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Friday, June 23, 2017

Playing in Concert

So here we are another week has passed us by lets be Thankful that we have made it to the end of the week YES! it's FRIDAY! lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Romans 12:3–8 Bible in a Year: Esther 9–10; Acts 7:1–21 So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.—Romans 12:5-6 During our granddaughter’s school band concert, I was impressed by how well this group of 11- and 12-year-olds played together. If each of them had wanted to be a solo performer, they could not have achieved individually what the band did collectively. The woodwinds, brass, and percussion sections all played their parts and the result was beautiful music! To the followers of Jesus in Rome, Paul wrote, “In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Rom. 12:5-6). Among the gifts Paul mentioned are prophecy, service, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, and mercy (vv. 7-8). Each gift is to be exercised freely for the good of all (1 Cor. 12:7). One definition of in concert is “agreement in design or plan; combined action; harmony or accord.” That’s the Lord’s plan for us as His children through faith in Jesus Christ. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (v. 10). The goal is cooperation, not competition. In a sense, we are “on stage” before a watching and listening world every day. There are no soloists in God’s concert band, but every instrument is essential. The music is best when we each play our part in unity with others. —David C. McCasland Lord, You are the Conductor of our lives. We want to play Your song of love and grace in concert with Your children today. There are no soloists in God’s orchestra. INSIGHT: There are five listings of spiritual gifts in the New Testament: Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 12:28-30; Ephesians 4:9-11; and 1 Peter 4:11. In each of these lists the emphasis is not on how many different types of gifts there are, but on how we are to use them in a loving way that promotes unity in the church, builds up the spiritual maturity of the believers, and brings glory to the Lord. To achieve this, Paul tells us not to think too highly or too lowly of ourselves (Rom. 12:3). We are to use our spiritual giftedness in humility (v. 3) and embrace diversity in the body of Christ with sincere love (v. 9) and mutual respect (v. 10).How has God gifted you? How can you use your spiritual gifts to promote unity and harmony in the church? Sim Kay Tee

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Welcome to the First Day Of Summer!

Welcome to the First Day Of Summer! as of Today June 21st we have step into the Summer Solstice the Next 3 months or so is going to be filled with lots of Beach parties with family and friends alot of beautiful Vacation Time to soak in the Sun and be surround by the beauty that is Mother Nature. As we take this moment to step out of the month of Spring to step into a whole another Season take a moment to reflect on just How Fast time is flying by, also take a moment to have an attitude of Gratitude for ALL that God has done for you. I want to Wish everyone a HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SUMMER! May it be filled with Love, Laughter & Joy. Here to Summer 2017!!!

A moment to say thank you

Here is our June 2017 CCFA Newsletter Uniting to Care and Cure! JUNE 2017 ISSUE Letter from our President & CEO I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to our members, donors, and community members. As you know, Crohn’s and colitis come with not only debilitating physical pain but may also affect a patient’s mental health — causing anxiety, depression, guilt, and more. Thanks to you, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation has nurtured a community of patients and their loved ones so that no one has to face these diseases alone. By visiting our website, patients can find more than 38 local chapters that hold more than 200 support groups across the country, where patients and family members can connect to others living with these diseases. And if patients prefer peer-to-peer support, they can find that too, as well as a 24/7 online community. We are committed to providing places where people can share their stories, seek emotional support, find answers to their questions, and connect with a community that shares their unique challenges. And you make that possible. Thank you, Michael Osso President & CEO Be Part of Take Steps! Take Steps to end Crohn's & Colitis! "Being a part of Take Steps creates the best kind of awareness about these terrible diseases. It is a great outlet for the people who are directly affected by Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. I encourage anyone that can to be part of one. There is something about all of us walking together for the same great purpose, shared love, and being loud and proud that is so uplifting!" — Allison, Crohn’s disease patient and Take Steps participant When you join Take Steps, you become part of a supportive community that helps the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation fund research into better treatments and ultimately cures for IBD. Register your team today for an upcoming Take Steps walk and get started by making a personal donation to the cause. You can make a difference! Thank you to AbbVie for their commitment as a 2017 Take Steps national partner. AbbVie’s longstanding and continued partnership helps support our critical research activities. LEARN MORE ► Choose Your Event, Set Your Own Goal! Choose your event, set your goal Team Challenge is excited to announce a new option in the race against Crohn’s and colitis — Race in Orange. Whether you love to run/walk a 5k, get dirty in a mud run, cruise in a cycle event, or try a triathlon… you can now help fight IBD — with no fundraising commitment! Set your own goal. The more you raise, the more rewards you receive. But you’re not on your own — you’ll receive tons of fundraising support and templates to make your fundraising easy AND FUN! Click here to learn more, and have a local manager contact you to take the first step! LEARN MORE ► this is why we spin4 crohn’s and colitis cures™ IBD forced Liz to put her goals and dreams on hold when she was just 21-years-old. IBD forced Liz to put her goals and dreams on hold when she was just 21-years-old. She has fought through pain, weight loss, medication changes, and surgery in an effort to find remission. Her passion for making Crohn’s and colitis things of the past led her to the spin4 crohn’s & colitis cures™ movement. Click here to read about her incredible journey with IBD, and learn why this event means so much to her. Join the movement and #partyonabike with us this fall to help end IBD! LEARN MORE ► Have you joined yet? Become a member of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation today, and be part of the community that’s uniting to care and cure. IBD does not need to get in the way of your vacation plans. Travel Tips for Summer Vacationing IBD does not need to get in the way of your vacation plans. Planning ahead and preparing for unexpected events are critical to ensuring a smooth trip. To help you prepare for your summer vacation, we have put together some valuable tips: Traveling with IBD. Additionally, patients can take some of the worries out of air travel by reading our Air Travel Frequently Asked Questions. For further information and resources, please contact the IBD Help Center at 888-694-8872 or info@crohnscolitisfoundation.org. Join our Facebook chat on June 21. June Facebook Chat: IBD Treatment Approaches There are a lot of factors that go into decisions around how to treat each individual case of IBD. Some doctors may use a “step up” treatment approach, beginning treatment with aminosalicylates and progressing up to biologic therapies, while other doctors may use a “top down” approach, beginning with biologics. Regardless of which is used, the ultimate goal is inducing and maintaining remission in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis where there is an absence of symptoms. Join the Foundation on Wednesday, June 21 at 5 p.m. EST for a Facebook Live video chat to discuss different IBD approaches with Dr. Ryan Ungaro of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Ungaro will discuss “step up” and “top down” approaches along with emerging therapies on the horizon and new treatment approaches for treating Crohn’s and colitis. The chat will take place live at https://www.facebook.com/ccfafb. Submit your questions before the chat to socialmedia@crohnscolitisfoundation.org. Join our Twitter chat on June 29. June Twitter Chat: Surviving the Summer with IBD The “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” are upon us, and with warm weather comes some concerns for IBD patients. Join Dr. Neil Nandi (@NandiFITWITMD) and ulcerative colitis patient Laura Scaviola (@MangiaPaleo) for a live Twitter chat on June 29 from 8-9 p.m. EST to chat about surviving summer with IBD — from barbecues to fun in the sun to travel, and everything in between. Tweet your questions during the chat using the hashtag #IBDchat to participate! The Foundation 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: (Genentech Hickory) Hickory (GA28950) Phase III, randomized, double-blind comparison between etrolizumab and placebo to evaluate efficacy and safety of etrolizumab in patients with active ulcerative colitis who have less than adequate response to TNF inhibitors. (Genentech Bergamot) A Phase III, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Multicenter Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Etrolizumab as an Induction and Maintenance Treatment for Patients with Moderately to Severely Active Crohn's Disease (Bergamot GA29144) (Gilead — 3898) Combined Phase 2b/3, Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Studies Evaluating the Efficacy and Safety of Filgotinib in the Induction and Maintenance of Remission in Subjects with Moderately to Severely Active Ulcerative Colitis (Gilead — 3899) A Long-Term Extension Study to Evaluate the Safety of Filgotinib in Subjects with Ulcerative Colitis (Gilead — 4016) A Phase 2, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy and Safety of Filgotinib in the Treatment of Perianal Fistulizing Crohn's Disease 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.crohnscolitisfoundation.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 Unsubscribe or update your email preferences Click here to Reply or Forward 3.82 GB (25%) of 15 GB used Manage Terms - Privacy Last account activity: 2 minutes ago Details

