Pandemic Peace

By Linda Tancs

Peace is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), a desirable attribute at every turn. Think how different the world would be if we experienced a pandemic of peace. We always need peace, especially now in the midst of the health pandemic known as coronavirus, or COVID-19. Anxiety, fear and economic uncertainty rise with every new case. When those emotions (and plenty more) seize your heart and mind, think of the story of the disciples in the boat with Jesus during a storm. The moment that a furious squall whipped over the Sea of Galilee, they were in full-throttle panic mode. Then they woke a sleeping Jesus to pronounce their imminent demise, much to His chagrin. Notwithstanding their lack of faith (and peace), he calmed the waters (Matthew 8:23–27; Mark 4:35–41; and Luke 8:22–25).

If nothing else, the disciples learned that God was on their side. That’s the essence of peace. If He is for us, then who, or what, can be against us (Romans 8:31)? Keep your peace, and share it with others. Also pray for the recovery of those who are affected by this virus.

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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.

 

 

 

Zero Tolerance

By Linda Tancs

We often hear news reports about zero-tolerance policies, often because they’ve been violated by way of harassment, discrimination, violence or other things. In our own lives, we establish zero-tolerance policies, too. Parents establish zero-tolerance policies with their children around behavioral issues like disobedience, lying and stealing. Spouses establish zero-tolerance policies concerning issues like adultery and abusive behavior. Individually, we resolve (especially around the New Year) to stop tolerating our own proclivities toward indecisiveness, fear, impatience and a host of other attributes.

The Bible encourages a zero-tolerance policy against ungodly thoughts, words and behaviors (Romans 13:14). The best way to enforce the policy is to look for wisdom (Romans 12:2) and perspective (Philippians 4:8) as your anchors.

Does your policy need updating?

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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 Eyes Have It

By Linda Tancs

You’ve no doubt heard the expression “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed,” signifying someone who is alert, lively and eager. It’s a state to which we all should aspire. Even Jesus told His disciples that the lamp of the body is the eye (Matthew 6:22). Indeed, the way that you look at things affects your condition. Do you see things through the prism of light, in a way that reflects positive attributes like love, joy, peace, kindness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)? Or do you see things darkly, with an eye toward malevolence, pride, envy, lust or any number of other characteristics frowned upon scripturally (Colossians 3:5)?

Jesus’s words give us the popular phrase, “the eyes are the window to the soul.” Keep your eyes on God and His ways and you’ll be in great shape.

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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.

 

Peace Comes With a Price

By Linda Tancs

Two world wars and numerous other conflicts provide us with ample evidence that peace comes with a price. This is illustrated biblically as well, particularly when Jesus shows His disciples the wounds of his crucifixion and offers them His shalom peace (John 20:19-23), a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

What price are you willing to pay for peace—in your family, in your work, in your life? What do you need to sacrifice? Maybe it’s your ego, your identification with material things or a toxic relationship. What do you need to do to amplify your shalom peace and extend it to others?

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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.

 

Gifts and Earnings

By Linda Tancs

John Houseman was a British-American actor who became known for his commercials for the brokerage firm Smith Barney. He famously stated that they made money the old-fashioned way—they earned it. Of course, in the physical world, we work to earn a living, sometimes striving after the best that money can buy.

Thankfully, though, the most important things in life are not earned; you don’t have to punch a time clock to get them. They’re gifts from God. For instance, you receive salvation through Christ, not by your own works (Ephesians 2:8-9). You also receive peace. Jesus devised, gave and bequeathed His peace (John 14:27) to His followers, like a bequest under a will. It’s a gift, yours for the taking.

Receive your gifts with grace. They’re good and perfect (James 1:17), and there’s nothing old-fashioned about that.

Know Your Enemy

By Linda Tancs

The first rule of warfare is to know your enemy. In the physical realm, you may view your enemy as someone whose interests, values, beliefs or actions are antagonistic to your own. According to Scripture, however, your true enemy is not a physical opponent—it’s the devil (Ephesians 6:12). And, unlike a physical opponent, this enemy is in constant warfare with you, every second of every day. Every time you become offended, hurt, angry, jealous, resentful, hateful, unforgiving or self-loathing (to name a few things), you are battling the devil, public enemy number one. He’ll never quit, and neither should you. Resist the bait (James 4:7). Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove (Matthew 10:16). Forgive others as you would have God forgive you (Matthew 6:14-15). As you obey God’s commands, you’ll have a peace that obstructs the wiles of your greatest enemy (Psalm 119:165).

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.

 

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).

A Brain, a Heart and Courage

By Linda Tancs

In the movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy meets up with three characters, each seeking a different attribute. The scarecrow wants a brain. The tin man wants a heart. And the lion wants courage. That’s a pretty good summation of what we need to persevere through life: wisdom, love and courage.

The Bible exhorts us to gain wisdom (see, e.g., James 1:5; Proverbs 3:13-18). How do you do that? By reading the Bible, the source of all God’s knowledge and understanding. Wisdom is a gift from God, the means to discern the truth in all things. We’re told to love wisdom, and wisdom will protect us (Proverbs 4:6-7). Above all, though, we are commanded to love God (Deuteronomy 10:12) and extend that love to our neighbors (Luke 10:27). It’s fair to say that the pursuit of wisdom and love takes courage. It’s so much easier to hide one’s head in the sand, avoiding truth and neglecting the work to build strong relationships. Yet we’re reminded to be strong and of good courage (Deuteronomy 31:6). That’s because fear, insecurity and anxiety undermine the courage we need to foster effective personal and professional relationships. But you’re an overcomer! Stand firm and apply the power formula of wisdom, love and courage to persevere through life’s tasks and struggles.

The Challenge of Love

By Linda Tancs

Is there anyone in your family who is difficult to love, who pushes all the wrong buttons? Maybe it feels like you’re surrounded by fiery beasts or tongues like sharp swords, as David described in Psalm 57:4. Perhaps your nemesis is a child, parent, spouse, sibling or extended family member, or even many of the above. You might be tempted to think ‘well, I don’t have to love anyone who won’t love me back or treats me unfairly.’ Don’t give in and fail to accept the challenge of love. Love is, after all, the foundation of our existence and evidence of our oneness with God. There is no commandment greater than love, as Paul reminded the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13:13) and John told his readers (1 John 4:16). Likewise, Jesus exhorted his followers that everything hinges on love of God and love of others (Matthew 22:35-40; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 10:25-28; John 13:34-35).

We should give thanks for the difficult people in our lives because they teach us how much work we may still need to do in the love walk. Those who are easiest to love actually teach us very little. So put on an “attitude of gratitude” the next time you feel tormented, and work on walking it out.