By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“But let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy! Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds; his name is the Lord, exult before him! “ Psalm 68:3,4

Hopefully, most of us want to be happy—that we enjoy our life and live in a way that is good for us and for others. Happiness has to do with our relationships with other people. It can be bright or it can be dark.

“David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brethren as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments on harps and lyers and cymbals to raise sounds of joy.” I Chronicles 15:16

“Then they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” And all of the people went after him, playing on pipes and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth was split by their noise.” I Kings 39,40

One source of joy and happiness—is accomplishment. We undertake a building project that turns out well. We study and gain understanding. We become proficient with a musical instrument. We train our children under the guidance of God, and see them blossom as they grow. When we complete our studies in high school, in university, in advanced education. The result is joy although the process may be difficult.

“As we come into belief and faith in God, we find joy: “there are many who say, O that we might see some good! Lift up the light of thy countenance upon us O Lord! Thou hast put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” Psalm 4:6,7

Jesus said: “If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love, just as I have  kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken unto you that my joy may be ln you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:10,11

Joy has to do with our relationship with our Savior. If we believe in him, we have confidence. If we study his word, we have satisfaction. If we pray we grow in grace. On the other hand, if we deny the Father and the Son, we are likely to be confused. If we disobey the teachings of our Lord, we are much more likely to be frustrated and unhappy. God teaches us for our welfare, that things may go well for us. God does not want to hurt us, he wants to help us. He understands us better than we understand ourselves. We need to keep close to him in reading the Bible, in worshiping in church, in talking to him daily, seeking forgiveness of our sins, seeking guidance in what we do, Closeness to God makes happiness possible.

To go against the grain is tough. Some of the failures and disappointments that we have result from our distance from God. He is our Creator. He is our Savior. God is our sustainer. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to have a good life. To the degree that we stay with him we can be of help and encouragement to others.

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first born that are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.” Hebrews 12:22-24

Foster H. Shannon
More about Foster…
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
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He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.