Comments You Will Not Hear at the October 24, 2004 WT Study (September 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
"GO ON ACQUIRING POWER IN THE LORD"
"Go on acquiring power in the Lord and in the mightiness of his strength."?Ephesians 6:10
Again this week?s article indicates that the WTS is concerned about the number of members who are not attending meetings. Materialism, economic problems, apostate and worldly thinking are taking their toll according to the WTS. More likely, it is the hypocrisy of the organization and those in charge. How often can you tell JWs that the end is soon, very soon, very soon now. It was been 125 years that the WTS has said the end was coming in 1914, 1915, 1925, 1975, 1984, 1994. How long have you been waiting?
START OF ARTICLE
Some 3,000 years ago, two combatants faced each other between two opposing armies on the field of battle. The younger one was a shepherd boy named David. Before him stood Goliath, a man of unusual strength and stature. His coat of mail weighed about 125 pounds, and he carried a massive spear and a large sword. David wore no armor at all, and his only weapon was a sling. The Philistine giant Goliath felt insulted that his Israelite challenger was just a boy. (1 Samuel 17:42-44, citation) To the onlookers on both sides, the outcome must have seemed a foregone conclusion. But the mighty do not always win the battle. (Ecclesiastes 9:11, citation) David proved victorious because he fought in Jehovah?s strength. "To Jehovah belongs the battle," he said. The Bible record noes that "David, with a sling and a stone, proved stronger than the Philistine."?1 Samuel 17:47,50, snippet.
Who do you think the WTS feels David represents? Goliath? The two armies?
Christians(meaning only JWs) do not engage in physical warfare.
But they do engage in this:
There exists the one speaking thoughtlessly as with the stabs of a sword,
Although they are peaceable with all men, they do fight a spiritual battle against very power opponents. (Romans 12:18, citation) In the final chapter of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul described a fight in which every Christian (only JWs) is involved. He wrote: "We have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.?Ephesians 6:12, citation.
w9711/1 p. 5 World Unity?How Will It Come About? ***
True, some national governments have had a measure of success in fighting injustice and oppression within their territorial borders and, to some extent, on an international scale.They have established a measure of international unity from time to time. But even when some have united to act against an aggressor nation, the suspicion often lingers that they acted out of self-interest rather than genuine altruism.
Those "wicked spirit forces" are Satan and the demons who desire to destroy our relationship with Jehovah God (not our relationship with Jesus?).
Are JWs individual targets of the Devil? Is that why many JWs think the bad things that happen to them are brought directly by Satan?
Since they are much stronger than we are, we find ourselves in a situation similar to that of David, and we cannot succeed unless we depend on God for strength.
The WTS teaches that God can only be found in their organization?.
Indeed, Paul urges us to "go on acquiring power in the Lord and in the mightiness of his strength." (Ephesians 6:10, snippet) After giving that counsel, the apostle describes the spiritual provisions and the Christian qualities that enable us to come off victorious.?Ephesians 6:11-17, citation.
Let us now analyze what the Scriptures (WT publications) say about the strengths and tactics of our enemy. Then we will consider the defensive strategy we must employ in order to protect ourselves. If we follow Jehovah?s instructions (the WTS instructions), we can be confident that our enemies will not prevail against us.
A Wrestling Against Wicked Spirit Forces
Paul explains that we "have a wrestling?against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places." The principal wicked spirit is, of course, Satan the Devil, "the ruler of the demons." (Matthew 12:24-26, snippet) The Bible portrays our fight as "a wrestling," or a hand-to-hand struggle. In the wrestling matches of ancient Greece, each participant tried to unbalance his opponent in order to throw him to the ground. Likewise, the Devil wants us to lose our spiritual balance. How can he make us do this?
The Devil may act like a serpent, a roaring lion, or even an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:3,14; 1 Peter 5:8, citations)
How does the Devil act like a serpent today? Perhaps that is where the Smurf doll that moves by itself comes from.http://www.freeminds.org/stories/urbanlore.htm
He can use human agents (apostates) to persecute or discourage us. (Revelation 2:10, citation)
Since Satan has the whole world at his disposal, he can exploit its desires and attractions in order to ensnare us. (2 Timothy 2:26; 1 John 2:16; 5:19, citations)
Yet, I know JWs that think the magic in LOTR was okay whereas it is bad in Harry Potter because in LOTR the magic weavers were nonhumans (I guess they forgot about the 2 main wizards).
