Thursday, 27 March 2014

'We all stumble many times . . .' - James 3:2

All Scriptures are taken from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013) unless otherwise stated.

'For we all stumble many times. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle also his whole body.' - James 3:2

I had  to agree wholeheartedly with today's scripture. 

There are so many times that, despite all of my good intentions, I manage to stumble myself in my everyday life. Whether it is saying something without stopping to think how it might be received by others, to getting angry over some event in the news, or some unfairness heard, that I know I can do nothing about, but which can still draw me into debates that might have had my whole attention before I devoted myself to serving Jehovah God.

My main comfort at these times, especially when I realise that I might have hurt someone with a thoughtless word is, after apologising to the person I might have hurt, to go straight to Jehovah God in prayer and asking, through His Son, our King and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, for His help in my efforts to both correct any wrong I may have done, and to teach me the patience, and the wisdom, to re-learn the right way of saying, or doing, whatever it is that I did wrong. As the Apostle John wrote, at Ephesus:

'My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not commit a sin. And yet, if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one.  And he is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s.  And by this we realize that we have come to know him, namely, if we continue observing his commandments.' - 1 John 2:1, 2.

Another comfort, and lesson, for me, is to go to my bible, and read of those great, and God-fearing, men and women who, while serving Jehovah God with all their hearts, could, and often did, make mistakes: whether through making promises, or sureties, that they couldn't keep, or by circumstances beyond their control. But, by admitting to their sins, repenting of them, making things as right again as they were able to, and then asking for a heart-felt forgiveness, they overcame many of the problems that inflict us as imperfect human beings. As it says in Proverbs:

'If you have been ensnared by your promise, Caught by the words of your mouth, Do this, my son, and free yourself, For you have fallen into the hand of your neighbor: Go and humble yourself and urgently plead with your neighbor.' - Proverbs 6:2, 3.

There are so many life lessons that we can access through the bible. The problems that we all have at some time in our lives regarding our sin, the offering of our genuine repentance, and the forgiveness that can be ours - provided that the repentance is genuine - are things that we can read there - things that so many others have gone through before us. This, then, helps us to learn to change our ways, and how to correct those things that slow down our spiritual journey towards our loving God. As Jeremiah wrote, so eloquently:

'I well know, O Jehovah, that man’s way does not belong to him. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step. Correct me, O Jehovah, with judgement, But not in your anger, that you may not reduce me to nothing.' - Jeremiah 10:23, 24.

It is so very well documented that both Jehovah God, and Jesus Christ are willing, able, and even yearn, to help us with all the love, patience, understanding, and forgiveness that they both have for us in such abundance. 

'For God is the one who said: “Let the light shine out of darkness,” and he has shone on our hearts to illuminate them with the glorious knowledge of God by the face of Christ.' - 2 Corinthians 4:6.

I truly find a real comfort in reading of the problems so many have suffered before me as I know, from reading about their lives, that there are lessons that can be learned, forgiveness offered, and a wealth of love, that is immeasurable, waiting for us all, if only we can learn, like those ones of old, to open up our hearts to Jehovah God, and Jesus Christ. As David wrote so passionately in his melody to Jehovah God:

'In you, O Jehovah, I have taken refuge. May I never be put to shame. Rescue me because of your righteousness. Incline your ear to me. Come quickly to my rescue. Become for me a mountain stronghold, A fortified place to save me. For you are my crag and my stronghold; For the sake of your name, you will lead me and guide me. You will free me from the net that they have secretly laid for me, For you are my fortress. Into your hand I entrust my spirit. You have redeemed me, O Jehovah, the God of truth.' - Psalms 31:1-5.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

'Let each one prove what his own work is . . .' - Galatians 6:4

All Scriptures are taken from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, (Revised edition. 2013)unless otherwise stated.

'Let each one prove what his own work is, and then he will have cause for exultation in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person.' - Galatians 6:4

For the last month and a half, I have been battling health problems that   kept me from doing the little I can usually do in service to Jehovah God and, when I read today's scriptures, I felt it sink deeply into my mind and heart.

The author of this scripture, Paul, also known as Saul, spoke often of the trials and tribulations that overcame him in his service to Jehovah 
God and Jesus Christ, and of his change from being an active hunter of Christians, to becoming one of Jehovah God, and Jesus Christ's, faithful servants. Every time that I read of Paul's famous encounter on the road to Damascus, written in Acts, I, too, feel a great encouragement in my service to Jehovah God:

'Now as he was traveling and getting near Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him, and he fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”  He asked: “Who are you, Lord?” He said: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Now the men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing, indeed, the sound of a voice but seeing no one. Saul then got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he did not see anything, and he neither ate nor drank.' - Acts 9:3-9.

