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Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Mon 07 Mar 2016, 11:18 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

On Loneliness  

"God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I
forsake you.'"1

Some readers will be old enough to recall the once
popular song sung by Burt Bacharach and the Posies: 

     What the world needs now is love, sweet love
    It's the only thing that there's just too little of
     What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
     No not just for some but for everyone.

Hal David (the writer of these lyrics) was right in
many ways. But as wonderful and as necessary as human
love is, it isn't enough to satisfy all the cravings of
the human heart. 

Ravi Zacharias quoted D.H. Lawrence who, writing of his
own pursuit of happiness, stated, "We want to delude
ourselves that love is at the root of the problem of
our emptiness. I want to say to you, it isn't. Love is
only the branches. The root goes beyond love. A naked
kind of isolation. An isolated me that does not meet
and mingle and never can. It is true what I say. There
is a beyond in me which goes further than love, beyond
the scope of stars. Just as some stars are beyond the
scope of our vision, so our own search goes beyond the
scope of love. At least, I think that it is at the
root, going beyond love itself."2 

Lawrence is also right about the "naked kind of
isolation" we all experience in the depths of our
being, which is a spiritual loneliness. The reality is
that we were created to have relationships not only
with one another, but also with God. However, because
our sin has separated and isolated us from God, we have
been left with a God-shaped vacuum, or spiritual
emptiness, within. As Augustine put it, "You have made
us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless
until they find their rest in you." The world's many
religions are all evidence of man's endless search to
find God and fill this vacuum. 

But religion cannot fill this vacuum. Only God can meet
this need. And because He loved us and wants to be
connected to each of us, He sent His own sinless Son,
Jesus Christ, to die for our sins to save us from our
predicament. Thus Jesus is the only way to God.3 When
we confess our sinfulness and accept Jesus as our
Savior, we are reconnected to God and our inner
spiritual vacuum is filled and our spiritual loneliness
cured. For more help be sure to read, “How to Be Sure
You're a Real Christian--to find God without having to
be religious" at: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9. 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see and
understand my spiritual need and my need to be and stay
connected to You. If I have never accepted You as my
Savior, please help me to do that today. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's
name, amen."

1. Hebrews 13:5 (NIV).
2. Ravi Zacharias on D.H. Lawrence. Source Unknown.
http://www.sliceofinfinity.org. 
3. See John 14:6.

<:((((><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  
  Copyright (c) 2015 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2015
  ACTS International.


Today's Daily Encounter

Criticize by Creating  

When God called Moses to deliver the ancient Israelites
out of slavery in Egypt, "Moses answered, 'What if they
[the Israelites] do not believe me or listen to me and
say, "The LORD did not appear to you"?' Then the LORD
said to him, 'What is that in your hand?' 'A staff,' he
replied. The LORD said, 'Throw it on the ground.' Moses
threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he
ran from it.'"1 This was to confirm to Moses that God
was the miracle worker and Moses only God’s agent. 

On one occasion, I believe it was to the evangelist
Dwight Moody, a woman said, "Mr. Moody, I don't like
the way you do your evangelism."

To which Moody replied, "I don't particularly like the
way I do it either. How do you do it?" 

The lady replied, "I don't do it." 

"Well I like the way I’m doing it better than the way
you’re not doing it," Moody answered. 

Moody's answer may have been somewhat blunt but he made
a good point. In more youthful days I was invited to a
planning session for the college-age youth group in the
church I was attending at the time. They asked for my
opinion about what I felt was not working and how their
program could be improved. I said, "I don't feel I have
a right to criticize if I am not willing to do
something about it." So guess what? I was made the new
program director! 

It's very easy for all of us (including myself) to sit
back and criticize our group, church, politicians,
leaders, etc., etc., and not do anything about it. 

Michelangelo had a great answer. He said, "Criticize by
Creating." True, most of us will never be a
Michelangelo and none of us can do everything--but
every one of us can do something no matter how small to
help the world we live in become a better place in
which to live. 

And none of us will ever be called to do what God
called Moses to do. But in essence God says to every
one of us: "What is that in your hand?" That is, "What
ability do you have?" Whatever it is, God wants and
expects us to use it to serve Him--and we serve Him by
serving others. 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for the gifts
and abilities You have given to me. Help me to know
what they are and find a place to use them in loving
service to You and others--always for Your glory and
not mine. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Exodus 4:1-2 (NIV).

<:((((><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  
  Daily Encounter is published at no charge by 
  ACTS International, a non-profit organization, 
  
  Copyright (c) 2015 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2015
  ACTS International.
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Sat 05 Mar 2016, 1:29 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Something Beautiful  

"'I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these
things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring
of David, the Bright and Morning Star.' And the Spirit
and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say,
'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires,
let him take the water of life freely."1

In the country of Thailand is a statue of the Buddha
that is ten feet tall and made of solid gold. Estimates
of its worth range around $200 million. But for many
centuries, no one knew this statue's worth. When the
Burmese invaded Thailand many centuries ago, it is
believed that the Thai villagers covered the Buddha
statue with layers of mud so that the Burmese wouldn't
steal it. It wasn't until 1957, when workers tried to
move the statue to a new location that the mud began to
fall away and reveal the true nature of the statue. For
centuries, no one had known its true value.2

True, this statue of Buddha, while of great monitory
value, in and of itself is worse than worthless in
spiritual value; for the ONLY ONE who can ever forgive
sins and grant eternal life and a home in heaven is
Jesus Christ.

However, what happened to this statue is a vivid
illustration of what God can do for you and me. He sees
beyond our outer covering and can take a sin-scarred
life--no matter what shape or condition it is in--and
make something beautiful out of it if we will come to
Him through Jesus and surrender our life to His will
and control. As Jesus said, "Whoever desires may come
to me."1

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You look
beyond my outer appearance and see the value of my soul
and spirit and have a wonderful plan for MY life. I
come to You today and surrender my heart and life to
You. Please make something beautiful out of my life.
Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

NOTE: If you would like to recommit your life to Jesus
Christ, you can do so at: http://tinyurl.com/pgntm. 

Or if you have never made a first time commitment to
Christ, be sure to read the article, “How to Be Sure
You’re a Real Christian" at: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.

1. Revelation 22:16-17 (NKJV).
2. Doug McIntosh, Love Full Circle (Chicago: Moody
Press, 1999), 76-77. 

<:((((><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  
  Copyright (c) 2015 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2015
  ACTS International.
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Thu 03 Mar 2016, 10:55 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

The Best Policy ... Always  

"You may be sure that your sin will find you out."1

Coming home from work, a woman stopped at the corner
deli to buy a chicken for supper. The butcher reached
into a barrel grabbed the last chicken he had, flung it
on the scales behind the counter, and told the woman
its weight. She thought for a moment. "I really need a
bit more chicken than that," she said. "Do you have any
larger ones?" 

Without a word, the butcher put the chicken back into
the barrel, groped around as though finding another,
pulled the same chicken out, and placed it on the
scales. "This chicken weighs one pound more," he
announced. The woman pondered her options and then
said, "Okay. I'll take them both."2 Don’t you just love
it?

Honesty is still the best policy--and we can be sure of
this, our sins/lies will find us out--even if it is
eventually!

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to always
be honest with myself, with You and with others in all
of my dealings. Please forgive me where I have sinned
and, wherever possible, help me to put right any wrongs
that I have done to others. Thank You for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name,
amen."

