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After 20 years away, a religious missionary returns home from West Africa


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Robert Fleming comes from a long line of Sault Jehovah's Witnesses

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Robert Fleming travels the deserts, jungles, savannahs, and waters of West Africa hoping people will see what he sees in the Bible.

Fleming is a Sault born-and-raised fourth generation Jehovah’s Witness who left the area when he was 24 and came back for the first time in 20 years last week to visit family and attend a regional annual conference of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In an interview with SooToday Fleming talked a bit about his family’s history and about his life preaching in West Africa.

Fleming’s great grandfather John Fleming came from Scotland to the Sault in the early 1900s and when the Spanish flu hit the area he got a job at the cemetery on Fourth Line.

One day he was literally standing body-deep in a grave he’d just dug out when a Jehovah’s Witness approached him and commented, “you know, that’s hell you’re standing in."

John Fleming was puzzled and, after through conversation learned about how Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in an afterlife in the same way other Christians might imagine it and other interpretations the group has of the Bible. 

This meeting led to a full-blown conversion and three generations later John Fleming’s descendants are still practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“My earliest memories are me going door to door as a kingdom preacher,” said Robert Fleming who after his father, grandfather, and great grandfather is continuing the tradition.

“Third Line, Carpin Beach Road, Leighs Bay Road. I don’t know if the old-timers are still there or if I’d even remember them. I was very young,” said Robert Fleming.

Fleming left the Sault in 1985 to preach in Quebec and in 1995 he went to the Jehovah’s Witnesses Missionary School in Paterson, NY.

After five months of training there Fleming flew to West Africa where for the last 20 years he’s been preaching for Jehovah out of Douala, Cameroon, which at 3 million people is the country’s largest city.

“I was nervous to go, boy oh boy. I was there one week and I was checking out the price of airplane tickets to go back. Is that too honest?”

Fleming said that Cameroon is not only immensely diverse geographically — it's often called “Africa in miniature” — but also culturally as the country has roughly 200 tribes and dialects and a range of religions that include indigenous beliefs and assorted versions of Christianity and Islam.

“There’s a hundred times more religions than Canada. Every neighbourhood has its own church because they want to worship God how they think God should be worshipped,” he said.

Fleming said Cameroonians are incredibly religious people and that the Christians among them will often carry a Bible around on their phones and regularly consult it.

Fleming said the more traditional African religions that he’s encountered don’t talk about “God” or “gods” so much as they talk about “forces of nature” but that these forces seem to be roughly equivalent to the idea of “gods”.

Most Africans, regardless of their professed religion he said, continue to follow a tradition of ancestry worship, where they believe that their dead relatives are still influencing the world and helping or harming their living descendants based on how pleased they feel.

“They’ll put out salt or palm oil, things like that, to appease, say, their dead grandfather and if something bad happens in the family they might say it’s their grandfather that has done it to them. The Bamelike Tribe in the west of Cameroon, after the grandfather has been dead for a year, will actually dig up the skull and they’ll have a small alter in the home and when they have to make big decisions they’ll consulate with him.”

In his time there, Fleming has travelled by canoe and bush-bike to get to remote tribes in the jungle, like a tribe of pygmies living in grass huts, or to secluded islands off the coast of the continent, but he never goes more than a days journey.

Fleming said Jehovah’s Witnesses have been in Cameroon since the late 1930s and even though they were banned from 1970 until 1993, largely for not participating in local government because it is against their faith, even tribes like the pygmies are quite familiar with his group when they arrive.

As a preacher, Fleming said he follows the standard Jehovah’s witness preaching technique of basically asking people what they think about a topic, then introducing what the Bible teaches about that topic, and then hopefully getting a person out to a bible study group where they can learn more and potentially feel compelled to join the faith.

But unlike other Christian religions, he said, to be a Jehovah’s Witness a person cannot partially follow their old faith, and in the case of Cameroon, that means locals have to leave their ancestry worship behind — something which can be difficult for many when, like Christmas here, it's not just a religious practice but also a social one.

“When we do preach to them and they read the Bible and realize ‘Hey my grandfather is just sleeping’ that means they have to leave these traditions that obviously contradict what the scriptures say, to serve Jehovah.”

