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Library of Articles and Podcast Episodes

Categories

Indignant!

Remember Downton Abbey – the television series and movies? If you watched this excellent period drama, I’m sure you’ll remember the many times the Dowager Countess and Cousin Isobel are completely indignant toward one another. Their continual sparring is a unique quality of their very unusual friendship. So, what exactly is “indignant?” Let’s look at what it means and who uses it. Read More …

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As Your Life Goes On – Scripture Dissection

Growing older? Me, too. We all are. The days seem to fly by. And over time, people change. As your life goes on, are you the same person you were as a youngster? I know I’m not. Recently, we explored an all-around good guy who had lots of troubles. Remarkably, he’s given 3 chapters in Scripture – very unusual. So, he deserves another look as he grows older. So, let’s look . . . Read More …

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Important Stuff We Forget

We had a leap year this year. And it struck me again how that phenomenon only occurs every four years. So, what happens to the important stuff that happens on Feb. 29th? Like a birth, anniversary, a death, start date of a business, etc. Do those special events get appropriate attention? Or do they make it on a list of important stuff we forget for another three years? From my connection with people who have a Feb. 29th event, most retain their date – but move celebrations or remembrances to the day before or after. What can we learn from this interesting reality? Let’s explore . . . Read More …

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The Guy Who Found It – Scripture Dissection

I bet you’ve lost something on occasion. You know how it is to misplace an item – and then spent far too much time looking for it. “Keys” is the big one. (Where do those keys always disappear to?) Sometimes it’s a gift item you purchase and put it in a logical place – and then can’t find it when you need it. Then there’s your vehicle! “Where in blazes did I park in the lot outside this store?!” Well, this content highlights the guy who found it. Interestingly, he wasn’t even looking for it. Incidentally, what he found was much more precious than keys, gifts, vehicles, and other things commonly misplaced. What this young man found had been hidden a long time. Let’s take a look. Read More …

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The Game Of Life And Relationships

Do you like chess? Surely, some of you do, while others of you . . . well, not-so-much. Perhaps you prefer checkers, scrabble, trivial pursuit, monopoly, or nertz. Regardless of your preferred game, life is like playing a board game – in some respects. For example – chess. Interesting pieces are placed in a certain order on an equally interesting board of contrasting squares. Then it starts: the strategies, choices, and patterns. It only takes a few minutes to realize you can’t play chess without being very engaged and thoughtful. Subsequently, you realize there’s an element like this in the game of life and relationships. Let’s look at helpful similarities.

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One Size For Everybody

Remember when the pandemic was in full swing? Everybody was buying masks and medical gloves. Well, I found some medical gloves for a great price. So I ordered. When they came, I checked the box front. Sure enough – one size fits all. Not true! Those gloves were big enough to fit a professional basketball player who can “palm” the ball! So, I was stuck with these huge gloves. Incidentally, there was so much room in each glove finger, I could have packed snacks in there. So much for one size for everybody!

Still – there IS a “one size for everybody.’ It’s amazing! Let’s explore together . . . Read More …

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How To Live With Hope – Scripture Dissection

You know the story from Lord of the Rings. Beautiful Arwen loves Aragorn. However, Aragorn left to protect Frodo on his quest. Incidentally, he’ll end up fighting a war. Unfortunately, He may never return. As a result, Arwen is overcome. And she lingers in middle earth rather than join her kin to travel to their forever home. Having remained, she has a conversation with her elf-father. Interestingly, Arwen clings to hope. And she wants to know how to live in hope. Here is the excerpt: Read More …

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We Have Hope!

Easter week is here! Celebrations! Joyful traditions, activities, and food! Subsequently, the simple reality of this wonderful holiday is – We have hope! We have Jesus!

Join me with a fresh look at our hope in Jesus Christ!

After we explore hope in today’s content – I’ll share a wonderful opportunity to help you prepare your heart for Easter.

But now, let’s dig into the hope we have . . . Read More …

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Behind The Scenes – An Interview With The Producers

We’re going to do something different this week – an interview with the producers to explore behind the scenes of Alive and Active Life articles and podcast. Actually, we’ve been publishing for 14 years and broadcasting for 5 years. But we’ll specifically cover podcast information. WHY do we do this?

Let’s jump into this interview with the producers of Alive and Active Life. Read More …

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The Fifth King – Scripture Dissection

You’ve heard the saying – “I feel like a fifth wheel.” Really – a fifth wheel is not much good . . . unless you’re driving a big rig – and then you need 18 wheels – all in good shape. Today’s content explores what it’s like to be the fifth king. Incidentally, this guy was exceptional! We can all learn from his choices, integrity, and passions. So – let’s take a look . . . Read More …

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Like Lucy – See What Others Don’t

Picture the scene with me. It’s from C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian. The four children, Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy are traveling in unknown places, trying to get their bearings. Basically – they’re lost. But Lucy keeps seeing Aslan when no one else does. They think she’s making it up . . . or maybe she’s crazy. Nevertheless, Lucy is the one who gets messages and directions from Aslan. In fact, Lucy and Aslan are friends. It seems she’s nurtured the ability to see what others don’t. Incidentally, this ability opens the whole universe to her imagination and her life purpose.

Let’s explore how to be more like Lucy. Read More …

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Strategies To Strengthen Weakness

Hypothetical situation. So, you meet someone. Perhaps you have conversations about strengths and weaknesses as you get to know this new person. It would be rare – but what would you think if that person said, “I don’t have any weaknesses?” Jaw drop! That’s a pretty big wow! A person with no weaknesses! Even Jesus had weakness as a human being – not weakness of character or morality but of learning, growing, and His unique skill sets. Nevertheless, as He grew up into manhood, He learned about areas He did well in – and areas He needed to build strategies to strengthen weakness. That does not mean Jesus sinned. It means He was/is like you and me in every way – fully human, while also being fully God. Let’s explore how to build strategies to strengthen weakness and follow the path Jesus took. Read More …

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Four Successful Generations – Scripture Dissection

Generations is not only the title of a Star Trek movie. It’s also an important dynamic for every individual. Whether or not you are a Star Trek fan, you must agree there is something important about generations that take over a family, country, business, royal line, or franchise. The generations can be blood relatives or simply new replacements. Regardless, generations can either be good or bad in motive and conduct. Today’s content focuses on four good generations with one exception. It’s fascinating. Read More …

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Waiting And Listening – Effective Relationship Words

When you think back into your childhood, what memories come to mind? Good ones? Not-so-good ones? Maybe you remember events that sculpted or changed your life. Perhaps something “rocked your world.” It might be a special activity is your first thought. (I’ll share one of my memories directly below.) But, I’m guessing you remember many ordinary days filled with ordinary things. Interestingly, this sets the stage for most of life. We spend long stretches of time waiting and listening for what comes next. Additionally, waiting and listening directly impact all your relationships. Read More …

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Your Incredible Design

Look around! Everything has some kind of design and order. Calendars, language, nature, science, and medicine. Then consider fabrics, computers, business, and farming. Design includes appearance, function, and natural / man-made capacity. The world – in fact, the entire universe – overflows with amazing design. Incidentally, you are no exception. Life is more meaningful, pleasant, and manageable when you embrace your incredible design.

Let’s explore how to do that. Read More …

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Get Better At Being You – Scripture Dissection

When you were a little kid, did you ever dress up or pretend? Maybe you “borrowed” your mom or dad’s clothes, feeling grown-up as their apparel hung bulkily on your small frame. Perhaps you confiscated a large bath towel to be your super hero cape. What about adapting odds-n-ends laying around to dress up like community professionals – firemen, policemen, doctors, scientists, store clerks, movie stars, prince(ess), etc.? But have you ever dressed up to get better at being you?

Let’s explore this fascinating idea – getting better at being you. It’s a healthy way to live. Read More …

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God Purposefully Picks You

Do you remember that funny scene in Shrek? The donkey is behind a group of people in a crowd. Shrek is going to choose a companion. And as Shrek considers his options, all you see is the donkey jumping up – over and over in the background. You don’t see him – and then you do! Over and over. As he jumps high enough to be seen above the group, he’s yelling something – “Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!” Interestingly, all people feel this way at times. Subsequently, it’s noteworthy and meaningful to remember God purposefully picks you.

So what does “Pick me!” really look like? Let’s explore together. Read More …

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When Faith Hangs By A Thread

Even as we enter a New Year, it’s easy to feel vulnerable when faith hangs by a thread as you look into the future.

I hope you enjoy today’s article – packed with hope and action steps. Near the bottom of the content are links to an entire series of articles/episodes about faith. This “faith series” is full of encouragement and help! Read More …

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Double Portion – Scripture Dissection

If ever there was an Old Testament story that beautifully exemplifies the Spirit of Jesus, this is it! Not only does it show a man’s healthy choices and conduct. It also portrays the very spirit of Jesus Christ in a person who lived long before Jesus came to earth as the God-man. And further, this story is a strong statement – you and I can ask for a double portion of the nature and character of Christ if we fully surrender to God.

I’m sure you’ll find this story interesting and encouraging. Read More …

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Comfort And Joy In Topsy-Turvy Times

We just came through one of the most special seasons of the year. So many people love these weeks of holidays despite added stresses and responsibilities. Truly, it’s a treasured time each year: Fall Celebrations, Thanksgiving, Christmas – and now New Year’s Day has come. A favorite theme during Christmas from the carol – “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen” is the phrase – “comfort and joy.” If you’re like me and millions of others, you’d welcome some comfort and joy – in your life and around the world.

Let’s explore this together. Read More …

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Hope For A New Year – Advent #4

A New Year is an opportunity to let go of some things, hold onto other things, and grab onto new things. It also involves various emotions. A New Year can feel scary, not knowing what’s ahead. It can also be exciting with new opportunities. In some cases, it may be a relief to walk into a fresh perspective. Hope for new possibilities begins to rise. Sadness about aging, saying good-byes, or letting go of previous endeavors can be painful. Knowing there will be difficult challenges is sobering. Yet, overall, most people embrace hope as one year morphs into another. God gives hope for a New Year. Read More …

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Manage Christmas Sadness – Advent #3

You might be surprised to know Christmas sadness is a real thing. It hits when people go through difficulties that stretch into the season of Christmas. Or it happens with unexpected tragedy or bad news. But Christmas sadness can sometimes appear when everything is going fine. Unexpectedly, something rises up or invades without permission – and surprises you. In fact, you may even wonder why it’s there because there’s no identifiable reason.

Whatever the scenario, you are not alone if you experience Christmas sadness.

Subsequently, the kindest thing you can do for yourself is to learn how to manage Christmas sadness. Let’s explore this together. Read More …

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Joy of Anticipation – Advent #2

You know the little kid in the back seat on a long trip? Every 15 minutes, they ask (with a tired sigh) – “Are we there yet?!” That’s the same little cherub, along with a host of other little kids – and just as many adults – who asks, “Is it Christmas yet?” The first exclamation – “Are we there yet?” – is more like – “Gosh! How much longer?!” An impatience and a feeling of being confined. The second exclamation – “Is it Christmas yet?” – is more like – “I’m so excited, I can hardly wait.” An expression of the joy of anticipation.

