11 June 2001

As you enter the door of my study at Harmony Church, you will find a plaque that displays the wise words of Solomon:"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones"-Proverbs 17:22. This is one of my favorite scriptures because it reminds me of an attitude, a posture that should be displayed in the house of God, and among God's people in general. It reminds me of what people around me need, even when I do not feel merry myself and that this medicine needs to be dispensed in abundance because it is good for God's people. Consider with me "Good Medicine". Every leader must have a merry heart. Who wants to follow a sour puss. A sour, negative leader will produce followers of the same gender. Sure, we all have down times, times of struggle, times of loss and tragedy, yet there should always be enough "good medicine" around to lift our spirits and guide us through those dark days. How would our nation feel today if President Bush went around with his head down complaining of the circumstances that surround his life and our country? We may all become physicians of cheerfulness when we display a merry heart because the merry heart is good medicine for all around us. In our church, in our homes and even on the job the one with the merry heart is the person we all want to be around. This balm of Gilead rubs off on others and sends them on their way with a better outlook on life. Why is this so? Because the merry heart encourages us, elevates our spirit and provides an enjoyable environment. Indeed, a joyful heart is "Good medicine" for the soul. These words remind us that it is not a sin for Christians to smile. A merry heart suggests a smile. Who wants to go a church where everyone wears a frown. Is there something wrong with their Lord; their doctrine; or their brethren? I have seen people smile when their toes were stepped on by the gospel. Surely, that must the sign of a merry heart. I remember as a child, seeing a brother laugh during a sermon. I turned to one of my parents and asked, "Is that man laughing at the preacher". "No", was the whispered reply, "he is enjoying the sermon." That was the first time I had ever witnessed anyone smiling in church. Today I know that was the sign of a merry heart. Not only is a merry heart good for those around us, it is equally good medicine for our own selves. Yes, we have a lot to do with our own merriment. We are dispensers of this medicine for self as well as others. A merry heart indicates fellowship with the Lord. From experience, I know this to be a truth. My down time are usually those that follow a focus on the world, times that I have ignored God for a season and avoided study and prayer. We leave our "first love" and our visits to God's house become drudgery rather than edifying. When we find the Lord we find our good medicine for He is the maker of the merry heart. Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 each Sunday morning. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor