Some of you have not had a good belly laugh in twenty years. Stop now and ask, How healthy am I? How physically healthy, mentally healthy, and spiritually healthy am I? Your laughter is rusty and barely works. You would feel better and have more energy if you would simply learn to laugh several times a day. Because we get older with more responsibilities doesn’t mean we should lose our laughter.

STRESS
By Pastor Delbert Young

You’ve Got To Laugh

You’ve Got To Laugh

Proverbs 17:22, Proverbs 15:13, Proverbs 15:15, Job 5:22

I want to talk about the healing power of laughter. Much of the sickness today in our world is because people do not have joy and laughter in life as they should. When we live stressed, uptight, and on edge, it causes headaches, digestive problems, blood pressure problems, lack of energy, lose of sleep. Much of this would be avoided or go away if we would simply learn how to deal with stress properly. “Shakespeare rightly said, “A light heart lives long.” One of the greatest stress relievers God has given us is laughter. Laughter is God’s medicine.

Proverbs 17:22  A MERRY HEART doeth good like a MEDICINE: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Laughter and joy is medicinal. It’s what God has given us to medicate stress and all the problems related to stress. According to experts, 94% of diseases are caused by stress. Only 6% of diseases are caused by virus and bacteria. So if we can reduce the stress-related factors, the functioning of the body will improve. Experience has shown that as soon as a person laughs, the mind and body become free of tension, but when tensed, blood pressure increases affecting the heart, brain, and kidneys, leading to the malfunctioning of the entire system.

Laughter actually releases healing throughout your system. In ancient times, kings and emperors employed court jesters to make them laugh. Every circus has clowns to induce laughter. TV comedy serials insert recorded laughter because laughter is contagious.

We were keeping our two youngest grandsons, Michael Lance, four years old, and Jon David, three years old. They were watching a camera recording of an animated movie. On the movie, you could hear the audience laughing. Every time the audience would laugh, Michael Lance and Jon David would laugh. Then Judy and I would laugh because they were laughing. Laughter is contagious. Sometimes Judy will be talking on the phone to one of her sisters. Judy will just break up in laughter. I’m sitting there not knowing what she is laughing about, or what’s been said, but because she is broken up in laughter, I start laughing. However, I don’t need much to make me laugh.

Well Delbert, “I’m not a jovial person. I just don’t laugh that much.” God did make us all different, but you need to train yourself to laugh more. A sense of humor is developed. You look for opportunities to laugh. Many people have almost forgotten how to laugh. On an average day, an adult barely laughs five times, whereas a child, who has no tension, laughs 150 times. What’s happened? We’ve allowed the stress of life to, little by little, steal our joy and health.

Some of you have not had a good belly laugh in twenty years. Stop now and ask, “How healthy am I? How physically healthy, mentally healthy, and spiritually healthy am I?” Your “laugher” is rusty and barely works. You would feel better and have more energy if you would simply learn to laugh several times a day. Because we get older with more responsibilities doesn’t mean we should lose our laughter.

Doctors say cheerful people resist disease better than gloomy people. The frequency of common colds, sore throats and chest infections are reduced if laughter therapy is practiced regularly. Many longevity experts agree that optimism and the ability to dismiss life’s innumerable irritants with a good sense of humor are two attributes shared by the oldest and healthiest of people. Some researchers also believe that laughter helps fight cancer. You can add healthy years to your life if you will get your “laugher” working regularly. There’s nothing more refreshing than an eighty-year-old who is positive and happy. Judy’s grandfather was that way in his early 80’s. He remarried in his 70’s and was a happy person. After his wife died, it seemed his “laugher” turned off, but he still lived to be 90. We’re all going to get old and one-day die, but I’ve decided I am not going to be a grumpy old man. I’m planning to go out with a smile on my face and a laugh in my heart. How about you?

Doctors say laughter boost the immune system. When we laugh, we secrete hormones that stimulate the heart and act as natural painkillers. They found that laughter actually releases the body’s natural tranquilizers useful for those suffering from insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, joint pains, diabetes and other stress-related problems.

