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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!

I know an exciting little secret...when you get the basics of God’s Word, your faith will be strengthened and you'll be equipped to unlock your God-given potential and live a life you feel good about: a life connected to God, a life where you belong and matter to those around you, a life that is full of joy and laughter and a successful life that allows you to makes a generous dent in eternity. This is a life worth living!

Every morning you'll receive a faith-filled shot in the arm to equip you with the basics you need to live the life you'll love!

Here's what you can expect each week:

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.

Here’s to fulfilling your God-given potential!

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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.”

break free from the struggle.

Jennifer Cole

Do you sometimes feel like it’s a struggle to forgive others...and to forgive yourself? Do you have a hard time loving others, or maybe find it tough to love yourself? I’d like to share some basics truths with you today that I believe could help you break free from that struggle. 

The secret to breaking free is found in how we frame our life -- what we choose as our central focus. You see, we can choose to view life through one of two basic frameworks for our life...sin consciousness or righteousness consciousness (say that 5 times fast!). Those are some meaty terms, so let’s unpack it a bit and get super practical about what this looks like. 

To be primarily sin conscious means the viewpoint you have on your life is that you’re always sinning. Whatever sin happened that day, it gets center-stage in your thoughts -- and your mind uses that to confine your worth and overall perspective of yourself. And let me tell you, the enemy loves it when we dwell in thoughts of sin consciousness...because when you’re focusing on the sin, you can spiral pretty quickly into feeling depressed, unworthy, and like a total failure.

>> Who has been there before? I know I have. That is -- before I got revelation of what I’m about to share with you...

Yes, the Bible says we all have sinned. Romans 3:23 confirms that none of us are perfect in our own efforts: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (NLT). BUT -- that’s not where the story ends! Read on, in Romans 3:24: “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins” (NLT).

The only way to NOT live with sin as your central focus is to replace it with something else...God wants us to replace it by focusing on our righteousness through Christ! He wants us to be righteousness conscious. Shifting our focus in this way colors our world with the realization that, through Christ, we are in right-standing with God. We are righteous and perfect in His sight. Not because of anything we’ve done, but completely because of what Jesus did FOR us on the cross. It almost sounds too good to be true -- but it IS true!  

Check out these basic truths:

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:7,9 NIV

“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 NKJV

Righteousness, or right-standing with God, is a free gift that Jesus bought for us. All we have to do is accept that gift! Make the choice to focus your daily life on how He sees you -- He looks at you with love in His eyes. He accepts you. He approves of you. You belong. You are His beloved child. Living from that realization makes all the difference!

In order to love others and forgive others -- and to love yourself and forgive yourself -- it’s much, much easier when you live from a place of being righteousness conscious. Your love and forgiveness is a direct reflection of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. It’s not something you have to create or stir up on your own -- just reflect Jesus! Can you picture it? 

When the framework through which you view your life is centered on the righteousness (right-standing with God) that Christ bought for us on the cross, it brings a “lightness” to your life -- it puts some pep in your step. It enables you to live full of joy, peace, confidence, assurance and approval. Aren’t those things each of us craves? 

Living from the truth that we are righteous through Christ not only builds each of us up in our own lives but helps us walk out this life of love and faith. I encourage you today -- just flip the switch and CHOOSE to live a righteousness conscious life. And remember this: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1 NKJV).

Cheering you on today, my righteous friends! 

Say This: “Father, thank You so much for the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross and that I am made righteous in Your eyes. Lord, my heart’s desire is to put You first and follow Your ways, and I thank You that You forgive my sins. Help me to see myself the way You do -- righteous through Christ. Help me to reject any thoughts that are contrary to that truth. And, from this new perspective, help me to love others and myself more fully as a reflection of Your love and forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

don't miss this one thing.

Jennifer Cole

In the Old Testament, there were a multitude of rules and laws that had to be followed. It must’ve been a lot of work to keep track of all of the laws, and for sure it was impossible for people to not break at least one! But here’s some good news for us today...thanks to Jesus’ redemptive work through the cross, He fulfilled the whole Law for us...and now He encourages us to follow just one “law - commandment” as our priority.

In fact, the Bible calls this one guiding principle the “Royal Law” (see James 2:8). This Royal Law is all centered around LOVE. As believers, we are called to love God and to love others. Not just once or twice, but as our lifestyle. Let’s look at a couple of Scriptures that tell us more about this:

“‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” Matthew 22:36-40 NKJV

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 NLT

Wow...there must be something so significant about LOVE that by living our lives with His love at the center of all we do, it covers everything else. 

