Laughter-itis Or Pucker-itis By: James Cook
Now what sort of title is this? Well, to define laughter - look in the mirror, to define itis - touch a hotplate, to define pucker - suck a lemon. Itis means inflammation, so put some warmth in your laughter, and burn it into another's frown.
One of the greatest stress relievers God has given us is laughter. Laughter-itis restores what pressures in life have stolen. Proverbs 17:22 puts it this way, "A happy heart is like a good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing." So many times we go around looking like we sucked a bucket of lemons, while trying to be a witness for Jesus. Is this what our faith is all about? How much energy do we invest into negativity? Just for the sake of interest, I researched laughter and joy and it was referred to 6933 times in the Bible; yet, sad, crying, and weeping was referred to about 319 times. I think the message here is maybe we should be learning more about joy, and not focus so much on the negativity that destroys us.
You may say to a fellow believer, "well that is okay for you to say, because if you were in my shoes you would be crying to", and they may agree, because they would probably be looking at all these problems instead of searching for a resolution to overcome them. Then give thanks to the Father for all their joy that left town, by saying, "Why Me Lord, Amen"? Seriously, laughter is the best medicine we could ever have, and it is freely given to those who seek it. Jesus paid the price for all our joy on the cross. As a result, it says, the joy of the Lord is our strength. Now understand, I have my days also, but it is those who speak into my life that gets me back on track along with their prayers.
Struggles do invade us, and we tend to focus more on a downer than an upper. Then our faith seems to go on vacation, and we can take a trip to Pity City. Now Job experienced every kind of disaster anyone could ever have. Did he question things? Yes he did. Job 12:3-5 (NIV) But I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know all these things? "I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called upon God and he answered— a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless! Job made this statement to Zophar, who was totally insensitive, and thought he had an answer for everything. Zophar accused Job of hiding secret sins in his life because of all his adversities, but Job stood firm and wouldn't allow anyone to degrade him. How often do we come across those who think they know it all, now don't they just irritate you? As a result, we get all puckered up as we allow their attitudes to control us, and we wonder why we are so miserable.
As we endure our trials, as Job did, God will say, "I've got a solution. In difficulties, cheer up. In famine, laugh. Keep your joy." You can laugh your way to victory, and you will have more energy. What a powerful antedote to negativity and struggles. Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)10 Nehemiah said, "...This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is our strength." This is like a little insult when we are enjoying our misery, but just think, if the joy of the Lord is our strength, this knocks the wind right out of our daily routine of pouting over something from years before. By embracing negative thoughts daily, we keep saying, here is my joy, please take it.
There are so many things in society that are depressing and sad, but have you ever stopped to look in the mirror at just how funny we look all puckered up after our daily devotions in, "The Sourest Lemon Takes All?" What is the reason for adopting so much negativity into our lives, other than to make facial muscles look like they have been pumped up on steroids from the consistent excercise of frowning? Are you aware that negative thoughts attract negative thoughts, and joyful thoughts attract joyful thoughts?
It is imperative to find some humour in ourselves, and failing to do so, we get stiff and live a life with facial rigormortis. So start today to resurrect them cheeks with a smile. First of all, don't take yourself so seriously, so start today with some overdue joy so you can embrace better memories tomorrow. But until tomorrow, keep an eye on Proverbs 15:13 (NIV)13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. Is this what the Holy Spirit wants for you? It is your choice in how you live, so which one will you embrace, the joy of the Lord, or a crushed spirit from the devotional book, "The Sourest Lemon Takes All?
Psalm 19:8 (NIV)8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. So smile, and teach another it is okay to have a glow that radiates through their eyes to the outer world. If you are not serious about having joy, then do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet down Joyful Blvd. Remember, our attitudes today will determine our memories tomorrow. So laugh today, and embrace those joyful memories tomorrow.
We should have a smile on our face, joy in our hearts, and laughter in our faith, and when we embrace this, we'll laugh today, and rejoice tomorrow. SO SMILE!!! If you lack joy, look in the mirror and either laugh with yourself, or laugh at yourself. If you can't, you need deliverance from pucker-itis, and never forget that mirrors were created for God to show us His sense of humour.