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Friday, July 29, 2016

Love Your Neighbor

We have made it to the end of the week it's FRIDAY! with only 2 more days left in the month of July before we head into the 8th month of the New Year which is August but before we get ahead of ourselves lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Romans 13:8-11 Bible in a Year: Psalms 49-50; Romans 1 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” —Galatians 5:14 An anthropologist was winding up several months of research in a small village, the story is told. While waiting for a ride to the airport for his return flight home, he decided to pass the time by making up a game for some children. His idea was to create a race for a basket of fruit and candy that he placed near a tree. But when he gave the signal to run, no one made a dash for the finish line. Instead the children joined hands and ran together to the tree. When asked why they chose to run as a group rather than each racing for the prize, a little girl spoke up and said: “How could one of us be happy when all of the others are sad?” Because these children cared about each other, they wanted all to share the basket of fruit and candy. After years of studying the law of Moses, the apostle Paul found that all of God’s laws could be summed up in one: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal. 5:14; see also Rom. 13:9). In Christ, Paul saw not only the reason to encourage, comfort, and care for one another but also the spiritual enablement to do it. Because He cares for us, we care for each other. —Mart DeHaan Father, thank You for the love You shower on us day by day. Teach us, in turn, to care for others. Open our eyes to see their need and respond as You want us to. We show our love for God when we love one another. INSIGHT: Paul’s words in today’s passage remind us of Jesus’s words to the young teacher of the law who asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life (Luke 10:25-29). Love for God and neighbor is the fulfillment of all the laws of the Old Testament. In Luke, Jesus defines who our neighbor is and what love for that person should look like (vv. 30-37). Paul provides thoughts about this to the people at the church in Rome. After telling them to love their neighbor in chapter 13, he goes on to tell them in chapter 14 to consider the effect their actions will have on their neighbor. Love is to guide everything we do. . J.R. Hudberg

Monday, July 25, 2016

Test Match

We are getting ready to close out the month of July this week but before we do lets take a moment to start the week off with these words of wisdom. Read: Psalm 35:17-28 Bible in a Year: Psalms 37-39; Acts 26 How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. —Psalm 35:17 A test match in the game of cricket can be grueling. Competitors play from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with lunch and tea breaks, but the games can last up to five days. It’s a test of endurance as well as skill. The tests we face in life are sometimes intensified for a similar reason—they feel unending. The long search for a job, an unbroken season of loneliness, or a lengthy battle with cancer is made even more difficult by the fact that you wonder if it will ever end. Perhaps that is why the psalmist cried out, “How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions” (Ps. 35:17). Bible commentaries say that this was speaking of the long period in David’s life when he was pursued by Saul and slandered by the king’s advisors—a time of trial that lasted for years. Yet, in the end, David sang, “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant” (v. 27). His testing drove him to deeper trust in God—a trust that we can also experience in our own long seasons of testing, hardship, or loss. —Bill Crowder As time drags on and answers seem faraway, teach me, Father, to find my help in You and Your presence. Enable me to endure, and empower me to trust in You. When your burdens overwhelm you, remember that God has His arms underneath you. INSIGHT: David found strength to endure his trial by reflecting on and trusting in the character of God (Ps. 35:9-10). Three young Hebrew captives in Babylon—Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, whose names were changed to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan. 3)—are other examples of trust during difficult circumstances. The Babylonian ruler commanded them to dishonor God by bowing before a giant idol. They faced this challenge with hope because their past experiences with God taught them that He was worthy of their trust and confidence. Dread and apprehension turned to sure confidence and expectation because God had shown Himself faithful. Adapted from Hope: Choosing Faith Instead of Fear.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Twins Taking Steps!

