Blog Title: Son of Encouragement, or possibly, if Barnabas liked word play(and who doesn’t?) -Sun of Encouragement: Illuminating God’s Glory
About Me: I’m a Levite from Cypress. I’m not a writer; however, I find God has called me to encourage and strengthen those who would write for him. Currently, I’m on a missionary journey with my good friend, and an author I predict will be a success, Paul. (Visit his blog ‘The Road to Damascus.’) I invite you to travel with us and spread the good news.
(I imagine Paul had over a thousand followers, while Barnabas had a few hundred. What do you think?)
Intended Audience: Writers, speakers, and followers seeking support and encouragement traveling on the path with Jesus.
Widget/Gadget: There’s a banner on the sidebar notifying readers he is available for speaking engagements. He’d possibly have this as a testimonial blurb: “At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed” (Acts 14:1 NIV)
Misadventures in Lystra
My friends, I have an amazing and true story for you!
Yesterday began ordinarily enough. Paul and I were walking through the town of Lystra when we came across an older gentleman. At first, we offered a polite nod in greeting, but suddenly Paul stopped and struck up a conversation. In the course of our discussion we discovered this man had been lame since birth. The sun was beating down on our necks and our throats were parched, but Paul spoke at length of the Lord. The man listened intently. It was clear he had faith.
Then Paul spoke loud enough to draw the attention of those nearby, “Stand up on your feet!” The man did not merely stand up; he jumped up and began walking!
The people gathered in amazement, but Paul and I casually continued on our way until a friendly couple offered us respite from the heat. It was while sitting in their home that a boy rushed in exclaiming, “It’s time for the sacrifices!”
Paul and I looked at each other in horror. Sacrifices! We tore at our clothes and rushed out into the streets. We had a devil of a time convincing the crowd to not make sacrifices to us.
Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them (Acts 14:15 NIV).
Eventually, we were able to convince the crowd not to make any sacrifices, but I remained skeptical as to whether we truly got through to them.
My doubts were realized this morning when once more we found ourselves surrounded by a mob of people, only this time they did not want to worship us; they wanted to stone us! Somehow the Jews from Antioch and Iconium managed to turn the crowd against us.
What happened next was horrific. They restrained me and in one of the most terrifying moments of my life, I had to watch helplessly as Paul was stoned and dragged outside the city.
I overpowered my captors and ran from the city to find the disciples surrounding Paul. I feared the worst, but when I reached his side, Paul was already standing up and heading back into the city. Now I don’t know about you, friends, but I think I’d be a little sore after almost being stoned to death. Not Paul! His gait was unburdened. Look up fighter in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of Paul!
You could literally hear jaws hitting the ground as Paul walked by. People were dumbfounded. Standing before them, healthy as an ox, was a man they thought dead. I tried not to smile at their awestruck stares, but surely now they understood our message of one true and living God.
Do You have a Barnabas in your life? Someone who encourages you? Someone who understands your shortcomings and helps you to overcome them? I’m fortunate to have such a person in my life! Her name is Pam and her blog is Encouragement for Christian Writers She’s taking part in the A-Z Challenge and all writers will benefit from her uplifting spirit!
For more in depth factual information on Paul’s stoning, please check out this post from Gospel Driven Disciples: I is for Iconium