I want to try something different. Normally I explain the picture on the artwork or in the comments , but this time I want to see how you all interpret the message behind these pictures. Let me know what this picture makes you think of or how you think it relates to us spiritually down below!
Bonus Point: Some pearls form naturally in clams and oysters. However, cultured pearls are different. They are formed when someone intentionally puts an irritant into an oyster triggering the defense mechanism. Similarly, some of our brothers and sisters may have suffered physical, verbal or sexual abuse. They did nothing wrong, something wrong was done to them. In these instances it can take years for them to learn to cope with the pain. Still, with God’s love and spirit, even such deep scars from the actions of others can create pearls. If this has happened to you, others who have suffered may see your pearl of strength and be encouraged to keep pressing on as well. Most importantly, Jehovah sees your pain and all you have done to keep moving forward despite it. In his eyes, that has more value than any pearl that has ever been found.
When it comes to choosing our entertainment and recreation we need to treat those choices like we would a traffic light. How so?
Red Traffic Light: It is life threatening to proceed with such activities. Entertainment that centers around the love of violence, sexual immorality, spiritism or that shows a lack of respect for life are clearly things God hates. Running these red lights can cost us our hope of gaining everlasting life or hurt others. Even if we run a red light without getting hit, God’s eyes are like cameras that see what we do. So we might be getting away with running spiritual red lights now, but later we may pay for it when the ticket arrives in the mail.
Yellow Traffic Light: Slow down or proceed with caution. Some decisions are really up to each individuals conscience. For example, wether or not to serve wine at a party. However, it is wise to consider not just our own “right of way” when making such decisions. Just as someone approaching a yellow light will check the surroundings before deciding to keep going or stop, we must take the time to learn and adjust to consciences of those around us. We wouldn’t want to inadvertently cause an accident.
Green Traffic Light: It is safe to proceed with such activities. These can include spiritual activities, a simple gathering with brothers and sisters, various outdoor activities and so on. Some of the entertainment the world offers may have a green light as well but we still must be alert. Like a stale green light will eventually turn red, worldly entertainment that starts off clean can quickly introduce unclean things that will require us to slam on the brakes and stop watching.
Making such decisions is like driving a car, each of us must apply 1 Corinthians 10:23,24 “keep on seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person.” By doing so we can all safely make it to our destination in good health and with an undamaged conscience.
There are many similarities between the dangers of surfing in the ocean and the dangers of surfing on the web. Dangers such as jagged rocks, sharks, sea urchins, jellyfish, riptides, thunderstorms, other surfers and shallow reefs can seriously harm or even kill the unprepared surfer. Similarly, aimlessly surfing the web can cause lasting spiritual, mental and emotional damage. What are some of the dangers that we may face if we aimlessly surf the web? 1.) Satan is like a hungry shark swimming beneath the surface in the sea of information found on the internet. 2.)Posting too much personal/private information into the cloud has created stormy times for many, especially for young ones. 3.) Cyber bullies are like sea urchins that will stick you with painful toxic taunts and insults. 4.) Pornographic sites are abundant like a large swarm of jellyfish. Just a slight brush with one can be shocking. Getting stung by pornography can cause lasting pain and can even lead to spiritual death. 5.) Political discussions/opinions are all over the internet and are like shallow reefs. Political promises of wealth, change, peace and prosperity may appear appealing, but they are lies that can cause much harm to those trusting and reaching out for them. If we don’t maintain our neutrality we may lose our balance and fall into political debates. The scrapes from such debates can easily cause our thinking to become infected. 6.) Others surfing the web include apostates that won’t hesitate to drop in and make waves for you. Their goal is to try to trick or scare you so that you lose balance and fall spiritually. 7.) Worldly thinking and trends are like strong currents that can easily drag us away from the safety of God’s spiritual shore and into the depths of sin. 8.) False teachings and philosophies are all over the internet like jagged rocks that can wreck our faith if we surf toward them. 9.) Even if we manage to avoid all of these dangers, we still must avoid sinking too much time into surfing the web. Doing so can eventually cause us to drown spiritually. The internet, like the ocean, has a lot of beautiful things in it, but there are many dangers above and below the surface that can harm us. If we choose to go into those waters, we must be prepared. If children want to go into those waters, parents need to pay attention. So many kids are easily getting addicted to the thinking and imagery found on the internet. To turn a blind eye to this would be like sending a child into shark infested waters in a storm to go surf. Check their history, monitor their activity, protect them from the shark, the urchins and the jellyfish. The best option to enjoy the ocean and stay safe is to stay on God’s shore and enjoy the spiritual waters he provides as they roll in.
