Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Life of Worship ~ by Amy Vest

You are a worshipper.  Did you know that?  We are all worshippers. 

We are worshipping beings.  We were created by God to worship God.  We have this worshipping vacuum in our hearts and are always worshipping something.

So, what really is worship?  Worship is declaring the worth of someone or something.  It is essentially "worth-ship".

Let's ask:
"Who - or what - is my life declaring the worth of?"

Worship is first - and always - a heart state.  Then what we do flows out from that - to live a life of worship.

A friend recently said something that the Lord keeps using to encourage me, "He wants my heart, so that all that flows out is worship to Him."  Amen.  That is exactly what I want in my life, don't you?

Proverbs 4:23 tells us, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." 

Worship in the heart flows out in a life of worship.

Living a life in God's presence of lifting Him high in your heart, acknowledging and adoring Him for Who He is, and then living your life in a spirit of response to this.

Romans 12:1, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

We are called to worship Jesus not only with our hearts, or our lips, but with our very lives.

Worship begins with our hearts, flows into our lives, and propels our actions.

Worship is a way that glorifies Jesus by showing that He is valuable above all else.

I just love Psalm 27:4, "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." 

When you are beholding Who He is, worship comes naturally and flows out in how you live your life.

The Lord has used, and continually uses, worship of Him to change my life.

Worship makes me fall more in love with Jesus as I dwell on Who the One is Who is my God, Savior, Lord, dearest Friend, Love of my life, and greatest Treasure.  This echoes in my life.

As I gaze upon Who my God is, worship Him for it - it changes the atmosphere of my heart and then how I live in the reality of Who He is.

How do we actually worship?  Here are a few thoughts:
~ Behold God for Who He Is in His Word - This is where we know Who our God truly is and can worship Him for Who He is.  As you see Him, you know and love Him.
~ Lift Him up and declare His worth in your heart - This is where true worship begins and continues. 
~ Allow that worship to spill out in every area of your life - your thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions.

Some practical ways to live worship out:
~ Read through His Word, stopping to worship Him when you see an attribute of Who He Is.  For example, I read a verse that says, "The Lord is faithful..." (2 Thess. 3:3) and I lift my heart in worship and say, "Oh Lord, You are faithful! I worship You for Your faithfulness. Thank You that You are forever faithful to me."
~ Prayer - Taking what you know of God and offering it to Him in prayerful worship. I love worshipping Him both in my devotional time and also through the day and praying, "Lord, You are holy, perfect, pure..." and whatever I know of Who He is.  I love writing out Who He is from His Word in a journal - and this can be a powerful tool to look at and use for worship.
~ Sometimes it is simply seeing a glimpse of Him as I walk through my day, raising my heart in adoration, and saying, "Jesus, You are amazing!"
~ Singing, or turning on worship music that lifts Jesus high (often singing along!) and allowing it to usher my heart into worship.  This is so powerful as I go through the day in helping to keep my mind, heart, and eyes fixed on Who Jesus is and in a state of worship.  This can be any time from in my personal devotional time with the Lord, to cooking (yes, you may catch me paused in front of the kitchen sink with my heart and hands raised in worship), to driving in the car - and everything in between.
~ Talking about His goodness, worshipping Him in prayer, and singing with others who love Him raises my heart to worship Him.
~ and more!

Worship is not just a single activity, worship is a lifestyle.

I want to live a life that oozes worship of Jesus.
I want every pore of my being to declare that Jesus is worthy of all praise.
I want to inhale Jesus and exhale worship.

In my happiest moments, worship lifts my heart to Him; in the mundane tasks, it keeps my eyes on the supernatural; and in my deepest trials, it transforms my perspective and brings peace in light of all He is.

In every situation, worship says, "You are God.  You are good.  You are wise.  All is for Your glory."  It lifts my eyes from my circumstances to Who He is changes my perspective and transforms the atmosphere of my heart.   I see all that He is, my heart is lifted above my situation to Jesus, and there is deep joy, peace, and security no matter the circumstance.

