Tuesday, August 31, 2010

daily text 8/31

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
"The wicked ones [Jehovah] will annihilate" (Psalm 145:20)

When we remember that on one occasion it took just one angel only a single night to "strike down a hundred and eighty-five thousand" of God's enemies, we can be confident that the heavenly army will easily destroy every vestige of Satan's system on earth as the great tribulation culminates in Armageddon. (2 Kings 19:35; Revelation 16:14, 16) Satan and his demons will be abyssed for a thousand years. Eventually, they will be destroyed. (Revelation 20:1-3) Earth will thus be cleansed of wickedness, and righteous humans will live forever on this globe. Jehovah will have proved to be the Great Deliverer. By means of the Kingdom, he will vindicate his sovereignty, sanctify his holy name, and fulfill his grand purpose for the earth. May you experience great joy in your ministry as you declare this good news and help those "rightly disposed for everlasting life" to realize that deliverance by God's Kingdom is at hand!—Acts 13;48.
(Watchtower issue: 5/15/08, 3:19, 20)

Monday, August 30, 2010

daily text 8/30

Monday, August 30th, 2010
"Pursue righteousness" (2 Timothy 2:22)

One aspect of pursuing righteousness is discerning from the Bible what is "right and wrong" when faced with life's decisions. (Hebrews 5:14) For example, if you are a single Christian of marriageable age, are you completely resolved to avoid forming any romantic attachment to someone who is not a baptized Christian? You are if you are pursuing righteousness. (1 Corinthians 7:39) Being righteous is different from being self-righteous or "righteous over-much." (Ecclesiastes 7:16) Jesus warned against making a show of that sort of righteousness so as to appear better than others. (Matthew 6:1) Truly pursuing righteousness involves the heart—the correcting of wrong thoughts, attitudes, motives, and desires. If we keep working at doing this, we are unlikely to commit serious sins. (Proverbs 4:23; compare James 1:14, 15.) Furthermore, Jehovah will bless us and help us in our pursuit of other important Christian qualities.
(Watchtower issue: 6/15/08, 2:4-6)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Christendom's Disrespect for Jehovah's Name...

And speaking of our obligation to show honor and respect for God's name, by "walking in the name of Jehovah" (like the text brought out),...here's a video/audio clip which a sister uploaded from a previous study article we had, discussing how the Vatican is trying to eliminate use of Jehovah's name altogether:

You Can't Use His Name!

-On a side note- when we went to the District Convention a couple of years back, I remember looking through the Gideon Bible at the hotel (because it looked very nice...like a brand new printing or edition)...until I discovered that Jehovah's name was removed from literally *every* single place where it originally appeared...even from the typical locations like Exodus 6:2, 3 and Psalm 83:18 where it appears in many other Bible translations. And that really surprised me because it was obviously a new edition or printing, so there's no justifiable excuse for claiming ignorance or failing to restore it back to it's proper place.

daily text 8/29

Sunday, August 29th, 2010
"We, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God" (Micah 4:5)

One important way to honor Jehovah is by showing proper respect for his name. After all, we are "a people for his name." (Acts 15:14) It is truly an honor to bear the name of the almighty God, Jehovah. We "walk in the name of Jehovah" by striving to live each day in a way that reflects well on the name we bear. As Paul reminded the Christians in Rome, if we do not live in harmony with the good news we preach, the name of God is "blasphemed," brought into disrepute. (Romans 2:21-24) We also honor Jehovah by our witnessing work. We are grateful for the privilege of bearing witness to Jehovah and making his name known. We do so because we love him and long for his name to be sanctified. How could we refrain from preaching when we know the truth about our heavenly Father and his purposes?—1 Corinthians 9:16.
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 4:3, 4)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Trailblazing Pioneers in Uganda

The following photos and experiences (on pgs 68-71 of the 2010 Yearbook) *really* demonstrates whole-hearted, whole-souled devotion to Jehovah and the ministry. Imagine preaching and living in this wild, safari-type environment! =)

True Pioneers
The first record of the Kingdom-preaching work in Uganda dates back to 1931, when the South Africa branch office supervised the preaching work in all of Africa south of the equator. To open this tremendous territory, the branch assigned two pioneers, Robert Nisbet and David Norman, to preach in the area that is now Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Brothers Nisbet and Norman were determined to take the good news of the Kingdom deep into the interiors of Africa. They launched their campaign in Dar es Salaam on August 31, 1931, with 200 cartons of literature. From there they went to the island of Zanzibar and then on to the seaport of Mombasa en route to the highlands of Kenya. They traveled by train, working the towns along the railway line to the eastern shores of Lake Victoria. Crossing the lake by steamship, the two intrepid pioneers arrived in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. After placing much literature, as well as subscriptions to The Golden Age, the two brothers continued by car even farther inland.

Four years later, in 1935, four pioneers from South Africa undertook another expedition into East Africa. They were Gray Smith and his wife, Olga, along with Robert Nisbet and his younger brother George. With two well-equipped delivery vans fitted out as living quarters, these enterprising pioneers negotiated bad roads and battled their way through elephant grass up to ten feet high. "They often slept out in the wilds," says one report, "and could see, hear, and feel the throb of the heart of Africa with its abundance of wildlife—roaring lions at night, peacefully grazing zebras and giraffes, and the ominous presence of rhinos and elephants." Undaunted, they visited towns that had never been reached with the Kingdom message.

While Gray and Olga Smith spent some time in Tanganyika (now Tanzania), Robert and George Nisbet headed for Nairobi, Kenya. Later, when colonial authorities ordered the Smiths to leave Tanganyika, they made their way to Kampala, Uganda. This time, however, conditions were not so favorable, and the Kampala police kept them under constant surveillance. Undeterred, in just two months, the Smiths placed 2,122 books and booklets and arranged for six public meetings. Eventually, though, the governor issued a deportation order compelling the couple to leave Uganda. They traveled to Nairobi, where they met up with the Nisbet brothers before returning to South Africa.

With Jehovah's blessing, these preaching campaigns were exceptionally successful, and an excellent witness was given. Despite religious opposition and mounting pressure from colonial authorities, the pioneers distributed over 3,000 books and more than 7,000 booklets, besides obtaining many subscriptions. After these campaigns, many years passed before preaching activity was resumed in Uganda.

(photo of the Nisbets and following info continued on pgs 85 & 86)

In September 1963, the preaching work in Uganda came under the supervision of the newly established Kenya branch, and William and Muriel Nisbet were assigned to visit Uganda as part of their Nairobi-based circuit. Remarkably, William was following in the footsteps of his older trailblazing brothers, Robert and George, who had preached in Uganda some 30 years earlier. The publishers now benefited from the hard work of a "second shift" of Nisbets.

Interest was growing, more groups were being established, and the publishers were scattered over a wide area. So, regular visits from traveling overseers rendered a vital service in providing training and encouragement and reassuring isolated brothers and sisters that "the eyes of Jehovah are upon the righteous ones."—1 Peter 3:12.

daily text 8/28

Saturday, August 28th, 2010
"Jehovah our God is one Jehovah, and you must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength" (Mark 12:29, 30)

Jesus was asked what was the most important of all laws. Not only did Jesus give the answer; he lived it. He set the ultimate example in loving Jehovah with his whole mind, heart, soul, and strength. He showed that integrity is expressed, not in mere words, but in positive actions that spring from pure motives. Our keeping integrity calls on us to follow in Jesus' footsteps. (1 Peter 2:21) Here, then, is the essence of our integrity in the Scriptural sense: whole-hearted devotion to one heavenly Person, Jehovah God, and to his expressed will and purpose. Keeping integrity means that in our day-to-day life, we will seek above all to please Jehovah God. Our priorities in life will reflect his priorities.
(Watchtower issue: 12/15/08, 1:7, 8)

When you think about this command from that perspective, it really impresses on you just how important whole-hearted "love in action" is, rather than just "feeling" or vocally "expressing" love for God. Jehovah has never given anything but "the best" when it comes to what he's done for us. I heard a really great point mentioned in a talk awhile back about how everything in creation testifies to just how "whole-hearted" Jehovah is in all his undertakings. When you look at the creation within our universe and the earth, you can tell it wasn't something that Jehovah just threw together on a Monday morning or a Friday afternoon. lol.

