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Friday, December 30, 2016

Time Alone With God

So here we are on the last 2 days of 2016 in the month of December it's FRIDAY! YES! before we enter into a whole New Year which will be 2017 but before we do let's take a moment to truly reflect on ALL the things that God brought us through in 2016 with these words of wisdom. Read: Matthew 14:13–23 Bible in a Year: Zechariah 13–14; Revelation 21 [Jesus] went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.—Matthew 14:23 It was a busy morning in the church room where I was helping. Nearly a dozen little children were chattering and playing. There was so much activity that the room became warm and I propped the door open. One little boy saw this as his chance to escape so when he thought no one was looking, he tiptoed out the door. Hot on his trail, I wasn’t surprised that he was headed straight for his daddy’s arms. The little boy did what we need to do when life becomes busy and overwhelming—he slipped away to be with his father. Jesus looked for opportunities to spend time with His heavenly Father in prayer. Some might say this was how He coped with the demands that depleted His human energy. According to the gospel of Matthew, Jesus was headed to a solitary place when a crowd of people followed Him. Noticing their needs, Jesus miraculously healed and fed them. After that, however, He “went up on a mountainside by himself to pray” (v. 23). Jesus repeatedly helped multitudes of people, yet He didn’t allow Himself to become haggard and hurried. He nurtured His connection with God through prayer. How is it with you? Will you take time alone with God to experience His strength and fulfillment? —Jennifer Benson Schuldt Where are you finding greater fulfillment—in meeting the demands of life or in cultivating your relationship with your Creator? When we draw near to God our minds are refreshed and our strength is renewed! INSIGHT: The theme of rest is at the heart of the Jewish faith. For example, one of the central practices of Judaism is Shabbat (Sabbath rest). In the first century, however, many Jewish leaders were requiring extra faith practices so burdensome that Jesus openly challenged them regarding the damage they were doing to the lives of the people (see Matt. 23:2-4). The weighty tasks of religious duty had robbed people of the relational rest God desired. That may be why Jesus spoke some of the most comforting words of His public ministry: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (11:28). Bill Crowder

Monday, December 26, 2016

On Time

So here we are starting the New Week after Celebrating Two Holidays which were Christmas and Hanukkah as we take a moment to reflect on what we have just celebrate which was the Joy of Jesus and The Festival of Lights now lets turn our attention to these words of wisdom. Read: Luke 2:25–38 Bible in a Year: Haggai 1–2; Revelation 17 When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son.—Galatians 4:4 Sometimes I joke that I’m going to write a book titled On Time. Those who know me smile because they know I am often late. I rationalize that my lateness is due to optimism, not to lack of trying. I optimistically cling to the faulty belief that “this time” I will be able to get more done in less time than ever before. But I can’t, and I don’t, so I end up having to apologize yet again for my failure to show up on time. In contrast, God is always on time. We may think He’s late, but He’s not. Throughout Scripture we read about people becoming impatient with God’s timing. The Israelites waited and waited for the promised Messiah. Some gave up hope. But Simeon and Anna did not. They were in the temple daily praying and waiting (Luke 2:25-26, 37). And their faith was rewarded. They got to see the infant Jesus when Mary and Joseph brought Him to be dedicated (vv. 27-32, 38). When we become discouraged because God doesn’t respond according to our timetable, Christmas reminds us that “when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son . . . that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Gal. 4:4-5). God’s timing is always perfect, and it is worth the wait. —Julie Ackerman Link Heavenly Father, I confess that I become impatient and discouraged, wanting answers to prayer in my own time and on my schedule. Help me to wait patiently for Your timing in all things. God’s timing is always right—wait patiently for Him. INSIGHT: The story of Simeon, Anna, and the baby Jesus at the temple is found only in Luke’s gospel. Some scholars believe that much of this unique material could have come from Luke’s personal interaction with Mary the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:1-2). Dennis Moles

Friday, December 23, 2016

What Can I Give Him?

It's the end of the week we have made it to FRIDAY! As we head into the Christmas celebration lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 103:1–18 Bible in a Year: Nahum 1–3; Revelation 14 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.—Psalm 103:2 One year, those responsible for decorating their church for Christmas decided to use the theme of “Christmas lists.” Instead of decorating with the usual shiny gold and silver ornaments, they gave each person a red or green tag. On one side they were to write down the gift they would like from Jesus, and on the other they were to list the gift they would give to the One whose birth they were celebrating. If you were to do this, what gift would you ask for and what would you offer? The Bible gives us lots of ideas. God promises to supply all our needs, so we might ask for a new job, help with financial problems, physical healing for ourselves or others, or a restored relationship. We might be wondering what our spiritual gift is that equips us for God’s service. Many of these are listed in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. Or we might long to show more of the fruit of the Holy Spirit: to be more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind and good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled (Gal. 5:22-23). The most important gift we can ever receive is God’s gift of His Son, our Savior, and with Him forgiveness, restoration, and the promise of spiritual life that begins now and lasts forever. And the most important gift we can ever give is to give Jesus our heart. —Marion Stroud You overwhelm me with Your gifts, Lord. In return, I want to give You the very best present that I can. Please show me what You want most from me. If I were a wise man, I would do my part. Yet what can I give Him—give Him my heart. Christina G. Rossetti INSIGHT: In Psalm 103, David praises God for His tender mercies and steadfast love (vv. 4, 8, 11, 17). David did not want to forget the many blessings God had given him (v. 2)—forgiveness and healing (v. 3), deliverance (v. 4), provision and renewal (v. 5), and protection (v. 6). This psalm reminds us of who God is (vv. 7-9, 13, 19), what He has done with our sins (vv. 10-12), and who we are (vv. 14-16). In response, we “praise the Lord” (vv. 20-22). Sim Kay Tee

Monday, December 19, 2016

Enemy Love

As we start this New Week let's take a moment to reflect on what the true meaning of Christmas means to ALL of as we prepare to spend quality time with Family and Friends here are some words of wisdom Read: Jonah 3:10–4:11 Bible in a Year: Jonah 1–4; Revelation 10 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?—Luke 6:32 When war broke out in 1950, fifteen-year-old Kim Chin-Kyung joined the South Korean army to defend his homeland. He soon found, however, that he wasn’t ready for the horrors of combat. As young friends died around him, he begged God for his life and promised that, if allowed to live, he would learn to love his enemies. Sixty-five years later, Dr. Kim reflected on that answered prayer. Through decades of caring for orphans and assisting in the education of North Korean and Chinese young people, he has won many friends among those he once regarded as enemies. Today he shuns political labels. Instead he calls himself a loveist as an expression of his faith in Jesus. The prophet Jonah left a different kind of legacy. Even a dramatic rescue from the belly of a big fish didn’t transform his heart. Although he eventually obeyed God, Jonah said he’d rather die than watch the Lord show mercy to his enemies (Jonah 4:1-2, 8). We can only guess as to whether Jonah ever learned to care for the people of Nineveh. Instead we are left to wonder about ourselves. Will we settle for his attitude toward those we fear and hate? Or will we ask God for the ability to love our enemies as He has shown mercy to us? —Mart DeHaan Father in heaven, like Your reluctant prophet, we are inclined to love only those who love us. Yet You loved us even when we cared only for ourselves. Please give us the grace to be more like Jesus than Jonah. Love conquers all.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Another Side of Comfort

