Articles

Holy Ground – My Influence

In Monday’s article, we looked at the event in Joshua’s life when he was asked to remove his sandals from his feet because he stood on holy ground. Here are three observations we made Monday:

  1. God is holy.
  2. Wherever God’s presence dwells is to be regarded as holy.
  3. Changes must be made to recognize and honor the holiness of God.

Today we are going to take those concepts and apply it to how we view our relationship to the world.

The Israelites were delivered by God out of Egyptian slavery and were on their way to the Promised Land of Canaan. In both places, Egypt and Canaan, wickedness and idolatry filled the land. Read the following passage from Leviticus 18.

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the LORD your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.
(Leviticus 18:1-5)

Look at the “you shall” and “you shall not’s” in this passage. Pretty simple: don’t do what they do, don’t walk in their ways, instead, walk in my rules and my ways. If you do this, you will live.

When God prepared Joshua for leading the people into Canaan, his instructions were the same.

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel…Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:1-9)

Don’t turn from God’s law, to the left or to the right. Meditate on it day and night, in doing so we will be careful to do all that is written in it. This will take a great deal of courage, but remember that God is with us wherever we go. He will never leave us or forsake us. So, don’t be afraid.

God places us in this world today, and His encouragement is the same. Even though the temptation may be great to look around the world, try to fit in with the world, and follow the world, we must turn our eyes to Jesus and His ways. When at work, school or in our communities, do not turn from God’s word, to the left or to the right. Do not be afraid of the world, don’t be so enamored with all they have to offer. It may even be intimidating at times when you feel outnumbered and alone. Sometimes the threats are real, and you may want to cave in and forsake God’s rules. But remember to turn your eyes back to Jesus. He is there. Remember His promise: He will be with you always (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5-6).

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
(Phillipians 2:14-16)

Holy Ground – Your Kids

In Monday’s article, we looked at the event in Joshua’s life when he was asked to remove his sandals from his feet because he stood on holy ground. Here are three observations we made Monday:

  1. God is holy.
  2. Wherever God’s presence dwells is to be regarded as holy.
  3. Changes must be made to recognize and honor the holiness of God.

Today we are going to take those concepts and apply it to how we view our kids and parenting. Please read and meditate today upon Psalm 127 and 128.

A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
(Psalms 127:1-5)

A Song of Ascents. Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!
(Psalms 128:1-6)

There are three ways our children are described here:

  1. A heritage (inheritance) and a reward. The Psalmist leads our minds to see that children are not an inconvenience or a curse; they are not in the way of what we want to accomplish. They are a blessing and a divine gift and we should always cherish them in our minds that way.
  2. Arrows in the quiver of a warrior. God seeks “godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15). Righteous children are going to be used in God’s service to confront the Devil and the darkness that is in this world.
  3. Olive shoots around your table. The fruit or result of walking with the Lord and fearing Him along with your wife is that the children grow and are nourished on that vine.

Understanding these three things helps us to see clearly our mission as parents. We take these cherished gifts, protect their innocence and purity with all the vigilance we can muster, and show them every day the way of Jesus. Our focus is not upon having them hit a home-run or make CEO, but to get to heaven. The blessing and reward that comes to parents when all those “olive shoots” are around the table, is just beyond comprehension. Seeing those faces of God’s children growing into becoming God’s servants has to be one of the greatest blessings in life.

Holy Ground – Marriage

In Monday’s article, we looked at the event in Joshua’s life when he was asked to remove his sandals from his feet because he stood on holy ground. Here are three observations we made Monday:

  1. God is holy.
  2. Wherever God’s presence dwells is to be regarded as holy.
  3. Changes must be made to recognize and honor the holiness of God.

Today we are going to take those concepts and apply it to how we view marriage.

But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
(Malachi 2:14-16)

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
(Hebrews 13:4)

Do we look at marriage, and our wives as holy ground?

The very idea of marriage is to be held in high honor (Hebrews 13:4). Why? Because God is in it. He serves as witness to the covenant between the husband and the wife. As you read in Malachi, a portion of His Spirit is in the union.

