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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 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 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 | 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 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