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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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don't miss this one thing.

Jennifer Cole

In the Old Testament, there were a multitude of rules and laws that had to be followed. It must’ve been a lot of work to keep track of all of the laws, and for sure it was impossible for people to not break at least one! But here’s some good news for us today...thanks to Jesus’ redemptive work through the cross, He fulfilled the whole Law for us...and now He encourages us to follow just one “law - commandment” as our priority.

In fact, the Bible calls this one guiding principle the “Royal Law” (see James 2:8). This Royal Law is all centered around LOVE. As believers, we are called to love God and to love others. Not just once or twice, but as our lifestyle. Let’s look at a couple of Scriptures that tell us more about this:

“‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” Matthew 22:36-40 NKJV

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 NLT

Wow...there must be something so significant about LOVE that by living our lives with His love at the center of all we do, it covers everything else. 

>>Can you see just how far-reaching and critical this life of LOVE must be?

So, let’s take a moment to consider...what does it mean to love God will all our heart, soul and mind? We see insights into that in John 14:23-24: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me’” (NKJV)

From this verse, we see that keeping the Word...the promises, the guidance and instruction we read in our Bible...is how we demonstrate our love for the Lord. It pleases Him to see us living by His Word -- because ultimately He knows that when we live by His Word it’s for OUR benefit!

Now let’s also look at...what does it mean to love others? Love for others is demonstrated in so many ways throughout our daily lives. It’s noticing others...taking time to be kind, say hello and ask how their day is going. It’s thinking before we act -- for example, considering if what we’re about to post, say, or share with others is going to hurt someone’s reputation, feelings, relationships and so on. 

Let’s read Romans 13:10, which gives us a great guideline to live by: “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (NKJV). If something we’re about to do will cause harm to another, we should stop what we’re doing and be intentional about taking our cares, opinions, venting and concerns to the Lord instead, to get His wisdom on the situation.

I love that God has made it so simple, so basic...we need to focus on LOVE and that will keep our life centered. Yet while that’s simple, it’s not always easy. It’s not easy to be obedient in walking in love every moment of every day, but thankfully God gives us not just this command but also His strength...which is what makes this doable! Philippians 2:13 encourages us: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (NKJV). I’m so thankful that God gives us one Royal Law to focus on...and that He also stirs up both the will (the “want to”) and the doing (through His strength)! So come on friends, we can do this! I’m cheering you on in your life of LOVE!

Say This: “Father, thank You so much for boiling all the laws down into one main commandment for me to focus on -- the law of love. Lord, I desire to show You and others love in everything I do. Thank You that You help stir up the ‘want to’ and that You also give me Your strength, so that I can walk in love each day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

how can I hear from the Lord?

Jennifer Cole

Last week’s devo centered on how to talk to God through prayer. Now today, we’ll focus on how to hear from God -- He speaks to us through the Bible! Aren’t the most meaningful relationships ones where conversations are full of both talking AND listening...speaking AND hearing a response? That’s why we can’t just stop after discussing prayer and not talk about the Bible...His Word is the primary way that we hear from the Lord!

Perhaps you’ve thought the Bible was just like any other book, nice words on pages but not “alive.” Or, maybe you’ve considered the Bible to be outdated...something that helped people back in the day, but not really relevant to take on the challenges of the modern age. Maybe you struggle with reading the Bible because it feels like an obligation or ritual, and you don’t have a solid understanding of why it is even important.

Or, perhaps you do currently esteem the Bible but aren’t quite sure how to make it a part of your day and to really hear from God.

No matter which of these you may relate to, there’s good news...it IS possible to know why the Bible is absolutely essential to your life. While there are dozens of verses we could dive into here, let’s take just a moment to consider these two:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMP: “All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Hebrews 4:12 NKJV: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

We see here that the Bible, while it was penned by 40 men, in a timespan of 1500 years and in 3 languages...ALL of it was God-inspired. It is not the writings and thinkings of men...it’s true author is the Lord! And, we see in the above verses that the Word is living and powerful...this is not a dusty ol’ book with no relevance. By no means! In fact, God uses the living Word to speak to your heart -- answering your questions, providing guidance, whispering His love and acceptance to you -- all present-day and relevant because it’s the living Word.

>>Did you catch that? This book is like no other -- as you read it, you get to know its author personally! He speaks living and active words to YOU!

I don’t know about y’all, but that sure stirs me up! It stirs me up to read my Bible, to listen to Bible-based teachings, to sing worship songs and be engaged as I listen to Scripture-based messages and podcasts. In this day and age, we have so many ways to fill our lives and our hearts with God’s Word. I encourage you to get as much Scripture into your heart every day as you can...it’s God’s primary way of speaking to you!

