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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: Direction

BORROW MORE VESSELS

Jennifer Cole

Last week we looked at 2 Kings 4 and learned how God can supernaturally multiply what you DO have to help you with what you DON’T yet have! (I encourage you to read last week’s devo if you haven’t had a chance yet!) Today, let’s look at that story again -- but dive into a different aspect of it. Let’s uncover a very profound yet very basic truth about how miracles come to pass.

Let’s take a look again at this story, found in 2 Kings 4:1-7:

“A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, ‘Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.’

So Elisha said to her, ‘What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?’ And she said, ‘Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.’ Then he said, ‘
Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.’

So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, ‘Bring me another vessel.’ And he said to her,
‘There is not another vessel.’ So the oil ceased. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, ‘Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.’” (NKJV)

What stands out to me as a pattern in this story is this: (1) God gives direction or guidance, (2) the woman DOES something, and (3) the miracles occur. I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the trap of thinking that if we just ask God for what we need or desire, He’ll instantly make it appear. While for sure God does give us a “suddenly” answer at times, most often I’ve seen it follow the 3-step pattern we see in the story above.

Notice the first instruction -- go borrow empty vessels from all your neighbors. What would that have been like for her? Going from neighbor’s home to neighbor’s home, asking to borrow their empty vessels. How would she explain why she needed them? And then there’s the logistics of it all...hauling those vessels to her home, going out to borrow some more, hauling those home...you get the idea!

But, how important her efforts were! As she began pouring out the little bit of oil she had God touched it and it began to multiply and fill her vessels! The oil stopped miraculously multiplying when the last vessel was filled. What if she had only put in the effort to gather one or two vessels? Or gave in to the snide remarks the neighbors may have been making, or gave heed to thoughts of doubt about what on earth she was doing? Thank goodness she put in the effort to gather many vessels!

>>The miracle she experienced was directly aligned with the size of her faith AND actions, combined!

And, we don’t just see it there...let’s now talk about what happened after those vessels were filled. She then had to go sell them -- the oil itself wasn’t going to pay the debt. The widow had to go sell the oil, so that she’d have enough money to pay the debt and then some funds for her and her sons to live on.

What if she had given up at this point? What if she was feeling tired, discouraged, in doubt, scared...or any other such emotion? Perhaps she didn’t have any “sales” experience. Maybe it took all she could to muster up the courage to go sell in the marketplace, to figure out how much to charge and how to complete a sale. Not to mention the logistics again...getting all of those vessels to the marketplace...and what about explaining to customers where that oil came from!

But again, she remained strong in faith that God was going to help her sell it all, and she combined that with her actions of actively selling all of the oil until it was gone. She did what God showed her to do...all through His power and might but combining that with her elbow-grease...and then she saw the full miracle come to pass.

Friends, I encourage you today to look at what miracles you’re seeking the Lord for...and ask Him to show you what actions you can take to help carry out the miracles He has in store for you. We have a vital role to play in seeing miracles through to full fruition...so let’s not be passive about it! Definitely don’t quit, don’t stop short, don’t doubt. Seeing a miracle come to pass in your life is worth every single minute of effort that we can supply!

Say This: “Father, thank You that You love me and it’s Your will that my life be blessed, both for my household’s benefit and to bless others. Thank You for Your miracle-working power in my life! I seek You today, asking You to please show me the steps I can take to help participate in Your bringing my miracle to completion. I’m ready to put in the effort and watch You work multiplying, above-and-beyond miracles in my life! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

WHAT DO YOU HAVE?

Jennifer Cole

Each of our gifts, talents, quirks, interests and our unique wiring are all on purpose! Sometimes when things come so naturally to us, we can overlook it as nothing special...or mistakenly think everyone can do what we do. Or, we might find ourselves inventorying our gifts and talents only to start thinking that we don’t have “enough” of anything to make a big difference in this life. Well friends, let me encourage you today! Let’s see what God can do with what we feel are only “small” amounts of talents...check out 2 Kings 4:

“A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, ‘Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.’

So Elisha said to her, ‘What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?’ And she said, ‘Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.’ Then he said, ‘Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.’

So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, ‘Bring me another vessel.’ And he said to her, ‘There is not another vessel.’ So the oil ceased. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, ‘Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.’” (2 Kings 4:1-7 NKJV)

Can you put yourself in her shoes? She had lost her husband, she was swimming in debt and then the creditors were planning to take her sons away to pay that debt. Yikes! And she felt like she had nothing...certainly nothing big enough to help her dig out of that mess. She couldn’t see how her one small jar of oil would make any difference.

