Author Archives: michaelfranklinministries

When Necessary Use Your Words

Acts 6:7, “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”

Many of us operate under the assumption that in order to change the world we have to do great and mighty things. The truth of the matter is: a simple act of kindness in the name of Jesus; a loving gesture displaying Christianity; an understanding word to honor Him can start a rippling effect.

How we interact on a daily basis influences others. Have you ever had your day interrupted by someone’s rudeness? Maybe you were grabbing breakfast on your way to work and the person in the car in front of you bought your meal. Or you are dropping your children off at school and someone holds the door for you. Maybe you are running 10,000 errands in a small amount of time and someone offers to help you. The way it makes me feel in turn causes me to respond to others in similar fashion. And the rippling begins…

Words and actions cross our paths every second of every day. Did you ever stop and think how your words and actions are impacting others?

I once read a church billboard which said, “Always testify to the goodness of Jesus Christ and when necessary use your words.”

Sometimes I see someone acting out in a loving way to another person and I think, “I know that makes God smile!” Other times I see someone acting in an ungodly way and I think, “I bet God is wishing he or she would just sit down and hush.”

As Christians we have a higher calling – to spread the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ – with our words and our actions. When we do so, the ripples start and make such a difference in the lives of others. Try it! You never know how God may use it to benefit His Kingdom.


Be Still

Psalm 37:7, “Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.”

1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Romans 8: 16-17, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

Be still in His presence for you are a special possession of God’s. Make your mind like a still pool of water, waiting to hear from Him. Allow Him to interject His thoughts into yours. A crowded mind is too full to hear from our Father.

As you face today, know that God has already seen every detail of your day; He knows the struggles you will face; He knows the pressure you will be under; He knows the heart aches, the challenges, the obstacles, and even the joys. Because you are chosen to be His, He will take care of it – if you allow Him to do so. You are His heir – a co-heir with Christ.

Do not wear yourself down with worry, regret, fear, and anxiety. Can you cope under the pressure of the day? NO! Not by yourself. That’s why you desperately need God. With Him, not only can you cope under the pressure of the day, you will overcome the pressures of the day. See, God is on the winning team. If you are on God’s team, you are a winner.

Communicate with Him. Give Him control of your day. Remember, God isn’t in a hurry. He has always been here, and He will always be here. He is outside of time. Sometimes I think the more I push Him for an answer, the longer it takes to get one. He wants me to wait on Him and be still so that I hear what He needs me to do. When we get in a hurry; when we are overwhelmed with worry; we cannot hear God’s answers for us.

Take the time today to be still; to be available; to know you are His special possession and He has called you into His wonderful light.

 


Where is God Taking You?

The Bible compares our Christian walk to a race – it is a race of faith.

Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I love to run. I used to run a whole lot faster than I do now. Back in the day, my heart and lungs worked in a rhythm which was almost lulling. Now, every joint aches and my body protests every step. Some of you know what I’m talking about!

One of my favorite work-outs was wind sprints – even though I would’ve never admitted it to my coach or teammates. Who loves those? Wind sprints are speed endurance agility drills. Plain and simple, players line up, whistle blows, you run as fast as you can to the 10 yard line, then the 20 yard line, the 30 yard line and so on. It was all about enduring, pushing through the pain, increasing power, and persevering. I was always thankful for wind sprints on Friday night, 4th quarter, when running up and down that field wasn’t what I wanted to do – especially if we were losing.

Sometimes in life we are called to run wind sprints and sometimes marathons. The key to being a good runner is eyes forward, not looking back. It’s easier said than done, when trouble is breathing down our necks and the very footsteps of what we fear is at our heels. But the race is won keeping our eyes focused ahead on Jesus Christ – not looking back at our past – not fearing what is behind us – not holding on to where we’ve already run – but moving forward to where God is taking us.

Isaiah 40:31, “…but those who hope in the Lord  will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

So let us run the good race God has put before us, focused fully on Him.


Find Peace With Your Enemies

Proverbs 1:7 reads, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The Hebrew word for fool in this context, and in other places in the Old Testament, is a word which means morally defiant. The fool Solomon describes here is very much like a snake, deaf and unable to charm. Until the fool is willing to know God, he despises Godly instruction.

According to the psalmist in Psalm 58, unredeemed people are seen as wicked in the eyes of God, “Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies. Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, that will not heed the tune of the charmer however skillful the enchanter may be.”

Some of the psalmist’s words are hard to understand. The important part to remember is, when David wrote these words, he is asking God to punish the wicked; he is not asking God to allow him to punish them. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor, anti-Nazi, and one of the greatest martyrs for Jesus Christ wrote a small book called Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible. Bonhoeffer lived his life according to the richness of the Book of Psalm. He understood from his prison cell in Nazi Germany what it was like to be tormented by the wicked. He felt the depth of evil, as David is describing in Psalm 58. He knew well of the existence of the ungodly.

Many times in the Book of Psalm, the authors cry out to God to punish the wicked; to declare judgment upon them: “The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.” The words are very sombering when we consider our God to be of love and light. David meant here simply the wicked will die and the righteous will not.

