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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: Thursdays With The Kids

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 - 
 

The Main Thing

Luke Jones

“The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.” Psalm 116:6

It’s important to keep the main thing the main thing. Our focus must be on Jesus, always. If we lose our focus, we lose our purpose. Here are a few things to consider about staying focused.

1. Keep Jesus at the Center. 
From the day to day tasks to the big ticket items – everything should be about Jesus. In the midst of life, keeping our attention on Him is crucial. Focusing on anything or anyone else will only distract.

2. Have a Spirit of Thankfulness.
Thankfulness is a catalyst for a life full of God. Being full of gratitude and with “thank you’s” to others and to God will help us realize that what we are a part of is not dependent on ourselves, but is accomplished through Jesus.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col 3:15-17, NIV)

3. When in Doubt. Simplify. 
One of the best ways to keep focused, is to keep life simple. Too many things can complicate the main objective. Psalm 116:6 says, “The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.” The K.I.S.S concept comes into play here, remember to Keep-It-Simple…Sam.

4. Seek Jesus – Personally.
The Word promises us that the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord. We can take that promise to the bank by continuing to seek Him, knowing that He will lead us. A life that is focused on Jesus will lead to a life of focus and determination.

So today, why not recalibrate your focus on Jesus and keep the main thing the main thing. You will be happy you did. After all, isn't life better when it's all about Him? 

Say It: "Father, I choose to focus my heart and my life on You. I know that the steps of a good man are ordered by You. I ask You to help me remain focused on You so that my steps are in sync with Your plan! Thank You for leading me and bringing me close to Your heart. I love You. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

I Don't Like The Phrase: I've Been Hurt By The Church

Annie Jones

“Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” Psalm 92:13

Have you ever heard the phrase, “I’ve been hurt by the church…?” What does this even mean and why are people always so “hurt by the church?”

Growing up as a Pastor’s Kid and a hard-core church girl, I love the church and I’ve never really liked that phrase. One reason is that I’ve seen too many people come and go and do more damage in their own lives by hopping from one church to another, (or completely abandoning church—or even the Lord) because they’ve been “hurt by the church.” It’s more apparent to me now more than ever that we need the Lord’s help to bring healing and truth to our hearts when it comes to this whole idea of “being hurt by the church.

But, here’s why that phrase doesn’t sit well with me. YOU are the church. I am the church. WE are the church. The church is not an inanimate object, organization, business, or group; the church is its people. The “church” is not a building or a position—the senior pastors are not “the church,” nor are the executive pastors, youth pastors, volunteers, ushers, or small group leaders. You cannot define “the church” as one particular person or staff, because the church is made up of all of God’s people. Some of these people work at a church, some people work in the marketplace, some of these people work at home… but either way the church IS people (1 Corinthians 12:12-26). These people who make up the church are just that: people! They are all doing their best to follow God and help other people. They are not God; therefore, they are not perfect. Sometimes these people make mistakes in their pursuit to look more like Jesus.

If I was into throwing around the phrase, “I’ve been hurt by the church,” then I would declare myself the Chief Expert of being “hurt by the church.” Why? Because I’ve grown up in the church and like everyone, I’ve been hurt by people who say they love Jesus. I’ve watched my friends, my brothers’ friends, my sister’s friends, and my parents’ friends stop attending our church and, in the process of leaving our church, drag our names through the mud, write blog posts about how they dislike us, tell everyone around them how horrible the church is—the works! One time, the biggest mentor in my life unfriended me from Facebook when they left the church. I was 17 or 18 at the time and the person who poured into my life the most unfriended me on Facebook. Seems silly, but that’s a hard rejection for a 17 or 18 year old girl to navigate through.

As a PK, I’ve had a front row seat into the beautiful and wonderful, and sometimes bad and ugly, behavior of “the church”—people. Through the years, the Lord has done some intense heart work on me to bring healing to the real hurts. I vividly remember a time when I was 21 and just about to graduate college, laying on the couch in my dorm room crying my eyes out as the Lord had me confront the hurt I felt from people I had trusted, people my parents had poured into and people I had done life with. The Lord walked me through the forgiveness process to release people who had hurt me, my family and our church. The kicker is that these people were not the least bit sorry about the pain they had caused—yet, I knew I needed to forgive them. So I get it—I get what it’s like to be hurt by people who should’ve known better. I get how it feels to be disappointed by “the church.”

On the flip side, I also get what it’s like to be the one with thin skin; the one who is too easily offended, or who holds onto a hurt for too long. I’ve learned that in life, in ministry and in church you have to have thick skin and a tender heart that consistently walks in love and forgiveness.

But here is why I really think “I’ve been hurt by the church” is a dangerous phrase. This phrase takes away the accountability that we have as Christians to handle our conflict or offense in a mature, responsible and Biblical way. To say, “I’ve been hurt by the church,” means you’ve been hurt by people. So if you’ve been “hurt by the church,” what you’re really saying is that you’ve been hurt or offended by a person(s). The Bible tells us what to do when we’ve been hurt or offended by people and we have a responsibility to handle our offenses God’s way. When we use the scapegoat phrase, “I’ve been hurt by the church,” we put a blanket over the real issues we are having with people, so we walk around with a wounded spirit and in the process we drag others into the hurts we have not dealt with. Instead of being honest, dealing with the hurt in a Biblical way—we just tag it with “the church” and we never have the hard and necessary conversations to resolve the conflict, wounds or hurt we feel. This is not God’s will for our lives, so we need His help to deal with the real issue.

