God Said Man Said

Happy Are We

Study after study has found that religious people tend to be less depressed and less anxious than non-believers, and better able to handle the vicissitudes of life than non-believers. Itís as if a sense of spirituality and an active, social religious practice were an effective vaccine against the virus of unhappiness.
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Happy Are We

Article#: 1839

Once upon a time, all the BORN-AGAIN were unsaved, sitting in darkness, bound by the world’s standard bondages.  One day, they responded to the wooing and conviction of God’s Holy Ghost, believed upon Jesus Christ and His cleansing blood, repented of and turned from their sins, and confessed Him with their mouths unto salvation.  The BORN-AGAIN understand the arguments and the temptations of the darkness having once dwelt there.  We can see the unsaved and understand them, but they cannot see us or understand us.  We are FREE! 

Those who sit in darkness aren’t aware of their condition and are bound by Satan’s standard bondages.  This short list is what you’ll find in the camp of the lost:

💢 Unbelief in God’s Word;
💢 Disobedience to its precepts;
💢 A form of godliness;
💢 Lust;
💢 Fornication;
💢 Adultery;
💢 Pornography addiction;
💢 Pedophilia;
💢 STDs (sexually transmitted diseases);
💢 Abortion;
💢 Homosexuality;
💢 Gender confusion;
💢 Spouse and child abuse;
💢 Lying;
💢 Murder;
💢 Rape;
💢 Theft;
💢 Hatred;
💢 Bitterness;
💢 Gossip;
💢 Envy;
💢 Strife;
💢 Alcoholism;
💢 Illegal drug abuse;
💢 Hopelessness;
💢 Terror of death;
💢 Eternal damnation.

Remember, I said this was just a short list. 

The results of the ideology of the camp of darkness is death and death more abundantly.  In the camp of the obedient, our promise is life and life more abundantly.  The difference is as stark as pure, deep darkness compared to pure, bright light that outshines the sun.  Each of us makes choices.  Matthew 4:16:

The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 

Have you yet to be BORN-AGAIN—born an extremely real and glorious second time, this time of the Spirit of God? Today is your day of salvation and it is truly just a simple prompt away.  Today, all of your sin and its shame will be washed away by Christ’s cleansing blood.  Today, all of Satan’s bondages, no matter how formidable, will be broken.  Today, you will be clean and free.  Today, you will be brand new.  Here comes the prompt: Click onto “Further with Jesus”  for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God. NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Psalm 144:15:

Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

GOD SAID, I Timothy 6:6:

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

GOD SAID, III John 1:2:

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

MAN SAID: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? I need to find myself!

Now THE RECORD: Welcome to GodSaidManSaid feature 1038 that will once again certify the supernatural and inerrant Word of the Living God, the God of the Bible.  All of these powerful features are archived here in text and streaming audio for the building-up of the faith and as a platform from which to convince the gainsayers. Every Thursday eve, God willing, they grow by one.  Thank you for coming.  May God’s face shine upon you with Light and Truth. 

The darkness is deepening quickly and this maturing of evil marks the soon return of Jesus Christ for His bride and the soon-to-follow world-ending battle of Armageddon. Prepare to meet your God. 

The promises in the Word of God are not like your typical motivational presentation built upon some rare uplifting story, lathered with optimism and supported by the audience’s willpower—which, for most, ends as quickly as from the meeting hall to the parking lot.  No, the Word of God, in contrast, has its instruction built upon the inerrant truth that is then mixed with a believer’s faith and fully supported by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost—and this will last forever. Quite the contrast, don’t you think? 

I think many are taken aback when they encounter this Gospel truism on GodSaidManSaid: Today is the best day of my life and tomorrow will be better. It initially sounds bizarre until you consider Proverbs 4:18:

But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

According to this passage, my path along the highway of holiness grows brighter each day until “the perfect day,” when I see Jesus and I will be like Him, who is called the Bright and Morning Star.  Now, couple that with the promise in Romans 8:28:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

If everything is working together for my good, even what doesn’t first appear to be good—and everything is—and if my path grows brighter every day, then today must be the best day of my life, no matter what the natural eye sees, and tomorrow will be better.  The contrast between the lost and the found is stark indeed.

Today’s subject is happiness.  GodSaidManSaid has published extensively on this subject and its foundation in the Bible, and more confirming research is published regularly.  I am reminded of Proverbs 10:16:

The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin. 

Righteousness is the result of mixing God’s Word with faith and walking in it. 

The academic god of evolution has left its adherents in a terrible state and this feature on happiness will address the situation.  The three classic questions posed in entry-level philosophy 101 will demonstrate the dilemma.  The questions are:

💭 Where did I come from?
💭 Why am I here?
💭 Where do I go when I die?

