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About 3,500 Jehovah's Witnesses gather in Billings for 3-day regional convention


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About 3,500 Jehovah's Witnesses will meet in Billings Friday through Sunday at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark for their annual regional convention.

Members come from the eastern half of Montana, western North and South Dakota and northern Wyoming, said media spokesman Joe Kurkowski. The public is also invited to attend any of the sessions, he said.

"There are no collections taken and it's a completely free event," Kurkowski said.

The morning session begins at 9:20 a.m. each day. The afternoon sessions start at 1:25 p.m. on Friday and at 1:35 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Similar conventions are held throughout the United States and around the world between May and September, Kurkowski said. The theme this year at all the conventions is "Be Courageous."

For more information, go online to www.jw.org

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      FARGO — About 4,000 Jehovah's Witnesses will be in Fargo this weekend for a massive three-day regional convention at Scheels Arena.
      The "Be Courageous!" 2018 convention here beginning Friday, June 29, through Sunday, July 1, is one of many around the country and globe, including Hungary, Japan and Australia.
      Convention spokesperson Stephen Mostad, of Blackduck, Minn., said the convention for the Dakotas and Minnesota has been held at Fargo's Scheels Arena since 2012 with the exception of 2015, when it was held in Milwaukee.
      Mostad said Fargo is a central location for the 55 congregations in the tri-state area that flock here.
      Each summer, he said a little more than 500 conventions are held throughout the U.S., where Jehovah's Witnesses make up less than 1 percent of the population. Worldwide, there are nearly 8.5 million Jehovah's Witnesses, though they are banned in some countries like Russia.
      The Pew Research Center came out with a study in 2016 following the death of Minnesota's superstar musician Prince, who became part of the Christian religion as an adult.
      Other famous members of this denomination include Michael and Janet Jackson, athletes Venus and Serena Williams and Larry Graham of Sly and The Family Stone. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was raised a Jehovah's Witness, but left the religion as an adult, as did musicians Patti Smith and Donald Glover.
      Jehovah's Witnesses are most known for door-knocking and prophesying with pamphlets. They don't serve in the military or celebrate birthdays and holidays. Mostad said these guidelines are from their interpretations of the first-century model of the Bible that regulate personal decisions.
      Conventions are a "spiritual highlight" for all ages, Mostad said.
      "Its encouragement. We enjoy being together," he said. "We find in the world we live in experiencing challenges and tragedy, it's nice to find a little oasis where you can be spiritually refreshed."
      The free, public event will consist of presentations on family life and prophecies with a feature film on Sunday. Programming starts each day around 9:20 a.m. and lasts until 5 p.m. On Sunday, programming ends at 4 p.m.
      More information about the convention is available at www.jw.org.org.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
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      Thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses will be in Barrie for their annual summer convention this weekend.
      Dozens of volunteers were busy on Thursday preparing the Barrie Molson Centre for this weekendÂ’s three-day gathering. From those building the stage and assembling video screens to crews cleaning the arena top to bottom to make it spick and span, it was a hive of activity.
      The convention will draw people from several towns in the area, from Collingwood to Shelburne, Barrie to Aurora and north up to Bracebridge.
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      “Our conventions are three wonderful days in a spiritual paradise,” he said. “Family groups, young people, couples and our dear older ones all eagerly attend.
      “The Bible-based program is the primary reason for the delegates to be there,” Brown added. “Nonetheless, the opportunity to associate with our brothers and sisters before and after the sessions is an unmistakable highlight.”
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      FAIRFIELD, CA—On July 28, 2017, Tagalog circuit in Northern California of Jehovah’s Witnesses will begin their three-day annual conventions with the theme “Don’t Give Up!” The program will be held in 2020 Walters Road, Fairfield CA. As in years past, the Witnesses are participating in a global campaign to personally invite the general public to attend.Admission to each event is free and no collections are taken. “Nearly thirteen million persons attended our conventions last year worldwide,” states David A. Semonian, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses at their world headquarters in Warwick, New York. “We hope to have an even larger audience this year.” Angelito Roque, the Tagalog’s local circuit convention spokesman, has estimated 1,900 Filipino to attend this years’ convention which is similar to last years’ attendance.The program is divided into 52 parts and will be presented in a variety of formats, including brief discourses, interviews, and short videos. Additionally, one segment of a three-part feature film entitled Remember the Wife of Lot will be shown each afternoon. Media outlets may contact Mr. Roque for reporters planning to cover the convention.“Challenges in life can rob us of peace and even cause some to think about giving up,” says Mr. Semonian. “Our convention this year will benefit both Witnesses and non-Witnesses because it promises to empower individuals not only to keep enduring but also to cope with challenges productively.”For more information, please go to
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. then click the “Convention” section under the “About Us” heading. Regional Media Contact: Angelito Roque, telephone: (408)238-1063

