PEACE

John 16:33,

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.”

It’s not easy to stay in peace in this crazy world of ours. I don’t know about you, but if I watch the news for more than five minutes, I develop a stomachache, a headache. or start crying. If that’s not enough, then we have jobs, family responsibilities, church, and community activities to keep us so busy we can’t breathe.

 And let’s not forget about life. Just when we think we’ve got everything under control, life happens and proves us wrong. Life happening might take the form of a broken washer, a tragedy, or a brain tumor. For me, it’s actually two brain tumors that were diagnosed in May of 2012.

And yet, Jesus promises us peace. So, how do we get the peace Jesus promised us and keep it in the midst of tragedies? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can share how I’ve done it as I struggled and continue to struggle with my health. For me it comes down to 3 key principles:

GOD IS GOOD.

GOD LOVES ME.

 I TRUST GOD.

 If you believe that God is good and that He loves you, then how can you not trust God in whatever situation you are struggling with? Romans 8:28 promises us….And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I love this promise. This verse gives me hope. I know that whatever happens to me God will work it out for my good. I believe this with all my heart. I’m approaching the third anniversary of my brain tumor diagnosis. Unfortunately, things aren’t going the way they were supposed to go.

But I know God’s got my back. 

Nobody likes problems, but they are a fact of life. If you’re facing a difficult situation (and we all do sooner or later), isn’t it wonderful to know that the Creator of the world is on your side? Just knowing that gives me hope.

Peace!

YOU RAISE ME UP!

You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban has become my most recent theme song! I’d heard it before, of course. But when I heard  heard it after all the struggles I’m having because of my brain tumors, it struck a chord with me! I’ve been asked how I keep on going in the face of difficult circumstances.

In a word–GOD!

Here’s a version that includes the song being done in American Sign Language. Hope you enjoy it!

You Tube video:  https://youtu.be/x44BQUU_Tmk

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS!

God still speaks…but are you listening?

As a retired speech-language pathologist, I know the importance of listening. Good listening skills make a difference. Good listening skills can help you be successful in school, in relationships, and in life.

And who better to listen to then God!

God can speak to us in many different ways. The Bible is the main way but certainly not the only way. There may be weirder examples, but God used the hula hoop to speak to me.

Yep! I said a hula hoop!

When I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors in 2012, my life took a dramatic turn and is still topsy-turvy. Fortunately they were benign, but there are two definitions for benign. One being non-cancerous, the other meaning harmless—which my brain tumors definitely are not!

In spite of that, I love my life!

I know that sounds a little bit crazy, but it’s true.

Anyway…a while ago I started trying to hula hoop. Now why would an overweight, sixty year old woman with brain tumors want to hula hoop? If you want to know that, you’ll have to read the book!

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. But what about writers? When the going gets tough, they write! And so I have. GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS is the result. Simply put, in the book I share some of the listening lessons God taught me that have helped me face my new reality with brain tumors.

And the book is FREE today! AMAZON BUY LINK:  http://buff.ly/1DVLGZZ

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 GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING

The Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel-Part VI

PART VI

The little old lady smiled her sweet but enigmatic smile. “But no matter how many times I say that at the Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel, no one quite believes me. So I will tell you this about the Princess Path.”

“To become a princess, the path is narrow. Sadly, too narrow for many. As you all continue on your One True Journey, many will turn from the narrow path that leads to becoming a Princess.”

How could anyone not want to be a princess? It was the most honored positon in all the kingdom. Who would someone choose a different path? Why would they even want to?

“As I said many of you—most of you—will not become a Princess, but each of you have the power to become a Princess if that is the path you choose on your One True Journey.”

Could that be true? Could every girl here really become a princess?

“There are no arbitrary cuts on the narrow path. The only way to leave the path is to let your feet lead you astray. But remember this well. Once your feet has taken you on another path, it becomes even more difficult to resume the journey of the narrow path. But not impossible. Nothing is impossible for the Creator.”

But Rose wanted only one path. The narrow path to become a princess. But it sounded almost impossible.

“There will be many who want to lure you from your chosen path whatever it may be. It is your responsibility to not allow others to determine your path. The Creator has indeed created for each of us a One True Journey. But when we allow others to determine our steps…”

She stopped speaking and shook her head. Princess Michella did the same. Both looked so sorrowful that Rose felt sad as well without knowing exactly why.

Princess Lilianna looked out at them. Her smile so sweet, so filled with loved. “The only path to happiness is to complete the One True Journey to its final destination. When you allow others to lure you from that path, you will not find happiness. Instead, you will find pain, sorrow, and heartache.”

The harsh words cut through Rose’s excitement, causing her to tremble. Veronique clasped her arms. Rose could feel her trembling as well. But Bells simply looked excited as if she couldn’t wait to begin her journey. Had she already chosen her path?

Princess Lilianna continued, “Ah, but this is not a day for sadness. But know that you’ve been warned, so take care where you allow your feet to fall. Now it is time for your gift from the Creator. Look down by your feet and you shall find yours.”

Rose did as instructed, shocked to find a small wooden chest on the floor beside her feet. It hadn’t been there a moment ago, had it? And yet she’d seen no one place it there. How had that happened?

