This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:4b-5).

She rested on her deathbed with saddened eyes and asked her clergyman, “How do I know if I’ve been good enough?”

She had believed that Christ was the Son of God, trusted Him for salvation, confessed her hopelessness to absolve her sins, and given her life over to God. Yet, somewhere along the line, she held to a misconception that her good deeds, which were bountiful, measured her worth in God’s eyes rather than her relationship with the Savior.

A second woman lay dying. Although she struggled with the scars from her former life, she never wandered far from God, visiting him daily with her fears and joys. Because of the external blemishes, I experienced angst over where she would rest for eternity. God pinched my disbelief.

“All you see is the imperfection … I see a heart that loves me, and I’m bringing her home to be with me forever.” Peace that passed all understanding shrouded her last moments.

From John’s short epistle, one might assume the early church struggled with that same tendency to measure faith through accomplishment rather than a relationship with God. John reassures believers that those who love God will keep the commandments naturally as an extension of that belief rather than a pursuit of the commandments for the sake of pursuit.

I’m grateful for the lesson God taught me through observing the final hours in the lives of these two women. It is not our puny regimentation in spiritual exercise that enriches our spirituality, but rather a heart that stands ready to receive God, his Goodness, and His offer of salvation.

Linda Wood Rondeau, multi-published and award-winning author, is a veteran social worker. Her books examine the complexities of human relationships. Her blog, Snark and Sensibility, hosts writers of various genres. She manages a Facebook page, Having the Prime of My Life, a positive look at aging issues. Linda resides in Hagerstown with her husband of forty-plus years. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com. Contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

 

 

 

 

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Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Hi from Kathy Collard Miller in the hot desert of Southern California near Palm Springs. But don’t worry, it’s a dry heat.

I have a love-hate relationship with flossing. Or is it a hate-love relationship? I don’t know. Sometimes I hate it more than I love it and other times I love it more than I hate it. I hate it when I’m about to do it and I love it when I’m done. And that happens twice a day. I’m motivated because my teeth are so ripe for cavities that I want to avoid the pain.

Plus, I have spaces between my teeth that are capable of storing a three course meal. Too bad that I can’t use that nourishment for an afternoon snack. But the feeling of food caught in those spaces so bothers me that I’m willing to embarrass myself in public trying to use my fingernail to plumb the depths of that space. As a result, I don’t go anywhere without floss. When I change purses, the first thing I make sure is that I have transferred the floss. I don’t leave home without it. I think I single-handedly keep the floss industry in business. I’m an expert at knowing the right kind of floss. But I still hate to floss!

Courtesy of 89studio found at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Courtesy of 89studio found at www.freedigitalphotos.net

But of course, I love the relief when that floss cleans out the Grand-Canyon-spaced gap in my mouth. And when I also brush my teeth, I feel completely cleansed. I don’t think there’s much in life that gives such an immediate sense of cleanliness and relief.

And that’s how I felt spiritually October 1st, 1967, when I asked Jesus to come into my life, save me, and cleanse me from my sins. I felt clean and relieved. I can’t tell you which was more important to me. Since childhood I’d believed that I needed to perform perfectly to earn God’s love and a way into heaven. In my mind, I envisioned a scale that kept track of my good deeds and my bad deeds. I hoped that the side with the good deeds would be heavier than the other side by the time I died. But since nothing ever measured up to deserve being on the scale’s good side, the “bad deeds” side was always lower.  Read More →

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DonnBusPhotos-007a2x3Hello, I’m Donn Taylor, back again after several months of alligators up to the ears. I’m still talking about ways to achieve the “higher voltage” that distinguishes poetry from most prose. We’re still looking at ways to make your poems different from many that editors will see. Most of the new poems I’m seeing are written in the poet’s own voice, with the poet as speaker (persona) of the poem and the poet’s self as the subject. It’s safe to assume that editors will see more of that kind of poem than any other. Previously we illustrated making your poem different by MAKING THE SPEAKER OF THE POEM SOMEONE BESIDES THE POET and WRITING ABOUT A SUBJECT OTHER THAN THE SELF.

My basic idea in both is that I doubt that many readers would be interested in me, so the safest procedure is to write about something else.

Read More →

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