Saturday, July 31, 2010

Our New Casa Grande Assembly Hall...woohoo!

"It might be the largest volunteer construction project in Arizona since the Hohokams dug their canals. The last of about 4,000 workers - many from the Valley - are putting the finishing touches on an assembly hall near Casa Grande that will be used by Jehovah's Witnesses from a large swath of Arizona for Bible-education meetings..."

daily text 7/31

Saturday, July 31st, 2010
"Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5)

Numerous servants of God in the pre-Christian era demonstrated that they put God's authority before that of men. For example, Moses “refused to be called the son of the daughter of Pharaoh, choosing to be ill-treated with the people of God,” even though doing so incurred “the anger of the king.” (Hebrews 11:24, 25, 27) Joseph resisted the advances of Potiphar’s wife, who had the power to retaliate and cause him harm. (Genesis 39:7-9) Daniel “determined in his heart that he would not pollute himself with the delicacies of the king,” though his position on the matter was not easy for the principal court official of Babylon to accept. (Daniel 1:8-14) Such examples show that, historically, God’s people have taken a firm stand for what is right, regardless of the consequences. They did not give in to men simply to curry favor with them.
(Watchtower issue: 6/15/08, 3:4, 6)

Friday, July 30, 2010

daily text 7/30

Friday, July 30th, 2010
"Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you" (James 4:8)

Our most precious possession is our personal relationship with Jehovah. (Psalm 25:14; 63:3) Without that relationship, our present life would have little meaning and our future life prospects would be lost. Thankfully, Jehovah gives us all the help we need to maintain a close relationship with him. We have his Word, his holy spirit, and his worldwide congregation to help us. By regularly and diligently studying his Word, we will strengthen our faith and brighten our hope. (Romans 15:4) By sincerely praying for his spirit, we will receive help to resist the temptation to engage in questionable conduct. (Luke 11:13) By keeping up with the direction the slave class provides through Bible-based publications as well as at meetings, assemblies, and conventions, we will be nourished with spiritual "food at the proper time." (Matthew 24:45) Such provisions protect us spiritually and help us to stay close to God.
(Watchtower issue: 9/15/08, 2:12, 13)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Alone But Never Abandoned

This story really impressed on me the words of today's text, since this sister began her ministry without any formal training or experience, and with virtually no contact from other Witnesses. Her main assistance came from prayer and reliance on Jehovah and reading the publications.

Alone but Never Abandoned
Life Story of Ada Lewis (pgs 26-29 of the 7/1/95 Watchtower)

I have always been inclined to be a loner. I am also strongly determined—others sometimes call it stubborn—in everything I do. I know, too, how easy it is to be outspoken, and this trait has caused me problems down through the years.
Yet, I am grateful that Jehovah God has not rejected me because of my personality flaws. By a study of his Word, I have been able to modify my personality and have thus served his Kingdom interests for some 60 years. Since childhood, I have been a lover of horses, and God’s help in controlling my somewhat obstinate streak has often reminded me of how a bridle can be used to control a horse.

I was born near a beautiful blue lake at Mount Gambier in South Australia in 1908. My parents had a dairy farm, and I was the eldest daughter of eight children. Our father died when we were all quite young. That left me much of the responsibility of managing the farm, since my two older brothers needed to work away from home to bring in an income for the family. Life on the farm was demanding, hard work.

First Contact With Bible Truth
Our family attended the Presbyterian Church, and we were regular, practicing members. I became a Sunday-school teacher and took seriously the responsibility to teach the children what I believed to be spiritually and morally right.
In 1931 my grandfather died, and among his possessions were several books written by then president of the Watch Tower Society, J. F. Rutherford. I began to read The Harp of God and Creation, and the more I read, the more astonished I was to learn that many things that I believed and had been teaching the children were not supported by the Bible.
It was a shock to learn that the human soul is not immortal, that most people will not go to heaven when they die, and that there is no eternal suffering in hellfire for the wicked. I was also disturbed to find out that observing the weekly Sunday sabbath is not a Christian requirement. So I was faced with a serious decision: to stick with the conventional teachings of Christendom or to begin teaching Bible truth. It did not take me long to decide to quit all my association with the Presbyterian Church.

Now Really Alone

My family, friends, and former church acquaintances were far from pleased when I announced my intention to leave the church and no longer teach Sunday school. And when they found out that I was getting involved with the so-called Judge Rutherford people, that only added fuel to the fiery gossip. I was not actually ostracized, but most of my family and former friends were cool toward me, to say the least.
The more I studied and checked the scriptures listed in the books I was reading, the more I began to see the need to preach publicly. I learned that Jehovah’s Witnesses went from house to house as part of their public ministry. But at that time there were no Witnesses in our district. Therefore, no one encouraged me or showed me how to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 24:14) I felt very much alone.

Nevertheless, the Bible command to preach to others kept ringing in my ears, and I decided I must begin to preach somehow. After a lot of prayer, I decided to start calling at the homes of neighbors simply to tell them what I had learned from my studies and to try to show them these things from their own Bibles. My first house was that of my previous Sunday-school superintendent. His icy response and negative comments about my deserting the church were certainly not an encouraging start. But I felt a warm glow and a strange inner strength as I left his home and continued to call at other homes.

There was really no outright opposition, but I was amazed at the general indifference of previous church associates when I called on them. To my surprise and disappointment, I experienced the stiffest opposition from my eldest brother, reminding me of Jesus’ words: “You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, . . . and you will be objects of hatred by all people because of my name.”—Luke 21:16, 17.

I had become an experienced rider at an early age, so I decided that the quickest way to reach peoples’ homes would be on horseback. This enabled me to go farther afield into nearby rural territory. However, one afternoon my horse stumbled and fell on a slippery road, and I suffered a badly fractured skull. For a time, there were fears that I might not survive. After that fall, if the roads were wet or slippery, I traveled by horse and sulky (a lightweight, two-wheeled vehicle) rather than on horseback.

Contact With the Organization

Some time after my accident, a group of full-time preachers, now called pioneers, visited the Mount Gambier district. Thus, for the first time, I was able to talk face-to-face with fellow believers. Before leaving, they encouraged me to write to the Watch Tower Society’s branch office and inquire about how I could share in the public preaching work in a more organized way.
After writing to the Society, I received books, booklets, and a printed testimony card for use in introducing myself at the doors. I felt a little closer to my spiritual brothers and sisters because of mail contact with the branch office. But when the pioneer group left and moved on to the next town, I felt more alone than ever.
As a result of my regular witnessing rounds each day—mainly by horse and sulky—I became well-known in the district. At the same time, I was able to care for my farm chores. By then my family had become resigned to this routine and made no effort to interfere. For four years I served in this way as an isolated, unbaptized proclaimer of the good news.

Convention and, At Last, Baptism
In April 1938, Brother Rutherford visited Australia. The clergy’s strong opposition resulted in cancellation of the contract for the Sydney Town Hall. However, at the last minute, permission to use the Sports Grounds was obtained. The forced change of plans actually proved beneficial, since many thousands more could be accommodated at the larger Sports Grounds. Some 12,000 came, the interest of many apparently having been aroused by the clergy-inspired opposition to our meeting.
In connection with Brother Rutherford’s visit, a convention of several days was also held in a nearby Sydney suburb. It was there that at last I symbolized my dedication to Jehovah God by water baptism. Can you imagine the joy I experienced finally to assemble with hundreds of brothers and sisters from all over the vast Australian continent?

Back to Mount Gambier
On returning home, I felt terribly alone, yet I was more determined than ever to do what I could in the Kingdom work. Shortly I became acquainted with the Agnew family—Hugh, his wife, and their four children. They lived in the town of Millicent, just 30 miles [50 km] from Mount Gambier, and I would travel 30 miles [50 km] each way by horse and sulky to conduct a regular Bible study with them. When they embraced the truth, my loneliness was relieved.

In a short time, we were formed into a group for organized witnessing. Then, happily, my mother began to take an interest and joined me on the 60-mile [100 km] round-trip to the study with the newly formed group. From then on, Mother was always encouraging and helpful, although it was a few years before she was baptized. No more loneliness now!
Our small group produced four pioneers, the three Agnew girls—Crystal, Estelle, and Betty—and me. Later, in the early 1950’s, all three girls attended the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. They were assigned as missionaries to India and Sri Lanka, where they still serve faithfully.
In January 1941 the activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses was banned in Australia, so we quickly went into action. We put everything that we used in the ministry—literature, portable phonographs, recorded Bible lectures, and so forth—into a large tin trunk. Then we placed the trunk in a shed and brought in cartloads of hay to bury it.
Despite the ban, we continued with our house-to-house preaching, but cautiously, using only the Bible when talking to householders. I would hide magazines and booklets under the saddle of my horse and bring them out only when genuine interest in the Kingdom message was located. Finally, in June 1943, the ban was lifted, and we were once again able to offer literature openly.

