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Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

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Post  Admin on Fri 14 Jun 2013, 9:39 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Note: We are having some technical problems with Daily 
Encounter so this is a manual send for today's issue. 
The problem is being worked on. Thank you for your patience.

Busyness

"Jesus and his disciples … came to a village where a woman
named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister
called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what
he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations
that had to be made. She came to him and asked, 'Lord, 
don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work 
by myself? Tell her to help me!' 'Martha, Martha,' the 
Lord answered, 'you are worried [troubled] and upset about
many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen
what is better [relationships], and it will not be taken 
away from her.'"1

I read about a very successful youth leader, or so he and
many others believed, who built a tremendous youth 
ministry—the largest in the country. But he was always 
busy, busy, busy.

In fact he was so busy with his work "for God" that he 
neglected the most important things in his life. Late 
one November his wife caught him as he was racing out 
the door to go to preach to somebody else's kids. She 
asked, "Do you know, or do you even care that from the 
middle of September until today, you have not been home 
one night?"

She had a breakdown soon after. He contemplated suicide. 
He later confessed, "I was a man who existed in a shell."

Like many of us, Jim's shell of busyness was his external 
protection--not from the outside world—but from his inner 
world of unresolved anxiety. Jim's problem was that he 
was a busy-aholic. That may have been Martha's problem 
too. Perhaps?

As long as we keep on the run to avoid facing our inner 
anxieties, our busyness can get us addicted to our own 
adrenaline, which becomes nothing less than a cheap 
anesthetic to deaden the feelings of an empty or 
troubled life. In so doing we end up hiding from our own
reality—a self-destructive path to follow.

To overcome, the first step is to admit the truth of 
what we are doing; that is, admit our addiction no 
matter how refined it appears to be. The second step 
is to get into a recovery/support group to help stop 
the addictive/avoidance behavior so we can feel the 
pain we are seeking to avoid. And third, where 
necessary we need to seek wise or professional 
counseling as well as God's help to resolve and 
overcome the cause or causes behind our avoidance 
behavior.

Suggested prayer (if needed): "Dear God, I confess 
that I'm a Martha to the core. Please help me to let go
of the addictive over-control of my life, find the help 
I need to overcome, and help me to develop the relational
'Mary' in me. Thank you for hearing and answering my 
prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Luke 10:38-42 (NIV).

<Smile)))><
  Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2012
  ACTS International.
   Today's Daily Encounter

Give of Your Best
  "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you 
  did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you 
  did for me.'"1

  I have read how on one occasion when visiting Scotland Queen 
  Mary "was strolling with a group of children. Suddenly the 
  sky turned gray and thick, dark clouds appeared. The queen 
  stopped at a nearby house and asked if she might borrow an 
  umbrella. She told the lady of the house, 'I'll send it back 
  to you tomorrow.' 

  The lady was understandably reluctant about lending a good 
  umbrella to a total stranger, but she remembered that she 
  had an old one in the attic. One rib was broken and there 
  were several ragged holes in it, but she nevertheless, 
  turned it over to this lady at her front door with a weak 
  apology.

  "The next day there was another knock at the door. This time, 
  when she opened it, a man in gold braid stood with a big 
  envelope in hand. 'The queen sent me,' he said, 'and asked 
  me to thank you for the umbrella.'"2

  Can you imagine how this woman must have felt knowing she 
  gave the Queen a broken umbrella and didn't give her best. 

  For those of us who claim to be Christians I wonder how we 
  will feel at the end of life's journey when we stand face 
  to face with Jesus to give account of our stewardship and 
  realize that we didn't give God our best--but only our 
  broken "unwanteds." 

  Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in my service to you please 
  help me always to give of my best so that when I stand 
  before you face to face, I will not be ashamed or 
  embarrassed. Thank you  for hearing and answering my 
  prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."

  1. Matthew 25:40 (NIV).
  2. Mike Benson, Oakhill Church of Christ, 
    http://www.oakhillcoc.org/
  
  <Smile)))><

  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to 
  note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2012
  ACTS International.
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Post  Admin on Fri 07 Jun 2013, 8:49 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

God of Second Chances

"Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
'Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the
message I give you.' Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD
and went to Nineveh."1

As far as following God was concerned, Jonah failed
hopelessly. He defiantly did the opposite of what he
knew he was supposed to do. But did God reject him? No.
God allowed him to experience failure. Getting thrown
overboard and being swallowed by a whale (big fish)
brought Jonah to his senses real quick. When he was
ready to listen, "the Word of the Lord came to Jonah a
second time."

And so it is with us. No matter how many times we feel
we've failed or blown it, God will continue to call us
to himself. However, it is much wiser to "listen up"
quickly so we don't have to get hit over the head with
a "4 by 4"--or be swallowed by a "whale of a problem"
for God to get our attention.

So, if you feel you have failed, be encouraged. Now is
the time to give God a chance. "He'll mend even a
broken heart if you'll give him all the pieces." God
calls us all to follow him, so why not respond to his
call and, if you haven't already done so, ask him to
come into your life as Lord and Savior? He can make a
much better job of your life than you can if you will
trust it to him. For help, be sure to read "How to Know
God" at the link below.*

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you are a
God of second (and third, and fourth, and fifth, and
sixth, and seven times seventy) chances. Please help me
to always live in harmony with your will so I will
always be in tune to hear your word to me. Thank you
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus' name, amen."

1. Jonah 3:1-3 (NIV).
*"How to Know God" at: http://www.actsweb.org/christian


<Smile)))><
Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
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Post  Admin on Wed 05 Jun 2013, 9:40 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Uncommon Common Sense

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who
gives generously to all without finding fault, and it
will be given to him."1

Have you ever noticed that common sense is not very
common and that much of our reasoning is not always
reasonable?

We have all sorts of reasons and excuses for why we say
what we say and do what we do. And then there are the
real reasons--the motives behind our choices and
actions.

People come to discussions with hidden agendas. Some
bully to get what they want. Others manipulate. Some
even quote or misquote Scriptures to get things done
their way. Whether this type of control is with a high
and mighty hand or in a sweet, manipulative manner
makes no difference. Both are equally dishonest and are
destructive to personal growth, conflict resolution,
and interpersonal relationships.

Common sense tells us that we need to avoid these and
all other dishonest games. Being truthful can be
difficult at times, but when our words are spoken in
love, it is the only way to grow and develop healthy
and intimate relationships.

While God doesn't make our choices for us, he has, as
noted in today's Scripture passage, promised to give
wisdom (common sense) to all who ask him. So wisdom is
available if we will ask God for it and truly mean it.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me wisdom and
discernment so that my life will bring much glory to
your name. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. James 1:5 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2012
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Post  Admin on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 6:10 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Thoughtfulness

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving
each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."1

According to William A. Ward, "Thoughtfulness comes in
many forms, and is virtually always welcomed by its
recipients. Thoughtfulness is a habit--a way of life
well worth cultivating and practicing.