Note: For further help read the article, “Forgiveness:
The Power That Heals" at: http://tinyurl.com/3bw3q3. 

And, if you have never received God’s forgiveness, be
sure to read the article, “How to Be Sure You’re a Real
Christian (without having to be religious) at:
http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.

1. Numbers 32:23 (NIV).
2. Charles Mims, Sermon: "Morality and Integrity in
Society." 

<:((((><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  Copyright (c) 2015 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2015
  ACTS International.
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 11:55 am

Today's Daily Encounter


Beware of Free-Loaders  


"The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat."1


In speaking about people who want to freeload on the
government without wanting or trying to find work,
Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Arizona said, "A liberal
paradise would be a place where everybody has
guaranteed employment, free comprehensive healthcare,
free education, free food, free housing, free clothing,
free utilities, and only law enforcement has guns. And
believe it or not, such a place does, indeed, exist....
It's called prison."2


As the old saying goes, "There aren't any free
lunches." The reality is that for every person who gets
a free lunch from the government, someone else had to
work and earn the money to pay for that lunch--and it
wasn't the government; it was we, the working tax
payers."


True, we need to support people who are not able to
work, and those who are genuinely wanting to work but
can’t find any. However, people who are looking for
work to help pay their own way, need to accept any job
they can find, no matter how menial it may be.


When I was a student in college many years ago, even
though I was already a highly and well-trained skillful
tradesman (having graduated from technical college in
Australia), I took any work I could find--including
scrubbing dirty floors and crawling on my stomach
through very large pie-making machines in a pie factory
in Chicago. As I was conscientious in working in these
menial jobs, in time more rewarding opportunities
opened up for me.


When the government keeps giving free handouts to
freeloaders, we are not helping them, but are
reinforcing their irresponsible behavior and helping
them to breed further freeloading, over-dependent
generations. Furthermore, when we as a government do
this primarily to gain votes, we are acting in a
totally irresponsible and despicable manner. We need to
help people to help themselves and, in so doing, help
them to become more reliable and self-respecting
citizens. This is for the health and betterment of the
entire nation.


I will undoubtedly receive some negative criticism and
lose some subscribers as a result of this issue of
Daily Encounter. However, by the grace of God my
purpose is always to be a truth teller and not a
people-pleaser, nor a vote getter.


One very positive action that we the people (the
voters) can and urgently need to do--for the sake of
the entire nation and everyone in it--is to vote out
every vote-getting-irresponsible-politician and vote in
do-what-is-right-moral-and responsible politicians.


Suggested Prayer: "Dear God, please help me always to
act responsibly in every situation in which I find
myself. And when it comes to voting, please remind me
to act responsibly by knowing all that I need to know
about every politician who is running for office and,
in turn, vote only for moral, responsible, and mature
leader politicians. Thank You for hearing and answering
my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."


1. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV).
2. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County Arizona
Sheriff's Office.


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


  Copyright (c) 2015 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2015
  ACTS International.
Today's Daily Encounter


Between the Trapezes  


"The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I
fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom
shall I be afraid?"1


If you have ever been to a circus and watched the
high-flying trapeze artists perform their seemingly
death-defying acts, you will have undoubtedly thrilled
with the exhilaration of their performance and their
split-second timing. I think I'd be a nervous wreck if
they didn't have a safety net below to catch them
should they fall. 


If I had to do that (especially without a net) I'd be
absolutely terrified. Will I be able to reach my
partner? Will he be able to catch me? Or will I crash
and be hurt or even killed? 


Sometimes life can be somewhat like that. I've been
there on occasion and you probably have too. Life or
work as you knew it suddenly ended. Perhaps you lost a
spouse, or your marriage fell apart, or you lost your
job and income. You feel as if you are out there in
mid-air and have no idea where you are going to land or
if you are going to crash. It can be very scary and
even terrifying. 


I've been involved in Christian ministry for five
decades and have always been responsible for raising my
own support and that of my staff and our entire
ministry's operating expenses. It's quite a challenge.
With recessions and other financial setbacks over the
years we have lost a lot of support. At one time I
really thought we were going to crash. I was scared and
one morning when praying, I fell asleep and had a very
vivid dream. In the dream I heard a voice clearly say,
"Philippians 4:18 makes sense to me." 


I awakened and immediately opened my Bible to
Philippians 4:18. 


It read, "I have received full payment and even more; I
am amply supplied, now that I have received from
Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant
offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God."
And the very next verse read, "And my God will meet all
your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ
Jesus."2


In my heart I knew that somehow God would provide. My
mind was at peace. God did provide. He didn't or
doesn't hand it on a silver platter, but He still does
provide and our ministry continues and has become more
effective than ever.


God is my safety net. Without Him life at times could
be terrifying. 


I'm also reminded of King David who, when the
Philistine enemy seized him in Gath, wrote, "When I am
afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I
praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can
mortal man do to me?"3


Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to learn
how to trust You as David did--not only when all is
going well--but also when my world seems to be falling
apart and I am afraid. Thank You for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name,
amen."


1. Psalm 27:1 (NIV).
2. Philippians 4:18-19 (NIV).
3. Psalm 56:3-4 (NIV).


<:((((><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  
  Copyright (c) 2015 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2015
  ACTS International.
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Fri 26 Feb 2016, 6:39 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Nike! Nike! Victory! Victory!  

"Though you have not seen him (Jesus), you love him;
and even though you do not see him now, you believe in
him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious
joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the
salvation of your souls."1

As one author wrote, "Nike" is a name that interests
me. We are told that before the time of Jesus there
were also terrible wars. When an invading army
approached a city, the defenders would go out to face
the army.

If there was defeat, the men would be killed or
enslaved, the women would be abused, families would be
torn apart, and children would be sold as slaves. The
people in the city had no way of knowing the news of
the battle except by a message carried by a runner. If
there was defeat, he tore his clothes, put on ashes and
cried, "Woe, woe, defeat." People would try to get away
but rarely could.

When there was victory, the runner would be stripped to
the waist. He carried a palm branch in his hand. As he
ran, perspiration would cover his body. He would be
shining in the late afternoon sun. People knew the
message even before he arrived. He would run through
the city gates and cry, "Nike! Nike!" Nike means
victory. The runner was shouting, "Victory! Victory!"

Because of the resurrection of Jesus, this is a time of
putting on our running shoes and shouting, "Victory!
Victory!" In our lesson from Peter today, we read about
"inexpressible joy." That is what Jesus's resurrection
brings us--inexpressible joy. Nike. Victory.

Suggested prayer, "Dear God, if I could count the ways
You have blessed me, perhaps it would take all
eternity. And how can I ever thank You enough for Your
great love in giving Jesus to die for my sins and for
His resurrection assuring me of Your forgiveness of all
my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life and
salvation? Because You died for me, help me to live for
You always in all ways. Please grant that my manner of
life will shout, 'Nike! Victory!' to all who know and
see me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. 1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV).

<Smile)))><     
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  
  Copyright (c) 2015 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2015
  ACTS International.
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Wed 24 Feb 2016, 11:43 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Obstacle Illusions  

"He [Jesus] replied, '…I tell you the truth, if you
have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to
this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will
move. Nothing will be impossible for you.'"1

Grant Frazier said, "Life is full of obstacle
illusions." He's right. 

