Proverbs: Short Sentences Long Remembered
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Laughter is the Best Medicine

Have You Laughed Today?

Laughter is the best medicine

“Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.” – from the article, Laughter is the Best Medicine

If you’re like me, you probably already knew the truth of that article from Reader’s Digest, but the healing power of laughter is also found in the Bible! Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Let There Be Laughter

God created laughter, and he created us to laugh. Verses like Proverbs 31:25 speak of those who have faith to laugh, rather than worry, at times to come. Psalm 126:2 responds to the mighty works of God with mouths filled with laughter and tongues with shouts of joy. Jesus even promised in Luke 6:21, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Laughter and faith seem to go hand-in-hand.

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Proverbs: Short Sentences Long Remembered
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The Crucible is for Silver: Life is a Test

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
    and the Lord tests hearts.
Proverbs 17:3

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
    and a man is tested by his praise.
Proverbs 27:21

God Takes the Heat with You

There’s an old story that many preachers have told about a ladies’ Bible study that was confused about Malachi 3:3, “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” As luck would have it, one of the ladies knew a silversmith and asked if the class could come to observe the process.

Preacher note: I’ve heard this illustration many times and told in various ways. I’m pretty sure my first hearing was from Chuck Swindoll. There, it involved a ladies’ Bible study, but this version I found online made no such distinction.

Crucible

Watching the craftsman at his work, he explained that he must sit at the crucible the whole time the silver is heated. He also must keep the silver in the very center of the heat to purify it.

One of the class members asked how he knew when the silver was pure. The silversmith replied, “That’s easy. I know it’s pure when I see my reflection in it.”

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Proverbs: Short Sentences Long Remembered
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Iron Sharpens Iron: A Biblical Call to Friendship

Friendship is a Holy Calling

Friendship

One of my dearest friends is a person I have known since our childhood. Another is with a person who passed me in the hallway at college wearing a t-shirt advertising a band we both liked. One of my most defining friendships is with a man who happened to preach down the road from me 30+ years ago.

Most of our friendships are the result of proximity and mutual interests, but there’s more to it than that, isn’t there? We recognize a connection in our spirits that goes beyond ourselves. There is an understanding that God has brought us together.

Friendship is a holy calling.

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Hospitality
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Does Anyone Make Hospitality Cards?

There are cards for everything these days—even birthday cards for pets! So what card do you buy when you care enough to send the very best to a stranger?

Where Can I Buy a Hospitality Card?

The question struck me as I thought about Romans 12:13 and the twin call we find there to care for others. “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” I have to believe “contribute to the needs of the saints” means more than just providing financial support. We contribute to people’s needs by sharing meals, encouraging and praying for each other, and standing by each other during times of difficulty and joy.

I was thinking about how often I’ve received a card from a friend that came at just the right time. Not just birthdays, anniversaries, or even Pastor Appreciate Month, but those cards that just show up sometimes. The ones that say things like, “Thinking of you,” or “Thanks for all you do.” Those cards bring some much-needed encouragement.

But what about the other half of that verse? “Seek to show hospitality.” I’ve mentioned before, the word “Hospitality” in the New Testament literally means “Love of strangers.” Loving strangers is a call that we find back in the Old Testament Law. In Leviticus, after verse 18 calls us to “love your neighbor as yourself,” verse 34 ups the ante by calling us to, “Treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself.”

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is one thing, but “love your stranger as yourself?” What does that look like? Where do we begin?

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