Jill and Jamie are Taking a Step to Fight Crohns here is there story. It is said that the bond between twins is unlike any other sibling bond. Twins go through life sharing everything – birthdays, clothing, friends, school, and much more. Jamie Mendelsohn and Jill Theisen are no different. The 39-year-old twins shared everything as children and now, as adults, they share another major aspect of their lives – inflammatory bowel diseases. Jamie and Jill were both diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in their 20s – Jamie in 1999 and Jill in 2002. Jamie spent the first few years with ulcerative colitis on a variety of medications and being in and out of the hospital. In 2004, Jamie had a colectomy – surgical removal of the colon – and an ileostomy– and over a dozen blood transfusions. Later that year, she had a second surgery to reconnect her small intestine and create a j-pouch. She thrived following the surgery until 2007 when she began experiencing symptoms and extraintestinal manifestations; this included pyoderma gangrenosum and fistulas. Jamie has since been re-diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and has lived with an ileostomy since 2011. Jamie has a successful career ,and she travels nationally with the Ashar Group LLC, as VP of Life Insurance Policy Valuations, speaking in front of large audiences. Jill was diagnosed three years after watching Jamie live with ulcerative colitis. Although she was devastated by the diagnosis, watching her sister persevere helped her maintain a positive attitude. She lived with minimal symptoms and was able to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy without any major flaring. Following the birth of her daughter, she became extremely sick and ended up taking time off from work to focus on her health. In 2007, Jill had surgery to remove her colon and had her reconnection surgery three months later. Since her surgery, she has had some complications but has been able to maintain a great life with her thriving career, daughter, and husband. After such a long journey filled with hospitalizations, surgeries, and much more, Jamie and Jill decided they wanted to get involved and raise awareness and funds for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. They became aware of CCFA through literature in their doctor’s office and, as they say, the rest is history. Jamie and Jill began fundraising for Take Steps six years ago. Since their first walk, they’ve nearly tripled their fundraising goal, aiming to raise $100,000 to support CCFA’s mission-critical research, education, and patient support programs. Sharing a disease has made Jamie and Jill extremely interested in the genetic component of IBD. Genome-wide association studies in IBD patients have identified 100 non-overlapping genetic markers, of which approximately 50 are unique to either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. CCFA’s Genetics Initiative, which has already identified more than 200 genes associated with IBD, is allowing a better understanding of the genes and their functions, and the chain of biological events that result in IBD. Join Jamie and Jill in helping to find cures for IBD. Sign up for a Take Steps walk today!

Human Race

Made it to the end of the week it's FRIDAY! YES! as we take a moment to reflect on this week let's be Thankful for ALL things that we have experience with these words of wisdom Read: Mark 6:7-13, 30-32 Bible in a Year: Psalms 31-32; Acts 23:16-35 [Jesus] said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” —Mark 6:31 The alarm clock goes off. Too early, it seems. But you have a long day ahead. You have work to do, appointments to keep, people to care for, or all this and more. Well, you are not alone. Each day, many of us rush from one matter to another. As someone has wittily suggested, “That’s why we are called the human race.” When the apostles returned from their first mission trip, they had a lot to report. But Mark did not record Jesus’s evaluation of the disciples’ work; rather, he focused on His concern that they rest awhile. Jesus said, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (6:31). Ultimately, we find true rest through recognizing the presence of God and trusting Him. While we take our responsibilities seriously, we also recognize that we can relax our grip on our work and careers, our families and ministry, and give them over to God in faith. We can take time each day to tune out the distractions, put away the tense restlessness, and reflect in gratitude on the wonder of God’s love and faithfulness. So feel free to stop and take a breath. Get some real rest. —Poh Fang Chia Lord, I thank You today for all You have given me to do. Help me to truly rest in You—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We do not rest because our work is done; we rest because God commanded it and created us to have a need for it. Gordon MacDonald INSIGHT: When Jesus asked His disciples to go to a quiet place and rest (Mark 6:31), He was telling them to do something that He had often done with them. Jesus had withdrawn with His disciples to the lake (2:13; 3:7) or up on the mountain (3:13). Jesus was also in the habit of withdrawing from the crowds to a solitary place to rest and to spend time talking with His Father (Matt. 14:13,23; 26:36; Mark 1:35; 6:46; Luke 4:42; 6:12; John 6:15). The gospel of Luke tells us, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (5:16). Sim Kay Tee

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Let's Make TWICE the Impact this Summer

