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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! 

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Filtering by Category: Kelsey Jones

What To Do While You Wait

Beth Jones

Enjoy today’s “Thursdays With The Kids” devo from my daughter-in-love, Kelsey Jones. Her words today pair so nicely with this week’s podcast interview featuring my friend Donna Pisani. If you missed it yesterday, I hope you’ll take a listen today! - Beth

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“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 NLT

I can’t help but notice “waiting” creeps up a lot in life - as I entered high school I couldn’t wait to graduate and be in college. When I started college I couldn’t wait to graduate and move into working in the field of my dreams. When I was single I couldn’t wait to be married. Now I am married and I can’t wait to have kids. When I get sick I can’t wait to be healthy again. When a loved one is sick I can’t wait for them to feel better. If we’re not careful, life becomes about waiting for what is next instead of embracing where we are right now. Life - is it meant to be this waiting game or are we meant for much more? 

In Psalm 27:14 David penned the words “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous, yes wait patiently for the Lord.” Some believe he wrote these words after his parents passed away, and some believe it was penned upon a victorious occasion where he was delivered from the sword of a giant. However the weight carried in his words transcends occasion, I think they hold weight in every season of life.

As we wait to see God’s promises fulfilled in our lives, what are we to do? What part do we play? Sometimes I am discouraged when God doesn’t show up when and how I prayed for Him to - we’ve all been there. But I am so thankful for God and His Word. For many years I believed the meaning of the word “wait” to mean stay where you are, stay put, wait for God to do something. When we take this verse at face value, that is a good takeaway. But the reality of what God is speaking to us in this verse is much richer and helps us understand the part we play in the waiting. 

What Psalm 27:14 means is this, “Bind together, collect, gather, and patiently wait for, on, and upon the Lord. Be strong and be made strong and let your inner man (your understanding, heart, will, mind) be alert and swift-footed in courage, bravery and security. Yes, bind together, collect, gather and wait patiently for, on, and upon the Lord.” 

In the midst of what seems like a “waiting” season, our part to play is to bind up strength - twist it like a rope, to make it strong: the thicker the rope - the more weight you can handle. Become an expert at gathering strength from God. In the waiting our responsibility and focus is to draw nearer in reliance upon God. Life is not just about the fulfillment of God’s promises, or the mountain-top moments (even though they are amazing and God-breathed as well), life is about the relationship we cultivate with Him as we lay down ourselves and warmly invite Him into our every detail. It is in our daily relationship with Him that we draw strength and courage. We must be steadfast in prayer and believing God to do as He said He would do: in our waiting we are not to be discouraged. 

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 in the Message reads, “Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the “Yes” of Jesus. In Him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s “Yes” and our “Yes” together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By His Spirit He has stamped us with His eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what He is destined to complete.”

Whatever God has promised, we know it is stamped with a 100% guarantee because of the “Yes” of Jesus. Are you waiting on a miracle? Waiting for a breakthrough at work? Waiting for God to speak in what may seem like a silent season? May I encourage you friend, don’t give up. Maybe you’re waiting for life to pick up, to become who you always hoped you would be. Bind up strength, get alone with God and gather courage from Him. Do not give up. God is on your side, and whether you see it or not: while you wait, He moves. 

Say It: “Father, thank You for the gift of having a relationship with You. In every season, I thank you for the promises you’ve spoken over and into my life. Today I choose to gather strength, hope, courage, and with a steadfast heart I wait upon You. I know what You have spoken will come to pass. I pray to know you more today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.” 

- Written by Kelsey Jones - 
 

Lord, I Am Coming

Kelsey Jones

“Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” Psalm 27:7-8, NLT

Has your heart heard the invitation from God to come and talk? Do you know that God longs to hear from you? If not, I pray this devo reminds you today that God has extended to us all the invitation and freedom to seek Him. David penned this Psalm with great expectation of receiving an answer from God. You must know that God’s invitation for us to seek Him implies a promise that we will find Him. There are no empty words or promises from God - He upholds them all. 

God promised Jeremiah, “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14). 

Jesus again echoes this same promise of our Father in Luke 11:9, “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” 

His invitation for us to seek him implies a promise that we will find him. Matthew Henry said it this way, “A gracious heart readily echoes to the call of a gracious God...” His call is for us to seek, our answer should be to seek until we find, knowing with full confidence that we will find Him. His promise fulfilled is that we will find Him. The call of God for us to find Him in this lifetime could not be made more plain by the commission of Jesus - our Savior, friend, and amazing Lord. God’s heart clearly is displayed in the actions of His Son…Here are the words Jesus prayed over you and I in John 17:

“Father, I want those you gave me to be with me, right where I am, so they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me, having loved me long before there ever was a world. Righteous Father, the world has never known you, but I have known you, and these disciples know that you sent me on this mission. I have made your very being known to them - who you are and what you do - and continue to make it known so that your love for me might be in them exactly as I am in them.” 

