Friday, December 09, 2016

December 9, 2016 ... A Special Advent Gift

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 344

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Merle Haggard, singing his song mentioned below … If We Make It Thru December … longingly singing of the discouragement many feel during the Advent season … but then ON TO THIS LINK  to hear a very different attitude for Christmas, sung by Michael Bublé … about images of a joyful time of year for the Advent Season.

Highlight Verse: Acts 4:36-37 [NKJV] …  
36 And Joses [Joseph], who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 
… Note how the Apostles gave Barnabas a special name which described his gift of encouragement; … and we all should aspire to that name this time of year.
Highlight Passage [context]: Acts 4:32-37, 9:26-27 … USE THIS LINK
… Barnabas was the “son of encouragement,” a model for us all at Christmas.

Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... Galatians 6:9-10 … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, exhorts us to never grow weary of doing good for others, especially our brothers/sisters in Christ.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : ... Philippians 2:3-4 … USE THIS LINK
… Again, Paul exhorts Christians to to help carry the burdens of others to lift their spirit in Christ.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, makes reference to a song written country singer, Merle Haggard, bringing out the downer many feel at this time of year [see song link]. He writes: An old Merle Haggard song, “If We Make It Through December,” tells the story of a man laid off from his factory job with no money to buy Christmas gifts for his little girl. Although December is supposed to be a happy time of year, his life seems dark and cold for some. Discouragement is not unique to December, but it can be amplified then. Our expectations may be higher, our sadness deeper. A little encouragement can go a long way. 

“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

We read this wish on holiday cards at this time of year, don’t we? … But I think we all know that many people feel really down during the holiday season; and that’s what Merle Haggard wrote about in his song (linked above).

And the ODB author today pointed us back to a post-resurrection Bible character, Barnabas, who had a way of lifting those around him during tough times. And Jesus’ Apostles even gave him a nickname - “Son of Encouragement!” And during this time of year, when feelings of despair can be amplified for some, even with all the lights and glitter of Christmas, … we all should glean the exhortation of God (perhaps from Paul in Gal. 6 or Phil. 2 linked above) to reach out with some Barnabas encouragement for others.

So, I hope we can all give some degree of encouragement to others, … perhaps just a smile [see photo], … to help lift the spirits of someone who’s a bit down for Christmas. And if you’re reading here with me, watch the beautiful video of Michael Bublé singing and imagine that I’m singing his encouraging wishes … TO YOU.  ... {Oh, if I could only sing that well!}

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, yes, Lord, I do pray that all reading here have a “merry little Christmas,” all of us gratefully thinking of Your wondrous gift to us - eternal life. ... Amen

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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