Happy Ship?

John Plunkett
October 1, 2012
Feast of Tabernacles - Seaside, Oregon
Day 1

My first question is this: “Are you all having a happy Feast so far?” 

Some of you know some of you may not that Trish and I travelled over to England earlier this year to visit family members and church brethren.  On the way over we travelled by ship.  That particular transatlantic journey took twelve days at sea instead of twelve hours if we would have flown.  Sea travel is very competitively priced against air travel and is a much more civilized mode of transportation.  Air travel has become so impersonal even to the point of being invasive, as many of you know.

Most of the ships that Trish and I have been blessed to sail on have generally been "happy ships."  The majority of the employees appear to be very happy in their work.  Consequently, the crew members' happiness passes down to the guests.  And so, as a result, the majority of guests on the ships we have sailed on were happy. 

This year we were on a ship called the "Jewel of the Seas," and it really was something of a jewel.  It was an exceptionally happy ship; so much so that, one day as our voyage drew to a close, I talked to the captain in one of the restaurants, and congratulated him on the happiness of his staff.  Such a happy attitude in the employees must naturally be passed down from the top.  The level of happiness or unhappiness of a ship’s crew really does rub off on the happiness of the paying passengers.  A happy, well-rested crew member is far better equipped to serve the guests and make them happy.

In the sermon today let us apply this “Happy Ship” concept to God’s Church.  Like virtually all analogies, similes, metaphors and word pictures, this symbol is not one hundred percent perfect and it does eventually break down.  However, just for today on this first Holy Day of God's Feast of Tabernacles, let us liken the greater Church of God to the ocean travel industry as a whole.  Secondly, let us liken the various Church of God groups to the various shipping lines; for example: Cunard, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Holland America.  And thirdly, let us liken the Church of God brethren the congregations in which we serve to the crews of the individual ships. 

Yes, all of God’s children are called to serve in various capacities and we all have different jobs within the church (Romans 12:4-8; I Corinthians 12:12-31).  But, as we shall see, God wants us all to serve happily.  

We are called first and foremost to serve God the Father.  With greatest respect for Him, of course, we might liken God the Father in today's symbolism to the Admiral of the Fleet.  He is the boss over the whole fleet the one British sailors used to to call "Number One."  

We are also called to serve Jesus Christ, whom God’s Word tells us in Hebrews 2:10 that He is our Captain the Captain of our salvation. 

Thirdly, we are called to serve our brothers and sisters our fellow crew members.  By the way, there are no passengers on God’s ship.  None of us gets a free ride.  We must all work our passage on God’s ship.

The English word “happiness” is synonymous with the word "joy," one of the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit.  Thus, it is very relevant to God’s people to you and me especially at this time as we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.  

When you left your friends last week in your home congregation, what did you say to them?  You probably said something like: “Have the best Feast ever” or you might have said, “Have a happy Feast.”  We all want to be happy at the Feast, and we all should want to give a happy Feast, as well.

We have lots of questions today and hopefully lots of answers too, from God’s Word.

So I ask once again:  Is your Church of God congregation a “Happy Ship?”  Is your Church of God group a happy shipping line? And are you a happy crew member? 

Happiness is vastly more important in our service to one another in God's church than is the happiness of ships' employees to their passengers. 

Please allow me to ask you again, “Are you a happy crew member?”  I really want you to think about this question.  You need to be a happy crew member.  If you are not, there is a problem; and you need to be doing something to remedy that problem.

As we go through the scriptures today, let us look at what God’s Word says about true happiness for Christian "crew members" true Christian servers.  

The King James Version of the Bible contains twenty-five instances of the word “happy” and its derivatives.  Starting in the Old Testament, let us look at just a few of the more relevant ones.

Our first happiness scripture comes from Moses and was given to the people of Israel just prior to his death.  As we read this verse, please apply the words in your mind, not only to physical Israel, but also to spiritual Israel the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16) God’s Church:

Deuteronomy 33:29:
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.

We see just from this one little verse that there are so many, many things that the Israelites, and spiritual Israelites, too, need to be happy about. Let’s run through some of them:
Firstly, we are unique!  Who is like God’s people?  Who in all mankind is like us?  Not in a way that we should feel vain, of course.  But seven times in the scriptures God tells us that we are peculiar people.  In the New King James Version, it is rendered as ‘special people.’ In some places He even says that we are a peculiar or special treasure to Him.  That is fantastic!  That is good news!  

