About This Blog

Welcome to The Word In Life! This blog is about the practical understanding and application of Scripture in everyday life. Come along as we explore God’s written word together.

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture is quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV).

Ron Franklin

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It’s great to be one of the chosen!

I remember when, as a child, the guys in the neighborhood would start choosing up sides for a game of football or baseball. Those were always stressful times for me. At that point in my development, I wasn’t much of an athlete, and I knew that the odds were that I would be chosen last, if at all. So, I well know the pain of not being chosen.

Bible1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

I think that experience of not being chosen is one reason why this passage of Scripture is so meaningful to me. It assures me that when it comes to the most important team of all, I need never fear being left out. I have already been chosen! What’s more, I can never be un-chosen. I’m on the team for life – and beyond.

One of my greatest comforts in knowing I have been chosen by God is the fact that that He didn’t do it on the basis of my accomplishments, abilities or skills. It was totally by His sovereign grace. On the playground I always had a legitimate fear of being excluded because of my lack of athletic prowess. But in God’s kingdom, from the moment I put my faith in Christ, none of my shortcomings factor into His placing me and keeping me on His team.

Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

That’s a great comfort! Since God didn’t choose me because of the wonderful things I can do or have done, I don’t have to fear that when what I do is not quite so wonderful, it will threaten my place on His team. I am secure in Him!

Another great thing about God’s choosing is that it is available to everyone. On the playground, once the number of players required for each team has been chosen, anyone left over simply will not be included in the game. And if you are not one of the chosen ones, there’s nothing you can do about it. But God’s choosing isn’t that way at all:

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

WHOEVER is willing to call on the name of Christ can be added to God’s team. For someone like me, so often fearful in childhood that nobody would want me on their team, that’s great news!

Ron Franklin

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We are the people of God!

Who are you? There are many ways in which we identify ourselves, but in order to really know who we are, we need to get God’s perspective. Here’s a very important Scriptural take on who Christians are:

Bible1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Who are we? A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own special people. Wow!

There’s a lot in these verses, so I’m going to focus in several posts on some significant words or phrases. Today, let’s look at the phrase “His own special people.”

The Christian life starts on a purely individual basis. Each of us, Jesus said in John 3:3, must be born again. That’s not a group activity! Each individual must make his or her own personal decision to invite Christ to be Savior and Lord of their life.

But what then? God looks upon us as individuals, but not only as individuals. He names us His own special people. Once I have a personal relationship with God through Christ, it’s not just about me working out my personal relationship with Him. That’s vitally important, but it’s not the whole story.

Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Jesus established the church to be the community of the people of God on earth, and every believer needs to be connected into it. Yes, I must have my own personal relationship with Christ. But He intends that I also have a relationship with others of His people. That’s the way He has set it up for His work to be accomplished in this age.

Jesus Himself is the One who instituted the church. Christians who believe they can make it in this world on their own, just them and God, are missing an important part of the Lord’s plan. We need the church. And the church certainly needs us. And that’s exactly what Christ intended.

Every Christian needs to be connected into the church.

Ron Franklin

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Love one another!

Let me tell you about three very dangerous individuals. Not that they intend to hurt you; in fact they present themselves to you making the claim that they are going to help you gain all you want and need in life. But experience has shown that to the degree that you allow them to have a major influence in your life, you open yourself to pain, misery, shame, loneliness, fear, anger, and depression.

Who are these dangerous people? They go by the names of: ME, MYSELF, and I.

If you want to find the most miserable person in your town, just look for someone whose entire focus is on these three.

God’s answer to keeping these dangerous individuals in their place permeates the Bible. Here’s just one example:

Bible1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV) And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

How do we escape the trap of me, myself, and I? Our focus is to be on loving one another, not on our love of self. One of the characteristics of love is that when we fervently love someone else, as Scripture commands, love of self fades into the background.

That’s because real love, the kind of agape love that God has for us, and that we are to have for others, is always willing to sacrifice for the one who is loved. It puts the other person ahead of self.

Have fervent love for others – and escape the trap of me, myself, and I!

Ron Franklin

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Instead of complaining, listen to God!

What do you do when things are not going your way, and you feel like you can’t control your circumstances? I’ll tell you what I’ve done far too often in my life. It’s the same thing the children of Israel did as they stood on the shore of an impassable Red Sea, with the Egyptian army coming up behind to punish and re-enslave them. They started complaining against Moses, and blaming him for their plight.

BibleExodus 14:11-12 (NKJV) Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”

Don’t we love to find somebody else to blame for the things that aren’t going right in our lives! For some reason, it seems to make us feel better. But in reality, it does nothing to help us overcome the challenges we face. In fact, complaining and blaming do more to keep us trapped in our adverse circumstances than they do to relieve the situation.

