Posted by: AMcGowan | 09/20/2011

Nothing from Nothing

Do you ever have one of those days where you wake from a deep sleep, which should have been restful, but the dreams you had erode that restfulness away? I had one of those last night. Slept hard and long, but awoke with the strangest trepidation.

In a nutshell, my dream brought up feelings I didn’t know I was having. In my dream there was a person who could do it all—and I mean all : work, take care of a home (spotless), cook entirely from scratch (grew wheat to make her own flour then proceeded to grind it and make pasta—as we are gluten free, I wasn’t as jealous of this one), taught her children, made an extra income by buying up goods for cheap and selling them at a garage sale for a profit of $890 (my dreams are always very detailed, even now I have an itemized list of the things she was selling rolling about in my memory)….I think the only thing this figure was lacking was a cape and tight pants. Speaking of tight pants, she also had a killer figure. Anyway, when I woke up and realized I couldn’t do even a portion of what she got accomplished I began to feel like…less.

I think that we all feel the need to do it all. Hopefully we acknowledge we really can’t and let stuff go. But, sometimes those ideas sneak into our heads when we aren’t looking. When we’re tired, ill, or overwhelmed from stress it becomes much too clear we are at our end and aren’t living up to our own expectations. Hmm…there’s that word again (see previous posts).

I think I’ve struggled my whole life to feel like a person of value. I mean, you can know it on paper, but there’s a nagging voice that says, “Do you really believe it?” As I adjust to this life of chronic illness, I’m looking more and more to the Lord for His value of my life, rather than my own. But, in times of exhaustion, relapse, what have you, those voices start wheedling in, stealing my joy—making me nothing.

So, on that note, I’ve got a few Bible verses I’ve looked up to combat the lies. Because, that’s what they are, out and out lies. No matter what condition I am in, I’m of value to the Lord. If I can’t get my house cleaned, He still loves me. If I don’t finish a lesson of math with my kids, I’m still under His grace. If I never feel entirely well again in this life—He’s got my back. He’s got me. Thank God, He’s got me.

The following is from one of my favorite Psalms. Read the whole thing in context here.

Psalm 139: 13-18 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

When I am awake, I’m still with you. AMEN.

1 John 9-10 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (Full text here)

Romans 5: 6-8  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Full text here)

I hope today that you feel the sacrificial love of Christ wrapped around you and you are insulated from the voices of nothing by the love of Him who saves.

Posted by: AMcGowan | 09/06/2011

One Foot in Front of the Other

Right now, uppermost in my mind, is the beginning of our school year. We homeschool our children—have from the very beginning, and intend to go all the way through high school.

People not familiar with homeschooling usually ask me what the benefits are of schooling at home. First and foremost, it’s created a bond in our family that I don’t think we’d otherwise have. It’s also allowed my children to not only learn about our faith, but see it lived out in our daily lives. God’s definitely not just for Sundays around here. They also have opportunities to try out many different areas of focus—where as the public school system just can’t afford the staff to do that. We hold a belief that God grants each of us a gift—and that gift is to be used to bring Him glory (rather than ourselves). We are blessed to see their gifts growing and encourage them in their use. My son is on his way to being a building or robotic engineer, and my daughter has a passion for drawing and working with children. I don’t know how the Lord will use these gifts, but I do know that if my children are looking to Him, He will.

Every year we begin and I think to myself, “This year is going to be normal.” By that I mean things will go according to schedule with no hic-ups. I don’t know why I think this every year—it has never gone the way I expected. Ever. The first year we formally home-schooled I was pregnant with my second child and, unlike many other lucky mom’s out there (but I’m not bitter), I spent 9 months throwing up about 9 times a day. It’s rather hard to teach like that. Then the next year, we had an infant—this posed some problems. The next year, that infant was a toddler—more issues! Then my health started to go awry. Then my son’s health began to challenge us. That’s been a pattern for the past several years, really. Some how though, through all of this, my daughter, and then my son, learned to read, write, spell, study the Bible, history, science, grammar, vocabulary, robotics, art, and math (these are not listed in order of importance).

There’s a well used verse in Christian circles: Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.  

These past nine years have held some important lessons for us all. I think all our food allergies and health challenges have brought the idea of God’s providence clearly into view for my children. They are learning from a young age that God is directly involved in all aspects of our lives–and we can and do rely heavily on Him for our day to day strength.  God’s word is active and alive in our lives, not just stories printed in a book. Most importantly, prayer isn’t something to do when you are caught in a jam, but an ongoing conversation with our heavenly Father.