Also, we are blessed of all people to have been given not a pack of lies but God’s truth, like no others have.  When I say "we" I am, of course, talking about God’s true church as a whole; God’s called-out people. 

Thirdly, we have been blessed to have been given salvation.  It says so right there in this verse.  Assuming that we never give up the race, we are saved present tense!  If we never give up, then we are in a saved condition right now.  The stipulation on this is that we must never give up the race.

Next, still in Deuteronomy 33:29, we have an invincible God.  He is our shield; He is our help; He is our sword.  Our God is our implement of defence, and whenever necessary and in the proper way, our He is also our weapon of offence.  More on this aspect later on. 

This verse also tells us that God will expose our enemies (who should be one and the same as His enemies) to be liars people lacking His truth.

God says that He will put all false religions (high places) out of action.  In this work He will allow us to help Him, so helping to bring the people of this world out of their old lies and into His truth.

This leads directly and naturally into my second "happiness verse":

Psalms 137:8:
O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.

Who is this daughter of Babylon?  She and her destruction are actually mentioned in more than just this one scripture.  She and her mother and her immoral sisters are also mentioned in a converse terminology in Revelation 17:

Revelation 17:
1:  And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 
2:  With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 
3:  So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 
4:  And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 

The name of this woman is "Babylon the Great" and she is the mother of harlots.  Please note that the word "harlots" is plural.  So the daughter of Babylon mentioned in Psalms 137:8 and five other scriptures appears to be talking about one of these multiple harlots. 

As God revealed to this particular psalmist, their impending destruction is an event that you and I should be happy about.  Babylon the Great and her daughters will suffer destruction.  Babylon the Great and her daughters will suffer total destruction because they are unrepentant and refuse God’s correction and chastening.

Obviously, when God brings them down, they and their followers are not going to be "happy campers." Quite the opposite, in fact!  Let us go over the page to Revelation 18 and read about this:

Revelation 18:
7:  How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow... 
Verse 9:  And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, 
10:  Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come.
11:  And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more...
Verse 18:  And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! 
19:  And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

Should we, God’s faithful ones, lament as these people did  these people who virtually worshipped Babylon the Great and her daughters?  Should we lament over the demise of Babylon the Great and her daughters?  No!  Obviously not, we should rejoice at her demise as we read in Psalm 137:8 and as is repeated in the next verse in revelation 18: 

Revelation 18: 20:
Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

Yes, we are to rejoice at the demise of Babylon the Great!  Continuing in chapter 20:

Revelation 19:
1:  And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 
2:  For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 
3:  And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.

The wonderful, joyful cries of "Halleluiah"!  There will be joy and great happiness in heaven at the downfall of Babylon the Great and her daughters and their way of life.

Now let us move on to our next Old Testament "happiness verse":

Job 5:17:
Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

We know that we are God’s children.  We know that we should be happy to be God’s children. And when our loving Father corrects us and chastens us, we are even to be happy about that!  He tells in Hebrews 12:5-11 that His correction and chastening may not be pleasant for us at the time; but ultimately they are very beneficial for us. 

God’s chastening comes in very many different forms. Ultimately, it is going to be good for us. Just like the loving, proper, controlled correction of our beloved children is for their good, God’s correction and chastening is for our good.

Let us stay with the sub-topic of children here as we go back to Psalms:

Psalms 127: 
3:  Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward
4:  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
5:  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

God is telling us that children can and certainly should bring an extra level of happiness to us.  Our children did and still do.  Those of you that have children I hope that yours do too.

Trish and I have a church friend who lives in Zambia, Africa.  Her name is Sashi Mwila; and she has a beautiful little girl named "Twange" which means "Happy" in English.  

Our children truly are a heritage and a reward to us, as verse 3 of this Psalm tells us; and we need to truly appreciate this gift of God.  

But in verse 4, we are told that the children of God's people are like a quiver full of arrows!  Arrows?  Really?  God’s New Covenant people are generally not aggressive or war-like people.  Most of us tend to cringe even at the mere thought of violence - yes, even the thought of God’s violence, e.g. when we read of His destruction of Babylon the Great and her wicked daughters and followers.  We don’t even like to read about violence and , of course, we obey God’s command not to kill.  We certainly do not use our children as weapons in any physical ways. 

