Monday, December 27, 2010

Voice in the Dark

"The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, 'Samuel! Samuel!' Then Samuel said, 'Speak, for your servant is listening.'"1

"One summer night a young man who lived in Scotland decided to take a shortcut across the moors on his walk into town where he worked.

"The countryside was known for its limestone quarries. He knew he would be passing near one of these quarries, but thought he could avoid it. The night was pitch black without a star in sight, but the young man set out through the rock and heather anyway.

"Suddenly he heard a voice call out with great urgency, 'Peter!'

"He was unnerved but stopped and called back into the darkness, 'Yes, who is it? What do you want?' There was no response—just a gentle breeze over the deserted moorland.

"He decided that he'd been mistaken and walked on a few more steps. Then he heard the voice again, this time even more urgent than the first: 'Peter!'

"He stopped dead in his tracks, bent forward to peer through the darkness, and stumbled to his knees. He reached out a hand to the ground before him, but only clutched thin air. It was the quarry! Sure enough, as Peter carefully felt around in a semicircle he found that he had stopped on the edge of the abandoned limestone quarry one short step before a fatal plunge into the abyss. Out there in the desolate moor someone knew him and someone cared about him.

"Peter Marshall never forgot that incident. Dedicating his life to the one who'd called him by name, he went on to become one of America's greatest ministers.2

Did you ever stop to realize that God also knows you by name—and everything else about you. Have you ever "heard" him calling you? If you learn to listen with your heart, you will hear what he wants of you.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me always to be sensitive to your call. Please give me an attentive mind and a listening heart as well as a willing spirit to always heed your bidding and obey your word. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 1 Samuel 3:10 (NIV).
2. Steven R. Mosley, Glimpses of God, (Sisters, Oregon: Questar Publishers, Inc., 1990), pp. 149-150. Cited on


Daily Encounter by
Richard (Dick) Innes of ACTS International

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Task of Reconciliation

What is our task in this world as children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus? Our task is reconciliation. Wherever we go we see divisions among people - in families, communities, cities, countries, and continents. All these divisions are tragic reflections of our separation from God. The truth that all people belong together as members of one family under God is seldom visible. Our sacred task is to reveal that truth in the reality of everyday life.

Why is that our task? Because God sent Christ to reconcile us with God and to give us the task of reconciling people with one another. As people reconcile with God through Christ we have been given the ministry of reconciliation" (see: 2 Corinthians 5:18). So whatever we do the main question is, Does it lead to reconciliation among people?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Light in the Darkness

We walk in a "ravine as dark as death" (Psalm 23:4), and still we have nothing to fear because God is at our side: God's staff and crook are there to soothe us (see Psalm 23:4). This is not just a consoling idea. It is an experience of the heart that we can trust.

Our lives are full of suffering, pain, disillusions, losses and grief, but they are also marked by visions of the coming of the Son of Man "like lightning striking in the east and flashing far into west" (Matthew 24:27). These moments in which we see clearly, hear loudly, and feel deeply that God is with us on the journey make us shine as a light into the darkness. 

Jesus says, "You are the light of the world. Your light must shine in people's sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16).

Henri Nouwen 

Rich Is Not What You Have

"Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."1

Dr. James Moore wrote, "During World War II, four young American soldiers who had been on the front lines of battle for some time, were sent back to a small French village for a little R & R. When they arrived in the village, they realized that it was Christmas Eve. They began to discuss how they would like to spend Christmas. One of the soldiers said, "You know, as we were coming into town earlier today, I noticed an orphanage on the outskirts of the village. Why don't we go there in the morning and take some Christmas joy to those children?" The others liked the idea and the more they talked about it, the more excited they became. So they went out and bought all kinds of toys, candy, clothing, food, books, and games. Early the next morning they showed up at the front door of the orphanage with wonderful Christmas presents for all the children.

"The orphanage director was pleased and all the children were delighted as they opened their gifts. All the children that is, except for one little girl who stood quietly off to the side. She appeared to be 5 or 6 years old and her face looked very sad. One of the soldiers noticed that she was not participating, so he asked the orphanage director about the little girl. 'Bless her heart,' said the director, 'we just got her last week. Both of her parents were killed in a car wreck. There was no one to take her in, so we brought her here.'

"The soldier went over to the little girl and gently he said to her, 'It's Christmas morning and we have wonderful Christmas presents here: toys, clothes, candy, food, books, and puzzles. Which would you like? What do you want most for Christmas?' And the little girl said, 'I want somebody to hold me.'

