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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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Filtering by Category: Serving

LET'S GET TOGETHER

Jennifer Cole

“Join me, everyone! Let's praise the Lord together..." Psalm 34:3, TPT

Did you know...the Bible has a lot to say about the power of together? Jesus said where two or more are gathered in His Name, He is there. That’s huge! And concerning prayer, Jesus said when two or more on earth agree as touching anything -- they shall ask, and it will be done by our Father in heaven. Again, huge!

The writer of Ecclesiastes said two are better than one and a threefold cord is not easily broken. Isaiah said one can put a thousand to flight, but two can put ten thousand to flight. The psalmist said we could and should magnify the Lord and exalt His Name together!

>>There’s something so powerful about gathering, praying, serving, being, having dominion and exalting Jesus, together!

If you are single...I encourage you to find other like-minded, faith-filled believers and make sure you are doing things in God -- together. God never created us to be an island unto ourselves. He said, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). In fact, the Lord promises in Psalm 68:6 to set the solitary -- singles -- in families for the purpose of mutually helping one another and doing kingdom business, together. If you are single, trust the Lord for divine connections...find a church or campus group and get plugged into seeking and serving God together!

If you are married...why not make the choice to partner together with your spouse this year, like never before, to exalt and magnify the Lord? There is something so incredible about a husband/wife team working together to have a Christ-centered marriage, to raise godly kids, to serve the Lord and to exalt Him in all that they are and all that they do! We've seen the power of serving God together in our own lives. Jeff and I have served the Lord side-by-side for the past three decades...and while there have been a few challenges along the way, the joy of doing life together far outweighs any difficulties.

When you make “together” a priority, you will see your gifts be maximized for His purpose. And, you’ll see God’s amazing “together” promises from the Bible all at work in your life!

Say This: "Father, thank You that You did not create me to be an island unto myself...I ask You for divine connections and God-knit relationships so that together we can exalt Your Name! In my marriage / friendships, please help us to bring the best out of each other, to maximize our lives and callings, and to exalt Your Name together! In Jesus' Name. Amen."

BUCKET LIST

Jennifer Cole

Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride and trust should be in the living God who always 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 should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven – it is the only safe investment for eternity! And they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well.

1 Timothy 6:17-19, TLB

Have you made a bucket list? Meaning...before you “kick-the-bucket”...what do you want to do? Start? Finish? Try? If you’ve never made that kind of list, take a moment to think about what you might put on it. What kinds of things would make it onto your list?

I believe there are two categories that should both be represented on our bucket lists. They are effectiveness and enjoyment -- both are mentioned in the verse above. Let’s take a look at the importance of each of them:

Effectiveness! God wants you to invest your life. What will your life amount to? Who have you helped? Influenced for eternity? I hope that you've already made a decision to invest your temporary life -- time, energy, money, gifts, talents -- into eternal things. I hope you are living a purposeful life of "no regrets" to glorify the Lord -- being rich in good deeds, generous and willing to share Christ and your abundance with others. 

Enjoyment! God wants to bless your life! God gives us all things richly to enjoy. Sometimes, we have a hard time accepting the fact that the Lord wants us to enjoy a blessed life with no apologies -- but He does! I have found that when we live for effectiveness then He also blesses us with enjoyment. Aren’t you thankful for the goodness of God?! When we seek first His kingdom and His priorities -- He gives us richly all kinds of things for our enjoyment...family, friends, mountains, rivers, oceans, airplanes, cars, motorcycles, boats, beaches, moonlight, food, drink, flowers, jewelry, shoes, clothing, sports, travel…and so much more.

>>So, the idea is to live for effectiveness and gain enjoyment! 

If this is not quite how your bucket list (or your daily priority list!) looks right now...then I encourage you to spend some time with the Lord getting stirred up in this area. There’s just no better life than one aligned with Christ’s priorities! If you’re not sure where to start on that journey, pray this out and follow His leading!

Say This: “Father, help me to invest my life into things of eternal value. Help me to love, serve and give to others, sharing the love of Christ everywhere I go. Help me to align my priorities with Yours. And thank You that as I seek first Your kingdom, You give me richly all kinds of things for my enjoyment! Thank You for your goodness to me! In Jesus' Name. Amen."

DOES ANYBODY SEE ME?

Jennifer Cole

Sometimes those who have faithfully served the Lord for years and years can start to feel invisible. Start to feel like their contributions just don’t matter or aren’t seen. You may be discouraged, thinking all of your serving and faithfulness aren’t noticed by anyone, not even by the Lord. Friends, if that’s you today -- let me encourage you that God DOES see you and He keeps great records of your faithfulness!

Mark 9:41 assures us, “The truth of the matter is this: anyone who gives you a cup of cool water to drink because you carry the name of your Anointed One will be rewarded” (The Voice translation). If such a basic deed as providing a cup of water is noticed and rewarded, we can be assured that all acts of serving and kindness -- in His name -- are noticed too! Now, for sure the motivation of all of this serving is purely to share God’s love to others, but it’s a nice perk to know that the faithfulness is noticed!

>>God sees you, He’s proud of you, He notices!

God sees you putting His Kingdom first, and He is faithful to take care of you. Just like we see in Matthew 6:33 NLT: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

So whatever you do, DON’T STOP! Keep serving and loving others. Keep investing in eternity. Keep serving in children’s church, stuffing envelopes, sweeping floors, answering phones, being a prayer warrior, rallying groups of volunteers, bringing your supply to grow the Church...every bit of that is recorded and has eternal worth!

Say This: “Father, thank You that You have filled my heart with Your love and from that supply, I have been faithful to serve and love others. Thank You, Lord, that You notice me. You see me. You are recording my faithfulness and I choose to keep investing in things of eternal value. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

3 FACES OF GRACE

Jennifer Cole

Last week, we looked at how multi-faceted God’s grace is and if you missed it, I encourage you to go back and check it out! Today, let’s look at some important types of grace and how they’ll help you in life. The Bible describes at least three different categories of grace: saving grace, standing grace and serving grace. Let’s dig into each of them.

Saving grace is the grace God gives to sinners to influence their hearts and turn them to Christ. We cannot be saved apart from God’s grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).

Think about your own salvation. Do you remember how God graced you in such a way that you were able to have faith to believe? God’s saving grace allows us to have faith to believe and be saved. It’s truly a gift!

Standing grace is the grace God gives us to stand in faith and live the Christian life. We need God’s grace to live. Romans 5:1-2 tells us: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (NIV). It’s through faith that we stand in grace.

>>God’s standing grace gives us His ability to live in a place of rest and to have faith, to know, to grow, to think, to give, to be and to do all the things God wants for us.

It’s possible that some may be unfamiliar with the term “standing grace,” but it is this very grace that we are talking about when we seek the Lord for grace for the pace! When God gives us standing grace, He gives us His power, energy and ability for various areas of our lives.

Serving grace is the grace God gives us to serve Him. He gives us grace gifts, talents, passions and callings that are unique to each one of us. God has graced or gifted each of us in a special way so we can serve Him in a powerful and fruitful manner. Whether your serving grace is in the area of leadership, hospitality, teaching, mercy, giving or some other area, God enables and equips you for serving by His grace.

The Apostle Paul understood serving grace when he said, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Romans 12:6 NIV). He also said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them - yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV). Notice that Paul said that it was the grace of God within him that allowed him to work and serve God. Each one of us has been endowed with serving grace that also helps us function in the grace for the pace!

When we truly receive God’s abundant provision of grace -- saving grace, standing grace, and serving grace -- along with His gift of righteousness, we can reign in life. Just read this incredible promise found in Romans 5:17: “For if, by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (NIV).

>>Through His grace, we are empowered to overcome every bit of stress and overload that is thrown our way.

Reigning in life...being saved, standing and serving the Lord...overcoming stress or overload...these are all terms I want for my life -- how about you? Be encouraged today, friends, and ask the Lord for a fresh deposit of grace!

Say This: “Father, thank You for saving grace, standing grace and serving grace. Help me to experience all of those in my life! Thank You for Your great love in providing these incredible provisions of grace in my life. Lord, I ask for a fresh deposit of grace today and I thank You for it! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

AVERAGE JOES & JANES

Jennifer Cole

Today, let’s have a heart-to-heart chat about leaders. Grab your pumpkin spice latte, get comfy and let’s talk for a few minutes!

Each of us has leaders in our lives...maybe it’s at work, or church or school. People like our parents, pastors, government officials, teachers, our boss and so on. If we’re not careful, we may -- sometimes without realizing it -- put them on pedestals. Often, that starts from a very genuine place of loving and esteeming that leader. You think so highly of them -- they’re just the best leaders, superstars, incredible people!

However, what each of us will come to see at some point or another is that every leader is just a normal person too! They’re average joes, or average janes, just like the rest of us. YES...they’ve been anointed to lead in the roles they’re called to...but they’re also human. They have to lace up their faith boots and walk through life one day at a time, just like the rest of us.

>>Can you see now how placing them on a pedestal, whether intentionally or unintentionally, is bound to lead to some issues?

Friends, you will eventually see the “human” side of your amazing leaders...and if they’ve been put on a pedestal in your heart, that is going to cause them to fall from the pedestal. That could then get you caught up in disappointment, discouragement or even worse...you could get stuck in the trap of being offended. This type of situation is lurking behind untold numbers of church splits, company splits, family feuds and divisions of all kinds.

When it comes to your parents or civic leaders the Bible has a lot to say about honoring and obeying them. (We’ll save that for another devo.) God’s Word also has a lot to say about the benefit to YOU, when you honor the spiritual leaders He has placed in your life.

I encourage you today to look at this idea of honor from a few angles. (Hint: It will benefit both you and your leaders!) Absolutely we should esteem, value and love the leaders that God has put in our lives and on our hearts. But esteem the call on their life -- place the high value on the anointing they’ve been given by the Lord. Can you see that shift in focus? You’re not putting the person on a pedestal...instead, you’re choosing to focus on and esteem the position and calling. In 1 Thessalonians 5:13 we are encouraged to: “...esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake” (NKJV).

That can seem like a very simple, or basic, shift in focus -- but it will make a huge difference! Your leaders will feel your support of their role without sensing the pressure to be perfect or super-human. That will help make leadership a joyful experience! I love this verse in Hebrews 13:17, which shows so clearly how this will uplift your leaders: “Obey your spiritual leaders and recognize their authority, for they keep watch over your soul without resting since they will have to give an account to God for their work. So it will benefit you when you make their work a pleasure and not a heavy burden” (TPT).

Yes, your leaders are normal people! They are not perfect. But, they do have a calling on their lives to lead in whatever capacity God has anointed them...and they have a responsibility to do so in a way that honors the Lord. They will give an account for how they’ve fulfilled their leadership calling, so let’s help lift them up and encourage them by esteeming their position...but giving much grace to them as everyday people too!

Say This: “Father, thank You for the leaders You’ve placed in my life. Today I lift up ___________ (mention by name the leaders on your heart) -- I ask You to fill them with wisdom, grace and increased anointing so they can lead in a way that honors You. Lord, help me to see if I’ve placed any of my leaders on a pedestal -- help me instead to honor their role and calling but give them lots of grace, as they are normal people just like me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”