But we must remember that we really are engaged in warfare with Satan.  God indicates here (and I admit that I don’t totally understand how; but it is God who is saying it, so I am not going to disagree with Him) that our children and the experiences of parenthood, perhaps can be likened to spiritual weaponry and can even help us win that war.

Moving right along and still on the sub-topic of children and still in the book of Psalms:

Psalm 128:
1:  Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. 
2:  For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

Learning to fear the LORD is one of the main purposes of the Feast of Tabernacles:

Deuteronomy 14:23:
And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.

One of the things that we are to do at the Feast of Tabernacles is to learn to properly fear the LORD not the cringing, quaking type of fear, of course.  But if we maintain a proper fear of the LORD, He will give us happiness and He will richly bless our efforts, both physically and spiritually.  If you have been in the church of any length of time, I am sure that you have seen this proved over and over again.

We see in verse 2 of Psalm 128, by the psalmist's use of the phrase, “the labour of thine hands,” that even when God blesses us, pours out his riches upon us and gives us so much happiness, we cannot just sit back and expect Him to do it all for us. 

Yes, God does do virtually all of it for us.  He does the biggest part by far.  Over the years, I have heard people arguing about whether God does 50% and we do 50%.  We don’t know the exact percentages; but I would think that God does 99.99999% of all that is required.  Even so, I believe that He still expects us to give it our all.  Even if our percentage is only 0.0000001% of the whole, that must be 100% of what we are capable of.

Continuing in Psalm 128:

Psalm 128:
3:  Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. 
4:  Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. 
5:  The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.

A good spouse, good children, blessings and good from God, all under the umbrella of a proper fear of Him.  All of these bring happiness.

Psalm 128:
6a: Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children...

Trish and I have been very blessed with four wonderful, beautiful daughters and seven beautiful grandchildren with Number 8 on the way!  

We had a son too.  I want to mention this not to make Trish and me appear any more tried than any other members but when I mention our daughters and our grandchildren, I do not like to omit our baby son as part of our family.  Yes, in 1985 God gave us a beautiful son, and his name was David John.  God allowed him to be born with a mal-formed heart and to die at the tender age of two and a half days.  Obviously, his death was a great trial to Trish and I and to our whole family.  But perhaps when we read these scriptures about ultimate happiness and joy even in the chastening and the trials that God allows us to go through, we see that they can come in a whole array of different forms.  They don’t always have to come through job problems or money problems.  God's chastening can come in many, many forms. 

I don’t know for sure and we will find out one day; but I think that perhaps the death of our son might have constituted part of our beneficial chastening by God.  If so, we can be sure that it is going to be good for us in the long run.  Even now, his short life has been and still is a very great blessing to Trish and me.  

I know that there are probably others here who have been through similar trials as ours.  Through these trials and from that little life, we have learned so much.  We yearn all the more to be together with him again at the time of the second resurrection; and the Last Great Day means so much more to us today than it did prior to his birth in 1985. 

Again, happiness will be the result.

Before leaving Psalm 128, and still in verse 6, let us take a quick look at its last phrase:

Psalm 128:
6b:  ... and peace upon Israel.

One day we shall be blessed to see true peace come upon Israel.  This wonderful promise should bring happiness to all of us.  We all want to see peace in the United States, Canada and Britain in all our countries.

I don’t know about you, but our family has been blessed never to have seen war first-hand.  I know that some of you may have done.  Unlike our parents' and our grandparents' generations, we have not suffered neither in our time in the UK, nor in our time in Canada from world wars.  Yes, we have seen some of the aftermath of World War II in the UK.  Our modern Israelite nations have been involved in wars during our lifetime, and still are.  Thankfully – for us, at least these current conflicts are mostly on foreign shores. 

But is this relative lack of war –  is it true peace?  No, it is not.  But, one day we will be blessed to see true peace.  We will have the happiness of seeing true peace in our nations.  More than this, we will have a major part in bringing about true and lasting peace.  I know that, to this, we all say: “God speed that day.”

Now, moving along to Psalm 144:

Psalms 144:15a:
Happy is that people, that is in such a case...

What case?  Again, the context of the previous verses tells us.  If you have time, please read through verse 1 to 14; but for now, I will just list some of the aspects of the case for you.

These verses describe a people who have God for their protection.  God protects them from lies, liars and the father of lies (John 8:44). They describe a people who are being given salvation.  They describe a people who are blessed with wonderful children, who are blessed with physical plenty, and who are satisfied and uncomplaining. 

