As we are nearing the end of 2014 and entering into a New Year and kick starting the new week off with these words of wisdom that should resonate within our spirits as we prepare to step into a New Year 2015. When [Jesus] heard that [Lazarus] was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. —John 11:6
My sons’ birthdays are in December. When they were small, Angus quickly learned that if he didn’t receive a longed-for toy for his birthday at the beginning of the month, it might be in his Christmas stocking. And if David didn’t receive his gift for Christmas, it might appear for his birthday 4 days later. Delay didn’t necessarily mean denial.
It was natural for Martha and Mary to send for Jesus when Lazarus became seriously ill (John 11:1-3). Perhaps they looked anxiously along the road for signs of His arrival, but Jesus didn’t come. The funeral service had been over for 4 days when Jesus finally walked into town (v.17).
Martha was blunt. “If You had been here,” she said, “my brother would not have died” (v.21). Then her faith flickered into certainty, “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You” (v.22). I wonder what she expected. Lazarus was dead, and she was wary about opening the tomb. And yet at a word from Jesus, Lazarus’ spirit returned to his decaying body (vv.41-44). Jesus had bypassed simply healing His sick friend, in order to perform the far greater miracle of bringing him back to life.
Waiting for God’s timing may also give us a greater miracle than we had hoped for. —Marion Stroud
My Savior hears me when I pray,
Upon His Word I calmly rest;
In His own time, in His own way,
I know He’ll give me what is best. —Hewitt
Time spent waiting on God is never wasted.
Bible in a year: Zechariah 9-12; Revelation 20
Martha, often maligned for her attitude in Luke 10:38-42, displays great faith in today’s passage. Not only does she believe that Jesus has a special relationship with the Father (John 11:22), she also affirms her confidence that Jesus is, in fact, the Son of God (v.27).
Today is the first day of Kwanzaa it is traditional celebrated right after Christmas, so on this first day of Kwanzaa here is the history on this lost African American Celebration.
Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created Kwanzaa in 1966. After the Watts riots in Los Angeles, Dr. Karenga searched for ways to bring African-Americans together as a community. He founded US, a cultural organization, and started to research African “first fruit” (harvest) celebrations. Karenga combined aspects of several different harvest celebrations, such as those of the Ashanti and those of the Zulu, to form the basis of Kwanzaa.
The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder), then one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven basic symbols which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31.
Did You Know?
The seven principles, or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.
The candle-lighting ceremony each evening provides the opportunity to gather and discuss the meaning of Kwanzaa. The first night, the black candle in the center is lit (and the principle of umoja/unity is discussed). One candle is lit each evening and the appropriate principle is discussed.
The seven principles, or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.
Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
The seven principles, or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.
Mazao, the crops (fruits, nuts, and vegetables)
Symbolizes work and the basis of the holiday. It represents the historical foundation for Kwanzaa, the gathering of the people that is patterned after African harvest festivals in which joy, sharing, unity, and thanksgiving are the fruits of collective planning and work. Since the family is the basic social and economic center of every civilization, the celebration bonded family members, reaffirming their commitment and responsibility to each other. In Africa the family may have included several generations of two or more nuclear families, as well as distant relatives. Ancient Africans didn’t care how large the family was, but there was only one leader – the oldest male of the strongest group. For this reason, an entire village may have been composed of one family. The family was a limb of a tribe that shared common customs, cultural traditions, and political unity and were supposedly descended from common ancestors. The tribe lived by traditions that provided continuity and identity. Tribal laws often determined the value system, laws, and customs encompassing birth, adolescence, marriage, parenthood, maturity, and death. Through personal sacrifice and hard work, the farmers sowed seeds that brought forth new plant life to feed the people and other animals of the earth. To demonstrate their mazao, celebrants of Kwanzaa place nuts, fruit, and vegetables, representing work, on the mkeka.
Mkeka: Place Mat
The mkeka, made from straw or cloth, comes directly from Africa and expresses history, culture, and tradition. It symbolizes the historical and traditional foundation for us to stand on and build our lives because today stands on our yesterdays, just as the other symbols stand on the mkeka. In 1965, James Baldwin wrote: “For history is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the facts that we carry it within us, are consciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations.” During Kwanzaa, we study, recall, and reflect on our history and the role we are to play as a legacy to the future. Ancient societies made mats from straw, the dried seams of grains, sowed and reaped collectively. The weavers took the stalks and created household baskets and mats. Today, we buy mkeka that are made from Kente cloth, African mud cloth, and other textiles from various areas of the African continent. The mishumaa saba, the vibunzi, the mazao, the zawadi, the kikombe cha umoja, and the kinara are placed directly on the mkeka.
Vibunzi: Ear of Corn
The stalk of corn represents fertility and symbolizes that through the reproduction of children, the future hopes of the family are brought to life. One ear is called vibunzi, and two or more ears are called mihindi. Each ear symbolizes a child in the family, and thus one ear is placed on the mkeka for each child in the family. If there are no children in the home, two ears are still set on the mkeka because each person is responsible for the children of the community. During Kwanzaa, we take the love and nurturance that was heaped on us as children and selflessly return it to all children, especially the helpless, homeless, loveless ones in our community. Thus, the Nigerian proverb “It takes a whole village to raise a child” is realized in this symbol (vibunzi), since raising a child in Africa was a community affair, involving the tribal village, as well as the family. Good habits of respect for self and others, discipline, positive thinking, expectations, compassion, empathy, charity, and self-direction are learned in childhood from parents, from peers, and from experiences. Children are essential to Kwanzaa, for they are the future, the seed bearers that will carry cultural values and practices into the next generation. For this reason, children were cared for communally and individually within a tribal village. The biological family was ultimately responsible for raising its own children, but every person in the village was responsible for the safety and welfare of all the children.
Mishumaa Saba: The Seven Candles
Candles are ceremonial objects with two primary purposes: to re-create symbolically the sun’s power and to provide light. The celebration of fire through candle burning is not limited to one particular group or country; it occurs everywhere. Mishumaa saba are the seven candles: three red, three green, and one black. The back candle symbolizes Umoja (unity), the basis of success, and is lit on December 26. The three green candles, representing Nia, Ujima, and Imani, are placed to the right of the Umoja candle, while the three red candles, representing Kujichagulia, Ujamaa, and Kuumba, are placed to the left of it. During Kwanzaa, on candle, representing one principle, is lit each day. Then the other candles are relit to give off more light and vision. The number of candles burning also indicate the principle that is being celebrated. The illuminating fire of the candles is a basic element of the universe, and every celebration and festival includes fire in some form. Fire’s mystique, like the sun, is irresistible and can destroy or create with its mesmerizing, frightening, mystifying power.
Mishumaa saba’s symbolic colors are from the red, black, and green flag (bendara) created by Marcus Garvey. The colors also represent African gods. Red is the color of Shango, the Yoruba god of fire, thunder, and lightning, who lives in the clouds and sends down his thunderbolt whenever he is angry or offended. It also represents the struggle for self-determination and freedom by people of color. Black is the people, the earth, the source of life, representing hope, creativity, and faith and denoting messages and the opening and closing of doors. Green represents the earth that sustains our lives and provides hope, divination, employment, and the fruits of the harvest.
Kinara: The Candleholder
The kinara is the center of the Kwanzaa setting and represents the original stalk from which we came: our ancestry. The kinara can be shape – straight lines, semicircles, or spirals – as long as the seven candles are separate and distinct, like a candelabra. Kinaras are made from all kinds of materials, and many celebrants create their own from fallen branches, wood, or other natural materials. The kinara symbolizes the ancestors, who were once earth bound; understand the problems of human life; and are willing to protect their progeny from danger, evil, and mistakes. In African festivals the ancestors are remembered and honored. The mishumaa saba are placed in the kinara.
Kikombe Cha Umoja: The Unity Cup
The kikombe cha umoja is a special cup that is used to perform the libation (tambiko) ritual during the Karamu feast on the sixth day of Kwanzaa. In many African societies libation are poured for the living dead whose souls stay with the earth they tilled. The Ibo of Nigeria believe that to drink the last portion of a libation is to invite the wrath of the spirits and the ancestors; consequently, the last part of the libation belongs to the ancestors. During the Karamu feast, the kikombe cha umoja is passed to family member and guests, who drink from it to promote unity. Then, the eldest person present pours the libation (tambiko), usually water, juice, or wine, in the direction of the four winds – north, south, east, and west – to honor the ancestors. The eldest asks the gods and ancestors to share in the festivities and, in return, to bless all the people who are not at the gathering. After asking for this blessing, the elder pours the libation on the ground and the group says “Amen.” Large Kwanzaa gatherings may operate just as communion services in most churches, for which it is common for celebrants to have individual cups and to drink the libation together as a sign of unity. Several families may have a cup that is specifically for the ancestors, and everyone else has his or her own. The last few ounces of the libation are poured into the cup of the host or hostess, who sips it and then hands it to the oldest person in the group, who asks for the blessing.
