Monday, May 20, 2013


"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe" -Prov. 18:10 Encouragement is a powerful tool. It literally means, "to do what is necessary to bring courage to another." If we encourage, we're building someone up and enabling them to face the difficulties of life. We are at our best when we're encouraging one another. God loves to encourage His people in a variety of ways. Having been out of town the week before, my counseling schedule for the week was packed. I was in the last session late Thursday and my brain was pretty fried. As always, I was finishing the week super impressed with everyone I had met with that week: honest, vulnerable and willing to work on their issues. As my last session was ending, I heard what I thought was music. Perhaps it was just music coming from a car in the parking lot. I prayed with the client, said goodbye and began to close down my office for the day when I heard the music again. As I opened the door to my office, the music grew louder. It was blue grass, which I love! The banjo, fiddle, bass and guitar blended into a beautiful melody of music. As I walked down the hallway, it became apparent to me that it was live. I walked downstairs to Fellowship Hall and as I turned the corner, I froze as the bluegrass band played their music. The Hall was packed with people as the band played. It was a group of musicians playing for a church function. They were so good and I thought I recognized the mandolin player on the left. As they began to discuss the Andy Griffith Show, I figured it out. It was Dean Webb, one of the original Darlings that appeared on the Show back in the 60's (far left in the photo). They began to discuss Dean's experience on the show and how much he enjoyed his time there. The Andy Griffith Show just happens to be my favorite and has to be the most popular show in the history of television. After all, fifty years later, episodes are still being shown on multiple channels. Then something magic happened. The band announced that they would play two songs that the Darlings played on the show: "Doug's tune" and "Dooley". I could not believe it! I smiled as I sang along with their music. It was exactly what I needed at the end of a difficult week. God always provides what we need. He is an encouragement machine. He always provides just what we need at just the time when we need it. In the life of the Apostle Paul, he provided Ananias after Paul was blinded in Acts 9 and, in Acts 27, an angel appeared to encourage him when his boat was sinking. Encouragement comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Certainly, God provides encouragement 24/7 via the Holy Spirit. God provides His Word, the Bible, to bring us encouragement. Prayer links us into God's Spirit. And brothers and sisters around us build us up during difficult times. God can use anything at anytime to build us up. He is not bound by any limitation. So, the next time you're feeling tired, down or defeated, be sure your eyes are open to God's method of encouragement. There is a condition: we have to be willing to let God crash our pity party and brighten our day. We have to be willing to step back out of ourselves and accept His tools to build us up. If we're willing to follow the sound of the music, it just might lead us to a place of encouragement. And back to Mayberry as well. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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