New Assignments
In 1943, I made myself available as a pioneer, and the following year I left Mount Gambier for another assignment. First, I was invited to serve for a short time at the Society’s branch office in Strathfield. Following this I received, in turn, assignments in small towns in southern New South Wales and western Victoria. However, one of my most spiritually rewarding assignments was with a large congregation in the city of Melbourne. Having come from a small country town, I learned a great deal serving there.

In my assignment in the lower Gippsland district of Victoria, my pioneer companion, Helen Crawford, and I conducted many Bible studies and, in a short time, saw the formation of a congregation. That district had a large rural territory, and for transportation we had an old, unreliable motor vehicle. Sometimes we rode, but many times we pushed. How I longed for a horse! At times, I could truthfully say: “I would give anything (except the Kingdom) for a horse!” In most towns of that district today, there are strong congregations and fine Kingdom Halls.

In 1969, I received an assignment to Canberra, the capital of Australia. This was a challenging and colorful place in which to witness, since we often contacted personnel at the many foreign embassies. I still serve here, but in recent years I have concentrated my witnessing on the industrial area of the city.
In 1973, I had the privilege of attending large conventions in the United States. Another highlight of my life was being a convention delegate in 1979 and touring Israel and Jordan. Visiting the actual sites mentioned in the Bible and reflecting on the events that happened there was indeed a moving experience. I was able to sample what it feels like to float in the Dead Sea, with its dense salty waters, and during our visit to Petra in Jordan, I had opportunity once again to ride a horse. This brought back to mind those earlier days when horses had enabled me to reach scattered and rural areas with the Kingdom message.

Continued Full-Time Service
My desire to keep on in the full-time service despite advancing years has been kept alive by such special provisions as the Pioneer Service School and the pioneer meetings held in conjunction with circuit assemblies, as well as the continual encouragement I receive from traveling overseers. I truly can say that Jehovah has kindly seen to it that my days of being alone are a thing of the past.
I am now 87 years of age, and after some 60 years of serving Jehovah, I have a word of encouragement for others who may also be outspoken and strongly independent: Always submit to Jehovah’s leading. May Jehovah help us control our outspokenness, and may he constantly remind us that though we might often feel alone, he will never abandon us.

daily text 7/29

Thursday, July 29th, 2010
"I shall make you have insight and instruct you in the way you should go. I will give advice with my eye upon you." (Psalm 32:8)

Jehovah watches us with the merciful, kind eyes of a caring parent who wants to protect his beloved children from harm. He often alerts us to our imperfections and weaknesses so that we can avoid harming ourselves. (Psalm 103:10-14; Matthew 26:41) God's love is expressed through the instruction and discipline provided both in the Scriptures and in the spiritual food dispensed by "the faithful and discreet slave." (Matthew 24:45; Hebrews 12:5, 6) Jehovah also extends help by way of the Christian congregation and its "gifts in men." (Ephesians 4:8) What is more, Jehovah watches to see how we respond to his fatherly training, and he seeks to help us further. How important it is, then, that we always listen to Jehovah! We need to keep ourselves humble before him, recognizing that he is our loving Teacher and Father.—Matthew 18:4.
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 1:7, 8)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

daily text 7/28

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
"First make your peace with your brother" (Matthew 5:24)

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned his disciples against harboring wrath and contempt for a brother. Instead, they were to be quick about pursuing peace with an offended brother. (Matthew 5:21-25) From God's standpoint, our relationship with our brothers is an important part of true worship. Animal sacrifices were meaningless to Jehovah if those offering them did not treat their fellow man properly. (Micah 6:6-8) Hence, Jesus urged his disciples to "be about settling matters quickly." Along similar lines, Paul wrote: "Be wrathful, and yet do not sin; let the sun not set with you in a provoked state, neither allow place for the Devil." (Ephesians 4:26, 27) If we do become justifiably angry, we should act to settle matters quickly so that we do not remain in a provoked state and thus allow the Devil to take advantage of us.—Luke 17:3, 4.
(Watchtower issue: 5/15/08, 1:17, 20)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Raising 8 Children...Including Quadruplets!

This life story *definitely* applies to the theme of today's text!

Jehovah Helped Me Meet Life’s Challenges
Life Story of Dale Irwin (pgs 11-15 of the 10/1/06 Watchtower)

I was born in 1934 in the town of Mareeba, Australia. I was the youngest of three children. Our family later moved to Brisbane, where my mother taught Sunday school at the Methodist church.
Early in 1938, local newspapers reported that Joseph F. Rutherford from the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses might be refused entry into Australia. “Why are they doing this to him?” Mum asked the next Witness who called at our home. The Witness replied: “Didn’t Jesus say that people would persecute his followers?” Mum then accepted the booklet Cure, which outlined many differences between true religion and false. Impressed with the booklet, Mum took us children to a meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses the following Sunday. At first, my father strongly objected, but occasionally he wrote out Bible questions for Mum to give to one of the brothers. The brother, in turn, wrote out the Scriptural answers for Mum to give to Dad.

One Sunday my father came to the meeting with us, intending to voice his dissatisfaction with the Witnesses. However, after talking with the traveling overseer who was visiting the congregation at the time, Dad changed his attitude and even allowed our home to be used as a center for a weekly Bible study, attended by interested ones in our area.

In September 1938, my parents were baptized. My siblings and I were baptized in December 1941 at a national convention held at Hargreave Park in Sydney, New South Wales. I was seven years old. Thereafter, I regularly shared in the field ministry with my parents. In those days, the Witnesses took portable phonographs from door to door and played recorded Bible discourses to the householders.
One Witness who stands out vividly in my memory is Bert Horton. He had a sound car—an automobile equipped with a powerful amplifier and a large speaker mounted on the roof. Working with Bert was exciting, especially for a lad my age. For example, when broadcasting a Bible discourse from the top of a hill, we often saw a police car heading our way. Bert would quickly turn his equipment off, drive to another hill miles away, and play another recording. I learned a lot about trust in Jehovah and boldness from Bert and other loyal, courageous brothers like him.—Matthew 10:16.

When I was 12 years old, I regularly witnessed on my own after school. On one occasion, I met a family named Adshead. In time, both parents, their eight children, and many grandchildren learned the truth. I thank Jehovah for allowing me, a mere boy, to introduce Bible truth to this fine family.—Matthew 21:16.

Early Privileges of Service
At 18 years of age, I became a full-time pioneer minister and was assigned to Maitland, New South Wales. In 1956, I was invited to serve at the Australia branch office in Sydney. Of the staff of 20, about one third were of the anointed, with the hope of ruling with Christ in his heavenly Kingdom. What a privilege it was to work alongside them!—Luke 12:32; Revelation 1:6; 5:10.

My resolve to remain single melted away when I met Judy Helberg, an attractive pioneer sister who had been invited to the branch office temporarily to help me with a large project. Judy and I fell in love, and we were married two years later. Thereafter, we commenced circuit work, which involved visiting one congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses each week to encourage the brothers.
In 1960, Judy gave birth to our first daughter, Kim. Today, having a child would mean having to leave the circuit work and settle down. But to our great surprise, we were invited to continue visiting congregations. After much prayer, we accepted the invitation, and over the next seven months, Kim traveled 8,000 miles [13,000 km] with us by coach, plane, and train as we served far-flung congregations in Queensland and the Northern Territory. We did not own a car at the time.

We always stayed in the homes of the brothers and sisters. Because of the tropical climate, bedrooms in those days usually had curtains instead of doors, which added to our stress when Kim cried at night. The responsibility of caring for a baby and our assignment eventually proved too difficult. So we settled in Brisbane, and I took up sign painting, a form of commercial art. Two years after Kim’s birth, we had another daughter, Petina.

Coping With Tragedy
In 1972, when the girls were 12 and 10 years old, Judy died of Hodgkin’s disease, a type of lymphoma. This loss was almost unbearable for our family. Nevertheless, during Judy’s illness and after her death, Jehovah comforted us through his Word, his holy spirit, and the brotherhood. We also received strength from the Watchtower magazine that we received right after the tragedy. It contained an article dealing with personal trials, including bereavement, and showed how trials can help us to develop such godly qualities as endurance, faith, and integrity.—James 1:2-4.

After Judy’s death, the girls and I became much closer. But I must admit, it was a struggle trying to fill the role of both father and mother. My two wonderful daughters, however, made the job much easier.