"Lord, Yes, this may be my circumstance _____________, but THIS IS WHO YOU ARE ____________.  You are infinitely greater, wiser, and stronger.  I fix my eyes on You, lift You high for Who You are, and ask for Your grace to live in reality of this in a way that declares Your worth with every breath I take."

Jesus is matchless.  He alone is worthy of our worship.

Let's be worshippers of Jesus, friend.

This is what we were created for.

With every breath we breathe, let's set our eyes on Jesus, lift Him high in our hearts, and live lives of worship of the One Whose worth cannot be measured - until we step into eternity to worship Jesus forever!

Now, and for eternity, may our hearts and lives declare ~
"Jesus, You are worthy of all praise.  We worship You."


What is one quality of Who God is that you are worshipping Him for today?  Please tell us in the comment section below!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

~ Summer Devotions Pursuit Testimonies ~

Dear Friends,

We are rejoicing and thanking the Lord for the beautiful work that He did in your hearts as you spent time with Him this summer!!!  It filled our hearts with praise to the Lord to read your testimonies and hear glimpses of what He has done!  HE is amazing!

We wanted to share some of your testimonies and encourage you as you seek the Lord!  He truly is worth seeking with all that we are!  We pray that, like many of you said, seeking the Lord and deepening your relationship with Him would be something that is a life habit for you beyond the Summer Devotions Pursuit!

May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek Him!  He alone satisfies!

"For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things." ~ Psalm 107:9

With love,
Amy and your friends at LTLM

P.S.  For those of you who mailed in your charts, you can watch for your rewards in the mail in the coming 2-3 weeks!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Summer Devotions Pursuit Testimonies ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Loving the Lord Ministries,

Thank you so much for doing the Summer Pursuit... I have had the best summer getting to know God better!  I can’t wait for next summer to do it again! ~ Madisen, MN


In this program this summer, I felt like I got to know God better.  I got to get to know God better because I had motivation to keep on doing it and to not miss a day... ~ Sophia, MN


I really enjoyed the Summer Pursuit!  Thank you for putting it together, Miss Vest!  At first it was challenging to wake up and do my Bible time.  But after a while it got easier and more enjoyable! ...I hope to keep my Bible time up during the school year.  This devotional Pursuit has been challenging but it has really blessed me! ~ Gabriella, MN

Dear Loving the Lord Ministries,

Thank you for giving girls this summer pursuit challenge, to read their Bibles and pray.  This summer the Lord showed me areas in my life I need to work on.  The Lord saved me 2 years ago, but I had not really let Him control everything in my life.  So during this summer, He told me I needed to give Him everything and now I feel a complete peace, knowing God is in charge of my life.  Praise be to Him! ~ Lily, MN

Dear Staff at Loving the Lord Ministries,

Thank you so much for putting together the Summer Pursuit project... The Lord has really blessed me this summer as I have memorized and read His word.  I also appreciate the “accountability phone calls”, and the encouragement to share prayer requests with her as a sister in Christ.  May the Lord bless all your efforts to encourage others in spending personal devotion time with Him!  I hope to participate in the Summer Pursuit again next year. ~ Ania, MO


Thank you for doing this Summer Pursuit!  This is my 4th year doing it, and every year I’ve enjoyed it! ...It is really good to spend time in the word daily.  Anyways, I hope you continue doing this, it is truly an amazing inspiration!  Thank you!  “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1 ~ Rebecca, Alberta CANADA 


One of my biggest challenges in the Summer Pursuit was memorizing Scripture.  It really helped me to have to memorize at least one verse a week.  It seems that if I don’t get myself into the habit of memorizing or don’t have some sort of memorizing goal for myself, then it somehow just gets squeezed out of my day!  Hiding God’s Word in our hearts is so important!  It was really hard for me to remember to time myself, but it was really interesting to look back and see how much time I was able to spend in God’s Word over the summer!  Thank you for challenging me to this! ~ Sarah, WI


