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Daily Encounter with:  ACTS International - Page 35 Empty Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Wed 10 Feb 2010, 5:48 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Smother Mothers

"So when they [Mary and Joseph] saw Him [Jesus], they
were amazed; and His mother said to Him, 'Son, why
have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have
sought You anxiously.' And He said to them, 'Why did
you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My
Father's business?'"1

Seven-year-old Tommie was as cute as a button. In
Vacation Bible School this past summer he was very
attentive, bright, mixed with the other kids and
related to them extremely well; that is, until his
mother came in, sat with him among the kids, and kept
her arm around him. Tommy immediately withdrew.

Smother mothers' love for their kids is more need--not
for the child but for themselves, the mothers. This is
extremely unhealthy for the child.

I have a close friend whose mother was an emotional
smother mother. She set him up in the home to be the
"little father/husband" because she needed him to lean
on and to meet her needs. Until my friend got away from
her and into therapy to work through and resolve his
fear of being smothered, he was afraid to love a
woman. In his conditioned unconscious mind, to be
loved by a woman meant to be smothered. For much of
his life he kept running from love.

And as for Tommy, unless his mother stops clinging to
him out of her own need, he, too, is being programmed
for failure in love. He may never be able to love a
woman for fear of being smothered. Mothers need to let
go of their sons so they are able to identify with
their father or other significant male if no father is
around. Otherwise they never learn to fully accept
themselves as men, neither are they able to fully love
a woman nor be a supporting husband or father.

The same principle applies to clinging, smother
fathers. Children need to be allowed to grow up and be
trained to become self-sufficient, independent
teenagers so they can become healthy, secure, and
inter-dependent adults.

So many adults today still have the emotional
umbilical cord attached to their mothers. They need to
cut it themselves so they can be freed from their
mother-control to become their own person.

As we see in today's scripture lesson, while Jesus was
still dependent on his parents, he had cut the
emotional umbilical cord by the time he was twelve
years of age--which was the age for introduction into
adulthood in the culture in which Jesus grew up.

Our job as parents is, among other things, to start
letting go of our children even in tiny ways from
earliest childhood so that by the time they are young
adults they are free to become adults in their own
right. If we smother a young tree, it will become
stunted and die. If you smother a child, it too, will
become stunted and die (or remain severely
handicapped) emotionally.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, if I am a smother parent
in any way, please help me to see the error of my way
and, as your human parents had to let go of
over-controlling you, help me to stop smothering and
over-controlling my children, so that they are free to
become mature adults in their own right. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

NOTE: Be sure to read the poem "Children Learn What
They Live" by Dorothy Law Note online at:
http://tinyurl.com/children-live-with.

1. Luke 2:48-49 (NKJV).

<Smile)))><

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Post  Admin on Tue 09 Feb 2010, 10:13 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
What Are You Still Carrying?
"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
The story or legend is told how two monks, when
traveling back to their monastery in inclement
weather, came to the fjord of a river. There they met
a young woman who was afraid to cross the river.
Seeing her dilemma one of the monks offered to carry
her across the river on his back which offer she
accepted.
Later that evening the monk who didn't help the young
lady accused the monk who did of breaking the rules of
their monastic order. "You know we are to have no
dealings with the opposite sex," he said, "and you
were wrong in doing what you did."
To which the other monk quietly replied, "I carried
her only across the river. You are carrying her
still."
When we fail to resolve our anger, and keep nursing
our grudges, we not only give a "mighty foothold to
the devil," but we also hurt ourselves, damage our
physical well-being, and do serious harm to our close
relationships. As another has said, when we nurse our
grudges and fail to forgive those who have hurt us,
"It's like drinking poison and waiting for the other
person to die."
So, is there anything you are still carrying? Any
grudges, resentments, bitterness, hurts, unresolved
grief? If so, I urge you to follow the advice of the
scriptures and resolve these issues right away. And,
if necessary, see a qualified counselor to help you to
do so. Your health and relationships depend on it.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the advice
you give in your Word, the Bible, to help us live
healthy, fulfilling, and meaningful lives--and
maintain quality relationships. Help me to live by
your instructions. Thank you for hearing and answering
my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Ephesians 4:26-27 (TLB)(NLT).
<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) 2010 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2010
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Daily Encounter with:  ACTS International - Page 35 Empty Eternity

Post  Admin on Mon 08 Feb 2010, 12:01 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Eternity

"He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet
they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to
end."1

If you happened to watch the world-wide TV New Year's
Eve 2000 celebrations a decade ago, you would have
seen, not only the impressive fireworks display in
Sydney (Australia), but also emblazoned in extremely
large neon writing right across the Sydney Harbor
Bridge the word, "Eternity."

This word was in celebration of the "work and witness"
of sidewalk chalk artist (if that's what you could call
him), Arthur Malcolm Stace, who became affectionately
known as "Mr. Eternity."

"July 30 of this year marked the 43rd anniversary of
the death of Arthur Stace. Born in 1884 into a drunken
Australian family, Arthur described what he'd become,
"a petty criminal, a bum, and a metho (metholated
spirits alcohol) drinker."

"His new birth from an old life in crime and sin to a
new life in Christ and service took place on the night
of August 6, 1930.

"This spiritual turn around occurred after he heard
the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached faithfully by Rev.
R.D.S. Hammond at St Barnabas church in Broadway,
Sydney. Twelve years later, on a Sunday night,
November 14, 1942, at his home church in Darlinghurst,
as he sat listening to 'The Echoes of Eternity'
proclaimed forthrightly by Australia's beloved
evangelist--the late Rev. John G. Ridley--Stace was
challenged to go out and write with chalk the word
Eternity multiplied thousands of times on city
sidewalks. This he did continuously and consistently
for the next quarter of century till he died on July
30, 1967.

"By the time Arthur Stace was called by God to exit
this world into eternity, he had left behind a legacy
of an enormous value in the copperplate writing of one
word--Eternity.

"God took his tool--a piece of chalk--his text of one
word, Eternity, and his territory of one pavement at a
time in Sydney, and multiplied it abundantly.

It was witnessed first by many thousands in Sydney,
Woolongong, Newcastle, and Melbourne. Then on the eve
of the new millennium celebration, more than a million
people who crammed around the Sydney Harbor Bridge saw
it electronically emblazoned across the bridge of our
Olympic city after a spectacular display of fireworks.
It was also beamed around the world to more than two
billion viewers, as well as at the closing ceremony of
the Sydney Olympic Games later on in the year."2

Eternity. It is a powerful word with eternal
consequences. In his own simple but profound way,
Arthur Stace was posing the question, "Where will you
spend eternity?"

Eternity! Where will you spend it? Whatever you do,
don't leave earth without your "Passport for Heaven."
To pick up your "Passport for Heaven" go to:
http://tinyurl.com/passport-heaven it comes without
charge.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you have
provided the way through the sacrifice of your Son,
Jesus, so that all who will believe in and accept him
as their savior have your promise and guarantee of
spending eternity with you in heaven. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV).
2. Peter Rahme, Pastor, Inner West Baptist Church.
www.innerwestbaptist.org.au.