We know the Father because of the Son. And through Jesus, we have full access into this beautiful life with God. May we seek God with pure hearts, long for His presence, and carry with us the light He gives. May our answer to the call “come and talk” forever be, “Lord, I am coming.”

Say It: “Father, thank you for the invitation and freedom to seek you. Lord, I have come to seek you earnestly. I know your invitation to seek comes with a promise to find - I pray to find you today in new ways, to know your Son Jesus more personally, that I may in turn become more like Him. Thank you for making your love visible to us through your Son Jesus, may I forever make it known to the world around me. In Jesus name, Amen.” 

The Choice Is Yours

Kelsey Jones

"Everything of God gets expressed in Him (Jesus), so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything." Colossians 2:9-10 MSG

Did you know that each day you make around 35,000 choices? In fact, this morning you've already made two great choices! The first was waking up, and the second was to start your day with this devo. Aren't you glad God created us with a sense of choice? Our lives are a product of our choices, and those choices govern our lives. Rick Warren says this, "Every act of our lives strikes some chord that will vibrate in eternity." 

Genesis 1:27 tells us that God created human beings in His own image. The one thing that separates us from the rest of God's creation, is that we are ruled by and act according to the choices we make, not merely by instinct. Again, aren't you glad God chose to create us in His own image? Aren't you glad God loves us so much, and is so loving in His nature, that He would give us a free will of choice! 

The day you made Jesus the Lord of your life, you made the most important choice that impacted your life on earth and your eternal life. Today, you get to experience a living partnership with God through His Son Jesus. How amazing is that?

There is a story in Luke 17, where ten lepers stood at a distance from Jesus crying for His help. Jesus sees them, approaches them and tells them to return to the priests to show themselves. The ten lepers listened and, as they went, all ten were healed. Of the ten who were healed, nine were Jews and one was a Samaritan. Jews were considered "God's chosen people" and were familiar with the ways of God. Upon being healed, only one leper made the choice to come back to Jesus to express his gratitude. The one who returned was the Samaritan, who was highly looked down upon because he was not Jewish. You must understand that for this man to return he had to make a conscious choice. He made up his mind that being at the feet of Jesus expressing gratitude was much better than wherever he was heading. Because of his choice to return, Jesus tells him "Get up and go on your way. Your faith (your trust and confidence that spring from your belief in God) has restored you to health.” How amazing! 

When the Samaritan was ill, he made the choice to cry out. When he was healed, he made the choice to be thankful, even when everyone else kept going on their way. Our opening verse from Colossians says, "You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything." 

When you came to Christ, and daily make the decision to come to Him, the fullness that is in Him is yours. That's what makes Jesus so marvelous, so worthy of praise. Jesus in His fullness, has made Himself completely available to us. I encourage you to choose Him today - choose to invite Him into your every moment, big or small. Look to Him first, and like the Samaritan man in Luke 17, reach out to Jesus with your needs and return to Him with thanks! After all, it is your choice - and choices are an overflow of your heart's position.

So what do you need to cry out to God for today? What is a need that you need to express to Him but have been trying to carry on your own? The fullness of Jesus is yours: that means you lack no good thing. A fullness of mercy, fullness of grace, fullness of love...all made available to you through Jesus because God loves you. Choose to call upon His name, trust Him, and give Him thanks for He is worthy!

Say It: "Jesus, today I invite You into my day. Every moment and conversation I'd love to share with You. I present my needs before You, and thank You for Your goodness. I choose to be thankful today, because You are so worthy of my praise. Thank You for being close to my heart, and keeping me within Your fullness. In Jesus' Name, Amen!"

Begin With The End In Mind

Kelsey Jones

"Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step..." 1 Corinthians 10:24-26 NLT

I was once a track runner. Before every race, what got me to cross the starting line and commence the run, was the fact that I knew what I wanted the end of my race to look like: I wanted my lungs to hurt, my legs to feel like jello and to know that I gave those 800 meters everything I could. 

I believe that God knew from the beginning that He would send His Son Jesus to earth to atone for our sins, and raise Jesus from the dead so that we might have eternal life through Him. From the moment you were born, up until the moment you are reading these words, God began and is continuing to work in your life with every detail fashioned to draw you into a relationship with Him. 

