A Joyful Heart Is Good Medicine

Sun, Feb 14, 2021
Teacher: Mark Hull
Passage: John 16:33
Duration:25 mins 10 secs

Message text

A Joyful Heart Is Good Medicine
Proverbs 17:22 & John 16:33

Someone wrote: If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was and will continue to be yours. If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with.
If it just sits in your living room and messes up your stuff, eats your food, uses your telephone, takes your money and never behaves as if you actually set it free in the first place -- you either married it or gave birth to it!

This past week I came across an interesting story concerning a guy who was a rough old coal miner who had become a Christian.
After his conversion he was so happy, so full of joy that he was shouting praises almost all the time. But that bothered people. And somebody said, “Why don’t you tone it down some? You’re just too happy. You’ve got too much joy all the time.”
He simply replied, “I can’t help it. God saved me & I can’t help it. When I put down one foot it says "Hallelujah!", & when I put down the other foot it says "Glory to God!”
“But what if you’re mistaken?” Many would ask him. “Suppose when you die you find out that you’re not going to Heaven, you’re going to Hell?”
To this question the old coal miner said, “Praise God,
I’ve been having a wonderful time in the Lord ever since I gave my life to Him. Jesus has been good to me,
& if I die & go down to Hell, then I’ll be thankful for all the joy Jesus brought into my life here."
"I’ll shout about that all over Hell, & they’ll have to send me up to Heaven because they can’t stand that kind of joy down there.”

Now, in that same vein, may I suggest that our emotions have a profound affect upon the way we feel.
Maybe King Solomon said it best when he wrote these words, "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22 KJV)
Our emotions cause us to sweat, to weep, to tremble. Our emotions cause us to turn white with fear, red with embarrassment, purple with anger, & green with nausea.
Our emotions really do effect us physically.
So King Solomon was right. If you're joyful in your heart, then that is good medicine. But if you're not joyful, if your spirit is broken, then it dries up your bones. You become old & tired, & a person no one much wants to be around.
In his book "A Window on the Mountain," Winston Pierce tells of his high school class reunion. A group of the old classmates were reminiscing about things & persons for which they were grateful.
One man mentioned that he was particularly thankful for Mrs. Wendt, his English teacher, for she more than anyone had introduced him to Tennyson & the beauty of poetry.
Acting on a suggestion, he wrote a letter of appreciation to Mrs. Wendt & addressed it to the high school. The note was forwarded & eventually reached the old teacher.
About a month later the man received a response. It was written in a feeble longhand & read as follows: “My dear Willie, I can’t tell you how much your letter meant to me. I am now in my nineties, living alone in a small room, cooking my own meals, lonely, & like the last leaf of fall lingering behind."
"You will be interested to know that I taught school for forty years & yours is the first letter of appreciation I ever received. It came on a blue, cold morning & it cheered me as nothing has for years. Willie, you have made my day.”
Think about it. Who are the people to whom we are attracted? "Gloomy Gus" who walks around with a frown on his face?
The person who sees all the bad things in the world, who is thoroughly convinced that everything is going to fall apart? Is that the kind of person with whom we love to spend our time?
I don't think so! We are attracted to the person who has a smile on their face, & joy in their heart.
But someone may say to us, "Well all right, I hear you. But circumstances in my life aren't that good. Things have been tough. Just why should my heart be filled with joy?"
Let me mention 3 reasons this morning. I believe that if you will take these reasons to heart & live with them daily, that it will make a world of difference in the way you feel.

The first one is this: “We who are Christians have experienced a great deliverance.”
The Bible teaches that while we were sinners God loved us. While we were sinners God sent His Son to die on the cross for us.
And it teaches that when we hear about Jesus, we are compelled to confess Him with our lips & with our lives.
When we are buried with Him in the watery grave of baptism that God forgives our sins & gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit.
I know that those are familiar words
Maybe so familiar that the ring of them
the wonder of them doesn't have the impact that it once had.
We have been delivered!
If that doesn't bring great joy into your heart, then I don't know what would.
It has been stated that in a Japanese seaside village over 100 years ago, an earthquake startled the villagers late one autumn evening. Being accustomed to earthquakes, they soon went back to their activities without giving it another thought.
An old farmer was watching from his home on a hill high above the village. He looked out at the ocean & noticed that the water appeared dark & was acting strangely, moving against the wind & running away from the land.
The old man knew what that meant – today we call it a tsunami. His one thought was to warn the people in the village below. He called to his grandson, “Bring me a torch! Hurry!”
In the fields behind him lay his great crop of rice that was piled high in stacks – ready for the market. It was worth a fortune to him. The old man hurried out to the stacks with his torch. In a flash the dry stalks were ablaze. Soon the big bell resonated from the temple below: Fire!
Back from the beach, away from the shore, up the steep side of the cliff came the people of the village, running as fast as they could. They were all coming to try to save the crops of their neighbor.
“He’s mad!” they said when they saw that he just stood there watching them come & staring out toward the ocean. As they reached his level the old man shouted at the top of his voice while pointing toward the water, “Look!”
At the edge of the horizon they saw a long, thin, & faint line – a line that grew thicker as they watched.
That line was the ocean, rising like a wall, getting higher & coming more & more swiftly as they stared. Then came the shock, heavier than thunder; the great wall of water struck the shore with a fierceness & a force that sent a shudder through the hills & tore the homes below into matchsticks. The water withdrew with a roaring sound. Then it returned & struck again, & again, & again.
One final time it struck & subsided, then returned to its place & its pattern. On the hill no one spoke a word for a long time. Finally the voice of the old man could be heard, saying softly, gently, “That is why I set fire to my rice.”
He now stood among them just as poor as the poorest of them. His wealth was gone – all for the sake of 400 lives. By that sacrifice he will long be remembered, not by his wealth. He was not saddened by what his sacrifice cost him; he was overjoyed at what was saved.
And in that same spirit Jesus prayed, "Not my will, but thine be done." And then surrendered Himself into the hands of those who were determined to crucify Him - all because of His love for us!
And God's Word says that when we follow Jesus and his teachings, then we have been delivered from the bondage of sin & have the gift of everlasting life.
That's reason #1 for joy in our hearts. "A joyful heart is good medicine."