He can employ worldly or apostate thinking to mislead us, just as he deceived Eve.?1 Timothy 2:14, citation.
w962/1 p. 24 Trust in Jehovah and His Word ***
It is of interest that many who have become victims of apostasy got started in the wrong direction by first complaining about how they felt they were being treated in Jehovah?s organization. (Jude 16) Finding fault with beliefs came later.
Although the weapons and the power of Satan and his demons may seem overwhelming, they have their limitations. These wicked spirits cannot force us to do evil things that displease our heavenly Father (the organization.) We are free moral agents (free to do what the WTS tells us we can), and we have control over our thoughts and actions. Moreover, we do not fight alone. What was true in the time of Elisha (OT) is true in our day: "There are more who are with us than those who are with them." (2 Kings 6:16, snippet) The Bible assures us that if we subject ourselves to God and oppose the Devil, he will flee from us.?James 4:7 (citation)
Aware of Satan?s Designs
We are not ignorant of Satan?s designs because the Scriptures (WT publications) reveal his basic tactics. (2 Corinthians 2:11, citation) Against the righteous man Job, the Devil used
Severe economic problems,
The death of loved ones (was that sons/daughters dying for the father)
(Think about it, why did God tell Satan not to kill Job but allowed him to kill all his children?)
Unfounded criticism from false friends.
Job became depressed and felt that God had abandoned him. (Job 10:1,2, citation) Although Satan may not directly cause these problems today, such hardships do affect many Christians (JWs), and the Devil can use them to use them to his advantage. (JWs can use them to their advantage to get people to study and become a JW).
Kingdom Ministry 12/01 p. 8 Blessings From Showing Appreciation forJehovah?s Love?Part 2 ***
We could write letters, giving a brief witness by mail to individuals we know, those who have lost loved ones in death
Kingdom Ministry8/98 p. 8 Use Brochures to Appeal to Both Mind and Heart ***
WhenSomeone You Love Dies. Many funeral directors appreciate having copies of this brochure on hand for bereaved families. Publishers who witness in cemeteries use this brochure to comfort mourners. Two sisters approached a family of seven who were praying at a grave. As a result of sharing the comforting message from the brochure, a Bible study was started with the mother the next day!
Spiritual dangers have proliferated in this time of the end (not proven or referenced in this article). We live in a world where material pursuits override spiritual goals. The media (that bad old media again) constantly portray illicit sex as a source of happiness rather than heartache. And the majority (did they do a survey?) have become ""lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God." (2 Timothy 3:1-5, citation) This way of thinking can threaten our spiritual balance unless we "put up a hard fight for the faith."?Jude 3 (snippet)
w0312/15 pp. 23-24 Prove Yourself Ready for Jehovah?s Day ***
Anxiety may also be brought on by materialistic pursuits. For example, some complicate their lives by living beyond their means. Others have been enticed by get-rich-quick schemes and risky financial investments. For others, secular education as a means to attain financial success becomes a snare. Granted, a certain level of schooling may be useful to obtain employment. However, the truth is that in the time-consuming pursuit of obtaining advanced education, some have harmed themselves spiritually.
One of Satan?s most successful ploys is that of getting us absorbed in this world and its materilistic pursuits. In his illustration of the sower, Jesus warned that in some cases "the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word (of the Kingdom)." (Matthew 13:18, 22, snippet) The Greek word here rendered "choke" means "strangle completely."
In days gone by the WTS would have put the Greek word?do you know what it is?
In tropical forests, one may find the strangler fig. It grows slowly as it surrounds the trunk of a host tree. Little by little, the vine envelops its host with roots that get stronger and stronger. The strangler fig?s multiple roots eventually absorb most of the nutrients in the soil at the base of the tree, while its canopy deprives its host of light. Finally, the host dies.
In a similar way, the anxieties of this system and the quest for riches and a comfortable life-style can gradually absorb more and more of our time and energy.
w942/15 pp. 23-24 Keep Your Distance When Danger Threatens ***
Some brothers have immersed themselves in commercial enterprises at the cost of their families, their health, and their theocratic responsibilities. Sometimes the lure is the more comfortable life-style that money can bring. At other times it is the challenge of proving the mettle of their business acumen. Some might reason that their motive is to provide work for other brothers or to be able to contribute more generously in behalf of the worldwide work. Perhaps they think that when the business is functioning well, they will have much more time to devote to Kingdom interests.
With our attention diverted to the things of the world, we might easily neglect personal Bible study (not by itself of course but only with the WTS publications) and make it a custom to miss Christian meetings, thus being cut off from spiritual nourishment. Materialistic goals now replace spiritual pursuits, and we finally become easy prey for Satan.