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    • Guest Nicole
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      Cancer Does Not Stop Local Jehovah's Witness Couple

      Leslie and Jim Donigan attend the Jehovah's Witnesses conference today at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence, Missouri. (Mike Sherry | Flatland)
      At happy moments, Jim and Leslie Donigan often find themselves dancing to “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars,” the Andy Williams hit that has been their song since they first met at a pizza joint in Mission, Kansas, decades ago.
      One of those dance-worthy occasions took place late last year, at the end of a long medical journey. The memory remains strong, even though they have hit a recent bump in the road.
      As Jehovah’s Witnesses, they plan to attend the Midwest convention that runs today through Sunday at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence, Missouri. Organizers believe few attendees embody this year’s theme, “Don’t Give Up,” more than the Donigans, who are both 71 years old and live in Kansas City. About 5,000 people are expected to attend, said Craig Cochran, the convention’s media services coordinator.
      The ability to be part of a global experience of faith is important to the Donigans, as they once again face medical uncertainty. “It’s like a spiritual family reunion,” Jim said.
      A website for the religion says there are more than 8.3 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in 240 countries. According to the Pew Research Center, fewer than 1 percent of American adults are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

      “Don’t Give Up” is the them of this year’s Jehovah’s Witness conference. (Mike Sherry | Flatland)
      Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in God, who is called Jehovah.  As Christians, they believe in heaven and salvation, but they do not believe in hell or eternal suffering.
      Witnesses, as followers are called, believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God. However, they recognize some parts are symbolic and do not believe all parts of the Bible are to be understood literally.
      Jehovah’s Witnesses also do not believe in blood transfusions, based upon their reading of passages in both the Old and New testaments. They cite Genesis 9:4, for example, where God says, “Only flesh with its soul — its blood — you must not eat.”
      No ‘Cowards in the Foxhole’
      On Oct. 1, 2004, Leslie fainted. That was abnormal for her, a runner who lives a healthy lifestyle.
      Doctors could not pinpoint a cause, and later that month they understood why: They found a gastrointestinal stromal tumor, a rare cancer that leaves no blood marker. The tumor was growing on a section of the small intestine and was also threatening her pancreas.
      The belief about blood transfusions was an obvious complication when it came to surgery.
      So, the Donigans worked through a Jehovah’s Witnesses group in Brooklyn to find Dr. Marvin Romsdahl, a surgeon at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, who performed a modified version of a common surgery to remove pancreatic tumors. The modified version did not require a transfusion.
      The night before the surgery, the anesthesiologist backed out because of the risks of doing surgery without blood transfusions. “That’s good,” Jim told Romsdahl. “We don’t need any cowards in the foxhole.”
      The surgery lasted 13.5 hours, but it was successful.
      Yet further treatment included a prescription for the chemotherapy pill Gleevec. The cost of the therapy, which Leslie said at the time cost $2,500 per month, brought them to the breaking point, even after using Social Security and Medicare.
      “It’s always been more than we could swallow,” Jim said, “and progressively over time, it took everything.”
      More bad news hit in 2008, when Jim lost his banking job during the recession. They had to sell the house they had built nearly four decades before, the same house where they had raised their three children.
      But in one sliver of good news, a neighbor approached them during their garage sale and told them he would buy another house for sale on the block and then rent it to them.
      Things began to look up, as Jim found another job, Leslie qualified for a hardship program that allowed her to take Gleevec for free, and then got off the medication altogether when her cancer went into remission.
      The cancer returned, however, and Leslie must remain on Gleevec for the rest of her life. Now, Gleevec costs $13,000 per month, she said.
      Another Test
      In April 2016, the family was tested again, when Jim started having shortness of breath.
      Their first thought was a heart problem, but the first diagnosis was multiple myeloma, a form of incurable blood cancer. A second opinion was different, but not any better: a form of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which causes tumors to grow in the lymphatic system.
      A PET scan revealed 100 tumors, and Jim started his own costly round of chemotherapy.