There is a 2nd element that brings joy to our hearts, & that is trust.
Every married person here knows that it is difficult for a marriage to survive unless there is trust between husband & wife. And true friendship requires trust. Where trust prevails then peace & harmony can also prevail.
In the same way, our Christian life can be a meaningful experience when we learn what it means to trust God to take care of all things.
Jesus has a word that He used over & over again. In the Greek language it is "tharsay." It means "cheer up," & is often translated "be courageous,” “take heart," "don’t be afraid," "fear not."
For example, a paralyzed man was brought to Him, & in Matthew 9:2 & 6 Jesus said to him, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven. ...Get up, take your mat and go home."
Immediately the man took up his mat & started glorifying God. He was able to walk, & he was filled with joy.
Again, in Matthew 14:27 Jesus walked on the stormy sea of Galilee & looked into the frightened eyes of the apostles who were trying to row in the midst of the storm. When He saw that they were afraid, thinking that He must be a ghost, Jesus said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." (Matthew 14:27)
In all the storms of life we can hear the voice of Jesus saying, "Take heart, don’t be afraid." On that last night, in the upper room, Jesus once again started telling them that He was going to die. But they just couldn't accept that.
So Jesus looked at them & said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
You & I have only a limited control over the circumstances which come our way. We are not sure what the next few months or years will bring to our homes, our families, & to our lives.
Maybe some of the bad things we fear will come to pass. But there is that trust that sacred bond which brings strength to our life. And there is the voice of Jesus saying, "Cheer up, because a joyful heart is the best medicine you can take."
An old time minister stated the following about his mother:
“My mother, Cecelia, wrote a poem about being thankful that I have always treasured. She died in 1984 with skin cancer. I thank God for every memory & every valuable lesson that she taught me about life.
Her Poem went like this...
Thank God for dirty dishes, They have a tale to tell.
While other folks go hungry, We’re eating very well.
With home & health & happiness, We should not want to fuss.
For by this stack of evidence, God is very good to us.

The 3rd reason is this: “We have a great task to perform. Most people who deal with others realize that the best medicine that can be given to a person who is depressed dealing with anxiety & distress is to give that person something to do.
The bigger the job the better, because the more involved we are in performing a task especially in helping someone else the more apt we are to forget our own problems & be healed of that which is causing us distress.
Some time ago the Christian Standard magazine featured a series of articles by missionaries who had gone to various parts of the world to proclaim the gospel.
It told how they had left their homes & families & loved ones behind. It told of some of their hardships & sacrifices. It told about many of the other things that had happened to them over the years of their service.
As I read those stories my heart went out to them & I marveled at their faith. I felt sorry for them that they had to experience all of the hardships that they had encountered.
But without exception, at the close of each article there was a fantastic testimony by members of each missionary family saying that in the giving of themselves they had found true joy.
You want a task to perform? We have one the task of carrying the gospel around the world. God gave it to us almost 2,000 years ago & it continues today. We haven't completed the task. There are still lost people, friends, neighbors, relatives people who do not know Jesus Christ.
God has said, "Here is your task. Let them know that Jesus is Lord that He is King of Kings – that He loves them & that He died for them."
There is an old legend about when Jesus ascended back into Heaven. When He arrived, the angel Gabriel came up & asked, "Lord, how did it go?" Jesus answered, "It went well. I accomplished what I went to do. I went to the cross & died for their sins."
Gabriel asked, "But do the people appreciate what you did? Do they even know?" Jesus answered, "Well, some of them do Peter, James, John, & a few others." Then Gabriel asked, "But how about the rest of the world?"
Jesus said, "They will know, too. Here is my plan. I plan for Peter, James & John, Andrew & the rest to tell some others. When those people hear about it, then they will each tell somebody else. And in turn, when those people hear about it they will each tell somebody else until the whole world knows."
Then Gabriel, knowing the weaknesses of humankind, asked "But what if they fail? What if Peter & James & John & Andrew don't tell anybody? Or what if those people don't tell somebody else? What if they forget the message? What if they become indifferent & complacent? What other plan do you have?"
Jesus looked at Gabriel & said, "I have no other plan."
Yes, that is still His plan for me to tell somebody. And then for the 2 of us to find 2 more & tell them. And then for the 4 of us to find 4 more & tell them. And for the 8 of us to find 8 more & tell them, & for the 16 to find 16 & tell them until finally the whole world knows.
There is no other plan. You want a job to do? We have one. And when we're doing it, our hearts are filled with a joy that the world will never, ever understand.
We offer you His invitation this morning. We pray that if you have a decision on your heart that you will make it today.
We pray that you will turn your life over to Him. And we pray that you will ask the Lord to have His way in your life as you live each day.


Where and when we meet

Chardon Logo vertal lt 275

128 Maple Avenue
Chardon, Ohio 44024
Phone: (440) 286-5505

Our Schedule of Services

10:00 - 10:45 AM
 Bible Study: "Virtual Meeting at 6 p.m."
11:00 - 12:00 PM
 Morning Worship "TBA"
6:00 - 7:00 PM
 Evening Worship "Suspended Temporarily"
7:00 - 8:00 PM
 Bible Study: "Suspended Temporarily"
Go to top