Thursday, September 30, 2010

EUCHARIST, The Sacrament of Communion

Baptism opens the door to the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the sacrament through which Jesus enters into an intimate, permanent communion with us. It is the sacrament of the table. It is the sacrament of food and drink. It is the sacrament of daily nurture. While baptism is a once-in-a-lifetime event, the Eucharist can be a monthly, weekly, or even daily occurrence. Jesus gave us the Eucharist as a constant memory of his life and death. Not a memory that simply makes us think of him but a memory that makes us members of his body. That is why Jesus on the evening before he died took bread saying, "This is my Body," and took the cup saying, "This is my Blood." By eating the Body and drinking the Blood of Christ, we become one with him.

Henri Nouwen Society - Daily Meditation

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


"When the Son of Man [Jesus Christ] comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King [Jesus] will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father [God]; take your inheritance, the kingdom [of Heaven] prepared for you since the creation of the world.'"1

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'"2

Years ago, soon after my first son was born, my mother came to help with the new baby. On one occasion I left her to "baby-sit" with him in a beautiful downtown park in Adelaide, South Australia (where we were living at the time), while I did some shopping.

When I returned, mother and baby were missing. I panicked! My heart pounded. Minutes seemed like hours. I asked strangers passing by if they had seen an older woman with a baby. I searched for a policeman. I prayed furiously.

Imagine the relief when I found them. Actually, the problem was mine. I went back to the wrong part of the park!

I've read about others, too, who lost a child and how they panicked, and never rested until their child was found. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like for parents whose child is lost—and never found. It would be unthinkable—a never-ending nightmare.

Would to God that we Christians were just as concerned about people who don't know the Savior and are lost without hope for all eternity.

As Jesus said in today's Bible passage, he is coming again and will be taking his true followers to be with him forever in Heaven. What a wonderful hope for his true followers. But think of the tragedy of those who are still lost and don't know that their Heavenly Father is looking for them.

Here in ACTS International we are totally committed to telling people all around the world about Jesus' message of salvation—people who without Christ will be lost for all eternity. Will you please help us to do this? You can do so at and by becoming a People Power for Jesus Partner. For more information go to:

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to be as concerned about people who are spiritually lost as I would be if my own child were lost. I'm available and ask that you use me to be 'as Christ' to every life I touch today, and please use me to help bring the lost to you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Jesus in Matthew 25:31-34(NIV).
2. Matthew 25:41 (NIV).


Acts International - Daily Encouragement

a choice

We all have things in our lives that we can't change.

They run a broad spectrum between minor annoyances, like a family member's persistent, obnoxious behavior, and real tragedies, like the loss of someone close to us.

But even in situations that are beyond our control, we can choose how we respond.

The wisdom of St. Francis' "Serenity Prayer" reminds us that we can't change some situations and we can't change other people, but we can change ourselves.

We can modify our own response to that family member. We can adopt a positive attitude in sticky circumstances. In other words, we can choose joy.

And even during those moments when we can't change our emotions, when grief overwhelms us, we can still choose God. When we do, we are accepting His promise to bring joy into our lives.

Lord, I want to choose joy today. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and give me wisdom to respond rightly to everything in my life.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'1

There are many and varied reasons why people feel lonely. We have already discussed some of these. We talked about Sharon who was afraid to love because of her fear of losing love, the roots of which went back to her childhood when her father left home when she was only five years of age.

On the other hand, John came from a happy home but his parents moved every year for business reasons. Every time John made close friends, the family moved and he would lose his friends. As he grew older, he no longer wanted to make close friends because it was too painful to lose them. This left him lonely.

Both Sharon and John were able to overcome their loneliness when they realized its cause—which is the first step in resolving all problems. Once they recognized their fear they were able, little by little, to reach out to others and, in time, overcome their loneliness.

If I'm having trouble with loneliness, I, too, need to ask myself what the real cause is. Is it a communication problem, feelings of inadequacy, fear of being hurt, or another cause? If so, I may need the help of a trained counselor or an understanding pastor or friend to help me work through my struggle.