<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) 2010 by ACTS International.

When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2010
ACTS International.
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Admin
Admin

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Post  Admin on Sat 06 Feb 2010, 1:27 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Tithing Follow-Up

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap
sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap
generously. Each man [person] should give what he has
decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under
compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."1

As you can well imagine, when I have written on
tithing, I have usually received an unusually high
response from Daily Encounter readers. Most are
favorable. Some ask for further advice. And there are
those who strongly oppose what I have to say.

At the risk of getting criticized again, allow me to
share the response of just one reader.

Jennifer (name changed) wrote: "In response to an
earlier Daily Encounter on tithing, I was deeply in
debt one year ago. The day my husband walked out I
found out that I was $25,000.00 in credit card debt
that I knew nothing about. In the course of our
breakup, I was awarded $10,000.00 of this debt because
it was community debt even though I had not charged any
of it. I didn't know how I would ever be able to pay it
off while supporting two children.

"So I prayed . . . and prayed . . . and prayed . . . !

"And today, barely a year later, I am debt free with a
modest savings to boot. I would like to tell you how 'I
did it,' but the truth is that I didn't do it. Once I
put it in God's hands, the money started coming in . .
. some from expected places and others from unexpected
places.

"During the times when I tithed, life was good and
there always seemed to be enough. When I cut God
short, or even completely out, money was tight, or not
enough at all. I have learned my lesson. God does love
us and takes care of us even when we, as humans, don't
see how it could possibly work out. But it does."

Speaking personally, a few years ago I, too, had some
major setbacks and borrowed quite a bit to survive and
to keep our ministry alive . . . I kept tithing anyhow
and God provided me with a second job so I was able to
pay off my debts. I am still working a second part-time
job and it isn't always easy, but my debts are all
paid.

You need to decide what is the right thing for you to
do. However, one thing I do know is this: We can't
out-give God.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to
appreciate all the innumerable blessings you daily
provide for me, not the least of which is your gift of
forgiveness and eternal life. Give me a grateful heart
and a spirit of generosity for your work and the
betterment of others. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (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

ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
U.S.A.

Phone: 949-940-9050
http://www.actsweb.org

Copyright (c) 2010 by ACTS International.
Admin
Admin
Admin

Posts : 66673
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Post  Admin on Mon 01 Feb 2010, 6:16 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Hill Climbing
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face
trials of many kinds, because you know that the
testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be
mature and complete, not lacking anything."1
Some years ago I prayed and asked God to give me
something special that would equip me to better serve
him. Did God answer my prayer? I didn't think so for a
long time. I got the opposite of what I had in mind
when I prayed this prayer, and it turned out to be a
nightmare for a long time. But I have to admit that if
there is any depth in the ministry the Lord has
entrusted to me today, so much of it was learned
during those nightmarish years. Now I see clearly that
God did answer my prayer and though the experience was,
at times, incredibly painful, I do believe I am a much
better man as a result.
The words of the following old poem may be simple but,
for me, are quite profound:
For every hill I had to climb,
For every stone that bruised my feet,
For all the blood and sweat and grime,
For blinding storms and burning heat,
My heart sings but a grateful song--
Those were the things that made me strong.
For all the heartaches and the tears,
For all the anguish and the pain,
For gloomy days and fruitless years
And for the hopes that lived in vain;
I do give thanks, for now I know,
These were the things that helped me grow.
'Tis not the softer things of life
Which stimulate our will to strive,
But bleak adversity and strife
Do most to keep our will alive.
Over rose-strewn paths the weaklings creep,
But brave hearts dare to climb the steep.2
As said before, God wants to use our trials and
struggles to make us better. Satan wants to use them
to make us doubt and become bitter. To become better
or bitter is each person's choice.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, as I look back I can see
how you have used the difficult times in my life to
help me stretch and grow, to help me to become more
understanding of and sensitive to others, and to
better equip me to serve you. Thank you for hearing
and answering my prayer of long ago. Gratefully, in
Jesus' name, amen."
1. James 1:2-4 (NIV).
2. Author Unknown
<Smile)))><
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Post  Admin on Wed 27 Jan 2010, 2:24 pm

More About to Know and Not to Do
"Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what
it says is like a man who looks at his face in a
mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and
immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man
who looks intently into the perfect law that gives
freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what
he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what
he does."1
Here's a riddle I recently read: "Five frogs sat on a
log. Four decided to jump off. How many frogs left on
the log?"
There were two brothers in Georgia during the 1950s.
One decided that, in opposition to the dominant
culture of the day, he was going to participate in the
formation of a desegregated community. The other worked
as an attorney for a prominent law firm. Both were
Christians and attended church regularly. As the
community formed and social pressure forced the
community into court proceedings, the one brother
asked his attorney brother to help them with the legal
work. The brother refused, saying that he could lose
his job. He pressured his brother to help with a
reminder that he was a Christian. The lawyer
responded, "I will follow Jesus to his cross, but it
is his cross. I have no need to be crucified." To this
his brother replied, "Then you are an admirer of Jesus,
but not his disciple."2
What was your answer to the riddle above? Was it one,
two, three, or four? According to the person who posed
the question the answer is five. "How come?" you ask.
It's because there is a world of difference between
deciding and doing.
As a Buddhist monk once said, "To know and not to do
is not yet to know." To translate this into our
Christian terminology I would put it this way: "To
believe and not to act is not yet to believe for I
only truly believe that which motivates me to action."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in appreciation for all
you have done for me, please help me to be a faithful
follower and disciple of Jesus, and not just an
admirer or a hearer of your Word. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."
1. James 1:23-25 (NIV).
2. Brett Blair, Adapted from a sermon by Brian
Stoffregen on http://www.esermons.com/.
<Smile)))><
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Copyright (c) 2010 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
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Post  Admin on Tue 26 Jan 2010, 3:37 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
El Camino Real -- The Kings's Highway
"In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the
wilderness of Judea, and saying, 'Repent, for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand!' For this is he who was
spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: 'The voice of
one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the
LORD; Make His paths straight."'"1
At the memorial service remembering the anniversary of
the terrible abduction and murder of young Samantha
Runnion, Bradley Scott, aged 4, had a question for
Sheriff Mike Carona--the sheriff who was so
emotionally involved in the capture of Samantha's
killer. Bradley asked the sheriff how he could go to
heaven without dying.
"That's an incredible question, pal," Carona replied.
"Sorry, I don't have an answer."2
I can vividly remember as a kid how I believed the way
to heaven was by being good. I figured that if I did
enough good things to outweigh the bad things I did,
that would satisfy God and I would go to heaven.
Wrong. In today's scripture we read how John the
Baptist was warning the people of ancient Israel that
the long-promised Messiah (Jesus the Christ) was
coming and to prepare El Camino Real (the King's
highway) for him. This was all about Jesus' first
coming to die for our sins and that only through
accepting him as our Savior and receiving his
forgiveness could we get to heaven.
Today we, too, need to prepare El Camino Real for
Jesus Christ's second coming to earth. Jesus himself
promised his disciples and followers that if he went
away (back to Heaven), which he did, that he would
return for all his true followers. One of these days,
the heavenly trumpet will sound announcing the climax
of mankind's history with the coming again of Jesus,
the Messiah, to take all his true followers to be with
him in Heaven forever and ever.
I trust, dear reader, that you are safely on the
heavenly Camino Real--the King's Highway--knowing
without a shadow of doubt that when Jesus comes, you
will not be left behind, but on your way to Heaven to
be with God for all eternity. Jesus said, "I am the
way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the
Father except through me."3
Note: To be sure you are on the King's Highway read
"How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at:
http://www.actsweb.org/christian.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you have
provided the Camino Real as mankind's only way to
Heaven which is via the cross of Jesus who died to
save me from my sins. Help me to know without a shadow
of doubt that I have accepted Jesus as my Savior and am
safely on the Highway of the King, bound for Heaven.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Matthew 3:2-3 (NKJV).
2. The Orange Country Register, July 16, 2003, p.
Local 2.
3. John 14:6 (NIV).
<Smile)))><
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Post  Admin on Sat 23 Jan 2010, 12:16 am