Earlier this year when summer had just begun, my mom told me about a summer devotional chart I could do.  I decided to join, knowing it would help me do my daily devotions instead of falling into lazy summer procrastination.  I went off to several summer camps to volunteer, and I found the devotional chart very helpful in reminding me not to neglect God but have Him in first place in my life.  This summer especially, I found myself being tempted to “do my devotions later”, but I have been trying my hardest to reconnect with God and work on my side of the relationship, and He has proved ever faithful, as always.  I have learned to be sensitive to God and always listening to His voice, ready to go out and spread the Good News to whoever needs it.  Thanks for the help, Loving the Lord Ministries. ~
Caroline, British Columbia CANADA


Summer Pursuit has helped me with my walk with God.  I feel closer to Him and my love for Him has been greatly changed... I feel that I pray more and I just want to serve Him more.  Jesus has humbled me and has made me realize how much I need Him.  I’m learning to be more like Him every day and I strive to live out the verse, “To live is Christ.”  I’m learning to give my all to Christ.  I feel so much more joyful and I feel the love of God through me.  Jesus is my Rock and my Salvation.  God is so good and I shall treasure this summer spent with my Lord. ~ Rebekah, NE 


Thank you so much for organizing this challenge, my daughter and I both participated.  I’m glad to see her be so devoted to Bible reading and memorization.  It stretched me as well, and I spent more consistent time in the Word than I would have without the Summer Pursuit. ~ Mrs. Sarah, MN 


Dear Loving the Lord Ministries,

Thank you for putting this program together.  It has helped me draw closer to God.  I plan to continue to read my Bible every day.  I have been trying to read through the whole Bible.  I have just finished Ezekiel.  Thank you again. ~ Maria, MN 


This summer, God used the Summer Pursuit Chart to encourage me to spend more time in His Word.  Also, the verse-a-week requirement helped me to resume memorizing Philippians.  Towards the end of summer, God has been working in my heart to remind me that as a Christian, I should follow Christ in having a positive attitude inside of me.  Not only helping others, but being glad to help.  Through  multiple passages, God has shown me answers and given me comfort in many topics.  God has blessed me in numerous ways this summer!  I am very thankful. ~ Emily, MN 


Through the memorizing, reading, and spending time to talk to God, it has become easier and easier every day to find time for my devotions... The Summer Pursuit has really helped me to do my devotions every day and I am eager to continue through the year. ~ Abigail, MN


To GOD be the glory!  Blessings as you continue to seek Him!

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Power and Potential of Your Youth ~ Audio Message

The Power and Potential of Your Youth (2005 Edition) from Loving the Lord Ministries on Vimeo.

Join us for this inspiring message ~ The Power and Potential of Your Youth for God ~ as Amy Vest shares the incredible power and potential that your youth holds for knowing Jesus, growing in Him, and sharing Him with others!

"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." ~ 1 Timothy 4:12

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Jesus - No One Compares ~ by Amy Vest

Jesus.  The most precious Name in the world.  The One to Whom no one compares.  The only source of all we need.  Jesus.

Oh, friend!  He has been showing His goodness, grace, holiness, nearness, and reality so much lately.  My heart has been falling more deeply in love with the One I need so desperately.

He is matchless.

I could talk about Him for hours, but there are 4 precious realities that I want to share about Him that have been bringing so much joy to my heart.


1. Is real -
He is so real.   He wants to be real to you.  The things He says in His Word about Who He is are not just words on a page, they are reality.  He wants to make Himself so real to you and is working in your life for this purpose.  We can watch each day for Him to reveal to us the reality of Who He is as we walk with Him through the day.  This is a prayer He delights to answer. 

How is He real to you?