The second part of verse 15 sums it all up, and it reveals who is responsible for all these good things that make us happy:

Psalms 144:15b: ... Yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

Yes, it is the LORD God who brings happiness to His people.

Now chapter 146:

Psalm 146:5:
Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

I want to put the accent here on the two words ‘help’ and ‘hope.’  Who do we go to first to seek help when we need it badly?  Do we go to friends, relatives, doctors, lawyers, church ministers?  I am not knocking any of these because they all have their places.  But where do we place our primary help?  And what about our primary hope?  Do we place our primary hope in our nations’ military defences?  Do we place our hope in our human leaders, whether Federal or State (Provincial in Canada)?  If we want true happiness, who should we go to first for help?  You know the answer.  And where should our primary hope be placed?  The right answer given to us in this very verse – is of course, the Eternal God of Jacob.

Now let us move into the book of Proverbs for a few more "happiness verses":

Proverbs 3:13:
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

As this chapter continues, Solomon personifies wisdom and understanding as a righteous human female.  This is interesting not because females do not have wisdom and understanding, of course, because they very much do; it is interesting because God’s Word often symbolizes His faithful church as a righteous female.  The example of this that always comes to my mind is the pure Bride of Christ in chapters 19, 21 and 22 of the book of Revelation.

Proverbs 3:
15:  She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her... 
Verse 18:  She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

So, where do we find true happiness-producing wisdom and understanding?  We find them through God, His calling, His inspiration, and through a deep and regular study of His written Word.
But are true wisdom and understanding really so valuable even more so than rubies?  

Just one of the rubies in just one of the crowns of the crown jewels of England is absolutely priceless.  If you went to the Tower of London and offered them 130 million dollars for that one ruby, they would instantly turn you down, because those jewels are truly priceless.  But here God tells us that His wisdom and understanding are far in excess of that value.  Nothing at all in in the physical realm of this world that we may desire can even be compared to this true wisdom and understanding.  If we retain them – if we hold onto them with all the strength we have plus much additional strength from God’s Spirit –  they will lead us to the Tree of Life to eternal life.  What could be more valuable than that?

On to chapter 29:

Proverbs 29:18:
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

The first part of this verse the part about vision is one of the best known verses in the Book of Proverbs; but the lesser-known second part is very important too.  

Do you want to be happy?  Of course, you do!  But how can you guarantee happiness?  At least partially, by keeping God’s law, as this verse tells us. There is more to it than just that, of course.  I have heard people who complain and say things like, "I've been keeping the law for 75 years and I'm no happier now than I was back in 1937!"  If this is the case with you, then there is something wrong.  No, there is nothing wrong with God’s law and there is nothing wrong with God’s promise here.  I am sorry to say that the problem is with the complainer!

We need to also remember that true happiness is not just walking around with a big grin on our faces all the time; nor is it a continuous feeling of exhilaration.  We have already seen in the scriptures that there is much more to true happiness than this; and that we can even be happy during tough times.  As we move over into the New Testament now, this very point is illustrated in the first of our New Testament "happiness scriptures":

Acts 26:2:
I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:

Here we see the apostle Paul standing before King Herod Agrippa.  He is in a very negative situation; he is on trial for his life.  Yet the apostle Paul said here that he thought himself happy!  Why was he happy?  He was not just saying this to curry favour with King Agrippa.  Rather, through this trial he was going through, Paul was given the opportunity to respond to the Jews' accusations against him; and in so doing, he was able to give an account of his miraculous conversion, his face-to-face meeting with Jesus Christ.  Yes, through this trying circumstance, he was even able to preach the gospel.  Preaching the gospel was what made the apostle Paul happy.  Here is a great lesson for us!

Now, here is another very well-known "happiness scripture"; this one from the account of Jesus’ foot-washing ceremony:

John 13:17:
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

When Jesus said this, was He just talking about foot-washing and the necessity for the disciples and us to wash one another’s feet?  Well, yes and no.  Specifically, yes, He was; but in general terms, no, not really.  This verse contains the very important concept that just knowing is not enough.  Mere knowledge of God’s truth, God’s law and God’s way of life are insufficient.  It is true as we have already seen in Psalms and Proverbs that such knowledge can bring a certain level of happiness.  But again, as we read in Proverbs 3, our knowledge must be expanded with God-given wisdom and understanding.  Here in John 13, Jesus tells us that we must follow up our true knowledge of God’s Word with much doing (See Genesis 39:22; II Kings 22:5; Psalm 31:23; Romans 2:13; James 1:22-25).  Yes, we need to be doing, as well as just knowing.

