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“When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. Acts 11:23-24 (NIV)
When Mary discovered that she was expecting a miraculously conceived child, she sought out her cousin Elizabeth who was undergoing a similar experience. Elizabeth encouraged Mary, calling her "blessed" and this must have greatly strengthened her faith. We are lucky when we can get a shoulder to lean on when we have challenges.
Barnabas, the Encourager played a big role in reconciling the apostles with Saul, convincing them that he was really a new person and was seeking to work with them rather than persecute them. He also effectively encouraged John Mark (who later wrote the Gospel of Mark) who appeared to be floundering after his first missionary journey, to return to the Ministry. Who knows what we would have missed as Christians without the contribution from Barnabas in the lives of Paul and Mark?
Paul, on his part became an encourager of millions. He made repeat visits to new Christians and wrote them lengthy letters to encourage them to continue in the race. He addressed unique issues each congregation was facing. He closely mentored many like Timothy who he treated as a spiritual son in the ministry.
This walk is not easy and there are those who are broken and lacking in strength and support. They need your support to keep growing. Who are you encouraging today?
Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement - and we will make the goal.
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