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Through "The Basics with Beth," Beth Jones is teaching the basics of God's Word to help you live a life you love and love the life you live! 

Devo

I can't wait for you to start enjoying The Basics Daily Devo!

I know an exciting little secret...when you get the basics of God’s Word, your faith will be strengthened and you'll be equipped to unlock your God-given potential and live a life you feel good about: a life connected to God, a life where you belong and matter to those around you, a life that is full of joy and laughter and a successful life that allows you to makes a generous dent in eternity. This is a life worth living!

Every morning you'll receive a faith-filled shot in the arm to equip you with the basics you need to live the life you'll love!

Here's what you can expect each week:

Monday through Friday: Fresh, fun and empowering Bible basics to build your faith and impact your life in practical ways. Whether it's a short Bible-based devotional, a funny image to brighten your day or to post on your social meda, a link to our podcast or a nugget of truth -- you will be strengthened, inspired and challenged in the basics of your faith.

Here’s to fulfilling your God-given potential!

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AVERAGE JOES & JANES

Jennifer Cole

Today, let’s have a heart-to-heart chat about leaders. Grab your pumpkin spice latte, get comfy and let’s talk for a few minutes!

Each of us has leaders in our lives...maybe it’s at work, or church or school. People like our parents, pastors, government officials, teachers, our boss and so on. If we’re not careful, we may -- sometimes without realizing it -- put them on pedestals. Often, that starts from a very genuine place of loving and esteeming that leader. You think so highly of them -- they’re just the best leaders, superstars, incredible people!

However, what each of us will come to see at some point or another is that every leader is just a normal person too! They’re average joes, or average janes, just like the rest of us. YES...they’ve been anointed to lead in the roles they’re called to...but they’re also human. They have to lace up their faith boots and walk through life one day at a time, just like the rest of us.

>>Can you see now how placing them on a pedestal, whether intentionally or unintentionally, is bound to lead to some issues?

Friends, you will eventually see the “human” side of your amazing leaders...and if they’ve been put on a pedestal in your heart, that is going to cause them to fall from the pedestal. That could then get you caught up in disappointment, discouragement or even worse...you could get stuck in the trap of being offended. This type of situation is lurking behind untold numbers of church splits, company splits, family feuds and divisions of all kinds.

When it comes to your parents or civic leaders the Bible has a lot to say about honoring and obeying them. (We’ll save that for another devo.) God’s Word also has a lot to say about the benefit to YOU, when you honor the spiritual leaders He has placed in your life.

I encourage you today to look at this idea of honor from a few angles. (Hint: It will benefit both you and your leaders!) Absolutely we should esteem, value and love the leaders that God has put in our lives and on our hearts. But esteem the call on their life -- place the high value on the anointing they’ve been given by the Lord. Can you see that shift in focus? You’re not putting the person on a pedestal...instead, you’re choosing to focus on and esteem the position and calling. In 1 Thessalonians 5:13 we are encouraged to: “...esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake” (NKJV).

That can seem like a very simple, or basic, shift in focus -- but it will make a huge difference! Your leaders will feel your support of their role without sensing the pressure to be perfect or super-human. That will help make leadership a joyful experience! I love this verse in Hebrews 13:17, which shows so clearly how this will uplift your leaders: “Obey your spiritual leaders and recognize their authority, for they keep watch over your soul without resting since they will have to give an account to God for their work. So it will benefit you when you make their work a pleasure and not a heavy burden” (TPT).

Yes, your leaders are normal people! They are not perfect. But, they do have a calling on their lives to lead in whatever capacity God has anointed them...and they have a responsibility to do so in a way that honors the Lord. They will give an account for how they’ve fulfilled their leadership calling, so let’s help lift them up and encourage them by esteeming their position...but giving much grace to them as everyday people too!

Say This: “Father, thank You for the leaders You’ve placed in my life. Today I lift up ___________ (mention by name the leaders on your heart) -- I ask You to fill them with wisdom, grace and increased anointing so they can lead in a way that honors You. Lord, help me to see if I’ve placed any of my leaders on a pedestal -- help me instead to honor their role and calling but give them lots of grace, as they are normal people just like me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

STANDING OUT IN THE SELFIE CROWD

Jennifer Cole

We are in a selfie culture, aren’t we? When we scroll through our Instagram and Facebook feeds, we see lots of selfies from friends, family, coworkers, inspirational people, fitness gurus and folks from all age groups. Now, I’ve got nothing against a great selfie...although you gotta get it from the right angle (who’s with me there?)!

