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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: Love

WITH LOVE IN HIS EYES

Jennifer Cole

In honor of the Father’s Day holiday that we celebrated yesterday here in the U.S., I’d like to spend a few moments with you here today talking about the ultimate father -- God the Father! Specifically, have you ever wondered what God’s heart is towards you...what your Heavenly Father thinks of you?

Some of you reading this devo have experienced hurtful, painful things from an earthly father -- or maybe had no father at all in your life. If you’re not careful, you can project those experiences onto what you think God Almighty is like. Let me encourage you today, friends...God is not critical of you, not disappointed, not waiting to point out your failures.

Does He want you to learn and grow? Absolutely! He loves you too much to let you stay where you’re at in life. But, He is patient and loving...guiding you step-by-step in your journey. God is for you. He will never give up on you and He’ll never leave you! Deuteronomy 31:6 confirms: “...the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

>>After all...YOU are His treasure. His masterpiece. His beloved.

He provides for you everything you’ll ever need -- love, security, acceptance, peace, joy, protection, and so much more. God looks at you with love in His eyes. And, He wants you to succeed in all areas of life! In 3 John 2, we see a glimpse of His heart towards us: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

The heart of God toward you is simply this: He is proud of you and wants you to prosper and enjoy life! Reach out to Him today -- talk to Him about anything and everything -- knowing that He loves you just as He loved Jesus.

Say This: “Father, thank You that You love and treasure me. Today, I choose to ‘flip the switch’ in my heart towards seeing You as the Bible describes You, rather than viewing You through the lens of the hurt and pain I’ve experienced from earthly father-figures. Lord, I ask for Your love, peace and joy to surround me today in fresh new ways. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

WHAT DOES GOD THINK OF ME?

Jennifer Cole

Have you ever wondered what God thinks when He looks at you? You can find out the answer to that by taking a look at what He tells us in the Word...let’s check out what the Bible says in Zephaniah (yes, that’s really a book in the Bible!!):

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)

Sometimes it can be all too easy to slip into thinking that God is disappointed with you, or angry, or just couldn’t possibly love you because of all of the things you’ve done wrong in life … or all things you’ve not done. But friends, lift up your eyes today! Because of your faith in Jesus, He looks at you with LOVE because He sees you in Christ!

How good is that news? Jesus demonstrated His unending love for us on the cross -- when He took the punishment, shame, guilt and condemnation that we deserved because of our sins. He did that because He loves us. His act of love satisfied the demands of justice for sin. And now, legally, we can say because of Jesus the only thing between me and God is: LOVE! There is no condemnation or shame. This gives us the freedom to experience His love and this gives God the freedom to take delight in us -- just like Zephaniah says! The Lord rejoices over YOU!

>>Take a moment to pause, close your eyes and truly picture how God looks at you. He adores you, looks at you with love...He delights in you and rejoices over you!

Let’s read the verse again, but this time in the Amplified translation:

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a Warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with joy; He will be quiet in His love [making no mention of your past sins], He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (Zephaniah 3:17 AMP)

Being quiet in His love doesn’t mean that He isn’t actively present in our life and communicating things to us...what this refers to is His quietness in not mentioning past sins. As believers, our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), when we make Jesus the Lord of our life. He does not see our shortcomings, failures, past sins, issues...that is covered by the blood of Jesus. He sees YOU -- the real you -- the one He knit together in the womb.

And He rejoices over you with shouts of joy! So come on now, it’s time to get stirred up in His love for you! Even if you don’t feel it, even if you’ve never experienced great love on earth, today choose to stir up the truth of God’s love for you! I encourage you to speak the prayer below OUT LOUD and keep on saying it as often as needed to keep your heart focused on His great love for YOU!

Say This: “Father, thank You that You rejoice over me! You created me, You gave me a purpose and plan in this life, and You gave me Jesus who paid the ultimate price to cover my sins. Your Word says You shout with joy over me because You love me so much! Lord, may Your love for me become more and more real in my life every day, as I choose to set my heart on Your great love. 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.”

your BEST life.

Jennifer Cole

Have you ever wondered what God thinks about money? About our finances, meeting our needs and having abundance to share? For sure there are lots of opinions and teachings about the subject of “prosperity” (even that word has become a bit “yikes!” in Christian culture today), but let’s dive straight into the Bible to see what the Word says about this basic topic. 

Let’s start with this passage:

“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19 NLT

>> Wow, there’s so much in that text, right? Let’s unpack it a bit.

1. First, let’s define “rich.” You may think that “rich” only means those in Hollywood, with multi-million dollar mansions -- and probably a handful of Bentleys. But actually -- this verse applies to all of us! If we take a truly global view...it’s possible that most of us reading the devo today could be considered rich, in the global economy. There are many studies that show if you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you’re “richer” than 75% of the world. Wow -- we have a lot to be grateful for!

2. The issue is trust. Notice that being rich...or more simply stated, having money...isn’t the issue here. Why? Because money itself is neutral! It’s not good or bad -- it just “is.” The important thing in this passage is not to put our TRUST in money because it’s unreliable! Instead, our trust should be in the Lord! 

Take a moment for a quick check-up here...are you trusting in your paycheck, or trusting the Lord who provides you with the talents and opportunities to earn that income? Are you trusting in your bank account, home and cars, or is your trust in the One who’s behind all of those blessings? I encourage you today to make sure your trust is in the Lord. He is the only firm foundation to build your life on!

3. God wants you blessed! While there is so much in the 1 Timothy 6:17-19 passage that we could dive into, I want to draw your attention to one more aspect of it today...God wants you to prosper and to enjoy life. Yes, friends, I said “enjoy” life! He wants your life full of good things, both for your enjoyment and to provide you with blessings so you can bless others and be outrageously generous! This may be a new or foreign concept for you, so again let’s go back to what the Bible says about it.

Let’s look at that same passage one more time, but now in The Passion Translation: “To all the rich of this world, I command you not to be wrapped in thoughts of pride over your prosperity, or rely on your wealth, for your riches are unreliable and nothing compared to the living God. Trust instead in the one who has lavished upon us all good things, fulfilling our every need. Remind the wealthy to be rich in good works of extravagant generosity, willing to share with others. This will provide a beautiful foundation for their lives and secure for them a great future, as they lay their hands upon the meaning of true life.”

Do you see, from this passage, that we should trust in God -- the one who lavishes upon us all good things...how amazing is that? And then it goes on to remind us to be rich in good works, extravagant in generosity and willing to share with others! Doesn’t this sound like the “blessed to be a blessing life?” Sign me up!! 

Here’s the bottom line: God wants you, yes YOU, to enjoy life and to be blessed to be generous to others! And God wants to bless you even more than He already has! Set your heart upon Him, place your trust in Him and His Word...and watch Him overflow your life with blessings to both enjoy and to share. 

If your head is going a bit “tilt” on this subject, that’s okay. I encourage you to spend some time meditating on His Word (check out the Scriptures recommended below) and allow the Lord to speak to your heart and renew your mind on this subject. 

Say This: “Father, thank You that you fill my life with good things. Thank You for your generosity towards me and I ask You to stir up a generous spirit in me, so I can be a blessing to others! I believe Your Word that You fulfill my every need, so Lord today I lift up these needs and ask for Your provisions and wisdom in these areas: ___________________. I put my trust in You and believe that the best is yet to come! 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.”