Fleming said that when he arrived in 1996 there were about 20,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the country and that now there are about 40,000.

He said many people in Cameroon see the positives of the faith, the health benefits it tends to lead to like stopping smoking or reducing AIDS, and actually approach his group to set up Jehovah’s Witnesses centres, or ‘kingdom halls’, in their community.

“Many people in Cameroon make the change. I wouldn’t have stayed there for 20 years if we weren’t having wonderful success,” he said.

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      Around 15,000 witnesses will be in Baton Rouge over three weekends, and with them comes revenue. Organizers say around 7,000 hotel nights have been booked at 17 area hotels.
      “We have been pursuing Jehovah's Witnesses for many years and finally brought them in about a year ago to finalize plans for this year,” Visit Baton Rouge CEO Paul Arrigo said.
      The summer months are traditionally slow for Baton Rouge tourism, plus corporate business is down this year thanks to the declining oil industry, but Arrigo said no one has pulled out over protests.
      “We have had one or two calls of persons who had interest in knowing what was going on, and the determination was for the conference to continue to come to Baton Rouge, and they had a very good conference,” he said.
      It’s the same feeling at the River Center. The Witnesses will not only take home lessons in faith, but also impressions of a host city working to heal.
      The Jehovah’s Witness convention is broken up over three weekends (July 8-10, July 15-17, and July 29-31). The entire program is free and open to the public. Doors open to the River Center at 8:00 a.m. for seniors/disabled and 8:15 for all others. The program starts at 9:20 each day and ends at 4:50 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3:45 p.m. on Sunday.
      Baton Rouge will also host the Tiger-Rock Martial Arts World Championships and Italian Heritage Fest in the coming weeks.
       

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      LeConte Hall signs during a convention for the hearing impaired at the Jehovah Witnesses Assembly Hall in Fairfield, Friday. The convention drew 1,300 people and attendees travelled from Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)
       
      FAIRFIELD — Gloria and Gilbert Dante drove from Spokane, Washington. Jose and Marites Calma flew in from Hawaii.
      Both couples were among the 1,300 people in the Jehovah’s Witnesses assembly hall Friday for the first day of a three-day annual regional convention for the deaf, blind and those with impaired hearing.
      Some of them traveled from as far as Alaska.
      Gilbert Dante lost his hearing when he was 7 months old.
      “He couldn’t hear anything,” Gloria Dante, his wife of 43 years, said.
      He was sent to the Berkeley School for the Deaf, where he learned alongside John Tracy, the deaf son of actor Spencer Tracy.
      Gloria Dante learned sign language when she married him. He used to spell words backward in sign language just to tease her, she said.
      The couple became Jehovah’s Witnesses after their son died of Sudden Infant Death syndrome in 1972. They traveled for several years to Southern California to attend conferences that offered services for those with hearing impairments.
      “He is in his element (here),” said Gloria Dante. “He is hearing the Bible through his eyes.”
      Marites Calma grew up in a small Jehovah’s Witness congregation with no services for the deaf. She would go to meetings but not understand what was being said.
      “It’s hard to connect with God if you don’t know him,” LeConte Hall, a Vacaville resident who spoke Friday afternoon on the topic “When Tired,” said.
      Marites Calma said through her husband of 20 years that the American Sign Language conference is “in my language” and gives her the opportunity to meet with other deaf Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      Bryce Henry of Santa Rosa learned sign language and speech. He’s more comfortable signing, he said.
      The American Sign Language conventions draw him closer to God, he said, because the Scriptures are brought to life rather than just reading them on paper. He has many passages of Scripture, in American Sign Language, on his phone.
      This year’s convention has more audio than in the past, Hall said. Most of the deaf people attending are accompanied by speaking family and/or friends.
      “For each deaf person here, there’s probably another two or three people with them,” Hall said.
      Nearly 50 videos will be shown over the course of the convention. About 90 percent will have audio as well as American Sign Language.
      Speaking people at the convention are asked to use sign language out of respect to those with hearing impairments. A bevy of monitors are spread throughout the huge room so all can see.
      According to JW.org, the first sign language service was held in Korea 40 years ago. Today, there are more than 4,000 sign languages services in Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      The Fairfield Kingdom Hall offers American Sign Language services at 7 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. Saturdays at 2010 E. Tabor Ave.
      Hall is part of the services. He learned American Sign Language from the deaf mother of a friend. He began working as interpreter while in his teens.
      The Jehovah’s Witnesses website has translated its material in 28 different sign languages.
      The free convention is open to the public and begins at 9:20 a.m. It’s in the Assembly Hall at 2020 Walters Road, behind the Kingdom Hall.
      For more information, visit https://www.jw.org/ase/jehovahs-witnesses/conventions
       

