TITLE: A symphony of Miracles Chapter 23 10/6/14
By Richard McCaw
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The Joy of the Lord
After a refreshing time with Brethren missionaries, Derrick and Beryl Bourne in the countryside of Harker‚Äôs Hall, in Jamaica, God was ready to transform me into the man He had planned from the foundation of the world.
One day as I looked through family photos and realized that everyone was smiling, but on closer examination, I appeared cold and serious!
I discovered later from research that while watching comedy, blood vessels expand and contract more effectively in response to blood flow changes. The lining of blood vessels, known as the endothelium, narrow and restrict blood flow during stressful movies, like war dramas. "The endothelium is the first line in developing hardened arteries. Laughter is therefore necessary to maintain a healthy endothelium, and to reduce heart disease," says one researcher. ‚ÄúCertainly, it softens the impact of mental stress, which is harmful to the endothelium."
Researchers also let twenty healthy men and women watch two movies at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, then measured effects on blood vessels through ultrasound. On separate days, the participants watched 30-minutes of a war drama thought to cause mental stress, and a comedy. Before and afterwards, blood vessel reactivity was measured. Each movie produced very different effects on blood vessels. Blood flow was reduced in 14 of the 20 volunteers after the stressful movie clips, while 19 of the 20 volunteers revealed healthy blood vessel effects and relaxation after the comedy. During laughter, artery diameter increased on average by 22% and during mental stress decreased by 35%.
According to one researcher, "The amount of change in the endothelium, may be compared to the healthy benefits of aerobic activity, minus the aches, pains, and muscle tension. Remember to exercise and to laugh regularly. Exercising for thirty minutes three times a week, and laughing fifteen minutes every day is an excellent tonic for the vascular system."
My personal experience confirms that information. I used to sit every night watching all the news blasting from my television. Of course, 99% of news coming out of it equipment was negative. ‚ÄúMan shot to death by police‚ÄĚ‚Ä¶ ‚ÄúMother, three children and cousin killed in head-on collision‚ÄĚ‚Ä¶ ‚ÄúHusband shoots wife and three children after argument‚ÄĚ‚Ä¶ ‚ÄúFired employee stabs restaurant owner to death‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ On and on every night the painful stories rolled out.
According to the scriptures, ‚ÄúPleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones, and ‚Äúa good report makes the bones healthy.‚ÄĚ How about this one: ‚ÄúA merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. Finally, how do you like this one? ‚ÄúIt (the Word of God) will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.‚ÄĚ
After several months of drinking in all those negative reports I began to feel pains in all of my joints. When I visited a specialist, he informed me, ‚ÄúSir, it is obvious that you have some kind or arthritis.‚ÄĚ I was frightened. Then he added, ‚ÄúI need you to take a blood test to determine what kind of arthritis you have, whether osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.‚ÄĚ
In another chapter I will tell you how through the Word of God the Lord worked a miracle and how I found complete healing.
After the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah, the prophet gathered the people to listen to the reading of God‚Äôs law. All the people wept when they heard the words of the law and realized how much they had failed God. Then, the prophet encouraged them to eat, drink, and have a grand party, declaring ‚ÄúThe joy of the Lord is your strength!‚ÄĚ
Listening to God‚Äôs Word not only convicted me of failure and sin but also challenged me to live a balanced life and to let the supernatural presence of the Lord bring me into deep realms of joy. I became firmly convinced that God wanted me to relax and to enjoy life.
In fact, I realized for the first time that the concept of a joyful spirit echoed right throughout the entire cannon of scripture: ‚ÄúA merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúHe that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.‚ÄĚ Therefore, I made a deliberate decision to laugh, to make jokes and to be hearty. That crucial decision would have a signal effect upon my personality and my ministry in years to come.
When I next returned to camp I would not be seen as the serious counselor but the camp clown. What propelled me even more rapidly into that comic caricature was the new camp name I was given. A pun from my surname suggested a macaw parrot, and since parrots eat crackers, my new name became ‚ÄėCrackers!‚Äô I was soon asked to be in charge of the camp newspaper.
Throughout the day, I gathered amusing camp episodes, which I read immediately after supper each evening to the great laughter and merriment of the entire camp.
What I discovered for myself in the scriptures is now supported by current research and proves the truth of God‚Äôs Word. ‚ÄúForever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven.‚ÄĚ
King David also knew that the Lord gives us everything to enjoy life. After returning the ark to Bethlehem, he danced before the Lord with all his might. Some of his psalms reveal that God‚Äôs people, when freed from bondage, can laugh and have a wonderful time.
In one psalm he wrote, ‚ÄúWhen the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing.‚ÄĚ
In another he declared his confidence in God‚Äôs guidance and his great delight spending time with the Lord. ‚ÄúYou will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.‚ÄĚ
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