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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: The Word

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.”

PROTECTION & PROVISIONS

Jennifer Cole

YOU are here on earth on a mission! Earth isn’t even your real home...isn’t that incredible and also like…whoa!? But, seeing everything through that “lens” brings so much richness to everyday life! I mean, have you ever paused to really consider the fact that you have dual citizenship as a Christian? Yes, in the “natural” you are a citizen of your country here on earth, but you are truly a citizen of Heaven!

Let’s not brush that off as cliche or just something that would make a pleasant meme to post on social media. This has real significance to how you view your life!

So let’s talk about it…

When you are a citizen who goes “on assignment” somewhere else, you become an ambassador. You live, work and have influence at that location, but your supplies and support come from the sending country. As children of God, with our citizenship in Heaven, everything we do here on earth is as an ambassador for Heaven. Why is this important? Every ambassador is backed by the support, protection and provisions of the sending country. For believers, that means that while we’re on assignment here on planet earth, we are backed by ALL of Heaven and have its FULL support and provisions!

We see this in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (ESV).

As ambassadors, we are on assignment to share the Good News with our family, friends, coworkers, teachers, person in the plane sitting next to us, grocery store clerk, barista, yoga instructor...everyone in our sphere of influence! And -- we can do so with the total confidence that Heaven’s got our backs!

>>All of Heaven is backing YOU as Christ’s ambassador on earth!

So how do we activate Heaven’s backing? Or even know what all of the support and protection entails? By reading and applying the Word of God -- the Bible!

Heaven’s provisions don’t help us much if we don’t know about them! So how can we learn more? Read the promises God has given us in the Bible. Listen to faith-filled sermons, podcasts and audiobooks about God’s promises and provisions.

God has promised us SO much as it relates to our safety, health, relationships, favor, blessings, wisdom, and so much more! As you believe in and walk out those promises and provisions, you’ll see first-hand the incredible support that Heaven has in place for you in the very special role you play on earth...as Christ’s ambassador!

Say This: “Father, thank You for saving me and calling me to be an ambassador for Christ here on this earth. Help me to learn more and more about the support, protection and provisions that Heaven is backing me with. Thank You for the joy of getting to share the Good News with others, and I pray that You’ll open doors for me to share Jesus with those in my sphere of influence. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

BETTER THAN BUTTER

Jennifer Cole

We’ve all seen how much things change in life...all the time. For one example, think about how much change in philosophy we’ve seen in the area of nutrition! At one point, butter was bad for us so we all switched to margarine. Now, margarine is bad for us, so we’ve switched back to real butter (or even all natural grass-fed butter!!). There are diet programs saying that eating all plant-based is best for us, while other programs push all meats and little else.

Amazing, isn’t it?

While that’s a simple example, it highlights a very important truth...almost everything “man-made” is subject to change! It’s one thing to build your dinner plans around an ever-shifting food theology...but how much more important is your life, your future and your eternal destination?

>> When you’re deciding what to build your life and your future on -- be sure you’re building on an unchanging foundation!

The basic truth is that there’s only one thing that has withstood the test of time...and will for all ages...and that’s the Word of God. Many verses confirm the longevity of the Bible, like we see in Isaiah 40:8: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (AMPC).

God’s Word stands the test of time...all the time! It’s FULL of promises He has given to us, but like all gifts, they must be unwrapped to truly bless us. I encourage you to spend time each day reading and learning God’s Word. Read your Bible. Pick up a daily devotional book. Play the Bible audio from the YouVersion app on your phone while getting ready for your day. Listen to faith-filled podcasts and sermons. Make a worship playlist on Spotify. There are so many ways to get more of the Bible in your life -- try several! After all, the Word of God is the only unchanging foundation for our lives -- but that doesn’t help us if we don’t know what it says! Make this time in your life the time you decide to build and strengthen that sure foundation!

Here’s another basic truth that I love -- the Bible is living and active! As we read or hear the Word, and choose to receive and apply it, it actively helps us. Check out this encouraging passage in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us” (MSG).

The living power of the Word helps our lives when we choose to make it our plumbline...our foundation...what we build our life on. When we choose to submit our lives to the Bible, we will see its great work in our lives! I like how 1 Thessalonians 2:13 shows us this, in the Amplified translation: “...the word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its inherent, supernatural power in those of faith].”

Today, I encourage you to draw the line in the sand, that from this day forward you choose to submit your life to the living Word of God -- and in doing so, you’ll be building your life on the eternal, immovable, unshaken, powerful, life-giving, inspiring, correcting, guiding and encouraging Word! And that’s waaaay better than butter.

Say This: “Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that Your Word is eternal, unchanging, living and active. Today, I choose to submit my life to the Word and I ask You to help me learn more of the Word each day so it can become my strong, firm foundation for life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

goodbye roller coaster.

