Since the pandemic, I’ve witnessed a need for human connections. Even though the pandemic occurred a couple of years ago, its effects linger.
Many people were left with deep loneliness due to the loss of loved ones or the extended periods of separation. It created a rift in our relationships, and I believe it’s a divine call to bridge that gap, not only with those we already know but also with strangers.
That’s why this week, we’re launching a new series to help us foster and develop both existing and potential relationships. This series is guided by a 5-step principle called the S-P-E-A-K principle, where “S” signifies “story.”
How many people do we know by name but do not know their story?
While many have heard my own story of the grace God has shown me, God has dealt with me about the importance of inquiring about others’ stories.
This not only opens the person’s heart and deepens our understanding of them but also reflects care and compassion, laying the groundwork for meaningful relationships.
In today’s world, people long to be heard and acknowledged, offering an opportunity for us to truly know others by listening to their stories.
1 Corinthians 13:1 reminds us, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” The principle I’m sharing with you is meaningless without the love of God at its core.
God’s love should be the driving force in every relationship you nurture, motivating your actions and underpinning your words.
I challenge you to discover someone’s story. Listen attentively, and perhaps, in return, share your own story and pray for them.
We were created for relationships; we need one another!
Two weeks ago, when I arrived in Kona, Hawaii, I couldn’t help but be amazed by its natural beauty – the vast oceans, majestic volcanoes, and lush tropics.
Now that I’m back home in Oklahoma, I gaze out my window and witness the unique beauty of this season here as well.
During this time, a verse from Genesis 8:22 has been on my mind: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
It’s a reminder that everything in the heavens and the universe, according to God’s creation, is deemed “good,” each with its own purpose and cycle. There’s always a time for planting and a time for reaping, for cold and heat, and so on.
This cycle ensures we always have provision, and it runs deeper, rooted in a special purpose. Just like apple seeds produce apples and tomato seeds yield tomatoes, each of us is a part of God’s beautiful creation with a unique purpose and assignment.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “That’s pretty simple, Brother Mikel.” But have you pondered this about yourself? You, too, are a unique part of God’s good creation.
Taking it a step further, God has bestowed upon you and all of us a special purpose and calling, as outlined in His Word. Our foremost purpose is to love God and in response to that love, to love others. To grow closer to our heavenly Father.
Moreover, understand that He has a distinctive plan for your life, encompassing your day-to-day activities and your future. This plan involves encounters with people, opportunities, and tasks, all with a purpose, whether we comprehend it fully or not.
Recognize that we constantly operate on “kingdom time.” While we’re here on this Earth, we’re here for a reason on an assignment for the Kingdom of God, which we’ve been graciously included in.
You, my friend, are part of something vast and profound, greater than both of us. Let’s embrace this purpose together and live it out to the fullest!
A word that God has been dropping in my heart as we enter this Fall season is courage.
The first day of Fall lands on the same day every year, but it still tends to sneak up on us. We get wrapped up in back-to-school activities, work, and life’s challenges, but before we know it, we’re surprised that the heat has ended.
This got me thinking: we are often surprised by the challenging season we are in, but God is never surprised.
The people you’ll meet, job offers, the new life you bring into the world, even the shortcomings. None of it caught God by surprise.
As we enter into Fall and its challenges, I want you to remember to respond with courage. With Christ on your side, you can handle every opportunity and obstacle that comes your way with a Holy boldness.
My encouragement to you in this new season is:
See the beauty within the opportunity, work, or challenge.
Remember your worth and handle it with courage.
True courage comes from the core of who you are. And you develop your courage with the Word of God. The Word gives you the strength to make up your mind and act by faith – moving boldly.
Supernatural courage comes from who you are in Christ, the real you, as you act in line with God’s Word.
The key to courage is not waiting for the moment to come and expecting you to respond with great courage. Instead, you have to meditate on God’s word day and night, getting it in your heart. As Romans 10:17 tells us, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
Build your faith through God’s Word daily, so when the moment comes, you will respond with faith and courage, not intimidated by the obstacle or opportunity but rising up with great boldness.
Your boldness comes from Him! It is rooted in your relationship with God, so you know you can do “all things” through Him.
Stay in God’s presence, stay in the community of the church, and stay in His Word. You’ll find great courage rising as you know you are covered by God’s hand and the community of our church family.
2 Chronicles 19:11 says, “And take notice: Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the LORD; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king’s matters; also the Levites will be officials before you. Behave courageously, and the LORD will be with the good.”
Today marks the fifth Monday Motivator in our series, “Getting Rid of Excess Baggage.” To catch up on previous posts, simply visit this link: https://mikelfrench.com/blog/.
