Coming and Going

By Linda Tancs

Archbishop Fulton Sheen said that the whole of Christian life comprises coming and going. In Christ, we’re first summoned to come to Him (Matthew 11:28). We’re meant to be united to Him (Isaiah 62:5). Then, through that union, we’re meant to go and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19). We spend much of our lives coming and going in the everyday sense. It’s often exhausting. There’s a different way of coming and going, and it’s exhilarating.

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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.

 

 

Easy Street

By Linda Tancs

I saw a commercial vehicle on the highway with an address on Easy Street. That made me think about the phrase “on easy street,” living a life of ease. It also brought to mind Jesus’s admonition against pursuing the wide road that leads to destruction, an eschatological reference implying that those who choose easy ways (to feel good in the moment) face separation from God (Matthew 7:13). Easy Street often evokes consumption, pleasures and distractions. It can be a place of temptation, a place fostering bitterness, revenge, anger, frustration, greed and unforgiveness. There’s no room for the Spirit there. That’s why Jesus promotes the straight and narrow road. It might not be easy, but it leads to a better life (Galatians 5:22-23).

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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.

 

Safety of the Ark

By Linda Tancs

In Noah’s day, God commanded him to build an ark to save himself and his family from God’s destruction of the world due to its sinfulness (Genesis 6:9–9:19). The bosom of the ark served as God’s bosom. Today we don’t need a wooden ark to serve as a bosom. Jesus is our ark. He delivers us from judgment, just as the ark did for Noah’s clan (John 3:16). Do you have the same faith in Christ that Noah had in the ark? Let your hope in Him anchor your soul (Hebrews 6:19).

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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.

Fly Like an Eagle

By Linda Tancs

Every animal has a hard-wired nature toward one thing or another. Foxes dig holes, birds fly and so on. I’m particularly enchanted watching birds soar through the air. Aside from air flight and paragliding, human flight doesn’t light a candle to bird flight. In fact, watching birds fly makes me think about how much humans “stay put.” Whether through inaction or necessity, maybe you’re staying put right now, unable to soar. That’s not your nature—nor a bird’s. You were made to mount up with wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31). There’s a song entitled “Fly Like an Eagle” by Steve Miller. It started out as a political statement, but it’s just as relevant as a personal anthem. Staying put is transient; this, too, shall pass. Fly like an eagle, and let the Spirit carry you.

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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.

Love is a Battlefield

By Linda Tancs

Singer Pat Benatar is famous for her anthem, “Love is a Battlefield.” Love is, indeed, a battlefield. God fights for it, and the devil fights against it. God is love (1 John 4:8). That’s all God does. The devil, on the other hand, hates love. The Bible reminds us that he is the deceiver of the brethren (Revelation 12:9). He deceives by establishing strongholds in the mind of every believer, tempting us with lies, imaginings and thoughts that are contrary to the Word and that trigger misunderstanding and offense. That’s the opposite of love. Submit to God’s love. Then you’ll be able to resist the devil, and he’ll have no choice but to leave the battlefield (James 4:7).

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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.

 

 

A Thorny Problem

By Linda Tancs

A popular song bears the title “Every Rose Has its Thorn.” You could say the same about us. As the sower’s parable in Mark’s gospel illustrates, we’re all capable of having thorns, like worldly anxiety, the lure of riches and the craving for other things (Mark 4:1-20). The key is to eliminate them. When a florist removes thorns from a rose bouquet, it creates more room in the vase. Likewise, when you remove the thorns from your life, you have more room to grow, to bear good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). You’ll come out smelling like a fragrant rose, an aroma pleasing to God (2 Corinthians 2:15).

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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.

Being and Acting

By Linda Tancs

Prophesying, casting out demons and performing mighty deeds are all activities that Jesus delineated as marks of discipleship (Mark 16:17). Yet in chapter seven of Matthew’s gospel, he rejects some of those who claim to perform those very activities in His name and disavows even knowing them (Matthew 7:22-23). Does that seem confusing? Is Jesus rejecting service in His name? Of course not. What He’s getting at is the difference between being and acting. You may invoke His name in all that you say and do, but does His presence dwell in you? Jesus wants disciples who know more than just how to act; he wants followers who know the right way to be.

Our work is ultimately to believe in the person behind the Word (Romans 1:17). Oftentimes people place their confidence in regular church attendance and service on committees but don’t understand Jesus or the work of Jesus inside them—that is, the Holy Spirit. You can’t “work” your way to heaven. Works are a sign of faith but should not replace faith. Those who do otherwise are the false kind of disciples that Jesus is criticizing in Matthew’s gospel because they fail to recognize that it’s their faith in Jesus that makes them acceptable to God and not their performance. Resolve to keep Him present in all that you say and do.

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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.

 

 

 

 

Opt Out

By Linda Tancs

How many emails do you receive in any given day? I’ll bet the number is in the hundreds. Thankfully, we’re constantly invited to “opt out.” After all, we don’t need to be in the center of everything. Jesus tells us the same thing, as related in chapter 14 of Luke’s gospel (Luke 14:1, 7-14). In that chapter, Jesus tells a parable at a Pharisee’s dinner party about invitees who jockey for position at the place of honor at the table. His advice is to opt out, take the lowest place at the table; don’t think yourself too special. Similarly, he continues with a parable about only inviting those to a party who have the capacity to return the favor. His advice? You guessed it—opt out. Don’t give in to the adage, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Open your door to those who have no capacity to help you in return. Be a giver. When was the last time you opted out?

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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.

 

 

 

The Heart of Things

By Linda Tancs

The renowned Trappist monk and spiritual writer Thomas Merton once remarked, “The things that we love tell us what we are.” Another way of putting it is to say that your treasure and your heart are inextricably connected; where your treasure is, there your heart will be (Matthew 6:21). Depending on what you love, you’ll have a heart of stone or a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).

What do you love? Money, fame, valor, acclaim? If so, you might be in danger of a hardening heart, particularly if you’ll rationalize or excuse any behavior to get what you love. Do you love virtue, generosity, kindness or other admirable traits (Philippians 4:8)? There’s good reason why the apostle Paul exhorts the Philippians to think on such things. Simply put, it’s good for your heart. Loving the right kind of things opens your heart to the promptings of the Spirit, which leads to a greater understanding of the Word. It’s time to get to the heart of the matter.

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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.

 

 

A Seat at the Table

By Linda Tancs

Most everyone is undoubtedly familiar with the term “having a seat at the table.” It’s a metaphor for inclusion, particularly as it relates to the ability to exercise power and influence. As the Scriptures make clear, the Pharisees wouldn’t let just anybody have a seat at the table. Even sections of the temple precinct were off limits except for those carrying the proper “credentials.” Just like today, it was all about who you know. Then came Jesus, the master table-turner. Literally. He overthrew the tables of the money changers in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13). He turned the tables around in other ways as well. He ate with tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:11). He made a seat at the table for the lame, the poor, the crippled and the blind (Luke 14:12-14). He prepares a table for the faithful in the presence of their enemies (Psalm 23:5). Indeed, anyone willing to hear His voice has a seat at the table (Luke 14:23; Revelation 3:20). Like the servant in the parable of the great banquet (Luke 14:15-24), you’re commissioned to make a seat at the table available for anyone, not just those who think, act or look like you. Make room at your table.

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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.