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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

I can't wait for you to start enjoying The Basics Daily 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: Purpose

WIRED THIS WAY FOR A REASON

Jennifer Cole

As a kid, did you ever play with a kaleidoscope? Do you remember holding it up to one eye, aiming it towards a source of light and then gently turning the end -- and watching the beautiful, colorful scene change bit-by-bit, turn-by-turn? Many tiny pieces were weaving together in a new way with every twist...each new pattern formed was intricate and unique.

Sometimes I picture God’s view of us being like that...each of us is our own little piece of His grand masterpiece. As we all join together for the cause of Christ and as we serve together in our local church -- it’s like a constantly changing, interwoven kaleidoscope of gifts and talents.

We can see a bit about these talents, or “motivational” gifts, in Romans 12:6-8: In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly” (NLT).

You have gifts and talents that God has instilled in you. What can be funny about talents is, at times, we can flow in them so effortlessly that we think it’s just “ordinary” or “everyone must be like this.” But I encourage you today to spend some time truly thinking about what your talents may be.

>> Not everyone is good at what you’re good at -- start to see the special gifts you have and unpack what God has put within you!

Here are a few examples to stir up your thoughts: Do you have a love of numbers, and would spending hours and hours pouring over extensive spreadsheets give you satisfaction? Do you love to bake, decorate and host get-togethers in your home? Can you see someone’s need before they ever say a word, and send them just the right note or gift to help them? Do you somehow seem to end up leading just about everything you get involved in?

Whether your gifts may be hospitality, gift-giving, mercy, leadership...or any one of innumerable talents...God gave you that special wiring intentionally! It’s important that we start to see our gifts, so that we can also start to see how God can use our gifts to bless our lives and bless those around us too. This is also true for our local church -- our gifts can help grow the Church and help share the Good News across our cities and the world.

So, friends, pour yourself a cup of coffee (or tea!) and have some quiet time with the Lord today...ask Him to help you see the special talents He’s woven into you and ask Him to show you how to use those talents to help make a difference in your life and in the lives of others!

Say This: “Father, thank You that You’ve given me gifts and talents. You’ve wired me a special way and I ask You to help me see more clearly than ever what those gifts and talents are. Please help me to see new ways in which to use those talents to serve You in my local church and to help those around me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

DISCOVERING YOUR GIFTS

Jennifer Cole

At one point or another, we’ve all likely wondered what our gifts and talents are. We’ve wondered how our wiring, our quirks and our abilities could make a difference in this world.

Or, maybe you have an idea of what a few of your giftings are but you’re feeling a bit “stuck” or frustrated, wondering why you’re not having opportunities to use those talents. Today I want to share with you the secret of what to do in either case...HELP! Specifically, plug in and help in your local church! You see, when you help...God will order your steps and you’ll start to see more and more clearly what your unique “lane” is.

You may feel like greeting, directing traffic, mopping floors, starting coffee pots, or whatever helping role you’re volunteering in, is insignificant...but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Let’s check out 1 Corinthians 12:28: “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues” (NKJV).

We see in that verse that there is a ministry of “helps” -- and as a quick aside, even if God has called you to another one of the ministry areas listed in that verse, almost every single time the path still begins with the ministry of helps. For many, the ministry of helps IS the calling.

>>Are you catching this? “Helps” is ministry! And it makes a world of difference in the lives of others!

Helping at your local church provides fertile ground for the Lord to cultivate your gift and to make a way for you to use it to help more and more people. Is helping glamorous? Not usually. Is helping always going to be in your preferred area of interest? Not always, especially as you start out. But will God honor your willing heart and helping hands, and in due season use your serving to reveal to you specific gifts and talents He has put inside you? YES!

Here’s a promise to stand on...read with me in Proverbs 18:16: “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men” (NKJV). As you continue to faithfully serve, your gift will become more clear and visible, both to you and to others. For example, you may feel like you have a teaching gift but wonder why you’ve been asked to serve in Kids’ Ministry. I encourage you today, do so with excellence and a willing heart! Serve those kids to the best of your ability. Use your teaching gift to teach and train them. Nurture and hone that skill, be faithful to what God’s asking you to do in that season, and at the right time He will make a way for you to use those gifts in new ways.

You don’t have to strive, fret or worry...trust the Lord to do what only He can do which is to reveal your special gifts and talents as you serve faithfully and whole-heartedly in your local church. Everything you invest into growing His church is time well-spent...it’s an ETERNAL investment by helping others...and He will make sure your gifts make a way for you!

Say This: “Father, thank You that You’ve given me gifts and talents. I choose to help serve in my local church and trust that as I serve faithfully, You’ll make my gifts and talents more visible to me and to others. Thank You that I can participate in the ministry of ‘helps’ and make an eternal impact in the lives of others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

your puzzle piece matters.

Jennifer Cole

When we talk about God’s plans...it makes me think of a puzzle box top. The box is full of puzzle pieces, but the box top shows the finished image. It’s the goal, the “bigger picture,” the purpose of all the intertwined, individual pieces that need to connect together to form that finished work. God sees that full view, and He’s intentionally weaving all of us into the amazing masterpiece throughout the ages.

So in this analogy, that means each of those puzzle pieces is a person. God is divinely connecting people together to strengthen each other as the global Church, all intricately building together to form what He sees on the puzzle box top. After all, His plans are all about people. God is passionate about His Church...it’s what Jesus gave His life for...and the Church isn’t buildings (although it’s great to have places to meet!) -- it’s people!