But...the challenge for all of us in this selfie culture is to not let our photography trend bleed over into our everyday communications with others. If we’re constantly making ourselves the center of every conversation, or inserting our own stories over the ones others are trying to tell, then we’ve carried the selfie mindset into the broader scope of our lives...and that’s not going to help our relationships!

In Philippians, Paul made the observation of how much self focus, rather than others focus, was noticeable even in those times. We can read about it in Philippians 2:19-21: “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus” (NKJV).

>>So, what can you do to stand out in this selfie-obsessed culture? Here’s the secret…

Take a genuine interest in others! Dale Carnegie said it so well: “To be interesting, be interested.” Simple -- even basic, if you will -- but very profound! What does it look like to be interested? In practical terms, it shows up in things like being intentional to ask questions about others. Not just the surface-level “how are you” to which everyone just replies “good” or “fine” (or “crazy busy”), but asking questions that show you are genuinely wanting to learn about how they’re really doing, what they’re doing, what they like, and so on.

If you spend time honing this skill -- this critical people skill of being interested -- you will definitely start to see the positive impact this will have on your relationships in all areas of life. Plus, it’s just downright FUN! People are fascinating, everyone has a unique story and perspective. Getting to know lots of different people can add color to your own world. And, as you’re actively being interested in those around you, they’ll find YOU more interesting! People enjoy being known...everyone likes being noticed and cared about enough for someone to take interest in them. Be that someone!

Your people skills matter. The Lord has a divine purpose for you and for all of us, and for us to maximize our impact in this world for Him, it takes people skills! Friends, let’s each commit to growing in our people skills, now and throughout our whole lifetime, so we can help others in new and greater ways!

Say This: “Father, thank You that I can turn to You for help in any area of my life. Today, I pray that You would help me increase my people skills, now and throughout my life. I want to help others around me and help to build Your Church, and all of that involves people. Lord, help me to stay others-focused, and not self-focused, and to take a genuine interest in others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

BETTER THAN BUTTER

Jennifer Cole

We’ve all seen how much things change in life...all the time. For one example, think about how much change in philosophy we’ve seen in the area of nutrition! At one point, butter was bad for us so we all switched to margarine. Now, margarine is bad for us, so we’ve switched back to real butter (or even all natural grass-fed butter!!). There are diet programs saying that eating all plant-based is best for us, while other programs push all meats and little else.

Amazing, isn’t it?

While that’s a simple example, it highlights a very important truth...almost everything “man-made” is subject to change! It’s one thing to build your dinner plans around an ever-shifting food theology...but how much more important is your life, your future and your eternal destination?

>> When you’re deciding what to build your life and your future on -- be sure you’re building on an unchanging foundation!

The basic truth is that there’s only one thing that has withstood the test of time...and will for all ages...and that’s the Word of God. Many verses confirm the longevity of the Bible, like we see in Isaiah 40:8: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (AMPC).

God’s Word stands the test of time...all the time! It’s FULL of promises He has given to us, but like all gifts, they must be unwrapped to truly bless us. I encourage you to spend time each day reading and learning God’s Word. Read your Bible. Pick up a daily devotional book. Play the Bible audio from the YouVersion app on your phone while getting ready for your day. Listen to faith-filled podcasts and sermons. Make a worship playlist on Spotify. There are so many ways to get more of the Bible in your life -- try several! After all, the Word of God is the only unchanging foundation for our lives -- but that doesn’t help us if we don’t know what it says! Make this time in your life the time you decide to build and strengthen that sure foundation!

Here’s another basic truth that I love -- the Bible is living and active! As we read or hear the Word, and choose to receive and apply it, it actively helps us. Check out this encouraging passage in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us” (MSG).

The living power of the Word helps our lives when we choose to make it our plumbline...our foundation...what we build our life on. When we choose to submit our lives to the Bible, we will see its great work in our lives! I like how 1 Thessalonians 2:13 shows us this, in the Amplified translation: “...the word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its inherent, supernatural power in those of faith].”

Today, I encourage you to draw the line in the sand, that from this day forward you choose to submit your life to the living Word of God -- and in doing so, you’ll be building your life on the eternal, immovable, unshaken, powerful, life-giving, inspiring, correcting, guiding and encouraging Word! And that’s waaaay better than butter.

Say This: “Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that Your Word is eternal, unchanging, living and active. Today, I choose to submit my life to the Word and I ask You to help me learn more of the Word each day so it can become my strong, firm foundation for life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

WIRED THIS WAY FOR A REASON

Jennifer Cole

As a kid, did you ever play with a kaleidoscope? Do you remember holding it up to one eye, aiming it towards a source of light and then gently turning the end -- and watching the beautiful, colorful scene change bit-by-bit, turn-by-turn? Many tiny pieces were weaving together in a new way with every twist...each new pattern formed was intricate and unique.