"The thoughtful person is quick to pay a well-deserved
compliment, or to send a prompt note of congratulations
to someone who has received a promotion, an honor, or
special recognition.

"Thoughtful people don't wait for opportunities--they
imaginatively create numerous opportunities to make
life brighter, smoother, and more enjoyable for those
about them. Our thoughtful attitudes and generous deeds
can make many people happy--including ourselves."

Being thoughtful is being kind, it is being loving, it
is being "as Jesus" to people.

Today, make sure you go out of your way to be
thoughtful and kind--first of all to your own loved
ones … and in some way to every life you touch.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be
loving, kind, and thoughtful today--and 'as Jesus'--to
my own loved ones and to someone who needs a touch from
you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Ephesians 4:32 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

* * * * * * *
Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2012
ACTS International.

Today's Daily Encounter
An Answer for Loneliness

Jesus "appointed twelve [disciples] … that they might
be with him."1

"Loneliness, it's such a sad affair," Karen Carpenter
expressed in her popular song some years back.
Apparently she knew firsthand what she was singing
about as she ended her own life through
self-starvation. Perhaps you, too, know too well the
pains of loneliness.

While we have made profound scientific and
technological advances in today's world, sadly we have
not kept pace with meeting the needs of the human heart
and spirit. One of the high costs of this failure has
been the ever-increasing sense of loneliness and
isolation that pervades contemporary society.

As Selwyn Hughes wisely said, "To be is to be in
relationships," without which life can be empty and
meaningless. One significant answer to this increasing
malady is seen in the dramatic increase of the
small-group movement--both within and without the
church. Small groups, of course, are nothing new, but
support-and-recovery type groups formed to meet almost
every need imaginable have mushroomed in many places
today. They are proving to be very effective. For
example, one of the best-known methods for helping
people overcome alcoholism is the twelve-step AA
groups. And help for the spouses of alcoholics can be
found in Alanon groups.

Small groups, at least as far as the Christian church
is concerned, began with Jesus. At the beginning of his
ministry he "appointed twelve [disciples] that they
might be with him." He then had an inner group made up
of himself, Peter, James, and John, and then an
intimate group with himself and John. If Jesus and his
disciples needed this kind of connection and support,
it sounds like an excellent example for all of us to
follow.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to find the
support I need to help me grow more like Jesus,
overcome personal problems, and so I won't be lonely.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Mark 3:14 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2012
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Post  Admin on Fri 31 May 2013, 6:07 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Swallowing Camels

I recall reading the following story about how on one
Sunday morning a usually long-winded pastor preached
his shortest, but one of his most effective, sermons
ever.

He said, "My sermon this morning has three points.

"First, over three million people in the world today
are homeless.

"Second, most of you don't give a _ _ _ _.

"And third, it is a shame that more of you are upset by
the fact that I said the word, '_ _ _ _', than by the
fact that over three-million people are homeless."

I've heard that a well-known preacher did a similar
thing when speaking about the tragedy of abortion in
this country, only the four-letter word he used was
even stronger!

Seriously, I'm not condoning preachers using these
words, but how sad it is that so many of us will get
considerably more upset over someone using a bad word
than we do about people being homeless, about the
problem of abortion, or human trafficking, not to
mention the lost going to hell without Christ and
without hope!

Jesus said, "Woe upon you, Pharisees, and you other
religious leaders--hypocrites! For you tithe down to
the last mint leaf in your garden, but ignore the
important things--justice and mercy and faith. Yes, you
should tithe, but you shouldn't leave the more
important things undone. Blind guides! You strain out a
gnat and swallow a camel."1

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me not to be
guilty of straining out gnats and swallowing camels,
and help me to be concerned about the things in life
that truly matter. Thank you for hearing and answering
my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name. Amen."

1. Matthew 23:23-24 (TLB)(NLT).

<Smile)))><

NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

* * * * * * *
Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2012
ACTS International.
Admin
Admin
Admin

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Post  Admin on Thu 30 May 2013, 6:22 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Show Me--Don’t Tell Me

"Only let your conversation and manner of life be
worthy of the gospel."1

A boy came home from school one day with a note from
his teacher saying she had to punish him for swearing.
His father took him aside and said, "Well, son, what
about it?"

The boy replied, "I have nothing to say, Dad. I
deserved it. She heard me say what I said and called me
into her office."

"Then what happened?"

"Well, she asked me where I had heard such language.
But I didn't give you away, Dad. I blamed it on the
parrot."

Need I say more except to say that the heart of all
effective teaching is "show me don't tell me." That is,
we need to model what we want our children to learn, to
become, and to do!

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to model
for my children and others the kind of person you want
me to be so that others seeing what you have done in my
life will want the same for themselves. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. Philippians 1:27.

<Smile)))><

NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

* * * * * * *
Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2012
ACTS International.
Admin
Admin
Admin

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Age : 74
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Post  Admin on Wed 29 May 2013, 8:34 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Stepping Stones to Success

"Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous
threats against the Lord's disciples … [and] as he
neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from
heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and
heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you
persecute me?'"1

Many achievements in life have come from a setback, an
accident, or some kind of crisis or even suffering. For
instance, the first cars had to be started by cranking
the motor by hand. At times the engine would "kick"
back the crank handle. This happened to Charles
Kettering and it broke his arm.

"There must be a safer way to start cars than this,"
Kettering reasoned and he went on to invent
self-starters for cars.

Jacob Schick was prospecting for gold where the
temperature fell to 40 degrees below zero. He had a
hard time trying to shave with a blade without
sufficient hot water--so he invented the first electric
shaver.

Eugene O'Neill had no specific goal or aim in life
until he became ill and had to go to hospital. While
lying flat on his back he began to write his plays.

A number of years ago I had an accident on a
construction site which put me in hospital for a week.
For a few years I had been battling a sense of God's
call to Christian service but never acted on it until I
was flat on my back with time to think. It was there in
the hospital that I said, "Okay, God, you win. I know
what you want me to do." That was the day I made the
decision to go back to college to train for Christian
ministry.

So, when things go wrong in your life and you
experience a major setback, lose your job, or have an
accident, not always, but perhaps God has something for
you to learn, or something else he wants you to do. The
important thing is to be open to what God is saying.

True, disasters happen because we live in a broken,
sinful world. Sometimes, however, a disaster is "God's
wake-up call" to teach us an important lesson, to help
us grow, or to lead us in a different direction.