Here is our July 2016 Issue of CCFA Newsletter. Letter from our President & CEO I have some great news! Our Members Match is back this summer—thanks to some very generous donors. The Finkelstein Family has graciously made an $80,000 gift to CCFA and challenged us to match it by September 15th. As you know, more effective therapies and cures for IBD are on the horizon, and $160,000 would give our research initiatives a major boost. So please consider making a Members Match gift today. This is our chance to have TWICE the impact on defeating IBD this summer. Thank you in advance for your support, Michael Osso President & CEO Twins Taking Steps! It is said that the bond between twins is unlike any other sibling bond. For Jamie Mendelsohn and Jill Theisen, it's no different. The 39-year-old twins shared everything as children and now, as adults, they share another major aspect of their lives: IBD. Jamie and Jill were both diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in their 20s—and today, after a long journey filled with hospitalizations, surgeries, and more, they are involved in raising awareness and funds for CCFA. The twins began fundraising for Take Steps six years ago. Since their first walk, they've nearly tripled their fundraising goal. Read their inspiring story here. READ MORE ► Join the Movement—Registration is Now Open! We are excited to announce that spin4 crohn's & colitis cures is expanding to 18 cities across the country this fall, along with an option to Ride Where You Live! spin4 crohn's & colitis cures is an exciting, high energy, indoor cycling event that raises funds for research, awareness, and patient services. Form a team of up to four people per bike, and participate in a two-hour indoor cycling relay—or take on the entire ride yourself. Click here to learn more and have one of our team members contact you! LEARN MORE ► Double Your Impact This Summer Join our Members Match today—and help us raise TWICE the funds to fight IBD. Walk with Us this Fall! We already have over 50 walks planned across the U.S. this fall. Connect with other families while raising critical funds for research and support programs. Cures are within our reach—let's Take Steps together to get there! JOIN TODAY ► Check Out Our Educational Programs CCFA's half-day and evening educational programs provide a unique opportunity to connect with other IBD patients and caregivers, as well as learn from medical experts in the field. Visit your local chapter's page to learn about upcoming programs in your area. LEARN MORE ► Traveling with IBD Summer is prime travel time! Don't avoid a dream vacation because of Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Whether you're traveling abroad or here in the States, these tips will come in handy. READ MORE ► Visit Your Legislators this August For Members of Congress, August is an extended period of time when they will be back in their home states meeting with constituents. During this time, you can meet with them in person to reiterate your support for IBD medical research and awareness. Join us for an informational webinar on July 25 at 8 p.m. EST to learn how to request a local meeting and more. GET INVOLVED ► CCFA provides a comprehensive database of studies, clinical trials, and other research on Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Here is one of the recently added studies: An Observational Study on Pregnancy and Autoimmune/Inflammatory Diseases, for pregnant women ages 18 and older with Crohn’s or 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, July 18, 2016

Misplaced Trust

We have started a New Week the weekend has come and gone so as we head into this week lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Psalm 20 Bible in a Year: Psalms 20-22; Acts 21:1-17 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. —Psalm 20:7 I like watching birds, an activity I developed while growing up in a forest village in Ghana where there were many different species of birds. In the city suburb where I now live, I recently observed the behavior of some crows that interested me. Flying toward a tree that had shed most of its leaves, the crows decided to take a rest. But instead of settling on the sturdy branches, they lighted on the dry and weak limbs that quickly gave way. They flapped their way out of danger—only to repeat the useless effort. Apparently their bird-sense didn’t tell them that the solid branches were more trustworthy and secure resting places. How about us? Where do we place our trust? David observes in Psalm 20:7: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Chariots and horses represent material and human assets. While these represent things that are useful in daily life, they don’t give us security in times of trouble. If we place our trust in things or possessions or wealth, we will find that they eventually give way beneath us, as the branches gave way beneath the crows. Those who trust in their chariots and horses can be “brought to their knees and fall,” but those who trust in God will “rise up and stand firm” (v. 8). —Lawrence Darmani Have you ever trusted someone or something and been disappointed or let down? Who or what was it? What do you trust in the most? In a world of change, we can trust our unchanging God. INSIGHT: In times of fading hope, when there seems to be no way out of total disaster, we need to place our confidence in God, trusting that He has a perfect plan. We can trust Him, even through times of doubt and pressure, trial and temptation. He will lead us through the deep waters and bring us safely to the other shore. Once there, we’ll be able to say with David, “We trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Ps. 20:7). Adapted from Why Doesn’t God Answer Me? Trusting in Times of Doubt and Trial.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Unexpected

