The Anatomy of a Happy Home Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
2. Lydia was a wealthy and influential business woman, who lived in the Roman colony of Philippi. She was a seller of purple, which means that she was in the business of dying cloth. There must not have been a synagogue in Philippi because Paul met her by the river while he was seeking the Jewish place of prayer. She was a Gentile, who believed in the God of Israel, so she must have been a convert to the Jewish faith. She was saved and baptized as the result of her meeting with Paul, and it says that her household followed her. She led her family to Christ after she believed. It was because of her example that her family and servants believed.
3. Eunice was another remarkable woman. She was a Jewess who took the responsibility of teaching her son Timothy the Holy Scriptures, and according to 2 Timothy 3:15, making him “wise for salvation through faith.” Her husband was a Greek Gentile, and he may have died during Timothy’s early years. In any case, there is no evidence that he was a Christian. Two factors molded Timothy’s life. From early childhood, his godly mother Eunice and his faithful grandmother Lois touched his life. Unknowingly, they prepared him for God’s call to salvation and then for ministry by teaching him the Word of God. Later, as an adult, he heard the gospel message, and he believed. But his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois were saved before he was. (2 Tim. 1:5).
During the Apostle Paul’s first missionary journey around 46 A.D, Eunice and Lois were converted to Christ in Lystra. They showed a true faith (v. 5), and they lived out what they believed. Paul stated that the same faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother was, after that, in Timothy himself, bringing joy to Paul. Eunice and Lois are valuable models. Women can know God’s Word, and they can faithfully teach it to their children. Like Eunice and Lois, they can carefully nurture a true faith in their children. They can model for their children godliness rather than worldliness and Christ-likeness as opposed to self-centeredness. Eunice and Lois are living testimonies that nothing in a mother’s life is more important than a personal and vibrant faith modeled before her children. In many cases, especially in today’s homes, where many fathers are absent, women have to take the lead. The key factor is that someone must lead the way so that the family will follow.
Cornelius was a worthy model as a leader of his family. He took the lead in spiritual matters; he led in prayer and in studying the scriptures. But his actions spoke louder than his words, for he gave to the needy and he was kind and generous toward his soldiers and his neighbors. His wife and children believed in him because of the way he lived.
Cornelius was willing to do whatever was necessary to please God. At first, he was afraid when he got the vision from God, but then he became confident when the angel told him that his generosity and prayers had been looked upon with favor by God. He responded to the angel's request by immediately dispatching two of his household servants and a soldier who was as devout as himself to the city of Joppa to find Peter.
The second principle that can be found in today’s bible lesson is that GOD WAS CORNELIUS’S ALLY IN REACHING HIS FAMILY.
The meeting between Cornelius and Peter was well prepared for by the Lord. Both Peter and Cornelius had a vision that paved the way for their meeting. Peter’s vision came the day after that of Cornelius’, and the representatives of the Roman centurion were almost to Joppa when Peter went to the roof of Simon’s house to pray. While praying and waiting for lunch to be served, he fell into a trance. In this trance, Peter saw the heavens open and a great sheet joined together at the four corners, descend down to him. This huge sheet was being lowered from heaven and inside was “all manner of four-footed beasts…and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.”
There was both clean and unclean animals present; for God had forbidden Israel to eat certain unclean animals. Then Peter heard a voice which said, “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.” This completely amazed and astonished Peter and must have brought his inborn sensitivities to a breaking point, because his Jewish conscience would not permit him to eat anything that was prohibited by Levitical law; therefore, his answer was, “Not so, Lord.” Then he claimed that he had never eaten anything unclean.
But this was to be the first great lesson that Peter was to receive; for God was about to illustrate the abolition of Jewish ceremonial law. The voice from heaven spoke to Peter the second time and said, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common (unclean).” Peter doubted what he had seen in the vision, but he didn’t have any time to think about it because at that moment the representatives of Cornelius appeared at Simon’s house. Peter met with the men and they told him all about their mission on behalf of the centurion.