Today's Daily Encounter
Willie-Wag-Tails
"A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit
dries up the bones. A joyful heart makes a cheerful
face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is
broken."1
Another pretty little black and white bird that is
found where I grew up is appropriately named a
willie-wag-tail. This is because these birds
continually wag their long, feathered tail. Like a dog
with a wagging tail, willie-wag-tails project a bright,
cheery spirit wherever they go and are a delight to
see.
Have you ever noticed in a group of people when a
certain person walks into the room, the entire group
lights up with pleasure, obviously delighted to see
the person who just walked in? And then there are
those who, when they walk into a room full of people,
the room goes quiet because of the negative vibes that
person projects.
In light of today's and the previous two Daily
Encounters, the question to ask myself is this: "Am I
a wheel-kicker with a negative, critical attitude
looking for pegs to hang my anger on; a magpie that,
when it pecks at others, is projecting a reflection of
his or her own self-image; or am I a willie-wag-tail
projecting an attitude of joy and contentment wherever
I go?"
"If it's going to be, it's up to me"--regardless of my
past. I can choose to stay as I am and blame my
parents, society, God or the devil for the type of
person I am and the attitude I have. Or with God's
help I can choose to overcome my past, grow towards
wholeness, and become the person God wants me to
be--thereby allowing his love, peace and joy to be
reflected by me in some way to every life I touch.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you have a
wonderful plan for my life--not only to save me for all
eternity, but also to make me whole, so that my life
will reflect your glory, and bring 'Son-shine' into
the life of others everywhere I go. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."
1. Proverbs 17:22 and 15:13 (NASB).
<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) 2010 by ACTS International.
When copying or forwarding include the following:
"Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2010
ACTS International.
Admin
Admin
Admin

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Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 75
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Post  Admin on Thu 21 Jan 2010, 3:21 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Magpies
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive
yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the
word [God's Word, the Bible] but does not do what it
says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
and, after looking at himself, goes away and
immediately forgets what he looks like."1
Yesterday we talked about wheel-kickers. This reminds
me of an attractive black and white bird (that is
found where I grew up), called a magpie. Magpies are
about the size of a small dove and are extremely
protective of their young. If you come too close to a
mother magpie's nest, you'd better watch out for your
head as these birds with their long, sharp beak are
just as likely to dive at you.
Magpies also have a strange but amusing habit. They
spend seemingly tireless effort in repeatedly jumping
into and pecking at their own reflection in the shiny
hub caps of cars ... never realizing that they are
pecking at their own image.
Some people are kind of like that. When we habitually
peck at, put down, and criticize others, we are
reflecting an image of ourselves. Or, as the old
saying goes, when we point a finger at others, we are
pointing four fingers back at ourselves. Pity we can't
see it--greater pity that we don't want to see it. It's
so much easier to play the blame-game and project our
problems onto others than to accept the fact that we
are the problem. And remember, when we play the
blame-game, we will "be-lame."
If we truly want to grow, become more whole and
mature, we can start by looking at our attitude
towards and treatment of others. If we have a critical
spirit, an ongoing negative attitude, and repeated
conflict with others, we can be certain that both the
problem and the cure lie within ourselves.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, rather than 'pecking at
others' help me to see myself in your Word and, not
forgetting what I see and, with your help, confront
and resolve my issues so that I become more and more
like Jesus in every way. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."
1. James 1:22-24 (NIV).
<Smile)))><
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Post  Admin on Wed 20 Jan 2010, 5:14 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

The Parable of Brother Leo

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor
one another above yourselves."1

Michael Josephson tells about "an old legend ... of a
monastery in France well-known throughout Europe
because of the extraordinary leadership of a man known
only as Brother Leo. Several monks began a pilgrimage
to visit Brother Leo to learn from him. Almost
immediately the monks began to bicker as to who should
do various chores.

"On the third day they met another monk who was also
going to the monastery and he joined their party. This
monk never complained or shirked a duty, and whenever
the others would fight over a chore, he would
gracefully volunteer and simply do it himself. By the
last day the other monks were following his example,
and they worked together smoothly.

"When they reached the monastery and asked to see
Brother Leo, the man who greeted them laughed. 'But
our brother is among you!' And he pointed to the
fellow who had joined them late in the trip."2

Not all, by any means, but unfortunately many today
who want to be leaders--be it in the church, the
community, politics, or in the business world--want it
for the wrong reason. They want the position for
attention, prestige, prominence, control, money, or to
manipulate for power to push their particular brand of
product, belief, or philosophy (be it good or bad), or
for other varied false motives.

There is an urgent need today for leaders--the kind
modeled by Brother Leo--and more importantly, the kind
modeled by Jesus who came to serve and to give of
himself.3 His motive was loving concern for others.
It's called "servant leadership." This type of leader
leads by example and not by command or demand.

And as Josephson said, "Can you imagine how much
better things would be if more politicians, educators
and business executives saw themselves as servant
leaders?" To which I would add preachers, teachers
and, most important of all, to be modeled in the home
by we men who call ourselves fathers.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be a
servant leader in whatever capacity I find myself, and
with your help, always strive to be like Jesus in
everything I do. Thank you for hearing and answering
my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Romans 12:10 (NIV).
2. Michael Josephson, Character Counts (313.3).
http://www.charactercounts.org/.
3. See Philippians 2:6-8.

<Smile)))><<

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Post  Admin on Wed 20 Jan 2010, 1:39 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Wheel-Kickers

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling
and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind
and compassionate to one another, forgiving each
other, just as in Christ God forgave you."1

Wheel-kickers--we've probably all seen them. Ask any
used car salesman about them. Wheel-kickers are a pain
in the neck and a thorn in the flesh of the
salesperson. They go from car to car; first they kick
the front wheels, then they kick the back ones. Next
they want to look under the hood and check the engine.
But all they do is find fault: the wheels are rickety;
the tires are no good; the engine is really bad.
Wheel-kickers are on a witch-hunt looking for any
fault they can find. And when they can't find any
legitimate faults, they make up some--but they never
buy the car. They waste the salesman's time and take
him away from serving legitimate customers.

