Acts 11:19-26(NRSV)

19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, and they spoke the word to no one except Jews. 20 But among them were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists  also, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. 21 The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. 22 News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they met with  the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.”

Acts 11:24 (NIV)

24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

DEVOTION – Monica A. Andermann (New York)

My friend has been going through a rough time.  A long-distance move, unexpected health issues, and financial concerns had put her in a tailspin.  We spoke over the telephone often; and invariably, conversation turned to discussion of her difficulties.  My prayers for her never wavered, yet I felt that my prayers were left unanswered since her trials seemed to persist.

“I wish I could help somehow,” I said to her.  “My prayers don’t seem to be enough.”

“Oh, no!”  she told me emphatically.  “You are an answer to my prayer.  Each time I speak with you, I feel renewed and ready to move forward through this time in my life.”

A similar story is in Acts 11:19-26.  The church sent Barnabas to the Christians at Antioch, who perhaps felt overwhelmed by their circumstances.  “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith,” and he provided them with assistance and encouragement.  While I can’t solve all my friend’s problems, I can be a reassuring, encouraging presence for her as she moves forward in her life with God – an answer to prayer indeed.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Today I will reach out in kindness to someone in need.

PRAYER:  Dear Lord, help us to be people filled with faith and the Holy Spirit.  May we be like Barnabas, providing encouragement to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We pray in  Jesus’ name.  Amen.