Author Archives: michaelfranklinministries

Nothing Less

I love the early morning dew. There is something about a dew covered ground as the early morning sun’s rays shine down and cause it to glisten. It reminds me of strings of white lights or diamonds shimmering or frothy milk. When I was a boy,  I used to try to see the sun soaking up the dew and drying off the grass.

I wrote a poem once to a little girl I liked in the fifth grade. She sat on the front row and had long brown hair which she braided down her back. I don’t remember the poem exactly except for a few lines, “I love you like grass loves dew or falling rain that beats against the windowpane.” Years later I realized the simile I used showed a huge lack of commitment  Realistically, dew is around less than 30 minutes and falling rain quickly hits the windowpane, bounces off and is gone. No wonder she never acknowledged my poem!

Even Hosea compares the morning dew in the Bible, “What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears.” -Hosea 6:4

Hosea was a prophet living in the northern kingdom of Israel. His wife was not committed to him and had an adulterous affair. Israel too was not committed to God. It was a time of little loyalty and Hosea longed to bring people back to their commitments. His own personal life reflected the lives of those around him in their relationship with God. Like the early morning dew is quickly soaked up by the sun, so was his wife’s devotion to him and so was Israel’s devotion to God.

How is your commitment to God? Are you like the morning dew? Where is He on your priority list?

Many of you may be quick to answer and insist God is number one; but let’s think on it for a moment. Do you give Him time every morning in prayer and study of the word? What about church? Is it a priority in your family or is soccer or baseball? What about around the office? Do you tiptoe around your political correctness and only speak of Him in safe, non-threatening environments? Maybe you are like the morning dew or the falling rain.

Some of us need to evaluate our relationships with God and get our priorities straight. He does not like anything half-way. Consider this, would you like for Him to be half-committed to you?

Take the time today to prioritize God in your life and reconnect with our Savior. Many people have good intentions – they desire to be Christian but only at an emotional level;  remember, it is not our intent but our action that make us Christian. You can intend to believe and love Christ all day long but until you actively walk in His way, you are only half-committed. Give Him your whole-heart and nothing less.


A Voice for God?

From the scripture in 1 Corinthians 13 regarding love and what love looks like, the Apostle Paul gives us characteristics which exemplify our actions in love. The opening words of Paul’s writing in this chapter of Corinthians state, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”

My grandson was at the house recently. Connie was watching him in the kitchen while she prepared lunch. He held in his hand a large metal spoon and the top to one of Connie’s copper pots.

“Clang, clang, clang, clang,” the noise flowed through the den and into my bedroom. “Clang, clang, clang…” the noise flowed down into the basement. “Clang, clang, clang…” my Rottweiler napping on the front porch began to howl.

I went into the kitchen to help Connie finish the lunch preparation – anything to stop the noise.

The word “brass” comes from the Greek word “chalkos.” Chalkos was a bronze or copper type metal which had tin added to it. This gave it a hollow, empty sound when it was beaten. Like the lid of the metal pot, the noise that comes from this type of clanging is annoying and has an irritating echo to it. In the City of Corinth, pagan worship used a constant banging noise that flowed through the streets which people could not get away from. The pagans believed the piercing noise would bring a sense of spiritual ecstasy; and so, it never stopped.

Paul references this noise to compare it to people who profess or seem to be “super spiritual” but do not have the actions of love to back-up their tongues. Basically, Paul is telling us, without love to back up our words, we are like the pagans, clanging, banging, and irritating those around us.

There are people who say a lot – quote scriptures – preach in the parking lot of Walmart – have an opinion about everything – and speak words which flow from their mouths like oil… but their actions do not line-up with their words.

The question to ask yourself is, “Am I being a repellent for God? Or am I being a loving, spiritual voice for God?”

Most of us know if we are living by God’s Word or simply talking about it. But if anyone is uncertain, ask someone you trust! But be willing to evaluate and accept their answer.

 


To Have Love…

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3

Love is greater than personal sacrifice.

Giving to the poor; going on mission trips; building homes for those who have lost everything; being a mentor to young people; the list goes on and on, and they are all worthy actions. They are all important. They are all wonderful; but if we do them without the love of God, we have wasted our time. It’s hard to grasp, isn’t it? All the plaques in the world for service to others mean nothing without His love to back it up.