In order to stay steady through twists and turns of life, we must know what our end goal is. We must begin with the end in mind. So today, maybe you are approaching the commencement of something new. Or maybe you've felt God urge you to hit a "reset" button and refresh your thinking in your job, family, or a relationship. Maybe you need to have a hard conversation with a friend. Ask yourself these questions, "Where would I like to see myself at the end of this year? What would I like to accomplish?" May I encourage you with three tips to help you begin with the end in mind and to run with purpose in every step:

1. Set goals - Before you begin, set some goals. Set beginning, midway, and end goals. And track your progress! If you miss a beat or don't quite reach a goal at some point along the way, no sweat! Let it motivate you to push forward and continue on your journey with more fervency. 

2. Dream a little bigger - I encourage you to set an end goal beyond what you could achieve on your own. Your race with God's power and grace is an unstoppable force. If you dare to dream a little bigger, with God on your side, anything is possible. 

3. Trust God and do it His way - At the beginning of your journey, make a personal decision to navigate through your race God's way: with integrity, conviction, and love. No prize is greater than walking and working with Jesus in every area of life. Romans 4:16 MSG says "this is why the fulfillment of God's promise depends entirely on trusting God and His way, and then simply embracing Him and what He does."

So, off you go! Know we are cheering you on in your journey. As you approach your starting line, think of the end. I hope you complete your journey and cross your finish line proudly with lungs burning and legs like jello knowing your every step was purposed. 

Say It: "Father, I thank You for the life You have set before me. I ask You to help me run my race with purpose in every step. I ask You to help me begin with the end in mind, setting goals that You and I can accomplish in partnership. I invite You lead and guide my journey, and together we can celebrate at the finish line. In Jesus' Name, Amen!"

Oil and Water

Kelsey Jones

Have you ever felt discouraged because you feel like you don’t quite measure up? I’ve found myself in the same tension before - somewhere caught between who I once was and who I’d like to be. There’s multiple stories in the Bible where a person felt like they didn’t quite measure up, but God used them mightily because they were willing to be obedient and, despite their discouragement, were able to look ahead and trust God to fill what otherwise seemed hopeless. Let’s take a look at two women, different circumstances, but who were both impacted by The All-Fulfilling God. 

Take a look at the woman who made the decision to ask for help to save her sons in 2 Kings 4:1-4: 

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, 'Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.' Elisha replied to her, 'How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?' 'Your servant has nothing there at all,' she said, 'except a small jar of olive oil.' Elisha said, 'Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.'"

And Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well in John 4:

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?' (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, 'You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?' (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.'”

The woman who had the oil jar felt as though she had nothing to offer Elisha except an oil jar. The woman speaking to Jesus at the well was surprised that a Jew would talk to a Samaritan, let alone ask her for a drink! She felt she had nothing to offer Jesus because of her status. 

In both situations, we see God fill what once was seen as useless. At first the woman with the oil jar downplayed the exact tool in which God would use miraculously to save her household, but picked it up in full trust and saw God fill many more than just her oil jar. The woman at the well had a water jar, but left it sitting at the well as soon as she understood the spring of water Jesus offered would never run dry, and that it’s available for her. Both had containers, and in the end, both the oil jar and the woman at the well overflowed with the promise and goodness of God. 

I think when we limit what God can do with the container we perceive ourselves to be - our ability, skills, past, strength, and will - it’s easy to feel discouraged. But when we have the revelation that these two women latched hold of - that God is in the business of taking what you might feel is insignificant and small and using it to fulfill a larger purpose, we can move forward from discouragement and into expectation of what God can and will do. 

Both of these stories are not about the ability or status of either woman, it's about the nature of God to keep giving as long as we have room to receive...and then some. He will take what is in our hand, and paired with our obedience, use us to show His miraculous power. There’s a verse Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:20-21 MSG in the context of encouraging believers to do their best for God, he says: “In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.”

My prayer for you today is for you to transform into the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing. A container that is ever expanding to receive as God supplies. Not shrunken by discouragement and doubt, but enlarged by the great love and faithfulness of God. That you wouldn’t be discouraged because you feel like your small oil or water jar won’t get the job done. Trust God to supply the oil and the living water, as you continually and daily transform into a container God can use to testify his goodness. 

Finally, be encouraged that both as an individual and as a collective church body, we are made full and complete by Christ who fills all things with himself. Ephesians 1:23 says, “And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

Let’s pray today and ask God to expand our container and to fill us with the fullness of Christ!

Say It: “Dear Father, I ask you to expand my container, help me to enlarge my heart of receptivity towards you. I pray that I might be transformed into the type of container that can present any and every kind of gift to your people - that you would use me mightily and help me to awaken others to this truth as well. I pray that as my container expands and enlarges that you will fill my life with the fullness of You and Your Goodness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”