Friday, October 29, 2021

Amazing Love ~ by Amy Vest Cox


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) 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

This is the victory...

 "...And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith." 

~ 1 John 5:4

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A Life of Worship ~ by Amy Vest Cox


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 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!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Obedience - A Pathway to Joy ~ by Amy Vest Cox

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! :)

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Friday, October 8, 2021

The Freedom of Neediness of Jesus ~ by Amy Vest Cox

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.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

You are Loved ~ by Amy Vest Cox

Dear Sisters,

Sometimes we just need someone to remind us of this truth:

You are loved.

Let's listen to Jesus:

"...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

May your day be blessed beyond measure as you soak in His endless love for you!

Grateful to be loved by our Jesus together,
Amy

Saturday, October 2, 2021

The Sweetness of Selflessness ~ by Amy Vest Cox

Selflessness.

What comes to mind when you hear this word?  Cringing and drudgery, or joy and freedom?

Let's take a look.

We are naturally selfish, focused on our self, and wanting what we want to satisfy ourselves.  Selflessness is not something that we come by automatically. 

Here is the amazing thing:

Selfishness is natural.
Selflessness is supernatural.


Selflessness is only possible because of Jesus.

While basically anyone can, should, and will be blessed when they choose to put others first in action - true selflessness is really a condition of our heart that flows out in how we live our lives.  This is transformation only Jesus can bring.

It is a change from a focus on self to focus on Jesus, Who fulfills you and enables you to focus on others.

This change begins at salvation when you turn from following self to follow Christ, and it continues for your whole life with Jesus on earth as He works in you.

Just this morning I was reading John 3 and read once again that beautiful verse, "He must increase, but I must decrease."

This is the beautiful thing - the "less" of self, means the "more" of Jesus in our lives! I want this, don't you?

The more we are emptied of ourselves, and the more we are filled with Jesus, the more we will taste the sweet freedom of selflessness.  It is a process - and it can be painful, because self does not like to decrease - but, the increase of Jesus FAR outweighs it.

I don't know about you, but when I am focused on myself, I am empty, unfulfilled, and miserable.  But, when I am allowing Jesus to empty me of self, fill me, and love others through me, there is so much joy!

This is a reality that has been transforming my world:

I can freely deny myself when I realize that Jesus is all I need.

Do you see how this works?  When I have everything in Jesus, I no longer need to look for fulfillment, acclaim, rights, etc. - I have all in Jesus and know He cares for me! 

Then I can follow His example.

He gave of Himself, so that I could have all in Him. I can now deny myself for Him and so that He can give Himself through me to others.

The Lord has recently been deepening this in my heart in the area of sensitive availability to my family.  I can be going about what I think is the Lord's role for me in a day - and then a need comes up for someone close to me.  I sense a gentle tug of the Holy Spirit in my heart to set the project aside and see how Jesus can use me to minister to that person - sometimes it is simply a hug, helping them with a project, or praying with them.  In that moment, I can listen to Jesus, deny myself, and reach out to that person - and if I do, there is so much joy, more of Jesus, and He works.  I want to live in this every day - and Jesus delights to grow us!

I love, love, love this passage about Jesus and our call because Him:


"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." ~ Philippians 2:3-11

This is where true life is found - in denying ourselves and letting Jesus increase in us and through us to others!

What is an area you feel the Lord calling you to less of self and more of Him in today, friend?
  I am asking myself the same question.  Let's let Him work and bring the sweetness of selflessness in us!

I do want to whisper a little clarification to those of you who may be like I was and think this may mean something it doesn't - it does not mean that you never get sleep, or have to say "yes" to every person's request - and definitely it does not mean that you give up what God has shown you is right!  We are humans with God-given limitations.  Selflessness is a heart condition and attitude of yielded focus on Jesus instead of self, and then on others, to pour out your life for Him however He leads!

Selflessness is saying "no" to self and "yes" to Jesus.  It is putting Jesus first and then allowing Him to turn our eyes to others.  It is a heart transformation by Jesus that radiates out in our lives in joy, freedom, and service.

When we are selfless, the world sees something different.

I want to live a life whose only explanation is Jesus. Selflessness is one of those things.

Knowing this is only possible with Jesus, let's run to Him, find all in Him, and allow Him to give to others through us.

In this we will taste more and more the sweetness of selflessness - more of Jesus in and through our lives!