On the Mountaintop

By Linda Tancs

What’s your favorite mountaintop view? One of my favorites is the view of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, from Snow Mountain. It’s no wonder that the Bible speaks of going up mountains. After all, what do you see from the mountaintop? Everything. It changes your perspective.

Mountains bring to mind Psalm 104:8—the mountains rose and the valley sank. From the mountaintop, everything seems so small.

View your life as from a mountaintop. When your perspective gets larger, your problems get smaller—worries, anxieties, offenses, you name it. They sink.

Climb every mountain, as an old song says. The view is so worth it.

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES, Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Learn more at goforwardinfaith.com. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

 

It’s Elementary

By Linda Tancs

“Elementarymy dear Watson” is a phrase often attributed to Sherlock Holmes, the English detective created by the novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes supposedly says this to his companion Dr. Watson when explaining his reasoning in solving a crime.

God’s law is likewise elementary, as distilled by Jesus during His ministry (Matthew 22:36-40). He intended it to be simple. We complicate it through our own actions. What He had to say about how we should live our lives could be summed up in a few phrases: love others and give of yourself to them, especially the less fortunate (Galatians 6:2); be non-violent (Proverbs 3:31); be honest (Proverbs 12:22); be forgiving (Mark 11:25); and be humble (Luke 14:11).

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES, Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Learn more at goforwardinfaith.com. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

Mind the Gap

By Linda Tancs

The British use the expression “mind the gap” to call attention to gaps at train station platforms—that abyss bridging where you are from where you want to be. The gap is a good metaphor for life transitions, where your “now” is not where you ultimately want to remain.

Sound familiar? Sometimes we sidestep life’s gaps—it’s too hard, too lonely, too uncertain. We stay stuck in the “now” but then try to avoid even that by reminiscing about the “good old days” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).

Don’t fall into that trap. Instead, embrace the gap and all its messy steps and details. Contrary to popular thought, the devil isn’t in the details—God is (Proverbs 16:9).

Ask, Seek and Knock

By Linda Tancs

Matthew 7:7-12 is often construed to mean that we can have what we want if we’ll just ask, seek and knock. Of course, God delights in giving gifts to His children, like any parent (James 1:17). But we miss an important opportunity to see this passage as an invitation to trust that we are being guided and cared for unless we insert Him into it.

Read it this way: “Everyone who asks for Him, receives Him; and the one who seeks, finds Him; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened to Him.” It’s not about what, it’s about who.

Knowledge or Wisdom

By Linda Tancs

The phrase “knowledge is power” was first attributed to Sir Francis Bacon in the 1500s. There’s nothing wrong with being knowledgeable, but knowledge isn’t always powerful. Sometimes, it’s wrong or even useless. The better phrase is “wisdom is power.” After all, God ordained it a valuable treasure (Proverbs 8:11) and even commands us to acquire it (Proverbs 4:5).

God does grant knowledge (Ecclesiastes 2:26), which is often used in pursuit of worldly endeavors. But wisdom is an ability to see things from the Lord’s perspective, to conduct oneself according to His precepts. Practice wisdom through prayer and discernment and you’ll live a powerful life.

Our Better Angels

By Linda Tancs

Human nature pivots between good and evil. Abraham Lincoln recognized that in his first inaugural address, when he appealed to the better, more virtuous instincts of the nation in a time of great strife with his turn of phrase, “the better angels of our nature.” An old Cherokee story relates this conflict between good and evil, wherein a grandfather tells his grandson that two wolves battle within him—one exhibiting things like evil, anger, resentment and ego and the other showing compassion, serenity, hope and faith. When the grandson asks which wolf wins, the grandfather replies, “The one I feed.”

Feed your better angels, and live in the fullness of God (Deuteronomy 30:19).

The Last One Standing

By Linda Tancs

Do you know what it’s like to be “the last one standing?” Sometimes, it might connote something victorious, like winning on the Survivor reality show. Or, if you’re like me, it means being picked last in gym class, which was tantamount to not being chosen at all.

Rejection hurts. Joseph (Barsabbas) knew the feeling. He was a contender for the role of replacement apostle after Judas’s betrayal, but Matthias got selected instead (Acts 1:23-26). And, of course, no one knew rejection better than Jesus. But the fact remains that you’ll never be chosen last by God (Psalm 94:14). People may offer rejection, but God always offers acceptance. His opinion matters more; let His offer of acceptance create an atmosphere for you to thrive in the way that He’s called you.

How to Enjoy Life

By Linda Tancs

A few years ago, a survey revealed that “enjoying life to the fullest” was the most popular New Year’s resolution. It’s an admirable goal any time of the year, yet defining what it means to “enjoy life” is tricky. Some tie it to financial success, which is always subject to change, even fleeting. Others tie it to equally variable factors like the right job, the right house or the right spouse. So why not try a biblical formula for enjoying life. The apostle Peter gives us three guiding principles: watch your mouth, treat others fairly and pursue peace (1 Peter 3:10-11). Sounds like good advice to me.

The Change Agent

By Linda Tancs

You’re probably familiar with Newton’s first law of motion: once an object is in motion it will keep moving unless it is acted on by another force.

Our lives are a lot like that. Sometimes we’ll keep moving in a singular direction (for better or worse) until something happens to change it. God is a change agent. Look what He did for the apostle Paul. By his own admission, Paul was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man (1 Timothy 1:13-16) until the grace of God found him on that road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-18).

God is the game changer. What can you ask Him to change in you?

The Highest Good

By Linda Tancs

The Latin phrase summum bonum means “the highest good.” So what is the highest good? Literally, it is God; it doesn’t get any higher than that (Luke 18:19). You’ve heard it said hundreds of times, “God is good.” Throughout the Bible we’re reminded that God represents every good thing: love (1 John 4:8), light (1 John 1:5), forgiveness (1 John 1:9), compassion (Exodus 33:19), generosity (Psalm 84:11) and so on.

It is impossible to be as good as God (Isaiah 55:8-9), but we should aim to be as good as possible. In the philosophical context, our highest good is a virtuous life. Paul defined those virtues as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). It’s your highest good and your highest calling. Jesus left you an example to follow (1 Peter 2:21), so follow Him.