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Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Sat 31 Aug 2013, 12:30 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
I Know It But I Can't Explain It  

"But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus,
'And who is my neighbor?'"1

Oldies but goodies: "The pedestrian had no idea which
way to go, so I ran over him." That, says the
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, is among a list of
explanations the company has received for automobile
accidents.

Others include: "The other car collided with mine
without warning me of its intention." 

"I had been driving my car for 40 years when I fell
asleep at the wheel and had the accident." 

"As I reached an intersection, a hedge sprang up,
obscuring my vision." 

"I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my
mother-in-law, and headed over the embankment." 

"The telephone pole was approaching fast. I attempted
to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end."


"The guy was all over the road. He had to swerve a
number of times before I hit him." 

"The indirect cause of this accident was a little guy
in a small car with a big mouth."

But Metropolitan says the strangest reason of all is,
"An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car,
and vanished."

I guess, like the lawyer who questioned Jesus, it's a
human trait that too many of us want to justify
ourselves whenever we do wrong or fail to do what we
know we should.

However, it's only when we get real and admit our
mistakes that we can learn from them, grow, and find
forgiveness--from God and others. As Solomon put it, "A
man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be
successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he
gets another chance."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be
mature and honest enough to admit when I make a
mistake, quit playing the blame-game, and accept full
responsibility for all of my actions. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen." 

1. Luke 10:29. 
2. Proverbs 28:13 (TLB)(NLT).

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  Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
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  ACTS International.
  
Today's Daily Encounter

Earning the Right to Criticize  

"There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are
detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands
that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked
schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false
witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up
dissension among brothers."1

I believe it was Dwight L Moody, the famous evangelist,
who was once told by an irate church lady, "Mr. Moody,
I don't like the way you do your evangelism
[preaching]."

In reply Mr. Moody said, "I don't necessarily like all
of it either, but it's the best way I know. Tell me,
how do you do it?"

"Oh, I don't," was the reply.

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

It's always easy to know what to do when we don't have
to do the job, and very easy to criticize others when
we're not doing the work ourselves.

Some time ago when I was a member of a large group and
things weren't going too well, I was asked what I
thought about the situation and what could be done to
improve things. I said that I didn't feel I had the
right to criticize unless I was prepared to do
something about it. I was, however, prepared to help,
and several of us working together saw things greatly
improve.

In this instance, as it is in many other instances,
criticism without offering help would have only served
to make matters worse and cause further dissension
among the group. So, if we're not willing to put our
shoulder to the wheel and do our bit, let's not stir up
dissension through negative criticism. Furthermore,
might I add that journalists, politicians, authors, and
even preachers don't have the right to name others and
confess their sins in public, without having first
confessed their own sins in public.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please deliver me from
ever having a negative, bitter, or critical attitude,
and wherever I see a need, may I be willing to help if
I am able to. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen." 

1. Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Wed 28 Aug 2013, 8:07 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Life's Little Frustrations  

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about
everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to
thank him for his answers. If you do this you will
experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful
than the human mind can understand."1

Paul Dickson discovered that the size of the cut he
inflicted on himself while shaving was directly
proportionate to the importance of the event he was
shaving for. That led him to an interest in other
"universal laws" evident in daily life. The following
are a few of the many he has collected:

"No books you lend are lost except those you
    particularly want to keep.

"There are three ways to get something done:
    do it yourself, hire someone, or tell your kids 
    not to do it.

"You can throw a burnt match out of the window
    of your car and start a forest fire easier than
    you can start one under dry logs in your fireplace
    with a box of matches and the complete edition
    of the Sunday newspaper."

Let's face it, more often than not it's life's little
annoyances that get to trigger our "worry/ frustration
button" and cause us to overreact in one way or
another. 

As one of my favorite ditties goes: "It's the little
things that bother us / and put us on the rack / you
can sit upon a mountain / but you can't sit on a tack."

Most of us have at least one worry/frustration
button--and as long as this button is active, it's a
good reminder that I still have some growing to do--and
will until I get to the place where I quit worrying and
overreacting and learn to trust God for everything! 

Hmm. I see I still have a ways to go!

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to keep
growing in 'faith and love and every grace' so I can
get to the point where I can accept life's frustrations
without getting my buttons pushed, and trust you in
every situation. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen." 

1. Philippians 4:6-7 (TLB)(NLT).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Mon 26 Aug 2013, 11:13 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
On Being Politically or Biblically Correct  

"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."1

It has been said that if you stand for something
worthwhile, you will have some people for you and some
against you. But if you stand for nothing, you will
have nobody against you--but neither will you have
anybody for you.

In today's society there is tremendous pressure to be
politically correct and open minded; that is, except
towards evangelical Christianity. If you make a stand
for Christian convictions, you are just as likely to be
labeled intolerant, bigoted and/or narrow minded. Funny
how those who so aggressively oppose Christianity don't
see themselves as rigid, inflexible, dogmatic and
intolerant!

What many don't seem to realize is that if you stand
for nothing, you can easily fall for anything. Or as E.
Stanley Jones put it, "The difference between a swamp
and a river is that a river has banks, and a swamp has
none--it spreads over everything. Some people are
rivers: they know where they want to go, and they
confine themselves to the banks that lead to that goal.
But some people are swamps: they spread over
everything; their minds are so open they cannot hold a
conviction."

I'd much rather be a "river for God" and know where I
stand and where I'm going and be labeled narrow minded
than to be a swamp for "anything goes" and be popular
with the crowd! It is much wiser to be biblically
correct than politically correct. 

As martyred missionary Jim Elliot, who stood firmly on
the Word of God, said, "He is no fool who gives what he
cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me the courage
to stand firmly on your foundation of truth based on
your Word, the Bible, knowing that in the long run
truth will survive the test of time. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen." 

1. James 1:8.

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Sun 25 Aug 2013, 10:55 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Psychic or Prophetic Predictions  

"Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to
see whether they are from God, because many false
prophets have gone out into the world."1

A few years ago Ralph Blodgett, who has researched
psychic predictions for several years found that in a
given year out of 250 specific predictions by 30 of the
nation's leading psychics, less than three percent
could be listed as "reasonably fulfilled."

Blodgett said, "I used to think psychics had to be led
by either God or the devil. Now I'm convinced that they
are being led most of the time by no one at all."

Sometimes, too, I can't help but wonder about some
Christians who claim that God has given them a special
word. I've had articles sent to me in the hopes that I
would accept them for publication, the writer of whom
assured me that their message was given to them by God
and they wanted him to have all the glory for it.
Frankly, I don't think God wanted the glory for some of
this material. 