Wheel-kickers have a chip on their shoulder. They have
a critical, mean spirit. Beneath it all they are angry
people looking for a peg on which to hang their anger.
They play the blame-game and never stop to look and see
that they, and only they, are the cause of their
negative, critical spirit. They rarely even realize
who they are and what they are doing because they
always justify their actions.

Wheel-kickers are not only seen in used-car lots.
There are politician wheel-kickers who drive you crazy
tearing down their opponents over absurd issues while
ignoring and/or hiding their own self-serving motives
and weaknesses. There are legalistic preacher
wheel-kickers who condemn all churches but their own;
parent wheel-kickers; spouse wheel-kickers; teenage
wheel-kickers; business wheel-kickers; and everyday
Dick and Jane wheel-kickers! Actually there are
wheel-kickers in just about any field you wish to
name.

Wheel-kickers are like that ... when they are kicking
other people's wheels, they're kicking the wrong
person. What they need to be doing is giving
themselves a swift kick in the seat of their own
pants.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, if by any chance I am a
wheel-kicker, please help me to see the error of my
ways and, with your help, do something about
overcoming my negative, critical spirit. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. Ephesians 4:31-32 (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

ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
U.S.A.

Phone: 949-940-9050
http://www.actsweb.org

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Post  Admin on Mon 18 Jan 2010, 12:04 pm

Give and Grow Rich

Jesus Christ said, "Give, and it will be given to you.
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and
running over, will be poured into your lap. For with
the measure you use, it will be measured to you."1

Giving from the heart is really an outward expression
of gratitude. In life there are two types of people:
grateful givers and selfish takers. When it comes to
giving help, time, or money, takers are closed-
fisted. They give little and live primarily for
themselves and, "being wrapped up in themselves, make
a very small package." On the other hand, givers who
give from the heart give of themselves as well as of
their time, talents, help, love, support, and of their
resources and money. They may or may not be financially
secure, but regardless, they are rich in generosity and
the things that matter most in life.

In his young struggling years, W. L. Douglass, the
shoe manufacturer, "had been unemployed so long that
he was down to his last dollar. Nevertheless, he put
half of it--fifty cents--in the collection basket of
his church. Next morning he heard of a job in a
neighboring town. The railroad fare to that town was
one dollar. To all appearances it would have been
wiser if he had kept that fifty cents. However, with
the half-dollar remaining he bought a ticket and rode
halfway to the desired place. He stepped from the
train and began to walk to the town.

"Before he had gone one block he heard of a factory
right in that town where they were employing men.
Within thirty minutes he had a job at a salary five
dollars more a week [a good sum back then] than he
would have received had he gone on to the other
town."2

It is a fact of life, the more we give--whether it is
of ourselves, our help, our love, our support, and/or
of our resources--the richer we become. And the richer
we become, the more we have to give. And when it comes
to giving to God, we simply cannot out-give him.

Question: Among your friends and contacts would you be
considered a giver or a taker? Being a giver is a
choice. You can start that today by being a friend and
giving someone a kind word of encouragement and a warm
smile. In addition, of course, there is the keeper. He
doesn’t give nor does he take, he just keeps?

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, knowing that Jesus is the
supreme example of a Giver, please help me to become
more and more like him, and be a giver in every area
of life--knowing that I will reap what I sow. Thank
you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully,
in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Luke 6:38 (NIV).
2. Arthur Tonne, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations,
p. 478.
<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

ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
U.S.A.

Phone: 949-940-9050
http://www.actsweb.org

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When copying or forwarding include the following:
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Post  Admin on Fri 15 Jan 2010, 2:23 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Overcoming Addictions Part II

"You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and
do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may
spend it on your pleasures."1

Yesterday we explained how addictive behavior patterns
are the presenting problem--and are more often than not
the fruit of a deeper root. We also noted that
addictions are usually used to medicate the pain of an
unresolved inner conflict. Today we ask the question,
"How do we overcome addictive behaviors that are the
fruit of a deeper root?"

First, face reality. Addicts are very adept at
avoiding reality, are steeped in denial, and have all
sorts of devious ways of denying their addiction. Like
the man who says, "Sure I drink a lot but I'm not an
alcoholic," even though he has a dozen or so beers a
day and often comes home either drunk or half-drunk.
Or like the wife who is a closet drinker. She will do
everything in her sneaky-power to avoid being caught
and is in deep denial about her addiction.

Thus, the first step in overcoming any addiction is to
face reality and admit, "I have a problem. I need
help." Even God limits himself from helping us until
we admit we have a problem, acknowledge that our life
is out of control, and that we need help.

Second, accept responsibility. The addict needs to get
into an effective recovery program--such as a
Twelve-Step or similar program--that will help him to
stop acting out through his addiction, and to confront
his inner reality and pain head on. This can be
extremely difficult and very painful because for much
of his life he has avoided facing his reality and
feeling his pain. However until he stops medicating
his pain and feels and faces it, chances are that he
will never do anything about overcoming his problem.

Some time ago a friend who had tried without success
for twenty years to stop smoking asked me for help. He
admitted he had a problem but didn't really want to
confront the cause behind it. I asked him a simple
question: "Why do you need to smoke?" He mumbled a few
incoherent sentences and walked away. Sadly, he died a
few years later from cancer. The reality is that if we
don't get the cause behind our symptoms, the symptoms
will get us.

If you have an addiction, ask yourself, "Why do I need
this ________ (name it) addiction?" We will fight
tenaciously against even asking this question claiming
vehemently that we don't need it. But we do in that we
need it to keep us from facing reality.

Also, if you happen to be living with an addict, it is
tremendously important that you stop rescuing him (or
her) from the natural consequences of his/her
self-destructive behavior. If you continue to rescue
him/her, you become a part of the sickness and may
need to get into a recovery/support program for
yourself. Tough love with consequences is an absolute
must dealing with an addict.

Third, and most important of all, is to pray the right
prayer. As James points out in today's scripture, many
of our prayers aren't answered because we pray amiss;
that is, we pray the wrong prayer with wrong motives.

We pray, we plead, we beg, we cry: "Oh God, deliver me
from my addiction!" And never get delivered. Why?
Because we're praying the wrong prayer. We're
addressing the symptom rather than the cause. God
isn't going to deliver me from my addictive behavior
if I am unwilling to face the cause or causes behind
it.

Furthermore, our mind can play tricks on us deceiving
us into believing we have been cured when all we've
done is exchange one symptom for another. I recall
hearing one speaker claiming that when he accepted
Jesus as his Savior, he was immediately delivered from
alcoholism. Trouble is, he hadn't confronted and
resolved the root cause of his alcoholism and was now
a rage-aholic! Denial is deadly. If we don't admit,
confront, and deal with our unresolved issues in a
creative and healthy way, they will come out in some
destructive, unhealthy way.

So how do we pray the right prayer? We will answer
this question in tomorrow's Daily Encounter.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me always to
pray the right prayer focusing not so much on my
symptoms but on the causes behind them so that I can
receive your help, and any other help I need, to
overcome my addiction/s and live victoriously. Thank
you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully,
in Jesus' name, amen."

