Sunday, January 31, 2010

daily text 1/31

Sunday, January 31st, 2010
"Taste and see that Jehovah is good." (Psalm 34:8)

Your first love for the truth was important, but as time went by, you needed a deeper love to face new challenges that put your faith to the test. However, Jehovah sustained you. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Thus, your experiences constitute another way you can prove to yourself the good, acceptable will of God. (Joshua 23:14) To illustrate, consider the situation in which the Israelites found themselves when Jehovah stated his purpose to deliver them from slavery in Egypt. God identified himself to Moses, saying:
“I shall prove to be what I shall prove to be.” (Exodus 3:7, 8, 13, 14) In effect, Jehovah was saying that he would take on any role necessary to free his people. Later, the Israelites saw Jehovah reveal different facets of his personality—as the Almighty, as a Judge, a Leader, a Deliverer, a Warrior, and a Provider.—Exodus 12:12; 13:21; 14:24-31; 16:4; Nehemiah 9:9-15.
(Watchtower issue: 06/15/08, 4:7, 8)

*I started reading the book Mankind's Search For God, (which discusses the many gods and religions found in cultures around the world) and this is another area that makes Jehovah stand out, far apart from any of the gods of ancient mythology...because although some of them also had a *variety* of roles or titles when it came to their interactions with mortals, their behavior was very human (less than human in many cases), and very predictable and one-dimensional.
It's not hard to imagine imperfect men attributing personalities to their deities, (much the same way that comic book writers attribute characteristics to superheros and villains).
But Jehovah's personality is truly *undefinable*...which is why the meaning of his name is so fitting. Because there are so many unanticipated and surprising facets that come to life and reveal themselves in various accounts throughout the Bible, (which also includes the way Jesus reflected his father's personality during his earthly ministry) giving us an even deeper insight into Jehovah's character, demonstrating how different He is compared to the personalities and actions of any other man-made gods of mythology. So I have a difficult time understanding how anyone can lump Jehovah in with all those others, when there is such a clear and superior distinction. Other gods *at best* are a poor imitation.

FYI: I just looked online and I can't believe there are people selling our books on Amazon! Nice how the brothers and sisters volunteer their time and energy at Bethel, working so hard without a salary in order to print and bind the publications so we can make them available to the public without charge, and now greedy people are trying to make a profit off what they received for free! Unbelievable. Nice world we live in.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Navigational System of the Butterfly

I was looking for a nature article that would relate to today's text, and this one caught my eye (on pg 10 of the 11/08 Awake!) because of the accurate circadian clock of a monarch butterfly. (which I am jealous of, since my circadian clock is so messed up!) lol =)

▪ Using a brain that is about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, the monarch butterfly migrates as far as 1,800 miles [3,000 km] from Canada to a small patch of forest in Mexico. How does the insect find its way?

Consider: Monarch butterflies have a solar compass that is fixed to the position of the sun. But there is more. These insects also use a remarkably accurate circadian clock—a biological function based on the 24-hour day—to make corrections for the sun’s movement. Dr. Steven Reppert, a neurobiologist, says that monarch butterflies “have an entirely different way of building a circadian clock than the other insects and animals studied so far.”

Learning more about the secrets of the monarchs’ inner timepiece might give scientists further insight into the circadian clocks of humans and animals. It could also lead to new therapies for neurological afflictions. “I want to understand how the brain incorporates information about time and space,” says Reppert, “and the monarch is a spectacular example.”

What do you think? Is the complex navigational system of the monarch butterfly the product of chance? Or is it evidence of an intelligent Designer?

The Beautiful Moth (another good article from the website)

daily text 1/30

Saturday, January 30th, 2010
"You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things." (Revelation 4:11)

How beautiful the earth is! The trees, the flowers, the animals, the oceans, the mountains, and the waterfalls—Jehovah has made them all. “The earth is full of [God’s] productions,” states Psalm 104:24. How grateful we can be that Jehovah has lovingly given us a body and a mind that allow us to enjoy the earth and the good things on it! Should not heartfelt appreciation for the wondrous creation make us want to serve him? Another reason to serve Jehovah is found in the words of the Israelite leader Joshua. Near the end of his life, Joshua told God’s people: “You well know with all your hearts and with all your souls that not one word out of all the good words that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you.”—Joshua 23:14.
(Watchtower issue: 05/15/08, 4:3, 4)

Song 110 - God's Wondrous Works - a brother uploaded this video with one of the new songs and a photo compilation which really illustrates the theme of today's text discussion well.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Determined To Accomplish Our Ministry (Life Story)

This life story from (pgs 16-20 of the 6/1/07 WA) is a great example of how we can benefit from the experiences of older Witnesses who have dedicated themselves to the ministry and serving Jehovah throughout their lifetime despite various trials.

“I’m losing my vision. I can’t see,” said our pilot in a slurred voice. Moments later, his hands slipped from the controls of the small plane we were in, and he slumped in his seat, unconscious. My husband, who had no flying experience, tried desperately to rouse him. Before I tell about our narrow escape, let me explain what led up to our being in that plane over Papua New Guinea, one of the remotest parts of the earth...

I was born in Australia in 1929 and raised in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales. My father, Bill Muscat, was a Communist who, curiously enough, believed in God. In 1938 he even agreed to sign a national petition requesting that Joseph F. Rutherford, from the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses, be allowed to preach at Sydney Town Hall.
“He must have something good to say,” Dad told us at the time. Eight years later, we learned the substance of that message. Dad invited Norman Bellotti, a full-time pioneer minister of Jehovah’s Witnesses, to our home to discuss the Bible. Our family quickly accepted Bible truth and soon became very active in the Christian ministry.
In the mid-1940’s, I left school to help my mother, who was chronically ill. I also did dressmaking for a living. On Saturday nights, my sister Rose and I accompanied a group of pioneers and did street witnessing outside Sydney Town Hall. In 1952 my older brother, John, graduated from the Gilead missionary school in the United States and was assigned to Pakistan. I too loved the ministry and wanted to follow his example. So the following year, I became a regular pioneer.

Marriage and Missionary Work
Soon afterward, I met John Davison, who worked at the Australia branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses. His humility, quiet determination, and strength of character impressed me. During World War II, he had been imprisoned three times for maintaining his Christian neutrality. Together we decided to make the Christian ministry our lifework.
John and I were married in June 1955. We bought a bus with the intention of converting it into a mobile home. Our goal was to use it as a base for preaching in remote areas of Australia. The next year, a call went out for Witnesses to move to New Guinea, the northeastern part of a large island north of Australia. (At that time, the eastern part of the island was divided into Papua in the south and New Guinea in the north. Today, the western part of this island is called Papua, a part of Indonesia, and the eastern part, Papua New Guinea.) The Kingdom message had not yet been preached in this part of the world. We immediately volunteered.

At the time, the only way to enter New Guinea was on a full-time work contract, so John set about finding a job. He soon secured a contract with a sawmill in New Britain, a much smaller island that is part of New Guinea. Several weeks later, we set off for our new assignment, arriving in Rabaul, New Britain, in July 1956. There we waited six days for a boat to take us to Waterfall Bay.

(John & Lena Davison at a convention in Lae, New Guinea, 1973)

Our Ministry in Waterfall Bay
After several days of rough sailing, we arrived at Waterfall Bay, a large inlet about 150 miles [240 km] south of Rabaul. Here a huge sawmill was situated in a clearing in the jungle. That evening when all the workers were seated around the dinner table, the manager said, “By the way, Mr. and Mrs. Davison, it is the policy of this company that all employees state their religion.”
We were quite sure that there was no such policy, but since we had declined to smoke, they were evidently suspicious. In any case, John responded, “We are Jehovah’s Witnesses.” An awkward silence followed. The men were World War II veterans and were prejudiced against the Witnesses because of their neutral stand during the war. From then on, the men looked for every opportunity to make things difficult for us.

First the manager refused to give us a refrigerator and a stove, although we were entitled to both. Our perishable food spoiled, and we were forced to cook on a wrecked stove that we salvaged from the jungle. Next the local villagers were forbidden to sell us fresh produce, so we survived on any vegetables that we could find. We were also branded as spies and were carefully watched to see if we taught anyone the Bible. Then I contracted malaria.
Nevertheless, we were determined to accomplish our ministry. So we asked two young native mill workers who spoke English to teach us Melanesian Pidgin, the national language. In turn, we taught them the Bible. On weekends we wandered far and wide on “sightseeing” expeditions. Along the way, we discreetly witnessed to any villagers we could find; our Bible students served as translators. We crossed rivers with strong currents and enormous crocodiles sunning themselves along the banks. Barring one narrow escape, we were rarely troubled by those forbidding predators.

