Aloha Friday Message – November 22, 2013 – A Glad Heart

1347AFC112213 – A Glad Heart

Read it online here, please.

Proverbs 17:17, 22 – 17. A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity. 22. A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.

Today’s message will be a little different. It will have a little more of the Terrific Tuesday feel, but still have some clear ties to scripture. The book of Proverbs is such a rich and amazing source of wisdom! Sometimes the sayings are a bit rough to decipher like Proverbs 6:16 which says “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:” OK, which is it, 6 or 7? Well, in the historical context of the writing, it is seven, and the proverb style is known as a numerical proverb, later classified as a midda proverb, which sets out a number of objects and pairs that number with a rhetorical smaller number which is stated first. The proverbs used at the top of today’s lesson are very straightforward and pretty easy to understand. And yet each can be restated in ways that give different shades of meaning.

For example, verse 17 can be read, “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Now, if you’ve ever been betrayed by a friend or rebuffed by a relative when you’re in trouble, you might be thinking that’s pie-in-the-sky nonsense. Proverbs, which are usually short, witty, and generally well-known, state in memorable ways some generally accepted truth or give some common-sense advice. “A stitch in time saves nine” is one of my favorites. If you grew up understanding what a needle and thread or a pair of darning needles are all about, that makes sense; there is a context for the saying. But if you

1 Stitch

1 Stitch

were born after 2002, you may wonder why there nine Stitches to be saved when there was only one in the movie.

Seeing a Proverb, especially from the Bible, in context may occasionally be difficult, but never impossible, and always important. A proverb presents us with an ideal, a measuring stick, something that every “smart person” should almost intuitively know, as in “should’ve had a V-8.” So, it is true that a [true] friend loves at all times, and [my family] are born as my first line of help. Ideally that’s the way it works. This world is far from ideal, as we well know (just watch the evening news for proof), so the proverb might not be, and generally is not, a statement of reality, but rather a statement of Everyman’s Best Hope. Ideally family and friends impart to us the confidence that they will always love us and –when needed – help us. We know that “always” is a tough criterion, though, so we take the possibility of failure into consideration. Not so with Christ, though. It is implicitly true that we can and must have absolute confidence in his Love and nearness as our Brother and Friend.

So also it is with a cheerful heart. It is by the mercy of God that we find reasons to rejoice with ultimate confidence, to be thoroughly and gladly glad, and if that gladness is most often found in the Grace and Mercy of God’s goodness, then we are all the more cheerful and rightly so. You’ve doubtless heard someone say, “Well, that certainly proves God’s got a sense of humor.” Yes, he does. Consider the platypus for instance. And think about puppies and kittens playing. There are so many things God places in our world that gladden the heart, and certainly one of the greatest gifts he has given us is friendship.

You have heard it said, “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” Most of us differentiate between family and friends. We keep them separate even in our prayers. Some of us are fortunate to have family members who are also friends – a spouse, a sibling, maybe an aunt or uncle. That’s a wonderful thing. Some of us have friends that are as close as or closer than family, and that is a wonderful thing. Whichever the case, our hearts are drawn closest to the people in our lives who make us smile, laugh, and may help us stop taking our particular miseries too seriously. These are our friends. There are also those whose lives are so filled with pain, tragedy, and suffering that we cannot help but be drawn to them when all of that is trumped by their faith. Friends of good humor always have some story to tell us that makes us laugh or at least crack a smile. It is in that spirit that I take you to a flashback to 2006 and share the following:

A little boy was attending his first wedding. After the service, his cousin asked him, “How many women can a man marry?” “Sixteen,” the boy responded. His cousin was amazed that he had an answer so quickly. “How do you know that?” “Easy,” the little boy said. “All you have to do is add it up, like the Pastor said:  4 better, 4 worse, 4 richer, 4 poorer.”

After a church service on Sunday morning, a young boy suddenly announced to his mother, “Mom, I’ve decided to become a minister when I grow up.” “That’s okay with us, but what made you decide that?” “Well,” said the little boy, “I have to go to church on Sunday anyway, and I figure it will be more fun to stand and yell, than to sit and listen.”

A 6-year-old was overheard reciting the Lord’s Prayer at a church service: “And forgive us our trash passes, as we forgive those who passed trash against us.”

A boy was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon. “How do you know what to say?” he asked. “Why, God tells me.” “Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?”

A little girl became restless as the preacher’s sermon dragged on and on. Finally, she leaned over to her mother and whispered, “Mommy, if we give him the money now, will he let us go?”

After the christening of his baby brother in church, little Johnny sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong. Finally, the boy replied, “That preacher said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, and I want to stay with you guys!”

Terri asked her Sunday School class to draw pictures of their favorite Bible stories. She was puzzled by Kyle’s picture, which showed four people on an airplane, so she asked him which story it was meant to represent. “The Flight to Egypt,” was his reply. Pointing at each figure, Ms. Terri said, “That must be Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. But who is the fourth person? Oh, that’s Pontius-the-pilot.

The Sunday School Teacher asks, “Now, Johnny, tell me frankly do you say prayers before eating?” “No sir,” little Johnny replies, “I don’t have to. My Mom is a good cook.”

A college drama group presented a play in which one character would stand on a trap door and announce, “I descend into hell!” A stagehand below would then pull a rope, the trapdoor would spring, and the actor would drop from view. The play was well received. When the actor playing the part became ill, another actor who was quite overweight took his place. When the new actor announced, “I descend into hell!” the stagehand pulled the rope, and the actor began his plunge, but became hopelessly stuck. No amount of tugging on the rope could make him descend. One student in the balcony jumped up and yelled:  “Hallelujah! Hell is full!”

Pastor Dave Charlton tells us, “After a worship service at First Baptist Church in Newcastle, Kentucky, a mother with a fidgety seven-year old boy told me how she finally got her son to sit still and be quiet. About halfway through the sermon, she leaned over and whispered, ‘If you don’t be quiet, Pastor Charlton is going to lose his place and will have to start his sermon all over again!’ It worked.”

A little girl was sitting on her grandfather’s lap as he read her a bedtime story. From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again. Finally she spoke up, “Grandpa, did God make you?” “Yes, sweetheart,” he answered, “God made me a long time ago.” “Oh,” she paused, “Grandpa, did God make me too?” “Yes, indeed, honey,” he said, “God made you just a little while ago.” Feeling their respective faces again, she observed, “God’s getting better, isn’t he?”

Share-A-Prayer

Please include in your prayer CK, who is trying one last round of chemotherapy in hopes his tumors will shrink. He has battled what started as colon cancer for 4 years now. He has spots in both lungs and the right pelvis and a wound in the stoma under his colostomy bag. He also has shingles in his head which causes much pain. He has had every imaginable complication but continues his will to live. The situation has been extremely difficult for his wife who has also battled cancer in her uterus and breast, an emergency appendectomy, plus her MS. And if that isn’t enough, they lost their cat Britney to a brain tumor. Wow, reading it in black and white makes me even more grateful for my sweet and simple life!

Please pray for all our MBN members (who are both family and friends), for all the people clobbered by horrific weather events this month, and for our leaders in all levels and units of government.

Now, go out there into the Kingdom and gather some new friends, hug your old friends, and tell a few funny stories.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

ChickenDance

 

Just keep dancin’!

(thanks for all the birday wishes on 11/20. it was WONDERFUL. Special thanks to LB for the bestest card there!)

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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