Please join me for more ideas in this article as we explore the joy of anticipation this week! Read More …

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How To Prepare Your Heart For Christmas – Advent #1

Most people really like Christmas. There are a few grinches who despise the annual celebration. But many more cherish this annual holiday. They lean into invisible qualities of hope and joy connected to the evergreen tree, lights and decorations, beautiful music, giving and receiving, special goodies, and moments of reflection. Unfortunately, many of these same “Christmas-loving” people feel overwhelmed at the hustle and bustle. So, how do you prepare your heart for this beloved holiday?

This is the first in a series to help prepare your heart for Christmas. Each week we will light another candle in our hearts as a statement of preparation in Advent. Read More …

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Prepare For Christmas With Advent

The Christmas season is almost here! Many people are getting excited. How about you? Christmas tree, lights, candles, beautiful music, gifts, special foods, and Advent. In fact, Advent starts in just a few days.

Incidentally, have you wondered what Advent is about? What’s the purpose? What value does Advent bring to your modern, extremely busy life – especially during one of the busiest months of the year? Let’s explore together. Read More …

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Your Words Matter – Scripture Dissection

I’ve known a handful of people who know just what to say in any given moment. Their words are refreshing and fitting. Afterall, “The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl.” (Prov. 25:11) But I’ve also known people who definitely do not have that skill. So, it’s reasonable to conclude – your words matter. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to express words of strong gratitude to family, friends, to God, and into your own soul. Today’s content explores how your words matter. Read More …

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Choose Hope Even In Trials

“I’m just so tired of trials and challenges!” I’ve heard that exclamation, and I bet you have, too. Maybe you’ve said it. One thing is sure – we’ll all have trials and challenges in the future. We live in a broken world. But you can choose hope even in trials. This is today’s content. Read More …

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How To Rise Up When You’re Down

Recently, we published “To Fail Is Not To Be A Failure.” I encourage you to read that article – or take a listen. It featured the life of Abraham Lincoln. He failed many times. But he wouldn’t give up. And he refused to think of himself as a failure. But today we consider a unique twist on failure. If you’ve embraced – “I’m a failure” – you need to know how to rise up when you’re down. Read More …

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It Had To Be You! – Scripture Dissection

You’ve heard of the song “It Had To Be You,” haven’t you? It’s a popular song composed by Isham Jones, lyrics by Gus Kahn, published on May 9, 1924. So, it’s an “oldie-but-goodie.” It’s been covered by many people, including Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble with Barbra Streisand. Well, I’d like to cover “It Had To Be You” in today’s content. Read More …

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Two Ways To Live

Every person I know has lived through some pretty tough challenges. So many stories, my own among them. I bet you have stories, too. So, a question: when everything seems tumultuous, you can’t see, plus you feel overwhelmed and tired, how do you live well and get through tough times? There’s help here by exploring two ways to live. Read More …

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A Thin Silence – Scripture Dissection

Have you ever been surprised by a small thing that turned out to be a pretty big thing? I had that experience in my quiet time recently. Several “game-changer” ideas landed significantly in my heart as I read and pondered. Naturally, I’m eager to share these with you. Perhaps they will encourage you, too. Will you join me to explore this content about “a thin silence?” Read More …

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A Regular Person Superhero

Marvel Comics puts lots of money into movies about superheroes. And – based on success at the box office – lots of people connect with these superheroes at some level. Not everyone is “into” superheroes. But most people can pinpoint at least one superhero they admire. Who is that superhero for you?

Every superhero is a regular person with flaws – and even weaknesses. However, their skill sets and strengths more than compensate for their vices. I once heard it said that every person is a mixture of gold and clay with incredible beauty while also being less than perfect. Read More …

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The Truth About Loneliness

Do you remember the film, “Cast Away?” Tom Hanks plays a systems analysist named Chuck who is marooned on an island quite unexpectedly when his flight goes down over the Pacific Ocean. In this movie, you get a front-row seat on how a person might deal with loneliness. From hopelessness, to anger, to desperation, to finding a way. He’s alone on this island for four years! Meanwhile, he’s declared dead by family and friends back home. Chuck’s only friend is a volleyball that washed ashore from the plane wreckage. This ball becomes Chuck’s only friend: “Wilson.” Chuck becomes very familiar with the truth about loneliness. Read More …

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Famine – Scripture Dissection

Well, it’s time! The last two Scripture dissections, God’s Timing and God’s Humor, we left something completely unresolved. The famine! And really – that’s an important development. We built up to it, showing how people suffered intolerably for three years. Now, Elijah introduces he’s back! And then introduces it’s God’s timing to end the famine. So, here is the amazing story – with a couple of twists and some teaching points. Read More …

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Your Valuable Life

Have you had the joy of watching little kids when they get in front of a mirror? They have heart-warming and sometimes hilarious interactions. These little ones have such authenticity and vulnerability as they interact with “themselves” in the mirror. What about you? When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Do you value the reflection of that person? Are you authentically being “you” each day? Read More …

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Feeling Down: 6 Helpful Tips

Feeling down is a common, yet challenging condition to manage. Whether over-tired, mistreated, discouraged, or even struggling with depression – being on the “down side” is real.

The first thing I want to say – “You’re not the only one!” Feeling down is a common human experience. And today’s content discusses “feeling down,” as well as 6 helpful tips. Read More …

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God’s Humor – Scripture Dissection

What situation comes to your mind when you hear that old saying – “God has a sense of humor?” I have numerous scenarios that come to mind. Oddly, it seems God’s humor is at play more often than we realize. And it’s a brilliant sense of humor. As humans, we try to develop a sense of humor, especially in teen years. And since we are made in God’s image, the quality of humor is there to be developed. I want to look at God’s humor as we continue Part 2 of our Scripture dissection of 1 Kings 18. This is exciting content. Read More …

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You Need A Sponge

Do you remember when you first learned how to clean up a mess? Whether it was your own mess or someone else’s, it stared you in the face, and you had to clean it up. So, what tools did you use to clean up the mess? From spills in the kitchen to oil overflows in the garage. Perhaps a pet issue or simply spilled milk. Whatever the mess to clean up – you need a sponge. Read More …

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I Am “They”

Many people feel invisible today. Some work hard and long to do the right thing – often behind-the-scenes – not for recognition or glory, but because it must be done. As a result, many folks with noble commitment go unnoticed. You’ve likely felt invisible in your hard work, faithfully doing what God asks each day. And “they” don’t seem to notice. But God notices. In fact, He says – “I Am They.” Read More …

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God’s Timing – Scripture Dissection

Surely you’ve wondered at least once – “what’s the deal with God’s timing?!” He seems to be on a completely different time schedule. Admit it with me: there are times you’ve wondered when God is going to answer your prayers. Whether it’s personal or global tragedies that happen without warning, waiting years for God’s intervention in a difficulty, healing a relationship, providing for a need, or personal matters of the heart – all certainly involve God’s timing. Read More …

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Learn Well – Live Well – Love Well

As we start into today’s content, we review a list of one-liners everyone has heard for many years. (Click to see this list. How many of them have you heard?) All seem to speak to an emptiness, dullness, boring repetition, and rather skeptical view of life.

But life is NOT hum-drum! Therefore, let’s explore a full, exciting, fresh-every-day, and rather hopeful view of life. Will you join me? Read More …

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This Is It!!

I’m sure there’s been at least one time in your life when you’ve said, “This is it!!” Well, what happens when God says, “This is it!!”?

Good question. I can’t get inside God’s mind to answer that adequately. But based on things Scripture declares, let’s take a stab at it: Read More …

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Tear Into It!

In graduate school, I had a stark realization as first semester syllabuses were handed out in class. It reminded me of a similar eye-opener in college-level classes after high school – but this was definitely a step up. As I began to digest graduate school expectations, I noticed a panicky feeling inside. There would be no reminders, no pace set for us, no little “clues.” Set your own reminders, pace, and “get a clue!” The level of expectation was much higher. There was no option except to tear into it, and hope for the best! Read More …

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Live For More

It was the final episode of a TV series, and I’d been waiting for weeks for find out what would happen. So, with a cuppa and my TV glasses, I sat in my favorite chair with eager expectation. About half-way through, I thought – “What?! Surely not! I know it’s going to end better than this!” Incidentally – it didn’t! And I was so disappointed. Over weeks of anticipation, I really did hope for more than that!

In a similar way of hope, we can live for more each day. Read More …

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Boundaries Help

We live with boundaries every day. Some examples: Your yard ends, and the neighbor’s yard begins. Countries have boundaries to define territory. Speed limits keep traffic in check to prevent accidents. The zoo has walls, cages, and glass to keep children safe as they enjoy animals. Walls and doors form rooms – helpful when you need to sleep or take a shower. Banks with safes protect money. Oceans caress the beach only to a certain distance. If boundaries are so common all around us, then why is it hard to place and keep boundaries to protect our hearts and minds? Afterall, boundaries help. Read More …

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At Your Edge

I have a few short stories that talk about living “at your edge.” These are stories from my own life history. Perhaps you can identify with some of them. Read More …

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Overcome Circumstances

Pause with me and ponder stories of people who have overcome circumstances. History is filled with these heroes. Let’s look at some famous – and some not-so-famous people who have overcome circumstances. Then we’ll explore how YOU can overcome the circumstances in your life. You can be a hero! Learn how to build this kind of character. This is exciting material! Read More …

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God’s Narrative Of You

Narrative is a word that has “ticked up” in usage recently. We’ll explore that. But this content is about God’s narrative of you. What is that narrative? Because you hear many different messages daily about your life and value, it’s tricky to determine which narratives are true and which are lies. So – do you know the truth? Comfortingly, God’s narrative about you is based in truth – and love.

What you think about what God thinks about you – matters! God is interested in you, in blessing you, and in your friendship. Read More …

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Fresh Start

Every day is filled with something new. No matter what you plan, everything has a starting point. Those beginning moments fill our lives. Sometimes we look forward to them, and other times we don’t. Still, with each new start, there are possibilities for something fresh and productive to build into. Even hard things bring opportunities to learn and grow. A fresh start is always welcome! Read More …

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Been Lied To?

Have you ever been lied to? I’m guessing you have. I have, too. It’s a devastating experience. You don’t know who to trust going forward. Consequently, that’s the power of a lie. It tears down trust and ruins what could otherwise be healthy and dependable. Although it’s become more common – even normal – to lie, all lies come from one place. Jesus identifies that source. Read More …

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When You Need Something Sharp

Some days you need a newspaper. Other days, you need money from your bank. Still other days, you need a prescription for illness. More than not, you need your phone – or some other form of technology. Then there’s the day you need a good friend to talk to. But more often than you might expect, are days when you need something sharp – like a sword! For protection, accuracy, carving away, cutting a path, and making a point.

As we explore this content, I hope to provide a word picture you can take forward into daily challenges. Let’s face it. In today’s world, you need a practical tool that’s reliable, effective, safe, and strong. And it needs to be applicable and versatile with current life issues. So – you need something sharp. Read More …

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A Resource For Better Thinking

I remember as a kid how excited I was when school let out for summer. That meant – freedom and fun. Then there’s the happy childhood memory of when I received a beautiful “Little Girl Lotion-Perfume” set from my grandmother at Christmas. As an adult, I’ve been thrilled when I owe less taxes than I thought – or get an extra bonus day off work. And at any age, there’s the joy of seeing new daffodils, tulips, and lilacs starting to share color and fragrance in spring. But nothing compares to how thrilled I was when I discovered a “Thinking Grid” in my Bible – a resource for better thinking! Read More …

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Sometimes It Takes A Third Party

I don’t think there’s a person alive who doesn’t sometimes need a third party in some way. Surely, you’ve been there. I know I have. When you’ve done all you can, when you’ve reached the end of your knowledge or resources, when you simply can’t see clearly . . . that’s when it takes a third party!

