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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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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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Filtering by Category: Holy Spirit

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.”

living with extraordinary purpose.

Jennifer Cole

YOU are here for a reason. You have an eternal assignment. And you are well equipped for such a time as this.

Yes, YOU, my friend!

Each of us as believers carry an assignment on this earth that has great eternal impact -- and that is to share the Good News with others! Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t take us right up to Heaven the moment we get saved? It’s because we have a job to do on this earth still!

When we talk about sharing Jesus and the basics with others, I acknowledge that just the notion of talking with others about your faith may send you into fear, doubt or other assorted emotions. So let’s have a chat about it. I don’t want you to feel that way about sharing your faith. Allow me to share some insights on this topic with you, so you can feel both empowered and at ease about being an ambassador for Christ!

First, you need to realize that God has you right where you are for a purpose. It’s not by chance. You’re in that family, at that workplace with those coworkers, on that sports team, in that neighborhood, in that school and so on -- all for a reason. Know that God has placed you specifically where you are to be an influence and to help those you know come to know Christ. Thinking about that will take you up a few notches in confidence already! If He knows right where you’re at, and specifically put you there with those people, you can be assured He knows what He’s doing -- and that He’s right there with you.

Secondly, what we need to do is fill up our hearts with God’s Word. 1 Peter 3:15 MSG encourages us: “Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.” I love how this version expresses how to effectively evangelize. We keep our lives and our hearts focused on the Lord, and then when we’re in everyday conversations with others, we’re ready to share why we live the way we do. 

Often the most compelling form of winning others to Christ comes from just sharing your testimony...your personal story. What has Jesus done in your life? Were you freed from addiction? Healed? Set free? Has He helped you become a better parent, employee, friend, son/daughter, etc.? 

>>Take a moment today to really think about how you would answer this question: What has following Jesus meant to your life, personally? 

If the answer to that is always rolling around in your heart, you’ll find it just flows naturally out of your mouth when you get opportunities to tell people why you love the Lord. And, always remember...it’s not God’s will that any should perish...He wants everyone to come to Christ! 

Rest assured that He is actively at work in everyone’s lives to help them see the truth. He’s already working on their hearts...so when you’re in a conversation where you can feel that Holy Spirit nudge to speak up and share your faith, you can do so without fear or worry...He’s already drawing them to Him, and we just need to do our part as He prompts us! 

I encourage you today to see what a great purpose every day of your life is. Yes, God wants you to enjoy life and be prosperous in all areas, but let me tell you, the greatest joy is sharing all of that with others! Share your blessings, share what you’ve learned and share your testimony...be a bright light that is unwilling to let worry or uncertainty of what someone might think stop you from sharing a comment or Scripture that may be exactly what they need to hear that day. Live your life in such a way that your actions and speech are like magnets that draw others to the Lord -- that’s what a life lived with purpose truly looks like. 

And, oh what a joy it will be to get to Heaven and be surrounded by people that we helped come to know Christ!

Say This: “Father, thank You so much for all of the blessings You’ve given so richly and freely to me. I don’t just want to be blessed...I want to be blessed to be a blessing! Lord, help me to spot ways to bless others and specifically I ask for open doors to speak Your Word and the Good News into others’ lives. Help me to store up Your Word in my heart and be ready and eager to share those life-giving Words to those I encounter. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

you've got help!

Jennifer Cole

Friends, today’s devo will be short and sweet but I genuinely hope it encourages you! If you haven’t read last week’s devo yet, I highly recommend reading that before jumping into today’s. (You can check it out below, on this blog page.)

Today, let’s talk about something that may not be talked about enough but I believe many may be struggling with this...let’s dive into what to do if you feel “stuck” in your prayer life. Sure, you likely know all the benefits of prayer and you genuinely desire to be a pray-er...but for some reason, you just feel like you can’t break through whatever is holding you back in prayer. I’m here to tell you today, there’s hope! You will break through!

The secret is being filled with the Spirit. When you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, He helps you pray out God’s perfect will. We see this in God’s Word: “...for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will” (Romans 8:27 NLT). You can pray out what you know in your own understanding...but then you don’t have to feel “stuck” or “stopped” there. Pray in the Spirit, and He’ll help you pray out all of the mysteries, the things you don’t know but He does!