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The first of five Jehovah's Witnesses conventions will be held Friday through next Sunday at the Santander Arena, 700 Penn St.
      Other conventions will be held July 29-31; August 5-7 (in Spanish); August 12-14 and August 19-21. The conventions will draw a combined total of 25,000 Jehovah's Witnesses from 225 congregations in Pennsylvania and Maryland.The theme for the conventions will be "Remain Loyal to Jehovah!" Visitors are welcome; there is no admission fee and no collection taken.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      As part of a series of three-day conventions across the country, Jehovah's Witnesses are offering community programming this weekend in Rochester.
      With a theme of "Remain Loyal to Jehovah," the convention features more than 40 different presentations, and runs from 9:20 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 9:20 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Sunday. All of the events will be held at the Blue Cross Arena at the Community War Memorial, 100 Exchange Blvd., and will feature music, videos and films exploring loyalty.
      The event is free and open to the public. More information can be found at www.jw.org.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses is going on this weekend at Blue Cross Arena. In case you come downtown and wonder why you see so many people and the parking garages are full.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The regional Jehovah’s Witnesses convention for Sparks will continue through Aug. 14 in Sacramento. Specifics can be found at jw.org.
      As in years past, the Witnesses will distribute a special invitation to the public welcoming them to attend the program. This campaign began in Sparks on July 8 and will extend to Aug. 4.
      Congregations in Sparks will be attending the convention to be held July 29-31 and also August 4-6. The program begins at 9:20 am each morning.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Today through Sunday, July 15-17, at New Mexico State University Pan American Center for the Spanish speaking delegates. The music presentation begins at 9:20 a.m. each morning and program concludes by 5 p.m. each evening. Jehovah’s Witnesses are inviting the public to attend the 2016 “Remain Loyal to Jehovah!” regional conventions. The three-day program will feature 49 presentations, each exploring the theme “loyalty.” Additionally, the Witnesses have prepared 35 video segments specifically for the program plus two short films that will be shown on Saturday and Sunday. Each day, the morning and afternoon sessions will be introduced by music videos recorded for the convention. Everyone is welcome. Info: Juan Cavazos, 915-855-8404, jw.org.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Jehovah’s Witnesses from Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill, together with those from the rest of Sussex, parts of South London and Surrey, and the Kent and Hampshire borders will be gathering at the Amex Stadium together with members of the public for a convention between Friday July 15 and Sunday July 17. Everyone is welcome throughout the three day convention - there is no charge and no collections are ever taken.
      The theme of the convention is ‘Remain Loyal To Jehovah’ and an attendance of around 10,000 is expected. Visit www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/conventions/



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    • Emma Rose

      Would a kind soul please help me with how to reply using the quote more than once.
      · 5 replies
    • Dee Gordon  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      HI TWYLA...DEE GORDON HERE.  WOULD LIKE  TO CHANGE MY EMAIL ADDRESS YOU SEND MY MEETING WORKBOOK TO.  I DON'T USE FACEBOOK BUT WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THE WORKBOOK INFO AND WATCHTOWER NOTES PLEASE . THIS ONE STILL RUNNING YOU HAVE ME SIGNED UP FOR...JUST THAT IT WOULD BE MORE CONVENIENT AT THIS TIME.
      · 2 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      RAPPEL DE JEHOVAH
       
