Week 39: Wednesday – Indispensable Village Friends

BARNABAS – THE ENCOURAGER

KellerQuote

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” – Helen Keller

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24 NLT

Who will stand by you?

When you need to do your last 4 burpees…

When you need to exteeeeend your patience with someone whose life mission seems to be to give you a miserable time…

When you did something you feel is completely unforgiveable…

When you can’t take the pain any longer and you just want to quit…

Who will stand by you no matter what? Who can you call in the wee hours of the night and he/she will listen to you? Who will lovingly push you to never give up?

Another village friend we need is a “Barnabas” – The Encourager.

Acts 4:36

36 There was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”).

To encourage means to make strong, to make courageous…

So, how did he earn this noble nickname?

In a time of persecution against the Christians during the 1st century, believers were imprisoned for their faith. Some also lost their jobs, their homes, and their loved ones. Despite these discouraging moments, Barnabas stood by God’s people and kept encouraging them to stay true to the Lord (Acts 11:23). Barnabas even sold his piece of land so he could help the people get back up again.

But one of the greatest risks Barnabas took was to stand by Paul, the Christian-hater. (Paul, who was Saul then, agreed to the stoning of Stephen – Acts 8:1.) Barnabas defended Paul in front of the other apostles because he believed he was a changed man and that he had Spiritual gifts that could be used for the ministry. Imagine if Barnabas did not see the gold in Paul back then, we might not be able to have a devotional today…

When the people felt hopeless, he was a breath of hopeful air.

When the people felt down, he lifted them up.

When the people felt discouraged, he encouraged.

 

Acts 11:24

Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.

 

“During the Civil War Abraham Lincoln once received a request via an officer to pardon a soldier sentenced to be executed for desertion. The man didn’t have a single letter of support vouching for him. Next morning the officer was shocked to hear Lincoln say that the testimony of a friend had sealed his decision to pardon the man. When the officer reminded the President that the request had come with no letter of reference, Lincoln simply stated ‘Then I will be his friend,’ and signed his pardon.” (Source Unknown)

Do you need encouragement today? Find someone you can encourage…and strength will be on its way.

“Stand by Me” is a song written by Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It is inspired by the spiritual song “Lord Stand by Me,” and it includes two lines found in “Psalm 46:2 — So we will not fear when…the mountains crumble into the sea.”(NIV)

insert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9kyGMvfZqo

When the night has come

And the land is dark

And the moon is the only light we’ll see

No I won’t be afraid

Oh, I won’t be afraid

Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darling, darling

Stand by me, oh stand by me

Oh stand, stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon

Should tumble and fall

All the mountains should crumble to the sea

I won’t cry, I won’t cry

No, I won’t shed a tear

Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling

Stand by me, oh stand by me

Oh stand now, stand by me

Stand by me

So darling, darling

Stand by me, oh stand by me

Oh stand now, stand by me, stand by me

Whenever you’re in trouble won’t you stand by me

Oh stand by me, oh won’t you stand now, stand

Stand by me

Stand by me

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