It is his example of service that I look to when I re-read it, which I do most often when I need to find the strength to endure. It is especially in his total reliance on Jehovah God's strength to help him overcome the many problems he had during his life of service, that has helped me, too. With Paul's example of faith, his battles give me the encouragement I need to lean on Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, as he did. That I can go to them for the strength to endure what I must, is such a wonderful, and undeserved, gift given freely to me, and so I use this gift to offer up my service of faith to them in return.

But it is in the battles Paul had with his health, that I can relate to more easily, especially as described in his second letter to the Corinthians:

'To keep me from becoming overly exalted, I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan, to keep slapping me, so that I might not be overly exalted.  Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it would depart from me. But he said to me: “My undeserved kindness is sufficient for you, for my power is being made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly, then, I will boast about my weaknesses, in order that the power of the Christ may remain over me like a tent.  So I take pleasure in weaknesses, in insults, in times of need, in persecutions and difficulties, for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am powerful.' - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

That Paul had this affliction, whatever it was, but still continued on in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, is something that I know I can take and use for myself so that, no matter how much, or how little, I can do, I have learned - just as today's scripture asks of us who serve Jehovah God and Jesus Christ - not to compare it with what my spiritual Brothers and Sisters  all around the world do for their service, as Jehovah God doesn't weigh us with the same scales that worldly people do, who can only judge with what they see with their eyes - but Jehovah God, with the love He feels for us all as we struggle and fight the things of the world, can see into our very heart and mind, knowing what effort it costs us to do as He wants us to:

'As they came in and he saw E·li′ab, he said: “Surely here before Jehovah stands his anointed one.” But Jehovah said to Samuel: “Do not pay attention to his appearance and how tall he is, for I have rejected him. For the way man sees is not the way God sees, because mere man sees what appears to the eyes, but Jehovah sees into the heart.”' - 1 Samuel 16:6, 7.

Yesterday I had the privilege to be visited by two of my spiritual Brothers, and the scripture they chose to help build me up with spiritual food, as the opening scripture did when I first read it, brought me to tears, as it gave such a balm to my heart, to know of Jehovah God's love for me, and all those like me, who have their own 'thorns in the flesh' to bear in their service to Him:

 Therefore, we do not give up, but even if the man we are outside is wasting away, certainly the man we are inside is being renewed from day to day.' - 2 Corinthians 4:16.

That visit yesterday, along with the perfect spiritual food at the time I needed it - just like all the others I get from my spiritual family - and the certainty I hold of the love that Jehovah God, and Christ Jesus, bear for me, are the things that renew me, and renew my faith, from day to day, no matter what.

May Jehovah God and His wonderful Son, Jesus Christ, hold you safely within the circle of their love for you, and may you, as I am, be renewed spiritually each day.

Monday, 30 December 2013

'These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction . . .' - 2 Thess. 1:9

All Scriptures are taken from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013 Revision), unless otherwise stated.

'These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength.' - 2 Thessalonians 1:9.

With the year almost gone from us, I looked back at the little I was able to achieve in my service to Jehovah God throughout this year, and I felt I should have been able to do more than I actually did. This feeling isn't a new one for me, as I've occasionally felt the frustration of being unable to serve Jehovah, as I want to, ever since I fell so ill and, in the most part, I realise that I can only do what my limited strength allows me to but, every now and again, that old frustration rears up in me, and I find I can only let these feelings go, through my prayers to Jehovah God.

This ability to be able to pray directly to Jehovah God, or to do so with the aid of His Son, Jesus Christ - our King, and Exemplar - is something I'm so very thankful for, as it is a way that helps me to cope with all that I have to in life, and it keeps me sane in a world that seems to become stranger, and more crazy, every day. To know that Jehovah God wants me to do this, and finds my prayers of love and worship to him, like 'incense', truly amazes me:

'May my prayer be as incense prepared before you, My uplifted hands like the evening grain offering.' - Psalm 141:2.

