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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! 

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Filtering by Category: Courage

living a life of purpose requires...

Jennifer Cole

Losing your life. Yes, quite possibly the world’s most unpopular answer -- but it’s true! At the very foundation of building a life of purpose, one that leaves an eternal legacy, is choosing to make your life all about Christ, and not about yourself.

Depending on your upbringing or what you may or may not have heard over the years about the Lord...that may be a scary thought. “You’re asking me to lose my life, for Him?” Yes. Not literally, but yes -- in terms of shifting your heart’s attention from things in this world that are temporary and onto things that have lasting impact.

In a culture where many choose to just “do their thing” and do whatever they want to do, this notion of choosing to invest your life into the cause of Christ does not get talked about enough! But friends, the truth is -- living for Him is the only true freedom! When you let Him take the lead in your life, you don’t have to figure everything out on your own. You don’t have to make things happen, you don’t have to know all the answers...rather, you just rest in Him and follow the Holy Spirit’s lead...and He’ll guide you on His perfect path for you. Doesn’t the thought of that just make you want to take a deep breath? It’s so freeing!

When we willingly ask Jesus to be the Lord of our life, we’re asking Him to “take the wheel” as the song goes...but something really significant happens inside of us. We see this in Galatians 2:20, which says: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (NKJV). If you’ve been crucified with Christ, it means the old you is gone -- your spirit has been reborn, and it is Christ who lives in you and equips you for your purpose-filled life!

It’s not scary to let the Lord take the lead when you understand His character -- I encourage each of you to marinate your heart in scriptures about who He is and what He’s like -- the more you get to know Him, the easier it is to give Him all of you and just follow His lead! He loves you, never leaves you, protects you, heals you, forgives you, cherishes you, and He made you -- He knows the very number of hairs on your head.

>>There is no one who loves you more fully, completely and unconditionally than the Lord -- and you can trust Him to lead your life!

When we choose to live for Christ and build a life of purpose, there will be a process we go through...not just once, but probably several times in different seasons of life as we continue to mature in our faith. It’s called the “law of death and resurrection” and simply put, it means that we need to die to our own way of making things happen and let Him fulfill the dreams in our heart His way -- which is always the BEST way!

A great illustration of this principle is found in John 12:24:26, let’s check it out: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (NKJV).

I pray that today each of us is even more stirred up to lay down our own life for Christ and follow His lead...His plans lead us in our life of true purpose. In whatever circle of influence you’re in, whatever career, family, city...if you’ll choose to make your life about Him...He’ll not only bless your life but help you impact all those around you for Christ. YOU can have an eternal impact...now that’s something worth investing your life in!

Say This: “Father, I ask You to take my life and consecrate it to You. I choose to submit my way of making things happens, my plans and my striving. Rather, I choose to live for Christ! I ask You to please help me to follow Your lead every day of my life and build a life rich in purpose that impacts those in my world for You. I trust You and know that You’re blessing me beyond measure and helping me to make an eternal difference in the lives of many! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Opportunity and Opposition

Jennifer Cole

Whenever the Lord opens up big doors, there is also big opposition. As Joyce Meyer puts it: "new levels, new devils." The apostle Paul met these adversaries when he said…

"A huge door of opportunity for good work has opened up here. (There is also mushrooming opposition.)" 1 Corinthians 16:9, MSG

“Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble; there's no getting around it. Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith. They're as deceived as the people they lead astray..." 2 Timothy 3:12-13, MSG

Opportunity and opposition seem to be brothers! You don’t meet one without meeting the other. But take heart...if you are facing more opposition than usual -- more critics, more hassle, more challenges, more hoops to jump through, more resistance, more political mumbo-jumbo -- rejoice, God has opened a huge door for His Word and His plan to go forth! Stand strong!

No matter what opposition comes your way, remember -- Jesus is Lord! His Word and saving power will continue to go forth because God loves people and He has a vested interest in them! Jesus, as our Redeemer, has completely defeated the devil and every adversary!

Think about it this way -- when the devil motivates people to oppose the progress of the gospel, we should really consider it a compliment from the devil and a sign that great things are ahead! Remember when Peter was inspired by the devil to say words contrary to God's will to Jesus? Jesus had to rebuke the devil by speaking to Peter and saying, "Get thee behind Me, Satan." (Matthew 16:23) If you've been facing opposition and adversaries, be of good cheer. You are preparing for a huge testimony! As one person put it: "No test. No testimony!"

Fellow Church Leader, has the Lord opened up a big and effectual door for you and now you're facing unprecedented puzzling, vicious and bewildering opposition? Fellow Christian, has God opened a big door for you and it seems like all hell has come against you? Be encouraged today. God is working on a massive testimony and in the end, you win!

Let's stand strong and trust the Lord to bring us through that wide door in grand fashion. Remember what Jesus said, "I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict." (Luke 21:15) God is on our side. If the Lord is for us -- who can be against us?

Say This: "Father, I thank You that Jesus is Lord and the final authority on all things. He has already defeated the enemy and through the power of Jesus’ Name, we enforce the defeat of every adversary. Jesus is the light of the world and the darkness can never put out the light. He will build His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The Lord God Almighty will continue to open up great and effectual doors for church leaders around the world and for believers in every land, and they will proclaim the gospel with a greater anointing and boldness -- and more eternal fruit will be produced than ever before! In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Desensitized

Jennifer Cole

"...plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that He may come and shower righteousness upon you." Hosea 10:12, NLT

Early in our lives and in our Christian walk, we are sensitive to the Lord, to the voice of our conscience and to keeping our hearts clear. However, if we begin to spend too much time watching the wrong kind of stuff on TV or at the movies, too much time listening to the wrong reports, songs or conversations, too much time hanging with the wrong crowd, and too much time participating in things that are contrary to what we know is right and true, we can become desensitized. 