1. James 4:2-3 (NKJV).

<Smile)))><

Overcoming Addictions Part III

"The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who
call on him in truth."1

First a word of warning to those of us who say, "I
don't have any addictions. That's not my problem."

We all need to realize that anything we habitually do
or use to avoid facing our inner pain is an
addiction--no matter how good what we are doing may
appear to be. A codependent person, for example, is
addicted to the addict in his or her life. Others of
us hide behind our busyness, our intellectuality, our
position, or whatever. Some people escape into
religion and claim they are standing on the Word of
God, when in fact they are hiding behind the Word of
God. They use God's Truth as a defense against facing
the truth about themselves--a very subtle,
self-deceiving, and self-destructive course to take.

Also, some people, as John Powell said, treat God as
if he were a giant Bayer's aspirin. "Take God three
times a day and you won't feel any pain!" It's not
that simple. What is realistic is that God will help
us but he will not do for us anything we need to do
for ourselves, but he will bend the heavens to do for
us what we can't do for ourselves--that's why Jesus
came to earth and died on the cross to pay the penalty
for your sins and mine.

So when we ask God to help us to overcome our
addictions, how can we pray to get our prayers
answered?

First, pray honestly. The beginning point to resolve
any problem is to admit that I have a problem. Only
those who say, "I have a problem. I need help," can
ever find help.

Second, pray sincerely. We need to want to overcome
our problem with all our heart and be totally
committed to do what we need to do about our recovery
if we want God to help us. A wish won't wash. It has
to be a genuine want. As Jesus would say, "Do you
want--not wish--to be made well?"

Third, pray for truth. If, for example, I am an
alcoholic, I need to (1) not only admit to myself that
I am an addict but also admit/confess to God and at
least one other person that I am an alcoholic (or
whatever my addiction is); (2) that my life is out of
control; (3) that I need help: and (4) ask God to
confront me with the truth about myself; to show me
the cause/s behind my addiction no matter how much it
may hurt. This can be painful. I know because there
have been times when I have prayed for God to confront
me with the truth about myself. The good news is, once
I see the truth about myself and the cause/s behind my
problems, I know what I need to do to overcome. As
Jesus taught, it's the truth that sets one free.

Remember the "LORD is near to all who call on him, to
all who call on him in truth." So the way to pray to
get prayer answered is to pray for truth--the truth,
the whole truth about yourself.

Fourth, ask for guidance. When we pray, we need to ask
God to lead us to the help we need to overcome our
problem--and never give up until we find that help.

Fifth. accept responsibility. Part of our recovery,
after we ask God for help and guidance, is to actively
seek the help we need to overcome our problem, and to
do what we need to do in order to recover.

Sixth, commitment. It took many years to become who
and what we are so we don't overcome our struggles
overnight. We need to be so committed that we never
give up until we work through and resolve our problem
so that we become more and more the person God
envisioned for us to be--and that is to be made whole.
God's goal goes much deeper than seeing us delivered
from our addictions. It is that we are made whole, for
only to the degree that we are made whole will our
lifestyle, actions, attitudes, behaviors and
relationships become wholesome.

Jesus' question to you and me is this: "Do you want to
be made whole?" God will do his part. It's up to you
and me to do our part. We need to pray the right
prayer, want deliverance with all our heart, and do
our part in the recovery process.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you are
waiting to help me when I pray the truth from my
heart. Help me always to be honest with myself and
with you knowing that when I am, you will always hear
and answer my prayers. Help me, too, to always pray
the right prayer. Thank you for hearing and answering
me. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Psalm 145:18 (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:
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When copying or forwarding include the following:
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Daily Encounter with:  ACTS International - Page 35 Empty Overcoming Additions Part I

Post  Admin on Wed 13 Jan 2010, 6:08 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Overcoming Additions Part I

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so
great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every
weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and
let us run with endurance the race that is set before
us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our
faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured
the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at
the right hand of the throne of God."1

A Daily Encounter reader writes: "I am a controlling
person and a perfectionist and am being
self-destructive as I don't know how to give up my
addictions. I keep trying and keep failing. I promise
I will do better the next day and fail again ... and
again ... and again. Please help me."

It helps to realize that God is merciful in that, when
we have unresolved personal issues, he allows us to
have symptoms. To put it another way, symptoms are
nature's warning signal--a flashing red light--telling
us that something within us is amiss and needs fixing.
Symptoms can be emotional, physical, spiritual, an
addiction, or a combination of any or all of the
above.

Symptoms are also called the presenting problem; that
is, the problem that we see. They are almost always
the fruit of a deeper root.

For instance, a controlling person is one who is very
insecure and needs to be in control of others and
their circumstances to feel safe and secure. But this
is a false sense of security as a secure person
doesn't have a need to be in control of everything.
The more insecure the person, the more need they have
to control. They can be very difficult to live with.

The perfectionist is also an insecure person. For them
to feel secure everything has to be perfect. They can
never quite please themselves in what they do no
matter how good it is. Neither can you please them no
matter how hard you try and how well you do. They will
search for a fault, and if there isn't one, they will
make one up. They, too, can be very difficult to live
with.

Regarding the addict, his or her addictions are
usually a means of escape used to medicate or
anesthetize the pain of their inner struggle. When
they feel their pain--whether it is an overwhelming
sense of emptiness, loneliness, anxiety,
depression--they reach for the booze and another
drink, another cigarette, more sex, become super-busy,
go on a shopping spree, or whatever--a never-ending,
self-defeating, downward spiral.

So how do we overcome? To be continued in Part II.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that your
desire for me is that I lay aside every weight and
overcome the sins that set me back. Help me to
understand why I act the way I do and lead me to the
help I need to overcome so that my life will glorify
you in everything I do. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV).

<Smile)))><

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Post  Admin on Mon 11 Jan 2010, 10:18 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Mutagen Cells

"And if one member suffers, all the members suffer
with it; or if one member is honored, all the members
rejoice with it."1

In his book, The Magic of Teamwork, Pat Williams
shared how "Chad Sheron was an outstanding basketball
player at Vanderbilt University. He came up with a
great metaphor describing the interaction of
individuals and teams--but his metaphor comes not from
the world of sports but from his premed studies at
Vanderbilt. He observed that the various cells of the
human body--muscle cells, blood cells, organ cells,
bone cells, and all the other cells--are designed to
work together to enhance the health and life of the
entire body. Each cell is a part of the body's 'team.'
But there is one kind of cell that can create enormous
problems for the body--a cell called a mutagen. 'A
mutagen,' Chad observes, 'is a cell that has stopped
acting like its peer cells and just grows for its own
sake. Just as mutagens cause cancer in the human body,
people who behave like mutagens can have a cancerous
effect on a team."2

Either rightly or wrongly I was taught years ago in a
pastoral counseling class that every church has a
church boss--and very often it isn't the pastor.
Almost always, wherever people are together, there is
someone who wants to be in control. The church is no
different because we are all fellow
strugglers--sinners saved by grace--and,
unfortunately, we won't be free from conflict until we
get to heaven.

