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Daily Encounter with:  ACTS International - Page 38 Empty Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Thu 03 Sep 2009, 12:33 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

The Cross of Christ

"For the message of the cross [of Christ] is
foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who
are being saved it is the power of God."1

"Maybe you know the story of Sir John Bowring. A
brilliant man who spoke five languages, Sir John was
twice elected to Parliament. Knighted by the queen, he
served at one time as governor of Hong Kong. It's said
he wrote thirty-six books on a variety of subjects. If
you visit a library, though, you will only find one of
Sir John's writings. It's all we have left. And you're
likely to find it in a hymnal.

"It's a poem which he wrote after a boat trip, sailing
along the coast of China. Passing Macao, a city
devastated by an earthquake, he spied the ruins of a
mission church. Protruding from those ruins was the
cross which had stood atop the chapel. The impact of
that cross caused him to write these memorable
words:"2

In the cross of Christ I glory / Towering o'er the
wrecks of time / All the light of sacred story /
Gathers round its head sublime.

When the woes of life o'ertake me / Hopes deceive, and
fears annoy / Never shall the cross forsake me / Lo! it
glows with peace and joy.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure / By the cross
are sanctified / Peace is there that knows no measure
/ Joys that through all time abide.3

Still today the cross of Jesus Christ towers over the
wrecks of time--faded dreams, lost hopes,
disappointments, violent acts of terrorism, wars, and
the lack of peace. In the end, however, the cross of
Christ will triumph over all. It is the only hope of
mankind.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the Cross
of Christ and all it means for lost mankind. Thank you
that in the end it will triumph over all evil,
sickness, sadness, and sorrow, and death. Most of all
I thank you for the Christ of the cross who, on this
day so long ago, gave his life in my place to pay the
penalty for all my sins so that I could be forgiven
and receive the gift of eternal life. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV).
2. From www.sermons.com.
3. Sir John Bowring, 1825.

<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:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2009
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Post  Admin on Wed 02 Sep 2009, 3:48 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

The Power of Love

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and
only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not
perish but have eternal life."1

"Years ago, R. G. Lee told a powerful story about a
mountain school that had a hard time keeping a
teacher. It seems there was a group of big, rough boys
who took pride in running the teacher off. The biggest
and roughest of them all was named Tom.

"A new young teacher won over the boys, however, by
letting them write the rules for the school--which
were very strictly enforced with a rod. For example,
cheating would be punished with five strokes of the
rod, and stealing with ten strokes, both to be given
with the offender's coat off.

"Everything went well until one day Tom's lunch was
stolen. A frail little boy in hand-me-down clothes
that were too big for him admitted his guilt. The
school rules demanded that he be whipped. When the
teacher called the little fellow up front, he came
whimpering and begging to leave his coat on. The
pupils insisted he obey the rules and take off his
coat. When he did, a deathly silence settled over the
room, for he had no shirt on and his emaciated body
looked like skin stretched over bones. The teacher
gasped and dropped the rod. He knew he could never
whip that little boy.

"Suddenly, big Tom strode up and stood between the
two. 'I'll take it for him, Teacher, for after all it
was my lunch he stole.' He shrugged out of his coat.

"At the third blow the switch broke, and the teacher
threw it in the corner and said, 'That's all, school
dismissed.'

"The frail little boy laid his hand on big Tom's arm
and through his tears said, 'Thank you, Tom, it would
have killed me.'"2

And that's exactly what Jesus did for you and me when
he died on the cross on Good Friday some 2000 years
ago--he took your and my punishment for all our sins
so we could be freely forgiven and given God's gift of
eternal life.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and
only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not
perish but have eternal life." Do you believe that
Jesus died for your sins and, if so, have you accepted
God's full and free pardon? You can do that right now
by praying the following prayer:

"Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and am sorry
for all the wrongs that I have done. I believe that
your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for my sins.
Please forgive me. I invite you, Jesus, to come into my
heart and life as Lord and Savior. I commit and trust
my life to you. Please give me the desire to be what
you want me to be, and to do what you want me to do.
Thank you for dying for my sins, for your free pardon,
for your gift of eternal life, and for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus’ name, amen."


If you prayed this prayer, please let us know by going
to: http://tinyurl.com/pgntm or for further help read
"How to Be Sure You’re a Real Christian" at:
http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.

1. John 3:16 (NIV).
2. Cited on www.sermons.com

<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.
Admin
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Post  Admin on Sat 29 Aug 2009, 1:34 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Gentle Strength

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and
only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not
perish but have eternal life."1

"In her memoirs, an anonymous woman writes of her
experiences as a field nurse in the Civil War. She
worked for the Confederate forces, patching up dozens
of wounded, sick soldiers every day. One day at the
war's end, news came that President Lincoln would be
visiting this Confederate field hospital. Many of the
rebel soldiers were terrified of meeting him. Surely
Lincoln was a monster, and he would treat the
Confederate soldiers cruelly! But when Lincoln entered
the hospital tent, he began to cry. He bent over the
injured soldiers' cots and spoke softly to them. He
patted their hands and stroked their hair, just as a
father might do. And when he left, the men couldn't
stop talking about what a good man he was. They had
expected a tyrant, and found instead a kind and gentle
and forgiving leader."2

In childhood days I used to believe that God was out
to get me for any wrongs I might do. And, if I
committed big or bad enough sins, he might even kill
me. Unfortunately, that came from how I felt about
someone who had a profound impact on my early life.
Unfortunately, I had mistakenly projected my feelings
towards him onto God, the Heavenly Father.

How glad I am to learn how wrong I was. It is true
that God is against all sin and wrongdoing, not
because he's out to zap us, but because he is truly a
loving Father who wants to protect us from hurting
ourselves and others--and to save us from the ultimate
consequences of sin which is eternal death, which, in
turn, is eternal separation from God, the author of
all love and life.

The fact is that no matter what you and I have ever
done or have failed to do, God loves us with an
everlasting, unconditional love. But he does want us
to come to him for forgiveness and to help us live
wholesome, meaningful, and loving lives.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you love
and accept me as I am, and that you also love me too
much to leave me as I am. Please help me to know that
I know that my sins are forgiven and that I have
accepted your gift of eternal life. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

NOTE: To be sure your sins are forgiven and that you
have God's gift of eternal life, click on the link to
Know God at http://tinyurl.com/real-christian.

1. John 3:16 (NIV).
2. Kemp Battle, Hearts of Fire: Great Women of
American Lore and Legend (New York: Harmony Books,
1997), pp. 332-333.

<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 : 58902
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

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

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Post  Admin on Sun 23 Aug 2009, 6:59 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Only One Broken Key

"For as the body [the Church] is one and has many
members, but all the members of that one body, being
many, are one body ... And if one member suffers, all
the members suffer with it; or if one member is
honored, all the members rejoice with it."1

Evxn though my typxwritxr is an old modxl, it works
quitx wxll xxcxpt for onx of the kxys. I havx many
timxs wishxd that it workxd pxrfxctly.

It is trux that thxrx arx forty-onx kxys that function
wxll xnough, but just onx kxy not working makxs thx
diffxrxncx.

Somxtimxs it sxxms to mx that our church is somxthing
likx my typxwritxr--not all thx kxy pxoplx arx working
propxrly.

