1 Peter 5:7-12 (NRSV)

7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 8 Discipline yourselves, keep alert. a Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.  9 Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters b in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. 12 Through Silvanus, whom I consider a faithful brother, I have written this short letter to encourage you and to testify that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.

Acts 4:36 (NRSV)

36 There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”).                            

DEVOTION –  Deri G. Keefer (Michigan)

During my formative years, my mom was my “Barnabas,” my encourager.  As a woman of faith and prayer, she inspired me to seek God’s will.  When I told her of my call to pastoral ministry, she encouraged me to go to college and get an education.  Forty-three years later, I’, still a minister.

Throughout my ministry God has been my ultimate encourager.  When I am hurting, God listens as I pour out my heart in prayer.  When I am discouraged, God’s word in the Bible inspires and challenges me.  When I am frightened by the world’s turbulence, God comforts me by sending the Holy Spirit to speak words of peace and sends me friends who share words of hope.

We can follow God’s example and be encouragers ourselves.  When people are hurting, we can listen with compassion instead of criticism or judgment.  When others need to be encouraged, we can use script to console them and lift up their spirits.  As the world swirls around them through tragedy, we can come alongside them and simply be present with them.

As the son of an encouraging mother, I am striving to be a son of encouragement like Barnabas was.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: How will I remember God’s word today?

PRAYER: Dear God, encourage us so that we may encourage others.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen