In the past few weeks I’ve encountered several
unexpected acts of encouragement. Most came
from familiar sources but a few originated from
people who had not previously lifted me up personally.
I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it is to
have a Barnabas enter your day just when you need
it most. And how terrific it is to then thank him for
being such an encourager.
Aubery Johnson in his book, The Barnabas
Factor, (Gospel Advocate, 2004), lists several aspects
of the anatomy of an encourager. Here are a
few of his thoughts condensed for us to consider.
The encourager should have:
1. A Mind—- to think good, pure and positive thoughts.
2. Eyes—-to perceive the good in every situation.
3. Ears—-to actively and enthusiastically listen to others.
4. Lips—-to verbally communicate respect and confidence.
5. Hands—-to sense and act on opportunities to do
Hebrews 3:12-13 says, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in
any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the Living
God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’
lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
The instruction to exhort or encourage one another daily
is a key part of this passage. Unfortunately, we don’t always
exercise this on that frequent a basis.
Friends, please take just a few minutes and read over that
list of five things again. For each one, think of a way that you
can actively encourage someone by using your mind, eyes,
ears, lips and hands. Then make a conscious effort today to
encourage just one person by using what you have written.
The world provides so many challenges and distractions
that seem to rob Christians of their joy, confidence and happiness.
Let’s be intentional about seeking people whom we may
encourage every day. Let’s set our minds to being the instrument
of God to help strengthen faith, broaden hope and rekindle
joy in the lives of others.
Will you be someone’s Barnabas today?
Much has been said about the irrelevance of
God. A small number of vocal “theologians” are parroting
and paraphrasing Nietzsche, the nineteenth
century skeptic, who proclaimed, “God is dead.”
One of the leading exponents of this confused
and twisted thinking is Thomas J.J. Altizer who was
quoted by Time magazine, “We must recognize that
the death of God is a historical event: God has died
in our time, in our history and in our existence.”
I think it is well for us to remember that the
number of “God is dead” theologians is quite small.
Most articles refer to only three—not very many
when we consider the thousands of preachers and teachers
who believe in God and the Bible. We should not exaggerate
this movement; often one cricket sounds like thousands.
Further, we should not think it strange that atheists would
pose as Christian theologians. What better way to cause confusion
among the ranks of believers? “What the ‘death of God’
theologians are saying,” states Dr. Carl F. H. Henry, “is that
they have not found him.”
God is not dead!
Ask Job and that great man of faith replies, “I know that
my redeemer liveth” ( Job 19:25).
Ask Paul and this soldier of the cross answers, “I know whom I
have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that
which I have committed unto Him against that day” (2 Tim.
Ask God Himself—the One who loves you, who personally
visited this planet and became a man, the God-man Jesus
Christ; the One who lived the most remarkable life ever lived,
who died on the cross for your sins and who on the third day
arose from the grave. Ask the Living Lord of history and he
answers, “I am He that liveth, and was dead ; and, behold, I am
alive for evermore” (Rev. 1:18).
Solomon, the wisest person who ever lived, categorizes all
who disbelieve in the living God in this fashion: “The fool hath
said in his heart, There is no God” (Psa 14:1).
Do not be taken in by peddlers of skepticism and
atheism. God is not dead; He is even sick. He is the
living God whom you can personally know by inviting
Him to his rightful place in your life.
1. Believe in Him with all your heart. (Heb. 11:6;
2. Repent of all your sins (Luke 13:3; Acts17:30).
3. Confess Him before men (Rom. 10: 10; Mt.
4. By His authority, be baptized (Acts 2:38; Acts
22:16; Rom. 6:4).
5. Be faithful to Him till death Rev. 2:10).
Notice how Paul begins his letter to
the church at Corinth: “To the church of
God in Corinth, to those sanctified in
Christ Jesus and called to be holy…”
Corinth was a sinful city. If we had been
writing that letter we might have been
tempted to write, “ To the saints in Sin
City.” To call anyone a Corinthian in the
first century meant that such a person
was completely given to sin
Paul mentioned where the church met
and where Christians lived—in Corinth. But the
people to whom he wrote were “in Christ.” Relationship
to Christ, not geographical location,
is what counts.
“In Christ” is the Christian’s refuge.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for
those who are in Christ Jesus, because through
Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me
free from the law of sin and death” (Romans
8:1-2). Our world, as far as sin goes, is like that
of the first century. We have sinful cities, with
people who do everything they did in Sodom
Christians are in the world, but not of it.
There is always safety in Christ. When the
world is at its worst, Christians can hide themselves
in the Rock of Ages. To be in Christ is to
be in the church which he purchased with his
blood. In Christ we have redemption, peace,
freedom, protection and all spiritual blessings.
Paul uses the expression “In Christ” or its
equivalent no less than 169 times. Regardless
of where you live. The safest place for you is in
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