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Daily Encounter with:  ACTS International - Page 37 Empty Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Fri 30 Oct 2009, 9:08 am

Today's Daily Encounter

To Be a Man--A Message to My Sons

"You children must always obey your parents, for this
is what pleases the Lord. Fathers, don't aggravate
your children. If you do, they will become discouraged
and quit trying."1

When you can dream beyond today
and rise above your fears and doubts;
When you can conquer every trial
that comes to those who dare
to climb the highest heights;
When you can keep on getting up each
time you've failed…or been knocked down;
When you can walk through the
fires of criticism, and disregard
the jibes of jealous lesser men;
When you can see your greatest strength
lies in your faith and gentleness. . .
your greatest courage in admitting
your faults, and with God's help
strive to overcome them;
When you can accept responsibility
for resolving all your hurts and break
the chain from generations past;
When you can know a father's love
and feel with all your heart;
When you can love yourself, others,
and God more than earthly gain
or fame, and recognition, you will,
my son, be then a man –
and, indeed, a great man at that.2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please grant that I will
so live that my life will model the kind of father and
man you want me to be so that my sons, seeing your love
in me, will want the same for themselves. And please
forgive me for where I have failed to so be. Thank you
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in
Jesus' name. Amen."

Note: This poem by Dick is available, beautifully
printed with a landscape photo. See and order from:
http://tinyurl.com/392ak6.

1. Colossians 3:20-21 (NLT).
2. "To Be a Man." ©️ Copyright 2001 by Dick Innes.

<Smile)))><

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Copyright (c) 2009 by ACTS International.

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Post  Admin on Thu 29 Oct 2009, 12:45 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

I Hate Baloney

"For even when we were with you, we gave you this
rule: 'If a man will not work, he shall not eat.'"1

You may have read about the man, a construction worker
who took a sandwich out of his lunch bag, looked at it
and threw it on the ground, yelling, "Baloney again! I
hate baloney." A coworker said, "If you hate baloney so
much, just ask your wife to make you something else."
The man replied, "That's the problem. My wife didn't
make the sandwich. I did."

Whether this story is true or not, doesn't really
matter. It's a great parable.

As Michael Josephson in Character Counts said, "Lots
of people continually make their own baloney
sandwiches and then act as victims when it's time to
eat them. It's like the man who killed his parents and
had the audacity to demand mercy because he was an
orphan."

Or like the overweight man who kept eating hamburgers
and blamed and wanted to sue MacDonald's, and three
other hamburger chains for contributing to his
obesity. And like the lady who sued a store because
she fell over an unruly child and hurt herself--and
the unruly kid in question was her own child! The
tragedy was she won the case and was awarded something
like $700,000! We've gone sue crazy in this part of the
world where I live and much, if not most, of it is
because of gross irresponsibility and pure
greed--wanting the rewards of hard work at someone
else's expense.

I realize it can be extremely difficult (and sometimes
impossible) in tough economical times to get work, but
if work--any kind of work--is available and I don’t
want to work, nobody, including the government, is
responsible for paying me or feeding me … neither are
my parents…nor is society. As Paul implied, if I CAN
get any kind of a job but don't want to work or do
so-called menial work, then I don't deserve to eat.
Let me add, I've done some pretty menial work in my
time--working as many as three jobs at once in the
summer break and part-time through the school year to
put myself through college. Years later, I'm still
working a second part-time job to supplement my
ministry income.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, if in any way I'm acting
irresponsibly and trying to get others to do for me
what I can and need to do for myself, help me to
confess up and accept personal responsibility. And if
I'm supporting an irresponsible child or person, help
me to wake up and motivate him/her to grow up. Thank
you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully,
in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

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Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
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and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
http://www.actscom.com


Copyright (c) 2009 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
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Post  Admin on Wed 28 Oct 2009, 2:08 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

He's Not Heavy--He's My Brother

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will
fulfill the law of Christ."1

You may have read how "when Sadhu Sundar Singh and a
companion were traveling through a pass high in the
Himalayan Mountains. At one point they came across a
body lying in the snow. Sundar Singh wished to stop
and help the unfortunate man, but his companion
refused, saying, 'We shall lose our lives if we burden
ourselves with him.'

"But Sundar Singh would not think of leaving the man
to die in the ice and snow. As his companion made his
farewell, Sundar Singh lifted the poor traveler onto
his back. With great exertion on his part, he bore the
man onward, but gradually the heat from Singh's body
began to warm up the beleaguered frozen fellow, and he
revived. Soon both were walking together side by side.
Catching up with his former companion, they found him
dead--frozen by the cold.

"In the case of Sundar Singh, he was willing to lose
his life on behalf of another, and in the process,
found it; but in the case of his companion who sought
only his own well-being, he only lost it."2

As the caption of the painting (housed at Girls and
Boys Town National Headquarters in Nebraska) of the
"Two Brothers" commissioned by Father Flanagan back in
1943, and copied from the original statue done in
sandstone, says, "He ain't heavy, Father … he's m'
brother."

When we treat a needy person who crosses our path as
our brother (or sister), the rewards of carrying them
until they can get on their own two feet will far
outweigh the burden of the load.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to treat
each person you bring into my life as a brother and/or
sister and be willing to help them when they need a
helping hand, to help lift their spirit when they need
an encouraging word, and to help carry their load when
it is too heavy for them to bear alone--as you have
done for me. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Galatians 6:2 (NIV).
2. Source Unknown

<Smile)))><

Today's Daily Encounter

The Positive Side of No

"But let each one examine his own work, and then he
will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in
another. For each one shall bear his own load."1

Yesterday the Apostle Paul was telling us that we need
to "carry each other's burdens," and today, a few
verses later, he's telling us that each person needs
to carry his own load. Sure sounds contradictory … at
least on the surface.

Actually, in yesterday's instruction, the word for
burden in the original language applied to a load or
burden that was too heavy for one person to carry
alone. The word for "load" in today's scripture verse
means a load that one is quite capable of carrying
himself.

Yes, we do need to help one another in times of need
when one’s burden is too heavy to carry alone, but
there are times when helping to carry another person's
load when he or she should be carrying it alone is not
helpful.

These are the times when we need say no, and it
applies to a very positive action. For instance, there
are some people who are takers. They take all they can
get and give little if anything in return. They are
self-centered and selfish. To do for them what they
can and need to do for themselves is not loving or
helping, but hurting them. It keeps us weak and
reinforces their laziness and selfishness.

These people are so used to getting (manipulating to
get) their own way that they don't like taking no for
an answer. Chances are they will try to make you feel
guilty when you say no. If they do, a good answer is a
line from the country-western song that says rather
eloquently, "What part of no don't you understand? …
I'll be glad to explain!"