"Maybe that is the best Christmas gift of all—someone to hold us. As somebody once put it, 'Rich is not what you have. It's who you have beside you.' Well, this sacred season comes along once each year to remind us that 'Love Came Down At Christmas,' that God is even now reaching out to us with open arms, and that He wants us to accept His love and to pass it on to others."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that love came down at Christmas from Heaven in the birth of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to earth to give his life as a ransom for my sins. In gratitude for all you have done for me, help me to live with eternal values in view and not get caught up in the materialism of this world. But rather, help me to give to others as you have given to me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

Note: If you have never accepted God's incredible Christmas love gift, be sure to read, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at:

1. Luke 12:15 (NIV).
2. Dr. James W. Moore, ChristianGlobe Sermons, ChristianGlobe Networks, Inc., 2003. Cited on


by Dick Innes

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Grail Prayer

Lord Jesus,

I give you my hands to do your work.

I give you my feet to go your way.

I give you my eyes to see as you do.

I give you my tongue to speak your words.

I give you my mind that you may think in me.

I give you my spirit that you may pray in me.

Above all,

I give you my heart that you may love in me your Father and all humanity.

I give you my whole self that you may grow in me, so that it is you, Lord Jesus, who live and work and pray in me.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Freedom to Refuse Love

Often hell is portrayed as a place of punishment and heaven as a place of reward. But this concept easily leads us to think about God as either a policeman, who tries to catch us when we make a mistake and send us to prison when our mistakes become too big, or a Santa Claus, who counts up all our good deeds and puts a reward in our stocking at the end of the year.

God, however, is neither a policeman nor a Santa Claus. God does not send us to heaven or hell depending on how often we obey or disobey. God is love and only love. In God there is no hatred, desire for revenge, or pleasure in seeing us punished. 

God wants to forgive, heal, restore, show us endless mercy, and see us come home. But just as the father of the prodigal son let his son make his own decision God gives us the freedom to move away from God's love even at the risk of destroying ourselves. Hell is not God's choice. It is ours.

Henri Nouwen 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How can we recognize the voice of God?

This question has been asked by countless people throughout the ages. Samuel heard the voice of God, but did not recognize it until he was instructed by Eli (1 Samuel 3:1-10). 

Gideon had a physical revelation from God, and he still doubted what he had heard to the point of asking for a sign, not once, but three times (Judges 6:17-22, 36-40). 

When we are listening for God's voice, how can we know that He is the one speaking? 

First of all, we have something that Gideon and Samuel did not. We have the complete Bible, the inspired Word of God, to read, study, and meditate on. “All Scripture is God-breathed 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” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 

When we have a question about a certain topic or decision in our lives, we should see what the Bible has to say about it. God will never lead us or direct us contrary to what He has taught or promised in His Word (Titus 1:2).

Second, to hear God's voice we must recognize it. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Those who hear God’s voice are those who belong to Him—those who have been saved by His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. These are the sheep who hear and recognize His voice, because they know Him as their Shepherd and they know His voice. If we are to recognize God's voice, we must belong to Him.

Third, we hear His voice when we spend time in prayer, Bible study, and quiet contemplation of His Word. The more time we spend intimately with God and His Word, the easier it is to recognize His voice and His leading in our lives. 

Employees at a bank are trained to recognize counterfeits by studying genuine money so closely that it is easy to spot a fake. We should be so familiar with God’s Word that when God does speak to us or lead us, it is clear that it is God. God speaks to us so that we may understand truth. While God can speak audibly to people, He speaks primarily through His Word, and sometimes through the Holy Spirit to our consciences, through circumstances, and through other people. By applying what we hear to the truth of Scripture, we can learn to recognize His voice.

Recommended Resource: Hearing God's Voice by Henry & Richard Blackaby.

Source: Got Questions

Cherish While You Can!

One day a woman's husband died, and on that clear, cold morning, in the warmth of their bedroom, the wife was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't there "anymore". No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat, no more ‘just one minute….’

Sometimes, what we care about the most gets all used up and goes away, never to return before we can say good-bye, and say ‘I love you.’

So while we have it, it is best that we learn to appreciate it, love it, care for it and fix it when it's broken. We heal it when it's sick.

This is true about marriage... and old vehicles... and children with poor report cards, and dogs with bad hips, and aging parents and grandparents. We keep them because they mean so much to us and also because they are worth our care and concern.

Suppose one morning, you never wake up. Do all your friends and loved ones know that you love them?

