Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Overflow of a cheerful heart? A Smile!


Proverbs 15:13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. 


Even when facing very difficult circumstances, you can have a joyful and happy heart (15:13)! The benefits will appear on your face, but also on the faces of others as your joy lifts their spirits. I just got off of the phone with a friend of mine whose daughter is in dire need of a miracle. Her liver has shut down, and she is very sick. Yet, he had a joyful heart as I talked with him. He spoke of God's goodness and faithfulness, regardless what happened. He had a joyful, cheerful heart, even in the midst of sadness. That is something you can't work up, or fake.

Heartache not only makes for sad faces, but it crushes the spirit. God is not commanding happiness, for He knows there are times for sobriety (see Ecclesiastes 3:4). The call to joyfulness here in Proverbs is a call to the behavior which makes one happy and avoids heartache, and a reminder that our attitudes are contagious (Prov. 15:13).


Several years ago, there appeared in the newspapers the story of a little boy who had come in contact with a live wire that had been allowed to be unguarded. It touched one side of his face, burning and paralyzing it. 
In court the boy’s lawyer asked the little fellow to turn toward the jury and smile. He tried. One side of his face smiled, but the injured side puckered up in a hideous and pitiful contortion. The jury took just twenty minutes to award the boy twenty thousand dollars. That was certified as the legal value of a smile. 

David H. Fink, author of Release From Nervous Tension, wrote an article for the Coronet Magazine, in which he made a striking suggestion as to how we can overcome mental and emotional tensions. 

As a psychiatrist for the Veterans Administration he was familiar with 10,000 case histories in this field. Thousands of people, who were mentally and emotionally “tied up” had asked Dr. Fink for some short, magic-button cure for nervousness. In his search for such a cure he studied two groups; the first group was made up of thousands of people who were suffering from mental and emotional disturbances; the second group contained only those, thousands of them, who were free from such tensions. 

Gradually one fact began to stand out: those who suffered from extreme tension had one trait in common—they were habitual faultfinders, constant critics of people and things around them. Whereas the men and women who were free of all tensions were the least faultfinding. It would seem that the habit of criticizing is a prelude or mark of the nervous, and of the mentally unbalanced. 

Think of Billy Graham as he preaches. Hundreds of thousands of people who are otherwise hostile to the gospel still watch him on television or attend his crusades because they see in him a conviction and a passion. Even if they do not believe his message, many still listen because they know he believes it. His open gestures and his gentle and fatherly smile are convincing evidence that his message is genuine. No one—kings, presidents, or peasants—feels threatened by Billy Graham, even if they reject his message. Graham makes certain that his manner never gets in the way of his message, but enhances it!

Everyone knows how to smile. It's one of the greatest gifts God has given us. A smile makes people feel good, and people look so beautiful when they smile. When the joy in your life is obvious, it rubs off on others. But when you keep God's joy locked inside you and don't allow it to show on your face, you're depriving those around you of a pleasant and refreshing experience.

Most people really don't understand how expressing joy will change their circumstances and, perhaps, the lives of others. Living your life with the joy of the Lord will chase off negative, depressing circumstances. And when we have His joy deep down inside of us, we can't help but put it on display by smiling!


"Lord, I want to allow Your joy to saturate my inner man, and when it does, it will affect my outer man. Help me to smile, and allow your joy to bring cheer to those who come in contact with me. You already have so many sour, critical, cynical children, so they have that side covered. I want to be on the other side of the spectrum and have a cheerful, joyful, attitude of gratitude...inner peace...that makes its way out to my face, in the form of a smile. I thank You for the people in my life that have taught me that you can have the joy of The Lord, even when facing extreme grief, and sadness. Thank You Jesus for this Word today. I want to have a cheerful heart and face today! I want to affect someone today, the way Billy Graham has affected millions. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monkey Business!


Numbers 32:7-9 Why do you discourage the Israelites from going over into the land the LORD has given them? (8) This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to look over the land. (9) After they went up to the Valley of Eshcol and viewed the land, they discouraged the Israelites from entering the land the LORD had given them. 

Wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel.... Which he suggests it would, should they settle on that side Jordan, since they would lose the assistance of two of their tribes, even two thirds of one of their standards in fighting with their enemies and subduing their land; and besides it might be thought that this request of theirs not only proceeded from selfish views and a love of ease, which might set a bad example to others, but carried in it a distrust of ever being able to enter into, at least to conquer and possess, the land of Canaan, and so might have a tendency to discourage their brethren. 

Four monkeys were placed in a room that had a tall pole in the center. Suspended from the top of that pole was a bunch of bananas.One of the hungry monkeys started climbing the pole to get something to eat, but just as he reached out to grab a banana, he was doused with a torrent of cold water. Squealing, he scampered down the pole and abandoned his attempt to feed himself. Each monkey made a similar attempt, and each one was drenched with cold water. After making several attempts, they finally gave up. 

Then researchers removed one of the monkeys from the room and replaced him with a new monkey. As the newcomer began to climb the pole, the other three grabbed him and pulled him down to the ground. After trying to climb the pole several times and being dragged down by the others, he finally gave up and never attempted to climb the pole again. 

The researchers replaced the original monkeys, one by one, with new ones, and each time a new monkey was brought in, he would be dragged down by the others before he could reach the bananas. In time, only monkeys who had never received a cold shower were in the room, but none of them would climb the pole. They prevented one another from climbing, but none of them knew why. 

Perhaps others have dragged you down in life. They’ve discouraged you from dreaming. Maybe they resented the fact that you wanted to move up or to do something significant with your life. Or maybe they were trying to protect you from pain or disappointment. Either way, you’ve been discouraged from dreaming.Take heart. It’s never too late to start dreaming and pursuing your dreams. 


"Lord, help me to not allow discouragements to keep me from dreaming. There are always people around who just want to maintain status quo and never go forward. They will attempt to pull anyone down who begins to dream. They will pull down through gossip, backbiting, tale toating...Lord, I want to be smarter than the monkeys that we looked at today. Help me to encourage, not discourage. In Jesus name, amen!"