By Guest Indiana
Who does adultery effect? First and foremost, it effects God. He sees all that we do. So when a husband or wife cheats on their mate, not only does he see the steps that lead to the adultery, but he sees the act itself. Next, the innocent mate is effected once they are told or find out about the actions of their unfaithful mate. If the couple has children, then they will be effected by this as well.
Both the families of the guilty mate and the innocent mate will no doubt be hurt. The congregation may become aware of what happened, and this can be damaging. Especially is this the case if the ones involved were viewed as exemplary in the congregation. Finally, in some instances (see WT 1991 11/15 p.22 par 15), even Non-Witnesses in the community may find out. This reflects poorly on the very first person who was effected by all of this...Jehovah.
So before committing any sin, it is vital to think about the ripple effect our actions will have on those around us. (Based on a recent C.O. talk) -Proverbs 22:3
Let it Go: In this illustration a stone was left in the middle of a walking path. By: tie_bros_illustrationsBy Guest Indiana
Perhaps it was done by mistake. If so, what good would it do for the person who tripped over it to hold on to it? That person would only be weighing themself down, while the person who made the mistake lives on, blissfully unaware of the pain they accidentally caused. Perhaps it was done intentionally. Still, what good would it do for the person who tripped over it to hold on to it? If anything, holding on to it can lead that person to seek revenge and use the stone to beat the person who stumbled them. How much better it is to let go of resentment and move on. Easy? No. Worth it? Read Matthew 18:4-5 and Watchtower 1972 12/1 p.707-708.
By Guest Indiana
Isaiah 64:8 “O Jehovah, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are our Potter.” Romans 12:2 “stop being molded by this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, so that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Never would we want to give up being molded by Jehovah to be molded by Satan and his system. After watching Toy Story 4 and reading Romans 12:2 this idea came to mind. Sorry that it is a sadder ending than usual.
By Guest Indiana
Before deciding to date it is important you pay close attention to the person you are interested in. How do they treat others? Are they spiritually mature? How do they handle money matters? How do they handle responsibility? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? There is never a reason to settle for less. We don’t need to look for perfection, but when it is clear that they require a ton of assembly or when they don’t have very important qualities or skills needed to make a marriage a success, we would be wise to hold off from pursing a courtship. Normally, when purchasing an item we do research to make sure we are getting the best quality. Why would we do any less when it comes to something as life changing and important as choosing a marriage mate. Also, if I am aware that I have a ton of assembly required and lack in many areas of life, why not work on those things first before trying to date. If we really like someone we should want them to have the best, right? “Patience is the key”. (See YPA Vol 2 Chapter 1)
By Albert Michelson
What is the good news?
The Bible is clear that even if someone had been clearly selected by god if they deviate from the truth they are to be rejected.
Galatians 1:8-9 However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to YOU as good news something beyond what we declared to YOU as good news, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said above, I also now say again, Whoever it is that is declaring to YOU as good news something beyond what YOU accepted, let him be accursed.
This holds even more weight for ones like the GB who are not clearly selected and who's claim to authority rests solely on a demonstrably false interpretation of scripture.
The organization claims that the 1914 teaching is necessary for salvation and even goes as far as to claim that the 1914 teaching is the good news spoken of in the Bible.
*** w67 12/15 pp. 753-754 pars. 3-4 What Now Distinguishes the Good News to Be Preached ***
"What a joy-inspiring addition or enlargement to the good news now to be preached! Now has come the victorious kingdom of our God together with the authority of his Christ, his Messiah! As for Satan the Devil and his demons, they have only a short period of time until they are bound and imprisoned in the abyss after the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Armageddon. All this additional wonderful information has been true since the end of the “appointed times of the nations” in 1914, and particularly since World War I closed in the year 1918. Not before the “appointed times of the nations” ended in the fall of 1914 could the good news be preached of the newborn, established heavenly kingdom of God and of his Messiah. This, then, must be the good news that Jesus Christ in his prophecy said had to be preached first in all the nations. (Mark 13:10) This generation of human society that has seen and experienced the world events since the Gentile Times closed in 1914—this is the “generation” that will not pass away until all the things foretold have happened, including the preaching of the good news first in all nations.
4 Jesus’ prophecy in Mark 13:10, “Also, in all the nations the good news has to be preached first,” has not been undergoing fulfillment during the past nineteen centuries. It is only since the second decade of our twentieth century that this prophecy has been undergoing fulfillment. This began to be realized by the International Bible Students Association and the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society since the end of the second decade of our century. In the magazine issue of July 1, 1920, of The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence the article was published entitled “Gospel of the Kingdom” and based on the theme text, “‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’—Matthew 24:14.”
