So from the title of this post you might be thinking I have lost my mind! Well, you would be about 75% right on that one! I'm a stay at home mom of an almost 6 and 3 year old, anything is possible!
I am currently enjoying a Beth Moore bible study on the life of Paul, To Live is Christ. It is so awesome. I knew the basics of Paul's story, a dedicated Jewish scholar whose mission in life, as Saul, was persecuting Christians. And then that walk (to arrest more followers of the WAY), on that road (to Damascus), and that light (Jesus) changed a man ON a mission to a servant of THE mission. (Acts 9~read it if you haven't). It's quite remarkable, really. Anyway, God arranged it so that Paul would rarely travel alone as the first recorded missionary of The Word and very soon crossed his path with a man named Barnabas. The name Barnabas meant, son of encouragement. And don't you think Paul of all people would need some encouragement considering the task ahead? Acts 11 introduces Barnabas to Paul's ministry...again read it if you haven't! The bible says that Barnabas "encouraged believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith." Acts 11:23-24. He was a man that stood beside another brother when no one else would. That takes courage, doesn't it? To put your neck on the line so someone else doesn't have to stand alone.
That brings us to Billy Blanks, don't give up just hang with me here. I have been spending a lot of time doing an awesome cardio kickboxing routine with Mr. Blanks recently. I am so inspired by his way of motivating and encouraging me to keep moving and not to quit when my mind says I'm done. He is always embedding things into his instruction like, "everyone has joy within, and it's by finding that joy that you will also find the strength to persevere." My favorite thing Billy Blanks says is, "You can choose to smile even when you're walking through the fire" And let me tell you on more than one occasion I feel like my thighs are in that fire!
So, while doing my round-house kicks and speed bag arms I began to think of Barnabas as Paul's personal Billy Blanks! Seriously, Paul was imprisoned, beaten within an inch of his life, and abused more than a few times. Yet, he persevered. Barnabas encouraged him to press on with the Lord's work and encouraged those who heard the Gospels to remain true to the Lord. Paul walked through his share of fires, and found joy in his suffering for the Lord! And as Beth Moore writes, Paul made plans to share the Word with the nations, but didn't hold on too tightly to them in case God wanted to redirect his paths.
That was a light bulb to me! An Ah-ha moment if you will. How often do I hold so tightly to the plans I have made that I squeeze out any possibility of God directing my path according to His will? And when was the last time I found joy in suffering or smiled while walking through the fire?? A challenge to pursue, sweet friends!
One final thought: I can't help but wonder how awesome it would have been for Paul, Barnabas AND Billy Blanks to "fire-up" those God-less cities!! Can't you just picture it? Paul sharing the Gospel, Barnabas cheering Paul on and loving on the new believers and in comes Billy Blanks saying, "SHOW ME THE JOY PEOPLE!"....makes me giggle!