As onx of thxm, you may say to yoursxlf, "Wxll, I am
only onx pxrson, I don't makx or brxak thx church."

But it doxs makx a big diffxrxncx, bxcausx a church,
to bx xffxctivx, nxxds thx activx participation of
xvxry pxrson.

So, thx nxxt timx your xfforts arx not nxxdxd vxry
much, rxmxmbxr my typxwritxr and say to yoursxlf, "I
am a kxy pxrson in thx congrxgation and I am nxxdxd
vxry much."

This is what happxns to thx wholx church, and multiply
this by many timxs--thx wholx thing just doxs not makx
sxnsx!2

So don't be a broken key--be a useful one.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that I have an
important part to play in your Church--the body of
Christ. Help me to know what my part is and accept it
positively and apply and use it diligently by faith.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 1 Corinthians 12:12, 26 (NKJV).
2. Author Unknown.

<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 : 58902
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

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

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Post  Admin on Wed 19 Aug 2009, 11:10 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Taming Your Anger, Part III

"So get rid of your feelings of hatred [unresolved
anger]. Don't just pretend to be good! Be done with
dishonesty."1

First, be honest and admit how you are feeling and
don't pretend you are something that you are not. This
only worsens and complicates matters and doesn't
resolve anything.

Second, accept yourself as a normal human being who
sometimes has angry feelings.

Third, ask God to help you admit your true feelings
and to lead you to the help you need to resolve them
in healthy ways.

Fourth, accept responsibility for your feelings and
don't blame others for your feelings. What the other
person has done to us is their issue, but how I
respond is always my responsibility. Also, don't blame
the devil. When I get angry, the devil doesn't make me
do it. I can get angry all by myself. Neither is my
anger a demon as some would have me believe. As the
Bible says, when we don't resolve our anger we "give a
mighty foothold to the devil." So, when we resolve our
anger, he, the devil, loses his foothold!

Fifth, determine to resolve your feelings the same day
or as quickly as possible

Sixth, express your feeling creatively--perhaps to an
understanding friend first or to an "imaginary"
substitute, and where necessary, to the person at whom
you are angry. This is not an excuse to lash out at
others. The goal should always be to "speak the truth
in love."2

When expressing anger we need to verbalize the
emotion. Talking about the anger doesn't resolve it.
The emotion needs to be released--not as an attack,
nor to blame another for it, but as an expression of
our feeling--realizing that our anger is both our
problem and our responsibility. When this is done
adequately, the anger dissipates.

It is neither true nor helpful to say, "You make me
mad." This is blaming the other person for your
reaction and puts him or her on the defensive. It is
more helpful to say, "I need to talk to you about such
and such. I feel very angry about this. I know my anger
is my problem and I may be overreacting, but I need to
talk to you about this matter." That is, use "I"
messages, not "you" messages.

Anger can also be expressed in writing, as David did
in the Psalms.3 I have done this many times, after
which I have torn up the piece of paper. Where
necessary I have very carefully re-written those
feelings (to speak the truth in love) and personally
shared them with the other person or people involved.

Resolving relationships is very important. Christ
reminds us that if we have any conflict with another
person, we are to put things right before bringing our
gifts to God.4

Seventh, before expressing anger, check to see if you
are feeling afraid or threatened, because anger is
often used as a defense against feeling afraid. If
fear is the problem, talk about that.

Eighth, if you can't resolve your anger in any of the
above ways, be sure to see a highly trained, qualified
counselor. I know this can be costly but we can't
afford not to resolve our anger. Otherwise the adverse
effects caused by unresolved anger and especially
hostility will be far more costly in terms of
relationships, and emotional and physical health.

Last, when you have resolved your anger, forgive,
forgive, forgive! This will forever free you from all
who have hurt you.

For physical, emotional and spiritual health we need
to be in touch with all our feelings (positive and
negative), and use and express them in creative ways.
This, too, is the way of love, for unresolved anger
turns into resentment and builds barriers between
friends, loved ones and even God, and blocks out love.


Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you again for your
Word which gives positive instructions for healthy and
productive living. Help me to apply it to my daily
living, and resolve and get rid of all negative
emotions. And help me to do this in healthy ways and
always to speak the truth in love. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

NOTE: This series on anger has been adapted from my
article "Taming Your Anger" on line at:
http://tinyurl.com/b439f.

1. 1 Peter 2:1 (TLB) (NLT).
2. Ephesians 4:15.
3. See Psalm 109.
4. See Mark 11:25.

<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 : 58902
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

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

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Post  Admin on Wed 19 Aug 2009, 10:54 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Taming Your Anger Part I

"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."1

Your test seems to indicate that you have some buried
anger," said the counselor to his client. "Do you
think this could be true?" he asked.

"Me! Angry? Certainly not," replied the client. "I'll
punch you in the nose for saying that!"

When it comes to anger we all have a tiger of sorts
within. At times it provides great courage and
motivation. It causes some of us to lash out and hurt
others. At other times we are so afraid it will get
out of control we bury it so that nobody, including
ourselves, will ever know it exists.

Many of us were taught that anger is bad and to show
it is immature. The mature person, however, doesn't
deny his anger. He has learned to express it in
appropriate ways.

Even though some people never show their anger,
everybody gets angry sometimes. Anger is a God-given
emotion. Of itself it is neither good nor bad, right
nor wrong. It's what we do with it and how we handle
it that counts.

In fact, there are many things we ought to be angry
about, such as social injustice, child abuse, greed,
and even legalistic religion that makes rules more
important than people and keeps people in needless
bondage.

Jesus was very angry with the religious people of his
day for this very reason. When he healed a man on the
Sabbath, the Pharisees were so furious they plotted to
kill him. To them, religious observances were more
important than the needs of people. We read that Jesus
"looked around at them in anger...distressed at their
stubborn hearts."2

Think too of Florence Nightingale. She was very angry
about the terrible conditions suffered by wounded
soldiers in the Crimean War. She used her anger
creatively to bring about major changes in nursing
care. This is a creative and healthy use of anger.

To be continued.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to so live
that I will always recognize and resolve my negative
emotions as quickly as possible, and do so in creative
and helpful ways--and never ever become bitter or nurse
grudges. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Ephesians 4:26-27(TLB)(NLT).
2. Mark 3:5 (NIV).

<Smile)))><

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

Taming Your Anger, Part II

"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." 1

One of the worst things we can do with anger is to
deny and repress it. Long-term repressed anger turns
into hostility and contaminates everything we do. And
there is probably nothing more destructive to personal
relationships than unresolved buried anger or
hostility.

Even worse, when triggered, it can have fatal results.
According to The Bulletin, an Australian magazine, in
one year 80 percent of the homicide victims in one
state were killed by family members or intimate
friends. Most of these fatal attacks were the results
of quarrels in everyday situations.

Hostility can show itself in any of a number ways: a
negative, critical attitude, nagging, sarcasm, gossip,
resentment, hatred, slamming doors, shouting, taking it
out on the children, kicking the cat, aggressive
driving, childish "I'm hurt!" crying, rebellion,
denial of sex in marriage, deviant behavior
(prostitutes, for example, are often angry at their
fathers or men who abused them), putting people down,
constantly running late, passivity, withdrawal, rage,
and even criminality--or becoming saccharine sweet in
an attempt to deny that they are angry. The list is
endless.