Monday, June 19, 2017

Driven by God

So here we are in the 3rd week of June as we start this New Week with Summer in just a couple of day's let's take a moment to refresh are thoughts with these words of wisdom Read: 1 Kings 8:54–63 Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 12–13; Acts 4:23–37 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him.—1 Kings 8:58 A few months ago I received an email inviting me to join a community of “driven people.” I decided to look up the word driven, and I learned that a driven person is someone highly motivated to succeed and who will work hard to achieve his goals. Is it good to be a driven person? There is a test that never fails: “Do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Many times we do things for self-glory. After the flood in Noah’s day, a group of people decided to build a tower in order to “make a name” for themselves (Gen. 11:4). They wanted to be famous and avoid being scattered all over the world. Because they were not doing it for God’s glory, though, they were erroneously driven. In contrast, when King Solomon dedicated the ark of the covenant and the newly constructed temple, he said, “I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:20). Then he prayed, “May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands” (v. 58). When our greatest desire is to bring glory to God and walk in obedience, we become driven people who seek to love and serve Jesus in the power of the Spirit. Let our prayer echo Solomon’s. May our “hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands” (v. 61). —Keila Ochoa Father, give me the desire to obey You and do everything for Your glory. For help in your spiritual growth, read God at the Center at discoveryseries.org/hp152. Do everything for the glory of God. INSIGHT: As you work hard to achieve your goals, ask God to give you a humble and obedient heart that is fully committed to Him.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Made Alive

It's the end of the week we have made it through the second week of June with these words of wisdom Read: Ephesians 2:1–10 Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 4–6; Acts 2:22–47 You were dead in your transgressions and sins.—Ephesians 2:1 As a young man, my dad was traveling with a group of friends to an out-of-town sporting event when the tires of their car slipped on the rain-soaked roads. They had an accident—a bad accident. One of his friends was paralyzed and another was killed. My dad was declared dead and taken to the morgue. His shocked and grief-stricken parents came to identify him. But my dad revived from what turned out to be a deep coma. Their mourning turned to joy. In Ephesians 2, the apostle Paul reminds us that apart from Christ we are “dead in [our] transgressions and sins” (v. 1). But because of His great love for us, “God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (vv. 4-5). Through Christ we have been brought from death to life. So in every sense, we all owe our life to the Father in heaven. Through His great love, He has made it possible for those of us who were dead in sin to have life and purpose through His Son. —Bill Crowder Thank You, Father, for love that conquers sin, life that conquers death, and grace that has conquered my heart. May my life be a sweet aroma of praise to You. We owed a debt we could not pay, but Jesus paid the debt He did not owe. INSIGHT: In most world religions, people seek to gain favor from a deity—whether offering a sacrifice or promising to change one’s ways, the emphasis on human works is central. Yet in the writings of Paul we see that through Christ’s sacrifice we are saved by God’s grace and not by works. This is the central theme of the gospel. What is so extraordinary about the free gift of salvation by faith is its eternal impact. Although we will someday have to face physical death, the spiritual death of eternal separation from God has been replaced with eternal life.Have you received this gift of new spiritual life that Christ offers? Dennis Fisher

Monday, June 12, 2017

Nothing Is Useless

So here we are in the 3rd week of June as we start this New Week lets take some time to reflect on these words of wisdom to help get us through this week Read: 1 Corinthians 15:42–58 Bible in a Year: Ezra 3–5; John 20 Nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.—1 Corinthians 15:58 nlt In my third year battling discouragement and depression caused by limited mobility and chronic pain, I confided to a friend, “My body’s falling apart. I feel like I have nothing of value to offer God or anyone else.” Her hand rested on mine. “Would you say it doesn’t make a difference when I greet you with a smile or listen to you? Would you tell me it’s worthless when I pray for you or offer a kind word?” I settled into my recliner. “Of course not.” She frowned. “Then why are you telling yourself those lies? You do all those things for me and for others.” I thanked God for reminding me that nothing we do for Him is useless. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul assures us that our bodies may be weak now but they will be “raised in power” (v. 43). Because God promises we’ll be resurrected through Christ, we can trust Him to use every offering, every small effort done for Him, to make a difference in His kingdom (v. 58). Even when we’re physically limited, a smile, a word of encouragement, a prayer, or a display of faith during our trial can be used to minister to the diverse and interdependent body of Christ. When we serve the Lord, no job or act of love is too menial to matter. —Xochitl Dixon Jesus, thank You for valuing us and using us to build up others. Do what you can with what you have and leave the results to God.

Friday, June 9, 2017

A Reason to Sing

So here we are the week has come to an end it's FRIDAY! with these words of wisdom Read: 2 Chronicles 20:14–22 Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 32–33; John 18:19–40 Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.—Psalm 47:6 Singing changes the brain! Some studies show that when we sing, our bodies release hormones that relieve anxiety and stress. Other research indicates that when a group of people sings together, their heartbeats actually synchronize with each other. The apostle Paul’s writing encourages the church to speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19). And the Bible repeats, “Sing praise” more than fifty times. In 2 Chronicles 20, we read a story of God’s people demonstrating their trust in God by singing as they marched into battle. Enemies were heading toward the people of Judah. Alarmed, King Jehoshaphat called everyone together. He led the community in intense prayer. They didn’t eat or drink, but only prayed, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (v. 12). The next day, they set out. They weren’t led by their fiercest warriors, but by their choir. They believed God’s promise that they would be delivered without having to fight at all (v. 17). While they sang and walked toward the conflict, their enemies fought each other! By the time God’s people reached the battlefield, the fighting had ended. God saved His people as they marched by faith toward the unknown, singing His praises. God encourages us to praise Him for good reasons. Whether or not we are marching into battle, praising God has power to change our thoughts, our hearts, and our lives. —Amy Peterson God, we praise Your everlasting love and faithfulness! You protect and guide us, and we trust You with our lives. Hearts in tune with God sing His praises.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Honoring Prince Rogers Nelson June 7, 1958

Today is the day we Honor our PURPLE King PRINCE ROGERS NELSON Born on June 7, 1958. On this day June 7th God blessed the World with our PURPLE King Prince Rogers Nelson honoring what would have been his 59th. I'm so Thankful 2 God 4 U're gift of Music that have touched Millions ALL over the world and how U blessed the world with it. Just know this 2 The World U were a Mighty Prince BUT 2 this Queen U will ALWAYS be my Mighty PURPLE KING.

Monday, June 5, 2017

What Do We Want?

So here we are in the 6th month of the New Year we have started the New Week in the month of June, so as we start this week lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Romans 8:1–11 Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 23–24; John 15 He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.—Romans 8:11 “I went from the horse-and-buggy to a man walking on the moon,” said the elderly man to his granddaughter, who shared this story with me recently. But then he mused, “I never thought it would be so short.” Life is short, and many of us turn to Jesus because we want to live forever. That’s not bad, but we don’t comprehend what eternal life really is. We tend to crave the wrong things. We long for something better, and we think it’s just ahead. If only I were out of school. If only I had that job. If only I were married. If only I could retire. If only . . . And then one day we catch an echo of our grandfather’s voice as we wonder where the time has flown. The truth is, we possess eternal life now. The apostle Paul wrote, “The law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). Then he said, “Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (v. 5). In other words, our desires change when we come to Christ. This naturally gives us what we most desire. “The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (v. 6). It’s one of life’s great lies that we need to be somewhere else, doing something else, with someone else before we start truly living. When we find our life in Jesus, we exchange regret over life’s brevity for the full enjoyment of life with Him, both now and forever. —Tim Gustafson Lord, You said You came to give us life to the fullest, but so often we have our own agenda and the wrong goals in mind. Please forgive us, and help us desire what You want. To live forever we must let Jesus live in us now. INSIGHT: Read John 10:10 to see what Jesus said about eternal life. What hinders you from enjoying life on earth now?To read more on the subject of contentment see Cultivating a Heart of Contentment at discoveryseries.org/hp052.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Table Rock