      Aleph
      Parfait est mon chemin 
      Marche dans la voix de Dieu
      Cherche moi de tout ton coeur
      Garde mon témoignage, tu seras heureux.
      Oppose toi au mal
      Marche dans la voix de Dieu
      Observe ma volonté
      L'abîme de la honte tu ne connaîtras
      Mes justes lois 
      Instruit ton coeur en ma droiture.
      Aime moi de tout ton coeur,
      de toute ton esprit, de toute ton âme et de toute ta force vitale. (Souffle de vie)
      Je te rendrai grâce
      Laisse toi entièrement
      à ce que je te dis 
      D'OBSERVER
      TELLE DOIT ÊTRE TA VOLONTÉ
      Beth
      Écoute ma parole
      Garde pur ton chemin
      telle un enfant de Dieu.
      Ne t'écarte point de mes commandements
      Cherche moi de tout ton coeur
      Ne point faillir en toi
      La promesse que je t'ai dis 
      D'OBSERVER
      De tout ton coeur 
      Apprend ma volonté
      Béni seras -tu.
      Le jugement de ta bouche 
      Soit toute énuméré de mes lèvres.
      Que toutes richesses
      Jubiles
      Dans les témoignages de ma parole
      Regarde mon chemin que je t'ai donné 
      Médite sur mes préceptes
      N'oublie pas ma lois
      tes délices
      Tu les trouveras en fesant ma volonté
      Gimel
      Observe ma parole
      tu vivras
      Sois bon envers autrui
      Merveille est ma voie
      Regarde
      Ouvre tes yeux
      Ne cache point mes commandements
      Car un étranger de la terre tu seras
      En tout temps suit mon jugement
      Si tu le désires
      Que mes yeux se tourne vers toi.
      Reste et guide ta vie sur mes normes divine.
      Car t'en égarer tu seras maudit.
      Les suivres te rendront parfait
      Garde mon témoignage
      ainsi
      Tu ne connaîtras le mépris
      Médite sur ma volonté
      Ne parle jamais contre moi
      Tu deviendras un homme parfait.
      Mes conseilles met les dans ton coeur
      De tout mon témoignage
      Tu vivras tout les trésors de la vie.
      Dalèt
      Vivifie toi en moi 
      Car ton âme est collé à la poussière
      Apprend mon adage
      Énumère ma loi
      Je te répondrai
      Médite sur mes desseins
      Tu comprendras mes préceptes
      Relève toi en ma droiture
      Ton âme ne connaîtra le chagrin
      Grâce à ma loi 
      Tu te détourneras de la voie du mensonge
      Conforme est ma loi 
      choisi la voie de JEHOVAH. (YHWH)
      Guide tes actions vers ma justice
      Immerge toi dans ma connaissance 
      Élargi ton coeur et marche dans la voie 
      De mes commandements

      Heureux ceux qui garde le chemin,
      la voie de mon salut.
      Enseigne toi, La voie de l'univers celle de ma sainte Parole.
      Observe de tout ton coeur
      Garde en toi 
      Tu comprendras, là ton cheminement
      Guide toi au chemin de ma parole
      Ne guide ton coeur vers le gain de ce système de choses.
      Fléchis ton coeur et vivifie toi en mon royaume.
      De ma parole
      Libère tes yeux de l'illusion
      Craint le Dieu Très Haut
      Tiens tes promesses telle un fidèle serviteur
      Que mes lois soit le bienvenu en toi 
      ainsi
      Tu seras libéré de toutes insultes
      Vivifie toi! Dans ma justice
      Béni seras tu!
      Désirs mes préceptes
      Telle doit être ta volonté
      zayin
      Garde les promesses qui viennent de ton coeur
      Ton salut est en mon dessin
      Amour du Dieu Très Haut
      Garde ma parole
      Aucune riposte et insulte est ma Parole.
      Espère en ma promesse et en mon royaume
      Guide ta bouche vers la parole de la vérité.
      Toujour et à jamais
      Sans relâche
      Médite sur ma parole que Je t'ai donné
      Cherche mes préceptes
      Engage ta démarche dans ton coeur
      J'élargirai ta vie
      Ne sois acerbe en ma parole
      Quelle devienne un délice à ton palais.
      Médite en ma volonté
      Aime mon commandement
      Ouvre les mains, Je te bénirai
      TAV
      Fonde ton espoir en ma volonté
      Deviens mon serviteur
      Rappelle toi de ma parole
      Vivifie toi !En ma Sagesse
      Je te délivrerai de ceux qui ton outragé
      Reste sur la voie de ma loi
      Console toi par la prière et la méditation venant de tout ton être.
      Ma parole te soutiendra dans les moments difficiles de ta vie.
      Reste dans le chemin que je t'ai donné.
      Que ta colère garde l'amour en ma volonté
      Je te délivrerai de ton impureté.
      Préserve le coeur d'enfant que je t'ai donné
      Sois ferme dans ton coeur
      Louange mon Nom pour toujour.
      Observe ma loi dans tout l'univers de ton être
      De cette volonté, ton âme s'illumineras
      Dans la nuit
      Je me souviendrai de ton nom.
      Garde en toi mes préceptes et souviens toi de mon Nom.
      Elle sera ta délivrance éternelle.
      AINSI TU CONNAÎTRAS MA PROMESSE DE VIVRE POUR TOUJOUR, AU PARADIS.
      Amen
      YHWH (JEHOVAH)
      Erico