Here’s the backstory . . . Read More …

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When The Coffee Isn’t Good

I had a coffee nook some years ago. I LOVED IT! My favorite place to visit first thing in the morning was this little spot in my kitchen. Half awake with blurry eyes and a groggy brain, my slippers dragged me toward the coffee nook. And much as I’d like, my French Press didn’t make coffee on its own. So, in a drowsy state, I found it’s best to wake up a bit before making coffee. All it takes is one miscalculation to ruin the coffee. Too much. Too little. Knocking it over. Forgetting cream or sugar. That’s when the coffee isn’t good.

But there are more times the coffee isn’t good – in your daily life – even if you don’t like coffee! Read More …

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It’s Your Choice

Do you ever get tired of making choices? You make them all day long! If you had to keep track of all your choices, you’d have thousands to track. God gave choice to each individual. Yet choice also brings significant responsibility to make informed, good decisions. Because choices can be overwhelming sometimes, you need support and assistance. Still, at the end of the day, it’s your choice. What will you do? Read More …

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Be A Friend Back

You’ve experienced this, and so have I! You reach to someone in friendship, but there’s no reach back. Most of the time, that’s OK. But sometimes, when your heart is more deeply invested in a person, it’s painful when they don’t want to be a friend back. You just have to accept it. I think there are practical take-aways from this scenario as we consider our relationship with God. Read More …

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When Your Relationship With God Shifts

I’m guessing you’ve had at least one time in your life when you felt your relationship with God was good. Maybe not. But for myself, I’ve had several seasons where lots of things shifted, like seasons of the year. Truly, all relationships keep changing. So, it’s reasonable to expect your relationship with God to shift. Is that normal? Good or bad? This content explores how to stay healthy when your relationship with God shifts in a complicated world. Read More …

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We Have Jesus!

Easter week is here! As a result, people love to celebrate with joyful traditions, activities, reflections, and food. Since this week is the highest pinnacle of celebration for Jesus followers (perhaps second only to Christmas), we celebrate the amazing, simple reality – we have Jesus!

(NOTE: there’s a meaningful, FREE, easy-to-use Easter week devotional focus/activity at the bottom of this content. Click for more information and to SIGN UP.) Read More …

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Prepare For Easter Free Devotional Activity- Not Too Late to Sign Up

“Prepare For Easter” – IT’S NOT TOO LATE to Sign Up (And it’s FREE)!

Alive and Active Life is hosting a special Easter Week devotional focus with fun activities. Each brief daily devotional takes a meaningful look at how Jesus makes Himself available to you in practical ways. And there’s a fun activity for each day.

Whether you are young or old, have kids or not, student, professor, business/community/medical professional, in ministry, or retired – you can prepare your heart for Easter! (Mon., Apr. 3 through Easter Sunday, Apr. 9th.)

This content fits into anyone’s schedule. So, even busy people looking for concise, quality resources can participate.

PLUS, to help manage your busy schedule, you can listen. Just click on the player above each day’s content.

Here’s a quick overview of “Prepare For Easter” . . . Read More …

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Another Year Older

I had my annual visit with my doctor. (Have you had yours?) We sometimes have conversations about aging. Apparently, I’m right on target for getting another year older!

How about you? At some point this year, you will become another year older. So – Happy Birthday!

Although you and I don’t have control over the inevitable aging process – we can make some good decisions. Read More …

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Prepare For Easter – FREE Devotional Activity!

“Prepare For Easter” – SIGN UP (It’s FREE)! And it’s brief for your busy week while also being rich in content!

Alive and Active Life is hosting a special Easter Week FREE devotional focus with fun activities. Each day provides a short reflective thought, exploring a special role Jesus has in your life. It’s very encouraging! And there’s a fun activity for each day.

Read – or listen – to this information about describing this devotional activity. To listen, simply click the online player at the top of this article.

Whether you are young or old, have kids or not, student, professor, business/community/medical professional, in ministry, or retired – prepare your heart for Easter! (Monday through Easter Sunday.)

This content fits into anyone’s schedule. So, even busy people looking for concise, quality resources can participate.

PLUS, to help manage your busy schedule, you can listen to every single day of this devotional focus. Just click on the player above each day’s content.

Here’s a quick overview of “Prepare For Easter” . . . Read More …

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My Three Mentors

Do you have a mentor? When I was younger, God gave me – not one – but my three mentors. As God often does, He gave them in a much different way than [I thought] I’d wanted. Yet, I have come to agree with Him – that His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. (Is. 55:9) Interestingly, none of these three people really knew they had become my mentors. Read More …

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Victim or Victor. Which Are You?

Think about a recent crisis moment you had. What happened? A crisis moment is where things change. Your path goes one way – or another. This is the exact moment you decide if you will be a “victim” or “victor!” So, which are you? Read More …

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Looking For Donkeys – God’s Timing

What a weird title for today’s content. But I promise – it’s straight out of Scripture! So what does “looking for donkeys” have to do with God’s timing? Well, sometimes “looking for donkeys” oddly describes life. But that’s not reason enough to designate a full article to it. So, what is reason enough? I’ll give you a clue. It has to do with God’s timing.

Maybe you have felt you aren’t doing much more than looking for something as weird as a donkey. A look at God’s timing can put everything strange, odd, senseless, or boring into context. Read More …

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Accomplish Your Purpose – Helpful Steps

So, did you accomplish your purpose today? What about yesterday? Are you on-target with your life purpose?

Think back to when you start your day:

– Before getting out of bed, multi-thoughts fire as you contemplate another new day.
– Getting dressed, life responsibilities already form in your brain.
– Downing breakfast, you focus on making progress today.
– You might jot “to do’s” in your planner so you don’t forget.
– At your work place, ideas about life balance might appear . . . and quickly disappear as you dive into responsibilities.

With duties bombarding your waking hours – do you accomplish your purpose for being alive? Do you know why God created you? Read More …

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God’s Dimension: Real And Very Near

One freezing winter day, I pushed back the curtain early morning to see what winter did to my yard overnight. My eyes struggled to focus in the flood of “sun-on-snow” brightness. Gradually adjusting, I saw something magical. It was like a story book scene. Incredible winter art – in front of my eyes – reminded me God’s dimension is real and very near.

(If you live in the world where this kind of weather never happens, I’m including a few pictures so you can imagine.) Read More …

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Pass The Baton

During the Olympics, relay races are run with a team of superbly trained athletes – and with a baton. In one critical moment, a race is often won or lost. When is that moment? It’s the moment when runners pass the baton. Races are lost or won based on speed, of course. Yet, an accurate baton placement secures a race. This element is drilled again and again by coaches.

To pass the baton in a race is a big deal. It’s an even bigger deal to pass the baton in daily life. Read More …

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The Fan

Have you ever received a gift from someone that became a super special treasure – but the giver didn’t know it, and neither did you? That’s what we’re going to talk about today. I didn’t realized how special a gift I received would be over the years after it was given to me. But to this day, I really like “The Fan!” Read More …

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I Have Behaved

I’m not sure what comes to your mind when you ponder the title of this article. I suppose those words are not commonly spoken. In my own history, I can think of times I certainly have behaved. I also recall some times I have not. Hopefully the times I have behaved are becoming my norm as I work hard to know God better.

Anyway, I’d like to delve into this unusual statement. Did you know it comes straight out of Scripture? Read More …

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A Calm Strength

A calm strength! Does that describe you? Although you may not believe me, it can describe you. If I asked you – “does your life have any stress” – what would you answer? Similarly, if you rated yourself on a scale of panic in problems, where would you mark yourself? How would you rate your approach to each day? Calm strength? Peace? Read More …

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Steps To “Turn the Corner” In A Loss

Without any warning, it hits you hard – and you realize it’s challenging to manage a life loss! Sometimes, you feel you’re drowning in sadness . . . cut off from good things . . . observing others’ joy as a distant dream . . . wanting so badly for “normal” again . . . just wanting hope to return. Yet, you still face your loss. So, how do you “turn the corner” in a loss? Read More …

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Plans For Hope And A Future In Last Days

Have you noticed the talking points of world news recently? Wars, rumors of war, famines, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, floods, demonstrations in the streets, military muscles flexing, political unrest, various discriminations, mounting deceptions, despair. And more! Wow. What a state our world is in. Is it even possible to contemplate good plans for hope and a future?

It’s Getting Worse!

You cannot be well-informed without noticing – it’s getting worse. I’ve noticed! Surely, you have, too. But interestingly, Jesus told us this was going to happen. Read More …

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Becoming YOU: Helpful Tips

I’ve often thought about well-known people and how they became “famous.” People like the Queen of England, various presidents, Mother Teresa, Benjamin Franklin, and even Jesus’ mother – Mary. Have you ever wondered how a certain person “became?” What they focused on, how they spent their time, and the experiences that formed their character. As I’ve pondered this, I’ve seen each person must learn how to become.

So, how comfortable are you in your own skin? Read More …

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Live Between the Dots This New Year: 7 Tips

The end of one year morphs into a new one by the simple passing of time. Days slip by all year, but when the passing of days ends one thing and begins another, it is noteworthy. Like the dots on a graph that connect in a line to show something being formed, your life is the line connecting dots of days. This content provides 7 tips to help you connect the dots of your life and live with noble character. Read More …

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Life Response – Advent #4

Ready or not – Christmas week is here! Time to enjoy each moment. May I make a suggestion? Take it all in! Your preparations come together in a call. It’s a call for a life response to a beautiful Baby!

This is the fourth and final in a series to prepare your heart for Christmas. Each week we light another candle in our hearts as a statement of preparation. Read More …

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Time To Remember Emmanuel – Advent #3

Christmas is almost here! Whether you tend to schedule preparations ahead each week leading to Christmas – or you dare to load the stress into days before, including Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, it’s time to remember Emmanuel in your hustle and bustle.

This is the third in a series to prepare your heart for Christmas. Each week we light another candle in our hearts as a statement of preparation. Read More …

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Prepare Your Heart For Christmas – Advent #1

You prepare for Christmas in so many ways. But how do you prepare your heart? It’s a challenge. This treasured holiday is a time for celebration, cheer, friends, family, and worship. However, because Christmas has become highly commercialized, it takes skill and pensive preparation to fully participate in the hustle and bustle without losing it’s meaning.

This is the first in a series to help prepare your heart for Christmas. Each week we will light another candle in our hearts as a statement of preparation in Advent. Read More …

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Thankful While Busy

As I’ve been preparing for a mostly traditional Thanksgiving meal, I’ve been reminded how much planning and preparation goes into special celebrations we hold dear. These are added onto regular activities and responsibilities of each day. So, managing everything during the holiday season is critical. Additionally, remembering there are many reasons to be thankful while busy keeps you centered. Read More …

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Do You Wonder About Prayer?

