The Holy Spirit

BARNABAS – ‘SON OF ENCOURAGEMENT’

(September 4, 2022) Brian Bell reflects on Barnabas’example…

‘Son of encouragement’ is a tremendous accolade for anyone to receive from their contemporaries. Not that it means a person is without imperfections, but it says something special about how other people find them to be in the general demeanour of their character and daily living.

As with other biblical characters, the life and witness of Barnabas has profitable lessons for us all to consider, and I share with you those which have spoken to me.

The disciple
We are introduced to Barnabas by Luke the writer of Acts, who tells us that the early believers were of one heart and mind. They freely shared their material possessions not considering what they each owned to be their own! Some even sold land or houses and gave the proceeds to the apostles to give to others in need (Acts 2:44-45).

Among those who sold land was a disciple named Joseph nicknamed Barnabas which means the Son of Encouragement (Acts 4:36-37). Luke also tells us Barnabas was a Jew from the tribe of Levi and came from Cyprus. Clearly the Holy Spirit had done a wonderful work in the life of Barnabas since he had come to faith whether it was before or even among one of those 3,000 who responded to Peter’s message (Acts 2:41).

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‘A MAN NAMED EZRA’

(May 07, 2022) Brian Bell challenges us to be a worthy servant like ‘a man named Ezra’ …

With these four almost inconspicuous words contained in chapter 7 of the book of Ezra, we are introduced to the character of Ezra.

The book of Ezra tells us about the return of Jewish exiles from Babylon, beginning with those who returned with Zerubbabel and at a later time with Ezra. Ezra and the other exiles who returned to Jerusalem with him, got there about 13 years before the return of Nehemiah and other exiles, described in the book of Nehemiah.

The primary action carried out by the returning exiles as described in Ezra, was the reconstruction of the temple led by Zerubbabel, Ezra’s role is what I would describe as leading ‘spiritual renewal’ or ‘revival’ while the focus of Nehemiah was the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls which is replete with spiritual applications.

I believe both Ezra and Nehemiah could be said to be men who were ‘directed’ by the Holy Spirit, while those words are not specifically used when speaking of them, I believe it is borne out in the scriptural descriptions given of them. In this meditation I will share only some thoughts about Ezra.

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KEEP STANDING ON THE PROMISES

(March 11, 2022) Brian Bell shares a great encouragement  …

We’re already halfway through the third month of 2022!

Despite the general unrest and uncertainty which still prevails across the world, I believe the encouragement from God’s word is to keep standing on His promises.

Let me draw you back to the words God spoke to Moses in Exodus 33:14 – ‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’

Now I am sure we would not be envious of the task God asked Moses to carry out. To go back to his place of failure in Egypt, face Pharaoh and bring God’s people out of captivity! It was because God knew the enormity and difficulty of the task that He spoke this promise to Moses.

I have three little thoughts of encouragement to suggest. God’s word is –

A Personal Promise My presence’
(i) Personal in its source
In Romans chapter 1, the apostle Paul lists the many ways in which sin has impacted on humanity and included in the list, he uses this phrase ‘break their promises.’

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