I recall some years ago in the church where I was a
member how I said to the pastor about a "control
freak" that if he (the pastor) didn't get rid of this
man, he would do his utmost to get rid of him (the
pastor). He almost did and caused great harm to the
church. So what do we do with these "mutagens"? It's
tough I know, but there are times when tough love is
called for, and we have to do what we have to do. For
if we have a "cancer" and don't get rid of it, the
cancer will get rid of us.

It may be a bit crude, but when they threw
troublemaker Jonah overboard, there was a great calm.
At the very least, discipline is needed to reform
"mutagens." If this fails, then the Jonah principle
may need to be applied to save the many from the
damage by the least.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me never to
be a 'mutagen' in any group--whether it is at my work
place, on a sports team, at church, and especially in
my home. And where there is a 'mutagen' in any one of
these where I am a team player, please give me the
wisdom to know how and the courage to lovingly deal
with this person as you would do. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. 1 Corinthians 12:26 (NKJV).
2. The Magic of Teamwork by Pat Williams, Thomas
Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1997, p. 10. Cited on
http://www.sermons.com/.

<Smile)))><

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and made possible through the donations of
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Post  Admin on Thu 07 Jan 2010, 7:29 pm

Identifying False Prophets

"But there were also false prophets among the people,
just as there will be false teachers among you. They
will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even
denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing
swift destruction on themselves."1

A Daily Encounter reader asks: "How do you know if you
are being taught by a false prophet--a wolf in sheep's
clothing; and, if so, what should you do? I have a
friend who is in a certain church, should I be
concerned for her and what she shares with others?"

One of best ways to know if you are being taught false
teaching by a false prophet is to have a sound
knowledge and understanding of what God's Word
teaches. If you know God's Truths, you won't be
deceived by the devil's lies. If any teaching is out
of harmony with God's Word, you can know it is not of
God. I even heard one radio preacher talking about a
new movement claiming that it had to be a new work of
God because it wasn't in the Bible. Yeah, right! No,
wrong! That was good evidence that it was not of God.

Remember too, that most, if not all, false prophets
have an element of truth in their teaching. This makes
what they say believable and more deceptive. Even the
devil tried to tempt Jesus by quoting the Bible to
him. And when he tempted the first man and woman, he
deceived them by using a part-truth.

Furthermore, the more honest and real you are as a
person, the easier it is for you to "smell" (sense,
discern) the phoniness of false prophets.

Equally important, ask God to give you discernment and
reveal to you the truth--first about yourself to make
sure you are not overreacting--and then about the
person you sense may be a false teacher, and what it
is he/she is claiming is truth.

Regarding friends who are caught up in false teaching,
as a general rule, most of them are convinced in their
mind that they have the truth so there is little, if
anything, you can say to them. It's best to ask God to
help you to be "as Christ" to these people and as
opportunity arises, to give you the right words to
say, and of course, to "speak the truth in love."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me a love for
and understanding of your Word; help me to be honest
with myself; and give me a spirit of discernment so I
will have a clear understanding of what is truth and
what is error. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 2 Peter 2:1 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Wed 06 Jan 2010, 11:06 am

A War Time Prayer

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present
your requests to God. And the peace of God, which
transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus."1

Ravi Zacharias shares how, "At the historic Amsterdam
Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in 1986, a
renowned Korean speaker, Billy Kim, told the story of
an American soldier hiding in a bunker during the
Korean War. When his commander ordered him to rescue
some of his fallen mates on the front lines, the
soldier nodded his head, took a covert glance at his
watch, stalled till his commanding officer was out of
sight, and simply made no move. Several minutes went
by, and a colleague reminded him of his rescue
assignment. Again he looked at his watch and delayed.
Finally, he leaped out of the bunker and fearlessly
began carrying his compatriots to safety.

"At the end of the day, a friend asked him to explain
his actions. The soldier said, 'I was afraid because I
knew I was not ready to die. I waited until my fear
would be overcome--remembering that at a certain time
every hour my mother had said she would pray for me.
Then I knew that no matter what awaited me, I could
face it.'"2

Prayer does matter. Prayer does change things. Prayer
is a powerful means of connecting to God of the
eternal. How thankful I am for all who pray daily for
me and the Daily Encounter ministry. How thankful I am
that I can pray every day for my loved ones and commit
and trust them to God and his care. And how thankful
many a serviceman/woman is that every day loved ones
and friends at home are also praying for them.

And as wars and acts of terrorism continue, and as
Christians in various parts of the world are being
persecuted and killed, let us pray faithfully for
God's care for all his children, and that the day of
Christ's return will hasten so that in God's time all
wars, suffering, sickness and starvation, will finally
be ended forever. Pray, too, that everyone in the world
will have the opportunity to hear the saving gospel of
Jesus Christ and accept God's forgiveness and eternal
life.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that your Word
encourages us to pray without ceasing. Help me to do
this and also to pray according to your will so that I
have the assurance that my prayers will always be
answered. And I pray today for all who are suffering
for your sake that you will protect them from the
hands of evil people. And grant that we Christians
will do all in our power to join with those who are
taking the gospel to the ends of the earth so that
your gospel is proclaimed in all the world so that
your coming can take place. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV).
2. A Slice of Infinity,
http://www.sliceofinfinity.org.

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Post  Admin on Tue 05 Jan 2010, 5:19 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Good News in a Bad News World

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of
Christ."1

"For the first time in her life, Western Oregon
University's Sara Tucholsky not only hit a home run in
a game against Central Washington University, but she
hit it over the fence.

"She had passed first base and was on her way to
second base when she collapsed. Something had happened
to her knee and she couldn't run. No one on her team
could help her around the bases because if they
touched her, she'd be out. That's when her opponents
from Central Washington picked her up and carried her
around the bases and across the home plate. 'My whole
team was crying. It touched a lot of people,' says
Tucholsky."2

I don't know if any of these kids were Christians or
not, but what an incredible example for all of us. In
doing likewise we certainly would be helping to
fulfill "the law of Christ."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me always to
be available to bear another's burden when his or her
load is too heavy to bear alone. Thank you for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Galatians 6:2 (NKJV).
2. Source, KneEmail,
http://www.forthright.net/kneemail/

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Post  Admin on Mon 04 Jan 2010, 12:15 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

The Ripple Effect

"Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in
the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither
labored in vain."1

Brett Blair reports how Henry P. Crowell contracted
tuberculosis when a boy and couldn't go to school.
After hearing a sermon by Dwight L. Moody, young
Crowell prayed, "I can't be a preacher, but I can be a
good businessman. God, if you will let me make money, I
will use it in your service."

Under the doctor's advice Crowell worked outdoors for
seven years and regained his health. He then bought
the little run-down Quaker Mill at Ravanna, Ohio.
Within ten years Quaker Oats was a household word to
millions. Henry P. Crowell faithfully gave 60 to 70
percent of his income to God's causes, having advanced
from an initial 10 percent.2

One of the recipients of Crowell's support was the
Moody Bible Institute--the school that D. L. Moody
founded in Chicago. And by way of interest, that is
the school where I did most of my Bible and
theological training. So, I too, benefited by the
commitment to God that Henry Crowell made so many
years ago.