With shaking hands, Rose picked up her gift—her Blessed Vessel.

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

FEAR NOT!

Nike Chillemi is my guest writer today. I’ve “known” Nike for many years–well maybe not many but several. Like me, she writes suspense novels,. She is the self-proclaimed Crime Fictionista! Sure wish I’d thought of that title.

Anyway, thanks Nike for this devotional.

He Said “Do Not Fear” by Nike Chillemi

The King James Version of the Bible says “fear not” 103 times. Other versions have a similar amount of fear nots or say “do not be afraid.” In fact, scholars have said it’s the most repeated command in the Bible. Since He has said it so many times, it must be important to God that we fear not.

Right at the beginning, God tells Abram (before the name change to Abraham) not to fear. Genesis 15:1 [NASB] ~ After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying: “Do not fear Abram, I am a shield to you.”

As far as I can determine, Jesus says “fear not” eight times in the Gospels. One of these sayings touches me deeply every time I read it in the Bible. Luke 12: 32 [NASB] ~ Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

As a writer of detective stories, I’m well aware of fear. I’ve researched fear, written about fear. However, the point of my novels is never to glorify fear. Rather, I strive to create main characters who are flawed, ordinary people facing many personal issues, yet they manage to overcome their fear and anxiety to fight evil when they come upon it.

Of course fear is not a thing of fiction. Fiction takes fear from real life. We hear daily of the almost unimaginable terror of ISIS, an entity deliberately striving to create world-wide fear as a tactic to achieve tyrannical power. Ebola seems to never go away. There is nuclear threat.

On a personal level people face fear every day: fear that they won’t be good enough, attractive enough, smart enough, that they will fail. I think fear is a tactic of the enemy to steal our faith. If the enemy can create fear in believers, he can steal faith right out of our hearts. Fear is the antithesis of faith. It will steal our faith in God’s great and powerful ability and have us focus on our puny inability.

Christianity is a faith that teaches love. Believers grow and come to know that love, God’s kind of love, overcomes fear. First of all, we must each receive and deeply know how much God personally loves us. He loves us so much He gave His Son for us. His love for us never ceases. He is there whenever we call on him. When we overcome our fear and are able to walk in love, it opens the way for God to bless us. God is in the blessing business (good health, the right mate, secure finances, and so much more). And when we walk in love, we are able to pass the blessing on to others. And believers are indeed to pass the blessing on. We are God’s hands and feet on the earth.  Where the blessing flourishes, fear has trouble getting a foothold.

Me,pix

A little more about Nike…Like so many authors, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT released under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press has finaled in the Grace Awards.

Blog: https://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nike-Chillemi/e/B0050ZD44O/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1/186-9398678-9394414

The Beatitudes

Matthew 5: 3-12

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

MORE RED WORD WISDOM to share today. As I explained, my current Bible studying is revolving around Jesus’ words.  I have a feeling studying Jesus’ words are going to take most of this year. Obviously, I can’t go in to every verse so today I’m focusing on the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes were part of his Sermon on the Mount, which was his first major speaking event.

Studying these were a revelation to me. They demonstrate the many layers of God’s Word. Simply reading a Bible passage and moving on to the next  is never enough. It pays to do a little research and see what Bible scholars (the experts) have to say about a specific verse. Then put the verse in your own words so that you understand it for yourself.

Today, we’re just going to look at the first Beatitude. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed is a term that refers to the inner joy and peace that comes from being right with God. Another definition I came across that I love is DIVINE REWARDS. Doesn’t that say it all?

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit. What does poor in spirit mean? Spiritually bankrupt. Nothing to offer God. No way to save yourself.

After much reading and studying, I came up with this definition: understanding I am “poor” spiritually, that I have nothing of worth to offer to God. Therefore, I can’t “buy” my way into heaven with good works. Only after understanding this principle, are we ready to accept God’s gift of salvation.

 

That’s only the first Beatitude, there are seven more, which I’m not going to get into since I’m out of space. But I would love for all of you to take one of the Beatitudes and tell us what it means to you!

 

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RED WORD WISDOM

The Bible is filled with all the wisdom we need to have a successful life here on earth. And certainly the words of Jesus are no exception. In fact, perhaps, his words deserve some extra attention so I’m starting a new Bible study that focuses on Jesus’s Words.

Time wise, Jesus’s first recorded words were found in Luke 2: 49 (NIV) when he went missing and Mary and Joseph found him at the temple. “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

The New King James Version says it this way:  “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

I think both versions have something to teach us.

In my Father’s house. When you spend time at another’s house, it implies a relationship with that person. I don’t believe it’s an accident that Jesus’s first recorded words point to having a relationship with God—His father. Our Father. First and foremost, we were created to have a relationship with our Creator.

Don’t neglect that relationship.

About My Father’s business. Jesus knew that he was put on this earth for a reason—to do God’s business. We were put on the earth for that very same reason. Jesus was put on this earth for a very specific purpose—and so were we.

My purpose is not the same as yours. And yours is not the same as anyone else’s. Once you have that relationship with God, then it’s time to discover the business your Father created you for.

Get about His business.

Wow! Jesus’s first words give us direction and purpose in our life. Can’t beat that. I have a feeling this Bible study might take a lot longer than I realized.

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!