Remain True to the Lord

10 Jul

I turned 60 in June, and I have to say it was not the traumatic experience I thought it would be. I’m sure this was in so small part due to the wonderful celebration my family prepared for me, and the many birthday greetings sent my way by Facebook friends and in the mail. I felt very loved and kind of excited about this new decade. (Crazy, I know!)

The morning of my birthday I was reading in Acts 11, and was struck by verse 23:

…when he [Barnabas] came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. (KJV)

Some first century Christians during the dispersion that occurred due to persecution had come to Antioch and shared Christ with the locals. Many had received Christ as Savior, so when the church back in Jerusalem heard about it, they sent Barnabas to find out if these new believers were the real deal and if they had any needs. According to this verse he was thrilled with what he witnessed.

Barnabas saw that God had shown His free and undeserved favor to these new Christians. They were living in the light of His grace, grateful for what He had done, and they were free from the debt of sin, working for favor with God, and not under the condemnation of the law. As The Message says, “He saw that God was behind and in it all.

So what did Barnabas do? He lived up to his name “The Encourager.”  The Message described what he did this way: He threw himself in with them, got behind them.” He admonished them where needed, provided comfort when called upon, strengthened them, instructed them, taught them. His sole purpose was to see them established and growing in their relationship with Christ. He exhorted them to have a resoluteness about their daily walk that would be one of complete dependence on Christ and urged them to be persistent in their devotion to Him. Such purpose of heart was possible because through Christ’s death on the cross, they were accepted before God and were in a position to be daily nourished by Christ through His Word.

I loved this verse because it spoke what I desire to do when I post on this blog, share on occasions with others, sing in church, live life. I want to with all that is in me encourage people (you) to follow Christ with purpose of heart, to “stick like glue” (cleave) to Him alone, to know Him personally, and to spend life making Him known by words and deeds.

I turned 60 in June, and I have to say it was not the traumatic experience I thought it would be. God spoke to me through His Word. Quite the day!

 

 

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