Or, as Dr. Cecil Osborne explains in his book, The Art
of Understanding Yourself, repressed anger may
eventually come out in the "form of some psychosomatic
illness: ulcers, asthma, arthritis, colitis,
dermatitis, heart ailments or any one of a score of
others."2

Hostility attacks people. Healthy anger is directed
against wrong(one word-)doing, is connected with love,
and is the right amount of anger for the given
situation. A helpful question to ask yourself if you
think you might be overreacting is: "Should I be this
angry?"

People who overreact to situations often have a lot of
repressed anger. The immediate situation which
out-of-proportion anger brings out doesn't cause it,
it triggers what is already there.

The Bible also says, "If you are slow to get angry,
you are wise. But if you are quick-tempered, you only
show foolishness."3 This isn't an excuse for denying
one's anger, as denial can be equally foolish and
destructive.

Being quick-tempered is usually overreacting, another
sign of unresolved anger.

Again, as the Bible reminds us: "So get rid of your
feelings of hatred [anger]. Don't just pretend to be
good! Be done with dishonesty."4 Also, "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."5

How then do we resolve anger? We'll answer this
question in tomorrow's Daily Encounter.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to always be in
touch with my true feelings whatever they are, and be
honest about them to myself and to you, and learn how
to resolve them in healthy and loving ways. Thank you
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus' name, amen."

1. Ephesians 4:26-27 (TLB) (NLT).
2. Cecil Osborne, The Art of Understanding Yourself,
Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1967, p. 61.

3. Proverbs 14:29 (NLT).
4. 1 Peter 2:1 (TLB) (NLT).
5. Ephesians 4:26-27 (TLB) (NLT).

<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 : 58902
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

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

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Post  Admin on Wed 12 Aug 2009, 10:20 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Creativity in the Mature Years

"The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is
found in the way of righteousness."1

I have read that "Studies show that older people who
hold jobs from which they do not have to retire get
along best. Those who have a chance to do something
creatively after they retire get along second best.
Those with less chance to do something creatively go
down most quickly. The body is a closed unit with lots
of energy in it. Unless the individual has a way to
discharge the energy, he gets into difficulty, and the
difficulty is sickness and death."2

Remember that "Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the
Sistine Chapel lying on his back on a scaffold when
almost 90; Paderewski at 79 played the piano
superbly; at 88 John Wesley preached every day;
Tennyson, when 83, wrote Crossing the Bar. Booth
Tarkington wrote sixteen novels after 60, some of them
when he was almost totally blind. Benjamin Franklin
went to France in the service of his country when 78,
and wrote his autobiography when over 80."3

Jerry Beavan, at age 90, is another man who is still
living a very active and productive life. He has
worked in various foreign countries for extended
periods of time … has been a professor in both a
Liberal Arts College and a Theological Seminary … has
been involved in the American government process as a
state and federal lobbyist … and has been a journalist
and news commentator. For 15 years he worked with the
Billy Graham team ending up as Director of Crusade
Planning and Organization. Dr. Graham said of him,
"Jerry Beavan is the architect of world evangelism as
we know it today." In his so[-]called retirement years
Jerry has been able to develop a weekly email
newsletter, "American News Commentary,"
which discusses and explains current events in the
light of historic Christian viewpoints. His comments
are well worth reading. You can read his website blog
at http://american-news.notlong.com/. To subscribe
send a blank email to
american_news-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Speaking personally, I am currently 76 and admit that
I have never been healthier in my life or more
productive. And Carol, my proofreader, is 81 and is a
very capable and excellent help for our work. Being
actively involved in something to live for that is
bigger than one's self and big enough to die for is a
great help for productive and fulfilling living for
most, if not all. of one’s life.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you have a
purpose for my life. Please help me to know what that
purpose is, help me to get the training I need to
sharpen my skills so that I can serve you more
effectively and therein glorify your name all the days
of my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen."

1. Proverbs 16:31 (NKJV).
2. Dr. Ewald W. Busse, in Knight’s Treasury of
Illustrations, p. 244.
3. Walter B. Knight, Ibid, p. 243.

<Smile)))><++++++++++

"So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will
not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I
desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."1
In other words, God always keeps his word and his
promises.

As a school child I was taught the importance of
keeping my word and my promises. "It is a mark of
character," my teacher emphasized. Unfortunately, the
following story which I read some time ago, typifies
far too many people in today's "hang-loose" society
and, pathetically, far too many business people.

According to the story, "There was a rich young man
who became critically ill and was taken to the
hospital. His condition worsened, and his doctor told
him that he wasn't sure if he'd recover, but that they
would do all they could for him. The man was terrified
and said to the doctor, 'Please, doctor, do everything
you can, I don't want to die, I have so much to do yet
in life, and if you can help me get better, I'll even
donate $10,000 to the fund for the new hospital.' The
young man happily began to improve and recovered, and
a few weeks later was released and went home.

"Several months later he ran into the doctor who asked
him how he was doing. The young man said, 'Doc, I
haven't felt better any time in my life.' The doctor
said, 'that's great because I wanted to ask you about
the money you said you would donate to the new
hospital fund. You remember you said if you got well,
you'd like to donate $10,000. We could really use that
now.' The young man said, 'Man, if I said that, I must
have been really sick.'"2

Keeping one's word and his/her promises is indeed a
mark of character. May it be said of you and me, "He
is a man of his word," and/or "If she says she'll do
it, you can count on her to do it." And what about our
promises to God? May we always keep them.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that I can
always depend on your word, knowing that you always
keep your promises. Help me to be a person of my word
and always keep my promises. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Isaiah 55:11 (NIV).
2. Author and source unknown.

<Smile)))><

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Post  Admin on Sat 18 Jul 2009, 1:03 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

A Cry for Help

"When he [the blind beggar] heard that it was Jesus of
Nazareth, he began to shout, 'Jesus, Son of David, have
mercy on me!'"1

Clark Strand, a former Zen Buddhist monk, shared how
"two years ago, on board a midday flight out of
Memphis, Tenn., I suddenly found myself repeating the
words, 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on
me!'

"This would not have been remarkable had I been a
member of the Orthodox Church, which for more than a
millennium has used that prayer as its preferred
method of contemplation. For that matter, it would not
have been remarkable had I been a Christian of any
kind. As I was a Zen Buddhist who professed no belief
even in God, much less Jesus, it came as a bit of a
shock.

"I was on my way back from the bathroom when the plane
simply fell out of the sky. My feet kept lifting up off
the floor. I hung comically for moments on dangly
puppet legs, and then somehow I managed to make it
back to my seat. I had just buckled in when my wife
turned to me from across the aisle where she was
sitting with our two young children and said the four
words no one on an airplane ever wants to hear: 'Do
you smell smoke?' It was the moment we've all
imagined. You look forward and backward into the faces
of the other passengers (complete strangers, all but a
few) and read there the selfsame thought: 'So this is
what it means to die.'

"Miraculously, just minutes later we were back on
solid ground. The plane, as we later found out, had
developed an electrical fire in the control console,
and the pilot, not knowing how long he could steer it,
had descended as fast as he could, driving her for all
she was worth, covering the 25 minutes back to Memphis
in just under 10 minutes flat.