Have you ever dreamed of winning the lottery – the jackpot? Have you discussed with your spouse, friends, or co-workers what you would do with the money? I’d end all hunger in Haiti. I’d build homes for everyone. And every child would have the opportunity to go to school. If I could win one of those big lottery jackpots, you know the ones, $400,000,000.00 – WOW! I’d make sure every child in the world had a full belly every night before they went to bed. But if my actions were not for love but for self, I have done NOTHING. If we give out of guilt or earthly acclaim or because everyone else is giving or for the praise of man, although the people who are receiving the blessings gain much, we will gain NOTHING.

Love is a tricky action – but it is an action God takes seriously.

In the first 3 verses of 1 Corinthians 13, I can summarize what Paul is trying to tell us.

Having LOVE is greater than being the must incredible preacher/speaker/writer in the world.

Having LOVE is greater than all the gifts and talents in the world.

Having LOVE is greater than any personal sacrifice you can offer the world.

When we do NOT have LOVE…we communicate NOTHING…we contribute NOTHING…we gain NOTHING.

The key take away point to Paul’s writing is – LOVE isn’t about us. It isn’t about why we do what we do. It isn’t about how we use our talents. It isn’t about what we give up. LOVE is about God.

Love starts with God because God is love. To have LOVE, we must have Him. To have Him, we have to get to know God better. When we develop a personal relationship with Him, He will allow His love to flow through us and transform our hearts supernaturally. The greatest proof of Love came to us in the form of our Savior, Jesus Christ. His hands, His feet, His side, His head carry the scars of Love’s sacrifice. The greatest act of LOVE is found at the foot of the Cross. That is LOVE made REAL.


Love is…

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

Disqualify you? Well, if we are honest, it disqualifies most of us. We fail at love because most of us, if not all of us, do not truly understand what God intended love to be.

Love is patient…

Paul writes out a list of characteristics of love. I don’t know about you but I’m still stuck on Love is patient. 

Did you know patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit? The opposite of patience is of course impatience which is the fruit of selfishness and entitlement.

Selfishness is one of those characteristics that has its own private party at the expense of others. Love seeks its happiness in the other person not in itself.

Our culture today is all about personal feelings. I remember flipping through the channels at home and coming across a well-known therapist. He asked the question, “And how does that make you feel?” He continued to ask the question over and over again. I wanted to throw the remote!  I chuckled to myself because it is the way of the world – we do what we “feel like doing” when we “feel like doing it” without thought of consequences or others. Immediate gratification. It is the “I want it now” mentality, and the world has caught on to it very well.

I believe Paul opens with this trait because it is simple really; we must be patient with others because we ourselves have failed many times too. We, ourselves, have sinned; have made mistakes; have hurt others; have ______________ (You fill in the blank) – and God has continued to love and wait on us to come around.

Love is long-suffering – it waits – it listens – it sits beside – it ponders – it says, “I’m here for as long as it takes.”

As long as it takes? Sounds like commitment to me. Sounds like the definition of loyalty.

Today think about how you love people in your life. Are you committed or do you quit at the first signs of trouble? Are you a “stand by his/her side” kind of person, or are you more about how the relationship impacts you?

I want to challenge you to process what love looks like in your life. If you need to change what and how you act in love, ask God to help you to love as He loves.

Every morning I ask God to allow me to love my wife as He loves her. I ask Him to allow me to see people as He sees them. I pray for the commitment to be the friend I need to be and have the loyalty of Him. He will never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)


Your Unfailing Love

Psalm  143:8, “Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go for to You I lift up my soul.”

This morning as I prepared for my day, I thought of this verse. I thought of the words and the importance of putting our trust in God each and every day. The very first words that come from our mouths as we open our eyes should be these. There are times in our lives when we can only see the next step and sometimes, it is difficult to see even that; but God can see the whole path. He knows what’s up ahead and He will faithfully guide us through the terrain as long as we allow Him to do so.

King David lived through tumultuous times. At the time he wrote this scripture, the surrounding nations were after the blood of God’s people. During this time period and even today, Israel was constantly threatened by the countries around it who were eager to conquer the land and destroy its people. But David relied on a Warrior far more powerful than the current threat of the day. He knew God had the bigger picture, the whole blueprint. He knew in Whom to put his trust.

