Devotion in Motion: The Biblical case for happiness

7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:

   Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. ~  Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

happyWhen I first got my Amazon Kindle, I downloaded a sample of a book called 14,000 Things to be Happy About.  The format was simple; it consisted of a small-print, single-file listing of the things in life that are pleasant and good.  I liked it so much that I paid to download the whole book.  I enjoyed the downloaded version so much that I decided to order an ink-and-paper copy. Since then I’ve ordered several more copies of the book, and passed them on to people who were going through hard times. The book is a great resource for everyone.  After all, when you think about happy things, you feel happier.

Not too long after that, I got one of those targeted ads. You know the kind I’m talking about; it’s when the internet is stalking you and says, “If you liked THAT you might want to consider buying THIS.” Well, the book that was recommended to me was called 11,002 Things to be Miserable About. (Have you noticed there’s a parody of everything these days?) The review of the book said that when you make a list of all the bad things in life and print them in lists, it’s surprisingly funny (in a dark sort of way.) I downloaded the free sample to check it out.

As I skimmed through the pages, I chuckled when I was reminded of the negative aspects of  “Alarm Clocks” and “Imitation Crabmeat.” However, as I read further, the humor quickly wore off. In my way of thinking, there’s nothing ironically funny about “The Orchestra That Played While the Titanic Went Down” or “When Birds Fly into a Glass Window and Die.” Those things are just tragic and sick.

As I read a bit more, I began to feel sick at heart. Reading about sad things wasn’t just putting me in a sad mood. Reading about sad things was making me into a sad person. I deleted the book.

When I was growing up, my father often said, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  I didn’t realize it at the time, but this is a paraphrase of today’s Scripture text (at the top). I always understood the proverb to mean that the things that we think about influence the way we feel. But the Bible says more than that.  The things that we think about determine what we ARE.

This week, set your mind on the Saviour and the many blessings He has given you. Life is full of things to be happy about. I can think of at least 14,000 of them….

rp_john-l-cash-212x3001.jpgDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 31 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (Until recently he had a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.)  He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher drew his first teacher’s-pension check on Thursday.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 25), and Seth (age 22), and his wife Leanne (age 21). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.

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