When we celebrate Imani on the seventh day of Kwanzaa, we give meaningful zawadi (gifts) to encourage growth, self-determination, achievement, and success. We exchange the gifts with members of our immediate family, especially the children, to promote or reward accomplishments and commitments kept, as well as with our guests. Handmade gifts are encouraged to promote self-determination, purpose, and creativity and to avoid the chaos of shopping and conspicuous consumption during the December holiday season. A family may spend the year making kinaras or may create cards, dolls, or mkekas to give to their guests. Accepting a gift implies a moral obligation to fulfill the promise of the gift; it obliges the recipient to follow the training of the host. The gift cements social relationships, allowing the receiver to share the duties and the rights of a family member. Accepting a gift makes the receiver part of the family and promotes Umoja.
Still in the Christmas Celebration as the week as come to an end it's a FRIDAY HOLIDAY! so let's take a moment to reflect on ALL this week has meant to us with these words of wisdom. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. —John 1:14
It was the buzz of our neighborhood. A famous professional football player had moved in just two houses down from where we lived. We had seen him on television and read about his great skills on the field, but we never thought he would choose to reside in our neighborhood. Initially, our expectations were that we would welcome him into the neighborhood and we would all become great friends. But his life was obviously far too busy for any of us to get to know him personally.
Imagine this: Jesus—the Lord of the universe and Creator of all things—chose to dwell among us! He left heaven and came to this earth. As John says, “We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14). Jesus chose to become intimately involved with all who will come to Him. And, even more significant, for those of us who have received His redeeming love, the Holy Spirit has now set up residence in our hearts to comfort, counsel, convict, lead, and teach us.
When you think of the Babe in the manger, remember how special it is that He not only moved into our “neighborhood,” but that He did it so He could bless us with the intimate privileges of His residence within us. —Joe Stowell
Lord, I’m amazed that You, the greatest One of all,
would take up residence within us! Help us to treasure
the gift of Your presence as our ultimate joy. Draw us
to Yourself to enjoy intimacy with You.
Take advantage of the gift of God’s presence.
Bible in a year: Haggai 1-2; Revelation 17
John’s writings focus on the theme of light. Here, in the prologue of his gospel, John identifies Jesus as “the Light” to whom he bears witness (v.7). While also picturing Jesus as the Word (v.1) and the Creator (v.10), the portrayal of Jesus as the “Light of the world” seems to be foremost in John’s mind (John 8:12; 9:5). He is the Light who has come to live among us.
As we STOP and take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, let's have JOY in our heart for the GREATEST gift to us which was JESUS. So as we fellowship with family and friends exchanging gifts let's always keep in mind that CHRIST is the true meaning of Christmas. I want to wish ALL of U a MERRY CHRISTMAS! May this day be filled with alot of JOY, LAUGHTER, PEACE and BLESSINGS on this Christmas. Let's ALWAYS keep CHRIST in CHRISTMAS. May the Light that entered the world that night cast its brilliance into the deepest corners of our souls this Christmas, giving us the peace on Earth of which the angels spoke so long ago. —Randy Kilgore
Father, help our hearts to know the
love of Christ and to honor Him
with our unyielding devotion in
this and every season. We love You.
Well we are in the mist of the Christmas Celebration, we are starting this new week out with Christmas fast approaching I want to take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom as we head into Christmas. [Jesus] made Himself of no reputation . . . coming in the likeness of men. —Philippians 2:7
At our house some Christmas events are the same each year. Among them is my wife Martie’s appeal to the kids and grandkids as they attack their gifts: “Save the paper, we can use it next year!” Martie loves to give nice gifts, but she also appreciates the wrapping. Presentation is part of the beauty of the gift.
It makes me think of the wrapping Christ chose when He came as a redemptive gift to rescue us from our sinful selves. Jesus could have wrapped Himself in a mind-boggling show of power, lighting up the sky with His presence in a celestial show of glory. Instead, in a beautiful reversal of Genesis 1:26, He chose to wrap Himself “in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7).
So why is this wrapping so important? Because, being like us, He is no stranger to our struggles. He experienced deep loneliness and the betrayal of a dear friend. He was publicly shamed, misunderstood, and falsely accused. In short, He feels our pain. As a result, the writer of Hebrews tells us that we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
When you think of the gift of Jesus this Christmas, remember to keep the “wrapping” in mind! —Joe Stowell
Lord, thank You for wrapping Yourself in our likeness!
Remind us that You understand our struggles and that
we can confidently take advantage of the mercy and
grace You offer to make us victorious.
Don’t disregard the wrapping of the best Christmas gift of all.
Bible in a year: Micah 6-7; Revelation 13
Philippians 2:5-11 is perhaps the greatest declaration of Christ’s deity and humanity in the Bible. In His incarnation, Jesus did not replace His deity with humanity, but added humanity to His deity; He did not cease to be God, but surrendered the independent use of His divine powers and the right to manifest His own glory as God. Before He went to the cross, Jesus prayed that the Father would restore to Him the glory He had with the Father “before the world was” (John 17:5). Jesus’ prayer was answered when the Father “highly exalted Him and [gave] Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).
Yep it's FRIDAY, YES! We have made it through another week so let's take a moment to reflect on this week alone and as we do let's think on these words of wisdom. The grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. —1 Timothy 1:14
Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol was released on December 19, 1843, and has never been out of print. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy, sour, stingy man who says, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas,’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding!” Yet, one Christmas Eve, Scrooge is radically changed into a generous and happy man. With great humor and insight, Dickens’ book captures the universal longing for inner peace.
As a young man, the apostle Paul opposed Jesus and His followers with a vengeful spirit. He “made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:3). But one day he encountered the risen Christ, and his life became a different story (9:1-16).
In a letter to Timothy, his son in the faith, Paul described that life-changing event by saying, even though he was “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man . . . the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 1:13-14).
Jesus was born into our world and gave His life so that we can be forgiven and transformed through faith in Him. This is the heart of Christmas! —David McCasland
Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord,
That hath made heaven and earth of naught,
And with His blood mankind hath bought. —English carol
A change in behavior begins with Jesus changing our heart.
Bible in a year: Jonah 1-4; Revelation 10
Though Paul’s words to Timothy in today’s reading are not one of the traditional biblical texts we read at Christmas, they definitely have application for this season. In verse 15 we read: “Christ Jesus came into the world.” This is a reference not only to Christ’s coming but also to His purpose for coming. Why was He born in human flesh? Paul answers that question by adding, “to save sinners.” Jesus’ coming was a mission of rescue for a race that desperately needed a Savior.
Today is the first day of the Jewish Holiday Hanukkah. So I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone Celebrating a very HAPPY HANUKKAH! May this be a very Blessed Hanukkah Season. Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is celebrated for eight days beginning at sundown on Dec. 16, 2014. On the Hebrew calendar, the dates are 25 Kislev to 2 Tevet in the year 5775.
An eight-day celebration, Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the second century B.C.E. during the Maccabean revolt against oppressive Greek rulers. Jews celebrate the holiday by lighting a nine-branch candelabrum, commonly called a menorah. (Technically, the candelabrum for Hanukkah is called a hanukkiah to distinguish itself from the seven-branch menorah used in the Temple and described in Exodus 25.)
The story of Hanukkah is one of revolution and miracles: Greek influence over the Jews in the Land of Israel had become an affront to Jewish culture and ritual. Antiochus, the Greek ruler, forbade Jewish religious practice, so a small group of Jews, the Maccabees, revolted. These Jews eventually prevailed and, as a first order of business, restored the Holy Temple, which had been desecrated. The menorah in the Temple needed to be re-lit because, according to tradition, it should burn continuously. The Temple liberators found one vial of olive oil, enough for one day of light. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days.