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Apprenons à craindre Jéhovah
      “ La crainte de Jéhovah est le début de la sagesse. ” — PROVERBES 9:10.

      IL FUT un temps où dire de quelqu’un craignait Dieu était un compliment. Beaucoup jugent aujourd’hui désuète et illogique l’idée de craindre Dieu. " Pourquoi craindre Dieu s’il est amour?" s’étonnent-ils. C’est que la crainte est à leurs yeux un sentiment forcément négatif, voire paralysant. Or, la crainte de Dieu, la vraie, est bien autre chose que de la peur et, comme nous allons le voir, elle ne se résume pas à un sentiment.
       La Bible présente la crainte de Dieu sous un jour positif (Isaïe 11:3). Craindre Dieu, c’est éprouver envers lui un profond respect et désirer vivement ne pas lui déplaire (Psaume 115:11). C’est aussi accepter ses normes morales et s’y conformer strictement, appliquer dans notre vie ses critères du bien et du mal. Un ouvrage de référence indique que cette crainte salutaire exprime “ un rapport à Dieu, une disposition d’esprit dominante, qui incite à se conduire avec sagesse et à rejeter le mal sous toutes ses formes ”. La Bible dit d’ailleurs que “ la crainte de Jéhovah est le début de la sagesse ”. — Proverbes 9:10.
      La crainte de Dieu influe sur de nombreux domaines de l’existence. Outre la sagesse, elle favorise la joie, la paix, la prospérité, la longévité, l’espoir, la confiance (Psaume 2:11 ; Proverbes 1:7 ; 10:27 ; 14:26 ; 22:4 ; 23:17, 18 ; Actes 9:31). Elle est étroitement liée à la foi et à l’amour. Pour tout dire, elle touche tous les aspects de nos relations avec Dieu et avec les humains (Deutéronome 10:12 ; Job 6:14 ; Hébreux 11:7). Craindre Dieu, enfin, c’est avoir la ferme conviction que notre Père céleste se soucie de nous personnellement et qu’il est disposé à pardonner nos transgressions (Psaume 130:4). Il n’y a donc qu’aux pécheurs non repentants que Dieu devrait inspirer de la terreur. — Hébreux 10:26-31.
      APPRENONS À CRAINDRE DIEU
      Puisqu’il est indispensable de le craindre pour prendre de sages décisions et recevoir ses bénédictions, comment "apprendre à craindre Jéhovah"
      dans le bon sens du terme (Deutéronome 17:19) ? De nombreux exemples d’hommes et de femmes qui craignaient Dieu ont été consignés dans les Écritures “ pour notre instruction ”. (Romains 15:4.) Intéressons-nous à la vie de l’un de ces personnages, le roi David.
      Saül, le premier roi d’Israël, avait la crainte du peuple, mais pas la crainte de Dieu. Cela lui a valu d’être rejeté par Jéhovah (1 Samuel 15:24-26). David, lui, était un homme qui craignait vraiment Dieu ; sa vie et son intimité avec Jéhovah en témoignent. Les nombreuses nuits à la belle étoile qu’il avait passées dans sa jeunesse à faire paître les moutons de son père l’avaient certainement aidé à comprendre ce qu’est la crainte de Jéhovah (1 Samuel 16:11). De l’immense univers, il n’avait contemplé qu’une infime partie, mais cela lui avait suffi pour saisir l’essentiel : Dieu mérite respect et adoration. “ Quand je vois tes cieux, les œuvres de tes doigts, la lune et les étoiles que tu as préparées, écrira-t-il plus tard, qu’est-ce que le mortel pour que tu penses à lui, et le fils de l’homme tiré du sol pour que tu t’occupes de lui ? ” — Psaume 8:3, 4.
