International Happiness Day


March 20th is designated International Happiness Day by the United Nations:

What is the International Day of Happiness? It’s a day to be happy, of course! Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. In 2015, the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that seek to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect our planet three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness. Last year, the Smurfs rallied behind the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for the International Day of Happiness.

The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals are not the way to happiness, but are listed in our booklet: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Here is something else about International Happiness Day:

International Day of Happiness is an opportunity for business leaders to reflect on the connections between happiness, productivity, and growth—in their own lives, and the lives of their organizations. …

The U.N.’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network issues an annual World Happiness Report, using a variety of measures to gauge the overall happiness of nations around the world. Last year’s report found the U.S. ranking had fallen from third place in 2007 to 18th place. …

Start with gratitude

Leading researchers in health and positive psychology have found that simple gratitude practices can dramatically improve our sense of well-being and our physical health. Such practices can include keeping a gratitude journal and making a habit of thanking employees and colleagues for their efforts.

As far as gratitude goes, we have a sermon related to giving thanks that is available: Ingratitude and Giving Thanks.

In 2021, International Happiness Day is on the Sabbath, a time of rest and spiritual rejuvenation.

As far as happiness goes, the old Worldwide Church of God had an article about happiness by Charles F. Vinson in the January 1973 edition of old the Plain Truth magazine:

How MANY times have you thought, I’d be happy , if only . … “? The daydream usually continues with ” If only I had more money,” or, “if only I had married someone else,” or, “if only I could change jobs,” or, “if only I had better health.”

Always “if only.”

Is happiness the impossible dream? Why does it always seem to be some- where around the corner , off in the vague future , but never really right now?

Certainly there are reasons enough for the world’s all-too-common victims of war, disease, hunger and poverty to be less than satisfied with living. But what makes most Americans, Britons, Japanese, Germans – peoples who, in the main, enjoy a higher degree of human comfort than most of the other peoples of the world – so often dissatisfied, unfulfilled, empty and discouraged? Why can’t these people be happy?

The answer is deceptively simple. No one has ever told them how to achieve happiness.

What’s Your Concept?

Most human beings have little difficulty conjuring up their own purple-hued vision of the ultimate in human existence – very often a pleasing combination of wealth, status and power, with freedom from frustration, both mentally and sexually. If this vaguely fits your concept of happiness, you really ought to consider whether or not this “vision of Valhalla ” is a truly worthwhile goal.

One way to find out is to examine the lives of men who have actually lived under such conditions – and to see where it got them. One of the best examples historically is King Solomon, a real-life figure widely noted throughout the ancient world for his fantastic wealth and wisdom.

Solomon had everything going for him. His father, King David, had at great effort and cost subdued the worst of the neighboring war-hungry tribes and had established a measure of peace in the Kingdom of Israel. After David’s death, Solomon stepped into a situation few men have ever had the opportunity to experience – limitless wealth at his personal disposal, a conditional promise of blessings from God and the gift of unparalleled wisdom, also given by God. Gossip undoubtedly circulated far and wide in that ancient world about Solomon’s fantastic kingdom.

Foreign royalty paid him state visits to see if what they heard was really true.

It was. What they found in the City of David only served to reinforce the Solomonic legend, even though the truth needed no embellishment. According to the Biblical record published in Second Chronicles , chapters six through nine, Solomon possessed enough wealth and power to luxuriate in a life-style making notorious penthouse-dwellers of today seem poverty-stricken by comparison.

A Catalog of Wealth

On a yearly basis, Solomon received 666 talents of gold, or about 960,000 ounces. That amounts to something like $33,600,000 in gold per year at the old rate of $35 per ounce {$1,248,000,000 per year presuming a gold value of $1300 per ounce which it has been in the 21st century}.

There are … individuals today whose yearly assets … exceed that figure on paper, but this was the real thing – solid gold. It was reputedly so common, in fact, that Solomon didn’t bother to buy certain items for himself. He had them made from his gold. His throne was made of imported ivory overlaid with gold. None of his drinking vessels were made of silver. It was simply too common, assertedly as common as ordinary rock (I Kings 10:27).

Solomon imported finery from all parts of the world. His navy reported to him each year, bringing him more gold, silver, ivory and rare animals. In a triumph of understatement, I Kings 10:23 says that Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. State visits involved extravagant exchanges of gifts. When the famous Queen of Sheba for instance, came to investigate the fabulous rumors she had heard about Solomon, she brought along 120 talents of gold, a “very great store” of spices and precious stones to boot. Nearby friendly King Hiram, who lived on the Mediterranean coast, used his ships to bring Solomon gold from Ophir, as well as large amounts of rare wood and precious stones.