The week has come to an end it's FRIDAY! Hope these words of wisdom helps you get through the rest of the day. Read: Jeremiah 7:1–11 Bible in a Year: Amos 4–6; Revelation 7 Hear the word of the Lord.—Jeremiah 7:2 The theme for our adult camp was “Comfort My People.” Speaker after speaker spoke words of assurance. But the last speaker drastically changed the tone. He chose Jeremiah 7:1-11 and the topic “Wake Up from Slumber.” Without mincing words and yet with love, he challenged us to wake up and turn away from our sins. “Don’t hide behind the grace of God and continue to live in secret sin,” he exhorted, like the prophet Jeremiah. “We boast, ‘I am a Christian; God loves me; I fear no evil,’ yet we do all kinds of evil.” We knew he cared about us, yet we shifted uncomfortably in our seats and listened to our own Jeremiah declare, “God is loving, but He is also a consuming fire! (see Heb. 12:29). He will never condone sin!” Jeremiah of old quizzed the people, “Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury . . . follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, ‘We are safe’—safe to do all these detestable things?” (7:9-10). This speaker’s brand of “Comfort My People” was another side of God’s comfort. Like a bitter herb that heals malaria, his words were spiritually curative. When we hear hard words, instead of walking away, may we respond to their healing effect. —Lawrence Darmani Heavenly Father, You love us too much to let us continue defying Your instructions. Your correction is never to harm us but only to heal us. You are the God of all comfort. God’s discipline is designed to make us like His Son. INSIGHT: The idea of loving correction is a consistent message of the Scriptures. God portrays Himself to us as a loving parent, a father who wants to protect and provide the very best for His children. This is seen in the way God dealt with Israel in the wilderness wanderings. This imagery is seen in the New Testament as well. In Hebrews 12:4-6, the Scriptures make it clear that divine discipline is not an expression of punishment or vengeance. It is the loving Father correcting our wrong behavior so that we can live wisely with and for Him. Bill Crowder

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Money

As we start out the New Week in this 3rd week of December let's take head to these words of wisdom Read: Matthew 6:24–34 Bible in a Year: Hosea 9–11; Revelation 3 You cannot serve both God and money.—Matthew 6:24 Early in my career while doing work that I saw as more of a mission than a job, another company offered me a position that would give a significant increase in pay. Our family could surely have benefited financially from such a move. There was one problem. I hadn’t been looking for another job because I loved my current role, which was growing into a calling. But the money . . . I called my father, then in his seventies, and explained the situation. Though his once-sharp mind had been slowed by strokes and the strain of years, his answer was crisp and clear: “Don’t even think about the money. What would you do?” In an instant, my mind was made up. The money would have been my only reason for leaving the job I loved! Thanks, Dad. Jesus devoted a substantial section of His Sermon on the Mount to money and our fondness for it. He taught us to pray not for an accumulation of riches but for “our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). He warned against storing up treasures on earth and pointed to the birds and flowers as evidence that God cares deeply about His creation (vv. 19-31). “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,” Jesus said, “and all these things will be given to you as well” (v. 33). Money matters. But money shouldn’t rule our decision-making process. Tough times and big decisions are opportunities to grow our faith in new ways. Our heavenly Father cares for us. —Tim Gustafson Never confuse temptation with opportunity. INSIGHT: One of the most remarkable aspects of today’s reading is the harmony our Lord maintains between a heavenly perspective and the practical issues of daily life. He uses examples in nature to show how our heavenly Father tenderly cares for animal and plant life. Since we are of far more value than they are, Christ counsels us to trust Him to care for us one day at a time (v. 34). Dennis Fisher

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Gift of Encouragement

It's the end of the week it's FRIDAY! here are some words of wisdom to help us reflect on the fullness of Gods goodness Read: Acts 4:32–37; 9:26–27 Bible in a Year: Daniel 11–12; Jude Joseph . . . whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.—Acts 4:36–37 An old Merle Haggard song, “If We Make It Through December,” tells the story of a man laid off from his factory job with no money to buy Christmas gifts for his little girl. Although December is supposed to be a happy time of year, his life seems dark and cold. Discouragement is not unique to December, but it can be amplified then. Our expectations may be higher, our sadness deeper. A little encouragement can go a long way. Joseph, a man from Cyprus, was among the early followers of Jesus. The apostles called him Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement.” We meet him in Acts 4:36-37 when he sold a piece of property and donated the money to help other believers in need. Later, we read that the disciples were afraid of Saul (Acts 9:26). “But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles” (v. 27). Saul, later called Paul, had formerly been trying to kill the believers, but Barnabas defended him as a man transformed by Christ. All around us are people longing to be encouraged. A timely word, a phone call, or a prayer can bolster their faith in Jesus. The generosity and support of Barnabas demonstrate what it means to be a son or daughter of encouragement. That may be the greatest gift we can give to others this Christmas. —David McCasland Thank You, Lord, for the gift of encouragement. May we encourage others as they have encouraged us. Encouragement may be the greatest gift we give this Christmas. INSIGHT: When Saul of Tarsus met the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, he was transformed into an apostle of Christ. Needless to say, the Christian community was fearful and skeptical about Paul’s apparent change of spiritual loyalties. It is in this context that Barnabas provided a wonderful service of bridge-building. Barnabas was central to Paul’s acceptance by supporting Paul’s conversion story and accepting him as a brother in Christ. Here we see Barnabas showing a spirit of generosity and encouragement. How can you plan to be a blessing to others through an intentional act of encouragement? Dennis Fisher

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Lights

So here we are in the 12 month of the New Year starting the New Week off with these words of wisdom Read: John 8:12–20 Bible in a Year: Daniel 1–2; 1 John 4 I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.—John 8:12 Each year for several weeks around Christmas, Singapore’s tourist belt, Orchard Road, is transformed into a wonderland of lights and colors. This light-up is designed to attract tourists to spend their money at the many stores along the street during this “golden month of business.” Shoppers come to enjoy the festivities, listen to choirs sing familiar Christmas carols, and watch performers entertain. The first Christmas “light-up” ever was not created by electrical cables, glitter, and neon lights but by “the glory of the Lord [that] shone around” (Luke 2:9). No tourists saw it, just a few simple shepherds out in their field. And it was followed by an unexpected rendition of “Glory to God in the Highest” by an angelic choir (v. 14). The shepherds went to Bethlehem to see if what the angels said was true (v. 15). After they had confirmed it, they could not keep to themselves what they had heard and seen. “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child” (v. 17). Many of us have heard the Christmas story often. This Christmas, why not share the good news with others that Christ—“the light of the world”—has come (John 8:12). —C. P. Hia Lord, help me this Christmas to reflect the light of Your presence and goodness to others. Read more of the Christmas story in God of the Stable at discoveryseries.org/hp145. The gift of God’s love in us can bring light to any darkness. INSIGHT: The gospel records fall into two categories: the Synoptic gospels and the gospel of John. The “Synoptics” (which means “with a common view”) are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Although they offer varying details to help them tell the story of Jesus in a unique way, they still have a common perspective because they often tell the same stories. John’s gospel is very distinct from the synoptics, with 92 percent unique material. One distinctive of John’s gospel is the emphasis on the themes of light and truth. John expresses the reality that Jesus is the embodiment of truth and light. Bill Crowder

