February 1 - 15
Author, Cheryl Colwell is having a party to celebrate the very first giveaway
for her Travel, Mystery, and Suspense Fans!
And YOU are invited!
"As soon as I saw this darling book bag, I couldn't wait to share it with you."
Put your name in the hat to enter this
fun Giveaway at:
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Nike N. Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and is the founding board member of the Grace Awards, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction.
She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. She writes monthly book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine.
Her recent contemporary detective series (HARMFUL INTENT and DEADLY DESIGNS) has garnered acclaim and has been called: sassy, witty, gritty, charming, and yummy.
Her historical suspense Sanctuary Point series brought on a crime wave that swept the south shore of Long Island during the 1940s (BURNING HEARTS, GOODBYE NOEL, PERILOUS SHADOWS, DARKEST HOUR) won acclaim and awards.
As we ready the last of our belongings to move from the farm, this sunrise felt like a farewell gift to us.
It's been an amazing place, but we are excited about the next phase in our lives and curious about all it will hold. After living around boxes for months, it will be good to be resettled and back to some kind of writing routine!
You have upheld me, Lord and kept my steps from slipping. You have tried me and strengthened me. You have restored my soul.
This day, Papa, put Your perfect will in my heart. Give me eyes to see Your face. To see your path.
"Lead me in the right path, O lord...make Your way plain for me to follow."
Psalm 5:8 NLT
Lord, if only I could grasp Your joy which is my strength. I want to run and hide, to leave everything behind. You alone give life and strength and the will to press on.
Come, Holy Spirit of Jesus and pour into me the blessing You have promised. Deliver me from the evil one that oppresses, and bring deliverance.
Please, bring clarity and hope. You have a path laid out for me that is called success if I follow. Show me again, Lord. Give me the will and the power to do of Your good pleasure.
This morning I asked You to put a prayer in my heart. You greeted me with this glorious sunrise and gave me Psalm 103:1-5. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits..."
My youth is renewed! I am satisfied with good things. You have poured lovingkindness and compassion on me and placed Your joy into my soul.
You said, "Be healthy. Create beauty. Be the joy. Sing praise." Papa, my mouth is filled with praise.
What is our goal as a Christian? Various answers lead to various journeys.
If we say it is to learn and train and work to become righteous, we may end up like the Pharisees. Martin Luther basically said a Christian who's purpose is to become righteous is missing the whole point of the Gospel. It's like a woman marrying a man for his money.
For those who can achieve a level of outward righteousness, it tends to lead toward pride. For those who can't, this Christian culture leads to despair.
Jesus took it further: Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."
So what is God's will? Jesus reveals it plainly: Matthew 22:37: "You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." Vs 39 "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Love God fervently. Love your neighbor. Love yourself. If these are what we aim at, Jesus said we will fulfill all the other commandments.
This concept is so important that Jesus went on to give us a solemn warning:
Matthew 7:22-21 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"
These people spent all their lives learning, working, training to become righteous, and they were - as far as man's righteousness can go. But that is not what Jesus asked of them. In another passage, He said to come and learn of Him, his burden is easy and his yoke is light.
Instead, years of well-intended messages have instructed me on what else to add to my yoke. I've come to believe this is a false gospel, a distraction from the true gospel. It is insidious in the Church and in my mind. It beats me up rather than producing love.
True gospel: Christ is the subject of the gospel. We are the object. Christ lives in me. Christ works in me and through me. Christ promised that He began a new work. He is completing the work through His transforming presence. Having been made perfect, we are being made holy - by Christ. The work is done by Christ's Spirit.
Trusting His power to leaves me peaceful, fills me with the urge to praise Him, to know him. I can look up and thank Him when I know I've failed, knowing His promises are true and will be faithfully completed until the day I die. The joy this gives makes me want to share this gospel. The true gospel removes my anxiety toward God.
False gospel: I do good works for Christ. I try. I struggle. I exhaust myself. I'm a good Christian on the days I can check off a mental list of righteous things. I'm a bad Christian on the days I fail to meet my requirements. Religious people have been trying this as long as man has been on the earth.
Watching my failed efforts makes me despair. Why would I ever want to bring someone I love into this false gospel? There is no good news in this false gospel.
The true gospel is good news. The good news is that Jesus writes His laws on our hearts. He transforms us. How?
When we hear His words, we LET them settle in our souls, take root and grow. For instance, we read "Blessed are the pure in heart." We talk with Jesus and ask Him to give us a pure heart. We thank him for transforming us, for loving us. In other words, through this transforming work, we are getting to know Him as a friend, without fear.
Our love grows and so does our righteousness - by Him.
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