2. Only satisfies -
Jesus alone is the satisfaction of the vacuum in our heart.  He will not allow you to be satisfied in anything else.  He is always wooing you to Himself.  He alone can satisfy the longing He created.  We can respond through running to Him for our joy - through prayer, time in His Word, walking with Him each moment, and making Him the object of our love and pursuit.  As we do, we always find the reality of this verse, "He satisfies the longing soul..." Psalm 107:9

Where are you looking for satisfaction?

3. Wants your heart -
Oh, how He wants your heart!  He made you for Him and He will never stop pursuing your heart.  This is such faithful love.  He wants your heart more than your words or your hands.  “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."' Matthew 15:8 "For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6  He will not let you settle for outward actions - He wants your heart.  And you can be so glad - when He has your heart, you are satisfied and He is glorified.  When your heart is His, all that flows out is worship.

Is your heart with Him?

4. Calls you to an endless journey and romance with Him -
He invites you to enjoy and embrace this personal relationship of love with Him that touches every area of your life. Every day of this life until we step into eternity is an opportunity to walk moment by moment with Him - learning His heart, understanding His Word, being knit more closely to Him.  All you face serves to make Him more precious - the trials, victories, and everything in between.  Life is so full of purpose, anticipation, and joy as you open your eyes each morning to a new day of walking with and knowing Jesus more!

Will you walk with Him today?

These are precious realities that have been filling me with so much joy.  I pray they will do the same for you.

Friend, as you receive His grace to embrace Jesus as your reality, satisfaction, heart's treasure, and purpose in living, your heart will love Him more and we can declare together:

"There is none like you, O Lord, and there is no God besides you..." 1 Chronicles 17:20

Jesus.  No one compares.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Amazing Love ~ by Amy Vest

I sat in church as communion was passed, holding my cracker, and pondering with awe what Jesus did on the Cross.

The words from the song echoed in my heart, "Amazing Love!  How can it be, that You my God would die for me?"

"Jesus, You died so I could be in a relationship with You."
I prayed to Him. My eyes filled with tears of grateful wonder.

"I love You, Jesus."

The pianist was playing a song that my heart responded in prayer with, "Lover of my soul, I want to live for You."
My heart knew that He was calling me to go live in the reality of His work on the Cross and deep love, and to live from that love.

The love of Jesus in the Cross changes everything.

The Cross is the turning point in history, your eternal destiny, and our moment by moment life.

If you have trusted in Jesus and His work on the Cross for you:
The blood of Jesus has washed away your sin.
The Father's wrath over sin has been completely satisfied by the death of Jesus on your behalf.
You have been brought to God as His beloved child in Jesus.
For now and eternity you can worship Him and live in fellowship with Him.
He will continue to pour out His love and grace to live for Him, walk with you, and will draw you near every day until you step into eternity with Him.

What amazing love!

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."  (John 15:13)
"...Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him."
  (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)
"We love because he first loved us." 
(1 John 4:19)
"Let all that you do be done in love."  (1 Corinthians 16:4)

Soak in His amazing love in the Cross today, friend - for the first time, or afresh.

Let this love inspire the deepest love for Jesus in response, and compel you to go and live for Him from all that He is for you in this amazing love!

How could such a love as this have anything less than all that we are?

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

"For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised."  (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

Friday, September 4, 2015

~ Every Need Supplied in Jesus ~

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." 
~ Philippians 4:19

The Freedom of Neediness of Jesus ~ by Amy Vest

I have some very good news for you - You are needy.  "Is that good news?", you might ask.  Yes, very good news.

You see, you and I were created by God as needy human beings.  Every single one of us.

We live in a culture that tells us we should not be needy, or we should pretend we have no needs.

We have a God that tells us we were created as needy humans, depende
nt on an all-sufficient Savior.  We were created for a relationship with Him that glorifies Him and satisfies us.

This beautiful need is meant to drive us to Jesus.  That is what makes it good news.

Our need + Jesus' sufficiency = all we could ever need.

