Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 19 Number 9 September 2017
Page 15

Are We Instilling Faith?

Brian R. Kenyon

Brian R. KenyonWhen Paul wrote a second time to Timothy, he was thankful “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5). Timothy’s faith was indeed remarkable, considering his family background. He came from a religiously mixed family where his mother was a “Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek” who did not believe in God as evidenced by the fact that Timothy was not circumcised (Acts 16:1, 3). Yet, even from a home like that, Paul could say that Timothy’s faith was real. The word “genuine” [“unfeigned,” KJV; “sincere,” ESV]” is translated from a word that means sincere, genuine, without hypocrisy (1 Timothy 1:5; Romans 12:9; 2 Corinthians 6:6; James 3:15; 1 Peter 1:22).

How was Timothy able to have such genuine faith from that less than ideal family situation? The answer is his mother and grandmother! Later in this letter, Paul acknowledged that “from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Parents, and even grandparents, must teach the Scriptures to their children and grandchildren! Children must be receptive to their teaching! Many family situations today are less than ideal, but that does not mean we cannot do what Timothy’s mom and grandmother did! Let us always teach and exemplify God’s Word!

The Search for Happiness

Therman Hodge

Therman HodgeCertainly, the search for happiness is the aim of every life. However, we may have a difference of opinion on how to achieve it.

There is a difference between pleasure, sensation and happiness. Even the U.S. Constitution gives its citizens the unalienable right to “the pursuit of happiness.”

We can be happy in spite of undesirable circumstances that occur in life. Persecutions may befall one in his or her life, and yet, a person can still be happy. “Blessed [happy] are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12 NKJV).

On may experience some degree of poverty, and yet not despair over one’s situation. “Then Peter said, ‘Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk’” (Acts 3:6).

In addition, some disappointments visit everyone from time to time. If a person cannot be happy despite disappointments, then no one could be happy, for all have some disappointments.

Possessing things is not necessary to obtain happiness. The wealth of the rich often fail to insulate them from being miserable. Wisdom, the possession of an intangible, brings heaviness of mind. Sensual pursuits after which most of the world pursues is unable to bring lasting happiness. Acquiring power over others or even over a nation does not lead to earthly happiness. King Solomon tested all of the earthly diversions and amusements, but in Ecclesiastes, he concluded that “all is vanity.” “‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher; ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity’” (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 12:8).

There are several things that do bring happiness. Trusting in God results in happiness. “In God We Trust” is a motto comparable to the following biblical citation. “Blessed [happy] is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).

Furthermore, contentment leads to happiness. “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:12). Freedom from fear leads to happiness (1 John 4:18). A clean conscience produces happiness (Matthew 5:8). Fruitfulness (John 15:8), work or Christian service (James 2:24) leads to happiness (Proverbs 31:27). On the other hand, idleness brings misery and may be the Devil’s workshop (1 Timothy 5:13). The willingness to share produces happiness (2 Corinthians 8:1-5), whereas selfishness brings misery (1 John 3:17). Some measure of accomplishment results in happiness (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Ultimate happiness involves making preparation for spending an eternity in Heaven with God (Amos 4:12; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Matthew 25:21). Thomas Chalmers, preacher and philosopher of the early 1800’s in Scotland, observed, “Some grand essentials of happiness are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.”

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