Most of us are not going to be struck down like Saul
[Paul] was and hear a voice from heaven, and be left
blind for three days when God calls. Some of us,
though, who are hard-headed have to be "hit over the
head" as it were with a "four-by-four" for God to get
our attention. But for most of us God leads through his
Word, our circumstances, and through a "still small
voice" within that gives us a sense of what God wants
us to do.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to see/hear/learn
what you are saying to me in every adverse circumstance
I may experience, as I truly want to be what you want
me to be and to do what you want me to do. Thank you
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus' name, amen."

1. Acts 9:1, 3-4 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

* * * * * * *
Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2012
ACTS International.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 61484
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

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Post  Admin on Tue 28 May 2013, 8:56 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Teachable

Seeing is not always believing. Old beliefs as well as
old habits die hard. For centuries people believed
Aristotle's opinion that the heavier an object, the
faster it would fall to earth.

I am not an engineer but according to a report I read,
in 1589 Galileo challenged Aristotle's teaching. He
invited learned professors to the base of the Leaning
Tower of Pisa. Galileo went to the top of the tower and
at exactly the same moment pushed off a ten-pound and a
one-pound weight.

Both landed at the same instant, but the professors
still wouldn't believe what they saw. They insisted
Aristotle was right.

To move ahead in life and to grow--intellectually,
emotionally and spiritually--it is important that we
examine all our beliefs, test them, hold to the true
and discard the false. Admittedly, this is much easier
said than done, but done it must be if we are to keep
learning and growing. Unless we are open to and willing
to change, we get set in our ways and cease to grow.

We don't read much about Apollos in the Bible but he
was a contemporary of the Apostle Paul. He was a very
gifted and educated man "with a thorough knowledge of
the Scriptures." But he only knew about John the
Baptist's baptism. So when Priscilla and Aquila heard
him speak, they explained the gospel message to him
more completely.

The end result was that Apollos was willing to listen,
was teachable, made the necessary changes in his
beliefs and teaching. As a result he became a "great
help" to the church.1

"When Priscilla and Aquila heard him [Apollos], they
invited him to their home and explained to him the way
of God more adequately."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please confront me with
every issue in my life I need to be aware of, help me
to be teachable, and give me the courage to make
necessary changes in my life where needed. Thank you
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus' name, amen."

1. Acts 18:27 (NIV).
2. Acts 18:26 (NIV).

<Smile)))><


Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
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Post  Admin on Mon 27 May 2013, 8:12 pm


Today's Daily Encounter
The Power of Relationships

It is a well-known medical and scientific fact that
life without significant relationships is not only
meaningless, but very unhealthy.

In his book, The Broken Heart, James Lynch says, "Most
of the people I deal with have at the root of their
physical problems the problem of loneliness. They may
well be living with someone, or indeed in a busy,
bustling family atmosphere but they do not know what it
is to experience a close relationship. The lonely are
twice as likely to suffer physical problems as those
who enjoy a warm relationship with at least one other
person."

Dr. Bernard Steinzor in his book, The Healing
Partnership, says, "The person who feels completely
alone and has lost hope of a relationship will become a
patient in the wards of a mental hospital or bring
their life to an end through suicide."

Sydney Jourard in his book, The Transparent Self, said,
"Every maladjusted person is someone who has not made
himself known to another human being and in consequence
he does not know himself. Nor can he be himself. More
than that, he struggles actively to avoid becoming
known by another human being. He works ceaselessly at
it day and night. And it is work!"

Selwyn Hughes wrote, "We come to know ourselves only as
we know how to relate effectively to others. A person
who is known in a loving, trusting relationship by at
least one other human being, is rich indeed and will
have little fear about facing the world."

Hughes also wrote, "We all need to be close to someone,
so never apologize for the longing that you find within
you for a relationship. It was built into you by the
Creator and is therefore part of a divine design." I
certainly agree with Hughes in that "only in the
context of relationships can the deepest longings of
our being be met and satisfied."

The reality is that we not only need a right
relationship with God but healthy relationships with
one another. This is why open, trusting, accepting and
non-judgmental groups are such a powerful entity at a
time when much of life has become technical and
impersonal.

Rowland Croucher, writing in Grid, said, "More than 85
percent of small group participants of all ages say
that as a result of their participation they feel
better about themselves, are more open and honest with
themselves, are better able to forgive others, and have
been helped to serve people outside the groups."

We can live successfully without having to be in a
romantic relationship, but we cannot live a worthwhile
life nor can we grow outside of meaningful
relationships. As the Bible teaches, "It is not good to
be alone." If you can't find a small group in your
church, may I suggest that you start one yourself. An
effective group, however, is where people are open and
honest, share their struggles and sorrows as well as
their joys--and where members listen, love and accept
without any kind of judgment, sermonizing, giving
advice--or trying to fix people.

"The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be
alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'"1

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to find a
safe group where I can be truly connected to caring and
loving friends. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Genesis 2:18 (NIV).

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Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

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Post  Admin on Sat 25 May 2013, 9:32 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Seeing God

In his book, Disappointed With God, Philip Yancey tells
about an experiment the great scientist Isaac Newton
once conducted when he stared at the image of the sun
reflected in a mirror. The brightness of the sun
affected the retina in his eye and he suffered
temporary blindness. Even after shutting himself away
in a dark room for three days the bright spot didn't
fade from his vision. Had he stared much longer, he may
have permanently damaged his sight. The human eye
simply cannot withstand the brilliant light of the sun.

Yancey explains how the ancient Israelites lived for
many years with visible evidence of God in their midst,
but of all the thousands who left slavery in Egypt,
only two survived seeing God's presence.1

If we cannot look at the sun, how can we look directly
at God? We can't and live, at least not while we are
still living in our sinful condition. But we can see
God in Jesus, his beloved Son, who came to earth as a
man so we could come to God through him--and see God
and live.

Because of Christ's sacrifice for us, one day we will
see God and Jesus face to face. As Job said, "I know
that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will
stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been
destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself
will see him with my own eyes."2

Note: to make sure you will see God face-to-face be
sure to read the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real
Christian," at: www.actsweb.org/christian.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the
beginning. The Word [Jesus Christ] became flesh and
made his dwelling among us."3

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the
assurance that all who have accepted Jesus as their
Savior and believe in you will in the end time see you
face to face and know you as you truly are. Thank you
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus' name, amen."

1. See Numbers 14:30 (KJV).
2. Job 19:25-27 (NIV).
3. John 1:1,14 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Thu 23 May 2013, 7:31 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
The Power of Holding Hands

Robert Faughum suggested, "Think of what a better world
it would be if all of us--the whole world--had cookies
and milk about three o'clock every afternoon, and then
lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a
basic policy in our nation, and other nations, always
to put things back where we found them, and cleaned up
our own messes.

"And it's still true, no matter how old you are, when
you go out into the world, it's best to hold hands and
stick together."