      Il était normal que David soit impressionné quand il comparait sa petitesse à l’immensité des cieux étoilés. Mais, loin de l’effrayer, cette connaissance le portait à louer Jéhovah. “ Les cieux proclament la gloire de Dieu, a-t-il écrit ; et l’œuvre de ses mains, l’étendue l’annonce. ” (Psaume 19:1). Ce profond respect le rapprochait de Jéhovah ; il lui donnait envie d’apprendre ses voies parfaites et de les suivre. Percevez-vous les sentiments qui l’habitaient quand il chantait ce psaume : “ Tu es grand et tu fais des choses prodigieuses ; tu es Dieu, toi seul. Instruis-moi de ta voie, ô Jéhovah ! Je marcherai dans ta vérité. Unifie mon cœur pour craindre ton nom. ” — Psaume 86:10, 11.
      Quand les Philistins ont envahi le pays d’Israël, leur champion, Goliath, a provoqué les Israélites du haut de ses trois mètres. " Envoyez donc quelqu’un m’affronter en combat singulier ! les narguait-il. S’il me bat, nous serons vos serviteurs. " (1 Samuel 17:4-10). Saül et toute son armée étaient terrifiés. Mais pas David. S’il devait craindre quelqu’un, c’était Jéhovah, et non un homme, si fort soit-il. “ Je viens vers toi avec le nom de Jéhovah des armées, a-t-il lancé à Goliath. [...] Et toute cette assemblée saura que ce n’est ni par l’épée ni par la lance que Jéhovah sauve réellement, car à Jéhovah appartient la bataille. ” Grâce à Jéhovah, une fronde et une pierre ont suffi à David pour abattre le géant. — 1 Samuel 17:45-47.
      Il peut arriver que nous nous trouvions devant des obstacles ou des ennemis aussi intimidants que ceux qu’a dû affronter David. Que faire alors ? Imiter David et d’autres fidèles du passé en s’armant de la crainte de Dieu. La crainte de Dieu l’emporte sur la crainte de l’homme. À ses compatriotes en butte à l’opposition, le fidèle Nehémia a adressé cette exhortation : “ N’ayez pas peur à cause d’eux. Souvenez-vous de Jéhovah le Grand et le Redoutable. ” (Nehémia 4:14). C’est parce qu’ils avaient son soutien que David, Nehémia et d’autres ont réussi à faire ce que Jéhovah attendait d’eux. Nous le pourrons également si nous craignons Dieu.
      Après celle sur Goliath, Jéhovah a accordé d’autres victoires à David. Jaloux, Saül a tenté de tuer le jeune homme, d’abord dans un geste de colère, puis par des moyens détournés, enfin en mobilisant toute une armée contre lui. Même si David avait reçu l’assurance qu’il serait roi, pendant des années il a dû fuir, se battre, et attendre le moment fixé par Jéhovah. Dans toutes ces situations, il ne s’est jamais départi de sa crainte du vrai Dieu. — 1 Samuel 18:9, 11, 17 ; 24:2.
      À un moment donné, David s’est réfugié auprès d’Akish, le roi de Gath, ville philistine d’où était originaire Goliath (1 Samuel 21:10-15). Les serviteurs d’Akish l’ont dénoncé comme ennemi. Comment a-t-il réagi à cette situation périlleuse ? Il s’est confié à Jéhovah de tout son cœur (Psaume 56:1-4, 11-13). Il s’est finalement sorti du guêpier en simulant la démence, mais il était bien conscient de devoir son salut à Jéhovah, qui avait béni son stratagème. David a prouvé qu’il craignait vraiment Dieu en plaçant toute sa confiance en lui. — Psaume 34:4-6, 9-11.