Today, Jews everywhere light menorahs on each night of Hanukkah. Traditionally, one candle or flame is lit for each night until the eighth night, when all eight lights shine together. The menorah has a ninth "helper" flame -- known as the shamash -- used to light the other candles. This is necessary because in Jewish law the Hanukkah lights' only purpose is to visually proclaim the miracle of the holiday. Jews place the lit menorah in a prominent window in order to fulfill this commandment.
Gift giving is now a common practice on Hanukkah, and it is therefore a beloved time for many Jewish children. Fried potato pancakes (latkes) and doughnuts (sufganiyot) are traditional fare, and a spinning top (dreidel) with four Hebrew letters has become synonymous with the holiday. The letters -- nun, gimel, hei, shin -- form an acronym for the message of Hanukkah: A great miracle happened there.
WOW! The long busy weekend has come to and end and we are starting a new week with Take heed . . . lest you forget the things your eyes have seen . . . . And teach them to your children and your grandchildren. —Deuteronomy 4:9
Many people take great care to make sure their resources are used well after they die. They set up trusts, write wills, and establish foundations to guarantee that their assets will continue to be used for a good purpose after their life on earth is done. We call this good stewardship.
Equally important, however, is being good stewards of our life story. God commanded the Israelites not only to teach their children His laws but also to make sure they knew their family history. It was the responsibility of parents and grandparents to make sure their children knew the stories of how God had worked in their behalf (Deut. 4:1-14).
God has given each of us a unique story. His plan for our lives is individualized. Do others know what you believe and why? Do they know the story of how you came to faith and how God has worked in your life to strengthen your faith? Do they know how God has shown Himself faithful and has helped you through doubts and disappointments?
The faithfulness of God is a story that we have the privilege to pass on. Record it in some way and share it. Be a good steward of the story that God is telling through you. —Julie Ackerman Link
How great, O God, Your acts of love!
Your saving deeds would now proclaim
That generations yet to come
May set their hope in Your great name. —D. DeHaan
A life lived for God leaves a lasting legacy.
Bible in a year: Amos 1-3; Revelation 6
In today’s passage, Moses reminded the people of Israel that—unlike the nations around them—they were the only ones privileged to have intimate fellowship with God (v.7) and the only nation given God’s law (v.8). If they faithfully obeyed His law, God would make them a great and wise people (vv.6,8-9).
Yeah you may be asking yourself so What do they have in common well to answer that question Me and Sheila E. Share and have the same Birthday YES! The same BIRTHDAY! So on this day I would like to honor my Musical Shero Sheila E. It's such and honor and a Blessings for us to share the same BIRTHDAY!. So HAPPIE BIRTHDAY 2 US! May God continue to richly bless us on our Special Day. Some day soon we will Celebrate our Birthday's together but for know I will be ROCKING OUT 2 Sheila's music. So Tonight it's going DOWN at the Conga Room wish I could be there but I'm there in Spirit May tonight's Celebration be filled with LOVE, JOY, PEACE, and HAPPINESS.
We have made it to the end of the week YES! it's FRIDAY! so let take a moment to be grateful for another week we have came through the HIGHS and LOWS of everyday situations well hear is something for us ALL to reflect on. I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. —Psalm 4:8
When I was a child, my family lived in a house my father built in the cedar breaks west of Duncanville, Texas. Our house had a small kitchen-dinette area, two bedrooms, and a great room with a large stone fireplace in which we burned 2-foot-long cedar logs. That fireplace was the center of warmth in our home.
There were five people in our family: my father and mother, my sister, my cousin, and me. Since we had only two bedrooms, I slept year-round on a porch with canvas screens that rolled down to the floor. Summers were delightful; winters were cold.
I remember dashing from the warmth of the living room onto the porch, tiptoeing across the frost-covered plank floor in my bare feet, leaping into bed and burrowing under a great mountain of blankets. Then, when hail, sleet, or snow lashed our house and the wind howled through the eaves like a pack of wolves, I snuggled down in sheltered rest. “Snug as a bug in a rug,” my mother used to say. I doubt that any child ever felt so warm and secure.
Now I know the greatest security of all: God Himself. I can “lie down in peace, and sleep” (Ps. 4:8), knowing that He is my shelter from the stinging storms of life. Enveloped in the warmth of His love, I’m snug as a bug in a rug. —David Roper
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning on the everlasting arms. —Hoffman
No one is more secure than those who are in God’s hands.
Bible in a year: Hosea 9-11; Revelation 3
Psalm 91 celebrates the safety and security of those who trust in God, who have made the Lord (the Most High) their refuge, fortress, and dwelling place (vv.2,9). The psalmist affirms that our God is powerful and faithful and therefore trustworthy (vv.1-8). He also testifies of God’s protection and deliverance in a dangerous and destructive world (vv.9-16). In the New Testament, Satan misquoted verses 11-12 to tempt Jesus to test God’s protection by jumping from the top of the temple (Matt. 4:6). In response, Jesus says that God’s promise is for those who love and obey Him (Ps. 91:14-15) and not for those who presume upon God’s grace (Matt. 4:7).
WOW! What a week we have had joining in on the Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week which was held on December 1st-7th it has now come to an end. Awareness Week 2014, that's a wrap! We are here to help. Thank you for joining us to learn more about what we do. Visit www.ccfa.org for more resources for patients and caregivers.
Here we are jump starting a new week with I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out. —Luke 19:40
Every year it seems that Christmas becomes more and more commercialized. Even in nations where the majority of people call themselves “Christian,” the season has become more about shopping than worshiping. The pressure to buy gifts and plan elaborate parties makes it increasingly difficult to stay focused on the real meaning of the holiday—the birth of Jesus, God’s only Son, the Savior of the world.
But every holiday I also hear the gospel coming from surprising places —the very places that so commercialize Christmas—shopping malls. When I hear “Joy to the World! The Lord is come; let earth receive her King” ringing from public address systems, I think of the words Jesus said to the Pharisees who told Him to silence the crowds who were praising Him. “If they keep quiet,” Jesus said, “the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40 niv).
At Christmas we hear stones cry out. Even people spiritually dead sing carols written by Christians long dead, reminding us that no matter how hard people try to squelch the real message of Christmas, they will never succeed.
Despite the commercialism that threatens to muddle the message of Christ’s birth, God will make His good news known as “far as the curse is found.” —Julie Ackerman Link
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found. —Watts
Keeping Christ out of Christmas is as futile as holding back the ocean’s tide.
Bible in a year: Daniel 8-10; 3 John
Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. The salvation Christ brings is what all creation is waiting for (see Rom. 8:19-20) and is a message that cannot be silenced (Luke 19:40).
The first week of December is dedicated to IBD Awareness Week so take a moment to Celebrate Awareness Week with Us! Letter from our President & CEO
The holidays can be an especially challenging time for people with IBD, and we're committed to raising awareness about IBD among all Americans, and inspiring them to join the effort to find treatments and cures. Not only is it Giving Tuesday, a worldwide day dedicated to supporting causes that are important to you, but December 1-7 is also Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week! Learn more about what you can do to help.
That's not all! I'm excited to share that we have an incredible Million Dollar Match this year. Until December 31, every donation will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $500,000. With your support, we'll be able to fund twice as much research and give hope to the 1.6 million Americans suffering from IBD today.
What an amazing gift to give people with IBD.
Richard J. Geswell, CCFA President and CEO
Selfies? Check. Gear? Check.
It's Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week, and chances are someone you know is dealing with IBD. We're asking all of our patients, caregivers and supporters to post a #IBDselfie in honor of someone with IBD. Our #IBDselfie campaign helps people share their stories AND raise awareness. Visit www.ccfa.org/SomeoneYouKnow to see our #IBDselfie submissions here!
You can also wear your support for IBD research by purchasing one of these great shirts! Show your support – and help start the conversation of what it means to live with IBD.
One gift, twice the impact
Until December 31, your gift to CCFA will achieve twice as much in the search for treatments and cures. Donate today, and your gift will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $500,000!
Enjoying a Stress Free Holiday
For people with IBD, the holiday season can sometimes bring on stress and an increase in symptoms. Stress reduction techniques can help. To learn more, see our brochure Managing Flares and other IBD Symptoms.
READ IT HERE ►
Two new webcasts!
Join us for two new Webcasts this December! Today, from 8:00-9:15PM EST, join us for our Diagnosing and Monitoring webcast, where you'll hear from a medical expert as we discuss diagnosing and monitoring through blood tests, endoscopy, biopsy, imaging, and genetic testing.
Interested in what we're up to? On Thursday, December 18, from 8:00-9:15PM EST, Dr. Thad Stappenbeck will share the latest insights from CCFA's genetics and microbiome research. Register today!
