Summary: Someone says, "All right, preacher, I hear you. But circumstances in my life aren’t that good. Things have been tough. Just why should my heart be filled with joy?" Let me mention 3 reasons. (Powerpoints available - #140)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available at no charge. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #140.)
The basic point of some of my messages in recent months has been that, for most people, their faith - what they have been taught, what they believe - makes all the difference in the way they act, in the values they hold dear, & in the standards which guide the way they live.
Now, in that same vein, may I suggest that our emotions have a profound affect upon they way we feel.
Maybe King Solomon said it best when he wrote these words, "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22 KJV)
Our emotions cause us to sweat, to weep, to tremble. Our emotions cause us to turn white with fear, red with embarrassment, purple with anger, & green with nausea. Our emotions really do effect us physically.
ILL. Perhaps the most famous example of this was the recovery of Norman Cousins from what had been diagnosed as an incurable disease. He was bedridden & the doctors gave him no hope for recovery at all. So he decided on his own treatment.
His family got a movie projector & rented all the Charlie Chaplin & Abbott & Costello movies that they could find movies where you just sit back & laugh because they are genuinely funny.
He ran one movie after another, & the more he watched the more he laughed. The more he laughed, the better he felt. First thing you know, the doctors could find no evidence of the incurable disease.
ILL. Then, after that, in 1990 Paul Harvey in one of his “Rest of the Story” articles stated that for the last 10 years Norman Cousins had been on the staff of the UCLA School of Medicine, pioneering a new medical discipline called "pyschoneuro immunology."
The article stated, "Carefully controlled experiments conducted by Cousins & his associates demonstrate that you just by controlling your mind set can alter your temperature, your blood pressure & your blood chemistry in a matter of minutes."
It went on to say, "There is now evidence that cancer patients liberated from depression can actually activate the anti cancer capability of the immune system.”
“'The human body,' contends Cousins, 'is far more robust than people have been led to believe. A strong will to live, along with the other positive emotions faith, love, purpose, determination, humor boosts disease fighting immune cells.'"
So the proverb is true. If you're joyful in your heart, then that is good medicine. But if you're not joyful, if your spirit is broken, then it dries up your bones. You become old & tired, & a person no one much wants to be around.
Think about it. Who are the people to whom we are attracted? "Gloomy Gus" who walks around with a frown on his face? The person who sees all the bad things in the world, who is thoroughly convinced that everything is going to fall apart? Is that the kind of person with whom we love to spend our time?
No, not at all! We are attracted to the person who has a smile on his face, & joy in his heart.
But someone says, "Well all right, preacher, I hear you. But circumstances in my life aren't that good. Things have been tough. Just why should my heart be filled with joy?"
Let me mention 3 reasons this morning. I believe that if you will take these reasons to heart & live with them daily, that it will make a world of difference in the way that you feel.
I. WE HAVE EXPERIENCED A GREAT DELIVERANCE
The first one is this: “We who are Christians have experienced a great deliverance.”
The Bible teaches that while we were sinners God loved us. While we were sinners God sent His Son to die on the cross for us.
And it teaches that when we receive Him into our hearts when we confess Him with our lips & with our lives when we are buried with Him in the watery grave of baptism that God forgives our sins & gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit.
I know that those are familiar words maybe so familiar that the ring of them the wonder of them doesn't have the impact that it once had. We have been delivered! If that doesn't bring great joy into your heart, then I don't know what would.
ILL. I enjoy the story about the naval officer who was made the captain of a battleship & was in command of it for the very first time. Filled with pride he stood on the deck, barking out orders. Late into the night he was still standing proudly on the bridge. He was the captain & the crew obeyed his every command.