Remember, too, we don't need to justify ourselves when
we say no. We just need to take a page out of Jesus'
book: "Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I
won't.' Your word is enough."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me the wisdom
to know if and when I am being used and the courage to
say no. And when another pressures me to do something
wrong, again give me the courage to say, 'No, I
won't.' Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

Note: For further help read, "Overcoming
Codependency," at: http://tinyurl.com/8p4t6

1. Galatians 6:4-5 (NKJV).
2. Matthew 5:37 (NLT).

<Smile)))><

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Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
http://www.actscom.com

Copyright (c) 2009 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2009
ACTS International.
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Post  Admin on Fri 23 Oct 2009, 4:04 pm

Resolution or Repetition

"When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he
had been in this condition for a long time, he asked
him, 'Do you want to get well [made whole]?'"1

A Daily Encounter reader whom I will call Janice
wrote, "I am at my wit’s end, please I need your help.
I was sexually abused by a family member from the age
of 6 years to 13 years old and then he died. I was
always the child who was either fighting with the
neighbors, my brother or sisters, and this led to
getting a thrashing with a belt on many a night. I
fell pregnant at the age of 18, a year out of school,
and got married …."

Janice's marriage was a disaster--with abuse,
rejection, affairs. She was divorced … remarried …
another disaster … divorced again … married again …
another disaster … another divorce … same man only
with different names.

While Janice's story is extreme, she is not alone. I
have taught in divorce and grief recovery workshops
over the past decade-and-a-half and have seen too many
singles repeat the same mistake over and over.

As I said to Janice (and have written many times),
what we don't resolve we are destined to repeat. We
have two choices--either resolution or repetition.

We need to realize that we are basically attracted to
other people (especially romantically) on the basis of
who we are. The one I am attracted to is a match of me
in that "the bumps on my head match the holes in her
head." All too soon I begin to see the holes in her
head, but fail to see the bumps on mine!

Because Janice was abused as a child and a teenager,
she is drawn to abusive men--in an unconscious attempt
to "make things right this time." It never works.

As painful as it is to admit, we are as sick (or as
healthy) as the people we are attracted to. Until we
admit this and look at the bumps/holes on/in our head
and quit blaming our partner for our relational
difficulties, and get into a healthy recovery program,
chances are that we will continue to keep repeating the
same mistakes.

The important thing to realize is not to look for the
right partner but to become the right partner, for
only happy, healthy people find happy, healthy
partners. Furthermore, only to the degree that we are
made whole will our lifestyle, actions, attitudes, and
relationships become wholesome. Realize too, that while
God wants us to be made whole, he usually works through
others to do this. We were damaged in damaging
relationships and find healing in healing
relationships.

If you (or someone you know) can identify in some way
with Janice, I urge you to seek wise counseling to
help you face and resolve the issues in your life that
are causing you to have failed or unsatisfying
relationships. Life is too short to live in the
constant pain of impaired and hurtful relationships.
Such can not only destroy the quality of your life,
but also take years off your life.

If you live in North America and need the name of a
Christian counselor in your area, call the Narramore
Christian Foundation for a counselor near you. The
number is 1-800-477-5893 Ex 227. Tell Mary that Dick
Innes suggested you call. Don't delay. Make that call
today. Or if you live overseas, you can receive free
lay counseling with New Hope Counseling online at:
http://www.newhopenow.org/.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to grow
and become whole in every area of life so that my life
and relationships will be truly wholesome. May I settle
for nothing less. And please lead me to the counseling
I need to help me so that my life will become a living
testimony of your saving power and help. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. John 5:6 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

* * * * * * *

Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
http://www.actscom.com

Copyright (c) 2009 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2009
ACTS International.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 58950
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Oct 2009, 7:32 am

Getting Rid of the Gunk

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom
you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of
all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander,
along with every form of malice."1

Ron Ledford reports how "each year thousands of
tourists journey to Mount Rushmore National Memorial
that is carved above the town of Keystone in
southwestern South Dakota. It is there that the images
of four of the great presidents of the United States
are carved in granite.

"What the average tourist does not realize is the
constant work that goes on to keep this giant
sculpture from deteriorating. For one week in
September workers go over this magnificent piece of
art removing bird nests, pulling shrubs that have
grown in the crevices in the rock. But the most
important task of all is filling the hundreds of
natural rock fissures that crisscross the executive
figures. Workmen carefully fill these cracks with a
special mixture of white granite dust, linseed oil,
and white lead. If these fissures were left
unattended, the autumn rains and melting snow could
creep into the rock and freeze, thus shattering a
president's image."2

Our life is like that too. We need to constantly be on
guard against all things that in time, if not put away
or cleaned up, could destroy our Christian walk and
testimony, and eventually lead us far from God.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to be aware of
anything in my life that is not pleasing to you and is
harmful to me and my testimony for you. Let your Spirit
convict me of these things and lead me to confession
and 'cleaning up my act.' Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Ephesians 4:30-31 (NIV).
2. Ron Ledford. Cited by King Duncan www.sermons.com.

<Smile)))><

* * * * * * *

Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
http://www.actscom.com

Copyright (c) 2009 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2009
ACTS International.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 58950
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
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Post  Admin on Wed 21 Oct 2009, 9:54 am

Little Things--Big Consequences

"And then he [Jesus] told them, 'Go into all the world
and preach [communicate] the Good News to everyone,
everywhere.'"1

Ron Clarke of Tasmania, Australia, asks, "Have you
ever been to the south coast of England? If not, you
may have seen pictures of it or can remember the
wartime song 'There'll Be Bluebirds Over the White
Cliffs of Dover.' These white cliffs are composed of
chalk. Chalk is formed by the shells of very tiny
animals called 'Foraminifera', meaning 'hole-bearers'.
They are so called because their small shells are
pierced with little holes. Thousands of years ago
there were trillions of these little creatures in the
sea. As they died, their shells fell to the sea floor
and formed a layer that gradually became thicker and
thicker. Then followed an earthquake and pushed the
layer upwards to form chalk cliffs.

"These cliffs are being destroyed by another small
shellfish called a 'Piddock'. This creature can twist
its shell rather like an awl or drill bit to make
holes in the chalk. They attack the cliffs just above
high water, and as the seas pound against the cliffs,
they are weakened and eventually collapse in a
landslide. A naturalist, writing about Piddocks, said
that Britain is an island because of the work of
Piddocks. Britain was once joined to the continent of
Europe, and over thousands of years Piddocks have
destroyed the chalk cliffs to form the English
Channel.

"This piece of trivia highlights what great things [or
destructive things] can be achieved by very tiny
creatures, and how much can result from very little.
It would have cost billions to excavate the English
Channel, but the humble Piddock did it alone."2

As we noted in yesterday's Daily Encounter, we all
have a part to play in God's service--no matter how
small that may be. Your and my contribution is all a
part of God's greater plan and a part of what he is
doing in the world today. We can't improve on God's
plan. The smartest thing to do is to get in on it. And
a vital part of his plan, as Jesus commissioned each of
us, is to "go into all the world and preach
[communicate] the Good News to everyone, everywhere."

And that starts right where we are by being as Christ
to every life we touch … and by joining hands and
hearts with those who are reaching the lost with the
lifesaving gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I'm available. Please
make me usable and use me to be as Christ to every
life I touch, and be ready and prepared to share your
plan of salvation as opportunities arise. And please
help me to be sensitive to these opportunities. Thank
you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully,
in Jesus' name, amen."