>>Can you see just how far-reaching and critical this life of LOVE must be?

So, let’s take a moment to consider...what does it mean to love God will all our heart, soul and mind? We see insights into that in John 14:23-24: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me’” (NKJV)

From this verse, we see that keeping the Word...the promises, the guidance and instruction we read in our Bible...is how we demonstrate our love for the Lord. It pleases Him to see us living by His Word -- because ultimately He knows that when we live by His Word it’s for OUR benefit!

Now let’s also look at...what does it mean to love others? Love for others is demonstrated in so many ways throughout our daily lives. It’s noticing others...taking time to be kind, say hello and ask how their day is going. It’s thinking before we act -- for example, considering if what we’re about to post, say, or share with others is going to hurt someone’s reputation, feelings, relationships and so on. 

Let’s read Romans 13:10, which gives us a great guideline to live by: “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (NKJV). If something we’re about to do will cause harm to another, we should stop what we’re doing and be intentional about taking our cares, opinions, venting and concerns to the Lord instead, to get His wisdom on the situation.

I love that God has made it so simple, so basic...we need to focus on LOVE and that will keep our life centered. Yet while that’s simple, it’s not always easy. It’s not easy to be obedient in walking in love every moment of every day, but thankfully God gives us not just this command but also His strength...which is what makes this doable! Philippians 2:13 encourages us: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (NKJV). I’m so thankful that God gives us one Royal Law to focus on...and that He also stirs up both the will (the “want to”) and the doing (through His strength)! So come on friends, we can do this! I’m cheering you on in your life of LOVE!

Say This: “Father, thank You so much for boiling all the laws down into one main commandment for me to focus on -- the law of love. Lord, I desire to show You and others love in everything I do. Thank You that You help stir up the ‘want to’ and that You also give me Your strength, so that I can walk in love each day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

how can I hear from the Lord?

Jennifer Cole

Last week’s devo centered on how to talk to God through prayer. Now today, we’ll focus on how to hear from God -- He speaks to us through the Bible! Aren’t the most meaningful relationships ones where conversations are full of both talking AND listening...speaking AND hearing a response? That’s why we can’t just stop after discussing prayer and not talk about the Bible...His Word is the primary way that we hear from the Lord!

Perhaps you’ve thought the Bible was just like any other book, nice words on pages but not “alive.” Or, maybe you’ve considered the Bible to be outdated...something that helped people back in the day, but not really relevant to take on the challenges of the modern age. Maybe you struggle with reading the Bible because it feels like an obligation or ritual, and you don’t have a solid understanding of why it is even important.

Or, perhaps you do currently esteem the Bible but aren’t quite sure how to make it a part of your day and to really hear from God.

No matter which of these you may relate to, there’s good news...it IS possible to know why the Bible is absolutely essential to your life. While there are dozens of verses we could dive into here, let’s take just a moment to consider these two:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMP: “All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Hebrews 4:12 NKJV: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

We see here that the Bible, while it was penned by 40 men, in a timespan of 1500 years and in 3 languages...ALL of it was God-inspired. It is not the writings and thinkings of men...it’s true author is the Lord! And, we see in the above verses that the Word is living and powerful...this is not a dusty ol’ book with no relevance. By no means! In fact, God uses the living Word to speak to your heart -- answering your questions, providing guidance, whispering His love and acceptance to you -- all present-day and relevant because it’s the living Word.

>>Did you catch that? This book is like no other -- as you read it, you get to know its author personally! He speaks living and active words to YOU!

I don’t know about y’all, but that sure stirs me up! It stirs me up to read my Bible, to listen to Bible-based teachings, to sing worship songs and be engaged as I listen to Scripture-based messages and podcasts. In this day and age, we have so many ways to fill our lives and our hearts with God’s Word. I encourage you to get as much Scripture into your heart every day as you can...it’s God’s primary way of speaking to you!

Say This: “Father, thank You so much for giving me Your Word. I esteem and value the Bible and choose to make it my personal guidebook in life. And, I believe that as I make time to read and hear Scripture, You are speaking living and active words to me. Thank You that I hear from You and as I invest in reading more and more Scriptures, my whole life will benefit as You speak guidance, love, correction, acceptance and so much more into my heart! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”