So after all He's done for our benefit, if we put our *own* priorities in 1st place, while putting Jehovah's priorities in 2nd place, (trying to squeeze them in to fit around all our other plans), then, according to this verse, we do not truly love God.

Which isn't a surprise, since it's pretty easy to understand why Jehovah wouldn't be happy with half-hearted "token service" compared with someone whose really putting their whole heart & soul into spiritual endeavors...(since you can tell a major difference just by their demeanor and attitude, which is enthusiastic and focused on their goal...despite limited ability or success). I wouldn't be happy either if someone said they loved me but was always spending time *away* from me doing other things and spending time with other people,...or if they came around only out of a sense of obligation and always acted like they couldn't wait to leave so they could get back to their *other* priorities.

And since the preaching and disciple-making work was Jesus' #1 priority in life, it's pretty obvious what Jehovah wants our #1 priority to be. It would be pretty sad if he had to actually make "the stones cry out" (Luke 19:40) because his Witnesses were neglecting to do it. (although that would be a pretty funny sight to see) lol. =)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Life Story: Danielle Hall

This experience (on pgs 26-29 of the 7/07 Awake!) is good example of how children can develop a strong desire to worship Jehovah from infancy, which stays with them throughout life, even if they only received limited exposure to the Bible through friends or relatives.

...Nanna died in 1977, when I was four years old. She was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as were all of Dad’s relatives in our hometown of Moe, Australia. My parents were not Witnesses, but Dad was favorably disposed toward them. Our family later moved to Tintenbar, a small town near the New South Wales coast. There my older brother, Jamie, and I occasionally attended Witness meetings with Dad.
When I was eight years old, my parents separated. Dad returned to Moe, while Jamie and I stayed with Mum. She was not interested in the Bible and did not want us to attend Witness meetings. This made me very sad. Nanna’s words stirred deep within my heart. I knew that I did love Jehovah! And I wanted to serve him. So I prayed to Jehovah and told him that I too was one of his Witnesses. Jamie felt the same way.

(Danielle as a baby with "Nanna" before she died)

Trials at School
Soon afterward, a teacher at school asked each child in our class to call out his or her religion so that he could record it in a roll book. When it was Jamie’s turn, he called out in a loud, clear voice, “Jehovah’s Witness.” The teacher stopped and asked him to repeat his answer, which he did. “I don’t think so, but I’ll come back to you later,” said the teacher. When it was my turn, I also called out loudly, “Jehovah’s Witness.” Clearly frustrated, the teacher summoned the school principal. “I have your enrollment papers in front of me, and your parents did not register you as Jehovah’s Witnesses,” the principal stated firmly. “But that is the religion we follow,” we respectfully replied. Neither he nor the teacher ever raised the issue again.

At school I tried to share my limited Bible knowledge with my classmates. By taking along my copy of My Book of Bible Stories, I was occasionally able to read stories to one girl who believed in God. But because I tried to live up to Christian standards, I was never very popular and, at times, felt very lonely.
I prayed to Jehovah so often and intensely that he became my closest friend. Each day after school, I sat on my bed and told Jehovah about the events of that day, right down to the last detail. I cried often. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I begged, “Jehovah, please let me serve you along with your people.” After praying I always felt much better.

A Strengthening Letter
When I was ten, Jamie returned to Moe to live with Dad. Now I was even more spiritually isolated. Then, while visiting a neighbor’s house, I found some magazines published by Jehovah’s Witnesses. I excitedly memorized the address of the local branch office and then hurried home to write it down. I wrote the branch a heartfelt letter explaining my situation and asking for spiritual help. Their touching, two-page reply, written solely for me, filled my eyes with tears. Here was proof that I was precious to Jehovah!
The letter urged me to imitate the faith of the little Israelite girl who became a servant to Naaman, a Syrian army chief in Bible times. Although captive and living far away from her homeland, she stayed close to her God, Jehovah. And by boldly speaking about her faith, she showed herself to be a true witness for him.—2 Kings 5:1-4.

The letter from the branch office added: “As a young girl, you should serve Jehovah by being obedient to your parents and working hard at school. Also, you need to keep close to Jehovah in prayer and study.” In conclusion, the letter said: “Danielle, remember that no matter where we may live, Jehovah is always near to us. We know you believe this.” (Romans 8:35-39) That letter, now old and worn, remains in the front of my Bible. I have read it often over the years but not once without tears.
Shortly thereafter, I received another letter. It said that my father had arranged for me to receive the Watchtower and Awake! magazines through the mail. I was overjoyed! Now I had a regular supply of spiritual food. When each issue arrived, I read it from cover to cover. I still have my very first copies of those beautiful journals. At about this time, a Christian elder from the local congregation began to visit me. His visits, although brief, were very encouraging.

Changes Bring Progress
Despite my improved spiritual situation, I still yearned to worship Jehovah freely. So when I reached 13, I asked Mother if I could live with Dad. I loved Mum dearly, as she did me, but I was determined to serve God. When she agreed, I returned to Moe and started studying the Bible with the local congregation. With Dad’s approval, Jamie and I also attended all of the meetings. The local Witnesses went out of their way to help us. Jamie and I made rapid spiritual progress and were later baptized within a few months of each other. Yes, my childhood prayer was answered. I was serving Jehovah along with his people!

Meanwhile, I developed a special relationship with my uncle and aunt, Philip and Lorraine Taylor, who were also in the Moe Congregation. They treated me like a daughter. When they moved to the island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, to serve where the need for Kingdom preachers was greater, I jumped at their invitation to accompany them. I was only 15 years old, but Dad and Mum allowed me to go.
In Bougainville I continued my schooling by correspondence. Otherwise, I spent most of my time witnessing. What a joy it was to work along with missionaries and pioneer ministers! The local people were by far the most humble I had ever met, and many were keen to study the Bible.
Later that year political strife erupted, and it became too dangerous for me to stay. Leaving that little island with its beautiful people was heartbreaking. As my small plane took off, I saw Uncle Philip standing on the tarmac waving good-bye. Crying my heart out, I silently begged Jehovah to allow me someday to serve as a missionary in a foreign land.

(Danielle and Will)

More Prayers Answered
Back in Australia, after finishing high school, I took up an office traineeship with a legal firm. Meanwhile, Dad had remarried and was caring for a large stepfamily. Jamie lived with Mum. For a time, I moved back and forth between both parents. Life seemed complicated. I needed to simplify my life and focus on spiritual goals. So in 1994, I entered the full-time ministry in Moe as a pioneer.

I was happy again. My friends were spiritually inclined youths in the congregation, and they became my strong support. In fact, in 1996, I married one of them—Will—a soft-spoken, kind, and humble man, who was a true blessing from Jehovah.
We settled into married life, and our happiness seemed complete. One day, Will arrived home after working with the traveling overseer who visited congregations in our area. Sitting me down, he asked, “Would you be willing to move to assist another congregation?” In my heart I immediately said yes. However, I playfully asked: “Where? Vanuatu? Fiji?” When Will replied “Morwell,” I blurted out, “But that’s next door!” We both laughed and instantly agreed that we would be delighted to move to our neighboring congregation to serve as pioneers.

The next three years, in Morwell, were happy and productive. Then came another surprise. We received an invitation from the Australia branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses to serve as special pioneers. Our assignment? East Timor, a small country at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago (called East Timor by English speakers, it is also known as Timor-Leste). My eyes filled with tears. I thanked Jehovah for answering all my prayers. Not only had he welcomed me as his servant but now my husband and I could serve in a foreign country.

Serving Overseas
We arrived in Dili, the capital, in July 2003. Dili Congregation—the only one in the country—consisted of 13 special pioneers from Australia and a handful of local Witnesses. The Timorese brothers and sisters were very poor; most had lost possessions and family members in the 24-year-long civil war that ended in 1999. Many had also endured strong family opposition to their newfound faith. Despite their tribulation and poverty, however, they were spiritually rich and happy.—Revelation 2:8, 9.

We found that most Timorese were God-fearing and respected the Bible. Soon, in fact, we had more Bible studies than we could handle! In time, some of our early students served alongside us as our baptized brothers and sisters. Seeing their spiritual progress brought us great joy.