NOTE: Please join with us as a People Power for Jesus
partner … there is no charge. For more information go
to: www.actsweb.org/people_power. "When many people
each do a little, together we can accomplish great
things for God."

1. Mark 16:15 (NASB).
2. Ron Clarke, www.pastornet.net.au/word4week.

<Smile)))><

* * * * * * *

Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
http://www.actscom.com

Copyright (c) 2009 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2009
ACTS International.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 58950
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

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Post  Admin on Tue 20 Oct 2009, 7:21 am

Today's Daily Encounter

How to Please God

"He also who had received two talents came and said,
'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have
gained two more talents besides them.' His lord said
to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you
have been faithful over a few things, I will make you
ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your
lord.'"1

In God's economy there is a place of service for every
single member of his family; that is, for every
individual Christian in the church, or what the
Apostle Paul called "the body of Christ." Every one of
us is equally important. As Paul said, "The eye cannot
say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' And the head
cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!'"2

And every one of us has at least one gift with which
to serve God. The important thing is to know what your
gifting is and put it to good use serving God … first
at home … then in the church and Lord's work … and in
some way everywhere you go. For example, if you have
the gift of encouragement, you can use that anywhere.

You are probably familiar with the words of Henry Van
Dyke who said so simply yet so eloquently: "Use what
talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if
no birds sang except those that sang best."

If you aren't sure what your gifts are, ask yourself
what is it that you like doing best and are good at
doing? Or ask those who know you best, as they will
see or sense what you are good at doing. Or you can
take a spiritual gifts inventory such as is found at:
http://www.fbchsv.org/biblestudy/gifts/gifts_inventory.html


Remember, too, that people are the "instruments" God
uses to get his work done on earth and, like a
doctor's scalpel, the sharper the instrument, the more
effective work God can do with the instrument. For
example, if you have a desire to write, sing, teach,
preach, or be a "butcher, baker or candlestick maker"
then get the training necessary to be the best at what
you like doing best. Then seek ways to use your gifts
even if in seemingly humble ways to begin with. My job
for several years as a young teenager was to collect
and put away the hymn books in our small countrified
church.

When we are faithful in the little things, God will
lead us to bigger things if we so desire and are so
gifted. Regardless, every responsibility is of equal
importance in God's service, and we will be rewarded,
when Jesus comes, not according to our gifting but
according to our faithfulness.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to know what my
gifts are, get the training I need to sharpen them,
and find a place where I can put these to best use in
serving you--and thereby help make my world a better
place in which to live. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Matthew 25:22-23 (NKJV).
2. 1 Corinthians 12:21 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

* * * * * * *

Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
ACTS International, a non-profit organization,
and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
http://www.actscom.com

Copyright (c) 2009 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2009
ACTS International.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 58950
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

View user profile http://worldwidechristians.forumotion.com

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Post  Admin on Mon 19 Oct 2009, 9:37 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

A Room With No Way Out

"Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been
published, he went home to his upstairs room where the
windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he
got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his
God, just as he had done before."1

Many readers will know about the story of Daniel in
the lion's den, how several hundred years B.C. he was
taken captive, along with most of the ancient
Israelites, to Babylon--the city reported to be about
60 miles south of Baghdad in Iraq.

Because Daniel was a very able and trusted servant,
King Darius planned to make him the second highest in
command in Babylon. However, jealous lesser leaders,
knowing that Daniel could not be faulted in any way,
set a trap to have him destroyed by persuading the
king to make a law "that anyone who prays to any god
or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O
king, shall be thrown into the lions' den."2

Daniel refused to stop praying to God. King Darius was
greatly distressed but, because of the law, Daniel was
thrown to the hungry lions with the king's words: "May
your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!"

"Then the king returned to his palace and spent the
night without eating …. And he could not sleep. At the
first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the
lions' den. When he came near the den, he called to
Daniel in an anguished voice, 'Daniel, servant of the
living God, has your God, whom you serve continually,
been able to rescue you from the lions?'

"Daniel answered, 'O king, live forever! My God sent
his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions….'

"The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel
out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the
den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted
in his God.

At the king's command, the men who had falsely accused
Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions' den,
along with their wives and children. And before they
reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered
them and crushed all their bones."3

Had Daniel gone "kicking and screaming" into the
lion's den because of this gross injustice, chances
are he would have been torn to pieces before he hit
bottom. But he didn't. He trusted God fully in the
midst of this frightening situation. However, before
Daniel was delivered out of the lions' den, he was
delivered in it--a lesson that God wants each of us to
learn in whatever situation we find ourselves.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to learn
to trust you and be faithful to you, as Daniel did, no
matter what adverse circumstances I happen to find
myself in, knowing that my life will always be in your
hands. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Daniel 6:10 (NIV).
2. Daniel 6: 7 (NIV).
3. Daniel 6:6-24 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

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Post  Admin on Fri 16 Oct 2009, 11:20 am

Planned Abandonment

"He [Jesus] was in the world, and the world was made
through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came
to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as
many as received Him, to them He gave the right to
become children of God, to those who believe in His
name."1

Michael Josephson tells how "management guru Peter
Drucker advocates a practice he calls planned
abandonment. He stresses how important it is that
managers develop the wisdom and courage to regularly
review what the organization is doing and determine
whether it's worth doing. He urges executives to note
and resist the systemic and emotional forces that make
it difficult to abandon activities that drain
resources, detract from central goals, or otherwise
impede progress."

This same principle needs to be applied, not only in
the business world, but also to many areas of life.
Some of us, for example, who are codependent need to
come to our senses and abandon our neurotic need to
rescue an addict from the natural consequences of
his/her self-destructive behavior.

Sadly, some so-called Christian churches that teach a
toxic type of religiosity that controls people and
keeps them in the bondage of legalism also need to be
abandoned.

Remember the religious people of Jesus' day. They were
expecting and waiting for their long-promised Messiah
(Savior), but, because Jesus didn't come the way they
expected him to come and do what they expected him to
do, they failed to recognize their Messiah when he
came, rejected him, and had him crucified. They were
blinded by their own man-made religious traditions
and, instead of abandoning them, they clung to them
tenaciously. How tragic.

Unfortunately, many are still doing this today.

If our religious beliefs and/or traditions are
man-made and are not in harmony with God's Word, we
need to summon our courage to abandon them and come to
Jesus, the Savior of the world, and follow him.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see any
self-destructive behaviors I may have and give me the
good sense and courage to abandon these ways. And if
my beliefs and faith are not in harmony with your
Word, please help me to see the truth, abandon my
long-held misleading religious beliefs, and come to
Jesus and follow him. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

Note: For god’s way of salvation see "How to Be Sure
You’re a Real Christian" at:
http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.