      The Donigans vist with their son, Joel, and his wife, Carrie, at the conference. (Mike Sherry | Flatland)
       
      His lymphatic system failed during treatment, causing fluid buildup around his stomach and lungs. Jim suffered malnutrition when draining the fluid removed electrolytes and proteins.
      By October, doctors gave him two months to live. Leslie got it in writing.
      Yet as he sat in the hospital, saying his goodbyes, Jim had a thought: “Why couldn’t we take those fluids from my stomach and put them back into my heart, where they need to be?”
      The question sparked an idea for one of Jim’s doctors, who inserted a shunt normally used to treat cirrhosis. Within two weeks, the fluid buildup was gone.
      On Dec. 27, when he was home filing paperwork, Jim came across the letter telling him he only had two months to live. He did the math, and then they had an “I ain’t dead yet party.”
      At the party, Jim sipped his first glass of wine in a year, and the couple danced once again to their favorite song. The luster remained up until this week, when an infection flared up around the shunt, and the fear of cancer returned.
      This most recent medical challenge has shown Jim and Leslie how important their faith is in preparing them for the troubles that can lie ahead. The convention, and especially its theme, is coming at just the right time to help guide them through this newest trial, Leslie said.
      “No one is shielded from the human experience,” Leslie said. “But personally, we find it better to be prepared to keep these types of relapses in their proper perspective.”
      — Catherine Wheeler is a multimedia intern for Flatland. She is a graduate student studying journalism at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Catherine has a bachelor’s degree in English-Writing from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. She currently lives in Kansas City. You can reach her at cwheeler@kcpt.org

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      An expected audience of around 3,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses and members of the public are beginning to arrive at the Westpoint Arena for their three day annual Exeter Convention.
      This year’s Convention theme is “Don’t Give Up!”
      “Challenges in life can rob us of peace and even cause some to think about giving up,” states David A. Semonian, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses at their world headquarters in Warwick, New York. “Our convention this year will benefit both Witnesses and non-Witnesses because it promises to empower individuals not only to keep enduring but also to cope with challenges productively.”
      Last weekend 3,800 Witnesses and others from Cornwall and South Devon attended their Convention at Westpoint, this weekend it is the turn of delegates from across Somerset, North, and Mid Devon to enjoy the same uplifting program. It is one of 21 such Conventions across the UK, in total the program will be presented in 24 different languages. Last year over 13 million persons attended the Witnesses Conventions worldwide, more are expected to attend this year.
      The program is divided into 52 parts and will be presented in a variety of formats, including brief discourses, interviews, and short videos. Additionally, one segment of a three-part feature film designed to help families will be shown each afternoon. Of special interest will be a discourse especially for the public at 11.20 on Sunday morning entitled “Never Give Up Hope!”, as well as the public Baptism of new believers on Saturday at 11,45 a.m. The program lasts from Friday through to Sunday and begins at 9.20 each morning.
      Admission was free and no collections are taken
      Watch a video about our conventions and see a complete program schedule at jw.org

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    • Guest Nicole
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      Jehovah’s Witnesses from across the region are preparing for their annual convention next month in St. Charles, Missouri.
      A message of persevering with hope over the daily struggles of life is the theme of the two consecutive weekends, July 21 and July 28, at Family Arena in St. Charles.
      “Most would agree that we live in a world of uncertainty so the significance of this event is to show how God supplies endurance to all sorts of people today,” said Bob Valenti, media services overseer for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      The convention features talks and interviews by some of the church’s elders. There will also be guest speakers from Jehovah’s Witnesses’ world headquarters in Warwick, New York.
      Valenti said that what draws most people to the convention is the public discourses Sundays at 11:20 a.m.
      “This will prove to be most encouraging. In addition to the entire event, it will show how individuals and families can enjoy a happy life,” Valenti said. “Our attendees walked away with renewed hope.”
      All sessions are free.
      For more information, go to bit.ly/1oA5CA1 [www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/conventions/].

