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Monday, August 29, 2016

The Ultimate Road Trip

So here we are wrapping up the month of August we are at the end of the month before we step into the 9th month of the New Year which is September BUT before we do let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom to help us get through the rest of this month. Read: Isaiah 40:1-11 Bible in a Year: Psalms 126-128; 1 Corinthians 10:19-33 In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. —Isaiah 40:3 Madagascar’s National Road 5 offers the beauty of a white sand coastline, palm forests, and the Indian Ocean. Its 125 miles of two-track road, bare rock, sand, and mud, however, have given it a reputation for being one of the worst roads in the world. Tourists looking for breathtaking views are advised to have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, an experienced driver, and an onboard mechanic. John the Baptist came to announce the good news of the coming Messiah to those traveling on rough roads and through barren landscape. Repeating the words of the prophet Isaiah written centuries earlier, he urged curious crowds to “prepare the way for the Lord” and to “make straight paths for him” (Luke 3:4-5; Isa. 40:3) John knew that if the people of Jerusalem were going to be ready to welcome their long-awaited Messiah their hearts needed to change. Mountains of religious pride would need to come down. Those in the valley of despair because of their broken lives would need to be lifted up. Neither could be done by human effort alone. Those who refused to respond to the Spirit of God by accepting John’s baptism of repentance failed to recognize their Messiah when He came (Luke 7:29-30). Yet those who saw their need for change discovered in Jesus the goodness and wonder of God. —Mart DeHaan Father in heaven, we need You to do in us what we cannot do for ourselves. Please remove any mountain of pride or valley of despair that would keep us from welcoming You into our lives. Repentance clears the way for our walk with God. INSIGHT: This passage is not a message of hope only for exiled Jews. It is for us all. Isaiah is proclaiming a universal truth: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” For Jesus’s followers, trouble, sorrow, and exile last only for a season. The hope of the Lord lasts forever. Dennis Moles

Friday, August 26, 2016

Honorable Living

The week has come to an we have made it to FRIDAY! with these words of wisdom Read: 1 Peter 2:9-12 Bible in a Year: Psalm 119:89-176; 1 Corinthians 8 You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession. —1 Peter 2:9 While delivering a well-publicized speech, a respected leader and statesman got the attention of his nation by declaring that most of his country’s honorable Members of Parliament (MPs) were quite dishonorable. Citing lifestyles of corruption, pompous attitudes, unsavory language, and other vices, he rebuked the MPs and urged them to reform. As expected, his comments didn’t go well with them and they dispatched counter-criticisms his way. We may not be public officials in positions of leadership, but we who follow Christ are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9). As such, our Lord calls us to lifestyles that honor Him. The disciple Peter had some practical advice on how to do this. He urged us to “abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul” (v. 11). Although he didn’t use the word honorable, he was calling us to behavior worthy of Christ. As the apostle Paul phrased it in his letter to the Philippians, “Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Phil. 4:8). Indeed, these are the characteristics of behavior that honor our Lord. —Lawrence Darmani Lord, when we are honest with You, we understand how often we fall far short of honorable behavior. We know how much we need You. By Your Spirit, help us replace any selfish thoughts, words, and actions with things that please You and draw others to You. We honor God’s name when we call Him our Father and live like His children. INSIGHT: The apostle Peter wrote this letter to encourage Jewish and Gentile Christians in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) who were going through severe trials and suffering because of their faith in Jesus. Peter says that for the Christian, trials and suffering are inevitable and to be expected (1 Peter 4:12), although often unreasonable, unjust, and inexplicable (2:19-20). But these difficulties can be valuable to the believer and therefore glorifying to God (1:6-7). Although they are universal, they are certainly temporal (5:9-10). Peter calls us to rejoice in our trials because we participate not only in Christ’s suffering but also in His glory (1:7; 4:13). Sim Kay Tee