Remarriage and an Enlarged Family
In time, I remarried. My new wife, Mary, and I had much in common. She too had lost her marriage mate to Hodgkin’s disease. She also had two daughters—Colleen and Jennifer. Colleen was about three years younger than Petina. So now our family consisted of four girls, aged 14, 12, 9, and 7.
Mary and I decided that initially each of us would discipline his or her own biological children until the other children felt comfortable accepting direction from the stepparent. In our own relationship as husband and wife, Mary and I had two important rules. One, we never aired our differences in front of the children, and two, in harmony with the Bible principle recorded at Ephesians 4:26, we talked until we sorted matters out—even if that took hours!

Everybody adjusted surprisingly well to life as a stepfamily, but the memory of our losses did not fade overnight. For example, Monday night became “cry night” for Mary. After our family study, when the girls had gone to bed, Mary’s pent-up emotions often came pouring out.
Mary wanted us to have a child of our own. Sadly, she had a miscarriage. When Mary became pregnant again, a big surprise awaited us. An ultrasound revealed that she was carrying, not one baby, but four! I was in a state of stunned disbelief. Here I was, 47 years old and soon to be the father of eight!

The quadruplets were born by Cesarean section on February 14, 1982, at 32 weeks. In order of birth, they were Clint, 3.5 pounds [1.6 kg]; Cindy, 4.2 pounds [1.9 kg]; Jeremy, 3.1 pounds [1.4 kg]; and Danette, 3.8 pounds [1.7 kg]. No two looked alike.

Just after the birth, Mary’s doctor came and sat beside me.
“Are you worried about caring for the children?” he asked.
“Well,” I said, “I’ve never been down this road before.”
His next words really startled and encouraged me.
“Your congregation won’t let you down,” he said. “You will only have to sneeze, and a thousand tissues will be offered to you!”
Thanks in no small part to this outstanding obstetrician and his medical team, four reasonably healthy babies went home from the hospital within just two months.

The Challenge of Raising Quadruplets
In the interests of orderliness, Mary and I drew up a 24-hour schedule. The four older girls were most helpful as nursemaids. And the doctor’s words proved true—a mere “sneeze” and the congregation rallied to our help. Earlier, longtime friend John MacArthur had organized Witnesses who were tradesmen to extend our house. When the babies came, a team of sisters helped in the nursery. All these kindnesses were a demonstration of Christian love in action.—1 John 3:18.

In a way, the quadruplets were “congregation babies.” Even to this day, they view as family the many loving brothers and sisters who helped us out. As for Mary, she has proved to be an outstanding wife and mother who has selflessly cared for her children. She has really applied what she has learned from God’s Word and organization. There is no better advice!—Psalm 1:2, 3; Matthew 24:45.

Christian meetings and the preaching work remained an important part of our weekly routine, although it was a struggle to manage with four babies. A blessing at the time were the Bible studies we conducted with two married couples, who kindly came to our home. Even though this made things easier for us, Mary was sometimes so tired that she dozed off during the study, a baby asleep in her arms. In time, both couples became our spiritual brothers and sisters.

Spiritual Training at an Early Age
Even before the babies could walk, Mary, the older girls, and I took them out in the field ministry. During the toddler period, Mary and I each took two, and they were no burden. In fact, they often became a talking point with friendly householders. One day I met a man who claimed that if you were born under a certain astrological sign on a particular day, your personality would follow a certain pattern. I did not challenge him, but I asked if I could return later in the morning. He agreed, so I came back with the quadruplets. As he looked on in astonishment, I lined them up in birth order. We then had a friendly discussion, not just about their obvious physical differences but also about the big differences in their personalities, which was a blow to his theory. “Fancy me bringing up this theory to you,” he said. “I’ll have to do more research, won’t I?”

As toddlers, the four of them resented group discipline when they misbehaved, so we corrected them individually. Nevertheless, they learned that the same rules applied to all. When they faced issues of conscience at school, they remained firm for Bible principles and supported one another, Cindy becoming their spokesperson. People soon learned that a set of quadruplets is a force to be reckoned with!
Mary and I had the usual challenges in helping the children to remain loyal to Jehovah during their teen years. We can only say that the job would have been much harder had it not been for the support of a loving congregation and the abundance of spiritual food we received from the visible part of Jehovah’s organization. We endeavored to have a regular family Bible study and to keep the lines of communication open, although this was not always easy. Still, the effort has been worth it because all eight of our children have chosen to serve Jehovah.

Coping With Advancing Age
Over the years, I have enjoyed many spiritual privileges: congregation elder, city overseer, and substitute circuit overseer. I have also served as a member of the local Hospital Liaison Committee, whose function is to help doctors cooperate with Witness patients when blood transfusion becomes an issue. For 34 years I have also had the privilege of being registered to perform marriages. I have conducted about 350 marriage ceremonies, including those of my six daughters.
I thank Jehovah constantly for the loyal support that I have received, first from Judy and now from Mary. (Proverbs 31:10, 30) While supporting me in my work as a congregation elder, they also set a fine example in the ministry and helped to inculcate spiritual qualities into the children.
In 1996, I was diagnosed with a brain disorder that causes hand tremors and upsets my balance. Hence, I could no longer work at sign painting. However, I still find much joy in Jehovah’s service, although my pace has slowed. On the positive side, I have developed more empathy for other older ones.
As I reflect on my life, I thank Jehovah for always being there to help me and my family to meet our many challenges with joy. (Isaiah 41:10) Mary and I, along with our eight children, are also thankful for a wonderful, supportive family of spiritual brothers and sisters. All have proved their love in more ways than we could ever recount.—John 13:34, 35.

daily text 7/27

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
"[Keep] an eye, not in personal interest upon just your own matters, but also in personal interest upon those of the others." (Philippians 2:4)

Raising a child involves years of self-sacrifice. It is a big investment in time and energy. A Christian husband needs to understand that for several years after a baby is born, his wife is likely to be distracted during meetings and she may have fewer opportunities for personal Bible study and meditation. This could have a debilitating effect on her spiritual health. Responsible parenthood requires that the husband does all he reasonably can to help to look after the child. He could try to compensate for what his wife may miss at the meetings by later discussing some of the program points with her at home. He may also share in caring for the baby to give his wife an opportunity to have a meaningful share in Kingdom preaching.
(Watchtower issue: 4/15/08, 4:9)

Monday, July 26, 2010

daily text 7/26

Monday, July 26th, 2010
"I am Jehovah; I have not changed." (Malachi 3:6)

If you do not feel the same love for God and the truth that you once felt, this is not because anything has changed on his part. Jehovah never changes. (James 1:17) He was interested in you back then, and and he is as interested in you today as he ever was. So what, if anything, might have changed in your relationship with Jehovah? Could it be that you feel that you are under more pressure, more preoccupied with anxieties? Perhaps in the past you prayed more earnestly, studied more diligently, meditated more often. Were you more zealous in the ministry and regular at congregation meetings than you are now? (2 Corinthians 13:5) You may not recognize any such tendencies in yourself, but if you do, what led to them? Could legitimate concerns, such as providing adequately for your family, caring for your health, or the like, have blunted your sense of urgency as to the nearness of Jehovah's day?
(Watchtower issue: 6/15/08, 4:11, 12)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

daily text 7/25

Sunday, July 25th, 2010
"Go away, Satan! For it is written, "It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service." (Matthew 4:10)

One temptation that the Devil used in the wilderness involved an offer to give Jesus political power. Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and said: "All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me." (Matthew 4:8, 9) What an unscrupulous attempt to get the worship belonging to Jehovah and to induce Jesus to prove unfaithful to God! By meditating on the desire to be worshipped, that once loyal angel had become the sinful, covetous, and grossly evil tempter Satan the Devil. (James 1:14, 15) In stark contrast, however, Jesus was determined to remain faithful to his heavenly Father and replied with the words of today's text. God's Son wanted no part of Satan's world and would never worship that wicked one!—Deuternomony 6:13; 10:20.
(Watchtower issue: 11/15/08, 4:12)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

daily text 7/24

Saturday, July 24th, 2010
"They spent considerable time speaking with boldness by the authority of Jehovah." (Acts 14:3)

Ask yourself, 'Does my daily schedule include time for Bible reading, meditation, and prayer?' (Psalm 77:12; 119:97; 1 Thessalonians 5:17) 'Do I set aside time for preparing for Christian meetings? Do I encourage others by giving comments during the meetings?' (Psalm 122:1; Hebrews 2:12) As did Paul and Barnabas, could you adjust your circumstances in order to spend more time, even "considerable time," in the preaching work, perhaps serving as a pioneer? (Hebrews 13:15) Loving elders today likewise use much of their time to strengthen others. In addition to their field ministry, elders work hard to shepherd the flock, search for lost sheep, assist the sick, and care for many other responsibilities within the congregation. If you are a baptized brother, do your circumstances allow you to reach out for these additional privileges of service?
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 5:14, 15)

I heard an awesome experience of a family who looked for ways to adjust their schedules so that they could all pioneer together...their older kids serve as regular pioneers even though they're still in highschool, and their younger kids who are in middle school, are regular auxilary pioneers.
Which is actually a great idea, because think how many teenagers are pushed by their parents to spend hours and hours everyday practicing sports or getting involved in other afterschool and extra-curricular activities,...while they are staying spiritually focused and helping others by pursuing the ministry instead.