On one occasion one fellow informed me that God had
told him he was to work for me. I didn't give him a
job. He was neither trained nor qualified for our type
of work. I've heard others claim they had a word from
the Lord … and what they "prophesied" never did happen.


In Old Testament times the test of a true prophet was
100 percent accuracy. The punishment for a false
prophet was extremely severe. It was death.2

Today, in New Testament times, we are warned not to
believe every spirit, but to put them to the test to
make sure their word is from God. Of one thing we can
be certain, if what a person claims is a word from God
and it is contrary to God's Word, we know it is not
from God.

So does God still speak to people today? Yes, mostly
through his Word, the Bible. It can also be through
circumstances, through an inner conviction--the still
small voice within--and on occasion through an audible
voice. I recently wrote about a friend who, during a
storm, was awakened in the night by an audible voice
that said, "Sit up and take in a deep breath." She
thought she was dreaming so went back to sleep. The
third time she heard the voice, she sat up, took in a
deep breath--and smelled smoke. Their house had been
struck by lightning and was on fire. The entire family
barely made it out of the house when it exploded in
flames and was totally destroyed.  

However God speaks to you and to me, we need to be
certain it is in harmony with his Word, the Bible. If
not, dismiss it immediately, as there are many
crackpots who, among other things, raise a lot of money
from ill-informed and sometimes gullible people.
Remember, too, "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there
is liberty"3--not compulsions!

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me a desire to
read, study and know your Word so that I will not be
led astray by false prophets, or by my own
mis-leadings. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen." 

1. 1 John 4:1 (NIV).
2. Deuteronomy 18:20 (NIV).
3. 2 Corinthians 3:17.

<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.
  
  * * * * * * * 
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Sat 24 Aug 2013, 1:48 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
How's Your Self-Worth?  

Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself."1

While Jesus said we were to love our neighbor as
ourselves, somebody else said, "Heaven help your
neighbor if you hate yourself." There's a lot of truth
in this statement. The fact is I can only love and
accept others to the degree that I have learned to love
and accept myself; that is, in a healthy sense.

How I see myself, what I think about myself, how I feel
about myself, and how well I accept myself will largely
determine what I get out of life. If I see myself as
having little worth, I will never achieve my God-given
potential. But if I see myself as having great value,
not in a prideful way, but as God sees and accepts me,
I will, with God's help, be able to reach and achieve
my God-given life purpose and potential.

Take a bar of iron and make it into nails and it will
be worth a few dollars; make it into weight bearing
posts it will be worth much more; refine it and make it
into stainless steel pots and it will be worth even
more; or refine it even further to take out all its
impurities and use it to make finely tuned space age
rocket engines and it will be worth a fortune.

Life's like that. If you believe in yourself in a
healthy sense, with God's help and his "refining fire"
(plus a lot of hard work), you can become the person
God envisions you to be, and be able to fulfill your
God-given life purpose.

What is important is not how or where we got started in
life, but how and where we finish! We had no choice in
the former, but we do in the latter.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see and
accept myself as you see and accept me, and put me
through your 'refining fire' so that I will reach and
achieve my total God-given potential for you glory.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen." 

1. Mark 12:31 (NIV).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Thu 22 Aug 2013, 10:49 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Successful Failures  

"Samuel saw Eliab and thought 'surely the Lord's
anointed [for king] stands here before the Lord.' But
the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his
appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The
Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man
looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at
the heart.'"1

Today's society places tremendous emphasis on physical
appearance not only for women, but also (even if to a
lesser degree) for men. If, for example, two men of
equal qualifications apply for the same job, the
tallest man is most likely to be chosen for the
position.

Because of his amazing courage in the Battle of Lodi in
1796, Napoleon Bonaparte became known as "the little
corporal." He was only five-feet-two-inches tall!

William Wilberforce was another small man who
apparently never enjoyed good health. For twenty years
he was under a doctor's care. More than any other
person he was responsible for stopping the British
slave trade. He was known for his eloquence and in 1780
entered the British Parliament at age 21. Six years
later he joined Thomas Clarkson, the anti-slave
campaigner, and began his fight against slavery even
though the bill to end the slave trade didn't become
law until 1807--twenty-one years later.

On one occasion James Boswell, the great Scottish
author went to hear Wilberforce speak. Afterward he
said, "I saw what seemed to be a mere shrimp …  but as
I listened, he grew and grew till the shrimp became a
whale."

Often in life, many of the greatest achievements have
been accomplished by persons who have had a serious
setback, a major limitation or handicap, or a
significant failure of one kind or another, but have
overcome their defect to rise above their
circumstances.

If you feel you have a shortcoming, be encouraged, the
people God uses are ordinary people who make themselves
available. 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you use
ordinary people to accomplish your work on earth. I am
available. Please make me usable, and use me to be a
part of what you are doing in the world today. Thank
you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus' name, amen." 

1. 1 Samuel 16:6-7 (NIV).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Wed 21 Aug 2013, 1:55 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Looking Back to Go Forward  

"But 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

You've no doubt read that if flies are placed in a jar
with air holes in the lid, they will fly around
frantically, banging into the lid, desperately trying
to escape from their prison. However, if left there
long enough, eventually they will stop banging into the
lid. Later, if the lid is removed, they won't even try
to escape. Somehow they have been conditioned "to
believe" that there is no escape. They just keep
circling in the cramped jar.

Some of us are like that. Somewhere in our past,
through a bad experience, perhaps in a bad marriage, or
as a teenager or child we were hurt and have been
"conditioned" to believe that there is no escape, so we
are afraid to try again for fear of failure or of
getting hurt again.

To overcome, one needs to acknowledge where and how in
the past he or she had been hurt, express the hurt,
anger and/or grief creatively if these feelings exist,
and then let go of them so he/she can go forward into
the future unencumbered by his or her past.

As Peter said, "So get rid of your feelings of
hatred."2 Repressing or denying feelings doesn't get
rid of them. It only adds interest to them and makes
things worse in the long run. Negative emotions need to
be expressed verbally (or written out) in a creative
manner. With grief we need to sob it out until it is
all gone. That's what tears are for. For some of us
skilled counseling may be needed to help us re-connect
to our super-charged repressed negative and damaged
emotions, and to express them creatively.

Once this is done, forgiveness becomes possible, which
we need to grant to anyone who ever hurt us. Only then
can we be freed from the past and put it behind us. And
then, if there is still fear of being hurt again,
acknowledge the fear but choose not to allow it to
control you. With God's help step out and try, try, try
again until you succeed in what it is you want to do,
or better still, to do what you believe God wants you
to do.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to resolve
any hurts from the past that are affecting my life in
any negative way, and help me to forgive any and all
who have ever hurt me. And help me to seek forgiveness
where I have hurt others, so I can put all these things
behind me, forget them, and be free to fully live and
fully love. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen." 

1. Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV).
2. 1 Peter 2:1 (TLB)(NLT).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Tue 20 Aug 2013, 9:38 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Faith vs. Presumption  

Jesus said, "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

I remember reading in Reader's Digest about a company
who glued a mustard seed to a brochure that was
advertising the product they were manufacturing.
Beneath the mustard seed they had a caption that went
something like the following: "If you have faith as
much as a grain of mustard seed in our product, you
will see a mountain of difference in what you are
trying to achieve."

Some months later a customer wrote back to the company
saying, "You will be interested to know that I planted
your mustard seed and it has already grown into a very
robust plant--bearing healthy tomatoes!"

For our purpose what kind of seed the advertiser used
doesn't really matter, but for us to achieve anything
worthwhile with our life, our faith needs to be genuine
and based on reality, not on some grandiose fantasy. 

Every one of us has a mountain or two in our life that
we need to remove, be it a bad habit, an addiction, an
impaired or toxic relationship, an unforgiving spirit,
or whatever. To assume that God will remove these
mountains without our accepting full responsibility for
doing our part isn't faith--it's presumption--and
presumption won't make it.

Sometimes, too, we want to do something strictly for
our own end. To justify it we say it is God's will or
God is leading me or told me to do such and such. When
we do this with an impure motive, this too isn't faith
but presumption. 

Many people believe that if they do more good deeds
than bad deeds, this will qualify them for entering
God's heaven. Others believe that all religions lead to
God and, if adhered to religiously, will qualify them
for entering God's heaven. Unfortunately these are
presumptions. The only way to qualify for God's heaven
is to have faith in the way God has stated in his Word,
the Bible, and that is through Jesus who said, "I am
the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the
Father [God] except through me."2

When it comes to life after death, presumption can be
fatal--eternally fatal. Faith is crucial but it needs
to be in the right "seed"--and that is, in the saving
gospel message of Jesus Christ. For help see the
article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian," at:
www.actsweb.org/christian. 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please deliver me from the
fatal folly of presumption and help me to always have
faith in your ways as found in your Word, the Bible.
Sometimes I feel like the man in the Bible who said,
'Lord I believe. Help thou my unbelief.' Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen." 

1. Matthew 17:20 (NIV).
2. John 14:6 (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.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  Daily Encounter is published at no charge by 

  Copyright (c) 2013 by ACTS International. 
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Mon 19 Aug 2013, 2:09 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Faith Without Action  
"Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action,
is dead."1

Napoleon Hill said, "Whatever the mind can conceive and
believe can be achieved." While this statement sounds
rather grandiose, there is certainly a measure of truth
in it. It's somewhat similar to what Jesus said two
thousand years earlier: "According to your faith be it
unto you."2 But as James, the brother of Jesus,
explained, without action faith is useless.

As the old saying goes, you can't steer a ship or a
bicycle to go anywhere until they're moving. Zig Ziglar
in his book, See You at the Top, put it this way: "The
largest locomotive in the world can be held in its
tracks while standing still simply by placing a single
one-inch block of wood in front of each of the eight
drive wheels. The same locomotive moving at 100 miles
per hour can crash through a wall of steel reinforced
concrete five feet thick."

The important thing is that we get moving! As James
said, "Faith without works is dead."

Some people are sitting around waiting for some kind of
special call or revelation from God before they get
involved in his work. It's not likely to happen because
God has already given us lots of instructions in his
Word regarding what to do. All we need to do is read
these instructions … and start moving into action! 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be a
doer of your Word and not just a hearer. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen." 

1. James 2:17 (NIV).
2. Matthew 9:29.

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Fri 16 Aug 2013, 11:42 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Hands of Christ  

"But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can
be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the
Lord."1

Following World War II some German students volunteered
to help rebuild a cathedral in England, one that had
been badly damaged by the Luftwaffe bombings. As the
work progressed, they weren't sure how to best restore
a large statue of Jesus with arms outstretched and
bearing the familiar inscription, "Come unto me."

They were able to repair all the damage to the statue
except for Christ's hands which had been completely
destroyed. Should they even attempt to rebuild these?

Finally, the workers reached a decision that still
stands today. They decided to leave the hands off and
changed the inscription to read: "Christ has no hands
but ours."

While Christ paid the price of and purchased our
salvation on the cross with his life, he left the
"hands on" work of building his kingdom in your hands
and mine. We are his representatives and, for many, the
only Christ they will ever see is "the Christ" in you
and in me. A poster on the office wall at Wheaton
College says it all:

    "The living truth is what I long to see,
    I cannot live on what used to be,
    So close your Bible and show me how
    The Christ you talk about is living now."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please use 'my hands' and
help me to be as Christ, first to my loved ones, and
then to whomever you bring in to my life today. Thank
you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus' name, amen." 

1. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (TLB)(NLT).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Thu 15 Aug 2013, 9:08 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Who You Are?  

"The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have
loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you
with loving-kindness.'"1

Rev. David Tinney tells how Rabbi Marc Gafni recalled
"one of the first bar mitzvahs he ever performed. It
was for a boy named Louis. Louis was awkward and
sad. His insensitive parents did little to encourage
his self-esteem. They implied that he was too dumb to
learn the traditional Hebrew passages a boy recites for
his bar mitzvah.

"Rabbi Gafni was determined to bring out the best in
Louis. He spent extra time teaching him the songs and
prayers. He discovered that Louis was smart, and had a
fantastic singing voice. On the day of his bar mitzvah,
Louis performed beautifully. At the end of the
ceremony, Rabbi Gafni stood and spoke directly to
Louis. He said, 'Louis, this morning you met your real
self. This is who you are. You are good, graceful,
talented, and smart. Whatever people told you
yesterday, and Louis, whatever happens tomorrow,
promise me one thing. Remember … this is you. Remember,
and don't ever lose it.'

"A few years later, Louis wrote to Rabbi Gafni. The boy
whose parents predicted that he was too dumb to perform
a traditional bar mitzvah was studying for his medical
degree at an Ivy League university. He was also engaged
to be married. Louis ended his letter by saying, 'I
kept my promise--I always remembered my bar mitzvah
morning when you said that this is who I am. For this,
I thank you.'"2

Dear Reader, no matter what you have ever been told in
the past, or what you have come to believe about
yourself, always remember that God loves you totally
with an everlasting love. He believes in you absolutely
and wants you to come to him and believe in yourself in
a healthy and helpful way so that you will, with his
help, become all that he has envisioned for you to be,
and to achieve all that he has planned for you to do. 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, as you told the ancient
Israelites that you loved them with an everlasting love
thank you that you say the same to your followers
today. Help me to experience your love and affirmation
at the very core of my being so that I will be a better
servant of yours in all that I am and do, and so that
my life will bring glory and honor to your name. Thank
you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus' name, amen." 

1. Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV).
2. Marc Gafni, The Mystery of Love (New York: Atria
Books, 2003), pp. 120-121. Cited on"Saintly Sentinels,"
Rev. David Tinney.

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Wed 14 Aug 2013, 7:48 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Are Mentally Ill Folk Demon Possessed?  

"When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus
and knelt before him. 'Lord, have mercy on my son,' he
said. 'He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He
often falls into the fire or into the water … Jesus
rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he
was healed from that moment."1

A Daily Encounter reader writes, "Please address
mental illness and please tell us that we are not demon
possessed."

True, there is a demonic world and while I have never
personally seen anyone who was demon possessed, I have
certainly seen quite a few people who were mentally
ill. In fact, there is mental illness in my family
background.

I have a relative who is Bipolar who, when a teenager,
was told by some well-meaning but ill-informed
Christians that his problem was a demon. This caused
him to become more depressed. Besides being totally
false, what these people said and did was incredibly
insensitive and cruel. 

I have a friend in her thirties who also suffers badly
from Bipolar disorder. Sadly she believes that because
she has this problem, she can't be a Christian. Besides
being totally false, this is terribly sad and while her
illness isn't caused by a demon or demon possession,
what she believes is the kind of lie that Satan wants
people to believe. 

Before another friend was diagnosed as schizophrenic,
she was tormented for several years by hallucinations
of an ugly, evil face. Some thought this was demonic,
but it turned out to be the long-forgotten haunting
memory of her great-grandfather who sexually abused her
as a young child, and threatened to kill her with a
large farmer's knife if she ever told anyone. Her
mental illness was not caused by a demon, but the
sexual abuse certainly was demonic, evil behavior, and
certainly didn't help her mental condition.

I am not a psychiatrist and don't pretend to understand
what mental illness is or what causes it, but it is my
understanding that Bipolar, for instance, is caused by
a chemical imbalance in the brain and many, if not
most, of these people can live very productive lives
providing they stay on their medication. 

While demon possession is real in some cases, in other
cases some mental illness can look like demon
possession. However, mental illness itself is not demon
possession any more that appendicitis is. Mentally ill
people need our acceptance, support, and understanding
just as much as (and perhaps even more than) those who
are physically ill.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me an
understanding heart so that I will not be judgmental of
those who are mentally ill, but rather, help me to be
as Jesus to these people and accept them as you do.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen." 

1. Matthew 17:14-15, 18 (NIV).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Tue 13 Aug 2013, 9:18 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
On Guard  

"Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be
courageous. Be strong."1

Roger Perkins wrote how he "once encountered a ruffled
grouse in the woods of Montana. She was close and
feigned having a broken wing and unable to fly. She
would run ahead of me and look back to make sure I
followed. Her purpose was to lead me away from her
chicks who were somewhere nearby, although I couldn't
see them. This is a common ploy among mother wild game
birds. I am capable of the same thing in my life and
have done it on occasion. I have to keep on constant
guard."  

What Roger is saying is that it is very easy to be led
astray by rationalizing tempting thoughts and allowing
them to lead us astray, and then justifying our actions
when we chose to do something that we know in our heart
is wrong. 

As the Apostle Paul advised, we need to be constantly
on guard against our own deceptive thoughts,
rationalizations, and actions because Satan will never
give up on seeking to lead us away from God. "Be sober,
be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks
about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may
devour."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in the words of the hymn
writer, I, too, am 'Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it /
Prone to leave the God I love / Here's my heart, O take
and seal it / Seal it for Thy courts above.' Thank you
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in
Jesus' name, amen."

1.  1 Corinthians 16:13 (NLT).
2. 1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Mon 12 Aug 2013, 6:10 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Emergency Airplane Landing  

"Prepare to meet your God."1

Recently when Joy and I were returning from vacation,
we were coming home via Denver, Colorado, when our
plane was about to land, the pilot made an announcement
that there was a problem with the plane that needed to
be attended to prior to landing. The plane returned to
a higher altitude and circled for what seemed like an
eternity before we heard any further announcements.
Finally, the pilot informed us that the problem was
with the airplane's brakes and that they had it under
control, but we would be landing on the runway that was
designed and used for space craft landings--a runway
that was 16,000 feet long which is getting close to
three miles long. Were we nervous? 

Certainly we were anxious and more so when coming in to
land, we noticed quite a few emergency vehicles lining
the runway just in case. When we landed safely, all
passengers were certainly relieved (and thankful) as we
applauded the pilot's safe landing of the big jetliner.

In an emergency like this, one can't help but wonder
what was going on in the mind of every passenger. How
many, like Joy and myself, were praying for God's
protection and a safe landing? And how many were
praying perhaps for the first time in their life? And
what were the thoughts going through the minds of every
passenger knowing that there was a possibility that we
may be facing death? Even for Joy and myself, who have
complete confidence in knowing that when death occurs,
we will be in God's hands and go directly to Heaven, it
was still a very sobering thought that our lives might
be suddenly ended. It did make me realize that I need
to get all my effects in order because one day my end
will come.

I was vividly reminded of the lady I was asked to visit
in the hospital some time back. She needed a minister
because she was facing the end and was terrified to
die. She had fought sleep for days because she was
afraid that if she went to sleep, she would never
awake. Tragically, when I visited her, she had already
fallen asleep and never did awaken, so I never did get
to see her to share God's love for her and the hope in
Jesus Christ.

How tragically sad because nobody has to leave earth
without the assurance of God's forgiveness and a home
in Heaven. Thus, if you are not absolutely sure that
you are ready for life beyond life, be sure to read the
article, "Passport for Heaven" at:
http://www.actsweb.org/passport.php.

Passport for Heaven … 

Whatever you do, don't leave earth without it! 
See it at: http://www.actsweb.org/passport.php 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the gift or
your Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to pay
the penalty for all my sins, so that I can be fully
forgiven and receive your gift of eternal life to be
with you in Heaven forever after my life on earth is
over. Please help me to be absolutely certain that I
have received your forgiveness and that my name is
written in your book of life--for life beyond death.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

For additional help, read "How to Be Sure You're a Real
Christian" online at: www.actsweb.org/christian. 

1. Amos 4:12 (NIV).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Fri 09 Aug 2013, 4:21 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Being Connected  

"If we claim to have fellowship with him [God] yet walk
in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we
have fellowship with one another, and the blood of
Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."1

For a number of years Ken was a capable professional
man, a dedicated church worker, and a leader in his
community. Outwardly he functioned very well. However,
people had difficulty getting close to Ken because he
seemed aloof. His family relationships were not good
and he had ulcers. Vaguely sensing an inner emptiness,
Ken joined a recovery group where he discovered that he
was repressing many of his emotions.