However, money really wasn’t everything. The Bible says that Solomon loved “many strange women” (I Kings 11:1). That is another magnificent understatement. Solomon kept seven hundred bona-fide wives plus three hundred concubines. To impress these wives, he commanded a personal army of charioteers – 1,400 chariots, to be exact, and twelve thousand horsemen. He even built special cities for these men, and imported their horses from Egypt. To keep his wives happy, he also ordered the best of imported fabrics (I Kings 10:28- 29).

But Was He Happy?

In addition, Solomon, being king and all-powerful, could of course do anything he desired – which is precisely what he set about to do. Later on, he wrote a book about his exploits called Ecclesiastes.

In this book, Solomon relates how he experimented with nearly every- thing under the sun to see what might make him happy. Nonstop entertainment soon grew tiresome. “But I found that this, too, was futile. For it is silly to be laughing all the time; what good does it do?” (Eccl. 2:2, The Living Bible.) He mentions taking up drinking to see if happiness could be found in a bottle. Happiness wasn’t, but morning-after headaches probably were. He constructed monuments to himself in the form of immense and beautiful public works. They were impressive and undoubtedly provided a great ego-trip, but they seem to have made him no happier. He built elaborate houses for himself and constructed temples for the gods of his favorite pagan wives. He raised vineyards and conducted experiments in his botanical gardens on all kinds of rare trees and plants. He constructed waterworks to irrigate the nearby arid land. Most of this is described in Ecclesiastes, chapter two.

He stated matter of factly, “I became greater than any of the kings in Jerusalem before me, and with it all I remained clear-eyed, so that I could evaluate all these things.” This, admittedly, sounds like shades of Muhammad Ali, the boastful American heavyweight boxer, but it was the literal truth. He also confessed that “anything I wanted, I took, and did not restrain myself from any joy” (Eccl. 2:9-10, The Living Bible).

In short, Solomon had fame, money, and wisdom – every physical blessing there was to have. He tried everything there was to try – at least, all he could think of – and he had whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it. It was all paid for. He lacked absolutely nothing in the way of human comfort.

Unfortunately, Solomon was miserable. He admitted it himself . “So now I hate life because it is all so irrational; all is foolishness, chasing the wind” (Eccl. 2:17, The Living Bible).

Why on earth would a man who had everything, including an unrestricted and enormously varied sex life, be so fed up with living that he felt like committing suicide?

The truth is that Solomon knew what would have made him happy – but he ignored it. Had he paid more attention to it, he could have lived a life more like the happier, fulfilled and rewarding existence of another man who lived almost a thousand years later.

From Persecutor to Persecuted

This man seemed to have every right to be miserable. He was Jewish and a member of the sect of the Pharisees. He hated the new sect which was called “Christian” after a certain Jesus Christ who had been publicly executed, but who the Christians claimed was still alive. He considered them an annoying threat to the Jewish religious establishment in which he held a high position. He persecuted the Christians with a vigor that astounded the liberal Romans in charge of that part of the Empire.

This man was forced to undergo conversion to the very “sect” which he had been so avidly persecuting. His former compatriots probably considered him slightly insane to take such a flip-flop in his thinking. The man’s name, of course, was Paul. He later became an apostle and one of the chief figures in the development of the New Testament church.

Far from having the magnificent wealth which Solomon had enjoyed, Paul was forced by circumstance to fall back on his childhood training of tentmaking in order to support himself as he ministered to the Churches of God located around the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, he had to do much of his traveling on foot, or by ship. Devastating storms were common occurrences. Then, too, he was under constant danger from those intent upon persecuting the Church as he had once done himself. He didn’t always escape their wrath.

He catalogued his “misadventures” in the ministry in one of his pub- lished letters to the church located in the Greek city of Corinth:

“Five different times the Jews gave me their terrible thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I was in the open sea all night and the whole next day. I have traveled many weary miles and have been often in great danger from flooded rivers, and from robbers, and from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the hands of the Gentiles. I have faced grave dangers from mobs in the cities and from death in the deserts and in the stormy seas and from men who claim to be brothers in Christ but are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food; often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.

“Then, besides all this, I have the to pay attention to his disastrous life constant worry of how the churches and to avoid the same mistake he are getting along” (The Living Bible, II Cor. 11:24-28).

That is quite a list of adventures, enough to make men of lesser fortitude to opt for a safe, comfortable office job. But external problems were not all Paul endured. He also had what he a “thorn in the flesh,” possibly a health problem, although he doesn’t refer to it specifically by name (II Cor. 12:7). He does imply, that his eyes gave him problems (Gal. 4:15).

In addition, he just wasn’t very impressive in person. He says little about this fact, but does mention that others had tried to denigrate him in the sight of his congregation by rather nastily alluding to the fact that he was powerful enough in his letters, but that his bodily presence was weak and his speech contemptible (II Cor. 10:10).