Your wife is to be treated in high honor (1 Peter 3:7). She is created in the image of God. Her body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and she was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). The way we think of her, touch her, talk to her, etc., should all be in harmony with the truth that she is very precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:4).

The marriage bed is to be undefiled. Marriage is holy because it is set apart for a union that is dedicated to and governed by God. Only a husband and his wife can be holy while participating in sexual relations. Any other sexual behavior is called fornication and adultery and will be judged by God. Also, husbands, we must remember not to defile the marriage bed by bringing in worldly thoughts and defilement into our minds that will corrupt and pervert our marriage bed (Titus 1:15). God said, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

God’s marriage relationship that He created for us is a beautiful and very special thing. Just as Joshua was told to remove his sandals to recognize the holy presence of God, we must transform our lives and thinking to recognize God’s holy presence in our marriages.

For The Place Where You Are Standing Is Holy

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so (Joshua 5:13-15).

As the people of Israel were preparing to conquer the Promised Land of Canaan, God met with Joshua. Just like Moses, Joshua was told to remove his sandals from his feet because where he stood was holy ground. Before Joshua could effectively lead the people of Israel, he had to be reminded of and impressed by the holiness of Almighty God.

Here are three simple observations about Joshua standing on holy ground:

  1. God is Holy.
  2. Wherever God’s presence dwells is to be regarded as holy.
  3. Changes must be made to recognize and honor the holiness of God.

#1 – God is Holy

Whenever mankind was put in the presence of God and shown His glory, they immediately were brought to their knees and they trembled. But why? Because of the holiness of God. Isaiah, for example, the moment he saw the vision of the Lord, he knew right away that he was a sinful man with a dirty mouth (Isaiah 6).

Here is a passage about Jesus that I believe helps to explain holiness:

Hebrews 7:26 – For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

Innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted. This is why as man we tremble in the presence of the glory of God, because He is sinless and completely pure. Adam and Eve, before sin, did not fear and tremble before the presence of God. Sin brought fear and separation. Through the blood of Jesus, we can be reconciled and made pure so that we can dwell in the presence of God without fear and boldly come to His throne.

#2 – Wherever God’s presence dwells is to be regarded as holy.

Was there something special about the dirt by the Jordan River? No. It was holy because God was there. Another example is in 2 Peter 1:18 when Peter was reflecting upon his experience during Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain. Peter called that mountain a “holy mountain.” It was no different than any other mountain, but what made it holy was the presence of God.

Think for a moment on just a few places the Bible says He dwells. God dwells in the heart and spirit of the Christian, we are His temple and dwelling place (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). He also dwells within the body of Christ, the church; collectively we are His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Marriage is to be regarded as holy and undefiled, because God’s presence is there as well (Hebrews 13:4; Malachi 2:14-16). Where the holy God dwells is to be counted by us as holy.

#3 – Changes must be made to recognize and honor the holiness of God.

Remove your sandals, in other words, take off the defilement of this world before you meet with God. When people were going to meet with God, there were preparations that had to be made. They had to purify themselves, wash themselves, change their clothing, and put away the wickedness/idolatry of the world (Genesis 35:1-5; Exodus 19:9-15; Isaiah 1:10-20). We can’t be unholy and meet in fellowship with a holy God. Just like Moses and Joshua had to remove their sandals, we have to take off the filthiness of the world, wash ourselves in the blood of the Lamb, and put on a new man (Ephesians 4:20-24; Revelation 7:13-14; 22:14).

2 Corinthians 7:1 – “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”

Hebrews 12:14 – Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

1 Peter 1:15-16 – but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

This week, we are going to focus on this passage, and use the concepts from today to apply to our various relationships in life.

Do Not Grow Weary of Doing Good

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).

Paul encourages us to not grow weary of doing good. That tells me it is very possible and likely that at some point in my walk with Jesus I’m going to grow weary of doing good. It happens. It happened to the best of the best in Scripture (Elijah, Jeremiah, Paul, Moses, etc.).

