by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

HAPPINESS = “The state or quality of being happy; the pleasurable experience that springs from possessions of good or the gratification of desires; enjoyment , blessedness. Good fortune, prosperity.” Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary

Do we not understand that all of us want to be happy? There are few, if any who want to be unhappy. So what makes us happy and what makes us unhappy? We have basic needs: food, clothing, shelter, warmth, friendship, good health. If we are severely deprived of any of these things, we will probably not be happy. If we have these things, is it assured that we will be happy? I think not, because we are capable of almost limitless desires. Both the lack of those desires or the possessions of those desires can make us miserable. Consider the possessions of the very wealthy: two homes, six homes, eight cars, very expensive art work and artifacts, limitless traveling, yachts, etc.

When do possessions stop providing for our needs, and become a burden that make us the slaves of our possessions?

“Keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have. For he has said; “I will never fail you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

“Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15) “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?” (Matthew 16:26)

Some people can lose a job and still be happy. Some people can lose substantial sums of money and still be happy. Faith in God and in his care for us can make a major difference. Others can have similar experiences and be miserable. There are severe disappointments that hurt all of us deeply. Many may be delivered by the passing of time and confidence in God, while for others such an experience may leave wounds never to be healed.

Would you like a one way ticket to Mars? “Mars One will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Crews of four will depart every two years, starting in 2024. Our last unmanned mission will be launched in 2018. Join the Mars One community and participate in our mission to Mars.” Mars One reports that more than 200,000 men and women from around the world have responded to the first call for “astronauts”. There are some problems: they do not yet have the capacity to bring you back, the atmosphere of Mars is thinner than that of Earth and is 95% carbon dioxide. Nine months of weightless travel can have a very debilitating effect on your body. I am inclined to think that many of these 200,000 are unhappy with their present situation, and looking for something new. We must ask, what does it take to make you happy?

The scriptures teach us how to be happy. Believe in Jesus Christ and trust in him to forgive you for all of your sins. We are loved of God and created in his image. Recognize that he has worthwhile work for you to do. He invites us into his eternal kingdom that is beyond our imagination, but absolutely good.

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” (I Corinthians 2:9)

Foster H. Shannon
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Thank you.

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. The website is: 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.