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Read Acts 9:28-31  “So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.  He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him.  When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.  Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened.  Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.  

As we see in today’s verses, the church enjoyed a “time of peace and was strengthened” during this time.  Paul was a new believer, and yet he  could be characterized as bold, and he stirred up controversy because of his past.  He moved about freely in Jerusalem and debated when necessary to boldly proclaim in the name of the Lord.  

When we read these verses, imagine the behind the scenes for a moment.  Imagine occasional doubts or fears that arise when we face turmoil.  Now imagine the essential role that the encourager Barnabas had in the life of Paul.  Because of his encouragement to Paul, the churches were able to enjoy a time of peace and the numbers of new believers increased.  That is the purpose of encouragement.  Barnabus knew his role.  He was a behind the scenes character.  But because of his obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to seek and support new believers with encouragement and hope, he was able to help equip leaders to lead and servants to serve.  May you embrace the opportunities to encourage and bring hope to new believers and those who are in your life.  May you know that being an encourager is an essential and significant role.  Most encouragement takes place privately and is offered behind the scenes.  May you know that God sees and knows.  He will equip you with words to speak and will prepare you for your role as an encourager.  May you relate to Barnabus and seek opportunities to encourage others along their journey of faith.

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