My Church Is Having a ‘Onward’ ~ 2017 New Year 21-Day Fast

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This is a corporate fast with prayer. New Life Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville does this every year 21-days before Superbowl. We break the fast at sundown Superbowl Sunday. And I’m sure everyone has a great time feasting (translate = pigging out) on that Sunday evening.

The focus of this corporate fast isn’t only on cutting out things we could be overindulging in. The emphasis is on fasting and prayer. The pastor gave us a small fasting study guide along biblical lines. For example there is the Daniel Fast which is designed to eliminate meat, sweets, and bread. Water, juice, fruits and veggies are consumed. [Daniel 1: 11-13]

My best friend at church told me she was going to eliminate beef and pork for the 21-days. Anyone who is struggling with something such as quitting smoking might find this a supportive time to stop.

Ushers not only passed out a printed guide with the biblical types of fasts, we were also given a printed “Week One Devotional” with a memory verse, a prayer, suggested scripture for further study, and a place for us to write notes. Of course, week two and week three devotionals will be handed out as we progress through this fast.

We were also given a list of topics to pray and/or meditate upon during the fast.

1. Revival in America

2. Complete Personal Freedom

3. Blessing Over Troubles

4. Wisdom From Above

5. Victory Over Our Enemy

During this 21-day period the church will be open at different specified times, so people can gather and pray together while fasting. There is great spiritual benefit for a church body to enter into this type of fasting and prayer. This is a tremendous opportunity for individual church members to spiritually grow and for the church to spiritually grow as a whole.

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TARGETS DOWN by Bob Hamer ~ a review

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While browsing in my neighborhood discount Christian bookstore, the cover of TARGETS DOWN caught my eye. It shouted to me: taught, action-packed thriller (and it is). I’d never heard of the author, so I opened the book and discovered that he could write. That settled it. I bought the book and have enjoyed it thoroughly.

Hamer drops the reader right into the action on the streets of Los Angeles with the assassination of a teenage girl who knew too much.

Matt Hogan is an FBI under cover special agent and a Christian. The plot plunges Matt into the under-belly of the so-called City of Angels. He must frequent a Russian club employing young ladies who pole dance, do business with American skin heads, get information from meth addicts…did I mention international terrorism? All this while sticking to his Christian principles. The author keeps it real. The criminals are vile, the crimes are horrid. This FBI thriller can stand next to the works of Vince Flynn and David Baldacci.

Also authentic is the love story between Hogan and his wife Caitlin. The stress and concern Caitlin feels for Matt’s safety is palpable. While the author never takes us into the marital bedroom, there is some banter. The reader will definitely believe these two are married and in love. I recommend this book for a thrilling, realistic crime fiction read.

TARGETS DOWN at Christianbooks.com


Deep Emotional Pain ~ can create soul wounds

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Intense emotional pain often isolates us. In our society today , which demands an absence of paint and a totally unrealistic demand for ‘safe spaces’, we might not even want to admit our pain to others. Some respond with anger as a way of fending off pain they feel entitled not to have. Both of these responses isolate us from others.

I’m a seasoned citizen and at my ripe, and I hope, discerning age, I’ve met people who have had real emotional wounds inflicted on them by others. They’ve been sexually abused, which is akin to murder of the psyche, except the victim must go on living. They grew up in a home with an abusive alcoholic or drug addict who destroyed everything that was meaningful and good in the family. A parent, or parents abandoned them when they were young. They or a loved one was severely physically injured by the actions of another; or a loved one was murdered or committed suicide. These types of situations cause real, deep emotional pain and often result in lasting soul wounds…damage to the psyche. And, of course, there are other situations, just as emotionally devastating.

I’m talking here to people with real, obvious, deep emotional pain. It is plain to see the world is corrupted by sin. Even the nonreligious will admit this. Jesus said that we would have suffering int this life, in this world.