Sometimes I wonder about prayer. How to pray most effectively. Do my prayers make a difference? Sometimes I wonder how to engage this precious relationship with an invisible person. I know it’s critical, and I’ve engaged it for many years. But in our physical, visible daily reality, going after invisible qualities can be hard to define. Do you ever wonder about things like that? Or do you wonder about prayer? Read More …

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Rise Up Higher

While reading a favorite author recently, I noticed new ideas I’d missed from reading them in the past. These ideas encouraged me to keep going after something God placed in my heart years ago. What was that? “Rise Up Higher.” After pursuing this for years, I can tell you – it’s a really good place! “Rise Up Higher” has so many practical applications. Enjoy this content. Read More …

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Trick or Treat – Real Life

This week in many communities, you will hear the phrase, “trick or treat.” Fall is in full swing. Candy. Caramel apples. Cider – hot or cold. Chilly air and colored leaves (in some geographies). Hayrides. Some folks decorate their yard for Fall. Others prefer a Harvest Party with games, costumes, stories, and pumpkins. But these festivities don’t change the reality – trick or treat is real life. Read More …

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G-S-G-S-R. It works!

For centuries, people have used codes, acronyms, and gimmicks to help them succeed. When I work to memorize a Scripture or helpful idea, I often need to use some kind of “hack” (tool) to get it in my brain! I want to share a surprising find that promotes success in my daily perspective. I remember it like this: G-S-G-S-R. And . . . it works! Read More …

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Under Feathers

Feathers have captivated people for centuries. Inventors and scientists have studied flight by looking at birds, wings, and feathers. Artists use various mediums to capture the beauty of feathers. Coincidentally, there are still folks who make down pillows and comforters with softest feathers. Kids adore fluffy, colored feathers for fun projects. Feathers have been used for insulation. At one point in history, the best arrows were made using feathers. Today’s content is about being under feathers. Read More …

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Partner With God Using 4 L’s

Some years back, I had an opportunity to lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in several decades. This person was a special influence in my growth and development. I was truly excited about catching up. With great anticipation, I marked the calendar. When the day came, I was a bit nervous after so many years. But I found the lunch to be one of the most fun and meaningful days I’d had in a long time. And I remembered how this friend had influenced me to partner with God. Read More …

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Me? Make A Difference?

Do you ever wonder how you can possibly make a difference in this world? You! With your one life! But the reality is that you can have practical influence in culture and other lives. You can make a difference. Read More …

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The Skinny On Sinning

So, what’s “the skinny?” Apparently, the skinny on something is “the true information about someone or something that is not known by most people . . . Give me the inside/straight/real skinny.” (Merriam-Webster) The skinny is revealing some secret information. With that in mind, what’s the skinny on sinning? Read More …

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When You Feel Empty

When I was a kid, I had an effective way of finishing a milk shake. A straw worked for most of it. But when I got down to those final noisy slurps, I worked with gravity. Turning the cup upside-down brought last drops to me. But when that was over, I stuck my tongue in as far as I could to gather up remaining morsels. THEN – my cup was truly empty! Nothing left! Satisfying, but also disappointing. Sometimes life drains your cup. That’s when you feel empty. It can be satisfying, but also disappointing. Read More …

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God Likes You

Remember when you made your first friend as a child? Or maybe you had a roommate you just clicked with when you went to college? It may have been a person you connected strongly with on your first job assignment. Whoever and wherever – you just got this feeling inside – “I think I like you!” It may come as a surprise but that’s how God feels about you. God likes you! Read More …

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Ordinary People Make A Global Difference

We hear about prominent figures, television personalities, world leaders, famous authors. But most of us are ordinary people – not famous. We care about the state of our world as we hear of countries being ravaged and individuals without food, water, medicine. We sigh as the news highlights tragedies in our own communities. Many ordinary people care about showing God’s love in practical ways. So, we ask: How can I ever make a difference in this huge world? I’m one of the ordinary people! Read More …

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Nature’s Diamonds

The beauty of creation is all around us. Its wonder is a testimony of God’s glory and presence even in our broken world. What a privilege to absorb the displays, relax in its calm, and explore its wisdom, precision, and wonders. With numbered days, we should ponder Nature’s Diamonds often. You have a choice in a world of upheaval. “I calm and quiet my soul.” (Ps. 131:2) Read More …

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Attitudes And The Christian

There is such power in attitudes that affect your life – and other lives, too. The power is enough to turn the direction of an individual, a culture group, a community, even an entire nation. So the power is significant. In fact, attitudes can set your path for a long time. That’s why we should be aware of them and choose carefully. Read More …

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I Have To Be Right!

Have you ever been told – “You always have to be right!”? Likely it’s been said to you – or to someone else – often by “that guy!” Does it ever “bug” you that a certain person just always has to be right? Maybe you are that person. (click to read / listen for helpful tips) Read More …

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ACM: A Tool To Build Noble Character

Keeping track of all the details in life is challenging. How do you track things in your life? Your workload, diet, property care and home chores? What about bill deadlines, healthcare appointments, fun with friends. To stay on top, you need a good tool. Tracking your spiritual development and growth in noble character requires a good tool, too.

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Roots Up

The other day, I was pulling weeds in my vegetable garden. Fortunately, I found and uprooted most of the “little guys.” But there were some weeds that had been growing a bit longer. They were stubborn and tough. I had to get my fingers right down at their entrance into the earth, take a “death grip,” and pull with my whole body – just to get those “bigger guys” out of my garden! From the roots up, those weeds were supported . . . until my hands came along! Read More …

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Need A Miracle?

I’m sure you’ve heard stories of people who died but came back to life. Some have been miraculously healed of serious diseases. There are stories of amazing financial provisions – down to the penny needed. Imminent tragedies have “somehow” dissipated. People have prayed for rain in drought and received it. These kinds of things are on the list of “Big Deal Miracles.” But most of us just need a regular miracle – something to encourage our hearts. I also think we get so focused on our own stuff that we miss the entire list of “Super Special Small Miracles” that happen each day. Do you need a miracle?

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When You Are Weary

I’ve been listening attentively to the news these recent months. Our world sounds weary. And since the globe is made up of individuals – like you and me – I’m guessing you may feel some weariness, too. In addition to managing weariness of your personal life, you likely feel some fall-out from all that’s going on globally. When you are weary, may you be encouraged by today’s content.

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Turn The Light On For Direction: 7 Steps

One of the first things you do when you walk into a room is turn the light on. That enables you to see everything, prevents falls, and helps you find your way. A light makes your environment feel more welcome. And it’s sure easier to find a misplaced item. However, here’s the question: if it’s easy to turn a light on in a room, why is it harder to turn the light on inside you?

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Why Don’t I Change?

Someone once told me being a follower of Jesus is exclusive of behaviors, and it’s only about God’s love and their heart. “Behaviorism” is a term that was used. I’ve prayerfully and extensively thought about this perspective. God has blessed this pensive exploration with some interesting ideas. It has to do with “why don’t I change?”

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The Magic Of Being Alive And Active

It’s challenging to be alive and active each day. Global situations bring concerns, fears, and insecurities. Losses and deep disappointments get in the way of living free. This world is writhing with threats against peace. Even so, you can discover the magic of being alive and active.

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What’s In Your Hand?

God always has a plan that includes the entire world. Without question, it also includes you! His big picture plan for the world and His individual plan for your life come together when we ask a question – “What’s in your hand?”

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True Story of Faith

  Today’s content is an inspiring, modern-day testimony of ordinary folks like you and me. It shows that responses to disappointments and unknowns in life can be a true story of faith. While struggling to find good answers, hoping for best outcomes, accepting developments that alter one’s path – faith still matters and steadies your steps. (This is Part 7, the final article, in a series on faith. See below for the entire Faith Series articles/podcasts links.)

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Who Can You Trust These Days?

Have you noticed people don’t easily trust these days? On the other hand, I’ve noticed sometimes people trust too quickly or naively. Interestingly, there are times, if we are deep-down honest, we can’t even fully trust ourselves. Essentially, we know our perspective may be skewed, our character isn’t always noble, and our judgment can be flawed. So, who can you trust these days, especially with increasing global uncertainty? (This is Part 6 in a series on faith.  See below for the entire Faith Series articles/podcasts links.)

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Faith And Family

There are two concepts people all over the world cling to: Faith and Family. These ideas mean different things to each person. Yet they are a bedrock for people of any culture. Because the ideas of Faith and Family are interwoven, it all starts in the heart of God. (This is Part 5 in a series on faith. So check below for the entire Faith Series articles/podcasts links.)

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Grow Up In Faith – 4 Tips

Go back with me into your childhood – as far back as you can remember. What comes to mind? Maybe special people who love you, or a very special day. Maybe a favorite toy or snack. A dear childhood “pal” may come to mind. You may have some painful or disappointing memories, as well. Incidentally, all through years of growing up, you change. Additionally, this is true of growing up in your faith in God. Subsequently, what are you doing to grow up in faith? (This is Part 4 in a series on faith. See below for the entire Faith Series articles/podcasts links.)

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Fresh Faith For You

  Recently, I wrote a letter to a friend. As I re-read and pondered my message, I realized there was a stunning, fresh faith application point in my letter – for me! It was simple, yet profound. I’ve thought a lot about this ever since. Essentially, that message boiled down to one word. Would you like to know what I wrote? (This is Part 3 in a series on faith. See below for the entire Faith Series articles/podcasts links.)

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Faith Jump!

Have you watched paratroopers flinging themselves from the safety of an aircraft into the vast skies at a very unsafe height?  To accomplish their mission, they just . . . JUMP! Paratroopers are equipped and trained to do something super scary and hard for most people. But for them, it’s as natural as walking. In the same way, living by faith can seem super scary and hard. It takes a daring leap. But with practice and determination, you can be just as equipped and trained as a paratrooper. So, are you ready for a faith jump? (This is Part 2 in a series on faith. See below for the entire Faith Series articles/podcasts links.)

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Ever Run Out Of Heroes?

Everyone needs heroes, especially in difficult times. That means someone to look to for inspiration, courage, and noble character. Have you ever run out of heroes? Sometimes it’s hard to find a hero who lives an Alive and Active Life. So, this content is about some ordinary people who are faith heroes. (This is Part 1 in a series on faith. See below for the entire Faith Series articles/podcasts links.)

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Special Ways God Loves You

  There is an alarming development over the past several years. People wonder if they actually matter. These “wonderings” happen deep in people’s hearts. Sadly, depression has broken some people. Additionally, discouragement wraps devastating effects around serious global developments. Pandemic, natural disasters, wars and rumors of wars, global warming, political unrest. I think it’s time for a strong look at Special Ways God Loves You. May you be encouraged as you connect with the God who loves you.

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What Does God’s Face Look Like?

Ever wonder what God looks like? I remember being intrigued with this as a child. What does God look like? How about Jesus? There were no phone cameras back when Jesus lived on earth. So we have no pictures. We don’t have any life portraits of the God, either. So a lot is left to imagination. Still, God’s Word gives clues – not about God’s physical appearance. Rather, it paints a masterful portrait of God’s nature, personality, and character. And it uses characteristics of God’s face as a tool to communicate His appearance.

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What Can I Do?

On the big scale of the world, so much is out of your control. Events happen and history is changed. You can feel pretty small when your life is lined up next to global issues. Still, your own life affects history. So, as you consider your life in the world, your community, family, career, you may wonder – “Realistically, what can I do? How can my life matter?”