I had a dear friend whom I met in kindergarten. We went
through school and technical college together. We'd
been through national service together, and, though for
many years we lived thousands of miles apart, we never
lost contact. Not so long ago my friend fell on hard
times, became discouraged and depressed and, instead of
reaching out for help, withdrew into himself and took
his life. A tragic waste. How sad it is when, in our
hour of need, as adults, we forget to hold hands.

We all have areas of weaknesses so we all need the
support of a few friends with whom we feel safe, who
won't judge, condemn or reject us, and will love and
accept us as we are. None of us can make it on our own.
We were created for relationships. We all need each
other. Even Jesus, at the start of his ministry on
earth, chose "the twelve" disciples that they might be
with him. How much more do we need friends who will be
with us?

One reason we fall is because we try to make it on our
own. God never meant for us to go it alone. We all need
each other for support, and as long as we admit our
needs, confess our areas of weaknesses, and keep
holding hands, we're not likely to fall because we help
hold each other up.

"Two are better than one, because they have a good
return for their work: If one falls down, his friend
can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no
one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together,
they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend
themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly
broken."1

Suggested prayer" "Dear God, please give me a few
friends who know me as I am and love me still--friends
with whom I can share openly and honestly, laugh, cry,
work, play and serve you, and friends who will hold me
up when I feel too down to be able to stand up on my
own. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV).

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NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
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Post  Admin on Wed 22 May 2013, 7:41 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Procrastination

One of the greatest time-wasters is procrastination.
Many of us tend to put off those tasks we don't like
doing or are afraid to tackle. Then we feel frustrated
or guilty because we're not getting them done. And the
more frustrated we get, the more we procrastinate and
so on.

How do we get out of this cycle of defeat?

Oftentimes there's a deeper reason people keep putting
things off. If this is so for you, ask God to show you
the cause and work on that. In the meantime you can
make a start by changing your self-talk. If you keep
telling yourself that you are hopeless at getting
things done on time, you will reinforce this belief and
keep acting accordingly. Remember, what the mind dwells
on the body acts on!

So, first of all change your self-talk by saying things
to yourself like, "With God's help I will get things
done on time."

Next, make a list of things to do today. List them in
order of priority and tackle them one at a time. Make
sure your list is realistic. If you list more than you
can do, you will end up feeling discouraged and
reinforce your tendency to put things off.

Third, set a positive goal. Make up your mind you are
going to get each task done, giving yourself a
realistic time limit in which to achieve your goal.

Fourth, plan your work then work your plan. Have a
definite plan of attack and follow that plan. Take
cleaning your house, garage, or yard for example.
Imagine it to be a giant clock and start cleaning at
the 12 o'clock position and keep working around the
clock. Don't jump from one room or corner or from one
task to another until each section is completed. Keep
to your plan and pretty soon a sense of achievement
will make the task more encouraging, enjoyable, and
rewarding.

Fifth, whatever the task is, break it down into
"bite-size" proportions. When I first thought about
writing a book, the task seemed overwhelming. A friend
suggested to think about writing it just one page at a
time. I did. And the book got finished.

Sixth, reward yourself in some positive way for getting
your task or tasks done on time. This will help
reinforce your new belief that you are a person who
gets things done when they need to be done.

Seventh, pray--especially if you are a compulsive
procrastinator. Pray that God will help you to face the
root cause of your problem. If you pray this prayer and
truly mean it, God will show you if you genuinely want
him to.

"Work hard and become a leader, be lazy and never
succeed."1

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, with my procrastination
problem I have (and any other problem) please give me
the insight to see the cause of it, find the help I
need to resolve it, and the courage to do all that is
in my control to master it instead of allowing it to
master me. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Proverbs 12:24 (TLB)(NLT).

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Post  Admin on Tue 21 May 2013, 7:48 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Who's Running the World Anyway?

Have you ever wondered why God allows so much
suffering, sorrow, crises, and tragedy in the world?

Counselor Cecil Osborne asked the question, "Who's
running the world anyway?" and tells of a time when he
was driving with an associate and shared, "On the way I
was venting my grief and anger over some senseless
tragedy I had just been hearing about in a counseling
session. I said, 'I could design a better world than
this on the back of an envelope with the stub of a
pencil!' Then, for the first and only time in my life,
I heard a quiet, non-judgmental inner voice, about the
way I'd expect Jesus to sound, it said, 'Why don't
you?' I laughed. I had my answer. We're in charge here,
not God!

"God isn't running this world, we are. He turned it
over to Adam (and to you and me and the rest of the
human race), and said in effect, 'Take it and run it.
Have dominion over it. It's all yours. I'll be
available for fellowship, ready to give guidance, when
you are receptive.'"

"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our
likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea
and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all
the earth, and over all the creatures that move along
the ground.'"1

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to accept
my responsibility as one of your servants here on earth
and be a part of the plan you have for the world today.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Genesis 1:26 (NIV).

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NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

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Post  Admin on Sun 19 May 2013, 10:13 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

What a Good Church Can Do for You

A Gallop poll several years ago showed that the number
one personal need expressed by 82 percent of the
American adult population was having a "good family
life."

In another study, Edward A. Rauff, director of the
Research and Information Center of the Lutheran Council
in the U.S.A., found that the dominant reason a high
percentage of the respondents gave for establishing a
relationship with a church was "to keep the family
together and to strengthen family life."

That the church helps strengthen family life is
supported by a study conducted by sociologist Steven
Nock of the University of Virginia. His conclusions
showed that couples who attend church regularly are 42
percent more likely to be married for the first time
[that is, in their first marriage], and those in the
church who were committed to its beliefs had a 23
percent better chance of having a "very happy" marriage
than those who don't go to church.

In another study reported in Homemade, Warren Mueller
reports that "in families where the father and mother
both attend church regularly, 72 percent of their
children remain faithful. If only dad goes, 55 percent
remain faithful. If mom goes alone, fifteen percent of
their children remain faithful.

"Conclusion? The example of parents is extremely
important … and children look to dad as leader."

The Bible says, "Let us not neglect our church
meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn
each other, especially now that the day of his
[Christ's] coming back again is drawing near."1

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, as a father, please help
me model for my children and/or grandchildren the
man/woman of God you want me to be, and help me always
to be 'as Jesus' to them. And grant that they, seeing
Jesus in me, will want Jesus to be in their life as
well. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Hebrews 10:25 (TLB)(NLT).

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Post  Admin on Sat 18 May 2013, 9:05 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Benefits From Trials

For twelve long years John Bunyan languished in prison.
It was here, however, that he wrote his famous
Pilgrim's Progress, one of the world's most read books.
Bunyan said, "I was at home in prison, and I sat me
down and wrote and wrote, for the joy did make me
write." Had Bunyan not been in prison, it is highly
unlikely that he would have ever written his famous
work. It was also from prison that the Apostle Paul
wrote several of his most valuable epistles recorded in
the New Testament.

