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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