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There’s Comfort In A Sandwich

In the movie, “The Kid,” Bruce Willis plays Russ Duritz, a grown-up under stress. He regresses to a form of comfort when he was a kid – a sandwich. He begins to make one and repeatedly says – “There’s safety in a sandwich!” As he tries to convince himself in his self-dialogue, he grips his almost finished sandwich and flips it around expressively while talking. Alfalfa sprouts fly everywhere. Then lettuce flips out. It’s not much of a sandwich any more. Many people think there’s comfort in a sandwich.

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Peace For Troubled Times

The way things are lining up these days in the world, many people are concerned about peace. It’s true – we do need peace for troubled times. But – things as they are – what does that look like? So – today we are talking about Peace For Troubled Times.

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Balanced Living

All it takes is putting your foot in the wrong place – and down you go! It could be stairs, slippery ice, low-traction pavement, carpet that catches your shoe, a wet floor, or even somebody sticking their foot out in front of you. It’s so easy to get tripped off balance. And losing your balance can mean a nasty fall. Have you had a fall recently? Do you have balanced living?

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Affairs of Your Heart

What exactly are affairs of your heart? How do you manage them? Perhaps we could rearrange the words and ask – – in your heart, what is the state of affairs going on in there?

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God’s Love For You Is Sincere

When is the last time you considered God’s love for you? Do you ever feel distant from His love? Do you wish you could connect with His love in a more meaningful way? Well, God’s love for you is sincere. It’s powerful. Yes, God loves you, and that makes a huge difference in your daily living.

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Just Add Water

One of the things we’ve grown used to is the idea of “just add.” We like the idea that you can have something you just add a little something else to . . . and presto! You’ve got something of great value.

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A Plan to Become More Like Jesus

Remember that old saying – “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” (Benjamin Franklin) It seems ‘ol Ben was onto something. This statement is true of almost everything in life. Just like failing to plan equals planning to fail – so developing a plan to become more like Jesus means succeeding. So why do followers of Jesus fail sometimes?

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How To Meet Your Needs

If you haven’t eaten in days, you need food. If you can’t sleep at night, you need help. When you find yourself without heat and it’s freezing cold outside, you have an urgent need. What about when you are in danger? That’s a need, too. Often those physical needs are easy to recognize and find help for. But what do you do with needs of your heart? Your soul? Your mind? Those needs are important, too. It’s time to wrap your arms around how to meet your needs in healthy ways.

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Someone Prays For You Always

Does it ever feel like your prayers bounce off the ceiling? There have been times I’ve wondered if my prayers make a difference. It seems everyone goes through experiences when it’s easy to be discouraged. Disappointments and injustices can knock the wind out of you. But little things still matter – like receiving a text, a notecard, a phone call, or even just a hug with the message “I’m praying for you often.” Knowing someone prays for you really helps. And it takes things to a new level to remember – someone prays for you always!

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Strategies Of Rest

  When you start something – a fun adventure, a new program or plan, a fresh commitment, A NEW YEAR – it’s easy to be excited. Fresh starts are a kind of power launch that thrust you forward. Still, with life demands and problem-solving each day, how can you live with strategies of rest after the newness of a launch wears off?

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Dot To Dot

Have you ever done one of those dot to dot pictures? You know, the ones where you take a pencil and connect all the dots in numerical order? When you are done connecting all the dots, you see a picture you created. It’s always a fun surprise to view the final image. This is an important consideration going into each new year. What dots will you be connecting this next year? What picture will you create?

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Fresh Blank Page

We are ending one year and approaching a new one! That brings unknowns and opportunities. The coming year will be filled with blessings, as well as challenges and troubles. Still, it’s like a fresh blank page on which you write more of your life story. What a fantastic privilege – and responsibility! What will you write on your fresh blank page this next year?

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Best Gift Ever!

  Best Gift Ever! What is the best gift you’ve ever received? Was this special present something you received when you were a child? Or does this memory come from when you were a teen? Maybe your most favorite present came after you became an adult. Whenever you received it, you likely still remember it as the best gift ever!

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God Cares About Holiday Sadness

  If you’ve ever experienced sadness in the holidays, you know how hard it is to jump into cheer and celebration when your heart is hurting. Sometimes sadness is because life is hard all year, filled with losses, bad news, declining health, broken relationships. At times you can’t even pinpoint why you feel sad. Melancholy lingers even when you are grateful for many blessings. But Christmas is still going to come. So if you are sad, how do you get through the holiday sadness?

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Everyone Needs Compassion

In 2006, a song was released that talks about compassion. Everyone Needs Compassion! How about you? Do you need compassion for what you are going through? Maybe you need mercy, kindness, hope . . . and maybe even a sincere hug. Perhaps you think your “mountain-of-a-problem” can’t be moved. Or it’s impossible to be healed from your losses.

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Christmas In A Nutshell

What exactly does “in a nutshell” mean? And why talk about it as we approach the Christmas season? According to a phrases resource * I found, it means – “In a few words; concisely stated.” I suggest at this busy, exciting holiday time, getting Christmas in a nutshell might be helpful. So what does that look like?

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Doing Gratitude

As we enter the holiday seasons and the final portions of this year, most of us get pretty busy. Still, it’s essential to ask questions that matter most during these months of celebration. One question in particular often associated with Thanksgiving, affects life every day. What exactly is gratitude? Have you regularly asked yourself that question? I’ll throw in another question – “part B” to the first question. Are you “doing gratitude” each day?

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Gratitude Scale: Get Closer to a 10!

Thanksgiving! This holiday of gratitude is celebrated in various ways at different times of the year, depending on your country and culture. When is your Thanksgiving? How do you celebrate? If you had a Gratitude Scale that could measure how thankful you are, on a scale of 1 – 10, where do you fall?

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What Time Is It?

What do you use to tell time most often? A clock on the wall? Perhaps you wear a wrist watch or carry a pocket time piece. Many people use their phone clock. Some people are blessed to live in a college community with a bell that tolls the hour. Whatever you use – what time is it? In current culture, what time is it?  

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It Doesn’t Always Go Well

If you were to stand in the middle of a busy intersection of pedestrian and vehicle traffic, you’d get significant impressions. Besides being concerned for your safety, you’d also notice it doesn’t always go well. The hair-raising screech of tires and squeal of brakes in a near miss of cross traffic. A motorcycle driver almost clips you with his daring zig-zag around another car. A pedestrian pushes through and almost knocks others over. Someone does lose grip and drops a package. Then there’s the motorist in a hurry and blazes right through a red light. You are almost run over as a bicycler whips by you. On top of all that, there’s the airplane overhead much too low for comfort. You haven’t even thought about a possible pick-pocket.

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Scary Stories

Scary stories are scariest if you are in the story, but you don’t know what is going to happen. The risk is significant, the outcome is uncertain, and the danger is elevated. All the unknowns make scary stories hold your breath and hope things turn out OK. If you already know how things turn out, most of the “scary” is gone.

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Contentment

Have you noticed a lot of unrest all over the world recently? It’s sobering. And it affects people. Even folks who feel pretty stable are wondering – “What is going on these days?” There’s a complete lack of contentment, and people want to know how to respond to all this unrest. In a world of upheaval, what hope is there to regain a life of contentment? Jesus gives really great advice about contentment, and I think it’s super relevant right now.

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I Bet Your Life Is Like Mine

I bet your life is like mine. We are different as individuals, yet surely there are similarities! Let’s start here. Is your life ever filled with challenges and difficulties, losses and disappointments? Have you ever been pierced with tragedy? Have you experienced health issues? If you’ve lived several decades, you likely have more questions now than when you were younger, right? You might have had seasons of unexpected, undeserved poundings! Your sufferings may be from someone else’s terrible choices. So – what do you think? Any of this sound familiar? Is your life like mine?   Set The Pace For Your Life I could add even more to that first paragraph, but I won’t. Why? Because although there is more I could add of life’s hardships, trials, and challenges . . . there is another similarity also true for your life and mine. Our lives are filled with God’s blessings – all the time, every day. So many things to enjoy from relationships to creation to adventures to pleasures to advancements. The best blessing is God’s presence. These all co-exist alongside our difficulties. The person who is conscious of God and His blessings is the person who does well, even

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TRUE COLORS

I love autumn colors! I wait for them every year. In fact, autumn is my favorite time of year (next to Christmas celebrations). Incredible displays of color, the crisp, magical feel in the air, the cheer that rises. Gorgeous skies. Backyard firepits, s’mores, and hotdogs. Pulling out the warm, cozy sweaters. Yet, even as I enjoy the splashes of color that cheer the world, and as I indulge in the entire experience, the colors remind me of something else. It’s something that helps me, but it’s also rather sobering. It challenges me, too. And it all has to do with true colors. (Your area of the world may have already finished autumn colors, and you may have snow! Perhaps your area of the globe is warm year around. The lessons of true colors are still applicable to every person!) True Colors In The Community Before getting into today’s content, would you like to see some community colors? The trees on a walk through my neighborhood are majestic and beautiful. They give so much joy and draw my heart to the Creator. Notice the gorgeous colors against the moody fall skies. Some of the trees look like a paintbrush that an

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Harvest – How Is Your Yield This Year?

Did you plant any gardens this year? Maybe some veggies or flowers? Perhaps you have a patch of herbs. Or maybe a favorite front step potted plant. Farmers across the world have their own kind of (very large) gardens. So do businesses with green houses, orchards, or public farms. I had a garden this year, and I poured time and effort into it. Gardeners have something in common. They look for harvest of the crop they labored over – from produce to flowers to cash crops. How is your yield this year?

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Deceptive Cycles: Steps To Break Free

Deceptive Cycles Deceptive cycles have trapped most people at one time or other. You, me, pretty much everyone. These cycles are key enemy strategies to get God’s people to fail, live defeated, be burdened, and struggle with discouragement. Deception formed the original temptation of Adam and Eve. So, we are not alone. Still, this was never God’s plan. He wants you free to have an Alive and Active Life.

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How To Measure Your Motives

Recently, we explored 12 Qualities Of Noble Character and how critical it is to aim for excellence. In fact, I would add that people with noble character help change the world. We need more noble character around the world. If noble character is that important, and since Motives Matter – how do you measure your motives as you work to increase your own noble character? That’s the content of today’s material.

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Manage Feelings: A Bit Like Technology

  Managing Anything Is A Big Deal! Have you ever thought about how many things you manage in a day? It’s overwhelming. From a home and yard, to your budget. You manage health, weight, and wise shopping for food. How about keeping everything clean, fixed, ready to use? You manage your career, family, friendships. Even time-off needs management for constructive fun and rest. And – seriously – all your techie stuff needs managing. (Have you noticed?!) Computers, phones, devices, apps for everything you can imagine. There’s another thing you need to manage to have an Alive and Active Life. You need to manage your feelings.

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12 Qualities of Noble Character

When you think of noble character, who do you think of? Is it a famous person? Perhaps a friend. It might be a family member or a person of influence in your community. Maybe you would choose a person of past history. Whoever you think of, one thing is sure – noble character still matters.

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Got Power To Live An Alive and Active Life?