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Four conventions will be held in Lubbock, Texas for the Jehovah's Witnesses this summer.
      Jehovah's Witnesses from Eastern New Mexico and West Texas will be gathering at the Memorial Civic Center in Lubbock, Texas over the summer for four conventions exploring the theme "Don't Give Up". The group is also extending the invitation to all, regardless of religious affiliation or belief.
      "The theme will be discussed through scriptural presentations, dramatizations of real-life events and recreations of biblical accounts" said event spokesman Robert Sprecher, an elder at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Portales, New Mexico.
      The four three-day conventions will be divided into two Spanish and two English events.  The first of the three-day Spanish conventions will begin Friday, June 16. The second will begin on Friday, July 7.
      The first English convention will begin Friday, August 4, and the second will begin on Friday, August 25. All events will begin at 9:20 a.m.
      There is no admission fee for the events and no collections taken.  The Jehovah's Witnesses are supported by voluntary donations.
      This year the group expects around 10,700 members and interested persons to attend this years conventions.  Last year there were over 430 conventions in 110 cities and 32 languages. Recently, Jehovah's Witnesses were in the news after being labeled an "extremist organization" by Russia. Worldwide there are more than 8,300,000 Witnesses in over 119,000 congregations.
      Fore more information, visit their website at www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/conventions

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      By Guest Nicole
      TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -
      If your weekend plans includes heading downtown, you might want to prepare for a few extra thousand people in the area.The Tucson Convention Center will be packed for the next several weekends because of the Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses annual gatherings.The weekend-long events happen between May and September, with about 245 different conventions in the United States, a spokesmen said. Seven of those regional conventions are held in Tucson at the TCC from June through August.Roughly 6,000 people attended Friday's symposium, along with various talks throughout the morning and afternoon.Jonathan Osego, a convention spokesman, said organizers and visitors are taking advantage of what Tucson has to offer."I live in Tucson so the benefit is it's local for us," he said. "And I know that locally we're going to be staying in motels and eating out during the three days, so I'm sure it helps the economy too."It's quite the amount. Tucson News Now learned that last year, about $2.3 million was contributed to the local economy each weekend. By the end of the summer, totaling up the amount from all seven conventions scheduled at the TCC, the financial impact for Tucson is nearly $16 million.Osego said they have a solid relationship with the convention center."We're really grateful to the management because they make the facilities available, and then Tucson is a great town too. Some of the folks that are here they are coming from all over Arizona, and will be doing so during the seven weeks," he explained.The conventions are open to the public, you won't be charged admission, and no collection will be taken, according to Osego.

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      Jehovah’s Witnesses will hold two weekend annual conventions at the St. Charles Family Arena, 2002 Arena Pkwy, St Charles, MO 63303. The first three-day event begins on Friday, July 21, 2017; the second three-day event begins on Friday, July 28, 2017.
      For detailed information and a program please visit this link:https://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/conventions/
      The 2017 convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses, entitled “Don’t Give Up!”, shows how to enjoy a happy life now and gain a real hope for the future. Featured will be talks, interviews and multimedia so that all in attendance can discover how the Bible and even nature teach lessons about how to endure in today’s world. A highlight of the program, the public Bible discourse on Sunday at 11:20 am, will provide encouragement to: “Never Give Up Hope”. All sessions are free and no collection plates are passed.

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    • By ARchiv@L
      Convention Releases
      View or download the new releases after each day of the convention
      Some updates made to digital publications may not yet appear in the printed editions.
       
       
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      FAIRBANKS — Jehovah’s Witness delegates from Alaska and the Yukon Territory will discuss how to have faith in God, and how to avoid things that can erode faith. A public Bible discourse, “True Faith — What is it, and How is it Shown?” is scheduled for presentation at 1:30 p.m. during the assembly to be held May 6 at the Sullivan Arena, 1600 Gambell St., in Anchorage.
      The semi-annual assembly begins at 9:20 a.m. The public is invited. Admission is free. Assemblies of Jehovah’s Witnesses are supported entirely by voluntary donations.

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      ROCKFORD — Four sports competitions and a religious convention are coming to Rockford this year and next, promising to bolster the local economy to the tune of nearly $735,000, according to the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
      The Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses is returning to the BMO Harris Bank Center this summer after a 10-year hiatus, said John Groh, president and CEO of the Visitors Bureau. That event should drop about $589,500 on the region's shops, hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions.
      "Then they'll go home and tell their friends and family" about Rockford, Groh said during a news conference today. "While they're here, they'll certainly enhance our quality of life and our economy."
      The events are:
      America's Table Tennis Team championships: About 200 will compete May 25-28 at the UW Health Sports Factory. Athletes and their family members will need more than 400 hotel rooms stays and should generate about $76,500 for the region.
       
