Comments on today’s text

Thursday 28-Jan-2015

I found the text for today wonderfully encouraging. The comments had this to share:

Even though we may lack self-confidence, Jehovah can help us to go beyond our perceived limits and reach goals that we would not have imagined. Just as an instructor watches an inexperienced rock climber attentively in order to help him find the best handholds, Jehovah is willing to guide us as we make spiritual advancement. Jehovah might also use fellow believers to help us reach our full potential.

Despite what others see or think, if a person believes he is worthless or useless or faulty or unskilled or stupid or lame or in any way less than normal or even perfect, they’re unable to achieve their potential, will be frustrated and ultimately unhappy. This is something Jehovah knows, acknowledges and is telling us he will or already has addressed. I recall a brother who I felt was a fantastic speaker and teacher, who was warm and loving and quite accomplished, only to learn that he felt anything but. He felt inadequate and struggled with feelings of worthlessness. The irony is that I too felt the exact same way while others looked at me as one who was a fantastic speaker and teacher, wam and loving and quite accomplished. It didn’t matter what others saw or thought. Nor did the reality matter – that we both were capable brothers. All that mattered is what our internal feelings told us, which were a distortion of the truth.

While the scriptures encourage us not to think more of ourselves then we ought, this doesn’t mean that we are to think nothing of ourselves, or view ourselves in a twisted or distorted way. Yet, even as we struggle to look at ourselves objectively, as were ally are, our imperfect flesh sees an image not unlike that of a carnival house of mirrors where one sees themselves too tall and thin or too short and fat, the details of our face a mishmash of features like that of a caricature drawing.

The problem is our imperfect flesh. Through no fault of our own e each carry the burden of the inheritance left to us by our first human parents. And even though this is all we’ve ever known, we were created in such a way as to sense that this is not normal. Surrounded by a system designed to distract us and reinforce a lie that this is our reality, we struggle to make sense of what we have been lead to believe is real and wonder why we are unhappy.

This, in itself is an interesting premise, for it highlights an idea that we entertain ourselves with but never actually realise how true it is. That idea is that we are living in a fantasy world, a made up, fabricated system designed and controlled by Satan. Like various stories that tell of people living is a world that isn’t real, we too are faced with like challenges and obstacles, the worst being that we’ll forget that this is not the real life. For this reason alone we need to read and think deeply on God’s word so that we remain mindful of what is real and what is fake.

The feeling we have feel real, just as real as the world around us. But the feelings we have may actually be just as twisted and distorted as this wicked system. How can we know? By comparing our thoughts with God’s thoughts. Self analysis. And the comments today are encouraging as they serve to remind us that we are valuable and worthy, capable and qualified, important and loved by the one who matters most…Jehovah.  

Who controls your life?

Friday. 29-Jan-2016Despite what we might think, we all are influenced and effected by others, to varying degrees. But to what extent we allow ourselves to be impacted or even controlled might surprise us. For example, consider how you might choose to dress after hearing the weather forecast for the day, or what foods you might choose to eat after watching a program on fast foods. When you look at the things you purchase, how much of an effect did advertisements have on your choices?

Yet, we would still consider ourselves in control over our lives and refute the claim that someone is controlling us. But, let’s take another look. Are the choices you make in life influenced by the ruler of the world or by Jehovah? For example, Satan would have us believe that we can do what feels right, while Jehovah says we must think deeply about things and make meaningful and deliberate decisions in life. Satan promotes procrastination, allowing others to make our decisions for us while Jehovah says that we reap what we sow – we are responsible for our own life choices.

Regardless of the words we speak, our actions reveal who our God is and who controls our life.

So what I’d we find that we are being influenced by the ruler of this system, what then? We don’t give up. We don’t make excuses. Instead, we accept responsibility and start making changes in our THINKING. Yes, the problem lies in the way we think. Even though our hearts may love the truth and the kingdom message, our minds need to understand , otherwise why would we be instructed to ‘take in knowledge’ or ‘get to know’ Jehovah? Because our minds play a role in serving Jehovah.

Just because we are too old to be tempted by immorality or drugs or drink do we think that Satan doesn’t have tricks up his sleeve reserved just for old ones? One of the many ‘traps’ Satan has, which work especially well on older ones is: discouragement. As we get older we find we can’t do what we once did. We can’t hold to the standard we once did. We look around and it seems that everyone and everything is a disappointment, even life itself, and we might feel as though we wished it was all over for us. And without realizing it, we have taken a step into the trap of the bird catcher.