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:19)

Oh friend!  I have found such freedom and joy in realizing and embracing my neediness and Jesus' sufficiency.
 {Deep breath}  I don't need to try to be something I can never be, or do something I can never do on my own strength.  No.  I can turn to Jesus in my need and find all I need - and all I could ever want!

I love praying, "Jesus, I need You!  I am so needy and You are so sufficient." and experiencing His sufficiency - His fullness to meet my every need - wash over me every time.  This only deepens my love and trust as I taste His goodness.  This is how we were created to live!

First, we must see that we are needy, before we can receive the solution to our need.

Pretending we have no need is both prideful and a lie - and it will get us nowhere.  Acknowledging our need and embracing Jesus sufficiency floods us with joy - and through His life in us, the Spirit moves and bears fruit in and through our lives.

What are some of our needs?

We need:
- saving from our sins
- grace
- forgiveness
- love
- guidance
- breath
- hope
- help
- satisfaction
...and so much more!

In our neediness we can look to Jesus, or we can look other places.  Where we look determines what we will receive.  Jesus fulfills us, anything else will leave us needy and empty.  Jesus created the need and He alone can fill it.

Jesus is the answer - and is the source of the answer - to our every need.

You see, seeing your need of Jesus is a beautiful thing.  The beautiful thing is, the more we see our need, the more we can turn to Jesus and can welcome His sufficiency in our lives.

Every need that drives you to Jesus is your friend.

First we see our neediness of Jesus at salvation, aware of our desperate neediness of and seeking for His forgiveness and redeeming life.
  (See more on this HERE.)  Salvation begins a moment by moment relationship of dependence upon Jesus every day of our lives as He draws us closer, makes us more like Jesus, and enables us to live for Him by His life within us. 

I love how the Lord has given us the earthly evidence of our neediness of Him in our need to eat, drink, rest, etc. every day.  We need Him to provide these things for us - and these things are a picture of our deeper needs of our soul.  Our souls are hungry, thirsty, etc. and Jesus alone can fill these needs. 

This morning I was reading in John where Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me
shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (Matthew 6:35) and marveling once again that we can keep coming to Him over and over and He always has full supply - and there is always more of Him to know and be satisfied by.

Let our hearts prayer be, "Jesus, I cannot breathe, or obey You, or make any eternal difference without You.  I need You.  Jesus, You are, and I ask You to be to me the:
 breath in my lungs
salvation to my soul
love in my heart
truth to my mind
guide to my path
...and so much more!"

And when we call, He delights to come, live His life in and through us, and meet these needs.

When we depend on Jesus, His life, power, and Spirit, there is no end to what He can do! 

We as Christians were meant to live lives that are not explainable in human terms - only in terms of Jesus.  The only way this will happen is when we live lives dependant on Jesus.

How can we do this?  I am so glad you asked.

Here are a few ways to start:

~ Prayer - When we pray, we acknowledge that God is the One we need and rely upon.  Living in a spirit of prayer each moment is such a sweet evidence of dependence.  "Jesus, I need You, depend on You, look to You for all I need."  "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God... Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)  And we are always in need, so we can always draw near!
~ The Bible - Going to God's Word proves we know we don't have answers and we know He does.  Turn to His Word for your answers.  Ask His Holy Spirit to open your eyes to His Truth.
~ Relying on His Spirit and life within us vs. depending on our own strength or instinct.  We can easily tend to try to do things on our own or depend on what we think is best.  When we are looking to and listening for Him, He can guide us in line with His Word.
~ Starting your day - I love talking to Jesus as I wake up and praying something like, "Good morning Jesus, I love You, You are all I need, I want You, Lord.  I surrender myself to You afresh.  Please give me more of You and live Your life in and through me today."

The Christian life is meant to be daily moment by moment dependence on Jesus.  As we live this way, we taste His sufficiency that both satisfies us and spills out in fruit in and through our lives.

This is the life you are created to live.

Embrace your neediness and let it drive you to embrace Jesus, friend.

In the sufficiency of Jesus you will find all that you need.