SO, what’s this year going to look like? Is it going to be normal? After 9 years of doing this, I think the answer is unequivocally ‘no.’ However, this year, as I learn to put my health in the Lord’s hands, I’m turning over every other aspect in my life to Him as well. What are my expectations of our school year going to be? We’ll be putting one foot in front of the other as we all keep our eyes on Him.

Posted by: AMcGowan | 09/05/2011

Guest Post: Dialogue–Snappy Dialogue, That Is

Coming Up at Clash of the Titles, October 10-November 4, 2011
The first annual, Tournament of Champions!
Over a FOUR week period, SIXTEEN previous COTT champs will face-off in EIGHT different mini-Clashes.
Only ONE will take home The Laurel Award.
With Clashes, games, and prizes galore, you won’t want to miss this month-long celebration!
********
*Guest post by Lisa Lickel
Dialogue lets your characters be heard. It’s their voice; their conversation amongst themselves. It’s how they tell their story. Dialogue is talk. Discussion. Arguments. Jokes. Questions and answers. Foibles. Mystery. Mesmerism. It’s the muscle on the skeleton of the story.
The writer’s ability to conquer natural dialogue comes out of how well we know our characters. The reader’s ability to hear natural-sounding dialogue comes from the depth from which he is drawn into the story.
      Using dialogue in a book helps readers see that characters spend time with each other for a reason, even if they’re stranded on desert islands. Tom Hanks had Wilson in the move Cast Away, after all. Dialogue is more than internal mutterings or their revelations to the reader. It needs to be heard, not just read. The words need to translate immediately to sound in the reader’s inner ear, and thus be natural, no matter the setting.
What can we deduce from these two small pieces of the excerpts in this Clash? Are you in time, in story, in the character’s emotions? Can you cheer for them? Figure out exactly what will happen next, or are you eager to turn the page for more?
“Would you mind if I walked with you?”
      “As long as we’re not together.”
      “All right.” He strode into the street and spread his arms as wide as his grin. “There. We’re not together.”
     “Jack!” she cried…. “Get back up here.” Ruth motioned frantically. “Don’t make me fix you up again.”
OR
“Perhaps you cannot wait for the wedding night?”
      Her brown eyes simmered. “Why you insufferable cad!” She raised her hand to slap him.
He caught it and lifted it to his lips for a kiss, eyeing her with delight.
She studied him then released a sigh. “You tease me, sir.” Snatching her hand from his, she stepped back. “But what would I expect from you?”
In a novel, talk must have a purpose. A conversation shouldn’t be talk for the sake of filling time or space. Readers have only until the last page to spend with people in a book, so writers must not waste time. Dialogue is meant to reveal something useful, important to the story line—passion, motive, or confession.
Why Snappy? Characters must speak true to their nature. While snappy it might not describe the personality, it implies action, tension, perhaps a slip of the tongue or a revelation that might even surprise the character, but certainly should surprise the reader.
Clash of the Titles hopes you are intrigued by these little snippets of story and want to find out more about the books and authors. Stop by and you’ll get that chance! Meet the authors and leave comments to enter the drawing for a free book.
*Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a hundred and fifty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. Surrounded by books and dragons, she has written dozens of feature newspaper stories, magazine articles, radio theater, and several inspirational novels to date. She is also the senior editor at Reflections in Hindsight.
Posted by: AMcGowan | 08/29/2011

Seasons Change

Because of chronic illness this year, I’ve been watching the world pass me by primarily from my window—or my computer. In doing so, I’m continually surprised when my children usher in a new season. They like to find the first day of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall on the calendar. Pretty soon they’ll flip the calendar and shout, “Happy first day of Autumn!”

I’m reminded how fast time really does go by us all. If you are out in the working world, or out at all, you notice the signs. A new crispness to the air in the morning, more dew on the car, school supplies going on sale and the changing leaves on the trees indicate Fall—even more so than the dates on the calendar changing. But, when you are primarily indoors, as I have been, you miss these signs and it feels like time is sneaking past you!

When I first started noticing that the world was passing me by, I felt frustrated and more than a little helpless. I mean, I’m a doer. I have projects. I get stuff done.  Well, now I still get stuff done–but I’m learning to delegate the projects. This takes more planning ahead. I can’t just get it into my head to go organize something. I have to line up the crew to get it done. Like, the garage. You know, that place where everything you can’t deal with “now” goes and waits for you…and multiplies? Usually, I head out there every couple months and attack it. But I can’t do that anymore–not without risking my health. SO, today my kids and parents helped clean out the madness. It’s still pretty “stacky” out there, but all the dust kitties are swept away and the broken, unnecessary things are gone.

