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Good morning, church my name is Elder Ryan Brown. So, to all our viewers out there, I am not the senior Pastor of this wonderful church. I’ve never studied homiletic, nor do I have great preaching in my pedigree. What I do have is the blessings and support of my church family to bring a to you all today. So, I’m not going to try and preach which is a skill I do not posses at this time.
The title of the sermon is.
Pursuing Happiness
Our bible text is Psalms 144:15 which reads as follows. From the King James Version of the bible: Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord. This psalm is believed to have been written near the time David came to be recognized as the king over all the tribes of Israel, and the psalm expresses David's heart for the nation in both war and peace. King David wanted everyone under his rule to be in a good way, enough sheep’s and goats to go around, plenty of bread, water and wine for everyone. No higher-, middle- or low-class citizens. No threat of war Everyone as equals, everyone Happy. the Hebrew word for Happy is Asher: which basically mean Blessed, Happy, fortunate, prosperous, and favored Although David was the King over all of Israel, and his heart was for the people and his family he did not overlook the fact that happiness can not be found outside of God. Which is why I believe he ended the psalm with the words “Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.
So, who is that People? Are we a part of that people? We are celebrating Black History Month. And in this month, we normally look back into our history and we sympathize over our ancestor who were taken from the Ghana region of Africa. Placed in slave ship and for those who were psychically strong enough and for others who God supplied them with an extra amount of grace to be able to survive the middle passage to make it over to shores of America in late August 1619 at Point Comfort. Today’s Fort Monroe in Hampton, VA. After being kidnapped and trafficked from all that which was familiar and normal for them were now thrown into the horrors of American Slavery. We are all too familiar with the atrocities of slavery. Not matter how harsh life was for the enslaved black people of that period of our history, they never lost sight of God and they would begin to pursue happiness for their lives once again. Because in December of 1850 an escaped slave named Harriet Tubman help her family members who were to be auctioned off escape to Maryland. It is said that Tubman the most famous engineer of the Underground Railroad rescued about 70 people – family and friends – during approximately 13 trips to Maryland.
Once again, I ask you. Who are these People?
They are The National Urban League: a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment, equality, and social justice. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the Urban League collaborates at the national and local levels with community leaders, policymakers, and corporate partners to elevate the standards of living for African Americans and other historically underserved groups.
I ask you once again. Who are those People?
Everyone involved in the Civil Rights Movement
The civil rights movement was a struggle for social justice that took place mainly during the 1950s and 1960s for Black Americans to gain equal rights under the law in the United States. The Civil War had officially abolished slavery, but it didn’t end discrimination against Black people—they continued to endure the devastating effects of racism, especially in the South. By the mid-20th century, Black Americans had had more than enough of prejudice and violence against them. They, along with many white Americans, mobilized and began an unprecedented fight for equality that spanned two decades. In everyone of these examples be it an individual or group effort we see people working to come out of involuntary and institutional oppression. The question is asked When Harriet Tubman brought the escaped slaves to Maryland did, they obtain Happiness? The National Urban League empowered people of color and other underserved groups people with economic empowerment, equality, and social empowerment, but when these things were obtained, where the people happy? The struggles for equal rights. Voting rights. Fair housing and equal employment and education were. Fought for during the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950” s and into the 1960’s and its safe to say we are still fight some of those battles today. With all the advancement African American people have made over the years can we collectively say we have reached a place of happiness. Collectively, I would say no! we all may have had moments in our lives that have made us feel happy or a since of joy. Our Constitution says that “All men are created equal, that they have are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. So, if you want to chase after happiness, till you finally catch up with it. I’m here today to remind you it’s within legal right to do so. Just because the pursuit of happiness is a part of our Constitution doesn’t mean we’ve cornered the market on happiness here in the US. In fact, the United States comes in 16thfrom a survey taken since 2002 of the world happiest countries. the World Happiness Report has used statistical analysis to determine the world's happiest countries. In its 2021 update, the report concluded that Finland is the happiest country in the world. To determine the world's happiest country, researchers analyzed comprehensive Gallup polling data from 149 countries for the past three years, specifically monitoring performance in six particular categories: gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make your own life choices, generosity of the general population, and perceptions of internal and external corruption levels.
Here is what the pen of inspiration has to say about happiness. Sister White writes “All heaven is interested in the happiness of man. Our heavenly Father does not close the avenues of joy to any of His creatures. The divine requirements call upon us to shun those indulgences that would bring suffering and disappointment, that would close to us the door of happiness and heaven. The world's Redeemer accepts men as they are, with all their wants, imperfections, and weaknesses; and He will not only cleanse from sin and grant redemption through His blood but will satisfy the heart-longing of all who consent to wear His yoke, to bear His burden. It is His purpose to impart peace and rest to all who come to Him for the bread of life. He requires us to perform only those duties that will lead our steps to heights of bliss to which the disobedient can never attain. The true, joyous life of the soul is to have Christ formed within, the hope of glory.”
