Mind of the Staircase

By Linda Tancs

The French expression “esprit de l’escalier” literally means “mind of the staircase.” It refers to that comeback, response or witty remark that one frustratingly comes up with only when the moment for doing so has passed. No doubt you’ve been there. And, in many cases, it undoubtedly worked out for the best. How many hard feelings may have been averted simply for lacking mastery of the comeback? As Proverbs instructs, life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Don’t be quick to applaud those who are never left without a response. It can be a curse just as easily as a blessing (James 3:9-10).

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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.

 

 

 

Live Like You Were Dying

By Linda Tancs

How would you live if you knew you were dying? That’s the gist of the hit Tim McGraw song, “Live Like You Were Dying.” In a certain sense, we’re all living as if we were dying. After all, each day expended brings us one step closer to physical death. And in a spiritual sense, every Christian aims to die to self, a reckoning that occurs day after day (Ephesians 4:20-24). That means rejecting things like malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander (1 Peter 2:1), living for the will of God rather than for human passions that bear no eternal fruit (1 Peter 4:1-2; Luke 9:23-24). Do you live as if you were dying?

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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.

 

Rejoice in Others

By Linda Tancs

You may be familiar with the concept of Schadenfreude, a satisfaction derived from someone else’s misfortune. It’s as old as time. The prophet Jeremiah was acutely aware of it, noting that his “friends” were on the watch for any misstep (Jeremiah 20:10). Maybe you’ve experienced it—at home, at work, online. It’s an act of betrayal, and it hurts. Nonetheless, the Lord commands that we love our enemies, do good to those who hate or mistreat us (Luke 6:27-28). Rejoice in others, even when it hurts. God will extend to you the same mercy that you extend to others (Matthew 6:12).

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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.

 

 

Free to Be Me

By Linda Tancs

A well-known spiritual thinker once remarked, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” The apostle Paul would’ve doubtless agreed (1 Corinthians 4:3). Yet how often do we agonize over what others think of us. How often do you ponder whether others approve of your personal or professional choices or direction? Imagine how freeing it is to be independent of the thoughts, actions and opinions of other people toward you. Now there’s a liberty worth pursuing.

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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.

 

Go With the Flow

By Linda Tancs

Do you often “go with the flow?” It’s a common expression and a common occurrence, generally related to accepting a situation. Sometimes, that’s a good thing, like forgoing your own individual interest in favor of the desires of another or of a group—for instance,  letting someone else pick the restaurant or the movie. In other scenarios, it’s not such a good thing, akin to following an angry mob. The consequences can be harsh, like ignoring the blight of social injustice or showing the kind of insensitivity that many social media posts represent.

Spiritually speaking, to go with the flow is to keep in the way and the will of God, not man. (1 John 4:4). Don’t get caught in an undertow (Ephesians 2:1-2).

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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.

 

 

Are You Full?

By Linda Tancs

After a hearty meal, we usually say that we’re full. Unless you’re gluttonous (Philippians 3:19), it’s okay to be full in that instance. In every other case, don’t be full of yourself (Proverbs 16:18). Be full of God instead (Ephesians 3:19). Speak the way God would speak. Think the way God would think. Act the way God would act. Then you’ll have a fullness of Spirit that never abates (Psalm 27:4).

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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.

 

Playing God

By Linda Tancs

Playing God is a phrase often used to describe those acting as if they have unlimited power in a situation. The term is used in debates ranging in topics from euthanasia to cloning. In everyday life, we play God when we try to take our problems into our own hands and solve them rather than lean on God’s wisdom (James 1:5). Maybe you’ve entrusted Plan A to God but you’ve devised your own Plan B, just in case. Joy Davidman, wife of C.S. Lewis, once wrote, “Fear is playing God by trying to control the future.”

Are you attempting to control your future? In what way might you be playing God?

What Do I Know?

By Linda Tancs

Are you a know-it-all? How would others describe you? Being a know-it-all kind of person is easier than you may think. In fact, a psychology professor coined the term “Lake Wobegon Effect” to describe a human tendency to overestimate one’s attributes, like knowledge, talent and accomplishments. It’s a dangerous tendency, often leading to pride and arrogance.

The apostle Paul recognized the dangers of putting one’s faith in human wisdom. He even went so far as to tell the Corinthians that anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much (1 Corinthians 8:2). As for himself, he resolved not to know anything but Christ (1 Corinthians 2:2). Furthermore, Proverbs 28:26 tells us that anyone who leans on, trusts in and is confident of his own mind is a fool. Don’t rely on your own insight or understanding (Proverbs 3:5). The more you let God teach you, the more you’ll realize how much you still have to learn (Psalm 147:5).