So many times people have asked me why I persist in trying to do my ministry work, especially as I'm so limited in doing this, and the title scripture at 2 Thessalonians is one of the very minor reasons why I do - this next scripture is another of the reasons:

'For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” However, how will they call on him if they have not put faith in him? How, in turn, will they put faith in him about whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach?  How, in turn, will they preach unless they have been sent out? Just as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who declare good news of good things! ' - Romans 10:13-15.

Through our preaching work, we reach out to as many people as will listen, so that they, too, will be able to understand just how much Jehovah God loves them. It is one of the ways in which we can all express our love for Jehovah God, and Christ Jesus, and this is something that all mankind is able to do, no matter what physical, or even mental, limits we may have, as it is our spiritual growth that Jehovah God is most concerned about in us, and it is His Son, Jesus, who did so much, and still does so much, to help us attain this:

'For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So, too, no one has come to know the things of God except the spirit of God. Now we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from God, so that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God.  These things we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit, as we explain spiritual matters with spiritual words. But a physical man does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know them, because they are examined spiritually. However, the spiritual man examines all things, but he himself is not examined by any man.  For “who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, so that he may instruct him?” But we do have the mind of Christ.' - 1 Corinthians 2:11-16.

And so we do all that we are able to do, as Christ did before us, with the expressed hope that it will bring us ever more closer to Jehovah God - and to also help Him prove to Satan that we don't do all of these things for Jehovah God out of fear, or for what He may promise us - but because we love Him as much as we are able to, just as we know that He loves us. We know that, if we turn our back on all the sacrifices made by Jehovah God, and especially Jesus Christ, then we will be choosing an 'everlasting cutting off', which is the fate of the 'goats', rather than the 'sheep' - in other words, we will be choosing an everlasting death, rather than the precious, and everlasting, life on an earth made new, just as it had been in the days of Eden. That our Creator, Jehovah God, and our King and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, gave us all this chance to attain something so special, is still so very amazing, and such a precious gift, to me.

' “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him.  Whoever exercises faith in him is not to be judged. Whoever does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God." ' - John 3:16-18.

By going out and preaching door to door, or by doing our ministry in any other way available to us, we are taking Jehovah's promises for mankind to everyone we can reach, letting them know that they have a choice in all of this, that it isn't too late, as yet, to avoid that 'everlasting destruction', and that everyone still has some time to turn around and serve Jehovah God as He deserves to be served.

May Jehovah God, and Christ Jesus, find favour in your hearts, and may you find your place with them, through the love that they bear for us all.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

'Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.' - Ps. 143:10

All Scriptures are taken from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures unless otherwise stated.

'Teach me to do your will, For you are my God. Your spirit is good; May it lead me on level ground.' - Psalm 143:10.

Whenever I read this scripture, I am thankful, once again, for the relationship I have with Jehovah God. To be able to appeal to my Creator, is something that I never tire of being grateful for as, like every other human being who knows that there is a God, and who wishes to serve Him in the best way they can, I am so very aware that I need His help every single day of my life.

Psalm 32:8, Jehovah God promised King David:

'I will give you insight and instruct you in the way you should go. I will give you advice with my eye upon you.'

David was grateful for this advice throughout his lifeas he tells Jehovah countless times throughout the Psalms which he had written so passionately, and he tells us time, and time again, how Jehovah God helped him when he needed it the most. 

I, too, am always grateful for the help that Jehovah has, and will always, give me, both through his only-begotten Son, our King and Redeemer, Christ Jesus, and also through His active force - His holy spirit - something which He uses to help all of those who pray to Him for help. This active force can act on us all in any way that Jehovah God wills it to - it can push us to do what is necessary, when we need it the most, and it can support us in our weakest moments - spurring us on to stand strong against the buffeting forces that we can often suffer, brought on by Satan's darkness in the world.

As Paul wrote, at Ephesus, in his first letter to the Corinthians:

'Now we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from God, so that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God.' - 1 Corinthians 2:12.

Jehovah's holy spirit, His active force - or energy - is used to accomplish His will. So, when we pray to Him, asking for His holy spirit to strengthen us as and when we need it most, or to guide us on the right path in life, we can be sure that Jehovah will hear our pleas, and will do what is necessary to help and guide us.