As I mentioned in my last post, the more I let go of my own expectations and ask God what His expectations of me are, the easier I feel in my spirit and the more I am at peace with my circumstances. This isn’t an easy thing to do–it takes prayer and practice. And patience. So, if like me, you are feeling caught in a down-time not of your own choosing (or perhaps a whirlwind of schedules) just remember that God knows every detail. Take some time and ask Him what He’d like to do with you while you wait for the next season to change.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. (Full chapter here).

Posted by: AMcGowan | 08/20/2011

Anticipation Part 2

Well, as ordered by my husband, I made it to the Oregon Christian Writers’ summer conference. Because of my troubled health, I had no idea at all how I would go about getting there, or walk around, or last through the day—but God is good and He supplied my need.

I didn’t last out full days, but I didn’t expect to. I went with the hope that I could attend a couple classes, maybe meet with some professionals in publishing, and gain some encouragement and fellowship. All those things happened, and more. This, in part, is a lesson I’m learning. You’ve probably heard the old adage that is somehow supposed to reduce stress:  Just let go. Or Let go and let God. Catchy bumper sticker counseling.

I have preconceived ideas about my life and how it will work all stored in my head. So far, I can tick a few things off the expectations list. I married a man who loves the Lord (check). I have two children (check). I always wanted a boy and a girl. They were to be named Lucas and Ashley (twins) and we would live in a white Victorian (cue fluttering rose petals). Achem. I DO have a girl and a boy, but those are not their names and I’m still waiting on the Victorian. I would learn to play the drums (in process, check). I would have a dog (I have two cats, one of which acts like a dog…check?). I would swim with dolphins (eh…not yet). I would be a novelist (working, working, working on that one).

I have to admit, that no where on my list are the words chronically ill.

Honestly, though, platitudes have never done a whole lot for me. Perhaps what that philosophical nugget should say is:  Let go of your expectations and hang on to God.

Usually, I’m nervous, tense, what have you, when I go to meet with the professionals who have looked over my mini-proposal and hold my fate in their hands (drama). But, do you know what? When you are as fatigued as I am, you have no energy at all left to be tense. Was I worried? No. Did I relax and have a nice time? Yep. Note to self: remember this lesson!

There’s an often quoted verse in Jeremiah where God is speaking to the people of Israel. A lot of people take comfort in that God has plans for them. But, I think sometimes they forget the verse is about what God is hoping and planning for them, not what they are planning for themselves.

I’ve been invited to submit full proposals to a couple places. That feels nice and hopeful (although, I’ve been here before, so I’m not getting giddy!). We’ll see what happens.

Jeremiah 29 11:14 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. (Read it in context here).

Posted by: AMcGowan | 08/12/2011

Anticipation

I’m getting ready to attend the Oregon Christian Writers’ summer conference. It’s something I wait for every year, and I’ll most likely blog about all the wonderful things I’ve learned once it’s over. Usually, the things I come back talking about have little to do with classes-but everything to do with God’s encouragement and blessing (either in my life or the life of another attendee).

I’m anticipating, as I always do, hanging out with a large group of believers that all have one thing in common: passion for writing. I liken it to finding family you never knew you had, but you experience that connected feeling as soon as you meet each other’s eyes. And there is no end of opportunities to encourage one another. Last summer I was very nervous before an editor meeting. As I walked into the meeting hall, a women I’d never met before complemented me on my outfit and told me how nice I looked. By the time I sat down for my meeting, I wasn’t nervous at all. I never saw her again, but she made a huge impact on my self-image. You’ve heard of random acts of kindness–well at the OCW conference we have random acts of praying (I was going to give them an acronym…but having someone R.A.P you doesn’t sound nice). When a perfect stranger stops you and prays for you and your writing, it’s moving and humbling.

I’ve come to accept that this year is going to be different. It’ll be the first time I’ve taken on something this big since I was diagnosed with chronic illness. I’m often fatigued, and need a nap during the day. Long walks are a challenge, and clear thinking can escape my grasp. Not to mention the long drive to and from the conference. But, my husband said, “GO”, so I’m going!

If you’ve ever been to a conference, you know how intense they are. You attend lectures and classes, you meet and mingle and, as in my case, you pitch your book to anyone that will stand still long enough to listen (market, market, market)! It goes without saying, this takes a lot of energy—something I don’t have at this time in my life.

Instead, I’m adjusting my expectations accordingly. I plan on taking an easier time of it, just relaxing and enjoying my time. I’ve submitted my novel proposal to a handful of publishers—I’ll find out if they want to chat on next Tuesday. If they don’t, then I’ll have even more time on my hands to just enjoy being with other writers and visit, sit in a peaceful spot on a bench and meditate…or grab a nap in my car. (Is it bad I’m looking forward to napping in my car??).

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Posted by: AMcGowan | 07/01/2011

Happy Shiny People

I’ve been pondering the idea that good Christians don’t complain—no matter how difficult their circumstances. Since I’ve been dealing with illness for the past couple…er…many years (see previous posts) I’ve had a lot of time to think about this.

I’ve heard the following statement many times; maybe you’ve heard it too:

“They suffered from (insert type of suffering here) for ages, and not once did they complain or ask why me!” (This is usually said with an admiring voice.)

I don’t know about you, but statements like that can make me question my faith.

I’ve read many books on suffering (there’s some great ones out there) and none of them chided me for feeling down, for feeling at odds with myself, or for questioning God’s plan for my life. Instead, they were all about comfort in God’s word and encouragement for the day. In fact, the Bible has dozens of examples of people crying out to the Lord in their time of suffering. Job, David, Moses, Abraham, Jacob (he even wrestled with God, remember?), Paul, and my especially my Savior. Each one followed their pleas and prayers with submission that God’s will be done. They were honest in their plight, in their pain, and God comforted them.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not okay to shake your fist at God—but He certainly expects us to cry out to Him in our time of need. It’s clear from His word that He loves us—and what loving father would turn a deaf ear on their child’s suffering? Even if we don’t feel His presence due to our circumstances, He’s with us, every step of the way.

God desires intimacy with Him. If I’m not honest in how I feel, then I’ve built a blockade between Him and me. If I hide away my pain and put on the “happy shiny people” face, then I’m also not being honest with those around me. And that gets in the way of opportunities to love and comfort others.

Let me ask you this: who are you more likely to turn to when you are in need? A friend who puts on the happy shiny face and pretends life is all sunshine and rainbows even when they are falling apart, or the friend who has a close intimate relationship with God, and has learned to lean on Him during hard circumstances, sharing their joys as well as pains?

God’s Word says: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (emphasis added). For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Cor 1:3-7).

In the past few months, I’ve had people come alongside me to comfort me, and having been blessed by that, I  have been able to come alongside others and be a comfort to them. I haven’t had all the answers (not my job, thankfully), but I’ve been there. Oftentimes being there, praying or just listening, can make all the difference in a person’s day. Although this has been a very hard time, experiencing both sides has blessed me beyond measure.

Posted by: AMcGowan | 06/12/2011

Don’t You Quit

I’m noticing two reoccurring themes in my life in the past three years: serious illness and the encouraging words of others telling me not to quit, to keep on praying and trust in God’s providence.

First, it was my son, then my husband (who are both doing very well now) and this year it’s my turn. Although, all in all, I’d rather have been skipped. I’ve recently been diagnosed with an immune deficiency. I’ve had it all my life—often sick throughout childhood into adulthood—but it wasn’t until this year it really clobbered me. This is typical of genetic immune disorders. That doesn’t make me feel any better, but it adds clarity!

I have to admit there’s been many times in the past few months when I have been at the end of my rope, unable to think clearly, suffering from severe fatigue, fevers and exhaustion and feeling not only useless—but worthless. Those are lies of the enemy, but it’s hard to look up when you are feeling like that.

Every time I’ve felt like I just can’t deal with it any more, someone comes alongside me, get’s in my face (in a loving way) and tells me not to quit, not to give up and keep  praying. The timing has always been perfect—when I most need to hear it. Just recently one of my doctors really gave me the pep talk I needed. She looked me in the eyes and said, “You’re a mess, but I’m going to tell you something. Don’t give in to this, don’t give up, keep going, don’t quit—and pray!”

I believe God is sovereign, but illness and circumstances can cloud me from seeing His presence. When I remember to look for those moments, I find many throughout my life (see previous post Picket Fences). But when I’m down, I don’t remember them well.

Lately though, I feel like God is going out of His way to remind me I’m not alone. Through His Word, through friends speaking words of encouragement, through the occasional song on the radio—these reminders that I should keep going when I most want to quit are everywhere.  When I see His encouragement, I’m humbled. He’s not distant, watching me suffer—He’s right here, holding me up, giving me strength to face the day.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Posted by: AMcGowan | 04/29/2011

Picket Fences

White picket fences often symbolize the American dream of owning a home; they might bring cozy feelings or fond memories. But, I have a different sort of memory when I look at them.