Let’s take a deeper look at these seemingly simple questions:

1. Where did I come from? Evolution’s answer is “you come from nothing.” According to them, about 14 billion years ago, there was a big bang—an explosion out of nothing—and then life just evolved from non-life, beginning in a mysterious primordial soup. Out of this sludge, a miracle bigger than God’s creation of life itself occurred.  By some mindless accident, non-life somehow—miraculously—bursts forth as a one-celled living organism, slithering out of their imagined soup. One evolutionist even suggested that this soup was augmented by an abundance of amoeba dung.  What a secret ingredient!  This purported single-celled organism, with “billions of years” of evolution, turned out its final product: man.  Keep in mind that evolution also tells us that our cousin is a mushroom.

2. Why am I here? According to evolution, there is no God, therefore you have no real overarching purpose other than to satisfy your wants. 

3. Where do I go when I die? Carnal academia’s answer? Nowhere.  When you’re dead, you are dead, and all is over. 

So, these hapless people came from nothing—they are an accident with no real purpose—and when they die, the whole charade is over. They are terrorized by this prospect! Do you blame them for being unhappy?  Fret not: The beauty is that it can all change in a miraculous moment that Jesus calls BORN-AGAIN where today will be the best day of your life and tomorrow will be better unto one, eternal, glorious day.  WOW!  Hallelujah!  What an expectation!

They always end up here.  Unbelievers can wrangle and deny all they want, but they always end up at God’s Word, the absolute of absolutes. 

God has created a structure of righteousness for His children, a system of salvation and sanctification that is marvelous to consider.  This system takes us from the land of the lost and doomed and sets us on the highway of holiness. On the way, we are developed as we travel in a happy and content way unto one, eternal day.  How beautiful and true is I Timothy 6:6:

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Time magazine’sSpecial Edition, “The Science of Happiness,” boasts “new discoveries for a more joyful life.”  The article asks if spiritually really makes a person happy.  Excerpts follow:

Which should perhaps make it surprising that scientists have found, again and again, that those with a spiritual practice or who follow religious beliefs tend to be happier than those who don’t. Study after study has found that religious people tend to be less depressed and less anxious than non-believers, better able to handle the vicissitudes of life than non-believers.  A 2015 survey by researchers at the London School of Economics and the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that participating in a religious organization was the only social activity associated with sustained happiness—even more than volunteering for a charity, taking educational courses, or participating in a political or community organization.  It’s as if a sense of spirituality and an active, social religious practice were an effective vaccine against the virus of unhappiness. 

I’ve experienced that phenomenon for myself.  A few years ago, suffering a mix of anxiety and depression—or maybe just the toll of living too long in New York City—I made an appointment with a psychiatrist.  I thought I might end up taking antidepressants, as more than 13% of Americans do. But before going down the drug route, my doctor prescribed something different—a morning meditation routine, to calm the kind of racing thoughts that can lead to a downward spiral. [End of quote]

As student of the Scriptures understand, God and His Word are the source of happiness.  Consider some of God’s promises to His people:

😄 Psalm 146:5-6:

5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

6 Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:

😄 Psalm 144:11-15:

11 Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:

12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:

13 That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets:

14 That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.

15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

😄 Deuteronomy 33:27-29:

27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.

29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

😄 I Thessalonians 5:18:

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

The Time magazine writer said, “It’s as if a sense of spirituality and an active, social religious practice were an effective vaccine against the virus of unhappiness.”  He is correct.  He also mentions the power of meditation, which is part of God’s structure of righteousness.  One powerful example is Psalm 1:1-3:

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Now, watch the unhappy promise attached to those who walk in disobedience, which can be found in the remainder of that chapter.  Psalm 1:4-6:

4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

“Does spiritually make us happy,” the Time magazine article asks:

Some experts think that believing in a religion gives you a greater sense of purpose and meaning in life than a secular viewpoint alone does, and that can help carry you through the low periods and elevate the high ones.  It could be that belief in an afterlife—something nearly all mainstream religion have in common—can make you happier in this one, knowing that you’re headed for something better.  (This would be the opiate that Karl Marx believed religion offers to the oppressed masses.)  Jesus told His faithful their “reward is great in heaven,” but that promise seems to pay off in the here and now as well. 

Indeed, there appears to be something to the idea that faith makes us happier.  And it appears that one of the main reasons is that there’s strength in numbers. [End of quote]

Bryan Walsh, author of the above-quoted Time magazine article, speaks of a sense of purpose.  Imagine: In Christ’s Kingdom, we as believers are enlisted in the battle for the lost souls of the sons and daughters of Adam, which we know as evangelizing.  The souls we win to Christ will share the eternal glory of God with us.  The redeemed have an unspeakably magnificent purpose of epic, everlasting proportion.  The afterlife Mr. Walsh speaks of is known to us as the blessed hope—a hope that swallows the fear of death in one, single gulp. 