It has been said that the ancients use an interesting
instrument called a "tribulum" to beat grain to
separate the chaff from the wheat. Tribulum is the word
from which we get our word tribulation. It's the
tribulation in our lives that divides the "chaff" from
the "wheat." The trials and tribulations that come our
way can make us bitter or they can make us better. The
choice is ours. The important thing is never to waste
our pain but to invest it wisely in motivating
ourselves to grow and to help encourage others to do
the same.

As God's Word says, "Not only so, but we also rejoice
in our sufferings, because we know that suffering
produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and
character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us,
because God has poured out his love into our hearts by
the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."1

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to grow
through my trials and become the person you want me to
be so that I will become a better person and an
encourager to others who are also going through trials.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Romans 5:3-5 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
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Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

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Post  Admin on Fri 17 May 2013, 9:55 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
The Death of Death

The late Dr. Harry Ironside had told the story about a
Hungarian countess who was an atheist. She commanded
that her body be buried in a stone casket in a
mausoleum that was to be built around it. A plate was
to be placed on the front of the mausoleum giving her
name and some particulars of her death and then the
words: "Not to be opened for eternity."

However, while the mausoleum was being built an acorn
fell into the tomb and out of the center of the tomb
there grew an oak tree. The tomb was broken and the
casket exposed by a tiny acorn.

When Pilate had Jesus crucified and buried, he said to
the Roman soldiers to seal the tomb, guard it, and make
it secure. Despite the powerful cordon of security
placed around Jesus' grave, he still rose from his tomb
on the third day. And because he lives, we too will
live if our trust is in him.

As Jesus said, "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is
coming when all who are in their graves will hear his
voice and come out--those who have done good will rise
to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be
condemned."1 What a wonderful hope Christians have.

"Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O
death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your
sting?"2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that because
Jesus rose from death we, too, have the assurance that
all who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and have
put their trust in him will also rise from death to
live with you forever in heaven. Thank you for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. John 5:28-29 (NIV).
2. 1 Corinthians 15:55.

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NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
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Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
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please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

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Post  Admin on Mon 13 May 2013, 8:39 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
On Guard

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."1

Can you imagine who spoke the following words: "The
streets of our country are in turmoil; the universities
are filled with students rebelling and rioting;
Communists are seeking to destroy our country. We need
law and order! Without law and order our nation cannot
survive!"

Was it an influential citizen, the pastor of a large
church, or somebody running for political office? It
was Adolph Hitler!

Arnold Toynbee, the well-known historian, once said
that the world was rapidly heading toward the time when
it would be ready to listen to and follow a leader who
will promise order out of chaos. According to the Bible
such a leader is going to arise at the time of Jesus
Christ's return. He will be known as the Antichrist and
will be opposed to everything that is Christian.

As the author of Today in the Word put it, "Dictators
don't always take over nations by brute force. But once
intoxicated with power, they may ruthlessly crush those
who oppose them. An entire nation once praised Hitler
as its savior until he revealed his true self. Yet,
Hitler's rule will pale when compared to the rule of
the coming Antichrist."

As Christians, we need to be on guard against wolves
who come in sheep's clothing. We also need to be aware
of the signs of the times and be ready for the
appearance of the Antichrist and the return of Jesus
Christ. As Toynbee said, "The world is rapidly heading
toward the time when it would be ready to listen to and
follow a leader who will promise order out of chaos."
This undoubtedly is what the Antichrist will do.
Furthermore, for the Antichrist to be accepted
worldwide, the world will have to be in chaos similar
to the days of pre-Hitler Germany, and it certainly
appears that today's world is accelerating towards this
end.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be real
and never false so I will more readily recognize false
prophets and false teachers. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Matthew 7:15.

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Post  Admin on Fri 10 May 2013, 8:37 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Happy Mother's Day

"Be followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."1

Lee Strobel tells about a mother from Costa Mesa,
California, who told about the day her three-year old
son was on her heels wherever she went. She was having
trouble doing her routine chores.

"Whenever I stopped to do something and turned back
around I would trip over him," she said. "Several times
I suggested fun activities to keep him occupied, but he
would just smile and say, 'That's alright Mommy I'd
rather be in here with you.' He continued to follow me
and after the fifth trip, my patience wore thin and I
asked him why he was following me constantly."

He said, "My Sunday school teacher told me to walk in
Jesus' footsteps but I can't see him so I'm walking in
yours."

The greatest way we can teach our children about--and
show our loved ones--the love of Jesus is through the
example of how we live, and how we model his love in
our everyday life.

As another has said, "We raise not the children we want
but the children that we the parents are."

Suggested prayer, "Dear God, please help me to so live
that people, especially my children (and loved ones),
will see Jesus in me, and will also want to follow in
my footsteps and have Jesus in their life too. Thank
you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in
Jesus' name, amen."

1. 1 Corinthians 11:1 (KJV).

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Post  Admin on Thu 09 May 2013, 8:38 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
How to Fight Fair, Part III

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word
stirs up anger."6 "Don't sin by letting anger gain
control over you. Don't let the sun go down while you
are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to
the Devil."7

Sixth, the next point in resolving conflict is: stick
to the subject at hand. Oh boy, when people stuff their
negative feelings and sit on their hurt and anger, look
out! They will eventually either implode (turn their
emotions inward and get sick), or explode. And it may
be the "smallest" little thing that triggers the
explosion, so beware. They may also go back to
unresolved grievances from decades ago! To resolve
conflicts, it is imperative to deal only with the issue
at hand. Period! Other unresolved issues can and need
to be discussed at a different time.

Seventh, give up the right to always be right. People
who have a compulsion to always be right tend to be
insecure and immature. Be willing to say, "I was wrong.
I apologize." As the Apostle Paul points out, we are
not only to speak the truth in love but also to grow up
and mature in all areas of our Christian life.8 That
includes humility and respect for others and their
viewpoints.

Eighth, as the Bible also teaches, "If you are angry,
don't sin by nursing your grudge. Don't let the sun go
down with you still angry--get over it quickly; for
when you are angry you give a mighty foothold to the
devil."9 That means we should resolve conflicts and
angry feelings as quickly as possible. When we resolve
to do this, the devil loses his foothold.

Ninth, speak softly. Most of us tend to raise our
voices when we are upset. Research has shown that one
effective way to handle yellers is to speak softly.
This tends to make them lean forward and speak more
softly so they can hear what you are saying. Yelling
begets yelling! As Michel de Montaigne said, "He who
establishes his argument by noise and command shows
that his reason is weak." The Bible says, "A soft
answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause
quarrels."10

Tenth, pray. Pray first about yourself. One of the most
powerful prayers I ever learned to pray was when I was
at wits' end in a seemingly never-ending conflict. In
utter frustration I literally begged God to face me
with the truth of what I was contributing to this
seemingly impossible situation in which I found myself.
Within two weeks I saw my hopeless co-dependency (even
though I hadn't even heard of the word at the time).