Jennifer Cole

Who’s figured out already that becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that the skies are suddenly always blue, the birds are always chirping and the roses are always in full bloom? I remember learning early on in my faith journey that being a believer didn’t mean life got “magically” easier. In that season, it felt like my Christian life was on a perpetual roller coaster -- feeling up one day and down the next. I desired a consistent Christian life, but just didn’t even know if or how that would be possible.

Then one day, while on a roadtrip to Florida with my friend Michelle, God revealed to my heart His desire for my life -- His plan was for my Christian life to be consistent rather than inconsistent, to be victorious rather than defeated, and to be joy-filled and enjoyable too! And friends, God doesn’t play favorites -- what He revealed to me is true for your life too! Here’s what I learned…

It all started with Romans 12:2, which tells us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (NKJV). So, if transformation happens through the renewal of our minds...then, how do we renew our minds? We learn God’s Word! We replace things we’ve learned, read, been told...or maybe just have no awareness of...with the Truth from the Bible.

>>This is not passive, y’all -- this is active! YOU play a critical role in renewing your mind!

To renew my mind to what God’s Word said about being a victorious, overcoming and joy-filled Christian...I wrote out the following Scriptures and posted them all over the place! On my mirror, in my car, in my kitchen, you name it -- everywhere! -- so I could read them and speak them often. (There’s just something about hearing your own voice declare God’s promises for you in faith that makes it “stick!”) In doing so, the Lord was renewing my mind to what He said about me and the authority He has given me to reign in life, through Jesus Christ.

Here are a few of those Scriptures! I’d love for you to consider printing this out and posting these verses all over the place to read them daily AND say them out loud to renew your mind to these truths! 

“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.” John 10:10

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…” 2 Corinthians 2:14

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19

“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17

Wow! Can you see how marinating your mind in these Truths will change how you view your life? It’s my genuine and earnest desire that you each come to believe and personally experience every one of those verses -- so grab hold of them today. There’s just nothing better than the victorious, faith-filled, overcomer Christian life -- and God wants it to be YOURS! 

Say This: “Father, thank You so much that through Jesus’ sacrifice, I’ve been given the gift of righteousness to reign in life through Christ. Thank You that Your will for my life is that I live a victorious, overcoming, faith-filled Christian life. Thank You that You always lead me in triumph, You’ve made me more than a conqueror, You supply all my needs, and through You nothing is impossible! I believe it and receive it today, and I ask You to help me continue to renew my mind to the Truth of Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
 

the secret to moving mountains.

Jennifer Cole

Everything we receive from God is by faith. The greatest gift we can ever receive -- our salvation -- we receive by faith. In fact, all of the promises in the Bible are received by faith. So...if faith is how we receive all that God has for us...who’s with me in wanting more faith, friends?

Romans 10:17 tells us how we get faith: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (NKJV). Faith comes by hearing the Word! You know, when I was a new believer, I desired to grow my faith so I prayed to God to give me more faith. But, I then experienced Romans 10:17 first-hand...God didn’t wave any magic wand and “poof!” fill me full of faith. What He did was stir up in me an incredible desire for the Word of God. I just couldn’t get enough of the Word!

Why was that God’s response to my prayer for faith? Because He knew that faith comes by hearing the Word...so He knew that as I got more and more of the Word in my heart, my faith would grow.

What are some things you could do today to get more of the Word into your heart? Read your Bible. Listen to the Bible on the YouVersion app while you drive to work or cook dinner. Listen to worship music. Take a course in The Basics University. Watch The Basics With Beth on TV, or listen to a free podcast. There are so many ways in this day-and-age to hear and read the Word on a daily basis...get creative! Find new ways to make the Word part of your daily life -- and by doing so, your faith will grow.

>>I’ve experienced this for years, friends -- this truly works!!

Have you ever seen someone experience a major break-through in their life? Maybe it was healing, or mended relationships, or job success...and you wondered, why isn’t that happening for me? While I certainly acknowledge that there are many variables to every situation, one thing that you can always do that will keep moving you toward that break-through is to continue to grow your faith! 

Mark 11:22-23 confirms: “So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says’” (NKJV). It’s by FAITH that we can move mountains! 

I don’t want you to miss out on anything that God has for you...and more importantly, He doesn’t want you to miss out on any promises and blessings! So today I encourage you to keep hearing and hearing the Word...and your faith WILL grow!

Say This: “Father, thank You so much for Your Word. It’s the guidebook I live my life by and I’m thankful that You’ve given me the Word so I can always know Your will! I know it’s Your will that I grow in my faith, so I ask You to stir up in me an increased desire for the Word -- a craving for the Word like never before, which nothing else will satisfy. And I trust that as I read and hear more of the Word, my faith will continue to grow. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”