Laughter Is Good For Your Health

Health is no laughing matter, but it does help if you laugh.
In proverbial wisdom even God is depicted as laughing, “He who sits in the heavens laughs.” If you doubt that look in the mirror. If He laughs so ought we who are created in His image.

The book of “American Averages” notes the average American laughs 15 times a day. Are you up to average?

Laughter is good medicine; it is therapeutic. Clinical studies confirms this. Laughter releases tension and enables persons to better face life.

Stress-sensitive persons as well as somber persons daily release a flush of biochemicals comparable to those released during a major threat. These chemicals suppress the immune system to infectious diseases, according to psychological research.

Laughter is nature’s doctor. A positive jovial spirit releases health inducing pain killers and “feel good” endorphins and enkephalins into the system. These morphine-like substances caused by the brain to be secreted act as a natural anesthesia and relaxant. Persons feel at their highest state of well-being when they are at work. They provide a natural high.

Four hundred years ago, in his “Anatomy of Melancholy,” Robert Burton cited authorities who said, “humor purges the blood, making the body lively and fit for any manner or employment.”

Dr. William Fry of Stanford University wrote, “Laughter causes the muscles in the abdomen, chest, and shoulders to contract, the heart rate and pulse to increase, and you have stationary jogging.”

Immanual Kant (1724-1804) was sensitive to this as evidenced by his comment of laughter, “It is a good way to jog internally without going outdoors.” Kant also concluded he had never known a person who “possessed the gift of hearty laughter to be burdened with constipation.”

Dr. Henri de Mondeville, a great medieval professor of surgery, was ahead of his time when he suggested in the 13th century that post-surgery recovery should include relatives and friends cheering the patient and having someone tell jokes.

Solomon the wise clued us in to this a long time ago when he wrote, “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” Are you taking your medicine? Are you helping others take theirs?

Work at creating a healthy humorous environment. Look for it. Remember the wisdom of Dr. Seuss: “from there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.”

As a test of your funny bone consider this. A couple that had a reputation for harmony and happiness were privately often at war with one another. Not wanting to ruin their public image the wife said, “Since we don’t believe in divorce let’s just pray one of us will die — and I will go live with my sister.”

In this and every way I want to be more like the God “who sits in the heavens and laughs.”

The Koran On Jesus

The topic is what does the Koran teach about Jesus and those who follow Him. It is not what do Muslims believe about the subjects. That is too subjective. This is an objective review of what the Muslim holy book teaches on the topics.
Muslims believe the angel Gabriel revealed the Koran, meaning a recitation, to Mohammed starting around 610 AD and ending with his death in 632 AD.

The Koran, or is often spelled Qur’an, is divided into segments known as Surahs. Surah 5 is the source for most of these insights: Surah 5: v. 5, vv. 44-86. Herein contrasts are made between the Bible and the Qur’an, Jews and Christians with Muslims, and Jesus with Muhammad. The Bible, Jews and Christians, and the Christian view of Jesus are debunked and the Qur’an, Muslims, and Muhammad are elevated.

Muslims profess the Qur’an contains the ultimate truth and is protected by God from error.

It forbids Muslims from being friends with Christians (v. 54) and states only those Christians who covert to Islam can be trusted (vv. 52-56). Those who reject Islam and the Qur’an are akin to those who experience the wrath of God (v. 60). Those who experience this wrath of God are turned into apes and pigs by God (v. 63).

THE DENIAL OF THE TRINITY – Surah 5: 72 – 77
The Qur’an is a bit confusing regarding the members of the Trinity but clearly implies the members are the Father, Mother (Mary), and Son. It is recorded those who believe in the Trinity will experience great torture if they do not reject such blasphemy (vv. 73b-74).

References in the Bible to the Holy Spirit are said to refer to Gabriel or to purity from sin; the spirit of the holy.

THE DEITY OF JESUS – Surah 5: 75 & 77
Mary is depicted as a righteous woman whose son was only an apostle in a series of apostles.

Jesus as the Incarnate God is said to be an impossible evil.

The Deity of Jesus is completely rejected (Surah 5: 116-120). Grace as revealed by the redemptive work of Christ is discredited.

In contradiction of this the Bible says of Christ “in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).

The position of “in Christ” in the sentence is emphatic meaning in Christ alone the fullness dwells. It is present tense denoting continuous action.