Yes, according to the WTS there is only one channel to spiritual nourishment and it is not the Bible.
w9410/1 p. 8 The Bible?A Book Meant to Be Understood ***
CHANNELTO UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE
Even as Bible prophecy pointed forward to the Messiah, it also directs us to the close-knit body of anointed Christian Witnesses that now serve as the faithful and discreet slave. It helps us to understand the Word of God. All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the "greatly diversified wisdom of God" can become known only through Jehovah?s channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave.?John 6:68.
We Need to Stand Firm
Paul urged fellow believers to "stand firm against the machinations of the Devil." (Ephesians 6:11, snippet) Of course, we cannot vanquish the Devil and his demons. God has assigned that task to Jesus Christ. (Revelation 20:1,2, snippet) Until Satan is removed, however, we have to "stand firm" so that his attacks do not overwhelm us.
The apostle Peter also emphasized the need to stand firm against Satan. "Keep your senses, be watchful," wrote Peter. "Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone. But take your stand against him, solid in the faith, knowing that the same things in the way of suffering are being accomplished in the entire association of your brothers in the world." (1 Peter 5:8,9, quote) Actually, the support of our spiritual brothers and sisters is cruicial to our standing firm when the Devil attacks like a roaring lion.
What support do you get from the brothers and sisters? Do they say hello, ask how you are and really listen? When was the last time an elder took a few minutes to have a meaningful conversation with you and your children? When your car breaks down, who gives you a ride? If you lost your job, your husband is not paying support and you received an eviction notice; will your book study group come to the rescue? When you are in the hospital, who comes to visit, who sends a card, who comes to help you at home while you recuperate? Is it always the same few people?
If they don?t support you now, can you depend on them to help you in persecution or at the great tribulation?
When a nearby lion roars on the African savanna, antelope may react by running away at top speed until they are out of danger. Elephants, however, provide an example of mutual support. The book Elephants?Gentle Giants of African and Asia explains: "A means of defense that the typical herd of elephants commonly employs is to form a circle of their bodies, with the adults facing outward against the threat and the young animals protected inside the ring." Faced with such a manifestation of strength and support, lions rarely attack even young elephants.
Is that the way it is in your congregation? When you miss a few meetings, do the brothers and sisters visit you to see how they can help? Do they volunteer to help clean your house, get the groceries, bring by your magazines or other publications, read some scriptures with you, give you a hug? Or do they drop by to use the bathroom in service, drink and eat, tell you should be at the meeting, and leave without even doing the dishes?
When threatened by Satan and his demons, we similarly need to stay together, shoulder to shoulder with our brothers who are solid in the faith (translation: at the meetings). Paul acknowledged that certain fellow Christians proved to be "a strengthening aid" to him during his imprisonment in Rome. (Colossians 4:10,11, citation) The Greek word translated "strengthening aid" appears only once in the Christian Scriptures (NT). According to Vine?s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (WT approved), a verbal form of the word (what is it?) signifies medicines which allay irritation." Like soothing ointment, the support of mature worshipers of Jehovah (not Christians?) can alleviate the pain caused by emotional and physical suffering.
What if the emotional and physical suffering is caused by "mature" worshipers of Jehovah?
Encouragement from fellow Christians (only JWs) today can strengthen our resolve to serve God faithfully.
How have you been encouraged? Oh, yes, Sister HaventBeenHereForAwhile, don?t you know you aren?t doing enough? Can you believe that God is truly please with the "dirty penny" you present to him? Don?t you know that God only wants shiny new quarters. No one bothers to even pick up pennies from the sidewalk.
Especially are Christian elders eager to provide spiritual help. (James 5:13-15, citation)
PO: Brother HerBookStudyOverseer, you should call on Sister DiscouragedAgain. Who wants to go with him?
PO looks around as no one volunteers.
Brother Self-EmployedBigBucks: I already went this year. Anyway I have a job out of town this weekend. We?re meeting Brother AlsoBigBucks and his wife at the new resort. We want to try out our new motorboats.
Brother WeaselsOutOfShepherding: I have to visit my mother-in-law (thinking: my wife will handle that while I go to the football game).
Brother ThinksSheIsFaking: She isn?t applying the counsel she received last time. She can?t be too depressed; she went to Six Flags last week, and on a Sunday too.