Do you remember the commercial years ago (maybe the 1990’s) – GOT MILK? In the commercial, everyone has a “milk mustache.” No one can argue the value of drinking milk – especially for children. Even adults relish a glass of milk with cookies. That creamy white drink has power to build strong bodies in youngsters as they grow. Babies can’t live without milk. But when little ones grow up they need more than milk to be strong. They need inner power to live an Alive and Active Life. So the question I ask you is – GOT POWER?

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I Just Don’t Care Anymore!

It’s been a rough couple of years! People are feeling it. Communities, countries, the global community have challenges and threats that are astronomical with limited solutions. In addition, it has become increasingly hard to know who to trust. All this upheaval can sometimes make a person feel – “I Just Don’t Care Anymore!”

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Depression Is Real: Some Help

Depression is real. It’s not something you aim for, but as life happens, depression sometimes visits. It’s real enough it must be managed. But so many people simply do not know how. People are looking for help and hope. There is help. And there is hope.

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The Peace Hand *

Take a look at your hand. Right now, just lift your hand up and look at it. All your fingers, thumb, and knuckles. Your hand is an incredible creation. In an allegorical manner of speaking, your hand was designed by God to be a Peace Hand with strength, control, and agility similarly to your physical hand.

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Your Small Piece of the BIG Life Puzzle

You hold a puzzle piece in your hands – only one piece of a very big puzzle. Sometimes you might hold several pieces at a time. Have you looked carefully at your piece(s)? What do you think those colors, shapes, and designs are part of?  Where do you fit? What do you do with one piece of a big life puzzle?

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How to Quit Sinning

Every believer in Jesus has struggled to quit sinning at some point. Things you don’t want to do, you seem to migrate toward. Things you do want to do, you seem helpless to carry out. It feels a bit like being trapped. Still, you want to please God and live a good life. There was a famous person who struggled to quit sinning. And they figured it out.

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The Sin List

Have you ever wondered what the worst sin is? Most people have some kind of sin list of “really bad sins.” Some folks have a list of “more permissible sins.” I guess the question that matters most is – does God have a sin list?

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Heart Atrophy = Stone Heart

Pause! Right now stop what you are doing. Put your hand over your heart – or place your fingers on your wrist to find your pulse. Be ever quiet and still as you feel the beat of your heart. That steady beat keeps you alive. Can you imagine how ineffective your heart would be if it was a stone heart?

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A Little Thing That Encourages

Sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up! Days can get pretty tough as the years slip by. Yet – there is encouragement for the taking – all around you. Little things here and there. Have you found God’s little thing that encourages today? I remember realizing years ago – it takes growing in alertness to notice God’s little thing that encourages. I’d like to share just a couple of examples from my life.

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He Loves Perfectly. We Can Love Better.

There are so many days I realize I could love better. If you are like me, you work hard to love the people in your life – family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even someone you meet as you run errands. But we know deep down we need to grow in love – for God and for one another. We are aware that He loves perfectly; we can love better.

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Wear ‘n’ Tear of Life!

You’ve heard of wash ‘n’ wear. Those are the garments you throw in the washer, then the dryer, and even if you miss the dryer buzzer, they don’t wrinkle. You pull them out, put them on, and off you go! They look great. We like to think of ourselves as wash ‘n’ wear. But many days, it’s more like wear ‘n’ tear! We start a day as wash ‘n’ wear . . . and end up as wear ‘n’ tear.

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Your 3 Most Important Keys

If I asked you what your 3 most important keys are – what would you say? Maybe the keys to your house, your car, and your _____________ . (fill in the blank: safe, diary, yard barn, motorcycle, locked snack box, or ?) These days, you don’t always use a metal key to get into locked places. There are new, super-cool, technology keys – like a key fob, access ID card, device password, dual authentication, retinal scan, DNA match, fingerprint access, etc. (No modern snack box locks that I’m aware of!)

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Turned Upside-Down

  Last article talked about the 4 soils of the heart. It was a fascinating exploration of a parable Jesus told about how different people receive and interact with God’s Word. The soil of the heart indicates the condition of the soul. Jesus’ parable also strongly suggests reasons why some people set out to follow Jesus, but end up discouraged and even walk away. Life is challenging. And it’s confusing when you feel you are being turned upside-down as a believer in Jesus.

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Four Soils of the Heart

Many are getting ready to plant and tend various gardens again this year. Some will be breaking up new ground to start from scratch. Others will be expanding or re-structuring existing gardens. Farmers will turn attention to the state of their fields. All who plant hope for beauty and harvest. So they have concern for the state of the soil they plant in. There is a life lesson in this. Soils of the heart – we should be concerned about the condition of our heart’s soil. Is it ready for beauty and harvest?

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Safe With God

I’ve found the content of this article has had huge impact in my life. Interestingly, it has influenced my relationships – with friends, family, co-workers, and others. So what are we looking at today? It has to do with safety. There are threats everywhere against folks. Individuals, families, places of employment and education, even churches. Everything looks OK from the outside, but inside where people are, and especially deep inside people, there are broken pieces. One of the greatest assurances you can know and bring into life is  – you can be safe with God. Why? Because God promises! So, I guess the question is – how do you live practically in this safety? Let’s explore being safe with God and look at action steps you can practice to be safe with God.

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Steps to Renew HOPE!

Hope is a critical component to being vibrant and healthy. When hope wanes, everything cycles downward. You need to renew hope. Do you know how to renew hope? How is your hope doing today? Did You Know Hope Can Erode? I’ll be transparent here. Sometimes my hope gets beat up a bit. I’m guessing you might have the same happen to your hope occasionally. Hope goes through an erosion process when you have to stand alone in some issue. Or when you have been plodding for a very long time and there is no end in sight. It may be a tragedy has invaded your life. Sometimes you feel helpless to hold things together and go forward. Have your resources run out? Is someone making your life really challenging? Perhaps a person has literally broken your heart. You need steps to renew hope.           

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Get Unstuck: 7 Steps

  Have you ever been stuck? You want to break free and make progress, but a helpless feeling pervades. Still, part of you knows there has to be an option to get unstuck. What a miserable place: feeling suspended, unable to maneuver, paralyzed to come up with a plan. Yet, in your heart, and with God’s help, you suspect you are able to get unstuck – somehow! You just don’t know how.

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Navigating Loneliness

  Loneliness Affects You So many people struggle with this human condition. It affects everyone, from individuals who have no one to count on, to those who have suffered a terrible loss, to those who have been mistreated. However, loneliness also affects people who have a life partner, a dear friend, or a group they’ve been welcomed into. The condition of loneliness grabs hold of all hearts at some time or other. Loneliness seems to have mushroomed during this pandemic. From the initial lock-downs to continued social distancing. Even just “masking” seems to interfere with connecting. It’s as if we can’t really “see” one another.

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Angels

  Have you ever seen an angel? I have not. I have a number of precious “people angels” in my life. But face-to-face with a real, live, heavenly angel? Not a chance!

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New Name - Alive and Active Life

Alive and Active Life – Our New Name

  Alive and Active Life – Our New Name! We are excited to announce our name change! Intentional Living is now Alive and Active Life! You will notice changes on our website to reflect the new name. As we have been re-branding this past year, it’s been a process of new vision, excitement, challenge, and hard work. God started preparing our hearts last year about a name change. For half a year, there has been much prayer and exploration. Now He has laid a new path in front of our faith, and we are eager to see what God has planned. But – I want to tell you more about this change. I think you will find it interesting. [Click on above image – “Alive and Active – Our New Name” – and please share on your social media to announce our name change.]

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I Can’t See You, God! Where Are You?

Everyone goes through a time of feeling, “I can’t see You, God. They may feel discouraged, tired, and even disillusioned. This world, in its fallen state, is a place where it’s not only possible to feel these things at some point. It’s very likely! The human spirit cries out – “Where are You, God? I’ve lost sight of You, and I need You.”

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Voice In Your Head

Ever Hear That Voice In Your Head? Have you ever been tempted to think you are no good? Less than? Not worth as much as someone else? Do you know who is planting those ideas in your head? Your enemy. And it just so happens your enemy is also God’s enemy. That puts you in good company. Did you know you can decide who is the voice in your head? If you choose to, you can side with God and hear His voice. After all, He IS on the right side – the winning side. The voice in your head doesn’t need to be the enemy. It can be Jesus.

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Mind-Set Affects Everything

  I have some questions for you. And I bet you don’t think about them often. I know I don’t. But they are important to live a meaningful life. Here we go – What’s your reason for being alive? How about your motive to keep going? Do you have a life purpose? These questions are key to help you identify critical information about your life. You need this information. Your reasons, motives, and purpose are essential. They actually “set” your thinking and approach to daily living. Mind-set affects everything! We just explored motives in a recent article Motives Matter. This time, we need to spend time on mind-set.

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Motives Matter

Motives Matter In a recent article, we discussed – Character Matters. These are timely reflections during significant challenges our world is navigating. On top of the global picture, people’s personal lives are strained at many levels, sometimes because of global issues. Having set the tone with the Character Matters article, let’s dive back into discussion about character, but go one level deeper. I propose to you that not only does Character Matter – but Motives Matter.

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Lord is Before Savior

Lord is Before Savior Most followers of Jesus have heard the dignified title “Savior and Lord.” I would like to suggest something about this title. Of course, it’s true, Jesus is Savior and Lord. But let’s consider two things. First, from the beginning, way back before anything was created – Lord is before Savior. And second, for every sincere Christian who lives their faith with resolve, consistency, and passion, this title starts to flip around – from “Savior and Lord” to “Lord and Savior.”

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It’s “Do You Love Me” Day

It’s “Do You Love Me” Day It’s Valentine’s Day! People all over the world are looking for creative, meaningful ways to say, “I love you.” People also are looking to be loved. It may be from a lover, but that’s a limited view of the day. This day includes family members, dear friends, comrades in ventures, even perhaps – fellow countrymen. Most defining and critical, this day includes the God who loves you and me. So, the question from Him is still – “Do you love Me?”

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How Do I Manage Feelings?

  Most people spend a portion of their life trying to figure out what to do with their feelings. They often ask themselves, “how do I manage feelings?” That’s a very good question.

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Character Matters

  This past year has been packed with challenges while the entire world is slammed in crisis. It’s one of those years you look back in a decade and say – “Well, I remember one of the worst years ever – 2020! True, it’s been hard for individuals, for business and industry, and for countries around the world. This global picture is the high view of a big picture. Yet, when you drill down into every person’s daily life, you find even more challenges and crisis. People are under strain. With this harsh reality, there is one thing increasingly clear. Whatever the problem, the process, or the solution – character matters.

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Work It Out     

  I’ve found life to be a mix of enjoyment, struggle, and problem-solving. It takes courage and management as fear pokes holes in your confidence and hurt threatens your heart. After living for awhile in this reality, a person realizes life isn’t always peace, rest, and unity. You realize you need to work it out.

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Jesus Makes Life Good. Go After It!    

  I remember as a young adult thinking that somewhere along the way, I’d figure out how this life works. Several decades have passed. I figured some things out, but there is still so much I don’t know or understand – even more than when I was a young adult. Yet, I have learned to identify and go after some critical pieces I can manage to make life good.

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HOW TO FINISH a 1-PAGE GOALS SHEET – Step 2

  Last article, we began developing a 1-Page Goals Sheet – Step 1. This tool is an individualized, custom-designed plan to organize and manage your life effectively with simple action steps. Today, we will finish. You are very close to being done with a great plan and action steps that are easy to implement.