So, are you feeling burdened about an issue or situation in your life and just struggling to find the “right” words to say in prayer? Pray in the Spirit! Are you fearful, scared, anxious, nervous, agitated, frustrated or confused? Pray in the Spirit! Worried about your future, wondering what path to take or choice to make? You guessed it...pray in the Spirit!

>>You don’t have to have all the “right” words or know all of the details...the Holy Spirit will help you!

Romans 8:26 NKJV explains it like this: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” And, I love 1 Corinthians 14:2 NKJV as well: “...in the Spirit he speaks mysteries.”

So take a few deep breaths, do a few shoulder rolls and sit up a little straighter -- you are not alone in this, the Lord will help you pray! Pray with your own understanding, speaking out in faith the promises of God. But also pray in the Spirit. Allow Him to help you pray out mysteries, laying out the track you’ll run on in life. You don’t have to have it all figured out, just lean into Him and He’ll help you pray it out!

Say This: “Father, thank You so much that I am born of the Spirit and also filled with the Spirit. Thank You that the Holy Spirit helps me to pray out mysteries and to pray according to Your perfect will. Thank You that I don’t have to know it all -- You help me pray! I thank You for helping me to experience breakthrough in my prayer life as I pray more in the Spirit. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

let's unwrap this gift!

Jennifer Cole

When you purchase a special gift for a child, a friend or someone you love -- and then once you get it all wrapped up and tied with a bow -- aren’t you excited to watch them open it? You want them to enjoy it and be blessed by whatever’s inside that beautifully curated box, right?

When it comes to our spiritual lives, there is a great parallel. Jesus purchased great gifts for us and for a variety of reasons many believers have not yet received, opened or experienced His gifts! Today, let’s dive into -- better yet, let’s receive and unwrap -- one of God’s wonderful gifts. 

The gift I am talking about is the Holy Spirit! Specifically, God has “gifted” us with two experiences we can have with the Holy Spirit.

>>Friends, this is not going to be just “nice to know” information -- seriously, these two experiences are game-changers! Let’s take a look at each of them.

The first gift we can experience -- and absolutely the most important and essential for each of us -- is the gift of being “born of the Spirit.” This is the Holy Spirit coming to live within us. This happens when we get saved, when we ask Jesus to be the Lord of our life. 

We see this mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NKJV): “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” We also see it again in John 14:17 (AMP): “The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you.”

Absolutely, being “born of the Spirit” -- our salvation and eternal destination -- is the best gift and takes center stage. But, the story doesn’t end with us being saved and having the Holy Spirit take up residence in our hearts...there’s more! 

The Bible talks about another gift the Holy Spirit brings to our lives. This gift is known as being baptized with the Spirit...this happens when we receive the Spirit, and He fills us and comes upon us.

In Acts 1:4-5, we encounter Jesus talking to some of the apostles soon after His resurrection. He encourages them with this: “Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, ‘Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’” (NLT).

Another verse that helps shed light on this gift...this second experience of the Holy Spirit...is seen in Acts 2:4: “And they were filled with the Holy Spirit…” (NKJV). In that verse, “they” referred to a group of believers -- those who were already saved -- who then experienced more of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came “upon” them...they were “filled” with the Holy Spirit.

Today, I want to encourage each of you, friends, to dig into the Word and find out more about what God has to say about being born of and filled with the Spirit. Both experiences are free gifts we simply unwrap by believing and receiving them. Be hungry and thirsty for all that He has for you, don’t leave a gift unwrapped!

Why am I so passionate about helping you experience these gifts? Here’s why…  When you are born of the Spirit, you become a new person in Christ -- you’re forgiven and made righteous in God's sight and given eternal life! This is huge and life-changing! If you have never received this gift, you can do it today. Just pray the sample prayer below -- today’s YOUR day!

When you are filled with the Spirit, you’ll have a whole new level of power and ability to live out the victorious, world-changing Christian life and a fresh boldness to share the Gospel with others. If you’re tired of living the “roller coaster” Christian life or just feeling like you can never quite live the life you feel called to as a believer...this is the gift you need to open today! 

Being born of and filled with the Holy Spirit are game-changers, and I’m so excited for you to experience these gifts! Here are the two prayers you can pray right now...