Friday, July 23, 2010

daily text 7/23

Friday, July 23rd, 2010
"Give us today our bread for this day." (Matthew 6:11)

Jesus taught his followers to pray the above. Bread was a staple in the diet of many ancient peoples, including the Israelites. Though bread is considered a simple food, the chemical process that transforms a few basic ingredients into delicious bread is anything but simple. When the Bible was being written, the Israelites used wheat of barley flour and water to make bread. Leaven, or yeast, was sometimes used in the bread-making process. These simple substances combine to form an astonishing number of chemical compounds that have active links to one another. The exact relationship between these compounds is not fully understood. Moreover, the way bread is digested in the body is another amazingly intricate process. No wonder the psalmist sang: "How many your works are O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made"! (Psalm 104:24) Are you similarly moved to laud Jehovah?
(Watchtower issue: 8/15/08, 3:9, 10)

And speaking of culinary Scriptural references,'s pretty impressive that an ancient bread recipe (recorded in the Bible thousands of years ago), has become such a popular and highly recommended brand in our modern "wholefood" markets, since "Ezekiel Bread" is considered one of the healthiest types you can eat.
"And as for you, take for yourself wheat and barley and broad beans and lentils and millet and spelt, and you must put them in one utensil and make them into bread." (Ezekiel 4:9)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

daily text 7/22

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
"This is the way. Walk in it." (Isaiah 30:21)

Young ones receive advice from all kinds of people who usually think purely in terms of success in the secular world. Please weigh all such advice prayerfully in the light of God's Word and the spiritual food provided by the faithful and discreet slave class. From your study of the Bible, you know that the young and inexperienced are a prime target of Satan. (Genesis 3:1-6) Your Grand Creator loves you, and he does so in a way that is absolutely pure. He wants you to be happy forever, not just now! Hence, with the tenderness of a caring parent, he says the words of today's text to you and to all who worship him. If you have believing parents who truly love Jehovah, you have an additional blessing. Respectfully listen to their counsel when setting priorities and goals. (Proverbs 1:8, 9) After all, they want you to gain life, something far more valuable than wealth or prestige in this world.—Matthew 16:26.
(Watchtower issue: 4/15/08, 3:13, 14)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

daily text 7/21

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010
"Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial." (2 Peter 2:9)

When the mighty Assyrian army invaded Judah and threatened Jerusalem in the eighth century B.C.E., Jehovah sent an angel who struck down 185,000 Assyrians, providing deliverance for Jehovah's faithful servants. (Isaiah 37:32, 36) Just days before his death, Jesus gave a prophetic warning for the benefit of his disciples in Judea. (Luke 21:20-22) In 66 C.E., Roman forces came against Jerusalem; then they suddenly withdrew. Recognizing this as an opportunity to escape the destruction that Jesus had foretold, faithful Christians fled to the mountains. When the Roman legions returned in 70 C.E., Jerusalem was completely destroyed. The Christians who had heeded Jesus' warning escaped that terrible calamity. (Luke 19:41-44) No matter what challenges we may be facing now or may yet encounter in the future, we too can put full trust in Jehovah as our "Provider of escape."—Psalm 70:5.
(Watchtower issue: 9/15/08, 1:17-20)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

daily text 7/20

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
"I will search for my sheep and care for them" (Ezekiel 34:11)

A Christian shepherd needs to know and keep track of the flock of God under his care. (Compare Proverbs 27:23) God is pleased when elders take steps in an effort to help sheep who have strayed to return to the flock. When a fellow believer is physically sick, the visit of a shepherd of God's flock can be a source of joy and encouragement. The same can be the case when a spiritually ailing sheep is given personal attention. Elders may read scriptures, review an article, discuss meeting highlights, pray with the inactive one, and so forth. They can point out that members of the congregation would be delighted to see him come back to congregation meetings. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7; James 5:13-15) A visit, a telephone call, or a letter can mean so much! Giving personal help to a sheep missing from the flock can also increase the joy of the compassionate Christian shepherd.
(Watchtower issue: 11/15/08, 1:7, 8)

Monday, July 19, 2010

daily text 7/19

Monday, July 19th, 2010
"Flee from fornication" (1 Corinthians 6:18)

We know that God's Word forbids fornication. However, it is easy to let an obedient spirit lapse into a permissive one. For instance, some youths have engaged in oral or anal sex or mutual masturbation, rationalizing that these acts are not so bad because they think they are technically not "having sex." Such youths forget—or may choose to ignore—that the Bible word for fornication includes all those practices, wrong conduct for which one might be disfellowshipped. Worse, though, they ignore the need for integrity. Since we are striving to keep our integrity, we do not look for loopholes. We do not try to get as close as we can to sin without being punished. We do not focus soley on the judicial consequences that an act of wrongdoing might bring. Rather, we focus on doing what will please Jehovah, avoiding what will hurt his feelings. Rather than seeing how close we can get to sin, we keep far away from it.
(Watchtower issue: 12/15/08, 2:10)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

daily text 7/18

Sunday, July 18th, 2010
"A valueless thing and the trickiness of their heart they are speaking" (Jeremiah 14:14)

Do we hear valueless things being uttered today? Yes. For example, some scientists say that evolutionary theory and scientific discoveries in other fields demonstrate that there is no longer any need to believe in God, that everything can be explained by natural processes. Should such proud statements concern us? Of course not! Human wisdom differs from divine wisdom. (1 Corinthians 2:6, 7) However, we know that when human teachings contradict what God has revealed, it is always the human teachings that are wrong. (Romans 3:4) Despite the progress of science in some fields, the Bible's assessment of human wisdom remains true: "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." Compared with the infinite wisdom of God, human reasoning is futile. (1 Corinthians 3:18-20) May we always repudiate valueless words and cling to valuable words of truth.
(Watchtower issue: 4/15/08, 1:14-16)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

daily text 7/17

Saturday, July 17th, 2010
"All the people should shout a great war cry" (Joshua 6:5)

What developments are yet in store for the preaching work? The siege of Jericho, recorded in the book of Joshua, provides an illustration. Recall that just before God destroyed Jericho, the Israelites were instructed to march around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day, however, there was to be a marked increase in their activity. Jehovah told Joshua: "You should march around the city seven times and the priests should blow the horns. And it must occur that when they sound with the horn of the ram, . . . all the people should shout a great war cry; and the wall of the city must fall down flat." (Joshua 6:2-5) It is possible that there will be a similar expansion of our preaching activity. No doubt, by the time of the destruction of the present system of things, we will have seen the greatest witness to God's name and Kingdom in the history of this world.
(Watchtower issue: 7/15/08, 1:15)

Friday, July 16, 2010

daily text 7/16

Friday, July 16th, 2010
"Deaden . . . your body members . . . as respects fornication, uncleaness, [and] sexual appetite" (Colossians 3:5)

Many in the world develop improper sexual desires and succumb to them. Hence, we Christians need to pray for God's help and holy spirit so that unclean sexual desires do not control us. In addition, studying the Bible, attending Christian meetings, and sharing the good news with our neighbors will help us to "keep walking by spirit." Thus we "will carry out no fleshly desire at all." (Galatians 5:16) Certainly, if we view pornography, we will not be "walking by spirit." Similarly, every Christian needs to guard against reading, watching, or listening to sexually arousing material. Paralleling that, it is wrong for God's "holy people" to find any pleasure in joking about such matters or discussing them among themselves. (Ephesians 5:3, 4) We thereby show our loving Father that we really want to live in the righteous new world.
(Watchtower issue: 6/15/08, 1:14-16)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Deaf JW's Attend Convention in Norco

News Article and Video Clip

a few brothers and sisters that used to be in my congregation (but transfered to one of the sign language congregations here to help out), attended this convention in Southern, CA, and they're in the video clip.

daily text 7/15

Thursday, July 15th, 2010
"They began calling out: "Jehovah's sword and Gideon's!" (Judges 7:20)