What you and I do today for God can also have a ripple
effect and touch many other lives for years to
come--and many for all eternity. So let's invest our
time, our talents, and our life wisely, keeping
eternal values in mind.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that no matter
what my gifts and talents are--be they many or few--I
can use them to serve you and help others. Please help
me to do this and influence many for time and eternity.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Philippians 2:16.
2. Brett Blair, www.eSermons.com, 2002

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Post  Admin on Sun 03 Jan 2010, 12:37 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Make the New Year Count

The Apostle Paul wrote, "One thing I do: Forgetting
what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I
press on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."1

Wishing all our Daily Encounter readers a very Happy
and Prosperous New Year. Obviously, the past is behind
us. We can't undo it even if we wanted to, but we can
start the New Year with hope and purpose, keeping in
mind the words of Minnie Haskins who said, "And I said
to the one who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me
a light that I may tread safely into the Unknown.' And
he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand
into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than
light and safer than a known way.'"

I couldn't think of a better way to start the New Year
and, with God's help, "Let this coming year be better
than all the others. Vow to do some of the things
you've always wanted to do but couldn't find the time.
Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and
replace it with some pleasant memories. Vow not to
make a promise you don't think you can keep. Walk
tall, and smile more. You'll look ten years younger.
Don't be afraid to say, 'I love you.' Say it again.
They are the sweetest words in the world."2

As each year rapidly passes I'm becoming more aware of
the fact that life is short for all of us. So be sure
to make 2010 an investment in eternal values knowing
that, in the words of the poet, we have "Only one life
'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will
last."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for another New
Year in which to serve you. Please help me to invest it
wisely in eternal values so that when I stand before
you face to face, I will hear your welcome words:
'Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the
joy of your Lord.' Thank you for hearing and answering
my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV).
2. Ann Landers.

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and made possible through the donations of
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ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
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U.S.A.

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Post  Admin on Thu 31 Dec 2009, 5:05 pm

Thorns That Don't Prickle

"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these
surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a
thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment
me."1

"Around the turn of the century a young man named Ole
took his girlfriend on a summer outing. They took a
picnic lunch out to a picturesque island in the middle
of a small lake. She wore a long dress with about a
dozen petticoats. He was dressed in a suit with a high
collar. Ole rowed them out to the island, dragged the
boat on to the shore, and spread their picnic supplies
beneath a shady tree. So hypnotized was he by her
beauty that he hardly noticed the hot sun and
perspiration on his brow. Softly she whispered to him,
'Ole, you forgot the ice cream.'

"Ole pulled the boat back to the water and rowed to
shore. He found a grocery store nearby, bought the ice
cream, and rowed back to the island. She batted long
eyelashes over deep blue eyes and purred, 'Ole, you
forgot the chocolate syrup.'

"Ole got back into the boat and returned to the store
for syrup. As he rowed back toward the island,
suddenly he stopped. He sat there in the boat the rest
of the afternoon, fascinated by an idea. By the end of
that afternoon, Ole Evinrude had invented the outboard
motor. And by the way, Ole later married the girl who
waited so long on the island."2

As the old saying goes, when life presents you with a
lemon, turn it into lemonade! For the Apostle Paul his
"thorn in the flesh" (whatever it was) was used by God
to keep him humble and effective in his work for the
Lord. For me personally (as I've shared before), it
was when I felt God put me on the shelf that I turned
to writing for something to do--I'm still writing some
forty years later. In every challenge, setback,
failure, discouragement, there is an opportunity. When
you face a daunting challenge or a major setback in
your life, with strong desire, commitment to God's
purpose for your life, and seeking his direction, you
too will discover what your opportunity is.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, when I'm faced with a
challenge, setback, or discouragement, please help me
to discern what opportunity you have for me in it, and
then pursue it with all my heart. Thank you for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. 2 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV).
2. From http://www.esermons.com/.

<Smile)))><

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and made possible through the donations of
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ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
U.S.A.

Phone: 949-940-9050
http://www.actsweb.org

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Post  Admin on Wed 30 Dec 2009, 12:49 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

When God Puts You on the Shelf

"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

"When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
And the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low, and debts are high,
You want to smile but you have to cry...."

I'm sure most of us have felt this way on more than
one occasion. I surely have.

However, if we hang in and trust God he will, in all
things, work for the good for those who love God and
who are called according to his purpose." And, as I
like to say--even if it is eventually!

For instance, a Daily Encounter reader, Cheri Q,
shared how she lost her job but instead of staying
discouraged, she decided to write a book and titled
it, How to Survive the Loss of a Job.

I can certainly identify with Cheri. In my beginning
days in Christian ministry I accepted a call to be the
South Australian director of Youth for Christ. For the
first year or two I had an incredible opportunity to
teach the gospel message in many religious instruction
classes in the public high schools. These classes were
conducted by the local churches, who, after having
done this for many years, voted in one night to
discontinue teaching religious instruction in the
schools.

As a result about 90 percent of my ministry vanished
overnight. I told my YFC board that I was going to
look for another job, but they wouldn't accept my
resignation for three months as this is what my
contract required even though I had precious little to
do. At the time I felt God had forgotten me and put me
on the shelf. For something to do I decided to put
into writing what I had been teaching in the public
schools and wrote the booklet, "How to Be Sure You're
a Real Christian--Without Having to Be Religious." We
ended up mailing a copy of this with a letter and
questionnaire/response form to some 600 high school
student leaders from 50 high schools. To my utter
amazement well over a hundred students replied and 98
marked on their questionnaire/response form that they
had read and understood the gospel message and had
prayed the prayer at the end to invite Jesus Christ
into their life as Savior.

You know what? I've been involved in literature and
writing outreach ever since! Over three million copies
of "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" have been
distributed in a number of countries, and multiplied
thousands have read this same message on the Internet.
From this message and other gospel messages on the ACTS
website there have been more than 27,000 salvation and
re-commitment to Jesus Christ responses that we know
about from over 128 countries. And more than 40
million of ACTS printed gospel brochures have been
distributed worldwide.

I could give many more fascinating examples of how God
has used what I felt were very discouraging setbacks to
greatly expand our ministry and to reach thousands, if
not millions, more with the gospel message.

As the hymn-writer expressed it so well, "God moves in
a mysterious way His wonders to perform / He plants his
footsteps in the sea / And rides upon the storm."

So dear reader, when the storms of life surround you,
remember that God rides upon them, and through it all
he has a wonderful plan and purpose for your life.

For many years I have daily committed and trusted my
life and way to God and he has worked my many setbacks
for good. In fact, if it weren't for the setbacks and
being "put on the shelf" for a season, I wouldn't be
where I am today, and I certainly wouldn't be writing
Daily Encounters for I never had any ambition to be a
writer. God will use your disappointments for your
good, too, as you daily commit and trust your life and
circumstances to him.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that in all
things you work for the good of those who love you and
are called according to your purpose. I commit and
trust my life and way to you and pray that you will
use every circumstance in my life to help me become
the person you want me to be, and to lead me to do
what you want me to do. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name,
amen."