Instead of seeing obstacles as opportunities to grow,
negative people see them as obstacle illusions. They
see them as mountains too high to climb and use them as
excuses to hang on to if they don't want to act
responsibly and grow up and therein become stronger,
healthier persons. 

It's all in their attitude of mind--their negative
thinking--and they allow their problems to have a
crippling effect in their life. They are faith-less! 

On the other hand, positive people are faith-full. They
see every obstacle, not only as a challenging mountain
to climb and conquer, but as an opportunity to grow and
become stronger, better, healthier persons. When faced
with an obstacle (as another has suggested), they don't
tell God how big their problems are. They tell their
problems how big their God is! 

Neither do they allow past failures to defeat or
depress them. And when the devil comes to remind them
of their failures, they remind him of his future! Thus
ends their discussion with the devil! 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to commit
and trust every obstacle in my life to You and give me
the faith to 'climb every mountain, ford every stream,
follow every rainbow until I reach my dream'2--or
rather, until I reach Your 'dream' (purpose) for me.
Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Matthew 17:20 (NIV).
2. Adapted from the movie, "The Sound of Music." 

<Smile)))><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  
  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) 2015 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2015
  ACTS International.
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Tue 23 Feb 2016, 4:13 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Obstacle Lessons  

"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your
way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your
faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully
developed, you will be strong in character and ready
for anything."1

Years ago there was a song that said: "Into each life
some rain must fall, But too much is falling in mine." 

The first line certainly is true. Problems,
difficulties, challenges, and obstacles come to us all.
That's life. And without doubt, the more noble our
life's purpose is, the greater the obstacles we will be
confronted with and challenged by. 

However, the important thing to realize is that it's
not what obstacles we are confronted with that count,
but how we respond to and what we do about them. 

Obstacles are meant to be object lessons for us--to
teach us how to grow, become strong in character and
mature--ready for anything. They are meant to challenge
us…to stretch us…to show us what potential and
possibilities we can see and achieve. 

The reality is we can either run from our problems--the
obstacles placed in our path--or we can, with God’s
help, overcome and learn from them and thereby become
more mature persons, and stronger in character. The
choice is ours. Remember, character counts--always in
all ways! 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for the
obstacles You allow in my life. Help me to see in every
one a lesson to learn, an opportunity to grow, and a
challenge to become more mature and stronger in
character. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. James 1:2-4 (NLT).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Mon 22 Feb 2016, 11:53 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

More Successful Failures  

"And when He [God] had removed him [King Saul], He
raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave
testimony and said, 'I have found David the son of
Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My
will.'"1

I don't know about you, but I get great encouragement
knowing about other people who have experienced
setbacks, discouragements, criticism, mistakes and
failures, but with faith, hope, persistence and
determination have risen above their circumstances to
become and do all that they were capable of becoming
and doing.

For example, here are some more successful failures: 

Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame had his
chicken recipe rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant
accepted it. 

Zane Grey became a dentist and hated it. He wrote
several novels. They failed. He wrote a western novel,
The Last of the Plainsmen. It too was rejected. He was
told he had no future as a writer and to give it up. He
persisted and was 40 before his first book sold. He had
65 books published while he was alive--24 after he
died. His books sold more than 50 million copies.
Forty-nine of his novels were made into movies. One
million of his books still sell every year.2

Decca Recording Company turned down the Beatles in
1962. They said, "We don't like their sound. Groups of
guitarists are on the way out." (Yeah right!) 

Van Gogh sold only one painting in his entire lifetime
and that one was of his own brother. 

Richard Hooker spent 17 years writing a humorous war
story which was rejected by 21 publishers before
William Morrow bought it. The title of the book? MASH!
(And we all know the rest of that story.)3

Wilbur and Orville Wright's father believed that his
sons' desire to fly was heresy. Walt Disney went broke
seven times and had a nervous breakdown before becoming
successful. And Thomas Edison failed more than 6,000
times before making an electric light bulb that worked.


So ... if you feel like you've ever failed, remember
David who blew it big time with God in his adulterous
affair with Bathsheba and having Bathsheba's husband
killed. So why did God say David was a man after His
own heart? Because David was honest with God, admitted
his failure, confessed his sin and God forgave him.
He'll do the same for you and me too. When we fail
that's the time to give God a chance. Surrender your
heart and life to Him, give Him your failures, and in
time--with growth--He will make something beautiful out
of your life too. 

Remember, "Failure is an event--not a person!" 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I acknowledge my failures
and surrender my heart and life to You. Please help me
to see every character issue I need to resolve and,
with Your help, overcome. Please make something
beautiful out of my life. Thank You for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name,
amen."

1. Acts 13:21-22 (NKJV).
2. Insight, No. 77, p.9.    
3. Insight, No. 53, p. 23. 
Note: “How to Know God" http://tinyurl.com/8glq9

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  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
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  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
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  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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  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Fri 05 Feb 2016, 10:52 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

A True Friend  

"A friend loves at all times."1

Years ago a friend was talking to me about some people
being "cursed with the affliction to give advice." At
the time I had no idea what he was talking about. Sure
sounded strange to me. Now I understand.

According to Webster's Dictionary, people "offering ...
unwanted advice" are officious. They can also be
obnoxious. Such advice can be and often is a thinly
veiled criticism.

I'm not talking about going to a lawyer or an
accountant or a car mechanic or whatever where we need
and are asking for professional advice. What I'm
talking about is when we share our struggles and
feelings with a friend and they have a compulsion to
tell us what we should or shouldn't be doing, or to
"fix" us. They are in fact putting us down in that they
are assuming that they know our needs better than we
know them ourselves. 

Even when some people want us to tell them what to do,
it is a much greater help not to tell them what we
think they should do, but to help THEM decide what are
their options and solutions. This is what a good
counselor does. He helps clients see what their options
are and decide for themselves what they need to do.

What I want from a friend when I am feeling in the pits
is someone to listen to me with their heart, give me
their presence, and accept me as I am--and let me know
they care--without giving any kind of advice or trying
to fix me.

These friends can be rare. Even rarer is the friend who
knows how to weep with those who weep.

In his book, Out of Solitude, Henri Nouwen wrote, "When
we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives
mean the most to us, we often find that it is those
who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures,
have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our
wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can
be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion,
who can stay with us in an hour of grief and
bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing,
not healing and face with us the reality of our
powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."

May God help us all to be this kind of a friend.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me an
understanding, caring, and compassionate heart and help
me to learn how to listen to my friends' pain, to
accept them as they are, to communicate to them that I
truly care--without having a compulsion to give
unsolicited advice or try to fix them. To my friends in
need please help me to be a friend indeed. Thank You
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus's name, amen."