Making Tools for Teaching
As our ministry expanded, we decided to type out simple Bible messages to distribute to interested ones. Our Bible students at the mill helped us to translate the first of these. We spent many nights typing out hundreds of tracts and distributed them to villagers and passing boat crews.
In 1957, John Cutforth, an experienced traveling minister, paid us an encouraging visit. He suggested that the use of pictures might be an effective way to teach Bible truths to people who could not read. He and my husband devised a series of simple drawings, or stick figures, to explain basic Bible teachings. Later, we spent countless hours copying these picture sermons into school exercise books. Each Bible student received a copy, which he used to preach to others. This teaching method was eventually used throughout the country.
After two and a half years at Waterfall Bay, we completed our work contract and were approved to stay in the country. So we accepted an invitation to take up the special pioneer ministry.

Back to Rabaul
Sailing north to Rabaul, our boat stopped overnight at a copra and cocoa plantation at Wide Bay. The owners, an elderly couple who wanted to retire to Australia, offered John the job of managing the plantation. The offer was very tempting, but when we talked the matter over that night, we agreed that we had not come to New Guinea to pursue material riches. We were determined to accomplish our ministry as pioneers. So the next day, we informed the couple of our decision and reboarded the boat.
After arriving at Rabaul, we joined a small group of Witnesses from other countries who had moved into the area. The local people showed much interest in the Kingdom message, and we started many Bible studies. Meanwhile, we held Christian meetings in a local rented hall, and up to 150 people attended. Many of these accepted the truth and helped spread the good news of God’s Kingdom to other parts of the country.—Matthew 24:14.

We also visited Vunabal, a village some 30 miles [50 km] from Rabaul, where a group of people showed keen interest in Bible truth. They soon attracted the attention of an influential local Catholic. With a group of his church cronies, he broke up our weekly Bible study and drove us out of the village. When we learned that there would be more trouble the following week, we asked the police to accompany us.
That day the road was lined for miles with jeering Catholics. Many were ready to stone us. Meanwhile, a priest had assembled hundreds of tribesmen at the village. The police assured us that we had the right to hold our meeting, so they opened a path through the crowd. However, as soon as we started our meeting, the priest whipped the mob into a frenzy. The police were unable to restrain the horde; hence, the police chief urged us to leave and quickly led us to our car.
The mob swarmed around us, swearing, spitting, and shaking their fists, while the priest stood with folded arms and smiled. After our escape, the police chief admitted that it was the worst situation he had ever seen. Although most of the people in Vunabal were intimidated by the mob violence, one Bible student courageously took his stand for Kingdom truth. Since then, hundreds of others throughout New Britain have taken their stand.

New Guinea Opens Up
In November 1960, we were reassigned to Madang, a large town on the northern coast of New Guinea, the main island. Here John and I were inundated with offers of full-time employment. One company urged me to manage their clothing store. Another wanted me to do clothing alterations. Some expatriate women even offered to set me up in my own dressmaking shop. Keeping in mind our objectives, we politely turned down these and other offers.—2 Timothy 2:4.

The territory in Madang was fruitful, and a thriving congregation soon developed. We hiked and traveled by motorbike to outlying villages on preaching expeditions that lasted several days. In abandoned huts along the way, we slept on layers of grass cut from the bush. Canned food, biscuits, and a mosquito net completed our simple provisions.
On one expedition, we visited a group of interested ones in Talidig, a village about 30 miles [50 km] north of Madang. As the group made spiritual progress, the headmaster of the local school prohibited them from studying the Bible on public land. Later, he incited the police to destroy their houses and drive them into the bush. A neighboring chief, however, allowed the group to live on his land. In time, this kindly chief accepted Bible truth, and a modern Kingdom Hall was built in the area.

(At the branch in Papau New Guinea, 2002)

Translation and Traveling Work
Just two years after our arrival in New Britain in 1956, John and I were invited to translate various Bible publications into Melanesian Pidgin. This work continued over the years. Then in 1970, we were invited to the branch office in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, to serve as full-time translators. We also taught language classes there.
In 1975 we returned to New Britain to serve in the traveling ministry. For the next 13 years, we flew, paddled, drove, or walked to nearly every part of the country. We had many narrow escapes along the way, including the incident described at the beginning of this article. On that occasion, our pilot collapsed from severe gastritis while we were approaching Kandrian airstrip in New Britain. With the plane on autopilot, we circled helplessly above the jungle while John desperately tried to rouse the unconscious pilot. Finally, he regained consciousness, and his vision cleared enough for him to make a rough landing. He then collapsed again.

Another Door of Activity Opens
In 1988 we were reassigned to Port Moresby to care for the growing translation needs at the branch. About 50 of us lived and worked as a family at the branch, where we also trained new translators. All of us were accommodated in modest one-room apartments. John and I decided to leave our door ajar to encourage family members and visitors to stop by and get acquainted. We thus drew very close to our family and were able to give one another much love and support.
Then, in 1993, John died of a heart attack. I felt as though a part of me died too. We had been married for 38 years and had spent all that time together in the ministry. Still, I was determined to continue, in Jehovah’s strength. (2 Corinthians 4:7) My apartment door remained open, and young ones continued to visit. Such wholesome association helped me to maintain a positive outlook.

In 2003 my declining health led to my being reassigned to the branch office in Sydney, Australia. Today, at age 77, I still serve full-time in the Translation Department, and I also keep busy in the preaching work. My friends and spiritual children and grandchildren bring me constant joy. The door to my room at Bethel still remains open, and I have visitors most days. In fact, when my door is shut, people often knock to see what is wrong. As long as I draw breath, I will remain determined to accomplish my ministry and to serve my God, Jehovah.—2 Timothy 4:5.

daily text 1/29

Friday, January 29th, 2010
"Even until old age and gray-headedness, O God, do not leave me." (Psalm 71:18)

All in the congregation can benefit from associating with older Christians. Through study, observation, and experience, faithful older worshippers of Jehovah have accumulated priceless knowledge. They have learned to exercise patience and show empathy, and passing on what they have learned to the next generation brings them great joy and satisfaction. Younger ones, be wise and draw on this source of knowledge as you would draw up water from a deep well. (Proverbs 20:5) Do you let older ones know that you cherish them as Jehovah cherishes them? One way you can do so is by telling them how much you love them for their faithfulness and how you value their opinions. Moreover, by acting on what you learn from them, you demonstrate that your respect for them is sincere. Many elderly Christians can recall the wise advice they received from faithful older ones and how acting on it has benefited them throughout their lives. (Watchtower issue: 08/15/08, 4:5, 6)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Calf and Idol Worship in Israel

The following material gives backround info on some forms of Egyptian and Canaanite idolatry which influenced the Israelites, and was incorporated into their worship.

(illustration on pg 18 of the 4/1/07 WA)

Child Sacrifice to Molech
The view has been advanced that the Molech to whom children were sacrificed had the form of a man but the head of a bull. The image is said to have been heated red hot and the children cast into its outstretched arms, thus to fall into the flaming furnace below. This conception is largely based on the description of the Carthaginian Cronos or Moloch given by the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus of the first century B.C.E.—Diodorus of Sicily, XX, 14, 4-6.

Molech and Astrology in Israel
(Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 1, pg 207)
There is evidence to show that astrology was closely allied with the worship of Molech, a god who was sometimes depicted with a bull’s head. The bull was worshiped by the Babylonians, Canaanites, Egyptians, and others as a symbol of their deities—Marduk, Molech, Baal, and so forth. The bull was one of the most important signs of the zodiac, Taurus. The sun-god was often represented by bulls, the horns signifying the rays, and the bull’s strong reproductive power, the sun’s power as “giver of life.” The female, the cow, was given equal honor as a symbol of Ishtar or Astarte, as she was variously called. So when Aaron and Jeroboam introduced in Israel such worship of the bull (calf worship) it was indeed a great sin in Jehovah’s eyes.—Exodus 32:4, 8; Deuteronomy 9:16; 1Kings 12:28-30; 2Kings 10:29.

The apostate ten-tribe kingdom of Israel was denounced for joining this astrology cult, for “they kept leaving all the commandments of Jehovah their God and proceeded to make for themselves molten statues, two calves, and to make a sacred pole, and they began to bow down to all the army of the heavens and to serve Baal; and they continued to make their sons and their daughters pass through the fire and to practice divination and to look for omens.”—2Kings 17:16, 17.

