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The Personal Impact of Faith: The Therapy of Laughter

“I take my faith very seriously; therefore there is no time for
laughter or joy.” “We must work while we can.” “The world is such a dark
place my heart cannot smile.” “That sounds so spiritual.”

But is the absence of joy and laughter a sign of commitment and
dedication? Some may argue that position. However when I look at a passage
of Scripture like Proverbs 17:22 it offers a fresh new perspective: “A merry
heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”[1]

Simply stated, there is great therapeutic and spiritual value in
laughter. Children understand this far more than adults. One article I read
recently noted that “children laugh 400 times per day, adults 15 times.” The
article pointed out further that Laughter reduces pain and stress, increases
resistance to infection and alleviates emotional problems. Laughter does
this by stimulating the blood circulation and the release of the hormones
adrenaline and noradrenaline. Laughter triggers secretion of adrenaline
which acts on the pituitary to release adrenocorticotropic hormone which in
turn stimulates the adrenal cortex of the kidneys to release cortisol which
has anti-inflammation properties. Laughter also stimulates release of
endorphins – chemicals with pain relieving properties like opiates – from
the hypothalamus.

It is important to serve the Lord with passion and intensity.
But that does not mean we cannot take the time to enjoy the gift of
laughter. Let me go one step further: failure to experience the freedom from
burdens and challenges in a way that creates laughter can lead to severe
emotional trauma. This emotional trauma will not only cause pain and
sadness; it can short-circuit our ministry effectiveness.

So what are some key checkpoints? First, take time to laugh. Then, help
others who are burdened to experience the medicinal value of a good laugh
from time to time. Ask God to give you eyes to see and ear to hear the joy
markers He has placed in your experience.

Is it spiritual to take our work seriously? Absolutely! But it
is also spiritual to take some heart medicine by enjoying what God has given
us through moments of emotional freedom. Let’s enjoy the life that God has
given. This is Larry Mercer for the Moody Broadcasting Network.

[1]The Holy Bible: King James Version. 1995. Logos Research Systems, Inc.:
Oak Harbor, WI.


The Personal Impact of Faith: The Therapy of Church Attendance

Date: 2/22/2005

Perhaps you have heard these statements in your conversations
with people as well: “I can worship God alone in my apartment.” Or “God can
hear my prayer just as well from my house as He can from the church
building.” Both of those statements are true. You can worship God alone in
your apartment. God can hear your prayer if you voice it from your house.

But in addition to being obedient, there are some very definite
spiritual and therapeutic benefits of church attendance. By now you are
asking the question, what do you mean by the phrase “therapeutic benefits of
church attendance?”

Several major universities like the University of California at Berkeley,
the University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University School of Public
Health documented that there are some physiological and psychological
benefits of showing up in church.[1] For example, at Johns Hopkins
University, they documented that cardiovascular diseases were reduced
significantly in early old age by people who had been engaged in a lifetime
of regular church attendance.

Other researchers have demonstrated in a number of studies that
blood pressure is reduced significantly by regular church attendance.[2]
This reduction in blood pressures translates into a reduction in mortality.
People live longer when they consistently go to church.

What is the bottom line? Church attendance is not only good for
our souls; it is good for our bodies, hearts, and minds. All of a sudden the
scriptural admonitions, like the one found in Hebrews 10, are more powerful
than ever before.

Listen to what it says: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without
wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to
stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own
assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another;
and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”[3]

It is so wonderful to know that God’s Word is so relevant that the old
command that we show up in church as often as we can is not only an
opportunity for us to deepen our relationship with God, but it helps us in
our personal lives as well.

So how do we apply that? I think we make church attendance a priority for
our own spiritual life. We encourage our children and family members to take
full advantage of the opportunities church attendance provides. And then we
support the church financially so it can give life to other people. You see,
the local church is more than a building on a corner. It is a place the
Spirit of God uses to promote physical, spiritual, social, and emotional
health. That place with the steeple on the corner? Don’t just look at it as
a place to worship God; look at it as a place that gives you life. This is
Larry Mercer for the Moody Broadcasting Network.

