What’s In Your Hand?

Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
What's In Your Hand?
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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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Do You Have an Alive and Active Life?

Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
Do You Have an Alive and Active Life?
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Would you say your life matters? You have great value. God intends you to have an Alive and Active Life. Did you know Scripture teaches specific qualities of that kind of life?

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Affairs of Your Heart

Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
Affairs of Your Heart
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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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Gratitude Scale: Get Closer to a 10!

Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
Gratitude Scale: Get Closer to a 10!
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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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TRUE COLORS

Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
TRUE COLORS
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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 artist dipped outer edges into bright colors.

Every autumn, I’m in awe at what is beneath (inside) the cloak of green over the leaves. As I consider this, I become pensive about my life, asking myself good questions and pondering my own changing seasons. Here’s a peek into my head during those times:

  • What is beneath – inside me right now?
  • What character do I need to developed further?
  • As I consider all the unknowns of the future, how will I respond when I hit problems and difficulties?
  • Do I represent Jesus well?
  • Is He formed in my life?
  • Do others see His beauty when they look at my life?
  • What changes do I need to make to have more true colors?

 

Back-It-Up Into Summer

Let’s back-it-up into summer for starters. All summer we enjoy the living green around us. Deep, rich, vibrant shades and hues of green compliment each other. A beautiful emerald sea. It feels comfortable. Add all the gorgeous blooms and fruits of gardens, the soft coo of mourning doves, and the cheery music of songbirds. Then add the hum of grasshoppers and buzz of bees. Maybe the smell of freshly cut grass. Finish this landscape with a glass of ice tea, sun glasses, and a good book.

But summer days shorten. Crisp air crawls over the earth, and a thin veneer of frost lingers each day until sun rays melt it away mid-morning. Unannounced, quietly, ever-so-slightly the show of true colors begins. Green slowly retreats. True colors give a “first peek” as fall gently nudges summer to the side. A new beauty emerges.

True Colors Emerge

As a child, I remember learning that chlorophyll pulls inward from the outer parts of a tree into the center during winter. As a result, colors that were hidden when chlorophyll was present are then seen. In other words, you see the leaf’s true colors. How interesting. The green was a sort of covering. A temporary cloak. Even a kind of blanket.

Every year this transformation from deep, rich green to colorful fall displays is an opportunity to see what is actually there in the absence of chlorophyll. And it’s a reminder to thoughtfully look at your own true colors. What’s underneath the daily chlorophyll, your covering, where others don’t see. Changing seasons can be a reminder to explore your true colors.

True Colors Of Shifting Seasons

Seasons of our lives shift and change. Some shifts are unpredictable. Some changes are regular and expected – like clockwork. The unique opportunity of shifts gives a peek into what is really going on inside you. It reveals your character, who you really are in your center (your heart), and who you are becoming.

Questions are excellent tools to help you identify and take advantage of your shifting life seasons. Sometimes a change of seasons feels like a threat. We are not ready for what it brings. Other times, it’s a welcome relief that couldn’t come soon enough.

There is good in every shifting season, even ones we strongly dislike, because God has promised to walk with us through each season. He has promised never to leave you. And He has said, “. . . in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, and who have been called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)

One of the “dependables” I’ve discovered about life is this. The good things always co-exist alongside the difficulties. There is always something to be thankful for. Because this is true, a person can train their heart to look for God’s blessings – and enjoy them with a grateful heart – even when they go through trials.

Good Questions About True Colors

So here are some good questions to evaluate your emerging true colors:

  1. What is revealed when stress and pressure push you to your breaking point?
  2. What is present in your heart that you try to hide? Why do you hide it?
  3. Do you remember God sees everything about you? Do you remember He loves you so much?
  4. What would others see if your veneers and presentations were pulled back?
  5. What do you try to paint as “more green” – and why? Is it worth all that effort?
  6. Do you ever wish you could just be yourself? (You can.)
  7. Are you pleased with how you present yourself? (You can be.)
  8. Is your presentation (thoughts, words, actions) congruent with God’s principles, and is your heart connected to God’s heart?
  9. What is the worst that would happen if you decided to be honest about yourself, revealing your true colors?
  10. Did you know you can change your colors to be more beautiful and pleasing to God?
  11. Have you come to enjoy your own unique true colors? (Instead of copying someone else’s colors. )
  12. Why not rejoice in the person God made you to be? God gave you beautiful true colors.

 

Those are sobering, critical questions. They require pensive interaction. Asking and answering them helps you engage an Alive and Active Life.

A Look In Your Back Yard (or Your Park)

So what do you see when you look out your window? What true colors are emerging in your yard or nearby park? Similarly, when you peek through the window of your life, what colors do you see? What true colors paint your character and your heart?

Sometimes a person is deeply regretful when they see the colors of their life. Their choices make shame and failure rise up in their mind. This reality is part of the process of choosing to change your colors. If you are truly sorry for past choices, simply tell Jesus. The Bible calls this repentance. Scripture says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn. 1:9)

Did you get that? Your colors can change. You can find out what your true colors were designed to be. God always creates incredible beauty! That means your true colors are lovely.

Slow Down To See True Colors

It helps to slow down. I like to call that a “pause.” I remember a year when I was so busy – I completely missed the colors of autumn. I was grieved at my loss when I realized it was already done. Since then, I’ve tried to be more attentive to changing seasons and colors. This means slowing down enough to look.

Just like noticing nature’s changing seasons, slowing down means pausing to enjoy the beauty God intends to share with you each day. Ponder His creative power to connect with His colors. See the beautiful display of His love for you.

Slowing down also means connecting with the person God designed you to be. You are made in His image – beautiful and holy. Why not be the person you are designed to be?

Pausing is essential to know God better. You have to know who you are emulating. Slow down (pause) and take a look. “. . . live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God . . .” (Col. 1:10) You can have true colors of good living. And you can personally know God!

Slow down. Pause. Look at Jesus. Look into your heart and character. Match your life colors with God’s palette of every imaginable color. Be the “you” God designed. Dip the edges of your paintbrush into God’s paint of true colors.

Application Questions and Thoughts

  1. Are you pleased at true colors that show themselves – or are you perhaps embarrassed?
  2. Are you willing to pull your green back and let God’s true colors show through your life?
  3. Do you pause long enough to see the blessings in your seasons, co-existing with your difficulties? Why not slow down? Pause.
  4. Why not engage your unique true colors with all your might, creativity, and passion?
  5. Are you willing to let your display of colors point others to Jesus and bring more joy to these troubled days?
  6. The color red dripping from the cross onto your life reveals your true colors. Why not stay very near the cross and let Jesus change your colors with His?

 

Let your true colors show and live an Alive and Active Life this week!

 

 

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Deceptive Cycles: Steps To Break Free

Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
Deceptive Cycles: Steps To Break Free
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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

Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
How To Measure Your Motives
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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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12 Qualities of Noble Character

Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
12 Qualities of Noble Character
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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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How to Quit Sinning

Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
How to Quit Sinning
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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

Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
The Sin List
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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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