Then, in 2006, Dili again descended into chaos. Tensions between different ethnic groups exploded into full-scale conflict. Many homes were looted or burned to the ground, and local Witnesses sought refuge in the homes of the special pioneers. Our house and yard were transformed into a temporary refugee camp, and at one time nearly a hundred people lived with us! Our large carport became a kitchen, dining room, and temporary Kingdom Hall.
Although gunfire and grenades exploded nearby, our pioneer home was a refuge of peace. We all felt Jehovah’s protective hand over us. Each day began with a group discussion of a Bible text. Meetings were held as normal. We also conducted Bible studies with interested ones.
As the weeks passed, it became clear that it would be dangerous for brothers born in the east of the country to remain in Dili. So responsible Witnesses decided to establish a new group in Baucau, the second-largest city, located three hours east of Dili. And that is why Will and I received a new assignment.

We arrived in Baucau in July 2006, almost three years to the day after our arrival in East Timor. Our new group consisted of four special pioneers and six Timorese Witnesses. The local brothers and sisters had abandoned all their possessions in Dili, yet they had not lost their big smiles. We truly admired their loyal, self-sacrificing spirit!
Will and I still serve in Baucau. We love our assignment and view it as yet another blessing from Jehovah. Looking back, I can see that Nanna was right. Jehovah has unfailingly cared for me over the years. I constantly thank him for allowing me the privilege of serving him along with his people. I also eagerly look forward to seeing Nanna again in the resurrection. Then I can thank her for giving me the key that opened the door to a truly happy and rewarding life.

daily text 8/27

Friday, August 27th, 2010
"From infancy you have known the holy writings" (2 Timothy 3:15)

Responsible parenthood involves much more than providing the child with food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Young ones need to learn from a tender age the moral principles by which to live. Children should be brought up "in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah." (Ephesians 6:4) This "mental-regulating" involves implanting Jehovah's thoughts in the mind of a child from its tender infancy on through the critical years of adolescence. When Jesus told his followers that they should "make disciples of people of all the nations," he most certainly meant that parents should help their children to become disciples. (Matthew 28:19, 20) That is a challenge because of the pressures that this world puts on young people. Therefore, parents who succeed in rearing their children to become dedicated Christians truly deserve the warm commendation of all in the congregation.
(Watchtower issue: 4/15/08, 4:10, 11)

Some people have recently been trying to claim that it's abusive to inculcate religion or knowledge about God and the Bible into children, but I think it's abusive and neglectful to *deny* a child that knowledge & education...because they certainly won't have an opportunity to learn it anywhere else, (other than at home or in the congregation).
I can't even imagine growing up without having knowledge of Jehovah and a spiritual education. Some of my fondest memories as a baby/toddler (which it seems like I'd be too young to remember) is being at assemblies & conventions and feeling very secure & content while laying there curled up on my blanket, listening to the program. =)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Continue to Love Your Enemies...

Here's 2 good examples (from the 2009 Yearbook) that demonstrates the words of today's text about loving your enemies and praying that they'll have a change of heart, rather than retaliating against them.

(Slovenia, pgs 252-254)
"When the Governing Body approved the construction of a new branch office for Slovenia, the brothers began searching for a suitable site. After investigating about 40 different properties, the brothers chose a lot near the town of Kamnik, 12 miles from the capital, at the foot of beautiful alpine peaks. Soon, zoning requirements were met, building permits were obtained, the property was purchased, contracts were signed with a construction company, and international servants were invited to work on the project. Everything seemed set to start.

When news about the project became public, however, neighbors quickly demonstrated their opposition. On the day that construction was to have begun, protesters barred access to the building site with barricades. Soon they displayed banners expressing their opposition. Six days later, at about noon, some 30 policemen arrived to protect city workers who had been assigned to remove the protesters' barricades, the protesters verbally abused the police. In the meantime, though, the project had been postponed, so neither the brothers nor anyone from the construction company was on site that day. With the project postponed, opposition began to wane, and our brothers worked toward a peaceful solution.

The construction fence had been torn down three times by protesters, but the project finally got underway a month later and continued without further hindrance. Actually, what began as an attack on Jehovah's people resulted in a blessing because the matter attracted much media attention. More than 150 news items on the building project were presented on TV and radio and in newspapers. Construction was completed after about 11 months, and in August 2005, the Bethel family moved into their new facilities.

Since then, the relationship between the brothers and their neighbors has changed completely. Many neighbors have visited the branch facilities. One former opposer later became very interested in the building project. He asked who we are and what would be done inside the building. When he toured the facilities, he was impressed by the friendly welcome he was given as well as by the cleanliness of the building. "The neighbors are asking me if I am now on your side," he told the brothers, "and I answer, 'As much as I was against Jehovah's Witnesses before, I am now for them because they are good people.'"

August 12, 2006, was the happy day on which Theodore Jaracz (formerly) of the Governing Body delivered the dedication talk to an audience of 144 from about 20 different countries. At a special meeting in Ljubljana, he spoke to an audience of 3,097 from all parts of Slovenia, as well as from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina."

(Nicaragua pgs 50-51)
"Ernesto, who had been a captain of the army's special troops, was living in a small town near the Caribbean Coast. Jairo, a special pioneer who had come from another part of the country to preach there, met Ernesto while working from house to house and offered him a home Bible study. Though this former soldier refused, Jairo persisted, and eventually his offer was accepted. In the course of their conversations, Jairo revealed that his father had been the commander of the counterrevolutionary army fighting against the government troops in a nearby area but that he had died in battle. Ernesto continued with his study and began to progress, all the while keeping a secret from his Bible teacher, which he eventually just had to reveal. With profound sadness, he explained to Jairo that he had been in command of the platoon that had captured Jairo's father alive and that he had personally been responsible for the father's death. Jairo, of course, was shocked, but he knew it to be true because the frightful details that Ernesto recounted coincided with what he had previously been told by his father's fellow soldiers. Ernesto thought that their friendship would end right there. But rather than harbor hatred for his student, Jairo continued studying with him. Ernesto progressed and got baptized, along with his wife. He and Jairo remain friends to this day."

(Wasn't that such an unusual coincidence?...that experience is perfect for demonstrating how it's possible to love your enemies, not just when they are some large abstract group or race of people, but even in situations that are far more personal and hit very close to home)

daily text 8/26

Thursday, August 26th, 2010
"Continue to love your enemies and to do good" (Luke 6:35)

In his renowned Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his audience to love their enemies and to pray for those persecuting them. (Matthew 5:43-45) His disciples were to act lovingly toward all who showed hostility to them. According to the Gospel writer Luke, Jesus said: "I say to you who are listening, Continue to love your enemies, to do good to those hating you, to bless those who are insulting you." (Luke 6:27, 28) Like first-century individuals who took Jesus' sayings to heart, we "do good to those hating" us by responding to their hostility with gracious actions. We "bless those cursing" us by speaking to them in a kind way. And we "pray for those persecuting" us with physical violence or other forms of "insulting" treatment. Such petitions are loving requests that persecutors might have a change of heart and take action that brings them Jehovah's favor.
(Watchtower issue: 5/15/08, 2:3, 4)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

daily text 8/25

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
"I always do the things pleasing to [God]" (John 8:29)

How far did Jesus go in order to please God? On one occasion, Jesus said to his disciples: "The Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many." (Matthew 20:28) Earlier, when Jesus began to warn his followers that he would soon have to "give his soul," Peter urged him to be kind to himself. Still, Jesus was not swayed. He willingly gave up his soul, his perfect human life, for mankind. As a result of his unselfish course, Jesus' own future was secure. He was resurrected and "exalted to the right hand of God." (Acts 2:32, 33) He thus became a wonderful example for us. The apostle Paul counseled Christians in Rome "not to be pleasing" themselves and reminded them that "even the Christ did not please himself." (Romans 15:1-3) So, then, to what extent will we apply that apostolic counsel and give of ourselves in imitation of Christ?
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 5:6-8)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

daily text 8/24

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
"With you is the source of life" (Psalm 36:9)

Ask yourself, 'Do I appreciate the extent to which I have personally prospered because of my strict observance of Bible principles regarding blood and fornication?' Think, too, of the benefits that have come to us as a result of our efforts to "cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit." (2 Corinthians 7:1) By adhering to Bible standards regarding personal hygiene, we avoid many physical ailments. We prosper because of shunning the defiling use of tobacco and illicit drugs. Consider also the health benefits that result from moderation in eating and drinking. (Proverbs 23:20; Titus 2:2, 3) Although such factors as rest and exercise may contribute to our general wellbeing, we have especially prospered physically and spiritually because we have accepted Scriptural guidance. Above all, we should take care of our spiritual health and strengthen our precious relationship with our heavenly Father.
(Watchtower issue: 11/15/08, 3:17, 18)