One reason is that complaining and blaming actually sap our motivation to take God-directed action because they keep us feeling overwhelmed by our situation.

Psalm 77:3b . . . I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.

[ See Complaining and Blaming: Natural but Deadly ]

But there are other ways complaining and blaming keep us trapped in our circumstances. Here’s a very important one:

Psalm 106:24-25 Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe His word, 25 But COMPLAINED in their tents, AND DID NOT HEED THE VOICE OF THE LORD.

You can’t listen to God and complain at the same time!

When we let our complaints about our circumstances overflow, and spend all our energy trying to fix the blame on someone else, almost by definition, we are leaving God out of the picture.

And yet, as the Israelites found out when they finally did pay heed to what the Lord, through Moses, instructed them to do, God can literally part the waters to make a way for us through our adversity.

So, let’s take our eyes off our circumstances and turn away from that oh-so-easy response of complaining and blaming. Instead, if we will first cry out to the Lord, as the children of Israel did (Exodus 14:10) and pay heed to His word and His guidance, we can be confident He can handle that difficulty we can see no way through.

Ron Franklin

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Love begets love!

Years ago Dionne Warwick had a big hit with a song written by Burt Bacharach, “What The World Needs Now Is Love.” Bacharach was right. What we all need is love.

We all want people in our lives who care for us, who support us and are there for us in our time of need. We need people who are thinking about us, and about how they can encourage us and build us up instead of tearing us down; people who will protect us and defend us when others criticize or judge us.

But how do we attract that kind of love?

  • It won’t be by having more money than anyone else … that just attracts jealousy.
  • It won’t be by rising up the corporate ladder … that just attracts competition for your position.
  • It won’t be by wearing the most chic clothes and having on the most perfect makeup … that just attracts spiteful criticism behind your back.

The Bible offers a much better answer than those:

Bible1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV) And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

As this verse makes clear, being loved is not about me getting others to love me, but about me setting myself to love others. It’s our mutual love for one another that will cover faults, failures, and shortcomings with the balm of charity.

If I set out to attract love from others, I may well be seen as more manipulative than loving; that strategy almost always fails. But when I set myself to demonstrate love for the people in my life, even (or especially) in the times when they irritate me, I’ll find that love eventually begets love.

Ron Franklin

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How to be loved

Everyone wants to be loved. It’s a fundamental human need.

It doesn’t matter how much money, power, or fame we may have, we still need to know that someone loves us. And if that need goes unfulfilled, nothing else in our lives seems to work the way it should.

But love is not something we can buy or command from others. It must be freely given or it’s not real love. So, what can we do to gain the love from others we so desperately need?

The Bible gives a very simple answer to that question:

BibleGalatians 6:7 (NKJV) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

The way to attract love is to first give it! In that way love is like a farmer’s crop – in order to reap a harvest, you must first plant the same type of seeds.

Here’s another way the Bible says the same thing:

Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV) A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

But there’s a very important caveat:

Romans 12:9 (NIV) Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Our love must be sincere, not a manipulative attempt to make somebody love us back!

We can’t love in order to be loved; that way lies disappointment and frustration. What the Bible is telling us is that if we plant seeds of sincere, unselfish love into the lives of other people, we will reap love in return.

What does unselfish love look like?

Philippians 2:3-4 (NKJV) Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Sincere love does not seek for itself, but puts the interests of another person before its own. And that kind of love always receives a response!

Ron Franklin

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Don’t be complacent about life!

The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that “entropy increases.”

In practical terms, what that means is that anytime things are just left to themselves, they will automatically tend toward more and more disorder over time.

Well, that’s how life is! When my life is not organized around any plan or purpose, disorder will automatically increase as time goes on. But that’s not what God intends for our lives.

BibleProverbs 3:21-22 (NIV) My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; 22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.

The Hebrew word translated “discernment” signifies forethought or planning. God is telling us that if we are going to be successful in life, we can’t just go with the flow of whatever happens. If we do, we can expect more and more disorder and upheaval to occur in our lives.

We can’t afford to be complacent about life, thinking that things will “just work out.” We have no promise that they will. Entropy increases in life as well as in physics.

Instead, we’ve got to think things through in the light of God’s Word, and pray them through on the basis of His promises, to find God’s way of handling the various challenges life throws our way.

When we search the Scriptures to discover and apply God’s “sound judgment and discernment” in our daily lives, we can be sure that the wisdom He provides will bring us successfully through any situation.

Ron Franklin

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