Friday, December 2, 2016

Make IBDvisible for Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week

Here is our CCFA Last Newsletter for December 2016 issue as we are Celebrating Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week. Letter from our President & CEO It's difficult to adequately describe how debilitating Crohn's and colitis can be. The symptoms and complications that patients experience are, for the most part, invisible to the average eye. On their exterior, patients often don't look sick, even though on the inside they're suffering. That's why people refer to Crohn's and colitis as invisible illnesses. Today marks the start of the fifth Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week. Over the next seven days, we will be sharing resources, stories, images and more to help make IBDvisible. Each day will focus on a specific topic—such as pain, fatigue, complications and mental health—in an effort to make visible the reality of living with IBD. There are a variety of ways that you can get involved to help make IBDvisible. Visit our website to see all of the different options, and read about a few of the opportunities below. Sincerely, Michael Osso President & CEO Larry Nance, Jr.'s Story It's hard to imagine there was ever a time when Los Angeles Lakers power forward Larry Nance, Jr. didn't play sports. However, in the years before he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, Nance suffered from debilitating fatigue, which prevented him from doing anything—including practicing or playing sports. Read Nance's inspiring story about how he coped with the fatigue, and how he has blossomed as an NBA rookie in spite of this debilitating symptom. READ MORE ► Make the Call Today! We are dedicating TODAY, the first day of Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week, to IBD advocacy. You can be an advocate by participating in our National Call-In Day. Take a few minutes to call your legislators, share your IBD story with them, and encourage them to join the Congressional Crohn's & Colitis Caucus. LEARN MORE ► Let's Chat about IBD We're hosting several social media chats during Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week about different IBD topics — we hope you can join us for one! Twitter chat with Mike McCready, Pearl Jam's lead guitarist and Crohn's patient, TODAY from 5-6 p.m. EST. Tweet your questions using #IBDvisible. Facebook Live video chat about IBD and advocacy TONIGHT (December 1) from 8-9 p.m. EST Twitter Chat about mental health and IBD on December 5 from 8-9 p.m. EST. Tweet your questions using #IBDvisible. Twitter chat with Olympic gold medalist Kathleen Baker on December 7 from 2-3 p.m. EST. Tweet your questions using #IBDvisible. JOIN THE CHAT ► Join the Holiday Gift Match Your tax-deductible donation will be matched, up to $500K—and have 2X the impact on fighting IBD. Want a Quick, Easy Way to be #IBDvisible? Add our Twibbon to your social media profile picture in honor of Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week! All it takes is a few minutes, and a couple of clicks, to support our campaign. LEARN MORE ► Join Our Thunderclap Another easy way to spread the #IBDvisible message this week is through Thunderclap. Simply "donate" a Facebook message, tweet, or Tumblr post—and on December 7, all of the messages will be sent out at the same time, creating a social media "flash mob." Sign up here! LEARN MORE ► Share Your Story We want to hear about your relationship with IBD and how you're being #IBDvisible during Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week. Tell us your story—and you might see it featured on our website in the future! LEARN MORE ► Walk to Win! Take Steps is giving away an Apple Watch or Samsung smartwatch to one lucky Take Steps participant. Register for your local walk and donate $50 by the end of Awareness Week to be entered to win. Get all the details at www.cctakesteps.org/smartwatch. LEARN MORE ► Have You Seen Our Updated Advocacy Site? Check out our updates to CCFA's advocacy website, including new action alerts for 2017 and more information to help you communicate with your legislators. LEARN MORE ► December Webinar On Wednesday, December 14 at 8 p.m. EST, we'll discuss the latest advancements in IBD with gastroenterologists Dr. Eugene Yen from NorthShore University Health System and Dr. Robert McCabe from the University of Minnesota. Sign up today! SIGN UP TODAY ► CCFA provides a comprehensive database of studies, clinical trials, and other research opportunities on Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Here are a few of the recently added studies: A Phase 3 Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Vedolizumab Subcutaneous as Maintenance Therapy in Patients With Moderately to Severely Active Crohn's Disease Who Achieved Clinical Response Following Open-Label Vedolizumab Intravenous Therapy An Open-Label, Multicenter, Postmarketing, Milk-Only Lactation Study to Assess Concentration of Vedolizumab in Breast Milk of Lactating Women With Active Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease Who Are Receiving Vedolizumab Therapeutically 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. 7​33 Th​ird Av​en​ue, Sui​te 51​0, Ne​w Y​ork,​ N​Y 10​01​7 www.ccfa.org | 8​00-​93​2-​2​423

Quiet Conversations

So here we are in the 12 month of the New BOY! How time has flown we are ALL getting ready to head into a whole New Year but before we do let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom in this 12 month of the New Year which is December Read: Psalm 116:5–9 Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 42–44; 1 John 1 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.—Psalm 103:2 Do you ever talk to yourself? Sometimes when I’m working on a project—usually under the hood of a car—I find it helpful to think aloud, working through my options on the best way to make the repair. If someone catches me in my “conversation” it can be a little embarrassing—even though talking to ourselves is something most of us do every day. The psalmists often talked to themselves in the Psalms. The author of Psalm 116 is no exception. In verse 7 he writes, “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Reminding himself of God’s kindness and faithfulness in the past is a practical comfort and help to him in the present. We see “conversations” like this frequently in the Psalms. In Psalm 103:1 David tells himself, “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” And in Psalm 62:5 he affirms, “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” It’s good to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness and the hope we have in Him. We can follow the example of the psalmist and spend some time naming the many ways God has been good to us. As we do, we’ll be encouraged. The same God who has been faithful in the past will continue His love for us in the future. —James Banks Dear Lord, please help me to stay in touch with Your heart today by reminding myself of Your faithfulness and love. Reminding ourselves about God’s goodness can keep us filled with His peace. INSIGHT: From this marvelous passage of Scripture, we can see the truth that bringing the God of the Bible into our daily experience alters our perspective. His grace and truth is available in our ever-changing circumstances. Even in our most difficult life circumstances, He is present and available to deliver us. Although our heart may endure trauma, it can still find a place to rest through looking at the past faithfulness of God. Fear of death, emotional anguish, and the struggle for daily direction all find their remedy in the faithful care of the living God who made us. Life for God’s children should be spelled with a capital L since He energizes, directs, and protects us. Dennis Fisher

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

NBA Power Forward Larry Nance, Jr.'s Story

Here is NBA Los Angeles Lakers Power Forward Larry Nance Jr. story of dealing with IBD in the NBA. Larry Nance, Jr. is a force on the basketball court – as a power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, he had an impressive rookie year in 2015, playing in 63 games and averaging 5.5 points per game. Now, following a wrist injury, Nance is ready and raring to go for the 2016 NBA season. Standing at 6 feet 9 inches tall and 230 pounds, it’s hard to imagine Nance as anything but the impressive athlete that he is today. But there was a point, not too many years ago, when Nance could barely get out of bed, let alone play basketball. Nance was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was 16 years old. However, for several years before he received an official diagnosis, he suffered from symptoms of the disease – painful cramping, weight loss, fatigue, and stunted growth - with fatigue being the most debilitating. The extreme tiredness, a common symptom experienced by patients living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, impacted his life majorly. “I didn’t deal with [the fatigue] well. I laid around the house all day, I had no energy [to do anything],” he said. “I slept in class and I wasn’t that kind of kid… I didn’t have the energy to practice or play [any sports].” After several years exhibiting symptoms, his parents realized that something was seriously wrong and took him to see the doctor. After performing a few diagnostic tests, Nance was diagnosed with Crohn’s. Based on his doctor's recommendation, Nance began a treatment regimen of infliximab (Remicade) and methotrexate, both of which he is still on today. He said the difference in how he was feeling was night and day after beginning the medications. “Once we got [my disease] under control, I blossomed and started on the path that I’m on now [as a pro-athlete],” he said. Nance grew nine inches from the time of diagnosis to today, and has gained nearly 100 pounds. But most importantly, his fatigue became almost non-existent. “I’ll experience it very randomly but as long as I stay on track with my medications, it’s managed,” he said. And when the fatigue does reappear, he tries to log as many naps as possible. “Any time I can pick up a little sleep, I try,” he said. “If I don’t get it, my symptoms start to show up again.” Now, instead of being consumed by fatigue, Nance is focused on the start of his second year in the NBA and helping other IBD patients. He often interacts with pediatric patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center when he receives his infliximab infusions. His advice to others experiencing debilitating fatigue and other crippling IBD symptoms? “Find what works for you and stick by it,” Nance said. “[IBD] is very personal. You need to make your illness work around you. You still control yourself, don’t let Crohn’s define you.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

Beautiful

As we are wrapping up this Thanksgiving weekend lets take a moment to be Grateful but to also reflect on ALL that GOD has done in our lives, as we start this New Week out before we head into the 12 month of the New Year lets take a moment to think on these words of wisdom.Read: Luke 7:36–50 Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 33–34; 1 Peter 5 She has done a beautiful thing to me.—Mark 14:6 Picture two teenage girls. The first girl is strong and healthy. The other girl has never known the freedom of getting around on her own. From her wheelchair she faces not only the emotional challenges common to life, but also a stream of physical pains and struggles. But both girls are smiling cheerfully as they enjoy each other’s company. Two beautiful teenagers—each seeing in the other the treasure of friendship. Jesus devoted much of His time and attention to people like the girl in the wheelchair. People with lifelong disabilities or physical deformities as well as those who were looked down on by others for various reasons. In fact, Jesus let one of “those people” anoint Him with oil, to the disdain of the religious leaders (Luke 7:39). On another occasion, when a woman demonstrated her love with a similar act, Jesus told her critics, “Leave her alone . . . . She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:6). God values everyone equally; there are no distinctions in His eyes. In reality, we are all in desperate need of Christ’s love and forgiveness. His love compelled Him to die on the cross for us. May we see each person as Jesus did: made in God’s image and worthy of His love. Let’s treat everyone we meet with Christlike equality and learn to see beauty as He does. —Dave Branon Dear Lord, help me to see people as You see them—not important because of what they can do or how they look, but because they are made in God’s image and You loved them enough to die for them. Everyone we meet bears the image of God.