Service to others is another way to overcome loneliness. I think of my grandmother who lived to age 90. She had been a widow for many years but didn't suffer from loneliness. She reached out to help others by regularly visiting the sick and the elderly. In helping to meet their needs she met many of her own.

People simply cannot live without human contact. As Dr. Lynch reminds us, "If we fail to form loving human relationships, our mental and physical health is in peril."2 This is why it is vital to be committed to family and friends and to make the effort to strengthen these ties.

Besides one's family, there is no better place to find love and a sense of belonging than in a church where unconditional love, acceptance, and friendship are expressed in open, positive, and practical ways.

Here, too, one can find God—the only one who can satisfy our innate sense of spiritual loneliness. "To live apart from him," says Wright "is the most pathetic loneliness of all."

If you respond to God's love through his Son, Jesus Christ, he has promised to "never, not ever, not ever leave you or forsake you."3 No matter how you feel, Christ will always be with you.

Visualize Jesus right there with you now—wherever you are. Respond to his call to follow him. Commit and trust your life to him every day. Ask him to give you the faith to believe in him and the courage to do your part in overcoming your loneliness. As you do your part, God will help you. He has promised he will.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, when I am lonely, help me to find at least one soul brother/sister with whom I can share my total being without any fear of being judged or condemned but feel fully accepted and loved. And help me to be such a friend to another fellow struggler. Above all, help me to know and feel your presence knowing that you are always with me and will never leave me or forsake me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Genesis 2:18 (NIV).
2. Time, Sept. 5, 1977.
3. See Hebrews 13:5.

Acts International - Daily Encounter


Monday, September 6, 2010


When you write a very angry letter to a friend who has hurt you deeply, don't send it! Let the letter sit on your table for a few days and read it over a number of times. Then ask yourself: "Will this letter bring life to me and my friend? Will it bring healing, will it bring a blessing?" You don't have to ignore the fact that you are deeply hurt. You don't have to hide from your friend that you feel offended. But you can respond in a way that makes healing and forgiveness possible and opens the door for new life. Rewrite the letter if you think it does not bring life, and send it with a prayer for your friend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Choice Calling for Discipline

When we look critically at the many thoughts and feelings that fill our minds and hearts, we may come to the horrifying discovery that we often choose death instead of life, curse instead of blessing. Jealousy, envy, anger, resentment, greed, lust, vindictiveness, revenge, hatred ... they all float in that large reservoir of our inner life. Often we take them for granted and allow them to be there and do their destructive work.

But God asks us to choose life and to choose blessing. This choice requires an immense inner discipline. It requires a great attentiveness to the death-forces within us and a great commitment to let the forces of life come to dominate our thoughts and feelings. We cannot always do this alone; often we need a caring guide or a loving community to support us. But it is important that we both make the inner effort and seek the support we need from others to help us choose life.

Henri Nouwen's Society - Daily Meditation


Overcoming Loneliness II

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?"1

Continuing our series on loneliness, psychologist Norman Wright in An Answer to Loneliness quotes one lonely woman who said, "I hurt deep down in the pit of my stomach, my arms and my shoulders ache to be held tight . . . to be told that I am really loved for what I am."

"Deep within each of us is the hunger for contact, acceptance, belonging, intimate exchange, responsiveness, support, love, and the touch of tenderness," says Wright. "We experience loneliness because these hungers are not always fed."

For example, a child feels lonely when his parents are too busy for him. But to whom can he turn? The adolescent feels lonely when he feels misunderstood by his parents. A mother of small children feels lonely when she is too busy to have her own needs for companionship met.

When married couples cannot communicate effectively, especially with their feelings, loneliness can cut deeply.

When one loses a loved one through death or divorce or is isolated through illness, he or she feels incredibly lonely.

The elderly, who are often cut off from their families and whose friends have passed away, know the bitterness of loneliness.