Prayer to be born of the Spirit -- salvation: “Father, thank You for sending Jesus to the cross to die for my sins so that I can be reconciled to You! I don’t want to spend a single moment apart from You, in this life on earth and for eternity. Jesus, I invite You into my heart today and ask You to be the Lord of my life! Thank You for Your great love for me and for saving me. Today’s my day -- thank You Holy Spirit for causing me to be born again and from this day forward, I am born of the Spirit and Jesus is my Lord! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Prayer to be filled with the Holy Spirit -- empowerment: “Father, I ask You in Jesus’ Name to fill me with the Holy Spirit so that I may receive the fullness of Your Spirit. Lord, I want to have power to be a witness for You. I want to be able to praise You from my innermost being, and I want to speak Your Word boldly. Jesus, I believe You are the baptizer, so I ask You to baptize me in the Spirit. I believe I receive the Holy Spirit coming upon me now. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

does your GPS ever give up on you?

Jennifer Cole

Haven’t we all been there?...We are following our GPS to get to a desired location. It tells us to take a right turn in half a mile, but then we miss the turn! What does your GPS do at that point? Does it say, “Wow, you totally missed that. Guess you’re just going to stay lost now.” No way! Without skipping a beat, it graciously suggests a new next turn (and maybe a few more after that!) to eventually get you back to the right path. In fact, even if you miss the next 3, 5 or even 10 turns, your GPS still never gives up on you!

So why is it that when we “miss a turn” in life, we know our GPS would be patient with us but somehow we get to thinking that God is mad at us? He has given us the Holy Spirit as our Guide, and yes -- our Guide is continually sharing directions, indicating which turns to take and more. He for sure wants us to arrive at all of the promises God has given us! But, if we miss a turn, make a mistake or take the wrong path, He doesn’t give up on us! Just like our GPS, the Holy Spirit never says, ”Okay fine, do it your way. I’m done helping you. Peace, out!” Nope! He’s just saying “re-calculating, re-routing” along the way, giving us guidance into the next steps to take so we can keep heading the right direction.

If you’ve felt like you’ve made wrong choices in life...if you’re feeling like you “missed the boat” or did things your way for so long that there’s just no way God could clean all that up...hear the Holy Spirit patiently and lovingly saying to you today: “Re-calculating!” He has never and will never give up on you. The Holy Spirit acts as your Guide in everyday life, in the big decisions and the small ones. He will lead you step-by-step, always towards the promises and blessings that God has in store for you!

How do we follow the Holy Spirit’s lead? There are two essential and primary ways that He leads us -- first, through God’s Word (the Bible) and secondly, through peace. One reason we each need to make reading and hearing the Word a daily priority is that the Holy Spirit customizes the Word to each of us -- personally -- so that as you read or hear Scriptures, He can literally quicken a word or phrase directly to you, and you’ll know you have the answer you’ve been seeking. 

>>Isn’t that amazing? Talk about a supernatural advantage in life! 

Then, once you’ve received direction from the Word, then check your spirit, the real you inside. Ask the Holy Spirit to make it clear to you if your spirit is at peace with the decision/direction or if it seems “scratchy.” We know from Colossians 3:15 that peace acts as an umpire, so we know that God will confirm the answer to you both through His Word and through peace.

When we make it a lifestyle to be in the Scriptures daily and to listen closely to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and discernment of peace inside, we can move forward with decisions in life with confidence. This is God’s will for us -- He doesn’t want us going through life always having to hear “re-calculating!” He is patient with us and extends so much mercy, but His best for each of us is to continually hear from Him which directions to take, and then to take them! That path has fewer detours and gets us more quickly to the land of His blessings and promises. Make the choice today to be led by the Holy Spirit daily, in the big and little stuff, and enjoy that supernatural advantage!

Say This: “Father, thank You for the Holy Spirit! I am so glad He is my internal guide, my supernatural ‘GPS.’ Raise up in me a greater desire to read and listen to Your Word daily, and I believe that as I make the Word a priority, I’ll hear customized direction and answers. Help me to discern when I have peace in my spirit and when I don’t, and give me the courage to always follow Your Word and peace -- thank You for that supernatural advantage! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”