Comments You Will Not Hear at the 10-3-04 WT Study (August 15, 2004 issue) Review comments will be in black and parentheses ()
WT quoteswill be in red and quotes ""
Quotes from other sourceswill be in blue
JEHOVAH, OUR ?FORTRESS IN TIMES OF DISTRESS?
"The salvation of the righteous ones is from Jehovah; he is their fortress in the time of distress."?Psalm 37:39 (NWT)
JWs are stressed, distressed and discouraged. The legalistic WTS is squeezing the love and life out of people. As the Pharisees laid heavy loads on the common people, so the elders and other WTS representatives are putting loads on JWs.
Not being able to attend the wedding of a JW to a non-JW without being threatened with loss of privileges.
Discouraging people from seeking mental medical help.
Encouraging mates to stay with an abusive, unfaithful mate.
Add yours here.
START OF ARTICLE
Paragraphs 1-5Jehovah is almighty. He has the power to protect his faithful worshipers in any manner he wishes. He could even separate his people physically from the rest of the world and place them in a safe and peaceful environment. However, regarding his disciples, Jesus prayed to his heavenly Father: "I request you, not to take them out of the world, but to watch over them because of the wicked one."?John 17:15
Where is the leading?
Paragraph 2Jehovah has chose not to take us "out of the world." Rather, it is his will that we live among the general population of this world to proclaim his message of hope and comfort to others. (Romans 10:13-15) But, as Jesus implied in his prayer, by living in this world, we are exposed to "the wicked one." Disobedient mankind and wicked spirit forces cause much pain and anguish, and Christians are not immune to distress. ?1 Peter 5:9
Non-JWs is demonized as bad association and to be avoided at work, at school, in the neighborhood and in the family. What hope is there by JWs that non-JWs will change? Isn?t there message one of how soon the wicked will be destroyed?
Paragraph 3Under such trials, it is natural to go through periods of discouragement. (Proverbs 24:10) The Bible record contains numerous accounts of faithful ones who experienced distress. "Many are the calamities of the righteous one," says the psalmist, "but out of them all Jehovah delivers him." (Psalm 34:19) Yes, bad things happen even to "the righteous one." Like the psalmist David, at times we may even grown "numb and become crushed to an extreme degree." (Psalm 38:8) Yet, it is comforting to know that "Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves."?Psalm 34:18; 94:19.
Do you get the drift that the WTS is having to deal with a lot of discouraged JWs; JWs that have been told by fellow JWs (especially elders) that the individual JW?s actions are the cause of their troubles? Do you have a personal experience of how the elders or another "mature" JW added to your discouragement rather than helped you?
Where is Jesus in this equation of aiding his followers? Why are OT scriptures used so much? Are there no scriptures showing how Jesus will help us?
Paragraph 4In harmony with Jesus? prayer, Jehovah is indeed watching over us. He is our "fortress in the time of distress." (Psalm 37:39) The book of Proverbs uses similar language when it says: "The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection." (Proverbs 18:10) This scripture reveals a basic truth about Jehovah?s tender concern for his creatures. God offers protection especially to righteous ones who actively seek him, as if we were running into a strong tower for shelter.w98 8/15 p. 21 Living and Preaching in the Shadow of a Volcano ***"IT IS a frightening experience. It could very well be like the end of the world that the Bible speaks of. We must remain alert and be in good standing before Jehovah God every moment." Those are the words of Víctor, one of Jehovah?s Witnesses, in relating his experience of living very near the Popocatépetl volcano, popularly called Popo, in Mexico.
Does he think that he has individual protection?w02 12/15 p. 15 "He Will Draw Close to You" *** How, though, does Jehovah guard his people? His promise of protection does not guarantee us a problem-free life in this system; nor does it mean that he is obligated to work miracles in our behalf. Nevertheless, Jehovah does provide physical protection for his people as a group. After all, he would never allow the Devil to efface true worshipers from the earth! (2 Peter 2:9) w01 8/15 p. 21 Have Faith Like That of Abraham! *** What about the threat of death from persecution? While individuals may be allowed to die, God will never allow the extermination of his people as a whole. (Psalm 116:15)
Paragraph 5When faced with distressing problems, how can we run to Jehovah for protection: Let us consider three vital steps, that we can take in order to receive Jehovah?s help. First, we must turn to our heavenly Father in prayer.