1. John 1:10-12 (NKJV).

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Post  Admin on Thu 15 Oct 2009, 11:53 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Pruning for Productivity

Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father [God]
is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that
bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear
fruit he prunes so that it will be even more
fruitful."1

In preparation for his sermon about Jesus being the
vine, and we the branches, Brett Blair shared the
following: "I must admit that I know very little about
the particulars of the wine industry. So I did some
reading in this area and found it to be quite
fascinating. Grape vines are very rugged in one way,
but in another sense their fruit is very delicate and
requires being treated with kid gloves. A young vine
is not permitted to bear fruit for the first three
years. It is therefore drastically pruned in December
and January to preserve its energy. The particular
branches that do not bear fruit are cut out to further
conserve the energy of the plant. If this constant
cutting back was not done, the result would be a crop
that was not up to its full potential."2

Sometimes we wonder why God allows us, his children,
to go through so many trials and tribulations; and
yet, when we look back over the past, we can see how
God was with us guiding our every step and pruning us
so our lives would become more fruitful and
productive. As the writer to the early Hebrew
Christians wrote, "No discipline [or pruning] seems
pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however,
it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for
those who have been trained by it."3

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, while I can't say that I
have ever enjoyed your 'pruning' in my life, I thank
you for all the trials you have used in my life to do
this. Help me to realize when trials come that you are
using these to help me become more and more like Jesus
in every way and accept them with an attitude of
gratitude. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

Note: For further help see "Lessons from Suffering"
at: http://tinyurl.com/exuyw.

1. John 15:1-2 (NIV).
2. Rev. Brett Blair. www.eSermons.com.
3. Hebrews 12:11 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

* * * * * * *
Today's Daily Encounter

If You Loved Me ... Yeah ... Right!

"It is God's will that you should be sanctified [set
apart unto God]: that you should avoid sexual
immorality; that each of you should learn to control
his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not
in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know
God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his
brother [or sister] or take advantage of him [her].
The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have
already told you and warned you."1

A Daily Encounter reader writes, "I have a male friend
who doesn't accept the restrictions in the Bible
regarding celibacy before marriage. He says that if he
loves, cherishes, and respects the woman, it should be
okay to have sexual intimacy. I told him that there
are Bible verses regarding this, but have only found
some and have trouble explaining further. Can you
please help me and will you please consider writing on
this topic."

Sounds like a familiar line. Men--Christian or
otherwise--who claim that sex outside of marriage is
perfectly acceptable on the basis of their love for a
woman, is pure manipulation. The scriptures make it
very clear that fornication (sex outside of marriage)
is sinful. It's not sinful because God says it is sin.
God says it is sinful because it, like all sin, is
harmful to those whom he loves--us!

Apart from health reasons (which of itself is
sufficient to remain celibate outside of marriage) and
the risk of an unwanted child, and then for some,
abortion, sex outside of marriage can blind a couple
to what kind of person their partner really is.
Furthermore, becoming physically bonded too soon can
and does stop couples from becoming emotionally and
spiritually bonded, which is an essential foundation
for building a healthy marriage and home. Furthermore,
sex outside of marriage for those who rationalize that
you've "got to try before you buy," doesn't prove a
thing. Many couples who have been active sexually
prior to marriage sadly discovered that once they were
married, the sacredness of sex was over. Unfortunately
some men give "love" to get sex while some women give
sex to get "love"--a blind fallacy this turns out to
be.

We may not always like God's ways and they may not
always be easy to follow, but God's ways are always
for our benefit. We defy them to our peril. We simply
cannot improve on God's plans. It's much smarter,
wiser, and healthier to get in on them. And in the
end, investing in God's ways and following his rules
always produces great dividends.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me the desire
to know and study your Word so I will always know your
directives. Give me the good sense to know that your
directives are always for my good, and please give me
the strength to abide by them and never compromise
them because of my own fleshly lusts and desires. Help
me to always live in harmony with your Word and your
will. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 (NIV).

NOTE: For additional scriptures on this topic see
Romans 1:28-30; 1 Corinthians 5:1-2; 6:12-14, 17-19;
7:1-3; 10:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:20-22; Galatians
5:18-20; Ephesians 5:2-4; Colossians 3:4-6.

<Smile)))><

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ACTS International


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Post  Admin on Tue 13 Oct 2009, 11:28 am

Today's Daily Encounter

No Hiding Place

"Don't just pretend to be good…put away all deception,
envy and fraud. Long to grow up into the fullness of
your salvation."1

I read the other day about a little boy who loved to
play Superman.

Each morning three-year-old Ray would ask his mother
to pin a bath towel to the back shoulders of his size
2 T-shirt. Immediately in his young imaginative mind
the towel became a brilliant magic blue and red cape.
And he became Superman.

Outfitted each day in his "cape," Ray's days were
packed with adventure and daring escapades. In his
mind, he not only played Superman, he WAS Superman.
This fact was clearly pointed out when his mother
enrolled him in kindergarten class. During the course
of the interview, the teacher asked Ray his name.

"Superman," he answered politely and without pause.

The teacher smiled, cast an appreciative glance at his
mother, and asked again, "Your real name, please."

Again, Ray answered, "Superman."

Realizing the situation demanded more authority, or
maybe to hide her amusement, the teacher closed her
eyes for a moment, and then in a voice quite stern,
said, "I will have to have your real name for the
records."

Sensing he'd have to play straight with the teacher,
Ray slid his eyes around the room, hunched closer to
her, and patting a corner of the frayed towel at his
shoulder, answered in a voice hushed with conspiracy,
"Clark Kent."2

We laugh at this child's imagination and childish
self-deception. Sadly, too many of us as adults put on
a public face (our "Super-whatever" mask) and pretend
to be outwardly what we're not on the inside so that
we will be liked and accepted--and as a means of
avoiding facing our own reality. And when we live with
this deception for so long, we end up believing our
mask is the real us. People may "like" my public mask
but as long as I hide my true self, I will never feel
loved and will end up living among people alone apart.
The realty is that I can only be loved to the degree
that I am known.

Furthermore, unless I admit to myself and to God who
and what I really am, I will never be able to feel
truly forgiven nor fully loved. We try, like Adam did
when he sinned, to hide from God, which is totally
unrealistic, since we can never hide from God no
matter how we try. As David wrote, "Where can I go
from Your Spirit [Oh God]? Or where can I flee from
your presence?"3 Much wiser and much healthier to come
to God and admit who we truly are, ask for and find his
forgiveness, and be freed to grow and become all that
God envisioned for us to be and do.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you know
me as I truly am and love me regardless. However,
please help me to stop hiding behind any false front,
to be honest with myself and with you so that I can
experience your forgiveness and become all that you
want for me to be, and be an open channel through whom
your love can flow to others. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 1 Peter 2:1,3 (TLB/NLT).
2. Source Unknown.
3. Psalm 139:1-7 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

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Post  Admin on Mon 12 Oct 2009, 1:28 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Blessings of Unanswered Prayer

Jesus said, "If you, then, though you are evil, know
how to give good gifts to your children, how much more
will your Father [God] in heaven give good gifts to
those who ask him!."1

Terry Fitzgerald Sieck shared how she "was in the
habit of praying very specifically for what she
wanted. She told God in great detail about the kind of
job, the kind of husband, the kind of life that she
envisioned for herself. And Terry was frequently
frustrated. One day, a friend suggested that she try a
different tack. Give God a blank sheet of paper, the
friend suggested, and let God give you his list for
your life.