In keeping with that thought of hope Sister White just mentioned by saying” The true, joyous life of the soul is to have Christ formed within, the hope of glory” Psalms 146: 5 says “Happy is he or she that hath the God of Jacob for his or hers help, whose hope is in the Lord his or hers God”. I’m sure it was hope that inspired the African Slaves to have the desire for freedom and a better life in the new world thrusted in . I’m sure it was that same hope that inspired the workers of the Urban League the hope to realize economic empowerment, equality, and social justice. For blacks and other undeserved people. I’m sure it was that same that hope that mobilized the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement to fight for social justice, discrimination. Equal Rights. The opportunity for fair housing and education. Earlier I asked who are those people and I also asked are we those people. And the answer is yes. Here in the 21stCentury we are the hope of freedom realized for our once enslaved ancestors. We are the hope for economic empowerment, equality, and social justice realized. People of all walks of life can now invest for a secure future by placing their money in any financial institute of their choice. The hope of the civil rights movement has broken down many of the barriers. That kept people of color from realizing the true joy of living in the land of the free. There is still a work to be done as it pertains to civil right but, I have hope that we shall overcome someday. But until then, I give thanks for that has been accomplished that allows you and I to enjoy the freedoms we have today. I realize I stand on the broad shoulder of those who fought for freedom, justice and liberty so that we can walk comfortably through life today, or pursue happiness how every I may or you may define happiness. Before I let you go. Let me leave you with a definition and an explanation of happiness as it pertains to God.
Happiness is an emotion arising from an inner conviction that all is right with our world. It is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. Everyone wants to be happy, but happiness, as our ultimate goal, can be elusive. People may make decisions based on what they think will make them happy, then experience despair when happiness never comes. People who assume that God wants them to be happy may justify activities clearly prohibited in the Bible by arguing that such choices are necessary for happiness. But is our personal happiness God’s ultimate goal for us? Does He even want us to be happy? We were created by God in His image, and it is His design that creates our innate desire to be happy. We know happiness is possible because God has experienced moments of joy, happiness and pleasure Jeremiah 32:41says “I will rejoice in doing them good” Jesus says in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken of you, that my joy may be in you.” happy, and we are like Him. When God created the first man and woman, He placed them in a garden and filled it with everything they needed to be happy. But they fell for the lie that happiness is contingent upon having everything they wanted. Their failure to acknowledge God as their Source of happiness led to sin and banishment from the Garden of Eden. From that day on, humanity has struggled to regain the sense of happiness that Adam and Eve experienced in the presence of God. God wants us to be happy but not at any cost. His goals for us are higher, broader, and more lasting than fleeting happiness Spiritual laws are as real as physical laws, and there is a spiritual law governing happiness. God’s path to happiness goes a different direction from the path we would naturally choose. Sinful actions can usually be traced to one foundational lie: that we will be happier if we do this thing. But God says, “How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers!” (psalms1:1). God delights in confounding the wise by using foolish things to accomplish His purposes, weak things to shame the strong, and lowly and despised things to magnify His glory . The psalmist says that we are happiest when we are delighting in God’s promises and commandments (Psalm 112:1). God wants us to be happy, but the temporary thrill sin provides is not true happiness. Sin can produce feelings of happiness as long as we are getting what we want. Losing our temper produces a brief feeling of happiness because we get to let off steam. But the consequences—broken relationships and wounded loved ones—are not happy. Sexual immorality produces brief feelings of happiness but its end—shame, hurt, unwanted pregnancy, alienation from God—God is not happy. The pursuit of money can produce feelings of happiness as long as the stock market is up and thieves stay away—but many who sit enthroned on piles of money attest to a sense of emptiness. The world is full of people who pursued their own dreams but are not happy. Augustine of Hippo rightly stated in his fourth-century book Confessions, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” The truth is there is a “God-shaped vacuum” in the heart of every person, and that void can only be filled by God through Christ, not by any created thing. Happiness is a gift from God that can be fully known only in proper relationship with Him. God does want us to be happy, and He has provided all we need for life and godliness through Christ Jesus . He has designed the human heart to experience its greatest ecstasy in worship, its deepest satisfaction in serving, and its greatest love through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are living in fellowship with Him, we can expect to be happy regardless of our temporary circumstances. Our goal is the prize awaiting us in eternity, so we can endure earthly difficulties while remaining full of hope (2 Corinthians 4:17). When our joy and hope are based on that which cannot be taken away, we have found true happiness, and God is pleased. My appeal is found in the poem
Opt for joy, it will not disappoint if you do it’ll be a turning point.
For joy always brings, a sense of relief as you give to Jesus the cause of your grief.
Prefer joyfulness, over being downtrodden let the love of Jesus make your smile broaden.
For happiness is a choice, each day we can make and rejoicing in the Lord will cause a grin to break.
Choose joy, you’ll be happier if you do then just watch what Jesus . . . is willing to do for you!
Philippians 4:4
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”
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