Made it the end of the week it's FRIDAY! Let take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom as we continue to keep our Nation in prayer during ALL that is going on. Read: Matthew 10:35-42 Bible in a Year: Psalms 13-15; Acts 19:21-41 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. —Matthew 10:39 In the midday heat of summer, while traveling in the American South, my wife and I stopped for ice cream. On the wall behind the counter we saw a sign reading, “Absolutely No Snowmobiling.” The humor worked because it was so unexpected. Sometimes saying the unexpected has the most effect. Think of this in regard to a statement by Jesus: “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:39). In a kingdom where the King is a servant (Mark 10:45), losing your life becomes the only way to find it. This is a startling message to a world focused on self-promotion and self-protection. In practical terms, how can we “lose our life”? The answer is summed up in the word sacrifice. When we sacrifice, we put into practice Jesus’s way of living. Instead of grasping for our own wants and needs, we esteem the needs and well-being of others. Jesus not only taught about sacrifice but He also lived it by giving Himself for us. His death on the cross became the ultimate expression of the heart of the King who lived up to His own words: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). —Bill Crowder Loving Father, teach me the heart of Christ, that I might more fully appreciate the sacrifice He has made for me and be willing to sacrifice myself for others. Nothing is really lost by a life of sacrifice. Henry Liddon INSIGHT: After appointing twelve men as His disciples (Matt. 10:1-4), Jesus gave them their first assignment to go and preach the good news that “the kingdom of heaven has come near” (v. 7). Jesus warned that people in the world would not want to hear about Him: “You will be hated by everyone because of me” (v. 22). We, too, may be ignored, opposed, rejected, persecuted, and even killed (vv. 16-22). It may cost us to share the gospel with others, and we may experience hostility even from our own family (vv. 35-36). To overcome these challenges, Jesus calls for a commitment to Him that is greater than any other (vv. 37-39). Sim Kay Tee

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Lesson Learned

Kick starting the New Week with these words of wisdom. Read: Philippians 4:10-19 Bible in a Year: Psalms 1-3; Acts 17:1-15 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. —Philippians 4:11 Mary was widowed and facing serious health challenges when her daughter invited her to move into the new “granny apartment” attached to her home. Although it would involve leaving friends and the rest of her family many miles away, Mary rejoiced in God’s provision. Six months into her new life, the initial joy and contentment threatened to slip away as she was tempted to grumble inwardly and doubt whether the move was really God’s perfect plan. She missed her Christian friends, and her new church was too far away to get to independently. Then she read something that the great 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon had written. “Now contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and it must be cultivated,” he pointed out. “Paul says . . . ‘I have learned to be content,’ as if he didn’t know how at one time.” Mary concluded that if an ardent evangelist like Paul, confined to prison, abandoned by friends, and facing execution could learn contentment, then so could she. “I realized that until I could learn this lesson, I wouldn’t enjoy those things God had planned,” she said. “So I confessed my inward grumbling and asked for His forgiveness. Soon after that a newly retired lady asked if I would be her prayer partner, and others offered me a ride to church. My needs for a ‘soul friend’ and greater mobility were wonderfully met.” —Marion Stroud Are there areas of life where you need to learn contentment? Ask God to help you now. God doesn’t always change our circumstances, but He will change us. INSIGHT: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon are generally known as the Prison Epistles. Philippians was likely written during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment in ad 59-61. This context makes Paul’s declaration of contentment all the more striking. Dennis Moles

Friday, July 8, 2016

Our Chief Task

We have made it to the end of the week it's FRIDAY! We have enter into the 7th month of the New Year which is July as we take a moment to reflect on ALL that has transpired let take a moment to reflect on these words Read: Matthew 7:12-23 Bible in a Year: Job 36-37; Acts 15:22-41 I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. —John 14:6 When a British scholar called on the world’s religions to work together for worldwide unity, people everywhere applauded. Pointing out that the major religions share a belief in the Golden Rule, she suggested, “The chief task of our time is to build a global society where people of all persuasions can live together in peace and harmony.” Jesus cited the Golden Rule in His Sermon on the Mount: “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt. 7:12). In the same sermon, He said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (5:44). Putting those radical commands into practice would indeed go a long way toward peace and harmony. But immediately following the Golden Rule, Jesus called for discernment. “Watch out for false prophets,” He warned. “They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (7:15). Respect for others and discernment of the truth go hand in hand. If we have the truth, we have a message worth telling. But God extends to everyone the freedom to choose Him or reject Him. Our responsibility is to lovingly present the truth and respect the personal choice of others just as God does. Our respect for others is vital to winning their respect. It’s an important step in gaining an opportunity to convey the message of Jesus, who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). —Tim Gustafson Father in heaven, help us to see each individual as uniquely made in Your image and worthy of our love and respect. Show Your love through our lives in some small way today. Love people; love the truth. INSIGHT: Today’s reading comes from what we call the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). This was His first major teaching address and captured many of the values that are to be characteristic of a wisely lived life. Beginning with the Beatitudes (5:3-12), Christ expressed principles on witness (5:13-16), the law (5:17-20), relationships with people (5:21-48), relationship with God (6:1-18), attitudes toward possessions and needs (6:19-34), the need for self-examination (7:1-6), trust in God (7:7-14), and spiritual dangers (7:15-29). The Sermon on the Mount is a masterpiece of preaching, and its truths are timeless. Dennis Fisher

Monday, July 4, 2016

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

As America Celebrates it's 240th Birthday Let's take a moment to be Thankful and Grateful that God truly has blessed America. Enjoy this time reflecting with Family & Friends. Wishing every one a HAPPIE 4TH JULY! Hope U're enjoying the holiday weekend May it be Blessed.

