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Friday, May 30, 2014

Jordyn’s Journey

Friday is here and we are preparing for the Weekend, but as we do let's take a moment to reflect on this past week I know it has had it's share of challenges some that we our in control of and some that we our not in control of BUT that GOD was in control of and we have to be OK with God being in control of things we can't control ourselves. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. —Philippians 4:13 Jordyn Castor was born blind. But this doesn’t hold her back from living a full and productive life. The documentary Can You See How I See? tells her story. She excels at school and with a little help she enjoys biking and downhill skiing. Of her sight, Jordyn says: “If I could give my blindness back, I wouldn’t do it. I think God made all of us the way we are for a reason . . . and I think my blindness is part of what I am going to do with my life.” She is now a university student majoring in computer technology. Her dream is to assist in developing new computer software that will help the blind. How can Jordyn maintain such a positive outlook on life? As a Christ-follower, she understands that God is in control of the circumstances of life. This gives her confidence to pursue opportunities that others might not have believed possible. Certainly, Jordyn’s life illustrates this truth from Philippians: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (4:13). No matter what our strengths or weaknesses might be, God’s providential hand can give us what we need to make a difference for Him in our world. Rely on His strength to help you as you take a step of faith. —Dennis Fisher “I will strengthen,” so take courage, Child of God, so weak and frail; God has said so, and it must be, For His promise cannot fail! —Anon. God’s call to a task includes His strength to complete it. Bible in a year: 2 Chronicles 10-12; John 11:30-57 Insight The spiritual vitality and confidence found in the inspiring words of today’s text have sustained the faith of believers for hundreds of years. Here Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (v.13). When we read these words we also need to take into consideration their context. Paul, while unjustly incarcerated for his faith, has just received a gracious gift from the congregation in Philippi. The apostle sees a pattern of grace provision in this generous gift. He has learned to rejoice in plenty and to be thankful and satisfied in want. The reason for this is that Jesus Christ, who indwells him and who engineers life’s circumstances, provides him with the power to be resilient in whatever circumstance he must face.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Join us on the Hill

Here is CCFA'S May Newsletter. Letter from Rick Geswell, CCFA President & CEO Rick Geswell, CCFA President and CEO Are you coming to Washington, DC? Our annual Day on the Hill on June 11-12 is just around the corner! Each year, we bring some of our most passionate volunteers to the capitol to share their stories with legislators and act as advocates for all Americans living with IBD. Together, we'll also ask Congress to support our legislative priorities, like funding for IBD research through the National Institutes of Health, the IBD Epidemiology Program at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Defense. If you can't join us in DC, be an advocate from home! Take a look at our Advocacy Toolkit and learn how you can make a difference for the 1.4 million Americans with IBD. And follow us @CCFA #CCFAHillDay. A Singing Champion Molly Roberts 15-year-old Molly Roberts isn't suffering with IBD in silence – in fact, she's doing the complete opposite. Molly, a singer/songwriter, entrepreneur, activist and high school student is using her voice to spread awareness about Crohn's and colitis. Her original song "Champion," written about her struggles with Crohn's disease, is now available on iTunes, and all proceeds will be donated to CCFA. Check out the music video and download the song today! What Does an IBD Diagnosis Mean? Webinar Newly diagnosed patients with IBD have many questions, and most share a common theme: what does an IBD diagnosis mean for me? Our two-part webcast, "What to Expect," covers important topics such as tests, diet and nutrition and advice on how to collaborate with your healthcare team. This new series is free and available on-demand – so register and watch today! Complementary & Alternative Approaches to IBD Are you interested in learning more about complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) that can be used in conjunction with your current medical therapies? Many people with IBD are, but aren't sure where to start. Decisions about treatment should always be made with your doctor, but you can find more information about CAM on our website. You can also visit the National Institute of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) website, which conducts research on nontraditional therapies. For further guidance, reach out to our IBD Help Center at info@ccfa.org. MAY 2014 ISSUE COMING SOON: Webcast on IBD Treatments Join us in July for an educational webcast providing in-depth information on IBD treatments and the resources needed to make informed decisions about managing IBD. Patients will learn about the risks and benefits associated with each treatment and will be given questions to ask their healthcare team when evaluating their options. Sign up today! Team Challenge Participants There's Still Time to Walk For Cures! Invite your friends, family and coworkers to walk and fundraise as we Take Steps towards cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Two lucky Take Steps participants will win a pair of tickets to an incredible NFL Game Day experience. The more you raise, the more chances to win. Register online today. Are you a part of the solution? Help find tomorrow's treatments and cures by supporting today's IBD research. Donate now. IBD Clinical Trials & Other Studies CCFA provides a comprehensive database of studies, clinical trials and other research on Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Some of the recently added studies include: • A Randomized, Double Blind, Multiple Dose Placebo Controlled Study to Evaluate the Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of AMG 181 in Subjects with Moderate to Severe Ulcerative Colitis, AND a Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study to Evaluate the Safety Tolerability, and Efficacy of AMG 181 in Subjects with Moderate to Severe Crohn's Disease conducted by Amgen • TELEmedicine for Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (TELE-IBD), conducted by University of Maryland, Baltimore Deciding whether to participate in a clinical trial is an important personal decision, best made with a full understanding of the drug development process and a participant's role.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The History Of Memorial Day