Monday, November 21, 2016

What About You?

As we begin this Thanksgiving Week lets take moment to be Thankful for ALL that God has done and is doing this Thanksgiving week as we prepare to spend time with our Families take the time to Stop a reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Ephesians 4:25–32 Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 16–17; James 3 The tongue has the power of life and death.—Proverbs 18:21 Emily listened as a group of friends talked about their Thanksgiving traditions with family. “We go around the room and each one tells what he or she is thankful to God for,” Gary said. Another friend mentioned his family's Thanksgiving meal and prayertime. He recalled time with his dad before he had died: “Even though Dad had dementia, his prayer of thanks to the Lord was clear.” Randy shared, “My family has a special time of singing together on the holiday. My grandma goes on and on and on!” Emily’s sadness and jealousy grew as she thought of her own family, and she complained: “Our traditions are to eat turkey, watch television, and never mention anything about God or giving thanks.” Right away Emily felt uneasy with her attitude. You are part of that family. What would you like to do differently to change the day? she asked herself. She decided she wanted to privately tell each person she was thankful to the Lord that they were her sister, niece, brother, or great-niece. When the day arrived, she expressed her thankfulness for them one by one, and they all felt loved. It wasn’t easy because it wasn’t normal conversation in her family, but she experienced joy as she shared her love for each of them. “Let everything you say be good and helpful,” wrote the apostle Paul, “so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Eph. 4:29 nlt). Our words of thanks can remind others of their value to us and to God. —Anne Cetas Dear Lord, show me how I can be an encouragement to others with my words. The human spirit fills with hope at the sound of an encouraging word. INSIGHT: At first glance, today’s Scripture can look like a list of rules. Stop telling lies, quit stealing, don’t use abusive language, stop being bitter or angry. But it’s important to remember that these instructions aren’t just about changing behavior. They are about a change in identity. This list flows out of Paul’s earlier exhortation for the Christians in Ephesus to live according to their new identity as children of light (4:17-21). They used to participate in all kinds of sinful behavior. But when the Spirit opened their minds and softened their hearts (v. 18) to the truth of Christ, they were no longer dead but became alive in Christ. The Spirit renews our thoughts and attitudes, making an inward change that has outward effects. Dennis Moles

Friday, November 18, 2016

Love Without Borders

The week has come to an end it's FRIDAY! lets take a moment to be Grateful that we have made it to the end of the week with these words of wisdom Read: Luke 22:39–46 Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 8–10; Hebrews 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.—John 15:13 During the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900, missionaries trapped in a home in T’ai Yüan Fu decided their only hope for survival rested on running through the crowd that was calling for their deaths. Aided by weapons they held, they escaped the immediate threat. However, Edith Coombs, noticing that two of her injured Chinese students had not escaped, raced back into danger. She rescued one, but stumbled on her return trip for the second student and was killed. Meanwhile, missionaries in Hsin Chou district had escaped and were hiding in the countryside, accompanied by their Chinese friend Ho Tsuen Kwei. But he was captured while scouting an escape route for his friends in hiding and was martyred for refusing to reveal their location. In the lives of Edith Coombs and Tsuen Kwei we see a love that rises above cultural or national character. Their sacrifice reminds us of the greater grace and love of our Savior. As Jesus awaited His arrest and subsequent execution, He prayed earnestly, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” But He concluded that request with this resolute example of courage, love, and sacrifice: “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). His death and resurrection made our eternal lives possible. —Randy Kilgore Lord, may the world see our love for each other—and the deeds that come from it—as a great testimony to the bond of unity we have in You. May they want to know You too. Only the light of Christ’s love can eliminate the darkness of hatred. INSIGHT: The Bible speaks of God’s love for us in terms of a generous sacrifice. The apostle John writes of a God who “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). To prove that God truly loves us, John directs us to Jesus’s sacrificial death: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). Alluding to His own sacrificial love just hours before He went to the cross, Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Sim Kay Tee

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What Are You Thankful For?

Here is the November issue of CCFA'S Newsletter Letter from our President & CEO What are you thankful for this year? At the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, we're thankful for supporters and friends like you! You're helping us bring scientists and patients together to better understand IBD, provide much-needed support to people nationwide, improve the quality of care patients receive, and much more. Thank you for making this work possible. It means the world to people affected by IBD—including Amanda, who is running in our Thanksgiving Turkey Trot on her husband's behalf. Please take a minute to read their touching story below. Wishing you and your loved ones a healthy, happy Thanksgiving. Michael Osso President & CEO Join Amanda—and Trot for Crohn's & Colitis CURES! Team Challenge is getting ready for Thanksgiving with our third annual Turkey Trot! On Thanksgiving Day, run or walk with us anywhere in the country. We promise it will be a great way to start—or finish—your Turkey Day! Amanda (pictured on right) is thankful that her husband Ben has been healthy enough for them to start a family. Ben was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis 11 years ago. Since then, he has failed on every available medication and had many surgeries. Amanda will be doing the Turkey Trot again this year because she's "thankful for all of the support and knowledge CCFA has given [her] family, as well as the HOPE they have given [them] for a future free from IBD." Register now for only $35, and receive an awesome die-cast medal and your own bib to personalize. Hurry though, medals are limited and will sell out! REGISTER NOW ► Last Chance to Join Us in New Orleans! Beignets, music, an amazing race course, and a pasta party among the Mardi Gras floats—this is one Team Challenge event you do NOT want to miss! Training starts now, and you can walk or run the 10k, Half Marathon, or Marathon distance on the February 5th event. Team Challenge is a great way to train for your first, or next, race—but it's about so much more than the miles. We are a family that offers moral and practical support, compassion, and love. It's a transformative experience that, from start to finish, truly changes lives and helps us get one step closer to finding cures. Click here to have one of our local managers contact you to answer your questions, and help you take the first step. LEARN MORE ► Show Your Thanks for CCFA Scientists Support groundbreaking research like our IBD Qorus™ and IBD Plexus® initiatives. Take Steps and WIN! Register for a Take Steps walk in your local community and fundraise or donate $50 by December 7 to win your choice of an Apple Series 2 smartwatch or a Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch. Join us at one of our more than 60 walks in the spring and experience a sense of community and belonging that only happens when a united group comes together to celebrate our success. Get all the contest details at http://www.cctakesteps.org/smartwatch. Thank you to our Take Steps 2016 national platinum sponsor: AbbVie. REGISTER NOW ► Tips for Holiday Eating The holidays can be difficult for IBD patients when it comes to diet—but don't let this get in the way of your fun! You can always bring a dish to the event that may be IBD-friendly, or eat before you go. Check out other helpful holiday tips, review our Diet, Nutrition, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease brochure, or contact our IBD Help Center at info@ccfa.org or 888-694-8872. READ MORE ► IBD and Diet: Facebook Chat Join CCFA and Mayo Clinic’s Karen A. Hanson APRN, C.N.P. for a Facebook chat about what you can do to manage, maintain, and enhance your diet and nutrition on Wednesday, November 16 from 8-9 p.m. EST. This chat will take place as a text-based chat on CCFA's Facebook page. Submit your questions to socialmedia@ccfa.org, and Karen will respond to as many as she can during the hour! LEARN MORE ► Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week Is Almost Here! Join us December 1-7 in educating the public about Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and raising critical awareness on behalf of the 1.6 million Americans living with these debilitating digestive diseases. Add our Twibbon to your social media profile picture, donate a social media post to our Thunderclap, or share your story on our website. Stay tuned for more information about Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week! JOIN US ► Take Our Step Therapy Survey IBD patients may be subjected to step therapy, which is when an insurer requires patients to fail first on a preferred medication before covering the medication that the physician initially prescribed. To address this issue, CCFA is gearing up in 2017 to develop a step therapy education program. Please take a moment to complete this step therapy survey—and tell us how step therapy practices impact you. TAKE THE SURVEY ► CCFA provides a comprehensive database of studies, clinical trials, and other research opportunities on Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Here are a few of the recently added studies: Ethical Issues in Prescription Drug Access under the Restricted Distribution Program for Tysabri is recruiting Crohn's disease patients who have been prescribed Tysabri within the past year. GEM Project: A Multidisciplinary Human Study on the Genetic, Environmental, and Microbial Interactions that Cause Inflammatory Bowel Disease is looking for Crohn's disease patients who have at least one healthy first degree relative. A Phase 3b Open-label Study to Determine the Long-Term Safety and Efficacy of Vedolizumab Subcutaneous in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. A Phase 3 Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study, With a Vedolizumab IV Reference Arm, to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Vedolizumab Subcutaneous as Maintenance Therapy in patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis. 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. 7​33 Th​ird Av​en​ue, Sui​te 51​0, Ne​w Y​ork,​ N​Y 10​01​7 www.ccfa.org | 8​00-​93​2-​2​423 Talk with an I​BD Info​rmation Specialist at 88​8.M​y.Gu​t.P​ain | 8​88-​69​4-8​87​2