"Not long afterwards, Terry went back to
school--something she hadn't anticipated doing. And
she met a wonderful new man whom she eventually
married. He didn't fit the criteria of her earlier
list, but he was everything she wanted in a husband.
When Terry turned her life over to God's will, God
provided for her needs in ways she couldn't have
imagined."2

There's nothing wrong with asking God for what we
would like, but to get prayers answered, they need to
be in harmony with God's will. And while "some of
God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers" (as the
country song puts it), he often does give us the
desires of our heart when we pray in harmony with his
will.

I think God has a great sense of humor too. For
instance, my last car had just under 200,000 miles on
it. It was old but still okay for running around town,
but I didn't feel safe in driving it long distances
anymore. For months I had been looking for a good
bargain on a mid-size SUV (not a gas guzzling one) as
I carry lots of stuff for our work. I prayed, "God, I
don't really need an SUV but it sure would be nice to
have one." Within two weeks I found a fabulous bargain
on a year-old, low-mileage vehicle. I now own an SUV
and have found it a great help in our work.

I think one of my son's "prayers" was answered too.
His vehicle was giving him all sorts of problems so I
sold him my old car for $1.00--which he borrowed from
us to pay for it!

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you hear
and answer my prayers. Thank you, too, for the times
you haven't answered my prayers according to my wishes
which, if you had, it may have done me more harm than
good. Help me to live and pray in harmony with your
will so that I can be sure that you will answer my
prayers one way or another. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

Note: See article, "How to Pray Effectively" at:
http://tinyurl.com/kb62w.

1. Matthew 7:11 (NIV).
2. Terry Fitzgerald Sieck, found in Stories of God's
Abundance for a More Joyful Life (Lancaster, PA:
Starburst Publishers, 1999), pp. 196-198.

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Post  Admin on Fri 09 Oct 2009, 12:36 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Trust

"Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who
cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to
the ground; on that very day their plans come to
nothing."1

"In her autobiography Climbing Free, rock climber Lynn
Hill shares the peril she faced in May 1989 while
scaling a cliff face in France. As Hill reached the
top of a 72-foot ledge, she leaned back into her
harness to take a rest. Somehow, her rope wasn't fully
connected to her harness. When she leaned her weight on
it, she fell backward into space. You can imagine how
terrifying this was--falling through the air with
nothing to catch her. Amazingly, she survived the
fall.

"As an expert in her field, Hill relied fully on her
equipment. She had every expectation that her harness
would support her full weight. Her experience
illustrates the dangers of putting your faith in
something that may fail."2

Many of us have learned the folly of putting our trust
in others who let us down, or in accountants who
adjusted their books to make their company look good
on the stock market, or in the stock market itself--or
in a broker who stole his clients' entire retirement
funds (of whom I am one of the victims).

Living in this world we are going to be let down at
times. We can't always avoid it. But the most
important thing in life is that we don't put our trust
in a false god or a false religion and discover too
late that when we come to the end of life's journey,
we had not put our trust in the Living God and his
only way of salvation. We can trust in man-made
religions, our own interpretation of the way to
heaven, or we can trust in Jesus who said, "I am the
way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the
Father [God] except through me."3 And again, "Nor is
there salvation in any other, for there is no other
name under heaven [than that of Jesus] given among men
by which we must be saved."4

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the name of
Jesus--the one through whom you have provided mankind's
only way of salvation. And thank you that I can trust
fully in your Word knowing that you will never let me
down. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

Note: See God’s way of salvation at:
http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.

1. Psalm 146:3-4 (NIV).
2. James B. Meigs, "Extreme Living," O, The Oprah
Magazine, July 2002, pp. 35-37.
3. John 14:6 (NIV).
4. Acts 4:12 (NKJV).

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Post  Admin on Thu 08 Oct 2009, 4:14 pm

Dis-Appointments

"And we know that in all things God works for the good
of those who love him, who have been called according
to his purpose."1

In his book, Empires of the Mind, Dennis Waitley
shared how "in the 1920s, when Ernest Hemingway was
working hard to perfect his craft, he lost a suitcase
containing all his manuscripts--many stories he'd
laboriously polished to jewel-like perfection--which
he'd been planning to publish in a book. The
devastated Hemingway couldn't conceive of redoing his
work. He could think only of the months he'd devoted
to his arduous writing--and for nothing, he was now
convinced.

"But when he lamented his loss to the poet Ezra Pound,
Pound called it a stroke of luck. Pound assured
Hemingway that when he rewrote the stories, he would
forget the weak parts; only the best material would
reappear. Instead of framing the event in
disappointment, Pound cast it in the light of
opportunity. Hemingway did rewrite the stories--and
the rest, as they say, is history. He became one of
the major figures in American literature."2

For those who daily commit their life to Christ, our
disappointments, as another has said, are God's
appointments in that he wants to use every adverse
circumstance to help us grow and become more mature
and better persons.

Speaking personally, in much younger days it was when
I was lying on my back on a hospital bed following an
accident on a construction site that I "heard" the
still small voice of God calling me to the work I am
still doing today. Years later, it was a family crisis
that led me to leave my homeland of Australia--a
situation that God has used to more than double my
ministry. Like many of our readers, I could name many
more disappointments to show how they were blessings
in disguise and how God has used them to bless me more
than I could have ever imagined.

He wants to do the same for you too. He will as you
commit and trust your life and way to God every day
for the rest of your life.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I commit and trust my
life and way to you and ask that you will use every
disappointment in my life as your appointment. Turn
each negative experience into a blessing, and use each
one to make something beautiful out of my life. Thank
you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully,
in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Romans 8:28 (NIV).
2. Dennis Waitley, Empires of the Mind (New York:
William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1995), p. 122.

<Smile)))><

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Post  Admin on Mon 05 Oct 2009, 11:58 am

Today's Daily Encounter

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

"And a little child shall lead them."1

"I had been a children's Sunday School teacher at a
particular church for quite a while," wrote one lady.
"I dearly loved it and its people. I had tried, on
many occasions to get Bob, my husband, to take an
interest in that church. He went twice, once because
there was to be a big dinner after, and the second
time to see the Christmas play, which I had written
and directed.

"Bob owns Big Sun Tree Service and a few days before
Easter, while trimming a tree, a branch hit him on the
jaw causing it to crack. He did agree to go with me to
church on Easter Sunday. However, before we left he
bit down on an oatmeal cookie and ended up breaking
his jaw and spending Easter afternoon at the emergency
room.

"The following Saturday I asked him if he would like
to go to church with me in the morning, and,
remarkably, he said 'I might as well, I don't have
anything else to do.' At church, during the
meet-and-greet time, one of the youngsters, Ethan
Moody, handed me a $5.00 bill. Puzzled, I asked him if
he wanted me to put it in the offering plate for him,
and he replied that this was his allowance, and he
wanted to give it to my husband to help pay for the
dentist. I knew I couldn't give it back to him,
because it would hurt his feelings, so I gave it to
Bob and quickly explained what Ethan had said.

