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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.

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A MILE OF OPPORTUNITY

Jennifer Cole

Sometimes I think the month of December is just like the final mile of a marathon. Didn’t we all start out 2018 full of hope and wonder of what this glorious new year could bring? We dreamed bigger dreams, we wrote out our goals, we prayed a lot...and then one day at a time, we ran on the track of life.

But as December begins, as we’re now in month 12 of 12...it has me thinking about where I’m at compared to the goals and dreams I had back in January. Truth be told, on some things I’m further ahead than I thought I’d be, while on other things it’s taken longer than I had anticipated...or even gone down an unexpected detour route. It’s okay for things to not be exactly as you thought they’d be -- the important part is to do the intentional status check to see where everything’s at.

You see, I don’t wait until New Year’s to evaluate how 2018 went because at that point, that year’s “race” is over. This is why I get great joy and energy from taking a look at things now -- at the start of December -- because we still have a mile left to go in this marathon! There’s still time to make progress, to improve our results, to tighten our laces and get re-energized, to try again, to not give up, to make a difference and maybe even surprise ourselves.

>>There’s still track left to run on this year...so let’s maximize it!!

If you’re finding yourself tired, disappointed, discouraged, apathetic or any other less-than-excited feeling as we start to round out this year...let God’s Word minister joy and energy back to your spirit! Here are some of my faves...may they put some wind back in your sails today!

Philippians 4:13 NKJV: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13, now in The Passion Translation: “And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.” (Don’t you love how that’s worded?!)

Acts 20:24 NKJV: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

2 Timothy 4:7 NLT: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT: “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid...For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Romans 8:28 NKJV: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

God’s got your back! He wants you to be successful on all of your miles ahead! And friends, I’m in your corner, cheering you on too -- I’m believing this will be your strongest mile yet on the 2018 track, and with the Lord on your side, the best is yet to come. Love y’all!

Say This: “Father, thank You for the 11 months I’ve had so far in this year and I ask for Your grace and favor in this 12th month of 2018! I pray, Lord, that You’ll help the dreams and goals in my heart to manifest in my life. I trust that You’re working all things together for my good, and I thank You for fresh encouragement and energy so I can keep running my race with joy and strength. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

LARGE SCOOP OF THANKS & GIVING

Jennifer Cole

Do you know someone who just seems to always know the perfect gift to get people? Some people seem to have this uncanny intuition to know just what gift a person would love to receive. I admire that so much -- after all, it’s such a joy to bring a smile to someone’s face, and maybe even tears of happiness because the gift is so on-point and meaningful!

And, it’s not just about tangible gifts...there are also those people who seem to have just the right word to say, at just the right time. With one conversation, phone call or even a text, they can bring a smile to your face, put wind back in your sails and flood your day with hope and encouragement.

Just a few days ago, we celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, and that got me really thinking about the “thanks” piece of that word...but also the “giving.” I found myself marveling at the folks I know who excel in the areas of giving gifts and giving those perfectly-timed words of encouragement and affirmation. As I marveled and pondered, I then realized that ALL of us can become genuinely better at those kinds of giving!

>>Here’s the secret...we have the Holy Spirit inside of us, so we can ask Him to help us bless others in a HUGE way!

Sometimes in the busyness of life, especially around the holidays, we can unfortunately overlook or undervalue the incredible role that the Holy Spirit has -- or wants to have -- in our daily lives! The Bible describes His role with the following incredible terms: “Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby)...” (John 14:26 AMP). He’s our compass and our guide...and, He can give us “insider’s scoop” type of knowledge when needed.

So even if it doesn’t feel like it comes naturally to you to give those perfect gifts or those just-right words...I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you! When someone’s been on your heart -- maybe it’s a coworker, a friend or family member, a single mom or single dad, your boss or teacher, your neighbor, that parent who sits next to you at your kid’s sporting events, or anyone that you’re praying for and thinking about -- ask the Holy Spirit for insights into what would truly bless that person. He knows what they need and can help point you in the right direction!

Friends, I pray that this whole holiday season for you is blessed with lots to be thankful for...and that your giving rises up to a whole nutha level as you seek the Lord for His divine guidance! After all, the joy of blessing someone is one of the best feelings in life!

Say This: “Father, thank You that as a believer, I have the Holy Spirit dwelling in me -- He gives me insights, knowledge, direction, comfort and so much more. I would love to bless those around me in very meaningful ways, so I ask the Holy Spirit to please guide me...show me the gifts and words that would truly bless others. Thank You, Lord, for guiding me and giving me divinely inspired ideas! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

PROTECTION & PROVISIONS

Jennifer Cole

YOU are here on earth on a mission! Earth isn’t even your real home...isn’t that incredible and also like…whoa!? But, seeing everything through that “lens” brings so much richness to everyday life! I mean, have you ever paused to really consider the fact that you have dual citizenship as a Christian? Yes, in the “natural” you are a citizen of your country here on earth, but you are truly a citizen of Heaven!

Let’s not brush that off as cliche or just something that would make a pleasant meme to post on social media. This has real significance to how you view your life!

So let’s talk about it…

When you are a citizen who goes “on assignment” somewhere else, you become an ambassador. You live, work and have influence at that location, but your supplies and support come from the sending country. As children of God, with our citizenship in Heaven, everything we do here on earth is as an ambassador for Heaven. Why is this important? Every ambassador is backed by the support, protection and provisions of the sending country. For believers, that means that while we’re on assignment here on planet earth, we are backed by ALL of Heaven and have its FULL support and provisions!

We see this in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (ESV).

As ambassadors, we are on assignment to share the Good News with our family, friends, coworkers, teachers, person in the plane sitting next to us, grocery store clerk, barista, yoga instructor...everyone in our sphere of influence! And -- we can do so with the total confidence that Heaven’s got our backs!

>>All of Heaven is backing YOU as Christ’s ambassador on earth!

So how do we activate Heaven’s backing? Or even know what all of the support and protection entails? By reading and applying the Word of God -- the Bible!

Heaven’s provisions don’t help us much if we don’t know about them! So how can we learn more? Read the promises God has given us in the Bible. Listen to faith-filled sermons, podcasts and audiobooks about God’s promises and provisions.

God has promised us SO much as it relates to our safety, health, relationships, favor, blessings, wisdom, and so much more! As you believe in and walk out those promises and provisions, you’ll see first-hand the incredible support that Heaven has in place for you in the very special role you play on earth...as Christ’s ambassador!

Say This: “Father, thank You for saving me and calling me to be an ambassador for Christ here on this earth. Help me to learn more and more about the support, protection and provisions that Heaven is backing me with. Thank You for the joy of getting to share the Good News with others, and I pray that You’ll open doors for me to share Jesus with those in my sphere of influence. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

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.”