Monday, August 22, 2016

At Risk of Falling

The weekend has come an gone and we are getting ready to start the New Week Off with these words of wisdom Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 Bible in a Year: Psalms 110-112; 1 Corinthians 5 If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! —1 Corinthians 10:12 When my friend Elaine was recovering after a bad fall, a hospital worker placed a bright yellow bracelet on her wrist. It read: Fall Risk. That phrase meant: Watch this person carefully. She may be unsteady on her feet. Help her get from place to place. First Corinthians 10 contains something like a “Fall Risk” warning for believers. With a glance back at his ancestors, Paul noted the human potential to fall into sin. The Israelites complained, worshiped idols, and had immoral relationships. God grew unhappy with them and allowed them to experience consequences for their wrongdoing. However, Paul said, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us . . . . So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (vv. 11-12). It’s easy to trick ourselves into believing that we’re done with a particular sort of sin. Even when we’ve struggled through the worst of it—admitting our problem, repenting, and recommitting ourselves to following God’s ways—temptation may come calling. God makes it possible for us to avoid falling back into the same patterns. He does this by providing a way out of the sinful act we’re considering. Our part is to respond to His offer of escape. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt Lord, let me see the way of escape You offer when I am tempted. Give me the strength to accept Your help so I can stay faithful to You. I know this is Your desire for me, and I thank You that You are at work in me. Great blessings are often followed by great temptations. INSIGHT: Paul tells us that the temptation to do evil is common. But God in His goodness has provided a way to escape sin. More often than not it’s best to plan an escape route before we encounter temptation. It is wise to avoid those circumstances where we are most vulnerable to sin. Dennis Fisher

Friday, August 19, 2016

Comparison Obsession

It's about that time we have made it to the end of the week with these words of wisdom Read: Matthew 20:1-16 Bible in a Year: Psalms 103-104; 1 Corinthians 2 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? —Matthew 20:15 Thomas J. DeLong, a professor at Harvard Business School, has noted a disturbing trend among his students and colleagues—a “comparison obsession.” He writes: “More so than ever before, . . . business executives, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals are obsessed with comparing their own achievements against those of others. . . . This is bad for individuals and bad for companies. When you define success based on external rather than internal criteria, you diminish your satisfaction and commitment.” Comparison obsession isn’t new. The Scriptures warn us of the dangers of comparing ourselves to others. When we do so, we become proud and look down on them (Luke 18:9-14). Or we become jealous and want to be like them or have what they have (James 4:1). We fail to focus on what God has given us to do. Jesus intimated that comparison obsession comes from believing that God is unfair and that He doesn’t have a right to be more generous to others than He is to us (Matt. 20:1-16). By God’s grace we can learn to overcome comparison obsession by focusing on the life God has given to us. As we take moments to thank God for everyday blessings, we change our thinking and begin to believe deep down that God is good. —Marvin Williams I need a better focus, Lord. Help me to keep my eyes off others and instead on You and Your good heart for all of us. God expresses His goodness to His children in His own way. INSIGHT: Jesus taught the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16) to show His disciples the generous heart of God. God is not unjust. He has no favorites and treats every Christian generously and equally (vv. 13-15). Paul later taught this same truth: “There is no favoritism with [God]” (Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25). This extends to believers and the way we view others (1 Tim. 5:21). Sim Kay Tee

