Sometimes I’m asked “why the basics?” Why am I investing my life into helping people get the basics of faith? Why not dive into “deep” topics instead?
Here’s the truth of the matter...without knowing and applying the Bible basics in life, we’re destined to live life on the struggle bus. That’s why it’s the basics...the fundamental truths from God’s Word...that our enemy in life (the devil) works overtime to keep us from learning and putting into practice.
So what are the Bible basics? Are they trivial, non-essential things that are “beneath” us? Nope! They are the starting point...the essentials...fundamentals...they are pivotal, preliminary, quintessential, key, focal, critical, primary, cardinal and foundational. No matter how long we’ve known the Lord or how many times we’ve read our Bibles -- none of us ever “graduates” from the basics. It’s like the very foundation of your home...everything else in life rests upon how solid that basic foundation is, and continues to be!
>>Think about how important the foundation of your house is. The Bible basics are like that...they’re the very foundation for your LIFE!
The Bible basics are things like how to become a Christian...how to know for sure where you’ll spend eternity...how to know Jesus and hear His voice...how to get answers to prayers...how to use your faith to see results...how to be filled with the Holy Spirit...how to reign in life and lots of other basic things!
Let’s make the choice today to not live on the struggle bus! Rather, let’s invest in growing in our faith through hearing what the Word says on each of the fundamental Bible basics. What could our lives look like by next year, if we made an intentional effort to get to know more and more of the Bible basics...and put them into practice?
Here’s one idea...what if you took one Bible basic per month this year and dove into it? Listened to sermons and podcasts about it, read your Bible to find everything you could on that topic, read books by faith-filled authors and sought the Lord for wisdom on how to apply all of that to your life? Saturate your heart with what the Word says about that Bible basic. I have no doubt it would change your life!
How can I be sure of that? Well, the Bible is not some dusty old book...it’s a living, breathing roadmap for life...what a blessing from the Lord! We see this truth in verses like these:
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11 NKJV)
The Bible is alive and active...so, even when we read verses we’ve already read before, God will show us layers upon layers of new understanding from those verses and how we can apply it to our lives. And, because the Word always accomplishes and prospers...getting the Word into our hearts is the greatest investment we can make into our lives.
Continuing to grow in the Bible basics is how we get off the struggle bus and take our seat with Christ, to reign in life through the authority He has given us. Let’s get passionate about learning and growing in the basics...make this YOUR year to strengthen the foundation of your life!
Say This: “Father, thank You that as I invest in learning the Bible basics, You help me understand them and build my life upon them. Lord, help me to apply what I learn from Your Word into my life, and thank You for helping to stir up in me the ongoing desire to keep learning and growing as I walk through life with You! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
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Filtering by Category: Purpose
Sometimes I’m asked “why the basics?” Why am I investing my life into helping people get the basics of faith? Why not dive into “deep” topics instead?
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.”
As a kid, did you ever play with a kaleidoscope? Do you remember holding it up to one eye, aiming it towards a source of light and then gently turning the end -- and watching the beautiful, colorful scene change bit-by-bit, turn-by-turn? Many tiny pieces were weaving together in a new way with every twist...each new pattern formed was intricate and unique.
Sometimes I picture God’s view of us being like that...each of us is our own little piece of His grand masterpiece. As we all join together for the cause of Christ and as we serve together in our local church -- it’s like a constantly changing, interwoven kaleidoscope of gifts and talents.
We can see a bit about these talents, or “motivational” gifts, in Romans 12:6-8: “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly” (NLT).
You have gifts and talents that God has instilled in you. What can be funny about talents is, at times, we can flow in them so effortlessly that we think it’s just “ordinary” or “everyone must be like this.” But I encourage you today to spend some time truly thinking about what your talents may be.
>> Not everyone is good at what you’re good at -- start to see the special gifts you have and unpack what God has put within you!
Here are a few examples to stir up your thoughts: Do you have a love of numbers, and would spending hours and hours pouring over extensive spreadsheets give you satisfaction? Do you love to bake, decorate and host get-togethers in your home? Can you see someone’s need before they ever say a word, and send them just the right note or gift to help them? Do you somehow seem to end up leading just about everything you get involved in?
Whether your gifts may be hospitality, gift-giving, mercy, leadership...or any one of innumerable talents...God gave you that special wiring intentionally! It’s important that we start to see our gifts, so that we can also start to see how God can use our gifts to bless our lives and bless those around us too. This is also true for our local church -- our gifts can help grow the Church and help share the Good News across our cities and the world.
So, friends, pour yourself a cup of coffee (or tea!) and have some quiet time with the Lord today...ask Him to help you see the special talents He’s woven into you and ask Him to show you how to use those talents to help make a difference in your life and in the lives of others!
Say This: “Father, thank You that You’ve given me gifts and talents. You’ve wired me a special way and I ask You to help me see more clearly than ever what those gifts and talents are. Please help me to see new ways in which to use those talents to serve You in my local church and to help those around me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
At one point or another, we’ve all likely wondered what our gifts and talents are. We’ve wondered how our wiring, our quirks and our abilities could make a difference in this world.