I want to encourage you, if you have been “hurt by the church”—I hope you can see there’s more to the story. There is an offense or a conflict that God wants to help you resolve. I encourage you to go before the Lord and ask for His help. I would also recommend looking into some resources on a Biblical way to handle offense. There are a lot of great books on the topic. A great message I heard on this topic was by Pastor Steven Furtick, take a look here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwXqcOMw0ng (Matthew 18:21-35, Ephesians 4:1-3, 25-42).

I suppose I felt led to write about this simply to encourage all of us—we who are the Church—let’s not allow the enemy divide us through offense, hurt and unresolved conflict. Instead, let’s walk in love and forgiveness and do what Colossians tells us, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony,” Colossians 3:13-14.

Say This: “Lord, we come before you, knowing that there are a lot of people in our world who have been hurt or offended and have yet to receive healing from that hurt. God, we ask for Your truth, honesty and healing power to be at work in their hearts and minds. We pray that you would help all of us to work through our pain, offenses and conflict in a healthy and Biblical way. Give us grace to be people who are quick to forgive and slow to get angry and speak poorly of others. We fully recognize our need for You and we thank You for your help to make allowances for each other’s faults, and to forgive anyone who offends us. We remember that You forgave us, so we choose to forgive others. Today, we clothe ourselves with Your love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

 

My Faith Builder

Brodie Hock

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11

Just to set the record straight early, we of course know that, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) That verse explains how we build our faith - by hearing and being in the word of God, because it is what we are building our faith upon. But, I want to take a minute to share another revelation with you that has really helped my faith grow over the past season. 

We like to use a lot of big words for God, and He is deserving of those, but it doesn’t always register to the extent it should what those words actually mean. For instance, we talk about God being omniscient. This means He is all-knowing. He knows everything past, present, and future. Knowing this about Him makes it all the easier to trust Him.

Think about it. God has already seen the end from the beginning in my life and yours. If you could jump forward and see the outcome on things you would come back to the present and be able to know exactly which direction to choose. You would confidently know each and every step along the way that would be most beneficial to get you the best end result. I know I have plenty of stories in my life where, looking back, I would have planned things a lot differently. I couldn’t have imagined how going a certain direction would have ever led to where I am now. If you think about your own life, and some of the wonderful things God has done in your life, I think you will agree He seems to have some insight into the master plan that we do not possess. That is why God is God and I am not. He sees differently than I do. He sees like One who has seen the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).

Not only that, but we also know that God wants our absolute best. He formed us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13) and He wants to bless us and keep us (Numbers 6:24-25). So, we have God who truly wants our best in our lives. And He sees the end from the beginning. He knows which decisions, which turns, which plans, and every other detail that will get us to our best.

So, my faith builder is this: I think about how good God is and how the thoughts He thinks towards me are all good (Jeremiah 29:11). Then, I couple that with the truth that He sees the whole picture; beginning, middle, and end. This puts me in a place where I can of course trust Him. As I read the word and see His plans for me and see who He is, my faith keeps building and building.

Today, I wanted to share with you (or remind you) that God is thinking and caring about You. And, He is All-knowing and All-Powerful - that is a combo that can really build one’s faith in Him.

Say It: “Father, I am reminded today how amazing You are, how You care deeply for me and how You have good plans and intentions for me. I am also aware of how You know everything. So, today I choose to trust You completely. Lead and guide my life as you desire and I will trust and follow You. My faith is in You and You alone. I love You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Seek First in 2017

Meghan Hock

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 NLT

Happy New Year! 2017 is here. While 2016 was an incredible year for me in many ways, as the year came to a close I found the busyness of life, the distraction of social media and some misaligned priorities kept my mind focused on a lot of “good”–but perhaps not the “best”– things.

As I launch into 2017, Philippians 4:8 comes to mind as a way to redirect my mental energies on the “best” things. It says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

What things have taken up residence in your thought life that need the boot? What is distracting you, causing anxiety, fear, worry or doubt? As we launch into a new year, I believe God’s best for all of us is that we’d cast the whole of our care on him (1 Peter 5:7) and meditate on things that are found in Philippians 4:8. As we choose to renew our minds (Romans 12:2) according to God’s Word, I believe we’ll sense a new freedom in 2017. The uptight, wound-up, busy and distracted mind that wants to keep us from running our race has no place when we shine the power of God’s Word on it. Instead we can experience the rhythms of grace (Matthew 11:28-30) that Jesus promises us if we’ll come to and learn from Him.

Here are 3 practical ways to start 2017 strong:

1. Meditate on the things found in Philippians 4:8. Test every thought through that filter. If it doesn’t match up, then don’t give it a place in your mind. Replace it with the truth of God’s Word and meditate on that instead!

2. Remove distractions you can control. Is social media getting more of your time than it needs to? Are you overcommitting to “good” things that are pulling you away from the “best” things? If it’s in your power to control it, then do so. Make a choice to remove distractions so you can spend your time seeking God first. He promises in Matthew 6:33 that when we seek His Kingdom and righteousness first, that everything else will be added to us.

3. Take January to only listen to Christian, God-honoring music. When you start your day, head to work or class, are at the gym, or relaxing around the house - fill your heart and spirit with music that points you to God. You’ll notice a quick ripple effect in your thought life, desire to spend time with God and talk to Him. Music from Hillsong Worship, Elevation Worship, Bethel Music, Kari Jobe, Planetshakers, and Housefires are a great place to start!

Let’s make 2017 our best year yet, with Jesus at the center!

Say This: “Heavenly Father, thank You for a new year! As I seek Your Kingdom first this year, I thank You for a freshness in our relationship. I commit this year to you, and thank You for all the amazing things you have already prepared in advance for me. Help me to know You more this year!”