After a while, we aren't grieved or vexed in our spirit. We don't close our eyes when there’s something inappropriate on the screen -- we aren't bothered by hearing the Lord's Name being taken in vain. We aren't bothered by the sexual immorality in the culture -- we aren't touched by the pain and suffering people experience in real tragedies. We rationalize everything and we become desensitized. Taken to an extreme, we can even begin to cheer for the very things the Lord disapproves, which were the things that we once disapproved.

Have you become desensitized? Has your heart hardened to the things you were sensitive to at one time? Are there people you once had compassion for? Are there convictions you once held that have gotten watered down?

If so, the solution is to pray and ask the Lord to break up the hard, fallow ground once again! When we ask the Lord to do a work in our hearts -- softening, tilling and breaking up areas that have hardened -- He will go to work. He will probably ask us to make some changes...changes in what we see, what we hear, what we do and who we hang with. If you want to get back to a place of having a heart that is tender, caring and sensitive to the Lord and those around you -- take some time to pray today.

Say This: "Father, I am sorry that I have allowed myself to get desensitized to things -- those things that once grieved me and those things that once moved me. I ask You to help me break up the hardened soil of my heart. It's time for me to seek You and Your ways. I thank You for tenderizing my heart today. I ask You to help me get back to a place where my heart is pure, caring and sensitive to You and those around me. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Divine Guidance and Help

Jennifer Cole

“...[Jesus] said to Simon, 'Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.' But Simon answered and said to Him, 'Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.' And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink...,[Simon] and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken.” Luke 5:4-9, NKJV

Ever worked at something really hard and come up empty? Burned the midnight oil and reaped very little fruit? Worked your fingers to the bone and lost money? Yeah -- that’s kinda what Peter felt like when he told Jesus he had been fishing all night long and hadn’t caught a thing. That's where divine guidance and divine partnerships come into play!

Divine Guidance: In spite of Peter's discouragement, Jesus told Peter to get back on the water and then advised him on when and where to fish. Although Peter had already “tried that,” he listened to Jesus’ directions and followed His instructions. He obeyed Jesus’ words and threw his net into the water.

The result? Following Jesus’ divine guidance caused Peter to catch a supernatural, fish-catching, boat-sinking, net-breaking haul of fish! Peter was catching so many fish, he had to get some partners to help him out!

Divine Partnerships: Peter could see that following Jesus’ guidance had produced amazing results! So, he gave his buddies a signal that looked something like, “Hurry up -- help me!” The next thing you know, those helpers in another boat flocked to his side to help him.

The result? They filled BOTH boats with so many fish the boats began to sink! The moral of the story? Not only was Peter blessed by following Jesus’ divine guidance, his helpers got to partake of the same blessing! Not only was Peter’s boat filled to the brim with fish, his helpers’ boat was filled too! 

When we listen to God's direction -- as given to us through His Word and by His Spirit -- He will bless the work of our hands and "fill our boat." And even beyond that...when we are led to partner with others, we partake of the grace and blessings that are on their lives and our boat gets filled too!

Say This: “Father, thank You for Your divine guidance -- thank You that there’s no circumstance in the natural that You can’t help me overcome. Give me Your direction and Your instructions in every area of life -- I want to follow Your ways! And, let me know who You would like me to partner with so I can be of help to them, and I know in turn that my boat will get filled too! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Audience of One

Jennifer Cole


"The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that." Proverbs 29:25, Message

Living for an “audience of One” is the secret to being truly free. When we live to please the Lord and walk in a manner worthy of Him…that's all that really matters. 

Let’s take a moment to look at the opposite of that...what if we live with the constant fear of human opinion? Well, when we are overly concerned about what others think -- whether we meet with their approval or disapproval -- our judgment becomes blurred and we veer from our core values. When we find ourselves saying or doing things merely to please people, or not saying and not doing certain things to please people, we become men-pleasers rather than God-pleasers. Bottom line is this type of fear disables us from walking in the kind of life God wants for us.

So, what do we do? Seek God's approval and accept the fact that we'll never have a 100% approval rating from others. Be okay with that. Don't be disabled by the opinions of others...instead, trust the Lord and accept these truths:

1. Some people like you; some people don’t.
2. Some people admire and respect you; some people despise and hate you.
3. Some people agree with you; some people like to argue with you.
4. Some people encourage you; some people criticize and tear you down.
5. Some people rejoice with you; some people rain on your parade.
6. Some people are thrilled with the changes in your life; some people dismiss it.
7. Some people love to see you break out of stereotypical paradigms; some people get mad.
8. Some people approve of your spouse, kids, hair, clothes, hobbies, style; some people dislike the whole package.
9. Some people see your potential; some people are threatened by it.
10. Some people are happy when you're blessed and successful; some people are jealous.

Let's go for the praise that comes from God! If you've found the opinions of others disabling you -- make a change today. Trust in the Lord. When you are confident and clear in your heart that your decisions, actions and words are pleasing to the Lord then move forward...full steam ahead!

Say This: “Father, thank You that Your opinion of me is the one the truly counts. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You and not to be overly concerned with the opinions of others. Thank  You that I know Your voice and it’s the voice I choose to follow! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”