As we our winding down on this Memorial Day there is a since of Gratitude that come over me because I have had some Family and Friends that I know that have severed this GREAT Country I just wanted to take a moment to shine a light on these TRUE HERO'S and SHERO'S of our Country. Thank You for your continuous service and bravery. We Love You and Thank God for your called to Duty. Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer. Early Observances of Memorial Day The Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, requiring the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers. Did You Know? Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time. It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo—which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. Decoration Day On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Many Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I. Evolution of Memorial Day Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars. For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday. Memorial Day Traditions Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.

A Call To Comfort

As we start the New Week with a Celebration of Memorial Day with Family, Friends, and very close Love ones lets ALL remember those that have given their lives for our Country and for the Freedoms of this World. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. —2 Corinthians 1:3 In their book Dear Mrs. Kennedy, Jay Mulvaney and Paul De Angelis note that during the weeks following the assassination of US President John Kennedy, his widow, Jacqueline, received nearly one million letters from people in every part of the world. Some came from heads of state, celebrities, and close friends. Others were sent by ordinary people who addressed them to “Madame Kennedy, Washington” and “Mrs. President, America.” All wrote to express their grief and sympathy for her great loss. When people suffer and we long to help, it’s good to recall Paul’s word-picture of “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” as “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). Our heavenly Father is the ultimate source of every tender mercy, kind word, and helpful act that brings encouragement and healing. Bible scholar W. E. Vine says that paraklesis—the Greek word translated “comfort”—means “a calling to one’s side.” The words comfort and consolation appear repeatedly in today’s Bible reading as a reminder that the Lord holds us close and invites us to cling to Him. As the Lord wraps His loving arms around us, we are able to embrace others “with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (v.4). —David McCasland Father, thank You for letting us share with You our worries and cares. We’re grateful that You stand beside us to comfort and guide. Help us to console others as You look out for Your own. God comforts us so that we can comfort others. Bible in a year: 1 Chronicles 28-29; John 9:24-41 Insight So often we ask why God allows a hurtful experience to come our way. Today’s reading provides us with at least one very plausible reason for the pain. We are comforted in our afflictions so that we might comfort others in theirs (v.4). Hearing of the faithfulness of God in trials uplifts others who suffer.

Friday, May 23, 2014

More Than We Deserve

Friday is here and YES there is a lot to be EXCITED for as we are gearing up for this long Memorial Day weekend lets take a moment to rejoice in the simple things in life such as are health, family, and friends. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. —Psalm 103:10 Sometimes when people ask how I’m doing, I reply, “Better than I deserve.” I remember a well-meaning person responding, “Oh no, Joe, you deserve a lot,” to which I replied, “Not really.” I was thinking about what I truly deserve—God’s judgment. We easily forget how sinful we are at the core of our being. Thinking of ourselves more highly than we should diminishes our sense of deep indebtedness to God for His grace. It discounts the price He paid to rescue us. Time for a reality check! As the psalmist reminds us, God “has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities” (Ps. 103:10). Considering who we are in light of a holy and just God, the only thing we truly deserve is hell. And heaven is an absolute impossibility—except for the gift of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. If God never does anything more than redeem us, He has already done far more than we deserve. No wonder the psalmist says, “As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him” (v.11). Knowing ourselves for what we are, we can’t help but say, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!” He gives us so much more than we deserve. —Joe Stowell Lord, thank You for not dealing with me according to my sins. I am indebted to You for the love and grace that You demonstrated on the cross to purchase my pardon and forgiveness—far beyond what I deserve! If God never does anything more than redeem us, He has already done far more than we deserve. Bible in a year: 1 Chronicles 19-21; John 8:1-27 Insight Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote eloquently of Psalm 103: “[This psalm of David] is in his own style when at its best, and we should attribute it to his later years when he had a higher sense of the preciousness of pardon, because [of] a keener sense of sin, than in his younger days. His clear sense of the frailty of life indicates his weaker years, as also does the very [fullness] of his praiseful gratitude.”

