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When I was 17 years of age I broke my mother’s heart. She had always taken us to church but by the time I was 15 or so, I lost interest. During the next couple of years I wandered farther and farther from the God who so passionately loved and sought me.

Then one night, after an evening of drinking, I was stopped by police and given the breathalyzer. I failed the test! Now at age 17 I faced the loss of my freedom (my driver’s license), overnight in jail, a large fine, and a criminal record. But God was already seeking me! Through a strange turn of events I was charged with drinking under age, a summary conviction offense. But my parents had to know.

The next morning I sat in our living room with Mom and Dad and began to tell my tale of woe. They were shocked and hurt deeply. I shall never forget my mother’s tears. Then through the tears my mother said these words, "Derek, I hate what you have done more than you will ever know. But you are still my son - and I still love you very much!"

Three weeks later God would say to me, "Derek, I hate what you have done - but you are still my special creation and I love so much that my Son died for your sins." And that’s how much God loves you, my friend. Enough to go all the way to the cross. "But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners." (Romans 5:8 NCV)

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