Say This: “Father, thank You so much for giving me Your Word. I esteem and value the Bible and choose to make it my personal guidebook in life. And, I believe that as I make time to read and hear Scripture, You are speaking living and active words to me. Thank You that I hear from You and as I invest in reading more and more Scriptures, my whole life will benefit as You speak guidance, love, correction, acceptance and so much more into my heart! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

let's pray it up!

Jennifer Cole

Sometimes I think we can over-complicate prayer. I mean, how many times have you not prayed because you felt you didn’t know the “right” way to pray, or didn’t have a full three-hours of time to pray, or felt like God was far off and unapproachable? Let me encourage you today, friends, that prayer really is simple. It’s basic, if you will! While there are certainly some “rules of engagement” for specific types of prayer, which we can learn from the Bible, today just start! Start praying! Start talking with the Lord every day, start prioritizing your conversation time with Him and don’t let the enemy keep stealing that powerful time away from you.

The enemy knows that prayer pulls down the power from Heaven into your life. He knows that through faith-filled prayers you can experience salvation, healing, blessings, restored relationships, increase, favor, protection, freedom from fear and addictions, and so much more. Can you see now why the enemy works overtime to keep us feeling like we can’t pray? Like we don’t know how to pray, are unworthy to approach God, or any other number of lies? Knowing that he’s so actively opposing our prayer time should stir up some passion in you to not let him steal that from your life!

Today, I hope you’ll lay aside any preconceived notions of some lofty and unattainable standard on your prayer life and just get real with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 tells us: “Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]” (AMPC). Being “unceasing” in prayer means we can pray all day, all the time, anytime and anyplace. That’s freeing, isn’t it? 

This means you can talk to the Lord while driving to and from work, while running the kids to school, while washing the dishes or literally any time throughout your day! He’s your best friend, always with you...and you can talk with Him about anything. And, it’s worth noting that you can talk with Him using real words, truly pouring out your heart -- you don’t have to speak in the “King James” words, saying thee’s and thou’s! You can show Him genuine love, respect and adoration using your everyday, “normal” language.

While having an ongoing conversation with God as we go about our day is terrific, it is also very important to prioritize some dedicated quiet time with the Lord. Carve out a time each day to steal away with the Lord...to get free from the distractions of life and have quality time with Him, offering up heartfelt and faith-filled prayers. Jesus was our example of how to live when He walked on this earth…and we see from Mark 1:35 that He was intentional about setting aside specific time to pray: “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (NKJV). God promises that when we call to Him, He will answer (Jeremiah 33:3)...that time you spend with Him will be so worth it!

>>Don’t miss this! By spending time with the Lord, you’ll grow stronger in your relationship with Him, experience His love for you, find the answers you’re seeking and be charged up spiritually for your day!

If you have a friend, neighbor, spouse, or other relationship you’re pouring into, what’s one of the number one ways to grow that relationship? Spend time together and talk to each other! In much the same way, you’ll find that as you spend time with the Lord in prayer, you’ll experience more and more the fullness of His love for you and experience the guidance and peace in your life that can only be found in His presence. So pray it up, friends! You can do this!

Say This: “Father, thank You that I can talk with you anytime, anyplace about anything! Thank You that through Jesus, I can approach the Throne of Grace with boldness, and I know through Your Word that when I call to You, You will answer. Lord, help stir up in me a greater desire to prioritize prayer in my life -- I choose to make quality time with You a priority! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
 

does satisfaction really exist?

Tara Farrell

Have you ever had an intense craving for a particular food item? Maybe you sat down to watch a movie but just couldn’t get settled in until you first made some buttery popcorn. Know the feeling? Or, if you’re a mom -- perhaps you felt the overwhelming urge at one point during pregnancy for pickles and ice cream…(yes, together!). Or maybe you can think of a time when you were flat out starving for whatever reason, and honestly just wanted any food you could find! 

We’ve all experienced that kind of hunger at some point, felt that craving for a satisfying meal, right? Here’s the thing…that sense of hunger and craving shouldn’t just be aimed towards a ballpark hotdog or mom’s famous apple pie. In our Christian lives, it’s likened to how we should crave after the Lord...the hunger and thirst for spending time with Him, getting to know Him more and hearing from Him through His Word.

Let’s take an honest assessment here, for a moment. Is your craving level for the Lord at an intense I-could-eat-the-whole-buffet level? Or is your craving level more like the one-small-appetizer-is-plenty level? Can you go days, weeks, maybe even months or years without the urge to read your Bible, or do you crave His Word daily? Do you feel “full” attending church twice per year or once-a-month, or do you eagerly crave the next service so you can learn from the Lord and worship Him?

