Good medicine

A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 17, Verse 22)

Have you ever been to a healing service? Miraculous healing is a joy to receive or behold. Overall though, health is a matter of wisdom. It is a path. It is a life style.

Oh, Lord, teach me to cultivate a happy heart and maintain a cheerful mind even in the face of painful circumstances. Defend my spirit. Do not let it be broken in the ebb and flow of earthly battles. My bones are my frame. Let them be strong yet supple, resisting the tear and torque of daily stress.

Glad heart

13 A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.

…..

15 All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances]. (Book of Proverbs, Chapter 15, Amplified Version)

Oh Lord, help me stop wasting time on the things that will not give me a glad heart and instead recognize and focus on those that really will. In this quest, please give me the focus and determination to overcome procrastination. I want to have a glad heart and cheerful countenance as I move through this day. I want to move forward. Replace the scowl with a smile. Replace my complaints with contagious mirth. Let me at least bring a glow of hope to others rather than the obscurity of frustration. I want to sit at the table with You and enjoy that continual feast.

Graceful lips

Proverbs, Chapter 22, Verse 11 (Amplified Bible)

He who loves purity and the pure in heart and who is gracious in speech—because of the grace of his lips will he have the king for his friend.

Father and Lord, let me be this man consistently,  one who loves purity and the pure in heart and who is gracious in speech. Let me reap the reward and have the king for my friend.

Heart scales

Proverbs, Chapter 21, Verse 2 (Amplified Bible)

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts.

Did you ever read How to Win Friends and Influence People? Dale Carnegie gives some great illustrations of the truth of Proverbs 21:2. One is the story of “Two-Gun” Crowley, a killer arrested after a fire fight with 150 New York City lawmen in 1931. He was in fact a murder but went to his death in the electric chair claiming that this sentence was what he got for “defending” himself. In the second anecdote, Carnegie recounts how Al Capone stated:

I have spent the best years of my life giving people the lighter
pleasures, helping them have a good time, and all I get is abuse, the
existence of a hunted man.

Then, Carnegie provides a quotation from Lewis Lawes, “warden of New York’s infamous Sing Sing prison for many years.” This is a quotation I should keep pinned on the lapels of my heart:

Few of the criminals in Sing Sing regard themselves as bad men. They are just as human as you and I. So they rationalize, they explain. They can tell you why they had to crack a safe or be quick on the trigger finger. Most of them attempt by a form of reasoning, fallacious or logical, to justify their antisocial acts even to themselves, consequently stoutly maintaining that they should never have been imprisoned at all.

I have two very important reasons for keeping this insight always present:

  1. I must avoid deceiving myself about my own righteousness or lack thereof. As I often quote from a former pastor of mine, “the terrible thing about self-deception is that it is so darn deceptive.” (I don’t give this pastor’s name because as it turned out he himself had a big problem with deception, self directed or otherwise)
  2. I must constantly recall that someone very close to me can repeatedly harm me and others under her influence and never recognize that she did anything wrong.

The book of Proverbs offers some great insight on this matter.

As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman who is without discretion. (Proverbs 11:22; Amplified Bible)

Might a fair woman without discretion be dangerous? Jesus added some essential advice found in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 6:

Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces.

I grew up in a rural community and worked for several years on my uncle’s farm. If you want to get seriously mauled, just try aggravating a full-grown sow. As the cliche goes, modified for the present context, “Fighting with a fool is like wrestling with a pig, everybody gets dirty, but the pig enjoys it.”

Hmm?? This reflection certainly ends up far from the introductory sentence, but then again perhaps it simply comes full circle.

The take away?? I think it goes something like this: “Trust neither your own righteousness nor your own wisdom, and keep a healthy distance from swine, in whatever guise you might find them.”

I must add in closing that upon reflection this all seems somewhat harsh and not politically correct at all. Will it win me any friends? Hmm??

 

 

Joy share

Proverbs, Chapter 14, Verse 10 (Amplified Bible)

The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.

Once years ago it occurred to me that sharing is essential for joy. One can be happy alone, but joy requires a current flow from one being to another. Perhaps joy is that current flow. Perhaps thankfulness is the conduit through which the current flows.