Monday, May 19, 2014

Interruptions

Another Week is up on us and as we approach this new week lets keep in mind the work we have before us.The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. —Psalm 33:11 My sister and I were looking forward to our holiday in Taiwan. We had purchased our plane tickets and booked our hotel rooms. But 2 weeks before the trip, my sister learned she had to stay at home in Singapore to handle an emergency. We were disappointed that our plans were interrupted. Jesus’ disciples were accompanying Him on an urgent mission when their trip was interrupted (Mark 5:21-42). The daughter of Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, was dying. Time was of the essence, and Jesus was on His way to their home. Then, suddenly, Jesus stopped and said, “Who touched My clothes?” (v.30). The disciples seemed irritated by this and said, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” (v.31). But Jesus saw it as an opportunity to minister to a suffering woman. Her illness had made her ceremonially unclean and unable to participate in community life for 12 years! (see Lev. 15:25-27). While Jesus was talking to this woman, Jairus’ daughter died. It was too late—or so it seemed. But the delay allowed Jairus to experience an even deeper knowledge of Jesus and His power—even power over death! Sometimes our disappointment can be God’s appointment. —Poh Fang Chia Disappointment—His appointment No good thing will He withhold; From denials oft we gather Treasures of His love untold. —Young Look for God’s purpose in your next interruption. Bible in a year: 1 Chronicles 7-9; John 6:22-44 Insight Jairus, as a “[ruler] of the synagogue” (Mark 5:22), was a lay leader responsible for organizing and supervising the affairs of the local synagogue. This included the conduct and teaching of the worship services.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Many Advisors

Another week has come and gone, as we head into the weekend lets take a moment to focus on this particular passage. Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established. —Proverbs 15:22 The fifteenth-century theologian Thomas à Kempis said, “Who is so wise as to have perfect knowledge of all things? Therefore, trust not too much to your own opinion, but be ready also to hear the opinions of others. Though your own opinion be good, yet if for the love of God you forego it and follow that of another, you shall the more profit thereby.” Thomas recognized the importance of seeking the opinions of trusted advisors when making plans for life. In order to determine God’s course for life, the wise person should open up to several avenues of counsel, through which God will bring His guiding wisdom. When a person seeks the wise counsel of others, he shows his realization that he might be overlooking some important factors in his decisions. Solomon, the wisest man in Israel, wrote about how important it is to have counsel from others: “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established” (Prov. 15:22). The Lord is the Wonderful Counselor (Isa. 9:6), and He desires to protect us through wise advisors. Seek them out and thank God for them. Let them help you discover a clearer picture of His plan for your life. —Marvin Williams If you seek wise counsel, you multiply your chances for sound decisions. Bible in a year: 2 Kings 24-25; John 5:1-24 Insight Proverbs 15:22 instructs us on the importance of seeking wise counsel. Many of the people in Scripture sought out counsel from wise and trusted advisors. Moses asked advice from his father-in-law Jethro about how to lead and judge Israel (Ex. 18:13-24). Ahithophel was so wise that it was said that his advice “was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God” (2 Sam. 16:23). But the greatest counsel we can seek is from God Himself. James tells us that if we lack wisdom, we can ask of God and He will give it to us because He “gives to all liberally and without reproach” (James 1:5).