Here are some thoughts for why we sometimes grow weary in doing good.

  1. We lose sight of the mission. It may be that we become results oriented, instead of service oriented. For example, we get frustrated because people are not “doing” what we are teaching / influencing them to do. But our job is not on the results end, it is on the planting and watering end. It is God’s job to give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:7).
  2. We feel like we are the only ones doing right. Following God may leave us at times feeling lonely, thinking we’re the only ones who “get it.” Elijah thought that, but God showed him there were 7,000 others. Rest assured that you are not the only person on earth who “gets it.”
  3. We take our focus off God’s glory and begin to direct attention to ourselves. This was Moses’ problem, even though it was temporary (Numbers 20). Moses blew a gasket, and I can understand why when you look at the Israelites’ behavior and attitudes. But for a brief moment, Moses took the glory from God and directed it to himself, and for it he paid dearly. One of the reasons we grow weary in doing good is because we make too much of it about ourselves and not about God. It ain’t about you.
  4. We take on too much. Sometimes, we are trying to do too much by ourselves. We begin to rely on our own strength instead of God’s. And instead of spreading the responsibilities and delegating the work to the body of Christ, we begin to think one body part can do it all. That is not good for you or others. That can get us tired and weary in a hurry! We are to bear one another’s burdens, that means we type-A personalities have to learn to rely on the strength of others (Galatians 6:2).

Remember, Paul said we will “reap if we do not lost heart and give up.” God is there with us. His strength holds us up and renews us. The body of Christ is around us to work side by side in His service.

Standing Like King Hezekiah

We are currently studying the life of King Hezekiah in our adult Bible class at the church building. Last night, we were impressed with King Hezekiah’s leadership, his full-blown commitment to following God, and his trust in God.

Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites and assembled them in the square on the east and said to them, “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the LORD, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place. For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done what was evil in the sight of the LORD our God. They have forsaken him and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD and turned their backs. They also shut the doors of the vestibule and put out the lamps and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the Holy Place to the God of Israel. Therefore the wrath of the LORD came on Judah and Jerusalem, and he has made them an object of horror, of astonishment, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes.
(2 Chronicles 29:1-8)

Here are a few quick observations that we made last night:

  1. Hezekiah chose a different direction than his father. Hezekiah’s father, King Ahaz, was the wicked king who defiled and defaced the temple, and he closed its doors. Hezekiah watched his father do great wickedness, but he chose to listen to God and His word. You do not have to follow in your family’s footsteps, if they are not walking with God. You can choose your own direction like Hezekiah did.
  2. Hezekiah was prepared to serve when the time came. When Hezekiah became king at 25, he hit the ground running. The first month of the first year, he started making changes. That tells us that before this time, he was preparing his heart to listen to and serve God. It’s not like he didn’t know what to do when he became king; he was already prepared in heart and mind to make the changes God required. He was ready because he was informed, and he was informed because his heart had been searching out the word of God.
  3. Hezekiah did not waste time cleansing the temple and restoring the worship back to God’s way. Again, it was the first year and the first month. It’s like Hezekiah was watching all of this wickedness happen, and the moment he had the reins of power, he starting taking care of business. “This changes today, now!” He had a sense of urgency about getting things right with God.
  4. Hezekiah was young, but made no excuses for it. I’m sure that there were several of his father’s advisers around, and plenty of older men and women around him that were fine keeping things the way they used to be, but that did not deter Hezekiah. Even as a young 25-year old, he stood for God and led a whole nation in restoration. Just like Timothy, Josiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and David, young men can do incredible things for God. There is no defined age for leadership.
  5. Hezekiah made changes that no leader before him made. The Bible said there was no king like him, before or after (2 Kings 18:1-6). 2 Kings 18 tells us that he destroyed the bronze serpent that Moses made because the people were worshiping it. Think about that – it had been 700 years, and no leader between Moses and Hezekiah had destroyed it. Hezekiah went all the way when it came to obedience to God. It didn’t matter how long people had been practicing something, or how deeply entrenched the people were in a religious practice, his commitment was to completely following God’s word.

