Lessons from a Writer

When writing, I always have to pay attention to word choice. Sometimes, one word can change the entire mood of the piece (which, is sorta a big deal). I have written an entire prose, and then spent a week thinking about whether I should use the word “the” or “his”.

Here is an example:

  1. Vigorously, the spider spun her web, just in time to catch a fly in the delicate fibers. She sped over, and consumed it.
  2. Desperately, the spider spun her web, just in time to snag a fly. She rushed over, and ate it.
  3. Gracefully, the spider spun her web, just in time to entice a fly to join her for supper. She sashayed over, and banqueted on it.
  4. Maliciously, the spider crafted her web, just in time to entrap a fly. She hastened over, and dissolved it into nothingness.

See how they all are about the same thing: a spider, spinning a web, catching a fly, and eating it. But they all mean different things. In each, the speaker feels something different about the spider.

This doesn’t exactly have to do with being a writer, but it has everything to do with using the right word.

 

Okay, so hopefully from that you gathered the importance of the right word choice. Just like with my spiders, by only changing one or two words, you can change the entire meaning of the phrases. Either the spider was beautiful beyond belief, or was crafty and cunning. The fly was either a dinner guest, or dissolved into nothingness. All four create vastly different pictures.

Lets take a look at the word choice from our focus verse.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son. That whoeverbelieves in him, will not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16
  1. Loved.
  2. Gave
  3. Whoever
  4. Not perish
  5. Have everlasting life

Those words are all so very powerful. And they all show the awesome power of the story of Easter.

A perfect God. . .  one who breathed life into us, who gave us this life that we live, would love us enough to give his son up for ransom. We weren’t living in Eden anymore. We were a fallen, broken, sinful people. We ARE a fallen, broken, sinful people. But through that all, God loved us, enough to give us His son. So we could live with him.

The word “gave” implies consent on the part of the giver.  God willingly gave His son to us. I can’t even begin to imagine the depth of His love for us, that he would be willing to do that.

My grandfather was a Southern Baptist Minister for 50+ years. During that time, he spoke at many funerals. There is a story that the tells, that after a funeral, the father came up to him. Now, remember, this is moments after his son had been buried. The man looked at my grandfather, and said this.

“I know how hard it is to lose a son. I can’t imagine what it must be like togive one.”

Read this passage from Luke, chapter 23. This is the NIV version.
 
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 
 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 
 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 
 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

And again, in The Message.

39One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!” 
 40-41But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this.” 
 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.” 
 43He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.”

This is best example of “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life” that I can think of. This man was a convicted criminal. And, with his dying breath during his last hours of life, he accepted Christ. He didn’t have time to go out and do a whole buncha good things. He was crucified!

In his hit song “How Love Wins” from the CD Music Inspired by The Story, Steven Curtis Chapman describes the events from the eyes of the criminal.  
 

 My life began like any other man, held beneath a mother’s loving gaze.
Somewhere between now and then I lost the man I could have been.
Took everything that wasn’t mine to take, but Love believes that it is not too late.
Only one of us deserves this cross, a suffering that should belong to me.
Deep within this man I hang beside, is the place where shame and grace collide.
And it’s beautiful agony that He believes it’s not too late for me.
This man was dying. He only had maybe an hour left to live. He had lived a sinful life, like we all do. But, whoever believes in Him . . . will have everlasting life.
Whoever does not qualify. Whoever does not leave room for us to pick and choose who we think deserves Heaven or not. (Because, if we are being honest, we all deserve damnation.) Whoever is a blanket statement. There is no criteria to meet, no standard you have to live up to. The worst among us can find redemption in the Blood of the Lamb.
This is how Love wins, every single time.
Climbing high upon a tree, where someone else should die.
This is how Love heals, the deepest part of you.
Letting Himself bleed into the middle of your wounds.
This is what Love says, standing at the door.
“You don’t have to be who you’ve been before”
Silenced by His voice, death can’t speak again.
This is how Love wins

Did you see this moment from the start, that we would drink this cup of suffering?
I wonder, did we ever meet? Childhood games in dusty streets.
For all my many sorrows and regrets, nothing could compare to just this one.
That in the presence of my King, I cannot fall upon my knees.
I cannot carry You up to Your throne; You instead, will carry me back home.

Those words are so beautiful. And they apply to more than just the crucified thief. They apply to me. I’ve sinned, and fallen desperately short of the glory of God. But even me, in my sinful state, can find redemption. Have been offered redemption. It is a free gift. All you have to do is ask for it. I have messed up, just like the thief. And, without Christ, I am just as lost.
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood, nothing but the blood.
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood, nothing but the blood.
Because this is what Love says, standing at the door
You don’t have to be who you’ve been before.
And silenced by His voice, death can’t speak again
This is how Love wins.

Love. Gave. Whoever. Not Perish. Have eternal life.

Those words make this verse super powerful.

Christ Willingly sacrificed himself for us, so that we can live for him. And everyone, no matter what stupid, horrible thing they did, can live forever with him. All they have to do, is believe that Jesus was the Son of God, that He died as an atonement for our sins, and ONLY THAT SAVES US. Not good works.

Ephesians 2:1-10  NIV
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

Ephesians 2:1-10 The Message
1-6It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. 
 7-10Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. 

As always, Live Crazy 🙂 And Happy Easter

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