1. Proverbs 17:17 (NIV).

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  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
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  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  
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  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) 2015 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Wed 03 Feb 2016, 11:26 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

What You See Is What You Get  

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills--from whence comes
my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven
and earth."1

I have visited Death Valley, and though I wasn't aware
of it at the time, I have read how "there is a place
there known as Dante's View. From this location you can
look down into the lowest spot in the United States, a
depression in the earth two hundred feet below sea
level called Black Water. But from Dante's View you can
also look up to one of the highest peaks in the United
States, Mt. Whitney, rising to a height of 14,500 feet.
In one direction you move to the lowest spot in the
United States, in the other, to one of the highest.
From Dante's View, only the traveler can decide which
direction to turn."2

Life's like that. Every person experiences the ups and
downs of life--joys and sorrows, victories and defeats,
gains and losses, good times and bad times, high times
and low times. And though it's not always easy,
especially in the midst of dark days of loss and
disappointment, we do have a choice. We can choose,
with God's help, like David, to look up to the Lord for
help and choose the upward way by turning every trial
and loss into an opportunity for growth. Or we can keep
looking down, give up the struggle to overcome, become
disillusioned and pessimistic, and live in the valley
of defeat and despair.

As God said through Joshua to the ancient Israelites,
"I have set before you life and death, blessings and
curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children
may live and that you may love the Lord your God,
listen to his voice, and hold fast to him."3

God gives you and me that choice too. Be sure to choose
life; that is, life with God, for if you do, God is
with you and is on your side to guide and help you
every step of the way.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to have
faith and develop the upward look by always looking to
You for guidance and help, and to see that You want to
use all of my circumstances to help me to become a
better and more fulfilled person. Thank You for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name,
amen."

1. Psalm 121:1-2 (NKJV).
2. The Devil at Noon Day by Maxie Dunnam, Thomas Nelson
Publishers, Nashville, 1996
3. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV).

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  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  
  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) 2015 by ACTS International. 
  
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
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  ACTS International.
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Fri 01 Jan 2016, 7:43 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Character Counts, Part II  

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see
God."1

Yesterday, in discussing seven pillars of character
(the first six of which are from Michael Josephson of
the organization, Character Counts), we talked about,
trustworthiness, respect and responsibility. Today we
address the following characteristics: fairness,
caring, citizenship, and personal honesty (integrity).

Fairness: It is true that in many ways life isn't fair,
for as the Bible says, "It rains on the just as well as
the unjust."2 This is one reason why bad things happen
to good people and good things happen to bad people. We
just happen to live in a broken world, which affects us
all. However, we can offset much of the unfairness of
life, if we all seek to treat all people at all times
with fairness.

Caring: The highest law always ought to be as God's
Word teaches: to love one another.3 If we truly love
God, we will love and care for one another. And as
Jesus said, if we love God and others, we will be
fulfilling all of God's laws.4 In so doing, we can and
will make our world a better place for ourselves, our
children, and our children's children.

Citizenship: As the Australian Citizenship website
states, "Citizenship is a serious commitment." Whether
we are citizens of a country or citizens of heaven,
while we have privileges and rights, we also have
duties and responsibilities. Good citizenship requires
both. Thus to have healthy communities, along with our
rights and our privileges, it is our duty and
responsibility to be model citizens and all work
together to make our church, our club, our family, our
society, and our nation a better world in which to
live.

Personal Honesty (integrity): In my opinion, denial is
perhaps one of the most practiced, subtle, and
self-destructive "sins of the saints."

When we speak of denial, we are not talking about
denial of self, which, with an honest motive, is
another healthy characteristic. We're talking about
denial of one's reality, the failure to admit one's
character weaknesses, the denial of one's negative
feelings, and blindness to one's motives.

We are reminded that it is the pure in heart who will
see God5 and that God desires truth in the innermost
being.6

Without access to one's own truth or inner reality,
there is no growth, no healing of persons, no
forgiveness, and no resolution of personal problems or
relational conflicts.

So here they are--seven pillars of character:
trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness,
caring, citizenship, and personal honesty.

And whether we believe and accept it or not, character
does count ... for time and eternity!

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be
mindful of the fact that character does count. Help me
not only to be trustworthy, respectful and responsible,
but also exercise fairness, always be caring (loving),
practice good citizenship, and always be honest and
maintain integrity so that in all ways I will be like
Christ and bring glory to Your name. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's
name, amen."

1. Matthew 5:8 (NASB). 2. Matthew 5:45.  3. John
13:34.  4. Matthew 22:40.  5. Matthew 5:8.  6. Psalm
51:6.

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  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
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  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
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  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
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  ACTS International.
  
Today's Daily Encounter

You, too, Can Make a Difference  

Wishing all Daily Encounter readers a very Happy New
Year 

"For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will
never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will
always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past,
and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I
live or I die. For to me, living is for Christ."1 

I read about a group of nuns who were given a vacation
trip through the Rocky Mountains where they had never
been before. They were filled with awe as they marveled
at the wonder of the many miles of majestic mountains.
However, every time they stopped to enjoy the view, one
particular nun would slip away by herself. So on one
occasion the other nuns decided they would follow her
to see what she was up to. "They watched her as she
walked into the gully. She bent down and reached under
a sizable rock, and then turned the rock upside down.
She brushed her hands and turned around to walk back up
the trail. When she looked up, the entire Order of nuns
was watching her. 

"Margaret, what are you doing?" they asked. 

"I'm turning over a rock," she replied. 

"Why?" they asked. "Do you do that every time?" 

She answered, "Yes." 

"Why do you do that?" 

She replied: "Because I will never pass this way again,
and it's my intent to have made a difference while I
was here. So I turn some rocks over so that this place
is different because I passed here."2

A little amusing perhaps, but seriously, I want to make
a difference--for time and eternity--as I pass through
the journey of life! I don't think any of us want to
have lived in vain. The best and ultimate way I know to
make a difference is to make myself available for God
to use every day of my life. 

We are not all called to be homemakers, doctors,
bakers, dressmakers, preachers, communicators, or
whatever--but we are all called to be faithful and when
we make ourselves available to God every day, be
assured, he will use us to make a big difference in the
lives of the people he brings across our path. 

As Stephen Grellet so eloquently put it: "I expect to
pass through this world but once. Any good thing,
therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to
any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not
defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way
again."3 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, at this the beginning of
another New Year, I commit and trust my life and way to
you and am available for Your service. Please use me
this year to be 'as Christ' in some way to every life I
touch and, in so doing, help make a difference in the
world in which I live. Thank You for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus’s name, amen."

1. Philippians 1:20-21 (NLT).
2. Rev. Douglass M. Bailey, Sermon: "Hard Truth for
Advent."
3. Attributed to Stephen Grellet (1773-1855).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Thu 31 Dec 2015, 12:04 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Character Counts, Part I  

"So get rid of your feelings of hatred. Don't just
pretend to be good! Be done with dishonesty and
jealousy and talking about others behind their backs.
Now that you realize how kind the Lord has been to you,
put away all evil, deception, envy, and fraud. Long to
grow up into the fullness of our salvation."1

According to the organization, Character Counts, "The
Six Pillars of Character are: trustworthiness, respect,
responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship," to
which we could add a seventh, personal honesty.

Trustworthiness: Some time back we heard on the news
how one teacher failed a student whom she caught
cheating on her final exam. The cheater's parents were
so outraged that she, the teacher, was forced to
resign! Teaching at Harvard Business School years ago,
Chuck Colson noted that the students didn't have a clue
about ethics. Hence today we are reaping the results of
failed businesses. Sadly, cheating for far too many
students and people has become an accepted norm by too
many today.

But the fact remains, when we break trust, we reap what
we sow--even if it is eventually.

Respect: Another thing I was taught when growing up was
to respect my elders, open doors for ladies, give my
seat on a bus to ladies and the elderly, say thank you
when kindnesses are shown to me, etc., etc. Guess I'm
still pretty much old-fashioned because I still do
these things.