Monday, August 23, 2010

daily text 8/23

Monday, August 23rd, 2010
"If you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham's seed, heirs with reference to a promise" (Galatians 3:29)

How is it that Christ is the promised Seed, and yet others too are included? Millions claim to have descended from Abraham, some even acting as prophets. Some religions place great importance on the claim that their prophets descended from Abraham. But are all of these the promised Seed? No. As the apostle Paul points out under inspiration, not all of Abraham's descendents can claim to be the promised Seed. The offspring of Abraham's other sons were not used to bless humankind. The seed of blessing was to be through Isaac alone. (Hebrews 11:18) Ultimately, only one man, Jesus Christ, whose genealogy from Abraham is documented in the Bible, is the primary part of that foretold seed. All others who later became the secondary part of Abraham's seed are such because they "belong to Christ." Jesus' role in fulfilling this prophecy is truly unique.
(Watchtower issue: 12/15/08, 3:19, 20)

Extra reference material I posted awhile back regarding members of "the promised Seed":
New Jerusalem vs Jerusalem Above

Sunday, August 22, 2010

daily text 8/22

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010
"Whoever becomes ashamed of me . . . , the Son of man will also be ashamed of him" (Mark 8:38)

The Devil is in control of this world. Hence, he controls its media. It is not surprising, therefore, that the world's viewing, listening, and reading material is saturated with immorality and violence. This world's advertising elements try to build in us a desire for a flood of consumer goods that we do not need. By such means, the Devil constantly tempts us with materialistic attractions that can appeal to our eyes, ears, and minds. But when we refuse to view, listen to, and read Scripturally unacceptable material, we are in effect saying: "Go away, Satan!" We thus imitate Jesus in being firm and decisive in our rejection of Satan's unclean world. (Matthew 4:8-10) The fact that we are no part of Satan's world is also seen in how we courageously identify ourselves as Jehovah's Witnesses and Christ's followers at work, at school, in the neighborhood, and among our relatives.
(Watchtower issue: 11/15/08, 4:14)

this was an interesting little quote (from the box on pg 73 of the Revelation Climax book) about how the consumer advertising media shapes the thinking of society:

Materialism Versus Wisdom
Back in 1956, a news columnist wrote: “It is estimated that a century ago the average man had 72 wants, of which 16 were regarded as necessities. Today, the average man is estimated to have 474 wants, 94 of which are regarded as necessities. A century ago, 200 articles were urged upon the average man by salesmanship—but today there are 32,000 articles which require sales resistance. Man’s necessities are few—his wants, infinite.” Today, people are bombarded with the idea that material wealth and possessions are the principal thing in life. Thus, many come to ignore the wise advice of Ecclesiastes 7:12: “Wisdom is for a protection the same as money is for a protection; but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom itself preserves alive its owners.

(and of course the figures in that estimate have probably tripled or quadrupled since the time that news column was written)
What's sad is how many people have rejected or "been ashamed of Christ" by allowing the "group think" mentality of society to affect them when it comes to lifestyle choices (since a Christian lifestyle that's simple and focused on the ministry is obviously not the "popular" choice)
But its just a facade which has been carefully manuevered and orchestrated (not just by Satan) but also by the business execs who are getting rich off all the profits they're taking in from the huge entertainment industry and consumer-driven product market they've created,...and laughing all the way to the bank...while our society continues to over-complicate their lives and pile up debt they can't afford.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

daily text 8/21

Saturday, August 21st, 2010
"Do to them as to Midian, as to Sisera" (Psalm 83:9)

Across the valley from Megiddo, Judge Barak gathered 10,000 Israelite troops to confront the army of Jabin, the Canaanite king of Hazor, under the command of his military chief Sisera. This Canaanite army had 900 war chariots equipped with deadly long blades of iron that turned with the wheels. As Israel's poorly equipped troops assembled on Mount Tabor, Sisera's army was lured into the valley. Then, "Jehovah began to throw Sisera and all his war chariots and all the camp into confusion." The entire army was slaughtered by the Israelites. (Judge 4:13-16; 5:19-21) Significantly, God's final war against Satan's world is called Har-Magedon (meaning "Mountain of Megiddo"), or Armageddon. That name reminds us of the dramatic battles that took place near Megiddo, Jehovah's victory in those ancient wars assures us of his certain triumph in the battle of Armageddon.—Revelation 16:13-16.
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 3:14, 15)

Friday, August 20, 2010

daily text 8/20

Friday, August 20th, 2010
"Become doers of the word, and not hearers only" (James 1:22)

The inspired Bible writer James urged fellow believers to analyze themselves honestly in the light of God's Word. James wrote: "If anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, this one is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror, For he looks at himself, and off he goes and immediately forgets what sort of man he is. But he who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and who persists in it, this man, because he has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, will be happy in his doing it." (James 1:23-25) A person can use a mirror to make sure that he is presentable. But what would be the point of looking into a mirror if we did nothing to correct a defect we saw? We are wise if we act on the basis of what we see in God's "perfect law," becoming "doers" of it. If adjustments are needed, by all means make them without delay.—Hebrews 12:12, 13.
(Watchtower issue: 6/15/08, 4:13, 14)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

daily text 8/19

Thursday, August 19th, 2010
"All the earth continued to be of one language and of one set of words" (Genesis 11:1)

Jehovah gave the first human Adam, the ability not only to speak but also to coin new words and thus expand his vocabulary. (Genesis 2:19, 20, 23) What a wonderful gift this has proved to be! It has even enabled mankind to communicate with their heavenly Father and to praise his glorious name. During the first 17 centuries of human existence, everyone spoke just one language, havine "one set of words." Then came the rebellion of Nimrod's day. Contrary to Jehovah's instructions, disobedient humans gathered at what later came to be called Babel, determined to remain in one location. They started to build a massive tower, not to give Jehovah glory, but to "make a celebrated name" for themselves. So Jehovah confused the original language of those various tongues. Thus, they were scattered over all the surface of the earth.—Genesis 11:4-8.
(Watchtower issue: 8/15/08, 5:1, 2)

Have you ever noticed how anytime Satan incites humans to take a course of action in opposition to Jehovah, (like what happened with Nimrod and the Tower of Babel) Jehovah always takes the situation and flips it around into something that will eventually turn out in his favor,...in harmony with his original purpose? When Jehovah confused the languages which caused the people to be scattered and prevented them from continuing to build and work together in unity, there was a much bigger plan "in the works" which has stretched down to our day.

Think about how the same language barrier between the nations exists right now, and has continued to prevent unity between the different national groups, (even when working together for a united purpose is in the best interest of their own people).
But Jehovah already knew that this situation would provide another opportunity for him glorify his name and prove his power by accomplishing what mankind has never been able to accomplish on their own throughout all the centuries since Nimrod's day. He has united his people by the "pure language" so that they have been able to work together in unity, despite the fact that national barriers and disunity still exists among the majority of mankind.
It's very interesting to see how Jehovah's word always comes to pass, even when it stretches over long periods of time and when we don't understand how it will be fulfilled.