Translation: Your prayers have no power if you are not attending meetings.Second, we should work in harmony with his holy spirit.
Translation: You must not miss meetings because the holy spirit inspired the words at Hebrews 10:24,25.And third, we must submit to Jehovah?s arrangement by seeking association with fellow Christians who can allay our distress.
Translation: If you are discouraged or distressed, it is no excuse to miss meetings.The Power of Prayer
Paragraph 6Some health experts (which ones???) recommend prayer as treatment for depression and stress. While it may be true that a quiet moment of prayerlike reflection may relieve stress, much the same could be said about certain sounds of nature or even a back rub.
Wow, prayer is like a back rub!!!True Christians (buzz phrase) do not trivialize prayer by viewing it as just a feel-good therapy. We view prayer as reverential communication with the Creator.
Heavens, should prayer make us feel good!Prayer involves our devotion to and confidence in God. Yes, prayer is part of our worship.
Since the WTS does not provide any quotes from the health experts, it is hard to decipher who the WTS came to the conclusion that they felt prayer was just a feel-good therapy.
Paragraph 7Our prayers must be accompanied by a sense of confidence, or trust, in Jehovah.
This is hard if you have been betrayed or attacked by someone who says they represent God and his thoughts.The apostle John wrote: "This is the confidence that we have toward him, that, no matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us." (1 John 5:14) Jehovah, the Supreme Being, the only true and almighty (small cap?) God, actually gives special attention to those earnest prayers of his worshipers. Just knowing that our loving God hears us when we share our anxieties and problems with him is comforting.?Philippians 4:6.
Paragraph 8Faithful Christians (buzz phrase meaning only JWs) should never feel shy, unworthy, or lacking in confidence when approaching Jehovah in prayer.
What if you are on restrictions? Would you feel worthy to approach God in prayer? What if those restrictions were announced? Everyone will know anyway when you don?t comment. Others will treat you like damaged goods, bad association.w81 9/1 p. 27 Repentance Leading Back to God ***At the service meeting it could be announced that the former wrongdoer has been reproved by a judicial committee and has demonstrated repentance. Also, the judicial committee may feel it necessary to impose certain restrictions. These might include not sharing in meeting parts, not representing the congregation in prayer or, perhaps, not reading scriptures or commenting at meetings. If the committee has instituted some restrictions, they may advise the elders whether they feel that this should be announced to the congregation. Such restrictions can gradually be lifted in the future.True, when we are disappointed in ourselves or are overwhelmed with problems, we might not always be inclined to approach Jehovah in prayer. On such occasions we do well to remember that Jehovah "shows pity upon his own afflicted ones" and that he "comforts those laid low." (Isaiah 49:13; 2 Corinthians 7:6) It is especially in times of anguish and distress that we need to turn confidently to our heavenly Father as our fortress.
Is it that we are disappointed in ourselves or:w01 10/1 pp. 17-18 How Can You Help a "Prodigal" Child? ***In one congregation, well-meaning adults who wanted to help some youths who had become spiritually weak invited them to gatherings to play popular music together. Though the youths readily complied and enjoyed such sessions, their influence on one another eventually led them to cut their ties with the congregation. w99 8/1 pp. 23-24 Peer Pressure?Can It Be to Your Advantage? ***Even within the Christian congregation, we can come under the influence of unwholesome peer pressure if we choose spiritually weak individuals as our close associates. (1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Thessalonians 3:14) Such ones often are not inclined to discuss spiritual matters; they may even ridicule those who enjoy such discussions. If we choose these ones as our close associates, peer pressure may force us into a similar mold, and soon we might find our thinking and attitude reflecting theirs. We may even begin to think negatively of those who are genuine in their faith and who are trying to make spiritual advancement.?1 Timothy 4:15.
Paragraph 9To benefit fully from the privilege of prayer, we must have real faith. The Bible says that "he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him." (Hebrews 11:6) Faith is more than just believing that God exists, that "he is." True faith involves strong belief in God?s ability and desire to reward our life course of obedience to him.
The WTS carrot of everlasting life in a paradise earth instead of the JW wanting to sanctify God?s name and vindicate his sovereignty."The eyes of Jehovah are upon the righteous ones, and his ears are toward their supplication." (1 Peter 3:12) A constant awareness of Jehovah?s loving concern for us gives special meaning to our prayers.