I am thinking...if I were to die today, tomorrow or next week, are there any wounds that need healing and relationships that need rekindling? Have I expressed those three words “I love you” to those who have blessed and cared for me.

Just in case I am gone tomorrow, I want you to know that “I love you”. I live with cherished memories of those whom I love and had passed on. I wish I had spent more time with them and live with regrets that I had not expressed enough of love and care for them.

As tomorrow is not promised and may never come. And so today, I want you to know that I love you very much and treasure you deeply.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Saint of Auschwitz

Father Maximilian Kolbe
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."1

You may be familiar with the story of Father Maximilian Kolbe, a Catholic priest who was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Father Kolbe's love for the other prisoners earned him the nickname "Saint of Auschwitz."

One day, a prisoner escaped from the camp. Each time anyone escaped, the guards executed ten men as a punishment. As the guards prepared for the execution, Father Kolbe came forward. He asked to take the place of another prisoner, a man named Gajowniczek. The guards agreed.

Father Kolbe and the other nine men were placed in a cell and starved to death over the next few days. Father Kolbe died on August 14, 1941.

Every year, Mr. Gajowniczek returns to Auschwitz to commemorate the death of Father Kolbe. It is his way to say thank you to the man who died in his place.2

Suggested prayer: "Dear Jesus God, how can I ever thank you enough for giving your life and dying on the cross in my place so that I could inherit your gift of eternal life. Help me to always live in an attitude of gratitude for all that you have done for me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

NOTE: If you have never accepted God's gift of love for you, be sure to read: "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian—without having to be religious" at:

1. John 15:13 (NIV).
2. From "A Man for Others" by Patricia Treece. Found in God's Unexpected Blessings, edited by Kathy Collard Miller (Lancaster, PA: Starburst Publishers, 1998), pp. 79-80.


By Dick Innes

Monday, December 13, 2010

It All Began With An iPhone...

It all began with an iPhone...

March was when my son celebrated his 15th birthday, 
and I got him an iPhone. He just loved it. Who wouldn't?


I celebrated my birthday in July, 
and my wife made me very happy when
she bought me an iPad.


My daughter's birthday was in August 
so I got her an iPod Touch.


September came by so for her birthday 
I got my wife an iRon

It was around then that the fight started......

What the wife failed to recognise is that the iRon can be integrated into the home network
with the iWash, iCook and iClean. This inevitably activates the iNag reminder service

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ask More Than Once

Mark Gungor is hilarious. You want to watch this video even though you are not in the Second Half of your game.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Following Leads to Honor

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor. (John 12:26)

The highest service is imitation. If I would be Christ's servant I must be His follower. To do as Jesus did is the surest way of bringing honor to His name. Let me mind this every day.

If I imitate Jesus I shall have His company: if I am like Him I shall be with Him. In due time He will take me up to dwell with Him above, if, meanwhile, I have striven to follow Him here below. After His suffering our Lord came to His throne, and even so, after we have suffered a while with Him here below, we also shall arrive in glory. 

The issue of our Lord's life shall be the issue of ours: if we are with Him in His humiliation we shall be with Him in His glory. Come, my soul, pluck up courage and put down thy feet in the blood-marked footprints which thy Lord has left thee.

Let me not fail to note that the Father will honor those who follow His Son. If He sees me true to Jesus, He will put marks of favor and honor upon me for His Son's sake. No honor can be like this. Princes and emperors bestow the mere shadows of honor; the substance of glory comes from the Father. Wherefore, my soul, cling thou to thy Lord Jesus more closely than ever.
C. H. Spurgeon

Monday, December 6, 2010

The One Who Guided The Stone!

Your adversary would love for you to assume the worst about your situation. He would enjoy seeing you heave a sigh and resign yourself to feelings of depression. However, it's been my experience that when God is involved, anything can happen. 

The One who directed that stone in between Goliath's eyes and split the Red Sea down the middle and leveled that wall around Jericho and brought His Son back from beyond takes delight in mixing up the odds as He alters the inevitable and bypasses the impossible.  

The blind songwriter, Fanny Crosby, put it another way: "Chords that were broken will vibrate once more."

Charles R. Swindoll

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Living Is Giving

Living is giving your best self away,

Living is helping someone every day;

Living is giving more than you get,

It’s treating an animal like a person, instead of a pet.

It’s helping the handicapped across the street,

It’s smiling at the new person at work that you meet;

It’s respect for all nations, colors and creeds,

It’s sharing and caring for your neighbor’s needs

One of God’s greatest laws you can live and believe,

Is the more that you give, the more you’ll receive!
Denis Waitley