Ken is still in the process of rediscovering his
repressed self. Fortunately, however, since learning to
recognize and express many of his true feelings (many
of which were repressed and denied) in healthy ways,
his ulcers have cleared up, and his family
relationships have improved dramatically.

Unfortunately, many people are taught to ignore their
negative emotions. As John T. Raffa wrote in Psychology
for Living magazine: "They believe you should hide such
feelings--deny, deny, deny--and become nothing but a
robot instead of what God made us, beings with
feelings."

Obviously, the early Christians didn't act this way
otherwise they never would have been known for their
love one for another. Peter, James, John and Paul all
emphasized the need to be honest, to be open-faced, to
walk in the light, to openly confess sins and faults,
and to love one another. Repressed people are closed
people and are unable to fully love and fully live.
Neither can they have any kind of emotional intimacy in
marriage and close relationships.

Only as we walk in the light, that is, in honesty and
openness, are we able to have true fellowship and
connection with both God and others. Furthermore, only
then are we able to be open channels through which
God's love can flow to others, and in so doing will we
be able to fully live and fully love.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please reveal to me any
and every barrier in my life that blocks my feeling
close to you and to others so that I can know true
intimacy with you and the ones I love the most--and be
a vibrant channel through which your love to others can
flow. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully­­­, in Jesus' name, amen." 

1. 1 John 1:7 (NIV).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Thu 08 Aug 2013, 6:18 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Keepers of the Earth  

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

John Ruskin wrote, "God has lent us the earth for our
life. It belongs as much to those who are to come after
us and those whose names are already written in the
book of creation, as to us; and we have no right, by
anything that we do, or neglect, to involve them in
unnecessary penalties, or deprive them of benefits that
are in our power to bequeath."

We know that it isn't God's goal to save the world as
it now is, but to save people from it. And we know that
in the end times God is going to create a new earth and
a new heaven.2 In the meantime, however, that doesn't
give any person or nation the right to damage the
earth, because God has entrusted the keeping of it and
everything in it to mankind. We are therefore
responsible for doing just that. The world is not ours.
We are to be caretakers of it, for, "The earth is the
Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who
live in it."3

I'm not suggesting that we be obsessive and/or
fanatical in this area as some (or many) are today, but
that we all be responsible.

Suggested prayer: "Thank you, God, for the beauty of
the earth and all that is therein, and, as a citizen of
heaven, please help me to be a responsible citizen of
earth. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Genesis 1:26 (NIV).
2. Revelation 21:1.
3. Psalm 24:1 (NIV).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Wed 07 Aug 2013, 8:00 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
God Too Much  

"Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by
your right hand those who take refuge in you from their
foes … hide me in the shadow of your wings from the
wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who
surround me."1

Napoleon Bonaparte was the greatest general of his day
and one of the greatest of all time. He was also an
astute politician with an unconquerable will to win.
His goal was to rule the world and he seemed well on
his way to achieving that goal.

History records how he boasted, "Russia next, then
Britain, and Napoleon shall rule the world."

When leading his army en route to conquer Russia, one
tiny snowflake fell on Napoleon, "Then another, and
another, and another, and they kept on falling until
Napoleon's proud army was reeling back, broken and
defeated" not by an enemy's army nor even a single
shot, but by a mass of tiny snowflakes. Napoleon's
response? "God almighty was too much for me."

It's comforting to know that God is in control no
matter what, and that this world and the life of each
of us who put our trust in him are in his hands.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, again today I commit and
trust my life and way to you as I do that of my (name
your loved ones). 'O that you would bless us
wonderfully. Please be with us in everything we do.
Greatly expand our borders, and keep us from all evil
and disaster.'2 Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Psalm 17:7-9 (NIV). 
2. Prayer from 1 Chronicles 4:10.

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Tue 06 Aug 2013, 10:29 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Promise to Return  

"And if I [Jesus] go and prepare a place for you, I
will come back and take you to be with me that you also
may be where I am."1

An article in Our Daily Bread reports how, "In 1914
Ernest Shackleton led an expedition to sail to
Antarctica, and then walk to the South Pole. The
expedition went according to plan until ice trapped the
ship and eventually crushed its hull. The men made
their way by lifeboat to a small island. Promising to
come back for them, Shackleton and a small rescue party
set out across 800 miles of perilous seas to South
Georgia Island. 

"With only a sextant to guide them, they made it to the
island. Shackleton then led his party over steep
mountainous terrain to the whaling port on the other
side. Once there, he acquired a ship to rescue his
crew. Their leader had kept his word and returned for
them. Not one man was left behind."2

When Jesus completed his redemptive work here on earth,
he promised that he would return again to take all his
true followers and believers to be with him forever in
heaven. "I will come again," he promised. And on his
word we can totally depend.

Furthermore, immediately following his ascension to
heaven, two angels appeared to Christ's eleven
disciples and asked, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand
here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has
been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the
same way you have seen him go into heaven."3

If you are a true follower of Jesus of this one thing
you can be certain, Jesus will come back for you. If
you are not absolutely sure that you will be taken to
heaven with Jesus when he returns, be sure to read the
article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian,"
online at: www.actsweb.org/christian. 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for Jesus'
promise, and that of the angels, that Jesus is coming
back to earth to take all his true followers to be with
him and you in Heaven for all eternity. For this I will
be eternally grateful. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."


1. John 14:3 (NIV).
2. Dennis Fisher in Our Daily Bread November 8, 2005. 
3. Acts 1:11 (NIV).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Mon 05 Aug 2013, 7:51 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

If Jesus Came to Your House  

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of
God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable
service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may
prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will
of God."1

In the words of the following poem, today's Daily
Encounter poses a very interesting question and
challenge:

If Jesus came to your house
To spend some time with you,
If He came unexpected,
I wonder what you'd do.

Oh, I know you'd give your nicest room
To such an honored guest
And all the food you'd give to Him
Would be the very best.

And you would keep assuring Him
You're glad to have Him there--
That serving Him in your home
Is joy beyond compare.

But when you saw Him coming,
Would you meet Him at the door
With arms outstretched in welcome
To your heavenly visitor?

Or would you have to change your clothes
Before you let Him in
Or hide some magazines
And put the Bible where they'd been?

Would you hide your worldly music
and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus walk right
in, or would you rush about?

And I wonder--if the Savior
spent a day or two with you,
Would you go right on doing, the
things you always do?

Would you go right on saying, the
things you always say?
Or would life for you continue
as it does from day to day?

Would you take Jesus with you
everywhere you go?
Or would you maybe change your
plans for just a day or so?