(Illustration of Apis, pg 85 of The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible)

Apis - Sacred Bull of Egypt
(pg 370 Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 2)

Memphis was among the foremost sacred cities of ancient Egypt, along with nearby On (Heliopolis). (Genesis 41:50) Especially important were the shrines dedicated to the god Ptah and to the sacred bull Apis . . .The Apis bull, a specially marked live bull, was kept at Memphis and worshiped as the incarnation of the god Osiris, though in certain legends it is also connected with the god Ptah. At its death, public mourning was carried on, and an impressive burial of the bull was made at nearby Saqqara. (When the tomb there was opened in the last century, investigators found the embalmed bodies of over 60 bulls and cows.) The selection of a new Apis bull and its enthronement at Memphis was an equally elaborate ceremony. This worship may have influenced the rebellious Israelites in their idea of worshiping Jehovah through a golden calf. (Exodus 32:4, 5)

(Carved image of Apis - pg 690 of Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 1)

Calf Worship (pgs 393-394, Insight Vol. 1)
Calf worship was the first form of idolatry mentioned in the Bible to which the Israelites succumbed after the Exodus from Egypt. While Moses was in the mountain receiving God’s law, the people became impatient and approached Aaron with the request that he make a god for them. From the gold earrings contributed by the Israelites, Aaron formed a molten statue of a calf, undoubtedly a young bull. (Psalm 106:19, 20) It was regarded as representing Jehovah, and the festival held the following day was designated “a festival to Jehovah.” The Israelites sacrificed to the golden calf, bowed before it, ate, drank, and enjoyed themselves in song and dance.—Exodus 32:1-8, 18, 19; Nehemiah 9:18.

Idolatrous Egyptian worship, which associated gods with cows, bulls, and other animals, likely had influenced the Israelites to a great extent, causing them to adopt calf worship so soon after being liberated from Egypt. This is confirmed by Stephen’s words: “In their hearts they turned back to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make gods for us to go ahead of us. . . . ’ So they made a calf in those days and brought up a sacrifice to the idol and began to enjoy themselves in the works of their hands.”—Acts 7:39-41.

*Aside from the obvious, I noticed another angle in this account that gets to the heart of the issue. Did you notice how it said that the Israelites became "impatient" (after Moses had been gone while he was up on Mt Sinai receiving the commandments)? Indicating that even after being eye-witnesses to so many faith-strengthening miracles coming out of Egypt, the people still had such a lack of trust and confidence in Jehovah, that they wanted *visible confirmation* of a god's presence.

It also mentions that they began to "enjoy themselves in the works of their hands" ... I was thinking about how that corresponds (in modern times) with more than just pagan religious celebrations or using icons and images in worship ... think about it ... The Israelites weren't getting antsy simply because they wanted an excuse to celebrate and have a religious festival, (although I'm sure boredom did play a role while they were waiting for Moses to come back). But their own words in the account reveal how quickly they were ready to give up on their leader and take matters into their own hands (demonstrating they were concerned and impatient in regards to their future prospects and material needs being met) Because they say to Aaron:

"...make for us a god who will go ahead of us, because as regards this Moses, the man who led us up out of the land of Egypt, we certainly do not know what has happened to him." (Exodus 32:1)

Instead of waiting on Moses' direction and trusting that Jehovah hadn't abandoned them, they were ready to turn their back on their Deliverer, and go right back to worshipping false gods...if that meant securing for themselves material blessings and protection for the journey ahead (since that's always been the whole purpose of sacrificing to a god - to receive protection and material prosperity) So I was thinking that from a modern day perspective, the Israelites behavior would actually be more closely related to becoming so overly anxious or impatient when it comes to our security and material needs being met, that we'd be willing to do whatever it takes to insure that (even if it meant resorting to unchristian practices).

(Picture on pg 948 of Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 1)

(info continued from section above)
The first king of the ten-tribe kingdom, Jeroboam, fearing that his subjects would revolt and go back to the house of David if they continued going up to Jerusalem for worship, had two golden calves made. (1Kings 12:26-28) The Bible record does not reveal to what extent Jeroboam’s choice of a calf to represent Jehovah was influenced by earlier calf worship in Israel, by what he had observed while in Egypt (1Kings 12:2), or by the religion of the Canaanites and others, who often represented their gods as standing upon an animal, such as a bull.

One of the golden calves Jeroboam set up at the far northern city of Dan, the other at Bethel about 17 km (11 mi) N of Jerusalem. He told his subjects that it was too much for them to go up to Jerusalem for worship and that the calf represented the God who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt. (Compare Exodus 32:8.) Since the priests of the tribe of Levi stayed loyal to Jehovah’s worship at Jerusalem, Jeroboam appointed his own priests to lead the false worship before the idol calves at Dan and Bethel. (2 Chronicles 11:13-15) He also arranged for a festival similar to the Festival of Booths, but it was celebrated a month later than the festival in Jerusalem.—1Kings 12:28-33; 2Chronicles 13:8, 9; Leviticus 23:39.

Jehovah condemned this calf worship and, through his prophet Ahijah, foretold calamity for the house of Jeroboam. (1Kings 14:7-12) Nevertheless, calf worship remained entrenched in the ten-tribe kingdom. Even King Jehu, who eradicated Baal worship in Israel, let calf worship remain, likely in order to keep the ten-tribe kingdom distinct from the kingdom of Judah. (2Kings 10:29-31) In the ninth century B.C.E., Jehovah raised up his prophets Amos and Hosea to proclaim His condemnation of calf worship, which included kissing the idol calves, and also to foretell doom for the ten-tribe kingdom. The golden calf of Bethel was to be carried away to the king of Assyria, giving cause for the people as well as the foreign-god priests to mourn. The high places would be annihilated, and thorns and thistles would grow upon the altars that had been used in false worship. (Hosea 10:5-8; 13:2; Amos 3:14; 4:4; 5:5, 6) Calamity did come when the ten-tribe kingdom fell to Assyria in 740 B.C.E. About a century later, Jeremiah prophesied that the Moabites would be just as ashamed of their god Chemosh as the Israelites had become of their center of idolatrous calf worship, Bethel.—Jeremiah 48:13

In the meantime...

I uploaded a different audio talk (until I figure out how to transfer the other one I was talking about)...this talk was from the 2008 District Convention "Receive God's Spirit -Not the World's"
If for some reason it doesn't seem to download right the first time, try clicking the "open" button instead of the "save" button when you download it.

daily text 1/28

Thursday, January 28th, 2010
"Those who are in accord with the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those in accord with the spirit on the things of the spirit." (Romans 8:5)

How can we avoid having our thinking—and thus our actions—dominated by the spirit of the world? We must put a filter on our mind, striving to block out the world’s propaganda to the extent possible. For example, when choosing entertainment, we refuse to let our minds be sullied by programs that glorify immorality or violence. We realize that God’s holy, or clean, spirit will not reside in a dirty mind. (Psalm 11:5; 2 Corinthians 6:15-18) In addition, we invite God’s spirit into our minds through regular Bible reading, prayer, meditation, and meeting attendance. And we work along with that spirit as we regularly share in the Christian preaching work. As Paul states, “the minding of the flesh means death, but the minding of the spirit means life and peace.”—Romans 8:6
(Watchtower issue: 09/15/08, 4:19-21)

*I recorded a good talk by our circuit overseer just recently, which deals with this topic. It's about how we are constantly in an uphill battle or swimming against the tide when it comes to the dominant attitude and beliefs of the majority of people in society, and why it's so important to keep standing firm if we don't want to compromise our beliefs and moral standards. I'll try to get it uploaded onto my audio download page once I figure out how to transfer it off my mp3 player (since I have to use a different program this time which is more complicated and I haven't got the hang of yet). I have issues with technology =) ... also I noticed that Nakido made some changes to their site, which I hope doesn't make it harder or more complicated to download (I think it depends on how busy the site is)...but let me know if you're having trouble downloading any of the audio talks.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Encounter With Voodoo in Haiti

As mentioned in my last post about Haiti, there is alot of spiritism mixed into Christianity, because there is alot of Voodoo practiced there. So the following experience on (pgs 130-131 of the 1994 Yearbook) shows a scary situation that the missionaries had to deal with in that regard.