Support those who support us!
Bertucci's Italian Restaurant wants to celebrate Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week with you! On Thursday, December 4, grab a meal at Bertucci's and 15% of your purchase will be donated back to CCFA when you present this flyer. Giving back never tasted so good!
The Great Cookie is teaming up with CCFA to support our mission! For a limited time, a portion of proceeds from all cookies and cookie cakes purchased in their CCFA collection will be donated toward IBD research. Simply shop and enter promo code "CCFA" at checkout to support CCFA's fight to find a cure.
Take Steps... towards an Apple Watch!
Our sincere thanks to everyone who walked with us in 2014! There are 1.6 million people who are forever grateful, and because of you, we are one step closer to cures.
There is still time to take advantage of our early bird registration and fundraising incentive contest as we kick off our 2015 walk season. Contest participants will be entered to win a brand new Apple Watch! Register early for a Spring 2015 walk and fundraise your way to being one of the coolest kids on the block with Take Steps! And, for our current Fall Walkers, if you stay involved through the end of the year, you too can be part of the fundraising incentive contest.
REGISTER TODAY ►
We have made it to the end of the week it's FRIDAY YES! so HAPPY we have ALL made to Friday, now lets approach the end of the week with this reminder Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. —1 John 4:7
Chess is an ancient game of strategy. Each player begins with 16 pieces on the chessboard with the goal of cornering his opponent’s king. It has taken different forms over the years. One form is human chess, which was introduced around ad 735 by Charles Martel, duke of Austrasia. Martel would play the game on giant boards with real people as the pieces. The human pieces were costumed to reflect their status on the board and moved at the whim of the players—manipulating them to their own ends.
Could this human version of the game of Chess be one that we sometimes play? We can easily become so driven by our goals that people become just one more pawn that we use to achieve them. The Scriptures, however, call us to a different view of those around us. We are to see people as created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). They are objects of God’s love (John 3:16) and deserving of ours as well.
The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). Because God first loved us, we are to respond by loving Him and the people He created in His image. —Bill Crowder
Open my eyes, Lord, to people around me,
Help me to see them as You do above;
Give me the wisdom and strength to take action,
So others may see the depth of Your love. —Kurt DeHaan
People are to be loved, not used.
Bible in a year: Daniel 1-2; 1 John 4
The apostle John wrote today’s memorable words about love to a church struggling with the influences of false teachers. The words of verses 7-12 follow his instructions in verses 1-6 about identifying false teachers and false teaching (mainly by their view of Jesus). These verses indicate that love for God and for others is a key test for identifying those who truly follow Christ. Therefore, it is no surprise that John emphasizes the Christian characteristic of love. In today’s passage, he says that we ought to love one another, and in his gospel he records Jesus’ words, “By this, all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). How we treat one another is a demonstration of our love for God.
OK We are kicking off Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week starting from December 1-7th. It's Awareness Week 2014, so join us! THIS JUST IN: There are now 1.6 million Americans with IBD. New York, NY-November 30, 2013- The estimated direct cost for all patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in the US is $1.84 billion. In an effort to end inflammatory bowel disease and raise awareness for patients and families dealing with these painful, incurable diseases, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) gears up for Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week on December 1-7, 2013.
“Awareness Week gives us a great opportunity to expand our reach and impact,” said Richard J. Geswell, President and CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. “This year we are focusing on sharing some of the very exciting things that are happening on the research front. We are making tremendous progress which is why continuing to fund research is more important than ever.”
Known collectively as inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affects 1 in 200 people in the United States. They are painful, medically incurable diseases that attack the digestive system. Crohn's disease may attack anywhere along the digestive track, while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever and weight loss. Many patients require numerous hospitalizations and surgery.
Due to the enactment of Senate Resolution 199, the week of December 1-7 is reserved to encourage all Americans to join in the effort to find cures for inflammatory bowel diseases, help raise awareness and support research for the 1.4 million Americans battling Crohn’s and colitis.
The Senate Resolution 199 expresses appreciation to the family members and caregivers who support Americans living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It also commends health care professionals who care for these patients and biomedical researchers who work to advance research aimed at developing new treatments for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
In support of Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America is asking people to:
• Write to their House Representatives and encourage them to join the Crohn’s
& Colitis Caucus: http://capwiz.com/ccfa/home/;
• “Like” the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America on Facebook
(https://www.facebook.com/ccfafb) and follow the Foundation on Twitter
(twitter.com/ccfa)Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/ccfa), and Instagram @ccfa_ibd;
• Update all social media channels with CCFA Crohn’s & Colitis
Awareness Week social media updates;
• Sign up for CCFA’s e-newsletter at: http://online.ccfa.org/site/Survey?ACTION_REQUIRED=URI_ACTION_USER_REQUESTS&SURVEY_ID=1781;
• Start your own fundraising page at: http://www.stayclassy.org/fundraise/team?ftid=7310 ;
• Reach out to anyone you know with IBD and let them know you care.
Visit www.ccfa.org to learn more about the diseases and get more patient resources, including CCFA’s IBD Help Center (http://www.ccfa.org/living-with-crohns-colitis/talk-to-a-specialist/)
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is the largest voluntary non-profit health organization dedicated to finding cures for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). CCFA’s mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who suffer from these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research, providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public, and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information, visit www.ccfa.org, call 888-694-8872, like us on Facebook, find us on Pinterest, LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter.
Today we are Celebrating and Remembering those with AIDS. Every year on December 1st, we commemorate World AIDS Day and re-commit to addressing HIV/AIDS, a disease that affects approximately 35 million people worldwide.
The White House will honor this worldwide observance on Monday, December 1, with an important World AIDS Day event focusing on this year’s Federal theme, “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation.”
Tune in to the live webcast of the White House World AIDS Day Event on December 1.
We invite you to tune in to this event as part of your own observance activities. The event will be webcast at www.whitehouse.gov/live on Monday, December 1, from 12:00– 2:00 PM (EST). You can also join the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #WAD2014 Exit Disclaimer.
For more information about World AIDS Day and how you can take action, visit our World AIDS Day page.
- See more at: http://blog.aids.gov/2014/11/join-the-white-house-2014-world-aids-day-event-live-broadcast-on-december-1.html#sthash.7Bv6vZpR.dpuf
As we jump start a new week we are also starting a New Month we have entered into the last month of the year, so as we start this new week and new month let take a moment to look at ourselves and reflect on this. God is faithful. —1 Corinthians 10:13
Eric was struggling with an addiction, and he knew it. His friends and family members encouraged him to stop. He agreed that it would be best for his health and relationships, but he felt helpless. When others told him how they had quit their bad habits, he replied, “I’m happy for you, but I can’t seem to stop! I wish I had never been tempted in the first place. I want God to take the desire away right now.”
Immediate deliverance may happen for some, but most face a daily battle. While we don’t always understand why the temptation doesn’t go away, we can turn to God on whatever path we find ourselves. And perhaps that is the most important part of our struggle. We learn to exchange our futile efforts to change for complete dependence on God.
Jesus was tempted also, just as we are, so He understands what we’re feeling (Mark 1:13). He sympathizes with our struggles (Heb. 4:15), and we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (v.16). He also uses others, including trained professionals, to lean on along the way.
Whatever battles we may be facing today, we know this—God loves us much more than we can imagine, and He is faithful to come to our assistance. —Anne Cetas
For Further Thought
Read Matthew 4:1-11 about how Jesus handled
temptations. Also read 1 Corinthians 10:11-13
to learn how He can help us when we are tempted.
We are not tempted because we are evil; we are tempted because we are human.
Bible in a year: Ezekiel 40-41; 2 Peter 3
The high priest in ancient Israel was the representative of the people before God. The writer of Hebrews draws a distinction between the high priests of Israel and Jesus, our Great High Priest, who came and experienced life on the earth. We can approach Him with confidence, knowing that He truly understands what we face, for He faced it as well.
As we are still in a Celebratory sprite with Thanksgiving in our hearts we have made it to the end of the week it's FRIDAY! here is some words of wisdom to rejoice in as we prepare ourselves the weekend. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. —2 Timothy 1:7
Amani, which means “peace” in Swahili, is the name of a Labrador retriever pup that has some special friends. Amani lives with two young cheetahs at the Dallas Zoo. Zoologists placed the animals together so the cheetahs could learn Amani’s relaxed ways. Since dogs are generally at ease in public settings, the experts predict that Amani will be a “calming influence” in the cheetahs’ lives as they grow up together.