This morning, try it. Memorize this verse and commit to quoting it every morning as you start your day. Each day, God’s love for us is new and fresh. He is completely sold out to us. And His love is unconditional, borderless, never-ending. Openly profess that you put your trust in Him. This means ‘whatever’ happens in your day, you know God is with you. Whatever fire you need to walk through, He’ll walk through it with you. Whatever storm you need to ride out, He’ll ride it out with you. Whatever decision you need to make, He’ll help you make it. Whomever you need to see, He’ll make sure you meet with them. If you do not need to see them, He’ll make sure you don’t.

You simply need to lift up your soul to Him.


The Greatest Proof of Love

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3

Love is greater than personal sacrifice.

Giving to the poor; going on mission trips; building homes for those who have lost everything; being a mentor to young people; the list goes on and on, and they are all worthy actions. They are all important. They are all wonderful; but if we do them without the love of God, we have wasted our time. It’s hard to grasp, isn’t it? All the plaques in the world for service to others mean nothing without His love to back it up.

Have you ever dreamed of winning the lottery – the jackpot? Have you discussed with your spouse, friends, or co-workers what you would do with the money? I’d end all hunger in Haiti. I’d build homes for everyone. And every child would have the opportunity to go to school. If I could win one of those big lottery jackpots, you know the ones, $400,000,000.00 – WOW! I’d make sure every child in the world had a full belly every night before they went to bed. But if my actions were not for love but for self, I have done NOTHING. If we give out of guilt or earthly acclaim or because everyone else is giving or for the praise of man, although the people who are receiving the blessings gain much, we will gain NOTHING.

Love is a tricky action – but it is an action God takes seriously.

In the first 3 verses of 1 Corinthians 13, I can summarize what Paul is trying to tell us.

Having LOVE is greater than being the must incredible preacher/speaker/writer in the world.

Having LOVE is greater than all the gifts and talents in the world.

Having LOVE is greater than any personal sacrifice you can offer the world.

When we do NOT have LOVE…we communicate NOTHING…we contribute NOTHING…we gain NOTHING.

The key take away point to Paul’s writing is – LOVE isn’t about us. It isn’t about why we do what we do. It isn’t about how we use our talents. It isn’t about what we give up. LOVE is about God.

Love starts with God because God is love. To have LOVE, we must have Him. To have Him, we have to get to know God better. When we develop a personal relationship with Him, He will allow His love to flow through us and transform our hearts supernaturally. The greatest proof of Love came to us in the form of our Savior, Jesus Christ. His hands, His feet, His side, His head carry the scars of Love’s sacrifice. The greatest act of LOVE is found at the foot of the Cross. That is LOVE made REAL.


The Right Man for the Job

“The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.” – Jeremiah 1:5-9

In this scripture, God had a job for Jeremiah. He wanted Jeremiah to tell the people of Israel to repent and return to God or face dire consequences. It wasn’t a message Jeremiah wanted to deliver and because of it, he made excuses to God.

“God, I’d really like to deliver your message, but I am just not the right person. I’m young. I’m not a good speaker. You have sooo many more options, God, than me!”

Have you ever had a conversation with God like that? Maybe He needs you to have a conversation with a co-worker that you know is cheating someone else. Maybe it is with your neighbor who isn’t attending church. Maybe it is with your spouse or best friend or someone at church. Sometimes we are faced with a peer pressure situation where everyone else is doing it but we know it is wrong and God needs us to speak out against it.

The problem for Jeremiah was, God knew Jeremiah was the man for the job, and God encouraged him.

God never asks us to do something He does not equip us to do; yet, we question our abilities. Maybe God has called you to do a particular job for Him but you do not believe it is possible. We can understand how Jeremiah might have felt. God’s words to Jeremiah are no different from the words He would say to you or me. “Do not be afraid…I am with you.”

God has work for you to do. Whether or not you do it is up to you. Listen to the tug within your heart. Respond to His voice and call on your life. Don’t let your doubts and insecurities prevent you from moving forward and doing what God has asked you to do.