      American Amateur Baseball Congress World Series: Nine-, 10-, 11- and 13-and-younger leagues from Canada, Puerto Rico and the United States will compete July 21-26. This is the first year for the 9-and-younger leagues. About 5,000 players, coaches and spectators flock to Mercyhealth Sportscore Two in Loves Park, requiring 3,000 hotel room nights and generating about $360,000.
       
      North American Fast Pitch Association Masters Midwest World Series: From Sept. 8-10, about 700 players ages 35-75 will compete at Mercyhealth Sportscore One in Rockford. It will require about 300 hotel rooms and generate $135,000.
       
      Jehovah's Witness convention: July 28-30, Aug. 4-6 and Aug. 11-13. It's expected to draw about 15,000.
       
      2018 USA Ultimate Division III College Championships: About 700 players and about 2,000 spectators will gather May 17-20, 2018, at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two. About 850 hotel room nights and an economic impact of about $162,000 is expected.
      And, on Friday and Saturday, the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation youth wrestling state competition will happen at BMO. Approximately 1,000 10- to 14-year-old wrestlers will compete. Rockford is the longest-running host of the competition.
      "Rockford can continue to expect to have additional tournaments coming to our region," Groh said. "We're projecting anywhere from 60-plus additional tournaments per year (and) conservatively, over the next several years on an annual basis, $15 million in spending by visitors from new tournaments and new customers."
      Tourism and Rockford Park District officials said the tournaments were a big win for the Reclaiming First initiative to bolster sports tourism in town.
      "I always wanted to be somebody who could be a part of making Rockford a better place to live," said John Beck, the 12th Ward alderman who also works for the Rockford Park District. "We've got so many wonderful assets. It's really great that these organizations are recognizing what Rockford has to offer."
      Susan Vela: 815-987-1392; svela@rrstar.com; @susanvela

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      Hello Twyla,
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    • Claud's Lst  »  misette

      Bonjour ma sœur Misette. Comment vas-tu ? J'espère avec l'aide de Jéhovah toute la communauté et especialement toi vont bien. 
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      Bonjour Eric merci pour cet exposé.
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    • Eric Ouellet

      La sagesse est plus précieuse que l’or et la crainte envers Jéhovah est notre salut.
       