Made it to the end of the week in the 6th month of the New Year Welcome to the month of June now let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Luke 6:46–49 Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 17–18; John 13:1–20 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”—Luke 6:46 A large, illuminated cross stands erect on Table Rock, a rocky plateau overlooking my hometown. Several homes were built on neighboring land, but recently the owners have been forced to move out due to safety concerns. Despite their close proximity to the firm bedrock of Table Rock, these homes aren’t secure. They have been shifting atop their foundations—nearly three inches every day—causing risk of major water pipes breaking, which would accelerate the sliding. Jesus compares those who hear and obey His words to those who build their homes on rock (Luke 6:47-48). These homes survive the storms. By contrast, He says homes built without a firm foundation—like people who don’t heed His instruction—cannot weather the torrents. On many occasions, I’ve been tempted to ignore my conscience when I knew God asked more of me than I had given, thinking my response had been “close enough.” Yet the homes in the shifting foothills nearby have depicted for me that being “close” is nowhere near enough when it comes to obeying Him. To be like those who built their homes on a firm foundation and withstand the storms of life that so often assail us, we must heed the words of our Lord completely. —Kirsten Holmberg Help me, Lord, to obey You fully and with my whole heart. Thank You for being my firm foundation. God’s Word is the only sure foundation for life. INSIGHT: To fully appreciate Jesus’s comments in Luke 6:46-49, it’s helpful to keep in mind the fuller content of His teachings in this chapter (see vv. 20-49). Luke 6 captures many of the same teachings found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7)—teachings that are revolutionary in cultures dominated by the powerful and where weakness is looked down on. Jesus invited His followers into God’s reality—where it is those who know their brokenness, the poor and persecuted, who God is especially near to (vv. 20-25), and where strength is demonstrated in forgiving even our enemies (vv. 27-36).A temptation when hearing Jesus’s words is to be moved and inspired without wrestling with the ways His words demand change in our lives. Jesus knew that would be our tendency, and so He emphasizes that an emotional confession (“Lord, Lord,” v. 46) is of no value if we do not obey, if we do not let His words challenge the way we live and what we believe. Building our lives on Him means a life of daily transformation, of daily following Him.What “norms” in your life do you think Jesus’s words might challenge?For further study, see Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by Oswald Chambers at dhp.org/studies. Monica Brands

Monday, May 29, 2017

Let Honor Meet Honor

As we start this last New week of May on this Memorial Day Holiday lets take a Moment to reflect on these words of wisdom as we remember those that have severed and fought for our Freedom Read: Matthew 6:1–6 Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 7–9; John 11:1–29 Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.—Matthew 6:1 I’ve always been impressed by the solemn, magnificent simplicity of the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at The carefully choreographed event is a moving tribute to soldiers whose names—and sacrifice—are “known but to God.” Equally moving are the private moments of steady pacing when the crowds are gone: back and forth, hour after hour, day by day, in even the worst weather. In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel was bearing down on Washington, DC, and the guards were told they could seek shelter during the worst of the storm. Surprising almost no one, the guards refused! They unselfishly stood their post to honor their fallen comrades even in the face of a hurricane. Underlying Jesus’s teaching in Matthew 6:1-6, I believe, is His desire for us to live with an unrelenting, selfless devotion to Him. The Bible calls us to good deeds and holy living, but these are to be acts of worship and obedience (vv. 4-6), not orchestrated acts for self-glorification (v. 2). The apostle Paul endorses this whole-life faithfulness when he pleads with us to make our bodies “a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). May our private and public moments speak of our devotion and wholehearted commitment to You, Lord. —Randy Kilgore Grant me the strength this day, O Lord, to persevere, to return honor to Your name where I am serving. My desire is to give myself in selfless devotion because of Your love for me. The more we serve Christ, the less we will serve self. INSIGHT: In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), Jesus issues a warning about showcased religiosity and hypocrisy (6:1-8). After His strong caution against it, He gives us the proper motivation. Our reason to share with open hands, to raise our hands in prayer, and to fold them before an empty plate is both stated and implied. When we do these things, we do them out of love for the Father, the source of all good things, knowing He will bless our efforts. The approval of the Father is better than any praise we may receive from friends and neighbors. It is the reward from Him that we should truly and deeply desire. J.R. Hudberg

Friday, May 26, 2017

Navigating Rough Waters

Made it to the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY! as we prepare for this long Holiday weekend let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: 1 Chronicles 28:9–20 Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 28–29; John 9:24–41 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.—1 Chronicles 28:20 I was enjoying the start of my first whitewater rafting experience—until I heard the roar of the rapids up ahead. My emotions were flooded with feelings of uncertainty, fear, and insecurity at the same time. Riding through the whitewater was a first-rate, white-knuckle experience! And then, suddenly, it was over. The guide in the back of the raft had navigated us through. I was safe—at least until the next set of rapids. Transitions in our lives can be like whitewater experiences. The inevitable leaps from one season of life to the next—college to career, changing jobs, living with parents to living alone or with a spouse, career to retirement, youth to old age—are all marked by uncertainty and insecurity. In one of the most significant transitions recorded in Old Testament history, Solomon assumed the throne from his father David. I’m sure he was filled with uncertainty about the future. His father’s advice? “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. . . . For the Lord God, my God, is with you” (1 Chron. 28:20). We’ll have our fair share of tough transitions in life. But with God in our raft we’re not alone. Keeping our eyes on the One who is navigating the rapids brings joy and security. He’s taken lots of others through before. —Joe Stowell God guides us through the rapids of change. INSIGHT: King David had desired to build God’s temple (1 Chron. 17:1), but God told him he could not because of the blood he had shed as a warrior (28:3). Instead, the privilege and responsibility for this project would fall upon the shoulders of David’s son Solomon. It is understandable that Solomon would be apprehensive about assuming this role. But his father admonished him to trust in God and do the work. Indeed, God was faithful as Solomon built the temple and took his father’s place as king. Are you facing a transition? Reflect on God’s faithfulness and ask Him for strength to carry you through. Dennis Fisher

Monday, May 22, 2017

Blink and Think of God

The weekend has come to an end and we are starting the New week with these words of wisdom Read: Deuteronomy 32:1–12 Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 16–18; John 7:28–53 He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.—Deuteronomy 32:10 “God is like an eyelid,” my friend Ryley said, and I blinked in surprise. What could she mean by that? “Tell me more,” I replied. Together, we had been studying surprising pictures of God in the Bible, things like God as a laboring mother (Isa. 42:14) or as a beekeeper (7:18), but this one was new to me. Ryley pointed me to Deuteronomy 32, where Moses praises the way God takes care of His people. Verse 10 says that God shields and protects His people, guarding them “as the apple of his eye.” But the word we translate apple, Ryley told me, literally means pupil. And what encircles and guards the pupil? The eyelid, of course! God is like the eyelid, which instinctively protects the tender eye. The eyelid guards the eye from danger, and by blinking helps remove dirt or dust. It keeps sweat out of the eye. It lubricates the eyeball, keeping it healthy. It closes, allowing rest. As I considered the picture of God as an eyelid, I couldn’t help but thank God for the many metaphors He’s given us to help us understand His love for us. When we close our eyes at night and open them in the morning, we can think of God, and praise Him for His tender protection and care for us. —Amy Peterson Thank You, God, for using surprising metaphors to help us understand You better. Thanks for guarding us just as the eyelid guards the eye. When you blink, remember to thank God for His protection. INSIGHT: Jesus Himself verifies the truth of God’s protection when He tells us not to worry about our lives: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. . . . You are worth more than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 12:1-6). In what situation do you need to remember that God protects and provides? How can you remind yourself and others of our worth in God’s eyes? J.R. Hudberg