I also believe strongly in respecting and appreciating
the men and women in our police force, the armed
forces, and all who invest their lives in helping to
protect us and the freedoms we enjoy--the price of
which has been paid for by others.

And how I wish people would learn from an early age to
respect other people's property, the blessings and
benefits of our advanced society, and our beautiful
countryside!

Responsibility: A very popular pastime these days is
the blame-game! Here's a classic example from New York:
"A five-foot-10-inch 272-pound man sued four fast-food
chains, claiming their fare contributed to his obesity,
heart disease and diabetes. 

"The class-action lawsuit, which was filed in the Bronx
Supreme Court, was seeking undetermined compensatory
damages against McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC, and Burger
King on behalf of 56-year-old Caesar Barber and
others."2

So would I purposely put my hand on a stove hotplate,
burn my hand, and then sue the manufacturer of the
stove!? I also recall hearing on the news a man being
interviewed about smoking. He claimed he should be able
to smoke where he wanted to because it was the tobacco
company's fault that he was addicted to cigarettes!

Amazing, isn't it! And, can you imagine any lawyer in
his right mind and of any character taking on such
cases!

To be continued ...

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be
trustworthy, respectful, and responsible in all that I
am and do and thereby bring glory to Your name. Thank
You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus's name, amen."

1. 1 Peter 2:1-2 (TLB-NIV).  
2. The Orange County Register July 27, 2002, News P.
25.

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  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
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  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  
  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) 2015 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
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  ACTS International.
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Tue 29 Dec 2015, 6:22 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Temptation  

"But each one is tempted when he is carried away and
enticed by his own lust."1

Temptation. It befalls all of us. It can come directly
from the devil, a devil's advocate, through a friend,
or from my own self.

We are all open to temptation for, like a lawn bowl
that has a bias (weight) on one side that causes it to
curve away from the goal, we have a bias that, unless
guarded, causes us to go astray and miss the mark of
God's goal for us. The bias is our sin nature that we
are all born with.

So how do we defend against temptation? 

First and foremost, as author Max Lucado suggests in
his book, On the Anvil, there are two very simple
strategies for protecting ourselves from sin and
temptation. The first is to recognize Satan. So often,
we are lured into a sin because it looks so attractive,
so fulfilling, so right at the time. So we find ways to
rationalize our actions and make excuses for our
attitudes. Instead, we must be like Jesus in the desert
and call Satan by name. No more sugar-coating the
truth. Don't try to water down the power of sin. Call
it what it is.

Second, we can guard against some temptations by making
sure we get legitimate needs met in legitimate ways.
For instance, after fasting for forty days, Jesus was
hungry. This is when Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones
into bread. Satan always has a way to tempt us at our
weakest and/or neediest point. For another example,
some singles when they are lonely, instead of getting
their companionship needs met in healthy ways, turn to
sex as a poor substitute for love.

Third, realize that God's salvation begins at the point
where we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord of our
life--and as we grow in wholeness and maturity. As
Jesus often asked, "Do you want to be made whole?"
Wholeness is a requirement for wholesome living, for
only to the degree that we are made whole will our
lifestyle, our actions, our thoughts (the beginning
point of temptation), our behavior, and our
relationships be wholesome.

Fourth, walk with God. Growing in wholeness is a
life-long process, so in the meantime to avoid giving
in to temptation, we need not only to make sure we get
our needs met in healthy ways, but also to walk with
God. That is, we need to know what His Word teaches by
reading and studying it faithfully, and we need to
commit and trust our life to God every day, and seek
His guidance and help to live a life that will glorify
Him in all that we are and do.

Fifth, be filled with God's Spirit who gives us the
insight to recognize temptation for what it is and the
power to overcome its onslaughts.

Sixth, pray. Sometimes a simple prayer such as, "Help,
God, Help," or stating firmly, “Jesus Christ is Lord,"
can be the best antidote against falling prey to
temptation's alluring charms. 

Lastly, when we do give in to temptation and sin,
remember that God says, "If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse
us from all unrighteousness."2 The important thing is
to get up, put things right where needed and possible,
and go on.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You have
provided a way of escape from giving in to temptation
for me through Your so great salvation. Help me to keep
growing in faith, love, maturity and wholeness, and
fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I will have the
strength to overcome every temptation. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's
name, amen."

1. James 1:14 (NASB). 
2. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV). 

<Smile)))><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  
  Daily Encounter is published at no charge by 
  ACTS International, a non-profit organization, 
  and made possible through the donations of 
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Mon 28 Dec 2015, 11:40 am

Today's Daily Encounter

God "Speaks"  

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and
faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in
their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted
by the world."1

A young teenager named Cody went on a mission venture
to Ethiopia. While there he was exposed to poverty
conditions he never knew existed. On one occasion, a
little boy tugged on his shirt, evidently indicating
that he wanted the t-shirt which Cody was wearing.

Cody gently turned him away and kept his shirt. He
returned to the States and began to reflect upon the
trip. The face of the little boy would not leave his
memory. Nor would his t-shirt.

Cody began a campaign to collect t-shirts to send to
the poverty-stricken country. He made calls, knocked on
doors, and eventually had a whopping 18,000 t-shirts of
which 10,000 were usable.

CNN called after hearing of his efforts and reported
that they had discovered a relief plane to ship the
shirts free of charge--but they could not guarantee
where they would end up.

The relief agency used a jet and flew into a country
not requiring a customs inspection--you guessed
it--Ethiopia. The recipients were ecstatic. So was
Cody.2

Perhaps, more often than not, if we look for the
obvious, we will see it every-which-way we turn. And,
if we are in tune with God and living in harmony with
His will, we will see it.

Suggested prayer, "Dear God, please help me to see the
world around me through the eyes of Jesus and be what
He would be and, with Your help, do what He would do.
Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. James 1:27 (NIV).
2. "Vision--It's The Tool of The Spirit." Adapted from
John Ortberg, www.willowcreek.org.

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Sat 19 Dec 2015, 8:42 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Following Footsteps  

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. 1 Corinthians 11:1 (KJV).

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  and made possible through the donations of 
  interested friends. Donations can be sent at: 
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Thu 17 Dec 2015, 7:10 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Anchored  

"And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds
blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not
fall, for it had been founded on the rock."1

Back in 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed thousands of
homes in South Florida. Yet in an area where the
wreckage looked like a war zone, one house remained
standing, still firmly anchored to its foundation. When
a reporter asked the homeowner why his house had not
been blown away, he replied, "I built this house
myself. I also built it according to the Florida state
building code. When the code called for 2"x6" roof
trusses, I used 2"x6" roof trusses. I was told that a
house built according to the code could withstand a
hurricane--and it did."2

I can identify with this builder because in former
years I was a builder by trade and built my own home at
the top of the Adelaide hills in Australia where the
winds blow furiously. I not only built according to the
local building codes, but went the second mile. Instead
of using 2"x8" rafters I used 3"x8" and instead of
using large nails to secure these, I used large coach
screw/bolts, and so on. I lost a few roofing tiles on
one occasion in a wild storm, but never was there any
other damage.