In Christ the “fullness,” PLEROMA, permanently dwells. The fullness of the Godhead, THEOTETOS, Divinity, dwells in Christ. Theotetos means not just divine attributes but the very essence of God, the totality of who God is, His supreme Nature. Bottom line: Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, God incarnate. His eternal pre-creation God Nature was manifested “bodily.”

II Corinthians 4:4 records: “Christ, who is the image of God…”
With reference to His relationship with God the Father it is said, “…who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person…” (Hebrews 1:3.)

ISLAM – Surah 5: 3
Islam is said to be the only true religion and the only one approved by God. Muhammad is said to be the last prophet and the revealer of the ultimate untainted truth.

Surah 3: 85 asserts, “if anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).

It is said the true Bible which reveals the message of the Qur’an does not exist today and the present version has been corrupted by Jews and Christians. The corruptions are said to have been corrected by the Qur’an.

All prophets before Muhammad are said to have preached Islam and were Muslims: Abraham and Ishmael (22:78), the twelve tribes of Israel (2:133), the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac ( 2:128), the prophets between Moses and Jesus (5:44), Jesus Himself (3:52), and His disciples (5:108).

“Those who deny Allah and His messengers, saying, “We believe in some but reject others’: and (those who) wish to take a course midway — they are in truth (equally) unbelievers; and We have prepared for unbelievers a humiliating punishment.”

To reach such beliefs Islam has to deny the reality of history and rewrite it to support their premises.

Islam is a religion of works that has no tolerance for the idea of grace. It revolves around works and human merit. People are accountable for constantly having to endeavor to please Allah in their own energy. Those who do not are to be severely punished in eternity. Even some who do strive to earn and merit the favor of Allah are rejected.

Under “Price Tags” read “The Deity of Jesus Christ”

There are several additional articles on Islam, the Quar’an, and Jihad under “Price Tags.”

The Koran

Mohammed Ali has said there are 3,333 errors in the Bible. I have studied form criticism, textual criticism, and higher criticism and have not found those errors. I have found alleged errors but no actual errors. Some people like to take the more difficult parts which they do not understand and call them errors.

The point is the Bible has been subjected to every form of criticism and survived. It has been the best seller for over 300 years and has been translated into 2,123 dialects. Nine out of every ten Americans own a Bible.

Have you ever heard of a scholarly objective analysis of the Koran? If Christians are to have their Holy Book questioned surely no Muslim would oppose having the Koran investigated.

However, John Wansbrough of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London said that subjecting the Koran to “instruments and techniques of Biblical criticism are virtually unknown.”

The Angel Gabriel is said to have told Muhammad: “This book is not to be questioned.” Recently “The New York Times” raised questions about the veil of obscurity related to the Koran. Questioning it hasn’t been a popular thing to do. The Arab scholar, Suliman Bashear, argued that Islam developed over time as a religion rather than emerging suddenly. His students in the University of Nablus threw him out the window as a result. Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” resulted in a fatwa because it was thought to mock Muhammad. Naguib Mahfouz was stabbed because his works were said to be irreligious.

Writing under a pseudo-name, Christopher Luxenberg, a scholar of ancient Semitic languages argues the Koran has been mistranslated and misread. His work involving the analysis of the earliest copies of the Koran led him to the conclusion that parts of the Koran came from preexisting Aramaic texts. These he states were misinterpreted by later Islamic scholars who composed the Koran now circulated.

The classic example of this relates to the virgins supposedly awaiting loyal Muslim martyrs. Rather than maidens he observes the original text said they are “white raisins” of crystal clarity.

Semitic scholars agree there was no evidence of the Koran until 691 AD, 59 years after the death of Muhammad. Much of what is known of Muhammad is based on texts that were written 300 years after his death. Wansbrough asserts the text of the Koran now used appears to have been a composite of different texts complied over perhaps hundreds of years. It appears to academicians to have continued to evolve until the last of the seventh century.

There are numerous volumes addressing alleged discrepancies in the Holy Bible. Persons with questions regarding such would benefit from visiting a bookstore and invest in a good one.

Of the Bible George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern without God and the Bible.”

Andrew Jackson observed, “That Book, sir, is the rock on which our republic rests.”

If it is so fundamental to our society we would do well to read it. 135 million Americans say they are occasional readers of the Bible.

The Joy Of Giving Without Receiving

The late great coach Bobby Dodd delighted to tell of his playing days at Tennessee. He said he tried for the longest to get his granddad to come to a game. Finally he did. Before the game even started a bunch of pretty young girls came out in short skirts and started jumping up and down yelling, “Volunteers.”