None of this is meant to be a guilt trip! All growth starts from an awareness of where we are now -- and then builds up from there through an understanding of what God’s Word says is best for us. Take a look at Matthew 5:6, which says: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (NKJV). Let’s also read that same verse in the Amplified Classic translation: “Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied!”

>> Did you catch the secret for satisfaction? It’s found in being hungry and thirsty for the Lord!

So today, I encourage you to stir up your hunger and thirst for the Lord...intensely crave more of Him. Ask Him to stir up that desire in you too. Make the choice to spend time with Him daily in prayer, to read the Word daily and be active in your faith-filled local church. One thing you’ll start to notice is the more you spend time with God, the more you’ll hear His voice -- and the more you’ll crave time with Him and His Word!

God loves a hearty appetite...He loves it when we are truly hungry and thirsty for more of Him. So much so that as we saw in the verse above, that craving comes with the promise that you will be filled and satisfied! Let’s amp up our level of craving for the Lord and the blessed life in Him...after all, the more we crave, the more we’ll be filled.

Say This: “Father, thank You for Your promise that as I hunger and thirst to know You more, I will find You and I will be satisfied! Lord, help stir up that craving in me for Your Word, for prayer time with You, and for learning more about all of the promises You have for me. And, today I make the choice to stir up an appetite for more time with You, and I know that the more I crave, the more I’ll be filled! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

what if I don't "feel" saved?

Tara Farrell

In last week’s devo, the subject of eternity took center stage. We shared the qualitativeand quantitative aspects of eternal life, which Jesus bought for us on the cross, and that choosing to make Jesus our Lord gives us that eternal life!

Now, what happens next is something that’s probably not talked about enough….when you get saved (born again, ask Jesus to come into your heart), one thing the enemy (the devil, Satan) likes to do is try to knock down your assurance of salvation. He’ll come at you with thoughts about not being worthy of God and His salvation. He will try to discourage you, try to cast doubt with thoughts like “you didn’t really pray that prayer,” and a variety of other such false ideas. Be alert to those tactics and stand firm in knowing you are saved.

>> How can we know FOR SURE that we’re Christians, that we’re saved?

Here’s the secret...knowing that you’re a Christian is NOT centered on emotion or on intellect. At its core, the decision to ask Jesus to be your Lord is a choice of your will. Why is it important to understand that? Well, sometimes in any given moment, you may “feel” the Lord’s presence. But, there will be other times you don’t feel His presence. That doesn’t mean He is any less present with you. After all, what we feel doesn’t dictate the reality of His presence. Similarly, sometimes we understand God’s ways with our intellect, our reasoning. But let me tell you, friends -- many times we won’t! That’s what this exciting life of faith is all about...we don’t have to have it all figured out, we just have to trust in the One who does!

If feelings and intellect aren’t our assurance of salvation, what is? Once we’ve made the choice to ask Jesus to be our Lord, then we have our assurance of salvation by standing on God’s Word. His Word is full of His promises -- the facts -- which are what remains and are everlasting. We KNOW we have salvation by looking at the facts of God’s Word.

His Word is full of facts to base our assurance of salvation on. Let’s look at a few! 1 John 5:11-13 tells us the fact that if we have the Son, we have eternal life. John 1:12 which assures us of the fact that those who receive Jesus are children of God. Add into that 2 Corinthians 5:17, where we learn the fact that in Christ we are a new creation. We can see that God clearly states the facts of our salvation and we choose to put our faith in those facts.

>>Do you see the emphasis of basing your faith on the facts?

It’s worth noting that are two things vying for your faith each day...facts and feelings. You get the choice to put your faith in the feelings or in the facts of God’s Word. But y’all, can you see what a slippery slope it becomes to put your faith in feelings? Feelings come and go, they can be turned on a dime by a conversation or Facebook post, or even by the weather. If you put your faith in how you “feel,” you will live a roller-coaster Christian life, where sometimes you “feel” saved and other times you don’t.

That’s no way to live...there’s so much more God wants for you! When you connect your faith to facts, specifically the facts of God’s Word -- the Truth, His promises -- then the circumstances of life, social media and the stormy forecast can’t change what you know to be true. Your assurance of salvation rests in what He says about you and that provides a firm foundation to walk out your life with Him. 

Say This: “Father, I know that I’ve asked Jesus into my heart and confessed You as my Lord and Savior. I know that I am saved, and I choose to stand on the facts of what You say in Your Word, rather than putting any trust in feelings. Thank You that I am a child of God and born again! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”