(early missionaries in Haiti, pg 124)

(the following experience involves 2 of the missionaries shown above, Alex Brodie and Victor Winterburn, who are in the photo at the top, and the top right)

An Encounter With Voodoo
Victor Winterburn was one of the newly arrived missionaries. A Canadian, he was 23, was baptized in 1940 at the age of 12, and had been pioneering since 1946. Soon after Victor became branch overseer in September 1951, the life of one of the Witnesses, Frank Paul, was endangered by voodoo superstitions. Victor Winterburn and Alex Brodie went to Frank’s aid. Let them relate what happened:
“In 1952, following up on reports from brothers, we found Frank semiconscious on a cot in a voodoo temple. His hands were tied to a post behind him. His feet were also tied. A gag prevented his mouth from closing. His lips were cracked. His emaciated face was covered with blisters. We tried to talk to the mambo (priestess), but she ignored us. We could not communicate with Frank. And we could not remove him. Even the police said that they could not touch him, since he had been taken there by his parents.
“We visited his parents and pieced the story together. His wife had left him, and he was raising his child by himself, doing tailoring at home. He fell ill and became delirious, so he was hospitalized. Believing he was possessed by a bad spirit, his parents transferred him to the temple. We were later told that the sick are beaten and hot pepper is put in their eyes to drive out the evil spirits.
“Growing afraid because his condition worsened, his parents called one of the brothers, who tried to return him to the hospital. But knowing where he had been, the hospital did not want him. He was admitted only after a sister with nursing experience offered to buy the required drugs and take care of him. The congregation provided his meals—a service normally rendered by the patient’s family.
“The doctors said he had typhoid and malaria. We wondered if he would recover. Yet, he regained his health, resumed his ministry, and eventually remarried. He greatly appreciated the assistance the brothers gave and the warm, supportive spirit of his congregation.”

daily text 1/27

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
"[Jehovah] will not leave his loyal ones." (Psalm 37:28)

It is the tenth century B.C.E. and a time of decision. Civil war has narrowly been avoided by granting Israel’s restless northern tribes a measure of independence. Their newly appointed king, Jeroboam, quickly moves to consolidate his power by establishing a new State religion. He demands complete allegiance from his subjects. What will faithful servants of Jehovah do? Will they remain loyal to the God they worship? Thousands do, and Jehovah watches over them as they maintain their integrity. (1 Kings 12:1-33; 2 Chronicles 11:13, 14) The loyalty of God’s servants is being tested in our day too. “Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone,” warns the Bible. Can we successfully “take [our] stand against him, solid in the faith”? (1 Peter 5:8, 9) Jehovah did not leave his loyal ones then, and he will not do so today.
(Watchtower issue: 08/15/08, 1:1, 2)

*ok why was Jeroboam so dumb? lol. Actually this account is really interesting because it demonstrates one of the most deeply rooted flaws in human thinking which can be so ingrained in us, that we really have to work hard to overcome it ...Having complete trust and reliance in Jehovah.
Because after Jehovah had given Jeroboam the kingship over the other 10 tribes of Israel, Jeroboam stopped trusting in God's support, and decided to take matters into his own hands doing one of the *all-time stupidest things* in Israelite history (thinking he was being politically savvy). Let's read about it shall we?....

"And Jer·o·bo′am began to say in his heart: “Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. If this people continues going up to render sacrifices in the house of Jehovah in Jerusalem, the heart of this people will also be bound to return to their lord, Re·ho·bo′am the king of Judah; and they will certainly kill me and return to Re·ho·bo′am the king of Judah.” Consequently the king took counsel and made two golden calves and said to the people: “It is too much for YOU to go up to Jerusalem. Here is your God, O Israel, that brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” Then he placed the one in Beth′el, and the other he put in Dan. And this thing came to be a cause for sin, and the people began to go before the one as far as Dan."
(1 Kings 12:26-30)

Ok, so after an ongoing history of idol worship in Israel, (which we are reading about now in the book of Judges) and Jeroboam being fully aware of what happened at Mt Sinai when the people made a golden calf to worship, and Moses had to destroy it, and have the sons of Levi put those worshipping it to death, Jeroboam goes and makes (not one...but 2 golden calves) and actually says to the people: "This is your God that brought you out of Egypt"!
Jeroboam...Hello??? Have you entirely forgotton your nation's history???
And if that wasn't bad enough, he decides to really *go all out* with the imitation/false idol worship, by actually replacing the REAL Levitical priests (who were the only ones allowed to act as priests according to the law) and sets up regular men as priests who he picks out himself. He then proceeds to makes up imitation festival dates for the people to worship, which he also came up with on his own! shown in the following verses:

"And he began to make a house of high places and to make priests from the people in general, who did not happen to be of the sons of Le′vi. And Jer·o·bo′am went on to make a festival in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the festival that was in Judah, that he might make offerings upon the altar that he had made in Beth′el, to sacrifice to the calves that he had made; and he put in attendance at Beth′el the priests of the high places that he had made. And he began to make offerings upon the altar that he had made in Beth′el on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he had invented by himself; and he proceeded to make a festival for the sons of Israel and to make offerings upon the altar to make sacrificial smoke."
(1 Kings 12:31-33)

Did he think Jehovah (who was responsible for making him king in the first place) wasn't going to notice all this? Or do anything about it? Especially since another rule set out in the law (which applies to us today as well) is that Jehovah specifically made a point to inform the people that they weren't allowed to worship him in just 'any old place' that they felt like. They were told that Jehovah would only accept worship at the place where he chooses to have his name reside.

"And it must occur that the place that Jehovah YOUR God will choose to have his name reside there is where YOU will bring all about which I am commanding YOU, YOUR burnt offerings and YOUR sacrifices, YOUR tenth parts and the contribution of YOUR hand and every choice of YOUR vow offerings that YOU will vow to Jehovah ...Watch out for yourself for fear you may offer up your burnt offerings in any other place you may see. But in the place that Jehovah will choose in one of your tribes is where you should offer up your burnt offerings, and there you should do all that I am commanding you."
(Deuteronomy 12:11-14)

PS -I also did some extra research on calf and idol worship, because I could never understand how, of all the sins a person could commit, why it was always idol worship to false gods that got the Israelites in trouble all the time. So later I'll post some more indepth info in regards to that and how it relates to us today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Highlights From the Book of Judges (pt1)

Now that we've moved onto the book of Judges here is some extra reference material...The map and photos below are from "See the Good Land" brochure and the following info is from the (1/15/05 WA)

(Judges and Tribes of Israel - pg 15 *click for a closeup* the yellow circles shown on the map, correlates with the 12 Judges listed in the box to the left)

(Mount Tabor and Valley of Jezreel and flooding of the Kishon riverbed, pg 14)

Highlights From the Book of Judges
How does Jehovah respond when his own people turn their back on him and begin to worship false gods? What if they repeatedly fall away and call on him for help only when they are in distress? Does Jehovah provide a way of escape for them even then? The book of Judges answers these and other vital questions. Completed by the prophet Samuel about 1100 B.C.E., it covers events that span some 330 years—from the death of Joshua to the enthronement of Israel’s first king.
As a part of God’s dynamic word, or message, the book of Judges is of great value to us. (Hebrews 4:12) The exciting accounts recorded in it give us insight into God’s personality. The lessons that we learn from them strengthen our faith and help us to get a firm hold on “the real life,” everlasting life in God’s promised new world. (1 Timothy 6:12, 19; 2 Peter 3:13) The deeds of salvation that Jehovah performs in behalf of his people provide a foregleam of the greater deliverance by his Son, Jesus Christ, in the future.

(Judges 1:1–3:6)
After the kings of the land of Canaan are defeated under the leadership of Joshua, the individual tribes of Israel go to their inheritance and take possession of the land. However, the Israelites fail to dispossess the inhabitants of the land. This failure proves to be a real snare for Israel.
The generation that comes after the days of Joshua ‘does not know Jehovah or the work that he has done for Israel.’ (Judges 2:10) Moreover, the people proceed to form marriage alliances with the Canaanites and to serve their gods. So Jehovah gives the Israelites into the hands of their enemies. When oppression becomes severe, though, the sons of Israel call upon the true God for help. In this religious, social, and political climate unfolds the account of a line of judges whom Jehovah raises up to save his people from their enemies.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

1:2, 4
—Why is Judah designated to be the first tribe to take possession of the land allotted to it? Normally, this privilege would go to the tribe of Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn. But in his deathbed prophecy, Jacob foretold that Reuben was not to excel, having forfeited his right as the firstborn. Simeon and Levi, who had acted with cruelty, were to be scattered in Israel. (Genesis 49:3-5, 7) Hence, the next in line was Judah, the fourth son of Jacob. Simeon, who went up with Judah, received small areas of land scattered throughout the large territory of Judah.—Joshua 19:9.

1:6, 7—Why were the thumbs and the big toes of defeated kings cut off? A person who lost his thumbs and big toes apparently was incapacitated for military action. Without the thumbs, how could a soldier handle a sword or a spear? And the loss of the big toes would result in inability to maintain one’s balance properly.

Lessons for Us:

2:10-12. We must have a regular program of Bible study so as ‘not to forget Jehovah’s doings.’ (Psalm 103:2) Parents need to sound down the truth of God’s Word into the hearts of their children.—Deuteronomy 6:6-9.

2:14, 21, 22. Jehovah allows bad things to happen to his disobedient people for a purpose—to chastise them, to refine them, and to move them to return to him.