Friday, May 19, 2017

Prepare the Child

As we prepare to close out this week let's take a moment to be Thankful that we have made it to the end of the week YES! it's FRIDAY! with these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 78:1–8 Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 7–9; John 6:22–44 We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.—Psalm 78:4 A phrase on many parenting websites says, “Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.” Instead of trying to remove all obstacles and pave the way for the children in our life, we should instead equip them to deal with the difficulties they encounter on the road ahead. The psalmist wrote, “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes . . . , which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children” (Ps. 78:4-6). The goal is that “they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands” (v. 7). Think of the powerful spiritual impact others had on us through what they said and how they lived. Their conversation and demonstration captured our attention and kindled a fire in us to follow Jesus just as they did. It’s a wonderful privilege and responsibility to share God’s Word and His plan for our lives with the next generation and the generations to come. No matter what lies ahead on their road through life, we want them to be prepared and equipped to face it in the strength of the Lord. —David McCasland Father in heaven, we seek Your wisdom and guidance to prepare the children we know and love to walk with You in faith. Through conversation and demonstration, help prepare children to follow the Lord on the road ahead. INSIGHT: Psalm 78 is an “historical psalm” (a psalm full of historical facts). Other historical psalms are Psalm 105-107, 114, 135, and 136. In Psalm 78 Asaph recounts key events covering 450 years of history, reminding the Jews that God has commanded them to teach their children and children’s children about Him so that future generations will love and worship Him (vv. 5-8). In His covenant with Abraham, God said Abraham was chosen for this same purpose: “so that [Abraham] will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord” (Gen. 18:19). Deuteronomy also emphasizes that parents have been entrusted with the sacred duty and divine privilege of teaching their children about God (4:9; 6:6-9; 11:19-21). Look for opportunities this week to talk with your children, grandchildren, or others in your life about God and His Word. Sim Kay Tee

Monday, May 15, 2017

Forever Flowers

As we start this 3rd New Week in the Month of May lets take a moment to reflect on the Goodness of God with these words of wisdom Read: Isaiah 40:1–8 Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 22–23; John 4:31–54 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.—Isaiah 40:8 As a toddler, my son Xavier enjoyed giving me flowers. I appreciated every freshly picked weed or store-bought blossom he purchased with his dad. I treasured each gift until it wilted and had to be thrown away. One day, Xavier gave me a beautiful bouquet of artificial flowers. He grinned as he arranged the silk white calla lily, yellow sunflower, and purple hydrangea in a glass vase. “Look, Mommy,” he said. “They’ll last forever. That’s how much I love you.” Since then, my boy has grown into a young man. Those silk petals have frayed. The colors have faded. Still, the Forever Flowers remind me of his adoration. And there is something else it brings to mind—one thing that truly stands forever—the limitless and lasting love of God, as revealed in His infallible and enduring Word (Isa. 40:8). As the Israelites faced continual trials, Isaiah comforted them with confidence in God’s enduring words (40:1). He proclaimed that God paid the debt caused by the Israelites’ sin (v. 2), securing their hope in the coming Messiah (vv. 3-5). They trusted the prophet because his focus remained on God rather than their circumstances. In a world filled with uncertainties and affliction, the opinions of man and even our own feelings are ever-shifting and as limited as our mortality (vv. 6-7). Still, we can trust God’s unchanging love and character as revealed through His constant and eternally true Word. —Xochitl Dixon God affirms His love through His dependable and unchanging Word, which endures now and forevermore. INSIGHT: The Bible has changed lives in each generation that has read it. The apostle Paul told us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). This means that the inspired words did not come merely from human authors but from the Holy Spirit of God who guided what they wrote. As Peter told us, “Prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). The word that translates as our English phrase “carried along” actually refers to the wind blowing along a sailing ship. Scripture could not have been written without the gracious guidance of a Divine Author, the Holy Spirit. How does knowing that all Scripture is inspired by God—who does not change—comfort you? Dennis Fisher

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Advocate

Made it to the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY! but before we head into the weekend lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: John 16:7–15 Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 15–16; John 3:1–18 When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.—John 16:13 As I boarded the airplane to study in a city a thousand miles from home, I felt nervous and alone. But during the flight, I remembered how Jesus promised His disciples the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’s friends must have felt bewildered when He told them, “It is for your good that I am going away” (John 16:7). How could they who witnessed His miracles and learned from His teaching be better off without Him? But Jesus told them that if He left, then the Advocate—the Holy Spirit—would come. Jesus, nearing His last hours on earth, shared with His disciples (in John 14-17, today known as the “Farewell Discourse”) to help them understand His death and ascension. Central in this conversation was the coming Holy Spirit, an advocate who would be with them (14:16-17), teaching (15:15), testifying (v. 26), and guiding them (16:13). We who have accepted God’s offer of new life have been given this gift of His Spirit living within us. From Him we receive so much: He convicts us of our sins and helps us to repent. He brings us comfort when we ache, strength to bear hardships, wisdom to understand God’s teaching, hope and faith to believe, love to share. We can rejoice that Jesus sent us the Advocate. —Amy Boucher Pye Heavenly Father, You sent Your Son to save us and Your Spirit to comfort and convict us. May we bring You glory as we thank You for Your goodness and love. The Holy Spirit fills Jesus’s followers. INSIGHT: When Jesus comforts His disciples before His impending crucifixion and eventual ascension (going back to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father), Jesus says He must go away so the Holy Spirit will come. The disciples didn’t know the Holy Spirit, so how would His coming comfort them? Jesus offers the answer. The Spirit will continue what Jesus started. He will bring conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He will speak to the disciples not simply on behalf of Jesus, but He will speak to them the very words Jesus speaks (John 16:13-15). The Spirit would be with them in a way that Jesus couldn’t be. No matter where each of them went, together or separately, the Spirit—and therefore Jesus Himself—would be with them. For more on the Holy Spirit read Filled with the Spirit at discoveryseries.org/q0301. J.R. Hudberg

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Burden of Waiting

As we are starting this New Week OFF! with these words of wisdom take a moment just to reflect on ALL that God has done for you with these words of encouragement Read: Psalm 90 Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 4–6; Luke 24:36–53 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.—Psalm 90:12 Over the last few years, two members of my family have faced life-threatening diagnoses. For me, the hardest part of supporting them through their treatments has been the constant uncertainty. I am always desperate for a definitive word from a doctor, but things are rarely that straightforward. Instead of being given clarity, we are often asked to wait. It’s hard to bear the burden of uncertainty, always wondering what the next test will reveal. Will we have weeks, months, years, or decades before death separates us? But regardless of disease and diagnosis, each of us will die one day—things like cancer just bring our mortality to the forefront instead of letting it hide in the recesses of our minds. Faced with sobering reminders of our mortality, I find myself praying words that Moses once prayed. Psalm 90 tells us that though our lives are like grass that withers and fades (vv. 5-6), we have an eternal home with God (v. 1). Like Moses, we can ask God to teach us to number our days so we can make wise decisions (v. 12), and to make our brief lives fruitful by making what we do for Him count (v. 17). Ultimately, the psalm reminds us that our hope is not in a doctor’s diagnosis, but in a God who is “from everlasting to everlasting.” —Amy Peterson How can we best spend the time we’ve been given? Share your thoughts with us at odb.org. We can face the reality of our own mortality because we trust in God.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Ministry of Memory

The week has come to an end It's FRIDAY! YES! here are some words of wisdom to help us reflect on ALL that GOD has done for us Read: Jeremiah 29:4–14 Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 19–20; Luke 23:1–25 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”—Jeremiah 29:11 Our experiences of loss and disappointment may leave us feeling angry, guilty, and confused. Whether our choices have closed some doors that will never reopen or, through no fault of our own, tragedy has invaded our lives, the result is often what Oswald Chambers called “the unfathomable sadness of ‘the might have been.’ ” We may try to suppress the painful memory, but discover we can’t. Chambers reminds us that the Lord is still active in our lives. “Never be afraid when God brings back the past,” he said. “Let memory have its way. It is a minister of God with its rebuke and chastisement and sorrow. God will turn the ‘might have been’ into a wonderful [place of growth] for the future.” In Old Testament days when God sent the people of Israel into exile in Babylon, He told them to serve Him in that foreign land and grow in faith until He brought them back to their home. “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” (Jer. 29:11). God urged them not to ignore or be trapped by events of the past but instead to focus on Him and look ahead. The Lord’s forgiveness can transform the memory of our sorrow into confidence in His everlasting love. —David McCasland Father, thank You for Your plans for us, and for the future that awaits us in Your love. For more insight from Oswald Chambers, visit utmost.org. God can use our deepest disappointments to nurture our faith in Him. INSIGHT: What is one past sorrow that you find great difficulty in letting go? How does God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11-14 comfort and encourage you as you turn your pain over to the Lord? Sim Kay Tee

