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You’ll Get a Kick Out of This

“A merry heart does good, like medicine ….”  Proverbs 17: 22

All the problems in the world compounded by our personal ones creates a time needing a merry heart. Can I get a witness?

According to the Mayo Clinic laughter is a powerful form of stress relief which works in a number of different ways, including increasing endorphins released by the brain; decreasing your stress response; and alleviating tension.

Without knowing all of the capacities and work of the pituitary and hypothalamus and everything else, Solomon, under the power of the Holy Spirit, made an observation that a merry heart is good like a medicine. It is needed because our bodies are under a biochemical onslaught. It is not coming from a toxic waste dump. Or is it? If so, it is coming from an internal one known as the mind. This biochemical rush suppresses the immune system to various infections and diseases.

A merry heart plays a key role in good health and longevity. It can positively affect diseases and conditions as diverse as high blood pressure, flu, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. It raises the spirits, invigorates the body, and fits it for service and business. It can even help you live longer!

A heart full of spiritual joy, a peaceful conscience, a rejoicing in Christ Jesus and His righteousness, and in hope of the glory of God,  affect even the outward person.

Plan how you can cultivate a heart that is more merry. What will you read, view, listen to, and the people you will associate with? Import humor, and enjoy it. Prayerfully work at it.

Health is no laughing matter, but it does matter if you laugh. Laughter is nature’s health.

Emulate God. He laughed: “He who sits in heaven laughs.” ( If you doubt that just look in the mirror).

The book of averages states the average American laughs 15 times a day. How are you doing? Why not upgrade your average?

All this sounds complex. It isn’t. Dr. Seuss had it right, from there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.” Look for them. 

Feed your mind on Scripture passages that lift your spirit. Make it a point to systematically memorize some of these and repeat them often to yourself. Nothing can make a person more cheerful than knowing they live with God’s grace, love, and compassion.

Here is the big bonus of a merry heart: “The gladness of the heart is the life of man, and the joyfulness of a man prolongs his days.”  (Ecclesiastes 30: 22)

The Victory Is Near

In March 1915, during World War I (1914-18), British and French forces launched a naval attack on Turkish forces in the Dardanelles in northwestern Turkey, hoping to take control of the strategically vital strait separating Europe from Asia.

As the only waterway between the Black Sea in the east and the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the Dardanelles was a much-contested area from the beginning of World War I. 

A climatic battle between the Turkish land forces and the British sea forces raged at great cause to both sides. The British commander of the fleet concluded it was futile to continue the combat and sailed away. He did so not realizing the Turkish land force had only minutes of ammunition remaining which would have resulted in a British victory.

Have you ever had a personal conflict in one or more ways? It may have seemed to continue to resist your opposition would be costly for you and you were inclined to no longer resist your opposition.

It may be a temptation to end your resistance to sexual allurement. Compromise seemed to be reasonable and you were tempted to no longer resist.

It may have been an appeal to avoid a shady financial situation and you have been successful, but have grown weary and tempted to compromise.

It may be your combat is with the world regarding any one of many moral issues.

Pause now and identify an issue in your life on which you have stood strong knowing there was much to be gained. However, the efforts have become draining and you are feeling the costs of resistance to be too great. It would be easier to go along to get along. To do so is to lose the victory that could be yours. 

Your victory may be closer than you realize. Continue the fray.

Here is your battle strategy: “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints….” (Ephesians 6:13-18) Analyze that for application.

There is strength and victory to be gained by the struggle even if it is lifelong: “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:3)

Time Flies

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” I Corinthians 13:11 

On a large town hall clock in Switzerland are these words ornately carved:
“When I was a child I laughed and wept,
Time crept.
When as a youth, I dreamed and talked,
Time walked.
When I became a full grown man,        
Time ran.
When older still I grew,
Time flew.
Soon I shall find in traveling on,
Time gone.”

Each of us is in one of those groups, and rapidly moving to the next. Each day we do well to write on our heart that today will be the best day of our life. So don’t rush by today to get to tomorrow. Do not anticipate some future event so that you waste today’s world. Likewise, don’t be like a peacock whose glory is behind. Conversely, a past tense life is to never move into today’s world.

Nearly 5,000 years ago it was written in the ancient language of Sanskrit this tribute to time: “Look well to this day, for it and it alone is life. In the brief course of this one day lie all the verities and realities of your existence; the pride of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty. Yesterday is only a dream and tomorrow is but a vision. Yet, each day, well lived, makes each yesterday a dream of happiness and each tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this one day, for it and it alone is life.”

These words have long been known, but learned by few.

An old bromide known by most from youth is: “Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today.” It might be added, you might enjoy it so much you will want to do it again tomorrow.

