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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Learning to continue in prayer

I’ll be the first to admit that my prayer life isn’t all it should be. In fact, my prayer life needs help!

Actually, I don’t feel bad about that admission, because I know I’m far from being alone. Probably most Christians desire to have a better prayer life than they have. I’ve read a lot of books on prayer, and they’ve helped. But what encourages me the most in becoming the pray-er I really want to be is the teaching of God’s word.

That’s what happened recently as I read the apostle Paul’s brief exhortation to prayer in Colossians 4.

Bible

Colossians 4:2 (NKJV)  Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.

The first thing that struck me as I meditated on this verse was the word “continue.” Paul doesn’t exhort believers to start praying, but to continue in the praying he’s sure they are already doing. Prayer is an integral part of the Christian life. Believers don’t need to be exhorted to pray because they do it from the very beginning of their new lives in Christ.

That’s certainly true in my life. I can’t imagine being a prayerless Christian.

On the other hand, I’ve also experienced how easy it is to get caught up in the busy-ness of daily activities, or perhaps in dealing with some urgent situation, and simply neglect to stop and call on God for His wisdom, guidance, and help.

It’s not that I ever think I don’t need God’s intervention in my circumstances. It’s just that I can get so wrapped up in trying to work through things myself that I momentarily forget to consult Him. But when that happens, I become, for that moment at least, a practical atheist. It would never occur to me to deny that God is real and is the Lord both of this universe and of my life. But when I get so focused on dealing with what’s happening in my life that I push Him to the periphery of my thoughts, I’m acting as if there really is no God to guide, direct, and provide.

So, Paul’s exhortation that we continue in prayer is very meaningful to me. However seemingly urgent may be the issues that are screaming for my attention at the moment, my first, and not last resort needs to be prayer.

Ron Franklin

Posted in Behavior, Bible Study, Christian Life, Faith, Foundations of the Faith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I acquired great wisdom

I don’t consider myself to be a particularly wise person, but I have great wisdom.

If that statement seems self-contradictory, it’s really not. You see, I know that I’m not innately wise. But I have access to a treasure trove of wisdom that is far beyond the “common sense” with which most people try to cope with life.

Bible

Proverbs 2:6 (NKJV) For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

The only level of wisdom I will claim for myself is that I am wise enough to know that without the wisdom that comes only from God, I’m not wise at all!

In fact, to neglect the wisdom that springs from the mouth of God through Scripture, and to try to find my own way through life based on my own good common sense, is to be not wise but extremely foolish.

Proverbs 14:12   There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

So, whatever issues I may face in life, the wise thing to do is to open the pages of God’s word, find out what He has to say about the subject, and then act on it. That’s real wisdom!

Ron Franklin

Posted in Behavior, Bible Study, Christian Life, Faith, Foundations of the Faith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God doesn’t feel sorry for us!

Recently, I happened on a web site that featured a large button that said “Download this … Perfectly Safe!” It then started to automatically download something. But my browser was smart enough to stop it and ask me if I really wanted to allow that download to continue. Of course I said “no.”

But what if I had been feeling adventurous that day, and decided to allow the download just to see what it was. And suppose the result had been a virus that wiped out my hard drive, or malicious code that stole my identity. Would you feel sorry for me? I don’t think so! There was plenty of information available to me to warn against doing anything so stupid. If I decided to ignore that available wisdom and do it anyway, nobody would weep for me when I reaped the inevitable results of my stupidity.

I bring up that scenario because it highlights the way I read the following passage:

Bible

Proverbs 1:22-23  How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge. 23  Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.

What those verses say to me is … if I ignore the wisdom God makes available to me in life, neither He nor anybody else is going to feel sorry for me when I pay the price for my foolishness and rebellion!

God has made His wisdom for handling the issues of life available through His word. If I choose to neglect, reject, or simply overlook that divine wisdom, I needn’t expect sympathy from God.

That’s not to say that God doesn’t give grace when we mess up. He certainly has rescued me many times from my own foolishness. But it is to say God has no problem letting “scorners” reap the consequences of their refusal to heed His wisdom.

Hebrews 12:6   For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.

Father God is not the kind of parent who pats a deliberately rebellious child on the head and coos “poor baby” when disaster results from our rejection of His wisdom. He will chasten us.

And He won’t feel sorry about it.

Ron Franklin

Posted in Behavior, Bible Study, Christian Life, Faith, Foundations of the Faith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moving on from offense

Have you ever gotten so angry at someone who mistreated you that if you had the power, there’d be nothing left of them but a black smudge on the ground?

Honestly, I’ve been there; and so, probably, have you. I’m just glad that when I was feeling those raw emotions, I didn’t have the power to do anything drastic about it.

But when a pair of Jesus’s disciples felt that He (and they) had been disrespected and mistreated by the residents of a Samaritan village, they did think they had the power to do something drastic about it, and wanted to:

BibleLuke 9:52-56 (NKJV) . . . they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.

What an example Jesus gives us here! Instead of receiving the Samaritans’ disrespect as an offense to Himself and reacting to it, Jesus let it roll right off His back, and just went on to the next town.

In other words, disrespect was aimed at Him, but because He refused to receive it and take it unto Himself, it couldn’t affect Him. James and John were infected with the spirit of retaliation. Jesus was animated by a spirit of love, even for those who showed anything but love to Him.