Or, maybe you have an idea of what a few of your giftings are but you’re feeling a bit “stuck” or frustrated, wondering why you’re not having opportunities to use those talents. Today I want to share with you the secret of what to do in either case...HELP! Specifically, plug in and help in your local church! You see, when you help...God will order your steps and you’ll start to see more and more clearly what your unique “lane” is.
You may feel like greeting, directing traffic, mopping floors, starting coffee pots, or whatever helping role you’re volunteering in, is insignificant...but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Let’s check out 1 Corinthians 12:28: “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues” (NKJV).
We see in that verse that there is a ministry of “helps” -- and as a quick aside, even if God has called you to another one of the ministry areas listed in that verse, almost every single time the path still begins with the ministry of helps. For many, the ministry of helps IS the calling.
>>Are you catching this? “Helps” is ministry! And it makes a world of difference in the lives of others!
Helping at your local church provides fertile ground for the Lord to cultivate your gift and to make a way for you to use it to help more and more people. Is helping glamorous? Not usually. Is helping always going to be in your preferred area of interest? Not always, especially as you start out. But will God honor your willing heart and helping hands, and in due season use your serving to reveal to you specific gifts and talents He has put inside you? YES!
Here’s a promise to stand on...read with me in Proverbs 18:16: “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men” (NKJV). As you continue to faithfully serve, your gift will become more clear and visible, both to you and to others. For example, you may feel like you have a teaching gift but wonder why you’ve been asked to serve in Kids’ Ministry. I encourage you today, do so with excellence and a willing heart! Serve those kids to the best of your ability. Use your teaching gift to teach and train them. Nurture and hone that skill, be faithful to what God’s asking you to do in that season, and at the right time He will make a way for you to use those gifts in new ways.
You don’t have to strive, fret or worry...trust the Lord to do what only He can do which is to reveal your special gifts and talents as you serve faithfully and whole-heartedly in your local church. Everything you invest into growing His church is time well-spent...it’s an ETERNAL investment by helping others...and He will make sure your gifts make a way for you!
Say This: “Father, thank You that You’ve given me gifts and talents. I choose to help serve in my local church and trust that as I serve faithfully, You’ll make my gifts and talents more visible to me and to others. Thank You that I can participate in the ministry of ‘helps’ and make an eternal impact in the lives of others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
When we talk about God’s plans...it makes me think of a puzzle box top. The box is full of puzzle pieces, but the box top shows the finished image. It’s the goal, the “bigger picture,” the purpose of all the intertwined, individual pieces that need to connect together to form that finished work. God sees that full view, and He’s intentionally weaving all of us into the amazing masterpiece throughout the ages.
So in this analogy, that means each of those puzzle pieces is a person. God is divinely connecting people together to strengthen each other as the global Church, all intricately building together to form what He sees on the puzzle box top. After all, His plans are all about people. God is passionate about His Church...it’s what Jesus gave His life for...and the Church isn’t buildings (although it’s great to have places to meet!) -- it’s people!
While many verses in the Bible confirm that building the Church is on the “front burner” of God’s priorities, one of my faves is found in Ephesians 1:20-23 MSG, which says: “...At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.” The Church is central...it’s not peripheral, on the outskirts or irrelevant. Nope! The Church takes top billing, and Christ is the head of the Church. He’s actively building the Church and helping each person connect with their divine purpose.
You may have thought “I’m one person, what does my part in building the Church matter?” Or, you may have thought “God’s going to make His own plans happen...He doesn’t need me.” Let me encourage you today...YOU matter! YOU are a critical puzzle piece in the set. If you had a 1,000 piece puzzle, and you put it all together only to find out ONE piece was missing...can you visualize that? Even though 999 pieces are in place, it’s so glaring that the ONE piece is missing! That’s YOU!
>>God designed you for a purpose. YOU play an essential role in building the Church. God has a divinely implanted purpose for your life...don’t miss out on it!
Not only do you need to know that your puzzle piece matters, but you also need to see how critical the connection to others truly is! One puzzle piece alone doesn’t show the splendor of the full masterpiece...it takes the puzzle pieces being connected, each in its divinely appointed place...that makes the puzzle complete!
Specifically, connection to others in your local church -- both growing in relationships with others and also serving others with the gifts and talents the Lord has given you -- is vitally important. We can’t see clearly what our own puzzle piece looks like and how it fits without connecting to others.
God is passionate about building the Church...it is front and center on His priority list...and it’s His desire for each of us to connect with each other in our local church! Let’s help build the Church and in doing so, we’ll gain insights into our own puzzle piece and the special role we play in God’s plan.
YOU matter. Others need you. The Church is stronger with YOU plugged in and connected. If you’re not already connected to your local church, what are you waiting for? The time is now! Plug in, and continue to join me each week in The Basics Weekly Devo as we dig into this topic even more and encourage you in your God-given purpose!
Say This: “Father, thank You that You created me with a purpose. Thank You that I am part of Your divine plans in building the Church and helping others. Please help me to connect in a more significant way with my local Church, and I speak in faith that as I connect and serve others in my local Church, You’ll help me to see what my purpose is and how I can use my gifts and talents to help further the Lord’s top priority -- building His Church! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”