(Judges 3:7–16:31)
The exciting account of the exploits of the judges begins with Othniel’s bringing an end to Israel’s eight-year subjugation to a Mesopotamian king. Using a courageous strategy, Judge Ehud kills Eglon, the fat Moabite king. Valiant Shamgar single-handedly strikes down 600 Philistines using a cattle goad. With encouragement from Deborah, who serves as a prophetess, and with Jehovah’s backing, Barak and his lightly equipped army of ten thousand men rout the powerful army of Sisera. Jehovah raises up Gideon and gives him and his 300 men victory over the Midianites.
Through Jephthah, Jehovah delivers Israel from the Ammonites. Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon are also among the 12 men who judge Israel. The period of the Judges ends with Samson, who fights against the Philistines.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

—Why did Barak insist that the prophetess Deborah go with him to the battlefield? Evidently, Barak felt inadequate to go up against Sisera’s army by himself. Having the prophetess with him would reassure him and his men that they had God’s guidance and would give them confidence. Barak’s insistence that Deborah accompany him, then, was not a sign of weakness but of strong faith.

5:20—How did the stars fight from the heavens in behalf of Barak? The Bible does not say whether this involved angelic assistance, meteorite showers that were interpreted ominously by Sisera’s wise men, or perhaps astrological predictions for Sisera that proved false. Undoubtedly, however, there was some type of divine intervention.

7:1-3; 8:10—Why did Jehovah say that Gideon’s 32,000 men were too many against the enemy force of 135,000? This was because Jehovah was giving Gideon and his men the victory. God did not want them to think that they defeated the Midianites in their own strength.

11:30, 31—When making his vow, did Jephthah have a human sacrifice in mind? Such a thought would be far from Jephthah’s mind, for the Law stipulated: “There should not be found in you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire.” (Deuteronomy 18:10) However, Jephthah did have in mind a person and not an animal. Animals suitable for sacrifice were not likely kept in Israelite homes. And the offering of an animal would be nothing outstanding. Jephthah was aware that the one coming out of his house to meet him might well be his daughter. This one was to be offered up “as a burnt offering” in that the person would be devoted to Jehovah’s exclusive service in connection with the sanctuary.

Lessons for Us:

. Success in spiritual pursuits depends, not on human wisdom, but on Jehovah’s spirit.—Psalm 127:1.

3:21. Ehud wielded his sword proficiently and with courage. We must acquire skill in using “the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word.” This means that we must use the Scriptures courageously in our ministry.—Ephesians 6:17; 2 Timothy 2:15.

6:11-15; 8:1-3, 22, 23. Gideon’s modesty teaches us three important lessons: (1) When a privilege of service is extended to us, we should reflect on the responsibility it entails rather than dwell on the prominence or prestige that may be associated with it. (2) When dealing with those inclined to quarrel, displaying modesty is the course of wisdom. (3) Modesty protects us from being position oriented.

6:17-22, 36-40. We too must be cautious and “not believe every inspired expression.” Instead, we need to “test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God.” (1 John 4:1) To make sure that counsel he plans to give is solidly based on God’s Word, a new Christian elder is wise to consult a more experienced elder.

6:25-27. Gideon used discretion so as not to anger his opposers needlessly. When preaching the good news, we must be careful not to offend others unduly by the way we speak.

7:6. When it comes to serving Jehovah, we should be like Gideon’s 300 men—alert and vigilant.

9:8-15. How foolish to act proudly and harbor ambition for position or power!

11:35-37. The good example of Jephthah was undoubtedly instrumental in helping his daughter develop strong faith and a self-sacrificing spirit. Parents today can set such an example for their children.

11:40. Offering commendation to someone who displays a willing spirit in Jehovah’s service encourages that one.

13:8. In teaching their children, parents should pray to Jehovah for guidance and follow his direction.—2 Timothy 3:16.

14:16, 17; 16:16. Applying pressure by weeping and nagging can damage a relationship.—Proverbs 19:13; 21:19.

Well Isn't That Interesting...

I needed to make a correction to my previous post here...

Check out the book that this Government Official in Haiti is grasping in his left hand while giving this speech. (about 15-20 seconds in) Recognize it? =)
What Does the Bible Really Teach? is certainly making the rounds, eh?

-That's not the President of Haiti in this video.
And that's the last time I post something without verifying it first! My mom forwarded it to me so I'm blaming it on her. lol. just kidding. No, but seriously, be careful about forwarding emails from other Witnesses who might not have all the facts straight because thats how misinformation and rumours always end up getting spread around. Stick with info from the official website when it comes to newsupdates (unless it's from a source you can verify for sure) because at least when we get publications or updates from Bethel (in our literature or on the website), we know it's been verified, since the writing department is always really thorough about double-checking their facts before publishing or releasing info.

daiy text 1/26

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
"Pursue . . . godly devotion." (1 Timothy 6:11)

Devotion involves being ardently dedicated and loyal. One Bible dictionary notes that the Greek word translated “godly devotion” describes “the good and careful cherishing of the fear of God.” In our sinful state, we cannot manifest perfect godly devotion. But we can pursue it. This calls on us to follow Christ’s model as closely as possible. (1 Peter 2:21) Thus, we will not be like the hypocrites who ‘have a form of godly devotion but prove false to its power.’ (2 Timothy 3:5) This does not mean that true godly devotion has nothing to do with outward appearances. It certainly does. For instance, whether we are choosing a wedding dress or deciding what to wear while shopping, our appearance should always harmonize with our claim “to reverence God.” (1 Timothy 2:9, 10) Yes, the pursuit of godly devotion requires that we take God’s righteous standards into consideration in our daily lives.
(Watchtower issue: 06/15/08, 2:7, 9)

Our circuit overseer gave a good talk on this topic at an assembly awhile back, which applied to both men and women. He said to the audience "What if I walked on this stage wearing a nicely pressed suit and tie with flip-flops on my feet? Wouldn't my out-of-place, casual choice of footwear be a distraction to the audience?" He used that illustration to show how even a relatively minor choice can tarnish our overall 'presentable' appearance, taking away from the dignity of our message.
And for the sisters he made the point that although we all have the personal freedom to choose what we want to wear, (since the elders aren't going to "police" our wardrobe) lol, but wouldn't it be *the loving thing to do* to make sure we aren't wearing something which is so revealing and lowcut, or shows so much skin that it would cause a distraction to others, or put a temptation in front of our brothers? (who are there trying to concentrate on the program and learn about the Bible)

I really liked how instead of just *telling* the sisters what not to wear, he emphasized *the reason* behind it, by saying "would it be loving to put a temptation in front of your brothers like that?" Because when you think about how revealing clothing is nowadays, that's not
really hard to do, and if you happen to be a sister whose naturally 'busty' anyway, than it makes that advice even more important to take into consideration. I know it made me rethink some of my own clothing choices since, like most females, I tend to just think in terms of "oh, that's such a cute outfit!" lol.

Monday, January 25, 2010

daily text 1/25

Monday, January 25th, 2010
"Honor Jehovah with your valuable things." (Proverbs 3:9)

As Christians, we all possess valuable things of one kind or another. They might include a measure of health and strength, inborn mental abilities, or financial resources. Because we love Jehovah, we are happy to use those things in his service and thus respond to the inspired exhortation above. On the other hand, the Bible also speaks of valueless things and warns against wasting our resources in pursuit of them. Proverbs 12:11 says: “The one cultivating his ground will himself be satisfied with bread, but the one pursuing valueless things is in want of heart.” If a man spends his time and energy working hard to support his family, he stands a good chance of achieving relative security. (1 Timothy 5:8) If, however, he wastes his resources pursuing valueless things, he demonstrates “want of heart,” a lack of balanced judgment and good motivation. Very likely, such a man will find himself in need.
(Watchtower issue: 04/15/08, 1:1, 2)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Blessings Result from Good Christian Conduct

the following info and photo on (pgs 166-167 & 155-156 of the 1994 Yearbook) showing why living by God's standards and applying his guidelines can benefit us even in unexpected circumstances.

(photo of missionaries serving in Haiti)

Good Citizenship Recognized
Jehovah’s Witnesses desire to help people understand why Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place . . . upon earth.” (Matthew 6:10) They show their kindhearted and patient fellow Haitians that it is not God’s will for people to suffer hunger, sickness, and violence or to grow old and die. They explain that God’s will is for earth to become home to the new world—with a paradise that includes Haiti. And they are teaching people to be law-abiding and to lead good, honest lives so that they can qualify for everlasting life in that new world.

Many recognize the benefits the Witnesses bring to the nation by this work. When a murder was committed in Saint-Georges in 1984, people began hiding because the police started arresting them for questioning. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses continued preaching, and the police allowed them to circulate freely. Said one policeman: “Jehovah’s Witnesses preach about the end of wicked people. They are not the ones who committed this crime.”