'When all seemed lost, it wasn't Mu I had cried out,
or even Buddha, but of all things, Jesus--in spite of
everything else I had ever believed or done.

"Only later that night in the hotel room, with the
children in bed, did I remember the moment during the
flight when my spiritual life had taken a 180-degree
turn and, as it were, headed back to port."2

Need I say more?

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me not to wait until
I am in the midst of a life-threatening crisis to call
on you to have mercy on me and save me. Help me to do
that right now. And whenever I am in a crisis of any
kind, grant that my cry for help will always
automatically ascend to you. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer--and that you always do when I cry
to you for help. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Mark 10:47 (NIV).
2. Clark Strand, a former Zen Buddhist monk, "At the
Root of It All,"
www.beliefnet.org/story/44/story_4406.html.

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Post  Admin on Fri 17 Jul 2009, 8:06 am

Today's Daily Encounter

A Branch Without a Tree

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD."1

Chuck Colson in Breakpoint shared the following
illustration. "It's a cartoon staple: Donald Duck is
quarreling with chipmunks, Chip and Dale. When Chip
and Dale race up a tree, Donald Duck saws off the
branch on which the chipmunks are sitting. But the
laws of physics operate differently in cartoon land
than in real life. When Donald finishes sawing through
the branch, it doesn't fall to the ground; the tree
does.

"The cartoon is funny--but in real life, if someone
saws off the branch we're sitting on, there are dire
consequences. This is just as true when it comes to
the law as it is with trees."

There's a great tendency today among many, including
some Christians unfortunately, to compromise
convictions for convenience especially when we cut off
the branches of God's laws that we don't like or want.

For instance, I recall an ad on the radio a few years
ago reminding us of how many million people up to that
date had died of AIDS. The ad pointed out that that was
as many people as the entire population of Australia.
For a hard-hitting emotional emphasis, the ad then
says, "Could you imagine wiping out the entire
population of a nation?"

Most of us will agree that help is urgently needed to
stop the spread of this dreaded disease. However,
while the importance of safe sex is
emphasized--abstinence in most circles isn't--which is
the only safe sex outside of marriage. And what about
the estimated 45 million babies who have been killed
by abortion in the U.S. since abortion was made
legal--not to mention the murderous atrocity of
partial-birth abortion! Who will weep for these
innocent, helpless children? That's twice the
population of Australia--the land of my birth. And I
surely thank God that abortion wasn't legal when my
mother was carrying me! And I would dare to suggest
that most, if not all, pro-abortionists were also
thankful that abortion wasn't the choice of their
mothers.

In reality, can we Americans in particular expect God
to deliver us from terrorism without when we legalize
it from within? And how long will we justify and
excuse irresponsible sexual and other sinful
behaviors?

What we fail to realize is that God's laws were given
for our safety, wellbeing, and protection. When we
distort or defy his laws to justify and excuse
behavior that God calls sin, we don't merely cut off
the branches, we destroy the tree. In other words we
ultimately destroy ourselves and the world of our
children and our children's children.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in your mercy please
send--whatever it takes--a great spiritual awakening
to our land while there is still time. Help us to see
that we cannot defy your laws and live safely and
securely--nor establish a safe and secure haven for
our children and our children's children. May we as a
people turn back to you, the God who reminds us that
"blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord." Thank
you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully,
in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Psalm 33:12 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Fri 10 Jul 2009, 1:37 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Giving to Gain

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and
all these things will be given to you as well."1

In a Reader' Digest article, author Robert Fulghum
tells about "an international chess competition many
years ago in which a man named Frank Marshall made
what is often called the most beautiful move ever made
on a chessboard. Playing against an equally skilled
Russian master, Marshall sacrificed his queen in an
unthinkable move--a move to be made only in the most
desperate of circumstances. But it turned out to be a
brilliant move, so brilliant that the Russian conceded
the game.

"When spectators recovered from the shock of
Marshall's unusual tactic, they showered the
chessboard with money. Marshall had achieved victory
in a rare and daring fashion. He had won by
sacrificing the queen."2

One of my life's goals was to build my own home, which
I did in South Australia quite a few years ago. It was
high up at the top of the Adelaide hills overlooking
the city and the ocean beyond. The view was
magnificent. I built that house with the idea of
living in it till the day I died. At the time my
ministry was flourishing and there was no way I
planned or wanted to leave the house I built or the
work I started. But the "Hound of Heaven" kept bugging
me ... and bugging me ... and bugging me through
circumstances beyond my control. In exasperation I
finally prayed, "Okay, God, you win. You can have my
new home and my ministry and everything I have here.
I'll go anywhere in the world if you'll just give me
peace."

I think God must have a sense of humor too because in
my prayer I said, "But P.S. God, please don't send me
to Alaska because I hate the cold."

Little did I know what lay ahead. As a result of what
I thought was "sacrificing" my most prized earthly
possession, God has blessed me far beyond all that I
dreamed would ever be possible (not that it happened
overnight). The ministry I believed God called me to
has greatly expanded, and I am now living in, of all
places, sunny, warm Southern California. It was no
sacrifice!

I've learned through experience that you cannot
out-give God.

If there's something you are holding on to that is
hindering you from becoming and doing what God wants
you to be and do, consider it prayerfully and be
willing to let go of it. As another has said, "Don't
sacrifice your future on the altar of the immediate."

And as Jim Elliot, martyred missionary, said: "He is
no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he
cannot lose."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, if there is anything I am
clinging to that is hindering my becoming and doing all
that you envision for me to be and do, will you become
'the Hound of Heaven' in my life and show me what it
is. And please give me the courage to let go of it to
become all that you want me to be[,] and to do all
that you would have me do. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Jesus in Matthew 6:33 (NIV).
2. Robert Fulghum, "Time to Sacrifice the Queen,"
Reader's Digest, August 1993, p. 136.

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Post  Admin on Thu 09 Jul 2009, 8:58 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Wonderful or Wonder-empty

"Behold, You [God] desire truth in the innermost
being, And in the hidden part You will make me know
wisdom."1

Some people you meet are very warm, genuine and
connected. Others seem to be cold and distant. Their
life seems rather flat line, dull, and even boring.
I’m not talking about times of sickness, sadness or
sorrow but this is how they are pretty much most of
the time.

Why are some people like the latter group? One of a
number of reasons is because they are repressed in
their emotional life. Chances are that they grew up
with a sense that emotions--especially negative
emotions--were not acceptable, so they learned early
in life to bury and deny them. Or they may have been
hurt deeply as a child and found that they had to
stuff their emotions in order to survive. It may sound
crude but it is a fact of life that the stuff we stuff
stuffs up our lives. This can cause all sorts of
emotional, physical, relational and/or spiritual
problems.

Emotions are God-given and are a vital part of a
healthy, mature life. We are not talking about
emotionalism which is a cover of true emotions. We are
talking about being connected to our inner self and
being in touch with all of our God-given emotions. If
my emotions are buried and I am disconnected from them
and my inner self, I cannot be truly connected to
anyone else or to God at any kind of intimate level.
At best, my relationships will be very shallow.

Furthermore, when emotions are repressed, instead of
life being wonder-full, it may be wonder-empty. As
such I will characteristically be bored with life.