Paragraph 10Jehovah listens to our prayers when they are offered with a complete heart. The psalmist write: "I have called with my whole heart. Answer me, O Jehovah." (Psalm 119:145) Unlike the ritualistic prayers in many religions, our prayers are not perfunctory or half-hearted.
Listen to the prayers at the KH for about a month. Note how many phrases are repeated by the same brother or different. How do the prayers start out, how do they end them? Can you predict what will be said? What about the prayers at the assemblies that are summaries of the program? Ritualistic!?When we pray to Jehovah with our "whole heart," our words are charged with meaning and purpose. After such earnest prayers, we begin to experience the relief that comes from throwing our "burden upon Jehovah himself." (snippet) As the Bible promises, "he himself will sustain" us.?Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:6,7.
Yes, you feel relief until you walk into the KH Sister I?mTooHoly, gives a weak reply to your greeting as she walks over to talk to SisterHasTheLatestGossip. As you go over to get your magazines, BrotherHopingtoMakeElderSoon, tells you that he redid the shelves and forgot to put a new one in for you so has none for you. As the meeting starts, BrotherConductorWithAnAttitude, fails to call on you although you raise your hand 7 times. After the meeting, as you approach Brother Attitude you are grabbed by BrotherSpyPatrol, who asks whose car was in your driveway last night around 3 a.m. You tell him it was a loaner car because yours is in the repair shop. He looks at you as if he doesn?t believe you. You ask if you need to get a note from the garage and if this is a judicial matter. He says no so as you leave, BrotherNeverVolunteers asks you to take home his wife?s Bible student, Mrs BadBO with her 3 boys, Can?tSitStill, Cryer, and Whiner, because they are going out for dinner with Sister and Brother Attitude.God?s Spirit Is Our Helper
Paragraph 11Jehovah is not just the Hearer of prayer but also the Answerer. (Psalm 65:2) David wrote: "In the day of my distress I will call upon you, for you will answer me." (Psalm 86:7) Accordingly, Jesus encouraged his disciples to "keep on asking" for Jehovah?s help because "the Father in heaven" will "give holy spirit to those asking him." (Luke 11:9-13) Yes, God?s active force acts as a helper, or comforter, to his people.?John 14:16.
Do the great crowd get this holy spirit too or only the anointed?
Paragraph 12Even when we face trials, God?s spirit can infuse us with "the power beyond what is normal." (2 Corinthians 4:7) The apostle Paul, who endured many stressful situations, confidently said: "for all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me." (Philippians 4:13) Likewise, many Christians (buzzword meaning only JWs) today have a renewal of spiritual and emotional strength in answer to their supplications. Often, distressing problems do not seem so overwhelming after we receive the help of God?s spirit. Because of this God-given strength, we can say, as did the apostle: "We are pressed in every way, but not cramped beyond movement; we are perplexed, but not absolutely with no way out; we are persecuted, but not left in the lurch; we are thrown down, but not destroyed."?2 Corinthians 4:8,9.
Yes, you don?t have to go to the police if your child was molested by a fellow JW; yes, you don?t have to go to a non-JW counselor if you are depressed; yes, you don?t have to go to a medical doctor if you are sick, you can follow all the weird "health" advice of the brothers and PRAY.
Paragraph 13The holy spirit has also inspired and preserved God?s written Word for our benefit.
But the Bible is never enough. The WTS almost always mentions the publications and the Bible.w82 10/15 p. 11 Those Weaknesses Can Be Overcome ***Nevertheless, the chief remedies are spiritual aids, including the studying of God?s Word and Christian publications, persisting in prayer, yielding to the influence of Jehovah?s holy spirit and receiving the aid of mature Christians. With such help distressing weaknesses can indeed be overcome. w03 1/15 p. 19 How Strong Is Your Faith? ***
If we seek assurance when facing a decision, it does not mean that we lack faith. We actually show faith by consulting the Bible and Christian publications and by praying for the guidance of holy spirit when making decisions.?Romans 8:26, 27.What if you had lived in the times of Radio Biola? Did this demonstrate thinking ability?
