But God

By Linda Tancs

One of many phrases found consistently throughout various iterations of the Bible is “but God.” It’s a hopeful and restorative phrase (see, e.g., Psalm 49:15; Psalm 73:26; Acts 3:15). You might be more familiar, though, with “but how.” It shows up when a payment is looming, a marriage breaking, or a job ending, among other things. The next time you’re tempted to think “but how” think “but God” instead.

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES (a teaching and speaking ministry), Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

What is Hope?

By Linda Tancs

Billy Graham once wrote that hope is the sum of faith plus commitment. Indeed, hope has an element of faith (Hebrews 11:1). Hope also takes commitment, persistence and perseverance (Zechariah 9:12) lest you lose heart. Think of your own equation for hope.

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES (a teaching and speaking ministry), Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

The Glass is Half-Full

By Linda Tancs

Do you see the proverbial glass as half-empty or half-full? Psychologists use simple tests like this to determine whether a person tends to be an optimist or a pessimist. Optimists will usually say the glass is half-full, whereas pessimists will usually state that it’s half-empty. In a word, it’s about hope, which anchors the soul (Hebrews 6:19). Without it, you’re like a wandering nomad in ancient Israel. Pour hope into your life by trusting in God and, soon, the glass will be more than half-full (Romans 15:13).

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES (a teaching and speaking ministry), Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith.

A Rock and a Hard Place

By Linda Tancs

The expression “between a rock and hard place” refers to a dilemma, a situation offering at least two possibilities, neither of which is acceptable. The ancient Israelites knew all about being between a rock and a hard place. Once they were freed from slavery in Egypt, Pharaoh decided to recapture them. That’s when the Israelites found themselves between a rock (Pharaoh) and a hard place (the Red Sea) before God separated the waters and led them through (Exodus 14:10-31). God was the Rock delivering them through a hard place.

So it is with us. We’re not “betwixt and between.” He brings us through.

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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.

Hope Floats

By Linda Tancs

Entering a body of water (even a pool) as a nonswimmer can be intimidating. That’s one reason why a place like the Dead Sea is so exciting. Given its high salt content (almost 10 times that of normal sea water), you float rather than sink. How pleasant not to need a life vest!

The Dead Sea reminds me of the expression “hope floats.” Indeed, hope is buoyant, and you don’t need to float in the Dead Sea to get it. Everyone can experience the buoyancy that hope brings. It uplifts the spirit, bringing joy (Proverbs 10:28), courage (2 Corinthians 3:12) and redemption (Psalm 130:7). The next time you’re floating in a pool, think of that.

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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).

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).

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?

It Came to Pass

By Linda Tancs

The renowned artist Auguste Renoir was an Impressionist painter, best known for his paintings of bustling Parisian modernity and leisure in the last three decades of the 19th century. He suffered terribly from arthritis in the last decade of his life but continued to paint. When asked why he continued working in such agony, he replied, “The beauty remains. The pain passes.”

That quote reminds me of the Bible phrase, “it came to pass.” It occurs with great regularity, especially in the Old Testament. You might be tempted to just brush it off as a transitional phrase, a way to mark the passage of time in a story with a flourish. But this simple phrase has the potential to mean so much more. Imagine applying it to your difficulties—a job loss, financial reversal, broken relationship, health challenge, or whatever it may be. The problem, or event, didn’t come to stay; it came to pass. Solomon’s Book of Ecclesiastes teaches this principle of coming and going (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). In every storm of life, the pain will pass but the beauty (the ultimate good) will remain. In other words, as Paul reminded the Romans, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV).

Flavor of the Month

By Linda Tancs

You’ve no doubt heard the expression, “flavor of the month.” It means a person or thing enjoying a short period of great popularity. Applied in the negative, it’s the state you’ve lost when your stock drops, so to speak. Depending on your circumstance, it may mean you’re no longer relevant, on trend, winning, and so on—to your family, friends, employer or acquaintances. Maybe you’ve become, as the late film star Katharine Hepburn famously put it, “box office poison.”

Jesus could relate. One day they’re cheering Him in the streets (Matthew 21:1-11) at His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and just days later another throng wants Him crucified (Matthew 27:22-23). However badly you feel about your own situation, His loss of reputation led to a loss of life—that is, until the Resurrection. So take heart. You, too, can arise anew. Life is full of second chances. As another adage goes, everything old is new again.