Philip Dormer Stanhope, the Earl of Chesterfield, originally stated it: “Know the true value of time. Snatch it, seize it, enjoy every second of it. No laziness, no idleness, no procrastination; never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

A current poster reads: “Today is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God.” 

His gifts are always good. Make sure your gifts to Him is good for something.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90: 12)

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” (Ephesians 5: 15, 16)

Absolutely

“Whatever!” is the mantra of the moment.

It is a synonym for relativism, a byword for “anything goes,” and a revelation that situational ethics have made great advances. It makes for an uncertain society.

A “whatever” mentality means vague is vogue.

It is a word used extensively in our current culture. It shows indifference, a lack of understanding and commitment. Unfortunately a person or society that stands for nothing will fall for anything. That is the point to which many have come, so many it defines our society. How about you?

The Barna Research Group ascertained the following facts as a revelation that this is a “Whatever!” culture.

* Three-fourths of all adults believe “there is no such thing as absolute truth. Two people can define truth in conflicting ways and both be correct according to this concept.” This is contrary to the long held belief that when there are two polar positions on the same issue one is wrong. 

* More than 70% of American adults agree that there are no absolute standards which apply to everyone. This means when it comes to morals and ethics, what is right and wrong, there are no absolute standards that apply to everyone in all situations.

Understanding breaks down when people don’t have the same system of values. In a whatever world every person is a system of law unto self. It creates a wonderful world of “ME.”

The act of believing is important. The object of belief is even more important.

“There are no absolutes,” assert relativists.  First of all, the relativist is declaring there are absolutely no absolutes. That is an absolute statement. The statement is logically contradictory. 

Absolute truth exists in the worlds of science and math. It is a fact that cannot be changed. For example, there are no round squares. There are also no square circles. The angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees. Doesn’t God have the right to determine all truth if He has done so, so obviously in the sciences?

A follower of Jesus sets Him and His teaching as their standard for truth. Following should be this commitment to Him, “I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.” (Psalm 119:30) 

Then further pray, “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” (Psalm 25:5)

Do so with the resolution of Martin Luther who when on trial for his faith declared, “Here I stand, I can do naught else.”

Pray about it now.

All This for You

There is found in the story of one oil painting the truth of the application of the love of Calvary to all persons.

The artist, Sternburg, who lived in Dusseldorf in Prussia, was commissioned to paint the crucifixion. He knew the story of the crucifixion by heart but was not a believer. One spring morning he was walking in the forest near his city when he met a gypsy girl making straw baskets. She was lovely. He enlisted her to be a model for another painting he was doing of a dancing girl. She was asked to come three times a week. As she posed, her searching eyes found the painting of the crucifixion. “Who is that she asked?” Sternburg: “The Christ.” “What is being done to Him?” Sternburg, “They are crucifying Him.” “Who are those people with the angry faces?” Sternburg, “Now look here! I cannot talk. You have nothing to do but stand as I tell you.” Days later she asked, “Why did they crucify Him? Was he bad, very bad?” Sternburg, “Listen, and I will tell you once and for all. Then no more questions.” He told her the story of the cross. It moved her to tears.

Finally, her last day came. She stood motionless but emotionally before the painting and said to Sternburg, “You must love Him very much when he has done all that for you?” “All that for you” rang through his mind for days. He knew he did not love Jesus. Sometime later he was saved. Out of gratitude he sought to express his love through finishing the painting of the crucifixion. It was soon hung in the great museum in Dusseldorf. Underneath the inscription: “All this I did for thee; What hast thou done for Me?”

One day Sternburg visited the gallery and saw a lovely girl standing before the painting weeping. It was Pepita. They greeted and she said, “O Master! If he had but loved me so!” The new Sternburg told her of Jesus’ love for her. In near unbelief and with deep gratitude she accepted Jesus as Savior.

Some years later the painting was visited by the wealthy young nobleman, Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf. This young aristocrat was trained for a diplomatic career in the Court of Dresden. On a trip to Paris he stopped in Dusseldorf to rest his horses. While there he visited the art gallery. He noted the painting of Sternburg and was struck by it. He stood paused to read the inscription: “All this I did for thee; What has thou done for me?” His eyes met those of the thorn-crowned Jesus. He could find no answer to that question that satisfied his mind. Hours passed, the light faded; time came for the gallery to close. It was night when he left the gallery, but a new day had dawned in his experience. From that day all that he had was placed at the cross of Jesus – his wealth, fame, heart and life. He declared, “I have but one passion. It is Jesus, Jesus only.” Jesus became his life’s passion.

You who have previously trusted Him pause and express your love to Him

You who have never done so are urged to do so now.