Have we made this a matter of prayer to Jehovah – not once a week or once a day in prayer but every single day.

Friday, 8-Jan-2015 Gifts

‘God’s gift of a woman was unique. What an amazing gift God gave the first human couple.’

These words, found in the Watchtower comments of today’s’ text, remind us of something we may not fully recognize or appreciate – that Jehovah is a gift giver. Jehovah enjoys giving gifts and gives only the best of gifts. Of course the greatest gift God has given us, besides our lives, is the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus, who by the way is the second greatest giver of gifts to man.

From what I could find, the word ‘gift’ comes from the thought of ‘something that is given’. There are various reasons and motives why something would be given to another person, but the greatest reason is for no other reason than love. While the world recently experienced its yearly celebration of exchanging gifts and gift giving, I was reminded of what my father told me as a young child growing up. My father said, “We don’t need the calendar to give us a reason to give a gift, and we don’t need to give a gift because someone has given us a gift. We can give a gift whenever our heart moves us to give, and for no other reason then because.”

It’s a terrible feeling to feel obligated to give a gift, at odds as even what to give someone who has given us a gift. It is equally confusing how to respond when given a gift that we neither want nor appreciate (my thoughts turn to the story of the White Elephant). But when gifts are given out of a pure motive (love) and not expected to reciprocated, this is when the example Jehovah set is truly being imitated, for who of us can ever repay Jehovah for the gifts He has given us?

When Jehovah gave Adam the gift of a woman, Jehovah hoped that Adam would appreciate and cherish this very personal gift. And did Jehovah expect a gift in return. No. Even Adams obedience wasn’t expected as a result of this gift. Instead, obedience was connected with receiving blessings from Jehovah, as well as providing man and woman a means to demonstrate their acknowledgment that Jehovah had the right to govern and rule. Additionally, only by mankind being obedient would Jehovah accomplish His purpose for them, which is an interesting thought because instead of working to accomplish His purpose alone, Jehovah chose to allow Jesus, the angles and mankind to work alongside Him to accomplish the purpose of all of our very existence. That in itself is another gift from God to us.

What has Jehovah given you? What gift from the Creator do you cherish? Can you list the various gifts you have received from the Most High of the universe? How does one go about expressing their gratitude and appreciation for these gifts, which we can never repay and aren’t expected to? In the scriptures, we find Abel, Noah and other who followed, offering to Jehovah a burnt sacrifice of a lamb on an altar. Because this is what the faithful men of old did and were favored by God, does this mean we should do it too? What can we do today to demonstrate of gratitude and appreciation to Jehovah? Well, ultimately, what does Jehovah want from man? What did Jehovah want from Adam and Eve? What did Jesus give God that made his sacrificial death meaningful?

Obedience. The only gift we can give to Jehovah is the single thing only you can give Him – your obedience. Obedience in this case involves maintaining ones integrity to God, having absolute confidence in Jehovah, giving Him our allegiance and putting our complete faith in Him. Jehovah doesn’t expect us to be perfect and knows that we will mess up and fall short of His expectations. But another gift Jehovah extends is loving forgiveness, which enables Him to see beyond our failings and see what we can be after the effects of the ransom sacrifice have been extended on us, as individuals. That in itself is gift enough to make us want to try to give Jehovah our best, and extend forgiveness to others.

It’s clear that Jehovah loves mankind, and when we take the time to meditate on the marvelous gifts God has given us it should stir our hearts to cherish these gifts, including one of the greatest gifts we’ve been given – our lives.

Thursday 7-Jan-2016

While considering the text for today, 2 things stirred my imagination  –

  •    That this group of men, who at one time had been found faithful, were now in fact opposes of true worship despite the fact that they didn’t see it that way. This is a scary thought.

 

  •    Fire came out from Jehovah and consumed them. While an obvious miracle, what exactly happened? They were told to assemble before Jehovah so evidently there was a place which represented the presence of the Most High. (This aspect isn’t as fascinating to me as the previous point).

Point 1 – At the start of Numbers 16 the names of certain man are mentioned, and these men are described as being Chieftains, prominent men. Today we would perhaps view them as elders or older men, the type that would have oversight over others and expected to take the lead. Granted, this was at the very beginning of the establishing of the nation of Israel as Gods people and many of the arrangements we have come to learn about and understand weren’t actually in place yet, but the point is that these men had been respectable and honored men among the people.