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Take Action This August

As we are wrapping up the month of August here is our CCFA News Letter for the month of August Letter from our President & CEO I hope you're having a terrific summer! If you'll be around this month, August is a great time to visit members of Congress—since they travel to their home districts before returning to D.C. in September to finalize important legislation, including the annual spending bills. We encourage you to schedule local meetings with your legislators to ask them to include funding in the annual spending bills for federal agencies that study IBD. For instructions, handouts, and additional information, see CCFA's Visit Your Legislator webpage. Thank you! Michael Osso President & CEO Calling all College Students CCFA's National Council of College Leaders (NCCL) works to increase awareness of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis through youth-focused advocacy and fundraising. Youth leaders become advocates for patients through local and national campaigns. NCCL members also develop leadership skills and prepare for even larger roles as advocates for people with Crohn's and colitis. We are currently looking for college freshmen or sophomores who have IBD (as well as a passion for volunteerism and leadership) to join our council! Applications for 2017 are now live—and due on October 14th, 2016. To access the application or to learn more about the NCCL, click here. LEARN MORE ► Transforming Lives On The Way To Cures "Laissez les bon temps roulez" through the Big Easy as Team Challenge hits the streets of New Orleans! Team Challenge will help train you for a 10k, Half Marathon, or Marathon at this iconic event… and you’ll see it’s about so much more than the race. Read up on how you can join the Team Challenge family—and get the support of a team that is helping to end IBD. You can also like us on Facebook to see what our Alumni have to say about this wonderful group. READ MORE ► Have You Joined The Members Match Yet? You can have TWICE the impact on defeating IBD. Make a gift today—and help fund vital research at CCFA. It's National Immunization Awareness Month Immunizations are important for everyone, but they are especially important for patients with chronic illnesses like IBD, whose immune systems may be compromised. Make sure you speak with your doctor to ensure that you are up-to-date on immunizations to prevent future illnesses. READ MORE ► A Chance to Win NFL Tickets Supporting Take Steps could land you in a seat at a LIVE NFL game this fall! For every $1,000 you raise between 8/22 and 9/16, you get an entry to win two NFL game day tickets, round-trip airfare, and a one-night hotel stay. REGISTER NOW ► Back to School Thriving in the school environment is often a challenge for children with IBD. That's why it is so important for teachers and other school personnel to understand these chronic intestinal illnesses. Check out our guide for teachers and school personnel working with IBD patients. LEARN MORE ► CCFA provides a comprehensive database of studies, clinical trials, and other research on Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Here are a few of the recently added studies: Development Of a Patient-Centered IBD Colorectal Communication Tool. Patients with Crohn's and colitis are invited to take part in telephone interviews to share their views and experiences with colonoscopy and perceptions of colon cancer. This study will allow investigators to better understand how patients with Crohn's and colitis make decisions about colonoscopy and the barriers they face in undergoing colonoscopy. A Phase 2, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Parallel Group, Multi-center Study to Investigate the Safety and Efficacy of APD334 in Patients with Moderately to Severely Active Ulcerative Colitis—to learn whether an investigational medication is safe and if it will effectively reduce the inflammation of the gut in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). This is an 18-week study that will allow patients to track disease symptoms under the care of a physician while regularly undergoing testing and screenings. Ethical Issues in Prescription Drug Access under the Restricted Distribution Program for Tysabri. This study is looking for participants who have Crohn’s and have been prescribed Tysabri within the past year. Patients will take part in a 60-minute interview, and results will determine how FDA-mandated Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) affect the prescribing and usage of drugs like Tysabri. 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, August 15, 2016

A Legacy Life

We have enter into a New Week the weekend has come and gone as we start this New Week lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom to help us get through this week. Read: Proverbs 22:1-12 Bible in a Year: Psalms 91-93; Romans 15:1-13 A good name is more desirable than great riches. —Proverbs 22:1 While staying in a hotel in a small town I noticed that the church across the street was having a service. People were jammed into the church with a standing-room-only crowd of both young and old flowing out onto the sidewalk. When I noticed a hearse by the curb, I realized it was a funeral. And given the crowd, I assumed that it was the celebration of the life of some local hero—perhaps a wealthy businessperson or a famous personality. Curious, I said to the desk clerk, “That’s an amazing turnout for a funeral; it must be for a famous person in town.” “No,” he replied. “He wasn’t rich or famous but he was a good man.” This reminded me of the wisdom of the proverb that says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches” (Prov. 22:1). It’s a good idea to think about what kind of legacy we are leaving for our family, friends, and neighbors. From God’s perspective it’s not our resumé or the amount of money we’ve accumulated that matters but rather the kind of life we have lived. When a friend of mine passed away, his daughter wrote, “This world has lost a righteous man and in this world that is no small thing!” It’s that kind of legacy that we should be seeking for the glory of God. —Joe Stowell Lord, help me to pursue a life that is pleasing to You and honors Your name. Live to leave a legacy for God’s glory. INSIGHT: The Proverbs hold wisdom to help us live for the Lord and leave a legacy. Just the first 8 verses of Proverbs 22 are loaded with wonderful insights about many different aspects of life. Verse 1 tells us of the value of a good name. The Hebrew word for “good name” carries with it the idea of “good repute” (see Eccl. 7:1). Dennis Fisher