As Jesus reminds us, it pays to build solidly on a
solid foundation. He was referring to building our
lives according to His code as found in His Word, the
Bible. Those who do will not be swept away by the
storms of life and adverse circumstances that threaten
to destroy us.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to build my
life on 'Christ, the Solid Rock' and live according to
Your instructions as found in Your Word, the Bible. I
thank You that if I do this, I have Your guarantee that
with Your help I will be able to stand firm in all of
life's storms. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Matthew 7:25 (NASB). 
2. Tom Moore, preacher@hsnp.com cited in KneEmail,
http://www.oakhillcoc.org. 

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Wed 16 Dec 2015, 7:31 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Use It or Lose It  

"The LORD said to him [Moses], 'What is that in your
hand?' And he said, 'A staff.'"1

I have read how in 1872, at the age of 16, Booker T.
Washington (born a slave and then became the foremost
black educator of the late 19th and early 20th
centuries) decided he wanted to go to school. He walked
500 miles to Hampton Institute in Virginia, and
presented himself to the head teacher. Washington later
recalled, "Having been so long without proper food, a
bath, and change of clothing, I did not make a very
favorable impression upon her, and I could see at once
that there were doubts in her mind about me."

Finally she said to him, "The adjoining recitation room
needs cleaning. Take the broom and do it." A lesser
person might have been insulted by being assigned
menial work. But Washington recognized immediately that
this was his big chance. He swept that room three times
and dusted it four times. He even cleaned the walls and
the closets. Then he reported to the head teacher that
the job was finished. She examined that room like a
drill sergeant. She even took a handkerchief and rubbed
it across the top of a door. When she could not find a
particle of dirt, she said, "I guess you will do to
enter this institution."

As a 16-year-old, Washington could not do many things.
But he could clean a room. And he did it gloriously.
Extraordinary living begins with using what we have.
What gifts and graces do you have that you have not
fully activated?2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You use
ordinary people to do ordinary things in extraordinary
ways, as well as using ordinary people to do
extraordinary things. Please use me for whatever it is
You have gifted me to do and want me to do--be it large
or small--and thereby help make my world a better place
in which to live. Thank You for hearing and answering
my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Exodus 4:2 (NASB). 
2. Bill Bouknight, http://www.eSermons.com, July 2002

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  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Tue 15 Dec 2015, 6:52 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme  

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer
and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be
made known to God."1

Gene Barron writes how, when he was a boy, his family
had a neighbor who frequently came to their back door.
Her reason for coming was always the same, "I just
wanted to borrow _______." The problem was that she
never came at any other time--only when she wanted
something.

My mother was always gracious and gave her what she
wanted, but didn't appreciate her as much as the other
neighbors--especially the one who came frequently but
never asked for anything, but would simply say, "Just
stopped by for a visit."

When it comes to prayer, it is true that God does want
us to make our requests known to him, but sometimes I
feel my prayers are more, "Give me ... give me ... give
me!" I know God is gracious and does hear and answer my
prayers, but how much better it would be to come to him
not only in times of trouble and need, but to daily
come to him with, "Dear God, I'm just calling in for a
visit. What can I do for you today?"

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You do want
me to bring my requests to You, but please help me to
also think of others' needs when I pray, and especially
bring praise and thanksgiving to You. And today please
show me what I can do for You and for Your Glory?
Gratefully, in Jesus's name. Amen."

1. Philippians 4:6 (NASB).

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  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Mon 14 Dec 2015, 9:42 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Reconciliation or Tough Love  

"Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and
there remember that your brother has something against
you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go
your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then
come and offer your gift."1

An office reports that they have an answering machine
that instructs callers to leave their name and address,
and to spell out any difficult words.

Early one Monday when the secretary was reviewing the
weekend messages, she heard an enthusiastic young woman
recite her name and address and then confidently say,
"My difficult word is reconciliation:
R-E-C-O-N-C-I-L-I-A-T-I-O-N."2

A Daily Encounter reader (whom I will call Frieda)
knows just how difficult reconciliation can be. She
lives close to her parents and shares how critical and
emotionally abusive they are of her and her daughter.
She has tried everything she knows to forgive them and
bring about reconciliation but nothing has worked.
Worse still, they won't even admit that they are
abusive. She feels that if she distances herself from
them it will "kill" them.

The fact is that it won't kill them. And, if they act
as if it will, and cry, "Poor 'me' ... how could you
treat us like this?" that would be just another form of
manipulative abuse.

Frieda may feel it will "kill" her, for we often
project onto others what we are afraid of happening to
ourselves. If she tolerates abusive behavior of herself
and her daughter, she is being a part of the sickness,
and it may very well kill her before her time. Such
stress can and does take years off of one's life.

Forgiveness, as we have spelled out before, is
dependent only on us. That's what makes it possible and
that is what frees us. Reconciliation is the ideal to
work towards, but sometimes it just isn't possible, as
this is dependent on both parties.

To free ourselves from toxic, abusive people, we need
to have healthy boundaries, exercise tough love, and
make it very clear to these people that: (1) We don't
appreciate their critical, judgmental, and/or abusive
treatment of us; (2) That we will no longer tolerate
it; (3) That if it happens even one more time, we will
distance ourselves from them; and (4) We will not have
any contact with them until they choose to treat us in
a kind and loving manner. 

And of course, we need to be absolutely sure that we
always treat them in a kind and loving manner. Keep in
mind, too, that the most loving thing to do with toxic
people is to distance yourself from them--for your sake
and theirs.

If you distance yourself from them, they may or may not
change their treatment of you, but unless you exercise
tough love, maintain healthy boundaries rather than
keep on taking their abuse, you can be almost certain
that they will continue to abuse you.

What others do is their choice. What we allow them to
do to us is our choice. Remember on most occasions
Jesus was tender and compassionate. But when called
for, he blasted the phony religious leaders. He used a
whip to drive out of the temple the money changers who
were misusing the house of God to rip people off. And
he said about children: "But whoever causes one of
these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it
would be better for him if a millstone were hung around
his neck, and he were thrown into the sea."3

Tough words. Tough love. We too, need to love the
things God loves and hate the things He hates--and God
hates anything that is destructive of those whom He
loves. Us!

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me the courage
to stand against abusive people and the strength to
disallow them to hurt me and/or my children. Help me
always to know what You would do and give me the
courage to do it. Thank You for hearing and answering
my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Matthew 5:23-24 (NASB). 
2. From Michael Bledsoe beau@bledsoe.com 
3. Mark 9:42 (NKJV).

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  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Fri 11 Dec 2015, 10:30 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Little Things--Big Consequences  

"Catch the foxes for us, 
The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, 
While our vineyards are in blossom."1

Not too long ago we had the opportunity to have a
vacation in Hawaii where, of course, there are many
beautiful beaches. At one particular picturesque beach
where the grandkids were snorkeling, close by was a
rocky section. Here was a warning sign painted with
large bold red lettering that simply said, "Dangerous
beach. When in doubt, don't." 

All too often in similar situations some daredevils
tempt fate and alas, too late, they realize that they
made a drastic mistake and have been hurt badly or even
lost their life.

"When in doubt, don't" is a handy motto to apply to
every area of life--especially so in the area of
relationships, morals and ethics.

Many a person has started on a downward path in an
extremely small way saying to him/herself, "A little
lie won't hurt; a little cheating won't be noticed; a
little immoral slip isn't going to make any difference;
one cigarette won't affect me; and one drug is
meaningless. 

What they don't realize is that all too often little
things lead to big things--either for good or bad. As a
kid, I attended a tiny church in my hometown. I started
serving God as a young teenager by picking up the
hymnals after both church services on Sundays. Just a
little thing, but one thing led to another, to another,
and to another--until for the last four decades I have
had the privilege of reaching multiplied thousands with
the gospel around the world, first through a literature
ministry and for the last decade via email and the
Internet.

The same principle applies to evil deeds. I imagine
that the accountants at Enron, Arthur Andersen,
WorldCom, etc., started in a very small way adjusting
the books; here a small adjustment; there a small
adjustment; next a little bigger adjustment; and so on
until their companies collapsed.

My former broker in Australia who handled my retirement
fund--30 years of savings--stole my entire fund several
years ago as well as those of at least eight other
clients. He either hid all this money or spent it
because, when he was ordered by the judge to pay up, he
declared bankruptcy. It was only a short time before he
started stealing that a large gambling center was
opened not far from his office. My best guess is that
he possibly started to gamble in a small way; began to
lose money; then more money; then he stole from one
client; lost more money; then stole from another
client; and so on until he got caught. He has now spent
some of his best retirement years in jail.

When will we ever learn that sin has its own
destructive pathway and that whatever we sow we
reap--if not now, it will be later in eternity--unless
we repent of our sins and turn to the Savior? The best
advice is that which is painted on a sign on a rocky
Hawaiian beach, "When in doubt, don't!"

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to always
live in harmony with life's principles as found in Your
Word, the Bible. And, grant that our nation will
realize that these are eternal and universal truths
that cannot be broken without dire consequences. Grant
that we will confess our sins and waywardness and turn
back to You. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Song of Solomon 2:15 (NASB).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Thu 10 Dec 2015, 11:01 am

Today's Daily Encounter

God's Good News  

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the
power of God for the salvation of everyone who
believes."1

The word "gospel" means good news--the Good News of
God's salvation, without which mankind would be doomed
for eternal damnation and separation from God, the
author of all love and life. 

But why is the gospel God's Good News?

First, the gospel is not a message about religion but a
message about God's eternal love and purpose for all
mankind. Religion wants to fix us from the outside in.
God wants to fix us from the inside out. The first can
become an impossible burden. The latter is what brings
freedom.

Also, it's important to realize that no matter what we
have ever done or have failed to do God loves us with
an everlasting love and has a wonderful purpose for our
lives--for this life and the next! As Jesus said, "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."2 And again, "I have come that they
may have life, and have it to the full."3

Second, the gospel is a message about sin, something we
are all guilty of. As the Bible says, "We have all
sinned and fallen short of God's standard."4 Sin,
however, is not only doing harmful acts. It is anything
that falls short of the standard of perfection that God
envisioned for us. This includes unforgiveness, pride,
jealousy, mixed motives, etc. Most of us, too, are
guilty of sins of omission; that is, not doing what we
know we should and could do.5

However, a common misconception about God is that he is
out to punish us for our sins. The fact is we bring
sin's punishment on ourselves because sin has its own
natural consequences. If we try to break the universal
law of gravity, for instance, we can't. It will break
us. Neither can we break God's universal moral law.
When we try to, it breaks us. And besides its painful
effects in this life--suffering, sorrow, sadness,
sickness and spiritual death--its ultimate and tragic
consequence is eternal death and separation from God.6

Third, the gospel is a message about God's remedy.
Because sin has separated or disconnected us from God,
we have been left with a "God-shaped" vacuum or
spiritual emptiness within. As St. Augustine put it,
"You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts
are restless until they find their rest in you." The
world's many religions are all evidence of man's
endless search to find God and fill this vacuum.
However, because God loves us so much, he sent his own
sinless son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our
predicament.7 Christ did this by dying on the cross in
our place to pay the consequence of and ransom price
for our sins--death. Thus, Jesus Christ is God's only
provision for our sin. He is the only way back to God
and the only door to eternal life.8

Finally, the gospel is a summons to faith and
repentance. If you were found guilty of a serious crime
and were condemned to death, would you accept a free
unconditional pardon, if offered? Because Jesus Christ
died on the cross in our place, God now offers you
complete acquittal, forgiveness, and the gift of
eternal life. All you need to do is confess and repent
of your sinfulness, believe that Jesus is the Son of
God and that he died for your sins, and invite him into
your life as Savior and Lord.

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

If you prayed this prayer and genuinely meant it,
please let us know by clicking on
http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php and we will send
you a free copy of the eBrochure, How to Grow.

NOTE: This article is condensed from, "How to Be Sure
You're a Real Christian (without having to be
religious)" on our ACTS web site at:
http://tinyurl.com/8glq9. 

1. Romans 1:16 (NIV).     2. John 3:16 (NIV).     3.
John 10:10 (NIV).     4. Romans 3:23.     5. James
4:17.     6. Romans 6:23.     7. See Ephesians
2:8-9.     8. See John 14:6 and Romans 5:8. 

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Wed 09 Dec 2015, 10:09 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Lessons from Tiny Creatures  

"Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely
wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they
store up their food in the summer; conies are creatures
of little power, yet they make their home in the crags;
locusts have no king, yet they advance together in
ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is
found in kings' palaces."1

The ants teach us the wisdom of preparation. "Better to
be prepared and not called, than to be called and not
prepared," is a wise principle to adhere to. For
instance, if I want a good job in the future, I need to
prepare today. If I want a healthy marriage, I need to
work on my growth and maturity today, for only mature
people have mature relationships. And if I want God to
use me, I need to develop the gifts and talents that He
has given me.

"Aha!" you may say, "but what about the disciples. They
were a motley crew of uneducated peasants." "But, aha,"
I answer, "they spent three years in training with the
Master Teacher of all teachers and the Master Trainer
par excellence." 

The conies or rock badgers teach us the wisdom of
precaution. How true is the old saying, "Fools rush in
where angels fear to tread." If you want to avoid
temptation, don't go where you know you'll be tempted.
If you don't want to get into debt over your head,
don't borrow what you can't re-pay. And if you can't
swim, don't go into the deep end of the pool. God is
faithful, but if we jump off a building, he won't catch
us on the way down, as he doesn't go against his own
rules! He won't change the universal law of gravity
because of my foolishness and irresponsibility. He
won't change the moral law either. If I try to break
it, it will break me. 

The locusts teach us the wisdom of unity. Have you ever
tried to row a boat with a friend? If you don't pull
together in harmony, you'll get nowhere fast, go in
circles, or run into the bank. To keep moving forward,
you don't have to over-exert yourself, just keep
pulling together. And if we don't pull together as a
family, a church, or a nation, working in harmony with
the principles of life as found in God's Word, we will
end up on the rocks! 

The lizards teach us the wisdom of perseverance. "If
you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get
anything done ... Keep on sowing your seed, for you
never know which will grow--perhaps it all will,"2 says
the Word of God. And again, "It is God himself, in His
mercy, who has given us this wonderful work [of telling
his Good News to others], and so we never give up."3 As
the saying goes, "Quitters never win and winners never
quit."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for your words
of wisdom--principles for everyday living--as found in
Your Word, the Bible. Please give me a greater love for
Your Word and the desire to live by the principles as
found therein. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen." 