      La vraie sagesse de Dieu est un cadeau inestimable, car seul ceux qui obéissent et suivent ces préceptes en recoivent les bienfaits. En Psaume 111:10 déclare ceci: “La crainte de Jéhovah est le commencement de la sagesse.”
      Qu’est-ce que cela veut dire? La sagesse est la capacité d’utiliser efficacement sa connaissance et son intelligence pour résoudre un problème, éviter un danger, atteindre un objectif. Elle sous-entend un bon jugement. Le commencement, la première partie, le fondement de cette sagesse, c’est la crainte de Jéhovah. Pourquoi cela? Bien que toute création est l’œuvre de ses mains et dépend de lui. Il a accordé aux humains le libre arbitre, mais pas la faculté de diriger leurs pas avec succès sans tenir compte de sa direction (Josué 24:15; Jérémie 10:23). Nous ne connaîtrons le succès durable qu’à la condition de bien saisir ces idées fondamentales sur la vie, et de nous y conformer. Si notre connaissance de Jéhovah nous donne la ferme conviction que la volonté divine est promise au succès, et qu’il tiendra sa promesse de récompenser ses fidèles, alors la crainte pieuse nous poussera à agir sagement. — Proverbes 3:21-26; Hébreux 11:6.
      Prenons un exemple: Il y a quelques dizaines d’années, un jeune homme fréquentait l’université de Saskatchewan, au Canada. Au programme de sa formation figurait la biologie, et on lui a enseigné l’évolution. Après avoir été diplômé, il s’est spécialisé dans la physique nucléaire, profitant d’une bourse pour continuer ses études à l’université de Toronto. Au cours de ses études, il a constaté dans la structure des atomes révélaient des témoignages stupéfiants d’un ordre et d’une finalité extraordinaire . Mais personnes ne répondait pas à ces questions: Qui a conçu tout cela? Quand? Et pourquoi? Sans ces réponses, pouvait-il utiliser sagement ses connaissances dans un monde remplis interrogations ? Qu’est-ce qui le guiderait? Le nationalisme? Le désir de gratifications matérielles? Avait-il acquis la vraie sagesse?
      Peu après avoir été diplômé, cet homme ainsi que sa femme se sont mis à étudier la Bible avec les Témoins de Jéhovah. Dans la Parole de Dieu, ils ont peu à peu trouvé les réponses qui leur manquaient. Ils ont appris à connaître le Créateur, Jéhovah Dieu. En étudiant ce qui est arrivé à Moïse à la mer Rouge, à Daniel et à ses compagnons à Babylone, ils ont appris l’importance de craindre Dieu, et non les hommes (Exode 14:10-31; Daniel 3:8-30). Cette crainte pieuse mêlée d’un amour sincère pour Jéhovah a commencé à les animer. Rapidement, leur vie a changé. Enfin cet homme connaissait Celui dont il avait étudié l’œuvre en biologie. Il a progressivement compris le dessein de Celui dont il avait constaté la sagesse dans ses cours de physique. Au lieu d’employer sa connaissance à élaborer des instruments de destruction, il a choisi, avec sa femme, d’aider autrui à aimer Dieu et son prochain. Ils ont entrepris le service de prédicateurs du Royaume de Dieu à plein temps. Par la suite, ils ont suivi les cours de Galaad, l’École biblique de la Société Watchtower, et ont été nommés missionnaires.
      Bien entendu, tout le monde ne peut pas être missionnaire. Mais tous nous pouvons bénéficier de la sagesse fondée sur la crainte de Jéhovah. Si nous cultivons cette sagesse, nous ne consacrerons pas le meilleur de notre vie à étudier les philosophies humaines, qui n’échafaudent que des suppositions sur le but de la vie. Nous nous appliquerons à l’étude de la Bible, livre inspiré de Jéhovah Dieu, la Source de la vie, celui qui peut nous donner la vie éternelle (Psaume 36:9; Colossiens 2:8). Au lieu de nous rendre esclaves d’un système commercial chancelant, au bord de la ruine, nous écouterons Jéhovah, qui nous conseille de nous contenter de la nourriture et du vêtement, et d’accorder à nos relations avec lui la priorité dans notre existence (1 Timothée 6:8-12). Au lieu de nous comporter comme si notre avenir dépendait d’une belle situation dans le monde actuel, nous croirons la Parole de Jéhovah, qui nous affirme que le monde est en train de passer, de même que le désir du monde, alors que celui qui fait la volonté divine demeure pour toujours. — 1 Jean 2:17.
      Dans le livre de Proverbes 16:16, Salomon nous encourage par cette déclaration certaine: “Acquérir la sagesse [la sagesse qui commence par la crainte de Jéhovah], oh! combien cela vaut mieux que l’or! Et acquérir l’intelligence est préférable à l’argent.” Poussés par cette sagesse et cette intelligence, nous considérerons l’accomplissement de la volonté de Dieu comme le premier centre d’intérêt de notre vie. Et quelle activité Dieu a-t-il confiée à ses Témoins en cette période de l’histoire humaine? Faire connaître son Royaume par la prédication et aider les personnes sincères à devenir de vrais disciples de Jésus Christ (Matthieu 24:14; 28:19, 20). Il s’agit d’une activité dont on retire une satisfaction véritable et un grand bonheur. C’est donc à propos que la Bible dit: “Heureux l’homme qui a trouvé la sagesse, et l’homme qui acquiert le discernement.” — Proverbes 3:13.