[3] Hebrews 10:23-25.


The Personal Impact of Faith: The Therapy of Prayer

Date: 2/21/2005

I remember as a child hearing some very simple expressions of
faith toward God like “Now I lay me down to sleep, pray the Lord my soul to
keep. If I die before I wake, pray the Lord my soul to take.” And I even
heard the phrase: “God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food.
By His hands we must all be fed. Give us Lord our daily bread. Amen.”

Those simple prayers reflected the heart and passions of a lot
of people at a very important stage in their lives. But does prayer really
make a difference? Is praying just an exercise in futility without a
meaningful impact? Better yet. Does any dimension of our faith change our
personal experience in a measurable way?
This commentary series will deal with four different spiritual
disciplines and raise a very simple question: what earthly difference can
practicing spiritual disciplines make in the individual life of the

Let me explain what I mean. Better yet. Let me illustrate what I mean.

A number of years ago, a very special experiment was conducted
by Dr. Robert Byrd at the University of California at San Francisco Medical
School. He wanted to study the impact of payer on the outcomes of cardiac
surgery. Very simply stated, there were two sets of patients: those who were
being prayed for, and those who were not being prayer for. None of the
patients knew they were being prayed for, none of the attending doctors and
nurses knew who was being prayed for and who was not, and those praying had
no personal contact with the patients before or during the experiment. What
is significant in the outcomes were very noticeable. Those prayed for had
noticeably fewer post-operative congestive heart failures, fewer
cardiopulmonary arrests, less pneumonia, and less need for antibiotics.[1]
To date, this study has not been replicated, but that study (along with
others that are noted in the printed text of the commentary) illustrates a
very simple reality: prayer does make a difference.[2]

It takes to a new level of significance a passage of Scripture
like 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “pray without ceasing?.?”

Does prayer make a difference? If you believe it does then I
want to issue a challenge. What if every child in your family – better yet
every child in your church – had an adult that was calling his or her name
every day in prayer? What if we were saying to God, “God, we care so much
about these children that we want to lift them up before You in prayer?”

One spiritual leader said, “Prayer is the tender nerve that
moves the heart of God.” I believe prayer is also His gift to us to help our
nerves function properly. This is Larry Mercer for the Moody Broadcasting

[2] Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences on a study conducted in North
Carolina by Duke University. Findings: Depressed patients with higher
intrinsic religiosity scores had 70% more rapid remissions than patients
with lower scores. In this study, greater intrinsic religiosity
independently predicted shorter time to remission. To the authors’
knowledge, this is the first report in which religiosity has been examined
as a predictor of outcome of depressive disorder.
Findings: Persons who “prayed or studied the Bible at least several
times/week” were 58% less likely than others to have alcoholism in past 6
months (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.22-0.78, p<.01 after controlling for age, sex,
race, SES, and health status); no difference was found for life-time rates.
Those who “attended religious services weekly or more” were 71% less likely
to have alcoholism in past 6 months.

Dr. Larry Mercer, Senior Vice President of Media and Church Ministries at
the Moody Bible Institute, is a graduate of East Carolina University
(Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology) and Dallas Theological Seminary (Master’s
of Theology in Pastoral Ministry and Doctor of Ministry in Christian
Education). He has been a Licensed Childcare Administrator with the Texas
Department of Human Services since 1981, and also serves as an adjunct
professor for the Moody Bible Institute Graduate School. Larry has been
married more than twenty-five years to his wife Annie. They have four

Check out this crazy Blog:

Updated frequently!!!
  .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
A UNC grad spent all day making his funny money. At the
end of the day he realizes he spent all his time making $15 bills.

He figures that the only way he's going to get anything from this
batch of money, is to find a place where the people aren't too
bright and change his phony money for real cash.

He travels to a small town in the backwoods and walks into a
small Mom and Pop grocery store. He goes to the old man
behind the counter and asks him, "Do you have change for a $15 bill?"