Would you be glad to have Him
meet your closest friends?
Or would you hope they stay away,
until His visit ends?

Would you be glad to have Him
stay forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with great
relief when He at last was gone?

It might be interesting to know,
the things that you would do,
If Jesus came in person, to spend
some time with you.2 

Perhaps this poem might be better entitled, "If Jesus
Came to My House." If He did come to my house, I wonder
what I would do. How about you?

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to so live
in harmony with your will that if Jesus came in person
to my house today, I would not in any way be
embarrassed or ashamed. So help me God. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV).
2. Credited to Lois Blanchard Eades.

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Fri 02 Aug 2013, 11:58 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Growing Strong in the Broken Places  

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

In his book, Beginning Again, Terry Hershey writes,
"God not only says that failure is never the final
word, but that your area of weakness will become your
area of strength. Where you were weak and learned grace
will become a means whereby you can reach out and touch
the lives of others who need the same good news. 

"God is not only working to heal you, but to heal
others through you, to make you what Henri Nouwen
called a 'wounded healer.'

"Such healing doesn't happen through the man or woman
who has all the answers. It happens through the man or
woman who understands pain and grace. Nouwen explains,
'For a deep understanding of his own pain makes it
possible for the [wounded healer] to convert his
weaknesses into strength and to offer his experience as
a source of healing to those who are often lost in the
darkness of their own misunderstood suffering.'"

I believe it was Ernest Hemingway who first used the
phrase, "Growing strong in the broken places." The idea
behind these words is that where a bone is broken and
heals, it becomes the strongest part of the bone.

The same is true of our broken places--where we have
been hurt, have fallen or failed. When we bring these
to Christ for his healing, his strength is then made
perfect in and through our weaknesses. This is
certainly true in ministering effectively to other
people. They are helped, not through our brilliant
logic or persuasive speech, but through the sharing of
our struggles, and how, with God's help, we have
overcome. It is a case of one beggar showing other
beggars where to find bread. This is why the Apostle
Paul could say, "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

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please heal me in my many
broken places and use me to be a wounded healer to many
others who have fallen, been wounded, hurt, or
brokenhearted. Thank you for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Romans 8:28 (NIV).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Thu 01 Aug 2013, 9:43 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Is Israel God’s Timepiece?  

To Abraham, father of the nation of Israel, God made
the following commitment: “The whole land of Canaan
[future Israel], where you now reside as a foreigner, I
will give as an everlasting possession to you and your
descendants after you; and I will be their God."1

A year or two ago Joy and I had the opportunity to
visit Israel. To walk where Jesus and his disciples
walked in Jerusalem, by the Temple wall, on the Mount
of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the “Place of
the Skull" where Jesus was crucified; the Jordan River
where John baptized Jesus, plus sailing across the Sea
of Galilee made God’s Word, the Bible, come alive.

What is even more amazing is not only Israel's return
to the Promised Land and its restoration as a nation on
May 14, 1948, but it’s survival against overwhelming
odds. Ever since this time, including the six-day war
in 1967, the surrounding Arab nations have been
hell-bent on destroying the nation of Israel. Her
survival is proof positive that God’s hand is on this
tiny nation and that he will keep all the promises he
made regarding her.

Prior to the time of Moses, God made the following
covenant with Abraham, the father of the Israelites,
saying: “Look around from where you are, to the north
and south, to the east and west. All the land that you
see I will give to you and your offspring forever."2
God was referring to the land that was to become
Israel.

Later, God said through Moses, some 3,600 years ago,
that Israel would disobey him and be driven from their
homeland and scattered among the nations.3

It took 900 years to happen, but it did! In 721 BC,
northern Israel was taken captive by Assyria. In 586
BC, southern Israel was taken to Babylon. Seventy years
later, a small remnant of 40,000 returned to rebuild
Israel. But in AD 70, Jerusalem was again destroyed,
this time by the Romans, and those who survived were
scattered among the nations--where most Jews still live
today.

A thousand years after Moses, God said through Ezekiel:
"I will gather you (Israel) from all the countries and
bring you back into your own land."4 God also predicted
that Israel would once again "blossom as the rose,"5
and that he would "gather the scattered Israelites from
the ends of the earth."6 Through Amos, God added, "I
will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they
shall rebuild the ruined cities and live in them."7

Every one of these promises made by God has been
fulfilled in minutest detail, so we can be equally as
certain that Israel will always survive because this
land was given by God to the Israelites forever. 

In fact, when Jesus returns to set up his millennial
reign on earth, he will rule the world from Jerusalem.8
Immediately prior to this breath-taking event, will be
the seven-year Great Tribulation when the Antichrist
will arise and seek to control the entire globe.
Three-and-a-half years into the Great Tribulation he,
the Antichrist, will enter the Jewish Temple in
Jerusalem claiming to be God.9

But, you say, there is no longer a Jewish Temple in
Jerusalem and there can’t be because the Temple Mount
is controlled by the Palestinians upon which they have
built the Dome of the Rock. Not so fast, however,
because when Joy and I were in Jerusalem, we visited
the Temple Institute and learned firsthand that the
Jewish leaders are right now making preparations for
the re-building of their Temple. The plans are made,
the priests are being trained to minister in it, the
needed worship vessels are all being made and, knowing
the Jews, you can be certain that somewhere “in the
backwoods" they are cutting all of the needed stonework
so the new Temple can be erected almost “overnight"
when the time is ready. That could be a whole lot
closer than all current-day political leaders in
Washington and in the Arab nations--who are wanting to
divide and/or conquer Israel--even consider.

When we see these things happening before our eyes, we
can be assured that the setting of the stages for both
the entrance of the Antichrist, and the return of the
real Christ are accelerating. While only God knows the
exact day of Chris’s return, the important thing is to
be ready. For instance, if Jesus were to return today,
would you be ready to go with him, to rule and reign
with him, or would you be left behind--ultimately to
face the Great White Judgment throne of God at the end
time? To make sure that you are ready for Christ’s
return please read the article, “How to Be Sure You’re
a Real Christian" at: www.actsweb.org/christian.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, thank you for your Word,
the Bible, which provides all the information needed to
assure us that you always keep your promises, and that
Jesus will return to take all his true believers to be
with him forever. Please help me to live for you today,
and be certain that I am ready for Christ’s return.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully in Jesus’ name, amen."

NOTE: For additional key information be sure to read
Jerry Beavan’s insightful article on the place and
critical importance of the nation of Israel in God’s
plan at:  http://tinyurl.com/n5dqsva. Jerry Beavan is
known as the international architect of the Billy
Graham worldwide crusades.