Moving on, now, to another interesting "happiness scripture."  This one seems a little vague when we first read it, especially if we read it out of context:

Romans 14:22:
Hast thou faith?  Have it to thyself before God.  Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

What is the apostle Paul saying here?  Again, we do not have time to read the whole context; but if we did, we would see that he is talking about avoiding offences, specifically within the church offences caused by differences of sensitivity about certain things. 

The one Paul was dealing with here was meat-eating versus vegetarianism.  Let us put ourselves in the Roman church members' positions back then.  We might have faith that eating meat is okay.  We might "allow" the eating of meat in our homes.  We may not have any problem at all with eating meat.  Again, we may be "allowing" of the practice.  But another brother or sister in Christ, may not!  We can, of course, apply this other differences too.  

So, what should we do?  Should we just barrel ahead and eat meat in the presence of this other brother or sister?  Or even worse, (and I have seen and heard of such things happening), should we ridicule that person?  Should we ridicule them because of his or her belief or preference in this regard?  What God is telling us here, through Paul, is that if we do this, we are in-effect condemning ourselves because of our un-Christian insensitivity.  

But, on the other hand, God is telling us that we can have an extra level of happiness if we are receptive to the sensitivities of others, even if we don’t share them ourselves.  I'm not talking about condoning sin; I'm talking about individual preferences for permissible things.  We should say: “Well I don’t necessarily agree with that, but because this other person feels this way, I am not going to give him a hard time about it.” 

Another example in this regard might be the drinking of alcohol in the presence of a person we know to have a problem with alcohol.  There are many other examples too. We need to be patient with our brothers and sisters who differ with us on such things. 

This virtue of patience is highlighted in our very next "happiness verse":

James 5:
7:  Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.  Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 
8:  Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 
9:  Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 
10:  Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 
11:  Behold, we count them happy which endure.  Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

God, through the apostle James here, is admonishing us to have patience and endurance, even when faced with adversity, differences, difficulties and even affliction.  How are we to do this?  Right at the beginning it tells us, by emulating husbandman (NKJV: farmer).  In the same way as a farmer must wait patiently and expectantly for the produce of his labours to come to fruition, so must we rely on the prophetic pictures that God has given us.  We cannot yet see the real thing.  We have to look into God’s Word and see in our minds' eyes these prophetic pictures of the wonderful World Tomorrow, with which God has blessed us (See Hebrews 1:13). 

This kind of patient endurance can effectively reduce frustration at the way the world is right now.  By watching the news and reading our newspapers, we can get frustrated by what is happening out there.  We have to look beyond all of that and into the World Tomorrow.  Doing so will bring yet another tier of happiness to God’s people.

Let us finish the sermon today in a similar vein, and let’s go over to Peter's first epistle:

I Peter 3: 
12:  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 
13:  And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 
14:  But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

For our final "happiness scripture," let us go over to chapter 4, where God, through the apostle Pater, continues with this same advice about how to remain happy while we are handling trials and afflictions:

I Peter 4:
12:  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 
13:  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy
14a:  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye...

Happy?  Why?  How?

Verse 14b: ... For the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.

As we know, joy is one of the major fruits of God’s Holy Spirit.  We can have a limited level of Spirit-inspired happiness now, during any afflictions which may come upon us.  This is a result of us standing up for Jesus’ name and His Truth.  Yes, happy endurance will help us to persevere now.  But it also will lead us to supreme happiness then, at the time of the First Resurrection and on into eternity.  

So, let us be happy at this Feast of Tabernacles.  Let us rejoice as we participate in its joy. 

Let me ask you again, in conclusion:  Are you happy?  Are you a happy Christian crew member?  Is your church congregation a "happy ship.” 

If so, that’s great.  But if not, please get busy and review the scriptures we have studied today and follow Jesus’ commands to do whatever it takes to correct your less-than-happy situation.  Please do not think that I am trying to "sheep-steal" when I say this.  I am not advising you to leave your church congregation.  But what I am saying is that you can and should be doing your part to improve the happiness that should be within you.

We have seen that God the Father and Jesus Christ really do want us to be happy.  They desire that we be happy.  So let us be doing all that we can to help meet this wonderful beneficent desire of God the Father and Jesus Christ, and let us BE HAPPY!