Monday, November 14, 2016

All Together Now

The New Week has begun with these words of wisdom Read: Romans 15:1–7 Bible in a Year: Lamentations 3–5; Hebrews 10:19–39 With one mind and one voice . . . glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.—Romans 15:6 While Nicholas Taylor was boarding a train in Perth, Australia, his leg became wedged in the gap between the platform and a commuter car. When safety officials could not free him, they coordinated the efforts of nearly 50 passengers who lined up and, on the count of three, pushed against the train. Working in unison, they shifted the weight just enough to free Taylor’s leg. The apostle Paul recognized the power of Christians working together in many of his letters to the early churches. He urged the Roman believers to accept each other the way Christ had accepted them and said, “[May God] give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 15:5-6). Unity with other believers enables us to broadcast God’s greatness and also helps us to endure persecution. Knowing that the Philippians would pay a price for their faith, Paul encouraged them to strive “together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you” (Phil. 1:27-28). Satan loves to divide and conquer, but his efforts fail when, with God’s help, we “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt Dear God, please let Christians everywhere experience the blessing of unity in You. Remind us of what we have in common: one hope, one faith, and one Lord—Jesus Christ. Our unity comes from our union with Christ. INSIGHT: The Roman believers were in need of building on the sense of unity they enjoyed. Our reading for today concludes on an essential ingredient in interpersonal relationships, that of acceptance. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Certainly a subtle sensing of rejection will inhibit all healthy relationships. We are to accept others as Christ has accepted us Dennis Fisher

Friday, November 11, 2016

Seeing Well

Made it to the end of the week it's FRIDAY! with these words of wisdom on this Veterans Day Thanks to ALL the Brave Men & Women who serve the United States of America. Read: John 15:12–17 Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 50; Hebrews 8 You are my friends if you do what I command.—John 15:14 Raleigh looks like a powerful dog—he is large and muscular and has a thick coat of fur. And he weighs over 100 pounds! Despite his appearance, Raleigh connects well with people. His owner takes him to nursing homes and hospitals to bring people a smile. Once, a four-year-old girl spotted Raleigh across a room. She wanted to pet him, but was afraid to get close. Eventually, her curiosity overcame her sense of caution and she spent several minutes talking to him and petting him. She discovered that he is a gentle creature, even though he is powerful. The combination of these qualities reminds me of what we read about Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus was approachable—He welcomed little children (Matt. 19:13-15). He was kind to an adulterous woman in a desperate situation (John 8:1-11). Compassion motivated Him to teach crowds (Mark 6:34). At the same time, Jesus’s power was astounding. Heads turned and jaws dropped as He subdued demons, calmed violent storms, and resurrected dead people! (Mark 1:21-34; 4:35-41; John 11). The way we see Jesus determines how we relate to Him. If we focus only on His power, we may treat Him with the detached worship we’d give a comic book superhero. Yet, if we overemphasize His kindness, we risk treating Him too casually. The truth is that Jesus is both at once—great enough to deserve our obedience yet humble enough to call us friends. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt Jesus, thank You for the privilege of knowing You. I acknowledge Your gentle power. I worship You as the Son of God—full of grace and glory. What we think of Jesus shows in how we relate with Him. INSIGHT: Jesus spoke of “a new commandment” to love one another (John 13:34). The command to love is not entirely new (1 John 2:7), for God commanded every Jew to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:43; 22:39). What is new is that Jesus raised the bar to the highest standard of loving: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). He used the words servants and friends to contrast the new level of love and intimacy we now have with Him. The one who loved you as He loved Himself is a true friend, one who will humbly and lovingly serve you (13:1-17), and one who sacrificially loved you, even laying down His life for you (15:13). Sim Kay Tee

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Difficult Hill

The weekend has come to an end and we are gearing up to start a New Week with these words of wisdom to help us get through the start of this Week. Read: Psalm 110 Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 40–42; Hebrews 4 He will drink from a brook along the way, and so he will lift his head high.—Psalm 110:7 High in a fold of Jughandle Peak in the mountains north of our home in Idaho lies a glacial lake. The route to the lake goes up a steep, exposed ridge through boulders and loose stones. It’s a strenuous ascent. At the beginning of the climb, however, there is a brook—a spring that seeps out of soft, mossy earth and flows through a lush meadow. It’s a quiet place to drink deeply and prepare for the hard climb ahead. In John Bunyan’s classic allegory of the Christian life, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian arrives at the foot of a steep ascent called the Hill Difficulty, “at the bottom of which was a spring . . . Christian now went to the spring and drank to refresh himself, and then began to go up the hill.” Perhaps the difficult mountain you face is a rebellious child or a serious medical diagnosis. The challenge seems more than you can endure. Before you face your next major task, visit the spring of refreshment that is God Himself. Come to Him with all your weakness, weariness, helplessness, fear, and doubt. Then drink deeply of His power, strength, and wisdom. God knows all your circumstances and will supply a store of comfort, of spiritual strengthening and consolation. He will lift up your head and give you strength to go on. —David Roper Father, at this moment I turn to You for strength in my weakness, energy for my weariness, and faith in my doubt. To help strengthen your trust in God, read Hope: Choosing Faith Instead of Fear at discoveryseries.org/q0733 He who overrules all things . . . enabled Christian to . . . continue on his way. John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress INSIGHT: Psalm 110 is one of many Messianic psalms. These prophetic Hebrew hymns are called Messianic because they predict the coming of God’s anointed king or Christ (Messiah means Christ) which is Jesus. This particular psalm reaches both back and forward in the biblical text to teach us something about who Jesus is and the role He plays in bridging the gap between God and humanity. Dennis Moles

Friday, November 4, 2016

Strong Conqueror

We have come to the end of the week in the 11th month of the New Year it's already November BOY! Time is moving here are some words of wisdom as we have enter into the month of November Read: John 18:10–14, 36–37 Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 32–33; Hebrews 1 My kingdom is from another place.—John 18:36 Most of us hope for good government. We vote, we serve, and we speak out for causes we believe are fair and just. But political solutions remain powerless to change the condition of our hearts. Many of Jesus’s followers anticipated a Messiah who would bring a vigorous political response to Rome and its heavy-handed oppression. Peter was no exception. When Roman soldiers came to arrest Christ, Peter drew his sword and took a swing at the head of the high priest’s servant, lopping off his ear in the process. Jesus halted Peter’s one-man war, saying, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:11). Hours later, Jesus would tell Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders” (v. 36). The Lord’s restraint in that moment, as His life hung in the balance, astonishes us when we ponder the scope of His mission. On a future day, He will lead the armies of heaven into battle. John wrote, “With justice he judges and wages war” (Rev. 19:11). But as He endured the ordeal of His arrest, trial, and crucifixion, Jesus kept His Father’s will in view. By embracing death on the cross, He set in motion a chain of events that truly transforms hearts. And in the process, our Strong Conqueror defeated death itself. —Tim Gustafson Father, how prone I am to reacting quickly rather than wisely. Show me Your will for my life so that I will purposefully choose the path You have for me. Real restraint is not weakness, for it arises out of genuine strength. INSIGHT: At Gethsemane Jesus restrained and conquered (or overcame) His own natural inclinations that wished He would not have to undergo the excruciating agony of crucifixion (Luke 22:42). Restraint is not always a high priority in our lives, but we all need help to overcome our natural inclinations. One aspect of the Spirit’s control over us, according to Galatians 5:23, is self-control. Peter tended to be an “open-mouth-insert-foot” kind of guy (Matt. 16:22; 17:4-5). And on impulse he cut off an opponent’s ear (John 18:10). Even as a stallion must be harnessed to do its master’s bidding, so Peter had a lesson to teach us about the value of restraint. Jim Townsend