If one’s life is wonder-empty, how do we overcome? How
do we get connected to our inner self? In younger days
my emotions were very much buried. I was doing all the
right things outwardly but inwardly I felt very empty
and, among other things, was disconnected to my
emotion of wonder. Much of this was caused by growing
up in a very dysfunctional family. I was taught that
you couldn’t trust your emotions, but my life was so
empty that I got down on my knees and asked God to
give me my emotions back anyhow. Whew, God answered in
a way that was the exact opposite of what I expected.
My world fell apart. I was rejected by the most
important person in my life and felt torn apart. But
this was the beginning of getting in touch with all my
emotions and my inner-self and learning to live and
love again.

It took a long time and a lot of counseling but I can
truly say that life for me has never been better. I am
physically healthier than I was at half my age and my
life is filled with love, loving relationships, and
fulfillment.

Apparently Renoir, the famous artist, kept painting in
his older years even though he was in great physical
pain. In relating to Renoir’s suffering his friend,
Matisse, said to him, "Why do you keep painting when
you are in so much pain?" to which Renoir replied,
"The pain passes but the beauty remains!" And so it is
with us, if we commit and trust our life to God and ask
him to confront us with our reality so that we become
fully connected to our inner self, we may go through
some very painful experiences (that are often needed
to break through our defenses) but, in time, our pain
will pass but the beauty of our life will last
forever.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in keeping with your
desire please help me to be connected to my inner self
and always be honest with myself and with you and thus
grow up into the fullness of my salvation. Thank you
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus' name, amen."

1. Psalm 51:6 (NASB).

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Post  Admin on Mon 06 Jul 2009, 5:59 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Discovering God's Will for You

"I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is
within my heart."1

How do you know what God's will is for you? Or how
will you know if you are called of God?

Brent Porterfield, quoting from Frederick Buechner's
book, Wishful Thinking, provides an answer well worth
pondering. Buechner "says that a good rule for finding
one's vocation is this: Our special mission in our life
is usually one of the following:

A. That which we'd love most to do and
B. It is work that the world most needs to have
done.

"Buechner says that if we really get a kick out of our
work, we have probably met requirement A, but if that
work is writing TV deodorant commercials, chances are
we haven't met requirement B. If our work is being a
doctor in a leper colony, we probably have met
requirement B, but if most of the time we are bored
and depressed by doctoring, chances are we have not
only bypassed A, we probably aren't helping our
patients much either.

"Buechner concludes: 'The place God calls us to, is
the place where our deep gladness and the world's deep
hunger meet.'"2

Oswald Chambers described God's call this way: "The
call of God is like the call of the sea to the sailor.
Only he who has the nature of the sea within can hear
the call."

Like a born-sailor who never rests until he answers
the call of the sea and launches out into the deep,
when God's Word is written in our heart, neither will
we find rest until we do what we know in our heart
what it is that God wants us to do. And when we answer
that call, we too, like King David, will delight in
God's ways and doing his work--no matter how humble or
noble that may be.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you have a
plan and purpose for every Christian, and that includes
me. Like David of old, please give me a love for your
Word and your ways so that I, too, will know and
delight in doing your will and answering your call on
my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Psalm 40:8 (NASB).
2. Brent Porterfield, www.eSermons.com.

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Post  Admin on Thu 02 Jul 2009, 9:58 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Three Kinds of People

"It is required that those who have been given a trust
[gift] must prove faithful."1

It has been said that there are three kinds of people:
Those who make things happen, those who watch things
happen, and those who wondered what happened!

Former Australian swimmer, Shane Gould, who won three
gold medals in the 1972 Olympics, was considered one
of the greatest swimmers of all time. She didn't sit
back and watch things happen. She made them happen.

Early in her career, when she was only 14 years of
age, a news reporter asked her how she thought she
would do in one of her early swim meets in the U.S.
She replied, "I have a feeling there will be a world
record today."

There was!

Shane set a world record in the one-hundred-meter
freestyle event and a second in the two-hundred. When
asked how she thought she would do in the more
punishing four-hundred-meter event she said, "I get
stronger every race, and besides ... my parents said
they'd take me to Disneyland if I win, and we're
leaving tomorrow!"

She went to Disneyland with three world records! By
the time she was sixteen she had five world records.
It is true, she also had talent but she won not only
because of this, but because of her preparation, hard
work, and her positive self-expectancy.

Only a few are gifted sufficiently to be able to win a
gold medal. However, every one of us is gifted in some
area and most of us are gifted in several areas. And
while we are not all called of God to be famous, we
are all called to be faithful in serving him and our
fellow man with the gifts that we have been given--not
with those we haven't been given.

We can all be "gold medal winners" in God's book if we
are well trained in our area of gifting, are adequately
prepared for the task we want and feel called to do,
have faith in our cause, see and take advantage of
every opportunity when it knocks, disallow our fears
to control us, believe that with God's help we can
achieve what we set out to do, and are prepared to
work hard to make it happen.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the gifts
and talents that you have given to me. Help me to know
what they are, get well trained to use them to the best
of my ability, and use them for your glory and the
betterment of the world in which I live. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Sun 28 Jun 2009, 8:55 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

God's Appointments

"Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And
He shall bring it to pass."1

Late one evening a professor sat at his desk working
on the next day's lectures. He shuffled through the
papers and mail placed there by his housekeeper. He
began to throw them in the wastebasket when one
magazine--not even addressed to him but delivered to
his office by mistake--fell open to an article titled,
"The Needs of the Congo Mission."

The professor began reading it idly, but then was
consumed by these words: "The need is great here. We
have no one to work the northern province of Gabon in
the central Congo. And it is my prayer as I write this
article that God will lay His hand on one--one on
whom, already, the Master's eyes have been cast--that
he or she shall be called to this place to help us."
The professor closed the magazine and wrote in his
diary: "My search is over."2

He gave himself to the Congo. His name? Albert
Schweitzer!

If you know about the marvelous missionary service
done by Albert Schweitzer, you will realize that it
was no accident that this magazine was delivered to
Schweitzer's mailbox "by mistake" and then fell open
at the article, "The Needs of the Congo Mission," as
he was about to throw it in the trash.

Over and over again each of us who are committed to
following Christ in our daily life can also testify to
God's appointments in our life. And as we look back
over the past, we can trace the footprints of God
leading and guiding every step of the way. And they
will keep doing so until the end of life's journey and
we meet Jesus face to face and hear his, "Welcome home,
good and faithful servant."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that my life is
in your hands. Thank you, too, that you lead and guide
me every step of the way when I daily commit and trust
my life and way to you. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Psalm 37:5 (NKJV).
2. Leadership, Vol. 12 No. 3.

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Post  Admin on Fri 12 Jun 2009, 9:30 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Feelings

"Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach
me wisdom in the inmost place."1

Some years ago I recall visiting the Moody Institute
of Science and putting on a special pair of eye lenses
which turned everything upside down. It was a weird
feeling. Dr. Moon, the director of the institute, in
an experiment wore these special lenses for something
like 2-3 weeks (if I remember correctly) without
opening his eyes without these funny looking lenses.
He wore black eye patches when he went to bed to
sleep.

