Part 2: Edged Out?
The rest of the story follows, but first let’s take a look back to the start of Barney’s tale . . . [Click here for Part 1]
Barney, along with Paul the apostle, were good missionary-mates all through their dangerous and successful first outreach to Cyprus and Turkey. Upon re-entry to a more-friendly environment, they gave a good report to their sending church in Antioch.
After some times of refreshing, one day Paul said to Barney, “Let’s go back and see how all those new converts in Turkey are doing,” and Barney agreed wholeheartedly. But their missionary-mateship was about to come apart.
Barney wanted to give young John Mark another chance by taking him along again. Paul put his foot down with a resounding, “No way! He went AWOL on us last time, and that’s it for him!” So they went their separate ways, Barney taking his young cousin back to Cyprus, while Paul recruited a man named Silas to go with him. They journeyed through Turkey, strengthening the churches as far as Troas (about 100 miles southwest of today’s Istanbul).
We hardly hear mention of Barney again. He disappears from the story and you’d think that Paul has totally cut him off, all because of John Mark. Imagine what might have happened had Barney also rejected the young man: maybe no Gospel of Mark?
Barney was a patient mentor and encourager.
Then a most intriguing thing happened. Paul and Silas and their growing team (Timothy and others had joined them), felt they were to head back east through Northern Turkey and into Asia. But Paul had a vision that he was being invited over to Macedonia, just north of Greece—which is the southeastern corner of Europe. At this point we meet Dr Luke, who we discover, has become part of the team and is in the process of writing the book of The Acts of the Apostles. (And of course, he also wrote the Gospel of Luke.)
So, Dr Luke wrote all that we know about our friend Barney, right back to the days of the early church in Jerusalem. But how did he get the story of those happier days when Barney was still with Paul? Who else but from Paul himself who knew him best? And after Paul split from Barney when heading out from Antioch, you’d think Paul might have cut Barney out of his rightful part in their early days together. But no, he held nothing back as he told Dr Luke the story.
Even though Barney seems to have been ignored by Paul through the remainder of the book of Acts, there’s a happy note in the end because there must have been a reconciliation; Paul later writes and commends John Mark (the former deserter), to the Colossian church, and to his friends Timothy and Philemon. And remember, John Mark was Barney’s nephew.
Before I started to understand the story behind the story of Paul and Barney, I’d always felt like Paul was a bit of a dominating bully. Perhaps any of us can tend to judge people and their motives by what we see on the surface. If we dig deeper and discover true truth, we can avoid a lot of nasty misunderstandings and broken relationships.
(And speaking of True Truth, we’ll get more into that hot topic of today in a future eTouch . . . as TIME Magazine asked on a recent cover, “Is Truth Dead?”)
So, even though one might think that Paul and Barney marched into Heaven in a state of unresolved conflict, they didn’t. Which pointedly says to us . . .
“Resolve all relational conflicts in this life, insofar as you can. Forgiveness—giving it or asking for it—is the key. Both require humility.” And Barney was a humble man.
True giving and forgiving have this in common: the gift should be forgotten; but the offense may always remain in one’s memory. And should never be disscussed again.
A law that permits abortion presupposes that, “Life somehow gains value as it matures.” This leaves open the question, “Does life lose value as it ages?”
“Authority is the sum total of who you are—not what you say.”
May the Words of My Mouth . . .
Do you ever wake up in the morning with worship or a song on your heart? Peter asked me today if I’d you thought about my ‘word’ for eTouch yet. Right away the song in my heart was Psalm 19:14:
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
I thank God for David and Dale Garratt who put so much scripture to music. The songs come back over and over again, because they are in my heart. I still listen to them and sing them in our car. If you have children, I encourage you to teach them scriptures in song, because when they get old, they’ll still be remembered. It’s the application of those scriptures that I have to keep being reminded of.
What we are thinking, or thoughts that are in our hearts, often come out of our mouths. We can be still and respond to God and slow to speak; or we can react, causing arguments and pain.
“My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding.” [Psalm 49:3] Dear Job said, “My words come from an upright heart; my lips speak sincerely what I know.” [Job 33:3]
The enemy twists our words. [Psalm 56:5] He uses people with seductive and persuasive words to lead others in the wrong way. Read the book of Proverbs.
We can be ensnared with the words of our mouths or trapped by what we said. [Prov 6:2]
Are our words like a blustering wind? Have you ever been with someone whose words confuse, and it is so difficult to hear that small whisper of God’s voice so you can respond? “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” [Prov 10:19]
“A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. Gracious or pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and healing to the bones.” [Prov 16:23-24] and . . .
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” [Prov 12:18]
The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.” [Eccl 10:12]
“Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious . . .“ [Prov 16:21]
The Holy Spirit teaches us what to say and what questions to ask—when, where and to whom. Keep listening to God, through the Word and by the Spirit. [1Cor 2:13]
If you would like to, join with me in praying,
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you Lord, and may they bring hope, healing and not confusion. I pray that I will be a wise woman or man, who speaks few words, but words that people will want to hear, and that come from Your heart. Help me to remember the power of prayer. The prayers of righteous sons and daughters are powerful and effective. Amen.”
Finally, as Paul prayed, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” [2 Cor 13:14]
Love and Blessings,
inTouch Camps in Europe this Summer
July 9-15: Restenäs, Sweden
Click here for a Link to the Restenas Camp
July 16-22: Prod, Romania
July 29-Aug 4: Champagne, France
The speaker at all Camps will be Stefaan Hugo, YWAM Facilitator for Southern Africa.
Check here for updates and more information!
Oct 18-21: Singapore, with Dr Bruce Thompson
Click here to email for more information
Stock in Trade
What’s your ‘stock-in-trade’?
I suppose mine is words—organizing a bunch of them in some sort of order that makes sense . . . and then trusting that those words will be read by others so as to interest them, motivate them, make them think (and sometimes to give them a good laugh). I love writing.
A little quote is scotch-taped at eye-level above my desk:
“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.” Eugene Ionesco.
Over time, the meanings of words can change—sometimes for good, sometimes not. For example, here’s a couple that have morphed into new meanings over the past century . . .
A shortened form of ‘acute’: keenly perceptive and shrewd.
Today: pretty, charming and dainty.
Sowing seeds with a sweeping movement of the hand; a ‘broad cast.’
Today: spreading the news (fake or true!).
Many other words change because social standards change—often for the worse. And these social standards change for a number of reasons: some are driven by aggressive, in-your-face agendas that are directly ‘anti-everything-we-hold-dear’ biblical principles, that clearly show us how to live. And how not to live.
I am making a list of these words, and frankly I don’t know whether to publish them or not. In many cases, our Christian social standards have been so compromised, that I would simply be raising some folks’ hackles.
Here are a couple of lighter ‘word-morphs’:
iFirst A new website listing all the reasons that I should be ahead of everyone else.
VIRAL It seems like there is a rash of new viruses around these days. I often read about someone who has ‘gone viral.’ They must be pretty sick.
eTouch is designed to encourage us in our daily walk, not to be controversial. As Donna would say, “What do you think?”
Till next time,
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