During riots and demonstrations in 1991, people started looting in Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince, while two young sisters were witnessing in the same area. Two soldiers arrived and stood one at each end of a narrow lane, forcing the looters to pass them and receive strokes from a whip. And the sisters? Each holding a Watchtower, they walked toward one of the soldiers. Recognizing them as Witnesses, he let them pass unscathed, then resumed the whipping. It is as a military officer in Thomassique declared in 1991: ‘I know that the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ youths would not be involved in such riots and demonstrations and looting.’

An Unexpected Defender
Acts of opposition were mostly by officials who were incited or embarrassed into action by clergy propaganda. Some had their own prejudices. Their action was not an official government stand. The then recently deceased president of Haiti had studied with the Witnesses as a youth. Though he chose a different way of life, he still had respect for the brothers. What is more, the Witnesses’ honesty, political neutrality, and respect for law earned them the admiration of other highly placed persons. For example, a pioneer relates this experience:“As I offered magazines to two men in Port-au-Prince, one of them said: ‘If I had the authority, I would put all of you Jehovah’s Witnesses in prison.’ The other, a government minister, intervened before I could reply. He told the man that, from what he had seen in his travels and at religious ceremonies, all religions except Jehovah’s Witnesses mixed spiritism into their worship. Then he added: ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses are the ones practicing true Christianity.’”

*one more experience that was related just recently at the annual meeting (which took place either in Haiti or the Dominican Republic) about a sister named Denise whose a regular pioneer. There was a robbery at her workplace so she was called in to open the door because she had a key. The employer had everyone questioned even his own family,...everyone except for Denise because she's a Witness. The thief turned out to be the employer's sister-in-law. Nice.

daily text 1/24

Sunday, January 24th, 2010
"God is love." (1 John 4:8)

Jehovah loves us and always wants what is best for us. (John 3:16) As a loving God, he is generous toward us. The disciple James wrote: “Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, for it comes down from the Father of the celestial lights.” (James 1:17) Those who let themselves be guided by God benefit greatly from his generosity. The psalmist said: “You are my refuge and my stronghold, my God, in whom I will trust.” (Psalm 91:2) When we follow Jehovah’s guidance, we are seeking refuge with the God who cannot fail. Even if we meet opposition, Jehovah supports us. He will not let us down. (Psalm 71:4, 5; Proverbs 3:19-26) Yes, Jehovah knows what is best for us, wants what is best for us, and has the power to provide what is best for us. How foolish it would be for us to ignore his guidance! Really, we need God’s guidance throughout our lives, from youth to old age.
(Watchtower issue: 04/15/08, 2:4-6)

Sometimes when I look around and see all the disunity and constant fighting and bickering back and forth that goes on in society, while there are so many big, urgent problems that need to be addressed, I just don't understand how anyone can continue to reject the superior wisdom and guidance provided by God through the Bible. Doesn't anyone notice that failure to obey and submit to God's direction in life always backfires? It's so obvious.
And it makes me really appreciate the peace, unity, and cooperation that exists within our worldwide brotherhood, even more so, because it's *living proof* that applying Bible standards and following Jehovah's direction really works and produces positive results.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Terrence Howard on NPR: "I Would Be a Witness"

Interview with: Terrence Howard on NPR (I must have missed this when it first came out).

daily text 1/23

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010
"Do your utmost to present yourself approved to God." (2 Timothy 2:15)

Good preparation will help you to be poised and enthusiastic in the house-to-house ministry. While there is some benefit in silently reviewing what you are going to say, many find it more helpful to rehearse their presentation out loud. Doing so helps them to give their best to Jehovah. (Colossians 3:23) Practical meetings for field service contribute to our effectiveness and joy in the house-to-house ministry. Taking sufficient time to discuss or demonstrate a simple presentation that is well-suited to the territory or to consider other practical information that can be used in the ministry that day will further equip those present to give an effective witness. With good advance preparation, elders and others who conduct these meetings can accomplish this and still conclude the meeting within the allotted time.—Romans 12:8.
(Watchtower issue: 07/15/08, 2:9, 10)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Arrested and Deported From Haiti

the following info & photos on (pgs 147-150 of the 1994 Yearbook), show how sometimes missionaries aren't always given the opportunity to speak and make a defense for themselves before the governmental authorities, as Jesus was able to do (mentioned in today's text discussion) when the soldiers came to arrest him.

(Missionaries: Andrew D'Amico & Max Danyleko)

On January 23, 1962, Max Danyleyko and Andrew D’Amico were arrested at the branch office, and the stock of Awake! of January 8, 1962 (in French), was confiscated. Andrew and Helen D’Amico, missionaries from Canada, were living in Bethel. Helen escaped arrest because Andrew had told her to conceal herself in the bathroom. They hoped that she would remain free to tell the others what had happened.
She says: “I stood behind the locked door and prayed.” She heard men searching the room. They came to the bathroom door. But one made some comment about another closet door, and they went to search the rest of the house. When they left, a guard remained outside until nightfall. He left just before Donald Rachwal, another missionary who lived in the home, came in from the service. Told what had happened, he sent Helen to stay with the sisters in the other missionary home, and then he began contacting other qualified brothers.

Meanwhile, the arrested brothers were confined with 17 other men in a tiny cell at the police station. They slept as best they could, sitting on the floor when not standing, since there was no room to lie down. They were interrogated throughout Wednesday but were not told the charges. Next morning they were brought before a high-ranking official who referred to an item about Haiti in the January 8 Awake! and lectured them on the equality of the races. (The news item was a quotation from articles in the magazines Le Monde and Le Soir that mentioned the practice of voodoo.) He dismissed them without allowing them to reply, and they were released.
Three weeks later, on February 14, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Religion said: “We will have to expel the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses from our State schools.” This occurred in connection with the expulsion of a young sister who had written to the principal of her school explaining why she could not salute the flag. The principal—a Roman Catholic nun—had sent the letter to the government authorities. Another sister was also expelled at that time. Both girls were in their last year of school and were excellent publishers.

Four weeks later, on March 17, Max, Donald, Andrew, and Helen were personally notified by the chief of police that all the missionaries had 24 hours to leave the country. No explanation was given. They were then taken home to collect their passports. There they saw Albert Jérome, who was now the city servant, and in a brief exchange, told him what was happening.
Back at the police station, they were kept under guard. However, Rodrigue Médor was studying with a sergeant who was on duty, so Max sent him with a note telling the brothers to contact the Canadian embassy. Through the sergeant, Rodrigue was able to visit the imprisoned missionaries at night and receive the key to the Society’s post office box from them. This officer ran errands to buy them food, contact the brothers, and check for mail.

On Sunday, March 18, the three Canadians were taken under guard to the airport for departure to Kingston, Jamaica. But since they did not have onward tickets to Canada, the airline refused them passage. A number of brothers were at the airport, and Max Danyleyko was able to speak briefly to Albert Jérome and a few others. The next day they were taken under guard right into the plane and sent off to Kingston, where they remained for a few weeks before going on to Canada. Donald Rachwal, who was from the United States, flew out separately.

Stanley Boggus, who was traveling in the circuit work, was deported along with the remaining missionaries on April 3. He later served in Zaire. Returning to the United States in 1971, he has continued to serve with the French congregations in New York. After a few months in Canada, Max Danyleyko went on to serve in Congo-Brazzaville, Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, and now Côte d’Ivoire. Fred Lukuc served in Congo-Brazzaville and Côte d’Ivoire. For health reasons he and his wife were transferred to the Canada Bethel in 1985. Peter is presently serving with Spanish congregations in the United States. The rest of the missionaries still serve Jehovah loyally or have died faithful.