He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses. And the LORD was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered… (2 Kings 18:5-7).

The Blessing and Gift of Singleness

In Joshua Harris’ book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, he writes about God’s gift of singleness. One of the headings in chapter 4 reads this way:

My unmarried years are a gift from God.

Sometimes, we don’t see the blessings in front of us because we are in such a hurry to get to the next phase of life. That is true for pretty much every stage of life. We are in junior high, and we can’t wait to get to high school. We can’t wait to drive. It’s winter and we want summer. We want kids, and then look forward to their eighteenth birthday! We can’t wait to retire, and then we sit around and long for the good old days. What if we stopped and thanked God for where we are in life right now? So many times in life, I’ve found myself looking over the fence to the next goal, the next phase in life. I know that is true for many other folks as well.

There is a blessing in being single, young men and women. Of course there is nothing wrong with wanting to be married or pursuing marriage. But be thankful for where you are right now. Why would you want God to bless you for the next phase in life when you aren’t thankful for the current one?

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
(1 Corinthians 7:32-35, ESV)

Paul is not speaking against marriage at all, but he is talking reality. If you are married, you have a God-given obligation to care for and serve your spouse. In marriage you have vowed to become one flesh for life. There will be things you cannot do anymore simply because you have to take care of a family. That is not a negative thing, it is just reality.

So, that being said, you have a God-given blessing and gift of being single, so don’t be in such a hurry to end that period of your life.

Ask God to help you see the blessings of singleness. Thank God for this phase of your life. Pray for God to use you for His glory whether single or married.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
(Philippians 4:19-20)

Be nice

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).

I like what Albert Barnes said about “being kind” from this verse.

Christianity produces true courteousness, or politeness. It does not make one rough, crabby, or sour; nor does it dispose its followers to violate the proper rules of social contact.

Being a Christian should produce a polite spirit. As Barnes said, we should not become rough, crabby or sour. But that happens, doesn’t it, men? We get into the busy-ness of life and things keep piling on, and sometimes we get cranky with those we love the most.

That’s when we may hear something from those wonderful wives of ours…something like, “Be nice.”

Guys, don’t forget to be nice. Even in all the crazy twists and turns of life, saying nice and kind things to your family members is not only helpful for having peace and harmony, it is what God expects of us. Being too tired or “stressed” to be nice is not a good excuse.

Can you imagine if God barked at us like we sometimes snap at others? Yikes, we couldn’t survive that. But God is at His core a kind being. So, just like at the gym, it’s time to work on your core.

It helps sometimes to stop, breathe a little bit, say a prayer for God to help you to chill out, and look at your wife and kids and just smile.

Be nice.

Jesus Became

In a Bible study the other night, a sister shared with us the concept that “Jesus became.” She pointed out several passages of Scripture that speak of Jesus becoming some quality or character trait.

And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him (Luke 2:40).

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Hebrews 5:7-9).

Jesus became strong. Yes, He was all God in the flesh, but as a young man he grew up and became strong in body and in spirit. He lived in heaven, yet, He “became” poor so that we could become rich. Jesus became obedient, Philippians 2 says, and the Hebrew writer added that Jesus “learned” obedience through what He suffered. Again, yes, He was God and knew all things, but He experienced suffering and as a man learned obedience to the Father in the midst of that suffering. Because of all of these above things, Jesus became the source (author) of our eternal salvation.

Praise God through Jesus for what He became for us.

But also contemplate on this today, men. What can you “become” if you walk with Jesus? If Jesus became strong, you can become strong through Him. If Jesus became obedient through suffering, so can you if you draw ever closer to Him.

The Barnabas Touch: How to Be An Encourager

Gentlemen, we have considered this week the importance of being a humble servant as we follow the example given to us by Jesus (John 13:1-17).  I came across an article (written by Jason Moore) I was provided many years back and in reading it I wanted to share it with you today as we wrap up our week.  I hope you find it encouraging and invite you to take today and the weekend to consider the importance of our encouragement to our Brethren and the impact this style of living will have on those we encounter in the world.  Have a blessed day!