1. Proverbs 30:24-28 (NIV). 
2. Ecclesiastes 11:4, 6 (TLB-NIV). 
3. 2 Corinthians 4:1 (TLB-NIV). 

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Today's Daily Encounter

The "O" Factor  

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned
every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him
[Jesus] the iniquity [sin] of us all."1

In his book, The Renewal Factor, Robert Waterman
writes: "During the investigation that followed the
explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, an engineer
at Morton Thiokol testified that he advised his
superiors that weather conditions at Cape Kennedy were
too cold to guarantee the safety of the space craft's
O-ring sealants. He urged them to delay the launch.
Management pressed for more explanation: How cold was
too cold--forty degrees? Thirty-seven degrees? Could
they launch at forty-one degrees? The engineer resisted
pinning down an exact temperature that was dangerous.
He didn't have the facts to be that precise. All he
could tell his superiors was that the weather predicted
for launching time was 'away from goodness.'"2

Sad to say, his warning went unheeded.

In such a day as this, especially here in the United
States, with the questionable practices of corporations
such as Enron, WorldCom, Xerox, Tyco, Arthur Andersen,
and some church leaders, we cannot help but state
emphatically how we have strayed far away from
goodness--and the whole nation is suffering the
consequences. People have lost their life savings and
retirement funds--confidence in the stock market has
suffered greatly--and political parties are blaming the
opposition party for the great debacle when the bottom
line issue is a moral crisis of leadership. And that
may apply as much to some politicians as it does to
some greedy corporate leaders! 

Indeed, we have strayed far from goodness and replaced
it with greed and a moral crisis.

As Christians, let us heed the word of the Apostle Paul
to Timothy, "I give you this instruction in keeping
with the prophecies once made about you, so that by
following them you may fight the good fight, holding on
to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected
these [principles] and so have shipwrecked their
faith."3

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, how true is Your word,
'All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned
everyone to his own way.' But thank You that You gave
Your Son, Jesus, to die for our sins and become our
Savior. Grant that our nation, which has strayed far
from goodness--and from You--will confess and repent of
our sins and turn to You--the only hope of our
salvation. And let Your work begin in me. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's
name, amen."

1. Isaiah 53:6 (KJV). 
2. Robert H. Waterman, Jr., The Renewal Factor (New
York: Bantam Books, 1987), p. 50. 
3. 1 Timothy 1:19 (NIV). 

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Mon 07 Dec 2015, 10:06 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Strength from Storms  

"Is your life full of difficulties and temptations?
Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience
has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don't try to
squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is
finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for
anything, strong in character, full and complete."1

"The strongest trees grow not beneath the glass of a
conservatory or in the sheltered and sunny valleys. The
stoutest timber stands on Norwegian rocks, where
tempests rage and long, hard winters reign."2

I've never been to Norway nor have I felt the hard,
long winters there, but I have lived where winds blow
furiously. When planting young trees, it was important
not to stake them too tightly. Staking them loosely
(when they were little), the winds caused them to
develop and deepen a strong root system they needed to
stand the powerful winds when they had grown. We had
some trees break, but none ever fell. And where they
were broken, they grew again, strong and healthy.

Life's like that. If we overprotect our children when
they are young, they will not be equipped to withstand
the challenges of life when the winds of adversity
strike. And, as adults all of us need the storms of
life to help us grow and become healthy and strong in
character--or we can allow them to make us bitter
rather than better--but that choice is ours.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for the trials
and tribulations that You have allowed me to go
through. Please help me to always allow them to deepen
the roots of my faith in You, and help me to grow in
faith, love and every grace. Thank You for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name,
amen."

1. James 1:2-4 (TLB-NIV) 
2. Encyclopedia of Sermon Illustrations.

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Sat 05 Dec 2015, 9:22 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

My Gift to the Queen  

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

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

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

"The next day there was another knock at the door. This
time, when she opened it, a man in gold braid stood
with a big envelope in hand. 'The queen sent me,' he
said, 'and asked me to thank you for the umbrella.' For
a moment the woman stood motionless--speechless, but
then burst into tears. Finally she cried, 'Oh! What an
opportunity I missed that I didn't give her my best!'"

How embarrassing! But how often, I wonder, do I give
Jesus my second best--or even my leftovers? 

In younger days--much less tactful ones--when I was the
pastor of a small church, as we didn't have a janitor,
I was cleaning the church. The vacuum cleaner we had
was next to useless and I said to myself, "I'll bet one
of the members gave this to the church because it
wasn't any good to them."

I reported this thought to the church officers at our
next meeting. Oops! Deathly silence followed!. I was
right. It was a gift from one of the key families in
the church! But we did get a new vacuum cleaner!

Let's not give Jesus the King of kings our broken
umbrellas, nor our leftovers--whether it's time,
talents, gifts, or money. Let's give him our
first-fruits--not our last-fruits.

In the words of the old hymn: "Give of your best to the
Master; Give him first place in your heart; give him
first place in your service; Consecrate every part.
Give him the best that you have."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in thanksgiving for Your
great love-gift to me and Your so-great salvation,
grant that I will always have the grace to give You the
best that I have to give. Thank You for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name,
amen." 

1. Matthew 25:40 (NIV).
2. Mrs. Charles Barnard.

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Fri 04 Dec 2015, 10:52 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Perseverance  

"If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get
anything done. Keep on sowing your seed, for you never
know which will grow--perhaps it all will."1

At the turn of the last century, Julia Woodward went to
Ecuador as a missionary to minister to a tribe of some
15,000 Indians. In her half-century of work, she saw
only a handful of these people accept the gospel and
come to Christ. However, she taught the people to read
and write and began to translate some of the Bible into
their language. After 50 years of faithful service, she
retired and was replaced by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clawson
who, after a relatively short time, saw almost this
entire tribe embrace the Christian faith and become
Christians. This was made possible because of the seed
sown by Julia Woodward.

As another has said, "Don't ever underestimate the
power of a seed. In 1959, there were one-million Roman
Catholics and 600,000 Protestants in China. That may
sound like a lot, but when you compare it to a
population that is rapidly approaching one billion, you
understand what a tiny seed that represented. When
China closed its doors to the outside world, many
people began to wrap a burial shroud around the
Christian church in China. They said that it would
never survive. In 1979 China again opened its doors to
the West and to the rest of the world. And a strange
thing had happened. That tiny seed 20 years earlier had
taken root. The number of Roman Catholics during those
dark years rose from one-million to three-million and
the number of Protestants rose from 600,000 to
three-million. The church in a time of persecution and
hardship had grown 53% in a twenty-year period!"2

You and I may never be a Paul or a Julia Woodward, but
we can keep sowing seeds of the gospel and of God's
love. Here an encouraging word ... there an encouraging
word to a friend in need ... little acts of kindness
all along the way ... praying with one who is
discouraged and/or hurting ... being as Christ to every
life we touch.... Such seeds are never wasted--only God
knows the eternal influence and impact of such. As
Solomon wrote, "Keep on sowing your seed, for you never
know which will grow--perhaps it all will."

Suggested prayer. "Dear God, please help me to keep on
sowing the seed of Your Word and the gospel in the way
that I live and act, and through well-spoken and timely
words. Please use me to help others to find You and/or
come closer to You. Use my life as a living investment
in eternity. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen." 

1. Ecclesiastes 11:4, 6 (TLB).
2. www.eSermons.com

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