The Watchtower Society in The Golden Age magazine promoted numerous highly questionable medical cures and remedies. Some of these were more related to the occult arts than medical science. One of these endorsements was of the electronic theory of disease of Dr. Albert Abrams. Several machines and techniques were developed by Dr. Abrams and by his supporters after his death in 1924. Some of these were used by International Bible Students (JWs) on the recommendation of the Watchtower Society in The Golden Age. These devices supposedly diagnosed and cured diseases of all kinds. One of these machines, the Electronic Radio Biola, was invented by a Bible Student and advertised for sale in The Golden Age magazine.
Translation: Run and ask the elders what you should do.You may personally have experienced how Bible principles helped you to make wise decisions when you faced difficulties. The Bible gives us shrewdness that can help us find practical solutions to distressing problems?Proverbs 1:4.
Paragraph 14The Word of God provides us with another source of strength?the hope of salvation. (Romans 15:4) The Bible tells us that the bad things will not continue to happen indefinitely. Whatever tribulations we suffer are temporary. (2 Corinthians 4:16:18)
What about the slogan in 1920 when people were told "Millions Now Living Will Never Die"? What happened to those people? Are they still living?aren?t most of them dead. It has been 126 years since 1879 when the WT started saying the end would come in 1914; then 1915, then 1920, then 1925, then 1975, then in 1995 the generation of 1914 that would see the end was dropped as a WTS teaching. When will our tribulations end?We have the "hope of the everlasting life which God, who cannot lie, promised before times long lasting." (Titus 1:2)
The WTS carrot surfaces again.If we rejoice in that hope, with a constant awareness of the bright future that Jehovah promises (SOON, VERY SOON, VERY SOON NOW), we can endure under tribulation.?Romans 12:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:3. The Congregation?An Expression of God?s Love
Paragraph 15Another provision from Jehovah that can help us in times of distress is the companionship we enjoy in the Christian congregation. The Bible says: "A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress." (Proverbs 17:17)
So when was the last time a brother or sister came to your aid when your car was on the fritz, you and your husband had lost your jobs, you needed a ride to the ER at 3 a.m., was a hearing ear and did not spread it all over the congregation?God?s Word encourages all in the congregation to honor and love one another. (Romans 12:10) "Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person," wrote the apostle Paul. (1 Corinthians 10:24)
Good scriptures but are they applied? Who do you think BrotherSuckUp will give his $50 to? SisterLostHerJobHasTwoKidsNoAlimony or the CO?Having such a frame of mind can help us to focus on the needs of others rather rather than on our own trials.
Translation: Don?t burden the brothers and sisters with your problems; rather you should help others and take your mind off your problems.When we give of ourselves to others, not only do we help them but we also enjoy a measure of happiness and satisfaction that make our own burdens more bearable.?Acts 20:35
Here?s a scripture they leave out:Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if a certain one says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it? 15 If a brother or a sister is in a naked state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, 16 yet a certain one of YOU says to them: "Go in peace, keep warm and well fed," but YOU do not give them the necessities for [their] body, of what benefit is it? JAMES 2:14-16
Paragraph 16Spiritually mature men and women can play an important role in strengthening others. In order to do so, they make themselves approachable and available. (2 Corinthians 6:11-13)
Reality check: Elders who do come early are usually running around talking to other elders, rehearsing a part, etc. After the meeting it is more of the same.The congregation is truly blessed when all make the time to commend young ones (only young ones?), to building up new believers, and to encourage those who are depressed. (Romans 15:7)
Commendation: That was a good comment, SisterLogical. Oh, what part did you like? Uh, uh?person exits stage right. To Brother NewBeliever, good to see you here, gotta go (as they go over to talk to their "real" friends). Can?t take to SisterDepressed unless she is at the meeting. Somehow my phone doesn?t dial to her number.Brotherly love will also help us to avoid a spirit of suspicion toward one another.We should be slow to conclude that personal difficulties are a sign of spiritual weakness.Paul appropriately urges Christians (only JWs) to "speak consolingly to the depressed souls." (1 Thessalonians 5:14) The Bible shows that even faithful Christians experience distress.?Acts 14:15.
w01 11/15 p. 22 How Do You Handle Hypocrisy? ***To ?keep our eyes open? means to avoid being deceived by someone who pretends to be loving but who is actually self-centered and promotes opinions not based on God?s Word. Like a jagged rock lying just below the surface of placid waters, such a person can cause spiritual shipwreck to the unwary. (1 Timothy 1:19) The hypocrite may promise much in the way of spiritual refreshment but turns out to be a ?waterless cloud??delivering nothing. Like a fruitless tree, a deceiver bears no genuine Christian fruitage. (Matthew 7:15-20; Galatians 5:19-21) Yes, we need to be on guard against such deceivers. Yet, we must do so without being suspicious of everyone?s motives.