"In that service when Pastor Ben gave the invitation,
Bob accepted the Lord. Later that day I asked him what
had prompted him to make that decision? He told me it
was many things adding up over a period of time, but
that the icing on the cake was when Ethan gave him
'his weekly allowance to help pay my dental bill.'
That action had reminded him of the times I had
explained to him of how God, because he loved us so
much, gave up His only son to pay for my sins."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, like the child who
expressed his love in a tangible way, help me to do
the same for others in need who cross my path and whom
you bring into my life. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Isaiah 11:6 (NIV).
2. Source unknown.

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Post  Admin on Sat 03 Oct 2009, 12:12 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

God of the Ordinary

"Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.
Could this be the Christ?"1

One of the wonderful things about the gospel is that
God calls, saves, and uses ordinary people to help
fulfill his purposes here on earth.

The culture of Jesus' day was vastly different from
ours except, perhaps, for racism. On one occasion when
Jesus wanted to reach a Samaritan village with his
message of salvation, he stopped by a well and made
friends with a Samaritan woman. This definitely was
not kosher for a Jew because the Jews looked down
their noses at the Samaritans and had no dealings with
them.

Not so Jesus. After asking this woman for a drink of
water and conversing in some seemingly small talk, he
directed the conversation to spiritual matters. Not
only was this woman a Samaritan but one who had led a
very colorful life. Jesus knew exactly what type of
person she was. She was a social outcast which was
obvious by the fact that she was drawing water from
the well in the middle of the day. All the other women
from the village did so in the cool of the evening.

After the introductory small talk, Jesus said to the
lady, "Go and get your husband and come back with
him."

"I don't have a husband," she replied.

"I know," Jesus said, "you've already had five and the
man you are now with is not your husband!"

That would be quite a reputation even today, let alone
in that society.

And yet, this was the woman that Jesus chose to be the
messenger to carry the gospel to her village--which she
did; and the people there came to see and hear Jesus
for themselves.

Jesus, who upheld impeccable moral standards and high
ideals regarding marriage, wasn't shocked by this
woman's lifestyle. He saw beyond the externals and
looked at her heart. Here was a woman who needed
salvation and healing and was willing to admit her
failures.

Neither is God shocked with you or me when we admit
our sins and faults and bring them to him for his
forgiveness, and when we acknowledge our brokenness
and come to him for healing. And when we do this, he
won't worry about our past when it comes to using us
as his witnesses.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you are
not a 'respecter of persons' and that whoever comes to
you, no matter what they have ever done or have failed
to do, you will love, accept, and forgive them, and
use them to be living witnesses of your saving grace
and power. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

Note: For help see "How to Be Sure You’re a Real
Christian" at: http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.

1. John 4:29 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Fri 02 Oct 2009, 3:52 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Responsibility = Response Ability

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind
your own business and to work with your hands … so
that you will not be dependent on anybody."1

One of the great principles we need to emphasize to
keep ourselves and our society healthy and productive
is the principle of personal responsibility. It's a
principle that needs, through repetition, to be
programmed into our belief system. It needs to be
taught and demonstrated in the home and at every level
of society--including among the highest business and
political leaders in our communities and nation.

If people don't believe they are responsible, they
will not act responsibly. If they believe and know
they are responsible, most will consistently act
responsibly.

Obviously, we weren't responsible for our background
and upbringing but we are fully responsible for what
we do about these and for what we become. The world
doesn't owe us a living. As the Bible teaches, if we
are unwilling to work we shouldn't eat.

When we repeatedly do anything for others that they
can and need to do for themselves we can make and keep
them overdependent, immature and irresponsible. It is
not the loving thing to do.

I remember reading about some sea gulls in a fishing
village that, for many years, fed on the scraps the
fishermen left. When the fishing industry in this
place closed, the sea gulls had forgotten how to
gather food for themselves. They died of starvation.

The same principle applies to people. When we do
things to keep them overdependent, we destroy their
growth and maturity. It's the same with God, he will
bend the heavens to touch the earth to do for us what
we can't do for ourselves--such as on the cross of
Calvary--but he won't do for us what we can and need
to do for ourselves. As another has said, "God feeds
the sparrows but he doesn’t throw the food into their
nest."

One effective way to program responsibility into one's
unconscious mind is by constantly saying to yourself[,]
either silently or out loud: "I am responsible. I am
responsible. I am responsible." And say it with the
feeling that you really mean it and believe it. Just
mouthing the words is meaningless.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I am responsible. Thank
you for granting me this freedom. Help me to act
accordingly always in all ways. Thank you for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Thu 01 Oct 2009, 6:19 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

When My Child Was Lost

"You are to go into all the world and preach the Good
News to everyone, everywhere."1

Dr. Leighton Ford tells the story about when his
daughter was young, several years ago.

I was minding the children while my wife was shopping.
Debbie Jean had returned from school and was playing
with her four-year-old brother in the back yard. When
I called them to come in, Debbie Jean was missing.

I walked up and down the street calling her
name--fearing the silence.

Later (after she was found) I reflected on the
incident. During the nearly two hours that Debbie Jean
was missing, nothing else mattered. In my study were
books to be read, letters to be answered, articles to
be written, planning to be done--but it was all
forgotten. I could think of only one thing: my little
girl was lost.

I had only one prayer and I prayed it a thousand
times: "O God, help me to find her."

"How often," I ask myself, "had I felt that same
terrible urgency about people who were lost from God?"


I had a similar experience when one of my baby sons
was with his grandmother and I feared both were lost.
I panicked a blue streak until I found them.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to realize
in the depths of my heart that people without you are
lost for all eternity. I'm available. Please use me to
be as Christ to every life I touch, and do all that I
can, in as many ways I can to help win others to you.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

Note: Please join with us to be a People Power for
Jesus partner at www.actsweb.org/people_power.

1. Mark 16:15 (TLB/NLT).

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Post  Admin on Thu 01 Oct 2009, 12:05 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Relationships: Does True Love Exist?

"A new command I [Jesus] give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another."1

A Daily Encounter reader asks, "Does true love exist?
I have had three broken relationships. Each one made
big promises he never kept. I have tried healing
myself by reading some inspirational articles, but
nothing worked. I always ask God, ’Why has all this
happened to me when I was true to them?’ Is there no
one made for me to give me love? I feel my life is
full of regrets. Please tell me what I need to do to
heal myself?"

The number one issue Encounter readers write to me
about is poor relationships. The fact is that loving
relationships--for which we were created--are vital
for healthy and meaningful living. Without such
relationships we limp along in the shadows of life
eking out a lonely, empty and hollow existence--and
very likely will die before our time.

True love does exist but it is a fruit of personal
growth, maturity and wholeness--emotional and
spiritual--for only to the degree that we are made
whole will our attitudes, our behavior, our actions,
and our relationships be wholesome.

