from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

Join us for Session 3 of the Vibrant Christian Life Conference - Finding True Life - as we look at how when we surrender to Jesus, we truly begin to live! 

Companion handout coming soon to!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Looking at the Beauty of Jesus and Calling Others to Join Us ~ by Amy Vest

"Oooooh!"  The words escape from my lips as I stare in awe at a gorgeous sunset over the water.  The colors are rich, brilliant, and ever changing as the sun sinks deeper in the evening sky. 

I cannot help but call those around me to see and experience the beauty, too, "Oh, look at the sunset!"  They join me in "Oooo"s and "Aaaa"s as they take in the beauty, too.  Together we behold and exclaim over the beauty.

Once we have beheld beauty, wonder, awe we want others to see it, too.

This how it is with Jesus - and even more so!  We see His absolute beauty, are transformed, and cannot keep Him to ourselves.  When we "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8), we naturally desire for others to, as well.

I remember when I first really began to know Jesus, my heart was so satisfied, and I wanted everyone in the world to see and know this precious Savior of mine - and that desire continues today!

Recently my family went to an indoor aquarium.  My little adorable nephew came and spent a lot of the time in my arms. (Happy sigh.)  We had so much fun.

One of my favorite memories was entering a walkway that was encircled by glass on both sides and above our heads.  All kinds of beautiful fish, sting rays, and sea turtles swam by, and over, us.  It was stunningly beautiful.
I held my nephew in my arms and would point and say, "Oh, Buddy! Look at that - pretty fish, big shark, turtle, etc.!  Didn't God make pretty things?" 

At first, he just watched, then cuddled with his head on my shoulder and soaked it in, and then, it happened - He started pointing, too. 
  He said in his toddler voice. 
"Yes!"  I would exclaim. 
"Tuwtle! Amy, Look! Tuwtle!"  He got it.
He was pointed to the beauty, saw the beauty, and began to point himself.

This is our call - and joy - as those who have seen Jesus, my friends! 

We are called to behold the beauty of Jesus, be captured 
and transformed by it, and invite others to look, too!

The Lord calls us to first look to Him and behold His beauty ourselves (like we have talked about in earlier posts).

“Look to Me, and be saved,
all you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:22

We will be forever changed and never want to stop looking to Him!

"One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple."  Psalm 27:4
When we see the beauty of Jesus - we want others to see Him, too!

"... we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
  Acts 4:20

I love in the Bible the accounts where people who personally encountered Jesus called those they knew to come and see Jesus!

~ The woman at the well and the people of her village: "Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him."  (John 4:28-39)

~ Philip and Nathanael:
"The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”...Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” ...Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:43-49)

The people called encountered Jesus for themselves - and we read over and over how they, too, were changed by beholding Him themselves.  Our privilege and responsibility is to point to Jesus, pray, and trust the Lord for the rest.
What are some practical ways we can do this?
~ Have your eyes on Him and life pointing to Him - the rest will flow from this.
~ Talk about Him and who He is to you
~ Share a verse about Him and who He is
~ Share a worship song and worship Jesus for who He is with them
~ Ask to pray together and spend time praising the Lord for who He is
~ Write a letter sharing ways you are knowing Him
~ Give a Bible or book about Him and knowing Him
~ Do a Bible study together
~ Encourage them to seek Jesus on their own

Oh, we have the priceless gift of beholding the beauty of Jesus and calling others to see Him, too!

We were made for this - to know Jesus and to make Him known.

My friends, look at Jesus and His beauty - and call others to join you!

Such beauty cannot be kept to ourselves.

"Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed."  Psalm 34:5 

Monday, April 6, 2015

"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."
~ Galatians 2:20

Saturday, April 4, 2015

No Greater Love ~ by Amy Vest

Jesus died on the cross for the sins I have committed, bore the Father's wrath and was separated from the Father in my place, and descended into the torment of hell where I deserved to be.

After bearing my torment, Jesus snatched the keys of death and hell from the enemy, rose again to life victorious, and offers forgiveness from sin, a right relationship with God, freedom, grace, and power to follow Him by His life within a heart, and eternal life to those who trust and follow Him as Lord and Savior!
There is no greater love. ♡ 

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
~ John 15:13

He offers this to you, friend.  Have you trusted in Jesus and His saving work yourself, and yielded your life to follow Him?

If you have not, you can today.  Jesus died and rose so that you could!  You can read more about this HERE.

If you have placed your trust in Him, may your joy in Him deepen as you dwell on His amazing love and grace that gave His all so that we might live and be His own!

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God..." ~ 1 Peter 3:18

"Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."

May you have a blessed weekend remembering Jesus, His death, burial, and victorious resurrection, and the new life He offers to all that trust in Him!

Thank You, Jesus! ♡

Friday, April 3, 2015

"Greater love has no one than this..."

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." 
~ John 15:13

Thursday, April 2, 2015

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?..."

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."  
~ Galatians 1:10

Vibrant Christian Life Conference - Session 2 - Living for the Praise of God Alone

Vibrant Christian Life Conference - Session 2 - Living for the Praise of God Alone (2007 Edition) from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

Join us for Session 2 of the Vibrant Christian Life Conference - Living for the Praise of God Alone!

Companion handout coming soon to!

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." ~ Galatians 1:10