Once I saw the reality of what I was contributing, I
knew exactly what I could and needed to do in order to
resolve my part in the conflict. I wish I had learned
to pray this prayer years before--even in Sunday
School. Had I done so, I could have saved myself years
of needless pain and frustration.

Finally, pray together. When two people are willing to
face the truth about themselves, accept responsibility
for their part in the conflict, and pray accordingly,
there are not too many conflicts that can't be
resolved. Remember, "The LORD is near to all who call
on him, to all who call on him in truth."11

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in every conflict
situation in which I find myself please help me to see
exactly what I am contributing--whether it be positive
or negative--and always take responsibility for what I
think, feel, say and do. And help me to learn to be
Christ-like at all times and always speak the truth in
love. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

6. Proverbs 15:1 (NIV).
7. Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT).
8. Ephesians 4:15 (NASB).
9. Ephesians 4:26-27 (TLB)(NLT).
10. Proverbs 15:1 (TLB)(NLT).
11. Psalm 145:18 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Wed 08 May 2013, 12:20 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Emotional "Constipation"

As the Bible teaches: "So get rid of your feelings of
hatred. Don't just pretend to be good! Be done with
dishonesty…. Long to grow up into the fullness of your
salvation."1

In much younger days I had figured the way to happiness
was to be a committed Christian and serve God to the
best of my ability. It sounded good but it didn't
work--at least it didn't work for me. In fact my life
felt very empty. I was sharing with a friend how empty
inside I constantly felt. He admitted that he felt
exactly the same way even though we were both very
involved in Christian work and ministry. Both of us
grew up with the teaching that feelings weren't
important, and that you couldn't trust them. In spite
of this teaching, we both got down on our knees and
asked God to give us some feelings anyhow.

Whoa, be careful how you pray. When we get real with
God, he gets real with us. Within a very short time my
world fell apart. I got feelings back real quick! They
weren't the kind I was looking for, but they were
certainly feelings.

My problem was that by the time I was five years old I
had learned that big men don't cry, and that it wasn't
acceptable to show one's feelings. The fallacy with
this teaching, of course, is that a five-year-old boy
is not a big man. Another fallacy is that big men do
cry. It's frightened men or repressed men who don't
cry. Furthermore, I grew up in a very dysfunctional
family and, to protect myself from hurt, I had learned
to build defenses around my heart. The problem with
doing this, however, is that the wall one puts around
his painful feelings also blocks out his positive and
loving feelings.

I also used to think that being strong was being like
the Rock of Gibraltar … let the winds blow and the
storms rage all around and there it stands as solid as
a rock is supposed to be. But as one of my counselors
said, "Rocks don't have feelings. Rocks aren't real."
Neither was I. I learned that my life was empty because
I was emotionally repressed and living in denial.

Since praying for feelings, I discovered that the only
way I've been able to break through my walls (defenses)
is when my pain is greater than my fear. I also learned
that when I bury my feelings, I end up with emotional
"constipation"--and that poisons every area of one's
life--physically, emotionally, relationally and
spiritually. It is an extremely unhealthy way to live.

It took a long time and a lot of work to recover from
childhood hurts and learn to feel again, but it has
been well worth every effort. In fact today I am
physically healthier than when I was half my age. My
loving relationships have never been more fulfilling
and my work never more fruitful. I also realize that
there will always be room for improvement and growing
in "faith and love and every grace."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be real,
to get in touch with all of my God-given emotions, and
learn how to use them as you intended. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. 1 Peter 2:1, 3 (TLB)(NLT).

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Today's Daily Encounter

How to Fight Fair, Part I

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live
at peace with everyone."1

I recall hearing the pastor of a large church, when
celebrating his twenty-fifth wedding anniversary,
declare that he and his wife had never had a conflict.
I didn't believe him. Wherever there are two people,
there will always be some conflict, misunderstanding,
or difference of opinion at one time or another. About
the only way to live without ever having a conflict is
to live in isolation as a hermit, or have one partner
become a doormat who chooses "peace at any price," but
this is not conflict free. The conflict/s have just
gone underground and hidden from view.

Handled creatively, conflicts and disagreements can
lead to growth and increased mutual understanding. But
to make differences of opinions productive, we need to
learn to disagree agreeably, and to value the other
person's perspective in the process. So how do we do
this?

First, and foremost, listen…listen…listen--not only
with our ears, but even more so with our hearts. We
need to hear what other people are really saying--not
just what we think they are saying. We need to listen
to their feelings as well as their thoughts. Good
communication and conflict resolution requires
listening beneath the other person's words to their
sometimes hidden emotions and unspoken needs or wishes.

Careful listening ensures that we won't distort what
the other person is trying to say. This is necessary
because we each tend to interpret messages through our
own lenses. If we are extremely sensitive to criticism,
for example, we may interpret our spouse's potentially
helpful suggestion as a criticism. The more our seeing
and hearing "lenses" are distorted by our personal
unresolved problems, the more likely we are to twist
the messages people are giving us to make them match
our perception of reality.

Second, always strive to speak the truth in love.
Remember that "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."2
We, too, need to precede truth with grace; that is, to
always give loving, gracious acceptance. Some of us are
long at speaking the truth but short on listening and
short on loving. Unless we speak from a point of
sensitive caring, people will not feel safe enough to
share openly with us. Consequently, they may hide their
true feelings, or become angry or defensive. Unless
both parties can share their thoughts--and more so
their genuine feelings--there can be no resolution.

Third, we need to be aware of our own true thoughts and
feelings. If we feel angry, for example, it will be
important to acknowledge our anger. But we should also
be aware of what feelings and thoughts lay beneath our
anger. Anger, for example, often covers anxiety or
fear. Instead of being aware of our fear, we get angry.
That feels safer. Not acknowledging this only makes
matters worse.

At other times we use anger to stop others from getting
close to us because we fear intimacy. Equally
destructive, we deny our feelings altogether and
pretend to be something we are not. Each of these
reactions prevents conflict resolution. Unresolved
conflicts create resentment, and festering resentment
destroys many relationships.
To be continued ….

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, whenever I am in a
conflict situation, please give me a listening and
understanding heart so I will always hear and give
consideration to the others person's point of view, and
not be deafened by my own need to defend myself nor
blinded by my own self-interest. Thank you for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Romans 12:18 (NIV).
2. John 1:17.