Monday, May 1, 2017

Questions for God

Welcome to the 5th month of the New Year YES! we are starting this New Week of in the month of May as we JUMP start this New week with these words of wisdom be Grateful to enter into a New Month in a New Year Read: Judges 6:11–16, 24 Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 10–11; Luke 21:20–38 Go with the strength you have . . . . I will be with you. nlt—Judges 6:14, 16 What would you do if the Lord showed up in the middle of your workday with a message? This happened to Gideon, one of the ancient Israelites. “The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!’ ” Gideon could have responded with a wordless nod and gulp, but instead he said, “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judg. 6:12-13 nlt). Gideon wanted to know why it seemed as if God had abandoned His people. God didn’t answer that question. After Gideon had endured seven years of enemy attacks, starvation, and hiding in caves, God didn’t explain why He never intervened. God could have revealed Israel’s past sin as the reason, but instead He gave Gideon hope for the future. God said, “Go with the strength you have . . . . I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites” (vv.14, 16 nlt). Do you ever wonder why God has allowed suffering in your life? Instead of answering that specific question, God may satisfy you with His nearness today and remind you that you can rely on His strength when you feel weak. When Gideon finally believed that God was with him and would help him, he built an altar and called it “The Lord Is Peace” (v. 24). There is peace in knowing that whatever we do and wherever we go, we go with God who promised never to leave or forsake His followers. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt For help, read Why? Seeing God in Our Pain at discoveryseries.org/cb151. What could be better than getting answers to our why questions? Trusting a good and powerful God. INSIGHT: Today’s text provides some insight into how we should view situations for which we feel inadequate. Gideon did not feel prepared to go into battle against the Midianites who were oppressing Israel. Responding to Gideon’s understandable concern, God sent the angel of the Lord to encourage him. He said that Gideon should “go in the strength” he had (Judg. 6:14), but he also said, “I will be with you” (v. 16). When God calls us to take on a difficult task, we can rely on His strength and power to help us accomplish it.Are you facing a situation for which you feel inadequate? Ask God for His strength to help you. J.R. Hudberg

Friday, April 28, 2017

TEAMMATE SPOTLIGHT: Kim & Emily

Here is a CCFA Team Challenge Teammate Spotlight on Kim & Emily here is there story. In 2012, I found Team Challenge and decided to run a half marathon in honor of Abby. My sister in law, Emily, joined me and it was such a positive experience for the entire family that we ran again in 2013. We met so many other people that had been affected by IBD, and the support of our Team Challenge family would prove to be helpful in the years to come. Our journey with IBD took another turn when, at the beginning of 2015, my oldest daughter Ashley began having similar symptoms to Abby’s. We went through the same sense of shock as we learned that, like Abby, Ashley had Crohn’s Disease. Ashley went through a rough 18 months of testing, including new medicine which helped, but caused horrible side effects. Fortunately, both girls are now doing well with the help of medications that were developed in part due to funding by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, and programs like Team Challenge. This is why Emily and I decided to run again this past winter. Abby and Ashley are our inspiration, and while we’re thankful that they’re doing well currently, we don’t want any other families to have to endure what ours has gone through. We’ll continue to fight until there is a cure! As a mom, you want to fix any problems your child experiences. After having two of my daughters diagnosed with IBD, I have learned that sometimes it’s just not possible. Abby is a typical 18 year old girl, her days consist of going to school, texting with friends, posting pictures and all of the things teenage girls do. She loves to sing, dance, and is a straight A student. By looking at or talking with her you would never know she has been living with Crohn’s disease for almost 14 years. In early 2003, at age 4, she started experiencing bloody stools, stomach pain and was frequently waking up at night to use the restroom. We went back and forth with our Pediatrician for about 8 months until he recommended we see a GI Specialist. After many tests and a colonoscopy, Abby was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. We were in shock. What was Crohn’s? How did she get it? How do we tell a 4 year old girl she has a chronic disease?Once we had a diagnosis for Abby, it was tough to find a medicine that worked for her because many of them were not made for a young child to take. We tried repackaging them in smaller pills, hiding them in various foods and just about anything to get her to take them. Finally in the spring of 2004, the medication started working. Abby never complains about living with a chronic illness. She doesn’t love having to get colonoscopies or infusions, but has accepted it as part of her life.

An Alternative to Anger

Made it to the end of the week it's FRIDAY! WOW! can't believe the month of April has almost come to an end as we head into the 5th month of the new year let's take a moment to reflect on ALL of the things that God has brought us through with these words of wisdom.Read: Proverbs 20:1–15 | Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 3–5; Luke 20:1–26 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife. Proverbs 20:3 One morning in Perth, Australia, Fionn Mulholland discovered his car was missing. That’s when he realized he had mistakenly parked in a restricted zone and his car had been towed away. After considering the situation—even the $600 towing and parking fine—Mulholland was frustrated, but he decided not to be angry with the person he would work with to retrieve his car. Instead of venting his feelings, Mulholland wrote a humorous poem about the situation and read it to the worker he met at the tow yard. The worker liked the poem, and a possible ugly confrontation never took place. The book of Proverbs teaches, “It is to one’s honor to avoid strife” (20:3). Strife is that friction that either simmers under the surface or explodes in the open between people who disagree about something. Dear God, give me self-control through the power of Your Holy Spirit. God has given us the resources to live peacefully with other people. His Word assures us that it’s possible to feel anger without letting it boil over into rage (Eph. 4:26). His Spirit enables us to override the sparks of fury that prompt us to do and say things to strike out at people who upset us. And God has given us His example to follow when we feel provoked (1 Peter 2:23). He is compassionate, gracious, and slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (Ps. 86:15). Dear God, Please help me to manage my anger in a way that does not lead me into sin. Give me self-control through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Be slow to anger. INSIGHT: The Scriptures have a lot to say about controlling our anger. King David knew well enough the potential evil waiting to be unleashed when we don’t master our anger. He warned, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm” (Ps. 4:4; 37:8 nlt). May God help us follow this wise instruction when anger comes calling. Can you think of a situation where you could have better controlled your anger? What should you have done? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you respond to situations in a way that honors Him. By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Small Things

So here we are in the last week of the 4th month of the New Year April before we head into the 5th month of the New Year which will be May as we start this New Week let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 116:1–9 | Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 19–20; Luke 18:1–23 Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17 My friend Gloria called with excitement in her voice. She had not been able to leave her home except for doctors’ appointments. So I understood why she was so happy to tell me, “My son just attached new speakers to my computer, so now I can go to my church!” Now she could hear the live broadcast of her church’s worship service. She raved about God’s goodness and the “best gift my son could have given me!” Gloria teaches me about having a thankful heart. Despite her many limitations, she’s thankful for the smallest of things—sunsets, helpful family and neighbors, quiet moments with God, the ability to remain in her own apartment. She’s had a lifetime of seeing God provide for her, and she talks about Him to anyone who visits or calls. God is the giver of all good gifts in our life. We don’t know what difficulties the author of Psalm 116 was encountering. Some Bible commentaries say it was probably sickness because he said, “the cords of death entangled me” (v. 3). But he gave thanks to the Lord for being gracious and full of compassion when he was “brought low” (vv. 5–6). When we’re low, it can be hard to look up. Yet if we do, we see that God is the giver of all good gifts in our life—great and small—and we learn to give Him thanks. What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? . . . I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving (Ps. 116:12, 17 esv). Praise to God comes naturally when you count your blessings. INSIGHT: This marvelous psalm celebrates the miraculous deliverance we receive from the God who comes to our rescue. Verses 1–9 recognize the call for help, the gracious response of God, and the praise and rest that come to us after a stressful time. Verses 8–9 also give us an eloquent summary of God’s deliverance: “For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” These two verses are worth memorizing as a means of strengthening our faith, giving thanks for past help from God, and in preparation for future trials. Fear of death, tears of sorrow, and even stumbling feet find their comfort and restoration in the God of grace. All of these offer reasons to count our blessings. For what can you praise God today? By Anne Cetas