David was a soothing influence in King Saul’s life when a “distressing spirit” troubled him (1 Sam. 16:14). When Saul’s servants learned of his problem, they thought music might ease his affliction. One servant summoned David, who was a skilled harpist. Whenever the king became troubled, David would play the harp. “Then Saul would become refreshed and well” (v.23).
We crave refreshment and well-being when we are plagued by anger, fear, or sadness. The God of the Bible is a “God of peace” (Heb. 13:20-21), One who gives His Holy Spirit to everyone who believes in Him. When we’re agitated or anxious, we can remember that God’s Spirit produces power, love, and self-control (2 Tim. 1:7). God’s influence in our lives can create a calming effect—one that leads to comfort and wholeness. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt
We’re grateful, Father, for the peace that You
offer for our hearts. Nothing has the power
to take that away. Thank You that Your
peace has come to stay.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” —Jesus
As millions around the world gather with Family and Friends to spend this Thanksgiving holiday, dispite ALL that's happen with Ferguson and World event's we are truly a blessed Nation so as you take a moment to reflect on your time spent with family and friends be Grateful and Thankful for them. I'm truly Thankful for ALL my Family and the many Friend's for ALL there LOVE and Support. HAPPIE THANKSGIVING! May this day be filled with Joy and Thanksgiving Blessings and Love
As we are gearing up for the Holiday Season here is some tips from our CCFA Newsletter. Letter from our President & CEO
Living with IBD can be complicated. We want to ensure that patients' access to care is not. That's why we continue to monitor policies that affect our patients, so we can eliminate barriers to accessing care and enable providers to treat patients to the best of their ability. When an insurer proposes changes around treatment options that may adversely affect our patient population, CCFA's Advocacy Committee engages with them. Most recently, we've reached out to Medical Mutual of Ohio, UHC, and Aetna on behalf of our patients, and we've had really promising results. Visit CCFA's Action Center to learn more about IBD advocacy.
Sincerely, Richard J. Geswell, CCFA President and CEO
IBD and Food: Get Your Full Course
Are you curious about the relationship between food and IBD? We've partnered with celebrity cook, television host and UC patient Sunny Anderson, gastroenterologist Dr. Lindsey Albenberg, and Janssen Biotech to launch Get Your Full Course, a new initiative which addresses the paired role of nutrition and therapy in gaining control of IBD symptoms.
GetYourFullCourse.com helps you on your journey to IBD wellness with expert-guided videos, research on diet and nutrition, a doctor discussion guide, and more. You can also check out recipes Sunny developed exclusively for GetYourFullCourse.com – meant for people with stabilized IBD – and enter the sweepstakes for a chance to meet Sunny at a CCFA event near you!
LEARN MORE ►
Tips for Holiday Eating with IBD
The holidays can be difficult when it comes to diet. Festivities can have many food choices and options that may not be IBD-friendly, but don't let this get in the way of your fun! Try these tips first. For example, bring your own dish to any event that may not be IBD-friendly, or eat before you go. Find other tips in the article "Eating Tips to get you Through the Holidays" or review our brochure "Diet, Nutrition, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease." For further information and resources, please reach out to the IBD Help Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-694-8872.
GET TIPS ►
Help us improve the lives of people with IBD
Your gift to CCFA helps fund cutting-edge research for treatments and cures, provides patient support services that are a lifeline to so many, and raises awareness among the public and elected officials. We can't do this crucial work without you.
A Hip Hop Story of Inspiration, Tragedy, and Triumph
When Mychelle fell in love with hip hop at a young age, she felt she had found her calling. Unfortunately, during the recording process of her first mixtape at 19, Mychelle fell gravely ill and was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. She struggled to continue working on her music despite undergoing surgery and other complicated treatments. Now in remission, Mychelle is once again ready to hit the studio. She wants her music to encourage listeners to overcome their obstacles. "No matter what negativity may try to come in your life, it doesn't have to stop or hurt you. Take it and run with it towards whatever positive direction you want to go in, and win."
READ MORE ►
Don't Miss Our Nutrition Webcast
Are there potential foods that may trigger a flare? How can my diet complement conventional treatments? Join us this month for our new webcast/teleconference as we answer these and other commonly asked patient questions on the role of diet and nutrition in IBD. Learn tips for ensuring proper nutrition during social gatherings and hear about resources for continuous education and support on Thursday, November 20th, 8-9:15 PM EST.
REGISTER TODAY ►
Don't miss our next Twitter Chat
Join us December 1, 2014 4-5pm EST for our next live Twitter Chat to kick off Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week! Follow #HappyHolidaysIBD to discuss managing IBD and the holidays. Expert physicians and dietitians will answer patient questions. We encourage you to join us!
FOLLOW US @CCFA ►
FOLLOW US @IBDHelpCenter ►
FDA Approves UCERIS® for Distal Ulcerative Colitis
Salix Pharmaceuticals announced the FDA approval of UCERIS® (Budesonide) 2mg Rectal Foam for the treatment of mild-to-moderate distal ulcerative colitis. The foam, which is a rectally administered corticosteroid, should be available in January 2015. Currently available rectal therapies have limitations, including difficulty of administration, retention, and insufficient distribution to the distal colon.
Join Our Virtual Turkey Trot
Team Challenge is getting ready for our first ever virtual Turkey Trot to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America! On Thanksgiving Day, run a 5K – anywhere! If you do run on Thanksgiving, we promise it's a great way to start your Turkey Day!
REGISTER NOW ►
Diagnosing and Monitoring IBD Webcast
The diagnostic and monitoring process for IBD may involve multiple tests and procedures. Knowing what to expect, and why these tests are routinely performed can help you better manage your disease. Hear from a medical expert as we discuss the diagnostics and monitoring of IBD, including blood tests, endoscopy, biopsy, imaging, and genetic testing. Learn about helpful resources and important questions to ask your healthcare team on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 from 8-9:15PM EST.
REGISTER NOW ►
What's on your holiday shopping list?
How about making a difference? Send one of our beautiful and customizable holiday cards this season and you'll be spreading cheer and supporting IBD treatments and cures. Proceeds from your cards will go towards our research, education, and programs.
BUY YOUR CCFA HOLIDAY CARDS ►
As we begin the new week this is the week of Thanksgiving so here is some words of wisdom to reflect on as you are preparing to spend quality time with Family and Friends. In this [living hope] you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials. —1 Peter 1:6
When I opened my Bible to read Jeremiah 1 through 4, the subhead ascribed to the book startled me: “Hope in Time of Weeping.” I almost cried. The timing was perfect, as I was walking through a season of weeping over the death of my mom.
I felt much the same way after hearing my pastor’s sermon the day before. The title was “Joy in Suffering,” taken from 1 Peter 1:3-9. He gave us an illustration from his own life: the one-year anniversary of his father’s death. The sermon was meaningful for many, but for me it was a gift from God. These and other events were indications backed up by His Word that God would not leave me alone in my grief.
Even though the way of sorrow is hard, God sends reminders of His enduring presence. To the Israelites expelled from the Promised Land due to disobedience, God made His presence known by sending prophets like Jeremiah to offer them hope—hope for reconciliation through repentance. And to those He leads through times of testing, He shows His presence through a community of believers who “love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22). These indications of God’s presence during trials on earth affirm God’s promise of the living hope awaiting us at the resurrection. —Julie Ackerman Link
Does Jesus care when I’ve said goodbye
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks,
Is it aught to Him? Does He see? O yes, He cares! —Graeff
We need never be ashamed of our tears. —Dickens
Bible in a year: Ezekiel 22-23; 1 Peter 1
The apostle Peter wrote his letters to a church that was enduring persecution for their faith. Though the “various trials” they were experiencing (1 Peter 1:6) may not be the same type of trials we must endure, the source of the strength to endure is the same. We are not alone in our trials, and our endurance in them is not due to our inner strength. It is God Himself who strengthens us to endure. We are kept by the power of God (v.5), so that our faith praises, honors, and glorifies Christ (v.7).
We have made it to the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY! YAY! WOOT! WOOT! since we have made it to Friday let's take a moment to reflect on this week with The cares of this world . . . choke the word. —Matthew 13:22
A restaurant owner in the village of Abu Ghosh, just outside Jerusalem, offered a 50-percent discount for patrons who turned off their cell phones. Jawdat Ibrahim believes that smartphones have shifted the focus of meals from companionship and conversation to surfing, texting, and business calls. “Technology is very good,” Ibrahim says. “But . . . when you are with your family and your friends, you can just wait for half an hour and enjoy the food and enjoy the company.”