Friday, August 12, 2016

Shaping Your Thoughts

We have made it to the end of the Week it's FRIDAY! WOW! let's take a moment to reflect on ALL that God has done for us and brought us through another week with these words of wisdom. Read: Romans 12:1-8 Bible in a Year: Psalms 84-86; Romans 12 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. —Romans 12:2 When Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message” in 1964, personal computers were unknown, mobile phones were science fiction, and the Internet didn’t exist. Today we understand what great foresight he had in predicting how our thinking is influenced in this digital age. In Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, he writes, “[The media] supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles.” I like J. B. Phillips’s paraphrase of Paul’s message to the Christians in Rome: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity” (Rom. 12:2). How relevant this is today as we find our thoughts and the way our minds process material affected by the world around us. We cannot stem the tide of information that bombards us, but we can ask God each day to help us focus on Him and to shape our thinking through His presence in our lives. —David McCasland Father in heaven, still and focus my mind, quiet my heart, and fill me with Your thoughts throughout this day. Let God’s Spirit, not the world, shape your mind. INSIGHT: Tradition has it that the apostle Peter brought the gospel to Rome. This is unlikely as there is no historical evidence that Peter was ever in Rome. The gospel was probably brought into Rome in two ways. First, among the three thousand converted on the day of Pentecost, there were “visitors from Rome” (Acts 2:10). These converted returnees could have brought the gospel back home. Second, because it was the capital city of the Roman Empire, thousands of other believers (visitors, tourists, soldiers, traders, businessmen, and migrants) would have come into Rome. These visiting believers would have brought the gospel with them. Sim Kay Tee

Monday, August 8, 2016

Because I Love Him

The weekend has come to an end and we are starting the New Week with these words of wisdom to help us reflect on the week that is ahead of us. Read: Revelation 22:12-21 Bible in a Year: Psalms 74-76; Romans 9:16-33 “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. —Revelation 22:20 The day before my husband was to return home from a business trip my son said, “Mom! I want Daddy to come home.” I asked him why, expecting him to say something about the presents his daddy usually brings back or that he missed playing ball with him. But with solemn seriousness he answered, “I want him to come back because I love him!” His answer made me think about our Lord and His promise to come back. “I am coming soon,” Jesus says (Rev. 22:20). I long for His return, but why do I want Him to come back? Is it because I will be in His presence, away from sickness and death? Is it because I am tired of living in a difficult world? Or is it because when you’ve loved Him so much of your life, when He has shared your tears and your laughter, when He has been more real than anybody else, you want to be with Him forever? I’m glad my son misses his daddy when he’s away. It would be terrible if he didn’t care at all about his return or if he thought it would interfere with his plans. How do we feel about our Lord’s return? Let us long for that day passionately, and earnestly say, “Lord, come back! We love You.” —Keila Ochoa Lord, please come back soon! Look forward eagerly for the Lord’s appearing. INSIGHT: Jesus tells us that He is soon to return and will bring with Him a reward for each believer who faithfully waits for Him. We are also told that those who have “washed their robes” have the right to partake of the tree of life. Does this mean that they are meriting a place in heaven through good works? Most certainly not. The New Testament clearly declares: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Dennis Fisher

Friday, August 5, 2016

Who’s Watching You?

