|These Sandhill Cranes seem to be stuck in the sand and are trying to figure out where to go...|
Perhaps we all go through such stages in our daily lives and in our spiritual journey as well. I'm not sure how or when I got off track...but it feels like I have been floundering and am bogged down in the soft sand, unable to get any traction to get going again.
But this morning in my devotions I read about Barnabus, whose name is also translated "Son of Encouragement" according to Acts 4:36...and what I read this morning was actually in Acts 11:21-26, particularly verses 23 and 24:
And I felt encouraged just by reading about Barnabus, "a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith," and how he was remembered in the establishment of the early church, primarily at the city of Antioch...and how "the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." (Acts 11:26)
Wow! What a powerful testimony!!! Barnabus doesn't have a lot of information written about him in the Bible, but what is written is so powerful...to be known as a "Son of Encouragement"...and to be one of the early church "missionaries" that actually helped set us apart to be known as "Christians" tells me that his witness and faithfulness encouraged many many new believers in their walk with Christ...and that is a worthy and holy calling from God.
We may not think that what we do here in our little blog-land has all that much impact or value...and probably Barnabus, being a humble but devout and committed man of God, didn't think at the time that his role of encouragement would have that much of an impact on the future of all Christendom...but this story tells me that every word we say...every thought we share...has an impact. If we are believers in Christ, our impact should be that of encouraging our sisters and brothers in their faith-walk...sharing what the Lord has taught us and shown us in our personal devotions and activities that has brought hope and encouragement to our own lives.
We may feel down and out and frustrated and burned out and be struggling with our own fears and heartaches...and yet, somehow, when we share here what God is doing in the midst of our struggles...and how He has blessed us with such joy and beauty all around us even when we may be hurting or grieving or wishing we could change things beyond our control...we do not realize how God may take our story and use it to lift up someone who is falling...someone who may be on the brink of giving up...someone who is lonely or frightened and feel they have no where to go or no one to turn to...and they can see that God is here with us in our struggles...and that gives them hope! That brings encouragement to their hearts...and the spirit of Barnabus is alive and well in us whether we realize it or not...just by being faithful to say what's on our hearts....
We never know...but what I DO know is that this lesson has encouraged ME today! It has turned my focus outward instead of inward. I want to be a Barnabus...I want to encourage my fellow sisters and brothers "that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord..." Don't give up! Keep moving forward in your walk with Christ. Rest when you need to rest...refresh your hearts by spending time with the Lord...alone if necessary...don't try to do it all...lean on the Lord...and He will give you what you need to keep going....
I would like to take a moment to thank a fellow blogger, Mary at http://visitswithmary.blogspot.com/, for her wonderful post today from her Praise Journal. Just when I was feeling down and frustrated about what to write, what to say, what to do...I read her post from her Praise Journal, and even though she didn't say a lot herself...it was the impact of what was quoted and shared that just seemed to be what I needed today to get back up and get moving! So Mary Jane, you get the award today for being a "Barnabus" to me...a "daughter" of encouragement...and I'm sure you didn't even realize that what you posted would have that effect. That's what I'm talking about! Just be faithful to say and do what ever the Lord lays on your heart...and it is going to speak to someone out there!
So, friends...just be faithful to the Lord and He will work through you...even when you are feeling down and out...He's always there...ready to encourage you and those around you when you least expect it!! You just might be a Barnabus to someone today!