It’s very easy for me to be offended when someone shows me disrespect. But actually, it’s my choice how I react. In the moment when deliberate offense is aimed at me, I can choose to be like James and John, and look for a way to rain down fire on the culprits’ heads. Or I can choose to respond as Jesus did, recognizing that when someone deliberately communicates disrespect to me, it’s they who have the problem, not me.

Instead of trying to retaliate, I can cover their offense with God’s love, and move on.

Ron Franklin

Posted in Behavior, Bible Study, Christian Life, Faith, Foundations of the Faith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Setting my face like a flint on the job

At the time I decided to go to seminary, I was working as an engineering manager at a high tech company. I asked for and received a leave of absence to pursue my studies, with the understanding that when I graduated, my job would be waiting for me.

As I approached graduation, the company and I agreed on the date of my return to work. But when I walked in the door that day, it quickly became apparent they had no idea what to do with me.

My expectation, which I soon realized was unrealistic, was that I would step back into my old job, or one very like it. The company, on the other hand, had moved on, and seemed to have made no provision for my return. Now, they were scrambling to find a place for me.

The result was that I found myself relegated to a job I hated!

Doing that job, I quickly began to feel overlooked and unappreciated, and I dreaded going to work every day. It was very difficult for me to keep a positive attitude.

But what really helped me to be an overcomer in that most difficult time of my career was Isaiah’s picture of Jesus as He turned toward Jerusalem and the cross:

BibleIsaiah 50:7 (NKJV)  For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.

“I have set my face like a flint.” That’s the example Jesus set as He faced the most difficult circumstance anyone has ever had to endure. And that’s what I felt I needed to do to make it through my own difficult times that threatened to keep me mired in hopelessness and depression.

I can’t tell you how many times a day I repeated that verse to myself! I prayed it, I confessed it, I stood on it.

I came to believe, on the basis of Romans 8:28-29, that I wasn’t where I was by accident. God not only knew about my situation, but had brought me to that place for a purpose. So, instead of allowing myself to be beat down by a circumstance I hated but couldn’t control, I “set my face like a flint” to glorify God through that job for as long as He kept me there.

After a year doing that uncongenial work, God opened up an entirely unexpected opportunity with another company that moved me clear across the country and turned my life in a totally new direction. I literally wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for that difficult time in my life.

And I will always believe that it was the inspiration of Isaiah’s picture of the Lord setting His face like a flint that that brought me through.

Ron Franklin

Posted in Behavior, Bible Study, Christian Life, Faith, Foundations of the Faith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Setting my face like a flint!

I remember a Peanuts cartoon in which Charlie Brown is determined to finally go and speak to the little red haired girl who is his idol. This time he’s going to do it, and nothing will stop him!

Then it starts to rain.

Well, you know what happened. Charlie Brown isn’t called wishy-washy for nothing.

We all have some Charlie Brown in us. I know I do. For me, it’s far too easy to get distracted or lose focus, or be deterred by challenging circumstances, and end up not following through on commitments I’ve made.

I think that’s why the Bible’s picture of Jesus setting His face to go to the cross is so meaningful to me (see The Resolute Love of Jesus).

Bible

Isaiah 50:5-7 (NKJV) The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away. 6  I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. 7  “For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.

Jesus set His face like a flint. That vivid image helps me to understand what commitment really is. It means that once I know what God is calling me to do, there’s no discussion, no argument, no questioning … no ifs, ands, or buts.

No obstacle or difficulty will make me change my mind. If it’s too hot or too cold, that won’t stop me. If I’m tired, I’ll try to get some rest, but being tired won’t keep me from doing what I’m called to do. If people talk about me and ridicule me, it may hurt, but it won’t make me turn around.

If I am going to accomplish anything of value in life, and especially if I’m going to fulfill my God-given calling, I’m going to have to set my face like a flint, just as Jesus did.

That’s what it takes to have victory over the obstacles that inevitably confront me in life. That’s what it takes to be an overcomer.

Ron Franklin

Posted in Behavior, Bible Study, Christian Life, Faith, Foundations of the Faith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Resolute Love of Jesus

Jesus, when He walked the earth, was both fully God and fully man. I think we sometimes forget how fully man He was. When He was about to go to the cross, the human Jesus felt all the trepidation any of us would feel at the prospect of suffering and death that awaited Him.

I really like Luke’s description of how Jesus began His final journey toward the cross:

Bible

Luke 9:51 (NKJV) Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,

Jesus “steadfastly set His face” to go to Jerusalem.

You could read this, on one level, as simply saying He purposed to go to Jerusalem. But I think it goes much deeper than that. I think about the imagery of “He set His face.” That’s very vivid. It’s like Jesus, knowing He was headed directly toward the greatest challenge anyone could face, put His game face on.

But even that picture was not quite enough for Luke. He wants to make sure we really understand that going to Jerusalem and the cross was neither easy nor automatic for the human Jesus. It’s something He had to deliberately determine to do, knowing what the cost would be.

So, Luke adds that not only did Jesus set His face, He did so “steadfastly.” That word in the Greek means to be fixed, strong, firm, unmovable.

That’s how Jesus faced the challenge of the cross. He did not flinch, and He did not waver. He went resolutely forward to accomplish the work He came to earth to do. And He did it for you and for me.

When I remember how human Jesus was when He set His face to go to the cross, it makes me even more deeply appreciative of the love God has for me:

Romans 5:8    But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

That’s love!

Ron Franklin

Posted in Behavior, Bible Study, Christian Life, Faith, Foundations of the Faith, Luke and Acts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment