“The power of encouragement!”

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One of the early Christian leaders was Barnabas. Luke introduces him in Acts four. Barnabas is his Christian name.It was common for early Christian converts to have a name change. As a person was preparing for baptism, the members of the body of Christ would pray and the Spirit would prompt them to give a name that reflects something unique to that individual. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, must have reflected a strong spirit of encouragement. His new name, Barnabas, means Son of Encouragement! I bring this up because I experienced someone’s encouragement this week. I was doing an errand for my friend and ran into a brother that I used to be his pastor. We haven’t seen each other in a few years and I was so glad to see him. What blew me away was his appreciation for my teaching. He told me that the reason he will be in heaven is because of my preaching and teaching! He will be in the Kingdom because of Jesus, but I was so grateful to have a part in his faith. What it did for me was give me a great dose of encouragement. He didn’t know it at the time, but I needed to hear from God that what I do does make a difference. The next day someone encouraged me by letting me know how much my teaching has meant to them. Wow! God knew what I needed and it got me thinking how much we need to be encouraged! Life is hard and if you are a decent person and a person of faith, you are trying your best to be what God wants you to be. The problem is that we don’t always get the encouragement that we need. For me, encouragement makes me want to do better. Encouragement is from God’s Spirit and we that are Christian should be the most encouraging people in the world. Let me encourage you today. God loves you despite your faults, weaknesses and sins that keep plaguing your life! Pentecost provides both forgiveness and the Spirit of God. Today is a new day and your are loved!