The old man replies, "I sure do. How would you like that?
An 8 and a 7 or two 6s and a three?"
  .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
Our subtle senses of color and taste are the result of various
combinations of a small number of "primary" senses. There are the
sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami of taste, and the red, green,
and blue of color. Are there "primary smells" too?

The sense of smell is far more complex than taste, but it too has
primary senses. There are a lot more of them: several hundred,
according to recent studies. Smell receptor cells come in many
varieties, each of which responds to a small group of similar molecules.

When you smell the complex aroma of baking cookies or the subtle tang
of seaweed decaying on the beach, your brain is recognizing a very
complicated message composed of hundreds of distinct signals. Change
just a few of those signals by a tiny amount, and you might realize
that the cookies are beginning to burn. What an amazing Creator
each of us has.
  .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
"Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we
ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the
glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and
ever. Amen." The Bible, Ephesians 3
  .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

First of all i must say that i'm shocked...In a good way,i guess...

You know,i'm not used to get comments on my blog and not many people
know of its existence.

I must also apologise for any mistake in my writing but i'm not used
to write in english,although i should.

Anyway...are you really from USA?How did you get to know my blog?How
can i know you're trustworthy?

Sorry,but they all seem pretty good and reasonable questions and
doubts to me.

Hope we can continue this "dialogue"...See you...And thanks for your
  .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
Post a Comment

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* * * Four Important Things To KNOW: #1) For ALL (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. #2) For the wages of above (see #1) are DEATH (Hell, eternal separation from God, & damnation) but the Gift (free & at no charge to you) of God (Creator, Jehovah, & Trinity) is Eternal Life (Heaven) through (in union with) Jesus Christ (God, Lord, 2nd Person of The Trinity, Messiah, Prince of Peace & Savior of the World). #3) For God so greatly loved & dearly prized the world (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime - while still living) believes (trust in, relies on, clings to, depends completely on) Him shall have eternal (everlasting) life (heaven). #4) Jesus said: "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE. No one (male/female - American, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Asian, Presbyterian, European, Baptist, Brazilian, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc. ) comes (arrives) to the Father (with GOD in Heaven) EXCEPT BY (through) ME (no other name). *** This wonderful loving GOD gives you the choice - - - (Rev. 3:20) {Please note that church membership, baptism, doing good things, etc. are not requirements for becoming a Christian - however they are great afterwards!!!} *** Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (Hell, damnation, eternal punishment), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Heaven, eternal happiness, forever with God), and only a few find it.

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But these are written so that you may
believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the
Son of God, and that by believing in
Him you will have life. Jn 20:31

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call on Him while He is near. Let the
wicked forsake his way and the evil
man his thoughts. Let him turn to the
Lord, and He will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for He will freely
pardon. "For My thoughts are not
your thoughts, neither are your ways
My ways," declares the Lord. "As the
heavens are higher than the earth, so
are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down
from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making
it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed
for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My
mouth: It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and
achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth
in peace; the mountains and hills will
burst into song before you, and all the
trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the
pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle
will grow. This will be for the Lord's
renown, for an everlasting sign, which
will not be destroyed." Is 55

O Lord, you have searched me and you
know me. You know when I sit and when
I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying
down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know
it completely, O Lord. You hem me in -
behind and before; you have laid your
hand upon me. Such knowledge is too
wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where
can I flee from your presence? If I go up
to the heavens, you are there; if I make
my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide
me and the light become night around
me," even the darkness will not be dark
to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. For you
created my inmost being; you knit me
together in my mother's womb. I praise
you because I am fearfully and wonderfully
made; your works are wonderful, I know
that full well. My frame was not hidden
from you when I was made in the secret
place. When I was woven together in the
depths of the earth, your eyes saw my
unformed body. All the days ordained
for me were written in your book before
one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,
O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would
outnumber the grains of sand. When
I awake, I am still with you. Search me,
O God, and know my heart; test me
and know my anxious thoughts. See
if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Ps 139

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up,
that I may show My power in you, and that My
Name may be declared in all the earth. Ex 9:16

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
- - Isaac Watts

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