Friday, April 21, 2017

PRINCE JUNE 7, 1958- APRIL 21, 2016

This is dedicated to my Purple Family On this day April 21st 2016 is when life for ALL of us faded to BLACK when we ALL learn that Prince Rogers Nelson had passed away, It's been 365 days since that day a Whole Year has come an gone and Though the physicality of you is no longer here it's been the hardest. There are still NO WORDS for me too speak. But here my Letter to U on this One Year Anniversary #RIPPrince Dear Prince, WOW! It's been a Year since you have been gone and BOY! look at what's been going on since a year ago let me tell you about what's been going on with me, last year around this time things seem to be on the up an up U had just started U're Piano and A Microphone Tour at Paisley Park and getting ready to head out on Tour with your Piano and A Microphone, I was so EXCITED and looking forward too seeing U on this Piano and A Microphone Tour until 4 months into the Piano and A Microphone tour U fell ill I just prayed about and NEVER looked back while U were in Atlanta but on April 20th right after U found U're way back home back to Minnesota I rested my head knowing that everything would be OK, but I was wrong when I woke up on that fateful morning of April 21st I woke up with what would be the most shocking and devastating News of my life U had passed away ALL I could do was sit in silence and try to make some since of it ALL. U see for me U were my Soundtrack every song U sang U capture my life I knew where I was whenever the radio station or video station would play U're Music and now a Year later it's the hardest thing for me to listen to these day's since U have been gone. On that day of April 21st when I woke up that morning it seem as though my world faded to BLACK it's been the most toughest, most difficult, most hardest thing that I ever had to face NOT to see those beautiful God given Hazel Brown Eyes Staring back at me whenever and wherever U were, if U want to know my world is different since U have been gone now, It's been a Year now a really nothing has really change for me ALL I know is that it's going to take a minute for me too come to terms that U're NOT here physically but U're Spirit is around. 31 Years ago U wrote a song that says Sometimes It Snows In April well this is the question I ask myself the day U passed away, it's taken from U're Song When Doves Cry, "How can you just leave me standing? Alone in a world that's so cold? I've been asking myself that every since April 21st. Yours Truly, Queen Bee

The Gift of Giving

Made it through the 3rd week of April so here we are at the end of the week it's FRIDAY! with these words of wisdom Read: Luke 3:7–14 Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 12–13; Luke 16 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion.—2 Corinthians 9:7 A pastor breathed life into the phrase “He’d give you the shirt off his back” when he gave this unsettling challenge to his church: “What would happen if we took the coats off our backs and gave them to the needy?” Then he took his own coat and laid it at the front of the church. Dozens of others followed his example. This was during the winter, so the trip home was less comfortable that day. But for dozens of people in need, the season warmed up just a bit. When John the Baptist roamed the Judean wilderness, he had a stern warning for the crowd that came to hear him. “You brood of vipers!” he said. “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:7-8). Startled, they asked him, “What should we do then?” He responded with this advice: “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same” (vv. 10-11). True repentance produces a generous heart. Because “God loves a person who gives cheerfully” (nlt), giving should never be guilt-based or pressured (2 Cor. 9:7). But when we give freely and generously, we find that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. —Tim Gustafson Lord, thank You for the many ways You bless us. Forgive us for so often taking Your goodness for granted. Show us what we have that we might use to bless someone else today. Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25 INSIGHT: God reveals His compassion for the poor throughout the Scriptures. In Psalm 72:13, we read, “He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.” The people were to join with God in bringing His compassion to the poor. In the New Testament, Jesus repeatedly expresses the Father’s concern for the poor by portraying them as accepted by the Father (Mark 12:42; Luke 16:20) and stating that His messianic mission, in part, was confirmed by His ministry to the poor (Matt. 11:4-5). Paul picks up the baton of this challenge by commending the churches of Macedonia and Achaia for their financial support of the poor in Jerusalem (Rom. 15:26), while James warns that the poor must not be disregarded because of their socioeconomic status (James 2:2-6). If our God and His Son are this concerned for the poor, how can we represent that love by caring for those in need? Bill Crowder

Monday, April 17, 2017

AJ's Story: Finding Perspective with Crohn's

Here is AJ's inspirational story about Finding Perspective with Crohn's Growing a business from the ground up can be stressful for anyone, but for AJ Vaynerchuk, doing so was even harder because he lives with a debilitating digestive disease – Crohn’s disease. After experiencing abdominal pain and urgency, diarrhea, and debilitating fatigue, AJ was diagnosed with Crohn’s at 19 years old. “I walked myself to the emergency room and was diagnosed on the spot. I was lucky that I didn’t have a long journey [to getting an answer for my symptoms],” he said. Being diagnosed with Crohn’s changed AJ’s life perspective. He felt a calling to business and entrepreneurship as a teen and had enrolled in college reluctantly. He felt a significant amount of stress when it came to school; therefore when he was diagnosed, he had a heart-to-heart with his parents. “[I said to them] I know education matters to you but I know what I want to do. I don’t think my degree is going to dictate my future ability to earn an income, so I’m not going to put myself through that same level of stress [in school],” he said. Following his diagnosis, AJ began managing the stressors in his life. “I tried less in school – there was a direct correlation in my GPA from when I diagnosed to where I ended.” He graduated with a degree from Boston University in 2009 and immediately heeded his calling to entrepreneurship, partnering with his brother Gary on VaynerMedia, a social-media-first digital agency, along with several other businesses. VaynerMedia grew rapidly over seven years, beginning with several employees to over 700 people. However, few people knew of his diagnosis, and when he had to have surgery, he felt the need to share his story more broadly. In 2016, AJ decided to step away from VaynerMedia to address his health. But he didn’t notify people quietly. Rather, he wrote a piece for Medium that has been viewed 36,000 times. “A lot of [IBD patients] keep [their diagnosis] to themselves or a small network. [I wrote the piece for Medium] to generate more conversation. It was cathartic to share [my story] with more people. The more who knew, the better I felt,” he said. In the article, AJ wrote, “The way I’m wired requires every ounce of me to help run this company, and I have nothing left in the tank. That’s why I have to step away. This is not to say that someone with Crohn’s can’t do this job, but more-so that I personally am no longer able to do it.” In the months since AJ stepped down from the company, he’s started a new venture- VaynerSports – a firm that does athlete representation with a focus currently on football. He’s helping raise awareness of Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, and was honored by the Foundation’s Greater New York City chapter last year. He’s also an expectant father – his wife is pregnant with their first child. AJ’s advice to other patients? Find a way to be open about your disease journey. “Take some time to digest it and allow it to provide you perspective. I don’t recommend being private – if I could do it over, I’d be more open. Articulate your experience and let people know what you’re going through, you will [help others like you].”

At Home With Jesus

So as we begin this 3rd New Week after Celebrating Resurrection Sunday lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: John 14:1–4 | Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 1–2; Luke 14:1–24 I go and prepare a place for you. John 14:3 “There’s no place like home.” The phrase reflects a deeply rooted yearning within us to have a place to rest, be, and belong. Jesus addressed this desire for rootedness when, after He and His friends had their last supper together, He spoke about His impending death and resurrection. He promised that although He would go away, He would come back for them. And He would prepare a room for them. A dwelling-place. A home. He made this place for them—and us—through fulfilling the requirements of God’s law when He died on the cross as the sinless man. He assured His disciples that if He went to the trouble of creating this home, that of course He would come back for them and not leave them alone. They didn’t need to fear or be worried about their lives, whether on earth or in heaven. We belong with Jesus, upheld by His love and surrounded in His peace. We can take comfort and assurance from Jesus’s words, for we believe and trust that He makes a home for us; that He makes His home within us (see John 14:23); and that He has gone ahead of us to prepare our heavenly home. Whatever sort of physical place we live in, we belong with Jesus, upheld by His love and surrounded in His peace. With Him, there’s no place like home. Lord Jesus Christ, if and when we feel homeless, remind us that You are our home. May we share this sense of belonging with those we meet. Jesus prepares a place for us to live forever. INSIGHT: This imagery of a prepared place in the Father’s house also brought comfort to Israel’s shepherd-king, David, who sang, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps. 23:6). Like Jesus’s words in John 14, David’s words carry both a present reality and a future hope. The present reality of a life resting in the goodness and lovingkindness of the Father is directly linked to trusting Jesus in life’s storms (John 14:1). And the forever promise of a place in the house of the Lord is there to offer us hope when despair might become overwhelming. This is the rich sense of home that can be so wonderful. We will never fully and completely know the peace we long for until we find ourselves at peace in Him. Are there situations in your life that make the reminder of God’s presence particularly comforting? Thank God for His goodness and loving-kindness. Adapted from Discovery Series booklet Finding Peace in a Troubled World. Read it at discoveryseries.org/q1126. By Amy Boucher Pye