Monday, October 31, 2016

It Never Runs Out

Starting this last day of October before we enter into the 11th month of the New Year with these words Read: 1 Peter 1:3-9 Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 22-23; Titus 1 He has given us new birth into . . . an inheritance that can never perish.—1 Peter 1:3–4 When I asked a friend who is about to retire what she feared about her next stage of life, she said, “I want to make sure I don’t run out of money.” The next day as I was talking to my financial counselor he gave me advice on how I might avoid running out of money. Indeed, we all want the security of knowing we’ll have the resources we need for the rest of our lives. No financial plan can provide an absolute guarantee of earthly security. But there is a plan that extends far beyond this life and indefinitely into the future. The apostle Peter describes it like this: “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:3-4). When we place our faith in Jesus to forgive our sins we receive an eternal inheritance through God’s power. Because of this inheritance, we’ll live forever and never run short of what we need. Planning for retirement is a good idea if we’re able to do so. But more important is having an eternal inheritance that never runs out—and that is available only through faith in Jesus Christ. —Dave Branon Dear God, I want that assurance of an eternal inheritance—the certainty of everlasting life with You. I put my faith in Jesus to forgive my sins and make me His child. Thank You for saving me and reserving a place for me in Your eternal kingdom. The promise of heaven is our eternal hope. INSIGHT: Revelation 21:15-21 describes heaven by referring to twelve sparkling, colorful gems and “gold as pure as transparent glass” (v. 21). Those who belong to Christ are heirs of heaven—it is called our “inheritance” (1 Peter 1:4). And we “are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (v. 5). Peter says that this reality fills the believer with “inexpressible and glorious joy” (v. 8). The Bible assures us that even though we “may have . . . to suffer grief in all kinds of trials,” we can be assured that even the worst imaginable pain or problem is only “for a little while” (v. 6). Jim Townsend

Friday, October 28, 2016

Gutless & Glamorous: Gaylyn's Story

Gaylyn shares her beautiful story about being Gutless & Glamorous. For more than half of my life I’ve lived with a chronic illness that has affected, changed, and altered the course of my life. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was 14 years old. At a time when your body is changing, life is new and exciting; my body started to turn on me and changed my life forever. I quickly learned I had no control of the changes that were happening to my body but what I have learned is that I do have control of how I respond to these changes. I have learned and continue to learn that I must remain true to myself to get through my often very difficult life with Crohn’s disease. The summer before I began high school, I started experiencing symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and severe weight loss. I knew in the back of my mind that something was terribly wrong. I knew that my pain was increasing and so severe that I needed something or someone to help get my life back. After a routine diagnostic group of tests, I was diagnosed with a severe case of Crohn’s disease. Little did I know at that time my life as I knew it was over. After I was diagnosed, I tried my best to maintain a so-called “normal” life and cope with my diagnosis. I was immediately started on an extremely high dose of steroids and stayed on it for years. I started a chemotherapeutic agent and immunosuppressant. I became increasingly immunudeficient from all the medications I was on; I developed the shingles virus twice; and I lost all of my hair. I stayed on these medicines for years in hopes that they would miraculously begin to start working and all my pain would disappear. Each time I tried a different promising drug it was in hope that my misery would subside. And after each drug failed me, my optimism began to fade. After exhausting all options, I had to have surgery. I went into my first surgery in 2005 with such high expectations; I was admitted to the hospital in hopes that this surgery would relieve me of my pain and all would be well. That was all but the case - after my first surgery, all hell broke loose and I became the sickest I had ever been. I began stints of constant hospital stays and procedures. I suffered immensely with new symptoms. I was constantly loosing blood, was deathly tired, and could barely get out the bed. Shortly after that I had another surgery in 2008. I am not certain if I ever experienced a period of remission, severe Crohn’s had become my norm. For over a decade, I adapted my life to live while being in excruciating pain some days and in pain most. I became oblivious to the fact my quality of life was gone. My last surgery was in 2011 during which I had a total proctocolectomy (removal of the colon and rectum), leaving me with a permanent ileostomy. I tried to hold on as long as I could to my colon. I was striving to be “normal” by clinging to the very thing that was slowly killing me. I strived to remain normal due to the stigmas associated with having an ostomy. But it came a time that I had no choice. Having my colon removed was the best thing that has happened to me. And now there is absolutely no way I would want to go back other than to do it sooner. My quality of life improved, hope resurfaced, and something that I least expected to emerge from this surgery grew stronger, self-love. I’ve gone through many different physical changes due to having Crohn’s disease from the medicines I’ve been on, the surgeries I’ve had, and at times due to the cause and effect of living with the disease. Because of those physical changes, I’ve gone through many emotional changes as well. The stigma that comes along with having Crohn’s disease plus having an ostomy can have a drastic impact on self-esteem and self-worth. Through it all I have learned to remain constant in my beliefs and that is to not let the beliefs of others control how I view myself. I’ve learned the importance of loving myself and staying true to myself and knowing I am capable of overcoming anything. I’ve learned that one of life’s most rewarding challenges is to accept yourself for who you are and all that you are completely and consistently. I am so in love with my new body; my new body saved my life in more ways than one. I started Gutless and Glamorous as a way to empower and uplift those living with chronic illness and to raise awareness and erase the misconceptions of living with an ostomy. I don’t want others to suffer because of the fear of being stigmatized; it is my goal to help erase the stigma forever. My body tried to kill me. Yet I survived. But it left behind a constant reminder that I must look at daily. I know what it’s like to see your reflection in the mirror and feel unattractive. I used to be disgusted at the very thing that restored my health. But then I realized, that anything that has the power to save a life can be nothing but beautiful.

Learning to Count

The week has come to an end we have made it to the end of the week it's FRIDAY! and with only a couple of more days left in the month of October before we head into the 11th month of the New Year which will be November BOY! Time is moving but lets take monet to reflect on these words. Read: Psalm 139:14-18 Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 15-17; 2 Timothy 2 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!—Psalm 139:17 My son is learning to count from one to ten. He counts everything from toys to trees. He counts things I tend to overlook, like the wildflowers on his way to school or the toes on my feet. My son is also teaching me to count again. Often I become so immersed in things I haven’t finished or things I don’t have that I fail to see all the good things around me. I have forgotten to count the new friends made this year and the answered prayers received, the tears of joy shed and the times of laughter with good friends. My ten fingers are not enough to count all that God gives me day by day. “Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare” (Ps. 40:5). How can we even begin to count all the blessings of salvation, reconciliation, and eternal life? Let us join David as he praises God for all His precious thoughts about us and all He has done for us, when he says, “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand” (139:17-18). Let’s learn to count again! —Keila Ochoa Lord, Your works are so many and good I can’t count them all. But I thank You for each one. Let’s thank God for His countless blessings. INSIGHT: Psalm 139:15 is one of the most well-known and beloved verses in all of Scripture. Because it is difficult to translate, it might have a broader and fuller meaning than the English represents. The Hebrew could also be rendered, “My bones were not crushed because of You, when I was secretly made.” Not only does this verse tell us that God knew us before we were born, but it also tells us that He was actively protecting and sustaining us as we were being formed in the secret place of our mother’s womb. Dennis Moles