      Elle nous retient de commettre le mal
      Un deuxième bienfait que nous procure la crainte de Dieu est qu’elle nous retient de commettre le mal. Celui qui respecte profondément Dieu ne détermine pas par lui-même ce qui est bien et mal. Il ne tient pas pour mauvais ce que Dieu déclare bon, ni ne considère comme bon ce que Dieu déclare mauvais (Psaume 37:1, 27; Ésaïe 5:20, 21). De plus, celui que motive la crainte pieuse ne se contente pas de savoir ce que Jéhovah déclare bon ou mauvais. Une telle personne aime ce que Jéhovah aime et elle hait ce que Jéhovah hait. En conséquence, elle agit en harmonie avec les préceptes divins. Ainsi, comme le dit Proverbes 16:6, “par la crainte de Jéhovah, on se détourne du mal”. Cette crainte pieuse devient une motivation puissante qui permet d’atteindre des résultats qu’on n’obtiendrait pas même si une personne commence tout juste à l’éprouver, la crainte pieuse peut lui donner le courage de ne pas faire quelque chose qu’elle regretterait le restant de ses jours. Au Mexique, par exemple, une femme enceinte a demandé à une chrétienne Témoin de Jéhovah ce qu’elle pensait de l’avortement. La chrétienne lui a lu plusieurs versets bibliques, puis lui a tenu ce raisonnement: “Pour le Créateur, la vie est très importante, même la vie de ceux qui ne sont pas encore nés.” (Exode 21:22, 23; Psaume 139:13-16). Des examens laissaient entendre que le bébé serait anormal. Néanmoins, après ce qu’elle avait vu dans la Parole de Dieu, cette femme a décidé de garder son enfant. Son médecin a refusé de la revoir, et son mari l’a menacée de la quitter, mais elle a tenu bon. Elle a finalement donné naissance à une magnifique petite fille, normale et en bonne santé. Par gratitude, elle a recherché les Témoins et s’est mise à étudier la Parole de Dieu avec eux. Moins d’un an après, son mari et elle se faisaient baptiser. Quelques années plus tard, à une assemblée de district, tous deux ont été enchantés de rencontrer la chrétienne qui avait parlé à la femme la première fois. Ils lui ont présenté leur jolie fillette de quatre ans. Incontestablement, le respect de Dieu et le désir puissant de ne pas lui déplaire exercent une grande influence.
      La crainte pieuse peut nous garder d’un grand nombre de mauvaises actions (2 Corinthiens 7:1). Cultivée avec soin, elle est capable d’aider quelqu’un à mettre un terme à des péchés cachés, connus de lui seul et de Jéhovah. Elle peut l’aider à se libérer de la dépendance de l’alcool ou de la drogue. Un ancien drogué d’Afrique du Sud a raconté: “Au fur et à mesure que j’apprenais à connaître Dieu, la crainte de le décevoir ou de lui déplaire grandissait en moi. Je savais qu’il m’observait, et je désirais ardemment son approbation. Cela m’a incité à me débarrasser de la drogue qui était en ma possession en la jetant dans les toilettes.” La crainte pieuse a aidé des milliers de personnes de la même manière. — Proverbes 5:21; 15:3.
      La crainte salutaire de Dieu nous préserve également de la crainte de l’homme. La plupart des humains connaissent, à des degrés divers, la crainte de l’homme. Les apôtres de Jésus Christ l’ont abandonné et se sont enfuis lorsque les soldats se sont emparés de lui dans le jardin de Gethsémané. Plus tard, dans la cour du grand prêtre, désarçonné et en proie à la crainte, Pierre a nié faire partie des disciples de Jésus et même le connaître (Marc 14:48-50, 66-72; Jean 18:15-27). Mais grâce à l’aide qu’ils ont reçue, les apôtres ont retrouvé leur équilibre spirituel. Par contre, aux jours du roi Jéhoïakim, Urie, fils de Schémaïah, fut terrassé par la crainte au point d’abandonner son service de prophète de Jéhovah et de fuir le pays, ce qui ne l’empêcha pas d’être capturé et tué. — Jérémie 26:20-23.
      Comment vaincre la crainte de l’homme? 
      Après nous avoir prévenus que “trembler devant les hommes, voilà ce qui tend un piège”, Proverbes 29:25 ajoute: “Mais celui qui se confie en Jéhovah sera protégé.” La réponse tient donc dans la confiance en Jéhovah. Cette confiance s’appuie sur la connaissance et l’expérience. L’étude de sa Parole nous démontre que les voies de Jéhovah sont droites. Nous découvrons des événements attestant qu’il est digne de confiance, que ses promesses sont sûres (y compris celle de la résurrection), qu’il est amour et qu’il est tout-puissant. Lorsqu’ensuite nous agissons conformément à cette connaissance, accomplissant ce que Jéhovah demande et rejetant fermement ce qu’il condamne, nous commençons à constater dans notre propre cas qu’il prend soin de ses serviteurs avec amour et que l’on peut compter sur lui. Nous acquérons personnellement la certitude que sa puissance est à l’œuvre pour que s’accomplisse sa volonté. Notre confiance en lui s’accroît, de même que notre amour pour lui et notre désir sincère de ne pas lui déplaire. Cette confiance est bâtie sur un fondement solide. Elle est un rempart contre la crainte de l’homme.