Paragraph 17Christian meetings provide an excellent opportunity for us to comfort and encourage one another. (Hebrews 10:24,25)
But most take the opportunity to comfort and encourage their few, close friends, not "widening out" as the WTS is constantly encouraging people to do. Most people get there 5 minutes before and stay 5 minutes after?not much time to "comfort and encourage."This loving interaction is not limited to congregation meetings. Rather, God?s people also look for opportunities to engage in wholesome association in casual settings .
With all the restrictions on gatherings, what opportunities are there?When distressing situations arise, we will readily assist one another because strong bonds of friendship have already been established.
Translation: JWs only assist JWs they know. Not much a good Samaritan are they?The apostle Paul wrote: "There should be no division in the body, but?its members should?care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the other members suffer with it; or if a member is glorified, all the other members rejoice with it."?1 Corinthians 12:25,26.
The WTS practices amputation when a member suffers as if they had gangrene.
Paragraph 18At times we may feel too downhearted to enjoy association with fellow Christians (only JWs). We should fight such feelings so that we do not deprive ourselves of the comfort and assistance that fellow believers can offer.
Translation: Don?t miss the meetings because you are depressed.The Bible warns us: "One isolating himself will seek his own selfish longing; against all practical wisdom he will break forth." (Proverbs 18:1)Our brothers and sisters are an expression of God?s care for us.
If that is the case, God doesn?t care much for me based on the hateful treatment I have received.If we recognize that loving provision, we will find relief in times of distress.
Translation: Your problems stem from low meeting attendance.Maintain a Positive Attitude
Paragraph 19When discouragement and sadness set in, it is easy to entertain negative thoughts. For instance, when experiencing adversity, some may begin to question their own spirituality, concluding their hardship is a sign of God?s disapproval. Remember, though, Jehovah does not try anyone with "evil things." (James 1:13)
Actually it is the "false comforters" at the KH that doubt your spirituality when adversity means you miss meetings and spend less time in the door to door work."Not out of his own heart has [God? afflicted or does he grieve the sons of men," says the Bible. (Lamentations 3:33) On the contrary, Jehovah is deeply saddened when his servants suffer.?Isaiah 63:8,9; Zechariah 2:8.
Paragraph 20Jehovah is "the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort." (2 Corinthians 1:3) He cares for us, and he will exalt us in due time. (1 Peter 5:6,7) A constant awareness of God?s affection for us will help us to maintain a positive attitude even to rejoice.w01 5/1 p. 12 Be Joyful With the Happy God ***Look again at your congregation. You may see faithful widows or widowers who are "never missing" from the meetings. (Luke 2:37) Do they get lonely at times? Of course. They sorely miss their mates! But they keep busy in Jehovah?s service and take a personal interest in others. Their stable, positive attitude adds to the joy of the congregationJames wrote: "Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you meet with various trials." (James 1:2) Why? He answers: "Because on becoming approved he will receive the crown of life, which Jehovah promised to those who continue loving him.?James 1:12.
Paragraph 21As Jesus warned us in the world we will have tribulation. (John 16:33)
Reality check: from your fellow JWs?But the Bible promises that no "tribulation or distress or persecution or hunger or nakedness or danger" will separate us from Jehovah?s love and the love of his Son (finally Jesus gets a mention). (Romans 8:35,39) How comforting it is to know that any distress we face is temporary! (126 years since WT started warning) In the meantime, while we await the end of human suffering (and the end of 6 billion people including little babies), our loving Father, Jehovah, watches over us. If we run to him for protection (run to the organization), he will prove to be "a secure height for anyone crushed, a secure height in times of distress.?Psalm 9:9. Concluding Comments
This is the second article in a trio. "Tired But Not Tiring Out" is next Sunday?s article. Do you see a pattern?
"surrounded by negative forces"
"nonessentials can complicate"
"preoccupation with prominence, money, entertainment, travel for pleasure"
"eliminate some of their hobbies"
The trend is low meeting attendance and lower hours. What about your area? What about you?
"Good works that we have already done are indelibly recorded in God?s memory"
Good works = salvation per the WTS.