Religious Leaders Gloat
Religious leaders had been busy telling government officials that Jehovah’s Witnesses were communists who do not support the government. The clergy had also told the Witnesses that they were only awaiting a government order to get rid of them.
So they joyfully welcomed the missionaries’ expulsion. One evangelical radio station on the south coast gloatingly broadcast the news in this fashion: “Christ and the State have expelled the false prophets from the country.” The clergy expected the Kingdom work to end. But it should be noted that Jehovah’s Witnesses had not been banned.

daily text 1/22

Friday, January 22nd, 2010
"Just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them." (Luke 6:31)

Jesus Christ truly was the Great Teacher. When his religious foes sent men to arrest him, the officers returned empty-handed and said: “Never has another man spoken like this.” (John 7:32, 45, 46) One of Jesus’ masterful discourses was the Sermon on the Mount. It is recorded in chapters 5 through 7 of Matthew’s Gospel, and similar information is presented at Luke 6:20-49. Perhaps the best-known statement in that sermon is the one that is often called the Golden Rule. It has to do with how we treat others. “Just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them,” said Jesus. And what good things he did for people! Jesus cured the sick and even raised the dead. Individuals were especially blessed, however, when they accepted the good news he shared with them. (Luke 7:20-22) As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are delighted to engage in similar Kingdom-preaching activity.—Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20.
(Watchtower issue: 05/15/08, 1:1, 2)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

daily text 1/21

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
"You are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad." (Genesis 3:5)

The first human to choose not to follow Jehovah’s guidance was Eve, and her example shows how serious such a bad decision can be. She put herself in God’s place, making her own decisions as to good and evil rather than following Jehovah’s guidelines. Thus, she turned her back on Jehovah’s sovereignty. She wanted to be her own master. Her husband, Adam, pursued the same rebellious course. (Romans 5:12) Today, if we do not follow Jehovah’s guidance, we are likewise failing to acknowledge his sovereignty. Think, for example, of a person who develops the habit of watching pornography. If he is associated with the Christian congregation, he knows Jehovah’s guidelines on this matter. Unclean things should not even be mentioned, let alone be gazed at with lascivious enjoyment. (Ephesians 5:3) By rejecting Jehovah’s guidelines, such a man is denying Jehovah’s sovereignty, rejecting His headship.—1 Corinthians 11:3.
(Watchtower issue: 04/15/08, 2:8, 9)

-On a side note-
what's often overlooked about the account is that Adam and Eve weren't just rebellious and disloyal to God, they were also rebellious and disloyal to each other. Adam, (who was not deceived like Eve was) demonstrated by his rebellious actions, that his feelings for her were not based on genuine love, but on selfish attachment and attraction to her. Eve's actions also show that she did not genuinely love or respect Adam, because instead of consulting with him and telling him about what had happened and her new idea *before* she went off and did it, she made up her mind to do what she wanted to do without him, and then went behind his back and did it. Eve was aware of the fact that God had given Adam 'spiritual headship' over her, yet she overstepped that arrangement by trying to get him to follow her lead (instead of the other way around).

So with that in mind, if Adam (knowing he was the 'spiritual head') truly loved Eve and wanted to save her life, (despite putting him in such a predicament), why didn't he try to intercede in her behalf?...The same way Moses interceded on behalf of the Israelites after God said he was going to destroy them for their rebelliousness and disobedience? Jehovah listened to Moses and it saved the lives of those disobedient Israelites. Moses also interceded on behalf of his sister Miriam when she was struck with leprosy after speaking rebelliously against his authority, and Moses was able to turn Jehovah's anger back and heal Miriam.
Isn't that interesting?
But the fact that Adam didn't even *attempt* to implore Jehovah for favor in her behalf, in order to save her life, shows that he was far more concerned about his own personal loss, (thinking he might have to give up this beautiful woman he was attached to). That's not real love. When you truly love someone, you are more concerned about their long-term happiness & wellbeing, and doing what's in their best interest, rather than just wanting to keep them for yourself to enjoy.

And you just know that for the rest of their lives afterward, how bitter and angry Adam must have been at himself, and at Eve, everytime he was plowing the field, trying to work this horribly barren and unfertile land, while feeling his body start to age and breakdown, knowing he's getting older and eventually going to die...and looking at the woman who caused all this mess, who is starting to get older and not look so great anymore,...and realizing all the hardship his children and grandchildren are going to have to face and deal with from now on, (all because of his stupid and selfish decision), instead of getting to live in a gorgeous, lush paradise environment like he once enjoyed. I highly doubt Adam felt the same way about his beautiful bride as he once did, and I'm sure he let Eve 'know it' for the rest of their lives too! =)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"The God of All Comfort"

ok this was the info from the talk on Sunday, which I wanted to post earlier... part of the material which the speaker elaborated on was taken from the points mentioned below on how we can be a source of comfort for others going through trialsome situations:
(pg 29, 3/15/90 WA)

□ LISTEN CAREFULLY—With discerning questions ‘draw up’ the feelings of the person’s heart. Be quick to listen and slow to reach any conclusions before having the full picture.—Proverbs 20:5; 18:13.
□ SHOW EMPATHY—“Fellow feeling” should join with ‘tender compassion’ as you try to identify emotionally with the depressed one. ‘Weep with one who weeps.’—1 Peter 3:8; Romans 12:15.
□ BE LONG-SUFFERING—It may take repeated discussions, so be patient. Overlook “wild talk” that the depressed one may speak because of frustration.—Job 6:3.
□ STRENGTHEN WITH WORDS—Help the depressed one to see his or her good qualities. Give specific commendation. Show that problems, past bad experiences, or shortcomings do not determine one’s personal worth. Explain why God loves and cares about him or her.—Job 16:5.

The speaker mentioned how there are many times when we are confronted with only two choices in life: 'bad' and 'worse' ... which is why it's so important to learn to rely on Jehovah as "the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation..."(2 Corinthians 1:3, 4)
He gave an example of this, by putting a very different spin on the account at Acts 16:16-24, (which I had never even thought of before) that shows how Paul's situation actually went from 'bad' to 'worse' because he reacted based on his emotions, rather than relying on Jehovah as "the God of all comfort" to help him deal with it.

So here's where the situation started...
"And it happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a certain servant girl with a spirit, a demon of divination, met us. She used to furnish her masters with much gain by practicing the art of prediction. This [girl] kept following Paul and us and crying out with the words: “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who are publishing to YOU the way of salvation.” This she kept doing for many days. Finally Paul got tired of it and turned and said to the spirit: “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour." (verses 16-18)

so at first it seems like Paul handled the situation pretty well doesn't it? Except look how that situation (which was more of an annoyance or irritation for him), immediately became much worse...

"Well, when her masters saw that their hope of gain had left, they laid hold of Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the rulers, and, leading them up to the civil magistrates, they said: “These men are disturbing our city very much, they being Jews, and they are publishing customs that it is not lawful for us to take up or practice, seeing we are Romans.” And the crowd rose up together against them; and the civil magistrates, after tearing the outer garments off them, gave the command to beat them with rods. After they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them securely. Because he got such an order, he threw them into the inner prison and made their feet fast in the stocks." (verses 19-24)

So that initial 'bad' situation, of having this demon-possessed girl follow them around all day long and bother them while they were trying to engage in the ministry, was a source of aggravation and irritation to Paul and Silas. But now, that situation went from 'bad' to 'worse' because Paul and Silas were forcibly taken away from their preaching work, after being rounded up by the angry men of the marketplace, and turned over to the civil magistrates who proceeded to have them beaten and thrown into prison. And at this point, they had no idea how long they would be stuck in jail or what was going to happen to them.

Then the speaker pointed out 'the change' or 'difference' in Paul's demeanor (which is notably more prayerful and humble) shown in the next few verses of the account. Demonstrating that this time he was relying on "the God of all comfort" ... instead of merely relying on himself, by taking matters into his own hands like he did originally.

"But about the middle of the night Paul and Silas were praying and praising God with song; yes, the prisoners were hearing them. Suddenly a great earthquake occurred, so that the foundations of the jail were shaken. Moreover, all the doors were instantly opened, and the bonds of all were loosened. The jailer, being awakened out of sleep and seeing the prison doors were open, drew his sword and was about to do away with himself, imagining that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul called out with a loud voice, saying: “Do not hurt yourself, for we are all here!” So he asked for lights and leaped in and, seized with trembling, he fell down before Paul and Silas. And he brought them outside and said: “Sirs, what must I do to get saved?” They said: “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will get saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of Jehovah to him together with all those in his house. And he took them along in that hour of the night and bathed their stripes; and, one and all, he and his were baptized without delay. And he brought them into his house and set a table before them, and he rejoiced greatly with all his household now that he had believed God." (verses 25-34)

Jehovah was able to turn this particular situation around in Paul and Silas' favor when they prayerfully implored him, and it turned out to benefit, not only themselves, but the jailer and his entire household. So the lesson was that we should never be quick to make hasty decisions based on emotion, when we are in a 'trying' situation that may seem 'bad' to us at the time. Because by relying on ourselves instead of looking to Jehovah for comfort and guidance, and prayerfully relying on him for wisdom on the best way to handle the situation, we might actually make things much worse for ourselves.

daily text 1/20

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
"We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the power beyond what is normal may be God’s and not that out of ourselves." (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Jehovah can sustain us “upon a divan of illness,” as he did David. (Psalm 41:3) Although Jehovah is not in our time providing escape in the sense of miraculous healing, he does help us. How? The principles found in his Word may aid us in making wise decisions about treatment and other matters. (Proverbs 2:6) We may glean helpful information and practical suggestions from articles published in The Watchtower and Awake! that discuss our particular health problem. By means of his spirit, Jehovah may grant us “the power beyond what is normal” to cope with our situation and to maintain our integrity, regardless of what may happen. With such help, we can avoid becoming so overwhelmed by our illness that we lose our spiritual focus.
(Watchtower issue: 09/15/08, 2:15)

"Power beyond normal" is right. Personally, (in regards to my own health issues) I can't believe I haven't gone into my winter-hibernation sleep mode, despite the fact that December and January are always my worst months, on top of the fact that I haven't been able to get ANY of the medications for my sleep disorder for the past 2 months because of my dumb health insurance company and their "rules"... I should seriously be in a coma right now! lol.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The "Good News" Comes to Haiti

The following info & photos are from the 1994 Yearbook

(Congregation at Vieux-bourg-d'Aquin, in mid-50's, pg 122)

Good News Comes to Aquin (pgs 119-120)
Recollections as to how the good news of God’s Kingdom first reached Haiti are hazy. As early as February 1887, Zion’s Watch Tower lists Hayti (or, Haiti) among the places from which letters written by interested persons had come. However, it was not until decades later, during the winter of 1929/30, that a Witness, a pioneer, who devoted her full time to witnessing to others about God’s purpose, spent several months here.