Aids to faithfulness include regular Bible study and presence at Christian meetings (3 rd mention), assemblies, and conventions (does anyone know the difference between assemblies and conventions? They used to be all called assemblies.) Our own close relationship with God helps us to remain faithful to him. Indeed, whether we are eating, drinking, or doing anything else, we should want to do all things for God?s glory. (1 Corinthians 10:31, citation, (how many JWs do you think look up these scriptures and comment on them?) Naturally, prayerful reliance on Jehovah (or the WTS?) is essential in order to continue in a course that pleases him (or the WTS?).?Psalm 37:5, citation.
Sometimes Satan?s attacks come when we do not feel spiritually strong. A lion pounces upon a weakened animal.
Family problems, economic hardship, or illness can sap our spiritual strength.But let us not give up in doing what is pleasing to God (or the WTS?), for Paul said: "When I am weak, then I am powerful." (2 Corinthians 12:10; Galatians 6:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:13, snippet, citation) What did he mean? He meant that the power of God can make up for our human weaknesses, proved we turn to Jehovah for strength. David?s victory over Goliath shows that God can and does strengthen his people. Present-day Witnesses of Jehovah (Christians?) can testify that in times of extreme crisis, they have felt the strengthening hand of God.?Daniel 10:19, citation. Paragraph 19 Regarding the support that God had given them, one married couple wrote: "Over the years, we have served Jehovah (not Jesus?) as husband and wife and enjoyed many blessings and have come to know many wonderful people. We have also been trained and strengthened by Jehovah to endure hardships successfully. Like Job, we did not always understand why things happened as they did, but we did know that Jehovah was always there to help us." God was there, but were the brothers and sisters? Paragraph 20 Jehovah?s hand is not too short (buzz phrase) to support and strengthen his faithful people. (Isaiah 59:1, citation) The psalmist David sang: "Jehovah is giving support to all who are falling, and is raising up all who are bowed down." (Psalm 145:14, snippet) Indeed, our heavenly Father "daily carries the load for us" and supplies what we really need.?Psalm 68:19, snippet. I thought it was Jesus who carried the load with us? Come to me, all YOU who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh YOU. 29 Take my yoke upon YOU and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and YOU will find refreshment for YOUR souls. 30 For my yoke is kindly and my load is light." MATTHEW 11:28-30We Need "the Complete Suit of Armor From God"Paragraphs 21-23 Paragraph 21 We have considered some of Satan?s methods and seen the need to stand firm in the face of his attacks. Now we must consider another vital provision for making a successful defense of our faith. Twice in his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul mentioned an essential factor in standing firm against Satan?s machinations and succeeding in our wrestling against wicked spirit forces. Paul wrote: "Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil?Take up the complete suit of armor from God, that you may be able to resist in the wicked day and, after you have done all things thoroughly, to stand firm.?Ephesians 6:11,13, snippet. Paragraph 22 Yes, we need to wear "the complete suit of armor from God." When Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, he was guarded by a Roman soldier, who may at times have worn a complete suit of armor. However, it was by divine inspiration that the apostle was moved to discuss the spiritual armor vitally needed by every servant of Jehovah (follower of Jesus Christ?). Paragraph 23 This God-given armor includes qualities that a Christian (only JWs) must have as well as spiritual provisions made by Jehovah (Jesus?). In the following article, we will examine each piece of spiritual armor. This will enable us to determine what extent we are equipped for our spiritual warfare. At the same time, we will see how the wonderful example of Jesus Christ helps us to succeed in resisting Satan the Devil. What are those spiritual provisions? What is spiritual warfare; is it the same as theocratic warfare? Concluding Comments
So the WTS takes no responsibility for the drop off in attendance or the slow down in "spiritual" activities. The brothers and sisters are just too greedy wanting a "comfortable" lifestyle.
They don?t rely on God. Well, for the last 40 years, they have taught their members they must rely on the organization.w85 6/1 p. 20 Walk With Confidence in Jehovah?s Leadership ***To turn away from Jehovah and his organization, to spurn the direction of "the faithful and discreet slave," and to rely simply on personal Bible reading and interpretation is to become like a solitary tree in a parched land. w60 12/15 p. 746 Pursuing My Purpose in Life *** How necessary it is to rely upon the leading of Jehovah through his organization! Kingdom Ministry 4/93 p. 3 "To the House of Jehovah Let Us Go" *** If we can help interested ones develop a high regard for the literature, recognizing it as a source of lifesaving instruction, they will be far more likely to read and apply its message than to discard it quickly. We should always present and use this literature in a way that cultivates respect for it. This teaches new ones to appreciate the organization and to rely upon its provisions.Blondie