Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
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          If anyone was asked whether or not they would prefer to be happy or not, of course everyone would say, yes, they would choose happiness over sadness.  Fortunately, anyone capable of reasoning and making decisions can choose happiness, even here in a world filled with sin and darkness.  The key is understanding what true happiness is.  Jesus said this to His disciples in Matt. 5:11-12, "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. (12) Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."  Jesus tells them to rejoice and be glad, even in the face of persecution.  How can that be so? How could they possibly be happy or rejoice when facing persecution from those who reviled them?  Jesus reveals the answer in verse 12, "for great is your reward in heaven."  You see, true happiness comes through being rooted in obedience to Christ and His teachings.  How is that?  It is because of what is revealed to us through the scriptures, telling us that those who render obedience to God are assured of an eternal home in heaven.  True happiness is having the assurance that no matter what the world may throw at us, we are assured of a home in heaven when our time here is over.  A home where joy abounds.  Rev. 21:4 says, " And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." 

          This is the assurance that believers had in days of old and the assurance that those who will believe and obey the word of God can have still today.  Jesus said this in John 5:24, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."  How comforting that is!!!  That's happiness; having the assurance of everlasting life, spoken by the one who gave himself to make it so.

          If you have not yet obeyed the gospel, consider the assurance Jesus gives in John 10:27-28.  If you have rendered obedience, be happy in knowing that which awaits you in the afterwhile.  John 10:27-28 says, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (28) And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand."  This is happiness; a home in heaven.  The decision to accept it is up to you.

                                                                                             - Garrett Alsip