Jesus often spoke of doing His Father's will on the earth and, w
hile teaching in the Synagogues, after he was anointed with holy spirit at his baptism, quoted the words of Isaiah, who spoke of how this active force was working through him, explaining how it helped him to do the work that Jehovah had asked of him:

'Now Jesus returned in the power of the spirit into Gal′i·lee. And good reports about him spread throughout all the surrounding country. Also, he began to teach in their synagogues, and he was held in honor by all. He then went to Naz′a·reth, where he had been brought up, and according to his custom on the Sabbath day, he entered the synagogue and stood up to read.  So the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him, and he opened the scroll and found the place where it was written:  “Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor. He sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away free, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.” * With that he rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were intently fixed on him.  Then he began to say to them: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled”.' - Luke 4:14-21

In this one scripture, we can see that these two men were both profoundly affected by Jehovah God's active force:

Isaiah, who was such a strongly devoted prophet for Jehovah, spending his life serving our one true God in Judah - at a time when that kingdom was in a deplorable moral state - but, through his work as a prophet for Jehovah, Isaiah was privileged to prophesy the coming of the very man who later quoted the words of his scriptures, at
*Isaiah 61:1:

'Isaiah then said: “Listen, please, O house of David. Is it not enough that you try the patience of men? Must you also try the patience of God? Therefore, Jehovah himself will give you a sign: Look! The young woman will become pregnant and will give birth to a son, and she will name him Im·man′u·el.' - Isaiah 7:13, 14.

Jesus Christ, as we all know so well, on being baptised, was anointed with holy spirit, and was given the power through that active force - that energy coming from Jehovah God - to heal the sick, raise the dead, drive out demons, and, most importantly of all, was given the strength and support needed from his Father, to do the work asked of him, by travelling throughout Palestine, for hundreds of miles, mostly on foot, to preach the good news of the Kingdom to everyone who would listen. Jesus devoted his entire life, and all of his energies, into doing the work that his Father wanted him to:

'However, at daybreak he departed and went to an isolated place. But the crowds began searching for him and came to where he was, and they tried to keep him from going away from them. But he said to them: “I must also declare the good news of the Kingdom of God to other cities, because for this I was sent. So he went on preaching in the synagogues of Ju·de′a.' - Luke 4:42-44

Jesus did this, knowing that his time was short, and knowing that he would soon be facing his death - a death that, with a word to his Father, he could have avoided but, knowing that it meant the difference between Jehovah God proving the truth of His words, or proving Satan's words the lie that they were, Jesus chose to return his Father's love by facing death on a stake, so that mankind might be saved from the original sin of the perfect humans, Adam and Eve, through an act of love and sacrifice by the only other perfect man able to do so, in order to balance the scales, and prove Jehovah God's Sovereignty.

With such examples as these, it is no surprise that so many of us imperfect humans choose to do the will of Jehovah God, just as Isaiah, and Jesus Christ did!

In these modern times we are promised no miracles, but we are promised a place in the Kingdom of Jehovah God, as long as we follow our exemplar and redeemer, Jesus Christ, in doing the will of his Father, by spreading the good news of His Kingdom. As Paul said so well
 to Timothy, when he wrote his second letter to that devout young man:

'I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his manifestation and his Kingdom: Preach the word; be at it urgently in favorable times and difficult times; reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all patience and art of teaching. For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the wholesome teaching, but according to their own desires, they will surround themselves with teachers to have their ears tickled. They will turn away from listening to the truth and give attention to false stories. You, though, keep your senses in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry.' - 2 Timothy 4:1-5.

May we all, as devoted servants of Jehovah, and followers of His Son, Christ Jesus, do as those early Christians did, and devote our lives to serving Jehovah, with love, and the gratitude both God, and Jesus, deserves for saving us from Satan's lies - and for the joy and strength we are given, whenever we ask for the aid of Jehovah God's holy spirit as we strive to serve Him.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

'Because you are no part of the world, . . . on this account the world hates you.' - John 15:19.

All Scriptures are taken from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures unless otherwise stated.

'If YOU were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because YOU are no part of the world, but I have chosen YOU out of the world, on this account the world hates YOU.' - John 15:19.

Jesus said the words above to his disciples, not only so that they were certain of the path that they must take after his death, but also as a warning to any of his followers that, if they loved him, and wished to do the will of his Father, Jehovah God, then they would have to make sure that they stepped away from the world that Satan rules, even to this day. To do this, all of his followers needed to keep to his teachings, the foremost among them being the commandment he spoke of just before this scripture. He said to them:

'These things I have spoken to YOU, that my joy may be in YOU and YOUR joy may be made full. This is my commandment, that YOU love one another just as I have loved YOU. No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends. YOU are my friends if YOU do what I am commanding YOU.' - John 15:11-14.