Speaking personally, I had a lot of emotional issues
from my childhood that I had to acknowledge and
resolve before I found the love of my life. That took
a deep commitment not only to God, seeking his help,
but also for getting the counseling help I needed to
overcome my personal issues and deficiencies.

Unfortunately, some Christians are expecting God to
bring the "right" person into their life. It doesn't
work this way. If we want to be attracted to the
"right" person, we need to be the "right" person. Only
healthy people are attracted to healthy people.
Actually, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we
can learn a lot about ourselves by looking at our
significant other relationships as we are as healthy
or as sick as the people we are attracted to.

In earlier years why was I attracted to ladies who
were afraid to love? It was because I was
unconsciously afraid to love. This was because I had
felt rejected as a child and was unconsciously afraid
of being hurt again. To overcome my fear I needed to
acknowledge it and get all the counseling help I
needed to overcome. Was it easy? No, at times it was
extremely difficult but I knew that unless I overcame
my fear of love, I would be running from love the rest
of my life. I acknowledged my need when my pain was
greater than my fear.

So, like the young lady who asked if true love
existed, if you are struggling with poor or impaired
relationships, start by asking God to confront you
with the truth about you and what it is in you that is
causing you to be attracted to bad relationships?
Without confronting this truth, you may be floundering
in painful relationships for the rest of your life. As
Jesus also pointed out, only the truth sets people
free.

Then ask God to lead you to the help you need to guide
you through the healing and recovery process.
Unfortunately, in many parts of the world it can be
extremely difficult to find qualified counseling help.
However, there is some free online lay counseling that
can be helpful. For counseling resources see
http://www.actsweb.org/counseling_resources.php.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see
that my poor relationships are your wakeup call to
awaken me to the fact that there are unresolved
relational issues in my life. Please help me to see
what these issues are and help me to find the help I
need for healing and recovery. Thank you for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus’ name,
amen."

1. John 13:34 (NIV).

<:((((><

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Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
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and made possible through the donations of
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When copying or forwarding include the following:
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Post  Admin on Fri 25 Sep 2009, 6:23 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Seek Wise Counsel

"Listen to wise advice; follow it closely, for it will
do you good, and you can pass it on to others: Trust in
the Lord."1

"My wife is leaving me," one man said to me, "what can
I do?" My gut response (which I kept to myself) was,
"Why didn't you come to me at least five years
sooner?"

I tried to assure this man that if he and his wife
both genuinely wanted to save their marriage, there
were no guarantees, but with wise counsel, deep
honesty, courage, hard work and God's help, they
undoubtedly could. Both, however, need to be totally
committed to saving their marriage, confront their own
personal issues and quit playing the blame game, for in
every conflict there are always two contributing to it
in one way or another.

One way to keep a marriage healthy is to see and treat
problem symptoms when they first appear. If these
symptoms are the fruit of a deeper root, which they
often are, they won't go away of themselves. The
longer we leave symptoms untreated the deeper their
roots go and the stronger they become.

If there are things in your marriage or in other areas
of your life that bother you, it is wise to seek
competent guidance from a qualified counselor right
away. Don't put it off any longer. Make that
appointment you know you need to make--today.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to recognize the
symptoms in my life which, if left unattended and
ignored, in time could harm or even destroy my closest
relationships--including my relationship to you. And as
I diligently seek the help I need, please lead me to
the best help to meet my need. Thank you for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Proverbs 22:17-19 (TLB/NLT).

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ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
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U.S.A.

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Post  Admin on Sat 19 Sep 2009, 1:45 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Alarming Irresponsibility

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a
man sows, this he will also reap."1

A Spanish proverb says: "God says, 'Choose what you
will and pay for it.'"

Not so here in the U.S., maybe, according to at least
some so-called justices. Chuck Colson in BreakPoint
pointed out a few years ago just one of many similar
examples when he wrote, "A young woman I'll call Susie
Smith has a weight problem: She's five feet, six inches
and weighs 270 pounds. Why does she weigh twice her
healthy weight? Genetics? Poor nutrition? Lack of
exercise?

"No! McDonald's. Smith claims that she is obese
because 'her regular diet included an Egg McMuffin for
breakfast and a Big Mac meal for dinner.' And that is
why she and other overweight people were suing
McDonald's."

Back in college days for two summers I drove a CTA
passenger bus in Chicago, and in our training we
learned how some people would purposely fall in the
bus so they could sue the bus company for damages. And
these people never seem to want for a lawyer who will
accept their case.

In recent days we have read how smokers have
successfully sued tobacco companies for millions of
dollars blaming the manufacturers for their (the
smokers') addiction! I certainly don't approve of
tobacco companies but not one of them ever made anyone
buy or smoke their cigarettes. Every single smoker did
so because of his/her own choice and action. And never
has a McDonald's ever made any customer buy an Egg
McMuffin or a Big Mac let alone make them eat them.

What so-called justices are granting is not only
absurd, it's downright alarming. Once upon a time law,
order, and justice, were based on the Judeo-Christian
ethic. No longer. We've thrown out prayer, God, and
the Bible from our schools. And there's ever
increasing pressure to have God and the Bible removed
from all public places. Consequently we are now living
in what has been called post-Christian America and it
seems as if some lawyers and judges are making their
own laws instead of adhering to the law as spelled out
in the Constitution.

Consequently, personal and moral responsibility is
rapidly being decimated.

If we keep heading this way, law and order based on a
higher power (be it God or the Constitution--essential
for the successful functioning of any society and
nation) will become so eroded, we will end up like
ancient Rome and every other civilization who
discarded God, morality, and personal responsibility.

The Spanish proverb is correct: "God says, 'Choose
what you will and pay for it.'" Susie Smith and
company did exactly what they wanted to do and are
paying for it. Denial will never take off their weight
nor cure their lung cancer, the result of smoking.

One thing is certain, we cannot break God's laws and
survive any more than we can break the universal law
of gravity. When we attempt to, it breaks us. What we
sow is what we reap! Period--even if it is eventually.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please send a revival of
your Spirit to our nation so that we will return to
your ways and abide by your laws. Deliver us from our
self-delusional irresponsibility and help us to
realize that when we defy your ways, we ultimately
destroy ourselves and the world of our children's
children. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Galatians 6:7 (NASB).

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Post  Admin on Mon 14 Sep 2009, 8:13 am

Today's Daily Encounter

The Real Thing

"They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they
could not hear the law or the messages that the LORD
Almighty had sent them by his Spirit through the
earlier prophets. That is why the LORD Almighty was so
angry with them."1

I read how a fellow in France was asked where in Paris
he would most like to live. He said in the Eiffel Tower
because it was the only place he could be and not have
to look at it.

This reminds me of what Jef Olson said about the
movie, The Godfather, Part III: "When the Godfather,
Don Corleone, is forced to visit the distinguished
Cardinal Lamberto to tell him the bad news that a
legitimate business deal involving the Vatican Bank
has gone bad. The bank is run by the Archbishop and a
coalition of Catholic businessmen.