When he stopped using these special lenses, an amazing
thing had happened, his brain had made a radical
switch, and now everything he saw was upside down. It
took 2-3 weeks for his vision to come back to normal.

In a broader sense, life is like that: if I
consistently do wrong when I know better, and don't
live the life I believe to be right, my mind will in
time (be it ever so slowly) do a radical switch and I
will end up unhappily believing the life I am living
to be right. I will cut off my feelings, justify my
behavior, and end up with what the Bible calls a dead
conscience--a dangerous path to follow.

One could rightfully call this spiritual leprosy of
the soul. It is commonly thought that leprosy causes a
stricken individual to lose body parts. What happens is
that leprosy causes the loss of physical sensitivity
and feeling. Lepers lose fingers, toes and feet
because they no longer feel pain to protect their
wounded limbs and eventually body tissues are damaged
beyond repair.

When we deny our true feelings and deaden our
conscience, we no longer feel the pain of guilt or
godly sorrow. In so doing we distance ourselves from
God and are no longer aware of our need for his
forgiveness or our need for his gift of eternal life.
Deadening our conscience is a deadly way to live--and
extremely deadly for eternity.

The only way back is the path of truth. That is, to
admit to ourselves what we have done regardless of how
we feel or no longer feel, confess our sinfulness to
God, ask for his forgiveness, believe that God gave
his Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for all our sins,
and accept Jesus as our Savior.

For further help, be sure to read the article, "How to
Be Sure You’re a Real Christian" at:
www.actsweb.org/articles.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please confront me with
the truth about me. Help me to see any and every area
in my life where I have denied the truth and hidden
any sins and faults so that I can come to you, confess
my sins, and ask for and receive your forgiveness and
the gift of eternal life. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Psalm 51:6 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Thu 11 Jun 2009, 11:15 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Be Angry--Sin Not

"In your anger do not sin."1

In one church where I was teaching I stated that it
was okay to be angry. One lady was absolutely amazed.
She could hardly believe her ears. She told me that
she had been taught all her life that Christians never
get angry. So she had reasoned in her mind: "Christians
never get angry. I'm always angry. Therefore I can
never be a Christian!"

That night she was freed from 20 years of anguish and
received assurance of her salvation. She was indeed a
Christian because she had received Jesus as her
Savior. But she had never understood that anger is
amoral; that is, of itself it is neither right nor
wrong. It's what we do with it and how we handle it
that matters. The Bible actually teaches, "Be
angry--sin not."

Anger itself (not rage, hostility, or bitterness) is a
God-given emotion. Its purpose is to fight evil and
right wrongs--to bring about change for good where
change is needed. This is how Florence Nightingale
used her anger. She was angry at the way wounded
soldiers were being treated, or rather, being
mistreated, so she did something about it. We are
meant to use our anger in the same way.

The reality is that everybody gets angry at one time
or another. Some people bury and deny theirs while
others lash out and hurt others. Neither of these is
healthy, right, nor Christian.

When expressing anger, we need to own it as our own,
and remember that the biblical principle is to speak
the truth in love. One way to do this is to say
something like, "I know my feelings are my
responsibility, but I feel angry and need to talk to
you about such and such."

Never say to a person, "You make me angry" This is
because nobody can make me angry without my
permission. All others can do is trigger my anger, but
the anger is mine. And it is always my responsibility
to handle and express it in helpful and not in hurtful
ways.

Unfortunately, however, when we have a lot of
bottled-up anger or anger from the past that has never
been faced and resolved, our "anger button" can get
triggered very easily and we then overreact. What the
other person does to me is their issue; how I feel and
react is always my issue and my responsibility. To the
degree that I overreact that is always my problem.

One of the great needs (at least in our Western
society) is to learn to identify our
feelings--positive and negative--to be honest about
them, and learn how to handle them in creative, rather
than destructive, ways. Until we do this, we have
little chance of developing wholesome and intimate
relationships.

As the Bible 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 [and don't resolve it] you give a mighty foothold
to the devil."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the gift of
feelings. Please help me to be in touch with all of
mine, be honest with them, and when expressing them,
help me to always speak the truth in love.3 Thank you
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in
Jesus' name. Amen."

For more on anger, click on "Taming Your Anger" at:
www.actsweb.org/articles.

1. Ephesians 4:26 (NIV).
2. Ephesians 4:25-27 (TLB), (NLT)
3. Ephesians 4:15 (NIV)

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Post  Admin on Fri 05 Jun 2009, 11:37 am

Selective Attention ....

"Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail
to hear? And don't you remember?"1

The story is told of a man who once bought a new
radio, brought it home, and placed it on the
refrigerator. He then plugged it in, turned it to WSM
in Nashville (home of the Grand Ole Opry), and
proceeded to do the most unusual thing. He pulled all
the knobs off! He had already tuned in to all he ever
wanted or expected to hear, and so he chose to limit
his radio reception to one station.

"Most unusual," we call it. But is it? Really? Many,
of not most of us, if we will be honest, do the same
thing in principle. Maybe not with our radio but we
surely do with our life.

We all have what the communicators call selective
exposure, selective attention, selective comprehension
or perception, selective distortion, and selective
retention. That is, people expose themselves only to
messages they want to receive; hear only what they
want to hear; perceive or see things the way they want
to see them; twist and distort messages to match their
preconceived perception of reality; and they remember
only what they want to remember. Everything else is
filtered or blocked out.

In other words, we hear, see, accept, remember, and
apply only that which we want to hear, see, accept,
remember and apply. Furthermore we believe only what
we want to believe--and for many of us we choose to
believe that which is convenient--regardless of its
moral or lack of moral value. For instance, people
accept abortion on face value because it is
convenient. They accept abnormal, immoral sexuality
because it, too, is convenient. And they reject God
because, more often than not, they don't want to
change their lifestyle and be accountable, much more
than for any intellectual reason.

As I've said before, if we don't live the life we
believe and know in our heart to be right, we will end
up justifying and believing the life we live--a very
dangerous, self-deceptive, and self-destructive path
to follow.

God's laws, all of them, are for our safety,
protection, and survival. They are as universal as the
law of gravity which holds the universe together. We
can't break the law of gravity. If we defy it, it will
break us. Or rather, we will break ourselves trying to
defy it. It's the same with God's moral laws. We can't
break them either. They, too, are universal. If we defy
them, it isn't God who will punish and break us, but
rather we will punish and break ourselves trying to
defy them. If we used our God-given intellectual
reasoning we would understand this. But we don't
reason this way--we reason to find ways to justify
what is most convenient for us at any given moment.

How soon we forget that "blessed is the nation [and
individual] whose God is the Lord!" And as Jesus said,
"Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to
hear? And don't you remember?"

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, open my eyes and give me
a listening, receptive heart so that I will see, hear,
obey and live according to your words of eternal
life....Thank you for your words of life and for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. Jesus in Mark 8:18 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Thu 28 May 2009, 1:06 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Is That You, God?

"I [God] have loved you with an everlasting love; I
have drawn you with loving-kindness."1

I have two sons who are now grown. When they were
little, every night I would hold them and rock them in
my favorite rocking chair, tuck them into bed, and say
their prayers with them. And then I would say positive
affirmations to them such as, "I am so glad that God
sent you to be a part of our family," "I am so proud
of you," "I love you devotedly," "You are very
important to me," and so on.