Mr. Walsh writes about community and the ties that bind:

“Thou shalt not” may seem like a bummer, but scientists have come to understand that the abundance of possible decisions in a free, consumer-driven society can actually weigh us down.  (It even has a term, popularized by Swarthmore College psychology professor Barry Schwartz: “the paradox of choice.”) It’s possible that the strictures of religion can help relieve that burden—especially if those strictures, and the religious community that enforces them, discourage unhealthy behaviors.

As anyone who grew up religious knows, though, there’s something about the ties of faith that make them particularly sticky.  We can grow out of school ties or a hobby or an allegiance to a sports team—less so our faith.  Religion derives from the Latin term religio, which means “to bind together.” Atomistic individuals are linked to a family—family now and their ancestors—along with friends and community and congregation.  It’s not for nothing that Jesus told some of the earliest Christians that “where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” [End of quote]

In God’s owner’s manual, His Holy Bible, the strictures Mr. Walsh refers to are commandments and precepts the faithful are directed to observe. Many resist God’s Dos and Don’ts, but when one understands that inherent within each one is a blessing or a curse, that individual will run to them and not from them.

One of God’s strictures is Hebrew 10:24-25:

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Medical research has discovered that those who attend church two or more times per week live 11% longer. For an average American 74-year-old, that compares to 8.14 additional years, or 2,971 days. These church-goers are sick less often, and when they are sick, recover quicker.  They also are reported to be much happier.  Jesus promises the brethren abundant life and abundant it is.  John 10:10:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Note the 180° contrast.  It’s true. 

But, what about the bad times? The article has some interesting things to say about suffering:

In fact, it’s those who are suffering the most in this life who seem to benefit the most from the protective quality of religious community.  In a 2011 paper that analyzed self-reports from hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, researchers found that the connection between religious faith and happiness was strongest among people living in difficult conditions—fear, poverty, hunger.

Think of it as scientific proof of the old saying that there are no atheists in the foxhole.  When life is hard, the communal support of a religious community—and, presumably, the hope for something better to come in an entirely different world—is especially valuable, maybe even impossible to give up.  That may be one reason religious community was so important to slave populations throughout history, from the ancient Israelites under pharaoh’s boot in Egypt to African Americans trapped in the antebellum South.  It may also be why even now in the US, states with lower life expectancies and higher poverty rates have the largest proportion of religious people.  A rich man may find it harder to get into heaven than a camel does passing through the eye of a needle, but he may not think he needs to count on heaven in the first place.  [End of quote]

It bears repeating, what Mr. Walsh writes regarding suffering and the importance of a religious community:

In fact, it’s those who are suffering the most in this life who seem to benefit the most from the protective quality of religious community.  

I personally make a living in the marketing business and we spend a considerable amount of time dealing with demographics—the personality, the traits, of a given population.  When Jesus sends His evangelizers out to pursue the lost and dying, He sends us to a specific demographic.  We are sent to those in prison, to the sick, the poor, the lonely, the orphans, the widows and widowers, the hungry, and the downtrodden—and, of course, to the unsaved masses as a whole. 

Consider demographics as we go back to the Time magazine article:

Another report, from the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that people living in areas with a higher density of co-religionists are more likely to participate in religious activities.  There’s also a strong correlation between that religion density and positive economic outcomes, including higher incomes, lower rates of divorce, and a higher likelihood of having a college degree.  The value of religion depends in part on the cultural values behind it.  [End of quote]

Remember the short list of hurtful lusts introduced in the beginning of this feature?  Because the children of God have been redeemed, they are no longer saddled by Satan’s standard bondages, and therefore, as a group, they are superior to their carnal kin, mentally, physically, and financially.  Consider III John 1:2:

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

The BORN-AGAIN know where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going when they die—and it is all very good, and we are very happy.  Finally, these stats from Time magazine:

WORSHIP across faiths (and consistently over decades), happy are those who pack the pews:

🕇 Nearly every week or more 41%
🕇 Once a month 32%
🕇 Seldom or never 28%

POLITICS regardless of power shifts, Republicans—particularly extreme conservatives—have the happiness edge: 

🕇 Republican 40%
🕇 Democrat 31%
🕇 Independent 30%

GOD SAID, Psalm 144:15:

Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

GOD SAID, I Timothy 6:6:

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

GOD SAID, III John 1:2:

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

MAN SAID: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? I need to find myself!

Now you have THE RECORD.

 

 

References:

Authorized King James Version

Walsh, B., “The Science of Happiness,” Time, September 2017

 

 

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