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Today's Daily Encounter
How to Fight Fair, Part II

"But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus,
'And who is my neighbor?'"2

Author John Powell expressed this attitude poignantly
when he said, "We defend our dishonesty [denying and
not sharing our true feelings] on the grounds that it
may hurt another person, and then, having rationalized
our phoniness into nobility, we settle for superficial
relationships."3

Fourth, in continuing our series on resolving conflict
the fourth point is to use "I" messages. That is,
instead of saying, "You make me mad," or "You really
hurt my feelings," say words to this effect. "When you
say (or do) things like thus and so, I feel hurt and/or
angry, and I need to talk to you about it." This helps
you take responsibility for your feelings and avoid
blaming others. Many of us are like the lawyer in the
Bible who, "wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus,
'And who is my neighbor?'"4 This was when Jesus told
him that the greatest commandment was to love God and
your neighbor as yourself.

Blaming others blocks resolution. As difficult as it
may be, I need to admit that nobody hurts my feelings
or makes me angry without my permission. As counselor
Dr. Narramore puts it, "The other person is responsible
for their action. We are responsible for our reaction!"

For instance, if I had a perfect self-concept--which I
don't have--my feelings would rarely be hurt. What the
other person said or did wouldn't upset me. But if I
feel inferior or have low self-esteem, I will be easily
wounded and/or angered. To the degree I overreact,
however, that is always my problem. The other person
has simply triggered my unresolved emotions.

Overreactions happen when unresolved issues or wounds
from our past are triggered. The more I have resolved
my issues from the past, the less I will overreact when
negative things happen to me. This isn't to say that we
won't ever get our feelings hurt or that we shouldn't
feel angry at times, but we need to learn how to
respond in the right manner … at the right time … in
the right proportion to what has happened, not in
proportion to our hypersensitivity.

Fifth, working with several hundred divorced people
over the past decade or two, I have found that many
divorcees primarily blame their former spouse for the
failure of their marriage without taking a serious look
at what they contributed. Conflicts can only be
resolved when both parties acknowledge their
contribution to the problem or misunderstanding. Yes,
it is true that some people are belligerent, dogmatic,
and abusive. Even the Bible implies that some people
are impossible to get along with.5 But even then there
is something we can do. It may be standing up for
ourselves--that is, overcoming our overly passive or
overly dependent, or super-sensitive style by saying to
an angry, abusive person words to the effect that if
they continue to treat you in this manner, you will
have to distance yourself from them. And, if you make
this statement, you need to stand by your words and do
what you say you will do. And also assure this person
that your door will always be open should they choose
to stop being abusive. In these situations tough love
is needed; for as long as we allow ourselves to be
abused, we are a part of the problem. In every
situation there is always some responsibility we can
exercise.

To be concluded …

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in every conflict
situation please help me to be non-defensive, quit
playing the blame-game, and see how in any way I might
be overreacting and use this as a motivation to grow
and become a more loving, understanding and mature
adult. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

2. Luke 10:29 (NIV).
3. John Powell, Why I Am Afraid to Tell You Who I Am,
Argus Communications.
4. Luke 10:29 (NKJV).
5. Romans 12:18 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Fri 03 May 2013, 6:03 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Tips for Leaders

"Whoever wants to be great among you must be your
servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your
slave."1

On an occasion following a great victory Napoleon was
asked how he made his army cross the Alps and he
replied, "One does not make an army cross the Alps; one
leads it across."

Whether a boss, a parent, a teacher, or a friend, the
most effective way to lead others, to teach others, to
motivate others, to train our children and/or to
influence others is by example; that is, by who we are,
by what we do, and most of all by how much we care
about them. In other words, we need to model what we
want others to learn and do. We need to lead the way,
not by being demanding or controlling, but by showing
through both our caring and our doing--by example not
by telling.

Furthermore, "People don't care how much we know until
they know how much we care," and as Carl Jung stated,
"Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where
power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the
shadow of the other."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to teach
others your ways, not by my telling them how but by
showing them how by my example. Thank you for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Matthew 20:26-27 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Wed 01 May 2013, 10:36 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
A Voice in the Night

"Sit up!" the voice in the night said, "and take a deep
breath."

It was a stormy night, a personal friend shared, and we
were awakened by an extremely loud clap of thunder.
After the initial fright, checking the kids and the
house, we went back to bed and to sleep.

Then came the voice. I was certain I heard someone
speaking. "Sit up and take in a deep breath," it said.

I only half-awoke and thought I must have been
dreaming, so rolled over and went back to sleep.

The voice spoke again with more insistence, "Sit up and
take in a deep breath."

This is weird, I thought, so again rolled over and went
back to sleep.

"SIT UP! Take in a deep breath!" the voice spoke again
with great urgency.

So I sat up and took in a deep breath ... and smelled
smoke! I was fully awake in an instant ... awakened my
husband ... rushed to wake the children ... we had the
oldest one phone 911 (for emergency) ... my husband
took over the phone ... the operator asked if the
lights were working ... my husband said they were going
out one room at a time.

"Get OUT of the house immediately," declared the
operator. "Your house has been struck by lightning."

As quick as a flash the family rushed outside ...
immediately the house exploded and burst into flames.
It took firemen six hours to put the fire out. The
house was totally destroyed ... but the entire family
was saved.1

Talk about a God-wake-up call!

Surely this was a God thing. Fortunately the members of
this family were committed followers of Jesus Christ
and even though they lost their house, their lives were
saved. Furthermore, God has used this happenstance to
touch and encourage many thousands of others.

God doesn't usually speak to most of us in an audible
voice. He doesn't have to because his "wake-up call" is
spoken to us repeatedly in his Word, the Bible.

"Wake up!" God says to every one of us, "Flee from the
wrath to come"2 (God's judgment of a world that has
turned from Him to go its own sinful ways). "Wake up!"
"It is appointed unto man once to die and after this
the judgment."3

"Wake up!" "I will come again," Jesus said and promised
to take all who believe in him to be with him in heaven
forever.4 "Wake up!" Jesus is coming again ... it may
be today. If it were, would you be ready? Again Jesus
said, "I stand at the door [of your heart and life] and
knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I
will come in."5

Whatever you do don't miss God's wake-up call. Have you
opened the door of your life and invited Jesus, the Son
of God, to come into your heart and life as your God
and your Savior? If not, may I urge you to do that
today--right now--by praying a simple prayer such as
the following:

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I hear your wake-up call
as faint as it may be. I confess that I am a sinner and
ask for your forgiveness. Thank you, Jesus, for dying
on the cross to pay the penalty for all my sins. I
invite you to come into my heart and life as my God and
my Savior. With your help I repent of and turn from my
sinful ways. Thank you for hearing my prayer, for
forgiving me of my sins, and for coming into my heart
and life as my Savior. Help me to live for you always
in all ways. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

NOTE: If you prayed this prayer, please let us know by
clicking on: http://tinyurl.com/pgntm and we will send
you a few practical articles (without charge) to help
you in your Christian life. (Be assured that we will
never give any information about you to any other
person, organization, or business.)

For more help click on:
http://tinyurl.com/real-christian for the article, "How
to Be Sure You're a Real Christian--without having to
be religious."

