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Laughter is Good Medicine,

So is Friendship, Tears, & a Good Diet

Excerpts from the sermon presented by Barrington H. Brennen

on Health & Temperance Sabbath, Centreville Church September 2, 2000




My first text today, and perhaps the text that intrigues me the most is:

Proverbs 17:22:      "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." NIV


"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. " KJV

Should we take this text literally? Is laughter really a good medicine and our bones can literally dry up when we have a crushed spirit, or in other words, when we are depressed?

Another equally intriguing text is found is


Ecclesiastes 7:3:  Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart." NIV


"Sorrow is better than laughter, because by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better." KJV


Is sorrow really better than laughter? Could it really affect our heart?


Hereís another text to ponder. This one is none Biblical. That is although it was written during Bible times it was not selected among those to be included in the Bible. These are usually called the Apocryphal writings. As Seventh-day Adventists we believe that these writings do have some historical value.


Sirach 6:16

"A faithful friend is the medicine of life; and they that fear the Lord shall find him."

Here are the three types of medicine?: 

1. Laugher 

2. Tears/Sorrow 

3. Friendship


Let these other texts further complicate the picture.  Proverbs 16:24:  "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."


Proverbs 3:7-8:  "Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones."


Here are other texts to ponder.  Proverbs 19:13: "A foolish son is the fatherís ruin. And a quarrelsome wife is like is a constant dripping."


Do you know what a constant dripping of a water faucet can do to you? "It can drive you crazy," to use a colloquial expression.


Proverbs 18:8:  "The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a manís inmost parts."


Proverbs 18:21:  "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

Here are the texts that we are most familiar with:


3 John 2: "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good (total) health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."


Romans 12:1: "Therefore, I urge you, believers, in view of Godís mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to GodĖthis is your spiritual act of worship."


1 Corinthians 7:19

Do you know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body."


Letís answer some questions right here. Do you think that a laughing and crying can really help the body? Do these actions produce medicine within us? Modern research tells us YES.


For many of us when we laugh thatís the most exercise we get in a week. Laughter causes us to breath in lots of air. It also stimulates a certain part of the brain that intern stimulates the production of certain endorphins (chemicals) which are beneficial for healing of the body. These chemicals can also relax muscles and nerves.


When we free ourselves to cry, release the sorrow within, we prevent the build up of disease carrying cells. We reduce tension, thus promote healing of mind and body.


What can laughter do for you?

  1. It activates the immune system

  2. It actually increases your intellectual performance and boosts information retention.

  3. It makes our cheeks sore.


Research results at Loma Linda University, California, (A Seventh-day Adventist University), show that after exposure to humor the activity to the immune system include:

  1. An increase in the number of activity level of killer cells that attack viral infected cells and some types of cancer and tumor cells.

  2. An increase in activated T cells (T lymphocytes). There are many T cells that await activation. Laughter appears to tell the immune system to "turn it up a notch."

  3. An increase in the antibody IgA (immunoglobulin), which fights upper respiratory tract insults and infections.

Laughter, and also exercise, increases the level of endorphins in body. What are endorphins doing in our body? In addition to the above, endorphins:

  1. Block the lesion of blood vessel: As the endorphins are secreted more and more, the shrunken blood vessels return to a normal state allowing blood to flow in a normal manner. Most adult diseases start from clogged blood vessels. Endorphins help to improve the circulation of blood.

  2. Endorphins have anti-aging effect by removing Superoxide.

  3. Endorphins have a pain-relieving effect.

  4. Endorphins help improve your memory.


There is something more important than having a good diet. It is having a healthy mind, a sense of well being. The way we find this sense of well being, and develop a healthy mind is through loving relationships relationship. God is a God of relationships.

Let us see how broken relationships can do to us.


Several years ago two psychologists wanted to know the effects of stress on the body. They developed the Social readjustment rating scale. They gave points to various activities according to how they saw the effect on people. Here are the results.


Social Readjustment Rating Scale   Just a sample


Events  &  Points

  • Death of a spouse - 100

  • Divorce -  73

  • Marital separation from mate - 65

  • Death of a close family member - 63

  • Marriage - 50

  • Being fired at work - 47

  • Pregnancy     40

  • Death of a close friend - 37

  • Son or daughter leaving home - 29

  • Change in residence - 20

  • Vacation - 13

  • Christmas - 12

Their research show that persons accumulating 150-299 points in one year, 50% become physically ill. Persons accumulating 300 points or more in one year, 80% become physically ill.

