In many ways 2016 was a year of losses and doors closed, but also with a promise of new beginnings.
So, I prepare my 2107 Blessing Jar, as I do every year. This involves writing out my Prayer of Thanksgiving as well as my Prayer of Petition with its list of my heart felt desires and whatever vision God has given me for the new year. This is far from a new year’s resolutions list. Prayer, thanksgiving, and Scripture reading was an integral part of this process. At the top left hand corner you can see the blessing jar I’ve used for the last two years. My prayer and petitions are in the center. To the right are notes of thanksgiving for prayers that were answered in 2016. I’m sure there were others, but these are the big three.
The written document is two and a half pages long. I signed it and took communion over it. Then I folded it and along with the little notes put them all into the blessing jar.
As soon as I took communion, I received my word for 2017: cherish.
Thus, my Blessing Jar becomes my “war room,” as shown and explained in the amazing movie by that name. As I live in a teeny-tiny house, I don’t have a room that could be my war room. So, I’ve made one side of my refrigerator into that and I’m going to keep the Blessing Jar above it on the top of the refrigerator. This is where I pray for other people and note the Scripture I’m standing on. As prayers are answered, I will take them off the side of the refrigerator and place them into my Blessing Jar. In this way the jar becomes a repository for the record of my answered prayers.
BLOOD SPEAKS, winter set in a picture postcard world of snow covered fir trees, ice skaters on a frozen lake, a village winter festival, where a diabolical murder plot unfolds.
From an Amazon review: “Have read all the books in this series and have enjoyed them all. Highly recommend this exciting page turner.”
4.6 out of 5 Stars on Amazon
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 Maryland she jumps at it.
Joined by bridesmaids, Sandra Daube and Bertha Dagney, Ronnie sets off for the village of Heritage Cove on Arrowhead Lake, Maryland. 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. No obstacle can keep Gabby Hayes look-alike Hoot Dagney from the side of Bertha his new bride.
Last night there was no shortage of good food, happy people having a wonderful time, a great band for dancing and fun. Grand Banquet Hall, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Fl.
One of the most wonderful things about this inauguration, from the Trump Welcome Concert to the Washington, D.C. balls (which we watched on a large screen with sound on mute, as our own band was playing)…to the upcoming National Prayer service on Saturday is the feeling this is the people’s inauguration. Watching the D.C. inaugural festivities, though certainly elegant and replete with pomp, also often had a hometown feel. I loved the absence of so-called “A-List” celebrities.
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.
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.
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.
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.