Monday, May 12, 2014

Words To Live By

WOW! What a way to jump start the New Week, as we have just come off the hills of Celebrating an OUTSTANDING! Mother's Day. Here is some words of encouragement to help you get through this new week. Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments . . . that you should act according to them. —Deuteronomy 4:5 For many years I’ve maintained a file folder labeled “Speaking.” It has become thick with articles, quotations, and illustrations that might be useful. Recently I went through it to discard things that are out of date. I found it difficult to throw away many of the items, not because I haven’t used them in a talk but because I haven’t put them into practice. I closed the folder thinking, “These aren’t words to talk about; these are words to live by.” After 40 years in the desert, Moses addressed the people poised to enter the Promised Land: “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you” (Deut. 4:1). Moses’ repeated theme (vv.1,2,5,6,9) is that God’s commandments are to be kept. He said it well, “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments . . . that you should act according to them” (v.5). It is so easy to talk about doing more than we actually do and to speak about truth we’re not living by. We can become bloated with words, yet starved for reality, forgetting that all of God’s commands flow from His heart of love for us. —David McCasland Help us, Lord, not to be just hearers of the Word; help us to be doers as well. Teach us to be honest with ourselves about who we really are. We want to walk in Your ways and to guide others to You. The strength of our actions should match the strength of our words. Bible in a year: 2 Kings 15-16; John 3:1-18 Insight Far from being a burden, the commands God gave to the Israelites were life-giving. They outlined a life lived in response to His love. In today’s text, Moses reminded the Israelites that the commands were for their wisdom and understanding (v.6). The result of living by the words of the Lord would be that the nations around them would recognize the one true God (vv.7-8).

Sunday, May 11, 2014

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Wishing ALL the Mother's a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! May it Be Blessed. As Millions ALL over are taking a moment to Celebrate there Mother's it is truly a blessing from God to have the opportunity to become a Mother there is nothing like it. So on this Special Day I want to say I Thank God for my Mom and ALL that she has done for me. I Love You Mom! I want to Honor ALL the Mother's Today by simply saying HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Promises Still Kept

Another week as come and gone we are now headed into the weekend. As we prepare ourselves to Celebrate our Mother's let's take a moment to reflect on this passages. When the sun went down . . . there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. —Genesis 15:17 In the ancient Near East a treaty between a superior (a lord or king) and an inferior (his subjects) was called a suzerain treaty. The ratification ceremony required animals to be sacrificed and cut in half. The animal parts were then arranged in two rows on the ground, forming an aisle between them. As the suzerain walked between the halves, he was publicly declaring he would keep the covenant and would become like the slain animals if he failed to keep his word. When Abram asked God how he could be sure His promises would come to pass, God used the culturally significant symbolism of the suzerain treaty to affirm His promises (Gen. 15). When the burning torch passed through the pieces of the sacrifice, Abram understood that God was declaring it was His job to keep the covenant. God’s covenant with Abram and His assurance of its completion extends to followers of Christ. That is why Paul repeatedly refers to believers as sons of Abraham in his New Testament writings (Rom. 4:11-18; Gal. 3:29). Once we accept Jesus Christ as Savior, God becomes the keeper in our covenant of faith (see John 10:28-29). Because God is the keeper of our salvation, with renewed confidence in Him we trust Him with our lives. —Randy Kilgore He will never fail us, He will not forsake; His eternal covenant He will never break. Onward then, and fear not, children of the day; For His Word shall never, never pass away. —Havergal Our salvation is secure because God does the holding.

Monday, May 5, 2014

HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!!

Just wanted to take a moment and wish ALL my Mi Gente and Mi Amigos and Mi Amigas a very HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!! Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States. History of Cinco de Mayo: Battle of Puebla In 1861 the liberal Mexican Benito Juárez (1806-1872) became president of a country in financial ruin, and he was forced to default on his debts to European governments. In response, France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France, ruled by Napoleon III (1808-1873), decided to use the opportunity to carve a dependent empire out of Mexican territory. Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large French force and driving President Juárez and his government into retreat. Certain that success would come swiftly, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez (1814-1892) set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. From his new headquarters in the north, Juárez rounded up a rag-tag force of 2,000 loyal men—many of them either indigenous Mexicans or of mixed ancestry—and sent them to Puebla. Led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza (1829-1862), the vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On May 5, 1862, Lorencez drew his army, well provisioned and supported by heavy artillery, before the city of Puebla and led an assault from the north. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers. Fewer than 100 Mexicans had been killed in the clash. Although not a major strategic win in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza’s success at Puebla represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government and bolstered the resistance movement. Six years later—thanks in part to military support and political pressure from the United States, which was finally in a position to aid its besieged neighbor after the end of the Civil War—France withdrew. The same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico by Napoleon in 1864, was captured and executed by Juárez’s forces. Puebla de Los Angeles was renamed for General Zaragoza, who died of typhoid fever months after his historic triumph there. Cinco de Mayo in Mexico Within Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where Zaragoza’s unlikely triumph occurred, although other parts of the country also take part in the celebration. Traditions include military parades, recreations of the Battle of Puebla and other festive events. For many Mexicans, however, May 5 is a day like any other: It is not a federal holiday, so offices, banks and stores remain open. Cinco de Mayo in the United States In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with substantial Mexican-American populations. Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s, in part because they identified with the victory of indigenous Mexicans over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla. Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. Confusion with Mexican Independence Day Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla. That event is commemorated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.