Sometimes I picture God’s view of us being like that...each of us is our own little piece of His grand masterpiece. As we all join together for the cause of Christ and as we serve together in our local church -- it’s like a constantly changing, interwoven kaleidoscope of gifts and talents.

We can see a bit about these talents, or “motivational” gifts, in Romans 12:6-8: In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly” (NLT).

You have gifts and talents that God has instilled in you. What can be funny about talents is, at times, we can flow in them so effortlessly that we think it’s just “ordinary” or “everyone must be like this.” But I encourage you today to spend some time truly thinking about what your talents may be.

>> Not everyone is good at what you’re good at -- start to see the special gifts you have and unpack what God has put within you!

Here are a few examples to stir up your thoughts: Do you have a love of numbers, and would spending hours and hours pouring over extensive spreadsheets give you satisfaction? Do you love to bake, decorate and host get-togethers in your home? Can you see someone’s need before they ever say a word, and send them just the right note or gift to help them? Do you somehow seem to end up leading just about everything you get involved in?

Whether your gifts may be hospitality, gift-giving, mercy, leadership...or any one of innumerable talents...God gave you that special wiring intentionally! It’s important that we start to see our gifts, so that we can also start to see how God can use our gifts to bless our lives and bless those around us too. This is also true for our local church -- our gifts can help grow the Church and help share the Good News across our cities and the world.

So, friends, pour yourself a cup of coffee (or tea!) and have some quiet time with the Lord today...ask Him to help you see the special talents He’s woven into you and ask Him to show you how to use those talents to help make a difference in your life and in the lives of others!

Say This: “Father, thank You that You’ve given me gifts and talents. You’ve wired me a special way and I ask You to help me see more clearly than ever what those gifts and talents are. Please help me to see new ways in which to use those talents to serve You in my local church and to help those around me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

DISCOVERING YOUR GIFTS

Jennifer Cole

At one point or another, we’ve all likely wondered what our gifts and talents are. We’ve wondered how our wiring, our quirks and our abilities could make a difference in this world.

Or, maybe you have an idea of what a few of your giftings are but you’re feeling a bit “stuck” or frustrated, wondering why you’re not having opportunities to use those talents. Today I want to share with you the secret of what to do in either case...HELP! Specifically, plug in and help in your local church! You see, when you help...God will order your steps and you’ll start to see more and more clearly what your unique “lane” is.

You may feel like greeting, directing traffic, mopping floors, starting coffee pots, or whatever helping role you’re volunteering in, is insignificant...but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Let’s check out 1 Corinthians 12:28: “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues” (NKJV).

We see in that verse that there is a ministry of “helps” -- and as a quick aside, even if God has called you to another one of the ministry areas listed in that verse, almost every single time the path still begins with the ministry of helps. For many, the ministry of helps IS the calling.

>>Are you catching this? “Helps” is ministry! And it makes a world of difference in the lives of others!

Helping at your local church provides fertile ground for the Lord to cultivate your gift and to make a way for you to use it to help more and more people. Is helping glamorous? Not usually. Is helping always going to be in your preferred area of interest? Not always, especially as you start out. But will God honor your willing heart and helping hands, and in due season use your serving to reveal to you specific gifts and talents He has put inside you? YES!

Here’s a promise to stand on...read with me in Proverbs 18:16: “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men” (NKJV). As you continue to faithfully serve, your gift will become more clear and visible, both to you and to others. For example, you may feel like you have a teaching gift but wonder why you’ve been asked to serve in Kids’ Ministry. I encourage you today, do so with excellence and a willing heart! Serve those kids to the best of your ability. Use your teaching gift to teach and train them. Nurture and hone that skill, be faithful to what God’s asking you to do in that season, and at the right time He will make a way for you to use those gifts in new ways.

You don’t have to strive, fret or worry...trust the Lord to do what only He can do which is to reveal your special gifts and talents as you serve faithfully and whole-heartedly in your local church. Everything you invest into growing His church is time well-spent...it’s an ETERNAL investment by helping others...and He will make sure your gifts make a way for you!

Say This: “Father, thank You that You’ve given me gifts and talents. I choose to help serve in my local church and trust that as I serve faithfully, You’ll make my gifts and talents more visible to me and to others. Thank You that I can participate in the ministry of ‘helps’ and make an eternal impact in the lives of others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”