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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: Jesus

BLESSED. FILLED. HEALED.

Jennifer Cole

Today I’m praying this over you, my friends!

BE BLESSED. (3 John 2)
BE FILLED. (Acts 2:4)
BE HEALED. (Psalm 103:1-5)

God has given us so many pathways for experiencing and accessing His blessings, His infilling and His healing power. Below are 11 of my favorite routes...and if you look up the associated Scriptures and get these basic truths in your spirit, they will be game-changers for you!

Be led by the Spirit. (Romans 8:14)
Know and believe the love God has for you. (1 John 4:19)
Rest in Jesus, receive His finished work and yield to His Spirit. (Acts 2)
Employ your faith. (Mark 11:23-24)
Believe God and His Word. (Mark 9:23)
Forgive anyone of anything. (Mark 11:25)
Ask a believer to lay hands on you in Jesus’ name. (Mark 16:17-18)
Ask church leaders to pray and anoint you with oil. (James 5:13-16)
Use wisdom and live in moderation. (Proverbs 3:5-10)
Pray and talk to your parents, your pastor, your doctor and other God-appointed people in your life to seek their wisdom and counsel. (Proverbs 15:22)
Keep your tongue from speaking words contrary to love and faith. (1 Peter 3:10)

Write these out on index cards, tape this up on your mirror, read through the list over your morning coffee each day...do whatever you can do to get these basic -- but life-changing -- truths deep into your heart! As you do so, look out...because being blessed, filled and healed is sure to follow!

Say This: “Father, thank You that Your Word is living and active, and as I intentionally learn the Word and plant it like seeds of life into my heart, You will guide me on the path to being blessed, filled and healed! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

SAYING WHAT MATTERS

Jennifer Cole

When someone knows their time left on earth is short, they choose their final words with great care...they make sure the words are meaningful and intentional, they say something that matters. I often think of that in terms of what Jesus said to His followers, shortly before He paid the ultimate price on the cross and then ascended to heaven on that glorious day. Let’s take a look at the words He chose in that very important time.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV).

Here, Jesus was instructing us to make disciples...to tell the world...to share the Good News with others so they come to know Christ too! Let’s not let telling others about Jesus just become a “side” thing or a “maybe someday if I have time” thing...it’s absolutely essential, and there are many people in your life who need to hear about Him!

>>This is so important that Jesus used some of His precious final moments on earth to instruct us in this!

So, how do we make disciples? Many ways! We live by example, continuing to grow in our knowledge and application of the Word so that others can catch the spirit of faith from our lives. We make the choice to stay others-minded, asking God to use us to help others each day. And -- this is hugely important! -- we share our story with others. We talk to others about how Jesus has changed our lives. Not in an over-bearing, judgmental or weird way...just honestly and sincerely, as a way to encourage others in their faith.

Some may think that making disciples or sharing our faith with others is scary or overwhelming. If that’s you, let me encourage you with this...keep saturating your heart and life with the Word of God. That’s the secret to being an effective disciple-maker!

Because...when you are so full of the Word and of experiencing the Word at work in your life...you can’t help but share it with others. It just comes out of you when people press into you, so-to-speak!

Friends, be encouraged today to keep investing your lives into things of eternal value. Share with others the great gift you’ve received -- Jesus Christ -- so that their lives can be forever changed too!

Who do you know that needs the Lord in their lives? Who’s showing signs of interest? Hunger for something real? Why not take a step of faith and follow Jesus’ instructions to “go ye” and have a chat with your friend about the Lord. You can start up a conversation by asking them a question or getting their feedback. Maybe a question like, “What do you think about eternity?” “Do you know for sure where you will go when you die?” “Would you like to know for sure that you’ll spend eternity in heaven?” “Would you be open to watching a video about how to get to heaven?” “How would you like to take an online course to learn the basics of the Bible?” Etc. Just ask the question and see how they respond. The Lord will guide you in the rest of the conversation.

Jesus thought it was important enough to instruct us in this before He left earth...so let’s take heed to His call to action and make the most of our time. You can do this!!