While many verses in the Bible confirm that building the Church is on the “front burner” of God’s priorities, one of my faves is found in Ephesians 1:20-23 MSG, which says: “...At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.” The Church is central...it’s not peripheral, on the outskirts or irrelevant. Nope! The Church takes top billing, and Christ is the head of the Church. He’s actively building the Church and helping each person connect with their divine purpose.

You may have thought “I’m one person, what does my part in building the Church matter?” Or, you may have thought “God’s going to make His own plans happen...He doesn’t need me.” Let me encourage you today...YOU matter! YOU are a critical puzzle piece in the set. If you had a 1,000 piece puzzle, and you put it all together only to find out ONE piece was missing...can you visualize that? Even though 999 pieces are in place, it’s so glaring that the ONE piece is missing! That’s YOU!

>>God designed you for a purpose. YOU play an essential role in building the Church. God has a divinely implanted purpose for your life...don’t miss out on it!

Not only do you need to know that your puzzle piece matters, but you also need to see how critical the connection to others truly is! One puzzle piece alone doesn’t show the splendor of the full masterpiece...it takes the puzzle pieces being connected, each in its divinely appointed place...that makes the puzzle complete!

Specifically, connection to others in your local church -- both growing in relationships with others and also serving others with the gifts and talents the Lord has given you -- is vitally important. We can’t see clearly what our own puzzle piece looks like and how it fits without connecting to others.

God is passionate about building the Church...it is front and center on His priority list...and it’s His desire for each of us to connect with each other in our local church! Let’s help build the Church and in doing so, we’ll gain insights into our own puzzle piece and the special role we play in God’s plan.

YOU matter. Others need you. The Church is stronger with YOU plugged in and connected. If you’re not already connected to your local church, what are you waiting for? The time is now! Plug in, and continue to join me each week in The Basics Weekly Devo as we dig into this topic even more and encourage you in your God-given purpose!

Say This: “Father, thank You that You created me with a purpose. Thank You that I am part of Your divine plans in building the Church and helping others. Please help me to connect in a more significant way with my local Church, and I speak in faith that as I connect and serve others in my local Church, You’ll help me to see what my purpose is and how I can use my gifts and talents to help further the Lord’s top priority -- building His Church! 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.”

have I been forgotten?

Jennifer Cole

What is it about certain seasons in life that can just make you feel a bit...lost? Ever felt like you were so far off the grid that even God had forgotten your coordinates? If you find yourself in a season like that...the basic truth that you need to hear today is that God sees YOU. He knows right where you’re at and not only are you NOT lost, you are actually right where you’re supposed to be! God is equipping you for your life’s purpose, even if your current season seems a bit boring, mundane or like you’re “lost in a field somewhere.” Let’s look at David’s life and you’ll see just what I mean…

In 1 Samuel 16, we learn a lot about David. He was the son of Jesse and one of eight brothers. The other brothers were more gifted, more handsome and of greater stature...but we know that while man looks at the outside of a person, God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). So, when God told Samuel to go to Jesse’s house and He’d show Him who the anointed one would be, Samuel reviewed each of the seven brothers first. From the outside view, they each looked like they should be the chosen one. However, God confirmed that none of those seven brothers was it. That’s when Jesse mentioned having an eighth son...who was out tending the sheep, like usual. When that eighth son, David, came to Samuel, God confirmed His anointing on David.

David’s stature, job and other external factors may not have impressed many...but it’s not the external attributes that qualified him. God qualified Him. God saw David’s heart. He saw that David was faithful in the basics -- He loved the Lord, He tended the sheep well and He was faithful in all the everyday, ordinary actions. God chose him to make a big difference in his day-and-age! Like David, each of us has a call on our lives...a divinely implanted purpose that God desires to help us live out in full. It doesn’t matter if we aren’t the smartest, prettiest or handsomest, from the best side of town and most prestigious schools...God looks at our heart and our faithfulness in the basics. So, don’t think that just because you are out in the fields “tending sheep” that God has somehow forgotten about you. 

>>In fact, the work that God is doing in your heart while you’re in the field is some of the most profound and essential work that will ever happen in your life! 

Think about David again...in the field, he learned about being a leader -- he had to figure out how to get the sheep to follow him, how to keep them safe and so on. He also spent that “field time” honing his skills -- he got quite proficient at the harp and the slingshot. Remember when Goliath entered the scene? David didn’t pick up a stone and a slingshot on that day and just hope he could use it. Nope! He had been practicing and practicing and practicing that particular weapon while in the field -- he had absolutely mastered that weapon and used it that fateful day to take down the giant.

Like David, your field time will be time well spent! Take note of the gifts and talents the Lord has given you and be intentional about honing those skills. Become the very best you can be at those skills, and trust that when it’s your “Goliath day” He will position you to move mighty mountains with those very basic skills that you were faithful to practice. You may be in a field tending sheep...but that doesn’t mean you are off God’s radar. On the contrary -- He’s positioned you exactly where you need to be right now. Be faithful in the basics and honor the field time...and your big day to put those skills to use will come!

Say This: “Father, thank You that my ‘field time’ is intentional and I am not off your radar! You know right where I am. Lord, help me to recognize the gifts you’ve given me and be faithful in honing those skills while in the field. I trust that at just the right time you’ll help me use those skills and the basics I’ve been faithful in, to make a big difference for You in this world. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”