When I was a kid, I was a fairly good kid, but I made some mistakes. Like the time when I stayed over at a friend’s house, and we snuck out. For some reason we got it into our heads that it’d be really cool to spray paint stuff. Now, before you start shaking your head at me, please know I am NOT proud of this moment in my life.

Our paint color of choice was silver, for no other reason than it stood out as we scrounged in her mom’s storage closet. After midnight, we climbed out of her bedroom window and slunk off in the dark to make our mark on the world. I was 13.

First, we sprayed our names on the sidewalk (I didn’t say we were smart about this). Then we colored some bushes that took on an alien-like glow under the moonlight. As we ran around the corner snickering from the brilliance of it all, we spied just the thing we’d been looking for: A white picket fence. We proceeded to paint ever other picket with a silver circle. Just as we finished our work, the porch light came on and we tore off up the street, panting in fear. By the time we’d reached her house though, the fear was gone, and even the excitement of our evil deed had dwindled. I climbed back through her window, into my sleeping bag and never gave it another thought. At least not for several years.

Three years later, my parents bought a house. It was the first house I’d lived in since I was a baby, our having rented until then. We got all moved in and were taking stock of a few maintenance things that needed doing. My mom stepped outside to the front sidewalk and I heard her exclaim, “Who in the world would paint silver circles on a white fence?”

Until that moment, I had not given one thought to my little painting excursion. I froze, my heart beating wildly in my chest. How likely was it that we’d buy the house I’d defaced? I mean, really? My mom called me outside, and as I strode through the gate, all time stopped. Yep. The fence.

I’m not sure of the exact words right now, but our conversation went something like this:

“I mean, who would do that?” She pointed to some faded dots.

I swallowed hard. “I did.”

“What?” My mother’s eyes went from disbelief, to shock, to shame. And I shrank about four feet as I admitted what I’d done. Before she doled out punishment for my crime, I came up with a solution.

“I’ll repaint it.”

While I painted, I considered what transpired. It wasn’t just chance that in the whole town, we’d bought this house. I knew that, deep down. I had been given a opportunity to make things right, to confess my sin and ask for forgiveness. And I learned another lesson that day—God knows all, sees all and wants us to know that. I learned I was accountable for the things I did, even the things I thought I’d done in secret.

When I look at picket fences, instead of feeling guilt, I’m assured. God cares for me—enough not to let me get away with something I shouldn’t have, enough to want a relationship with me, enough to remind me that no matter what is happening in my life, good or bad, He knows. What a comfort that is.

Psalm 139: 1-6 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before,and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. (Read the full text here.)

Posted by: AMcGowan | 04/21/2011

Rescued

The other day I saw a photo of my sister-in-law’s recently rescued dog looking devotedly up into the face of his new owner. In the dog’s eyes, I could clearly see devotion and loyalty, but there was also something else: gratefulness. He was grateful to be chosen and rescued from a life of neglect, starvation and probably death.

I’ve seen the same thing in my rescue cat’s golden eyes. His gaze follows me whenever I pass through the room. He waits to see if I’ll come and pet him, and often times he’ll jump down from wherever he is and rub against my legs. He was near death when we took him in from the cold, and ever since he’s looked at me with that same devotion. We’ve had him five years now, and he still follows me with those attentive eyes wherever I go. I find his devotion sweet…except in the middle of the night when he gets chatty.

It’s Easter, and we’ve been reading about Jesus suffering, burial, and resurrection. It’s something we do every year, to remember the final sacrifice for sin to bridge the gap between our sinful selves and God. He paid the price for anyone who asks. I was raised in the church, prayed for forgiveness and accepted Jesus as my savoir at the age of ten. So, I’ve heard the story countless times. I have to admit, sometimes I take for granted that God is there, and that, because of what Jesus did, I have a direct line to Him.

Seeing the dog’s eyes, that look, reminded me that God rescued me from a life separate from Him. That he chose to save us, to save me—He didn’t have to. He rescued me from a life without purpose; a life of potential loneliness and helplessness; a life of complete separation from Him, and eventually death.

The photo made me ponder. Do I look to God with the same adoration that my cat gives me? Do I give Him, who is completely worthy, my full attention? I confess—I don’t. I get caught up in the trials of my life, and don’t appreciate the life bought for me by Jesus’ sacrifice. I forget He’s there for me, in good times and bad. Truly, He not only deserves my devotion, He desires a relationship with me. That very thought is mind blowing, and life altering.

I hope this Easter you’ll take time to remember the sacrifice made for you, and look with wonder and devotion at the Father who, through His Son, and made a way to rescue you.

Romans 5:6-8 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Read the full text here.)

John 3:16-21  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (Read the full text here.)

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