Yet Paul Was Happy

By now you can probably sense the obvious lesson about to hit you be- tween the eyes: Happiness doesn’t necessarily come from wealth, position, sexual freedom, or unlimited power and status. A man enduring the worst of living conditions, like Paul, can be happy in spite of the way things look or feel. ” . . . For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” said Paul in Philippians 4: 11. “I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of facing either plenty or poverty” (Philippians 4:12, Phillips translation).

What was his secret? What did Paul know that Solomon didn’t?

The answer is: NOTHING.

Solomon knew the same basic formula for happy living that Paul preached, but the fact that he ignored with- it literally ruined his life. As a bitter old man looking backward on years, Solomon advised younger men, made: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the, evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them … . Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: refers to as · for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl . 12:1,13).

“Fear God and keep his commandments.” That was the one thing though, which could have made Solomon happy – which would have made his fabulous wealth, not at all wrong in itself, a blessing rather than a frustration. And, obedience to the laws of God was the one ingredient in Paul’s life which enabled him to keep going – even to be happy – in spite of all obstacles in his path.

And these same principles, if you obey them, can make you happy–no matter what your situation in life if YOU choose not to ignore them.

But Are They Relevant Today?

“All right,” you say, “but we are all living in the twentieth century, not two thousand years ago in a Middle Eastern kingdom noted for its mystical adherents and richly embellished history. How would following an ancient code like the Ten Commandments help anyone living in the city ghetto, or playing the freeway game each day, or struggling with unpaid bills, striving to patch up marital spats, worrying over visits to the hospital, breathing the polluted air?” Isn’t telling everyone to do so more than just a little absurd, a gross over- simplification as a solution to complicated human problems?

Not really. The Ten Commandments are timeless and apply no matter which century you happen to have been born into. For instance, the seventh commandment says, in what sounds to many like foreboding tones, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” In other words, “Don’t cheat on your wife or husband. It’ll make you both unhappy.”

It goes without saying that all of mankind is not now obeying God – and probably won’t unless forced to. But think, for a moment, of the fantastic results which would occur if everyone on earth were to obey just that one commandment. No more broken homes. No more agonizing heartbreak which cannot be measured statistically. No more wretched childhoods spent first with one parent, then with the other, always with the tension and insecurity which accompanies such a childhood situation, and which very often produces deep problems in the adult years. If everyone were striving to obey JUST this ONE commandment, the very marriage covenant would not be entered into so blithely. Young couples would take marriage much more seriously if they realized they were marrying for life, and not simply until the next attractive body comes around. In short, obedience to that one commandment could save mankind from a whole host of premarital and marital problems, heartaches and tragedies.

But that is only one commandment out of ten, only one example of why Solomon’s advice to “fear God and keep his commandments” is an open invitation to a happier, fuller, more satisfying life – the kind of life God wants every human being to experience.

If you would like to have more information about the Ten Commandments, explaining how all of them are applicable to life in today’s world, check out our free online book, The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast.

The Continuing Church of God has the following sermon related to happiness on its ContinuingCOG channel:

Nearly everyone wants to be happy. An advertising campaign decades ago attempted to directly tell us “that’s what happiness is.” Is happiness material goods or physical experiences? Are Christians supposed to be happy? What does the Bible teach about being happy? Does the Bible approach happiness from a different way than the world does? How should a Christian view tests and trials? Are you supposed to rejoice at God’s Holy Days? Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more, plus lists fourteen biblical keys to happiness.

Here is a link to the video sermon: 14 Biblical Keys to Happiness.

Now, in this time of COVID-19, many are fearful and concerned. Here is something from the Letter to the Brethren: March 19, 2020 of the Continuing Church of God:

The restrictions on movement and the discouragement of physical cash because of COVID-19 are paving the way for the acceptance of the 666 Beast and total government financial control. Now, however, as Jesus said, “do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet” (Mark 13:7). Jesus also said:

33 … In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33b)

32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

While you should take reasonable precautions, you do not need to fear. …

With all the reality and hype about COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) going around, the following came to mind:

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)

Brethren, trust God, for we are destined to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

At risk of repeat, remember that Jesus said “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

For more CCOG announcements, including happenings around the world, please read the Letter to the Brethren: March 19, 2020.

You can be happy. COVID-19 is NOT the end of the world (see also COVID-19 is NOT the end of the world, but could it be TEOTWAKI?).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Biblical Keys to Happiness This is an article for those interested in biblical teachings about being happy. A related sermon is available and is titled: 14 Biblical Keys to Happiness.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, and The Mystery of YOU.
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? If you would like to watch videos covering subjects of this article, you can click on the following links: Why YOU? Why Do YOU Suffer? and What is the meaning of your life?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.

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