Do You Need This Medicine?

Do You Need This Medicine?

Proverbs 17:22 March 17, 2019 When hydrogen and carbon dioxide collide, the result is life-sustaining oxygen. When humor and faith collide, the result is laughter that helps save our souls. The Bible says it like this: “A joyful heart is a good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22a Now everyone knows that medicine can be abused. But taken correctly and in the right doses, medicine and save us from pain, heal our wounds, lift us from depression, and it can save our lives. It has been said that laughter is the best medicine. It’s free. It’s natural. It’s healing. It requires no doctor, no prescription.  It can be administered a child or an adult.  Even animals can make us laugh. If you never laugh there is a cost.  If you never laugh, it may be a sign that you are sick.  It’s a sign that you have little joy in your life and that you may have problems dealing with the stress that life brings your way. There are times and seasons in life we will get kicked in the gut and life will try to pull the joy out of us. Every one of us will go through those seasons. Hopefully, none of us will go through a more difficult time than Job.  Remember Job.  He’s the person in the Bible that lost his possessions, his family, and his health.  His friends gave him a lot of bad advice about his situation. They didn’t empathize with him and told him all his problems were his fault. But one of his friends told him that God would “yet fill (his) mouth with...
Laughter is Born

Laughter is Born

March 10, 2019 Laughter is Born Genesis 17:15-19; 18:9-15, 21:1-6 Abram left the warmth of his tent, walked out into the coolness of the night, and looked up at the stars. It was a clear, still night. It was the kind of night that causes one to be reflective, to think, and ponder. Abram had a lot on his mind. Many years had passed since he and Sarai and their nephew Lot pulled up their tent stakes in Haran and faithfully traveled to a new land that God he would give them and their descendants. Land and descendants were the two key elements of God’s promise.  Can’t you hear Abram questioning God as he looked up at the stars? “Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of the land? How is it possible that my descendants will be as numerous as the stars since I haven’t the first son?”  Abram and Sarai were becoming older by the day. As it stood, Eliezer of Damascus, Abram’s servant, was his only heir. If Abram died, Eliezer would be a rich man, and God’s promise would go unfulfilled. It was enough to make Abram anxious. After all, in his old age, he had left the comfort of Haran to follow God’s call. Abram still believed God, but his belief did not keep him from wondering and questioning. Faith can be difficult in the absence of evidence.  When we cannot see our way through to the other side that is when we need faith. When he looked into the aging face of his wife Sarai, Abram had reason to wonder about...
Spark Some Laughter In Your Life

Spark Some Laughter In Your Life

Susan Sparks is a breast cancer survivor.  A nurse where she was tested for cancer told her that the Lord would take care of her. Susan reacted with sarcasm, “I think the Lord should have started a little earlier in taking care—like a couple of years ago when these cells started growing!” When the nurse put her arm around Susan and once again assured her that the Lord would take care of her, Susan rolled her eyes and said, “He has never had breast cancer, so I seriously doubt that he has any idea of how to ‘take care’ of this!” In her book, “Laugh Your Way to Grace,” Susan is refreshingly transparent about the anger she felt when she first learned of this devastating news. Anyone diagnosed with cancer or any disease can understand her pain and anger.  But Susan soon learned that her path to healing wasn’t found in her anger.  She began to rise above her pain and transcend her grief through the power of humor. She remembers drinking out of a coffee mug that said: “My Oncologist Can Beat Up Your Oncologist,” and she had a magnet on the refrigerator that said, “Cancer—it’s not just an astrological sign anymore.”  I think the saying would have been funnier if it had ended with these words: “it’s just an ass.” Soon humor became the sieve that allowed her to see, hear, and bear the truth. I saw a video of a parent trying to feed a baby, but the baby wasn’t having the food from the jar. So the parent dangled an ice cream cone in front of the...
The Bible is Our Roadmap for Life

The Bible is Our Roadmap for Life

The Bible is Our Roadmap for Life March 3, 2019 Luke 24:13-27 All of us need help when we are traveling to find our way. These days, most of us just take out our phone, we speak in the address, and Siri directs us to our destination, one turn at a time. Many of you are old enough to remember when we used one of these (folding map). Chances are good if you under the age of 35, you may have never used a map like this and you never will. Years ago, if we didn’t have a map like this, when we traveled out of town and out of state on vacations, we used to stop and ask directions from strangers. Either that, or we stayed lost a lot because it’s impossible to always know where you are going unless of course, you are a man. Men always know where we are going.  If you don’t believe that, just ask a man if he is lost and he will tell you that he knows exactly where he is. And the women just roll their eyes. O.K, as a man, I will admit that I’ve been lost more than once and it would have helped if I had consulted with a map – or listened to my wife. Confession is good for the soul. If we were all honest, we would say that we have all been lost.  If we were all honest, we would all confess that when we are confused about life, about the direction we are to go, too many of us have turned down several...
Are You a Disciple of Jesus?

Are You a Disciple of Jesus?

February 24, 2019 Are You a Disciple of Jesus? Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Peter 2:4-8 I have been with a lot of people and their families through the dying process.  I have discovered that most families believe that their loved one has moved from this life into a life of comfort, a life beyond this one that is better to a place we refer to as heaven. In fact, very few people believe or even entertain the idea that their loved one might have slipped away into eternal torment, a place we call hell. Recently, a professor at a Baptist college in Missouri was fired because he did not fully embrace the concept of hell as a place of eternal punishment.  Instead, the professor said that more New Testament passages describe hell as destruction rather than eternal punishment. Part of our problem as Baptists is that we spend too time arguing about things like whether hell is a place of destruction or a place of eternal punishment, that we forget the more important issue, that far too many people don’t believe that we can end up in either kind of situation. A lot of people have a difficult time coming to terms with the grace of God and accepting the grace of God and never do, which is necessary for salvation. The irony is that when a loved one dies, even those that may not have accepted God’s grace in their own lives want to claim the grace of God for others. Do you hear what I’m saying? We seem to want to claim God’s grace and the gift of heaven...