He said his granddad got up and went down to volunteer for what ever it was they wanted them for.

The spirit of volunteerism is a vital part of our culture. My wife has served as a volunteer at WelStar Hospital for well over 25 years. For her it is fulfilling and rewarding. I admire her discipline and devotion to the service.

Recently an amazed employee asked over and over, “You mean you do this and don’t get paid for it?” Working for pay is an essential and admirable. However, the idea of working without pay can’t be comprehended by some. To such persons what you get out of work is money. To a volunteer the reward is intrinsic. You can’t put a monetary value on it.
Persons have to work for pay in order to make a living. A good work ethic combined with a job well done for which a person is compensated is fulfilling.

However, doing something additionally and expecting nothing in return is very satisfying and gratifying. It’s an upper. I have a couple of such outlets and work as hard at them as for a salary.

I was fortunate in that I worked for 32 years without knowing what my compensation was. My employer related to my wife and the compensation went through her competent hands. I did that because I wanted to be able to do what I did for the joy of doing it and not for what I got for doing it. That is not for everyone but being able to do it made working all the more rewarding.

The last year for which statics were available it was reported that 93 million Americans rendered volunteer service to their community. They gave an average of 4.2 hours per week. That totaled 20.3 billion hours of formal and informal volunteer service. Based on the minimum wage that was $201 billion.

What can’t be measured is the good done in impacting lives.

Many organizations could not operate without volunteers. The human resource base enables services to be performed that otherwise could not be. Churches, hospitals, and many other institutions benefit form the spirit of wonderful volunteers. Not only on behalf of these organizations do I want to make this unsolicited appeal for volunteers but also for the welfare of those who might volunteer. It is more blessed to give than to receive. We all know what a blessing it is to receive. The statement doesn’t imply it isn’t good to receive. Knowing how good it is to receive and being aware it is more fulfilling to give should motivate us to want to try giving of ourselves.

Albert Sweitzer said, “The only ones among us who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

There is a line from a spiritual song that sums up this principle: “It is in giving that we receive.”

Find a need and volunteer to help meet it.

John Walker Is No Nathan Hale

Nathan Hale made a fateful decision. As a member of the army of General George Washington he responded to the request of the general and volunteered to infiltrate the British lines for recognizance purposes. Upon returning he was captured by the British and ordered to be hanged the next day.

As a youth he was tutored for college by Reverend Joseph Huntington, a student of the classics. In 1769 he entered Yale where he distinguished himself as an athlete and scholar. His executioner, Major Cunningham, denied his request for a Bible and destroyed a letter he wrote. He was allow a last statement. It must have impressed the British for it is emblazoned on the pages of legendary commitment.

Facing the gallows at a place not far from where the World Trade Center recently stood he said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Nathan Hale was only 21 years old. Was his a responsible act? He, his family, fellow patriots, his comrades in arms, and history have vindicated his conduct as heroic. No one questions his judgment in enlisting in the colonial army. No one questioned his willful courage in capturing a supply loaded vessel under the guns of the British warships. For his bravery he won a place in the small fighting group known then and now as the Rangers.

This 21 year old acted responsibly and assumed accountability for his actions. Fast forward 225 years and note the conduct of a 20 year old American named John Walker. With pride his mother commented when he willfully left his native America to align himself with an alien ideology that it was “good for a child to find a passion.”

The brand of Islam he chose is even alien to Islam. He knowingly enlisted in Al Qaeda a foreign fighting force. His dad noted he was “proud of John for pursuing an alternative course.” Every course on which they had ever directed him was alternative. Their lifestyle in the 60s was itself alternative. They sent him to the elite alternative Tamiscal High School.

There students determined their own course of study and saw a teacher only once a week. He was considered old enough and his judgment mature enough to make such decisions. When at age 16 he decided to drop out of school they deemed it his choice and endorsed it. His move to a Third Word oligarchy on the other side of the world was financed by his parents who considered him responsible enough to make such a decision.

Only now that he is called upon to give an account for his actions do his parents consider him an unaccountable youth who should not be deemed culpable. Is there a defining line between age 20 and 21 that determines when one is accountable? Is it that we live in a different era and that is the deciding issue?

In our judicial system youth are considered adults at an even younger age. In demanding he be held accountable for his own actions we should weigh the consequences of our actions. Parents should aspire to develop youth with the character of Nathan Hale.