People who feel inadequate are often lonely. Because they don't like themselves, they think others don't like them either, so they tend to withdraw, at least emotionally, from other people. Sometimes hidden hostility is a cause for loneliness. The hostile person is angry at people so he prevents them from getting too close through his negative attitude.

Another cause of loneliness is fear—fear of getting hurt, fear of rejection, fear of not measuring up, fear of losing a loved one, fear of failure, and so on. For instance, when Sharon was five her father left home, and she felt rejected by him. Ever since, she has had an unconscious fear that if she ever fully loved another man, he would leave her too. Thus she was afraid to fully love her husband until she realized why she was holding back from him.

To be continued . . .

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, when I am feeling lonely help me to find a loving church/group where I can discover a sense of belonging and feel that I am contributing something worthwhile to others. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 (NIV).


Acts International - Daily Encounter


Overcoming Loneliness, Part I

"The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'"1

"I'm all alone in the universe. No one really knows me. No one really cares. God—if there is one—is far away. He got tired of the world and moved away. I looked in the mirror today and saw the real me—one hideous scar, an open sore. I'm going to sleep."

These were the words of a brilliant student at a large, well-known university. He was one of the most promising students there. He was exceptionally gifted, handsome, athletic, and popular, and he was headed for an outstanding career in medicine. In spite of all this, he was still a very lonely young man. After writing the above note, he injected poison into his veins and died.

Loneliness, like depression, is one of the plagues of contemporary society. Few escape it altogether. In its chronic form it is a killer. When we were still printing ACTS Encounter brochures, "Overcoming Loneliness," from which this series is taken, was one of the most requested pamphlets people requested.

Time magazine reported some years ago that health studies have long shown that unmarried or widowed people are much more susceptible to sickness than married people. For instance, the death rate from heart disease is five times as high among widows between 25 and 34 as it is among married women of the same age. And the divorced of all ages are twice as susceptible to strokes as are the married.2 I would expect that little has changed since this article was first written.

James J. Lynch, when he was a specialist in psychosomatic medicine at the University of Maryland Medical School, and author of The Broken Heart: The Medical Consequences of Loneliness, claimed that suicide, cancer, tuberculosis, accidents, mental disorders, and especially heart disease are "all significantly influenced by human companionship."

In other words, "loneliness and isolation can literally break your heart." Loneliness is a feeling of not being able to reach another person and his not being able to reach you. It is a feeling of being isolated even though you may be surrounded by people.

Henri Nouwen expressed it this way: the lonely person "cannot make contact; his hand closes on empty air."

To be continued …

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, when I am feeling lonely help me to see if the cause lies within myself and, if so, to seek the help I need to overcome this problem. Also, help me not to withdraw into myself but reach out to others and lend a helping hand to a brother or sister who is lonely too. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Genesis 2:18 (NIV).
2. Time, Sept. 5, 1977.


Acts International - Daily Encounter



The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart.

This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units.

This defect has been technically termed "Sub-sequential Internal Non-morality," or more commonly known as S.I.N.

Some of the symptoms include:

1. Loss of direction
2. Foul vocal emissions
3. Amnesia of origin
4. Lack of peace and joy
5. Selfish or violent behavior
6. Depression or confusion in the mental component
7. Fearfulness
8. Idolatry
9. Rebellion

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect.

The Repair Technician, JESUS, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required. The number to call for repair in all areas is:


Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure.

Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician into the heart component.

No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with:

1. Love
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Faithfulness
8. Gentleness
9. Self control

Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes.

WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on JESUS.

DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will still have the SIN defect and will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for your attention!

P.S. Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father at any time by "Knee-Mail".

--author unknown

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Getting Up

There is no single definition of holiness: there are dozens, hundreds. But there is one I am particularly fond of; being holy means getting up immediately every time you fall, with humility and joy. It doesn’t mean never falling into sin. It means being able to say, “Yes, Lord, I have fallen a thousand times. But thanks to you I have got up again a thousand and one times.” That’s all. I like thinking about that.

Helder Camara - This Day Thought