1. Romans 8:28 (NIV).

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ACTS International
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Post  Admin on Fri 25 Dec 2009, 12:31 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Missing the Point

Wishing all a very Merry Christmas

"The people of this generation ... are like children
sitting in the market-place and calling out to each
other: 'We played the flute for you, and you did not
dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.'"1

On a December day back in 1903 at Kitty Hawk in North
Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright, after numerous
failures to fly a heavier-than-air machine made
amazing history. They achieved something that no man
had ever done before. Ecstatic, they sent a telegram
to their sister Katherine: "We have actually flown 852
feet. Will be home for Christmas."

Overjoyed, Katherine ran down to the local newspaper
and pushed the telegram--the greatest news story of
the new century--into the hand of the editor. After
reading it he smiled and said, "Well, well! How nice
the boys will be home for Christmas."

I wonder how often we miss the point when God is doing
a new work among us. The religious people of Christ's
day who were actually anticipating his coming as their
Messiah failed totally to recognize him--and ironically
had him crucified--because he didn't come and didn't
operate in the way that they expected him to.

And how tragic is it that so many people today are
also missing the whole point of Christmas? The point
being that on the birth of Christmas Jesus Christ, Son
of the Living God, clothing himself in an external
garment of human flesh, stepped out of the "ivory
palaces of heaven" to identify himself with lost
mankind and came to earth to die on a cruel Roman
cross to pay the penalty for your sins and mine so
that we could be freely forgiven by God of all our
sins and receive God's gift of eternal life.

There is no greater tragedy in all of life than to
miss out on God's gift of forgiveness and eternal
life.

Whatever you do, don't miss out on the meaning and
purpose of Christmas. Be sure to accept God's gift of
forgiveness and eternal life today. For help read the
article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian"
online at: www.actsweb.org/christian.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me understand
the true meaning and purpose of Christmas and be sure
that I have been forgiven and have received your gift
of eternal life and thereby know that I know that I
know that I am a true Christian and follower of Jesus
Christ. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Jesus in Luke 7:32 (NIV).

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Daily Encounter is published at no charge by
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ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545
San Clemente, California 92673-0119
U.S.A.

Phone: 949-940-9050
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Post  Admin on Thu 24 Dec 2009, 12:12 am

God So Loved

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

In a tribe of Indians, or so the story goes, someone
was stealing chickens. The Chief declared that, if
caught, the offender would receive 10 lashes.

When the stealing continued, he raised it to 20
lashes. Still the chickens methodically disappeared.
In anger the Chief raised the sentence to 100 lashes.

The thief was finally caught, but the Chief faced a
terrible dilemma. The thief was his mother! When the
day of penalty came, the whole tribe gathered. Would
the Chief's love override his justice? The crowd
gasped when he ordered his mother to be tied to the
whipping post.

The Chief removed his shirt, revealing his powerful
stature, and took the whip in hand. But instead of
raising it to strike the first blow, he handed it to a
strong, young brave standing at his side. Slowly the
Chief walked over to his mother and wrapped his
massive arms around her in an engulfing embrace. Then
he ordered the brave to give him the 100 lashes.

That's what JESUS did for you and me when he came to
earth clothed in an external garment of human flesh
some 2000 years ago, which is commemorated as
“Christmas." In love he became our substitute and died
in our place to pay the penalty for all our sins. He
overcame our inability to save ourselves by paying the
price for our sins. His death bridged the gulf between
God and man and made it possible for us to be
reconciled to God and to be restored to fellowship
with him through faith in Christ and in his atoning
death for us.2

Suggested prayer: "Dear Jesus/God, how I thank you for
loving me so much that you gave your life to die on the
cross at Calvary to pay the penalty for every sin I
have ever committed, for your full and free pardon,
and for the gift of eternal life for all who accept
you as their personal Savior. For this I will be
eternally grateful. In Jesus' name, amen."

NOTE: To help you to be sure you have accepted God's
forgiveness and his gift of eternal life, click on
"How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at:
http://www.actsweb.org/christian.

1. John 3:16 (NASB).
2. Contributed by Alexandra Perros from Holland.

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Post  Admin on Tue 22 Dec 2009, 3:04 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

The Lost Pilot

"For the Son of Man [Jesus Christ] came to seek and to
save what was lost."1

In his early days as a pilot, Australia's Outback
Patrol pilot and bush padre, Les Nixon, was flying an
old 1933 De Havilland Dragon bi-plane from Bourke to
Longreach in the outback of far western Queensland.
The twin engines were purring happily when suddenly a
frantic call came over the radio from a lost pilot!

"Mayday ... Mayday ... Any Station ... Any Station ...
Request urgent assistance," came his first call. After
half an hour of fruitless calling, he began to panic.

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! He had become disoriented on
his first cross-country solo exercise. Lost and low on
fuel, he needed urgent help.

He was a hundred miles from Les so there was little he
could do but pray for him, and hope someone was close
enough to help.

"I'm almost out of fuel--someone help me." Any other
pilots listening could do little but offer suggestions
and wish him the best.

Miraculously, through the static of the radio--out of
the blue, came a quiet, stoic voice of a helper from
above. A mysterious presence from nowhere assessed the
situation, found an answer, and directed the frantic
pilot what to do. "Yes, son, I have you in sight,"
droned the pilot of an old commercial airline who
happened to be flying overhead, and had heard his call
for help.

"Now, listen ... simply do what I say. Turn to your
right-north-yes, that's it. You're doing just fine.
Line up on that paddock (field) over the fence and
you'll find you can easily land on the open field,
stay with your plane, and I'll get someone there to
get you."

The older, experienced pilot had been watching from
above--even as the frantic young pilot had been unable
to work it out for himself--followed him for a few
minutes, and found the answer to his problem. Then he
quietly directed the inexperienced pilot through each
maneuver until he placed him safely on an outback
paddock (field).

One can only imagine the terror this young pilot must
have experienced and then the incredible relief when
the miraculous rescue "from above" guided him to
safety.2

One of life's greatest tragedies is that so many
people are lost and they don't even know it ... some
don't even want to know it. That is, they are lost
spiritually and heading towards a lost eternity
without God and without hope. And that's why Jesus,
the Son of God, came to earth 2000 years ago. He came
to die on the cross to pay the penalty for all our
sins, to find us, to give us the gift of forgiveness,
and to rescue us from a lost eternity in hell. All we
need to do is to admit that because of our sin we are
lost, and come to Christ for his forgiveness. He's
waiting from above to rescue us.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you have
seen my plight, and my need of your rescue and
salvation. Thank you that you are waiting to save me
and to direct my way throughout my life. Today I
surrender my heart and life to you. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

To find God be sure to read the article, "How to Be
Sure You're a Real Christian" at:
www.actsweb.org/christian.

1. Luke 19:10 (NIV).
2. Les Nixon http://www.outbackpatrol.com.au/.

<Smile)))><

* * * * * * *

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


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