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How To Set Up a 1-PAGE GOALS SHEET: Step 1

  Wouldn’t it be great if you could put everything you’re aiming for on one page! To have a tool that is short, concise, and condensed to help live each day successfully. Instantly accessible. Something to carry on your device wherever you go, or to print and keep a visible copy at your desk. How about a 1-page goals sheet to help you aim for your best! I’m delighted to tell you – this tool exists. And it works. I have been using a 1-Page Goals Sheet for decades, and it’s helped me focus and grow. Now I’d like to share this tool with you.

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Gifts Under God’s Great Tree

Pretend with me. You are a child. It’s Christmas. The tree is up and decorated. Glow and sparkle fill the room with Christmas magic. Being a curious child, you have already checked out the landscape of presents under the tree. You noted the gifts with your name on them. And – you’ve counted them. Now you wait . . . and wonder . . . and hope! But the pretending stops and you are an adult again. You ask yourself – “are there gifts for me as a grown-up? Is there something special under God’s Great Tree with my name on it?”

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Jesus, the Beautiful Baby, Has A God

Christmas and a Beautiful Baby Approaching Christmas brings thoughts of a manger, a beautiful baby in white swaddles, Mary and Joseph, wisemen, shepherds, angels. Then add gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Now, pull this ancient beautiful story forward into the present and picture a bright, decorated evergreen tree, stockings at a fireplace hearth, goodies and wassail on a festive table. Family and friends are part of holiday plans – even during a pandemic. This year we add masks, social distancing, virtual visits for gift exchanges to share special moments. I’m sure you have explored creative options. Then there’s the beautiful Christmas music and cards or e-cards. Do you stop to ponder what all this December celebration means and why you participate every year?

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Be an “R and R” Person – Refreshing and Rare    

             The other day, I received a note from a person who is refreshing and rare. They are committed to Jesus and walk with God. This person has chosen God’s priorities over their own agenda, and their life proves it. People like this quietly change the world as they faithfully live for Jesus. They are refreshing and rare. I want to be this kind of person. Being alive is a privilege! God designed you to be dependent on Christ – synced with Him at your core. Joy and peace result from being connected with Jesus, even in times of sorrows. Plus, you gain purpose and wisdom.

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Care For Each Other    

You know how it feels to be over your head in responsibilities, stress, or disappointment. Sometimes it’s just tough rising up to keep doing what needs to be done. People depend on you to do your part. And you need others to do their part, too. This is when you care for each other. Through caring, we participate in God’s love for each other. And we encourage one another to each do our part.

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Steadfast                            

Maintaining a steady pace and a steadfast heart in life is a real trick, isn’t it? Life’s terrain is so unpredictable, and losses grab at your ankles as you walk. “Keeping on” while being patient and calm takes resolve and courage. Unexpected developments, disasters, losses and grief, disagreements, declining health, even aging – these pop up on every side. Addressing them well requires being steadfast.

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National Author’s Day For an Author

I did not know Nov. 1 was National Author’s Day. My family surprised me with a lovely Author’s Day Tea. We enjoyed a yummy spread including homemade scones and clotted cream. Why did they do this? Well, they love me. But the main reason? I’m an author! It’s been a fascinating journey, and I’ve learned so much. I’d like to tell you about my work.

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Dependables

These are difficult, uncertain, and challenging days. There are very few things you can depend on when you get up in the morning. Things shift all day. Between the political state of the world, unknown health threats, cosmic nature developments, and people’s free will, your list of dependables shrinks!

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Whose Interests Are You Looking Out For?

What interests do you have? How do you figure out what your interests are? As a unique individual, your interests matter. Every day there are many things that capture your attention. How do those interests fit into God’s interests?

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Struggles are Real

If you had to summarize your life in one nutshell sentence, what would you say? Perhaps you would talk about your background, schooling, and degree. You might mention family. Some would talk about career. Others would reflect on additional things they cherish. You might talk about very real struggles that have changed your life. Boiling life down to one statement is hard. But if you had to do it, what would you say?

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Do The Math!

Math equations have always been helpful tools to give a picture of a process, clearer understanding, and even a possible plan of action. We’re going to explore a math equation in regard to godly conduct. I guess you could call it – “moral math?” First thing to do with a math equation is to find what the variables are. Let’s start with this – 1 MAIN THING + 2 WAYS TO DO IT = GODLY CONDUCT Your variables to fill in are 1 MAIN THING and 2 WAYS TO DO IT. How can we find the correct elements to fill in the variables?

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Life Resources and Tools

Birthdays are just FUN! At my last birthday, my son prayed a wonderful thing over me as he gave thanks for the meal and for my life. He asked the Lord to give me so much more of Himself this next year – and that I would know Him increasingly. What a blessing! That expresses exactly what my desire is for this next year. It was such a sweet surprise. Still, every year I’ve lived has been challenging. Why would this year be any different? Maybe life resources and tools are implements God uses to help us achieve our desires. Life resources and tools have made a huge impact in my life.

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I Insist!  

Have you ever felt so strongly about something that you just had to insist? You couldn’t let it go? Well, that’s how Scripture is on some points. Because the content is from God, the writers often say (in so many words), “I insist!” In Eph. 4:17, the Apostle Paul says he “insists on it in the Lord.” He feels strongly about how God’s people should live – and not live.  Let’s unpack this.

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Check Points That Protect Freedom

Have you ever used check points? Do you know what they are? Check points are a great little tool that help you stay on track and not deviate from the central focus. They help you stream line resources, supplies, and energy. Without some kind of check point system, you can quickly and easily get off track – and even make some pretty serious mistakes.

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Reach Back

There was a man who lived many years ago. Centuries ago. He knew living a good life was critical. So he worked hard to live such a life. Yet, he did not know God personally. It wasn’t until God made the first move to him (God always does) that relationship with God became an option for this man. God reached into his life, his world, His reality and invited him closer. This man believed and responded. Even though he was already living a good life, it wasn’t until he actively believed God that he had the reality of living a holy life. This man decided to reach back to God.

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Stand Firm and Be Free

Many countries have a celebration day to remember their freedom. America just celebrated July 4th. In some countries, freedom is not even a reality. Freedom has been a hot topic all through human history. Wars that claimed many lives have been fought to preserve or gain freedom. Apparently, it’s been important to God since before history began. God’s original design was anchored in freedom. He wants you to be free.

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Your Opportunity

If I were to ask you who has had a high level of influence in your life, who would you mention? What impact did they have on you? Most of us have a handful of people we would think of. Their touch on our lives is noteworthy – sometimes life-changing. Their life has been a kind of “virtual e-pistle”* for you to read. They had opportunity to influence you.

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Give It All You Got!

Got Time? How many years does it take to reach adulthood? I suppose it depends on the situation. In some cases, it’s 18. Other times it’s 21. And some people don’t seem to get to adulthood until they are well into their thirties – or later! Regardless, every person is busy growing up in some way! Even retired people are. The key issue at each age is to give it all you got. Start by knowing God better and learning His ways to a well-lived life.

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9 Ways to Help Someone

Ways to Help It’s impossible to live a sinless life, unless your name is Jesus Christ. Remember how easy it is to slip into a wrong response or an old pattern. You’ve been there, and so has everyone else. There are ways to help.   When you see a person caught in sin or paralyzed in a pattern, it’s critical that you respond. You can’t just turn away. However, what you do next, how you think and interact, reveals your character, your maturity, your dependence on God, and your heart. Your best response should be to please God and to help a brother or sister in need. If you want to respond like Jesus, side-step fear and follow these help steps.

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Pile-Up!! Time For “Operation Close.”

Recently, I reflected on a disappointing scenario that penetrated my life last year. It hit like a missile, and I found myself deeply sad. Being familiar with the need to make hard decisions for good reasons for long periods of time, I guess I forgot about a real phenomenon. After decades of managing such situations, you end up with a “pile-up.” This pile-up loomed in my thoughts and lingered in my heart. Clearly, I needed a re-boot. Somehow the pile-up had turned into a mountain.

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What Does Jesus Say About Contentment?

When a person is content, they no longer have task masters cracking the whip over their life. In fact, they settle into a living condition of peace. They have a quiet heart, despite surrounding threats, difficulties, or obstacles. It would be rare to see such a person get “riled up.” This person is quick to be flexible, open to the unforeseen, and satisfied in their heart. The thing they consistently do to remain content is to draw close into God’s great heart in the details of their day. They literally picture themselves in that safe place. It is in this place they can freely ask for wisdom, for creative ideas, for critical insight, and for direction. And – they hear God in their heart – of all things! These folks have learned about contentment.

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God’s Power Tools

We bought a power washer. After borrowing one, we became instant believers. Gone was the greenish mossy mold on the house siding. The deck changed back to its natural wood color instead of the dingy gray-brown it had sported for a couple of seasons. Honestly, the difference was stunning. The cleaning power of water is pretty convincing. And power tools make life easier. What would our lives be without power tools, not to mention our computers and technology gadgets? How would we ever function if there was a power blackout? We need power. During this global COVID-19 pandemic, we should be reaching for God’s Power Tools often. His tool box is open with resources for every person. And His tools are free! No rental or purchase fees.  

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7 RESOURCES OF THE HEART To Live Well In COVID-19

Everything has changed during COVID-19. People have lost income. Parents have suddenly become point person for their child’s education. Shopping safely is a big deal and many items are in short supply. Businesses have shut down or turned solely to the internet. Education has flipped to online classrooms. Even Dr. appointments are by phone or video. And facial masks are the new fashion! All of this while under lock-down stress. You need resources of the heart. No one could have guessed the challenges COVID-19 has forced upon families and individuals. With good reason, some people are discouraged. Here are some resources to help navigate tough times, starting with highest priorities and focused on truth and perspective.

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10 Days of Prayers During COVID-19

As we navigate through our global COVID-19 crisis, we need helpful resources to respond in practical ways. We also need methods of encouraging each other. And we need prayer!  Intentional Living wants to come alongside you in prayer as we await the outcome of our global crisis. 10 Days of Prayers is a tool to help you pray through this crisis.

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For Such a Time as This

  God created and equipped you in a unique and beautiful way. No matter who you are, God sees you as a special treasure! Not only that, but your life on this globe during this timeline of history is no accident. You are here for a reason, and God is pleased you are alive – for such a time as this.

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COVID-19 – A Global Pause

Our global community is facing one of its greatest challenges ever. The COVID-19 Pandemic is giving everyone opportunity to reach for our highest and best responses.

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How To Manage Worries and Concerns

Life is filled with worries and concerns. Often circumstances beyond your control arise. There is so much to address and manage. Responsibilities. Relationships. Careers. Home and property. Events. Each day is packed. And now with the coronavirus, there is even more to be concerned about.

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What’s Your Move?

Every single day you ask yourself a question you aren’t even aware of: what’s your move? You make decisions and take action in multi-faceted areas of responsibilities and life issues. As a Jesus follower, you make moves to show others what God is like. And you make moves to honor the rules and laws of your community and country.

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Gifts and Greater Gifts

We just celebrated Valentine’s Week by focusing on love in the article: New Fresh Love. This week, let’s explore how love can make a personal difference and a global difference. With all the challenges, conflicts, and losses on this spinning globe, love is a challenging subject. Still – what the world needs most is love. Even song writers agree. In 1965, Hal David and Burt Bacharach wrote the hit song, “What The World Needs Now Is Love [Sweet Love].” On your worst days, your lonely days, you know you need a deep, abiding love. You need God’s love.