      Notre confiance en Jéhovah, alliée à la crainte pieuse, nous rendra fermes en faveur du bien dans le cas où un employeur menacerait de nous renvoyer si nous refusions de participer à des pratiques commerciales malhonnêtes (voir Michée 6:11, 12). Grâce à cette crainte pieuse, des milliers de chrétiens persévèrent dans le vrai culte malgré l’opposition de membres de leur famille. Elle donne aussi aux jeunes le courage de se faire connaître comme Témoins de Jéhovah à l’école, et elle les affermit face aux moqueries de leurs camarades de classe qui méprisent les principes bibliques. Ainsi, une adolescente Témoin de Jéhovah a dit: “Ce qu’ils pensent m’est bien égal. L’important, c’est ce que pense Jéhovah.”
      La même conviction donne aux vrais chrétiens la force de rester attachés aux voies de Jéhovah lorsque leur vie est en jeu. Ils savent qu’ils risquent d’être persécutés par le monde. Ils sont conscients que les apôtres ont été fouettés et que même Jésus Christ a été frappé et tué par des hommes méchants (Marc 14:65; 15:15-39; Actes 5:40; voir aussi Daniel 3:16-18). Mais les serviteurs de Jéhovah sont assurés qu’il peut leur donner la force d’endurer, qu’avec son aide ils peuvent remporter la victoire, que Jéhovah récompensera sans faute ses fidèles, si besoin en les ressuscitant dans son monde nouveau. Leur amour pour Dieu ajouté à la crainte pieuse les pousse puissamment à éviter toute action qui pourrait lui déplaire.
      C’est parce qu’ils étaient animés d’une telle motivation que les Témoins de Jéhovah ont supporté les horreurs des camps de concentration nazis dans les années 30 et 40. Ils ont pris à cœur le conseil de Jésus consigné en Luc 12:4, 5: “D’autre part, je vous le dis à vous, mes amis: Ne craignez pas ceux qui tuent le corps, et qui après cela ne peuvent rien faire de plus. Mais je vais vous indiquer qui vous devez craindre: craignez celui qui, après avoir tué, a le pouvoir de jeter dans la Géhenne. Oui, je vous le dis, Celui-là, craignez-le.” Par exemple, Gustav Auschner, un Témoin qui avait été interné dans le camp de concentration de Sachsenhausen, a écrit plus tard: ‘Les SS ont exécuté August Dickmann et ont menacé de nous passer tous par les armes si nous refusions de signer un document par lequel nous abjurions notre foi. Pas un seul n’a signé. Notre crainte de déplaire à Jéhovah était plus forte que la crainte de leurs balles.’ La crainte de l’homme mène aux compromis, mais la crainte de Dieu nous affermit pour faire le bien.
      La préservation de la vie
      Noé a connu les derniers jours du monde antédiluvien. Jéhovah avait décidé de détruire le monde d’alors en raison de la méchanceté des humains. Toutefois, en attendant, Noé a vécu dans un monde où régnaient la violence, l’immoralité sexuelle choquante et le mépris de la volonté divine. Noé a prêché la justice, et pourtant “ils ne s’aperçurent de rien jusqu’à ce que le déluge vînt et les emportât tous”. (Matthieu 24:39.) Noé n’a cependant pas renoncé à l’activité que Dieu lui avait confiée. Il fit “selon tout ce que Dieu lui avait ordonné. Ainsi fit-il”. (Genèse 6:22.) Qu’est-ce qui a permis à Noé, année après année et jusqu’au déluge, de toujours agir comme il convenait? Hébreux 11:7 répond: “Par la foi, Noé, divinement averti de choses qu’on ne voyait pas encore, fit montre d’une crainte pieuse.” Pour cette raison, sa femme, ses fils, leurs femmes et lui ont été sauvés du déluge.
       Notre époque ressemble de bien des manières à celle de Noé (Luc 17:26, 27). De nouveau un avertissement est lancé. Révélation 14:6, 7 parle d’un ange qui vole au milieu du ciel et invite les gens de toute nation et tribu et langue à ‘craindre Dieu et à lui donner gloire’. Quel que puisse être le comportement du monde autour de vous, obéissez à ces paroles, puis transmettez l’invitation à autrui. À l’instar de Noé, agissons avec foi et manifestons une crainte pieuse. Par cela, des vies peuvent être sauvées: la vôtre et celle de nombre de vos semblables. Lorsque nous considérons les bienfaits dont profitent ceux qui craignent le vrai Dieu, nous ne pouvons que souscrire aux paroles du psalmiste divinement inspiré qui chanta: 
      “Heureux est l’homme qui craint Jéhovah, dans les commandements de qui il prend grand plaisir!” — Psaume 112:1.

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    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      I can not open study material 
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