The Son of Encouragement (The God of Encouragement)Vicki Bulgin
They therefore who were scattered abroad by the oppression that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews only.
But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.
The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.
The report concerning them came to the ears of the assembly which was in Jerusalem. They sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch,
who, when he had come, and had seen the grace of God, was glad. He exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they should remain near to the Lord.
For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, and many people were added to the Lord.
Barnabas went out to Tarsus to look for Saul.
When he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they were gathered together with the assembly, and taught many people. The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
Now in these days, prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.
One of them named Agabus stood up, and indicated by the Spirit that there should be a great famine all over the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius.
As any of the disciples had plenty, each determined to send relief to the brothers who lived in Judea;
which they also did, sending it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. Acts 11:19-30 (World English Bible)
The God of Encouragement
Encouragement can make a tremendous difference to every one of us. We all have times when life seems to get on top of us and the challenges ahead seem more than we can cope with. Even the most optimistic people have times of discouragement.
Many of us have been blessed with friends who stood by us in the hardest times and helped us to get going and to keep on going.
Some of us have had the privilege of helping others through hard times. Many of us have been blessed by people who recognised our potential, helped us to glimpse that potential, and then encouraged us to press on to achieve it.
Some of us have had the privilege of encouraging others to develop more of their potential. The greatest encouragement is much more than a comfort which makes us feel good for a time. It is more the original sense of the English word “comfort” from the Latin con fortis meaning “with strength”.
The presence of an encouraging friend can give strength while they are with us. The greatest encouragement comes from the God of encouragement who has promised his people that he will always be with us.
This short series of studies follows the sermon series and explores the theme of encouragement. Pray that the Lord will use this to:
- Encourage you in your walk with the Lord
- Encourage other members of your homegroup
- Make you someone who encourages others
- Build a culture of encouragement in our church
- Develop partnerships of encouragement