Proverbs 17:22a - A Cheerful Heart Is Good Medicine. [Illustrations]

Proverbs 17:22a - A Cheerful Heart Is Good Medicine. 

Proverbs 17:22 (NIV) A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a 
crushed spirit dries up the bones.  

Slapping on the Plaster
   As a preacher for some fifty years, I learned that people 
paid better attention if I told a funny story now and then to help 
make my points. That kept them awake long enough to pull them through 
the more serious Bible teaching I needed to do. As my old African 
American preacher friend Marshall Keeble used to say, "If you want to 
teach my people something important, first you've got to get them 
laughing. Then you can slap the plaster on, and it'll stick every time."  
   One of my favorite stories is about two soldiers in a combat 
zone. Bullets were flying, and each of these soldiers took a running 
dive into a nearby foxhole, ending up in the foxhole together. While 
they were ducking the incoming fire from the enemy, they had the 
following conversation:  
   "Hey, there, my name's Henry. What's yours?" 
   "Well, that's funny, because my name is Henry too!" 
   "No kidding. Where are you from?" 
   "I'm from Memphis, Tennessee. How about you?" 
   "No! Really? Well, I'm from Memphis too! Say, what part of 
town do you live in?"  
   "I live over in the Rock Creek area. You?" 
   "I don't believe this! I live in the Rock Creek area." 
   "Well, I'll be. What street do you live on?" 
   "I live on Presley Avenue - you know, named for Elvis. How 
about you?"  
   "Well, now, you're just not going to believe this, but I live 
on Presley Avenue too! Say, what's your house number?"  
   "My house is at 4703 Presley. Do we live close together?" 
   "Uh, I'd say so, because my house number is 4703 too." 
   "No! Hey, wait a minute. What's your wife's name?" 
   "My wife's name is Georgia." 
   "Now, doesn't that just beat all - my wife's name is Georgia 
too. You know what? I think we must be husbands-in-law!" Clyde Shrode 
   Thank you, Lord, for laughter. It is such a soul-refreshing 
treat. Amen [The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter by Mary 

The Fun in Funny
   It had been a stressful day. Len dropped into his easy chair 
and retreated behind the newspaper. After unwinding with the funnies 
and the sports, he would be ready to enjoy the family at dinner.  
   Sara had a different idea. In eager anticipation, our 
five-year-old niece asked her uncle to take her for a "horsey ride."  
   Len kindly requested that she wait until after dinner. She 
willingly accepted postponed gratification and began rocking her teddy 
bear for a few minutes. Soon Sara approached him with increasing 
fervor. "Uncle Len, pieeease take me for a horsey ride."  
   "Let me rest a little longer." So she rocked Teddy a few more 
   The third time she approached him, Sara pulled down the 
newspaper. In an authoritative voice, she insisted, "Uncle Len, you have to 
have fun whether you like it or not!"  
   So he got down on his hands and knees and took her for a 
bumpy ride. (Why bumpy? Have you ever tried crawling on your hands and 
knees while laughing?)  
   As I laughed from the kitchen, biblical illustrations came to 
mind. I thought of the story in Luke 11:5-13, in which the neighbor 
demanded that his tired friend give him some bread.  
   A cheerful heart had transformed a tired uncle into a willing 
and energetic stallion. I wonder how many of my childish requests my 
Father finds humorous. I do know he answers prayers and enjoys blessing 
his children. Barbara Ferguson  
   Father, thank you for teaching me so many things about my 
relationship with you through experiences of children. Thank you for your 
patience and your encouragement to share my concerns with you, especially 
when I become impatient. Thank you for your many blessings, including 
the blessing of humor to neutralize stress. I love you, Father, and 
enjoy being with you, even in my childish way. Amen. [The One Year 
Devotional of Joy and Laughter by Mary Hollingsworth] 

These Shoes Weren't Made for Walking
   I was at the mall, helping my son buy a winter jacket. I had 
just finished drinking a twenty-ounce coffee, so I was energized and 
ready to hunt for bargains. We had been shopping for more than an hour 
when my legs and lower back started bothering me. I tried to ignore 
the discomfort as I walked, because shopping often helps a woman 
overcome her sensitivity to pain. Right?  
   After purchasing the jacket, we headed back to the car. I 
just happened to look down at my feet. To my complete embarrassment, 
I saw that I was wearing two different shoes. I quickly glanced 
around to make sure nobody was watching me. Then I started to laugh. No 
wonder my lower back was bothering me - one shoe had a much higher heel 
than the other. I sounded like a Clydesdale. I guess that is what 
happens when you get dressed in too great a rush. I had worn two 
different- colored socks before, but never two different shoes!  
   Can you believe the humorous things we do in our everyday 
lives? When today's verse talks about a cheerful heart being "good 
medicine," that's not just an interesting metaphor. Research has proved 
that our bodies release calming endorphins when we laugh, so laughter 
is actually good for our health. Our funny situations are too. The 
next time you find yourself in an embarrassing situation, stay 
cheerful and try to laugh. I suspect that God will be smiling with you. 
Lisa M Garvey  
   God, help us to be able to laugh at ourselves more and be 
less uptight over things that likely don't matter much in the grand 
scheme of things. We want to show your joy to the world around us. 
Amen. [The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter by Mary 

Christmas Treeeat!
   Candles flickered by the hundreds as numerous lit Christmas 
trees served as their backdrops. Carols were playing, and the joy and 
wonder of the birth of Christ filled the Christmas Eve service. But as 
I looked at the beautiful sight before me, it brought more pain 
than joy to my sorrow-filled heart.  
   Seated next to my son's family, I struggled to hold back the 
tears. The empty seat beside me was a glaring reminder that my husband 
of thirty-three years was gone. He had died a few months earlier. 
Truthfully, I was glad when the service was over.  
   After the service, we picked up my nineteen-month-old 
grandson, Will, from the nursery. He was tired and hungry. As we headed 
home, he became very cranky. After all, it was past his mealtime, and 
eating was a central focus of his life. In an attempt to keep Will 
distracted, my son said, "Will, what does a sheep say?"  
   We were all expecting to hear, "Baa!" Instead Will bellowed 
out, "Eeeeeeat!" We all chuckled.  
   "Will, tell Grandma what a tiger says!" 
   With sparkling eyes, Will said, "Eeeeeeat!" in his best tiger 
voice. By then we were all roaring with laughter.  
   "Will, tell Grandma what a puppy dog says!" Will barked, 
"Eat, eat, eat."  
   Of course Will loved being our entertainment, and his delight 
in amusing us distracted him from thoughts of food. My son 
continued to ask about different sounds, and Will cried "Eat!" in various 
tones and elongations. We laughed so hard we had to wipe the tears 
from our eyes. My heavy heart was lightened by the antics of one 
precious child.  
   My soul is also lighthearted and glad at the thought of 
another Child whose actions gave us abundant life both here and in 
heaven: Jesus, the Messiah. by Pam Whitley  
   Thank you, Lord, for redirecting my focus and filling my 
heart with healing laughter. Amen. [The One Year Devotional of Joy and 
Laughter by Mary Hollingsworth]