1. Genesis 17:8 (NIV).    2. Genesis 13:14-15 (NIV).  
3. Leviticus 26:32-33.   4. Ezekiel 36:24 (NIV).   5.
Isaiah 35:1.   6. Isaiah 11:12 (TLB).   7. Amos 9:14
(TLB/NLT).   8. Zephaniah 3:14-17.   9. 2 Thessalonians
2:3-4.    
  
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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Wed 31 Jul 2013, 1:08 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
When You Can't Forgive Yourself ... Part I  

"Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has
cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete
honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak
and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and
night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My
strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped
trying to hide them. I said to myself, 'I will confess
my rebellion to the LORD.' And you forgave me! All my
guilt is gone."1

"How can I get rid of this terrible guilt?" a
distraught father recently asked me. "I have been in a
terrible conflict with one of my sons for many years.
Two weeks ago I was so frustrated with him that I said
to myself, 'I wish he would die.' That night he died."

This father is blaming himself for the death of his
son. In his mind he is convinced that Satan killed him
because of his wish. 

I can understand why this father is distraught.
However, the fact is, he didn't cause his son to die.
His son had been very ill for some time and died of
natural causes. If Satan had anything to do with this
matter, it was sowing the lie in the father's mind
about the devil killing his son. What the father is
struggling with is not real guilt but false guilt. 

One of the difficulties regarding guilt is learning to
tell the difference between real guilt and false guilt.
Because they pretty much feel the same, it can be
challenging to sort out the real from the false.

Some counselors claim that all guilt is psychologically
damaging, but this is nonsense. If we don't feel guilty
when we do wrong, we'd be a bunch of psychopaths with
dead consciences. It's false guilt that is
psychologically damaging because it keeps people in
endless bondage not because of what they did, but
because of their faulty thinking.

To resolve real guilt, for our spiritual wellbeing we
need to admit what we have done wrong, confess it to
God and ask for his forgiveness. When we do this God
forgives us. He promised he would.2 For our mental
wellbeing we also need to confess our wrongdoing to at
least one trusted friend or counselor, and wherever
possible ask the one we wronged for their forgiveness,
and seek to make amends for what we have done. And
then, regardless of whether this person forgives us or
not, God has forgiven us and we need to forgive
ourselves. When we genuinely do this, we experience the
relief that David experienced when he confessed his sin
with Bathsheba. 

However, if having done all of this and we still feel
guilty, the feeling is false guilt and that is a
totally different matter.

Continued tomorrow in Part II….

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to always
admit and confess my sins so I can be forgiven and
therein resolve my feelings of guilt, and please help
me to overcome the sins that so easily beset me. When I
experience false guilt, help me to see it for what it
is and get the help I need to overcome it. Thank you
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in
Jesus' name, amen."

1. Psalm 32:2-5 (NLT).
2. 1 John 1:9.

<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.
  
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When copying or forwarding include the following: 
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  ACTS International.
Today's Daily Encounter

When You Can't Forgive Yourself ... Part II  

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for
each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a
righteous man is powerful and effective."1

Yesterday we discussed how to overcome real guilt by
confessing what we have done wrong both to God and to
at least one trusted person and, where possible, to the
one whom we have hurt or wronged. When we do this, real
guilt goes.

However, if having done the above and I still feel
guilty, the feeling is false guilt. With false guilt I
can confess it all day long, but the "guilty" feeling
will never go away because it isn't guilt. 

False guilt is a conditioned response that is more
often than not learned in childhood. If, for example, I
had super-strict parents and lived up to their every
expectation, did everything the way they wanted it
done, and even believed the same as they believed and
so on, they would give me their love and approval. If,
on the other hand, I didn't conform to their every
expectation (be they realistic or not), they would
withdraw their love and approval, and would make me
feel guilty. That's false guilt. In other words, this
kind of parental love is conditional, but conditional
love isn't love at all. It's a means of controlling
others. 

Immature parents aren't the only ones that use false
guilt to control others. Legalistic churches and
religious groups are notorious for doing this. This
keeps their followers in bondage, hinders their growth
in maturity, and stops their depending on God's Spirit
to direct them.

False guilt can also be the result of being a
perfectionist or having perfectionistic tendencies.
When one doesn't live up to his unrealistic
expectations of himself, like his parents of old, he
sends himself on a false guilt trip. 

So how do we overcome false guilt? I wish I had a
simple answer, but I don't. Nor do I have a magic wand
to make the problem vanish. Resolving false guilt
requires a reprogramming of one's thinking as well as
his/her emotional responses. One's "guilty self-image"
in large part was programmed in the past by failing to
conform to and living up to somebody else's unrealistic
expectations of him or her. 

Reprogramming is achieved over time by developing a
guilt-free healthy self-image based on who one IS--and
NOT on what he/she did or didn't do. As I let a trusted
friend or counselor see the real me--warts and all--and
as he/she loves and accepts me as I am, little by
little I learn to love and accept myself in the same
way that God loves and accepts me. This takes
courageous honesty, a commitment to recovery, and
perseverance. God's Word, the Bible, provides the
essential key for this healing: "Therefore confess your
sins [and faults] one to another and pray for one
another so that you may be healed." 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see when
I am experiencing false guilt; help me to understand
the root cause of it; and please help me to find a
safe, accepting friend or counselor to whom I can
confess my struggles, and who will help me on the
pathway to recovery. And when my guilt is real, please
give me the courage to admit and confess the cause of
this guilt, not only to you, but also to a trusted
friend or counselor--and where needed to the one I may
have sinned against. Thank you for your forgiveness,
and for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in
Jesus' name, amen."

1. James 5:16 (NIV).

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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 29 Jul 2013, 12:55 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Whittling Away at the Word of God  

"All Scripture is God-breathed [inspired] and is useful
for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in
righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly
equipped for every good work."1

In an Agape Press news report, Mark Creech shared how
"Mike Yaconelli once wrote in the Wittenburg Door about
his life in a small rural community where there were
lots of cattle ranches, and once in a while a cow would
wander off and get lost. He wrote, 'Ask a rancher how a
cow gets lost, and chances are he will reply, 'Well,
the cow starts nibbling on a tuft of green grass, and
when it finishes, it looks ahead to the next tuft of
green grass and starts nibbling on that one, and then
it nibbles on a tuft of green grass right next to the
hole in the fence. It then sees another tuft of green
grass on the other side of the fence, so it nibbles on
that one and then goes on to the next tuft. The next
thing you know the cow has nibbled itself into being
lost.'"2

Over the last two centuries liberal theologians and
churches have whittled away at the Word of God until
they have gotten to the point where they decide what is
God's Word and what isn't. Among many church leaders
and church members today abortion on demand is accepted
and approved, homosexuality and the gay lifestyle are
no longer questioned, and gay marriage is
permitted--all of which God's Word, the Bible, strongly
opposes. And the reason God is opposed to any and all
sinful behavior is because it hurts and ultimately
destroys those whom he loves--us! 