Friday, April 14, 2017

Remember the Cross

The 3rd week of the month of April has come to an end on this Good Friday as we prepare ourselves for Resurrection Sunday lets take a moment to reflect on ALL that Jesus has done for us as we take a moment to Thank God for giving his only begotten Son who went to the Cross for ALL Humanity. Read: Mark 15:19–20, 33–39 Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 25–26; Luke 12:32–59 “Surely this man was the Son of God!”—Mark 15:39 In the church I attend, a large cross stands at the front of the sanctuary. It represents the original cross where Jesus died—the place where our sin intersected with His holiness. There God allowed His perfect Son to die for the sake of every wrong thing we have ever done, said, or thought. On the cross, Jesus finished the work that was required to save us from the death we deserve (Rom. 6:23). The sight of a cross causes me to consider what Jesus endured for us. Before being crucified, He was flogged and spit on. The soldiers hit Him in the head with sticks and got down on their knees in mock worship. They tried to make Him carry His own cross to the place where He would die, but He was too weak from the brutal flogging. At Golgotha, they hammered nails through His flesh to keep Him on the cross when they turned it upright. Those wounds bore the weight of His body as He hung there. Six hours later, Jesus took His final breath (Mark 15:37). A centurion who witnessed Jesus’s death declared, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (v. 39). The next time you see the symbol of the cross, consider what it means to you. God’s Son suffered and died there and then rose again to make eternal life possible. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt Dear Jesus, I can’t begin to thank You enough for taking care of my sin when You died on the cross. I acknowledge Your sacrifice, and I believe in the power of Your resurrection. The cross of Christ reveals our sin at its worst and God’s love at its best. INSIGHT: In the two cameos provided in our reading today, we witness the injustice and horrors of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Verses 19-20 reveal the terrible indignity Jesus endured before going to the cross. Roman soldiers mocked, struck, and spit on Him. Next, a supernatural darkness came over the world (vv. 33-39). Many theologians believe it was then that the eternal fellowship of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—was disrupted as God the Son was made sin for us so that we might have right standing and relationship with God. The Father turned away from Him and in anguish Christ cried out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” But because of God’s redeeming love, we will never be forsaken. How does this give you greater confidence in facing the future? Dennis Fisher

Monday, April 10, 2017

Our Best Friend

So here we are in the 2nd week of April as we start this New Week here are some words of wisdom to help us ALL reflect on the Goodness of God Read: Hebrews 10:19–23 Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 15–16; Luke 10:25–42 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.—John 1:12 When I was twelve years old our family moved to a town in the desert. After gym classes in the hot air at my new school, we rushed for the drinking fountain. Being skinny and young for my grade, I sometimes got pushed out of the way while waiting in line. One day my friend Jose, who was big and strong for his age, saw this happening. He stepped in and stuck out a strong arm to clear my way. “Hey!” he exclaimed, “You let Banks get a drink first!” I never had trouble at the drinking fountain again. Jesus understood what it was like to face the ultimate unkindness of others. The Bible tells us, “He was despised and rejected by mankind” (Isa. 53:3). But Jesus was not just a victim of suffering, He also became our advocate. By giving His life, Jesus opened a “new and living way” for us to enter into a relationship with God (Heb. 10:20). He did for us what we could never do for ourselves, offering us the free gift of salvation when we repent of our sins and trust in Him. Jesus is the best friend we could ever have. He said, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37). Others may hold us at arm’s length or even push us away, but God has opened His arms to us through the cross. How strong is our Savior! —James Banks Love’s redeeming work is done, fought the fight, the battle won. Death in vain forbids him rise; Christ has opened paradise. Charles Wesley God’s free gift to us cost Him dearly. INSIGHT: Do you ever wonder whether Jesus knows too much about you to stand up for you the way your best friend would? If such a question gives us pause, could the problem be that we know ourselves too well?The letter to the Hebrews was an open letter to first-century Jewish readers raised under a system of law and sacrifice that taught them to know their own heart—and to acknowledge their personal wrongs. This letter reminded them that God knew their hearts well enough to see their inclination to slide back into their old religious ways of trying to resolve their sense of sin, shame, and guilty conscience.So over and over this letter reminds its first readers, and us, of what the Son of God suffered once and for all for all of our sin. Showing His willingness to bear the worst we could do to Him, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Then to a repentant criminal dying at His side, He said, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43).It was one intervention and one sacrifice—for all of us—and for all of our sin. Mart DeHaan

Friday, April 7, 2017

Godliman Street

Made it to the end of the week in this first week of April here are some words of wisdom to help us ALL reflect on this past week. Read: 1 Samuel 9:1–10 Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 7–9; Luke 9:18–36 “Look, in this town there is a man of God.”—1 Samuel 9:6 My wife, Carolyn, and I were walking in London and came across a road named Godliman Street. We were told that a man once lived there whose life was so saintly that his street became known as “that godly man’s street.” This reminded me of an Old Testament story. Saul’s father sent his son and a servant to look for some donkeys that had wandered away. The young men searched for many days but couldn’t find the animals. Saul was ready to give up and go home, but his servant pointed toward Ramah, the prophet Samuel’s village, and replied, “Look, in this town there is a man of God; he is highly respected, and everything he says comes true. Let’s go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take” (1 Sam. 9:6). Throughout his years and into old age, Samuel had sought friendship and fellowship with God, and his words were weighty with truth. People knew him to be a prophet of the Lord. So Saul and his servant “set out for the town where the man of God was” (v. 10). Oh, that our lives would so reflect Jesus that we would leave a mark on our neighborhoods, and that the memory of our godliness would linger on! —David Roper I’m not sure, Lord, how my neighbors would describe me. But I want to be close to You and to be a light in my corner of the world. Read God at the Center by going to discoveryseries.org/hp152. The most powerful testimony is a godly life.

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Heart of Compassion

We have entered into the 4th month of the New Year we are now in the month of April as we start this New Week take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Colossians 3:12–17 Bible in a Year: Judges 19–21; Luke 7:31–50 Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.—Colossians 3:12 Seven of us were attending a musical production at a crowded amusement park. Wanting to sit together, we tried to squeeze into one row. But as we did, a woman rushed between us. My wife mentioned to her that we wanted to stay together, but the woman quickly said, “Too bad,” as she and her two companions pushed on into the row. As three of us sat one row behind the other four, my wife, Sue, noticed that the woman had an adult with her who appeared to have special needs. She had been trying to keep her little group together so she could take care of her friend. Suddenly, our irritation faded. Sue said, “Imagine how tough things are for her in a crowded place like this.” Yes, perhaps the woman did respond rudely. But we could respond with compassion rather than anger. Wherever we go, we will encounter people who need compassion. Perhaps these words from the apostle Paul can help us view everyone around us in a different light—as people who need the gentle touch of grace. “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12). He also suggests that we “bear with each other and forgive one another” (v. 13). As we show compassion, we will be pointing others to the One who poured out His heart of grace and compassion on us. —Dave Branon Your compassions never fail, Father. May we mirror Your heart by showing compassion to others. Compassion is understanding the troubles of others. INSIGHT: Compassion is not just feeling pity for a needy person; our emotions must move us to relieve the misery of that person. The apostle Paul calls us to “be kind and compassionate to one another” (Eph. 4:32) and “to follow God’s example” (5:1). Jesus commands us to be “compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate” (Luke 6:36 nlt). In one of the greatest self-revelations in the Bible, God described Himself as “the compassionate and gracious God” (Ex. 34:6). We echo with the apostle James, “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (James 5:11).Imagine a world without compassion. What would it be like? How is showing compassion essential for God’s children? Sim Kay Tee