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A New Fresh Love

This week is Valentine’s Week. People are focused on love. We need more love in our world, wouldn’t you agree? So how can you find a new fresh love each day? One that drives your life, that holds you safe and steady through thick and thin. Just to be a bit more transparent with you, I have a confession to make.

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Established

People try all kinds of approaches and tactics to establish themselves in better ways . . . who they are, what they do, how they are perceived, etc. Being established helps people live their daily lives. And in the first months of a new year, this topic is still on people’s minds. Maybe it’s on your mind. What have you done to establish yourself?

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e-Pistles For An i-Generation: Relevant in a Digital Age

My latest book just arrived back from the publisher! e-Pistles for an i-Generation. I’m excited to share it with you! I want to tell you about the cover (directly below). Notice the title: e-Pistles For an i-Generation: Relevant in a Digital Age. Your generation. Our digital age. The front picture portrays that 1st and 2nd Corinthians can get from an ancient scroll into your i-pad (and then into your heart). The back cover is an i-pad with a critical message.

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Will 2020 be a 666 Year or a 777 Year For You?

666 Year or 777 Year Will 2020 be a 666 year or a 777 year for you? Numbers mean things. You can put them together in various ways to increase meaning. They measure things, identify patterns, and organize systems. Numbers point to specific events. For example, 2020 not only points to the new year, but also to a new decade. 2020 can mean excellent vision (2020 Vision for the New Year: Setting Goals). The number 2 often means a companion. 3 can be a trio or a triangular endeavor. It also makes a sturdy stool on uneven terrain. 12 can refer to a dozen. 6 and 7 mean things, too.

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2020 Vision for the New Year: Setting Goals

20/20 In 2020 Are you thinking 2020 yet? 2020 can mean lots of things. Often, 20/20 refers to good vision. Right now, it means a New Year. In fact, it means a new decade! With a New Year around the corner, you need 20/20 vision – and that means setting goals for your life.

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Depression in the Holidays

Christmas has so many wonderful moments. Unfortunately, strands of loss and grief alter Christmas joy for many people each year. Approaching Christmas is hard when your heart is breaking. Depression in the holidays is a real thing. Depression is experienced by many people during the holidays. If you are one of them, you are not alone. Life is hard. You may have had a terrible loss, a deep disappointment, a health issue, or something else that has pierced your heart this past year. It’s possible the painful life event even happened some years ago. You are not unhealthy for still feeling the sting, but you may need to find some healthy responses to move forward and be a balanced, hopeful person.

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We Affect Each Other

Encouragement is always easier to receive than rebuke. Yet, we all need both. Truly we do. Unfortunately, most people put all their energy into defending and protecting themselves instead of opening to whatever truth is being presented. That’s a sign of insecurity, and possibly pride. A secure person who is humble doesn’t worry too much about their defense. Maybe a little. But they rally with courage, receive an honest message, pray through it, filter out whatever is irrelevant, and apply whatever is helpful. It’s as if they are saying, “It is what it is. And that’s OK, because I’m aiming for more of Christ.” They are willing to accept the bottom line: we affect each other.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. We have so much to be grateful for even when life is difficult or painful. The blessings co-exist alongside the difficulties.

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An Honor Plus a Double Honor 

You may have been privileged to receive some kind of honor or award for a significant accomplishment. Perhaps you gained scholarship recognition. Maybe it’s been a military medal or a sport-related achievement. Perhaps you are an esteemed author, speaker, or political leader. You may be one of many of us who have simply made it through required levels of school, kissed your diploma, moved your tassel from right to left, and landed a job worthy of supporting daily living. That, too, is a worthy honor and accomplishment.

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Unveil

  You know what it’s like to wake up in the morning, look out your window, and see heavy fog. Sometimes it’s so thick you can’t see anything. Trees are barely visible. The street is out there somewhere. Probably the first thing going through your mind is, “How am I going to see the road and other vehicles to drive?” Still, the view is captivating. The veil silently lingers over everything. In fact, it changes the landscape perspective. You are left to fill in opaque spaces with memory or imagination. Lines are no longer clear. Outlines barely visible. Boundaries blurry. And everything seems unsure. If only you could unveil the view.

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It’s Your Move 

The world spins on – It’s Your Move! Every day you have so many scenarios where it really is your move! Many life trials will not be properly addressed on this earth. We need to accept that up front. Perhaps some will. But some issues are so tangled, too complicated to unravel. God helps people apply strategies in thinking using His wisdom to work through difficult problems. God always helps when it’s your move.

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What’s Your Number One? 

In this troubled, broken world, how encouraging to know God has a plan – a good, flexible, vast, yet detailed plan. God loves you deeply, and He has a plan for your life, too. This plan has encouragement, guidance, and hope. To discover this wonderful plan, you must decide what’s your number one. Depending how you answer that, it launches you into God’s good plan for your life – or not.

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Just Say Yes

Every morning, I take certain medications. Perhaps you do, as well. Some people take a daily vitamin pill. Many meds are critical to promote health and bring balance to systems that need assistance. If you need a chemical your body is short on, there are options in most cases. Sometimes in the middle of a day, you just need something for a headache. Pills and creams of every kind help you maintain a healthy body. Too bad there isn’t a pill for courage, or a cream for confidence. I wonder. Is it possible to take a daily dose?

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Fresh New Life

The topic for today is fresh new life. You know life can shift pretty quickly. Mostly it’s in the small stuff. I’m sure you’ve been in a jam at some point. Caught in bad circumstances. You have that dreaded, instant panic feeling. It could be you lost your wallet or left your purse on a shelf in a store aisle. Perhaps you forgot to pay an important bill. You may have broken something very special or ruined a plant you were nurturing. Your keys to a public building, a safe, and your own home are missing. Maybe you ran your car into someone’s fence or got pulled over for speeding. Maybe you said something you later regret terribly. These kinds of things make your stomach churn. You just hope for some way to reconcile things with as little pain and upset as possible. Many of these scenarios are minor and temporary. Some scenarios are the big stuff – serious and life altering with long-term losses.

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Stuck in the Corner – How to Get Out

It is a terrible feeling to be stuck in the corner. Trapped by problems. Maneuverability seems so limited. Fear starts to do its work. Many times life feels like this. No matter how hard you’ve tried to do your best and make good decisions, sometimes you are just stuck in the corner. What options do you have in this place?

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Match God’s Heart

  What does it look like to engage a life that matters? To avoid entanglements, skip the irrelevant, and move forward to be a seasoned believer. And what does it look like to apply practical decisions each day that make a difference in this world. You are only given a certain number of days. How can you make them really count and match God’s heart? What does it look like to carry out God’s agenda in your daily living? Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.” (Mt. 5:13) I wonder what He meant. Why did God say this? It’s as if He is telling His people to ponder a bit to get at His meaning. Jesus want us to read between the lines.

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Words Have Power

  Think about the words that have impacted you the most. Sometimes you remember words spoken into your life for many decades . . . burned into your memory. Some words have been encouraging with powerful positive impact in your life. Perhaps other words have been negative and damaging. Regardless, words have power.

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Lose the Bottle!

I’m sure you have held an infant, completely helpless, very hungry, in your arms. They depend utterly on you to protect and nourish them. Their intense, desperate delight as they grab the bottle you offer, shows their utter focus on themselves and their complete dependency on you for survival. It’s a precious memory to feed an infant. Picture an older child, teen, or adult in that same scenario, however, and you get a completely different reaction inside. It’s repulsive. They should be actively engaged, handling a fork and knife (or chop-sticks) as second nature. The expectation is pretty simple – lose the bottle! Grow up!

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Words For Weary Warriors

God calls each person into their own path – a unique and special path with a promise He will walk with you. Over the long-haul, life is pretty challenging. The good is side-by-side with the hard stuff. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have troubles – but take heart. I have overcome the world.” (Jn. 16:33) This promise brings explanation and comfort in hard seasons. There are times in your every day life that you start to feel like a weary warrior.

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How to Fix Perspective

Perspectives change. You reach a level that feels comfortable and becomes your norm. The next thing you know, everything shifts right in front of you. Your relationships change direction. Your health is imminently threatened. Finances become unstable. You relocate and everything is new/different. Someone else makes a decision which drastically changes your life. And so on. These things affect your thinking. Your thinking affects your perspective.

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Managing Long-term Stress

Life is an amazing privilege with many opportunities. But let’s face it: life is also really hard – especially when you are managing long-term stress. Stress is an unpleasant, yet common condition that rises when pressure mounts and stakes are high. It surfaces when work load is increased and deadlines loom. When performance and character matter. When the buck stops with you. Stress can be short- or long-term. Most of us get through the short bursts. It’s long-term stress that takes a toll.

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What Does It Look Like to Use Your Will Power

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” If you look up will in the dictionary, definitions include, determination, motivation, drive, resolve, backbone, spirit, self-control, in addition to willpower. Indomitable means unconquerable, strong, resolute, determined, and stubborn. With those kinds of words describing a person’s will, what is will power?

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Why Would I Set Boundaries in My Life?

There are lots of articles and books about boundaries. Do you wonder why boundaries are important? Is it just another “buzz” word, or is there something to it? What does God think about boundaries? Why would you set them in your life?

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What Do You Do When Life Completely “Up-Ends” You? 3 Great Resources!

Life is filled with many great experiences. Yet, it is also peppered with sad things. Tragedy, disappointment, and even betrayal pierces into every person’s life at some point. You may have already experienced your share of upheaval. Whether from your own choices, someone else’s choices, or just because we live in a fallen world, most people find their life turned upside-down sometime in their journey. Very few people escape this tragic experience. Perhaps you are there now. So, what do you do when life completely up-ends you?

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Make a Difference With Little Leadership

All my life, I’ve wanted to make a difference in the world. The older and more mature I have become, I realize this world is a very big place. And my influence is rather small. Does that negate my desire to make a difference? It does not. Does the immense world minimize my contribution? It does not. In fact, logically it seems to indicate all the more that my little bit offered in my small sphere of influence is necessary since the job of world influence is so great. I call using my small influence “little leadership.”

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Dissecting Something Meaningful

Have you ever dissected something? High school biology? College anatomy? Did you know you can dissect Scripture, too? I’m not talking about the heavy–duty dissection a theology graduate engages. This is a lighter approach – dissecting something meaningful. Here is a peek at what a Scripture application might look like after dissecting it. The dissection steps are listed at the end of this article.  

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Helpful “H” Words

Sometimes little tricks or acronyms help you remember important things. I found some “H” words help me live my life a bit better. There are “H” words from God, and “H” words for you.

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The Importance of Scrubbing-In

I was reading recently from Dr. David Stevens’ book, Jesus, MD, and was struck by the idea of scrubbing-in. Apparently, it’s a big deal for a doctor to scrub-in for every surgery. It’s just part of the life of a surgeon. There is a proper way, step by step, to scrub-in. The ritual takes a fair bit of time. After scrubbing-in, if you get an itchy nose, someone else needs to scratch it. A scrub nurse helps the Dr. finish the tedious process so the very best, sterile conditions can be maintained during a surgery.

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