I heard a story about a woman who suffered from insomnia. She took so many tranquilizers they no longer had effect. She tried everything. Finally, one doctor told her before she went to bed to watch or read something funny and laugh before she tried to go to sleep. She thought it was silly, but tried it. She began sleeping a little better and a little better. After a few months, she was totally off her medications and sleeps like a baby. Could it be that you would receive the healing you’ve been longing for if you would create your own personal laughter therapy? Could it be the migraines, back aches, diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, whatever, would go away? A merry heart is a medicine.

There’s too much sickness in the world today. Today, even medical science directly relates much of it to the fact we don’t laugh enough. We live uptight and stressed out. God has provided a cure. It’s completely free and has no side effects. You can take it as often as you like. What if we all, no less than 3 times a day, took a dose of laughter – something making us laugh out loud? Not just a smile, or a chuckle, a real laugh from down deep that released endorphins on the inside. That’s God’s prescription for you today. Think about it. You will have more energy, feel better, be more creative, get more accomplished, and those little aches and pains will go away.

How many know what Fibromyalgia is? It’s muscle pain all over the body making even the smallest tasks impossible. Today, it’s one of the most common types of chronic pain in the US. Medical experts are discovering that laughter is the number one treatment for Fibromyalgia, with keeping a positive attitude second. I heard a story about a woman who suffered with this. She was in constant pain and living a very depressed life. The doctor gave her medications, but knew they only dealt with the symptoms and didn’t do anything for the root cause. The doctor realized how depressed she was and asked her, “How long has it been since you had a good hearty laugh from way down deep?” The woman thought about it and said, “I haven’t laughed like that in over thirty years and maybe since I was a child.” So he gave her a prescription to go find every funny movie she could watch. Find every funny book she could read. Laugh as much as she possibly could. She tried it and little by little she got her joy back. It’s difficult to laugh when you are in pain, but she did it. She began feeling better. The pain eased off. She got her energy back. Three months later, she went back for her checkup. The doctor said the moment he looked at her how he saw a sparkle in her eyes and a joy in her voice. She said, “Doctor, I have not felt this good in I don’t know how long.”

Proverbs 15:13  A MERRY HEART maketh a CHEERFUL COUNTENANCE: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

We can usually simply look at someone and know if they have laughed in a while. We’ve all seen sorrowful, broken people. The reason they are is because they have not laughed lately. There aren’t many things sadder than a funeral. Years ago, I did traditional funerals, but I learned that laughter will begin healing even the broken spirit of grief at a funeral. I ask some of those closest to the loved one who died to give me a few funny stories about the person. In their telling me the story, they begin healing. When I tell the stories, the entire place erupts into laughter and the broken spirits begin healing.

Proverbs 15:15  All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a MERRY HEART hath a continual feast.

In other words, if you can find a laugh in a bad time, you can change the bad experience to something fun – a feast. Laughing people can find something funny in the most serious of situations. Years ago, we were on a fishing trip. We pulled three boats to Florida and put them in. One of the drivers started his engine and for some reason shoved it into forward slamming into and running up the back of a pontoon boat docked in front of him. The crazy thing is once he slid off the back of the pontoon boat, he panicked, shoved it in forward again, and ran up the back of the pontoon doing damage to the pontoon and to his boat. He slid back off the pontoon and shut off the engine. Everyone was watching speechless as a dead silence covered the marina. After a few seconds of silence, I yelled, “Hit it again Tom!” Everyone, even Tom, broke out in laughter. I was not going to allow that to mess up our fishing trip. We made a feast of a bad experience.

I want to ask you today, how long has it been since you’ve had a good hardy laugh? We won’t miss a prescribed medication, but we go years and not laugh.