      À l’exemple de David, nous montrerons que nous craignons Dieu en ayant confiance en sa promesse de nous aider dans les épreuves. “ Roule ta voie sur Jéhovah, compte sur lui, et c’est lui qui agira ”, a affirmé David (Psaume 37:5). Cela ne veut pas dire qu’il faut mettre nos problèmes entre les mains de Jéhovah sans rien faire d’autre qu’attendre son intervention. David ne s’est pas contenté de prier et de voir venir. Il a cherché une solution à son problème en utilisant les capacités physiques et intellectuelles dont Jéhovah l’avait doté. Pour autant, il ne pensait pas que ses efforts d’humain suffiraient. Cette façon de voir devrait aussi être la nôtre. Faisons tout ce qui est en notre pouvoir, puis laissons Jéhovah se charger du reste. Cela étant, il est fréquent que nous ne puissions rien faire d’autre que compter sur Jéhovah. C’est là que la crainte de Dieu revêt un caractère très personnel. Combien est réconfortante cette réflexion de David : “ L’intimité avec Jéhovah appartient à ceux qui le craignent. ” — Psaume 25:14.
      Il s’agit donc de ne pas banaliser nos prières et nos relations avec Dieu. Lorsque nous nous ‘ avançons ’ vers Jéhovah, nous devons “ croire qu’il est, et qu’il devient celui qui récompense ceux qui le cherchent réellement ”. (Hébreux 11:6 ; Jacques 1:5-8.) Et quand il vient à notre aide, il nous faut, conformément au conseil de l’apôtre Paul, ‘ nous montrer reconnaissants ’. (Colossiens 3:15, 17.) Ne ressemblons jamais à ceux dont un chrétien oint expérimenté a dit : “ Ils prennent Dieu pour une sorte de garçon de café. Ils aimeraient qu’il réponde à un claquement de doigts dès qu’ils ont besoin de quelque chose, et qu’il disparaisse dès qu’ils ont eu ce qu’ils voulaient. ” Où est leur crainte de Dieu ?
      Le fait que Jéhovah l’ait secouru a augmenté la confiance et la crainte que David éprouvait envers lui (Psaume 31:22-24). Trois fois, cependant, David a mis notablement sa crainte de Dieu entre parenthèses, ce qui a eu des conséquences tragiques. La première fois, c’est quand il a décidé de faire transporter l’arche de l’alliance à Jérusalem sur un chariot, et non sur les épaules des Lévites comme le prescrivait la Loi. Ouzza, qui conduisait le chariot, a saisi l’Arche pour l’empêcher de tomber. Dieu l’a fait mourir sur le champ pour cet “ acte d’irrévérence ”. Certes, Ouzza avait commis un péché grave, mais c’est bien David qui, pour n’avoir pas respecté la Loi divine, était responsable de ce drame. Craindre Dieu suppose que l’on fasse les choses comme lui l’entend. — 2 Samuel 6:2-9 ; Nombres 4:15 ; 7:9.
      Une autre fois, sous l’impulsion de Satan, David a procédé au dénombrement des hommes de guerre en Israël (1 Chroniques 21:1). Là encore, il a cessé momentanément de craindre Dieu, ce qui a coûté la vie à 70 000 de ses compatriotes. Bien qu’il se soit repenti devant Jéhovah, lui et le peuple ont beaucoup souffert en la circonstance. — 2 Samuel 24:1-16
      C’est aussi parce qu’il avait oublié sa crainte de Dieu que David a couché avec Bath-Shéba, la femme d’Ouriya. David savait qu’il était mal, non seulement de commettre l’adultère, mais aussi de désirer la femme d’un autre (Exode 20:14, 17). Tout a commencé quand il a aperçu Bath-Shéba qui se baignait. La crainte de Dieu lui commandait de détourner son regard immédiatement et de maîtriser ses pensées. Mais il a manifestement ‘ continué à regarder ’, si bien que la passion l’a emporté sur sa crainte de Dieu (Matthieu 5:28 ; 2 Samuel 11:1-4). David a oublié que Jéhovah devait être présent dans tous les domaines de sa vie. — Psaume 139:1-7.
      De son adultère avec Bath-Shéba est né un fils. Peu après, Jéhovah a envoyé le prophète Nathân dénoncer le péché de David. Retrouvant la crainte de Dieu en même temps que la raison, celui-ci s’est repenti. Il a supplié Jéhovah de ne pas le rejeter et de ne pas lui retirer son esprit saint (Psaume 51:7, 11). Jéhovah lui a pardonné et a atténué le châtiment, mais il ne lui a pas épargné toutes les conséquences de ses actes. Le fils de David est mort ; les malheurs se sont succédé dans sa famille. Quel prix à payer pour avoir momentanément fait abstraction de la crainte de Dieu ! — 2 Samuel 12:10-14 ; 13:10-14 ; 15:14.