As the saying goes, “Save the best for last,” and that’s exactly how I feel about what I’m sharing with you today – the topic of our true identity.
Understanding your authentic identity greatly influences the joy you experience in life. Israel lost their joyful spirit because they forgot who they truly were.
It took them 12 months to escape Egypt physically, but a staggering 40 years to remove the Egypt mentality from their hearts.
They ceased being slaves, and so have we. Their journey mirrors our own, transitioning from slavery to becoming children of God.
Throughout their transformation, God consistently referred to them as “His people.” I find that beautiful because God never abandons His own. His love and provision never cease.
He claimed them as His own, just as we are His:
– We are God’s children. – We are living proof of His grace.
Too often, we fall into the trap of the “looking-glass principle,” letting others’ opinions shape our identity. When someone responds negatively, we start viewing ourselves poorly.
But this need not be the case! The only opinion that should define our identity is God’s, the One who intricately created and molded us.
Recognizing who you are plays a pivotal role in shedding emotional baggage. When you understand your identity in Christ, nothing and no one can shake you. No circumstance, because you grasp your rights and inheritance as a child of God. No person, because you know they don’t determine your worth.
This week, make it your mission to deepen into your identity in Christ. Let this knowledge permeate your being, washing away any internal baggage that has tarnished your self-perception. No more carrying the burden of bondage; embrace the freedom of your true identity.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7
Keeping our focus on God’s promises rather than getting caught up in doubts and challenges is crucial.
Remembering His faithfulness, proclaiming His promises, and writing down our vision can all help us stay aligned with His plan. It’s all about walking by faith, not just relying on what we see in the natural.
That’s what the Israelites struggled with. They lost their faith in where God was taking them. They were so caught up with where they were in the present that they forgot where they were going.
But I believe we cannot be quick to judge them as we tend to do this as well.
Let’s put our feet in their shoes for a minute. We are quick to read about their story, but I think it’s vital to put ourselves in their situation.
In Old Testament times, God spoke through the people He chose, and those people were to communicate what God had spoken to them to the people.
So, Moses’ mission was to communicate to the Israelites everything He had commanded and promised.
First, thank God we have the Holy Spirit today who speaks directly to us.
Now, consider how much faith it required of them to believe this man they never met to lead them into a land full of milk and honey.
Secondly, consider how much more faith it required as they traveled through a wilderness and desert to get there. A place where you look left, right, behind, forward, and see the same thing. It probably felt hopeless at times.
Did they have a reason to doubt? Did they really have a reason to complain? Should it really have taken 40 years to get to the promised land? NO.
But this happens when we take our eyes off the promises of God and focus them on our current circumstances.
Maybe not to their extreme, but we tend to do the same thing. When we do this internal baggage builds up that we were never meant to carry.
After seeing God faithfully come through time and time again. We still question.
This is why walking with our spiritual eyes and not our natural ones is essential.
To walk by faith and not by sight.
Holding on to the promises of God, clinging onto them, and writing His Word on our hearts. For His yoke and way of doing things is easy and light which can require our faith.
You may feel like this is a desert, wilderness journey, but see the supernatural works God is doing in it and remember where He is taking you.
Remember what He has done, proclaim what he has promised, and write the vision! Throw off your way of doing things that are weighing you down and walk by faith which allows you to walk in His already made provision.
Do you get discouraged by today’s challenges and forget the reality of what God is doing in your life?
You might just be in a season of change. You may have entered something new, which could be a transition period.
I want to tell you to avoid getting STUCK in transition. The story isn’t done!
It is not uncommon to start something new with excitement and then, over time, lose your joy and the enthusiasm you started with.
Challenging moments can easily use up our launch adrenaline.
And suddenly, our weaknesses show up instead of our strengths.
Becoming a parent, starting a new job, and taking on new responsibilities all often have this trajectory.
Whatever transition you are experiencing, don’t let it weigh you down on the inside.
God has given you grace for this season – the empowerment through His strength by His Spirit to handle it with wisdom.
The Israelites needed to remember where they were. Yes, they were in the wilderness, in transition, but they forgot they were in the will of God.
And when you are in the will of God, there is provision.
When you act in obedience, there are blessings.
Remember what God is doing in your life!
Every challenge is an opportunity for growth and your strengths to become even stronger.
So, take what is bogging you down inwardly and shake it off. Relieve yourself by remembering God has a purpose, plan, and provision for this moment.
If the Israelites just reminded themselves of all God was doing for them, even previously done, it would have saved them a lot of energy and time.
Remember, it’s just a journey to the destination He is taking you to.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”