The week has come to an end it's FRIDAY! as we prepare ourselves for the weekend lets take a moment to be Grateful for ALL that has transpired within this week alone with these words of wisdom. Read: Psalm 34:15-22 Bible in a Year: Psalms 68-69; Romans 8:1-21 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous. —Psalm 34:15 No matter where the athletes of the 2016 Olympics go in the city of Rio de Janeiro, they can see Jesus. Standing high above this Brazilian city and anchored to a 2,310-foot-high mountain called Corcovado is a 100-foot-tall sculpture called Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer). With arms spread wide, this massive figure is visible day and night from almost anywhere in the sprawling city. As comforting as this iconic concrete and soapstone sculpture may be to all who can look up and see it, there is much greater comfort from this reality: The real Jesus sees us. In Psalm 34, David explained it like this: “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry” (v. 15). He noted that when the righteous call out for His help, “The Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (vv. 17-18). Just who are the righteous? Those of us who place our trust in Jesus Christ, who Himself is our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30). Our God oversees our lives, and He hears the cries of those who trust Him. He is near to help in our greatest times of need. Jesus has His eyes on you. —Dave Branon Sometimes, Lord, life seems out of control and I don’t know exactly which direction to take. Thank You for overseeing my life and prompting me in the right way through Your Word and Your Spirit. The Lord never lets us out of His sight. INSIGHT: As a lone fugitive running from the jealous king Saul (1 Sam. 19:1-12), David took refuge in the Philistine territory of Gath. Not only was it a foolish thing to do, it was also very dangerous. Gath was the hometown of Goliath (17:4, 23). When the Philistines discovered he was the same David who had slain their champion Goliath (18:6-7), they captured him (21:11-15). Aware that his life was in danger, David feigned insanity, foaming at the mouth as a sign of derangement (21:13). The ploy succeeded. David was released, and he made his escape. In response to God’s deliverance, David wrote Psalm 34 celebrating the God who answers prayers. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me” (v. 4). Sim Kay Tee

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Best Is Yet to Come

We have enter into the 8th month of the New Year it's AUGUST! already WOW! time is moving as we start this New Week off in the month of August let's take to heart these words of encouragement Read: Deuteronomy 34:1-12 Bible in a Year: Psalms 57-59; Romans 4 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. —Deuteronomy 33:27 Are the best days of your life behind or in front of you? Our outlook on life—and our answer to that question—can change with time. When we’re younger, we look ahead, wanting to grow up. And once we’ve grown older, we yearn for the past, wanting to be young again. But when we walk with God, whatever our age, the best is yet to come! Over the course of his long life, Moses witnessed the amazing things God did, and many of those amazing things happened when he was no longer a young man. Moses was 80 years old when he confronted Pharaoh and saw God miraculously set His people free from slavery (Ex. 3-13). Moses saw the Red Sea part, saw manna fall from heaven, and even spoke with God “face to face” (14:21; 16:4; 33:11). Throughout his life, Moses lived expectantly, looking ahead to what God would do (Heb. 11:24-27). He was 120 years old in his final year of life on this earth, and even then he understood that his life with God was just getting started and that he would never see an end to God’s greatness and love. Regardless of our age, “the eternal God is [our] refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27) that faithfully carry us into His joy each day. —James Banks O Lord my God, I praise You for all You have done in the past. I look forward with thankfulness for all You will do in the future. And I thank You for today and all Your blessings. When we walk with God, the best is yet to come. INSIGHT: Although Moses walked with God, he wasn’t perfect. In response to the grumbling Israelites, he got angry and acted in disobedience. Instead of speaking to the rock, he struck it. This impulsive act called attention to him rather than to God, and he lost his opportunity to enter the Promised Land (Num. 20:1-12). Bill Crowder