How easily we can be distracted by many things, whether in our relationship with others or with the Lord.
Jesus told His followers that spiritual distraction begins with hearts that have grown dull, ears that are hard of hearing, and eyes that are closed (Matt. 13:15). Using the illustration of a farmer scattering seed, Jesus compared the seed that fell among thorns to a person who hears God’s Word but whose heart is focused on other things. “The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (v.22).
There is great value in having times throughout each day when we turn off the distractions of mind and heart and focus on the Lord. —David McCasland
O Lord, help me to turn off all the
distractions around me and focus on You.
May my heart be good soil for the
seed of Your Word today.
Focusing on Christ puts everything else in perspective.
Here we GO we are gearing up for a new week so let's start it off with this Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. —1 Peter 5:8
The roaring lion is the legendary “king of the jungle.” But the only lions many of us see are the lethargic felines that reside in zoos. Their days are filled with lots of rest, and their dinner is served to them without the lions having to lift a single paw.
In their natural habitat, however, lions aren’t always living a laid-back life. Their hunger tells them to go hunting, and in doing so they seek the young, weak, sick, or injured. Crouching in tall grasses, they slowly creep forward. Then with a sudden pounce, they clamp their jaws to the body of their victim.
Peter used “a roaring lion” as a metaphor for Satan. He is a confident predator, looking for easy prey to devour (1 Peter 5:8). In dealing with this adversary, God’s children must be vigilant at putting “on the whole armor of God” and thus they can “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10-11).
The good news is that Satan is a defeated adversary. While he is a powerful foe, those who are protected by salvation, prayer, and the Word of God need not be paralyzed in fear at this roaring lion. We are “kept by the power of God” (1 Peter 1:5). James 4:7 assures us: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” —Cindy Hess Kasper
Lord, we know that our enemy seeks to devour us.
Please protect us from him. We believe Your
Word that He who is in us is greater than he
who is in the world.
No evil can penetrate the armor of God.
Bible in a year: Ezekiel 5-7; Hebrews 12
The church at Ephesus, to whom the letter of Ephesians was written, was begun by the apostle Paul after he visited the city (Acts 18:18-21). Paul’s work there was followed by that of Apollos (vv.24-26), a man who had great passion but an incomplete understanding of the way of Christ. This prompted two of Paul’s colleagues, Aquila and Priscilla (v.26), to take Apollos under their wing and mentor him. This collaboration in ministry reveals how the work of the early church, so often focused on Paul’s work, was a true team effort.
We have made it to the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY so as we prepare for the weekend let's take a moment to reflect on this week with The Lord is good to those who wait for Him. —Lamentations 3:25
When American country singer George Jones died at the age of 81, his fans remembered his remarkable voice and his hard life and personal struggles. While many of his songs reflected his own despair and longing, it was the way he sang them that touched people deeply. Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot said, “His voice was made for conveying heartbreak.”
The book of Lamentations records Jeremiah’s anguish over the nation of Judah’s stubborn refusal to follow God. Often called “the weeping prophet,” he witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and saw his people carried into captivity. He wandered the streets of the city, overwhelmed by grief (Lam. 1:1-5).
Yet, in Jeremiah’s darkest hour, he said, “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (3:21-23).
Whether we suffer for our own choices or from those of others, despair may threaten to overwhelm us. When all seems lost, we can cling to the Lord’s faithfulness. “‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul. ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’” (v.24). —David McCasland
I’m thankful for Your faithfulness, Father, even
in the times when I am unfaithful. Help me to
remember, like Jeremiah, that my hope comes
from You, not from my circumstances.
The anchor of God’s faithfulness holds firm in the strongest storms.
Bible in a year: Lamentations 3-5; Hebrews 10:19-39
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says: “Jeremiah was called by the Lord to the office of a prophet while still a youth (1:6) about 20 years of age. . . . At first he probably lived in Anathoth, and put in his appearance publicly in Jerusalem only on the occasion of the great festivals; later he lived in Jerusalem, and was there during the terrible times of the siege and the destruction of the city.”
Here Mychelle Lee story about Crohn's. For 24-year-old Mychelle Lee, music has been her dream since her childhood.
At a young age, Lee fell in love with the hip-hop culture-from the Dj’s to graffiti art- as a youth growing up in Washington D.C. “I come from a musical family, so many of my family members are in the entertainment industry. I was always surrounded by it,” says Lee.
Lee was so committed to her childhood dream that upon high school graduation, she purchased her own recording equipment with high hopes of finally realizing her aspirations. But right when she began recording her first studio project, her health began declining…fast.
“I had a couple different things happening with me. For a year, I had several different tests. (Doctors) thought I had pancreatitis, so they had to run several different tests to rule out everything. Since I was so young, they wanted to rule out cancer,” says Lee.
Over the course of two months, Lee lost nearly 60 pounds, and was stricken with severe fatigue and nausea. It wasn’t until she saw a specialist that she learned she Crohn’s at just 19 years old. She soon had her gallbladder removed, just months after her diagnosis.
“I was in the hospital for a month, and they needed to put me on TPN (total parenteral nutrition) but my insurance wouldn’t cover it. They had to put me in a nursing home, and I had to stay there for another month.”
“Being the youngest person in a nursing home and not really understanding why you’re there puts you in crazy mind set,” explains Lee.
While she was in the nursing home, Lee said she still kept writing and working on her music. Soon she had her resection surgery, releasing two mixtapes just one week later. After four challenging years, Lee is now in remission and ready to focus all her energy on creating more music.
“I had to stop doing music all together and I am just picking it back up now. It has been a constant rebuilding process of getting back into performing and writing and figuring out what I want to do. It is not easy, but I am happy.”
Her latest video, “Spaceship,” talks about her obstacles as an IBD patient and her hope for others in her same position.
“The whole premise of my video (Spaceship) is to raise awareness for Crohn’s disease and inspire people. Even if you don’t have Crohn’s, the purpose of my music is to inspire people to keep fighting.”
Watch Mychelle’s video “Spaceship” and visit her website www.MychelleLee.com .
Today millions of us are celebrating two Holidays one being Veterans Day and the other being Armistice Day. I want to say Thank you to the Millions of Men and Woman who have served this GREAT COUNTRY we called the United States Of America. Thank You for being our HERO'S and SHERO'S to protect our freedom's that many around the world don't have. Here is a little bit of History on Armistice Day. The final Allied push towards the German border began on October 17, 1918. As the British, French and American armies advanced, the alliance between the Central Powers began to collapse. Turkey signed an armistice at the end of October, Austria-Hungary followed on November 3.
Germany began to crumble from within. Faced with the prospect of returning to sea, the sailors of
America troops at the front celebrate
the end of the fighting, Nov 11, 1918 the High Seas Fleet stationed at Kiel mutinied on October 29. Within a few days, the entire city was in their control and the revolution spread throughout the country. On November 9 the Kaiser abdicated; slipping across the border into the Netherlands and exile. A German Republic was declared and peace feelers extended to the Allies. At 5 AM on the morning of November 11 an armistice was signed in a railroad car parked in a French forest near the front lines.
The terms of the agreement called for the cessation of fighting along the entire Western Front to begin at precisely 11 AM that morning. After over four years of bloody conflict, the Great War was at an end.
"...at the front there was no celebration."
Colonel Thomas Gowenlock served as an intelligence officer in the American 1st Division. He was on the front line that November morning and wrote of his experience a few years later:
"On the morning of November 11 I sat in my dugout in Le Gros Faux, which was again our division headquarters, talking to our Chief of Staff, Colonel John Greely, and Lieutenant Colonel Paul Peabody, our G-1. A signal corps officer entered and handed us the following message:
Official Radio from Paris - 6:01 A.M., Nov. 11, 1918. Marshal Foch to the Commander-in-Chief.
1. Hostilities will be stopped on the entire front beginning at 11 o'clock, November 11th (French hour).
2. The Allied troops will not go beyond the line reached at that hour on that date until further orders.
'Well - fini la guerre!' said Colonel Greely.
'It sure looks like it,' I agreed.
'Do you know what I want to do now?' he said. 'I'd like to get on one of those little horse-drawn canal boats in southern France and lie in the sun the rest of my life.'