Monday, October 24, 2016

Choosing to Change

So we start the new week off in this last week of October with these words of wisdom Read: Ezekiel 18:25-32 Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 3-5; 1 Timothy 4 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.—Ezekiel 18:31 When my son acquired a small robot, he had fun programming it to perform simple tasks. He could make it move forward, stop, and then retrace its steps. He could even get it to beep and replay recorded noises. The robot did exactly what my son told it to do. It never laughed spontaneously or veered off in an unplanned direction. It had no choice. When God created humans, He didn’t make robots. God made us in His image, and this means we can think, reason, and make decisions. We’re able to choose between right and wrong. Even if we have made a habit of disobeying God, we can decide to redirect our lives. When the ancient Israelites found themselves in trouble with God, He spoke to them through the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel said, “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. . . . Get a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezek. 18:30-31). This kind of change can begin with just one choice, empowered by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:13). It might mean saying no at a critical moment. No more gossip. No more greed. No more jealousy. No more ___________. (You fill in the blank.) If you know Jesus, you’re not a slave to sin. You can choose to change, and with God’s help, this personal revolution can start today. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt Dear God, all things are possible with You. Through the power of Jesus’s resurrection help me to take the first step toward a life of greater devotion to You. For a new start, ask God for a new heart. INSIGHT: God promises to perform a spiritual heart transplant, giving everyone who repents “an undivided heart and a new spirit” and replacing a “heart of stone” with “a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 11:19). Ezekiel talked about this work of God in saving those who would repent (Ezek. 36:25-27). God will give us His Holy Spirit to enable us to obey Him (v. 27). Jeremiah calls this “a new covenant” (Jer. 31:31-34). Hours before He died on the cross, Jesus spoke of “the new covenant in [His] blood” (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25). Because of Jesus’s death, He is now the mediator of the new covenant (Heb. 8:6-13; 9:17; 12:24). Under the terms of the new covenant, God has made it possible for everyone who repents to “get a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezek. 18:31). Sim Kay Tee

Friday, October 21, 2016

Unfailing Love

So here we are at the end of the week it's FRIDAY! as we prepare ourselves for the weekend let's take a moment to reflect on this past week with these words of wisdom Read: Lamentations 3:21-26 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 62-64; 1 Timothy 1 Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! —Psalm 63:3 nlt On a recent airline flight the landing was a little rough, jostling us left and right down the runway. Some of the passengers were visibly nervous, but the tension broke when two little girls sitting behind me cheered, “Yeah! Let’s do that again!” Children are open to new adventures and see life with humble, wide-eyed wonder. Perhaps this is part of what Jesus had in mind when He said that we have to “receive the kingdom of God like a little child” (Mark 10:15). Life has its challenges and heartaches. Few knew this better than Jeremiah, who is also called “the weeping prophet.” But in the middle of Jeremiah’s troubles, God encouraged him with an amazing truth: “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lam. 3:22-23 nlt). God’s fresh mercies can break into our lives at any moment. They are always there, and we see them when we live with childlike expectation—watching and waiting for what only He can do. Jeremiah knew that God’s goodness is not defined only by our immediate circumstances and that His faithfulness is greater than life’s rough places. Look for God’s fresh mercies today. —James Banks Lord, please help me to have the faith of a child so that I can live with expectation, always looking forward to what You will do next. God is greater than anything that happens to us. INSIGHT: Chapter 3 of this inspired book initiates a call for repentance in the people of God. Jeremiah has been rightly called “the weeping prophet.” Part of this had to do with a more sensitive temperament than, for example, the prophet Elijah, who felt quite comfortable delivering a fiery challenge. The record we have in the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations indicates that, at times, Jeremiah felt a deep call to the prophetic ministry but also felt emotional wounds from rejection. Jeremiah reflected on the gracious character of the living God he served in the context of the psychological suffering he incurred by faithfully delivering God’s message. Central to the comfort Jeremiah felt is God’s faithfulness. Dennis Fisher

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Read Up On IBD This Month

Here is the October issue of our CCFA News Letter. Letter from our President & CEO What's even scarier than Halloween? Not understanding your healthcare options. Fortunately, it's Health Literacy Month—and we've got you covered! Our patient brochures, fact sheets, and webcasts are just a few ways you can educate yourself about IBD so you can communicate better with your doctor and ensure you're getting the best care possible. You can also reach out to our IBD Help Center at info@ccfa.org or 888-MY-GUT-PAIN (888-694-8872) for further information and guidance. Wishing you a happy—and safe—Halloween! Michael Osso President & CEO Recipients Announced for 2016 Sherman Prize! Congratulations to Eva Szigethy, MD, PhD, and James D. Lewis, MD, MSCE, for receiving the 2016 Sherman Prize for Excellence in Crohn’s and Colitis—the first of its kind to honor exceptional and pioneering achievements in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Congratulations also to Lea Ann Chen, MD, the first recipient of the Sherman Emerging Leader Prize. Dr. Szigethy is co-director of the UPMC Total Care-IBD Program and associate professor of psychiatry, medicine, and pediatrics in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Dr. Lewis is a professor of medicine and epidemiology and associate director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine; and Dr. Chen is an assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, as well as an attending physician at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue. Funded by the Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation, the awards recognize outstanding contributions by healthcare professionals, medical researchers, patient advocates, and educators who are advancing patient care, medical research, and public service in the field of IBD. Read more about this year's recipients and sign up for notifications of the 2017 nomination period. READ MORE ► Did You Know the DOD Funds IBD Research? It's true! The Department of Defense (DOD)'s Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program supports research across a limited range of scientific areas—with an underlying goal of enhancing the health and wellbeing of service personnel, their families, and the veteran population. Since 2008, over $17.9 million has been awarded to IBD medical research initiatives through the DOD. IBD is associated with service in the Persian Gulf and the prevalence of IBD increased among veterans between 1998 and 2009. Every year, Congress decides which conditions are eligible for study—so please join CCFA today in urging Congress to include IBD in the program this year. JOIN TODAY ► Make a Gift to CCFA Today Our groundbreaking research and patient services depend on your support. October Facebook Chat: Living with an Ostomy More than 750,000 Americans have an ostomy—a surgically created opening in the abdomen that connects an organ to the outside of the body. Join nurse Alexis Sherman of Mount Sinai Hospital for a Facebook chat on living with an ostomy October 26 from 8-9 p.m. EST. Submit your questions to socialmedia@ccfa.org. FOLLOW US ► October Twitter Chat Being an informed patient helps you to communicate better with your doctor and ensure that you are getting the best care possible. CCFA strives to provide information that is both easy to access and understand. Our brochures, fact sheets, and webcasts are just a few ways that patients can educate themselves about their disease and become their own advocate. To help you improve your IBD healthcare literacy, we are hosting a Twitter chat with Dr. Lauren K. Tormey (@LaurenTormeyMD) of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Jaime Weinstein (@JaimeEditor), a Crohn’s disease patient and advocate. The chat will take place on Wednesday, October 19th from 8-9 p.m. EST. Tag @CCFA in your questions using the hashtag #IBDchat and follow CCFA on Twitter for all of the latest updates. LEARN MORE ► Put Some "Spring" in Your Step Our spring 2017 Take Steps walks are now open for registration! And while you're at it, check out our new website design, which showcases our patients through unique storytelling that is sure to inspire recently diagnosed patients and their families. READ MORE ► Prevention is Key: A Webcast on Colorectal Cancer Colorectal cancer is highly treatable in the early stages, so early detection is crucial. Learn more about colorectal cancer and steps you can take now to help reduce your risk in this webcast. LEARN MORE ► 16 Real-Life Stories From People With Ulcerative Colitis What can you learn from other people's experiences with IBD? Our partners at Everyday Health rounded up true stories about life with ulcerative colitis—from managing common symptoms to staying active, finding love, and traveling the world. Start by choosing a topic and then hear from other people who've dealt with similar issues. READ MORE ► Want to Make a Difference? Join the Team! Team Challenge is headed for New Orleans and the Rock 'n' Roll 10k, Half Marathon, and Marathon on February 5th. Training starts soon—so join us now to discover a stronger you while fighting IBD. Click here to learn more & have a local manager contact you. LEARN MORE ► Together, We Have the #power2cure Join the movement and #partyonabike with us! spin4 crohn's & colitis cures is an exciting, high energy, indoor cycling relay you don't want to miss. Reserve your bike now or learn more and have a team member contact you. But hurry—bikes are limited! JOIN NOW ► CCFA provides a comprehensive database of studies, clinical trials, and other research on Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. If you'd like to participate, you can search for current and upcoming opportunities here. 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. 7​33 Th​ird Av​en​ue, Sui​te 51​0, Ne​w Y​ork,​ N​Y 10​01​7 www.ccfa.org | 8​00-​93​2-​2​423 Talk with an I​BD Info​rmation Specialist at 88​8.M​y.Gu​t.P​ain | 8​88-​69​4-8​87​2

Monday, October 17, 2016

Do We Have To?