About ten miles across the valley from Megiddo lies the hill of Moreh where in the days of Judge Gideon, the combined troops of Midianites, Amalekites, and Easterners gathered to wage war. (Judges 7:1, 12) Gideon's small force finally numbered only 300 men, but with Jehovah's help, they routed the large enemy force. How? Following God's direction, they surrounded the enemy camp at night holding jars that concealed flaming torches. When Gideon gave the signal, his men smashed the jars and the hidden torches were suddenly revealed. At the same time, they blew their horns and shouted: "Jehovah's sword and Gideon's!" The enemy were thrown into confusion, and they turned to killing one another; survivors fled across the Jordan River. Meanwhile, more Israelites joined in pursuit of the enemy. Altogether, 120,000 enemy soldiers were slaughtered.—Judges 7:19-25; 8:10.
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 3:13)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

daily text 7/14

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
"Make sure of the more important things, so that you may be flawless and not be stumbling others up to the day of Christ" (Philippians 1:10)

Being inordinately concerned about our health could lead to our becoming self-centered. Paul warned against this danger when he urged the Philippians to be "keeping an eye, not in personal interest upon just [their] own matters, but also in personal interest upon those of the others." (Philippians 2:4) It is proper to take reasonable care of ourselves, but the keen interest we show in our brothers and in the people to whom we bring "this good news of the kingdom" will prevent us from being preoccupied with our physical well-being. (Matthew 24:14) The danger exists that a Christian might let their health concerns push Kingdom interests into the backround. Obsession with health care could also lead us to try to impose on others our personal opinions regarding the value of some diet, therapy, or food supplement.
(Watchtower issue: 11/15/08, 3:7, 8)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

daily text 7/13

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
"The last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (1 Corinthians 15:45)

Jesus was a perfect man. As such, Jesus was the only human to be in a position to offer up a perfect, complete sacrifice—the type of sacrifice without any need to be repeated. Under the Mosaic Law, sacrifices were offered on a daily basis. All such sacrifices and priestly services were a mere shadow, though, of what Jesus was to accomplish. (Hebrews 8:5; 10:1) So in its effectiveness and permanence, Jesus' office as High Priest is unique. We need the services of Jesus as High Priest to help us have a right standing with God. And what a wonderful High Priest we have! "We have a high priest, not one who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses," wrote Paul, "but one who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin." (Hebrews 4:15) Truly, appreciation of this fact should move us to 'live no longer for ourselves, but for him who died for us.'—2 Corinthians 5:14, 15; Luke 9:23.
(Watchtower issue: 12/15/08, 3:16, 17)

If you think about Jesus' earthly existence, you can see that he really did have first-hand knowledge and experience of what daily life was like for the common people, and therefore, is in a perfect position to be a high priest who can sympathize and understand humans in a very personal and unique way, because he witnessed and experienced all of the same hardships and disappointments as his fellowman.

*Jesus was raised in a common, working-class family*
*did not have material prosperity or social advantages*
*had a humble occupation lacking prominence & prestige*
*did not have a desirable "resume" among his peers*
*did not have "higher education" degrees or credentials*
*unable to get married or have children*
*did not have a permanent residence or home*
*worked very hard, but did not have wealth*
*was constantly traveling on account of his career*
*lack of support for his "profession" by family & relatives*
*mocked and scorned by his neighbors & countrymen*
*constantly criticized and slandered by jealous opposers*
*falsely accused by respected religious & political leaders*
*disappointed and betrayed by close friends*
*monitored & kept under surveillance by the authorities*
*suffered gross injustice & abuse by the legal system*
*condemned to death as a criminal, though innocent*

Monday, July 12, 2010

daily text 7/12

sorry the text is so late today, also I backdated a lifestory experience that tied in with the theme of yesterday's text.

Monday, July 12th, 2010
"A name is better than good oil, and the day of death than the day of one's being born" (Ecclesiastes 7:1)

Nothing illustrates this better than the life of Jesus. He surely made an outstanding name with Jehovah. When Jesus died faithful, he vindicated his Father's sovereignty and provided the ransom sacrifice, which opened the way for our salvation. (Matthew 20:28) During his brief time on earth, Jesus provided the perfect example—one that we strive to imitate—of a truly worthwhile life. (1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Peter 2:21) We too can establish a good name with God. Having a good reputation in Jehovah's eyes is for us far more valuable that having riches. (Matthew 6:19-21) Everyday, we can find ways to do things that are good in Jehovah's eyes and that will enrich our lives. For example, we can share the good news with others, strengthen our marriage and our family, and deepen our spirituality by personal study and meeting attendance.—Ecclesiastes 11:6; Hebrews 13:16.
(Watchtower issue: 4/15/08, 5:18, 19)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Life Story: Rolf Brüggemeier

Our Fight to Stay Spiritually Strong
The Life Story of Rolf Brüggemeier (pgs 12-16 of the 12/1/06 Watchtower)

The first letter I received after being imprisoned came from a friend. He informed me that my mother and my younger brothers—Peter, Jochen, and Manfred—had also been arrested. That left our two little sisters without parents or siblings. Why did the East German authorities persecute our family? What helped us to stay spiritually strong?

World War II shattered our peaceful childhood; we learned firsthand the cruelty of war. Father joined the German army and died as a prisoner of war. This meant that Mother, whose name was Berta, had to care for six children from one to 16 years of age.
The church she attended made Mother feel totally disappointed with religion, causing her not to want to hear anything more about God. But one day in 1949, Ilse Fuchs, a discreet little woman, came to our door to talk about God’s Kingdom. Her questions and reasoning piqued Mother’s curiosity. A study of the Bible gave Mother hope.

We boys, however, were skeptical at first. The Nazis and then the Communists had made great promises, only to disappoint us. Although we were suspicious of any new promises, we were impressed when we got to know some Witnesses who had been in concentration camps for refusing to support the war effort. The following year, Mother, Peter, and I were baptized.
Our younger brother Manfred was also baptized, but apparently Bible truth had not become rooted in his heart. When the Communists banned our work in 1950 and he was pressured by the secret police—the notorious Stasi—he revealed where our meetings were held. That is what eventually led to the arrest of my mother and my other brothers.

Serving Under Ban
Because of the ban, we had to smuggle Bible literature into East Germany. As a courier, I picked up supplies in the western section of Berlin, where our literature was not banned, and transported them across the border. I escaped the police more than once, but in November 1950, I was arrested.

The Stasi put me in a windowless underground cell. During the day I was not allowed to sleep, and at night I was questioned and at times beaten. I had no contact with my family until March 1951 when Mother, Peter, and Jochen came to my court trial. I received a six-year sentence.

Peter, Jochen, and Mother were arrested six days after my trial. Afterward, a fellow believer cared for my sister Hannelore, who was 11, and an aunt took in Sabine, who was 7. The Stasi guards treated Mother and my brothers as dangerous criminals, even taking away their shoelaces. They had to remain standing throughout the interrogations. They too were sentenced to six years each.

In 1953, some other Witness prisoners and I were assigned to build a military airfield, which we refused to do. The authorities punished us with 21 days of isolation, which meant no work, no letters, and little food. Some Christian sisters saved bread from their own meager rations and smuggled it to us. This led to my knowing Anni, one of those sisters, and marrying her after she and I were released in 1956 and 1957 respectively. A year after we were married, our daughter, Ruth, was born. Peter, Jochen, and Hannelore each got married about the same time.

About three years after my release, I was arrested again. A Stasi officer tried to persuade me to become an informer. He said: “Dear Mr. Brüggemeier, please be reasonable. You know what it means to be in prison, and we do not want you to go through all of that again. You can remain a Witness, continue your studies, and talk about the Bible as you please. We just want to be kept up-to-date. Think about your wife and your little daughter.” That last statement cut me to the quick. Yet, I knew that while I was in prison, Jehovah would care for my family better than I could myself, and he did!
The authorities tried to force Anni to work full-time and allow other people to look after Ruth during the week. Anni resisted and worked at night so that she could care for Ruth during the day. Our spiritual brothers were most caring and gave my wife so many things that she was able to share some with others. Meanwhile, I spent almost six more years behind prison bars.

How We Maintained Faith While in Prison
Upon my return to prison, my Witness cell mates were eager to know what things had recently been published. How happy I was that I had carefully studied the Watchtower magazine and had regularly attended the meetings, so that I could be a source of spiritual encouragement to them!
When we asked the guards for a Bible, they replied: “Giving Jehovah’s Witnesses a Bible is as dangerous as giving an imprisoned burglar tools to break out.” Each day, the brothers taking the lead would choose a Bible text to consider. During our daily half-hour walks in the yard, we were not as interested in exercise and fresh air as in benefiting from the day’s Bible text. Although we had to stay 15 feet [5 m] apart and were not allowed to talk, we still found ways to pass the text on. Back in our cells, we put together what each had managed to hear, and then we had our daily Bible discussion.

