The Measure of God’s Love

By Linda Tancs

Airlines typically regulate the size of baggage by height, width and length. Imagine if you could use the same principle to measure God’s love. You can’t, of course. In fact, Paul encouraged the Ephesians to ponder just how high, deep, long and wide Christ’s love is for us (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Let’s try to imagine it. High: to the galaxies and back. Deep: to the depths of the ocean. Long: forever. Wide: to every corner of the Earth and beyond.

The Best-Kept Secret

By Linda Tancs

It isn’t unusual to see a travel destination touted as the “best-kept secret.” Typically, that’s because it’s beautiful, quiet, unspoiled, or all of these things.

You have those same things in your heart when you dwell in God’s secret place (Psalm 91:1-2), a place of protection and provision for those who place their trust in Him. Trust is the key that unlocks the secret place (Jeremiah 17:7-8), and you don’t have to spend a dime to get there.

 

True Victory

By Linda Tancs

People claim victory in many ways. In the sports industry, it’s winning the game. In business, it’s that promotion, maybe even acceleration to the C-suite. Some even claim victory when they dispose of memorabilia from a bad marriage. Clearly, “victory” means different things to different people. But there’s only one true victory for the believer, the one earned through grace by His stripes (Isaiah 53:5). Thanks to the work done for us at the cross, we are winners in the game of everlasting life.

What Kind of Tree Are You?

By Linda Tancs

Journalist Barbara Walters once asked actress Katharine Hepburn what kind of tree she would be. Hepburn likened herself to an oak tree. Not a bad choice. After all, the oak tree is a symbol of power and strength. And the Bible says that we should be like a tree firmly planted (Psalm 1:3).

Like an oak, a firmly planted tree is stable. So what does stability look like? For starters, it’s properly managing the past, present and future. Leave the past behind (Philippians 3:13). Be confident in God’s promise to provide in your current circumstances (Malachi 3:10). Remain hopeful for the future (Hebrews 6:19; Jeremiah 29:11).

So, what kind of tree are you?

Unattached

By Linda Tancs

The Bible urges us to be unattached to outcomes—or incomes, for that matter (1 John 2:15-17; Hebrews 13:5-6). That means we are encouraged to purge attachments we have to who we are, attachments to our belongings, attachments to our jobs, labels, titles, and roles, attachments to our judgments and attachments to old memories that keep us stuck.

What attachments can you release? Maybe you can remove your attachment to distractions like mindless TV, popular culture or sensational headlines. The result of all this attachment is sin (Galatians 5:19-21) so it’s easy to understand why it needs to go. Easy to say, not so easy to do, you say. Indeed, the story of the rich young man in Mark 10:17-22 illustrates how hard it is to let go. When he asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life, Jesus told him to sell all he had and follow Him. The man went away sad because he had many possessions. So long as there’s attachment, there’s another idol in your heart (Exodus 34:14).

 The rewards of detachment are many, giving way to the fruits of the Spirit, like love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Moreover, Jesus promised a reward both now and in eternity for giving up worldly things for His sake (Mark 10:28-31). It’s about giving up pain for gain. Who wouldn’t want that trade?

The Right Move

By Linda Tancs

Chess is a game of strategy, requiring players to master the art of manipulating how the pieces move. Sometimes, life feels like a never-ending game of chess, doesn’t it? We spend countless hours, days, or even years trying to manipulate people, events and circumstances to achieve an outcome that best suits us, or so we think. There’s no shortage of manipulators in the Bible, either. Consider Jacob, who manipulated his father Isaac into giving him the family blessing (i.e., the first son’s inheritance) by posing as his older twin brother Esau in the presence of his blind father (Genesis 27:34-38). Even Satan poses as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).

What kind of move are you making? Are you a wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15)? A smooth talker (Romans 16:18)? Do you callously disregard others (Ezekiel 34:4)? You might have made the wrong move for so long that you’ve forgotten what the right one looks like. Well, here’s a hint: it’s whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely or whatever is commendable (Philippians 4:8). Let the Holy Spirit guide you to the right move, to all truth (John 16:13). How do you do that? By reading the Bible faithfully, which we’re reminded is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

In Sync

By Linda Tancs

The belief that all things work together for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28) is a recognition of Divine order. It’s an abdication of the need to know how things will work out (Proverbs 3:5). Instead, it’s an acknowledgment that things will work out. All things. Not some things or even most things. God is the ultimate timekeeper, syncing all the times of your life into a harmonious whole. You can probably look at some circumstances already and see how it worked out for the best. God’s not done yet.

It’s Lonely at the Top

By Linda Tancs

Stories abound about bears and other animals stuck in trees. We watch news reports with rapt attention as rescuers go about the job of extraction. Clearly, the poor animal didn’t realize what it was in for when it started the climb.

You could say the same about humans. In the climb for success (however one defines it), it often becomes apparent what’s meant by the expression “it’s lonely at the top.” That’s typically because in getting there one has adopted the saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Instead of lifting others up during our march for the brass ring, we take them down. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious unless it’s selfish ambition or conceit (Philippians 2:3-4). In other words, the Bible exhorts us to please (and be pleasing to) God, not man (Galatians 1:10). To honor God and to honor the quest for power, success, honor, wealth and fame are mutually exclusive endeavors. You cannot serve both (Matthew 6:24). Jesus reminds us to seek first the Kingdom, and then our needs will be met (Matthew 6:33). To be first in the Kingdom is to be a servant (Matthew 20:26-28). So be good to those you meet on your journey because, as another expression teaches, you’ll meet the same people on the way down as you met on your way up.

Have a Good Laugh

By Linda Tancs

A good comedy routine will remind you that laughter is the best medicine, just like the Bible says (Proverbs 17:22). Indeed, medical science shows that laughter boosts the body’s immune system, reduces stress, reduces the risk of heart attack and even acts as a natural tranquilizer. Of course, many life events do not inspire much laughter and, as Solomon reminds us, there is a time to cry as well as to laugh (Ecclesiastes 3:4). But joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5). In other words, don’t let bad or sorrowful feelings linger. The Lord promises beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3) and a mouth full of laughter (Job 8:21). If that doesn’t make you smile, then nothing will.

It’s the Little Things

By Linda Tancs

Do you look to God only for the “big” things in life—a life companion, a job, good health? What about all the little things? Do you pray for a good “hair day?” For patience in traffic? For a good parking spot at the mall? God isn’t only interested in the “big picture.” He cares about the million little things that comprise your daily life. God loves little things, like lilies (Matthew 6:28-29), birds (Matthew 6:26) and children (Matthew 19:14). He’s the Master over small matters as well as bigger ones.

God encourages us to rejoice over small things (Zechariah 4:10). Don’t despise them or act like they don’t matter to God. God presides over everything, and for that you should be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18).