The next day Peter, accompanied by six other men from Joppa went with the men to Caesarea. Peter responded as all obedient followers of Jesus Christ do. And that’s the key to our successfully caring for our families spiritual needs; as the spiritual leader, we must be obedient to God’s plan. We must show respect for God and rely on Him; then we must follow His guidance.
Now, here is the third principle that is found in our Bible lesson: THE FORMULA FOR A HAPPY HOME HAS NOT CHANGED.
Every home should have a spiritual leader; someone to set an example worthy to follow. Cornelius was such a man, and we have looked at other spiritual men and women who made a faithful commitment to lift up Jesus in their home. I believe that there are three spiritual exercises that are necessary to this happy home.
1. Praying regularly. There should be a definite time for prayer established; a time when the family can all be together. This doesn’t replace personal, private prayer; but is a time for the family to praise God and thank Him for His generous provision.
2. Reading the Word. I have found that for my wife and I, the most benefit comes from reading a commentary along with the Bible and taking the time to comment on the passage. We do this before prayer time. Early morning works best for us because there are fewer distractions. This is one of my favorite times of the day, and I believe that it has brought us closer together.
3. Giving generously. I believe in tithing, and every time we receive a check, the first thing my wife does is write a check to the church. That belongs to God.
Those are just my thoughts and I am sure that there are other things that you can do in your service to God. You must fit your situation; but whatever you do, you must give God willing obedience to whatever He reveals to you as His will.
There is a great biblical example of the influence of a Christian home, which can be found in Paul’s comment to Timothy. He wrote in 2 Timothy 1:5, “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.” While we know virtually nothing of Timothy’s father, we know that his grandmother and mother infected him with a love for God. Can there be any greater joy than bringing your children and grandchildren to know Jesus?
The best example that I could share with you of a Christian home is not the home where I raised my children, but the home in Gray Court that my daughter and son-in-law have. Tony is my son-in-law and he is the spiritual leader. Every night at the same time he calls the family together. They sing a hymn, read the bible and pray. The children are 2, 3 and 5 and they memorize scripture and pray before they eat. This is a strong Christian home and God is blessing them. This is the Anatomy of a happy home.
Do you know what happened when Peter and Cornelius came together? Cornelius had quite a crowd waiting in his home for Peter to arrive. Peter told those who were present about Jesus; about what He did and said, how he was crucified and three days later rose from the dead. Everyone who heard believed and was baptized. Cornelius was the spiritual leader and head of a truly happy home; a Christian home; the type of home that has been ordained by God.
If we were to dissect a truly happy home, we would find the following:
1. Someone in charge who is living a believable Christian life.
2. Someone who is seeking God’s highest and best truth.
3. Someone who is pursuing God’s will.
Happy homes do not come from a secret formula. They are the result of families who want God to have first place in their lives. So how does this apply to the Inn at Laurens? We are mothers or fathers or grandparents or great grandparents. We have an influence on our families, which can be expressed in what we say and how we live. What greater legacy could we leave to our loved ones than for them to remember us as men and women who loved God? But there’s something else to consider.
This, The Inn, is your home and those seated around you are your family. Is it a happy home? I hope so! I pray daily for your health and happiness. Our greatest asset here is that we are saturated with Bible teaching. There is a devotion every Wednesday, Bible study on Thursdays and a Sunday service. I know that many of you spend time in personal bible study and prayer. Most of all I want to pay tribute to you for the Jesus I can see in you. It is an honor for me to be able to minister to you, and Sierra would agree. Let’s make this a truly happy home for every resident and every one of the staff.
We are off to a good start. We have a good base; bible study, prayer, and worship. Add to that the greatest of all Christian virtues-LOVE; love for God and each other.Then we will have a truly happy home.
Let’s pray and ask God to help us love each other more.