Jump starting the New Week with these words of wisdom to guide us through the rest of the day that is ahead of us.Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 50-52; 1 Thessalonians 5 Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.—Luke 5:16 Joie started the children’s program with prayer, then sang with the kids. Six-year-old Emmanuel squirmed in his seat when she prayed again after introducing Aaron, the teacher. Then Aaron began and ended his talk with prayer. Emmanuel complained: “That’s four prayers! I can’t sit still that long!” If you think Emmanuel’s challenge is difficult, look at 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray continually” or always be in a spirit of prayer. Even some of us adults can find prayer to be boring. Maybe that’s because we don’t know what to say or don’t understand that prayer is a conversation with our Father. Back in the seventeenth century, François Fénelon wrote some words about prayer that have helped me: “Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one’s heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them.” He continued, “Talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them: show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them . . . . If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say.” May we grow in our intimacy with God so that we will want to spend more time with Him. —Anne Cetas For further study, read about Jesus’s example of prayer in John 17 and Luke 5:16. Prayer is an intimate conversation with our God. INSIGHT: Paul ends this letter with a frenzy of instructions. In today’s verses, one small string of phrases is closely linked and includes a key to their significance: “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (vv. 16-18). We often wonder what God’s will is for us in our circumstances. Phrases like these, though couched in a presentation that seem to minimize their importance, help us to clarify what it is that God desires of us. Do you want to follow God’s will? “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” J.R. Hudberg

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dying for Others

We have made it to the end of the week another week has come an gone let's reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: 1 John 3:16-17 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 43-44; 1 Thessalonians 2 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.—John 10:11 I love birds, which is why I bought six caged birds and carried them home to our daughter Alice, who began to care for them daily. Then one of the birds fell ill and died. We wondered if the birds would be more likely to thrive if they were not caged. So we freed the surviving five and observed them fly away in jubilation. Alice then pointed out, “Do you realize, Daddy, that it was the death of one bird that caused us to free the rest?” Isn’t that what the Lord Jesus did for us? Just as one man’s sin (Adam’s) brought condemnation to the world, so one Man’s righteousness (Jesus’s) brought salvation to those who believe (Rom. 5:12-19). Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). John makes it more practical when he says, “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16). This won’t likely mean literal death, but as we align our lives with Jesus’s example of sacrificial love, we find that we are “laying down our lives.” For instance, we might choose to deprive ourselves of material goods in order to share them with others (v. 17) or make time to be with someone who needs comfort and companionship. Who do you need to sacrifice for today? —Lawrence Darmani In what ways have others sacrificed for your well-being? Share with us at odb.org. Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us motivates us to sacrifice ourselves for others. INSIGHT: John reminds believers to model the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. True Christian love is sacrificial action (1 John 3:16) and selfless generosity (v. 17). John exhorts us to be loving and genuine, both in our speech and, more so, in our actions (v. 18). This kind of sacrificial love is the clearest of evidence that one has a new life (v. 14). The person who lacks love shows that he does not really know God nor is he in close fellowship with God, “for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). Reminiscent of John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10 once again reiterates how much God loves us (vv. 9-10). Sim Kay Tee

Monday, October 10, 2016

Doing the Opposite

The weekend is over starting the week off with these words of wisdom.Read: Colossians 2:20-3:4 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 34-36; Colossians 2 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.—Colossians 3:3 A wilderness excursion can seem daunting, but for outdoor enthusiasts this only adds to the appeal. Because hikers need more water than they can carry, they purchase bottles with built-in filters so they can use water sources along the way. But the process of drinking from such a container is counterintuitive. Tipping the bottle does nothing. A thirsty hiker has to blow into it to force the water through the filter. Reality is contrary to what seems natural. As we follow Jesus, we find much that is counterintuitive. Paul pointed out one example: Keeping rules won’t draw us closer to God. He asked, “Why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These rules . . . are based on merely human commands and teachings” (Col. 2:20-22). So what are we to do? Paul gave the answer. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above” (3:1). “You died,” he told people who were still very much alive, “and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (v. 3). We are to consider ourselves “dead” to the values of this world and alive to Christ. We now aspire to a way of life demonstrated by the One who said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matt. 20:26). —Tim Gustafson Consider what these counterintuitive principles from the Bible might mean for you: “Whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matt. 16:25). “The last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matt. 20:16). “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. 1 Corinthians 1:27 INSIGHT: In Colossae a false teaching known as gnosticism circulated. It promoted the idea that matter is evil and spirit is good, rejecting Jesus Christ’s full humanity as well as His complete divinity. To correct this, Paul wrote: “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). An equally destructive heresy in the spiritual life of the Colossian believers was legalism. This can be summed up as placating the gods or God by following a set of rules for behavior. The believers in Colossae fell into the trap of applying legalism to their Christian walk. Paul’s correction of legalism was logical: He argued that to experience redemption in Christ means that we die to man-made religions of this world and gain spiritual life in Him. Dennis Fisher

Friday, October 7, 2016

Grasping the Cross

It's the end of the Week it's FRIDAY! let's have an attitude of gratitude for getting through this week with these words of wisdom. Read: Philippians 3:7-12 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 28-29; Philippians 3 Not that I have . . . already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. —Philippians 3:12 In 1856, Charles Spurgeon, the great London preacher, founded the Pastors’ College to train men for the Christian ministry. It was renamed Spurgeon’s College in 1923. Today’s college crest shows a hand grasping a cross and the Latin words, Et Teneo, Et Teneor, which means, “I hold and am held.” In his autobiography, Spurgeon wrote, “This is our College motto. We . . . hold forth the Cross of Christ with a bold hand . . . because that Cross holds us fast by its attractive power. Our desire is that every man may both hold the Truth, and be held by it; especially the truth of Christ crucified.” In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he expressed this truth as the bedrock of his life. “Not that I have . . . already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Phil. 3:12). As followers of Jesus, we extend the message of the cross to others as Jesus holds us fast in His grace and power. “I have been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). Our Lord holds us in His grip of love each day—and we hold out His message of love to others. —David McCasland Lord Jesus, Your cross is the focal point of history and the turning point of our lives. Hold us tightly as we cling to Your cross and extend your love to others. We hold to the cross of Christ and are held by it. INSIGHT: Driven, disciplined, and focused might be accurate adjectives to describe Paul’s zeal in persecuting the church before he came to Christ. But when Paul met Jesus on the Damascus Road, his life took a decided turn (Acts 9). Paul was now called to be an apostle, and many marveled that he preached the gospel he once sought to destroy. The man who had been driven by self-righteousness now preached grace-righteousness. Dennis Fisher

Monday, October 3, 2016

No Outsiders

So here we are starting the New Week in the 10th month of October as we entered into this 10th month of October let's take a moment to be Thankful for ALL that God has done in our lives with these words of wisdom. Read: Deuteronomy 10:12-22 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 17-19; Ephesians 5:17-33 What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him.—Deuteronomy 10:12 In the remote region of Ghana where I lived as a boy, “Chop time, no friend” was a common proverb. Locals considered it impolite to visit at “chop time” (mealtime) because food was often scarce. The maxim applied to neighbors and outsiders alike. But in the Philippines, where I also lived for a time, even if you visit unannounced at mealtime, your hosts will insist on sharing with you regardless of whether they have enough for themselves. Cultures differ for their own good reasons. As the Israelites left Egypt, God provided specific instructions to govern their culture. But rules—even God’s rules—can never change hearts. So Moses said, “Change your hearts and stop being stubborn” (Deut. 10:16 nlt). Interestingly, right after issuing that challenge Moses took up the topic of Israel’s treatment of outsiders. God “loves the foreigner residing among you,” he said, “giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt” (vv. 18-19). Israel served the “God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome” (v. 17). One powerful way they were to show their identification with God was by loving foreigners—those from outside their culture. What might this small picture of God’s character mean for us today? How can we show His love to the marginalized and the needy in our world? —Tim Gustafson Heavenly Father, help us bless others today by showing Your love in some small way. In Christ, there are no outsiders. INSIGHT: God commanded His people to allow the poor to feed on their lands (Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22; Deut. 24:19-21). “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner” (Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22). Sim Kay Tee