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Encouraging Messages

Read Acts 11:19-30

The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotions; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord. Acts: 11: 21-24 (NRSV)

Wayne Greenawalt is from Illinois. "Trust in the Lord." "You are making a difference." "You can count on my prayers for you today." These notes and many more were written by Craig - one of Wayne's co-workers at a Christian ministry - and left on Wayne's desk. Other staff members and the men he mentored received similar encouraging messages.

Craig's ardor in edifying others brings to mind Barnabas, a companion of the apostle Paul. Barnabas was renowned for his ability to encourage others. When the church at Jerusalem learned that many Gentiles had become believers in Antioch, they commissioned Barnabas to travel there and instruct them in the faith. Barnabas was excited by the vibrancy of their faith and exhorted them all "to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts" (NIV). His ministry among them was inspirational. Not only did they remain steadfast in the faith; their testimony resulted in many others coming to Christ.

The body of Christ needs encouragers. Living for Christ can be hard, and trials and difficulties will come our way. Every Christian needs the support of fellow believers to remain steadfast in the faith. How might God work through us to encourage others to grow in their faith?

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the encouragers in our lives. Please show us how we can encourage someone today, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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