"The Cardinal listens to the Godfather; then he says
something quite profound. He picks up a stone and
says, 'Look at this stone. It has been lying in the
water for a very long time. The water has not
penetrated it.' Then he smashes the stone. 'Look,' he
says peering at the smashed insides of the stone,
'perfectly dry. The same thing,' the Cardinal
continues, 'has happened to men in Europe. They have
been surrounded by Christianity for centuries, but
Christ does not live in their hearts.'

"This is exactly what happened at the Temple in Jesus'
time. There were people there who had been surrounded
by the Temple for years, but the God of the Temple had
not been allowed to enter their lives nor penetrate
their hearts. As St. Paul once put it, They had the
form of godliness, but not the real thing." 2,3

Like the man who would like to live in the Eiffel
Tower so as not to see it, there are many who hide
from God in church or in some religious ritual. And
like so many in Jesus' day, the hardest hearts may not
be among the ungodly, but among the religious who have
all the outward trappings of the godly, but their
hearts, like stones, are hard and cold--and they know
not God.

Very interesting too that the Apostle Paul wrote that
"there will be terrible times in the last days. People
will be … without love, unforgiving, slanderous,
without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,
treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure
rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness
but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."4

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, when it comes to my
relationship with you, please help me to be sure that
I have the real thing and not just the outward
trappings of religiosity. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

Note: For help be sure to read "How to Be Sure You’re
a Real Christian" at:
http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.

1. Zachariah 7:12 (NLT).
2. 2 Timothy 3:5
3. Rev. Jef Olson, "Reassessment of Ministry" cited on
eSermons.com.
4. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Sat 12 Sep 2009, 11:45 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

How Embarrassing

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and
that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of
works, lest anyone should boast."1

"Some years ago Alabama was playing against Rice in
the Cotton Bowl. Neither team had been able to do
anything through the first quarter. Then a player from
Rice got the ball with no one from Alabama near him,
and was on his way to a touchdown. At that moment one
of the players on the Alabama bench, overcome by
excitement, jumped up, ran out on the field, made a
beautiful tackle, brought the runner down, and then
ran back to the bench and sat down as if nobody had
seen him. Of course, thousands of people saw him. The
touchdown was awarded to Rice and the tackler sat on
the bench holding his head. Eventually the Alabama
coach went over and put his arm around the player as
though to say, 'You made a mistake, but you are still
part of the team.'"2

That's the kind of acceptance and encouragement we
need to give to our friends, family and comrades when
they goof. And it's the kind of acceptance and
encouragement we need when we goof.

While the player from Alabama never made an
"unpardonable mistake," he sure made a humiliating one
especially before thousands of fans.

Fortunately for us when we make big mistakes and sin,
no matter how bad, when we confess these to God, he
forgives us fully and still loves us unconditionally.
In essence he says to us, "You made a mistake (sinned)
but you are forgiven and are still part of the team."

Sadly, many people feel that what they have done is
unforgivable by God. Others feel they are unworthy of
God's love and forgiveness. This is not so. The only
unpardonable sin we can commit is to reject God's
mercy and his gift of forgiveness and salvation. The
fact is that of ourselves none of us is worthy. It's
God's grace that pardons and saves us--not anything we
have ever done or have ever failed to do.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for your mercy
and for loving me unconditionally no matter what I
have ever done or have failed to do. And thank you
that you forgive me when I confess my sinfulness to
you. Help me to overcome my sins and failures and
freely forgive others as you have forgiven me. Thank
you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully,
in Jesus' name, amen."

Note: For help be sure to read "How to Be Sure You’re
a Real Christian" at:
http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.

1. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV).
2. King Duncan in www.sermons.com.

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Post  Admin on Tue 08 Sep 2009, 5:30 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

One Way to God: Fact or Fiction?

"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the
life. No one comes to the Father except through me."1

A Daily Encounter reader writes: "About your 'I Hate
Religion' article …It seems pretty judgmental to me.
Are you saying that the ONLY right way to worship the
one true God is Christianity? If you are, I have a
little quote for YOU, 'Judge not lest ye be judged.'"

Hello, Judy (name changed), you ask if I am saying
that the only way to God is Christianity. Actually,
I'm quoting Jesus and God's Word. Jesus said without
apology, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No
one comes to the Father except through me." And again,
"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no
other name under heaven given among men by which we
must be saved."2

In actuality, had there been any other way to God, why
would Jesus, the Son of God, have come to earth to die
on the cross for our sins? Furthermore, I would much
rather listen to what God has said than listen to what
man-made religions say. Also, when we decide what
is/are the way/s to God, we put ourselves above God
and his Word. This is a very dangerous path to follow.

As Jesus also said, "Enter through the narrow gate.
For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads
to destruction, and many enter through it. But small
is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life,
and only a few find it."3

Yes, it is true that Jesus said, "Judge not, that ye
be not judged."4 At the same time God's Word also
says, "But he that is spiritual judges all things."5
In other words, while we are not to be judgmental
towards people, we are to be wise and judge what
others do, say, and teach.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me a love for
your Word so that I will always know the truth of what
you say, and so that I am not deceived by what others
say--no matter how comfortable their words may be.
Help me to always choose the way of your Truth, no
matter how uncomfortable and unpopular that may be.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

Note: See God’s way based on God’s Word, the Bible,
for "How to Be Sure You’re a Real Christian" at:
http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.

1. John 14:6 (NIV).
2. Acts 4:12 (NKJV).
3. Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV).
4. Matthew 7:1 (KJV).
5. 1 Corinthians 2:15 (NKJV).

<Smile)))><

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Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
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and made possible through the donations of
interested friends. Donations can be sent at:
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When copying or forwarding include the following:
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Post  Admin on Mon 07 Sep 2009, 4:27 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

The Vine and the Branches

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains
in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from
me you can do nothing."1

"A Bible scholar and pastor tells about a piece of
wood that he keeps on his desk. He took this piece of
wood from a vineyard in the San Joaquin Valley. It is
a section of vine out of which grows a branch.

"The owner of the vineyard told him that if two people
were in a tug of war using this section of the vine, it
would break. However it would never break where the
vine and branch are joined together for that is the
strongest point of the vine. A vine, according to this
teacher, is different from a tree. If you pull on a
branch that goes into a tree, it will break at the
trunk of the tree--in a tree that is the weakest
place. But in a grapevine that is the strongest
point--where the branch is joined to the vine."2

Perhaps this is one reason Jesus likened those who
truly put their trust in him as a branch grafted or
joined into the vine, the vine being him. That bond is
unbreakable. As Jesus said, "And this is the will of
him [God] who sent me [Jesus], that I shall lose none
of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the
last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who
looks to the Son and believes in him shall have
eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last
day."3 For further help see: "How to Be Sure You’re a
Real Christian" at: http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that my bond to
Jesus is unbreakable, not because of anything I have
done (except to believe that Jesus died for my sins),
but because of what Jesus has done for me in giving
his life to save me from my sins. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. John 15:5 (NIV).
2. The Best of J. Vernon McGee, (Nashville: Thomas
Nelson Publishers, 1988).
3. John 6:39-40 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

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Copyright (c) 2009 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2009
ACTS International.
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