April McGowan

Book Signing at Coffee Cottage

I’ve been invited to hold a book reading and signing event at Coffee Cottage in Newberg, OR on September 21st (Thursday) from 4 p.m to 7 p.m. I’ll have my books for sale onsite.

Coffee Cottage is one of my favorite hangouts, so I hope you’ll join me for some great coffee (or tea!) and conversation about characters, books, and writing.

Also, thanks so much to everyone who pre-ordered Hold the Light and have been so supportive with reviewing and spreading the word. You guys have blessed my heart. It means so much to have faithful readers and encouraging words!

I can’t wait to see you there!

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Peace of Mind

An email from a relative reminded me today that life is fragile. After watching his wife lay gravely ill in the hospital for the past week, its tenuous nature is more apparent than ever. He’s openly sharing struggles and triumphs. And their appreciation for prayer is apparent. In the midst of their trials, which are tremendous, he’s finding things to rejoice about.

Oftentimes, though, it’s just the opposite. In talking with some whom I know are hurting, there seems a pervasive attitude that if they admit they have difficulties, this would cast some sort of shadow on God. They feel pressured to put on a happy face, not be sad, not grieve. I, myself, have been told this. Try as I may, it’s been hard for me to understand. But I think I’m finally glimpsing where it’s coming from.

We live in a sales orientated society. What can that product do for me? Watch out—if it doesn’t do what I expect, then I won’t buy it again.

I openly admit that my prayers haven’t always been answered. God is not a magic genie. He’s not my God because I can manipulate Him by saying certain words (seriously, do you want to worship a God you can manipulate?). I can pray, and if it’s not in God’s greater plan, whatever the reason, I won’t have my prayers answered the way I want. Does that mean God doesn’t love me? That I shouldn’t tell people about it, because then, when we’re sharing about God, they might not buy it?

Well, there’s the problem. God is not for sale. The relationship He offers through belief in Christ is free. In fact, Christianity is the only free religion. Free of guilt, free of doubt, freedom of forgiveness—you don’t have to work for it and you can’t pay for it. Grace is given to all who ask.

My God is mighty. Jesus came to save the sinner, the frail and the poor, the weak and the sick. He did not come to save us out of our circumstances, but in the midst of them. And in those trials, thanks be to Him, we can have great peace.

Mark 2:17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Full text here

Philippians 4: 4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Full text here)

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And So This Is Christmas

The other day I had an opportunity to share my faith with someone who was confused about Jesus’ deity. And, as when anything like that happens, my faith deepened as I went about finding the verses of the Bible to share with him.

As it’s Christmas, the time of year when Christians choose to celebrate the birth of their savior, I thought I’d share a bit of what I found for my searching friend. I think the misconceptions of the world often infiltrate our ideas of who Jesus was. I often hear through the media that He was just a good man, or that He never claimed to be God, or that He was a just a prophet. Rather than listening to what others say, I think the best source of information is the fountainhead—the Bible. I’ve linked all the verses to read in context if you’d like.

The Bible says this about the birth of our Savior some 700 years before He was born:

Isaiah 7:9 Therefore the Lord himself will give youa sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, andwill call him Immanuel (which means God with us). (Full text here)

Isaiah 9: 6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Full text here)

Equally powerful are the statements Jesus makes about Himself:

I AM the bread of life (John 6:35)

I AM the door (John 10:9)

I AM the light of the world (John 8:12)

I AM the good shepherd (John 10:11)

I AM the resurrection and the life (John 11:25)

Before Abraham was born, I AM (John 8:58)

I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22)

Romans 5:6-7 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 know things are ramping up. There are family pressures, parties to attend, the perfect gifts to find, and a whole world of madness outside of our homes (and sometimes inside). But, I hope you join with me in celebrating our Lord’s birth this season, thanking Him for all the things Jesus is to us, and what He’s done for us. Mostly, I hope you slow down and spend time with the One, who gave Himself up for us as a willing sacrifice, a gift of love.

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