I do wonder though to what degree were their actions a direct result of their cultural background. They had been born and grew up in Egypt, and had resided as a slaves there for 400 years, so all they knew, all they could relate to was from that place. The truth is they were all ‘brothers’ related to one another after Joseph had his father and brothers relocate to Egypt during the famine. Yet Jehovah was now changing everything, and among the things that He was establishing, for the first time ever, was the priesthood arrangement. Jehovah had appointed Moses as the official ‘leader’ and spokesman, representing both the nation and Jehovah. Now He was appointing those who would take the lead in worship and sacred service. Yet this specific group of men, listed there in the book of Numbers, were offended because they mistakenly believed that they were being overlooked, and felt slighted, insulted. They were in a hurry to take offense. What’s interesting is that this group of men were actually guilty of doing what they were accusing Moses and Aaron of doing, pushing ahead with what they wanted to do. And this despite having the presence of Jehovah in their midst. Convinced that they were in the right they did the unthinkable, thoroughly convinced that they would be vindicated…or were they simply ignoring the fact that Jehovah was watching? Was Jehovah not REAL to them? Why weren’t they afraid to bully their way past Moses? Had they been influenced by what they had experienced in Egypt?

Clearly these men were viewing matters from a human, fleshy perspective. Their motives weren’t as pure as they would have had others believe. They didn’t like the thought of submissively adhering to the directions of this Moses and his older brother, and it is easy to see things from their stand point. Quite likely these men had been the key decision makers back in Egypt. And, while it would have been understandably easy to stand by and watch from the sidelines as Moses delivered the nation from bondage in Egypt, now that they were delivered why did they need Moses anymore, they no doubt reasoned. (NOTE: If Moses had failed, their lack of being tied to Moses would have prevented Pharaoh from holding them responsible as conspirators with Moses). In their minds they saw things returning to what they knew in Egypt, where they were the chieftains and prominent men.

Today we all live in this system that is quite similar to Egypt. At the same time there are ones within Jehovah’s earthly organization that God is clearly using to lead His people out from this system to a promised new world, among them the Governing Body. Yet there have been individuals and groups of people who have accused those taking the lead of being out of touch, being sheltered from the real world and having no idea what it’s like to live ‘as everybody else does’, in a world where people have mortgages and bills and employers, etc… What they fail to recognize is that the very things that are listed as aspects of the real world are in reality products of this system, which has been specifically designed to be distracting and undermine ones faith, the designer: the ruler of the world, Satan. For the record, members of the Governing Body, as well as others who have been appointed to take the lead, do deal with the same challenges we all face as imperfect humans living in this system – sickness and old age, managing expenses with income, anxieties of life and so on. While they don’t perhaps work for an earthly employer, this is their choice, and at any time events can change that can cause them to sacrifice their sacred service, such as a pregnancy or marriage, serious illness, etc…The reality is that ones who are critical of those who are taking the lead are in fact viewing matters from a human, fleshly perspective and not from Jehovah’s vantage point, which brings up another point – Jehovah’s vantage point.

Unlike anything in the physical world, Jehovah’s vantage point can be viewed from any locale, even while in solitary confinement, because it takes place within the mind and not with any physical eyes. Binoculars or telescopes aren’t needed. What is needed is a measure of scriptural understanding and a proper motive. Armed with these two things, anyone can look at anything from Jehovah’s vantage point. Granted, the view may not be as clear now as will be later, and it may vary slightly from person to person depending on their level of spiritual maturity. But regardless of these very minor differences, what they see is vastly different than what people see when they look at the same thing thru fleshly eyes. An example of this is Abraham who, with eyes of faith, saw the promise of his seed, which hadn’t even been born yet, becoming a huge nation and blessings of his seed extending to the entire earth for all mankind. While Abraham didn’t really understand what he was ‘looking’ at, it was as real to him as standing on the edge of a precipice and looking down and knowing what will happen if ones takes a single step forward. In both cases the evidence is clear.

Point 2 – Fire came out from Jehovah and consumed them.

While this was an obvious miracle, what exactly happened? They were told to assemble before Jehovah, so evidently there was a place everyone was aware of that represented the presence of the Most High, and it was at that place Moses and Arron and the older men were to gather.

This is worth researching.