>>But God had her back! As she followed His guidance through the prophet Elisha, He supernaturally multiplied what she HAD to give her what she NEEDED.

And did you catch this...what she received wasn’t just enough to pay the debt...God provided her with abundance, so that she and her sons had plenty to live on too! The Lord (through Elisha, in this case) showed her what steps to take, and she followed the instructions...and wow did it turn out well for her and her sons! She ended up with many vessels filled to the brim with oil, which she then put in the effort and time to sell for the income she needed.

What gift, talent, asset, ability in your life have you overlooked as insignificant, that God may want to touch in a mighty way? What is something you DO have that the Lord would bless to help provide you with what you DON’T have? I encourage you today to seek the Lord and ask Him to multiply what you do have so that you have all that you need...and more!

Say This: “Father, thank You for the gifts, talents, assets and blessings You’ve given to me. Lord, I seek Your direction on how I can use those things in such a way that You’d supernaturally multiply them so that I have all that I need, with abundance. Thank You for your favor, miracle-working power and blessings in my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

DIGGING IN THE DIRT

Jennifer Cole

Have you ever wondered why a certain area in your life just seems to be barely getting by, not bearing any fruit, or not giving as much out as you’re putting in? Why does it sometimes feel like an area of life, a relationship, a task or goal just fizzles out...despite your best efforts? And, what should you do about it?

Great insights into this can be found in the parable of the barren fig tree. Read it with me in Luke 13:6-9 NKJV: “He also spoke this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it [a]use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”

This parable is rich with advice for us! First, it acknowledges that indeed we’ll all have those areas or situations in life where it just seems like all the effort we’re pouring into it just isn’t making a difference. But, in this parable, he doesn’t just chop down the tree after those three years of not bearing fruit...he asks for one more year.

>>The key here is that it wasn’t a year of waiting, hoping and wishing that it would produce more. Nope! It was to be a very intentional year of fertilizing it to see if it’d grow!

He decided to give the tree one more year to become fruitful, and in that year, he was committing to dig around the roots and apply fertilizer. He wanted to see if there was anything he could do, with focus and intentionality, to help give that tree every chance in the world to bear the fruit it was meant to bear.

So what is it in your life? Seek the Lord on what the “tree” might be for you...what are you ready to walk away from, cut down, give up on...but the Lord wants you to give it another year and apply some fertilizer?

Once you’ve identified the “tree” in your life, seek Him for guidance on what the right fertilizer mix is. What does that situation or area of your life need? For sure every area of your life will benefit from more of God’s Word, so double up on that potent fertilizer for your roots! But there may be some other tips and advice the Lord will guide you in to fertilize the specific tree in your life.

Then, give it a bit more time...maybe it is a year, as we saw in the parable...and see what the Lord does in that time as you apply the Word and other fertilizers to the roots of your situation. You may just find that you’re glad you didn’t chop down that tree!

I’m cheering you on, friends, as you seek the Lord on this and follow His leading...may God bless you with loads of new and fresh fruit!

Say This: “Father, help me to see what ‘tree’ in my life I’ve been ready to chop down but You’d like to instead give it some focus, prayer and Word ‘fertilizer’ and let You do more work in that area. Guide me in each step that I take and how I can best nurture that ‘tree.’ I trust You throughout the journey. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

CLEAN SLATE

Jennifer Cole

"I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven." Philippians 3:12-14, NLT

OK, a new year is just around the corner and it's time to let go of everything in 2018...to lay aside any weights that would slow you down in this fresh new year and instead choose to run forward with all the blessings and favor the Lord has in store for you!

It’s time for you to have a breakout year!

Friends, let’s begin our breakout year with a clean slate! Let’s live in the reality of God’s love and grace...let’s:

Let go of --
Failures
Habits
Disappointments
Sadness
Grief
Mistakes
Anger
Fear
Weakness
Intimidation

Grab on to --
Wisdom
Favor
Victory
Success
Joy
Peace
Love
Fruit
Increase
Strength
Confidence

Ta-da! It’s that simple to start fresh! You now have a clean slate for 2019…your breakout year is about to be written. Isn’t that exciting and encouraging?

God bless you as you press on to the high calling of God in 2019!

Say This: "Father, I know I haven't arrived, but I choose to forget -- lay aside -- the things that are behind me and I press on to the high calling of God in Christ and all the things that are ahead. I declare that 2019 will be a year marked by Your goodness, anointing, favor, protection, provision, wisdom and a revelation of Your love and Father-heart toward me…so that I can be and do all that You have called me to be and do. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

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.”