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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

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Filtering by Category: Grace

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."

HOPE, JOY & MOCHAS

Jennifer Cole

As someone who lives in Michigan, I am acutely aware that later this week it “officially” becomes winter. I love my state and my city, but there are certain things about this particular season that are not my favorite y’all...like snow, ice, cold temps...okay, that’s pretty much the next 3 months here! Now, I do like to ski and do other fun winter activities to help me enjoy some aspects of this season. But truth be told, what really gets me through this season is what’s on the other side.

You see, spring and summer in Michigan are absolutely, hands-down incredible! And, everyone becomes super outdoorsy...hiking, biking, boating, you name it...and it’s probably because we are extra grateful that it’s so nice out!

Not only is winter season upon us, but also the holiday season. For some people, the holidays come with the same sort of dread or “survival mode” mentality that winter can bring for many of us. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one and the holidays have that twinge of pain now. Maybe you thought you’d be married by now, with 3 kids and a dog, and each holiday you feel sad as that vision of a family gathered around a dining room table is still just a dream. Or, any other host of reasons that people can feel “blue” in the holiday season.

But, I want to encourage you today with the two things that help me get through winter because they can also help you successfully navigate this holiday season -- first, find things you enjoy and do them! And secondly, stir up the hope of the joy that’s on the other side of this season.

So, first -- what are some things you enjoy at the holidays? Do you love Christmas music? Play it shamelessly, anytime, anywhere -- and sing along! Do you love the community spirit that seems to shine so vibrantly around the holidays? Help out at a soup kitchen, provide a holiday dinner to a family in need, or ring a bell for the Salvation Army. There are so many ways to get involved and it’s so uplifting to help others.

And, it doesn’t always have to be big things...what are the little things you enjoy around the holidays? If it’s the peppermint mocha that pops up this time of year, indulge in one! Wrap up with a mocha, a fuzzy blanket and a new book to read. When you focus on the pieces you DO enjoy -- whether they’re big or small -- it will help you navigate this season successfully to the other side.

And secondly, let’s remember how absolutely vital HOPE is! Remind yourself of the great Bible promises that God gives us about hope, such as: “...Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5 NLT). I also like how the Message translation shares that same verse: “...The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.”

You see, in life we will all go through seasons...both the natural ones we endure due to where we live, but also the seasons of life. The Lord knows we’ll go through seasons. We read in His Word: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:... A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 NKJV).

>>The key to navigating through a season that’s difficult is to remember that it’s just that...a season. Temporary. Not forever. And, with the Lord we know the best is yet to come!

You can do this...with the Lord’s help you can find things you enjoy about any season you’re in, and He’ll also help you hold tightly to the hope of the joy He has in store for you after you’ve endured. Friends, I’m praying for all of you who may be struggling in this season. Remember that God is on your side and He has joy prepared for you -- keep your heart and life centered on Him, and then truly the best is yet to come!

Say This: “Father, thank You for always being with me and for me, no matter what season I’m in. Thank You that when I’m in a difficult season, You help me find enjoyable things that can help me endure that season. And, You fill me with incredible hope for the bright future and blessings ahead, which helps me stay strong through this tough season. Thank You that You’re always by my side and for Your great love for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

ONE OF MY FAVES

Jennifer Cole

One of the most basic yet life-changing verses in the Bible has to be John 10:10. For sure, the whole Bible has the power to transform our lives, but today I want to dig deeper into this one particular verse. Sometimes we can learn the richness of a specific verse when we marinate our hearts in it...let’s do that today by looking at John 10:10 in several translations.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (NKJV).

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” (AMPC).

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (NLT).

“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (MSG).

“A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you
everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!” (TPT).

Wow! I just love this verse -- in fact, I like to call this verse the Bible’s “litmus test.” It’s a verse we can use to sift things that happen in our life, to determine who’s behind it. If the situation or issue is in any way stealing, killing or destroying things in your life...that may be your health, relationships, prosperity, any number of things...it’s authored by our enemy in life (the devil).

Now, to be clear, it may not always be that the devil is personally attacking you -- we live in a fallen world, so some things that steal or destroy the good in your life are due to the overall fall led by the enemy long ago. But ultimately, anything that steals, kills and destroys in your life is rooted in the enemy’s strategies against you.

