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Daily Reading: Acts 9

Scripture Focus: But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. (Acts 9.27)

Devotional Thought: Sometimes, people need a little extra help to make it into the church. When we have been hurt, it is extremely difficult to trust somebody simply at their word. Saul (Paul) found himself in that unenviable position. He had hurt a lot of people in the church, even presiding over the execution of the first Christian martyr. Now, he wanted to join the church. The church rightfully exercised caution to protect the flock. Just because he said he was changed, didn't make it so! Now, the church was at risk of losing the greatest evangelist, missionary, and theologian of the first century.

Saul needed a sponsor.

Enter Barnabas. Whether it was through personal observation, relying on the testimony of others, or spiritual discernment, Barnabas was able to tell the church how Saul had seen and heard the Lord, how he had immediately and effectively begun preaching boldly in the name of Jesus.

Barnabas stuck his neck out for this upstart. He sponsored him, taking him to the disciples and personally vouching for him. I'm sure that Barnabas also agreed to 'keep his eye on him' and make sure that Saul was growing in the Lord, acting in ways that confirmed his Christian testimony. Saul did, after all, bear some responsibility for whether or not the church accepted him.

Look around you. Are there people who are struggling to break into the circle of fellowship at your church? Go to them. Bring them to others. Agree to sponsor them, until they can stand on their own. God will bless you for it, and the church will gain the addition of another laborer for the work of the kingdom.

Prayer: Lord, I sometimes judge people solely on their past, and fail to recognize their potential in you. Help me to be discerning, yet accepting. Help me to include new people in the family of God. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 68.19-27

19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah 20 Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death. 21 But God will strike the heads of his enemies, the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways. 22 The Lord said, “I will bring them back from Bashan, I will bring them back from the depths of the sea, 23 that you may strike your feet in their blood, that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.”

24 Your procession is seen, O God, the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary— 25 the singers in front, the musicians last, between them virgins playing tambourines: 26 “Bless God in the great congregation, the Lord, O you who are of Israel's fountain!” 27 There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead, the princes of Judah in their throng, the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.

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