Mark Creech also shared how a fairly recent poll of
members of a major Protestant church in the U.S. "found
that only 43% of parishioners, 50% of elders, and 39%
of clergy could agree that Jesus Christ was the only
way of salvation."3 At this point such adherents have
nibbled themselves into being lost--eternally
lost--because Jesus made it very clear that he and he
alone was the only way to God. He said, "I am the way
and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through me."4

Furthermore, had there been any other way for men and
women to come to God, why would Jesus, the Son of God,
have needed to come to earth in human form, to be
crucified and die on the cruel and excruciatingly
painful Roman cross to save us from our sins?

Whenever we ignore God's Word and go our own way, we do
so to our peril. And in so doing, we can drag other
people down with us into an eternal hell. 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for your Word,
the Bible, in which you give clear instructions for
this life as well as the next. Please deliver me from
the sin and folly of adding to your Word or detracting
from it. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV).
2. Mark H. Creech, "The Right Frame of Mind. How 
    Did Mainline Churches Get This Way?" August 25,
    2003. Agape Press. 
3. Ibid.
4. John 14:6 (NIV).

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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Sat 27 Jul 2013, 11:44 pm

Today's Daily EncounterOutrunning Who?  

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

It's an old story but worth repeating: Two friends are
hiking in the woods when they come upon a
menacing-looking bear walking directly toward them.
When one fellow starts to slowly remove his backpack,
the other whispers, "What are you gonna do?"

"I'm going to run for it," was his reply.

"But you can't outrun a bear," his pal protested.

"I don't have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun
you."

As Michael Josephson said in his weekly column,
"Everywhere we see people living their lives according
to this Darwinian law of the jungle. They see
everything as a competition just to find the most
extreme tactics to assure their own survival. You've
heard the rationales: 'It's a dog-eat-dog world,' 'Eat
or be eaten,' 'You've got to look out for Number
One.'"2

Wrong! These people end up only outrunning
themselves--even if it is eventually!

People who believe in and live by this dog-eat-dog
philosophy will die by this philosophy. As it has been
said, "Those who live by the sword will die by the
sword." And what is the point of being the richest or
most successful person in the cemetery? The reality is
that we can't take what we gained with us when we die. 

But if we honor others and treat them as Jesus would
treat them, we can send ahead all that we have
legitimately gained--as an investment in eternity--and
therein store up riches in heaven. 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please deliver me from
ever participating in this 'dog-eat-dog' mentality and
practice. Help me rather to be like Jesus in all ways
and treat others accordingly. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Romans 12:10 (NIV).
2. Michael Josephson, Character Counts
www.charactercounts.org.

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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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Re: Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

Post  Admin on Thu 25 Jul 2013, 12:33 pm

Today's Daily Encounter
Do Your Best  
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your
might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is
neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor
wisdom."1

"When Leonardo da Vinci was still a pupil, his elderly,
well-known teacher asked him to finish a painting that
he, the teacher, had begun.

"Young da Vinci stood in such awe of his master's skill
that at first he respectfully declined. But his teacher
would accept no excuse. He simply said, 'Do your best.'
Trembling, da Vinci took his brush and began. With each
stroke, his hand grew steadier as the genius within him
awoke. Soon he was so caught up in his work that he
forgot his timidity. When the painting was finished,
the frail and weak master was carried into the studio
to see it. Embracing his student, he exclaimed, 'My
son, I paint no more!'"2

Not everyone has the kind of talent and genius that
Leonardo da Vinci had, but every one of us has
God-given talents that he wants us to develop and use
for his glory. He never expects from us what he hasn't
gifted us to do. And he has already equipped us to do
what he wants us to do. So use what talents you
possess. Do your best and leave the rest to God. As
Henry van Dyke said, "The woods would be very silent if
no birds sang there except those that sang best." 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for the talents
you have given to me. Please help me to see what they
are, develop them fully, and use them to the best of my
ability for your glory. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV).
2. Richard W. De Haan, Radio Bible Class, www.rbc.org.

<Smile)))><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
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  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
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Today's Daily Encounter
How Then Should We Work?  
"For even when we were with you, we commanded you this:
If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat."1

According to an article by Eric Metaxas in BreakPoint
Daily, "More than 5,000 people jammed a sports arena
for a conference featuring motivational speakers…. One
of the speakers asked a simple question: 'If you went
home tonight and found that a long lost relative had
died and left you ten million dollars, would you be at
work tomorrow?'

"Almost in a single voice came the boisterous reply:
'NO!'2 

"Friends, I can tell you, if I'd been there, I would
have stood up and shouted, 'YES!'" 

Had I been there, I also would have stood up and
shouted, "YES!" … and would have immediately prayed and
researched how I could use this money to reach more
people around the world with the saving gospel of the
Lord Jesus Christ, which is a vital part of what God is
doing in the world today.

The BreakPoint article also stated that 77% of
Americans hate their job.2 This is extremely sad
because all legitimate work is God-ordained. Think of
all the people in today's world who are out of work and
want to work. I can't even begin to imagine what that
must be like to experience. For many it has to be
devastating. Today's Scripture, of course, would not
apply to those who truly want to work, but can't find a
job. It is also clear about those who could work but
don't want to. This reminds me of a sign on the San
Clemente pier, which is close to where we live, that
says the following: 

"Don't feed the birds. It makes them over-dependent on
people, 
and they forget how to fend for themselves … and die."

If we have work, let us be thankful for it, and realize
that no matter what we do we are to do all for the
glory of God; and regardless of our position, we need
to ask God to help us to be an effective witness for
Jesus, and to be "as Jesus" to all those with whom we
work--including the boss. 

But I can "hear" some saying about me that I am just
lucky because I have work that is very fulfilling. This
is true; however, over the years I have worked cleaning
filthy machines in a pie factory, scrubbing floors and
being a janitor at a church at night time and over
weekends, and doing whatever work I could find to put
myself through several years of college. I was very
thankful for this work which made it possible for me to
eat and to pay all my college bills. 

If you are in a job that you hate, I encourage you to
get well trained to do the kind of work that you would
find fulfilling, and pray that God will help you find
such a job. Remember, too, that we serve God by serving
people, and we can do that in any job.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to
appreciate the fact that all legitimate work is
God-ordained. Help me to know what work would best suit
my God-given abilities, and where to get the training
necessary to qualify me for this type of work. Also,
please help me to find a job that would be fulfilling
and give me the satisfaction of knowing that I am
working to bring glory to your name. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NKJV).
2. Eric Metaxas, BreakPoint Daily, October 25, 2012,
http://www.breakpoint.org/.

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