Then, in 1938, a lawyer named Démosthène Lhérisson somehow obtained in Port-au-Prince the books Creation and Prophecy and the booklet Cause of Death. He took these home to Aquin, on the south coast. What was the result? From what he read, he became convinced that these publications pointed the way to true Christianity...After the lawyer died, his nephew invited friends to study the books with him, and they did so regularly...About 1943, in Cayes, a large town to the west of Aquin, a traveler who had returned from Cuba had several Watch Tower publications in his possession. That literature got into the hands of Solomon Sévère, who lived in Vieux-bourg, about six miles [10 km] from Aquin.
In time the interested ones in Aquin and those in Vieux-bourg got together. But some of them adhered to the teachings of a minority religion known as Christianism, or Solomonites, and certain ones of its practices, such as plurality of wives, definitely were not Christian. Those sincerely seeking the truth came to realize that they needed to break their ties with Christendom and to quit sharing in its practices.
By 1944, seven individuals in Haiti were having a part in preaching the good news to others...The following year, five more joined in the field ministry...Near the end of the service year, two well-trained missionaries became part of this group.

(photo of Maxine Stump & Betty Wooten, pg 161)

I also wanted to include the experiences of these 2 sisters (in harmony with today's text) since they both faithfully served Jehovah and spent many years in the ministry work, despite advancing age. (And one didn't even get started until she was in her mid-50's!)

To Serve Where the Need Is Greater (pgs 160-162)
In addition to the missionaries, there are many who have personally taken the initiative to come to Haiti to serve where the need is greater. Among these are Maxine Stump and Betty Wooten, who have done productive work in Pétion-ville and Thomassin. Maxine was located in Thomassin, a community many thought would not produce any Witnesses.

At 55, she was beginning to feel her years. Her husband had forsaken her and Jehovah’s organization. Yet, she endured 23 years in that mountain territory, in the face of local opposition. Her limited French and Creole sounded more like English. Maybe people had to listen more carefully to understand her; but her warm interest and sincerity attracted them. Many studied with her and became Witnesses. She served as a regular pioneer in Thomassin until 1992 when, at the age of 75, she could no longer cope with the mountains. She returned to the United States for medical attention, and now she serves as a pioneer in Florida.

Betty Wooten started “pioneering” the day she got baptized in 1962. She did not realize that she should submit an application! She was actually appointed in 1967. Since coming to Haiti, she has served in Pétion-ville as a special pioneer. She is black, exuberant, and looks much younger than her 57 years. Sometimes in the intensity of explaining the Scriptures, she slips out of her imperfect Creole into English. But her sincere presentation of the truth and her forceful reasoning make people listen and respond.
While John and Inez Norman were visiting the Canada branch office in 1982, someone in the subscription department asked them, “Who is Betty Wooten?” The department was processing dozens of magazine subscriptions that she had obtained. Why this success? She is always preaching. Her formal field service is an extension of her informal witnessing. In shops, when she goes to a restaurant, at gas stations—anywhere, anytime is an opportunity to offer magazines, books, subscriptions, and Bible studies. She can now look back over her 22 years in Haiti, satisfied that she has shared in helping more than 70 people to take up Jehovah’s service!

daily text 1/19

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
"Before gray hair you should rise up, and you must show consideration for the person of an old man, and you must be in fear of your God." (Leviticus 19:32)

You may know some older servants of God who have zealously preached the good news for decades and whose good examples have helped to motivate younger ones and mold their lives. Some older fellow believers have carried heavy loads of responsibility and have endured persecution for the sake of the good news. Jehovah and “the faithful and discreet slave” deeply appreciate all their past and present contributions to the Kingdom work. (Matthew 24:45) Such faithful seniors merit the gratitude and respect of other servants of Jehovah God. In fact, God’s Law given through Moses links consideration and respect for the elderly with the fear of Jehovah. We should regularly pray for these faithful ones and thank God for their labors of love. The apostle Paul prayed for his dear coworkers, young and old.—1 Thessalonians 1:2, 3.
(Watchtower issue: 08/15/08, 4:3, 4)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Relief Efforts in Haiti

Latest report on Haiti from the JW-Media website:

For Immediate Release
January 18, 2010

Witnesses’ relief efforts well underway for victims of earthquake in Haiti
NEW YORK—Jehovah’s Witnesses are actively providing local and international assistance for victims of the massive earthquake that struck Haiti on the evening of January 12, 2010.

In cooperation with local authorities and other relief agencies, the Witnesses organized to determine the immediate needs of their fellow worshippers and other victims in Haiti and care for them. The Witnesses’ branch office in the Dominican Republic quickly sent 6 tons of food and medical supplies to the branch office in Haiti. These supplies were received the morning after the disaster. Witnesses at the Haiti branch office then prepared 700 bags with basic necessities. These bags, weighing 10 kilograms (just over 22 pounds) each and providing 2,800 meals, were transported to Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses that were designated as relief distribution centers. From the first shipment, 3-day rations were distributed to 4,700 people. This was followed by twice-daily shipments of relief materials, including boxes of clothing.

Arrangements were also made to send fellow Witnesses who are medical professionals from the Dominican Republic to Haiti to assist in rendering urgently needed care. An Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses remained intact after the quake and is now serving as a temporary clinic and medical center for Witnesses who were injured. Three different Kingdom Halls in the affected area are being used similarly, with local Haitian Witnesses who are doctors providing medical attention. At these makeshift facilities, efforts are made to stabilize the patient’s condition. However, if the injuries require procedures, equipment, and/or medication beyond what the Witnesses have on hand, arrangements are made to transport critical care patients to nearby hospitals. Initially, 12 Witnesses were transported to a hospital in Jimaní, Dominican Republic, near the border with Haiti. Presently critical care patients among the Witnesses are taken to a hospital in Barahona, Dominican Republic, located approximately 50 miles from the border. The Witnesses’ assistance in caring for the medical needs of their fellow worshippers and others is proving to be valuable, since several hospitals in Haiti were destroyed by the quake and the remaining area hospitals are overwhelmed. Two teams of Jehovah’s Witnesses who are medical professionals from France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States volunteered to travel to Haiti and work directly with the relief efforts of their branch offices in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. These teams are expected to arrive by Tuesday, January 19.

There are an estimated 10,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the disaster area. Sadly, the latest reports from the Haiti branch office confirm that the death toll among the Witnesses now stands at 103, and that number is expected to rise as more reports are received. The Witnesses continue coordinating their international relief efforts from their world headquarters in Brooklyn. The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is caring for these expenses by utilizing funds donated to the Witnesses’ worldwide work.

daily text 1/18

Monday, January 18th, 2010
"If any one of you is lacking in wisdom, let him keep on asking God, for he gives generously to all." (James 1:5)

Discouragement can easily distort our judgment. (Proverbs 24:10) We might grow weary of some aspect of sacred service and begin to feel that we have done enough over the years, thinking that perhaps it is time for others to carry the load. Or we might wish to have a more “normal” life. However, ‘exerting ourselves vigorously’ and “always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord” will safeguard our heart. (Luke 13:24; 1 Corinthians 15:58) At times, we may need to make difficult decisions, and the right course to take may not be readily evident. Would we then be tempted to take matters into our own hands? Whenever we find ourselves in such situations, we would be wise to ask Jehovah to help us. Our heavenly Father will give us the holy spirit we need so that we can make good decisions.—Luke 11:9, 13.
(Watchtower issue: 08/15/08, 2:17, 18)

*We had such a good talk at the meeting today which touches on this topic, and brought out some points I'd never even thought about before (which I'll post later) because first, I wanna try to find the article that the speaker mentioned in the talk so I can post that along with a summary of what he said