Who Gets The Credit?

Here we are getting ready to jump start a New Week. As we head into the New Week let's remind ourselves of this passage for the remainder of this week. Let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me. —Jeremiah 9:24 Chris Langan has an IQ higher than Albert Einstein’s. Moustafa Ismail has 31-inch biceps and can lift 600 pounds. Bill Gates is estimated to be worth billions. Those who have extraordinary abilities or possessions might be tempted to think more highly of themselves than they should. But we don’t have to be wildly smart, strong, or wealthy to want to take credit for our achievements. Any size of accomplishment carries with it this question: Who will get the credit? During a time of judgment, God spoke to the Israelites through the prophet Jeremiah. He said: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches” (Jer. 9:23). Rather, “Let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me” (v.24). God wanted His people to prize Him and His excellence above anything else. If we allow praise to inflate our self-image, we’re forgetting that “every good gift . . . comes down from the Father” (James 1:17). It’s better to give God the glory—not only because it protects our hearts from pride but also because He rightfully deserves it. He is God, the One “who does great things . . . marvelous things without number” (Job 5:9). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt Not I, but Christ, be honored, loved, exalted; Not I, but Christ, be seen, be known, be heard; Not I, but Christ, in every look and action; Not I, but Christ, in every thought and word. —Whiddington We were created to give God the glory. Bible in a year: 1 Kings 19-20; Luke 23:1-25 Insight Circumcision was the external sign that the Israelites were God’s covenantal people (Gen. 17:10-14). But circumcision was not exclusive to them, for it was widely practiced in the ancient world, including among the Egyptian and Canaanite peoples (Jer. 9:26). Although the Jews knew it was a symbol of their covenant with God, few, if any, understood the need for a spiritual operation on the heart (Deut. 10:16; Jer. 4:4; Acts 7:51). A humble and obedient heart was what God wanted from His people (Lev. 26:41; Deut. 30:6; Jer. 9:24; Rom. 2:29). God warned that He would punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit (Jer. 9:25).

Friday, May 2, 2014

Tree Of Rest

The Week has come an gone,YEP it's Friday as we head into the weekend lets take a moment just to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly as we gear up to take flight for the weekend. There is a remnant according to the election of grace. —Romans 11:5 The lone tree in the field across from my office remained a mystery. Acres of trees had been cut down so the farmer could grow corn. But one tree remained standing, its branches reaching up and spreading out. The mystery was solved when I learned the tree was spared for a purpose. Farmers long ago traditionally left one tree standing so that they and their animals would have a cool place to rest when the hot summer sun was beating down. At times we find that we alone have survived something, and we don’t know why. Soldiers coming home from combat and patients who’ve survived a life-threatening illness struggle to know why they survived when others did not. The Old Testament speaks of a remnant of Israelites whom God spared when the nation was sent into exile. The remnant preserved God’s law and later rebuilt the temple (Ezra 9:9). The apostle Paul referred to himself as part of the remnant of God (Rom. 11:1,5). He was spared to become God’s messenger to Gentiles (v.13). If we stand where others have fallen, it’s to raise our hands to heaven in praise and to spread our arms as shade for the weary. The Lord enables us to be a tree of rest for others. —Julie Ackerman Link Thank You, Father, that You are my place of rest. And that all You have brought me through can be used by You to encourage others. Bring praise to Yourself through me. Hope can be ignited by a spark of encouragement. Bible in a year: 1 Kings 12-13; Luke 22:1-20 Insight In the midst of the joy of God’s grace in allowing a remnant to return to their homeland, Ezra mourned. He mourned because the people of Israel were not only physically distant from God, but spiritually distant as well. Yet God in His grace did more than enable the physical return of the remnant; He also preserved a spiritual remnant. Upon hearing the law of God, the people recommitted themselves to Him (Ezra 10:1-4).