"Remember, please, the word that you commanded Moses your servant, saying, ‘Should YOU, for YOUR part, act unfaithfully, I, for my part, shall scatter YOU among the peoples. When YOU will have returned to me and kept my commandments and done them, though YOUR dispersed people should happen to be at the end of the heavens, from there I shall collect them and certainly bring them to the place that I have chosen to have my name reside there.’" (Nehemiah 1:8, 9)

"For then I shall give to peoples the change to a pure language, in order for them all to call upon the name of Jehovah, in order to serve him shoulder to shoulder.’"
(Zephaniah 3:9)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

daily text 8/18

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
"Keep comforting one another and building one another up" (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Do not forget, Satan maintains that our loyalty to Jehovah is based on selfishness. He will use any means possible, including disrupting a marriage, to break our integrity to God. To ward off Satan's attacks, we need to put our full trust in Jehovah. (Proverbs 3:5, 6) The blessings that result from having God in a marriage are many. This has certainly proved true of Joel and his wife of 51 years. He says: "I thank Jehovah constantly for my wife and our happy companionship. She has been an ideal partner." What is their secret? "We have always endeavored to show kindness, patience, and love to each other." None of us will do that perfectly in this system of things. Yet, let us work hard to apply Bible principles and keep Jehovah in our marriage. If we do, then our marriage will be like "a threefold cord [that] cannot quickly be torn in two."—Ecclesiastes 4:12.
(Watchtower issue: 9/15/08, 3:19, 20)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

daily text 8/17

FYI - I backdated my post since it took me awhile to find the article I mentioned that tied in with yesterday's text about helping inactive ones...but the info in it is really good to keep on hand for future reference

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
"As long as we have time favorable for it, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith" (Galatians 6:10)

Many have found joy in helping to provide relief to those who have suffered loss through man-made or natural disasters. For instance, one sister in her 60's who serves at Bethel traveled long distances on several occasions to volunteer as a relief worker. Why did she use her vacation time is that way? She says: "Although I have no special skills, it was a privilege to do whatever was needed. I gained so much encouragement seeing the strong faith of my brothers and sisters who had suffered severe material losses." Furthermore, thousands worldwide help to construct Kingdom Halls and Assembly Halls. By having a share in such activities, we unselfishly "work what is good toward . . . those related to us in the faith."
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 5:16)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Take the Initiative and Reach Out

(the following photos & excerpts are from the article "Have Love Among Yourselves" on pgs 14-18 of the 2/1/03 Watchtower)

A Lost Sheep and a Lost Coin
To teach his listeners Jehovah’s view of those who have strayed, Jesus gave two brief illustrations. One was about a shepherd. Jesus said: “What man of you with a hundred sheep, on losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine behind in the wilderness and go for the lost one until he finds it? And when he has found it he puts it upon his shoulders and rejoices. And when he gets home he calls his friends and his neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ I tell you that thus there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety-nine righteous ones who have no need of repentance.”—Luke 15:4-7.

The second illustration was about a woman. Jesus said: “What woman with ten drachma coins, if she loses one drachma coin, does not light a lamp and sweep her house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it she calls the women who are her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the drachma coin that I lost.’ Thus, I tell you, joy arises among the angels of God over one sinner that repents.”—Luke 15:8-10.

What can we learn from these brief illustrations? They show us:
(1) how we should feel about those who have grown weak
(2) what we should do to help them

Let us consider these points...Like Jehovah and Jesus, we too are deeply concerned about those who are weak and missing from the Christian congregation. (Ezekiel 34:16; Luke 19:10) We view a spiritually weak individual as a lost sheep—not a lost cause. We do not reason: ‘Why worry about a weak one? The congregation is getting along just fine without him.’ Rather, like Jehovah, we view those who have drifted away but who want to return as being valuable.

How, though, can we express our feelings of concern? Jesus’ two illustrations indicate that we can do so:
(1) by taking the initiative
(2) by being gentle
(3) by being earnest

Let us look at these aspects one at a time...

Take the Initiative
In the first of the two illustrations, Jesus says that the shepherd will “go for the lost one.” The shepherd takes the initiative and makes a deliberate effort to find the missing sheep. Hardship, danger, and distance do not hold him back. On the contrary, the shepherd persists “until he finds it.”—Luke 15:4.

Similarly, reaching out to a person in need of encouragement often requires that the stronger one take the initiative. Faithful men of old understood this. For instance, when Jonathan, King Saul’s son, noticed that his bosom friend David was in need of encouragement, Jonathan “rose up and went to David at Horesh, that he might strengthen his hand in regard to God.” (1 Samuel 23:15, 16) Centuries later, when Governor Nehemiah saw that some of his Jewish brothers had grown weak, he too “immediately rose” up and encouraged them ‘to keep Jehovah in mind.’ (Nehemiah 4:14) We today will also want to ‘rise up’—take the initiative—to strengthen those who are weak. But who in the congregation should do so?

Christian elders, in particular, have the responsibility to “strengthen the weak hands . . . and make the knees that are wobbling firm” and to “say to those who are anxious at heart: ‘Be strong. Do not be afraid.’” (Isaiah 35:3, 4; 1 Peter 5:1, 2) Note, however, that Paul’s admonition to “speak consolingly to the depressed souls” and to “support the weak” was not given to elders only. Rather, Paul’s words were directed to the entire “congregation of the Thessalonians.” (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 5:14) Reaching out to those who are weak is thus a task for all Christians. Like the shepherd in the illustration, each Christian should be moved to “go for the lost one.” Of course, this is done most effectively in cooperation with the elders. Could you take some steps to assist a weak one in your congregation?

Be Gentle
What does the shepherd do when he finally finds the lost sheep? “He puts it upon his shoulders.” (Luke 15:5) What a touching and telling detail! The sheep may have wandered for days and nights through unfamiliar territory, perhaps even being exposed to the threat of stalking lions. (Job 38:39, 40) No doubt the sheep is weakened by a lack of food. It is simply too frail to overcome in its own strength the hurdles it will encounter on the way back to the fold. Therefore, the shepherd bends down, gently lifts up the sheep, and carries it across all obstacles back to the flock. How can we reflect the care shown by this shepherd? A person who has lost contact with the congregation may be exhausted in a spiritual sense. Like the sheep separated from the shepherd, such an individual may have wandered aimlessly through this world’s hostile territory. Without the protection provided by the fold, the Christian congregation, he is exposed more than ever to the attacks of the Devil, who “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.” (1 Peter 5:8) Additionally, he is weakened by a lack of spiritual food. Hence, on his own he likely is too weak to overcome the hurdles he will encounter on his journey back to the congregation. Therefore, we need to bend down, so to speak, gently lift up the weak one, and carry him back. (Galatians 6:2) How may we accomplish that?

The apostle Paul said: “If anyone is weak, do I not share his weakness?” (2 Corinthians 11:29, The New English Bible; 1 Corinthians 9:22) Paul had empathy for people, including the weak. We want to display similar fellow feeling for those who are weak. When visiting a spiritually weak Christian, reassure him that he is valuable in Jehovah’s eyes and dearly missed by his fellow Witnesses. (1 Thessalonians 2:17) Let him know that they are ready to give him support and are willing to be for him “a brother that is born for when there is distress.” (Proverbs 17:17; Psalm 34:18) Our heartfelt expressions may gently and gradually lift him up to the point that he is able to return to the flock. What should we do next? The illustration of the woman and the lost coin gives us guidance.

Be Earnest
The woman who loses the coin knows that the situation is challenging but not hopeless. Had the coin been dropped in a large, bushy field or in a deep, muddy lake, she probably would have given it up as lost beyond recovery. However, knowing that the coin must be somewhere in her house, within reach, she begins a thorough and earnest search. (Luke 15:8) First, she lights a lamp to brighten her dark house. Then, she sweeps the floor with her broom, hoping to hear a tinkling sound. Finally, she carefully searches every nook and cranny until the lamp catches a glint of a silver coin. The woman’s earnest effort is rewarded!

As this detail of the illustration reminds us, the Scriptural obligation to help a weak Christian is not beyond our abilities. At the same time, we realize that it requires effort. After all, the apostle Paul said to the Ephesian elders: “By thus laboring you must assist those who are weak.” (Acts 20:35a) Keep in mind that the woman does not find the coin by looking around her house casually, just here and there, or incidentally, just now and then. No, she succeeds because she systematically searches “until she finds it.” Likewise, when we endeavor to regain a spiritually weak individual, our approach needs to be earnest and purposeful. What can we do?

How can we help a weak one build up faith and appreciation? A personal Bible study in an appropriate Christian publication may be just what is needed. Indeed, conducting a Bible study with a weak individual allows us to assist him in a consistent and thorough way. It is likely that the service overseer could best determine who might provide the needed assistance. He may suggest what subjects could be studied and which publication would be most helpful. Just as the woman in the illustration uses helpful tools to accomplish her task, so today we have tools that help us to accomplish our God-given responsibility to assist those who are weak.

Assisting those who are weak brings blessings to all. The one being helped enjoys the happiness of becoming reunited with true friends. We experience the heartfelt joy that only giving can bring. (Luke 15:6, 9; Acts 20:35b) The congregation as a whole grows in warmth as each member takes a loving interest in others. And above all, honor goes to our caring Shepherds, Jehovah and Jesus, as their desire to support the weak is reflected in their earthly servants. (Psalm 72:12-14; Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1) What good reasons we have, therefore, to continue ‘having love among ourselves’!

daily text 8/16

Monday, August 16th, 2010
"Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you indecisive ones" (James 4:8)

We are living in the last days, and the end of the present system of things is imminent. Therefore, encourage inactive ones to attend Christian meetings. Urge them to start attending immediately. Point out that Satan is trying to destroy their relationship with God and make them think that relief from life's burdens can come by abandoning true worship. You can assure them that only by being Jesus' faithful followers can they enjoy true refreshment. (Matthew 11:28-30) If a sheep-like one who has strayed from the flock fears facing his brothers again, you might remind him of the rejoicing that occured when the prodigal son came home. (Luke 15:11-24) Those returning to the congregation are a cause of similar joy. Encourage them to act now to oppose the Devil and draw close to God.—James 4:7, 8.
(Watchtower issue: 11/15/08, 2:19, 21)

I came across an older Watchtower article on this topic about a week ago which I thought was really good, because it gave practical ways that we can take the initiative, as well as advice regarding the type of mental outlook and positive attitude we should have when it comes to assisting inactive ones...(I'll post it after I find the article I was reading)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Patiently Bearing Fruit in Hindu Communities

(the following photos and experiences are on pgs 99 & 102-105 of the 2007 Yearbook)

(Velloo Naicker and Gopal & Susila Coopsammy)

Heartening Response In Indian Communities
Between the years 1860 and 1911, contract laborers were brought from India to work in the sugarcane fields in Natal. Many remained after they had completed their work contracts, and a sizable Indian population—now numbering over one million—settled in the country. By the early 1950’s, interest in Bible truth was developing in the Indian communities.
Velloo Naicker was born in 1915, the fourth son in a family of nine children. His parents worked on a sugarcane plantation and were devout Hindus. Bible classes in school stimulated his interest, and when Velloo was a young man, someone gave him a Bible. He read it every day, completing it in four years. He wrote: “Matthew 5:6 appealed to me. When I read this, I realized that it makes God happy if one is hungry for truth and what is right.”

Velloo was finally contacted by a Witness and started to study the Bible. He was one of the first Indians in South Africa to be baptized, in 1954. The Hindu community where he then lived in Actonville, Gauteng, was strongly opposed to Jehovah’s Witnesses, and a prominent individual even threatened to take Velloo’s life. Velloo lost his job as the manager of a dry-cleaning business as a result of his firm stand for Bible truth. Nevertheless, he continued to serve Jehovah faithfully until his death in 1981. His fine example bore fruit, as over 190 family members (including family by marriage) through four generations are currently serving Jehovah.

Gopal Coopsammy was 14 years old when he first heard the truth from his uncle Velloo. “Velloo talked about the Bible with a few of us young ones, though I did not have a Bible study,” he recalls. “The Bible was a strange book to me, a Hindu. But some of what I read made sense. One day I saw that Velloo was going out to a Congregation Book Study. I asked him if I could go along. He agreed, and ever since then, I have attended the meetings. I wanted to further my Bible knowledge, so I went to the public library and found some publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses. There was much opposition from my family, but I always remembered the words of Psalm 27:10: ‘In case my own father and my own mother did leave me, even Jehovah himself would take me up.’ I was baptized in 1955, at the age of 15.”

Gopal is the presiding overseer of the congregation where he now serves, along with his wife, Susila. They have helped some 150 people to become dedicated servants of Jehovah. When asked how they accomplished this, he explained: “There were many family members living in our area, and I was able to witness to them. A number of them responded favorably. I also ran my own business, and this gave me some free time to spend in the ministry. I pioneered for four years. I worked hard in the ministry and diligently followed up any interest found.”

(Isabella Elleray)

(Doreen Kilgour)

Doreen Kilgour and Isabella Elleray graduated from Gilead in 1956 and 1957 respectively. They served for 24 years in the Indian community in Chatsworth, a suburb of Durban.
Doreen described what working in the territory was like: “We had to have patience. Some had never heard of Adam and Eve. People were hospitable. Hindus think it is wrong to let you stand at the door. They used to say, ‘Have tea and go,’ meaning that we should have tea before we went to the next home. After a while, we felt as if our eyeballs were floating in tea. To us, it was a miracle every time an Indian left his deeply entrenched religious beliefs and became a worshipper of Jehovah.”

Isabella related this experience: “While sharing in the field ministry, I spoke to a man who accepted the magazines. His wife, Darishnie, who had just been to church, joined him. She was holding their baby. We had a lovely discussion, and I arranged to call on them. However, Darishnie was never at home. Later, she told me that her pastor had said that she must go out when I called. This, he reasoned, would make me think that she was not interested. I went to England to visit my family. While I was there, I kept thinking about Darishnie. When I returned to South Africa, I went to see her. She wanted to know where I had been. She said: ‘I was sure that you thought that I was not interested. I am so pleased to see you again.’ We started to study, though her husband did not join us. She was a keen student and in time was baptized.

“Her religion taught that a married woman wears a gold ornament attached to a yellow string around her neck. It is called a tali. She is supposed to take it off only if her husband dies. When Darishnie wanted to start sharing in the preaching work, she understood that she had to take off the tali. She asked me what she should do. I advised her to ask her husband first and see what his reaction was. She asked, but he did not want her to take it off. I told her to be patient, to wait a while and, when he was in a good mood, to ask him again. He eventually agreed that she could take it off. We encouraged our Bible students to be tactful and to show respect for Hindu teachings while at the same time taking a stand for Bible truth. They thus avoided unnecessarily hurting the feelings of friends and relatives, who in turn found it easier to accept the Bible students’ change of religion.”

When asked what helped them to endure for many years as missionaries, Doreen said: “We grew to love the people. We immersed ourselves in our assignment and thoroughly enjoyed it.” Isabella added: “We made many dear friends. We were sorry to leave our assignment, but our health is no longer good. We gratefully accepted the kind invitation to serve at Bethel.” Isabella passed away on December 22, 2003.

daily text 8/15

FYI - check back later because I didn't get to finish working on my post yesterday which has some really encouraging experiences of brothers and sisters who endured opposition to their ministry but didn't give up.

Sunday, August 15th, 2010
"A man casts the seed upon the ground" (Mark 4:26)

Who is the sower spoken of in Mark 4:26-29? Some in Christendom believe that this refers to Jesus himself. But how could it be said that Jesus sleeps and does not know how the seed grows? Surely Jesus is aware of the growth process! Rather, this sower represents individual Kingdom proclaimers, those who sow the Kingdom seed by their zealous preaching activity. The seed that is cast to the ground is the word that they preach. Notice that the emphasis is on growth and on the gradual way in which it occurs. "Of its own self the ground bears fruit gradually, first the grass-blade, then the stalk head, finally the full grain in the head." (Mark 4:28) This growth occurs gradually and in stages. It cannot be forced or speeded up. The same is true of spiritual growth. This occurs in stages as Jehovah allows the truth to grow in the heart of a person who is rightly disposed.—Acts 13:48; Hebrews 6:1.
(Watchtower issue: 7/15/08, 3:13, 14, 16)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sister Attacked in the Ministry, Yet Undeterred

(Ketevan in the ministry - photo and following experience on pg 47 of the 2007 Yearbook)

Pioneers have been witnessing in the isolated mountain regions of the country of Georgia. Two pioneer sisters walked five miles [8 km] to a remote village located at the end of a mountain road and began preaching from house to house. Soon one of the older men of the village accosted Ketevan, one of the sisters, and demanded that she explain why she was preaching when she was not Orthodox. She tried to explain, but he would not listen. He then knocked her down and beat her with his cane. A number of people saw the beating, and the incident became widely known in the village. Later, Ketevan returned to preach in the same village. A woman who was previously opposed saw her and exclaimed: “You’re back here again after the beating you received! I’m amazed at your courage! Please come into my home and tell me more.” After listening, she said that Ketevan was welcome to visit her home anytime to preach to her.

And that was a very *mild* example of the type of opposition that our brothers & sisters have experienced in the country of Georgia. Take a look at this long list of instances which have taken place there, along with the video accounts of the opposition and persecution they've experienced:
JW-Media page: Country of Georgia

Opposition Under Apartheid Rule

Integrity of our Black Brothers in South Africa...
(following experiences on pgs 119-122 of the 2007 Yearbook)

During the early years of apartheid rule, the black brothers did not face the same tests of neutrality that the white brothers did. For example, blacks were not called up for military service. However, when political black groups began to challenge apartheid rule, severe trials befell the black Witnesses. Some were killed, others were beaten, others fled as their homes and possessions went up in flames—all because they refused to violate their neutrality. Yes, they were determined to obey Jesus’ command to be “no part of the world.”—John 15:19.

Some political groups required everyone in their area to buy a political party card. Representatives from these groups called at people’s homes to demand money for weapons or for the funeral expenses of their comrades who had died in battles with the white security forces. Because the black brothers respectfully refused to pay such money, they were accused of being spies for the apartheid government. While engaging in field service, some brothers and sisters were attacked and accused of spreading white Afrikaans propaganda.

(Elijah Dlodlo - endured a whipping)

...Take for example, Elijah Dlodlo, who gave up a promising career in sports to become one of Jehovah’s dedicated servants. Two weeks before South Africa’s first democratic election, tension ran high between rival black communities. Elijah’s congregation decided to cover their seldom-worked territory, located a few miles away. Elijah, baptized for only two months, was assigned to work with two boys who were unbaptized publishers. While speaking to a lady at her door, they were confronted by a group of youths, members of a political movement. The leader wielded a sjambok, a heavy leather whip.
“What’s going on here?” he demanded.
“We are talking about the Bible,” replied the householder.
Ignoring her, the angry man said to Elijah and his two companions: “You three boys, join us. Now is not the time for the Bible; now is the time to fight for our rights.”
Elijah boldly replied, “We cannot do that because we are working for Jehovah.”
The man then pushed Elijah and began to beat him with the sjambok. With each blow, the man shouted, “Join us!” After the first blow, Elijah no longer felt pain. He found strength in the words of the apostle Paul, who said that all true Christians ‘will be persecuted.’—2 Timothy 3:12.

The man eventually became tired and stopped. Then one of the attackers criticized the man who had the whip, saying that Elijah was not from their community. The group became divided and began fighting among themselves, the leader receiving a severe beating with his own sjambok. Meanwhile, Elijah and his two companions escaped. This test strengthened Elijah’s faith, and he continued to make progress as a fearless preacher of the good news. Today, he is married, has children, and serves as an elder in his congregation.

(Florah Malinda - a regular pioneer whose daughter was brutally murdered by a mob)

Our black sisters also showed great courage in the face of pressure to stop preaching.
Consider the example of Florah Malinda. Her baptized daughter, Maki, was burned to death by a mob of youths because she tried to defend her brother who had refused to join their political movement. Despite this tragic loss, Florah did not become embittered but continued spreading God’s Word in her community. One day, representatives of the political movement who had murdered her daughter demanded that she either join their movement or suffer the consequences. Neighbors came to her rescue, explaining that she did not take sides in politics but was busy helping people to study the Bible. This resulted in a debate among the activists, and they eventually decided to let Florah go. During all that trialsome time and until now, Florah has faithfully continued to serve as a regular pioneer.

A regular pioneer brother describes what happened to him while traveling on a bus to his territory. A young political activist pushed him and asked why he was carrying literature produced by Afrikaners and selling it to black people. The brother explains what happened next: “He demanded that I throw the literature out of the bus window. Because I refused, he slapped me on the face and put the burning end of his cigarette against my cheek. I did not respond. Then he grabbed my bag of literature and threw it out the window. He also pulled off my tie, saying that it is the white man’s way of dressing. He kept on insulting me and making fun of me, saying that people like me should be burned alive. Jehovah saved me because I was able to get off the bus without further harm. The experience did not deter me from continuing to preach.”

The South Africa branch received many letters from individuals and congregations telling of the integrity of the black brothers. One such letter came from an elder in a congregation in KwaZulu-Natal. It said: “We write you this letter to let you know about the loss of our lovely brother Moses Nyamussua. His job was to weld and repair cars. On one occasion he was asked by one political group to weld their homemade guns, which he refused to do. Then, on the 16th of February, 1992, they had their political rally, where they had a fight with those of the opposing group. On the evening of the same day on their way back from their battle, they found the brother making his way to the shopping center. There they killed him with their spears. What was their reason? ‘You refused to weld our guns, and now our comrades have died in the fight.’ This has been a very great shock to the brothers, but we will still carry on with our ministry.”

daily text 8/14

Saturday, August 14th, 2010
"With [Jehovah] there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow" (James 1:17)

This fundamental truth about Jehovah is truly a source of comfort and strength for us, especially when we face difficult trials and challenges. Why? Because Jehovah is unchanging and true to his word; hence, his worshippers today have every reason to trust in him to "help them and provide them with escape." (Psalm 37:40) No amount of satanic opposition will ever prevent Jehovah's Witnesses from giving Jehovah the exclusive worship that he deserves. God's Word assures us: "Any weapon whatever that will be formed against you will have no success, and any tongue at all that will rise up against you in the judgement you will condemn." (Isaiah 54:17) Opposers have tried but failed to prevent God's people from carrying out their commission to preach.
(Watchtower issue: 9/15/08, 2:1-3)

This is the aspect of our ministry that always impresses me the most...because when you read the experiences of some of our brothers and sisters who've persevered in their service to Jehovah, while being subjected to the most extreme persecution and prolonged opposition, you wonder to yourself: "how on earth could anyone endure those things for so long and not cave in from the pressure and give up?"
It would be impossible without God's support and strength, especially since the majority of Jehovah's Witnesses have never been 'toughened up' by any type of extreme bootcamp training like Marines and Navy Seals get, in order to resist enemy opposition and physical hardships and deprivation. They are just normal, average people,...including frail, chronically ill Witnesses, elderly ones, and children.

Yet history testifies to the fact that there is literally NOTHING which has ever been able to stop the preaching work from continuing. So there's no reason for us to worry whenever we are faced with similar opposition...(whether it's big or small)...because Jehovah has literally *promised* that he will help us to endure it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

daily text 8/13

Friday, August 13th, 2010
"The love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things" (1 Timothy 6:10)

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul highlighted principles that should govern Christian slaves, some of whom may have expected material advantages because of having Christian owners. Others may have tried to use what was holy for selfish gain. Paul warned against "thinking that godly devotion is a means of [material] gain." The root of the problem may have been "the love of money." (1 Timothy 6:1, 2, 5, 9, 10) Can you think of Bible examples of individuals whose relationship with God was damaged by "the love of money" or the love of nonessential things that money can buy? (Joshua 7:11, 21; 2 Kings 5:20, 25-27) Paul urged Timothy: "You, O man of God, flee from these things. But pursue righteousness, godly devotion, faith, love, endurance, mildness of temper." (1 Timothy 6:11) Heeding that advice is vital for all who want to survive the coming day of wrath.
(Watchtower issue: 6/15/08, 1:17, 18)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

JW Survives Being Impaled After KH Build Accident

This is a news story about the recent accident in Victoria, British Columbia, which happened at the Shellburn Victoria Kingdom Hall building site. A brother was trapped for almost 3 hours after the heavy crane he was operating toppled over, pinning and impaling him on a piece of rebar.

Video Clip and News Story

Here is an update on his condition (which isn't mentioned in the video), but came from a sister in Canada who sent the email.
She said: "...a piece of rebar pierced his abdomen and exited behind his shoulder. They expected it would be a ten hour operation, but it only took one and a half hours. The two foot piece of rebar was removed from him. It missed all vital organs, and there was very little loss of blood. He is recovering..."

daily text 8/12

Thursday, August 12th, 2010
"Do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God" (1 John 4:1)

In harmony with John's counsel, we always encourage those we meet in the preaching work to test what they have been taught by comparing it with the Bible. That is a good rule for us too. If any statements come to our ears that are critical of the truth or that cast aspersions on the congregation, the elders, or any of the brothers, we do not accept them at face value. Rather, we ask: "Is the one spreading this story acting in harmony with what the Bible says? Do these stories or allegations further Jehovah's purpose? Do they promote the peace of the congregation?" A sound rule is found in the words of the apostle Paul: "Do not go beyond the things that are written." (1 Corinthians 4:6) Yes, we should not go beyond the things that are written in the Bible or, by extension, beyond the Bible-based counsel written in the publications of the faithful and discreet slave.
(Watchtower issue: 4/15/08, 1:18, 19)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

daily text 8/11

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
"Love one another" (John 13:34)