 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 [NASB]

Over the years, I’ve talked to folks who have had real, deep emotional pain inflicted upon them by others or by life situations. They’re pain is very real. The inciting incident was not imaginary. It did happen. Their family member was maimed or killed by a drunk driver. Their husband did cheat on them and remove all funds from their joint account before filing for divorce. Yes, the pain is very real. But, what I’ve learned is that way down at the bottom of it, shame is attached. People think: if I had been worthy I wouldn’t have been put up for adoption; there was something flawed about me that made him sexually abuse me and in fact he told me exactly that over-and-over.

This attached shame prevents the injured one from sharing with others, or even if they do share intellectually, on an emotional level they continue to condemn themselves. This self-condemnation is a killer. It binds people in heavy emotional chains. What is needed, in my humble opinion, is a total transformation of the mind away from condemnation. Self-condemnation and condemnation of others is a soul killer. No matter who you condemn, yourself or others, you’re destroying your own soul’s health and destroying joy.

As a Christian, I turn to some of the great Christian teachers when I feel a case of self-condemnation or condemnation of others coming on. And I do, and have had cases of self-condemnation or condemnation of others. Of course I have. I’m human. At those times, I click away on my TV remote until I land on a Christian show featuring the teachings of Joyce Meyers, T.D. Jakes, Paul Daughtery, and many others. I personally find a good word for healing there.

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What brought this article on was the passing, three weeks before Christmas, of my husband Joseph D. Chillemi. I, in my human limited mentality, thought this would be the worst Christmas ever. But the whisper of the spirit of Christmas, gently wrapped around me as if I were in swaddling clothes and kept me safe as a baby. It was Jesus,  coming to me as the baby Jesus, who I encountered…as hope, light, love. So, yes, I was in a state of deep soul searing pain, and yet, Christmas was all about love and joy for me. This year, I learned how the spirit of the Christmas season so often touches nonChristians. How is that possible I would experience this when in deep mourning? I have to chuckle here, because my God can do for His people two or more things at once. [a wee jest there] He invented multitasking.

And so, the Lord had me write this article about deep pain as a way to honor my husband.

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Joseph D. Chillemi; July 30, 1951 – December 8, 2016; husband, father, son, friend, social worker

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WAR OF THE HEART by Jenna Victoria ~ a review

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On his deathbed, Louise Martin’s farther insists she must go to England after he’s gone and clear the family name. Her grandfather fled London and sailed to America during World War II when wrongfully accused of stealing a royal brooch.

Louise arrives at a particular bed & breakfast in London she’s been drawn to and discovers it’s double booked. The B&B’s manager, George Walker, finds a dusty room for her on an upper floor. As Louise unpacks the family heirloom snow globe she brought with her, she realizes George has one exactly like it.When the two snow globes inadvertently touch, both she and George are transported to London during Christmas week, 1940.

The author is masterful at weaving in historical details of the London blitz as well as British customs of that era. Louise and George must don period clothing and try to fit in on the streets of that bombed out city. If you’re a fan of authentic British characterization you’ll love WAR OF THE HEART. Along the way, they meet Brits with the proverbial stiff upper lip, as well as discovering London’s darker side and meeting miscreants.

This is an elegant historical romance with just the right amount of suspense. I highly recommend this story.

WAR OF THE HEART on Amazon

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Announcing the Release of: BLOOD SPEAKS ~ The Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes Trilogy, Book 3

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BLOOD SPEAKS:Taut and compelling detective story, with a clandestine twist. Dry humor. Sweet, romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully.  

…and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. ~ Hebrews 12:24 [NASB]

 

BLOOD SPEAKS in a nut shell

Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, Brooklyn gal PI, waited a long time for the solitaire on her finger. When her sometimes boss, a shadowy figure and director of a secret government organization, offers a one-week bridal shopping vacay in Virginia, she jumps at it.

Joined by bridesmaids, Sandra Daube and Bertha Dagney, Ronnie sets off for the village of Heritage Cove on Arrowhead Lake, Virginia. Their joyous stay at the rustic yet luxury Heritage Cove Inn is shattered by a murder with tendrils and a clandestine motive stretching back to the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

It doesn’t take long for Ronnie and her gal-pals to become targets of the killer. It goes without saying, Taylor County Deputy Sheriff, Lieutenant Dawson Hughes leaves Texas to protect his bride-to-be. He’s joined by Sandra’s employer, conservative political activist Ben Cohen. Neither hell-nor-high-water can keep Gabby Hayes look-alike Hoot Dagney from the side of Bertha, his new bride.

 

Excerpt:

I walked over to the front bay window to gaze out at the beauty of the snow in a neighborhood filled with houses dating back seventy-five years, or more. Maybe I’d get a handle on my squirrely feelings. I scooped up a forkful of pie, but never got it to my mouth. “What the…”

At the edge of the Rosier property, Craig Munro had climbed into a leafless tree with low branches. Using a telephoto lens, he was trying to take shots through the large, bow-shaped window.

“Now he’s gone too far,” I hissed under my breath. I stepped to the side hopefully quickly enough to avoid his camera’s view finder. As I scanned the room for LeBlanc or Peterson, I spied Detective Ross on the sofa patting Cecile’s hand.

Even better.

Mrs. Blanchard took the pastor’s hand. “Your sermon was fitting to Melanie’s life. You captured her quirky innocence.”

I quickly moved away from them. I’m not good at funerals unless I’m functioning in an official capacity. By joining the family at the house, I’d slipped out of professional mode and began experiencing some of the emotions I’d felt when my murdered husband had been laid to rest. Sadness was always something I could cope with. After mom and I were abandoned by my dad, that was something I lived with for quite a few years.

It was that I couldn’t deliver justice where evil had devastated lives that tore at me. Since I’d started trusting the Lord, I’d gotten better at handing distressful situations over to Him. Still sometimes my inadequacy taunted and played terrible head-games.

The old, avenging Ronnie was back in a flash. I strode over to him. “Detective, I need to have a word with you, now.”

The urgency of my voice must’ve surprised him. He immediately stood and followed me.

I didn’t take him to the bay window, but to another, smaller window that had a direct view of the reporter’s deviousness. “There’s a newspaperman up in that tree trying to get photos of what’s going on inside the house.”

Ross took off across the room. “Knepp, come with me.”

The two men hurried outside with Officer Murray and the rookie following them.

I walked over to the bay window and took a bite of spinach pie as Ross hauled the reporter out of the tree and slapped handcuffs on him.

Munro dropped his camera… and, well, Ross must’ve had a clumsy moment because he stepped directly on it, crushing it into the snow.

My emotions were feeling much better now. I took another bite of spinach pie.

 

Praise for BLOOD SPEAKS:

If you enjoyed the first two Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes books, it’s a cinch you’re going to love this one. The scene is set–and captured my attention–with the wintry, getting-ready-for-a-wedding first chapter. Ronnie and her two bridesmaids, Sandra and Bertha, set off for the luxurious Heritage Cove at Arrowhead Lake, Virginia for a one week vacation gifted to her from her shadowy “boss.” As usual, Ronnie–and this time, her close friends–light straight-way into a murder investigation, and the clues are hinting at long ago motives clear back to Kennedy‘s assassination. Of course, Ronnie and her friends become targets of the killer. Fast paced and delightfully written with wit and suspense that keeps you burning the midnight oil, this novel is filled with colorful characters, dialogue that is spot-on, and scenes that will make you drool with envy. And with a truly satisfactory ending, what more could you want? Except your own personal copy. ~ Carole Brown, author of KNIGHT IN SHINING APRON

In this one you’ll find a handsome hero and a smart heroine. If you think romance and dead bodies can’t mix, wait until you read Dawson and Ronnie’s story. Don’t pass this one up, if you’re into a good detective/crime novel. What makes this one even more special is the fact that it’s a Christmas story. Curl up and enjoy. Keep warm and snuggle with a book that might keep you awake through the night since you’ll want to know who the killer is and see what happens to soon-to-be favorite characters. Will a wedding and honeymoon ever take place for Ronnie and Dawson? It’s been a pleasure to know another good one was on the way as the series continued. ~ B. J. Robinson, Author of CHRISTMAS IN THE SMOKIES, WHEN THE SNOW COMES, SIEGE OF AZALEA PLANTATION, AZALEA PLANTATION, amongst over twenty novels

