Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement

The Encourager

One of my favorite characters in the Bible was a man named Barnabas. He was not one of the more well-known men in Scripture. As far as I know, he never performed any miracles. He is not credited with writing any of the books of the Bible. However, I am convinced that we are blessed today because God used Barnabas in a mighty way.

Joseph was his real name, but the Apostles nicknamed him Barnabas because Barnabas means, “ Son of Encouragement”. He had the gift of encouragement and used it to inspire people to do their best for God. Even the greatest men in the Bible often needed encouragement. And God used Barnabas to inspire the hearts of at least two of the most important men in the New Testament.

It was Barnabas who encouraged the Apostles to accept Paul when he was a new believer. Later when Paul would disappear for two years, Barnabas would go to Tarsus and inspire him to begin work in Antioch. Later on, when John Mark would fail on a missionary journey, it was Barnabas who believed in him and gave him another chance. For this reason, whenever I read the Gospel of Mark and the Letters of Paul, I am grateful for the Son of Encouragement.

I challenge you to become a Barnabas. In Proverbs, we read that it is a joy to hear the right word for the right occasion and that God is pleased with friendly words. So make it a point to encourage everyone you come in contact with. Put a smile on your face and tell someone that they are doing a good job. Your kind words may be the inspiration someone needs to hear today

What if it Had Been You?

Every Christmas we see the manger scenes. Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and oh yeah, Baby Jesus, there in all their plastic glory. But I hope you realize that these are not make-believe characters. They represent real people who experienced the same emotions you and I do.

So I wonder what if it was you? What if you had been Mary? A young girl, dedicated to God, pure, both physically and spiritually. What would you have done? Your reputation is being trashed. Your honor is questioned.

What if you had been Joseph? People are laughing and making fun of you. Your fiancé is pregnant and the baby is not yours. The Bible says that Joseph was a just man. What if it was you? Would you be a just man?

How about the innkeeper? The Bible never mentions an innkeeper. But if there had been an innkeeper and you were him, what would you do? Would you turn on the “no vacancy” sign? Would you turn away, so that you would not have to think about them? What if it had been you? Would you find room for Jesus?

But let’s get to the real Christmas story. What if you were God? People are Your most precious creation. But they have broken Your heart. They have rejected You and sold themselves to the enemy. What would you do?

I don’t know about you, but I would be inclined to just knock earth out of its orbit and let it fly a few million miles closer to the sun. That’s what we all deserve! But that’s not what my God did. You see we are created in His Image. We are His most precious creation. He loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, for us.

Forget the question. Because it is you. The manger scene is all about you. You are lost in your trespasses and sin. But there is a gift for you. You won’t find this gift under a tree. The tree comes later, in the shape of a cross. You will find this Gift beautifully wrapped, in swaddling clothes, in a manger, in a stable.

You see the Christmas story is all about how much God loves you. The real question is what are you going to do with God’s Gift? “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends


The Man Who Said Nothing

A large source of contention between many husbands and wives is that the husband does not talk much. I suppose it has always been this way. Most men do not feel a need to talk. When they do, they use short sentences and mostly single syllable words. This drives their wives crazy. They wonder does my husband love me? Well yes he does, but he is most comfortable saying nothing.

Now, men have a good precedence for not being talkative. Joseph the husband of Mary was one of the most well respected men in the Bible. And yet no one can quote anything Joseph said. Joseph was a good man who sought the best for his fiancé. He was a thoughtful man who carefully considered the path that he was to travel. He was a listening man who was able to hear the angel say, “You are to take Mary as your wife and call the baby Jesus.” Joseph was a quiet man and in all of this we find that Joseph said nothing.

Now I am not defending the tendency of men to be silent. I, like most men, need to learn to better express my thoughts and feelings to my loved ones. However, I do want to challenge men to step up and become men of God. A great problem in the world today is brought about by Satan’s mostly successful plan to destroy the family. This problem is the huge number of children who have no father because of rampant divorce and unwed pregnancy. This issue is as prevalent in the church as it is out. And just like most men are silent, the churches of today are loudly saying nothing.

Joseph did not have to be a daddy to Jesus. But he listened to God and did it anyway. That is what real men do. We listen to God. Hear me men, it is time for you to step up and become the righteous leaders of the church. It is time to address the uncomfortable issues. It is time for men to be Godly daddies to their own children. It is time for men to be righteous father figures to those who have no daddy.

Now I may have lead you to believe that the Bible did not record anything that Joseph ever said. But that is not quite right. You see, when Mary’s baby was born Joseph called His name Jesus. Today we need Godly and righteous men who will speak the name of Jesus to the world. When it comes to saying anything better than that, I can think of nothing.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

What If It Was You?

It is you. The manger scene is all about you. You are lost in your trespasses and sin. But there is a gift for you. You won’t find this gift under a tree. The tree comes later, in the shape of a cross. You will find this Gift beautifully wrapped, in swaddling clothes, in a manger, in a stable. This devotion is an audio podcast. Click the link below to listen.