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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Refusing To Condemn People Even When They Deserve It

If you are a Christian, and committed to your faith, I’m sure you are doing your best to live a godly life. Jesus said that if we love Him we will keep His commandments (John 14:15).

But there is a danger that those who love the Lord, and who strive to live a life worthy of Him, have all-too-often fallen into. That potential trap is indicated in the following verses:

BibleTitus 3:2-3 (NKJV) to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

How many times do we look at the lives of people around us, family members or coworkers on the job, and criticize them savagely because of the ungodly lifestyle they are living? When we feel that urge, Scripture says, be careful! We have no right to condemn another person for their ungodly behavior, because we used to be just like them.

True, we may not have committed their particular sins; we may not have used illegal drugs, or had children out of wedlock, or been too lazy to go out and find a job. But, in whatever way our rebellion against God and His righteous standards manifested itself, we too were once just as foolish, disobedient, and deceived as the person we feel so justified in criticizing.

It’s not that Scripture is saying we must not correct our loved ones for their off-center behavior. Many times correcting someone who is living dangerously is the most loving thing we can do. But when we do correct them, we must do it by speaking the truth, but only in a gentle, loving and supportive way (Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 4:15).

We must recognize that it is only the grace of God – His unconditional love that favored us when we had absolutely nothing good to offer Him – that has lifted us out of our own pits of darkness and destruction, and into the light of Christ.

So the next time you get ready to harshly criticize and condemn and talk negatively about the way someone else is living … STOP!

When we allow ourselves to speak evil of others, we become the ones who are falling into ungodly behavior.

Ron Franklin

 

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Stay focused on your mission!

Do you know what your mission in life is? Jesus certainly knew His. And whatever happened, He always stayed focused on His mission.

BibleLuke 9:54-56 (NKJV) 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.

When James and John wanted to blow away this Samaritan village because the inhabitants had disrespected Jesus and turned Him away, Jesus let His two firebrand disciples know: “That’s not the mission!”

Jesus didn’t come to destroy people’s lives, He came to save them. No matter what their attitude toward Him, or how they treated Him, getting people saved was always His focus. He never let disrespect or maltreatment by the people He came to save deflect Him from the mission.

The most significant example of the Lord’s laser-like focus on His mission is, of course, the cross. Even as He was being put to death by the very people He came to deliver from death, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Every day I need to ask myself, how focused am I on my mission? Do I have the same laser focus on seeing my neighbors delivered from death that Jesus had?

And just how much (or how little) disrespect or opposition from the people around me will it take to make me start reacting to how I’m being treated, rather than keeping my focus on the mission?

Ron Franklin

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How Well Do You Walk?

Have you noticed that if you know someone well, you can recognize them just by the way they walk?

That’s true physically, and it’s also true spiritually. In spiritual terms, a person’s walk is their way of life – their deliberate decisions that determine how they will live every day.

The Bible teaches that we need to be very careful about the way we walk. For example, look at how the Apostle Paul urges believers to walk:

BibleRomans 13:13 (NKJV) Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.

A “proper” walk for a Christian does not include revelry (carousing), drunkenness, lewdness, lust, strife or envy. Those are some of the “thou shalt nots” of the Christian walk.

But there are also many positive features that should be evident in every believer’s walk. Here’s one that is absolutely fundamental to the Christian life:

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

If there’s one thing that should characterize the walk of Christian, it’s love!

How well do you walk today?

Ron Franklin

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Fewer Americans Identify as Christians – and that’s OK!

Originally posted on Biblical Faith and Society:

A new Pew Research study indicates that between 2007 and 2014 the number of adults in the United States who identify themselves as Christians dropped from 78.4 percent to 70.6 percent. By any measure that’s a significant decline!

WorshiperBut what does it really mean about the state of the Christian faith in this country? If media headlines are any indication, American Christianity is in real trouble.

“Millennials leaving church in droves,” trumpets CNN.

“Christians drop, ‘nones’ soar,” says USA Today, and goes on to declare, “The United States is a significantly less Christian country than it was seven years ago.”

But is the U. S. really significantly less Christian than it was seven years ago? I don’t think so.

Identifying as Christian and being a Christian are two different things

Yes, there undoubtedly are fewer people today who call themselves Christians than there were a few years ago. But that…

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Put your past in the past!

How many times have you looked at some mistake you made in the past, some situation that went wrong because of bad decisions on your part, and said to yourself, “If only I hadn’t done that!”?

One of the unpalatable truths of life is that “if only I hadn’t” can’t change anything. What’s done is done, and if anyone is hard at work on a time machine that will allow us to go back and change what we did in the past, it hasn’t even made it to beta-test yet.

That’s why I’m so glad that God doesn’t operate on the “if only you hadn’t” principle. He doesn’t give us the ability to go back and change what we did, but He does make it possible for us to put our past in the past:

BiblePhilippians 3:13-14 (NKJV) Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

No matter what our past may have been like, God is calling us to a great future in Christ!

So, don’t let past mistakes continue to haunt you. Repent of your wrong choices (repenting involves confessing the wrong, then turning to a new, godly path), and then put them behind you.

Dealing with the results of past decisions may be a necessary part of your present and future. For example, an unwise sexual relationship can yield consequences that shape your life for the next 18 or 21 years and beyond.

But God already knows all about that. The new future He wants you to press toward already takes those consequences into account. Yet He still plans for you to be “more than conqueror” (Romans 8:37) over anything life can throw at you.

“One thing I do,” says the apostle Paul. “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead…”

I think that’s a great program for being an overcomer in life!

Ron Franklin

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Having a good reputation

Do you care what other people think of you? Sure you do! And there’s
nothing wrong with that. In fact, the Bible says we should care what
opinion others have of us:

BibleProverbs 22:1 (NKJV) A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.

We are supposed to want people to think well of us. In fact, according to 1 Timothy 3:7, anyone who doesn’t have a good name, not only inside the church but with the community at large, is not qualified to be a congregational leader. God wants His people to have good reputations!

So, we should pay attention to maintaining a good name. Not by trying to manipulate people into liking us by conforming ourselves to their desires or expectations, but by living the kind of godly life people can’t help but respect.

When we live a Christ-like life, having a good name will take care of itself.

Ron Franklin

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Handling My Fears

I know believers in Christ have not been given a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), but I still experience that disturbing emotion sometimes. To my mind, the issue for Christians is not that we are never supposed to feel fear, but how we deal with it when it comes. I think the experience of the children of Israel on the shore of the Red Sea shows us what to do.

God had sent Moses to deliver His people from slavery in Egypt. But when Moses led the people out of that country, he took them to the shore of the sea and, it seemed, straight into a trap.

BibleExodus 14:10 (NKJV) And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD.

There the people stood on the shore, their way forward blocked by a sea they could not cross. And when they looked behind, they knew that big dust cloud on the horizon was the pursuing Egyptian army, angry and determined to violently chastise them for daring to escape from their servitude.

Sea in front, Egyptians behind, no weapons and no ability to fight. From a human perspective, the children of Israel literally had no way out of their situation. Fully understanding their between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place predicament, they became very afraid. And in their fear, they gave us a great example of what Christians should do when the circumstances we face in life make us afraid – they cried out to the Lord!

The Bible never promises that believers won’t face threatening and seemingly impossible situations. In fact, it pretty much assures us that we will. But it also tells us how to handle it when those crises inevitably occur.

Psalm 56:3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.

When adverse or threatening circumstances stir up emotions of fear, they should just motivate us to call on the Lord and trust Him for deliverance. Even when there seems to be no way out, God can part the waters for us when we trust Him with our fears.

Ron Franklin

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