Grab a cup of joe or hot chocolate and immerse yourself for an enjoyable read. Nike Chillemi has a knack for cozy mystery, a mixture of mystery and subtle humor that brings you into the settings and the characters of BLOOD SPEAKS. After this read, if you haven’t already, you’ll want to go back and read the rest of the series. Ronnie is a detective with heart and soul, a character you can easily fall in love with.” ~ Linda Wood Rondeau, author of MIRACLE ON MAPLE STREET

Deputy Sheriff Lt. Dawson Hughes and PI Ronnie Ingels return in BLOOD SPEAKS… a fine Christmas caper that brings murder a bit too close for comfort. As per previous books in the series, BLOOD SPEAKS features first-rate detection and secondary characters that you won’t soon forget. Chillemi’s tight plotting and well-paced action keep the story moving, but her rich descriptions of time and place, along with culinary tidbits to entice foodie and mystery fans alike, make BLOOD SPEAKS a holiday mystery confection you’ll want to savor long after the last carol has been sung. ~ Jenna Victoria, author of    WAR OF THE HEART

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Have a blessed holiday season!!!

Nike N. Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista Blog

Purchase BLOOD SPEAKS on Amazon

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‘Big Data’ Got It Wrong ~ epic fail

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One of the things I love about America is the individualism of its people. I love quirky people with unique personalities who can’t be quantified and parceled into neat little marketing groups. I guess that’s why I’m not fond of focus groups. So, I wasn’t at all unhappy when ‘big data’ got it wrong about the 2016 election.

The fact that all the analysts couldn’t slice and dice and pigeon-hole the American people thrilled me, gave me hope for the future. I’m not speaking politically in terms of Republican or Democrat. I’m saying they couldn’t predict the behavior of the American electorate and I like that.

Of course I’m sure the analysts and marketeers are having break downs. They’ve made lots of money off of the American people and can well afford the price of their psychiatrists. So, I don’t feel too badly for them. They’re freaking out because they are now doubting their ability to accurately segment the American populace into groups they can sell more stuff to. That’s a good thing, IMO. And I’m not against selling. I’m not even against data. We just rely on it much too much. Especially in our intelligence agencies. We need to get operatives on the ground, but that’s another topic.

This is about what I’m for. I’m for the type individualism in America that has bread excellence. I’m for the American entrepreneurial spirit, creative genius, the can do attitude that has always been part of our nation. I’m for the get-up-and go that has been demonstrated in the American story. I’m for the colorful differences between the many groups in America (the races, religions, ethnicities…all of them, don’t leave out the ones that don’t appear to be PC). I love the pride and the quirks of regional America. I want to celebrate these attributes which are found in a people with spirit and a greater reliance on individualism.

Work at everything you do with all your heart. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for human masters. ~ Colossians 3:23 [NIRV]

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. ~ Philippians 4:13 [KJV]


Blood Speaks ~ cover reveal

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Book #3 in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes Trilogy, an Authorized Operations Novel…

…is a fast paced detective story set right before Christmas.

This novel will release within the next two weeks.

 

Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, Brooklyn gal PI, waited a long time for the solitaire on her finger. When her sometimes boss, a shadowy figure and director of a secret government organization, offers a one-week bridal shopping vacay in Virginia, she jumps at it.

 Joined by bridesmaids, Sandra Daube and Bertha Dagney, Ronnie sets off for the village of Heritage Cove on Arrowhead Lake in Virginia. Their joyous stay at the rustic, yet luxurious Heritage Cove Inn is shattered by a murder with a clandestine motive and tendrils stretching back to the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

 It doesn’t take long for Ronnie and her gal-pals to become targets of the killer. It goes without saying, Taylor County Deputy Sheriff, Lieutenant Dawson Hughes leaves Texas to protect his bride-to-be. He’s joined by Sandra’s employer, conservative political activist Ben Cohen. Neither hell-nor-high-water can keep Gabby Hayes look-alike Hoot Dagney from the side of Bertha, his new bride.

 


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