Paul wrote: "Do not severely criticize an older man. To the contrary, entreat him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters with all chasteness. Honor widows that are actually widows." (1 Timothy 5:1-3) Yes, God's Word admonishes us to honor everyone in the Christian congregation. What, though, if there is a personal difference between you and your brother or sister? Will that hinder you from carrying out your obligation to respect your fellow Christian? Or could you adjust your attitude by recognizing the spiritual qualities of that servant of God? Those with authority especially should maintain a respectful view of their brothers—never "lording it over . . . the flock." (1 Peter 5:3) Indeed, in the Christian congregation, which is identified by the heartfelt love that exists among its members, we have numerous opportunities to honor one another.—John 13:35.
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 4:15)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

daily text 8/10

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
"Am I my brother's guardian?" (Genesis 4:9)

When Cain and Abel each brought an offering to Jehovah, He was interested not only in their gift but also in their motive. As a result, God expressed his approval of Abel's offering, rendered in faith, but his disapproval of Cain's, which in some way reflected a lack of faith. (Genesis 4:4, 5; Hebrews 11:4) Rather than learn from the event and change his attitude, Cain because consumed with anger toward his brother. (Genesis 4:6) Jehovah observed this dangerous development and considerately spoke to Cain, pointing out that if he did good, he would have cause for exaltation. Sadly, Cain ignored his Creator's counsel and murdered his brother. How treacherous the heart can be—even to the point of disregarding the direct counsel of God! (Jeremiah 17:9) Let us therefore learn from such accounts and be quick to reject wrong thoughts and desires. (James 1:14, 15) If we receive Scriptural counsel, may we appreciate it and view it as an evidence of Jehovah's love.
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 1:10, 11)

Monday, August 9, 2010

daily text 8/9

Monday, August 9th, 2010
"[God] made him head over all things to the congregation" (Ephesians 1:22)

As Head of the Christian congregation, Christ can move willing, spiritually mature Christians, especially elders, to provide comfort or counsel to those in need. (1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Timothy 4:1, 2) Christ's deep interest in the flock is reflected in the letters to the elders of the seven congregations in Asia Minor. (Revelation 2:1—3:22) Therein, Jesus indicated both his awareness of what was happening in each congregation and the depth of his concern for his followers. The same applies today—only more so—since the Revelation vision is fulfilled during "the Lord's Day." (Revelation 1:10) Christ's love is often expressed through the elders, who serve as spiritual shepherds of the congregation. He can move these "gifts in men" to give comfort, encouragement, or counsel when needed. (Ephesians 4:8; Acts 20:28; Isaiah 32:1, 2) Do you view their efforts as an expression of Christ's interest in you personally?
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 2:10-12)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

daily text 8/8

Sunday, August 8th, 2010
"This very thing is a proof of destruction for them, but of salvation for you" (Philemon 1:28)

As we loyally engage in the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work, we at times encounter an unfriendly, or even a hostile, response. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) But we must never allow the fear of rejection to dampen our zeal for the ministry. We have "the privilege of fearlessly rendering sacred service to [Jehovah] with loyalty." (Luke 1:74, 75) Although we do not expect miraculous intervention today, Jehovah is still guarding and backing us as his Witnesses by means of his holy spirit and the angels. (John 14:15-17; Revelation 14:6) The Bible assures us: "He will guard the very way of his loyal ones." (Proverbs 2:8) When faced with trials or apostate ideas or when carrying out a challenging assignment, God's loyal ones can be confident of Jehovah's guidance and support.
(Watchtower issue: 8/15/08, 1:18, 19)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

daily text 8/7

Saturday, August 7th, 2010
"Alas, O Sovereign Lord Jehovah! Here I actually do not know how to speak, for I am but a boy" (Jeremiah 1:6)

When Jehovah informed Jeremiah of his commission to be "prophet to the nations," he cried out with the words above. Nevertheless, trusting in Jehovah, he accepted the assignment. (Jeremiah 1:4-10) For more than 40 years, Jeremiah contended with apathy, rejection, ridicule, and even physical violence. (Jeremiah 20:1, 2) At times, he felt like giving up. Yet, he persevered in declaring an unpopular message to a largely unreceptive people. In God's strength, Jeremiah accomplished what he could never have done on his own. (Jeremiah 20:7-9) Many of God's servants today can relate to Jeremiah's feelings. When contemplating the prospect of preaching from house to house, more than a few of us once thought, 'That is something I could never do.' Yet, when we realized that it was Jehovah's will that we proclaim the good news, we overcame our apprehension and got busy preaching.
(Watchtower issue: 7/15/08, 2:1, 2)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Photos: Casa Grande Assembly Hall Build

here's some photos I was sent, which were taken during the assembly hall construction build...

(the structure a few months ago)

(artwork in the main lobby)

(lobby area)

(installing the carpet and seats)

(panoramic view from the stage facing the audience)
(sound system install)

(baptismal pool)

(early morning sunrise)

(huge scary scorpion on the build site. lol)

(group shot of the scaffold crew)

(finishing up the outside stucco)

(the last big scaffolding tear-down)

(front of building and landscape completed)

(view of assembly hall and parking lot)

daily text 8/6

Friday, August 6th, 2010
"The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much" (Luke 16:10)

A single act of obedience may seem insignificant—a minor matter. But by continuing to add to our acts of obedience, we maintain our integrity. Our integrity is especially evident when we endure in the face of hardships, mistreatment, or injustice. Consider the Biblical example of David. As a young man, he endured persecution from a king who was supposed to represent Jehovah's authority. King Saul, however, had lost Jehovah's favor and was bitterly jealous of David, whom God approved. Yet, Saul remained in authority for a time and used Israel's army to hound David. Jehovah allowed this injustice to continue for some years. Was David embittered against God? Did he decide that it was no use enduring? On the contrary. He maintained the greatest respect for Saul's position as God's anointed, refusing to strike back at Saul.—1 Samuel 24:2-7.
(Watchtower issue: 12/15/08, 2:11, 12)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

daily text 8/5

Thursday, August 5th, 2010
"With more understanding than older men I behave, because I have observed your own orders" (Psalm 119:100)

Young people who remember their Grand Creator are wise beyond their years. (Ecclesiastes 12:1) Because they adopt God's viewpoint, they are fully aware of how dim this world's prospects really are. If you are still in school, you have likely heard about pollution, global warming, deforestation, and similar problems. People are deeply concerned about these trends, but only Jehovah's Witnesses fully understand that they are part of the sign that points to the end of Satan's world. (Revelation 11:18) Sadly, some young servants of God have let their guard down and have allowed themselves to lose sight of how short a time this world has. (2 Peter 3:3, 4) Others have been lured into gross sin through bad associates and pornography. (Proverbs 13:20) How sad it would be to lose God's favor now that we are so close to the end!
(Watchtower issue: 4/15/08, 3:5, 6)

-Speaking of "The End" and young people pursuing a worthwhile course in life...
I just looked at the latest Gilead School graduating class on pg 31 of the August Watchtower issue on the subject: "Is the End Near?" and I recognized a pioneer couple I know, (who I didn't even realize had applied for Gilead School to serve as missionaries).
I've known their family my whole life, and they used to live like 5 mins from me, but a few years back most of the family ended up moving to Costa Rica to serve where the need is greater, and that was the last thing I heard about them.
So that was pretty nice to open up the latest magazine and see one of their daughters and her husband in the photo, and know that their kids are still staying spiritually strong and pursuing a missionary career.

I've also got more photos from the Casa Grande Assembly Hall which I'll post.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

daily text 8/4

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
"Before [God] pour out your heart" (Psalm 62:8)

An aid to keeping God in a marriage is for a couple to study God's Word together. Studying the Bible together helps the family to keep Jehovah's standards clearly in mind, deepens spirituality, and makes for continued progress. Happily married couples also pray together. When a husband 'pours out his heart' with specific requests unique to their circumstances, it cannot help but strengthen the marriage bond. For example, how much easier it would be to put aside any disagreement with your mate after you together beseech the Almighty for guidance and direction! (Matthew 6:14, 15) In line with the prayer, how fitting it would be for each mate to make it a resolve to help the other and to "continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely." (Colossians 3:13) When we look hopefully to God in prayer, we have fewer anxieties, knowing that 'he cares for us.'—1 Peter 5:7.
(Watchtower issue: 9/15/08, 3:11, 12)