Laughter strengthens relationships. Some of our best friends are Buren and Barbara Goss and one of the reasons is Buren makes us laugh. He keeps a fun atmosphere all the time. Once years ago, we were planning a vacation together. Barbara and I were writing lists for groceries and what we would do. We looked around and Judy and Buren were taking turns getting inside a big box pushing each other around the living room. We all cracked up and belly laughed. They have been some of our closest friend for thirty years.

It’s great to have laughter in your home. The enemy cannot stand it when a home is full of laughter. Think about it. When the laughter leaves, the enemy shows up if he hasn’t already gotten there. There was a study done on death row inmates. It showed none of them had anything close to a normal childhood. They came from dysfunctional stress-filled families who argue, fight, and yell. If you don’t have laughter in your home, perhaps you should search for why? The enemy might be hiding in the corner in the form of stress, strife, anger, rebellion, and suspicion. I love to hear Judy laugh. When she laughs, she fills the house with laughter. I know she is not weighed down with the ministry, family, or me. When she laughs, I might be upstairs, but when I hear her, I can’t help but laugh too. If you will keep the laughter in your home, you will keep your home. I’ve never seen a family that laughed together not stay together. Some of you could fix your children if you would get laughter back in your home.  Some of you could fix your marriage. When you fell in love, you laughed together. What happened? Stress, responsibilities, life happened.

Happy people draw people to them. Sour, stressed people push people away. I always attempt to make Sundays fun here. I want you to laugh. I want people to be attracted to the kingdom. I think church should be fun and Christians should laugh a lot.

You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself. A few years ago, I had purchased a new boat. Pastor Buren and I were taking it out on it’s first fishing trip. I caught a nice Red Snapper, put it in the floor to remove the hook, put it into the fish box, then came back to reach over the side and wash my hands in the ocean. As I did, I stepped where that fish had been lying. With both hands in the water and me leaning over the side, my feet slipped out from under me and I flipped over the side of the boat into the Gulf of Mexico. I had my cell phone in my pocket and prescription sunglasses on. I grabbed my glasses, but it was too late for the phone. I swam around to the back of the boat and climbed in. When I did, Buren began belly laughing trying to tell me how funny my flipping out of the boat looked. At first, I didn’t think it was funny at all and wasn’t sure I was going to laugh. I had to pray about it. I thought, “That had to look funny and if it were someone else, I would be belly laughing too.” I imagined how I looked doing it and decided it was funny, so I began laughing at myself and do every time I think about it.

Every time you’ve laughed today, you’ve gotten healthier and stronger even if some of it was at my expense. People are so stressed today they can’t even laugh with their own children and family. “But Delbert, these are troubling times.” No. The more troubling it is, the more you need to laugh.

Job 5:22  You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the beasts of the earth.

That seems backwards doesn’t it? The reason is in tough times, we lose our joy. When we lose our joy, we lose our strength. When we lose our strength, we are easily defeated. Dr. Anjana Maitra said in Laugh Your Way to Good Health “Humor is the affirmation of dignity, a declaration of man’s superiority to all that befalls him.” When you are not strong, your immune system weakens. You will catch diseases you would not catch were you strong. God’s solution is laugh at destruction. Laugh at famine. Keep your joy. Why not laugh? You know the outcome. You know you win and God will even make tough times work for your good. Maybe you’re sick, but if you can laugh, you can be well. Maybe your finances are in famine, but if you can laugh, God will send abundance. Maybe your marriage is in destruction mode, but if you can laugh, God will send you fulfillment.

Find some reason to laugh every day. It’s a medicine. Today can be a turning point in your health and in your life. Make it a point to laugh. You will see your marriage improve. You will see your creativity increase. You will have energy you have not experienced in a long time. You will improve your relationship with people and with God. If you will, you will defeat stress and enjoy your life far more than ever.

Other Related Sermons:

Bad Things Happen to Good People – sermon video audio notes

Irresistible Best – sermon notes

Irresistible Life – sermon notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young

 http://www.bolokids.com/2007/0345.htm

 http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/copingstrategies/ss/managefm_7.htm

 http://www.bolokids.com/2007/0345.htm