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Friday, March 23, 2007

Ken and Nila Pierce
Ken and Nila Pierce sharing their big smiles!

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"The Blessing of the Smile"

"Men listened to me expectantly, waiting in silence for my counsel. After I had spoken, they spoke no more; my words fell gently on their ears. They waited for me as for showers and drank in my words as the spring rain. When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them. I chose the way for them and sat as their chief; I dwelt as a king among his troops; I was like one who comforts mourners" (Job 29:21-25).

I saw a sign in front of a farm house with this message: "A smile is a curve that straightens everything out." Well, a smile is a curve and although it doesn't always straighten everything out, it sure will brighten your countenance, improve your appearance, and affect your outlook in a positive way! 

What a blessing to be around smiling people.  I can think of many people all though my life who have blessed me with their smile. Perhaps not surprisingly Brooksyne is right at the top of the list. But among my many smiling friends I consider Ken Pierce, who along with his wife Nila, are a part of our home Bible Study.  Ken has a huge smile that often erupts into hearty laughter.  In fact I can hardly picture Ken without his big smile.

Interestingly the Bible doesn't have a lot of references to smiling.  But today's portion is one of them.  It's kind of hard to read this without smiling!  Job is sharing his personal testimony while he is in the midst of his suffering. In this discourse he considers the blessing he had been to others prior to his trial, "in months gone by" (Job 29:1).

Now I would have a hard time saying this about myself but notice Job's words, "When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them."  That's sure quite a description of the influence of a smile isn't it?  Consider an individual you personally know who has a great smile.  It affects the entire face as though it were bringing light to a dismal setting.  Perhaps it also has to do with the fact that a smile isn't just confined to the lower part of the face, but it almost always brings sparkle and light to the eyes.

Consider these words as you receive smiles today and as you share yours with others. It can be a gloomy world with so much distressing news and for those going through difficult times. What an added blessing we can be to one another when our facial expressions are accentuated with a smile.  Truth is, we'd much rather be surrounded by those who frequently smile, than those who rarely see anything to smile about!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, I consider the words of Nehemiah who wrote "The joy of the Lord is my strength" and Solomon who reminds us that "a cheerful heart is good medicine."  Both verses speak about matters of the heart where we overflow with Your love, joy and goodness.  Help us not to rely solely on external stimulus to bring forth a smile, but let our smiles be contagious as they are evidence of Your abundance within in our lives.  Help us to find a person today who has no smile so that we can pass ours onto that individual in the name of Christ.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:  Perhaps you will feel this is a silly exercise but it can also enlighten.  Awhile back I did it with Ester and we learned a great deal from it.  I had her cover 2/3 of her face with only her eyes visible.  Then I told her to frown, smile, or show no expression.  While carefully watching her eyes I guessed which of the three she was doing.  Then I turned it around and had her guess at my expressions when 2/3 of my face was covered.  What we learned is that a smile does bring light and sparkle to the eyes and we could easily guess when the other was smiling or frowning.  Consider the words of Job in light of this little exercise and you can see that a smile truly does bring light to the entire face!

A smile also makes our voice uplifting and cheerful sounding.  We have a local radio announcer who sounds as though she's smiling every time she speaks and amazingly I find myself smiling while listening to her.  Others have said the same thing.  When I was a chaplain to a sales department who sold ads over the phone I commented on how cheerful they sounded over the phone.  The supervisor told me that during their training a mirror was placed in front of them and they were instructed to watch themselves in the mirror to make sure they were smiling as they spoke.  Their smile could be felt through the phone lines – I watched them in action and it was very impressive.  It made me want to buy an ad!

Brooksyne's Note:  A song just came to me that I remember singing during our greeting time at church while I was growing up.  Though I haven't sung it for 35 years or more it came right back to me:

Smile awhile and give your face a rest.
Raise your hand to the one you love the best,
Then shake hands with those nearby
And give to them a smile.

While searching for this song we found this interesting article from over 50 years ago!

Lee, Tammy and Tony Potteiger
The Potteiger family is a part of the church we served most recently near Harrisburg, PA. Two days ago they sent me this photo. They were travelling together,  all in the front seat, when Tony, their son stuck his right hand out the window and snapped this impromptu family portait!

In my computer I group my photos by categories and have a large category called "friends." When we visit with friends I usually  ask if I may take a photo and of course I have quite a collection. If you have ever visited with us I probably have your photo! As I scrolled through today I am so blessed and heartened by scores of smiling faces.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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