—-

Barnabas was conspicuous for his encouragement of others. An examination of his life teaches us the skills of an encourager, the job of every believer. The apostle commands, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24).  Barnabas illustrates the commandment:

  1. Get off your island. Barnabas was born on the isle of Cyprus, but left Cyprus for Jerusalem (4:36), Jerusalem for Antioch, the third largest city in Roman world (11:22), and Antioch for the world (13:2). Encouragers are not just naturally gregarious people—that’s a myth. The essential qualification is unselfishness. Encouragers leave their comfort zone to go help. It’s the best cure for self-pity and any “self”-ish tendency.
  2. Build a bridge. Barnabas believed in men like Saul and John Mark even when others didn’t (9:26-27; 15:37-39). He risked his own reputation in reaching out to them. Bridge building is hard work and there is always the risk of falling. But encouragers run the risk of seeking, finding and enfolding folks whom others have isolated or who have isolated themselves.
  3. Spread good gossip. Barnabas told Saul’s story to the apostles (9:27), Antioch’s story to Saul (11:25-26), and the Gentiles’ story to an assembly in Jerusalem (15:12). A gossip likes to tell the bad he knows about others while an encourager likes to tell the good. An encourager can’t keep the story of others’ growth or progress to himself. He broadens their influence by telling something good on them.
  4. Lead the line to lend a hand. Barnabas led the file to relieve needy saints on at least two occasions (4:36-37; 11:30). It’s not that the encourager is always the first on the scene when a need arises, but he is always out of breath when he gets there. The promptness of an encourager says that his service is a privilege and not a burden.
  5. Acknowledge an effort. The word of God commends Barnabas as a “good man” because of his encouragement of the church in Antioch (11:23). The Holy Spirit acknowledges him for his acknowledgment of the efforts of others. At least three steps are involved in mastering this skill.
    1. Be watchful. An encourager is observant of the progress of others, however slight.
    2. Be thoughtful. He finds new ways to say, “Good job” and “I appreciate you.”
    3. Be impartial. The encourager never reserves his encouragement for just his circle.
  6. Go out of your way to involve another. Barnabas went looking for Saul in Tarsus in order to bring him to Antioch (11:25-26). Seeking someone’s partnership in a project says, “I need you,” or, “I believe in you.” Both of those are encouraging sentiments. The essential element in this skill is the nonverbal message sent by going out of one’s way to solicit another’s help or participation.
  7. Keep your commitments. Barnabas built a reputation for dependability (11:22, 30) and for fulfilling his mission (12:25). He always got the job done and often exceeded expectations. Over-commitment and empty promises encourage no one; quite the opposite. They cool enthusiasm. Encouragers honor their commitments in a timely, unimpeachable fashion.
  8. Don’t forget your family. John Mark was Barnabas’ kinsman (15:39; Col. 4:10). That surely was not the only reason for his peculiar encouragement of him, but it also wasn’t a reason to ignore him. Family members frequently air their complaints and criticisms, but neglect the custom of encouragement. Happy is the home where mutual encouragement is a habit. Miserable is any abode in its absence.
  9. Be a sympathetic ally of the leadership. The apostles gave Barnabas his nickname (4:36). He was their A Peter and Paul need encouragement as much as a John Mark. And a Barnabas needs it too. Leadership is far more resilient and confident when others stand with them. Leaders are also far more willing to hear the criticism of the encourager than the whine of the complainer.
  10. Always leave people better than you found them. The apostles, the poor saints in Jerusalem, Saul of Tarsus, John Mark, the church in Antioch and many churches abroad were bettered by the Barnabas’ touch. Midas was the fabled king of Phrygia to whom Dionysius gave the power of turning all that he touched to gold. Encouragers have a golden touch too. But they invest themselves in people, not trinkets. And they enrich others and not themselves.