So what do we do with Psalm 58 and others like it? First, the important words to remember are, David was asking God to handle those who harmed him. It is no different from what we pray when we turn people over to God; those who sin against us or are cruel to us; those we believe are unjust and unfair. We lay them at the foot of the cross; we place them in the hands of God. It is not for us to handle but for God to handle in His time.

Secondly, we were all wicked before the redemption of Christ; before we were reborn in Him. Whether we want to accept such a thought or not, until we drenched the blood covering protection of Jesus Christ over us, we were/are considered lost among the wicked. That is why the battle for souls is so important to God and so important to Satan. Every soul counts.

Because Jesus was human on earth, He understands what it feels like to be treated cruelly and unjustly at the hands of mean and hateful people. The Psalms are the prayers and cries of human beings to God; humans in desperate situations; humans who believe in a God who protects and defends them against evil.

Bonhoeffer writes, “It is the incarnate Son of God, who has borne every human weakness in his own flesh, who here pours out the heart of all humanity before God, and who stands in our place and prays for us.” Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible, page 20-21.

Most of us will not experience the depth of evilness as David, Bonhoeffer, and many others tortured for their beliefs; but, some of us understand what it is like to face unfairness, hatefulness, and cruelty. Some of us know the deep emotions of betrayal and heartache at the hands of another. As David, we must turn those feelings over to God to handle. Only He can punish fairly. He is the only just Judge.

Today, as you pray, ask God to help you find peace with your enemies. Put them in the hands of God. Let Him deal with them. Remember who stands in your place and prays for you.


The Spirit God Gave Us

2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”

Matthew 10:31, “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

What makes you afraid? What do you worry about? What keeps you up at night? Over the years, I’ve heard many answers to those questions and I’ve answered them myself in various ways. Fear is a very real emotion and one that God is very much aware exists in our hearts.

Maybe you fear getting old; having an empty nest; getting sick; losing your job; not being accepted by others. Maybe you fear public speaking; flying on airplanes; being in crowds; losing your home; losing your money. Whatever it is, God has the answer.

Psalm 56:4, “In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Psalm 91:4-8, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.”

Isaiah 44:8, “Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

Pick any one of these verses and commit them to memory. When you are afraid, speak it aloud and claim it in your heart. Pray today about your fears and ask God to help you fight the fears within you. Seek the Word. God has a great deal to say about our fears.

Psalm 34:4, “I sought (prayed to) the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.”

Isaiah 35:4, “say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution; He will come to save you.'”

I love these scriptures because I know I serve a God who cares about me and wants to protect me. What I have to do, is trust He will do what He says He will do.


What are you giving?

Those of you who know me, know I love sports. I loved playing football and baseball, and I love watching any game the remote finds on our television. When I think about sports, I often think about marriage. My wife may not like the analogy; but, it is how I relate. Many people go through married life believing it is a 50-50 relationship. On the outside it sounds pretty good; however, when you dissect that 50%, it falls short.

Biblical love calls us to meet much more than 50% of our obligation in a marriage. It isn’t about you giving your 50 and your spouse giving his or her 50.

Have you ever heard a coach call out from the dugout, “Hey! Sanchez! Give me your 12% or I’m pulling you off the mound!” If you consider there are 9 members on the team, following the marriage model of 50-50, that’s what each player would contribute. 12%? I don’t think it would be a winning season, do you?

When we get into the “you do your part and I’ll do mine,” expectations are never met. You start thinking your 50% is tougher or you’re giving more than 50 and your spouse is giving less.

Biblical love asks, “How can I be what you need me to be?”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Now that sounds more like a team, doesn’t it? When such words as never and always are used, there is no other way except through 100% of self. Love is sacrificial; love is customer service at its very best; love begins with the question, “What can I do to make your life what you need it to be?”

Today, pray about your marriage. What percentage of yourself are you giving? It may be time to turn up the service meter inside you to 100%.


Push Through to Victory

Romans 15:4-6, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In this scripture Paul emphasizes two necessary ingredients in our Christian walk – endurance and encouragement. Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us…to teach us endurance through scripture. Several people in the Bible come to mind when I think of endurance – Joseph (sold into slavery, imprisoned, 2nd in command in Egypt); Moses (at one point he asked God to show him mercy and kill him Numbers 11:15); Job (lost his children, his home, his livestock, his riches); and the author of this scripture Paul (suffered with an affliction which he referred to as a “messenger of Satan”).

The trials of life teach us to endure, to push through, to depend upon God for strength and an answer to the situations we face.

Encouragement comes in the scriptures, in comfort from God, in people who have battled similar battles, and in the promises that God is always near. The two go hand-in-hand. Endurance cannot exist without encouragement nor encouragement without endurance. Every time you reject the temptation to quit it stems from some form of encouragement.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a German Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi dissident) said it best, “To endure the cross is tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ.”

When Jesus Christ faced the Cross, He faced it with courage beyond anything we can imagine. He faced it with love for us and for His Father so that in His suffering, God would be glorified. Through His endurance in suffering, we find hope, love, joy, and encouragement because the outcome was victorious; therefore, in walking with Christ, we are victorious in our sufferings as well. Simply put, He won for us. There could be no greater encouragement than to know in the end – WE WIN!!!

No matter what you are facing today, I want to encourage you. Don’t give up. Don’t feel you are alone. God will see you through it all and provide you with the encouragement you need to push through to victory.