My watch said nine o'clock. With only two hours to go, I drove over to the bank of the Meuse River to see the finish. The shelling was heavy and, as I walked down the road, it grew steadily worse. It seemed to me that every battery in the world was trying to burn up its guns. At last eleven o'clock came - but the firing continued. The men on both sides had decided to give each other all they had-their farewell to arms. It was a very natural impulse after their years of war, but unfortunately many fell after eleven o'clock that day.
All over the world on November 11, 1918, people were celebrating, dancing in the streets, drinking champagne, hailing the
Celebration in Paris
Nov 11, 1918armistice that meant the end of the war. But at the front there was no celebration. Many soldiers believed the Armistice only a temporary measure and that the war would soon go on. As night came, the quietness, unearthly in its penetration, began to eat into their souls. The men sat around log fires, the first they had ever had at the front. They were trying to reassure themselves that there were no enemy batteries spying on them from the next hill and no German bombing planes approaching to blast them out of existence. They talked in low tones. They were nervous.
After the long months of intense strain, of keying themselves up to the daily mortal danger, of thinking always in terms of war and the enemy, the abrupt release from it all was physical and psychological agony. Some suffered a total nervous collapse. Some, of a steadier temperament, began to hope they would someday return to home and the embrace of loved ones. Some could think only of the crude little crosses that marked the graves of their comrades. Some fell into an exhausted sleep. All were bewildered by the sudden meaninglessness of their existence as soldiers - and through their teeming memories paraded that swiftly moving cavalcade of Cantigny, Soissons, St. Mihiel, the Meuse-Argonne and Sedan.
What was to come next? They did not know - and hardly cared. Their minds were numbed by the shock of peace. The past consumed their whole consciousness. The present did not exist-and the future was inconceivable."
Armistice Day UK Falls Silent
This Veterans’ Day, Let’s Honor Our Veterans
Here we GO getting ready to start a New Week with this. Then [Jesus] said to them, “Follow Me.” —Matthew 4:19
While visiting Jerusalem, a friend of mine saw an old rabbi walking past the Wailing Wall. The interesting thing about the aged rabbi was the five young men walking behind him. They too were walking bent over, limping—just like their rabbi. An Orthodox Jew watching them would know exactly why they were imitating their teacher. They were “followers.”
Throughout the history of Judaism, one of the most honored positions for a Jewish man was the privilege of becoming a “follower” of the local rabbi. Followers sat at the rabbi’s feet as he taught. They would study his words and watch how he acted and reacted to life and others. A follower would count it the highest honor to serve his rabbi in even the most menial tasks. And, because they admired their rabbi, they were determined to become like him.
When Jesus called His disciples to follow Him (Matt. 4:19), it was an invitation to be changed by Him, to become like Him, and to share His passion for those who need a Savior. The high honor of being His follower should show in our lives as well. We too have been called to catch the attention of the watching world as we talk, think, and act just like Jesus—the rabbi, the teacher, of our souls. —Joe Stowell
Thank You, Lord, for the high honor of being
called to follow You. May my life so imitate
You that others will know that You are the
pursuit of my life and the rabbi of my soul.
Follow Jesus and let the world know He is your rabbi.
Bible in a year: Jeremiah 48-49; Hebrews 7
In the region surrounding the Sea of Galilee in the first century, fishing was one of the primary industries. This fishing normally took place at night, with the laborious task of casting weighted fishing nets and then hauling them back in. Fishing was not an easy occupation, but it did provide a decent living and, as seen in today’s text, was often operated as a family business. Here, two brothers, Peter and Andrew, worked together (v.18), as did James, John, and their father (v.21). In this case, however, these two families also had a partnership in their fishing business, as recorded in Luke 5:10. Jesus used this partnership to His advantage in calling these four men as disciples.
WOW! I can't believe it's been 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall when this took place I was 8 years old when this Historical event took place. Here is what the BBC News reported on this 25 year Anniversary. Berlin Wall: Thousands of balloons released to mark fall The balloons were released into the Berlin night sky, as Jenny Hill reports
Gorbachev warns of 'new Cold War'
East Germany's trade in human beings
The Berlin Wall - in 60 secs Watch
Some 8,000 helium balloons have been released into the night sky over Germany's capital at the culmination of events to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the fall of the wall had shown the world that dreams could come true.
Tens of thousands of people attended events, including a "citizen's party" at the Brandenburg Gate.
The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 to stop people fleeing the communist East.
Its fall in 1989 became a powerful symbol of the end of the Cold War.
The white balloons - perched on 3.6m poles to match the height of the wall and stretching for 15km (nine miles) - were released one by one to symbolise the breaching of the wall by crowds of protesters.
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Chancellor Angela Merkel places a rose in a remaining section of the wall
The Berlin State Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim played Beethoven's Ninth Symphony "Ode to Joy" in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
"We're the happiest people in the world and we're thrilled that you brought the Berlin Wall down 25 years ago," said the Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, as the first balloons were sent aloft.
"Nothing and no-one can stand in the way of freedom."
The release came amid a massive open-air party at the Brandenburg Gate. Earlier at the party, UK performer Peter Gabriel sang a version of David Bowie's Heroes.
At the scene: Damian McGuinness, BBC News
For a weekend the balloons had become a part of the city, with Berliners strolling, jogging or cycling along the route.
Today not much of the Wall remains, and often you don't even notice when crossing between East and West. That's because, after 1989, Berliners wanted to destroy the much-hated barrier and rebuild their city.
But suddenly seeing the circuitous and often illogical line which tore through the city's heart was a reminder of the insanity of using concrete to split a city in two, dividing neighbourhoods, friends and families.
Now the balloons have floated off into the sky, each one accompanied by cheers from the crowd - a shining and delicate symbol of peace and light, in stark contrast to the brutality of the heavy slabs of grey concrete. And a powerful reminder of how 25 years ago, under pressure from ordinary Berliners, this deadly barrier suddenly lost its threat.
The word peace is projected on to the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. 9 Nov 2014
The word "peace" was projected on to the Brandenburg Gate
Fireworks over Brandenburg Gate followed the release of the balloons, 9 Nov
Fireworks over Brandenburg Gate followed the release of the balloons
'We can change things'
The day's events began with a brass band playing, evoking the trumpets which brought down the walls of the biblical city of Jericho.
Chancellor Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, and other officials laid roses in one of the remaining sections of the wall.
Chancellor Merkel speaking at new information centre on Bernauer Strasse, Berlin - 9 November
Chancellor Merkel said it was easy to forget what had happened in Berlin
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev attends a ceremony in Berlin, 9 Nov
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev attends a ceremony in Berlin
Festivities in Berlin, 9 Nov
Tens of thousands joined the festivities in the German capital
Peter Gabriel performs at the Brandenburg Gate party, 9 Nov
Peter Gabriel performs at the Brandenburg Gate party
Speaking at the opening of a new information centre about the Wall, Ms Merkel said it was easy to forget what had happened and it was important to remember it.
"We can change things for the better," she said. "This is the message for... Ukraine, Iraq and other places where human rights are threatened.
"The fall of the Wall showed us that dreams can come true. Nothing has to stay as it is."
Recently Ms Merkel has revealed more details about her movements on the day that the Wall opened.
She told German TV on Saturday that she joined crowds heading towards West Berlin after a visit to the sauna, describing "an incredible feeling of happiness".
The chancellor was joined later at the Brandenburg Gate by former Polish trade union leader and president Lech Walesa and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader.
The anniversary was also mentioned in an address by Pope Francis in Rome.
He told crowds in St Peter's Square: "Where there is a wall, there is a closing of hearts. We need bridges, not walls."
A visitor peeks into the former "death strip" between layers of the former Berlin Wall next to a former East German guard tower at the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse. 8 Nov 2014
A guard tower still marks the "death strip" between layers of the former wall that divided Berlin
The first Trabant to cross from the East to the West 25 years ago, traverses the border again in commemoration - at the Ullitz crossing from Saxony into Bavaria, 9 Nov
The first Trabant to cross from the East to the West 25 years ago, traverses the border again in commemoration - at the Ullitz crossing from Saxony into Bavaria
The wall stretched for 155km (96 miles) through Berlin but today only about three kilometres of it still stands.
At least 138 people died trying to flee to West Berlin.
Within a year of the wall's collapse, Germany - divided after its defeat in World War Two - was reunited.
Striking a sombre note, Mr Gorbachev, 83, warned on Saturday that the world was on the brink of a new Cold War.