1. Linda Hook
2. Matthew 3:7.
3. Hebrews 9:27.
4. John 14:3.
5. Revelation 3:20.

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Post  Admin on Tue 30 Apr 2013, 10:55 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Flee, Follow, Fight

"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow
after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience,
meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on
eternal life."1

The religious leaders of Christ's day, especially the
Pharisees, outwardly lived by the letter of the law.
They prided themselves in their good works and their
strict religiosity. If you hear what Jesus had to say
to some of them, one would be hard-pressed to call them
godly or "men of God." They had religion but they
didn't have godliness nor did they have a right
relationship with God.

A vital part of being involved in godliness, as the
Apostle Paul admonished Timothy, is to: "Flee …Follow …
Fight … and to Lay hold on eternal life.

FLEE. First, is that we flee or avoid the following
actions: 1) Not standing for sound doctrine as taught
in God's Word, the Bible. No matter what I am taught by
my church or anyone else, if it is not in harmony with
or is contrary to God's Word, it is not from God. Quite
possibly man-made doctrines may be sending more people
to hell than anything else. 2) The man or woman of God
is to avoid having false motives, and 3) He/she is to
avoid falling into the trap of materialism. In the
broader context, the godly person is also to avoid
greed, selfishness, gossip, immorality and all sins of
commission and omission.

FOLLOW. Second, the man or woman of God needs to follow
these characteristics: 1) Righteousness (right
living). 2) Godliness (godly living). 3) Faith.
4) Love. 5) Patience, and 6) Meekness.

FIGHT. The godly person is also instructed to fight the
good fight of faith; that is, to take a stand and fight
for justice, purity, honesty, moral living, ministering
to the poor and the hungry; taking care of the elderly;
and being God's agents in every area of life. In other
words, we are to hate and fight against the things God
hates--things that are destructive to those whom God
loves--and love and fight for the things that God
loves. Furthermore, we are to fight for the "supreme
task of the church" which is the evangelization of the
world. That is, we are to do everything in our power to
reach every person in the world with the saving gospel
message of Jesus Christ.

LAY HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE. Finally, the godly person is
to lay hold on eternal life; that is, to live with
eternal values in mind and to make absolutely sure that
he/she is on the way that leads to eternal life by
committing him/herself to Jesus Christ who is the way,
the truth, and the life--and the only way into God's
heaven and eternal life.2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be a
man/woman of God--never in a spirit of legalism--but
from a grateful heart in appreciation for all that you
have done for me, especially in the giving of your Son,
Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in my place to pay
the penalty for all my sins so I can be freely forgiven
and receive your gift of eternal life. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (KJV).
2. John 14:6. See also, "How to Be Sure You're a Real
Christian" at: www.actsweb.org/christian.

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Today's Daily Encounter
Letting Go of the Past

"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak
truthfully."1

Janet had been married eleven years when her husband,
Ron, told her that he didn't want to be married to her
any more. Understandably, Janet took it extremely hard
and refused to believe that Ron meant what he said.

But he did. So much so that he divorced Janet.

Two years later Janet was still in denial about her
situation even though Ron was married to another woman.
Furthermore, while Janet was fully supporting herself
and taking care of her and Ron's children, Janet was
still supporting Ron financially--all of which was a
vain attempt to get him back.

She had blinded herself totally to the reality of her
situation and was living in a fantasy world. As long as
she was in such deep denial, she was bound by her past,
going nowhere with her life.

When Janet joined a support/growth group and began to
see how much she was in denial about her situation, as
painful as it was she was able to begin a process of
healing that, in time, set her free to move ahead with
her life.

Any wonder the Bible teaches: "Therefore each of you
must put off falsehood."2 And as Jesus said, "You will
know the truth and the truth will set you free."3

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please deliver me from the
sin of denial so that I will always face reality and be
totally honest with myself, God, and others. Thank you
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus' name, amen."

1. Ephesians 4:25 (NIV).
2. Ephesians 4:25 (NIV).
3. John 8:32.

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Post  Admin on Mon 29 Apr 2013, 10:05 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Dark Night of the Soul

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not
one of them is forgotten by God."1

William Cowper, poet and hymn writer, who lived from
1731-1800 in England, apparently suffered from fits of
melancholy and frequent attacks of spiritual despair
which led to two suicide attempts.

On one of these occasions, during a time of deep
despair and a dark night of the soul on a foggy night
he set out from his home in London with the intention
of jumping into the River Thames to end his life.

He got hopelessly lost in the fog and wandered blind
for some time. Eventually, lost and confused, he walked
into a home to get out of the fog. And the home he
walked into? It was his own.

He sat down and penned the words of the beloved hymn:

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Dear reader, if you are going through a dark night of
the soul right now and it feels that God is far away,
be assured he is standing in the shadows and as he
knows about every sparrow he knows all about you and he
cares.

When we commit and trust our life to God every day,
"Weeping may endure for the night, but joy will come in
the morning"--even if it is eventually!

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in my despair let me not
grow weary in trusting you, but renew my faith and use
my present pain to make me a better, stronger person so
I can comfort others as they struggle through their
journey of despair and pain. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Luke 12:6 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Sat 27 Apr 2013, 4:19 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Purpose in Suffering

"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know
that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance,
character; and character, hope. And hope does not
disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into
our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."1

Jeris E. Bragan wrote about an old violin maker who
chose the wood for his instruments from the north side
of the trees because this was the side that faced the
fiercest windstorms. When the storms raged the trees
groaned under the lashings but this is what gave them
their strength. As the violin maker said, "They are
simply learning to be violins."

In younger days I had a home that I built myself at the
top of the hills overlooking the beautiful city of
Adelaide in South Australia. Most Adelaidians didn't
like to live up there because of the fierce winds that
often blow. But the view of the city and the ocean
beyond was magnificent. However, when I was landscaping
our property, the nursery man told me it was better to
get very small trees and if I stake them at all, be
sure to stake them very loosely. Allow them to bend and
go with the wind because this makes them develop a
strong root system. When the trees grew and the winds
raged, we lost a few branches but we never lost any
trees.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God …

Like the trees of the forest,
may I find nourishment
in rain as well as sunshine,
bend with the winds of misfortune
without breaking;
give of myself to others
to provide shade from the blistering heat,
grow old gracefully and not
become rigid or unbending;
and above all
may I keep reaching ever upwards
towards heaven and to God.

- Dick Innes

Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Romans 5:3-4 (NIV).

NOTE: The above poem by Dick, “Reaching Upwards,"
beautifully produced and ready for framing, is
available online, on sale, at:
http://tinyurl.com/reaching-up.

<Smile)))><

NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ,
please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.

* * * * * * *
Copyright (c) 2012 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2012
ACTS International.
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