Be of Good Cheer

A happy heart makes the face cheerful,
    but heartache crushes the spirit.

The discerning heart seeks knowledge,
    but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

All the days of the oppressed are wretched,
    but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.

  • Proverbs 15:13-15

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
“‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’
“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

  • Numbers 6:22-27

“Earthquakes!  Prison riots!  Economic pressures!  Divorce!  No job!  Drugs!  Divorce!  Death!  Pretty serious scene, isn’t it?  Yet that is the emotional environment in which we live.  No wonder someone has dubbed this the ‘aspirin age.’ …
“How is your sense of humor?  Are the times in which we live beginning to be reflected in your attitude, your face, your outlook?”

  • Charles R. Swindoll, The Finishing Touch

The benediction from Numbers 6 is used often in churches that I have attended over the years.  God is looking down on us, smiling.  He loves us.  This is just one more bit of evidence that the God of the Old Testament is the same loving God that is in the New Testament.  Maybe God is thinking as He smiles down upon us, “If you only knew how temporary your circumstances are…  If you only knew how this time of trial is making you stronger, more fit for the kingdom…  If you only knew what awaits you for eternity…  If you only could grasp what eternity is compared to this brief hiccup in time in which you live…  Maybe then you would be smiling too.”

We don’t have to be as perverse as Bill Kilgore, played by Robert Duvall, in Apocalypse Now, when he said, “I love the sweet smell of napalm in the morning. …  You know what it smells like?  It smells like … victory.  Someday, this war’s gonna end.”

But we need to realize that someday soon, this “war” is gonna end.  This trial that we are passing through will be over.  Even now, during the hardship, does not that hope of a brighter future bring a smile to your face?  Someday soon, all trials will end.  All suffering will end.

Oh, and although we have been locked down for an extended period, and we’ve done the household cleaning multiple times out of boredom, the toilet may not be perfectly clean, no matter how hard you try.  I received a suggestion by mail.

“Please do not try this at home unless supervised by the master of the house!

How to thoroughly clean the toilet…..
1. Add the required amount of shampoo to the toilet water, and put both lids up.
2. Pick up the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.
3. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids.
(You may need to stand on the lid.)  The cat will self agitate and make ample suds.  (Never mind the noises that come from the toilet, the cat is actually enjoying this.)
4. Flush the toilet three or four times.  (This provides a “power-wash” and “rinse.”)
5. Have someone open the door to the outside.  (Be sure that there are no people between the toilet and the outside door.)
6. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.
7. Your clean cat will rocket out of the toilet, and run outside where he will dry himself off.  The toilet will be sparkling clean!
Sincerely,
The Dog”

  • Source unknown, probably from a dog person

Sure, the dog can type better than I can, but where did he get the stamp to mail the letter?

Trust in the Lord.  As my wife used to sing, “Smile a while and give your face a rest.  Sit right down and elevate your chest.”  She always gets creative with lyrics.  Like the old man says, “If you don’t know them, make them up.”

Okay, maybe we can teach a different means of greeting one another than shaking hands, but the little song is cute.

For this next story, you must know that the Blue Cross / Blue Shield medical insurance in SW Pennsylvania is called Highmark BC/BS.

One day at church a couple of years ago, I approached a group of about ten of my church ‘friends.’  Friend One said, “Hi, Mark!”  Friend Two said, “Blue Cross, Blue Shield.”  All ten laughed.

I replied, “Okay, you’ve had your fun.  I grew up being asked how I liked being named after the sound made by a hair-lipped dog.  Now this!  I’m fed up!  I think I’ll just change my name to ‘Drox!’  Let’s see what you can make of that!”

Dead silence until my wife rolled her eyes and said, “That won’t work.  Most people prefer Oreos.”  I still think half of the group of friends never figured out that an old rival to Oreo cookies was Hydrox cookies.  And if you must explain it, it’s no longer funny.

And how can I not have a post on being cheerful without a short moment with Mark Lowry?

I didn’t have an “old sanctuary” to go to, I was shown a hymn in the hymnal to the tune of Finlandia, named “Be Still, My Soul”.  I knew then that I would not be able to sit comfortably for a while after getting home, not that the pew was comfortable at that moment.  And I still cringe when the pastor selects that hymn, and it had nothing to do with squirming in the pew, because the pew was uncomfortable to sit on.

Smile.  Good times are on their way.

I first saw the following on a post by David Robertson. “The Blessing”, which is basically the second Scripture above, sung by a collection of choirs in the United Kingdom as a blessing, and it is a blessing to hear it again. God’s Holy Word, sung to bless a nation in time of crisis. Yes, be of good cheer.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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