I would often whisper these positive affirmations in
their ear while they were sleeping. I didn't know if
this ever had any influence on them or did any good,
but I knew it wouldn't hurt them.

I love to tell how, early one morning about 5AM, I
slipped quietly into my youngest son's bedroom through
his open door. I was certain he was asleep--as he
looked like an angel--so I leaned over and whispered
in his ear, "O beloved of the Lord." As quick as a
flash he spun his head around and, looking upward,
said in all sincerity, "Is that you, God!?"

I was totally taken aback, but when I regained my
composure, I leaned over and whispered in his ear,
"No, it's not God, but he sent me to tell you that."

On another occasion this same son was very upset with
me and blurted out, "Why did you have me anyhow?"

As quick as a flash I replied, "Because you are a part
of God's eternal plan."

And he is. And so are you. And so am I. And that's why
we are here on earth.

And as God wanted my son to know that he is loved by
God, he wants you to know the same truth. No matter
what you have ever done or have failed to do, God
loves you totally, absolutely, and unconditionally. If
you haven't already done so, I trust and pray that you
will realize this today!

For help to accept God’s love and forgiveness click
on: www.actsweb.org/articles for the article, "How to
Be Sure You’re a Real Christian--without having to be
religious."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see and
remove any blocks in my life that may be stopping or
hindering my being fully open to your love. Help me to
accept your love and, in turn, communicate it to every
life I touch. Gratefully, in Jesus' name. Amen."

1. Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Thu 28 May 2009, 1:03 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Antidote to Worry

"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of
God in Christ Jesus concerning you."1

Dale Carnegie writes, "If only the people who worry
about their liabilities would think about the riches
they possess, they would stop worrying. Would you sell
both your eyes for a million dollars … or your two legs
… or your hands … or your hearing? Add up what you do
have, and you'll find that you won't sell them for all
the gold in the world. The best things in life are
yours if you can appreciate yourself."

Years ago when I was a student in Chicago and driving
a CTA passenger bus in the summer, I was greeted by a
very refined elderly woman passenger who tapped me on
the shoulder and said, "Young man, you're a
millionaire!" That was news to me because I was
working three jobs at once to put myself through
college. However, after a pause, the lady continued,
"You have your health!"

She had a good point. Counting our blessings, as
Carnegie suggests, is not going to take away our
problems but it certainly can help us handle them much
better--especially if we daily give God thanks in (not
for) every circumstance--good or bad.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to daily
count my blessings and give me a thankful heart for
all of these--especially when, instead of keeping my
eyes on you, I look at my problems and start worrying
about what I am going to do. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

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Post  Admin on Wed 27 May 2009, 12:29 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

The Devil's Nephew

"The god of this age has blinded the minds of
unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the
gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of
God."1

In the book The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, a
devil briefs his demon nephew, Wormwood, in the
subtleties and techniques of tempting people. Through
the letters the devil says that the objective is not
to make people wicked but to make them indifferent.
Satan cautions Wormwood that he must keep the patient
comfortable at all costs. If he should start thinking
about anything of importance, encourage him to think
about his luncheon plans and not to worry so much
because it could cause indigestion.

And then the devil gives this instruction to his
nephew: "I, the devil, will always see to it that
there are bad people. Your job, my dear Wormwood, is
to provide me with people who do not care."2

And perhaps, just perhaps, Wormwood is having profound
success among far too many Christians in the West
today, for only a small percentage give of their time,
their talents, and their tithe to God for his work on
earth--and even fewer give or do anything for world
missions and for reaching the lost around the world
with the saving gospel message of Jesus Christ.

And so the devil is still delighted with the work of
Wormwood.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please forgive me for and
deliver me from the sin of indifference and that of not
caring for the needs of the destitute and the homeless,
the persecuted church in other lands, and my lost
neighbors across the street and around the world.
Please help me to love you and to love others as you
loved and gave yourself for me. Thank you for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. 2 Corinthians 4:4 (NKJV).
2. From Brett Blair, www.eSermons.com.

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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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http://www.actsweb.org

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Post  Admin on Mon 25 May 2009, 2:49 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Code Red

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some
understand slowness. He is patient with you, not
wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to
repentance."1

Bruce D. Weaver of Newcomerstown, Ohio, shared the
following experience: One summer evening, my wife and
I drove to pick up our son from Vacation Bible
School. The sky was growing dark and there was a storm
watch in effect, but no rain was falling yet.

However, by the time we arrived home with our son, the
wind was blowing fiercely and lightning bolts were
coming down all around us. We hurried inside the house
and began to shut windows. Within a few moments we were
without electrical power. We tucked our son into bed,
trying not to betray our concern regarding the severe
weather conditions outside.

I stood beside a window on the west side of the house
and looked at the sky, watching intently for a funnel
cloud. Suddenly the telephone rang. It was our
neighbor informing us that a "code red" had been
issued for our area. He confirmed that that meant a
tornado funnel cloud had been sighted close by. I
asked him why the siren in our small town was not
sounding. He informed me it was because of power
outage. He further explained that he had heard on his
police scanner instructions for everyone who could
hear the scanner to call their neighbors to inform
them of the "code red." I was thankful for his concern
and I was thankful that the funnel cloud sighted
damaged neither my family nor anyone else in our area.


Later that evening, I thought about my neighbor's
concern for me and I reflected upon my concern, or
lack thereof, for my neighbors. Certainly it is
important to inform neighbors that a "code red" has
been issued by the police, because a funnel cloud has
been sighted in the area. But it is all the more
important to inform neighbors that a "code red" has
been issued by God, because in due time Jesus Christ
will return.

God does not want anyone to be destroyed, so God has
sounded a "code red," but not everyone knows it has
been sounded. Those of us who have been informed need
to share the news with our neighbors that God's
judgment is certain and that, without accepting his
full and free pardon, they will be doomed forever.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for those who
told me about your "code red" gospel message--how
Jesus, your Son, died for my sins. Please use me to
share your "code red" message to others and to join
forces with those who are communicating your "code
red" gospel message to people across the street and
around the world. Thank you for hearing and answering
my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

NOTE: To help spread God’s "code red" message around
the world, please join with us as a People Power for
Jesus partner. See
http://www.actsweb.org/people_power.php for more
information and to sign in.

1. 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Thu 21 May 2009, 10:44 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Reigns of Evil

"The LORD said through his servants the prophets:
'Manasseh king of Judah has committed these detestable
sins. He has done more evil than the Amorites who
preceded him and has led Judah into sin with his
idols. Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of
Israel, says: I am going to bring such disaster on
Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who
hears of it will tingle.'"1

According to Old Testament Bible commentators,
Manasseh's reign as King of Judah over 2,600 years ago
was one of the darkest periods in Judah's history. His
was a reign of evil and his nation paid the terrible
price because they allowed and followed his
leadership.

Are things much different in present times? According
to Ravi Zacharias, "German theologian Emil Brunner
made the curious suggestion that Adolf Hitler should
be posthumously given an honorary doctor of theology
degree. Why? Because he awakened Europe to her
Christian heritage by showing her what the world would
be like without Christianity." At least it should have
awakened Europe.