      Aujourd’hui de même, ne pas craindre Dieu dans le domaine de la moralité peut avoir des conséquences graves et durables. Imaginez la douleur de cette jeune femme qui découvre que son mari chrétien l’a trompée lors d’un déplacement professionnel à l’étranger. Choquée, anéantie par le chagrin, elle enfouit son visage dans ses mains et pleure toutes les larmes de son corps. Combien de temps faudra-t-il au mari infidèle pour regagner la confiance et le respect de sa femme ? Des situations aussi pénibles peuvent être évitées grâce à la crainte de Dieu. — 1 Corinthiens 6:18.
      Satan détruit les valeurs morales de la société humaine les unes après les autres, et il cherche particulièrement à corrompre les vrais chrétiens. Pour ce faire, il exploite le chemin le plus direct vers le cœur et l’esprit : nos sens, avec une prédilection pour l’ouïe et la vue (Éphésiens 4:17-19). Comment réagissez-vous quand, involontairement, vous vous trouvez exposé à des images ou à des paroles obscènes, ou encore en présence d’individus immoraux ?
      Voyez le cas d’André. Cet ancien et père de famille est médecin dans un pays d’Europe. Quand il était de garde de nuit à l’hôpital, des collègues féminines avaient pris l’habitude d’épingler sur son oreiller des mots doux ornés de petits cœurs pour l’inviter à coucher avec elles. André s’interdisait résolument d’accorder la moindre pensée à ces avances. Mieux, pour se soustraire à cet environnement malsain, il a changé d’établissement. Sa crainte de Dieu s’est révélée sage et lui a valu des bénédictions, puisqu’il effectue aujourd’hui une partie de ses activités au siège des Témoins de Jéhovah de son pays.
      Troquer nos précieuses relations avec Jéhovah contre quelque chose auquel nous n’avons pas droit : voilà où nous risquons d’en arriver en cultivant de mauvaises pensées (Jacques 1:14, 15). Si nous craignons Jéhovah, en revanche, nous nous tiendrons éloignés — et même nous nous écarterons délibérément — des gens, des lieux, des activités ou des divertissements qui pourraient nous faire baisser notre garde (Proverbes 22:3). Quel que soit l’inconvénient ou le sacrifice que cela implique, il n’est rien à côté de la perte de la faveur divine (Matthieu 5:29, 30). La crainte de Dieu nous commande de ne jamais nous exposer intentionnellement à quoi que ce soit d’immoral — à commencer par la pornographie sous toutes ses formes —, mais aussi de faire en sorte que nos yeux “ passent sans s’arrêter à la vue de ce qui n’est que néant ”. Soyons convaincus que Jéhovah, alors, nous ‘ gardera en vie ’ et nous donnera tout ce dont nous avons réellement besoin. — Psaume 84:11 ; 119:37.
       Assurément, c’est toujours faire preuve de sagesse que de laisser la crainte de Dieu dicter nos actions. C’est aussi la source du vrai bonheur (Psaume 34:9)

      · 2 replies
    • T Naidoo  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Please email me the  Pure worship scripture via email tennyson@capemedia.co.za please I still have a problemdownloading the info. 
      Thank you
      Tennyson Naidoo
      · 1 reply
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