>>On the other hand, if something in your life is full of abundance, joy, peace, health, wisdom, satisfaction, fulfillment, contentment and so on, that’s from the Lord!

One other caveat, Jesus told us we would experience tribulations (literally, pressure and stress!) and persecutions in this life because of our faith. He also promised us we could have His joy right in the midst of these things. Even with tribulations and persecutions -- and dealing with the enemy’s plans to steal, kill and destroy -- Jesus’ John 10:10 promise still stands!

Just look at all the ways the translations of John 10:10 phrase this...real life, abundance, enjoying life, better than we dreamed of...sign me up for that!! Jesus paid the ultimate price on the Cross for us...so that we can have real, abundant and eternal life.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, so I pray that as you read John 10:10 multiple times above, your faith was increased! You now have John 10:10 as a powerful tool in your life...it is the ultimate litmus test to be sure you know how to rightly divide situations to know who’s behind it. God has an incredible life in store for you...walk each day with Him and He’ll lead the way!

Say This: “Father, thank You for Your Word -- it’s my guidebook for life. Thank You for John 10:10, which shows me the kind of life that Jesus paid the price for me to have. Help me to follow Your lead every day because I know the life You have in store for me is one of abundance, peace, joy, prosperity, wisdom and so much more! 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.”

blessed to be a blessing.

Jennifer Cole

You’ve probably experienced one or both of these scenarios in your life...at some point, you’ve likely not had enough of something you needed (money, work, transportation, friends, you name it!) and wondered why you weren’t experiencing the abundant and prosperous life you heard others talking about. On the flip side, at some point maybe you’ve experienced a prosperous life, full of blessings and abundance, but felt guilty for doing well...felt like you had to apologize all the time for being blessed.

You may find yourself in one of those two camps even today! So friends, I want to talk with you about both -- together, let’s look at what the Bible has to say about blessings and prosperity. Remember, we don’t build our faith or our lives on opinion, culture trends or any other constantly changing influence...we trust God’s Word as the foundation and guidebook for our lives. So let’s check out what the Bible has to say about this topic:

Psalm 103:2-5 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (NKJV).

And, in John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]” (AMP).

These are just two of the many verses on this subject, but I love these two! They paint such a beautiful picture of the Lord’s heart to us...He offers us salvation AND a whole benefits “package!” He came to bring us life that we can enjoy and have abundance, till it overflows. Wow! God loves us -- and through Jesus, He has already paid a mighty high price for us to be blessed and prosperous! Let’s check out another verse...

Psalm 68:19 says, “Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits…” (NKJV). 

Seriously, check out the words in that verse: “daily” and “loads!” I don’t know about you, but those words to me paint a picture of abundance, not of scarcity or lack! I know that for some of you, this is confirmation of what you already have experienced as you’ve trusted the Lord for increase and blessings. For others, this is causing your head to go tilt! Let me encourage you today to continue seeking the Lord for revelation in this area...He’s a good Father and He wants you to be super blessed and ever-increasing.

>>Don’t miss this one very important “asterisk”...

It’s all about the heart! God does not want you to be blessed and prosperous so that you become self-obsessed or materialistic. He doesn’t want you looking down on others or letting money rule your life. By no means! He wants you to have and enjoy life, and He wants you blessed to be a blessing! At the same time, the Lord wants you to be content and willing to share generously -- having a giving spirit. Can you see how the heart condition truly means everything in understanding, receiving and appropriately applying God’s goodness and blessings in your life?

Take some time this week to soak in these Scriptures...let them renew your mind to what the Word says about God’s heart towards you and His desire for your life. After all, as you experience abundance and are blessed, your ability to bless others greatly increases. So let’s believe God for the blessings He wants for us -- and let’s bless others generously too!

Say This: “Father, thank You so much that You love me and that it’s Your will that I am blessed and prosperous. I’m so thankful for the price Jesus paid so I could be saved and also enjoy the whole benefits ‘package’ that is available to me. Today, I ask that Your blessing and goodness continually fill my life with abundance in all areas. And show me, Lord, how I can be a blessing to others! As I increase, help me to keep my heart focused on You and giving all the glory to You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”