How true it is that history repeats itself. Look again
at the reign of Hitler and of Stalin--godless leaders
who slaughtered millions. And look at countries and
nations today where God is forgotten, where
Christianity is despised, and where Christians and
others are being slaughtered if they refuse to
denounce their faith and join a different religion,
and where religious zealots are committing heinous
acts of mass murder in the name of a god who is not
the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and to whom Jesus
Christ is not the Son of God nor Savior of the
world--and to whom followers of Jesus are the infidels
who need to be destroyed.

And let those of us in the West who, in our
complacency, think we are safe and secure look at how
we too, as nations, are drifting farther and farther
away from our Judeo/ Christian roots and heritage, and
rapidly forgetting God and all that he has done for us.
Do we think we will be protected from evil when we turn
from God?

No we won't. In time we, too, unless we turn back to
God, will go the way of all nations who forget God and
thereby allowed a reign of evil to rule the land. When
we reject God, we automatically divorce ourselves from
his protection.

People opposed to the Bible, the Ten Commandments, and
anything to do with God and the Christian faith;
leaders without morals; and business leaders without
character and ethics have already done great harm to
U.S. society and its economy. I first wrote this
message about five or six years ago and look at the
mess we are in today as we have drifted farther and
farther away from God and continued our moral decline.
Surely Satan has blinded the mind of the Godless.

What we desperately need today is a revival of the
Spirit; not the revival of a costless, saccharine
spiritualism that is gaining popularity today, but a
revival of God's Spirit, where we turn from our sins
and come back to God through the Lord Jesus
Christ--and be committed to truth, justice, integrity
and the Jesus way!

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, how desperately today's
world needs you and how desperately my country needs
you. I beg of you to send a great Spiritual awakening
to our land and a great revival of the Spirit--and let
your work begin in me. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. 2 Kings 21:10-12 (NIV).

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and made possible through the donations of
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Post  Admin on Thu 21 May 2009, 10:14 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

People vs. Program Centered

"Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when
they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted,
'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us'... Jesus
stopped and called them [the two blind men]. 'What do
you want me to do for you?' he asked."1

I recall having read how, in the 1940s, 80 percent of
all watches sold were made in Switzerland. In the late
1950s the digital watch was presented to them, but they
rejected it because they already had the best watches
and the best watchmakers. The man who developed it
subsequently sold his idea to Seiko--and the rest is
history!

In 1940 Swiss watch companies employed 80,000 people.
Today, they employ 18,000. In 1840 they made 80
percent of all watches sold. Today, they make 20
percent--and the majority are digital! This story
demonstrates what happens when an organization or an
individual chooses to die or fade away rather than
change.

While in the church our message of God's love and his
great gift of salvation never changes, our methods of
ministry and communicating this message need to change
with the changing times and the changing needs of
people. What worked yesteryear may no longer work
today. And if our methods no longer work, we need to
discard them. Becoming product, method, or program
oriented instead of being people oriented spells death
to any ministry, organization, or business.

When Jesus came, he cut right across the grain of
man-made religious dogma, programs, and traditions
that were not relevant to the needs of the people of
his day.

In his ministry he was always sensitive to the felt or
perceived needs of his listeners and targeted his
ministry to address those needs. As illustrated in his
encounter with the two blind men his question was,
"What do you want me to do for you?" To which they
replied, "That we may receive our sight." Before
meeting people's spiritual need, Jesus always
ministered to an individual's personal and felt need.
For us to do less is being less than Christ-like.2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me always to
be sensitive to the felt needs of people and help me
to be as Christ to them and meet them at their point
of need. In so doing grant that they will be drawn to
and accept you as their Savior and Lord. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. Matthew 20:30, 32 (NIV).
2. Adapted from the book, I Hate Witnessing, a
Handbook for Effective Christian Communications by
Dick Innes. Available from www.actscom.com/store/.

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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

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Post  Admin on Thu 21 May 2009, 10:13 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

God's Appointments

"Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And
He shall bring it to pass."1

Late one evening a professor sat at his desk working
on the next day's lectures. He shuffled through the
papers and mail placed there by his housekeeper. He
began to throw them in the wastebasket when one
magazine--not even addressed to him but delivered to
his office by mistake--fell open to an article titled,
"The Needs of the Congo Mission."

The professor began reading it idly, but then was
consumed by these words: "The need is great here. We
have no one to work the northern province of Gabon in
the central Congo. And it is my prayer as I write this
article that God will lay His hand on one--one on
whom, already, the Master's eyes have been cast--that
he or she shall be called to this place to help us."
The professor closed the magazine and wrote in his
diary: "My search is over."2

He gave himself to the Congo. His name? Albert
Schweitzer!

If you know about the marvelous missionary service
done by Albert Schweitzer, you will realize that it
was no accident that this magazine was delivered to
Schweitzer's mailbox "by mistake" and then fell open
at the article, "The Needs of the Congo Mission," as
he was about to throw it in the trash.

Over and over again each of us who are committed to
following Christ in our daily life can also testify to
God's appointments in our life. And as we look back
over the past, we can trace the footprints of God
leading and guiding every step of the way. And they
will keep doing so until the end of life's journey and
we meet Jesus face to face and hear his, "Welcome home,
good and faithful servant."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that my life is
in your hands. Thank you, too, that you lead and guide
me every step of the way when I daily commit and trust
my life and way to you. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Psalm 37:5 (NKJV).
2. Leadership, Vol. 12 No. 3.

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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 Fri 15 May 2009, 1:07 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

A Father, A Son and a Donkey

"Five times I [the Apostle Paul] received from the
Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was
beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was
shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
I have been constantly on the move. I have been in
danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger
from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in
danger in the city, in danger in the country, in
danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers."1

Anyone whose aim and efforts are invested in achieving
noble and worthy goals for God will, without doubt, at
some point face opposition and criticism--and the
greater the hostility of those opposed to God's Word,
God's ways and Christianity, the greater will be the
opposition and even danger. The fact is you cannot
please everyone and those who try to do so end up
pleasing no one!

C. T. Studd, (1860-1931) the famed English missionary
who served God in China, India, and Africa, once
remarked: "Remember the miller's donkey. The miller,
son and donkey went to the market. The miller rode the
donkey all the way and people exclaimed, 'Cruel man,
riding himself and making his son walk.' So he got
down and his son rode; then people slanged, 'What a
lazy son for riding while poor old father walks.' Then
both father and son rode, and people then said,
'Cruelty to animals, poor donkey.' So they got down
and carried the donkey on a pole, but folks said,
'Here are two asses carrying another ass.' Then all
three walked and people said, 'What fools to have a
donkey and not ride it.' So let's go ahead with our
work for God and not care what folks say."

Studd also said, "Had I cared for the comments of
people, I should never have been a Missionary."

With a sense of God's call in your heart there may be
times when you need to do what you need to do even if
the whole world votes against you. And that can be
really hard to do, so be sure it's God's call and not
that of your mother, father, friend, or anyone
else--or from your own mixed motives--otherwise when
the pressures of opposition hammer home, you'll
crumble beneath the load.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to know without a
shadow of a doubt what your plan and purpose for my
life is--and give me the faith, courage, and
determination to pursue and achieve that goal no
matter what--knowing that you are always with me and
will never forsake me. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. 2 Corinthians 11:24-26 (NIV).

<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.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 58902
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK

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