Eventually, an informer gave us away, and I was put in solitary confinement. What a blessing it was that by then I had learned several hundred scriptures by heart! I could fill those empty days by meditating on a variety of Bible subjects. Then I was transferred to another prison, where a guard put me in a cell with two other Witnesses and—joy of joys—gave us a Bible. After six months of solitary confinement, I appreciated being able to discuss Bible subjects with fellow believers once again.

My brother Peter describes what helped him endure in another prison: “I imagined life in the new world and kept my mind occupied with Bible thoughts. We Witnesses strengthened one another by asking Bible questions or giving tests on the Scriptures. Life was not easy. Sometimes there were 11 of us confined in a space of about 130 square feet [12 sq m]. There we had to do everything—eat, sleep, wash, even relieve ourselves. Nerves wore thin.”

Jochen, one of my other brothers, recalls his prison experiences: “I sang the songs I could remember from our songbook. Every day I meditated on a scripture I had memorized. After my release, I continued with a good routine of spiritual instruction. Each day, I read the day’s Bible text with my family. We also prepared for all the meetings.”

Mother’s Release From Prison
After a little more than two years of imprisonment, Mother was released. She used her freedom to study the Bible with Hannelore and Sabine, helping them to lay a good foundation for their faith. She also taught them to handle issues that came up at school because of their faith in God. Hannelore notes: “We did not mind the consequences because at home we encouraged one another. Our strong family ties made up for any trouble we experienced.”

Hannelore continues: “We also supplied spiritual food to our brothers in prison. We hand copied in small letters on waxed paper a complete issue of The Watchtower. Then we wrapped the pages in waterproof paper and hid them among some prunes that we sent in the monthly parcel. What a joy it was to receive word that the prunes were ‘so tasty.’ We were so absorbed in our work that I must say it was a wonderful time.”

Living Under Ban
Peter describes what it was like to live for decades under ban in East Germany: “We met in private homes in small groups, arriving and leaving at intervals. At each meeting, we made arrangements for the next time. We did this by means of signals and written notes because of the constant threat of eavesdropping by the Stasi.”
Hannelore explains: “Sometimes we received tape recordings of assembly programs. This always made for a happy meeting. Our little group came together to listen for several hours to Bible instruction. Although we could not see the speakers, we followed the program carefully and took notes.”

Says Peter: “Our Christian brothers in other countries went out of their way to provide us with Bible literature. The last decade or so before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, they produced special small-size publications for us. Some risked their cars, their money, and even their freedom to transport spiritual food into East Germany. One night a couple whom we were waiting for did not show up. The police had found the literature and confiscated their car. Despite the dangers, we never considered stopping the work in order to have a calmer life.”

Manfred, my younger brother who betrayed us back in 1950, describes what helped him to regain and maintain his faith: “After I was held in detention for a few months, I moved to West Germany and left the way of Bible truth. I returned to East Germany in 1954 and got married the following year. Soon my wife embraced Bible truth, and in 1957 she was baptized. In time, my conscience started to bother me, and with help from my wife, I returned to the congregation.
“Christian brothers who knew me before I left the truth accepted me back in a loving way, as if nothing had happened. To be greeted with a warm smile and an embrace is wonderful. I am so happy to be reconciled to Jehovah and to my brothers.”

The Spiritual Fight Continues
Everyone in our family has had to put up a hard fight for the faith. “Today,” my brother Peter points out, “as never before, we are surrounded by many distractions and material enticements. Under ban, we were content with what we had. For example, none of us wanted to be in another study group simply for personal reasons, and no one complained that the meetings were too far away or too late. We were all happy to come together, even if some of us had to wait until 11:00 p.m. for our turn to leave the meeting place.”

In 1959, Mother decided to move to West Germany with Sabine, who was then 16. Because they wanted to serve where there was a greater need for Kingdom publishers, they were directed by the branch office to Ellwangen, Baden-Württemberg. Mother’s zeal despite her poor health motivated Sabine to start pioneering when she was 18. When Sabine got married, Mother—at the age of 58—learned to drive in order to increase her share in the preaching work. She cherished this service until her death in 1974.

As for me, after serving almost six years of my second prison term, I was deported in 1965 to West Germany, without my family’s knowledge. In time, however, I was joined by my wife, Anni, and our daughter, Ruth. I asked the branch office if we could serve where there was a greater need for publishers, so they asked us to go to Nördlingen, Bavaria. There Ruth and her brother, Johannes, grew up. Anni took up the pioneer ministry. Her good example moved Ruth to start pioneering right after school. Both our children married pioneers. Now they have families, and we are blessed with six lovely grandchildren.

In 1987, I seized the opportunity for early retirement and joined Anni in the pioneer ministry. Three years later, I was invited to the branch office in Selters to help enlarge the facilities. After that, we helped construct the first Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in what used to be East Germany, in Glauchau, where we later served as caretakers. For health reasons, we moved back to be with our daughter in the Nördlingen Congregation, where we serve as pioneers.
To my great joy, all my brothers and sisters and most of our family members continue serving our wonderful God, Jehovah. Over the years, we have learned that as long as we stay spiritually strong, we can experience the truth of the words of Psalm 126:3: “Jehovah has done a great thing in what he has done with us. We have become joyful.”

daily text 7/11

Sunday, July 11th, 2010
"We must obey God as ruler rather than men"
(Acts 5:29)

As Christians, our view of authority is different from that of the world. It is not that we blindly do whatever we are told. On the contrary, at times we must refuse to submit to the will of others even if they have positions of authority. This was also true of first-century Christians. For instance, when the apostles were ordered to stop preaching, they did not cave in to the high priest and other authority figures who were part of the Sanhedrin. They did not abandon right conduct in order to conform to human authority. (Acts 5:27-29) Our courageous stand is not to be confused with mere stubborness; nor are we like some who rebel just to make a political point. Rather, we are determined to accept Jehovah's authority over that of any human. When man's law conflicts with God's law, the decision as to what we will do is not difficult. We obey God as ruler rather than men.
(Watchtower issue: 6/15/08, 3:3, 5)

If you read about the early Christians, you'll find that there were always 2 main issues that became a problem in regard to governmental authorities,...(which also demonstrates that Jehovah's Witnesses are living up to the standards of true Christianity), since they are the 2 main issues which we have repeatedly faced in every country throughout our modern-day history:

-Refusal to stop preaching
-Refusal to give allegiance & worship to national sovereigns

extra references:
The Edict of Nantes--A Charter For Tolerance?
Religious Persecution--Why?"
Sustained Through Terrible Trials

Saturday, July 10, 2010

daily text 7/10

Saturday, July 10th, 2010
"A large door that leads to activity has been opened to me." (1 Corinthians 16:9)

In 1919 the glorified Jesus Christ placed "an opened door" before the anointed remnant. (Revelation 3:8) "A large door that leads to activity" is still wide open to all of Jehovah's servants. Those passing through it find joy and satisfaction as they have a greater share in the preaching of the good news. You young servants of Jehovah, how highly do you value the incomparable privilege of helping others to "have faith in the good news"? (Mark 1:14, 15) Have you considered serving as a regular pioneer or as an auxilary pioneer? Kingdom Hall construction, Bethel service, and the missionary field are other opportunities that may open up to many of you. Since time is running out for Satan's wicked world, entering these avenues of Kingdom service becomes more urgent every day. Will you go through the "large door" while there is still time?
(Watchtower issue: 5/15/08, 4:15-17)

Our circuit overseer used a good illustration to demonstrate the importance of *entering* the "large door that leads to activity"... He said, if you were walking towards the entrance of a building and saw that the person walking ahead had waited and was holding the door open for you, wouldn't you try to quicken your pace? (since you know that person isn't going to just stand there all day holding the door open).
It's the same with the preaching work we're assigned to do...It isn't going to continue forever, and Jesus isn't going to hold the door open forever.

Friday, July 9, 2010

daily text 7/9

Friday, July 9th, 2010
"[Jehovah] will not leave his loyal ones" (Psalm 37:28)

Many modern-day examples prove that older ones can "keep on thriving." (Psalm 92:13, 14) But the challenges of illness and old age can be daunting, even for those who have caring and committed family members to help them. Caregivers too may become worn-out. The congregation has the privilege and responsibility to put their love into action in behalf of older ones and those who care for them. (Galatians 6:10) Such help shows that we are not, in effect, telling such ones to go and "keep warm and well fed" without assisting them in practical ways. (James 2:15-17) Advancing age may change a Christian's activities somewhat, but time does not dimish Jehovah's love for his loyal older servants. On the contrary, all of these faithful Christians are precious in his eyes, and he will never leave them. (Isaiah 46:4) Jehovah will sustain and guide them throughout old age.—Psalm 48:14.
(Watchtower issue: 8/15/08, 4:18, 19)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

daily text 7/8

Thursday, July 8th, 2010
"You keep seeking great things for yourself. Do not keep on seeking." (Jeremiah 45:5)

Baruch was a professional scribe who faithfully served alongside Jeremiah in what became a difficult assignment—proclaiming Jehovah's judgements to Judah. (Jeremiah 1:18, 19) Jehovah saw that dangerous thinking was developing in Baruch's heart. Speaking through Jeremiah, Jehovah reacted, not with anger, but with genuine fatherly concern. Evidently, God saw that the man's desires did not reflect a wicked or devious heart. Jehovah did not want Baruch to stumble at the critical time. Hence, to bring his servant back to reality, God reminded him that He was "bringing in a calamity upon all flesh," adding that if Baruch acted wisely, he would live. (Jeremiah 45:5) Jehovah evidently reached Baruch's heart, for he responded positively and survived the destruction of Jerusalem, which occured 17 years later.
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 2:7, 8)

It's really interesting how subtle this form of thinking is, yet how powerfully detrimental it can become when it isn't "nipped in the bud" early in the case of Baruch.
I had a conversation with a former Witness awhile back, that made me appreciate why Jehovah wants us to keep our lives simple and stay focused on the ministry,...not allowing ourselves to become overly-involved in alot of business ventures and the pursuit of material things, which can tie us down and crowd out spiritual activities.
I spoke to a man who had been raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses growing up, but had either left, or drifted away from being active, many years ago. So I asked him "what prevents you from coming back to congregation meetings now?" (because he wasn't opposed and said he never stopped believing in Jehovah).
And his answer reminded me of what Baruch's reason might have been (if Jehovah hadn't stepped in to prevent him from making a big mistake). He said one of the biggest problems was that he had "so many things on his plate now" and didn't know how he could make room in his life for serving God. -Not only was he very busy on account of his career and business investments, but his wife and college-age kids were not religious and were heavily involved in recreational and secular activities. He felt that even if he wanted to start coming back to congregation meetings, his family would not understand or support his decision, and it would just be too difficult.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Life Story: Sumiko Hirano

Life Story of Sumiko Hirano (pgs 11-15 of the 8/1/06 Watchtower)

My husband and I were married in 1951, when I was 21 years old. Within four years, we had two sons, and my life seemed blessed in every way.
One day in 1957, my older sister told me that a missionary of Jehovah’s Witnesses had been visiting her. Although a Buddhist, my sister began studying the Bible with the missionary and encouraged me to study the Bible too. I agreed. I was attending a Protestant church, and I would be able to point out the errors of Jehovah’s Witnesses—or so I thought.
I soon found out how little I knew about the Bible. I had to ask the missionary, “Who is Jehovah?” I had never heard that name used in my church. The missionary, Daphne Cooke (later Pettitt), directed me to Isaiah 42:8, which plainly states that Jehovah is the name of Almighty God. Daphne answered all my questions by using the Bible.
I asked my minister those same questions. He told me: “Asking questions is a sin. Just believe what you are told.” Although I did not feel that asking questions was wrong, for six months I went to church every Sunday in the morning and attended the meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the afternoon.

The Effect on My Marriage
What I was learning from the Bible thrilled me, and I shared it with my husband, Kazuhiko. After every study and meeting, I told him what I had learned. The result was that a “cold wind” began to blow between us. He did not want me to become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet, studying the Bible was so satisfying that I continued my studies and association with the Witnesses.
Before leaving the house on meeting nights, I prepared Kazuhiko’s favorite meals for him, but he began going out to eat. When I returned home after the meetings, he was in a bad mood and refused to talk. After two or three days, his mood improved, but then it was time for the next meeting.

About this time, I became ill with tuberculosis, a disease that had already caused several deaths in my husband’s family. Kazuhiko became very worried and told me that when I got better, I could do anything I liked. My only request was that he be gracious about my attending the weekly meetings. He agreed.
My recovery took six months, and during that time I made an intensive study of the Bible. I looked for discrepancies in the teachings of the Witnesses, figuring that I would stop my study if I found just one. I could find none. Instead, the errors of the Protestant Church became obvious. I came to know Jehovah’s love and justice and saw the benefit of living in harmony with his laws.
After I recovered, my husband kept his promise and did not oppose my going to the meetings. I kept growing spiritually, and in May 1958, I was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I longed to have my family join me in worshipping the true God.

Helping My Children Spiritually
My sons were always with me at the meetings and in the preaching work, but some things that happened made me see that they were growing in Bible knowledge. One day Masahiko, my six-year-old son, was playing outside the house. I heard a loud noise and someone shrieking. A neighbor burst into my house, screaming that my son had been hit by a car. Was he dead? I forced myself to be calm as I rushed outside. The sight of his mangled bicycle made me tremble, but then I saw him walking toward me, just slightly hurt. As he clung to me, he said, “Mummy, Jehovah helped me, didn’t he?” Seeing him alive and hearing those beautiful words made me cry.
Another day, in the ministry we met an old man who shouted: “What do you think you are doing dragging a young child around like that? I pity him.” Before I could reply, eight-year-old Tomoyoshi said: “Grandpa, my mother does not force me to preach. I preach because I want to serve Jehovah.” The old man just stared and could not say a thing.

Spiritually, my sons were fatherless boys. It was up to me to teach them Bible truths, though I had much to learn myself. I cultivated my own love, faith, and zeal and tried to set a good example. Daily I gave thanks to Jehovah in front of the children. I told them of my experiences in the preaching work. This encouraged them. When later asked why they had become pioneers, or full-time ministers of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they answered, “We saw that our mother was happy serving as a pioneer, and we wanted to be happy too.”
I took great care not to speak disparagingly of their father or of anyone in the congregation. I realized that negative talk could have a damaging effect on my children. They might lose respect not only for the one spoken against but also for the one speaking.

Overcoming Obstacles to Progress
In 1963 my husband’s work took our family to Taiwan. He told me that if I preached to the Japanese community there, I would cause bad feelings. We would be sent back to Japan, and that would create problems for his company. He wanted to distance us from the Witnesses.
In Taiwan, where all the meetings were held in Chinese, the Witnesses gave us a warm welcome. I decided to learn Chinese so that I could witness to the local people instead of to the Japanese. In that way, I could avoid the problems that my husband mentioned.
Our friendship with the Witnesses in Taiwan strengthened us. One missionary couple, Harvey and Kathy Logan, helped us immensely. Brother Logan became a spiritual father to my boys. He showed them that serving Jehovah is not a joyless, rigid life. I believe that it was while in Taiwan that my sons made their decision to serve Jehovah.

Tomoyoshi and Masahiko went to an American school, where they learned English as well as Chinese. That education equipped them for future service as ministers of the true God, Jehovah. I am deeply grateful to Jehovah for changing what could have been a difficult period for us to a time of lasting blessings. After three and a half memorable years in Taiwan, our family returned to Japan.
The boys were now teenagers and began pushing for independence. I spent many hours reasoning with them on Scriptural principles, and Jehovah helped them through that difficult time. On leaving high school, Tomoyoshi began to pioneer. He was able to help four people to dedication and baptism during his first few years of pioneering. Masahiko followed his brother’s example and started to pioneer right after secondary school. He helped four young people to become Witnesses in his first four years of pioneering.

Then Jehovah blessed the children even more. Tomoyoshi studied with the husband of a woman whom I had helped to learn Bible truths. Their two daughters also became Witnesses. Later, Tomoyoshi married the older girl, Nobuko, and Masahiko married the younger one, Masako. Tomoyoshi and Nobuko now serve at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York. And Masahiko and Masako are missionaries in Paraguay.

Gradual Changes in My Husband
My husband seemed indifferent to our faith in those years, but we saw indications that he was changing. When others opposed me, he defended my beliefs and actually supported Bible truths without realizing it. He provided material help to Witnesses in need. In a short speech at the wedding of one of our sons, he said: “Teaching people the right way to live is the finest work there is, and it is the most difficult. My sons and their wives have chosen this most difficult path as their career. Please help them.” All of this made me think that surely he would join us in serving Jehovah.

I arranged for association with fellow Witnesses in our home. I invited Kazuhiko to Christian meetings and assemblies as well as to the Memorial of Christ’s death. When his work allowed, he attended these, though begrudgingly. Many times, I felt that he might accept a Bible study, so I invited Christian elders to the house. But he refused to study. I wondered what was wrong.
The apostle Peter’s words came to my mind: “You wives, be in subjection to your own husbands, in order that, if any are not obedient to the word, they may be won without a word through the conduct of their wives, because of having been eyewitnesses of your chaste conduct together with deep respect.” (1 Peter 3:1, 2) I realized that I had not always followed that counsel. To comply fully with it, I needed to improve my spirituality.

In 1970, I began to pioneer with the goal of becoming a more spiritual person. Ten years passed, then 20. Still, I saw no spiritual change in my husband. A Bible student once remarked: “It must be hard helping other people when you can’t even help your own husband.” That was discouraging, but I did not give up.
By the late 1980’s, our parents were reaching the end of their lives. Taking care of them and fulfilling my other duties was exhausting and stressful. For years, they had all opposed my faith in Jehovah, but I tried to show them as much love as I could. Just before her death, my 96-year-old mother said to me, “Sumiko, if I am resurrected, I will join your religion.” I realized that my efforts had not been in vain.

My husband took notice of all that I had done in behalf of our parents. To show his appreciation, he began attending meetings regularly. For years he did so but made no real spiritual progress. I continued trying to please him. I invited his friends and even his foreign business colleagues to our home for meals. I joined him in recreation. When the hour requirement for pioneer service was reduced to 70 hours a month, I spent more time with him.

Retirement Brings a Change
My husband retired in 1993. Now, I thought, at last he will have time to study the Bible. But he said that worshipping God just because he had time would be blasphemy. Rather, he said that he would worship God when his heart moved him to do so and that I was not to push him.
One day Kazuhiko asked me if I would now spend the rest of my life living for him. This hurt me, for I had been doing all I could for him ever since I married him. I had tried so hard to make him happy, but he felt that I had been living more for Jehovah than for him. After thinking about it for a while, I told him that I could do no more for him. But if he would join me in what I was doing, we could start a wonderful new life together that would last, not for a few more years, but for an eternity. For days, my husband had no reply. Finally he asked, “So will you study the Bible with me?” Every time I think of those words, my heart pounds.

At first, I arranged for a Christian elder to study with my husband, but he told me, “I will study with no one but you.” So we began a daily Bible study. Since I am in a Chinese congregation and my husband is fluent in that language, we studied in Chinese. We also read the entire Bible together in less than a year.
During this time, an elder in the Chinese congregation, along with his wife, took an interest in us as a couple. Although younger than our children, they became our true friends. Many other Witnesses also took a special interest in my husband. They showed us hospitality and conversed with Kazuhiko as if he were their father. That made him very happy.
One day an invitation to a wedding in the congregation arrived at the house, addressed to my husband. That recognition as head of the family deeply touched him, and he decided to attend. He soon opened up to the Witnesses and began to study the Bible with a Christian elder. His Bible study, meeting attendance, and the love of the congregation helped him make good spiritual progress.

A United Family at Last
In December 2000, my husband was baptized in symbol of his dedication to Jehovah. My sons and their wives came from far away to see this modern-day “miracle.” It took 42 years, but at last we are a united family.
Now each morning, the two of us discuss a scripture for the day and read the Bible together. Every day, we enjoy spiritual conversations and share in spiritual activities. My husband is now a ministerial servant in the congregation, and he recently gave a public Bible discourse in Chinese. I thank Jehovah for bringing us together. Along with all of those near and dear to me, I look forward to upholding his name and sovereignty for eternity.

daily text 7/7

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
"A capable wife is a crown to her owner, but as rottenness in his bones is she that acts shamefully" (Proverbs 12:4)

Christian wives who seek to keep Jehovah in their marriage must also measure up to God's requirements. The apostle Paul wrote: "Let wives be in subjection to their husbands as to the Lord because a husband is head of his wife as the Christ also is head of the congregation." (Ephesians 5:22, 23) Satan deceived Eve, promoting the lie that independence from God would bring lasting happiness. Clearly, the spirit of independence is now seen in many marriages. For godly women, however, submission to their loving head is not distasteful. They remember that Jehovah appointed Eve to be "a compliment" of her husband, which God obviously considered to be an honorable position (Genesis 2:18) A Christian wife who willingly cooperates with that arrangement is truly "a crown" to her husband.
(Watchtower issue: 9/15/08, 3:10)

I read a really good "life-story" experience about a woman who applied this counsel even though her husband was an unbeliever and opposed to her being a Witness for many years...(which of course made it much more difficult for her to do), but her patience and endurance paid off in the end. (I'll post it later today...because I've been a slacker lately when it comes to posting yearbook experiences)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

daily text 7/6

(sorry for not posting this yesterday)

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
"My son was dead and came to life again; he was lost and was found." (Luke 15:24)

Reflecting on the illustration of the prodigal son may motivate one who has drifted away to return to the fold. Since this system of things will soon be destroyed, he should 'come home' without delay. Most who drift away from the congregation are not exactly like the prodigal son. With some, drifting takes place gradually, just as a boat that is adrift slowly floats farther from land. Others become so weighed down with anxieties that they lose sight of spiritual things. Still others allow themselves to be stumbled by someone associated with the congregation, or they leave because they do not agree with a certain Scriptural teaching. A few become involved in unscriptural conduct. However, by your skillful use of the Scriptures and by your following the advice given by the faithful slave class, you may be able to assist those who have left the fold to return before it is too late.—Matthew 24:45
(Watchtower issue: 11/15/08, 2:14, 15)

Monday, July 5, 2010

daily text 7/5

Monday, July 5th, 2010
"If you are a son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread." (Matthew 4:3)

Jesus is not just "a son of God." Jesus is rightly called "the only-begotten Son of God." (John 3:16, 18) The Greek word translated "only-begotten" has been defined as "single of its kind, only," "the only member of a kin or kind," or "unique." Jesus is unique in that he is the sole direct creation of his Father. He is the first-born Son. In fact, he is"the first-born of all creation." (Colossians 1:15) He is "the beginning of the creation by God." (Revelation 3:14) The only-begotten Son's role in creation is also unique. He was not the Creator, or Originator, or creation. But Jehovah used him as the agent, or means, to create all other things. (John 1:3) The apostle Paul wrote: "There is actually to us one God the Father, out of whom all things are, and we for him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him."—1 Corinthians 8:6.
(Watchtower issue 12/15/08, 3:3, 4)

It's interesting how Jesus almost plays a double role as *mediator* between God and mankind,...because not only were humans reconciled to God through Jesus' sacrifice for atonement of sins, but humankind (along with all other creation) was originally brought into existence by God through Jesus, as well.

That's also one of the most powerful arguments against the Trinity doctrine, isn't it?
Because it specifically testifies to the fact that Jesus had a beginning, whereas Jehovah did not have a beginning. (Jehovah IS the beginning)...He's the Alpha and the Omega....the beginning and the end. (Revelation 1:8).

And just to illustrate the impossibility of trying to claim that Jehovah and Jesus are literally ONE being or entity, think about it from a scientific/genetic perspective. Even if a person actually decided to clone themselves,...the cloned self and the original self would NOT be the same person. The clone would still be a separate, distinct individual. (despite being an exact genetic duplicate or replica).
I just thought of that right now...pretty good analogy, aye? (Not that Jehovah and Jesus are clones), but you know what I mean. I'll have to remember that when I'm talking to a Trinitarian. =)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

daily text 7/4

Sunday, July 4th, 2010
"Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more." (Psalm 37:10)

When Satan, Adam, and Eve rebelled against God, wanting to decide for themselves what was right and wrong, the human family was set on a disastrous course. Before the global Flood, over 1,600 years later, "the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time." (Genesis 6:5) About 1,300 years thereafter, Solomon found conditions to be so bad that he wrote: "I congratulated the dead who had already died rather than the living who were still alive. So better than both of them is the one who has not yet come to be, who has not seen the calamitous work that is being done under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 4:2, 3) Some 3,000 years more brings us to our day, when badness continues to flourish. While it is true that badness had been around for a long time, there is a greater need for deliverance by God's Kingdom now than at any other time.
(Watchtower issue: 5/15/08, 3:4, 6, 7)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

daily text 7/3

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010
"Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)

The finest example of one who trusted in God was, of course, Jesus Christ. Shortly after his baptism, Jesus was approached by Satan, who tried to tempt him to accept worldly power and glory. (Luke 4:3-13) Jesus was not misled. He knew that true "riches and glory and life" are "the result of humility and the fear of Jehovah." (Proverbs 22:4) Today's world is ruled by greed and selfishness. In such an environment, we are wise to follow Jesus' example. Keep in mind, too, that Satan will do anything to lure Jehovah's servants off the cramped road leading to life. He wants to see everyone travel on the broad road that leads off to destruction. Do not be deceived by him! Instead, be resolved to remember your Grand Creator. Trust in him completely, and get a firm hold on "the real life," which is both sure and near.—1 Timothy 6:19.
(Watchtower issue: 4/15/08, 3:3, 4)