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Greatest Invitation

We have made it to the end of the week and the end of the month YES! It's FRIDAY! here are some words of wisdom before we head into the 4th month of the New Year which will be April. Read: Isaiah 55:1–7 Bible in a Year: Judges 11–12; Luke 6:1–26 Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!—Isaiah 55:1 During a recent week, I received several invitations in the mail. Those inviting me to attend “free” seminars on retirement, real estate, and life insurance were immediately thrown away. But the invitation to a gathering honoring a longtime friend caused me to reply immediately, “Yes! I accept.” Invitation + Desire = Acceptance. Isaiah 55:1 is one of the great invitations in the Bible. The Lord said to His people who were in difficult circumstances, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” This is God’s remarkable offer of inner nourishment, deep spiritual satisfaction, and everlasting life (vv. 2-3). Jesus’s invitation is repeated in the last chapter of the Bible: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17). We often think of eternal life as beginning when we die. In reality, it begins when we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. God’s invitation to find eternal life in Him is the greatest invitation of all! Invitation + Desire = Acceptance. —David McCasland Lord Jesus, thank You for Your promise of mercy, pardon, and eternal life. I acknowledge my failures and receive Jesus as my Savior today. When we accept Jesus’s invitation to follow Him, our whole life changes direction. INSIGHT: In Isaiah 55, the prophet draws on the imagery of a royal banquet to give discouraged Judeans hope that, despite their suffering, God’s promises to them remained trustworthy. In the background of Isaiah 55 is God’s promise of an eternal covenant with the line of David (Ps. 89:28-29). Isaiah’s report broadens God’s promise to the line of David even further, depicting a royal feast where all Judeans share the kingly role of representing Yahweh to the nations (55:3-5). When Jesus came, He said He was the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s promise (John 7:37) and invited everyone, especially the forgotten and marginalized, to His feast (Matt. 22:1-14). Through His Spirit, Jesus’s followers can enjoy Christ’s abundant life and, as His representatives, invite all the world to the banquet. Who might you invite to the feast? Monica Brands

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

20Th Anniversary of the Movie Selena

One of my Favorite Movie's is Celebrating it's 20th Anniversary of the Late Tejano Singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez and made Jennifer Lopez a house hole name. Selena came out March 21, 1997 Two Years after the Tejano Singer was gun down by her Fan Club President at the age of 23 years old. In this biographical drama, Selena Quintanilla is born into a musical Mexican-American family in Texas. Her father, Abraham, realizes that his young daughter is talented and begins performing with her at small venues. She finds success and falls for her guitarist, Chris Perez who draws the ire of her father. Seeking mainstream stardom, Selena begins recording an English-language album which, tragically, she would never complete. EXCLUSIVE: 'Selena' Turns 20! Her Family Reflects on Movie & Legacy: 'In My Mind She's Still Alive' FLASHBACK: Jennifer Lopez On Set of 'Selena' and Why She Didn't Sing in the Movie Selena Remembered 20 Years Later: Watch Previously Unseen Home Videos Entrevistas Ineditas En El Set De Selena La Pelicula (Jennifer Lopez y More) Selena (1997) Official Trailer - Jennifer Lopez, Edward James Olmos Movie HD

Monday, March 27, 2017

3rd Annual Fiesta De La Flor 2017

This Past Friday and Saturday March 24th and 25th was the 3rd Annual Fiesta De La Flor which Celebrates and Honor the Tejano Star Selena Quintanilla Perez.Fiesta de la Flor celebrates the life and legacy of Selena Quintanilla Perez with Texas-style family fun, food, live music, and togetherness Fiesta de la Flor, presented by CITGO, is a two-day festival celebrating the life and legacy of the Queen of Tejano music, Selena. As we approach the dates for the third annual event, the Corpus Christi Convention & Visitors Bureau (CC CVB) is proud to announce the details for this year’s festival, scheduled March 24-25 at North Bayfront Park in downtown Corpus Christi. Presenting the festival once again will be CITGO, a longtime leader in Corpus Christi and generous provider to the community. CITGO enhances the quality of life for all of Corpus Christi and the CC CVB is proud to partner with them for this extraordinary event. Preparations are underway for this year’s Fiesta de la Flor which will feature new and exciting experiences, including Madame Tussauds Hollywood wax figure of Selena, guest appearances by Jackie Cruz of Netflix hit show Orange is the New Black and Emmy Award-winner Jackie Guerra, who played Suzette in the Selena movie. Music headliners include Grammy Award-winning AB Quintanilla y Elektro Kumbia and La Mafia. Other festival features will include: El Mercado, presented by attorneys Herrman and Herrman, PLLC, will feature more than 80 artisans from Mexico, Central America, South America and within the United States. El Mercado will be located inside the spacious American Bank Center to showcase the art, clothing and accessories all crafted by the talented hands of national and international artisans. Herrman and Herrman has been a staple of the Coastal Bend for nearly two decades and they are excited to give back to the community that they serve through this festival. La Plaza, presented by Stripes, will offer a variety of dishes from dozens of food truck vendors that will be on-site serving festival-goers. Stripes will have the opportunity to showcase its very own food trucks featuring delicious menu items from their in-house provider of fresh Tex-Mex food, Laredo Taco Company. El Parque, will be a kids zone with a variety of immersive experiences that will bring hours of delightful family fun. Social Media Wall, presented by The Outlets at Corpus Christi Bay, will be the go-to place for all Fiesta de la Flor festival happenings -- much like The Outlets at Corpus Christi Bay is the go-to place for fashion and a new shopping experience in Corpus Christi. The Art Museum of South Texas serves as a perfect place to give attendees at Fiesta de la Flor the opportunity to truly celebrate Selena – who she was and how she continues to mesmerize new legions of fans today.Fiesta de la Flor – in keeping with its mission to honor her life and legacy – will take the opportunity in the 2017 festival to give fans a Selena experience like no other. Fans will immerse themselves with Selena videos, pictures and music as they go through the Art Museum that leads to the ultimate engagement Selena selfie opportunity-Madame Tussauds Hollywood Selena wax figure.In partnership with Madame Tussauds Hollywood, the Selena wax figure will make its journey to Selena’s hometown and be a part of Fiesta de la Flor. Just outside the Art Museum, the evening sky will light with glow sticks, a light show and video for a Friday and Saturday night Silent Disco experience. Showing of Selena, the movie, on the side of the Selena Auditorium.At no charge, Selena fans (and festival attendees) can sit right outside the festival boundaries and experience an interactive movie-viewing experience like no other. For fans that do not have a ticket to Fiesta de la Flor, Ride in Theater hosts a free outdoor moving A fireworks grand finale illuminating the Corpus Christi Bay presented by H-E-B. “We are excited about the elements that have been added to enhance the visitor experience at this year’s Fiesta de la Flor,” said Paulette Kluge, CEO of the CC CVB. “ We look forward to another successful event that celebrates our beautiful Selena as well as welcoming visitors from all over the world.” The entertainment line-up for this year’s event has been confirmed and is as follows: Headliners: Grammy Award winners: AB Quintanilla y Elektro Kumbia and La Mafia On Friday, March 24, performers include Finding Friday, Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz, Megan Chapa and multi-Grammy Award winner La Mafia. Saturday, March 25, entertainment will once again include Finding Friday, B-Side Players, Isabel Marie, David Marez, Las Fenix, Tejano favorite Pete Astudillo, Adalberto and The Latin Breed, and Grammy Award winner A.B. Quintanilla y Elektro Kumbia . Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March, 24 and noon Saturday, March 25 at North Bayfront Park in downtown Corpus Christi. For more information, please visit www.fiestadelaflor.com and follow all official festival updates on social media at facebook.com/fiestadelaflorcc. Madame Tussauds Hollywood's wax figure of Selena arrives in Corpus Christi Fans react to Selena's wax figure at Fiesta de La Flor Fiesta De La Flor 2017: Jackie Cruz sings Como La flor Fiesta De La Flor 2017: Fireworks See You Next Year for Fiesta De La Flor April 13th & 14th