This one commandment is something that we should take to heart. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us all and so, if we are truly of his people, then we should also be prepared to make whatever sacrifice is asked of us in his name, and the name of his Father, Jehovah God. Jesus not only spoke of the commandment to love one another, but he also wanted us to keep out of the world. While the disciples were still alive, and able to influence those who saw the miracles that they performed, through that wonderful source of Jehovah's holy spirit, all of the things that Jesus had taught them stayed strongly with them. But, once the last disciple had died, there was a slow accumulation of changes brought about, so that the clear-cut teachings of Christ Jesus became gradually lost within the man-made rulings that those in authority thought was best, in order to keep the people with them. These changes became ever more complicated as the centuries passed, until little was known of the true origins of the commandments of Jehovah God and Christ Jesus. 

This is what Jehovah has said, the King of Israel and the repurchaser of him, Jehovah of armies, "I am the first and I am the last, and beside me there is no God".' - Isaiah 44:6.

By the third century after the death of Jesus, such drastic changes had taken place within the Christian congregations, that Jesus would have barely recognised what was being taught in his name, and one of the most important - the most urgent of these things - was the demand that we stay out of the world - that is, the world of politics, and of financial wheelings and dealings; of celebrations made convenient through old pagan sources, rather than the things Jesus had taught us, and where he asked so little of us, other than to love one another. All those humble ones who tried to live their lives as Jesus had asked, became persecuted for their faithful adherence to the truths Jesus Christ had spoken of and, by using Jesus as the finest model in which to live their lives they, too, suffered just as he had. As Peter beseeched, of the followers of Christ in his day:

'Beloved, I exhort YOU as aliens and temporary residents to keep abstaining from fleshly desires, which are the very ones that carry on a conflict against the soul. Maintain YOUR conduct fine among the nations, that, in the thing in which they are speaking against YOU as evildoers, they may as a result of YOUR fine works of which they are eyewitnesses glorify God in the day for [his] inspection.' - 1 Peter 2:11, 12.

Because those faithful ones followed in the footsteps of Christ, they did as Peter had asked, by living their lives as if they were, indeed, aliens and temporary residents of this world that Satan was now master of:

'We know we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.' - 1 John 5:19.

By doing this, the followers of Jehovah God, and His Son, Christ Jesus, were able to deny all of things of the wicked world around them. For this they were derided, and accused of being haters of their fellow man, which was the very last thing they actually were! Just like Jesus, his followers were determined to keep apart from all the wiles and temptations that Satan was placing in front of mankind and, by doing this, they were showing Jehovah God that mankind was worthy of the sacrifice both He, and His Son, had given in behalf of us all. Those fleshly desires of greed, and lust, and covetousness, were all traps that Satan was laying for the children of Jehovah God, and the more that mankind fell for them, the more Satan made, so that he could lead them away from God, and prove that Jehovah's Sovereignty over us was as false as he had accused Jehovah it was, when Satan caused Job to be tested in his love for Jehovah God. But, just like Job, those faithful ones had, and still have, forsworn those Satan-led earthly desires, and they lead their lives according to God's laws, and not mankind's laws.
As Solomon said:

'Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.' - Proverbs 27:11.

By doing all that we can to stay apart from this Satan-ruled world, we can show Satan that his accusation to Jehovah - that mankind will only follow Him if they are given rewards for doing so - is totally false and, by the blood that Jesus Christ spilled in all of our names, we can answer the Wicked One with a resounding NO, just as Job did before us! 

By following in Christ's footsteps, we acknowledge his Father, Jehovah God, as our Sovereign Lord and Creator, and show the lies of Satan to be as they have always been - gourds, blowing empty into the wind.

'Therefore, become imitators of God, as beloved children, and go on walking in love, just as the Christ also loved YOU and delivered himself up for YOU as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling odor. Let fornication and uncleanness of every sort or greediness not even be mentioned among YOU, just as it befits holy people; neither shameful conduct nor foolish talking nor obscene jesting, things which are not becoming, but rather the giving of thanks. For YOU know this, recognizing it for yourselves, that no fornicator or unclean person or greedy person - which means being an idolater - has any inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and of God. Let no man deceive YOU with empty words, for because of the aforesaid things, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.' - Ephesians 5:1-6.