It is for this reason that the organization is chained to the 1914 teaching. As the scripture I quoted above demonstrates the Bible says that one who teaches a good news that is false is cursed. If the organization admits that the 1914 and 1919 teachings are false they will have to admit that not only were they not selected as gods channel but that they have been teaching a false good news for the majority of their existence. It is for that reason that they disfellowship and shun people who cannot conscientiously remain in the faith. It's easier to just eliminate the opposition then to actually address the real issues with your theology.
*** w86 4/1 pp. 30-31 Questions From Readers ***
Why have Jehovah’s Witnesses disfellowshipped (excommunicated) for apostasy some who still profess belief in God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ?
"Approved association with Jehovah’s Witnesses requires accepting the entire range of the true teachings of the Bible, including those Scriptural beliefs that are unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses. What do such beliefs include?
That the great issue before humankind is the rightfulness of Jehovah’s sovereignty, which is why he has allowed wickedness so long. (Ezekiel 25:17) That Jesus Christ had a prehuman existence and is subordinate to his heavenly Father. (John 14:28) That there is a “faithful and discreet slave” upon earth today ‘entrusted with all of Jesus’ earthly interests,’ which slave is associated with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Matthew 24:45-47) That 1914 marked the end of the Gentile Times and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the heavens, as well as the time for Christ’s foretold presence. (Luke 21:7-24; Revelation 11:15–12:10) That only 144,000 Christians will receive the heavenly reward. (Revelation 14:1, 3) That Armageddon, referring to the battle of the great day of God the Almighty, is near. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-21) That it will be followed by Christ’s Millennial Reign, which will restore an earth-wide paradise. That the first to enjoy it will be the present “great crowd” of Jesus’ “other sheep.”—John 10:16; Revelation 7:9-17; 21:3, 4."
This is supposedly a list of the fundamental doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses that all are required to believe. You will in most cases be disfellowshiped for not believing in one or more of them. Unfortunately the truth is most of them are false.
By Guest Nicole
Isaiah 5:20 applies greatly to today's world. Should Halloween be considered to be good or bad?
Consider just a small part of Halloween's origin: "The American Halloween tradition of Â“trick-or-treatingÂ” probably dates back to the early All SoulsÂ’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called Â“soul cakesÂ” in return for their promise to pray for the familyÂ’s dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as Â“going a-soulingÂ” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money... "The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago...on Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter." (http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween)
Definition: Apostasy is abandoning or deserting the worship and service of God, actually a rebellion against Jehovah God. Some apostates profess to know and serve God but reject teachings or requirements set out in his Word. Others claim to believe the Bible but reject Jehovah’s organization.
Should we expect that apostates will arise within the Christian congregation?
1 Tim. 4:1: “The inspired utterance says definitely that in later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons.”
2 Thess. 2:3: “Let no one seduce you in any manner, because [the day of Jehovah] will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction.”
Some identifying marks of apostates—
They seek to make others their followers, thus causing sectarian divisions
Acts 20:30: “From among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.”
2 Pet. 2:1, 3: “There will also be false teachers among you. These very ones will quietly bring in destructive sects and will disown even the owner that bought them . . . Also, with covetousness they will exploit you with counterfeit words.”
They may profess to believe in Christ but treat lightly the preaching and teaching work he assigned to his followers
Luke 6:46: “Why, then, do you call me ‘Lord! Lord!’ but do not do the things I say?”
Matt. 28:19, 20: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them . . . teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”
Matt. 24:14: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”
By Guest Nicole
Thought this would be a fun way to explain how pride can become fatal. Jehovah's spirit can help us to get though or endure any challenge we face. It can also help us to accomplish amazing things for him in this race to the finish. However, if we allow fear or pride to cause us to rely on our own strength, we may not make it to the final leap to the end. We would even lose out on all the "points" we got along the way. Humbly relying on Jehovah's spirit to the end is the only way to win this awful game Satan has created. Proverbs 16:18 "Pride is before a crash." 1 Corinthians 10:12-"So let the one who thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall."
By Guest Nicole
This applies more to young ones, but can really apply to any one of us. In the world we live in today there are many people looking to take advantage of us by means of social media. There have been many sad stories about people who were robbed or worse because they gave away too much personal information on social media. Some may give out their information that it becomes like posting your private info on the screens in Times Square. Young ones with free and unmonitored access to smart phones and computers have at times found themselves speaking with strangers who seek to do them harm. It's so important that on our personal private accounts we are careful about who we allow to follow us and who we choose to follow. Parents should regularly monitor their children's Internet use and set rules to protect their children as well. Even those claiming to be Witnesses may not be what they seem. Proverbs 22:33-"The shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself,But the inexperienced keep right on going and suffer the consequences."
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