Psalm 42:1-5 – “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

In this season of Thanksgiving; I must admit my mind walks a thin line between rejoicing and sorrow. I have so much to be thankful for and I see so much hurt in the lives others.

I recently read a quote from Helen Keller: “so much has been given me that I have no time to ponder that which I don’t have.”

During this season of Thanksgiving I’ve been reading articles of others, which many are presented in list form. Such as: 

“3 ways to show Thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father”

“11 Ways to show your thanks.”

“25 ideas on how to show gratitude during Thanksgiving.”

There is an on-going list for those who are seeking.

Our opening Scripture begins with some key points — “As the deer pants” and “so my soul pants for God.”

So, naturally I am compelled to seek the Scripture for my list as my soul pants for Godly direction and encouragement. The New Testament mentions Cyprus an island in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Acts 4:36 – “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement).”

This puts this guy at the top of my list!

Can you imagine your name and your occupations known and 10 being nicknamed Barnabas — Son of Encouragement?

In general the book of Acts presents Barnabas as a model of integrity and character. Calling him a good man (Acts 11:24), a prophet and teacher (Acts 13:1), an apostle (Acts 14:14), and one God worked miracles through (Acts 15:12).

I find the list of this sort far more useful to me. Did I mention the list goes on?

Barnabas saw the godly change in Saul when others weren’t eager to accept him. He saw the potential of John Mark, who became a companion of Paul and later wrote the Gospel of Mark.

The influence of this one man, Joseph, from an island in the middle of nowhere, wow!

Not only making a difference when and where he was at but that godly influence of encouragement has reached you and me.

Perhaps we could ask ourselves; What would be our Biblical nickname? 

In 1989, Jamie Tinkleberg read a book and was inspired to coin the phrase “WWJD?” “What Would Jesus Do?”

I realize that burned hot through the church as a way to guide and remind our youth and ourselves to make moral decisions, but personally I prefer “DWJD” “Do What Jesus Did!”

In the Gospel of John 13:14-17 Jesus says; “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. NOW, that you these things you will be blessed if you do them.”

May each of us be so blessed with a full and grateful heart to carry us on and through the Christmas season of “Peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind.”

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