Editor: Richard (Dick) Innes
Published by: ACTS International
To receive the email edition of Weekend Encounter (without charge) click on the Subscribe button.
addresses to anyone. We value your privacy.
Global Communications Outreach:
Learn how to be a missionary right from your own home and have a vital part in worldwide gospel outreach by becoming an ACTS People Power for Jesus Partner. Click HERE There is no charge.
Vol. 16 – No. 1614 April 19, 2014
Thought for the week: "I find that I agree fully with my good friend Patrick Henry when he said it cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation [USA] was founded not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ." – Edward Rutledge
Answer: People's beliefs concerning Satan range from the silly to the abstract—from a little red guy with horns who sits on your shoulder urging you to sin, to an expression used to describe the personification of evil. The Bible, however, gives us a clear portrait of who Satan is and how he affects our lives. Put simply, the Bible defines Satan as an angelic being who fell from his position in heaven due to sin and is now completely opposed to God, doing all in his power to thwart God's purposes.
Satan was created as a holy angel. Isaiah 14:12 possibly gives Satan's pre-fall name as Lucifer. Ezekiel 28:12-14 describes Satan as having been created a cherubim, apparently the highest created angel. He became arrogant in his beauty and status and decided he wanted to sit on a throne above that of God (Isaiah 14:13-14; Ezekiel 28:15; 1 Timothy 3:6). Satan's pride led to his fall. Notice the many "I will" statements in Isaiah 14:12-15. Because of his sin, God barred Satan from heaven.
Satan became the ruler of this world and the prince of the power of the air (John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2). He is an accuser (Revelation 12:10), a tempter (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5), and a deceiver (Genesis 3; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:3). His very name means "adversary" or "one who opposes." Another of his titles, the devil, means "slanderer."
Even though he was cast out of heaven, he still seeks to elevate his throne above God. He counterfeits all that God does, hoping to gain the worship of the world and encourage opposition to God's kingdom. Satan is the ultimate source behind every false cult and world religion. Satan will do anything and everything in his power to oppose God and those who follow God. However, Satan's destiny is sealed—an eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).
"Life's not about expecting, hoping and wishing; it's about doing, being and becoming. It's about the choices you've just made, and the ones you're about to make; it's about the things you choose to say [and do]—today.
In the early 1900s, a little-known philosopher named James Allen wrote a powerful essay called "As a Man Thinketh" in which he argued that we are what we think, that a person's character is the sum of his thoughts. He declared that the power to control our thoughts (whether we use that power or not) is the ability to mold our character and shape our destiny.
This is a profound insight, making us personally responsible not only for our conduct but for our circumstances.
He wrote, "As a plant springs from the seed, our actions, character, and even our circumstances spring from our thoughts." As long as we believe we're the creatures of outside conditions, we will fail to become the rightful masters of our lives. But if we do the hard work of reflecting continually to identify and modify negative beliefs and attitudes, we'll be astonished at the rapid transformation it will produce in our lives.
Our thoughts and actions can be either jailors of negativity, imprisoning us in degrading circumstances, or angels of freedom, liberating us to achieve our noble potential.
The relationship between attitudes and circumstances is now well recognized, captured in aphorisms like "Change your attitudes and you change your life," and "It's not your aptitude but your attitude that determines your altitude."
But it's Allen's connection between thoughts and character that is especially interesting. Yes, our destiny is determined by our character, but our character is not determined by destiny.
We can't always control when bad thoughts and negative impulses enter our minds, but we can decide either to nurture or to reject them.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
"One of them [a leper], when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan."1
Even Jesus was disappointed when he healed ten lepers and only one returned to say thank you and give praise to God. "He asked, 'Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?' Then he said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'"2
One of my constant prayers is that God will give me a thankful heart, not just at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but every day of the year.
No matter what trials I am going through there are always many things to be thankful for: food, clothing, shelter, friends, family, for life itself or to put it this way:
I love the gift of life, Dear God,
with all its beauty everywhere:
Blue skies, white fluffy clouds,
green trees, rocky mountains,
open meadows, the restless timeless sea,
the black bird on my window sill...
But most of all I love dear friends,
and if you will, please give to me
a greater love for you—
my dearest friend of all.3
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, for all of these and so much more—especially for dying for my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life—I give you thanks. And please help me always to appreciate all that you have done for me, and give me a generous heart so that I will give to others as you have given to me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Luke 17:15-16 (NIV).
2. Luke 17:17-19 (NIV).
3. Dick Innes. Copyright. From the poem, "Life." See more poems by Dick at: http://tinyurl.com/poems-rwi
8. Receive Daily Encounter E-mail ... Without Charge
Daily Encounter, a without charge weekday e-mail inspirational from ACTS International is now going to 373,000+ subscribers. Scores of letters from around the world have come from readers saying how much they are being helped by this brief, practical devotional.
Over 90 million e-mail Daily, Weekend and Prayer Encounters are delivered to subscribers every year!
NOTE: Some ISPs (especially AOL) now use e-mail filtering software that allows you to add e-mail addresses to your 'buddy', 'safe', or 'approved' list. Please be sure to add email@example.com to yours so you won't miss any issue of Daily Encounter.
One of ACTS greatest needs is Prayer Partners to stand with us as we seek to share the gospel with millions of people around the world through E-mail and the Internet and to win the lost to Jesus. If you would like to be an ACTS Prayer Partner, please subscribe to the Prayer Encounter list. Approximately one prayer report is e-mailed monthly. Thank you.
Weekend Encounter and Daily Encounter are just two of the ways the nonprofit organization, ACTS International, is working to improve the spiritual and emotional life of many thousands of people around the world.
Every weekday Daily Encounter is going to 373,000+ subscribers, and every week Weekend Encounter is going to 7,400+ subscribers worldwide—many of whom are in places where it is forbidden to spread the Christian gospel and message. Plus, we reach several hundred thousand more every week through our advertising. As a result, every day we are seeing an average of 5-6 salvation responses from around the world—almost 3,000 in the past 12 months!
If you find value in the Weekend Encounter and/or Daily Encounter, we hope you will be comfortable donating at least $26. That's only 50 cents a week for an entire year (tax-deductible in the U.S.). You can donate in one of the following ways:
Oprah Winfrey: "Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age three, and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi." – Oprah Winfrey
1. Bible concordance and Bible helps
2. New Hope Crisis Counseling with trained
lay/volunteer counselors. www.newhopenow.org 3. E-Word Today for a daily Bible reading
4. To find your ZIP+4 Area Code in the U.S.A.
5. How to find and write to your U.S. Representative
6. ASK ... Smart answers fast
7. Send a greeting card without charge for all occasions
8. To check the weather in your area
9. Hoax Web Sites
10. Plus many more sources of helpful information
"Because the world is hungry,
go with bread.
Because the world is filled with strife,
go with peace.
Because the world is filled with deceptions and lies,
go with truth.
Because the world would die without,
go with the love of God."