“Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul….”
This morning I took my husband to an appointment with his doctor. I was sitting in the waiting area waiting for him, watching a few people walk through the lobby. A young woman was sweeping the lobby floor. An older man, walking with the help of a cane, entered the lobby doors and made his way to the elevators. As he passed the young woman, he spoke to her, “You’re doing a great job! Keep it up!”
I looked up as the woman nodded a “Thank you” and kept on working. The older man and I shared a glance and I saw a twinkle in his light blue eyes. I hoped that he could tell that I was smiling at him behind my COVID 19 mask. “That was kind,” I thought to myself.
It really doesn’t take much time or effort to offer an encouraging word to those around us. Though, it does take an awareness of others and the job they are doing, or maybe a disheartened look on their face, or a stooped shoulder in their walk.
We all benefit from words of encouragement. If you don’t believe me, just think back to the last time someone offered you a kind and encouraging word. I bet that memory makes you smile.
Recently, I have noticed the places in Scripture where God the Father offered His one and only Son words of encouragement.
When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, God the Father spoke His approval, saying, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” (Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22)
After Jesus was transfigured before his disciples, Peter, James and John, they heard a voice from heaven declaring, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35-36)
God the Father affirmed his Son and the work he was doing and the person he was here on earth.
In the book of Acts, Luke writes of a man named Joseph, whom the apostles nicknamed Barnabas, which means “Son of Encouragement.” (Acts 4:36-37) Barnabas must have been quite the encouraging guy to have earned such a nickname. Luke mentions a little later in Acts that it was this same encouraging guy who went and brought the former persecutor of Christians, Saul of Tarsus, to meet with the apostles after Saul’s conversion. (Acts 9:27) It was a good thing that Barnabas was around to encourage the apostles to give this new believer Paul a chance to be one of them.
Everyone needs encouragement. This means we all have the opportunity to act as encouragers to those around us. And who knows the difference a little encouragement might make in someone’s life.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, make their home in central Arkansas. They have five grown children and are grandparents to wonderful grandchildren. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.