Mental effects of stress: Forgetfulness, unable to think clearly, difficulty making decisions, irritability and frustration, lower self-esteem, feeling immobilized, feelings of panic, discouragement.

Physical exercise stimulates bones to produce blood cells that can fight against diseases. (Nourishment to the bones)


How does the body respond to emotional stress?: Pupils of eyes dilate (enlarge), heart rate increases, less blood flows to skin (cold hands), breathing rate increases, digestive processes are inhibited, mouth become dry, blood pressure increases, blood sugar concentrations rises, urination is inhibited, skin changed -"goose bumps," hair standing on end, sweating increases.


Research also shows that we can increase or decrease the weight of our brain depending on our living environment and lifestyle. The length of parts of brain cells increases when we are living in a wholesome environment and have a wholesome lifestyle. They can also decrease if we cease living that lifestyle. Our brain weight can increase or decrease between 1 - 3 pounds.


Research also tells us that butons or buttons are added our brain cells for every habit we develop. Therefore we have good and bad butons. These will remain with us for the rest of our lives. It is up to us to have more good habits than bad ones to remain healthy.


Let us remind ourselves of the eight laws of health: Rest, Proper Diet, Abstemiousness, Exercise, Pure Water, Pure Air, Sunlight, Trust in Divine Power. There is one more law of health. You can exercise 5 hours a day, eat broccoli soup, drink soy bean milk, but without this one you can still die. You will die first emotionally then physically. This ninth law of health is Loving Relationships

Could it be that some of us are also lacking spiritual nutrients, thus we may have spiritual anemia? God needs us today to be whole individuals. Mentally, spiritual, socially, and physically.


What are the spiritual nutrients for our soul? Prayer, bible study, loving relationships, faith, hope. Even with a good diet and proper exercise, and reading the Bible, a breakdown in a relationship can still affect our bodies.


Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us the things God hates? Do you know why He hates them? Because they destroy relationships.


Do you know that having loving relationships can affect our longevity? Married men live longer than single men. Not married women. However, women do need a relationship to live long.


Jesus said to his disciples is John 15:15

"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his masterís business. Instead, I have called you FRIENDS, for everything that I learned form my Father I have made known to you."


It is important to remember that the disciples were Christians because they had a relationship with Jesus. Jesus needed FRIENDS. Our neighbors, colleagues, and associates will know that we are His disciples if we love one another." (John13:35) Not by super links or fry pats, not by Sabbath services, or AY camps, not by daily exercise, although these are all important, but by loving relationships. Then the most important words for us today are "I LOVE YOU"


The ten commandments are described in the context of relationships -- Love to God and to each other.

Here is Barrington Brennenís adaptation of 1 Corinthians 13. I wrote this to emphasize the message today:

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Brennen's 1 Corinthians 13


"If I speak in tongues of nations and of angels, but have not a loving attitude, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have no love in my heart, I am nothing.

If I am a vegetarian, and do not eat dairy products to reduce my sinus problem, and cannot share lovingly with others, my diet is in vain. If I exercise five times a week at Golds Gym or on R.M. Baily track, and cannot share my energy in a loving way, my walking and running will be in vain. I can still die of a heart attack.


If I am financially independent and able to give to all church projects but have not love, my giving will be in vain. If I eat lots of broccoli soup to reduce the cancer risk, make my own gluten, or eat only boil fish for meat, and refuse to share in loving relationships, my life will be meaningless. I can still die prematurely.


Love never fails. College degrees, pretty houses, gorgeous clothing, speaking in tongues, evangelistic crusades, and health seminars, will all pass away. Now these five remains. Financial independence, a healthy lifestyle, faith, hope, and loving relationships. But the greatest of all of these is LOVING RELATIONSHIPS."

» »

Love Through me

Love through me, Love through me,

O Lord, love through me.

Somewhere, somebody

Needs your love today;

O, Lord, love through me


Weep through me, Weep through me;

O Lord, weep through me

As long as just one soul is gone astray;

O Lord, weep through me


Speak through me, Speak through me

Oh, Lord, speak through me.

Make you word upon my lips

A flame today O Lord, speak through me.

Somewhere, somebody

Needs your love today,

O, Lord, love through me.

O, Lord, love through me.




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April 26, 2000, TAGnet/NetAserve / Network Solutions

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