Say This: “Father, thank You for Jesus’ instruction to me...I want to help make disciples and help others receive the same gift I’ve received which is Christ Jesus. Lord, help me to saturate my life with Your Word and let that be what naturally and sincerely spreads to all those around me, as I live the life You’ve called me to live. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

JUST LIKE JESUS

Jennifer Cole

In last week’s devo, we talked about rejection...which all of us at some point or another have faced. You are not alone! (I encourage you to go back and read last week’s devo, in case you missed it!) Today, let’s dive further into this subject because the fact of the matter is that in our Christian lives, some rejection is inevitable! Jesus confirmed this basic truth in verses like this one: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12 NIV).

It’s true that because of our union with Jesus Christ, we are totally accepted by God. At the same time, because of our alliance with Jesus, we will experience rejection by others. People will mock, insult and distance themselves from us because of our faith in Jesus.

>>Because of our identification with Him, we will face persecution and rejection. When this happens, Jesus told us to be happy about it. It’s confirmation that you’re a Christian!

Wait a second...you might be thinking...He wants us to be happy about it? Yes! Take a look at this passage in Matthew: “God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way” (Matthew 5:10-12 NLT).

So, as Christians, we will at some point in our lives experience things like being “looked down on” because of our faith in Jesus Christ, or we might lose friends, be ignored, laughed at, talked about or rejected and overlooked. When Jesus, Savior of the world, was on earth, they did all of that to Him -- so as we identify our lives with Him, it makes sense that this world would throw some rejection at us as well.

Here’s the deal...no matter how good your intentions are and how gracious your approach, you will at some point or another be misunderstood, and people may reject you and your faith in Christ. You are in good company! Jesus, the disciples and prophets of old, and Christians all around the world are experiencing rejection too, for His Name’s sake...and Jesus knows it. That’s why the Lord comforts us with promises like: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).

Now, as a quick point of clarification here, let’s be sure persecution and rejection is coming because of our genuine Christian testimony, not due to any kind of obnoxious or self-righteous kind of behavior! Let’s be “true blue,” walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk, real deal, gen-u-ine Christians who live out our faith through our actions and who share our faith with truth, grace and wisdom.

Friends, keep growing your knowledge of His Word and in your faith...and rest assured that He’s always got your back, even when rejection or persecution knocks at your door. He has given you everything you need to rise above it and to keep living out your amazing, faith-filled, overcoming, blessed and joyous Christian life!

Say This: “Father, thank You that You never leave me nor forsake me. I know that even when I face rejection or persecution because of my faith, You are always with me and You’ve given me everything I need to walk out this faith-filled journey. Lord, help my Christian testimony to be strong, bold, genuine and effective for reaching more and more people for Christ! When rejection comes, I will choose to rejoice and to keep my eyes on You -- and I will keep pressing forward in following You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

YOU. ARE. ACCEPTED.

Jennifer Cole

Ever felt unworthy? Unloved? Overlooked, dismissed, despised or rejected? You are not alone. Truth is, everyone has felt rejected -- even the most secure, confident, “together” person you know! Somewhere, sometime in their lives they have felt the pain of being rejected and not accepted.

Sometimes feelings of rejection come from small things...and other times it might be something big that created a larger scar on the inside of you. Maybe you’ve been mistreated by people you thought you could trust. Maybe you’ve felt rejected by people because of your appearance, skin color, gender or economic status. Perhaps you’ve felt disappointed by a job promotion you didn’t get, or a broken engagement that broke your heart. And certainly...in any of our lives, the social media factor can really amp up the feelings of rejection...whether because of comparison or bullying or feeling invisible. No matter the source of rejection, it hurts.

>> But friends, I encourage you today to lift your eyes up to Him! God wants to free you from a spirit of rejection.

God sent Jesus to this earth to free us...from our sins, from rejection, from anything that would hold us back. Jesus knew what it meant to be rejected -- He was despised and rejected here on earth! We see this in Isaiah 53: “He was despised and rejected - a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down...He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed...And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins (Isaiah 53:3-5,11 NLT).

Jesus didn’t deserve it, but on the cross He was rejected so that through Him, we could be accepted. It’s so important that we frame our worldview based on His acceptance, not on the rejection we may have experienced from others. He wants to free you from a spirit of rejection. That is possible when you displace rejection with a fresh awareness and understanding of His love and acceptance for you!

This is the very reason Jesus came! Because of sin, we were separated from God — we were rejected. Sin would have kept us permanently separated from God. Because God loves us, He sent Jesus to take the rejection in our place — He took our sins upon Himself and become our substitute. On the cross, Jesus took the punishment we deserved...He was rejected so that we could be accepted.

Living from a place of God’s acceptance is so critical to your ongoing, vibrant connection with the Living God. You see, it is the enemy’s plan to create distance and separation between you and God. He wants you to feel inferior and unacceptable to God. The last thing the devil wants is for you to recognize and experience God’s acceptance through Jesus Christ.

So, if you’ve been living with a spirit of rejection -- feeling rejected by others, by the world, or by God -- spend some time with the Lord today and pray the prayer below out loud. Ask for His help in opening your heart to the freedom and fullness of His acceptance of you...and watch that acceptance flood every area of your life. After all, if God is for you, who can be against you? (Romans 8:31) And He’s for YOU!!

Say This: “Father, thank You for sending Jesus to make the ultimate sacrifice on the cross, so that through Him I am accepted! Lord, I ask You to heal me from a spirit of rejection. Heal me from hurts, big and little, recent and in the distant past. Thank You for flooding my heart with Your acceptance -- may Your approval become the strong foundation that I stand upon with confidence each day of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

3 FACES OF GRACE

Jennifer Cole

Last week, we looked at how multi-faceted God’s grace is and if you missed it, I encourage you to go back and check it out! Today, let’s look at some important types of grace and how they’ll help you in life. The Bible describes at least three different categories of grace: saving grace, standing grace and serving grace. Let’s dig into each of them.

Saving grace is the grace God gives to sinners to influence their hearts and turn them to Christ. We cannot be saved apart from God’s grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).

Think about your own salvation. Do you remember how God graced you in such a way that you were able to have faith to believe? God’s saving grace allows us to have faith to believe and be saved. It’s truly a gift!

Standing grace is the grace God gives us to stand in faith and live the Christian life. We need God’s grace to live. Romans 5:1-2 tells us: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (NIV). It’s through faith that we stand in grace.

>>God’s standing grace gives us His ability to live in a place of rest and to have faith, to know, to grow, to think, to give, to be and to do all the things God wants for us.

It’s possible that some may be unfamiliar with the term “standing grace,” but it is this very grace that we are talking about when we seek the Lord for grace for the pace! When God gives us standing grace, He gives us His power, energy and ability for various areas of our lives.

Serving grace is the grace God gives us to serve Him. He gives us grace gifts, talents, passions and callings that are unique to each one of us. God has graced or gifted each of us in a special way so we can serve Him in a powerful and fruitful manner. Whether your serving grace is in the area of leadership, hospitality, teaching, mercy, giving or some other area, God enables and equips you for serving by His grace.

The Apostle Paul understood serving grace when he said, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Romans 12:6 NIV). He also said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them - yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV). Notice that Paul said that it was the grace of God within him that allowed him to work and serve God. Each one of us has been endowed with serving grace that also helps us function in the grace for the pace!

When we truly receive God’s abundant provision of grace -- saving grace, standing grace, and serving grace -- along with His gift of righteousness, we can reign in life. Just read this incredible promise found in Romans 5:17: “For if, by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (NIV).

>>Through His grace, we are empowered to overcome every bit of stress and overload that is thrown our way.

Reigning in life...being saved, standing and serving the Lord...overcoming stress or overload...these are all terms I want for my life -- how about you? Be encouraged today, friends, and ask the Lord for a fresh deposit of grace!

Say This: “Father, thank You for saving grace, standing grace and serving grace. Help me to experience all of those in my life! Thank You for Your great love in providing these incredible provisions of grace in my life. Lord, I ask for a fresh deposit of grace today and I thank You for it! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”