In spite of bleak and serious surroundings about us, I firmly believe we need another good dose of Solomon's counsel. Listen to David's wisest son:

A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. All the days of the afflicted are bad, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast (Proverbs 15:13, 15).

A joyful heart is good medicine (the Hebrew says, ". . . causes good healing . . .") but a broken spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:22).

Honestly now . . . how's your sense of humor? Are the times in which we live beginning to tell on you-your attitude, your face, your outlook? If you aren't sure, ask those who live under your roof, they'll tell you! Solomon talks straight, too. He (under the Holy Spirit's direction) says that three things will occur in the lives of those who have lost their capacity to enjoy life: (1) a broken spirit, (2) a lack of inner healing, and (3) dried-up bones. What a barren portrait of the believer!
Have you begun to shrivel into a bitter, impatient, critical Christian? Is your family starting to resemble employees at a local mortuary? The Lord points to a better way-the way of joyful winsomeness. "A joyful heart" is what we need . . . and if ever we needed it, it is now.

Deepening Your Roots
Genesis 21:6; Psalm 126:1-6

Branching Out

P> 1. At 3:30 p.m. every day this week take a creativity break (stop what you're doing and find another person, if possible) and have five minutes of some light-heartedness or laughter. Shoot rubber bands at a target, read the comics, or-better still-speak with someone you don't know very well.

2. Laugh, just to laugh, and see if others join in.

3. Offer a smile and a pleasant word to each person you see this morning.