The BBC examines the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, in 60 seconds
Tensions between the West and Russia have been raised by the crisis in Ukraine, which was part of the Soviet Union.
"Bloodshed in Europe and the Middle East against the backdrop of a breakdown in dialogue between the major powers is of enormous concern," he said.
"The world is on the brink of a new Cold War. Some are even saying that it's already begun."
Mr Gorbachev, as leader of the USSR in the late 1980s, is credited with rapprochement with the West and creating a more liberal atmosphere which led to the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989. Here is the History on the Berlin Wall.
On August 13, 1961, the Communist government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) began to build a barbed wire and concrete “Antifascistischer Schutzwall,” or “antifascist bulwark,” between East and West Berlin. The official purpose of this Berlin Wall was to keep Western “fascists” from entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state, but it primarily served the objective of stemming mass defections from East to West. The Berlin Wall stood until November 9, 1989, when the head of the East German Communist Party announced that citizens of the GDR could cross the border whenever they pleased. That night, ecstatic crowds swarmed the wall. Some crossed freely into West Berlin, while others brought hammers and picks and began to chip away at the wall itself. To this day, the Berlin Wall remains one of the most powerful and enduring symbols of the Cold War.
THE BERLIN WALL: THE PARTITIONING OF BERLIN
As World War II came to an end in 1945, a pair of Allied peace conferences at Yalta and Potsdam determined the fate of Germany’s territories. They split the defeated nation into four “allied occupation zones”: The eastern part of the country went to the Soviet Union, while the western part went to the United States, Great Britain and (eventually) France.
Did You Know?
On October 22, 1961, a quarrel between an East German border guard and an American official on his way to the opera in East Berlin very nearly led to what one observer called "a nuclear-age equivalent of the Wild West Showdown at the O.K. Corral." That day, American and Soviet tanks faced off at Checkpoint Charlie for 16 hours. Photographs of the confrontation are some of the most familiar and memorable images of the Cold War.
Even though Berlin was located entirely within the Soviet part of the country (it sat about 100 miles from the border between the eastern and western occupation zones), the Yalta and Potsdam agreements split the city into similar sectors. The Soviets took the eastern half, while the other Allies took the western. This four-way occupation of Berlin began in June 1945.
THE BERLIN WALL: BLOCKADE AND CRISIS
The existence of West Berlin, a conspicuously capitalist city deep within communist East Germany, “stuck like a bone in the Soviet throat,” as Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev put it. The Russians began maneuvering to drive the United States, Britain and France out of the city for good. In 1948, a Soviet blockade of West Berlin aimed to starve the western Allies out of the city. Instead of retreating, however, the United States and its allies supplied their sectors of the city from the air. This effort, known as the Berlin Airlift, lasted for more than a year and delivered more than 2.3 million tons of food, fuel and other goods to West Berlin. The Soviets called off the blockade in 1949.
After a decade of relative calm, tensions flared again in 1958. For the next three years, the Soviets–emboldened by the successful launch of the Sputnik satellite the year before and embarrassed by the seemingly endless flow of refugees from east to west (nearly 3 million since the end of the blockade, many of them young skilled workers such as doctors, teachers and engineers)–blustered and made threats, while the Allies resisted. Summits, conferences and other negotiations came and went without resolution. Meanwhile, the flood of refugees continued. In June 1961, some 19,000 people left the GDR through Berlin. The following month, 30,000 fled. In the first 11 days of August, 16,000 East Germans crossed the border into West Berlin, and on August 12 some 2,400 followed—the largest number of defectors ever to leave East Germany in a single day.
THE BERLIN WALL: BUILDING THE WALL
That night, Premier Khrushchev gave the East German government permission to stop the flow of emigrants by closing its border for good. In just two weeks, the East German army, police force and volunteer construction workers had completed a makeshift barbed wire and concrete block wall–the Berlin Wall–that divided one side of the city from the other.
Before the wall was built, Berliners on both sides of the city could move around fairly freely: They crossed the East-West border to work, to shop, to go to the theater and the movies. Trains and subway lines carried passengers back and forth. After the wall was built, it became impossible to get from East to West Berlin except through one of three checkpoints: at Helmstedt (“Checkpoint Alpha” in American military parlance), at Dreilinden (“Checkpoint Bravo”) and in the center of Berlin at Friedrichstrasse (“Checkpoint Charlie”). (Eventually, the GDR built 12 checkpoints along the wall.) At each of the checkpoints, East German soldiers screened diplomats and other officials before they were allowed to enter or leave. Except under special circumstances, travelers from East and West Berlin were rarely allowed across the border.
THE BERLIN WALL: 1961-1989
The construction of the Berlin Wall did stop the flood of refugees from East to West, and it did defuse the crisis over Berlin. (Though he was not happy about it, President Kennedy conceded that “a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.”) Over time, East German officials replaced the makeshift wall with one that was sturdier and more difficult to scale. A 12-foot-tall, 4-foot-wide mass of reinforced concrete was topped with an enormous pipe that made climbing over nearly impossible. Behind the wall on the East German side was a so-called “Death Strip”: a gauntlet of soft sand (to show footprints), floodlights, vicious dogs, trip-wire machine guns and patrolling soldiers with orders to shoot escapees on sight.
In all, at least 171 people were killed trying to get over, under or around the Berlin Wall. Escape from East Germany was not impossible, however: From 1961 until the wall came down in 1989, more than 5,000 East Germans (including some 600 border guards) managed to cross the border by jumping out of windows adjacent to the wall, climbing over the barbed wire, flying in hot air balloons, crawling through the sewers and driving through unfortified parts of the wall at high speeds.
THE BERLIN WALL: THE FALL OF THE WALL
On November 9, 1989, as the Cold War began to thaw across Eastern Europe, the spokesman for East Berlin’s Communist Party announced a change in his city’s relations with the West. Starting at midnight that day, he said, citizens of the GDR were free to cross the country’s borders. East and West Berliners flocked to the wall, drinking beer and champagne and chanting “Tor auf!” (“Open the gate!”). At midnight, they flooded through the checkpoints.
More than 2 million people from East Berlin visited West Berlin that weekend to participate in a celebration that was, one journalist wrote, “the greatest street party in the history of the world.” People used hammers and picks to knock away chunks of the wall–they became known as “mauerspechte,” or “wall woodpeckers”—while cranes and bulldozers pulled down section after section. Soon the wall was gone and Berlin was united for the first time since 1945. “Only today,” one Berliner spray-painted on a piece of the wall, “is the war really over.”
The reunification of East and West Germany was made official on October 3, 1990, almost one year after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Commemorative Ceremony of 25th Anniversary of Berlin Wall Fall
The Berlin Wall : Documentary on the Berlin Wall from Construction to Destruction
We have made it to FRIDAY! Yes, the week has come to an end so lets take a moment to reflect on this past week with this.There shall be no more curse. —Revelation 22:3
Amy had battled cancer for 5 years. Then the doctor told her that the treatments were failing and she had just a few weeks to live. Wanting some understanding and assurance about eternity, Amy asked her pastor, “What will heaven be like?”
He asked her what she liked most about her life on earth. She talked about walks and rainbows and caring friends and the laughter of children. “So, then, are you saying I will have all of that there?” she asked longingly.
Amy’s pastor replied, “I believe that your life there will be far more beautiful and amazing than anything you ever loved or experienced here. Think about what’s best here for you and multiply it over and over and over. That’s what I think heaven will be.”
The Bible doesn’t describe in detail what life in eternity will be like, but it does tell us that being with Christ in heaven is “far better” than our present circumstance (Phil. 1:23). “There shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him” (Rev. 22:3).
Best of all, we will see the Lord Jesus face to face. Our deepest yearnings will be fully satisfied in Him. —Anne Cetas
We’re thankful, Lord, for Your presence now
in our lives. But what an amazing day it will be
when we meet You face to face!
Life with You in heaven will be greater by far.
To be with Jesus forever is the sum of all happiness.
Bible in a year: Jeremiah 40-42; Hebrews 4
In some translations of the Bible, the book of Revelation is entitled “The Revelation of St. John,” giving attention to the human author John, one of the disciples of Jesus. This title, however, is inaccurate. In Revelation 1:1, we read, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.” This is significant because the word revelation means “a revealing or unveiling.” The primary purpose of the book is to give us an unveiling of Christ Himself. Interestingly, that unveiling reveals Jesus to be the Lamb of God, and the word lamb appears in Revelation more than 25 times.