Join the Cry

As we are starting this New Week off by Celebrating with our Family and Friends Americas Independence Day on this July 4th let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Psalm 122:6-9 Bible in a Year: Job 28-29; Acts 13:1-25 I urge . . . that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people. —1 Timothy 2:1 A women’s prayer group in my country holds regular monthly prayer sessions for Ghana and other African countries. When asked why they pray so incessantly for the nations, their leader, Gifty Dadzie, remarked, “Look around, listen to and watch the news. Our nations are hurting: war, disaster, diseases, and violence threaten to overshadow God’s love for humanity and His blessing upon us. We believe God intervenes in the affairs of nations, so we praise Him for His blessings and cry for His intervention.” The Bible reveals that God indeed intervenes in the affairs of nations (2 Chron. 7:14). And when God intervenes, He uses ordinary people. We may not be assigned huge tasks, but we can play our part to help bring about peace and the righteousness that exalts a nation (Prov. 14:34). We can do that through prayer. The apostle Paul wrote, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Tim. 2:1-2). As the psalmist exhorted the ancient Israelites to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6), so may we pray for the peace and healing of our nations. When we pray in humility, turn from wickedness, and seek God, He hears us. —Lawrence Darmani Lord, we pray today for the peace of our nations. We ask for Your intervention as we turn to You in confession and repentance. We praise You for Your blessing and Your provision. Prayer for those in authority is both a privilege and a duty. INSIGHT: Jewish pilgrims sang Psalms 120-134, known collectively as the Pilgrim Psalms, as they made their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the annual festivals of Unleavened Bread (including Passover), Harvest (Weeks or Pentecost), and Ingathering (Booths or Tabernacles) (Ex. 23:14-16). Since Jerusalem sits on a mountainous area (Mount Zion is used synonymously with Jerusalem in the Bible), pilgrims are said to “ascend” to Jerusalem. Therefore, scholars designate each of these fifteen songs as “A song of ascents.” In Psalm 122, David celebrates Jerusalem as the “house of the Lord” (vv. 1, 9). He is elated (v. 1) that he is in the place of safety, security, and peace (vv. 6-9). Sim Kay Tee

Friday, July 1, 2016

Out in the Cold

Made it to the end of the week but have entered into the 7th month of July time is moving so here are some words of wisdom as we entered into this month of July with Read: Job 11:7-20 Bible in a Year: Job 20-21; Acts 10:24-48 To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. —Job 12:13 In desperation, a woman called the housing assistance center where I worked. A heating problem had turned her rental home into a freezer with furniture. Panicked, she asked me how she would care for her children. I hurriedly replied with the scripted official response: “Just move into a hotel and send the landlord the bill.” She angrily hung up on me. I knew the textbook answer to her question, but I had completely missed her heart. She wanted someone to understand her fear and desperation. She needed to know she wasn’t alone. In essence, I had left her out in the cold. After Job had lost everything, he had friends with answers but little understanding. Zophar told him all he needed to do was live wholeheartedly for God. Then “life will be brighter than noonday,” he said (11:17). That counsel wasn’t well received, and Job responded with scathing sarcasm: “Wisdom will die with you!” (12:2). He knew the dissatisfying taste of textbook answers to real-world problems. It’s easy to be critical of Job’s friends for their failure to see the big picture. But how often are we too quick with answers to questions we don’t truly understand? People do want answers. But more than that, they want to know we hear and understand. They want to know we care. —Tim Gustafson Father, help us to be a friend first before we offer advice to others. Thank You for the privilege of sharing our hearts with You in prayer. Thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit so that we will never be alone. Before people want to hear what you say, they want to know that you care. INSIGHT: Many scholars consider the book of Job to be the oldest biblical book, though it does not contain the oldest stories about the creation of the universe and the fall of the human race (see Genesis). It is fitting, therefore, that the oldest biblical book would deal with the most universally experienced human reality—the presence of suffering in the world. Bill Crowder